BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset Patriots, the New York Yankees Double-A Affiliate, have arrived in New Jersey after a month-long training camp in Florida, including a player with a name familiar to central New Jersey high school baseball fans.
The team, including two other players from New Jersey, held their first practice at TD Bank Ballpark Sunday afternoon in preparation for Opening Night May 4th.
Brandon Wagner, who played for the Immaculata HS Spartans in Somerville, was drafted by the Yankees in the sixth round (number 186) in 2015. He graduated Immaculata in 2013, and played at a junior college in Texas the following year before he signed with the Yankees.
During his time at Immaculata he played third base and center field and earned First Team All-Somerset County and Second Team All-Non-Public honors. He was born in Somerville and lived in Hopewell.
Wagner was previously selected by the Phillies in the 39th round (1,171st overall pick) in his senior year of high school in 2013.
Wagner batted .435 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs during the 2014 season at Howard Junior College.
The other New Jersey players on the 29-man roster include Ron Marinaccio of Toms River and Shawn Semple of Voorhees. Both are right-handed pitchers.
Two of Baseball America’s top 10 Yankees prospects, right-hand pitcher Luis Gil (#4) and outfielder Estevan Florial (#10), are slated to start the season in Somerset. Both players are on the Yankees' 40-man Major League roster, with Florial being the lone Patriot with service time at the major league level.
The hard-throwing Gil highlights the pitching staff of talented young arms. He spent the majority of his 2019 season at Low-A Charleston, where he was named a Mid-Season All-Star in the South Atlantic League.
Florial made his major league debut on on Aug. 28 last year in game one of a doubleheader against the New York Mets. After the 2019 season, Florial was named the "fastest baserunner" among Yankees farmhands by Baseball America. He carries 11 days of major league service time into this season.
Right-hand pitcher Glenn Otto, the number 28 ranked prospect in the organization according to MLB.com, played for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League in 2019, going 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA (24.0 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 13 BB, 26 K, 2 HR) in six starts. He tied for the AFL lead in wins and ranked fourth in ERA (minimum 20 innings pitched).
Infielder Hoy Jun Park becomes the first South Korean-born player in Patriots history. In 2019, Park ranked fifth with a .363 OBP (minimum 400 plate appearances) among Eastern League hitters. When he initially signed with the Yankees as an international free agent, he was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 13 prospect for the 2014 international signing period.
Infielder Dermis Garcia led the Florida State League with 17 home runs in 2019. He earned FSL Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star honors. Garcia was ranked by MLB.com as the top prospect for the 2014 international signing period.
The Patriots debut as the Yankees Double-A Affiliate on Tuesday, May 4th at TD Bank Ballpark with a 7:05 pm game versus the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals).