A guess at the Thunder's opening day roster ... just 99 days from now
Here's a rough guess:
C - Austin Romine (This one's a definite)
C - Kyle Anson (I expect he will repeat because of poor perforamance and space issues at S/WB)
1B - Kevin Smith (liked what I saw from him once the weather got warmer in Trenton)
1B - Jorge Vazquez (not terribly sure of this, but he could definitely stand to work on defense)
2B - Matt Cusick (Loved his ability to make solid contact nearly every time up)
SS - Walter Ibarra (He's been with Trenton before and seems to need to move up)
3B - Brandon Laird (Vechionacci is a free agent, and Laird tore it up in the AFL)
OF - Austin Krum (nice little leadoff hitter who goes all out)
OF - Daniel Brewer (speedster who spent half the year with Tampa last season)
OF - Jack Rye (made a very brief cameo in Trenton in 2009)
OF - James Cooper (injured for spell in 2009, wouldn't be surprised to see him back)
SP - Jeremy Bleich (got lit up in 2009, will almost certainly return)
SP - Lance Pendleton (same deal as Bleich, but without getting hit as hard)
SP - Charlie Zink (spent all of 2009 in Tampa, could be time for a promotion)
SP - D.J. Mitchell (2008 draftee from Clemson has moved quickly)
SP - Hector Noesi (after an add to the 40-man, it's time he tasted the upper levels)
RP - Jonathan Hovis (with Trenton briefly in 2009, could return)
RP - Tim Norton (UConn product who's been delayed by injuries)
RP - Pat Venditte (The switch pitcher, you may have heard of him)
RP - Adam Olbrychowski (Was with Thunder for season's final series)
RP - Noel Castillo (horrific with Trenton in 2009, but still may be back)
RP - Phil Bartleski (also with Trenton during final 09 series)
RP - Jonathan Ortiz (could wind up being Thunder closer)
RP - Craig Heyer (made six spot starts for Tampa, could be 2010 Josh Schmidt)
Edit: After I posted this, Chad Jennings of the Journal News posted some notes pertaining to Trenton given to him by Vice President of Baseball Operations Mark Newman. I also had an email in to Mr. Newman asking him about some items pertaining to the Thunder.
Here are some of the highlights from Jennings' talk with Newman
- Newman names Bleich as a pitcher who could shoot through the system a la an Ian Kennedy or Joba Chamberlain. Considering he was tabbed for a 6.65 ERA in Trenton, that's an interesting choice.
- Wilkin De La Rosa is scheduled to repeat Double-A this season.
- Noesi will "probably" begin 2010 with Trenton
- Christian Garcia, the oft-injured righty with positively electric stuff will be in the Thunder rotation, too.
Read all of Jennings' info from Newman here.