The 2016 Tri-City Dust Devil roster began to take shape as the Padres and team announced their provisional opening roster on Tuesday. Because many draftees have still not signed, there will be plenty of player movement in the coming week, but the opening group provides some insight on what to expect.
The top returnee to Pasco is left-handed pitcher Jose Castillo, who was in the MadFriars’ Top 20 for this season, but has sat out much of the year with injuries. The big Venezuelan was acquired from Tampa as part of the Wil Myers trade.
A handful of key 2015 draftees are also getting their first taste of the Northwest League. Most notably, outfielders Josh Magee, Aldemar Burgos, and Alan Garcia, who all were selected out of high school last year, and big righty Jordan Guerrero, a hard-throwing 19-year-old who was taken out of junior college in the sixth round, will have a chance to show where they are after a year in the system.
Tri-City will also see many of the college players selected in last week's draft. Already signed and in Washington are fourth-rounder Joey Lucchesi, a lefty who led all Division I pitchers in strikeouts this year, and righty Lake Bachar, a two-sport star at Division III University of Wisconsin - Whitewater who the Padres took in the fifth round.
Other 2016 draftees reporting to the Dust Devils to open their professional careers are pitchers Will Stillman (6th round), Jess Scholtens (10), Evan Miller (22), Chasen Ford (27), Dalton Erb (30), Mark Zimmerman (33), and David Bednar (35). Position players include infielders Chris Baker (17) and Nate Easley (23), and outfielder Taylor Kohlwey (21).
Three players making their stateside debut in Tri-City are toolsy outfielder Luis Asuncion and pitchers Diomar Lopez and Wilmer Torres. Lopez, a 19-year-old from Nicaragua, got a late start to his second year in the Dominican last summer because of an injury, but was very effective working in relief. Torres, 20, made a brief cameo in the Dominican last summer, giving up one run in 13.2 innings. Asuncion is the youngest player on the roster, having turned 19 in February, two weeks after Magee. He's also the biggest position player.
The Padres will carefully monitor the innings of many pitchers who have already thrown quite a few innings in a long college season, so don’t look for many draftees to throw more than three or four innings in an outing.
Also returning are right-handed pitchers Aaron Cressley, Angel Mejia and Emmanuel Ramirez and lefty Will Headean. Look for Castillo, Cressley and Headean to move back to Low-A Fort Wayne as more draftees come in.
Finally, some players are still involved in the College World Series, such as second round pick Buddy Reed of Florida, so their professional debuts will be delayed.
We will continue to update the roster and provide additional coverage of the 2016 Tri-City Dust Devils as they prepare to open their 2016 campaign on Friday.
UPDATED Wednesday, June 16 at 8:50 a.m. PDT with additional information
Additional content from David Jay