To get you ready for the start of the season, we’re taking a look at every full-season minor league team’s roster to note who’s on it and who’s missing. Click the team name to get the roster.
TRIPLE-A NORFOLK: For a limited time only: Matt Wieters is in town! Don’t wait for warm weather to go see him, International League fans. When he leaves, the pitching staff, highlighted by RHP Chris Tillman, will still be worth watching.
DOUBLE-A BOWIE: After not pitching last year after shoulder surgery, LHP Troy Patton will start here as he tries to work himself back into form.
HIGH CLASS A FREDERICK: LHP Brian Matusz will make his professional debut with the Keys, and as promised, Billy Rowell–moving from 3B to OF–repeats the level in an effort to get his career back on track.
LOW CLASS A DELMARVA: Two premium high school draft picks from last June, OF Xavier Avery (second round) and 2B L.J. Hoes (third), jump right from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League to full-season ball with the Shorebirds.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: RHP Chorye Spoone, who had shoulder problems throughout last year and finally had surgery late in the season, is on the disabled list at Frederick and probably won’t see action until at least May.
BOSTON RED SOX
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET: It’s a testament to the Red Sox’ major league pitching depth that Daniel Bard and Clay Buchholz open here despite looking spectacular at times in big league camp. RHP Michael Bowden further fortifies the pitching staff, while 1B Jeff Bailey, the 2008 International League MVP, is back for his sixth stint.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND: RHP Junichi Tazawa makes his U.S. debut in Double-A, and he won’t stay long if his stuff and command are as good as they looked in spring training. The system’s two top position prospects, 1B Lars Anderson and OF Josh Reddick, return after finishing last season here.
HIGH CLASS A SALEM: The Red Sox have escaped from Lancaster’s launching pad, but the strength of their high Class A club will still be offense, thanks to C Luis Exposito, SS Yamaico Navarro and OFs Ryan Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin. RHP Kyle Weiland, a third-round pick last June, gets the highest Opening Day assignment from last year’s draft class.
LOW CLASS A GREENVILLE: After breaking into pro ball as a shortstop, 2008 first-round pick Casey Kelly will open this year on the mound. 1B Anthony Rizzo continues his comeback from cancer, which shut down his 2008 season after he hit .373 in 21 games for the Drive.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: LHP Nick Hagadone had Tommy John surgery last May and should join a Class A club by the end of May. OF Ryan Westmoreland had minor shoulder surgery last November and likely will make his pro debut at short-season Lowell. 3B Will Middlebrooks tore a hamstring during spring training but is expected to get to Greenville by the end of April.
NEW YORK YANKEES
TRIPLE-A SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE: Few teams can match this Triple-A staff. RHPs Alfredo Aceves, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy in the rotation, with RHPs Anthony Claggett, J.B. Cox, Mark Melancon and David Robertson in the pen. OF Austin Jackson is by far the team’s top hitting prospect.
DOUBLE-A TRENTON: 2B Justin Snyder jumps here from low Class A, where he hit .288/.371/.407. Snyder also has played center field as an amateur, and the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder profiles best as a utilityman.
HIGH CLASS A TAMPA: 3B Addison Maruszak, a 17th-rounder out of South Florida last June, leaps over low Class A after batting .317/372/.503 at short-season Staten Island last season. A higher-profile ’08 draftee, supplemental first-round LHP Jeremy Bleich, joins him after making only one start with Staten Island.
LOW CLASS A CHARLESTON: RHP Andrew Brackman makes his pro debut, joined in the rotation by 18-year-old Mexican LHP Manny Banuelos. 3B Bradley Suttle returns to Charleston despite hitting .271/.348/.456 there last season.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: Most of the Yankees’ top recent Latin signees didn’t get full-season assignments, most notably RHP Arodys Vizcaino.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
TRIPLE-A DURHAM: LHP David Price returns as the Rays push him to work on his changeup, and with RHPs Wade Davis and Mitch Talbot they give the Bulls a formidable rotation to start the season.
DOUBLE-A MONTGOMERY: OF Desmond Jennings is a BA Top 100 player, and RHP Jeremy Hellickson has some of the organization’s best pure stuff.
HIGH CLASS A CHARLOTTE: The Rays’ new Florida State League affiliate, owned by Ripken Baseball, should be better in the field with OFs Ryan Royster and Reid Fronk. RHP Alex Cobb, the Opening Day starter, could lead the next wave of pitching talent coming up through the system.
LOW CLASS A BOWLING GREEN: A new South Atlantic League affiliate features last year’s No. 1 overall pick, SS Tim Beckham, as well as his brother, 2B Jeremy, a 17th-round pick from Georgia Southern in the same draft.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: Two 2008 high school picks, LHP Kyle Lobstein (second round) and OF Ty Morrison (fourth) will remain in extended spring and wait for a short-season assignment.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
TRIPLE-A LAS VEGAS: LHPs Brett Cecil and Brad Mills will test the rarified air of Toronto’s new Pacific Coast League affiliate. C J.P. Arencibia, whose 27 home runs tied for the minor league lead among backstops last year, should like the PCL much better.
DOUBLE-A NEW HAMPSHIRE: 1B David Cooper, the 17th overall pick last June who batted .333/.399/.502 between three levels in his debut, jumps to Double-A. LHP Marc Rzepczynski skips high Class A entirely, while 2B Brad Emaus will attempt to build on a successful big league spring training.
HIGH CLASS A DUNEDIN: Three members of Toronto’s ’07 draft class move up from Lansing to Dunedin: 3B Kevin Ahrens, SS Justin Jackson and 2B John Tolisano. A torn quad precluded OF Eric Thames, an ’08 seventh-round pick from Pepperdine, from playing after he signed, but he’s already ranks among the system’s top power hitters.
LOW CLASS A LANSING: OF Markus Brisker, SS Tyler Pastornicky and speedy OF Kenny Wilson all are Florida prep products who debuted in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last year after getting drafted, so now they’ll have to adapt to the chilly Midwest League.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: 3B Mark Sobolewski, a fourth-round draft pick out of Miami last year, and RHP Robert Ray, on the heels of a breakout year in Double-A, begin the year on the DL.
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