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Article: KC 6, MIN 5: Maybe It’s Better Off This Way?

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Missing Pieces? Lost Minor League Players

Minnesota’s new front office regime has not been shy about making adjustments to the back-end of the 40-man roster. In their first year on the job, they have exposed multiple players to the waiver system. Some in hopes of sneaking them through to the minor leagues, while others were left available in the Rule 5 Draft.

Over the weekend, Jamie wondered if the Twins front office would regret losing the likes of Luke Bard, Nick Burdi, and JT Chargois. Including these players, who all has been lost and where are they now? I’m glad you asked…
Image courtesy of Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Luke Bard, Right-Handed Pitcher
Bard never pitched a game above Triple-A in the Twins system and he spent the majority of his age-26 season in the Lookouts bullpen. He was almost two years older than the competition in the Southern League and he didn’t really blow away the competition. For the year, he posted a 2.76 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP. His 99 strikeouts in 65.1 innings were impressive and that’s probably why the Los Angeles Angles were willing to take a chance on him in the Rule 5 Draft. Minnesota’s bullpen looks strong this year and Bard hasn’t found enough success in the upper-levels of the minor leagues.

Nick Burdi, Right-Handed Pitcher
Burdi has been on quite the journey over the last calendar year. He underwent Tommy John surgery last May. He’s on track to be throwing off the mound near the conclusion of spring training. Burdi was left unprotected during the Rule 5 Draft. The Phillies selected him and then he was traded to the Pirates. Burdi was dominant last season before his elbow injury. In 17 innings at Double-A, he posted a 0.53 ERA with a 0.77 WHIP and a 20 to 4 strikeout to walk ratio. Burdi will start the season on the 60-day DL and he will get time to make some rehab appearances before he needs to appear in a Pirates game.

JT Chargois, Right-Handed Pitcher
Chargois was a second-round pick back in 2012 and he quickly established himself as one of the best relief pitchers in the Twins system. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy as he has pitched just over 100 innings in his professional career. Essentially, he has missed almost three of the last five seasons. In what some considered a strange move, Minnesota placed him on waivers last week only to see him claimed by the Dodgers, the team with the final waiver pick based on last season’s records. He has one option remaining and he could be a dangerous relief option if he is healthy. The Dodgers were willing to take that chance.

Daniel Palka, Outfielder
One year after being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year, Palka is no longer part of the organization. Palka, a 26-year old slugger, has a chance to break camp with the White Sox in a designated hitter and outfield role. Last season, he hit .274/.329/.431 with 27 extra-base hits in 84 Triple-A games. This was a far cry from the .848 OPS he compiled between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016. Palka’s lack of a defensive position and his age all factored into him ending up with a new organization.

Randy Rosario, Left-Handed Pitcher
Rosario pitched over 100 minor league games in the Twins system and posted a 3.37 ERA. The 2017 season marked his first as a full-time reliever. Last year, he made 34 appearances between High-A and Double-A and posted a 3.84 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Those numbers might not exactly jump off the page but he was able to hold left-handed batters to a .169 average during his Double-A appearances. As the old adage goes, Rosario is “left-handed and he has a pulse” so the Cubs might find a spot for him out of the bullpen this year.

Nik Turley, Left-Handed Pitcher
Turley only made 10 appearances in a Twins uniform as he allowed 22 earned runs in 17.2 innings. In the minors, he fared much better with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in almost 110 innings. The Pirates selected Turley off of waivers in November but they will have to wait a while for him to pitch in a game for their organization. At the end of January, Turley was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Ipamorelin.

Engelb Vielma, Shortstop
The last half of a year has been a crazy ride for Mr. Vielma. Over the last six months, he is now with his fifth different organization. He enters Orioles camp with a chance to compete for a utility spot at the big league level. In 87 Triple-A games last season, he hit .206 with 17 RBI but his defense has always been his calling card. The 23-year old was the best defensive infielder in the Twins system when they let him go. Minnesota currently has plenty of depth at the shortstop position with other players ranking higher than Vielma.

Which player or players will the Twins miss the most in the coming season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


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45 Comments

Wow we lost a lot of guys. For me Randy Rosario hurts the most
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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Old Twins Cap
Feb 26 2018 08:54 PM

Cleaning house.

 

Fans attach themselves to draft picks and have a hard time separating their dreams from their dreams. That's why you have an Executive Baseball Cadre who can make crucial decisions.

 

Over time, leadership gets a track record of success, or like in the Twins' recent past, failure.

 

Don't see how any of those ex-Twins' guys get us to the playoffs and beyond, but,I wish to heap good luck on the lot of them. 

    • Twins33, DocBauer, gagu and 2 others like this
Compared to whom the Twins have added? No one. I was surprised to se Shaggy DFA'd, but, meh. The lineup is full, the Bull Pen is full, the staff is starting to round out (can ypu imagine a Lynn signing too?!). The 25 Man and the 40 Man are better today than they were at the end of the 2017 season. The prospect depth is also better than before the 2017 draft (in addition to the trades for Enns, Littell, Pearson, etc.)
    • AWOLNATION_11, gagu and Original Whizzinator like this

Burdi is the only one of those I really regret. Rosario seems like a LOOGY at best. Palka is redundant for the Twins organization, which has tons of lefties. Turley and Vielma are organizational filler. Bard and Charges could be okay I guess but they seem like fringe MLB bullpen guys.

    • Twins33, blindeke and gagu like this
I hope Tyler Kinley is the real deal and they don't end up sending him back to Miami. Otherwise the decision to waive all these pitchers looks bad.
    • Steve Lein, beckmt and Dman like this

This list isn't really bothering me.It could be sour grapes, but I'm a lot happier with what has been added.

 

The relievers did have some promise, but they couldn't stay healthy.  

 

The Twins should have a strong bullpen now. Reed and Jay are still in the picture. Lujan and Hackimer could be available quicker than we think as well.  

 

Also, supplementing the bullpen via free agency, trades and waivers seems to work better anyway. Look at the Astros.

    • gagu and MN_ExPat like this

Goes to show the worth of minor league relievers' trade value.Yes, some of these guys were injury prone, but got as close to the bigs as it gets.Tough to see a hard baller like Chargois go.He probably has the highest ceiling out of them all and did pitch in a Futures Game.Best of luck to the lot!!!

 

Would love to see good things happen for Adam Brett Walker as well.He had a tough go of it since we released him.

Correct me if I'm wrong (and I know somebody will) but if Burdi or Bard had been added before the Rule V, they couldn't be dropped during this time frame, right?  So in a way, the Twins traded Kinley for one of those guys, say Burdi, which gave them more flexibility during the free agency period as far as who they had available to drop.  Basically, they traded one iffy minor leaguer for another, but one they could get off the roster if needed.

 

I know we've been conditioned to think that dumping Kinley won't happen until a double digit ERA has been maintained for at least three months, but I'd like to think this version of the Twins will be a little more cutthroat then that.

 

 At this point, if they'd have protected Bard and Burdi, who would be on this list instead?

    • Original Whizzinator likes this
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youngpadawan
Feb 26 2018 10:39 PM
Niko Goodrum has been playing well for Detroit, thus far (2 or 3 games).
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KirbyDome89
Feb 26 2018 11:31 PM

Burdi and Chargois. 

 

As the 40 man stands now there's no reason Chargois had to go, and Burdi wouldn't have even needed to be added back until the end of May. 

    • birdwatcher, Twins33, Dman and 1 other like this
Cody, appreciate the post and idea. And it is probably relevant to the new FO and moves made. But in a way, it's also a bit of a tired subject. Almost like the Ortiz situation 2 decades later. (I stretch a little). Every team in baseball can claim a number of guys picked for little or nothing than turned out to be anywhere from good, quality pkayers to stars. Santana was a rule t player traded to the Twins. Believe he was traded for a pitcher, once a top draft choice, named White but can't remember for certain. Nor can I remember all the teams involved at this time. Shane Mack was a big success with the Twins, but a talented player who never found a home before. Brian Harper was a "who" before the Twins.

I know that's a short list, and somewhat dated, but there have been others who have been quality players for the Twins, just as there have been others for other teams. Even some rather well known players who previously played for the Twins and found success elsewhere are out there. Portugal is one I always remember and laugh a bit about. He had a solid, OK career. But he also bounced somewhat before finding his footing. But somehow the Twins are to blame for letting him go?

The new regime has come in, looked around, and decided to let some talented players leave believing that other options are more important, and more viable, long term. Some of the RP are a perfect example. I still believe that guys like Burdi or Chargois may get healthy one of these days, and make some kind of mark. And that will be a small thorn, to be sure. But despite stuff and potential, there also comes a time when you have to look at injury and real time on the mound and just decide you can't hold on to "maybe".
    • Twinfan & Dad, gagu, MN_ExPat and 2 others like this

Yeah, plenty of good arms lost in the past year, but as others have noted, the health issues were the deciding factor. Can't lose any sleep over it, these things are so unpredictable. Thinking about Mark Portugal also reminded me of another pitcher who seemed to thrive after he left Minnesota: LaTroy Hawkins. Of course, he was mostly a starter during his days with the Twins, but did much better after he was used in relief.

It would be nice to see this updated after the 2018 season, to see if the Twins really did make a mistake (or two).

    • Carpetboy, 70charger and bobs like this

Randy Rosario hurts the most.I expect him to contribute this year with the Cubs.Lefties like him aren't readily available.

I'd rather still have any of Burdi, Chargois, Bard, and possibly Rosario over Tyler Kinley at this point, so I think they miscalculated on that move in particular.

 

 

    • birdwatcher, Oxtung, Dman and 2 others like this

The Question I have is not whether we should have dropped these players, but whether there was anything that should have been done before this to either maximize their talent - a reflection on coaching, or if there was some way to minimize their injuries.That is a lot of injured talent and we need a medical staff that does more than react after the fact.Maybe none of this could have been changed, but we have an awful lot invested in our players at all levels and the FO has made major changes in the coaching.Have they done anything with the medical staff and trainers?

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puckstopper1
Feb 27 2018 09:24 AM

I'm not sure if he qualifies as a "lost minor leaguer" , but it will be interesting if Buddy Boshers can stick with and contribute to the Astros this season.I know the new additions to the pen made him expendable, but he could find himself in a real nice new situation with the defending World Champs.

I would say Burdi and Chargois.Such promise that got derailed by injuries.Most of these guys have one thing in common...at age 26ish, players should be entering their prime, not still fighting for a 40-man spot.We'll probably hear some of these names in the future...and we'll say "THAT's where _________ is now?"

    • Carpetboy and Tomj14 like this

 

I'd rather still have any of Burdi, Chargois, Bard, and possibly Rosario over Tyler Kinley at this point, so I think they miscalculated on that move in particular.

Agree 100%.But my knowledge of MLB pitching is not up to par with Falvey, so I guess we have to trust him and Lavine.

Any chance they could trade Vargas for Chargois, Burdi or Rosario?!...lol

I think Bard will do fine in L.A.For some reason the Twins refused to move him up quickly enough to match his age.Why he wasn't at AAA last year I don't know?As for Burdi and Shaggy, the injuries are starting to add up.  

I would say Burdi. When not injured, he had a relievers arm and a relievers mentality, it seemed. I realize "when not injured" is a pretty large caveat, but he seemed worth the patience. This still isn't an outfit overloaded with dominant arms.
    • Twins33 and adorduan like this
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KirbyDome89
Feb 27 2018 11:57 AM

FWIW Chargois isn't hurt. When the Twins placed him on waivers the prevailing sentiment was "can't pitch from the trainer's table, the guy is always hurt...." It's true, he has dealt with injuries for a good chunk of the past few seasons, but right now isn't one of those times. MN tried to sneak him through and they got caught. IMO that's a mistake. There are others on the 40 man who are infinitely more expendable.

    • Oxtung, Dman and Platoon like this

In the last 15 years the only drafted player the Twins ever let go with little or no major league experience to have much of a career was Evan Meek.  The best of luck to these guys, but somehow the odds seem pretty long. Bard could r be the next Bud NorrisMore of a chance he could be back in Rochester

Chargois going is a disappointment. Otherwise it is probably good for these players to go elsewhere and actually get a chance. I do really want to see Vielma in the big leagues, so I hope he can get his bat to work. 

    • Carpetboy likes this

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