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Article: Minor League Pay: Some Progress at Last?

Other Baseball Today, 09:42 AM
When the Cedar Rapids Kernels host the Lansing Lugnuts in a three-game series beginning July 13 of this summer, Lugnuts players will have...
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Twins Spring Training Highlights

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:22 AM
I'll try to update this thread anytime I'm able to grab some spring training highlights. Here are a few from today:  
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Twins and Gibson Discussion and Extension

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:17 AM
http://www.startribu...lier/507159692/   Interesting to see how this plays out. I'd have to think an extension is likely since the T...
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Leadoff Batter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:17 AM
In most games this spring I've noticed Kepler being used as the leadoff batter. And based on results thus far (yeah, yeah, small sample s...
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Article: Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:04 AM
Nowhere has the reforging of this team's identity over the past half-decade been more apparent than in the starting rotation. Five years...
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Sire of Fort Myers: Rosales, Harper Turning Heads

We’re only two weeks from Opening Day. Can you believe it?

We’ve reached the point of spring training where the rosters are starting to get trimmed down. Now 18 games into the spring slate, it’s a good time to check in and get a pulse on who the top contenders for Sire of Fort Myers are. We have a fun field this year, topped by a couple guys trying to keep the dream alive.
Image courtesy of © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
There are very few spots up for grabs on the 25-man roster, but there are still plenty of players who have a lot to gain from having strong spring showings. This is their chance to not only be seen by top members of the Twins’ staff but also the other 29 MLB teams, overseas and independent leagues.

So who is eligible to be named Sire of Fort Myers? Anybody who’s not on the 40-man roster, even guys with several years of MLB service time, and anyone on the 40-man roster who hasn’t made their MLB debut also qualifies.

This is not about identifying the player most likely to break camp with the team, or the player who has the highest upside. It’s all about performance. The mantra this time of year is “spring training stats don’t matter.” That’s definitely true in the case of established major leaguers, but there are some players who have something to gain from a strong spring.

Top Hitters
Ryan LaMarre was crowned the inaugural Sire of Fort Myers after hitting .475/.511/.775 (1.286 OPS) in 45 plate appearances. It’d be crazy to expect anyone to replicate those video game numbers, right? Well …

Adam Rosales, 35, IF
.385/.429/.962 (1.390 OPS)
10-for-26, 3 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB, 3 K
Rosales has been bouncing around as a Quad-A type player for years now. He’s seen major league time with six different teams over the past 11 seasons. He’s shown good power with the Twins, both at the plate and in regard to his throwing arm. Most of his time has been spent at third base, but he’s also played some second and even got a start at shortstop. Get a load of that slugging percentage. Wow.

He’s shown almost no pop in the majors (.365 career slugging), but Rosales did hit 18 home runs in 114 games for Cleveland’s Triple-A team last year. The Twins have no shortage of multi-positional players in camp, or whatever Rocco Baldelli prefers to call them, so it’s likely Rosales is playing for an opportunity elsewhere every bit as much as he’s trying to make a good impression on the Twins. But it’s fair to point out that it was almost impossible to imagine Ryan LaMarre making the Opening Day roster at this point last season, so anything’s possible.



Lucas Duda, 33, 1B
.333/.448/.458 (.907 OPS)
8-for-24. 3 2B, 5 BB, 9 K
I tabbed Dude as the hands-down favorite in my Sire of Fort Myers preview, and while he trails a few other players, he has not disappointed. Duda has a lot of pressure on him this spring, a poor performance could have been very damaging to his hopes of landing on a major league roster this season. It’s a bit difficult to see Duda cracking the Twins’ Opening Day roster, but he’s done a nice job at showcasing his skills to other teams that may be searching for a lefty bat.

LaMonte Wade, 25, OF
.296/.375/.556 (.931 OPS)
8-for-27, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 BB, 5 K
How great is this to see? After struggling in his first taste of Triple A toward the end of last season, Wade has put a positive spin on the start to his 2019 season. He was optioned to Rochester after Tuesday’s game, but I felt it was still well worth mentioning his efforts to this point.

Honorable mentions among hitters include Nick Gordon, Brian Navarreto and Jimmy Kerrigan.

Top Pitchers
The bullpen is the biggest question mark in terms of the major league club. It seems like the guys on the outside looking in smell blood in the water.

Ryne Harper, 29, RHP
0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 39.1 K%
6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Harper always put up great numbers in the minor leagues but never could find an opportunity even above Double A for years. He came up in the Braves’ system before being dealt to Seattle in December of 2015. After a great first season in the Mariners’ system, Harper finally appeared to be getting his shot. He was called up May 28, 2017. Unfortunately, he never got the chance to pitch and was sent back to Triple A just three days later.

Harper became a minor league free agent after that season and signed with the Twins. In 65 innings between Chattanooga and Rochester, Harper posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. What really jumps off the page is his sterling strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.60. He averaged 11.9 K/9 while issuing just 1.4 BB/9. The Twins brought him back on another minors deal this offseason. Including winter leagues, Harper has pitched in more than 300 minor league games in his career.



Ryan Eades, 27, RHP
0.00 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 35.0 K%
5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
We go from a former 37th-round pick in Harper to the Twins’ second-round pick from the 2013 Draft. Eades has been pitching primarily out of the bullpen the past two seasons and really took a step forward in 2018. Over his final 30 1/3 innings, Eades gave up just three earned runs (0.89 ERA), struck out 34 batters and walked just five (6.8 K:BB ratio).



Preston Guilmet, 31, RHP
1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 39.1 K%
6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Guilmet has 27 big league appearances under his belt, spreading those across six organizations. That’s a lot of cups of coffee. He was drafted twice, traded once and selected off waivers five times. In all, he’s pitched for 22 different teams in his professional career, including one in Japan (2017 with the Yakult Swallows). He had a 1.60 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 in 33 2/3 Triple-A innings last season.

Mike Morin, 27, RHP
0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 27.3 K%
6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
Here’s another reliever who’s bounced around quite a bit. Morin had a great rookie year in 2014 as a 23-year-old with the Angels, pitching to a 2.90 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 59 innings. Things haven’t gone as well since. He was claimed off waivers by the Royals, then again by the Mariners. He made three appearances with Seattle but spent most of the season in Triple A, where he had a 3.86 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Morin was born in Andover but played his high school ball in Kansas before attending the University of North Carolina.



For more on Morin, La Velle E. Neal III wrote a nice profile on him and his changeup over at the Star Tribune.

Honorable mentions among pitchers include Justin Nicolino, Jake Reed and Tim Collins.

So there you have it, the top contenders for 2019 Sire of Fort Myers as we head down the stretch. Coronation day will be in a few short weeks.

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10 Comments

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twinstalker
Mar 13 2019 09:53 PM

For the record Rosales is not only awesome in spring training, he's quite often awesome when he makes the team or gets the call...for a week or two.Don't be fooled.Old dog, no new tricks.Easy for teams to figure out how to pitch to.Not exactly sure why it's happened more than once, as I would expect the book to be there after the first time.

Not surprised by Duda surging. He's had a solid career and some good seasons. I can see a place for him, out of the gate, as a partner with Cron, and most past season's I'd see his chances as being better than now. The reason being Austin. I don't think the Twins want to double up on RH hitting 1B, but if they were going to keep someone for an extended look, I think it would be Austin.

Were a trade to happen, I could see Duda making the club over someone with an option.

Rosales has done all he can do. And he offers versatility. But there's also a reason he's here on a milb deal. I can't see anyone knocking down any doors for him. His best bet, IMO, is to go to Rochester and see what happens.

It's the bullpen options I find Interesting!

I am still trying to wrap my head around Harper. His milb numbers are beyond good. His breaking stuff looks outstanding. Is that all he has? Are his milb numbers a result of a good breaking ball and nothing else but smoke and mirrors? Or is he one of those guys who somehow slip through the cracks?

In the past, the Twins often came up with guys like this. Guerrier comes to mind. Is Harper another Magill but better?

I thought Eades was a bust before settling in to a pen role. Now I think we may see him at some point in 2019.
    • woolywoolhouse, Dman, blindeke and 3 others like this

I almost picture Austin making the bench until a decision has to be made on Sano. Who you cut from the 40-man to add someone is the BIG question coming out of spring training. If you add a pitcher, Magill or Duffey will be out!

    • bighat likes this
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AlwaysinModeration
Mar 14 2019 04:25 AM
I would have no problem with Harper going north with the team in place of Magill.
    • Dman, nytwinsfan, bighat and 1 other like this

 

I would have no problem with Harper going north with the team in place of Magill.

 

Ditto. I wonder if Harper's pitching style has something to do with his lack of opportunity? The way he holds the ball out there, is it possible that teams or baserunners could steal pitches and signal the batter what's coming? Could batters possibly read his pitches during the AB? I actually really like the pitching style he has, but just wondering if it's ever been mentioned as a problem.

Been extremely impressed with Harper so far.Lot's of movement on his pitches.Would like to see him make the 25 man but since we have him in the minors already he is likely going to have to wait for an injury to get his shot.I have been super surprised at his K rate and WHIP.He is dominating and daring guys to hit his stuff.I know small size so don't get too excited but if he keeps this up the Twins won't be able to keep him down much longer.

 

I always thought Eades would be better in the pen than as a starter and it looks like that is going to be true.He has always had good stuff just seemed to have a hard time controlling it.Consistency start to start and inning to inning were his greatest issues.Looks like he might have put that behind him.He has been impressive for a while now.Hope they give him a long look would like to see if he can keep this up.

 

I don't feel like the hitters have a chance this year.The 25 man is already tight so not likely to take a flyer on a AAAA guy unless we have injuries.

    • gagu likes this

 

I would have no problem with Harper going north with the team in place of Magill.

 

Yeah Magill has not looked good so far this spring.His WHIP is high and batters appear to be hitting him pretty hard so far this spring.He has a couple of weeks to turn it around but there is a lot of competition for those last spots in the Bullpen so he needs to bring it or he may be the odd man out.

    • Danchat likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Mar 14 2019 07:58 AM

Great article. Thanks Tom.

For some context, here are B-Ref's "Opposition Quality" ratings for these players this spring. I like it both as an estimate of opponent quality, but also quantifying how many "first team" reps each guy is getting.

 

"Opposition quality refers to opponents level of play last year: 10 - faced all MLBers, 8 - avg of AAA, 7 - avg of AA, 5 - High A, 4 - Low A and 1.5 to 3 short-season players.

Players who did not appear in a major or minor league last year do not affect opposition quality (Lackey in 2012 or Darvish in 2011)."

 

https://www.baseball.../MIN/2019.shtml

 

Rosales 7.6

Duda 8.4

Wade 6.7

Gordon 6.3

Navaretto 6.6

Kerrigan 6.8

Harper 7.0

Eades 6.5

Guilmet 7.1

Morin 7.3

Nicolino 8.0

Reed (Jake) 6.5

Collins 6.2

 

Although at this point in the spring, even our projected regulars seem to be in the 7.5-8.5 zone.

    • gagu likes this

For some context, here are B-Ref's "Opposition Quality" ratings for these players this spring. I like it both as an estimate of opponent quality, but also quantifying how many "first team" reps each guy is getting.

 

"Opposition quality refers to opponents level of play last year: 10 - faced all MLBers, 8 - avg of AAA, 7 - avg of AA, 5 - High A, 4 - Low A and 1.5 to 3 short-season players.

Players who did not appear in a major or minor league last year do not affect opposition quality (Lackey in 2012 or Darvish in 2011)."

 

https://www.baseball.../MIN/2019.shtml

 

Rosales 7.6

Duda 8.4

Wade 6.7

Gordon 6.3

Navaretto 6.6

Kerrigan 6.8

Harper 7.0

Eades 6.5

Guilmet 7.1

Morin 7.3

Nicolino 8.0

Reed (Jake) 6.5

Collins 6.2

 

Although at this point in the spring, even our projected regulars seem to be in the 7.5-8.5 zone.

You watch the early rounds of cuts, and they're all the guys in the 6's, then the 7's. It's not infallible, but gives a hint. Duda stands out. Nicolina's a surprise, but pitching's more SSS and it's a matter of giving everyone innings.


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