A Minors Obsession

Previewing the Billings roster

The short-season leagues began, or will begin this week. The Billings Mustangs began their season on Monday night with a win on a walk-off balk that brought in the go-ahead run. The Arizona League Reds will begin their season on Saturday. Next weeks article will preview their roster.

You can see the entire roster for the Mustangs here. Now, it’s worth noting that as of the time that I’m writing this (early Tuesday evening) neither Jeter Downs or Stuart Fairchild have been assigned to a team and by the time that you read this, they could be joining the Mustangs.

Top Pitching Prospect

Right now there isn’t a clear top pitching prospect on the roster. No one would currently rank within my Top 25 Reds prospects list (which hasn’t been updated since before the season, but still wouldn’t include any players from this roster). That, however, doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting arms. If push came to shove, I’d say that Tyler Mondile and Dauri Moreta would be the top two guys from the pitching staff.

Tyler Mondile is the 6th round pick from the 2016 draft out of high school. He only pitched in four games last season in Arizona as the team wanted to keep his innings limited after a high school season. He’s been up to 96 MPH with his fastball, though he sits lower than that. Mondile is throwing a fastball, slider, curveball and a change up. He’s also added some good weight to his frame since last year.

Reliever Dauri Moreta jumped onto the prospect scene last season with the Arizona League Reds as a 20-year-old. In 30.2 innings there he posted a 2.05 ERA with four saves and 53 strikeouts. The right hander did walk 18 batters, though, showing some battles with the strikezone. He got a late season call up to Billings, pitching in two games before the playoffs began.

He’s got a fastball that reaches into the mid-90’s and a good breaking ball. Control will be something to keep an eye on with him this season, but his stuff is real. Also, keep an eye on Cory Thompson. The former shortstop has been converted to a pitcher and I’ve heard good things about the quality of his stuff since the organization decided to try him out on the mound. He was a draft caliber pitching prospect coming out of high school, with some teams preferring his arm to his bat.

Top Position Prospect

Much like the pitching staff, there’s not a position player that would currently rank in my Top 25 Prospects list, but that doesn’t mean that the team doesn’t have some interesting players on the roster. With that said, the top guy for me would be catcher Jake Turnbull.

He missed most of the 2016 season while dealing with a few different injuries. However, in 2015 he hit quite well in the Arizona Rookie League as a 17-year-old. The Australian teenager will probably see some time at first base as the Mustangs have four catchers on the roster.

Also keep an eye on outfielder Miles Gordon. Before he injured his shoulder last season with the Mustangs he was hitting .262/.372/.369 with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts through 22 games played.

10 thoughts on “Previewing the Billings roster

  1. Where’s Hunter Green? Is he expected to play for Billings? I already have Pioneer Day weekend (July 24) circled on my calendar b/c that’s when the Mustangs come to Orem. It is now becoming a family tradition. In fact, it was one of the first dates my wife and I ever went on a few years back. Our infant daughter will now participate in the tradition. Rookie ball brings people together 🙂

      • Do you know what’s holding things up? Any estimate on the timeline? I feel like sometimes these hyped draft picks feel a bit entitled like Stephen Drew.

        • Everything I have read and seen on tv shows him to be the opposite of what you are concerned about.

        • Players have until July 7th at 5pm to sign. Half of the first round picks this year are still unsigned. There’s nothing to worry about – but I have to take issue with the whole “feeling entitled” sentiment.

          This is literally the only guaranteed money these guys will ever get in their life. It’s life changing, not just for you, but for your entire family. Make sure you get the right deal done. Get every last penny that you can get because if you were a free agent rather than being pushed into a limited pay system of the draft, you’d be getting 4-5 times as much money as you’re about to get.

          Sports aren’t like other jobs. Lawyers out of Harvard aren’t graduating and being forced to work in Omaha instead of New York City just because they are inexperienced. They get to choose exactly where they want to work, and for who, if they are good enough. Athletes don’t get to do that. They get drafted and are essentially forced to play wherever that team sends them. Get paid, kids.

          • You are right Doug…this is a one time shot for some.
            That said…. Families make clear pre-draft with teams what the magic number is to sign and conversations had….The 10th round is about the cutoff. If you are below that…you have no leverage and the team doesn’t really care about you anyway.
            Most of these top 10 round picks are slotted and families have a number agreed upon ahead of the draft that teams know. Sign-ability often determines the round you are drafted in. Many of these picks are done because teams know better players aren’t signing at that round for that money…..and because they know the better player isn’t signing and is going to their college or staying in college…. the player who does get picked has no leverage at all.

          • After the 10th round it depends on who you are, and the teams certainly care about some of those guys a lot more than others. It’s why some guys get over the $125,000 post-10th round limit – they’ve got leverage and they’ve got talent.

            But, you’re right that many of these guys have told the Reds, or whoever selected them, what it’ll take to sign them.

          • When I was younger, I was mad when a player didn’t just sign. But life experience has me more mellow and understanding. If I were that player, I’d want to play, but darn tootin I want as much as the purse strings will allow. I even over tip most of the time, save for really poor service, just because I am making good salary (not rich, but upper middle class) and many that work in services industry make little without good tips (and still make less than half what I do, save posh establishment waiters and waitresses and competition for those jobs are cutthroat)

          • ..and Doug’s points about a fixed draft system and no control are huge. We forget about that constantly. I don’t have quite the freedom Doug suggests (no one does), even if they are the best at what they do, but I can at least check around and get the best deal I can get and not be locked in to Microsoft or IBM or Verizon.

  2. Coming into the year no one was looking at Andy Sugilio, but with 2 HR in his first 2 games played, we should probably at least keep an eye on him.

    I agree on Gordon being one to watch. Big time athlete and he’s still only 19 years old this entire season despite being a 2015 pick.

    The unsubstantiated rumors online I’ve heard (and not just at Doug’s site in the comments section) is that Greene is waiting to see what McKay gets and will get the largest bonus in this draft. Still worth it, even if we can’t sign Mace or Lonsway away from college.

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