Opening Day of the minor league system saw some bright moments and some not so bright moments. Click on the jump to read how our minor league teams faired on opening day.
With a team comprised of veteran minor leaguers or major leaguers looking for one last chance we were curious who would play where. My favorite Valentino Pascucci showed up at 1st base, Castro at 2nd, Hu at SS, with Maza filling out the infield. AJ Ellis got the nod at catcher over major league veterans Adroin and Rose. The outfield from left to right was Mitch Jones, Xavier Paul, and Jason Repko. Dee Brown filled out the team at DH. That is a good group for a AAA team and should score plenty of runs. They did not disapoint in the opener as they plated 14 runs in a romp over the Royal affiliate.
The players we will be keeping an eye on are Chin Ling Hu, Xavier Paul, and AJ Ellis. Hu got off to a great start with 3 hits as Chin Ling Hu got off to a good start with three hits. Jason Repko trying to find his way back onto a major league roster hit a home run and stole two bases.
The Lookout position roster is probably the least impressive I've seen at AA in many a year. Lambo and Josh Bell are the only legitimate major league players though Hoffman and Mitchell may find there way to the show. The pitching staff is where the good stuff resides (Lindblom, Elbert, Castillo, Adkins, Garate, Leach). For the opener Jesus Castillo took the mound but it was Francisco Feliz who delivered the goods with six punchouts in four innings of relief work. They lost in extra innings when Leach blew the save. Bell and Lambo combined for three singles in their 2009 AA debuts. First time at AA for Bell while Lambo hammered AA pitching last year in a late season callup.
Inland Empire 66ers
Some of the best 66ers were sent down to the Loon roster which is why the AA roster is lean as is the 66 roster of prospect talent. Pedro Baez is the only top 20 prospect position prospect on the team and he's closer to becoming a pitcher then becoming a 3rd baseman. Preston Mattingly is now playing LF and considering he couldn't hit enough as a 2nd baseman it is very doubtfull he has the offensive arsenal to be a corner outfielder. Chris Withrow and Steve Johnson will headline the pitching staff as we finally get to see what our 2007 1st round pick has got. In the opener the offense played as expected given the lineup and was shutout. Old standby Alberto Bastardo did his part to keep the team in the game with some solid relief work from Sanfler and Ramirez.
Great Lake Loons
Expectations are high for the Loons after two years of being the doormat in the Midwest League. The Dodgers brought down Austin Gallagher and Pedroza to help with the offense while bringing up Delmonico and Gordon from last years draft. Silverio will get a 2nd tour and hope to work off his solid winter league work. No sighting of Jamie Ortiz or Orr so they may be headed for Ogden when the short season league starts up. The pitching staff is loaded with players we have an interest in. 2008 1st round pick Ethan Martin, sleeper stud Nathan Eovaldi, Justin Miller, Jon Michael Redding, Javy Guerra, and Robert Blevins. With Hugh Bernreuter has the excellent recap of the thumping the Loons dished out on opening day.