OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers have announced the OKC Dodgers preliminary roster for the 2015 season.
The OKC Dodgers open the season Thursday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark against Round Rock at 7:05 p.m. The preliminary roster does not include players on the disabled list and is subject to change before the official roster must be submitted.
Among the players on the preliminary roster, 12 played in the Major Leagues in 2014 and a total of 15 players have Major League experience. Ten players are currently on the Los Angeles Dodgers' 40-man roster.
Five players on the roster are ranked among the Dodgers' top 30 prospects, as ranked by Baseball America: Outfielder Scott Schebler (#9), pitcher Zach Lee (#14), catcher Austin Barnes (#16), infielder Darnell Sweeney (#17), and pitcher Carlos Frias (#26).
Only three players appeared for the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque in 2014: Frias, Lee, and reliever Josh Ravin. Nineteen players are in their first season in the Dodgers organization, and of those 19, 10 were acquired via trade and nine signed as free agents.
Two players spent part of the 2014 campaign in Oklahoma City with the RedHawks: infielder Kiké Hernandez and relief pitcher Jorge De Leon. Both players were acquired in trades by the Dodgers during the offseason.
As opposed to recent years past, Oklahoma City's baseball team will have an increased veteran presence in 2015. Two-time American League All-Star and 15-year MLB veteran Freddy Garcia joins the squad after signing a minor league deal with the Dodgers in late March. With 156 wins throughout his career, Garcia is the winningest Venezuelan-born pitcher in MLB history. Former Oklahoma State standout Scott Baker is another veteran recently inked by the Dodgers who will begin the season in Oklahoma City. Baker spent seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins and has also played for the Chicago Cubs.
Other veteran pitchers with significant Major League experience include David Aardsma, David Huff, and Sergio Santos. All were signed as free agents by the Dodgers this offseason. Mike Bolsinger, Adam Liberatore, and Joe Wieland all came to the organization through trades over the past few months. Wieland was acquired from the San Diego Padres as part of the package the Dodgers received in exchange for Matt Kemp. Ryan Buchter and Danny Coulombe - a pair of lefty relievers who each made their MLB debut in 2014 - round out the pitching staff.
The OKC Dodgers currently have a trio of catchers: Barnes, Ralph Henriquez, and Shawn Zarraga. Barnes was one of four players received by the Dodgers from the Marlins as part of a seven-player trade on Dec. 10, 2014. Over his four-year professional career, Barnes has a .298 batting average and .390 on-base percentage. Zarraga has also proved to be a catcher who knows how to get on base, with a .376 on-base percentage in his career and a .440 on-base percentage with Double-A Huntsville last season.
The middle of the infield will feature Hernandez and Sweeney. Since playing for Oklahoma City in 2014, Hernandez has been traded twice, most recently from the Marlins to the Dodgers. During his time with the RedHawks last season, Hernandez hit .337 and led the PCL in hits over the time he was in the league (67 games). Sweeney is coming off an all-star campaign with Double-A Chattanooga in 2014, during which he led the Southern League in runs scored (88) and tied for the league lead in walks (77).
O'Koyea Dickson will anchor first base. Last year at Double-A, Dickson finished in the top six in the Southern League in several offensive categories, including second in both extra-base hits (56) and doubles (36), and tied for fourth in RBI (73). The infield also has a couple of versatile defenders in Buck Britton and Elliot Johnson. Both enter their first season with the Dodgers organization and can play multiple positions. Johnson was acquired near the end of spring training in a trade with the Texas Rangers and has played in 318 career Major League games with the Rays, Royals, Braves, and Indians.
Schebler headlines the outfield. The Dodgers' 2013 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year had an outstanding 2014 with Double-A Chattanooga, leading the Southern League in home runs (28), extra-base hits (65), total bases (272), and slugging percentage (.556). He'll be joined by another power threat in Kyle Jensen, who spent all of last season in the PCL with the New Orleans Zephyrs and ranked second in the league with both 28 home runs and 92 RBI.
After spending the past few seasons as a regular on the Cincinnati Reds' roster, Chris Heisey will be a key piece in the outfield. Since 2010, Heisey leads Major League pinch-hitters in slugging percentage (587) and RBI (35). Last season he led the Majors with four pinch-hit home runs. Matt Carson adds another veteran presence. Carson is entering his 14th professional season and spent 2014 with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He has 92 games of MLB experience with the A's, Twins, and Indians.
Limited tickets remain for Opening Night. To purchase tickets for any game during the opening homestand or throughout the entire 2015 season, please call (405) 218-1000, go to okcdodgers.com, or visit the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark box office on S. Mickey Mantle Drive in Bricktown.