UPDATED: April 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM
(Isotopes roster now finalized – link below)
With minor league spring training camp now completed, the Dodgers have announced their 2014 rosters for four of their six minor league affiliate teams.
Although there are 12 returning players on the Loons 2014 roster, there are nine new players that were selected in the top-10 rounds of the First Year Player Draft: infielder Jesmuel Valentin (1st round – 2012), outfielder Alex Santana (2nd round – 2011), first baseman Justin Chigbogu (4th round – 2012), outfielder Joey Curletta (6th round – 2012), right-handed pitcher Jacob Rhame (6th round – 2013), right-handed pitcher Brandon Martinez (7th round – 2009), infielder Brandon Trinkwon (7th round – 2013), catcher Kyle Farmer (8th round 2013) and Zachary Bird (9th round – 2012).
Without question, the Quakes are the big winners when it comes to getting the lion’s share of top prospects. As such, Quakes fans can expect to see larger crowds than they may be accustomed to – which is a good thing for everyone involved. In addition to returning right-handed starting pitcher Lindsey Caughel and 2012 first round draft pick shortstop Corey Seager, the Quakes will add 2013 first and second round draft picks Chris Anderson (RHP) and Tom Windle (LHP) to their starting rotation.
But wait… there’s more!
Also joining the Quakes rotation is 17-year-old Mexican phenom Julio Urias (LHP) who many are predicting to be pitching in the major leagues as an 18-year-old – including legendary scout Mike Brito who discovered and signed the young left-hander, just as he did Fernando Valenzuela and Yasiel Puig.
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the Lookouts roster are the names Zach Lee, Joc Pederson, Miguel Rojas and Jarret Martin – all of whom saw considerable playing time with the Dodgers during spring training. In fact, Pederson and Rojas played in every single spring training game for the Dodgers. The surprise is – why aren’t these guys on the Isotopes roster?
What isn’t a surprise is that quite a few members of last season’s Wild Card-winning Quakes team have been promoted to the Lookouts for the 2014 season including: Darnell Sweeney, Pedro Baez, Garrett Gould, Mike Thomas, Duke von Schamann, Carlos Frias, Angelo Songco and Jon Garcia (among others). It’s pretty safe to say that current Quakes Lindsey Caughel, Corey Seager Chris Anderson, Tom Windle and perhaps even Julio Urias may see action with the Lookouts at some point during the 2014 season as well.
Although the bulk of the Isotopes roster has been filled, there are still a few vacancies that need to be filled prior to Thursday’s season opener. And though there were a few surprises on the roster, the bigger surprise is who is not on the roster – like the aforementioned Pederson, Rojas, Lee and Martin. That being said, it’s no secret that the Dodgers do not particularly like to subject their top pitching prospects to the thin air of Albuquerque where balls carry and confidence shatters.
Dodgers utility outfielder Mike Baxter will most likely be optioned from the Dodgers to the Isotopes to make room for Matt Kemp, who will probably be activated from the disabled list for Friday’s home opener against the Hated Ones.
(UPDATED April 1, 2014 at 1:30 PM) – Pederson, Lee, and Rojas have been added to the Isotopes roster, Martin remains at Chattanooga.
Because the Arizona Rookie League Dodgers and the Pioneer Rookie League Ogden Raptors play shortened seasons (56 games and 76 games respectively) and don’t begin play until after the MLB First Year Player Draft, their respective rosters will not be set until after the draft, which is on June 5-7 this year.
As with every new season there will undoubtedly be some shifting around on the minor league rosters during the first few weeks of the season due to injuries and corresponding moves, so fans are encouraged to check the individual minor league rosters often to keep up with these roster moves.