To get ready for the minor league season, we’ve analyzed the rosters of every full-season minor league team, with an eye on which players’ assignments surprised and who is missing from the rosters. Click the team name for the team’s roster.
TRIPLE-A IOWA: Though RHP Jeff Samardzija was a key contributor in Chicago’s bullpen last year, the Cubs want to develop him as a starter this year, and they’ll do that in Iowa. RHP Kevin Hart missed out on a relief job and will join Samardzija.
DOUBLE-A TENNESSEE: The biggest name on the roster is the manager: Ryne Sandberg, who makes the jump from low Class A. The Cubs view Cs Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger as potential regulars, and they’ll split time behind the plate while also seeing action at first baseman. Two 2009 draftees, RHPs Jay Jackson (ninth round) and Casey Coleman (15th), jump to Double-A after helping Daytona win the Florida State League title last September.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This time: March 31-April 3
Previous installment: March 21-30
Opening Day has arrived, meaning that we’re nearly through the end-of-spring training roster purge—but not before 222 more players were shown the door. By my count, which is officially unofficial, the total of released minor league players this March totals 559. And that figure should creep up a little next week, with the addition of final spring training cuts.
On the Rule 5 front, five more picks were returned to their organizations. The survivors who made Opening Day rosters: RHP Terrell Young (Nationals’ 15-day DL), SS Everth Cabrera (Padres), LHP Donald Veal (Pirates), RHP David Patton (Cubs), OF Ben Copeland (Athletics’ 15-day DL), RHP Darren O’Day (Mets) and RHP Miguel Gonzalez (Red Sox’ 15-day DL). Jim Callis has full details at Ask BA.
Signed: RHP Bobby Korecky, LHP Travis Blackley
Released: RHP Adam Howard, RHP A.J. Shappi, LHP Eddie Romero, C Richard Mercado, C Bill Musselman, 3B Steve Mena, 3B Cesar Nicolas, OF Frank Curreri, OF Jimmy Principe
Traded: RHP Brooks Brown to Tigers as compensation for retaining Rule 5 selection C James Skelton
Acquired: 3B Ruben Gotay from Pirates for future considerations
Voluntarily retired: 1B Mike Mee
Optioned to Triple-A: RHP Bobby Korecky, RHP Leo Rosales
Outrighthed to Triple-A and removed from 40-man: LHP Travis Blackley
Outrighthed to Double-A and removed from 40-man: C James Skelton [...] Continue Reading »
Word is out that the Mariners are moving 2007 first-round pick Phillippe Aumont to the bullpen.
"We felt that this was a guy, who, if used in a relief role, could be on a real fast-track to the major leagues,” (general manager Jack Zduriencik) said. "And we’re talking a real fast track.”
In a perfect world, teams would develop all of their pitching prospects as starters, either to use them in that role in the major leagues or to give them more experience facing hitters in the minor leagues. And a player with as little pitching experience as Aumont, a Canadian native who has just 55 2/3 pro innings under his belt, would benefit from facing more batters.
But it would be narrow-minded to think that all pitchers can develop that way or that it’s the optimal developmental path for every pitcher.
ZEBULON, N.C. — Had he really wanted to, Dallas Buck could have thumped his chest after retreating to the clubhouse, perhaps let himself soak in the moment and beam about the night that was.
Instead, there he stood Friday night beyond the right field wall at the Double-A Carolina Mudcats’ Five County Stadium dressed in business attire that seemed suitable for his business-like expression.
The former Oregon State star battling back from Tommy John surgery could say he rummaged through a big league lineup, plus spring-boarded into a season that could truly shape the rest of his career.
Yet he tried to keep it in perspective.
“It was an exciting game, but I don’t take a whole lot from it,” a nonchalant, almost too modest Buck offered. “It just feels good to be throwing. I haven’t been healthy in three years.”
Nevertheless, on a night when an intriguing cast of Reds prospects upstaged their Cincinnati counterparts in a rare barnstorming exhibition format—scoring a 12-4 victory—Buck made a significant splash.
As with any organization, the last week of spring training for the Reds has brought lots of questions about where different players will start the season. There were questions about where top prospect Yonder Alonso would be sent (he’s headed to high Class A Sarasota) and whether Homer Bailey will make the Opening Day roster or be sent to Triple-A (still to be determined).
But perhaps just as importantly with the Reds, there have been a lot of questions about where some of the team’s top prospects will be playing on the field. Last year Todd Frazier, primarily a shortstop, also played a lot of third base, some first and some outfield. WIth him and third baseman Juan Francisco both ticketed to head to Double-A Zebulon, there was a big question of whether the two would share time.
That’s been settled, according to farm director Terry Reynolds. Francisco will be the team’s everyday third baseman, while Frazier, for the first time as a pro, will also have a set position as the Mudcats’ everyday left fielder.
In an interview before the game, Frazier said that he’ll happily make the move and is looking forward to learning the nuances of playing in the outfield, even if it was apparent reading between the lines that he’s clearly a shortstop at heart.
" I’m going to be working on knowing the field, how to get help from the center fielder. I want to make sure I feel comfortable out there," Frazier said.
The move might set up Frazier’s fastest path to the majors. The Reds are entering the season with Chris Dickerson and Johnny Gomes pencilled in for left field, but if they falter, Frazier will have extensive time in left field. [...] Continue Reading »
BA Cardinals correspondent Derrick Goold checks in with news that the Cardinals are moving Jess Todd to the bullpen.
Todd will head to Triple-A Memphis, where the righthandander will presumably serve as a late-inning reliever in front of Chris Perez, at least while the two are in Memphis. Todd, a second-round pick in 2007, went from high Class A Palm Beach to Memphis last year, compiling a 2.88 ERA in 153 innings with 42 walks and 136 strikeouts.
It seems like a move that should fit Todd’s skill set. He’s at his best when he’s throwing strikes and getting ground balls; last year 59 percent of his outs on balls in play came on the ground, which is above-average but not an extreme rate. His plus slider is good enough to get swings and misses from righthanded batters, but his changeup is still a work in progress that leaves him vulnerable against lefties.
|JESS TODD’S 2008 LEFT/RIGHT SPLITS|
|VS.||PA||K Rate||BB Rate||OPS|
It looks like a good move for the Cardinals and a role that should suit Todd well. He probably won’t need much time at Triple-A before making his big league debut at some point this season.
As you would imagine, we love the Futures Game at Baseball America. It’s that rare chance to see prospect after prospect in one place on one day.
Now thanks to the cleverness of the Dayton Dragons staff, we’re about to get the next best thing as a follow-up. The Reds "Futures Team" will take on the big league club in exhibitions at the home of Double-A Carolina (Zebulon, N.C.) on Friday at 6:30 p.m., followed by a game at the low Class A Dragons’ stadium in Dayton, Ohio at 3:05 p.m. on Saturday.
If you like seeing prospects, this will be a slice of heaven. These aren’t some warmed over Triple-A rosters with a couple of other players sprinkled in. The Reds Future Team will include eight of the Top 10 prospects on this year’s Baseball America Top 10 Prospects list and 21 of the top 30 will be on the team [...] Continue Reading »
This time: March 21-30
Previous installment: March 14-20
A few clubs got the ball rolling last time out by setting free a handful of minor leaguers, but that total paled in comparison with the 294 players here who were given their release—including a smattering of first-round picks. For other players, 92 of them to be exact, they received official word that they had been optioned to the minors, joining the 172 players from last time and giving us a total of 264. As large as that figure sounds, the total number of players who can be optioned hasn’t yet reached the ceiling of 450, which is 40-man roster spots (1,200) minus 25-man roster spots (750). That cap is flexible, though, depending on the number of players actually on 40-man rosters at any one time as well as the number of players on the 60-day disabled list, which doesn’t count against a club’s 40-man count.
Note that players shown here re-signing with their teams are in fact members of the 40-man roster who have signed minor league deals in conjunction with being optioned or otherwise sent to the minors.
Released: RHP Santo Baez, C Gerardo Bustamante, 1B Chance Wheeless, OF Jarred Ball, OF Jo Jo Batten
Outrighted to Triple-A and removed from 40-man roster: OF Alex Romero
Option transferred: RHP Jose Marte (Double-A Mobile to Triple-A Reno)
Released: RHP Emiliano Fruto, RHP Joe Johnson, RHP Sung Ki Jung
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, C Clint Sammons, 2B Diory Hernandez [...] Continue Reading »
SURPRISE, Ariz.—Just as it is during the regular season, judging a day’s work in spring training requires a magnifying glass.
Take these pitching lines from Tuesday, for example.
We’ll call them Player A and Player B.
Player A: 3 1/3 IP, 4 hits, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks
Player B: 4 IP, 2 hits, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks
Had these been the lines of starting pitchers walking a tightrope as spring training inched closer to its breakaway day and teams head north, the performances might have been met with raised eyebrows back in the coaches’ offices.
There are several pitchers still trying to earn spots this week, guys that survived Cut 1 and then Cut 2 and suddenly find themselves within reach of an airline ticket out of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, from which I am filing this report. [...] Continue Reading »
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