While defense likely will be the strength of the Augusta GreenJackets, the lineup appears balanced enough that the fielders and pitchers won’t have to carry the entire load.
Lake Olmstead Stadium is known as one of the most extreme run-suppressing parks in not only the South Atlantic League, but also throughout the minors.
From 2010-2012, the park averaged 7.92 runs and 0.72 home runs per game, both ranking 13th in the 14-team league, according to data published by Baseball America.
The GreenJackets, who open the season tonight at home, will rely largely on pitching and defense but should score their share of runs, too.
The outfield consists of Rafael Rodriguez, Jesus Galindo and Charles Jones, with Tyler Hollick getting time at all three outfield spots and at designated hitter. All three starting outfielders have experience in Augusta, with Galindo playing all of 2012 in center field, recording 40 stolen bases and hitting .252 with a .333 on-base percentage.
Hollick was drafted in the 14th round in 2012, featuring speed that Baseball America rated as the best in the Giants’ draft class.
“We have a few guys who have been in this league before,” first-year GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said. “They didn’t put up great numbers here and get a chance to improve upon that. Hopefully we’ll create a rotation system in the outfield.”
The GreenJackets will start shortstop Matt Duffy and second baseman Travious Relaford up the middle. Duffy is known as a glove-first shortstop who provides versatility on defense.
“I work pretty hard defensively,” Duffy said. “I take pride on playing shortstop. I take pride in my offense, too, but I do focus a lot on my glove and take pride in it.”
Third baseman Mitchell Delfino and first baseman Joe Rapp will also start. Ben Turner is a 6-foot-5, 225-pound catcher out of Missouri making his professional debut. He will share time behind the plate with Eric Sim.