Roster Projections: Rochester Red Wings

23 Mar

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Before we jump into my Twins AAA projection, here are a couple of quick notes:

  • I was on part of Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast last night talking about Twins minor leaguers which obviously I always thoroughly enjoy doing that.
  • Tonight, I will be hosting an episode of the Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. I’ll be joined by Baseball Daily Digest’s Joe Hamrahi who was at the Joe Mauer press conference on Monday night. There may be another guest or two as well, and lots of Twins talk.
  • There will be an episode of The Show on Thursday night at a special time of 8:00 p.m. I already two Twins minor leaguers (one of which some have been clamoring for me to bring on for awhile now).  During that show, we will also announce the regularly scheduled night and time for The Show throughout the season. So be sure to take in that show.
  • And please be sure to go to the Star-Tribune’s TwinsCentric blog today. Parker had a chance to sit down with Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony down in Ft. Myers last week. He transcribed his interview and posted the first half of it here. The rest of it can be found at Over the Baggy.

The Twins open their season on April 5th. The Rochester Red Wings season begins on April 8th in Pawtucket. Their first home game is on April 17th.  They will be managed this year by Tom Nieto, who managed the New Britain Rockcats a year ago.

So here are my thoughts on the 2010 Opening Day roster of the Rochester Red Wings:

The Hitters

C Wilson Ramos
1B Brock Peterson
2B Luke Hughes
3B Danny Valencia
SS Trevor Plouffe
LF Brian Dinkelman
CF Charlton Jimerson
RF Dustin Martin
DH Erik Lis
Bu C Danny Lehmann
Bu IF Toby Gardenhire
Bu OF Jacque Jones
Bench Matt Tolbert
DL… (Brandon Roberts)

Analysis: I discussed my thoughts on the Twins backup catcher situation yesterday, and I will stand behind my feelings that Wilson Ramos needs to play, not sit on the bench. That is why I have him starting in Rochester. When Drew Butera is optioned to AAA (when Jose Morales comes back), he will take over as the Red Wings backup catcher, behind Ramos. Danny Lehmann would then go back to New Britain. Lehmann is very respected among pitchers and coaches. Bringing back Brock Peterson (a six year free agent) is a great thing for the Red Wings, and I am just hoping that the former 49th round draft choice gets a chance to get a cup of coffee with the Twins. He was the Red Wings best hitter during the second half of 2009. Although I expect to see Matt Tolbert play a lot, I really believe that we will see a lot of Luke Hughes at second base. He played there, and played pretty well there, in spring training, and he could be another option for 2010. Think Jeff Kent? Danny Valencia should play most days at 3B, and hopefully he can get off to a fast start and be in Minnesota by mid-June. Trevor Plouffe will likely see time at all three infield positions as well, and if anything happens to JJ Hardy (or he doesn’t come back well), Plouffe could get a big league call too. Brian Dinkelman played mainly 2B until last year when Steve Singleton was promoted to New Britain. Then he started playing in left field where he is still learning, but works hard and can get better. The other two outfield positions could be a rotating carousel. Charlton Jimerson’s defense and speed is terrific. Dustin Martin needs a rebound season. Jacque Jones needs to play well. Really, all three of them need to play well because Rene Tosoni may not be far away from AAA. Erik Lis has hit well in AA New Britain for two years, so he needs to move up. And the DL seemed like an appropriate place to place Brandon Roberts at this time. Yes, I am not including Matt Macri here, although it is possible he could be another utility infield type. That said, defensively, I think Toby Gardenhire is just as good and can play eight positions. And no, this is not at all a choice, by me, that has anything to do with nepotism. He’s got a very strong glove.  

The Pitchers

SP Anthony Swarzak
SP Jeff Manship
SP Matt Fox
SP Ryan Mullins
SP Brian Duensing
CL Rob  Delaney
8L Jose Lugo
8R Chris Province
BP Yoslan Herrera
BP Kyle Waldrop
BP Mark McLemore
BP Mike Maroth
  (Glen Perkins)
  (Brad Hennessey – DL)
  (Tim Lahey)

Analysis: As you can see there several question marks in this pitching rotation. That really starts with Glen Perkins. If he doesn’t make the Twins roster (which he won’t), will they be able to trade him? If not, he will be sent to Rochester. Will he start? Will he pitch out of the bullpen? Will he be put on the Fake DL? Since I included Anthony Slama on the Twins roster, it meant Brian Duensing goes to the Red Wings, and I believe he will start. Should there be an early-season injury, he would be the first promoted. Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship both were rushed to the big leagues a year ago, and both showed signs that they can be solid big league performers, but each showed that they could also use more seasoning. Matt Fox spent the entire season in the New Britain starting rotation last year. It was the first time that the 2004 supplemental first round pick had done that. I think he deserves the shot to do it again as he has improved remarkably his arm strength and seen success. Ryan Mullins had a solid season last year in New Britain. It was his third with the Rockcats. He needs to move up. He actually pitched a couple of games for the Red Wings in 2007. So there is my starting five. 

The bullpen is even more perplexing. Again, with Slama on my big league roster, I’ll move Rob Delaney to the closer role. Jose Lugo will certainly be back in the Red Wings bullpen. I have Tim Lahey on the outside looking in, but he would be another option. Chris Province came from the Red Sox in the Boof Bonser deal. Yoslan Herrera was signed as a free agent recently. The lefty was very solid last year in AA, but needs to show he can pitch well in the International League. I really like this signing. He can replace Reid Santos as a lefty who could pitch both out of the bullpen and start as well. Mark McLemore could be that as well. He started his comeback from Tommy John surgery last year, and this will be his second year back. Mike Maroth has done better in spring training than I would have guessed he would do. That’s not to say great, but enough that if he wants to, he could go to AAA. There is really no risk in signing a former big leaguers like Herrera, McLemore and Maroth, letting him get healthy and seeing where he is at. Maybe he comes back fully. Speaking of healthy, Brad Hennessey was a solid bullpen arm a couple for a couple of years in the big leagues. He is likely to miss at least a couple of months, but I like this signing as well as a no risk, potentially decent reward signing.  

If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here. 


12 Responses to “Roster Projections: Rochester Red Wings”

  1. thrylos98 March 23, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    I think that you are about dead right with this (other that the fact that NepoToby cannot carry Macri’s jockstrap, but this is little letter stuff.)

    A couple of points:

    I think that Tolbert will be the utility guy there unless he is cut (no damage either way) over Macri or NepoToby and I think that Jacques Jones will start the season in Rochester (it beats independent leagues). Perkins will be there as well unless traded.

    Now… if the Twins find enlightenment somehow and cut the excess, Revere might be in Rochester as well…

  2. Seth March 23, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    Revere isn’t ready for Rochester, and with the Twins outfield situation in the big leagues, there is no reason to rush him at all. He’s got plenty of areas (other than batting average) that he can continue to improve in, and I think he will.

    • thrylos98 March 23, 2010 at 1:02 am #

      I don’t know whether he is ready for Rochester or not, but he will probably start in New Britain (and that’s ok.) But I would not be surprised if he is the first OF called up if there is an injury/DL situation (Depending on what is happening with Jacque Jones; and I hope he goes the Nomar way…)

  3. Funkytown March 23, 2010 at 6:16 am #

    Have to agree on Toby G:

    Other than he can play a bunch of spots, why is he even in AAA? He could barely hit in AA. Keep Macri and let him work a couple of other spots.

  4. mike wants wins March 23, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Macri, Tolbert, Gardy…..they may be AAA multi-position guys, but none of them are MLB players for a team that wants to win the WS (not with Harris, Casilla, Punto, Plouffe and Hughes all ahead of them in ability and lack of position). So, it comes down to which one(s) do you want in AAA, either to help Rochester win or to be a role model for the other players. I don’t have any idea which are better at that role, but if I was a player, I’d have to wonder why Gardy is in AAA, given that he can’t hit a lick.

    Hopefully Ramos hits and catches well enough that he is in the majors soon. Butera can’t hit at all, and Morales is highly under-rated in my opinion, but neither of them are Morales. He’s pretty much a backup/position sharer for the next 4 years or more, so any talk of the arbitration clock is silly. It is certainly reasonable to send him down, but he’s better than either Morales or Butera right now. Unless you really believe his long term potential will be impacted (or that he’s not better than Morales or Butera), he should be up, not down. But, I can see the logic for keeping him down (even if I don’t agree with some of it).

    Duensing should start. I think it was Fangraphs that had an article on 4th and 5th starters. Almost no team had the same 4th/5th starters throughout the year. He needs to be ready to be called up when someone tweaks something or is ineffective. Perkins, I’d certainly keep him on the roster. He’s as good or better than any other AAA pitcher they have right now. Start him, hope he gets his head on straight, and trade him (assuming he’s burned his bridges). If he hasn’t burned his bridges, I’d have him on the MLB roster in the pen.

    While I am generally critical of the Twins’ conservative approach to players (see Slama as the prime example), I think sending Revere to AA makes the most sense. He’s not the finished product that he could be. I’d like to see Tosoni in AAA, as he’s more ready (I think, but I’m only going by what I read on line) for the MLB roster than most of the guys in AAA, and the Twins rarely promote from AA to MLB.

    I doubt Jones has much left, as he could barely play D two years ago. Unless the time off has rejuvinated his legs, I’d 100% rather go with youth.

  5. mike wants wins March 23, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    “neither of them are Ramos…..”

  6. TT March 23, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    I believe AAA rosters are limited to 24 players, not 25.

    I think Ramos is going to be in the big leagues or back at New Britain. He is young and has only played half a season above A ball, there is little reason to send him to Rochester. I am betting Lehman is the starter there until Butera returns, with one of the other career minor league catchers backing him up. Its much the same as the reasoning behind sending Revere to New Britain. There is absolutely no reason to rush these guys to a higher level.

    I think Maroth is very likely to be in the rotation. He is a veteran who can pitch in the big leagues if the other young starters are struggling. I also think Portes is a more likely guy to win an outfield spot than Dinkelman. I think Tosoni is ahead of him as well.

    The Twins have too many outfielders, I think some guys are going to be let go. I would not be surprised if Jones is one of them. If he is showing enough in spring training to help the Twins in the big leagues as a backup, then I think they can find a team that will give him a big league job from the getgo.

    I think Tolbert will be in the opening day Rochester lineup, where he plays that day is really the question. I agree he will move around a lot.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with Plouffe. If he is playing shortstop every day, the Twins likely still have some questions about JJ Hardy as a long term answer. If he is moving around a lot, then they are looking to find another position for him. I believe he is out of options next year.

  7. Funkytown March 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Since Morales is not ready, I don’t see Roch going with Lehmann as the starter. I agree w/Seth, Ramos will start at that point and get the AAA at bats.

    Despite Gardy loving the offense, Ramos will be sent back to the minors.

    Morales has to help his own cause be getting healthy. At some point, if he maintains, he’ll be traded by the Twins, as he’ll be forced out by Ramos.

    Ramos should NOT be dealt, unless it’s a front-end starting pitcher. From a column on a great time to be a Twins fan:

    “That young man hits a baseball as far as anyone I’ve ever seen,” Tom Kelly said last week, and he was talking about Ramos, not Mauer.

    Kelly admitted in this conversation that Ramos was among several players and pitchers in the minor league camp that had piqued his optimism.

  8. TT March 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Morales is going to play at Rochester on rehab assignment as soon as he is ready to hit/catch. Which is another reason Ramos ought to start the year at AA. I don’t see what they gain from having him split time with Butera or bounce around to different teams.

    Ramos is a young kid. They should let him settle in with some teammates and play baseball. See if he can stay healthy for a full year. And that’s what I think they will do.

    • thrylos98 March 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

      No need for Ramos to split time with Butera. Butera is at the AAA back up catcher level. Ramos starts at catcher 70% at DH 15% of the games and Butera catches 30% of the games. That’s how it should be. The Twins have plenty of catchers in the pipeline and Butera is what he is. Will never get better, so there is no need for playing time.

      • TT March 26, 2010 at 9:50 am #

        “Butera is what he is. ”

        Which is an outstanding defensive catcher who knows how to work with pitchers and has shown he is durable. Those are skills that are valuable. Baseball is a game of repetitions, players always have the ability to improve with more playing time. And Butera isn’t much older than Danny Valencia.

        Ramos is a kid with good physical skills who hasn’t stayed healthy for a full season behind the plate. He didn’t prove anything last year with a little over 200 plate appearances at AA while catching less than 50 games. The year before that he appeared in 80 games as a catcher. He is going to be better off working with pitchers at AA and showing he can catch every day.


  1. koa sacramento» Blog Archive » rochester red wings - May 6, 2011

    […] Roster Projections: Rochester Red Wings В« Mar 23, 2010 … The Rochester Red Wings season begins on April 8th in Pawtucket. Their first home game is on April … […]

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