I promised last week we would have a minor league update each day from last Thursday through Labor Day. In a way, I have to go back on that promise. Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids both had a scheduled off day. Rochester and New Britain both had games rained out. So, none of the four full-season affiliates played a game.
That said, I thought it would still make sense to post a couple of minor league updates. With the transactions of the last couple of days, there is plenty of good information to pass along. As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.
CHRIS HERRMANN PROMOTED
It was posted here on Sunday afternoon, but the Twins made it official on Monday morning. Chris Herrmann had been promoted to the Minnesota Twins. However, whose roster spot would he take? Would it be Oswaldo Arcia who has a wrist issue that still could put him on the disabled list on Wednesday? Could it be Josh Willingham who was hit on the wrist/hand with a Justin Masterson pitch? No, the Twins put Jason Bartlett on the disabled list with an ankle injury.
Herrmann has played nearly everywhere in his career. Obviously he has been a catcher and seen a lot of time in recent years. However, as recently as three years ago, in the Florida State League, he played more outfield than catcher. In fact, he spent a couple weeks playing centerfield before Jhon Goncalves came over to the Miracle. At that time, a source near the Miracle told me Herrmann was arguably the best defensive left fielder in the league. In his college days, at Miami, he played primarily third base, but also some at second base. As you know, this spring, he played some first base. So, he can literally get time at eight positions for the Twins if needed.
TWINS ACQUIRE EDUARDO NUNEZ FOR MIGUEL SULBARAN
Just a couple of hours later, the Twins announced that they had acquired shortstop Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees in exchange for Cedar Rapids lefty Miguel Sulbaran. This means that the Twins have 39 men on their 40 man roster.
The Yankees had DFAd Nunez in recent days and were able to work out a deal with the Twins. Nunez was always thought highly of as a future shortstop, but his performance, and reportedly his attitude, never allowed that to happen. Nunez could compete, in time, to be the Twins starting shortstop, although he will first head to Rochester to get some at bats.
Sulbaran came to the Twins in the Drew Butera trade last August. The diminutive left-hander came to Twins spring training out of shape which is a big reason he was sent to Cedar Rapids to start the season. He had pitched in one inning for the Kernels this season.
FOLLOW UP TRANSACTIONS
I was informed last night that there would not be any follow-up transaction in Rochester. You see, no one was added to the Red Wings roster when Chris Herrmann was promoted, so the team doesnít need to make any additional room.
What will be interesting is to see how Gene Glynn is able to mold his roster and his lineups from day to day. One would assume that the organization will want to continue playing Danny Santana at shortstop. Deibinson Romero has been playing third base with James Beresford at second base. Doug Bernier can play all three infield positions. Eric Farris can play outfield to go along with playing second base. Nunez will likely play all three infield positions as well.
WHO TAKES SULBARANíS SPOT in CEDAR RAPIDS?
There was quite a bit of speculation about who would take Miguel Sulbaranís spot with the Kernels. Of course, the big names are Stephen Gonsalves, Lewis Thorpe and Fernando Romero. I expect Gonsalves to move up to Cedar Rapids sometime before the short-season starts, but Thorpe and Romero will most likely pitch in the Appy League in 2013.
However, the easy choice for replacing Sulbaran is the one who was promoted. The Twins decided to send RHP Ethan Mildren to the Kernels where he is expected to start in the next few days. Mildren was the Twins 12th
round pick a year ago out of the University of Pittsburgh. He pitched in 12 games for the Elizabethton Twins last year following the draft.
POLANCO AT SHORTSTOP
Through the offseason, the Twins remained consistent that they wanted to give Jorge Polanco a real opportunity at shortstop. When he was in big league camp, he only played games at second base. However, in the workouts and on the back fields, he took a ton of ground balls at shortstop. When he went to minor league camp, he spent all his time at shortstop. Last year in Cedar Rapids, Polanco played second base 57 times and shortstop 49 times. Most of that time at shortstop was when Niko Goodrum was hurt (concussion in first half, groin injury in second half).
However, as this season begins, the Miracle have trotted out a lineup that has had Jorge Polanco at shortstop in all four games. Niko Goodrum has played at third base all four games. I admit, I am a bit surprised. But now that Iíve been able to give it some thought, the Twins are giving him this opportunity, knowing that he is just fine at second base but needing to determine if he can play shortstop.
My personal opinion is he will be at second base by the second half of the season with Goodrum returning to shortstop. That said, there has long been talk about Goodrum eventually moving to third base as he continues to grow and mature. So, in the long run, this time of playing a second position is likely a good thing for both players as well as the organization.
When I first looked at all the minor league Opening Day rosters, one name jumped out to me more than any other as a guy who was a level lower than he should have been. It takes a lock to shock me anymore, but that was the biggest surprise for me. AJ Achter returning to New Britain shocked me.
In 2012, Achter was my choice for Twins minor league reliever of the year for his performance between Beloit and Ft. Myers. Last year, he began the season in New Britain where he posted a 2.21 ERA in 25 games. He moved up to Rochester where he posted a 3.04 ERA in 16 more games. He walked too many, but he showed he was ready for the level. He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League.
Over nearly a decade of watching minor league box scores, I have seen quite a few players who started back at a level I didnít think they should be. One of two things happen. Sometimes, they get frustrated and end up not playing well at all. Thatís obviously not ideal. Others overcome their frustration and dominate the level before quickly getting a promotion. To this point, which is a very small sample size, Achter fits in the latter category. In two outings for the Rock Cats, he has given up just three hits and a walk over 5.2 innings. He struck out nine.
Lefty Corey Williams had his Tommy John surgery last Tuesday (April 1, 2014). He is back in Ft. Myers where his rehab will take place. The surgery was deemed successful. We certainly wish him well in his recovery.
RHP Tyler Jones, my choice for Twins minor league relief pitcher of the year in 2013, is getting closer to his return. He had a sore flexor-pronator, which is the same injury that cost him several weeks last season. He pitched two innings in an extended spring training today as part of the rehab. Heíll get two days off before going back-to-back days. At that point, he will be assigned, most likely to the Miracle.
Itís been a tough month for Zack Jones. As we reported here first, he had surgery to remove an aneurysm from his shoulder. After that, doctors found that he also had a blood clot in his leg. He recently informed me that he is making very good progress and should be flying to Ft. Myers in about a week to begin rehabbing.
TUESDAYíS PROBABLE STARTERS
Scranton/Wilkes Barre @ Rochester (DH at 3:35 CST) Ė Kris Johnson, Trevor May
Harrisburg @ New Britain (5:35 CST) Ė Sean Gilmartin
Charlotte @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) Ė Mason Melotakis
Cedar Rapids @ Great Lakes (5:05 CST) Ė Felix Jorge