Thunder Opponents Starting To Unveil Rosters

(Altoona PR) ALTOONA, Pa – The Pittsburgh Pirates today have announced that a prospect-laden group will make up the Altoona Curve’s 24-man roster to begin the 2009 season.

 

Featuring a plethora of youthful talent, headline names on the roster are former first round draft picks Brad Lincoln (RHP, 2006 first round choice, 4th overall) and Daniel Moskos (LHP, 2007 first round choice, 4th overall).

 

Prized outfielder Jose Tabata, who is regarded as the cornerstone piece of a blockbuster trade in which the Pirates dealt outfielder Xavier Nady and left-hander Damaso Marte to the Yankees on July 31, 2008 will begin the year in Altoona. Tabata finished the 2008 campaign with the Curve, hitting .348 in 22 games (31-for-89).

 

Though young, the 2009 Curve squad will be more experienced at the Double-A level than in years past. There are 15 players on the 24-man Curve roster that finished the 2008 season in Altoona. Additionally, 18 of the 24 have prior experience playing at the Double-A level or higher.

 

The 2008 Pirates Minor League Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year – Jim Negrych and Jeff Sues — will return to start the season in a Curve uniform. Negrych finished fifth among all Minor Leaguers with a .359 batting average last season, splitting the ’08 campaign with Lynchburg (Advanced – A) and Altoona. Sues went a combined 4-2 between Lynchburg and Altoona. He struck out 72 batters in 64.1 innings between the Hillcats and Curve.

 

Additionally, Altoona’s 2008 Team MVP Jonel Pacheco (.288, 12 HR, 52 RBI) and the 2008 Curve Pitcher of the Year Juan Mateo (7-1, 2.12) will be back to begin the ’09 campaign.

 

Eight of the 30 Top Prospects (as rated by Baseball America) in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization will start the season with the Altoona Curve. They include: OF Jose Tabata (No. 3), RHP Brad Lincoln (No. 4), RHP Jeff Sues (No. 7), 1B Jamie Romak (No. 11), SS Brian Friday (No. 14), LHP Daniel Moskos (No. 19), C Steve Lerud (No. 21), and INF Jim Negrych (No. 24).

 

Additionally, the following Curve players were rated by Baseball America as having the best baseball tools throughout the Pirates farm system:

 

Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Jim Negrych

Best Fastball: Jeff Sues

Best Slider: Daniel Moskos

Best Curveball: Brad Lincoln

Best Defensive Catcher: Steve Lerud

 

Three Curve players are also currently on the Pirates’ 40-man roster. They include: Catcher Steve Lerud, RHP Jeff Sues and Outfielder Jose Tabata.

 

A brand new coaching staff will steer the Curve throughout the 2009 season. Manager Matt Walbeck enters his first season in the Pirates’ organization after spending 2008 as the third base coach of the Texas Rangers. In 2007, Walbeck guided Erie to the Eastern League Southern Division title in 2007. Walbeck also garnered honors from the E.L. as the league’s top manager, and was also dubbed the Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America for all classifications. Veteran coach Dean Treanor will tutor Curve pitchers in 2009. Treanor comes to the Buccos system after managing the Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA – Florida Marlins) last year and Ryan Long joins the system as the team’s hitting instructor. Long spent the last two seasons as the Hitting Coach with the Burlington Bees (A-Kansas City). Athletic Trainer Thomas Pribyl will return for his fourth season, and Brandon McDaniel, the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, is back for his second go-around.

(Erie PR) (Erie, PA) – The Detroit Tigers today announced their 2009 minor league rosters. The 2009 version of the Erie SeaWolves features quality veterans with a mix of young talent. 11 of the 24 players on the roster are among the Top 30 Prospects in the Detroit Tigers Organization according to Baseball America. 12 of the 24 players on the roster are making their returns to Erie.

 

RETURNING PLAYERS

On the mound, Luis Marte will be the only returning starter. Marte, who missed time last season due to injury, tied for second in the EL with four wins last August. Josh Rainwater returns to the ‘Wolves but will be in a relief role. He led the club with 10 wins in 2008 which tied him for eighth all-time in SeaWolves history. He was also named Erie’s Pitcher of the Year. Brett Jensen started last season as Erie’s closer but was put on the disabled list on May 7 and underwent “Tommy John” surgery. Josh Kite and Brendan Wise also return in the bullpen.

 

Three of the four Erie outfielders in 2009 spent time with the ‘Wolves last season. Jeff Frazier, who served as a DH/outfielder, tied for seventh in the EL and tied for fifth all-time in Erie with a .303 batting average. He was second on the club with 135 hits. Deik Scram played in 131 games for the ‘Wolves in ’08 and belted a career-best 13 home runs and drove in a career-best 69 RBI. Casper Wells opened last season with West Michigan and came to Erie on June 6. After an initial struggle, he quickly became a catalyst in the ‘Wolves lineup. He combined to hit 27 home runs at both stops while driving in 79 runs. Wells belted a season-best three home runs on August 5 vs. Harrisburg and in one of the most exciting moments of 2008, hit for the cycle at Akron on July 29. He was the first SeaWolf since Juan Francia in 2005 to accomplish the feat.

 

One half of the infielders on the roster return in 2009 including Santo De Leon, Max Leon and Michael Hollimon. Hollimon, who spent time with both Toledo and Detroit in 2008, helped lead the SeaWolves to their first Southern Division crown in six years in 2007.

 

 

De Leon was called up to Erie on July 18 and played in 44 games for Erie while Leon began the season with the Howlers and earned a promotion to Toledo on June 6. At the time of the promotion, Leon was hitting .313.

 

Veteran catcher Max St. Pierre made his return to the Tigers organization and to Erie in 2008. 2009 will be the sixth season for St. Pierre in an Erie uniform.

 

NEW FACES

Four of the five members of the SeaWolves starting rotation will be new in 2009. Jon Kibler dazzled the Midwest League in 2008 guiding West Michigan with a 14-5 record and 1.75 ERA, both team and league bests. Additionally he was tabbed the Detroit Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year and West Michigan Pitcher of the Year. Alfredo Figaro went 12-2 with West Michigan before a callup to Lakeland on July 29. Figaro finished in a third place tied in the MWL with 12 victories. Jonah Nickerson tied for the Florida State League lead with 12 wins with Lakeland. His .750 winning percentage (12 wins in 26 starts) was also tied for the league best. Rounding out the ‘Wolves rotation is Brooks Brown, who was recently acquired from the Diamondbacks in exchange for James Skelton. Brown went 6-15 record with 4.18 ERA and 112 strikeouts for Double-A Mobile in 2008.

 

The bullpen features three newcomers in Ramon Garcia, Cody Satterwhite and Zach Simons. Garcia split time with West Michigan and Lakeland in 2008, combining to go 8-7 with a 3.69 ERA in 37 appearances. Satterwhite was selected in the second round of the ’08 draft and had no decisions and a 4.42 ERA in 17 appearances for Lakeland in his rookie season. Simons was acquired by the Tigers from Colorado in exchange for Jason Grilli on April 30, 2008. He made 39 relief appearances for Lakeland going 5-2 with a 2.36 ERA.

 

Joining St. Pierre behind the plate will be Alex Avila, the Tigers fifth round selection in the ’08 draft. Avila batted .305 with a home run and 22 RBI in 58 games for West Michigan last season.

 

Up the middle, the SeaWolves boast two highly touted prospects in second baseman Scott Sizemore and shortstop Cale Iorg. Sizemore, the Tigers fifth round selection in the 2006 draft hit .286 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 53 games for Lakeland. His season was cut short after being sidelined with a left wrist fracture on June 3. Iorg batted .251 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI in 99 games. Both were selected to the Florida State League’s mid-season all-star squad.

 

 

First base features Ryan Strieby, who was named the best power hitter in the Tigers organization following the ’08 season by Baseball America. Strieby belted 29 home runs for Lakeland last season and did not play after August 12 when he was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a left wrist sprain. He was named the Detroit Tigers Minor League Player of the Year and Lakeland’s Player of the Year.

 

One new face will take the outfield for the ‘Wolves in Brennan Boesch. Boesch played in 111 games for Lakeland in ’08 hitting .249 with seven home runs and 64 RBI.

(New Hampshire PR) Manchester, NH- The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, today announced their Opening Day roster for the 2009 season, highlighted by the return of a pair of 2008 Eastern League All-Stars -pitcher Zach Dials and catcher Brian Jeroloman- and the arrival of first baseman David Cooper, the Blue Jays’ 2008 first-round draft pick.

“It’s always exciting when we find out which Blue Jays prospects will represent the Fisher Cats, and we look forward to seeing this mix of familiar faces and new players entertaining our fans this season,” said Fisher Cats President/General Manager Rick Brenner. “We look forward to introducing our Season Ticket Holders and Kids Club members to our team on Monday night at the Meet-and-Greet.”

 

Dials, 23, led the Fisher Cats with 15 saves while posting a record of 2-3 with a 4.91 ERA in 36 games last season, earning a spot on the Northern Division Team at the Northeast Delta Dental Eastern League All-Star Game at Merchantsauto.com Stadium in July. Dials will join 25-year-old right-hander Leon Boyd in the New Hampshire bullpen. Boyd, a Vancouver, BC, native, became a hero in Holland last month as the closer for the Netherlands team that upset the heavily-favored Dominican Republic in the opening round of the World Baseball Classic. The Fisher Cats bullpen will also include right-hander Sean Stidfole, a 25-year-old who has posted a 2-1 record with a 3.26 ERA in 53 career Fisher Cats’ appearances between 2007 and 2008. The rest of New Hampshire’s relief corps will be comprised of right-handers Adrian Martin and Celson Polanco and left-handers Rommie Lewis and Nate Starner.

 

Marc Rzepczynski, 23, is slated to be the Opening Day starter on Wednesday, April 8, vs the New Britain Rock Cats at 6:35pm at Merchantsauto.com Stadium. The left-hander went 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA for the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League last season, racking up 124 strikeouts in 121 innings. Reidier Gonzalez, 23, will also be in the Fisher Cats starting rotation. The righty shared the Florida State League lead in victories last season, going 12-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 27 appearances for the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays. Left-handers Luis Perez and Fabio Castro will also be in the rotation, and right-handed starter Randy Boone begins the season on the Disabled List.

 

The most experienced position will be catcher, where Jeroloman and veteran Kyle Phillips both return for a second season in New Hampshire. Jeroloman, 23, batted .270 with 6 home runs and 31 RBIs in 71 games for the Fisher Cats, being named a Northern Division All-Star before playing 25 games with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs (International League) to close out the year. Phillips, 25, spent the entire season with the Fisher Cats, matching a career high and leading the club by batting .306 with 8 home runs and 34 RBIs in 78 games.

 

First baseman Brian Dopirak, 25, led all Blue Jays minor leaguers with 29 home runs and ranked second with 101 RBIs in 2008. The former 2002 2nd-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs finished the season with the Fisher Cats, batting .287 with 2 HR and 13 RBI in 22 games. Dopirak will share time with Cooper, the 17th overall draft selection last June out of the University of California-Berkeley. Cooper enjoyed his first season of professional baseball, batting a combined .333 with 5 HR and 51 RBIs in 69 games at three levels: Short Season-A Auburn (.341, 2, 21), Class-A Lansing (.354, 2, 17) and Advanced-A Dunedin (.304, 1, 13).

 

Second base will be manned by 22-year old Brad Emaus, who batted .302 with 12 HR and 71 RBIs for Dunedin last season. Emaus led the D-Jays with 60 walks and added 12 stolen bases in 124 games. Returning Fisher Cats Chris Gutierrez and Jonathan Diaz will join Luis Sanchez as the other New Hampshire infielders.

 

The Fisher Cats welcome five newcomers to the outfield, led by former Los Angeles Angel Nick Gorneault, who batted .257 with 19 HR and 57 RBIs for the Triple-A Round Rock Express (Houston Astros) of the Pacific Coast League last season. The other outfielders include Sean Shoffit, who led Dunedin with 16 stolen bases last season, Adam Calderone, Todd Donovan and Cody Hearther, who will begin the year on the Disabled List.

 

Gary Cathcart returns for his second season as manager of the Fisher Cats. Paul Elliott begins his first year as hitting coach, Tom Signore will serve as the team’s new pitching coach, Voon Chong remains in his role as the only trainer in Fisher Cats’ history and Mike Hall embarks on his second year as the strength and conditioning coach.

(Reading PR) Reading, PA – The Philadelphia Phillies have announced the 24-man roster for Double-A Reading. Seven members of the club are among the Phillies Top 30 Prospects according to Baseball America. Fifteen players were originally signed or drafted by the Phillies, compared to 14 on last year’s initial roster.

 

Outfielder Michael Taylor is the Phillies #6 prospect, according to Baseball America, after hitting .346 (170-492) with 76 R, 39 2B, 4 3B, 19 HR, 88 RBI, 15 SB in 132 between Lakewood and Clearwater in 2008.

 

RHPs Vance Worley (#16) and Mike Stutes (#17) make the jump to Reading after just being drafted in the 3rd and 11th rounds, respectively, in last year’s draft. The last player to begin his first full professional season for the Phillies in Reading was Pat Burrell in 1999. The last pitcher to do so was lefty Randy Wolf in 1998.

 

LHP Joe Savery, the Phillies first round pick in the 2007 draft, is their #20 prospect is also heading to Reading.

 

OF Quintin Berry, whose 30-game hitting streak for Clearwater was the longest in the Minors last year, is the Phillies 25th best prospect. He led the Florida State League with 51 stolen bases last season and the South Atlantic League with 55 in 2007.

 

RHP Pat Overholt (#26) and LHP Sergio Escalono (#27) return to Reading where they both pitched in relief last season. Both pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year. Escalona is on the Phillies 40-man roster.

 

Also on the Phillies 40-man roster and set to begin the season in Reading are RHP Joe Bisenius and 2B Brad Harman. Both played in Reading and also earned a call up to the big leagues last year. Harman led all Eastern League middle infielders with 17 HR and was named the best defensive 2B in a survey of league managers conducted by Baseball America. He was also the starting shortstop for Australia in the World Baseball Classic.

 

RHP Jason Anderson, who spent parts of the last two seasons in Reading, also has Major League experience (Yankees and Mets, 2003-2005. So does IF Kevin Mahar (Texas, 2007) who is new to Reading.

 

3B Neil Sellers returns after hitting .275 with 19 HR (T-5th in EL) with 78 RBI last year. Versatile IF Carlos Leon is also back. Just 29-years old, Leon has played in the EL every season this decade. He was the starting shortstop in the 2006 EL All-Star Game at Altoona as an R-Phil. Michael Spidale has hit .297 with 93 runs in 157 games for Reading the last two seasons while playing excellent defense at any outfield position. C Kevin Nelson returns after posting a .992 fielding percentage and allowing just one passed ball in 155 innings behind the plate last year. RHP Tyson Brummett, a 2007 draftee, returns to Reading after pitching here and for Lakewood and Clearwater last year. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League in 2008.

 

RHP Francisco Butto, originally signed by the Phillies in 1999, is back in the organization. He last pitched in the system in 2005 (Clearwater and Reading). He pitched for Venezuela in the WBC. LHP Josh Shortslef is new to Reading but not the EL. He’s pitched for Altoona (Pirates) the last three seasons.

 

SS Ozzie Chavez, whose middle name is Smith, begins his first season with the Phillies after spending the previous nine in Milwaukee’s organization. He was a non-roster invitee to Major League spring training this year. IF Brian Stavisky is also new to the Phillies and the EL. He hit .312 with 16 HR and 51 RBI in 86 regular season games and .290 with 2 HR and 7 RBI in eight playoff games to help the Travelers win the Texas League championship.

 

OF Gus Milner has steadily advanced a level at the start of each season since being drafted in 2006. He’ll get his first taste of Double-A as will C James Gosewisch, RHP Alex Concepcion and LHP Matt German. Concepcion and German have averaged better than a strikeout per inning pitched in their careers. Gosewisch was also a non-roster invitee to Major League spring training this year and played in the Arizona Fall League.

 

Reading’s starting pitchers, in alphabetical order, are: Brummett, Concepcion, Savery, Stutes and Worley. Full biographies with statistics are available by clicking on Roster in the Press Box section of rphils.com.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

5 Responses to “Thunder Opponents Starting To Unveil Rosters”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You would think we’d have the Trenton rosters by tomorrow, right?

    Considering the fan fest is on Tuesday…

  2. thunderbaseball Says:

    I’d assume so, yes. The second I get the official roster, it will be posted.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks Mike!

    I’m looking forward to finally seeing them after all the offseason speculation.

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