Longest Tenured Minnesota Twins - 2019
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins DailyHere you have it, a look at the ten longest-tenured players in the Minnesota Twins organization but first, a few honorable mentions.
- June 2013 - RHPs Kohl Stewart and Ryan Eades, LHP Stephen Gonsalves, Catchers Mitch Garver and Brian Navarreto
- December 2012 - RHP Williams Ramirez
- December 6, 2012 - RHP Trevor May (trade with Phillies)
- Sept 2012 - RHP Johan Quezada
- July 2012 - LHP Lewis Thorpe
* all photos by Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
#9/10 - The Twins signed their first picks from the 2012 draft and then focused their attention on some of the college pitchers that they signed including these two who have spent quite a bit of time in the big leagues. Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers both signed on June 17th, 2012.
Tyler Duffey was the Twins 5th round pick out of Rice University where he was the Owl’s co-closer with JT Chargois. Duffey came up in 2015 as a starter and was the team’s best pitcher down the stretch that year. He hasn’t been able to replicate that success and has since moved to the bullpen. He has shown flashes at times of what can be a solid reliever. He is currently back in Rochester.
Taylor Rogers, flatly, has become one of the best, most-reliable, most dominant relievers in baseball in the last year. The Twins 12th round pick out of Kentucky in 2012 rose through the ranks as a starting pitcher. In fact, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2013. When he came to the big leagues, however, it was as a reliever. It was a bit of a learning curve. He was pretty solid in the first half of 2017 and kind of hit a wall in the 2nd half. In 2018, he took off.
#8 - The Twins lost Michael Cuddyer to free agency following the 2011 season. Because of that, they gained a supplemental draft pick after the first round. With the 32nd overall pick, the Twins selected a a right-handed pitcher from Puerto Rico named Jose Berrios. He signed on June 15th. Berrios pitched well in the minor leagues and was named the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2014and 2015. He made his debut in 2016 and posted an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts. He returned in 2017 and went 14-11 with a 3.89 ERA. In 2018, he went 12-11 with a 3.84 ERA. He went to his first All Star game. With his win on Tuesday night, Berrios is now 6-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 2019.
#7 - The Twins lost a lot of baseball games in 2011 to earn the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. The Astros selected shortstop Carlos Correa and the Twins selected Byron Buxton out of high school in Georgia. On June 13, 2012, he signed with the Twins. He played for the GCL Twins and Elizabethton Twins in 2012. He split the 2013 season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He became the top prospect in baseball. He debuted with the Twins in 2015. In 2019, he is off to the best start of his career and currently leads MLB in doubles. In 2017, he received MVP votes, won his first Gold Glove and was also awarded the Platinum Glove as the best defensive player in the American League. Still just 25, his future is bright.
#6 - In November 2011, the Twins signed a thick-built right-hander from the Dominican Republic, Fernando Romero. He came to the States for the 2013 season. In 45 innings in the GCL, he posted a 1.60 ERA and struck out 47 batters. He was also throwing a fastball in the upper-90s. In mid-May of 2014, he moved up to Cedar Rapids. Unfortunately, after three starts, he was injured and needed Tommy John surgery. He missed the rest of that season and the entire 2015 season. While rehabbing, he also needed knee surgery. He returned in 2016 after two years, and he has dominated since. In 2017, he pitched in Double A. In 2018, he split time between Triple-A Rochester and the big leagues. This spring, he was moved to the bullpen. He’s had his ups and downs in the adjustment, but he is now in the big leagues trying to figure out all out.
#5 - June, 2010, Eddie Rosario was their fourth-round pick out of Guayana, Puerto Rico. In 2011, he was the Appalachian League MVP when he pounded 21 home runs (one more than Miguel Sano). He continued to rise through the system and played in the Arizona Fall league in 2013. Unfortunately, he had to miss the first 50 games of the 2014 season because of a “drug of abuse” suspension. Early in the 2015 season, he was called up to the Twins and had a strong rookie season. 2016 was more of a challenge, and he was sent down to the minor leagues for a month before returning. 2017 was Rosario’s breakout season. He hit .290 with 33 doubles and 27 home runs. He put up similar numbers in 2018. He hit .288 with 31 doubles and 24 homers, though that is due to missing much of the season’s final month.
#4 – On October 9, 2009, the Twins were playing (another) playoff series against the Yankees, but the big news of the day came off the field. The Twins had signed the #1 ranked international free agent, Miguel Sano, to a $3.15 million signing bonus. Since then, he has been one of the top power hitting prospects in baseball. He looked ready to debut with the Twins in 2014. Unfortunately, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season. He returned to action in 2015. He struggled for the first month of the season but started hitting soon after. He made his MLB debut in July and played so well he was named the Twins MVP and Rookie of the Year. He finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He mostly DHd as a rookie, and in 2016 he was moved out to the outfield (which didn’t go well) and he struggled with the bat too. He moved back to third base in 2017 and played the position adequately. He made his first All-Star Game and that year and finished second to Aaron Judge in the Home Run Derby. He was hurt and missed the final two months of the year. He had a titanium rod placed in his leg. 2018 was a forgettable season for Sano, and he came to spring training this year with a contusion on his leg that has cost him the start of his season. He is currently in AA working his way back and should return to the Twins lineup in the next 10-14 days.
#3 – Within the final hour of the the final day that teams could sign their 2009 draft picks (August 15), the Twins and pitcher Kyle Gibson reached an agreement. He began his professional career with the Miracle in 2010 and got to AAA that season. He returned to Rochester but by midseason, he wasn’t pitching like himself. He had an elbow problem and months later, he had Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2012 season. He returned in 2013 and had a ten-start call up with the Twins. He has been in the Twins starting rotation the last three years. In 2015, he was named the Twins pitcher of the year. 2016 was injury-plagued for Gibson. Midway through the 2017 season, Gibson found himself in Rochester for a couple of stints. However, something clicked and Gibson was strong over his final dozen starts. That carried into 2018 when he had his best, most consistent, productive season yet. He went 10-13 despite a 3.63 ERA over 196 1/3 innings. A bout with E. Coli slowed his 2019 season, but he is getting close to 100% now.
#2 – On July 11th, 2009, the Twins signed highly regarded German outfielder Max Kepler. Though Kepler was always blessed with great tools, it wasn’t until 2015 that everything came together for him. He has worked slowly up the system. He repeated Elizabethton and has moved up one level each year since. He was named the Southern League MVP and led the Chattanooga Lookouts to the league title. While his team was celebrating, Kepler learned that he was heading to the big leagues. On the season’s final day, he got his first MLB hit off of Johnny Cueto. He put up very similar numbers in 2016 through 2018. Last year, he hit .224 with 30 doubles and 20 homers. He signed a five-year contract extension for $35 million in the offseason. In 2019, he has been leading off. While his batting average has come down of late, he has increased his power production with seven home runs already.
#1 – On July 2, 2009, the Twins signed highly-regarded defensive shortstop Jorge Polanco from the Dominican Republic. He was brought along slowly, spending two seasons in the GCL. He started hitting in 2012 in Elizabethton. He has been a good batting average and on-base hitter since. It’s on defense now where there are question marks. He received a couple of cups of coffee with the Twins in 2014 becoming the youngest player to debut with the Twins since Joe Mauer in 2004. Polanco played in Chattanooga and Rochester in 2015 with a couple more very short stints in the big leagues. He moved up and down between AAA and the big leagues in 2016 until the July trade of Eduardo Nunez when he came up and played shortstop most days the rest of that season. He struggled through the first four months of the 2017 season, but he was arguably the team’s best hitter over the final two months of the year. He missed the first 80 games of the 2018 season on a PED suspension but came back strong in the second half. He signed a five-year, $25 million contract extension. In 2019, he has been one of the best hitters in baseball.
So there you have it, the players in the Twins organization who have been in the system the longest, consecutively. I’ll guess that at least a couple of the names may not surprise you. I’m certain that you wouldn’t have guessed everyone on this list.
Feel free to leave your thoughts, or let me know if I forgot anyone.
- Mike Frasier Law, Monkeypaws, mikelink45 and 4 others like this