Mike McCardell, David Bromberg, Dan Berlind, Michael Tarsi, Brian Kirwan
Mike McCardell, a 6th round draft pick for the Twins last year, is easily my favorite name on this last after his debut performance a year ago. Starting in the GCL, McCardell gave up 5 runs in 18 innings and struck out 25 while walking just 3, earning an easy promotion to Elizabethton. While there, he allowed just 10 earned runs in 45 innings, while striking out an amazing 70 against just 5 walks. That's a remarkable 14.00 strikeouts per nine innings. The Twins drafted Berlind the round after McCardell, and in 56 innings with the GCL Twins he compiled a 1.93 ERA and a 52-20 K-BB ratio, earning himself a spot alongside McCardell with Beloit.
Those two aren't the only pitchers from the 2007 draft in the Beloit rotation -- Michael Tarsi was drafted in the 12th round and assigned to Elizabethton, where he put up a 2.22 ERA in 52.2 innings with a 59-13 K-BB ratio. If these guys can take the next step, this could be a very, very fun rotation to watch. Incidentally, David Bromberg is no slouch either -- the 32nd round pick from 2005 has put up solid numbers in the GCL and Elizabethton over the past two years (including an 81-32 K-BB ratio and a 2.78 ERA in 58.1 innings with E-Town last year). As for Brian Kirwan, the 11th round pick from 2005 has struggled in Elizabethton and Beloit the past two years, so he may need to show something this year to keep his roster spot.
Blair Erickson, Danny Hernandez (DL), Steven Hirschfeld, Charles Nolte, Henry Reyes (DL), Dominique Rodgers, Spencer Steedley, Loek Van Mil, Matthew Williams
The bulk of this bullpen, like the majority of the rotation, comes out of the 2007 draft. Blair Erickson, Steven Hirschfeld, Charles Nolte, Dominique Rodgers, and Spencer Steedley all got their start with short season teams last season after being drafted, with Erickson and Steedley having the most successful debuts. However, it is Loek (a.k.a. Ludovicus) Van Mil who will draw most of my attention this season -- he's the 7'1" righty out of the Netherlands who the Twins are basically experimenting with. In 2006 with the GCL Twins, he was primarily a starter, but last season the Twins moved him up to Elizabethton and into the bullpen, where he put up a 2.63 ERA in 24 innings (with a disappointingly mediocre 23-17 K-BB ratio). Getting a chance to see Van Mil pitch for a full season with Beloit should be entertaining, if nothing else.
Jair Fernandez, Jose Leger (DL), Daniel Lehmann, Gregory Yersich
Without question, the Snappers will have plenty of catchers this season -- the question is whether any of them will provide much offensively. Greg Yersich makes a return to Beloit after starting the season there last year and putting up a woeful .180/442 in 122 AB's and getting busted down to Elizabethton (where he hit a really solid .312/782 in 186 AB's -- go figure). More than likely, Yersich is going to be given a chance to be the #1 catcher with this squad, but everyone will get playing time. Fernandez was just acquired from the Mariners in exchange for the rights to R.A. Dickey, and I'm not sure what to make of him just yet. Then there's Daniel Lehmann, the Twins 8th round pick from a season ago. Lehmann, who hit very well in his time at Rice University, struggled a bit in Elizabethton last year (.221/697 in 77 AB's), but in such limited action and with making the transition to professional baseball, he deserves to be cut some slack for now.
Chris Cates, Paul Kelly (DL), Ben Petsch, Deibinson Romero, Ramon Santana, Steven Singleton, Andrew Thompson (DL)
Third baseman Deibinson Romero is the most interesting name on this list. The 21-year-old out of the Dominican Republic hit .316/912 in 247 AB's for Elizabethton a year ago, backing up the .313/825 he put together in 176 AB's for the GCL Twins in 2006. Now that he's moving to a full-season league, we could get a chance to see him put together some really compelling numbers. Meanwhile, 2007 19th round selection Ben Petsch is listed as an infielder on the roster, probably indicating that he'll be the team's primary first baseman this year. Petsch hit .311/936 in 74 AB's for Elizabethton a year ago playing primarily in the outfield (he also played 4 games at 1B and caught one game), and so makes for an interesting case coming into this season as he tries to show he can put up solid numbers in more than just 74 AB's. Steven Singleton should get most of the starts at 2B, while Chris Cates and Ramon Santana split time at SS. Hopefully Kelly and Thompson can work themselves into the mix at some point as well -- especially Thompson, who has just been riddled with injuries since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft.
Joe Benson, Mark Dolenc, Ozzie Lewis, Garrett Olson, Chris Parmelee, Eli Tintor (restricted list)
This outfield could be really compelling. Parmelee and Benson both played in Beloit a season ago, but the organization clearly felt they could continue to benefit from playing in Low-A ball, and they're young enough that that decision makes sense. Parmelee showed plenty of power last year, hitting 15 dingers in 447 AB's (which is a good number for an A-ball player), but he struck out a ton (137 times in those 447 AB's) and his .239 batting average was a bit disappointing. Benson, meanwhile, hit a bit better average-wise (.255 in 432 AB's), but he also struck out far too much (124 times) and certainly could benefit from some more development time. Meanwhile, former third baseman Garrett Olson, a fourth round pick in 2006, was great with Elizabethton in 2006 but really struggled in Beloit a year ago (.219/591 in 416 AB's), earning him his return trip. They'll be joined by newcomers Dolenc (a 15th rounder in 2006 out of Minnesota State Mankato who hit .287 in 230 AB's for Elizabethton a year ago) and Lewis (a 21st rounder in 2007 out of Fresno State University who had a very strong first season in Elizabethton, hitting .323/898 in 235 AB's), who should compete for playing time.
Labels: Beloit Snappers