Monday, April 5, 2010

Rosters, Or Not

I was going to start this off with my best shot at who’s on the Durham Bulls this year. But then I realized that I could just go out to the DBAP tomorrow night and see. So I’m going to put off my own roster speculations for a while longer. Regardless of how it sorts out eventually, pitchers Jason Cromer and R. J. Swindle along with outfielder Desmond Jennings will likely not be with the team when they go to Norfolk this week. All are expected to join the team any day now.

As far as other takes on rosters go there’s Stacy Long’s here, and then if you drill down in the Rays website you can find this one. The end-of-2009 roster is still up on the Bulls website, so that’s not much help. The Rays 40-man doesn’t have 40 men on it. So that’s a puzzle.

The International League’s website has put up a pretty nifty preview (you’ll have to look for it. It comes as a pdf file). Here’s what they’ve got to say about the Bulls. (Note that Reid Brignac stayed with the Rays.)

Probable Starters: 1B – Chris Richard; 2B – Elliot Johnson; SS – Reid Brignac; 3B – Joe Dillon/Angel Chavez; C – John Jaso; LF – Fernando Perez; CF – Desmond Jennings; RF – Justin Ruggiano; DH – Dan Johnson.

Key Pitchers: Starters – RH Jeremy Hellickson, LH Carlos Hernandez, RH Jeff Bennett, LH Heath Phillips, LH Jason Cromer. Relievers – RH Winston Abreu, RH Joe Bateman, RH Dale Thayer.

Strengths of the Club: The Bulls will have a lot of speed at the top of the lineup, particularly if Fernando Perez, Desmond Jennings, and Justin Ruggiano are on the club together and in the first three spots in the batting order...... There should be positive team chemistry with so many veterans returning along with manager Charlie Montoyo and his coaching staff...... The Bulls will also have a very solid bullpen.
Weaknesses of the Club: There are some question marks with the starting rotation...... There are also health concerns in the Rays organization heading into the season. There have been at least nine key injuries during spring training.
Top Prospects: OF Desmond Jennings was named the Rays Minor League Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the Double-A Southern League in 2009. Heading into this season, he was dubbed Tampa Bay’s top prospect and the No. 6 prospect in baseball by Baseball America...... The same publication rates RHP Jeremy Hellickson as the organization’s top pitching prospect and No. 18 prospect overall in the game...... SS Reid Brignac, named the Rays’ No. 5 prospect and best defensive infielder by Baseball America), returns to the International League where he was an All-Star in 2009.

Other Organizational Prospects: Other prospects who could reach Triple-A this year in the Tampa Bay organization include several talented players. LHP Jake McGee (Baseball America’s No. 8 Rays prospect) owns a 3.53 ERA through his first 109 starts in the Minor Leagues...... LHP Alex Torres (No. 9) won 13 games last season combined between Class-A and Double-A...... 1B Matt Sweeney is ranked as the system’s best power hitter by Baseball America. Before suffering an injury in 2008, Sweeney tore up the Class-A Midwest League by hitting 18 homers with 72 RBI in 2007.

Veterans to Watch: It will be interesting to see how OF Fernando Perez responds after an injury-plagued 2009 campaign...... INF Elliot Johnson, likewise, endured an injury-hampered 2009 season. Will he be able to consistently hit for average?
Items of Interest: Durham has been the International League’s winningest team since getting the expansion franchise in 1998...... The Bulls are the defending Triple-A Baseball National Champions, and have played in the Governors’ Cup Finals each of the three years since Charlie Montoyo became manager...... The club is in the first year of a three-year contract sharing the park with Duke University’s improving baseball team, and the park will host a USA vs. Korea collegiate series in July......The Bulls will play their first game at historic Durham Athletic Park on May 10 against the Toledo Mud Hens.

Should have put this link up yesterday. Bunch of photos taken by N&O photographer Robert Willett

No comments:

Post a Comment