Winston Abreu, RHP, 6-4, 215, age 39

Regarded as the top closer in the American Association, Abreu, a veteran of three season in the major leagues, returns for his second stint as the Blasters’ closer after going 5-1 with a 0.77 ERA with 23 saves in 47 appearances last season. In 47 innings, Abreu surrendered only 26 hits and two home runs while striking out 80 and walking 20. 

Aaron Brill, INF, 6-0, 200, age 25

The slick-fielding, stirrup-wearing rookie returns to Joplin after seeing action in 24 games with the Blasters in 2015, committing only one error in 62 chances. Brill batted .243 with two doubles, one triple, one home run and 11 RBI.

Zack Burling, OF, 6-3, 200, age 24

Burling, who attended Western Illinois University, struggled during his rookie campaign in 2015. With Florence of the independent Frontier League, Burling batted .122 with one RBI and four stolen bases in 48 games. A speedy outfielder with good range, Burling caught the eye of the Blasters during the California Winter League and won a job after posting solid numbers during spring games.

Willie Cabrera, OF, 5-11, 195, age 29

A career .290 hitter entering his 11th season in professional baseball, Cabrera, a 14th-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2005 who reached Triple-A in 2011, batted .347 in 44 games with Grand Prairie in 2015 with 10 doubles and two home runs. One of his homers came in a four-hit, three-RBI performance against the Blasters on June 12 at Joe Becker Stadium.

Victor Capellan, RHP, 6-2, 195, age 26

An eight-year pro, the former Arizona Diamondbacks pro, who reached Triple-A in 2012, returns to Joplin’s bullpen after going 6-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 53 games last season, striking out 77 and walking 22 in 562/3 innings.

Josh Evans, RHP, 6-1, 205, age 25

The Blasters’ opening day starter, Evans started five games for the Blasters during his first season as a pro, going 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA, 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 252/3 innings.

Carlos Fuentes, RHP, 6-2, 200, age 23

Fuentes made his pro debut with Joplin last season, going 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 19 games (three starts) with 43 strikeouts and 14 walks in 451/3 innings.

Mitch Glasser, INF, 5-10, 180, age 26

Penciled into the No. 2 spot in manager Gabe Suarez’s lineup, Glasser returns to Joplin after batting .265 with 11 doubles and 26 RBI in 85 games in 2015. He was a 39th-round selection of the Chicago White Sox in 2012.

Tyler Herr, RHP, 6-8, 228, age 25

Entering his seventh professional season, the hard-throwing reliever went 4-1 with a 4.40 ERA in the Pecos League in 2015. A 44th-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2009, Herr retired nine of 10 batters he faced over three scoreless innings in an exhibition against the New Jersey Black Sox on May 12.

Josh Hodges, RHP, 6-7, 235, age 24

A seventh-round pick of the Florida Marlins in 2009, Hodges comes to the Blasters after splitting last season between Single-A Greensboro and Double-A Jacksonville, where he combined to go 4-4 with a 3.06 ERA with 59 strikeouts and 27 walks in 642/3 innings.

Juan Medina, C, 6-1, 215, age 30

Medina split time between Joplin and Lincoln last season, batting a combined .244 with one double and one home run in 41 games.

Jake Meiers, RHP, 6-4, 200, age 25

A fourth-year pro, Meiers went 1-3 with a 6.59 ERA with the Blasters in 2015, striking out 21 and walking eight in 271/3 innings over 15 appearances (four starts).

Patrick Mincey, RHP, 6-3, 205, age 26

The newest addition to the roster, Mincey was claimed off waivers from Lincoln on May 13. A reliever, Mincey has gone 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA in four professional seasons.

Josue Montanez, LHP, 6-1, 220, age 24

The lone southpaw on the Blasters’ 12-man pitching staff, Montanez, a 25th-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2010 and 15th-round selection of the Minnesota Twins in 2011, was one of the Blasters’ best arms in 2015. In 13 games (nine starts), Montanez went 4-2 with a 1.83 ERA, 37 strikeouts and 18 walks in 54 innings.

Michael Pair, C, 6-2, 215, age 27 

Pair, invited to spring training after catching management’s eye during open tryouts on May 5, made the opening day roster after putting together a strong spring. A fifth-year pro, Pair, who split 2015 between Grand Prairie and Florence (Frontier League), batted .253 with 14 doubles, one triple, one home run and 22 RBI in 61 games last season. He threw out 11 of 61 base stealers (15 percent).

Matt Parish, RHP, 6-4, 220, age 26

Spotted by the Blasters while playing with the New Jersey Black Sox prior to the 2015 season,Parish compiled a 2-4 mark with a 6.55 ERA in 20 games (11 starts) during his first professional season. The swingman struck out 46 and walked 28 in 671/3 innings

Ronnie Richardson, OF, 5-6, 175, age 26

The Blasters signed Richardson with hopes that he could provide a spark at the top of the lineup and, so far, he’s done nothing to disappoint. Drafted three times — 2009, Minnesota, 11th round; 2011, Chicago Cubs, 31st; 2012, San Diego, 16th — Richardson spent parts of four seasons in the Padres organization before splitting 2015 between Grand Prairie and Evansville (Frontier League), batting a combined .248 with 16 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 31 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 86 games.

Jesus Solorzano, OF, 6-0, 190, age 25

Traded by the Blasters in the offseason, Solorzano re-signed with the team May 9 after being released by Normal (Frontier League). One of the more popular Blasters in 2015, Solorzano batted .269 with 16 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 41 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 89 games.

will Soto, INF, 5-8, 180, age 24

Soto enters his first professional season after batting .228 with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 39 RBI as a senior at Sacramento State University in 2014. 

Matt Swilley, RHP, 6-2, 200, age 25

Armed with a mid-90s fastball, Swilley — 21st-round pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009 — returns to Joplin’s bullpen after going 1-2 with a 4.17 ERA in 27 games (three starts) and 51 strikeouts in 492/3 innings.

Jake Taylor, INF, 6-2, 205, age 29

Perhaps the most recognizable Blaster, the Missouri Southern product returns to Joplin for his seventh professional season and second as a Blaster. The team’s most established power source on the 2016 roster, Taylor hit .292 with 15 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs and 56 RBI in 98 games last season. 

Geraldo Valentin, INF, 6-0, 205, age 33

With Amarillo last season, Valentin hit .301 with 24 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 55 RBI in 95 games. A Kansas City Royals farmhand for six seasons, Valentin will man third base and bat in the middle of the Blasters’ lineup in his 13th pro season. 

Jason Zgardowski, RHP, 6-5, 207, age 22

After two successful seasons in the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization, Zgardowski makes his way to Joplin having gone 4-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 37 professional games. A reliever for all but two games as a pro, Zgardowski, who struck out 45 in 492/3 innings at Class A Lakewood last season, could see time as a starter for the Blasters.

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