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Senators greet Strasburg, new park
Eastern League will be deluged with blue-chip prospects
04/06/2010 10:00 AM ET
Harrisburg is set to open Metro Bank Park on April 15 against New Britain.
Harrisburg is set to open Metro Bank Park on April 15 against New Britain. (Harrisburg Senators)
Harrisburg will be the site of big events in 2010. Top prospect Stephen Strasburg will make his professional debut with Harrisburg on April 11 in Altoona and will start the second home game for the Senators on April 16.

And the Senators will unveil the newly renovated Metro Bank Park on April 15 against the New Britain Rock Cats. The renovations, which cost $45 million, includes new seating, an area for families to gather, updated concession stands and upgrades to the home and visitors clubhouse.

Akron Aeros
2009 record: 89-53, Eastern League champions
2010 manager: Joel Skinner
What's on deck: The third time really was the charm for the Aeros, who won the Eastern League Championship Series after losing the previous two. Former Indian Joel Skinner takes over as manager, with Mike Sarbaugh moving up to helm Triple-A Columbus. Expect Lonnie Chisenhall, who made his Double-A debut late in 2009, to begin the year with the club. Scott Barnes, who won the clinching game for the Aeros against Connecticut, should be the anchor of the rotation after going 14-5 with three different Minor League teams in 2009.

Altoona Curve
2009 record: 62-80
2010 manager: Matt Walbeck
What's on deck: Tim Alderson, acquired from San Francisco at the trade deadline for Freddy Sanchez, will start the year with the Curve. The 20-year-old right-hander was 3-1 with a 4.66 ERA after the trade for Altoona and is considered one of the best pitchers in the Pirates system. Infielder Chase d'Arnaud will begin the year at Double-A after being named the playoff MVP for Lynchburg during the Carolina League Finals.

Binghamton Mets
2009 record: 54-86
2010 manager: Tim Teufel
What's on deck: New Binghamton manager Tim Teufel should be familiar with his team already, as several members of the 2009 Port St. Lucie team will be joining him this year, highlighted by Florida State League All-Stars Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Reese Havens. Starter Eric Niesen, who was also an All-Star with Port St. Lucie, will return to the B-Mets after going 4-7 in his Double-A debut. Niesen will be joined by a returning Brad Holt, a first-round pick in 2008.

Bowie Baysox
2009 record: 73-69
2010 manager: Brad Komminsk
What's on deck: Zach Britton, the 2009 Carolina League Pitcher of the Year, is expected to make his Double-A debut. The left-hander fanned 131 batters in 140 innings for Frederick. Behind him will be shortstop Pedro Florimon Jr., whose offense may be catching up to his outstanding defense. Florimon hit .267 with Frederick and finished fourth in the league with 32 doubles. Carolina League MVP Brandon Waring, whose 27 combined homers with Frederick and Bowie were more than double that of any other Orioles' Minor Leaguer, should begin the year with the Baysox.

Erie SeaWolves
2009 record: 71-70
2010 manager: Phil Nevin
What's on deck: Wilkin Ramirez returns to the Eastern League as the Tigers deal with a logjam of outfielders. Ramirez, an Eastern League All-Star in '08, hit 17 homers and stole 33 bases in 113 games with Triple-A Toledo. Athletic shortstop Cale Iorg, son of former Major Leaguer Garth, will join Ramirez for a second tour of duty in the Eastern League. Thad Weber, who was 7-3 in 13 starts for the SeaWolves, returns after a solid performance in the Arizona Fall League.

Harrisburg Senators
2009 record: 70-72
2010 manager: Randy Knorr
What's on deck: Former Major League catcher Randy Knorr returns to managing after working as Washington's bullpen coach in 2009 and will have the benefit of managing the Nationals' top pitching prospects. Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen appear to be on the fast track to the Majors, but will begin the year with the Senators. Providing some offense will be first baseman Chris Marrero, who slugged 17 homers in 135 games between Potomac and Harrisburg.

New Britain Rock Cats
2009 record: 72-69
2010 manager: Jeff Smith
What's on deck: Outfielder Ben Revere, who was named the Twins' Minor League Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, will make his Double-A debut after hitting .311 and stealing 45 bases in 121 games for the Class A Advanced Fort Myers Miracle. Starter David Bromberg takes his act to the Eastern League after leading the Florida State League in strikeouts, the third year in a row he's led his respective league in that category.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats
2009 record: 64-78
2010 manager: Luis Rivera
What's on deck: Kyle Drabek, acquired when Toronto sent ace Roy Halladay to Philadelphia, will anchor a rotation that also features MiLB.com's Jays' Pitcher of the Year Tim Collins. 2008 first-round pick David Cooper will return to the Fisher Cats after hitting .258 and finishing sixth in the league with 32 doubles. Speedy outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who stole 70 bases between Class A Advanced Dunedin and New Hampshire, will patrol center field to start the season.

Portland Sea Dogs
2009 record: 67-74
2010 manager: Arnie Beyeler
What's on deck: Casey Kelly will get to work on his pitching full-time after spending the second half of 2009 playing shortstop for Greenville. Joining him will be slick-fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias, who will make his professional debut after signing with the Red Sox for a $6 million signing bonus in September 2009. Anthony Rizzo, who missed most of 2008 recovering from cancer, hit 12 homers between Greenville and Salem and should reach Portland sometime in 2010.

Reading Phillies
2009 record: 76-67
2010 manager: Steve Roadcap
What's on deck: Two of the prospects obtained in the Cliff Lee trade will suit up for Reading: Tyson Gillies and Phillippe Aumont. Gillies, a 2009 Futures Game selection, is an exciting leadoff hitter who "plays like Pete Rose" according to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Aumont, now considered the best pitcher in the Phillies system, is making the switch back to the rotation after spending all of '09 in the bullpen and should form a dynamic 1-2 punch with left-hander Yohan Flande.

Richmond Flying Squirrels
2009 record: 83-59, Eastern League runnerup
2010 manager: Andy Skeels
What's on deck: Formerly the Connecticut Defenders, the Flying Squirrels ensure that Richmond will play host to a Minor League team again after a one-year absence. Expect to see the entire San Jose outfield make the move to Richmond as well in 2010. Roger Kieschnick, a California League All-Star in 2009, slugged 23 homers and drove in 110 runs for the Giants. Fellow All-Star Thomas Neal enjoyed a breakout season in the California League, finishing in the top five in batting average (.337), doubles (41) and OPS (1.010). Center fielder Darren Ford, considered the fastest player in the San Francisco organization, was the only one of the group to not make the All-Star squad, but still hit .300 and stole 35 bases.

Trenton Thunder
2009 record: 69-72br> 2010 manager: Tony Franklin
What's on deck: Florida State League MVP Austin Romine will be behind the plate for the Thunder, after smacking 13 homers for Tampa. He'll be joined by Brandon Laird, brother of Tigers catcher Gerald. Laird tied Romine for the team lead in homers and drove in 75 runs. Joining them will be teammate D.J. Mitchell, who was 8-6 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 games for Tampa last summer. Left-hander Jeremy Bleich will return to Trenton after posting a 6.65 ERA in 13 starts there.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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