CHARLESTON, SC-- With Opening Day less
than a week away, the New York Yankees have revealed the players who will don
Charleston RiverDogs uniforms to open the 2014 season on April 3 on the road
against the Augusta GreenJackets.
manager Luis Dorante fields a team that has six of the Yankees' top 20
prospects according to MLB.com, including three with top 10 recognition from
Baseball America. Featured prospects include 2013 first round draft pick
Aaron Judge in the Charleston outfield, and a talented double play
combo comprised of two teenagers in second baseman Gosuke Katoh and
shortstop Abiatal Avelino. Pitching prospect Luis Severino
headlines the RiverDogs pitching staff as the hard throwing right-hander makes
his much anticipated return to the Lowcountry.
Judge (Yankees No. 6
prospect, Baseball America; No. 9, MLB.com) will make his professional
debut with the RiverDogs this season. Judge, an All-American outfielder from
Fresno State, was the 32nd overall pick of last year's First-Year
Player Draft but did not play a professional game in 2013. His batting power and
arm strength, as well as his 6-foot-7 frame, highlight the great potential for
his debut season in the South Atlantic League.
and Brandon Thomas, both early-round 2013 draft picks, join Judge in the
outfield following debuts with short-season Single-A State Island. O'Neill, the
nephew of former Yankee outfielder Paul O'Neill, was a third round selection out
of the University of Michigan. Thomas hit six home runs for Staten Island after
he was drafted in the eighth round from Georgia Tech. Completing the outfield
corps is Mikeson Oliberto, an experienced Yankees farmhand who played for
Staten Island, Single-A Tampa, and Double-A Trenton last season.
No. 10 prospect, Baseball America; No. 11, MLB.com) highlights a strong
group of infielders. The 19-year old second baseman and left-handed hitter was
the 66th overall pick last year by New York, and turned down a
baseball scholarship to UCLA to sign with the Yankees organization. In 2013,
Katoh had a great pro debut at the plate with a .310 batting average, and earned
2013 Gulf Coast League postseason All-Star recognition with the GCL Yankees
Avelino (Yankees No. 18
prospect, MLB.com) anchors the left side of the infield opposite of Katoh.
Avelino, a 19-year old shortstop, has earned his prospect recognition due in
large part to his strong defensive attributes. He has also found success on the
basepaths, leading the Yankees organization last year with 28 stolen bases.
Avelino hails from San Pedro de Macoris, D.R., which is often fittingly
nicknamed "The Cradle of Shortstops."
At third base, Miguel
Andujar (Yankees No. 19 prospect, MLB.com) exploded in his second season in
the Gulf Coast League. Andujar batted .323 with four home runs in just 34 games
played. Corner infielder Mike Ford primarily brings experience at first
base and a left-handed bat into his first season in the Holy City.
and John Murphy, a pair of left-handed hitters, add depth to the
RiverDogs infield. Wade plays shortstop and ranked fourth among Yankees minor
leaguers with a .291 total batting average between the GCL Yankees 1 and the
Staten Island Yankees. Murphy debuted with Staten Island as a shortstop after
being selected in the sixth round out of Sacred Heart University.
Three catchers open the
season in the Lowcountry. Luis Torrens (Yankees No. 17 prospect, MLB.com)
features a strong arm, throwing out 19 runners attempting to steal on 42 chances
with the GCL Yankees 2. Eduardo de Oleo registered a .283 batting average
and a .435 slugging percentage in the Gulf Coast League last season. Kale
Sumner, a Kailua, Hawaii native, is a versatile backstop who also played the
corner infield and outfield positions last year with Staten Island.
Charleston's top pitching prospect
entering 2014 is Luis Severino (Yankees No. 9 prospect,
Baseball America; No. 10, MLB.com). The right-hander from the Dominican
Republic made four starts with Charleston last year and has compiled an 8-4
career record along with an impressive 1.99 ERA in his first two professional
seasons. Severino's arsenal includes a fastball that touches the upper 90s and
holds steady in the mid 90s.
Cesar Vargas, and Rookie Davis also come back to Charleston with
starting experience. Niebla pitched exclusively for the RiverDogs in 2013 and
collected five wins and a save in a late-season relief appearance. Vargas
started the past season with the RiverDogs before earning a promotion to Tampa
in August. Davis gave up no runs or walks in two Charleston starts, including a
1-0 walk-off win in the season finale against the Rome Braves.
The RiverDogs also have
a trio of new starting options coming to the Holy City. Giovanny
Gallegos, who hails from Obregon-Sonora, Mexico, looks for another strong
start after opening his 2013 campaign in Staten Island with 23 consecutive
innings without allowing a walk. Brady Lail earned five total wins in
stints with the GCL Yankees 1 and the Tampa Yankees. Left-hander Caleb
Smith posted a solid 1.93 ERA last year in combined work for Staten Island
A plethora of new
right-handed relievers will be heading to the Lowcountry from the Staten Island
Yankees. RiverDog newcomer Nick Rumbelow, a seventh round draft pick in
2013, picked up seven saves in nine chances while pitching in the New York-Penn
League. Andury Acevedo kept an unblemished 1-0 record last year while
continuing his transition from a role as a position player in the Pirates
Stefan Lopez, two more RiverDog additions from Staten Island, join
Charleston after accumulating sub-2.00 ERA's a season ago. Philip Walby
picked up three relief victories near the end of the season,while Andrew
Benak also earned three wins, including a start with five shutout innings
for Staten Island near the end of August.
highlights a pair of right-handed bullpen weapons that pitched together in the
Gulf Coast League. Cote has a microscopic 0.97 career ERA in two seasons in the
GCL, allowing no earned runs in his final 21.2 innings pitched. Jaron
Long, the son of Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, split the past season
with the GCL Yankees 2 and the Tampa Yankees.
The RiverDogs begin the
2014 season on the road, but quickly return home to The Joe for a seven-game
homestand that starts on Monday, April 7 with the RiverDogs' grand Opening Night
celebration, complete with $1 hot dogs and $1 beers presented by Coors. Tickets
may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line
at www.riverdogs.com. If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are
encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away on 1250
WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.