Portland’s roster is set for Opening Day and is this club ever loaded! The Sea Dogs today announced the names of 27 players (including three starting the year on the DL) who will defend the Eastern League crown.
How stacked are these Sea Dogs? Three of the top ten prospects we have will play here, and 19 players boast Double-A experience; 16 spent time in Portland last season. Right hander Clay Buchholz, [left] the number three prospect in ‘Sox Nation, gets the Opening night start. He was 11-4 with a 2.42 ERA between Low-A Greenville (SALLY) and High-A Wilmington, and his 140 strikeouts was the class of our farm system.
And yes, the organizational cornerstone for the next decade, Jacoby Ellsbury, will be patrolling center here at Hadlock Field when the ‘Dogs kick off the 2007 season next Thursday night, same as he did for 50 games down the stretch in ’06. Named the second-best prospect in the entire Red Sox farm system (behind Dice-K) by Baseball America, Ellsbury has all the tools. Last year he hit a combined .303 with Single-A Wilmington (Carolina League) and Double-A Portland. And his 41 steals were tops in the Red Sox organization! Flanking Ellsbury will be a couple of studs in Jeff Corsaletti, who worked a Carolina League best 97 walks; his .400 OBP led the Blue Rocks last season), and newly acquired Cory Keylor, the Orioles’ Minor League Player-of-the-Year with Bowie in 2006 where he batted .294 with ten homers and 68 ribbies.
The infield sports an intriguing stick man, too. Jeff Natale, the Red Sox 2006 Minor League Offensive Player-of-the-year hit .304 with 17 HRs and 87 RBI for Greenville. He comes in at #16 on Baseball America’s Top Prospects list for Boston.
Gifted with this talented glimpse at perhaps a big part of Fenway’s not-to-distant future is Arnie Beyeler, a veteran manager of six years in minor league ball, but never this high. Join us April 5th at 6 p.m. as the ‘Dogs begin a quest for back-to-back titles! [complete roster]