The Quakes announced their 2013 opening day roster, and the fans in Rancho will see a lot of familiar faces when they return to the Epicenter. More than half of the team has played for the Quakes prior to 2013, with 11 players returning from last years club. At first glance it looks like pitching will be the strong suit in terms of prospects as I count at least a couple of players who are considered top 30 prospects on this club, compared to none on the offensive front (at least by my rankings). By the way the final two installments of my Dodger prospect rankings will come later this week.
The Quakes infield doesn't have that one can't miss prospect, but it does include several solid players who could have big seasons. The 1st base combination of Angelo Songco and O'Koyea Dickson should provide the lineup with a good amount of power, with Songco returning to Rancho for a 3rd straight season and Dickson getting promoted from LoA. I expect both to play almost every day, with one of them occupying the DH spot in the lineup each night. Shortstop Darnell Sweeney was a 13th round pick in last year's draft but after an outstanding debut season he made his way onto the Dodger prospect radar. His defense needs some work and he needs to prove he can hit consistently; which is something he didn't do in college.
Scott Wingo will reprise his role at 2nd base, and the scrappy player will try to improve upon a disappointing 2012 season. 3rd base will most likely be filled by a combination of Ryan Mount and Elevys Gonzalez, who are both new to the organization. In terms of catcher the Quakes will carry two backstops who were both on the team last year. 2011 3rd round pick Pratt Maynard finished the year in Rancho but overall had an uninspiring season, while Chris O'Brien started off strong with the Quakes last year but faded down the stretch. Both will look to rebound in 2013
The Rancho outfield includes three young players who all have solid tools, yet none of them have lived up to their prospect status since turning pro. Jonathan Garcia has been the highest rated prospect of the bunch, but after a terrible year with the Quakes in 2012 his ranking took a nose dive. He's still just 21, however, so he has time to turn it around. Scott Schebler is another guy who didn't use his tools to their full potential in 2012 as he struggled with the Loons. Hopefully a change of scenery and hitting environment will help boost his stats.
Noel Cuevas was supposed to have huge power potential when he was drafted in 2010, but he hit just 2 homers in 2012 while spending most of his time in Rookie ball. The final two outfielders on the roster and Rob Garvey, who was signed as a free agent this off season, and Casio Grider who will start the year on the DL.
Quakes Starting Pitching
The Quakes rotation should be solid in 2013, and will be led by Garrett Gould who will be returning to Rancho. Gould was the subject of trade rumors last season and struggled a bit with a 5.75 ERA, but when you look at some of his peripheral stats and consider his age he actually didn't have too bad of a season. He'll be joined at the top of the rotation by Ross Stripling who has quickly become a sleeper prospect in the Dodgers system. The 2012 5th round pick dominated the Pioneer League in 2012 and is ready for a bigger challenge.
Jarrett Martin's 2012 season was hindered by injuries, but a lot of people like his makeup and I could see him making a big jump in terms of prospect status in 2013. Sinker baller Duke Von Schamann will also be apart of the Quakes rotation in his first full professional season, as will Gustavo Gomez who spent last year in LoA.
The most interesting player in the Rancho bullpen who will the hard throwing Pedro Baez, who will is beginning his first season as a pitcher. He'll try to follow in the footsteps of Kenley Jansen who also started his pitching career in the California League. Michael Thomas and Matt Shelton will also be late inning relievers who will be fun to follow after they seeming came out of nowhere to put up outstanding numbers in 2012. Craig Stem and Dan Coulombe are two other hard throwing relievers who could turn some heads out of the Quakes bullpen.
The rest of the relievers will probably be used as long men as they have all be starters in the past. Jon Michael Redding is probably the best known of the bunch given that this will be his 4th straight year in the California League and has had some success there in the past. Raydel Sanchez also has some potential as he's shown flashes of brilliance in the past, while James Campbell is a bit of an unknown given that he didn't pitch much in his 2012 professional debut.