Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Projecting the Full-Season Ball Rosters for 2012: Outfield

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 position I'm going to look at today is the Outfield.

It more and more looks as if B.J. Upton will stay with the Rays ... at least for the start of the season. This puts Desmond Jennings, Matt Joyce, Sam Fuld and him into the Rays outfield. As the Rays are looking for impact bats, lots of additional COF/DH types could land with the Rays until Spring Training (Kyle Blanks, Jesus Guzman, Luke Scott, Kendry Morales, Johnny Damon, ...). I expect one addition of the COF/DH mold (+ one 1B) happening. This would mean that either Elliot Johnson, Justin Ruggiano or Brandon Guyer will get spot #25 on the roster. Knowing the Rays I think they'll give the spot to Johnson in order of having Guyer playing every day in Durham. And if an additional spot with projected limited playing time is open I expect them to go with Ruggiano.

Durham Bulls:

Stephen Vogt (L/LF), Kyeong Kang (L/mostly RF), Leslie Anderson (L/LF), Brandon Guyer (R/RF and CF), John Shelby (R/CF), Emeel Salem (L/CF)

Having said this, the Durham corner outfield positions should look decent, even if Guyer starts in the majors. Stephen Vogt, Kyeong Kang and Leslie Anderson should be in Durham come Spring Training. With Brandon Guyer in Durham, no additional COF depth signings for the majors are needed. Regarding CF: John Shelby should start in Durham while I have no update on Emeel Salem's knee injury. Behind them, I'd start Isaias Velasquez in Montgomery. I could see an additional signing for the Bulls outfield. Maybe one of Ruggiano (if not in majors)/Matulia will be signed to a MiL deal?

Montgomery Biscuits:

Ty Morrison (L/CF), Isaias Velazquez (R/CF), Chris Murrill (L/LF and RF), Brett Nommensen (L/RF)
, Anthony Scelfo (L/LF)

Ladies and Gentleman, this might just be the fastest minor league outfield in Rays history. The 5 players add up to (114+70+41+100+76) 401 SB in their pro careers. Breaking it down position by position, both, Morrison and Velazquez, should see time in center field with both playing some COF as well. Brett Nommensen should be the primary RF while Chris Murrill and Anthony Scelfo should play most of the time in left field. Additionally I see Scelfo filling in at 2B and 3B and all outfielders rotating into the DH role as well. This gives all five of them enough plate appearances and adds even more speed to a roster that also features Hak-Ju Lee and Tyler Bortnick. On the other side, I don't see much in the power production sector in Montgomery this year as Mark Thomas might be the only power bat in the lineup (assuming Henry Wrigley moving up and no minor league free agents added).

Charlotte Stone Crabs:

Mikie Mahtook (R/RF and CF), Kevin Kiermaier (L/OF), Cody Rogers (L/OF)
, Todd Glaesmann (R/RF) and Steven Tinoco (R/LF and RF)

Man do the Rays have speed in their A+ and AA outfields. Kevin Kiermaier and Cody Rogers are two more very speedy guys with Mikie Mahtook being very fast as well. This leads to another lineup with multiple guys being capable of playing an adequate center fielder. Therefore, I see the Rays moving Tood Glaesmann to RF full time leaving Mahtook, Kiermaier and Rogers as CF possibilities. Mikie Mahtood should spare Todd Glaesmann in RF and play as the primary CFer in order to receive more than 500 PA's. Cody Rogers should play regularly in LF while providing excellent depth for CF as well as RF and Kevin Kiermaier should mostly play CF while providing depth for the corners. Steven Tinoco (who could also see some time at 1B) adds even more depth to Left and Right Field. All 5 should rotate into the DH spot as well. Overall, while Charlotte has a very speedy OF as well, these 5 are much more powerful hitters than the 5 in Montgomery. Especially Mahtook, Glaesmann and Rogers are can-do-it-all forwards in the making.

Bowling Green Hot Rods:

Drew Vettleson (L/RF)
, Kes Carter (L/CF and RF), Craig Lyerly (R/LF and CF), Joel Caminero (R/OF), Nicholas Schwaner (L/LF)

I could see Drew Vettleson (in right), Kes Carter (in center) and Craig Lyerly (in left) being the primary starters for the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Joel Caminero (at all 3 positions) and Nick Schwaner (in left field and at 1B/3B) are the only backups I can think of for the Hot Rods (as the Renegades OF has been released and as I don't see, while not being surprised if it happens, Josh Sale moving up to Bowling Green at the start of the season). These outfielders won't rotate into the DH role either as the Hot Rods have a much more crowded infield.


  1. Nice lineups here. I am excited to see the stone crabs and hotrods lineups but teams could be very strong next years. :-)

  2. wow our minor league OF while deep is pretty weak outside of Mahtook and Vettleson who will be both be in A ball.

  3. Dude mahtook and vettleson aren't the only good outfielders in the minor league system. I mean you got some guys with some serious speed and guys that can hit for average. Maybe you should just stick for pulling for your bulls since you obviously can't see any other beside mahtook and vettleson. Yea those guys are the best of the outfielder but there is way more talent.

  4. @DBullsFan: I also think that the OF is much deeper than some other positions in the system (C, 1B come to mind). Next to Vettleson and Mahtook, the Rays have some players in the upper levels who could contribute to the major league club in the near future, they have some raw guys with potential (e.g.: Morrison, Glaesmann) and also other very interesting prospects (Carter, Velasquez, Rogers).
    It could be much deeper, though, and the Rays would be much more willing to trade B.J. Upton if they'd have more MLB-ready OF talent behind Brandon Guyer.

  5. @Anon 11:26: Watch your tone, please.

  6. Where is Matulia ?
    Where is Shelby ?
    Carter 100% healthy ?
    Dixon to HV ?
    Glaesmann played well in Australia,may have a breakout year if stays healthy !
    Anderson and Ruggiano aging,last shot at bigs ?
    Guyer may start at Durham,but I see him playing mlb quite a bit in 2nd half
    Morrison,Keirmaier,Rogers,Scelfo,someone with speed will need to break out some power.Cody may have the best pop out of this group!
    Rooting for Schwaner and Lyerly to do well !

  7. 1) Matulia is a MiL-FA. He could be an option as another OF for Durham. (
    2) I thought about Shelby but forgot to put him in the post. Shame on me. He is in now. Thx.
    3) I don't know anything about Carter's injury status.
    4) Sounds good to me.
    5) I hope so too, while his BB/K numbers were still not pretty.
    6) Last shot with the Rays but I could see Ruggs being a long time Bull.
    7) Me, too
    8) Rogers has the biggest power ceiling. I also hope for Morrison to finally put a good and injury free season together
    9) Rooting for them as well!

  8. Over the past three years Tampa Bay has only skipped a couple of relievers over Bowling Green and no position players. Mikie Mahtook will start out in B.G. and if he plays well will be with the Stone Crabs by midseason. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

  9. That could very well be, Diamondtom!

  10. I feel like either lyerly or schwaner will get cut either before spring training or after. I definately don't think come spring both of them will be around, I feel one will definately get cut. Hate to see either of those boys go.

  11. joel caminero is the best playerr of the minor league rays

  12. is there any chance at all that guyer will start in RF with joyce at DH and scott at 1B?

  13. Look's like Pena will be the first baseman with his one year 7.25 million contract.

  14. I'm really disgusted with TB's treatment of Casey Kotchman right now. Talk about slapping someone who did so much for the team last year. I wish him well on another team, and hope he gets the respect he deserved, and didn't get, from the TampaBay Rays. And what about Johnny Damon? Heading elsewhere? So sorry to see them both go.

  15. Yeah, Tampa Bay didn't help Casey at all. Giving him a job last season and extending his career was terrible treatment. I'm disgusted too. I'm also disgusted at MLB in general for colluding against Kotch seeing how no other team has signed him.

  16. Projections from BA, posted by Stacy Long.

    BA list has 5 to Biscuits, 7 to Crabs, 8 to Hot Rods
    In another sign that spring grows near, I pulled the Baseball America Prospect Handbook out of my mailbox today. Of their top 31 Rays prospects, BA projects five with Montgomery come April's Opening Day. Here's their Rays people and projected Opening Day destinations ...

    Tampa Bay
    1. LHP Matt Moore
    11. OF Brandon Guyer (if there's an opening)

    3. RHP Chris Archer
    6. LHP Alex Torres
    7. SS Tim Beckham
    22. C/OF/1B Stephen Vogt

    2. SS Hak-Ju Lee
    5. RHP Alex Colome
    19: RHP Matt Bush (it says "could" be in MGM. I'd think he'll be at Durham)
    29. 2B Tyler Bortnick
    30. RHP Jake Thompson

    8. LHP Enny Romero
    10. OF Mikie Mahtook
    13. SS Derek Dietrich
    15. C Luke Bailey
    17. RHP Albert Suarez (BA not specific)
    21. LHP Braulio Lara
    23. RHP Wilking Rodriguez

    Bowling Green
    9. OF Drew Vettleson
    12. SS Jake Hager
    14. 2B Ryan Brett
    16. RHP Parker Markel
    24. RHP Lenny Linsky
    26. OF Kes Carter ("could" be in BWG)
    28. LHP Felipe Rivero* (depends on spring performance)
    31. 1B Jeff Malm

    Hudson Valley
    27. C Justin O'Conner (BA not specific)
    28. Rivero*

    4. RHP Taylor Guerrieri
    18. 3B Tyler Goeddel
    20. LHP Blake Snell
    25. SS Brandon Martin
    posted by Stacy Long