Ask Seth (Ft. Myers Edition)
You can ask questions about the big league club or the minor leagues and I will try my best to answer as many as I can.
As always, I do want to thank you all for your support of me individually but also for Twins Daily. Your readership is valued and appreciated.
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Here we go. My attempt to answer your questions:
From Clutterheart: "Hi Seth thanks for doing this. Will you start wearing a helmet during games?"
You're welcome... And, nope, not at all. I may need to make sure I always know where ice can be found!
From bighat: "Marwin Gonzalez spring stats: 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in 3 games, and he's missed the rest of the games with a bum shoulder. Should we be concerned about our new starting 3B yet?"
Short answer. No. Longer answer. Not at all. He just needs some at-bats. He will, or at least should, get plenty of those over the next week or so.
From strumdatjaguar: "How is the competition for the first base job and backup looking right now between Cron, Austin and Camptown Races?"
Duda was always a long-shot. I think that Tyler Austin has made a very strong case for the 25th spot on the roster, probably competing with Willians Astudillo for one spot. He's been hitting, and hitting for average, and showing the immense power we have seen in the past. CJ Cron will start the season as the starter.
From biswrest: "Are you believing the hype for Perez?"
I believe that he can be a quality, solid MLB starting pitcher. The hype is probably a little out of hand. Spring training numbers mean zilch. But what does matter is stuff, and he does have stuff. Martin Perez has always had impressive stuff, but if he can sit 94-97 and maintain his secondary stuff, he will prove us all very wrong. And ultimately, I would hope that we all are just fine with that!
From rdehring: "Interested in two minor league guys, Seth.Curious if you have seen Jax pitch? Also, Rortvedt got significant playing time with the big club in spring training games.Was curious how he looks if you have seen him?"
I have seen Jax throw a bullpen. He's not real tall and looks thin, but as we all know, he's very strong. He's got a good, crisp fastball and a biting breaking ball. I can't say I've seen enough in person this year to note any sort of changes. It was just a bullpen.
Rortvedt is impressive. I think he just keeps getting stronger and stronger. He looks better at the plate. He has more power than people may think. Frankly, he just looks so much more comfortable. Reports are that he's made some big strides behind the plate this season, and that he needed to. But he has a chance to be good. But it's going to take some time. We need to be patient, and so does he.
From Joe A. Preusser: "1. Why does everyone assume Astudillo is a lock to go north? Am I missing something here? Don't get me wrong, I really like him. I just dont understand his "lock" status. 2. Is there any truth to the rumor you screamed and dove under a table when a foul ball came your way in the press box?"
1. I don't think he should have ever been a lock. I don't get it either, but fans love him, teammates and coaches love him, and he does provide some versatility. He's very unique. It's hard to know what he could do given opportunity. I do think he's competing for a end-of-the-bench spot with a few guys including Tyler Austin, Ronald Torreyes and others.
2. Not at all true. I protected the clubhouse from a laser of a foul ball. The tip of my poor left ring finger took the brunt of the pain.
From mikelink: "The BP is our biggest concern in this era and I read about various guys throwing really well and new changes in pitching abilities.But it still comes down to the real season and I wonder what you are seeing in the emerging BP - mirages, ups, downs, surprises?"
I do not think that the Twins have a great, Top 10 bullpen, but I do think that they have talent. I believe in May, Rogers, Parker, Hildenberger. I think Romero and Mejia could be very exciting out of the bullpen. I believe in Matt Magill's stuff. Tim Collins looks very impressive. But so do the likes of Ryne Harper, Preston Guilmet, Mike Morin, Jake Reed and others. From that group, there'll be some mirages and a couple of surprises. Trying to guess is hard. Again, maybe not a great bullpen, but I think it can be solid, and as we know, free agent relievers are a complete guessing game.
From NumberThree: "When I was down earlier, I noticed no TK. Is his health too poor these days, or is he ‘not on board’ with all the newfangled changes?"
Tom Kelly showed up one time since he had his mini-stroke several years ago, and as I recall, it just tired him out. He hasn't been back for probably the last three years. Kelly has stayed very loyal to the organization and been quite active around the Twin Cities at events. I don't know what his relationship is with the new front office.
From nasu1970: "Are the Twins going to have any type of Spring Ballpark Pass this season?"
I have no idea. I do think they have made several ticket offers available.already to encourage people to come to the ballpark. I'm sure there would be more information on the Twins ticket page. '
From NoCryinginBaseball: "Now that spring training invitees are being sent down, when are assignments made or do they just go to where they ended the 2018 season and promotions happen later"
As players are sent to minor league camp, they get assigned to a place in minor league camp. Over the next couple of weeks, some players will get released. Official full season minor league rosters will be set probably a week before minor league opening day. Where they ended 2018 is just one factor in where players will go in 2019.
From Chris Knutson: "Is Fernando Romero a lock, or are we really gonna send him him down in favor of Hildenberger and Magill?? Also, what are the chances of us making a trade or signing another relief arm?? I mean, Madison is still a free agent, and I’d imagine that Mychal Givens is available as well."
I think two of Romero, Hildenberger and Magill will probably make the team. I think Hildenberger is pretty close to a lock, and should be. I think Magill being out of options makes him the next most likely to make the team. He obviously is a DFA candidate and out of options, so I think he's likely to make it so that they don't lose him. They can send Romero down and let him work out of the bullpen until they go to a 13-man pitching staff at some point. That's the business side, but it also just makes sense. As for free agents, the guys that are out there won't cost much at this point (other than Kimbrel) so they're available due to concerns about them. And with Givens, I'm sure the asking price is just silly.
From scottz: "How do you think the extra IF/utility shakes out? My read between the lines assessment of Baldelli quotes shows a decent amount of interest in Torreyes. How do you see Torreyes fitting (or not)?"
From Baldelli quotes, the coaches and players really like Torreyes. He's had some success in a utility role with the Yankees. He can hit for average and play around the infield. He's got an option left, so I think he begins the season in Rochester. He's similar to Adrianza, who is out of options. Adrianza can play four infield positions pretty well and left field. Torreyes can play three infield positions. They definitely like Torreyes, no doubt about that. I mean, they wouldn't have signed him if they didn't. But I think Adrianza is the better utility infielder right now. Dollars will factor in, as well as Adrianza's shoulder.
From clutterheart, "I've mostly just been skimming ST news this year. How has Thorpe looked?"
He didn't pitch much in MLB spring training. He was among the first cuts. I saw him pitch (against Kohl Stewart) in the intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday afternoon. He gave up a couple of first-inning runs, but overall, I thought he looked good. Of course, what matters right now is just getting him lengthened and able to throw 90 pitches in three weeks.
From amjgt: "Tim Collins...For the sake of argument, let's say someone assumed to make the opening day bullpen goes on the IL (Reed seems like a good candidate). Since he has an April 1 opt out do we think he might make the team over, say Hildenberger?"
In that case, I think Collins would take Reed's spot. But, the reality is that Hildenberger has three options remaining and that may make him an option candidate.
From nytwinsfan: "Ryne Harper has been fantastic both in terms of the stats and the eye test this spring. Any chance he makes the team, and if not, any chance we can keep him at Rochester?Would be a shame to lose him."
Ryne Harper, and specifically his breaking ball, has looked really, really good this spring. There is a very, very small chance that he makes the Opening Day roster. He is here on a minor league contract. He doesn't have an opt-out. The Twins can send him down without worrying about losing him.
From beckmt: "I see Astudillo is catching more, does this mean that he is in play, or that Twins are trying to find out if he can actually be a catcher, more than a utility player."
If he can play catcher, he is much more valuable to the team. They should continue to work on that skill. Protects them from injury, and allows Garver to play other places too, or be used as a pinch hitter. '
From dbminn: "Are there any minor league pitchers that have impressed/surprised you?"
I mean, it's from bullpens, so it's hard to make too much out of it at all. Landon Leach is a guy that will get noticed with a big fastball. Regi Grace is impressive, a big kid with a strong lower half for someone that young. A younger Graterol (in terms of strength). Graterol is impressive, obviously. Steve Buhr and I both watched 2018 draft picks Cole Sands and Josh Winder and came away impressed. Please also note that I haven't seen several guys yet. I haven't seen Duran or Alcala or Balazovic or Enlow this spring.
From jkcarew: "Tyler Austin kind of having an interesting spring so far. Even before the HR yesterday...and SSS disclaimers aside...seems more balls have been put in play, (although still not getting BB's). See or hear anything indicating a demonstratively different approach? Or just showing some general signs of improvement?"
Small Sample Size, to be sure, but anecdotally, there have already been a few times that he has put the ball in play and with his strength he still can get hits beyond the infield.
From splash45: "Do you think any of the under the radar bullpen guys, such as Harper, Collins, Eades, etc, will make the opening day 25?"
Collins possible since he has an opt-out.
From Vanimal46: "Best concession stand item you've ate so far at Hammond?"
I haven't yet. Maybe tomorrow.
From bobs: "Seems to me the Twins have a number of guys with major league experience and some past success...guys like Duda, Collins, Austin, Torreyes, etc.Do any of them have options left so the Twins could store them in Rochester for depth in case of injury?"
Of that group, Torreyes is the only one with an option remaining. Austin is on the 40-man and out of options, so he would have to make the roster or be placed on waivers. Likely someone would claim (or trade for) him, but if he did clear, he would report to Rochester. Collins is a non-roster guy, but I believe he's got an opt-out. Duda is a non-roster guy, and I haven't heard anything about an opt-out for him, so if that's case, he'd report.
From Steve Penz: "I feel like I am late to the game with this question but her goes.Do I understand correctly that Romero will only pursue a bullpen spot going forward?If yes, why have they decided that pitching as a starter is no longer in the picture?"
The Twins have moved Romero to the bullpen for 2019. I don't think they have completely shut the door to him starting again in the future. 2019 would be his final option season, so they kind of have to make a decision at some point in 2019.
From nasu1970: "How about that Brian Navaretto?"
Happy for him. He's such a good kid. Always smiling. It's always fun to catch up with him in the spring. He's got the size and strength. If he can just become a 'decent' hitter, he could have a long MLB career as a backup catcher. Defensively, he is very good.
From Dantes929: "I saw a bunch of questions last week in the "Ask Seth" but none of the answers.How do I find that link?"
The answers are right in the article here.
From MileHighTwinsFan: "Does Adam Rosales have a chance to make the club?With Sano out - it seems like he could add value through the first month at least. He has had a fantastic spring and it seems he deserves a look."
The 36-year-old has had a long, solid career. He can play SS and be a utility guy. He's competing with Adrianza and Torreyes and Astudillo and Austin and maybe some pitchers for the 25th man spot. He has an opt-out a few days before the season starts. I think he's unlikely to make the roster, but he has made himself potentially tradeable.
From Sconnie: "I was at the game and got to “Ask Seth” in person today at the backfields. He maintains the ball never came in the press box, but from my vantage on the first base stands it clearly did."
Like I said, that's why I wish there was a good replay because it happened so fast. Ha!! Good to chat with you for a few minutes.
From JD Green: "With opening day 2 weeks away, have you heard any reports on the condition of Target Field, considering the weather conditions we have had the last 4 months?"
From the Twins Twitter Account yesterday:
Thank you for all the great questions... I've got a few more days/games here in Ft. Myers before heading back. Nick Nelson will take the final week and report on all the stuff going on there.
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