The Oakland A's have come out with their official minor league rosters from low-A Burlington to AA Midland. While the "official" roster for the Rivercats hasn't come out yet (as evidence by Michael Fabiaschi and Chris Bostick still listed on the team), most of us pretty much know who's going to be on the team. Short Season clubs (AZL A's, DSL A's, and Vermont) won't have their official rosters out until June according to Melissa Lockard (via twitter). At that point, I probably won't remember to do this kind of glance. So here's a quick view of the Burlington Bees, Stockton Ports, and Midland Rockhounds rosters that came out, with a couple opinions which I sort of went over in the community prospect lists.Burlington Bees (low-A)
Top Prospects (rank on our Community Prospect List so far)
Aaron Shipman (#14)- DL
Raul Alcantara (#15)
The obvious name to watch on this list is young pitcher Raul Alcantara, a low to mid 90's thrower, who came over in the Andrew Bailey trade. At 19, he'll be the youngest Bee on the team. Another youngster, repeating low-A after putting together an underwhelming season in Burlington last year is Royce Consigli, who'll be 20 for almost the whole season.Last year he played in Burlington all year at age 19. Chad Lewis, the second youngest player on the team, is coming up to Burlington after spending last year in, well, Burlington, only that Burlington is in Vermont where he played Short Season ball. Three names from the 2011 draft class to watch for are 3B BA Vollmuth (3rd Round), OF Bobby Crocker (4th Round), and C Nick Rickles (14th Round). I personally feel all three should be starting up in Stockton, but it's understandable that they are in Burlington. BA because the A's are seeing if Miles Head can stick at 3B, plus Tony Thompson is up there as well, and Rickles because Stassi is another top prospect who's repeating the level and needs lots of playing time up there. The younger Doolittle (Ryan) will be working his way back up starting in Burlington after missing a lot of last year due to injury. Also, apparently Royals top prospect John Lamb was originally on the Bees' roster, NO TAKESIES BACKSIES!!
Mid-Season Promotion Candidates**: BA Vollmuth, Nick Rickles, Bobby Crocker, Ryan Doolittle, Chih Fang Pan, Aaron Shipman.
Stockton Ports (high-A)
AJ Cole (#4)
Yordy Cabrera (#12)-DL
Max Stassi (#16)
Miles Head (#20)
The Ports will have an excellent pitching staff led by offseason acquisition AJ Cole, high upside/low maturity lefty Ian Krol, and 2011 Burlington Bees ace Blake Hassebrock. Two 2011 draftees might round out the Ports' rotation. Blake Treinen (7th Round) and TJ Walz (15th Round), both of whom the A's view as a starter, could make make an AJ Griffin sort of push this year, crossing over multiple levels. Arnold Leon will look to make a push back into recognition after being injury riddled the last couple years. Sean Doolittle will be making his pitching debut after reinventing himself over the offseason, although this won't be his first time playing for the Ports. Newly acquired Miles Head will be looking to impress the A's and try and show he can stick at third this season for the Ports. He's a hefty fella who can rake and could put up some very impressive numbers this year, especially in the hitter friendly California League. Max Stassi will look to prove that his shoulder is no longer an issue this year after having surgery that caused him to miss a big chunk of last year. A couple youngsters, Nino Leyja and Rashun Dixon who won't be 22 until October and August respectively, will be looking to finally manage a breakout year, but both have their share of issues whether it be Leyja's contact issue or Dixon's strikeout issue. Josh Whitaker will look to build off of his crazy good year last year, and like Head, should be able to rake in a pitcher-friendly league. Be sure to watch if he gets a mid-season promotion, which I think he could be capable of.
Mid-Season Promotion Candidates**: AJ Cole, Blake Treinen, Josh Whitaker, Connor Hoehn, TJ Walz, AJ Kirby-Jones, Blake Hassebrock, Max Stassi.
Midland Rockhounds (AA)
Michael Choice (#2)
Sonny Gray (#6)
AJ Griffin (#19)
The Midland Rockhounds roster, in my opinion, is very unimpressive outside of the obvious two, although the starting rotation looks to be solid. It'll consist of 2011 1st rounder Sonny Gray, 2010 13th rounder AJ Griffin who enjoyed a breakout season last year, and 2009 25th rounder (Someone
who I have an odd man-crush on who has been very solid and has flown under radars) Dan Straily. Griffin and Straily enjoyed very good seasons in Stockton last year, leading their team to the California League playoffs, but losing in the championship. Outside of them, it'll be a bunch of repeaters (Trey Barham, Gary Daley, Brett Hunter, Shawn Haviland) and pitchers who are almost in their mid 20's (AJ Huttenlocker, Murphy Smith). The infield will be very good defensively (Anthony Allioti, Tyler Ladendorf, and Dusty Coleman although he'll have his share of errors), but will be weak with the bat, even if they do get on-base at a decent rate. The outfield will be an obp machine, mostly due to Choice and Crumbliss who could be annointed the new "god of walks" having not had an obp under .400 yet. Jeremy Barfield (my favorite A's minor league Tweeter) will be repeating this year after a shaky 2011. As with seemingly a lot of players in the A's system, Ryan Ortiz will be looking to prove that he's fully healthy and impress at AA. He had a strong showing in the AFL and will be looking to build off of that this year.
Mid-Season Promotion Candidates**: Sonny Gray, AJ Griffin, Dan Straily, Ryan Ortiz, Michael Choice, Bruce Billings.
There's a quick view of what the rosters look like this year. Let's hope I'm wrong about Midland and that I'm right in thinking that Burlington and Stockton look very impressive this year. Of course, anything can happen (injuries, slumps, hot streaks) that can change the A's organization's view on any of these guys.
** = I have no clue really, I'm just taking a shot in the dark or listing someone obvious.