In recent years, players like Joc Pederson, O’Koyea Dickson, Corey Seager and Ross Stripling have cut their proverbial teeth in the league.
The Pioneer League is a hitter-friendly league in the rarefied air of Utah. Not many pitchers have success at the level -- especially young pitchers. It will be interesting to see how some of the young guys handle it.
The prospect on the Ogden roster closest to my Top 10 is Jesmuel Valentin (No. 13), who has already played with the Great Lakes Loons this season. The next-closest player is Jesus Valdez (No. 24), who also spent some time with the Loons this season.
2013 Ogden Raptors roster
*- Denotes 2013 draftee
Not a lot of surprises, but I am disappointed to see guys like Valdez and Martinez on this roster. I thought they’d have more success in full-season ball. I haven’t given up hope on them yet, but a guy like Valdez needs to hit enough to get promoted back to Low-A and prove his worth. Martinez is 18 (for another week), so I’m not as concerned about him.
There are some interesting players to keep an eye on with this team. Santana was the Dodgers second-round pick in 2011 and should be the team’s everyday third baseman. I chose him as my breakout prospect for 2013. Valentin should hold down either shortstop or second base. Trinkwon will play whichever position Valentin does not.
In the outfield, Curletta should have a field day in this league. The powerful 2012 sixth-rounder should be the team’s starting right fielder and eventual cleanup hitter. He has legitimate 70-grade power. Stover is another guy who played with the Loons earlier this season. As the team’s 40th-rounder last year, it’s nice to see him actually playing.
In the rotation, this team has guys who have a lot of arm talent. Barlow is recovering from Tommy John surgery last season, but he has an electric arm and a legitimate breaking ball. He also throws a “show me” slider and changeup that could be average with work. Martinez had great success in the Arizona Rookie League last year before struggling as an 18-year-old in the Midwest League. The rest of the rotation should be filled with 2013 draftees. Underwood has a nice sinker/curveball combination, as does Rhame. Johnson is a soft-tossing lefty who could do well as an older pitcher against younger competition.
The bullpen has some good arms as well as guys who can swap spots with the rotation guys if need be.
My best guess at a lineup
Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue