Opening Day has arrived. After a long off-season, Minor League Opening Day is officially here.The majority of fans will have to wait until the evening to see their favorite prospects in action as Rochester and Syracuse (Triple-A) play the lone day game (2:05 p.m. ET). But once the night gets
Opening Day has arrived. After a long off-season, Minor League Opening Day is officially here.
The majority of fans will have to wait until the evening to see their favorite prospects in action as Rochester and Syracuse (Triple-A) play the lone day game (2:05 p.m. ET). But once the night gets going, fans will be treated to a full slate as 59 total games, across four levels, are set to take place.
Where baseball's top prospects are starting the 2017 season
With so many games, teams and players to track, here's a viewer's guide:
Pitchers to watch:
Brent Honeywell (Rays' No. 2, No. 29 overall) Biloxi vs. Montgomery (8:05 p.m. ET on MiLB.TV)
The 22-year-old right-hander fared well - 3-2 wih a 2.28 ERA in 10 starts - in his first taste of Double-A last season and will look for another strong showing with Montgomery in 2017. Honeywell impressed over the offseason in the Arizona Fall League and gets the ball on Opening Night as he tries to continue his ascent through the Rays' system.
Reynaldo Lopez (White Sox No. 4, No. 44 overall) Norfolk vs. Charlotte (7:05 p.m. ET) on MiLB.TV
Lopez, one of several prospect the White Sox acquired over the offseason, will make his organizational debut as part of a loaded Charlotte squad. Lopez won't be the only prospect on the Knights as the team also features …
Hitters to watch:
Yoan Moncada (White Sox No. 1, No. 2 overall)
Moncada will also be making his debut as a member of the White Sox organization after being traded from the Red Sox over the winter. The 21-year-old switch hitter scuffled in his brief call-up last season, but hit .294 in 106 Minor League contests. This will be his first taste of Triple-A.
Jake Bauers (Rays' No. 4, No. 73 overall) Durham vs. Gwinnett (7:05 p.m. ET on MiLB.TV)
Bauers may claim that he's a slow starter, but the Rays' prospect hit four homers in just 35 Spring Training at-bats. In his first Triple-A experience, will Bauers be able to keep up the power numbers?
Lewis Brinson (Brewers' No. 1, No. 17 overall) Omaha vs. Colorado Springs (8:40 p.m. ET on MiLB.TV)
Brinson seems to enjoy playing with Colorado Springs. After the Rangers traded the outfielder to the Brewers a season ago, Brinson caught fire at the plate, hitting .382 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 23 games. While Brinson may not hit .382 again, if he fares well with the Sky Sox, he may be up in Milwaukee fairly soon.
Teams to watch:
Of course all these top prospects can't take the field without a team around them, and there will be plenty of good teams opening their seasons tomorrow. Lopez and Moncada will take the field for Charlotte, MLB Pipeline's top Minor League team, but other teams are certainly worthy of your attention and MLB Pipeline has broken down the top 10 most stacked rosters in the Minor Leagues.
Randy Arozarena (Cardinals' No. 15) Palm Beach vs. St. Lucie (6:30 p.m. ET)
Arozarena, whom the Cardinals signed for $1.25 million out of Cuba last July, will be making his stateside debut after playing in the Mexican Winter League during the offseason.
Jorge Ona (Padres' No. 9) Fort Wayne vs. Bowling Green (7:35 p.m. ET)
The Padres gave Ona a $7 million signing bonus last July and although he's likely a couple years away from San Diego, Padres' fans can begin following Ona's career as he starts his journey with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Ona won't be the only player making a debut in that game as Lucius Fox (Rays' No. 14) will be making his organizational debut. Fox, a shortstop, came to the Rays' during last year's Trade Deadline, but suffered a foot injury and never got on the field for Bowling Green.
Yanio Perez (Rangers' No. 15) Hickory vs. Greensboro (7:p.m. ET)
Perez signed for $1.1 million in September as a 21-year-old out of Cuba. The outfielder/third baseman impressed in instructionals, giving the Rangers confidence to begin his career at with Class A Hickory.
William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.