Clinton, IA - On the eve of Opening Night in Burlington, the Seattle Mariners announced the 25-man roster for the Clinton LumberKings. The roster consists of five returnees from last year's team and a slew of 2012 draft picks led by third round pick Tyler Pike and fourth round pick Patrick Kivlehan. Clinton has four players listed in Baseball America's top-30 prospects in the Seattle organization.
Guillermo Pimentel headlines the list of returning LumberKings. Pimentel came into his own in the second half of 2012 when he hit .272 with 6 home runs and 29 RBI after the All-Star break. The outfielder carried his success into the playoffs where he hit .294 with a pair of homers and five runs driven in. Left-hander Jeremy Dobbs also returns after finding success in the later stages of '12. Dobbs was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in August and September and threw three scoreless frames in the playoffs. Another hurler, Stephen Landazuri, is back in Clinton after pitching in nine games last year, seven of which he started. Landazuri, 21, was 3-2 with a 3.06 ERA for Clinton in '12.
Two position players who saw limited action with the LumberKings last year will start in Clinton in 2013; Catcher Carlton Tanabe and middle infielder Ketel Marte. Tanabe was 4 for 13 in five games and Marte was 4 for 14 in four games.
Pike, who is ranked the number 14 prospect in the Mariners organization by Baseball America, headlines the LumberKings pitching staff. The 19-year old was a 3rd round supplemental (126th overall) selection in the 2012 June draft. The southpaw began his pro career with the AZL Mariners and pitched brilliantly. In 50 2/3 innings, Pike was 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 57 strikeouts. Gaby Guerrero and Kivlehan are Clinton's highest ranked position players by Baseball America. Guerrero is ranked 15th on the top-30. The outfielder is the nephew of former MLB star Vladimir Guerrero and is already drawing similar reviews. Guerrero was named the Dominican Summer League MVP after he hit .355 and led the league in homers (11) and RBI (54) in 50 games. He finished '12 with the AZL Mariners by hitting .333 in 18 games with 4 homers and 18 RBI. Kivlehan, a multi-sport athlete at Rutgers University, is ranked 18th by Baseball America. The third baseman began his pro career in Everett after the Mariners made him their fourth round pick in '12. He hit .301 with 30 extra-base hits and 52 RBI in 72 games and was named the Northwest League MVP.
Other high draft picks are Tim Lopes (6th round), Taylor Ard (7th round), and Grady Wood (10th round). Lopes, who doesn't turn 19 until June 24, is the younger brother of Christian, who currently plays in the Toronto Blue Jays system. He hit .316 with 68 hits in 53 games for the AZL Mariners last year. Baseball America tabbed Lopes as the Mariners' 25th best prospect. Ard played for Mt. Hood Community College before finishing his collegiate career at Washington State University. Last year with Everett he hit .284 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI in 75 games. He was named Everett's MVP by the Mariners. Wood, a right-hander from Junction City, Oregon, played two seasons at Chemeketa Community College before transferring to Western Oregon University in 2011 where he was named GNAC Pitcher of the Year. With the AquaSox in '12, he was 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA in 37 1/3 innings.
Clinton also has 2012 draftees Blake Hauser (13th round), Brock Hebert (14th round), Dario Pizzano (15th round), Dominic Leone (16th round), Jabari Henry (18th round), Scott DeCecco (18th round) and Matthew Vedo (24th round).
Hauser began his pro career last year with Everett. The hard-throwing right-hander was 3-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 15 games. Hauser attended Virginia Commonwealth University from 2010-12. Hebert attended Southeastern Louisiana University from 2010-12 and was named Southland Conference Hitter and Player of the Year. He began his first pro season with Pulaski and was promoted to Everett on July 24. Pizzano played three seasons at Columbia University. He was named All-Ivy League all three years and was Ivy League Player of the Year in '12. The Massachusetts native won the Appalachian League batting title (.356), while also leading the league in on-base percentage (.442). He earned a promotion to Everett on August 25 and hit .333 in six games.
Leone attended Clemson University from 2010-12 after a standout prep career in Connecticut. He was dominant with Everett, posting a 1.36 ERA in 19 games. He tied for the team lead in saves (five) and appearances. Henry, from Orlando, attended Florida International University from 2010-12. He spent the majority of 2012 with Pulaski where he hit .271 with 8 homers and 42 RBI in 58 games. The left-handed DeCecco attended the University of South Carolina Upstate from 2010-12. He tossed a perfect game his junior year of high school and kicked off his pro career with Everett in '12. Vedo, the Mariners 24th round pick in 2012, played two seasons at Yuba College and two seasons at UC-Santa Barbara. His first season in pro baseball resulted in a 3.92 ERA in 16 appearances with Everett.
The 25-man roster rounds out with catcher Tyler Marlette, pitchers Matt Anderson, Oliver Garcia, Dave Holman, Dylan Unsworth and infielders Keith Werman and Jordy Lara. Marlette was a fifth-round draft pick by Seattle in 2011. He spent most of '12 with Pulaski but also appeared in two games with Everett. In all, he hit .286 with 20 extra-base hits and 23 RBI. Anderson, a right-handed hurler, pitched six games with the AZL Mariners in 2012 and did not allow a run in 8 2/3 innings. He limited opponents to a .074 average. Garcia signed with Seattle as a 16-year old and has worked his way up the lower leagues at a young age. The right-hander spent last season with Everett and was 2-0 with a 3.80 ERA in 19 games.
Holman attended Hutchinson Community College in 2009-2010 and then played for Emporia State University in 2011. He spent the majority of last season with Pulaski and also appeared in one game with Everett. He finished third in the Appalachian League with eight saves. Unsworth, a native of Cape Town, South Africa, started 14 games for Everett last year and registered a 7-2 mark with a 3.90 ERA in 85 1/3 innings. Unsworth pitched for his native country in the World Baseball Classic qualifier.
Infielders Keith Werman and Jordy Lara will both be counted on to play a variety of positions for the LumberKings. Werman graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 and played all four seasons. He split '12 between the AZL Mariners, Pulaski and Everett. Lara spent 2012 with Pulaski and collected 58 hits in 63 games while socking eight homers and 41 RBI.
The LumberKings are once again under the tutelage of Manager Eddie Menchaca. The coaching staff is rounded out with pitching coach Andrew Lorraine and hitting coach Mike Kinkade. Jeff Kahn is the LumberKings' athletic trainer and Ryan White is the performance specialist.
The Clinton LumberKings, Midwest League Affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, open the 2013 season at Burlington on Thursday, April 4 as they take on the Bees. The home opener at Ashford University Field is Thursday, April 11th at 6:30 as the LumberKings host the Cedar Rapids Kernels. For the full 2013 schedule, season ticket and group party information, merchandise and more, call the LumberKings at 563-242-0727 or visit www.lumberkings.com.