UNIVERSITY PARK — The State College Spikes have turned to a young gun to help lead the youthful organization out of an era filled with perpetually mediocre baseball tinged with streaks of horrid play.
Second-year minor league coach Oliver Marmol was named the sixth manager in team history St. Louis Cardinals Farm Director John Vuch announced on Friday. Marmol will be joined by pitching coach Dernier Orozco and hitting coach Ramon Ortiz.
Born in Elizabeth, N.J. in 1986, Marmol is the youngest manager to helm the Spikes. Not far removed from his playing days, the 26-year-old hit .327 for the College of Charleston (S.C.) before being drafted by the Cardinals organization in 2007. Primarily a shortstop, Marmol played for the Batavia Muckdogs, Quad Cities River Bandits and Palm Beach Cardinals.
“We made an effort in the last few years to identify Cardinals players who we felt would make good coaches or managers and Oli is a perfect example of what we wanted to accomplish,” Vuch said. “In a very short period of time, he has displayed tremendous baseball knowledge and expertise, but equally important is the leadership that he exhibits.”
Marmol managed the Johnson City (Tenn.) Cardinals last season after spending 2011 as the Gulf Coast League Cardinals’ hitting coach. Johnson City went 39-28 in the Appalachian League last season with Marmol as manager.
As manager of the Spikes, Marmol will work with Cardinals prospects as opposed to Pirates’ minor-leaguers after the Spikes changed affiliations in September. He’ll likely have a better chance to put together a winning product with the pieces the Cardinals provide.
St. Louis was named by Baseball America as the organization of the year last following last season.
The Spikes have not fielded a winning team since their maiden season in State College in 2006. Then, affiliated with the Cardinals, State College went 39-36 with Mark DeJohn as manager. State College has gone 164-211 since then and has finished no better than third in its division while affiliated with the Pirates.
Orozco is familiar with the New York-Penn League having served as the Batavia Muckdogs’ pitching coach last season. Muckdog pitchers finished with a combined ERA of 3.08 and surrendered a league-low 143 walks under Orozco’s tutelage.
Ortiz was on Marmol’s staff in Johnson City as hitting coach last season. The Venezuelan-born coach brings 23 seasons of coaching experience to State College.