LANCASTER, Calif. - The Houston Astros have announced the JetHawks roster to start the 2014 season and it features one of the most prospect-heavy teams in all of Minor League Baseball. Nine of MLB.com's top-20 Astros prospects head to Lancaster including the two previous first overall picks in the MLB draft, shortstop Carlos Correa and pitcher Mark Appel.
Correa, 19, was selected in the 2012 draft and hit .320 with 45 extra-base hits in 117 games during his first full season. Appel was drafted last season after a successful four years at Stanford. He posted a 3.82 ERA over 10 starts in 2013.
Right-hander Lance McCullers, the 41st pick of the 2012 draft, gives the JetHawks a total of three first-rounders.
Correa (#1), Appel (#3) and McCullers (#5) are joined by right-hander Vince Velasquez (#9), third baseman Rio Ruiz (#11), outfielder Teoscar Hernandez (#13), left-hander Josh Hader (#15), right-hander Kyle Smith (#19) and outfielder Danry Vasquez (#20) as the top Astros prospects in Lancaster.
The nine top-20 prospects are the most of any affiliate in an Astros farm system that was ranked as the best in baseball by ESPN and The Sporting News.
First baseman Brandon Meredith leads a group of 10 players who have previously spent time in Lancaster. Meredith hit 16 homers in 105 games for the JetHawks in 2013 while primarily playing in the outfield. Right-hander Tyson Perez, who helped lead the JetHawks to the franchise's first title in 2012, returns for his third season. Right-handers Michael Dimock, Mike Hauschild and Chris Devenski all spent part of last season in Lancaster.
Catcher Roberto Peña, who was behind the plate for the JetHawks championship-clinching win in 2012, returns after spending 2013 in the Midwest League. Infielder Carlos Perdomo and outfielder Dan Gulbransen are the other two position players returning to The Hangar.
Sixteen players finished the 2013 season playing for the Midwest League champion Quad Cities River Bandits. Pitchers Jamaine Cotton, Mitch Lambson, Juan Minaya, Daniel Minor and J.D. Osborne were all part of the championship pitching staff. Infielder Tony Kemp, a fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2013, and outfielder Jordan Scott won the title with the River Bandits as well.
Right-hander Kyle Westwood and catcher Jake Rodriguez each jumped Low-A and were sent to Lancaster after finishing the 2013 season with the Tri-City ValleyCats in the short season New York-Penn League. Outfielder Justin Gominsky last played with Tri-City in 2012 but missed the entire 2013 season due to injury.
The JetHawks begin the 2014 season on Thursday, April 3 at The Hangar against the Lake Elsinore Storm. Season tickets and other great ticket packages are on sale now. To order, call (661) 726-5400 or visit jethawks.com.