STOCKTON, Calif. - The Oakland Athletics have announced the 2013 Opening Day roster for the Single-A Stockton Ports. The team includes several returning players from last season along with talented stars, including the Athletics Top Prospect infielder Addison Russell.
First-round draft pick Addison Russell was named the A's top prospect by Baseball America & MiLB.com following his impressive first season. Russell hit .369 with 7 HR & 45 RBI over 55 games last season with Arizona League A's, Low-A Short-Season Vermont Lake Monsters & Low-A Burlington Bees in 2012. Russell is joined by fellow infielder Max Muncy (5th round) as another member of the squad who was drafted in 2012.
Right-handed pitcher Drew Granier will anchor the pitching staff. Granier is ranked the 18th best prospect in the A's farm system by MiLB.com. Granier led all A's minor leaguers in innings pitched (162) and was second behind former Port Dan Straily in strikeouts (167).
Other notable pitchers are Sean Murphy, TJ Walz and Jake Brown who all return to Stockton in 2013. Murphy made 19 starts for the Ports in 2012. His first outing was impressive as he retired the first 17 Visalia Rawhide batters he faced and carried a perfect game into the 7th on May 24th. Jake Brown has been the workhorse with the Ports over the last two seasons making 50 appearances(39 starts). TJ Walz finished the 2012 campaign ranked 8th in the A's minor leagues with 112 strikeouts despite pitching most out the games out of the Ports bullpen.
Offensively the Ports will feature a ton of power in 2013. Outfielder Josh Whitaker, Infielder B.A. Vollmuth and Outfielder Dusty Robinson have returned to Stockton. Dusty Robinson led all A's Minor Leaguers with 27 homeruns last season after splitting time with the Low-A Burlington Bees & Stockton Ports. Robinson joined the Ports in mid-May of 2012 and clobbered 18 HR & knocked in 47 RBI over 96 games. Whitaker & Vollmuth both finished with double-digit homerun totals and ranked within the A's organization's top RBI leaders.
Joining Whitaker & Robinson in the outfield will be Bobby Crocker. The Aromas, CA native showed off his blazing speed with 17 stolen bases last season with the Low-A Burlington Bees.
In addition to infielder B.A. Vollmuth, Tony Thompson will also return to Stockton. Thompson played both first and third base last season for the Ports and finished 8th among A's farm hands in batting average (.276) and 9th in slugging percentage (.442). Wade Kirkland will join the offensively charged Ports infield. Kirkland finished 3rd in the A's organization with 31 doubles and 8th with 42 extra-base hits.
Webster Garrison returns for his third year to manage the Ports in 2013. Rounding out the coaching staff is former Port now Hitting Coach Haas Pratt and Pitching Coach Jimmy Escalante, both of which enter their first season in Stockton. Athletic Trainer Travis Tims also enters his first season with the Ports. The Ports open the 2013 campaign at Banner Island Ballpark on Thursday, April 4th against the Bakersfield Blaze.