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2020 MINOR LEAGUE SEASON

Twins Minor League Talk 29 May 2020
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Twins 5, Tigers 1: Dobnak Dazzles, Gonzalez Debuts and More

In a battle of AL Central foes, the Twins topped Ron Gardenhire, Kennys Vargas and the Detroit Tigers. Randy Dobnak looked impressive. Maybe too impressive? Marwin Gonzalez had an impressive spring debut. Edwar Colina hitting 100. More notes from today at Hammond Stadium.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
There is a competition for the Twins fifth starter job, and on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium, Randy Dobnak made another strong case for himself. The right-hander worked the first three innings and needed just 31 pitches. He gave up one hit - an infield single down the third base line. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out two batters.

In spring, it’s about getting guys their work. Tyler Clippard came in for the fourth inning, and Randy Dobnak went down to the bullpen.

“I threw 25 pitches in the bullpen.” Dobnak continued, “I don't know what the goal was, but I think it was like 55-60, plus all the warmups.”

Rocco Baldelli said after the game that Dobnak pitched great. “he threw the ball very well. I think that he was doing everything he wanted to do out there. He spun the ball well. He got some swings and misses. He found himself in a very good place. So good, in fact, that he found himself throwing some extra pitches in the bullpen. But we're going to take that.”

One inquisitive writer asked the manager after the game if it was almost tougher to evaluate Dobnak’s performance because it was so efficient.

Baldelli noted, “I think there are times in spring training that you do almost hope that your pitchers get stressed. You want them to go out there and throw more pitches than they planned on, more pitches per inning than they planned on. You want there to be some runners on base. You want them to go back up a few bases. These things are going to happen during the season. Just to prepare them, I think it does help. You can never complain about an outing like that. He threw the ball very well. ”

For Dobnak’s part, he’s not worrying about being too good this spring or too efficient.

He said, “Still trying to work on some pitches here and there, but i'm still competing for a spot.”

Dobnak is still working on things: “Today I was trying to get more depth on my slider. I've been working on that lately.” He added,“The changeup’s been working pretty well for me. Threw a few today that were pretty nice. I'm pleased with that. Next step will be the slider. Then I'll work on the sinker.”

He was also excited to find himself with a defense filled with regulars.

“Yeah. They're good. I get a lot of ground balls, so having the infield out there is nice to have. Marwin made a nice play in the first inning. Donaldson made a nice play. Polanco made a nice play. So, it's nice to have them out there.”

In the first inning, Marwin Gonzalez made a diving play. In the second inning, Jorge Polanco made a nice play on a slow roller in the hole to his right. The next batter hit a ball to Josh Donaldson’s left. Donaldson made a tough play look easy.

Dobnak finds himself in competition with veteran Jhoulys Chacin and fellow 2019 debuters Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe.

Camp is nearly half over, how do you think the fifth starting job is shaping up?


Marwin Gonzalez Debuts

There were no boos (at least none that were noticeable) when Marwin Gonzalez’s name was announced in the starting lineup or when he came to the plate for his two at-bats.

The versatile, everyday player made his first appearance this spring. He had knee surgery in October and did very little for about two months. He began with light workouts in December.



He has been working hard since to get ready for play. He got tested right away and succeeded with the diving play at second base. His bat sure looked ready to roll.

He said after his day was complete, “"Happy to be back on the field. I was kind of nervous about my knee, but it felt good."”

Gonzalez hit a two-run double down the right field line in his first at-bat. Gonzalez said, "I was aggressive, man. I swung at four out of four pitches in that first at-bat."

His second at-bat ended with a long home run to right-center field. “That was good. That wasn't the plan, but that was good.”



Baldelli said, “Marwin put some excellent swings on the ball. I think his blood got flowing right away in the game having to make that play right off the bat and coming off of surgery and an offseason of hard work and rehabbing himself, that definitely gives you a lot of confidence”


Sano Update

Miguel Sano made a couple of nice plays at first base on Tuesday afternoon. But we’re here for the Bombas, right? Sano hit a line drive single to left field in his first at-bat and showed some speed in scoring from first base easily on Gonzalez’s double. In his seventh-inning at bat against Tigers RHP prospect Kyle Funkhouse, Sano connected for a long home run to right-center.




Colina Impressive

Edwar Colina threw a scoreless ninth inning. He was hitting 99 with regularity and the scoreboard did show 100 mph on one pitch. He also showed a good, sharp slider at 85-87. The final batter hit a line drive back at him that hit him in the foot and bounced toward first base. He collected himself, ran to first and the final out was recorded.

Following the game, he said he was just fine.


Nick Gordon Update

The Twins have a complete day off on Wednesday. Baldelli said a couple of players will just play some catch, but the team will not be working out at all. Nick Gordon is expected to play when the Twins return to action on Thursday. Baldelli noted, “He's cleared. He's ready to go.”

Any questions, feel free to ask.

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30 Comments

I'm a big Dobsie fan. Downward plane, works fast, late break on his spinners, and built like a horse. But here's a key:

 

"Dobnak is still working on things: “Today I was trying to get more depth on my slider. I've been working on that lately.” He added,“The changeup’s been working pretty well for me. Threw a few today that were pretty nice. I'm pleased with that. Next step will be the slider. Then I'll work on the sinker."

 

Notice what's missing from his self-eval? Throwing strikes. Dobs is past that in his development. He's already got command of the zone; now he's working on how to exploit the zone with new tricks. To me, Dobnak is simply going to continue getting better. Might even wind up being an ace. 

    • glunn, birdwatcher, Blake and 14 others like this
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Doctor Gast
Mar 03 2020 05:14 PM

Looks like he`ll be the #5 pitcher unless something drastic happens which I hope not

    • gil4, Danchat and Richard Swerdlick like this

Thorpe still absent, Chacin looked terrible, Smeltzer okay, Dobnak looked great.Way to grab the prize.Still time, but right now he is the man.

    • glunn, adorduan, laloesch and 1 other like this

 

Thorpe still absent, Chacin looked terrible, Smeltzer okay, Dobnak looked great.Way to grab the prize.Still time, but right now he is the man.

 

Thorpe is back in camp, though he's clearly behind the competition for that spot at this point. 

    • glunn, Blake, Mike Frasier Law and 1 other like this

Don't see any reason not to give the job to Dobnak at this point. 

 

I wonder if we may see Colina in the bullpen later in the season...

    • wabene likes this
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IndianaTwin
Mar 03 2020 06:19 PM

Do we know if Chacin has an opt out? And if he would accept a minor league spot if it came to that? 

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howieramone2
Mar 03 2020 06:38 PM
Chacin still has time. I would guess rival scouts are watching. There are a number of desperate teams out there. The Red Sox and Angels come to mind. If you follow MLBTR you'll see it changes almost daily.

there is still about three weeks of camp left and lots of games.But it sure looks to me that if Dobnak continues pitching like he has, the #5 job is his.That is unless Chacin also does well and they are playing an options game to keep him.

 

Could easily see Smeltzer begin the season in long relief out of the pen.That is unless that slot also goes to Chacin.With the lost time behind him, gotta believe Thorpe begins his season in Rochester's starting rotation.

 

I saw that Jax pitched an inning the other day.How did he look, Seth?Do you see Duran beginning as a starter in Rochester, or working out of their pen?

Colina went 99-100-100-99 on the sequence of fastballs I was watching on the stadium gun.




Big fan of his potential for the bullpen. Imagine he'll get sent across the parking lot to get stretched out soon, but theres a lot of similarity to Graterol with him.
    • milldam, Sconnie, DocBauer and 4 others like this

Dobnak is really dueling for that final spot - he knows it, he's not afraid to talk about it, and he's pitching like he wants that job. I saw him a couple weeks ago in ST, after he walked off the mound a few fans said "Good job Randy!" and he just looked back and said "thanks" in this refreshingly humble way. Rooting for the guy, I like this kid!

    • DocBauer, wabene, rdehring and 1 other like this

 

Do we know if Chacin has an opt out? And if he would accept a minor league spot if it came to that? 

 

He does... and it's right before the season starts... I would assume he would elect to become a free agent. 

 

Chacin still has time. I would guess rival scouts are watching. There are a number of desperate teams out there. The Red Sox and Angels come to mind. If you follow MLBTR you'll see it changes almost daily.

 

Yeah, no reason to even worry about his stats yet. He's a long-time veteran. He should get right up to the end to make that decision. And that decision is basically ... is he what he was in 2019... or is he what he was for a long time before that. 

    • bighat likes this

 

there is still about three weeks of camp left and lots of games.But it sure looks to me that if Dobnak continues pitching like he has, the #5 job is his.That is unless Chacin also does well and they are playing an options game to keep him.

 

Could easily see Smeltzer begin the season in long relief out of the pen.That is unless that slot also goes to Chacin.With the lost time behind him, gotta believe Thorpe begins his season in Rochester's starting rotation.

 

I saw that Jax pitched an inning the other day.How did he look, Seth?Do you see Duran beginning as a starter in Rochester, or working out of their pen?

 

I'd be surprised to see Smeltzer out of gate. Shocked actually.

 

I don't go to road games, so I didn't see Jax in person. 

 

Duran will start in Pensacola. He wasn't there very long last year. They'll keep him starting as long as they can.

    • rdehring likes this

I've felt that Dobnak has gotten somewhat since overlooked last year.Yeah, his laststart didn't go so well, but in general he pitched really well last year.IF he's our 5th starter, and he pitches as well this year as he did last, we've one of the best 5th starters in MLB.Sure it's good to bring in people to challenge, but he was more effective than Smeltzer and Thorpe last year.IF Chacin outpitches Dobnak this spring, and shows he's back to his 3 year ago self, then that's a great find, but to me, Dobnak is the presumptive candidtate until somebody outpitches him.

    • mikelink45, DocBauer, rdehring and 1 other like this
Absolutely love these updates, Seth! Thank you!

1] Gleeman has commented a couple times from his sources the Twins really like Thorpe. I do as well. But he's behind everyone else. He also referenced the Twins wanting/needing him to continue to stretch put and start and is probably not a pen candidate for that reason. I agree. But a comment he made puzzles me somewhat. Dobnak, being a little older, and probably less of a ceiling, is a guy you feel OK getting the most out of now, including a possible bullpen role. I can't really disagree, and he's shown thus far he is up for anything...but...I think some people are selling him a little short on his potential. I think the guy is super smart and has the innate ability to "pitch".

I think Chacin has a leg up, however, if he shows well the next few weeks, due to experience, past performance, and the option factor.

2] Someone PLEASE get Colina to find a quality 3rd pitch. Just have a hunch about this kid.

3] Was really happy to see Marwin get time at 2B. I don't think there is any question Adrianza is our best "reserve" middle infielder. But Gonzalez is only 30-31 and not some decrepit old timer. You never know when he may be needed on the dirt. I like him getting time there.
    • NoCryingInBaseball, rdehring, DannySD and 1 other like this
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stringer bell
Mar 03 2020 08:28 PM
It is still really early to include or exclude a player in an open competition. Dobnak has been very good so far, Chacín has a bad inning, Thorpe is just now back and Smeltzer has been OK, I guess. There are three weeks left, lots of time to shine or sink.
    • Mike Frasier Law, Dantes929, NoCryingInBaseball and 2 others like this

 

Thorpe is back in camp, though he's clearly behind the competition for that spot at this point. 

Thanks - I missed his return.I do hope he has a clear mind, good conditioning and gets into the competition - I would love to have Thorpe and Dobnak be the final two.

    • Mike Frasier Law likes this

 

I've felt that Dobnak has gotten somewhat since overlooked last year.Yeah, his laststart didn't go so well, but in general he pitched really well last year.IF he's our 5th starter, and he pitches as well this year as he did last, we've one of the best 5th starters in MLB.Sure it's good to bring in people to challenge, but he was more effective than Smeltzer and Thorpe last year.IF Chacin outpitches Dobnak this spring, and shows he's back to his 3 year ago self, then that's a great find, but to me, Dobnak is the presumptive candidtate until somebody outpitches him.

 

Yeah, the story is amazing, no doubt, but it almost takes away from the fact that he is a really good pitcher. He really is. There have been several articles on TD over the offseason to that fact. It's fun to see him doing so well this spring. 

    • Mike Frasier Law, mikelink45 and Sconnie like this

 

Absolutely love these updates, Seth! Thank you!

1] Gleeman has commented a couple times from his sources the Twins really like Thorpe. I do as well. But he's behind everyone else. He also referenced the Twins wanting/needing him to continue to stretch put and start and is probably not a pen candidate for that reason. I agree. But a comment he made puzzles me somewhat. Dobnak, being a little older, and probably less of a ceiling, is a guy you feel OK getting the most out of now, including a possible bullpen role. I can't really disagree, and he's shown thus far he is up for anything...but...I think some people are selling him a little short on his potential. I think the guy is super smart and has the innate ability to "pitch".

I think Chacin has a leg up, however, if he shows well the next few weeks, due to experience, past performance, and the option factor.

2] Someone PLEASE get Colina to find a quality 3rd pitch. Just have a hunch about this kid.

3] Was really happy to see Marwin get time at 2B. I don't think there is any question Adrianza is our best "reserve" middle infielder. But Gonzalez is only 30-31 and not some decrepit old timer. You never know when he may be needed on the dirt. I like him getting time there.

 

 

1.) BIrthdays: Dobnak (Jan 1995), Smeltzer (Sept 1995), Thorpe (Nov 1995)

 

So the difference in their age isn't a big deal. Dobnak is the oldest, but he just turned 25 in January. I do think some people are selling him short... and maybe selling this Falvey/Cleveland/Pitcher Development thing short. Dobnak may not have a ton of strikeouts, but why can't he be the Twins version of one of those Cleveland starters. That also, said, I have no problem with him being a long relief option out of the bullpen. But I'd say that for any of them. They all have a little more in them, potentially. They all could also work out of a bullpen role at this stage. First, because they're old enough and close enough, and second, the team is in Win Now mode... So the thinking is naturally a little different now than it would be if the team was a 4th place team. 

 

2.) Colina has been a starter all along, so he's got a 3rd pitch, but it's (like every starting pitcher) the pitch that will likely determine if he is a starter or reliever long-term. He's also young enough that he should go to Pensacola to start the season as a starter. There is absolutely no rush as he doesn't have to be added to the 40-man until after this season. 

 

3.) He'll get some time there, but there's generally little need for it with Polanco, Arraez and Adrianza. Gonzalez can play the four corners as he gets healthy. Good coverage. 

    • SQUIRREL, Mike Frasier Law, mikelink45 and 3 others like this
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JoshDungan1
Mar 03 2020 11:44 PM

Lotta Twins regulars coming off of offseason procedures. Hopefully their recoveries from those don't affect too much of the regular season.

Don't look now, but for ever it is worth, our Twins have the worst ST team average in MLB right now. .203 And are 3rd to the last in OPS at .661. It means nothing, right? Almost all the offensive stats are dreadful. And tied for last in SB. They are tied for 3rd in HRs, though.....

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howieramone2
Mar 04 2020 04:27 AM
Break up the Twins!

 

1.) BIrthdays: Dobnak (Jan 1995), Smeltzer (Sept 1995), Thorpe (Nov 1995)

 

So the difference in their age isn't a big deal. Dobnak is the oldest, but he just turned 25 in January. I do think some people are selling him short... and maybe selling this Falvey/Cleveland/Pitcher Development thing short. Dobnak may not have a ton of strikeouts, but why can't he be the Twins version of one of those Cleveland starters. 

 

 

 

Cleveland was hammered with rotation injuries. They had no choice, they needed Civale and Plesac.

 

Now they have purposely chosen Civale and Plesac. 

 

The Twins remained healthy and chose Martin Perez. Now they have chosen Homer Bailey. 

 

The Twins are not Cleveland yet. :)

    • Tomj14 likes this
You can never be to good in a competition. Eff the options game. Best man goes north with the team.
    • Riverbrian likes this

 

Don't look now, but for ever it is worth, our Twins have the worst ST team average in MLB right now. .203 And are 3rd to the last in OPS at .661. It means nothing, right? Almost all the offensive stats are dreadful. And tied for last in SB. They are tied for 3rd in HRs, though.....

Go ahead and look...9 of the top 14 in terms of at-bats have either no chance of making the team or no chance of getting a lot of playing time if they do.

 

...wait, Sano has an OPS of .694???Season.OVAH.

    • birdwatcher likes this

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