The Twins catchers and pitchers start workouts Monday, so spring training is finally here. In addition to the issues of who will make the roster there are a number of prospects in camp. Most may not have much chance at a roster spot but are trying to show they are close enough to get called on if someone is hurt or fails. So here is a list, based on how likely they are to contribute this year. Obviously to contribute, they first need to get the opportunity, but they also need to be ready t take it.
1. Jose Morales - I think he is almost a lock to be the second catcher if healthy.
2. Brian Duensing - He is going to be in the competition with Perkins and Liriano for the fourth rotation spot and the seventh spot in the bullpen. He looked ready at the end of last year and will likely be the first guy called up if someone goes down even if he fails to make the staff out of spring training.
3. Drew Butera - I think he only needs an opportunity. The roto folks will never consider him a contributor because of his lack of offense. But his defense will make him a contributor as the second catcher.
4. Ben Revere - This may be a stretch, but I think by the end of the season Revere is going to be ready to contribute at the major league level. With the Twins thin in the outfield, especially center field, I think Revere has a shot at contributing in September even if there are no openings before then. By mid-season he may be the first choice if Span goes down.
5. Anthony Swarzak - After Duensing, I think Swarzak is the guy closest to being ready to help if there is an opening on the pitching staff. That could be as a starter or a reliever.
6. Alex Burnett - I think its likely Burnett will see time in the bullpen by the end of the season. He is close to ready and a season at AAA is going to put him over the top by September.
7. Jeff Manship - Manship may be ahead of Burnett on the opportunity list, but behind him in his chances to contribute if given the opportunity.
8. Rene Tosoni - He is ahead of Revere in his development and the thin outfield gives him a chance of helping early in the year. The bigger question is whether he can take any opportunity he gets.
9. Wilson Ramos - I think he is fourth on the depth chart and probably not quite ready, but if Mauer went down he might be the guy with the combination of defense/offense the Twins need. If it is later in the year he may be ready to step up and take the opportunity.
10. Luke Hughes - Hughes has one tool, a right-handed bat with developing power. He is getting to the age where that power could be enough to give him a shot if something happens to Thome.
11. Danny Valencia - He could win a roster spot out of spring training. He could also continue his AAA and winter ball struggles. I am skeptical he can contribute this year even with the opportunity.
12. Rob Delaney - Like Valencia, I am not sure Delaney can take the opportunity but he is likely to get a shot at some point.
13. Trevor Plouffe - Unless JJ Hardy gets hurt or his defense fails completely, Plouffe doesn't have much chance. He might get a callup in September but is not likely to be a contributor.
On roster, but no real chance, Estarlin de Los Santos, Loek Van Mil and Delios Guerra are protected on the roster but both would need tremendous breakouts to get to the big leagues, much less be ready to contribute.
14. Anthony Slama - Slama has a shot at getting a callup in the bullpen, but again his actually contributing is less likely.
15. Kyle Waldrop - Not ready yet, but could be by the end of the season.
16. Brock Peterson - he may get a callup, but he is unlikely to be able to contribute much
17. Juan Portes - a long shot to get a chance, his bat might contribute if he is given one.
18. Jose Lugo - a lefthander who could contribute to the bullpen in that role
19. Mike Maroth - another lefthander
There are several additional players in camp who are there to fill out spring training rosters. I think the remaining catchers, Daniel Lehman, Danny Rams and Jair Fernandez fit that role. Likewise Toby Gardenhire, Brian Dinkelman and Steve Singleton.
20. Chris Parmelee is unlikely to be ready to help in the major leagues this year but he could break out and, like Hughes, his power is the kind of tool that can contribute at the major league level for a short period.