Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thoughts About The Charlotte Stone Crabs Roster

The rotation will be something like Matt Moore -> Nick Barnese -> Joseph Cruz -> Frank De Los Santos -> Chris Andujar, with Mike Jarman also capable of starting (10 starts for Bowling Green last year). Star power and depth makes this rotation pretty formidable. I don't see another Florida State League team that can match it on paper to start the season.

The pen also looks great: backend of Josh Satow (L), Zach Quate (R), and Marquis Fleming (R), with mid-/late-inning guys in Tom Rafferty (R) and Neil Schenk (L), and swingman Jarman (L). As to closer, do they go with the leftie Satow, the dominant but young Quate, or the overlooked Fleming (2.86 ERA, 9.7 K/9, .227 BAA at BG last year)? My guess is Satow (2.29 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 at BG), who was the closer over Fleming at BG in 2009. Quate is making such a jump from HV I don't think he'll close until later in the season. Of course, if he's as dominant as he was with HV (0.35 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 1.4 BB/9), or if Satow gets promoted to Montgomery at some point, then Quate should get the job.

Just a great rotation and pen. Love this pitching staff. Now the offense, not as much. Like the catchers, solid defense, Jake Jefferies has the best bat. You know about Tim Beckham and Matt Sweeney (part of the haul for Kazmir), and Mike Sheridan could finally live up to his draft potential. I love Kyeong Kang, as regular readers know all too well, and Isaias Velasquez has a decent bat and is versatile defensively. But that's about it as I see it today.

Bottom line: Can this team score enough runs to support a great pitching staff and return the Stone Crabs to the FSL Championship?

My personal guess is no, and not just because of the questionable offense. Charlotte sits in a tough place in the Rays organization. When top prospects start the season at high-A, if they meet expectations in the first half, they have a good chance to be promoted to AA around the mid-season mark. That means guys like Moore, Barnese, Satow, Beckham, and Sweeney are all candidates to move up to Montgomery come July. Now they all won't be (Moore, Beckham, and Sweeney are the most likely to me), but if even a couple are promoted, that would deal a serious blow to the Crabs championship hopes.

Let's hope I'm wrong and the Stone Crabs exceed my expectations, just as they did last season. Great fans, wonderful front office staff, lots of top prospects; no matter the outcome, this will definitely be an exciting year in Port Charlotte.

[Edit to add re Kang]: Rays 2009 minor league OPS leaders with at least 250 AB's (and yes I know: OPS isn't everything, defense/position, SB's, relatively week hitting prospects last season, etc., but still...):
Rk                     Age     Tm  AB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1     Desmond Jennings  22 MTGDHM 497 .318 .401 .487  .888
2       Chris Richard*  35    DHM 365 .263 .364 .521  .885
3         Kyeong Kang*  21    BWG 316 .307 .390 .491  .880
4           Jon Weber*  31    DHM 451 .302 .382 .497  .879
5        Rhyne Hughes*  25 MTGDHM 440 .282 .350 .516  .866
6       Matthew Joyce*  24    DHM 417 .273 .373 .482  .855
7    Alejandro Segovia  19 VN2DVS 258 .306 .382 .469  .851
8        Cody Cipriano  24 POEMTG 386 .262 .358 .396  .755
9        Reid Brignac*  23    DHM 415 .282 .327 .417  .744
10        Henry Mateo#  32    DHM 307 .277 .353 .388  .741
11     Justin Ruggiano  27    DHM 471 .253 .330 .412  .741
12    Rashad Eldridge#  27 MTGDHM 469 .288 .370 .369  .738
13    Isaias Velasquez  21    BWG 428 .278 .342 .390  .733
14          John Jaso*  25    DHM 331 .266 .362 .366  .727
15         Tim Beckham  19    BWG 491 .275 .328 .389  .717
16         Matt Fields  23 MTGPOE 485 .252 .302 .406  .708
17         Chris Nowak  26 DHMMTG 437 .268 .332 .373  .705
18      Shawn OMalley#  21    POE 366 .268 .388 .311  .699
19     Jake Jefferies*  21    BWG 440 .261 .326 .359  .686
20         J. T. Hall*  25    MTG 299 .221 .323 .358  .681
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 4/6/2010.


  1. I think Quate will close. Lot of Matt Gorgen similarities.

  2. To start the season? At some point, sure. But Satow has full-season experience, plus a couple of games at A+. Even though he's a smaller leftie, I think he's the primary closer at least for April/May.

  3. I don't think the Rays would skip Quate a level and not make him the closer.

  4. I think that SATOW is going to be the Set-Up Pitcher and QUATE will be the Closer. They would make a great combination for the StoneCrabs.

  5. Will there be a Stonecrabs scrimmage today? If so, when will it start?

  6. I haven't seen anything about one, but Jim or Nick would definitely be able to better answer that