OK so about 6 weeks ago I took a look at the upcoming roster crunch this coming winter. Its been dubbed the "40-pocolypse" due to the sheer volume of prospects that will need to be added or risk being exposed to the rule 5 draft.
That was mid May when guys were just getting in stride in their seasons and we only had small sample sizes on almost all players. Now we have reached the ASb in most leagues in the minors and guys are beginning to be promoted and their sample sizes are larger. So lets take a look at the current 40 man roster as of July 1st (after the Molina trade)
Locks: Beltre, Feldman, Feliz, Harrison, Holland, Hunter, Kirkman, Lewis, ODay, Ogando, Phillips, Wilson (12)
These guys are pretty much locks for next year
Free agents or contract options: Frankie, Harden, Oliver (1)
Frankie is still a goner after the season. And now Hardens option almost assuredly will be declined. Oliver looks more and more like a wise investment so I think he will be retained.
Uncertains: Hurley, Mathis, McCarthy, Moscoso, Nippert, Poveda, Strop (5)
Hurley and Poveda are both coming off serious injury and how they heal and do this season, in Hurleys case, could go a long way to determine if they lose their 40 spot. McCarthy has once again been injured and as of now looks to be a non-tender. Mathis, Moscoso and Nippert may get DFAd due to the influx of talent for and the less of a need of multiple long men. Strop is a wildcard. Hes got the velocity but hasn't been able to transition that to the majors yet although granted its SSS. For this exercise, I am going to count Hurley, Moscoso, Strop, Nippert, and Poveda on the roster with the others getting dropped.
Changes: Madrigal has already been taken off the 40 and Ray was just traded. So we now have 18 spots taken by pitchers. Ideally I think you want to have 21-23 on the 40 man roster.
The Locks: Salty, Teagarden, Andrus, Davis, Kinsler, Smoak, Young, Borbon, Cruz, Hamilton, Murphy (11)
Still see these players as locks although the catchers are looking more and more like one could get DFAd, most likely Teagarden, or traded, Salty most likely, before the year is out.
Gone: Treanor, Vlad, Molina (1)
Treanor and Molina won't be retained, at least not right away, so they are gone. But I now feel like resigning Vlad will become a serious priority for our FO very early in the winter.
Unknowns: Max, Arias, Boggs, Blanco, Gentry (3)
Max, Boggs and Arias are both out of options either now or after this season so both will have to make the 25 in 2011 or be DFAd. Blanco falls under team control but I doubt we keep him around. Gentry could be a 40 casualty if we need a spot. For this exercise I will keep Max, Boggs and Gentry.
Changes: Retained Vlad which brings the total players protected to 33 leaving 7 open spots for prospects.
Now lets take a look at some of the contenders for those spots (in no particular order)
Scheppers: Stud. Nothing more to say really. 2.36 cumulative ERA between AA and AAA I have no doubt in my mind he makes the Rangers roster by the end of the season
Engel Beltre: Last time I wrote
His recent surge in baseball skills and plate discipline are a wonderful sign from this toolsy kid. Still crazy young and if he continues this for the rest of the season I don't see anyway he doesn't end up in Frisco at some point.
Well he sure as hell continued those skills. Just recently promoted to AA Frisco he had a High A line of 331/376/460. Sure you'd like to see more walks but for a kid his age thats a very impressive line. Obviously we have to see how he does in Frisco but as of now I don't think theres anyway we leave him unprotected.
Wilfredo Boscan (possibly):Coming off a steller 8 IP/ 11 K outing last time for Bakersfield overall this year hes been okay. 4.61 ERA with a almost 3:1 K:BB ratio. Most likely will be traded rather than left exposed but just the type of player we may lose.
Wilmer Font (possibly): Once again last time I wrote:
A little wild this season and has been hittable but that arm is still electric. Pitching in Low A he could see Bakersfield this season.
Pretty accurate still although hes cut down on the hits allowed since being promoted. Currently has a 3.77 ERA in High A and I expect him to finish the season there and if in fact he has to be protected will be.
Danny Gutierrez:Has just come off his suspension and is in Hickory currently. With the trade of Main I wouldn't be surprised to see Gutierrez take that slot in another couple weeks. Possibly coinciding with a Beavan promotion? His ML chances this season went out the window with the suspension but with his repertoire unless he fucks up again I can't see him being left exposed.
Kasey Kiker:Last time I hoped there was an injury to explain his performance and sure enough there was. Hes just come back from that and in relief at that. Most have specuilated that his ultimate spot will be in the pen so depending how he does in the Frisco, and possibly OKC, pen the remainder of the year he could still be a guy we protect. Although thats looking less and less likely.
Marcus Lemon: Struggling in AA. Don't see any way we use a spot on him.
Mitch Moreland. Bounced back from a slow start and currently has a respectable 804 OPS in AAA. Another guy I think will be used as trade fodder.
Beau Jones: Only had one appearance when the first edition went up. Now has 16 and has been very good out of the Frisco pen. 25 K in 19 IP so far and over 3:1 K:BB while getting 1.73 GO/AO.
David Paisano: Has cooled off since his torrid start but still should see Frisco in the near future.
There are still more fringe guys but at this point no one seriously a threat to be protected. Last time I protected Scheppers, Gutierrez, Moreland, Lemon, Beltre, and Font
I will keep Scheppers, Moreland, Beltre, Font, and Gutierrez, and then also protect Jones.
That brings us to only 39 guys. Leaves us room to add a rule 5er possibly or even be able to sign a FA, hello new owners, without making room on the roster. But there are also guys like Blake Beavan, Josh Leuke, Ben Snyder, and Martin Perez who I don't see as having a chance at making the roster this year but could if things go right for them.
Once again thanks to Scott Lucas' site for info on the rule 5