The Billings Mustangs will begin play on Friday night, at home, against Idaho Falls. They just released their roster and there are a few surprises on there, both on the field, and in the dugout.
Nick Travieso, the 2012 Cincinnati Reds 1st round draft pick, will be on the Mustangs roster to begin the season. This is considered a rehab assignment for the right-handed pitcher who hasn’t thrown in a game (that counts in the standings, at least) since the 2016 season. He injured his shoulder and had to have surgery. It’s taken a while for him to get back on the mound and ready for games, but he’ll be in Billings for at least the start of the season.
The other surprise comes from the dugout. Hernan Iribarren will serve as the Billings Mustangs bench coach. He’s technically still listed as being on the 7-day injured list with the Louisville Bats right now as I type this. Iribarren has not played in a game this season for Louisville. Bryan LaHair will be taking over as manager for the Mustangs after serving as their hitting coach last season. Darryl Brinkley will be the new hitting coach, and Derrin Ebert will serve as the pitching coach.
The 2019 Billings Mustangs Roster
It wouldn’t surprise me to see this roster change a bit over the next week or two. There are only three 2019 draft picks on the roster as it currently stands and that feels incredibly light by comparison to past years. While the addition of Greeneville to the farm does spread the college guys out a little bit more than it used to, three still feels light. Also interesting that all three are position players.
Carlos Reina could be interesting behind the plate. He’s got a little bit of pop in his bat, and in the hitter friendly Pioneer League you never know what could happen. Claudio Finol is easily the youngest player on the team, born in April of 2000. He played in Greeneville in 2018, hitting .294 without much pop – then saw a few games in Dayton to begin 2019 before heading back to extended spring training. Jonathan Willems has plenty of athleticism and a good swing, but needs to improve his pitch recognition and aggressiveness at the plate. Cash Case is the highest round draft pick on the team other than Nick Travieso. The 2017 4th rounder will return to Billings after playing 25 games with the Mustangs last year.
Leonardo Seminati hit the longest home run on the farm last year when he was playing in the Arizona Rookie League. The Italian 20-year-old has big time power potential in his bat. Victor Ruiz is listed with the infielders, and not the catchers – a position he’s played in the past. Interesting bat and he’s just 19. The outfield could be a fun follow with 8th round pick Quin Cotton, 9th round pick TJ Hopkins, and Edwin Yon and Reniel Ozuna. Yon has big time power potential, but at 6′ 8″ has an enormous strikezone and has, understandably, had some contact issues.
It’s tough to figure out the rotation looking at the roster. Miguel Medrano, Ricky Karcher, and Carlos Carreno were all starting pitchers last season. It’s a good guess that they are in the rotation. But only Omar Conorop made a start last year from the rest of the pitching staff, and he made just 4 of them while relieving in 13 games.