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IndiansPro released a tentative opening day roster for the now low A Hillcats. They now have a 30 man roster limit, and there are some interesting names and omissions:
SP: Curry, Espino, Torres, Wolf, ???
These are the only 4 I saw on the initial list that I felt confident will be starters. Anyone want to guess who #5 will be? But these 4 represent probably the strongest initial rotation of any of the levels.
RP: J. Arias, Benton, Feliz, Hart, Jones, LaBaut, Misiaszek, Mock, Morillo, J. Ramirez, Vinicio
Aside from LaBaut I'm not familiar with most of these guys. Guys who were previously at LC/MV and are unassigned include Liam Jenkins, Brito, Weatherford, G. Vasquez, and Jhan Rodriguez - all possible cut candidates. I'm not seeing a lot of former starters here (Feliz maybe?), so I'm not sure they're doing any piggybacking.
C: Diaz, Melendez, E. Rodriguez*
Rodriguez is listed at the alt site, but I'm assuming they'll put him here as they have 2 open spots and I doubt they carry just 2 catchers. Diaz and Melendez will obviously see most of the time here. Richard Paz and Michael Ramirez will apparently repeat AZL. 2020 pick Joe Donovan also figures to be there.
IF: Bartlett, Cairo, A. Martinez, Noel, G. Rodriguez, Valdes
A jam packed group here. They have elected to leave last years top pick infielders Tucker and Tolentino, as well as top prospect Junior Sanquentin, and 2019 middle round pick Jordan Brown in AZL. Noel and Bartlett will share time at 1B/DH. My assumption is that Martinez will see the bulk of time at SS, Rodriguez at 3B, with Valdez and Cairo mixing in at 2B and on off days. They honestly could use another IF and they only have 13 position players listed, so they have 2 spots open for someone like Brown. Or for the unassigned guys like Joab Gonzalez. I also assume that the Bartlett/Noel duo likely means the end for 1B/3B Cooper. Contreras and Idrogo are 1B candidates for AZL. Landy Pena and Jesus Maestre also seem set to repeat AZL.
OF: Escobedo, Holland, Planez, Pries, Johnathan Rodriguez
Kind of a weak group here with Alexfri Planez possibly being the most interesting prospect. They elected to hold back 2020 high school draftees Petey Halpin and Isaiah Greene (part of the Lindor trade), both top 30 prospects. Marlin Made stands out as the other person to make AZL in 2019 who isn't assigned here, he seems like a cut candidate.
Hillcats suffer their first loss. Good first week from them. Despite being a younger team, they have really hit. Jhonkensy Noel is red hot.
An interesting bit to me is that they chose to essentially piggyback every starter so far.
The nominal rotation is Curry, Espino, Jones, Wolf, Morillo, Torres. None of those 6 have gone beyond 4 innings so far.
They've used Arias, Mock, Labaut, Vinicio, and Hart as second pitchers, all of them usually going 3 innings each time out. They're doing similar things at Lake County in week 1, but have actually let the starters go deeper this week.
Given it's a 120 game season, with a 6 man rotation (20 starts per starter), that would mean they're going to have these guys stretched out to about 80 innings this year. Maybe closer to 100 if they let them go later as the year progresses.
So sad how desolate these minor league boards are. COVID messed everything up, including minor league baseball.
Hey WahooPreacher, would you be willing to list the injured players in the minor league system? SO MANY talented players especially pitchers (especially from talented 2018 draft) I have not seen even mentioned this season. Cody Morris, Brian Eichorn, etc etc. I did hear the very sad news that Ethan Hankins and Vargas are out for the year after Tommy John. 😪 Seems like lots of good prospects down for a long period, typical Indians luck.