By Iowa Media Relations
The Iowa Cubs have released their 2007 Opening Day roster. The roster includes Chicago's top prospect, Felix Pie, but, does not at this time include pitcher Mark Prior.
The Cubs pitching staff will be anchored by veteran left-handers Les Walrond and Ryan O'Malley. They will be joined by young right-handers Randy Wells and Carlos Marmol. Southpaw J.R. Mathes, who led double-A West Tenn with 10 wins in 2006, will get the opening day start for Iowa.
The Iowa bullpen will consist of right-handers Hector Almonte, Federico Baez, Corey Bailey, Rocky Cherry, Ben Howard and John Webb. Clay Rapada will be the lone lefty out of the bullpen. Cherry led the Chicago Cubs with five saves during spring training and is expected to be Iowa's closer.
Prior, who was optioned to Iowa from Chicago, is expected to remain in Arizona for extended spring training until his pitch count reaches a level that will allow him to be a starter for Iowa.
Handling catching duties for the Cubs will be 2006 Pacific Coast League all-star Geovany Soto and veteran backstop Koyie Hill.
Around the infield, fans can expect to see Micah Hoffpauir, who hit a career-high 22 homers in 2006, at first base and Eric Patterson, who hit .358 for Iowa in 2006 at second base. Youngster Carlos Rojas is expected to be the opening day shortstop, with Scott Moore, who hit 24 homers between double-A and Chicago last year, covering the third base duties. The utility infielders will be Mike Fontenot, Albenis Machado and Casey McGehee.
Center fielder Felix Pie, who was named by Baseball America magazine as the Cubs' top prospect in 2007, will be flanked by Angel Pagan and Buck Coats.
Manager Buddy Bailey enters his first season as the I-Cubs skipper, while hitting coach Von Joshua returns for his second season. Former Iowa Cub right-hander Mike Harkey begins his first season as Iowa's pitching coach. Trainer Bob Grimes will be in his 11th year in Des Moines.
The Cubs open the 2007 season April 5 at Round Rock. The Cubs' home opener will be April 13, when the Cubs host Round Rock at 7:05 p.m. A fireworks show will follow the game.
Smokies Opening Day Roster
By Jon Zeitz
SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Smokies proudly announce the 2007 Opening Day roster in our first official season as the AA Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. The Smokies will host the Walters State Senators in an exhibition game at Smokies Park on Tuesday April 3rd at 7:15 pm, then begin the regular season on the road Thursday April 5th in Jacksonville. Opening Night at Smokies Park will be on Wednesday April 11th at 7:15 pm vs. the Huntsville Stars.
This season's Smokies roster highlights several top prospects in the Cubs organization. Donnie Veal & Sean Gallagher will anchor the starting pitching rotation to begin the season. Veal is listed as the #2 prospect in the Cubs organization according to Baseball America, with Gallagher listed as the #5 prospect. Carmen Pignatiello looks to be the closer for the Smokies to begin the season.
Offensively, catcher Jake Fox (16 HR in 2006) and infielder Matt Craig (12 HR) will supply the power for the Smokies. Fox is listed as the #11 prospect for the Cubs according to Scout Magazine, with infielder Brian Dopirak listed as the #15 prospect.
Daytona Roster Announced
By Daytona Staff
Peoria Announces Roster
By Nathan Baliva
PEORIA, IL— The Chicago Cubs have announced the 25 players who will comprise Manager Ryne Sandberg's 2007 Opening Day roster for the Peoria Chiefs. Former #1 draft pick Mark Pawelek joins the Chiefs along with prospects Jeremy Papelbon, Josh Lansford and Jose Ceda. Among the returning Chiefs are outfielder Yusuf Carter, infielders Dylan Johnston and Jonathon Mota and catcher Blake Lalli.
The 2006 Opening Day roster will include five players who saw action with the Chiefs last season plus one player who played in Peoria in 2005. Just five players on the roster were drafted by the Cubs in the June 2006 draft while three were drafted in 2005 and two were acquired via trade in the last eight months. Eight of the players are from Latin America while one was born in Italy.
The infield should be among the strongest in the Midwest League in 2007. Russ Canzler anchors first base while Matt Camp will start at second. Josh Lansford mans the hot corner while returnee Dylan Johnston plays shortstop and utility infielder Jonathan Mota rounds out the infield.
Canzler set a Boise Hawks record in 2006 by crushing 16 home runs while also knocking in 61 runs with 21 doubles. He was drafted in the 30th round in 2004 out of Hazelton Area High School in Pennsylvania and spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons in Mesa.
Camp is just learning to play second base after spending last season as an outfielder in Boise. He led the Northwest League in hits in 2006 and batted .289 at the top of the order. A 13th Round pick in 2006, Matt was an All-ACC selection at North Carolina State.
Johnston returns to the Chiefs after missing the last two months of the 2006 season with an injured ankle. In 58 games with the Chiefs, Dylan batted .200 and scored 22 runs. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 draft out of Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona.
Lansford hit .255 with five homers and 35 RBI last season in Boise. He was drafted in the 6th round last June out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. His father Carney played the hot corner for 15 seasons with California, Boston and Oakland winning the AL batting title in 1981 and the World Series in 1989. His uncle Jody spent two seasons with the Padres and another uncle played in the minors.
Mota played for the Chiefs in the first half and batted .275 in 33 games. He finished the season at High-A Daytona where he hit .247 in 55 games. A Venezuelan native, Mota was signed in 2003.
The outfield features three players who have worn the Chiefs uniform before along with two newcomers. Yusuf Carter, Valerio Heredia and Alfred Joseph have all spent time in Peoria while DJ Lewis and Andrew Lopez are first time Chiefs.
Carter, a 12th round pick in 2005, hit .210 with 12 homers and 54 RBI in 78 games with the Chiefs last year. A recent convert from behind the plate, Carter will likely start the season in right field and in the middle of the lineup.
Heredia joined the Chiefs in late August 2006 and played in 10 games and the playoffs. In 10 games the speedster stole 10 bases. A Dominican native, Heredia spent the offseason transitioning from second base to centerfield.
Jospeh spent two weeks in the Chiefs outfield in 2005 when Ryan Harvey was on the DL. Last season, Alfred hit .306 in 67 games with Boise. He was drafted in the 15th round in 2004 out of Moody High School in Texas.
Lewis spent all last season in Boise where he hit .257 with five homers and 15 doubles. He hit .322 in 2005 with Mesa after being drafted out of Los Angeles Valley College in the 25th round of the 2005 draft.
Lopez is a newcomer to the Cubs organization after being acquired in a February trade from Tampa Bay. He spent the last two seasons playing for Princeton in the South Atlantic League and has a career .282 Minor League average.
The Chiefs start the season with three catchers Matt Canepa, Blake Lalli and Wellington Castillo. Canepa was behind the plate for Boise last season and hit .223 in 45 games. He was selected in the 15th round of last June's draft and is one of three players on the Chiefs roster out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.