LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Louisville Bats have released their 2015 preliminary roster in advance of Thursday’s Opening Night contest atLouisville Slugger Field. The roster includes eight players currently on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster and 12 players who saw time with the Bats in 2014. The 2015 season will mark the Bats’ 16th season as the top affiliate of the Reds. The Bats open with the International League West rival Toledo Mud Hens at 6:35 p.m. on April 9. The roster, currently at 28 players, will have 25 active players by Opening Night.
“We are excited for the 2015 Louisville Bats roster,” said Cincinnati Reds Director of Player Development Jeff Graupe. “The team provides a balance of veteran leadership and youthful exuberance and will be guided by an outstanding coaching staff.”
Projected starters Dylan Axelrod and lefty David Holmberg return to the Bats after recording two wins apiece with Cincinnati last season. They will be joined in the rotation by returnees Josh Smith and Jon Moscot, as well as the Reds’ No. 4 prospect according to MLB.com,Michael Lorenzen. Smith went 10-7 and led the Bats with 159.0 innings last year. Moscot went 1-1 in three starts with the Bats in 2014, but spent most of the year at Double-A Pensacola where he had a 3.13 ERA in 25 starts. Lorenzen, who spent all of 2014 at Pensacola, was among the final cuts in Reds camp after allowing just 3 ER in 15.0 innings with the Reds in the spring.
Sam LeCure headlines the Bats bullpen. He was designated for assignment by the Reds on April 2 and outrighted to Louisville, where he pitched in 2009 and 2010. His 231 appearances with the Reds are the third-most by a reliever since the start of 210. He will be joined by four others who pitched for the Reds in 2014: Nick Christiani, Carlos Contreras, southpaw Ryan Dennick and Pedro Villarreal. Christiani is the Bats’ active leader with 160 pitching appearances since his Triple-A debut in 2011. He made his Major League debut last year. Contreras made 17 appearances for Cincinnati in his debut in 2014, but has yet to play in Triple-A. Dennick led the International League with 57 appearances last year and also pitched in his first eight big league games. Villarreal set a career high with 12 appearances with the Reds in 2014 after making two in 2013 and one in 2012. In all, the pitching staff will feature seven players who took the hill for the Reds in 2014.
Rounding out the bullpen will be Nate Adcock, Chris Carpenter, José De La Torre and Donovan Hand. A product of North Hardin High School in Radcliff, Adcock has appeared in 43 Major League games since 2011 with Kansas City and Texas. Carpenter was signed by the Reds on March 6 and has appeared with the Chicago Cubs (2011) and Boston Red Sox (2012), but spent 2014 in Japan playing for the Yakult Swallows. De La Torre had four separate stints with the Red Sox in 2013 and spent last year in Milwaukee’s system. Hand had spent his entire professional career since 2007 in the Brewers organization, making 31 appearances for the big club in 2013, until being signed by the Reds in January.
Tucker Barnhart returns to call the signals for the pitching staff. He made the Reds’ Opening Day roster in 2014, was with the team for five separate stints and hit his first big league home run on May 1, 2014 at Great American Ball Park. He will be joined by other catchers Chris Berset and Ramَn Cabrera. Berset played in one game for the Bats in 2014, but spent most of the year at Pensacola. Cabrera is a two-time Eastern League All-Star (Double-A) and is a career .287 hitter in 650 minor league games.
Hernلn Iribarren (2B, LF) is the Bats’ lone returning player on the infield. The veteran played in 99 games in 2014 and made starts at second base, shortstop, third base, left field and DH. He also made six scoreless relief appearances as a pitcher in 2014. He is joined byJermaine Curtis (3B), Ivلn De Jesْs (SS), Irving Falْ (2B, 3B, SS), Dan Johnson (1B), Josh Satin (1B, 2B, 3B) and Eugenio Suلrez (SS)—all newcomers to the Reds system. Curtis will be in his first year outside the Cardinals’ system after making his Major League debut with them in 2013. De Jesْs was a 2014 IL All-Star with Norfolk (Orioles) and has Major League time with the Dodgers and Red Sox. Falْ hit .341 in 24 games with the Royals in 2012 and also had Major League time with the Brewers and Padres last year. Johnson was acquired from Houston on March 26 and has hit 235 home runs in the minors, 180 at the Triple-A level. He has appeared in Major League games with the Athletics, Rays, Blue Jays, White Sox and Orioles. Satin has spent his entire career in the Mets’ organization until being signed by the Reds in November. He is a career .243 hitter in 116 Major League games, but a .301 hitter in 740 career minor league games. Suلrez was acquired in the trade that sent Alfredo Simon to Detroit. He made his big league debut with the Tigers in 2014 and hit .242 in 85 games.
Donald Lutz and Yorman Rodrيguez highlight the Bats outfield. Lutz made three stints with the Reds in 2014 and appeared in 52 games with the Bats. Rodrيguez, like Contreras, debuted with the Reds last year, but has yet to play in Triple-A. He appeared in 11 games for the Reds and 119 games for Pensacola, hitting .262. He is the Reds’ No. 11 prospect according to MLB.com. Lutz and Rodrيguez are joined bySteve Selsky and Bryson Smith. Selsky hit .240 in 55 games with Louisville last year and .301 in 64 games with Pensacola. Smith is a career .291 hitter in 250 minor league games since 2011, but has yet to play at the Triple-A level.
Delino DeShields is set to manage the Bats in his sixth season as a Reds minor league skipper, but his first in Louisville. The 13-year big leaguer has a minor league managerial record of 300-331. DeShields will be joined by pitching coach Ted Power and hitting coach Tony Jaramillo. Power enters his 10th season as Bats pitching coach. The Bats staff owns a 3.96 ERA since Power took over in 2006. Jaramillo enters his eighth season in the organization and his third as the Louisville hitting coach.
The 2015 campaign will be both the Bats’ 16th season at Louisville Slugger Field and their 16th season as the top affiliate of the Reds. The entire 2015 Bats schedule and promotions can be found at batsbaseball.com. Full and partial season tickets, along with group outings and suite rentals are available by calling the Bats front office at 502-212-2287.