Fort Meers is the Twins High A Affiliate. This is where prospects go to die. In recent memory the only prospect I can remember who had success here was Arcia. Outside of that it has been disappointment after disappointment. The field is big, and should be a pitchers park but we have seen many pitchers struggle here. My hopes for this place is a prospect only spends a few months here and then gets sent up to AA. The current roster has a few of last year's disappointments remaking the team. There are some exciting additions this year but I will watch the first few months with dread as this place truly is where we see the cream rise. I will start with the pitchers and then work down.
Pitchers: Some of the disappointments from the '11 Draft return on this year's FM's pitching staff. Matt Summers was shelled as starter for Fort Myers last year. He couldn't strike anyone out and walked a lot of guys. Looking at the roster, I wonder if he moves to the 'pen. Madison Boer the '11 2nd round pick really struggled last year too. Opponents hit .322 off him and he was terrible. He might make the transition to the 'pen too. Other returning guys are Stuifbergen for his 3rd time in the since '09. I am surprised he was not released but he keeps getting chances. Miguel Munoz returns as well. He wasn't good in Rookie Ball, Low A and he also wasn't good last year at High A. But he returns to see if those three years of poor results are not flukes. Adrian Salcedo returns off his injury plagued year. He looked good a few years ago but he needs to start racking up some strike outs because he has been very hittable during his career. Ryan O'Rourke also returns. He must be a scouts darling because he keeps getting chances. He gets decent Strike Outs but opponents hit .279 off him so he needs to learn to keep guys off the base. Someone named Chad Rogers made the team....I never heard of him and he seems to be a pick up from the Braves. His stats are bad and he is 25 years old so...what the hell....
Some new blood arrives to hopeful remove my pessimism for this place. DJ Baxendale is a guy who John Sickels recently picked as as "sleeper." I have hopes for this kid and the Twins are being aggressive with him after only 18 innings of professional baseball under his belt. Zach Jones only has 20 innings of pro ball but he makes his first appearance here. Cole Johnson makes an appearance and Beliot rotation workhorse Jason Wheeler also makes gets the promotion. I was a little down on Wheeler because his peripherals aren't the greatest. But he is big 6'8" 265 lbs - and left handed. If he could figure out how to get that girth into his FB he could become someone to watch, Corey Williams arrives with his 17 saves from '12 and looks to stay in the bullpen.
We will see how this shakes out. I have to think that some of these guys are on their last chance with this team and after June, there could be some big changes to this pitching staff. The Twins are being aggressive with their promotions, I like it!
Levi Michael remains on the roster. The organization's #1 pick in '11 was really bad last year. He didn't stink as much at the end of the year but he still was not good. Its a big year for this guy and he is starting out behind the 8-ball - injured. So hopefully he can get healthy and learn how to hit. Angel Morales also returns. From 08-10 this guy was a terror at the plate and great athlete in the field. He hit for average/power and stole some bases. Then he hit Fort Meers and he got injured than stunk. Hopefully he can stay healthy and produce and get the heck out of FM. Lane Ray is also back. He started slow but showed legitimate improvement as the season went on. He has a good bat and could be someone to break out of this place.
Lots of new blood getting their first look at High A Pitching. The killer trio of Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Kenny Vargas make their triumphant entrance into Fort Myers. We all expect great things from these guys. But there will be a transition to this league. Adam Peterson gets the promotion...he seems like a great human but he needs to produce at the plate this year. Stephen Wickens is someone we should keep our eyes on. He is old for his level but really gets on base at a high pace. I expect new manager Doug Mientkiewicz to put him in the lead off spot.
Sano & Rosario will be the ones we will watch and if Angel Morales stays healthy and puts it together this team could be an offensive force. A bounce-back season for Boer and Salcedo would be huge for the organization. Hopefully someone on this pitching staff can step up and be competent. Basically besides Arcia its been a several years of disappointment at this level. Hopefully this year its different.
|Jhon Garcia||P||R||R||5/19/1987||7-day DL|
|Levi Michael||2B||S||R||2/9/1991||7-day DL|