June 21, 2013 at 9:37 PM
The Red Sox have set the roster for their Gulf Coast League affiliate, which opened play on Friday. The roster is highlighted by 2013 first-round draft choice Trey Ball. Other prominent players on the squad are shortstop Wendell Rijo out of the Dominican Republic, catcher Alixon Suarez and righty Keivin Heras from Venezeula, and Austrailan left-handed pitcher Daniel McGrath.
The Opening-Day start on Friday afternoon will go to McGrath. The 6-foot-3 lefty, signed by Pacific scout Jon Deeble, impressed while playing in the Australian juniors, showcasing a fastball that touched the low-90s.
Ball, the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft, reportedly received a Boston-record $2,750,000 bonus. The highest Red Sox pick since Trot Nixon was taken seventh 20 years ago, Ball is expected to pitch out of the rotation.
Heras and Suarez are graduates of the Dominican Summer League. After struggling in his first year in the program, Suarez had a strong 2012, hitting .270/.399/.425 and earning All-Star honors. Heras joined Suarez on the DSL All-Star Team, compiling a 2.03 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 62 innings.
Rijo signed in July 2012 to a $575,000 was initially projected to begin the year in the DSL. However, despite a torn ACL, the Red Sox thought highly enough of the 17-year-old to bring him stateside to begin his career.
Along with this group, it is likely that more of the Red Sox 2013 draft class, including catcher Jonathan Denney, will join the team once their contracts are finalized. A notable omission from the roster was pitcher Dioscar Romero, who was expected to join the DSL club.
Check the SoxProspects.com rosters page for lineups as well as updates and changes throughout the season.