Lewis, Kirilloff, Rooker Among Twins Non-Roster Invites
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins DailyWe have seen some Twins minor league signings trickle in over the past month or more. Some of them may receive an invitation to big league camp. On Friday, Derek Falvey only announced the Twins internal players who will be invited to spring training.
The list includes infielders Royce Lewis and Brent Rooker, outfielders Luke Raley and Alex Kirilloff, catchers Ben Rortvedt and Brian Navarreto, and pitchers Ryan Eades and Jake Reed.
Regarding the invites, Derek Falvey noted, "I never look at invites, especially internal invites, as saying they're all competing to make the team. In fact, a lot of times I tell them at the front end that they're not because that last thing you want is somebody to go out in his first bullpen of the year and try to throw 100 mph. It's not good for anybody."
Royce Lewis (19), the top overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft, put together a strong professional debut season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He ended the season with a month in Ft. Myers where he helped lead the Miracle to a Florida State League championship. He hit a combined .292 with an .803 OPS. He added 29 doubles, 14 homers and an organization-leading 28 stolen bases.
Alex Kirilloff (21) also played in his first full minor league season. The 2016 first-round pick missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery, but he came back in 2018 and was one of the best all-around hitters in all of baseball. The Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year evenly split his season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit .348 with a .970 OPS in 2018. He led minor league baseball with 44 doubles and added 20 homers and 105 RBI.
Falvey added, "It's about exposure. For some of our young guys, and I know a lot of attention will go to Royce and Alex, those are two young guys and you obviously know how we feel about them, and we're excited about the investment in them from a development standpoint. It's a chance to get them around Rocco and the major-league staff. We anticipate they'll get back on the minor league side to get their seasons rolling. That's a great taste in my mind, to get a major league feel before you take a run.
"I think from a timeline standpoint, that's aggressive, clearly. But I've always said don't put limitations or ceilings on guys and I'm not going to put it on those two, and I think there's a number of others in that group at could find their ways to the big leagues at some point, certainly in the next couple of years."
Here is more about those other guys.
Brent Rooker (24) was the Twins supplemental first-round pick in 2017 after finishing the 2017 season as the Triple Crown award winner in the SEC. He spent 2018 in Double-A Chattanooga where he hit 32 doubles and 22 home runs.
Luke Raley (24) joined the Twins organization at the trade deadline this year. He was acquired from the Dodgers organization in the Brian Dozier deal. Raley joined the Lookouts and ended the season with 20 combined home runs on the season.
Ben Rortvedt (21) was the Twins second-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Wisconsin. He split 2018 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit .262 with 16 doubles and five homers over 90 games in 2018 and plays strong defense.
Brian Navarreto (24) will return for a second big league camp. The 2013 sixth round pick from high school in Florida spent the 2018 season Chattanooga. He hit .247 with 19 doubles and four homers. However, it is his defense that makes him a prospect.
Jake Reed (26) also returns for another big league camp. The fifth round pick in 2014 out of Oregon was nearly unhittable over the final four months of the 2018 season at Rochester. Hopefully 2019 is the year he finally gets an opportunity.
Ryan Eades (27) was the Twins second-round pick in 2013 out of LSU. He spent most of 2018 in Chattanooga though he ended the season strong with a month in Rochester as well.
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