Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Elizabethton Twins Preview

Tonight, the Elizabethton Twins (High Rookie affiliate of the Minnesota Twins) kick off the 2007 Appalachian League season against the Kingsport Mets. The team roster is now available, and I have a few thoughts on the players that have been assigned to Elizabethton to start things off. Without further ado, here's a trip through the 2007 E-Twins roster (with my organizational ranking of the player in parentheses behind the player's name):

1.) Greg Yersich - (7-C)
2.) Rodolfo Palacios - (9-C)
3.) Benjamin Petsch - (NR-C)

The big surprise here is Yersich, who started the season with the Beloit Snappers but played so terribly (he was hitting just .168 with a .406 OPS in 119 AB's for the Snappers) that he's been relegated back to Elizabethton to try to find his stride. Palacios played with the GCL Twins in 2006, and hit .279 with a 694 OPS in 37 games, so it was fairly clear that he was going to earn a promotion to Elizabethton this season. Finally, Petsch was just drafted a week and a half ago by the Twins in the 19th round out of Belmont University. His experience made it fairly clear that he would start his professional career with the E-Twins, and he should be pretty polished right out of the box.

1.) Starling de los Santos - (12-SS)
2.) Matthew Lawman - (11-2B)
3.) Rene Leveret - (NR-1B)
4.) Deibinson Romero - (8-3B)
5.) Henry Sanchez - (9-1B)
6.) Eric Santiago - (8-SS)

The most interesting name on this list, although it's not unexpected, is Henry Sanchez. Drafted in the 1st round back in 2005, Sanchez has failed to impress at every juncture so far, and is probably entering a make-or-break year. Erik Lis, who was drafted behind Sanchez, has already made his way up to Ft. Myers -- but Sanchez has yet to hit above .229 at any professional level (and that was with the GCL Twins in 2005). Hopefully he's figured things out after a spring in Extended Spring Training.

Deibinson Romero is another interesting player to watch. He had an excellent first season in the organization, hitting .313/825 in 50 games for the GCL Twins last season. I suspect that those numbers would ordinarily have earned him a promotion directly to Beloit for this season if the Snappers didn't have an already crowded corner-infield situation. Another solid performance this year, however, will build some significant buzz for Romero.

Another interesting figure on this squad is Rene Leveret, who basically graduated out of the Dominican Summer League (sort of a low-low rookie league) with a solid 2006 performance that saw him hit .331 with a 936 OPS and 7 HR's in 254 AB's. Honestly, he wasn't even on my radar screen, so I'll be interested in seeing how he performs.

1.) Wesley Connor - (25-OF)
2.) Mark Dolenc - (28-OF)
3.) Ozzie Lewis - (NR-OF)
4.) Rene Tosoni - (14-3B)

I'll start with Tosoni, since you'll notice he's on my 3B ranking. Tosoni was a 2005 draft pick of the Twins who was never assigned to play anywhere last year. I assume that there was an injury situation, but I never saw anything official on that front so I can't be sure. The fact that he's being listed as an outfielder may be an indication of how the Twins intend to use him this summer -- but it also may mean nothing. Chris Parmelee was, I believe, originally listed as a 1B for Beloit to start the season, and he's spent the vast majority of his time in the outfield. We'll have to watch to see where Tosoni gets his playing time.

Ozzie Lewis was the Twins 21st round draft pick this season out of Fresno State University, and his college experience makes it unsurprising that he would be assigned to Elizabethton to start his professional career.

Wes Connor is a native of the Netherlands who struggled with Elizabethton last season, and so gets a return pass. Mark Dolenc, meanwhile, was selected in the 15th round last season out of Minnesota State-Mankato, and played pretty poorly in the GCL. Nonetheless, he earned the promotion to Elizabethton for this season, likely on the strength of his past college experience.

1.) Omar Alcala - (36-SP)
2.) Michael Allen - (38-SP)
3.) David Bromberg - (32-SP)
4.) Jose Castillo - (27-SP)
5.) Steven Hirschfeld - (NR-RP)
6.) Daniel Latham - (NR-RP)
7.) Curtis Leavitt - (39-SP)
8.) Henry Reyes - (NR-RP)
9.) Michael Rogers - (NR-RP)
10.) Anthony Slama - (NR-RP)
11.) Spencer Steedley - (NR-1B)
12.) Bradley Tippett - (45-RP)
13.) Ludovicus Van Mil - (31-SP)
14.) Matthew Williams - (41-RP)

First, it should be noted that at the Rookie League level, concepts like "starters" and "relievers" can often be rather flexible, and a lot of guys get some starts and some relief appearances. As a result, I'm not going to make any attempt at figuring out which of these guys will really be "starters" this year for the E-Twins.

Next, you probably noticed that Spencer Steedley is on my first baseman ranking page. That's because he was listed as a 1B on the Twins draft page, but Baseball America has him down as a OF/LHP. The fact that he's showing up as a pitcher on the roster probably indicates that that's where the Twins intend to use him. He was drafted by the Twins in the 25th round this year out of UNC-Charlotte.

Other interesting names? How about Ludovicus Van Mil, the 7'1" Dutchman? He broke in with the GCL Twins last season, putting up a 3.30 ERA in 43.2 innings to earn himself a promotion to Elizabethton. Also of interest are the first-timers -- guys like Anthony Slama, a 2006 pick who signed with the Twins just before the deadline, and like Steven Hirschfeld and Daniel Latham, who were drafted in the 9th and 15th rounds respectively out of San Diego State and Tulane Universities.

Finally, I'm very curious about two of the names on this list -- I've never heard of Henry Reyes or Michael Rogers, so when I get a chance I'll have to do a little bit of digging.

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