The official 2012 Trenton Thunder Opening Day roster has finally been released…to view the official document, click here.
But to save yourself some time…
Cory Arbiso, Preston Claiborne, Ryan Flannery, Shaeffer Hall, Craig Heyer, Lee Hyde, Brett Marshall, Kelvin Perez, Ryan Pope, Josh Romanski, Graham Stoneburner, Chase Whitley
THUNDER THOUGHTS: The rotation will be Hall, Stoneburner, Marshall, Romanski and most likely Heyer. A far cry from having studs like Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos in there, but a solid group none the less. For me, the name to watch in this group is Marshall, who is coming off a very solid season in High-A Tampa and is the biggest prospect the Thunder will have on their roster, at least to start the year.
Lee Hyde was the name that stood out immediately in the bullpen, mainly because his name wasn’t familiar to me at all. Turns out he was in the Nationals system last year and was in Triple-A all season. The only lefty in the bullpen, he’ll be a little more important than you may think. The closer candidates, in my mind, are Flannery, Pope and Whitley. Flannery, who struggled in a brief call-up to Trenton last season, had 19 saves last season with Tampa. Pope is back for a fourth season in Trenton, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him in a role that would get him back to Triple-A the quickest. And Whitley closed in Staten Island two years ago and probably has the stuff best suited for that role.
Mitch Abeita, Jeff Farnham, Jose Gil
THUNDER THOUGHTS: Yikes. For all the catching depth the Yankees organization truly has, you sure aren’t seeing it here. But you know what, it wouldn’t shock me if Gil put together a really nice year. He had stretches last season where he was truly impressive, but he was never really the guy. It’s hard to get in a rhythm like that, and with some more regular playing time, I’d be curious to see what he can do. Abeita will likely be the backup, while Farnham plays the Ryan Baker/Eladio Rodriguez/Kevin Nelson/J.T. LaFountain role. In reality, everyone here is a stopgap until the bigger prospects are deemed ready.
David Adams, Walter Ibarra, Rob Lyerly, Addison Maruszak, Yadil Mujica, Ronnier Mustelier, Jose Pirela
THUNDER THOUGHTS: Mustelier has me interested. He’s the only one of these guys I haven’t seen before (bet you forgot Ibarra was with the Thunder way back in 2008) and he must have the eye of someone in the organization to have been assigned to the Arizona Fall League this off-season. Most of the attention amongst this group, however, will likely be focused on Adams. The obvious storyline is if he can stay healthy, because that’s pretty obviously been a big problem for the past season and a half.
Abe Almonte, Zoilo Almonte, Dan Brewer, Cody Johnson, Melky Mesa
THUNDER THOUGHTS: To me, if you’re buying a ticket to see this club, the guy you’d want to see the most is Zoilo Almonte. Almonte had a strong spring after a breakout season in 2011 — I still wasn’t as impressed as most, mind you — but he’s a guy the organization is truly high on and may very well truly be the best prospect on this roster. Mesa has the tools, but only time will tell if he can rebound from a rough year, and you have to wonder how patient the Yankees will be with Johnson, who obviously can hit the ball a country mile but strikes out way, way too much.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com