The opening day roster for the 2009 season of Great Lakes Loons baseball has been set, the Loons announced today in conjunction with their parent club, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Loons’ 25-man active roster consists of 12 players selected by the Dodgers in the top 10 rounds of the draft and a whopping 11 players ranked by Baseball America as Top 30 prospects in the Dodgers’ organization. The Loons have never had as many Top 10 draft picks or BA Top 30 players at any time on their roster.
The Loons’ crop of prospects is led by 2008 first round draft choice Ethan Martin, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher from Toccoa, GA, ranked by BA as the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect.
Other prospects expected to contribute significantly include shortstop Devaris Gordon, a quick, rangy shortstop ranked by BA as the Dodgers’ No. 7 prospect; hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (BA No. 10); outfielder Kyle Russell (BA No. 17), the University of Texas’ all-time home run leader; right-handed pitcher JonMichael Redding (BA No. 18); and catcher Tony Delmonico (BA No. 19), a converted infielder from Florida State.
Additionally, the Loons have a core of four key players with significant experience in the California League – first baseman Austin Gallagher (BA No. 11), right-handed pitchers Javy Guerra (BA No. 25) and Jordan Pratt (BA No. 30), and second baseman Jaime Pedroza.
The Loons have 10 players returning to the team from past seasons – pitchers Bobby Blevins (2008), Blake Brannon (2007-08), Justin Miller (2008) and Kyle Smit (2007-08); catcher Esteban Lopez (2008); infielders Parker Dalton (2008) and Elian Herrera (2007); and outfielders Erik Kanaby (2008), Alfredo Silverio (2008), and Travis Vetters (2008).
A record-low four Loons players were born outside the United States, including Japanese-born right-handed pitcher Robert Boothe, likely the first Japanese-born player to play for the Loons. Catcher Fumi Ishibashi also hails from Japan, but will begin the season on the Loons’ disabled list.
A mostly veteran team, the Loons have 16 active players with college baseball experience, a new Loons’ record, and just two players – Martin and Eovaldi – transitioning from high school to their first full professional seasons. The Loons have 13 players older than 22 years old, a new opening day record.
Manager Juan Bustabad returns for his second season managing the Loons, eighth season as a manager with the Dodgers and 13th overall season as a minor league manager. His career record is (537-446), 91 games over .500. Twenty-one year major league veteran Danny Darwin returns for his second season as pitching coach, his fourth season with the Dodgers. Michael Boughton begins his first season as the Loons hitting coach and second season as a Dodger coach.
The Loons’ opening day roster is as follows:
Pitchers: Bobby Blevins, Robert Boothe, Blake Brannon, Nathan Eovaldi, Luis Garcia, Javy Guerra, Ethan Martin, Justin Miller, Jordan Pratt, JonMichael Redding, Kyle Smit, Steve Smith (DL) and Joshua Walter.
Catchers: Tony Delmonico, Fumi Ishibashi (DL), Esteban Lopez, Matt Wallach.
Infielders: Parker Dalton, Austin Gallagher, Devaris Gordon, Anthony Hatch, Elian Herrera and Jaime Pedroza.
Outfielders: Erik Kanaby, Kyle Russell, Alfredo Silverio and Travis Vetters.
A printable roster is attached to this release.
The Great Lakes Loons are the third-year Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and members of the Midwest League. Tickets for the 2009 season are now on sale. For more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.