Thursday, February 20, 2014

More thoughts on that projected Cedar Rapids rotation

Stephen Gonsalves was a fourth-round
draft pick last June.
Baseball America's new Prospect Handbook projects the Cedar Rapids pitching staff to have six of the Twins top 22 prospects.

That sounds mighty impressive. But I have my doubts about that projection.

Consider the ages of the six pitchers involved: Kohl Stewart (No. 4 on the Twins list), Lewis Thorpe (7), Fernando Romero (12), Stephen Gonsalves (13), Felix Jorge (17) and Randy Rosario (22).

Five of them are teenagers (Jorge is 20). The Twins did have J.O. Berrios (age 19) spend the entire 2013 season at Cedar Rapids, but it would not surprise me a great deal if they opted to keep one or more of the five teens listed above out of a full-season league, especially one with the early-season chill of the Midwest League. The most likely to be held back might be Thorpe, who is a mere 18 and pitched during the offseason in his native Australia.

Then there's last year's prominent collegiate draftees Ryan Eades (second round) and Aaron Slegers (fifth round). Eades and Sledgers pitched their minor league ball at short-season Elizabethton; the next step on the ladder is Cedar Rapids.

It's possible the Handbook writers assume they'll skip Low A and advance to High A Fort Myers. That would make a certain amount of sense; the other six are younger and spent 2013 at a level below Elizabethton. It's arguable that Eades and Slegers shouldn't have been at E-Town last year, but the Twins are seldom aggressive with pitchers, even comparatively advanced ones.

My guess is that Eades and Sledgers will open at CR, not at Fort Myers.

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