· Step 1: Finalize 2011 Minnesota Twins roster - Check.
· Step 2: Find a way to keep Scott Diamond in the organization - Check.
· Step 3: Configure the 2011 Triple-A Rochester Red Wings 24-man roster - In progress.
· Step 4: Configure the 2011 Double-A New Britain Rock Cats 24-man roster – In progress.
· Step 5: Configure the 2011 Hi-A Ft. Myers Miracle 25-man roster – In progress.
· Step 6: Configure the 2011 Low-A Beloit Snappers 25-man roster – In progress.
As I am hearing it, more roster moves and decisions are happening this morning. I know that there have been two more players released, and people are continuing to find out where they will be going. There are a few injuries that are mounting up, and likely will affect opening day rosters too.
With all that in mind, I present to you my thoughts on a projected roster for the Twins High-A affiliate, the Ft. Myers Miracle. (the below roster is my opinion and my guesses, and nothing official.)
Catchers: Tobias Strech (40 man - No) – Kyle Knudson (40 man - No) – C/DH Josmil Pinto (40 man - No)
Streich may not be able to hit at all, but his defense is there with Butera and Lehmann in the eyes of many in the organization. Pinto isn’t much of a catcher, but he’ll get some time there and also DH in his return to Beloit. Former Gopher and 2010 draft pick Knudson could get some playing time here as well.
Infielders: 1B – Michael Gonzales (40 man - No), 2B – Derek McCallum (40 man - No), 3B – Reggie Williams (40 man – No), SS – Daniel Santana (40 man - No), Utility – Andy Leer (40 man - No),
Gonzales has a ton of power, but he needs to quicken his swing to have a chance to advance. When he makes contact, it goes a long way. McCallum missed most of the 2010 season, so this is a second opportunity for a first full season. Reggie Williams split time with Anderson Hidalgo last year and should get more time this year. Santana split time between Elizabethton and Beloit. He struggled with the Snappers, but he should show improvement this year. Very solid bat with surprising pop. Good defense. Andy Leer was drafted a year ago out of the University of Mary in Bismarck and he played well at Elizabethton. He will get some playing time.
Outfielders: LF – Lance Ray (40 man - No), CF – Oswaldo Arcia (40 man - No), RF – Danny Ortiz (40 man - No), 4th outfielder – Wang-Wei Lin (40 man - No), DL – Nate Roberts (40 man - No)
After saying that I was surprised to hear that Lance Ray would start the season in Ft. Myers, I found out that he was indeed going to go back to Beloit. Oswaldo Arcia has had a sore elbow throughout the spring and has continued to crush baseballs all over the field. Danny Ortiz was my choice for breakout minor leaguer of the year for 2011, and he’ll be doing so with the Snappers. Wang-Wei Lin likely returns to the Snappers and will play around the outfield. Nate Roberts can flat-out hit. The 2010 draft pick will start with the Snappers although he has had some knee issues this spring.
Starting Pitchers: RHP BJ Hermsen (40 man - No), RHP Adrian Salcedo (40 man - No), RHP Manuel Soliman (40 man - No), LHP Logan Darnell (40 man - No), LHP Andrei Lobanov (40 man - No), DL – LHP Pat Dean (40 man – No)
Hermsen is set to be the Snappers’ opening night starter, and he is looking to build on a solid 2010 season in which he pitched for the Snappers for four or five weeks before the Elizabethton season started. Adrian Salcedo’s pre-E-town stint was with the Ft. Myers Miracle, so going to Beloit will be a good thing for him this year. Manuel Soliman will start the season in the Snappers rotation after a terrific 2010 season in Elizabethton where the converted 3B threw one no-hitter and took another into the 7th inning. 2010 pick Logan Darnell will start for the Snappers. Andrei Lobanov, who has put up amazing numbers in the bullpen the last two years, will get an opportunity to start, at least for awhile, as Pat Dean, who is still experiencing some shoulder soreness.
Bullpen: LHP Jose Gonzalez (40 man - No), LHP Martire Garcia (40 man – No), RHP Michael Tonkin (40 man - No), RHP Blayne Weller (40 man - No), LHP Justin Parker (40 man - No), RHP Pedro Guerra (40 man - No), LHP Clinton Dempster (40 man - No), RHP Matt Hauser (40 man - No)
Gonzalez and Garcia are complete opposites physically, but both are very good left-handed pitchers. Pedro Guerra, Michael Tonkin and Blayne Weller may be starters again down the line but should do well out of the bullpen as well. 2010 picks Dempster and Hauser are bullpen guys that should get the job done as well. Sam Spangler and Justin Parker could each pitch with the Snappers, and possibly return to Elizabethton to start at that time.
Overall: This should be a very solid team. They have a some really impressive young bats to complement a few guys who should be better in their second year in the Midwest League. There are some really good starting pitchers in the opening day rotation, with the likes of Garcia, Tonkin, Weller and Guerra also capable of starting. Those in the Twin Cities should definitely consider making a trip or three down to Beloit to see the Snappers!
As you can see, there are a lot of names that I have not included on the Beloit roster. Those players will most likely stay in Extended Spring Training and be ready if needed in the Midwest League. Names like Miguel Sano and Max Kepler. Guys like Niko Goodrum and Rory Rhodes. Dean will be rehabbing there with the likes of Dallas Gallant, Brad Tippett, Matt Bashore and Ben Tootle. Opening Day rosters are fun to project, but there will, as always, be a ton of transactions, and we’ll be following them here.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to comment or ask.