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Former Chicago Cubs prospect headlines Joliet Slammers signing for 2016 season

3/29/2016, 7:33 p.m.
With just over a month left before players report for training camp, the 2016 Joliet Slammers roster is already starting ...

With just over a month left before players report for

training camp, the 2016 Joliet Slammers roster is already starting to take

shape. With the help of some new additions to the roster, the team looks to

improve on last year’s 42-54 record.

Roderick “Rock” Shoulders, a Tampa, Florida native, is a five year

veteran of professional baseball. The first baseman comes to the Joliet

Slammers after playing in the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers minor league

system. In just over 300 career games, Rock has 45 homers and 66 doubles.

In 2015, Rock made it to Triple-A Round Rock as a Rangers’ prospect.

Slammers Manager Jeff Isom projects him to hit in the middle of the

Slammers lineup.

Spotted at a tryout camp, outfielder Denzel Richardson was noticed for

his plus speed and ability to play the outfield and swing the bat. “He is

still young and has room to develop as a player,” Isom said. Richardson is

a native of Philipsburg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philipsburg,_Sint_Maarten, Saint Maartin

and his professional career has included time in the Rockies organization.

A right-handed pitcher with arm strength, Liam O’Sullivan joins the 2016

Slammers roster after having spent the 2015 season with the Frontier Greys

of the Frontier League. Coming to the Slammers from South Grafton,

Massachusetts, O’Sullivan is expected to add depth to the Slammers pitching

staff. Seen pitching between 90-93 mph at a tryout this past summer, Isom

sees Richardson being used as a starter, or out of the bullpen.

David Carver of Northridge, California will be another addition to the

Slammers pitching staff. As a former Brewers farmhand, Carver will also

provide the flexibility of starting games, or pitching in relief when

needed.

Chris Riopedre, is a 2B/SS that will look to provide the Slammers some

stability at the middle infield positions. Chris was drafted by the

Nationals in the 23rd round out of East Tennessee State. “Chris has proven

to be a great defender on the infield, and that is where he can provide a

lot of value to our roster” Isom said. During his junior year he led East

Tennessee State with 5 HR, 42 RBI, 15 Doubles, and 2 Triples in 57 games.

Dakota Freese, is a right handed pitcher from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He went

7-1 with a 2.66 ERA during his time at Des Moines Area Community College.

In just 61 Innings he recorded 90 Strikeouts, while only allowing 32 Hits.

Freese possesses a fastball that is in the low to mid 90’s. “He will come

in to camp and compete for a starting job,” added Isom.

Players returning from last year’s roster include:

Charlie White OF

Phil Bates OF

Hunter Ridge 1B

Marc Flores OF

Players report to the 2016 Frontier League Tryout Camp and Draft on Monday,

April 25 and Tuesday, April 26 at the Corn Crib in Normal, Illinois. All 12

Frontier League teams will be present, along with scouts from multiple

Major League Baseball teams.

The Slammers’ six-game exhibition schedule is slated to start on May 4,

also at Normal. The Slammers will host home exhibition games at Silver

Cross Field on May 7, May 9, and May 10. The 2016 regular season begins on

the road for the Slammers against the Evansville Otters on May 12 before

returning to Silver Cross Field for the home opener on May 17 at 7:05 pm

against the Washington Wild Things.