Bakersfield Blaze Announce 2013 Roster

High draft picks and skilled position players

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The 2012 First Half Champion Bakersfield Blaze have announced their 2013 opening day roster, and an incredibly talented team will take the field looking to repeat the strong first half performance from 2012, and carry the club to a championship!

Three of Baseball America's top 30 prospects dot the Blaze 2013 roster. Carlos Contreras, the flame-throwing closer who buzzed 96 mile-per-hour fastballs across the Sam Lynn Ballpark plate in 2012 will return in 2013 as a member of the starting rotation. Contreras and his electric right arm piled up a farm-leading 20 saves in 2012, only failing to convert on four chances. Carlos was a perfect 4-for-4 in save tries with the Blaze.

On the position player side of the roster, Yorman Rodriguez returns to Bakersfield after an eventful 2012. Rodriguez began 2012 in Bakersfield and scuffled, but a midseason demotion to the Reds Midwest League affiliate in Dayton seemed to wake up the young Venezuelan, as he hit for both average and power, and led the Dragons in slugging percentage. Rodriguez continued his resurgence with a strong spring training and will get another chance to impress at Bakersfield. And if a fan wanted another reason to watch Rodriguez, his throwing arm has been rated the best in the Reds minor league system for three straight seasons - baserunners tagging up and trying to score . beware.

While Rodriguez can impress with gap-to-gap line drives and a cannon for an arm, Kyle Waldrop will wow fans with his colossal power. After blowing away crowds in Dayton with a smooth swing and eye-popping strength, the young outfielder will look to take advantage of smaller ballparks in the California League.

Fans can enjoy the return of a few familiar names, as well as some new faces: jack of all trades reliever Pat Doyle will begin his 2013 season in Bakersfield after finishing 2012 on the disabled list; finally healthy, Dominic D'Anna will man first base exclusively this season; Brooks Pinckard, with his unorthodox delivery and mid-90's sinker, will return to the bullpen; a tough grinder of a catcher, Chris Berset, after fighting through a stress fracture, will try to get into a rhythm this year; hard-throwing Kyle McMyne, the pride of Pennsylvania, should continue a late-season roll into a new year; and big Juan Duran, who nearly took down the light tower in left field with his epic homers, has shortened his swing to improve his contact and strike fear into opposing pitchers.

In addition, less heralded, but no less skilled, Ryan Wright will take up shop at second base, and join an infield with great hands and even better bats. D'Anna, Juan Perez, utility man Michael Gilmartin, Juan Silverio, and Sean Buckley round out the hitting prospects.

The Blaze boast a handful of successful new arms that fans will remember long after this season. James Allen, Jonathan Moscot and Rhadames Quezada join Tanner Robles in a crew of starters that produced some of the lowest ERA's and best opposing batting average numbers in the Midwest League in 2012. And down in the pen, Mike Dennhardt brings his sinker back to Bakersfield, with fire-baller Carlos Gonzalez, and control experts Jimmy Moran, El'Hajj Muhammad and Jake Johnson.

Fans can meet the team on Wednesday, April 3 at Sam Lynn Ballpark from 5-6pm in an open practice. Ken Griffey, Sr., Rigo Beltran and new hitting coach Ray Martinez look to lead the club to a championship and celebrate the renaissance of baseball in Bakersfield in style!
 

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