Series Preview: Hickory at Kannapolis April 7-10
The Hickory Crawdads open the 140-game, South Atlantic League schedule with a four-game series with Kannapolis at Intimidators stadium.
If you plan to go:
Games Thursday through Saturday are at 7:05 p.m., Sunday is at 5:05 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $5-10 with parking going for $2.
The Intimidators will have a Magnet Schedule giveaway on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, and Fireworks on Saturday. Sunday is Kids Day with arts and crafts activities available.
Food items are your basic ballpark fare along with turkey wraps, pretzel dogs, Mater Sandwiches, Veggie Burgers, and a BBQ stand.
Where is it?:
From Hickory, take US 321 to I-85. Then take the inner 485 loop back to I-85 (especially during rush hour) then exit 63. Ballpark is just off Lane St.
Probables (Hickory/ Kannapolis):
Thursday: LHP Brett Martin vs. RHP Luis Martinez
Friday: RHP Dillon Tate vs. LHP Ryan Riga
Saturday: RHP Pedro Payano vs. RHP Zach Thompson
Sunday: RHP Jonathan Hernandez vs. LHP Tanner Banks
Recent Series History:
Hickory went 9-6 against the Intimidators in 2015 with a 4-4 mark at Kannapolis. The Crawdads have not had a losing season at Kannapolis since 2010 (31-18).
Players to watch- Hickory:
LHP Brett Martin: An SAL All-Star Team selection, Martin is the Rangers No. 11 prospect named by MLB.com, No. 18 prospect named by Baseball America. The fourth-round pick in 2014 is looking to gain consistency throughout the season. Had a 2.83 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in the first half, 4.15 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in the second. Hitters batted .298 against Martin in the second half. Martin threw four shutout innings in his lone start in the postseason against Asheville.
RHP Dillon Tate: The Rangers No. 4 prospect by MLB.com, No. 5 by Baseball America. He is also MLB.com’s No. 35 overall prospect and the 8th best RHP. As the fourth-overall pick in 2015, he became the highest-overall draft pick to appear in a Crawdads uniform since 2006 fourth-overall pick Brad Lincoln pitched for Hickory in 2006. Limited to nine innings as a pro (.107 OBA) in 2015, Tate is looking to have the reins eased this season. With a top-notch fastball and slider already, he is working on amping up the changeup this season.
RHP Pedro Payano: Named the Texas Rangers minor league pitcher of the month in July, the MLB.com No. 29 Rangers prospect had a stellar audition with Hickory in August (3-1, 1.10 ERA in 6 games/ 5 starts), then threw six shutout innings in his lone postseason start. The 21-year-old Dominican – who played with former ‘Dads Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman in the 2010 RBI World Series. Armed with fastball/ curve/ change, he will throw any pitch at any count.
RHP Jonathan Hernandez: The lone teen (19) in the Crawdads rotation, Baseball America has him as the Rangers No. 20 prospect, while MLB.com has him at No. 28. He is the son of former Tigers pitcher Fernando Hernandez. Has an 2.45 ERA in three complex-league seasons.
CF Eric Jenkins: At 19 on opening day, he is Baseball America’s No. 6 Rangers prospect, while MLB.com has him at No. 7. His speed and quick bat will be utilized at the top of the lineup to start the season after stealing 28 bases and putting together a .262/.348/.349 slash in 56 games as a pro. Will slap the ball around, but can barrel the ball up for gap power on occasion.
SS Yeyson Yrizarri: Also 19 on opening day, he is the No. 12 Rangers prospect according to MLB.com, No. 27 by Baseball America. Will be slotted as the number three hitter at the start of the season. Has a cannon of an arm at short and is said to have an intangible feel for the game at the position. Looking to show more patience at the plate, had 51 Ks and only 7 walks in 278 ABs (.291 OBP).
2B Andy Ibanez: Comes to Hickory with extensive experience in baseball, as he played with Serie Nacional in Cuba – he won a gold glove at second – and was on the country’s roster during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Baseball America has Ibanez as the Rangers No. 8 prospect, while MLB.com has him at No. 16. Will likely split time at second with Frandy De La Rosa and could see time at third, as well as DH. At 23, his experience and build could be an advantage in low-A ball.
3B Ti’Quan Forbes: The Rangers 2014 second-round pick is MLB.com’s No. 30 Rangers prospect. Brings an athletic background to the field after playing quarterback and small forward along with shortstop in high school. Looking to fill into a 6-3 frame and begin providing power after going homerless in two pro seasons.
Players to watch- Kannapolis:
1B Corey Sangari: Currently the White Sox’s No. 10 prospect according to MLB.com and No. 13 prospect according to Baseball America. The 18-year-old (opening day) from Midwest City Oklahoma hit for a slash of .323/.356/.492 in the Arizona Summer League after being taken by the White Sox in the sixth round. Named to the AZL postseason All-Star team.
SS/3B Johan Cruz: Currently the White Sox’s No. 16 prospect from MLB.com and No. 27 by Baseball America. Hit .312/.338/.442 with Great Falls in the rookie Pioneer League. A natural shortstop, played third with the Voyagers. Noted for a strong arm in the infield.
RHP Luis Martinez: No. 29 prospect by MLB.com. Made 24 starts for the Intimidators last season as a 20-year-old and allowed 155 baserunners in 108.2 innings. Had a 69 K/ 53 BB ratio, so he will depend on his defense to make plays in the field. Had Tommy John surgery in 2011.
C Seby Zavala: No. 26 prospect by Baseball America. Was the 12th round pick of the White Sox in 2015 out of San Diego St. Had Tommy John surgery in 2013 and then played leftfield in 2014 as a junior before returning behind the plate. Overwhelmed younger competition in the AZL with a .326/.401/.628 slash. Named to the AZL postseason All-Star Team.
LHP Tanner Banks: Named a Pioneer League postseason All-Star after posting a 2.51 ERA in 14 starts for Great Falls.
1B/ OF Zach Fish: Named the Big XII Conference Player of the Year at Oklahoma St. He was the Rangers 24th round pick in 2011 out of Gulf Lake High (Mich.)
RHP Taylore Cherry: Was the 32nd round pick of the White Sox in 2015 out of UNC Chapel Hill. Is listed at 6-9, 290 lbs.
OF Landon Lassiter: The 22-year-old attended North Davidson High in Lexington and UNC Chapel Hill. Was drafted two different times prior to finally signing with the White Sox after being picked in the 21st round in 2015.
Notes of Interest:
Hickory manager Steve Mintz and Intimidators manager Cole Armstrong are the only two managers in the South Atlantic League that are new to their teams…Kannapolis RHP Drew Hasler is the son of former Crawdads pitching coach Curt Hasler (1993-94), who is now the White Sox milb pitching coordinator…. Kannapolis LHP Alex Katz and Crawdads C Tyler Sanchez were teammates at St. John’s Katz was the White Sox 27th round pick in 2015, while Sanchez was the Rangers 17th round pick.