New Milford Farm Report
The Blazers will need all the help they can get, as most of the veterans on the team are going to chew up the bulk of the 2017 salary leaving very few dollars for the remaining roster spots. At the moment, it appears the Blazers will have needs at first and second base and left field with quite a few players ready to contend for those spots. “With 6 starting pitchers on the big club under contract, our AAA Hartford Illuminati club has a focus on ML ready hitting. ”
Hyun Soo Kim, is a 27 year old left handed hitting LF who is projected to hit second in the order for the Illuminati in 2016 and then step in for Shin Soo Choo for the big club in 2017. The first round pick of the 2016 pre season draft is a projected top of the order bat with high on base skills for the ML club.
Kyle Kubitza, 25, who was drafted in the first round of the pre season farm draft in 2015, is a left handed hitter who is trying his hand at 2B due to organizational need. “He’s a pretty athletic kid and a hard worker”, says Peburn. “We think he can become our regular 2B in 2017.” K squared will hit third for the Hartford squad and is a projected bottom of the order platoon bat for the big club.
Colin Moran is a left handed hitting third baseman who will hit 5th. Moran was acquired in the second round of the 2016 pre season farm draft. “Moran is another kid we have high hopes for and is the heir apparent to Carpenter at third base.” He is a projected top third of the order hitter for the Blazers.
Keon Broxton will man CF for the Illuminati and hit 6th. The 26 year old right handed hitter was acquired in the 30th round of the free agent draft in 2016 and is projected as a 4th outfielder or platoon hitter on the big club.
Garin Cecchini is a 25 year old corner IF who was selected in the 31st round of the 2016 free agent draft. The left handed slugger will play a bench role for the Illuminati in 2016 and is projected to be a bench corner IF bat for the Blazers in 2017.
Luis Sardinas is a 23 year old switch hitting utility IF who projects as a utility guy on the big club. Sardinas was acquired in a 2016 pre season trade with Kansas city for Chris Hatcher.
Colin Walsh is another utility IF. The 26 year old switch hitter was acquired by the Blazers in the 6th round of the 2016 pre season farm draft and his high on base percentage could make him a utility/platoon player on the big club with an outside chance of being a starting 2B.
With all the pitching that the big club has, it really has not been an organizational priority to have dominant starting pitching in the upper minors. When the third round of the 2016 pre season farm draft rolled around, it was impossible to pass on Mike Matuella. The 22 year old righty has TOR stuff. He won’t be ready as quickly as the hitting is, but expect to see him step in when Kershaw departs after 2018.
Following Matuella in the rotation is lefty Matt Krook. The 21 year old 2016 pre season 4th round farm pick is probably 2-3 years away and projects as a #2 starter.
All 9 hitters have a chance at cracking the 2017 Blazers roster, but for now, they will form one of the best AAA farm teams in the BDBL with dreams of a rookie class that will rival the 2015 BDBL Blazer class of Betts, Peralta and Tanaka.
Also rehabbing in AAA at some point this season will be Michael Saunders and Brandon McCarthy who also hope to make an impact in 2017.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the pitching heavy New Milford A ball affiliate the Nestlé Kwick. Because the pitching on the big club is locked in for a few years, the pitching on the farm is further away to hopefully step in when the ML pitching contracts run out in the next few years.
Kodi Medeiros is one of the headliners of this group. The 18 year old lefty was drafted in the first round of the 2014 pre season draft. “The sky is the limit for this kid,” beams Peburn. “He has major league stuff. The question is whether it is in the back of the bullpen or the top of the rotation.” Medeiros projects as a top of the rotation starter for the big club as early as 2019.
Taylor Guerrieri is a 21 year righty with the longest tenure on the farm drafted in round 2 of the mid-season 2011 draft. He has #2 starter potential and is projected to make his BDBL debut in 2018.
Michael Kopech is a big 18 year old righty drafted in the 9th round of the mid-season 2014 draft. The #3 starter for the Kwick projects as such for the big club.
Amir Garrett is a 23 year old lefty drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 pre season draft. The Kwick’s #4 starter projects as a mid rotation starter in New Milford as soon as 2017.
Tomohiro Anraku is an 18 year old righty from Japan. Acquired via trade with Granite State in chapter 1 in 2014, he has ace potential but is many years away.
The big bat for the Kwick is 19 year old catcher Chris Betts. The sweet swinging 2016 5th round pre season farm draft pick is projected to be a middle of the order bat for the Blazers by 2020.
The Kwick have a dynamic duo in the middle infield in 22 year old 2B Andy Ibanez and 20 year old SS Malquin Canelo. Both are right handed batters drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 pre season draft and 9th round of the 2015 mid-season draft respectively. Both project as plus defenders and solid average hitters.
After a bumper crop of prospects in 2015 including Mookie Betts, Masahiro Tanaka, David Peralta, and Aaron Barrett, followed by catcher James McCann this year, all these kids aspire to one day don Blazer green.