The Louisville Bats have set their 25-man roster for Opening Night of the 2018 season.
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CATCHERS: Tony Cruz , Joe Hudson & Tony Sanchez
Cruz has 263 games worth of MLB experience (St. Louis, Kansas City), appearing in 38 games for the World Series Champion 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. Sanchez, a former first-round pick (2009 fourth overall, Pittsburgh) has played in 52 MLB games (Pittsburgh, Atlanta). Hudson spent the entirety of 2017 with Class AA Pensacola, appearing in 75 games for the Blue Wahoos.
INFIELDERS: Alex Blandino, Brandon Dixon, Rosell Herrera, Hernan Iribarren, D.J. Peterson, Nick Senzel & Blake Trahan
Third baseman Nick Senzel was selected by the Cincinnati Reds with the second overall pick in the 2016 June Amateur Draft, and was ranked by Baseball-America as the #9 prospect in baseball pre-2017 and the #7 prospect in the sport prior to the 2018 season. A trio of infielders (Blandino, Dixon, Iribarren) return to Louisville after spending significant time in a Bats uniform in 2017. Herrera most recently spent time in the Rockies organization, appearing in 103 games for Class AAA Albuquerque last season. Peterson spent 2017 in the Mariners and White Sox organization, appearing in 103 games for Class AAA Tacoma and 25 games for Class AAA Charlotte. Trahan appeared in 136 games for Class AA Pensacola last season.
OUTFIELDERS: Sebastian Elizalde, Tyler Goeddel, Patrick Kivlehan & Mason Williams
The 2017 Mary E. Barney Louisville Bats MVP Elizalde returns to Louisville after batting .277 with 8 home runs and 60 RBI in 134 games for the Bats last season. Goeddel split time between Pensacola and Louisville last season. Kivlehan spent the entire 2017 season with Cincinnati, hitting .208 with 9 home runs and 26 RBI in 115 big league games. Williams comes over from the Yankees organization, appearing in 111 games between Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and New York.
PITCHERS: Barrett Astin , Kyle Crockett , Dylan Floro, Jimmy Herget, Jose Lopez, Evan Mitchell, Justin Nicolino, Tanner Rainey, Ben Rowen, Jackson Stephens, Robert Stephenson & Zack Weiss
Five of the 12 pitchers on the staff pitched for Louisville last season: Astin, Herget, Mitchell, Stephens and Stephenson. The staff features a pair of southpaws, Kyle Crockett and Justin Nicolino. Crockett pitched in 55 games between Class AAA Columbus and the Cleveland Indians last season, while Nicolino appeared in 35 games between Class A Jupiter, Class AAA New Orleans and the Miami Marlins in 2017. Right-handers Lopez, Rainey and Weiss all split the 2017 season between Class A Daytona and Class AA Pensacola. Rowen pitched in 54 games for Class AAA Las Vegas in the Mets organization last season.
MANAGER & COACHES: Pat Kelly, Leon Durham, Jeff Fassero & Dick Schofield
Manager Pat Kelly enters his first season as Louisville Bats manager after leading Class AA Pensacola to a Southern League Co-Championship last season. Hitting coach Leon Durham enters his first season in the Reds organization after spending the previous 17 as a coach in the Detroit Tigers organization. Pitching coach Jeff Fassero returns for his third season in Louisville, and bench coach Dick Schofield enters his sixth season in the organization, his first with Louisville.
The Bats open the 2018 season on Friday, April 6 at 7:00 PM. Gates open at 5:30 PM. Tickets start at $5. Fans may purchase tickets online at batsbaseball.com or by calling (502) 212-2287.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.