Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Observations on Minor League Rosters

Let me not miss the opportunity to extend two thumbs WAY up to the major league squad for their impressive Opening Day win before I wax verbose about minor leaguers. Castro, Travis, Pompey and Pillar certainly scoffed at the whole "pressure of Yankee Stadium on Opening Day" thing, eh?

So the format here is just to take a quick look at each of the rosters announced today and just do a stream of conscienceless reaction to each. Keep in mind that they might stil change before these teams play their first games later in the week.
 (most of the starting fielders are obvious but sometimes I'm guessing)

Buffalo Bisons-
SP: Randy Wolf, Jeff Francis, Chad Jenkins, Andrew Albers, Scott Copeland
RP: Steve Delebar, Rob Rasmussen, Ryan Tepera, Bo Schultz, Preston Gulimet, Scott Barnes, Greg Infante, Austin Bibens-Dirks, Bobby Korecky
Lineup:Josh Thole, Daric Barton, Mune Kawasaki, Ryan Goins, Matt Hague, Chris Dickerson, Ezequiel Carrera, Caleb Gindl, Andy Wilkins
Bench: Sean Ochinko, Chris Colabello, Jon Diaz, Brad Glenn
DL:John Stilson, Felix Doubront, Wilton Lopez, Johan Santana, AJ Jimenez, Ramon Santiago, Andy Dirks

This team is overflowing, literally, with major league and "4A" experience....expect liberal use of the "DL"...Jenkins in rotation is interesting...nice to see Copeland rewarded...Hendriks, Doubront and, hopefully, Santana will push a couple of those guys to 'pen at some point, but Santana will no doubt have to start recovery in Dunedin...so much depth here that a few guys had to get shoved to AA despite having no real business there - expect more of these guys to get squeezed in similar fashion, or released...not sure where Juan Oramas lands once (if)  he clears waivers  

Compared to my projection: Pretty close, can't forcast DL, surprised West was squeezed out, Goins demotion affected Berti's placement I assume.

New Hampshire FisherCats
SP: Matt Boyd, Taylor Cole, John Anderson, Casey Lawrence, Mike Lee
RP: Dustin Antolin, Danny Barnes, Matt West, Arik Sikula, Blake McFarland, Cory Burns, Luis Perez, Greg Burke
Lineup: Jack Murphy, KC Hobson, Jon Berti, Jorge Flores, Andy Burns, Dwight Smith, Jr., Melky Mesa, Matt Newman, Jake Fox
Bench: Pierce Rankin, Shane Opitz, Kevin Nolan, Ryan Schimpf
DL: Ricky Romero, Derrik Chung

Assuming Romeero on this team is just an overflow issue from the loaded Buffalo DL...Boyd getting a lot of buzz but promotion may be difficult to win...Anderson is becoming the McGowan of the farm, they keep sticking with him so he must have something... Smith in LF reflects lack of OF options (as I mentioned in the preview post) and the presence of should-be-in-AAA Jon Berti...

Comparison to  my projection - Fox and Schimpf squeezed out of AAA as I predicted, a few consequential org guys a step up or down, usually because of crowding or positional needs

Dunedin Blue Jays
(secondary sources - official roster not updated  yet)
SP: Jario Labourt, Jayson Aquino, Jeremy Gabryszwski, Matt Dermody, Brad Allen, Luis Santos*
RP: Alberto Tirado, Brady Dragmire, Jimmy Cordero, Chad Girodo, Scott Silverstien, Will Browning, Tiago De Silva
Lineup:  Jorge Saez, Matt Dean, Christian Lopes, Dewal Lugo, Mitch Nay,David Harris, Roemon Fields, Derrik Loveless
Bench: Mike Reeves, LB Danzler, Emilio Guerrero, Jason Leblebijian, Ian Parmley
DL: Griffin Murphy, Chris Schaffer, Seth Conner

Labourt apparently blew them away in the spring...Aquino is the guy they got for Ybarra...Luis Santos is a guy I never heard of until I saw him listed on this roster at Bluebird Banter - was released by the Royals - he physical is pending...Look for Hoffman on this roster when he's activated...Tirado is another one that forced their hand in the spring...De Silva and Browning are crowded out of AA by the surplus of pitching there...Lopes is a possible break-out...Fields showed enough, plus age being a factor, to be jumped to High-A...at least one report suggest Conner may be moving into a coaching role?

Compared to my projections - I pretty much whiffed on the rotation, save for Allen (albeit White suddenly retired) but I was fairly close otherwise. I had hoped Alford would show enough to land here to avoid the CF conflict but it's not illogical that Fields, being 4 years older, would be the one pushed.

Lansing Lugnuts
SP: Chase De Jong, Shane Dawson, Chase Mallard, Starlyn Suriel, Justin Schafer, Alonzo Gonzalez
RP: Mark Biggs, Jose Fernandez, Andrew Case, Tim Mayza, Chase Wellbrock, Francisco Gracesqui, Colton Turner, Phil Kish
Lineup: Dan Jansen, Rowdy Tellez, DJ Thon, Richard Urena, Gunner Heidt, Boomer Collins, DJ Davis, Josh Almonte
Bench: Justin Atkinson, Michael De La Cruz, Ryan McBroom, Tim Locastro, Chris Carlson
DL: Adonys Cardona, Tom Robson, Anthony Alford, Jon Davis

Biggs must have shown them something this spring because he looked like a bust last year...Jansen i on everyone's sleeper list...Rowdy Tellez is the one here I'm most fascinated by...Heidt isn't an ideal 3B but there's no better alternative on this roster...Atkinson is being converted to catcher...when Alford is ready, there will be a conflict as both he and Davis are natural CF, but my guess is Alford will play RF when they play together...Cardona and Robson are both prospects if healthy.

Compared to my projections - Borucki had clean-up surgery on his elbow so he was held back, Smoral is yet unexplained but presumably they wanted to keep working on some of his shortcomings. Yeyfry Del Rosario was released so I was badly wrong there. Urena possibly provided enough upward pressure push Lugo up to Dunedin despite mixed results.

Over the next few days, sources close to the teams wil no doubt have conversations with some of the more well connected sources liike Charlie Caskey and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler and Gerry at Batters Box and we'll get more insight into why these various choices were made and what the organization felt it learned in camp. Fascinating stuff for those addicted to prospect porn.

Not as fascinating, perhaps, as games like the Blue Jays played today but not every game will be so enjoyable I'm sure. Which reminds me, I don't think I've made my prediction this spring. I'm going to be bolder than most (no surprise since I'm a compulsive optimist) and cal this a 90 win team (+/-3) and a division winner. So there, I'm on the record now.

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