Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal (Even For #85)

Spring training is firing up in Arizona and Florida and there are plenty of minor leaguers attending big league camp. Usually you can find players with little to no chance of breaking camp with the team by a quick look at the field. They're easy to spot: they're the guys with numbers in the 70's, 80's, or 90's. Different teams have different ways of assigning numbers to their minor leaguers and non-roster invitees, but generally the higher the number, the smaller the chance of making the team. With that in mind, I've gone through the rosters on each team's official site (example) and found the highest numbers. Not every team has numbers for every player posted at this time, but the majority of players are listed. Here are the dozen players in big league camp with numbers in the 90's:
  • #90 Ramiro Pena, SS, NYY
  • #90 Matt Palmer, RHP, LAA
  • #91 Alfredo Aceves, RHP, NYY
  • #91 Ryan Brasier, RHP, LAA
  • #92 Eduardo Nunez, SS, NYY
  • #93 George Kontos, RHP, NYY
  • #94 Kanekoa Teixeira, RHP, NYY
  • #94 Francisco Rodriguez, RHP, LAA
  • #95 Bradley Coon, CF, LAA
  • #96 Anel De Los Santos, C, LAA
  • #97 Fernando Rodriguez, RHP, LAA
  • #99 So Taguchi, LF, CHC
Taguchi has worn #99 in each of his major league seasons, so he's the exception to the rule. As you can tell, the Angels and Yankees are the only teams willing to bust out the two-digit numbers beginning with 9. Most other teams give out numbers in the 70's and 80's. As proof, here is each team's highest number listed:
  • Arizona: #74 Gerardo Parra, C
  • Atlanta: Missing numbers for 24 players
  • Baltimore: #86 Brian Matusz, LHP
  • Boston: #87 Zach Daeges, RF
  • Chicago Cubs: #99 So Taguchi, LF -or- #88 Ken Kadokura, RHP
  • Chicago White Sox: #80 Gordon Beckham, SS
  • Cincinnati: #89 Jordan Smith, RHP
  • Cleveland: #79 Chris Gimenez, C
  • Colorado: #72 Chris Frey, RF
  • Detroit: #77 Timo Perez, LF
  • Florida: Missing numbers for 33 players
  • Houston: Missing numbers for 26 players
  • Kansas City: #86 Kiel Thibault, C
  • LA Angels: #97 Fernando Rodriguez, RHP
  • LA Dodgers: #87 Ivan De Jesus, SS
  • Milwaukee: #87 Jonathan Lucroy, C
  • Minnesota: Missing numbers for 26 players
  • NY Mets: Missing numbers for 8 players
  • NY Yankees: #94 Kaneoka Teixeira, RHP
  • Oakland: #77 Sean Doolittle, 1B
  • Philadelphia: Missing numbers for 14 players
  • Pittsburgh: #76 Virgil Vasquez, RHP
  • San Diego: #82 Oneli Perez, RHP
  • San Francisco: #77 Jake Wald, SS
  • Seattle: #78 Israel Nunez, C
  • St. Louis: #88 Jon Jay, CF
  • Tampa Bay: #76 Winston Abreu, RHP
  • Texas: #68 Omar Poveda, RHP
  • Toronto: #86 Ken Takahashi, LHP
  • Washington: #79 Luke Montz, C
If anyone knows where you can find numerical rosters for those teams that are missing numbers, let me know. I'm sure most of these guys wouldn't mind being able to choose lower numbers as a member of their team's 25-man roster. Until then, they've own the dubious honor of the highest number at spring training. Somehow I think being in big league camp is worth it.


morineko said...

I'm not sure if Kadokura is an exception yet or not; he's worn 23 and 27 in Japan.

Takahashi's # was definitely an ST one, he was 22 with his previous team, and in any case I think he got cut...

(Then there are the bloggers who think that Seth McClung's #73 was a camp number that stuck rather than a reversal of 37, his old number with the Rays that Jeff Suppan was already occupying--see also Eric Gagne's #83 with the '07 Red Sox, because Curt Schilling was not going to give up #38. That's another interesting case to research--reversed numbers.)

RoundRock15 said...

The highest jersey number for the Astros is Jason Smith with #89. He may not stand the best chance of making the roster, but can't be completely discounted, as there are roster spots to be had in Houston.

Behind him is Polin Trinidad, #82, a prospect who's only in camp because they wanted to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.