Thursday, April 4, 2013

Albuquerque Isotopes announce 2013 roster, led by Alex Castellanos, Matt Magill and some flamethrowers

The final Dodger full-season minor-league affiliate to announce its roster is the Albuquerque Isotopes of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Generally an offensive powerhouse, the 'Topes are lacking in hitting talent this season. That, coupled with the humidor, could lead to fewer runs scored than expected.
Castellanos
The offense is led by returning 'Topes Alex Castellanos and Scott Van Slyke. After that, it gets pretty thin.

Dee Gordon will be the team's starting shortstop, while Elian Herrera should start at second base. Either spring-training-sensation-not-named Yasiel Puig Brian Barden or Rusty Ryal should start at third base. The outfield will boast a couple rangy players in Matt Angle and Nick Buss.

I hit on just 13 of 25 players from my February prediction -- the worst of any minor-league level.

Roster

Catchers
Steve Cilladi (DL)
Jesus Flores
Matt Wallach

Gordon
Infielders
Alfredo Amezaga
Brian Barden
Dee Gordon
Elian Herrera
Osvaldo Martinez (DL)
Rusty Ryal
Scott Van Slyke

Outfielders
Matt Angle
Nick Buss
Alex Castellanos
Tony Gwynn

Fife
Starting pitchers
Stephen Fife
Javy Guerra
Blake Johnson
Matt Magill
Sean White

Relief pitchers
Geison Aguasviva
Steve Ames
Angel Castro
Peter Moylan
Red Patterson
Shawn Tolleson
Josh Wall
Chris Withrow

For the first time in a long time, there is actually some pitching talent on this squad.

Magill is the best pitcher in town, while Fife has actually proven to be a potentially serviceable pitcher. Guerra is in the rotation to get stretch into a long-reliever.

The bullpen has some hard-throwing youngsters and a cagey Aussie veteran in Moylan. Ames, Tolleson, Wall and Withrow could be a potent and lethal 'pen, provided the starters pitch well enough so the quartet isn't burned out. Either Tolleson or Wall should close with Ames and Withrow setting up. And Feelin' Kinda Blue favorite Patterson should be the team's other long reliever.

There are some players missing. Jeremy Moore, who was expected to be on the roster, is back in Arizona at extended spring training. Nick Evans, Dallas McPherson and Michael Antonini were are released prior to the season. And Kevin Gregg, who didn't have an out clause in his contract, was released on Wednesday after Paco Rodriguez was chosen to begin the season with the Dodgers instead of him, something I wrote about over at Yahoo! Sports.

My best guess at a lineup

Gordon SS
Gwynn CF
Castellanos RF/LF
Van Slyke 1B/DH
Barden 3B
Herrera 2B
Flores C
Ryal DH/1B
Angle/Buss LF/RF

Wall
Really, not a whole lot to be excited about. Guys like Blake Smith or, gulp, Puig could get the call to Triple-A, but that wouldn't come until midseason. They could get some reinforcements in the form of Moore and Brian Cavazos-Galvez, if there are enough injuries.

Here's hoping Magill doesn't get shelled, Castellanos continues to hit and the power relievers post a lot of strikeouts. It's the PCL, so anything can happen. The 'Topes could challenge for a playoff spot, but there are a lot of good prospects in the league, making other teams stronger.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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