The Twins AA affiliate's games have already started but I wanted to post this for posterity.
The Rock Cat's have a lot of new faces and a few returning guys this year. Most of my focus is on the pitchers as I see a lot of interesting guys here.
The DL list is a place to start. It has Hermsen, Wimmers, - who probably won't pitch this year for the Rock Cats - & Dakota Watts. Watts has good potential as a bullpen guy & Hermsen is a guy who statheads don't like but he keep getting outs. I was a little surprised Hermson wasn't on the AAA roster but I guess the Twins want to see him prove it for a few more months. He is on the 40 man roster so if things implode again for the big league club it would not be out of the question for him to pitch for the Twins this year, I didn't do any research into their injuries but if I don't see them pitch in the next 2-3 weeks it will bear investigating.
Obviously Alex Meyer and Trevor May are the big additions and lots has been written on those guys. Pat Dean is promoted from the FSL. All three of those guys should be starters and are ones to watch. I am not overly excited about Dean but he is left handed and can go deep in games. This team's bullpen has interesting arms. AJ Artcher gets his first look at AA bats. The right handed relief pitcher was a 46th round pick in 2010 from Michigan State and is striking guys out and keeps getting promoted. He is a fun guy to watch progress. Another pitcher I am following is Jose Gonzalez. This 23 year old lefty returns after throwing 16 innings in relief for New Britain in '12. He is a strike out guy and opponents have a hard time hitting his stuff. He is someone I am keeping my eye on to progress but in his small sample at AA he has struggled with his command. Michael Tonkin looks to capitalize on his amazing run last year. It looks like he is going to be the closer for NB this year and I fully expect him to do well based on his AFL stats. Last year he threw 69.1 Innings and struck out 97 batters.
I expect this pitching staff to be decent, especially when some of the DL guys get back. I was surprised to see Meyer hasn't pitched yet. Why the manager thought Pat Dean or Logan Darnell deserved to start before him is beyond me. I have not seen any injury notes, so hopefully he is out pitching tomorrow.
Offensivly this team might struggle a bit. Josmil Pinto returns to the Rock Cats. This 24 year old catcher was added to the 40 man roster after his fantastic '12 campaign. I have read good things about his bat so hopefully he can continue. Danny Santana makes the jump to AA after a solid offensive campaign in '12. He is one to watch and if he stays consistent in field and at the plate could be with the big league club sometime this year if there is injuries. Danny Ortiz also gets promoted. This guy has a good bat and he jumped 2 levels last year. He doesn't have a lot of size and power is not his game. He is not speedy either. But he makes good contact and has a line drive swing that potentially could turn into more power. He is another product of the Twins scouting at Puerto Rico.
I wouldn't classify any of those guys as "impact" bats, and there is a lot of Minor league Free Agents on the team. I don't think any of those guys will carry this team offensively. I see a lack of power in this line up. In my mind this team was created with the hopes that Sano, Rosario and Vargas produce enough at Fort Myers to get promoted quickly.
If this team had some offense, there is enough talent on the pitching staff for the team to have success. Interestingly I see Chad Allen returns to the Twins as the Rock Cats hitting coach. I enjoy seeing former players become coaches so I hope it works out.
Full Roster Below
|Alex Wimmers||P||L||R||11/1/1988||7-day DL||No|
|Matthew Hauser||P||R||R||3/30/1988||7-day DL||No|
|Aaron Thompson||P||L||L||2/28/1987||7-day DL||No|
|Brett Hermsen||P||R||R||12/1/1989||7-day DL||Yes|
|Dakota Watts||P||R||R||11/16/1987||7-day DL||No|