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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An early look at the 2013 Thunder

The NFL playoffs are upon us, the holiday season is drawing to a close, and spring training is right around the corner. With that in mind, it's a good time to take a preliminary look at the players who should make up the Thunder's opening day roster. 

Obviously, things can change. Minor league free agents can be signed, trades can happen, injuries can occur. Plenty of players have earned that bump to the upper levels, and there are sure to be plenty of returners in this crop. 

My guess, from 1 through 25:

1 - J.R. Murphy - C
2 - Jeff Farnham - C
3 - Kyle Roller - 1B
4 - Jose Pirela - 2B
5 - Jose Mojica - SS
6 - Kevin Mahoney - 3B
7 - Slade Heathcott - OF
8 - Ramon Flores - OF 
9 - Tyler Austin - OF
10 - Rob Segedin - OF
11 - Jose Toussen - IF
12  - Adonis Garcia - OF
13 - Jose Ramirez - SP
14 - Nik Turley - SP
15 - Zach Nuding - SP
16 - Mikey O'Brien - SP
17 - Shane Greene  SP
18 - Tommy Kahnle - RP
19 - Branden Pinder - RP
20 - Dan Burawa - RP
21 - Kramer Sneed - RP
22 - Graham Stoneburner - RP
23 - Cory Arbiso - RP
24 - Rigoberto Arrebato - RP
25 - Manny Barreda - RP

I've included Tyler Austin in this permutation because I believe he's earned his way here. That said, there are plenty of scenarios that could bring him back here to start 2013. For one, Abe Almonte -- whom the Yankees re-signed this offseason -- starting at Trenton would severely block his path. 

Almonte played about half the season between bouts of hamstring trouble, but hit very well (.276/.350/.392) when he got on the field. He also swiped 30 bases in 35 tries and was solid at all three outfield positions. With Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa and Chris Dickerson all good possibilities for the Scranton outfield, Abe could be pushed back. 

Same goes for Rob Segedin, who moved off third this season and should begin back at Trenton to start the year. In truth, he's probably better suited as the designated hitter. Even so, Segedin getting the nod in left would send Austin back to Tampa. 

Shortstop would be a lot clearer if the Yankees re-signed Walter Ibarra, who missed a great deal of time last year with finger injuries and had his starting spot usurped when Addison Maruszak caught fire. He's an MiLB FA and would be a shoo-in for the job if he comes back. 

If not, Jose Mojica is the obvious candidate. He handled the bulk of the reps at Tampa last year, and as such would be in position to make the move up. Jose Toussen did see a little time here last year, but he's more of true utilityman than a starter at any position. Neither Mojica nor Toussen hit well at Tampa, and each could use more time. If Ibarra doesn't come back, that may not be feasible. 

I'm fairly confident about each of the five starters and most of the relievers. The biggest questions, to me, are Stoneburner and Arbiso, each of whom have spent significant time with Trenton. Still, Stoneburner is just beginning to break in as a reliever, and Arbiso is an invaluable long man or spot starter. Either would be appropriate for Double-A or Triple-A.

Plenty can and will change between now and Opening Day, but that's my guess just a day after Christmas.


Blogger sjkqw said...

I guess Bleich will at least start the season in Tampa?

And Wow at the RP depth in the upper minors. In addition to Bleich and Cotham (as you mentioned on Twitter) who I guess are in Tampa, you got Kelvin Perez, Jim Miller, Francisco Rondon, Preston Claiborne, Cody Eppley, Juan Cedeno, Mark Montgomery, Chase Whitley, Ryan Pope, David Herndon, and Josh Spence. That's 11 significant guys for Scranton's pen plus either Arbiso or Stoneburner if Cotham takes a spot away. And Craig Heyer could be another if the Nova/Phelps loser is sent to AAA. Incredible depth will be very useful for the major league team.

I also wonder if they will still resign Josh Romanski. Any idea about what they will do with him?

Venditte, Daley, and Moreno should also be joining that group at some point, but obviously spots should become available as the inevitable injuries occur.

January 1, 2013 at 11:13 PM 

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