In November, the front office will have to make some difficult decisions as it relates to the 40-man roster. At the trade deadline, the team added Dietrich Enns, who is already on the 40-man roster. They added Zack Littell and Gabriel Moya who are currently not on the 40-man roster but are certainly candidates. They don’t have to decide yet on Tyler Watson.
In case you missed them, here are the Twins trades:
John Ryan Murphy for Gabriel Moya - Diamondbacks
Jaime Garcia for Ryan Littell and Dietrich Enns - Yankees
Brandon Kintzler for Justin Watson - Nationals40-man roster consideration comes into play during the August trade period. So I think it’s a good time to take a first glance at which players in the Twins system would be Rule 5 draft eligible if they are not protected before the Winter Meetings.
I put together the list of players, and then sorted them into three categories.
The Givens: There is no question in my mind that these guys will be added… or lost.
2nd Tier: These guys have to be given strong consideration. For one reason or another, they are not quite givens, but have a decent chance depending on how many players get added.
3rd Tier: The next group probably won’t be added. It’s not that there aren’t some really good baseball players in this group. It’s that you’ll see the number of players who fall into the first two categories. However, the front office will need to have a conversation on several of these players.
So, I often get asked who is eligible for the Rule 5. The following are eligible this offseason for the first time:
- Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2013 (during the minor league season).
- Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2014.
- Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.
Before spring training, I wrote about five players who would become free agents after the 2017 World Series if they were not added to the Twins 40-man roster before then. Four of those players remain in the organization.
- Levi Michael - 2011 first-round pick.
- Travis Harrison - 2011 supplemental first-round pick.
- Dereck Rodriguez - 2011 6th round pick.
- David Hurlbut - 2011 28th-round pick.
- Stephen Gonsalves - The lefty is a Top 100 prospect who has had a lot of success this year in AA Chattanooga. Easiest choice of the bunch.
- Zack Littell - Like Gonsalves, Littell was drafted out of high school in 2013. He has split this season between High-A and AA, and will debut with the Lookouts this week.
- Jake Reed - Drafted in 2014 out of Oregon, Reed moved up the system very quickly. The last couple of years he’s split between AA and AAA. Like Gonsalves, his season started late due to injury, but he’s back with the Red Wins and should debut this season.
- John Curtiss - Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of Texas, Curtiss was given some time as a starter early in his career, but since moving to the bullpen for the 2016 season, he has taken off and become one of the most dominant relievers in the organization. He was recently promoted to AAA.
- Lewin Diaz - Signed out of the Dominican in July of 2013, Diaz gradually worked his way up. Last year, he started showing his power at Elizabethton. He’s been a solid performer at Cedar Rapids this year. He’s a top ten prospect (#6, for me).
The following list is really tough, but as I mentioned above, the Twins are going to have some really difficult decisions, and a couple of these guys will likely be left off the list. I’ll put them in the order I would likely add them, but you can feel free to discuss.
6.) Lewis Thorpe - The left-hander was eligible a year ago, but since he hadn’t pitched in two seasons, he went unselected. He’s been back for a couple of months now, and he’s been solid. He’s getting stronger, and he’s pitching well in Ft. Myers. He’s pretty close to a given.
7.) Aaron Slegers - Slegers was eligible for the Rule 5 draft last year and a lot of people thought there was a good chance he would be taken. He wasn’t, and the team invited him to big league camp. He moved up to Rochester, and he has been good, especially his last eight starts over which he has gone 8-0. Slegers should be promoted soon, even before September.
8.) Kohl Stewart - The strikeouts, I know. However, based on his draft position (1st round, 4th overall, in 2013), there’s a good chance he’s added. He hasn’t put up the numbers that Gonsalves has, particularly lacking in strikeouts, but until his rough start this season, he has always limited baserunners and runs with little hard contact.
9.) Gabriel Moya - He was acquired last week in the trade for John Ryan Murphy. He’s putting up incredible numbers in AA. While he doesn’t throw real hard, the lefty gets strikeouts, has deception and dominates.
10.) Luke Bard - The supplemental 2012 first-round pick has been healthy these last two years. With health, he’s improved his velocity and spin rates, and he has missed a lot of bats this year. Bard should be called up before the end of the season.
11.) Nick Burdi - A year ago, even having missed most of 2016 with the humerus injury, Burdi would have been an easy add. He was off to a great start this year and certainly would be up with the Twins by now. Instead, he had Tommy John surgery and will likely miss at least half of the 2018 season.That’s why he’s a borderline add.
12.) Mason Melotakis - He spent about a season and a half on the 40-man roster, but last month he was removed. His velocity has been down, but he has been very good since his promotion to Rochester. It’s possible he could be added back, though it may make more sense to call him up in late August or September.
Remember the players in this group have a lot of talent. However, those first two groups of twelve, plus Dereck Rodriguez, are really talented and not all of them will be added.
- Jhon Alvarez
- DJ Baxendale
- Cameron Booser
- Sam Clay
- Edgar Corcino
- Andro Cutura
- Eduardo Del Rosario
- Ryan Eades
- Tanner English
- Edgar Herrera
- Zack Jones
- Randy LeBlanc
- Jose Martinez
- Amaurys Minier
- Nelson Molina
- Robert Molina
- Ariel Montesino
- Emmanuel Morel
- Alex Muren
- Max Murphy
- Brian Navarreto
- Callan Pearce
- Johan Quezada
- Williams Ramirez
- Rainis Silva
- Keaton Steele
- Roni Tapia
- Todd Van Steensel
- Michael Theofanopoulos
- Ryan Walker
- TJ White
So, with the above information, who would you add? The Twins have added anywhere from three players to eight players in a year, so it could be anywhere in there.
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