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2002 JETHAWKS.

Byline: Gideon Rubin Staff Writer

Pitchers

SCOTT BARBER

Age: 23

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-3

Weight: 205

Hometown: Belton, S.C.

Story line: A top-30 prospect last season according to Baseball America, Barber struggled in 2001. A sixth-round selection in 2000 from University of South Carolina, he was 7-7 with a 7.20 ERA with the JetHawks. His season was ended by an elbow injury. The parent Arizona Diamondbacks are hopeful a healthy Barber can regain his confidence with a strong showing in Lancaster, where he'll be used as a reliever to start the season.

GREG BELSON

Age: 23

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 5-10

Weight: 170

Hometown: Staten Island, N.Y.

Story line: A former Division III collegiate star, Belson was 10-1 with a 2.43 ERA at Montclair (N.J.) State, which went to the national championships in 2000. Belson was 6-4 with a 2.50 ERA and 16 saves at Single-A South Bend (Ind.) last season, and was 2-2 with a 2.49 ERA with eight saves at High Desert in 2000. Belson pitched against former JetHawk Enmanuel Ulloa in the New York City high school championship game in 1996.

JOEY CRAMBLITT

Age: 23

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-3

Weight: 235

Hometown: Meridian, Miss.

Story line: A 36th-round selection in 2000 from the University of Mississippi, Cramblitt was 5-7 with a 3.36 ERA, striking out 91 and allowing 19 walks in 104 1/3 innings at South Bend (Ind.) last season. He had mixed results in the Cal League with High Desert in 2000, where he was 4-1 with a 6.21 ERA, but he finished the season strongly with a 2.33 ERA in his last 10 appearances at Maverick Stadium.

CASEY DAIGLE

Age: 21

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-5

Weight: 195

Hometown: Vinton, La.

Story line: A ``sandwich'' pick in 1999 (selected between the first and second rounds), Daigle was a workhorse at South Bend (Ind.) last season, where he led the Midwest League with 164 innings pitched and was tied for fourth in starts with 27. Daigle was 10-10 with a 4.12 ERA in his first year of pro ball. He was this season's opening-day starter.

ENRIQUE GONZALEZ

Age: 19

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 5-10

Weight: 155

Hometown: Bolivar, Venezuela

Story line: Signed as a free agent as a 16-year-old in 1998, Gonzalez pitched better at South Bend (Ind.) last season than his 4-12 record. He had a 4.01 ERA and held opponents to a .229 batting average with runners in scoring position. He was the youngest Pacific Coast League pitcher (18 years, 27 days) when he threw four innings of shutout ball and was credited with a victory in his Triple-A debut Sept. 2, 2000.

BRIAN MATZENBACHER

Age: 25

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-3

Weight: 190

Hometown: Marissa, Ill.

Story line: A 42nd-round selection from Belleville (Ill.) Junior College, Matzenbacher has come out of nowhere to become one of the organization's rising stars. He pitched himself out of Lancaster in 2001, where he was 5-4 with a 3.55 ERA, but after an admittedly tough spring, he returns to the Cal League and is expected to help anchor the JetHawks' bullpen. Matzenbacher was credited with a victory in his only appearance (five innings, one run) at Double-A - for El Paso (Texas) - at the end of the 2001 season.

BRANDON MEDDERS

Age: 22

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-2

Weight: 185

Hometown: Duncanville, Ala.

Story line: An eighth-round selection in the 2001 draft, Medders made an immediate impact last season at Lancaster, where he was 1-2 with a 1.32 ERA and had three saves in 31 appearances. He struck out 53 batters and allowed 15 walks and one home run in 41 innings. Medders found a way to be successful at the hitter-friendly Hangar, where he held opponents to a .137 batting average and no homers. Used exclusively as a reliever last season, Medders is being developed as a starter.

JOSLIN RAMIREZ

Age: 22

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 5-11

Weight: 152

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Story line: Signed as a free agent in 1998, Ramirez is a rising star. He began 2001 at Double-A El Paso (Texas), where he was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in four relief appearances. He was equally successful at South Bend (Ind.), where he was 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA. Ramirez was especially strong down the stretch for the Silver Hawks, allowing one earned run or fewer in eight of his last nine starts. During that time he had a 1.40 ERA (nine earned runs in 57 2/3 innings).

ROB SHABANSKY

Age: 25

Throws: Left

Bats: Left

Height: 5-10

Weight: 185

Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.

Story line: A former University of Arizona standout, Shabansky struggled in Lancaster last year but finished the season strongly at rookie-level Yakima (Wash.), where he was 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in his last four appearances, two of which were starts. Shabansky underwent Tommy John surgery in 1999, his second elbow operation in two years, and says he's feeling better than he has in five years.

JESUS SILVA

Age: 19

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 5-11

Weight: 170

Hometown: Maracay, Venezuela

Story line: Signed as a free agent in 1999, Silva was perfect in 14 save opportunities last season in Missoula (Mont.), where he was 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA with 43 strikeouts. He allowed just eight walks in 38 1/3 innings. He will be the JetHawks' closer in his first full year of pro ball.

DOUG SLATEN

Age: 22

Throws: Left

Bats: Left

Height: 6-5

Weight: 190

Hometown: Venice

Story line: Slaten was dropped from Baseball America's list of the Diamondbacks' top-30 prospects. But that had more to do with the improvement in the farm system, which the magazine ranked 23rd after putting them at No. 29 last year. A 17th-round selection in 2000 from Pierce College, Slaten was consistent in his first full season of pro ball at Lancaster in 2001, when he was 9-8 with a 4.79 ERA and never missed a turn in the rotation.

FRANCISCO TREJO

Age: 22

Throws: Left

Bats: Left

Height: 5-11

Weight: 146

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Story line: Singed as a free agent as a 17-year-old, Trejo had shoulder problems in a disappointing 2001, part of which he spent in Lancaster. He was shut down in the final month at Yakima (Wash.), where he was 2-2 with a 5.90 ERA. Trejo had success in winter ball in the Dominican Republic, where he was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 16 appearances. He had success in 2000 at Missoula (Mont.), striking out 48 in 46 1/3 innings, and at rookie-level Tucson (Ariz.) the previous season, throwing 15 1/3 consecutive innings of shutout ball.

CARLTON WELLS

Age: 22

Throws: Left

Bats: Left

Height: 6-2

Weight: 210

Hometown: Tampa, Fla.

Story line: A 43rd-round selection in the 2000 draft, Wells had success in his pro debut with Missoula (Mont.) in 2000, leading the Osprey with six victories. He was 4-4 with a 2.89 ERA at South Bend (Ind.) last season, highlighted by a 30 2/3-inning stretch early in the season in which he allowed just three earned runs.

Catchers

CRAIG ANSMAN

Position: Catcher

Age: 24

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-3

Weight: 225

Hometown: West Islip, N.Y.

Story line: Signed as a free agent in 2000, Ansman had a breakthrough year in his first full season of pro ball at South Bend (Ind.) in 2001. He batted .330 with 21 homers and 82 RBI and led the Midwest League with a .623 slugging percentage. A top-30 organizational prospect, Ansman figures to benefit from the hitting conditions in Lancaster.

BRIAN EPKE

Position: Catcher

Age: 22

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-0

Weight: 195

Hometown: Waco, Neb.

Story line: Signed as a free agent in 2001, Epke spent parts of last season at three levels in the Diamondbacks organization, including a brief stint with Triple-A Tucson (Ariz.). He played semipro ball in 2000 after undergoing elbow surgery, and last season he missed part of the Midwest League playoffs with a knee infection. He batted .250 (14 for 56) at South Bend (Ind.).

JON-MARK SPROWL

Position: Catcher

Age: 21

Throws: Right

Bats: Left

Height: 6-1

Weight: 200

Hometown: Panama City, Fla.

Story line: Originally a 47th-round selection in the 1998 draft of the Chicago Cubs, Sprowl was acquired via trade in the final weeks of spring training. Known primarily for his defense, he has an impressive .992 fielding percentage (two errors in 257 chances) through the first three years of his professional career. He's also played first base, third and pitched.

Infielders

JESUS COTA

Position: Infield

Age: 21

Throws: Right

Bats: Left

Height: 6-3

Weight: 215

Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.

Story line: A 14th-round draft pick in 2000, Cota is a former junior college standout. He won the Triple Crown at Missoula (Mont.) last season in his pro debut, batting .368 with 16 homers and 71 RBI. Cota is ranked seventh among organizational prospects by Baseball America. His compact but powerful left-handed stroke is tailor-made for Lancaster, and if he can adjust to the more advanced pitching in the Cal League, he figures to be able to put up bigger numbers this season.

JERRY GIL

Position: Infield

Age: 19

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-3

Weight: 183

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Story line: Signed as a free agent in 1999, Gil's defense has made him a top organizational prospect. He's ranked 13th by Baseball America. Gil boasts exceptional range and arm strength and is a base-stealing threat. He stole 19 bases in 26 attempts at South Bend (Ind.) last season. The Diamondbacks are hopeful a year at Lancaster will improve his confidence at the plate. Gil batted just .215 with the Silver Hawks in 2001.

ERICK MACHA

Position: Infield

Age: 22

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-1

Weight: 180

Hometown: Victoria, Texas

Story line: A 12th-round selection in 2001 out of Texas Christian, Macha struggled offensively in his pro debut at Yakima (Wash.), where he batted .218 (36 for 165). He got on track toward the end of the season, hitting safely in 12 of 13 games, during which time he batted .300 (15 for 50). He'll be used primarily as a utility player for Lancaster.

COREY MYERS

Position: Infield

Age: 21

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-2

Weight: 205

Hometown: Henderson, Nev.

Story line: A first-round selection in 1999 (the fourth pick overall), Myers struggled early in his professional career but is coming off a breakthrough year. While splitting time between Lancaster and South Bend (Ind.), he hit .284 (52 for 183) with five homers and 33 RBI with the JetHawks, and .327 (69 for 211) with three homers and 36 RBI at South Bend. He lost 15 pounds during an offseason nutritional program and says he feels lighter on his feet in the field. Myers struggled offensively in spring training playing mostly with the Double-A group, but a promotion could be within reach as soon as he gets on track.

DANNY UGGLA

Position: Infield

Age: 22

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 5-11

Weight: 190

Hometown: Columbia, Tenn.

Story line: An 11th-round selection in 2001 from Memphis, the former collegiate standout made the Northwest League All-Star team in his pro debut last season at Yakima (Wash.), where he hit .277 (77 for 278) with five homers and 40 RBI. During a stretch at Yakima, Uggla hit safely in 24 of 26 games, during which time he batted .352 (38 for 108).

DWIGHT EDGE

Position: Outfield

Age: 23

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-6

Weight: 235

Hometown: St. Cloud, Fla.

Story line: Signed as a free agent last season out of the University of Florida, the former Gators tight end brought a football mentality to Lancaster in a brief stint as with the JetHawks last season. Running into walls chasing fly balls typified his intensity. He spent most of 2001 at South Bend (Ind.), where he hit .232 (38 for 164) with two homers and 18 RBI.

Outfielders

JUJU FOREMAN

Position: Outfield

Age: 23

Throws: Right

Bats: Left

Height: 5-7

Weight: 155

Hometown: Girard, Ga.

Story line: A 15th-round selection in 2000 from Augusta State (Ga.), Foreman became a fan favorite at South Bend (Ind.) last season before suffering a career-threatening injury midway through the year. Foreman, the subject of a recent Baseball Weekly feature, was batting .311 with a .425 on-base percentage and had 23 stolen bases in 30 attempts when he suffered a broken leg and a dislocated ankle sliding into second base. A standout defensive outfielder, Foreman should provide excitement in Lancaster.

VICTOR HALL

Position: Outfield

Age: 21

Throws: Left

Bats: Left

Height: 5-10

Weight: 160

Hometown: Arleta

Story line: A 12th-round selection from Monroe High of North Hills, Hall has emerged as one of the top base-stealing threats in minor-league baseball. He stole 60 bases in 75 attempts at South Bend (Ind.) last season, and already has 151 career steals in three-plus years of pro ball. His development is a priority for the Diamondbacks, and the fact he's being paired with first base/hitting coach Willie Wilson for a second consecutive season is no coincidence.

JOSH KROEGER

Position: Outfield

Age: 19

Throws: Left

Bats: Left

Height: 6-2

Weight: 195

Hometown: San Diego

Story line: A fourth-round selection in 2000, Kroeger is ranked 11th by Baseball America among organizational prospects. He batted .274 (80 for 292) with three homers in his first full season of pro ball at South Bend (Ind.) in 2001. He's projected to emerge as a power threat, and at 19 he's already ahead of the development curve at advanced Single-A.

BODIE SIMPSON

Position: Outfield

Age: 24

Throws: Right

Bats: Right

Height: 6-2

Weight: 185

Hometown: Lubbock, Texas

Story line: Singed as a free agent in 2001, the former NAIA standout struggled last year in his first season of pro ball at Yakima (Wash.), batting .236 (46 for 195). Simpson was a second-team All-America for a Bellevue (Neb.) University team that finished third in the 2001 NAIA College World Series.

CAPTION(S):

26 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) SCOTT BARBER

(2 -- color) GREG BELSON

(3 -- color) JOEY CRAMBLITT

(4 -- color) CASEY DAIGLE

(5 -- color) ENRIQUE GONZALEZ

(6 -- color) BRIAN MATZENBACHER

(7 -- color) BRANDON MEDDERS

(8 -- color) JOSLIN RAMIREZ

(9 -- color) ROB SHABANSKY

(10 -- color) JESUS SILVA

(11 -- color) DOUG SLATEN

(12 -- color) FRANCISCO TREJO

(13 -- color) CALTON WELLS

(14 -- color) CRAIG ANSMAN

(15 -- color) BRIAN EPKE

(16 -- color) JON-MARK SPROWL

(17 -- color) JESUS COTA

(18 -- color) JERRY GIL

(19 -- color) ERICK MACHA

(20 -- color) COREY MYERS

(21 -- color) DANNY UGGLA

(22 -- color) DWIGHT EDGE

(23 -- color) JUJU FOREMAN

(24 -- color) VICTOR HALL

(25 -- color) JOSH KROEGER

(26 -- color) BODIE SIMPSON
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Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 10, 2002
Words:2470
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