The Lansing Lugnuts will open the 2015 roster that mixes young, up-and-comers with some veterans who might be able to show them how it’s done. The offensive side of the ball has a few of the higher-ranked prospect, but there’s some potential for the pitching staff to pull together and have an impressive season.
For three of these pitchers (Dawson, De Jong and Gonzalez), I’m actually surprised to see them back in Lansing. They all pitched fairly well last year with the Lugnuts (although Dawson and De Jong missed time due to injury) but there are obviously a lot of pitchers in this organization which makes getting that promotion tough.
Mallard and Suriel are right where I thought they’d be. Mallard looked really good to me in Spring Training while Suriel is still fairly new to the professional game.
I’m a little surprised to see Justin Shafer starting. I’m very interested to see how he does over longer outings after only seeing him briefly in spring training.
I was expecting to see Gracesqui and Kish up in Dunedin but I guess they’ll get another half-season or so of time in Lansing.
Biggs and Mayza were questions marks for me. Both have had their struggles but my feeling is that the Blue Jays were ready to test them against better competition.
Colton Turner returns after Tommy John surgery and could end up a starter by the end of the season. When I saw him in spring training, he was throwing harder than the last time I saw him throw in 2013.
Chase Wellbrock pitched very well in Bluefield and, at the age of 23, is probably ready to pitch in full-season ball.
Adonys Cardona is still working his way back from a horrible broken elbow and starts on the DL.
I expected to see Dan Jansen in Lansing but I wasn’t sure about Justin Atkinson, mainly due to his position change. De La Cruz is a bit of a surprise but he’s been steadily moving up through the system.
Everyone knew that, with the trade of Franklin Barreto over the winter, Urena would be the full-time shortstop in Lansing. Tim Locastro and Ryan McBroom both had great years in Vancouver last year and it’s pretty logical to see them on the Lugnuts’ roster.
Dickie Joe Thon wasn’t bad (if a bit streaky) with the Lugnuts last year but he’s going to be coming back for some more of the Lugnuttiest days around.
Rowdy Tellez got a taste of Lansing last year and tore the opposition up but it was such a small sample that he’ll be coming back to see what he can do over the course of the season.
Finally, Gunnar Heidt should be interesting as, likely, the every day third baseman. Heidt is coming out of a great college career but a senior year that was hampered by injury. He seems healthy and could add to what appears to be a great infield.
Here’s where things get interesting. This outfield has a lot of potential but a lot of riskiness. Almonte hasn’t played above Bluefield where he had a great season last year but didn’t walk much and struck out a lot while seeing his .307 batting average buoyed by a .413 BABIP. If luck doesn’t go his way, Almonte could strike out an awful lot in Lansing.
Carlsos was outstanding last year in Vancouver and, if we can extrapolate from just one season’s worth of stats, could be a “Kevin Pillar” in the making.
D.J. Davis returns to try to get his strikeout issues solved and, if he shows that he can lay off the breaking balls out of the zone, could move up within a couple of months.
Boomer Collins is going to be the fourth outfielder in this group but could lose a lot of playing time once Anthony Alford and Jonathan Davis get off the DL. We could have a Davis/Davis/Alford in the outfield at some point although I’m sure the other players might have something to say about that.
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