Friday, the Cubs announced several coaching hires in the minor-league system. For the first time, the Cubs will have a woman as part of their coaching staff.
Rachel Folden has been named the lead hitting lab tech and fourth coach for Rookie League Mesa. The 32-year-old Folden created Folden Fastpitch in 2010 to provide baseball and softball instruction based on biomechanics, science, technology and data. She has also served as a hitting consultant for Elite Baseball Training. She played five seasons (2008-12) in the National Pro Fastpitch league, including time with the Chicago Bandits.
I’m glad to see the Cubs opening up to new ideas and new ways of getting information to the players in the system. Congratulations to Rachel Folden on being the first female coaching hire in the Cubs organization.
Here are the other hires for the system:
Casey Jacobson is the organization’s new coordinator of pitching development. The 29-year-old Jacobson is an instructor at Driveline Baseball in Kent, Wash., and in 2019 was an assistant coach at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D., following five seasons as the pitching coach for Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. During his time at Macalester, the team captured its first MIAC tournament championship and NCAA Regional berth, while Jacobson also trained area high school athletes in arm care and strength programs.
Doug Willey has been named a pitching coach for Rookie League Mesa. The 26-year-old Willey most recently was a graduate assistant bullpen coach at the University of Arkansas where he worked under pitching coaches Wes Johnson and Matt Hobbs. Selected in the 32nd round of the 2016 draft by the Angels, he pitched one season in the team’s farm system before transitioning to coaching.
Travis Fitta has been named the fourth coach, hitting and baseball development for Single-A Eugene. The 29-year-old Fitta has most recently worked as Director of Hitting Development at Ohio University, utilizing data and tech paired with traditional player development techniques to create individualized hitting programs. He has also spent time working with youth and college-aged hitters at Next Level Academy/Triton Rays in Montgomery, Ala., and at the Texas Pitching Institute in El Paso.
Steven Pollakov has been named the Dominican hitting analytics coordinator. The 27-year-old Pollakov most recently served as a hitting apprentice in the Houston Astros farm system in 2019, integrating technology and biometrics into hitting programs. In 2018, he served as catching coordinator in the Boston Red Sox Dominican Republic Academy.
Dan Puente has been named the hitting coach for Single-A South Bend. The 37-year-old Puente has been a hitting and catching instructor at Elite Baseball Training since 2012, a technology-infused baseball and softball instructional company created by Cubs Director of Hitting Justin Stone. Puente also served as an associate scout for the Houston Astros and from 2008-12 was the Manager of Youth Baseball Initiatives for the Chicago White Sox. A former catcher, he was selected by Baltimore in the 12th round of the 2004 Draft and played two minor league seasons.
Will Remillard has been named the fourth coach, hitting and baseball development for Double-A Tennessee. The 27-year-old Remillard was a development coach with Tennessee last season following a playing career that saw him reach Triple-A Iowa in 2018. Selected by the Cubs in the 19th round of the 2013 draft out of Coastal Carolina University, the former catcher was a 2014 Midwest League All-Star, and batted .272 (74-for-272) in 86 career minor league games, missing multiple seasons due to a right elbow injury.
Will Skett has been named the fourth coach, hitting and baseball development for Single-A Myrtle Beach. The 45-year-old Skett started So Cal Hitting Zone in 2012, a baseball training and batting development center that utilizes a data driven approach to improve player performance. As the head varsity baseball coach at Faith Baptist High School in Canoga Park, Calif., the last three years, he guided the team to a 60-6 record while guiding the team to its first-ever State Championship appearance in 2017.
The Cubs say a full rundown of all the coaches and managers in the organization will be announced at a later date.