Sod Poodles announce new manager and coaching staff

The Amarillo Sod Poodles in conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that two-time Minor League Manager of the Year Shawn Roof will lead Amarillo on the field for the 2021 season and become the second manager in Sod Poodles franchise history. Accompanying Roof will be pitching coach and former Cy Young winner Doug Drabek, hitting coach, Travis Denker, coach Carlos Mesa, athletic trainer Joe Rosauer, and strength & conditioning coach Derek Clovis.

Roof, 36, returns for his fourth season in the D-backs organization as team manager and first season managing at the Double-A level. The 2021 season will be Roof’s seventh overall season as a coach in professional baseball.

“I am extremely honored and excited to have the opportunity to manage the Amarillo Sod Poodles this summer,” said Roof. “From everything we have heard and seen, Amarillo is a tremendous city, the community is extremely welcoming and supportive, the facilities are second to none, and the Sod Poodles organization has a wonderful, first-class staff. To top it off, the Amarillo community has some of the BEST fans in all of Minor League baseball! I know the fans are thirsty for some baseball and we can’t wait to get started!”

“We are extremely excited about the idea of teaming up Shawn with our new affiliate in Amarillo,” said Josh Barfield, D-backs Player Development Director. “Shawn is a tremendous leader and communicator, and has a proven track record with playoff berths in all three of his seasons as a manager in our organization. The union of a pair of 2019 champions is something that we envision to be a very successful partnership.”

"We could not be more excited than to have Shawn and his staff be a part of this new beginning of professional baseball in Amarillo with the Arizona Diamondbacks!” said Sod Poodles President and General Manager, Tony Ensor. “Shawn’s leadership and his success in his managerial career is extremely impressive and we know that his aggressive and energetic style of baseball will be a big hit with our fans. We believe that with the incredible talent of the D-backs farm system along with the leadership of this staff, we will be competing with the rest of the Double-A Central league this season and for years to come.”

In 2019, Roof led the Visalia Rawhide to an 83-53 record and the team’s first California League Championship since 1978, earning him the honor of 2019 California League Manager of the Year. He was named as Visalia’s manager in 2020 as well but a season was not played.

Roof began his managerial career with the Hillsboro Hops, the then Class A Short Season Affiliate of the D-backs, in 2017, where he led the Hops to the playoffs with a 41-35 record. In 2018, the Hops won the Northwest League regular-season championship and made it to the semi-finals in playoffs, which earned him his first Manager of the Year award. In 2016, he served his first season with the D-backs organization as Bench Coach for the Kane County Cougars.

The skipper started his coaching career in the Baltimore Orioles organization in 2013 where he was an assistant coach for the Frederick Keys (A) and assistant coach for Delmarva (A) in 2014. In 2015, before joining the D-backs org, he was a part of the coaching staff at Indiana University as Infield Coach & Assistant Hitting Coach.

The 36-year-old was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and currently resides in Fairview, PA. Roof was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers and played six years in the minors. He is the son of former Tigers Minor League manager and roving outfield/baserunning coordinator Gene Roof. His brothers, Eric and Jonathan, played baseball professionally for Detroit and Texas respectively. He attended and played baseball for the University of Illinois in Chicago from 2003-2007.

Drabek, 58, enters his 11th season with the D-backs organization and fifth at the Double-A level. In 2019, as pitching coach with Double-A Jackson, Generals pitching allowed the second-fewest total runs (490), surrendered the fewest home runs, and propelled to the second-best overall run differential (+120) in the league. In 2018, he coached the pitching staff to a franchise-record 1,300 strikeouts while also leading the league in WHIP (1.25) and holds (58). In 2010, the Magnolia, Texas native accepted a position with the D-backs organization as a pitching coach, starting in short-season Yakima before advancing to Visalia (2011-12), Hillsboro (2013-15), Mobile (2016), and Jackson (2017-19). Drabek played 13 seasons professionally with five organizations (New York Yankees (1986), Pittsburgh Pirates (1987–1992), Houston Astros (1993–1996), Chicago White Sox (1997), Baltimore Orioles (1998)). He was the 1990 National League Cy Young Award winner with Pittsburgh (22 wins) and was named a National League All-Star with the Houston Astros in 1994 before retiring in 1998.

Denker, 35, enters his third season as a coach in the D-backs organization and first at the Double-A level. The Southern California native started his coaching career in 2018 with Visalia and returned to the Rawhide in 2019 as the Hitting Coach, where he led Visalia to a .254 batting average, the third-highest in the league. Denker was drafted in the 21st round of 2003 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The former infielder played 12 years in the Minors with six organizations (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Arizona) and 24 games in the Majors with the San Francisco Giants. He ended his playing career with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017.

Mesa, 32, enters his fourth season of coaching in the Diamondbacks organization and first at the Double-A level. The Cuba native started coaching for the D-backs system in 2017 with the Dominican Summer League D-backs, advancing in 2018 to Hillsboro, 2019 in Kane County, and was supposed to coach the 2020 season in Visalia. As a player, Mesa played five seasons (2011-16) in the minors with Pittsburgh and Boston.

Rosauer returns for his third season with the D-backs Double-A squad after two seasons in Jackson and fifth overall in the organization. The Iowa native who currently resides in Buda, Texas started with the D-backs organization in 2016 with Rookie-level Missoula and promoted to Low-A Kane County in 2017. He earned degrees in Athletic Training from Central (IA) College and Indiana State.

Clovis enters his second season at the Double-A level and fourth season as a Strength Coach in the D-backs organization after spending his first two years in Hillsboro in the same capacity. The Seattle native earned his degree from Whitman College.

Group and hospitality opportunities throughout the 2021 season are available now! For pricing and more information on group hospitality areas and options for the 2021 season, call 806-803-7762, send an email to or visit

The Sod Poodles open the 2021 season on the road, Tuesday, May 4, at ONEOK Field in Tulsa for a Championship matchup against the Drillers, Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Amarillo will host their 2021 home opener at home on Tuesday, May 18 against the Midland RockHounds, Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, to begin their initial six-game homestand.