LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - The boys are back in town after opening the season with four games in Stockton and three in Visalia, going 2-5 on the trip. Thursday, April 12 will kick off the 25th season of Storm baseball at The Diamond and the festivities promise to bring lots of smiles to the faithful Lake Elsinore fans, but there's just as much to grab your attention on the field.
Regarding once again as having a highly-talented roster led by former Florida Marlins and now second year Storm Manager Edwin Rodriguez.
The 2018 Opening Day roster boasts six of the Padres' Top 30 Prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, led by Cuban left-hander Adrian Morejon at No. 6. After regaining his stuff in Fort Wayne last season, Pedro Avila (No. 26) returns to The Diamond with a newfound confidence. David Bednar (No. 28) will come out of the bullpen for the Storm after a strong showing with the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League. He will be joined by 2017 California League All-Star Gerardo Reyes, Elliot Ashbeck, who's started the season with five shutout innings, and the 6-foot-8 Dauris Valdez, who's kept his earned run average at zero through 1.2 innings.
Lake Bachar joins Morejon in the starting rotation. Two starts into the season, Bachar has yet to give up an earned run through 11 innings. Reggie Lawson, a highly-touted righty, showed good stuff in his first start, striking out eight while giving up just one earned run over five innings.
Anchoring the lineup is infielder Hudson Potts, ranked No. 17 in MLB Pipeline's Padres Top 30 Prospects. Potts is off to an 8-for-25 start with four doubles and two home runs. He's 7-for-18 (.389 avg.) in his last five game. Him and utility player Nate Easley look to stay hot, as Easley is hitting .319 through six games.
Jorge Ona (No. 18) and Edward Olivares (No. 20) highlight a talented outfield and possess plenty of power between the two, while Eguy Rosario, the youngest player in the California League, is tied with Potts in home runs after connecting for two in a game at Visalia.
They welcome the Lancaster JetHawks, a Colorado Rockies affiliate, who come to town tied for 1st in the South Division with a 4-3 record. Lancaster is in town for a four game series. The JetHawks are hitting .318 as a team and look to keep the bats hot with a lineup filled with Rockies' Top 30 Prospects, paced by No. 4 Colton Welker, who's on fire, hitting .522 (12-for-23) with a pair of home runs and eight RBIs. Tyler Nevin (No. 9), Forrest Wall (No. 15), Willie Abreu (No. 27) and Vince Fernandez (No. 29) round out the ranked hitters on the roster.
Fernandez is also off to a monster start, going 10-for-24 (.417 avg.) and is currently on an 8-for-16 stretch. Infielder Alan Trejo is 7-for-19 (.368), while First baseman Roberto Ramos is tied for the league lead with three long balls.
The Inland Empire 66ers, a Los Angeles Angels affiliate, are also off to a 4-3 start and will come to The Diamond for a three-game weekday series starting Monday. The 66ers include four players on their roster considered Angels' Top 30 Prospects by MLB Pipeline, led by outfielder-converted-infielder and No. 4 Angels prospect Jahmai Jones and right-handed pitcher Griffin Canning (No. 8), who threw 8.2 scoreless innings in his first start with 12 punchouts.
Canning is joined by Jose Suarez (No. 12), who tallied 10 strikeouts in just five innings through his first start. In the bullpen is Ryan Clark, who is 2-0 through four appearances with five scoreless innings. He will be accompanied in the 'pen by Daniel Procopio, who has struck out eight in six scoreless innings to begin the young season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.