Opening Day Again, Time for the Minors to Shine
There is nothing like the opening day of the Major League season. In my book it is nothing less than a national holiday. Still, the baseball season doesn’t feel official to me until the Minor Leagues are also underway. To that effect we need not wait any longer as the top 4 levels of the Twins farm system will each play their openers tonight.
In the International League, the Rochester Red Wings will take on the Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS) at 7:05 pm EDT.
Probable Starters: RHP Anthony Swarzak (25) vs RHP Alfredo Aceves (28)
There are a number of guys on Rochester’s roster that merit attention this season. In addition to being the first line of reinforcements for the major league club, this roster holds a fair number of legitimate prospects and several key pieces to the future. On the pitching side, all eyes will be on RHP Kyle Gibson, but RHPs Anthony Slama, Alex Burnett, Kyle Waldrop and Carlos Gutierrez all have a chance to make an impact on the Twins bullpen by the end of the year. Slama starts the season on the 7-day DL but should return soon. Offensively, OF Ben Revere and Rene Tosoni are the two players I will be tracking more closely than the rest. Luke Hughes doesn’t have the “prospect” luster but he is intriguing for obvious reasons. I’m also interested to see how Trevor Plouffe recovers from a dreadful spring training performance. A 0.254/.316/.391 hitter over 7 seasons in the minors, Plouffe really needs to take a significant step forward if he’s going to factor in Minnesota’s future. If you are looking for a fun little nugget, all 5 of the outfielders on the Red Wings roster hit left-handed.
Over in the Eastern League, also at 7:05 pm EDT, the New Britain Rock Cats face off against the Richmond Squirrels (SF)
Probable Starters: RHP David Bromberg (23) vs RHP Daryl Maday (25)
Guys I’ll be watching closely on the Rock Cats roster include Bromberg, RHP Liam Hendriks, 1B Chris Parmelee and OF Joe Benson.
In the Florida State League the Fort Myers Miracle will kick of their season against the Jupiter Hammerheads (FLA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm EDT.
Probable Starters: RHP Kane Holbrooks (23) vs LHP Rob Rasmussen (22)
On the Miracle’s roster I’m keeping an extra close eye on Holbrooks, LHP Daniel Osterbrock, RHP Alex Wimmers, RHP Dakota Watts, C Daniel Rams, OF Aaron Hicks and OFAngel Morales.
Finally the Beloit Snappers of the Midwest League will match up with the Quad Cities River Bandits (STL)
Probable Starters: RHP B.J. Hermsen (21) vs RHP Trevor Rosenthal (20)
Beloit’s roster features a number of guys on my personal watch list including LHP Andrei Lobanov, RHP Adrian Salcedo, RHP Manuel Soliman, OF Oswaldo Arcia and OF Daniel Ortiz.
Appalachian League: Elizabethton Twins will open against Bluefield on June 21st
Gulf Coast League: GCL Twins will open against the GCL Orioles on June 21st at 12:00 pm EDT
Dominican Summer League: DSL Twins schedule not published yet