Greenville, SC - In conjunction with the Boston Red Sox, the Greenville Drive have announced their Opening Day roster for the 2017 season, and fans who visit Fluor Field this year will be treated to a talented group of new prospects as well as several key returnees to the roster.
The roster features seven of Boston's top ten draft picks from 2016, which marks the highest number of top ten picks ever showcased on the Drive's Opening Day roster. These picks include left-handed pitcher Jason Groome, who was the 12th overall selection in the 1st round, right-handed pitchers Shaun Anderson (3rd round), Mike Shawaryn (5th round) and Steve Nogosek (6th round), infielders Bobby Dalbec (4th round) and Santiago Espinal (10th round) and outfielder Ryan Scott (7th round).
In addition, seven players who have previously spent time in Greenville are returning to open the 2017 season, including left-handed pitcher Logan Boyd, who set a franchise record with 14 victories last season, and infielder Mitchell Gunsolus, a midseason South Atlantic League All-Star who smacked 11 home runs.
"The release of the Opening Day roster is always an exciting time for the Drive organization, and especially so this season, as we welcome the most top ten picks to Greenville in our franchise history," said Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko. "Just in the last few years, several of baseball's brightest young stars have seen their careers blossom in Greenville, including 2016 AL MVP finalist Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts and more, and we believe the talented group of players the Red Sox have placed in Greenville to begin 2017 will have many more players who come through Greenville en route to big league stardom."
The preliminary roster consists of 27 players, and will be narrowed down to 25 active players by Opening Day. The roster includes nine right-handed pitchers: Anderson, Pat Goetze, Daniel Gonzalez, Matthew Gorst, Nogosek, Hildemaro Requena, Shawaryn, Hunter Smith and Jordan Weems; and four left-handed pitchers: Boyd, Groome, Darwinzon Hernandez and Robby Sexton.
Anderson was selected out of the University of Florida in the 3rd round last summer, where he posted a 0.97 ERA and an SEC-leading 13 saves in 2016.
Gonzalez made 16 starts for the Drive in 2016 and went 5-5 with a 3.70 ERA over 87 2/3 innings.
Nogosek was a 6th round draft pick from the University of Oregon in 2016, and he made 10 appearances for the Drive to conclude last season.
Shawaryn set numerous pitching records at the University of Maryland in his three seasons, including career wins (30), single-season wins (13), career strikeouts (308) and single-season strikeouts (138).
Weems spent parts of three seasons with the Drive between 2012-14 as a catcher, and he returns to Greenville after converting to a pitcher last season.
Boyd posted 14 wins in Greenville in 2016, setting a franchise record previously held by Felix Doubront and Henry Owens, and he logged 139 1/3 innings on the mound.
Groome enters the season as the number three prospect, and the top pitching prospect, in the Boston organization according to Baseball America.
Three catchers are listed on the Opening Day Roster: Roldani Baldwin, Isaias Lucena and Eddy Reynoso.
Baldwin played in 61 games with the Drive last season, hitting .249 with three homers and 23 RBI.
The Drive infielders include Dalbec, Espinal, Gunsolus, Nick Lovullo, Carlos Tovar and Tucker Tubbs.
Dalbec, the number five prospect in Boston's organization according to Baseball America, helped lead the University of Arizona to the College World Series in 2016, and after being assigned to A-Lowell last year, he hit .386 with seven homers and 33 RBI in 34 games.
Espinal hit .432 with 70 hits for Miami Dade College in 2016, and he played in 26 games for the GCL Red Sox after signing.
Gunsolus smacked 11 homers in Greenville last season to rank fifth on the team, and he spent time defensively at third base, second base and first base.
Rounding out the Drive's roster are five outfielders: Yoan Aybar, Lorenzo Cedrola, Tyler Hill, Chris Madera and Ryan Scott.
Hill was a New York-Penn League All-Star in 2016 with Lowell, and he hit .332 in 61 games with four homers, 38 RBI and 11 steals.
Scott posted monster numbers as a senior at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in 2016 with a .435 average, 12 homers and 66 RBI. He spent the summer with Lowell and hit .276 with four homers.
Under the guidance of Manager Darren Fenster, Pitching Coach Walter Miranda, Hitting Coach Wilton Veras, and Assistant Coach Corey Wimberly, the Drive roster looks ready for a successful 2017 campaign.
"We are extremely excited about this new group of talented young players as we prepare for the 2017 season at the all-new Fluor Field," said Drive Owner and Team President Craig Brown. "We hope to see these players get off to a flying start in their professional careers as they continue to cement Greenville's reputation as a place for Boston's top prospects year in and year out, and we are excited to watch them in the future as they help the Red Sox compete for World Series championships."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.