The four full-season minor league teams in the Twins organization open play on Thursday. I’ll be posting a roster review for each team from today through Thursday, starting with the Rochester Red Wings and ending with the Beloit Snappers, in hierarchical order.
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
Starting Rotation: Glen Perkins, Anthony Swarzak, Jeff Manship, Ryan Mullins, Matt Fox
The rotation for any minor league team is always a bit more fluid than it is at the major league level, but I’ve given it my best guess above for how the Red Wings will operate at the beginning of the season. Glen Perkins should get every opportunity to prove he belongs at the big league level, if for no reason other than to increase the opportunities to trade him. Swarzak and Manship are two other names that should bother be familiar to Twins fans, and both should get the opportunity to continue developing as starters this year. Meanwhile, Mullins and Fox get the opportunity to come up from AA. Both had success in 2009 and deserved a promotion this year.
Bullpen: Rob Delaney, Yoslan Herrera, Tim Lahey, Jose Lugo, Mike Maroth, Anthony Slama, Kyle Waldrop, Ron Mahay (Temporarily Inactive)
Don’t be surprised if a couple of these guys (Mike Maroth and Yoslan Herrera in particular) get the chance to flash their wares as starters a couple of times in the first couple of months. Both have experience in that role and could make useful spot starters. I don’t anticipate either of them being in the rotation, however, because there are stronger developmental candidates ahead of them. Watch for Ron Mahay to be activated soon and, presuming he pitches even reasonably well, to be the first player to be called up to the Twins this season. Also watch the battle between Slama, Waldrop, and Delaney as they look to position themselves to be added to the roster. I would expect at least one of them to make his major league debut this season.
Catchers: Wilson Ramos, Allen De San Miguel
All eyes here will obviously be on Ramos, who announced his presence with authority this spring. De San Miguel is likely only here until Jose Morales gets healthy enough to join the Twins, when Drew Butera will get sent down to be Ramos’ co-catcher (I’d say backup, but the Twins might not want to push Ramos too hard and might not think it’s a bad idea to get Butera playing time, so I will say c0-catcher for now).
Infielders: Luke Hughes, Erik Lis, Brock Peterson, Trevor Plouffe, Matt Tolbert, Danny Valencia, Matt Macri (DL)
Expect Erik Lis to play some outfield and DH in addition to some first, with Brock Peterson getting plenty of AB’s at 1B. Trevor Plouffe will start most games at short and Danny Valencia will get most of the playing time at 3B. That leaves Matt Tolbert and Luke Hughes to battle for AB’s at 2B. Tolbert starts the season at the top of the pecking order for a callup in the event of an injury to a 2B/SS/3B type in Minnesota, but Hughes and Plouffe will undoubtedly battle hard — and if Tolbert continues to struggle as he has this spring, he might not hold that spot for long.
Outfielders: Brian Dinkelman, Jacque Jones, Dustin Martin, Rene Tosoni, Jason Repko, Brandon Roberts (DL)
Rene Tosoni is the prospect to watch here With the signing of Jason Repko, Rene Tosoni has been shipped back to AA. That means I will be watching the performance of Jacque Jones closely. Will Jones stay in consideration to fill a roster spot in the event of an injury (or if the Twins decide Alexi Casilla isn’t doing anything on the roster and decide to carry an additional outfielder instead), or will Repko move into that slot? I’ve also been following Brian Dinkelman for the past couple of years as a second baseman, so I’ll be interested to see how he fares having been shifted to the outfield.