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Barons Announce 2014 Opening Day Roster
Top rated prospects Trayce Thompson, Chris Beck and Micah Johnson among 14 returning players from 2013 championship team
04/01/2014 3:57 PM ET
Trayce Thompson is one of 17 players returning to Birmingham from last season's championship team. (John Shadrick)

The Birmingham Barons have announced their Opening Day roster in preparation for the season opener Thursday against the Montgomery Biscuits in Montgomery, AL. The roster includes 17 players who were part of the team's Southern League Championship in 2013. In addition, three of the White Sox top-10 prospects will begin the season in Birmingham, including Finals MVP Micah Johnson (6), outfielder Trayce Thompson (8) and opening day starting pitcher Chris Beck (9).

The Barons offense will be led by a pair of highly ranked prospects in Trayce Thompson and Micah Johnson. Thompson, the son of former NBA standout Mychal Thompson, enters his third season with the team. Ranked as the No. 8 Prospect in the White Sox organization by Baseball America, Thompson joined the Barons for the final month of the 2012 season and spent all of 2013 with the club, finishing second on the team in hits, doubles, runs, RBI and home runs. Johnson, the White Sox 5th ranked prospect according to Baseball America, will be making his second appearance at the Double-A level after joining the Barons for the final week of the 2013 season. Last season he led all minor league players with 84 stolen bases and finished tied for fifth with 106 runs scored. His biggest contributions came in the playoffs where he hit .368 with 12 runs scored and seven RBI in 10 playoff games, earning Finals MVP honors as the Barons captured their first championship since 2002.

Also returning to the Barons in 2013 will be outfielder Keenyn Walker, who led the Barons with 38 stolen bases and five triples while finishing third in runs scored (77) last season. He enters the season ranked as the organization's No. 23 Prospect.

New to the Barons in 2014 will be infielders Chris Curley, Rangel Ravelo and catcher Kevan Smith. Curley was named the 2013 Carolina League MVP while with Class A Winston-Salem after leading the league in home runs (24), RBI (92) and runs scored (90). Ravelo, the organization's No. 30 Prospect, combined to hit .299 with 31 doubles and 62 RBI in 101 games between Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem in 2013. Smith spent the entire 2013 season with Winston-Salem and ranked among the organizational leaders in RBI (T-7th, 73), runs (9th, 66) hits (10th, 110) and total bases (10th, 178).

The Barons starting rotation will be led by four highly touted prospects in Chris Beck, Scott Snodgress, Chris Bassitt and Myles Jaye. Beck, the 8th-ranked prospect in the organization, joined the Barons for the stretch run after spending the majority of the season with Class A Winston-Salem. He was instrumental in the team's championship win going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two playoff starts. Snodgress, the No. 16 prospect in the White Sox organization, rejoins the team after spending the entire 2013 campaign in Birmingham. He lead the team with 11 wins last season and was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week for July 22-28. Bassitt, like Beck, spent the majority of 2013 with Winston-Salem before joining the Barons in August. He went 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA in two playoff starts to help lead the Barons to the championship. Jaye, ranked as the organization's No. 26 prospect, split last season between Class A Kannapolis, Winston-Salem and Birmingham. He started and won the championship-clinching fifth game against Mobile at Regions Field.

In the bullpen, the Barons return two players with extensive experience in the closers role in Cody Winiarski and Kevin Vance. Winiarski joined the Barons in August and proved crucial to the team's postseason success. In 12 total appearances spanning 16.1 IP, Winiarski allowed just eight hits and 0 runs while converting all six of his save opportunities. Vance spent all of 2013 with the Barons and finished second on the team with seven saves.

Manager Julio Vinas returns for his second season at the helm for the Barons after leading the team to a record of 77-63 and a Southern League Championship in his first year. A member of the 1995 Barons squad led by skipper Terry Francona, Vinas is in his fourth season as a manager in the White Sox organization having made previous stops at Class A Kannapolis (2012) and Class A Winston-Salem (2011). He is joined by pitching coach Britt Burns and new hitting coach Brandon Moore who served in the same capacity for the Barons in 2012 while spending the 2013 season as the hitting coach for Class AAA Charlotte. Burns was a standout pitcher at Huffman High School in Birmingham from 1975-77 where upon graduation he held the State record for career victories (35) and currently holds the single-season record for lowest ERA (0.00) set in 1977. Moore attended Auburn University where he was named Second-Team All-SEC as a shortstop in 1994 and ranks among the school's all-time leaders in hits (304) and games played (342).

A full opening day roster is listed below:

Pitchers:

  • RH Chris Beck
  • LH David Cales
  • LH Frank De Los Santos
  • RH Terry Doyle
  • RH Parker Frazier
  • LH Nelvin Fuentes
  • RH Myles Jaye
  • RH Nick McCully
  • RH Nestor Molina
  • LH Scott Snodgress
  • RH Kevin Vance
  • RH Cody Winiarski

Catchers:

  • Miguel Gonzalez
  • Kevan Smith

Infielders:

  • Chris Curley
  • Jeremy Farrell
  • Micah Johnson
  • Christian Marrero
  • Jaime Pedroza
  • Rangel Ravelo
  • Dan Wagner

Outfielders:

  • Michael Earley
  • Josh Richmond
  • Trayce Thompson
  • Keenyn Walker

Disabled List:

  • RH Chris Bassitt
  • RH Stephen McCray
  • C Luis Sierra
  • OF Joe De Pinto

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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