FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Fort Wayne TinCaps, in conjunction with the San Diego Padres, announced their 25-man Opening Day roster today. The TinCaps open the 2012 campaign on Thursday, April 5, at Parkview Field when they host the Lake County Captains at 7:05 p.m.
Click here to see the TinCaps roster.
New manager José Valentin, along with returning Pitching Coach Willie Blair and first-year Hitting Coach Jacque Jones will oversee a roster that includes 13 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and four outfielders.
Among the players who will begin the season in Fort Wayne, four of them were selected in either the first round or the supplemental round of the MLB draft.
The roster will feature five of the top 30 prospects in the Padres organization according to the annual rankings done by Baseball America.
Catcher Austin Hedges, at number five, and pitcher Joe Ross, at number nine, highlight the TinCaps roster. Infielder Jace Peterson, rated 17th, and pitcher Adys Portillo, ranked 26th, are also highly-rated players.
Donavan Tate, selected third overall by San Diego in 2009, is ranked 22nd, and will begin the 2012 season in Fort Wayne after missing almost all of the 2011 season due to injury.
Hedges, a second round draft pick, was drafted out of San Juan Capistrano High School in California, and in a Padres system that has many talented catchers, is believed by many to have the strongest defensive tools within the organization at his position.
Ross, the younger brother of Oakland A's pitcher Tyson Ross, was selected 25th overall in last year's draft. Ross attended Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California.
Peterson was a two-sport athlete in college, playing both football and baseball at McNeese State. He was selected 58th overall in last year's draft.
Portillo, 20, returns to Fort Wayne for his third stint with the TinCaps. He pitched in one game with Fort Wayne in 2010, and last season went 3-11 in a TinCaps uniform.
Tate is a highly touted outfielder who is rated by Baseball America as the best athlete in the San Diego farm system entering the 2012 season. He played just six games in a TinCaps uniform in 2011, before a knee injury forced him to the disabled list for a significant portion of the year. Tate was originally committed to play both baseball and football at the University of North Carolina before signing with the Padres in 2009.
The TinCaps roster also features several other Padres farmhands that fans will see at Parkview Field this season, including:
Pitcher Michael Kelly, drafted 48th overall in the supplemental round in 2011 out of West Boca Raton (FL) High School, won a state title last year and opted to sign with the Padres rather than attend the University of Florida.
Pitcher Cody Hebner, a fourth round selection last June from Green River (WA) Community College, went 2-2 with short-season Eugene in 2011, striking out 39 batters in 37 2/3 innings.
Outfielder Kyle Gaedele, who attended Valparaiso University, was drafted in the sixth round last summer by the Padres. He is the highest draft pick ever out of the school, and in 2011 with Eugene was a perfect nine-for-nine on stolen base attempts.
Infielder Casey McElroy, a Florida native, who was drafted last June in the 11th round by San Diego. He played for Auburn University, one of the nation's premiere baseball programs, and was on the Southeastern Conference's Top 10 in eight different offensive categories as a junior.
Pitcher Colin Rea (pronounced RAY) was the Friday night starter for the Indiana State University Sycamores last season. He went 8-4 with a 3.68 ERA before the Padres drafted him in the 12th round last year. He started 15 games for the Eugene Emeralds, going 3-4 with a 2.21 ERA and 43 strikeouts to just 21 walks.
The roster features six players who spent time in a TinCaps uniform in 2011. Those players are pitchers Robert Eisenbach, Adys Portillo, infielder Jose Dore, and outfielders Corey Adamson, Alberth and Donavan Tate.
Pitchers (13): John Barbato, Luis De la Cruz, Robert Eisenbach, Frank Garces, Justin Hancock, Cody Hebner, Michael Kelly, Adys Portillo, Colin Rea, Joe Ross, Daniel Sarria, Matthew Stites, Matthew Wisler
Catchers (2): Matthew Colantonio, Austin Hedges
Infielders (6): Jose Dore, Zach Kometani, Casey McElroy, Justin Miller, Jace Peterson, Travis Whitmore
Outfielders (4): Corey Adamson, Kyle Gaedele, Alberth Martinez, Donavan Tate
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.