Bats Announce 2019 Preliminary Roster
The Louisville Bats have announced their preliminary roster for the 2019 season.
The roster features 28 total players: The Bats' roster, which is subject to change before the team takes on the Toledo Mud Hens in Thursday's season opener, lists 28 players. Of the 28, nearly two-thirds (18) have Major League experience, with 10 playing in the Majors with the Cincinnati Reds. Seventeen (17) of the 28 have appeared in a Louisville uniform prior to 2019, and three (3) of the 28, Aristides Aquino, Vladimir Gutierrez and Chris Okey, are set to make their Triple-A debuts. Infielder Hernan Iribarren, who turns 35 in June, is the oldest player on the roster, while Gutierrez, who doesn't turn 24 until mid-September, is the youngest player on the roster.
The roster features two (2) catchers: Juan Graterol and Chris Okey. The pair of backstops should complement each other nicely, with the 30-year-old Graterol bringing 13 seasons of minor league experience and the 24-year-old Okey set to make his Triple-A debut. Graterol has appeared in 61 big league games across the past 3 seasons with the Angels and Twins, and Okey was a second round pick by the Reds out of Clemson University in the 2016 draft.
The roster features six (6) infielders: Christian Colon, Hernan Iribarren, Sherman Johnson, Brian O'Grady, Blake Trahan and Josh VanMeter. A pair of newcomers, Colon and Johnson, signed with the Reds as minor league free agents in the offseason, and both possess big league experience, with Colon appearing in 142 games between the Royals and Marlins, including playing a pivotal role on the 2015 World Series-winning Royals. Johnson appeared in 10 games with the Angels last season. Iribarren, O'Grady, Trahan and VanMeter were all key contributors on the 2018 Bats, with the latter three all being everyday players by season's end. Trahan led the team last season in games (129), at-bats (444) and walks (49), earning a Minor League Gold Glove Award and making his MLB debut in September. O'Grady and VanMeter both caught fire at the same time, each having excellent stretches during Louisville's final month of the season last August. Iribarren, who moved into third place on the team's all-time hits list last season, played all 9 positions in the Bats' final tilt of 2018, against the Indianapolis Indians at Louisville Slugger Field on September 3.
The roster features five (5) outfielders: Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin, Nick Longhi, Nick Senzel and Kyle Wren. This quintet is highlighted by the Reds' top prospect and #6 in all of baseball according to MLB.com, Nick Senzel. The infielder-turned-outfielder appeared in 44 games with Triple-A Louisville last season, batting .310 with 6 home runs and 25 RBI. Aquino, who appeared in one game with Cincinnati last year, is set to make his Louisville debut, while Ervin and Longhi return to Louisville. Wren, who has 365 games of Triple-A experience, joins the Reds organization after splitting time between Colorado Springs and Pawtucket in 2018.
The roster features (15) pitchers: Anthony Bass, Matt Bowman, Odrisamer Despaigne, Vladimir Gutierrez, Jimmy Herget, Ian Krol, Jose Lopez, Juan Martinez, Keury Mella, Cody Reed, Jesus Reyes, Sal Romano, Lucas Sims, Jackson Stephens and Rob Wooten. Of the 15, 11 have Major League experience and 6 have pitched in a Reds uniform. Ten (10) have pitched for the Bats: Herget, Lopez, Martinez, Mella, Reed, Reyes, Romano, Sims, Stephens and Wooten. The crop of pitching talent features 12 right-handers and 3 lefties, Krol, Martinez and Reed. Last season, Herget made 50 appearances with the Bats, which led the team, while Lopez and Reed made a combined 43 starts for Louisville in 2018. Gutierrez, rated the #8 Reds prospect by MLB.com, is the lone pitcher on the roster without Triple-A experience, while Lopez, Martinez and Reyes made their Triple-A debuts last season. Pitching roles have yet to be determined for the 2019 season, but expect arms such as Lopez, Sims, Mella, Gutierrez and potentially others to be in the mix for starting rotation spots to begin the season.
The coaching staff: Manager Jody Davis, pitching coach Jeff Fassero, hitting coach Leon 'Bull' Durham and bench coach Dick Schofield. The 21st manager in Louisville history Davis joins a coaching staff that brings a ton of big league experience to the Bats' clubhouse in 2019, with each of the four coaches playing at least 10 seasons in the Majors. Fassero is back in Louisville for what will be his fourth season as pitching coach, while Durham and Schofield both return for their second season as coaches for the top affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Schofield, who managed the Bats last season, attended Griffin High School (Springfield, Ill.) with Fassero. Meanwhile, Davis and Durham were teammates on the Chicago Cubs for 8 seasons from 1981-88.
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