The enter High Desert roster can be found here. Below are some players of particular interest to me:
- Nick Franklin - It is going to be hard for Franklin to put up a sequel that compares to 2010 for him, especially given that he is going from a pitching-friendly environment to a hitter's paradise. Expectations are much higher for Nick this year, and it will be interesting to see how he responds. Hopefully, his power emerges even more.
- James Jones - James got off to a really slow start in low-A last season, but got better and better as the season progressed. Overall, his stat line looks rather nice. He has a mix of speed, power, and patience that I think is a little too easy to overlook. In a more hitter-friendly environment without a bad start, Jones could turn heads this season. If I had to bet on the one guy that comes out of nowhere in the M's farm system this year, Jones would be the one.
- Yoervis Medina - It isn't normal for a player to be on the 40-man roster below AA. Medina is exactly that, after impressive (though abbreviated) stints in Everett and Clinton in the second half of last year. His name wasn't really out there until he got added to the 40-man, so his path to a known entity starts in High Desert.
- Stephen Pryor - He starts the year on the DL, but once he starts pitching, he is one to watch. A college reliever with a big arm, Pryor will likely fly through the system if he is destined to be an impact reliever in the majors. Early indications are that he might be. The strikeouts likely will be there for Pryor in High Desert, but gopher balls might say the most about how good his stuff is. It's really hard to keep the ball in the yard at High Desert.
- Dennis Raben - In 40 games at High Desert last year, Dennis absolutely mashed, to the tune of a 1.095 OPS. He also struck out almost a third of the time though. Raben has lots of power, even after major surgery that cost him all of 2009. His question mark is contact. Still, if Raben hits with the same kind of authority this year, he will finish out the season in AA. He is a candidate to skyrocket through the system this year.