Rocket City Trash Pandas

Trash Pandas Reveal 2024 Opening Day Roster

April 2, 2024 - Southern League (SL)
Rocket City Trash Pandas News Release

MADISON, Alabama- The Rocket City Trash Pandas are proud to reveal their preliminary roster for the 2024 season. Beginning their fourth season in franchise history, the Trash Pandas are set to open the year on Friday, April 5 against the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A, Chicago Cubs).

On the coaching side, the Trash Pandas welcome back Manager Andy Schatzley who begins his third season in Rocket City. The 2022 Southern League Manager of the Year be joined alongside Pitching Coach Michael Wuertz, Coach Dann Bilardello and Strength and Conditioning Coach David Robertson who also return to the staff.

The coaching staff is rounded out by Hitting Coach Joel Chimelis, Assistant Pitching Coach Doug Henry and Athletic Trainer Dylan Culwell who all enter their first seasons with the Trash Pandas.

On the 29-man roster to begin the season, several Trash Pandas players are featured on the Los Angeles Angels Top 30 Prospects list:

OF Nelson Rada (No. 1)

RHP Caden Dana (No. 2)

INF Kyren Paris (No. 3)

RHP Ben Joyce (No. 4)

RHP Jack Kochanowicz (No. 9)

RHP Victor Mederos (No. 15)

INF Cole Fontenelle (No. 30)

The roster features 22 players returning to Rocket City from last year, headlined by infielder Kyren Paris. The Oakley, California native was a Southern League Postseason All-Star last season and set a single season Trash Pandas record with 45 stolen bases.

Outfielders David Calabrese and Tucker Flint return after combining for 28 home runs in 2023. Catcher Tyler Payne is also back after setting the Southern League on fire in the second half of last season with a .313 average.

On the mound, Rocket City will see their top three starters from 2023 return. Brett Kerry and Victor Mederos each led the team with 20 starts with Jack Kochanowicz behind them at 16.

Kerry will be the first player to appear in a game for the Trash Pandas in all four seasons of their existence.

Among the seven new faces on the Trash Pandas roster, two of them rank as the top prospects in the Angels farm system.

Outfielder Nelson Rada is the youngest player on the team at 18 years old, over two years younger than the second youngest on the roster. Rada enters his third season in professional baseball after hitting .276 with 48 RBI while stealing 55 bases at Single-A Inland Empire.

Rada was named Los Angeles Angels Minor League Player of the Year and earned a Rawlings MiLB Gold Glove Award after posting one error in the outfield.

Right-handed pitcher Caden Dana is also set to make his Trash Pandas debut for his third professional season. The 20-year-old split last season with Single-A Inland Empire and High-A Tri-City, collecting 14 total starts and 89 strikeouts during the season.

Also making their debuts with the Trash Pandas will be right-handed pitcher Alan Rangel, catcher Caleb Hamilton and infielders Sam Brown, Cole Fontenelle and Eric Wagaman.

Brown will make his professional debut with the Trash Pandas after being drafted in the 12th round of the 2023 First-Year Player Draft and appearing in 10 spring training games with the Angels.

Rocket City Trash Pandas Preliminary Roster (As of April 2, 2024):

Right-Handed Pitchers (13): Ivan Armstrong, Chase Chaney, Caden Dana, Michael Darrell-Hicks, Mason Erla, Ben Joyce, Brett Kerry, Jack Kochanowicz, Victor Mederos, Luke Murphy, Alan Rangel, Hayden Seig, Kenyon Yovan

Left-Handed Pitchers (3): Jack Dashwood, Nick Jones, Eric Torres

Catchers (3): Myles Emmerson, Caleb Hamilton, Tyler Payne

Infielders (6): Sam Brown, Cole Fontenelle, Mac McCroskey, Kyren Paris, Arol Vera, Eric Wagaman

Outfielders (4): David Calabrese, Gustavo Campero, Tucker Flint, Nelson Rada

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