Missing Pieces? Lost Minor League Players
Image courtesy of Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY SportsLuke Bard, Right-Handed Pitcher
Bard never pitched a game above Triple-A in the Twins system and he spent the majority of his age-26 season in the Lookouts bullpen. He was almost two years older than the competition in the Southern League and he didn’t really blow away the competition. For the year, he posted a 2.76 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP. His 99 strikeouts in 65.1 innings were impressive and that’s probably why the Los Angeles Angles were willing to take a chance on him in the Rule 5 Draft. Minnesota’s bullpen looks strong this year and Bard hasn’t found enough success in the upper-levels of the minor leagues.
Nick Burdi, Right-Handed Pitcher
Burdi has been on quite the journey over the last calendar year. He underwent Tommy John surgery last May. He’s on track to be throwing off the mound near the conclusion of spring training. Burdi was left unprotected during the Rule 5 Draft. The Phillies selected him and then he was traded to the Pirates. Burdi was dominant last season before his elbow injury. In 17 innings at Double-A, he posted a 0.53 ERA with a 0.77 WHIP and a 20 to 4 strikeout to walk ratio. Burdi will start the season on the 60-day DL and he will get time to make some rehab appearances before he needs to appear in a Pirates game.
JT Chargois, Right-Handed Pitcher
Chargois was a second-round pick back in 2012 and he quickly established himself as one of the best relief pitchers in the Twins system. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy as he has pitched just over 100 innings in his professional career. Essentially, he has missed almost three of the last five seasons. In what some considered a strange move, Minnesota placed him on waivers last week only to see him claimed by the Dodgers, the team with the final waiver pick based on last season’s records. He has one option remaining and he could be a dangerous relief option if he is healthy. The Dodgers were willing to take that chance.
Daniel Palka, Outfielder
One year after being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year, Palka is no longer part of the organization. Palka, a 26-year old slugger, has a chance to break camp with the White Sox in a designated hitter and outfield role. Last season, he hit .274/.329/.431 with 27 extra-base hits in 84 Triple-A games. This was a far cry from the .848 OPS he compiled between Double-A and Triple-A in 2016. Palka’s lack of a defensive position and his age all factored into him ending up with a new organization.
Randy Rosario, Left-Handed Pitcher
Rosario pitched over 100 minor league games in the Twins system and posted a 3.37 ERA. The 2017 season marked his first as a full-time reliever. Last year, he made 34 appearances between High-A and Double-A and posted a 3.84 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Those numbers might not exactly jump off the page but he was able to hold left-handed batters to a .169 average during his Double-A appearances. As the old adage goes, Rosario is “left-handed and he has a pulse” so the Cubs might find a spot for him out of the bullpen this year.
Nik Turley, Left-Handed Pitcher
Turley only made 10 appearances in a Twins uniform as he allowed 22 earned runs in 17.2 innings. In the minors, he fared much better with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in almost 110 innings. The Pirates selected Turley off of waivers in November but they will have to wait a while for him to pitch in a game for their organization. At the end of January, Turley was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Ipamorelin.
Engelb Vielma, Shortstop
The last half of a year has been a crazy ride for Mr. Vielma. Over the last six months, he is now with his fifth different organization. He enters Orioles camp with a chance to compete for a utility spot at the big league level. In 87 Triple-A games last season, he hit .206 with 17 RBI but his defense has always been his calling card. The 23-year old was the best defensive infielder in the Twins system when they let him go. Minnesota currently has plenty of depth at the shortstop position with other players ranking higher than Vielma.
Which player or players will the Twins miss the most in the coming season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.