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 Wilmington Blue Rocks

Wilmington Blue Rocks 2024 Season Preview - Pitchers

April 4, 2024 - South Atlantic League (SAL)
Wilmington Blue Rocks News Release

Wilmington Blue Rocks baseball is back, and the team at Frawley Stadium is looking to improve from last year's finish. The 2023 squad finished with a 55-75 record, landing the Blue Rocks at the bottom of the South Atlantic League North. A major contributor to the team's struggles was its massive point differential, which was 123 in the red. With new arms in the bullpen and a bit more experience from the returnees, the Rocks have a chance to right the ship early this year.


Starters Andry Lara, Brad Lord, and Luke Young are set to take the mound in the Blue Rocks' Opening Series against the Brooklyn Cyclones. Lara, who joined the Washington Nationals organization as a free agent in 2019, is returning for his second season in Wilmington and fourth in the minors. The right-handed pitcher had the most mound time of anyone on the team last year with 98.1 innings pitched. Lord has been a member of the Blue Rocks since moving up from the Fredericksburg Nationals in July of 2023. Given his mid-season arrival, Lord started just nine games, but he is expected to get a lot more reps as a consistent starter throughout the 2024 season. After being drafted by the Nationals in 2022, Young was assigned to the FCL Nationals and quickly moved up to the Fredericksburg Nationals throughout the 2023 season. This season's spot on the Blue Rocks roster is an upgrade he earned after pitching 94.0 innings and going 4-4 in Fredericksburg.

Other potential starters for the Blue Rocks this season include right-handers Chance Huff, Riley Cornelio, and Rodney Theophile. Both Huff and Cornelio are members of the Nationals' 2022 draft class. Huff pitched 83.2 innings for the Blue Rocks last year with a 6.13 ERA and 2-4 record. Cornelio spent his first season in the minors on the Fredericksburg Nationals. There, he started 22 games, played 92.1 innings, and had a 4.68 ERA, stats good enough to move him from A to High-A for 2024. This is Theophile's fifth season in the minors after signing with the Nationals as a free agent in 2018. He spent time on the Blue Rocks in 2022 and 2023, playing 41.1 innings last season, before being shut down with an injury, with a 3.48 ERA.


Fortunately for the Blue Rocks, the team brought back Todd Peterson and Marlon Perez, two of the team's most productive relievers. Peterson enters his fifth season in the minors and second with the Blue Rocks. In 2023, he pitched 55.2 innings, recorded nine saves, and played in 42 games, more than any other reliever. Perez also made his mark on the bullpen last season. He beats out the rest of his returning teammates with the most wins for a Blue Rocks reliever (7), the best ERA (2.97), and the most strikeouts (88).

Other key members of the bullpen include returnees Dannel Diaz, Nick Pogue, Carlos Romero, and Bryan Caceres. Wander Arias joins the team in Wilmington from the Royals organization after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, and Brendan Collins, who is looking to have a bounce-back year after suffering a season-ending injury at the beginning of 2023, will also get some time on the mound.

More interesting storylines to follow throughout the bullpen are those of Richard Guasch and Marquis Grissom Jr. Guash continues to work his way back up to Double-A after suffering an injury in early May 2023 as a member of the Harrisburg Senators. On his rehab assignment with the Blue Rocks, Guasch managed 10 innings and a 4.50 ERA. Grissom Jr joins the team as a promotion after spending 2023 in Fredericksburg. There, he recorded an impressive 2.18 ERA in 41.1 innings. His goal this year is to keep his ERA under 2.5, even in the next league.

The Blue Rocks, their starters, and their relievers have a lot on their plates to patch together a winning season. That being said, with reliable arms and some new faces, this team has what it takes to get the season started on the right foot.

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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.

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