The last time Ft. Myers fans saw Doug Mientkiewicz in a Miracle uniform, he was leading the team to the 2014 Florida State League championship. He was moved up to Chattanooga where he helped the Lookouts to the 2015 Southern League championship. In 2017, he is back in his home state of Florida with the Miracle. In his four seasons as a minor league manager, he has an impressive 312-239 record.
With the retirement of Jim Dwyer, the Miracle will have a new hitting coach for the first time since 2006. Dwyer had been a coach in the Twins system dating back to 1991. Steve Singleton takes over as the team’s new hitting coach after spending 2016 with the GCL Twins. He reached AAA with the Twins during his six seasons as a player in the organization. Henry Bonilla will be in his second season as the team’s pitching coach. It is his sixth season as a coach in the organization. He pitched in the Twins organization for seven minor league seasons.
Here is a look at the Ft. Myers Miracle Opening Day roster. 16 of the players spent at least some time with the Miracle last year. One player, Randy Rosario, is on the 40-man roster.
Catchers: Kevin Garcia, Brian Navarreto, AJ Murray (DL),
Infielders: Trey Vavra, Zander Wiel, Luis Arraez, Sean Miller, Nelson Molina, Alex Perez, Chris Paul, Brian Olson (DL),
Outfielders: Daniel Kihle, Max Murphy, Rafael Valera
Starting Pitchers: Randy LeBlanc, Dereck Rodriguez, Cody Stashak, Keaton Steele, Lachlan Wells, Andro Cutura (DL-elbow), Henry Centeno (DL)
Relief Pitchers: Sam Clay, Jonny Drozd, Anthony McIver, Alex Muren (DL), Williams Ramirez, Randy Rosario, Michael Theofanopoulos, Todd Van Steensel, Nick Anderson (DL), Cameron Booser (DL), Michael Cederoth (DL), Henry Centeno (DL)
2B - Luis Arraez
SS - Nelson Molina
1B - Trey Vavra
DH - Zander Wiel
3B - Chris Paul
CF - Daniel Kihle
RF - Max Murphy
C - AJ Murray
LF - Rafael Valera
- Luis Arraez - He can flat-out hit. He has hit everywhere he’s played, including the Venezuelan Winter League. His .347 average led the Midwest League a year ago.
- Lachlan Wells - The Australian posted a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts (71.1 innings) as a 19-year-old last year. Pitched for Team Australia in the WBC.
- Randy Rosario - Rosario has a strong showing in big league spring training, but he was also moved to the bullpen full time and will start with the Miracle.
- Cody Stashak - Not a big guy, but Stashak just gets the job done well. He sits 91-92 with a fastball. He has good control of three good pitches. Under-the-radar prospect.
- Nelson Molina - had a breakout season in 2016, hitting .300 with a strong OBP in Cedar Rapids.
STORIES TO WATCH
- The Australian starter Lachlan Wells will be fun to watch. Wells is 20. He put up strong numbers as a 19-year-old in Cedar Rapids. Wells, along with fellow Australian (who should pitch for the Miracle sometime in 2017) could be Top 10 Twins prospects by season’s end. And who knows, maybe Todd Van Steensel will help secure a couple of their wins.
- What can Luis Arraez do in the Florida State League. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but will he continue to be able to post incredible batting average with the bigger ballparks? As a prospect, however, he’ll have to improve his defense. But again, the batting average will be something to watch.
- Alex Muren missed the entire 2016 season due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. He will start the season on the DL, but he’s one reliever who could advance quickly to Chattanooga when ready and needed. The same can be said of Van Steensel and Randy Rosario.
- A lot was made of Tyler Jay’s move to the bullpen. The club’s decision to move Randy Rosario was made less than a week earlier, and Rosario was happy about that. Before spring training, the organization also decided to move another left-handed starter, Sam Clay, to the bullpen. He was a reliever in college and really struggled with command. He should see an improvement in stuff and velocity with the move, but he’ll have to improve his control.
- Dereck Rodriguez was the Twins 6th round pick in 2011 out of high school. He spent three years as a hitter. He has now spent the last three seasons as a pitcher, the last two as a starter. He moved up to Ft. Myers for the final two months of last season, and then he pitched out of the bullpen throughout the offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Can he take a step forward on the mound again in 2017? Enough for the Twins to add him to the 40-man roster after the season?
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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