Lynchburg Hillcats Release:
Lynchburg, VA- The Lynchburg Hillcats' Opening Day roster has been set. The team includes six of Baseball America's top-30 Braves prospects, including the number one prospect in the organization, left-handed pitcher Lucas Sims. The pitching staff will be made up off 10 right-handers and three lefties. The roster fills out with two catchers, six infielders and four outfielders, along with seven players beginning the season on the disabled list.
Of the 25 active players on the Opening Day roster, 12 players have already spent time with the Hillcats. Meanwhile, six of the seven players currently listed on Lynchburg's disabled list have already donned a Hillcats uniform in their careers.
Sims will lead the pitching staff. The 19-year-old right-hander was selected with the 21st pick of the first round in the 2012 draft by the Braves. He spent the 2013 season with Low-A Rome, where he went 12-4 with a 2.62 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 117 innings. Joining Sims in the rotation will be two other ranked prospects, Mauricio Cabrera (5) and Wes Parsons (20). Both Cabrera and Parsons are right-handed pitchers who spent 2013 in Rome as well. Cabrera went 3-8 with a 4.18 ERA last season, while Parsons 7-7 with a 2.63 ERA.
The rest of the staff includes right-handed pitchers Brandon Cunniff, Nate Hyatt, Zach Jadofsky, Jarett Miller, Greg Ross, Patrick Scoggin, and Andrew Waszak. The three lefties will be Matt Chaffee, Matt Marksberry, and Eric Pfisterer. This group touts five returners, including Hyatt, the Hillcats' 2013 leading save-getter, Hyatt's 12 saves ranked second in the Carolina League last year. The last two spots in the starting rotation will be filled by a combination of Marksberry, Miller, and Ross, who all have starting experience.
Doing the catching will Tyler Tewell and Joe Odom. Tewell will be very familiar with the staff after spending all of 2013 with Rome where he batted .222 with nine home runs in 86 games. Odom is making the jump from Rookie-level Danville to Lynchburg, leap-frogging Rome this season.
Highlighting the infield will be shortstop/second baseman, Jose Peraza, the sixth-ranked prospect for the Braves. Peraza stole an organization best 64 bases last year. He was the Player of the Year for Rome. Also playing up the middle will be returning Hillcats Daniel Castro, Eric Garcia, and Levi Hyams. At first base will be Edison Sanchez and playing third base will be Kevin Ahrens.
Josh Elander is back in the outfield for the Hillcats along with Alejandro Piloto, Will Skinner, and Kyle Wren. Elander was named the Braves 2013 Minor League Player of the Year. He split the season between Rome and Lynchburg batting .293 overall with 15 home runs and 93 RBIs. Wren is another player to keep an eye on this season. He is the 18th-ranked prospect in the Braves organization, and he's also Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren's son.
Beginning the season on the disabled list for the Hillcats will be pitchers, A.J. Holland, Navery Moore, and David Peterson, catcher Cory Brownsten, first baseman Trent Moses, and outfielders Chase Anselment and Dan Carroll.
The Hillcats will be managed once again by Luis Salazar, who returns for his fourth consecutive season. Back for a second season will be hitting coach John Moses and entering his first year with Lynchburg is pitching coach Derrick Lewis.
Opening Day for the Hillcats is Thursday, April 3. The 'Cats will host the Frederick Keys at 6:05pm for game one of a four game series.