To get you ready for the minor league season we’ve analyzed the rosters of every full-season minor league team. Click the team name to get the team’s roster.
TRIPLE-A RENO: 1B Josh Whitesell, who hit .328 with 26 home runs in the Pacific Coast League last year, is back (in Reno after the team moved from Tucson) after he and IF Josh Wilson were the Diamondbacks’ last two cuts in spring training.
DOUBLE-A MOBILE: If you wanted any more proof LHP Daniel Schlereth is on the fast track, he makes his full-season debut here after pitching just 12 innings last summer. Arizona’s prospect strength, such as it is, is concentrated here.
HIGH CLASS A VISALIA: Top prospect Jarrod Parker leads the pitching staff, and OF Collin Cowgill gets the chance to build on his strong post-draft debut in the friendly ballparks of the Cal League.
LOW CLASS A SOUTH BEND: Several significant prospects make their full-season debuts, including LHP Wade Miley (a supplemental first-rounder last June) and SS Reynaldo Navarro, who spent the last two summers in the Rookie-level Pioneer League.
EXTENDED/INJURIES: RHP Kevin Eichhorn and C Rossmel Perez both played last season in the Pioneer League, and both had shots to make full-season rosters, but instead they’ll get more time in extended spring camp.
TRIPLE-A COLORADO SPRINGS: With outfielders Dexter Fowler and Seth Smith breaking camp with the big league club, Colorado Springs doesn’t have many of the organization’s top prospects. After an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he led the league with a .430 batting average and 20 stolen bases, Eric Young will be the team’s second baseman and may see a little time in the outfield, but it’s crowded out there. The Sky Sox also feature two players that no longer have prospect eligibility but are still young in outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and righthander Greg Reynolds.
DOUBLE-A TULSA: The organization’s top pitching prospect, righthander Jhoulys Chacin will start the season in Double-A as a 21-year-old. Last year, Chacin split time between low Class A Asheville and high Class A Modesto and led the minors in wins (18) while finishing third in innings pitched (177.2). He’ll be throwing to C Mike McKenry, who finished second in the AFL with nine home runs.
HIGH CLASS A MODESTO: Two of the organization’s top 10 prospects will skip low Class-A and make their full season debuts in the Nuts’ lineup. Wilin Rosario will be behind the plate after spending his second season in short-season Casper. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon, last year’s second-round pick out of Georgia Tech and the team’s No. 10 prospect, will man center field.
LOW CLASS A ASHEVILLE: Last year’s first-round pick, LHP Christian Friedrich, begins the year in Asheville’s rotation where he finished last season.
EXTENDED/NOTABLE INJURIES: RHP Casey Weathers is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last October. Toolsy OF Delta Cleary will begin the season in extended spring training while he nurses a strained right hamstring, but is expected to join Asheville shortly.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
TRIPLE-A ALBUQUERQUE: There aren’t a lot of prospects on the veteran-laden Isotopes squad, but OF Xavier Paul is headed there after a strong spring training while SS Chin-Lung Hu is hoping to prove his bat can keep up with his glove.
DOUBLE-A CHATTANOOGA: Top prospect Andrew Lambo skipped high Class A for a Double-A cameo last year, so it’s no surprise that he’s starting the year at the Dodgers’ new Double-A affiliate in Chattanooga. He’s joined by RHP Josh Lindblom, LHP Scott Elbert and 3B Josh Bell.
HIGH CLASS A INLAND EMPIRE: RHP Chris Withrow missed almost all of 2008 recovering from an elbow injury. He’ll skip low Class A to pitch in the warmer California League.
LOW CLASS A GREAT LAKES: Three significant players from the 2008 draft land with the Loons. LHP (and first-round pick) Ethan Martin makes his debut here, and RHP Nathan Eovaldi and SS Devaris Gordon jump to Great Lakes after reaching Rookie-level Ogden last year.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: SS/2B Ivan DeJesus Jr., is expected to miss at least the first half of the season with a broken leg.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
TRIPLE-A PORTLAND: The big story—and we mean 6-foot-6, 270-pound big—is 1B Kyle Blanks, the organization’s top prospect who had a great spring (.319/.415/.580).
DOUBLE-A SAN ANTONIO: Reigning Texas League strikeout champ RHP Will Inman returns. Three key components of last year’s Lake Elsinore team will get their first taste of Double-A, including minor league hits leader OF Cedric Hunter, C Mitch Canham and 2B Eric Sogard.
HIGH CLASS A LAKE ELSINORE: RHPs Jeremy McBryde, Jeremy Hefner and Wynn Pelzer ranked second, third and 18th in whiffs in last year’s Midwest League. The infield is stocked with ’08 draft picks: 2B Cole Figueroa, 3B Logan Forsythe and SS Beamer Weems.
LOW CLASS A FORT WAYNE: Three more college picks from the ’08 draft class—1B Allan Dykstra, 3B James Darnell and OF Blake Tekotte—start a rung lower, while hard-throwing RHP Simon Castro earns his first full-season assignment.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: OF Jaff Decker (concussion), and RHP Mat Latos and OF Kellen Kulbacki (offseason shoulder surgery) are still working back into shape. Two million dollar man RHP Adys Portillo heads to extended spring to await a short-season assignment.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
TRIPLE-A FRESNO: RHP Kevin Pucetas has a 32-7 minor league record despite less than overwhelming stuff, so the Giants are jumping the 24-year-old over Double-A to see what they’ve got.
DOUBLE-A CONNECTICUT: C Jackson Williams has progressed steadily through the system in spite of a .213 career average, thanks to great defense. SS Brian Bocock got pushed too high last year, hitting .155 between the majors and Triple-A, so he’ll try to rebound here.
HIGH CLASS A SAN JOSE: San Jose has as much talent as any minor league team, with seven of the Giants’ top nine prospects. The rotation includes RHP Tim Alderson (presumably back in the Cal League only until it warms up in Connecticut) and LHPs Scott Barnes and Madison Bumgarner, while C Buster Posey, 1B Angel Villalona, 2B Nick Noonan and 3B Conor Gillaspie head up the lineup.
LOW CLASS A AUGUSTA: SS Ehidre Adrianza could eventually end the Giants’ quest for a long-term answer at short, but they’ll know more after he makes his full-season debut with the GreenJackets.
EXTENDED SPRING/NOTABLE INJURIES: OF Rafael Rodriguez signed for $2.55 million last year, but the 16-year-old is not nearly ready for full-season ball. He’s expected to spend this season in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.
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