Last week, the Twins announced seven players released from minor league camp. This morning marked the end of the line for the Twins career of several more players. Below you can read a little more about each:
Dustin Martin - Martin came to the Twins in the 2007 trade (with Drew Butera) in exchange for Luis Castillo. In 32 games for Ft. Myers that summer, he posted an .803 OPS. The following season he was promoted to New Britain where he posted an .802 OPS with 52 extra base hits. He has spent the past three seasons with the Rochester Red Wings. He improved his statistics each season. Last year, he hit .265/.341/.431 (.773) with 25 doubles, six triples and 15 home runs. During the offseason, he began a secondary career by starting YourCoolMovie.com.
Chris Cates - Cates was the Twins 38th round draft choice in 2007 out of the University of Louisville. He immediately gained recognition because of his 5-3 height (especially in photo ops with then-teammate 7-2 Loek Van Mil). He was a solid defender at SS and 2B, known for his steady performance and strong arm. In his five minor league seasons, he hit .228/.292/.255 (.547), but got all the way to New Britain the last two seasons.
Steve Pearce - The 28 year old Pearce signed with the Twins this past offseason. Unfortunately, Pearce was hurt in big league camp and never able to get it going.
Matt Bashore - He was the Twins supplemental 1st round pick in 2009, and he pitched in just 18.2 innings in the Twins organization (16.2 last year), all in Elizabethton. Since being drafted, he has had shoulder and elbow surgery. This move is somewhat surprising because I had heard reports that he was very impressive at the Florida Instructional League
Ben Tootle - 24-year-old was the Twins 3rd round pick in 2009 after being clocked at 100 mph in college. Since that time, he too has been unable to stay healthy. He had one shoulder surgery. Last year, he came back and was working to regain his velocity, but he really struggled with his control. He was shut down early again and hoped that he would come back strong in 2012.
Deinys Suarez - The 28-year-old Cuban defector was signed by the Twins prior to the 2011 season. He made his debut in AA New Britain last year where he went 1-6. He made some starts in Rochester as well and went 0-3. Combined, he posted an ERA of 5.76 and a WHIP of 1.49.
Tyler Koelling - He was the Twins 19th round pick in 2011 out of the U. of Southern Mississippi where he posted an OPS over .900 his last two seasons. At Elizabethton last year, he hit .228/.291/.382 with six doubles and five home runs.
Roy Larson - Larson was signed by the Twins following the 2010 season. The University of St. Thomas grad went to Elizabethton last year and played some at each corner infield spot. He hit .202/.240/.287 with five doubles and a home run.
UPDATE - Jason Bulger - The 33-year-old veteran who really struggled in big league camp. It was a good no-risk, minor league signing because Bulger had a solid six seasons with the Angels organization. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for Bulger or the Twins.
UPDATE 2 - Brad Stillings - The 24-year-old was the Twins 7th round pick in 2009. He pitched well early in his career. He stayed in Beloit in 2010, but his seasons ended a little early with some arm problems. Last year, he was in the Ft. Myers bullpen, but his season came to an end early and he had shoulder surgery. Reports were that he was throwing 94 on radar guns this spring.
I don't think that any of these moves are complete surprises, with the possible exception of Matt Bashore. But I'm certain it is a difficult day for each and every one of them. What will their next steps be? Will they get another opportunity with an affiliate? Will they look to the independent leagues for another shot? Will they begin their next careers.
To each of them, thank you for the time and efforts you put forth in the Twins (and their affiliates) uniforms. Best wishes in whatever is next in your careers!