Clinton LumberKings 2011 Opening Day Roster

The first of the Mariners’ minor league organizations to announce their 2011 Opening Day roster this year was the Clinton LumberKings, who won the Midwest League Western Division Title in 2010 before falling to the Lake County Captains in the MWL Championship series.

Final 2010 Record: 82-56, lost in League Championship series
2010 Batting Leaders:
Nick Franklin 23 HR
Vince Catricala .302 BA, 79 RBI
2010 Pitching Leaders:
Taylor Stanton 12 W
Brian Moran 1.34 ERA | Erasmo Ramirez 117 K’s

Pitchers (13): Matt Bischoff, Tyler Blandford, Tyler Burgoon, Willy Kesler, Seon Gi Kim, Stephen Kohlscheen, Fray Martinez, Brandon Maurer, George Mieses, Forrest Snow, Anthony Fernandez, Jason Markovitz, Edlando Seco

Catchers (2):Steven Baron, Carlton Tanabe

Infielders (7):Marcus Littlewood, Ramon Morla, Tim Morris, Anthony Phillips, Carlos Ramirez, Stefen Romero, Mickey Wiswall

Outfielders (3):Matt Cerione, Julio Morban, Kevin Rivers

Disabled List: Jonathan Arias (RHP)

Notable Prospects: Marcus Littlewood (SS), Steven Baron (C), Ramon Morla (3B), Forrest Snow (RHP), George Mieses (RHP)

Players To Watch: Kevin Rivers (OF), Stefen Romero (3B), Mickey Wiswall (1B), Anthony Fernandez (LHP), Edlando Seco (LHP), Ty Burgoon (RHP), Julio Morban

Outlook: This is not a boring or unimpressive group for Clinton to start with.  Snow is being converted back to a starting pitcher, and will be the LumberKings’ Opening Day starter.  He certainly has the stuff to succeed in that role, and will be monitored closely to see how he progresses.

Blandford, Fernandez, Mieses, and Seco figure to round out the rotation, and all four are interesting prospects in their own right.  This should be a very successful rotation in a league that’s already kind to pitchers.  Don’t be surprised if Kim and Kesler wind up making starts here and there when needed as well.  Burgoon and Martinez should figure in for the back end of the bullpen.

In the lineup, Baron and Littlewood are both recent high draft picks.  Baron struggled in his first taste of the MWL last season, but should do better coming off an impressive spring.  Littlewood is a big, athletic shortstop getting his first taste of pro ball, and will have numerous eyes watching him closely to see if the Mariners have struck gold again after the success that Nick Franklin saw last year.

Rivers, Cerione, and Morban give the ‘Kings a very good defensive outfield, and their infield shouldn’t be too shabby either.  Rivers, Morla, Wiswall, and Littlewood should help give them a potent offense as well, and it wouldn’t shock me to see the team give a strong defense of their West Division title in 2011.

One notable absence is Taijuan Walker, a right-handed pitcher and the M’s top draft pick in 2010.  A recent convert to playing baseball full-time, it was hoped that he might show enough progress during Spring Training to warrant a full-season assignment.  However, as he has not made it to the Clinton roster it looks as though he will stay in Peoria for extended spring training and an eventual assignment to Everett or Pulaski.  That is unless he winds up on the High Desert roster, but that seems very unlikely given the hostile environment there for pitchers.


7 responses to “Clinton LumberKings 2011 Opening Day Roster

  1. There are a lot of prospects on this team, so it should be fun to watch.
    However, where are Vargas, Campos, and as you mention Walker. Also, would it not make sense to start Paxon here at some point?
    I hope these guys do not start out in the High Desert.

    • Walker I discussed in the post; the team likely wants to give Paxton some extra instruction in Extended Spring Training before deciding on what his assignment will be. I’d imagine he’s in Clinton sooner rather than later, though, and might even be on a fast-track once he is assigned. Richard Vargas isn’t quite 20 and struggled a little with Pulaski last year, so the M’s are probably taking it a little bit slowly with him for the time being. Don’t be shocked if he winds up in Everett. Vicente Campos is just 18 and hasn’t played stateside yet, so I doubt we see him start off in full-season ball. He’s probably bound for Everett or Pulaski this summer.

  2. Is Jandy Sena healthy? I thought he would be in line for a spot in Clinton too. At least other pitchers being held back have solid reasons for the org doing so.

    Others I was hoping would be in Clinton: Pimentel, Blash, Choi, Hassiel Jimenez, DeJesus, & Merry. I wouldn’t be surprised if Blash is just a bit dinged up & is really the fourth OF.

    Paxton, Walker, Campos, Brandol Perez, Shipers, Valdivia, Unsworth, & Landazuri… there should be plenty of pitchers who can be reinforcements sooner or later.

    This is the team I’m most excited for. After Baron’s spring it’ll be interesting to see how he does over a full season. Littlewood getting his first taste of professional ball will be interesting. Ditto Romero who likely would’ve been drafted higher if his (IIRC) leg wasn’t broken. Morla & Rivers in full-season ball after they tore up short-season leagues. Morban healthy enough to play OF from the get-go.

    Lots of interesting arms, including the variety with serious velocity. Snow as a starter is interesting. I’m especially surprised Gi Kim made a full-season team after the number of hits he allowed last season at such a young age (still only 19). Maurer getting more than 15 innings after his Australia performance is worth anticipating.

    Plenty of great storylines here.

    • I was wondering when I might see you here, Lailo. Welcome!

      I haven’t heard that Sena’s hurt, but it didn’t really surprise me that he didn’t get a full-season assignment. He needs more seasoning and instruction before he’s ready to advance, I think. Choi ought to be on a full-season roster soon, probably High Desert’s. It’s unclear why he hasn’t gotten an Opening Day nod, but it does sound like there’s a little bit of flux in the rosters still to be sorted out.

      Pimentel and Blash might not be quite ready enough for full season ball just yet. Both are extremely raw players still. Jimenez is certainly not ready yet; he has spent time above Clinton last year, but only as an emergency reserve because of how thin the org is at catcher. Merry is no longer with the org; he was cut a week and a half ago when Sharpley, Gebbers, Royster, and Bello were let go.

      Paxton will probably be in Clinton soon, but because of how far in to camp he signed, the organization likely wants to make sure his arm is good and give him some more instruction in Extended Spring Training before assigning him. Walker, Campos, Perez, Valdivia, Unsworth, and Landazuri might wind up in Clinton eventually, but are probably in need of some extra work first. Not really sure why Shipers didn’t get assigned as everything sounded good with him, but he might be in the same boat as the others.

      It’s certainly going to be an interesting year for Clinton. I had originally mentally tabbed Jackson as the squad to watch in 2011, but Clinton may have overtaken them somewhat for that honor…

  3. Yeah, the reports on Shipers were excellent but his unique lack of organized baseball in high school probably accounts for easing him in at this point. Hopefully he sees Clinton later in the season.

    Missed that Merry was cut. I’m sure Jay posted that. Even if he was a Husky, it’s only a select few college relievers who make it far. Oh well.

    Excited to read all your work Mr. Dowley. Cannot wait for the minor-league season to begin tonight, too. Keep the news coming, I’m sure this site will be hopping in no time.

    • Thanks for the support!

      You’re likely right. Shipers is a very unique case in a lot of ways since his HS had no baseball team. The kid deserves a lot of credit for all the work and travel time he put in to get where he is today. Once he gets assigned, I think I’ll have to do a post on that…

      Merry was released in a big wave of other minor league players, and he was frankly one of the least notable of the group. It’s a shame for him, but I’m sure he’ll find another team to catch on with, be it in the minors or in indy ball.

  4. Pingback: Clinton LumberKings 2011 Outlook | Mariners Farm Review

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