The Tulsa Drillers roster for the opening of the 2019 season has been set. The Drillers will begin defense of their 2018 Texas League crown with a squad that includes 18 players who saw time with the team during last season's championship run.Many of the returnees for manager Scott Hennessey
The Tulsa Drillers roster for the opening of the 2019 season has been set. The Drillers will begin defense of their 2018 Texas League crown with a squad that includes 18 players who saw time with the team during last season's championship run.
Many of the returnees for manager Scott Hennessey will come from the pitching staff. A total of 11 hurlers have previously spent time in Tulsa. In the starting rotation, Mitchell White, Yadier Álvarez, Dustin May and Justin De Fratus all pitched for the Drillers in 2018, combining for 13 wins. The lone newcomer in the rotation is expected to be J.D. Martin, a veteran right-hander who has pitched parts of two seasons in the major leagues with the Washington Nationals.
The bullpen will consist of a number of familiar faces. Returnees will include Layne Somsen, Shea Spitzbarth, Michael Boyle, Marshall Kasowski, Nolan Long, Andre Scrubb and Parker Curry. The group combined to make over 100 appearances for Tulsa last season and amassed a total of nine wins and seven saves during the regular season.
The only newcomer to the bullpen will be lefthander Adam McCreery. McCreery, who pitched in one big league game with Atlanta last season, was obtained by the Dodgers in an off-season trade.
A pair of intriguing catchers will handle the pitching staff. Keibert Ruiz, who is ranked as one of the top catching prospects in Minor League Baseball, will look to continue his strong play from the end of 2018. He was a key figure in the Drillers post-season, hitting .333 with 2 homers and 8 runs batted.
Josh Thole is the only other catcher on the roster. The 32-year-old has eight years of major league experience with the Mets and Blue Jays.
The infield will feature the return of Gavin Lux at shortstop. Lux joined the Drillers in August of last season and was the team's top hitter in the playoffs with a .424 average.
Newcomers on the infield will include third baseman Cristian Santana, second baseman Omar Estavez and first baseman Jared Walker. The trio combined for 56 home runs and 238 runs batted in 2018 for High-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Returnee Zach McKinstry and ex-big league first baseman Chris Parmelee are also on the opening day roster. McKinstry appeared in 25 regular season games for Tulsa last year, while Parmelee has six years of major league experience with the Twins, Orioles and Yankees.
Three of the four outfielders played for the Drillers last season including D.J. Peters, Zach Reks and Logan Landon. Peters led Tulsa with 29 home runs in 2018, while Reks hit .288 in 78 games in the Texas League.
The newcomer is a familiar name for area sports fans as former University of Oklahoma quarterback Cody Thomas will open the season with the Drillers. The former two-sport star also played baseball for the Sooners and was drafted by the Dodgers in 2016. Last season, he earned California League All-Star honors after hitting .285 with 19 homers and 87 runs batted in for Rancho Cucamonga.
Overall, the Tulsa Opening Day Roster will include 5 of the top 11 prospects in the Dodgers organization, as rated by MLB.com.
The Drillers will open the 2019 regular season this Thursday, April 4, when they host Arkansas at ONEOK Field. Pre-game activities will include a youth parade and the raising of the 2018 Texas League Champions banner. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and tickets are available by clicking HERE.