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Article: Twins Option Five, Provide Clarity To Starting Staffs

stephen gonsalves adalberto mejia fernando romero john curtiss aaron slegers
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:39 PM

On Tuesday morning, the Minnesota Twins brass made its second wave of roster cuts. Five pitchers were optioned, and in doing so, there should now be a lot more clarity in the Twins starting rotation. However, it also starts providing clarity on the Rochester and Chattanooga starting staffs when their seasons get started later this month.The Twins optioned left-handers Adalberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves, right-handed starter Aaron Slegers and right-handed reliever John Curtiss to AAA-Rochester. In addition, right-hander Fernando Romero was optioned to AA-Chattanooga.

The surprise in the bunch of options was certainly Mejia who many thought would at least be given a shot to begin the season as a starter in the Twins Opening Day rotation, as he was a year ago. However, the Lance Lynn signing assured that Mejia would start the season in Rochester. And like the other starters optioned on Tuesday, the reality is that they need to go to minor league camp so that they can get stretched out and be ready to make starts when the minor league seasons start.

The Twins Rotation
  • RHP Ervin Santana (DL)
  • RHP Jose Berrios
  • RHP Jake Odorizzi
  • RHP Lance Lynn
  • RHP Kyle Gibson
  • RHP Phil Hughes
As we know, Ervin Santana will start the season on the disabled list. We still don't know who will be the Twins Opening Day starter, not that it is terribly important. We know that Lance Lynn will join Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson in the Twins rotation. However, Tuesday's transactions also indicate that if the Twins are to start the season with a fifth starter, it would likely be Phil Hughes, who could also shift to long-relief if they do decide to go with four starters.

The Red Wings Rotation

With the Twins rotation fairly well determined and the Tuesday transactions, the AAA-Rochester rotation is coming into focus too.
  • LHP Adalberto Mejia
  • LHP Stephen Gonsalves
  • RHP Aaron Slegers
  • RHP Felix Jorge
  • LHP Dietrich Enns
  • RHP Myles Jaye
While there aren't any lefties in the Twins projected starting rotation, they have several southpaws in their Rochester rotation. Mejia would likely be the first to get called back up to the Twins when there is a need, especially early in the season. Slegers and Jorge each made a couple of starts for the Twins in 2017. While Slegers is closer to really being big-league ready, Jorge is quite talented as well. Enns came over from the Yankees and he made one start for the Twins before getting injured. Gonsalves is the big prospect in this group. By midseason, he could be the guy that the Twins would go to if there is a need. Myles Jaye made a few starts for the Tigers last year, and he remains a non-roster guy in Twins camp.

The Lookouts Rotation

And as the Red Wings rotation is coming into focus, we're also getting closer to a Lookouts rotation in Chattanooga.
  • RHP Fernando Romero
  • RHP Zack Littell
  • RHP Kohl Stewart
  • LHP Lewis Thorpe
  • RHP Ryan Eades
  • RHP Randy LeBlanc
Fernando Romero made a strong impression in Twins camp again this year, throwing eight no-hit, scoreless innings. While some might be tempted to fast track him to the Twins bullpen, the team is wisely keeping him on a starter's track. They will also continue to take care of his arm. Littell was the MiLB.com starting pitcher of the year in 2017 and also made a good first impression in big league camp. He'll return to the Lookouts where he ended the 2017. Kohl Stewart is sticking with baseball, and if healthy, I would expect to see him take a step forward in 2018. Lewis Thorpe was added to the 40-man roster this year. He spent the second half of 2017 in Ft. Myers and made one start for the Lookouts.

Ryan Eades is at minor league spring training working out as a starter. Randy LeBlanc made the trip between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga approximately 327 times during the 2017 season. Depending upon whether the Lookouts go with five of six starters in their rotation, one or both of them could be considered.


We could continue down this path to project the starting staffs for Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids, but frankly, at this point, there are a lot of options. Some decisions will depend on injuries and players returning and the roles they could be used in early in the season versus later in the season when innings become a question.

Also, the guys who start the year at Rochester and Chattanooga have a legitimate shot at pitching in the big leagues in 2018.

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#2 darin617


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:14 PM

Hopefully they make the right decision if Hughes flops in the 1st month.

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#3 beckmt


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:27 PM

I am not as worried about who starts in Minnesota, want to know the progression, because I am all for letting some of the young ones pitch here and get their feet wet.Not have to perform when an injury hits and the Twins are in a tight race.

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#4 Thrylos


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:37 PM

Thorpe is 21.Another start at Fort Myers would not hurt him.Stashak is 23.He might be the one who gets the call to Chattanooga

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#5 Danchat


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 08:58 PM

So I take it Duffey's no longer in the run for a rotation spot? I guess he'll be the 6th/7th reliever in that case.

#6 mikelink45


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 09:02 PM

this is a great minor league surplus - will they become Twins or trade chips?I want young guys on the team. 

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#7 Rosterman


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:18 PM

You have 5 at AAA and 3 at AA on the 40-man roster. Whew. Someone needs to move...somewhere.


You have to start optioning out 40-man guys sooner rather than later. If they get injured in camp, they stay on the ML disabled list.

But they can be brought over to pitch, now, in any spring training games.

Right now, though...is Duffey minor league bound? Will Hildenberger or Busenitz go back to Rochester? Plenty of bullpen questions, too.
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#8 KirbyDome89


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:34 PM


Hopefully they make the right decision if when Hughes flops in the 1st month.


#9 PseudoSABR


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:36 PM

What is this starting pitching? Who are they? Depth? Do not believe.

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#10 kab21


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:20 PM

I wish Romero was in AAA but it is a numbers game. He is one of the most talented starters that I would make assignments work around.

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Is 2016 2017 2018 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

Offseason (noun) - a time to propose trades assuming opposing GM's can't do the same basic analysis

#11 FormerMinnasotan


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Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:38 PM

The problem I have is with the AAA rotation as it is there is no clear “fast track” for Romero to join Rochester within a month. To be honest even if you look at the starting pitchers in Rochester other than Stephen Gonsalves there is not 1 starter that has the potential of Romero. I really don’t want to see Romero in Chattanooga through May (or into June for that matter). With this being the second option year for Romero there has to be a more concerted effort (as long as he is pitching as well as he should) to start to fast track him to the Twins before he loses all options.

As for Thorpe he kinda needs to start the year in AA. The goal should be to get Thorpe close to or in AAA before his innings limit shuts him down for the season. While his age could seem to make it easier to “hold him back” we shouldn’t waste part of his option year in A+ ball when he clearly pitched well enough for the promotion. Also Thorpe is one of the higher regarded pitching prospects the Twins have so in effect it would do better to aggressively promote him to AA in hopes that there is the chance he gets his first call-up to the Bigs sometime next year.
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#12 T_J


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 05:43 AM

I'm not too worried about where the minor league guys start. Pitching seems to have a steep injury curve. 

#13 IndianaTwin


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:08 AM



The Twins Rotation

  • RHP Ervin Santana (DL)
  • RHP Jose Berrios
  • RHP Jake Odorizzi
  • RHP Lance Lynn
  • RHP Kyle Gibson
  • RHP Phil Hughes



*Asterisk: Trevor May

**Double Asterisk: Michael Pineda (though more likely in the bullpen)

***Triple Asterisk: Clayton Kershaw in July rental (hey, it's March, and a guy can dream)


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#14 laloesch



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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:26 AM

Some of this is going to get traded at the deadline.I still see the Twins making a move to get someone like Archer especially if Hughes and or Gibson really stink it up.They have the AA and AAA prospects to get it done and not gut the farm.Give the Rays pitching.

#15 slash129



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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:41 AM

Just a friendly edit .... Should be Chattanooga, not New Britain, in the first paragraph

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#16 Tommygun921


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:48 AM

Always hard to look at the start of the year and wonder how everyone is going to get a chance in the majors. But whether it be injury or someone doesn't pitch well enough to hold it down it always works out where you need a load of arms to cover the 162 games. Will certainly be nice to have actually quality depth this season.
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#17 rdehring


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:52 AM

What a difference a couple years make, eh Seth?


Wasn't that long ago when the Rochester and New Britain starting rotations had very few good prospects, if any.Looking at this group, they are loaded with each having at least three good to top prospects.Add to that the fact that the starting five at Target Field are now all respectable big league starters puts the Twins in a very nice place. 


Will be interesting to see how FalVine manages this thru the summer.Haven't looked at who will be Rule 5 eligible in the winter, but expect there should be a couple smart moves at the deadline.   

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#18 slash129



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Posted 14 March 2018 - 06:58 AM


I really don’t want to see Romero in Chattanooga through May (or into June for that matter). With this being the second option year for Romero there has to be a more concerted effort (as long as he is pitching as well as he should) to start to fast track him to the Twins before he loses all options.


I doubt anyone at Rochester is blocking Romero's path to the big club.The only things blocking him are the service clock, an innings limit to protect his arm and possibly the org's desire for him to further develop his tertiary offerings.


I would guess he's going to Chattanooga to keep working with Arteaga.

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#19 terrydactyls1947


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 07:03 AM

Why are we sending pitchers to New Britain? It seems like Chattanooga would be smarter. :)
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#20 Jham


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Posted 14 March 2018 - 07:18 AM

Why are we sending pitchers to New Britain? It seems like Chattanooga would be smarter. :)

It's actually very smart. We're sending them by Delorian back to a time when we really needed young pitching prospects.
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