The Royals released the preliminary 2014 Omaha Storm Chasers roster today and there weren't any big surprises on the list. Thirteen of the 25 players appeared for the Storm Chasers during the 2013 season, including five returning position players and eight returning pitchers.
Obviously, this list is subject to change before opening day.
The pitching staff contains a lot of question marks. Will Dwyer and Mariot build on their successful 2013 seasons? Will Duffy regain his pre-Tommy John form? Will Lamb's velocity return? Will Tomko find his way back to the big leagues? How will Brooks fare against Triple-A hitters after being named the 2013 Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year in 2013?
Flores was the starting catcher for the Durham Bulls last season when the Storm Chasers played and defeated them in the Triple-A National Championship Game. He also played for Albuquerque last season, hitting a collective .174/.213/.241 with 2 HR and 11 RBIs.
Pena is the son of Tony Pena, the former Royals manager. He spent time in Double-A Binghamton in 2013 as well as Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting a collective .254/.300/.429 with 9 HR and 43 RBIs.
Jimmy Paredes (who can play the middle infield and outfield)
Giavotella seems to have run his course with the Royals, who wanted him to work on his defense over the past few seasons. But after making clear strides defensively in 2013, he still didn't get a long look at second base with the big league club. If he can put together a solid 2014 campaign with the Storm Chasers, maybe he'll get a shot with another big league club.
Fields will be interesting to watch. The 28-year-old first baseman led Double-A last season with 31 home runs while playing for Northwest Arkansas, so he'll provide a little punch in manager Brian Poldberg's lineup.
Notable Players Moving On
Manny Pina (signed with the Seattle Mariners)
Brian Sanches (retired)