San Jose, CA- The 11-time California League champion San Jose Giants unveiled their roster today in anticipation for the 2014 season. San Jose will feature a prospect-laden starting rotation and a powerful starting lineup, mixed with newcomers and returnees, as the Giants look to extend their league-record streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 11 seasons.
Top prospects Chris Stratton, Martin Agosta and Kendry Flores highlight an exciting San Jose pitching staff. Stratton, a first round draft pick two years ago, enters this season rated as the #3 prospect in the San Francisco Giants organization according to Baseball America. The right-hander fashioned a 9-3 record with a 3.27 ERA in 22 starts last year for the Class-A Augusta GreenJackets. Agosta, San Francisco's second round pick in the 2012 draft, earned South Atlantic League All-Star honors a season ago while pitching for Augusta. In 18 starts, the Sacramento native posted a 9-3 record with a 2.06 ERA and struck out 109 batters in 91 2/3 innings. Flores, who is on San Francisco's 40-man roster, ranked second in the South Atlantic League with a 2.73 ERA last year. The right-hander owned a 10-6 record in 22 starts while collecting 137 strikeouts compared to just 17 walks in 141 2/3 innings pitched.
Joan Gregorio, Pat Young and Joe Biagini will also work in the Giants starting rotation to open the year. Gregorio logged a 6-3 record with a 4.00 ERA in 13 starts last season in Augusta. The right-hander struck out 84 batters in just 69 2/3 innings. Young returns to San Jose after joining the club for the playoffs last September. During the regular season, he thrived with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Short-Season level) compiling a remarkable 0.92 ERA in eight starts. Biagini, a local product from Santa Clara, was 7-6 with a 5.03 ERA in 20 starts for Augusta last season.
Stratton (#3), Flores (#14), Gregorio (#17) and Agosta (#21) are all ranked among the top prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization by Baseball America entering this season.
San Jose's talented lineup includes the return of outfielder Mac Williamson and third baseman Mitch Delfino along with the addition of top prospect first baseman Brian Ragira. Williamson was honored as San Jose's co-Most Valuable Player last year after slugging 25 home runs. The former third round draft pick also produced 31 doubles and 89 RBI's to go with a .292 batting average a season ago with the Giants. Williamson enters 2014 as the top position player prospect in the San Francisco farm system according to Baseball America. Delfino, a call-up to San Jose for the playoffs last year, led Augusta in home runs (13) and RBI's (76) in 2013. Ragira debuted professionally last summer with Salem-Keizer after his selection in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of Stanford.
Outfielder Jesus Galindo is also expected to play a leading role on the Giants this season. Galindo led Augusta and the entire San Francisco organization with 48 stolen bases last year. He finished the regular season with a .273 batting average before receiving a promotion to San Jose for the playoffs.
Other returning hitters include outfielders Chris Lofton and Elliott Blair, catcher/infielder Trevor Brown, infielder Ydwin Villegas and catcher Jesus Navarro. Lofton was among the California League leaders with 11 triples last season to go with a team-high 23 stolen bases while Blair saw significant action in center field for the Giants in 2013. Brown led San Jose with a .345 batting average during the playoffs after a late-season call-up from Augusta.
Catcher Ben Turner has joined the Giants after serving as one of Augusta's primary catchers last season. Turner was a non-roster invitee to major league spring training this year. Outfielder Chuckie Jones, who ranked second on the GreenJackets in home runs (10) and RBI's (51) last season, and infielders Blake Miller, Rando Moreno and Alberto Robles have also joined the team.
Other returnees to the San Jose pitching staff include Ryan Bradley, Jorge Bucardo and Jeff Soptic. Bradley was second on the Giants in wins (10) and innings pitched (152) during the 2012 season before spending all of last year with Double-A Richmond. Bucardo has brief prior experience in San Jose in 2010 and 2013 while Soptic was a key member of the Giants bullpen last season.
Newcomers Tyler Mizenko, Steven Okert, Stephen Johnson, Ian Gardeck and Mason McVay round out the San Jose pitching staff. Mizenko led the South Atlantic League with 25 saves last season as Augusta's closer. Okert (#24) and Johnson (#28) are both ranked among the top 30 prospects in the organization by Baseball America.
Lenn Sakata returns for his seventh year as the San Jose Giants manager (1999, 2001, 2004-2007, 2014). Sakata enters this season as the winningest manager in California League history with 684 victories over 10 seasons. He has compiled a 466-374 record in six seasons as manager of the San Jose Giants - the most victories in franchise history. Sakata directed San Jose to the 2001, 2005 and 2007 California League championships. 2014 marks Sakata's 10th season in the Giants organization and first since 2007.
"I'm excited to be back in San Jose," said Sakata. "I'm looking forward to this year's team and seeing if we can have the same kind of success that the franchise has had for the last decade."
Hitting coach Lipso Nava, pitching coach Mike Couchee, athletic trainer Garret Havig and strength and conditioning coach Mike Lidge complete the San Jose staff.
Fans can meet the 2014 players and coaches at the 6th annual San Jose Giants FanFest on Monday, March 31 at Municipal Stadium from 5:00-8:30 PM. Sakata and all of his players and coaches will be available to sign autographs and pose for pictures as part of a "Meet-and-Greet" that begins at 5:15 PM. Fans will also have the opportunity to watch the team practice starting at 7:00 PM, purchase new merchandise in the San Jose Giants Dugout Store and play in the Family Fun Zone. Admission and parking are free. Those interested in becoming new season ticket holders are invited to come down to Municipal Stadium during FanFest to select their seat locations.
First pitch for the San Jose Giants home opener will take place at 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 10 against the Bakersfield Blaze. San Jose's 2014 season begins on Thursday, April 3. The Giants will host games at Municipal Stadium on Mother's Day (May 11), Memorial Day (May 26), and Independence Day (July 4). For information on the 2014 season and ticket packages please visit sjgiants.com, call (408) 297-1435 or visit the Municipal Stadium Box Office Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.