Portland, Maine- The Boston Red Sox have announced the 2014 Opening Day roster for the Double-A affiliate Portland Sea Dogs. The roster is highlighted by three of the Red Sox Top 10 prospects as ranked by Baseball America; Henry Owens (#2), Blake Swihart (#5) and Mookie Betts (#7). The Sea Dogs open their 21st season on Thursday, April 3rd at 7:05 PM against the Reading Fightin Phils in Reading, Pa. The home opener is set for Thursday, April 10th at 6:00 PM against the New Britain Rock Cats.
In addition to the three top 10 prospects, the roster features six of Boston's top 30 prospects according to Baseball America; with Deven Marrero (#15), Travis Shaw (# 26), and Sean Coyle (#30) rounding out the list.
The active roster includes 12 players who have previously played for the Sea Dogs and 17 players with previous Double-A experience.
The pitching staff is highlighted by the Red Sox top ranked pitching prospect; left-hander Henry Owens. Owens was the Red Sox 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year after producing an 11-6 record with a 2.67 ERA and 169 strikeouts between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. In six games with the Sea Dogs last season, Owens notched a 3-1 record with a 1.78 ERA. He tossed 19 1/3 consecutive no-hit innings with Salem in 2013. He held opponents to a .177 average last season, tops among all full-season minor league qualifiers and ranked second in the minors with 169 strikeouts.
Keith Couch (11-3, 3.47), who led the Sea Dogs in wins last season, returns to the Portland pitching staff in 2014. Three-time Carolina League Pitcher of the Week in 2013, Mike Augliera (9-6, 4.23) will make his Double-A debut with the Sea Dogs. Other notables on the pitching staff include fourth round pick Noe Ramirez and sixth round pick Mickey Pena. Michael Olmsted returns to the Red Sox organization, signing as a minor league free agent in March. In 14 games with the Sea Dogs in 2012, Olmstead did not allow an earned run. Other free agent signings on the pitching staff include lefty Nate Reed and righty Jose Valdez. Valdez has 24 games of Major League experience with the Houston Astros.
The infield features four of the Red Sox top 30 prospects including first baseman Travis Shaw, second baseman Mookie Betts, shortstop Deven Marrero, and infielder Sean Coyle. Shaw tied for the Sea Dogs team high in home runs last season with 16. Betts was the Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 after hitting a combined .314 with 36 doubles, 15 home runs, and 65 RBI between Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem. Baseball America rates him as the "Best Athlete" in the Red Sox farm system. Marrero returns to Portland after appearing in 19 games for the Sea Dogs to conclude the 2013 season. The 2012 first round draft pick is rated by Baseball America as being the "Best Defensive Infielder" in the Red Sox farm system and as having the "Best Infield Arm". Coyle was named the MVP of the Carolina League Championship, hitting.417 in three games leading Salem to the Carolina League Championship. Rounding out the infield will be Derrik Gibson, who returns to Portland for his third season and free agent signings Carlos Rivero and Stefan Welch.
Behind the plate will be Blake Swihart, Matt Spring, and Michael Brenly. Swihart enters the 2014 season as Boston's fifth ranked prospect by Baseball America and the sixth ranked catching prospect in Minor League Baseball. He was honored as the Red Sox 2013 Minor League Defensive Player of the Year and the best defensive catcher in the Carolina League. In 103 games with High-A Salem in 2013 he hit .298 with 29 doubles and 42 RBI. Spring, an Eastern League All-Star in 2013, returns for a fourth season with the Sea Dogs. Brenly, the son of former Major League player and manager Bob Brenly, signed with the Red Sox as a minor league free agent in January.
The outfield will consist of Bo Greenwell, Henry Ramos, and Shannon Wilkerson. Wilkerson returns for his third season with Portland. Last season he led the club in stolen bases with 23. Greenwell is the son of former Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell. He was signed as a minor league free agent in March, after spending the previous eight seasons in the Indians organization. Ramos will make his Double-A debut after spending the 2013 season at High-A Salem.
Three players will start the season on the disabled list; pitchers Aaron Kurcz, Pete Ruiz, and outfielder Keury De La Cruz.
The 2014 roster features 15 players originally drafted by the Red Sox.
Seven players will be making their Red Sox organization debuts; Bo Greenwell, Nate Reed, Jose Valdez, Michael Brenly, Carlos Rivero, and Stefan Welch.
Former Sea Dogs' player Billy McMillon (1995) will begin his first season as Sea Dogs manager. He will be joined by pitching coach Bob Kipper who is back for his seventh season and Rich Gedman, the former Red Sox catcher, returns for his second season as the Sea Dogs hitting coach.
Tickets are available for Opening Day and all 2014 home games. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 207-879-9500 or online at www.seadogs.com. Book your nine inning vacation today!