Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots and manager Brett Jodie have announced the coaching staff for the 2020 season. Former Patriot infielder Ty Wright has been hired as the new Third Base/Hitting Coach, while Jon Hunton will return as the team’s Pitching Coach/ Director of Baseball Operations. Fox Beyer will continue to work as a volunteer Assistant Coach.
“It means a ton. Just to go to a place you are familiar with and knowing what the people are all about,” said Wright. “Most importantly, the fans are the ones that make the Patriots go. They were wonderful when I was a player there and I look forward to building those relationships and interacting with the fans more in this role.”
Wright enters his first season as a coach for the Patriots and second season with the team. The Tyler, Texas native spent the 2014 season – the last year of his playing career – in Somerset playing under Jodie. He hit .265 with 13 home runs and 64 RBI over 112 games that year before he led the team in hitting with a .526 average (10-for-19) and three RBI over five postseason games.
“We are extremely proud to be joined by our first year hitting coach, Ty Wright,” said Jodie. “Ty was a joy to manage in his time as a player in Somerset and he has continued to hold a special place in his heart for the Patriots since his time here. Ty is a positive influence on others and carries a great attitude all the time. He is a hard worker and he knows hitting. Ty has been doing great work in the Chicago Cubs organization over the last five years and now we are thrilled to have him back with us.”
Wright has spent the last three seasons as a coach with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Advanced-A affiliate of the Cubs, including the last two years as the team’s hitting coach. He worked as an assistant coach in his first year (2017) with the club. Under Wright’s tutelage in 2019, the Pelicans ranked second in the Carolina League in walks (299), third in stolen bases (136) and had the fourth-fewest amount of strikeouts (1,093).
The long-time Cubs organization member began his coaching career as the Assistant Hitting Coach for the Rookie-level Mesa Cubs in 2015. Wright then worked as the Hitting Coach for the Short-Season Eugene Emeralds in 2016 before moving on to the Pelicans in 2017.
Overall, Wright spent 12 seasons in the Cubs organization, including seven as a player and five more as a coach. The first baseman/outfielder played parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level and parts of five seasons at the Double-A level. The only season in Wright’s professional career in which he was not a part of the Cubs organization was his lone 2014 season in Somerset.
“One thing I learned as a coach over the past few seasons was the mental side of baseball. You have to have the day-to-day mindset in every specific area of the game. I will come in with a positive attitude to communicate with the players to the best of my ability and be able to see the game from their eyes as well. I believe in building relationships with them, true development and success will happen.”
Jodie enters his eighth season as manager and 17th overall season with the Somerset Patriots organization. He carries a 556-405 (.579) record in his first seven seasons as manager, including a 2015 Atlantic Championship. His teams have won seven of a possible 14 Half Championships and have made the playoffs in all but one season with him at the helm.
“I always find myself excited this time of year because baseball is almost here,” said Jodie. “Baseball is special everywhere, but it has a little extra something in Somerset. I am giddy with anticipation with the upcoming season quickly approaching. There are so many great people associated with this organization and I am proud to return as a part of it.”
The South Carolina native was named the 2015 Atlantic League Manager of the Year after his team not only won the league’s title but recorded a historic 50-win first half: the most wins in any half by any team in league history. Additionally, Jodie’s 2013 team set a franchise record with 90 wins.
Somerset’s skipper has twice reached notable landmarks during his tenure as manager. Jodie became the fastest manager in league history to win 250 games, setting that mark on August 26, 2015. He continued his record-setting pace in 2019 when he also became the fastest manager in league history to reach 500 wins; doing so in a May 17th win over the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Jodie first joined the Patriots organization in 2003 as a player. That year, the former New York Yankee southpaw went 12-5 with a 3.78 ERA en route to an Atlantic League championship. He also made 10 starts with Somerset in 2005 before he announced his retirement. Jodie then became the team’s pitching coach in 2006 – a position he held through 2012 – and the Director of Player Personnel from 2007 through 2013. He won two additional championships as a coach in 2008 and 2009.
Jodie is the longest-tenured coach in the Atlantic League and is tied with Mark Mason (York) as the league’s longest-tenured manager.
Hunton enters his ninth overall season with the Somerset Patriots and third as the team’s Pitching Coach/ Director of Baseball Operations. He previously spent six seasons as a record-setting relief pitcher; the latter four of which he was also the Director of Player Personnel.
The North Plainfield, New Jersey native’s pitching staff allowed the least amount of walks (351) of any club in the Atlantic League last year. Patriots pitchers also ranked second in the league in saves (45), third in ERA (3.85) and WHIP (1.31) and fourth in strikeouts (1,037).
Hunton spearheaded a pitching staff that led the league in strikeouts (997) and finished second in ERA (3.62), WHIP (1.29), BAA (.253) and walks allowed (335) in his first season as pitching coach in 2018. He also played an integral role in putting together a roster that finished with the best overall record in the Liberty Division that year.
Hunton finished his Atlantic League playing career as the single season (49, 2014) and all-time saves leader (167), 158 of which came with Somerset. Additionally, he was twice named an Atlantic League All-Star (2013 and 2016) and has won three Atlantic League championships, including two with the Patriots (2008 and 2015).
In 2014, Hunton became the first player in professional baseball to hold the title of Director of Player Personnel while still playing. The 6’9” closer either led or finished second in the league in saves in four-straight seasons (2013-2016). He previously had years of service in both the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics organizations.
Beyer comes back for his 13th season as a volunteer Assistant Coach/ Bench Coach for the Somerset Patriots.
He spent parts of three seasons filling the same position in the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies organizations: both at the Double-A level.
The Somerset Patriots will be back in action on Friday, May 1st for Opening Day at TD Bank Ballpark. Stay up to date on all the team news throughout the offseason online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.