By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns, the Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, announced the Opening Day roster for the 2015 season on Thursday morning.
12 of the 25 players are former Suns, with 11 seeing playing time during the 2014 Southern League championship season.
Three Baseball America Top 30 Marlins prospects headline the starting pitching rotation: right-hander Trevor Williams (No. 8), right-hander Kendry Flores (No. 17 Giants prospect, acquired by Marlins in a December trade), and Austin Brice (No. 29). Rounding out the rotation is left-hander Chipper Smith and right-hander Jake Esch.
The Suns bullpen will feature southpaws Greg Nappo, Frankie Reed, and former Jacksonville University Dolphin Matt Tomshaw. Right-handers in the Suns bullpen include: Sean Donatello, Gainesville native Brian Ellington, Blake Logan, Craig Stem, and Nick Wittgren. Last season Wittgren led the Suns with 52 appearances and 20 saves. Ellington is listed as Baseball America’s No. 22 Marlins prospect and was chosen as an Arizona Fall League “Rising Star” in 2014.
Behind the plate the Suns will have Sharif Othman, who caught two games for the Suns in 2013, and Southern League veteran Brandon Bantz, who previously spent time with the Jackson Generals in this league and also briefly played in the majors for the Seattle Mariners in 2013.
Viosergy Rosa headlines the returning infielders for the Jacksonville Suns. Rosa, listed by Baseball America as the No. 23 Marlins prospect, drove in 17 runs during his 20 games played with the Suns a year ago and he was the 2014 Southern League Championship Series Most Valuable Player after hitting four homers in seven postseason games.
He’ll man first base while the rest of the infield will be rounded out by second baseman Justin Bohn, shortstop Austin Nola, and third baseman Zack Cox. Bohn and Nola will alternate time between shortstop and second base, with Bohn being the Marlins No. 12 prospect while Nola led the Suns by making 134 starts last season. Cox returns to Jacksonville after spending all of 2014 in Triple-A New Orleans, but Cox saw playing time with the Suns in 2012 and 2013. Providing infield depth will be former Suns Terrence Dayleg and Ryan Rieger.
Isaac Galloway is the only returning member of the Suns outfield, and he’ll be joined by newcomers Matt Juengel, Carlos Lopez, and Kenny Wilson.
Pitchers Lay Batista, Tyler Higgins, Scott McGough, and Jon Link are on Jacksonville’s disabled list along with infielder David Adams and outfielder Brent Keys.
The Suns are led by manager David Berg, in his first season as Jacksonville’s skipper. His coaching staff includes pitching coach Derek Botelho, hitting coach Rich Arena, bullpen coach Jon Pachot, coach Rigoberto Silverio. Athletic Trainer Cesar Roman and strength coach Scott Smith return from the 2014 season, while Garrick Chaffee is the new video coordinator.
Jacksonville’s season begins tonight against the Jackson Generals at 7:05 p.m. to begin a five-game series and a 20-game homestand at Bragan Field.
The season long promotion at Bragan Field for the 2015 season is “Pedro’s Last Dance,” as the Suns celebrate the final year of Peter Bragan, Jr.’s ownership of the ball club in his 31st season in Jacksonville.
The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season / individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.