FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The San Diego Padres have announced the 2021 Opening Day roster for the Fort Wayne TinCaps. As the ’Caps transition from Low-A to High-A, 19 of their 29 players have previously played for the team.
Fort Wayne’s roster also features three players ranked among MLB.com’s Top 30 San Diego prospects. That’s 23-year-old right-handed pitcher Anderson Espinoza (No. 12), 21-year-old outfielder Tirso Ornelas (No. 19) and 22-year-old left-handed pitcher Mason Feole (No. 28).
“This group is hungry to play in front of fans again at Parkview Field,” said TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras.
Espinoza, at the age of 18, made eight appearances (seven starts) for the TinCaps during the summer of 2016, after he was acquired by the Padres from the Boston Red Sox in a trade for All-Star big league pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Unfortunately, in the time since, injuries, including two Tommy John surgeries, sidelined the Venezuelan native through the 2019 Minor League Baseball season. Espinoza was previously rated as San Diego’s No. 1 prospect.
Ornelas played in 86 games as a TinCap in 2018. As just an 18-year-old, the outfielder from Mexico was a steady presence. At one point in May and June, he went on a team-best 27-game on-base streak. He primarily played for the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm in 2019. (Lake Elsinore is now the Low-A affiliate of the Padres.)
Feole, 22, was selected by San Diego in the 11th round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of the University of Connecticut. He had Tommy John surgery shortly after and has yet to make his official Minor League Baseball debut.
Opening Day for the TinCaps is Tuesday, May 4 (7:05 p.m.) against the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers affiliate) at Parkview Field. West Michigan’s roster boasts eight Top 30 Tigers prospects, including infielder Spencer Torkelson, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. Torkelson joins a short list of top picks to play in Fort Wayne, such as Alex Rodriguez in 1994 and, most recently, current Astros star Carlos Correa in 2013 with the Quad Cities River Bandits. The TinCaps and Whitecaps are scheduled to clash for a six-game series through Sunday, May 9.
To begin the season, Parkview Field’s capacity is limited to about 3,000 fans. Select tickets are still available at TinCapsTickets.com.
2021 TinCaps Opening Day Roster Notes
· Average Age: 22
Note: In 2019, the average age for a TinCaps player in Low-A was 20
· Total Players: 29
o Pitchers: 15
o Hitters: 14
Note: New this season, in Single-A, Minor League Baseball has increased the maximum number of active players on the roster from 25 to 30.
· Players with Fort Wayne experience: 19
o 8 pitchers: Edwuin Bencomo (2019); Anderson Espinoza (2016); Sam Keating (2019); Brandon Komar (2019); Moises Lugo (2019); Gabe Mosser (2018-19); Austin Smith (2016-19); Cody Tyler (2019)
o 11 position players: Luis Almanzar (2018-19); Olivier Basabe (2018); Michael Curry (2019); Jawuan Harris (2019); Reinaldo Ilarraza (2017-18); Justin Lopez (2017-19); Kelvin Melean (2018-19); Tirso Ornelas (2018); Agustin Ruiz (2018-19); Ethan Skender (2019); Dwanya Williams-Sutton (2019)
· Left-Handed Pitchers: 3
· Right-Handed Pitchers: 12
· Left-Handed Hitters: 2
· Right-Handed Hitters: 10
· Switch Hitters: 2
· Countries Represented: 7
o United States (15); Venezuela (7); Dominican Republic (2); Mexico (2); Canada (1); Cuba (1); Taiwan (1)
· States Represented: 12
o Florida (3); California (2); Alaska (1); Georgia (1); Illinois (1); Nebraska (1); North Carolina (1); Pennsylvania (1); Rhode Island (1); Tennessee (1); Texas (1); Wisconsin (1)