The Sugar Land Skeeters announced their partial 2018 Spring Training roster last week.
Among the players invited to this year’s Spring Training are former Major Leaguers: Dallas Beeler, Charles Brewer, Alejandro Chacin, Aaron Crow, Kyle Kubitza, Zach Lee, Jose Ortega, and Denis Phipps. A number of former Skeeters have also been invited to return, including: Brett Marshall, Mitch Talbot, Albert Cordero, Anthony Giansanti, Ryan Jackson, and Willy Taveras. In addition to the mix of former Major Leaguers and returning Skeeters, former Bridgeport Bluefish and 2015 Atlantic League Player of the Year Welington Dotel has been invited to this year’s Spring Training.
Major League veteran and former Skeeter Willy Taveras returns to Sugar Land with 17 years of professional baseball experience. After spending the first five seasons of his career in the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros systems (2000-2004), Taveras made his Major League debut with the Astros on Sept. 6, 2004, at 22 years old. The outfielder spent the next two seasons in Houston, batting .285 and racking up 67 stolen bases with the club. Over the next seven seasons, Taveras spent time with the Colorado Rockies (2007-2008), the Cincinnati Reds (2009), and the Washington Nationals (2010). While with the Rockies in 2008, he stole a career record 68 bases (which led the National League) for the club over 133 games. In 2015, Taveras made his Atlantic League debut with the Skeeters, racking up 60 hits and 21 stolen bases over 65 games. He returns to Sugar Land after spending the last two seasons in the Mexican League, batting over .300 for both the Pericos de Puebla (2016) and the Acereros de Monclova (2017).
Pitcher Aaron Crow joins the Skeeters roster with eight years of professional baseball experience, four of which were spent in the Majors. In 2008, the right-hander was drafted in the first round (9th overall) by the Washington Nationals out of the University of Missouri Columbia (Columbia, Mo.), and again in the first round (12th overall) by the Kansas City Royals the following year. Crow spent four years in the Royals system (2011-2014), making his Major League debut for the club on March 31, 2011, and was named an All-Star the same year. Following a brief stint in the Chicago Cubs system in 2016, Crow joins the 2018 roster with an overall record of 20-11 in 254 games and a career ERA of 3.43 over 233.2 innings pitched.
Welington Dotel, 32, makes his debut with the Skeeters after spending the second half of the 2017 season with the Bridgeport Bluefish. A native of Neiba, Dominican Republic, Dotel began his professional career in 2006 with the Arizona League Mariners, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. After spending the next nine seasons with a number of minor league systems, the outfielder made his Atlantic League debut with the Bluefish in 2015, where he was also named an All-Star and Atlantic League Player of the Year after winning the batting title hitting .340 with 68 RBI. He also led the league in hits (180), triples (13), and stolen bases (45) over 133 games for the 2015 season. Dotel would once again post impressive numbers with the club over the next two seasons, batting .335 over 95 games in 2016 and .271 over 43 games in 2017.