Eric Haberer, a lefthander out of Southern Illinois University, headlines the anticipated starting rotation for Quad Cities. The third-round pick from Bloomington posted a 3.94 ERA in 12 professional starts last summer, and is ranked as the 21st-best prospect in the Cardinals system by Baseball America. Mike Parisi, the Cardinals' 17th-ranked prospect, joins the Swing after going 5-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 13 starts last summer, including six for Peoria. The rest of the rotation is expected to include righties Justin Brown, Dennis Dove, and Kyle McClellan. McClellan made 24 starts for Peoria last summer, while Dove was a third-round selection in 2003, out of Georgia Southern.
The bullpen could be led by righties Cory Doyne and Michael Gross, who were dominant in relief for short-season New Jersey last summer. Gross posted a 0.98 ERA in 13 outings for New Jersey, while Doyne paced the pen with 12 saves. Kevin Ool, acquired during spring training from Boston, and Jackson Paz are the only lefties among the relief corps, which also includes Miguel Aguero, Justin Knoff and Mike Sillman.
Offensively, slugging first baseman Mike Ferris is expected to lead the charge. Ranked as the 12th-best prospect in the St. Louis system, the second-round selection struggled to a .199 batting average for New Jersey after signing late last summer. Jake Mullinax, a Nebraska product, is expected to play third base for the Swing. The roster's middle infielders include Jose Delgado, Jarrett Hoffpauir, Juan Lucena, the defending Appalachian League batting champion, and Matt Shepherd. Hoffpauir, a sixth-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, batted .268 in 62 games for Peoria in 2004.
The outfield will be led by lefty Wes Swackhamer, a fifth-round selection out of Tulane University. He'll be joined by Andy Brown, Sam Herbert, Matt Lemanczyk and Simon Williams. Lemanczyk batted .273 with 56 stolen bases for Peoria in 2003, and returns to the Midwest League after batting .232 at Palm Beach in 2004. Brown, a first-round selection of the Yankees in 1998, has spent parts of four straight seasons with Class A-Advanced Tampa.
Behind the plate, Brandon Yarbrough is expected to be backed up by Brandon Marcelli. The 20-year-old Yarbrough, the youngest player on the team, batted .326 at Johnson City in 2004 and is ranked as the Cardinals' 13th-best prospect.
The first chance for fans to meet the 2005 Swing of the Quad Cities will come on Tuesday, April 5, at the Swing's annual Meet the Team Dinner. The dinner will begin at 6:00, and will be held at the John O'Donnell Stadium suite lobby. The cost of the buffet-style dinner is six dollars, and the Swing are limiting the event to the first 200 guests. Advance reservations are encouraged, and are available by calling (563) 324-3000.
ABOUT THE SWING: The Swing of the Quad Cities will begin their first season as an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals this Thursday, April 7, 2005. Season ticket packages, mini plans and single-game tickets are now available by calling the Swing at (563) 328-2000. The 2005 home opener is scheduled for Friday, April 15, against the Clinton LumberKings. All games will be broadcast live on Progressive Talk AM 1270. For the latest information on the Swing of the Quad Cities, head to their website, www.swingbaseball.com.