One look at the New Britain Rock Cats roster and you can almost see the future of Twins Baseball. Position players like Denard Span, Matthew Moses, and Alexander Romero are slated to take over everyday spots in the Twins lineup someday, with Doug Deeds being someone who could definitely be a fourth outfielder. Span and Moses are considered to be almost Major League ready, and one more year of seasoning in the Minors and they could be manning the field in Minnesota.
That is not to say that the Cats don't have good starting pitching, in fact, Glen Perkins is one of the highly touted left-handed arms in all of Minor League Baseball. But if it is pitching you are looking for, go check out a Fort Myers Miracle series. If you time it right, you may be able to catch Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, and Anthony Swarzak in one weekend. Now that is what I call looking into the future.
Out of the three, Slowey and Garza seem ready for the jump to Double-A. Both have had no problems in the Florida State League this season, and there really is not much else they can prove there. Swarzak is off to a rough start, but you can see him getting better everyday, though he may need a full season in the Florida State League before making the jump to Double-A.
In Rochester, Jason Kubel continues to progress towards taking over as the Twins' everyday right fielder. He seems to be getting his power stroke back, and it is only a matter of time before he is called back up to the Big Leagues. Coming back from what he has can only show you the kind of person and player he is, and he should have a pretty successful Major League career.
Boof Bonser, who many experts left for dead after last season even though he had a good year with the Rochester Red Wings, is absolutely tearing up the International League this season. While he is a starter now, many believe his best role will be as a long reliever in the Major Leagues, that is if he ever gets a call-up. It seems that the Major League Twins are in neutral right now, and Bonser could provide a shot in the arm for their pitching staff.
In Beloit, Erik Lis has picked up right where he left off in 2005, when he was named our Elizabethton Hitter of the Year. The slugging first baseman has also played some outfield this season, and is showing tremendous pop in the Midwest League. Add Henry Sanchez to the middle of that lineup, and you have a very dangerous 1-2 punch.
The middle infield positions have gotten a boost as of late as well, with the additions of guys like Andrew Thompson, Paul Kelly, and Steven Tolleson in the 2005 draft. Coupled with Trevor Plouffe, who many believe has the skills to be a big-time Major League shortstop, and the Twins have added depth to one of their weakest prospect positions. With the uncertainty surrounding the progression of Jason Bartlett, the Twins may push Plouffe even harder to develop.
Many experts will tell you that catching is the weakest prospect position in the Twins' organization, and they may be right. However, last season the Twins added Caleb Moore and Sean Richardson to the fold via draft, and Moore is turning out to be a complete stud in the batter's box. Also, Allan de San Miguel is only 19 years old, and held his own defensively in a short stint in High-A last season.