IL Preview: Rochester Red Wings
The Rochester Red Wings enjoyed a magical ride in 2013, starting the season 10 games under .500 before winning 57 of their last 94 to sneak into the International League playoffs with a 77-67 mark. However, they were clipped by the Pawtucket Red Sox in the first round of the playoffs, 3 games to 2.
Chris Colabello led the Rochester attack in 2013. The IL Rookie of the Year and MVP, hit .352 (119-for-338) with 24 homers and 76 RBIs. He led the league in batting, slugging percentage (.639) and on-base percentage (.427).
He will lead another loaded group in Rochester, as the Red Wings look to compete for the North division title in 2014.
Pitching: The staff will be without 2013 IL All-Star Andrew Albers, who was released by the Twins during Spring Training. However, another southpaw All-Star in Kris Johnson will anchor the Red Wings staff. The former Pittsburgh Pirates’ farmhand led the IL in ERA with a 2.39 and won ten games for the Indianapolis Indians. He was traded in the offseason to the Twins in exchange for RHP Duke Welker.
He will be likely be joined by two of top pitching prospects in the Twins’ system, Alex Meyer and Trevor May. Meyer is the No.3 prospect in the Twins organization according to Baseball America. He was traded from the Washington Nationals organization in 2012 in exchange for Denard Span. In two minor leagues seasons, spanning three levels, he is 14-9 with a 2.91 ERA and fanning 239 batters in 207 innings. He features a mid-90’s fastball, hard sinker and knuckle-curve. Joining Meyer in the rotation will be May. May hasn’t been as sharp as Meyer in his minor league career, posting a 46-40 record with a 4.05 ERA in six seasons. However, he has punched out 806 batters in 677 innings with his mid 90’s fastball, changeup and slow curveball.
Infield: The pitching staff will not have to do much, as Colabello will lead the offense again. He will not be alone as he will have interesting journeymen with him in Brandon Waring, Deibenson Romero and Eric Farris around the horn. The addition of Daniel Santana at shortstop will complete the infield. Santana enters the season as the No.9 prospect in the Twins organization according to Baseball America. In 2013, he hit .297 (160-for-539) with 22 doubles, 10 triples, two homers and 45 RBIs in 131 games for Double-A New Britain. Santana will provide a table-setter at the top of the order as he scored 66 runs and stole 30 bases in 2013. The Rochester Red Wings would have been an easy favorite to win the division if one of the top prospects in baseball, Miguel Sano, didn’t go down with season-ending surgery during Spring Training.
Outfield: The outfield will feel the impact of the Sano loss, as he will not be working in one of the corner spots during the IL campaign. Without Sano, they will rely on Jermaine Mitchell, Dan Rohlfing and Chris Rahl. All three outfielders are seasoned Triple-A vets. Mitchell had a solid campaign between Rochester and Lehigh Valley in 2013, hitting .268 (91-for-340) with seven homers and 29 RBIs. He stole 20 bags and will add great defensive ability out in centerfield.
Schedule: The G-Braves will play the Red Wings from May 30 through June 2, while Rochester visits Coolray Field from June 7-10.
Projected Depth Chart: