Stockton Ports Roster Analysis

Opening Day for the Stockton Ports is Thursday, April 5 at home versus San Jose. On Sunday, the team released its Opening Day roster. We take a look at who will be donning the blue and red to start the season at Banner Island Ballpark.

Cliff Pennington is looking for better health and a good year at the plate in his return to Stockton.
The Stockton Ports will have some familiar faces on their 2007 Opening Day roster. A number of the 2007 Ports spent significant time in Stockton in 2006, including: second baseman Luke Appert, first baseman Tom Everidge, shortstop Cliff Pennington, outfielders Nick Blasi and Lloyd Turner, relievers Brad Davis, Trent Peterson, Leonard Landeros, Jason Ray and Brad Sullivan, and starting pitchers Mike Madsen and Ryan Webb. Jared Lansford, who made three late season starts for Stockton, will start the year in the Ports rotation.

Stockton fans will be introduced to a number of new faces, as well. Centerfielder Javier Herrera, one of the A's top prospects, will be making his Stockton debut. Herrera was scheduled to play in Stockton last season, but he injured his elbow during spring training and he missed the entire season. Herrera is an exciting five-tool talent who could thrive in the hitter-friendly California League.

The Ports' offense will also get a boost from outfielder Chad Boyd, who hit .346 for Kane County last season. Boyd is only three years removed from high school baseball and is one of the A's best young hitters. Returning outfielders Turner and Blasi will add an element of speed to the Ports' line-up.

Anthony Recker was a Midwest League All-Star in 2006.
The Ports have had a tradition of good backstops since becoming an A's affiliate in 2005. Anthony Recker figures to pick up from where 2005 Ports catcher Kurt Suzuki and 2006 Ports catcher Landon Powell left off. Recker is a power-hitting catcher who smacked 14 homers for Kane County last year in an All-Star season. Raul Padron will also see time behind the plate for the Ports. He has spent the last two seasons in Kane County.

For the second consecutive year, the Ports should feature an outstanding defense up the middle. Pennington, the A's top pick in 2005, will return to Stockton after a disappointing 2006 season that was cut short by injury. Pennington is an advanced defensive shortstop and, if healthy, he should provide a spark at the top of the Ports' line-up.

Justin Sellers is a slick-fielding shortstop.
Also on the Ports' roster is shortstop Justin Sellers, who had a solid year in Kane County in 2006. Sellers is a maximum effort player who gets high marks for his work on defense. He may switch over to second base to play alongside Pennington. Appert will also see some time at second and at DH. He was in the middle of a huge season for Stockton in 2006 before a broken ankle ended his campaign early.

Third baseman Frank Martinez is making the jump from Kane County to Stockton after an outstanding 2006 season for the Cougars. Martinez had seven homers, 58 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 2006. He will be joined across the diamond by his 2006 Cougars' teammate Steve Kleen, who figures to share time at first and at DH with Everidge. Kleen batted .281 with five homers and 59 RBIs for Kane County in 2006. Everidge hit 20 homers for the Ports in 2006 to lead the team.

Mike Madsen will be back in Stockton in 2007.
On the mound, the Ports' rotation will have a youthful look in 2007. Webb returns for a second year at Stockton, but he is still only 21 years old even though he was drafted in 2004. He will be joined by 21 year olds Lansford and Vince Mazzaro, both of whom were on the Kane County pitching staff in 2006. Madsen will return to the Ports' rotation for a second year, and he will look to rebound from a sometimes difficult 2006 season, which saw his ERA sit in the 5.00s.

Left-hander Ben Jukich is the only 2006 draft pick on the Ports' roster and he figures to be a big part of the Ports' rotation. The tall left-hander was outstanding after being selected in the 13th round last season. He went 3-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 16 appearances (five starts) during his 2006 regular season, which he split between Vancouver and Kane County. Jukich was the Cougars best starting pitcher during the Midwest League playoffs, as well.

The A's are expecting big things from Ben Jukich.
The Ports have had a very good bullpen over the last two years and that doesn't figure to change in 2007. Elk Grove native Brad Kilby figures to play a prominent role in the Ports' bullpen. The left-hander was nearly unhittable during the second half of the 2006 season for Kane County and he saved nine games as the Cougars closer during the last half of the season. Ray, who excelled for the Ports in the bullpen at the end of last season, also figures to be a late-inning reliever for the Ports. Lefties Davis and Peterson will have important roles in the bullpen, as well.

Right-hander Luis Ramirez, who was signed as a minor league free agent this off-season, will be another new face on the Ports' pitching staff. He made 23 starts for High-A Frederick in the Baltimore chain last season. Right-hander Rob Semerano is making the jump from Kane County to Stockton after making 26 appearances for the Cougars in relief in 2006. He had four saves and a 4.20 ERA last season. Sullivan, another right-hander, will return to the Ports for a third straight season. He pitched at High-A Modesto in 2004. Landeros is also returning to Stockton for a third consecutive season.


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