Rome Braves

Progress leads to promotions in the minor leagues. And the Rome Braves were the epitome of major progress in 2016.

So it came as no surprise Tuesday when the team revealed its 2017 opening day roster with many of the top players from last year’s championship season not on it. But fans should be excited about the guys who are, with some of Atlanta’s farm system’s newest young prospects ready to prove themselves on the field.

The first call sheet for this season’s Rome Braves includes seven of the top 30 prospects in the Braves’ organization, according to MLB.com, including three pitchers drafted out of high school.

Ian Anderson was the third overall pick in last year’s draft and is the highest-ranked prospect on Rome’s roster. The pitcher from Rexford, New York, pitched 10 games of rookie-level ball and posted a 2.04 ERA with 36 strikeouts.

Southpaw Joey Wentz, last year’s 40th overall pick, and Bryse Wilson, a fourth-rounder, both had success in the short-season ranks last year with Wentz striking out 53 in 12 games and Wilson pitching nine games for a 0.67 ERA.

The catching position will be well stocked for the start of Rome’s season with Lucas Herbert and Brett Cumberland on the roster.

Herbert spent his first full season with Rome last year and had a solid outing, while Cumberland is the new guy after being picked in last year’s second round. The California native hit .216 with 30 RBIs in 45 games in Danville.

Outfielder Cristian Pache and shortstop Derian Cruz round out the top prospects on the current Rome Braves’ roster. Pache holds down center field and hit .309 last season in the rookie leagues, while Cruz comes in after hitting .248.

Joining Herbert as players who were part of the team last year at some point are pitchers Oriel Caicedo and Matt Custred, infielders Kevin Josephina and Juan Yepez, and outfielder Anfernee Seymour.

Other Rome players to watch are pitcher Jeremy Walker, shortstop Marcus Mooney and second baseman Matt Gonzalez, an Acworth native who was a four-year standout at Georgia Tech before getting drafted in the sixth round last year by the Braves.

The Rome Braves will start the 2017 season on the road, with series at West Virginia and Kannapolis (North Carolina) before playing at home for the first time against the Charleston RiverDogs.

2017 ROME BRAVES OPENING DAY ROSTER

Manager: Randy Ingle

PITCHERS

No. Name

19 Ian Anderson

40 Thomas Burrows

14 Oriel Caicedo

37 Matt Custred

8 Tucker Davidson

34 Enderson Franco

43 Jon Kennedy

18 Ryan Lawlor

45 Bladimir Matos

56 Adam McCreery

30 Jeremy Walker

22 Joey Wentz

39 Brandon White

52 Bryse Wilson

CATCHERS

28 Brett Cumberland

7 Lucas Herbert

15 Tanner Murphy

INFIELDERS

4 Derian Cruz

13 Matt Gonzalez

16 Kurt Hoekstra

24 Kevin Josephina

2 Marcus Mooney

27 Juan Yepez

OUTFIELDERS

23 Anthony Concepcion

9 Anfernee Seymour

11 Randy Ventura

25 Cristian Pache