June 5, 2012 in Sports

Indians’ roster will take shape soon

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Dan Pelle photo

Spokane Indians manager Tim Hulett
(Full-size photo)

In the wait-and-see game minor league baseball teams play each June, this is the week where the seeing begins.

Toward the end of the week, the Spokane Indians and sixth-year manager Tim Hulett will get a glimpse of what their roster will look like when they open Northwest League play next week with a five-game homestand against Vancouver.

Last year, the Indians, the Texas Rangers’ Class A short-season affiliate, received the club’s supplemental first-round draft pick – center fielder Zach Cone from the University of Georgia – and second-round pick Will Lamb, a reliever from Clemson.

This year, the Indians won’t likely see a first- or second-round pick – not until later this summer, if at all – after the opening rounds of the MLB first-year player draft on Monday proved to be geared toward drafting young, offensive power into the Texas system.

The Rangers’ top five picks this year are all recent high school graduates, including outfielder and 29th overall pick Lewis Brinson and supplemental first-round picks Joey Gallo (3B, 39th overall) and Collin Wiles (RHP, 53rd overall).

Jamie Jarmon (CF, 83rd overall) and Nick Williams (CF, 93rd overall) were Texas’ second-round selections and other two picks inside the top 100.

Spokane, even though it doesn’t choose which players the Rangers send, typically favors more mature players with collegiate experience, which became the Rangers’ focus on the second day of the draft.

In addition to some likely returners from the 2011 roster, the Indians could also receive the Rangers’ third-round pick, Patrick Cantwell, a catcher from Stony Brook University in New York, and the 123rd overall pick.

Polk State College’s Alec Asher (RHP, 156th overall) and University of Texas-Arlington’s Preston Beck (OF, 186th overall) could also be assigned to Spokane.

Royce Bolinger may not have to travel far for the summer.

The Gonzaga senior outfielder was Texas’ sixth-round pick, 216th overall, and the ninth player drafted by the Rangers. That makes Bolinger the highest drafted Bulldog since pitcher Clayton Mortenson was the 36th overall pick in 2007.

“He’s got a work ethic that’s second to none,” Gonzaga coach Mark Machtolf said in a release. “I think he’ll have a good chance. He’s not just a senior sign; he’s a good prospect.”

Throughout the week, Bolinger and the other prospects will be assigned and Spokane will learn who – among the new draft picks, those in extended spring training and players from other teams in the organization – will arrive in Spokane on Monday and begin camp on Tuesday.

The Indians’ season opener is June 15 at 6:30 p.m.

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