Thursday, January 5, 2012

Projecting the Full-Season Ball Rosters for 2012: Relief 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 position I'm going to look at today is Relief Pitching.

As it is right now I see 6 locks in the Rays bullpen: Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Jacob McGee, J.P. Howell, Fernando Rodney and Burke Badenhop. As I fully expect one starter to be traded between now and Spring Training, I don't see any of the starters moving to the pen. Therefore, there is 1 more opening. Right now I go with my intuition and say that Brandon Gomes gets the final spot in the pen (does Cesar Ramos have an option left? I thought not, but I see right now that he has? If not, I see the Rays giving him the 7th spot in the pen).

Durham Bulls:

Cesar Ramos (L), Dane De la Rosa (R), Josh Lueke (R), Jhonny Nunez (R), Jay Buente (R), Matt Bush (R), Marquis Fleming (R), Zachary Quate (R), Ryan Reid (R)

This projection is very much subject to change as Ramos, De la Rosa and Lueke could very well start the season in the majors as injuries can and probably will happen. The lack of left handed relievers behind Cesar Ramos (I left Frank De los Santos, Sergio Espinosa and Neil Schenk in AA) should also be addressed. Ramos, De la Rosa, Lueke, Nunez and Buente provide high quality depth for the majors while I'm eager to see how Matt Bush progresses as a pitcher and how Fleming, Quate and Reid handle AAA. If the Rays sign 1-2 more pitchers for Durham, I see Quate and Reid starting in AA once again.

Montgomery Biscuits:

Alex Koronis (R), Merrill Kelly (R), Scott Shuman (R), Kirby Yates (R), Ricky Orta (R), Neil Schenk (L), Sergio Espinosa (L), Chad Thall (L), Adam Liberatore (L)

If you remember this post, I've projected the '12 Biscuits rotation as a combination of Colome-Thompson-Cruz-Lobstein-Dyer-De los Santos. This leaves Alex Koronis and Merrill Kelly out of the rotation. As I think that their futures will be in the pen, they'll start their road (hopefully) to the majors as full-time-relievers in 2012. I could even see Alex Koronis being used in high leverage situations next to Scott Shuman, Kirby Yates and Neil Schenk or Josh Satow. Overall, the bullpen is full of a bit older prospects who all have performed well at some point. With their experience, they should do very well next season in AA. UPDATE: Josh Satow was released by the Rays.

Charlotte Stone Crabs:

Lenny Linsky (R), Matt Stabelfield (L), Chris Rearick (L), Jimmy Patterson (L), Nate Garcia (R), Austin Hubbard (R), Felix Fuentes (R), Stephen Hiscock (R), Eliazer Suero (R), Victor Mateo (R)

The Rays won't have any difficulties finding relief pitchers for their affiliate in the Florida State League. I counted 14 possible candidates for those spots, listing 10 of them up there. Bowling Green standouts Chris Rearick, Nate Garcia and Jimmy Patterson will handle high leverage situations together with Matt Stabelfield and Lenny Linsky. I see Linsky - who projects as a high leverage reliever in the majors - as the closer. Austin Hubbard, Felix Fuentes, Stephen Hiscock, Eliazer Suero and Victor Mateo (long man?) round out a crowded pen. Other candidates for the Stone Crabs BP include: Justin Woodall (I've him in Bowling Green), Drew Leary and Jairo de la Rosa (injured all of '11 ... does anybody know something new?)

Bowling Green Hot Rods:

Justin Woodall (L), Matt Ramsey (R; ready come Spring?), David Kubiak (R), Jacob Partridge (L), Charlie Cononie (R), Robert Dickman (L), Theron Geith (L), Garret Smith (R), Shay Crawford (L),
Stayton Thomas (R), Daniel Bream (R), Wilmer Almonte (R; injured all of '11), Matt Spann (L), Jason McEachern (R)

So, that's tough. I've about 17-19 pitchers who should be considered for a role in the Hot Rods pen. I've trimmed it down a bit to 14 but even of those 14 some might start in Hudson Valley while others might be released. Justin Woodall, Matt Ramsey (if healthy) and David Kubiak should be used in high leverage situations while Wilmer Almonte (healthy?), Matt Spann and Jason McEachern could all see some starts during the season. If coming out of the pen, especially Matt Spann could be used in high leverage situations as well. Other possibilities for the BG pen could be: Lucas Irvine (R), Jesse Hahn (R), Jeff Ames (R), Matt Swilley (R), Pedro Silvestre, Ian Kendall (R) or Roberto Gomez (R).


  1. Richard De Lo Santos? I think Hunter Hill is no longer a Ray.

  2. De los Santos was a MiL-FA. Did the Rays sign him back?

    Thx on Hunter Hill. Couldn't find the report earlier on.

  3. RDLS is still a free agent and Hill is gone. On free agents, here are the players from 2011 who filed and are still available:

    4 major leagers: Juan Cruz, Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman and Dan Johnson.

    Minor leaguers: Daniel Mayora, JJ Furmaniak, John Matulia, Joe Bateman, Deivis Mavarez, RDLS, Lance Cormier, and Paul Phillips.

    Rob Delaney was the most recent off the list, signing with the Marlins.

  4. I saw a very bright future for Hahn. I haven't even heard his name in a while, is he hurt or just disappointing?

  5. So you dont think Partridge has a spot in the BG line up.Saw him pitch last year.The games i saw he pitched real well.Think he deserves a chance at starting pitcher.

  6. Partridge should be in Bowling Green. I don't see him getting a rotation spot, though.

  7. I find it interesting that you have Linsky replacing Rearick/Hubbard as the closer at Charlotte.Linsky has pitched 24 professional innings in 16 outings with 3 saves while the other pair had a combined 149 innings and 30 saves in 96 appearances just for the 11' season.Rearick was named reliever of the year by the Ray's organization.I did see Linsky pitch when he was called up to BG, I can't say I was blown away enough for him to leapfrog all these other guys with all their experience....... maybe I wasn't paying good enough attention.I have enjoyed all the projections though, keep up the good work.

  8. Re: Jesse Hahn. He underwent Tommy John surgery in July of 2010. It was somewhat disappointing to not see him at all in games last year, but I haven't heard anything about a setback and I'd expect him to be in a short-season league after extended spring training this year.

  9. I watched Linsky miss bats as closer in Hawaii for 2 years. He made a lot of good batters look pretty bad. He gets lots of ground balls off his sinker, and I never saw anyone hit his slider. His mental makeup was perfect for a closer. He gets fired up in pressure situations and was able to focus that energy into outs. He has had similar results at every level so far. I'd push him until he falters, he looks to be an ideal fit for the AL East pressure cooker.

  10. Just read on Baseball America that LHP JOSH SATOW was released.

  11. @Anon 2:52: It doesn't matter that much whether you are closing or whether you are used in other high-leverage situations. However, I think that the Rays want their best relief pitching prospects to internalize a closers' mentality. And I think Lenny Linsky might be their best relief pitching prospect in the minors. Rearick, Patterson, Hubbard and Garcia will pitch in high leverage situations, though ... and I'm very much looking forward to how they do in these situations.

    @Kevin: I expect him to start in HDV as well while still hoping that he progresses enough for a spot in the BG rotation. He has/had tremendous upside.

    @Aloha: Thank you very much for the input.

    @Anon 9:56: Thank you. While not having much of a major league upside, he played very well in the minors. All the best to Josh Satow.

  12. Disappointed that Josh Satow was released. I hope this was a request by him, and not the Rays doing.

  13. Satow just gets people out! He is a winner and hopefully he can get picked up and continue his quest!!! Good Luck 2.29 era makes no sense but overloaded farm not a bad thing!

  14. Jason McEachern relief pitcher??? I'm not sure what leads to you to believe this but I personally believe from watching him pitch in hudson valley that theres no way he will be in the pen. He should be in the rotation.