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 next position I'm going to look at is First Base.
Right now one of Russ Canzler/Juan Miranda seems to be the best choice for the 1st Base job in the majors. But, that will almost definitely change till Spring Training with the Rays needing an adequate First Baseman as well as depth in the minors. Candidates include some Padres sluggers (Blanks, Rizzo, Guzman, Alonso), two Angels (Morales PLEASE, Trumbo PLEASE NOT) as well as some Free Agents or other trade targets (Pena, Kotchman, Barton, ...). Therefore I'm projecting Canzler and Miranda to be in Durham come Spring Training.
Russ Canzler (R), Juan Miranda (L), Henry Wrigley (R)
Durham seems to be very well set once again at First Base. Russ Canzler will almost definitely see some time in the Majors in 2012 but unless the Rays only sign one more 1B/DH I don't see him being part of the big league club out of the Spring (barring injuries of course). In Durham, he, Juan Miranda and Henry Wrigley (let's see what he can do in AAA) should share 1B while also rotating into 3B (mostly Wrigley), LF (mostly Canzler) and DH (all three of them). I expect the Rays to sign one more power bat for major league depth (Nick Johnson, please) who will share the 1B/DH/3B/LF duties with Canzler, Miranda, Wrigley, Vogt, Mangini and Leslie Anderson. If then no major leaguer is injured by the start of the season, I could even see Henry Wrigley starting back in AA again. He'd then have his back packed all the time as he should be the first player called up if an injury occurs. But even without this additional bat the Bulls are very well represented at 1B.
Michael Sheridan (L)
That's where it becomes tricky. If Wrigley moves up to AAA the only true First Baseman now within the organization and whom I can imagine being in AA next year is Michael Sheridan. The 2008 5th round draftee was well regarded for his hit tool at the time of the draft but that didn't translate into pro ball (yet). Since Matt Sweeney was picked up by Baltimore in the minor league portion of the rule 5 draft I can only imagine a) Henry Wrigley also starting in AA and manning 3B/1B with Sheridan and Gregory Sexton, b) Gregory Sexton playing some 1B as well and versitale players like Matthew Hall helping out at 3B or c) the Rays bringing in a minor league free agent.
Charlotte Stone Crabs:
Philip Wunderlich (L)
The First Base picture in Port Charlotte should be the same as last year in Bowling Green. Philip Wunderlich will play there most of the time with Steven Tinoco (mostly in the OF) and possibly also Nick Schwaner (also a primarily outfielder) filling in on his days off. Another possibility could be the Rays being aggressive in promoting Jeff Malm or Cameron Seitzer to advanced A. And while I could see both of them playing in Port Charlotte in 2012, I don't think it will be by the start of the season.
Bowling Green Hot Rods:
Jeff Malm (L), Cameron Seitzer (L), Junior Rodriguez (R)
While Montgomery and Charlotte lack high-end 1B prospects, the Hot Rods have two very interesting prospects on their roster come 2012. Jeff Malm was drafted with high praise for his power and while he disappointed in his first two stints in rookie ball, he showed a bit of what he can do last year. His plate approach is solid and he has HR power. Now, he is step-by-step facing better pitching, which will test his hit-tool. Cameron Seitzer was very impressive last year after being drafted in round 11. He should start in A-ball as I think that a jump from Princeton to Port Charlotte might be too steep. Nevertheless, I'm not surprised if Jeff Malm joins his fellow '09 draftees Luke Bailey and Todd Glaesmann in A+ next season, nor if Cameron Seitzer mans 1B in Port Charlotte anywhen in 2012. Junior Rodriguez hit well in limited action last year and seems to be a back-up for both corner infield positions in Bowling Green.
I'm thinking Anderson's days are numbered given his age. He has moments at 1B where he shines, but mostly nothing special. Among your three if Canzler can get his footwork going he's probably got the top slot. Have never seen either Miranda or Wrigley. Given Rays propensity to sweep up a bunch of non-roster folks with opt-out contracts, I'd bet on June or July at the earliest.ReplyDelete
Chris nails the hardest part about Durham, trying to project without knowing which minor league free agents the Rays will sign/re-sign. And they all seem to be RPs and guys who play 1B part-time. I think (as Chris says) that there will be enough 1B-types signed as free agents that Wrigley will be back at Montgomery, which makes sense anyway with only Sheridan really left for AA (as BurGi describes).ReplyDelete
Nothing against Wunderlich, but I wouldn't mind seeing the Rays push Seitzer to Charlotte, like I mentioned with Rice under catchers. So Rice and Seitzer at Charlotte, Bailey and Malm at BG. Heck, go ahead and move Wunderlich up to Montgomery if need be, he's a better bet than Sheridan (offensively at least) at this point.
Mostly a pathetic group. Easily the worst position in our minor league system.ReplyDelete
seriously yall think schwaner will be in charlotte's outfield next year? did anyone see his numbers?ReplyDelete
@Anon 7:13: You're right. He very well could stay in BG. Especially if Mahtook and Glaesmann start in Port Charlotte (as I have it right now). I'm also not sure whether Chris Murrill and Ty Morrison move up to AA or not (right now I have them moving up ... mostly because there are openings in Montgomery's outfield). I'll think about it in more detail when I'm doing the OF-projections. I'm leaning to the following right now. I've included every primarily outfielder within the organization (as of now ... and according to my knowledge):ReplyDelete
AAA: S. Vogt, L. Anderson, J. Shelby, K. Kang, E. Salem (healthy?)
AA: A. Scelfo, T. Morrison, I. Velazquez, B. Nommensen, C. Murrill
A+: C. Rogers, S. Tinoco, K. Kiermaier, T. Glaesmann, M. Mahtook, G. Cohen
A: D. Vettleson, K. Carter, N. Schwaner, C. Lyerly, C. Guillen, J. Caminero
Wowzers there are a lot of outfielder in lower levels. C. Guillen was released this year. I am surprise with all the outfielder that there wasn't some more guys cut. I mean there are 12 outfielder between A+ and A ball.ReplyDelete
Thx for the Guillen fact.ReplyDelete
And it's so many outfielders in A/A+ despite lots of cuts (especially in the outfield) in Hudson Valley this year: (http://www.raysprospects.com/2011/10/minor-moves-rays-release-14-players.html)
G.Cowen also releasedReplyDelete
Does Todd Glaesmann still have the best arm of a+ guys on down ?
Nommenson,Rogers,Morrison the best basestealers of the bunch ?
ALL Hudson Valley's outfielders wre released! Cesar Guillen, Brian Bryles, Chris Winder. Craige Lyerly-a starter for Hudson Valley, was promoted to Bowling Green at the end of the season and then unfairly not even activated---long story there- moved while on an away trip- no luggage, etc...then TB didn't even activate him.ReplyDelete
yea but for craige getting moved up was good for him because i think if he was left in HV he would have been cut as well. so i am sure it was worth not having his luggage for another year of play :) hahaReplyDelete
wrigley and canzler will be the position battle to watch in spring, along with the battle for SS but lets stay with 1B. whoever has a hot spring thats who the rays will choose and who gets the hand shake welcoming them to the majors for the start of the season. both have above average defensive skills and can clearly hit for power and production. low strikeout numbers and playing in the 2 hardest leagues in the minors makes wrigley look a bit better of an option in my opinion due to the top pitching prospects faced. he has been well groomed for the job by tampa. the walk argument dosent do it for me cause i feel thats just one part of the game and can be fixed. as a career 4 hitter thats not what they are asking him to do, they want ball in play type hitting and go out and get a hold of one. my prediction is canzler will get the nod coming out of spring training and wrigley will be number 2 on the overall 1B depth chart starting for the bulls in front of anderson and miranda. shoot at this point if wrigley has a good spring dont be surprised if you see both canzler and wrigley on the squad. its all about having a good utility/starter guy on every squad and i believe you cant go wrong with wrigley being able to play 1B/3B/LF/RF.ReplyDelete