Just like in the big leagues, rosters of teams in the Prospect League will look completely different at the end of the season compared to opening day.

Just like in the big leagues, rosters of teams in the Prospect League will look completely different at the end of the season compared to opening day.

A little over one-third of the way through the season, the Quincy Gems roster has already been shuffled. Each Prospect League team is allowed to have 28 players on its roster. The Gems have had 34 in and out of the mix thus far.

Owner Jimmie Louthan noted the Gems build relationships with college coaches over the years, whom they work with to compile a roster.

“I trust the information they give us, just like they trust us with sending their kids here,” the Gems owner noted. “We get over 100 kids wanting to come here, so we have a formula we go through to see if they would be a good fit for us.”

The formula is just the beginning. Louthan noted some kids who are on the Gems’ radar can’t join the team right away, for various reasons.

“Some say they can’t be here until this date or that date because of prior commitments,” he stated. “A lot of times with pitchers, you will hear them say they threw too many innings in the spring and their coaches don’t want them throwing for a certain amount of time.”

Each player is offered a contract. Prospect League players are not paid to play. According to Louthan, the purpose of the contract is so they don’t go to another team in the league. Temporary contracts are also offered to some players.

The Gems owner explained the difference between the two types of contracts.

“Basically a normal contract just states they cannot go to another Prospect League team,” he said. “Whereas a temporary contract, those players can go elsewhere.”

Players are signed to temporary contracts mainly because the team knows they will be receiving other players at a later date.

Missouri State University players Ben Whetstone and Kolton Gonnerman were signed to the team early on but arrived late due to the Bears NCAA postseason run. Both players replaced players who were on the team with temporary contracts.

Former Quincy Notre Dame standout Joey Polak, who red shirted at the University of South Carolina this spring, also recently joined the team.

“I didn’t understand why Chris Martin always left one or two roster spots open heading into the season, now I know why,” Louthan said of the strategy of another Gems owner. “You want to have flexibility for guys like Joey (Polak) when they decide they want to join the team. You want to have a spot for the good guys like that.”

Louthan noted he sits down around October to start working on the next season roster.

“It’s always changing from the first draft,” he said. “Guys get hurt, or some guys redshirt...things come up.”

Roster turnover from season-to-season is usually pretty high as well. Louthan mentioned only a handful of players return for a second season.

“You want that new blood coming in with excitement,” the Gems owner admitted. “The thing with summer ball is it’s such a grind. Sometimes you get guys here who are too comfortable and it’s hard for them to stay focused.

“Sometimes you forget just how young most of these kids are,” he said. “It’s tough to play the schedule we do and for them to try and fit in with a new team all while not being able to get back home.”

The Gems roster consists of players as far away as Arizona and Texas and all the way to New York.