With the Major League Baseball season fully under way, that means the minor leaguers can’t be far behind. All four of the Yankees’ full season affiliates begin their 2010 seasons this Thursday, with Short Season Staten Island and the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Yanks following in June. In anticipation of the new season, I took part in a roundtable discussion about the Yanks’ farm system at Pending Pinstripes (parts one, two, and three), touching on topics like overrated players, underrated players, the top affiliate to follow, etc.
Rosters for Double-A Trenton and Low-A Charleston have been officially released, while Triple-A Scranton’s roster is pretty easy to piece together. High-a Tampa is the big question mark right now, but we still have a pretty good idea of who’s headed there. Let’s break it down…
Catchers: Robby Hammock, Chad Moeller, Jesus Montero, P.J. Pilittere
Infielders: Reegie Corona, Juan Miranda, Eduardo Nunez, Kevin Russo
Outfielders: Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Jon Weber, David Winfree
Pitchers: Jon Albaladejo, Jason Hirsh, Kei Igawa, George Kontos, Boone Logan, Zach McAllister, Mark Melancon, Ivan Nova, Royce Ring, Romulo Sanchez, Amaury Sanit, Kevin Whelan
That’s an unofficial roster, so chances are they’ll add another arm, and maybe another position player or two. Kontos, obviously, is starting the season on the disabled list as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. The earliest he’ll be back is July or so, and even then he’ll start in the low minors and gradually work his way up.
I suspect the five starters will be (in no particular order) Hirsh, McAllister, Nova, Sanchez, and Igawa, and they’ll be backed up by a really stacked bullpen. Lefties, righties, you name it, manager Dave Miley will have plenty of options out there. Montero will lead the way offensively, but we saw what Weber could do in Spring Training, and Miranda’s spent the last two years tormenting the International League. The top of the order will likely go Russo-Nunez-Montero-Miranda-Weber, and that’s as good as it gets in the bush leagues.
Double-A Trenton (courtesy of Mike Ashmore)
Catchers: Jose Gil, Austin Romine
Infielders: David Adams, Neall French, Brandon Laird, Luis Nunez, Kevin Smith, Justin Snyder, Marcos Vechionacci
Outfielders: Dan Brewer, Edwar Gonzalez, Austin Krum, Damon Sublett
Pitchers: Cory Arbiso, Wilkins Arias, Jeremy Bleich, Noel Castillo, Wilkin DeLaRosa, Grant Duff, Chris Garcia, D.J. Mitchell, Lance Pendleton, David Phelps, Ryan Pope, Josh Schmidt, Eric Wordekemper
As Mike mentioned, that’s 26 players for 24 spots, so there’s still some movement to come. Perhaps Schmidt or Wordekemper heads up to Scranton, plus one of the spare infielders (Nunez?). There’s also the possibility of a phantom DL trip.
With Garcia, Pendleton, and Pope, it’s a pretty veteran rotation, guys who’ve been playing pro ball for a few years now. Mitchell and Phelps will get the other spots coming off fantastic years. Romine headlines the position players, but don’t sleep on Brewer or Adams, they can both really hit. The Thunder had trouble pushing runs across at times last year, but that doesn’t seem like it’ll be an issue this year.
Infielders: Walt Ibarra, Emerson Landoni
Outfielders: Jack Rye
Pitchers: Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, Jairo Heredia, Craig Heyer, Hector Noesi, Tim Norton, Adam Olbrychowski, Jon Ortiz, Brad Rulon, Pat Venditte, Ryan Zink
Obviously, this one’s incomplete. Don’t blame me, blame milb.com. Guys like Corban Joseph, Melky Mesa, and Jose Pirela would make sense here, considering their performances at Low-A Charleston last season. We’re just going to have to wait and see here.
Low-A Charleston (courtesy of Robert Pimpsner)
Catchers: Jeff Farnham, Kyle Higashioka, J.R Murphy
Infielders: Carmen Angelini, Garrison Lassiter, Rob Lyerly, Luke Murton, Jose Mojica, Jimmy Paredes
Outfielders: Zoilo Almonte, Kelvin DeLeon, Taylor Grote, DeAngelo Mack, Justin Milo
Pitchers: Manny Barreda, Sean Black, Gavin Brooks, Caleb Cotham, Ryan Flannery, Shaeffer Hall, Dickie Marquez, Ronny Marte, Kelvin Perez, Jose Ramirez, Wilton Rodriguez, Francisco Rondon, Graham Stoneburner
We’ve got the same problem as Trenton here, too many players for too few spots. I suspect Murphy will start the year in Extended Spring Training before heading to Staten Island when their season starts. Considering Adam Warren and Neil Medchill aren’t listed here, I suspect they’re headed to Tampa.
The outfield is really tooled up with DeLeon, Grote, and Mack, and the infield is going to have some thump with Lyerly and Murton. Paredes will provide the speed, Angelini the errors. This is his last chance to revive his career as a prospect. The ’09 draft pick heavy pitching staff will probably feature Cotham, Hall, Rondon, Stoneburner, and Ramirez as the starters, with a ridiculously strong power-armed back of the bullpen with Brooks, Black, and Barreda. Charleston’s always a fun team to follow because you can dream on so many of the players, and this year will be no different.
As I’m sure you already figured out, Down on the Farm will return in full force Thursday evening. Scranton starts the season with four games against Buffalo (Mets), Trenton with four against Erie (Tigers), Tampa with a home-and-home-and-home-and-home against Lakeland (Tigers), and Charleston with four against Lexington (Astros). All four affiliates start the season at home. Should be a fun season, see you for DotF on Thursday.