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Former Scrappers’ manager Coco Crisp finds new job with Nationals

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes. Former Mahoning Valley Scrappers manager Coco Crisp laughs as he walks back to the dugout after a meeting at the mound during a game on June 5.

In 2021 the MLB Draft League was formed as an outlet for amateur college and high school players to showcase their talents to professional organizations.

In its inaugural season the league served its purpose as 39 players were selected in the July MLB Draft. Another 50 players signed free agent deals following the draft. Locally, six players from the 2021 Mahoning Valley Scrappers roster were drafted while another seven signed free agent contracts.

As it turned out, the Draft League also served as a showcase for former Scrappers manager Coco Crisp.

After managing the Scrappers last summer, Crisp recently joined the Washington Nationals organization where he will serve in the player development system. Crisp was hired as the Nationals’ outfielder/baserunning coordinator.

Crisp previously played for the Cleveland Indians from 2002-05, then again in 2016. In between those two stints with the Tribe, Crisp played with Boston, Kansas City and Oakland. He won a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2007.

Delwyn Young, who last summer managed the State College Spikes of the MLB Draft League, also landed a role with the Nationals organization. He will serve as a hitting coach for the Class-A Fredericksburg franchise.

“The Draft League was very successful in getting a good handful of players drafted, and in a way I feel like it also helped get Delwyn and myself drafted,” Crisp said. “Prior to last summer I was kind of out of sight, out of mind in terms of professional ball. Before coming to the Mahoning Valley I was coaching high school and college ball. The Draft League certainly served as a stepping stone to my returning to baseball at the professional level. It’s a pretty exciting step forward.”

Following the conclusion of the Scrappers’ season, Crisp said he contacted several players and managers in the professional ranks, “just to get an idea on how to approach the possibility of moving up to the next level.” Before he was even able to get his resume to professional organizations, the Nationals reached out to him.

“I’ve been beyond blessed, at every level I’ve had people approach me about taking on a job and I know it rarely works that way,” Crisp said.

Crisp described his new role with the Nationals as a “roving instructor.” He will instruct and help in the development of players throughout the organization.

“It’s exciting, I love the teaching aspect of the game,” Crisp said. “I’m also able to make my own schedule to a degree, which means I can still spend time with my family throughout the summer. That’s extremely important, so this was an ideal opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Crisp was hired as the Scrappers’ manager last April, just months after the formation of the MLB Draft League. The Scrappers began their season by winning six straight games. They held on to first place for the first month of play.

The season ended with the cancellation of six of the Scrappers’ final seven scheduled games. Five of the canceled games were COVID-related. The Scrappers finished with a 27-28-2 record.

“The league faced some growing pains and some bumps in the road, but overall I think it was a successful first year,” Crisp said. “The league was rushed to get things started, but even with a lot of uncertainty things ran pretty smoothly until that final week.

“The talent in the league prior to the draft was very high level. We saw a lot of really good talent league-wide. There are some issues that need to be addressed going forward but overall this league is definitely headed in the right direction.”

Crisp also went out of his way to praise the Mahoning Valley, its fans and the members of the Scrappers’ front office.

“I loved my time in Niles,” Crisp said. “Eastwood Field is a unique venue. Fans are passionate and extremely friendly and warm. The location is superb, right near the mall and a ton of great restaurants. The facility itself is as good as it gets at this level.

“(Scrappers general manager) Jordan Taylor and his staff were awesome to work with. They went out of their way to provide us with whatever we needed. Just a first-class organization.”

The Scrappers open their season June 2 with a home game against West Virginia. They are expected to announce their new manager in the near future.

sports@vindy.com

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