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Twins Announce First Round Of Cuts

lewis thorpe rocco baldelli nick gordon travis blankenhorn
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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 03:39 PM

The culling of the Minnesota Twins' roster started on Monday.Reassigned to the minor league camp are pitchers Lewis Thorpe, Dakota Chalmers, Jhoan Duran, Jorge Alcala, outfielder Gilberto Celestino and infielders Nick Gordon and Travis Blankenhorn.

Of the cuts, perhaps the most surprising was Lewis Thorpe. Thorpe started to gain traction as a left-handed reliever late in 2019, striking out 17 in 13.1 innings in September, but he had left camp earlier this month for personal reasons and had yet to throw in a spring game.

Rocco Baldelli said that Thorpe took the news well.

“He knows what we are asking him to do,” said Baldelli. “What we are asking him to do has been very well laid out for him. And now he has to go and follow through and do it. We know the ability that he has. We know that he's not (just) close to being a big leaguer. He's a guy that can pitch in the big leagues and do it well. He just has to prepare for his season and make sure he's ready once the bell rings.”

Dakota Chalmers, who is returning from an elbow injury from 2019, would be stretched out at a slower pace than the rest of the pitchers.

“Our view of this from the beginning was we were going to slow-build him in spring training anyway,” said Falvey of Chalmers. “We're focused more on the end of season than the beginning. I think that's true of a lot of young arms, but for him in particular, coming off the surgery and an injury, we'd rather start him slow and let him finish the season strong than start him now, get to a point in the season where you feel like you have to cut off his innings because you've run out of buildup time.”

“By all accounts, he had a great camp.”

Duran, Twins Daily’s number six ranked prospect for 2020, has a hard sinking fastball which can reach upwards of 99 miles per hour and struck out 136 over 115 innings split between Pensacola and Fort Myers. This spring, the Twins were working with him to smooth out some of his mechanics in hopes of achieving better command of his repertoire.

Baldelli did not want to put labels on the roles of the reassigned pitchers just yet. Chalmers would have the limits in place. Others would potentially see hybrid roles. For instance, when it came to the hard-throwing Alcala, Baldelli says he could see him used in a number of ways.

“It’s not always a pure start, reliever, short reliever, there are a lot of different categories these guys can fall into,” the manager said. “Alcala is going to fall into that he's-going-to-be-lengthened-out category. He may help us at this level in a number of different ways.”

Gordon performed well in his second stint at Triple-A, collecting 29 doubles in just 70 games with Rochester, but injuries limited his 2019 season. The former first-round pick remains decent middle infield depth even as his once vaunted prospect status declines. Celestino, acquired from the Houston Astros in the Ryan Pressly trade, left a strong impression on the team with his athleticism in the outfield.

The Twins also announced that pitcher Fernando Romero has been added to the restricted list.

According to Twins’ Derek Falvey, unlike the reassignment moves, adding Romero to the restricted list simply acknowledged that the player is not currently with the team and will not be for an indefinite amount of time. Once able to join the team, Romero could face another transaction. He has remained in the Dominican Republic because of visa issues while throwing in the Twins academy in Boca Chica while exiled from the team.

“We've got staff and scouts around there that are connected with him more regularly, so probably the best way to describe it is a continuation of his offseason program and a little more throwing,” Falvey said. “Obviously, he's not pitching in games and playing here, but he's prepping."

The academy has similar technology to the team’s Fort Myers complex, including Trackman and Rapsodo, so the organization can continue to monitor his progress.

The Twins are now down to 55 players in camp.

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#2 AZTwin

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 03:58 PM

Who are the remaining 55?

#3 LewFordLives

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 04:12 PM

Still too many AAAA types in camp and none of them has really stood out. Part of it is there just isn't enough at bats or innings to go around. Maybe they should cut a few of those guys loose and let the rest show us what they've got in these last couple weeks.

#4 bobs

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 05:06 PM

No surprises here.But it's an exciting list of good, young players that show the talent depth the organization now has.

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#5 Vanimal46

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 05:33 PM

The one not on the list I’m most intrigued about is Kirilloff sticking around... Can he hit his way to a 40 man add before the season?
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#6 Danchat

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 06:15 PM

 

The one not on the list I’m most intrigued about is Kirilloff sticking around... Can he hit his way to a 40 man add before the season?

If he's going to be on the team, he should be getting everyday ABs... but I suppose you're not expecting Buxton to start the year on the DL? 

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#7 bones

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 06:23 PM

Are you sure that is an accurate quote from Baldelli on Thorpe because the sentence - "We know that he's not close to being a big leaguer."- seems out of place


#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 06:23 PM

 

Still too many AAAA types in camp and none of them has really stood out. Part of it is there just isn't enough at bats or innings to go around. Maybe they should cut a few of those guys loose and let the rest show us what they've got in these last couple weeks.

 

The Twins aren't worried about AAAA guys getting ready for the season. They all know how to do that, and some of them will be released before the season starts. The players optioned today need to get innings, need to get consistent at bats. They can do that in the minor league camp, intrasquad games, etc. The regulars for the Twins need to start getting more consistent time. The veteran non-roster guys can play in a limited role. 

 

The young non-roster types (Lewis, Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers) probably will be re-assigned soon as well so that they too can get themselves ready for games. 


#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 06:24 PM

 

The one not on the list I’m most intrigued about is Kirilloff sticking around... Can he hit his way to a 40 man add before the season?

 

Not unless there are about three injuries, but he and Larnach have made it known to all involved that they just might be ready to contribute when needed. 

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#10 Jimv

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 06:40 PM

 

Are you sure that is an accurate quote from Baldelli on Thorpe because the sentence - "We know that he's not close to being a big leaguer."- seems out of place

I had the same reaction you did, but decided that the meaning was probably lost a bit without hearing emphasis.I suspect that Rocco was distinguishing between close and ready, so he was saying Thorpe is not just close, he's ready. That would make it consistent with the following sentence.

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#11 MMMordabito

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 06:53 PM

Are you sure that is an accurate quote from Baldelli on Thorpe because the sentence - "We know that he's not close to being a big leaguer."- seems out of place


I had to read that twice, too. I think he meant "close to being a big leaguer" vs. "already having what it takes to pitch at the big league level". Confusing quote, but Thorpe was not the former.

#12 beckmt

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 07:03 PM

 

I had to read that twice, too. I think he meant "close to being a big leaguer" vs. "already having what it takes to pitch at the big league level". Confusing quote, but Thorpe was not the former.

Wonder if this had something to do with his absence from camp for a couple of weeks.


#13 stringer bell

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 07:31 PM

 

The one not on the list I’m most intrigued about is Kirilloff sticking around... Can he hit his way to a 40 man add before the season?

The only reason for adding him to the 40-man roster would be if he made the Opening Day (26 man) roster. Adding him only to option him would burn an option they don't need to use and leave one less spot on the 40-man roster for adding non-rostered players. 

 

Further, those not on the 40-man roster aren't in jeopardy of getting hurt and then drawing major league pay and service time on the injured list. It is likely the three potential sluggers (Kirilloff, Rooker, and Larnach) will get sent to the minor league side for more reps pretty soon, but there's no harm in having them around for now.

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#14 AZTwin

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 08:29 PM

Are you sure that is an accurate quote from Baldelli on Thorpe because the sentence - "We know that he's not close to being a big leaguer."- seems out of place


Got to read the next sentence. He’s not close; he’s already there. Just needs to get innings
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#15 Diesel

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 08:36 PM

I think this cut was just for the 40 man guys for service time and injury reasons, right? I do want to see what Kirilloff and Larnach can do in triple-A to start off the year to see what they can do against experienced pitchers. Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave, and Gonzalez in the majors and Kirilloff, Larnach, Rooker and Wade Jr. in Rochester. Absolutely stacked position.
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#16 DocBauer

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 09:29 PM

Not surprised at all by Thorpe. The Twins are very high on him and his potential. I believe they absolutely see him in the rotation, though he could help in the pen at any time, but right now he needs IP and to be stretched out. No way they are going to rush him in any way to potentially make the pen.

I found the comments about Chalmers and Alcala very interesting. Obviously, both have big arms and loads of potential. Really liked the thought about "nursing" Chalmers a bit due to lack of IP. I thought the comment about being focused on the end of the season and not the beginning to be telling. They clearly like the idea of him remaining in the rotation long term potentially. Alcala seems destined for relief, where he could be very good. But I like the idea they won't immediately pigeonhole him in to a singular role. I take that to mean he could open, pitch middle, setup, close, etc.

Slightly surprised by Celistino. That tells me Buxton is going to start playing or they might have kept him a little longer.

Gordon makes sense at this point. Same with Blenkenhorn. Time for them to get ready for their seasons. Watched the game on Sunday, and while he is on a new diet for his stomach issues, someone get Gordon on a high protein diet. The kid needs weight and muscle to advance. Please, please keep working Blenkenhorn at 3B so he can be at least passable there. I think he has a chance to be a solid 5 position contributor.
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#17 Yoke

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 07:37 AM

Thorpe doesn't seem super jazzed about the whole thing on Twitter.


#18 SQUIRREL

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 08:45 AM

 

Thorpe doesn't seem super jazzed about the whole thing on Twitter.

 

Well, the line missing from the Baldelli quote above was:

 

"I can't say he was excited about it, but I think he was understanding."

 

So yeah, not super jazzed. But ... it's up to him at this point ... go and do. He missed a week or so of camp. While I might have wanted to see him continue, they obviously felt he was far enough behind. He'll get his opportunity.

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#19 insagt1

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 09:28 AM

had a nice chat with Rochester Red Wings owner on the way back from Orlando Sunday. She said because of the great depth and success at A and AA levels last year, she believes the Wings are going to be very strong this season. Twins talent overall in the organization appears to be very strong. We are all excited to get the season going.

(I'm betting that sports stores are going to have trouble moving Astros gear this year.)

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#20 Yoke

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 09:38 AM

 

Well, the line missing from the Baldelli quote above was:

 

"I can't say he was excited about it, but I think he was understanding."

 

So yeah, not super jazzed. But ... it's up to him at this point ... go and do. He missed a week or so of camp. While I might have wanted to see him continue, they obviously felt he was far enough behind. He'll get his opportunity.

I think it's a little early for him to get cut, but I think missing that camp time didn't help his cause.

 

I agree that he'd definitely get some opportunities this summer, but going on Twitter and being pissed about it rarely is a useful way to go about it. Doesn't make them move you up faster, and rarely makes them trade you faster, since you won't bring back as much right away.




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