Idaho Falls, ID – Today the Idaho Falls Chukars, in conjunction with the Kansas City Royals, announced their 2019 Opening Day roster. In total, 30 players will be with the Chukars when they take the field for the first game of the season on Friday night in Billings. Seven of those players have previously seen time in Idaho Falls, while the remaining 23 are first time Chukars.
Highlighting the group of returners is Tyler James, a 2017 25th round selection from William Carey University. James played all 47 games of his 2018 season in Idaho Falls, hitting .312 with a .409 OBP. The versatile James also stole 38 bases, which led the Pioneer League. He finished his injury shortened season on an 18 game hitting game hitting streak.
Two other position players return with infielder Rafael Romero and catcher Chris Hudgins. Romero spent most of 2018 with the Burlington Royals of the Appalachian League but was with the Chukars for the first two games of the year. Hudgins meanwhile returns to the confines of Melaleuca Field after a year absence. His professional debut came as a part of the 2017 Chukars, where he hit .305 with three homers and 23 RBI in 29 games. The 2017 16th round selection out of CSU Fullerton played in Burlington for all of last year.
Brady Cox returns to the Chukars for a second straight season, yet the circumstances will be different this time around. Cox spent his first two professional seasons as a catcher, but comes back to Idaho Falls listed as a pitcher.
Three other pitchers will return to Idaho Falls for a second stint. Lefty Jaret Hellinger & righty Nathan Webb, who both spent their entire 2018 seasons with the Chukars, come back to start 2019. Hellinger made 17 appearances with Idaho Falls last season, while Webb made 11 appearances spanning 38 innings. Rylan Kaufman, who made two starts with the Chukars at the end of 2018, begins 2019 in Idaho Falls.
Of the new 23 Chukars, there will be 12 pitchers, two catchers, four infielders, and five outfielders. There are six new right handed pitchers (Adrian Alcantara, Noah Bryant, Christian Cosby, Bryar Johnson, Stephen Ridings, & Malcom Van Buren) and six left handers (Derrick Adams, Adan Frias, Chih Wang, Cole Watts, Marlin Willis, & Angel Zerpa). New catchers will be Michael Emodi & Paul Mondesi, while the four new infielders are Rhett Aplin, Maikel Garcia, Kember Nacero, and Hector Pineda.
A full roster is attached to this email. Your first opportunity to see the 2019 Chukars will be in their exhibition game against the Idaho Falls Bandits tonight at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 P.M, with all tickets to the game available for $5.