Yesterday was one of the most hectic (and exciting) days of the year. The first daytime workout, otherwise known as LumberKings Media Day took place. Our two local reporters, Jon Gremmels of the Clinton Herald and Steve Batterson of the Quad City Times both wrote excellent articles previewing the LumberKings.
Opening Night is tomorrow at Community Field in Burlington, IA. Here’s the pitching probables for the first series:
LumberKings: RHP Steven Hensley vs. Burlington: RHP Bryan Casey
LumberKings: RHP Brett Lorin vs. Burlington: RHP Sam Runion
LumberKings: RHP Aaron Pribanic vs. Burlington: RHP Luis Cota
Once again, if you haven’t heard by now, you can listen to the game locally on AM 1390 KCLN or via Gameday Streaming Audio at www.lumberkings.com.
Dan Carroll, Denny Almonte anchor experience-laden Clinton squad
Clinton, IA – The Seattle Mariners era has officially begun in the city of Clinton. The new parent club of the LumberKings unveiled the 2009 roster today, filled with familiar names that have passed through the Midwest League before. Twelve of Clinton’s newest 25 players – anchored by prospects like Dan Carroll and Denny Almonte – have suited up with Seattle’s former affiliate in Wisconsin.
Lead by former Timber Rattlers manager Scott Steinmann, pitching coach Lance Painter and hitting coach Jesus Azuaje, the LumberKings will hit the field on Opening Day with a total of six players who have been drafted within the top five picks by the Mariners over the last three seasons.
Almonte and Carroll will go through sophomore seasons in the league after being selected in the second and third rounds, respectively in 2007. Almonte batted .249 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI for Wisconsin last year, while Carroll hit .248 with 31 steals and 36 runs scored with the Timber Rattlers prior to a promotion to high-A High Desert. Right-hander Nolan Gallagher (the fourth round pick in 2007) split last season between the Arizona League and Northwest League, but went 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA with Wisconsin in 2007. He is currently listed on the seven-day DL.
Early-rounders from the 2008 draft includes right-handers Aaron Pribanic (third round), Steve Hensley (fourth round) and Brett Lorin (fifth round). Pribanic (1-2, 15.43 ERA with Peoria) and Hensley (2-1, 5.22 ERA with Everett) each pitched in less than 10 games in their debut assignments last year. Lorin went 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA between Everett and Wisconsin. Seventh-round infielder Nate Tenbrink (.198, 5 HR, 21 RBI with Everett) and eighth-round left-hander Bobby LaFromboise (2-2, 3.46 ERA with Everett) were also amongst Seattle’s first ten picks last year.
The most intriguing prospect is third baseman Mario Martinez. Ranked the seventh-best prospect in the Seattle system by Baseball America prior to this season, the 20-year-old Martinez hit .319 with five home runs and 32 RBI in 64 games with Pulaski. He ranked third in the Appalachian League in total hits (80) and fifth in total bases (116).
Outfielders Maximo Mendez and Kalian Sams have both spent time with Wisconsin, as has infielder Terry Serrano. Pitchers Cheyne Hann, Jose Jimenez, Keith Meyer, Ryan Moorer and Walter Suriel are also former Timber Rattlers. Right-hander Adam Harben pitched for Quad City in 2003 and 2004.
A breakdown of the 2009 Opening Day Roster:
RH Pitchers (11 + 1)
LH Pitchers (2)
Gallagher, Nolan (DL)
The LumberKings open the 2009 season on Thursday, April 9 at Community Field against the Burlington Bees. The game begins at 6:30 PM. Listen to the action on AM 1390 KCLN in Clinton or live on the web at www.lumberkings.com.
Major League 25-man rosters are set, and a quick look around is yielding no new former LumberKings. John Mayberry, Jr. (’06) got a long look in Philadelphia Phillies camp, but the defending champs figured the lefty bat of Matt Stairs, “professional hitter” would suit them bettter. Still, don’t be surprised if you see Mayberry in Philly pinstripes before long.
Lefty Derek Holland (’08) was in Rangers camp till the bitter end, pitching a solid 4.0 innings just two days ago. Still, he, Neftali Feliz (pictured left), Justin Smoak and company will be starting out 2009 somewhere in the system other than Arlington. It will be interesting to see where they all land and when, given the amount of time each spent cutting their teeth in big league camp. Jamey Newberg over at the Newberg Report seems to think Holland will be dominant in the Ranger rotation as soon as the second half.
No Tug Hulett (’05) on the Kansas City Royals roster, no Brandon Watson (’01) with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Of course, still plenty of former Kings in the form of Boston’s Jason Bay (’01), Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore (’01), John Danks (’04) of the Chicago White Sox, Ian Kinsler (’04) of the Rangers and Edinson Volquez (’04) with Cincinnati. Plenty of star power in that bunch.
The only former LumberKing in the Seattle system is going to be a Mariner come opening day. Right-hander Roy Corcoran (’02) will be one of manager Don Wakamatsu’s go-to arms out of the bullpen. Start buying your Corcoran jerseys now. I, personally would go with the alternate blue.
As to our roster? That’s been a popular question around LumberKings Central. Fact of the matter is, we’re still waiting for official word. As the team will arrive on Monday, we should know sometime very soon. Stay tuned to LumberKings.com and this very blog for updates.