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Twins Announce Non-Roster Spring Training Invites

On Monday morning, the Twins announced a slew of non-roster players who will be invited to spring training later this month. Many will be competing for roster spots, while others will be filling out innings in the early stages of camp.

There are definitely some interesting names amidst these non-guaranteed deals, so let's run through them.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s start with the veterans brought in on minor-league contracts:

Left-Handed Pitchers
  • Blaine Hardy: The lefty has spent parts of each of the past six seasons with the Detroit Tigers. In 233 games (13 starts), he tossed 289 2/3 innings and has a career ERA of 3.87 despite missing time in 2019 with injury.
  • Daniel Coulombe: The 30-year-old southpaw pitched in 153 games between the Dodgers and A’s between 2014 and 2018, including 72 games for the A’s in 2017. He split 2019 between the AAA affiliates of the Brewers and Yankees.
  • Caleb Thielbar: The soon-to-be-32-year-old from Randolph, Minnesota, was the Twins Most Outstanding Rookie in 2013 and played parts of three seasons with the Twins. After spending 2016 and 2017 with the St. Paul Saints, he has pitched well in AAA for the Tigers and Braves the last two years and was throwing harder for Team USA in the Premier12 tournament last fall.
Right-Handed Pitchers
  • Ryan Garton: The hard-throwing, 30-year-old right-hander has pitched in 59 big-league games for the Rays and Mariners between 2016, 2017 and 2019.
  • Jhoulys Chacin: Initial plan for the veteran hurler is likely to fill Michael Pineda's rotation spot until his suspension ends. Read more about him here.
Catchers
  • Tomas Telis: The 28-year-old Venezuelan played parts of five seasons (2014-2018) in the big leagues with the Rangers and Marlins. He hit .330 last season with the Rochester Red Wings but didn’t get a promotion to the Twins.
  • Juan Graterol: The 30-year-old, also from Venezuela, has spent parts of each of the past four seasons in the big leagues, with the Angels (2016-2018) and the Reds in 2019. He also played three games for the Twins in 2018. As you recall, he started the final game of that 2018 season for the Twins behind the plate, and was replaced in the ninth inning by Joe Mauer.
Infielders
  • Wilfredo Tovar: The 28-year-old infielder returns to the Twins organization. He spent the 2016 season with the Red Wings. He had played nine games for the Mets between 2013 and 2014. He returned to the big-leagues in 2019 and played in 31 games for the Angels (.193 with 5 doubles).
  • Jack Reinheimer: The 27-year-old played two games for the Diamondbacks in 2017 and then 21 games for the Mets in 2018. He played for the Orioles’ AAA affiliate in 2019. He can play all three non-first base infield positions as well as in the outfield if needed.
The Prospects

We continue with the list of Twins minor league prospects who have been invited to spring training. These players are deemed relatively close to the big leagues and will be given an opportunity to spend the first three or four weeks learning from the big-league coaching staff and being seen by the big-league coaching staff. It’s a good chance to make an impression while also seeing how the current big leaguers, especially the veterans like Nelson Cruz, get themselves ready for a season.
  • Royce Lewis, SS: For the second straight year, the Twins top prospect will get to start camp with the big-league club. Last year, he missed time due to injury, but talked about what a great learning experience it was. He’s looking to put together a strong 2020 season.
  • Alex Kirilloff, OF: Before the Donaldson signing, Kirilloff may have been a contender for some time at first base for the Twins. He should continue to play the corner outfield spots and first base in 2019. This is his second invitation to big-league camp.
  • Brent Rooker, OF: This is the second big-league spring training for Rooker as well. The powerful outfielder may have arrived in Minnesota in 2019 if not for a late-season injury. After a slow start in AAA, Rooker mashed until the injury, showing the elite power he possesses.
  • Ben Rortvedt, C: He was the Twins second-round pick in 2016. He reached AA in 2019. Unfortunately his season ended with a knee surgery during the Arizona Fall League. His defense can be very strong, which is why this is the 22-year-olds second big league camp.
  • Ryan Jeffers, C: Drafted in the second round in 2018, Jeffers has already rocketed to Double-A and positioned himself for a big-league call-up in the near future. His offense has been outstanding, but the high marks he earns on the defensive side might be even more encouraging.
  • Trevor Larnach, OF: The outfielder was the Twins first-round pick in the 2018 draft from Oregon State. He began the season in Ft. Myers where he was a midseason and postseason All-Star and the league’s most valuable player despite moving up to Pensacola in the second half where more of his power potential played. Like Kirilloff, Larnach has a chance to be a special hitter.
  • Edwar Colina, RHP: The right-hander from Venezuela may be the least known name on this list, but that won’t be for long. Colina is a starting pitcher. The 22-year-old hit triple digits pretty much every game. He made ten starts in Ft. Myers, made seven appearances (4 starts, 3 “primary” appearances) in Pensacola and pitched twice for Rochester. This is his first big-league spring training.
  • Griffin Jax, RHP: The right-handed pitcher was a third-round draft pick in 2016 and has posted a 3.18 ERA across four minor-league seasons. Worked his way up to Class-AA Pensacola last year, where he was outstanding with a 2.67 ERA in 20 starts.
  • Charlie Barnes, LHP: The southpaw, known for his standout changeup, has been durable and mostly effective in 300 pro innings since coming aboard in the fourth round of the 2017 draft.
  • Jake Reed, RHP: The hard-throwing veteran reliever is back for the fifth straight year as a non-roster invite. He was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2015 from Oregon. He moved up quickly and has spent the past four years in Rochester, awaiting a call to make his MLB debut.
  • Sam Clay, LHP: The lefty was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2014 from Georgia Tech. He split the 2019 season between Pensacola and Rochester. He has remarkably allowed just one home run over the past three seasons.
Who among these players has the best chance to make the team? Who are you excited to follow when spring training gets underway in just a couple short weeks?

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16 Comments

IMO Chacin is the most likely to make it.There will be room on the 40 man for a starting pitcher and we are short on arms to start the year.Unless he looks horrible or the Twins find someone better I think he takes that last spot.

 

Outside chance to make it for me would be Thielbar and Hardy.They are both Lefty arms with bounce back potential.Personally I think they only make it to the 40 man if there are injuries but they have a shot if they pitch well this spring.

 

Everyone else seems like a long shot to me.

    • glunn and Doctor Wu like this

I've got my money on Jack Reinheimer to make the club. 

Because, well...The Sire Of Fort Myers!

    • Sconnie, David HK and Doctor Wu like this

No doubt the Twins need a lot of catchers with all the pitchers around early in camp.

Speaking of which, is Wynston Sawyer still in the org or did he depart for another team?

 

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birdwatcher
Feb 03 2020 01:36 PM

 

No doubt the Twins need a lot of catchers with all the pitchers around early in camp.

Speaking of which, is Wynston Sawyer still in the org or did he depart for another team?

 

Sawyer is a non-roster invitee to the NYY camp, along with Zack Granite.

    • Minny505 and Doctor Wu like this
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Doctor Gast
Feb 03 2020 02:54 PM

Happy that both catching prospects are in it even though they won`t make the team it`d be good experience for them! Donaldson will make a great presence especially the young prospects. It`ll be a lot of competition for the pitching spots, it`ll be a lot work working w/ & evaluating the pitchers, hope Romero finds a spot! Should be an exciting ST. Whatever happened to Walker? 

 

Whatever happened to Walker? 

Not sure we have a Walker to invite to camp, unless we sign free agent pitcher Taijuan Walker which has been rumored we might be interested in on a minor league deal. We'll see.
 

    • Doctor Gast likes this

I really hope Jake Reed finally gets a shot at some point this year. 

    • Seth Stohs, ChrisKnutson, tarheeltwinsfan and 3 others like this

Caleb Thielbar making the team would be a nice story. Meat Locker power.

Chacin has to outperform 2 of the trio of Dobnak, Thorpe and Smeltzer so that gives him a decent shot. This also assumes he outperforms Poppen who's roster spot he is trying to claim. Besides Chacin, I do not think any of these have much of a chance without injuries or a trade.

 

Having said that, Injuries are a real possibility. The LHP's have the best chance to replace an injury as the 40 man is currently really short on LHP's and this is probably why Barnes and Clay were included as non roster invites.

 

I could also see Larnach, Rooker, or Kirillogg blowing up in Spring Training and pushing their way into tough decisions. 

 

The Only way a catcher has a chance is if a catcher is injured in ST. In that case, I wouldn't count out Tellis as quickly as most of you would...

Unless there are injuries, I expect none of these to break camp with the Twins. ST filler, that is all.

 

Jake Reed best get out of this organization, unless he just likes playing AAA ball for hardly any money. He should have bailed to Asia a couple of years ago. Thielbar's short story is over.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Feb 03 2020 04:42 PM
After looking through the 40 man roster and the non-roster invitees I can tell the bullpen battle in camp is going to be really interesting this spring.

And after seeing Nick Anderson turn into a relief ace last season, I’m really hoping we at least get a glimpse of what Jake Reed can do in the big league level before shipping him off to another team. I mean, imagine if we never made the Pressly and Anderson trades...
    • h2oface likes this

 

And after seeing Nick Anderson turn into a relief ace last season, I’m really hoping we at least get a glimpse of what Jake Reed can do in the big league level before shipping him off to another team. I mean, imagine if we never made the Pressly and Anderson trades...

 

Nick for Brian Schales, who had a horrible year at 4 levels - extended ST, High A, AA, AAA, and back to A, where he was claimed off Fort Myers waivers by the Toledo Mudhens on Dec 12. Brian who

    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Feb 03 2020 05:35 PM

Nick for Brian Schales, who had a horrible year at 4 levels - extended ST, High A, AA, AAA, and back to A, where he was claimed off Fort Myers waivers by the Toledo Mudhens on Dec 12. Brian who?


Interestingly enough, the Marlins just dfa’d two left handed relievers with potential, perhaps this a chance for the Twins FO to even the score.
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tarheeltwinsfan
Feb 03 2020 07:29 PM

I have been a Jake Reed fan ever since his first year. The citizens at Rochester love him. He has been involved in many community activities. I surely am pulling for him to make it to the majors this year. He is what is good and right about sports figures being looked up to, especially by kids. I would enjoy meeting him at spring training in a few weeks to thank him for the example he sets for the rest of us, young and old..

    • AceWrigley and Melissa like this

 

Whatever happened to Walker? 

I'm guessing you mean Adam Brett Walker? He rode the waiver wire in 2017. Had a terrible 2018. From what I see here he didn't play last year.

http://www.milb.com/...itting/2018/ALL

 

 

I'm guessing you mean Adam Brett Walker? He rode the waiver wire in 2017. Had a terrible 2018. From what I see here he didn't play last year.

Walker played independent league ball for the Milwaukee Milkmen of the American Association and had a typical ABW year, bating .249 with lots of homers, lots of strikeouts and not enough walks. Fun player to follow in the minors.
 

    • Doctor Wu likes this

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