Long Island names 2024 coaching staff

(Central Islip, N.Y., Jan. 16, 2024) – The Long Island Ducks today announced their coaching staff for the 2024 season, which is slated to begin on Thursday, April 25, at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. Bobby Blevins begins his first season in the role of Ducks pitching coach, while Alexi Casilla enters his inaugural campaign as the team’s hitting coach alongside first-year manager Lew Ford.

“I’m excited to work alongside Bobby and Alexi on the coaching staff this season,” said Ford. “Both of them had terrific careers in professional baseball, have extensive experience in the Atlantic League and are greatly looking forward to this opportunity with the Ducks.”

Blevins joins the coaching staff after pitching for parts of eight seasons in the Atlantic League (2012-19), including five with the Ducks (2012-16). He was exceptional during the Ducks back-to-back Atlantic League championship runs in 2012 and 2013. In three postseason starts, he combined to allow just six earned runs in 20.0 innings, good for a 2.70 ERA, while striking out 11 batters and walking none. During the regular season with the Flock, the right-hander went 17-22 with a 3.88 ERA and 291 strikeouts over 73 games (69 starts).

The Syracuse, N.Y., native culminated his Atlantic League career with the Sugar Land Skeeters (2017) and Somerset Patriots (2018-19). In 103 ALPB games (95 starts), he compiled a 25-31 record with a 4.14 ERA, four complete games and 394 strikeouts to 120 walks over 591.2 innings of work. The 39-year-old began his professional career in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, reaching as high as Triple-A Albuquerque in his four seasons (2007-10) with the club. He went 20-30 with a 4.32 ERA, six saves and 264 strikeouts in 95 games (48 starts) during that span. Blevins also pitched in parts of four seasons (2011-13, 2018) in the Can-Am League and one season (2015) with the Chinatrust Brothers of the Chinese Professional Baseball League.

Casilla spent parts of nine seasons at the Major League level. Seven of those (2006-12) came with the Minnesota Twins, the first two of which he was teammates with Ford, while the final two (2013-14) were played with the Baltimore Orioles. In 578 MLB games, he compiled a .247 batting average with 12 home runs, 157 RBIs, 225 runs, 419 hits, 80 stolen bases and a .302 on-base percentage. He led the American League with 13 sacrifice bunts during the 2008 season and ranked second in stolen base percentage (95.46%) during the 2012 campaign. Defensively, the infielder posted a .977 career fielding percentage, spending time at second base, shortstop and third base.

The 39-year-old also played in the Los Angeles Angels (2004-05), Tampa Bay Rays (2015), Detroit Tigers (2015) and Toronto Blue Jays (2016) organizations, reaching the Triple-A level with each. He finished his career in the Atlantic League, playing three seasons (2017-19) with the York Revolution. In 202 games, the Dominican Republic native posted a .337 batting average with 10 homers, 79 RBIs, 139 runs, 269 hits, 46 doubles, five triples, 23 stolen bases and an .828 OPS. Casilla ranked third in the league in hits (142), fourth in batting (.336) and seventh in runs (75) while also being named to the Red, White and Blue All-Defensive Team at second base in 2018.

Blevins and Casilla join Ford, who begins his first season as Ducks skipper following 13 seasons with the team, the past nine as a player/coach. His 13 seasons with the Ducks are more than any other player in franchise history, and his run as a player/coach is the longest tenure in franchise annals as well. He has the most hits in team history with 1,036, ranking him third all-time in the Atlantic League. Additionally, he sits second all-time among Ducks players in batting average (.318, min. 1,000 at bats), games played (877), RBIs (511), runs scored (549), doubles (227) and total bases (1,541).

The 47-year-old has served in a hitting coach or bench coach role for the team alongside his playing duties since 2014. During that time, he has helped two Ducks players be named Atlantic League Player of the Year (Jordany Valdespin, 2018; Steve Lombardozzi, 2021) and has guided two Ducks players to ALPB batting titles (Sean Burroughs, 2015; Alejandro De Aza, 2022).

The Central Islip, N.Y., resident played on the Ducks Atlantic League championship-winning teams in 2012, 2013 and 2019. He also helped lead the Flock to eight division championships and 11 postseason appearances as a player/coach. The seven-year MLB veteran with the Twins and Orioles was named the 2014 Atlantic League Player of the Year, setting league single-season records for hits (189) and games played (140). Ford was also selected to play in three Atlantic League All-Star Games (2014, 2015 and 2018) and earned two ALPB Postseason All-Star selections (2014, 2018).

The Ducks are entering their 24th season of play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their games at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip, N.Y. They are the all-time leader in wins and attendance in Atlantic League history, led all MLB Partner Leagues in attendance in 2023, and have sold out a record 706 games all-time. For further information, visit LIDucks.com or call 631-940-DUCK (3825).