(Should be the starting Triple-A catcher. Courtesy of Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)
(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)
The Minor League season gets started tonight, and while I don't want to steal any of Tamar's team-by-team season preview thunder, I did want to comment on some of the roster decisions. Each club officially released their Opening Day rosters yesterday, some more complete and correctly than others. There are some surprising and not so surprising decisions at almost every level, which is pretty par for the course in the world of managing a wide range of prospects and non-prospects. Here's my 2 cents on the early roster breakdowns for the 4 full-season MiL teams (click the team names for the full rosters).
Low-A Charleston RiverDogs
- Not a bad starting rotation at all. Via Josh Norris, it's going to be Rookie Davis, Luis Severino, Gio Gallegos, Brady Lail, and Caleb Smith. Everyone should be familiar with Severino by now, but don't sleep on Davis, Lail, or Gallegos as legitimate starting prospects. They've all had their moments early in their careers.
- With those 5 in the rotation, I'm curious to see how Jordan Cote will be used. He's listed on the roster after 2 straight injury-shortened GCL seasons and the plan, as far as I knew, was to build his innings count up and continue to use him as a starter. Maybe these early health woes have changed some people's minds and we're going to get a look at him as a reliever this year.
- Lotta talent around the infield, almost too much at shortstop. Abi Avelino is the best of the bunch and should be the everyday starter there, but John Murphy and Tyler Wade are no slouches. Have to think 1 of them is going to get converted to second base in the near future, which makes it somewhat surprising that the Yanks elected to start Gosuke Katoh at Low-A. Playing time could be hard to come by for the other 2.
High-A Tampa Yankees
- There's some sneaky good talent on the pitching staff. Jose Campos and Rafael DePaula are both top 10-caliber pitching prospects, they're going to have ManBan for a little while, and I'm still high on Dietrich Enns. Nick Goody is the next dominant relief prospect in the system that not enough people know about, and Kyle Haynes and James Pazos could each have successful futures ahead of them.
- Not much by way of offensive firepower though. Greg Bird is the stud of the position players and he's head and shoulders above everybody else in terms of hitting skill. It'd be nice to see Peter O'Brien cut down on the strikeouts in his return to this level.
Double-A Trenton Thunder
- There's a little bit of everything here. Top organizational prospects (Gary Sanchez, Mason Williams), mid-tier prospects (Bryan Mitchell, Rob Refsnyder), lower-tier prospects (Ben Gamel, Rob Segedin), and sleepers (Matt Tracy, Zach Nuding).
- Via Nick Peruffo, the top of the lineup is going to be Williams, Refsnyder, Segedin, Sanchez to start the season. I wouldn't mind seeing Bird get bumped up to Trenton sooner rather than later to add even more muscle to that group.
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
- There's no shortage of outfield depth on this team. Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores, and Slade Heathcott will be the starting 3 eventually, and they've got Adonis Garcia, Antoan Richardson, and Ronnier Mustelier on the bench.
- We'll probably see Garcia and Mustelier play around the infield some too. There's not nearly as much depth there and with Addison Maruszak reportedly being released yesterday, there's no starting shortstop.
- The rotation may never end up being the 5 guys I was hoping for, but the bullpen should be pretty damn good. Montgomery, Ramirez, Cabral, Claiborne, and Daley. They may not need much length from that patchwork Opening Day rotation to be competitive and win games.