The Lexington Legends will begin their season Thursday April 5th against the Charleston River Dogs, the New York Yankees affiliate but today was media day and some big news came out of it.
First the Legends will have a new play by play announcer, Emma Tiedemann will serve in that capacity. She replaces Keith Elkins who retired following last season. She will become the first woman to be a lead play by play announcer in the South Atlantic League, she will be just the second woman in minor league baseball with that title.
A big announcement from the Legends and the city of Lexington was also made when mayor Jim Gray announced that all city owned fields will be smoke free. He said that would include the stands and the concession areas. The Legends also announced that are becoming tobacco free. Minor league baseball led the way in going tobacco free in baseball. In 1991 smokeless tobacco was prohibited, in 1994 snuff was banned in the minors. In 2016 under the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement players entering the MLB are prohibited from using tobacco on the field in every ballpark. Among the reasons, aside from the health factors, high school athletes use smokeless tobacco at twice the rate of non-athletes.
To the on the field news, the Legends will have four of the top five prospects in the Kansas City Royals organizations. #2 prospect Nick Pratto who was drafted #14 overall in the 2017 draft batted .247 last season with 15 doubles, 3 triples, and 4 home runs. He knocked in 34 runs while playing in 52 games. Pratto is also a little league world series hero when in 2011 he had the game winning bases loaded hit to win the series for Huntington Beach, CA. It is one of only three championships for the US in the last ten years. The #3 prospect Seuly Matias hit .243 last season with 13 doubles, 3 triples, and 7 home runs. He also added 36 RBI. The #4 prospect is MJ Melendez, he was a second round pick in the 2017 draft. Michael Gigliotti is the #5 prospect in the Royals farm system. He batted .320 with 13 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, and 38 RBI. He began the season in advanced rookie Burlington but spent the last month of the season in Lexington.
Legends open play this Thursday and stay with WBONTVSPORTS on twitter for the scores and look for game recaps as WBONTV will be covering Legends baseball this summer.