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Four of Colorado’s top eight prospects will start the season in Hartford

The Yard Goats open their Eastern League season on Thursday, April 5 at Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford.

HARTFORD, March 29 — The Hartford Yard Goats have announced their 2018 Opening Day roster and it includes four of the top prospects for the Colorado Rockies organization and Connecticut native Craig Schlitter of Guilford.

The Yard Goats open the 2018 campaign, their second at Dunkin Donuts Park in downtown Hartford, on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. when Hartford, the Double AA affiliate of the Rockies, hosts the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

The roster includes four of the top eight prospects in the Rockies organization according to Baseball America and 10 of Colorado’s top 26 prospects, as compiled by MiLB.com.

Colorado’s No. 1 overall prospect according to Baseball America, shortstop Brendan Rodgers has been assigned to the Yard Goats along with No. 5 Peter Lambert, a right-handed pitcher, No. 6 Ryan Castellani, a right-handed pitcher and No. 8 Garrett Hampson, an infielder.

Rodgers, 21, will begin his third professional season with the Yard Goats. He finished last year with Hartford, hitting .260 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 38 games. He was Colorado’s top draft pick in 2015, third overall in the draft. He signed right out of high school – Lake Mary, Florida. He participated in spring training with the Rockies’ major league players this spring.

Lambert, 20, will be making his Eastern League debut with Hartford this month. He was 9-8 with a 4.17 ERA in 26 games last year for Lancaster in the Single A California League. He pitched 142.1 innings, striking out 131 and walking 30.

Castellani, who turns 22 in April, will be in Hartford a second consecutive season. He was 9-12 with a 4.81 ERA in 26 appearances with the Yard Goats last year. He pitched 157.1 innings, striking out 132 and walking 47. He allowed 163 hits.

Hampson, who played baseball at Long Beach State, will be making his Eastern League debut with the Yard Goats in April. He hit .326 with 70 RBI, eight home runs and 174 hits for Lancaster in the Single A California League last year.

The Yard Goats will have three players from Colorado’s 40-man major league roster – outfielder Yonathan Daza, catcher Chris Robago and right-handed pitcher Jesus Tinoco. Over the past two years, nine former Yard Goats have taken the field for the Rockies.

Schlitter, 25, grew up in Guilford and played at Bryant University. This is his fifth professional season and he finished the year last summer with the Yard Goats. He was 1-3 with a 10.64 ERA in nine appearances and eight starts. He had 37 strikeouts in 34.2 innings of work here in Hartford.

Opening Day Roster

RHP Ryan Castellani Philadelphia, PA
RHP Logan Cozart New Philadelphia, OH
RHP Jason Garcia  Bronx, NY
RHP Scott Griggs La Jolla, CA
RHP Parker French Austin, TX
LHP Mitch Horacek Littleton, CO
RHP Peter Lambert San Dimas, CA
RHP Marc Magliaro Monroe Township, NJ
RHP Craig Schlitter Guilford, CT
LHP Max Schuh Fresno, CA
RHP Matt Pierpont Winter Springs, FL
RHP Jesus Tinoco San Santonio de Maturin, VZ
LHP Jack Wynkoop Virginia Beach, VA
Dom Nunez Elk Grove, CA
Chris Robago Riverside, CA
Sam Tidaback Plainville, IL
INF Garrett Hampson Reno, NV
INF Mylz Jones Palmdale, CA
INF Brian Mundell  Santa Clarita, CA
INF Ryan Metzler Glen Burnie, MD
INF Brendan Rodgers Winter Park, FL
INF Bobby Wernes Overland Park, KS
OF Omar Carrizales Maracay, VZ
OF Yonathan Daza Maracay, VZ
OF Sam Hilliard Mansfield, TX
OF Wes Rogers Greenville, SC
Manager Warren Schaeffer

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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