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.
TRIPLE-A GWINNETT COUNTY: RHP Tommy Hanson looked great this spring, and it’s only a matter of time before he takes the short trip south on Interstate 85 from the Braves’ new Triple-A affiliate. RHPs Kris Medlen, Todd Redmond and Luis Valdez could also provide help in Atlanta.
DOUBLE-A MISSISSIPPI: OF Gorkys Hernandez faces Jordan Schafer as a major roadblock in the big leagues, but he’s one of the best defensive center fielders in the minors. Power-hitting SS Brandon Hicks also saw a long stint in big league camp.
HIGH CLASS A MYRTLE BEACH: The Pelicans have a potent one-two punch with OF Jason Heyward and 1B Freddie Freeman. The 19-year-old lefty hitters demolished South Atlantic pitching last year. LHPs Jeff Locke and Cole Rohrbough lead the pitching staff, while RHP Craig Kimbrel, a third-round pick last June, struck out 56 batters in 35 innings between three levels after signing.
LOW CLASS A ROME: Rome has a rotation full of intriguing young arms with RHPs Randall Delgado, J.J. Hooverm Zeke Spruill, Paul Clemens and Jacob Thompson.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: RHP Julio Teheran was showing diminished velocity at the end of spring training, so it’s not much of a surprise that he was kept back. He may have been kept there anyway as the Braves are not inclined to rush him.
TRIPLE-A NEW ORLEANS: RHP Ryan Tucker had an 8.27 ERA in 13 big league relief appearances last year, so he’s back in Triple-A and back in the rotation. The offense will be led by 1B Gaby Sanchez, who missed out on making the big league roster after Emilio Bonifacio’s strong spring.
DOUBLE-A JACKSONVILLE: 1B Logan Morrison won Florida State League MVP honors last year, and now he’ll headline Jacksonville’s lineup. RHP Sean West also moves up from high Class A Jupiter. Returning to Double-A is LHP Aaron Thompson, who battled shoulder tendinitis last year.
HIGH CLASS A JUPITER: OF Mike Stanton and 3B Matt Dominguez both excelled last year in hitter-friendly Greensboro, so now they’ll try to prove themselves in the power-suppressing environs of the FSL.
LOW CLASS A GREENSBORO: The Marlins’ top two picks from the 2008 draft, C Kyle Skipworth and LHP Brad Hand, form a premium battery. Skipworth is joined in the Grasshoppers lineup by toolsy OF Isaac Galloway.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: RHP Jose Ceda, acquired from the Cubs, experienced shoulder soreness during the spring and will open the season on the disabled list for Jacksonville. RHP P.J. Dean and LHP Edgar Olmos are being kept in extended spring training.
NEW YORK METS
TRIPLE-A BUFFALO: OF Nick Evans was in line for a big league bench job before the Mets signed Gary Sheffield. LHP Jonathon Niese earns the Opening Day nod for the Bisons, while OF Fernando Martinez gets his first taste of Triple-A. Mets manager Jerry Manuel asked to see more of RHP Dillon Gee at the end of spring training, and he leaves Double-A behind after just four starts.
DOUBLE-A BINGHAMTON: LHP Mike Antonini (18th round) and RHP Dylan Owen (20th) are shaping up as ’07 draft steals. SS Ruben Tejada, 19, started for Panama in the World Baseball Classic. C Josh Thole will try to build on a breakout ’08, when he hit .300 in both the Florida State and Arizona Fall leagues.
HIGH CLASS A ST. LUCIE: 1B Ike Davis, SS Reese Havens and RHP Brad Holt, the Mets’ top three picks in last year’s draft, will begin in the Florida State League. 2B Greg Veloz moves to high Class A after a .286/.339/.402 effort with Savannah last year. Diminutive, hard-throwing RHP Jenrry Mejia jumps completely over Savannah to start in the FSL.
LOW CLASS A SAVANNAH: Seventeen-year-old phenoms SS Wilmer Flores, the No. 2 prospect in the Appy League last year, and 3B Jefry Marte, the No. 3 prospect in the Gulf Coast League, will be teammates for the first time. RHP Elvin Ramirez has serious arm strength, but he’s 21 and is repeating low Class A.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: OF Javier Rodriguez, a second-rounder from Puerto Rico last year, heads to extended after stumbling to a .193 average in the GCL. OF Cesar Puello missed the full-season rosters cut. RHP Scott Moviel, an ’07 second-rounder, had a second surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus.
TRIPLE-A LEHIGH VALLEY: The Iron Pigs should have a strong rotation with RHPs Andrew Carpenter, Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Kendrick heading the staff. IF Mike Cervenak, 32, heads to Triple-A for his sixth consecutive season.
DOUBLE-A READING: The Phillies’ productive 2008 draft vaults two college pitchers to Double-A for their first full pro seasons: RHPs Vance Worley (third round) and Mike Stutes (11th). They join 2007 first-rounder Joe Savery and fellow LHP Antonio Bastardo, who went 2-5, 3.76 for the R-Phils last season.
HIGH CLASS A CLEARWATER: OF Dominic Brown and RHP Kyle Drabek headline the Threshers’ roster, along with mild sleeper RHP Julian Sampson. The Phillies also jumped 3B Cody Overbeck, a ninth-round pick last June, to Clearwater after he hit 12 home runs last year for short-season Williamsport.
LOW CLASS A LAKEWOOD: Both of the Phils’ top catching prospects head to Lakewood, where Travis D’Arnaud and Sebastian Valle figure to share time. Three of the Phillies’ top 2008 draftees will be Blue Claws in RHP Jason Knapp (who hails from Annandale, N.J., about 80 miles northwest), plus OFs Zach Collier and Anthony Gose
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: Last year’s first-round pick, Anthony Hewitt, didn’t make a full-season roster, as expected after .197 pro debut (including 55 strikeouts in 117 at-bats) in the GCL last year.
TRIPLE-A SYRACUSE: RHP Jordan Zimmermann earned the No. 5 starting job for the Nationals, but fans in the team’s new Triple-A outpost in Syracuse will get to see him until Washington needs a fifth starter on April 19.
DOUBLE-A HARRISBURG: LHP Cory VanAllen and RHP Zech Zinicola return to try to master the Eastern League, while LHP Ross Detwiler gets his first crack. SS Ian Desmond is also back, but reports of his strong spring suggest he might not be there for long.
HIGH CLASS A POTOMAC: The P-Nats could have an elite power-hitting duo in OF Michael Burgess and 1B Chris Marrero, who returns to the Carolina League for the third year in a row. He was starting to master the league last summer before breaking his fibula and tearing ankle ligaments in June. The top two college products from the 2008 draft—SS Danny Espinosa and LHP Will Atwood—jump short-season Vermont to Potomac.
LOW CLASS A HAGERSTOWN: LHP Jack McGeary has put his Stanford education on hold to focus on baseball full-time, instead of joining the organization after spring classes ended. His catcher will be Derek Norris, an advanced offensive player looking to improve behind the plate.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: Three of Washington’s top prospects—C Adrian Nieto and OFs Destin Hood and J.P Ramirez—were 2008 high school draftees, and the Nationals chose not to push any of them to start their first full season.
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