Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Preliminary Bulls Roster

Season starts in 9 days (at Gwinnett)
Home opener in 16 days

The Tampa Bay Rays play their first game of the season on April 1, so they have cleaned out their roster with several moves over the last week or so. The seven players sent off the other day were probably just about the end of it. They have appeared to have settled on a 25-man roster of 13 pitchers and 12 position players.

We can’t expect an official Durham Bulls roster, however, until about 7:00 pm on April 7. That is, just prior to the start of the game against Gwinnett that evening.

But why should the simple lack of information stop WDBB from putting up a roster? Why should facts (or the lack of them) get in our way? That's never held up us before. (Note: Players marked with an asterisk are on the Rays 40-man.)

  • Nevin Ashley*
  • Robinson Chirinos*
  • Jose Lobaton*
Obviously one more catcher than we need, but the Bulls have carried three catchers in the past. If someone is to go off to Montgomery, my guess it would be Ashley.


  • Richard De Los Santos
  • Alexander Torres*
  • Brian Baker
  • Alex Cobb*
  • Edgar Gonzalez
The list is short one pitcher and I don't have a good enough memory to pick a fifth starter from the full minor league roster. Any suggestions?

  • Mike Ekstrom*
  • Rob Delaney*
  • Dane De La Rosa*
  • Chris Bootcheck
  • R.J. Swindle
  • Dirk Hayhurst
  • Brandon Gomes*
  • Cory Wade
I'm pretty sure that a couple of the guys on this list have opt out contracts (e.g., Bootcheck), so could be movement on this list before the start of the season. And this is one more than the Bulls usually carry. But, we'll see.

  • Felipe Lopez
  • Ray Olmedo
  • J.J. Furmaniak
  • Chris Carter (move to outfield list)
  • Omar Luna
  • Casey Kotchman
I'm not comfortable with this list at all. Yes, we've seen Ray Olmedo and Omar Luna in recent years, but we simply don't have enough information to judge if they are going to end up on the Bulls roster or not. Note that at least three players — Kotchman, Carter, and Anderson (below) — have some first base credentials. 


  • Brandon Guyer*
  • Desmond Jennings*
  • Leslie Anderson
  • Justin Ruggiano
Want a real difference for this year? For the first time in my memory, with the exception of Chris Carter, we don't have a reliable home run hitter in the bunch. Carter hit 31 last year for Sacramento in the PCL, but that's it. The rest of the outfield are, at best, doubles hitters. Pretty quick and fleet of foot, I'll grant that, but 15 homers or so is about all that we can expect of any of the outfielders. Last year's Durham Bulls hit 142 home runs. Don't expect anything like that this year.

Not as many new guys as I expected at the end of last season. On this list there are only five position players we haven't seen and we've seen most of the starters.

This list could be off by quite a bit. It's entirely possible that one or two are already working out with the Biscuits and players we haven't heard about are working out with the Bulls. I've made three substantive changes since I started writing this up on March 27. Two possibilities not mentioned so far are Russ Canzler and Daniel Mayora, both new to the Rays system.

For others who may be as obsessed as I am, keep an eye on Stacy Long's blog entries and stories in the Montgomery Advertiser this week.

As a side note, I am pleased to report that Jason Cromer has signed on with the Atlantic League Somerset Patriots. Jason was a key member of the 2009 Bulls, but struggled with some kind of arm problem last year. Here's hoping he's over it and good luck. Thanks to Rays Prospects for chasing that down.

Update: I chased down the wrong Chris Carter. "Our" Chris Carter spent most of last year with the Mets and with Buffalo of the IL. Almost all of his playing time was in the outfield and he only hit 4 home runs in the majors and 6 in AAA. So he's not going to help out with the home run problem. Also, I've added as a starting pitcher signing I missed: Edgar Gonzalez. Solid stats in Triple A and fair stats with Arizona and Oakland.


  1. This Chris Carter ("The Animal") has pretty solid power too, albeit not as much as the guy with the A's. (Those 6 HR, for example, came in 113 AB - he slugged .611 there and is a bit over .500 in that department over his minor league career). A bit short athletically (meaning tools, not height) and not great against lefties - he's 90% of Dan Johnson at the plate.

  2. Thanks for that info. I've been too lazy (and too uncertain) to do any serious numbers-chasing yet. I do notice what appears to be gaps last year. Injury? A lot of bench time? We'll probably get a lot of that info when the Bulls put their media guide out. Traditionally that has a lot of great background stats. But we won't get our hands on that for a couple of weeks. They won't even have a roster online until the 7th.