Harrisburg Senators’ 2012 Roster Unveiled

This season the Eastern League rosters have been expanded from 24 to 25 players and this small change could very easily make carrying a third catcher a reality for a lot of teams. As of now, the roster stands at 27 so a couple of players will probably be bound to start the season on the disabled list.

Let’s take a quick look at the roster by position:

Starting Pitchers


Photo courtesy Jeff Mankie / News & Messenger

Danny Rosenbaum, LHP
Jeff Mandel, RHP
Mike Ballard, LHP
Paul Demny, RHP
Rob Gilliam, RHP

If Rosenbaum starts the season the same way he ended it last year, don’t be surprised to see the southpaw get the call to Syracuse before June rolls around. Mandel knows western New York well having spent the majority of the last two seasons there, but returns to Harrisburg once again. Ballard proved to be a very successful Eastern League pitcher with Bowie last season (8-3, 3.33 ERA) from June on and maintains a high strikeout-to-walk rate. Demny and Gilliam both bring mid-90s heat and need to control their emotions on the mound and learn the mental side of pitching.

Relief Pitchers


Photo courtesy Mike Janes / Four Seam Images

Pat Lehman, RHP
Pat McCoy, LHP
Hector Nelo, RHP
Marco Frias, RHP
Joe Testa, LHP
Christian Garcia, RHP
Erik Davis, RHP
Kevin Pucetas, RHP

Davis is out to prove that last year’s poor results stemmed from a balky knee that required surgery in the off-season. Testa and McCoy are going to have to carry a load as they are the only lefties coming out of the bullpen. Expect Lehman and Nelo to both close games for the Senators as both had success last season in that role.

Catchers


Photo courtesy Tug Haines

Sandy Leon
Devin Ivany
Jeff Howell

With the departure of Derek Norris to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez trade, Leon becomes the highest-rated catcher in the Nationals’ system. The receiver from Venezuela brings his major league-ready defense and increasing offensive production to Harrisburg for the 2012 season. Ivany will resume his familiar role as backup and with the flexibility the extra roster spot provides may see his bat added into the lineup as the DH on days when he’s not spelling Leon.

Infielders


Photo courtesy Steve Mihelerakis / MiLB

Tim Pahuta
Jeff Kobernus
Josh Johnson
Manny Mayorson
Stephen King
Chris McConnell
Jose Lozada

After an impressive second-half last season, Pahuta will find his name penciled in everyday as the starting (and only) first baseman on the roster. Kobernus, Baseball America’s 20th ranked prospect in the Nats’ system, finally stayed healthy for a whole season and produced a solid offensive season where he hit .282, scored 67 runs, and stole 53 bases. Josh Johnson once again finds himself in a Senators’ uniform and will provide needed leadership while King and McConnell return hoping to bounce back after lackluster 2011 campaigns. Mayorson is a solid free agent signing as he provides flexibility around the infield and has hit over .300 in three of his last four seasons.

Outfielders


Photo courtesy Jeff Mankie / News & Messenger

Chris Rahl
Jesus Valdez
Eury Perez
Destin Hood

Hood and Perez are two of the Nationals’ most promising outfield prospects. For the last two seasons, Hood was the most improved player in the Nats’ system and with his wide-receiver body and five tool skill set the sky’s the limit. Perez brings speed to burn and impressed many during his time in big league camp this spring training. Rahl and Valdez return to Harrisburg both victims of the numbers crunch of outfielders in Syracuse.

Our guess at the opening day lineup:

CF Perez
2B Kobernus
RF Hood
1B Pahuta
DH Valdez
3B Mayorson
LF Rahl
C Leon
SS Johnson

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