The final roster of the day to be released is from the Daytona Tortugas. Let’s take a look at their preliminary roster for the 2016 season.


Those four will be starters. Jon Moscot will also begin the season with the team, rehabbing in the rotation. Who takes over the final spot when Moscot is gone probably comes down to Jake Paulson or Seth Varner with the other winding up in the bullpen. The rotation should be the staple of the team for the second year in a row, as 1-5 it’s full of good arms. Keury Mella returning is a bit of a surprise, as just a few weeks ago Double-A Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said he expected Mella to be in their rotation. He struggled in the game I saw him pitch in Goodyear, so perhaps he had a rough spring and the organization chose to keep him at this level.

That group will make up the bullpen, along with Paulson/Varner. There are some interesting arms in this group. Who takes over the closers role will be interesting to see.


Taylor Sparks returns to Daytona and should lead the offense from this group. After a slow start in 2015, Sparks really turned in a strong second half offensively as he made the adjustments to the league. He will be joined on the third base side of the dirt by shortstop Blake Trahan, who spent the final few weeks with the Tortugas after Calten Daal was injured late last season. Blake Butler is making the big jump after spending nearly all of 2015 with the AZL Reds where he hit .319/.350/.472. Notably missing here is Gavin LaValley, who is currently injured.


Seeing Aristides Aquino on this roster is a bit surprising given that he missed so much time in 2015 with Dayton and struggled at the plate when he was healthy. Brian O’Grady, Jimmy Pickens and Jeff Gelalich all return to Daytona after spending time with the Tortugas in 2015. It’s an athletic outfield that should cover tons of ground for the pitching staff in the big Florida State League ballparks. The question, as it is every year in the Florida State League is all about just how much the players will hit.


Even if this weren’t the Florida State League, where pitching thrives and hitting dies, the pitching staff would stand out as the strength of this team. The rotation is deep and the bullpen has potential to be pretty strong.

The offense has a lot of question marks, but there’s potential in the lineup as well, especially if a few of the toolsy hitters take a step forward. The infield, outside of Taylor Sparks, doesn’t have much power but could be a contact oriented group that puts the ball in play and does a lot of running. The outfield has some power potential to work with, but could have some problems when it comes to average and on-base percentage.

19 Responses

    • MK

      He retired. My wife heard from his wife a couple months ago.

  1. Bill

    Blake Trahan impressed this spring. Glad to see him back at Daytona.

  2. Dale

    Here is a good question and one that I can safely assume will not irritate anyone at all. Let us say both Stephenson and Winker get their feet wet with the Big Show in 2016. Who then becomes our #1 prospect at the end of this season?

    • Norwood Nate

      I’m going to assume that Peraza and Reed also get enough big league time to lose prospect eligibility. Otherwise the easy answer is likely one of those two.

      I can see any number of players having big years and claiming that spot. Garrett has the least amount to rise as he’s already highly regarded. I can see T. Stephenson, Travieso, or Blandino making a case for the to spot with big seasons as well. Plus we’d hope that whoever is drafted at #2 overall is in that mix for top prospect in the organization.

      Dark horse candidate, Phil Ervin.

      • Dale

        Yeah, I agree with you. I am pulling for Ervin. He had an awesome spring and seems to be over prior injuries. But, his past performance is going to loom he would need a monster season to make the jump. I guess the odds are going to be in Garrett’s favor.

      • DaveCT

        I think you’re both correct with Garrett, as his upside is high and the BA types love him.

    • The Duke

      More than likely, whomever we take at #2 this June. Who we take at #35 and #43 will have a shot at making our top 10. For fun, here is a projected 2017 Top 10 Reds Prospects:

      1. Jason Groome/Riley Pint/Nick Senzel/Blake Rutherford
      2. Amir Garrett
      3. Alex Blandino
      4. Nick Travieso
      5. Tyler Stephenson
      6. Tyler Mahle
      7. Keury Mella
      8. Phillip Ervin
      9. Blake Trahan
      10. Tony Santillan

      • Dale

        You would really favor any one of Jason Groome/Riley Pint/Nick Senzel/Blake Rutherford over our existing prospects for top prospect slot?

        Does that mean you don’t see any of current prospects as top prospect material? Me personally I see Garrett as having a higher ceiling than Stephenson.

      • Doug Gray

        I’m an Amir Garrett fan, but how does he have a higher ceiling than Stephenson? Every pitch Stephenson throws grades out better now on both the current and raw scale.

      • Greenfield Red

        I think the #2 pick will probably be at the top. The Reds don’t have a 60 level prospect in the system. There are 4 of them in the draft at this point. I agree that #35 and #43 also have a shot, although there are not 43 or even 35 prospects in the draft that grade out at 55 at this time.

        I think an international signing or two could figure in as well… at least it should be the case if the Reds want to show us they really want to win and not just win enough to keep us interested.

      • DaveCT

        Duke, I’m guessing Trahan’s rank would depend upon whether he’s viewed as capable of sticking at SS, or as a 2B/utility guy which would lower his value.

        One unknown is Rookie Davis. Also, if Doug is onto something with Jose Lopez, there might be a chance he moves up ratings boards in a hurry.

  3. Norwood Nate

    Did I miss them, or are Crawford and Armstrong not listed anywhere? Still recovering?

    • Doug Gray

      Armstrong had TJ last summer – he’s definitely out for a while, maybe the entire year. Crawford is injured – not sure what/how long he will be out for.

      • MK

        Wonder if Reds did due diligence before the trade and gave Crawford a physical. Sounds like they received damaged goods.

  4. fromcubawithluv

    Hey Doug,

    I am curious about one thing. Comparing Senzel to Ray: How far apart are the bats at this point? I agree with Senzel grading out higher mostly due to double the walk rate. But how much higher is he? Ray has faced better competition and hit for more power. Is that difference enough to have Senzel clearly over Ray with Ray having significantly more defensive value and base running value over Senzel? Any thoughts on the comparison would be appreciated. I think we are definitely going to end up with a college bat in this draft.

    • Doug Gray

      Essentially that he’s been in Arizona the entire time, but isn’t allowed to be with the team/at the facilities. The organization had been expecting for MLB to rule on his status in time for him to start minor league spring training, but that didn’t happen.

    • Krozley

      On the Daytona transaction page, it says Rahier has been activated from the restricted list. He does not appear on the travel list, but does show up on their roster. I’m guessing we’ll see him at some point in 2016.