10 Players to Watch in Twins Spring Training
Image courtesy of © Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsOF KYLE GARLICK
The Twins elected to outright RHP Ian Gibaut rather than Garlick when the Matt Shoemaker signing became official Friday. The move was inconsequential as Gibaut passed through waivers unclaimed. Still, this may show the team’s belief in Garlick as a depth option in the outfield.
Garlick, 29, has shown signs of harnessing a prolific bat. He’s hit .288/.345/.536 with 91 home runs in 464 minor league games. Garlick posted a 1.072 OPS against Triple-A lefties in 2019. He’ll compete with Brent Rooker as a right-handed option off the bench. A productive spring could vault Garlick onto the opening day roster.
RHP DAKOTA CHALMERS
Chalmers’ stuff alone made the Fernando Rodney trade in 2018 a success for the Twins. He runs his fastball up to 98 with an extremely high-spin curveball to boot. Chalmers has the arsenal to electrify hitters out of the bullpen.
The 24-year-old has had major command issues, walking over 16% of batters in five minor-league seasons. His electricity is evidenced by a 27% strikeout rate and an ERA under 4.00. The upside is there. Can the Twins tweak him to throw more strikes?
1B AARON SABATO
Sabato, 21, was drafted in June as an already-developed bat. Sabato dismantled the ACC for North Carolina, hitting .332 with a 1.158 OPS in 83 games. In a recent interview, Sabato suggests the questions about his position are overblown. He says he’ll have more flexibility than a DH-only bat.
If he continues to crush in the spring and through the first half of 2021, it’s not out of the realm for Sabato to be considered for a call-up later this year. He is an advanced right-handed slugger with a spotless track record at the plate.
RHP MATT CANTERINO
The hype train on Canterino has left the station. The Twins’ second round pick in 2019 was seen as a polished-type at Rice University. He had good command of four pitches but nothing seen as plus-plus on its own.
That seems to have changed. Canterino pumped 99 with his fastball just weeks ago, per this video from Darren Wolfson:
I am very intrigued to see Canterino this spring. Twins Daily recently ranked him as the Twins’ 9th best prospect. He could move up even more with a strong showing in the Fort.
RHP JOSH WINDER
Winder, 24, is listed at 6-foot-5 and has already succeeded in the minors. He posted a 2.65 ERA in 21 starts for Cedar Rapids in 2019 with a miniscule 6% walk rate. Much like Canterino, Winder apparently added considerable velocity this offseason, flashing a fastball “up to 97,” according to Keith Law.
Already good command + increased fastball velocity = exciting stuff, despite Winder’s lack of experience above Low-A.
RHP IAN HAMILTON
The Twins snuck Hamilton through waivers and now boast increased bullpen depth. Hamilton has been plagued by bad luck and setbacks. He possessed a high-90s fastball and low-90s slider not that long ago but suffered facial fractures after taking a line drive in 2019.
His velocity was understandably down in light 2020 work for the Phillies. If the Twins can unlock or simply oversee him regain form over the next month, he’ll be in the conversation to hold the eighth bullpen spot on opening day. He’s still only 25.
C TOMÁS TELIS
The Twins have enviable catching depth with a duo of Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers. As Mike Tyson said though, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face. If Garver or Jeffers go down, Telis could be a more attractive option than Willians Astudillo to fill the void.
Telis, 29, was a star for the Red Wings at Triple A in 2019. He hit .330/.364/.490 in 82 games. He’s played in nearly 1,000 minor league games with impressive offensive numbers overall. Hitting just .230/.267/.298 in 122 MLB games has limited his opportunities to show more. Keep an eye on the Saints’ catcher.
RHP GLENN SPARKMAN
Sparkman contributed to a horrendous season for Kansas City in 2019. He posted a 6.02 ERA and 5.92 FIP in 136 innings. The Twins hit five home runs and scored 19 times in 25 ⅔ innings against him.
A forearm strain limited the 28-year-old to just five innings in 2020, forcing him to settle for a minor-league deal with the Twins. Sparkman threw his fastball too much in 2019 and generates decent spin on his slider. Guys like him end up mattering over 162 games. A strong ramp-up could move him up the organizational depth chart.
RHP JHOAN DURAN
Duran, recently ranked by the site as the Twins’ 5th best prospect, needs to be watched closely over the next few weeks. If he continues to show progression in his curveball and command, there’s a chance he could be in Minneapolis before schools are out for the summer.
23 years old with a monster fastball and disgusting “splinker,” Duran is extremely close to making a huge impact. I am very high on his arm and potential as a frontline starter. I do think he could thrive in a multi-inning bullpen role in 2021, though.
OF TREVOR LARNACH
Not that he necessarily qualifies as “under the radar,” but Larnach still finds himself multiple names back in the outfield. He’ll have to hit throughout the spring and early summer, much like 2019, to force the Twins’ hand.
Larnach is a clear top-100 global prospect with huge power potential and a strong resume. Just last year, many wondered if he was on track to pass Alex Kirilloff as the organization’s best outfield prospect.
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