Fans that grew accustomed to Shelley and Eric Duncan will see a very new Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee roster going in to the 2010 season. This team will feature a slugger behind the plate, a brick wall down the left side of the infield and an overcrowded outfield – not to mention a pitching staff comprised of journeyman like Dustin Moseley and exciting prospects like Ivan Nova. First, a projected 24-man roster:
Catchers: Jesus Montero, Mike Rivera, P.J. Pilittere.
Comments: Barring an injury, we probably will not see Jesus Montero in New York until September. The Yankees can afford to give the 20 year-old one more season in the minors to improve his defense and further perfect his swing. Unless Frankie Cervelli’s concussion is more serious than originally thought, Mike Rivera will serve as a very capable backup backstop. Pilittere could see some time in Double-A. It depends on whether or not the club opts to carry an extra pitcher.
Infielders: Juan Miranda, Reegie Corona, Eduardo Nunez, Kevin Russo, Chris Malec, Jorge Vazquez.
Comments: The Scranton infield will likely consist of Miranda at first base, Corona at second, Nunez at short and Russo at third; arguably one of the better defensive infields in the International League. Former Mexican League standout Jorge Vazquez will probably see time at first, while Malec will reprise his role as the utility infielder. Russo and Nunez are both terrific defenders and will definitely help the pitching staff feel more comfortable.
Outfielders: Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Jon Weber, Reid Gorecki, David Winfree.
Comments: I don’t think one can truly name a starting outfield here, but its likely that Colin Curtis, Greg Golson and David Winfree will see the majority of the playing time because of their youth and ceiling. Weber will probably be used as a corner outfielder and designated hitter, the Yankees will need the extra left-handed pop in the lineup.
Rotation: Kei Igawa, Zach McAllister, Jason Hirsh, Ivan Nova, George Kontos.
Comments: I can’t see the New York Yankees opting to carry Kei Igawa as the second lefty when Mark Melancon is a viable option to strengthen the big league pen. The Japanese lefty will likely anchor the rotation and cement his title as the winningest Scranton Wilkes/Barre Yankee. McAllister should build upon his strong 2009 campaign in the two-hole, while Jason Hirsh looks to live up to his name. George Kontos and Ivan Nova will likely end up as major league relievers, but they will help build a formidable Triple-A rotation in 2010.
Bullpen: Boone Logan, Jonathan Albaladejo, Romulo Sanchez, Keven Whelan, Zack Segovia, Dustin Moseley, Royce Ring, Amaury Sanit, Eric Wordekemper.
Comments: I know I listed nine players, but five or six of these pitchers will make up the Scranton pen. Obviously Boone Logan, Jon Albaladejo, Dustin Mosely and Royce Ring have a great shot, but I could see Romulo Sanchez as the closer. The Yankees may opt to let Wilkin De La Rosa, Keven Whelan and Amaury Sanit develop in Trenton.
Coaching Staff: Dave Miley, Butch Wynegar, Scott Aldred, Aaron Ledesma, Darren London, Lee Tressell.
Comments: The entire coaching staff is set to return in 2010. Dave Miley will enter his fifth season as the manager of the Triple-A affiliate and will aim to lead the club to their third straight appearance at the Governors Cup. Butch Wynegar and Scott Aldred will reprise their roles as the hitting and pitching coaches. Darren London will enter his 18th season as the Triple-A trainer. A strong coaching and training staff is important for Triple-A, and they are aware of the delicate balance of development and competitiveness that is necessary for both individual and team success.
SS – Eduardo Nunez – R
CF – Greg Golson – R
1B – Juan Miranda -L
C – Jesus Montero – R
DH – Jon Weber – L
RF – David Winfree – R
LF – Colin Curtis – L
3B – Kevin Russo – R
2B – Reegie Corona – S
Overall Comments: The 2010 club will feature strong infield defense and above-average speed at the top and bottom of the order. The heart of the batting order, Miranda-Montero-Weber, should provide enough offense for the team to remain competitive. It will be interesting to see how the team deals with David Winfree and Greg Golson, who are both young enough to be considered prospects. The rotation should be another asset, especially if Jason Hirsh can pitch as well as he did in 2009. Players to Watch: Jesus Montero, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Zach McAllister, Ivan Nova.