Although the Orem Owlz return four starters from last season's team, the Los Angeles Angels affiliate will feature 18 new players to open the 2013 Pioneer League season as well as a new manager.
Meanwhile, the Ogden Raptors might draw more attention to who is watching from the stands than maybe the team, which is seeking to repeat as the league's Southern Division champions. The Raptors, rookie league affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, feature five players whose father completed their journey to the major leagues.
In any event, both teams open the season Thursday on the road. Orem travels to Idaho Falls and Ogden to Grand Junction. The Owlz and Raptors won't play each other until a July 4 meeting in Ogden.
Former major league catcher Damon Berryhill returns for his fifth season at Ogden. Last year, the Raptors won both halves of the Southern Division, but lost in the best-of-three-game championship series to Missoula.
Raptors players who grew up with major league fathers include infielders Jesmuel Valentin (Jose Valentin), Alex Santana (Rafael Santana), Zach Babitt (Shooty Babitt) and pitchers J.D. Underwood (Tom Underwood) and Dillon Moyer (Jamie Moyer).
For the first time since 2001, someone other than Tom Kotchman will manage the Angels' Pioneer League team. Kotchman, who now scouts South Florida for the Boston Red Sox, was replaced by Bill Richardson, hired from the Texas Rangers organization.
Owlz highest pick from the 2013 draft is right-handed pitcher Keynan Middleton, the second overall pick by the Angels in the first-year player draft. Draft picks joining Middleton, was taken in the third round with the 95th overall pick, are pitchers Harrison Cooney, the 187th overall pick, Nate Smith, the 247th overall pick.
Ogden Raptors (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Season opener • Thursday at Grand Junction, 7:05 p.m.
Home opener • Saturday vs. Idaho Falls, 7 p.m.
Orem Owlz (Los Angeles Angels)
Season opener • Thursday at Idaho Falls, 7:15 p.m.
Home opener • Saturday vs. Grand Junction, 7:05 p.m.