Three of the Chicago Cubs’ top 10 prospects and six of their top 30 will start the season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who are also returning 12 players who spent time with the team during the 2018 season.
The highly regarded young players include Cubs No. 1 overall prospect according to MLB.com, Miguel Amaya (No. 2 by Baseball America). Amaya, who hit .256/.349/.403 in Low-A South Bend last year, will be joined by right-handed pitcher Paul Richan (No. 7 by Baseball America, No. 18 by MLB.com) and shortstop Aramis Ademan (No. 10 by Baseball America, No. 6 by MLB.com).
Ademan is one of the dozen players returning to the Advanced-A member of the Carolina League from last season.
Richan made his professional debut for Short Season Class-A Eugene last year after being selected by the Cubs in the second round out of University of San Diego and went 0-2 with a 2.12 ERA in 29.2 innings of work. Ademan was a mainstay at shortstop last year, and right-handed pitcher Alex Lange (No. 14 by Baseball America, No. 12 by MLB.com) will also be returning from the 2018 squad after finishing sixth in the Carolina League in ERA (3.74).
The final two top 30 prospects heading to Myrtle Beach are outfielders D.J. Wilson (No. 25 by Baseball America), who played in 64 games for the Pelicans in 2018, and Jimmy Herron (No. 27 by Baseball America), who will make his Carolina League debut after hitting .259/.361/.381 between Rookie Level Mesa and South Bend last season.
Four other position players are returning, including Wladimir Galindo (.216/.276/.313 in 2018 with the Pelicans) and Yeiler Peguero (.210/.240/.228 over 60 games), who will both slot back into the Pelicans infield.
Kevonte Mitchell and Zach Davis return to the outfield at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, and infielder Carlos Sepulveda, who missed all of 2018 with an arm injury, will also be back after playing in 28 games for the Pelicans in 2017.
The Pelicans pitching staff features four holdovers. Bryan Hudson won six games and worked 113 innings last season, and he’ll be joined by Garrett Kelly, Tyler Peyton and Ryan Kellogg, who combined to make 80 appearances out of the bullpen in 2018.
Javier Assad led the South Bend Cubs in starts (21), innings pitched (106.1) and wins (5). Pitchers Brendan King, Erling Moreno, Ben Hecht, Jesus Camargo, Brian Glowicki and Manuel Rodriguez all join Assad in the move from South Bend to Myrtle Beach.
Glowicki finished second in the Midwest League in saves (18) with just a 1.20 ERA. Camargo split time between the starting rotation and bullpen, going 3-2 with a 2.62 ERA. Moreno and King made 11 and seven starts for South Bend, respectively. Rodriguez and Hecht figure to add depth to the bullpen after they both made at least 30 appearances for South Bend last year. Luis Lugo is entering his ninth season in the minor leagues after being claimed off of waivers in the Rule 5 Draft by the Cubs in December.
Veteran catcher Tyler Payne joins Amaya behind the plate. He is entering his fifth pro season after playing just 13 games for South Bend last year due to injuries.
New faces in the infield include Cam Balego, Jhonny Bethencourt and Luke Reynolds. Balego and Bethencourt spent 2018 in South Bend. Balego hit .233/.296/.287 and Bethencourt was named a Cubs Organizational All-Star in 2017 but missed half of last season with an injury. Reynolds and outfielder Grant Fennell are making the jump from Eugene to Myrtle Beach. Reynolds, a 10th-round selection in 2018, hit .289/.383/.421 in 36 games for the Emeralds last year.
The Pelicans will be led by Steve Lerud, who enters his first season as the Pelicans manager and just his second year as a manager after guiding Eugene to a Northwest League Championship last season. Ty Wright is Myrtle Beach’s hitting coach for the second straight year, Osmin Melendez joins the staff as a hitting coach in his first year with Myrtle Beach and Brian Lawrence is the pitching coach after spending three seasons in South Bend.
Both athletic trainer Logan Severson and strength and conditioning coach Keegan Knoll are in their second seasons with the team.
Myrtle Beach hosts the Charleston Riverdogs, a New York Yankees affiliate, in the Battle of the Beaches exhibition game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ticket Return.com Field, and the regular season begins Thursday at home against the Lynchburg Hillcats, a Cleveland Indians affiliate, who come to town for four games.
Pelicans tickets are available at MyrtleBeachPelicans.com/Tickets.