Headlining this year’s squad are a number of returning players from the 2017 campaign. Right-handed pitcher Riley Pint, the Rockies’ top draft choice from 2016, will begin the season in Asheville and look to build on his time spent with the Tourists last season.
Pint showed flashes of brilliance and will undoubtedly be aiming for consisten quality performances. Pitchers, Breiling Eusebio, Antonio Santos, and Erick Julio also return to the Tourists for a second concesutive season.
Ben Bowden, Colorado’s second round pick in 2016, will look to headline an impressive cast of relievers for the Tourists. Bowden missed all of 2017 with an injury but pitched very well with Asheville two seasons ago. Catcher Rob Perkins and infielder Taylor Snyder also played a roll in Asheville’s 2017 success. Both will be important contributors and have a leadership role on this year’s Tourists club.
In addition to the returning players, Asheville boasts a plethora of young, talented prospects making their first stop on the full-season tour. Shortstop Ryan Vilade , Colorado’s first overall selection in the 2017 draft, will be joined on the infield with Chad Spanberger (6th round), Bret Boswell (8th round), Sean Bouchard (9th round), Matt McLaughlin (12th round), and catcher Hidekel Gonzalez .
The outfield consists of a pair of 21-year-old prospects that hail from the Dominican Republic; Shael Mendoza and Ramon Marcelino . Casey Golden and Steven Linkous will also patrol the outfield at McCormick Field this season; both of whom played collegiately at UNC Wilmington prior to be drafted by the Rockies.
Tom Doyle, selected 70th overall out of Virginia, and Will Gaddis , selected 86th overall out of Furman, headline the new pitchers looking to dabble in their first full-season consisting of 140 games. Those two are joined by Nick Kennedy (5th round), Lucas Gilbreath (7th round), Colton Hathcock (15th round), Mike Bunal (17th round), and Garrett Schilling (18th round). Robert Tyler , the 38th overall selection in the 2016 draft, rounds out the pitching staff.
The Opening Day roster features players from across the United States, Dominican Republic, Columbia, and Australia.
The coaching staff assembled to lead and develop this group of young talent consists of six individuals. They are Manager Robinson Cancel (1st season), Pitching Coach Ryan Kibler (2nd season), Hitting Coach Paco Martin (2nd season), Development Supervisor Marv Foley (6th season), Athletic Trainer Kelsey Branstetter (1st season), and Strength & Conditioning Coach Nate Roberts (1st season).
“I want to personally welcome each of these individuals into the Asheville community and to the Asheville Tourists,” said Tourists president Brian DeWine. “With a new season upon us, these coaches and players have the opportunity to grow professionally while at the same time create lasting memories for our fans.”
Following a seven-game road trip, Asheville welcomes the Columbia Fireflies to McCormick Field on Thursday, April 12th, for the 2018 home opener. Season tickets, flex ticket packages, and individual game tickets are currently available at the McCormick Field ServPro Box Office. For more information, contact the Front Office at (828) 258-0428.