GREAT FALLS — The Chicago White Sox have officially released the 2019 Great Falls Voyagers opening day roster. The Pioneer League slate starts with a Friday night home game against the Missoula Osprey. The season opener at Centene Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Voyagers play Missoula in a three-game weekend series before an off-day Monday. A six-game road trip to Billings and Missoula follows next week.
The 2019 roster features six players who suited up for Great Falls during the 2018 championship season. There is one player back from the 2017 squad. Returning pitchers include the team’s pitcher of the year award winner from last season, Nick Johnson. Johnson posted a 0.90 ERA with five saves in 25 relief appearances. Johnson was a 21st round draft pick out of Rhode Island in 2018. Jack Maynard returns to the mound for a second season in Great Falls as well. Maynard made 20 relief appearances last season and went 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He was taken in the 25th round last year from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. And, Dominican Republic native Felix Mercedes suited up for the Voyagers in 2017 as an outfielder. He makes his return to Great Falls after being converted to pitcher in 2018.
The Voyagers new roster carries 10 picks from this year’s Major League Baseball draft and three players from the first 10 rounds. Among the pitchers, the highest round selection on the opening day roster is 5th round choice Dan Metzdorf. Metzdorf pitched at Boston College. Karan Patel was selected in the 7th round. Patel pitched at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Nate Pawelczyk was drafted in the 10th round. Pawelczyk pitched for Winthrop University. Among the position players, infielder Joshua Rivera was drafted in the 19th round out of Chipola Junior College (Florida). And, outfielder Cameron Simmons was selected in the 20th round from the University of Virginia.
In total, there are 16 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders, and five outfielders. The roster includes 13 international-born players (six from the Dominican Republic, two from Venezuela, two from Puerto Rico, two from Cuba, and one from Panama). Of the U.S. born players, two each hail from the states of California, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. The roster also consists of eight draft picks from the 2018 class, including 4th round choice Lency Delgado and 7th round pick Cabrera Weaver. Both Delgado and Weaver were high school picks. Sam Abbott was an 8th round selection in 2017, also out of high school.