Naturals, Blue Rocks, Legends release rosters

Three of the four KC Royals full season minor league affiliates released their rosters tonight. I am still waiting on Triple-A Omaha.

nwaLet’s start in Double-A NW Arkansas, where the roster was released over the weekend via Paul Boyd (the beat writer for the Naturals for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette).

I will only recap what I already wrote over the weekend.

The Naturals will carry 13 pitchers, including five left-handers. The lefties are starters Matt Strahm and Eric Skoglund, and relievers Sam Selman, Eric Stout, and Estarlin Cordero. Stout spent most of the 2015 season with Low-A Lexington, though he finished the season in NWA to help with the postseason. Cordero was the closer in High-A Wilmington.

Filling out the rest of the rotation is Alec Mills, returnee Christian Binford, and Jake Junis. Junis was the Opening Day starter the last two seasons (with Lexington and Wilmington).

Rounding out the bullpen is returnees Benino Pruneda, Mark Peterson, and Kevin McCarthy. Andrew Edwards and Yender Caramo are the newbies, up from Wilmington.

Zane Evans returns to catch in NWA, along with defensive specialist Cam Gallagher (who spent the last two seasons in Wilmington).

The infield will be anchored up the middle by returnees Raul Mondesi and Ramon Torres, joined by Jack Lopez (who spent the last three seasons in Wilmington). Hunter Dozier and Mauricio Ramos will somehow split time at third base and Frank Schwindel will be back at first base.

The outfield will be Bubba Starling and Logan Moon, along with converted infielders Orlando Calixte and Carlos Garcia.

Glenn Sparkman and Reid Redman (both recovering from Tommy John surgery) are on the DL.


Wilmington_Blue_Rocks_2010_2Now to High-A Wilmington, where the Blue Rocks will be returning quite a few players.

Starters Zach Lovvorn and Pedro Fernandez return, as do relievers Matt Alvarez, Evan Beal, and Ashton Goudeau.

The outfield returns Elier Hernandez, Alfredo Escalera, and Brandon Downes, who showed off his defensive prowess at the very end of the year.

First baseman Ryan O’Hearn looks to anchor the infield with his college teammate Corey Toups most likely standing next to him at second base. Humberto Arteaga returns to play shortstop. Robert Pehl will look to get more playing time than he did in 2015 (81 games). Wander Franco will be the every day third baseman, with the Blue Rocks having yet another Latino manning the hot corner (Cheslor Cuthbert three years ago and Ramos last season).

There are six left-handers, including starters Matt Tenuta and Colin Rodgers. Brennan Henry, Ian Tompkins, and side armer Tim Hill are the other lefties.

The Blue Rocks will have four players who were drafted last June: pitchers Josh Staumont (who throws 100+ but has poor control) and lefty Mark McCoy (who is a Jersey boy), infielder Austin Bailey, and outfielder Roman Collins.

Derek Gordon rounds out the pitching staff. The younger brother of Gold Glover Alex Gordon was signed out of independent baseball last February and was the best pitcher in Idaho Falls.

The catchers are Chad Johnson and Luis Villegas (who was a Blue Rocks for a brief time in 2015).

Lefty Luis Rico is starting the season on the DL.


legends logoFinally to Low-A Lexington. The Legends also have quite a few returnees.

The pitching staff returns six players: Scott Blewett, Torey Deshazier, Foster Griffin, Yunior Marte, Jake Newberry, lefty Emilio Ogando, Corey Ray, and Nik Stephenson.

One of the newbies is 2015 first round pick Nolan Watson. He is joined by fellow 2015 draft pick Jacob Bodner (a local kid). Lefty Kyle Kubat, a non-drafted free agent out of Nebraska last June, joins the pitching staff after posting a 0.76 ERA in 12 games in the AZL. Julio Pinto and Franco Terrero round out the Legends pitching staff.

Behind the plate, Chase Vallot returns. He will be joined by Xavier Fernandez.

In the infield, Samir Duenez returns, as does utility man Mike Hill (who will be the third string catcher). Italian prospect Marten Gasparini has finally reached full season ball, and joins Jeckson Flores, Brandon Dulin, and DJ Burt (all teammates at rookie level Idaho Falls) in the Legends infield.

The Legends outfield has three 2015 draft picks: returnee Anderson Miller, and Ben Johnson and Cody Jones. Idaho Falls MVP Amalani Fukofuka finally leaves rookie ball behind him.


*In case you were wondering on a few players, the following were released at the end of spring training: Dominique Taylor, Logan Davis, and Edward Salcedo. According to Baseball America, relievers Bruce Kern and Tripp Davis, catcher Pedro Gonzalez, and outfielder DonAndre Clark were released last week.


About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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