As we get lower into the minors on our roster previews, it becomes increasingly difficult to predict who will be on each staff. There are many changes between starters and relievers, high probability of players jumping a level and other factors.
First let’s start with the pitching staff. Tall right-hander David Palladino is almost a lock to anchor the Charleston RiverDogs starting rotation. Palladino went 6-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) for the Staten Island Yankees in 2014. He emerged as the most reliable starting pitcher for the Baby Bombers, going six innings multiple times throughout the season. He will likely be joined by Jordan Cote who will return to the RiverDogs after a stint as a reliever in 2014. Cote was converted to a starter with the Staten Island Yankees but a back injury limited his time on the mound.
Ty Hensley, 2012 first round draft pick, will be on the pitching staff. Hensley returned from injury in 2014 and had a 2.93 ERA in 11 games, 10 starts. Striking out 40 in 30.2 innings, walking just 11 batters. Likely joining them in the 2015 RiverDogs rotation will likely be 2014 sixth round draft pick Jonathan Holder and eleventh round draft pick Matt Borens.
Due to the high number of talents in the low minors it is expected that the RiverDogs will utilize a piggy-pack system for several spots in the rotation. Due to that expect to see Jordan Foley, Jordan Montgomery, Andy Beresford, and Dillon McNamara to get some starts.
In the field, shortstop Abiatal Avelino is expected to return to Charleston for 2015. Joining Avelino in the field will be Vicente Conde, the 2014 ninth round draft pick out of Vanderbilt. Conde is considered one of the best natural shortstops in the system. Connor Spencer will man first base for the RiverDogs after a great first professional season in Staten Island where he hit .364 in 198 at bats.
At third base Renzo Martini and Brady Steiger have earned the promotion, with Billy Fleming likely to play second base at “The Joe.” Expect to see catching prospect Luis Torrens make a return to Charleston in 2015, the young catcher made quite the impression with the Staten Island Yankees in 2014 and cemented himself as one of the Yankees top prospects.
The 2014 Staten Island Yankees outfield is pretty much a lock to earn the promotion. Chris Breen, Nathan Mikolas, Devyn Bolasky, and Austin Aune have earned the chance to play outfield for the RiverDogs.
The 2015 Charleston RiverDogs are shaping up to be a fun team to watch in 2015. The players who made up the 2014 Staten Island Yankees were gritty and good players, with more seasoning expect to see them do well in Charleston.