Our first preview of the Florida State League features a couple of loaded rosters, and two that will suffer from gaps in talent throughout their big league systems.
Brevard County Manatees
Parent Club: Milwaukee Brewers
An early favorite to take the league title, he most talented collection of players in the Brewers’ minor league system can be found on the Brevard County roster to start this season.
The Manatees pitching staff will be among the strongest in the FSL this season. Lefty Jed Bradley and right-handers Jorge Lopez, Tyler Wagner, and Damien Magnifico will lead the pitching staff for Milwaukee’s High Class-A affiliate this season. It will be Bradley’s third attempt at the Florida State League, where he has compiled a 4.94 ERA in 36 starts the last two seasons after being selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. Lopez, 21, looks to rebound from a somewhat rocky 2013 in Wisconsin, where he posted a 5.23 ERA in 117 innings. Wagner was great in the Midwest League last season, earning ten wins and holding hitters to a .236 batting average in 149 innings as he continues to transition to a starting role.
Outfielder Tyrone Taylor has the tools of a future leadoff hitter, and will hold the role for Brevard County this season. In 2013 he compiled a line of .274/.338/.400 in the Midwest League. Just 20 years old, Taylor has power (eight home runs in 2013) and speed (19 stolen bases) and a knack for extra base hits. The 2012 second round pick collected 33 doubles and two triples last season, and now has seven doubles in the first six games of 2014. Slugger Victor Roache, who had 22 home runs last season in Wisconsin, will join Taylor in the outfield.
At 19 years old, infielder Orlando Arcia will be one of the youngest players in the Florida State League. His numbers have not been overly impressive (.251/.314/.333 last year), but he lost all of 2012 due to injury and played 120 games in a full-season league as a teenager in 2013, which is quite rare. Expect him to primarily second base, but split some time at shortstop with fellow prospect Yadiel Rivera – a defensive specialist – who is set to repeat the FSL this year.