The Rays minor league affiliates get their seasons started this Thursday. Here are the full minor league rotations:
*Opening day starter in italics*
Durham: Mitch Talbot, David Price, Wade Davis, Carlos Hernandez, Jason Cromer
I kind of feel bad for Talbot. He's performed well at Triple-A, yet this is his third year in Durham. He's a victim of circumstance; he has options and others don't. The only surprise in Durham is Jason Cromer. Cromer, 28, has mostly worked in relief, but has had a few starts each year. He was inducted in to the spring box score legends in 2009. It seems as if he's just keeping a seat warm for Hellickson or possibily Jake McGee
Montgomery: Jeremy Hellickson, Ryan Morse, Heath Rollins, Brandon Mann, Rayner Oliveros
Hellickson is the obvious pick for opening day starter as he is the best pitching prospect the Rays have at the Double-A level. Both Hellickson and Rollins could find themselves in Durham by year's end. Rayner Oliveros returns to profession baseball and will be inserted into the Biscuits rotation. He made 69 appearances for the Royals organzation in 2006 and 2007 with 63 of those in relief. Obviously the Rays saw something in him because they choose to sign him after being out of baseball in 2008 and will try him as a starter.
Port Charlotte: Alex Cobb, Jesse Darcy, David Newmann, Jeremy Hall, Darin Downs
We know the names Alex Cobb and JESSE DARCY, but a few may have forgotten David Newmann. Newmann, 23, was drafted in 2007 out of Texas A & M. He did not make an appearance after the Draft and missed the entire 2008 season with injury. He also missed all of 2006 while in college after Tommy John surgery. He is a project at this point to say the least.
Bowling Green: Matthew Moore, Shane Dyer, Frank De Los Santos, Joseph Cruz, Michael Jarman
Matt Moore is a stud and it's only a matter of time before Nick Barnese joins him in Bowling Green, if Moore hasn't moved on by then. Shane Dyer is a 2008 draft pick, who was pretty good at this level last year and may be the first to move up to the Port Charlotte. Joseph Cruz makes the jump to A ball after two impressive seasons at the rookie level.
A couple of other minor league notes from Stacy Long
Ryan Reid will miss the start of the season with "elbow pain." Never good.
Eduardo Morlan and Chris Mason will work out of the Double-A Bullpen. We know about Morlan's offseason travels, but Mason actually gets demoted here after a bad showing in 2008 at the Triple-A level. In 2007, he was named the Double-A pitcher of the year.
Desmond Jennings contines to play for Montgomery during spring training which is a sign that hopefully he will start the season with the Double-A club.