Martie Cordaro liked what he saw on the preliminary roster released by the Omaha Storm Chasers on Friday.
Twenty-seven players were listed, including nine pitchers and eight position players who have appeared in the first two seasons at Werner Park.
“We're optimistic,” said Cordaro, Omaha's president and general manager. “We're going to be very competitive.”
Anchoring the starting rotation for the Storm Chasers will be 2012 All-Pacific Coast League pitcher Ryan Verdugo, who led Omaha in wins (12), games started (24) and innings pitched (13623). He was the only Chasers pitcher to top 100 strikeouts last season.
Other returning pitchers are Nate Adcock, Francisley Bueno, Chris Dwyer, Donnie Joseph, Michael Mariot, Justin Marks, Will Smith and Everett Teaford.
Six pitchers will make their Storm Chasers debuts, with one originally drafted by the Royals and the remaining five joining the organization during the offseason as free agents. Buddy Baumann will make his Class AAA debut. Blaine Boyer, Anthony Ortega, Brian Sanches and Atahualpa Severino have spent time in the major leagues.
Sanches rejoins the Royals organization after he was originally drafted by Kansas City in 1999 and traded in 2003 to San Diego for Rondell White.
“From a starting pitching perspective, there are a lot of pitchers that could be with Kansas City in the big leagues,” Cordaro said. “It just came down to a numbers game.”
Headlining the 13 position players will be Omaha's 2011 player of the year, Johnny Giavotella; the Chasers' career triples leader, David Lough; and World Baseball Classic finalist Irving Falu (Puerto Rico). The trio have combined to play more than 1,000 games for Omaha in the last four seasons.
Also returning are catchers Adam Moore and Max Ramirez, infielders Christian Colon and Anthony Seratelli, and outfielder Paulo Orlando.
Two major league veterans and three players with significant Class AAA experience will appear at Werner Park for the first time as Storm Chasers.
Infielder Xavier Nady and outfielder Willy Taveras join Omaha with a combined 1,609 major league games played. Infielders Chad Tracy and Brandon Wood both played in more than 100 games last season in the PCL with Colorado Springs. Outfielder Luis Durango spent 2012 in the International League, and has previously played for Portland/Tucson and Oklahoma City.
“We're excited,” Cordaro said. “There is youth, some new faces and new players that have been coming up through the Royals system. There is a lot of returning talent, and a lot of good individuals who will be back.
“There are a lot of veteran players that have spent a lot of time in the big leagues and who have had success in the big leagues. We are very excited about the 2013 Storm Chasers.”
Fans can see Omaha for the first time Wednesday at the Family Fest and Media Day from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The home opener is April 12 against Nashville.
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