The Orioles were easily one of the most difficult teams to put projected minor league rosters together, as they have been hoarding minor-league free agents, specifically pitchers from the Indy leagues, all off-season.
Here are some things I've noted:
1. I would think it's safe to assume that both L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery will be taking starting outfield spots for AAA Norfolk. That leaves Lew Ford, Trayvon Robinson, Chris Dickerson, Jason Pridie and Chris Pettit fighting over two or three spots. I think they lean towards keeping Ford and Robinson in the organization, and will have no problem sending Pettit to Bowie, where they need outfield depth. Dickerson and Pridie are both decent players who, in the right situation, could be a 4th outfielder possibility, but there just may not be room for them in this organization.
2. It will be interesting to see what they do with the three fringy big-league level 1B that they have signed to minor league contracts: Conor Jackson, Steve Pearce, and Travis Ishikawa. Jackson and Pearce both play the outfield and are better offensively, which make them a little bit more valuable than Ishikawa, but I still think they give Ishikawa a shot.
3. Where will Dylan Bundy start? It's either Bowie or Norfolk and quite frankly, it's a toss up to me. That being said, I don't see what would be wrong with sending him to Bowie for the short term to make sure he is still developing properly, before giving him a call-up to Norfolk and eventually the big leagues, probably by July. If he starts in Bowie, that one-two punch with Gausman will be one of the most impressive in the minor leagues.
4. Jonathan Schoop is a better prospect than Ryan Flaherty but I think the Orioles want to give both adequate reps at second base. Whether or not Schoop starts at AA or AAA probably depends on the status of Brian Roberts more than anything.
5. They have an abundance of catching depth at the AA/AAA levels, and though I'm sure they would like to keep most of it, there's only so many roster spots. Luis Exposito and Caleb Joseph will most likely be the two go-to guys at their respective levels, but Chris Robinson, Luis Martinez, Brian Ward, Allan de San Miguel, Jose Gil, and Scott Thomas are all capable veteran backups.
6. Adam Greenberg is an interesting case. He's the little guy who got hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance about five years ago, and ESPN made a big deal about his story last year, leading to a publicity stunt at bat with the Marlins during the last week of the year. Well, the Orioles are giving him a shot with a minor league contract, but I can't see any chance he cracks the AAA roster. I originally had him penciled in as outfield depth in Bowie, but he says that it's AAA or bust.
7. Jason Esposito really struggled offensively last year, but he is still a good player and prospect, and since there is not much competition for him at 3B in Frederick, he will probably win the job. This will be a huge year for his development.
8. David Quinowski, Michael Recchia, Kyle Mertins, Tom Boleska, Marcel Prado, Chase Johnson, and Zach Staniewicz are the guys that the Orioles signed as bullpen depth out of the independent leagues. I'm not sure there's a full-season roster spot for all of them, but I'd keep an eye on Quinowski, who pitched for AA Richmond in 2011, as well as Recchia, who put up good numbers in the Yankees organization in 2010 and 2011.
10. Maybe I'm being a little agressive with Adrian Marin, but I love the kid. I think he's one of the most underrated prospects in baseball, and he didn't embarrass himself in his short stint with Delmarva last year, so why not give him another shot there?
Overall Farm System Grade: B-
Top 10 Prospects
1. Dylan Bundy, Bowie
2. Kevin Gausman, Bowie
3. Jonathan Schoop, Bowie
4. Nicky Delmonico, Frederick
5. Adrian Marin, Delmarva
6. Branden Kline, Delmarva
7. Eduardo Rodriguez, Delmarva
8. LJ Hoes, Norfolk
9. Jason Esposito, Frederick
10. Christian Walker, Delmarva
HM: Mike Wright, Xavier Avery, Michael Ohlman, Roderick Bernadina, Parker Bridwell, Tim Berry
Today, I created the page for the projected minor league rosters of the New York Yankee organization. The Yankees do have some very good prospects, specifically Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams, but are actually thin at some places in their system. Here are my thoughts:
1. Travis Hafner is close to signing a deal with the Yankees, which would slot him into the Major League DH role, and most likely move Juan Rivera to the bench. In that case, Matt Diaz or Jayson Nix would either start in Scranton, or be released.
2. The Yankees haven't signed very many veterans to minor league deals, so it seems like most of Scranton's lineup will be guys who played in Trenton last year. Ronnier Mustelier, David Adams, Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte, Corban Joseph, and Addison Maruszak are all young guys who could help the Yankees as role players at some point this season, but will never be everyday starters most likely.
3. Scranton's rotation really doesn't have any depth at the moment, especially until Michael Pineda returns from him injury. Dellin Betances is a complete wild card, while Nuno, Hall and Marshall all have very little experience at the AAA level. Nuno and Marshall are interesting players to watch, as they both had very successful seasons last year with Trenton.
4. The Yankees just signed 27 year old Cuban middle infielder Leguim Barroso to a minor league deal and I assigned him to AA Trenton, because they had a need for a 2B. He hit .317 with 0 HR in 91 games between two independent league teams in the American Association and the North American Baseball League last season.
5. I have Mark Montgomery starting in Trenton, but he won't be there for long. I would expect his live arm to be called up to the big leagues at some point this season, probably before September call-ups.
6. Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez should be up to Trenton soon this year, but will probably start in Tampa. It will be interesting to see how the Yankees deal with Sanchez and J.R. Murphy, as Murphy is still a "prospect" but nowhere near the prospect that Sanchez is.
7. The Yankees also recently signed independent leaguer Chris Smith, who was never drafted and went to college at Kentucky Wesleyan. I'm not sure where he'll be assigned, though, if anywhere.
8. Cito Culver and Dante Bichette Jr. will both probably stay at Charleston, but that's only a concern for Culver. Bichette is still young and advanced for his age, and hopefully he can have a better season that 2013 and get a promotion to Tampa. Culver, on the other hand, has struggled at just about every level since being a 1st round pick, and has to be a major cause for concern for the Yankees scouting staff.
9. Will the Yankees start young pitching stud Ty Hensley in Charleston, or will they wait until mid-season and let him pitch for short-season Staten Island? I think he's ready for full-season ball, but they do need to, and will, be careful with his young arm.
Overall Farm System Grade: B-
Top 10 Yankees Prospects
1. Gary Sanchez, Tampa
2. Tyler Austin, Trenton
3. Mason Williams, Tampa
4. Slade Heathcott, Trenton
5. Ty Hensley, Charleston
6. Manny Banuelos, Injured for Season (Tommy John)
7. Jose Campos, Charleston
8. Angelo Gumbs, Tampa
9. Mark Montgomery, Trenton
10. Greg Bird, Charleston
HM: Dante Bichette Jr., Austin Romine, Ben Gamel, Brett Marshall, Nik Turley, Austin Aune
So I have updated my first projected rosters page, and that is of my favorite team the Boston Red Sox.
Let me start with a disclaimer, these are purely my predictions as to what the rosters will be, based on past production and level, a little bit of research, and my background knowledge of how minor league baseball works. By NO means are these completely accurate (especially batting orders), and are probably completely wrong in some ways. But at least you can get the gist of where some of the key players may be, before rosters are locked in at the end of spring training.
Here are some questions/comments I had with the Sox:
1. I would assume the Red Sox will use the next couple weeks to find a few left handed arms to provide depth in Pawtucket's bullpen. I would think Franklin Morales will either be traded or allowed to start in Pawtucket, if he doesn't make the cut for the big league squad, and that would leave the AAA team with no left handed relievers. This would make some of their righty bullpen arms, like Clay Mortenson, Graham Godfrey, Pedro Beato and Brock Huntzinger, expendable.
2. There's a good chance the Sox will try and deal one of their relief pitchers, as they have eight guys who really should be at the big league level (nine, if you count Bard). Franklin Morales and Alfredo Aceves will probably be shopped the hardest.
3. Jackie Bradley Jr. attended PawSox fan fest and all signs pointed to him starting the season there, but I'm still not convinced that getting him out of Portland that quick, with Alex Hassan and Jeremy Hazelbaker avaiable at the AA level, is necessarily the best thing for his development.
4. I love Portland's starting rotation, especially if Ranaudo finally starts to pitch well. Five guys who have a legitimate shot at helping the big league team very soon, led by Matt Barnes, a top 50 prospect in baseball.
5. I'd like to see Keury de la Cruz in Portland sooner rather than later, but he won't start there. Someone like Ronald Bermudez or Shannon Wilkerson can fill the role for the time being.
6. The Red Sox had to spend a lot to get Ty Buttrey (4th round pick, 2012) to sign, so it will be interesting to see if they assign the 19 year old to full season ball right away. My guess is no.
7. Utility guys Jon Hee, Zach Gentile and Nick Natoli are good guys to have in an organization. But right now I don't see any room for them. That could change though, as injuries start piling up in spring training.
Overall Farm System Grade: B+
Top 10 Prospects for the Red Sox (according to me):
1. Xander Bogaerts, Portland
2. Jackie Bradley Jr., Pawtucket
3. Matt Barnes, Portland
4. Garin Cecchini, Salem
5. Allen Webster, Pawtucket
6. Bryce Brentz, Pawtucket
7. Henry Owens, Salem
8. Rubby de la Rosa, Pawtucket
9. Blake Swihart, Salem
10. Keury de la Cruz Salem
HM: Brandon Workman, Drake Britton, Ty Buttrey, Deven Marrero, Brian Johnson, Pat Light
That's a wrap for now. I'll be back with the Yankees (and maybe Orioles), tomorrow.
A bunch of interesting players were signed to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training today. With spring training being only about two weeks away, these last minute invites should be common over the next few days, as teams scramble to find players to compete for roster spots. For today, the following players were picked up:
1B/3B Chris Nowak (29 years old)
- Nowak never really made it big as a prospect for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2004-2010, but after tearing up the Atlantic League for York the past two seasons it is good to see him get a chance at a big league camp. I would guess the Diamondbacks view him as depth at the corner infield positions, and if he impresses the organization he could be assigned to AAA-Reno or most likely AA-Mobile.
RHP Manny Delcarmen (30 years old)
- I was a big Manny Delcarmen fan when he was in Boston, but he has never really figured it out and hasn't been in the big leagues since 2010. Hopefully he will figure it out and at least make the Orioles AAA team in Norfolk, and eventually get a shot to re-prove himself in the AL East.
RHP Rob Delaney (28 years old)
- Delaney represents more bullpen depth for the Orioles, most likely at the AAA level. He has struggled in two big league stints in 2010 and 2011, but had a very productive season in 2012 for the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Miami Marlins organization.
OF Chris Pettit (28 years old)
- With important prospects like L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery most likely starting the year in AAA Norfolk, Pettit will need to really impress to even compete for a job there. He could possibly end up in AA Bowie, where the outfield depth weakens a bit, because despite his advanced age for the league, he did spend most of 2012 at the AA level.
Chicago White Sox
RHP Andrew Brackman (27 years old)
- One of the biggest draft busts for the Yankees in recent memories, Brackman made one cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2010, but has really struggled in the minor leagues since. Last season he spent most of the season in A-Advanced Bakersfield after struggling mightily in AAA Louisville for the Cincinnati Reds.
1B Ryan Garko (32 years old)
- Garko spent parts of five season, 2005-2010, in the big leagues, mainly with the Cleveland Indians. Last year he split between the unaffiliated Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks, and the AA Montgomery Buscuits of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Obviously he will be playing behind Todd Helton and not have much chance to make the big league team, but could score a spot in Colorado Springs if he impresses.
OF Greg Golson (27 years old)
- Golson played parts of four major league seasons, most notably his 24 games as a defensive replacement with the Yankees in 2010. He spent all of last season in AAA Charlotte for the White Sox last year, and will provide outfield depth in spring training.
Los Angeles Angels
IF Bill Hall (33 years old)
- Hall's another guy I really, really liked when he was a member of the Red Sox, despite his flaws as a player. I hope the Angels give him a chance, even if it's starting in AAA Salt Lake.
Toronto Blue Jays
IF Andy LaRoche (29 years old)
- La Roche was a big prospect for the Dodgers coming up, but has settled into the role of a journeyman utility infielder, and the Blue Jays will be his 6th organization since 2008. Last season he split between the AAA teams of the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox, and will most likely start in AAA Buffalo as infield depth.
Also, my Red Sox roster projections are posted under the "Projected Rosters" tab. I will be continuing to update that section until all 30 teams have pages. I wi
Today in the Northeast it was 60 degrees, extremely wet, and just gross enough outside to feel like one of those March days where High School and Little League teams attempt to begin practicing on a torn-apart field and the professionals are playing meaningless games in Florida and Arizona.
Sure, 2013 Topps Series 1 baseball released today as well, another sign that we are getting closer to baseball season, but alas, it's still January, and a solid two months until opening day at both the big league and minor league level.
As crappy as that may sound, it's been giving me time to start putting together organizational depth charts so I can estimate what studs I'll be getting to see play this summer at the minor league parks near me. I figured I'd set up this website/blog to share these with the world, as well as provide my insight to what's going on down on the farm.
This is not a website about prospects, per se, but about minor league baseball in general. I tend to find the 35 year old journeyman trying to make a comeback by playing in the Texas League, to be just as interesting as Jurickson Profar tearing up the Pacific Coast league as a 19 year old phenom. So if you're looking for a place to find a unique view on the best thing in the world, Minor League Baseball, this is the place for