Cy Young Award Winner, Ambidextrous Pitcher Highlight 2015 Squad
Nashville, TN – The Nashville Sounds – entering their first season as the Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate – have announced their tentative Opening Day 25-man roster for the 2015 season.
The group is headlined by the presence of a veteran pitching staff, prospects acquired in several offseason trades, 16 players who have made their Major League debut and six members of Oakland’s 40-man roster.
Chris Bassitt is rated as the A’s #5 prospect (as ranked by Baseball America) and will open the season in Nashville’s starting rotation. The right-hander was acquired this offseason in one of several trades made by A’s General Manager Billy Beane.
Three-time American League All-Star, two-time World Series champion and 2002 Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito will start the year with the Sounds. Signed as a minor league free agent on February 17th, the left-hander last appeared with the San Francisco Giants in 2013 (5-11, 5.74) before taking a break in 2014. This will be Zito’s 17th season in professional baseball.
Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte was assigned to Nashville. Capable of throwing effectively with both arms, the ambidextrous hurler stands tall on the mound with a six-finger glove. He will join an experienced bullpen as he opens his 8th season of professional ball.
Brad Mills, a familiar name for Sounds’ fans, will join Bassitt and Zito in the starting rotation. The left-hander pitched in 14 games (4-2, 1.56) last season for Nashville before being traded on June 17. The 30-year old has seen action in the Major Leagues during five of the last six seasons and provides strength to Oakland’s depth chart.
The Sounds tentative rotation files out as follows: Bassitt, Zito, Angel Castro, Arnold Leon and Mills.
Other prospects to start their year in Nashville include: Max Muncy (#12), Joey Wendle (#16) and Leon (#25).
Of the entire 25-man tentative roster, Wendle and Muncy are the only ones to have not appeared at or above the Triple-A level in their careers.
Wendle has played second base in every game he has appeared in over the last two seasons. Traded from Cleveland to Oakland this offseason, the 24-year old spent most of last year on the disabled list after breaking the hamate bone in his right hand. Entering his fourth season of professional baseball, Wendle is regarded as a highly-touted product.
The six players on Nashville’s tentative roster that also appear on the A’s 40-man roster include: pitchers Bassitt, Leon, Ryan Cook, Eury De La Rosa, Chad Smith and outfielder Alex Hassan.
Cook and De La Rosa, both right-handed relievers, anchor a bullpen that has six players who have already made their Major League debut. Cook was a 2012 American League All-Star but was optioned to Triple-A after a tough Spring Training this year. De La Rosa was acquired this offseason from the Diamondbacks and pitched in 25 games with Arizona in 2014 (2-0, 2.95).
The 16 members of the roster that have already made their Major League debut include: starting pitchers Bassitt, Mills and Zito; relievers Cook, De La Rosa, Smith, Fernando Rodriguez, Ryan Verdugo and Kevin Whelan; catchers Bryan Anderson and Luke Carlin; infielders Andy Parrino and Niuman Romero; and outfielders Hassan, Matt Angle and Jason Pridie.
The catching duo of Anderson and Carlin has been with a combined 10 different MLB organizations over a span of 23 seasons. Anderson played in one game with the A’s last year while Carlin’s last appearance in the Majors came in 2012 with Cleveland. The pair will be in charge of guiding a stout pitching staff.
Rounding out the names on Nashville’s 25-man roster include: reliever Brock Huntzinger; infielders Anthony Aliotti and Alden Carrithers; and outfielder Kent Matthes.
The Sounds kick off their 72 game home schedule on Friday, April 17th at 7:05pm against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
Ticket packages are currently on sale by calling 615.690.HITS. Fans can visit the Sounds’ website, www.nashvillesounds.com, for more information on the team’s schedule, upcoming promotions and more.