Twins Send Six To Minor League Camp
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins DailyAs expected, the Twins started cutting down their spring training roster as six pitchers were told by manager Paul Molitor and members of the front office that their time in big league camp has come to an end.
The cut list includes the team's top two pitching prospects.
Twins Daily's #1 Prospect Fernando Romero had a strong showing this spring. In three games, he worked three scoreless innings. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out two. He impressed with his upper-90s fastball and a sharp upper-80s slider. Romero is on the 40-man roster, hence his first option has been used.
Molitor discussed the idea of Romero as a starter or a reliever. "Very confident kid, who we still think has the potential as a starter. I can see him as a reliever, but I think that people envision him being a very high-end starter, so we're going to stick with that here in the short-term and try to get him stretched out."
He continued, "I asked because I see the power, and you can see how he could be a late-inning game guy, but they say he's got sustainability in terms of being able to carry that kind of stuff throughout the course of a game. He'll be able to get more work and more innings and more experience. I can see down the line with innings and his injury past that you could protect his workload sometime during the season."
Twins Daily's second-ranked prospect is lefty Stephen Gonsalves. He also pitched well in his first big league spring training. He worked 3.1 innings over three appearances. He also did not give up a run. In fact, he didn't even give up a hit. He walked one (Gregory Polanco) and struck out three. He missed time the last few days with a soreness in the back of his shoulder, though he is expected to resume pitching today. Gonsalves is not on the 40-man roster.
Molitor said, "He had a nice go until he had the flare up there." (referring to his shoulder)
Aaron Slegers was also a non-roster invite to spring training. He took the loss in yesterday's game in Ft. Myers against the Orioles. But the tall right-hander also showed glimpses of big league potential. He worked 2.2 innings over three appearances. He gave up two runs on two hits, walked two and struck out one.
Molitor said, "Slegers came even better than advertised for me. I'd heard a lot of very positive things about makeup. But the way that he threw the ball was good."
Mason Melotakis strained his oblique just before spring training started. On Sunday, he worked some live BP down on the minor league fields and said he felt really good. This morning I asked him if he had any soreness. He said that his oblique felt great and his soreness today was simply day-after-bullpen soreness that he expected from his outing. He was hoping to get a chance to pitch in a big league game, but he was optioned to AAA. It is his second option as he was also optioned in 2016.
Molitor said, "Melotakis unfortunately didn't get to show us too much."
Felix Jorge had pitched very little in spring training, but Molitor said, "We all realize that he's someone we think highly of. We need to get him on track to start the season."
Randy Rosario finished out the game with a scoreless ninth and was told after the game that he would be optioned as well. Before the game, I chatted with him. I asked whether he preferred to start or pitch out of the bullpen. He said, "Relief. No question."
He thought that it would be better for him and his arm. He said that his elbow was feeling very strong.
Following the game, he told me that he was told that he will spend the season in the bullpen, so he was very happy. Molitor noted, "He's still trying to figure out his routine and the differences between relieving and starting. But we all see that he's got a lot of potential too."
Feel free to discuss. Certainly a lot fewer players sent down than I would have guessed, but it is a new regime. It will be interesting to see how it plays out with them.