After a month of spring training in Arizona, a trip to Lexington, and then a nine-hour bus ride to Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, the Lexington Legends are no doubt ready to open the 2017 season. They’ll do that tonight (Thursday) against the Charleston RiverDogs.
The Legends are entering their fifth season as an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The opening roster for Lexington has several of the Royals’ highly regarded prospects as ranked by MLB.com. Outfielder Khalil Lee is ranked 14th in the KC organization, catcher Meibrys Viloria 15th, RHP Nolan Watson 16th, LHP Garrett Davila 18th, OF Marten Gasparini 20th, SS Ricky Aracena 28th, and RHP Gerson Garabito 29th. Viloria was the Most Valuable Player in the Pioneer League in 2016, when he played for Idaho Falls and batted .376.
Watson gets the start in the opening game. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and the game can be heard on ESPN Sports Radio 1300, WLXG-AM.
Pitching pairings for the four-game series:
(Lexington pitcher listed first. All of the pitchers listed are right-handers, except for Lexington’s Garrett Davila, who will start in game two Friday night).
Thursday 7:05 p.m. – Nolan Watson vs. Nick Green. Watson, a first round pick by Kansas City in 2015, was 3-11 with the Legends last year, but the MLB.com report notes that he “maintained the stuff that made him a first-rounder. His fastball still ranged from 91-95 mph with life and his slider still looks like a potential plus offering.”
Friday 7:05 p.m. – Garrett Davila vs. Jio Orozco. Davila had a perfect record in his first year in professional baseball. He was 7-0 with 2.77 ERA in 12 starts, 65 innings pitched with Burlington (Appalachian League) in 2016.
Saturday 6:05 p.m. – Gerson Garabito vs. Brian Keller. Like Watson, Garabito suffered through some bad stretches in a 2-11 season with Lexington last year. MLB.com says he showed “showed an arsenal that was more impressive than his record. Garabito’s best pitch usually is his curveball, which features good depth.”
Sunday 5:05 p.m. – Ofreidy Gomez vs. Nick Nelson. Gomez was 5-4 with a 5.20 ERA in 12 starts for Burlington in 2016.
The Legends will move on to Greenville, South Carolina for a three-game series starting Monday night. The home opener is set for Thursday, April 13 against the West Virginia Power. Game time at Whitaker Bank Ballpark is 7:05 p.m.