Perth Heat recently announced seven Tampa Bay Rays prospects will join the club for the 2019-20 Australian Baseball League season.
Entering its third year of a partnership with the Rays, outfielders Niko Hulsizer, Jordan Qsar, infielder Kaleo Johnson, catcher Roberto Alvarez and pitchers Blake Bivens, Audry Lugo and Carlos Garcia will call Perth home this summer.
Speaking ahead of the new season, which starts in three weeks, Heat Chief Executive Steven Nelkovski says he is looking forward to seeing the players in action.
“We’re delighted to be welcoming players from the Tampa Bay Rays organization to Perth for a third summer in a row,” Nelkovski said.
“The partnership has been fantastic over the past couple of years, with both Jake Fraley and Mike Brosseau becoming Major League Baseball players after their time in Perth.”
The Heat will be hoping this year’s crop will perform as well as previous years, with Fraley winning the Helms Award in 2017-18, while Tristan Gray led the ABL in RBIs (41) a summer ago.
22-year-old Hulsizer headlines the 2019-20 group having hit 21 home runs in 2019 after been acquired by the Rays in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in July.
Infielder Johnson meanwhile added 11 home runs across A and A+, with Qsar and Alvarez combining for 70 RBIs playing for the Bowling Green Hod Rods alongside 2018 Heat import Chris Betts.
On the pitching front, Blake Bivens will spearhead the trio which also includes Dominican Republic duo Lugo and Garcia.
The Rays partnership will also see two coaches arrive in Perth next week with Jose Gonzalez and Blake Butera joining Brooke Knight’s coaching department.