* Ron Gardenhire officially announced yesterday that he has Carl Pavano pegged as his Opening Day starter.
This led to some grumbling from fans who rightfully view Francisco Liriano as the superior arm, but I'm not too bothered by the news. It's possible that the Twins see Pavano as a better pitcher, but their decision to start Liriano in Game 1 of the ALDS last year would suggest otherwise.
More likely, this is a respectful nod to the veteran, akin to Gardenhire's decision to give Brad Radke the Opening Day start in 2005 right after Johan Santana won his first Cy Young Award.
It's also worth noting that Scott Baker was originally slated as the Twins' Opening Day starter in 2009 but missed the assignment due to injury (his replacement, coincidentally, was Liriano), so making this announcement six weeks away from the start of the season guarantees nothing.
* Baseball America released their annual ranking of the Top 100 prospects in baseball yesterday, and four players from the Twins organization made the list. Kyle Gibson was ranked 34th, with Aaron Hicks 45th, Miguel Sano 60th and Joe Benson rounding out the list at 100.
These placements fall in line with my Twins' preseason prospect rankings, where I had those four players ranked first, second, third and fifth, respectively. I did place Ben Revere one spot above Benson on my list, but there's certainly a good argument to be made the other way. Benson undoubtedly holds more upside, but Revere -- in my opinion -- has fewer hurdles to clear before making a positive impact in the majors.
* If you haven't already, make sure to swing by Twinkie Town and check out Jesse Lund's interview with Twins assistant GM Rob Antony. Jesse did a great job with the questions, probing Antony about some of the team's more controversial moves of the offseason. While the answers weren't always fully satisfying, there's definitely some good insight to be gleaned about the organization's thought process.
Great work, Jesse.