Part two of the minor league roster breakdowns is here! The New Britain Rock Cats roster has some very interesting names this year, including a number of guys we saw this spring.
NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS
Starting Rotation: Mike McCardell, Tyler Robertson, Cole DeVries, Deolis Guerra, David Bromberg
Robertson and Bromberg follow up solid seasons in Ft. Myers with promotions to the Rock Cat rotation and try to make the next step forward. Mike McCardell, meanwhile, made that leap in mid-2009 and pitched nearly identically to how he did in Florida, with one exception — his walk rate doubled from 1.5/9 to 3/9, resulting in a slight rise in his WHIP, and more runners on base resulted in a slightly higher ERA. If McCardell can control the walks he should have success in AA. All eyes, meanwhile, will be on Deolis Guerra — he is now the last direct link to the Johan Santana deal (although Jon Rauch is a nifty indirect link). Guerra has struggled since coming to the Twins but continues to earn promotions. Hopefully this year he will put some things together.
Bullpen: Santos Arias, Carlos Gutierrez, Steve Hirschfeld, Chris Province, Spencer Steedley, Joe Testa, Loek Van Mil (DL)
I’ll primarily be watching Steedley and Gutierrez this year. Steedley was lights out in Ft. Myers last year and earned a promotion to New Britain, where he wasn’t bad — but wasn’t nearly as good as he had been a step down. With that experience under his belt, can Steedley complete the adjustment? Gutierrez, meanwhile, also performed well in Ft. Myers in 2009 but struggled mightily in New Britain. Like Steedley, he’ll be looking to make the adjustment.
Catchers: Danny Lehmann, Alexander Soto
There’s a bit of a pattern with many of the players on the Rock Cats roster this year — like Steedley and Gutierrez, Lehmann performed well in High A ball in 2009 but not in AA. For Lehmann, that meant a batting average more than 100 points lower (.190 instead of .294) and a horrid OPS of 485. Alexander Soto, however, is making his first trip to AA after splitting his 2009 between Beloit and Ft. Myers.
Infielders: Toby Gardenhire, Yancarlos Ortiz, Chris Parmelee, Whit Robbins, Steve Singleton, Estarlin de los Santos
Chris Parmelee hit .258/800 in 2009 with Ft. Myers with 16 HR’s and earned himself a trip to Connecticut. He should play some first and also get some time in the outfield, with Whit Robbins splitting time at 1B and 3B. Steve Singleton will probably get most of the playing time at 2B with de los Santos (on the Twins 40-man roster) getting most of the time at SS.
Outfielders: Joe Benson, Mark Dolenc, Rene Tosoni, Ben Revere, Juan Portes
Now THIS is an outfield. Ben Revere has performed well at every level he’s been assigned to and continues his stately march through the system. A strong performance this year could make him an interesting watch in spring training 2011. Meanwhile, Rene Tosoni had a nice year in New Britain in 2009 and was slated to start this season in AAA, but the Twins added an outfielder to the system and Tosoni was pushed back a level. Juan Portes will look to build on his strong 2010 spring to continue his push to prospect status. Then there are Joe Benson and Mark Dolenc, both 2006 draftees and both of whom performed effectively in Ft. Myers in 2009. Divvying out playing time may be a challenge!