The Billings Mustangs got their season started last night, which you can read about in Aaron's Farmers Only, and the Arizona League fires up in the desert on Friday. These bright eyed young men will toil in relative obscurity, making very little money, and in the case of the Billings Mustangs, take incredibly long bus rides through the great plains. You can read Cy's eyewitness report from Billings to get a better feel of the place, with much better words than I would use. The AZL Reds have far less travel time, but they are stuck outside of Phoenix for the better part of a year, which is pretty terrible in and of itself.
Mustangs to watch:
Jeremy Kivel - RHP
Evil Kivel, slipped to the 10th round in 2012 after tearing his ACL during his senior year of high school and the Reds may have a steal on their hands. Kivel has a big arm for a smaller guy, topping out at 96 in HS. He struck out 56 batters in 50.2 innings in the Arizona League last summer, but needs to work on his command.
KJ Franklin - 3B
Franklin hopes to come alive in Billings this summer. The Reds grabbed him in the 2nd round of the draft last year out of high school. The Lexington born slugger has huge power potential, but concerns about his swing. Franklin has the arm for 3B, but struggled in Arizona, committing 20 errors in 37 games.
Tyler Mahle - RHP
The Reds' 7th round pick in 2013, Darth Mahle looked solid in his professional debut last year, posting a 2.36 ERA in Arizona. He's very polished for his age, and at just 19 years old, Mahle could be a fast riser in the system.
Cory Thompson - SS
Simply being a SS that has a chance to stick, is a reason to watch a guy in this organization. A two-way player in HS, Thompson was selected in the 5th round last year as a SS. He slashed .266/.341/.340 in 212 PA last year in the AZL.
Wyatt Strahan - RHP
Wyatt Earp was taken out of USC in the 3rd round of this year's draft. He has flashed 97 on the gun, but mostly sits in the mid 90's. His usage could be limited this season, as he's already tossed over 100 innings for USC this year.
The full roster can be found here. We'll have an Arizona League primer up later this week..