Today is Opening Day on the 2013 minor league season. That, of course, means that for full-season affiliates rosters are officially set.
Below you'll find each roster from Las Vegas down to Savannah -- with some thoughts in between:
Las Vegas 51's (Triple-A)
Disabled List: Matt den Dekker
- Interesting to see the 21-year-old Flores get the bump after just 63 games -- albeit successful ones -- at Double-A, not that I don't think he can handle it. (I wouldn't be surprised to see some of the hitters promoted to the offense-friendly PCL more aggressively than the pitchers.) Should be interesting to see how Wally handles the 1B/2B/3B situation between Flores, Lutz, Satin, and Havens.
- Lagares will get a lot of reps in center until Matt den Dekker gets back. That, his ability to steal bases, and some continued success against lefties will make him an easy call-up should the big club have a need.
- Credit to Sandy and Terry for taking the unproven Scott Rice north instead of Robert Carson. The flame-throwing Carson was already on the 40-man but Rice frankly gives the club a better chance to win.
Binghamton Mets (Double-A)
Who plays center? Aside from Vaughn each of the other three probably has a pretty fair claim: Historically, Ceciliani is the purest center fielder and plays the position best. Puello has the highest ceiling as a prospect, which often takes priority when deciding playing time. Harris had -- by far -- the best 2012 of the three, and might also be the surest bet to play at the major league level.
- Between Mazzoni, Leathersich, and Kolarek we might be looking at the next wave of homegrown relievers -- not to mention guys like Goeddel, Pill, Verrett, and Huchingson, all of whom look a lot like relievers long-term.
- Bingo won't be breaking any runs scored records this season...
St. Lucie Mets (Advanced-A)
Pitchers: Hamilton Bennett, Chasen Bradford, Marcos Camarena, T.J. Chism, Angel Cuan, Jacob DeGrom, Randy Fontanez, Jim Fuller, Luis Mateo, Estarlin Morel, Hansel Robles, Noah Syndergaard, Domingo Tapia
Catchers: Albert Cordero, Cam Maron
Outfielders: Gilbert Gomez, Dustin Lawley, Travis Taijeron, Charlie Thurber
Disabled List: Michael Fulmer
- Talk about a dynamic pitching staff. I honestly can't tell you which starter I'm most interested to watch in 2013. Five-way tie I suppose -- six once Fulmer returns.
- As impressive as the pitching staff is, that's how lackluster the little Mets offense looks. Perhaps a Maron and/or Gomez and/or Reynolds walk followed by a Rodriguez homer will be enough to support the outstanding pitchers on a nightly basis.
- Speaking of Gomez, I'll be fascinated to see how the just-turned 21-year-old continues to develop his unorthodox profile as a very high strikeout, very high walks, somewhat toolsy center field prospect.
Savannah Sand Gnats (Class-A)
Pitchers: Matt Bowman, Hunter Carnevale, Luis Cessa, Julian Hilario, Matt Koch, Jake Kuebler, Rainy Lara, Steven Matz, Bret Mitchell, Tim Peterson, Paul Sewald, Logan Taylor, Gabriel Ynoa
Catchers: Jeff Glenn, Kevin Plawecki, Nelfi Zapata
- Anchored by three of the outstanding Cyclones starters from 2012, I must admit I'm most intrigued by the 6'4", 180 lbs Rainy Lara, who garnered by far the least amount of attention this winter but trailed only Luis Mateo in the entire NYPL in strikeout percentage in 2012. In fact, his 28.8% mark made him one of only 17 starting pitchers in all of minor league baseball to eclipse 28%. That list also includes names like Dan Straily, Trevor Bauer, Tony Cingrani, Noah Syndergaard, Jose Fernandez, Alex Meyer, Yordano Ventura, Cody Buckel, Wilmer Font, and many more top pitching prospects.
- Sticking with the theme of the system, interesting pitching staff, not so much on the offensive side.
- Good to see Steven Matz (finally) reach full-season ball. However, I'm not entirely optimistic about his ability to contribute over the course of a full season -- as evidenced by the fact that he's still yet to hit 30 career innings as a professional player since he was drafted way back in 2009. Still, the stuff is about as good as it gets so we'll just keep our fingers crossed.
- Probably the most interesting thing about the Sand Gnats roster is who's not here -- 2012 first rounder Gavin Cecchini. There was a lot of speculation that the polished shortstop would make the jump to full-season ball to start 2013 -- and for good reason as the majority of 2012 prep first rounder did just that. But it's important to remember that as the pendulum swings back from the Minaya era, it's almost always safer to be too conservative than too aggressive -- especially when we're talking about a move that will have very little impact long-term.
So now that we've seen where the chips fell in terms of full-season ball, what are your thoughts? What about these assignments interests, intrigues, or perhaps angers you?