BELOIT, WI – With the Beloit Snappers’ 32nd season of baseball set to begin in less than a week, the Oakland Athletics have announced the 25 men who will make up the Snappers’ 2013 Opening Day roster.
This year’s edition includes four of the Athletics top 20 prospects, according to MLB.com, and is led by two of the organization’s first five draft picks from last year, Matthew Olson and Bruce Maxwell. The team will also feature fifteen players selected by the A’s in the 2012 draft, ranging from first round pick Olson to 37th round pick John Wooten. This young squad will be piloted by new manager Ryan Christenson, who is attempting to lead the Snappers to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Matt Olson (Athletics No. 5 prospect, MLB.com) comes to Beloit after batting a combined .282 last season between the Arizona League and the short season Vermont Lake Monsters. The first baseman racked up a team-high eight homers in rookie ball, which was also good for second in the AZL, before being promoted. Olson did all this after being selected with the 47th overall pick in the 2012 draft.
With their very next pick after taking Olson, the A’s nabbed Maxwell (Athletics No. 15 prospect, MLB.com) in the second round at No. 62 overall. After knocking out 11 hits in 21 at-bats in the AZL, Maxwell was promoted to Vermont and finished the year with a combined .277 average while driving in 26 runs. Also seeing time behind the plate for the Snappers will be Phil Pohl, another 2012 draft pick, who put up a .292/.381/.450 split last season.
Playing opposite Olson on the infield will be third baseman Renato Nunez (Athletics No. 8 prospect, MLB.com). Nunez, who will turn 19 when the Snappers open the season on April 4th, is a native of Venezuela who spent 2012 tearing up the AZL to the tune of a .325 average and a team-high 42 RBIs. His quick, right-handed bat will no doubt be an outstanding compliment to the lefty strokes of Olson and Maxwell.
The rest of the Snappers infield is a versatile group, all of whom have seen time at multiple spots during their time in the minors. Second baseman Chris Bostick figures to be the team’s Opening Day starter after batting .281 last season between rookie ball and short season A-ball and tying for the Vermont team lead with 12 steals. Wilfredo Solano also spent 2012 in Vermont and will be occupying the shortstop position for Beloit. The infield will also include Sam Roberts, who played in the Midwest League last season, and utility man Jake Tanis, who has the ability to play both corner infield spots.
The outfield will be made up of three players who were drafted last June and a fourth who is a veteran of the Midwest League. Brett Vertigan (10th round) and Ryan Mathews (27th round), along with Wooten, all joined the Athletics organization after the 2012 draft. All three experienced successi their initial foray into pro ball. Vertigan showed himself to be an all-around player, as he tied for the team lead in steals in Vermont and finished third on the squad in doubles. Wooten earned a promotion after leading the Lake Monsters in RBIs with 38. Mathews joins the team after spending 2013 in the AZL and putting up a .483 slugging percentage in limited at-bats. The fourth member of the Snappers outfield is Aaron Shipman, who is a talented base stealer and possesses an excellent batting eye.
Beloit’s starting pitching staff will be anchored by righty Raul Alcantara (No. 11 prospect, MLB.com). A 20-year-old from the Dominican Republic, Alcantara pitched in Burlington last season, spending time in both the rotation and the bullpen. He was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox and acquired in a trade by the A’s in December 2011. Alcantara is joined in the rotation by right-handers Michael Ynoa, Tyler Vail and Vincent Voiro and lefty Chris Lamb.
The Snappers bullpen will be made up of eight pitchers, all of whom were 2012 draftees. Six of the eight pitched in Vermont last season and all of them had ERAs under 4.00. The group was headed by Austin House, who struck out 33 in 25.2 IP and saved five games, the most on the team. Close behind was Ryan Dull, who picked up four saves and pitched to a 2.84 ERA with 34 Ks in 25.1 IP. Tucker Healy also spent time in the closers role, saving three ballgames and amassing an astounding 45 punch-outs in 29.1 innings. Seth Streich (2.60 ERA), Kris Hall (0.99 ERA) and Stuart Pudenz (2.59 ERA) will also be available out of the ‘pen after compiling impressive seasons in Vermont. Right-handers Dakota Bacus and Derek DeYoung, who both pitched in the AZL last year, round out the relief core.
Courtesy Beloit Snappers