Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Topes roster becoming more clear

The Rockies optioned infielder Charlie Culberson to the minor leagues and sold catcher Audry Perez to the Orioles today, so the triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes roster is becoming more clear. Cactus League games conclude Wednesday. Minor league exhibition games conclude Saturday morning.

Here's a look at the possible Isotopes roster, with the usual caveats that I'm not in Arizona watching the minor league games, this is strictly my opinion, and nothing is coming from the Rockies or Isotopes:

Catchers (2): Ryan Casteel (who can play first base) and Dustin Garneau will be the catchers, unless something drastic occurs.

Infielders (5 or 6): Ben Paulsen, Culberson, Cristhian Adames, Angelys Nina and Omar Quintanilla appear solid. The sixth spot could be Rafael Ynoa (if he doesn't make the Rockies) or Jose Rivera. Or they go with five infielders because most of the outfielders can play infield too.

Outfielders (4 or 5): Kyle Parker, Josh Vitters, Tim Wheeler, Tim Smalling and Jeremy Barfield. The last I heard, Roger Bernadina's wrist was still tender and he'd start the season back at extended spring training. If Bernadina is healthy, perhaps Barfield goes to double-A New Britain.

Starting pitchers (5): Chris Rusin, Aaron Laffey, John Lannan, Jair Jurrgens, Chad Bettis and Jon Gray are all possibilities. You never know what clauses are in the contracts of the veterans that would impact where they go. It sounds like like Eddie Butler and David Hale will be on the disabled list. Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood will definitely start the season on the DL. Also keep in mind that Rockies ace Jorge De La Rosa could be making 1-2 rehab starts for the Topes early in the season.

Relief pitchers (7 or 8): Jairo Diaz, Jorge Rondon, Tommy Kahnle, Gus Schlosser, Yohan Flande, Kenny Roberts and Kraig Sitton are all strong candidates. Scott Oberg had an impressive spring and remains in big-league camp. Unless he beats out Rafael Betancourt  for the final spot in the Rockies bullpen, he's in Albuquerque. Don't sleep on Austin House, the former New Mexico Lobo either.

The biggest problem with my predictions for the pitchers is that I'm totally neglecting six minor league free agents: Leuris Gomez, Jason Gurka, Jason Lowey, Brett Marshall, Justin Miller and Jose Ortega. It's nothing personal. I'm sure a few of them will be on the Topes. I just don't know where they all fit.

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