On Thursday morning, the Twins front office performed one of their most difficult tasks. They informed six minor league players that their dream of playing in the big leagues for the Minnesota Twins was at an end - that they had been released. I'd like to highlight the players released because they all put in some quality time in the Twins organization and deserve to be recognized once more as they exit the organization. Some of them may be able to hook on with another organization. Some may play some independent league baseball. Some may end their baseball dream all together and go another direction. In any case, I certainly wish the best to all of them.
- He was the Twins 7th round pick out of Cincinnati. He signed quickly and was named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year that summer when he went 7-0 with a 3.00 ERA, eight walks and 104 strikeouts in 75 innings. He tossed a no-hitter for the Beloit Snappers in 2010 and was named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week twice in a row before pitching very well in Ft. Myers the rest of that season. He fought arm injuries throughout the 2011 season and hoped to rebound in 2012.
- The 6-8 left-hander was the Twins 12th round pick in 2007 out of Connecticut. After struggling as a starter in Ft. Myers in 2010, he pitched out of the bullpen in 2011 with a good level of success. He even made a couple of appearances in Rochester when needed. Although he was tall, he did not throw very hard.
- He was an All-American at Texas State in 2009 when the Twins drafted him in the 21st round. In 2010, he began the season as the Beloit Snappers closer before moving up to Ft. Myers as a starter. He pitched so well that he ended the season in New Britain where he made a start. He went back to Ft. Myers to start 2011 and although he pitched well in April, he struggled the rest of the season. His season ended early and he came to camp this spring hoping to take a step forward in the eyes of the organization.
- The Twins drafted Weller out of his Key West high school in the 14th round of the 2008 draft. He signed in the last hour before the deadline. He teamed with Adrian Salcedo and BJ Hermsen and pitched great (5-1, 1.58 ERA) in the GCL in 2009. He struggled as a starter in 2010, and last year he struggled in the Beloit bullpen before ending the season making a couple of starts.
- He signed with the Twins after the 2010 season at the University of St. Thomas. He had an incredible career with the Tommies. He pitched well with the GCL Twins upon signing and held his own when he was pushed up to Ft. Myers. Last year, he quickly moved up to the Miracle and pitched well enough to be promoted to New Britain when there was a need. This one surprised me a little because he was a non-drafted free agent who got up to AA within a year of signing.
- This one surprised me more than any of the rest, by a lot. He was the team's 43rd round pick out of junior college in 2010. He debuted with the GCL Twins that year and posted a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings. Last year, he spent half of the season in the E-Twins bullpen before moving into their rotation. He went 5-2 with a 2.84 ERA. In 57 innings, he walked 26 and struck out 61. At one point, he threw 19 consecutive scoreless innings as a starter. The 22-year-old throws from a 3/4 angle. I guess I'm just really surprised based on his numbers that he wouldn't at least get an opportunity to start the season in Beloit.
Again, each of these pitchers put in some time in the Twins organization, and each of them experienced quite a bit of success. We certainly wish the best for them in whatever their next steps are. Unfortunately, these will not be the last of the minor league releases.