Just taking a look at the Oakland top 30 in the BA handbook, and despite both Anderson and Cahill only having 6 starts at AA last year, BA suggests Oakland will start them off in AAA next year.
That got me to thinking about where Holland, Feliz and Moscoso might be assigned. I initially had all of them pegged for AA due to limited innings there but eventually put Holland in AAA due to a lack of quality arms in the AAA rotation. However, I noticed that all three have around the same amount of AA innings as Anderson and Cahill. The two college pitchers are roughly comparable, Holland and Anderson while Feliz and Cahill are comparable due to age and their quick trajectory through their respective systems. I would also suggest that Moscoso is roughly comparable to the 2 college guys as he has been in the minors for 6 years (2 in DSL) beginning at a late age (19.3), his trajectory having been delayed due to shoulder problems. Judging by Age as of 4/1 (25.5) and his dominating numbers at A+/AA last year, I would say that he is ready for AAA in 09.
So what am I saying here. Basically, if these pitchers are relatively comparable in a number of areas, and if we follow Oakland's aggressive approach to challenge their top prospects with difficult assignments, I would say that all three TX pitchers merit assignments to AAA in 09. Of course, if you don't think that AA and AAA differ too much in (elite) talent level, then it really doesn't matter too much which level that they are assigned to. You just fill as many viable starters in those 10 spots as you can. The biggest difference I can see is that you have fewer veterans and more org players in AA and more veterans and fewer org guys in AAA.
Whatever the case, what would the okc staff look like then and who gets bumped to the pen?
Starter candidates: Moscoso, Jennings, Hunter, Holland, Feliz, Diamond, Mendoza, Gabbard
So what makes the most sense here? Do I want Diamond or Hunter in the pen? I say no; I want to see how they develop as starters and they can easily be conscripted to bullpen work for the big club or AAA if necessary, and, arguably, might do a better job there if it comes to that.
As for Feliz, he jumped 2 levels last year, and still has a lot of mechanical and game management issues to work on, his head full of directives from instructionals, so I think I'm ok with an initial assignment to AA. That leaves Mendoza and Gabbard reduced to LR/spot starters which I am perfectly ok with. However, the club still seems to be enamored with Mendoza as a starter, a guy without a third pitch, so I think the Rangers might leave him as a starter in AAA. This would likely bump moscoso to AA.
So for what it is worth, here are the AAA/AA rosters as I would have them:
AAA: Holland, Moscoso, Diamond, Hunter, Jennings (mendoza/Gabbard in pen)
AA: Feliz, Kiker, Poveda, Reed, Schlact (the latter 2 sent to pen after A+ promotions)
If Jennings activates his FA clause on 3/27 or 4/27, then I would promote Feliz to the AAA rotation.
what are the rangers likely to do?
AAA: holland, diamond, hunter, jennings, mendoza (Gabbard in pen)
AA: Feliz, Kiker, Poveda, Reed, Moscoso (with Schlact in pen where he should be)
No matter how you slice it I think you will see all three of these guys, not only in AAA by mid-season, but also with the big club after the trade deadline or Sept 1 at the latest.