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2019 Rochester Red Wings Preliminary Roster

The 2018 Red Wings went 64-76 and finished tied for fourth place in the International League’s North division. In 2019, Joel Skinner will be tasked with leading a young pitching staff along with a mix of veteran infielders and young outfielders. Of course, more important than the Red Wings record is helping those prospects prepare to be more ready for the big leagues when called upon.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (top L to R: Brent Rooker, LaMonte Wade, bottom L to R: Nick Gordon, Stephen Gonsalves)
Today we look at the Rochester Red Wings 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

Joel Skinner returns to the Red Wings for his second season as their manager. Stu Cliburn returns for his 28th year in the organization and his seventh as the Red Wings pitching coach (fourth in a row). Michael McCarthy enters his second season as the team’s bullpen coach. Former Twins catcher Javier Valentin moves up from Double-A to be hitting coach for the Red Wings.

ROSTER

Here is a look at the Red Wings Opening Day roster. 17 of these 28 players have spent at least some time in the big leagues. 14 of the players spent at least some time with the Red Wings last year. Nine players are on the 40-man roster. Note that this is a tentative roster and will be updated before their season starts on Thursday. In particular, a couple of players will be placed on the Injured List.

HITTERS (13)
Catchers: Tomas Telis, Wynston Sawyer
Infielders: Wilin Rosario, Adam Rosales, Nick Gordon (IL), Ronald Torreyes, Jordany Valdespin, Randy Cesar
Outfielders: Brent Rooker, LaMonte Wade, Luke Raley, John Andreoli, Zander Wiel

PITCHERS (15)
Starting Pitchers: Lewis Thorpe, Justin Nicolino, Zack Littell, Chase De Jong, Kohl Stewart. Stephen Gonsalves (IL)
Relief Pitchers: Andrew Vasquez, Austin Adams, Tyler Duffey, Ryan Eades, Preston Guilmet, Mike Morin, Jake Reed, Fernando Romero. DJ Baxendale (IL), Zack Weiss (IL)

POTENTIAL LINEUP

3B - Ronald Torreyes
LF - Brent Rooker
CF - LaMonte Wade
SS - Adam Rosales
1B - Zander Wiel
RF - Luke Raley
DH - Wilin Rosario
C - Tomas Telis
2B - Jordany Valdespin


TOP PROSPECTS
  • Brent Rooker (Twins Daily #6 Prospect) - Powerful slugger hit 32 doubles and 22 homers in 2018 in Chattanooga. He received his first big league spring training invitation this year and could be in line to make his major league debut.
  • Nick Gordon (Twins Daily #11 Prospect) - Gordon made his AAA debut in 2018s second half and struggled, but he still is one to watch and should make his major league debut in 2019.
  • Stephen Gonsalves (Twins Daily #12 Prospect) - Gonsalves has long been one of the best Twins pitching prospects. He made his MLB debut in 2018 and struggled with his control. Control and command, along with a couple more ticks of velocity, and Gonsalves should help the Twins in 2019.
  • Zack Littell (Twins Daily #17 Prospect) - Littell debuted in 2018 with the Twins as well and also struggled. But he has done well in the upper levels of the minors the last two years and will likely get several more opportunities in 2019.
  • LaMonte Wade (Twins Daily #18 Prospect) - Like Gordon, Wade made his AAA debut in 2019 and things didn’t come easy. However, he maintained his strong plate discipline and approach and continued to increase his power output. Another player who should make his debut with the Twins in 2019.
  • Kohl Stewart - The 2013 first-round pick make his big league debut in August last year after and showed well for himself, especially against the Tigers.
  • Andrew Vasquez - Vasquez began 2018 in Ft. Myers where he pitched in the Florida State League All-Star Game in June. He was promoted to AA Chattanooga after that game and spent a little over a month there. He moved up to Rochester for one week and then received a promotion to the big league on September 1st. He posted 108 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings in the minors and then seven strikeouts in five innings for the Twins.
  • Luke Raley - Raley came to the Twins at the deadline last year from the Dodgers as part of the Brian Dozier trade. A big, strong guy, Raley has a lot of power potential. Combined at AA in 2018, Raley hit .275/.350/.471 (.821) with 19 doubles, eight triples and 20 home runs. He was a non-roster invitation to spring training.
  • Zander Wiel - Quietly, the former Vanderbilt star had a terrific season in 2018. He spent the majority of the year at Chattanooga before ending the season with the Red Wings. In the second-to-last game of the year, Wiel hit a walk-off homer for the Red Wings.
STORIES TO WATCH
  • The Twins are starting the season with just 11 pitchers. At some point in a couple of weeks, they are likely to add a pitcher, unless one of the Injured List relievers (Addison Reed, Gabriel Moya, Matt Magill) is ready.
  • Nick Gordon, second base or shortstop? That story will likely continue in 2019, and in playing with Adam Rosales and Ronald Torreyes, he can pick their brain on the subject.
  • The Twins have their five-man starting rotation to start the season. There is certainly depth at AAA. Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Zack Littell and Chase De Jong all made starts for the Twins last year (and hopefully made some adjustments). Justin Nicolino has made 33 big-league starts (and 17 relief appearances) as well. Lewis Thorpe is the one without the big-league service time, but he may have the most potential.
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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23 Comments

Not clear if anyone on the roster qualifies as a sure thing who is just waiting for an opening on the big club. Quite a number of question marks who, if they pan out, could contribute. The Red Wings' visits to Pawtucket are marked on my calendar, to get a look in person when the time comes.

    • Dman, DocBauer and MN_ExPat like this

A lot of good depth here. Many of these players would be on the roster or even starting for the Royals or Tigers...

    • DocBauer, RaymondLuxuryYacht and caninatl04 like this
The most important name in this article? Stu Cliburn. The Twins will need a few starting pitchers in 2020. Let's hope Cliburn can mold at least two of them from this rotation.

Aside from that, this will be a pretty decent IL replacement list.
    • DocBauer likes this

Looks like a better team this year.Looking for bounce-backs from Gordon and Wade.Decent mix of young guys with potential (more than last year) and some older AAAA types.The roster should also probably be less affected by guys being shuttled back and forth between the majors this year.

    • DocBauer, gman and railmarshalljon like this
It looks like Gonsalves and Gordon are going to start the year on the IL. That’s 5 injured guys on our 40 man roster!

I’m not sure what Jake Reed has left to prove at AAA. I guess the FO just doesn’t seem him as an MLB pitcher.

This should be another test of Wes Johnson's heel drive efforts. If we see an bump in velocity from a few of these guys (especially Gonsalves), that makes the whole experiment worth it. Else, it looks like a very solid AAA roster. They could dominate. 

    • SF Twins Fan likes this

Here is a comparison with the 2018 team that finished 12 games under .500

 

Catchers:
Tomas Telis, / Willians Astrudillo
Wynston Sawyer -

Infielders:
Wilin Rosario, / Brock Stassi
Adam Rosales,/ Kennys Vargas
Nick Gordon (IL), -
Ronald Torreyes, / Taylor Featherstone
Jordany Valdespin, / Andy Wilkins
Randy Cesar/Jermaine Curtis

Outfielders:
Brent Rooker, / Nick Buss
LaMonte Wade, -
Luke Raley, / Jake Cave
John Andreoli, / Joe Kemmer
Zander Wiel / James Ramsey

PITCHERS (15)
Starting Pitchers:
Lewis Thorpe, / Adalberto Mejia
Justin Nicolino, / Fernando Romero
Zack Littell, -
Chase De Jong, -
Kohl Stewart. -
Stephen Gonsalves (IL)-

Relief Pitchers:
Andrew Vasquez, -
Austin Adams, / Nick Anderson
Tyler Duffey, -
Ryan Eades, -
Preston Guilmet,/ Ryne Harper
Mike Morin, / Luke Bard
Jake Reed, -
Fernando Romero. / Alan Busenitz
DJ Baxendale (IL), -
Zack Weiss (IL) / John Curtiss

 

Not sure that the 2019 team is better...

 

    • Tuba likes this
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SF Twins Fan
Apr 01 2019 01:23 PM

Does anyone know what injuries Gordon and Gonsalves have to put them on IL? I still don't know if I like the IL versus the DL. The DL just sounds better.

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nicksaviking
Apr 01 2019 01:42 PM

Sounds like Wilin Rosario was hitting well and I'm rarely against any MiLB deal, but boy, now you're pushing two of Rooker, Raley and Wiel out of the DH/1B spots and into the OF? 

 

Though to be perfectly honest, I really don't care about Rochester's defense or their W/L, (sorry Rochester fans). Those guys could play SS as far as I'm concerned as long as they're getting their at bats.

 

Is Nicolino's rotation spot only temporary until Gonsavles comes back? I had no interest in him in the rotation, I only thought he might have a slim chance of being one of those starters who took off in the bullpen a year removed from being a starter. 

    • Dman, DocBauer and gman like this
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jorgenswest
Apr 01 2019 01:54 PM
An interesting mix to follow...

There are some relatively young starting pitchers that have a chance to take a step and show they can be part of the 2020 rotation.

Torreyes and Wade provide depth with options should a need arise on the major league bench.

Rooker and Gordon have the opportunity show they are ready to fit in as a 2020 starter.

Let’s hope Romero dominates and joins the big league pen in a high leverage role this year.

Raley, Wiel and Vazquez are all young enough to take a step forward and help the big league club.

Rosario and Baldespin are projects to see if they can reclaim their promise from their days as a prospect.

There is a lot to follow on this team. I look forward to the daily reports from TD. I so appreciate the hard work of the minor league update crew.
    • Dman likes this

 

Does anyone know what injuries Gordon and Gonsalves have to put them on IL? I still don't know if I like the IL versus the DL. The DL just sounds better.

According to Trade Rumors

 

Gordon has a stomach issue, acute gastritis (inflammation of his stomach lining).

 

Gonsalves has left flexor/pronator strain (throwing elbow).

 

All of the top prospects at this level are trending down, and 2018 was already a bad year for Rochester, so I do worry a bit about the atmosphere of having so many top guys under a lot of pressure. I guess in a years time all the talent at A+ and AA will move up a level and solve that issue.

    • DannySD likes this

Did you forget Thorpe in your Top Prospects listing, Seth?

 

 

I feel like there's good depth with upside to draw from in starting pitching. definitely some prospect potential in the INF & OF, but more in the OF (JMO).

 

I would feel better if we had another bullpen arm besides Romero with the kind of upside to come up at some point this season and blow some guys away. Maybe Vasquez can be that guy? Not sure he has the control to survive. Maybe Duffey can get it back together? not sure he has the pitch mix to survive. Reed? The relief corps is not exactly making my socks roll up and down.

With guys like Kirriloff and Lewis pushing their way up, it's do or do for some of these guys. They are getting passed
I can't say I'm really excited about the Red Wings roster, but I do feel it's better than 2018.

I have questions about the catcher spot. Let's be honest, we didn't know this time last year what we had in Astudillo, but Wilson was a decent #3, if that's all he was going to be. Obviously in the injury to Castro changed that situation. I am NOT excited about Telis, but at least he's a former top prospect. Those are the kind of guys you should take a flier on at this point.

The infield is nothing exciting, but the solid Torreyes and prospect Gordon is a lot better than an entire collection of journeymen we had in place last year at this time.

The entire OF/1B/DH situation is MUCH better than the beginning of 2018! I have done zero research/reading on Andreoli at this point, but Wade, Rooker, Raley and Wiel are all good to decent prospects. Other than Cave, who was still somewhat of an unknown at the time, vast improvement here.

So-so on the staff as a whole. I am a big fan of Thorpe, and I still have high hopes for Gonsalves. Stewart has me interested again. Just not sure what to make of Littell, who I felt looked nervous and rushed last season. Still, he's young and has a solid track record.

I have moved on from Romero being a SP, but haven't given up with experience and development of a 3rd pitch. But his potential in the pen can't be denied. Eades really embraced his role as a RP, looked good in ST, and may have a future. Can't deny what Vasquez has done. But can he take the next step with a pedestrian FB? Nobody else does anything for me except maybe Reed. Better health, and embracing the new approach/metrics he spoke about in ST...maybe he finally takes that next step.

Overall...a better team than the one that began 2018 with some solid call up options and some real depth/potential that was lacking last year at this time.
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nicksaviking
Apr 01 2019 10:07 PM

All of the top prospects at this level are trending down, and 2018 was already a bad year for Rochester, so I do worry a bit about the atmosphere of having so many top guys under a lot of pressure. I guess in a years time all the talent at A+ and AA will move up a level and solve that issue.


Gondalves and Gordon may be heading in the wrong direction, but Rooker, Raley and Wiel aren’t. Wade is holding steady and Thorpe and Stewart both bounced back last year. I mean the elite guys, Lewis, Kirilloff and Graterol aren’t there yet but they’re not far away from Rochester.

That is if they don’t skip it altogether.
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clutterheart
Apr 02 2019 06:44 AM
Solid AAA roster. They may not get into the postseason but who cares?
There is a lot of depth here the Twins can use in spot situations.
- Except for catcher and 3B.

I like that this team has some prospect talent this year.Seems like the last two years have had the roster full of journeyman types. 

    • birdwatcher likes this

 

Did you forget Thorpe in your Top Prospects listing, Seth?

 

Sure did... not sure how that happened... 

 

He was #8... http://twinsdaily.co...s-thorpe-r7508

 

I like that this team has some prospect talent this year.Seems like the last two years have had the roster full of journeyman types. 

 

Which are also important... If the Twins are competing and they need a utility infielder and Adam Rosales or Ronald Torreyes gives the big league team a better shot to win than a Nick Gordon, then it's great to have those guys. 

 

Obviously its not long-term, but those guys can be important as well. 

    • DocBauer likes this

I was talking more in the lines of the Jon Kemmer, Nick Buss, James Ramsey's of the world.Not the legitimate AAA guys with MLB experience.

    • Mike Sixel and DocBauer like this

 

I can't say I'm really excited about the Red Wings roster, but I do feel it's better than 2018.

I have questions about the catcher spot. Let's be honest, we didn't know this time last year what we had in Astudillo, but Wilson was a decent #3, if that's all he was going to be. Obviously in the injury to Castro changed that situation. I am NOT excited about Telis, but at least he's a former top prospect. Those are the kind of guys you should take a flier on at this point.

The infield is nothing exciting, but the solid Torreyes and prospect Gordon is a lot better than an entire collection of journeymen we had in place last year at this time.

The entire OF/1B/DH situation is MUCH better than the beginning of 2018! I have done zero research/reading on Andreoli at this point, but Wade, Rooker, Raley and Wiel are all good to decent prospects. Other than Cave, who was still somewhat of an unknown at the time, vast improvement here.

So-so on the staff as a whole. I am a big fan of Thorpe, and I still have high hopes for Gonsalves. Stewart has me interested again. Just not sure what to make of Littell, who I felt looked nervous and rushed last season. Still, he's young and has a solid track record.

I have moved on from Romero being a SP, but haven't given up with experience and development of a 3rd pitch. But his potential in the pen can't be denied. Eades really embraced his role as a RP, looked good in ST, and may have a future. Can't deny what Vasquez has done. But can he take the next step with a pedestrian FB? Nobody else does anything for me except maybe Reed. Better health, and embracing the new approach/metrics he spoke about in ST...maybe he finally takes that next step.

Overall...a better team than the one that began 2018 with some solid call up options and some real depth/potential that was lacking last year at this time.

When I look at the Rochester lineup, Doc,

 

I look for two different things.I want to see a team with a few of our top prospects.you know, those guys that if needed will be ready to step in and help the Twins.A couple guys like Rooker and Thorpe who if not ready opening day should be by June/July.

 

But I also look for a team with several veteran minor league guys who can help this team compete in the International League.I want the Twins to put a team on the field that the Rochester fans can get excited about because they win and compete.Iknow it is difficult for a lot of teams in the Northern Division to make the playoffs because of the screwy playoff set-up.But lets hope like heck that the Red Wings are playing ball the week after Labor Day this year.

 

And I think this team can be exciting as in addition to a few minor league vets they also have a few guys like Torreyes who should be very good in the IL while also providing depth should the Twins have an injury in their infield.As for your concerns, I think Navaretto could be added at any time and would provide excellent defense.I also think the bullpen is going to be a strength as Eades, Vasquez and Baxendale all could probably be solid back of the pen relievers for the Twins or several other teams.

 

So when I look at this team I get very excited.I see several pitchers who just may help the Twins this year and really like Rooker, Raley and Wade as outfield depth or players who will push for jobs in 2020.

    • DocBauer likes this

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