Excitement for the new season reached a new level at Recreation Park on
Sunday, as the Visalia Rawhide announced their 2009 roster.
As expected, the Arizona Diamondbacks have assigned a hugely promising pitching
their High-A affiliate, punctuated by the arrival of Jarrod Parker.
A right-handed flamethrower from Ossian, Indiana, Parker was the 9th overall pick in the first round of the 2007 draft. He ranks as the 17th best prospect in baseball in the 2009 Scout.com minor league rankings and is the consensus best prospect in Arizona's system. With a fastball that can reach 98 miles per hour and a devastating slider, Parker figures to anchor Visalia's starting pitching core.
Offensively, the Rawhide will feature the aptly-named Collin Cowgill, who is another top Arizona prospect. Cowgill has advanced rapidly since his selection in last year's draft. He was a standout left fielder at Kentucky University, and proceeded to hit 11 home runs in 20 games with Rookie-level Yakima last year, which would lead the Northwest League. He was immediately promoted to Low-A South Bend, where he was a part of the SilverHawks' run to the Midwest League finals.
Meanwhile, Ollie Linton, an outfielder from UC Irvine, will provide excitement at the top of Visalia's lineup. Linton has tremendous speed and posted excellent on-base percentage at Missoula and South Bend last year. Rawhide fans will also enjoy watching Linton run down fly balls in Recreation Park's spacious power alleys; he has developed a reputation as a spectacular center fielder and drew frequent standing ovations for his plays last year.
Besides the influx of new talent, Visalia fans can look forward to some familiar faces as well. Seven players return from last year, including starting pitcher Wes Roemer, relievers Leyson Septimo and Jorge Perez, infielder Manny Ferrer, touted catching prospect Ed Easley, fan-favorite Konrad Schmidt, and dependable outfielder Greg Thomson.
The squad will be led by Mike Bell, who returns for a second season in Visalia. Bell guided last year's team through host of injuries and promotions and kept them in contention for the playoffs until the final weekend of the season.
With a new nickname, new colors, and a newly renovated ballpark, the Rawhide finally have a fresh set of players to represent Tulare and Kings counties.
Be sure you have your tickets for 2009! Visit RawhideBaseball.com for more nformation.
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