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Neal: Twins investment in Tonkin paying off

bullpen banter michael tonkin minnesota twins
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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:18 AM

The Twins signed Michael Tonkin in the 30th round of the 2008 draft and handed the big-bodied high schooler a princely sum of $230,000 to sign. So far, that investment has been well spent for the Twins, writes the Star Tribune's La Velle Neal.

Those who watched Friday night's broadcast were treated to an inning of Tonkin's work and saw him display a mid-90s fastball with solid movement coupled with a curve with some impressive tilt.

[FONT=Arial]His fastball reaches about 95 miles per hour, but the development of a lethal slider has helped him rise up the organizational prospect rankings. Tonkin tinkered with a curveball and slider for several years before the breakthrough last season.
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[FONT=Arial]
“The development of the slider last year was huge,” Tonkin said. “I felt like I had hit a roadblock the years before that, but getting that slider down was definitely a difference-maker.[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial]“It’s still a work in progress, but it’s much better than it was before.”[FONT=Verdana]


Tonkin's addition of those pitches may make him a lethal option for the Twins in the very near future.[/FONT][/FONT]

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#2 Shane Wahl

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 04:05 PM

He has to start out in New Britain, right? I hope they don't bother with keeping him in Fort Myers to begin the year. There is no point in doing that.

#3 Parker Hageman

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 04:07 PM

Yes, Dustin Morse confirmed that Tonkin will start at New Britain this year.

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#4 glunn

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:41 PM

I wonder if there is any chance he could become a starter at some point.

#5 kab21

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 01:44 AM

MiLB starters become relievers but MiLB relievers rarely become starters. That experiment ended 2 yrs ago for Tonkin and I'm okay with him being a late inning reliever.

#6 Shane Wahl

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 09:40 AM

Converting him to a starter again could really throw a kink in his development. And it isn't like he could become a starter for the 2013 or even 2014 Twins anyway. But by 2014 the Twins may be needing quality relievers (well they do now, but that's another matter) and Tonkin (and Achter) look suited to challenge for spots along with Watts and Pugh. I say their might be a need because A: who knows if Jared Burton isn't traded at the deadline, B: Casey Fien might turn into a pumpkin, C: Lester Oliveros' health is in doubt in general, D: Deolis Guerra might simply be a pumpkin, E: The Slama era (ha!) appears probably over, F: Alex Burnett might have peaked a few years ago!, and G: The Twins nonsense with bringing in "veteran" MR pitchers who aren't very good (Gray, Maloney, Wood, Roenicke) has got to stop sometime.

#7 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:09 PM

Hopefully he's up to stay by June.
I'm sure he has some things he needs to work on, but he looks pretty close to being ready.
Developing young guys as bullpen arms is a fairly new philosophy, but we've seen some other clubs have success with it, and I'm glad to see the Twins doing the same now.
Being able to stack your BP with good young arms making the league minimum should help with being able to pay more money at the positions that have a greater impact on the game (not that the BP doesnt.).

#8 ThePuck

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 01:45 PM

A 30th round pick got 230K? That seems a bit nuts.

#9 kab21

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:14 AM

tonkin was an overslot pick.

#10 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:40 AM

He is also related to Jason Kubel, who I think made a phone call to help convince him to sign.



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