Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Predicting the Skitz 2014

Every January I take a guess at the roster for the Biscuits, though its a tough peer into the crystal ball this year - especially considering we don't even know who is going to be writing the lineup cards! 

Manager: Jared Sandberg
Hitting Coach: Ozzie Timmons
Pitching Coach: RC Lichtenstein

Casali with Crabs
Curtis Casali probly returns to start behind the plate. The Vandy alum is set for a monster season this summer.

Ali Solis, the newly signed castoff from the Pirates had time at Double-A last year and could inhabit the roster here or in Durham.

Eddy Rodriguez - the ink has yet to dry on his contract but the 28 year old will be behind the plate in Montgomery or Durham after splitting time between double and triple-A last year with the Padres.

Mayo Acosta could return, but doubtful, the starting catcher job in Durham is his to lose in spring camp.

Seitzer at work
1b Cameron Seitzer returns to play 1b.

2b Robby Price should be back, he only hit .238 for us last yr in 25 games though he provided a steady glove afield.

3b Richie Shaffer, if not on opening day than by the start of June. The 1st round pick of 2012 hit .254 with 11 homers. He made some errors, so his defense could be what holds him back from an April Biscuits debut.

SS Jake Hager - the 1st round pick in 2011 hit .258 and stole about a dozen bases last year. His defense could use some work, so he is much like Shaffer - if not April than by mid-season we should see him in Biscuits colors.

Mahtook riding Biscuit bus
Mikie Mahtook - and boy is he going to be pissed about it.
Mikie turned around his season after a bad start last year and stole a career high 25 bases but his mid-.250's average could send him back to Montgomery.

I see Mahtook as a possible trade candidate, as the Rays could be losing patience with his development. That said, I think Mahtook is in line for a breakout campaign in 2014. Mikie played 43 error-free games in centerfield for Montgomery last year, and I think he will be back in center for us again this year, with a vengance.

Willie Argo should be in left field come April, his .308 average and 37 stolen bases should earn him the promotion I felt he was due last July.

Kess Carter might be our center fielder, but his low average in single-A doesn't boost confidence.

Drew Vettleson played alot of right field for Port Charlotte last year, and could be in the mix for Biscuits outfield time.

Hector Guevara's 1st Biscuits at bat
Hector Guevara utilityman could return to same role.

Ryan Brett MI, could return to same role, or even win the starting 2b job after playing at three levels plus Arizona Fall league in 2013.

Taylor Motter, 1b/of, .290 average, 20 sb for Port Charlotte last year likely means a seat on the Biscuit bus.

James Darnell, new to the Rays, hit just .245 for Tuscon in the hitter friendly PCL and could be sent to Montgomery to prove himself to the new organization as a corner infielder/occasional corner outfielder.

Starting pitchers
Victor Mateo
Victor Mateo hits 106mph on the radar gun vs Bham
 The man who threw the first no hitter at Riverwalk will return to the scene of the masterpiece. Mateo broke the 150 Innings Pitched mark for the first time in his career last year, and the Rays will likely keep an eye on his workload.

Jake Thompson
One of bright spots of 2013 was watching Thompson learn to adjust to the hitters in the Southern League. He should be back for another campaign in Montgomery, with a midseason promotion a likelihood.

Ryan Carpenter
Working his way up the Tampa chain, Carpenter is ready for the double-A rung after notching his second straight 115 IP season. He gives up hits, he walks guys, he pitches in trouble often. But he is a six-foot-five lefthander. 

Felipe Rivero with Charlotte
Felipe Rivero
The Venezuelan lefty Rivero should be on the same track as Carpenter, though he just logged his first 100+ IP season. Felipe led the StoneCrabs pitchers with 9 wins and keeps the ball in the yard. He is stingy with the hits but prone to allowing walks

Jesse Hahn
Jesse Hahn with Crabs
Added to the 40man roster to protect him from Rule 5 Draft this past fall, this means that the Rays think its possible a team would have claimed Hahn and kept him on the major league roster. Injuries have slowed his progress but he may finally be ready for double-A

Another reason I suspect we will get Hahn is based on his profile.

Assigned to New Team/Level? Sounds like a Biscuit the the baking!

Relief pitchers
Relievers are especially tough to guess in January, the bullpen could include an assortment of about five of the following names or others maybe even yet to be signed by the Rays!

Andrew Bellatti
Andrew Bellati
Lenny Linsky
Shay Crawford
Austin Hubbard
Matt Ramsey
Erik Hamren
Sam Runion
Nate Garcia
Albert Suarez
Braulio Lara

Former Biscuit Delmon Young has signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, with an invite to major league spring training. Young looks to stick with the O's as DH and occasional 1b.

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