Ogden Raptors bring back manager, many players for 2023; sign key contributors from other PBL teams
The Ogden Raptors baseball club will bring back many familiar faces next season.
In a video posted to social media Tuesday night, team president Dave Baggott said manager Kash Beauchamp and the entire 2022 coaching staff, which includes Les Lancaster and Evan Parker, is set to return for the 2023 season.
Baggott also said former BYU player and first-round MLB draft pick Cory Snyder, who began last season as the manager of the Northern Colorado Owlz, may be joining the staff.
The Raptors are also set to bring back at least 10 players who played in Ogden last season, plus six who played for other Pioneer League teams in 2022, according to the PBL transactions page.
Chief among the returners will be Ogden’s two ace starters Ronny Orta and Christian Day, as well as shutdown lefty closer Jackson Lancaster. Lefty reliever and Clearfield native Chase Stratton will also return.
Catcher Coleton Horner is back (he started 2022 in Ogden before signing a minor league affiliated contract) as is fellow catcher Sonny Ulliana. Pitchers Pablo Arevalo and Jackson Cunningham, traded to Billings late in the season, have re-signed to play in Ogden.
Also returning are outfielder Brian Dansereau, catcher Kevin Elefante, and pitcher/slugger Damian Henderson, the latter of which was with the team but did not play in 2022.
Baggott said in the video that he has offered contracts to bring outfielders Reese Alexiades and Pat Adams back to Ogden but, as of Tuesday night, neither appeared as a signee on the transactions list.
Outfielder Josh Broughton and shortstop Jesus Valdez, both named to the Pioneer League postseason All-Star team, will not return as both have signed minor league contracts (Broughton with Pittsburgh, Valdez with Arizona).
From the Northern Colorado Owlz, Ogden has signed outfielder Cameron Phelts, who was the PBL stolen-base king last season with 51 swipes while hitting .288 and scoring 68 runs; infielder Tim Bouchard, who hit .366 and hit 12 homers with 53 RBIs in 67 games; and 6-foot-8 left-handed ace Will Buraconak, who had a 5.11 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 88 innings last season.
In one August series last season, Buraconak started twice against Ogden and picked up two wins, allowing five earned runs, striking out 15 and walking four in 14 2/3 innings.
Ogden has also signed Gaylan Young, a relief pitcher and power hitter who played for both Northern Colorado and Grand Junction last season. Young and Henderson are expected to provide the Raptors a pop for Knockout Round competition after Ogden has been the worst Knockout team in the league over the two seasons since its inception.
The Raptors have also added right-handed starter Jack Parisi, who started six games for Grand Junction in the middle of the season, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA, striking out 27 and walking 12 in 30 innings.
While Day, Orta, Buraconak, Arevalo and Parisi may stand to constitute a starting rotation, the Raptors also signed right-handed Foster Pace, who was one of the league’s most-used and most successful relief pitchers for Billings last season. The middle reliever was 8-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 37 appearances, striking out 47 and walking 11 in 54 2/3 innings.
Ogden went 51-43 last season, winning the first-half title and finishing second overall in the PBL South Division, giving up a lead in a decisive Game 3 to the eventual league champion Grand Junction Rockies in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Raptors open next season on May 23, 2023, by hosting the same Grand Junction team, which will now be called the Jackalopes.