Former Lewis Central and Iowa baseball standout Justin Toole is going to The Show.
Toole on Friday was promoted to the Cleveland Indians coaching staff, where he will serve as a hitting analyst for the big league club.
Toole, 33, spent seven years in the Indians’ minor league system as player following his days at the University of Iowa. He remained with the organization as a minor league hitting coach over the last four seasons at various levels. In 2016, he was with the Short Season-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers. In 2017, he went to the Class-A Lake County Captains. In 2018, he was with the Class-A Lynchburg Hillcats before advancing last year to the Double-A Akron Rubber Ducks.
Now he’s in the Big Leagues and excited for his new role.
“It’s just another opportunity to help our hitting staff, our hitting coach and our assistant hitting coach,” Toole said. “I’ll be helping to plan for the opposing pitcher, helping them with video analysis, just things that we can do to try and help our hitters.
“I think it’s similar just being in the hitting world, but there’ll probably be a little bit more to do with reports and analysis. More than anything, I’m just trying to find ways to help those guys out and trying to help the team win.”
He’ll be joining Cleveland manager Terry Francona’s staff. From 2013 to 2018, Francona guided the Indians to the second-best record in Major League Baseball (545-425). In that span, Cleveland made four postseason appearances, including a trip to the World Series in 2016.
Toole is thrilled to get the opportunity to make an impact with the Indians.
“I think growing up you always want to play in the Major Leagues,” he said. “Obviously, I’m really proud of my career. I didn’t make it as a player, but becoming a coach in the organization, an organization that treated me so well as a player, they gave me an opportunity to coach, and I’m extremely thankful for that. But I think, more than anything, just being able to get this opportunity with this organization that’s meant so much to me and my family, it’s another opportunity to impact those around me.”