To make the top 15 on this list, a player had to be signed before 2009. There are some interesting names that you may not have realized have been with the Twins for so long. In fact, there may be a couple that you have never heard of and I’ll add a few more names to take us to 2008.
So, here you have it, a look at the Top 15 most tenured players in the Minnesota Twins organization:
- Hein Robb – Signed from South Africa as a 16 year old in July 2008.
- The June 2008 Twins draft class and round taken – Aaron Hicks (1), Danny Ortiz (4), BJ Hermsen (6), Michael Gonzales (9), Evan Bigley (10), Nate Hanson (28), Michael Tonkin (30).
- Deolis Guerra came to the Twins in the January 2008 trade from the Mets for a certain left-handed pitcher.
- In December 2007, the Twins signed Danny Santana and Adrian Salcedo as 16 year old free agents.
The Top 15
#14/#15 – On July 4, 2007, the Twins signed a left-handed reliever named Jose Gonzalez and a left-handed hitting outfielder named Oswaldo Arcia. Arcia debuted as a 21-year-old in April and showed signs of the type of hitter that he has become. Gonzalez has been a very good reliever in the lower levels of the system, but he has struggled in his transition to AA the last two years.
#13 – Dan Rohlfing was the Twins 14th round pick of the Twins in 2007 out of his high school in St. Louis. After splitting the 2013 season between New Britain and Rochester, he signed quickly with the Twins following the season to avoid becoming a free agent. He has primarily caught in the Twins system, though he’s a good athlete and can play a solid corner outfield, too.
#12 – Jairo Rodriguez signed with the Twins in May of 2007. Like Rohlfing, he signed quickly to return to the Twins as a backup minor league catcher. In 2013, he played for Cedar Rapids, New Britain and even played in a game with Rochester.
#11 – Liam Hendriks signed out of Australia in February of 2007. After missing the 2008 season with a spinal injury, Hendriks flew through the minor leagues in 2010 and 2011, pitching at five levels those seasons. Since then, he has gone back and forth between the Twins and the Red Wings, hoping to stick with the big league club.
#10 – Chris Parmelee is the only member of the Twins 2006 draft who is still in the organization. He is out of options so he will need to remain with the Twins or they risk losing him to another team. With Joe Mauer’s move to first base, Parmelee will need to make it as a corner outfielder and pinch hitter.
#9 – Josmil Pinto signed with the Twins in February of 2006. He could have become a minor league free agent following the World Series in 2012, but he decided to avoid that and return to the Twins. They added him to the 40 man roster a year ago and he had another strong season in 2013, including a tremendous showing with the Twins in September.
#8 – Edgar Ibarra signed with the Twins in January of 2006. Like Pinto, Ibarra avoided free agency after the 2012 season and put together a solid 2013 campaign. That, along with a good repertoire, including a fastball the regularly hits 94, earned him a spot on the Twins 40 man roster following the 2013 season. 2014 will mark his first big league camp with the Twins.
#7 – James Beresford, from Australia, signed with the Twins in August of 2005 as a skinny kid. His missed a season and has just gradually worked his way up the system. Again, he became a minor league free agent last offseason and came back to the Twins. He re-signed much more quickly with the Twins this offseason.
#6 – Brian Duensing was one of two third round picks by the Twins in 2005, out of the University of Nebraska. He moved quickly through the Twins minor league system as a starter. He was given a couple opportunities as a starter in the big leagues, but his inability to get right-handers out while dominating lefties meant he would be given an opportunity out of the bullpen. In 2013, he struggled against lefties too, but he should bounce back strong in 2014.
#5 – Deibinson Romero signed out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2004 and has been with the organization since. He was actually a member of the Twins 40 man roster in his first year of eligibility, but injuries affected him earlier in this career. He was invited to the big league camp last year, but he had visa issues and could not come to America until the regular season was about to start. He’s got good power and provides organizational depth at third base.
#4, #3, #2 – The Twins had a lot of draft picks in 2004 and three of them remain with the Twins. Second round pick Anthony Swarzak has been very good as a long reliever the last couple seasons. Glen Perkins became an All-Star for the first time in 2013. Trevor Plouffe remains a question mark at the hot corner, though that six week stretch in 2012 still gives us hope.
#1 – Joe Mauer is now the longest tenured Twins player, having signed in 2001 after being the #1 overall pick in the draft. I won’t get into all of the accolades, the AL MVP, the three batting titles, the Gold Glove Awards, the Silver Sluggers, etc. He’s moving to first base this year after his Hall of Fame first decade in a Twins uniform at catcher.
So there you have it, the players in the Twins farm system who have been in the system the longest, consecutively. Some of the names may not surprise you, but I’m certain you wouldn’t have guessed everyone on this list.
Feel free to leave your thoughts, or let me know if I forgot anyone. I didn’t count Ron Gardenhire who has been in the organization since 1987, or Terry Ryan who has been around since 1986, though maybe not consecutively.