RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The 2012 edition of the Flying Squirrels were unveiled to fans on Tuesday, and the Diamond faithful set their eyes on a team that may be the best opening day squad the franchise has had in their short history.
The Spiders return 15 players that have suited up for them before, and among the newcomers are the top two prospects in the organization.
Among the returnees:
OF Chris Dominguez: Led the team's resurgence after joining them midseason, he hit .291 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in just 63 games.
C Johnny Monell: A fan favorite, the defensively-challenged backstop hit 10 bombs in 119 games with the Squirrels.
SP Justin Fitzgerald: The starter went 9-9, made the all-star game, and will be the team's opening day starter this year.
RP Daryl Maday: Last year's opening day starter has been moved to the bullpen after going 4-10 last season.
OF Juan Perez: Played 131 games for the Squirrels, and stole 22 bases while playing a great defensive outfield.
RHP Craig Westcott: Spent 2010 in Richmond, but played all of 2011 in San Jose.
Among the new players:
CF Gary Brown: The #1 prospect in the organization, the Cal State Fullerton product hit .335 with 14 homers and 53 stolen bases in San Jose.
C Tommy Joseph: The #2 prospect in the organization, the talented backstop blasted 22 homers and drove in 95 runs last year.
RHP Brett Bochy: At low-A Augusta, the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy had an ERA of 1.38 and picked up 10 saves.
LHP Mike Kickham: A top 20 prospect for the Giants, he went 5-10 for Augusta last year.
SS Ehire Adrianza: The Venezuelan hit .300 for San Jose last year, and is expected to be the team's starting shortstop.
2B Ryan Cavan: The hard-nosed middle infielder hit .270 in San Jose last year, and drove in 90 runs.
The team will hit the road for the first week of the season, with their first game Thursday at New Britain. Their first home game is a week from Thursday against Altoona.