When the Sacramento River Cats take the field for Opening Day on April 7, there will be plenty of familiar faces around the diamond.
Chris Carter, Michael Taylor, Eric Sogard, Matt Carson and Josh Donaldson were among the last cuts by the Oakland A's, and are expected to start the 2011 season on the River Cats roster. Each of those players was instrumental in leading Sacramento to a fourth consecutive Pacific Coast League South Division title in 2010.
Carter slugged 31 home runs for Sacramento in 2010, many of which left Raley Field fans in awe. His power was unrivaled in the PCL.
Taylor, a right fielder, displayed an all-around game that kept baseball purists grinning ear-to-ear. His combination of size, speed and power makes him one of the organization's top prospects.
Sogard, who narrowly missed making the A's Opening Day roster as the utility infielder, will provide a reliable bat and smooth glove in Sacramento's lineup. . Joining Sogard on the infield will be Steve Tolleson, who hit .332 in Sacramento last season.
Carson, possibly the best defensive outfielder in the PCL last season, has won the River Cats Defensive Player of the Year award for two consecutive seasons. His power from the right-hand side makes his a threat in the middle of the order.
Donaldson, a catcher, is looking to make a bigger impression after making the PCL Mid-season All-Star Team last season.
Sacramento's pitching staff will likely be led by Tyson Ross, a Cal product who has one of the best sliders in all of baseball. After spending much of last season in Oakland's bullpen, Ross could get a look in Sacramento's starting rotation after competing for the A's No. 5 starter spot in Spring Training.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.