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Rays down on the farm April 9: Minor league season is back

The four full-season affiliates are ready to play

Could a minor league team afford a flag this big?
Could a minor league team afford a flag this big?
H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to minor league baseball season. Every day, we will 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.

I will be cutting back on the opposing team reports. I will include them for the start of every series but not update the stats each day. I will also adjust the star of the day because people took it more seriously than I intended. I may also put less effort into finding probables for the opponents.

Today's games (probables courtesy of

Durham @ Gwinnett 7:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Dylan Floro (0-0, -.--) v. TBA

Montgomery v. Chattanooga 8:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Jaime Schultz (0-0, -.--) v. TBA

Charlotte v. Fort Myers 6:30 PM (radio stream)
Drew Smyly v. Kohl Stewart (0-0, -.--)

Bowling Green @ South Bend 7:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Brent Honeywell (0-0, -.--) v. Jake Stinnett (0-0, -.--)

*Listed as TBA on

Scouting the opposition

Gwinnett Braves (updated as of 4/9)
Offense: They have not played yet
Pitching: They have not played yet
Top 30 Prospects: 2B Jose Peraza (1), RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2), RHP Arodyz Vizcaino (11), RHP Williams Perez (19), OF Todd Cunningham (23), IF Elmer Reyes (29), RHP Matt Wisler, LHP Manny Banuelos

Chattanooga Lookouts (Minnesota) (updated as of 4/9)
Offense: They have not played yet
Pitching: They have not played yet
Top 30 Prospects: OF Byron Buxton (1), 3B Miguel Sano (2), RHP Jose Berrios (3), RHP Nick Burdi (7), IF Jorge Polanco (8), OF Max Kepler (12), C Stuart Turner (13), RHP Tyler Duffey (16), OF Adam Walker (17), RHP Jake Reed (19), RHP Zack Jones (25), OF Travis Harrison (30)

Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota) (updated as of 4/9)
Offense: They have not played yet
Pitching: They have not played yet
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Kohl Stewart (4), RHP J.T. Chargois (21), SS Engelb Vielma (22), IF Niko Goodrum (29)

South Bend Cubs (updated as of 4/9)
Offense: They have not played yet
Pitching: They have not played yet
Top 30 Prospects: SS Gleyber Torres (8), RHP Jake Stinnett (12), RHP James Norwood (29)

Rays roster previews

The murky Rays rotation situation trickles down to Durham. With Enny Romero starting the season on the DL, Dylan Floro is the only prospect. Veterans Matt Buschmann, Scott Diamond, Everett Teaford and Jim Patterson are expected to fill in for now.

The Bulls' bullpen will be led by a trio of pitchers that could certainly be in the majors right now: righties Jose Dominguez and Brandon Gomes, and lefty C.J. Riefenhauser. They will surely see action with the Rays at some point.

Behind the plate, Curt Casali and Luke Maile will both earn time.

Durham should be strong in the middle infield with Hak-Ju Lee and Ryan Brett, and Allan Dykstra, Vince Belnome and Jake Elmore provide experience, and in the case of the latter two, some versatility.

Versatility is the name of the game for Taylor Motter, listed as an infielder by the Bulls. He will certainly see time in the outfield along with Mikie Mahtook.

Jaime Schultz will be Montgomery's Opening Day starter, but like Durham, it is not a prospect-laden rotation with Grayson Garvin again on the disabled list. Austin Pruitt, Jared Mortensen and Reinaldo Lopez will be following Schultz, and I would guess Jordan Harrison could get some opportunities.

There will be some solid stuff coming out of the Biscuits' bullpen, starting with Mark Sappington, acquired from the Angels for Cesar Ramos. Jhan Marinez, who was once traded for Ozzie Guillen, has outlasted Guillen in professional baseball. Matt Lollis, Parker Markel and Zach Cooper will keep searching for that elusive breakout season.

Justin O'Conner will obviously be the man behind the plate.

Montgomery's corner infield has a pair of returning players in Richie Shaffer and Cameron Seitzer. Daniel Robertson is a certainty at shortstop with Jake Hager on the disabled list. Leonardo Reginatto should fill in all around the infield.

The Biscuits' outfield is crowded, led by Tyler Goeddel, who has evidently transitioned out there. Boog Powell, Johnny Field and Kes Carter will all demand time as well, which means their designated hitter will be accounted for most nights.

Fans checking out a Charlotte game are almost guaranteed to see an interesting starter. Blake Snell's first appearance of the season will be in relief of Drew Smyly, but he will obviously be starting games soon after. German Marquez, Ryne Stanek, Jacob Faria and Chris Kirsch will join him in the rotation.

Jeff Ames and Buddy Borden, acquired from Pittsburgh for Sean Rodriguez, seem destined for the bullpen to start 2015. With Ames' struggles last season, it makes sense. If Nick Sawyer can throw strikes, he could be a weapon.

The Stone Crabs will have Maxx Tissenbaum behind the plate for plenty of games again, and he will be complemented by defensive whiz Armando Araiza.

Charlotte's infield is certainly something to see. All four starters will begin the 2015 season under 20 years old. From left to right, the Stone Crabs will send out Andrew Velazquez, Willy Adames, Kean Wong and Jake Bauers.

The outfield is not quite the same. Marty Gantt returns, and Yoel Araujo will take another shot at consistently tapping into his raw power in games. After skipping right over Charlotte in 2014, Joey Rickard will find himself there to start 2015. Granden Goetzman is nowhere to be seen.

Brent Honeywell jumps right to the Bowling Green rotation, where he will be the main attraction. Hunter Wood will get his second chance with the Hot Rods, and minor league Rule 5 pick Enderson Franco will continue his ascent. One name that seems to be missing is Nolan Gannon, another solid performer for Hudson Valley in 2014. Greg Harris, acquired in the same deal as Dominguez, should start in his return to the Midwest League.

Damion Carroll and his big-time fastball highlight Bowling Green's bullpen. Brian Miller, a leader in Vanderbilt's bullpen in recent seasons, joins him.

Nick Ciuffo will hopefully be healthy and able to perform in his full-season debut.

First-round pick Casey Gillaspie is the big name in the infield, but two guys up the middle are no slouches. Riley Unroe and Cristian Toribio will also be making full-season debuts.

The Hot Rods will have an impressive outfield. Justin Williams will attempt to show the power he was expected to have as an amateur, and Bralin Jackson and Thomas Milone will provide the athleticism Williams does not offer.

For more discussion, head here.