Pelicans 2006 Roster Announced
Pelicans hurler Jose Ascanio is one of the top Atlanta Braves prospects highlighting the `06 roster.
The new flock of Pelicans was announced on Saturday, April 1, 2006, as the Atlanta Braves released their 2006 Minor League rosters. This year’s Pelicans roster is chock full of top prospects along with a number of familiar faces. Eight of the 27 players starting in Myrtle Beach this season are currently listed in Baseball America’s top 30 prospect list within the Braves system. Eighteen players on the roster will be making a return visit to Coastal Federal Field, giving the team a wealth of experience.
New Pelicans Manager Rocket Wheeler will likely look around the clubhouse and feel like he never left Rome. Wheeler, who spent the last three years as the Skipper of the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League (one step below Myrtle Beach) will have the opportunity to manage many of his former players this year. Nearly every player on the Pelicans `06 roster played under Wheeler during the previous three seasons.
“They know my style and they understand that all I ask of them is to play hard and hustle every night. It’s an added bonus that we’ve all been together before,” said Wheeler.
The pitching staff features five of the Braves top 30 prospects:
- Jake Stevens
- Jose Ascanio
- Matt Harrison
- Luis Atilano
- James Parr
Last season in Myrtle Beach Stevens went 10-9 with a 4.93 ERA. Ascanio appeared in just five games in 2005 with the Pelicans before suffering a season-ending back injury. He was impressive in his short stint with the Birds going 3-1 with a deceiving 6.10 ERA. His ERA before his final start in which he was injured stood at 2.95. Last season Harrison, Parr, and Atilano combined to earn 33 wins in Rome.
“We have the chance to have a pretty good pitching staff with all of those young arms,” stated Wheeler.
Defensively the Pelicans will have proven depth at all positions.
Behind the plate Clint Sammons, Steve Pyzik, and Xan Barksdale will be the other side of the battery for the talented pitching staff.
Sammons, a teammate of former Pelican and current Atlanta Braves phenom Jeff Francoeur in high school (Parkview H.S. in Lilburn, GA), is a highly touted catcher who earned All-Star honors with the Rome Braves last year. Pyzik, a Clemson product, and Barksdale each saw action in Myrtle Beach in `05.
In the infield 1B Greg Creek, who hit .375 in just four games with the Birds last season returns, and 3B Van Pope, who left the Pelicans last year after Hurricane Katrina hit his hometown of Jackson, MS, will man the corners. Smooth fielding SS Diory Hernandez is back for a second season, while his double play partner 2B J.C. Holt, a 3rd round pick of the Braves out of L.S.U. in`04 will be making his first appearance in Myrtle Beach after hitting .285 in his first two seasons of pro ball.
The outfield is highlighted by the return of Brandon Jones. Jones, the 8th rated prospect in the Braves system, played in 17 games with the Pelicans last season before having his year cut short by an injury. He hit .350 and showed much promise in his brief time with the Pelicans. Jones will roam the outfield with returnees Steven Doetsch, and Ardley Jansen, while Matt Young comes to the Beach for the first time.
Young hit .312 with six homers and 52 RBI in `05 with Rome.
Fans can view the entire Pelicans roster online.
Year eight of Pelicans Baseball begins on Thursday, April 6th at 7:02pm against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Tickets are going fast, but are available by calling 843-918-6000, online at www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com, or by ordering tickets at the Pelicans box office located at Coastal Federal Field.
Thanks to MBBC’s Ryan Ibbotson for this capcom story & to Steve Terry for this capcom photo.