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The Twins, and every other organization, have to announce their 40 man rosters by November 20th. I would guess that the Twins will make their announcement today, probably in the early afternoon.
Please note that much of today’s blog comes from the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook (which is still available and still a great resource as the Hot Stove League is just getting started). I have updated it and added to it since the Twins have made a couple of moves since this was written. For instance, Eric Hacker was added to the 40 man roster. The Twins have no signed any other free agents to 40 man roster spots. In other words, the Twins could choose to add quite a few players to their 40 man roster. Anyway, here is the updated 40 man roster decisions article:
By tomorrow, the Twins will need to set their 40-man roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft. This is one of the bigger events of the offseason, at least for me. This season will be particularly interesting. Free agents, such as Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch, and Carl Pavano, have all been taken off the 40 man roster. Three players ended the season on the 60 Day Disabled List, so they needed to be included in the 40. It is possible that a player or two will be removed from the 40 man roster so that minor leaguers that will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft can be protected. You will need to factor in a couple of things when making these decisions:
1. If a player is not added to the 40 man roster, would he be lost to another team? Along with being drafted, will the player be able to remain on his selecting team’s roster throughout the season?
2. How much depth at any particular position is there? If a player were lost, are there other options at that position?
3. Do you want to protect 40 players, or maybe 39 or even 38 players? If they are below 40, they can add free agents (without removing anyone) and/or make a Rule 5 pick.
The Twins have not had a player selected in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft since Jose Lugo in 2008. In 2007, Tim Lahey was the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft. In each case, they went to the drafting team only to eventually be returned to the Twins because they could not stick with a big league club. The Twins have had some success drafting in the Rule 5. Everyone knows that the Twins acquired Johan Santana through the Rule 5 draft (and a pre-planned trade with the Marlins). The Twins acquired Shane Mack in the Rule 5 draft as well. (That Dan Uggla guy was a pretty nice Rule 5 pick for the Marlins.)
Who Must be Added? Players who signed when they were less than 19 in 2006 must be protected or potentially lost. Players that were signed when they were 19 or older in 2007 also have to be added. Typically, this means that high school players drafted in 2006 are eligible, and college players drafted in 2007. The Twins added Anthony Slama and Ben Revere to their 40 man roster during the 2010 season. They would have had to add them after the season had they not already added them. Revere was drafted out of high school in 2007, but he turned 19 before he signed. Ben Revere and Anthony Slama would have had to be added to the 40 man roster following the season, so there are two less names to consider.
Here are Nine to Note, players that will have to be considered for the 40 man roster, starting with the easy choices. I think it is likely that the Twins will add five or six of these players. (UPDATED NOTE – I have broken these into the Givens, and the Question Marks, and tried to explain why I think that the player may be a Question Mark.)
There is no question in my mind that these guys will be added to the 40 man roster.
David Bromberg, P, 23, Throws: Right
The Twins drafted Bromberg in the 32nd round of the 2005 draft out of high school, but instead of signing, he went to Junior College for a year and signed as a draft-and-follow in 2006. He led the Appalachian League in strikeouts in 2007. In 2008, he led all of minor league baseball in strikeouts. In 2009, he led the Florida State League in strikeouts. He began the 2010 season in New Britain, and he pitched well enough there to earn a promotion to Triple-A Rochester where he more than held his own. Bromberg has a very strong mix of pitches and throws hard enough to be a strong prospect. Adding Bromberg to the 40-man roster is an easy choice.
Joe Benson, OF, 22, Bats: Right, Throws: Right
The Twins used their second round pick in 2006 on a toolsy catcher with great speed and a strong arm. In 2010, those tools started coming together for Joe Benson and he was named the 2010 recipient of the Sherry Robertson Twins Minor League Player of the Year. He his .259/.343/.538 with 31 doubles, eight triples and an organization-leading 27 home runs between Ft. Myers and New Britain (he hit 23 in AA). He stole 19 bases. He is a good defender with plenty of speed for center field and an arm, strong enough for right field. Adding Joe Benson is another given.
Chris Parmelee, 1B/OF, 22, Bats: Left
Parmelee was the Twins first round draft pick in 2006 out of high school in California. In his first three full seasons, he struggled to hit for average, but he did a very good job of taking walks (getting on base) and hitting home runs (slugging percentage). He began the 2010 campaign in Double-A New Britain, but like Joe Benson, he was sent back to Ft. Myers where he regained his hitting skill and his confidence. He returned to the Rockcats and after the All-Star break he hit .316/.397/.428. The power was down but he has the size and potential to become a huge power threat making him an easy choice to add to the 40 man roster.
SUMMARY/UPDATE: There isn’t much to add to this. All three would be lost if they were left unprotected. They would be selected and the drafting team would find a way to keep them on the roster.
THE QUESTION MARKS
Kyle Waldrop, RHP, 24, Throws: Right
Waldrop was the Twins third first round pick in the 2004 draft out of high school. His first year of Rule 5 eligibility was 2008, but he had just missed the entire season after arm surgery. He was able to stay healthy throughout the 2006 season and got back to Double-A where he pitched out of the bullpen. He was invited to big league spring training and made a strong impression. He pitched in the Rochester bullpen. Through June, he had an ERA of just 1.02 in 53 innings. If he were left unprotected, I believe Waldrop would be selected and be able to stay with the drafting team. Therefore, I believe that the Twins will likely add Waldrop to the roster following the World Series (because he would be a six year minor league free agent five days after the World Series ends).
Rene Tosoni, OF, 24, Bats: Left
The Twins drafted Tosoni in the 34th round of the 2004 draft, then after a year in junior college, the Twins drafted him in the 36th round of the 2005 draft. He went back to junior college and signed before the 2006 season. Visa problems kept him from playing until the 2007 season. The Twins had to wait, but Tosoni has been a solid, all-around contributor. He can hit for average, hit for power, is a very good defender and has a very strong arm. It was the arm, however, that caused trouble in 2010. Finally, in mid-June, his season came to an end due to shoulder surgery. If not for that, Tosoni would be an automatic add to the 40 man roster.
Steve Singleton, 2B, 25, Bats: Left
Singleton was eligible for the Rule 5 draft last year and was not selected. Although he hit just .267/.325/.410, how many second baseman have the extra base hitting potential of Singleton? The 25 year old hit an organization-leading 43 doubles, added four triples and seven home runs. He is also a solid defender, capable of playing three infield positions adequately. Like a year ago, expect that Singleton not be selected, but if he were, he could contribute at the big league level.
Tyler Robertson, LHP, 22, Throws: Left
The Twins third round pick in the 2006 draft out of his California high school, Robertson was one of the Twins top prospects following a 2007 season in which he went 9-5 with a 2.29 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 102.1 innings at Beloit. He was 5-3 with a 2.72 ERA in 15 starts at Ft. Myers before being shut down with an arm injury. He remained healthy in 2009 at Ft. Myers and was moved up to New Britain for the 2010 season. A 4-13 record with a 5.41 ERA certainly does not breathe confidence, but the 22 year old still has plenty of potential. The question that must be asked is would he be able to remain on a big league roster if he was drafted?
SUMMARY/UPDATE: Despite his struggles in the Arizona Fall League, I think that Waldrop would be lost to some team. The 24 year old has been terrific the last two years, has a great sinker, is a good fielder and he is still young. He is either big league ready or close enough to big league ready, so I think there is a high likelihood that he would be lost, possibly even one of the first picks. He signed a minor league deal with the Twins a couple weeks ago, but the Twins would still have to protect him to keep him from being eligible for the draft. A year ago, Tosoni would have been a given, but his injury makes it a question mark. He can do pretty much everything, and he is clearly close to being able to play in the big leagues, at least in a platoon role where he would hit only against right-handers. Robertson is a tough one. He is left-handed. His numbers had been at least solid until this year in Double-A, but at 22, his struggles should not be unexpected. I just don’t think that a team would be willing to keep him on their big league roster the full season. I know I am higher on Singleton than most, but 43 doubles, 54 extra base hits, as many walks as strikeouts and solid defense, he could play in the big leagues now, at least in a role. That said, I thought he should have been protected last year and he wasn’t. The Twins may try to sneak him through one more time. If I had to rank them in terms of likelihood of being protected, see the above. I wouldn’t be surprised if any or all of these guys are added. I also wouldn’t be shocked if any of them is not added.
James Beresford, SS/2B, 21, Bats: Left
The Twins signed the Australian as a 16 year old to a Kepler-esque signing bonus. He has slowly worked his way up the Twins ladder. In 2010, he hit .297/.349/.363 with 19 doubles, five triples and a home run. For the second straight year, he was named the MVP of the Beloit Snappers team. In the offseasons, he has played for Australia in international competition. Defensively, Beresford is very good, and he takes charge of the infield. He has the ability to reach the big leagues, however, he will need to gain some weight and strength. He likely would not be drafted in the Rule 5 as he would need to get bigger to last on a big league roster.
Miguel Munoz, RHP, 22, Throw: Right
There are not a lot of real hard throwers in the Twins farm system. Munoz throws a little harder than most Twins pitching prospects, up to 94 with the fastball. In 2010, he made 21 starts for Beloit before moving into the bullpen. By season’s end, he was the closer. Overall, he went 12-7 with a 4.37 ERA.
SUMMARY/UPDATE: I like these two and think each has big league potential depending upon their development (of course). I just don’t think that either would be able to remain on a 40 man roster for an entire season. I would be surprised if either is added. As for the “Others to Consider”, that is where Estarlin de Los Santos was for me last year, and he was added. So, I don’t claim to know anything, just my speculation. But it will be fun to find out who gets added.
Others To Consider – Eliecer Cardenas, Jair Fernandez, Anderson Hidalgo, Steve Hirschfeld, Edgar Ibarra, Danny Lehmann, Josmil Pinto, Chris Province, Yangervis Solarte, .
Others Who Are Eligible – Dustin Martin, Matt Williams, Brandon Roberts, Ryan Mullins, Mark Dolenc, Alexander Soto, Chris Cates, Jonathan Goncalves, Michael McCardell, Jairo Perez, Spencer Steedley, Michael Tarsi, Brad Tippett, Brian Dinkelman.
Alright, there is a lot of information there today. I’d love to hear your thoughts about who you think could or should be added to the 40 man roster today. Check back later today as I hope to be able to post who is actually added to the 40 man roster here. As always, please feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.