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Rays release minor league rosters

Get ready for the upcoming minor league season with Opening Day rosters

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Jake Bauers is one of two 21-year-olds on Durham’s roster to start 2017
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, the Rays released preliminary rosters for their four full-season affiliates, which start play on Thursday.

The big surprise here is probably Jose De Leon on the disabled list. It is not significant though. Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything there that wasn’t expected. Chase Whitley will probably step into the rotation until De Leon is ready to go.

As expected, Brent Honeywell will return to Montgomery to start 2017, and Grayson Garvin is on the disabled list. Michael Russell skips over Charlotte which is probably best for everyone. Joe McCarthy is listed as an infielder (first baseman), but I would guess he’s still going to play a lot of outfield. Note the return of Justin O’Conner — I can’t imagine any other team in minor league baseball can equal the Biscuits’ defense behind the plate.

Charlotte starts the season with a pretty robust disabled list, including Brandon Koch and Benton Moss, who would probably be in Double A if healthy. Ryan Boldt and Jake Fraley both skip Bowling Green. That’s something high draft picks from college programs are usually capable of doing, but it doesn’t seem like the Rays usually do that with their players.

Bowling Green boasts a pretty prospect-laden roster. Josh Lowe, Jesus Sanchez and Garrett Whitley will probably all split time in center field, and the DH spot will probably be occupied by the fourth outfielder on most nights. The Hot Rods’ catcher situation is interesting. Jonah Heim was bumped down a level, while Rene Pinto jumped up to full-season ball despite only having 40 games played in the U.S. to this point in his career.