Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Friday, March 09, 2007

Organizational Rankings: Relief 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've listed 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 update of the rankings.

Rank - Name - Likely 2007 Destination

#1 - Joe Nathan - Minnesota Twins
We all know that Nathan is one of the best closers in the game. As such, he's the leader of the bullpen, and easily deserves the #1 spot in this ranking. Since this post is designed to familiarize you with the Twins minor league system, I'm going to fly through the Major Leaguers pretty quickly . . .

#2 - Juan Rincon - Minnesota Twins
The Twins setup man continues to be consistently solid, with three straight seasons of 75 or more games pitched and sub-3.00 ERA's.

#3 - Pat Neshek - Minnesota Twins
Neshek exploded onto the scene last year by posting a 2.19 ERA in 37 innings and putting up an amazing 53-6 K-BB ratio. Placing him above some more experienced pitchers in the bullpen may be somewhat controversial, but with his stuff it seems appropriate.

#4 - Jesse Crain - Minnesota Twins
Crain was just rewarded with a 3-year contract, and if he can pitch like he did in 2005 (or at the end of 2006), it will prove to be a solid signing. Crain has the ability to be a top-flight member of the bullpen, but his early season struggles last season had to cause some concern. Nevertheless, he finished up with a 3.52 ERA in 76.2 innings and a 60-18 K-BB ratio, so it wasn't exactly a lost season.

#5 - Dennys Reyes - Minnesota Twins
If you would have said at the start of last season that Reyes would still be in the organization, let alone under a two-year contract and after a phenomenal 2006 season, I probably would have said you were crazy. Nevertheless, Reyes brings a solid veteran lefty presence to the Twins bullpen, and he deserves this high ranking.

#6 - Matt Guerrier - Minnesota Twins
Guerrier entered spring training in 2005 out of options. The Twins gave him a roster spot to keep him around, and he proceeded to post a 3.39 ERA in 71.2 innings and 43 appearances. Last season, despite missing some time with an injury, he posted a very similar 3.36 ERA in 69.2 games. That kind of consistency is a plus, and Guerrier no longer has to worry about whether he has a roster spot or not - he's a legitimate part of the Twins 'pen.

#7 - Mike Venafro - Traded to Toronto (c. 5/14/07)
Venafro, who made his Major League debut with Texas back in 1999, is being given a chance to win a bullpen spot with the Twins. Like Reyes last year, there is a very good chance that he'll actually start the season in Rochester. Also like Reyes, there is also a very good chance that he'll find himself at the Major League level within 45 days or so. Venafro is 33, and is a sidearmer who occasionally will throw a pitch from over the top just to change things up. The last time he got more than 19 innings of work at the Major League level was in 2002 with Oakland - but that could very well change this year.

#8 - Randy Choate - Elected Free Agency (3/24/07)
Choate's fate is inextricably tied up with Mike Venafro's. First, it looks like Venafro is going to finish the spring higher than Choate on the depth chart. If that results in Venafro making the Major League roster, it seems likely the Twins will offer Choate a spot with the Red Wings to guard against injury. If Venafro is sent to AAA to start the season, however, then Choate's position with the team will probably be imperiled. Choate is another sidearming lefty, 31-years-old, and he's pitched with Arizona for the past few seasons. He made 30 appearances last season (and just 16 innings), posting a 3.94 ERA. Whether he gets a chance to improve on those numbers with the Twins this season should be settled in the next few weeks.

#9 - Yohan Pino - Ft. Myers Miracle
Pino is a 23-year-old righty out of Venezuela who has demonstrated his great potential over his first two seasons with in the Twins organization. Last season, Pino pitched in Beloit, going 14-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 42 games (7 starts) over 94 innings while striking out 99 and walking just 20. Pino's future in the organization is probably as a starter, but either way he looks like a very promising prospect who has a legitimate shot of making it to the Majors sometime in the next 3 years or so.

#10 - Julio DePaula - Rochester Red Wings (Roc/NB)
DePaula is a 24-year-old righty who the Twins signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 1999. He would have become a minor league free agent this off-season, so the Twins added him to the 40-man roster to prevent that from happening. DePaula has not had a bad season in the organization (although the second half of 2002, with Elizabethton, was rough). Last year, he was 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 66.2 innings for New Britain. That probably means that he'll find himself in Rochester this year, but it's possible that the Twins could start him off in New Britain since he hasn't pitched a full season there yet.

#11 - J.P. Martinez - Rule 5 (Minor) - Baltimore (12/06/07)
Martinez is a 24-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 9th round of the 2004 draft out of the University of New Orleans. He had an outstanding 2005 season in Beloit, going 5-2/1.83/92-31 K-BB. That was followed up with a solid 2006 in Ft. Myers, where he went 4-4/2.91/88-44. The next step, to AA, is often considered to be the hardest a minor league can take - so we'll see how he pitches for the Rock Cats this season.

#12 - Jay Sawatski - New Britain Rock Cats [Rochester]
Sawatski is a 24-year-old lefty who was drafted by the Twins in the 8th round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Arkansas. He's been consistently excellent since joining the organization, and last year was no exception. He spent the majority of the season in New Britain, where he went 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 75.1 innings while osting a 69-22 K-BB ratio. Those numbers should easily be good enough to move Sawatski up to Rochester this season, where he'll get a chance to conintue to prove himself. Sawatski did make a couple of starts last season, but if he plays in Rochester this year, there is very little chance that he'll do so again.

#13 - Alex Smit - WAIVED -- Claimed by Cincinnati (7/12/07)
Smit was signed by the Twins in 2002 out of the Netherlands, and the 21-year-old lefty has pitched well enough in his 4 minor league seasons to find his way onto the 40-man roster. The Twins added him to the roster in November in order to keep Smit away from the Rule 5 Draft, and so now the 3 year option countdown gets underway. Smit will probably be used more as a starter than as a reliever this year, but last season he made 34 appearances while starting just 13, and hence his classification as a reliever. Smit pitched very well in Beloit last year, going 7-2 with a 2.99 ERA in 108.1 innings and a 141-53 K-BB ratio.

#14 - Dan Leatherman - Beloit Snappers
This is an awfully high ranking for a guy who just entered the Twins system last season after finishing up his college career. Nevertheless, I think he demonstrated a lot of talent in his first season in the organization, and I'm betting that he'll continue to make solid strides this year. Leatherman is a 21-year-old righty out of the University of West Virginia who started off in the Gulf Coast League after being picked up by the Twins last year. He pitched in just three games (9 inning) there before the Twins bumped him up to Elizabethton. Five games at the High Rookie level had him 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a 14-1 K-BB ratio. That was enough for the Twins, who moved him up to Beloit to finish his first season. He went 0-1/2.45/25-8 with the Snappers, proving that he was capable of competing at that level already. He'll probably start the season back with Beloit, because he has just 22 innings of experience there. However, there is a very good chance that by the end of the year he'll be pitching with the Miracle.

#15 - Jose Mijares - New Britain Rock Cats
Mijares is a 22-year-old lefty out of Venezuela who was signed by the Twins in 2002. He was added to the roster in November 2005 to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, so he's already used up one option year, and this will be year number two. Mijares went 3-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 63 innings while striking out 77 and walking 27 with the Miracle last season, and that should be plenty to move him up to the AA level for this season. Just today, the Twins said that Mijares appeared to be on a mission coming into spring training, having dropped about 25 pounds and looking very focused. Unfortunately, he will also be coping with the tragic death of his brother in a shooting accident in Venezuela shortly after spring training started. If necessary, Mijares can be used as a starter (he started five games with the Miracle last year), but he'll get most of his playing time out of the bullpen.

#16 - Tristan Crawford - Minor League Free Agent (c. 11/02/07)
Crawford is a 24-year-old righty who was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Twins back in 2000. It took him awhile to develop, as the Twins left him in the Gulf Coast League for his first three seasons before moving him up to Quad Cities for 2003 and 2004. His 2004 season was a breakthrough, as he posted a 2.79 ERA in 48.1 innings with a K-BB ratio of 43-9. He spent 2005 in Ft. Myers, and was in New Britain last season. His 6-5 record and 3.66 ERA, along with his still very solid 97-33 K-BB ratio, should easily be enough to earn him another promotion this season. Crawford got an invite to spring training this year as a non-roster player, and if he plays well this season he should end up on the 40-man roster in October to prevent his becoming a minor league free agent or to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

#17 - Ricky Barrett - Rochester Red Wings
Barrett is a 26-year-old lefty who was drafted by the Twins in the 7th round of the 2002 draft out of the University of San Diego. Other than his second half of 2005 (when he first made it to AAA and got ROCKED), Barrett has always been rock solid, rising through the system fiarly quickly. Last season, he was 5-1 with a 3.42 ERA in 47.1 innings while posting a 49-26 K-BB ratio. He pitched well enough that the Twins added him to the 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, so his 3 option years will start ticking off in April.

#18 - Daniel Powers - RELEASED (c. 10/25/07)
Powers is a 24-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 8th round of the 2005 draft out of Central Missouri State University. He started off his Twins career in Elizabethton, where he went 3-3 with a 2.53 ERA and a 47-20 K-BB ratio in 2005. Last season, he started off in Beloit and dominated, going 1-0 with a 0.43 ERA in 21 innings while striking out 20 and walking just 4. The Twins recognized that he was stronger than the competition, and moved him up to Ft. Myers, where he went 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 58 innings while posting a 61-18 K-BB ratio. Those numbers may be good enough to get him promoted to New Britain (and probably should be), but there is at least a chance that he starts off in Ft. Myers.

#19 - Danny Vais - Beloit Snappers [Ft. Myers]
Vais is a 22-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 17th round of the 2003 draft out of Seward County Community College. He spent his first season in the Gulf Coast League, where he went 0-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings and a 15-5 K-BB ratio. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2005, and struggled a bit, going 6-1 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 innings, but his 30-5 K-BB ratio was still very nice. Last season, he got his first taste of full season action, playing in Beloit, and he responded with a 3-4 record and a 2.12 ERA in 80.2 innings with a 78-26 K-BB ratio, boosting him into the top 20 relief prospects in the organization. Ft. Myers and the Florida State League awaits him this season.

#20 - Bobby Korecky - Rochester Red Wings
Korecky is a 27-year-old righty who was drafted by the Phillies in the 19th round of the 2002 draft. He was traded to the Twins as the last part of the deal that sent Eric Milton to Philadelphia in exchange for Carlos Silva and Nick Punto in 2003. His first year in the Twins organization saw him pitching for New Britain, where he pitched effectively. Unfortunately, he missed almost all of the 2005 season with injury. Last year, he was back, going 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 25 innings with New Britain before being promoted to Rochester, where he went 5-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 51.1 innings. His K-BB ratio (28-16) is not particularly thrilling, but at least he seems to get outs. He's getting close to minor league free agency, so a good season could find him on the 40-man roster after the 2007 season is completed.

#21 - Ryan Callahan - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Callahan is a 26-year-old lefty who was signed by the Giants in 2004 as an undrafted free agent. The Janesville, Wisconsin native spent a couple of seasons in the Giants organization, but San Fran decided they didn't want him anymore and released him. The Twins signed him before last season and assigned him to Ft. Myers, where he posted a solid 3-5/3.79/57-27 effort. That should be enough to get Callahan a promotion to New Britain. Could it be the Giants made yet another foolish decision that's going to benefit the Twins? (Apparently not, since he's now been released).

#22 - Carmen Cali - Rochester Red Wings
Cali is a 28-year-old lefty who was drafted in the 10th round of the 2000 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was signed by the Twins as a minor league free agent and invited to spring training, where he still has an (extremely) outside shot at making the Major League roster. Far more likely, however, is that Cali will start out in Rochester, where he'll try to become the #1 lefty option in case the team needs to call somebody up. His career 4.31 minor league ERA isn't that bad, but he'll have to establish himself quickly to stay above some of the other lefties in the organization on the depth chart. Recalled to Minnesota 7/5/07; optioned to Rochester 7/8/07

#23 - Brian Forystek - RELEASED (6/18/07)
Yet another minor league free agent, Forystek is a 28-year-old lefty who was drafted in the 14th round of the 2000 draft out of Illinois State University. Forystek made it to AAA back in 2004, but posted a 5.58 ERA and hasn't made it back sense. Last season at AA, he went 6-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 70.2 innings with a 64-32 K-BB ratio. Will that be good enough to get him a spot in the crowded Rochester bullpen? I doubt it - expect to see him in New Britain.

#24 - Brad Baker - Minor League Free Agent (c. 11/02/07)
Another minor league free agent, Baker is a 26-year-old righty who was drafted in the 1st round of the 1999 draft by the Red Sox. Tell me again where all of these minor league free agents are going to play?? Anyway, Baker struggled last year with Pawtucket in the Red Sox AAA system, going 2-4 with a 6.02 ERA in 46.1 innings. He has one phenomenal season under his belt, in 2004 with Mobile (AA with San Diego), where he went 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 57.1 innings. It's nice to have another 1st round pick in the organization, but I'm scratching my head a little bit here - hopefully he establishes himself with the Red Wings this summer. Promoted to Rochester 7/06/07

#25 - Chris Schutt - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Schutt is a 25-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 7th round of the 2003 draft out of Cornell University. He started off with a bang at Elizabethton, posting a 1.98 ERA in 54.2 innings while putting up a 72-21 K-BB ratio. He than had a so-so season in Quad Cities as a starter (4.03 ERA in 143 innings) before switching back to the bullpen in 2005 with Ft. Myers. Last season, he started off in Ft. Myers, and went 4-2 with a 2.76 ERA in 62 innings before earning a promotion to New Britain. The results weren't so good - a 10.12 ERA in 10.2 innings and a woeful 7-10 K-BB ratio. Nevertheless, that should be where Schutt starts out 2007, as he tries to demonstrate that the sub-3.00 ERA in early 2006 was no fluke.

#26 - Jason Miller - Rochester Red Wings
Miller is a 24-year-old lefty who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2000 draft by the Twins out of Sarasota High School in Sarasota, FL. I imagine he's on the verge of becoming a minor league free agent, so 2007 will be an important year for Miller. Last season, he split his time almost evenly between starting and coming out of the bullpen - 32 games, 15 starts - but that just gets him on the list this year as a reliever. Considering the guys who should be starting for the Red Wings this year, I'll doubt he'll be getting many chances to start in 2007. Last season, he went 3-8 with a 3.81 ERA in 99.1 innings, striking out 87 and walking just 36. He's never had a full season that could be called "bad," as evidenced by his career 3.34 ERA in 517.2 innings. Unfortunately for Miller, there are a lot of new guys who probably slot in a bit ahead of him. A good year, however, should earn him a spot on the 40-man roster and a chance to make the bullpen in 2008.

#27 - Colby Miller - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Colby is a soon-to-be 25-year-old who was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2000 draft by the Twins out of Weatherford High School in Weatherford, OK. He's been primarily a starter for most of his career, but last season he made just 7 starts in 25 appearances between Ft. Myers and New Britain. His K-BB ratio was not very good last year, but back in 2003 he had a 114-43 K-BB, so he has the capability to get strikeouts. He's been stalled out in the High A/AA level since 2003, and it looks like he'll be starting in New Britain again this year. Maybe he'll pitch well enough to get to AAA next year, but he should be a minor league free agent very soon.

#28 - Angel Garcia - Minor League Free Agent (c. 11/02/07)
Garcia is a 23-year-old righty who the Twins drafted in the 4th round of the 2001 draft out of Nicolas Sevilla High School in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico. He's put together a few decent years, but his innings pitched totals are very low - he hasn't pitched more than 37.1 innings in a season since 2002, and for the most part has been in the 15-25 innings range. Last season, he posted a 2.93 ERA, but in just 15.1 innings. It seems somewhat unrealistic to expect him to start pitching 50 innings a year, but if he doesn't soon, he probably won't be with the team for much longer.

#29 - Jose Cordero - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)

Cordero is a 23-year-old righty who was drafted in the 44th round of the 2005 draft by the Twins out of the University of Miami. From here on down through the end of the list, you'll notice that the names aren't as flashy and the stats aren't as guady. In his two years in the organization, Cordero has made his way up to Beloit, where last year he went 3-2 with a 4.24 ERA in 51 innings with a 50-24 K-BB ratio. He's old enough that a social promotion to Ft. Myers might be in order, just to see if he can handle it at that level.

#30 - Armando Gabino - Ft. Myers Miracle [Beloit]
Gabino is a 23-year-old righty out of the Dominican Republic. He had a terrible 2005 in Elizabethton, going 1-2 with an ugly 8.10 ERA in 30 innings. Last year, however, Gabino went 1-0 with an 0.87 ERA in 10.1 innings with the E-Twins before being promoted to Beloit, where he went 2-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 30.1 innings while posting a 20-5 K-BB ratio. He should start off in Beloit this year.

#31 - Josh Hill - Rule 5 (minor) -- drafted by Pittsburgh (12/06/07)
Hill is a soon-to-be 24-year-old Australian righty who spent last season with Ft. Myers. He posted a 6-6 record with a 4.88 ERA while striking out 80 and walking 42. Hill is a typical middle relief / emergency starter type, having made 33 appearances and 13 starts last season. He should get a chance to continue in the same role this season, once again with the Miracle.

#32 - Tim Lahey - Rule 5 (Major) - drafted by Tampa (12/06/07)
Lahey is a 25-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 20th round of the 2004 draft out of Princeton University. He started off in the organization as a catcher, but his .202 batting average for Elizabethton in 2004 must have been enough to convince the Twins that a future behind the plate wasn't in the cards. Lahey returned to Elizabethton in 2005, this time as a reliever, and went 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 25.1 innings, striking out 30 while walking just 8. Last season, he jumped all the way up to Ft. Myers, skipping the intermediate stop in Beloit, and went 7-1 with a 4.33 ERA in 72.2 innings with a 57-27 K-BB ratio. That ERA is good enough that it might get Lahey an immediate promotion to New Britain, but I'm guessing he'll start things out in Ft. Myers.

#33 - Jose Lugo - Beloit Snappers
Lugo is a soon-to-be 23-year-old lefty out of the Dominican Republic who was signed by the A's back in 2002. The Twins selected him in the minor league Rule 5 Draft in December of 2005, and he started last season in Elizabethton. His numbers were solid - 8-4/3.56/70-21 - and he was promoted to Beloit fairly quickly. While Lugo had started every game he played with Elizabethton, he was used exclusively in relief for the Snappers, where he went 1-4 with a 4.45 ERA in 28.1 innings with a 32-13 K-BB ratio. That should put him in line to start the season in Beloit, probably as a reliever. If the Snappers find themselves in need of a starter later in the season, he could very well be called upon to fill that role.

#34 - Frank Mata - Ft. Myers Miracle [FtM/Bel]
Mata is a soon-t0-be 23-year-old righty out of Venezuela who was signed by the Twins in 2002. He first pitched in 2004, with the E-Twins, where he went 2-2 with a 3.73 ERA in 31.1 innings with a 39-6 K-BB ratio. He missed the entire 2005 season, but returned in 2006 and spent the entire season with Beloit. His numbers were solid - 5-3/4.22/30-18 - but he may be left in Beloit at the start of the season just due to the way rosters are likely to shake out. I wouldn't be that surprised to see him starting of in Ft. Myers, though.

#35 - Justin Olson - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Olson is a soon-to-be 27-year-old righty who was drafted in the 44th round of the 1998 draft by the Cubs out of the University of Illinois. He ended up playing in the Frontier league in 2003, and the Twins picked him up from there. In 2003 and 2004, he was a solid prospect, with sub 3.00 ERA's. Since then, he's put up two pretty mediocre seasons in New Britain. He can be used either as a starter or a reliever, as evidenced by last seasons 32 appearances with 9 starts. His K-BB numbers are solid - 102-40 last season - but his 5.09 ERA in 88.1 innings shows that he's eminently hittable. Time is probably running out for Olson to impress the Twins enough to stay around the organization.

#36 - David Shinskie - Ft. Myers Miracle
Shinskie is a 22-year-old righty who the Twins drafted in the 4th round of the 2003 draft out of Mount Carmel Area High School in Mount Carmel, PA. After a disastrous 2003 season in the GCL, he nonetheless earned a promotion to Elizabethton in 2004 and had a solid year. His 2005 season with Beloit was horrible (7.22 ERA in 77.1 innings), but in 2006 he shifted completely into a relief role and went 6-7 with a 2.13 ERA in 76 innings with a 61-15 K-BB ratio. Unfortunately, his season was marred by an 11 game stint in New Britain, where he posted an 8.44 ERA. This season should find Shinskie in Ft. Myers, where he'll try to prove that his Beloit numbers from 2006 were no fluke.

#37 - Jon (Justin) Staatz - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Staatz is a 23-year-old righty who entered the Twins organization last year and played with both the GCL and Elizabethton Twins. His GCL numbers (3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings with a 20-3 K-BB ratio) were good enough to get him reassigned upwards, and he went 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA and a 17-10 K-BB ratio in 21.2 innings for the E-Twins. I'm predicting that will be good enough to get Staatz to Beloit to start the season, largely due to his age and presumed experience.

#38 - Matthew Fox - Beloit Snappers
Fox is a 24-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 1st round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Central Florida. He spent his 2004 season in Elizabethton, posting a mediocre 5.40 ERA in 26.2 innings with a 32-8 K-BB ratio. Presumably due to injury, he missed the entire 2005 season, and so returned to Elizabethton last year, where he put up a more impressive record of 4-0 with a 3.79 ERA in 40.1 innings while striking out 46 and walking just 13. That should earn Fox a ticket to Beloit for the 2007 season, and he tries to regain the luster that comes with being a former #1 pick.

#39 - Danny Hernandez - Beloit Snappers
Hernandez is a 21-year-old righty out of Venezuela who was signed by the Twins in 2003. He pitched in the GCL in 2005, and despite lackluster numbers (1-1/5.48/19-17), he was promoted to Elizabethton for the 2006 season. His 3.81 ERA in 28.1 innings, to go along with his solid 40-9 K-BB ratio, should make him a legitimate contender for a roster spot in Beloit.

#40 - Patrick Bryant - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Bryant is a 21-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 6th round of the 2004 draft out of Pensacola Catholic High School in Pensacola, FL. He spent his first two seasons in the organization with the GCL Twins, and despite a 6.44 ERA in 36.1 innings in 2005, he was promoted to Elizabethton last season. Unfortunately, he didn't do any better there, going 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA in 32.2 innings. I would normally guess that Bryant would be sent to the E-Twins for another year, but four years at the rookie level seems excessive, and the Twins might send him to Beloit on a sink-or-swim assignment.

#41 - Matthew Williams - Beloit Snappers [Beloit]
Williams is a 20-year-old righty out of Australia who was signed by the Twins in 2004. He made an extremely impressive debut in the GCL, going 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 37.1 innings and a 42-13 K-BB ratio in 2005. He moved up to Elizabethton in 2006, and continued to pitch well, going 4-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 39.1 innings and a 41-10 K-BB ratio. Williams should easily end up in Beloit this season. Promoted from Elizabethton to Beloit (6/29/07)

#42 - Aaron Craig - Beloit Snappers [Bel/Eliz]
From here on, the list primarily consists of players with more limited rookie league playing time (or less than limited, as in nonexistent). Craig is a soon-to-be 21-year-old righty who was drafted by the Twins in the 28th round of the 2004 draft out of Grayson County Junior College (he's a Rochester, Minnesota native). Craig put up solid numbers in the GCL in 2005 (1-3/3.97/23-7), earning himself a promotion to Elizabethton for last season. His 5.11 ERA in 24.2 innings and his unimpressive 17-15 K-BB ratio probably means he's bound for another season in Elizabethton, but a trip to Beloit is at least possible.

#43 - Carlos Garcia - Dominican Summer League [Eliz]
Garcia is a soon-to-be 20-year old lefty out of the Dominican Republic. He made his organizational debut last season in the GCL, going 3-0 with a 3.68 ERA and an unimpressive 16-15 K-BB ratio. That should be good enough for a promotion to Elizabethton, but not much more.

#44 - Robert Delaney - Ft. Myers Miracle [Bel/Eliz]
Delaney is a 22-year-old righty who ended up with the Twins after playing for St. John's University. He went 1-3 with a 4.64 ERA in 33 innings and a remarkable 27-1 K-BB ratio for the GCL Twins last season. He also played 3 games in Ft. Myers, but his 5.40 ERA in 5 innings would seem to indicate that skipping two levels was probably a bit much. I would look for him in Elizabethton this year, but his K-BB ratio may indicate that he has pretty good stuff and impeccable control, so he could end up finding himself playing for the Snappers.

#45 - Bradley Tippett - Elizabethton Twins
Tippett is a 19-year-old Australian righty who had a strong GCL season last year (3-5/2.53 in 21.1 innings/18-5 K-BB). He's still young enough that there is no reason to rush him, and he seems to be a perfect candidate for time in extended spring training with a trip to Elizabethton once the short season starts in June.

#46 - Luis Carreras - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Carreras is a 23-year-old righty from Covina (presumably California) who pitched in 14 games for the GCL Twins last season. His 3.34 ERA and 23-5 K-BB ratio indicates that he has some potential, so expect to see him in Elizabethton this season. His age is a consideration, however - he'll have to pan out sooner rather than later, or risk being let go.

#47 - Adam Revelette - RELEASED (c. 5/08/07)
Revelette is a 22-year-old lefty out of the University of Kentucky who went 2-1 with a 4.78 ERA in 26.1 innings and an 18-3 K-BB ratio for the GCL Twins last season. His age would seem to indicate that a promotion to Elizabethton is in order, but his mediocre ERA might militate towards a return trip through the GCL.

#48 - Jose Acosta - RELEASED (c. 10/25/07)
Acosta is a 20-year-old righty out of Venezuela who made four appearances (pitching 6 innings) with the GCL Twins last season. Not much else to say, really.

#49 - Jakub Toufar - GCL Twins
Toufar is a soon-to-be 20-year-old righty out of the Czech Republic (yes, THAT Czech Republic) who made 10 appearances (15.1 innings) for the GCL Twins last season. Undoubtedly, he will return there in 2007.

#50 - Bruno Sanchez - Venezuelan Summer League [GCL]
Sanchez is a 20-year-old righty out of Venezuela who posted an 8.31 ERA in 11 games (17.1 innings) with the GCL Twins in 2006.

#51 - Thomas Wright - GCL Twins
Wright is a 19-year-old righty who was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2006 draft by the Twins out of McGavock High School in Nashville, TN. He was overmatched in his first professional season, posting an 11.74 ERA in 7.2 innings to go along with a horrendous 3-9 K-BB ratio. A return trip to the GCL would seem to be in order.

#52 - Joan Ortiz - UNASSIGNED [GCL Twins]
Ortiz is an 18-year-old righty who was drafted in the 41st round of the 2006 draft by the Twins out of Ponce de Leon High School in Ponce de Leon, FL. He made 1 appearance for the GCL Twins last year, going 2.1 innings and giving up 1 ER. He'll be back with the team this year, likely in a more significant capacity.

#53 - Chris Anderson - UNASSIGNED [Eliz/GCL]
And now we get to those miscellaneous pitchers who haven't pitched in the organization. Anderson was the Twins 18th round pick in last years draft, and the soon-to-be 21-year-old lefty out of Northern Essex Community College should start off his career with one of the short-season teams, after a proper evaluation during extended spring training. CONTRACT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN VOIDED, AS NOTED BY A COMMENTER BELOW.

#54 - Matt Ryan - UNASSIGNED [Eliz/GCL]
Ryan is a soon-to-be 21-year-old Australian lefty who has played first base in the Angels system for the last couple of seasons. The Twins have signed him to try to turn him into a pitcher, so extended spring training and one of the rookie teams are an extremely likely destination for him.

#55 - Domingo Reyes - RELEASED (c. 3/30/07)
Reyes is 22, and was drafted a couple of years ago by the Pirates. He hasn't played since then, and there's no record of what he's been up to in the interim.

#56 - Rodney Gessmann - GCL Twins
A 19-year-old righty from Germany who can also play in the outfield.

#57 - Jarrad Eacott - GCL Twins
A 17- or 18-year-old, probably right handed, Australian.

#58 - James Beresford - GCL Twins
Another Aussie, Beresford was signed as 16, and has now finished secondary school. He can also supposedly play in the infield.

#59 - Tom Stuifbergen - GCL Twins
A 17- or 18-year-old righty from the Netherlands.

#60 - Nikolay Lobanov - GCL Twins
A left-handed Russian who is just 17 (maybe 18 by now).

#61 - Jesus Carnevales - RELEASED (c. 10/25/07)
A lefty from Puerto Rico of indeterminate age who appears to have gone 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA in a Puerto Rican league.

NR - Ian Mopas - UNASSIGNED [Eliz/GCL]
Mopas was the Twins 30th round selection in the 2006 draft, and signed shortly before the cut-off around the end of May, 2007. He's a lefty from Hawaii who was drafted out of high school and then spent his spring playing in Junior College before signing with the Twins. He was born on December 23, 1987.

NR - Anthony Slama - Beloit Snappers [Eliz/GCL]
Slama was drafted by the Twins in the 39th round of the 2006 draft, and was signed this spring at the end of May as the draft and follow deadline (the last one ever) approached. He was born on January 6, 1984.

NR - Daniel Berlind - GCL Twins [Eliz/GCL]
Berlind was the Twins 7th round pick in the 2007 draft, coming out of Pierce Junior College in California. He's a very tall righty -- 6'7" -- and supposedly has a nasty slider. He was born on December 3, 1987, and signed with the Twins on June 12.

NR - Steven Hirschfeld - Elizabethton Twins
Hirschfeld was the Twins 9th round pick in the 2007 draft, coming out of San Diego State University. Baseball America has rather unflatteringly characterized him as a guy with an average fastball and not much else, so I'm sure he'll be motivated to prove them wrong. The righty was born on September 8, 1985, and signed with the Twins on June 12.

NR - Daniel Latham - Elizabethton Twins
Latham was the Twins 15th round pick in the 2007 draft, coming out of Tulane University in Louisiana. He was a closer at Tulane, and a pretty good one at that, ranking 6th all time in NCAA saves. Latham is a 6'3" righty who weighs in at 185, and was born on September 5, 1984. He signed with the Twins on June 12.

NR - Lee Martin - GCL Twins [Eliz/GCL]
Martin was the Twins 18th round pick in the 2007 draft, coming out the University of Southern Arkansas. He's a 6'0" righty who was born on May 28, 1986, and he signed on June 12.

NR - Henry Reyes - Elizabethton Twins [No Prediction]
Reyes is a graduate of the Twins Dominican Summer League team, where he went 6-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 77.1 innings last season. Reyes also had an excellent .168 batting average against, and a 71-33 K-BB ratio. He was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic on 5/07/1985, and throws from the left side.

NR - Michael Rogers - RELEASED (c. 10/25/07)
Well, this one threw me for a loop a little bit, I confess. I finally dug up the fact that Rogers was a 16th round pick of the Twins in 2003 out of Del City High School in Oklahoma. I have no reason to believe that this isn't the same Rogers, but I have no idea what happened to him since 2003. My guess is he pitched somewhere, but I really don't know where. I do know that he was spotted pitching this spring in Extended Spring Training, so he's been with the Twins for awhile at leasts. Heck, for all I know, he's been with the Twins since 2003 but has been injured. either way, he was born on 6/11/85, and throws from the left side.

NR - Michael Tarsi - Elizabethton Twins [No Prediction]
This one is interesting -- Tarsi was the Twins 12th round pick in the 2007 draft, but to this point no official mention of his signing has been made. That makes things a little strange, since he's been placed on an Elizabethton roster. I can only assume that in the last 8 days, the Twins have signed some players without announcing those signings. Tarsi was born on August 11, 1986, and is a lefty. He comes out of the University of Connecticut.

NR - Santos Arias - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Arias is a graduate of the Twins Dominican Summer League team, having put together a phenomenal 2006 season there. He went 10-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 95 innings, allowing just a .160 batting average against, and striking out 62 to just 17 walks. He was born on 3/17/1987, and throws from the right side.

NR - Liam Hendriks - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Hendriks is an Australian who was signed by the Twins in March. He's an 18-year-old right hander out of Perth, Australia (born on 2/10/1989), and throws from the right side.

NR - Winston Marquez - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Marquez is a graduate of the Twins Venezuelan Summer League team, where he went 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA in 65.1 innings in 2006. He's a young lefty (born 8/19/1987) out of Tovar, Venezuela.

NR - Danny Rondon - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Rondon is a graduate of the Twins Dominican Summer League team, where he went 4-4 with a 1.48 ERA in 67 innings in 2006. He was born in Valencia, Valenzuela on 6/21/1987, and throws from the right side.

NR - Charles Nolte - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Nolte was the Twins 24th round selection in the 2007 draft. He's a righty out of San Diego State University who was also born in San Diego on 3/19/86.

NR - Mark Hamburger - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Hamburger was signed by the Twins on 6/20/07 after attending an open tryout, and was assigned to the GCL. The 20-year-old righty (born 2/05/87) was attending Mesabi Range Community & Technical College before being signed.

NR - Blair Erickson - Unassigned [No Prediction]
Erickson was drafted in the 10th round of the 2007 draft out of UC-Irvine. The 23-year-old righthander pitched primarily in relief in college, and will presumably continue in that capacity when he starts pitching in the Twins organization.

NR - Nelvin Fuentes - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Fuentes was drafted in the 16th round of the 2007 draft out of a Puerto Rican baseball academy. He'll turn 19 on April 7th. He's a lefty who made his GCL appearances in relief.

NR - Dominique Rodgers - GCL Twins [No Prediction]
Rodgers was drafted by the Twins in the 36th round out of Kent State University. The righty will turn 23 on January 21. He pitched out of relief in the GCL during his first season of professional baseball.

NR - Andrey Lobanov - No Assignment [No Prediction]
Not to be confused with fellow Russian Nikolay Lobanov, Andrey is a young (17-ish) pitcher who was one of the Twins summer international signings. I've been able to find very little information on him to this point, but will try to find more prior to compiling my 2008 Organizational Rankings in February. I do know he's a lefty.

NR - Casey Daigle - No Assignment [No Prediction]
Daigle is a 26-year-old righty (he turns 27 on April 4) out of Lake Charles, Louisiana who was signed by the Twins as a minor league free agent on 12/03/07. Prior to joining the Twins, Daigle had spent his entire professional career in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He spent parts of 2004 and 2006 at the big league level with the D-backs, posting a career major league ERA of 6.46 in 61.1 innings. In 2007, he started 16 games and made 26 relief appearances.

NR - Mariano Gomez - No Assignment [No Prediction]
Gomez was a minor league free agent signing for the Twins out of the Indians organization. He was signed out of Honduras in 1999 and made his minor league debut in rookie ball at age 17. The left-handed Gomez, born on September 12, 1982, has a career minor-league ERA of 4.15 in 558 career innings along with a reasonably acceptable 1.41 career WHIP, over a 2-1 K-BB ratio, and a 7.00 K/9. While Gomez has at times been used as a starter, he's been primarily a reliever since 2003. In early January, he was extended an invitation to spring training.

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