(WOODBRIDGE, VA) - The Potomac Nationals, high-A affiliate of the Potomac Nationals have announced their 2012 Opening Day roster. The squad includes Washington's first pick of the 2011 Draft: sixth overall selection infielder Anthony Rendon.
The first college position player taken in the 2011 Draft, Rendon will make his professional debut with Potomac. While at Rice University, he was a two-time Conference-USA Player of the Year hitting .371 over three seasons. In 2010, Rendon batted .394 with 23 homers and slugged over .800 during his sophomore campaign when he was named the Dick Howser Trophy winner as the nations top collegiate player. Baseball America lists him as the second best Washington prospect and 19th best in all of baseball.
The Potomac infield will also feature second basemen Adrian Sanchez who ranks as Washington's 28th best prospect according to Baseball America. Sanchez finished his last two seasons with Hagerstown and stole 25 bases last year. Versatile Blake Kelso, who started more than 15 games at three infield positions, comes to Potomac after spending all of 2011 with Hagerstown batting .293. Justin Bloxom rejoins the P-Nats after playing 88 games last year. Members of Potomac's 2010 Carolina League Champion team, Sean Nicol and Francisco Soriano also open 2012 in Woodbridge.
The Nationals start the year with two catchers: David Freitas and James Skelton. Freitas, who Baseball America ranked as Washington's 27th-best prospect, led the South Atlantic League with 82 walks and ranked second in on-base percentage at a .409 clip. Skelton joins the Nationals organization from Cincinnati where last year he reached AAA with Louisville.
Five outfielders start the season with Potomac including Michael Taylor, the 14th best prospect in the organization according to Baseball America. Taylor stole 23 bases last year with Hagerstown to go with his 13 home runs in 129 games. Kevin Keyes, the 30th ranked prospect by BA, smacked 40 extra-base hits in just 85 games in the South Atlantic League while slugging .510 in his first full professional season. Wade Moore and Randolph Oduber both join Potomac after spending 2011 with Hagerstown. Oduber batted .301 over 56 games with the Suns. The only returning National in the outfield is Chris Curran.
The pitching staff will feature 13 hurlers including seven returners from last seasons' playoff team. Lefty Paul Applebee comes to Potomac after two seasons with Hagerstown. Ryan Demmin saw action over three levels last year including Potomac and Trevor Holder returns to the P-Nats after spending part of the last three years in Woodbridge. Wilson Eusebio, Matt Grace and Bobby Hansen each spent all 2011 with the Hagerstown Suns. Grace won 12 games in 25 starts while Hansen struck out 49 batters over 52 innings. Reliever Neil Holland had a 2.01 ERA over 34 appearances last year over two levels including Potomac. Returners Adam Olbrychowski, Cameron Selik, Josh Smoker and Rob Wort all start with the P-Nats after spending the entire 2011 year season in Potomac. Kyle Winters comes to the Washington organization after seven seasons with the Miami organization. Matt Swyenberg joins Potomac after an impressive 2011 going 6-3 with Hagerstown.
Eight players start on the DL for the Nationals. Parenthesis indicate rank on Baseball America Top 30 rankings: LHPs Matt Purke (7) and Robbie Ray (17), Cs Sam Palace and Beau Seabury, 2B Zach Walters (19), SS Rick Hauge (15), INF Steven Souza and OF J.R. Higley.
The P-Nats open their season Friday, April 6 in Lynchburg against the Hillcats. The Potomac home opener is the following Friday, April 13. Individual game tickets and season plans are on sale now, so call the Nationals ticket office at 703-590-2311 to get in on the 2012 action!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.