The 2010 Rome Braves might have one of the most talented rosters in the entire minor leagues, with several high-ceiling prospects that could one day be in Atlanta.
It all starts in the rotation, where Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino will lead the pitching staff. Both were outstanding in March down in Florida. It'll be the first full season for both top prospects, so the Braves are anxious to see how they do.
They'll be joined in the rotation by Brett Oberholtzer and Chris Masters, two pitchers who helped Danville win a league title last season. Also in the rotation will be David Hale, last year's third round draft pick.
The bullpen will include Thomas Berryhill, last year's fifth round pick. Berryhill had six saves and a 2.55 ERA for Danville last season. Cory Rasmus, who was with Berryhill last year in the Appy League, will also be in the rotation. Julio Surinach, Tyrelle Harris, and Luis Avilan will also move up to the next level from Danville.
Paul Clemens is a holdover from last year's Rome team. He's on track mechanically, and there's a chance Clemens could get some save opportunities. Also in the bullpen will be Ryan Weber and Robinson Lopez, two pitchers making the jump from the Gulf Coast League.
Lefty Dimaster Delgado will miss the entire season after breaking his leg in a car accident over the winter. Joining him on the Rome disabled list to start the season is lefty Steve Kent, who is coming back from shoulder surgery.
Christian Bethancourt, one of the top prospects in the Atlanta system, will be Rome's primary catcher. The Braves will be careful to spread out Bethancourt's action, considering his youth and this is his first full season. Braeden Schlehuber returns to Rome. He was the primary catcher last season and will get significant time this year as well. The Braves will carry three catchers on the Rome roster, with Osman Marval holding down the final spot.
The infield will be led by South African Riann Spanjer-Furstenburg, who will play first base. RSF hit .359 for Danville last season and was the Appy League's Player of the Year.
Three other 2009 Danville players will man the positions in Rome this season. Matt Weaver will play second base, Mycal Jones will play shortstop, and Jordan Kreke will play third base. All three were draft picks last June.
Third baseman Samuel Sime broke a bone in his cheek and will miss significant time, so he starts the season on the disabled list.
The Braves will leave recently signed Edward Salcedo down in Extended Spring Training for a while. Salcedo had to return to the Dominican Republic for his work visa, so he's been gone for about a week. Once he returns, the Braves will evaluate Salcedo and decide when he should join the Rome team.
In the outfield there will be two more 2009 draft picks: Cory Harrilchak and Kyle Rose. Harrilchak hit .324 and stole 19 bases for Danville last season, while Rose hit .282 and stole 26 bases for the GCL Braves last summer. The speed demons should be dangerous at the top of the Rome lineup.
Ramon Flores and L.V. Ware will also see time in the outfield.
Dimaster Delgado *
* - Disabled List
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on
WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Braves Show Talk Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.
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