The Huntsville Stars have announced their tentative Opening Day roster for the 2011 season opener on Thursday in Jacksonville. The roster is highlighted by 13 returning Stars from 2010 and three members on the Brewers' 40-man roster.
The Stars see the return of 2010 Southern League All-Star Michael Bowman, who went 9-13 in 26 starts with Huntsville last season. Hatton native Donovan Hand also returns to Huntsville after going 4-1 in 48 appearances between Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. Michael Fiers, Lucas Luetge, Dan Merklinger and Wily Peralta round out the returning pitchers. Merklinger led the Brewers minor leagues in strikeouts last year with 148 between High-A Brevard County, Huntsville and Nashville.
Two of the Brewers' top 10 prospects (as ranked by Baseball America), Peralta and Cody Scarpetta, join the Stars roster. RHP Scarpetta was ranked second, going 7-12 in 27 games with Brevard County. The Brewers' 11th round draft pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft played one game with the Stars in 2009. Peralta is ranked third on that list, with a 3.79 ERA between Brevard County and Huntsville last year.
Joining the Stars pitching staff this season are right-handers Darren Byrd, Corey Frerichs, Roque Mercedes, Jesus Sanchez and Scarpetta. LHP Daniel Meadows rounds out the pitching staff at 12. Southern League fans will recognize Mercedes who was signed by the Brewers in 2004, but then traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009. He spent all of 2010 with the Mobile BayBears, going 3-4 with a 4.36 ERA in 38 games.
Catchers Dayton Buller and Anderson de la Rosa are both returning to the Stars. De la Rosa spent time between Brevard, Huntsville and Nashville in 2010, batting .213 in 93 games.
Stars fans will welcome back infielders Taylor Green, Juan Sanchez and Steffan Wilson, along with outfielders Chuckie Caufield and Lee Haydel. Haydel hit a team-high .285 and stole 22 bases last year, second only to former Star Brett Lawrie (30).
Matt Cline, Sean Halton, Sergio Miranda and Yancarlos Ortiz will cover the infield dirt for the Stars in 2011. Brandon Jones and Erik Komatsu will be in the outfield. Komatsu was named the best hitter for average and has the best strike-zone discipline in the Brewers farm system by Baseball America. Jones has spent parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves, batting .256.
Manager Mike Guerrero is returning for his second year at the helm of the Stars, along with coach Al LeBoeuf and pitching coach John Curtis. Athletic trainer Aaron "Red" Hoback will also be back for his second season in Huntsville. Strength and conditioning coach Joe Gorshe joins the Stars staff for his first year in the Brewers organization.
The Stars are currently carrying 25 active players. A roster move is expected before the season opener at Jacksonville on April 7 to bring the total down to the 24-man active roster limit.