This evening the minor league baseball season will begin. Triple-A gets started a week before the other levels do, so for the next six days it’s going to be all Louisville Bats when it comes to actual game coverage and stories.

The Bats will begin their season at home this year, hosting the Indianapolis Indians for a 3-game set before an off day on Monday (they are off every Monday during the year except for July 1st). Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 7:15pm ET first pitch.

Let’s take a look at what the Opening Day roster looks like for the Louisville Bats:

Pitchers Catchers
Stevie Branche P.J. Higgins
Justin Bruihl Michael Trautwein
Alan Busenitz Austin Wynns
Michael Byrne Infielders
Tyler Gilbert Erik Gonzalez
Brett Kennedy Alex McGarry
Evan Kravetz Hernan Perez
Brooks Kriske Francisco Urbaez
Casey Legumina Mike Ford
Connor Phillips Outfielders
Lyon Richardson Conner Capel
Tony Santillan Blake Dunn
Carson Spiers Rece Hinds
Spencer Stockton Jacob Hurtubise
Randy Wynne Quincy McAfee

Sam Moll is also on the roster, but he’s there on a big league rehab assignment and not listed above. Pitchers can remain on minor league rehab assignment for up to 30 days before a decision must be made (activate that player, pull them off of their rehab and keep them on the injured list, option that player, or designate them for assignment).

Late in the afternoon there were two roster moves made: Mike Ford was officially added to the roster. Pitcher Pedro Garcia, who was initially on the roster, was moved to the development list.

Last year’s Bats opening day roster featured 16 players, not including the rehabbing Joey Votto, who saw time with the Cincinnati Reds in 2023.

This year there are three players on the Bats roster that will begin the year on the injured list. Christian Roa is on the 7-day injured list. Reiver Sanmartin and Mark Mathias are both on the 60-day injured list and aren’t going to be seen for quite a while as they recover from injuries. Reliever Yosvery Zulueta, who was acquired on waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon is on the roster but has not yet reported after he was acquired then optioned.

With the opening day roster for the Bats there are five Reds Top 25 Prospects. Pitchers Connor Phillips (#4) and Lyon Richardson (#17) are joined by outfielders Rece Hinds (#12), Blake Dunn (#15), and Jacob Hurtubise (#23).

As a reminder, if you have MLB.tv, then MiLB.tv is included and you should be able to watch those games both online as well as within the MLB App. You can also get MiLB.tv as a standalone service.

There’s no lineup yet, but when it comes out I’ll update this post with it. Carson Spiers is the listed starting pitcher for the game tonight. Tomorrow, Louisville will face off against Paul Skenes – the #1 overall pick in the 2023 Draft.

There are some new rules in play this year. Tuesday through Thursday the strikezone will be called by the automated ball-strike system (according to the Hawkeye system). The other games will be called by umpires and will feature the challenge system that allows the batter, pitcher, or catcher to ask for a review of the call via the automated ball-strike system. Each team gets as many challenges as they want until they reach three unsuccessful challenges, then they get no more. The pitch clock will be in play once again, and it’s shorter with no one on base this season, dropping from 19 seconds to 18.

And in what has to be the dumbest thing in baseball, Triple-A and Single-A’s Florida State League where there’s Hawkeye (all parks but Daytona), will have two different strikezones when the automated ball-strike system is in place. In Triple-A the zone is 17-inches wide – the same width as home plate. But in the Florida State League the strikezone will be 20 inches wide.

Opening Night Lineup

The lineup is in. And it’s also already had a change.

  1. Jacob Hurtubise – LF
  2. Hernan Perez – SS
  3. Blake Dunn – CF
  4. P.J. Higgins – 1B
  5. Michael Trautwein – C
  6. Rece Hinds – RF
  7. Conner Capel – DH
  8. Quincy McAfee – 2B
  9. Francisco Urbaez – 3B
  10. Carson Spiers – RHP

Erik Gonzalez was initially in the starting lineup, batting 9th, and playing shortstop. But he’s been scratched and replaced by Francisco Urbaez, who will play third with Hernan Perez who was originally at third, sliding to shortstop.

3/29 Game Preview

Team Record Time (ET) Probable Box Score Listen Watch
Louisville 0-0 7:15pm Spiers Here Here Here
Chattanooga 0-0 4/5 TBA Here Here Here
Dayton 0-0 4/5 TBA Here Here Here
Daytona 0-0 4/5 TBA Here Here N/A

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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19 Responses

  1. MK

    Yesterday was the first time I had heard criticism of the minor league scheduling with Mondays off. David Bell said that the young players are not prepared for the rigors of major league scheduling where they might go weeks without a day off.

    • LarkinPhillips

      He gives them days off consistently anyways. Seems like an odd criticism to me. I actually wish there was a way to make off days consistent at the mlb level. Sometimes it seems to have an unfair advantage to certain teams. But it’s not a big deal at the end of the day (at least to me)

  2. Optimist

    About the strikezone changes, I don’t know if it’s the dumbest thing in baseball (gotta go with ownership actions), but it is certainly baffling and confusing. What’s the point? Experiment with different control groups? Slowly working in the automatic ump process, see how challenges work, iron out the kinks?

    I’m all for change, and technology to aid the game, and testing alternatives progressively, but imagine a hot prospect moving thru 2 or 3 levels in a year – how will you evaluate performance?

    • Doug Gray

      “We need you to work on learning the strikezone better”

      “No, not that one. The other one. No, no. The other one.”

      It’s really stupid.

      • DW

        Yeah this is crazy. There should be one set of rules for the strike zone at all levels of college and above; and I would argue high school and above.

      • Doc

        I attended back to back Bats games last summer, the first was with the automated strike zone but I didn’t know that until the next day. The second was called by the umpires. Frankly I didn’t see a difference. I didn’t see arguing about ball strike calls in the umpire called game, even by JV who was on rehab assignment.

        It is certainly possible that the automated system was encouraging/training umpires to improve their ball strike calls.

        I think it is every bit as ridiculous that MLB umpires can basically make up their own strike zone, and make up a new one batter by batter if they so choose to do so. The strike zone should be consistent at all levels.

        I don’t know whether the technology will be good enough to automate balls and strikes at the MLB level, but my small sample size comparison over two games said it certainly worked well to an average spectator eye in AAA.

        I would use the automated zone to grade umpires and would rotate the worst performers out of the big leagues. I don’t know what percentage an MLB umpire should be allowed to miss, but I certainly think they should be at least 80% to 90% accurate as a minimum threshold, possibly higher.

      • 2020ball

        @Doc that sounds something like the current system. Umps have been graded using an auto-zone for years afaik. I personally would fully automate the zone, but a challenge system seems an okay alternative for now.

      • Doc

        2020ball – thanks.

        Any idea how many umpires have been demoted due to poor quality ball/strike performance and why Angel Hernandez hasn’t been. If umpires are protected by their CBA and not demoted then the system is close to a useless collection of data.

  3. Randy in Chatt

    It may only be 3 inches, but three inches is a big deal in baseball, strike zone, tag plays, sliding mits, glove length, sometimes, even home runs!

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    Doug, what about Nick Lodolo and Mike Ford ? I think Lodolo is on rehab thru a couple of weeks at triple-A but since he is not listed on Bats roster, Is a similar case than Moll?
    Related to Ford It’s maybe he is on his way to Louisville, Isn’t he? I think McGarry will give his spot to him at triple-A

    • Doug Gray

      They won’t officially add Lodolo until the day he pitches. You don’t want to “start” the rehab stint earlier than you have to, just in case.

      Mike Ford was just added to the active roster late this afternoon. Pedro Garcia was moved to the development list to make room for him.

  5. Jim Delaney

    I would expect Mike Ford to be added to the Bats roster. Glad he resigned with the Reds. He had a strong spring training and I am sure would be strongly considered if any additional injuries happen with the major league club.

  6. DaveCT

    I saw Spiers throw to Trautwein a couple times last year at AA. They seem to work really well together. Trautwein has some intangibles going for him.

  7. DaveCT

    Carson Spiers really wasn’t sharp tonight, his breaking stuff in particular. And, if he topped 90 mph, I missed it.

    Hinds’ bomb was hammered but the exit velocity I’d like to see was Urbaez’ double. Hit it on a line to the left field wall. If you blinked you missed it.

    • Doug Gray

      Spiers topped out at 94.5. He averaged 93.3 with the 4-seamer and 92.2 with the 2-seamer.

      Hinds exit velo was 102.9. No Hawkeye distance, but my Google Maps measurement was 404.

      Urbaez double was crushed at 103.4 MPH. Video in the game review highlights.

      • DaveCT

        Thanks Doug. I didn’t start watching the pitch velos on gameday until the 3rd inning. I wonder if I was confusing his slider with his sinker? I am often confused …lol

      • Doug Gray

        “I am often confused”

        You and me both, Dave.

      • DaveCT

        States of confusion are highly underestimated.

        Persistent ones, especially.

        They are liberating.