RC Exclusive: Minor League Rosters Unveiled

RC today got a first look at the Royals' minor league rosters, and in the first of two reports, we take a look at the players who have been assigned to the clubs in Burlington and Wilmington. Who were the surprises? Who are the sleepers? What are the interesting stories to follow this season? RC analyzes the rosters inside.

Editor's note: The rosters below are still tentative, but they should be finalized in a few days. There are still a few players awaiting assignments, but this is a look at where the rosters stand as of March 28.

Burlington Bees

Brent Fisher
Mario Santiago
Ryan DiPietro
Josh Cribb
Harold Mozingo
Everett Teaford
Tyler Chambliss
Henry Barrera
Angelo Morales
Aaron Hartsock

Matt Morizio
Brady Everett

Jase Turner
Scott Lucas
M. Thompson
Kurt Mertins
Chris McConnell
Marc Maddox
Jeremy Jirschele

Jarrod Dyson
Joe Dickerson
O.D. Gonzalez
Alvi Morel

Surprises: There weren't many surprises on the roster, although Jarrod Dyson's jump from Arizona to Burlington certainly qualifies. The speedy Dyson had a great camp, and the 50th round pick from last year's draft should play a lot of centerfield for the Bees this season.

Interesting stories to follow: Plenty. This season offers us our first look at how Brent Fisher will fare in full season ball. The same is true of Jeff Bianchi, who is on schedule to leave Arizona – likely headed for Burlington – in about three or four weeks. Matt Campbell, who missed all of last season while recovering from a torn labrum, will begin his comeback in the Bees' rotation. Additionally, shortstop Chris McConnell will get another crack at the Midwest League after struggling badly for the Bees in 2006.

McConnell is looking to put 2006 behind him

Keep your eye on: Jase Turner. Turner is a thumper who had a very impressive camp, and if all goes well for the big first baseman, he could lead the Bees in home runs. In the outfield, both O.D. Gonzalez and Alvi Morel are solid players who have yet to get much prospect attention.

Turner launches long home runs in batting practice

Other Notes: Tyler Chambliss, a dominant closer for Florida State in college, will return to the bullpen after working in the Idaho Falls rotation last season. Kurt Mertins, who worked extensively at shortstop during spring training, will return to playing second base, while Marc Maddox will move to third base.


Wilmington Blue Rocks

Carlos Rosa
Chris Nicoll
Michael Penn
Patrick Green
Julio Pimentel
Kyle Crist
Rowdy Hardy
Blake Johnson
Gilbert de la Vara
Rayner Oliveros
Justin Barnes
David Humen

Kiel Thibault
Cody Clark

Kila Kaaihue
Miguel Vega
Josh Johnson
Valentino Arce
Mario Lisson
Wilver Perez

Brett Bigler
Jose Duarte
Brian McFall
Ethien Santana

Surprises: Brett Bigler made the biggest jump, skipping Low Class-A after spending last season in Idaho Falls. Bigler, as you'll remember, struggled for most of the season, but he turned it on late in the Chukars' season and finished with very respectable numbers. When asked by RC about Bigler's jump, Royals Farm Director J.J. Picollo said, "[Bigler] is a college player from a major school, and he should be prepared for the challenge."

Also making the jump from Idaho Falls is 2006 Chukars Pitcher of the Year, Rowdy Hardy. "He doesn't throw very hard, but he fools people, " said Picollo. "He needs the challenge of High-A." On the other end of the surprise spectrum, first baseman Kila Kaaihue, who was a California League All-Star in 2005 but never quite got on track in Wichita last season, returns to High-A. He should share first base duties with Miguel Vega.

Hardy will look to build upon a solid 2006 professional debut

Interesting stories to follow: The Royals are very high on Carlos Rosa, who came into camp throwing even harder than he did last season. He should thrive in the Carolina League. It will also be interesting to see how Julio Pimentel fares as he returns to a starting role. Acquired in the Elmer Dessens trade last season, Pimentel was very effective pitching out of the Mavericks' bullpen last season, and his upside is as high as anyone on the roster.

Keep your eye on: Kiel Thibault. Fellow teammates and front office staff alike were very impressed with Thibault this spring, and he has the opportunity to really make a name for himself this season with the Blue Rocks. Mario Lisson has always been an underrated prospect, but a solid season in Wilmington could really gain him some attention.

Lisson has quietly put up some quality numbers

Other Notes: Pitching appears to be the Blue Rocks' strong suit this season, as both Rosa and Chris Nicoll are excellent at the front of the rotation, and Gilbert de la Vara and Rayner Oliveros don't figure to surrender many late leads. Additionally, the Blue Rocks figure to field a strong defense, particularly up the middle with second baseman Josh Johnson, shortstop Valentino Arce, and centerfielder Jose Duarte.

Be sure to join us tomorrow as we take a look at the Wichita roster and give a quick preview of some of the players who have already been assigned to Omaha.

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