Guessing The Rosters, Part One

I know I’m about two weeks ahead of where I was last year, but I have very few ideas on how to kill the time see no reason why we have to wait. Let’s take a crack at guessing the A-ball teams like we did a year ago.

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at my guess for the Hagerstown position players last February:

CA – David Freitas
1B – Mills Rogers
2B – Adrian Sanchez
SS – Jason Martinson
3B – Blake Kelso
OF – Randloph Oduber
OF – J.R. Higley
OF – Wade Moore
DH – Russell Moldenhauer
BCA – Wilfri Pena
BIF – Justino Cuevas
BIF – Michael Taylor
BOF – Justin Miller

Eight out of 13 made the Opening Day roster. Seven out of nine for the Opening Day lineup. So where’d I go wrong (red)? The first mishap is pretty easy: I was convinced the Harper talk to Hagerstown was bluster. Therefore, Higley staying behind made sense, especially after a suspension-shortened 2010. Most of the others misses were simply wrong guesses, plain and simple.

So what’s the forecast for 2012 for the Suns position players*? Without further ado, here’s my guess:

CA – Adrian Nieto
1B – Matt Skole
2B – Anthony Rendon
SS – Rick Hague
3B – Bryce Ortega
DH – Justin Miller
OF – Caleb Ramsey
OF – Brian Goodwin
OF – Angel Montilla
BCA – Jeremy Mayo
BIF – Justino Cuevas
BIF – Khayyan Norfork
BOF – Billy Burns

*Why aren’t you picking the pitchers? Consider the following:
…Just two of the four 2011 Hagerstown pitchers that started more than 17 games are fully healthy
that we know of — Robbie Ray and Matt Grace. The third is Taylor Jordan. The fourth is A.J. Cole.
…Eight pitchers in Auburn started five or more games. The three that started the most (Wirkin “For The Weekend” Estevez, Manny Rodriguez, and Christian Meza) weren’t lights out, and at least one will repeat the level.
…There are two prominent draft picks that are more likely to pitch full-season than short-season but are 22 years old (Alex Meyer and Kylin Turnbull)
…Two of the 2011 Suns starters were hurt and missed two months or more (Bobby Hansen, Chris McKenzie) and at least one is likely to be back.
…Three of the ’11 college pitchers drafted will be 23 years old by Opening Day (Brian Dupra, Blake Monar, and Taylor Hill) and it’s a good bet that one of them will leapfrog from Auburn to Potomac.

Translation: Way too many variables to make a remotely accurate guess.

I think you can see I’m anticipating some position changes. You can flip-flop Rendon and Ortega or Ortega and Hague. But I do think that the Potomac IF logjam is going to make it easier to start Rendon lower than High-A and I think that same “problem” is going to lead to Hague taking a step back before moving forward. If I’m wrong about one or both, then the only logical conclusion is that one of the ’11 Suns IFers repeats or gets sent to XST.

Believe me, I like that it’s this difficult to call. Certainly a lot more fun than guessing which organizational soldier will go where. As always, discuss in the comments… Next time: It’s a look at Potomac.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

20 thoughts on “Guessing The Rosters, Part One”

  1. Looking at your updated Big Board I’m liking the idea of moving Kobernus to AA and Rendon to 2B in Potomac. First, Kobernus doesn’t have much to prove in Potomac anymore. Second, it would save Rendon’s injured arm and get him used to a different position, because it’s unlikely he will be playing 3B in Washington if he gets there. Besides the field in Potomac is brand new so it should help Rendon learn the position on a better surface.

    1. I agree 100% with you that Kobe should start 2012 in Harrisburg. It would be nice to see Rendon in Potomac but I am not sure they are going to rush him given his past issues.

      1. Another pro for moving Rendon to Potomac – I’d like to see Norfolk get some time 2B. As for the pitchers, I’d also throw Purke in the mix unless you see him as going straight to Potomac.

  2. Luke,

    Wow, that would be a killer infield in Hagerstown if your projections are correct (at least from the hitting perspective). Do you see Carlos Alvarez making it to Hagerstown? Also, it is nice to have a logjam for once at the middle infield positions, right!?

  3. Here is my guess for the Hagerstown roster. First off shoutout to Byron Kerr, whos articles this winter have helped me with this. Keep up the good work Byron!

    SP: Matt Grace
    SP: Wirkin Estevez
    SP: Jack McGeary
    SP: Brian Dupra
    SP: Taylor Hill
    RP: Shane McCatty
    RP: Ben Grisz
    RP: Nate Karns
    RP: Colin Bates
    RP: Ben Hawkins
    RP: Kelvin Lopez
    RP: Dean Weaver
    1B: Justin Miller
    2B: Hendry Jimenez
    3B: Matt Skole
    SS: Bryce Ortega
    OF: Caleb Ramsey
    OF: Brian Goodwin
    OF: Billy Burns
    BN: Breet Newsome
    BN: Justin Cuevas
    BN: Sam Palace
    BN: Carlos Alvarez
    BN: Wade Moore

    1. You think Ray, Meyer, Purke all start in Potomac? What about Hansen and McKenzie? Turnbull and Monar? Rodriguez and Meza?

        1. But the pitchers and the inherent uncertainty are often more fun to debate! I think McGeary and Grace are two in the starting rotation. I also think Meyer starts at Hagerstown. I think Ray goes to Potomac. I’m torn on the others since we don’t know how the organization wants to use them – starter vs. reliever. I think the one that could leapfrog between Dupra, Monar and Hill and as Luke indicated is the one that could give good relief innings at Potomac. Or, who has less to be fixed. On another note, any idea which pitchers are heading to Spring Training early?

          1. I’m following quite a few of the Nats minor leaguers (and if you’re reading, please give me a follow @nats_prospects) and if I see any chatter from them I’ll ask. I’m aware there’s only so much they can divulge, and in the spirit of disclosure: I’ve known more than I put in the blog. But that’s just part of my roots as a newspaper guy. It’s a little do ut des, if you will.

            Last year, a couple of the beat writers produced a list of the “accelerated minicamp” but that was the first time that I can recall that happening. I’m hoping they will again, because this spring training I’m gonna need all the pegs I can get. Bryce Harper’s gonna be covered every which way but loose, so I’m going to try to not follow the herd. Wish me luck!

      1. Yes I have Ray, Meyer, and Purke all in Potomac. Hansen and McKenzie are in my extra players spots. Turnbull, Monar, Rodriguez, and Meza I have startin in XST untill other movement happens(guys stink, get hurt, move up)

        I think that Grisz was just sent home, being he still has tallent, and could be a decent peace in the future

        1. I’m not sure Ray, Meyer, and Purke all are in Potomac as I have to believe the organization wants to see them all as starters and there are limited starter spots available. I also don’t think you will see Turnbull, Monar, or Rodriquez in XST. I have to think we will see some pitchers get cut during second rounds to make some more room.

    2. Do you think Grisz is even still in the organization? He was a f.a. signing, pitched well, then was booted off the team halfway through the season. No surprise the F.O. didn’t say anything at all.

  4. I wonder if Rendon is too good for low-A. Lots of complaints last year about Boston putting Bryce Brentz in Low-A, where he promptly hit 11 homers in 40 games. However, based on his injury issues maybe low-A isn’t a bad place to get him started and get him hitting. Look for a quick promtion to high-A if so.

    1. Brentz is a horrific fielder, so I have to wonder if that was also a factor, too.

      It’s pretty infrequent for a draft pick to play in Potomac the April after he was drafted — one or two a year, and most have been pitchers. If Rizzo took it slow with Harper, why would he be more aggressive with Rendon? That’s my general feeling.

      1. Rendon is older is one reason – but I think think Hagerstown for him is the right call. I think he may get the quick up treatment that Harper got as well.

        But do you really think they are going to start Rendon at 2b? I know that GMs prevaricate as easily as breath, but he seems to indicate that they will start Rendon at 3b and only move him down the line.

        1. Start there? Yes. Stay there, not so sure. To play off Todd Boss, we could see him play in Hagerstown for a few weeks at 2B then move up to Potomac and play 3B (this would bump Blake Kelso, but I don’t see that as a problem since he’s bounced around the Hagerstown IF). The Suns stint would get him into a hitting groove and take some pressure off the shoulder while he stretches it out for 3B.

          There are a lot of mixed reports regarding the wing — ranging from “it’s nothing” to “it might require surgery” — but when nearly every story has some variation of “he’s building strength for next season,” it’s not something to be taken lightly — especially when he spent much of his last season at Rice as the DH.

  5. As the SNL crew said, “Its not over til’ its over.” Or its not over til the fat lady sings attributed to Dick Motta.

    Me thinks guessing pitchers is hard because well … some are close to major league ready and others aren’t.

    In the case of position players either they are good offensively and pathetic defensively or the reverse …

    And now Luke Skywalker meets the Outlier: Anthony Rendon. A guy who has been called gold glove caliber in the field by scouts and the best college hitter in over a decade …

    NOW that is one guy I would not guess on … he may be way better than Harper. Then what? What would Scooby Rizzo do? What would Shaggy D Johnson say?

  6. Hague could be an interesting case this spring. I’ve gone back & forth on him between XST & Potomac to start 2012, given the unknown condition of his shoulder. If he stays back in Viera, HAG should still have the flexibility to cover it easily (Skole to 3B, Ortega to SS, Miller to 1B).

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