Monday, April 6, 2009
Opening Day Rosters
First things first… HAPPY OPENING DAY, Everyone! If you’re curious my thought on the Twins record, and where they will stand in the AL Central at season’s end, or what my Three Keys to the Success of the 2009 Twins, click here to go to the Twins BaseballDigest.com page.
Today is Opening Day! Tonight the Twins will take on the Mariners. Francisco Liriano will face Felix Hernandez and the Ichiro-less Mariners. Let the season begin!
But since I last blogged here, the Twins have finalized their 2009 Opening Day roster. There have also been reports on the Opening Day rosters of the Twins affiliates, whose seasons begin later this week. I thought posting each of the team’s rosters in one place would give people a good place to discuss the teams and who is playing where. I know a lot of people are frustrated with the conservative approach the Twins have decided to take with many of their prospects. In many cases, I agree with you. However, I also saw the Twins push a few of their prospects a few years ago unnecessarily and it may not have helped them. For instance, Trevor Plouffe was pushed a level a year despite maybe not being ready to move up early in his career. How would his minor league career look if he had spent a season in Extended Spring training? What if he would have repeated at Beloit? I’m certain you could name your examples. Secondly, they aren’t conservative with all prospects. Somehow Rene Tosoni has been pushed the last two years.
Anyway, here are the rosters of the five teams. Please again note that these are not final rosters and they are subject to change based on injury or other decisions. Please discuss:
Starters: Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, RA Dickey (Scott Baker)
Bullpen: Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain, Craig Breselow, Matt Guerrier, Luis Ayala, Philip Humber, Brian Duensing (Pat Neshek, Boof Bonser)
Catchers: Mike Redmond, Jose Morales (Joe Mauer)
Infield: Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Joe Crede, Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, Brian Buscher
Outfield: Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gomez, Delmon Young, Denard Span, Jason Kubel
· The Scott Baker injury meant both RA Dickey and Brian Duensing would make the roster.
· I’ve said all along that I thought sending Matt Tolbert to AAA was for the best. He will be a utility player for the Twins, but he missed significant time in 2008 and could afford to go to Rochester to play every day, and in many positions.
· The Twins didn’t have many questions coming into spring training and the ones they had, answered themselves.
Rochester Red Wings:
Starters: Anthony Swarzak, Kevin Mulvey, Jason Jones, Bobby Keppel, Mike Gosling (Ben Hendrickson)
Bullpen: Sean Henn, Tim Lahey, Ben Julianel, Carmen Pignatiello, Armando Gabino, Reid Santos, Jose Mijares.
Catchers: Drew Butera, Jeff Christy
Infield: Brock Peterson, Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes, Matt Macri, Alejandro Machado (Justin Huber)
Outfield: Jason Pridie, Dustin Martin, David Winfree, Tommy Watkins
· I don’t know who the 5th starter will be. My assumption was Gosling since he was sent down early, maybe he could be extended.
· That’s a lot of lefties in the bullpen, with Ben Julianel the oldest by far.
· I was thinking Rochester would have more prospects in 2009 after their veteran-plagues 2008 season. There are still a lot of veterans. It is a good mix. I don’t fully understand bringing in the excess lefty arms and keeping them all when there are at least two guys at New Britain that are likely ready for AAA.
· I also am wondering the value of Tommy Watkins on this roster. He is a tremendous person, great teammate and wonderful ambassador for the game and the team. However, this roster has so many players that can play multiple positions. Tolbert, Peterson, Hughes and Machado can all play the OF too.
New Britain Rockcats:
Starters: Jeff Manship, Jay Rainville, Cole Devries, Ryan Mullins, Matt Fox
Relievers: Rob Delaney, Anthony Slama, Zach Ward, Frank Mata, Jose Lugo, Yohan Pino
Catchers: Wilson Ramos, Allen de San Miguel
Infield: Whit Robbins, Brian Dinkelman, Steve Tolleson, Danny Valencia, Erik Lis, Yancarlos Ortiz, Toby Gardenhire
Outfield: Matt Moses, Juan Portes, Brandon Roberts, Rene Tosoni, Joe Gaetti
· Delaney, Slama and Ward – That is a pretty dominant back end of a bullpen. All three could be in AAA by midseason, a couple maybe even to the big leagues.
· The Twins are incredibly slow and/or conservative with promoting prospects, except for Rene Tosoni who skipped Low A ball in 2008, and despite missing most of the season, is now promoted to AA.
· There are a couple of guys on this list that I personally think could or should be at AAA (especially Tolleson), but I have also learned a lot from following the Twins system. There have been a lot of players who have had good years at AA, and when they started the following season back at New Britain, they really struggled and soon after, they were out of the system. Examples include Danny Matienzo, Luis Maza and Kevin West, but there are others. In the end, I’ve learned that if they are truly prospects, they should perform in 2009 and earn that promotion to AAA.
· That said, I expect that Manship, Delaney, Tolleson and Valencia will not be in AA real long.
· Huge year for Matt Moses!
Ft. Myers Miracle:
Starters: Deolis Guerra, Tyler Robertson, Alex Burnett, Mike McCardell, Carlos Gutierrez
Relievers: David Bromberg, Blair Erickson, Santos Arias, Steve Hirschfeld, Oswaldo Sosa, Stencer Steedley, Kyle Waldrop, Matt Williams, (Loek Van Mil)
Catchers: Danny Lehmann, Jair Fernandez
Infield: Chris Parmelee, Steve Singleton, Deibinson Romero, Yangervis Solarte, Chris Cates, Danny Berg, Estarlin de Los Santos, Rene Leveret
Outfield: Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Mark Dolenc
· I had heard rumblings that the Twins could consider moving Guerra to New Britain so he didn’t repeat the same level for the third time, but he’s just so young that I think this is the right move.
· Many think that Tyler Robertson should be in New Britain. Well, let’s not forget that he did miss most of the 2nd half of 2008. Spending an extra couple of months in Ft. Myers will not hurt him at all.
· Mike McCardell should have been in Ft. Myers in 2008. Carlos Gutierrez was, after signing with the Twins, but in the bullpen. Now, he will attempt to be a starter again.
· David Bromberg should be starting too. I mean, he did lead minor league baseball in strikeouts. I just can’t see him starting over all of the five I’ve listed.
· Great to see Kyle Waldrop is back after missing all of the 2008 season. He will start the season in the Miracle bullpen, just to get some work in, but you have to assume he will be moved back to a starting rotation at some point.
· Parmelee and Benson are with the Miracle. It will be fun to see how well they do.
· What happens if Ben Revere gets off to a ‘normal player’ start?
Starters: Shooter Hunt, Brad Tippett, Dan Osterbrock, Bobby Lanigan, Michael Allen
Relievers: Steve Blevins, Danny Rondon, Henry Reyes, Joe Testa, Thomas Wright, Danny Hernandez (Curtis Leavitt, Blake Martin, Michael Tarsi, Brian Kirwan)
Catchers: Alexander Soto, Eli Tintor
Infield: Jonathan Waltenbury, Henry Sanchez, Dominic de la Osa, Ramon Santana, James Beresford, Nick Romero, Nathan Hanson (Drew Thompson, Paul Kelly, Juan Richardson)
Outfield: Ozzie Lewis, Angel Morales, Evan Bigley, Michael Harrington, Adan Severino
· I can’t believe there are people who think that Shooter Hunt should start the season with the Miracle. After what he did at Beloit in 2008, staying here to start the season is exactly where he should be.
· This is a really impressive starting staff. Literally all four of them could be promoted during the season. Michael Allen could be a big-time sleeper.
· Strange that Eli Tintor is with Beloit, but a transition back to behind the plate means a lot of work for him. Also, it will be good to have a veteran backstop to help Soto but also to work with this talented pitching rotation.
· Glad to see Angel Morales starting the season in Beloit. Bigley and Harrington should perform well also. 2008 was a lost year for Lewis, so it will be interesting to see what the talented athlete is able to do in 2009.
· Of course the biggest thing people will want to talk about is that Aaron Hicks will start the season in Extended Spring Training. So many forget that Ben Revere started the 2008 season at Extended Spring, but a little over a month later, he was moved to Beloit. Reports indicate that Hicks is a more well-rounded player than Revere, but he is also so young and it won’t hurt him to spend a little more one-on-one time in Ft. Myers before starting his season.
· Let’s be honest, there are a couple of roster spots at each level that are likely to be available a month into the season, so there could be a trickle up affect as well
FANTASY DRAFT #6
Yesterday afternoon, I participated in my final fantasy draft. This is a very good league. It is a 14 team, head-to-head points league with owners who have been in the same league nearly a decade. In the draft, I had the #4 pick overall, so my second pick was the 25th overall pick and so on.
1.) Hanley Ramirez – MI – Florida Marlins
2.) Carlos Beltran – OF – NY Mets
3.) Jason Bay – OF – Boston Red Sox
4.) Daisuke Matsuzaka – SP – Boston Red Sox
5.) Francisco Liriano – SP – Minnesota Twins
6.) Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers
7.) Carlos Pena – 1B – Tampa Bay Rays
8.) Chris Young – OF – Arizona Diamondbacks
9.) Yovani Gallardo – SP – Milwaukee Brewers
10.) John Danks – SP – Chicago White Sox
11.) Alex Gordon – 3B – Kansas City Royals
12.) Andre Ethier – OF – Los Angeles Dodgers
13.) Mike Pelfrey – SP – NY Mets
14.) Joe Saunders – SP – LA Angels
15.) Max Scherzer – SP – Arizona Diamondbacks
16.) Jed Lowrie – SS – Boston Red Sox
17.) Shin-Soo Choo – OF – Cleveland Indians
18.) Billy Butler – 1B – Kansas City Royals
19.) Dionner Navarro – C – Tampa Bay Rays
20.) Asdrubal Cabrera – 2B – Cleveland Indians
21.) Glen Perkins – SP – Minnesota Twins
22.) Melvin Mora – 3B – Baltimore Orioles
23.) Jordan Schafer – OF – Atlanta Braves
24.) Rick Porcello – SP – Detroit Tigers