Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Projecting the Full-Season Ball Rosters for 2012: Starting Pitching

In this series I'm going to take a quick look at the probable roster of each full season minor league affiliate at the beginning of the 2012 season. I'm going through it position by position. Keep in mind that these projections are very much subject to change (trades could happen, Rays could be more aggressive/conservative with some players, ...). We are going to do more in-depth pieces about the final roster for each affiliate when they are set. This is only to give you a short peek. For more information on the current state of the Rays Depth Chart, check out Doug's great work.

The first position I'm going to look at is Starting Pitching.

Right now I'm projecting the following 6 starting pitchers to start in the majors in 2012: James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann. Come March I think one of these 6 will be traded. Nevertheless, this leaves Alex Cobb and Alex Torres in Durham.

Durham Bulls:

Alex Cobb (R), Alex Torres (L), Chris Archer (R), Nick Barnese (R), Matt Torra (R), Jim Paduch (R)

The rotation in Durham should be very solid in 2012. Alex Cobb, Chris Archer and Alex Torres provide the Bulls with three prospects who are projected to end up in a major league rotation (with Cobb and Torres (nearly) being major league ready) and Nick Barnese is a solid prospect on his own. The rotation will be filled out with a bit older minor leaguers like Matt Torra, Jim Paduch and whomever I'm missing or will be signed in recent months. Shane Dyer (R) and Frank De los Santos (L) could be other possibilities.

Montgomery Biscuits:

Alex Colome (R), Jacob Thompson (R), Joseph Cruz (R), Kyle Lobstein (L), Shane Dyer (R), Frank de los Santos (L)

Alex Colome is the big name here in the rotation. It will be interesting to see whether he can take the next step in his development (offspeed pitches). Joseph Cruz is coming off an injury plagued season while showing solid results and stuff in years past. Kyle Lobstein has transformed into a nice pitchability guy. We'll see whether he'll hit the AA-wall. Jacob Thompson, Merrill Kelly and Alex Koronis seem to be better suited for the pen. Nevertheless, I think at least Thompson will be tried out in the rotation at the beginning of the season. Shane Dyer and Frank de los Santos are a bit older and could be slated into the end of the Bulls rotation as well. Overall, I don't see this rotation dominating the Southern League in 2012. Come midseason, though, help could be on its way to Montgomery (especially Albert Suarez and Wilking Rodriguez).

Charlotte Stone Crabs:

Enny Romero (L), Albert Suarez (R), Wilking Rodriguez (R), C.J. Riefenhauser (L), Braulio Lara (L), George Jensen (R)

I'm much more looking forward to the Stone Crabs' compared to the Biscuits rotation. Enny Romero is the most intriguing SP prospect in full season ball (with Moore in the bigs and Guerrieri in SS-ball) in my eyes and I'm looking forward to seeing him grow. Albert Suarez and Wilking Rodriguez had injury plagued seasons but are very much liked by the Rays. I hope and think that we see why in 2012. C.J. Riefenhauser was excellent in Bowling Green and I'm very much looking forward to see what he can do in Port Charlotte and Braulio Lara has intriguing stuff while not showing it on the mound (yet). George Jensen, Victor Mateo (R) or Jason McEachern (R) add depth to the rotation.

Bowling Green Hot Rods:

Parker Markel (R), Ryan Carpenter (L), Felipe Rivero (L), Andrew Bellatti (R), Grayson Garvin (L), Jake Floethe (R)

This will be another very intriguing rotation in 2012. Parker Markel (can he pitch according to the scouting reports?), Ryan Carpenter (can he re-gain some velocity) and Felipe Rivero (I think he'll make the jump over Hudson Valley) are very interesting prospects. Andrew Bellatti showed no weaknesses on the mound as well and he is very young. And Grayson Garvin is another highly anticipated prospect who might start his professional career in Bowling Green. Jake Floethe and Jason McEachern (can he finally show in BG what he did in the NY-P League?) give even more depth to the rotation while 2011 1st. supp. pick Jeff Ames, Matt Spann or Ian Kendall could join Felipe Rivero and move up from Princeton to Bowling Green. If they do, they (especially Spann and Kendall) seem to be unlikely to crack the rotation, though. Jesse Hahn (R), who had TJS before being drafted in 2010, could start his professional career in Bowling Green as well while I think that the Rays will take it slow with him, letting him throw in extended spring training before starting for the Renegades. Hudson Valley could have some very high draft picks coming their way in '12. Josh Sale, Taylor Guerrieri, Jesse Hahn, Jake Hager and Justin O'Conner are only some names who could play in Wappinger Falls next year.


  1. Thx ... forgot about him. He's included now!

  2. Great post ! This is the information I was looking for.

  3. what is the deal with rivero i think spann and kendall pitched better in princeton and what happens with henderson spring trainging will be important for them all

  4. What about Partridge think he did well enough to start in bowling green rotation what are your thoughts

  5. Interesting topic Burgi. Maybe you, Doug and Kevin could work on roster projections until the end of March to see who gets the most right. I had McEachern, Bellatti, Partridge, Markel, Carpenter and Spann as possible starters for the Hot Rods.

  6. As always, the spots for Bowling Green are the most difficult to predict. I just break down what my thinking was:
    1) Parker Markel, Andrew Bellatti and Ryan Carpenter played very well in Hudson Valley and they also project as future starters. I think they are locks for the BG rotation. Especially Carpenter could be on the move to Port Charlotte during the season, though.
    2) Grayson Garvin's scouting reports say that he is very advanced. I think that he could even start in Port Charlotte while I tend to thinking that the Rays won't skip him over BG.
    3) I have always been a fan of Felipe Rivero and I was glad to see him getting lots of credit from BA. I think that he'll take a similar path like Enny Romero (while having slightly less stuff) and I wouldn't move him to the pen.
    4) Jake Floethe should (at least in some games) start and he should play in BG. I think that 6 starters are very much an option for BG and the Rays did it before.
    5) Jason McEachern was excellent in SS-ball, but not very good in 1,5 years in BG. I'm a fan of him and his pinpoint control. It's very much a possibility to move him to A+ and see what he can do there but I had to make a decision and I'd put him in the BG pen as a long man.
    6) Jeff Ames: This was the toughest one. He SHOULD start in BG but I don't see an opening. Maybe moving Floethe to the pen? Otherwise, he needs to work on his offspeed pitches. Lets slot him into the Hudson Valley rotation and let him work on his offspeed stuff until then.
    7) Ian Kendall: See 6), while a move to the pen might be nearer for him than for Ames.
    8) Matt Spann: Very tough case. He SHOULD be in the BG rotation as well but I don't see an opening. I'd definitely move him to BG anyway ... he will be in the pen also getting longer looks.
    9) Jacob Partridge: He unfortunately hasn't developed as hoped and while I think he'll be in BG next year, I think it will and should (considering 1 to 8) be out of the pen.
    10) Brandon Henderson: He's another favourite of mine as he has excellent pitchability. He should be in the HV-rotation in '12.

  7. Good points BurGi! However, I see the College guys given a shot at Charlotte in the spring, Carpenter and Floethe...both have potential plus arms and Floethe 2 years removed from TJ will even be better with his power sinker and slider! He was very consistent, groundball after groundball, very few balls were lifted in his HV starts. He may come out of the pen in Charlotte or put in the rotation in BG. I see him up in the 92-94 range this summer. If he improves his consistency he will be very tough. Carpenter needs to start where ever he goes. He has to be more consistant with his velocity and if he is he will break camp with Charlotte, he can pitch, hides the ball well. Belatti, Markel and McEachen will start in BG they are on the HS slow progression tract. Markel and McEachen have better stuff than Belatti and will start before him. Grayson will be tested in BG and then promoted to Charlotte if he excels. Partrigde has to have a great spring to start in BG but may come out of the pen but needs to throw quality strikes if he does. Still young! TB has a great many talented arms and not enough rotation spots...could be an interesting spring training! I believe HV will have a loaded staff this summer same as last year! Just my 2 cents!

  8. Frank DeLos Santos is a bum - this is a guy who couldnt hold a nine run lead in relief last summer. Stick a fork in him, hes done.

    Not being mean, just a fact of life. Few guys make it to montgomery with the kind of terrible stuff Frankie has shown and I dont know how he managed to stick with the team all summer. When he was summoned from the bullpen, fans literally packed up and left!