To get ready for the minor league season, we’ve analyzed every full-season minor league roster. Click on the team name to see that team’s roster.
TRIPLE-A CHARLOTTE: Manager Chris Chambliss has an interesting mix on the mound that includes RHP Jeff Marquez, acquired in the Nick Swisher deal. Among the veterans is INF Brandon Myrow, the minor league batting champ of 2007.
DOUBLE-A BIRMINGHAM: The Barons have one of the Southern League’s most impressive rosters, including 12 of the White Sox‘s top 30 prospects. The best of the lot are SS Gordon Beckham, last year’s first-round pick who skips A-ball entirely after a strong Arizona Fall League, and 3B Dayan Viciedo, the Cuban defector who signed a major league contract worth a $10 million guarantee.
HIGH CLASS A WINSTON-SALEM: It’s mostly thin on prospects, though 2008 draft picks Jordan Danks and Brent Morel make their full-season debuts. Danks, the younger brother of White Sox starter John Danks, signed for an above-slot $525,000 as a seventh-round pick, while Morel was a third-round pick out of Cal Poly.
LOW CLASS A KANNAPOLIS: Two Old Dominion alums bear watching. RHP Dexter Carter, a 13th-round pick in 2008, led the Rookie-level Pioneer League in ERA (2.23) last year. RHP Dan Hudson, Carter’s college teammate and a fifth-round pick, overcame a disappointing college season to lead the PL with 90 strikeouts in 70 innings.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: LHP Santos Rodriguez, a 21-year-old Dominican, will remain in extended before getting his first taste of U.S. ball with Rookie-level Great Falls.
TRIPLE-A COLUMBUS: The Indians’ new Triple-A affiliate in Columbus should be sending plenty of talent to Cleveland soon, most notably OF Matt LaPorta, LHP David Huff and 2B Luis Valbuena. OF Michael Brantley looks to improve his power, while 3B Wes Hodges will focus on defense.
DOUBLE-A AKRON: The Aeros will have one of the best lineups in Double-A. C Carlos Santana is one of the best prospects in the game, OF Nick Weglarz and 1B Beau Mills are solid, and SS Carlos Rivero could have a breakout season. RHP Hector Rondon is the main attraction in the rotation.
HIGH CLASS A KINSTON: Last year’s first-rounder Lonnie Chisenhall jumps from short-season Mahoning Valley and moves from shortstop to third. At 20 he will be one of the league’s youngest players. LHP Kelvin de la Cruz headlines the rotation. A pair of over-slot 2008 draft picks—RHP Zach Putnam and OF Tim Fedroff—will also open in Kinston.
LOW CLASS A LAKE COUNTY: LHP T.J. House, a 16th-round prep pick last June, jumps to low Class A in his first full season. Toolsy 19-year-old Abner Abreu will make his full-season debut at a new position, moving from third base to the outfield.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: The Indians gave more money to RHP Trey Haley ($1.25 million) than to House ($750,000) last summer, but Haley did not make a full-season club.
TRIPLE-A TOLEDO: 2B Will Rhymes had a terrific spring and finds himself partnering up the middle with SS Brent Dlugach, who is very good defensively. The acquisitions of Gerald Laird and Matt Treanor relegated C Dusty Ryan to Triple-A, where he can get more at-bats after coming on strong in a major league stint in 2008.
DOUBLE-A ERIE: The Tigers has a surplus up the middle, so Cale Iorg will play shortstop in Erie, with Scott Sizemore as his pivot man. Utilityman Mike Hollimon went from a major league stint last year to Double-A this year.
HIGH CLASS A LAKELAND: RHP Brett Jacobson will open at Lakeland but has a chance to move quickly in the bullpen.
LOW CLASS A WEST MICHIGAN: LHP Casey Crosby had Tommy John surgery after instructional league in 2007, then touched 97 mph in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last summer. He’ll head up the rotation along with RHPs Brandon Hamilton and Luke Putkonen. Hamilton repeats low Class A, while Putkonen is just looking to stay healthy.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: The Tigers came out of spring training healthy, as no one from their top 30 is not on a full-season roster.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
TRIPLE-A OMAHA: Most Triple-A rosters feature players who believe they should be in the majors, and Omaha may have more than most. RHPs Luke Hochevar, Carlos Rosa and Brian Bannister, 1Bs Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue, and OF Mitch Maier all went into spring training hoping they’d start the season in Kansas City.
DOUBLE-A NORTHWEST ARKANSAS: RHPs Dan Cortes and Blake Wood are back where they ended last year, and both will be asked to master Double-A before getting a promotion.
HIGH CLASS A WILMINGTON: No balls should ever find a gap as OFs David Lough, Paulo Orlando, Adrian Ortiz and Derrick Robinson all have legitimate center field tools.
LOW CLASS A BURLINGTON: IF Kyle Martin put up good numbers in Hawaii Winter Baseball after a strong season at Burlington last year, but he’s back with the Bees anyway.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: LHP Mike Mongtomery, a supplemental first-round pick last year, was held back as he continues to get stretched out, as was RHP Tim Melville, though he could come up to Burlington once the weather warms up. IF Jason Taylor is serving a 50-game recreational drug suspension.
TRIPLE-A ROCHESTER: The Twins continue to search for righthanded power in the big leagues and will watch two Red Wings players as possible sources: 3B Luke Hughes and OF David Winfree, who gets his first Triple-A assignment at age 23.
DOUBLE-A NEW BRITAIN: With a glut of outfielders at the lower levels, the Twins jumped Rene Tosoni to Double-A. The smooth-swinging 22-year-old hit .300/.408/.414 at high Class A last year in just 140 at-bats and needs to prove he can stay healthy.
HIGH CLASS A FORT MYERS: As expected, the Miracle outfield is stacked with first-rounders Chris Parmelee (2006) and Ben Revere (2007), plus 2006 second-rounder Joe Benson.
LOW CLASS A BELOIT: RHP Shooter Hunt returns after going 1-4, 5.46 and struggling with his command in Beloit last year, when he signed out of Tulane as a supplemental first-round pick. Also keep an eye on IF James Beresford, a 20-year-old Australian who impressed in the World Baseball Classic last month.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: The Twins didn’t assign OF Aaron Hicks to a full-season club; their 2008 first-rounder will likely follow the Revere plan and join Beloit about a month into the season.
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