The ’09 Pulaski Mariners, In Brief
The last of the Mariners affiliates, the Pulaski Mariners, will start up in a few minutes. The latest roster for them can be found here. Dave will likely chime in with some details as the season goes on, as they play some games in his neck of the woods, but here are a few brief bullet points on what to expect from them.
â€¢ Just as it was last year, the pitching staff is likely to be a strong point of the team, but as the old joke used to go with the Aquasox, it resembles a U.N. summit in its breakdown. Among those contending for a spot, all right-handers, you have Colin Buckborough (16th-round â€™07, Ontario), Yao Wen Chang (late 2007, Taiwan), Jeroen de Haas (early 2008, Netherlands), Nolan Diaz (â€™07 Venezuela), Leonardo Rodriguez (early â€™06, Venezuela), Jean Tome (early â€™07, Brazil). Alfredo Venegas, an Ecuadoran, is also on the roster, though it would be a serious demotion for him to play there. In the lineup, you have Dominican-born players like C Emmanuel Familia, IF Fred Bello (moved from Everett), 3B Jharmidy deJesus, and CF Julio Morban, two Venezuelans in IFs Cesar Fuentes and Gabriel Noriega, and Nicaraguan OF Dwight Britton making a repeat.
â€¢ The top international acquisition made by the Mâ€™s in the last period, Julio Morban, is also easily the top prospect on the squad. A left-handed hitter who signed for $1.1 million, Morban was regarded as the most polished hitter available on the market, far superior to the athletic-but-raw signings of Rafael Rodriguez (Giants, $2.55 million) and Yorman Rodriguez (Reds, $2.5 million). While he handles the bat exceptionally well, heâ€™s a bit difficult to project as his defensive abilities might move him to left and heâ€™s expected to be a lead-off or number two hitter. His offense could be in the discussion with players like Gillies and Carrera, but he’s the worst defender of the bunch.
â€¢ After Morban, the Pulaski Mâ€™s have two returning players in Gabriel Noriega and Jharmidy deJesus that could make some noise after spending all spring in instructs. DeJesus was a big signing in â€™07 for $1 million, and has above-average power, though he can be a bit aggressive at times. Heâ€™s playing third now, but some expect him to move to first or the outfield eventually. They know he can hit, they just arenâ€™t sure where heâ€™ll play. The opposite is true for Noriega, the top defender in the system and second-highest dollar signing in â€™07 at $800k. The eighteen-year-old is a natural at short and has a great arm, but heâ€™s repeating the league in large part because he has trouble hitting. Time will tell whether heâ€™s an actual prospect or the heir apparent to Oswaldo Navarroâ€™s role in the system.
â€¢ The highest-drafted prospect on the roster currently is OF Jarrett Burgess, a sixth-round pick last year who was a teammate of farmhand Denny Almonte and is similarly raw. For the â€™09 draft, you have 10th and 11th rounders 3B Vinnie Catricala and 1B Tim Morris as possibilities at the corners. Catricala had a power surge this spring but struggles with the offspeed stuff, while Morris is somewhat in the vein of current farmhands such as Marshall Hubbard and Bryan LaHair, a solid hitter, but with some questions about his power potential.
As with the Aquasox, the roster will change a bit as signings continue to be made, but Iâ€™d expect more turnover in Everett, which is where a number of the early draftees may be sent to start out.