The Rocket City Trash Pandas have released their 2024 Opening Day roster.

Manager Andy Schatzley will return for his third season with a roster that includes the top four Angels prospects. The Trash Pandas open the year on Friday on the road against the Tennessee Smokies.

The Trash Pandas' first home game will be on Tuesday, April 9. They will then take on in-state rival Birmingham Barons six days in a row.

Schatzley, the 2022 Southern League Manager of the Year, will be joined by some familiar faces, including pitching coach Michael Wuertz, coach Dann Bilardello, and strength and conditioning coach David Robertson.

The coaching staff is rounded out by hitting coach Joel Chimelis, assistant pitching coach Doug Henry and athletic trainer Dylan Culwell, who all enter their first seasons with the Trash Pandas.

The 29-man roster that will start the season has several players featured on the Los Angeles Angels top 30 prospects list:

  • OF Nelson Rada (No. 1)

  • RHP Caden Dana (No. 2)

  • INF Kyren Paris (No. 3)

  • RHP Ben Joyce (No. 4)

  • RHP Jack Kochanowicz (No. 9)

  • RHP Victor Mederos (No. 15)

  • INF Cole Fontenelle (No. 30)

The roster features 22 players who will be returning from last year, headlined by infielder Kyren Paris. The Oakley, Calif. native was a Southern League Postseason All-Star last season and set a single-season Trash Pandas record with 45 stolen bases.

On the mound, Rocket City will see their top three starters returning. Brett Kerry and Victor Mederos each led the team with 20 starts, with Jack Kochanowicz behind them at 16.

Kerry will be the first player to appear in a game for the Trash Pandas in all four seasons of their existence.

Outfielder Nelson Rada, a newcomer and rising star making his debut with the Trash Pandas, is the youngest player on the roster, at 18, over two years younger than the second-youngest. Rada enters his third season in professional baseball after hitting .276 with 48 RBI while stealing 55 bases at Single-A Inland Empire.

Rada was named Los Angeles Angels Minor League Player of the Year and earned a Rawlings MiLB Gold Glove Award after posting only one error in the outfield.

Sam Brown will make his professional debut with the Trash Pandas after being drafted in the 12th round of the 2023 MLB Draft and appearing in 10 spring training games with the Angels.

Rocket City Trash Pandas Preliminary Roster, as of April 2, as follows:

Right-Handed Pitchers (13): Ivan Armstrong, Chase Chaney, Caden Dana, Michael Darrell-Hicks, Mason Erla, Ben Joyce, Brett Kerry, Jack Kochanowicz, Victor Mederos, Luke Murphy, Alan Rangel, Hayden Seig, Kenyon Yovan

Left-Handed Pitchers (3): Jack Dashwood, Nick Jones, Eric Torres

Catchers (3): Myles Emmerson, Caleb Hamilton, Tyler Payne

Infielders (6): Sam Brown, Cole Fontenelle, Mac McCroskey, Kyren Paris, Arol Vera, Eric Wagaman

Outfielders (4): David Calabrese, Gustavo Campero, Tucker Flint, Nelson Rada

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