The minor league spring training has started. We can expect some of the guys in major league camp to get moved over in the next couple days. That process might be a bit slower than usual this year with all the players gone for the WBC. Here are some things to watch:
1) Where do the Twins two new pitching prospects end up?
Both Trevor May and Alex Myer project to start the year at AA. If either one starts the season higher or lower than that it will tell us something about how ready the Twins think they might be to help at the big league level.
2) Where do the guys drafted in 2012 start the year?
Byron Buxton (HS-CF), Jose Berrios(HS-P), Luke Bard (C-P), Mason Melotakis (C-P), JT Chargois (C-P) and Adam Walker (C-OF) were among the top 100 players taken. The Twins usually start most college pitchers at low-A with pitcher they think is advanced starting at Fort Myers. High School players usually start the year in extended spring training. but I would expect both Berrios and Buxton to start the year at Cedar Rapids. Luke Bard is the only guy who looks likely to start the year at Fort Myers as a starter. When drafted the plan for Melotakis and Chargois was to initially convert them to starters. If the Twins decide to keep them in the bullpen, they may start the year at Fort Myers and move up quickly. Walker should start at Cedar Rapids.
3) Who are starters, who are in the bullpen?
In general, the best pitchers are in the rotation to give them the most opportunities. Usually they aren't shifted to the bullpen until AA, AAA or even the major leagues. There are exceptions, but in general the rotations will be filled with the best pitching prospects even if they lack the pitches to start in the big leagues.
4) Who moves up to AA?
The jump from A to AA is considered the largest in the minor leagues. 2011 first round choice Levi Michael, Danny Santana and Angel Morales are all guys who should move to AA. Santana looks certain, but neither Michael nor Morales showed a lot of offense at Fort Myers so they may be held back. Morales, once a top prospect, is starting to run out of chances. Pat Dean is another guy who needs to make this jump or he may not be around at all.