Sacramento River Cats

At a glance: A look at the 2017 River Cats

The umpires meet at home plate before the River Cats play their final game of the 2016 on Sept. 5, 2016. The team’s 2017 season begins Thursday.
The umpires meet at home plate before the River Cats play their final game of the 2016 on Sept. 5, 2016. The team’s 2017 season begins Thursday. Special to The Sacramento Bee

2017 River Cats

Affiliate: Giants

League: Pacific Coast (Pacific Northern Division)

Manager: Dave Brundage (first season)

2016 record: 69-75, fourth place

2016 home attendance: 8,587 per game, second-most in PCL

They’re back: RHP Clayton Blackburn, RHP Joan Gregorio, LHP Steven Okert, LHP Ricky Romero, RHP Chris Stratton, C Trevor Brown, IF Juan Ciriaco, IF Kelby Tomlinson, OF Austin Slater

They’re new: RHP Tyler Beede, RHP Kyle Crick, RHP Chase Johnson, RHP Josh Osich, LHP Michael Roth, C Tim Federowicz, IF Christian Arroyo, IF Kyle Blanks, IF Jae-Gyun Hwang, IF Ryder Jones, OF Orlando Calixte, OF Justin Ruggiano

Player to watch: While Arroyo is the Giants’ top position player prospect, keep an eye on Austin Slater. The 24-year-old outfielder was an eighth-round draft pick by the Giants out of Stanford in 2014. In three minor league seasons, he has hit .305 and worked his way up to Triple A last year, batting .298 with 13 homers in 68 games for the River Cats.

Pitcher to watch: Kyle Crick, a sandwich-round pick out of high school by the Giants in 2011, once seemed destined for San Francisco. But his path stalled at Double-A Richmond, where he has spent each of the last three seasons. Crick is just 24 but must show better command.

Newcomer to watch: Jae-gyun Hwang made a splash in Giants camp this spring, hitting .333 with five home runs and acclimating well to new surroundings. Hwang, a six-time All-Star in the Korean Baseball Organization, will have another adjustment to make starting the season at Triple A, but seems committed to increasing his versatility in the field while trying to prove himself to the Giants organization.

Matt Kawahara

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