Sunday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins announced 16 players that were being cut from the Spring Training roster and reassigned to their respective minor league affiliates. Most MLB teams kept their first wave of roster cuts lighter with only a handful of moves, but Minnesota didn’t want their preseason turning towards a distraction for prospects and veterans alike. Among the cuts were notable prospects Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, Trevor May, Max Kepler and others.
The Twins have many top prospects who will be looking to show their talents at the highest level soon, but not by Opening Day 2014. It was nice to see the likes of Buxton and Meyer get some solid experience against big-leaguers this spring, but their time was rightfully kept to a limit. Their further presence in Spring Training would not only minimize the amount of reps they get to take before the regular season, but would take valuable playing time away from players looking to get in a groove at the right time. Minnesota has lineup questions to answer yet, and still hasn’t named a fifth starting rotation member. It’s important they give as much time as possible to serious contenders for these positions.
Where Spring Training is a great warm-up period for guaranteed roster spots, it can also serve as a damaging distraction to younger prospects. They too have a scheduled preseason process that needs to be maintained.
Buxton is the consensus No. 1 prospect in the MLB, but needs to have his confidence properly molded outside the major-league level. This spring, he only hit .158, but launched a towering home run in his last game. He will get his chance to shine soon, but only when the opportunity correctly presents itself. For now, Buxton will likely start the season in AA with the New Britain Rock Cats.
Meyer, however, may make his MLB debut at some point in the 2014 season. A 6-foot-9, 24-year-old starting pitcher, Meyer throws in the high 90’s, and has already developed a dangerous knuckle-curveball. Meyer will start the season at AAA Rochester.