LANCASTER – The opening day roster for the 2018 Lancaster JetHawks has been assigned by the Colorado Rockies. The 25-man roster features 13 pitchers and 12 position players, seven of whom spent time with the JetHawks in 2017.
Manager Fred Ocasio returns for his second season. The JetHawks opens the 2018 regular season at home on Thursday, April 5 against the Modesto Nuts. First pitch is 6:35 p.m.
IF Roberto Ramos, RHP Trey Killian and RHP Alexander Guillen spent the entire 2017 season in Lancaster and played key roles in helping the club win the South Division title.
Ramos, who played collegiately College of the Canyons, hit .297 with 13 home runs, the second most on the club, in a career-high 122 games.
Killian led the league with 28 starts and tied for first with 153.1 innings pitched. Guillen ranked atop the club with 12 saves and 46 relief appearances.
OF Forrest Wall begins the season in Lancaster for the second-straight year. The 35th-overall pick in 2014 was hitting .299 in 22 games last year before suffering a season-ending injury. Starter RHP Brandon Gold and relievers RHP Heath Holder and RHP Salvador Justo round out the club’s returning players.
The roster includes two of the organization’s top-10 prospects as ranked by Baseball America. IF Colton Welker (No. 4) hit .350 with a .901 OPS over 67 games with Low-A Asheville in 2017. He’s joined by IF Tyler Nevin (No. 10), the 38th-overall pick in the 2015 draft, who hit .305 with seven homers in 76 games with Asheville. The son of former big leaguer Phil Nevin became the first Asheville player ever to win a Player of the Month Award after totaling 44 hits last May.
Other 2018 JetHawks ranked by Baseball America in the Rockies’ top-30 are Wall (No. 18), RHP Reid Humphreys (No. 26) and 2017 South Atlantic League Midseason All-Star OF Vince Fernandez (No. 27).
OF Willie Abreu was named a South Atlantic League Postseason All-Star last season after leading the Tourists with 119 games played, 135 hits, 32 doubles and 40 stolen bases. He’s joined by SAL Midseason All-Star IF Max George who drew a team-high 46 walks and finished second with 27 doubles in 2017.
C Brian Serven and C Joel Diaz will work behind the plate for the JetHawks to begin the season. Both saw their first full-season action with Asheville last season.
The club’s pitching staff also includes RHP Bryan Baker, RHP Matt Dennis, RHP Rico Garcia, RHP Justin Lawrence, RHP Logan Longwith, RHP Kenny Oakley and RHP Juan Pena. IF Carlos Herrera, IF Alan Trejo and OF Manuel Melendez round out the 25-man roster.
2018 JETHAWKS OPENING DAY ROSTER (Returners in bold)
Pitchers (13): RHP Bryan Baker, RHP Matt Dennis, RHP Rico Garcia, RHP Brandon Gold, RHP Alexander Guillen, RHP Heath Holder, RHP Reid Humphreys, RHP Salvador Justo, RHP Trey Killian, RHP Justin Lawrence, RHP Logan Longwith, RHP Kenny Oakley, RHP Juan Pena
Catchers (2): Joel Diaz, Brian Serven
Infielders (6): Max George, Carlos Herrera, Tyler Nevin, Roberto Ramos, Alan Trejo, Colton Welker
Outfielders (4): Willie Abreu, Vince Fernandez, Manuel Melendez, Forrest Wall