The Texas Rangers minor league affiliates have their team rosters for Opening Day for the Round Rock Express, Frisco Roughriders, Down East Wood Ducks, and Hickory Crawdads.
For Round Rock:
Pitchers — R.J. Alvarez, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Steve Delabar, Paolo Espino, Nick Gardwine, Reed Garrett, David Hurlbut, David Ledbetter, Brandon Mann, Yohander Mendez, Connor Sadzeck, Adrian Sampson, Tayler Scott, Tyler Wagner
Catchers — Carlos Garay, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Brett Nicholas
Infielders -- Hanser Alberto, Ronald Guzman, Andy Ibanez, Cristian Lopes, Trevor Plouffe
Outfielders -- Willie Calhoun, Jose Cardona, Destin Hood
No big surprises here, I don’t think. I hadn’t seen that Delabar agreed to go to the minors — he was in camp on a minor league deal, and I thought had at least the option to opt out -- but anyway, he’s apparently there. Jose Leclerc and Drew Robinson will presumably join this group in the first couple of weeks of April — they are on the big club’s Opening Day roster, but will be optioned, most likely, when Bartolo Colon and Martin Perez are added.
Reed Garrett is a guy to keep an eye on. A 25 year old righthanded pitcher out of VMI, Garrett had a strong finish to the 2017 season in Frisco, and could end up getting a look out of the bullpen at some point in 2018.
I didn’t know that Brandon Mann was is the Rangers system, and its unclear whether his Earth Band will also be in Round Rock.
Looking at this list, you can see why the Rangers were willing to jump through some hoops to try to keep Colon around as pitching depth.
Pitchers — Wes Benjamin, Adam Choplick, Clayton Cook, Tyler Davis, James Dykstra, Brady Feigl, Joe Filomeno, Ariel Jurado, Brett Martin, Cody Palmquist, Pedro Payano, Richelson Pena, Ryne Slack, Jeffrey Springs, Collin Wiles
Catchers -- Chuck Moorman, Josh Morgan, Jose Trevino
Infielders — Michael De Leon, Tommy Joseph, Luis Marte, Luis Mendez, Yanio Perez, Juremi Profar
Outfielders — Eliezer Alvarez, Preston Beck, Hunter Cole, Scott Heineman, Michael O’Neill
Again, pretty much what I think we expected. Jose Trevino is getting another crack at AA pitching after struggling mightily with the bat for Frisco last year. Scott Heineman is a guy on, someone you could see in the majors in September as outfield depth. Alvarez and Joseph were both added to fill empty 40 man spots towards the end of camp, and with Colon and Kevin Jepsen needing to be added to the 40 man roster, those are guys who could be in danger of being waived.
The only real standout arm here is Brett Martin — he and Jurado will be in the rotation, and were I to guess, I’d say Springs, Payano, and either Benjamin or Pena will join him. As is usually the case, there are some interesting off the radar guys here who could end up showing up in Arlington as relief reinforcements. Adam Choplick and Brady Feigl are names worth remembering.
For Down East:
Pitchers -- Edgar Arredondo, Jairo Beras, Kaleb Fontenot, Jonathan Hernandez, James Jones, Jacob Lemoine, Emerson Martinez, Michael Matuella, C.D. Pelham, Jacob Shortslef, Locke St. John, Christian Torres, Walker Weickel, Cole Wiper
Catchers -- Alex Kowalczyk, Ricardo Valencia, Matt Whatley
Infielders — Josh Altmann, Andretty Cordero, Brendon Davis, Charles Leblanc, Anderson Tejeda
Outfielders — LeDarious Clark, Blaine Prescott, Preston Scott, Leody Taveras
A good group here — Leody is Leody, of course, but Tejeda, Davis and Leblanc are all guys on the radar, and Whatley impressed enough in Spokane last year as a 2017 3rd round pick to jump up to high-A for 2018. Mike Matuella and Jacob Lemoine see if they can build on healthy 2017 seasons, James Jones and Jairo Beras continue their outfielder-to-pitcher conversions, and C.D. Pelham and Emerson Martinez are pitchers who generated some buzz in camp.
Pitchers — Josh Advocate, A.J. Alexy, Reid Anderson, Joe Barlow, Dario Beltre, Noah Bremer, Jean Casanova, Alex Eubanks, Demarcus Evans, Joe Kuzia, Sal Mendez, Tyler Phillips, Alex Speas, Tyree Thompson, Grant Zawadzki
Catchers — Sam Huff, Clay Middleton, Melvin Novoa, Yohel Pozo
Infielders — Ryan Dorow, Kole Enright, Yonny Hernandez, Justin Jacobs, Tyler Ratliff
Outfielders — Miguel Aparicio, Pedro Gonzalez, Eric Jenkins, Chad Smith
If Hickory’s pitchers give up a lot of hits, you won’t be able to blame it on the outfield defense -- however they line them up, Aparicio, Gonzalez and Jenkins are viewed as legitimate defensive CFers, and they should cover a ton of ground. Now we just need them to hit as well...
A lot of young arms that will be sorted through here, with Alexy, Casanova, Phillips, and Evans the guys to really keep an eye on, along with 2016 second rounder Alex Speas, who has struggled with his control but showed progress when working out of the pen for Spokane last year.