From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Class A Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, have announced their Opening Day roster for the 2010 season. This year's squad includes eight players ranked in Baseball America's top 30 prospects in the Atlanta Braves system including pitchers Randall Delgado (BA #7) and Zeke Spruill (8). The first Pelicans roster of the new year includes 15 players who saw time on the Grand Strand in 2009.
Delgado and Spruill highlight the Myrtle Beach arms. The 20-year-old Delgado struck out 141 in 124 innings last year while only issuing 49 walks for Class A Rome. Spruill has posted a 16-6 mark in his first two years in professional baseball and is equally stingy with free passes, only walking 37 against 150 strikeouts in two years. Outfielder Adam Milligan (10) is also in Baseball America's top ten Atlanta prospects. Milligan spent time with Danville, Rome, and Myrtle Beach in 2009 and posted a combined .344 average and .985 OPS accompanied by 13 home runs and 49 RBI.
Right-handers Delgado and Spruill lead a Pelicans pitching staff that welcomes back eight hurlers from the 2009 campaign. Righties Yeliar Castro, Jaye Chapman, David Francis, J.J. Hoover (11), and Benino Pruneda join southpaws Jose Ortegano (25), Chad Rodgers, and Cole Rohrbough (23) in returning to Myrtle Beach. Pruneda went 2-3 with a 5.47 ERA in 36 games for the Pelicans a year ago after a May 2 promotion from Rome. Ortegano got work as both a starter and a reliever with Myrtle Beach last year, going 4-5 with a 3.49 ERA before a successful promotion to Double-A Mississippi that saw him go 5-2 with a 2.83 mark in eight appearances (all starts) for the Mississippi Braves. Ortegano was a member of his native Venezuela's Caribbean Series team over the offseason. Rohrbough spent the entirety of 2009 in a Pelicans uniform, making 22 starts and one relief appearance. In addition to newcomers Delgado and Spruill, right-handers Juan Abreu (20) and Angelo Paulino and lefty Matt Crim are the other new faces rounding out the Pelicans pitching staff to kick off 2010.
Seven more returnees are on the position players side of the roster including both catchers. Australian Matt Kennelly and Venezuelan Jesus Sucre (27) will man the backstop position to start the year. Myrtle Beach will carry six infielders and four outfielders to start the season. Around the diamond are first baseman Gerardo Avila, second baseman Yoel Campusano, third baseman Shayne Moody, third baseman Amadeo Zazueta, and 2009 Pelicans shortstop Randy Gress and first baseman Geraldo Rodriguez. Patrolling the Pelicans outfield will be Cole Miles, Milligan, and Chris Shehan, all of whom saw time in Myrtle Beach last year, along with Jahdiel Santamaria. Outfielder Luis Sumoza will begin the 2010 campaign on the disabled list.
Manager Rocket Wheeler returns to Myrtle Beach for his fifth season as the winningest skipper in Pelicans history, a mark he set on September 5, 2009. This season, new pitching coach Kent Willis joins fourth-year hitting coach Rick Albert and 2009 Carolina League Athletic Trainer of the Year Chas Miller on the club's field staff. Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Kepley will start 2010 with the Pelicans as well.