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GAME THREAD 8/9/2020: Minnesota Twins @ Kansas City Royal...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:18 AM
Is it time to panic yet?   Of course not! Honestly, after the last three games, I am just as confident in this team being a contende...
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2020 Twins Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
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Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2020

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:16 PM
I said in the 2019 thread that I would start this forum thread...    Let's start populating it. How many former Twins are on ro...
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Option C(astellanos)

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 02:33 PM
We missed out on our big money aces. A big impact 3B will either cost age/money (Donaldson) or top prospects and money (Arenado/Bryant)....
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Future Roster Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:41 AM
Jake Odorizzi gets activated today to face the Royals, filling out the 28-man active roster which will include 16 (!) pitchers. The way t...
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How Twins' Non-Roster Player Pool Pitchers Could Help, Part II

There are four more pitchers from off of the 40-man roster who will be at camp with the Twins. Let's break them down.
Image courtesy of © Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this week, the Twins announced their 60-man player pool for the start of MLB’s resumed training period, and I broke down how three of the pitchers who made it into that pool (but aren’t on the 40-man roster) could help the team this season. Today, let’s talk about the other four non-roster hurlers who made the early cut.

Sam Clay is, perhaps, the least known of all the players announced thus far as members of the pool. That doesn’t mean he’s the least interesting, though. In fact, he’s about as interesting as a player so thoroughly anonymous can be. The tall, round-shouldered lefty was a fourth-round pick by the Twins way back in 2014, and although he’s never been more than a remote blip on the prospect radar, he’s quietly pitched his way to the top of the minor-league ladder over the last few seasons.

In the past, Clay has flashed a plus breaking ball, and the team might believe they can continue to cultivate that pitch in the controlled setting of their reserve site, under the eye of their top pitching instructors and player development staff. The really compelling thing about him, though, can be summed up in one number—the number 1. Since 2018, in 189 innings of work across the top three levels of the minor leagues, Clay has allowed one home run.

He naturally pronates his forearm on his fastball, giving it heavy sink. He won’t run eye-popping strikeout-to-walk ratios, but Clay’s a ground ball machine who ran significant reverse platoon splits in 2019 (something the Twins clearly value in short relief recently, for good reason). He’ll never have the power or the dominance of Taylor Rogers, but Rogers isn’t a bad stylistic comp for him, so he’s valuable to the team as insurance against an injury.

Edwar Colina is four years Clay’s junior, but has matched his recent rise through the upper levels of the system. He throws hard and he has command of an above-average slider; what else does one need from a right-handed relief candidate?

Seriously, though, Colina stands out from other righties who do the same things in the Twins system for two reasons. One is his ability to go multiple innings, and maybe even to start. His changeup is below-average, but he hasn’t yet had to abandon it, and as a result, he’s been a starter most of the way up the chain. That lets him serve as a fallback plan if Randy Dobnak or Zack Littell gets hurt or ill. Dobnak and Littell were, at different but overlapping times last season, linchpins for the staff. They helped hold things together when they were threatening to fall apart. It behooves the team to consider how they might weather a stretch without one or both of them, and Colina provides an answer, in terms of both workload and quality of work.

The other thing about Colina worth noting is his delivery. He’s a very thickly-built, short guy, and in the past, his fastball has underperformed its velocity. Last year, he got slightly better in that regard, striding a bit longer to create more extension. His heat will still flatten out at the top of the zone, and that will necessitate improved command if Colina wants to grow into more than a fallback role, but for now, progress is encouraging.

Experience is still valuable, sometimes, and Cory Gearrin has plenty of it. He slings in a Frisbee-style slider, and that makes him very tough on right-handers, but he’s still yet to find something that works with any consistency against lefties. His movement usually keeps him off their barrels, at least, so if nothing else, he could be called upon to work without runners on base and with a right-hander due ahead of any lefties. Still, unless the team suffers multiple injuries in the rotation and/or loses Jhoulys Chacín to an opportunity to start elsewhere, Gearrin’s potential utility is limited.

After a sojourn in the independent American Association (with the St. Paul Saints), former Twin Caleb Thielbar has put up video-game numbers in the minors over the last two seasons. That doesn’t mean he’s likely to make it back to the majors, let alone to dominate there, but his career ERA in MLB is still a pretty 2.74, and he’s shown the same ability to throw strikes and miss bats in relief lately that he did during that three-season stint. The Twins are bringing in multiple candidates to fill the role of left-handed middle relief, including Danny Coulombe, Clay, and Thielbar. One of them seems likely to be on the initial 30-man roster when the season begins, if not to stick thereafter.

Minnesota has great pitching depth. None of the seven non-roster hurlers they’re keeping around are likely to take on large roles, precisely because of that depth. All seven of these guys have interesting characteristics and/or skills, though, which only serves to underscore the depth the team has on hand.

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7 Comments

I find it interesting that Clay got on the roster, but Jake Reed didn't. Clay's development has been rather slow, but perhaps he'll take a step foward. Walks seem to be a big problem for him, but allowing home runs isn't - he's given up 6 career HRs in 6 minor league seasons.

Jake Reed is the new Anthony Slama

    • gil4 likes this

Jake Reed is the new Anthony Slama

You are predicting other teams will offer him few opportunities after we eventually cut him loose? :)
 

    • mikelink45 likes this
Just my own personal opinion, FWIW. Management has basically brought back everyone from ST 1.0 for an extra look-see. Makes sense. And while there is tons of depth here and options available, I could see a cut or two and then an addition or two. My understanding is additions can still be made after a cut.

Gearrin just doesn't interest me other than an emergency RP with some ML experience. But, I will give that he and a few other guys are here, even without a milb season to help Rochester, simply due to additional depth due to injury or illness outbreak. I think we all know this. Thielbar is the same. Including Chacin, there are 5 AAAA arms brought in for depth and to see if they could help. I would not be surprised to see a couple let get for other additions.

Let us not forget the overall depth of the current 40 man in this discussion.

Clay is interesting. He was a high draft choice from the previous FO who performed so-so. He was converted to reliever status when the new FO took over. He has still been so-so, but has shown a bit more life as a RP. They obviously see something worth investigating. 27yo? Who cares if he embraces and fits that role in a quality manner for 4-6yrs. Then again, he could be gone a year from now. But he's an interesting inclusion.

I am so happy Colina was included! I get he's under 6'. But not every quality pitcher is 6' 3"+ and 220lbs with long arms and legs. Can you bring it? Can you pitch? This guy might not be tall, but he's built and he can bring it. He has produced at every level. Other than K per 9, which surprises me considering stuff, his milb numbers are good to great. The fantasy part of me wants the Twins to work with him and find SOME sort of change that works for him. Much like Chalmers, if they do, they have a legitimate rotation arm to work with. If they only partially succeed, they have another power arm to develop over the next season or so to add to a great bullpen.
    • mikelink45, MN_ExPat and Doctor Gast like this

 

You are predicting other teams will offer him few opportunities after we eventually cut him loose? :)
 

Jake Reed's window of opportunity may be coming to an end. Windows of opportunity is an interesting concept, yet it is the door slamming shut rather than the shades being drawn. The phrase curtains for you refers to a stage. It would be likely he gets a few AAA curtain calls but due to age and no MLB time it may only be one

I'm curious how the waiver wire will look this year. There's been a lot of chatter about it in recent years. This could be a test drive of something new.

I am going to assume that Dobnak wins one of the starting spots out of spring training. Add in Hill, who now should be ready from opening day, and Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda and Bailey gives the Twins six starters, not including Chacin, Thorpe, Smeltzer and Pineda, when he is eligible.

 

Is it possible that the Twins could trade one of them, say Bailey, to a contender who is short one solid starter? Perhaps someone in the National League who wouldn't be in direct competition with the Twins. 

 

I know there are some limitations on who can be traded this year, but maybe they could pick up a nice prospect who is close.