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Presenting: Our 2023 Dust Devils

With opening day in t-48hours, the roster for our High-A affiliate of the LA Angels, the Tri-Cities Dust Devils, has taken full shape, with familiar faces and new faces in the mix. Reminder, this is the opening day roster; with roster moves, trades, releases, the draft, injuries, and good and bad performances, the roster will look wildly coming to the end of the 132-game season we are embarking on.


For a primer, all of Minor League Baseball, or MiLB, is being broadcast on MLB TV this season, while MiLB is now unionized, agreed to their first CBA, and got a significant bump in salary as a part of it. Salaries at this level jumped from $11K to $27,300. Housing standards have also been improved in the CBA, while now, if a player plays 6yrs in the minors, they can enter minor league free agency after six seasons. The minors will also have the same things as the MLB: Pitch Clock, Enlarged Bases, Ghost Runner in Extras, and Shift Restrictions as all these items were tested last year throughout the MiLB.

We are seeing some of the massive investment by the Angels in the draft in recent seasons come through the system. Let's start with a few players we won't see as they move up to AA Rocket City to join the Trash Panda or remain with them: RHP Brandon Dufault, RHP Ivan Armstrong, RHP Landon Marceaux, RHP Victor Mederos, INF Zach Neto, INF Kyren Paris. Joining the AAA affiliate Salt Lake Bees: C Christian Molfetta and OF Jordyn Adams, who had an excellent spring training and earned this spot in AAA with the Bees.


Returning for another year with the Dust Devils include: OF D'Shawn Knowles, INF Gabe Matthews, RHP Robinson Pina, LHP Nick Mondak, RHRP Dakota Donavan, and RHRP Emilker Guzman headline the group. Among others include OF Joe Stewart, Steven Rivas, Casey Dana, INF Christian Sepulveda, Osmy Gregorio, C Straton Podaras, Pitchers John Swanda, Jake Smith, Nate Jones, Brent Killam, Dylan King, Nathan Burns, among the group of returning players.



Picture from MiLB

Some exciting additions have been made around the INF, specifically as two of the organization's top prospects have been added to the roster. INF Adrian Placencia(#9) and Arol Vera (#29) are both being promoted from Low-A Inland Empire. OF Alexander Ramirez, C Gustavo Campero, and Brendan Tinsman are new positional players on the roster.



Bring a pitcher and a former man on the mound; I am excited about pitching; as I mentioned, the top has been a massive organization investment in previous seasons in the draft. RHP Jack Kochanowicz, and Connor Van Scoyoc jump from Low-A Inland. I am very excited to get my eyes on Van Scoyoc as he finished top-3 in both wins (11) and strikeouts (140). RHP Chase Chaney(2.77ERA in 91IP) and RHP Kelvin Caceres( held opposing hitters to a .170BA against). LHP Sammy Natera and RHP Bryce Osmond are making their pro-debuts with the Dust Devils.


Sammy Natera Jr will don the #26 for the Dust Devils and was a 17th-round pick by the club out of New Mexico State University in the 2022 draft. Natera spent three seasons at NMSU in the WAC and posted a 6.69ERA, 79.1IP, 115k-64BB, and 8HR gives us an idea of the pitcher we could see as he transitions to pro ball less than a year after being drafted.

Bryce Osmond was drafted in the 35th round in the 2019 draft by the Nationals, declined to sign, decided to go to Oklahoma State, and was drafted in the 15th round by the Angles in 2022. At Oklahoma, he pitched 133.2IP and posted a 5.93ERA, 6.33RA9, 163K-77B, and 18HR; these numbers give us a tiny idea of the player we could see in 2022.

Last, let's discuss our new MINF pair, Placencia and Vera. Placencia, a switch hitter, is only 19yo, coming off a season in which he hit 13HR, 64RBI, 21SB, and slashed .254/.387/.427 for a .814OPS across 104G played. Vera, another switch hitter, is 20yo, coming off a season in which he hit 4HR, 59RBI, 19SB, and slashed .207/.291/..281 for a .572OPS.


Let's end with some other organization top-prospects who are starting the season in Low-A Inland Empire, who we could see at some point in 2023: RHP Jorge Marcheco(28), RHP Jake Madden(13), RHP Caden Dana(12), INF Werner Blakely(8), INF Denzer Guzman(7). It's not totally out of the question we could see players who are at the Rookie Level either: OF Randy De Jesus(25), RHP Nixon Encarnacion(24), RHP Walbert Urena(17), OF Nelson Rada(14),


The Dust Devils are hosting their first Fan Fest tonight at GESA Stadium before the Thursday opening night. I'll report back tomorrow, 4/5/23, with some fun content and my full report as I enter year two as your favorite Dust Devils' beat writer.


Opening day for the Tri-City Dust Devils will mark a historic occasion in professional baseball. Hops manager Ronnie Gajownik will become the first woman to lead a minor league team at the High-A level.

For tickets for Opening Night and the weekend series, visit dustdevilsbaseball.com, the Gesa Stadium office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or call the office at (509) 544-8789.


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