It's Opening Day! Three White Sox affiliates open the 2012 season in mere minutes, which means it's time to break down the rosters. Concluding the series is the AAA Charlotte Knights.
The format remains the same, breaking down the rosters based on where the players were last year. As expected, the Knights are loaded with veterans but there's also a smattering of mid-level prospects. A player's Opening Day age is listed in parentheses.
Charlotte (2011 record: 69-74, no playoffs)
Repeats: Dylan Axelrod (26), Brian Bruney (30), Anthony Carter (26), Deunte Heath (26), Gregory Infante* (24), Brian Omogrosso (27), Wes Whisler (28), Matt Zaleski* (30)
Up a level: Terry Doyle (26), Charles Leesman (25), Leyson Septimo (26), Charles Shirek (26)
New to org.: Jhan Marinez (23), Scott Olsen* (28), Eric Stults (32), Donnie Veal (27)
*- Currently on disabled list
It’s not the most exciting group of pitchers. Axelrod, Leesman and Doyle, back from his failed Rule V trial with the Twins, have some moderate prospect status thanks to success in the high levels of the minors. After that it’s a lot of minor league veterans and organizational depth.
Shirek gets the Opening Day start, which comes as a surprise but maybe the Sox want to keep the aforementioned trio better lined up with the back end of the White Sox rotation in case one is needed.
Infante and Marinez, acquired as compenstation for Ozzie Guillen, headline the bullpen though Infante is currently out with an oblique injury.
*Whisler turns 29 on Saturday.
Repeats: Josh Phegley (24), Jim Gallagher (26), Tyler Kuhn (25), Dallas McPherson (31), Kyle Shelton (25), Jordan Danks (25)
New to org.: Hector Gimenez (29), Dan Johnson (32), Osvaldo Martinez (23), Ray Olmedo (30), Greg Golson (26), Conor Jackson (29)
What’s interesting about the group of hitters is that every one of them enters this season with AAA experience. As a result, there aren’t really any prospects to speak of.
The best prospects, Danks, Kuhn and Martinez, have something to prove after mediocre offensive seasons in AAA last year. Golson and Jackson will join Danks to form a fairly talented outfield. Johnson and Gallagher should provide most of the power in the lineup.
Also, be sure to check out Kyle Shelton’s fantastic mustache in his player photo.
Top 25 Prospects: Dylan Axelrod (10th), Jhan Marinez (13th), Gregory Infante (14th), Charles Leesman (16th), Osvaldo Martinez (23rd)
Sleepers: Terry Doyle, Tyler Kuhn