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The fact that Terry Ryan went out and signed Carroll, instead of a more long term solution to our SS problem is very telling. There were options on the free agent market this winter. We could have picked up a 32 year old Barmes, but instead we took a 38 year old player for less money. I don't think it was Terry trying to fill the spot on the cheap, but instead he sees the future arriving within two years. Dozier is 24 or 25 and I think Michael is around 21. Levi Michael was a 3 year starter on a good college baseball team. He was widely viewed as far and away the best SS in college baseball entering his junior year. Although he played almost every game his Junior year, he was happened by injuries that did affect his performance. Even with the lingering injuries he performed well and lead his team to the college world series. I will be really surprised if he isn't at New Britian next year.
From double A is it s short trip to the Twins as both Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee found out last September. Jamey Carroll is definately a stop gap until Dozier and Michael progress. I think Dozier gets the first chance. Hopefully he gets a full season in Rochester and then a September call up. I would love to see Dozier fight for the starting SS spot with Carroll in 2013 and for 2014, hopefully that competition would become one between Dozier and Michael. I love the fact that we take flyers on these high school kids, but when we draft 3 and 4 year college players they should be able to move through the system at a much quicker pace.
Thanks for the comments, shanewahl and minn55441. Shane, I guess my larger point is that I don't want Nishioka to be clogging up a position at AAA if we have a legitimate prospect that could, or should, be playing there. Maybe you're right that he's better suited for AAA second base? I, too, would like to see Dozier start at AAA this year. Dozier at 2B and Florimon at SS?
Minn55441, I'm not sure about Levi Michael yet. Don't get me wrong, I'm confident that he's going to be a good prospect, but even if he is fast-tracked, by Twins standards, we're still talking about MLB arrival no earlier than 2015 (3 full seasons in the minors) -- and that assumes success at every level of the minor leagues, and a clean bill of health (the latter of which is not a given, considering how banged up he was last season). It would be great, though, if he could vault to the top of our prospect rankings with a strong first season.
I agree with most of your points but you didn't include any discussion about Levi Michael and how his progression through the minors will also play into these decisions. Michael was our number one pick and has yet to play a single game for us due to injuries. I have heard that he will probably get his start in either Beloit or for the Miracle, either way I would expect him to move quickly to the same level as Dozier. For me the best case scenario would include two quality players fighting for one major league roster spot.
I had high hopes for Nishi last year but after watching him for a year, I have no confidence in him at all. I wasn't just the physical limitations but even more importantly the mental errors that he made. I could see multiply mistakes every game from being in the wrong spot for a cut off throw from the outfield to minor things like indecision with where to throw the ball. He needs time in the minors, but like you I don't want to see him taking playing time away from legitimate prospects like dozier and Michael.
I guess I don't see the problem with both Dozier and Nishioka at Rochester in the middle infield, both spending some time at each position. We know that Nishioka can play shortstop (even if not very well) but I still question his ability to be a second basemen, so Rochester would seem to be a good idea to play every day somewhere and to become an actual backup middle infielder at worst. Being only a backup shortstop is a waste of a Twins roster spot, in my view. And Dozier would benefit from playing both positions as well. Florimon is the third option there and that is fine. There have been some people proposing Dozier start at New Britain, but that seems a bit excessive! I don't understand why the Twins stunt some of their prospects. That said, it would be interesting to see a New Britain lineup in April and a bit of May (perhaps) of: Aaron Hicks, Chris Herrmann, Brian Dozier, Angel Morales, and Evan Bigley . . . .