14 Invited to Spring Training

8 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Each spring, all players from the 40 man roster are required to report to big league training camp. Teams are also able to invite players not on their 40 man roster to camp. This afternoon, the Twins announced that they have invited 14 players to Major League training camp, four pitchers and ten hitters. Here are my thoughts. Feel free to add yours.

The Pitchers

  • Jose Lugo – Lefty reliever throws 94 mph with a very good slider. Too many walks, but I think we will see him in 2009.
  • Mike Maroth – Lefty who throws about 64 mph with speeds that are even slower than that. 32 year old hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2007. He has zero chance of pitching with Twins, but wants just one more chance, and if he can contribute at Rochester, that would be great… and surprising.
  • Anthony Slama – No question here. Obviously he’ll start in the Rochester bullpen, but he could be ready soon.
  • Kyle Waldrop – Waldrop was the third first round pick of the Twins in 2004 out of his school in Tennessee. After missing all of 2008 with a shoulder injury, he came back in 2009 and pitched well in Ft. Myers and better in New Britain.

The Catchers

  • Jair Fernandez – Teams have a lot of pitchers in spring training. They need a bunch of catchers.
  • Danny Lehmann – Defense on par with Drew Butera. Offense on par with 2009 Mike Redmond.
  • Danny Rams – Tremendous power, when he makes contact. Struck out a ton at E-Town in 2008. Dominated E-Town in 2009. Moved up to Beloit. Struck out a ton. He’s got a long way to go, but huge power potential. And a strong arm.

The Infielders -

  • Chris Parmelee – Another solid year for Parmelee in terms of power and walks, but he also struck out a little less and hit for more average than previously. He showed good improvement.
  • Brock Peterson – played very little in Rochester’s first two months. Didn’t hit. Played nearly every day the rest of the way and was the Red Wings best hitter. He became 6-year minor league free agent, but the former 49th round pick signed back with the Twins.
  • Steve Singleton – After promotion to New Britain, he really hit well. Singleton plays a very solid 2B, but he also has good pop in his bat. A year from now, I think he’ll be the frontrunner for Twins 2B for 2011.

The Outfielders

  • Brian Dinkelman – Doubles hitting machine, it’s no surprise he’s on this list. It is surprising that in the Twins press release, he was listed, by the Twins, as an OF. He has played mainly 2B in his minor league career. Only after Singleton was promoted to New Britain did Dinkelman start playing primarily LF.
  • Juan Portes – A nice, surprising add, Portes had struggled in two seasons in Ft. Myers. 2009 was a big year for him. He moved up to New Britain and played very well, hitting .300 much of the season. He can also play 3B and 2B.
  • Ben Revere – 2007 top pick has made the Twins scouting group look great so far. If he hits .300 in 2010, he could be in the 2011 plans too!
  • Rene Tosoni – Twins high on this talented, left-handed hitting Canadian. He does pretty much everything well, except hit lefties. That said, he could be ready in a platoon role later in 2010.

My general thoughts – This list makes sense to me. I’m sure there are some guys that could also be added. I would be very surprised if even one of these 14 started the season with the Twins without some strange scenario happening. Guys like Jose Lugo, Anthony Slama, Brock Peterson and Rene Tosoni could see time with the Twins in 2010. The team has more ‘prospects’ on this list than normal. It gives the coaching staff three or four extra weeks to see guys that could compete for big league roster spots in 2011. In fact, a few of them could be September call-ups.

Any thoughts on any of the selections? If you have any questions or comments, please comment here.

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21 Responses to “14 Invited to Spring Training”

  1. Rick January 8, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    I always wondered how a guy like Maroth could win in the big leagues. But I would think his numbers against the Twins are scary. He always pitched well against the Twins. Another soft tossing lefty that the Twins could never figure out even if the rest of the league could.

  2. sam January 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    no winfree?

  3. TT January 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    Whose missing?

    I am surprised Dustin Martin is not on the list. I expected he wold compete with Pridie for the 4th outfielder position. Apparently not. And it is hard to see any of the outfielders on that list taking that spot either. Can Tosoni play center field in the major leagues? It looks like any competition for Pridie is going to come from outside the organization.

    I am more mildly surprised that Matt Fox didn’t get a look. Same with Carlos Guttierez. I would have thought they would have at least given the coaches a good look at Guttierez. It would seem neither of those guys are seen as on the depth chart for 2010. I am also a bit surprised Gibson didn’t have an invite in his contract.

  4. sam January 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    TT.. gibson needs to play in camp not sit the bench. twins have signed more players..

  5. TT January 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Sam -

    The minor league camp doesn’t start until mid-March, so minor league players can get a look and then be sent over the minor league area when they start up. I thought the story on Gibson was that he was close to major league ready. Maybe not that close.

  6. mike January 9, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    Seems this must be a wakeup call to Dustin Martin, doesn’t it?

    • Han Joelo January 9, 2010 at 9:27 am #

      Wake up call or kick in the guts. This is one of those things about prospects I find interesting–we have access to all these stats, but less often to general scouting reports on make-up. I mean, does Martin need a wakeup call? Is he a jerk that doesn’t listen?

      Didn’t he go down to the VWL and play pretty well?

      • TT January 9, 2010 at 9:54 am #

        A couple things we do know.

        Winter ball stats are not given very much weight. The competition is uneven at best and the sample size is small.

        Martin actually played very little center field in Rochester – he was mostly a corner outfielder. So if he isn’t good enough to share the position with Pridie at Rochester, its not surprising he isn’t going to be able to compete with Pridie for a major league backup spot.

        Portes, like Martin, played all three outfield positions. He also played 18 games at third base (none at second). I think his bat has a lot more promise than Martins.

        I am surprised Dinkelman is on the list. His bat seems to be his only major league tool.

        I suspect both Portes and Dinkelman are there to provide outfielders for split squads. Both of them are offense-oriented players looking for a position. But there must be some reason they are on the roster and Martin isn’t. These may be organizational awards for guys they want to keep around.

  7. Han Joelo January 9, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    TT–
    Thanks. Even though winter league stats aren’t that important, I was just looking at it from the effort standpoint. Again, its not that I think Martin is the answer, or even has a chance, I am more just generally curious as to the ‘inner’ workings and why a guy like him doesn’t get a chance.

    But I suspect the players know more than we do–who is a hard worker, who listens to coaches, etc. So like you said, these invites are a sort of ‘organizational reward,’ in some instances.

    Its easy to forget these guys are very young men, often without a lot of education or perhaps life experience outside of baseball. Guys like Tosoni and Revere seem to get it (in addition to playing pretty darn well.)

  8. Don Stevens January 9, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    More than likely Portes is not ready for the Big Shw this year, but it sounds like his versatility and speed may make him a Twins option in near future. Maybe replace Nick in that role if Portes can hit ML pitching.

    • TT January 9, 2010 at 11:36 am #

      Don -

      Portes did not play second base or shortstop at all last year even in the minor leagues. Punto is/was a plus major league defender at both positions, in addition to playing third base. Portes might take Harris’s role.

  9. Seth January 9, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Lots of very good discussion going on here. Keep it going. I thought I’d way in on several of the topics coming in.

    Han – did you see how bad Martin was in 2009? I was hopeful for him through about April when he just stopped hitting. I’m told his defense is sub-par, and he isn’t a big league CF option.

    Agree with the comments about winter leagues. I’ts just getting more at bats, more experience, and such. Obviously you prefer they do well than not, but Twins maanagement isn’t going to make any big league decisions based on 5-6 weeks against less than big league talent.

    In reality, 90% of the roster spots are determined already. It’s based on what they did for the full season in 2009, informaiton on their makeup, ability to handle struggles, and how ready they are for the next level. If they’re not ready, they’ll bring in a minor league veteran to play at the next level so they don’t rush people. It’s a strategy that has worked.

    Tosoni has played CF, but he’s really a RF, although I would like to see him get AB’s in LF this year.

    Portes only played OF and 3B in 2009. He was a middle infielder his first couple of years in the minors, but has since become a play-everywhere type. Defensively in the infield, he’s describes as OK, certainly nowhere near Punto-like on defense.

    I like the “prospects’ that were added. It’s a good list of deserving players. I think we make too much of who is and who isn’t added. Remember that in those first three weeks before minor league camp opens, the starters get one or two at bats, and so it’s good to have these guys get at bats. It’s a good opportunity for them to play in front of the coaching staff. It’s not like they’re competing for big league spots. However, they are being evaluated to see how close they are to being ready if there is an injury later in the season.

    I wouldn’t have minded seeing Fox and Mullins there too, but they’ll get their innings in 2010.

  10. Bryz January 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Seth, 2 questions:

    1. For Jose Lugo, shouldn’t that say 2010, not 2009?

    2. Were you making a joke when you said Maroth throws 64 MPH? Did you mean 84?

    Ok, that was 3, whatever.

  11. David January 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Seth,

    A bit off topic, but any word on how Valencia is doing in Venezuela?

  12. roger January 9, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    Hi Seth,

    It is interesting that for some, the winter leagues are meaningless. Then again, the Twins were very specific that they wanted Valencia to play winter ball. hmmh!

    Following Lugo this winter, if my memory serves me right he was used pretty much as a very effective left handed specialist earlier in the winter season. The Twins might just like to have someone like that around if the need is there in May-June-July.

  13. TT January 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    “It is interesting that for some, the winter leagues are meaningless.”

    Roger -

    Who said the winter leagues were meaningless? They give players a chance to play in real games where the outcomes are meaningful to their bosses. That is not the case in the minor leagues where player development is emphasized.

    What is pretty much meaningless is the results. At least Valencia better hope so. A .207 batting average isn’t going to get him a job in the big leagues. For people who are interested here is a link to results for the Twins players in winter leagues:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=min

  14. Greg January 10, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    Good list of prospects to bring into camp. Seth, I don”t think the Twins bring someone in to just brin in Like Maroth.
    either they seem as a starter or LH reliever..

    See what happens your always though on target.

    Win Twins!

  15. Seth January 10, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Yeah, I don’t know where I said that winter leagues were meaningless. I would say that the stats themselves aren’t terribly important. TT put that well. Again, the Twins want their players to play in the winter leagues to gain more and more experience. But for the most part, they have already made their roster decisions and won’t base that on their stats in the small sample size.

  16. Jim H January 10, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    It would be interesting to know the reasoning behind who is invited to spring training and who is not. Why Peterson ove Lis or Robbins for instance. I would have thought they might want to take a look at Guerra or Fox. Still I think that Seth is right, sometimes people are invited as a reward for working hard, doing the right things, showing progress or improvement etc. Most everyone who has made it as far AA is really only a phone call away from the majors, depending on need and who is in the right place at the right time.

    In spring training there is a need for extra bodies and while there are certainly reasons why some are invited and others are not, it is not necessarily a slight not to be invited.

  17. TT January 10, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    “Why Peterson ove Lis or Robbins for instance. ”

    That is an easy one, I am sure Peterson was promised an invite when he re-signed as a free agent. That is pretty common with any six-year free agent signing.

    I am not sure I agree entirely with Seth that winter ball doesn’t have an impact on roster decisions. Teams occasionally pick up marginal players based on what they do in winter ball. But its scouting reports, not statistics, that get teams’ attention. For their own players, they already have extensive scouting reports so its going to take something pretty dramatic to change a player’s standing in the organization.

  18. Joel Thingvall January 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

    Lugo showed some interest last year by others. Doesn’t hurt to invote him…another lefty. As is Maroth. If nothing else, both could play in the wings (Red Wings). Hey, the Twins had Bud Smith sitting around rehabbing one season, too.

    Guerra is coming to spring training — he’s on the 40-Man!

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