Wednesday, February 6, 2008
2008 Rochester Red Wings
Hey everyone! Here are just a couple of quick notes before starting our new posting:
Yesterday I presented my thoughts on the 2008 Minnesota Twins roster. Today, I will try to project how the AAA Rochester Red Wings roster will be comprised. Now, a lot of people may wonder why, or even say Who Cares? But after all the injuries that the Twins have faced the last couple of years and the frequent flyer miles accumulated between Rochester and Minneapolis, I think we can all agree that it is worth following the Red Wings... or at least know some of the names. But remember, it isn't always the top prospects or big names that get called up. The Twins have to be as good as anyone at promoting from within. So, take a look at these projections and please add your thoughts or opinions. Please remember that these are my Opening Day projections, but I would expect plenty of transactions throughout the year.
2008 ROCHESTER RED WINGS
|Starting Pitchers||Glen Perkins||Kevin Mulvey||Brian Duensing||Brian Bass||Randy Keisler|
It probably comes as a surprise to many that I have Glen Perkins starting in Rochester. First, I think that he best serves the Twins as a reliever out of the Twins bullpen. But I also believe that starters are able to provide a lot more innings, so if he can do it, I agree that the Twins need to give him a chance. Although he will be given a shot at a spot in the Twins rotation, don't forget that he was not only in the Twins bullpen last year, but he was also hurt. Combining those things, I think it is best for him to work some innings in AAA. Brian Duensing is another guy with a shot at the Minnesota rotation. It was another great year for Duensing which ended with him being the starting pitcher for Team USA in the championship game of the World Cup against Cuba. Kevin Mulvey was the Mets 2nd round pick in 2006 out of Villanova and just came over to the Twins last weekend (officially). He jumped right to AA and had a great year last year. He is very close and threw 13 scoreless innings at AAA to end the season. Brian Bass was a six year minor league free agent signed by the Twins last year. He spent much of the season in the Red Wings bullpen but really came along strong as the season progressed. He pitched very well in Venezuela this winter and the Twins re-signed him and put him on the 40 man roster. Randy Keisler is a name many Twins fans probably don't know. He will turn 32 at the end of February, but he has pitched in 55 big league games dating back to 2000 when he debuted with the Yankees. He is a lefty and should be able to provide the Red Wings with a lot of innings.
How Bobby Korecky's arm didn't fall off after pitching in 66 games for the Red Wings is beyond me! He went 5-6 with a 3.71 ERA and a team record 35 saves. He is quite hittable and gives up some runs. Team officials fully admit that he is the type of closer that keeps his team on their toes and their fans plenty nervous. It surprised me when he was added to the 40 man roster. He will never be the Twins closer, but at 28 years old, I would be very happy for him if he were to get a shot with the Twins in 2008. Not bad for the third guy in the Eric Milton to the Phillies trade all those years ago.
|Relief Pitcher||Julio DePaula||Casey Daigle||Ricky Barrett||Armando Gabino||Jay Sawatski||Jason Miller|
Three lefties, three righties. This is a tough group to predict. The best of this bunch is clearly Julio DePaula. The 25 year old went 12-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 2007. He also had a couple of stints with the Twins where he experienced plenty of ups and downs. Until last year, he was a ground ball pitcher who rarely gave up homers. The now-26 year old Casey Daigle made his big league debut with 10 starts in 2004 for the Diamondbacks. He dropped back to AA in 2005 to become a closer and came up again for a short time in 2006. 2007 was spent at AAA splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. Of course, he is best known because his wife is Jennie Finch. Ricky Barrett is all about strikeouts, walks and unfortunately injuries. The Twins took him off the 40 man roster and still were able to retain him. Armando Gabino had an incredible 2007 that started down at Beloit, moved up to Ft. Myers and ended with 16 innings pitched without allowing an earned run. Jay Sawatski is another lefty who pitched at both New Britain and Rochester last year. He had been very solid until last year when he posted ERAs at both stops over 4.50. He must keep the walks down. Finally, Jason Miller should be back with the Red Wings. To me, his recall was the 2nd most exciting story of the 2007 season (see below for most exciting!).
|Denard Span CF|
|Alexi Casilla SS|
|Brian Buscher DH|
|Jon Knott RF|
|Jose Morales C|
|Matt Macri 3B|
|Garrett Guzman LF|
|Randy Ruiz 1B|
|Matt Tolbert 2B|
Well, based on discussions yesterday, it is entirely possible that Carlos Gomez and Jason Pridie, or at least one of them, is at Rochester. But my thought yesterday was that they would both be with the Twins, so I'll stand by that and for that reason, Denard Span gets to keep CF and hopefully can build on a very solid second half. To me, the keys for him are 1.) getting on base and 2.) finding a way to steal bases at a higher percentage. Alexi Casilla, in my mind, should play every day and he should be told that he will be with the Twins in 2009 and just to relax and work on the things he needs to improve upon. He has so much talent. Brian Buscher showed that he can hit, but fielding is something he needs to work on. He will get plenty of time at 3B as well. Jon Knott used to be one of the bigger prospects in baseball with the Padres, but has really stagnated. That said, he provides a solid, veteran bat with some pop in the middle of the lineup. In 87 AAA games last year, he had 15 doubles and 13 homers. If healthy, he is good for at least 25 homers. Jose Morales had a breakout 2007 season, and I think he is a decent prospect. He could hit around .300, but he doesn't walk much and has little power, so he could actually drop down this list a little further. Matt Macri came to the Twins last year in the Ramon Ortiz September trade, and after David Winfree didn't play in the AFL, Macri went to Arizona and played well, putting himself on the Twins 40 man roster. The Twins actually drafted him out of his Des Moines high school in 2001. Garrett Guzman, well, he's not even with the organization anymore having been taken in the Rule V draft by the Washington Nationals. It's just hard for me to believe that he will stick with the Nationals. If he doesn't, the Twins should be very happy to have him back. I think there will be a competition between Randy Ruiz and Brock Peterson for the 1B job with the Red Wings. Ruiz is 30 and only has a handful of games above AA. I think that Ruiz will start the season with the job, but I fully expect Peterson to be up very shortly. And finally, I think that Matt Tolbert will be the primary 2B for the team. He made himself a solid prospect for the Twins in 2007 with a strong start. He could have a shot at a utility role with the Twins, but I think it'd be his job in 2009.
|Eli Whiteside||Backup Catcher|
|Tommy Watkins||Backup 2B, 3B, SS, OF|
|Howie Clark||Backup 1B, 3B, OF|
|Darnell McDonald||Part-Time CF|
|Doug Deeds||Backup OF, 1B, DH|
Eli Whiteside is another former Orioles minor league veteran. The 28 year old actually got 12 at bats for the O's in 2005. He has been a backup catcher at AA and AAA the last couple of years. Honestly, I would prefer the Twins go with someone like Korey Feiner or Kyle Geiger in this role. Tommy Watkins, in my mind, was the #1 story in the organization in 2007. After all those years in the Twins system, Watkins finally got a promotion to the Twins. He even hit .357 in 28 big league at bats before an injury ended his season. Howie Clark was best known during the 2007 season as the 3B for the Blue Jays who Alex Rodriguez said "BOO!" to and he let the ball drop. This past offseason, he is now known for being named in the Mitchell Report. He can play several positions. Darnell McDonald is a veteran with the ability to play all three defensive positions well. He has great speed and plenty of pop in his bat. He just can't hit a curveball. And, I was happy to hear that Doug Deeds will be back with the Twins. I hope he is able to get more at bats than he did last year for the Red Wings when he hit nine homers in 235 at bats.
Now, the Red Wings are able to keep just 24 players on their active roster. I have 26 mentioned here, so two of the players are likely to not be on the team. Assuming health, I think that Jason Miller, Doug Deeds and probably Howie Clark are most at risk. That said, injuries do happen, especially with a group of veteran players like this one. In reality, please remember that this is how I believe the Red Wings roster will look on Opening Day. When we get to the New Britain roster, I think you will see that there are several players who are very nearly ready to take this step to AAA, so I would expect a lot of transactions for Rochester.
Any thoughts? Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here.