I slacked on minor league pitching analysis this off-season. But i’m as excited as ever to see the four full-season affiliate rosters announced ahead of the beginning of the minor league season this weekend. And i’m ready for another season of tracking minor league arms (kind of the bread and butter of this blog).
So lets take a look at the four staffs, guess the roles, and talk about the changes of the staffs from the end of last year til now. I’ll do these in four posts to break them out and get more content/discussion. First up: Syracuse.
Quick links for rosters for each full season affiliate:
And don’t forget the invaluable work of SpringfieldFan maintaining the Nats Big Board, now in its 12 season!
Note: in the below list, “missing” means that the player was on a 2016 roster, is still listed as active but is not found anywhere on a 2017 full-season roster as expected. Most are still sitting in Extended Spring Training (abbreviated XST throughout) with the intent of getting assigned as injuries or releases occur, but some may be release candidates. Other abbreviations I use often: MLFA == Minor League Free Agent, OOO = Out of the Organization.
- starters: Cole, Voth, THill, Turner, JRoss
- spot starts/swingman:
- bullpen: Adams, Gott, Grace*, Martin, Albers, Antolin, Broadway, Cotts,
- dl/restricted: Swynenberg (still restricted), Barrett, Collins*, Harper*, McGowin
- cut/released/FAs from 2016: Laffey*, Espino, Giolito (trade), RLopez (trade), EDavis, De Fratus, Arroyo, Harmening
- missing from 2016: none
As often happens with AAA squads, this group of players is about half home-grown (I count 8 drafted players out of the 17 on the roster) and half MLFA or acquired depth. And this group is missing more than a few names that we know will eventually be here and play major roles; Jeremy Guthrie probably slides into the rotation spot that Joe Ross is temporarily holding. But XST also currently holds players like John Lannan and Josh Outman, both of whom were MLFA signings this past off-season with the intent of providing AAA depth.
And as you often see in AAA, there’s huge turnover from last year. Eight guys on the AAA rosters at the end of last year are out of the organization now, 6 by free agency and two by the much discussed Adam Eaton trade. I was kind of bummed to see Paolo Espino go in particular, but I like the potential of former major leaguers like Jacob Turner and the aforementioned Guthrie (who looked pretty good in spring training, for what that’s worth).
Rotation guess: not too hard to squint and see this rotation go A.J. Cole, Austin Voth and Taylor Hill at the top. After that i’m assuming it goes Turner-Guthrie (after Ross gets called back up). Perhaps we’ll also see 2017 MLFA Kyle McGowin after he returns from whatever ailment has him on the D/L.
Reliever thoughts: I was happy to see the team re-sign Aaron Barrett; he may not ever contribute again but it was a good gesture to bring him back into the fold. Interested to see what Lannan can provide. The four relievers on the 40-man roster all seem to be on thin-ice with the org; are we expecting anything of value from any of Adams, Gott, Grace or Martin any more? I don’t mean to sound like a debbie downer, but at this point those four guys are my first four to get cut if space is needed. Its kind of amazing to me that this team has so little reliever depth at the upper level of the minors given the ridiculous amount of pitching they’ve drafted in the past few years.
Interestingly, Matt Swynenberg remains on the AAA restricted list, where he’s been since he retired on 5/1/15. I’m not sure why at this point the team doesn’t just release him, if only to clean up the official MILB.com roster on the web page.
Who am I focusing on: Voth, Turner, Adams and Gott to see if they’ve got any future value, Guthrie, Lannan when they get there, McGowin when he gets off of the D/L.