Fort Wayne TinCaps (0-0) @ Bowling Green Hot Rods (0-0)
RHP Jesse Scholtens vs. RHP J.D. Busfield
Thursday, April 6 — Bowling Green Ballpark — First Pitch 7:35 p.m. — Game 1
OPENING DAY: Welcome to the 2017 TinCaps season, and the 25th year for Minor League Baseball in Fort Wayne. Tonight the TinCaps play their first of 140 games over the course of 152 days from now until Labor Day (Sept. 4).
LAST YEAR: Coincidentally, the last time the TinCaps played was at Bowling Green on Labor Day last year. Fort Wayne lost, 13-2, to conclude its season with a 62-78 record. Over the course of the year, Fort Wayne had a franchise-record 20 players promoted by the Padres. The team used a franchise-high 64 players in total, as they lost a Minor League Baseball-leading 31 games by 1 run. The high-water mark for the club actually came at Bowling Green on June 9 when the TinCaps won to go 8 games above .500 (34-26).
THIS YEAR’S TEAM: Logan Allen, David Bednar, Marcus Greene Jr., Austin Smith,and Brad Zunica are the only players who were active for the TinCaps to conclude 2016 that are on this year’s Opening Day roster. That said, a total of 12 current players (9 pitchers, 3 position players) spent time in Fort Wayne last season. The TinCaps have 5 players ranked by MLB.com as Top 30 San Diego Padres prospects (see bottom of right column). Notably, Fort Wayne has 5 position players who are teenagers — 4 of whom are infielders, including Eguy (Eggy) Rosario, who’s 17. (Allen, Rod Boykin, Lou Distasio, Will Headean, Emmanuel Ramirez, Smith, and Zunica are the lone 7 from last year’s Opening Day unit.)
THIS YEAR’S STAFF: Manager Anthony Contreras is back for his second season with the TinCaps. Contreras, who also played for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2008, is the first TinCaps manager to return for a second season since José Valentín in 2012-13. “AC” is joined by pitching coach Burt Hooton, the former Cubs, Dodgers, and Rangers pitcher who is with the club for a fifth year and is now the longest-tenured coach in Fort Wayne franchise history. Doug Banks is the team’s new hitting coach, while Jhonny Carvajal (Johnny CAR-vuh-haul) is the squad’s latest fielding coach. Allyse Kramer and Jay Young are fresh as athletic trainer and strength coach, respectively.
PARKVIEW FIELD OPENER: This series will shift to Fort Wayne on Saturday as the TinCaps play their 2017 home opener. The 6:05 p.m. game will be followed by fireworks. After a pair with Bowling Green, the TinCaps will remain home to host the South Bend Cubs for 3 through Wednesday.
THE OTHER GUYS: Bowling Green’s roster features the following Top 30 Tampa Bay Rays prospects, per MLB.com… OF Josh Lowe (No. 6), OF Jesus Sanchez (No. 7), OF Garrett Whitley (No. 11), SS Lucius Fox (No. 13), and 3B/SS Adrian Rondon (No. 14).