Lansing’s roster often is one of the more interesting ones to wait for every spring.
For the other three full-season affiliates, it’s fairly easy to project their rosters. There may be the odd surprise, but you can generally count on players moving up to the next level if they were successful the season before.
The decisions for Lansing’s roster are more difficult, because team officials have three short season levels below Low A to consider when putting the Lugnuts’ 25-man together.
Lansing’s roster this year contains a few surprises, as much for who’s not on the roster as much as who is. After a half season of Vlad and Bo, and with Nate Pearson, Logan Warmoth, Riley Adams, and a good chunk of Vancouver’s bullpen starting the year in Dunedin, Lugs’ fans will not have as much star power to watch this year.
Yennsy Diaz had a swinging strike rate of 13.5% as a 20-year-old when he was called up halfway through the season, and will get the ball on Opening Day. Maximo Castillo fanned better than a batter per inning at Bluefield last year, and skips Vancouver to begin the year in the Midwest League, where at 18 he’ll be one of its youngest players.
Maverik Buffo’s draft stock fell last year due to a torn UCL, but through rehab he became healthy enough to dominate the GCL, and jumps a pair of levels to start the season. Zach Logue and Justin Dillon piggybacked effectively at Vancouver last year.
In the pen, both Ty Tice and Orlando Pascual have closing experience. Tice Saved 12 games in as many opportunities at Bluefield, striking out 35 in 25 innings, while Pascual recorded a half-dozen saves for Vancouver, fanning 45 in 35 IP.
As for position players, the Lugs will be led by toolsy OF Chavez Young, 1B/OF Ryan Noda, and 1B Kacy Clemens. Young is one of the more athletic players in the system, while Noda laid waste to Appy League Pitching en route to an MVP award. Clemens, son of the Hall-of-Famer, wore down in his first pro season last year, and will be looking to make amends at Lansing.
Cesar Martin returns for his second season as Lansing’s Manager, joined by Position Coach Dave Pano (up from Vancouver), returning Pitching Coach Antonio Caceres, and Hitting Coach Matt Young. New to the organization, Young played with the Braves and Tigers, and operated a baseball academy in Texas prior to joining the Blue Jays.