Train Robbers roster buoyed by No. 1 draft pick
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
With Pecos League spring training now less than a month away, managers are finalizing their rosters, and we’ll take a look at each team, one day at a time. The one thing all coaches have confidence about is their players will be ready when the season starts.
LAS VEGAS, N.M. — As a Pecos League expansion team, the Las Vegas Train Robbers got the first pick in the Pecos League Spring, and manager Casey Dill — definitely not new to the league — used it to good advantage.
Dill — who moves to Las Vegas from Las Cruces — picked Edison Alvarez, a pitcher from the Dominican Republic who spent two years with the Minnesota Twins organization and wrapped up the Spring League with a 2-1 record, 2.04 ERA and 34 strikeouts. (Not to mention a .321 batting average that included two home runs.)
“Edison, in my opinion, is the best player there,” Dill said. “The most projectability. He’s just a great guy. A great teammate. So I think we got a very, very good player and a potential guy who could be pitching in a major league organization at some point this year. Really excited to see what he can do.”
Dill also is “excited” about the other three pitchers he drafted, including Richard Suniga (1-1, 2.00 ERA, 24 Ks), Mason Caldwell (1-0, .000 ERA, 4 Ks) and Ryan Flores (0-0, 2.33 ERA, 3 Ks), who all who pitched for Houston in the Spring League.
“Mason Caldwell (is a) left-handed pitcher from Austin Peay (University). Excited to get him,” Dill said. “And also excited to get Ryan Flores, who throws the ball as good as anybody else as well. He has good experience.”
Dill also got four teammates who came together to the spring camp from Pacific Northwest: Blake Babnick, Portland, Ore., first base; Brandon Brown, Vancouver, Wash., RHP; Jacob Alastra, Seattle, second; and Jeffery Goulet, Seattle, outfield.
“We saw a lot of good things from all four of those guys in the spring league,” Dill said. “They each need to work on some things, and I think spring training will be a good opportunity for them to come down and see what a professional spring training is like.
The Robbers have 19 other players currently on their spring training roster — including a pitcher and shortstop from Japan — and while DIll said he’s still looking for a few more prospects, he’s confident with who he’s got.
“I’m always looking, but I’m very confident, at the same time, with the guys we’ve got coming in,” he said. “I’m pretty confident that the spring training roster is set, with the exception of maybe a college graduate this year or something like that.”
Las Vegas will host the Pecos League Northern Division spring training beginning May 7 at Rodriguez Park, then travel south to Roswell to open the regular season May 14.
For more information visit Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs LLC. http://www.PecosLeague.com 575-680-2212