Meet Your 2017 Stone Crabs

The Charlotte Stone Crabs released their 2017 roster and it is packed with talent, including several top prospects, early draft picks and all-stars. Here is a look at who will be donning the Stone Crabs uniform this season:

Pitchers

  • Blake Bivens – returns to the Stone Crabs after pitching in two games in Charlotte last season. Fourth season in Rays organization after being drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 draft from George Washington HS in Virginia. Spent the 2016 season split between Bowling Green and Charlotte and was 8-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 18 games last season.
  • Tyler Brashears – Third season in Rays organization after being drafted by the Rays in the 14th round of the 2015 draft from University of Hawaii. Spent the 2016 season in the Bowling Green bullpen where he was 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 4 saves in 30 appearances.
  • Genesis Cabrera – the #29 prospect by MLB Pipeline is the only lefty in the Stone Crabs pitching squadron to start the season. The fourth year pitcher was signed by the Rays as a free agent out the Dominical Republic in 2013. Last season he was 11-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 23 games with the Hot Rods earning him a spot on the Midwest League All-Star team.
  • Yoel Espinal returns to the Stone Crabs after pitching in a pair of games for the Stone Crabs in 2016. Espinal joined the Rays organization in 2016 after spending 2015 in the Yankees system. He was originally signed by the Tigers in 2011. Espinal was a combined 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA, 4 saves and 74 strikeouts split between Bowling Green and Charlotte.
  • Ian Gibaut – comes back to Charlotte after being a workhorse out the Stone Crabs bullpen last season. The righty appeared in 27 games for the Stone Crabs and was 1-2 with a 2.85 ERA. He converted 3 out of 4 saves he was called upon last season. Gibaut was signed by the Rays in the 11th round of the 2015 draft out of Tulane.
  • Taylor Hawkins – was originally drafted by the Rays as a catcher but was converted to a knuckleballer in 2015. Hawkins was drafted by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2012 draft out of Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma where he hit a school high 74 home runs. 2016 was his first full season as a pitcher and he appeared in 20 games where he had a 4.21 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings pitched.
  • Reece Karalus – third season in the Rays system after being drafted by the Rays in the 8th round of the 2015 draft out of Santa Clara University. He was a combined 4-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 23 games split between Bowling Green and GCL Rays.
  • Brandon Lawson – the 22 year old righty is entering his second season in professional baseball and first year in full season ball. He spent the 2016 season with Hudson Valley where he was 6-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 16 games. Lawson is a 12th round pick from University of South Florida.
  • Eduar Lopez – fifth season in professional baseball and third season in the Rays organization. He was obtained by the Rays in the David DeJesus trade with the Angels in 2015. Lopez was 8-3 with a 2.65 ERA in 20 starts last season split between Hudson Valley and Bowling Green.
  • Jose Mujica – signed by the Rays in 2012 out of Venezuela, Mujica joins his fifth season of Rays baseball. He was 8-4 with a 3.46 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 24 starts with Bowling Green last season.
  • Michael Santos – joined the Rays organization last season in the trade that sent former Stone Crabs Matt Moore to the Giants. The Dominican righty was signed by the Giants in 2012. In 2016 was a South Atlantic League All-Star for Augusta where he was 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts.
  • Michael Velasquez – the 24 year old righty joins the Stone Crabs in his fourth season in the Rays organization after being signed as a free agent in 2014. He spent 2016 with the Hot Rods where he was 8-9 with a 4.86 ERA in 24 games, 22 of them as a starter.

Catchers

  • David Rodriguez – enters the season as the Rays #22 prospect by MLB Pipeline. The Venezuelan catcher played 112 games for the Hot Rods last season where he hit .240 with 16 doubles, 1 triple and 9 homers. Rodriguez was signed by the Rays in 2012.
  • Brett Sullivan – comes to Charlotte after a big season last year in Bowling Green where he was a Midwest League All-Star, Player of Week for week of 6/19 and earning an MiLB.com organizational all-star honor at the end of the year. Sullivan was drafted by the Rays in the 17th round of the 2015 draft. He hit .283 with 34 doubles and 13 homers in 118 games for the Hot Rods last year.

Infielders

  • Jake Cronenworth – returns to the Stone Crabs after spending half the season in Charlotte last year. He is coming off back to back all-star seasons being named New York-Penn All-Star in 2015 and Midwest League All-Star in 2016. Last season he hit a combined .282 with 18 doubles, 7 triples and 4 homers between Charlotte and Bowling Green. Cronenworth was drafted by the Rays in the 7th round of 2015 draft out of University of Michigan.
  • Dalton Kelly – joins the Stone Crabs in his first season in the Rays organization after being obtained in a trade with Seattle which sent former Stone Crabs Richie Shaffer and Taylor Motter to the Mariners. He is in his third professional season and spent 2016 with Clinton where he hit .293 with 30 doubles, 4 triples and 7 homers in 130 games earning a Midwest League All-Star nomination. He was drafted by the Mariners in the 38th Round of the 2015 Draft out of UC Santa Barbara.
  • Brandon Lowe – comes to the Stone Crabs in just his second season of professional baseball after being drafted by the Rays in the third round of the 2015 draft out of University of Maryland. The 22 year old spent his only professional season with Bowling Green where he hit .248 with 15 doubles, 3 triples and 5 home runs in 107 games.
  • Peter Maris – teammate of Dalton Kelly at UC Santa Barbara, Maris is his third season in the Rays organization. He was signed by the Rays as a non-drafted free agent in 2015. He spent the entire 2016 season with Bowling Green where he hit .270 with 11 doubles, 3 homers and 5 RBI’s in 84 games.
  • Kevin Padlo – two time minor league all-star joins the Stone Crabs in his fourth professional season. He was drafted by the Rockies in the 5th round of the 2014 draft. He joined the Rays organization in 2016 in a trade with the Rockies that sent former Stone Crabs Jake McGee and German Marquez to Colorado. Padlo was an all-star last season with the Hot Rods where he hit .229 with 22 doubles, 3 triples and 16 homers in 115 games before heading to Australia to play in the winter. Padlo is the Ray’s #19 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Outfielders

  • Ryan Boldt – the 22 year old outfielder joins the Stone Crabs in his second season of professional baseball. The #30 Rays Prospect by MLB Pipeline was drafted by the Rays in the second round of the 2016 draft out of University of Nebraska. Last season with Hudson Valley, Boldt hit .218 with 5 doubles in 43 games.
  • Jake Fraley – LSU grad joins the Stone Crabs in his second season of professional baseball after being drafted by the Rays in the compensation first round of last year’s draft. He hit .238 with 9 doubles, 7 triples and homer in short season Hudson Valley last season.
  • Nathan Lukes – returns to Charlotte after spending 21 games with the Stone Crabs last season. Lukes was acquired by the Rays in the Brandon Guyer trade with the Indians in 2016. Lukes was drafted by the Indians in the 7th round of the 2015 draft by the Indians. Last season, Lukes hit a combined .282 with 23 doubles, 8 triples and 6 homes split between three teams.
  • Angel Moreno – fifth season in the Rays organization after being singed as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2012. Last year he hit .228 with 15 doubles, 1 triple and 1 homer in 78 games for the Hot Rods.
  • David Olmedo-Barrera – drafted by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2015 draft from Cal State Fullerton, he is entering his third season in the organization. He spent the 2016 season with the Hot Rods where he hit .311 with 17 doubles, 4 triples and 6 homers.
  • Manny Sanchez – joins the Stone Crabs in his fifth season in the Rays organization after being signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic. Last season he hit .246 with 13 doubles and 12 home runs, earning him player of the week in May.

The Stone Crabs open the 2017 season on Thursday at Charlotte Sports Park against the Bradenton Marauders.

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