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Published: 4/10/2013

MUD HENS 2013 SEASON PREVIEW

New nickname for Scranton/WB among IL changes

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Most of the changes in the International League for 2013 center on the East Division.

One team, Buffalo, will have a new affiliation as Toronto replaces the New York Mets as the Bisons' parent club. And Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has a new nickname, the Railriders, as it returns to a revamped PNC Field after playing all 144 games on the road last season.

Three of the six new managers around the IL also can be found in the East Division. Marty Brown takes over in Buffalo, where he served as a manager from 2003-05 when the Bisons were Cleveland's top farm club; Dave Brundage moves over to Lehigh Valley from Gwinnett; and Gary DiSarcina is the new manager at Pawtucket.

Randy Ready will replace Brundage as the Gwinnett manager, while Chris Tremie is the new manager in Columbus and Jim Riggleman takes over at Louisville.

MUD HENS 2013 SEASON PREVIEW

Here is a look at Toledo's IL opponents this season:

WEST DIVISION

Columbus Clippers

Affiliate: Cleveland

Manager: Chris Tremie.

2012 record: 75-69

2012 finish: Second

Top prospects: RHP Trevor Bauer is considered the Indians top pitching prospect by Baseball America. Bauer, who struck out 157 in 130.1 innings last season, came to the Tribe in the Shin-Soo Choo trade. ... SS Juan Diaz is a 24-year-old switch hitter who batted .259 with 11 homers and 52 RBIs for Double-A Akron last season.

Worth noting: Among the familiar faces on the Clippers roster are IF Ryan Raburn, who split time between Detroit and Toledo a year ago, and C Omir Santos, who played for the Mud Hens in each of the last two seasons.

 

Indianapolis Indians

Affiliate: Pittsburgh

Manager: Dean Treanor

2012 record: 89-55

2012 finish: First

Top prospects: RHP Gerrit Cole is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. He posted a 9-7 record and 2.80 ERA while pitching at three different levels last season. ... C Tony Sanchez, the Pirates top pick in 2009, hit eight home runs in just 62 games with Indianapolis.

Worth noting: Three members of the pitching staff – Brooks Brown, Andy Oliver, and Roman Colon – have pitched for the Hens in the past. Both Brown and Oliver were part of the Hens rotation at times last season.

 

Louisville Bats

Affiliate: Cincinnati

Manager: Jim Riggleman

2012 record: 51-93

2012 finish: Fourth

Top prospects: Outfielder Billy Hamilton is Cincinnati's top prospect after stealing 258 bases in two seasons, including a professional record 155 steals last season. ... LHP Tony Cingrani was 10-4 with a 1.73 ERA in 26 starts split between Hi-A Bakersfield, Calif., and Double-A Pensacola, Fla.

Worth noting: Two familiar faces are on the Bats roster in RHP Armando Galarraga, who pitched for the Hens and nearly threw a perfect game with the Tigers, and 3B Mike Hessman, who spent five seasons with the Hens and is the active minor-league leader with 384 home runs.


EAST DIVISION

Buffalo Bisons

Affiliate: Toronto

Manager: Marty Brown

2012 record: 67-76

2012 finish: Sixth

Top prospects: Outfielder Anthony Gose stole 34 bases for Triple-A Las Vegas last season and 70 at Double-A New Hampshire in 2011. ... Another outfielder, Moises Sierra, has averaged 18 home runs and 65 RBIs the last two seasons while playing in New Hampshire and Las Vegas.

Worth noting: When Brown managed the Bisons from 2003-05, he led the team to the 2004 Governors' Cup title and a 2005 North Division crown. ... Buffalo was affiliated with the New York Mets before switching to Toronto, which is roughly 100 miles to the north.

 

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Affiliate: Philadelphia

Manager: Dave Brundage

2012 record: 75-68

2012 finish: Third

Top prospects: Darin Ruf was the Double-A Eastern League's MVP after hitting 38 home runs, including 20 in August, for Reading. He was a first baseman last season but is moving to the outfield. ... Right-hander Janthan Pettibone finished tenth in the Eastern League with a 3.30 ERA and had a 2.66 ERA in seven starts for the IronPigs.

Worth noting: Brundage replaces Ryne Sandberg, who was promoted to Philadelphia to become the Phillies third-base coach. Lehigh Valley's new pitching coach is Ray Burris, who tutored several Mud Hens pitchers while at Erie last season.

 

Pawtucket Red Sox

Affiliate: Boston

Manager: Gary DiSarcina

2012 record: 79-65

2012 finish: Second

Top prospects: Right-hander Allen Webster, Boston's fourth-ranked prospect by Baseball America, came to the Red Sox as part of the huge trade with the Dodgers last season. ... Outfielder Bryce Brentz hit .296 with 17 home runs and 76 RBIs for Double-A Portland, Maine, a year ago.

Worth noting: Justin Henry, who hit .300 for the Mud Hens last season, will play for Pawtucket, which won last year's Governors' Cup as a wild-card team. ... Toledo fans also will recognize a pair of PawSox players with local ties in outfielder Mitch Maier, who played for the University of Toledo, and pitcher Chris Carpenter, a Bryan native.

 

Rochester Red Wings

Affiliate: Minnesota

Manager: Gene Glynn

2012 record: 72-72

2012 finish: Fourth

Top prospects: Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who is just 21, has hit .318 in his minor-league career and had 17 homers with 98 RBIs while splitting time between Single-A Fort Myers, Fla., and Double-A New Britain, Conn. ... Right-hander Kyle Gibson, once considered one of the Twins top prospects, has returned from Tommy John surgery.

Worth noting: Among the former Mud Hens on the roster are outfielder Clete Thomas, who spent time in Toledo from 2008-11, and right-hander Lester Oliveros, who went to Minnesota in the Delmon Young trade after pitching for the Hens in 2009 and '11.

 

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders

Affiliate: New York Yankees

Manager: Dave Miley

2012 record: 84-60

2012 finish: First

Top prospects: Right-hander Brett Marshall, who was 13-7 with a 3.52 ERA for Double-A Trenton last season, is considered the Yankees' sixth-best prospect by Baseball America. ... Catcher Austin Romine, once consider one of New York's best prospects, returns to action after playing just 31 games a year ago.

Worth noting: Right-hander Chris Bootcheck, who saved a team-high 17 games for the Mud Hens last season, is part of the Railriders' bullpen this season. ... First baseman Dan Johnson, the IL's MVP in 2010, will be counted on to lead the offense.

 

Syracuse Chiefs

Affiliate: Washington

Manager: Tony Beasley

2012 record: 70-74

2012 finish: Fifth

Top prospects: Outfielder Eury Perez, who is considered the Nationals' seventh-best prospect by Baseball America, stole 54 bases last season, including 20 in just 40 games with the Chiefs. ... Shortstop Zach Walters, Washington's 10th-best prospect, moved from Hi-A to Triple last year despite an April injury.

Worth noting: Few teams will have as many former Hens on the roster as do the Chiefs, whose opening day roster includes right-handed pitcher Ryan Perry, infielder Will Rhymes, and outfielder Jerad Head. Tigers fans also will recognize infielder Jeff Kobernus, who was in spring training with Detroit after the Tigers took him in the Rule 5 draft.


SOUTH DIVISION

Charlotte Knights

Affiliate: Chicago White Sox

Manager: Joel Skinner

2012 record: 83-61

2012 finish: First

Top prospects: Outfielder Trayce Thompson, the second-best prospect in the White Sox organization according to Baseball America, led the Hi-A Carolina League in home runs (22) last season. ... Infielder Carlos Sanchez, ranked third among Chicago prospects by Baseball America, won the Carolina League batting title with a .315 average.

Worth noting: This will be the 24th and final season the team will play at Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C. Next season the team will move to BB&T Ballpark in downtown Charlotte. ... Left-handed pitcher David Purcey, who played for the Hens in 2011, will be a part of the Knights' bullpen.

 

Durham Bulls

Affiliate: Tampa Bay

Manager: Charlie Montoyo

2012 record: 66-78

2012 finish: Third

Top prospects: Outfielder Wil Myers, the fourth-best prospect in baseball according to Baseball America, will join the Bulls after Tampa Bay got him in a trade with Kansas City. ... Right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who also came to the Rays in the James Shields trade, led all minor leaguers with 15 wins last season.

Worth noting: Five of the top six young players in the prospect-rich Rays organization will begin the season with the Bulls, including Myers (first), right-hander Chris Archer (second), shortstop Hak-Ju Lee (fourth), Odorizzi (fifth), and right-hander Alex Colome (sixth).

 

Gwinnett Braves

Affiliate: Atlanta

Manager: Randy Ready

2012 record: 62-84

2012 finish: Fourth

Top prospects: Left-hander Sean Gilmartin, a first-round pick of the Braves in 2011, was 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA in a seven-game cameo with the G-Braves last season. ... Tyler Pastornicky, Atlanta's opening day shortstop last season, will fill that role with Gwinnett to start this year.

Worth noting: First baseman Ernesto Mejia returns after leading the IL in RBI (92), hits (152) and total bases (258) last season. He was named the league's rookie of the year. ... Joey Terdoslavich, who was considered one of Atlanta's top prospects before last season, will return to Gwinnett – and move from the infield to the outfield.

 

Norfolk Tides

Affiliate: Baltimore

Manager: Ron Johnson

2012 record: 74-70

2012 finish: Second

Top prospects: Shortstop Jonathan Schoop, who was impressive while playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, begins the season as the Tides starter and Baltimore's third-ranked prospect. ... Among the outfielders on the Norfolk roster are L.J. Hoes (sixth-ranked prospect) and Xavier Avery (seventh).

Worth noting: Former Mud Hen Daniel Schlereth, a left-handed pitcher, is on the Tides opening day roster. ... Right-hander Freddy Garcia, who won 152 games in 14 major-league seasons, including time with the Tigers, is expected to be a part of Norfolk's rotation.



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