Opening Day MLB rosters feature 22 players that have played for West Coast League teams including four Seattle Mariners. The Mariners CEO is John Stanton who is part of the ownership group that operates WCL clubs in Walla Walla and Yakima Valley.
Former Kelowna Falcons ace pitcher James Paxton is starting Saturday at Safeco Field vs. the Cleveland Indians. Corvallis Knights alum Mitch Haniger is slated to start in right field for Seattle. Former Wenatchee AppleSox lefty Marco Gonzales is set to be the M’s fourth starter, and ex-WCLer southpaw Marc Rzepczynski will be utilized out of the bullpen. Zep spent a summer in both Bellingham and with the Knights.
In 2017, 31 WCL team alums appeared in the big leagues.
Opening Day 2018 gets started Thursday, March 29 with the Chicago Cubs at the Miami Marlins. First pitch is 9:30 am PDT. The game can be seen on ESPN.
Opening Day Roster:
* Marco Gonzalez, Pitcher, Wenatchee AppleSox (Gonzaga), Seattle Mariners
* Mitch Haniger, Outfielder, Corvallis Knights (Cal Poly), Seattle Mariners
* James Paxton, Pitcher, Kelowna Falcons (Kentucky), Seattle Mariners
* Marc Rzepczynski, Pitcher, Bellingham Bells/Aloha Knights (UC Riverside), Seattle Mariners
* Chris Davis, First Baseman, Kelowna Falcons (Navarro JC), Baltimore Orioles
* Jacoby Ellsbury, Outfielder, Bend Elks (Oregon State), New York Yankees
* Matt Andriese, Pitcher, Corvallis Knights (UC Riverside), Tampa Bay Rays
* Matt Duffy, Infielder, Corvallis Knights (Long Beach State), Tampa Bay Rays
* Ryan Tepera, Pitcher, Kelowna Falcons (Sam Houston State), Toronto Blue Jays
* Matt Boyd, Pitcher, Corvallis Knights (Oregon State), Detroit Tigers
* Jason Hammel, Pitcher, Wenatchee AppleSox (Treasure Valley CC), Kansas City Royals
* Trevor Hildenberger, Pitcher, Bend Elks (Cal), Minnesota Twins
* Chris Stewart, Catcher, Aloha Knights (Riverside CC), Atlanta Braves
* Rhys Hoskins, First Baseman/Outfielder, Kitsap BlueJackets (Sacramento State), Philadelphia Phillies
* Nick Pivetta, Pitcher, Victoria HarbourCats (New Mexico JC), Philadelphia Phillies
* Zack Weiss, Pitcher, Wenatchee AppleSox (UCLA), Cincinnati Reds
* Eric Sogard, Infielder, Bend Elks (Arizona State), Milwaukee Brewers
* Bud Norris, Pitcher, Aloha Knights (Cal Poly), St. Louis Cardinals
* Tyler Anderson, Pitcher, Corvallis Knights (Oregon), Colorado Rockies
* Pat Valaika, Infielder, Wenatchee AppleSox (UCLA), Colorado Rockies
* Adam Cimber, Pitcher, Kitsap BlueJackets (San Francisco), San Diego Padres
* Josh Osich, Pitcher, Corvallis Knights (Oregon State), San Francisco Giants
ABOUT THE WEST COAST LEAGUE
The West Coast League (WCL) is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. The 14-year-old, 11-team, professionally operated wood-bat league located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest showcases pro prospects from major conferences across the nation June through August. Out west, the league features an unparalleled history of memorable fan and player experiences and the best summer weather in North America. 83 players with WCL experience were selected in the MLB 2017 June draft. 271 WCL alums appeared or were active in affiliated professional baseball in 2017 including 31 in the major leagues, such as 2015 home-run leader Chris Davis (Baltimore); record-breaking rookie slugger Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia); rising star pitchers James Paxton (Seattle) and Matt Boyd (Detroit); and outfielder Mitch Haniger (Seattle). Overall member attendance was 412,392 this past summer, an increase of 8.6% in total attendance.