To get ready for the minor league season, we’ve analyzed the rosters of every minor league team. Click the team name to see that team’s roster.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
TRIPLE-A SALT LAKE: It’s OK to do a double-take because we did. Yes, 3B Brandon Wood is back in Salt Lake. While he no longer qualifies as a prospect by our definition, he is clearly the biggest bat in the system.
DOUBLE-A ARKANSAS: The Travelers return key players from their Texas League playoff run last season, including a healthy C Hank Conger, who delivered 13 postseason RBIs. The Angels also decided to push RHP Jordan Walden here after he reached high Class A in the second half last year.
HIGH CLASS A RANCHO CUCAMONGA: Rancho’s rotation looks good even without Walden with LHP Trevor Reckling, LHP Alex Torres and LHP Robert Fish. RHP Mason Tobin moves to the bullpen due to concerns about his durability and secondary pitches. He should open as the closer.
LOW CLASS A CEDAR RAPIDS: The Kernels reflect the thin talent in the lower levels of the Angels system, with RHPs Will Smith and Manuarys Correra rating as the top prospects. 1B Gabe Jacobo, a 10th-round pick last June who had 10 home runs and 56 RBIs at Rookie-level Orem, also bears watching.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: The Angels didn’t think RHP Tyler Chatwood, a second-round pick from a Califonia high school last June, had the fastball command for a full-season assignment. RHP Ryan Chaffee, a third-rounder out of Chipola (Fla.) JC, didn’t pitch last summer because of a broken bone in his left foot, so he’ll stay back too.
TRIPLE-A SACRAMENTO: The perennially strong River Cats have prospects even after Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill made the big league roster. RHPs Vin Mazzaro and James Simmons and LHP Gio Gonzalez lead the pitching staff, while OF Aaron Cunningham and 1B Sean Doolittle will power the lineup.
DOUBLE-A MIDLAND: Three of Oakland’s best position prospects start here: 2B Adrian Cardenas, 1B Chris Carter and C Josh Donaldson. The A’s got all three players through trades, with the Phillies, Diamondbacks and Cubs, respectively.
HIGH CLASS A STOCKTON: The A’s will push RHP Tyson Ross, a second-round pick from 2008, here for his full-season debut after he pitched 19 innings in the Midwest League last summer. RHP Craig Italiano joins Ross in the rotation.
LOW CLASS A KANE COUNTY: OF Grant Desme, a 2007 second-round pick out of Cal Poly, has just 49 pro at-bats thanks to a hodgepodge of injuries, so this is his full-season debut.Two 2008 draft picks who signed for big money in later rounds—RHP Brett Hunter and SS Dusty Coleman—also get their first full-season assignments.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: 2B Jemile Weeks continues to recover from the hip flexor injury that hampered the 2008 first-round pick last year, so he’ll stay back in extended spring. RHP Henry Rodriguez was slated to go to the Triple-A bullpen, but he’s still working himself back into shape after having double hernia surgery in the offseason.
TRIPLE-A TACOMA: The Rainiers are little light on premium prospects, but they will be buoyed by the return of slugging C Jeff Clement. 1B Mike Carp, a key component of the J.J. Putz trade, and OF Michael Wilson, last year’s Southern League home run champ, will help power the offense.
DOUBLE-A WEST TENN: RHP Josh Fields, the 2008 first-round pick who signed in February, begins his pro career here. Two of the system’s young standouts have questions to answer here. For OF Greg Halman it’s strike-zone judgment, and for SS Carlos Triunfel it’s power, defensive home and desire. C Adam Moore repeats Double-A so he doesn’t have to split time with Clement.
HIGH CLASS A HIGH DESERT: The talented rotation that spent last season in low Class A moves up to the Cal League, though RHP Phillippe Aumont will move to the bullpen. The other four: RHP Nathan Adcock, LHP Edward Paredes, RHP Miguel Pineda and RHP Juan Ramirez. Organizational favorite OF Tyson Gillies jumps over low Class A completely.
LOW CLASS A CLINTON: The LumberKings’ roster features lots of college arms, including ’08 picks RHP Steven Hensley, LHP Bobby LaFromboise, RHP Brett Lorin and RHP Aaron Pribanic. On the offensive side, 3B Mario Martinez makes his full-season debut.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: OF Dennis Raben, a second-rounder last year, had his knee cleaned out in the offseason and now faces potential season-ending surgery. OF Michael Saunders hasn’t fully recovered from offseason labrum surgery. RHP Maikel Cleto, 3B Jharmidy DeJesus, OF Julio Morban and SS Gabriel Noriega couldn’t crack full-season rosters.
TRIPLE-A OKLAHOMA: Double-A Frisco was Baseball America’s Minor League Team of the Year in 2008, so it’s no surprise Oklahoma will have plenty of talent, headlined by RHP Neftali Feliz and LHP Derek Holland. With Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia squeezing him out in Texas, C Max Ramirez returns to lead the offense.
DOUBLE-A FRISCO: After 56 low Class A at-bats and a good showing in the Arizona Fall League, 1B Justin Smoak, the 11th overall pick in the 2008 draft, will jump to Double-A in his first full season. LHP Kasey Kiker, 21, joins RHPs Omar Poveda and Guillermo Moscoso in the rotation.
HIGH CLASS A BAKERSFIELD: It could be a breakout year for RHP Michael Main if he stays healthy. Main threw just 59 innings last year due to a cracked rib. RHP Blake Beavan joins Main in the rotation, while 19-year-old OF Engel Beltre also makes the jump from low Class A.
LOW CLASS A HICKORY: The Rangers move from the Midwst League to the South Atlantic League this year with an affiliate in Hickory, and will feature a pitching staff full of intriguing Latin American arms including LHP Martin Perez and RHPs Wilmer Font and Wilfredo Boscan.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: The Rangers kept RHP Neil Ramirez, a supplemental first-round pick in ’07 out of high school, on tight pitch counts last year, and he didn’t pitch in instructional league after breaking a bone in his hand when it got slammed in a car door. Still, he had elbow issues this spring and was not assigned to a full-season roster.
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