Rays down on the farm April 3: MiLB season is here

It's this again, except in the minors - Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The four full-season affiliates are ready to play

Welcome back to minor league baseball season. Every day, we'll recap the prior day's action along with that day's schedule and some notes on their opponents. This format isn't set in stone though, so if you have any recommendations, please share them.

Today's games (probables courtesy of milb.com)

Durham v. Gwinnett 6:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Nathan Karns* (0-0, ---) v. Gavin Floyd*

Montgomery v. Birmingham 8:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Victor Mateo (0-0, ---) v. Chris Beck* (0-0, ---)

Charlotte v. Bradenton 6:30 PM (radio stream)
Roberto Gomez (0-0, ---) v. Jason Creasy (0-0, ---)

Bowling Green v. South Bend 8:05 PM (radio stream)
Jake Faria (0-0, ---) v. TBA

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Gwinnett Braves
0-0
Offense: 0 games
Pitching: 0 games
Top 30 Prospects: C Christian Bethancourt (2), 2B Tommy La Stella (9), RHP Cody Martin (11), 3B Edward Salcedo (12), OF Joey Terdoslavich (15), OF Todd Cunningham (23), RHP Juan Jaime (27)

Birmingham Barons (White Sox)
0-0
Offense: 0 games
Pitching: 0 games
Top 30 Prospects: 2B Micah Johnson (5), OF Trayce Thompson (7), RHP Chris Beck (8), RHP Chris Bassitt (15), LHP Scott Snodgress (16), OF Keenyn Walker (23), RHP Myles Jaye (24), 1B Rangel Ravelo (30)

Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh)
0-0
Offense: 0 games
Pitching: 0 games
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Tyler Glasnow (3), OF Josh Bell (7), C Jin-De Jhang (24)

South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona)
0-0
Offense: 0 games
Pitching: 0 games
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Braden Shipley (2), RHP Aaron Blair (5), OF Stryker Trahan (8), 1B Daniel Palka (17), C Michael Perez (20), LHP Daniel Gibson (21), RHP Geordy Parra (22), SS Joe Munoz (26), 2B Jamie Westbrook (27), 2B Andrew Velasquez (28)

Rays roster previews

Durham should have another solid rotation in 2014. After Karns starts on Opening Day, he'll be followed by two more pitchers among the Rays' top 12 prospects: Enny Romero and Matt Andriese. The rotation is rounded out by lefties Mike Montgomery and veteran Erik Bedard, the oldest player on the roster. Between Brad Boxberger, Steve Geltz and Kirby Yates, the bullpen has some arm strength, and a trio of lefties led by C.J. Riefenhauser.

Their infield features a number of players that could play at multiple spots in 2014. Veteran Wilson Betemit brings experience at the corner positions, and fringy prospects like Vince Belnome and Cole Figueroa can play second or third base depending on who else is in the lineup.

Kevin Kiermaier and Mikie Mahtook lead the prospect contingent of the Bulls outfield and should provide plenty of defense. Minor league veteran Jerry Sands, coming off a strong big league camp, rounds things out.

Hak-Ju Lee is one of three players to start the year on the DL, and he should be back soon. He's joined by former Padre prospect James Darnell who has missed a lot of games in recent years with shoulder problems.

Montgomery's rotation has an interesting mix of players. Grayson Garvin and Dylan Floro were the last two players on our writers top 30 prospect list, and they're joined by a pair of arms the Rays signed out of Indy leagues last year: Mike Colla and the intriguing Jared Mortensen. Biscuits veteran Victor Mateo, who threw a no-hitter in 2013, leads the rotation. Matt Lollis, acquired from San Diego in the Alex Torres trade, is one of eight relievers on the staff.

The infield has a few key returning players, led by second baseman Ryan Brett and catcher Curt Casali. Cameron Seitzer is back too, and he's in a bit of a logjam at first base. Alejandro Segovia and Jeff Malm are on the roster too, although for now, Malm is listed as an outfielder. Former first rounder Richie Shaffer will be at the hot corner.

In addition to Malm apparently moonlighting as an outfielder, there are only two healthy outfielders listed, Joey Rickard and Willie Argo. Rickard skipped right over Charlotte where Argo had a lot of success in 2013.

An outfielder they're missing is Ty Morrison, still recovering from Tommy John surgery last year. Two relievers are also on the DL to start the season, including former second rounder Lenny Linsky.

Charlotte's rotation doesn't have much prospect power with Jeff Ames being the top name to watch. Parker Markel returns for his second year with the Stone Crabs, and they're joined by three 24 year old arms, including newcomer Leonel Santiago. The other Jose Molina in the organization is in their bullpen, as is potential breakout relief prospect Nick Sawyer.

A couple of the more intriguing questions in the organization were answered with this roster. First, newcomer Maxx Tissenbaum is listed as a catcher, but I'd have to imagine Justin O'Conner gets most of the games back there. The Stone Crabs infield will look familiar to Bowling Green fans, with Tyler Goeddel, Leonardo Reginatto, Tommy Coyle and Patrick Leonard starting from left to right.

The other big question is the status of Josh Sale, and he's listed as active. He could really be returning to the field later today. Andrew Toles will handle center field, and in a somewhat surprising assignment, Kes Carter will repeat the level.

Bowling Green's staff is headlined by the return of Blake Snell, and the potential to at least start the season with a six man rotation again. Jake Faria, Hunter Wood and German Marquez are skipping over Hudson Valley, and that probably means micromanaging innings.

One surprising assignment is Kean Wong making the jump up to the Hot Rods. I speculated that he would start in a short-season league, and this is going to push Ty Young over to third base where he played at Louisville. Oscar Hernandez will be behind the plate.

There's some upside in the outfield. James Harris will be in center field, and he'll be joined by another early pick from the big 2011 draft, Granden Goetzman. Big international signing Yoel Araujo is going to make his full-season debut in his third year in the United States.

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