Dodgers Set 2017 Loons Roster

Season begins Thursday vs. Lansing Lugnuts in Midland

By Matt DeVries / Great Lakes Loons | April 3, 2017 9:26 AM

The 2017 team boasts 12 players who spent time playing for the Loons during the 2016 season when the franchise captured its first league title. Infielders Brendon Davis and Zach McKinstry, along with outfielders Saige Jenco and Darien Tubbs, were all in the lineup on Sept. 18, 2016, for the championship-clinching Game 4 victory over the Clinton LumberKings. Pitchers Leo Crawford and Jordan Sheffield started Games 1 and 2 of that final series last year as well. All six players will start the season in Great Lakes.

MIDLAND, Mich. - In conjunction with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the defending Midwest League Champion Great Lakes Loons are pleased to announce the team's Opening Day roster for the 2017 season.

The 2017 team boasts 12 players who spent time playing for the Loons during the 2016 season when the franchise captured its first league title. Infielders Brendon Davis and Zach McKinstry, along with outfielders Saige Jenco and Darien Tubbs, were all in the lineup on Sept. 18, 2016, for the championship-clinching Game 4 victory over the Clinton LumberKings. Pitchers Leo Crawford and Jordan Sheffield started Games 1 and 2 of that final series last year as well. All six players will start the season in Great Lakes.

Of the 25 players on the Opening Day roster, 10 were selected by the Dodgers in the 2016 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including four pitchers who were drafted in the first 10 rounds: Sheffield (CBA/1st round), Dustin May (3rd round), Devin Smeltzer (5th round) and Tony Gonsolin (9th round).

There is a distinct international flavor to the crop of players that are headed to the Midwest League for the Loons this season as ten players hail from outside the United States. Six different countries will be represented, including Venezuela which will have pitcher Willian Soto, highly-touted catcher Keibert Ruiz and infielder Gersel Pitre all donning Loons colors. Germany will be represented as pitcher Sven Schüller will be making his full-season debut with Great Lakes, as will Brazil with infielder Luis Paz.

Jeremy Rodriguez will become the fifth Loons manager in the past five season in 2017, as well as the eighth manager in franchise history in his first year with the Dodgers organization. After playing five years in the minor leagues with the San Diego Padres organization (drafted in the 16th round in 2011), Rodriguez began his coaching career at just 25 years old as a skipper in the Dominican Summer League. Rodriguez, 27, was born in Burbank, California and attended California State University, Bakersfield where he was a member of the Roadrunners first Division I baseball team in 2009.

Rodriguez will be joined by pitching coach Connor McGuiness, hitting coach Jair Fernandez and assistant coach Fumi Ishibashi to make up the Loons coaching staff. Ishibashi is the lone returner to the dugout as he enters his third season as a member of the Loons coaching staff.

The Dodgers support staff making their way to Midland will be completely new. Yuya Mukaiara will enter his first season as the team's athletic trainer, along with performance coach Thomas Gentile and video associate Charles Wagner. 

The Loons 2017 Opening Day roster is as follows:

PITCHERS (13): AJ Alexy, Leo Crawford, Tony Gonsolin, Nolan Long, Dustin May, Lenix Osuna, Vin Santarsiero, Jose Santos, Sven Schüller, Jordan Sheffield, Devin Smeltzer, William Soto, Christian Stolo 

CATCHERS (2): Stevie Berman, Keibert Ruiz

INFIELDERS (5): Oneil Cruz, Brendon Davis, Zach McKinstry, Luis Paz, Gersel Pitre

OUTFIELDERS (5): Gage Green, Saige Jenco, Carlos Rincon, Cody Thomas, Darien Tubbs

The Loons start the 2017 season Thursday with their Opening Day Championship Celebration against the Lansing Lugnuts at Dow Diamond. Gates open at 5 p.m. with the first 1,000 fans receiving a commemorative championship banner. Beginning at approximately 5:30, a special pregame ceremony will take place on the field honoring the 2016 Midwest League Championship team. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.

Returning for their third season in the radio booth for ESPN 100.9-FM will be Chris Vosters and Brad Tunney. All 140 Loons games can be heard on ESPN 100.9-FM, ESPN1009.com, Loons.com and on mobile using the TuneIn App. Along with the radio broadcast, all 70 Loons home games and select road games are also streamed digitally via MiLB.TV.

The 2016 Midwest League Champions and hosts of the 2017 MWL All-Star Game presented by GoGreat.com have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. For tickets and more information about the Great Lakes Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.

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

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