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April 8, 2010

Future Shock Blog

Opening Night Pitching To Watch

by Kevin Goldstein

 

Minor league opening day means the wackiness begins, as much of my night will be filled by checking box scores, listening in here and there to games over at milb.com, while dealing with countless IMs and text messages from those at the heart of the action.  Much like the majors, pitching rules the day when teams take the field for the first time, and here are the mound matchups I'm focusing on tonight.

TRIPLE-A

Durham (Rays) at Norfolk (Orioles): Jeremy Hellickson vs. Chris Tillman

If Tillman was still eligible, he'd be a Top 20 prospect just like Hellickson.  This is easily your pitching matchup of the night.

Albuquerque (Dodgers) at Oklahoma City (Rangers): James McDonald vs. Derek Holland

Two pitchers who spent more time in the majors than minors last year. The Dodgers are hoping to turn McDonald back into a starter, while the Rangers need Holland to find more consistency with his command and secondary pitches.

Other Big Prospects Starting:

DOUBLE-A

New Hampshire (Blue Jays) at New Britain (Twins): Kyle Drabek vs. Carlos Gutierrez

The biggest name in the Halladay deal makes his Toronto system debut, while Gutierrez might have the best sinker in the minors.

Tennessee (Cubs) at Mississippi (Braves): Andrew Cashner vs. Mike Minor

As a reliever, Cashner might help the Cubs this year, and they might need it.  That said, his maximum value lies in starting.  For Minor, it's his official debut, and while the upside remains limited, he could move quickly.

Other Big Prospects Starting:

HIGH-A

Lancaster (Astros) at Bakersfield (Rangers): Kyle Greenwalt vs. Wilfredo Boscan

This is anything but a five-star matchup, but it is an intriguing one with two talented arms who did not live up to expectations in the Sally League last year.

Other Big Prospects Starting:

LOW-A

No great one-on-one matchup, but plenty of teams did not report their lineups yet.

Other Big Prospects Starting:

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

5 comments have been left for this article.

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