Adell, Marsh highlight Bees’ Opening Day roster

Banners representing the Bees and their MLB affiliate, the Los Angeles Angels, hang outside Burlington’s Community Field. (Photo by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler)

Five players ranked by Baseball America among the top 30 Los Angeles Angels prospects are on the Burlington Bees’ Opening Day roster, including outfielders Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh.

If the Angels hadn’t signed Japanese pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani during the offseason, Adell would be considered the team’s top prospect. (Despite his successful career in Japan, Ohtani is still considered a prospect because he just made his MLB debut Sunday.) The Angels have high expectations for Adell, whom they drafted with the No. 10 overall pick last year, believing him to have “the best combination of power, speed and arm strength in the 2017 draft” (per Baseball America). He was impressive at the plate in his debut season, batting .325 with five homers, eight triples, 11 doubles, 30 runs batted in, and eight stolen bases in 49 games at rookie-level last year.

Marsh, a second-round draft pick in 2016, also impressed in his debut season last year. (He didn’t play in 2016 because of a lower back injury.) He batted .350 with four homers, five triples, 13 doubles, 44 runs batted in, and 10 stolen bases in 39 games with the rookie-level Orem Owlz last year. He is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in the Angels organization. BA says Marsh has five-tool potential and “has shown an ability to hit to all fields and could grow into more power as he matures physically.”

Switch-hitting infielder Leonardo Rivas (No. 11 Angels prospect) is one of four players returning to Burlington after spending part or all of the 2017 season with the team. He batted .267 with five doubles, seven RBI and eight stolen bases in 26 games with the Bees. He also played with the Owlz last season, batting .299 with two homers, four triples, six doubles, 29 runs batted in, and 11 stolen bases in 35 games. He drew 59 walks and struck out 44 times in the 61 games he played in last year.

Catcher Keinner Pina (No. 29) hit well for average and in the clutch in the rookie-level Pioneer League last year. He batted .292 with 33 RBI in 48 games with the Owlz. Baseball America calls the 20-year-old Venezuela native a natural leader who is good defensively and “makes consistent contact and has excellent plate discipline … but needs to get stronger physically just to develop into a gap hitter.”

A familiar name on the roster — if only because of his father’s long career in the major leagues — outfielder Torii Hunter Jr. is ranked 30th among Angels prospects. A former standout football player at Notre Dame, Hunter batted .352 with one homer, three triples, 10 doubles, 28 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 52 games with the Owlz last year.

The complete 2018 Bees Opening Day roster:

Pitchers: Jeremy Beasley, Brett Hanewich, Simon Mathews, Keith Rogalla, Mitchell Traver, James Ziemba, Luis Madero, Sam Pastrone, Kida De La Cruz, Max Herrmann, Jorge Tavarez, Austin Krzeminski

Catchers: Keinner Pina, Harrison Wenson

Infielders: Julio Garcia, David MacKinnon, Leonardo Rivas, Jeyson Sanchez, Franklin Torres, Gleyvin Pineda

Outfielders: Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Torii Hunter Jr., Spencer Griffin

Former Angels third baseman/outfielder Jack Howell will manage the Burlington Bees this coming season. You can read about him and his coaching staff here.

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