Shuckers boast talent, experience entering 2017 season

Shuckers boast talent, experience entering 2017 season

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - While Media Day gave Shuckers players and coaches a chance to have some fun in front of the cameras, it more importantly signaled the start of the 2017 season.

"We worked so hard over the off-season, we worked so hard in Spring Training, so it's just - the excitement level is there," Rule 5 selection Art Charles said.

Even entering his 14th year as a minor league manager, Mike Guerrero echoed the sentiment.

"Every - the day that I stop having that (feeling of excitement), well, I gotta make a change," the Shuckers' skipper said.

A stacked roster and plenty of experience give reason for that excitement, as the Shuckers returns 18 players who have previously played for Biloxi. With a Southern League Championship in mind, the returning experience could go a long way.

"Me personally, I'm able to help some of the younger guys that haven't been to this level yet," said Michael Reed, who returns to Biloxi with two stints of major league experience. "(I) just kind of help them out, develop their routine and stuff like that."

Biloxi boasts five members of the MLB Pipeline Brewers Top 30 list, including two players that have reached the Show: Reed and Jorge Lopez. Earlier this year, the right handed pitcher helped lead Puerto Rico to a silver medal finish in the World Baseball Classic.

"You feel that passion to play for them, you know?" Lopez said of playing for his country. "We spent two weeks (doing) so much great for Puerto Rico. It was amazing."

Another name to watch out for is shortstop Mauricio Dubon. A first-time Shucker, the ninth-rated prospect in the Brewers' organization is already turning heads.

"What he offers? He's a supermarket," Guerrero said of Dubon. "He's got everything to offer. I think he can do everything, there is not a limit to him."

And finally, Jacob Nottingham. The 2016 Southern League All-Star already started this year on a good note, blasting a solo home run in Tuesday's 6-0 exhibition win over William Carey University. After seeing a drop off in his hitting numbers last year, the 14th-rated prospect hopes to use turn the negative into a positive.

"This game, there's a lot of failure in it and it just depends on how you want to bounce back, how you want to go about things," Nottingham said. "I think it was a good learning year like I said, and I think I kind of know what to expect this year."

The Shuckers open the 2017 season Thursday, April 6 with the first of a five-game road swing at Montgomery. They return to Biloxi for Opening Day on Wednesday, April 12 against Pensacola.

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