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Article: Kernels with Pitching Issues? Oddly, yes.

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 04:55 AM
Welcome to life as a minor league manager.The Cedar Rapids Kernels have some of the best pitching in Class A baseball right now. So why i...
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Interesting interview with Terry Ryan

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:37 AM
This article contains some interesting statements by Terry Ryan, including the following:   Pohlad said last fall that Ryan’s job is...
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A Far-Fetched Trade

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:36 AM
As per MLBTR, the Cubbies and Braves are in talks that would move Edwin Jackson to the Braves for Mike Minor & B.J. Upton.   htt...
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Can managers be traded in MLB?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:36 AM
I seem to remember it happening a few times but I can't remember if MLB changed the rules on that.  Anyone know?  The reason I...
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What's wrong with Baseball?

More Baseball Today, 12:36 AM
http://deadspin.com/...ball-1628473196   Excellent article on deadspin about the issues baseball is now dealing with.  I'd add...
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The Store


Twins Minor League Opening Day Rosters

Opening Day in the big leagues is a big deal. I might even agree with those who say it should be a national holiday. As important to about 100 minor leaguers is minor league Opening Day which will be on Thursday. Minor leaguers reported to Ft. Myers on March 7 and after four days of practice, they’ve been playing games and practicing almost every day since. On Monday, those players headed to Rochester, New Britain and Cedar Rapids flew to their destinations. Obviously those who will be with the Ft. Myers Miracle didn’t have to travel far.

Below, you will find the Opening Day rosters of the Minnesota Twins full-season minor league affiliates.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Attached Image: IbarraDeanMeyerDarnell.jpg

Rochester Red Wings

Gene Glynn returns to manage the Red Wings after leading the team to the playoffs a year ago. Tim Doherty is his hitting coach with Marty Mason as the pitching coach. This year’s roster is an interesting mix of veterans and prospects. 15 of these players have spent time in the big leagues.

Starting Pitchers: Logan Darnell, Scott Diamond, Kris Johnson, Trevor May, Alex Meyer

The big league roster may not have a lefty in the starting rotation, but the Red Wings have three. Scott Diamond decided to remain with the organization where he joins 40-man roster lefties Logan Darnell and Kris Johnson. Trevor May made one appearance in the playoffs a year ago for the Red Wings. Alex Meyer is the organization’s top pitching prospect and despite missing two months last season, he moves up to AAA.


Relievers: Deolis Guerra, Matt Hoffman, Edgar Ibarra, Yohan Pino, Ryan Pressly, Brooks Raley, Aaron Thompson, Virgil Vasquez (DL), Kevin Thomas (DL), Matt Guerrier (DL)

Now if the Twins do have any needs in the bullpen, they should have some better options. Tonkin starts the season with the Twins due to Brian Duensing’s paternity leave, but he will most likely be back with the Red Wings for their Opening Day. He is the big prospect in the group and he had a strong showing in spring. Deolis Guerra and his changeup were very impressive. He will be up at some point. Lefties Hoffman and Thompson were both very solid and could come up as well. Ibarra had a very strong 2013 season and was added to the 40 man roster. Unfortunately, he missed much time in spring training due to contracting Hepatitis B. However, he’s a lefty who can hit 94 and has a sharp slider.


Catchers: Eric Fryer, Chris Herrmann, Dan Rohlfing

All three of these catchers also provide depth and versatility in the outfield. Herrmann had a very good spring training.


Infielders: James Beresford (2B), Doug Bernier, Eric Farris, Brad Nelson (1B), Deibinson Romero (3B), Danny Santana (SS)

There are certainly numbers here. Santana is the big prospect and as much as he was discussed in his time in big league camp, the same questions that were there then are still there now. Can he make routine plays and can he take an occasional walk? DJ Romero hit everything hard at big league camp.


Outfielders: Darin Mastroianni (CF), Chris Parmelee (RF), Chris Rahl, Wilkin Ramirez (LF)

Three of these four outfielders were on the Opening Day roster for the Twins in 2013, and yet they find themselves in Rochester to start 2014.



New Britain Rock Cats

Jeff Smith returns to the New Britain Rock Cats as their manager, with Chad Allen as the hitting coach and Stu Cliburn as the pitching coach.

Starting Pitchers: DJ Baxendale, Pat Dean, Sean Gilmartin, Taylor Rogers, Matt Summers

When Scott Diamond accepted his outright to Rochester, it meant Gilmartin would start his season in New Britain. Dean returns to New Britain after ending 2013 with the Red Wings. Baxendale struggled in 2013 with the Rock Cats after dominating the Florida State League the first two months. Summers led the FSL is ERA last season, and Rogers was my choice for Starting Pitcher of the Year.


Relievers: AJ Achter, Jim Fuller, BJ Hermsen, Cole Johnson, Ryan O’Rourke, Lester Oliveros, Adrian Salcedo, Dan Turpen (DL), Chad Rodgers (DL)

Lester Oliveros returns from his Tommy John surgery with the Rock Cats, though he should move up quickly. I have no idea why Achter is headed back to New Britain. Like Achter, Johnson is a late-round draft pick who has moved up the ladder really quickly. Adrian Salcedo was hitting 97 MPH in his first year back from injury in 2013. Hopefully he will remain healthy.


Catchers: Kyle Knudson, Matt Koch

These two catchers complement each other quite well. Koch is more of an offensive threat with extra base power who can hold his own behind the plate. Knudson is an incredible defensive catcher who hit well in 2013. Both were at big league camp.


Infielders: Brad Boyer, Nate Hanson, Aderlin Mejia (SS), Tony Thomas (2B), Kennys Vargas (1B), Brandon Waring (3B), Stephen Wickens, CJ Ziegler, Miguel Sano (DL)

Kennys Vargas was added to the 40 man roster and the masses got to see what an enormous specimen he is and his immense power. (He will miss the opener - most likely - as he is in Puerto Rico where his wife is having the couple's first child.) Aderlin Mejia was supposed to play for Elizabethton last year, but a need with the Miracle gave him an opportunity that he took full advantage of. He spent the rest of the year in Ft. Myers and will now begin 2014 in New Britain. Waring tied for the team leader in home runs this spring, though it was just two. Boyer signed last year from the St. Paul Saints. Tony Thomas signed late, right before spring training. Nate Hanson is a Minnesotan who can play anywhere on the field. Wickens had a nice season as a utility guy in Ft. Myers in 2013. Obviously the big news of spring training was that Miguel Sano had Tommy John surgery and will miss all, or at least most, of the season.


Outfielders: Mike Kvasnicka, Danny Ortiz, Reynaldo Rodriguez, Corey Wimberly

Rodriguez is making the move to the outfield after playing first base last year. Kvasnicka can also catch, if needed, but will primarily play right field. Ortiz shouldn’t spend the whole season in New Britain. The Twins had Ben Revere. Last year, they added Antoine Richardson. This year, the diminutive speedster in the organization is Corey Wimberly.


Ft. Myers Miracle

Doug Mientkiewicz returns for his second season as the manager of the Miracle. Jim Dwyer remains the hitting coach. Gary Lucas moves from Cedar Rapids to the Florida State League and will be able to work with the pitchers he has worked with the last year or two. This should be another exciting year for the Miracle as much of the 2013 Cedar Rapids team will make the move up to the Florida State League.

Starting Pitchers: JO Berrios, Tyler Duffey, Brett Lee, Mason Melotakis, Jason Wheeler, Alex Wimmers

It sounds as though the Miracle will go to a six-man rotation in 2014. JO Berrios is the top prospect on this list, but this is a pretty intriguing rotation. Former first-round pick Wimmers is finally healthy and looking forward to getting on the mound. Jason Wheeler altered some mechanical things last year with the Miracle and is now throwing harder. He’s certainly one to watch. Duffey and Melotakis are two of the college relievers turned starters who will again start the season in the rotation. Lee has been my choice for breakout pitcher of the year in the Twins farm system.


Relievers: Madison Boer, Brian Gilbert, Steven Gruver, David Hurlbut, Tim Shibuya, Matt Tomshaw, Tyler Jones (DL), Luke Bard (DL), Zack Jones (DL), Corey Williams (DL)

This is an interesting group. Hurlbut and Tomshaw are both lefties who have succeeded in the bullpen and as starters when needed. Shibuya is fully healthy this year and pitching well. He could start. Brian Gilbert was drafted a year ago out of Seton Hall and is being pushed quickly. But that disabled list has some serious talent. Tyler Jones was my choice for minor league reliever of the year last year, and Zack Jones was also very good showing off his 95+ mph fastball. Luke Bard is getting closer to being ready and when healthy he can really dominate hitters out of the bullpen. Corey Williams will have his Tommy John surgery early in April.


Catchers: Tyler Grimes, Jairo Rodriguez, Stuart Turner

Grimes has really come a long way in the one season that he has been a catcher. Stuart Turner is another 2013 draft pick who will move quickly. He impressed in his time in big league camp and really knows how to work with pitchers.


Infielders: Michael Gonzales, Niko Goodrum (SS), Travis Harrison (3B), DJ Hicks (1B), Levi Michael, AJ Pettersen, Jorge Polanco (2B)

Jorge Polanco and Niko Goodrum will play up the middle defense, and Michael and Pettersen will give them some days off. Travis Harrison is making the move to left field, but he will also still play quite a bit at third base. Pettersen could find himself starting at third base quite a bit early in the season as well as playing all three outfield positions. Gonzales and Hicks will both spend time at first base and as the designated hitter.


Outfielders: Max Kepler (LF), John Murphy (CF), Adam Walker (RF), JD Williams (DL), Nate Roberts (DL), Byron Buxton (DL), Lance Ray (DL)

Adam Walker and his immense power will primarily play right field. Max Kepler will play all three outfield positions as well at first base. Roberts missed all but one game in 2013, so hopefully his knees will hold up and he can get back on the field. Williams and his OBP skills had a solid 2013 season and will get time in left field, center field and at DH. Buxton is baseball’s best prospect. Unfortunately, he is going to miss the first couple weeks with his wrist injury and it’s possible that he will get a handful of games with the Miracle before joining the Rock Cats.



Cedar Rapids Kernels

Jake Mauer is in his second season as the Kernels manager. He’s joined again by hitting coach Tommy Watkins. Ivan Arteaga was the Miracle pitching coach last year, but he joins the Kernels and will work with this talented group of arms.

Starting Pitchers: Ryan Eades, Felix Jorge, Randy Rosario, Aaron Slegers, Kohl Stewart, Miguel Sulbaran

Although there are some pretty intriguing names not on this list who could get to Iowa later in the season, this is still an area of strength and some good prospects. Eades was the Twins 2nd round pick a year ago and could move quickly. Slegers was the Big 10 Pitcher of the Year a year ago and the Twins fifth round pick a year ago. Jorge and Rosario are two of the Big Three who have moved up together through the short season teams. Sulbaran came over from the Dodgers last year for Drew Butera and pitched well in the Midwest League last year. He came to camp out of shape, so he could move up quickly too. Of course, the big name on this list is that of 2013 top pick Kohl Stewart who has remarkable talent and remarkable stuff. He’s young, and they’ll watch his innings, but he is certainly exciting to watch.


Relievers: Brandon Bixler, Hudson Boyd, Yorman Landa, Chris Mazza, Josue Montanez, Alex Muren, Brandon Peterson, Christian Powell, JT Chargois (DL), Hein Robb (DL)

Lefty Brandon Bixler was drafted just last year and pitched some for the Kernels last year. Boyd was in the Kernels opening day rotation but really struggled and there was always thought that his stuff might work better in the bullpen. Montanez and Powell made starts for the team a year ago too. Yorman Landa was another of the Big Three. He throws really, really hard, though he doesn’t always know where it is going to go. Brandon Peterson is a 2013 draft pick who is from Burnsville high school.


Catchers: Bo Altobelli, Mitch Garver, Michael Quesada

Garver was the Twins 9th round pick a year ago. Altobelli and Quesada both spent some time with the Kernels in 2013. Garver will likely get plenty of time at first base.


Infielders: Chad Christensen (1B), Bryan Haar, Joel Licon (3B), Tanner Vavra, Engelb Vielma (SS), Logan Wade (2B), Ryan Walker (DL)

It has to be exciting for Chad Christensen, a late-round pick in 2013, to start the season with the Kernels. He is from Cedar Rapids and still makes it his home. He can play both corner infield positions and both corner outfield positions as well. Engelb Vielma became someone to watch when ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him in his Top 15 Twins prospects. He is very fast and looks to be tremendous defensively with great range, good hands and a strong arm. Not sure he’ll hit much. Australian Logan Wade participated in the MLB series in Australia and can play second base. Vavra is the son of Twins coach Joe and is a tremendous story, and a pretty good hitter at second base. Licon was with the team in the second half of 2013 and will get a lot of time at third base. Haar was one of the better (and older) hitters in the Appy League last year. When healthy, I think Walker will take over at shortstop with Vielma going back to extended spring.


Outfielders: Zach Granite (CF), Zack Larson (RF), Jeremias Pineda (LF)

Granite was the lone Twins prospect who was an all-star in the Appy League last year. He’ll play center field and lead off for the Kernels. Larson opened eyes last year hitting well in the GCL, and when promoted to Elizabethton, he became one of their top hitters. Pineda came to the Twins for Danny Valencia and spent much of 2013 getting minimal time with the Kernels.



Extended Spring Training

Starting Pitchers: Stephen Gonsalves, Chih-Wei Hu, Fernando Romero, Lewis Thorpe

I think it’s safe to say there are a few prospects in this group that Twins fans can be pretty excited about seeing either at Elizabethton, or possibly with the Kernels if there is a need.


Relievers: Cameron Booser, Brandon Easton, Andrew Ferreira, Sam Gibbons, Josh Guyer, CK Irby, Kuo Hua Lo, Austin Malinowski, Andre Martinez, Tanner Mendonca, Ethan Mildren, Derrick Penilla, Dereck Rodriguez, Todd Van Steensel, Jared Wilson, Seth Wagner, Josh Burris (DL), Carson Goldsmith (DL), Zach Hayden (DL), Tyler Stirewalt (DL)

A lot of big arms here. There are a few who certainly could get an opportunity to start at some point as well.


Catchers/First Base: Jorge Fernandez, Brian Navaretto, Joel Polanco, Bryan Santy, Rainis Silva, Alex Swim

Navarreto and Fernandez provide a lot of excitement at this position.


Infielders: Carlos Avila, Manuel Guzman, Jonatan Hinojosa, Will Hurt, Nelson Molina, Ariel Montesino, Joel Ramirez, Javier Pimentel (DL), Amaurys Minier (DL)

Minier will hopefully be ready by the time the short-season leagues start. There is a lot of speed in this category.


Outfielders: Jason Kanzler, Jake Proctor, Ivory Thomas, Ryan Tufts

This is certainly not a very young group of outfielders as all were four-year college guys.


RESTRICTED LIST

A quick reminder that the Twins will have three players begin the season with 50 game suspensions. We're all aware of Eddie Rosario's. Shortly after the end of the 2013 season, Cedar Rapids pitcher Dallas Gallant was suspended for 50 games. Two years ago, Mark Hamburger was suspended 50 games. Last year, he pitched for the St. Paul Saints. Following the season, the Twins signed him to a minor league deal. The suspension still needs to be enforced.

So there you have it, a look at who will be starting the season at each of the Twins four, full-season affiliates. It’s also a list that you can use in determining which prospect(s) you would like to Adopt.

Please feel free to ask questions and discuss.


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