Rochester 2007 Recap: Position Players

Here is a look at those position player who had more than 125 at-bats for the Rochester Red Wins during the 2007 season. Included in these reviews are top names like Garrett Jones, Brian Buscher, Tommy Watkins, and Denard Span, all of whom could be with the Twins to start the 2008 season.

Brian Buscher
Buscher had a breakout season in 2007, earned Twins Minor League Player of the Year honors. The slugging third baseman began the season with New Britain, but by the end of the season, he was playing third base for the Minnesota Twins. He did some of his best work with the Rochester Red Wings, showing the organization that he was ready to make the jump to the big leagues. Buscher batted .311 in 40 games with the Red Wings, hitting seven home runs and driving in 22 along the way. He also only committed three errors at the hot corner.

Alexi Casilla
One of the top prospects in the organization, Casilla played decently with the Red Wings in 2007, but was shuttled back and forth from Minnesota for most of the season. That can be trying on a prospect who is trying to find his groove at a certain level, and then being shuttled up or down. Still, he took the demotions and promotions in stride, and ended the season as one of the better top of the lineup hitters in the International League. A speedster in every sense of the word, Casilla will likely be the Twins starting second baseman next season

Doug Deeds
Deeds had an up-and-down season for Rochester in 2007, and though he did not show the kind of pop he did in the Eastern League, he did tie for second on the team with nine home runs. His problem all season long was consistency, as he would get hot for a week or two, and then get very cold. He will be back with Rochester in 2008, and I expect his batting average to jump at least 30 points.

Garrett Jones
Still the best power hitting prospect in the Twins organization, Jones finally got a shot with the big league club in 2007. He really made strides at the plate for Rochester, as he did exactly what the organization wanted him to: cut down on his strikeouts (under 100 for the first time since 2003), and raised his batting average (.280, highest since 2004). He also hit his first two Major League home runs.

Matthew LeCroy
The LeCroy experiment did not work out for the Twins in 2007, as he was the worst hitter on the team. He batted below the Mendoza Line in 80 games played, as he battled injuries and inconsistency. It is very unlikely that he will be back with the Twins in 2008.

Denard Span
Overall, it was not a bad season for Span, who shook off early season struggles to post some pretty decent numbers in 2007. He finished third in the organization in stolen bases, and I believe put himself into consideration to replace Torii Hunter in centerfield for the Twins next season. He made only six errors all season long from the centerfield position for Rochester, and really seemed to settle in after being dropped in the order.

Matt Tolbert
Tolbert had a great season for the Rochester Red Wings, and came very close to getting his first cup of tea at the Major League level. He batted close to or over .300 for most of the season, and was in the running for the league's batting title until late in the season. Though he finished slowly, Tolbert had one of the better seasons of any middle infielder in the Twins organization, and will get a long look in Spring Training this season.

Gil Velazquez
Velazquez may have played his last game in the Twins organization, as the infielder is a minor league free agent this off-season. He is a great guy to have in the organization, because he can really play at any level of the farm system. Though he hit only .240 for Rochester in 2007, he is a guy who the organization may try to lure back, because he is also good at helping the younger guys.

Tommy Watkins
What a year it was for Tommy Watkins, who would make his Major League debut with the Minnesota Twins. He batted a respectable .272 for the Rochester Red Wings in 110 games, playing mostly as the team shortstop. However, Watkins also played third base and outfield, and has a serious chance to make the Twins 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He hit .357 for the Twins in nine games after his call-up.

Glenn Williams
Like Velazquez, Williams is a minor league free agent this season, but is likely to sign with the Twins. Though he batted only .235 for Rochester this past season, many remember him as the guy who had an incredible debut for the Twins a few years back. He is valuable because he has Major League experience, and has experienced success at the Major League level. I hope he is back next season.

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