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Article: Tyler Jay Shifting To The Bullpen (Minor League...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:36 AM
Twins Daily has learned and confirmed that Tyler Jay has been moved to the bullpen going forward. A couple of sources have verified the c...
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Yes...optomistic about the rotation

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:58 PM
Maybe I shouldn't say this so loud. Maybe, with the "Jay to the bullpen" growing by leaps and bounds it's not the right time to say this....
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Game Thread: ST Twins v Orioles, 3/24@7:05 in person time

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:02 PM
Okay, my 2nd ST game, not counting parts of some minor league games I've seen. Minor league games are great fun. But the totally geeked o...
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Adrianza

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:58 PM
Watching this guy this spring I really like and hope he makes the team and gets some decent playing time. I'm in the camp that a good fi...
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Fangraphs (and other national publications) on the Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:58 PM
I'm just going to post here whenever they do an article on the Twins.   Today, they have one on Trevor May (noting some changes in s...
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Report From The Fort: Mejia Makes His Case

The Twins and Cardinals game on Wednesday afternoon had 9,538 fans, a new Hammond Stadium record. While most were wearing Cardinal red, the Twins won an 8-0 decision. While the offense was strong, the story of this game was the pitching. A fifth-starter candidate stepped up big time, and the bullpen was tremendous.

Late last week when we learned the unfortunate news that Trevor May has a torn ulnar collateral ligament, the first thought was disappointment for a young man who worked hard this offseason to get healthy. The second thought was that the fifth starter job was suddenly back up for grabs. On Wednesday, Adalberto Mejia made his case.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Adalberto Mejia)
Mejia came to the Twins last July from the Giants in exchange for Eduardo Nunez. He made one relief appearance for the Twins in 2016. He came to spring training as a long shot to make the Twins Opening Day roster, rarely mentioned when fifth-starter options were mentioned. Coming into Wednesday, his first spring start, he worked 6.2 innings over four relief appearances. He’d pitched fairly well, giving up just one run despite five hits and three walks. And, he had struck out only three.

The Twins had Tyler Duffey start a minor league game on a back field on Wednesday (more on that later), giving Mejia an opportunity to start at Hammond Stadium against the Cardinals. Despite traveling across the state, the Cardinals brought big leaguers Kolten Wong, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Matt Adams, Tommy Pham and 2016 All Star Aledmys Diaz. In other words, it was a good challenge for the southpaw.

Mejia did give up four hits in 3.2 innings of work, but he showed an ability to dominate. He recorded 11 outs, and eight of them came via the strikeout.

Mejia said after the game that he threw his “fastball, slider and sinker… and change up.”

He came into the game hoping to work all of his pitches. “Obviously I was throwing what the catcher was asking. He’s a veteran. He knows what he’s doing. There were some things I was working on things like taking some speed off of the slider, or taking some speed off of the changeup.”

Mejia noted that he throws his slider anywhere from 81 to 87, which can really been beneficial for him.

His manager was impressed with the outing. “He’s getting a chance to get extended. I think he realizes we’re trying to get a good look at him, see where he’s at. He’s a different pitcher than the brief look we got at him last year in terms of what he can do with the baseball. Other than the numbers, in an outing like today you look at how he’s handling situations and his, what looks to be a really good idea, what he wants to do with each and every hitter, and he’s executing pitches. It was a good outing. He had some traffic there in a couple of innings and found a way to get off the field including the long battle that ended with the one strikeout. It was solid. Threw strikes. Changeup is very effective. I like that he can change arm angles to give hitters a different look. There’s a lot of good things there.”

Tyler Duffey pitched for the AAA Rochester team against the AAA Norfolk team, the affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. He looked strong the first couple of innings. In one inning, he gave up a couple of line drive hits, all over the field. In total, he gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in three-plus innings. He struck out two.

Molitor was in the Red Wings dugout for Duffey’s performance. “Duffey had a good day over there too, I thought. He ran into trouble in one inning over there when he couldn’t get off the field with two outs.”

Posted Image
photo by Seth Stohs

Following Justin Haley’s start on Monday at Hammond Stadium, Molitor indicated that he would like to see Haley get extended some. Ryan Vogelsong is still in the equation as well.

Molitor noted after the game, “There were other people that have been in the mix since the beginning that we haven’t excluded yet. We’ve got a little bit of time with the absence of Hector (Santiago) and Ervin (Santana) that the innings are available to keep getting looks at people, those guys or Vogelsong. So we’re still watching.”

As for Mejia, he’s not trying to do too much. “I just kept thinking, throw strikes, throw strikes. There’s nothing else you can do out there on the mound. If you keep thinking about other things like what am I going to do differently that’s when you mess up. So I just went out there and kept throwing strikes.” He later added, “I’m not thinking. I’m just trying to go out there and do my job and trying to do what they ask me to do.”

Molitor insists that the fifth start job is still an open competition. “We were open-minded. I think the message in camp early was that we feel there is a lot of competition here, a lot of people in the mix. I was kind of looking foward to see what he could do. So far he’s done a nice job.”

Mejia is just going to keep working and let the chips fall where they may. “I just want to help the team. That’s the goal, to be on the big club and help the team win. I’m just throwing pitches, learning from all the people here, learning from the veterans and people who have been in the position I’m in. I throw strikes and whatever happens happens. Today was a good day.”

BULLPEN LINES UP

Jake Reed struck out the one batter he faced to end the fourth inning. Then the Twins rolled out five relievers that could (maybe should) all be on the Opening Day roster. Brandon Kintzler, Craig Breslow, Ryan Pressly, Matt Belisle and Taylor Rogers combined for five shutout innings. They combined to give up just one hit, walked one and struck out three. Belisle struck out two in his inning.

NEW LINEUP

Molitor went with a lineup combination that we haven’t yet seen, and we’ll likely see more combinations as spring winds down. “There are some combinations that I want to look at. When you’re not having your guys play together very often, you don’t get a lot of opportunities to do that. Today was a day I thought we’d change it up and see what it looked like and how it would play out. Potentially you’ve got a couple of guys that aren’t here that might be in the mix too.”

The Twins came through with eight runs in the game. In the third inning, Byungho Park and Jason Castro hit singles which were followed by a Jorge Polanco walk. Joe Mauer came up and hit a bases-loaded double to score two runners. A Brian Dozier ground out scored the third run of the inning. Max Kepler doubled to right-center, though Mauer was only able to advance to third base because the ball bounced off the tip of the center fielder’s glove and probably should have been caught. Mauer was tagging up to get to third base. Buxton walked before the final out was made. It was a nice inning

Molitor said “Buxton’s been a one or nine guy for us. To try to get him some bats in the middle of the lineup. With Joe, we tried that last year a little bit leading off. You might see a couple more combinations going forward."

Posted Image
photo by Seth Stohs

The Twins added another run in the fifth. Joe Mauer led off with a single up the middle. After Brian Dozier and Max Kepler flew out, Miguel Sano walked. Byron Buxton doubled to left to score Mauer.

For what it’s worth, Mauer was 2-3 with the two-run double. Buxton was 1-2 with a walk and an RBI double. For today, the lineup worked.

The Twins scored another four runs in the 7th inning, though it was the backups that created that offense. Ehire Adrianza walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Daniel Palka then walked. Eduardo Escobar singled in Adriana. After a fly out, Zack Granite walked. Matt Hague singled in a run. Chris Gimenez singled to score two more runs.

The Twins are on the next couple of days. Tomorrow they go to Jupiter tomorrow to play the Cardinals again. Then on Friday they will go to Bradenton to take on the Rays.

Asked if there could be more roster moves coming in the near future, Molitor noted that with the two road games. “There might be some more movement here by the end of the week.”
Feel free to discuss.

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31 Comments

Really great to see Mejia have a good outing.

Possibilities...

    • Danchat, GP830, Dozier's Glorious Hair and 1 other like this
A really good day for Mejia in what has been a good spring overall. I know there has been a lot of consternation about Vogelsong winning the 5th spot, even as a temporary solution to give the prospects like Mejia, Berrios and even Duffey time in AAA. I really don't like that idea and hope there are more days like today to force the Twins thinking to give the final spot to one of the youngsters. That would still, potentially, leave 2 of them in AAA to call up later, along with others potentially.

Anyone else impressed by the pen this spring?
    • Oldgoat_MN, mikelink45, David HK and 3 others like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Mar 15 2017 04:05 PM
Interesting that Molitor mentioned Ervin and Hector, but failed to mention Berrios, as being the potential starters who were absent due the WBC, thereby giving Mejias, and others, more looks. Maybe I'm reading something there that really means nothing. At any rate today Mejias pitched the best that any Twins' starter has pitched this spring.
    • CUtomorrownight and bighat like this

Was at the game today.Mejia very good and he got squeezed by the umpires on some strike calls.FB 92-94, ability to throw the slider both for slides and at the dirt and great command of the changeup was pretty impressive.At this point, I'd take him over Santiago who appears to be a long reliever for PR.

 

My biggest surprise this Spring has been Matt Hague, who got yet another hit; all this guy seems to do is hit, and he heads the team in OPS with 1.495.Definitely in a 3-way competition with Park and Vargas.

 

Pen was good.Unfortunately one or two good relievers will be caught in the numbers game again this season

    • Oldgoat_MN, Danchat, DocBauer and 6 others like this

 

My biggest surprise this Spring has been Matt Hague, who got yet another hit; all this guy seems to do is hit, and he heads the team in OPS with 1.495.Definitely in a 3-way competition with Park and Vargas.

 

Matt Hague is the definition of a AAAA player, if he has even a small chance of making this team we should riot. He's 31 and has never hit in limited MLB time. His minor league numbers are okay but not great - they certainly show no indication that he's anything exciting as a 1B/DH option. He's hit in a small sample this spring while batting late in games against minor league relievers and marginal pro pitching. One should not pay attention to spring training numbers but one should REALLY not pay attention to numbers of replacements in spring training games.

 

Vargas especially should be on this team to see what he can do - he's young enough to have upside. If not Vargas then Park, who we actually have an investment in. If Vargas and Park both don't deserve it, Grossman every day and another OF.

 

Matt Hague, ugh.

    • Mike Sixel, DJSim22, Kevin and 4 others like this

 

 

Vargas especially should be on this team to see what he can do - he's young enough to have upside.

 

Not arguing, but he chose to ride pine for team Puerto Rico for 3 weeks rather than being with the Twins to see what he can do. His choice.

 

    • Oldgoat_MN, markos, HitInAPinch and 3 others like this

Great to see the solid game from Mejia.  I would assume with only 12 AAA starts under his belt, Mejia will pitch at least a half season at Rochester.  If Mejia was the only left-handed rotation candidate, this might be a different story.  But with Santiago currently slotted for the rotation, that's a non-factor.

 

Not arguing, but he chose to ride pine for team Puerto Rico for 3 weeks rather than being with the Twins to see what he can do. His choice.

Many players have real country pride and we should respect, not condemn them for this.  

    • Seth Stohs, Mike Sixel, snepp and 5 others like this

 

Anyone else impressed by the pen this spring?

 

Generally, yes.  Can't complain.  Can point out, though, that a majority of innings for our bullpen guys come against the minor league backups.  But, the pen should look a tad sharper than last year.

 

Matt Hague is the definition of a AAAA player, if he has even a small chance of making this team we should riot. He's 31 and has never hit in limited MLB time. His minor league numbers are okay but not great - they certainly show no indication that he's anything exciting as a 1B/DH option. He's hit in a small sample this spring while batting late in games against minor league relievers and marginal pro pitching. One should not pay attention to spring training numbers but one should REALLY not pay attention to numbers of replacements in spring training games.

 

Vargas especially should be on this team to see what he can do - he's young enough to have upside. If not Vargas then Park, who we actually have an investment in. If Vargas and Park both don't deserve it, Grossman every day and another OF.

 

Matt Hague, ugh.

Matt Hague in 2014 in AAA: .282/.371/.465 (.836) in 442 PA
Matt Hague in 2015 in AAA: .338/.416/.468 (.884) in 596 PA

He's had a total of 91 PA in MLB, most of which came in 2012.

If we had a guy like that in AAA (we don’t) we’d all be screaming to have him get a shot at MLB. I’m not that adamant, as it’s not really clear what he did last year, but if he gets some at bats this year it’s likely not the end of the rebuild.

    • HitInAPinch and MN_ExPat like this

Went to the game today.  Agree on Mejia. Hope he gets a rotation spot. Really enjoyed the minor league games.  Duffey was sharp for two innings then struggled second time through the order. Seems like  a reliever.

 

Are there any minor league games tomorrow?

    • Oldgoat_MN and MN_ExPat like this

8 out of 11 strikeouts?!We all talk about how important it is to miss bats at any level, so...yeah...very nice even in spring training.

 

I vote that we ONLY trade with San Francisco in the future :) (Have we ever 'lost' a trade with them?)

    • Seth Stohs, CUtomorrownight and MN_ExPat like this
I too was at the game and Mejia was dealing and it was the Cards regulars who were whiffing. In the past regime, no way he'd make the squad, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised. I think it's time we take our best pitchers to Minnesota and not wait for more seasoning. Saw three games this week and like what I see from Park also.
    • Kevin, Oldgoat_MN, HitInAPinch and 3 others like this

 

Interesting that Molitor mentioned Ervin and Hector, but failed to mention Berrios, as being the potential starters who were absent due the WBC, thereby giving Mejias, and others, more looks. Maybe I'm reading something there that really means nothing. At any rate today Mejias pitched the best that any Twins' starter has pitched this spring.

 

Yeah, I don't sense that it's anything negative toward Berrios. Hector and Santana had already been discussed in the post-game scrum, so I'm sure they were top of mind. Berrios was discussed at other times, and he's certainly in the race. 

    • MN_ExPat likes this

 

Great to see the solid game from Mejia.  I would assume with only 12 AAA starts under his belt, Mejia will pitch at least a half season at Rochester.  If Mejia was the only left-handed rotation candidate, this might be a different story.  But with Santiago currently slotted for the rotation, that's a non-factor.

 

I think that's still most likely. He can use some time, but I think he's showing the reason Baseball America had him in their midseason Top 100 last year. He's certainly got some talent.

    • HitInAPinch, Dozier's Glorious Hair and MN_ExPat like this

 

Many players have real country pride and we should respect, not condemn them for this.  

 

I don't even know how to write about it but the pride of the players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican and Venezuela - the guys who are at Twins minor league camp - is unreal. The players stay up. There was a huge room full of almost all of the Puerto Ricans and Dominicans during last night's game. I had a nice, long chat on Tuesday with Dereck Rodriguez, and his tone and excitement about that team is great. He's stayeed up and watched every pitch of every Puerto Rico games so far. I've had numerous chats with Nelson Molina, and they are so proud.  

 

Santiago and Rosario were in no danger of losing a roster spot for Opening Day when they went, but obviously Berrios and Vargas probably didn't help their chances by going... and yet my guess is that they don't even have a second thought about their decision.

    • Oldgoat_MN, markos and MN_ExPat like this

 

Went to the game today.  Agree on Mejia. Hope he gets a rotation spot. Really enjoyed the minor league games.  Duffey was sharp for two innings then struggled second time through the order. Seems like  a reliever.

 

Are there any minor league games tomorrow?

 

I saw Duffey's "bad" inning. He was throwing the ball well, but some of those liners just found a spot. There was one liner to center that Quintin Berry dove for and just missed. The liner to left center was crushed. 

 

Tomorrow (Thursday), Rochester and Chattanooga will head to Port Charlotte. The Rays Low A and High A teams will play Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids on the back fields. 

 

I'll be there Thursday and Friday. Probably go to the big league game on Saturday. 

    • MN_ExPat likes this
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Taildragger8791
Mar 15 2017 08:24 PM

Any word on Nick Burdi? Has he been seeing any action on the minor league side? It sounds like he was healthy coming into spring training but I'm surprised I haven't seen his name anywhere.

    • HitInAPinch likes this

 

Any word on Nick Burdi? Has he been seeing any action on the minor league side? It sounds like he was healthy coming into spring training but I'm surprised I haven't seen his name anywhere.

 

Minor league games against other teams' minor league clubs started today :) Give it some time.

    • CUtomorrownight likes this

Looking forward to seeing more of Mejia and Berrios over the next 2 weeks and I'd be pretty excited to see one of them crack the rotation.  Personally, I've seen enough of Duffey as a starter and would feel better with him in the 'pen.  But that's just like, my opinion, man. 

    • Oldgoat_MN, Vanimal46 and MN_ExPat like this
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Taildragger8791
Mar 15 2017 08:33 PM

 

Minor league games against other teams' minor league clubs started today :) Give it some time.

 

Sweet. I try to be patient but there's so much mystery around this guy for such a high-potential athlete. Can't help but stir my curiosity!

    • Spikecurveball and HitInAPinch like this

I've said this before, and I'll say it again.  Just because a pitcher can go 6-7 innings in a game, or 150-200 innings in a season, doesn't mean they should.  I was a firm believe that Francisco Liriano should have been turned into a late inning reliever. He's had seasons of brilliance.  Generally speaking though, Liriano has problems with batters the 2nd and 3rd time through a lineup.  Hector Santiago is very similar.  Yes, he has the endurance, but what good is endurance when you can't find the plate, or you're getting HAMMERED?  Hector Santiago should be in the bullpen.  He'd make an excellent late inning reliever.  He's got good stuff, but that stuff is generally only good when the batter is getting one look at him.  2nd and 3rd looks are not to be desired.  Move him to the pen, before he embarrasses himself like he has done in year's past.

Not arguing, but he chose to ride pine for team Puerto Rico for 3 weeks rather than being with the Twins to see what he can do. His choice.


I'm saying it doesn't matter if he sat out three weeks to play Magic the Gathering. Kennys Vargas is a prospect with upside. Matt Hague is a non factor - it is in no way a three way race.
    • bighat likes this

I've said this before, and I'll say it again.  Just because a pitcher can go 6-7 innings in a game, or 150-200 innings in a season, doesn't mean they should.  I was a firm believe that Francisco Liriano should have been turned into a late inning reliever. He's had seasons of brilliance.  Generally speaking though, Liriano has problems with batters the 2nd and 3rd time through a lineup.  Hector Santiago is very similar.  Yes, he has the endurance, but what good is endurance when you can't find the plate, or you're getting HAMMERED?  Hector Santiago should be in the bullpen.  He'd make an excellent late inning reliever.  He's got good stuff, but that stuff is generally only good when the batter is getting one look at him.  2nd and 3rd looks are not to be desired.  Move him to the pen, before he embarrasses himself like he has done in year's past.


Francisco Liriano was a legitimate #2 starter on multiple playoff teams, it's ridiculous to say he should have been a reliever. To say that is to ignore that even an average starter is incredibly more valuable than a dominant reliever. You may have a point about Santiago but Liriano is terrible evidence. It'd be like me arguing that an old Toyota should go to the junkyard because I once had a Ferrari that stalled.
    • Thrylos, Mike Sixel, HitInAPinch and 1 other like this
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FormerMinnasotan
Mar 15 2017 11:37 PM
In my mind as of now the two front runners for the final rotation spot should be Berrios and Mejia. Vogelsong has pitched pretty putrid in spring training to the tune of a 7.94 ERA and since he doesn't have a set 40 man spot he shouldn't be in the running if he can't show the team something now (a 7.94 ERA shouldn't cut it). Berrios has looked somewhat better in his brief time in spring training and to be honest his rookie season looked an awful like Trevor May's rookie season, yet after May's rookie season he made the team as the #5 the following year out of camp so why not have some of the same patience with Berrios that they originally had with May? But as of now I would want to see Mejia get it as I feel he is most "deserving" of the spot based on his performance.
    • Vanimal46, Dozier's Glorious Hair and bighat like this

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