On Tuesday morning, the Minnesota Twins brass made its second wave of roster cuts. Five pitchers were optioned, and in doing so, there should now be a lot more clarity in the Twins starting rotation. However, it also starts providing clarity on the Rochester and Chattanooga starting staffs when their seasons get started later this month.The Twins optioned left-handers Adalberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves, right-handed starter Aaron Slegers and right-handed reliever John Curtiss to AAA-Rochester. In addition, right-hander Fernando Romero was optioned to AA-Chattanooga.
The surprise in the bunch of options was certainly Mejia who many thought would at least be given a shot to begin the season as a starter in the Twins Opening Day rotation, as he was a year ago. However, the Lance Lynn signing assured that Mejia would start the season in Rochester. And like the other starters optioned on Tuesday, the reality is that they need to go to minor league camp so that they can get stretched out and be ready to make starts when the minor league seasons start.The Twins Rotation
- RHP Ervin Santana (DL)
- RHP Jose Berrios
- RHP Jake Odorizzi
- RHP Lance Lynn
- RHP Kyle Gibson
- RHP Phil Hughes
As we know, Ervin Santana will start the season on the disabled list. We still don't know who will be the Twins Opening Day starter, not that it is terribly important. We know that Lance Lynn will join Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson in the Twins rotation. However, Tuesday's transactions also indicate that if the Twins are to start the season with a fifth starter, it would likely be Phil Hughes, who could also shift to long-relief if they do decide to go with four starters.The Red Wings Rotation
With the Twins rotation fairly well determined and the Tuesday transactions, the AAA-Rochester rotation is coming into focus too.
- LHP Adalberto Mejia
- LHP Stephen Gonsalves
- RHP Aaron Slegers
- RHP Felix Jorge
- LHP Dietrich Enns
- RHP Myles Jaye
While there aren't any lefties in the Twins projected starting rotation, they have several southpaws in their Rochester rotation. Mejia would likely be the first to get called back up to the Twins when there is a need, especially early in the season. Slegers and Jorge each made a couple of starts for the Twins in 2017. While Slegers is closer to really being big-league ready, Jorge is quite talented as well. Enns came over from the Yankees and he made one start for the Twins before getting injured. Gonsalves is the big prospect in this group. By midseason, he could be the guy that the Twins would go to if there is a need. Myles Jaye made a few starts for the Tigers last year, and he remains a non-roster guy in Twins camp.The Lookouts Rotation
And as the Red Wings rotation is coming into focus, we're also getting closer to a Lookouts rotation in Chattanooga.
- RHP Fernando Romero
- RHP Zack Littell
- RHP Kohl Stewart
- LHP Lewis Thorpe
- RHP Ryan Eades
- RHP Randy LeBlanc
Fernando Romero made a strong impression in Twins camp again this year, throwing eight no-hit, scoreless innings. While some might be tempted to fast track him to the Twins bullpen, the team is wisely keeping him on a starter's track. They will also continue to take care of his arm. Littell was the MiLB.com starting pitcher of the year in 2017 and also made a good first impression in big league camp. He'll return to the Lookouts where he ended the 2017. Kohl Stewart is sticking with baseball, and if healthy, I would expect to see him take a step forward in 2018. Lewis Thorpe was added to the 40-man roster this year. He spent the second half of 2017 in Ft. Myers and made one start for the Lookouts.
Ryan Eades is at minor league spring training working out as a starter. Randy LeBlanc made the trip between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga approximately 327 times during the 2017 season. Depending upon whether the Lookouts go with five of six starters in their rotation, one or both of them could be considered.
We could continue down this path to project the starting staffs for Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids, but frankly, at this point, there are a lot of options. Some decisions will depend on injuries and players returning and the roles they could be used in early in the season versus later in the season when innings become a question.
Also, the guys who start the year at Rochester and Chattanooga have a legitimate shot at pitching in the big leagues in 2018.Click here to view the article