Heading this incredible starting rotation is TwinCitiesDugout.com Top Prospect Matt Garza, who nearly won the fifth starter job for the Minnesota Twins out of Spring Training. He has a dominant arsenal, and tore through the Minor Leagues in 2006. Joining him in the rotation is fellow right-hander Kevin Slowey, who is our #2 ranked prospect in the organization, and who has the best control in the Twins farm system.
Another right-hander who will dot the Rochester rotation is Scott Baker, who has been up and down between Triple-A and the Major Leagues for two seasons now. He has been dominant in the International League before, and should be once again. Lefty Glen Perkins is one of the best young left-handed starting pitchers in all of the Minor Leagues, and he also has experience at the Triple-A level.
The front of this rotation should make is very difficult on the rest of the International League.
Rounding out the rotation is Dave Gassner, who also has split time between the Major Leagues and Triple-A. He is a very serviceable starter, who eats innings when he takes the ball. Newcomer Jeremy Cummings, who no-hit the Red Wings in 2006, will also get some starts for the Red Wings, though he will most likely be used in long relief at the beginning of the year.
The Wings bullpen should also be solid, as Bobby Korecky returns as the team's closer. Korecky had success in that role in 2006, though left-hander Ricky Barrett could also see time in that capacity. Mike Venafro came close to making the Twins Opening Day roster, and he will be counted on heavily out of the Rochester bullpen to start the season.
Julio DePaula and Tristan Crawford are two arms that return to the Twins organization, after successful seasons in 2006. Left-hander Jason Miller has been with the Red Wings before, and he is one of the better left-handed relief pitchers in the Twins organization. Newcomers Brian Bass and Carmen Cali round out the bullpen, and should see time in a middle relief role.
Catching duties will be split between former Minnesota Twin Matthew LeCroy, and Jose Morales, although Morales figures to get most of the starts behind the plate. LeCroy will mostly be used in a designated hitter role, though he will spell Morales behind the plate. Morales is an above-average defensive catcher, and he hit the ball well down in Fort Myers during Spring Training.
Slugger Garrett Jones returns to the Rochester lineup, after leading the Twins organization in home runs in 2006. He will be in right field on Opening Day, but will also play first base. Across the diamond will be former first round draft choice Matthew Moses, who will be making his Triple-A debut in 2007. Moses spent the last two season in Double-A, and is looking to rebound from two sub-par seasons. Glenn Williams is slated to be the team's first baseman on Opening Day, and can play both first and third. Ken Harvey should see time at first when he gets off the disabled list.
The Twins will be very good up the middle, as Alexi Casilla and Thomas Watkins will man the middle infield spots. Casilla is the Twins future at second base, and was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2006. Matt Tolbert will join Casilla and Watkins in the middle of the infield, and he is a slick-fielding shortstop who has gotten better every season.
The Red Wings outfield is loaded, boasting some of the best talent in the Twins organization. Former first round selection Denard Span will man centerfield, and he appears to be the heir apparent to Torii Hunter in center for the Twins beginning next season. Douglas Deeds has a sweet stroke from the left-side, and he continues to hit for average and power during his minor league career. Trent Oeltjen had a great 2006 season, playing in the World Baseball Classic, the Futures Game, and really turned some heads during the year. Josh Rabe has had success at both the Triple-A, and the Major League levels, and will be right in the mix at Rochester once again this season.
2007 Rochester Red Wings Opening Day Roster:
Starting Rotation: Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Scott Baker, Dave Gassner, Jeremy Cummings
Bullpen: Bobby Korecky (Closer), Ricky Barrett (DL), Julio DePaula, Jason Miller, Brian Bass, Carmen Cali (DL), Mike Venafro, Tristan Crawford
Catchers: Matthew LeCroy, Jose Morales
Infielders: Alexi Casilla, Ken Harvey (DL), Garrett Jones, Matthew Moses, Matt Tolbert, Thomas Watkins, Glenn Williams
Outfielders: Douglas Deeds, Trent Oeltjen, Denard Span, Josh Rabe
Tentative Opening Day Starting Lineup:
Courtesy of RedWingsBaseball.com
1. #27 Denard Span, CF
2. #2 Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. #13 Josh Rabe, LF
4. #50 Garrett Jones, RF
5. #44 Matthew LeCroy, DH
6. #18 Glenn Williams, 1B
7. #24 Matthew Moses, 3B
8. #23 Jose Morales, C
9. #8 Thomas Watkins, SS
SP: Matt Garza, RHP #21