AquaSox ready to start 2018 season

EVERETT — The 2018 Everett AquaSox have arrived.

The first chance to see the latest Seattle Mariners draft picks takes place at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday as the Frogs face the Everett Merchants in annual Everett Cup at Everett Memorial Stadium.

The Northwest League regular season begins Friday when Everett opens a five-game homestand against the Hillsboro Hops.

The AquaSox arrived from Arizona late Tuesday night where a number of the recent draftees participated in a minicamp alongside the players who had remained for extended spring training.

While Everett’s official roster had not yet been released as of Tuesday evening, recent history suggests that most, if not all, of Seattle’s collegiate selections in last week’s draft will begin their professional careers in Everett. That has been the case under general manager Jerry Dipoto and director of player development Andy McKay.

First baseman Evan White and outfielder Kyle Lewis, Seattle’s last two first-round draft picks, each reported to Everett, though both players’ initial professional seasons were cut short due to injury.

Last week the Mariners selected right-handed pitcher Logan Gilbert of Stetson University in the first round. The Hatters advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals, where they fell to North Carolina. Gilbert has not yet signed, but figures to do so in the coming days.

Gilbert tallied 163 strikeouts in 112 1⁄3 innings during the college season, and his significant college workload suggests his innings might limited in his first professional season — whether he begins his career in Everett or with the franchise’s rookie team in Arizona.

Nine of Seattle’s first 10 picks in this year’s draft are products of four-year schools. The team announced Tuesday it had signed 29 of its 40 picks including second-round Josh Stowers, an outfielder from Louisville, fourth-rounder Michael Plassmeyer, a lefthanded pitcher from Missouri and fifth-rounder Nolan Hoffman, a righthanded pitcher from Texas A&M.

Everett’s coaching staff features familiar faces in manager Jose Moreno, and pitching coaches Danny Acevedo and Moises Hernandez. Moreno managed Everett in 2008, 2010 and 2017, and led the Frogs to the NWL championship in 2010. Acevedo was last season’s pitching coach while Hernandez held the distinction in 2016.

Eric Farris joins the staff for his first season as a hitting coach in the Seattle organization.

Wednesday marks the 15th installment of the Everett Cup. The AquaSox have won the last seven, including a 7-3 decision last year. The Merchants, who compete in the summer Pacific International League and whose roster is comprised primarily of college players, last won the event in 2010.

For the latest AquaSox news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.

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