Monday, March 31, 2014

Scott Diamond, Ryan Pressly and the Rochester pitching staff

The Twins weren't just settling the major league roster late last week and into this week. They have four minor league teams starting play this week as well: Triple A Rochester, Double A New Britain, High A Fort Myers and Low A Cedar Rapids.

As of Sunday evening, the Rochester Red Wings website and the Cedar Rapids Kernels site appeared to have updated, accurate rosters -- at least rosters that made sense. The New Britain roster was far from complete, and the Fort Myers one appeared to have last year's pitching staff listed.

Anyway, I was struck Sunday by the Rochester pitching staff. Twelve pitchers, seven of them left-handed. All 12 were in major league camp. (The 12 does not include Michael Tonkin, who was optioned out last week and now will instead open the season on the big league roster while Brian Duensing is on paternity leave. I presume Tonkin will be sent down again when Duensing rejoins the big club, and Rochester will then have 13 pitchers -- or somebody will be sent down a notch to New Britain.)

I was poking around the roster because Scott Diamond accepted his assignment to Rochester on Saturday rather than declare free agency, and I was thinking about how he might be used.

We can count on this: Alex Meyer and Trevor May are going to be in the Red Wings rotation.

At least one beat writer said Diamond and Kris Johnson are the primary candidates should a starter be needed in the early going. (Johnson is on the 40-man roster and Diamond is not, but with two openings on the 40 at the moment, that's not a serious impediment to bringing Diamond back.) Presumably, then, those two will also be in the rotation.

That leaves one starting slot, and the Wings' roster includes lefties Logan Darnell and Brooks Raley, who have been starters for the bulk of their minor league travels.

Or ... we've heard a lot of chatter from the Twins broadcasters about the idea of returning Ryan Pressly to starting. I'm not particularly big on that notion; Pressly was nothing special as a starter in the Red Sox system and really only became a noteworthy prospect when he moved to the bullpen.

But even if the Twins aren't seriously thinking about Pressly as a big league starter, they may well figure that he has a better chance of helping the big league team in the future than either of the lefties (I think that's the case), and therefore they should funnel the innings in Pressly's direction.

The Red Wings appear to have a very deep staff, deep enough to make me wonder what they would have done had Andrew Albers not chosen to play in Korea. Of course, had Albers remained in the organization, they might not have claimed Raley on waivers just before camp opened.

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