Elizabethton Twins Roster Preview
Image courtesy of Elizabethton Facebook PageHere is a very brief look at the players on the 2016 Elizabethton Twins Opening Day roster (plus a couple of others who could soon be there). Please feel free to ask questions on these players and we’ll try to answer them. With regard to the 2016 draft picks, hopefully Jeremy Nygaard can help out with some answers too. Note also that this roster is subject to change for a variety of reasons, particularly in the next few days as more players sign, etc.
Catchers: Bryant Hayman (23), Mitchell Kranson (22), Robert Molina (19)
Molina is the young guy in the group. At just 19 through the season, he is one of the younger players on the roster. He is listed as a catcher, but he could play some first base as well. Kranson was the ninth-round pick this year. He is the old-school prototype for a catcher, listed at 5-9 and 210 pounds. He also played around the field a bit, mainly at third base. Hayman started the year at Cedar Rapids but went back to EST. He was a non-drafted free agent a year ago.
Infielders: Travis Blankenhorn (19), Lewin Diaz (19), Caleb Hamilton (21), Andre Jernigan (22), Amaurys Minier (20), Ariel Montesino (20).
Blankenhorn was the team’s third-round pick last year. He ended his season in Elizabethton. He played mostly third base last year. He spent the majority of his EST time at second base. Lewin Diaz, the bulky first baseman (inexplicably listed at 180 pounds on the roster, he’s actually about 250 pounds) can provide some power. He got into a handful of games in E-Town a year ago. He didn’t get many hits, but four of them were home runs. Hamilton and Jernigan are college guys drafted just this month and should get a lot of time in the middle of the infield. Minier is a guy who signed a big bonus four years ago, and it is time for him to stay healthy and start producing the kind of offense that many hoped from him. Montesino started last year in E-Town, but went back to the GCL because of the emergence of Jermaine Palacios. He’ll be back with the Twins this year. Note also that Trey Cabbage will likely be joining the E-Twins in a couple of weeks. He has a back injury - different than last year - and should be manning third base for this team soon. Also note, Brandon Lopez who just finished his college career in the College World Series, will also be a middle infielder on this roster when he gets signed and is ready.
Outfielders: Matt Albanese (20), Shane Carrier (20), Christian Cavaness (22), Jaylin Davis (21), Roberto Gonzalez (21), Alex Kirilloff (18), Hank Morrison (22), Casey Scoggins (22)
Albanese was drafted this month and will start the year on the DL. Carrier, Morrison and Scoggins are all 2016 draft picks who will be making their pro debuts in Elizabethton. Likewise, I have included first-round pick Alex Kirilloff on this roster as we have heard this is where he is likely to start his pro career. Of course, he is in the Twin Cities as we speak, likely about to sign his professional contract. Cavaness began the season as the fourth outfielder in Cedar Rapids but was sent back to Extended. Jaylin Davis is one to watch. He was drafted by the Twins in 2015 but was hurt. He has tremendous power and should be a fixture in the middle of this lineup. Likewise, Roberto Gonzalez spent two years in the GCL after being drafted in the 15th round in 2014 out of high school in Orlando. He also has incredible power. He just needs to stay healthy and make more contact.
Starters: Jose Martinez (19), Ryan Mason (21), Sean Poppen (22), Alex Robinson (21), Alex Schick (21)
Jose Martinez pitched in the Gulf Coast League last year, going 1-5 with a 4.31 ERA. Alex Robinson was the team’s fifth round pick just last year out of Maryland. He’s a college reliever they believe has the stuff to be a starter, so he is getting that opportunity. Alex Schik (6th) and Ryan Mason (13th) were both drafted out of Cal-Berkeley this month. Sean Poppen was the team’s 19th-round pick this year out of Harvard.
Relievers: Tyler Beardsley (22), Domenick Carlini (22), Max Cordy (23), Colton Davis (22), Griffin Jax (21), Hector Lujan (21), Johan Quezada (21), Andrew Vasquez (22)
Hector Lujan got into one game for the Miracle. He and Vasquez pitched together and were both drafted last June out of Westmont College in California. Cordy was the Twins 40th-round pick out of UC-Davis just last year. Johan Quezada is the 6-8, hard-throwing right-hander who took over as the GCL close last year. He sits 96-100 mph. Since signing with the Twins in 2012, he has added about eight inches in height and 40 pounds to go with about 10 mph on his fastball. Beardsley (16th), Carlini (21st), and Davis (25th) were all drafted in 2016. So was Griffin Jax, their third- round pick out of the Air Force Academy. He is expected to be able to pitch for a couple of weeks at some point during the season.
Of course, this roster is subject to change as guys in the GCL start performing, or as more 2016 draft picks decide to sign. It has to be challenging for the coaches and for the minor league coordinator to keep things straight for the next week or so with these rosters.
On Friday afternoon, the GCL Twins will play their first game. We’ll provide a roster preview for them this evening.