They do promise to have one of the most exciting teams in all of minor league ball at Low A with Lansing of the Midwest League.
The Lugnuts released their roster today, and it includes much of the organization's wealth of talent.
Making their full-season debuts are a bevy of talented pitching prospects, inlcuding righthanders Chase DeJong, Adonys Cardona, Jeremy Gabryszwski, Canadian Tom Robson, and Alberto Tirado, to go along with leftyJairo Labourt.
We had initially thought that the Latin members of the above group might be held back in extended spring training until the midwestern weather had warmed up, but it looks like the club will be challenging them right off the bat. This is something of a departure for the organization, which prefers to advance young pitchers one level at at time. Cardona, Tirado, DeJong, and Labourt are all skipping from rookie-level Bluefied to pitch in full season ball for Lansing. The club also appears to be reviving the piggyback method with their prized arms - Labourt and Tirado will be a tandem on Friday.
Righthander Roberto Osuna is on the Lugnuts roster, but the 18 year old will be sidelined for much of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Santiago Nessy has fallen off the prospect charts after a 2013 season of growing pains, but at 21 there's still lots of room for projection. Handling this pitching staff will be a good challenge for him - if he develops as some think he will, he may be calling games for some of them in the majors one day.
Jorge Saez was skipped from Bluefield, and while at 23 he may have almost maxed out his ability, he is still lauded for his leadership skills, and will form a solid catching duo with Nessy.
Matt Dean and Mitch Nay both skipped Vancouver (Nay did suit up for the C's in the Northwest League playoffs, and was named MVP), and will be joined by Dawel Lugo, who may have one of the most exciting bats in the system, and Dickie Thon. There is some question as to whether or not Lugo will be able to stick at short in the long run, but the plan for now seems to be to let him play himself out of a spot.
Lots of offensive upside with this group.
D.J. Davis, the club's first pick in the 2012 draft, has drawn raves for his tool kit since his pro debut, although his bat is still developing. He, too, has been skipped a level in being sent to Lansing. He may experience some further growing pains early in his first year of full season ball, but playing every day should accelerate his development in the long run.