Catcher – Yovan Gonzalez
Yovan Gonzalez didn’t have a good season in 2012. He started off with a good April, but struggled the rest of the year. The Reds have a real depth problem at the catcher position, so Gonzalez could benefit from that with a promotion despite hitting just .230/.272/.315 for Dayton last season.
First Base – Dominic D’Anna
Unlike Gonzalez, D’Anna may be held back due to some positional depth at first base ahead of him. D’Anna had a solid season with Bakersfield in 2012 as he hit .277/.386/.430 with 52 walks and 77 strikeouts.
Second Base – Ryan Wright
Ryan Wright finished up his season with the Blaze after performing well in Dayton. He had questionable plate discipline in August with the Blaze, but showed off good power and hit for a solid average. Improving his plate discipline will be a key to success in Bakersfield.
Third Base – Unknown
There may be several guys keying for this spot including Joe Terry and Niko Vasquez (once he returned from his 50-game suspension). Perhaps a free agent could also fill in here.
Shortstop – Juan Perez
Juan Perez had a solid season in 2012 with Dayton, hitting .253/.336/.398 with 51 walks and 88 strikeouts, but he was particularly strong in the second half of the season after struggling in April and May. He may eventually move to second base, but expect him to be the every day shortstop in Bakersfield for 2013.
Left Field – Kyle Waldrop
Waldrop made big improvements in his plate discipline in 2012, adding more walks and cutting into his strikeout rate. He has not hit for the power he is expected to moving forward yet and Bakersfield could be the place where he starts showing it off.
Center Field – Theo Bowe
Bowe could return to center despite hitting .314/.391/.383 for the Blaze in 2012. With Bryson Smith, Ryan LaMarre and Billy Hamilton all ahead of him he could find himself leading off in Bakersfield again due to the depth despite a good season under his belt.
Right Field – Yorman Rodriguez
Rodriguez started the 2012 season with the Blaze but struggled mightily and was sent to extended spring training before returning to Dayton where he was solid. If Rodriguez expects to see better results in 2013 with Bakersfield he will need to drastically improve his plate discipline that he showed in 2012.
Fourth Outfield – Juan Silva
Silva had some of the strongest plate discipline in the system last year as he walked 69 times with 109 strikeouts while hitting .271/.380/.413 for Dayton. With the ability to play all three outfield spots and a DH spot on the roster, Silva will likely see as much playing time as the other three guys as there will likely be some rotation that keeps all four guys playing.
Jacob Johnson – Johnson returned in 2012 after having shoulder surgery and while he had questionable numbers overall, he had good peripherals and was coming off surgery. His home run rate was high in Dayton and with the way the ball flies in the California League Johnson will need to improve on that to show improvements in his ERA.
Jon Moscot – I listed him with Dayton last week, but word out of spring training indicates that he will likely be in Bakersfield with Dan Langfield winding up in Dayton. Moscot posted a 2.88 ERA with Billings last year and is polished enough to handle the jump. He could be the top pitcher on the staff.
Daniel Renken – The right hander spent 2012 with the Blaze, but he struggled as he posted a 5.93 ERA. While his future still will likely be from the bullpen, he is likely to be used as a starter again who can fill plenty of innings while developing his pitches.
Tanner Robles – Robles finished his 2012 season out with 7 strong starts for the Blaze as he posted a 2.50 ERA in 36 innings with 13 walks and 35 strikeouts. He will likely return and could be the lefty in the middle of the rotation to split up the right handers.
Stalin Gerson – Gerson made 4 starts for Bakersfield to end the year in 2012 and struggled as he gave up 6 home runs with a 6.30 ERA after posting a 3.76 ERA in 24 starts for Dayton. He showed strong control all year with 117 strikeouts and just 28 walks. Keeping the ball in the yard will be key for Gerson in Bakersfield.
Relievers – They are just too difficult to project. Guys can jump over levels with ease at times, so I am going to just skip over them.