PEARL - The Mississippi Braves, in conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, have unveiled the Future Stars roster for Trustmark's Atlanta Braves Exhibition Game presented by Trustmark Bank, the Mississippi Army National Guard and Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division. The Future Stars team takes on the Atlanta Braves at 2:05 PM Saturday, March 30 at Trustmark Park.
Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer and legendary managerBobby Cox will lead the Future Stars. The group of 23 players is Atlanta's rising stars from its minor league affiliates in Triple-A Gwinnett, Double-A Mississippi, High-A Lynchburg, and Low-A Rome.
The Future Stars team includes 10 players that are expected to begin the 2013 season with the Mississippi Braves. Returning players include right-handed pitchers J.R. Graham, Mark Lamm, and Chasen Shreve. Catchers Christian Bethancourt and Braeden Schlehuber along with second-baseman Phil Gosselin are also expected to return.
New faces likely to begin the season with Double-A Mississippi are right-handers Ryne Harper and Gus Schlosser along with lefty Alex Wood. Third baseman Edward Salcedo should also start the season at Trustmark Park.
Graham, ranked by Baseball America as the second-best prospect and by MLB.com as the fourth-best prospect in the Braves system, went 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in nine starts for the M-Braves last season. Lamm led the M-Braves staff with 10 saves.
Harper, Salcedo, Schlosser and Shreve were all members of the 2012 Carolina League championship-winning Lynchburg Hillcats. Wood, the Braves second-round draft pick last season, is ranked by Baseball America as the seventh-best prospect in the Atlanta farm system. Salcedo was selected as MiLB.com Organization All-Star last year and is ranked by MLB.com as the 17th-best prospect in the Braves system.
Former M-Braves lefty Sean Gilmartin is the lone Gwinnett representative on the Future Stars pitching staff. In Braves prospect rankings, Gilmartin is ranked No. 4 by Baseball America and No. 5 by MLB.com. The team also includes outfielders Todd Cunningham and Joe Terdoslavich. With the M-Braves in 2012, Cunningham and Terdoslavich posted batting averages of .309 and .315, respectively.
Rounding out the Future Stars pitching staff and representing Lynchburg is right-hander Nate Hyatt. First baseman William Beckwith, second basemanRoss Heffley, shortstop Elmer Reyes, third basemanKyle Kubitza and outfielders Robby Hefflinger and Matt Lipka (No. 8 MLB.com) are expected to start the season with Lynchburg. CatcherTyler Tewell, shortstop Jose Peraza (No. 20 MLB.com) and outfielder Josh Elander look to begin the year in Rome.
Former M-Brave Mike Minor is scheduled to start for the A-Braves Saturday. He'll counter Gilmartin and the Future Stars. Gates open at 11:00 AM for the sold out contest. Fans are encouraged to come early and to car pool if possible. Local fans are advised to pick up their tickets from Will Call prior to Saturday, March 30. The Trustmark Park Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Fans can watch both teams take batting practice prior to the game. The Future Stars are scheduled to take the field at 11:35 AM, and the Atlanta Braves take the field at 12:25 PM. First pitch is set for 2:05 PM following full team introductions.
Please note that outside food and drinks are not permitted inside Trustmark Park. Fans with general admission tickets may bring blankets to sit on the grass berm. Folding chairs are not allowed.