Conner Penfold, sly dog reporter, had these out a couple days ago, before the announcements were even made. As of this morning, it looks like each of the four full-season clubs has an article up on their sites with the official rosters. So let’s take a look at them, one by one.
Just for fun, the names in bold are players who I correctly predicted in February during my roster projection series. Here are my complete Augusta picks. Keep in mind I only predicted a 25-man roster. Each of these official announcements includes a few extra players who will likely be placed on the reserve “taxi squad” once the season begins this week.
Here’s [Augusta Chronicle writer] David Lee’s summary of the Greenjackets 2014 roster.
Greenjackets – SAL (A)
C: Ty Ross: 12th round pick out of LSU. Good defense and OBP with some pop. Should start.
C: Eric Sim: Returns to Augusta. Great defensive catcher, but hasn’t hit much since rookie ball.
C: Gabriel Cornier: 21 yo Venezuelan native; first look at full-season ball. Has nailed 42% of career baserunners.
IF: Christian Arroyo: Big things expected from 1st round pick. Should be everyday SS.
IF: Ryder Jones: 2nd round pick, looking to keep ground with Arroyo. Will start at 3B, could play some SS.
IF: Brandon Bednar: 7th round pick out of FGCU. Hit 6 HR in AZL after only hitting 2 in 3 college seasons. 6-foot-5 super utility type.
IF: Leo Rojas: International catcher suspended for most of last season. Has a good bat, but likely a DH & corner IF now.
IF: Ryan Tuntland: 29th round pick out of WVU. Good on-base skills, might play some 1B.
IF: Matt Chavez: 25 yo Bay Area native, signed this winter from indy league. Known for his bat and arm.
OF: Tyler Horan: 8th round pick has huge power, but might not hit for average. Surprised he’s not in San Jose.
OF: Randy Ortiz: DR native, athletic CF. Has speed and takes some walks. Maybe he hits leadoff?
OF: Rafael Rodriguez: Conner P. said RafRod’s bat looked a little slow this spring. 3rd trip to the SALLY, still only 21.
OF: Shawne Payne: Returns to the SALLY. Maybe he moves to SJ when Mac leaves for Richmond.
OF: Christian Paulino: 22 yo utility guy hasn’t played above rookie ball.
P: Keury Mella: Staff headliner. Can’t wait to see this kid pitch in the SALLY. Mid-90’s heat with sink.
P: Luis Ysla: Signed for $7.5K last year, now looks like he could shoot up the ranks. 92-95 from the left side; looks more polished than Mella.
P: Chase Johnson: 3rd round pick, and another guy who’ll run his FB up to 95. College reliever with a starter’s arsenal.
P: Nick Vander Tuig: When your #4 starter was the ace of a national champion, you’ve got a very good pitching staff.
P: DJ Snelten: Tall lefty with velocity and some feel for his breaking ball. He’s another 2013 draftee to keep your eye on.
P: Carlos Diaz: 20 yo Colombian southpaw has strikeout stuff. Could be the team’s #6 starter.
P: Jacob Smith: Former 48th round pick has an 11.8 k/9 as a pro. Maybe a sleeper to keep an eye on.
P: Carlos Alvarado: 6-ft-4 righty with 5 years of rookie ball experience. Great peripherals last year, but he’s 24 yo.
P: Steven Messner: Undrafted lefty out of CSU San Marcos. Signed this spring. Could start or work long-relief.
P: Raymundo Montero: Righty had a tremendous season as S-K’s closer. He’ll be old for the league though.
P: Tyler Rogers: 10th round pick, submarine guy. Gives the pen a nice change of pace.
P: Christian Jones: 6-ft-3 Oregon lefty is going to surprise some people. TJ surgery hurt his draft stock, but he’s got a nice arsenal.
P: Luis Castillo: Word is he was throwing 98-99 in DSL last year, and the numbers back it up.
P: Ray Black: Ray Black lives! And he throws high-90’s heat, with sporadic control.
P: Dan Slania: Should be the team’s closer. Hefty righty goes 92-96 with his FB. Could move up to SJ this year.
Outlook: I guess 6 pitchers and 5 hitters… that’s, not too hot. But there are definitely some surprises here. I thought for sure Horan, Vander Tuig and Slania would start the year in San Jose. I’m pretty excited about this group as a whole. This was a very good team last year, and I can see them challenging again in 2014. I love that pitching staff. Velocity in the rotation, and even greater velocity in the back of the bullpen. These guys are going to blow smoke.
Augusta is nowhere near San Francisco, but we’ve seen just how quickly guys can move up the ranks. Edwin Escobar was a Greenjacket in 2012. He’s on the brink of the majors. Heck, Derek Law started last year in Augusta. Look at him now!
I’m keeping my eyes on the kids, Arroyo and Ryder Jones. But they probably won’t be going anywhere. If I had to pick a guy that could move quickly, I’d look at that bullpen again. Black, Slania, Castillo. There’s some major heat in those right arms. If you live in or around Augusta, GA, you have to go see Mella and Ysla. They’ll be worth the price of admission, in my opinion!