Fort Wayne, IN – The Fort Wayne TinCaps are set to open Parkview Field with an
Opening Day roster featuring three first-round draft selections and a reigning league MVP.
INFs Allan Dykstra and Drew Cumberland, LHP Nick Schmidt were first-round
selections by the San Diego Padres in the last two years, while OF Daniel Robertson was
the 2008 Northwest League MVP.
“On paper, this looks like one of the best teams we’ve ever had in Fort Wayne,” TinCaps
team president Mike Nutter said. “We hope these guys can make the first season at
Parkview Field a championship season.”
Robertson leads a group of outfielders comprised of Sawyer Carroll, Angel Mercado,
Robertson and Blake Tekotte. Last year, Robertson hit .377 and broke the Short-Season
Northwest League’s single-season hits record with 114 in just 73 games. The record had
stood since 1972. Carroll, a University of Kentucky product, and Tekotte, out of the
University of Miami, were selected by the Padres with third-round picks in last year’s
draft. Mercado enters his third professional season and has been valuable as a utility
player throughout his career.
On the infield, the TinCaps boast two power-hitting first basemen in Dykstra and Matt
Clark. Dykstra, a San Diego native, made his professional debut last season with
Advanced-A Lake Elsinore and blasted a grand slam in his fifth career game. Clark helped
ripped 28 home runs at Louisiana State University last year, tied for the most in the
nation in NCAA Division I baseball. Cumberland, a shortstop, played 53 games last season
for Fort Wayne, but missed the bulk of the season with a rib injury. 3B James Darnell
was a second-round pick last year out of the University of South Carolina and hit .373 in
limited action with Short-Season Eugene. Kevin Hansen signed with the Padres as an
undrafted free agent from the University of San Diego and opened his career with a
seven-game hitting streak. Jeudy Valdez is the youngest player on the roster at age 19.
The TinCaps are also strong behind the plate with catchers Robert Lara and Adam
Zornes. Lara, a 2008 Arizona League All-Star, belted a home run in his first professional
at-bat and stayed hot, batting .344 for the season. Zornes played a short stint with Fort
Wayne last season, batting .261 in 13 games. He led Rice University to the 2008 College
World Series with 12 home runs.
The pitching staff is anchored by several of the Padres’ top prospects including Schmidt,
RHPs Simon Castro and Anthony Bass and LHP Rob Musgrave. Schmidt returns from
Tommy John surgery which kept him on the shelf for all of the 2008 season. Castro was
the Opening Day starter for Short-Season Eugene last season. Bass, a Wayne State (MI)
University product, posted a dominant 2.10 ERA last year for Eugene. Musgrave was a
First-Team All-America selection at Wichita State University and went 6-1 in his
professional debut with Eugene. RHP Stiven Osuna had a breakout season in 2008; his
seven wins were tied for the most in the Arizona League and he was a league All-Star.
Expected to fill out the bullpen are RHPs Brad Brach, Erik Davis, Tom Davis, Eric
Gonzalez and Alexis Lara and LHPs Zach Herr, Colt Hynes and Michael Watt. Brach
blew away the competition in the Arizona League last year with a 33-to-5 strikeout-to-
walk ratio. Erik Davis, a Stanford University product, was struck in the face by a line drive
in 2006 yet made an amazing comeback to the mound less than six weeks later. Gonzalez
was born and raised in the Spanish Canary Islands, just off the Atlantic coast of northern
Africa. Watt was one of the “players to be named later” in the trade that sent RHP Greg
Maddux from San Diego to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season. He was originally a
second-round selection by the Dodgers in 2007.
Manager Doug Dascenzo returns to manage in Fort Wayne for the third consecutive
season. He is accompanied by pitching coach Tom Bradley and hitting coach Tom
Tornincasa. This will be Bradley’s third season in Fort Wayne and Tornincasa’s seventh.
Athletic trainer Ernesto Vega, Jr. and strength and conditioning coach Mark Brennan
comprise the rest of the TinCaps’ field staff.
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