Pelicans look to ride mix of old, new faces to threepeat

mbpel-trophyIn conjunction with the Chicago Cubs, the two-time defending Carolina League champion Myrtle Beach Pelicans have announced their 2017 Opening Day roster, which features six Top 30 Cubs prospects and 12 players who return from last season’s title squad.

Myrtle Beach’s pitching staff has led the Carolina League in ERA in each of the past two campaigns, and the Pelicans’ rotation will likely sport three Top 30 Cubs prospects in 2017. Oscar De La Cruz (No. 5 by Baseball America, No. 6 by MLB.com) will be joined by Chicago’s top 2016 draft pick in Thomas Hatch (No. 12 MLB.com, No. 13 Baseball America) and left-hander Justin Steele (No. 24 Baseball America). Hatch will make his professional debut with Myrtle Beach.

The Pelicans’ other Top 30 prospects, all position players, reside at each level of the diamond. After manning the outfield in South Bend last year, Eddy Martinez’s (No. 11 by both publications) second professional season will come in the Grand Strand. The Cuban was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Month in July after batting .362 with 22 RBIs in 27 games. The youngest player on the Pelicans roster at just 20 years old, Carlos Sepulveda (No. 18 MLB.com) should take a middle infield spot for the Birds in 2017. Meanwhile, P.J. Higgins (No. 22 Baseball America, No. 29 MLB.com), who Baseball America called the Best Defensive Catcher in the Cubs’ organization, will likely serve as Myrtle Beach’s starting backstop. The Old Dominion product walked 72 times against 75 strikeouts with South Bend last year to post a .389 on-base percentage.

Most of the holdovers from the Pelicans’ 2016 Mills Cup Championship team reside on the pitching staff. Jeremy Null made 20 starts a year ago, but Pedro Araujo, Craig Brooks, Scott Effross, Dillon Maples, Jordan Minch, James Norwood and Tommy Thorpe all logged the majority of their innings out of the bullpen. Thorpe allowed just one run over his final 10 games in 2016 for a 0.54 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 16.2 innings during that stretch. Before his season ended with an injury, Minch, a fellow southpaw, went 15 appearances in a row and 18 of 19 without surrendering a run. His campaign finished with a 2.88 ERA in 34.1 frames.

Adbert Alzolay, Casey Bloomquist and Ryan Kellogg are the other newcomers on the Pelicans’ pitching staff. Alzolay was strictly a starter in South Bend a year ago, going 9-4 with a 4.34 ERA. Bloomquist posted a 3.00 ERA and an 87:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a swingman role with the Low-A Cubs. Kellogg, who pitched in one game with Team Canada during the World Baseball Classic, went 9-7 with a 3.03 ERA and 107:26 strikeout-to-walk ratio for South Bend a year ago.

Helping Higgins with the catching are Tyler Alamo and Tyler Pearson. The former also spent some time at first base with South Bend in 2016, launching all five of his career home runs during the campaign. Pearson batted .205/.297/.261 with a home run and nine RBIs in 31 games with Myrtle Beach last year.

On the infield, Bryant Flete and Jesse Hodges each head back to Myrtle Beach after helping the Birds to their fourth title a year ago. Flete hit .285/.395/.415 with six doubles, two triples, two homers and 18 RBIs in 34 games with the Pelicans. Hodges registered a .287/.349/.359 line in 61 games with South Bend before appearing in 29 contests in Myrtle Beach.

Trent Giambrone, Adonis Paula and Matt Rose round out the Pelicans infield. Giambrone, the Cubs’ 25th round pick in 2016 out of Delta State, batted .291/.399/.430 with 12 doubles, four homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games with Short Season Class A Eugene last season. Rose compiled a .902 OPS with 19 extra-base hits in the second half after 2016 after recording a .555 mark and seven extra-base knocks in the season’s first half.

Daniel Spingola is the Pelicans’ lone holdover in the outfield. The Georgia Tech product hit .267/.347/.346 in 87 contests between Myrtle Beach and South Bend last season. Connor Myers, another member of the Cubs’ 2016 draft class, and Robert Garcia are the other outfielders on the Pelicans’ roster. Myers, who was selected in the 27th round out of Old Dominion, played in 49 games between Rookie-level Mesa, Eugene and South Bend last season. Garcia batted .283/.345/.418 with 13 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 19 RBIs in 49 games with Eugene a year ago.

Buddy Bailey, who enters his 29th year as a minor league skipper, will serve as the Pelicans’ manager for the second consecutive season. Pitching coach Anderson Tavarez also returns for his second year in Myrtle Beach. Hitting coach Guillermo Martinez and assistant coach Ty Wright each enter their first campaign with the Pelicans. Athletic trainer Toby Williams and strength and conditioning coach Jason Morriss round out the staff.

Myrtle Beach’s 2017 campaign begins on Wednesday,  when the Birds host the Battle of the Beaches exhibition game against the Charleston RiverDogs at 6:05 p.m. at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The regular season opens the next day with a seven-game road trip that starts with a four-game set in Lynchburg.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

Comments

comments

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limbo

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limboFor the first time in 35 years, a local high [more]

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale Mike Rucker struck out nine batters over six innings on Wednesday [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Price has right recipe for Sharks

Kickoff Countdown: Price has right recipe for SharksFirst-year St. James High head coach Joey Price put a [more]

Coastal takes regional TV spotlight for UAB contest

Coastal takes regional TV spotlight for UAB contestThe UAB Department of Athletics and Raycom Sports have announced [more]

Kickoff Countdown: NMB looks to ride momentum

Kickoff Countdown: NMB looks to ride momentumThe North Myrtle Beach High football team enters the 2017 [more]

CCU caps brutal exhibition schedule against Clemson

CCU caps brutal exhibition schedule against ClemsonCoastal Carolina’s men’s soccer team took on another top-10 ranked [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Braves riding quality over quantity

Kickoff Countdown: Braves riding quality over quantityIt's safe to say that Socastee High football coach Doug [more]

Pelicans work extra innings to net third straight victory

Pelicans work extra innings to net third straight victory The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won their third straight game for [more]

Pelicans sweep past Dash for fifth consecutive victory

Pelicans sweep past Dash for fifth consecutive victoryStrong starts from Ryan Kellogg and Casey Bloomquist in Tuesday's doubleheader [more]

Kickoff Countdown: `MB's Got Talent' hits TV this fall

Kickoff Countdown: `MB's Got Talent' hits TV this fallMyrtle Beach High football coach Mickey Wilson has heard all [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Tigers have skill to fill roles, holes

Kickoff Countdown: Tigers have skill to fill roles, holesNext man up. It's not only a philosophy the Conway [more]

Chants fall to Tar Heels in exhibition, eye Tigers next

Chants fall to Tar Heels in exhibition, eye Tigers nextCoastal Carolina men’s soccer team opened the 2017 season with [more]

Pearson's blast lifts Pelicans to rare back-to-back wins

Pearson's blast lifts Pelicans to rare back-to-back winsTyler Pearson's two-run home run and Kyle Miller's pitching Sunday [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Young Panthers hold real promise

Kickoff Countdown: Young Panthers hold real promiseThere's a youth movement under way in the Carolina Forest [more]

Paula, Hodges flex muscle, help Pelicans snap drought

Paula, Hodges flex muscle, help Pelicans snap droughtAdonis Paula matched a career-high with four hits while Jesse [more]

Chants take a test drive in first scrimmage of season

Chants take a test drive in first scrimmage of seasonThe Coastal Carolina football team held its 12th practice and [more]

Pelicans tie season-high losing skid at five games

Pelicans tie season-high losing skid at five gamesP.J. Higgins' first inning solo home run proved not to [more]

UPDATE: Rainy conditions cancel CNB Kickoff Classic

UPDATE: Rainy conditions cancel CNB Kickoff ClassicFootball-starved fans along the Grand Strand will have to wait [more]

Pelicans' rally bid falls short on P-Nats' walk-off homer

Pelicans' rally bid falls short on P-Nats' walk-off homerA Zack Short homer in the eighth inning Thursday capped [more]

Lady Chants, Famili earn respect in preseason poll

Lady Chants, Famili earn respect in preseason pollCoastal Carolina senior Daniella Famili was voted the Sun Belt [more]

Ex-Pelican Furcal returns for Fan Appreciation Day

Ex-Pelican Furcal returns for Fan Appreciation DayThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome back alumnus and former [more]

Myrtle Beach falters, looks to avoid sweep by P-Nats

Myrtle Beach falters, looks to avoid sweep by P-NatsTrent Giambrone's home run Wednesday wasn’t enough for the Myrtle [more]

New faces, familiar funning set stage for Kickoff Classic

New faces, familiar funning set stage for Kickoff ClassicWith apologies to Conway National Bank, the "CNB" Kickoff Classic [more]

Coastal defense must hold firm while offense develops

Coastal defense must hold firm while offense developsThrough nine practices, the Coastal Carolina defense may have slight [more]

MB moves first home game to rival North Myrtle Beach

MB moves first home game to rival North Myrtle BeachThe Myrtle Beach High football team will play two games [more]

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limbo

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limboFor the first time in 35 years, a local high [more]

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale Mike Rucker struck out nine batters over six innings on Wednesday [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach