BINGHAMTON, NY - Celebrating their 20th season, the Binghamton Mets have announced their 2011 Opening Day roster. This season, the B-Mets clubhouse will be highlighted by four of Baseball America's top-30 prospects in the New York Mets' system.
RHP Brad Holt leads the prospect group, entering the year ranked 10th in the organization. Holt split time between Binghamton and St. Lucie (High-A) last year before honing his skills in the Arizona Fall League with the Mesa Solar Sox.
Holt is joined by LHP Robert Carson (#12), LHP Mark Cohoon (#22), and 2B Jordany Valdespin (#25), all of whom donned a B-Mets jersey in 2010.
While most members of the roster logged time in Binghamton last year, a few new names are sprinkled in, including two fresh faces behind the plate. Catchers Jean Luc Blaquiere and Kai Gronauer will handle the pitching staff for the B-Mets this season. Blaquiere, a native of Quebec, spent most of his time last year with St. Lucie, while the native-German Gronauer split his 2010 campaign between Savannah (Low-A) and St. Lucie.
RHP Ricky Brooks, IF Allan Dykstra, and OF Lorenzo Scott were all acquired by the Mets from other organizations during the offseason and will make their B-Mets debut this year.
RHP Josh Stinson will get the ball as the B-Mets' Opening Day starter. Stinson, a member of the Mets' 40-man roster, led the B-Mets' staff with nine wins last year before closing out the season with Buffalo (AAA).
Former New York Met, Wally Backman will assume the helm for the B-Mets in 2011. The Oregon native will embark on his second season managing in the Mets' system, having skippered the Brooklyn Cyclones (A-SS) to a league-best 51-24 record in the New York-Penn League last year. Backman last managed at the Double-A level with the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League in 2002 and 2003.
Luis Natera returns to the B-Mets for his fourth year as hitting coach, while Marc Valdes will start his fifth season as pitching coach in the Mets' system and first in Binghamton. Valdes pitched six seasons in the Major Leagues with four teams. Matt Hunter begins his first year as athletic trainer with Binghamton and Clayton Wilson returns for his sixth season as strength and conditioning coach.
Complete B-Mets' 2011 Opening Day Roster:
Pitchers: RHP Ricky Brooks, LHP Robert Carson, LHP Mark Cohoon, RHP Brad Holt, RHP John Lujan, LHP Roy Merritt, RHP Brandon Moore, LHP Eric Niesen, RHP Dylan Owen, RHP Edgar Ramirez, RHP Chris Schwinden, RHP Josh Stinson, RHP Erik Turgeon
Catchers: Jean Luc Blaquiere, Kai Gronauer
Infielders: Eric Campbell, Jose Coronado, Allan Dykstra, Michael Fisher, Jon Malo, Josh Satin, Jordany Valdespin
Outfielders: Carlos Guzman, Brahiam Maldonado, Raul Reyes, Lorenzo Scott
While there are currently 26 players with Binghamton, that group will be trimmed to 24 before the B-Mets kick off their 20th season on the road against the Akron Aeros on Thursday, April 7th at 7:05pm. Following a seven-game roadtrip, the team will return home and open NYSEG Stadium against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Thursday, April 14th at 6:35pm.