Lynchburg Hillcats look to defend 2017 Carolina League Championship

Lynchburg Hillcats look to defend 2017 Carolina League Championship

Indians

Lynchburg Hillcats look to defend 2017 Carolina League Championship

The Lynchburg Hillcats will have many familiar faces on the April 5 opening day roster as they look to defend their 2017 Carolina League championship.

Eleven players are on the roster who earned a title playing for the Class A Hillcats last season and 12 players in total have spent time playing for Lynchburg.

Eight righthanders, five lefties, six infielders, two catchers and five outfielders were assigned to the team by the Cleveland Indians parent club.

MLB.com rankings have four players starting the season at Lynchburg ranked in the Indians Top 30 prospects. They are outfielder Conner Capel (No. 12), lefty Sam Hentges (No. 17), catcher Logan Ice (No. 21), and outfielder Mitch Longo (No. 27).

Lovegrove and Hentges on the MiLB training fields during 2018 spring training. – Joseph Coblitz, BurningRiverBaseball

Capel, 20, enters his third season of professional baseball and also his second with Lynchburg. In 2017, he hit 22 home runs with 61 RBI in 439 ABs and slashed .246./316./478.

Hentges, 21, begins his fifth year of professional baseball. He pitched in 11 games in 2017 including his last five with Mahoning Valley, where he finished 0-1 with a 2.04 ERA with 23 Ks and 12 BB in 17.2 innings.

Ice, 22, will start his third year in the minors and played for Lake County in 2017. He hit 11 home runs with 47 RBI in 93 games and 316 ABs. He slashed .228/.320/.370 last season.

Longo, 23, enters his third season in professional baseball. He played in 60 games in 2017 including 5 with Lynchburg. He slashed .361/.431.530 overall between Lynchburg and Lake County.

Uber prospect right-hander Triston McKenzie (No. 2) will begin his fourth season of professional baseball and opens the season on the DL for Lynchburg. However, it remains uncertain how long he will stay on the sidelines and whether he will move up to Akron when he is healthy.

Here is the opening day roster breakdown:

RHP
Justin Garza
Luis Jimenez
Kieran Lovegrove
Henry Martinez
Micah Miniard
Jake Paulson
Zach Plesac
Dalbert Siri

LHP
Hentges
Ben Krauth
Anderson Polanco
Billy Strode
Tanner Tully

Catchers
Li-Jen Chu
Ice

Infielders
Erlin Cerda
Gavin Collins
Anthony Miller
Alexis Pantoja
Emmanuel Tapia
Luke Wakamatsu

Outfielders
Trenton Brooks
Capel
Jodd Carter
Longo
Connor Marabell
.

The Hillcats begin play at 6:30 p.m. on April 5 at home against the Down East Wood Ducks at Lynchburg City Stadium.

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