2018 Tri-City ValleyCats Roster Preview

The Tri-City ValleyCats will kick off their 17th season in Troy this Friday night against the Vermont Lake Monsters.

Here's a look at their 2018 roster.

Pitchers
Bryan Abreu (RHP) - Abreu signed with the Astros as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Last season, he sported a 7.98 ERA in 29 innings pitched for the Greeneville Astros in the Rookie League Appalachian League.

Luis De Paula (RHP) - De Paula signed as an undrafted free agent with the Houston parent club in 2016. He was used exclusively as a reliever and posted a
2-1 record with 4 saves and a 1.38 ERA in 26 innings for the Dominican Summer League (DSL) Astros in 2017.

Chad Donato (RHP) - Donato was drafted by the Astros in the 11th round (337th overall) in the 2016 MLB Draft. He split time, between the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Astros in Florida Rookie League and Greeneville Astros, where he had a 3-2 record with a 2.78 ERA in 31 innings between the two levels.

Luis Garcia (RHP) - Garcia started the 2018 season with Quad City River Bandits (Class A - Midwest League) where he posted a 1-2 record with a 3.10 ERA in 29 innings worked. Last season, he had a 1-1 record with a 1.64 ERA with the DSL Astros. He signed with the parent club as undrafted free agent in 2016.

Ian Hardman (RHP) - Hardman was drafted by Houston, in the 36th round (1087th overall) in the 2016 MLB Draft, out of Seminole State College. He pitched in two games last year with the ValleyCats but spent a majority of the season with Greeneville. He finished the year with a 2-0 record with a 2.36 ERA between the two levels.

Tim Hardy (LHP) - Hardy was selected by the Astros, in the 18th round (541st overall) in the 2017 MLB Draft, out of Tusculum College in Tennessee. The lefty appeared 13 games for the Greeneville Astros last season and had a 1-3 record with a 4.19 ERA in 34 innings pitched.

Carlos Hiraldo (LHP) - Hiraldo signed with the Houston parent club as a free agent in 2016. He started the 2018 season with Quad City before moving on to Double-A with the Corpus Christi Hooks. He's compiled a 1-0 record with a 0.94 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched so far this season.

Juan Pablo Lopez (LHP) - Lopez signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2016. The nineteen-year-old posted 0-3 record with a 6.16 ERA with the GCL Astros last season.

Hansel Paulino (RHP) - Paulino signed with Houston as a free agent in 2014. Early in his career, he was used predominately as a relief pitcher but started 10 games for the Greeneville Astros last season. Paulino finished the year with a 4-3 record and 3.48 ERA in 54 innings pitched.

Juan Robles  (RHP) - The Astros signed Robles as a free agent in 2015. He started the 2018 season with the Quad City River Bandits, where he posted a 2-0 record with a 4.05 ERA in three relief appearances.

Nivaldo Rodriguez (RHP) - Rodriguez signed with as a free agent with the Houston parent club in 2016. He split the 2017 season between the DSL and GCL Astros where he finished with a 4-2 record and 2.05 ERA in 57 innings.

Felipe Tejada (RHP) - Tejada signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2015. He pitched a majority of the 2017 season in Greeneville, where he posted a 0-1 record with a 3.33 ERA in 24 innings pitched. He did make a brief appearance for the ValleyCats last year, when he pitched two-thirds of an inning against Lowell on June 22nd. He gave up a hit while striking out two and walking two but didn't allow a run.

Catchers
Alex Holderbach (C) - Holderbach was selected by Houston in the 16th round (492nd overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft. He had a sensational year at Eastern Kentucky University, where he hit .352 with 18 home runs and posted 79 RBI. This is second consecutive season that Holderbach hit over .350 (in 2017, he hit .355).  Holderbach was named as the All Ohio-Valley Conference Catcher and was named a Google Cloud Academic All-American with a 3.89 GPA in 2018.  He was a finalist for the 2018 Johnny Bench Award, which is given annually to the top NCAA Division 1 catcher and was also a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top player in college baseball.

Oscar Campos (C) - Campos was signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2014. The 20-yeard-old played for Greeneville Astros in 2017, where he hit .209 with a home run and 10 RBI in 31 games.

Jose Carrillo (C) - The Astros signed Carillo as a free agent in 2015. Last season, he spent a majority of the season in rookie ball where he hit .240 with 22 RBI.

Infielders
Kyle Davis (2B) - Houston's 15th round (451st overall) pick from 2017 returns for his second season with the ValleyCats. The former West Virginia Mountaineer hit .177 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI in 52 games with Tri-City last season. Davis will get a good bulk of playing time at second base for the ValleyCats.

Trey Dawson - Dawson was drafted in the 15th round (462nd overall) in the 2018 MLB Draft out of the University of Kentucky. Dawson hit .280 with 3 home runs and 19 RBI in 55 games for the Wildcats this past this season.

Luis Encarnacion (1B) - Encarnacion was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2013. The first basemen spent four seasons in the Phillies organization, including two stints with the Williamsport Crosscutters in 2016 and 2017 before being released towards the end of spring training this season. Last year, Encarnacion hit .200 with 2 home run and 7 RBI between Clearwater of the Florida State League and Williamsport.

Jonathan Matute (2B/UTL) - Matute signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2013. He's bounced between the DSL and GCL Astros teams over the last four seasons. He made a brief appearance with the Greeneville Astros in 2016. Last season Matute hit .235 with a home run and 6 RBI.  Matute has played predominately at second base during his career, but can play other infield positions.

Jeremy Pena (SS) - Pena was originally selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 39th round (1170th overall) in the 2015 MLB Draft of high school, but opted to attend the University of Maine. While in Maine, he compiled a .304 batting average with 12 home runs and 75 RBI in 163 games. The Astros selected Pena in the 3rd round (102nd overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft. He is the son of former major league player Geronimo Pena.

Juan Pineda (UTL/MI) - Pineda was a middle infielder split time between Greeneville and the GCL Astros last season. He hit .268 with 3 home runs and 28 RBI's between the two levels. Pineda signed with Houston as an undrafted amateur in 2014.

Ozziel Sanchez-Galen (SS) - Sanchez-Galen spent the 2017 at four different levels of the Houston farm system, including a one game stint at Double-A Corpus Christi. The utility-man finished the 2017 with a .265 batting average between the four levels. Sanchez-Galen signed with Astros as an undrafted amateur in 2014.

Enmanuel Valdez (2B/SS) - Valdez spent the 2017 season between Greeneville and GCL Astros. He batted .217 with 4 home runs and 15 RBI at the two levels. The second basemen signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2015.

Michael Wielansky (SS) - Wielanksy was drafted by Houston, in the 18th Round (552nd overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft, out of the College of Wooster. The former Fighting Scot hit .401 with 6 home runs, 50 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 46 games during his junior season. Wielansky will complete for the starting shortstop job with the ValleyCats.

Outfielders
Seth Beer (OF) - Beer was the Astros 1st round (28th overall) pick, out of Clemson University. Beer was one of the top college baseball players in the nation this past season, where he hit .301 with 22 home runs and 54 RBI for the Tigers. During his time at Clemson, Beer received numerous awards including 1st Team College All-American (2016) and the Dick Howser Award (2016), given to the best college baseball player. He will most likely crack the Houston's Top 10 prospect list at some point this summer.

Gilberto Celestino (CF) - Celestino signed with Houston as a free agent in 2015. Celestino started the 2018 season with the Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi, where he played in three games. The nineteen-year-old is currently the #23 prospect in the Astros organization.

Austin Dennis (CF) - Dennis was drafted in the 20th round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Astros out of Middle Tennessee State University. During his junior season at Middle Tennessee State, Davis hit .345 with 5 home runs, 24 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. He was selected First Team All-Conference USA.

Carlos Machado (OF) - Machado signed as a free agent with the Astros in 2015. Last season, he split time between Greeneville and GCL Astros where he hit .325 with 2 home runs, 4 triples, and 17 RBI in 41 games between the two levels.

Logan Mattix (CF) - Mattix was drafted, in the 25th round (762nd overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Astros, out of Georgia College. Mattix hit .400 with 9 home runs and 67 RBI in 55 games for the Bobcats this past season. Mattix is a solid contact hitter that could be a top-of-the-order guy for Tri-City.

Andy Pineda (CF) - Pineda returns for his third season with ValleyCats. Last season, Pineda hit .222 with a home run and 16 RBI in 51 games for Tri-City. Pineda signed as a free agent with Houston in 2014.

Ramiro Rodriguez (OF) - Rodriguez split time between DSL and GCL Astros in 2017, hitting .335 with 5 home runs and 24 RBI. The twenty-year-old could be a middle-of-the-lineup hitter who could be productive driving in runs for the ValleyCats.



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