Minor league season is upon us and rosters are being set. It also means the daily minor league recaps are coming soon and you can bookmark them here.
The Cubs AA affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies, just tweeted their Opening Day roster
— Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) April 6, 2015
Among the most interesting names are CJ Edwards, Kyle Schwarber, and Albert Almora who are arguably among the games top 100 prospects. Other top prospects to watch include Bijan Rademacher (OF), Dan Vogelbach (1B), Rob Zastryzny (LHP), and Corey Black (RHP).
The Cubs have a stacked AAA team and that kept some very good players back. Tennessee has quite a few returning players and while it is not as star-studded as the Iowa team, they should have the combination of talent and experience to make some noise in the Southern League — that is if they don’t lose too much to Iowa once those players start graduating to the big leagues.
It appears, for example, that Pierce Johnson will be in AAA. Johnson and Edwards are roughly at the same level from a development standpoint but perhaps Edwards shoulder issues have kept him down in warmer Tennessee. He will also have a harder time making the innings jump to be a full time starter this year, so the Cubs can afford to take their time a little bit and prepare him to compete for a big league spot in 2016.
Oddly enough, however, Johnson is not mentioned in this article on Iowa’s 2015 roster. If Johnson is on neither roster, it is possible he will stay back in extended spring training to work on some things before the season — but that is just speculation on my part.
We already know Iowa will feature an infield of Kris Bryant at 3B, Addison Russell at SS, and Javier Baez at 2B. Junior Lake will likely be in LF and Rafael Lopez will be the catcher. In addition to Johnson, they will also have quite a few MLB ready or near-ready pitchers in Eric Jokisch (L), Dallas Beeler (DL), Joe Ortiz (L), Armando Rivero, and Zac Rosscup (L).
Myrtle Beach (A+)
Another notable player who didn’t make the AA Smokies is newly acquired OF Billy McKinney, who will presumably start in High A Myrtle Beach. The same goes for fleet CF’er Jacob Hannemann. It is expected that much of the Myrtle Beach roster will feature players from the Kane County juggernaut of last season. Top players there include pitchers Duane Underwood, Jen-Ho Tseng, Paul Blackburn as well as 3B Jeimer Candelario, catcher Mark Zagunis, and OF Shawon Dunston, Jr.
UPDATE: Here is the Myrtle Beach Roster.
Pitchers (14): RHPs Paul Blackburn (No. 27/No. 18), Matt Brazis, Josh Conway, Jonathan Martinez, Juan Paniagua, Starling Peralta, James Pugliese, Tayler Scott, Tyler Skulina, Daury Torrez (25/30), Jen-Ho Tseng (11/11), and Duane Underwood (8/10); LHPs Gerardo Concepcionand Michael Heesch.
Catchers (3): Victor Caratini (19/13), Ben Carhart, Alberto Mineo
Infielders (6): Jeimer Candelario (15/24), Wesley Darvill, Andrew Ely, Daniel Lockhart, Carlos Penalver, and Jacob Rogers.
Outfielders (4): Shawon Dunston Jr., Jacob Hannemann (22/17), Billy McKinney (9/6), and Mark Zagunis (18/15).
South Bend (A)
- Jake Stinnett
- Trevor Clifton
- Erick Leal
- James Norwood
- Tommy Thorpe (L)
- Jeremy Null
- Justin Marra
- Cael Brockmeyer
- Gioskar Amaya
- Gleyber Torres (SS)
- Chesny Young (2B)
- Trey Martin
- Charcer Burks
- Rashad Crawford
- Jeffrey Baez
- Yasiel Balaguert
You can see other prospect assignments here.
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