toasty

Toasty, the mascot for the new Rocky Mountain Vibes minor league baseball team, gives children a high five after being introduced to fans Saturday, April 27, 2019, during a kids event at new YMCA at First and Main. The rookie league team begins playing in June. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The first glimpse at the first Rookie League roster in Colorado Springs shows a little high-end talent, a flood of international imports and a whole lot of youth.

And that’s before this year’s draft class is added to the mix.

The Rocky Mountain Vibes announced much of their expected opening day roster on Monday, showing off the first roster for the city’s minor league team since it changed its name from the Sky Sox and dropped to the Rookie League level from Triple-A. The list included only 21 names and figures to be flushed out with a few more players – perhaps some from last week’s draft – before the team opens on the road at Orem (Utah) on Friday.

The roster features two players as young as 18 and five older than 21. There are players from Australia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the United States mainland and Hawaii. There are college pitchers from Arizona and Iowa, four players drafted in the top five rounds in recent years and nine players who have seen some action in this league before when the team was based in Helena, Mont., before moving to Colorado Springs. The graybeard of the team is 24-year-old Steve Pastora, who was recently signed out of an Independent League.

There’s a 6-foot-6, 225-pound first baseman and a 150-pound middle infielder. There’s a pitcher who has missed the past two years following Tommy John surgery and there are three players who have yet to make their debut for an affiliated minor league team.

The average age of the 21 players is 20.5. More than half are still awaiting their 21st birthday.

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The two initial headliners are outfielders Micah Bello and Joe Gray Jr., who were taken high in the top 75 picks of the 2018 draft.

Gray, who turned 19 in March, is ranked as the No. 9 prospect in Milwaukee’s system by Baseball America. He was picked in the second round and given a $1.1 million signing bonus to forgo a scholarship to play at Mississippi. Baseball America rates his power, arm and speed near the top of their scouting scale.

Bello, 18, was plucked out of a high school on the Big Island in Hawaii and given a $550,000 bonus. Baseball America likes his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed and arm.

The Vibes make their home debut on June 21 vs. Grand Junction at UCHealth Park.

Vibes roster

LHP Jose Alberro

LHP Blake Lillis

RHP Carlos Luna

RHP Steve Pastora

RHP Joel Pinto

RHP Cam Robinson

RHP Austin Rubick

RHP Brady Schanuel

RHP Cristian Sierra

RHP Michele Vassalotti

RHP Nash Walters

C Luis Avalo

C Jose Sibrian

SS Luis Avila

3B Nick Egnatuk

1B Ernesto Martinez Jr.

2B Edwin Sano

1B Bryan Torres

3B Jess Williams

OF Micah Bello

OF Joe Gray Jr.

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