San Bernardino- The Inland Empire 66ers opening day roster for 2012 is easily one of the most talented in team history. Four former Angels first round picks will wear Inland Empire uniforms opening day, and there are a total of seven members of the Baseball America Angels top 30 prospect list on this roster, compared to just five from the 2011 list to play on the team all of last year.
Leading the 66ers to the plate is Angels 2011 1st round pick C.J. Cron. After being taken 17th overall in the draft Cron showed a high talent ceiling in very limited time. The slugger hit 13 home runs in just 143 at bats for Rookie Level Orem and drove in 41 runs in just 34 games for the Owlz. Those numbers helped him skip Low-A on his way to San Manuel Stadium.
Joining Cron in the lineup will be 2010 1st round pick Taylor Lindsey who was the Pioneer League MVP in 2011 after hitting .362 with nine homers, 46 RBI, and a league best 105 hits, and 2009 1st round pick Randal Grichuk who hit .283 in a 14 game cameo appearance for the 66ers last season.
On the mound the 66ers boast some of the best arms in the Angels system with left-hander Nick Maronde, and right-hander Fabio Martinez. Maronde was a 3rd round pick out of Florida last year who has yet to lose a decision as a professional. He is 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA after 11 pro starts in Orem. Martinez was scheduled to join the 66ers last year but injuries derailed his season. Now he'll be looking to pick up the form he had in 2010 when he struck out 141 batters in 103 innings on his way to a 7-3 record.
Inland Empire fans who want to meet the 2012 Inland Empire 66ers can purchase tickets for the Meet the Team BBQ. They are available at the 66ers Box Office, or by phone at 909-888-9922.
Inland Empire 66ers tickets are on sale now both at the 66ers box office and online at www.66ers.com. The 66ers will host rival High Desert Thursday April 12th to open the home schedule. For more information on the Inland Empire 66ers please contact Sam Farber, Director of Broadcasting, at 909-495-7632.