KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) – The Tennessee Smokies, Class AA minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, announced its 2013 Opening Day roster on Monday. This year’s roster features 17 who have played in Tennessee and five who will be making their Double-A debut.
11 of the 13 pitchers on this year’s Opening Day roster were part of the Smokies 2012 squad. The staff will be led by Alberto Cabrera and Trey McNutt, rated the Cubs’ No. 13 and 24 prospects, respectively, by Baseball America. Joining them will be returnees Frank Batista, Dallas Beeler, Marcus Hatley, Eric Jokisch, Dae-Eun Rhee, Kevin Rhoderick, Zac Rosscup, Brian Schlitter and Tony Zych, as well as newcomers Kyle Hendricks and A.J. Morris.
Baseball America ranks Arismendy Alcantera and Christian Villanueva 10th and 12th, respectively, on the Cubs’ Top Prospect list, making them the highest ranked players on the Smokies Opening Day roster. They will be joined by Justin Bour, who hit 17 home runs with 110 RBIs in 2012 for the Smokies. The Smokies will fill out the infield with returnees Jonathan Mota, Elliot Soto and newcomer Anthony Giansanti.
Cubs’ 2011 draft pick Rafael Lopez will share catching duties in 2013 with Jair Fernandez, who was signed by the Cubs in the offseason.
Jae-Hoon Ha, Rubi Silva and Matt Szczur will rejoin the Smokies in 2013. Ha hit .273 with 47 RBIs in 121 games with the Smokies in 2012. They will be joined by Johermyn Chavez, who signed with the Cubs in the offseason after spending time with the Mariners’ Double-A Jackson Generals.
The Smokies will begin the 2013 season this Thursday, April 4, on the road against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The Smokies will kick off their “The Kids Can Play” campaign at Smokies Park on April 10, as they play host to the Chattanooga Lookouts. Tickets can be purchased online at www.smokiesbaseball.com, at the Smokies ticket office or by phone at (865) 286-2300.