It’s Opening Day in the Northwest League and the Cubs’ new Short-Season Class-A affiliate kicks off the year on the road against the Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners). The Cubs moved its Short-Season team from Boise to Eugene last fall and signed a two-year player development contract that runs through the 2016 season.
Manager Gary Van Tol stayed with the organization and will call the shots for the Emeralds.
The Emeralds’ Opening Day Roster is highlighted by several top prospects in the organization.
LHP Carson Sands and LHP Justin Steele lead the pitching staff and will begin the season as the top two pitchers in the rotation. And the outfield features Eloy Jimenez and Kevonte Mitchell.
Baseball America ranked Carson Sands (26), Justin Steele (19), Eloy Jimenez (20) and Kevonte Mitchell (27) among the top 30 prospects in the system in the 2015 Prospect Handbook.
Carson Sands gets the ball on Opening Night. The Cubs selected Sands in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. The 20-year old southpaw was 3-1 in nine games, four starts, for the AZL Cubs (rookie league) last season with a 1.89 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Sands allowed seven runs, four earned, on 15 hits with 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 19 innings.
Justin Steele is scheduled to make his first start of the season Friday. The Cubs selected Steele in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. The 19-year old lefty (July 11) also appeared in nine games for the AZL Cubs last year. Steele did not have a decision in nine games, four starts, but posted a 2.95 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Steele gave up six runs on 15 hits with 25 strikeouts and eight walks in 18 1/3 innings.
Eloy Jimenez will soon be creating a lot of noise in the Cubs’ system. The 18-year old outfielder had a rough time with the AZL Cubs last summer (.227/.268/.367 with eight doubles, two triple and three home runs) but reports from Arizona this spring have been very encouraging and points to him having a good year. Jimenez is healthy after dealing with injuries last summer and reportedly made a lot of loud contact in extended Spring Training.
Kevonte Mitchell signed with the Cubs last year after he was selected in the 13th round of the draft. Mitchell put up good numbers for the AZL Cubs (.294/.374/.371 with three doubles and four triples) and is in position for a big summer in Eugene that could end in South Bend if his development progresses as expected.
- Manager: Gary Van Tol
- Pitching Coach: Anderson Tavares
- Assistant Pitching Coach: Dean Stiles
- Hitting Coach: Richard Medina
- Assistant Hitting Coach: Terrmel Sledge
Eugene Emeralds 2015 Opening Day Roster
- RHP Adbert Alzolay
- RHP Pedro Araujo
- RHP Jordan Brink
- RHP Oscar De La Cruz
- LHP Andin Diaz
- RHP Greyfer Eregua
- RHP Jae-Hoon Ha
- RHP Corbin Hoffner
- RHP Dillon Maples
- LHP Jose Paulino
- LHP Carson Sands
- RHP Alex Santana
- LHP Justin Steele
- LHP Sam Wilson
- Erick Castillo
- Justin Marra
- Alberto Mineo
- Tyler Alamo
- Varonex Cuevas
- Frandy Delarosa
- Adonis Paula
- Ho-young Son
- Eloy Jimenez
- Ricardo Marcano
- Kevonte Mitchell
Short-Season Class-A clubs can have a 30-man reserve roster and a 25-man active roster, not more than 25 players may be used in a single game. Beginning on July 1, the active list must include at least 10 pitchers, not more than four (4) players may be 23 years old or older and no more than three (3) players may have four (4) or more years of minor league service time.