OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers have announced the OKC Dodgers' preliminary roster to begin the 2019 season.
The preliminary roster is not an official roster and is subject to change before the team's first game Thursday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark against the San Antonio Missions.
Among the 25 players on the preliminary roster, eight are members of the Los Angeles Dodgers' 40-man roster, including three who appeared for the Dodgers in 2018. A total of 13 players have Major League experience, with 11 appearing in the Majors at some point last season. Over half of the roster - 13 players - logged time with OKC in 2018, and all but three have played at the Triple-A level at some point in their careers.
Six players on the preliminary roster are ranked by Baseball America among the top 30 prospects in the Dodgers organization, including three of the top eight and four of the top 11: catcher Will Smith (#5), pitcher Dennis Santana (#7), pitcher Tony Gonsolin (#8), infielder Edwin Ríos (#11), pitcher Josh Sborz (#22) and infielder Matt Beaty (#23). Smith, Santana, Ríos, Sborz and Beaty each played for OKC last season.
Santana and Gonsolin will likely anchor the starting rotation. The 22-year-old Santana began last season at Double-A Tulsa and was promoted to OKC in late May. During his Triple-A debut May 19, he threw six scoreless innings and racked up 11 strikeouts against Nashville. Just 13 days later, he made his Major League debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but prior to a scheduled start June 7, he strained his rotator cuff and missed the remainder of the season.
Gonsolin had a breakout campaign in 2018 split between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa and was named the Dodgers' Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He made a total of 26 starts, going 10-2 with a 2.60 ERA and led the Dodgers farm system in wins, ERA and strikeouts (155).
Daniel Corcino and Ben Holmes also figure to be part of the starting rotation. Corcino spent the bulk of 2018 with OKC and was one of the most valuable members of the team. Corcino posted a 3.40 ERA over 24 total appearances and tied for the team lead in starts (19) and ranked second in both innings (103.1) and strikeouts (102). The lefty Holmes put up stellar numbers between Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa after being picked up as a free agent in July, posting a combined 2.29 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and .177 opponent batting average over the final two months of the season.
The bullpen will be a veteran-heavy unit. All nine relievers have extensive Triple-A experience, and six have Major League experience. Returners include right-handers Stetson Allie , Joe Broussard , JT Chargois , and Sborz. The other six were acquired by the Dodgers throughout the offseason, including right-hander Justin Grimm , who has made 306 career Major League appearances with four teams over the past seven seasons and was part of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.
In addition to Grimm, five other relievers played in the Major Leagues as recently as last season: right-handers Chargois (Los Angeles), Kevin Quakenbush (Cincinnati) and Jaime Schultz (Tampa Bay), and lefties Donnie Hart (Baltimore) and Josh Smoker (Pittsburgh/Detroit).
Two familiar names will handle the catching duties: Smith and Rocky Gale . The versatile Smith split his time last season between catching and playing third base while hitting 20 homers across Tulsa and OKC. Gale batted .281 over the course of the season with OKC and was selected to the Triple-A All-Star Game, where he won the catching competition. The 31-year-old had the best fielding percentage among PCL catchers last season (.995) and threw out 43.1 percent of attempted base stealers.
Ríos and Beaty will cover the corner infield spots, as both return to OKC. Each player dealt with injuries in 2018, with neither making his season debut until late May. Although he only played in 88 games, the slugging Ríos hit 10 homers, finished second on the team with 55 RBI and had the top slugging percentage (.482) among those who appeared in at least 50 games. Beaty was unfortunately limited to just 31 games during the regular season, but during his last full season in 2017, he was named Texas League MVP while playing for Tulsa. Both players were added to the Los Angeles Dodgers' 40-man roster during the offseason.
Angelo Mora and Jake Peter both return to OKC and will be joined up the middle by Errol Robinson . Peter played in a team-leading 107 games in 2018, and Mora was a key utility player, splitting his time almost evenly between second base, third base and shortstop while suiting up for OKC. Robinson spent all of 2018 with Tulsa as the team's primary shortstop while setting career highs at the plate with 10 homers and 50 RBI.
The lone returning outfielder is Kyle Garlick , who led the team with 17 home runs last season. He'll be joined by a trio of veterans who signed as minor league free agents this offseason: Ezequiel Carrera , Paulo Orlando and Cameron Perkins . Carrera has appeared in over 500 Major League games throughout his career, and Orlando has appeared in nearly 300 of his own. Orlando spent the past 10 seasons as a member of the Kansas City Royals organization and was a part of their 2015 World Series club. Perkins spent last year primarily at Triple-A Tacoma (Seattle) and has previous Major League experience with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Oklahoma City Dodgers open play Thursday to begin a five-game home series against San Antonio at 7:05 p.m. Special pregame festivities involving area first responders will begin just after 6:30 p.m. Opening Night will feature postgame fireworks presented by LifeShare, and it will be a $2 Thursday, with Pepsi products, bottled water and select beer on sale for $2. Additionally, all Coop Ale Works drafts will be just $3. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit okcdodgers.com or call (405) 218-2182.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.