When the Lake County Captains open their tenth season as a franchise tonight on the road in Fort Wayne, Indiana, there will be a special touch to the management side of the team this season. Dave Wallace will take over the reigns of the Captains this season, replacing Ted Kubiak as manager.
Wallace was a catcher for the Captains in 2003, their inaugural season. Wallace hit .291 in 64 games and had 36 RBI before being promoted to High-A Kinston, and was also a South Atlantic League All Star that year as well. Wallace slowly moved through the Indians system before reaching Triple-A Buffalo in 2007. He was then traded to the Washington Nationals where he played the 2008 season with former Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate the Columbus Clippers before retiring at the end of the season. He finished his minor league career batting .223 with 45 homeruns and 180 runs batted in in 486 games.
Wallace was an assistant on the Cleveland Indians coaching staff in 2009 and 2010 and mainly served as the bullpen catcher. In 2011 Wallace was named the catching coordinator for the Indians’ minor league system and also was the manager of the short season Single-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers. He led a young team to a 41-34 record in his first season.
This year, Wallace will be a full season manager for the first time. He was asked about if he was excited to be coaching a full season team rather than a short season team.
“Yeah, I try to not to put too much into where I am going, I trust [Director of Player Development] Ross Atkins and those guys [in player development] to put me where they feel I can best serve the organization,” Wallace said, “But I am excited to move up and be here. Absolutely.”
Wallace will have the same coaching staff that was in Lake County last year and worked with many of the guys that are returning. Jim Rickon is returning as the hitting coach and Jeff Harris is the pitching coach this year.
“It’s nice to have Jeff and Jim here, who were here last year,” Wallace said.
The roster at Lake County to start the year is a very impressive one. There are a lot of very young prospects including the Indians’ 2011 first round draft pick shortstop Francisco Lindor and five other top five round draft picks.
Wallace will also have two good catchers to work with in Alex Lavisky and Alex Monsalve. Lavisky worked with Wallace down in Mahoning Valley last year after he was sent down to work on fundamentals. Monsalve has the potential to be a great player but needs to get more experience with catching to work with his great offensive skills.
“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of speed,” Wallace said. “We’ve got a lot of guys up and down the line up that can run. I really like how our pitching staff looks as far as new guys next to the guys that were here last year and the adjustments they’ve made.”
Wallace was asked about if there are any advantages to being a manager at 32 years old.
“No, age isn’t really a factor,” he said. “The only thing is that I experienced the game more recently and it will help me relate to the players. I remember most of the memories vividly so I can relate and teach them.”
Wallace has a group of guys that have a lot of upside and could go a long way. We will see how it goes as the Lake County Captains open the 2012 season in Fort Wayne tonight at 7:05. The first home game for Captains fans to check out the new team is next Thursday, April 12th at 6:30.