CJ Abrams headlines Missions’ opening-day roster

Shortstop CJ Abrams, the sixth overall pick in the 2019 baseball draft, will begin the season with the San Antonio Missions.

In announcing their initial roster, the Missions say they will start the season Tuesday in Corpus Christi with five of the parent-club San Diego Padres’ top 30 prospects.

The 20-year-old Abrams is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the second-best Padres prospect and No. 8 in all of minor league baseball. A 6-foot-2 shortstop, he was selected sixth overall by San Diego in the 2019 draft out of Blessed Trinity Catholic High in Roswell, Ga.

He appeared in 25 games in Padres’ major league spring training in Arizona, batting .240 with two home runs, 11 RBI and three stolen bases.

On March 17, when the Padres made their first roster cut, Abrams and Tucupita Marcano remained with the major league club. Explaining the decision to allow the two young ball players to remain, Padres manager Jayce Tingler told AJ Cassavell of MLB.com that it was a reward for their play to that point.

“Marcano has got the ability to play seven different positions out there, and I think he’s performed really well,” Tingler said. “He stays for that reason, and CJ has performed and played extremely well, also. We’ll see where we’re at in a couple weeks, but we definitely wanted to keep those guys around.”

The Missions are preparing to play their first game in 20 months following the pandemic-related cancellation of last season. They’ll play six games in Corpus Christi through May 9. They’ll play six more on the road starting May 11 at Midland. After that, the Missions will return for the home opener May 18 against Frisco.

Other Missions players ranked among the top 30 in the Padres’ organization include:

–(13th) Reiss Knehr, 24 years old, a right-handed pitcher from Glen Head, N.Y.
–(18th) Eguy Rosario, 21, an infielder from Juan Baron, in the Dominican Republic.
–(22nd) Mason Fox, 24, a right-handed pitcher from Canton, N.C.
–(29th) Osvaldo Hernandez, 22, a left-handed pitcher from Havana, Cuba.

Phillip Wellman returns as Missions’ manager. The Madison High School graduate managed the Missions for three years from 2016-18, leading the team to the playoffs in both ’17 and ’18.

Roster breakdown

Pitchers (15): RHP Pedro Avila, RHP Carlos Belen, RHP Caleb Boushley, LHP Tom Cosgrove, RHP Mason Fox, RHP Henry Henry, LHP Osvaldo Hernandez, LHP Jerry Keel, RHP Reiss Knehr, LHP Aaron Leasher, RHP Adrian Martinez, RHP Jose Quezada, LHP James Reeves, LHP Fred Schlichtholz, LHP Sam Williams

Catchers (3): Juan Fernandez, Kyle Overstreet, Chandler Seagle

Infielders (6): CJ Abrams, Matt Batten, Chris Givin, Taylor Kohlwey, Eguy Rosario, Brad Zunica

Outfielders (4): Jose Azocar, Robbie Podorsky, Esteury Ruiz, Jack Suwinski

Missions notebook

Kyle Overstreet and Matt Batten both played for the Missions in 2018. Overstreet hit .272 with nine home runs and 46 RBI. Batten hit .260 and filled in at shortstop when Fernando Tatis, Jr., was injured late in the season … Robbie Podorsky is a career .327 hitter in the minor leagues … Undrafted out of Northern Kentucky, pitcher Sam Williams is in Double-A for the second straight season after spending 2019 at Amarillo … Dominican Republic-born Henry Henry has made all-star teams in his last three seasons, starting in 2017 and 2018 at (short-season, A) Tri-Cities and in ’19 at (full-season, A) Fort Wayne.