Monday, April 1, 2013

Wilmington Blue Rocks Preview

Projected Lineup
2B - Justin Trapp
SS - Jack Lopez
3B - Cheslor Cuthbert
RF - Jorge Bonifacio
CF - Lane Adams
1B - Murray Watts
DH - Daniel Mateo
LF - Tim Ferguson
C - Parker Morin

Kyle Zimmer
Sam Selman
Kyle Smith
John Lamb
Angel Baez

C Kenny Swab, IF Kenneth Diekroger, IF Nick DelGuidice, OF Geulin Beltre, OF Chris Elder

Antonio Cruz, Robinson Yambati, Aaron Brooks, Malcom Culver, Cody Fassold, Kellen Moen, 
Spencer Patton, Andrew Tiggs

Notes on the 2013 Blue Rocks:
  •  The middle of the lineup will be one of the more popular topics regarding Wilmington to start this season off.  Cuthbert is looking for a bounce back year, after hitting .240/.296/.322 with an ISO of .082.  Cheslor's GB% was 46.7 while his BB% was 7.2.  Although his K% was well below the Carolina League average, if he can work on a line-drive swing and being a little more patient at the plate, Cuthbert we'll get back on track in no time.
  • Jorge Bonifacio, the 19 year old "not so athletic younger brother of Emilio" and #5 on our 2013 Prospect List, held his own for sure at the plate in Kane County last season, hitting .282 with 10 HR and 61 RBI, not as pretty as Twins top prospect Miguel Sano (28 HR 100 RBI), but still very promising for the time being and his age.  The C.L. is known for being a "pitcher's league" so hopefully Bonifacio can keep up the pace from his Kane County days.
  • Jason Adam, 23, has sort of slipped off our radar, but still remains a prospect for now.  Last season, starting off with Kane County, was a solid bounce back from an ugly 2011 season.  Once joining the Blue Rocks, his batting average fell nearly 60 points compared to his K.C. appearances.  If Jason wants to remain in the organization, he'll need to get it going in Wilmington before it's too late.
  • Murray Watts, 27, is definitely on the scolding hot seat at this point.  Last year he compiled a line of .221/.299/.394 in 30 games for the Blue Rocks, hitting only 4 HR with an ISO of .173.  The problem with Murray is he doesn't make contact well at all and doesn't have good patience at the plate, striking out 35.9% of the time while walking only 10.3% of his ABs.  This will most likely be the final year for Murray in the Royals organization if he doesn't show signs of improvement.
  • The rotation will definitely be the highlight of Wilmington to kick off the season this Thursday, April 4th.  With four of our own Top 15 prospects in the rotation alone, Royals fans will want to keep tabs on the Blue Rocks for a while.  Kyle Zimmer headlines the staff, as he comes off an exciting rookie season in Kane County.  A workhorse who will give you lots of innings, like former Blue Rock Jason Adam, should split time between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas, if all goes to plan.  Sam Selman and Kyle Smith join Zimmer in their quest, alongside rehabbing John Lamb, who is back to full health, but needs some time to regain some of his velocity.  
  • Another guy to look after his reliever Robinson Yambati.  At 22, he has a three quarter arm delivery, a low 90's fastball, and an incredible GB% of 65.6, thanks to his ability to keep the ball low in the strike zone.  If he continues his success from 2012, he'll be in Northwest Arkansas before too long, and possibly even Omaha before season's end.

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