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The pitchers invited to this year's minicamp

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As TR Sullivan relayed today, the arms being brought in to work with Mike Maddux and the new staff:

[Guillermo} Moscoso will be in the first group along with Matt Harrison, Luis Mendoza, Thomas Diamond, Derek Holland, John Bannister, Kasey Kiker, Blake Beavan and Tim Murphy. The second group will consist of Warner Madrigal, Brandon McCarthy, Tommy Hunter, Doug Mathis, Neftali Feliz, Michael Ballard, Omar Poveda, Andrew Laughter, Michael Main and Eric Hurley.

I think this is always an interesting list, since it gives a good look at who the organization view as their most prominent young arms. Harrison and McCarthy are prime candidates for rotation spots. Mendoza, Bannister and Mathis are on the 40-man roster. And Ballard and Laughter pitched reasonably well at Frisco. Each of those guys could see the major league roster at some point this year.

According to the LSB Community Prospect Rankings, the best pitching prospects in the system are:

1. LHP, Derek Holland
2. RHP, Neftali Feliz
4. RHP, Michael Main

8. LHP, Martin Perez
10. RHP, Eric Hurley
12. RHP, Blake Beavan
13. RHP, Wilfredo Boscan
14. RHP, Neil Ramirez
15. LHP, Kasey Kiker
17. RHP, Wilmer Font
18. RHP, Omar Poveda
19. LHP, Robbie Ross
20. RHP, Tommy Hunter
21. RHP, Thomas Diamond

22. RHP, Joe Wieland
23. LHP, Tim Murphy (Tie)
25. RHP, Warner Madrigal

27. RHP, Kennil Gomez
28. RHP, Pedro Strop
30. RHP, Carlos Pimentel

Moscoso would have made the list if he'd been traded prior to the voting. My guess is that Murphy, Main and Beavan will start the season in High A, and that separates them from the other lower level guys, Perez, Boscan, Ramirez, Font, Ross, Wieland and Pimentel, who will all be in Low A or go to Extended Spring Training at the start of the season.

Strop wasn't expected to be ready to pitch until a little later as he rehabs his arm, so his exclusion is no surprise. One guy who I would have liked to have seen invited is Gomez, and I would take his exclusion as evidence that his health is still an issue.

So who did guys like Ballard, Laughter and Mathis get invited in front of? Pitchers of some degree of prominence who should be at the High A level or higher to start next season: Jared Hyatt, Michael Schlact, Evan Reed, Beau Jones, Brennan Garr, Zach Phillips, Joseph Ortiz, Mark Hamburger, Joe Torres, Willie Eyre and Kason Gabbard. Dustin Nippert could have been included but presumably wasn't for reasons other than his prominence in the organization in 2009. He did pitch in winter ball, for example. From the sideline I would have liked to have seen Beau Jones and possibly Evan Reed warrant inclusion, so Ballard and Laughter being ahead of them is somewhat telling.