ASHEVILLE- The 2019 Asheville Tourists Opening Day roster is now set. After working with and assessing all of the prospects in Spring Training, the Colorado Rockies are sending 25 individuals to represent the Tourists in the South Atlantic League. Of the 25 players, 23 will be making their first appearance with a full-season Rockies affiliate.
The two returning members of past Asheville Tourists teams are both pitchers who have experience and knowledge about what it takes to succeed in the South Atlantic League. Riley Pint , the eighth ranked Rockies prospect according to MLB.com and first round draft pick from 2016, will look to turn heads after an injury derailed a majority of his 2018 campaign. Nick Kennedy is also returning to help spearhead a talented group of pitchers.
The pitching staff is littered with prospects headlined by Ryan Rolison ; Colorado's first round pick from the 2018 draft and sixth ranked prospect. Mike Nikorak , ranked as the 29th top prospect, was drafted by Colorado in the first round of the 2015 draft and the hard throwing right-hander will join the Tourists staff in 2019. Ryan Feltner , a fourth-round pick from last year's draft and the 24th ranked prospect, will look to build on his spectacular inaugural campaign from last season.
Pitchers Jake Bird, a fifth-round pick, and southpaw Nick Bush , an eighth-round selection, are joined by fellow hurlers Alfredo Garcia , Eric Hepple , Boby Johnson , Shelby Lackey , Alexander Martinez , and PJ Poulin to round out the Tourists 13-player pitching staff.
Offensively the Tourists should be strong once again. The top position player prospect, ranked fifth by MLB.com, is infielder Grant Lavigne . The Bedford, New Hampshire native was Colorado's second selection in the 2018 draft which came in the Competitive Balance A stage right before the second round. The reigning Pioneer League MVP, Coco Montes , along with third-round pick and 14th ranked prospect Terrin Vavra will join Lavigne on the infield. John Cresto , Daniel Jipping , Hunter Stovall , who can also play in the outfield, and former UNC Tar Heel Kyle Datres will all see plenty of playing time around the infield this season.
Patrolling the outfield will be 19th ranked prospect Daniel Montano , tenth-round pick Cade Harris , and Will Golsan who finished fifth in the Pioneer league in hits last year. Asheville's two backstops are Javier Guevara and Willie MacIver who is ranked at number 28 on the prospect board. The Tourists feature eight of the top 30 Rockies prospects but 25 extremely talented individuals.
"I am thrilled to welcome these young men to the Asheville community and the Tourists family," said Tourists president Brian DeWine. "Our staff and fan base are ready to support these players as they continue to develop their skills while making memories for everyone at McCormick Field."
The coaching staff includes second year Manager Robinson Cancel, Pitching Coach Mark Brewer, Hitting Coach Paco Martin, Development Supervisor Randy Ingle, Athletic Therapist Kelsey Branstetter, and Strength & Conditioning Coach Adam Kolberg.
Opening Day at McCormick Field is this Thursday, April 4 where the Tourists play host to the Augusta GreenJackets at 7:05pm. Individual game tickets, season tickets, and flex ticket packages are all on sale at the McCormick Field ServPro Box Office. For more information, contact the Tourists front office at 828-258-0428.