If experience counts for anything, the Lexington Legends could be in for a good season.
Better than last year's 57-83 record anyway.
The team was introduced Tuesday during the South Atlantic League club's annual media day at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Twelve of the 26 players have been with the Legends before, including four who played more than 100 games each here last year.
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"That's a good thing. There's a couple guys that played here last year, and that's an advantage," said Manager Omar Ramirez, who spent the last three seasons leading the rookie-level Idaho Falls Chukars. "I'm not saying that we're going to win the championship because of that, but it's an advantage. They know what the league's all about and hopefully they can take advantage of that."
The quartet who played a full season here last year are outfielders Alfredo Escalera and Elier Hernandez, infielder Humberto Arteaga and catcher Chad Johnson. At 21, Arteaga is the oldest of that group.
"I think (experience) is going to help us a lot," Johnson said. "We learned a lot last year, We're all pretty young, and being able to play here last year that kind of gave me some experience. So hopefully I'll be one of the leaders on this team and help everybody, and just show guys the way."
Others who saw action with the 2014 Legends are pitchers Pedro Fernandez, Ashton Goudeau, Kevin McCarthy, Nik Stephenson and Matt Tenuta, infielder Carlos Garcia and outfielder Samir Duenez. Pitcher Colin Rodgers was with the team for part of the 2013 season before requiring Tommy John surgery.
"It's definitely great," Escalera said of the experience factor. "It's not like a first-time thing like last year; it was different for us — first full season for me last year.
"It's good to be back. I already have the experience from last year, so definitely I'm more relaxed, I would say. But we have a great group of guys. There's a couple of guys that are repeating, too, so we've got the experience down pat."
Newcomers include three from Idaho Falls whom Baseball America rates among the top 30 prospects in the Kansas City Royals organization: outfielder Brandon Downes, first baseman Ryan O'Hearn and third baseman Wander Franco.
O'Hearn, MVP of the Pioneer League, led the league in runs, hits, slugging and OPS (on base percentage plus slugging).
"Some of these guys I had last year, and some of these guys I had the year before" Ramirez said. "So I'm familiar, especially with the position players. I know what they can do. Some of the pitchers, I'm going to get to know them. Thank God I have (pitching coach) Carlos Reyes. He knows a lot about them and we can share information about them. It's going to be fun and we're looking forward to a great season."
O'Hearn, who hit 13 homers for Idaho Falls, is a legitimate long-ball threat. But the Legends will rely more on hitting to the gaps and utilizing a hit-and-run style.
"That's the way I used to play," Ramirez said. "I like hit-and-runs and stealing bases. We have a couple guys that can run here and you're going to see a lot of movement on the bases. That's my kind of game most of the time. We don't have that many home-run hitters that can hit the long ball, but you're going to see a lot of hit-and-runs and stuff like that."
Garcia may be the fastest of the bunch. He led the Legends in stolen bases last season with 31 in 80 games.
On the mound, the Legends will go with the right-handed Fernandez in Thursday's season opener at Charleston, S.C.
Then it will be Tenuta, Stephenson and Rodgers.
"I think we've got a good, solid foundation of guys," Johnson said. "And our pitching staff's going to be great. Offensively, I think we're going to be real solid, so this year should be a really fun year."
The Legends' home opener is set for Thursday, April 16, against the West Virginia Power.