Thursday, March 25, 2010
Ft. Myers Miracle
Before we jump into my Ft. Myers (Twins Hi-A affiliate) roster projection, here are a couple of quick notes on some upcoming podcasts:
· On Wednesday, I was on This Call to the Bullpen, a Kranepool Society podcast. I talked about Mauer, Nathan, Target Field, and much, much more.. We discussed/argued the Twins bullpen, the backup catcher spot and much more.
3. Finally, Twins 17-year-old outfield prospect Max Kepler will join us for the last part of the show. Listeners to the show have been asking for me to try to get Kepler on the show and it finally appears to work.
The Ft. Myers Miracle’s season also begins on April 8th with a road game at Bradenton. The following night, the two teams will play in Ft. Myers. The Miracle will be managed this year by Jake Mauer, who has managed the GCL Twins in Ft. Myers the last couple of years, after spending a couple of seasons in the Twins farm system.
Analysis: If Danny Rams begins the 2010 season in Beloit, it would probably be for the best, but with the catching situation and the higher levels and the depth of catchers at Beloit, he may begin at Ft. Myers. Fellow non-roster invite to Spring Training, Jair Fernandez will likely spend the summer with the Miracle. Jonathan Waltenbury had a disappointing offensive season in Beloit in 2009, and I would anticipate seeing Nick Romero and Nate Hanson playing quite a bit of first base, Hanson against lefties. Hanson and Nick Romero can play around the infield and back up any of the other infielders. It will be good to see what Drew Thompson can do with a full, normal offseason. Deibinson Romero came off of the 40 man roster after a disappointing 2009 season, so I expect him to remain with the Miracle. James Beresford is definitely worth watching at shortstop. Joe Benson and Angel Morales are both high-ceiling prospects. Evan Bigley and Michael Harrington are just good hitters, both should hit a lot of doubles. I put Harrington as the DH because I think they’ll get his bat in the lineup and he will play a lot in the outfield too. Dominic de la Osa was shifted to the outfield from second base during the offseason. Yesterday I mentioned that I thought Rene Tosoni would move from New Britain to Rochester and Joe Benson would be promoted to New Britain. I anticipate that happening six to eight weeks into the season, and at that time, I would project Aaron Hicks to move up to Ft. Myers.
Analysis: Apparently Kyle Gibson has been impressive already this spring, and the team’s top 2009 pick has a chance to move quickly. I expect him to start at Ft. Myers, spend a couple of months there and then move up to New Britain. There’s even an outside chance he gets to Rochester. Lefty Michael Tarsi missed some time at the start of last season but did adequately. I expect him to spend much of the season here. Bobby Lanigan finished 2009 in Ft. Myers’ bullpen, but I assume he will return to the role of a starter. Dan Osterbrock was disappointed with his 2009 season with the Snappers, but I anticipate him pitching better in 2010 with the Miracle. Finally, Brad Tippett is a guy every Twins fan should know out. He has impeccable control, but he knows how to pitch. I think he’s got a chance to be good.
Billy Bullock became a closer last year at the University of Florida. He did well in his pro debut, and people are very excited about him. This is also a very strong bullpen. Matt Williams is from Australia and has always done well in the bullpen throughout his career. Steve Blevins had a good year in 2009 in the Snappers bullpen with the exception of struggles against one team. I really expect him to do well in 2010. Bruce Pugh is a guy that several of us have called a sleeper. It will be interesting to see whether he is starting or if he’s going to pitch out of the bullpen. I think this will be another case where he’ll start in the Miracle bullpen and by midseason, he’ll be starting. Kyle Carr needs to be healthy, but the lefty has put up terrific strikeout numbers when healthy. Dan Berlind needs to show something in 2009. It’s also possibly the last chance for Michael Allen, or Blake Martin or Thom Wright.