2015 IronPigs Roster Prediction: Relief Pitchers

Kram continues on his “fool’s errand” trying to predict the IronPigs opening day roster.  Trades and injuries and new-signees will happen–we’ll ignore most of that and concentrate on what we know and who the possibilities are, keeping in mind that this is the most difficult one to predict:

Luis Garcia - Cheryl Purcell

Luis Garcia – Cheryl Purcell

Relief Pitchers

The Candidates:

Philly For Sure

Justin De Fratus

Jake Diekman

Kenny Giles

Jonathan Papelbon

40-Man Guys

Elvis Araujo

Phillippe Aumont

Luis Garcia

Mario Hollands

Ethan Martin

Hector Neris

Mike Nesseth

Nefi Ogando

Andy Oliver

Non-Roster Arms

Paul Clemens

Jeanmar Gomez

Cesar Jimenez

Sean O’Sullivan

Kevin Slowey

Working Group

Tyler Knigge

Adam Loewen

Hoby Milner

Seth Rosin

Austin Wright


With the four givens in the Philly ‘pen, we’ve got to assign three more to Philadelphia.  Certainly, non-roster guys could earn their way on, but could also be assigned to us in Allentown without passing through waivers or the DFA process.  So, I’ll pick the “Philly Three” from the 40-man.

First, I’ll give Mario Hollands a spot based on his experience from last year.  I believe he has options, though, so he’ll have to earn that spot or he’ll be at Coca Cola Park. Second, I’ll give Andy Oliver a spot based on his ‘Rule-5’ status.  If he doesn’t make it, he’ll likely be on his way back to the Pittsburgh organization rather than in Allentown, anyway.  Third, might be a “starter in waiting” or designated “long guy.”  Let’s give it to David Buchanan for now, but it could be Sean O’Sullivan or Kevin Slowey or another guy from the non-roster list.  Aaron Harang’s back hurts, Chad Billingsly might not be ready, and Cliff Lee’s elbow hurts.  Oh, and the Yankees want Cole Hamels now.  Let’s just say there could be some openings in Philly.

Next, I’m going to cut a couple guys.  Hey, I could be way off here, but I’ll bid au revoir to Phillippe Aumont (no options) and Mike Nesseth (ineffective).

Finally, we’ll have to consider prospect status and depth for the big club.  I think the big club might like to keep Jimenez and Clemens around, and perhaps Gomez. And they’re trying to develop guys like Araujo, Neris, Ogando, Rosin and Martin.

The Prediction:

Luis Garcia — He has an option and they want him sharper before they give him another shot on the big stage

Ethan Martin — He’ll see some starting in Florida, then move to the ‘pen with us in April

Hector Neris — A great winter season, but some early struggles in Florida will have him back with us.

Elvis Araujo — The big lefty has three options and needs seasoning

Seth Rosin —  His season got off to a weird start last season with the ‘rule 5’ tour.  He’ll settle in with us to start 2015.

Pick Two Veterans — Clemens, Slowey, O’Sullivan, Gomez, Jimenez — A couple could be in Philly, and a couple with us, possibly as “starters in waiting” to compliment the early season limits on our regular rotation.

On Deck:

I’ll send these guys to the Reading pen to wait for a call.  They’re all “ready” but will need to make room for the Reading Prospect Starters and earn their way to Allentown either via ‘pen or by moving back into the rotation if a Reading starter gets promoted:

Knigge, Loewen, Wright, Milner, Ogando

…for various reasons.  Ogando may need to continue work on his control, Knigge was up last season but results were uneven–at times great at other times less so, Loewen and Milner are converting to the ‘pen and/or waiting for opportunity to get back into the rotation, and Wright is in the queue waiting his turn.

So how many did I get, out of seven?  It will be tough to score me, because some guys might be still fluctuating between starting and relieving.  But time will tell…

PS: Some other names to know:

Jason Berken was signed; he started 21 games in the PCL last year and 27 for Charlotte in 2013.

Anthony Vasquez  appears to be a fringe AA/AAA guy who can start or relieve. He’s a lefty, and like Berken is working with the ‘Pigs “group” in Minor League Camp.


See you at the park,



Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs


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