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  • Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels Opening Day Roster Preview


    Seth Stohs

    Today, the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels announced their first Opening Day roster as the team’s Low-A affiliate. Who will be starting their season playing their home games at Hammond Stadium?

    The Twins flip-flopped the location of their High-A and Low-A affiliates. Now, the natural progression up the organizational ladder is to move from the Ft. Myers complex to the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. Certainly much simpler than going from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids and back to Ft. Myers.

     

    Let’s get to know their Opening Day roster, starting with the coaching staff.

     

    The Coaching Staff:

     

    Manager: Brian Meyer

    Pitching Coaches: Peter Larson, Carlos Hernandez (Hernandez is currently in Venezuela. Dan Urbina is coaching with the Mussels.)

    Hitting Coach: Derek Shomon

    Coach: Rayden Ogando

     

     

    The Pitchers

     

    LHP: Denny Bentley (22), Brent Headrick (23), Juan Pichardo (22).

    RHP: Steven Cruz (21), Osiris German (22), Sawyer Gipson-Long (23), Regi Grace (21), Bradley Hanner (22), Casey Legumina (23), Hunter McMahon (23), Sean Mooney (23), Miguel Rodriguez (22), Ryan Shreve (22), Matthew Swain (23), Louie Varland (23).

     

    Much of this pitching staff is comprised of pitchers drafted out of college in 2019, making their full season debuts: Gipson-Long (6th), Legumina (8th), Headrick (9th), Mooney (12th), Varland (15th), Shreve (16th), Hanner (21st), Swain (23rd). Bentley, Cruz, German and Rodriguez pitched in Elizabethton in 2019. Bentley pitched two scoreless innings for Triple-A Rochester on the final weekend of the 2019 season. Juan Pichardo pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2019. Regi Grace was the Twins ninth-round pick in 2018 out of high school in Mississippi. Hunter McMahon came to the Twins last year from the Nationals in the Ryne Harper trade.

     

     

    The Catchers

     

    Charlie Mack (21), Jeferson Morales (21), Kyle Schmidt (23).

     

    Kyle Schmidt was part of the Twins developmental camp in spring training. He is a very strong defensive catcher. Mack was the Twins fifth round pick in 2018. He has been making the translation from infielder to catcher. He’s got a smooth, left-handed swing. Morales spent 2018 in the DSL and 2019 in the GCL. He’s not a big guy, but a good athlete behind the plate.

     

     

    The Infielders

     

    Keoni Cavaco (19), Will Holland (23), Edouard Julien (22), Daniel Ozoria (20), Aaron Sabato (21), Yunior Severino (21), Wander Valdez (21).

     

    The past two Twins first-round draft picks find themselves in the Mighty Mussels infield. Aaron Sabato was part of the Twins development camp and played in big-league spring training games. There will be some adjustment to the pro game, but his bat will push him up quickly. Cavaco was the top pick in 2019 and excited to get back on the field. Holland was a top ten round picks in 2019 out of college at Auburn where he teamed with Julien, who is returning from Tommy John surgery. Ozoria came to the Twins in the John Curtiss trade. Severino is still very young and can hit. Valdez is a big lad and has a ton of power potential.

     

     

    The Outfielders

     

    Leobaldo Cabrera (23), Willie Joe Garry (20), Anthony Prato (22), Max Smith (24).

    After a few seasons in the Yankees organization, the Venezuelan Cabrera found himself released. In 2019, he hit seven homers in the Empire League, a non-profit, non-paying developmental league. Their purpose is just this, to provide opportunities for players to get signed by affiliated leagues. Garry, Jr. spent 2019 in Elizabethton. He is a really good athlete with speed and developing power. Max Smith spent four seasons at UNLV and was drafted in 2019. Anthony Prato was a top ten pick from Connecticut in 2019 as an infielder. He's moving to the outfield.

     

     

    INJURED LIST

     

    LHP Erik Cha (23), IF Ruben Santana (23), 2B/OF Alerick Soularie (21), RHP Carlos Suniaga (23), RHP Dylan Thomas (24).

     

    Feel free to ask questions about the Mighty Mussels or any of the players in the comments below.

     

     

    Check out these Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels sites and social media:

     

    Team Website

    Team Store

    Mighty Mussels on Twitter

    Mighty Mussels on Facebook

    Mighty Mussels on Instagram

     

     

    Minnesota Twins 2021 Top 20 Prospects with the Mighty Mussels

     

    8. Aaron Sabato, 1B:.

    7. Keoni Cavaco, SS:

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    Thanks for getting these posted, Seth. So excited to start following these guys who have been all but forgotten for going on two years.

     

    Curious about roster size. You listed 29 players, not including the injured guys. Is that the roster size? Guessing it normally would be 25, is this because of COVID? 

     

    Haven't looked at the Ft. Myers schedule, do they play 6 game series like AA and AAA? Or because of the teams all being near each other will their schedule be more normal?

     

    Excited to see what Soularie does. Hopefully, his injury isn't serious and he can get on the field soon.

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    Thanks Seth! I'm starting my read at low A because it feels natural to do so. Just so damn excited to have milb again and be able to follow the system!

     

    I know/recognize the position players more than the pitchers. I think that's undoubtedly due to the layoff and several of the pitchers only getting brief work in 2019.

     

    My only "concern" here is age. It feels like there are a lot of 22-24yo guys here, which seems a bit older than expected for low A. But again, I would expect the missed 2020 season has a lot to do with that.

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    Thanks Seth! I'm starting my read at low A because it feels natural to do so. Just so damn excited to have milb again and be able to follow the system!

    I know/recognize the position players more than the pitchers. I think that's undoubtedly due to the layoff and several of the pitchers only getting brief work in 2019.

    My only "concern" here is age. It feels like there are a lot of 22-24yo guys here, which seems a bit older than expected for low A. But again, I would expect the missed 2020 season has a lot to do with that.

     

    yes, that's because these guys are a lot of the 2019 draft picks, guys who likely would have been in Low A a year ago. Now they're here a year older. Of course, that doesn't matter even a little bit.

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    Seth-----As others have mentioned, I appreciate your work on this as I'm excited, like others to see baseball again......well at least baseball not being butchered by who's playing in Minneapolis (with the exception of a handful of players.

     

    Was wondering if you could help me (and possibly others out) to the destination for the following players---------Top 30 prospects in Twins organization-------that I got off of mlb.com-----(see below).  I've found all but the following 5 players by reviewing the AAA, AA, High A and Low A rosters you posted today.

     

    Prospect Rank 10:  Misael Urbina-OF

    #18 Edwar Colina- RHP

    #20  Emmanuel Rodriguez-OF

    #25 Marco Raya- RHP

    #29  Danny DeAndre-- SS

     

    Posted on your Wind Surge update, but got 2 trips planned to see Wind Surge-----next week for opening series in Springfield and middle of June (15-16) in Wichita against SF Cards.  I have family in Des Moines area----so only a short 2-hour trip over to Cedar Rapids to see the Kernels, which I hope to make in July.  

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    Was wondering if you could help me (and possibly others out) to the destination for the following players---------Top 30 prospects in Twins organization-------that I got off of mlb.com-----(see below).  I've found all but the following 5 players by reviewing the AAA, AA, High A and Low A rosters you posted today.

     

    Prospect Rank 10:  Misael Urbina-OF

    #18 Edwar Colina- RHP

    #20  Emmanuel Rodriguez-OF

    #25 Marco Raya- RHP

    #29  Danny DeAndre-- SS

     

     

    Colina is on the Twins 60-Day IL with forearm/elbow issues.

     

    Urbina, Rodriguez and Raya are at the Twins complex in Ft. Myers. They'll play for the "GCL" team when it gets to that point. Of course, if needed, they could be promoted to Ft. Myers. Possible, but not likely they would play with the Mussels this year. Depends on need and injuries, etc.

     

    Danny De Andrade will be in the Dominican Summer League, if there is a Dominican Summer League this year. That's kind of still up in the air. 

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    If memory serves, Seth, there wasn't a DSL last summer? That would mean Rodriguez will begin his professional career this summer in the GCL, correct? Is that a first for a player signed as a 16-year old?

     

    If there isn't a DSL this year, do you expect them to bring the dozen or so 16-year olds they signed a few months ago to Fort Myers? COVID sure has changed how teams operated, eh?

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    If memory serves, Seth, there wasn't a DSL last summer? That would mean Rodriguez will begin his professional career this summer in the GCL, correct? Is that a first for a player signed as a 16-year old?

     

    If there isn't a DSL this year, do you expect them to bring the dozen or so 16-year olds they signed a few months ago to Fort Myers? COVID sure has changed how teams operated, eh?

     

    I would think maybe others have skipped the DSL, but it's very rare. 

     

    sounds like just a lot up in the air on the DSL... lots of kids in a small area. It may be limited. 

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    With no 2020 this is the team I am the most interested in.  Tons of guys that we need to figure out where they are at and honestly there are a lot of good players right behind them.  Lot's of competition for fewer spots so I wonder how that is going to work out for senior signs or anyone who starts out slow.  Probably also impacts guys trying to make it from the DSL.  Likely will take them longer to get to the GCL.  Things have changed.

     

    Very happy to see Valdez in this list.  He had a great 2019 and if his bat is for real could be a fast mover. Was worried he might get buried with all the college talent they brought in plus the last year of no MILB baseball.

     

    Also looking to see how Cavaco, Holland and Julien do.  Would be nice to see a third wave developing.  Not that excited about the outfield except for Willie Joe Gary and Soularie once off of injured list.  Sabato doesn't belong down here but I guess if they want him to meet and get input from coaches at all the levels then fine but he looked good this spring just looked like he was having trouble with breaking stuff.

     

    The pitchers here are all intriguing but no idea how they will perform just yet.  There will be tougher competition earlier in with fewer leagues so harder to move up as well.  A ball is going to be different from here on out.  Probably closer to High A than before now that the talent level will be higher.  Should be a fun season I can't wait to see how all these guys turn out.

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