Geoff Safford, Media Relations Intern
Baseball Season is back in the Wine Country, as the Sonoma Stompers are getting ready to open the 2016 season. Spring training will begin for the Stompers on Friday, May 20th, as the team prepares to chase the franchise’s first league championship.
In doing so, the Stompers will invite 28 players to camp to fight for a spot on the active team roster. There will be seven players returning to camp from the 2015 campaign that resulted in a second place finish in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, where the team had a 44-33 overall team record.
On the infield, the Stompers will return star first baseman Daniel Baptista, and shortstop Eddie Mora-Loera. In the outfield, 2015 Pacific Association Rookie of the Year Mark Hurley will look to build upon the fantastic season he had a year ago. Hurley had an impressive .302 batting average to go along with nine home runs, and 51 RBIs.
On the mound, the Stompers will welcome back three arms, including two of their top starting pitchers from last season in Gregory Paulino and Mike Jackson, Jr. Sean Conroy also returns after his history-making 2015 season.
The Stompers have also bolstered the roster with new talent that should prove to make a difference in 2016. At catcher, the Stompers will get some help from newcomers Marcus Blackmon and Max Ayoub.
Blackmon, an alumnus of Jamestown University, impressed scouts while playing for the Toronto Rush in California Winter League. Blackmon had 11 hits in 29 at bats while helping the Rush to a CWL Championship. He is also known as an extremely smart and savvy catcher that will look to take control of the pitching staff.
Ayoub accumulated a .314 batting average to go along with 16 homers and 77 RBIs during his collegiate career at the University of Nebraska-Keaney. He was also named to the All-MIAA Team.
On the infield, the Stompers will hope that hot corner specialist Caleb Bryson can add some extra thump to the lineup. In 2015, Bryson accumulated a .356 batting average to go along with a staggering 30 home runs and 96 RBIs while playing for the Trinidad Triggers in the Pecos League.
For pitchers, three new names to keep an eye on will be Oliver Garcia, Jose Flores, and Austin Delmotte. Garcia, a native of the Dominican Republic, spent time in the Seattle Mariners organization. Flores spent time with the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 2015 and will look to bolster the starting rotation.
Flores excelled in his role as the ace Friday starter for the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma with his best season coming in 2014 when he finished with a 1.67 earned run average in 43 innings pitched.
Delmotte impressed scouts in the California Winter League with his power fastball and will look to blow hitters away with his velocity this summer.
Takashi ‘Yoshi’ Miyoshi returns at the helm of the Stompers for 2016, entering his second season with the club, and his first full season as manage. Miyoshi was promoted from bench coach and took over the managerial duties mid-season on July 13, 2015.
Chris Mathews will begin his first season with the club in 2016 as a bench coach, and could also see some time behind the plate as a catcher.
The Stompers will begin the regular season on May 31st against the Vallejo Admirals on the road in the first game of a three game series. Sonoma will kickoff the home slate on Tuesday, June 7th when they host the Vallejo Admirals in another three game series at Arnold Field.
Tickets are available online at stompersbaseball.com, and can also be purchased in our Stompers Fan Shop located at 234 W. Napa St in Sonoma. Group events and Group Tickets are also available now. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 707.938.7277 for any questions you may have or more information.