Let's meet the team! 2017 Preliminary Roster Announced

Top Prospect Rafael Devers set to make his Double-A debut

April 4, 2017 9:36 AM ET

PORTLAND, MAINE - The Portland Sea Dogs in conjunction with the Boston Red Sox have announced the 2017 Preliminary Roster. Rafael Devers, who ranks as the #2 Prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America, highlights this year's roster. 

PORTLAND, MAINE - The Portland Sea Dogs in conjunction with the Boston Red Sox have announced the 2017 Preliminary Roster. Rafael Devers, who ranks as the #2 Prospect in the Red Sox system according to Baseball America, highlights this year's roster. 

Portland's roster is currently at 27 players and will need to make two roster moves prior to Thursday's opener

Devers is also ranked by Baseball America at the #18 prospect in the entire minor leagues, and having the best infield arm in the organization. The 20-year old has been named an All-Star in each of his first three professional seasons, earning year-end selections in 2014 (GCL Red Sox) and 2016 (High-A Salem Red Sox) and a mid-season selection in 2015 (Low-A Greenville Drive). Last year in High-A Salem, Devers hit .282 (142-for-503), 11 homers, 71 RBI, 32 doubles and 8 triples in a career-best 128 games.

The Sea Dogs have 6 of 30 Top Prospects in the organization according to Baseball America: Devers (#2) INF Nick Longhi (#14), LHP Trey Ball (#15), RHP Jake Cosart (#16), LHP Luis Ysla (#22) and RHP Jamie Callahan (#28).

In addition, the roster consists of 14 players who saw action in Portland last season, including Sea Dogs 10th Player Award-winner INF Ryan Court and last year's leading hitting OF Aneury Tavarez. Baltimore returned Tavarez to Boston on Sunday after spending the entire Spring Training with the Orioles (MLB Rule 5). The roster features seven players from High-A Salem. C Jake DePew, INF Heiker Meneses, INF Mike Olt and OF Jose Rosario were signed as minor league-free agents. LHP Josh Smith was taken in the minor-league phase of the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. Olt is the lone player on the roster with Major League Experience, appearing in 135 games with Texas and both Chicago teams in 2012, 14-15.

Pitcher Harrison Cooney (Angels organization in 2016) will open up the season on the disabled list. Cooney was taken in the minor-league phase of the 2016 Rule 5 Draft and is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Breakdown of the 27-player roster: 17 drafted by the Boston Red Sox, five minor league free agents, two international free agents, one trade, one Rule 5 draft pick and one player (Tavarez) returned from Rule 5.

The pitching staff features four players who spent the entire 2016 season with Portland. RHP Ty Buttrey began the year as a starter, but excelled in his transition to the bullpen, compiling a 3.00 ERA in 24 relief outings and a 1.67 ERA (5 ER/27.0 IP) in 16 appearances from July 1-August 27. LHP Williams Jerez led team with 40 appearances and was named a mid-season Eastern League All-Star. RHP Kevin McAvoy and RHP Teddy Stankiewicz represent two returning starting pitchers. McAvoy won 8 games last year in 22 starts, hurling a career-high 8 innings in his final start of the season. The Syracuse, NY native was tied for 3rd among all minor leaguers with 3 complete games. Stankiewicz fired the first 9-inning complete game 1-hitter in franchise history on August 2, 2016 vs. Erie, and led the team in Quality starts (14), Innings pitched (135.2), and Games started (25).

Ball will be part of Portland's rotation, making his Double-A debut, after spending the last two seasons in Salem. Last year, he ranked 6th in the Carolina League in ERA (3.84) and also ranked 2nd on the team in Innings Pitched (117.1) and Strikeouts (86). The lefty was the 7th overall pick in the 2013 draft out of New Castle High School in Indiana.  

LHP Jalen Beeks made 13 starts at both High-A Salem and Portland last season, fanning a career-high 10 batters in his Double-A debut on June 23rd vs. Harrisburg. RHP Jacob Dahlstrand spent a majority of the season on the disabled list, but made 4 starts with Portland, winning his Double-A debut on July 16, 2016 vs. New Hampshire. RHP Taylor Grover went 3-6 with a 4.06 ERA (34 ER/75.1 IP) between High-A Salem (17 Games) and the Sea Dogs (21 Games). RHP Austin Maddox was a non-roster invitee to Red Sox camp this Spring Training, and pitched at 3 levels last year (Salem, Portland and Pawtucket), going a combined 5-3 with 5 saves, a 3.59 ERA (27 ER/67.2 IP), and 64 SO in 39 appearances. Ysla was placed on Boston's 40-man roster this past off-season. Ysla is famous for being involved in the first trade (acquired from Giants for Alejandro De Aza) made by Dave Dombrowski. In 2016, Ysla made 39 relief appearances for Portland, 2nd-most on the club, and went scoreless in 25 outings. He made one appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket on September 4th vs. Buffalo and worked a scoreless frame.

Callahan and Cosart are two relievers on the active roster without Double-A experience. Callahan was a non-roster invitee to Red Sox Spring Training, appearing in nine exhibition games, going 1-0, 0.87 ERA. The hard-throwing righty went 5-3, 3.29 ERA in his first full season as a reliever. Cosart pitched with Low-A Greenville (29 Games) and High-A Salem (8 Games) to go 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA (14 ER/70.2 IP).

LHP Josh Smith pitched in the Pirates system last season, setting a career-high with 49 appearances between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.  

Portland's infield has some familiar names, including Heiker Meneses, who spent parts of four seasons with the Sea Dogs from 2011-14. The last two years, Meneses was in the Twins system. Court hit .277 (101-for-364, 19 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 46 RBI) in 103 games between the Sea Dogs and Triple-A Pawtucket, including a career-high 5 RBI on August 10th at Erie. Tzu-Wei Lin begins his second full season in Portland, after being ranked among team leaders in games (2nd, 108), stolen bases (2nd, 10), at-bats (3rd, 372), walks (3rd, 34), and triples (T-3rd, 5) in 2016. Lin made his professional debut in centerfield and made 59 starts at shortstop.

Longhi is one of two infielders making his Double-A debut in 2017. Last season, he ranked among the Carolina League leaders in the following categories with High-A Salem: Average (10th, .282), RBI (5th, 77), and Doubles (2nd, 40). Longhi, who was born in Springfield Massachusetts and now resides in Florida, led league first baseman in fielding percentage at .999, committing only 1 error in 856 chances. Olt rounds out the infield, making his debut in the Red sox system. The former UCONN product spent last season in the Padres organization between Double-A San Antonio (49 Games) and Triple-A El Paso (3 Games). Olt led San Antonio with a .373 On-Base Percentage and finished 4th with 31 Walks in just 49 games. The right-handed slugger has 16 career Major League homers, including one off Brandon Workman at Fenway Park on July 2, 2014 as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

The Sea Dogs outfield has two players making their Double-A debuts in Danny Mars and Joseph Monge. Mars spent 2016 with High-A Salem, finishing 5th among Carolina League leaders and 7th among Red Sox minor leaguers with a .293 average (120-for-409). The Florida native led the Carolina League with 10 Triples and tied for 5th with 31 Stolen Bases -2nd-most among Sox farmhands. Monge combined with Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem to hit .293 (138-for-471) in 109 games, which ranked 8th among Red Sox minor-leaguers. Following the season, Monge appeared in 22 regular season games and two postseason games for Santurce in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Cole Sturgeon made his Double-A debut in 2015 with Portland, appearing in 40 games. Last season, Sturgeon hit .267 (114-for-427) with the Sea Dogs, reaching base in 89 of 117 games. Over three games (April 14-16) in his Triple-A debut with Pawtucket, Sturgeon went 3-for-9 with an RBI and 2 doubles.

Tavarez led the 2016 Sea Dogs in the following categories: average (.335), on-base percentage (.379), slugging percentage (.506), hits (129), runs (59), total bases (195), and stolen bases (18). In addition, Tavarez set the franchise record with 13 triples, and was named a mid-season Eastern League All-Star.

Jose Rosario is no stranger to the Eastern League, spending parts of the last two seasons with Double-A Trenton. Rosario hit a combined .284 (75-for-264) in 71 games across three levels in the Yankees system, appearing in 45 games with Trenton.

Danny Bethea, DePew and Jordan Procyshen make up the three catchers on the roster. Bethea played in 31 of his 33 games with Portland last season, hitting both Double-A homers over the Maine Monster (July 2nd vs. Hartford and August 4th vs. Erie). DePew makes his debut in the Red Sox system after seven years in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Last year at Double-A Montgomery, DePew set career bests in games (86), runs (26), hits (61), doubles (10), homers (9), RBI (42), and walks (26). The Illinois native has thrown out 123 of 289 (42.6%) attempted base stealers in his career, including 54 of 128 (42.2%) at the Double-A level. Procyshen is making his Double-A debut after spending last season with High-A Salem; making 56 starts at catcher (two stints on the disabled list). The Canadian native threw out 23 of 53 (43.4%) attempted base stealers and posted a .991 fielding percentage.

Manager Carlos Febles returns for his second season as Portland's skipper. Febles is joined by: Pitching Coach Kevin Walker, Hitting Coach Lee May Jr., Coach Mickey Jiang, Trainer Scott Gallon, Strength Coach Chris Messina and Assistant Trainer Alex Fusco.

The Sea Dogs open up their 15th season as a Red Sox affiliate and 24th season in Portland, hosting the Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies affiliate) on Thursday, April 6th at 6:00 p.m. from Hadlock Field. Tickets can be purchased at seadogs.com or 207-879-9500. Book your nine-inning vacation today! 

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