- Pitchers (16): Jorge Alcala, Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, Tyler Duffey, Brusdar Graterol, Ryne Harper, Trevor Hildenberger, Zack Littell, Trevor May, Sean Poppen, Taylor Rogers, Fernando Romero, Devin Smeltzer, Cody Stashak, Lewis Thorpe, Matt Wisler.
- Catchers (2): Willians Astudillo, Mitch Garver
- Infielders (7): Ehire Adrianza, Luis Arraez, CJ Cron, Marwin Gonzalez, Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano
- Outfielders: (5) Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, LaMonte Wade
- DH(1): Nelson Cruz
Last year, the Twins added three players to their 40-man roster. The “givens” at that time were Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade. We included Luis Arraez as the first “on the bubble” name. The third “on the bubble” name mentioned here a year ago was RH RP Nick Anderson who was traded to the Marlins and pitched tremendously for the Marlins and the Rays as a rookie in 2019.
So, let’s get to the players that the team will consider adding to their 40-man roster.
As a reminder, here are some of the criteria for who is eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected. Here is this year’s criteria:
- Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2015 (during the minor league season).
- Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2016.
- Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.
- Players drafted or signed during the 2013 season became free agents after the World Series was complete. That includes Johan Quezada and Jose Martinez. That is why Kohl Stewart, who went unclaimed on Monday, was able to become a free agent. If the Twins signed them (or other minor league free agents) before the Rule 5 draft, they would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
Several players that would have been Givens were already added to the 40-man roster and called up late in the season. In fact, there were several guys who may have been borderline who were added already. For instance, Brusdar Graterol and Jorge Alcala were going to be added. No question. Here are a couple more.
- RHP Jhoan Duran - He came to the Twins in July 2018 from the Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar trade. Duran throws hard. He hit triple-digits with a fastball several times in many of his starts. He went just 2-9 despite a 3.23 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for the Miracle. He had 95 strikeouts in 78 innings.He moved up to AA Pensacola where he went 3-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven starts. He struck out 41 batters in 37 innings. The 21-year-old stands 6-5 and has the potential for a starting pitcher’s mix.
- RHP Dakota Chalmers - Chalmers was a third-round pick of the Oakland A’s in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He throws hard, but he has often struggled with control. He also fought injury and had Tommy John surgery early in 2018. The Twins acquired him in August in the Fernando Rodney trade. He returned to the mound in the second half of the 2019 season. After rehabbing in the GCL, the 23-year-old finished the regular season in Ft. Myers with the Miracle. He pitched for the Blue Wahoos in the playoffs and then headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more innings. He has a mid-90s fastball and good spin on his curveball. He also throws a changeup that is good when on.
- 2B/3B Travis Blankenhorn - The 23-year-old struggled in 2018 in Ft. Myers, as many do in the Florida State League, so he began 2019 with the Miracle. After just 15 games, he was promoted to AA Pensacola. He took off from there. In 93 games with the Blue Wahoos, he hit .278 with 18 doubles and 18 home runs. He was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania. He is one of the best athletes in the organization and has power and speed.
- OF Gilberto Celestino - The same year Javier signed with the Twins, the Astros signed Gilberto Celestino to a $2.25 million signing bonus. He came to the Twins in 2018 in the Ryan Pressly trade (with Jorge Alcala). He began 2019 by really struggling in Cedar Rapids, but he was on fire the final three months of the season and ended the year with the Miracle. And there, in 30 at-bats, he hit .300/.344/.433 (.767)
- OF Luke Raley - Raley was the Dodgers seventh-round pick in 2016 out of Division 2 Lake Erie College. He played well, and in July 2018, he came to the Twins with Devin Smeltzer in the Brian Dozier trade. He started 2019 in Rochester and was playing well when he hurt his ankle and needed surgery. It ended his season though he did play in the Arizona Fall League. He has power, and can play all three outfield positions, though center field is a stretch.
- RHP Luis Rijo - He came to the Twins from the Yankees in the July 2018 Lance Lynn trade. In 2018 in Cedar Rapids, he impressed by often hitting 95 and 96 mph with his fastball. He went 5-8 with a 2.86 ERA over 107 innings pitched. If he had spent time in Ft. Myers, he would probably be a Given, but could a team stash him for the full 2019 season?
- SS Wander Javier - When you sign an amateur to a $4 million signing bonus, you’d like to think that this decision would be easy, and maybe it is. But Javier has unfortunately missed nearly two seasons because of injury (most of 2016 in DSL and all of 2018). His 2019 started late and in 80 games, he hit just .177 with nine doubles and 11 home runs. He also had 17 errors. So, could he play in the big leagues today? Probably not. But he has as much talent as anyone in the organization, so a team might be willing to stash the 20-year-old on their big league roster for his potential.
- RHP Griffin Jax - The Twins third-round pick in 2016 out of the Air Force Academy. He signed and while he had commitments to the military, he pitched each summer. He has been able to pitch consistently since early in the 2018 season. He spent most of the 2019 season in Double-A Pensacola but made a couple of starts at Triple-A Rochester too. In 23 starts, he went a combined 5-7 with a 2.90 ERA. In 127 1/3 innings, he walked just 27 and struck out 94 (6.6 K/9).
This is a group that contains some intriguing names. While they aren’t obvious choices, there could be a team that likes them enough to take a shot with a Rule 5 pick.
- 1B Zander Wiel - The 26-year-old hit .254 with 40 doubles, five triples and 24 RBI at AAA Rochester in 2019 while performing adequately at first base.
- IF/OF Trey Cabbage - The 22-year-old was the Twins 4th round pick in 2015 out of high school in Tennessee. He is incredibly strong and hit a combined 15 homers in 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers.
- LHP Sam Clay - Fourth round pick in 2014 from Georgia Tech, Clay reached AAA in 2019. In 123 2/3 innings above High A, he has not given up a home run. In 69 1/3 innings in 2019 (2/3 of the innings in AA), he walked 28 and struck out 72 batters.
- RHP Moises Gomez - The 22-year-old Venezuelan posted a 1-4 record with 10 saves and a 2.91 ERA this season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He also struck out 15 batters in 11 innings in the Arizona Fall League (we won’t mention the nine walks).
- RHP Jake Reed - We have brought him up as a Must-Add each of the last few seasons. He hasn’t been added, and he hasn’t been selected. Now 27, he is coming off of a 2019 season in which he posted a 5.76 ERA in Rochester (though he struck out 92 batters in 75 innings).
- RHP Tom Hackimer - The side-winding 25-year-old was the Twins 4th round pick in 2016 from St. John's. When healthy, he has been very productive. In 56 2/3 innings in 2019, he struck out 75 batters.
Here is a list of other players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the Twins organization.
- LHP Alex Robinson
- RHP Miguel De Jesus
- LHP Lachlan Wells
- RHP Yancarlos Baez
- RHP Melvi Acosta
- RHP Adam Bray
- RHP Andro Cutura
- LHP Zach Featherstone
- RHP Randy LeBlanc
- RHP Hector Lujan
- RHP Andriu Marin
- RHP Ryan Mason
- LHP Jovani Moran
- RHP Alex Schick
- RHP Carlos Suniaga
- LHP Andrew Vasquez
- LHP Tyler Watson
- RHP Tyler Wells
- IF Joe Cronin
- SS Yeltsin Encarnacion
- C Caleb Hamilton
- 3B Brian Schales
- OF Aaron Whitefield
- OF Malique Ziegler
We saw in 2019, and in 2018 too, that the Twins front office will make moves and keep that Rochester Connection quite active, so being on the 40-man roster is a big deal, but we have also seen that it can be altered frequently throughout a season.
So, who do you think will be added? Does the fact that the Twins 40-man roster is currently at just 31 and there are others who could be DFAd still make you think they will add as many as eight players in two weeks?
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