The 2017 Peoria Chiefs should be a fun team to watch as they could have several top prospects on their club to open the season. The next wave of young prospects is making their way up the minor league system. However, there is one top prospect I do not see starting the season in Peoria. More on that later
Here is my projected Opening Day roster for the Peoria Chiefs
The projected starting rotation looks to be pretty solid with RedBird Daily Top 30 prospects Jordan Hicks (24), Zac Gallen (23), and Ronnie Williams (17) headlining the staff. John Kilichowski, Dailyn Martinez, and Steven Farinaro also bring tons of experience to the rotation. A couple other names that could find their way into the mix are Bryan Dobzanski, Johan Oviedo, or Alvaro Seijas.
The bullpen features a bunch of guys who are moving up from Short Season State College. The one name that intrigues me the most is Ross Vance as he has performed quite well this spring. I think there is a chance he starts a level higher in Palm Beach or gets left off of full season rosters completely.
Another interesting group of catchers should be in Peoria. Knizner (NC State) and Martinez (USC) were both 2016 draftees and have similar stories. Martinez was our #28 prospect, while Knizner would have probably fallen in the 30-40 range. Both of these catchers could see mid-season promotions to High-A Palm Beach.
Notice one name missing? Delvin Perez will not begin the season with the Peoria Chiefs, according to John Mozeliak from our Kyle Reis who asked him at his Memphis Q&A last night. There are a couple of under-the-radar names to watch from this group. Tommy Edman just missed our top 30 prospect list and he should be the everyday shortstop. A strong season puts him comfortably in the top 30. Ryan McCarvel is also a name to watch as he has had success at every stop.
I love love love this group. If you are going to Peoria games, this is why you are going. A starting outfield of Nick Plummer, Bryce Denton, and Dylan Carlson will be fun to watch. All three our in our top 30 with Denton #22, Carlson #18, and Plummer #25. Carlson may be a surprise, but his strong finish to the 2016 season puts him in Peoria. Plummer will easily be the front-runner for comeback player of the year, if that’s a thing.
The Peoria Chiefs will be fun to watch and I think Delvin Perez sees time in Peoria before the end of the season. Fans in Central Illinois are in for a treat this season.