Jackson, Tenn. - The Seattle Mariners announced their Opening Day rosters for all four full-season minor league affiliates this weekend, and the Jackson Generals will begin 2016 with three of the organization's top ten prospects according to Baseball America. Edwin Diaz, Tyler O'Neill and D.J. Peterson will all feature prominently in Jackson's tenth season with the Mariners.
The Generals have an experienced bunch, with 14 of the team's 25 players having been with the team before. Only five players have no experience at the Double-A level or above prior to 2016.
Edwin Diaz highlights the team's pitching staff, which will be 13-deep to start the campaign. The 22-year-old righty is Seattle's second-best overall prospect and top pitcher in the organization according to Baseball America. He made 20 starts for the Generals last year after an early promotion from Class A Advanced Bakersfield.
Stephen Landazuri , who started on Opening Night in 2015 for Jackson, will likely join Diaz in the rotation. Ryan Yarbrough and Dan Altavilla, a pair of stalwarts in Bakersfield's rotation last year earned their first trips to Double-A. Emilio Pagan, who has 36 saves and a 2.41 ERA across three minor league seasons, will pitch in relief.
Matt Anderson, Andrew Kittredge, Jordan Pries and Dylan Unsworth all return to Jackson. Newcomers Brett Ash, Sam Gaviglio, Ryne Harper and Kraig Sitton round out the Generals' staff. The latter three were all acquired by the Mariners in recent years.
On the offensive side, outfielder Tyler O'Neill brings power to Jackson. The team's youngest player-he doesn't turn 21 until June-mashed a California League-best 32 home runs last season with Bakersfield. O'Neill was tied with former General Jabari Blash for the second-most among all minor league players last year. Baseball America ranked the stocky outfielder as the organization's fourth-best prospect.
Infielder D.J. Peterson, the 12th overall pick in 2013, returns to Jackson for a third season. Recently signed Guillermo Heredia figures to patrol the outfield just south of I-40. The Matanzas, Cuba native played for six seasons in Cuba's Serie Nacional and played in the 2013 World Baseball Classic prior to defecting.
The Generals have speed in bunches. Infielder Tim Lopes along with outfielders Ian Miller and Leon Landry combined to steal 100 bases last season.
Infielders Pat Brady, Dan Paolini and Zach Shank all return to the Generals after a spending part of 2015 with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Shank was a jack-of-all-trades last season, having played a total of six positions for a pair of affiliates, while Paolini is only two years removed from leading the team in home runs.
Catchers Steve Baron and Marcus Littlewood both find their way back to West Tennessee. Baron is one of two Generals-Heredia is the other-that are on Seattle's 40-man roster. He made his major league debut with the Mariners in September after starting 2015 with Jackson.
Fans in Jackson and throughout West Tennessee can meet the 2016 Generals Wednesday night at the Warehouse on the campus of Englewood Baptist Church. The fun starts at 6:00 pm, and there will be an opportunity for autographs after the team is introduced. Admission for all is free of charge.
The Generals open up at home for the first time since 2012 on Thursday against the Montgomery Biscuits. It's a State Farm Agent Wes Harris Dollar Night, featuring $1 general admission tickets, hot dogs, popcorn, 12-oz. soda and beer! The fun continues with Fireworks on Educators Appreciation Night Saturday, Family FunDay Sunday and a school day Monday!
Get in on 70 games of fun this summer in Jackson! Single-game tickets and $50 flex packs that include 10 undated ticket vouchers and $100 in gift certificates to Jackson restaurants are available now! Stop by The Ballpark, call (731) 988.5299 or go online to jacksongeneralsbaseball.com to get your tickets now!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.