Moving a player from a short-season league to the full-season South Atlantic League isn't always an easy choice. You've got players who have generally been used to high school, college and short-season schedules and competition suddenly thrust into somewhat of an all-new world. Front office staff need to be sure the player is ready physically for that next step and that they're not going to fall apart late in the season and risk injury. There is also the mental and emotional aspect to consider, since you're primarily dealing with young players, many of whom aren't too familiar with failure.
For some players, there is the need for somewhat of an extended stay at Lakewood. That first season - or perhaps, a partial season - in the South Atlantic League was somewhat of an adjustment period and they need more time to either continue adjusting to full-season play or to show off what they really can do at that level and ultimately prove that they're ready for the next step.
Considering all of those factors, here's the first look at what the Lakewood BlueClaws 2012 roster may look like, starting with the pitching staff and where they spent most of 2011.
Yes, that would give Lakewood 13 pitchers, so obviously, there could be some juggling to make things even out. A mix anywhere near this would give Lakewood a pretty young pitching staff with enough returning guys to help make the club successful. Now, for a look at the position players.
First Basemen: Chris Duffy (GCL)
Third Basemen: Mikael Franco (LKW), Geancarlo Mendez (LKW)
Shortstops: Edgar Duran (LKW)
In addition to these players, Zach Collier could be back at Lakewood after he serves his 50 game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Some players who missed considerable time due to injury could also start the year at Lakewood, including lefty Matt Way and outfielder Tyson Gillies.