BLE announces the exciting addition or former MLB pitcher Albie Lopez and hitting/catching specialist Orv Franchuk to this year’s staff
Great Additions to this year’s Camp staff
Big League Experiences and Philadelphia Phillies scout Marty Lehn is pleased to announce a couple great additions to this summer’s camp. Former Major League Pitcher for 11 years (and World Champion with the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks) and now special assistant to the pitchers for the Arizona Diamondbacks Arizona summer league team – Albie Lopez along with the return of former hitting coach and catching specialist Orv Franchuk are now added to an elite list of instructors already slated for this summer. When a couple parents asked, “how do you tap into these guys” (referring to some of the elite staff that have come to camp in the past)? Well, Coach Marty replied, “the baseball fraternity is a pretty tight net circle and for the most part when you get the chance to get on the field with guys and enjoy working with them you wonder when you can do it again. In Albie’s case we took a team to Arizona for a spring camp and tournament and Coach Didier mentioned Albie is available to handle the pitchers and he’ll do a great job with the guys, and so we found our pitching guys for Arizona. Having had the opportunity to spend 6 days on the field and a few Pizza’s later the conversation came up and coach Didier mentioned “you should have him come to camp” – really, that would be awesome. Are you kidding, not only is Albie a former Big Leaguer with a World Series Ring, but teaches the game well and is a pretty cool dude. I mentioned to Bob, if he’s in, we’d love to have him, can you plant the seed. Well, guess what, he’s coming for the whole summer. Finder’s fee for coach Didier.
In regards to Orv, he is returning to camp after taking a year off from last summer to be the hitting coach for the LA Dodgers AA team in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Orv is relentless in the batting cages and with the catchers and will once again be a great addition to the staff. There is no doubt, that if you’re willing to listen and try things you will leave camp a better player. Having known Orv for years, it was difficult to get him to camp due to his other commitments with his employer – Major League Baseball organizations. When the Edmonton Capitals (professional independent baseball club) had to take a year off Orv became available, and the benefactors were the BLE campers. Having been a former scout, professional manager, catching coordinator and hitting coach for a number of affiliated Major League teams Orv brings a great deal of experience to the game. As part of the Boston Red Sox organization Orv won two World Series rings with them and was part of the group that finally brook the “Curse of the Bambino”. Presently Orv will be coaching the Edmonton Prospects Collegiate summer league team until camp and we’re excited to have him back.
*FYI – Ironically Orv was the manager of the Edmonton Cracker Cats the same time Albie was on his pitching staff – “it is a small world”.
A bit of Bio information on our two staff additions:
“Albie” Lopez graduated from Mesa Community College and was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 20th round of the 1991 Major League Baseball Draft. He spent 5 years with the Indians, compiling a record of 12-14 and a 5.99 ERA between 1993 to 1997. In 1997 Lopez was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the second round (48th pick overall) of the expansion draft. In 1998, he had a career best 2.60 ERA in 54 games for the expansion team Devil Rays. In 2000, Lopez was a swingman, appearing in 45 games while also starting 24 games for the Devil Rays. He won a career high 11 games while throwing 4 complete games and 2 saves.
The Devil Rays then traded Lopez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 in which he was part of the World Championship Diamondback team. Albie also played for the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners organization during his tenure in the big’s. During an 11-year baseball career, Lopez compiled 47 wins, 558 strikeouts, and a 4.94 earned run average. He was an Eastern League All-Star with the Canton-Akron Indians, which was the Indians’ AA affiliate in 1993. Lopez pitched during the 2011 season for the Edmonton Capitals of the North American League.
Orv Franchuk played his college baseball at the perennial powerhouse Pepperdine University. He was going to sign with the New York Mets but tore his Achilles tendon his senior year which ended his playing career early.He subsequently stayed in school and got his masters degree in education from Cal State Long Beach and then went on to:
– Scout for the Cincinnati Reds from 1977 to 1984.
– He was a scout and hitting coach in the California Angels system from 1988 to 1994.
– In the Oakland Athletics system, he was the hitting coach for the AAA Edmonton Trappers from 1995 to 1997, roving hitting and catching coordinator from 1998 to 2001, and manager for the Vancouver Canadians in 2002.
– From 2003 to 2006 he was then Minor League hitting coordinator for the Boston Red Sox.
– With the Houston Astros from 2007 to 2008.
– In 2013 he was the hitting coach for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts who are in the LA Dodgers system.
Orv currently is coaching with the Edmonton Prospect’s Organization.