2013 Pacific Coast League Season Preview

By Matt Lundgren / Pacific Coast League | April 1, 2013 10:03 AM ET

Baseball season is finally upon us and with just a few days until the Pacific Coast League's Opening Day, we take a brief look at all 16 teams.

Albuquerque Isotopes (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Division: American Southern
2012 Record: 80-64
Manager: Lorenzo Bundy (3rd season)

The Isotopes are coming off a strong 2012 campaign that saw them win the American Southern Division, narrowly holding off the Oklahoma City RedHawks (75-69) by one and a half games. Skipper Lorenzo Bundy returns for his third season in Albuquerque and is the reigning Manager of the Year in the PCL. Despite the loss of 2012 Pitcher of the Year John Ely the Topes are primed to make another division title run with the additions of veteran starter Matt Palmer and highly regarded prospect Matt Magil into the rotation.

Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Colorado Rockies)
Division: Pacific Northern
2012 Record: 75-69
Manager: Glenallen Hill (1st season)

New Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill makes his Triple-A debut after a stint as the first base coach with the Colorado Rockies. The Sky Sox had a successful 2012 season after finishing second in the Pacific Northern Division, just six games back of Reno. Colorado Springs adds power hitting third baseman Ryan Wheeler to an already explosive offense that finished tied for fourth in the PCL with 808 runs last year.

Fresno Grizzlies (San Francisco Giants)
Division: Pacific Southern
2012 Record: 74-70
Manager: Bob Mariano (2nd season)

The Grizzlies return several key players from 2012, including slugger Roger Kieschnick, who batted .306 with 15 home runs last year. Starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit and infielder Nick Noonan also return. Outfielder, Cole Gillespie, should help fill the void left by Justin Christian, who was a signed to a minor league contract by the St. Louis Cardinals. Fresno will look to improve on their third place finish in the Pacific Southern Division a season ago.

Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs)
Division: American Northern
2012 Record: 53-87
Manager: Marty Pevey (1st season)

Marty Pevey enters as the new manager of the Cubs with a career record of 644-617. Pevey comes to the PCL after spending the last four seasons as the skipper of the International League's Syracuse Chiefs. The return of All-Star third baseman Josh Vitters and the addition of first baseman Brad Nelson gives the Cubs some stability in the heart of their lineup.

Las Vegas 51s (New York Mets)
Division: Pacific Southern
2012 Record: 79-64
Manager: Wally Backman (1st season)

This year the PCL welcomes back the New York Mets organization into the PCL as they take over as the Major League affiliate of the Las Vegas 51s. The Mets were formerly the Major League affiliate of the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2007 and 2008. Storied manager Wally Backman will take the reins of the new look 51s in 2013 after managing the Mets Triple-A squad, the Buffalo Bisons last season. Top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud will serve as the lone familiar face from the 2012 team as he was acquired by the Mets via trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Joining d'Arnaud are veteran outfielders Corey Patterson and Andrew Brown as well as pitcher Aaron Laffey.

Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals)
Division: American Northern
2012 Record: 57-87
Manager: Ron Warner (2ND season)

Manager Ron Warner returns for his second season in Memphis. After a third place finish in the American Northern Division last year, the Redbirds are poised to improve this season. The addition of outfielder Justin Christian, who hit .343 last season as a member of the Fresno Grizzlies, will help bolster Memphis' lineup. Similarly, the addition of starting pitching prospect Kevin Siegrist should help offset the loss of Shelby Miller, who earned a spot in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation.

Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers)
Division: American Northern
2012 Record: 67-77
Manager: Mike Guerrero (2nd season)

Nashville finished in second place in the American Northern Division in 2012 but Mike Guerrero and company will look to improve on that mark in 2013. The return of starting pitcher Hiram Burgos bodes well for the Sounds rotation. Burgos, who ended the 2012 season in Nashville after being called up from Double-A Huntsville, finished with an 8-3 record and a 1.91 ERA with the Sounds. Second baseman prospect Scooter Gennett will make his Triple-A debut after also playing for the Huntsville Stars in 2012. Gennett, who hit at a .293 clip last year, provides a boost to an offense that ranked last in the PCL with 561runs scored last season with.

New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins)
Division: American Southern
2012 Record: 73-67
Manager: Ron Hassey (2nd season)

Ron Hassey returns for his second season as the Zephyrs manager looking to build on a third-place finish in the American Southern Division. Added to the roster is outfielder Jordan Brown, who played parts of last season in the Mexican League as well as the PCL with the Nashville Sounds . Brown, along with fellow infielder Wilson Valdez, will give the Zephyrs a valuable veteran presence. Another key addition for New Orleans is relief pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo, who saved 25 games for Reno last season.

Oklahoma City RedHawks (Houston Astros)
2012 Record: 78-65
Division: American Southern
Manager: Tony DeFrancesco (2nd season)

Second baseman, Jake Elmore, who played with Reno last season, headlines the additions to an Oklahoma City team that finished 13 games above .500 a season ago. Joining Elmore is veteran outfielder, Trevor Crowe, and third baseman, Brandon Laird. Manager Tony DeFrancesco will have to find some consistency within the starting rotation and bullpen if the RedHawks are to improve on last year's record.  The RedHawks finished near the bottom of the PCL in team ERA (4.89) in 2012.

Omaha Strom Chasers (Kansas City Royals)
Division: American Northern
2012 Record: 83-61
Manager: Mike Jirschele (14th season)

Mike Jirschele returns as manager for his 14th season in Omaha, making him the longest tenured skipper currently in the PCL. The Storm Chasers are coming off another stellar season under Jirschele, having won the American Northern Division for the second consecutive year.  There will be many familiar faces in Omaha this season, including All-PCL pitcher Ryan Verdugo and infielder Johnny Giavotella. There will also be a good mix of newcomers with significant Triple-A experience such as outfielder Willy Taveras and infielder Xavier Nady. 

Reno Aces (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Division: Pacific Northern
2012 Record: 81-63
Manager: Brett Butler (5th season)

The Reno Aces are coming off an incredible season which saw them win both the PCL Championship and the Triple-A National Championship. However, Brett Butler's Aces will have to find a way to replace the majority of their offensive production in 2013. The Aces lose 2012 Most Valuable Player Adam Eaton to the Diamondbacks, although he could see some early action in Reno while he recovers from injury. In addition to Eaton, the Aces have to replace third baseman Ryan Wheeler, second baseman Jake Elmore and ace Trevor Bauer, who have since joined other clubs.  In order for Reno to compete for back-to-back championships they will have to lean on southpaw starter Tyler Skaggs, a highly rated prospect who split time between Mobile, Reno and Arizona last season. Veteran newcomer Mark Teahen will also have to carry some of the load both offensively and defensively at third base.

Round Rock Express (Texas Rangers)
Division: American Southern
2012 Record: 69-75
Manager: Bobby Jones (3rd season)

The Round Rock Express led the PCL in attendance for the second straight season, averaging over 8,300 fans a game. There should be plenty to cheer for this year as the Express welcome Baseball America's number one overall prospect in shortstop Jurickson Profar, who will start the season in Round Rock. Profar is a dynamic infielder who possesses the rare combination of both power and speed. In addition to Profar, the Express will also add highly rated infield prospect Mike Olt. Bolstering the pitching staff is veteran Brad Mills, who was in Salt Lake last year.

Sacramento River Cats (Oakland Athletics)
Division: Pacific Southern
2012 Record: 86-58
Manager: Steve Scarsone (1st season)

Steve Scarsone will take over for Darren Bush as manager of the River Cats. Sacramento is coming off another successful season as they won the Pacific Southern Division for the sixth consecutive season. Catcher Luke Montz and his 29 home runs from a season ago in New Orleans join the fold. The River Cats also add talented infielder Andy Parrino, and veteran pitcher Mike Ekstrom. Returning to the River Cats is outfielder Michael Taylor and starting pitcher Travis Banwart as well as the core group of relief pitchers from 2012.

Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
Division: Pacific Northern
2012 Record: 73-71
Manager: Keith Johnson (3rd season)

Keith Johnson will lead the Bees in his third year as manager. Gone is superstar Mike Trout but Salt Lake still has a roster full of talent. Returning are slugging third baseman Luis Jimenez and starting pitcher Barry Enright. Jimenez had 16 home runs and 85 RBI in 2012, while Enright went 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA in eight games for Salt Lake. Added to the mix is veteran infielder Luis Rodriquez, who has six years of Major League experience.

Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners)
Division: Pacific Northern
2012 Record: 63-81
Manager: Daren Brown (7th season)

Daren Brown is back for his seventh year as manager of the Tacoma Rainiers. Last year's squad finished in last place in the Pacific Northern Division, but with some key additions, Tacoma should be much improved in 2013. Former MLB All-Star Howard Johnson was added to the staff as the hitting coach and Eric Thames will roam the outfield for the Rainiers this season after playing in Las Vegas in 2012. Starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez returns to Tacoma after having a breakout season in 2012 when he went 6-3 with a 3.72 ERA.

Tucson Padres (San Diego Padres)
Division: Pacific Southern
2012 Record: 56-88
Manager: Pat Murphy (1st season)

New Manager Pat Murphy will skipper the Padres during their last season in Tucson before the club relocates to a new downtown stadium in El Paso, TX in 2014. Murphy has been in the Padres minor league system for the last two seasons and spent 15 years as the head coach at Arizona State University prior to joining affiliated baseball. 2012 was a difficult year for Tucson, as they finished in last place in the Pacific Southern Division for the second time in three years. The T-Pads welcome third baseman Cody Ransom and outfielder Travis Buck to the lineup who complement nicely with returning starting outfielder Daniel Robertson. The addition of relief pitchers Wilfredo Boscan and Brandon Kloess will help to improve a bullpen that struggled last year. 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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