Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Organizational Rankings: Starting Pitchers

These archived Organizational Rankings were originally put together in February 2007. There are a few things to keep in mind when browsing through them:

1.) This is a subjective ranking -- please feel free to dispute where I've ranked players, but keep in mind that nothing happening in the 2007 season went into the decision on where to rank a player.

2.) A player's actual team assignment will be listed following the player's name. When my original projection of where a player would start out was wrong, I'll list that projection in parentheses and blue text behind the player's actual assignment.

3.) Each player is listed in only one of these posts. The determination of where to list a player was made based on where that player played most often in 2006, and I won't be moving players during the season.

4.) Players who are no longer with the team will remain on the list, but will be listed in red along with the method by which that player left the team.

5.) Players added to the team will be added at the bottom of the rankings, and will be ranked along with everybody else in the February 2008 version of the rankings.

Rank - Name - Likely 2007 Destination

#1 - Johan Santana - Minnesota Twins
Not really any other choice here, is there.

#2 - Francisco Liriano - Minnesota Twins
Twins fans all know that Liriano won't be around this season, which is unfortunate. Looking on the upside of things, he should still be a great young pitcher in 2008 when he returns (although the Twins will need to worry about arbitration at the end of that season, and that could be painful). Still and all, there doesn't seem to me to be any reason to doubt that Liriano is the second best pitcher in the organization. Let's hope I can still say that after he comes back.

#3 - Matt Garza - TRADED to Tampa Bay (11/28/07)
It's possible that Garza will make the Twins out of spring training as the fifth starter, but I'm guessing that isn't going to happen - simple math dictates that several deserving candidates aren't going to get a spot. I think the Twins would like to take a breather with Garza anyway - he was rushed to the Major Leagues last season more quickly than the Twins probably would have preferred, and the results were pretty mediocre. Another spring, and some more chances to work on his pitch selection at AAA to start the season, are probably just what is needed for Garza. For those who didn't pay attention last year, Garza was the Twins first-round pick in the 2005 draft, and the 23-year-old Garza has rocketed through the system (he pitched at 4 levels last year! FOUR!). With just 5 starts at the AAA level, there is certainly more learning that can be done there - but man, what an upside.

#4 - Boof Bonser - Minnesota Twins
The story of how the Twins acquired Bonser is old news now, but in case you haven't heard it I'll just mention that Bonser was thrown into the deal that sent A.J. Pierzynski to San Francisco in exchange for Joe Nathan and some fella named Francisco Liriano. Until last year, Bonser was viewed (at least outside the organization) as a middling prospect - someone who may or may not become a legitimate major leaguer at some point. Last year, the 25-year-old Bonser put it all together, pitching well enough at AAA to get a chance in the bigs after Scott Baker couldn't hold down the fifth spot in the rotation. After struggling early, Bonser found his rhythym down the stretch, and was one of the most important pitchers in the rotation. This season, he's virtually assured of landing a spot (probably as the #2 starter) in the Twins rotation, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue to pitch effectively. Based on what we saw late last season, there doesn't seem to be any reason to say no.

#5 - Glen Perkins - Minnesota Twins (Roc/Min)
Perkins is a left-handed version of Matt Garza, not in terms of pitching style but in terms of career arc. Perkins was also an college starter who was drafted by the Twins in the 1st round (a year before Garza, in 2004). Perkins also has moved through the organization quickly, pitching at 3 levels last year (although, to be fair, he spent almost the entire season in New Britain). Still, when he made it to the Twins, he was fantastic - showing clearly that he will be a Major League starter sometime soon. Like Garza, the soon-to-be 24-year-old (from Stillwater, Minnesota) could conceivably make the team out of spring training, but starting out in Rochester makes more sense. By next season, he should be in line to earn a spot in the rotation.

#6 - Kevin Slowey - Rochester Red Wings
The 2005 draft was a humdinger for the Twins, as they picked up Slowey the round after Matt Garza. Slowey is a 22-year-old who was drafted out of Winthrop University, and like Garza and Perkins he has quickly moved through the system. Last season, Slowey was absolutely great in Ft. Myers (1.01 ERA/99-9 K-BB/89.1 innings), earning a promotion to New Britain. He was still very good there (3.19/52-13/59.1 innings), and that should be enough to earn him a place in the Rochester rotation. It is possible (although so unlikely that I'm not even listing him as being on a cut-point) that he could spend the first month or so in New Britain - but that seems unlikely. The right-handed Slowey is mentioned as a Brad Radke type, a control pitcher who is never going to blow people away but who could still be very effective. I would say that there's a 75% chance that he makes his Major League debut this season (probably in September). Optioned to Rochester 7/5/07

#7 - Carlos Silva - FREE AGENT (c. 10/29/07)
I really wasn't sure where to put Silva. On the one hand, he's a proven Major League starter. On the other - he was terrible last season. The 27-year-old (28 in April) finally landed here because I think he can continue to be a #3 or 4 starter at the Major League level for several more years, and many of the guys below him on this list are really just unproven prospects. If Silva doesn't perform early this year, however, there is a very good chance that he will lose his job with the Twins - and assuming that the young guys in Rochester develop as expected, there is very little likelihood that he'd be returning to the Twins next season.

#8 - Ramon Ortiz - TRADED to Colorado (8/15/07)
Same story as Silva, listed above. I didn't really know where to put him, so I'm putting him up here based on his Major League experience. Like Silva, he almost certainly will not be back next season - but let's hope he pitches well enough this year to justify the $3 million + the Twins spent on him. Incidentally, Ortiz is 30, and will turn 31 in May.

#9 - Scott Baker - Minnesota Twins (Rochester)
Twins fans should be familiar with Baker, who has spent significant parts of 2005 and 2006 with the Twins. Unfortunately, the 25-year-old has never quite put it together at the big league level, with a career record of 8-11 and an ERA of 5.19. On the plus side, his K-BB ratio of 94-30 is solid, and indicates that he can get people out - he just hasn't done it consistently enough. Baker was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft, and is essentially entering his last chance year with the Twins - if he spends any time in the minors this year, it will use up his third and final option. As with several of the young guns mentioned above, it's possible that he could pitch himself onto the team at the start of the season, but he seems much more likely to start out in Rochester, where he'll continue to battle with his teammates to determine who will get the first call-up. I like Baker - and the way he handled the Yankees last year indicates that the dude can flat out pitch - but I'm not convinced that he can do it consistently well at the big league level. He's got one year left as a Twin to prove that he can.

#10 - J.D. Durbin - Waived (Claimed by Arizona Diamondbacks)
Ah, J.D. Durbin. The Real Deal. The soon-to-be 25-year-old was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2000 draft, and it's been a long, slow slog through the system since that time. Actually, it didn't start off too slowly - he pitched well in 2001 with Elizabethton, and was good in Quad Cities back in 2002. By 2004 he was all the way up in New Britain to start the season, and a solid season there earned him a promotion to Rochester, where he went 3-2/4.54/38-16 in 35.2 innings. He also made his Major League debut that year, posting a 7.36 ERA in 7.1 innings. He hasn't been back up since. It looked like 2006 was going to be a bounce-back year for Durbin, and he posted numbers of 4-3/2.33/81-50 in 89.0 innings before having to shut things down due to a nerve problem in his arm. Durbin is now out of options, which means he has to make the Twins or be exposed to waivers - and with his upside, someone will pick him up. My money is on Durbin making the team, either as the fifth starter (unlikely), or as the 7th arm out of the bullpen. That's all dependent on Durbin regaining his arm strength this spring and being able to pitch - but I hope he makes it.

#11 - Eduardo Morlan - TRADED to Tampa Bay (11/28/07)
Morlan, who will turn 21 on March 1, was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2004 draft. The righty was assigned to the GCL Twins, where he went 1-2 with a 2.84 ERA and a 28-10 K-BB ratio in 25.1 innings. He split 2005 between Elizabethton and Beloit, posting great numbers in 4 starts with the E-Twins, and ok numbers (4.38/55-31 in 51.1 innings) with Beloit. Last season, in a full year with the Snappers, he went 5-5 with a 2.29 ERA and a 125-38 K-BB ratio in 106.1 innings. That seems to have been a great step forward for Morlan, and should earn him a promotion to the Miracle this year, where he will continue to try to move on up through the system. With so many great pitchers in the system above him, I don't expect him to receive a mid-season promotion - but if he's great with the Miracle, it certainly could happen.

#12 - Oswaldo Sosa - New Britain Rock Cats (NB/FtM)
Sosa is 21, and was signed in 2002 as an undrafted player out of Venezuela. The righty started off his Twins career in the GCL in 2004, and was with Elizabethton in 2005. He pitched well enough there to move on to Beloit last season, where he went 9-7 with a 2.75 ERA and a 95-36 K-BB ratio in 117.2 innings before being promoted to Ft. Myers to finish up the season. He only made 6 starts for the Miracle, but his 4-1 record and 2.08 ERA may be enough to earn him a promotion to New Britain to start the season; it's also entirely possible, however, that Sosa could start off in Ft. Myers to get a bit more seasoning before being promoted. Either way, he's established himself as a solid starting prospect for the organization.

#13 - Dave Gassner - Minor League Free Agent (c. 11/02/07)
The Twins have removed the left-handed Gassner from their 40-man roster, but he remains a potential spoiler to return to the Major Leagues. Gassner is 28, and has put together a solid minor league career with Toronto and Minnesota, with a 53-34 record and a 3.52 ERA. His sole big-league experience was in 2005 with the Twins, when he went 1-0 with a 5.87 ERA in 7.2 innings. Gassner will more than likely have enough service time to become a minor league free agent at the end of the year if he isn't on the 40-man roster by that point, and would also be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft if he wasn't added. If he is added, and is assigned to the minor leagues, he'll use up his last option. In other words, this is a make-it-or-break-it year for Gassner in the Twins organization. While I like him, I suspect his Twins career is entering its final stretch.

#14 - Sidney Ponson - RELEASED (c. 5/13/07)
Too high? Too low? I see him as more of a risk than Silva or Ortiz (that may very well be a poor assumption), and so ranked him fairly low for a guy who is in line to make the Major League team. I'm not going to say much about the 30-year-old, other than that he has Major League talent - you don't go 14-6 with a 3.77 ERA if you can't pitch in the big leagues - but he certainly hasn't shown it over the past few seasons. If he has a reasonable spring, he'll break camp as the Twins fifth starter. If he doesn't - I suspect he'll be released. Expect him to make at least a few starts in April for the Twins.

#15 - Anthony Swarzak - New Britain Rock Cats
Swarzak was the Twins 2nd round selection in the 2004 draft. The 21-year-old righty started off his Twins career that year in the GCL, where he had a 2.63 ERA in 48 innings. He skipped Elizabethton, heading right to Beloit for the start of the 2005 season, where he went 9-5 with a 4.04 ERA and a 101-32 K-BB ratio in 91.1 innings before being promoted to Ft. Myers, where he continued to pitch well. He stayed in Ft. Myers for a full season last year, and had a 3.27 ERA and a 131-60 K-BB ratio - certainly good enough to be given another promotion for this season. Most of the Twins top pitching prospects are guys who were drafted out of college - Swarzak was a high school pick. It makes sense, then, that he's not as far along as fellow 2004 draftee Glen Perkins - but he's moving along at a good, solid pace, and he could be making his Major League debut in a few years if he continues to develop.

#16 - Kyle Aselton - Ft. Myers Miracle [New Britain]
Aselton, who turns 24 on February 28, was drafted by the Twins in the 11th round of the 2004 draft out of Oregon State University. The lefty was assigned to Elizabethton in 2004, and went 1-4 with a 4.54 ERA in 37.2 innings. He spent 2005 in Beloit, putting up the best numbers of his professional career (6-2/2.49/113-61 K-BB), mostly in relief. Last year, Aselton was promoted to Ft. Myers, and spent his time exclusively as a starter, going 9-5 with a respectable 3.79 ERA and a 90-54 K-BB ratio in 97.1 innings. Aselton should be promoted yet again this year, continuing his steady climb through the organization.

#17 - Kyle Waldrop - New Britain Rock Cats (FtM/NB)
Waldrop is a 21-year-old righty who was drafted in the 1st round of the 2004 draft out of Farragut High School in Knoxville, TN. He started off his Twins career in the GCL, and dominated hitters through 7 games (3-2/1.42 ERA/30-4 K-BB in 38 innings) before being promoted in the middle of the season to Elizabethton, where he continued to pitch well (3.24 ERA). He spent his entire 2005 season in Beloit, and struggled a bit, going 6-11 with a 4.98 ERA and a still great 108-23 K-BB ratio in 151.2 innings. That season wasn't good enough to get him promoted, so he started 2006 back in Beloit, where he went 6-3 with a 3.85 ERA before being promoted to Ft. Myers in midseason. His 3-2 record was complimented by a 3.57 ERA. I'm guessing that Waldrop will start this season in Ft. Myers, but there is a chance that he could be moved up to New Britain right from the start.

#18 - Brian Duensing - Rochester Red Wings [New Britain]
Duensing, who turned 24 today, was the Twins 3rd round selection in the 2005 draft out of the University of Nebraska. The lefty pitched with Elizabethton in 2005, going 4-3 with a 2.32 ERA in 50.1 innings. His promotion to Beloit to start the 2006 season was therefore assured, and Duensing didn't disappoint, going 2-3 with a 2.94 ERA and a 55-14 K-BB ratio in 70.1 innings before being promoted to Ft. Myers. While he wasn't dominant there, his 4.24 ERA in 40.1 innings earned him another promotion, this time to New Britain, and he once again looked very good (3.65 ERA/30-18 K-BB). With so many solid starters at Rochester, there wouldn't be room there for Duensing just yet even if the Twins wanted to promote him. He should start the season in New Britain, and I would be surprised if he didn't spend the entire season there.

#19 - Jeremy Cummings - RELEASED (c. 7/05/07)
Cummings is a 30-year-old who was picked up as a minor league free agent, coming out of the Phillies organization. The righty is essentially a man without a spot right now, as the Twins have a log-jam of starters at the AAA level, and there doesn't seem to be room for a 30-year-old minor league lifer. Cummings has posted some solid numbers at the AAA level - he has a 3.86 lifetime ERA in 890 innings, and has a K-BB ratio of 671-227. Cummings was invited to Spring Training, so he'll be auditioning for a spot somewhere in the organization during the spring (theoretically, he's probably even being given a shot to win the fifth starters job, although it's unlikely he would succeed). My guess is that Cummings will either be cut before the end of camp, or will go to Rochester to be used primarily as a reliever and as insurance in case of an injury to one of the regular starters.

#20 - Ryan Mullins - New Britain Rock Cats [Ft. Myers]
Mullins is a 23-year-old lefty who was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft out of Vanderbilt University. He was assigned to Elizabethton, and proceeded to go 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA and a 60-13 K-BB ratio in 53.2 innings. Last season, he started for Beloit, going 5-8 with a 3.86 ERA in 139-53 K-BB ratio in 156.1 innings. There is no reason to think that he won't be promoted to Ft. Myers for this season.

#21 - Jeff Manship - Ft. Myers Miracle (Ft.M / Bel)
Manship is a 22-year-old righty who was drafted in the 14th round of the 2006 draft out of Notre Dame. He pitched in just six games last year, two with the GCL Twins and four with Ft. Myers, but in that time he put up a 1.28 ERA and a 22-3 K-BB ratio in 14.1 innings. That impressive performance, and his collegiate experience (which was pretty sucessful, and includes a 9-2 2006 season in which he had a 3.26 ERA and a 111-28 K-BB ratio) indicate to me that he's most likely to stay in Ft. Myers this season. It's possible that the Twins could decide to be a little more cautious with Manship and move him down to Beloit for the start of the season, but I doubt that that is going to happen. If Manship puts up a great season, he'll rocket up this chart, probably into the top 12.

#22 - Errol Simonitsch - New Britain Rock Cats
Simonitsch, who is on the Twins 40-man roster, is a 24-year-old lefty drafted in the 6th round of the 2003 draft out of Gonzaga University. After a great start to his career in Elizabethton, Simonitsch had a brilliant 2004 season in Quad Cities, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.56 ERA and a 107-36 K-BB ratio in 109 innings. He started off equally strong at Ft. Myers in 2005, earning himself a mid-season promotion to New Britain, where he levelled off a bit (as evidenced by an ERA of 4.12 and a lower, 52-28 K-BB ratio). Last season, Simonitsch stayed in New Britain, and had his most disappointing season so far, going 8-14 with a 4.48 ERA and an 89-39 K-BB ratio in 148.2 innings. Whether Simonitsch is going to turn out to be the prospect who earned himself a spot on the 40-man roster with his solid early pitching, or the prospect who washed out in AA, remains to be seen. He'll get another shot in New Britain again this year, consuming his second option year.

#23 - Nick Blackburn - Rochester Red Wings (New Britain)
Blackburn, who will turn 25 in two days, was a 29th round pick in the 2001 draft out of Seminole State College. The righty started off his career in Elizabethton, and has played at every level of the organization (other than low Rookie in the GCL), making it up to AAA for 3 games in 2005. His 2006 season was spent entirely in New Britain, where he went 7-8 with a 4.42 ERA and an 81-37 K-BB ratio in 132.1 innings. With the roadblock in front of him, he should once again by in New Britain this season.

#24 - Jay Rainville - Ft. Myers Miracle
Rainville is a 21-year-old righty who was drafted in the 1st round of the 2004 draft out of Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, RI. He missed all of 2006 after undergoing shoulder surgery to fix a nerve problem before last season started, and I would probably list him as higher on this list if he hadn't suffered that injury. Until we see him pitch, however, there is some doubt as to how he'll look when he comes back. Rainville started his Twins career in 2004 with the GCL Twins, where he went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA and a 38-3 K-BB ratio in 34.1 innings. In 2005, he started off in Beloit, and went 8-2 with a 3.77 ERA and a 77-27 K-BB ratio in 88.1 innings before being promoted to Ft. Myers, where he continued to pitch very well (4-3/2.67/35-6 K-BB in 54 innings). Hopefully, Rainville can return to form this year, but it could take awhile to get him back into regular shape as a starter, and there's a chance I suppose that he could even start his comeback out of the bullpen.

#25 - Zach Ward - Ft. Myers Miracle [Beloit]
Ward is a 23-year-old righty who was drafted by the Reds in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He was traded to the Twins last season in exchange for Kyle Lohse, and at the time of the trade it looked like another steal pulled off by Terry Ryan - Ward was 7-0 with a 2.29 ERA and a 95-37 K-BB ratio in 114 innings at Dayton (A-ball). Unfortunately, Ward struggled once he joined the Snappers in Beloit, posting a 1-4 record with a 5.93 ERA and a 23-11 K-BB ratio in 30.1 innings. I like Ward, and think he's going to regain his form from Dayton this season - but I'm hedging my bets by placing him 25th on this list instead of higher.

#26 - Brad Voyles - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
If Jeremy Cummings is in a tough spot, Voyles is even more pinched. Like Cummings, Voyles is 30 - unlike Cummings, Voyles has some Major League experience, but his career 6.59 ERA in 40 Major League games is not inspiring. If Voyles remains with the team once the season starts, he'll almost certainly be a reliever. His minor league numbers are actually better than Cummings are - 2.99/449-207 K-BB - but by far most of his appearances historically have come out of the bullpen. He's on the starters list because in the past couple of years he's primarily been used as a starter - but I expect that to change this year. There's just no room for Voyles to start for Rochester.

#27 - Jose Castillo - RELEASED (c. 10/25/07)
Castillo is a 22-year-old who has pitched well in two seasons of Rookie ball - 2005 with the GCL Twins (4-4/3.00/27-19 K-BB in 48 innings), and 2006 with Elizabethton (4-3/3.17/56-23 K-BB in 71 innings). This season, he should finally get a chance to pitch in a full-season league at Beloit.

#28 - Jesse Floyd - RELEASED (c. 10/25/07)
Floyd was selected by the Twins in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 Draft this last December. He is a 26-year-old righty who was signed as a nondrafted free agent by the Giants back in 2003. His 2006 season was solid (4.00 ERA, and a 100-38 K-BB - but a 4-14 record didn't look so flashy), but compared to guys like Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey, he just doesn't measure up. As a result, I would expect him to end up in New Britain.

#29 - Alex Burnett - Beloit Snappers
Burnett is a 19-year-old righty who was drafted in the 12th round of the 2005 draft out of Ocean View High in Huntington Beach, CA. He started off his Twins career in the GCL in 2005, going 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA and a 33-14 K-BB ratio in 48.1 innings. Last season, Burnett pitched in Elizabethton, and went 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA and a very nice 71-13 K-BB ratio in 71.1 innings. He should continue his orderly march through the organization by pitching in Beloit this season.

#30 - Adam Hawes - Ft. Myers Miracle
Hawes is a 23-year-old righty who was drafted in the 40th round of the 2003 draft out of Connors State College. His first appearance for the Twins wasn't until 2005 for Elizabethton, where he went 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA and a 68-16 K-BB ratio in 59 innings. Last season, Hawes pitched for Beloit, putting up a 4-4 record with a 4.02 ERA and a 65-37 K-BB ratio in 87.1 innings. Those aren't great numbers, but they should be good enough for Hawes to be promoted to Ft. Myers this season.

#31 - Ludovicus Van Mil - Elizabethton Twins
The 7'1" Van Mil (who apparently also goes by "Loek") is a bit of a project, but his first season was generally a success, as the Dutchman went 1-2 with a 3.30 ERA and a 24-17 K-BB ratio in 43.2 innings and 8 starts in 10 appearances. I'm anticipating that Van Mil will get a promotion to Elizabethton this year, where he will continue to develop. Every team should have a 7'+ pitcher in the organization somewhere . . .

#32 - David Bromberg - Elizabethton Twins
Bromber is a 19-year-old righty who was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2005 draft out of Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, CA. 2006 was his first season in the organization, and he went 3-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 50.2 innings for the GCL Twins. That should definitely be good enough to earn him a promotion to the higher rookie league team, and possibly even all the way up to Beloit (where I count only 4 starters on the roster).

#33 - Jeff Schoenbachler - UNASSIGNED (Elizabethton)
Schoenbachler is a 21-year-old lefty who was drafted in the 5th round of the 2004 draft out of Reno High School in Reno, NV. Since that time, he's spent three years in the GCL (although, to be fair, he must have been injured last year because he appeared in just 1 game for 1 inning). Why Schoenbachler hasn't advanced is a mystery, because his 3.92 and 3.97 ERA's in 2004 and 2005 would normally have been good enough for a promotion. I'm predicting that his promotion will come this year, because four years in the GCL just seems a bit ridiculous . . .

#34 - Sean Land - Beloit Snappers
Land was a 9th round pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of Kansas, where he was a middling starter (his best ERA was 4.62 in 2005). He started off for the Twins in Elizabethton, where he went 3-5 with a 4.45 ERA and a 57-27 K-BB ratio in 60.2 innings. Those aren't great numbers, but the Snappers need starters and Land will likely be promoted for the 2007 season.

#35 - Tyler Robertson - Beloit Snappers (Elizabethton)
Robertson is a 19-year-old lefty who was selected in the 3rd round of the 2006 pick out of Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, CA. His first season with the Twins was spent in the GCL, where he went 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA and a 54-15 K-BB in 48.2 innings. Those are good enough numbers to earn a promotion to Elizabethton in 2007.

#36 - Omar Alcala - Elizabethton Twins
Alcala is a 20-year-old lefty who pitched in the GCL last season, going 3-1 with a 4.02 ERA in 53.2 innings. Like Robertson, those numbers are solid enough to earn a promotion to Elizabethton - where there are likely to be a lot of guys competing for starts. That could mean a few appearances out of the bullpen for Alcala.

#37 - Brian Kirwan - Beloit Snappers (Eliz/Bel)
Kirwan is a 19-year-old righty who was drafted in the 11th round of the 2005 draft out of Santa Fe Christian High School in Solana Beach, CA. His first season as a Twin was in 2006 with Elizabethton, where he wasn't great - 5-5/5.63/58-23 in 64 innings. Nevertheless, because Beloit needs starters, I think Kirwan will get a promotion and an early chance to pitch from the start of the season. There are a lot of guys who would love to claim that rotation spot for the Snappers, however, so somebody might step up and jump past Kirwan and into that spot.

#38 - Michael Allen - Elizabethton Twins (GCL/Eliz)
Allen is a 19-year-old righty who was drafted in the 13th round of the 2005 draft out of Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, FL. Last season was his first in the Twins organization, and he pitched in the GCL, going 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA and a 22-8 K-BB ratio in 22 innings. Whether that's enough experience to get a promotion to Elizabethton might be doubtful, and I would guess that he'll start the season with the GCL Twins rather than with Elizabethton.

#39 - Curtis Leavitt - Elizabethton Twins (GCL/Eliz)
Leavitt is a 20-year-old righty who was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2005 draft out of Vasquez High School in Acton, CA. Last season was his first in the organization, and he pitched with the GCL Twins, going 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in 32 innings. His 33-16 K-BB ratio was the only semi-promising thing about his performance, and unless he makes significant strides in extended spring training, he'll be back in the GCL for 2007.

#40 - Cole DeVries - Beloit Snappers (GCL/Eliz/Bel)
DeVries was signed in August, and the former University of Minnesota starter could end up at any of three levels, depending on what the Twins think of him. His NCAA experience makes a start with the Snappers a posibility (and his 7-3/2.42 numbers with the Gophers in 2006 indicate that he might be able to make that leap). However, I suspect that he'll start out with Elizabethton. We'll know in a month and a half or so.

NR - Brian Bass (40-Man) - Rochester Red Wings
Bass was drafted in the 6th round of the 2000 draft by the Kansas City Royals. The 25-year-old righty had a great 2003 season in High A Wilmington, posting a 2.84 ERA in 152.1 innings, but since them he's struggled a little bit. Last season, he pitched reasonably well in 27 innings for AA Wichita, posting a 4.00 ERA; however, he really struggled once he was promoted to AAA Omaha, going 1-5 with a 7.59 ERA in 32 innings. Considering the number of pitchers the Twins have at AAA, and the struggles Bass has had at that level, it seems likely that he'll be starting off in New Britain this year. Bass became a minor league free agent in early November 2007, but was brought back into the fold by the Twins on November 28 and added to the 40-man roster.

NR - Mike McCardell - GCL Twins [Elizabethton]
McCardell was drafted in the 6th round of the 2007 draft by the Twins out of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where he struck out 79 and walked just 10 in 59 innings of work. Apparently, he can also hit pretty well -- and played in the infield for Kutztown on occasion when he wasn't pitching. The 6'5", 220 lb. righty was born on April 13, 1985.

NR - R.A. Dickey - Rule 5 (Major) - drafted by Seattle (12/06/07)
Dickey is a 33-year-old righthander who has spent parts of five seasons at the big league level in between minor league stints. The Twins signed him as a minor league free agent on November 28, and extended him an invitation to spring training 2008.

NR - Kyle Edlich - Unassigned [No Prediction]
Edlich is an an Australian who last pitched in the Twins system back in 2005 in the GCL. He appeared on a transaction list during the season, so my assumption is that he's still hanging around. He will turn 22 in March, so assuming that he's still capable of pitching, there's still a chance that he could find his way onto an active roster.

NR - Landon Jacobsen - Unassigned [No Prediction]
Jacobsen, born on May 4, 1979, is a righty out of Mitchell, SD who was drafted in the 50th round of the 1999 draft by the Pirates. He spent 2000-2006 in the Pirates organization before crossing Pennsylvania and joining the Phillies organization for 2007. While Jacobsen has a career minor league ERA of 3.46, he struggled in 2007. The bulk of his season was spent in AA, where he posted a 4.61 ERA in 93.2 innings to go along with a 1.38 WHIP and a 45-35 K-BB ratio. He also pitched 69.1 innings in AAA, posting a 4.80 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP with a 38-31 K-BB ratio. He joined the Twins as a minor league free agent sometime around January 4.

NR - Heath Totten - Unassigned [No Prediction]
Totten, born on September 30, 1978, is a righty out of Port Arthur, TX who was drafted in the 5th round of the 2000 draft by the Dodgers. He spent 2000-2006 in the Dodgers organization before joining the Phillies organization for 2007. Totten has a career minor league ERA of 4.33. In 2007, he split his time between AA and AAA, with drastically different results. In AA, he put up a 3.38 ERA in 56 innings of work along with a 1.32 WHIP and a 31-13 K-BB ratio. Unfortunately, his time in AAA didn't treat him nearly as well, as he posted a 7.09 ERA in 33 innings along with a 1.73 WHIP and an 11-8 K-BB ratio. He joined the Twins as a minor league free agent sometime around January 4.

NR - Zach Day - Unassigned [No Prediction]
Day was brought into the Twins organization as a minor league free agent with an invite to spring training 2008 in early January. Day is a 29-year-old righty out of Cincinnati, Ohio who was drafted by the Yankees in the 5th round of the 1996 draft. Day made his Major League debut with the Expos in 2002, and besides those two teams Day has pitched in the Indians, Nationals, Rockies, and Royals organizations. In 372.2 career innings, Day has a 4.66 career ERA and a 189-172 K-BB ratio.

NR - Randy Keisler - No Assignment [No Prediction]
Keisler is a soon-to-be 32-year-old lefty (b. 2/24/76) out of Texas who was drafted by the Yankees in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft out of LSU. After moving up through the minors, Keisler made his Major League debut in Yankee pinstripes in 2000. Since then, he's bounced around a lot, playing in the Rangers, Astros, Padres, Mets, Reds, A's, and Cardinals organizations. All in all he's pitched 55 games in the Major Leagues, compiling a rather sloppy 6.63 ERA in those appearances.

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  • At Thu Feb 22, 10:58:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Rule V minor leaguers do not have to stay at the level in which they were selected, and they don't have to be returned to their previous organization.


  • At Thu Feb 22, 11:06:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Thanks Seth - I'll change the Jesse Floyd section to reflect this!

  • At Fri Feb 23, 07:13:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Where is Zach Ward? I thought he was a great prospect for us.

  • At Fri Feb 23, 09:37:00 AM , Blogger JST said...

    Thanks for pointing that out - I just realized I left the "W's" out of the list, which explains why Ward and Kyle Waldrop are not listed. This is why I ask for people to point out missing players! They'll be added sometime today.

  • At Fri Feb 23, 12:01:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Alexander Smit and Jay Rainville are missing as well! Both of them are top 20 in my book!

  • At Fri Feb 23, 01:43:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Smit actually made more relief appearances last year than starts, (34 appearances, 13 starts), and so under the rules I laid down for myself before I started writing these posts, he'll appear on the relief pitcher list this year.

    As for Rainville - I just missed him. This is likely going to happen with anybody who missed all of last season (it happened with Javi Sanchez in the catcher list), because I wasn't paying as much attention to the minor leagues before last year.

    Thanks for asking about both! I'll make sure I add Rainville to the list when I add Waldrop and Ward.

    And, if anyone notices other players who aren't listed, please let me know - I want this to be as comprehensive as possible.

  • At Fri Feb 23, 04:15:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    The additions have been made.


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