Bob Hersom has announced our 2010 starting roster for the Hawks. He seems excited, but I have to admit my reaction wasn't as high. On the plus side, the guesses that Jeff and I have been making all spring were fairly accurate. I think Jailen Peguero was the only player on our roster that we hadn't mentioned before. My biggest issue is with the pitching. At the beginning of the spring one of the partners in my firm asked me what I thought about our prospects for 2010. I told him exciting starting rotation, serviceable pen, strong out field and an infield that could show promise. If you were to ask me that question now, I would say that I think we will have a good team, but I don't know how exciting it will be. I had hoped a starting rotation featuring Derek Holland, Kasey Kiker, Blake Beavan, Tanner Scheppers and Guillermo Moscoso. Instead we get Derek Holland, Brandon McCarthy, Michael Kirkman, Michael Ballard and Guillermo Moscoso. Eh....I'm curious to see how Derek pitches in AAA. He got hit hard in his first AAA start and was decent but not spectacular in the majors so you have to assume he'll take his lumps. McCarthy can't stay healthy so he should be on the DL after a start or 2 anyway. I'm surprised at Michael Kirkman getting promoted over Kasey. Overall, a decent starting rotation who will probably go 5-6 innings per game, but without the flash and excitement of Kasey, Blake or Scheppers.
I'll admit it up front. I am biased against the bullpen. I wanted Brennan Garr and Andrew Laughter and didn't get either. Brennan is back in Frisco for the 4th straight year and Andrew is starting the year in extended spring. I am interested to see Omar Beltre pitch. He was once one of the Rangers top pitching prospects before getting involved in the marriage scandal in the dominican and having his visa revoked. He has pitched in the Dominican since then, and has been dominant against lesser opponents. He's either going to be great or flame out. Pedro Strop of the wild pitch is back for another year. Let's hope this one goes better than last year. The rest of them are all minor league veterans who should be solid.
The outfield will be fun to watch. Brandon Boggs is back after dislocating his shoulder last year. His throwing was somewhat limited so that will be a key thing to watch. Craig Gentry is one of the best defensive outfielders I have seen play and he has great speed. If he gets on base, watch out. Chad Tracy has some nice pop in his bat. Mitch Moreland is one of my favorites so I am excited to have him as a RedHawk. Nice kid, quiet with pop in his bat.
The infield is as predicted. Justin Smoak will man 1B, Esteban German is back at 2B, shortstop will be Gregorio Petit, Matt Brown will be a 3B and Hernan Iribarren will be this year's utility player. Justin is a top prospect who struggled with the bat in AAA last year so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back. Esteban is always a welcome addition. I don't know much about Petit, but Jeff said he wasn't very friendly as a visiting player. Matt Brown is interesting. He was in consideration for the bench position/ back up 1B with the Rangers but the Rangers chose to go outside the organization and sign Ryan Garko instead. There is no question he can hit, but he seemed like a butcher at 3B during his first few spring training games. Hopefully that is just a fluke and he will be a solid defender. Bob notes that one more infielder will be added before Thursday. I am still hoping the Rangers sign Keith Ginter, but more likely it will be Wes Bankston, Emerson Frostad or Guilder Rodriguez. Kevin Richardson is also a possibility, but the Rangers seem to want to send him to AA to work with their young pitchers.
Frisco is going to be once again loaded this year. Their rotation is predicted to feature Kasey Kiker, Blake Beavan, Martin Perez, Alexi Ogando, and either Richard Bleier or Ryan Tatusko. The bullpen should have Brennan Garr, Tanner Scheppers, Beau Jones, Zach Phillips, Ben Snyder and Corey Young.
Infielders will likely include Marcus Lemon, Johnny Whittleman, Renny Osuna and a to be named 1B. Probably either Bankston or Frostad. If not promoted to OKC, Rodriguez should be the utility man.
The outfield should have Jonathan Greene, James Tomlin and maybe Joey Butler.
Catching will be interesting. I suspect Kevin Richardson and Chris Gradoville.
I have 2 problems with Bob's other article on the RedHawks website. The first is that he says speculation began last summer that the Rangers would switch to Round Rock after this season. If you go back and read my archives, you'll see that its been more like 2 and a half years that I have been saying that. It's not my fault everyone else is slow catching on! The other problem isn't really his fault. He can't speculate who he thinks our new affiliate will be, but I am curious what he thinks. As I said previously, my best guesses are the White Sox, the Brewers, the Marlins and the Astros. The Padres are also an outside chance.
Oh, I guess I vented to soon since my season tickets were apparently mailed to me. Oops! LOL