The Omaha Stormchasers set their preliminary roster (subject to change) for the 2015 opener Thursday at New Orleans. The defending AAA Champions will feature Royals Minor League Pitcher of the Year Christian Binford, as well as former Royals Louis Coleman, Casey Coleman, and Aaron Brooks. Veteran Major League pitcher Joe Blanton will also serve on the pitching staff, as well as promising young players like shortstop Orlando Carlixte and spring training monster Brett Eibner.
Catchers (2): J.C. Boscan, Francisco Pena:
Infielders (5): Orlando Carlixte, Cheslor Cuthbert, Matt Fields, Ryan Jackson, Gabriel Noriega
Outfielders (4): Brett Eibner, Reymond Fuentes, Whit Merrifield, Moises Sierra
Pitchers (14): Scott Alexander, Buddy Baumann, Christian Binford, Joe Blanton, Brian Broderick, Aaron Brooks, Casey Coleman, Louis Coleman, Chris Dwyer, Brian Flynn, Michael Mariot, Clayton Mortensen, Joe Paterson, Yohan Pino
Brian Poldberg will manage the Stormchasers for the second consecutive year.
In the Texas League, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals are sure to be a team to watch as they are loaded with many of the Royals top prospects. Top pitching prospects Brandon Finnegan and Miguel Almonte will head up the rotation, with top hitting prospect Raul Mondesi manning shortstop. Former first-round pick Hunter Dozier will play third base with speedy Terrance Gore manning the outfield. Last year's "Independent League Player of the Year" Balbino Fuenmayor will have first base duties after a very successful winter ball season.
Catchers (2): Anderson de la Rosa, Santiago Nessy
Infielders (6): Dusty Coleman, Hunter Dozier, Angel Franco, Balbino Fuenmayor, Alex Liddi, Raul Mondesi,
Outfielders (4): Lane Adams, Mike Bianucci, Jorge Bonifacio, Terrance Gore
Pitchers (13): Miguel Almonte, Malcolm Culver, Jonathan Dzeidzic, Andy Ferguson, Brandon Finnegan, Aroni Nina, Mark Peterson, Sam Selman, Glenn Sparkman, Daniel Stumpf, JC Sulbaran, Ali Williams
Pitching prospect Sean Manaea could join the team in a few weeks as he recovers from an abdominal strain, and former first round pick Kyle Zimmer could also join the pitching staff in May. Vance Wilson will begin his second season as Naturals manager. The Naturals begin their season Thursday at Midland.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks will open the season Thursday at Myrtle Beach under manager Brian Buchanan. A pair of Kansas City kids will roam the outfield with Blue Springs native Logan Moon and Gardner native Bubba Starling playing for the Blue Rocks.
Catchers (2): Cam Gallagher, Zane Evans
Infielders (6): Kenny Diekroeger, Jack Lopez, Robert Pehl, Mauricio Ramos, Frank Schwindel, Ramon Torres
Outfielders (4): Logan Moon, Daniel Rockett, Bubba Starling, Dominique Taylor
Pitchers (14): Matt Alvarez, Yender Caramo, Estarlin Cordero, Andrew Edwards, Luke Farrell, Nick Green, Jakob Junis, Alec Mills, Benino Pruneda, Cody Reed, Luis Rico, Erik Skoglund, Eric Stout, Robinson Yambati