Minnesota Twins 2013 Minor League Preview


Terry Ryan has put a lot of effort into improving the Farm System. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

While the Twins’ season has started already, the Twins’ Minor League season starts today (4/4).  If you have followed Puckett’s Pond through the Winter, you might be familiar with some of the prospect coverage that we have provided.  In an effort to keep our eye of the future, while covering the present, I will be sharing Minor League thoughts every Monday morning.

I plan to highlight some of the best performances, keep track of injuries and promotions and give a nice big picture overview of the future of the Minnesota Twins.  This coverage will be prospect focused, so don’t expect a lot of Brandon Boggs and Shairon Martis updates.

Today, I want to give some background information about the Twins’ Minor League affiliates and some players to keep an eye on as you peruse box scores and potentially plan trips to go watch these young, exciting players.

What to Watch

Rochester Red Wings – AAA

Rochester probably has the fewest notable names, but also the most future Twins.  Many players at Rochester are Major League and Minor League veterans, and many are called upon when injuries hit the MLB team.  Many prospects spend relatively small amounts of time at AAA, especially if they play well at the level.

This season, there are three notable prospects in Rochester.  Oswaldo Arcia has accelerated his timetable by raking at every level.  He had nothing more to prove in AA and will spend at least the first half of the season as Rochester’s right fielder.  He’ll be joined in Rochester’s outfield by Joe Benson, who is going to do his best to remain a prospect.  Kyle Gibson will be a part of the Red Wings’ rotation.

There are a few other names to keep an eye on.  Chris Herrmann spent September with the Twins and should split his time in Rochester behind the plate and in the outfield.  Chris Colabello might be the best story in baseball if he can earn a call to Minnesota.  Samuel Deduno, Deolis Guerra, Rich Harden and Rafael Perez could all be a part of the Twins roster at some point, should they recover from injuries.  Pedro Hernandez will be in the Rochester rotation.  You may remember him as part of the Francisco Liriano trade.  He’ll be looking to build on a relatively successful minor league career.  Finally, Anthony Slama was annexed to Rochester for life and Brian Dinkelman is a silly name.

New Britain Rock Cats – AA

New Britain’s rotation should be of great interest to Twins fans.  Both Trevor May and Alex Meyer will spend their seasons pitching for the Rock Cats.  Both have a ton of promise and a ton to work on.  Both players could conceivably end their seasons in Minnesota, however a Rochester call-up would be encouraging enough for me.  Both pitchers should rack up strikeouts, but watch their walk rates because that will be the key stat for each pitcher.

Danny Santana will be New Britain’s shortstop.  With a strong season, he could be looking at contending for that same position in 2014 with the Twins.  Michael Tonkin will serve in New Britain’s bullpen and could move all the way to Minnesota with a strong 2013 season.  B.J. Hermsen should join the New Britain rotation after recovering from injury.  Daniel Ortiz is interesting, and will patrol New Britain’s outfield.  Other than those names, New Britain is not currently packed with prospects.  At least not yet…

Fort Myers Miracle – A+

I’d expect a few of the names mentioned in this section to end their seasons in New Britain.

Uber-prospect Miguel Sano will play third base in Fort Myers this season.  Sano has elite power but needs to work on his defense.  He is a mountain of a man (not fat, just big) and may need to move to first base or right field.  It does not matter where he plays, as his power will carry him to Minnesota one day.  A big season in High A could get him there quicker than originally anticipated.

Joining Sano in the Ft. Myers’ infield is his promotion-mate Eddie Rosario.  Rosario is still working to fully transition to second base, but clearly has the offensive portion of his game in order.  The powerful Kennys Vargas will play first for the Miracle.  He is older for a prospect, but has huge size and power of his own.  Once he is recovered from injury, Levi Michael should take over as the shortstop in this talented infield.

The rotation is filled with interesting pitchers, headlined by DJ Baxendale, the Twins’ 10th round pick in last June’s draft.  Baxendale will try to prove that he can remain a starter, as he moves up the organizational ladder.  The rest of the rotation consists of Madison Boer, Matthew Summers, Jason Wheeler and Tom Stuifbergen, each worth keeping an eye on this season.  In addition, the talented Adrian Salcedo is working back to his early prospect form and Zack Jones should be firing bullets in the bullpen.

Cedar Rapids Kernels – A

Oh my.  Hold on a second.  I’m gonna need…

Ok.  This roster is loaded with prospects.  I don’t want to write three thousand words here, so we’re moving to bullet points:

This roster is loaded.  I know I said that already, but it’s just loaded.  LOADED!  And, it’s only about four hours South of the Twin Cities to Cedar Rapids.  Plan a trip, this team will be very fun to watch.  If you can’t, just check back every Monday as I’m sure I’ll devote much of my coverage to this awesome roster.

More Players!

In addition, some players are held out of these levels and participate in extended Spring Training.  This is reserved for younger players and injured players who aren’t quite ready for a full season of games.  There are always players who move from Extended Spring to low A during the season, and I’ll make sure those updates are included.

After the June draft, the rookie ball teams start their seasons.  The Twins have two rookie teams, the Elizabethton Twins in the Appalachian League and the Gulf Coast Twins in the Gulf Coast League.  Those seasons start in late June and play through August.  Once those games start, I’ll add those players to the updates.

Speaking of the draft, it starts on June 6, and the Twins have the 4th overall pick.  I’ll be writing profiles of some of the players I think the Twins will be interested in at that spot.  In addition, I’m going to be writing about 25 Twins’ drafts in 25 days, leading up to that June 6 draft date.  This should be a fun way to review Twins’ drafts of the past while getting amped up for the 2013 draft.

I am looking forward to sharing the Minor League side of baseball with each of you.  If you have any suggestions or resources to share with me, please feel free to list them in the comments below.