The Pacific Coast League (PCL) announced today that third-year manager of the Salt Lake Bees, Keith Johnson, has been named the 2013 PCL Manager of the Year. Given a roster described as, “not a team chock full of top prospects” in a recent MiLB.com article, Johnson managed the mix of veteran experience and young talent to Salt Lake’s first divisional title since 2008. The Bees’ 78-62 W-L record is the second highest winning percentage in the league.
Earlier this season, Johnson was also named by Baseball America as the PCL’s “Best Manager Prospect.” In 2011 Johnson (#21) sent two Salt Lake players, infielders Gil Velazquez (#23) and Jeff Baisley (#35), to the Triple-A All-Star game and was selected to join the coaching staff.
Known for his aggressive base-running tactics and on-the-fly adjustments, Johnson is quick to take advantage of any opportunity to advance the baserunners. Running from first base to third on a single up the middle, taking off from third base to home on balls batted into play and sacrificing (by bunt or fly ball) to move runners over are staples of the Salt Lake offensive strategy.
Johnson owns the distinction of being the first former player to manage the Salt Lake franchise. Prior to his promotion to Triple-A Salt Lake, Johnson managed the Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes for two years (2009-10) and Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels for one (2008). From 2007-04 he was a hitting coach at various levels within the Los Angeles Angels farm system, working his way up into the manager role.
As a ballplayer, Johnson was a versatile infielder who could play shortstop, second base or third base. He finished his 12-year playing career with two seasons playing for the Salt Lake Stingers (2002-3), affiliates of the Anaheim Angels. After retiring as a player, Johnson put down roots in Salt Lake City, where he met his wife Malena and stepson Korey.