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Front Page: 6 Potential Non-Roster September Call-ups Who Could Impact Games

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#1 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 04:00 PM

For the last time under the current rules, teams will be able to add as many as 15 players to their active bench once the calendar turns to September.

Teams won't add that many, but we can certainly expect the bullpen shuttle to finally stop when rosters expand. Players like Devin Smeltzer, Lewis Thorpe, Kohl Stewart, Cody Stashak and Randy Dobnak will know where they'll spend the entirety of September relatively early in the month.There are other players currently on the 40-man that may receive the call as well. Will Willians Astudillo conveniently be brought back from his rehab on September 1st? Will Nick Gordon be recovered in time to finally experience his first major league clubhouse as a player?

Today, we'll look at six players who are not currently on the 40-man roster who could help the Twins wrap up the AL Central pennant. While not all of these players - and perhaps most - will not join the team, they all offer something that could make an impact on the current team.

RHP Brusdar Graterol - With Graterol, it's not a matter of if he joins the Twins, but when. After missing a few months earlier this year with a shoulder ailment, he has returned to Pensacola and pitched in three games, all relief appearances. In those games he's thrown five scoreless innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out four. Of the 64 bullets he's fired, 43 (67.2%) have been strikes. Most impressively and famously, Graterol threw a fastball 103.8 mph in his last outing. He joined the Red Wings on Monday. He spent 10 days in Pensacola after recovering from his injury. How long will he be in Rochester?

OF Alejandro De Aza (pictured) - Before being placed on Rochester's injured list on Sunday with a hand contusion, De Aza slashed .333/.410/.588 (.998) in his 28 games with the Red Wings. De Aza, 35, has not played in the MLB since 2017, but does have postseason experience which could help in September. In 2014, De Aza went 7-for-21 with three doubles and three RBI for the Orioles, who fell to the Royals in the ALCS. De Aza would be limited to below-average defense in an outfield corner (or DH), but would provide both experience and depth in the form of a left-handed bat who hits righties well.

OF Ian Miller - Miller came to the organization in August from Seattle in a minor-league trade. The potential value of adding Miller to the big-club comes exclusively from his legs. Over his seven minor league seasons, Miller is 240-for-289 (83%) on stolen base attempts. The Twins this year - without Byron Buxton - are 11-for-28 (39%). I'm not suggesting the Twins bring up Miller to have him steal a bunch of bases. But the lack of successful stolen bases suggests that the team doesn't have a ton of speed. And there's going to be an occasion (again!) where a game will hang in the balance with a runner on first with one out or nobody out... and we'd all prefer that runner (or pinch-runner) is someone actually fast, not someone that is fast compared to the TwinsDaily writing staff. (Jeremy's note: When TwinsDaily writers competed at the mascot race a few seasons back, I won. And it wasn't even close. Believe me, these other guys aren't fast. They made me look like The Freeze.)

LHP Ryan O'Rourke - Since ROR last pitched the for the Twins in 2016, he's had Tommy John surgery and bounced around baseball, eventually recently bouncing back into the organization. O'Rourke has always been death to left-handed hitters and could be a very useful commodity in September.

RHP Jorge Alcala - Along with Graterol, Alcala joined Rochester on Monday. Acquired in the Ryan Pressly deal last July, Alcala has been a less-heralded prospect than many and his results haven't done a lot to make people take notice. In 26 AA games (16 starts), Alcala went 5-7 with a 5.87 ERA. He allowed a WHIP of 1.47 and opponents hit .284 off of him. But since moving exclusively to the bullpen in late July, Alcala has been a different dude. In 10 2/3 innings, Alcala has allowed seven hits and two walks (0.84 WHIP) and has struck out seven. Like Graterol, he's pounded the strike zone - 106 strikes in 165 pitches (64.2%). Pre-season scouting reports had Alcala up to 98 mph as a starter. In short stints, he'll be over 100 mph. Combine that with an above-average slider... and this bullpen might be OK after all.

C Wilin Rosario - Like De Aza, it's been a bit since Rosario was a major-league baseball player. After hitting 28 home runs and finishing fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting as a 23-year-old in 2013 with Colorado, Rosario had three years that increasingly got worse before playing the last three years in Korea and Japan. Back in America in 2019, Rosario has hit .307/.347/.527 (.874) in 385 plate appearances. He's a liability behind the plate, but could play there in a pinch. While it's not likely for Rosario to come up with the pending addition of Willians Astudillo, Rosario would be a phone call away if any of the three catchers go down to injury.

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#2 yarnivek1972



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Posted 21 August 2019 - 04:47 PM

I don’t think O’Rourke would have been acquired if there wasn’t a plan to use him.

I also wouldn’t bank on Kohl Stewart coming up. He’s not very good. He’s more likely to be DFA to make room for someone else.
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#3 Rosterman


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 04:55 PM

The problem is the Twins have ONE space on the 40-man roster.


Of course, they could move Buxton to the 60-day. Looks like Astulido and Wade are both in rehad and could be brought back. They will end the month with an option to Rochester but could be expanded to the major league roster come September 1.


Astulido is a surefire add. He is the third catcher. He will remain as the second catcher once Castro goes into free agency.


Wade could be up-in-the-air. Would you swap out de Aza or Miller for him right now? Of course, if Eddie is disabled, you need anotehr outfielder.


The Twns also have infieler Gordon out there, taking up IL space with Rooker and Haley. I doubt that the Twins would cut loose Gordon. But, sadly, he is missing an opporunity to play and may not be in the pecking order. But he will hold his 40-man spot.


The Twins should definitely promoto Smeltzer, Stashak, Stewart and Littell. They MAY NOT do Stewart. But if they don't, it tells you where he is in the Twins organizations eyes. The Twins have to make a decision on Romero and Hildenberger, both who could be promoted. If not, again, we will see thatthey have lost standing in the organization. Could eitehr be cut from the 40-man roster now?


Gonsalves needs to pitch. Do you bring him up as an occasional arm in September to give him a few innings? Or has he, too, fallen off the radar...becoming a question mark for a 40-man spot. Seems the Twins wouldn't part ways with him...yet.


Poppen is currently on the IL. Along with Dobnak, both could sit out September and come in strong, looking to fulfill some role in 2020. The Twins suddenly have A LOT of similar arms and have to make some longer-term decisions.


They have one spot, basically, to add a player. Do they go with the youth and speed of Graterol, or worry more about keeping him in the system and off the 40-man for the proper amount of time. 


Can Ryan O'Rourke shine shine shine and become the situational lefty, albeit NOT keeping a 40-man spot no matter how well he pitches, sadly, in the short term.


Oh, of course, they have Marcus Diplan holding down a spot. Who? 


With Gibson, Odorizzi, Pineda, Romo, Castro, Schoop opening up six spots...we see the Twins with 4 players (Cave, Astulido, Wade, Gordon) with the bat, and a whole host of pitchers that are worth keeping (Smeltzer, Stashak, Stewart, Littell, Gonsalves, Poppen, Dobnak, Romero, Hildenberger. Thorpe). That's 1/4th of the roster with basically unproven arms. I'm sure if anyone of them was waived off the 40-man, another team would grab them for their own 40-man. 


But the Twins can use the pitching, with starters making five innings at most. They actually have a logjam in the batting order, needing to play Gonzalez and Arraez every game, Cave coming back strong, Adrianza needing time in the field. Buxton and Rosario hurt could be tragic, but right now the Twins have an abundance of rich bats.


I see them keeping Thorpe, adding Littell, Smeltzer, Stewart, Stashak, Romero, plus Astulido. I do picture them swapping out Wade and losing him, and adding O'Rourke, although it just might be for the end of this month to see how he does in 2-3 games...so we could still see Graterol. Of course, Diplan could also be swapped out and...surprise...a 100 mph arm added for September. 

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#4 yarnivek1972



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Posted 21 August 2019 - 05:04 PM

I wouldn’t bank on Astudillo being the primary back up catcher next year. A veteran FA is more likely, maybe even Castro.

I just don’t get the impression that the FO (or Baldelli) are very high on him.
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#5 darin617


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 05:28 PM


I wouldn’t bank on Astudillo being the primary back up catcher next year. A veteran FA is more likely, maybe even Castro.

I just don’t get the impression that the FO (or Baldelli) are very high on him.

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#6 Danchat


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 06:09 PM


I wouldn’t bank on Astudillo being the primary back up catcher next year. A veteran FA is more likely, maybe even Castro.

I just don’t get the impression that the FO (or Baldelli) are very high on him.

I didn't get that impression, they used him pretty heavily this season and had him in the #3 and #4 spot in the lineup every once in a while. Baldelli certainly appeared to like him as a utility guy.

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#7 tarheeltwinsfan


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 06:27 PM

What to do, what to do?

#8 Florida Loggerman

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 06:53 PM

am I the only die hard Twins fan that has serious concerns over pretty much the entire current Twins starting pitching roster??? other than rehab Pineda who has truly done a good job recoving and pitching quite well, but other than him, the entire Twins starting roation the past 4-6 weeks has really struggled, and there a major concern in my opinion only?Again today, Jake continues with a attitude that is also some what concering, he did not pitch very well at all, and his statments post game like all of his past poor outings, is simply, no big deal, that' show baseball is, you don't allways pitch well and get all the breaks??? what the heck is he talking about, he is uncorking wild pitches like it's no big deal, it's almost identical too polanco and his horrrible defense efforts since the all star break. they behave and act like so what, it's a long season, I get that faat, but appears as if, since they are paid with for sure money, good bad or horrible, so what, win some lose some? just not very positive and in my opinion again only, I would rather see Jake totally PO;'d and mad as hades about his past outing, oh well, at this rate, the Twins will end up not even making the wild card, and the entire awesome year on the offense side will be for nothing, number, records big deal, blowing the lead we had and doing squat about it, before the season started, during the season, before the ?Aug 1st deadline, just sit on our butts and dream that this current starting rotation is good enough to get us to the games that matter???? not sure that's going to happen, not with this weak rotation. we will see, I think we have what, 6 more games against the Tribe, that will probably be the winner takes it all home?

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#9 USAFChief


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:12 PM

Pretty meager pickings, IYAM. Sorry Jeremy. I guess if you squint through rose colored glasses you can see Graterol perhaps having an impact. Maybe O'Rourke gets a key LH hitter or three down the stretch.

I'll take the under on Alcala throwing 100.
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#10 DocBauer


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:33 PM

I wouldn’t bank on Astudillo being the primary back up catcher next year. A veteran FA is more likely, maybe even Castro.
I just don’t get the impression that the FO (or Baldelli) are very high on him.

I liked your comment, even though I disagree with the last part.

I feel a veteran backstop to team with Garver is very likely. I am also very much hoping it is Castro on a more team friendly 2yr deal. The market is way too unpredictable to speculate. On the one hand, good catchers are hard to find and Castro is probably having his best season. On the other hand, he is over 30, mjssed almost all of 2018, has a repaired knee, and may be seen as an every day option to most/all teams.

Where I disagree is Astudillo, especially with the 26 man roster next season. I think the Twins like him very much, and not just for his personality. He's had ups and downs this year to be sure. But when he has been healthy, he's hit well and provided pop and some quality production. He offers roster flexibility that thus team really embraces. I think they view him as a keeper, just maybe not the true #2 catcher.
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#11 DocBauer


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:52 PM

Jeremy, I appreciate your thoughts and efforts in this post. But I think Graterol and Alcala are really the only two to be considered here.

I think we all know full well that Graterol is seen as a viable SP option with a very high ceiling. I think we also know full well that for NOW, the FO is seeing him as a potentially viable asset for 2019 in the pen as a power arm to make a run. No question he is back to starting in 2020.

I think we are all less certain how to view Alcala. More to the point, how the FO views him. You hate to give up on a power arm as a potential rotation piece too soon, but everything I've read from day one is he just may never have that 3rd/4th pitch consistency to be a starter. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with him becoming a dominate bullpen arm, especially in today's game.

My concern for both, however, is not their stuff, their potential, nor the jump from AA. My concern is time to adjust to the ML baseball in so short of a time to truly have an impact the remainder of this season.

I suppose a healthy and re-built O'Rourke shouldn't be discounted flippantly. Especially considering his LH dominance. But I'd say too little too late for the rest of 2019. Right now, I'd say he is behind Thorpe and Smeltzer.
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#12 Linus


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 08:06 PM

Pretty much FO malpractice here. Might be a rabbit to be pulled out of the hat but a disappointing situation for a contending team

#13 spycake


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 08:08 PM

I don’t think O’Rourke would have been acquired if there wasn’t a plan to use him.

I still don't get this take. Rochester needs pitchers too, especially in their own pennant race when we keep calling up their best pitchers, using them, then sending them back when they are unavailable for a few days.

It wouldn't shock me if O'Rourke got a cameo in September for the Twins, but it also wouldn't shock me if he was just like every other AAA depth signing either.
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#14 MNT1996


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 08:09 PM

DFA Hildenberger and add Graterol + Alcala

#15 Shaitan


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 09:10 PM

Don't they burn an option year if they add players to the 40 man in September? After Buxton last year, I don't see them taking service years lightly and adding Graterol or Alcala.

#16 stringer bell

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 09:34 PM


Don't they burn an option year if they add players to the 40 manI 

No option would be burned this year is a guy is promoted now. The service time considerations would also be minor IMHO. I can't find the link, but didn't Falvey say that bringing up Graterol was not a sure thing?


On a couple of other notes, with the roster construction in place, the Twins could use both a pinch runner/defensive replacement and a left handed relief specialist. O'Rourke would figure to have a shot as the lefty specialist and it appears he has been effective in Rochester. Ian Miller? Maybe.

#17 Darius


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 10:00 PM

I don’t think it’s likely that Graterol or Alcala show up and blow everyone away (assuming they actually follow through on bringing one of them up. I’m skeptical).

Major league hitters are facing high-velo guys with knee bucking breaking stuff every night now. The command has to be there. Berrios is a recent example of raw stuff that was dominant in the minors, but a little off against big leaguers l. It took him 1.5 years to refine things.

Being in the bullpen may be different, but I think the overarching concept stands. Major league lineups, especially when you’re talking about the Yankees, Astros, Twins, are on a completely different level. You’re facing 8-9 batters that are twice as good as the best hitter you’ve faced in your life up to that point (aside from the occasional rehabs).

I actually like the Twins pen a lot going into the homestretch. Duffey and Dyson look great right now. Rogers and Romo are rock solid. I really like how May has been throwing the ball. You can really take innings away and play some matchups with that group.

Edited by Darius, 21 August 2019 - 10:05 PM.

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#18 Thegrin


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 10:25 PM

Yea...bring them all up.I am sure we can use them all at least once :D

#19 ScrapTheNickname


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Posted 21 August 2019 - 11:34 PM

Add Graterol and drop Wade from the 40 man roster. Is that too simple?

#20 Richard Swerdlick

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 06:26 AM

I don’t think O’Rourke would have been acquired if there wasn’t a plan to use him.

I also wouldn’t bank on Kohl Stewart coming up. He’s not very good. He’s more likely to be DFA to make room for someone else.

Unless the Twins brain trust has a plan to elevate Kohl Stewart's performance, I don't see him as part of the organization next year.