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2017 Fort Myers Miracle Roster Preview

A year ago, the Miracle had an overall record of 78-61, and yet they did not make the playoffs as they did not win their division in each half. Manager Jeff Smith took the job of Twins first base coach, and a familiar face returned to lead the Miracle in 2017. While this team may not have a lot of the big-name prospects, there is a lot of talent on the roster and it should be a competitive team again.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs (Top L to R: Dereck Rodriguez, Luis Arraez, Lewis Thorpe, Bottom L to R: Lachlan Wells, Cody Stashak, Randy Rosario)
Today we look at the Ft. Myers Miracle players and coaching staff. We try to figure out a solid everyday lineup, and discuss the top prospects. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the team or roster, and ask as many questions as you would like.

COACHING STAFF

The last time Ft. Myers fans saw Doug Mientkiewicz in a Miracle uniform, he was leading the team to the 2014 Florida State League championship. He was moved up to Chattanooga where he helped the Lookouts to the 2015 Southern League championship. In 2017, he is back in his home state of Florida with the Miracle. In his four seasons as a minor league manager, he has an impressive 312-239 record.

With the retirement of Jim Dwyer, the Miracle will have a new hitting coach for the first time since 2006. Dwyer had been a coach in the Twins system dating back to 1991. Steve Singleton takes over as the team’s new hitting coach after spending 2016 with the GCL Twins. He reached AAA with the Twins during his six seasons as a player in the organization. Henry Bonilla will be in his second season as the team’s pitching coach. It is his sixth season as a coach in the organization. He pitched in the Twins organization for seven minor league seasons.


ROSTERS
Here is a look at the Ft. Myers Miracle Opening Day roster. 16 of the players spent at least some time with the Miracle last year. One player, Randy Rosario, is on the 40-man roster.

HITTERS
Catchers: Kevin Garcia, Brian Navarreto, AJ Murray (DL),
Infielders: Trey Vavra, Zander Wiel, Luis Arraez, Sean Miller, Nelson Molina, Alex Perez, Chris Paul, Brian Olson (DL),
Outfielders: Daniel Kihle, Max Murphy, Rafael Valera

PITCHERS
Starting Pitchers: Randy LeBlanc, Dereck Rodriguez, Cody Stashak, Keaton Steele, Lachlan Wells, Andro Cutura (DL-elbow), Henry Centeno (DL)

Relief Pitchers: Sam Clay, Jonny Drozd, Anthony McIver, Alex Muren (DL), Williams Ramirez, Randy Rosario, Michael Theofanopoulos, Todd Van Steensel, Nick Anderson (DL), Cameron Booser (DL), Michael Cederoth (DL), Henry Centeno (DL)


POTENTIAL LINEUP

2B - Luis Arraez
SS - Nelson Molina
1B - Trey Vavra
DH - Zander Wiel
3B - Chris Paul
CF - Daniel Kihle
RF - Max Murphy
C - AJ Murray
LF - Rafael Valera


TOP PROSPECTS
  • Luis Arraez - He can flat-out hit. He has hit everywhere he’s played, including the Venezuelan Winter League. His .347 average led the Midwest League a year ago.
  • Lachlan Wells - The Australian posted a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts (71.1 innings) as a 19-year-old last year. Pitched for Team Australia in the WBC.
  • Randy Rosario - Rosario has a strong showing in big league spring training, but he was also moved to the bullpen full time and will start with the Miracle.
  • Cody Stashak - Not a big guy, but Stashak just gets the job done well. He sits 91-92 with a fastball. He has good control of three good pitches. Under-the-radar prospect.
  • Nelson Molina - had a breakout season in 2016, hitting .300 with a strong OBP in Cedar Rapids.

STORIES TO WATCH
  • The Australian starter Lachlan Wells will be fun to watch. Wells is 20. He put up strong numbers as a 19-year-old in Cedar Rapids. Wells, along with fellow Australian (who should pitch for the Miracle sometime in 2017) could be Top 10 Twins prospects by season’s end. And who knows, maybe Todd Van Steensel will help secure a couple of their wins.
  • What can Luis Arraez do in the Florida State League. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but will he continue to be able to post incredible batting average with the bigger ballparks? As a prospect, however, he’ll have to improve his defense. But again, the batting average will be something to watch.
  • Alex Muren missed the entire 2016 season due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. He will start the season on the DL, but he’s one reliever who could advance quickly to Chattanooga when ready and needed. The same can be said of Van Steensel and Randy Rosario.
  • A lot was made of Tyler Jay’s move to the bullpen. The club’s decision to move Randy Rosario was made less than a week earlier, and Rosario was happy about that. Before spring training, the organization also decided to move another left-handed starter, Sam Clay, to the bullpen. He was a reliever in college and really struggled with command. He should see an improvement in stuff and velocity with the move, but he’ll have to improve his control.
  • Dereck Rodriguez was the Twins 6th round pick in 2011 out of high school. He spent three years as a hitter. He has now spent the last three seasons as a pitcher, the last two as a starter. He moved up to Ft. Myers for the final two months of last season, and then he pitched out of the bullpen throughout the offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Can he take a step forward on the mound again in 2017? Enough for the Twins to add him to the 40-man roster after the season?

Please feel free to discuss this roster. Ask lots of questions and check back often. What stories will you be following?


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20 Comments

Any team that has Trey Vavra and his .230/.316/.326 line as a 24 year old in Fort Myers (1.5 years older than the league then) batting third is in trouble,  and so will be this Miracle team.  

Seriously, this team might be painful to watch this season

    • sftwinsfan and Respy like this

Looks like most of the talent went to AA and A ball.This club should be interesting with the pitching, but will likely be considered a sucess if it finishes at .500Second half could be better as players move up from Cedar Rapids.

 

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clutterheart
Apr 05 2017 03:44 PM
I will be keeping an eye on Chris Paul. Pre 2016 I thought he had potential to be a fast mover. He took a big step backwards last year. Would be nice to see him regain form
Yikes.
    • sftwinsfan likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Apr 05 2017 04:09 PM

for some reason, AJ Murray is a guy I think will surprise people this season.

    • Thrylos likes this
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Deduno Abides
Apr 05 2017 04:12 PM
Why is Cederoth on the DL again?
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FormerMinnasotan
Apr 05 2017 04:12 PM
Lachlan Wells will be one to follow for sure. As a 19 yr old he had a 1.77 ERA, and averaged over 8 k/9. And he is indeed 6'1" (he confirmed that in an interview in Milb.com) so the idea that he is too short now is not true, plus he has pretty good command of his pitches.
    • bluechipper, Bob Sacamento and Tom Froemming like this

TR drafted relief pitchers to turn them in to starters.  Now the FO wants to take the starting pitching and turn them into relievers.  Who is going to start for us in the future?

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Halsey Hall
Apr 05 2017 04:29 PM

Arraez should be fun for those Ft Myers folks.

 

I heard Dougie giving the team his talk on what he wants out of them last week. They all listened intently. It was all the usual stuff you can imagine but the one thing he really stressed was to be on time. I know players love to play for him so I could see them having some success this season. 

    • glunn likes this

 

I will be keeping an eye on Chris Paul. Pre 2016 I thought he had potential to be a fast mover. He took a big step backwards last year. Would be nice to see him regain form

 

Due to injuries, he got pushed up to Ft. Myers too quickly last season. That didn't help. But then he got hurt too, and obviously that derails things.

    • glunn likes this

 

Why is Cederoth on the DL again?

 

That was a new one to me... I'll see what I can find out.

    • glunn likes this
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jorgenswest
Apr 05 2017 07:54 PM
Thanks Seth.

You always remind us of the tremendous work and commitment of those aspiring to play in the majors. I am curious about players that are in extended spring training or released.
    • glunn likes this
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birdwatcher
Apr 06 2017 07:55 AM

I agree that this is an uninspiring roster because it lacks marquee names. But a couple of decent prospects can still emerge from this mix. It's not an untalented team by any means. Suggesting that Trey Vavra is somehow representative of the talent on this roster is just silly.

    • bluechipper likes this

I was big on A.J. Murray last year even though he struggled some after being called to Fort Myers.  What is he on the DL for?  I agree with:

 

for some reason, AJ Murray is a guy I think will surprise people this season.

 

Besides that I'm expecting big things from Wells & Arraez.  This is a group of scrappy gamers, which is Dougy Baseball's kind of guys.

    • TRex and Respy like this
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bluechipper
Apr 06 2017 08:26 AM
Not a ton of talent here, but the two middle infielders have shown they can hit and should be fun to watch.

Why is there not some talk about Randy Leblanc as a top prospect? Last season while in Cedar Rapids he was dominant and easily the best starting pitcher in the whole midwest league with an ERA more that a whole point less than even Lachlan Wells (0.74! compared to 1.77). Granted he is older than some of the other young prospects, but he proved that he can be very effective all the way up to AA last year. I would love to hear some thoughts on him.

    • glunn and Kernels Fan like this

 

Thanks Seth.

You always remind us of the tremendous work and commitment of those aspiring to play in the majors. I am curious about players that are in extended spring training or released.

 

We have a minor league forum that's been updated as I've learned about releases.

 

And I'll post an Extended Spring Training roster early next week.

    • glunn likes this

 

Why is there not some talk about Randy Leblanc as a top prospect? Last season while in Cedar Rapids he was dominant and easily the best starting pitcher in the whole midwest league with an ERA more that a whole point less than even Lachlan Wells (0.74! compared to 1.77). Granted he is older than some of the other young prospects, but he proved that he can be very effective all the way up to AA last year. I would love to hear some thoughts on him.

 

He's like 3-4 years older, so that's the big part. He also was just starting last year after spending the full season in Cedar Rapids the night before. He struggled in Ft. Myers last year as well, though he ended strong in 1-2 starts in Chattanooga. 

    • glunn likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Apr 06 2017 02:15 PM

 

He's like 3-4 years old, so that's the big part.

 

Just imagine what he'll be like when he's 20 :)

    • glunn, birdwatcher and Mike Sixel like this

 

Just imagine what he'll be like when he's 20 :)

 

Might have meant oldER... at least that's what I edit it to. Ha!

    • glunn and Mike Sixel like this

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