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Re-opening the WAR debate

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Ranking The Rule 5 Options

At the trade deadline, the Minnesota Twins added several pitching prospects. In early August, I took a preliminary look at the players that will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if the Twins choose not to protect them. Now that the season is over and moves will start to be made, I thought it would be good to revisit that topic. Today I present my updated list of the players needing protecting.

The Twins Daily Offseason Handbook will be available moments after the final out of Game 7 of the World Series is recorded. Tomorrow, I will be posting my Twins offseason blueprint, and 40-man roster decisions will be a part of that. So be sure to check that out.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Lewis Thorpe, Nick Burdi, Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Jake Reed)
As a reminder, there really are three criteria for who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected. Here is this year’s criteria:
  • Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2013 (during the minor league season).
  • Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2014.
  • Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.
As an aside to this conversation, there are also three players in the Twins minor league system who will become free agents at the conclusion of the World Series. They are Levi Michael, Dereck Rodriguez and David Hurlbut. The Twins have their rights right up until the end of the World Series. In other words, they could add those players to the 40-man roster until then, or wait until after the Winter Meetings to add them on minor league deals.

But going back to the players needing to be added or risk being lost to the Rule 5 draft, I’ll break them into categories. The Givens are players that I think have to be added or there is a high percentage that they will be selected. The next are players that are more On The Bubble. It will be interesting to see which of these guys are added. How many spots are available on the team’s 40-man roster, etc. The Next category are those players who probably won’t be added and yet do have a chance to be selected by the right team with the right need or the right report.


The Givens

In early August, I had five names in this category. Since then, John Curtiss was added to the 40-man roster when he was recalled to the Twins late in the month.
  • Stephen Gonsalves - The left-hander is the most obvious choice to add. He’s put up the numbers at each and every level. He has the make-up , and he has the pitches. He’s also ready, or very nearly ready, to pitch in the big leagues.
  • Zack Littell - Littell’s prospect profile skyrocketed in 2017, both in his time in the Yankees organization and as he ended the season in the Chattanooga Lookouts rotation. He went 20-1 this season between three teams. He profiles as a potential mid-rotation starter.
  • Jake Reed - After flying up the system in 2014, Reed has fought some control issues and a couple of injuries. He’s split the 2016 and 2017 seasons between AA and AAA. He’s got a fastball that moves like crazy and a slider that is sharp as well.
  • Lewin Diaz - I had him as a Given before. I still think that he should be a given. With his size, power-potential, all-around hitting skill and maybe his ability at first base, he has a chance to be a really, really good player. He’s the kind of guy that you don’t want to risk losing. However, an argument could be made that he wouldn’t stick on a big league roster. He’ll turn 21 in November and hasn’t played above A ball. (But then again, players with this kind of upside, even if they’ve only played in Low A ball, get protected, so as I typed this I moved him back to the Given category.)
On The Bubble

Again, this group is the players on the bubble. A couple of these players could be added, depending upon how many open spots they create and want to keep open. Since early August, Aaron Slegers and Gabriel Moya were called up. Both of them will likely remain on the 40-man roster this offseason.
  • Lewis Thorpe - Thorpe has good stuff. He came back to pitch after missing over two seasons due to Tommy John surgery and a bout with mono. He had regained his low-90s (91-94) fastball and showed good secondary pitches. Other reports (maybe for medical reasons) are really the only thing that keep him from being a Given in my mind.
  • Kohl Stewart - Stewart fought a knee injury that cost him quite a bit of time during the 2017 season. He has a powerful arm, and some really good stuff. He hasn’t been a big strikeout guy, but overall, he’s avoided hard contact and prevented runs. While he is on the bubble, his upside and potential make him a likely add, though the number of open spots will be a factor.
  • Nick Burdi - When he was drafted in 2014, the idea of the team needing to make a 40-man roster decision on him three-and-a-half years later seemed silly. He and his triple-digit fastball were supposed to move quickly to the big leagues. It didn’t happen. He’s had bouts with control, and he’s had a couple of injuries. He was pitching great to start the 2017 season, but then we learned he had had Tommy John surgery. He won’t pitch until at least mid-season.With health, he’s a given to be added. But, would a team consider drafting him, knowing he’s had Tommy John surgery and the success rate of return? They could put him on their DL for as much of the season as needed, and then hide him the rest of the year. They’d likely have to keep him up part of the 2019 season as well.
  • Luke Bard - Bard has been healthy for two straight seasons, and he’s pitched well. He does occasionally fight control issues, but he has missed a lot of bats. In 52.1 innings at Chattanooga, he walked 20 and struck out 78 (13.4 K/9). In his 13 innings in Rochester, he walked four and struck out 21 batters (14.5 K/9). Bard was the Twins third pick in the 2012 draft after Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios.
The Next

This is a group that has a few intriguing names. While they aren’t obvious choices, there could be a team that likes them enough to take a shot with a Rule 5 pick.
  • Ryan Eades - The Twins second-round pick in 2013 out of LSU, Eades will turn 26 in mid-December. He was eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft last year and didn’t get taken, but he’s a season further along in his development and MLB readiness. He spent most of the season at AA Chattanooga, but in eight innings at Rochester, he gave up just one run. He’s got a good fastball, and he has all of the pitches. He’s just not been able to be consistent during his career. He is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League in front of scouts from all 30 MLB teams.
  • Brian Navarreto - Navaretto was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2013 out of high school. While he hasn’t hit much during his pro career, most who have seen him behind the plate agree that he is an elite defensive catcher, blessed with a canon for an arm. In Royals terms, he looks (but doesn’t hit) like Salvador Perez, but defensively he’s there with Drew Butera.But if there is a team that values defense from catchers (like the Reds did with Stuart Turner a year ago), then the 22-year-old Navarreto could be selected.
  • Mason Melotakis - The Twins were able to get Melotakis through waivers during the 2017 season. When he came back from Tommy John surgery, there were reports of him reaching into the upper-90s. In 2017, there were reports that he was barely hitting 90. But, he’s left-handed, and he’s another year post-Tommy John surgery. He also showed good success in Triple-A, so a team needing left-handed pitching might consider him ready enough to throw into their bullpen as a second or third left-hander.
The Rest

Here is a list of other players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the Twins organization. Since August, the Twins have released Amaurys Minier and Roni Tapia.
  • Jhon Alvarez
  • DJ Baxendale
  • Cameron Booser
  • Sam Clay
  • Edgar Corcino
  • Andro Cutura
  • Eduardo Del Rosario
  • Tanner English
  • Edgar Herrera
  • Zack Jones
  • Randy LeBlanc
  • Jose Martinez
  • Nelson Molina
  • Robert Molina
  • Ariel Montesino
  • Emmanuel Morel
  • Alex Muren
  • Max Murphy
  • Callan Pearce
  • Johan Quezada
  • Williams Ramirez
  • Rainis Silva
  • Keaton Steele
  • Todd Van Steensel
  • Michael Theofanopoulos
  • Ryan Walker
  • TJ White
Now, the number of players added to the 40-man roster will in large part depend upon how many players the front office is willing to remove from the 40-man roster over the next couple of weeks. I’ve got mine ranked in order of how I would choose to add them. In the comments below, discuss my ranking and rank them by how you would protect them.


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59 Comments

The bigger question is if the guys will contribute to the team in anyway in the 2018 season. Right now the Twins have a gaggle of players who are probably destined to start in the minors and you can question the amount of time they will spend in the 2018 majors: Curtiss, Rosario, Romero, Jorge, Palka, Goodrum, Slegers, Enns. Some need more AAA seasoning, some need to play at AAA. But that is 8 names of guys who would probably not break camp.

 

Add in the names of Boshers, Turley, Mejias, Vargas, Granite and Garver, plus Moya and you have another 7. 15 players. Depending on who the Twins keep (Grossman, Gimenez, Adrianza for example), you wonder who from the above 15 names MAY be removed from the 40-man, which will already see:

 

Santiago, Colon, Belisle, Gee departing as free agents

 

and decisions also made on guys who could very well be disabled in 2018: O'Rourke, Chargois, Hughes and May.

 

22 names from a roster above 40 names (43), reduced by one already with the departing Perkins.

 

And we want to add at least 5, but maybe as many as 8 to the mix, with Reed being, in my opinion, the longshot to open the season, but the other names under consideration probably having a better opportunity to get big league innings and at bats than most of the names on my list above.

 

    • glunn and caninatl04 like this

In my blueprint, which I'll post tomorrow, I'll go through the 40 man. We can take off the Free Agents, there are arbitration decisions, there will be DFAs, trades, etc. 

 

I definitely encourage everyone to download to Offseason Handbook and to do their own blueprints. 

 

I don't think "opening the season in the big leagues" has anything to do with 40-man roster adds. It probably is down the list of decisions on current 40-man roster guys and whether they stay on it too.

    • glunn, gunnarthor and Cory Engelhardt like this

Have a question about Diaz, Seth.Does he have to be added this year?

 

MiLB shows him as signing with the Twins on November 21, 2013...two days after his 17th birthday.The rule of thumb I use is that players under 18 have 5 years before they are Rule 5 eligible.For him, that would be 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.Per you rule 1 above, you say signed in 2013 (during the minor league season).If MiLB has his signing date correct, he was not signed until after the season...kind of like the Sano situation a few years ago.

 

Have you checked with the Twins on him?

 

If he isn't eligible, that could also give you room to move the player I would hate to lose the most, Lewis Thorpe, into your 'lock' category.

    • glunn, gunnarthor and markos like this

We have pulled the cream of the crop into the majors, Gonsalves and Littell are the lone guaranteed additions, the rest are questionable and will not damage the organization - in reality very few are chosen rule 5.  

 

Diaz is intriguing the way that Vargas has been intriguing, but I expect Vargas to be DFa'D.The biggest question for him is whether he is attractive enough to force a roster adjustment.

 

 

 

Have a question about Diaz, Seth.Does he have to be added this year?

 

MiLB shows him as signing with the Twins on November 21, 2013...two days after his 17th birthday.The rule of thumb I use is that players under 18 have 5 years before they are Rule 5 eligible.For him, that would be 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.Per you rule 1 above, you say signed in 2013 (during the minor league season).If MiLB has his signing date correct, he was not signed until after the season...kind of like the Sano situation a few years ago.

 

Have you checked with the Twins on him?

 

If he isn't eligible, that could also give you room to move the player I would hate to lose the most, Lewis Thorpe, into your 'lock' category.

 

Diaz signed 7/2/13... 

I think you have to protect Lewis for sure. LH pitching is too rare. San Diego, for instance, would gobble him up and put him in their pen for the year without hesitation, I would think. Stewart deserves another year so protect him, too. Burdi is recovering from TJ surgery so no one will nab him.

    • glunn, markos and howieramone2 like this

I think Burdi is a must-add. He can go on the 60 day disabled list and not take a roster slot if needed. That essentially allows the Twins to protect him with a 41st roster slot.

 

I would protect Gonsalves, Littell, Reed, Burdi and Thorpe.

 

I really doubt Lewin Diaz would stick on a roster. He doesn't play defense well and teams can't afford to carry a rookie DH who only hit 12 HR in low A ball last season. The Twins probably will cut Kennys Vargas and Vargas is much, much more likely to contribute to a big league team.

 

If someone wants Eades or Bard the Twins should trade them to that organization before the draft.

    • glunn, clutterheart, Twins33 and 5 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 02 2017 09:03 AM

I would swap Thorpe and Diaz personally. Thorpe is a given. He will get taken if he's exposed. Diaz may not be taken, given that his highest level is A ball and he holds no defensive position.

    • glunn, nicksaviking, 70charger and 5 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 02 2017 09:05 AM

Burdi will be an easy one to poach if someone wants to. He gets selected and put on the 60 day DL. I know there's a gentlemen's agreement here on that, and hope no one wants to violate it, as in my opinion, that shouldn't be allowed.

    • glunn, nicksaviking and sploorp like this
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ashburyjohn
Nov 02 2017 09:08 AM

I am so hopeful that, via trades and DFA, the 40-man will be cleansed of the current clutter, my wish would be to protect all the guys listed on the bubble. Trading some of the bubble candidates, if you can identify more than one team that might be inclined to draft them, would be another choice, but probably hard.

 

If you change your mind and really really want another Buddy Bo after the rule-5 dust settles, you can always go get one, the way we got Buddy. 28-year old Chase Huchingson had a nice year for York in the Atlantic League, for instance...

    • glunn, sploorp and tvagle like this
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ashburyjohn
Nov 02 2017 09:10 AM

I think Burdi is a must-add. He can go on the 60 day disabled list and not take a roster slot if needed. That essentially allows the Twins to protect him with a 41st roster slot.

Not during the off-season, though. Which is where the dilemma comes in, for a few of these guys, as they take up a spot that could be used to protect someone else in December.

    • glunn, gunnarthor, markos and 1 other like this

 

Not during the off-season, though. Which is where the dilemma comes in, for a few of these guys, as they take up a spot that could be used to protect someone else in December.

Can a player that hasn't been called up to the 25 man roster be put on the 60 day DL?

I didn't think so but I am not sure.

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ashburyjohn
Nov 02 2017 10:17 AM

Can a player that hasn't been called up to the 25 man roster be put on the 60 day DL?

I didn't think so but I am not sure.

If you mean next April, I say "yes", but it's only based on playing Out Of The Park, so my logical fallacy of Appeal To Authority might not be on a very good authority. :)

    • glunn likes this
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clutterheart
Nov 02 2017 10:32 AM

 

I think Burdi is a must-add. He can go on the 60 day disabled list and not take a roster slot if needed. That essentially allows the Twins to protect him with a 41st roster slot.

 

I would protect Gonsalves, Littell, Reed, Burdi and Thorpe.

 

I really doubt Lewin Diaz would stick on a roster. He doesn't play defense well and teams can't afford to carry a rookie DH who only hit 12 HR in low A ball last season. The Twins probably will cut Kennys Vargas and Vargas is much, much more likely to contribute to a big league team.

 

If someone wants Eades or Bard the Twins should trade them to that organization before the draft.

 

Agree on all counts except I would also protect Stewart.Some team would probably take a chance on a guy like Stewart.  

 

Its easier to stash/hide a pitcher on a 25 man roster than a position player, especially hitters who don't play a premium position.

 

 

    • glunn and 70charger like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 02 2017 10:37 AM

 

Can a player that hasn't been called up to the 25 man roster be put on the 60 day DL?

I didn't think so but I am not sure.

 

I'm pretty sure everyone is off the 60 day come rule 5 draft. They can be re-instated in the spring. Though in Burdi's case, doing so would also require that he accumulate ML service time and pay check. I'm sure he'd be fine with that, but there are good reasons why the org would not.

 

He's going to start pitching again in July... It will take most of the season for him to return to form. If there are open spots on the 40 man, I'd have no problems burning one on Burdi. I just don't want to see him stolen either because a team simply tossed him on their 60 day DL

    • glunn and 70charger like this

I would agree with the 3 of the 4 locks, but Jake Reed is the worst of the 3 relievers that need to be protected. If I were to protect a reliever, it would be Burdi

 

Numbers:

 

Jake Reed (AAA): 30-2/3 IP, 3.40 FIP, 4.14 xFIP, 3.4% HR/FB, 84.3% LOB, 1.14 WHIP/.281 BABIP, 20.7 K%, 11.6 K-BB%
Nick Burdi (AA): 17 IP, 2.23 FIP, 2.22 xFIP, 7.7 HR/FB, 100% LOB, 0.76 WHIP/.222 BABIP, 32.8 K%, 26.2 K-BB%
Luke Bard (AA): 52-1/3 IP, 2.56 FIP, 2.50 xFIP, 8 HR/FB, 85% LOB, 1.34 WHIP/.380 BABIP, 34.2 K%, 29.8 K-BB%

 

For comparison purposes:

 

John Curtiss (AAA) 24-1/3 IP, 1.86 FIP, 2.92 xFIP, 0% HR/FB, 76.2 LOB%, 0.86 WHIP/.212 BABIP, 34.7 K%, 24.2 K-BB%
Trevor Hildenberger (AAA) 30-2/3 IP, 2.36 FIP, 2.86 xFIP, 4.3 HR/FB, 83.8% LOB, 1.14 WHIP/.321 BABIP, 27.8 K%, 21.4 K-BB%
Alan Busenitz (AAA) 35-1/3 IP, 2.15 FIP, 3.22 xFIP, 0% HR/FB, 77.4% LOB, 0.82 WHIP/ .235 BABIP, 29.6 K%, 22 K-BB%

 

I think that the Twins, for once, will have to trade players who cannot protect before they go away.I'd rather see what Thorpe, Stewart, Reed, and Bard would bring on the trade market, before I let them go.Would a rebuilding that is going under severe cost cutting be willing to make a deal around some of them?

    • glunn and dbminn like this

 

I'm pretty sure everyone is off the 60 day come rule 5 draft. They can be re-instated in the spring. Though in Burdi's case, doing so would also require that he accumulate ML service time and pay check. I'm sure he'd be fine with that, but there are good reasons why the org would not.

 

He's going to start pitching again in July... It will take most of the season for him to return to form. If there are open spots on the 40 man, I'd have no problems burning one on Burdi. I just don't want to see him stolen either because a team simply tossed him on their 60 day DL

 

Correct... there is no 60 Day DL until spring training starts. The Twins group of 4 or so players on the 60-Day DL will have to come off of it. 

 

With the five free agents coming off the roster this morning, they can now put those 60-Day guys back on the 40, but they'll have to remove more players to make room for some of these guys. 

    • glunn likes this

 

Correct... there is no 60 Day DL until spring training starts. The Twins group of 4 or so players on the 60-Day DL will have to come off of it. 

 

With the five free agents coming off the roster this morning, they can now put those 60-Day guys back on the 40, but they'll have to remove more players to make room for some of these guys. 

This wasn't the question that I asked though. Doesn't Burdi (this example) have to be on the active roster (and accruing service time) to be placed on the 60 day DL at any point (for example April 2018)?

 

I think there have been minor leaguers that have been out for the season but weren't able to be placed on the 60 day DL but perhaps they were good prospects in AA that hadn't been put on the 40 man yet.

 

This wasn't the question that I asked though. Doesn't Burdi (this example) have to be on the active roster (and accruing service time) to be placed on the 60 day DL at any point (for example April 2018)?

 

I think there have been minor leaguers that have been out for the season but weren't able to be placed on the 60 day DL but perhaps they were good prospects in AA that hadn't been put on the 40 man yet.

 

Nope.Any player on the 40-man roster can be placed on the 60-day DL to open a spot on that roster.He does not have to be on the 25-man (active) roster.

 

As far as MiLB goes, there is only a 7-day DL and people just go there for as many days (or seasons) they need.

    • kab21 likes this

 

In my blueprint, which I'll post tomorrow, I'll go through the 40 man. We can take off the Free Agents, there are arbitration decisions, there will be DFAs, trades, etc. 

 

I definitely encourage everyone to download to Offseason Handbook and to do their own blueprints. 

 

I don't think "opening the season in the big leagues" has anything to do with 40-man roster adds. It probably is down the list of decisions on current 40-man roster guys and whether they stay on it too.

Yet you can't have too many guys on the 40-man who aren't major league ready. That's my point. Unless you are a total rebuilding team and will allow guys to play in the majors when they aren't quite ready. Plus, you need the flexibility to add those "minor league free agents" for a moment or two. Once you do put a player on the 40-man roster, it is easier to claim them if they are removed and keep them in the claiming organization, unlike the Rule 5 where you have to keep them in the majors ALL year or return them to the original team.

 

You can't have 12 or 15 guys who aren't major league ready taking up roster space.

 

Or can you?

Re: Navaretto: Unless he can hit his way out of a paper bag (.550 OPS this season), he does not belong to this discussion. Rainis Silva should be on the bubble, since a. he is better as a catcher and b. seems to have learned how to hit his way out of a paper back last season.

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nicksaviking
Nov 02 2017 12:39 PM

Burdi will be an easy one to poach if someone wants to. He gets selected and put on the 60 day DL. I know there's a gentlemen's agreement here on that, and hope no one wants to violate it, as in my opinion, that shouldn't be allowed.

I agree.

On the other hand if it was the White Sox in that situation and they had a tempting 60-day DLer..... we'll screw 'em!
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bluechipper
Nov 02 2017 12:43 PM
I don't get Diaz being a lock at all. Sure, he hit a lot of doubles last year, but no team is going to carry a 1B who hit 12 homers in low-a. And it's not like he hit .330 there either. I say there's about a 1% chance he gets added.
    • nicksaviking, drivlikejehu, 70charger and 6 others like this
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nicksaviking
Nov 02 2017 12:45 PM
I'd kind of hate to lose Bard, I started to really like his numbers last year.

But frankly, there doesn't look to be a big need for consternation this year. For a team that made the playoffs there looks to be a whole lot of players on the 40-man who should be removed regardless of the Rule V needs.
    • ashburyjohn and bluechipper like this

As Pertaining to Navaretto,

 

When it comes to judging catcher value, I have no idea what I am talking about, and neither does anybody else.  Juan Centeno just won a WS ring.  Turner stuck all year.  Butera, Murphy have value.  I have to surmise there aren't 60 elite MLB caliber catchers in the world, defensively speaking.  If Navaretto is "elite" defensively, well...trade him for something.  


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