Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spokane and AZL Rosters

The Spokane Roster was posted yesterday (see updated rosters in the sidebar for complete info) -

INF: CMurph, Lima, Solis, EMart, Landry, Duron(FA)
OF: Podraza, Barto, Alfonzo, Rhoad, Prince, Dove, DeJesus
C: Zaneski, DiFazio, Puello
SP: Ross, GGrullon, Thompson, O'Campo, Tullis, Henry
RP: King, Quintero, Bermudez, THurley, Matlock, Zagarac, Brown, Campbell
DL: Slusarz (rp), Joe Ortiz(rp)
Pending Signs: Gunter, Castner, Doyle

Not too many surprises for the Spokane squad, the typical array of SR signs and 2nd year players, and an amazing starting staff, many of whom could've debuted in Hickory. I am a little surprised to see bonus-baby bust Emmanuel Solis in Spokane. He already had his state-side debut in AZL in 2007 and was a bust and was demoted to DSL for 2008 as a result. I am also surprised he is still listed as an infielder. He has Ogata's concrete hands and I thought he was being move to RF. Expect another rough year for the kid and possibly a move to the mound to join fellow "bbb" Johan Yan by year's end.

I am also surprised that Juan Grullon is not there. His #s the last 2 years are far better than Geuris and I have a feeling JG will be the better prospect even in the face of all of the GG hype. Not seeing Koncel or Selen on the roster is a bit unexpected. Koncel bombed in Spokane last year so he might be on the verge of being released. Not sure why Andy Wilkins isn't here after pitching in the AZL last yr. I have to say that I think OCampo merited an assignment to Hickory this year based on his excellent performance in AZL last yr; I guess that is what happens when the likes of Font, NeRa and Perez are ahead of you in the pecking order. 1B Ortiz probably deserves to be here as well.

I wouldn't be too surprised if Leury Garcia was reassigned here soon. While his defense might be plus, his hit tool is not. I would also expect a handful of players to be promoted to Hickory once the system wide mid-season promotions are made, guys like, Barto, Alfonzo, Podraza, Hurley, Springston.

Finally, the fact that Miguel Alfonso never made it to Hickory is a bit shocking. He played the entire year there in 08 so I guess it can't be a good sign that he has held back if not demoted though perhaps injured, who knows.

Just a note on Bermudez. Jason Cole noted that he had a poor spring coupled with some problems adjusting to life state-side. I can't imagine that this bodes well for him given his age.

I project the AZL roster to look something like this -

INF: Ortiz, Selen, Koncel, James, Vail, (Bonadonna)
C: Telis, Torres
OF: Sierra, Lane, Pimentel, (Bonadonna)
SP: Melo, Ahn, Alvarez, Escobar, JGrullon, Rijo, AMendoza, Jamison
RP: Yan, Ragsdale, Springston, Wilkins, Ovispo de los Santos, Kelvin de Leon, AThompson, Stanford
DL: Gutsie, Miller
TBD: Miguel Velazquez

This should be an interesting squad to keep tabs on this year. The starting staff and maybe even the outfield could be among the best in rookie ball in addition to being among the youngest. Telis should also get everyone's prospect juices flowing. RF Miguel Velazquez would only add to the talent base here, but I'm not sure if he will be retained or released after being suspended for the last 1 1/2 yrs; he was removed from the inactive list a couple of weeks ago.

The Latin Americans making their state-side debuts should be Telis(C), Pimentel(of), Melo(sp), Alvarez(sp), Escobar(sp), JGrullon(sp), Rijo(sp), AMendoza(sp), and K.deLeon(rp). Ovispo made his debut in AZL last year for a few innings before missing most of the year due to injury. A couple of the pitchers could get bumped back to the DSL depending on how many second-day HS players we end up signing.

EDIT: DSL SS Eddie Garcia was expected to start the season on the AZL squad but was unexpectedly promoted to highA. If his skill level is this advanced both offensively and defensively then we have quite a prospect. However, I suspect that this promotion was done for other reasons and he will end up on the AZL squad to open their season.

Expect both short-season rosters to turn over a bit as some are released, signed, added and moved around in the next few weeks.

As I detailed on previous missives some months ago, it seems apparent which Dominican players are caught up in VISA shenanigans, though no official word has come down the pipe. Both Jairo Valdez(1b/of) and Miggie de los Santos(rp) should have been assigned to Hickory but have been relegated to the DSL. High profile prospects Juan Polanco(of), Ace Venture(of), and Wilson Ventura (2b) have yet to be assigned to any roster in the system and I suspect that they have been released. Why are Jairo and Miggie still being kept in the system? I can only speculate but their real age might still be young enough to still be considered prospects while the other 3 might simply be too old to merit more time in the system. It is also possible that Miggie and Jairo are still being investigated and could still be cleard. Let's hope that latter possibility is the case as I was really rooting for Miggie and his sick curve last year, his first year back from TJ surgery.

EDIT 6/18: Polanco y Los Venturas are all listed as free agents in their MiLB profiles which seems to confirm my suspicion that they have been released.


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