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Twins Announce Non-Roster Invites


On Monday morning, the Minnesota Twins invited several non-roster players to big-league spring training. Teams are allowed up to 75 players (40 man roster plus Non-Roster Invites) at camp this year. The team intentionally remains shy of that number to allow more players to be signed to minor league deals.As per usual, the team’s non-roster invitations are an interesting combination of veterans competing for jobs at Triple-A and to make an impression should a need come later in the season, and prospects, who are getting seen by the big-league coaches and trying to just make an impression.

 

Some of the players will be participating in what's being called the Depth Camp. Because there is MLB camp and the MLB and AAA seasons will be starting in about six weeks and Double-A and down won't start their spring training until MLB camp is over, they are bringing in extra players.

 

(At the end of each profile, we will point out if the player is a Non-Roster Invite (NRI) or a minor league Depth player (Depth).)

 

 

THE MINOR LEAGUE VETERANS

 

C Tomás Telis (29) - Telis has played in 122 games in the big leagues for the Rangers and Marlins between 2014 and 2018. With the Rochester Red Wings in 2019, he hit .330/.3364/.490 (.854) with 21 doubles and eight homers. He spent the 2020 season in St. Paul. (NRI)

 

 

SS Tzu-Wei Lin (27) - Lin signed with the Red Sox out of Taiwan in June of 2012 and played in 101 games for Boston from 2017-2020. He hit just .223/.298/.316 (.614) with nine doubles, three triples and a home run over 2018 plate appearances. He is known for his defense at shortstop. (NRI)

 

IF Drew Maggi (31) - 2019 was Maggi's tenth season in pro baseball. Between Pensacola and Rochester, he hit .258/.380/.407 (.788) with 23 doubles and 11 homers. He was a non-roster invite of the Twins in 2020 as well. (Depth)

 

IF JT Riddle (29) - The slick-fielding infielder debuted with the Marlins in 2017 and played in 223 games for them over the next three seasons. In 2020, he played in 23 games for the Pirates. He has hit a combined .222/.261/.355 (.616) with 31 doubles and 19 homers in his MLB time. He is tremendous with the glove at shortstop, something the Twins brass clearly has prioritized this offseason. (NRI)

 

 

OF Keon Broxton (30) - The speedy centerfielder has played in 376 big league games between 2015 when he debuted with seven games with the Pirates and 2019 with Seattle. In between, he played with the Mets, Orioles and 269 games with the Brewers. In 2017, he played in 143 games in Milwaukee and hit .220 with 15 doubles, 20 homers and 21 stolen bases. (NRI)

 

OF Rob Refsnyder (29) - Refsnyder has played in 181 games over parts of five MLB seasons between 2015 and 2020. He has played at least 30 games at second base, left field, first base and right field. He has played in the big leagues for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays and Rangers (2020). (NRI)

 

 

LHP Andrew Albers (35) - The Twins signed Andrew Albers way back in 2012 out of independent league baseball. He made his MLB debut in 2013 and tossed 17 ⅓ scoreless innings to start his career. He pitched in Korea in 2014. Then he pitched in a game for Toronto in 2015. He returned to the Twins in 2016 and pitched in six games. In 2017, he went 5-1 with a 3.51 ERA in nine games with the Mariners. He has now spent the past three years pitching in Japan. He signed back with the Twins last week. (NRI)

 

LHP Danny Coulombe (31) - Coulombe made his MLB debut in 2014 with the Dodgers and spent part of 2015 with them too. He was traded to the A’s and pitched out of their bullpen through the 2018 season. He was injured and didn’t pitch in 2019. The Twins signed him before the 2020 season and he pitched in two games (2.2 scoreless innings) for the team last summer. (NRI)

 

LHP Brandon Waddell (26) - Waddell was the Pirates fifth round draft pick from the U of Virginia in 2015. He made his MLB debut in 2020, pitching 3 1/3 innings over two games. The Twins claimed him shortly after the end of the 2020 season and DFAd him last week. He cleared waivers and will remain in the organization. (NRI)

 

 

RHP Luke Farrell (29) - Farrell is the son of former Blue Jays and Red Sox manager John Farrell. He has pitched for the Royals, Reds, Cubs and Rangers over the past five seasons. He has pitched in 63 innings and 43 games in the big leagues. (NRI)

 

RHP Ian Hamilton (25) - Hamilton was the White Sox 11th round pick in 2015 from Washington State. He debuted with ten games in 2018, and then after some injury and bad luck in 2019, he pitched in four games for Chicago in 2020. Since the end of the season, he has been DFAd by the White Sox and claimed by the Mariners, DFAd by the Mariners and claimed by the Phillies, DFAd by the Phillies and claimed by the Twins, DFAd by the Twins, cleared waivers and will stay in the Twins organization.

 

RHP Derek Law (30) - Law did not pitch in the big leagues in 2020, but he was a frequently-used bullpen arm the previous four seasons. In 2016, he debuted with 61 games for the Giants. He pitched in 41 games the following year. He pitched just seven games in 2018, but then he went to the Blue Jays in 2019 and pitched in 58 games. He has 164 career strikeouts in 166 1/3 innings. (NRI)

 

RHP Robinson Leyer (27) - Leyer made his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2020. He gave up 11 runs on 12 hits, eight walks and nine strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. (Depth)

 

RHP Juan Minaya (30) - Minaya pitched in 125 games for the White Sox between 2016 and 2019. He has 142 strikeouts over 128 1/3 innings in his MLB career. He even has ten saves. He signed with the Twins before the 2020 season and spent the summer at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. In fact, he was called up to the Twins active roster once, but he didn’t get into a game. He re-signed with the team. (NRI)

 

RHP Chandler Shepherd (28) - Shepherd worked 19 innings in 2019 for the Baltimore Orioles and posted a 6.63 ERA. (Depth)

 

RHP Glenn Sparkman (28) - Another veteran pitcher, half of Sparkman’s 52 career MLB games have been starts. Most of them came in 2019 when he went 4-11 with a 6.02 ERA in 31 games (23 starts). He pitched in four games out of the Royals bullpen in 2020. (NRI)

 

 

 

THE PROSPECTS

 

C David Banuelos (24) - Banuelos came to the Twins from the Mariners for international spending dollars in late 2017. A very strong defensive catcher, he split 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. (NRI)

 

C Caleb Hamilton (26) - The Twins 23rd round pick in 2016 from Oregon State, he transitioned to the catcher position, though he can also play all around the diamond. He spent 2019 with the Blue Wahoos, though he also played 11 games in Rochester. He was invited to big-league camp a year ago and participated throughout the summer in St. Paul. (NRI)

 

C Alex Isola (22) - Isola was the Twins 29th round pick in 2019 out of Texas Christian University. He split that summer between Elizabethton (7 games) and Cedar Rapids (18 games) and hit a combined .309 with five doubles and three homers. (Depth)

 

C Kyle Schmidt (23) - Schmidt was the Twins 33rd round pick in 2019 from the U. of Richmond. He played that summer in the GCL, at Elizabethton and in Cedar Rapids. He is a defense-first catcher. (Depth)

 

C/1B Chris Williams (24) - Williams was the Twins eight-round pick in 2018 out of Clemson. He was the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Hitter of the Year that year. In 2019, he split time between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers and hit 11 homers. He went to Twins Instructional League in 2020. (Depth)

 

 

SS Royce Lewis (21) - The top pick in the 2017 draft, Lewis finished the 2019 season at Double-A Pensacola and then was the Arizona Fall League MVP. He spent 2020 in St. Paul at the Twins alternate site. This is his third big league spring training. (NRI)

 

IF Jose Miranda (22) - Miranda was the Twins second, second-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Puerto Rico. He has consistently moved up one level each year. In 2019, he played in Ft. Myers before going 3-for-5 in his one game at Pensacola. He went to Instructional League in 2020 and then hit .302/.377/.472 (.849) with six doubles and a homer in Puerto Rico this winter and participated in the Caribbean Series. (Depth)

 

1B Aaron Sabato (21) - The Twins top pick a year ago from North Carolina can mash. In his 83 college games over the past two seasons, he hit a combined .332/.459/.698 (1.158) with 31 doubles and 25 homers. (Depth)

 

1B Zander Wiel (28) - Wiel was the Twins 12th round pick in 2015 from Vanderbilt. In 2019 at AAA Rochester, he hit .254 with 40 doubles, five triples and 24 home runs. He earned an invitation to Twins spring training last year and participated in the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. (Depth)

 

OF Trevor Larnach (23) - The Twins first-round pick in 2018 from Oregon State, Larnach also spent 2020 working at CHS Field, the Twins alternate site. In 2019, he was the Twins (and Twins Daily) Minor League Hitter of the Year. He also was the Florida State League MVP. This is his second spring training at big-league camp. (NRI)

 

 

 

LHP Charlie Barnes (25) - The southpaw was the Twins 4th round pick in 2017 out of Clemson. In 2019, he pitched at Ft. Myers, Pensacola and Rochester. He earned an invitation to big-league camp a year ago and ended 2020 with a couple of weeks at the alternate site in St. Paul. (NRI)

 

LHP Andrew Vasquez (27) - Vasquez was the Twins 32nd round pick in 2015 out of Westmont College. He had an incredible 2018 season, pitching at four levels and ending the season with five innings in the big leagues. He made one appearance in 2019 before being DFAd. (Depth)

 

 

RHP Matt Canterino (23) - Canterino was the Twins second-round pick in 2019 out of Rice University. He debuted with two games in the GCL before making five starts in Cedar Rapids (1-1, 1.35 ERA in 20 innings). He participated in St. Paul last summer for a couple of weeks before going to Ft. Myers for Instructional League. (Depth)

 

RHP Griffin Jax (26) - Jax was the Twins third-round pick in 2016 out of the Air Force Academy. His story has been well chronicled. He pitched in Pensacola in 2019 and also made three starts in Rochester. Combined, he posted a 2.90 ERA in 127 1/3 innings. He was invited to big-league camp in 2020. (NRI)

 

RHP Tom Hackimer (26) - Hackimer was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2016 out of St. John’s. After missing much of the 2018 season with biceps surgery, he returned in 2019 and went 6-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 36 games between Ft. Myers and Pensacola. He went to Instructional League in 2020. Depth)

 

RHP Ryan Mason (26) - Mason was the Twins 13th round pick in 2016 out of Cal-Berkeley. In 2018, between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, he went 10-3 with seven saves and a 2.77 ERA. In 2019, he pitched in just 15 games for Double-A Pensacola. He went 2-0 with seven saves and a 2.35 ERA, but missed time due to some injury. (Depth)

 

RHP Josh Winder (24) - Winder was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2018 from Virginia Military Institute. He made 21 starts in Cedar Rapids in 2019 and went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 125 2/3 innings. He impressed at Instructional League last year, flashing a 97 mph fastball. (Depth)

 

 

Combining the 40-man roster players with the invites, here are the players who will be participating in Twins Spring Training.

 

 

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The Twins used to have a catcher in the organization by the name of Dan Rohlfing.  He was always a perennial non-roster invite, it seemed. Anyone know if he's still kicking around playing pro ball somewhere or is he retired?

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I'm kind of disappointed in the infielder list. The Twins have a long history of having the number two utility IF getting significant at bats and Lin, Refsnyder, Riddle and Maggi can't hit a lick. Unless they're going to have one of the rookies riding pine 4-5 games per week, one of these guys or Astudillo is almost certainly a lock for the 26-man roster as things stand now. Based on past history, that person is still going to be getting Adrianza's 200-300 PAs next season. 

 

I didn't really want Marwin back as I like to see a decent turnover in the roster and that seemed like a good spot to find new blood. But he's off the table. Brad Miller, Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Harrison, Freddie Galvis, Chris Owings and Tim Beckham are gone but would have all been very cheap but better than the other current options. Jed Lowrie, Brock Holt or Jonathan Villar might have been interesting also.

 

Not too late though I guess. Seems like there's a solid spot on the team for Travis Shaw, Zack Cozart, Danny Santana or Jedd Gyrko. Maybe the Twins are just waiting out all the useful infielders planning on getting who's left even cheaper than expected.

 

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The Twins used to have a catcher in the organization by the name of Dan Rohlfing.  He was always a perennial non-roster invite, it seemed. Anyone know if he's still kicking around playing pro ball somewhere or is he retired?

 

Dan is not playing professionally anymore. I believe he recently got married and has moved on. He was a nice catching prospect, very athletic. 

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I'm kind of disappointed in the infielder list. The Twins have a long history of having the number two utility IF getting significant at bats and Lin, Refsnyder, Riddle and Maggi can't hit a lick. Unless they're going to have one of the rookies riding pine 4-5 games per week, one of these guys or Astudillo is almost certainly a lock for the 26-man roster as things stand now. Based on past history, that person is still going to be getting Adrianza's 200-300 PAs next season. 

 

I didn't really want Marwin back as I like to see a decent turnover in the roster and that seemed like a good spot to find new blood. But he's off the table. Brad Miller, Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Harrison, Freddie Galvis, Chris Owings and Tim Beckham are gone but would have all been very cheap but better than the other current options. Jed Lowrie, Brock Holt or Jonathan Villar might have been interesting also.

 

Not too late though I guess. Seems like there's a solid spot on the team for Travis Shaw, Zack Cozart, Danny Santana or Jedd Gyrko. Maybe the Twins are just waiting out all the useful infielders planning on getting who's left even cheaper than expected.

I think you're right on another utility INF. But I bet if there is a long term injury to Polanco, Donaldson, Simmons, or Arraez, we see Blankenhorn or even Nick Gordon get called up and play every day. 

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I think you're right on another utility INF. But I bet if there is a long term injury to Polanco, Donaldson, Simmons, or Arraez, we see Blankenhorn or even Nick Gordon get called up and play every day. 

If Donaldson, Simmons, or Polanco go down we see Arraez step into a true everyday role and Blankenhorn or Gordon come up depending on how they're playing and who got hurt. If Sano goes down we see Rooker, Kirilloff, or Larnach (whoever isn't already up) come up and rotate through corner OF and 1B. This year is different than the last couple with 4 guys legitimately good enough to play everyday at 2B, 3B, or SS and 6 guys ready, or soon to be, for the OF (Buxton, Kepler, Cave, Kirilloff, Larnach, Rooker) with 3 of them able to fill in at 1B for Sano. I think Adrianza isn't back because he wouldn't be getting the already limited ABs he was getting the last couple years. You're not going to play any other IF outside Polanco, Donaldson, Simmons, or Arraez at 2B, 3B or SS, and you're not going to play some other utitlity guy at 1B over Sano, Kirilloff, or Rooker.

 

The 26th guy on the roster this year won't be seeing the field much unless there's some pretty big injury or underperformance issues. Which there's always the risk of, but signing legit guys to be your 26th man when they're only looking at 150 random PAs is hard to do. Not many FAs out there willing to sign on for that role with young guys from the minors who would likely jump them even with an injury.

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Maybe it is because I am so old, but when I see these players struggling, year after year to get to the bigs I feel sorry for them and do not want us to pick up more waiver wire players.  I want them to get their chance, to earn a pension, to be rewarded.

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Maybe it is because I am so old, but when I see these players struggling, year after year to get to the bigs I feel sorry for them and do not want us to pick up more waiver wire players.  I want them to get their chance, to earn a pension, to be rewarded.

 

I agree with you but it seems like the Twins are more likely to give those type of players a shot than most teams.  Especially if you are waivered or AAA hand picked reliever they definitely stand a chance. 

 

The thing is any player not on the 40 man roster has an incredibly up hill battle to climb to claim one of those spots.  First you have to make almost no mistakes in spring training.  You need to "stand out" in  spring training and you have to convince the FO that you are better than the last man on the 40 man because they have to move someone off to move you on.  Those are steep odds to overcome no matter what team you land on.

 

Honestly I think most of these guys are just looking for a team that wants them and if they show enough in spring training or during the AAA season then maybe another team would be willing to grab them as an injury replacement or for depth.

 

While the odds are long there are always a few Ryne Harpers out there who defy them, but they have to get on a team and try to make it happen first.

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Every team signs a bunch of minor league free agents. Obviously that varies based on needs and organizational depth and such. 

 

Every year there are a few that get called up, and if you can have success with any of them, it's great. Caleb Thielbar last year being just one example. I don't think anyone would/should expect an All Star from a minor league signing, but they are important. They also fill up AAA rosters so that the prospects don't have to get rushed. 

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I've gone to spring training the last 3 years. Had no trouble getting a ticket to any game I went to except a bit tight at

the Red Sox stadium. With the small amount of people let in this year, I may not go. Driving down from CT.

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If Donaldson, Simmons, or Polanco go down we see Arraez step into a true everyday role and Blankenhorn or Gordon come up depending on how they're playing and who got hurt. If Sano goes down we see Rooker, Kirilloff, or Larnach (whoever isn't already up) come up and rotate through corner OF and 1B. This year is different than the last couple with 4 guys legitimately good enough to play everyday at 2B, 3B, or SS and 6 guys ready, or soon to be, for the OF (Buxton, Kepler, Cave, Kirilloff, Larnach, Rooker) with 3 of them able to fill in at 1B for Sano. I think Adrianza isn't back because he wouldn't be getting the already limited ABs he was getting the last couple years. You're not going to play any other IF outside Polanco, Donaldson, Simmons, or Arraez at 2B, 3B or SS, and you're not going to play some other utitlity guy at 1B over Sano, Kirilloff, or Rooker.

 

The 26th guy on the roster this year won't be seeing the field much unless there's some pretty big injury or underperformance issues. Which there's always the risk of, but signing legit guys to be your 26th man when they're only looking at 150 random PAs is hard to do. Not many FAs out there willing to sign on for that role with young guys from the minors who would likely jump them even with an injury.

 

My man, this is a drum I've been beating on for months now!

 

There is no such thing as a perfect roster. But despite some people's various opinions I'd dare say 1-4 the Twins are sitting better at catcher than maybe any team in MLB. I dare say they have some of the best OF depth in all of MLB as well even after trading Wade when you look at the roster, the prosoects and the recent claims/signings/invites. And I'm going to ignore pitching for purpose of this discussion.

 

What about the infield?

 

The Twins, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, have one of the best infields in all of MLB. 100%! And Arraez as the 10th man is brilliant. Reports indicate he is on board, and his role will be a larger version of what be did his rookie year. BUT...despite talent and optimism, we have a history of ankles and knees and calves in our potentially awesome infield. While we want to roll with Arraez as an outstanding 10th man, history has shown you can't always bet on potential and want and hope.

 

Wouldn't it make sense to have insurance? While Marwin underachieved, and found enough AB to be a starter, there was still room for Adrianza to play. Arraez takes the Marwin role. But what makes more sense for a contending team? Have a couple of experienced glove guys at AAA you have to make room for, OR hope that Gordon and Blankenhorn are ready to help when called on...and maybe they will be...OR, drop a couple $M on a veteran infielder who may play a little, or a lot, and just increase your depth and options there?

 

Forgive my language, but I'd rather "potentially" piss away a couple $M for a proven infield option and hope for the best and let Gordon and Blankenhorn get themselves ready at St Paul.

 

 

 

 

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-40 wind chill outside and we're talking Spring Training!!  Can't friggin wait!!

We feel your pain.       It's been nasty cold and wet down here as well this past week.      I think we hit 51 two days ago.....  brrrrrr!

 

;)

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What about the infield? The Twins, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, have one of the best infields in all of MLB. 100%! And Arraez as the 10th man is brilliant. Reports indicate he is on board, and his role will be a larger version of what be did his rookie year. BUT...despite talent and optimism, we have a history of ankles and knees and calves in our potentially awesome infield. While we want to roll with Arraez as an outstanding 10th man, history has shown you can't always bet on potential and want and hope. Wouldn't it make sense to have insurance? While Marwin underachieved, and found enough AB to be a starter, there was still room for Adrianza to play. Arraez takes the Marwin role. But what makes more sense for a contending team? Have a couple of experienced glove guys at AAA you have to make room for, OR hope that Gordon and Blankenhorn are ready to help when called on...and maybe they will be...OR, drop a couple $M on a veteran infielder who may play a little, or a lot, and just increase your depth and options there? Forgive my language, but I'd rather "potentially" piss away a couple $M for a proven infield option and hope for the best and let Gordon and Blankenhorn get themselves ready at St Paul.

What "proven" infield option wants to sign on for the role that's available on this roster? I know there is talk of Arraez playing LF some this year (and he may start there opening day), but if a combination of Larnach, Kirilloff, Rooker are mashing at AAA and/or the majors you're not putting him out there. Marwin got starter PAs by covering 5 positions, Arraez is going to cover 3 primarily as there just aren't enough PAs to go around in the OF. I'm not a "let the kids play and see what they can do" person, but there are 40 man concerns coming real quick with the position players.

 

There aren't "proven" infield options who are going to sign up to be the backup to the backup. The guys left want to sign with Baltimore or Detroit or some other bottom feeding team where they may actually get some PAs to try to earn a contract next year. It's not about the $, it's about the opportunity and roster crunch. I'd be willing to bet Gordon isn't on this 40 man roster come 2022 so maybe he's someone you dump for a veteran end of the bench "proven" guy, but what guy wants to backup Arraez who's backing up the starters? Anyone willing to sign on to that major league role is likely willing to take a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, but again, the Twins aren't the team to take that route with either. They have too much competition for someone fighting for their career. I'd love to have a Kike or Tommy La Stella or other veteran guy, but the Twins are in a weird spot and there just aren't enough PAs to go around to the guys who will likely deserve PAs.

 

La Tortuga will be the 26th man and fill in here and there, once or twice a week, and provide C and corner depth. Arraez backs up the infield. As you mentioned the OF is full of depth. If I'm a FA infielder this offseason I'm not looking at the Twins and saying I want to sign here. They're one of my last options as there simply isn't an easy track to playing time.

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