2009 Opening Day Rosters

6 Apr

also available at http://www.SethSpeaks.net

First things first… HAPPY OPENING DAY, Everyone! If you’re curious my thought on the Twins record, and where they will stand in the AL Central at season’s end, or what my Three Keys to the Success of the 2009 Twins, click here to go to the Twins BaseballDigest.com page.


Today is Opening Day! Tonight the Twins will take on the Mariners. Francisco Liriano will face Felix Hernandez and the Ichiro-less Mariners. Let the season begin!


But since I last blogged here, the Twins have finalized their 2009 Opening Day roster. There have also been reports on the Opening Day rosters of the Twins affiliates, whose seasons begin later this week. I thought posting each of the team’s rosters in one place would give people a good place to discuss the teams and who is playing where. I know a lot of people are frustrated with the conservative approach the Twins have decided to take with many of their prospects. In many cases, I agree with you. However, I also saw the Twins push a few of their prospects a few years ago unnecessarily and it may not have helped them. For instance, Trevor Plouffe was pushed a level a year despite maybe not being ready to move up early in his career. How would his minor league career look if he had spent a season in Extended Spring training? What if he would have repeated at Beloit? I’m certain you could name your examples. Secondly, they aren’t conservative with all prospects. Somehow Rene Tosoni has been pushed the last two years.


Anyway, here are the rosters of the five teams. Please again note that these are not final rosters and they are subject to change based on injury or other decisions. Please discuss:


Minnesota Twins:

Starters: Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, RA Dickey (Scott Baker)

Bullpen: Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain, Craig Breselow, Matt Guerrier, Luis Ayala, Philip Humber, Brian Duensing (Pat Neshek, Boof Bonser)

Catchers: Mike Redmond, Jose Morales (Joe Mauer)

Infield: Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Joe Crede, Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, Brian Buscher

Outfield: Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gomez, Delmon Young, Denard Span, Jason Kubel


·         The Scott Baker injury meant both RA Dickey and Brian Duensing would make the roster.

·         I’ve said all along that I thought sending Matt Tolbert to AAA was for the best. He will be a utility player for the Twins, but he missed significant time in 2008 and could afford to go to Rochester to play every day, and in many positions.

·         The Twins didn’t have many questions coming into spring training and the ones they had, answered themselves.


Rochester Red Wings:

Starters: Anthony Swarzak, Kevin Mulvey, Jason Jones, Bobby Keppel, Mike Gosling (Ben Hendrickson)

Bullpen: Sean Henn, Tim Lahey, Ben Julianel, Carmen Pignatiello, Armando Gabino, Reid Santos, Jose Mijares.

Catchers: Drew Butera, Jeff Christy

Infield: Brock Peterson, Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes, Matt Macri, Alejandro Machado (Justin Huber)

Outfield: Jason Pridie, Dustin Martin, David Winfree, Tommy Watkins



·         UPDATED NOTE – Just heard that the Red Wings rotation will be Swarzak, Mulvey, Jones and… Reid Santos and Carmen Pignatiello.

·         I don’t know who the 5th starter will be. My assumption was Gosling since he was sent down early, maybe he could be extended.

·         That’s a lot of lefties in the bullpen, with Ben Julianel the oldest by far.

·         I was thinking Rochester would have more prospects in 2009 after their veteran-plagues 2008 season. There are still a lot of veterans. It is a good mix. I don’t fully understand bringing in the excess lefty arms and keeping them all when there are at least two guys at New Britain that are likely ready for AAA.

·         I also am wondering the value of Tommy Watkins on this roster. He is a tremendous person, great teammate and wonderful ambassador for the game and the team. However, this roster has so many players that can play multiple positions. Tolbert, Peterson, Hughes and Machado can all play the OF too.  


New Britain Rockcats:

Starters: Jeff Manship, Jay Rainville, Cole Devries, Ryan Mullins, Matt Fox

Relievers: Rob Delaney, Anthony Slama, Zach Ward, Frank Mata, Jose Lugo, Yohan Pino

Catchers: Wilson Ramos, Allen de San Miguel

Infield: Whit Robbins, Brian Dinkelman, Steve Tolleson, Danny Valencia, Erik Lis, Yancarlos Ortiz, Toby Gardenhire

Outfield: Matt Moses, Juan Portes, Brandon Roberts, Rene Tosoni, Joe Gaetti



·         Delaney, Slama and Ward – That is a pretty dominant back end of a bullpen. All three could be in AAA by midseason, a couple maybe even to the big leagues.

·         The Twins are incredibly slow and/or conservative with promoting prospects, except for Rene Tosoni who skipped Low A ball in 2008, and despite missing most of the season, is now promoted to AA.

·         There are a couple of guys on this list that I personally think could or should be at AAA (especially Tolleson), but I have also learned a lot from following the Twins system. There have been a lot of players who have had good years at AA, and when they started the following season back at New Britain, they really struggled and soon after, they were out of the system. Examples include Danny Matienzo, Luis Maza and Kevin West, but there are others. In the end, I’ve learned that if they are truly prospects, they should perform in 2009 and earn that promotion to AAA.

·         That said, I expect that Manship, Delaney, Tolleson and Valencia will not be in AA real long.

·         Huge year for Matt Moses!


Ft. Myers Miracle:

Starters: Deolis Guerra, Tyler Robertson, Alex Burnett, Mike McCardell, Carlos Gutierrez

Relievers: David Bromberg, Blair Erickson, Santos Arias, Steve Hirschfeld, Oswaldo Sosa, Stencer Steedley, Kyle Waldrop, Matt Williams, (Loek Van Mil)

Catchers: Danny Lehmann, Jair Fernandez

Infield: Chris Parmelee, Steve Singleton, Deibinson Romero, Yangervis Solarte, Chris Cates, Danny Berg, Estarlin de Los Santos, Rene Leveret

Outfield: Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Mark Dolenc


·         I had heard rumblings that the Twins could consider moving Guerra to New Britain so he didn’t repeat the same level for the third time, but he’s just so young that I think this is the right move.

·         Many think that Tyler Robertson should be in New Britain. Well, let’s not forget that he did miss most of the 2nd half of 2008. Spending an extra couple of months in Ft. Myers will not hurt him at all.

·         Mike McCardell should have been in Ft. Myers in 2008. Carlos Gutierrez was, after signing with the Twins, but in the bullpen. Now, he will attempt to be a starter again.

·         David Bromberg should be starting too. I mean, he did lead minor league baseball in strikeouts. I just can’t see him starting over all of the five I’ve listed.

·         Great to see Kyle Waldrop is back after missing all of the 2008 season. He will start the season in the Miracle bullpen, just to get some work in, but you have to assume he will be moved back to a starting rotation at some point.

·         Parmelee and Benson are with the Miracle. It will be fun to see how well they do.

·         What happens if Ben Revere gets off to a ‘normal player’ start?


Beloit Snappers:

Starters: Shooter Hunt, Brad Tippett, Dan Osterbrock, Bobby Lanigan, Michael Allen

Relievers: Steve Blevins, Danny Rondon, Henry Reyes, Joe Testa, Thomas Wright, Danny Hernandez (Curtis Leavitt, Blake Martin, Michael Tarsi, Brian Kirwan)

Catchers: Alexander Soto, Eli Tintor

Infield: Jonathan Waltenbury, Henry Sanchez, Dominic de la Osa, Ramon Santana, James Beresford, Nick Romero, Nathan Hanson (Drew Thompson, Paul Kelly, Juan Richardson)

Outfield: Ozzie Lewis, Angel Morales, Evan Bigley, Michael Harrington, Adan Severino 



·         I can’t believe there are people who think that Shooter Hunt should start the season with the Miracle. After what he did at Beloit in 2008, staying here to start the season is exactly where he should be.

·         This is a really impressive starting staff. Literally all four of them could be promoted during the season. Michael Allen could be a big-time sleeper.

·         Strange that Eli Tintor is with Beloit, but a transition back to behind the plate means a lot of work for him. Also, it will be good to have a veteran backstop to help Soto but also to work with this talented pitching rotation.

·         Glad to see Angel Morales starting the season in Beloit. Bigley and Harrington should perform well also. 2008 was a lost year for Lewis, so it will be interesting to see what the talented athlete is able to do in 2009.

·         Of course the biggest thing people will want to talk about is that Aaron Hicks will start the season in Extended Spring Training. So many forget that Ben Revere started the 2008 season at Extended Spring, but a little over a month later, he was moved to Beloit. Reports indicate that Hicks is a more well-rounded player than Revere, but he is also so young and it won’t hurt him to spend a little more one-on-one time in Ft. Myers before starting his season.

·         Let’s be honest, there are a couple of roster spots at each level that are likely to be available a month into the season, so there could be a trickle up affect as well


Anyway, there is a list of the rosters of the Twins and their affiliates, with a couple of my thoughts. What else are you thinking?  Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.


15 Responses to “2009 Opening Day Rosters”

  1. Dwade April 6, 2009 at 1:39 am #

    Paradoxically, if Guerra gets off to another slow start, I’d promote him. This is his third year at that level, and while the Twins love players who move up the ladder one rung at a time after proving they are capable at lower levels, I’d like to see what he can do with a challenge.

  2. Travis April 6, 2009 at 6:44 am #

    where is eddie ovalle

  3. Travis Aune April 6, 2009 at 7:16 am #

    looking through the rosters there are some guys missing from any of the rosters and just curious why. Also the Fort Myers roster has 26 guys i thought it could only have 25. Here are the guys I noticed that were missing:

    1. Rodolpho Palacios
    2. Johnny Woodard
    3. Garrett Olson
    4. Edward Ovalle
    5. Danny Santiesteban
    6. Kyle Aselton
    7. Jeanfred Brito

    Are they in extended or what because Im surprised especially with Ovalle and Aselton who both had good years.

  4. thrylos98 April 6, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    I am still uncomfortable with both Delaney and Slama in New Britain sharing the high leverage situations, while never had beens Henn, Pignatiello and Santos are in Rochester. Delaney is Mijares’ age and should be able to be up there

  5. Funkytown April 6, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    LEN announced some cuts the other day..

    All of those you noted Travis, are cut, except Palacios(and he might be, too)…. They’re done w/the Twins, they are GONE!

  6. Seth April 6, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    In a 140 or so game season, there are more than enough high-leverage situations to go to more than one person. I mean, think about it, that’s like saying you don’t want anyone but Joe Nathan to work high-leverage situations for the Twins. He’d burn out. You need more than one guy. Listen, I think Delaney is ready for AAA. So is Ward. I think Valencia and certainly Tolleson are ready for AAA. But I think all four decisions are justifiable or defensible.

  7. Funkytown April 6, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    Seth, what do you think of all those whacks?

    Ovalle was very surprising…I liked him better than Brandon Roberts.

    Woodard is another draft bust that didn’t pan out.

    Aselton walks too many guys.

    Garrett Olson never really got it going after rook ball.

    Santie must not have impressed in Fall League as well as this spring on the hill.

    And Brito was a surprise cut to me, too.

  8. roger April 6, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Seth, the reporter for the New Britain newspaper, Ken something reported that Palacios was released.

    Did you get the info for the Ft. Myers roster from someone or is it your speculation based on elimination? The other three are up at their websites, but Ft. Myers isn’t yet. Thanks!

  9. Seth April 6, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Funky –
    Ovalle and Santiesteban surprised me. Ovalle because I thought he made nice strides last year. Santiesteban just because I thought the experiment on the mound might last a little longer, but the coaches likely saw what they needed. Woodard just missed too much time. Olson just didn’t hit enough and didn’t have a position, although he played several. Aselton did walk too many, although I don’t know if he’s a lot worse than some of those AAA guys. Brito is a little surprising, but there are some middle infielders at EST (Williams, Papasan) that I’d rank ahead of him.

    Roger – I haven’t seen anything official on Ft. Myers’ roster. However, I did get a report that gave me a bunch of the names, most of them, and there are some in the bullpen that just make sense (Steedley, Williams), and I would assume that de Los Santos and Leveret would still be around. That’s why I put on there that it was unofficial.

  10. Funkytown April 6, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Leveret is headed that way too…the way of Woodard, with all the guys coming up.

    I can see Hicks not starting the year in Beloit.It’s really crowded, and not much DH time if both Waltenbury and Hank Sanchez both there as well.

    Big years for Sanchez and Ozzie Lewis…with Hicks ready to go soon enough, OFs are going to get squeezed for PT.

  11. thrylos98 April 6, 2009 at 11:17 am #


    one more thing: Henry Arias (the minor league Rule 5 pick) is not listed. Are you sure that it is Santos and not Henry Arias in Ft. Myers? He played A ball last season so I cannot see him in ELZ, if healthy

  12. Funkytown April 6, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    UPDATED NOTE – Just heard that the Red Wings rotation will be Swarzak, Mulvey, Jones and… Reid Santos and Carmen Pignatiello.

    Yow…tough year/2008 in AA results in this for starters in AAA..Wings fans better plan for that title 😉

  13. Jeremy April 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    How about Darnell McDonald? Opening day CF for the Reds.

  14. Dome Dog April 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Anyone else enjoying seeing Cliff Lee get lit up by Texas???

    “We’re gonna win Twins”!!

  15. Melshmeister April 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    Love seeing the Ft. Myers Outfield of LF Revere, CF Benson, RF Parmelee. Disappointed and a bit surprised that Hicks doesn’t start a full season… if he were to hit .220 in April/May, I’d still rather see him getting the ‘live game’ experience.

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