KEIZER, Ore. -- Opening day. There are no two words so pure with possibility, so ripe with renewal. With the start of the 2017 season just hours away, the Volcanoes look to put the 2016 season in the rearview. In 2016, the Volcanoes finished last in the Northwest League's South
KEIZER, Ore. -- Opening day. There are no two words so pure with possibility, so ripe with renewal. With the start of the 2017 season just hours away, the Volcanoes look to put the 2016 season in the rearview. In 2016, the Volcanoes finished last in the Northwest League's South division with a 32-42 record, but with a revamped roster and new manager Jolbert Cabrera at the helm, the team looks primed to bounce back in 2017.
The Volcanoes announced their new roster ahead of the season opener at 7:05 at Volcanoes Stadium on Thursday Night. While the roster will feature many familiar faces such as Northwest League All-Stars Kevin Rivera and John Riley, there are a host of promising prospects coming from the Arizona Rookie League and Dominican Summer League that will supplement an improved roster.
New Manager For the Volcanoes
New manager Jolbert Cabrera will lead the Volcanoes in 2017. Cabrera, who is native to Colombia, is a first time manager, but has plenty of previous coaching experience including three years as a hitting coach in the Cincinnati Reds organization as well as leading the Colombian National Team to their first World Baseball Classic appearance in the country's history. Cabrera moved to the San Francisco Giants system in 2016 where he was one of the Arizona League Giants hitting coaches last season.
Aside from Cabrera's experience as a manager, he has also had an extensive playing career. Cabrera was signed by the Montreal Expos as an international free agent in 1990 and played 22 seasons in professional baseball, including eight in the Major Leagues. Cabrera made his debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1998 and also played in the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Cabrera also played in several foreign leagues, including the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, and Venezuela.
What New Players Can Volcanoes Fans Expect to See in 2017?
The Volcanoes will feature 15 returning and 10 new players, but no two players are more notable than Arizona Rookie League standout Malique Ziegler and opening day starter Stetson Woods.
At just 20 years old, Ziegler punished Arizona League pitching in 2017, amassing an impressive .290/.384/.419 slash line in the process. A five tool player and former two sport athlete, Ziegler's combination of speed and power will be on display in centerfield for the Volcanoes in 2017.
As for the Volcanoes Stetson Woods, the 6'8" right hander has impressed the Volcanoes coaching staff enough to earn an opening day start after striking out 47 batters across 42 ⅔ innings during his time in the Arizona Rookie League.
Who Are the Notable Returners?
Second baseman Kevin Rivera leads the list of notable returners for the Volcanoes this season. Rivera, a graduate of the Carlos Beltrán Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico, hit .320 in the first half of last season, which earned him first half All-Star honors.
John Riley, a returning All-Star catcher, looks to lead to the young pitching staff for the Volcanoes this season. Last year, Riley put up an impressive .369 on-base percentage for the Volcanoes, which was amongst the league leaders for catchers in the Northwest League.
The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes begin play Thursday night at 7:05 PT against the Tri City Dust Devils at Volcanoes Stadium. There will be a limited supply of solar eclipse sunglasses given away to fans who arrive early. These sunglasses will be essential for those planning on attending the Solar Eclipse Game on August 21.