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Article: Twins Being Forced into Good Decisions

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:33 AM
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Game Thread: Twins vs Mets, 7/16/19, 7:10 PM CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:33 AM
I am getting this game thread up a lot earlier than I normally do. I typically like to wait until lineups are out so I am able to talk ab...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (7/16): Larnach Debuts...

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Morin DFAed

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:00 AM
https://www.mlbtrade...gnment-dfa.html   No corresponding move, no trade appears imminent.   *scratches head*  
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2018 Twins: The Year in Debut

As we all look forward to celebrating the transition from 2018 to 2019 today, it’s fun to look back at the Twins 2018 season and think about all of the rookies that came up. There were 15 rookies who played for the Twins in 2018. Today we are going to focus on the eight players who made their Major League debuts.
Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson, USA Today
14 players made their major league debut for the Twins in 2017. So it shouldn’t be so bad to just write about eight of them this year. Some made strong first impressions. Some struggled. Most are somewhere in the middle.

Tyler Kinley - April 7, 2018

The Twins selected right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Kinley in the December 2017 Rule 5 draft from the Miami Marlins organization. The right-hander reached into the upper-90s, and he had a sharp slider. Rarely did he have control. Hence, he was left unprotected. He made the Twins Opening Day roster.

It took a while, but in the Twins seventh game, they found themselves down big, so Kinley got the ball for the ninth inning. He came in and did as reported. He threw hard. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked one and struck out two batters.

But he pitched just once in the Twins first 11 games. He pitched three times over the Twins next six games. He had one good outing, but over his final two outings, he gave up eight runs on seven hits and three walks in just 1 1/3 innings. The Twins designated him for assignment, and after clearing waivers, he was returned to the Marlins.

He was called up to the Marlins in September. He pitched in nine games. He gave up five runs in one of those outings. In the other eight games (10.1 innings), he gave up just one run.

Fernando Romero - May 2, 2018

Romero has long been a Twins prospect, but after missing two seasons with Tommy John surgery, the Twins have kept an eye on his innings. But, he has moved quickly up the system. He had impressed in his spring training outings the past two seasons, and fans got very excited when they learned that he was coming up to start for the Twins.

On a sunny day in early May, Romero got Twins fans even more excited. Not only was he throwing hard, but he showed a good changeup and a good slider. Against the Blue Jays, Romero threw 5 2/3 innings and did not allow a run. He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out five. His second start was in St. Louis and he was even better. He threw six shutout innings and gave up just three hits and three walks. He struck out nine batters. In his third start, he went head-to-head with Angels star rookie Shohei Ohtani. He gave up a run, but just one hit, over five innings.



In his first five starts, Romero went 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA. His sixth start did not go well. He gave up eight earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings. Then over his next five starts, he went 1-1 with a 5.33 ERA. He was sent to Rochester and continued to make starts. He was not called up in September due to an innings limit.

2019 will be Romero’s final option season. Will he get another opportunity to start? Could he be moved in to late-inning relief duties?

Jake Cave - May 19, 2018

The Twins acquired outfielder Jake Cave in a mid-March trade with the Yankees in exchange for hard-throwing prospect Luis Gil. He got a few games in big league spring training before heading to minor league camp. With Zack Granite out most of the year with a shoulder injury, Cave got an opportunity and really stepped up.

His big league debut came at Target Field against the Brewers. He batted seventh and played center field. He went 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. The one hit? A two-run homer.



He played in three games before heading back to the Red Wings. He was called up again in early June, and then called up for good late in June. With the Byron Buxton injury, Cave was able to play most every day. He responded by hitting .265/.313/.473 (.786) with 16 doubles and 13 home runs in 91 games. Some of those homers went a long way! The Twins named him the Bill Boni Award recipient as Twins Outstanding Rookie.

In addition, the Twins had five episodes of The Man Cave Show.





Zack Littell - June 5, 2018

The Twins had a doubleheader and it was Littell who was called up as the team’s 26th man. Littell began his big league career by striking out Yoan Moncada. He gave up two runs in the first inning after that though. He threw two zeroes on the board. However, Littell began the fourth inning by walking the first two batters. He was replaced and both runners scored. So, in three innings, he was charged with four runs on six hits and four walks. Littell averaged just 2.5 walks per nine innings in his minor league career (to this point).



Littell came back to the Twins when they needed an arm in early July, and then he ended the season with a September call up. He was the youngest player to play for the Twins in 2018. Only Lewis Thorpe pitched at a younger age at Rochester in 2018. Thorpe is about six weeks younger.

The Twins acquired Littell (with Dietrich Enns) in late July of 2017 from the Yankees in exchange for Jaime Garcia.

Willians Astudillo, - June 30, 2018

When the Twins signed Astudillo about a year ago at this time, it was an intriguing signing. As we’ve learned, Astudillo pretty much refuses to walk or strike out. He was named to the 2018 International League All-Star game, but he couldn’t play because the 26-year-old was in the big leagues. Astudillo probably had the best short MLB debut since Josmil Pinto’s incredible 2013 September.

Remember that awful series in Chicago at the end of June? Well, so does Astudillo. He entered that June 30th game in the late innings, replacing Eddie Rosario in left field. Astudillo went 1-for-2 and had an RBI in that game. He played in a very limited role in seven games over the next two weeks, none at catcher. He played left field, center field, third base, second base, DHd and even pitched. None at his “normal’ position, catcher. He was sent back down but returned to the big leagues with about a week remaining in August. That’s when the Legend of La Tortuga took off. Of his 29 games played, he had multi-hit games in ten games. Eight of those games came in his final 16 games. He showed he could catch a little. He proved to people that “chubby people can run too.” He showed a flare for the dramatic (including a walk-off home run against the Royals), and the best thing he showed was some fantastic hair!

He showed enough that MLB put out a Great Moments video for Willians Astudillo’s 2018 season.



More Tortuga

Hidden Ball Trick in Rochester:


No-Look Pick-off in Spring training:


Kohl Stewart - August 12, 2018

Stewart was the Twins first-round pick in June of 2014 out of high school in Houston. He was not protected on the Twins 40-man roster a year ago and went unclaimed. In mid-August, the front office determined that they wanted to get a look at Stewart in the big leagues.

His debut came in Detroit. Just to make sure it wasn’t easy, they had him debut after the Tigers honored Jack Morris in a pre-game celebration. Stewart responded well. Through four innings, he gave up zero runs. However, he went out for the fifth inning and it didn’t go well. After getting the first out, Stewart gave up four straight singles before a walk ended his day. In total, he was charged with three runs on eight hits. He walked one, hit one and struck out three.



His breakout game, per se, came in his first outing. He entered the game as a “primary” pitcher and threw five shutout innings in front of friends and family in Houston against the Astros. In his final two starts, he threw 12 innings and did not give up an earned run.



Stephen Gonsalves - August 20, 2018

Eight days after Stewart debuted, fellow 2014 draft pick, Stephen Gonsalves (fourth round) was at Target Field for his MLB debut. Like Stewart, Gonsalves’s debut was delayed. As he was about to start warming up, the rains came and there was a delay. Gonsalves pitched a scoreless first inning. The second inning didn’t go as well and didn’t get out of the inning. In total, he gave up four runs on six hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. He struck out three.



He really struggled in his first four starts, but he pitched much better over his final three appearances, all as a “primary” starter. He gave up just one run over 12 1/3 innings. He went 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA. Opponents hit just .098/.260/.098 (.358) off of him. There were too many walks, and he knows it, but it was something to build upon. His best game was his penultimate start of the season when he threw six scoreless, one-hit innings



Andrew Vasquez - September 1, 2018

Vasquez began the season in Ft. Myers and pitched in the mid-June Florida State League All-Star game. He moved up to Chattanooga for a month, and then Rochester for a week, and then was called up on September 1st. He made the trip from Rochester to Arlington and arrived as the game was starting. He came in to start the seventh inning. It’s fair to say that his nerves showed. The first batter reached on his error. He gave up a ground ball single. After a fly out, Vasquez picked off Rougned Odor, but he dropped the ball on the rundown for his second error of the inning. He got a ground out back to himself. He got through it.

He pitched in nine total games for the Twins but the highlight was his final game. Not only was he a part of Joe Mauer’s final game, but he struck out the side in his inning



He was named the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. For much more on Andrew Vasquez, there is a feature story in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.

The other rookies to play for the Minnesota Twins in 2018 were Matt Magill, Gabriel Moya, Chase De Jong, Aaron Slegers, John Curtiss, Mitch Garver and Ryan LaMarre. They had all made their MLB debuts in previous seasons.

Discuss the Twins 2018 rookies, their debuts, and which will take a step forward in 2019 and beyond. Secondly, which rookies do you think will debut for the Twins in 2019?

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16 Comments

This kind of recap is really cool. We had a clunker or two for rookies, but also some contributors and rays of hope.

    • Dman, Doomtints, mickeymental and 1 other like this

Nice recap.Moya, Garver, Vasquez, and Romero look like good pieces going forward.Gonsalves, Littel and Stewart I hope will progress, but their debuts were too up and down to have confidence for 2019.Astudillo may be that short term legend - there have been many - Bob Hazle with the old Milwaukee Braves, Dusty Rhodes with the Giants, Mark Fidrych with the Tigers, Kevin Maas a yankee, Joe Charboneau with the Indians, and Wayne Garland in the Orioles rotation are all examples.Fun while it lasted and it did not last long.Astudillo reminds me of the Fidrych legend - color, laughs and production.But I also worry that the Twins might see this as something that filled the end of the season, but nothing more.  

 

I hope I am wrong, but I have might doubts that he will continue in MLB.Too bad, we have had pudgy guys who did well before, including one Kirby Puckett.

La Tortuga packed a whole season's worth of thrills into his brief time with the Twins. Hoping for an extended encore in 2019.

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

"Littell came back to the Twins when they needed an arm in early July, and then he ended the season with a September call up. He was the youngest player to play for the Twins in 2018. Only Lewis Thorpe pitched at a younger age at Rochester in 2018. Thorpe is about six weeks younger."

 

What a tease. Just how young is youngest? 20? 21? Do we have to look it up?;)

Good overview, Seth!

 

Here are my 2019 call up categories:

 

First, from the "Yeah, kind of expected it at some point"list:

Lamonte Wade - a DL stint from one of our outfielders will necessitate a call for Wade.

Lewis Thorpe- Twins seem to always need a dozen or more starters each season.Thorpe will be one of them.

 

From the "Obligatory September Call Up" list"

Nick Gordon - Might struggle some again at Rochester preventing an earlier MLB debut. But I think he gets a call up this time for the season's final month.

Brent Rooker - Will get a look after once again showing a lot of power at AAA Rochester.

 

From the "We need an 'opener' or 26th man, pronto!" list:

Ryan Eades - Forgot about him?Yeah, I almost did too.

 

From the "Whoa! Did not see that coming at all"list:

Cody Stashak - May well start out with the Blue Wahoos but quickly move up to the Wings.Will pitch well enough for the Twins to grab him mid-season and install him in a middle relief role on the big club.

Luke Raley - Corner infielder.Corner outfielder.Yeah, I think he's versatile enough that the Twins just might provide him with his MLB debut sometime in 2019.

 

Ohh,and poor Jake Reed. Will not see his MLB debut with the Twins in 2019.Again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • DocBauer and Original Whizzinator like this
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ChrisKnutson
Dec 31 2018 05:49 PM

Good overview, Seth!
 
Here are my 2019 call up categories:
 
First, from the "Yeah, kind of expected it at some point"list:
Lamonte Wade - a DL stint from one of our outfielders will necessitate a call for Wade.
Lewis Thorpe- Twins seem to always need a dozen or more starters each season.Thorpe will be one of them.
 
From the "Obligatory September Call Up" list"
Nick Gordon - Might struggle some again at Rochester preventing an earlier MLB debut. But I think he gets a call up this time for the season's final month.
Brent Rooker - Will get a look after once again showing a lot of power at AAA Rochester.
 
From the "We need an 'opener' or 26th man, pronto!" list:
Ryan Eades - Forgot about him?Yeah, I almost did too.
 
From the "Whoa! Did not see that coming at all"list:
Cody Stashak - May well start out with the Blue Wahoos but quickly move up to the Wings.Will pitch well enough for the Twins to grab him mid-season and install him in a middle relief role on the big club.
Luke Raley - Corner infielder.Corner outfielder.Yeah, I think he's versatile enough that the Twins just might provide him with his MLB debut sometime in 2019.
 
Ohh,and poor Jake Reed. Will not see his MLB debut with the Twins in 2019.Again.


Call me insane, but I think I’d rather have Wade start the season as our 4th outfielder than Cave. Also, don’t sell Rooker and Gordon short, ‘if’ they perform I’m sure the FO will find room for them on the 25-man before the rosters expand (at some point), especially Thorpe.

 

Call me insane, but I think I’d rather have Wade start the season as our 4th outfielder than Cave. Also, don’t sell Rooker and Gordon short, ‘if’ they perform I’m sure the FO will find room for them on the 25-man before the rosters expand (at some point), especially Thorpe.

 

Seems to me the issue Rooker faces is that the Twins have a lot of players (CJ Cron, Nelson Cruz, Tyler Austin) with the same skill set...HR power, limited defensively - .If they all stay healthy and produce it'll be hard for Brent to get an early look, even if he rakes.  

 

Also, I think Ronald Torreyes provides the initial shot at infield depth before Gordon.

    • ChrisKnutson likes this

Good overview, Seth!
 
Here are my 2019 call up categories:
 
First, from the "Yeah, kind of expected it at some point"list:
Lamonte Wade - a DL stint from one of our outfielders will necessitate a call for Wade.
Lewis Thorpe- Twins seem to always need a dozen or more starters each season.Thorpe will be one of them.
 
From the "Obligatory September Call Up" list"
Nick Gordon - Might struggle some again at Rochester preventing an earlier MLB debut. But I think he gets a call up this time for the season's final month.
Brent Rooker - Will get a look after once again showing a lot of power at AAA Rochester.
 
From the "We need an 'opener' or 26th man, pronto!" list:
Ryan Eades - Forgot about him?Yeah, I almost did too.
 
From the "Whoa! Did not see that coming at all"list:
Cody Stashak - May well start out with the Blue Wahoos but quickly move up to the Wings.Will pitch well enough for the Twins to grab him mid-season and install him in a middle relief role on the big club.
Luke Raley - Corner infielder.Corner outfielder.Yeah, I think he's versatile enough that the Twins just might provide him with his MLB debut sometime in 2019.
 
Ohh,and poor Jake Reed. Will not see his MLB debut with the Twins in 2019.Again.


Some very good takes here though I'm still getting Reed gets his shot in 2019. They like enough about him to not ditch him, despite not being on the 40. Feels like there is just something they are waiting to see.

I believe a healthy Wade will excel in his 2nd time through AAA and be up at some point. So very high on Thorpe i just having this feeling he's going to keep getting better and better and be part of the 2020 rotation.

I also expect to see both Gordon and Rooker. Rooker just needs to do, more or less, what he's already been doing: make adjustments and barrel up on the ball. Despite considerable youth, Gordon reached AAA for about 2/3 of 2018. He is still a bit of an enigma as we've seen glimpses of what he can do. But whether he has worn down, or pitchers have made adjustments, he's looked rather anemic the second half of the past two years. Something to consider, he's actually made steady progress level to level each year. His first 4 seasons, he moved up. 2018 was the first time he began a season where he finished the previous one, and wasn't there all that long. And, of course, he looked very good early. Presumably, he begins 2019 at Rochester, where he spent the bulk of last year. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see him start adapting.

You blew me away on Stashak. And then I thought about it and said "why the he'll not"? Just don't know enough about Raley yet and was disappointed in his AFL. But I think the organization likes him, his versatility, and his bat control. You could be on to something.

IMO, the ship has sailed on Eades.
I'm most interested in Romero, Cave, and Gonsalves. And am hoping that the system sends a legit starting, good, player next year.
Nice write-up Seth! I'd just like to address some of these guys with my own thoughts, FWIW.

Romero: 100% I understand various thoughts/debates about his moving to the pen, OR, moving there temporarily as he ,earns, grows and adapts. Possibly as a primary starter. I appreciate arguments concerning IP and refinement of his stuff. But we've all read reports and actually watched what he is capable of. I keep going back to the two seasons he missed. (Like Thorpe). I still say it's way too early for any sort of permanent pen move. He should be starting, or be a primary, or at least have a multiple IP role at worst. There is just too much stuff there to dismiss him as a full time starter for 2020 and beyond. Though I believe 2019 could be a "development" year, even if it involves various uses of his talent.

Cave: Really liked what I saw, even if he was a big overly aggressive in the field and at the plate at times. Hey, he was a rookie! Some talk about regression, but he could easily progress as well.

Littell: Not going to lie, I still don't know enough about him yet, or his ceiling. I keep envisioning a lesser Radke. But from reports, and milb numbers, vs what I saw on his promotion, I saw a kid who just wasn't ready yet. Whether it was nerves, or just not trusting in his stuff enough yet, I think he just wasn't ready. I feel the best thing for him would be a full half season at Rochester before coming up again.

Stewart: I think we were all surprised when he was promoted to Rochester and then the Twins in fairly quick order. Obviously the FO likes something about him. I wish we knew what it was! That's not a slight on him, but we've only seen glimpses of the big FB and slider that were supposed to mark him as a top young arm. He looked better as a designated starter, and I saw the same ground ball tendencies. I just don't know yet what he's supposed to be, or could be.

Gonsalves: I am going to repeat what I have said several times before, I EXPECTED him to struggle when he first came up. My reasoning is simple. He has always been a "pitcher" and not a thrower. He has adapted at every level, improved, and generally shown good command with outliers here and there. (Even with his rise in BB in 2018, a lot of that was individual games, and not the whole season). He's just not one of those guys who has the single overpowering FB or breaking pitch to dominate or make ML hitters really think. He looked better, much better, when made a primary his last few appearances. He may take some time to adjust, but I still like his potential as a quality 3-4 in the next year or so.

Vasquez: I just don't know. Big milb numbers, but can a LHRP with a wipe out slider be anything more than a LOOGY? Can he spot his high 80 FB enough to be more?

Astudillo: Saved him last for a reason! IMO, he is not only for real, but the Twins got a bit lucky. They are lucky that other teams kept passing on him because he doesn't "fit" normal labels of what they were looking for. And lucky because they almost blew it by moving him off the dish to audition other journeyman catchers at Rochester before realizing what they had in house already.

I watched him a ton when they finally brought him up for good, but I did miss his appearances in the OF and 2B. He looked quiet and comfortable behind the plate. He looked solid at 3B. He has hit everywhere he has ever been, and made contact, including Rochester, where his power started to increase, and the ML level, and was raking in the Winter Leagues, last I knew.

You just can't ignore his bat or solid play wherever you put him. Whether he makes the 2019 roster out of ST or begins at Rochester, I think he's a part of this team for the next few years.
    • nater79a likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Dec 31 2018 09:35 PM

 

Call me insane, but I think I’d rather have Wade start the season as our 4th outfielder than Cave. Also, don’t sell Rooker and Gordon short, ‘if’ they perform I’m sure the FO will find room for them on the 25-man before the rosters expand (at some point), especially Thorpe.

OK..You're not insane, but I respectfully disagree with you.

    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Dec 31 2018 09:40 PM

Free Jake Reed !

    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Jan 01 2019 08:07 AM

Seems to me the issue Rooker faces is that the Twins have a lot of players (CJ Cron, Nelson Cruz, Tyler Austin) with the same skill set...HR power, limited defensively - .If they all stay healthy and produce it'll be hard for Brent to get an early look, even if he rakes.  
 
Also, I think Ronald Torreyes provides the initial shot at infield depth before Gordon.


I think this all depends on where the FO thinks Rooker is at with his development. If the FO feels he’s getting close to being able to contribute at the ML level then I’m sure they’ll trade Austin, if not, then your probably right. And yes, they all may be the same type of hitter, but you gotta admit Rooker’s ability to play both 1B and the OF (hopefully at a competent level) is something worthy of a roster spot, “if” he can hit.

 

I think this all depends on where the FO thinks Rooker is at with his development. If the FO feels he’s getting close to being able to contribute at the ML level then I’m sure they’ll trade Austin, if not, then your probably right. And yes, they all may be the same type of hitter, but you gotta admit Rooker’s ability to play both 1B and the OF (hopefully at a competent level) is something worthy of a roster spot, “if” he can hit.

 

Yep.And depending on if the Twins have fallen out of the race by the trade deadline (hope not!) they may trade Cruz or Cron and open up a spot earlier for Rooker.

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Ebby Calvin Laloosh
Jan 03 2019 02:32 PM

Was that CJ Cron Astudillo got to pop out? Walked off the field like a boss. He knew it was an out as soon as he let it go!

 

But I also worry that the Twins might see this as something that filled the end of the season, but nothing more.  

 

I hope I am wrong, but I have might doubts that he will continue in MLB.Too bad, we have had pudgy guys who did well before, including one Kirby Puckett.

 

I think this is a given, unfortunately. There's no role for him on this team right now.

    • mikelink45 likes this

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