Projected Opening Day Roster Announced
Manchester, NH- Highly-touted pitching prospects Kyle Drabek and Zach Stewart join returning stars David Cooper, Brad Emaus, Brian Jeroloman and Darin Mastroianni on the projected Opening Day roster for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Double-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The roster announced today includes 20 players with previous Fisher Cats' playing experience, including the entire projected bullpen, anchored by 2009 closer Danny Farquhar and 2008 closer Zach Dials.
"We are excited to see a lot of our fan favorites returning to start the season, and we can't wait to meet the additions who will take the field for new manager Luis Rivera," said Fisher Cats President/General Manager Rick Brenner. "Our staff has been working hard to get the stadium ready for Tuesday's free exhibition game against Rivier College and the Season Ticket Holder Meet-and-Greet on Wednesday, so fans have some terrific opportunities to take advantage of this fabulous weather and see the players in action even before United Way Opening Day on April 15."
The starting rotation will consist of Drabek, a central figure in the off-season trade that sent Philadelphia's second-rated prospect by Baseball America to Toronto as part of the package that landed Roy Halladay with the Phillies. Drabek, son of former National League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, enters the season as the 17th overall ranked prospect in the minors by MLB.com. The 2006 first-round draft pick split last season between Advanced-A Clearwater of the Florida State League and the Eastern League's Reading Phillies, compiling a combined record of 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA in 23 starts. The 23-year old Stewart enters the campaign ranked the Blue Jays' number two prospect by Baseball America. The right-hander was acquired in the trade that sent Scott Rolen from the Blue Jays to the Cincinnati Reds at last July's trade deadline. Stewart split time between starting and relieving at three minor league levels for the Reds before appearing solely out of the bullpen for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s in his 11 post-trade appearances. All told, the right-hander went 4-1 with two saves and a sparkling 1.89 ERA in 34 outings.
Other starters include Robert Bell, 24, who went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 96.1 innings for the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays (FSL) last season and southpaw Luis Perez, 25, who shared the Fisher Cats' lead in victories last year (9), earning both Eastern League mid-season All-Star honors and a spot in the XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis. Thirty-five-year-old former Major Leaguer Marty McLeary (San Diego, Pittsburgh) is primed to begin his 14th professional season after splitting 2009 between New Hampshire (3-3, 2.98) and Las Vegas (4-1, 3.38) in 14 starts.
Right-hander Randy Boone, 25, shared the Fisher Cats' team lead in victories last season, posting a 9-8 record with a 3.70 ERA (6th best in EL) in 23 starts before finishing the year with a pair of starts in Las Vegas. The former University of Texas closer is slated to start the season in the bullpen, joined by 29-year old Bubbie Buzachero, who spent 15 games with the Fisher Cats (1-2, 1.74 ERA, 2 SV) and 34 games with Las Vegas (4-2, 3.05 ERA, 8 SV) in 2009. Left-hander Tim Collins is the youngest member of the Opening Day roster and the only lefty in the bullpen. After racking up 99 strikeouts in 64.2 innings in Dunedin, the 20-year old spent the final three weeks of last season with the Fisher Cats, striking out 17 batters in only 12.2 innings. Dials, 24, divided last season between Dunedin and New Hampshire, one year removed from notching a team-high 15 saves for the 2008 Fisher Cats. Farquhar, 23, posted 15 saves for the Fisher Cats in 2009 after slamming the door with 7 saves for the D-Jays, where he was named a FSL Mid-Season All-Star. Adrian Martin (3-2, 4.03) appeared in 29 games for the Fisher Cats last season, including nine starts, notching a 3-2 record with a 4.03 ERA and two saves. Trystan Magnuson sparkled in his late-season audition for New Hampshire, going 1-0 in five games while not allowing a run in 10 innings. Right-handers Vince Bongiovanni and Kenny Rodriguez begin the year on the Disabled List.
Jeroloman, an EL All-Star catcher in back-to-back seasons, is back behind the plate for the Fisher Cats. The 24-year old was rated the league's top defensive catcher after gunning down 40 of 94 (.426) runners attempting to steal. Newcomer Jonathan Jaspe, 24, is the Fishers' other catcher. The switch-hitter batted .271 with 9 HR and 41 RBI in 75 games with Dunedin a year ago.
Six of the seven infielders on the roster saw time with the Fisher Cats in 2009, led by Cooper, 23, who is penciled in as the everyday first baseman. The Blue Jays' 2008 number-one draft pick out of the University of California, Berkeley batted .258 with 10 HR and 66 RBI in 128 games and is listed as Toronto's fourth-rated prospect by Baseball America.
Emausreturns after playing in a franchise-record 137 games and leading the '09 Fisher Cats in hits (128) and runs (67). Jonathan Diaz, Luis Sanchez, Al Quintana and Manny Mayorson also return in the infield, where they will be joined by Calix Crabbe, a 27-year old former Major Leaguer (San Diego) who enters his first season with the Blue Jays after spending 2009 in the Seattle Mariners' farm system.
Two returnees join a pair of newcomers in the outfield. Adam Calderone, 26, led last year's club with five triples and set a career high with 12 homers before earning a late-season promotion to Las Vegas. Mastroianni led New Hampshire with 38 stolen bases, even though he only played in 70 games. Prior to that, the 24-year-old was a FSL All-Star with Dunedin, where he batted .325 with 32 steals in just 61 games. The 70 total stolen bases ranked first among all Toronto minor leaguers. Adam Loewen, 25, is a former first-round draft pick -as a pitcher- for the Baltimore Orioles in 2002 who converted to an outfielder last season, his first in the Jays' organization. Loewen, who was the winning pitcher for Canada in an opening round game against the United States in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006, batted .236 with 4 HR and 31 RBI for Dunedin last year. The fourth outfielder is 23-year-old Eric Thames, who batted .313 with 3 HR and 38 RBI in 52 games for Dunedin in 2009. Sean Shoffit, who was on the Fisher Cats 2009 Opening Day roster, begins this year on the disabled list.
Former Boston Red Sox infielder Luis Rivera will manage the Fisher Cats in his first-year as a member of the Blue Jays organization. A year ago, Rivera was the Cleveland Indians infield and first base coach. Tom Signore serves as the team pitching coach for the second year; Ralph Dickenson is the first-year hitting coach after spending three seasons as the Washington Nationals minor league hitting coordinator; Bob Tarpey joins the Fisher Cats as the athletic trainer following three seasons in the same role with the Blue Jays' Class-A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts; and Brian Pike is the team's strength and conditioning coach, a position he held in Lansing last year and in New Hampshire back in 2007.
The 2010 Fisher Cats arrive from Spring Training on Monday, April 5, and play in a seven-inning free exhibition game against the Rivier Colege Raiders on Tuesday, April 6, at 6:00pm at Merchantsauto.com Stadium. Also that night, Laura from Rock 101's The Morning Buzz will be hosting a Red Sox/Yankees Rivalry Party in the Samuel Adams Bar & Grill. On Wednesday, April 7, Season Ticket Holders and Kids Club Members will gather with the team at the annual Meet & Greet in the Samuel Adams Bar & Grill from 6:00pm-7:30pm.
The Fisher Cats play their season opener against the New Britain Rock Cats, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, on Thursday night, April 8, at 6:05pm in New Britain, CT. United Way Opening Day at Merchantsauto.com Stadium is Thursday, April 15, when the Fisher Cats host the Binghamton Mets, Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets, at 6:35pm. For tickets and information, call (603) 641-2005 or visit www.nhfishercats.com.
• Discuss this story on the Eastern League message board...
Eastern League Stories from April 3, 2010
- Senators First Workout Set For Tuesday Night - Harrisburg Senators
- Projected Opening Day Roster Announced - New Hampshire Fisher Cats
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.