This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Technically speaking, the Salt Lake Bees' opening day starter Tyler Chatwood is not a new face on the Bees roster. The 21-year-old did pitch one game for Salt Lake late in the 2010 season.
Realistically, however, Chatwood begins his Triple-A career Thursday when the Bees begin a four-game homestand against the Reno Aces in Spring Mobile Ballpark. He is one of 17 players who started last season in a different league or with another organization.
"As you move up the levels during the middle of the season, it's kind of hard because you don't know a lot of the guys," Chatwood said. "But if you get a chance to break camp with them and play together in spring training, it gives you a good chance to [build] a relationship."
The Salt Lake manager is new. Even the grounds keeper has changed.
But the goal remains the same the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
"Hopefully, they'll get that opportunity where I'm the guy who gets to tell them they're going to go to the big leagues," said Keith Johnson, who managed many of the latest Bees in Single-A. "Hopefully, at some point, I turn the whole roster over. That may or may not happen, but it's going to be fun."
This season's edition of the Salt Lake Bees begins 2011 with a solid mixture of youth and experience. Paul McAnulty, who hit .302 in 73 games for Salt Lake, returns. Five other new position players played for different Triple-A organizations in 2010.
The six remaining every day players signed by the Angels have a combined 28 games in Triple-A.
Among the pitchers, half are new to Salt Lake. The others, including two of the five in the starting rotation Trevor Bell and Matt Palmer have major league experience. Big league experience or not, the dream remains the same.
"We were talking about it the other day," infielder Andrew Romine said. "[Teammates] Jeremy Moore and Efren Navarro, the three of us drove up and at one point, Jeremy was, like, 'Man, we're so close. We're so close.' "
"I don't think a lot of people realize we're one step away. Just be ready."
Romine has a different perspective than many of the new Bees who were with Double-A Arkansas for much of 2010. The 25-year-old infielder was resting at home in September thinking his season was over when Los Angeles called.
"Take all of your expectations and multiply it by 100," he said of his big league experience. "No matter what you're thinking, it's always going to be a lot better."
For Romine, who hit .091 in five games for Los Angeles, the perks of being a major leaguer were, in a word, awesome.
"You're not even allowed to carry your own bags," he said.
More than that, being around the likes of Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu, watching how they prepared to play was invaluable. He also is motivated by the numbers of former Angel farm hands who now play for the big club.
"I grew up an Angels fan," Romine said. "So watching guys come up through the system and knowing that they like to bring the homegrown guys up and have them come all the way to the big league club is huge."
Of course, developing future major league players is the only reason for the minor leagues to exist. Johnson, however, believes effort and an aggressive style of play will lead to winning.
"The talent at any level takes care of itself," he said. "If they do things that will get them to the next level, the winning is going to take care of itself."
P Reno at Salt Lake,
Thursday, 6:35 p.m.
Bees' projected starting lineup
Tyson Auer • Center field
Alexi Amarista • Second Base
Paul McAnulty • Designated hitter
Jeff Baisley • Third base
Jeremy Moore • Right field
Kevin Melillo • Left field
Efren Navarro • First base
Kevin Richardson • Catcher
Andrew Romine • Shortstop
Tyler Chatwood • Right-hander
Trevor Bell • Right-hander
Eric Junge • Right-hander
Matt Palmer • Right-hander
Matt Shoemaker • Right-hander
General admission • $8
Home plate seats • $16
Box seats • $15
Terrace seats • $14
Reserved seats • $12
Diamond seats • $24
Seniors/students/military • $7-11
Family pass • (72 games) $250
Student pass • (72 games) $50