The Oklahoma City RedHawks and Houston Astros have announced the RedHawks preliminary roster for the 2013 season.
Coming off a successful 78-65 campaign in 2012, the RedHawks will have a talented group to open up 2013. Six players on the roster are ranked among the Astros top 30 prospects by Baseball America: Pitcher Jarred Cosart (#7), shortstop Jonathan Villar (#12), pitcher Jose Cisnero (#15), outfielder Robbie Grossman (#17), pitcher Brett Oberholtzer (#20), and pitcher Paul Clemens (#27).
Overall, 15 players on the preliminary roster spent time with the RedHawks in 2012. Six logged time with the Astros last season, and three others suited up for different Major League teams.
The RedHawks open the season Thursday in Memphis at 7:05 p.m. The preliminary roster is subject to change before the official roster must be submitted.
The pitching staff includes Tulsa native Dallas Keuchel, who owns a 1.79 ERA over the past two seasons in games at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Jordan Lyles returns to Oklahoma City after making 25 starts for the Astros last season. 2012 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year John Ely joins the RedHawks after coming to the Astros from the Dodgers in an offseason trade.
RedHawks career saves leader Jose Valdez returns to anchor the back of the bullpen. Other returning pitchers include Wes Musick and C.J. Fick.
Relievers Kevin Chapman and Josh Zeid will both spend time with the RedHawks and at the Triple-A level for the first time in their careers. Both spent all of 2012 with Double-A Corpus Christi.
No regular member of the RedHawks infield from last season is on the preliminary roster, although Marc Krauss and Jose Martinez spent the final month of the 2012 season in Oklahoma City.
After a huge 2012 campaign in Reno, Jake Elmore will look for continued success in the PCL. Elmore was a midseason and postseason league all-star and ranked in the top five in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored, and walks. He was claimed off waivers by the Astros from the Arizona Diamondbacks in November.
Another Astros waiver claim, Brandon Laird, will also make his RedHawks debut. Laird had a phenomenal spring training, ranking second on the Astros with five home runs in addition to a .328 average and 12 RBI over 29 contests. His older brother Gerald played 184 games for the RedHawks, primarily during the early 2000s.
The outfield will be led by 2012 RedHawks standout Jimmy Paredes. Paredes set a single-season team record with 161 hits in just 124 games. He was named team MVP by the Astros and was also a 2012 PCL Mid-Season All-Star.
After brief stints with the RedHawks each of the last two seasons, Jake Goebbert will be on the team's preliminary roster for the first time. Veterans Trevor Crowe and Che-Hsuan Lin, who were both acquired by Houston in the offseason, round out the outfield.
The RedHawks feature a trio of catchers. Chris Wallace is the lone returner, as he played in 15 games for the RedHawks last season. The other catchers are former Oklahoma State standout Jason Jaramillo and Cody Clark, who has spent the last three seasons exclusively in the PCL with Omaha.
The 2013 home opener at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is April 12 against the Memphis Redbirds at 7:05 p.m.