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  • Spring Organizational Depth Chart: The Infielders

    On Tuesday, I began my look at the Twins organizational depth chart by looking at all of the outfielders in the system. Today, we jump back into the Twins system by looking at the infielders. Compared to the outfielders, Iíd say itís more than fair to say that the Twins have not had as much success grooming infielders. Could that trend be changing? Read below and decide for yourself.

    In the following, we will consider which players may fill the rosters of the Twins minor league affiliates. Of course, this is all just my educated guess. As Iíve said, any of this could be altered by an unexpected free agent signing or a trade. Sadly, not all of these players will remain in the organization beyond spring training. Some may wind up on the Disabled List. Hopefully this list will remind you of which players are in the organization.



    So letís get to it. Here are the Infielders in the Minnesota Twins organization:

    Minnesota Twins


    Justin Morneau (1B), Brian Dozier (2B), Trevor Plouffe (3B), Pedro Florimon (SS), Jamey Carroll, Eduardo Escobar

    Morneau is the most healthy heís been since spring of 2010 when he put up MVP caliber numbers until he suffered a concussion. The 2006 MVP is still just 31 years old and entering his contract year. As we know, Joe Mauer and Chris Parmelee will also likely see time at first base. It is also a big year for Trevor Plouffe in 2013. The Twins are banking on him hitting similarly to what he did for those six weeks that he crushed the ball, rather than the .150 hitter he was early in the season. He is healthy and will get every opportunity. Brian Dozier struggled immensely as a rookie in 2012, but the organization believes in him and he is being given every opportunity to be the teamís second baseman. Heíll team up the middle with Pedro Florimon, the great-glove, no-hit shortstop. Those guys will get the chance, but having the solid veteran Jamey Carroll around will certainly help provide some stability. Eduardo Escobar is a terrific glove who will do well in a utility role. In my opinion, Escobar will be starting at shortstop by mid-June.

    Rochester Red Wings


    Chris Colabello (1B), James Beresford (2B), Mark Sobolewski (3B), Ray Olmedo (SS), Jeff Clement, Nate Hanson, Reynaldo Rodriguez

    Chris Colabello was the story of the Twins minor league system in 2012 when, as a 28-year-old, he spent his first season in affiliated baseball and had a terrific season. It earned him an invitation to Twins big league spring training, and he also will be representing Italy in the WBC. Colabello lived in Italy for several years of his youth and played for Italy in several international competitions. He has an outside shot to be a bench bat with the Twins if they go that direction. Beresford's (pictured) 2013 WBC experience is already over. He was the leadoff hitter and shortstop for Australia, but heíll likely be playing a lot at second base as well. Ray Olmedo spent time in the big leagues in the middle of last decade, but after a few years away, he returned to the big leagues with the White Sox in 2012 after they traded Eduardo Escobar to the Twins. Olmedo and Beresford wonít hit a lot, but they will play tremendous defense. Mark Sobolewski was a Twins minor league Rule 5 selection in December from the Blue Jays organization. The cancer-survivor hit 20 home runs last year between AA and AAA. The Twins seem to really like his defense. The Twins drafted Clement in 2002 out of his Iowa high school, but he decided to go to college. It was the right choice for him as three years later, he was the #3 overall pick in the draft by the Mariners. Things havenít happened for him in the big leagues to this point, and heís back with the Twins on a minor league deal, playing some 1B and wanting to show he can be an emergency catcher option. Nate Hanson really stepped up his game in 2012 when he was moved to second base after playing mostly first base the year before. He was drafted as a third baseman, where he will get some time again this spring, but the former Gopherís path to the big leagues will involve using several different gloves.Rodriguez is another veteran first baseman for some depth.

    New Britain Rock Cats


    Steve Liddle (1B), Levi Michael (2B), Deibinson Romero (3B), Danny Santana (SS), Harold Garcia, Jason Christian, Doug Bernier, Michael Gonzales,

    2012 was a frustrating year for Liddle, the nephew of the former Twins coach. He began the season hurt, and he ended up going back to Beloit for a month before settling in with the Miracle. The former Vanderbilt standout will primarily play first base, although he has played some in the outfield in his career. Deibinson Romero had a very good season in 2012 with the Rock Cats. He was invited to big league spring training (For the first time since he was on the 40 man roster in 2009), but visa issues mean he is still back home in the Dominican. That may also mean that he will have to head back to the Rock Cats and wait for an opening in Rochester. Danny Santana (pictured above) really stepped up his performance in 2012 with the Miracle. At the end of the year, he was placed on the Twins 40 man roster and has shown his talent along with his weaknesses so far in camp. Levi Michaelís professional debut last year in Ft. Myers certainly got off to a rough start. He was young for his draft class, but his struggled in the Florida State League were disappointing. He has been hurt since signing with the Twins but played all of the 2012 season. He could go back to Ft. Myers for a spell to start the season, but he should get to the Rock Cats quickly. Harold Garcia, Jason Christian and Doug Bernier are long-timer minor league veterans who at this points in their careers are just happy with an opportunity to continue their careers. Michael Gonzales was alright in 2012 in Ft. Myers. He just is not able to play very long or very often in the humidity of the Florida State League. He has a condition in which he really suffers from dehydration so he is often not able to play full games or many back-to-back. He could stay in Ft. Myers, but they may move him up for an opportunity to play more.

    Ft. Myers Miracle


    Kennys Vargas (1B), Eddie Rosario (2B), Miguel Sano (3B), AJ Pettersen (SS), Andy Leer, Adam Bryant, Steven Wickens

    This is a pretty impressive infield, at least when they have bats in their hands. Miguel Sano hit 30 home runs in the Midwest League in 2012 and is generally considered the teamís top prospect. Rosario (pictured) will play for Puerto Rico in the WBC, but he impressed during his stint with the Twins before reporting. He will begin his second season at second base, and his defensive improvements will likely dictate how quickly he moves up to New Britain. Likewise for Sano. Kenny Vargas returned to a game lineup later last summer after finishing out his 50-game suspension on the Elizabethon roster. He came back and immediately showed the power that he possesses. For him to move up, he will have to improve several parts of his game, but his power is pretty legit. AJ Pettersen, Adam Bryant, Stephen Wickens and Andy Leer will all play around the infield and give guys days off. Pettersen and Bryant each played several positions in 2012 in Beloit. Wickens came up later in the year and played up the middle defense and did a nice job with the bat. Leer played all over the field for the Miracle a year ago. Pettersen is a former Gopher who writes for Twins Daily and for Baseball America. Leer is from North Dakota.

    Cedar Rapids Kernels


    DJ Hicks (1B), Jorge Polanco (2B), Niko Goodrum (SS), Travis Harrison (3B), Candido Pimentel, Rory Rhodes

    Rhodes began the 2012 season in Beloit, but he really struggled before being sent back down to Elizabethton where he split time with DJ Hicks. Rhodes is Australian. Hicks was the Twins 17th round draft pick in 2012 from Central Florida. His walk-off grand slam gave the Elizabethton Twins the 2013 Appalachian League championship. Former 2nd round pick Niko Goodrum spent his second season in Elizabethton a year ago. He did improve his shortstop defense. His batting average went down but his walk numbers and his slugging increased. Jorge Polanco was part of the international signing year that saw the Twins ink deals with Miguel Sano and Max Kepler as well. Touted for his defense and his ability to play shortstop, he has primarily played second base in the minor leagues. In 2012, his bat even came to life as he hit over .300 with the E-Twins. Travis Harrison, a Twins supplemental 1st round pick in 2011, made his pro debut in 2012 with the E-Twins. He hit for average, but most believe that his power will also develop. His error total rivaled that of Miguel Sano and will have to improve a lot if he wants to stay at third base. Pimentel was the Appy League MVP in 2012 when he was the teamís leadoff hitter. He was an outfielder, but he was moved to second base and will get some time there as well in 2013.

    Extended Spring Training/Short-Season


    Aderlin Mejia, Bryan Haar, Joel Licon, Javier Pimentel, Logan Wade, Jose Ramirez, Will Hurt

    Aderlin Mejia was the one player on the GCL Twins team to be named all-league. For his efforts, he was asked to play a few games with the Ft. Myers Miracle at the end of their season. Haar was the teamís 34th round pick a year ago from San Diego. He played 45 games for the GCL Twins and hit .250/.319/.345. Javier Pimentel signed for about $700,000 in 2010 and has struggled offensively since signing. Will Hurt gave up a scholarship to Coastal Carolina to sign as the Twins 16th round pick last year. He really struggled with the bat, but he has premiere speed. Licon was the Twins 25th round pick, and like Hurt, most people thought he would be a tough sign, but he did come to terms with the team. Wade is a 21-year-old Australian who signed just a year ago. He spent the winter playing in the Australian Baseball League. After spending two years in the DSL, Jose Ramirez spent 2012 in the GCL where he hit .234.

    TOP PROSPECTS


    1.) Miguel Sano, 2.) Eddie Rosario, 3.) Danny Santana, 4.) Jorge Polanco, 5.) Travis Harrison, 6.) Travis Harrison, 7.) Niko Goodrum, 8.) Levi Michael.

    This prospect list isnít so bad. Sano and Rosario could be future stars. There are five middle infielders on this list that have the potential to be a big league middle infielder if things play out right. Now, most of this talent is in the lower levels of the minor leagues. Thatís why it will be important for Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar will have to be able to man the positions for a couple of years.

    SUMMARY


    There are questions, to be sure, in the Twins big league middle infield. Then again, itís also a big year for Trevor Plouffe. Itís also a contract year for Justin Morneau so it will be curious to see if a big year means a contract extension or a July trade to a contender? The Twins do have several very good minor league infield prospects, so it will be fun to watch how they develop throughout the 2013 season. Offense is what we tend to notice. Managers, coaches, and especially pitchers will also notice the infieldersí defense. Which players will be receiving the most notice as the season progresses?



    If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments Section!
    This article was originally published in blog: Spring Organizational Depth Chart: The Infielders started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I think if Parmelee and Plouffe are playing well that the twins will most likely trade Morneau and Willingham for pitching and middle infield help.....that is if they are playing well.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Seth! That was wonderful. Thank you.
      The Twins don't seem to have any MI that threaten to hit with authority, other than maybe Dozier, until Rosario is ready. Polanco may know how to swing a bat but he is a long way away (and a 2B). This is precisely why I wanted the Twins to try Dozier at SS again. Apparently they have seen enough. OK. If they are sure he's not MLB SS material then I'm sure they're right.

      A lot of us are anxious to have Sano (20 yo), Rosario (21 yo) and Vargas (22 yo) light up Fort Myers this year. How sad is that? A+ ball is a long way from MLB. Alas... We have the outfielders coming on now, MI a couple years behind.
    1. Pitz's Avatar
      Pitz -
      Is Travis Harrison at 5 if he sticks at 3B and at 6 if he has to move over to 1B?? I'm going to guess that maybe you intended to put Vargas in at 6??

      In all seriousness though, thanks for the write up. Appreciate the insight and its nice to get an idea of where everybody is likely at. I'm hoping to catch a couple Kernels games and hopefully a Rock Cats game as well after I move out east this summer.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Agree on the Escobar part, he'll not only hit a bit better than Pedro (although nothing significant), he'll be a better glove as well.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Sano and Rosario could be ready as early as mid-2014. That's not that far off at all. Vargas may move more slowly.

      Yeah, I think I wanted Vargas in there.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      Any chance Colabello could spend a few months in Rochester learning 3b/RF? If he could backup Plouffe and/or platoon with Parmelee in RF he'd be getting darn close to locking in a spot on the 25-man.

      Parmelee would have to have a pretty damn impressive start of the season AND they would have to have another OF tearing it up to make it worth trading Morneau. We've gotten used to about half a season's worth of production from Morneau, so we've kinda forgotten just how good he can be. I like Parm, but he is nowhere near MVP Morneau when he's healthy.

      Plouffe's performance won't really factor in to wether or not they trade Morneau or Willingham, unless they plan to trade one of them for a 3b and send Plouffe to the OF
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by spideyo View Post
      Any chance Colabello could spend a few months in Rochester learning 3b/RF? If he could backup Plouffe and/or platoon with Parmelee in RF he'd be getting darn close to locking in a spot on the 25-man.

      Probably Not.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Based on this list, Sano needs to go back to SS... Who cares if he cannot play defense. (that's a joke)
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      Infield depth? What's that?
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Infield depth? What's that?
      It's the distance from home plate to the outfield grass.
    1. mako83's Avatar
      mako83 -
      Why does everyone insist on trading morneau and willingham. When we would never get what we want for them. Every team wants a cheap player under team control for a long time, neither morneau or willingham count for that.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by mako83 View Post
      Why does everyone insist on trading morneau and willingham. When we would never get what we want for them. Every team wants a cheap player under team control for a long time, neither morneau or willingham count for that.
      IF Morneau is the Morneau we knew from 2006-2010, that's a guy we want, though not at $13-14 million. And, Willingham is worth more than the $7 million he's going to make this year and next. So I absolutely think that they need to get a significant return for Willingham to trade him, otherwise, keep his power in the lineup.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by mako83 View Post
      Why does everyone insist on trading morneau and willingham. When we would never get what we want for them. Every team wants a cheap player under team control for a long time, neither morneau or willingham count for that.
      You have no idea if we'll get what we want for them. We got what we wanted out of Ben Revere and more. Don't underestimate TR or the desperation of 29 other GMs.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by mako83 View Post
      Why does everyone insist on trading morneau and willingham. When we would never get what we want for them. Every team wants a cheap player under team control for a long time, neither morneau or willingham count for that.
      Not every team. You have heard of Ned Colleti's Dodgers, correct?
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by mako83 View Post
      Why does everyone insist on trading morneau and willingham. When we would never get what we want for them. Every team wants a cheap player under team control for a long time, neither morneau or willingham count for that.
      What exactly do Morneau or Willingham bring to the table that ultimately is going to help the Twins back to the playoffs? I think many people feel the Twins won't compete until there are some new players. Since Ryan doesn't want to spend in free agency the only way to get said players is to wait for prospects to develop. Our prospects won't be ready, well enough of them to matter at least, for another two to three years. At that point Morneau will be 34 and Willingham will be 36; well past their primes. Since they won't be helping the Twins for any play off baseball it makes sense to move them for whatever you can get. I also think that they will bring back some nice returns, perhaps not future #1 starters but something nice.
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