Today the Minnesota Twins made their first moves of Spring Training as they work toward finalizing the 25-man roster that they will open the season with in Toronto.
Of the 14 players cut, 7 of them are on the 40-man roster and have been optioned to the minors. David Bromberg, Eric Hacker, Anthony Swarzak and Rene Tosoni will open the season with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. Joining the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats are Joe Benson, Deolis Guerra and Chris Parmelee.
The other half of the 14 were not on the 40-man and have been reassigned to minor league camp. This group includes Yorman Bazardo, Kyle Gibson, Jair Fernandez, Chris Herrmann, Ray Chang, Brian Dozier and Justin Huber.
Of the players optioned, none of them come as a real surprise. I am mildly stunned that Joe Benson has been ticketed to start the season back in New Britain. Last year, with the Rock Cats, he hit 0.251/.336/.527 with 50 XBH in 102 Double-A games. In doing so he proved that he was capable of holding his own at that level. Despite the fact that the organization is very deliberate with the movements of their prospects, and despite the fact that he has aspects of his game to work on – including an improvement of his SO/BB rate – Triple-A seemed like the logical step. Obviously, I have no idea when it will happen, but I am confident that he will make his way to Rochester at some point this spring or summer. I also believe that there is a real possibility that Benson will make his major league debut, perhaps as a September call-up, later this year.
With regard to the “second seven” Kyle Gibson is obviously the one to watch while the other six players are just organizational filler. For Gibson and the Twins it’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when” he makes his debut. If he is healthy all season and that debut doesn’t come until 2012, it will be a very good sign. In that scenario, the Twins are almost assuredly wrapping up another AL Central division title.