The 2015 Helena Brewers finished with a record of 32-42 which placed them in the cellar of the Pioneer League’s Northern Division.
The 2016 version looks to be a bit more exciting, with plenty of talented young players like shortstop Gilbert Lara and outfielder Demi Orimoloye on the opening day roster.
Pitchers: Early indications are that 6’1″ righty Gentry Fortuno will get the opening day nod for Helena. He’ll be joined on the Helena staff by some other intriguing youngsters such as Trey Supak, who was acquired from Pittsburgh in the Jason Rogers trade this offseason and Karsen Lindell, a ninth round pick by the Brewers last season. The staff will also include some recent draftees, including fifth rounder Zach Brown and tenth round pick Blake Fox.
Catchers: The Helena catching corps will be led by 19-year-old Panamanian Johel Atencio, who missed all of last season with injury after hitting .290 in the Dominican Summer League a year earlier. He’ll be joined behind the plate by a familiar face in Charles Galiano as well as newcomers Cooper Hummel and Nathan Rodriguez.
Infielders: The infield is heavy on Latin American signees and is highlighted by Lara, whom the Brewers signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. He’ll form a double play combo with fellow Dominican Franly Mallen, who had a brief cup-of-coffee in Helena at the end of last season. Another Dominican, Juan Ortiz, will see action at first base and Puerto Rican Jonathan Oquendo will also get some playing time on the infield. The Brewers seccond round pick, Lucas Erceg will also be joining the club in Helena and should be the team’s primary third baseman.
Outfielders: Orimoloye leads the Brewers in the outfield after putting together a solid debut season in the AZL in 2015. He’ll be joined by Dominican Yeraldy Martinez and Venezuelan Joantgel Segovia to form an exciting outfield trio. 38th round pick Caleb Whalen is also slated to join the outfield mix for the Brewers.
Coaching Staff: Nestor Corredor moves up from Maryvale to take over as the new manager for Helena. He’ll be joined by pitching coach Mark Dewey as well as a pair of new faces to Helena in Reggie Williams and Liu Rodriguez, who spent last season at Brevard County and Wisconsin respectively.
The 2016 Pioneer League season gets underway tomorrow night when Helena plays host to Great Fall Voyagers at 8:05 PM CST.