The Opening Day roster for the Tulsa Drillers has been set as the squad has completed spring training workouts in Arizona. The roster is highlighted by third baseman Nolan Arenado, who is rated the 22nd best prospect in all of Minor League Baseball by the .com website.
Twenty-five players have broken camp with the Drillers, and due to an off-season rule change that expanded the Texas League active roster, all 25 players will be on the Opening Day Roster.
Arenado was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2009 in the 2nd Round of the First – Year player Draft. An impressive season with Class A Modesto and a award-winning performance in the Arizona Fall League this past year has rocketed Arenado’s name up every major prospect list. He led all of Minor League Baseball in 2011 with 122 .
Joining Arenado in the Drillers infield will be a combination of Josh Rutledge, Jimmy Cesario, Angelys Nina, Ben Paulsen, Kiel Roling, and Warren Schaeffer. Rutledge and Nina are new to the Drillers while Cesario, Paulsen, Roling, and Schaeffer have all spent time with Tulsa in the past few years.
The outfield will consist of two former Drillers as well as another familiar face. Mike Zuanich and Michael Mitchell are returnees while Kent Matthes will be in his first stint with the Drillers. The final outfielder will be making his debut with the Drillers, but he will be familiar with Tulsa. Tim Torres played collegiately in the city at Oral Roberts University.
Catching duties will be shared by Lars Davis and Jose Gonzalez. Davis has been with the Drillers the previous two years, while Gonzalez played in 12 games with the club during the 2009 season.
The pitching staff is highlighted by five returnees from last year’s squad. The group consists of Josh Sullivan, Cory Riordan, Joey Williamson, Dan Houston and Joe Gardner.
The starting rotation is expected to include one familiar face for Tulsa baseball fans. Parker Frazier, a native Tulsan and a graduate of Bishop Kelley High School, will make his Double A debut with the Drillers this season. Frazier is the son of former major league pitcher and current Colorado Rockies TV broadcaster George Frazier.
Edwar Cabrera will join Frazier in the starting rotation. Cabrera won eight games and recorded over 200 strikeouts with both Asheville and Modesto last season.
Houston and Gardner are also likely to be in the starting rotation.
Will Harris, Michael Marbry, Nick Schmidt, Coty Woods and Kurt Yacko will complete the pitching staff. All but Schmidt, who was acquired in the off-season trade that sent Huston Street to San Diego, pitched for Modesto last season.
Another pitcher will officially start the season on Tulsa’s disabled list, but he will not be joining the club immediately. Chad Bettis, the California League’s Pitcher of the Year in 2011, will remain in Arizona after suffering shoulder inflammation during spring training.