Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arizona Fall League - Updated

Seth Strohs reports that the Arizona Fall League Rosters will be announced today. The way the rosters are chosen is that each of the teams sharing a roster choose which positions they want to fill. So who the Twins send in part depends on which roster spots are available to them. In practice that probably means they can choose a roster position for their priority players, but some players may get a spot because that position was available. Usually the split is 3 pitchers and 3 position players.

The Twins seem to have used the AFL for a couple of purposes. One, of course, is to give experience to players against better competition. This means some of the Twins better prospects will be chosen. The other is to evaluate players who are on the border to be protected from the rule 5 draft by being added to the major league roster. Most of the players come from AA or AAA. I think they are only allowed to send one player who hasn't played above A ball. There are usually a few surprises with players chosen who had been below the radar. Which means this list of candidates will likely miss someone:

Kyle Gibson (very unlikely with his injury)
Carlos Gutierrez

Joe Benson
Chris Parmelee
Brian Dozier
Chris Herrman

Tyler Robertson
Deinys Suarez
Dakota Watts
Bobby Lanigan
Brett Jacobson
David Bromberg

Aaron Hicks
Danny Rams

Alex Wimmers
Shooter Hunt

My guesses:
Carlos Gutierrez
Joe Benson
Brian Dozier
Bobby Lanigan
Brett Jaconson
Danny Rams

Like I said above, its likely there will be a surprise or two, at least a surprise to me.

Seven players were chosen. Here they are with comments.

Cole DeVries
At 26, I thought DeVries was a bit too old to be sent to the AFL. This is probably an indication that they are at least considering adding him to the roster to protect him from the rule 5 draft. DeVries is a reliever who split time between Rochester and New Britain the last two seasons. He cut down his walks considerably this year. He's a Minnesota native.
Scott Diamond
Diamond is an obvious choice. He will likely compete for a rotation spot next spring, although he is a long-shot in that competition.

Bruce Pugh
Pugh is another guy who will be eligible for the rule 5 draft if he isn't added to the roster. He is a reliever who can strike batters out.

Bret Jacobson
Jacobson came to the Twins in the Hardy trade. Another guy who will be rule 5 eligible. Obviously the Twins liked his arm, but his numbers at New Britain didn't make him a can't miss prospect.

Brian Dozier
Dozier's bat is his tool, he hit at both Fort Myers and New Britain this year. He has played shortstop in the minor leagues, but he is more likely to be at second in the major leagues. He's in the AFL to work on his defense. He may have outside shot at winning a roster spot next spring, but I doubt it.

Chris Herrman
Herrman is a C/OF. It will be interesting to see how that strange combination plays out in the AFL. His status is a lot like Dozier's, only he is further away from the big leagues.

Aaron Hicks
Hicks has not played above A ball, but he has been rated the Twins top prospect. In the AFL, he is going to get his first chance against a high level of competition. Like Dozier and Herrman, he isn't there really to prove anything but to learn and develop.

Pitching is usually pretty weak in the AFL since teams don't send their top prospects. You can see that reflected in the 4 pitchers the Twins sent. All four are guys who are there to prove something to the organization. By contrast, the three position players are really there to continue learning the game. Dozier is the only one whose status in the organization is going to be affected by how he performs. And then not very much.

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