Twins in Arizona
Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA TodayThe plan is for Byron Buxton to repeat in Arizona after playing well there last year. It’s been a long, frustrating season for the outfielder. In his 2013 season, split between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, he was named the Twins minor league hitter of the year and in the offseason was the consensus #1 prospect in all baseball. He received an invite to big league spring training.
Unfortunately, he has been mostly hurt since mid-March when he dove for a ball in a minor league spring training game and hurt his wrist. After returning, he was hit by a pitch in the right wrist and missed about a week. More recently, he was promoted to AA New Britain but in his first game he collided with right fielder Mike Kvasnicka and suffered a concussion that cost him the rest of the regular season. He has been named to the Arizona Fall League despite the fact that he has not yet been given clearance to resume baseball activities. If Buxton is unable to play, he will be replaced by another Twins farmhand.
Like Buxton, Max Kepler will be spending another stint in the Arizona Fall League. Last year, he was very young and probably not quite ready for the competition, but he generally held his own. He has also missed a bit of time in 2014 due to injury and illness. On the season, he is hitting .257/.330/.386 (.716) with 17 doubles, six triples and five homers with the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, he has been much better of late.
The third Twins position player returning to the AFL this year is Eddie Rosario. The 2B/OF from Puerto Rico missed the first 50 games this season due to a suspension for a drug of abuse. In 71 games with New Britain, he has shown flashes despite overall numbers of .237/.281/.389 (.670). He has hit 19 doubles, three triples and six home runs for the Rock Cats.
Taylor Rogers will be pitching in the Fall League. He was my choice for Twins starting pitcher of the year in 2013. He really struggled in the first four starts of this season, but he has rebounded very well. Overall in 23 starts, he has gone 10-6 with a 3.42 ERA in 137 innings. He has walked just 37 and struck out 104. Rogers missed a couple of starts last month with biceps tendinitis.
Another left-hander, Mason Melotakis, was also named to the AFL. He began the season as a starter in Ft. Myers, but he was moved to the bullpen where he has thrived. He has struck out 17 and walked just two over 14.2 innings in twelve outings. Melotakis missed two of three weeks with elbow inflammation earlier in the month.
The final Twins representative in the Fall League is the newest member of the organization, right-hander Jason Adam. He came to the Twins from the Kansas City Royals in the Josh Willingham trade. He had moved to the bullpen with the Royals AAA team, but the Twins want him to start and sent him to AA to do such.
UPDATE: For what it's worth, the Salt River Rafters' roster includes RHP Nick Burdi.
Of course, injury and other things could alter this roster, but please feel free to discuss. Who could the seventh player be? There are certainly several options.