And the other shoe finally dropped on Tuesday with the Dunedin Blue Jays announcing their Opening Day roster for 2014.
Pitchers: Danny Barnes, Matt Boyd, Wil Browning, Kramer Champlin, Taylor Cole, Chad Girodo, Jesse Hernandez, Justin Jackson, Blake McFarland, Efrain Nieves, Daniel Norris, Arik Sikula, Ben White
There really aren’t any surprises here. Danny Barnes looked fairly solid in spring training and it’s nice to see him back in action after an injury riddled 2013 season. Jackson will start here but look for the Jays to move him up if he has some early success. I’d wager the same with Daniel Norris. I’d look for Wil Browning and Chad Girodo to be dark horses of the bullpen. Both throw from sidearm (or lower) arm angles and Girodo, in particular, has some absolutely nasty movement on his pitches.
Catchers: Derrick Chung, Mike Reeves
I’m a little surprised that Chung is starting the season back in Dunedin. He’s already 26 and has shown that he’s very capable in the Arizona Fall League and in spring training. If, at some point, A.J. Jimenez moves up to Buffalo, look for Chung to be moved subsequently. I predicted that Reeves would end up in Dunedin to start the year, skipping over Lansing.
Infielders: Jorge Flores, Emilio Guerrero, K.C. Hobson, Christian Lopes, Kevin Patterson, Gustavo Pierre, Kellen Sweeney
Again, this is another part of the roster that I had a lot of correctness in predicting, mainly because several of these guys finished the season in Dunedin in 2013. I’m surprised that Hobson wasn’t promoted to Double-A. He was hitting the ball very hard in spring training and could very well get an early promotion. I thought Flores might be in Lansing, but it’s good to see Mighty Mouse in Dunedin to start the year. Guerrero, Patterson and Pierre were no-brainers, mainly because they’ve all got at least some experience at the level already.
Kellen Sweeney is interesting. I’ve heard fantastic things about his defense but he just hasn’t hit in A-ball yet. I’m thinking that the Blue Jays are trying to give him a change of scenery after a year and a half in Lansing. I’ve always been projecting that Lopes was going to be in Dunedin, mainly because of guys coming up to Lansing from both Vancouver and Bluefield.
Outfielders: Nick Baligod, Marcus Knecht, Matt Newman, Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith, Jr.
Again, no real surprises here. I predicted that Newman might get moved up to Double-A but he stays in Dunedin as do Baligod and Knecht while Pompey and Smith move up from Lansing.
DL: RHP Ajay Meyer, IF Shane Optiz, C Pierce Rankin
Now that we have rosters for the four full-season teams, we can try to see who’s been omitted from the rosters. I don’t want to speculate as to what has happened to some of the players but there are really two possibilities: the player has been assigned to extended spring training or the player has been released.
L.B. Dantzler – I know that Dantzler has been assigned to extended spring training and is nursing a minor injury. He should be back in a few weeks and whether he’s assigned to Dunedin or Lansing is the big question.
Jordan Leyland – Word is that Leyland has retired. Leyland showed some great potential last year with Vancouver and Lansing and it is unknown what might have motivated his retirement.
Eric Brown – I’ve also heard word that the Canadian-born pitcher has retired.
Matt Dermody – My hunch is that he’s been assigned to extended spring training.
Chris Hawkins – The outfielder took a step back last year with Lansing and I haven’t seen his name on any roster. I saw him a little bit in spring training but he wasn’t as much of a presence as he was last year.
Dustin Antolin – The Hawai’ian-born pitcher isn’t on any rosters but appeared to be nursing an injury in spring training and, like Dantzler, could have been held back in extended to heal up.
Chris Schaeffer – Chris was omni-present in spring training but no word on where he is now.
Mike McDade – I find this omission to be one of the most curious of all. Is he injured?
Radhames Liz – On the DL for the Bisons
Sean Ochinko – On the Restricted List for the Bisons
Bobby Korecky – On the DL for the Bisons
Michael Broadway – He was signed as a minor league free agent this offseason but I haven’t seen anything from him.
Scott Shuman – He was taken by the Jays in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. I saw him in spring training in the bullpen but not in games. I think he could have been kept in extended spring training. It looked like he was doing some drills to work on his mechanics.
Juan Perez – I didn’t see him at all in spring training. Is he in extended spring training to give him more recovery time?
Ryan Scoma – He was signed by the Jays as a minor league free agent from Winnepeg in an independent league. Is he in extended spring training?
Frank Viola – I think he’s in extended in order to get some more work in before he throws the knuckleball in game situations.
Shawn Hill – Signed a couple of weeks ago by the Jays out of an independent league. Does he need more time to prepare for the season?
Dayton Marze – It appears that he’s retired.
Shane Dawson – He’s being held back in extended spring training. I didn’t see him throw all spring (but that doesn’t mean he didn’t throw). I’m wondering if it’s an injury or just that the club wants to manage his innings a bit after the injury to end 2013.
Daniel Klein – He was definitely in spring training and could very well be held back for extended.
Timothy Locastro, Chaz Frank, Brenden Kalfus, Jonathan Davis – All three were in camp but look to be headed for extended spring training. Look for all three in Vancouver to start the season there if they don’t get moved into a full-season club if injuries hit. For Davis, I think the Jays want to keep him in camp a little longer, mainly because he’s still working on switch-hitting.
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