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Please pass on Yu Darvish Twins

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Article: Twelve's A Crowd: Twins Are Rolling In Relief

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:58 PM
Minnesota's signing of righty reliever Addison Reed to a two-year, $16.25 million contract, which became official on Monday, was stunning...
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Independent Streak

When rebuilding a broken pitching staff, it's necessary to seek out solutions on all fronts. These include free agency, trades, draft, international, and... independent leagues?

That last one isn't necessarily a conventional avenue for adding legitimate talent, but the Minnesota Twins have had some success there, and may have more yet to come.
Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn, USA Today
For those who enjoy the human element of the game, there's something special about independent ball. Players in these leagues are a long way from the majors, whether undrafted or trying to make their way back into an MLB system. But they're chasing their dreams, often playing in front of paltry crowds for tiny paychecks.

When a guy playing in an independent league is able to catch the attention of a major-league organization and work his way to the bigs, it's always a great story. Rich Hill is the most prominent example in the game today. After washing out of affiliated ball in his mid-30s, he signed with the Long Island Ducks in 2015, where he gained notice from the Boston Red Sox. They signed him, he excelled, and two years later he has a $48 million deal with the Dodgers.

The Twins haven't had a success of Hill's magnitude, but they've had some notable hits.

Minnesota didn't sign Brandon Kintzler out of an independent league, but the former 40th-round draft pick did spend time playing in the Northern League in 2007 and 2008, then with our local St. Paul Saints in 2009, before latching on with the Brewers and finding his way to the big leagues. He would of course later sign with the Twins and turn into an all-star closer, and now he's in line to be pitching in the playoffs in two months.

Kintzler's experience in independent ball is now ancient history, but the Twins have a few players who've been there much more recently. Buddy Boshers caught the team's eye while pitching for Somerset in the Atlantic League and is now a fixture in the Minnesota bullpen.

Nik Turley was pitching for that same Somerset club last summer, and inked a minor-league deal with the Twins during the offseason, precipitating a major-league debut this year. Things obviously haven't gone smoothly for the southpaw in his three MLB starts, but he continues to dominate at Rochester and will almost surely get more chances. He could become an asset in the bullpen.

Tim Melville may be the next name to watch. The Twins signed him in June from the Long Island Ducks team where Hill re-established himself, and he has been tremendous since joining the Class-AAA Red Wings with a 2.55 ERA and 1.07 WHIP through 60 innings. In his latest start for Rochester on Monday, Melville hurled seven innings of one-hit, one-run ball with nine strikeouts.

The 27-year-old right-hander is interesting not just because of his recent journey, but because of his history: he's a former fourth-round pick of the Royals who was once ranked among the organization's best young talents and appeared in Baseball Prospectus' Top 100 prospects in 2010. He has flashed good stuff when healthy, with scouts lauding the spin on his breaking balls, and right now it's shining through.

If he can keep it up, he may get a look before the year is over. Will he be the next Rich Hill? Not likely. But Melville has a chance to make a real impact, as Boshers has and Turley hopefully still can.

At the very least, the former independent leaguer will be another story worth rooting for.

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32 Comments

Very Interesting that Melville was once a top 100 prospect. Why not bring him up.

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Old Twins Cap
Aug 08 2017 09:23 PM

Mejia going to the shelf.

 

Who is the next guy?

 

Gee?Melville?Slegers?

Wrote about Melville twice yesterday. Those that watch him say he's been fantastic, good stuff.

 

But the indy thing goes back. Caleb Thielbar. Chris Colabello. Andrew Albers came back to the Twins last year after an indy ball stint and worked back to the big leagues.  It's a great story!

    • spanman2, Broker, Tom Froemming and 1 other like this

We need to sign Mark Hamburger!

 

    • James likes this
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The Wise One
Aug 09 2017 03:21 AM

I wonder if Jay Gause is too big of risk. Mid 90 fastball. injuries have followed this guy around. 

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Tommygun921
Aug 09 2017 05:44 AM
Melville was ranked ahead of Danny Duffy, Will Myers and Mike Moustakas in the royals system in 2010? Wow! If Mejia goes on the DL maybe he'll get his shot. Still just 27.
Great article Nick....really liked the article.

Agreed, great right up.

 

But on a side note that is probably just plain silly (read: yes, completely)...

 

Does anyone else think Buddy Boshers should either grow a BEARD, like Dallas Kuechel style or just shave it off? This in between stuff is killing me. Just commit to it brother, go big or go home... LOL.

    • blindeke likes this
Independent League players on the big club tells you all you need to know about how awful this club has been.
    • Thrylos and caninatl04 like this

 

Independent League players on the big club tells you all you need to know about how awful this club has been.

 

huh?

 

Kintzler has been nothing short of good the last two years. Just because he once played in the Indy leagues doesn't mean he or the Twins are bad. 

 

Turley, imo, has a shot to be a legit bullpen arm. I'd really like to see him tried there this year in MN.

    • pbrezeasap, James and spanman2 like this

I too hope Turley gets a look in the pen eventually, but there is no denying he was awful in his 3 starts, and we lost all 3.

 

Melville was similarly awful in 3 appearances in MLB last year.

 

When you're on the edge of a pennant race, these are big risks to take.

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birdwatcher
Aug 09 2017 09:13 AM

 

Independent League players on the big club tells you all you need to know about how awful this club has been.

 

 

Terrific insight. Thanks.

    • BK432 likes this

 

Kintzler has been nothing short of good the last two years. Just because he once played in the Indy leagues doesn't mean he or the Twins are bad. 

To be fair, I doubt the poster was referring to Kintzler.

 

Turley, Boshers, and the prospect of Melville.

 

huh?

 

Kintzler has been nothing short of good the last two years. Just because he once played in the Indy leagues doesn't mean he or the Twins are bad. 

 

Turley, imo, has a shot to be a legit bullpen arm. I'd really like to see him tried there this year in MN.

 

Agreed on both of them, and Boshers has been pretty good too most of the time out. 

 

We always say that the Twins and their scouts an analysis should leave no stone unturned. Lots of talent in the independent leagues. A couple could be alright.

    • Mike Sixel and Broker like this

 

I too hope Turley gets a look in the pen eventually, but there is no denying he was awful in his 3 starts, and we lost all 3.

 

Melville was similarly awful in 3 appearances in MLB last year.

 

When you're on the edge of a pennant race, these are big risks to take.

 

Are they riskier than bringing up Gonsalves, Romero, Jorge, Slegers?

 

(I don't know the answer to that question, and of course, there's no way to know)

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

Are they riskier than bringing up Gonsalves, Romero, Jorge, Slegers?

 

(I don't know the answer to that question, and of course, there's no way to know)

Those weren't the only alternatives.  We just traded away Jaime Garcia. We also still have Dillon Gee. Hector Santiago could be activated any day now.  Tyler Duffey could be stretched out too.  I wonder if Colon's former teammate (and AARP buddy :) ) R.A. Dickey cleared waivers?

 

Not world-beaters, but some of those guys should keep you in a game better than Turley demonstrated earlier this summer, or Melville demonstrated in 2016.

 

Personally, I still think they should have looked at Romero instead of Jorge back when they had those spot starts in early July.  He had the best potential, and there were still ways of managing his innings if necessary.  Now we're reaching the point where Jorge and Gonsalves predictably are deemed not ready, and Romero is rapidly becoming less available due to his innings limit.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

 Boshers has been pretty good too most of the time out.

 

I think that there is a disconnect with actually "Good" (which I think as "better than average") and

"better than some of the rest of the Twins' relievers, like Breslow".

 

3.90 ERA, 4.91 FIP,1.23 WHIP (.266 BABIP) , 12.8 % K-BB%, 79.3% LOB%

 

Bosher's numbers this season. Not much "good" about them.Pretty average to below average, and about to regress.  

 

I don't have much problem with this dumpster diving, other than the facts that:

 

a. it really has not been that productive at the major league level

b. Too many of those types of players block younger players (eg. I'd rather see Melotakis rather than Buddy Bo with the Twins, and Romero rather than Melville with Rochester)

c. Yes, some of them have potential (eg. Turley)that's why they are still playing baseball.Having potential and realizing at the majors are 2 different things.

 

Agreed on both of them, and Boshers has been pretty good too most of the time out.

Boshers has generally been a very low-leverage reliever this season (gmLI of .67), so I'm not sure this means he has been all that useful.  Although he has had a few moments.

 

They seem to be going LOOGY with him now?  4 batters faced total, across 3 appearances, in the month of August so far.

 

Boshers has generally been a very low-leverage reliever this season (gmLI of .67), so I'm not sure this means he has been all that useful.  Although he has had a few moments.

 

They seem to be going LOOGY with him now?  4 batters faced total, across 3 appearances, in the month of August so far.

 

Signed out of the indy leagues... contribute in MLB... success... It's really that simple. Makes it a good signing at least.

 

But I'll stand by the fact that they should continue looking to these places for role players. 

    • birdwatcher, Mike Sixel, DJSim22 and 2 others like this

agree with Seth, leave no stone unturned. Just don't wait too long to make some decisions....

    • birdwatcher likes this

 

Signed out of the indy leagues... contribute in MLB... success... It's really that simple. Makes it a good signing at least.

But that kinda hinges on one's definition of "contribute". By bWAR, Boshers was a zero last year, and is only at 0.3 this year.  Hopefully that trends up, but right now it's within a rounding error of nothing at all.

 

Not that I disagree with your larger points.  I don't mind signing guys out of indy leagues, and I don't mind giving them chances, although right now, in a pennant race, is a tricky spot for new tryouts.  (One could argue that Boshers has been a bit of a detriment to that end in 2017, as he is a fairly old/known mediocrity taking a roster spot and innings that could have gone toward evaluating Turley or Melville in relief.)

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher and KirbyDome89 like this
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birdwatcher
Aug 09 2017 12:02 PM

 

Signed out of the indy leagues... contribute in MLB... success... It's really that simple. Makes it a good signing at least.

 

But I'll stand by the fact that they should continue looking to these places for role players. 

 

We're all looking forward to a day when they're not desperately seeking these guys out mid-season to fill up a rotation as an emergency tactic. That takes some of the fun out of these guys' stories.

 

I'm a bit uneasy about all the mid-season add-ons of older indy "prospects" in the low minors. The number of these signings  seems to be much higher than during any season of Ryan's tenure, doesn't it? Are they making up for the Wander Javier year of few IFA signings? Are they replacing last year's crop of late-round choices, or this year's? What's the deal here?

 

I won't hold my breath waiting for a beat writer to ask Brad Steil that question...

    • USAFChief and caninatl04 like this
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birdwatcher
Aug 09 2017 12:14 PM

 

But that kinda hinges on one's definition of "contribute". By bWAR, Boshers was a zero last year, and is only at 0.3 this year.  Hopefully that trends up, but right now it's within a rounding error of nothing at all.

 

Not that I disagree with your larger points.  I don't mind signing guys out of indy leagues, and I don't mind giving them chances, although right now, in a pennant race, is a tricky spot for new tryouts.  (One could argue that Boshers has been a bit of a detriment to that end in 2017, as he is a fairly old/known mediocrity taking a roster spot and innings that could have gone toward evaluating Turley or Melville in relief.)

 

 

Let's just hope this is the last year anyone considers it a victory to replace the  -0.3 guy (Tonkin) with the +0.3 guy (Boshers).

    • spycake likes this
Nice write up and I agree you should look everywhere to see what you can find. Just like international FA, you leave no stone unturned.

After Turley could have a future in the pen, but control at the ML evaded him early this year. Melville is interesting due to age and previous prospect status. If he hadn't gotten hurt, who knows what he may have become. Late bloomer?

There are ML players who don't cut it, get hurt, have awful years, etc, who get a fresh/new start and turn themselves around and become solid contributors to good players. The fact that someone hit independent ball before getting another shot shouldn't be an automatic detractors. Long shot? You bet. But they shouldn't just be dismissed.

 

But that kinda hinges on one's definition of "contribute". By bWAR, Boshers was a zero last year, and is only at 0.3 this year.  Hopefully that trends up, but right now it's within a rounding error of nothing at all.

 

Not that I disagree with your larger points.  I don't mind signing guys out of indy leagues, and I don't mind giving them chances, although right now, in a pennant race, is a tricky spot for new tryouts.  (One could argue that Boshers has been a bit of a detriment to that end in 2017, as he is a fairly old/known mediocrity taking a roster spot and innings that could have gone toward evaluating Turley or Melville in relief.)

 

When the odds of any minor leaguer getting to the big leagues is incredibly, incredibly low, getting to the big leagues alone is a huge thing... Yes, having a positive WAR would be ideal... Teams don't have 25 players who are above the 'mediocre' line. 


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