Minor League Lineups - Durham Bulls

Just as we did with the pitchers, it's time to take a glance at how the full-season affiliate lineups might stack up, beginning with the Durham Bulls.

Catcher - Robinson Chirinos, Nevin Ashley

Catcher remains the position the Rays are most likely to upgrade before the season starts, but as of now the Jose duo of Molina and Lobaton seem to have spots on the major-league roster locked up. That leaves Chirinos, who hit .259/.343/.376 with the Bulls last season, and Nevin Ashley, who hit .263/.358/.384 between Montgomery and Durham. Ashley was DFA'd to make room for Luke Scott but cleared waivers and was outrighted to triple-A. If the Rays go with Molina and Lobaton, that leaves just Chirinos as the only true catcher on the 40-man roster. Stephen Vogt is listed as a catcher but has played fewer than a quarter of his career games behind the plate.

First Base - Juan Miranda, Leslie Anderson, Russ Canzler (?)

Miranda, signed as a minor-league free agent, figures to be the everyday 1B since Anderson can also play the corner outfield positions. He played in the Diamondbacks organization last year, where he hit .213/.315/.402 in the majors (65 games) and .229/.357/.429 in 33 games for triple-A Reno. Previously with the Yankees, he was remarkably consistent in the minors, posting OPSes of .821, .833, .866, and .866 again from 2007-2010. He's joined by Anderson to form undoubtedly the must Cuban 1B combo in baseball. With the Bulls last season, Anderson hit .277/.314/.413. Miranda brings more power, but the lineup could definitely use the return of Russ Canzler, who was designated for assignment to make room for Jeff Keppinger.

Second Base - Will Rhymes, Cole Figueroa, Shawn O'Malley

Signed as a minor-league free-agent, Rhymes is quite familiar with the International League having played much of his past three seasons there in the Tigers organization. He's been quite consistent his last two seasons, with a .305/.370/.415 line in 2010 and .306/.377/.390 last year. Behind Rhymes, one of Figueroa/O'Malley is likely to play with the Bulls as a utility-type player, with the other remaining in Montgomery. Figueroa had the better season, hitting .283/.375/.398 against O'Malley's .276/.369/.344. O'Malley has more career games at shortstop, but with Tim Beckham penciled in there, that may not matter. Fielding Percentage isn't a great indicator of defense, of course, but it's worth noting that Figueroa is very sure-handed with a career .983 mark.

Shortstop - Tim Beckham

After seven home runs in 104 games with the Biscuits, Beckham ended the year on a power surge, slugging five in Durham and four more in the Arizona Fall League in a combined 46 games. The home runs came at the expense of his K/BB ratio, at least at Durham where he walked three times and struck out 29. He's shown good power and on-base skills at various points in his career, but he's never really pulled it all together at once. 2012 represents his first year "repeating" a level, and he'll still be just 22 in triple-A.

Third Base - Matt Mangini, Russ Canzler

A former supplemental first-round pick, Mangini played just 58 games last season due to injuries and an undisclosed personal issue. In five seasons with the Mariners organization, he's hit 280/.344/.421 including a .321/.369/.483 mark in 175 triple-A games (though those came in the offense-friendly Pacific Coast League). Should he clear waivers, Canzler will be an everyday player in the lineup between spelling the Cubans at first, Mangini at third, and being the DH.

Outfield - Brandon Guyer, Stephen Vogt, Kyeong Kang, Jesus Feliciano

Without a clear everyday spot in the majors, the Rays will probably sent Guyer to Durham, where he hit .312/.384/.521 in 2011, so he can accumulate at-bats. He'll need to keep his batting average up without great on-base skills, and it'll be interesting to see if his uptick in strikeouts in 2011 comes back down this year. Vogt, as mentioned, will be all over the diamond, but the plurality of his games as a pro have come in LF, so I'll mark him down here. Kyeong Kang resurrected his prospect status last year in Montgomery when he hit .263/.384/.437 after a dismal 2010 with Charlotte. He's played more left field than right, but in a Vogt-Guyer-Kang outfielder would likely play RF. Jesus Feliciano, who played in Orlando, Bakersfield, and Montgomery in 2003-2004, returns to the organization. Last season with Buffalo, he hit .263/.328/.330 and fits in well as he can back-up all three outfield positions.

Random stab at opening-day lineup:

2B Cole Figueroa

SS Tim Beckham

CF Brandon Guyer

DH Russ Canzler

LF Stephen Vogt

1B Juan Miranda

3B Matt Mangini

C Robinson Chirinos

RF Kyeong Kang

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