Justin Orenduff – Director of Baseball Operations
Justin Orenduff is the founder of the Delivery Value System and creator of the DVS Scoring System. The scoring system was built as a product of Justin’s pitching career, research into throwing patterns among pitchers, and hours of testing and validating the scoring system over a four-year period. Aside from the ongoing development of the DVS Model, Justin’s primary focus is to spread awareness and educate the baseball community on the cycle of information and movements within the pitching delivery that are injurious. Orenduff was a two-time All-American pitcher at George Washington and VCU, and was part of Team USA’s rotation that included MLB standouts Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver. The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Orenduff in the first round of the 2004 MLB Amateur June Draft with the 33rd overall pick.
Mike Zielinksi – Deputy Director of Baseball Operations
Mike Zielinski has worked in the sports industry for over 10 years at the high school, collegiate and professional levels. Zielinski started in the athletics department at Central Michigan University where he was a part of two Mid-American Conference football championships. He then worked in Football Operations and the Player Development department for the Detroit Lions from 2014-15. Zielinski switched gears and moved into baseball with the Erie Seawolves for a season and then came to the USPBL for its inaugural season in 2016. He worked as the Clubhouse Manager during that season and this year will be his second as the Deputy Director of Baseball Operations.
Chris Newell – Manager, Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers
Chris Newell has been in professional baseball since 1997 as a player, manager and scout. After a successful college career, Newell played parts of two years in professional baseball in 1997 and ’98, earning a Gold Glove for his minor league team. After retiring as a player, Newell began his scouting career with Tampa Bay (1999-2005) and joined the New York Yankees in 2006. Newell made his professional coaching debut with the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League in 2003, making him the youngest manager in professional baseball that season. Through his private instruction, he has trained 44 players who have either been drafted professionally or signed professional contracts. His former students include MLB All-Star and 2016 National League Batting Champion, DJ LeMahieu and 2015 Tampa Bay Rays draftee, Jacob Cronenworth.
Ricky Castro – Assistant Coach, Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers
Ricky Castro is a former shortstop for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers. Castro grew up in North Chesterfield, Va., and played collegiate baseball at Frostburg State University in Maryland. His senior season at Frostburg he posted a .344 batting average, with 13 doubles, four home runs and 34 RBIs. He brings great infield fundamentals and will look to impact the middle infield play of the Beavers.
Eastside Diamond Hoppers:
Paul Noce – Manager, Eastside Diamond Hoppers
Paul Noce has been in the game of baseball for over 33 years including two stints in Major League Baseball with the Chicago Cubs (1987) and Cincinnati Reds (1990). Noce was selected as a Topps All-Star for his play at the AA level. After his successful playing career, Noce was an instructor and manager for MLB organizations before moving on to the collegiate ranks. In 1994, he took the reins at Hillsdale College in Adrian, Mich and amassed 349 wins during his tenure. Paul has excelled at every level of baseball, winning the AAA World Series in 1988 and being a part of the 1990 Cincinnati Reds World Series. In 2012, Noce was inducted into the Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in San Mateo, Calif.
Forrest Koumas – Assistant Coach, Eastside Diamond Hoppers
Forrest Koumas is a former pitcher for the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers. Koumas grew up in Lugoff, S.C. and was drafted out of high school in the 48th round by the Texas Rangers. He attended South Carolina where he led the Gamecocks to their second straight national championship in 2011, posting a 6-1 record with a 2.96 ERA en route to being named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. He ended his career at USC with a record of 8-4 and a 4.22 ERA before transferring to USC Aiken, posting a 6-2 record, with 96 strikeouts in 79 innings pitched. He was the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year and High School Louisville Slugger All-American by Colligate Baseball.
Jim Essian – Manager, Utica Unicorns
Jim Essian started his 46-year professional baseball career in 1970 with the Philadelphia Phillies in their minor league system where he was tagged as a Topp’s Rookie All-Star. Over the next three years he excelled at all levels of Minor League Baseball, earning all-star recognition at almost every level before breaking into Major League Baseball in 1973 with the Phillies. For the next 11 years Essian played in for the Phillies, A’s, White Sox, Mariners and Indians. After his playing career, Essian became a manager with the Miami Marlins before moving to the Chicago Cubs organization in 1986. In his second season as manager of the Winston-Salem Spirits, Essian brought home the Carolina League championship and was named Manager of the Year. He took the reigns as manager for the Chicago Cubs in 1991, and was inducted into the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. He worked alongside Paul Noce of the Diamond Hoppers in the USPBL in 2016 before taking over as Manager of the Unicorns in 2017.
Willi Martin – Assistant Coach, Unicorns
Willi Martin is a former first baseman and designated hitter for the Utica Unicorns. He grew up in Odessa, Fla., and played collegiate baseball at Mount Olive in North Carolina. At Mount Olive he compiled a .342 batting average and .470 slugging average. He played professionally with Schaumburg, Southern Illinois and River City of the Frontier League.
Westside Woolly Mammoths:
Shane McCatty – Manager, Westside Woolly Mammoths
Shane McCatty is returning for his second season with the USPBL after working alongside former Utica Unicorns manager Greg Grall during the league’s inaugural season. Under Grall’s guidance they led the Utica Unicorns to the first-ever USPBL championship. He took the reigns of the Westside Woolly Mammoths in their inaugural season and led them to the championship game. McCatty played his collegiate baseball at Grand Rapids CC and Oakland University. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 34th round of the 2009 MLB Draft and had a successful four-year professional playing career. McCatty is following the same path as his father Steve McCatty, a former MLB player for the Oakland A’s and pitching coach for the Washington Nationals.
Alan Oaks – Assistant Coach, Westside Wooly Mammoths
Alan Oaks enters his first year with the Westside Woolly Mammoths as assistant coach. A former Dream Team selection by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, Alan was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 50th round of the 2006 MLB Draft, but decided to play collegiate baseball at Michigan. During his four-year career for the Wolverines, Oaks had a pinch-hit home run off eventual Cy Young and Golden Spikes Award winner David Price in the 10th inning of the the regional championship game, as well as making 15 starts as the ace of the pitching staff, earning All-Big Ten third team honors. Oaks was drafted in the eighth round by the Florida Marlins in the 2010 MLB Draft and played seven seasons of professional baseball.
Baseball Support Staff:
Ray Ortega – Catching Coordinator
A former Birmingham-Bloomfield Beaver Assistant Coach, Ortega enters his first year as the Catching Coordinator after a very successful playing career. He was an Under Armor All-American High School catcher in 2008, a three-time All-MAAC catcher at Manhattan and a Johnny Bench Award Finalist in 2013.Ortega’s experience with handling the pitching staff, managing defensive situations, and leadership will continue to help the development of the USPBL players both on and off the field.
Paul Niggebrugge – Field Coordinator
Paul Niggebrugge is the former Utica Unicorns Assistant Coach. He played college baseball at Temple University and professional baseball in the Mets and Red Sox organizations. He coached at Caracel Academy Baseball Team for 30 years, won four state championships and qualified for the state tournament in 27 of 30 years. He was the Director of Player Development and Instructor for the Akadema DE Warriors BBA Development Travel Baseball Organization. Niggebrugge was also the Founder and President of Be your Best Baseball Academy. He is currently a nationally recognized and trusted authority in batting, pitching, and the mental game of coaching. Niggebrugge was inducted into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.