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Article: 2018 GCL Twins Roster Preview

michael montero tyler benninghoff landon leach yeltsin encarnacion victor tademo
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 12:46 AM

On Monday, the GCL Twins began their 2018 season with a win against the GCL Orioles. After previewing the Elizabethton Twinsyesterday, today we preview the Gulf Coast League Twins.After seven seasons of managing the GCL Twins (and Extended Spring Training), Ramon Borrego moved up to manager of the Ft. Myers Miracle this year. The Twins brought in Dan Ramsey as their new manager. He had been the coach at Whitworth University in Washington. He had led his team to the national Division III tournament three times.

Ramsey is joined by two pitching coaches. Richard Salazar is in his first season on the job. He was drafted in 2001 and played pro ball right up through the 2017 season. Frank Jagoda joins the organization in 2018 as another pitching coach. He’s had a variety of roles in recent years including coaching at Patrick Henry Community College in Virginia and USA Baseball the last couple of summers.

The Twins also hired a couple of new hitting coaches for the GCL. Luis Rodriguez originally signed as a player with the Twins in 1997. He worked his way up and spent time with the Twins for parts of 2005 through 2007. He spent parts of three more season in the big leagues. This is his first coaching opportunity. Also, Matt Borgschulte comes to the Twins organization after coaching in the Cardinals system in 2017.


Prospects To Watch

While none of the GCL Twins ranked among the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects coming into the season, this is a very talented group.

Landon Leach is a very hard-throwing pitcher who will do well when he’s activated. Tyler Benninghoff was another high-ceiling prep pick from the 2016 draft who has a chance to jump up prospect rankings this year. The pitcher from the DSL that gets talked about the most is Michael Montero. Willie Joe Garry has a ton of potential, but he’s very raw. He may take a few years to get going, but has a very high ceiling.

RHP Regi Grace also signed for significantly over slot value in the 10th round forgoing a scholarship to Mississippi State. While he wasn't on the roster yet, he obviously will appear soon, and he's got a ton of potential.


THE ROSTER

The Pitchers

LHP Petru Balan (22) - signed November 2016 from Moldova

RHP Tyler Benninghoff (20) - 11th round pick in 2016 from high school in Missouri

RHP Prelander Berroa (18) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic

RHP Donny Breek (18) - signed September 2017 from the Netherlands

RHP Amilcar Cruz (22) - signed May 2016 from the Dominican Republic

RHP Steven Cruz (19) - signed March 2017 from the Dominican Republic

RHP Osiris German (19) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic

RHP Tanner Howell (23) - 35th round pick in 2018 from Dixie State (Utah)

RHP Landon Leach (18) - 2nd round pick in 2017 (37th overall) from high school in Canada

RHP Andriu Marin (19) - signed November 2014 from Venezuela

RHP Michael Montero (18) - signed July 2016 from Venezuela

RHP Junior Navas (18) - signed July 2016 from Venezuela

RHP Joe Record (23) - 28th round in 2017 from UC-Santa Barbara

RHP Niklas Rimmel (18) - signed September 2017 from Germany

LHP Fredderi Soto (19) - signed January 2015 from the Dominican Republic

RHP Dylan Stowell (23) - 34th round pick in 2018 from California Baptist

RHP Kai-Wei Teng (19) - signed October 2017 from Taiwan

RHP Frandy Torres (22) - signed May 2016 from the Dominican Republic

As I noted yesterday, it’s hard to always know the roles of the pitchers. Because of innings limits and innings already thrown in Extended Spring Training, as well as giving people opportunities, roles can shift throughout the short-season.

Joe Record missed the entire 2017 season with Tommy John surgery and will likely not pitch in 2018 either. Soto is also on the 60-Day Disabled List. Meanwhile, Landon Leach and Junior Lavas will also begin the season on the 7-Day Disabled List.

Tyler Benninghoff came back late last year to pitch a couple of innings in the GCL. Drafted in 2016, he immediately had Tommy John surgery. He has a chance to really step it up in 2018.

The GCL Twins is a melting pot. As you can see, it has players from six different countries. This rotation consists of several players that performed very well in the Dominican Summer League. Steven Cruz went 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 29 1/3 innings. Andriu Marin went 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. Michael Montero went 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 58 1/3 innings. Junior Navas went 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 18 2/3 innings. Fredderi Soto was 1-1 with a 1.34 ERA in 53 2/3 innings. Frandy Torres went 6-0 with a 0.72 ERA in 37 2/3 innings.

Along with 2018 draft picks Tanner Howell and Dylan Stowell, Donny Breek, Niklas Rimmel and Kai-Wei Teng will make their professional debuts the first time they step on the mound in a game.


The Catchers

Yeremi De La Cruz (20) - signed September 2015 from the Dominican Republic

Yeison Perez (22) - signed May 2016 out of the Dominican Republic

Kidany Salva (19) - 17th round in 2016 out of high school in Texas (via Puerto Rico)

Janigson Villalobos (21) - acquired in trade with San Diego Padres in May 2018

Villalobos came to the Twins organization last month as part of the trade that sent Phil Hughes to the Padres. This is Salva’s third season in the GCL yet remains younger than the two catchers who came to the States from the DSL. De La Cruz hit .286 with an .811 OPS a year ago.


The Infielders

Yeltsin Encarnacion (19) - signed in February 2015 from the Dominican Republic

Edgar Herrera (21) - signed July 2013 out of Venezuela

Agustin Marte (19) - signed February 2016 from the Dominican Republic

Emmanuel Morel (21) - signed July 2013 out of the Dominican Republic

Gabe Snyder (23) - 21st round in 2018 from Wright State

Victor Tademo (18) - signed September 2015 out of Venezuela

Estamy Urena (19) - signed July 2016 from the Dominican Republic

Victor Tademo is the one player in this group that spent the 2017 season in the GCL. He was one of the youngest players in the league, and he still will be in 2018. Herrera and Morel were actually both eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year, and last year, but they have fought injuries. Morel is on the DL to start this season again. Herrera missed a lot of time last year with a hamate bone injury. Gabe Snyder was a big bat in the middle of the Wright State lineup. The three players who are making their Stateside debut this year all are intriguing. Encarnacion hit .318/.408/.523 (.931) with nine doubles, eight triples and two homers. Agustin Marte hit .299/.366/.419 (.785) with 11 doubles, three triples and a homer. Estamy Urena hit .306/.369/.434 (.802) with seven doubles, three triples and three homers.


Outfielders

Willie Joe Garry (18) - 9th round draft pick in 2018 from high school in Mississippi

Alberoni Nunez (19) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic

Samuel Vasquez (21) - signed October 2015 from the Dominican Republic

Tyler Webb (22) - 40th round draft pick in 2018 out of Memphis

The Twins went over slot to sign Willie Joe Garry and keep him from college. Tyler Webb was the team’s final draft pick this year. He was the centerfielder and third hitter for Memphis this season. Alberoni Nunez hit .352/.420/.545 (.965) in the DSL last year with nine doubles, seven triples and three homers. Vasquez hit .301/.396/.398 (.793) with four doubles, three triples and two homers.

So there you have it, the Opening Day roster of the Gulf Coast League Twins. There are 30 players listed above, and as mentioned, more will likely be added in coming days as more players (hopefully Charlie Mack, at least) sign.
For more information on the 2018 Twins draft picks, please click here (links at bottom of article).

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#2 beckmt

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 02:49 AM

Nice article as always.Will be interesting which players step up during the year.


#3 Dman

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:38 AM

GCL looks pretty loaded if players perform as they have in the past.Looking forward to keeping an eye on these guys.


#4 olivia11

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:38 AM

What about Regi Grace?


#5 rdehring

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:55 AM

We haven't heard much about the Twins signing lots of big International Free Agents the past couple years.Yet, I count 19 of the 33 listed above coming from either the D.R. or Venezuela.Maybe they haven't gone after a lot of big names, but they sure were busy.

 

What would be interesting is knowing how much most of these guys were signed for.Did they sign lots of guys for $50-$200k, rather than one for $4mm?I can't remember the exact number, but I think someone mentioned that Romero was signed in that range.There are more ways to develop talent than just chasing the few big money/big name prospects. 


#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:22 AM

 

What about Regi Grace?

 

He wasn't on the roster yet, but he is signed so he will be soon. I did add a paragraph to that point. Thank you!


#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:25 AM

 

We haven't heard much about the Twins signing lots of big International Free Agents the past couple years.Yet, I count 19 of the 33 listed above coming from either the D.R. or Venezuela.Maybe they haven't gone after a lot of big names, but they sure were busy.

 

What would be interesting is knowing how much most of these guys were signed for.Did they sign lots of guys for $50-$200k, rather than one for $4mm?I can't remember the exact number, but I think someone mentioned that Romero was signed in that range.There are more ways to develop talent than just chasing the few big money/big name prospects. 

 

They signed 15-20 international players most every year. Maybe one or two of them get the big money ($500K plus). Most probably get the $10-20,000 number, if that. The ones that are particularly noteworthy are the ones who sign in July of their Age 16 year. But as you can see, many of these players from other countries are already 19, 20, 21. That shouldn't matter a whole lot, but those are typically guys that signed later and for less money at that point. 

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#8 caninatl04

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 03:35 PM

When I used to entertain out-of-towners by bringing them to Nye's Polonaise, I start by buying a long roll of pull tabs.
This roster reminds me of this.
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#9 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 06:09 PM

When I used to entertain out-of-towners by bringing them to Nye's Polonaise,

Not enough garlic. You needed to take them to Mayslack's. Nobody could beat those sandwiches.

A slim chance equals a fat chance, yet a wise man and a wise guy are opposites.


#10 Einstein1

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:52 PM

Yeremi De La Cruz went 5 for 6 today with 2 doubles a HR and 9 RBI.  




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