FanPost

The Farm System at a Glance... with Commentary!

April 8 is Opening Day for the A’s full-season minor league affiliates and the following are the tentative rosters for Sacramento, Midland, Stockton and Kane County. Some obvious tweaking still needs to be done, namely Midland needing to shed someone so they can get down to the 24-man limit. Minor league roster limits are a little bit different from the big league version most are familiar with and I’ve never really brought it up before because if anyone asked me why things are the way they are I’d have no answers; I’d hope for something shiny to appear and distract those inquiring minds. So… don’t ask me no questions and I won’t tell you no lies. Disclaimer: The source I’m using (Scout.com) lumps all pitchers together, lumps all non-1B infielders together and all outfielders together so some of my position designations are merely educated guesswork.

 

Let’s start with the pitching staffs.

MLB

AAA

AA

High-A

Low-A

Sheets

Mazzaro

Godfrey

Capra

Marks

Duchscherer

DiNardo

Figueroa!!

Smalley

Krol/

Braden

Middleton

Hornbeck

A. Ramirez

Hoehn

Anderson

Mortensen

C. Hernandez

Haviland

Joseph

Gonzalez

Wright

Banwart

Smith

Straily

 

Allow me to explain some of what you’re looking at. Players whose names appear in a green or gold box are minor leaguers who are currently on the A’s 40 man roster. Pedro Figueroa’s name appears in gold because two of BA, Sickels, and Goldstein rate him as one of the Top 10 prospects in the Oakland system… and yes, that’s a post-Desme ranking. Players who got ranked in the Top 10 by all Three Wise Men get green letters and those who only make one list get blue. (EDIT: The preview function wasn't working so I didn't realize the color-coded letters weren't working. So exclamation points are the new ranking function. And why the green boxes show and the gold don't are beyond me. Carter and DLS are on the 40 man roster.)

Aside from the pretty colors, what else stands out about these projected rotations? For starters (ugh, unintentional pun) with Tyson Ross pitching his wares in Oakland the A’s are lacking many legit RH SP prospects. (Remember, Mazzaro and Cahill have too many big league IP to qualify as prospects anymore!) Clayton Mortensen is looking like a 5th SP/Long Reliever type at best, Godfrey strikes me as a poor man’s Mortensen and Banwart is only listed as a SP for Midland ‘cause I’ve got no clue what the A’s intend to do with Arnold Leon and Mickey Storey. The A’s want to convert Leon to starting full time but they worry that his continuous workload since signing would lead to trouble if they put him in the rotation to start the year. So the latest plan is to start him in the bullpen or at least piggyback him with another pitcher to keep his innings down early in the year; then give him a full-time starting role near the middle of the season. Kenny Smalley and Shawn Haviland are pitchability guys with average or below fastballs and those with better info than I have rank Murphy Smith below those two. Jonathan Joseph can throw 96 MPH but that’s about all he does. The best of the bunch is Connor Hoehn, whom the A’s plan on converting from relief pitching to take advantage of his low-90’s fastball and solid breaking stuff.

The real strength of the A’s minor league pitching staff lies in lefties Pedro Figueroa, Ben Hornbeck, Anthony Capra, Justin Marks and Ian Krol. None but Figueroa currently projects to be much more than a #3 SP at best but with Anderson, Braden, Gio, Cahill and Mazzaro all ahead of the next batch the A’s don’t need more than a #3 capable SP. Figueroa has the raw stuff to be a #2 SP but at 24 is he a late bloomer or is he just a guy with enough stuff and polish to dominate A-ball hitters last year?

MLB

AAA

AA

High-A

Low-A

Bailey

Demel

Lansford

Dn. Thomas

Smyth

Ramirez

Kilby

Friend

Deal

Guzman

Breslow

McBeth

Ray

Murray

Schultz

Gaudin

Benacka

Souza

Pina

Mederos

Ziegler

Bowers

Gordon

Sewell

Huttenlocker

Blevins

H. Rodriguez

Vaughan

Barham

Gilliam

Ross!!!

Fo. Hernandez

Leon

Sattler

Garcia/

 

Hunton

Storey

Hodsdon

 

 

A year ago those of us who seriously followed the minors liked to crow about the A’s depth in young bullpen arms. A year later… not so much to get excited about. The bulk of Sacramento’s bullpen is composed of minor league retreads; Demel and Rodriguez have powerful arms but they need to get better at throwing strikes. Lansford, Souza and Daniel Thomas all had shoulder issues last season although they all avoided going under the knife. Leon and Storey could move quick if they don’t end up in the rotation. Most of the rest looks mostly like roster fill.

 

MLB

AAA

AA

High-A

Low-A

C

Suzuki

Donaldson!

Recker

R. Ortiz

Stassi!!!

1B

Barton

C.Carter!!!

Kleen

Parker

Aliotti

2B

Ellis

Sogard

Weeks!!!

Ladendorf

Crumbliss

3B

Kouzmanoff

McPherson

Valdez

Spina

Leyja

SS

Pennington

Tolleson

M. Richard

Green!!!

Gilmartin

LF

Buck

Taylor!!!

Gilbert

Keough

My. Richard

CF

Davis

Brown!!!

Peterson

Mitchell

House

RF

Sweeney

Carson

Sulentic

Barfield

Dixon

DH

Chavez

 

Chen

Ka’aihue

Walton

BN

Rosales

Powell*

Y. Carter*

P. Paramore*

Gil

BN

Fox*

Wimberly

Dv. Thomas

Christian

Fn.Hernandez

BN

Gross

 

Affronti

Napoleon*

Nunez*

BN

Patterson

 

 

 

Affinito*

DL

Meloan (60)

Cardenas!!!

Galarraga

DLS!

 

DL

Wuertz

Doolittle!!

Horton

Coleman

 

DL

Cahill

Simmons

Carignan

 

 

DL

Crisp

Jennings

 

 

 

DL

Devine

Tomko

 

 

 

DL

Outman

Baisley

 

 

 

 

If Jack Cust clears waivers and accepts a minor league assignment than a River Cats line-up featuring Cust, Dallas McPherson, Chris Carter, Michael Taylor and Corey Brown could hit at least twice as many HR as the A’s line-up. Matter of fact, it seems as if the A’s have specifically left the door open for Cust as the River Cats’ roster is still 1 short. Players with an asterisk next to their names are the back-up Catcher. Obviously Sacramento’s line-up will be stacked, especially when Cardenas and Doolittle return from their injuries by the start of May. But keep an eye on Stockton’s infield, which will feature four players (Michael Spina, Stephen Parker, Ryan Ortiz and 1st round pick Grant Green) selected from the 2009 draft.

Now… about those minor league rosters.

AAA teams can have 24 players on the active roster with another 14 players on a Reserve List. (Actually, from what I can tell, a minor league team’s 38 man Reserve List functions a lot like a big league team’s 40 man roster.) I’ve never seen a minor league team’s Reserve List so I don’t know if all 14 of those spots get filled or if some get left opened for rehabbing big leaguers. Some of the slots get taken by players who will still be in Extended ST when the season begins, rehabbing injuries/surgeries that took place in the offseason or during the spring. Or in the case of Jason Jennings, he just needs more prep time before he can pitch in games. When you look at the AAA columns you’ll notice at the very bottom of the position player list that I’ve got Cardenas, Doolittle, Simmons, Tomko and Jennings as being on the DL. Technically, that’s not true. They aren’t listed on Sacramento’s roster as being on the DL. They’ve been officially assigned by Oakland to the A’s minor league camp in Arizona as part of the Extended ST roster. Why? Because aside from Jennings they’re all recovering from injuries! They are also (likely) on Sacramento’s Reserve List. I just couldn’t fit the word “Inactive” in the little column I had assigned for the task.

AA teams start with 24 man rosters but after 30 days they lose a slot and go with 23 man active rosters until mid-August… when they get that 24th slot back. Remember, don’t ask. AA teams also have a 37 man Reserve List. A-ball teams get a 35 man Reserve List but a 25 man active roster. Short season clubs have a 35 man Reserve List and a 30 man active roster… but only 25 players can play in any one game. Rookie level clubs can carry 35 players but only 30 can play in any one game.

Don’t expect me to repeat all that anytime soon. For even more details on minor league rosters follow this link to the article by Jeff Euston that I borrowed heavily from. Nay! Flat out stole from. And a special shout out to andeux, who did the depth chart thing first. Mine uses team colors though.

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