RC's look at the Wichita and Omaha rosters

Today we take a look at the players who have been assigned to the Wichita Wranglers and Omaha Royals. There weren't too many surprises, as most players advanced as expected. Of course, there was an exception or two, and you can read all about it inside.

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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.

Wichita Wranglers

Pitchers
Luke Hochevar
Billy Buckner
Daniel Christensen
Jason Cromer
Mike Connolly
Jarrod Plummer
Arthur Santos
Juan Cedeno
Cody Smith
Gabe DeHoyos
Greg Atencio

Catchers
Adam Donachie
Damaso Espino

Infielders
Craig Brazell
Irving Falu
Jace Brewer
Ed Lucas
Richard Lewis

Outfielders
Adam Greenberg
Onil Joseph
Chris Lubanski
Jorge Padilla


Surprises: It became clear awhile ago that in order for Chris Lubanski to advance to Triple-A as expected, some room was going to have to be cleared on the roster. However, since no trades took place, Lubanski returns to Wichita, where he did very well last season.


Chris Lubanski is heading back to Wichita for now

Most people had figured that when Adam Donachie was selected by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft, his days in the Royals organization were over. However, Donachie did not make the Orioles' 25-man roster, so he was returned to the Royals system for $25,000. He'll be Wichita's primary catcher, which is a very welcome development. "He gives us some good depth at a position we need depth, " said Royals Farm Director J.J. Picollo, "and we're happy to have him back."

Interesting stories to follow: The biggest story is without question the first full season for Luke Hochevar. After dominating in Burlington after signing last August, Hochevar pitched for the Wranglers in the Texas League Playoffs, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning of his Double-A debut. It will be interesting to see how Hochevar handles a full season, and if he does as well as expected, we wonder how long he'll stay in Wichita.

Mike Stodolka, who was drafted as a pitcher in the first round of the 2000 draft, continues his attempt to break into the big leagues as a first baseman. Stodolka had a very solid season at High Desert last year, and it will be interesting to see if he continues developing as a hitter against more advanced pitching this year.

Keep your eye on: Both pitcher Daniel Christensen and shortstop Irving Falu put up very respectable numbers in High Desert last season, and this year will do much to make or break them as prospects. Falu will likely play a lot of second base as he looks to prove that his offensive breakout for the Mavs last season wasn't a fluke. Christensen will get his first shot against more advanced hitters with the added confidence that comes simply from escaping the hitters paradise of the California League. We also expect to see relievers Jarrod Plummer and Gabe DeHoyos turn in fine seasons.


Christensen could really come into his own this season

Other Notes: As is the case for Wilmington, the Wranglers will be a very good team on the mound. The rotation that includes Hochevar, Billy Buckner, and Christensen isn't likely to find many equals in the Texas League this season, and the bullpen features a nice mix of crafty pitchers and power arms. The lineup isn't quite as exciting from a prospect perspective, but there's a nice mix of minor league veterans – such as Craig Brazell, Jace Brewer and Adam Greenberg – that should keep the Wranglers very competitive.

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Omaha Royals

As of March 28, the Omaha roster had the most remaining holes, so we're holding off on publishing the it right now. However, we can reveal a few details:

On the mound: Tyler Lumsden has been assigned to Omaha, and he'll pitch behind Brian Bannister, forming an interesting 1-2 punch in the starting rotation. Former Devil Rays prospect Dewon Brazelton will join Lumsden and Bannister in the rotation, and he'll be an interesting guy to watch as he tries to revitalize his career in the Royals organization. Neal Musser has also been assigned to Omaha, and the lefty will look to solidify his relatively new reputation as a power reliever out of the bullpen.


Lumsden is the system's top southpaw

Behind the plate: No surprises. Paul Phillips and Matt Tupman will share the catching duties again.

Infield: Justin Huber and Graham Koonce will split time at 1B and DH, but the clear priority is to get Huber at bats. Mike Aviles will be the primary third baseman, while Angel Berroa and Andres Blanco will both see a lot of work at multiple infield positions. Francisco Cortes will move around as well, playing both infield and outfield.

Outfield: Definitely the most exciting aspect of the club. Mitch Maier, Shane Costa, Billy Butler, and Joey Gathright will roam the Omaha outfield, but we will have to wait to see how the Royals plan to get all four players regular at bats.


Butler alone makes the Omaha club worth watching, but he anchors a great lineup

Notes: As it stands, Omaha probably has the most impressive lineup of any of the full season clubs. With Butler, Huber, Maier, and Costa in the middle of the order, the O-Royals should score some runs.

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