Left-hander Zack Parker will also be in the rotation for Tulsa, and he is coming off a season in which he made 14 starts. In his 86 innings of work, Parker struck out 64, picking up four wins. Ching Lo is another guy who will be in the Tulsa rotation, and proved to be very durable in 2006. Lo made 25 starts, picking up ten wins, but his earned run average was a very high 5.39. Ryan Mattheus made 28 starts in 2006, as he was a main guy on the Modesto pitching staff. He won seven games, while striking out 131 batters. Jonathan Asahina also figures to get starts for the Drillers, as 24 of his 29 2006 appearances were starts.
Juan Morillo is another top pitching prospect who dots the Tulsa roster, though his role has been undecided. He could serve as the team's closer, as he closed out the game on Friday, though he has been primarily used as a starter throughout his career. Matt Daley and Judd Songster could also fill the closer role, as they both posted earned run averages under 3.20 in 2006.
One key to the Drillers bullpen will be Jentry Beckstead, who had a nice 2.24 earned run average in 2006. Jarrett Grube also figures to play a key role in the Drillers pen, after appearing in 42 games for Modesto out of the bullpen last season. Grube struck out 64 batters, while posting a solid 3.69 earned run average. Steven Register is looking to bounce back in 2007, after putting up a 5.57 ERA in 2006. Adam Bright made 49 appearances for Modesto in 2006, picking up three wins, though he needs to work on his .268 BAA mark.
The catching duties will be held by three prospects, though only two of them figure to see significant time. Both Tomas Duenas and Rick Guarno have made starts for the Drillers already in 2007, though Duenas figures to be the everyday guy. Duenas batted .297 in the California League in 2006, smacking 14 home runs, while driving in 54. Guarno batted .250 for Modesto last season, driving in six. The third piece of the puzzle is Tino Sanchez, who could also be used in a designated hitter role.
The corner infield spots will likely be manned by three prospects, including Duke Sardinha, Aaron Rifkin, and Christian Colonel. Rifkin is a big left-handed swinger, who the Drillers hope can fill the void left by Joe Koshansky. Colonel is making his second go-round with Tulsa, as he hit .271 for the team in 2006, including ten home runs, and 43 runs batted in. Sardinha spent the 2006 season with Modesto, where he batted only .235. However, he did hit 12 home runs, and drove in 45.
Up the middle the Drillers will have one of the top middle infield prospects in the organization in Jonathan Herrera. Herrera batted .310 for Modesto last season, swiping 34 bags, while hitting eight triples. The second baseman will likely be Jeffrey Dragicevich, who split time between Tulsa and Modesto in 2006. Dragicevich batted .273 for the Nuts, and had 16 doubles. Rounding out the infield will be Tim Olson, who is a jack of all trades. Olson can play the infield, the outfield, and he even has an appearance on the mound already in 2007. Last season, Olson hit .268 for New Hampshire of the Eastern League.
The Drillers outfield is loaded with talent, and it should play a major role in how successful the team is in 2007. Matthew Miller is one of the top outfield prospects in the Rockies organization, and he was a California League All-Star in 2006. He batted .323 for Modesto, smacking 12 home runs. Joe Gaetti is another outfielder who can flat out hit, and he was the top player in the California League back in 2005. Last season, Gaetti batted .296, hitting 16 home runs. Returning to Tulsa is Jordan Czarniecki, who hit .275 for the Drillers last season. Czarniecki also swiped 20 bags and hit 11 home runs. Chris Frey hit .281 for Modesto last year, and can play all three outfield positions. He also stole 22 bases.
2007 Tulsa Drillers Opening Day Roster:
Starting Pitching: Franklin Morales, Zack Parker, Jonathan Asahina, Greg Reynolds, Ching Lo, Ryan Mattheus
Bullpen: Juan Morillo (Closer), Jentry Beckstead, Judd Songster, Steven Register, Matt Daley, Jarrett Grube
Catchers: Tomas Duenas, Rick Guarno, Tino Sanchez
Infielders: Christian Colonel, Jeffrey Dragicevich, Jonathan Herrera, Tim Olson, Duke Sardinha, Aaron Rifkin
Outfielders: Jordan Czarniecki, Joe Gaetti, Matt Miller, Christopher Frey