2018 Elizabethton Twins Roster Preview
Former Twins first-round draft pick (1980) Jeff Reed, who played for the Twins from 1984 through 1986, enters his 17th season as the Elizabethton hitting coach. The 17-year major league veteran also works with the E-Twins catchers. Pitching coach Luis Ramirez has been with Elizabethton the past three seasons. Before that, he was the GCL pitching coach for two years. He came to the Twins organization in 2006 as the pitching coordinator for the Twins at their Venezuelan Academy. For the first time, Elizabethton will have a fourth coach on staff. Takashi Miyoshi has spent the past seven seasons coaching in independent leagues
Prospects To Watch
The Elizabethton Twins Opening Day roster (including the DL) includes just one player who ranked in the preseason Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect rankings.
Yunior Severino was our choice for the Twins #18 prospect. The infielder from the Dominican Republic signed a year earlier with Atlanta. However, when MLB announced sanctions on the team for illegal practices, Severino became a free agent. After a solid showing as a 17-year-old in the GCL last year, the Twins signed him as a free agent for $2.5 million. Severino is a good athlete with a strong swing from both sides of the plate. He has some power potential. Defensively, he could play shortstop, but he’ll likely mostly play second base. The reason is, at least in part, because of Ricky De La Torre. The Twins sixth-round draft pick out of high school in Puerto Rico is a very talented shortstop. On a roster where most of the players are 21 or 22 years old, the two 18-year-olds will form a very talented, athletic keystone combination.
2018 first-round draft pick, Trevor Larnach, will likely join the E-Twins at some point following the Oregon State College World Series run. Even if his stay is fairly short, we should anticipate him spending some time in eastern Tennessee. Second-round pick Ryan Jeffers will also begin his professional career with the E-Twins. (if you missed it, read Ted’s Q&A with Ryan Jeffers here)
Before jumping into the roster, it should be noted that there have been a couple of injuries. You're all aware of the Wander Javier shoulder surgery that cost him this entire season. In addition, lefty Riley Widell, who pitched for Elizabethton last year, came down with mono this spring, so he's been gradually regaining his strength. Miguel DeJesus, who missed the entire 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, could also surface with the E-Twins this summer. Outfielder Matt Albanese is also on the DL to start the season.
RHP Jacob Blank (22) - 22nd round pick in 2018 from Division II National Champion Augustana
RHP Christian Broussard (21) - 22nd round pick in 2017, from Cal St-Los Angeles
RHP Andrew Cabezas (21) - 18th round pick in 2018 out of Miami
LHP Kody Funderburk (21) - 15th round pick in 2018 from Dallas Baptist University
RHP Juan Gamez (24) - 31st round pick in 2016 as a catcher from NDSU. Moved to pitcher that summer.
RHP Pedro Garcia (22) - signed October, 2015, from Dominican Republic
RHP Moises Gomez (21) - signed April, 2014, from Venezuela
RHP Blair Lakso (23) - undrafted free agent signed in August, 2016, from U of Buffalo
RHP Derek Molina (20) - 14th round pick in 2017 out of Merced College
LHP Tyler Palm (23) - signed about a week ago from the United Shore Professional Baseball League. Tallest pitcher on the roster at 6-9.
RHP Seth Pinkerton (21) - 20th round pick in 2018 from the U. of Hartford
RHP Johan Quezada (23) - signed September, 2012, Dominican Republic. 6-6 pitcher has missed most of last two seasons with shoulder injury.
RHP Ricky Ramirez (21) - 15th round pick in 2017 from Fresno State
RHP Brian Rapp (22) - 26th round pick in 2018 from Boston College
RHP Austin Schulfer (22) - 19th round pick in 2018 out of UW-Milwaukee
RHP Carlos Suniaga (21) - signed in September 2014 out of Venezuela
RHP Josh Winder (21) - 7th round pick in 2018 from Virginia Military Institute
A few of these guys have already seen some time in Cedar Rapids. Carlos Suniaga was just sent to the E-Twins over the weekend. Most likely, the organization would like to see him start and he’s been working out of the bullpen for the Kernels. Derek Molina and Ricky Ramirez have already seen some time with the Kernels as well.
At the rookie levels, it is difficult to know the roles of players, especially pitchers. The pitchers drafted out of college this year have likely already thrown a lot of innings, and have been throwing since January. So, the Twins will limited their innings and starters may work out of the bullpen. That’s also why the rookie level events can have up to 35 players on the roster.
Trevor Casanova (21) - 13th round pick in 2018 out of Cal St-Northridge
Andrew Cosgrove (21) - 17th round pick in 2017 from North Carolina State
Ryan Jeffers (21) - 2nd round pick in 2018 out of UNC-Wilmington
Chris Williams (21) - 8th round pick in 2018 from Clemson University
The Twins drafted a lot of college catchers in 2018, and the first three they selected are all going to be in Elizabethton. As these guys adjust to the professional baseball game, they will all catch probably twice a week, at least early in the season. They may get extra at bats by DHing or playing some at another position.
Ricky De La Torre (18) - 6th round pick in 2017 out of high school in Puerto Rico
Hunter Lee (22) - 27th round pick in 2018 out of High Point University
Ariel Montesino (22) - signed May 2013 from the Dominican Republic
Yunior Severino (18) - Free agent from Atlanta from the Dominican Republic. Played for GCL Braves last year.
Alex Robles (22) - 30th round pick in 2017 from Austin Peay University
Robles was a two-way player all four years in college. The organization has decided to have him start his career as a hitter, knowing they could move him to the mound later. He has already spent a couple of weeks with both the Ft. Myers Miracle and Chattanooga Lookouts. Montesino split 2017 between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids and sprinkled in a couple of games with Ft. Myers. This is the fourth season he will have spent time with the E-Twins yet remains just 22. Lee is a 5-9 second baseman who was all Big South this year. He had a 28 game hitting streak earlier in the season. As mentioned above, Severino and De La Torre are the two big prospects on this opening day roster, in part, because of their relative youth, along with their immense talent.
Jared Akins (21) - 13th round pick in 2017 from Fresno State
Colton Burns (22) - 18th round pick in 2017 from UC-Santa Barbara
DaShawn Keirsey (21) - 4th round pick in 2018 out of Utah
Lean Marrero (20) - 16th round pick in 2015 out of high school in Puerto Rico
Albee Weiss (22) - 23rd round pick in 2018 from Cal St-Northridge
As mentioned Trevor Larnach will likely join the E-Twins in the next two or three weeks. Keirsey is the very talented fourth-round pick that may have still been available because he missed lots of time with injury. Marrero spent a few weeks in Cedar Rapids last year, until he suffered a broken hamate bone which cost him the rest of his season. Akins and Burns played at strong college programs. Both have very good size and tools, but they need patience. It was strange when the Twins drafted a second catcher from Cal State-Northridge in this year’s draft, but Weiss has already been moved to the outfield.
So there you have it, the Opening Day roster of the Elizabethton Twins. There are 30 players listed above, and as mentioned, more will likely be added in coming days as more players (Trevor Larnach, Cole Sands, etc.) sign.
For more information on the 2018 Twins draft picks, please click here (links at bottom of article).
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