Release Date: February 22,2021
Cleveland Indians Announce Ducks’ Field Staff for 2021
Former Canton-Akron Indian Rouglas Odor Returns to Akron for 2nd Season as RubberDucks Manager
(AKRON, OHIO) February 22, 2021 – The Cleveland Indians have announced their 2021 Player Development staff assignments, bringing three familiar faces back to the dugout at Canal Park. Rouglas Odor will once again serve as Manager for the RubberDucks during the 2021 campaign, returning to the same position he held in 2019. Odor will be accompanied by Owen Dew as pitching coach, Junior Betances as hitting coach, Mike Merganthaler as bench coach, Scott Nealon as strength/conditioning coach and Jake Legan as athletic trainer.
Manager Rouglas Odor, 53, served as the 2014 Akron RubberDucks hitting coach and will embark on his second season as Akron’s leader in 2021. In 2019 Odor and the RubberDucks posted a 61-79 record, good for fifth in the Eastern League Western Division following a 34-35 first half record. Odor has twelve seasons of managerial experience where he has compiled a career record of 422-442 (.488).
Rouglas Odor’s experience in Akron dates all the way back to his playing days as a Canton-Akron Indian infielder for parts of 1991, 1993 and 1994. Odor then returned to Akron as hitting coach for the Akron Aeros in 2012, helping lead the franchise to its fourth Eastern League championship. In 2014, Odor became the first member of the Cleveland Indians organization to wear a uniform as the Canton-Akron Indians, Akron Aeros, and the Akron RubberDucks when he made his return as the hitting coach.
The Maracaibo, Venezuela native returns for his 34th year in the Cleveland Indians organization, the same franchise who drafted him in the 32nd round of the 1988 draft. Odor played in the Cleveland Indians system from 1988-1994, before moving to the Milwaukee Brewers system for the 1995 season. Odor has had multiple stops in his coaching career as manager, leading the following clubs: San Felipe in the Venezuelan Summer League (1999-2000), the Burlington Indians (2001-2004), the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (2005-2006), Gulf Coast League Indians (2007-2008). In 2009, Odor began serving as hitting coach for the Kinston Indians (2009-2010), Double-A Akron Aeros (2011-2012), High-A Carolina Mudcats (2013), Double-A Akron RubberDucks (2014), and Triple-A Columbus Clippers (2015-2017).
Pitching Coach Owen Dew, 32, makes his first visit to Akron after previously having served as the pitching coach for the Lake County Captains in the Class-A Midwest league in 2019. Dew began his baseball journey as a young, right-handed pitcher for Seminole State College of Florida (2008-2009), before moving to the University of Central Florida in 2010, when he was drafted in the 21st round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. That same year, Dew advanced through Mahoning Valley with a strong 2.64 ERA in nine starts for the Scrappers. At Class-A Lake County, Dew was converted to a relief pitcher where he appeared in 15 games over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In Dew’s final season as a player, the right hander appeared in 34 games accruing 70 innings and posted a 3.86 ERA with 41 strikeouts.
Since his playing career, Dew served as an assistant coach at Seminole State College of Florida while also assisting the Cleveland Indians as an associate scout from 2014-2017. Dew was then appointed as a full-time minor league pitching coach within the organization, making stops with the Mahoning Valley (2017), Arizona League Indians 2 (2018), and Lake County Captains (2019). The 2019 Lake County Captains pitching staff posted a team ERA of 3.73 over 1191 innings, good for eighth in the Midwest League.
Hitting Coach Junior Betances, 47, hits Akron for the first time in his 21-year coaching career with the Cleveland Indians organization. After posting a .289 batting average over 165 games in 1998-1999 with the Akron Aeros, Betances joined the coaching ranks in various roles for the Cleveland Indians Dominican Summer League team from 2000-2010. Betances then served as Arizona League Indians coach from 2010-2015, and moved to Lake County in 2017 as the Bench coach for Manager Larry Day. The native of La Vega, Dominican Republic, Betances has developed a wealth of experience in various player development roles within the Indians organization.
Bench Coach, Mike Merganthaler, 32, moves up the Indians farm system to Akron in 2021, following his 2019 season serving as the Lynchburg Hillcats bench coach for Manager Jim Pankovits. In 2018 and 2019, Merganthaler worked as a hitting coach for the Cleveland Indians’ and Milwaukee Brewers’ joint Dominican Super League team. The Thiells, NY native was drafted as a player in the 32nd round of the 2011 amateur draft by the San Francisco Giants, playing in their system for parts of 2011 and 2012.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Scott Nealon enters his eighth season in the Cleveland Indians organization, returning to the same position he held in 2016 for the RubberDucks Eastern League Championship Series. Nealon was the Triple-A Columbus strength and conditioning coach the last three seasons (2017-2019), including the Clippers’ 2019 Governor’s Cup championship season. Previously, Nealon served as strength and conditioning coach for the Carolina Mudcats (2013-2014), Lynchburg Hillcats (2015), before he made his way to Double-A Akron. Nealon earned his master’s degree in exercise science from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio.
Athletic Trainer Jake Legan, heads to Akron for the first time in his six-year career with the Cleveland Indians. Legan previously served as the Lynchburg Hillcats’ athletic trainer in 2019.
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The RubberDucks season, powered by FirstEnergy, opens at home May 4 against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 330-253-5151 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, or visit www.akronrubberducks.com. For more information about the team, please call 330-253-5151, visit the website at akronrubberducks.com, Facebook page facebook.com/AkronRubberDucks, or on Twitter at @AkronRubberDuck, and Instagram at @akronrubberducks.