The Arizona Diamondbacks and Missoula Osprey announced the first additions to the 2019 Missoula Osprey roster on Sunday and experience is the name of the game. 12 former Osprey highlighted by 1B Francis Martinez, infielder Cesar Garcia, starting pitchers Wilfry Cruz and Edgar Martinez, and relievers Ezquiel De La Cruz and Liu Fuenmayor will be wearing Osprey uniforms when workouts begin on Tuesday at Ogren Park Allegiance Field along the Clark Fork River. Rounding out the returnees will be pitchers Mailon Arroyo, Landon Whitson, Pedro Zorrilla, and Oliver Rosario, catcher Douglas Lanza, and 2018 everyday outfielder David Sanchez. In all, the 12 players have a combined 24 seasons of experience in the Arizona Diamondbacks system at the Arizona Rookie League affiliate or higher levels.
"I can not remember getting as many as 12 players back from the previous season before," explained Matt Ellis, Osprey Vice President. "We are truly excited to get this talented group of 12 players back to Missoula. When you combine this prospect group with the collegiate players we will get assigned tomorrow, we will have arguably the most experienced team in our history."
Francis Martinez returns to Missoula two seasons removed from a successful 2017 Osprey season where he hit .271 with 6 homeruns. The big 1B spent last season with the Dbacks affiliate in Hillsboro where he hit 8 homeruns and drove in 33 runs. Still only 21 years old, Martinez will be a middle of the order bat Missoula will be counting on.
Cesar Garcia played a key role as a utility infielder for the Osprey and was productive with a .346 on base percentage and 12 stolen bases. He also had a .736 OPS with 11 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 homeruns. The 21 year old will once again demonstrate his any where any time versatility role who can play second, short, and third.
Wilfry Cruz is currently being tabbed as the probable Opening Day starting pitcher when the season begins on Friday in Great Falls. Cruz is a 21 year old righty who will be in Missoula for his third season. He made a brief appearance in 2017 with 2 relief appearances and a 4.50 ERA. He returned last season and was a member of the starting rotation all season making 14 starts. He was 5-2 with a 5.27 ERA last season and finished the season strong only allowing 7 earned runs in his last 23 innings pitched (2.74 ERA).
Another veteran right hander in the Osprey rotation this season will be Edgar Martinez who will also be entering his 3rd season as an Osprey. Martinez was 5-6 with a 5.94 ERA in 15 starts last season for Missoula.Martinez' numbers were a little misleading last season as he had a bad run of four starts mid season that pushed his ERA up. He started the season on fire with a 2.00 ERA through 5 starts. In 2017 he had a 4.76 ERA in 7 starts. He will most likely pitch game two of the season on Saturday in Great Falls.
The bullpen returns two exciting arms in Liu Fuenmayor and Ezquiel De La Cruz. Both 20-year old arms spent most of last season in the Arizona Rookie League Dbacks affiliate before being promoted late in the season to Missoula. Both were very successful in both stops. Fuenmayor brought a 1.95 ERA in 14 appearances from the Arizona League to Missoula and didn't give up a run in his only Osprey appearance. De La Cruz had a 3.10 ERA in 16 appearances for the Arizona League and a 2.45 ERA in 2 appearances for the Osprey. Overall, De La Cruz struck out an impressive 43 in 32 innings combined last year.
Promising young 20 year old outfielder David Sanchez will roam the outfield again for the Osprey in 2019. Last season, Sanchez, hit .259 with 14 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 homeruns in 53 games.
Landon Whitson, a 25th round draft pick from 2018, returns to the bullpen this season. Whitson made 17 appearances, all in relief, and had a 5.23 ERA. He struck out 31 in 32 innings pitched.
Pedro Zorrilla returns after a solid season in 2018 where he bounced between reliever and starter during the season. He made 16 appearances and 6 starts for the Osprey with a solid 3.91 ERA in 46 innings.
Oliver Rosario is an exciting lefty out of the bullpen. He had a great season in the Arizona Rookie League with a 2.08 ERA in 8 appearances before being promoted at the end of the season to Missoula for two appearances that didn't go to well. One of the youngest players on the team at 19, Rosario has a huge upside and showed last season plenty of talent.
Mailon Arroyo, like Rosario, had great success in the Arizona Rookie League last season but struggled at times after his promotion to Missoula. Arroyo has great strikeout numbers and will look to build off his success last season here with the Osprey. Last season combined at both stops, Arroyo struck out 43 in just under 30 innings.
Catcher Douglas Lanza rejoins the Osprey after limited duty as the backup catcher in both the Arizona League and Missoula last season. Lanza will be one of three catchers on the roster.
The Diamondbacks and Osprey will be announcing more roster additions, including some of this year's draftees, on Monday as they become official. Final roster decisions are happening tonight with the players traveling to Missoula and Hillsboro Monday. The Osprey will take the field for the first time on Tuesday at 4pm for their first workout at Ogren Park Allegiance Field. This workout is open to the media.
A complete roster will be attached to tomorrow's release.
The Osprey open the season on Friday, June 14th in Great Falls. After a six game road trip to open the season, the Osprey will celebrate their Home Opener on Friday, June 21st at 7:05pm. Tickets are on sale for the Home Opener and all Osprey home games this season at www.missoulaosprey.com, the MSO Hub downtown, or by calling (406) 543-3300.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.