The Oaks' roster closely resembles the roster of the playoff-bound 2006 South Bend Silver Hawks with a few notable exceptions. Brandon Burgess remains in the California League after pacing it with 26 homers a year ago. Top hitting prospect Cyle Hankerd looks to spend a full year at Hi-A after having made it his own in his fleeting stint there last season. John Hester, after having trouble rising to the top of Stanford's catching depth chart, is flying through the Diaondbacks organization after a terrific professional debut. Brooks Brown, Dallas Buck, Hector Ambriz, and Daniel Stange are among the pitchers drafted by the D'Backs last year that already find themselves at the Hi-A level.
But as it was in South Bend last season, all eyes in Visalia will be trained upon Justin Upton. Most scouts anticipate better numbers out of the 18-year old last season. Now a year older, Upton may again disappoint simply because his numbers will be dwarfed by others in a stacked Oaks lineup. All in all, 13 of the players on the Oaks' opening day roster were ranked on the FutureBacks Top 50 Prospects list last November.
In addition to their 25-man roster, some guy named Randy Johnson showed up and pitched six solid innings on Sunday, April 8th.