Out with the old; in with the new. Things will look a lot different in 2011 at Coca-Cola Park without Andy Tracy hitting in the number 4 spot in the order.
Rule 1 for fans of any minor league baseball team is ‘never get too attached to the players on your team because they’ll likely be playing elsewhere the following year’. In the three year history of the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs only 3 players have made significant contributions in all 3 seasons, Brian Mazone, Andy Tracy, and Rich Thompson. As of this writing, only Rich Thompson is signed on for 2011. Andy Tracy signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Brian Mazone is still a free agent so it’s still possible he could be here again in 2011. Drew Carpenter is likely to return to the Ironpigs for 2011 and he did pitch very briefly for the Ironpigs in 2008 so he could also join the small fraternity of 4 year members of the Ironpigs. Jason Anderson is another in that category although Jason currently remains a free agent.
It isn’t easy trying to predict who will be playing at Coca-Cola Park in 2011 and I probably missed a few names, but here is a list of ballplayers who could be wearing an Ironpigs uniform in the upcoming season.
Catchers: Erik Kratz, Dane Sardinha, Tuffy Gosewisch
Infielders: Matt Rizzotti, Tagg Bozied, Josh Barfield, Pete Orr, Jeff Larish, Brian Bocock, Cody Overbeck, Harold Garcia, Freddy Galvis
Outfielders: Matt Miller, Rich Thompson, John Mayberry, Brandon Moss, Domonic Brown, Chris Frey
Pitchers: Drew Carpenter, Nate Bump, Vance Worley, Drew Naylor, David Herndon, Eddie Bonine, Ryan Feierabend, Juan Perez, Dan Meyer, Brian Bass, Sergio Escalona, Michael Cisco, Michael Stutes, Mike Zagurski, Michael Schwimer, Scott Mathieson, Justin Friend, Derrick Loop.
Also, utility man Michael Martinez was selected by the Phillies in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. If he doesn’t make the Phillies 25 man roster he must be offered back to the Washington Nationals. If Washington doesn’t take him back, he could find himself in an Ironpigs uniform.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing free agent Brian Gordon and Brian Mazone added to the above list of pitchers and Kyle Kendrick also remains a possibility since the number 5 spot in the Phillies rotation is currently up for grabs. If/when Joe Blanton gets traded, the top two contenders for the final starting spot in Philadelphia will likely be Kendrick and Vance Worley.
In the upcoming weeks I’ll try to do a profile on each of the players listed above so everyone can get to know a little about the team Ryne Sandberg inherits in his first year with the Ironpigs. Spring training will be here before you know it.