Curtis Pride will open the 2007 season on the Arkansas Travelers’ roster.
The Angels affiliates released their Opening Night rosters today:
Comments and observations …
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that 38-year old veteran outfielder Curtis Pride will open the season on the Double-A Arkansas Travelers roster. I’m guessing this is one or both of two scenarios. If you look at the Triple-A Salt Lake roster, it shows only three outfielders — Terry Evans, Nick Gorneault and Nathan Haynes. But you might also see guys like Kendry Morales, Matt Brown and Mike Eylward get some time in the corner outfield positions. The Angels want Evans and Gorneault to play full-time, and in a pinch both can play center field should Nathan Haynes falter. By sending Pride to Double-A, the kids can get experience at a higher level while Pride stays in shape every day in the Arkansas lineup. The other possibility is that this might be easing Pride into a player-coach role, but we’ll see.
A couple guys return to Arkansas who might have seen Triple-A in a lesser organization, Greg Porter and Bobby Wilson. Nick Adenhart, Sean Rodriguez and Nick Green open the season in North Little Rock but all three could move up before the season’s over.
The Arkansas roster also features three former top prospect starters who’ve been converted to relief — Jose Arredondo, Steven Shell and Rafael Rodriguez. The Angels are looking ahead to the possibility that Francisco Rodriguez walks as a free agent after the 2008 season, so look for Arredondo to be groomed as a potential replacement.
If you liked the 2006 Quakes, you’ll love the 2007 version because there isn’t much difference.
Among the fresh faces will be outfielders Jordan Renz and Brad Coon, starter Bobby Mosebach and reliever Mitch Arnold. Renz has been a power hitter but a low average hitter; the average should benefit from the hitter-friendly California League but his plate knowledge bears watching. Coon stole 55 bases in 124 games last year for the Kernels; he had a .381 OBP in 2005 at Rookie-A Orem and .382 OBP last year at Low-A Cedar Rapids, so if he maintains that rate he should be a fun leadoff hitter to watch. Mosebach was a workhorse for the Kernels last year, with a 3.04 ERA in 159 2/3 innings, and got four starts for the Quakes down the stretch. Mitch Arnold was once considered a top relief prospect but underwent “Tommy John” surgery in 2005. This will be his first year active since the surgery.
The Kernels seem to be largely the 2006 Orem Owlz, although Mark Trumbo returns to see if he can work out his plate problems. Cedar Rapids fans will also get to see outfielder-turned-reliever Warner Madrigal, who’s reportedly throwing in the mid-90s and developing a decent slider.
I don’t see Stephen Marek or Tommy Mendoza on any roster, so I’m assuming they’ve been held back in Tempe due to injury. I’ll try to find out more this weekend when I’m at Rancho Cucamonga.
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