When Steve Mintz joins the Auckland Tuatara as manager for their inaugural season in the Australian Baseball League, he won't be coming alone.

Currently coaching within the Texas Rangers organisation, Mintz told the Herald one of the Rangers' top young outfielders Eric Jenkins would be joining him in Auckland.

"We have one, maybe two other ones that we don't have definites on just yet, but Eric Jenkins is 100 per cent coming over from the Texas Rangers," Mintz said.

Jenkins, a 21-year-old speedster who plays in the outfield, was ranked among the top 30 prospects within the Rangers organisation this year and was likely to feature as a 'table-setter' in the batting line up.


"He can fly," Mintz said. "We like to get him on base, let him steal bases. He can bunt, he can run in the balls and hit them out of the ball park.

"He can be an exciting player to watch with some of the stuff he can do on the baseball field."

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Not letting off the pedal 🤫🙏🏾

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Mintz said playing for the Tuatara would play an important part in Jenkins' development on his own journey to the majors.

The ABL has been part of the path to Major League Baseball for a number of players of the years. In recent years, New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has played for the Canberra Cavalry, and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins has played for the Sydney Blue Sox.

Mintz, a former MLB pitcher, was unveiled as the Auckland club's manager at an open day on Monday, where Baseball New Zealand also confirmed the name of the team. The ABL is not a foreign landscape to the 49-year-old, who managed the Adelaide Bite in the 2015/16 season - leading them to a 30-26 record and a spot in the playoffs.

He said after seeing how the game had grown in Australia, he was excited about the opportunity to be a part of helping the game develop in New Zealand. However, he said the club were not going to simply go in to participate in their debut season.

The Auckland Tuatara's logo was revealed at the Auckland Zoo on Monday. Photo / Photosport
The Auckland Tuatara's logo was revealed at the Auckland Zoo on Monday. Photo / Photosport

While Mintz confirmed Jenkins would be playing in the inaugural season, six players have been officially announced by the club, headlined by seven-year MLB pitcher Josh Collmenter. He'll be joined by Kiwi quintet Daniel Lamb-Hunt (infield), Jimmy Boyce (pitcher), Scott Cone (pitcher), Max Brown (outfielder) and Te Wera Bishop (catcher).

"Everybody likes winners, man - ain't no doubt about it. I don't care what sport you're playing, people get behind people who are winning.


"We want to compete right off the bat. We don't want to use the first year as an excuse or anything like that. We want to get players over there that are going to help us win ball games and bring excitement to New Zealand about this new baseball team."

Mintz will be joined in the coaching staff by fellow former MLB players D.J. Carrasco and Darren Bragg. The duo remain active in the league, with Carrasco working as a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Bragg working in a coaching role in the Cincinnati Reds organisation.