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Mike Trout Extension

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Proven Leadership Will Set Tone for 2018 Red Wings

On Friday evening, the 2018 version of the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings will kick off their season. After a season in which the club finished 80-62, good enough for third place in the International League, this year’s version will look to expand upon that success. Although it’s some of the lower and middle levels that currently house Twins top prospects, the Red Wings are bolstered by guys capable of being counted on right now at the next level.
Image courtesy of © Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Skinner takes over as manager after the departure of Mike Quade. Skinner spent time as the Cleveland Indians manager back in 2002, and has had healthy tenures with both the Indians and White Sox managing in their farm systems. After being tabbed by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to head up the Triple-A level for Minnesota, he is also joined with a fresh face in the form of Mike McCarthy, the new bullpen coach. Both Chad Allen (hitting) and Stu Cliburn (pitching) return to their positions.

The roster itself is home to more than a few veterans, and there are a handful of guys who’ve been in professional baseball for some time. Arguably the biggest name of the group is also somewhat of a surprise. Twins top pitching prospect Fernando Romero was ticketed for Triple-A after spending the 2017 season exclusively at the Double-A level. He compiled a 3.53 ERA across 125.0 IP a year ago, and is looked at as being among Minnesota’s best chances to develop into a bona fide ace. The strikeout stuff is there, and the velocity comes easy for the 23 year-old right-hander. After dominating during spring training for the Twins, the focus prior to making a permanent leap to the big leagues will be on the development of his changeup.

While down in Florida, Paul Molitor got a first-hand look at Romero out of the big league pen, and the results were more than favorable. For the time being, Falvey still wants Romero developed as a starter, with the intention that he can give the Twins 200 innings on the mound in the not-so-distant future. If things fall apart for Romero, the Dominican native has a very promising career in relief ahead of him. There’s no doubt both he and the big league club are envisioning an impact starter for years to come however.

On the offensive side of things, standouts stand in the outfield grass. The duo of Zack Granite and Jake Cave should provide upstate New Yorkers something to get interested in for the early part of the summer. While Granite is a consistent average hitter with significant speed, Cave is more than capable of losing baseballs in the seats.

Granite was left off the Minnesota Twins 25-man roster to start 2018, and it may have come as somewhat of a surprise. He owned a .338/.392/.475 slash line for Rochester a season ago, and appeared to have all but mastered the level. Seeking every day playing time however, Granite could benefit from raking just a little bit longer in the International League. There’s no doubt his defense will play at the next level, and if the bat can be substantiated, it’ll be hard to dub him solely a fourth outfielder.

Acquired from the Yankees this spring, Cave is familiar with the International League having played there for half a season in 2017. His .921 OPS was a career high, and the former sixth-round draft pick dropped 15 bombs in just 72 Triple-A games. Cave does strike out too much while walking too little (82/18 K/BB at AAA in 2017), but if he can improve his eye at the plate, Minnesota likely has a corner outfield bopper on their hands.

Skinner’s pitching staff has plenty of veteran experience both in the rotation and out of the pen. Names like Adalberto Mejia, Jake Reed, Aaron Slegers, and Alan Busenitz are all going to bolster what should be a pretty impressive group. The goal will be in getting the entirety of that group to push for big league playing time early and often, giving the Twins multiple tough decisions to make.

All in all, the Rochester Red Wings are going to see a handful of prospects filter through as they are promoted from the lower levels this season. As it stands currently though, there’s a very talented group on this roster, and there’re leaders that should put up some impressive performances right out of the gate. Developing a new wave of depth was a must for the Twins after graduations by players like Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton. If Rochester’s roster is any indication, they’ve put their foot in the right direction.


PITCHERS (14): Nick Anderson, DJ Baxendale, Alan Busenitz, Casey Crosby, John Curtiss, Tyler Duffey, Dietrich Enns, Myles Jaye, Matt Magill, Adalberto Mejia, Mason Melotakis, Jake Reed, Fernando Romero, Aaron Slegers

CATCHERS (3): Willians Astudillo, Jordan Pacheco, Bobby Wilson

INFIELDERS (6): Jermaine Curtis, Taylor Featherston, Gregorio Petit, Leonardo Reginatto, Brock Stassi, Kennys Vargas

OUTFIELDERS (4): Nick Buss, Jake Cave, Zack Granite, James Ramsey

Opening Rotation:

4/6 - Aaron Slegers R
4/7 - Adalberto Mejia L
4/8 - Fernando Romero R
4/9 - Dietrich Enns L
4/10 - Myles Jaye R

Previous Twins Minor League Opening Day Roster Previews
Chattanooga Lookous - Talented Lookouts Eye Repeat In Southern League - Seth Stohs
Cedar Rapids Kernels - Class of 2018 “Should Be Pretty Entertaining” - Steve Buhr
Ft. Myers Miracle - Miracle Hop Experience Transfers on the Field - Cody Christie
Kernels Media Night Highlights - Steve Buhr

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This team could entertain the Rochester fans and win some games. And there are a few pretty good prospects here, most notably on the mound. And there are a few guys who could help the Twins this season. But this team will be a lot more interesting when Jorge, Gonsalves, Wade and Gordon get moved up!
    • CUtomorrownight, caninatl04 and MN_ExPat like this

I read the one paragraph three times, but I'm still confused: What is it about Romero that is "somewhat of a surprise" ?


I read the one paragraph three times, but I'm still confused: What is it about Romero that is "somewhat of a surprise" ?


That they bumped him up to AAA to start the year. 


Without knowing anything else, I think many would have assumed Gonsalves would be there and not him.

    • Tom Froemming and caninatl04 like this


That they bumped him up to AAA to start the year. 


Without knowing anything else, I think many would have assumed Gonsalves would be there and not him.


Yeah, even when they were optioned, Gonsalves was optioned to Rochester, Romero was optioned to Chattanooga. 

    • Steve Lein likes this

I don't see it. Other than the prospect pitchers.... and maybe Vargas and Granite, and maybe Cave...... I can't get enthused. I would bet that Chattanooga would beat this team pretty regularly. Vargas thought he had escaped the whole mess. I bet he feels trapped and pissed.

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