Thursday, February 18, 2010

What to Expect for the Twins at Spring Training - Part 2

The Twins' Spring Training approaches. What should we expect this year? What players could surprise and maybe win an Opening Day spot or later call up? The last article answered some popular questions. In this post, the Spring Training posts will continue with a couple more popular questions and will try to provide some answers.

Who is the "sleeper" player to watch for at Spring Training that might make the Opening Day roster?

If there is going to be a "sleeper" pick that makes the Opening Day roster this year, it is going to be a bullpen arm. I think Anthony Slama has the best chance to be that "sleeper." Slama was drafted in the 39th round in 2006, but that hasn't held him back. In 2008, Slama had a 1.01 ERA in A-ball as the primary closer for the team. He had 25 saves along with having a 110/24 SO/BB ratio in 71 innings. That is incredible. In 2009, he didn't have as great of a year, but he still did very well. He spent the majority of the year in AA, where he had a 2.48 ERA in 65.1 innings. Toward the end of the year, he was promoted to AAA where he had a 3.45 ERA in 15.2 innings. Being 26 years old, he will definitely get a chance to make the roster this year. He will have to pitch lights out at Spring Training though to win a bullpen spot.

Which player on last year's 25-man roster will have to fight for a spot?

I think Jose Mijares is going to need to fight extremely hard in Spring Training to secure a spot in the bullpen. With Pat Neshek returning, the bullpen will need one less arm. Mijares was great most of last year, but he struggled the last few weeks during an important playoff run and in the playoffs. When he needed to be clutch, he didn't quite have it. He will have to prove that he deserves a bullpen spot.

That is the end of my Q&A's for what to expect for the Twins at Spring Training. Hopefully they have a great year. I am going to try and cover a lot of what is going on at Spring Training this year. Stay tuned.