Veteran Chris Archer headlines strong Durham Bulls 2013 roster

Mar. 31, 2013 @ 11:12 PM

North Carolina natives Wil Myers, a Thomasville outfield, and righthanded pitcher Chris Archer of Clayton, highlight the 2013 Durham Bulls opening day roster.

Myers, MLB.com’s No. 4-ranked overall prospect in baseball, was the 2012 Minor League Player of the Year as named by Baseball America, USA Today and Topps/Minor League Baseball.

He hit 37 home runs last season between Double-A and Triple-A before an offseason trade involving James Shields and Wade Davis brought him to the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Myers is one of only five players to be showcased in Major League Baseball’s Futures Game twice — 2011 and 2012.

Archer, Tampa Bay’s 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, led the International League in strikeouts (139). Archer made his Major League debut last season, starting four games for Tampa Bay, and earned consideration for a spot in the Rays rotation this spring.

Archer leads a fearsome Bulls rotation for veteran manager Charlie Montoyo, that will include the other two top prospects acquired by the Rays in the Shields trade with Kansas City.

Righthander Jake Odorizzi went 15-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 2012, winning the third most games in all of Minor League Baseball en route to being named Triple-A Omaha’s Pitcher of the Year. Currently ranked as Tampa Bay’s No. 2 prospect (behind only Myers), Odorizzi is joined by former teammate, lefthander Mike Montgomery.

Formerly the Royals top overall prospect, Montgomery is considered the No. 6 prospect in the Rays’ system. Rounding out the starters is a Bulls’ mainstay, lefthander Alex Torres. Torres led the IL in strikeouts with 156 last season.

Tampa Bay 40-man roster member Alex Colome, a righthander, looks to build a full season at Triple-A after an impressive 16.2 innings of work last year with the Bulls.

OUTFIELD IS STACKED

The Bulls outfield will feature not only Myers, but speedsters Rich Thompson, Brandon Guyer and Jason Bourgeois. Thompson is MiLB’s active career leader in stolen bases (446), while the highly-touted Guyer played in just 22 games last season after tearing his labrum.

Bourgeois has amassed 51 steals in parts of five Major League seasons. Figuring to play all over the field is 2012 Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star, 1B/OF/DH Leslie Anderson. The Cuban defector led Durham in most offensive categories last season and was recently named Tampa Bay’s Most Outstanding Rookie in Spring Training.

Infielder Tim Beckham returns for another season with the Bulls, the sixth of his pro career. He’ll be joined up the middle by infielder Hak-Ju Lee, a top defensive players who stole 35 bases in an all-star campaign with Double-A Montgomery in 2012. Infielders Cole Figueroa and Mike Fontenot assume duties at third base and as utility men.

Figueroa completed a strong season with the Bulls last season and has 501 hits in a young career. Fontenot, who has played 582 career games for the Cubs, Giants and Phillies,will add leadership, experience and versatility to the Bulls roster. Another new face in the Bulls infield will be Vince Belnome, who was acquired from the Padres organization in December.

PEN HAS RIGHTY FLAVOR

The Durham bullpen is stocked with hard throwing righties.

Brandon Gomes was among the final cuts in Rays camp this spring and returns to anchor the relief corps. Former Pawtucket Red Sox closer Will Inman is joined by fellow newcomer J.D. Martin, who spent all of 2012 with Triple-A New Orleans (Marlins). Bulls veterans Josh Lueke and Jim Paduch are back for their second and third seasons, respectively, in Durham.

Kirby Yates will make his Triple-A debut this season after four strong seasons in the lower levels of the Tampa Bay system. The most recently added piece of the bullpen is Steve Geltz, whom the Rays just acquired from the Angels for 2012 IL All-Star Dane De La Rosa.

Frank De Los Santos is Montoyo’s lone left-handed option to start the season, but the southpaw impressed with the Bulls last season, notching a 2.18 ERA in 27 Triple-A appearances.

Chris Gimenez, who batted .310 for the third-place Bulls in 2012, is the top catcher on the roster, joining Craig Albernaz, who is back for his fifth season with the Bulls.

Fourteen Bulls are back in Durham after spending time with Tampa Bay last season. A total of 12 players from the Tampa Bay 40-man roster will begin the season in Durham as the Bulls seek their sixth IL South Division crown in seven years.

Pitching coach Neil Allen is back for his third season with the club, hitting coach Dave Myers for his fifths eason.

The Bulls open 2013 International League on Thursday at the Norfolk Tides before returning to Downtown Durham for their home opener on April 8 at 6:05 p.m.

Tickets are available at durhambulls.com, by phone at 919-956-BULL or at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park box office.

Managers & Coaches
# Name Pos Bat Thw Ht Wt DOB Status
25 Charlie Montoyo Manager R R 5' 10" 170 10-17-1965 Active
31 Dave Myers Batting Coach R R 6' 4" 190 08-08-1959 Active
17 Neil Allen Pitching Coach R R 6' 2" 190 01-24-1958 Active

Pitchers
# Name Pos Bat Thw Ht Wt DOB Status MLB 40-man
12 Jim Paduch P R R 6' 2" 190 11-02-1982 Active No
11 Kirby Yates P L R 5' 10" 170 03-25-1987 Active No
27 Alex Colome P R R 6' 2" 185 12-31-1988 Active Yes
13 Frank De Los Santos P L L 6' 0" 165 11-17-1987 Active Yes
38 Mike Montgomery P L L 6' 4" 200 07-01-1989 Active Yes
15 Chris Archer P R R 6' 3" 200 09-26-1988 Active Yes
23 Jake Odorizzi P R R 6' 2" 185 03-27-1990 Active Yes
21 Alex Torres P L L 5' 10" 175 12-08-1987 Active Yes
30 J.D. Martin P R R 6' 4" 220 01-02-1983 Active No
35 Will Inman P R R 5' 11" 220 02-06-1987 Active No
9 Steve Geltz P R R 5' 9" 185 11-01-1987 Active No
28 Josh Lueke P R R 6' 5" 220 12-05-1984 Active Yes
32 Brandon Gomes P R R 5' 11" 185 07-15-1984 Active Yes

Catchers
# Name Pos Bat Thw Ht Wt DOB Status MLB 40-man
  Craig Albernaz C R R 5' 8" 185 10-30-1982 Active No
16 Chris Gimenez C R R 6' 2" 220 12-27-1982 Active Yes

Infielders (click column headers to sort)
# Name Pos Bat Thw Ht Wt DOB Status MLB 40-man
4 Cole Figueroa 3B L R 5' 10" 185 06-30-1987 Active No
24 Leslie Anderson DH L L 6' 1" 205 03-30-1982 Active No
34 Vince Belnome 2B L R 5' 11" 205 03-11-1988 Active No
2 Hak-Ju Lee SS L R 6' 2" 170 11-04-1990 Active Yes
3 Mike Fontenot 2B L R 5' 8" 170 06-09-1980 Active No
22 Tim Beckham SS R R 6' 0" 190 01-27-1990 Active Yes

Outfielders
# Name Pos Bat Thw Ht Wt DOB Status MLB 40-man
  Cody Rogers OF L R 6' 2" 175 09-13-1988 Restricted No
5 Wil Myers RF R R 6' 3" 205 12-10-1990 Active No
  Jason Bourgeois CF R R 5' 9" 190 01-04-1982 Active No
29 Rich Thompson OF L R 6' 2" 190 04-23-1979 Active No
10 Brandon Guyer LF R R 6' 2" 210 01-28-1986 Active Yes

Please note these rosters are for off-season purposes and do not necessarily reflect actual Opening Day rosters. Players will be assigned to Minor League teams at the conclusion of Spring Training.