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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:06 AM
That nice 6.5 game lead is down to 4 and the Twins face good pitching in their next four scheduled games. I do believe it is very possibl...
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/14): Sano Grand Slam Over...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:25 AM
The second contest of Saturday's doubleheader provided another bullpen game, but that is about where the similarities ended. Things didn’...
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/14): Bullpen, Polanco Mov...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:25 AM
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Game Thread: Twins vs Indians 9/14/19 12:10 CDT & 6:...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:08 AM
The Cleveland Falcon         I was holding down a barstool in a cheap dive just down the street from what used...
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Front Page: Get to Know Jorge Alcala

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:54 PM
Minnesota called up Jorge Alcala on Saturday to help with the homestretch of the season. A two-game day on Saturday means the club will n...
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20 Names for Twins September Callups

There are officially just two more days until the Major League active rosters expand to 40 spots. This is the last season of this type of roster expansion, with 2020 allowing for just 28 players, so it will be interesting to see how teams utilize the opportunity. Thad Levine quipped at a recent event that Minnesota plans to be aggressive in their promotions, and during a postseason push, there’s plenty of opportunity for the call-ups to gain experience while providing value. The question is, who are those players?
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Over the course of the season Minnesota has used the fringes of its roster as a revolving door to a certain extent. The rotation has utilized a taxi squad for both length and bullpen help, while the final bench spot has rotated with players offering positional flexibility as starting talents have needed time off. There are both avenues for reward and merit-based promotions here and I imagine it would behoove the Twins to capitalize on all of them. Let’s look at some of the groupings.

Taxi Squad (5): Devin Smeltzer, Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart, Lewis Thorpe, Sean Poppen

Cody Stashak and Randy Dobnak both find themselves a part of this group as well but are currently on the 25-man roster. This collection of arms has been utilized to be used at a moment's notice for the Twins this season. Whether making spot starts, pitching mop up, or keeping games close in the middle innings, these guys have provided immeasurable value to Minnesota during the 2019 season.

The trio of Thorpe, Smeltzer, and Littell have all operated in some very high leverage spots thus far and could be counted on down the stretch. Stewart and Poppen have been more product of circumstance, but there’s no reason for the front office not to reward these guys. A month of big league pay as well as some additional development could go a long way toward growth and future development.

Retreads (5): Ryne Harper, Trevor Hildenberger, Fernando Romero, Willians Astudillo, LaMonte Wade

Don’t get this twisted, retread is hardly a negative definition here. This trio is a group of guys who have been on the big-league roster, have been optioned out, and their future status remains in flux. Harper obviously offered the most to the major league team this season. His Bugs Bunny curveballs were a thing of beauty until they weren’t. Having a book on him now, he needs to find a way to keep opposing batters off balance. Sent to Triple-A after struggling for months and owning options, it made sense, but he should get the opportunity to wrap up 2019 with in the big leagues.

Pairing Hildenberger and Romero is an interesting case study. One is a former stud that wore down, and the other was expected to take a leap that never came. Now healthy, Hildenberger has been lights out since his activation from the IL, and a return to form would give the Twins an arm that has pitched in some very big spots the past couple of seasons. Romero hasn’t been as expected, and we’re still as confused as ever considering what he could provide, but letting him get some low leverage work and try to finish the year on a high note makes some sense.

As the first position player here Willians Astudillo will return, to the delight of Twins fans. He’s a character and energizer bunny, but Minnesota will need more in terms of production. It’s great that he doesn’t strike out, but a heightened ability in the box needs to come in the form of commanding the zone, not just covering it. If he can take more of a Luis Arraez approach and rein in his swing to pitches he can do something with, the Twins will have two of the better contact hitters in the game. Wade isn’t much of a retread given he played in just two games before hitting the shelf. A 60-day IL move would open a spot, or he could be activated despite the short runway back to game action.

Fresh Faces (2): Brusdar Graterol, Jorge Alcala

Easily the two biggest names tied to potential promotion are two of the Twins' top prospects. Graterol is a top-100 pitcher that’s expected to be a difference maker in the rotation. There’s some uncertainty about how good he’d be there, and he’ll have a chance to flash his relief arm in 2019. A triple-digit fastball is going to play, and if he can miss bats while keeping hitters off balance, you can assume he’ll make a difference in the postseason.

The prized part of the return in the Ryan Pressly trade, Alcala too is a fireballer who can pump the cheddar. He’s as much an uncertainty for the rotation as Graterol (if not more) but has looked great since switching to the pen at the end of July. Both guys need 40-man spots, and with just one opening, some roster shuffling will need to take place.

Needing a Spot (5): Jake Reed, Zander Wiel, Wilin Rosario, Alejandro De Aza, Ian Miller

Only Reed here is a former top prospect. Drafted out of Oregon with the intention of getting to the big leagues in short order, though the fiery fastball and clean bill of health have escaped him at times. He warranted a look last season but was passed over. This year the numbers are much worse, but he’s incorporated a new arm slot and has dealt with the Triple-A baseball as well. Subject again to being lost this offseason, it may be a final opportunity to see what’s there.

Wiel has been the pride of a Rochester team that employed bigger names. The former Vanderbilt star has 29 doubles in 121 games while owning an .838 OPS. Twenty-two homers show off his power, and while there’re plenty of strikeouts he’s pushed for an opportunity.

The trio left over is an interesting bunch. Rosario is essentially a DH and hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old owns an .858 OPS at Triple-A though, and his 19 dingers are bolstered by a .306 avg. De Aza was a late season depth acquisition and he’s done his part with a .994 OPS in 29 games. Miller represents Minnesota’s version of Terrence Gore. He hasn’t played in an MLB game, but the 27-year-old has stolen 34 bases in 119 Triple-A games this year. All these guys would need a 40-man spot.

On the Mend (3): Stephen Gonsalves, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker

Had the season gone, or ended, differently for any of this trio they could’ve found themselves in a different category. Gonsalves just recently got back on the mound and has only 12 IP in 2019. He’s at Double-A right now but has worked for Minnesota previously and did come out of the pen. Nick Gordon had a strong year two at Triple-A, following a path he’s repeated most of his pro career. He’s been on the shelf since early August after taking a pitch to the knee, so his season could be over. Rooker recently returned to action and was rehabbing at the GCL. With that season done though he’ll need game action elsewhere. A 1.036 OPS in 41 G from June 1 through his injury, along with a .933 OPS in 65 total games with Rochester, it appeared he was ready for more.

Two of three in this section have current 40-man spots, and their inclusion or exclusion from the active roster could swing plenty of decisions. Gordon and Gonsalves could be placed on the 60-day IL (with service time implications) to free up openings. Rooker would need an avenue to inclusion on the 40-man for the first time in his career.

If we’ve done the math correctly, there’s a total of 20 names that are potentially in play for the Minnesota Twins to use on the 40-man active roster in a couple of days. No matter how aggressive the club wants to be, the maximum number of additions would be 15. Of those 20, eight need a spot on the 40-man roster that currently sits at 39 occupants. If this exercise shows us anything, it’s that there’s a good amount of opportunity, but still a large number of mouths to feed.

Being a better man, I’d put the O/U on Twins call ups at 5.5 and take the over without thinking twice. Rochester’s season ends Monday September 2, so we probably won’t have complete clarity until that point. I’d bet the Twins mix in a good number of bodies to provide rest, as well as talent to provide help, when they make their decisions in the coming days.

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14 Comments

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Old Twins Cap
Aug 29 2019 08:13 PM

They really need Willians back, if only because, when you look at that face, you have that perfect feeling of contentedness knowing that only he looks like that, and he is a teammate, not a relative or a mirror.

    • jimbo92107, woolywoolhouse, gagu and 2 others like this

El Cherubo brings a certain flair that seems to sweep the clubhouse. I hope he's on the 25 come playoffs. It's nice to have a teammate for whom defying the odds is an everyday activity. 

    • gagu and Aerodeliria like this

Willians and Wade. That's about it for the Offense. Remember, though, the Twins DO have one spot open for someone. If Buxton is down, I would vote for Ian Miller as the extra outfielder.

 

(Too bad Raley and Rooker have been injured for a good part of the second half. Same with Gordon.)

 

I actually would like to see the Twins use the Opener concept in September, letting their starters pitch 4-5 innings (if able) - which seems to be the current norm. Stewart, Smeltzer and Thorpe could all shine in this role, get a chance to go 1-3 innings actually. See what happens.

 

Dobnak is interesting. Stashak is a gem who might be the long relief guy the Twins need. Poppen will probably go home for the fall, coming off a late season injury.

 

Hildenberger deserves a chance, as does Harper. But both have to keep in mind that they could play themselves out of the organization. Thought Ryan O'Routke might be a possibility as a lefty, but 9 walks in his few appearances are scary. I actually thought he'd come up insead of Dobnak originally. Now I doubt that the Twins will add a pitcher not aleady on the 40-man.

 

That's it. Romero might be the odd man out, and even though it would be nice to see Gonsalves, the front office will have to make the decision if he should rehab up here or work out with the instructional league.

 

The Twins are about to have 40-man roster troubles. Wish they ahd made a couple of "prospects-away" deals for bigger pieces in July!

 

The Twins will have 34 players looking for lockers!

 

 

    • bighat likes this
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Lbillesbach
Aug 29 2019 11:40 PM
O
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Aerodeliria
Aug 30 2019 01:37 AM

Thanks for this very thorough overview of the various scenarios.

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Richard Swerdlick
Aug 30 2019 04:11 AM

I don't see Harper coming up as I doubt he has a future with us. For pitchers I'd bring up the two Rochester fireballers and Hildy.La Tortuga and then a couple of other position players would do it for me.

What coaches do you think they'll bring up?

This is going to be very interesting to watch. My guess is that someone will be using that last 40 man slot but what will be more interesting is any 40 man turn after that slot is filled. There will be some tough decisions in that regard this off season, the movement on it could start this weekend.
    • howieramone2 likes this

My guess is that the 40-man slot goes to Alcala, and Graterol doesn't get called up.  

 

Doubt that Rooker gets called up as he does not need to be added to the 40-man this winter.Need that spot for one of many others.Astudillo definitely will be in Detroit come Sunday.My guess is that Wade will get called up to be that extra outfielder and base runner.Doesn't offer the speed of Miller, but is on the 40.

 

Of your retread pitchers, I see Hildenberger and Harper.So that's the five taxi squad guys, plus Alcala, Astudillo and Wade for a total of 10 callups.Agree that is a big number, but Levine has hinted several times recently we should expect that.

The ones I'm sure will get called up:.Smeltzer, Thorpe, Harper, Grateral, Littel and Astudillo.

The maybes include: Stewart, Hildenburger, Poppen and Romero.

That's a lot of pitchers. Wade also makes sense if healthy and that speed guy specifically for pinch running. If the Twins want more on their bench.

Everyone else listed deserves a call up but won't likely get it unless the Twins go for 40 total on the team.

It's nice to have more than 40 players who deserve to be on the roster.
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stringer bell
Aug 30 2019 09:39 AM

Given the current OF injuries (Kepler & Gonzalez dinged, Buxton on IL), I would expect Wade to be added on Sunday along with Astudillo, who could possibly get a start in the OF, too. 

 

Pitchers--bring everyone who was here back. I believe Poppen was injured and the Florida weather spoiled his rehab. Romero has been nothing special in AAA and a total disappointment in the major league bullpen. I don't know if recalling him is the right call for his development. Kohl Stewart has become someone to give innings, but I don't know if he'll be in the organization after October. Smeltzer and Thorpe can provide length out of the bullpen or a spot start. 

 

I think there are four candidates from off the 40-man roster to join the club--Ian Miller as a pinch runner and late inning defensive replacement, Ryan O'Rourke as a LOOGy, and Alcala and Graterol as young flamethrowers in the bullpen. O'Rourke and Miller were acquired in August and both seem to be specialty guys. If more than one of them are added, someone has to leave the 40-man. I was thinking during the game yesterday, that it would be ironic if they DFAed Dobnak and his 0.00 ERA and first MLB save, but then they could have a fresh arm from off the 40-man today.

I think Alcala gets added to the 40 man. His WHIP was high as a starter but in a small sample size it is good since he moved to the pen.He is 24 and seems ready for a shot to me.I would seriously consider adding Brusder as well.Not sure how those guys will do facing the best hitters in the game but would be nice to see them get a few chances to see if they can get the job done.

 

I would definately bring back Thorpe, Smeltzer and Littell. I am not sure what Poppens status is but if he is still hurt then probably no reason to add him.Not sure how I feel about Kohl.I kept thinking that one day he might be an elite reliever now I am not so sure.I think it would make more sense to give guys that might be able to help us in the playoffs a chance to play.We already know who Kohl is and I am not sure he is someone who makes the roster better right now.

 

I would like to see Hildy get some more chances and see if he can give the pen a boost. Definately need Aududillo back.Romero I just don't trust and would like see Graterol and Alcala get more chances I just don't think Romero is a good bet to help the big club this year.With Wade being out so long with injury I don't see him rounding in to shape to help and the outfield even without Buxton is looking pretty good right now.I also don't know if I trust Wades bat as he wasn't that great in AAA again this year.Honestly I don't think I would bring Harper back.While his curve is amazing his fastball is too slow and too straight and it seems all the batters are willing to wait until he throws the fastball and they are getting solid contact as well.I would never trust using him in a playoff game so what is the point of keeping him on the 40 man?

 

The needing a spot guys all seem like bad ideas to me, but you never know.

 

On the mend guys aren't good bets to be in top shape and unlikely to be better options than what we already have.Maybe Gonsalves could help but I think we have better options right now.

 

Technically they could take all the guys on the 40 man if they want to but there are only a handful that can likely help make the team better.

In August, Baily Ober pitched 24 innings between Ft. Myers and Pensacola, allowing 2 ER (0.67 ERA), 12 H and 2 BB (0.556 WHIP) and struck out 34 (13 K/9).He is 23 and the hottest arm in the system.He should be added to the 40 man roster and come up, because he is the hottest arm in the system.

    • Dman likes this

 

In August, Baily Ober pitched 24 innings between Ft. Myers and Pensacola, allowing 2 ER (0.67 ERA), 12 H and 2 BB (0.667 WHIP) and struck out 34.He is 23 and the hottest arm in the system.He should be added to the 40 man roster and come up, because he is the hottest arm in the system.

 

Yeah I can't remember seeing stats like Obers from any pitcher we have had since I have been following the minors not that that is real long but all his counting stats are crazy good. 

 

Things going against him though are He only has I think 3 starts in AA so hasn't pitched much at the high levels yet.Granted he has pitched well but it is a small sample size.Also he doesn't need to be added to the 40 man this year so the team will have to potentially sacrifice someone to the rule V in order to add him and keep him on the 40. Also he has been injury prone so not sure if that is the kind of guy you want taking up a 40 man spot.

 

You are right though he is blazing hot right now and seems to be pretty much the same pitcher no matter the level to this point.


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