Thursday, April 5, 2012

First Impressions — Part 3 — Position Players

This collection of twelve mostly very experienced ballplayers should serve the Bulls well this year. Defensively they look very good. Base running speed and power? Maybe a problem. We’ll see.

The only players with a lot of time with the Bulls last year are Leslie Anderson (121 games) and Brandon Guyer (107 games). Nevin Ashley got in 32 games last year as one of six different catchers who played with the Bulls in 2011. Top prospect Tim Beckham came up in August and got in 24 games at SS. He played some second base in spring training, so we might see him there. He was usually the leadoff hitter. Comments on their play last year is here.

That leaves eight guys new to a Durham Bulls roster. However, only Shawn O’Malley is new to AAA baseball. Brandon Guyer is the only position player on the 40-man.

The depth of major league experience is substantial. Nine of the 12 players on the Bulls has at least some major league  time. Only Leslie Anderson, Shawn O’Malley, and Nevin Ashley do not.

Is there a concern? Well, yes. With the exception of Kyle Hudson (26 stolen bases in 2011), none of them has shown anything special in terms of base running speed, although Guyer did steal 16 over 107 games last year.

We also have to worry how many are on “opt-out” contracts. An opt-out contract allows a player to leave the team at a specified time if certain conditions haven’t been met (promotion to the active roster or at least the 40-man roster, for example).

On the other hand, I have to say that the defensive “diamond”, catcher, SS, 2B, CF looks very good with two solid catchers, three above average middle infielders (Beckham, Rhymes and O’Malley), and Guyer in CF.

For a change the infield corners look promising with Mangini and Miranda in place. That’s the first time in many years I’ve been able to say that.

Is there some bat pop missing? I’m not sure. Maybe.

For those who’d like to chase the stats on the new guys, here’s some links:


  1. There are just a lot of unknowns here, which always make me a bit nervous. I would think that Will Rhymes would be one with an opt-out option, though I would hate to see him take it. He seems like he could be a good clubhouse guy for the team.

    1. I hope not. I'm skeptical that TB has solved its "diamond" problem, which should give Rhymes a shot until Beckham is deemed ready. I'm too lazy to go back and look closely, but I don't think we've had so few returnees in a long time (or so few promotions from AA), but could be wrong.

  2. Hope not, as in if he has an opt-out he does not take it.

  3. O'Malley was Tampa Bay Organizations Baserunner of the year two years ago. He has missed parts of the last two season with non throwing arm related sholder injuries. Beckham showed an ability to run when needed last year while in Montgomery.