BATON ROUGE, La. – Andy Cannizaro, a New York Yankees scout for the past five years and a former MLB infielder, has been hired as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach for the LSU baseball program, coach Paul Mainieri announced Monday.
Cannizaro replaces Javi Sanchez, who departed LSU earlier this month to pursue a business career.
Cannizaro, 35, a former all-America shortstop at Tulane who played in the big leagues for the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, has worked as a Yankees scout since 2009, evaluating and recruiting amateur players in preparation for the annual MLB Draft.
“I am pleased to welcome Andy Cannizaro into the LSU family and as a member of our coaching staff in the baseball program,” Mainieri said. “I believe Andy is a real star in the making and will have a tremendous impact on our program working alongside Alan Dunn, Will Davis, Nolan Cain and myself. His enthusiasm, intelligence, knowledge of the game, playing experience, familiarity with the area, and his contacts throughout baseball make him a perfect fit for this position.
“Our players will love Andy and will be excited to work with him. Recruits will respond to his genuineness and positive attitude. Everyone knows how much respect and adoration I have for Javi Sanchez. I think the best thing I can say about Andy is he brings many of the same qualities to our program as Javi did.”
Cannizaro, a native of Mandeville, La., was the Yankees’ official representative at the 2013 and 2014 MLB Drafts. He also worked as the advance scout for the team as it prepared for the 2011 and 2012 playoffs.
“I’ve worked with Andy for the past three years, and he is a tremendous human being,” said Jim Hendry, the former general manager of the Chicago Cubs who now works as a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman. “He’s been a rising star within the Yankees organization who has earned so much respect for his talent as an instructor and talent evaluator. He has as much class and integrity as anyone you’ll meet in the game of baseball.”
Cannizaro was the Yankees’ seventh-round selection in the 2001 MLB Draft, and he played in the organization for seven seasons, reaching the Major League level in September 2006. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and was on the club’s big-league roster for the first two months of the season.
He later played for the AAA affiliates of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox before retiring from the game in September 2009.
During his pro career, he worked as head coach of the Louisiana Knights, a U18 fall team consisting of 12 NCAA Division I players.
“I feel this is a wonderful hire for the LSU baseball program,” said legendary former LSU coach Skip Bertman, who guided the Tigers against Cannizaro’s Tulane teams from 1998-2001. “Andy’s excellent scouting background, in addition to the experience he gained as a college and pro player, make him a perfect fit for the position. He is going to make a significant impact upon the program as a recruiter and as a coach who can teach hitting. Andy helps to form a superb coaching staff for LSU.”
Cannizaro, a four-year starter at shortstop for Tulane, led the 2001 Green Wave squad to the first College World Series appearance in school history, batting a remarkable .395 with 118 hits, 34 doubles, 70 RBI and 52 stolen bases.
A two-time all-America and three-time all-Conference USA performer, Cannizaro is Tulane’s all-time leader in games played (248), at-bats (1,030), hits (350), doubles (85) and stolen bases (128). He was inducted in 2007 into the Tulane Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Congratulations to Coach Mainieri and LSU, because they have made a tremendous hire,” said Rick Jones, Cannizaro’s coach at Tulane. “Andy is honest, hard-working, committed, he’s not ego-driven, and he loves the game. He’s going to canvas the country as an excellent recruiter, and he’s going to be a great asset on the field in working with the players. I consider Andy to be family, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Cannizaro graduated from Tulane in December 2001 with a bachelor of arts in sociology/business minor. He and his wife, Allison, are the parents of two children, Gabrielle (3) and Pierce (nine months).
Hometown: Mandeville, La.
High School: St. Paul’s HS (Covington, La.)
Children: Gabrielle, Pierce
Alma Mater: Tulane, 2001 (sociology major/business minor)
1998-2001 Tulane (four-year starter at shortstop; two-time all-American)
2001-2007 New York Yankees organization (played for MLB club in Sept. 2006)
2008 Tampa Bay Rays organization (played for MLB club in April-May 2008)
2008-2009 Cleveland Indians organization
2009 Chicago White Sox organization
2014- LSU (recruiting coordinator/hitting coach)
2009-14 Amateur Scout, New York Yankees
- recruited and evaluated players in preparation for MLB Draft
- worked as East Coast Pro Showcase coach in 2013-14
- served as Yankees representative at 2013 and 2014 MLB Drafts
- worked as Yankees advance scout in preparation for 2011 and 2012 playoffs
2008 Head Coach, Louisiana Knights U18 fall baseball team
LSU Assistant Coach Andy Cannizaro
“First and foremost, I would certainly like to thank Coach Mainieri for the opportunity to join the best baseball program in the country. Obviously having grown up in the New Orleans/Mandeville area and playing at Tulane collegiately, I’ve had a lot of tremendous battles with LSU over the years. I’ve been involved in some of the biggest games between Tulane and LSU over the years and even though I was always on the other side of the battles for those four years, I couldn’t help but just have the utmost respect for everything that transpired here at LSU. The program, tradition, passion, and all the things that go along with LSU baseball. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to get into college coaching.
“Having worked for the New York Yankees for the last five years in the scouting department, I absolutely loved my job. I loved working for the New York Yankees where the expectations and the demands of that organization were greater than any organization in Major League Baseball. So now coming onto the college baseball scene and joining the LSU baseball family, I feel that I am coming to work for the New York Yankees of college baseball. There’s tradition, passion, demands and expectations. But all of those things, I can’t wait to embrace. It’s what I’ve done for the last seven years as a player for the Yankees and five years as a scout with the Yankees. There are demands and expectations, and I am going to embrace that here. I’ll look forward to the challenge of continuing to help our younger players develop their games and maximize their abilities.
“The last five years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best talent evaluators in all of baseball. The first person I would like to thank with the Yankees was my boss and the Scouting Director, Damon Oppenheimer. One being my boss, and two being one of the best guys I know and more importantly, he was one of the best scouts that I knew. So being around Damon for the last five years prepared me for this job. It gave me the evaluation skills, the ability to go out and basically learn what you’re looking for and how that translates to the collegiate game or the pro game. I wanted to thank Damon today because he has been such a tremendous influence on my life for the last five years that I can’t speak highly enough about him.
“Going back to my college days at Tulane, I want to thank coach Rick Jones. Playing for Coach Jones from age 18 to 22 years old gave me a firsthand look on how a head coach goes about preparing his team every day, the expectations of wanting to win every single day, and bringing your ‘A’ game to the field every day.
“Coach Mainieri, I also want to thank you for this opportunity to come work for this university. Like I mentioned earlier, LSU is the top baseball program in the country. I’m extremely excited to bring all of the things I’ve learned over the years as a player and as a scout, and being fortunate enough as a former player to be around some of the best players in the world at the highest level you can play the game. I want to bring all of that ability with me to this program and be able to maximize all of our players’ skill levels. I think as a hitting coach, one of the biggest factors is being able to identify each hitter’s strengths; trying to maximize what each guy does well and allow that person to bring that ‘A’ game to the park every day. Everyone has a different role as an offensive player, and I think that we want to certainly define each player’s role, maximize what they do, and bring different parts and pieces to the lineup every night.”
On working with LSU All-American shortstop Alex Bregman…
“I’m a huge Alex Bregman fan. Just sitting up in the stands the last two years watching Alex play, he’s a phenomenal player. He plays hard every single day, he runs every ground ball out and looks like a team leader. Like I said he plays hard, he runs hard, and he can flat out play the game. He was just yesterday named MVP of the tournament over in the Netherlands. He’s a tremendous player and I can’t wait to be around him. I can’t wait to continue to work with Alex and maximize his game. I hope to bring some parts and pieces that maybe he’s never thought about before either in the box as a hitter or in the field as a shortstop, just from playing for so many years. As far as joining a program and having a shortstop of his caliber that’s going to hit somewhere in the middle of the order and play that position the way he does, he’s a phenomenal guy to have playing that spot.”
On how he has approached recruiting and how much his experience as a scout will help…
“Like I mentioned earlier, the five years I spent with the Yankees, I can’t speak highly enough about those guys. I’m probably going to take a lot of those concepts in the way I evaluated players and take them to the college baseball side of things. As a pro scout with the Yankees, for the last five years I was pretty much at every summer tournament that Javi (Sanchez) attended. So it wasn’t like we were seeing different players, the pro guys and college guys basically spend more time with each other than anybody else. So Javi and I would a lot of times see the same players play, he was evaluating for LSU and I’m sitting there in the stands and we’re having conversations. All of our freshman players, I’ve seen every one of them play, every one of them pitch, and I’ve seen the Barbe High twins (LSU freshmen Beau and Bryce Jordan) play for four years now. I’m going to take a lot of those concepts I learned from the Yankees and Damon Oppenheimer as my scouting director.”