Manager: Tommy Watkins
Hitting Coach: Javier Valentin
Pitching Coach: Ivan Arteaga
The big news of the double-A Chattanooga Lookouts staff was as the official press release terms it, the retirement of Jake Mauer and then open manager position for 2018. The Twins have chosen to promote 2017 Cedar Rapids Kernel manager, Tommy Watkins to that position.
In Watkins’ first season as manager, he was able to lead the Kernels to a 75-65 record. The Kernels were able to make it as far as the Midwest League Semifinals. Watkins’ 2018 move to the Lookouts is the most recent in a back and forth he has had between the two clubs. In 2016 Watkins served as the Lookouts hitting coach while before that in 2013-2015 served in the same position with the Kernels.
Watkins originally became a part of the Twins organization as a player. He was drafted in the 38th round of the 1998 draft and played third base and shortstop. He was slowly brought through the Twins system and did get a shot in the major leagues in 2007. In 9 games he was able to have an impressive .357/.438/.357 slash line, which was much better than his minor league performances had been. After those games, he returned to the minors through 2009 before becoming a coach in 2010 with the Beloit Snappers, the then Twins Low-A Affiliate.
Returning to the Lookouts as a part of Watkins’ staff are Hitting Coach Javier Valentin and Pitching Coach Ivan Arteaga. Both coaches had successful 2017 seasons as they lead an impressive Lookouts team. Artaega was the leader of the best pitching staff in the Southern League and was able to help guide potential 2018 major league contributors such as Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero, Felix Jorge, and Gabriel Moya to name a few. Arteaga will also have an opportunity to build on what was a successful 2017 from the offense of the Lookouts after working with the likes of Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade.