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2012 Gulf Coast League Twins Season Preview

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Today is the day, and a lot of Twins prospects are pretty excited about their first Opening Day today. The GCL Twins will begin play on Monday at noon (eastern time). Ramon Borrego will manage the team for the third straight year. Former Twins minor leaguer Henry Bonilla will take over pitching coach duties. Milt Cuyler is back for his tenth season with the GCL Twins as hitting (Öand outfield, base running and more) coach.

Here is a look at the 2012 GCL Twins roster as the season starts. Since most of these names are new to Twins fans, I thought a quick note on each player would be an appropriate preview. Of course, I do welcome any questions you may have.

THE PITCHERS



  • RHP J.O. Berrios (SP-18) is the name right now. The Twins first supplemental first round pick earlier this month signed for $1.55 million and begins in the GCL.
  • RHP Hung Yi Chen (19) signed from Taiwan in June of 2010. He pitched in the GCL last year. He made ten starts (and two relief appearances). In 35.1 innings, he gave up 45 hits, walked just five and struck out 38. He was 0-4 with a 4.33 ERA.
  • Melciades De La Cruz (19) signed with the Twins in September 2010 from the Dominican Republic. Last year, he pitched in the DSL and went 1-1 with a 2.29 ERA. In 39.1 innings, he gave up 30 hits, walked 13 and struck out 38.
  • RHP Sam Gibbons (SP-18) signed with the Twins in July of 2011 from Australia. He is tall and lanky.
  • RHP Trent Higginbotham (SP-20) was the Twins 26th round pick in the 2011 draft. He signed on the last day and did not pitch until Instructs.
  • Felix Jorge (18) signed with the Twins in February 2011 from the Dominican Republic. He pitched 27 innings last year in the DSL and went 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA. He gave up 119 hits, walked nine and struck out 26.
  • Yorman Landa (SP-18) signed in September 2010 from Venezuela. Last year, he was 2-2 with a 2.38 ERA in the DSL. In 32 innings, he gave up 19 hits, walked 26 and struck out 31. He also hit nine batters.
  • RHP Kuo Hua Lo (SP-19) signed from Taiwan in April of 2011 and did not pitch last year. He is not a big man but he is said to throw quite hard, touching 94-95.
  • LHP Austin Malinowski (SP-19) was Mr. Baseball in Minnesota in 2011 at Centennial High School. The lefty was committed to pitch at Arizona but on the final signing day, he signed with the Twins. He didnít pitch until Instructs.
  • RHP Chris Mazza (22) was the Twins 27th round pick in 2011 and did not sign until late so he didnít pitch until Instructs.
  • LHP Josue Montanez (20) was the Twins 15th round pick a year ago out of Puerto Rico. In the GCL last year, he pitched in 12 innings over eight games. He gave up 15 hits, walked four and struck out 14.
  • Alex Muren (20) was the Twins 12th round pick in 2012 out of Cal State-Northridge.
  • Gerardo Ramirez (18) signed in March of 2011 from Mexico. Last year in the GCL, he threw 17.1 innings in ten games. He gave up 15 hits, walked six and struck out 12.
  • Randy Rosario (18) signed in August of 2010 from the Dominican Republic. He threw 35 innings in the DSL and gave up 28 hits, walked 19 and struck out 26.
  • Gonzalo Sanudo (18) signed the same day as Ramirez in March 2011 from Mexico. Last year in the GCL, he threw 20.2 innings. He gave up 19 hits, walked seven and struck out 22.
  • Markus Solbach (20) signed from Germany in February of 2011. He pitched in 15 games for the GCL Twins last year. In 28.1 innings, he gave up 26 hits, walked eight and struck out 17.


CATCHERS


  • Kelly Cross (20) was the Twins 26th round pick in 2010 and got a couple of at bats that season in the GCL. Last year, he hit .129/.250/.151 (12-93) with two doubles.
  • Jorge Fernandez (18) was the Twins 7th round pick in 2012 out of Puerto Rico.
  • Bryant Santy (22) was the Twins 30th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Washington.


INFIELDERS


  • Bryan Haar (22) was the Twins 34th round pick out of the University of San Diego.
  • Will Hurt (18) was the Twins 16th round pick out of Lexington Catholic high school in Kentucky, the same high school that the Twins drafted Ben Revere from. It was thought that Hurt would be a tough sign, but he signed quickly and passed up a scholarship to Coastal Carolina.
  • Joel Licon (21) was the Twins 25th round pick out of Orange Coast College. There was some belief that he would be a difficult sign.
  • Aderling Mejia (20) signed in February 2010 from the Dominican Republic. Last year, he hit .210/.291/.218 (25-119) with a double in the GCL.
  • Javier Pimentel (18) was a big signing for the Twins in November of 2010 from the Dominican Republic. Last year, he split time between the DSL and the GCL. In the GCL, he hit .167/.227/.284 (17-102) with five doubles, two triples and a home run.
  • Jose Ramirez (20) signed with the Twins in April of 2010 from the Dominican Republic. Last year in the DSL, he hit .256/.410/.280 (42-164) with two doubles and a triple.
  • Logan Wade (20) signed last September from Australia. He will be making his US debut.
  • Jacob Younis (18) signed out of Australia in May of 2010. Last year in the GCL, he hit .219/.300/.238 (23-105) with two doubles. He has also spent a lot of time behind the plate and could see some time at catcher this year.


OUTFIELDERS


  • Byron Buxton (18) was the #2 overall pick earlier this month, and itís great to see that he has signed already (for $6 million). We are all excited to see his development, but I would caution people from expecting too much in his first season.
  • John Murphy (22) was the Twins 19th round pick this year out of Jacksonville U. His brother, David, plays for the Mets.
  • Kelvin Ortiz (20) was signed by the Twins in September of 2008. Last year in the GCL, he hit .189/.286/.333 (21-111) with seven doubles and three home runs.
  • Dereck Rodriguez (20) was the Twins 6th round pick in 2011. Last year in the GCL, he hit .156/.216/.200 (14-90) with four doubles. He is the son of Ivan Rodriguez. Although he is not huge, reports from Ft. Myers said he is showing great power to all fields.
  • DL Ė Jonathan Proctor (21) was the Twins 14th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Cincinnati.


SUMMARY

It is impossible to know how this team will play in terms of wins and losses. There is certainly a strong group of terrific athletes such as Buxton, Rodriguez, and Hurt. There are also a few guys who have some experience in this league while now being a year older which should mean some improvements. There are also some big arms who throw hard. There is also a lot of youth. So, who knows how the team will play. It is also important not to look at the stats. The further away from the big leagues, the less important the stats tend to be. Remember how much Niko Goodrum struggled in the GCL in 2010? Then he played very well at Elizabethton last year.

Game 1 starts this morning! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask.

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