BAPR Plus: Minnesota Twins

Our BAPR Plus tour of which prospects have impressed and which ones are depressed moves on to the AL Central with a look at the Minnesota Twins.

Who’s Hot: Matt Garza’s spring got out to a slow start because of a neck injury, but he’s bounced back to have a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings (9 hits, 5 BB, 7 Ks). Despite that, the team seems likely to keep Sidney Ponson and Carlos Silva in the rotation while sending Garza back to Triple-A. An American League scout didn’t exactly give that move a thumbs up:

“Are you telling me that the Twins are seriously thinking about having Sidney Ponson in the rotation rather than this [Matt] Garza kid? That’s crazy.”

Ponson actually is slated now to the the Twins No. 4 starter. Whether Garza makes the Opening Day roster depends much more on a decision of whether to use him or Carlos Silva as the fifth starter. Garza has easily outpitched Silva (0-3, 11.62), but the Twins seem comfortable giving Silva some more time to return to effectiveness.

Shortstop/second baseman Alexi Casilla has also had a strong spring, hitting (.317/.370/.341) with six stolen bases. But he’s ticketed for Triple-A Rochester, even though the Twins are slated to use out of position Jeff Cirillo and Luis Rodriguez as their back-up shortstops. The Twins have decided that they want Casilla to play everyday rather than sit on the Twins bench.

Who’s Not: J.D. Durbin was slated to join the Twins rotation last fall when a biceps injury sidelined him. Now his days as a Twin may be numbered. He has been one of the Twins’ better pitching prospects for years, but a 0-2, 12.38 spring has the Twins wondering if they can carry him in their bullpen. Durbin’s out of options, so if he doesn’t make the team, he’ll have to be placed on waivers. Durbin’s case is hurt by Joe Mauer’s stress fracture, which may lead the team to carry three catchers instead of a 12th pitcher.