An Early Look at the 2019 Power Roster
Changes are afoot for the West Virginia Power as we turn our attention to the 2019 season, most notably, a whole new crew of players spurred by our recent affiliation change to the Seattle Mariners.
Now, a crop of novel players coming to Charleston, West Virginia, every year is quite common, as it is with most Minor League clubs in the lower levels, since players either develop their way through the system to a higher level or are sent to another team amongst a series of offseason transactions.
So, the question all of you may be wondering is - who will be on the Power's 2019 Opening Day Roster? Well, we are just as curious about that as you are, so we figured we'd give you a way too early prediction for which exciting young players may grace the field at Appalachian Power Park come April 11, 2019.
These decisions aren't officially made until the end of Spring Training, but here's our first thoughts on who might spend time in the Kanawha Valley next season:
(Rankings based on the 2018 Mariners' Top 30 prospects according to MLB.com.)
(#3) RHP Logan Gilbert - Gilbert is, in one word, talented. The Mariners' first-round pick last season, he profiles like 2018 Power pitcher Cody Bolton, lots of potential, but not a whole lot of proof...yet. Gilbert has big shoes to fill, not just because he's a first rounder, but also because of who he follows out of Stetson, guys like Corey Kluber and Jacob DeGrom. Expect to have some fun watching this 21-year-old throw.
(#4) OF Julio Rodriguez - Rodriguez seems poised for a lot of changes in his life in 2019, including his professional state-side debut and a jump to full season baseball. He crushed the Dominican Summer League last season, posting a .315/.404/.929 slash line in 59 games with five homers and 36 RBI. He may be the youngest Power player next season at 18 years and 6 months old if the Mariners make an aggressive push for him
.(#7) OF Josh Stowers - Meet your new Lolo Sanchez. Stowers is fast, flashes power, and is able to handle both center and left field. With Short-Season Everett last season, Stowers swiped 20 bases and collected an All-Star nod. The Mariners' 2018 second-rounder seems well fit to be a clubhouse leader in Charleston, armed with smarts, a lovable personality and apparently some sweet dance moves (See Video).
Josh Stowers with the Short Season Everett AquaSox in 2018 (Jason Grohoski).
(#10) SS Noelvi Marte - Just like Stowers equated to Sanchez, Marte bears a striking resemblance to Oneil Cruz. He boasts a ton of raw power and a good arm with a propensity to play the left side of the infield. He's not as tall as Cruz (6-1 vs. 6-6), but features a more advanced defensive skill set. Marte hasn't made his pro debut yet, so it's unlikely the Power will see him until at least August, and that's only if he dominates the DSL and with Everett.
(#13) C Cal Raleigh - First off, he has a great name. Second off, baseball runs in his blood. His uncle, Matt, played 10 years in the Minors and his dad played at Western Carolina and coached at Tennessee. He's a baseball lifer. His bat is well-respected after he mashed eight home runs with Everett in just 38 games, and his length of stay in the lower levels will be determined by how he improves behind the plate (Sound familiar? It should... Deon Stafford was the same way in 2018, and look what he did last season).
A few other guys to keep an eye on that already have Low-A experience:
(#15) RHP Joey Gerber - A strong right-handed reliever who breezed his way through Everett and saw time with Clinton last year, Gerber could start 2019 as the anchor of the Power's bullpen, much like Blake Weiman and Adam Oller did last season. Fans can look forward to watching his unique delivery and experiencing his intimidating pitching face.
(#29) 2B Joseph Rosa and (#30) SS/3B Johnny Adams - This pair of infielders spent the entire year with the LumberKings a season ago and had varied success in the Midwest League. Though they've already logged significant time in Low-A, these two could be used as a pair of role models for the young group that seems likely to show up in West Virginia come 2019.
There is a TON of talent in the Mariners' farm system, especially within their recent draft classes and international signees, and Power fans should be treated to plenty of these players as they work their way to Seattle. The 2019 season will be an exciting one here in Charleston, with a new team and coaching staff, the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, and the celebration of 15 years of Power baseball, just for starters. We cannot wait to have you join us.
SEE YOU AT THE BALLPARK ON APRIL 11!
Season tickets and mini plans for the 2019 home season are on sale now. For more information, call the Power at 304-344-BATS or visit www.wvpower.com.
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