I’ll be honest, I don’t have an opinion on the new name of the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate. My only real opinion is that I don’t like teams changing names, be it good or bad, and as such the new Omaha Stormchasers is nothing that gets me excited.
What does get me excited, however, is the Omaha team’s possible lineup next April. Perhaps as much as anything else, it will represent just how much potential progress the Royals’ organization has made under Dayton Moore.
After years of being the depository of has-beens, almosts and never-weres, the Omaha Royals/Stormchasers are going to offer a somewhat breathtaking array of talent when they take the field next April. Gone are the days of Brian Buchanan, Gookie Dawkins, Seth Etherton and Brandon Duckworth (all fine humans, I’m sure, but not exactly the solution to any major league problem that might arise during a season). Instead, the Stormchasers might well roll out this lineup when they open up in their new stadium next spring:
Derrick Robinson, CF
Johnny Giavotella, 2B
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Clint Robinson, DH
David Lough, RF
Paulo Orlando, LF
Jeff Bianchi, SS
Manny Pina, C
It may be a stretch to have Bianchi at shortstop that early, but he should figure into the mix at some point. It is also possible that David Lough could well open 2011 in Kansas City, but for now we will start him off in Omaha.
When you couple this lineup with what is likely to be a bullpen stocked with near major league ready homegrown talent (Louis Coleman, Blaine Hardy, et.al.) and a starting rotation which at some point will include Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy, John Lamb and Chris Dwyer (maybe even Aaron Crow), it will be hard to resist making a trek or two to Omaha in 2011.
While the organizational pitching depth is near legendary status at this point, the real positive about the Omaha roster next season is the position players who are not on it.
Just a rung below, we are likely to see Wil Myers (be it at catcher or in the outfield), middle infielder of the near future Christian Colon and catching prospect Salvador Perez. When is the last time you could look at the AA and AAA batting orders and say with some degree of confidence that there were five or six future major league regulars playing?
2011 might well be a tough year to be a Kansas City Royals’ fan, but if you can tolerate the new name, it will be a fun year to be a fan of the Stormchasers.