As of right now there are a couple of guys that I really want to see make the roster. I don’t know how many spots are available right now because I haven’t been paying close enough attention to have a sure opinion on who’s staying with the big club and who’s starting the year in the minors. With all of the starters and a few guys I know will be on the bench, I figure there are 3 or 4 spots open on the roster right now. Here are a few names I want on the roster come April 1st.
OF Alejandro De Aza – For whatever reason I’m a fan of the Florida Marlins. Don’t ask me why, I honestly have no idea how it happened, I just really like their time. When De Aza was on Florida in 2009 I was really impressed with his speed. This kid can absolutely fly! He isn’t too bad with the glove, either. On the days where we need to give Quentin or Rios a break, this guy and the guy I’m gonna list next are who I want in the outfield.
OF Lastings Milledge – Yeah, he wound up here. Milledge has bounced around from team to team but not because of his talent level, it was more of an attitude issue. Kenny Williams shaped him up, gave him Juan Uribe’s number, and now we have a respectable kid who’s seriously vying for a final roster spot. Lastings has shown he can hit for power (4 home runs in 43 at bats and a 1.028 OPS) and hit for average (.326 in 13 Spring games). Like De Aza, Milledge is also no chump in the outfield. I want this guy for the season.
C Tyler Flowers – I’m not sure how much competition there is for the backup catcher position but I really hope this kid is being considered. I forget which game it was but I remember Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson pointing out how impressed they were with how good of a game Tyler was calling and how relaxed and really in control he was. That was right about the time in the game that I was thinking that myself. Ramon Castro is huge and awesome, but I think it’s time we give this guy a shot. He was one of the centerpieces in the deal that sent Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez to the Braves. Give that kid a locker already!
CI/OF Dayan Viciedo – Before Dayan was sidelined with that thumb fracture he had, Kenny Williams said that he was our most dangerous hitter to that point of the Spring. .500 OBP is definitely a guy who will get on base. In 23 at-bats this Spring, Dayan has 10 hits, 2 walks, 5 runs, a double, and 2 RBI. Last year people said Dayan was too big to play third and too clunky to be able to field first base properly, so Williams wanted to try him in the outfield. The Tank made a few nice running grabs and threw a couple people out at second base. If we need three backup outfielders, pick this guy. If we need a backup for Morel at third base (who’s last name is not Teahen) then pick this guy.
RP Jeffrey Marquez – I circled this kid on our Spring roster sheet a few weeks ago because in the one inning I watched him pitch he really stood out. I haven’t circled anyone else, but I think I made a good pick. 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 5 games this Spring, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts, 2 earned runs in 9.1 innings pitched. I’d like to have that in our bullpen this year. Matt Thornton will be starting the season as our closer, so Sale needs all the help he can get in the late innings. I’d like to see this kid go up against the 6-7-8 hitters of Minnesota to give Sale 9-1-2 and Thornton 3-4-5. I think they’d be able to handle that.
Just a few names that I’d like to see make the cut. De Aza and Flowers will most likely be the two on my list who don’t make it, with De Aza being a fringe guy at this point in the Spring. I’ve always been a fan of Alejandro – even his name is pretty awesome – so I want to see him on the squad. Flowers may have to wait his turn but I think we’ll be more than happy with him when he finally gets a chance to shine. Viciedo will be a huge power threat in years to come, and hopefully I’m not the only guy who has been impressed by Marquez and he will make it as well.
12 days until Opening Day.