Let’s Preview The Lugnuts’ Potential Opening Day Roster
In a week, we shall know the members of the 2017 Lansing Lugnuts Opening Day roster. The players will fly into Lansing next Sunday, they’ll receive their uniforms next Monday, and they’ll play the first game of their 22nd year next Thursday.
We do not know who will be on the roster yet, though we can make an educated guess about 2016 draftees J.B. Woodman, Joshua Palacios and Cavan Biggio and perhaps first-rounder T.J. Zeuch.
But let’s get a little deeper. Excluding the aforementioned quartet, here are ten future Lugnuts (five position players and five pitchers) to put in your back pocket, whether they’re here on Opening Day or not.
- Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., 3B: The best hitting prospect in the organization. According to Baseball America, he’s the best prospect, period, in the organization. He’s 18 years old.
- Bo Bichette, SS/2B: Bo knows how to hit, to the tune of a .427 average with 21 runs, 36 RBIs, and a 1.182 OPS in only 22 games last year. A lineup featuring Vladdy and Bo hitting back-to-back would have scouts grinning. He’s 19 years old.
- Bradley Jones, 1B: In his final 11 games of the year, powerful College of Charleston product (and Guerrero’s good friend) Bradley Jones batted .500 (22-44, 13 runs, 7 doubles, 6 homers, 21 RBIs). Bring on the slugging.
- Javier Hernandez, C: Noted for his tremendous defensive ability. Hernandez will bat down in the order and capably handle the staff.
- Yeltsin Gudiño, SS: Again, defense. Gudiño received over $1 million to sign as the #8 international prospect four years ago. His hitting has gradually increased as he’s climbed the ladder and his ability to pick it at shortstop has drawn raves.
- Patrick Murphy, RHP: A mid-90s fastball (that I heard might be able to approach 98-100) paired with a curve. Lansing Lugnuts starting rotation, ahoy!
- Osman Gutierrez, RHP: Hailing from Nicaragua, Gutierrez works from 94-97 mph with a slider. Definite candidate for the rotation.
- Zach Jackson, RHP: Drafted in the 3rd round last year out of Arkansas, Jackson couples a sharp curveball with a fastball ranging from 92-96 mph. Expect him out of the bullpen.
- Travis Bergen, LHP: The promising Kennesaw State southpaw broke spring training with the Lugnuts in 2016, but was sidelined by injury before the season’s first game. This year, he makes his return.
- Yennsy Diaz, RHP: I’m jumping the gun here since Diaz is likely a Vancouver Canadian this year, but it’s worth having his name on the radar. Diaz signed a day after Vladimir Guerrero, and the two were teammates last year in Bluefield. He’s 20 years old and has a heck of an arm. Stay patient and you might see an ace blossom.
Coming next from Jesse Goldberg-Strassler on thegame730am.com: 10 former Lugnuts who could make their Major League debuts this year.