CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Charleston RiverDogs, in conjunction with the Tampa Bay Rays, announced their opening day roster on Friday afternoon in advance of the team’s May 4 season-opener. The RiverDogs initial group of players is highlighted by 2018 first round pick Nick Schnell, a pair of 2020 draft choices making their pro debuts in the Lowcountry and five members of MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Rays prospects list. Tampa Bay is considered to own the top farm system in baseball by multiple publications.
High draft picks will litter the field at The Joe to begin the season with 10 of the 30 players on the initial roster having been selected in the sixth round or earlier. Schnell, an outfielder from Indianapolis, was selected with the 32nd overall pick in 2018. He was one of three first round picks for the Rays in that year’s draft and played at three different Tampa Bay affiliates in 2019, reaching Low-A Bowling Green at the conclusion of the year.
Shortstop Alika Williams and pitcher Cole Wilcox both heard their names called during the abbreviated 2020 draft. With no minor league season last year, they will each begin their pro careers in the Holy City. Williams was tabbed by the Rays in Competitive Balance Round A last June after starring at Arizona State University. He is considered a stalwart defensively and batted in the cleanup spot for the Sun Devils behind 2020 first overall pick Spencer Torkelson. Wilcox, was drafted in the third round by the San Diego Padres out of the University of Georgia. The 6′5 right-hander, who touches 100 mph with his fastball, was dealt to the Rays as part of the Blake Snell trade last winter.
Joining Wilcox (#10) and Williams (#27) in MLB Pipeline’s rankings of Rays prospects are position player Heriberto (hair-ee-BAIR-toh) Hernandez (#14) and pitchers Seth Johnson (#16) and Taj Bradley (#23). Hernandez was one of several prospects acquired by Tampa Ray in a December trade that sent Nate Lowe to the Texas Rangers. The 21 year-old, who plays catcher, corner outfield and first base, hit .345 with 11 home runs and 48 runs batted in at two stops in the Rangers organization during the 2019 season. Johnson, a former full-time position player in junior college, was selected in Competitive Balance Round A (40th overall) of the 2019 draft after transitioning to the mound at Campbell University. Bradley is the youngest player on the roster at 20 years of age and was a fifth round selection in 2018 out of Redan High School in Georgia. He was committed to play collegiately at the University of South Carolina before signing with the Rays.
Like Hernandez, another versatile player that arrived as part of a trade is catcher/outfielder Logan Driscoll. The former George Mason standout was drafted by the Padres in 2019′s Competitive Balance Round B and was obtained by the Rays, along with Wilcox, in the Snell trade. Driscoll hit for a .268 average in his professional debut with Tri-City following the draft.
The RiverDogs pitching staff will be further bolstered by former collegiate pitchers that were selected early in the 2019 draft. John Doxakis (2nd), Graeme Stinson (4th), Ben Brecht (5th) and Colby White (6th) each were selected by the Rays early in day two of the draft process. Doxakis and White, both products of SEC programs were especially dominant in their pro debuts. A southpaw out of Texas A&M, Doxakis posted a 1.93 ERA at Hudson Valley over 12 appearances in 2019. White struck out 29 opposing hitters in 19.1 innings at Hudson Valley after moving on from Mississippi State.