RockHounds Opening Day Roster Announced
Shortstop Grant Green Among 15 RockHounds Returning From 2010
The RockHounds will welcome a new field manager in 2011, as Steve Scarsone will guide the club. Steve, in turn, will welcome the Oakland Athletics’ top prospect, shortstop Grant Green, as part of a roster that includes 15 players from the 2010 South Division championship club.
His official career statistics don’t reflect it, but Green appeared with the RockHounds in last season’s Texas League playoffs and, in fact, hit a home run on the first pitch he saw at the Double-A level. The former University of Southern California star spent the entire regular season with Stockton (where Scarsone was his manager) before being promoted to the RockHounds for the Texas League post-season (playoff stats are not included in a player’s official career numbers).
Green was also one of three Stockton Ports to be named to the 2010 (Advanced-A) California League Post-Season All-Star team. Third baseman Stephen Parker and pitcher Shawn Haviland also earned all-star honors in the Cal League, earning promotions to the (Double-A) RockHounds.
Parker, selected by Oakland in the fifth round of the 2009 draft out of Brigham Young University, hit 21 home runs and drove in 98 for Stockton last season and is rated a top-25 prospect on the A’s “farm.” Haviland, a 33rd round selection by Oakland in 2008 out of Harvard University, went 9-6, with a 3.65 earned run average for the Ports.
Haviland will be part of a pitching staff that will feature some very familiar names. Anthony Capra, Fautino de los Santos, Graham Godfrey, Carlos Hernandez, Jared Lansford, Lance Sewell, Paul Smyth, Mickey Storey and Neil Wagner all pitched for the RockHounds in all or part of 2010.
Godfrey was a 2009 Texas League All-Star for the RockHounds, winning 11 games, and spent most of last season at the Triple-A level. Lansford, too, has pitched for (AAA) Sacramento, and has saved 27 games in a RockHounds uniform. Storey got his first taste of Triple-A in 2010, and has been one of the ‘Hounds top relievers, spending parts of both 2009 and 2010 with the club. Wagner, acquired midway through last season from the Cleveland Indians organization, was sensational down the stretch and through the playoffs as the ‘Hounds closer. Wagner did not allow a run (earned or otherwise) in his last 11 appearances. Capra, who was in the ‘Hounds rotation all of last season, posted a solid 4.27 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 130 innings. Acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the trade involving (former RockHound) Nick Swisher, de los Santos (whose velocity touches the high 90’s) is rated the #13 prospect in the Oakland organization by Baseball America.
Three of the four RockHounds’ outfielders played here a year ago: Matt Sulentic, Shane Peterson and Jermaine Mitchell. Both Sulentic and Peterson, each just 23 years of age, rebounded from slow starts a year ago to finish at .275 and .265, respectively. Mitchell opened 2010 at Stockton, his third season with the Ports, before earning a promotion to the RockHounds late in the season. Jermaine, a Texas native (he lives in Daingerfield), was outstanding in the playoffs, hitting .350. The newcomer in the outfield is also a Texan; Josh Barfield is a Houston native and was selected by Oakland in the eighth round of the 2008 draft, out of Klein High School in Spring (TX). Josh, who stands 6-5, 250,
hit 17 home runs with 92 RBI for Stockton a year ago.
The infield is “all new,” with Green and Parker (who play short and third, respectively) joined by second baseman Tyler Ladendorf and first baseman Michael Spina. That quartet formed Stockton’s infield for most of the 2010 season. Although limited to 73 games, Jason Christian, Oakland’s fifth round choice in 2008 out of the University of Michigan, played second, third and shortstop, spending most of the season with Kane County of the (Single-A) Midwest League.
Yusuf Carter returns “behind the dish” and is joined by Petey Paramore and Mitch Canham. All three played here a year ago, although Canham did so in a San Antonio Missions uniform. Canham, who helped lead Oregon State University to back-to-back College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007, was signed as a minor league free agent this week. Like Canham, Paramore is a Pac-10 product, and was a star at Arizona State. Petey joined the ‘Hounds a year ago after Carter was sidelined by injury, hitting a solid .263 in the regular season and .304 in the playoffs. Yusuf, in his first full season as a catcher, returned from the disabled list, playing for Steve Scarsone in Stockton in the second half of last season. With the Ports, he hit .278 with 13 home runs in 48 games.
The RockHounds open the 2011 Texas League season Thursday, April 7, when they host the Arkansas Travelers at Citibank Ballpark.