With spring training set to end over the weekend, minor league rosters are beginning to fill out. Though the KC Royals still have a few spots that have not been handed out yet, there will still be some trickle down effect to the minor leagues.
However, Double-A NW Arkansas seems to have a set roster. According to Naturals beat writer Paul Boyd, who talked with manager Vance Wilson, all but one spot is set.
The Naturals roster is VERY interesting, though there were not too many surprises in terms of the pitching staff.
The Naturals rotation looks like this (and 4/5 of it spent the 2015 season in High-A Wilmington): Alec Mills, lefty Matt Strahm, Christian Binford, Jake Junis, and lefty Eric Skoglund. Skoglund is the one surprise considering he did not pitch after July 3rd due to injury though he was on the cusp of a promotion at that time.
The bullpen has some returnees: Benino Pruneda, lefty Sam Selman, Mark Peterson, Kevin McCarthy, and lefty Eric Stout. The newbies are Andrew Edwards, lefty Estarlin Cordero, and Yender Caramo. Cordero was the Blue Rocks closer in 2015. The only real surprise here was Stout, as he never pitched in Wilmington and only was in NWA last year because the Naturals needed pitching and Low-A Lexington was out of the postseason.
Catcher Zane Evans returns to NWA and fellow catcher Cam Gallagher will be making his Double-A debut. It will be interesting to see how they use these two. In Wilmington, usually one would catch and the other would DH.
However, Wilson’s lineup is not looking that flexible.
He has two third baseman: returnee Hunter Dozier and newbie Mauricio Ramos. Those two are joined in the infield by Ramon Torres, Frank Schwindel (who caught quite a few innings this spring), and Jack Lopez (who I am honestly surprised is still in the organization no matter how much I like him).
The outfield is a work in progress. Bubba Starling returns with newbie Logan Moon, another strong defensive player with a great arm (who struggled offensively for most of 2015). However the other two outfielders are infielders converting to the outfield (and did not play a single inning in the outfield while I was in Surprise last week). They are Orlando Calixte (who was just dropped from big league camp at the end of last week) and Carlos Garcia (who did see some time in left field during winter ball in Venezuela).
The Royals still have yet to decide where Raul Mondesi will end up. A few other names missing are starters Luke Farrell, Jonathan Dziedzic, and Brooks Pounders, along with relievers Malcom Culver and Aroni Nina (could they all be in Triple-A?).
There are rumors that the Royals are trying to re-sign infielder Clint Barmes to a minor league deal and he would take up a spot in Triple-A Omaha, as would recently released outfielder Travis Snider (if he were to re-sign).