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Article: Report From The Fort: Minor League Notebook

lewis thorpe trevor hildenberger nelson molina dereck rodriguez tommy watkins
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 09:27 PM

Twins Daily is the place to go for Twins minor league information. While I am down here, I am hoping to cover both the big league club and the minor league side of things. Nick did a great job today of covering the unfortunate Trevor May news and the Twins 13-0 win over a split Boston Red Sox club. I’m going to provide my first Minor League Report from the Fort tonight.

Please feel free to ask any questions you would like, and I will answer them as I am able. I also encourage you to ask questions that you would like me to dig into while I am here. I will try to answer (or get answered) as many as I can.

As a quick note, I’ll likely be doing some Live Twitter/Periscope broadcasting throughout the next week, so be sure to follow Seth and Twins Daily on Twitter. I’ll be taking a ton of photos too, so be sure to Like Twins Daily on Facebook.Below you will find a smorgasbord of topics regarding the Twins minor leagues. Although it is not known for sure, the assumption is that the Twins will make their first big league roster cuts on Monday. On Sunday, the Twins will play a split doubleheader so they’ll need all the players they can get. Expect the first cut to involve a lot of players. 40-man roster guys who aren’t going to compete for a big league job will likely be in that first group. Also starting pitchers who aren’t really competing for an Opening Day roster spot should also be sent down. They need to start building up their pitch count to be ready to throw 80-90 pitches in a game by Opening Day. So, who is in minor league camp will certainly change several times.

Dereck Rodriguez is on the Puerto Rico WBC roster, but you may have seen pictures of him in Ft. Myers. He is an alternate on the Puerto Rico team, and so he is staying in Ft. Myers to continue to work and prepare himself for the season. If Puerto Rico advances to the second round (pretty likely, I would think) Rodriguez could join them then.

Tommy Watkins saw me at the end of practice on Friday. I congratulated him on getting an opportunity to manage. He is very excited for the opportunity. He’s been working with minor league players the last couple of months. He said that almost 100 players reported before minor league report day. Again, the academy is creating an opportunity for players to put in work before they even have to. Watkins also said that they were doing community events three to four times a week. They visited hospitals and schools and conducted a couple of camps.

Trey Cabbage injured his foot in minor league camp. He called it a “stupid freak accident.” He hopes to get back on the field within a couple of weeks.

Trevor Hildenberger threw a bullpen today. He said it went well and his elbow is “all good” and he’s going “full bore.”

Speaking of guys returning, Lewis Thorpe was back on the mound, and he is ‘full-go’ to do all spring training activities. He was a Top 10 Twins prospect before he missed two seasons with, first, Tommy John surgery and then a season-long illness. He could certainly get back to that status by the end of the year. It will be an interesting season for him. Will he start in extended spring training to avoid Cedar Rapids in April? Could he just start with the Miracle? It’ll be interesting to see his innings limit, but he’s essentially where Fernando Romero was a year ago at this time so that’s probably a good barometer.



I met Nelson Molina last May in Cedar Rapids. The infielder had spent a month with the Kernels and was off to a good start. He ended the year hitting .300/.374/.381 (.755) and was named to the Twins Daily Minor League All-Star team as a third baseman.

As I mentioned in the Twins Minor League Primer earlier this week, Molina was coming back from injury. He had a broken hamate bone. At the end of practice, Molina came over to me and we discussed the injury. It was in his right hand. He was playing in his first game in the Puerto Rico Winter League and he flew out to left field in an at-bat and felt pain in his hand. His doctor told him that the bone was already broken and he didn’t even know it. He said he is almost thankful that it happened in the winter so that he could have surgery right away. Had he not played in Puerto Rico, he would have come to spring training and it would have broken early in spring training. Instead of just now having surgery, he is 100% and ready for the season.

Like so many, Molina was up late on Friday night watching Team Puerto Rico beat Venezuela in the WBC. At the Twins Academy, the WBC has become must-watch TV.



And the most important thing I’ve learned through one-plus days of minor league camp… The Twins got rid of their old rule that minor leaguers could not have beards. Young adults can be treated like adults. They can be individuals. Next up, maybe baseball will let minor leaguers get paid a fair wage. One thing at a time, right?

The last three days, the minor leaguers have been working in four work groups.On Sunday, they will work out in the morning and then at noon there will be intrasquad games. Rochester will take on Chattanooga on one field, and Fort Myers will challenge Cedar Rapids on the other field. The same thing will happen on Monday, though the “GCL Twins” will take on Bethel University again this year. Bethel, as you recall, is coached by former Gopher and former Twins player Brian Raabe. Tuesday will be more afternoon intrasquad games. Starting Wednesday, the teams will start playing against other teams. It will be AAA vs AAA, and AA vs AA and so on. They will play teams of the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays. On those days, two teams will travel and two teams will play on the back fields.

We’ll be back with more throughout the next week. Again, feel free to use the comments section below to ask questions about this article or things you would like me to dig into on the back fields.

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#2 Homer Hanky

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 06:16 AM

Thanks... Great update Seth


#3 beckmt

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 07:29 AM

Seth, nice report, when will the first cuts come from the major league camp, so we start getting an idea of what the 4 full season rosters will look like.
Also where will Hildenberger, Reed, and Burdi start this year.

#4 roger

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 08:48 AM

Thanks for the update on Thorpe, Seth,

If he can get back on track I believe he can be that head of the rotation guy we have yearned for.

#5 nytwinsfan

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 09:30 AM

Seth, do we know why Thorpe was out for two full years? Was it his age and the Twins just being cautious, did his TJ surgery just not go very well, or was it something else? I'm very glad to hear he is back and at it, but two years is a heck of a long time, especially for a developing pitchers, so I just think we need to be very patient with him and have realistic expectations, especially in the short to medium run.

Edited by nytwinsfan, 12 March 2017 - 09:31 AM.


#6 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:14 AM

Lewis Thorpe's bullpen session, he threw 25 pitches mainly fastballs but worked in a few curves and changeups.

 

Kohl Stewart throwing in the pen

 

Eduardo Del Rosario throwing in the pen

 

Williams Ramirez throwing in the pen

 

Matt Jones throwing in the pen

 

 

Jose Martinez throwing in the pen 

 

Travis Blankenhorn hitting BP

 

Lewin Diaz hitting BP

 

Ben Rortvedt hitting BP

 

Jaylin Davis hitting BP

 

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#7 Parker Hageman

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:18 AM

 

Seth, do we know why Thorpe was out for two full years? Was it his age and the Twins just being cautious, did his TJ surgery just not go very well, or was it something else? I'm very glad to hear he is back and at it, but two years is a heck of a long time, especially for a developing pitchers, so I just think we need to be very patient with him and have realistic expectations, especially in the short to medium run.

 

He had mono last year as well which delayed his return in 2016. 

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"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#8 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

Trey Cabbage fielding with a cast
TreyCabbage (5)1
TreyCabbage (2)1

 

Tommy Watkins sharing his wisdom

TommyWatkinsLewinDiazTravisBlankenhhornAmeurysMinierNelsonMolinaBenRortvedt (5)1
TommyWatkinsLewinDiazTravisBlankenhhornAmeurysMinierNelsonMolinaBenRortvedt (2)1
TommyWatkinsLewinDiazTravisBlankenhhornAmeurysMinierBenRortvedt (6)1

 

Nick Burdi with weighted balls

NickBurdiWeightedballs (4)1
NickBurdiWeightedballs (5)1

 

Lewis Diaz and Travis Blankenhorn

LewinDiazTravisBlankenhorn (2)1
 
Lewin Diaz BP
LewinDiaz (17)1
 
Christian Cavaness rocking a man bun and a beard
ChristianCavaness (3)1
ChristianCavaness (1)1

 

Lewis Thorpe pitching

LewisThorpe (52)1
LewisThorpe (55)1
LewisThorpe (57)1
 
 

 

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#9 Parker Hageman

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 10:38 AM

Interesting. I wonder how long Burdi's been doing the Baseball Ranch program.

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#10 FormerMinnasotan

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:07 AM

Good to see Thorpe back, and presumably healthy this year. It will be interesting to see a.how well he pitches and b.where he ends up playing. I do see similarities from Thorpe and Romero for the time out while battling injuries (and illness), but Romero was able to more often than not overwhelm A and A+ hitters just with his mid-upper 90's fastball (his secondary stuff came in in the latter part of the season). Thorpe has a good low-mid 90's fastball, but his strength is using his secondary stuff to compliment his fastball. And I would hope Thorpe goes through extended spring training and then goes directly to Ft. Myers. First off Romero until last year had 9 innings of A ball experience, Thorpe has 71.2 innings. Secondly, if Thorpe does well enough in Ft Myers perhaps the Twins can promote him to Chattanooga and let him finish his innings limit there, that way if the Twins add him to the 40 man next year he can start at a level (AA) closer to the Bigs and if he continues to be injury free and pitching as well as he has shown potential to do could make a push to pitch in the Bigs by 2019.
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#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 02:58 PM

 

Seth, nice report, when will the first cuts come from the major league camp, so we start getting an idea of what the 4 full season rosters will look like.
Also where will Hildenberger, Reed, and Burdi start this year.

 

People are assuming cuts will come tomorrow. Could be before the game, or they could wait until after. My spidey-senses tell me that it'll be before the game. 

 

Hildenberger and Burdi likely start in AA. Reed should start in AAA. I mean, Hildenberger should start in AAA too, but I'd guess he won't. 


#12 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 03:00 PM

 

Thanks for the update on Thorpe, Seth,

If he can get back on track I believe he can be that head of the rotation guy we have yearned for.

 

It'll be big for him to get through the year, hit his innings limit and pitch effectively. 2018 might be an even bigger year. 


#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 03:01 PM

 

Seth, do we know why Thorpe was out for two full years? Was it his age and the Twins just being cautious, did his TJ surgery just not go very well, or was it something else? I'm very glad to hear he is back and at it, but two years is a heck of a long time, especially for a developing pitchers, so I just think we need to be very patient with him and have realistic expectations, especially in the short to medium run.

 

He was on pace last spring to start in Extended and then move up... unfortunately, he got mono which slowed down the timeline. 


#14 Thrylos

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 03:28 PM

 

 

Trey Cabbage fielding with a cast

 

 

Full cast or just a boot?

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#15 Han Joelo

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 08:24 PM

Thanks Seth (and Bob.)  Love the picture of Cabbage fielding on a bucket.  Reminds me of Delmon...

 

Anybody standing out as someone who has pushed their timeline?  Seems like Granite maybe has, but what do I know.  I guess I am asking if everything is playing out according to plan, or has somebody forced themselves into the conversation?


#16 Mike Sixel

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:07 AM

 

Thanks Seth (and Bob.)  Love the picture of Cabbage fielding on a bucket.  Reminds me of Delmon...

 

Anybody standing out as someone who has pushed their timeline?  Seems like Granite maybe has, but what do I know.  I guess I am asking if everything is playing out according to plan, or has somebody forced themselves into the conversation?

 

Still more mobile than Delmon.

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#17 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:54 PM

 

Thanks Seth (and Bob.)  Love the picture of Cabbage fielding on a bucket.  Reminds me of Delmon...

 

Anybody standing out as someone who has pushed their timeline?  Seems like Granite maybe has, but what do I know.  I guess I am asking if everything is playing out according to plan, or has somebody forced themselves into the conversation?

I'm not sure if he's pushed a timeline but keep an eye on Travis Blankenhorn, he's shed that babyweight and has added "man muscles" to his frame.  He's also been fielding at 2B and 3B early on in camp.  I won't be shocked if he gets to Ft Myers at some point this season.


#18 Bob Sacamento

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 02:04 PM

 

Full cast or just a boot?

aircast boot, the top of his foot is black and blue as he hyperextended the tibialis posterior.  He told me his cleat got stuck near a ledge and basically overinverted (rolled) his ankle.  He said he felt fine, there was no pain with movement/AROM, the team was worried because if he continued to play on it, it would make a stress reaction on the cuboid more likely.


#19 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 02:20 PM

why is Hildenberger likely to start in AA?Just curious.


#20 MVPMAKER

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 04:21 PM

I have been reviewing the Twins top 50+ prospects for months now along with their rankings.It appears there has not been many new inclusions or exclusions from the lists published.  

Based upon the above comment, here are my questions...

1. How many new players made their debut on the top 50 prospect list this year that were not on the prior years list? 

2.Do you prepare a revised list following seeing the entire group in Spring Training?

I guess I am curious about the above questions because aside from projections, evaluating talent is very tough, often subjective and ones body of work is not always a clear representation of what the future will hold. 

The reality is if any of the experts who identified talent were perfect, they'd either be GM's, team owners or run a pro sports book in Vegas. Haha!

I'd think that many players develop, evolve and perform differently following instructs, off season training, etc. for a myriad of reasons.

Love to hear your thoughts...

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