And here’s the big one:
Catcher: Austin Romine
1st Base: Brandon Laird
2nd Base: Justin Snyder
Shortstop: Mitch Hilligoss / Walter Ibarra*
3rd Base: Bradley Suttle
Left Field: Eric Fryer
Center Field: Austin Krum
Right Field: Tim Battle
Designated Hitter: Jesus Montero
Others: David Williams, Wady Rufino, Brian Baisley, D.J. Hollingsworth
Starting Pitcher: Dellin Betances
Starting Pitcher: Wilkins De La Rosa
Starting Pitcher: Jairo Heredia
Starting Pitcher: Ryan Pope
Starting Pitcher: Jeremy Bleich
Relief Pitcher: Jon Hovis
Relief Pitcher: Edgar Soto
Relief Pitcher: Kevin Whelan
Relief Pitcher: Wilkins Arias
Relief Pitcher: Phil Barteski
Relief Pitcher: Lance Pendleton
I starred shortstop because really, I have no idea who is going to play there. Hilligoss is a terrible defensive shortstop, and completely failed to hit anything last season. Hilligoss will get playing time as a super-sub. Walter Ibarra is my next best guess to get playing time there, although a return of Reegie Corona could bump Eduardo Nunez back to Tampa.
Tampa’s roster is pure awesome every where you look. Opposing pitchers aren’t going to be crazy about facing Snyder-Krum-Montero-Suttle-Romine-Fryer-Laird at the top of the lineup. They all get on base reasonable well, and should hit their share of home runs.
The pitching staff is just as good. Betances and De La Rosa have some of the best stuff that one could ask for. Pope and Heredia are top control pitchers. Jeremy Bleich just went to the College World Series, and dominated Winter Ball. The bullpen contains no big names, although Lance Pendleton could become a useful prospect. To be honest, I’ve got no idea who is really going to end up making the Tampa bullpen. Those names are just guesses. Besides Pendleton and maybe Hovis, no one on that list would force the Yankees to hesitate before moving them down for a real prospect.
Tampa is clearly the team to watch in 2009.
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