SS Andrelton Simmons (Western): The Braves’ starting shortstop isn’t an offensive dynamo (.248, 59 RBIs) but is a tough out and plays solid defense. The No. 6 hitter, Simmons and others will be asked to produce more run support for a pitching staff hit by injuries.
Manager John Farrell (OSU): After managing Toronto the two previous seasons, Farrell led the Red Sox to 97 wins and the World Series title in in his debut season. The Red Sox also won the AL East for the first time in six years. Can they repeat?
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
P David Purcey (OU): The former first-round draft pick made it back to the majors last season and pitched well (2.31 ERA) in 25 innings with the White Sox. He didn’t have a strong spring but was still on the major league roster heading into the weekend.
Manager Robin Ventura (OSU): The former star third baseman’s club is coming off a disappointing 63-99 finish, a year after he led the White Sox to 85 wins in his managerial debut. Management showed confidence by giving Ventura a multi-year extension weeks before spring training.
P Brett Anderson (Stillwater): Injuries have limited the 26-year-old left-hander the past three years. He logged only 45 innings with Oakland last season. Some believe Anderson is better suited for the bullpen, but the Rockies obtained him in a trade to fill a rotation spot.
P Garrett Richards (Edmond Memorial, OU): The 25-year-old right-hander was 5-4 with a 3.60 ERA his final 13 starts to earn the No. 3 spot in the rotation behind Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson. A big year could lead to a big contract.
OF Matt Kemp (Midwest City): Plagued by injuries, playing in only 179 games the past two seasons, Kemp will start the season on the DL but could be activated this first week. When healthy, Kemp notched MVP-quality stats (.324, 39 HRs, 126 RBIs) three years ago.
P Jamey Wright (Westmoore): After pitching well on Tampa Bay’s AL wild-card team, the 39-year-old right-hander returns to LA. Now a bullpen specialist, Wright is nearing 2,000 career innings and has posted a sub-4.00 ERA the past four seasons.
3B/PH Greg Dobbs (OU): The 35-year-old bench specialist hit .228 with 22 RBIs last season in 237 at-bats. Dobbs is one of only four Marlins who were on Miami’s Opening Day roster two years ago.
SS Jason Bartlett (OU): Despite missing the entire 2013 season, and batting only .083 in spring training, the Twins put the 34-year-old veteran on their Opening Day roster as insurance at several positions.
Manager Ron Gardenhire (Okmulgee): The Twins have averaged 97 losses the past three seasons, but gave Gardenhire a two-year deal. This will be his 13th season leading the Twins, who have won 998 games and six division titles under Gardenhire.
Jeremy Hefner (Perkins, ORU): The 27-year-old right-hander, who once lived in Moore, was 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 23 starts. After undergoing Tommy John surgery six months ago, Hefner could return around midseason.
SS Jordy Mercer (Taloga, OSU): Earning the everyday shortstop job, Mercer played well for the Pirates, who ended a lengthy playoff drought. After starting the season in Triple-A, Mercer hit .285 with eight homers in 333 at-bats with Pittsburgh.
P Andy Oliver (OSU), Pittsburgh: Scouts are mixed on whether the former second-round pick might be better served moving to the bullpen. The 26-year-old lefty was 5-4 with a 4.05 ERA last year at Triple-A Indianapolis. He was still with the Pirates, in the bullpen, heading into the weekend.
OF Matt Holliday (Stillwater): The six-time All-Star is a career .311 hitter coming off another standout season (.300, 22 HRs, 103 runs, 94 RBIs). Helping fill the Albert Pujols void, Holliday helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series.
SS Pete Kozma (Owasso): Despite starting 24 of 30 postseason games the past two years, the 25-year-old is now a bench player. After the Cardinals signed veteran Jhonny Peralta, there were rumors St. Louis was trying to trade Kozma.
P Josh Johnson (Jenks): Last season, Johnson was plagued by injuries, going 2-8 with Toronto. The 30-year-old right-hander owns a 58-45 record with a 3.40 ERA in 160 career starts. Johnson will start the season on the DL (strained forearm) and might not return until May.
1B Adam LaRoche (Seminole State): LaRoche is in the final year of a two-year $24 million deal. LaRoche’s production dropped (20 HRs, 62 RBIs) last season after he slammed 33 homers with 100 RBIs the previous year.
Notable Oklahomans in the minors
Additional players with Oklahoma ties in pro baseball. Some are attempting to return to the majors. Others are high-profile prospects working their up the minor league ladder.
OF Lane Adams (Red Oak), Kansas City: A 13th-round pick five years ago, Adams received five at-bats with the big-league team (Royals) this spring after stealing 38 bases. He will play at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
DP Chase Anderson (OU), Arizona: Following a solid season in Double-A two years ago, the former Sooner struggled in Triple-A last season (4-7, 5.73 ERA). It’s a pivotal year for Anderson at Triple-A Reno.
P Scott Baker (OSU), Texas: 2012 Tommy John surgery lingered last season. The 32-year-old right-hander was cut by Seattle last week but signed a Triple-A deal with the Rangers. Before the elbow injury, Baker notched a solid resume (63-48, 4.15 ERA) in seven seasons with the Twins.
P Clayton Blackburn (Edmond Santa Fe), San Francisco: Ranked the Giants’ No. 10 prospect, Blackburn notched 138 strikeouts in 133 innings in Class A. He’ll start at Class A San Jose but could earn a quick promotion to Double-A.
P Archie Bradley (Broken Arrow), Arizona: The 2011 first-round pick — No. 7 overall — is one of the minors’ elite pitchers. Dominant last season (14-5, 1.84), Bradley will start in Double-A and could reach the majors quickly.
OF Corey Brown (OSU), Boston: He compiled respectable Triple-A stats (19 home runs) and logged 12 at-bats in the majors, but time is running out for a 28-year-old outfielder, who was still with the Red Sox heading into the weekend.
P Dylan Bundy (Owasso), Baltimore: The right-hander was dominant two years ago but his meteoric rise was derailed by Tommy John surgery last June. His goal is to be ready for a rehab assignment in May.
P Austin Fleet (Edmond Sante Fe), San Francisco: Coming off a solid season (7-7, 3.72 ERA), Fleet will begin at high Class A and could earn a quick promotion to Double-A.
P Justin Friend (OSU), Philadelphia: Carving out his niche in the bullpen, the 27-year-old right-hander needs a solid season in Triple-A.
P Michael Fulmer (Deer Creek), N.Y. Mets: The 2011 first-round pick two years ago pitched well his first full season in pro ball (7-6, 2.74), but minor knee surgery limited him to only nine Class A starts last season (3-3, 3.33 ERA). He’ll begin at Class A St. Lucie.
P Jon Gray (OU), Colorado: The No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, Gray already is being touted as the Rockies’ future ace. MLB.com ranked his fastball the best in the minor leagues. Gray starts out at Class-A Modesto but could earn a quick promotion to Double-A Tulsa.
3B Matt Hague (OSU), Pittsburgh: Now age 28, Hague showed promise last season (.285, 8 HRs, 69 RBIs) at Triple-A and will return to Indianapolis.
P Andrew Heaney (Putnam City, OSU), Miami: The 2012 ninth overall pick is one of the top pitchers in the minors. Last season the lefty compiled a 9-3 record, 1.60 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 95 innings. He’ll open the season at Double-A Jacksonville but could reach the majors soon.
P Ty Hensley (Edmond Santa Fe), N.Y. Yankees: A late first-round pick in 2012, Hensley received a $1.1 million signing bonus but didn’t pitch last season after undergoing hip surgery. With a solid season, he could rejoin the Yankees’ top 20 prospects list.
P Matt Hoffman (Owasso), Minnesota: Carving out a bullpen role, Hoffman, a former 26th-round pick, posted a 2.06 ERA in Triple-A. The 25-year-old right-hander is switching organizations, leaving the Tigers for the Twins. He was one of Minnesota’s final cuts.
P Austin Kirk (Owasso), Cubs: A third-round pick in 2009, Kirk pitched well two years ago, but was hit hard last year in Double-A. He returns to the Tennessee Smokies and will try to get back on track.
P Stephen Kohlscheen (Norman North), Seattle: A 45th-round pick three years ago out of Auburn, Kohlscheen, a 25-year-old right-hander, pitched well last year (7-3, 2.30 ERA). He will pitch for the Double-A Jackson Generals.
C George Kottaras (Connors): After hitting .180 with five home runs in 100 at-bats with Kansas City lasts season, he was cut last week by the Cubs. Kottaras will try to land a Triple-A job to try and get back to the majors.
P Tyler Lyons (OSU): The former ninth-round pick pitched in 53 innings with the Cardinals after a strong showing (7-2, 3.32 ERA) in 100 Triple-A innings. He failed to make the Opening Day roster but is a phone call away at Triple-A Memphis.
P Daniel McCutchen (OU), Texas: After serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, McCutchen signed with Texas. The injury-riddled Rangers gave the 31-year-old right-hander a close look late in camp.
1B Tyler Ogle (OU), L.A. Dodgers: A ninth-round pick three years ago, Ogle compiled a solid season (12 HRs, 57 RBIs, .401 on-base percentage). He will return to the Class-A Grand Lakes Loons after switching from catcher to first base.
P Red Patterson (Southwestern), LA Dodgers: A 16th round pick, Patterson continues to force the Dodgers to monitor his progress. The 26-year-old right-hander was 7-4 with a 3.03 for Triple-A Albuquerque last season.
C J.T. Realmuto (Carl Albert), Miami: The Marlins’ No. 10 prospect, a former third-round pick, slipped a little last season (.239, 5 HRs, 39 RBIs) but remains a viable prospect. He will play at Double-A Jacksonville.
P Scott Richmond (OSU), Texas: Rocked last season in Triple-A (5.91 ERA), the 33-year-old right-hander signed a minor league deal with the Rangers. He will start the season at Triple-A Round Rock.
P Casey Sadler (Ripley, Western), Pittsburgh: A ground ball specialist, Sadler pitched well in Double-A (11-7, 3.37 ERA). Viewed as a viable prospect, Sadler should pitch some in Triple-A this season.
DH Luke Scott (OSU), free agent: Injuries limited the 35-year-old veteran to 253 at-bats (9 HRs) last season with Tampa Bay. He did not attend a Major League training camp.
P Duke von Schamann (Edmond Santa Fe), L.A. Dodgers: A 15th-round pick two years ago out of Texas Tech, von Schamann struggled at times last season (88 hits in 67 innings). He returns to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.
C Jackson Williams (OU), Colorado: Selected in the first round seven years ago, the 43rd overall pick, Williams is switching organizations after hitting .230 with five homers last year for San Francisco’s Triple-A team. This year he’s with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.
By Mike Baldwin