Retention outlook: Gophers weigh in

Bushwood Gophers manager Dave Renbarger figures his team is in decent shape entering next month’s roster cutdown phase as the roster-building process for the 2011 season begins.  He provides his early peek at his roster retainees and encourages others to submit their non-binding projections too.

The Gophers appear to have ample retention candidates and should be able to get to the magic number of 18 without difficulty. 

Having earned the No. 1 overall pick by virtue of their 79-win season in 2010, the Gophers will be able to plug a big hole in the lineup (either at RF or catcher) in the draft, or perhaps work a trade to deal the No. 1 for for a major rotation upgrade.

Here is the Gophers’ projected retention list:

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Is Heyward still a lock for No. 1? Mock draft says… maybe

There are four major studs available in the 2011 draft: Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Trevor Cahill and Jose Bautista. You can also book it that Aubrey Huff, Stephen Strasburg and Colby Lewis will go in the first round. It gets a little fanciful after that. Here’s our earliest look ever at the upcoming draft, with real picking order in place:

1. The Bushwood Gophers’ protected list may reveal their intentions. The season-long presumption (once Stephen Strasburg was injured) that Jason Heyward was the obvious choice for the No. 1 pick could be tested by the Gophers if they decide not to protect catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Bushwood already has a decent, albeit new-look outfield returning, featuring Delmon Young, Luke Scott and returnee Curtis Granderson, but there’s no logical fit in right field there and Heyward would be perfect. But then again, top-pick-worthy catchers only come around once in a lifetime. Right, Matt Wieters? The Gophers select Braves rightfielder Jason Heyward. 

2. In the 2 hole, the Bismarck Bombers sport a solid team that should not only make the playoffs but contend for a divisional championship. With three solid starters, five solid relievers and a speedy (three players with 33 or more steals) and powerful (three players with 30 or more homers) lineup, the Bombers’ needs are minimal. They could look to upgrade at catcher, shortstop or third base, add a starting pitcher, or surrender to overtures from Detroit for a multiple-pick package. Our bet: San Francisco catcher Buster Posey, who will make a nice complement to Miguel Montero (a lefty who hits righties but has only 296 ABs) and should be a star for years to come.

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