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  1. Jake Reed spent his first seven professional seasons in the Twins organization. Now he’s getting his first taste of the big leagues outside the organization. Did Minnesota miss out on a potential bullpen arm? Reed was originally drafted by the Twins in the fifth round back in 2014 out of the University of Oregon. He made a strong first impression as his college experience helped him to dominate the lower levels of the minors. Minnesota sent him to the Arizona Fall League where he continued to pitch well. Things couldn’t have gone much better in his first taste of professional action. During the 2015 season, Reed advanced as far as Double-A and made a return trip to the AFL. Over the next couple seasons, he’d work his way to Triple-A where he compiled some decent numbers. His best Triple-A season came in 2018 as he compiled a 1.89 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He seemed on the cusp of being called up to the big leagues for the Twins. Things didn’t go as smoothly in 2019 as his ERA and WHIP were career worsts, but he struck out 11 batters per nine innings. Minnesota gave him a non-roster invite to big-league camp in 2020, but the COVID pandemic and no minor league season hurt Reed’s chances. Reed fell into a unique group that became first time free agents last winter even though no season was played. Reed signed a minor league deal with the Angels this winter, but he allowed five runs in 10 2/3 innings at Triple-A. His strikeout numbers continued to be through the roof as he struck out 17 batters in eight appearances (14.3 K/9). Organizations with good scouting departments took notice as he signed with the Dodgers and that’s where he’d make his big-league debut. The Dodgers have plenty of pitching depth, so Reed didn’t last long on their 40-man roster. Tampa Bay, another team known for scouting, scooped him up, but he only made one appearance in their organization before being designated for assignment. Now, the Mets have picked him up and it might be a chance for him to stick with an organization. Both his slider and his fastball come in under the league average when it comes to velocity. However, his unique arm action and his ability to generate spin. Batters aren’t prepared to see a ball move the way it does out of Reed’s hand and this makes him more effective. His arm action allows him to release the ball low and then the spin of the ball makes hitters look uncomfortable at the plate. His strikeout rates have continued to rise in recent years and his unique style may be the biggest reason why this has happened. So what does the future hold for Jake Reed? Sometimes changing organizations can make all the difference and he has done plenty of changing this season. On Friday, the Mets placed Reed on the IL with right forearm inflammation, but the hope is he can get back sooner rather than later, especially with the team in the hunt for the NL East title. Do you think the Twins missed something with Reed? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Reed was originally drafted by the Twins in the fifth round back in 2014 out of the University of Oregon. He made a strong first impression as his college experience helped him to dominate the lower levels of the minors. Minnesota sent him to the Arizona Fall League where he continued to pitch well. Things couldn’t have gone much better in his first taste of professional action. During the 2015 season, Reed advanced as far as Double-A and made a return trip to the AFL. Over the next couple seasons, he’d work his way to Triple-A where he compiled some decent numbers. His best Triple-A season came in 2018 as he compiled a 1.89 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He seemed on the cusp of being called up to the big leagues for the Twins. Things didn’t go as smoothly in 2019 as his ERA and WHIP were career worsts, but he struck out 11 batters per nine innings. Minnesota gave him a non-roster invite to big-league camp in 2020, but the COVID pandemic and no minor league season hurt Reed’s chances. Reed fell into a unique group that became first time free agents last winter even though no season was played. Reed signed a minor league deal with the Angels this winter, but he allowed five runs in 10 2/3 innings at Triple-A. His strikeout numbers continued to be through the roof as he struck out 17 batters in eight appearances (14.3 K/9). Organizations with good scouting departments took notice as he signed with the Dodgers and that’s where he’d make his big-league debut. The Dodgers have plenty of pitching depth, so Reed didn’t last long on their 40-man roster. Tampa Bay, another team known for scouting, scooped him up, but he only made one appearance in their organization before being designated for assignment. Now, the Mets have picked him up and it might be a chance for him to stick with an organization. Both his slider and his fastball come in under the league average when it comes to velocity. However, his unique arm action and his ability to generate spin. Batters aren’t prepared to see a ball move the way it does out of Reed’s hand and this makes him more effective. His arm action allows him to release the ball low and then the spin of the ball makes hitters look uncomfortable at the plate. His strikeout rates have continued to rise in recent years and his unique style may be the biggest reason why this has happened. So what does the future hold for Jake Reed? Sometimes changing organizations can make all the difference and he has done plenty of changing this season. On Friday, the Mets placed Reed on the IL with right forearm inflammation, but the hope is he can get back sooner rather than later, especially with the team in the hunt for the NL East title. Do you think the Twins missed something with Reed? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Last week, Baseball America’s JJ Cooper wrote the following: “There was no 2020 MiLB season, so a legal argument could have been constructed that there was no championship season, which would mean that all players who came into the season with six years of minor league service time compiled would have to wait until after the 2021 season to reach free agency.” So, what does this mean for Minnesota Twins and their players? Well, mostly it means that it will affect them as if there was a season played. If they would have said that it isn’t a ‘championship season’, all players would be one year further from free agency. The team would have had one more year of control. Six-Year Minor League Free Agents Players that the Twins signed in the past offseason on minor league deal will be free agents at season’s end, unless they are on the 40-man roster. So, a player like Calten Daal or Mitch Horacek who are on minor league deals with the Twins will become free agents at the end of the year. Guys like Drew Maggi and Jack Reinheimer and Wilfredo Tovar who are on the current Twins 60-player pool will become free agents at the end of the season, unless they are added to the 40-man roster before then. Caleb Thielbar signed a minor league free agent deal with the Twins. He was practicing in St. Paul. He got added to the 40-man roster to be added to the team’s 28-man roster. If the Twins keep him on their 40-man roster all season, he isn’t a free agent. But if the Twins do take him off of the 40-man roster, he can become a free agent. First-Time Free Agents Players drafted in the 2014 MLB draft are eligible to be free agents at the end of the season. So are the guys who signed as international free agents after the 2013 season and through the 2014 season. Sam Clay - LHP - 27 Clay was the Twins fourth round pick in 2014 out of Georgia Tech. The Twins gave him an opportunity to start and he was an All Star starting pitcher in the Midwest League, but he moved to the bullpen where he has had some ups and downs. However, he is left-handed, and he has allowed just one home run since the 2017 season. He is at the Twins alternate training site. During the Twins recent road trip, he was on the taxi squad. Jake Reed - RHP - 27 Reed was the team’s fifth round pick in 2014 out of the University of Oregon. Reed signed quickly and immediately made a strong impression. After a dominant debut, he went to the Arizona Fall League. In 2015, he was quickly promoted to Double-A. The past four seasons have been split between Double-A and Triple-A. At times, particularly the second half of 2018, he was dominant. However, he has not been given a big-league opportunity. He has not been added to the Twins player pool, though one would hope if that group expands (as has been discussed), he would be in that group. Andro Cutura - RHP - 26 Cutura was the Twins’ seventh round pick in 2014 from Southeastern Louisiana University. After just six starts in 2016, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2017. He returned in 2018. He spent most of 2020 at Double-A Pensacola and pitched four innings for the Red Wings. Jose Martinez - RHP - 23 Martinez signed from Venezuela with the Twins on August 3rd, 2013. His progression through the organization has been slow. He spent a season each in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League. He then spent two years with the Elizabethton Twins. He spent 2018 and 2019 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Moises Gomez - RHP - 23 The Twins signed Gomez out of Venezuela in April of 2014. They were patient with him early. He spent a year in the DSL before spending two seasons in the Gulf Coast League. He split 2017 between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. He missed time with injury in 2018 but pitched his nine games in E-Town. In 2019, he was one of the top relief pitchers in the minor league system. Between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, he posted a 2.91 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League. One More To Watch Nick Gordon was added to the Twins 40-man roster after the 2018 season. 2020 is his second option year, so obviously he would have another option after this year. However, if the Twins top pick from that 2014 draft were to be removed from the 40-man roster and unclaimed, the 24-year-old could become a free agent as well. Any thoughts on any of these players and their upcoming free agencies? Which, if any, do you think the organization should prioritize attempting to bring back? Should any be put on the 40-man roster before they become free agents?
  4. I can’t speak for everybody, but a lot of my thought process into these final picks was about seeing where I could shuffle anybody else around if I had a personal cheeseball I wanted on my team. As these picks complete our rosters, let us know who you think did the best in the comments, and be on the lookout tomorrow for a full summary! If you missed the rest of the draft, you can view rounds 1-4 here, 5-8 here, and 9-12 here. A brief reminder: We're taking 16 players who still hold "prospect" or "rookie" status in the Twins organization. Positions on each team included: Catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, three outfielders, a bench player/hitter, three starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and an extra pitcher. (Please note that comments under each pick were made by the person making the selection.) Round 13 Seth Stohs - Taylor Grzelakowski, C “Gelly” had a tough 2019 season in Pensacola after a great 2018 in Ft. Myers. A lot of the issue was an ankle injury that he had previous surgery on. It wasn’t recovering well. There was a lot of pain which actually kept him from catching much. But that was taken care of and this spring he said he was feeling great. I’ll take this bat behind the plate. (Get to Know Taylor Grzelakowski) Steve Lein - Andrew Bechtold DH Hoped Gelly would slide to my next pick for the reasons Seth mentions, oh well! I'll take a similar potential bat with Bechtold. Gets on base at a good clip, finishing 2nd in the organization in walks in 2019 with a .359 OBP across Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. (Get to Know Andrew Bechtold) Ted Schwerzler - Jake Reed RH RP Jake Reed had an awful 2019, no way around it. He’s got a new arm slot and the walk rate is ugly. Beyond that though, he’s got an electric fastball and can sit batters down in bunches. He keeps the ball in the yard and owned a sub 2.00 ERA in 2018. (Twins Prospect Spotlight: Jake Reed, 2019 Killebrew Award Winner – Jake Reed) Cody Christie - Steven Cruz, RH RP Cruz posted some big strikeout numbers last season with the E-Twins (13.9 K/9) and I need a strikeout arm to put in my bullpen. His walk rate could improve, but he’s only pitched a little over 86 professional innings so far. Hopefully, he can continue to strike out batters as he climbs the ladder. (Get to Know: Osiris German, Steve Cruz, and Frandy Torres) Jeremy Nygaard - Jared Akins DH Akins provides me a lefty bat (which I’m short in) with a little bit of pop (11 home runs last year). Akins also put up over 10 steals last year, which fits my theme to have a team that is active on the basepaths. Getting on base can be an issue for Akins, though, who had an OBP of .265 last year. (MiLB Hitter of the Month – May 2019: Jared Akins #5) Matt Braun - Tyler Webb, OF Considering the fact that Webb was a 40th round pick, the fact that he has already hit Cedar Rapids is kind of amazing. He brings a solid OBP to the lineup and can afford to pass on the power as there are other boppers who will make up for it. (Get to Know Tyler Webb) Round 14 Matt Braun - Cody Laweryson, Pitcher I saw that Cody wanted Laweryson so I took him instead. Laweryson was dominant with Elizabethton as he struck out nearly 40% of batters faced in his short time there. I’m banking on that immense strikeout potential to continue developing as he moves through the minors. (2019 MiLB Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Cody Laweryson) Jeremy Nygaard - Benjamin Dum RP Despite going undrafted and being signed out of the Indy League - hey, we’ve seen this before - Dum put up a stupid 20:0 K:BB ratio in 14 innings of affiliated ball. You may argue that a few of my picks may have “been dumb”; this one literally is, but I like his numbers albeit only in rookie ball. Cody Christie - Tyler Watson, LHP Watson came to the Twins in the Brandon Kintzler deal back at the 2017 deadline. He spent all of last season in Fort Myers and he’s still only 23-years old. I needed a left-handed arm for my pitching staff and he has posted some good numbers in his time with the Nationals and Twins. Ted Schwerzler - Ryan Mason RHP A 13th round pick in 2016, Ryan Mason took a big step forwards last season. He has consistently produced low ERA’s and avoided free passes since entering pro ball. In his first taste of Double-A action though, he posted a 2.35 ERA with an 11.0 K/9. If those numbers are substantiated in 2020 and beyond, he’ll be a legitimate contender for a big league bullpen spot. (MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month – April 2019: Ryan Mason #1, 5 Prospects Who Could Be the Next Cody Stashak) Steve Lein - Andrew Vasquez RP I need a lefty in my bullpen, and despite his struggles in 2019 in part due to a shoulder injury, it's hard to ignore Vasquez's potential. He shot up the system in 2018 from Single-A to make his MLB debut while striking out nearly everybody along the way with his slider heavy approach. I like getting him here as a big time bounce back candidate. (Get to Know Andrew Vasquez, 2018 MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Vasquez) Seth Stohs - Parker Phillips, 1B He was the Twins 27th round pick a year ago out of Austin Peay where he hit 56 homers over his three seasons (including 25 in 2019). He added six more home runs as a pro last year. Round 15 Seth Stohs - Charlie Barnes, LHP The Twins drafted Barnes in the 4th round of the 2017 draft out of Clemson. In 2019, he split time between Ft. Myers and Pensacola, and he also made four starts for Rochester. The Twins invited him to big league camp this spring. (Seth’s Twins On Deck Podcast – Episode 5) Steve Lein - Albee Weiss 1B At this point I'm looking for any big tools that are left, and Weiss has one with his power. He was fourth in the Appy League last year with a .604 slugging percentage. Lots of K's so far, but when he connects there's a good chance the ball is leaving the yard. This pick will slide Kirilloff into the outfield and complete my lineup. (2019 MiLB Short Season Hitter of the Year: Albee Weiss #5) Ted Schwerzler - Trevor Casanova C Taking my bench bat here and using it on a left-handed hitting catcher. Casanova hasn’t hit for power yet in pro ball, and he put up an ugly average last year as well. However, he showed a strong ability to draw walks and if he can better the bat to ball skills, this could be a key guy to work a good plate appearance. (Get to Know Trevor Casanova) (Seth Note - Back-to-Back Cal State-Northridge teammates in Weiss and Casanova) Cody Christie - Evan Gillespie, LH RP Gillespie was old for the GCL last season, but it’s hard to ignore the numbers he put up in his professional debut. My bullpen was lacking a lefty and he finished as an honorable mention in the Twins Daily Short Season Pitcher of the Year. Sign me up. Jeremy Nygaard - Austin Schulfer RHRP Went with a Wisconsin guy with my second-to-last pick. Schulfer strikes a lot of guys out, but he also issues a fair amount of walks as well. (Prospect Spotlight Series: Austin Schulfur, Get to Know Podcast: Austin Schulfur, Caleb Hamilton, Nick Anderson) Matt Braun - Adam Bray, RHRP Bray was great at AA last season but his peripherals dropped when he made the move to AAA. I’m banking on the major league ball being the problem there. Bray rounds out a relief corps that has no lefties but I’m banking on the three batter minimum making that shortcoming less impactful. (Spring Trade Brings Bray Back Home) Round 16 Matt Braun - Luis Baez, Hitter Did you know that Luis Baez had the 6th highest wRC+ among all hitters in the Twins system with at least 50 plate appearances? Yeah, I didn’t either until I did some research and I had to pick up that kind of offensive upside with my very last pick. Jeremy Nygaard - Kidany Salva C Switch-hitter who threw out over 30% of potential base stealers in 2019. Has a ways to go offensively. Cody Christie - Ricky De La Torre, UTL De La Torre had an OPS of 700+ in his first two professional seasons when he was over two year younger than the average age of the competition in the GCL and the Appy League. The Twins pushed him to Cedar Rapids last year and he had some offensive struggles for the first time in his career. He can play multiple defensive positions and I like how he completes my roster. Ted Schwerzler - Ben Gross RHP Gross was drafted in the 10th round of the 2019 draft. His college track record isn’t long and he was a senior sign out of Duke. Working as a starter in his pro debut, Gross could eventually transition to the pen. It looks like there’s strikeout stuff here, and that could help to accelerate his path to the majors. Steve Lein - Alex Phillips RP Phillips absolutely dominated the Florida State League (0.79 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 11.6 K/9) while being shuffled to and from Pensacola during last season, where he had some adjustments to make. But for his efforts overall he was an honorable mention in our Relief Pitcher of the Year voting. (MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month – April 2019: Alex Phillips #2) Seth Stohs - Carlos Aguiar, Hitter Last pick, frankly, I am just going with my highest ranked prospect. Like Wander Valdez, Aguiar is incredibly impressive in person. He’s huge, strong, massive power potential, and incredibly young and has a long ways to go. I’ll take the upside. (Seth’s Spring Training Standouts: 2020 Edition) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. The final four rounds of our draft were all about filling out our rosters and hoping to find those diamonds in the rough nobody else was looking at for positions of need. I’d wager there’s some names you had forgotten about in these final picks, and plenty of other guys you’ve read about in our Minor League reports.I can’t speak for everybody, but a lot of my thought process into these final picks was about seeing where I could shuffle anybody else around if I had a personal cheeseball I wanted on my team. As these picks complete our rosters, let us know who you think did the best in the comments, and be on the lookout tomorrow for a full summary! If you missed the rest of the draft, you can view rounds 1-4 here, 5-8 here, and 9-12 here. A brief reminder: We're taking 16 players who still hold "prospect" or "rookie" status in the Twins organization. Positions on each team included: Catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, three outfielders, a bench player/hitter, three starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and an extra pitcher. (Please note that comments under each pick were made by the person making the selection.) Round 13 Seth Stohs - Taylor Grzelakowski, C “Gelly” had a tough 2019 season in Pensacola after a great 2018 in Ft. Myers. A lot of the issue was an ankle injury that he had previous surgery on. It wasn’t recovering well. There was a lot of pain which actually kept him from catching much. But that was taken care of and this spring he said he was feeling great. I’ll take this bat behind the plate. (Get to Know Taylor Grzelakowski) Steve Lein - Andrew Bechtold DH Hoped Gelly would slide to my next pick for the reasons Seth mentions, oh well! I'll take a similar potential bat with Bechtold. Gets on base at a good clip, finishing 2nd in the organization in walks in 2019 with a .359 OBP across Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. (Get to Know Andrew Bechtold) Ted Schwerzler - Jake Reed RH RP Jake Reed had an awful 2019, no way around it. He’s got a new arm slot and the walk rate is ugly. Beyond that though, he’s got an electric fastball and can sit batters down in bunches. He keeps the ball in the yard and owned a sub 2.00 ERA in 2018. (Twins Prospect Spotlight: Jake Reed, 2019 Killebrew Award Winner – Jake Reed) Cody Christie - Steven Cruz, RH RP Cruz posted some big strikeout numbers last season with the E-Twins (13.9 K/9) and I need a strikeout arm to put in my bullpen. His walk rate could improve, but he’s only pitched a little over 86 professional innings so far. Hopefully, he can continue to strike out batters as he climbs the ladder. (Get to Know: Osiris German, Steve Cruz, and Frandy Torres) Jeremy Nygaard - Jared Akins DH Akins provides me a lefty bat (which I’m short in) with a little bit of pop (11 home runs last year). Akins also put up over 10 steals last year, which fits my theme to have a team that is active on the basepaths. Getting on base can be an issue for Akins, though, who had an OBP of .265 last year. (MiLB Hitter of the Month – May 2019: Jared Akins #5) Matt Braun - Tyler Webb, OF Considering the fact that Webb was a 40th round pick, the fact that he has already hit Cedar Rapids is kind of amazing. He brings a solid OBP to the lineup and can afford to pass on the power as there are other boppers who will make up for it. (Get to Know Tyler Webb) Round 14 Matt Braun - Cody Laweryson, Pitcher I saw that Cody wanted Laweryson so I took him instead. Laweryson was dominant with Elizabethton as he struck out nearly 40% of batters faced in his short time there. I’m banking on that immense strikeout potential to continue developing as he moves through the minors. (2019 MiLB Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Cody Laweryson) Jeremy Nygaard - Benjamin Dum RP Despite going undrafted and being signed out of the Indy League - hey, we’ve seen this before - Dum put up a stupid 20:0 K:BB ratio in 14 innings of affiliated ball. You may argue that a few of my picks may have “been dumb”; this one literally is, but I like his numbers albeit only in rookie ball. Cody Christie - Tyler Watson, LHP Watson came to the Twins in the Brandon Kintzler deal back at the 2017 deadline. He spent all of last season in Fort Myers and he’s still only 23-years old. I needed a left-handed arm for my pitching staff and he has posted some good numbers in his time with the Nationals and Twins. Ted Schwerzler - Ryan Mason RHP A 13th round pick in 2016, Ryan Mason took a big step forwards last season. He has consistently produced low ERA’s and avoided free passes since entering pro ball. In his first taste of Double-A action though, he posted a 2.35 ERA with an 11.0 K/9. If those numbers are substantiated in 2020 and beyond, he’ll be a legitimate contender for a big league bullpen spot. (MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month – April 2019: Ryan Mason #1, 5 Prospects Who Could Be the Next Cody Stashak) Steve Lein - Andrew Vasquez RP I need a lefty in my bullpen, and despite his struggles in 2019 in part due to a shoulder injury, it's hard to ignore Vasquez's potential. He shot up the system in 2018 from Single-A to make his MLB debut while striking out nearly everybody along the way with his slider heavy approach. I like getting him here as a big time bounce back candidate. (Get to Know Andrew Vasquez, 2018 MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Year: Andrew Vasquez) Seth Stohs - Parker Phillips, 1B He was the Twins 27th round pick a year ago out of Austin Peay where he hit 56 homers over his three seasons (including 25 in 2019). He added six more home runs as a pro last year. Round 15 Seth Stohs - Charlie Barnes, LHP The Twins drafted Barnes in the 4th round of the 2017 draft out of Clemson. In 2019, he split time between Ft. Myers and Pensacola, and he also made four starts for Rochester. The Twins invited him to big league camp this spring. (Seth’s Twins On Deck Podcast – Episode 5) Steve Lein - Albee Weiss 1B At this point I'm looking for any big tools that are left, and Weiss has one with his power. He was fourth in the Appy League last year with a .604 slugging percentage. Lots of K's so far, but when he connects there's a good chance the ball is leaving the yard. This pick will slide Kirilloff into the outfield and complete my lineup. (2019 MiLB Short Season Hitter of the Year: Albee Weiss #5) Ted Schwerzler - Trevor Casanova C Taking my bench bat here and using it on a left-handed hitting catcher. Casanova hasn’t hit for power yet in pro ball, and he put up an ugly average last year as well. However, he showed a strong ability to draw walks and if he can better the bat to ball skills, this could be a key guy to work a good plate appearance. (Get to Know Trevor Casanova) (Seth Note - Back-to-Back Cal State-Northridge teammates in Weiss and Casanova) Cody Christie - Evan Gillespie, LH RP Gillespie was old for the GCL last season, but it’s hard to ignore the numbers he put up in his professional debut. My bullpen was lacking a lefty and he finished as an honorable mention in the Twins Daily Short Season Pitcher of the Year. Sign me up. Jeremy Nygaard - Austin Schulfer RHRP Went with a Wisconsin guy with my second-to-last pick. Schulfer strikes a lot of guys out, but he also issues a fair amount of walks as well. (Prospect Spotlight Series: Austin Schulfur, Get to Know Podcast: Austin Schulfur, Caleb Hamilton, Nick Anderson) Matt Braun - Adam Bray, RHRP Bray was great at AA last season but his peripherals dropped when he made the move to AAA. I’m banking on the major league ball being the problem there. Bray rounds out a relief corps that has no lefties but I’m banking on the three batter minimum making that shortcoming less impactful. (Spring Trade Brings Bray Back Home) Round 16 Matt Braun - Luis Baez, Hitter Did you know that Luis Baez had the 6th highest wRC+ among all hitters in the Twins system with at least 50 plate appearances? Yeah, I didn’t either until I did some research and I had to pick up that kind of offensive upside with my very last pick. Jeremy Nygaard - Kidany Salva C Switch-hitter who threw out over 30% of potential base stealers in 2019. Has a ways to go offensively. Cody Christie - Ricky De La Torre, UTL De La Torre had an OPS of 700+ in his first two professional seasons when he was over two year younger than the average age of the competition in the GCL and the Appy League. The Twins pushed him to Cedar Rapids last year and he had some offensive struggles for the first time in his career. He can play multiple defensive positions and I like how he completes my roster. Ted Schwerzler - Ben Gross RHP Gross was drafted in the 10th round of the 2019 draft. His college track record isn’t long and he was a senior sign out of Duke. Working as a starter in his pro debut, Gross could eventually transition to the pen. It looks like there’s strikeout stuff here, and that could help to accelerate his path to the majors. Steve Lein - Alex Phillips RP Phillips absolutely dominated the Florida State League (0.79 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 11.6 K/9) while being shuffled to and from Pensacola during last season, where he had some adjustments to make. But for his efforts overall he was an honorable mention in our Relief Pitcher of the Year voting. (MiLB Relief Pitcher of the Month – April 2019: Alex Phillips #2) Seth Stohs - Carlos Aguiar, Hitter Last pick, frankly, I am just going with my highest ranked prospect. Like Wander Valdez, Aguiar is incredibly impressive in person. He’s huge, strong, massive power potential, and incredibly young and has a long ways to go. I’ll take the upside. (Seth’s Spring Training Standouts: 2020 Edition) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  6. Harmon Killebrew hit 573 home runs in his Hall of Fame career. Most people who had the opportunity to meet the slugger talk more about the kind of person that he was. After he passed away, the Twins established the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service. Each of the Twins four full-season affiliates gets one recipient each season. For the second straight year, reliever Jake Reed is the winner for the Killebrew Award for the Rochester Red Wings. Appropriately, many of the people around Rochester that had the opportunity to meet or work with Reed will likely have several stories to tell about what he did off the field. We’ve got a good one below.Jake Reed was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Oregon. He quickly moved up the organizational ladder and reached Triple-A Rochester last in the 2016 season. He is still awaiting the opportunity to take the next step, the biggest step, up to the big leagues. But Jake Reed is beloved in Rochester. That is especially true of the Red Wings general manager Dan Mason who noted, “Once again this year, Jake led our team in appearances, going to schools, corporate events, hospitals, community events, youth baseball clinics, a clinic for mentally challenged kids, and he helped host the the Challenger Baseball World Series here, featuring 10 different Challenger Baseball teams playing here at Frontier Field on a Saturday in June.” As you can see from the list at the bottom, there have been some really terrific people who have come through Rochester and been recognized with this award. Lefty reliever Logan Darnell won the award the three seasons before Jake Reed won his first in 2018. Mason continued, “The thing that separates Jake from some of the other players we’ve had here in the past is that he has built an amazing rapport with so many of the people whose lives he has touched in our town. At almost every home game I would see Challenger Baseball players coming over to him to say hello and getting a hug or a high five from him either before or after the game. So many of the kids in Challenger baseball program locally got to know him so well because every Saturday that we had a home game he would drive over to their field about 25 minutes from Frontier Field and spend hours , without ever telling any of us in the front office, pitching to the kids and helping them hit or wheeling them around the bases in their wheelchairs.“ Mason shared one story that certainly represents Reed and the impact he has on people’s lives. . “One story that truly stands out to me is that earlier this year we had a mentally challenged youngster sing the National Anthem before a game. He knew Jake through Challenger Baseball. That particular game we were playing the Syracuse Mets and Tim Tebow was on their team. After the anthem was done the young man said to me, ‘Mr Mason, I really want to meet Tim Tebow. He’s my favorite. Can you get him over here so I can say hi?” I explained that I couldn’t do that as he was getting ready for the game, and that I couldn’t bother him as he was warming up. The young man replied …” I’m gonna talk to Jake about this.’ At that moment, Jake started walking toward us and waved out toward left field where Tebow was warming up. At that point, Tebow came running over to say hello to the young man, chatted with him, hugged him and took a few photos with him. Little did I know, but Jake knew that this young man’s favorite player was Tim Tebow, and he had arranged everything with Tebow prior to the game. This is the sort of unselfish act that Jake did on a daily basis. With little to no fanfare. He created countless memories for kids in our community throughout the season.” Jake Reed has a very strong support system around him with his family, but also with his wife Janie Reed. Janie has been a member of Team USA softball and helped the team to a couple of gold medals this summer, including at the Pan Am Games. Mason said, “When we hosted our first ever Women in Sports night, he even convinced his wife Janie, who was in town, to help run a pregame softball clinic for girls. Janie is a member of Team USA softball.” As you have seen, the Twins and their minor league affiliates all take a ton of pride in their work in the communities in which they play. “Every kid has boyhood idols. Tons and tons of young Minnesotans look up to and idolize Joe Mauer and other Twins players. Well, here in Rochester, New York, there is a huge segment of kids who idolize Jake Reed because they feel like he’s their friend, and he is. Jake is as genuine a person as you’ll ever meet and he doesn’t just do community activities and appearances because we asked him to, he does it because he wanted to.” I was unable to reach Jake this week, but this is what he said last year when he received this award. “But getting this reward definitely reminded me of why God actually has me playing this game. It’s not about baseball. It really isn’t. It’s about loving and serving the people that you come into contact with, and the great thing about baseball is it gives us players plenty of opportunity to do so. I think men like Harmon Killebrew have set the example for us as far as what it looks like to be more than a baseball player.” Minor league players don’t get many days off from games throughout the long season. They don’t get a ton of free time. That’s why we choose to recognize these Harmon KIllebrew Award winners who were chosen by their team for going above and beyond to serve their communities during the season. Previous Red Wings Killebrew Award winners: 2011 - Kyle Gibson 2012 - JR Towles 2013 - Brian Dinkelman 2014 - Logan Darnell 2015 - Logan Darnell 2016 - Logan Darnell 2017 - DJ Baxendale 2018 - Jake Reed Other 2019 Killebrew Award Recipients Rochester Red Wings - Jake Reed Pensacola Blue Wahoos - Hector Lujan Fort Myers Miracle - Coming Soon Cedar Rapids Kernels - Brian Rapp Congratulations to Jake Reed on earning the 2019 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for the Rochester Red Wings. Click here to view the article
  7. Jake Reed was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Oregon. He quickly moved up the organizational ladder and reached Triple-A Rochester last in the 2016 season. He is still awaiting the opportunity to take the next step, the biggest step, up to the big leagues. But Jake Reed is beloved in Rochester. That is especially true of the Red Wings general manager Dan Mason who noted, “Once again this year, Jake led our team in appearances, going to schools, corporate events, hospitals, community events, youth baseball clinics, a clinic for mentally challenged kids, and he helped host the the Challenger Baseball World Series here, featuring 10 different Challenger Baseball teams playing here at Frontier Field on a Saturday in June.” As you can see from the list at the bottom, there have been some really terrific people who have come through Rochester and been recognized with this award. Lefty reliever Logan Darnell won the award the three seasons before Jake Reed won his first in 2018. Mason continued, “The thing that separates Jake from some of the other players we’ve had here in the past is that he has built an amazing rapport with so many of the people whose lives he has touched in our town. At almost every home game I would see Challenger Baseball players coming over to him to say hello and getting a hug or a high five from him either before or after the game. So many of the kids in Challenger baseball program locally got to know him so well because every Saturday that we had a home game he would drive over to their field about 25 minutes from Frontier Field and spend hours , without ever telling any of us in the front office, pitching to the kids and helping them hit or wheeling them around the bases in their wheelchairs.“ Mason shared one story that certainly represents Reed and the impact he has on people’s lives. . “One story that truly stands out to me is that earlier this year we had a mentally challenged youngster sing the National Anthem before a game. He knew Jake through Challenger Baseball. That particular game we were playing the Syracuse Mets and Tim Tebow was on their team. After the anthem was done the young man said to me, ‘Mr Mason, I really want to meet Tim Tebow. He’s my favorite. Can you get him over here so I can say hi?” I explained that I couldn’t do that as he was getting ready for the game, and that I couldn’t bother him as he was warming up. The young man replied …” I’m gonna talk to Jake about this.’ At that moment, Jake started walking toward us and waved out toward left field where Tebow was warming up. At that point, Tebow came running over to say hello to the young man, chatted with him, hugged him and took a few photos with him. Little did I know, but Jake knew that this young man’s favorite player was Tim Tebow, and he had arranged everything with Tebow prior to the game. This is the sort of unselfish act that Jake did on a daily basis. With little to no fanfare. He created countless memories for kids in our community throughout the season.” Jake Reed has a very strong support system around him with his family, but also with his wife Janie Reed. Janie has been a member of Team USA softball and helped the team to a couple of gold medals this summer, including at the Pan Am Games. Mason said, “When we hosted our first ever Women in Sports night, he even convinced his wife Janie, who was in town, to help run a pregame softball clinic for girls. Janie is a member of Team USA softball.” As you have seen, the Twins and their minor league affiliates all take a ton of pride in their work in the communities in which they play. “Every kid has boyhood idols. Tons and tons of young Minnesotans look up to and idolize Joe Mauer and other Twins players. Well, here in Rochester, New York, there is a huge segment of kids who idolize Jake Reed because they feel like he’s their friend, and he is. Jake is as genuine a person as you’ll ever meet and he doesn’t just do community activities and appearances because we asked him to, he does it because he wanted to.” I was unable to reach Jake this week, but this is what he said last year when he received this award. “But getting this reward definitely reminded me of why God actually has me playing this game. It’s not about baseball. It really isn’t. It’s about loving and serving the people that you come into contact with, and the great thing about baseball is it gives us players plenty of opportunity to do so. I think men like Harmon Killebrew have set the example for us as far as what it looks like to be more than a baseball player.” Minor league players don’t get many days off from games throughout the long season. They don’t get a ton of free time. That’s why we choose to recognize these Harmon KIllebrew Award winners who were chosen by their team for going above and beyond to serve their communities during the season. Previous Red Wings Killebrew Award winners: 2011 - Kyle Gibson 2012 - JR Towles 2013 - Brian Dinkelman 2014 - Logan Darnell 2015 - Logan Darnell 2016 - Logan Darnell 2017 - DJ Baxendale 2018 - Jake Reed Other 2019 Killebrew Award Recipients Rochester Red Wings - Jake Reed Pensacola Blue Wahoos - Hector Lujan Fort Myers Miracle - Coming Soon Cedar Rapids Kernels - Brian Rapp Congratulations to Jake Reed on earning the 2019 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for the Rochester Red Wings.
  8. The Twins have been churning through relievers, but Jake Reed is still waiting for his opportunity. At least he's making good use of his time. Reed has been tinkering with his mechanics, and has been on a nice roll over the past month down in Rochester.I know, I know, enough minor league band-aids already, right? Well, until the Twins make some moves to acquire arms, it appears they'll continue to audition in-house candidates in the bullpen. Over the past two weeks, we've seen Zack Littell, Ryan Eades and now Fernando Romero all make cameo appearances with the big club. When is Jake Reed finally going to get his shot? Well, a lot of it will have to do with timing. Often when a bullpen move is made, the team is looking to promote a fresh arm as much as anything, or someone who could provide them with length. But Reed has a solid track record, is showing he's open to making adjustments and has been on a nice roll of late for the Red Wings. Reed delivered two scoreless innings and struck out three batters this afternoon for Rochester. His totals for the year don't jump off the page, but over his last eight appearances, Reed has only given up two earned runs over 16 1/3 innings ( 1.10 ERA) and has 19 strikeouts. He's also been tinkering with his release point. The video below contains a comparison between where he was releasing the ball earlier this year and where he was this afternoon (skip ahead to about the 1:15 mark for that). Reed has always had a lower arm slot, but he's really dropping it down to sidearm now. Will this adjustment be what (finally) gets him up with the Twins? It's hard to say, but with the rate the team is currently cycling through relievers, it feels like it's only a matter of time before Reed's number gets called. Previous 2019 Prospect Spotlights Click here to view the article
  9. I know, I know, enough minor league band-aids already, right? Well, until the Twins make some moves to acquire arms, it appears they'll continue to audition in-house candidates in the bullpen. Over the past two weeks, we've seen Zack Littell, Ryan Eades and now Fernando Romero all make cameo appearances with the big club. When is Jake Reed finally going to get his shot? Well, a lot of it will have to do with timing. Often when a bullpen move is made, the team is looking to promote a fresh arm as much as anything, or someone who could provide them with length. But Reed has a solid track record, is showing he's open to making adjustments and has been on a nice roll of late for the Red Wings. Reed delivered two scoreless innings and struck out three batters this afternoon for Rochester. His totals for the year don't jump off the page, but over his last eight appearances, Reed has only given up two earned runs over 16 1/3 innings ( 1.10 ERA) and has 19 strikeouts. He's also been tinkering with his release point. The video below contains a comparison between where he was releasing the ball earlier this year and where he was this afternoon (skip ahead to about the 1:15 mark for that). Reed has always had a lower arm slot, but he's really dropping it down to sidearm now. Will this adjustment be what (finally) gets him up with the Twins? It's hard to say, but with the rate the team is currently cycling through relievers, it feels like it's only a matter of time before Reed's number gets called. Previous 2019 Prospect Spotlights
  10. The Twins wanted to call up Zack Littell last weekend but because the season was not yet ten days old, they were unable to. Instead, they put Chase De Jong back on the 40-man roster and Designed Tyler Austin for Assignment. At the time, the Twins needed someone available in the bullpen who could eat some innings after Jake Odorizzi didn’t get out of the first inning Friday night. De Jong was not needed after all in Philadelphia thanks to good starts by Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios. He got his first opportunity on Tuesday night against the Mets. He came in to finish the ninth inning with the Twins leading 14-4. He needed 46 pitches to finish the ninth and gave up four runs and six base runners. Following the game, he was returned to Rochester since he would be unable to pitch for the Twins for several days. Lefty Andrew Vasquez, the easy choice for 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year, was recalled to take De Jong’s spot. Unlike De Jong, Vasquez was thrown right into a tough situation. With two outs in the fifth inning last night, Jake Odorizzi loaded the bases with a walk to opposing starter Noah Syndergaard. With left-handed hitting Brandon Nimmo due up, Rocco Baldelli called on the left-hander who struck out 108 batters in 69+ innings last year. Simply put, it did not go well for Vasquez. He couldn’t throw strikes and frankly, wasn’t close. He hit Nimmo (to put one run on the board). Then he walked both Pete Alonso and Robinson Cano to score two more runs. His fastball topped out at 87 mph and he couldn’t command the slider at all. I will advocate for not giving up on Andrew Vasquez, and I would assume that most of you would look at that outing as a case of nerves in his return to the big leagues. While he had struck out four batters in 1 1/3 innings in his one Red Wings appearance, he also walked two batters and gave up a hit. I’m not advocating that Vasquez needs to be optioned right away, though it would be understandable. But if he is, or on a higher level, if at any time the Twins need to call back to Rochester looking for some relief help, what options are there? Below you’ll find the current group of Red Wings relievers, any of who could be an option at some point this season. THE RELIEVERS IN ROCHESTER (in alphabetical order) AUSTIN ADAMS Age - 32 MLB Experience - Parts of three seasons (2014-16) with Cleveland. 53 games, 58 2/3 innings, 6.29 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K The Twins signed Adams late last year out of independent ball and he pitched briefly for Chattanooga. This year, is hitting 94-96 for the Red Wings in the early goings. Presumably, Derek Falvey is quite familiar with him due to his years in Cleveland. TYLER DUFFEY Age - 28 MLB Experience - Parts of four seasons (2015-18) with the Twins. 111 games (37 starts), 287 innings, 5.46 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Duffey made such a strong impression on Twins fans late in the 2015 season, nearly catapulting a surprising team to the playoffs. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that performance since and was moved to the bullpen a few years ago. He has the curveball and spin rate that teams love. RYAN EADES Age - 27 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K Eades made a strong impression during an impressive run in big league spring training this year. He showed a big fastball which reached into the mid-90s. He also showed his array of pitches. Before this season, he had just seven games of Triple-A experience. PRESTON GUILMET Age - 31 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2013-18) with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Toronto, Milwaukee. 27 games, 33 innings. 9.27 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Guilmet has had a long career. He’s pitched for six teams in the big leagues to go with several other organizations in the minor leagues. He’s got enough stuff to keep getting opportunities. MIKE MORIN Age - 27 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2014-18) with Angels. 186 games, 174 innings, 4.66 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Born in Minnesota, his family soon moved to the Kansas City area, but he’s still got family in the area. It would certainly be a thrill for him to play for the Twins. Morin pitched between 47 and 60 games each year out of the Angels bullpen between 2014 and 2016. He’s been hurt the last two years, but he appears to be fully healthy again. He’s a low-90s guy with a really, really good changeup. JAKE REED Age - 26 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Reed moved up to AA really quickly after being drafted by the Twins in 2014. He’s been up and down ever since, but he was remarkable for the Red Wings after June 1st last year (23 G, 37.2 IP, 1.43 ERA, .167 opponents batting average). Walks always a concern, but Reed gets a lot of movement. His fastball is 95-97, and he’s got a sharp slider too. . FERNANDO ROMERO Age - 24 MLB Experience - Debuted with the Twins in 2018. Made 11 starts, 55 2/3 innings. 4.69 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K Romero was really good for his first four MLB starts last year and then struggled the rest of the way. It was surprising that the Twins decided so quickly in spring training that he would pitch out of the bullpen. He struggled in spring training and was optioned to the Red Wings. He’s off to a fast start. In his 3 1/3 hitless, no-walk innings on Wednesday, he was getting swings and misses on 97 and 98 mph fastballs. Currently DJ Baxendale (27) and Zack Weiss (26) are on the Red Wings injured list. *Note that the 2019 Red Wings Stats are for just two games, so the sample size is definitely small. THE STARTERS Chase De Jong returns to the Red Wings starting rotation. The other starters in the Red Wings rotation are 23-year-old RHP Zack Littell, 23-year-old LHP Lewis Thorpe, 24-year-old RHP Kohl Stewart, 25-year-old RHP Sean Poppen and 27-year-old MLB veteran, LHP Justin Nicolino. LHP Stephen Gonsalves is on the IL as well and should be back in early May. These guys are options if and when a long-reliever might be needed. They could also be summoned to the Twins when a starter is needed, such as in a doubleheader situation. THE INJURED LIST As a reminder, right-handers Matt Magill and Addison Reed, along with LHP Gabriel Moya are on the injured list. We haven’t heard updates on them recently. They are also options to join the big league bullpen when they are ready, though a rehab stint would seem very likely for all three as they have not pitched in a long time. THE FREE AGENTS I’ll just throw this tweet from Nick Nelson here: https://twitter.com/NickNelsonMN/status/1116204584656154624 So, do you have a current hierarchy of who the Twins should call up next as they have needs? How about breaking that out between whether they need a long reliever, or a lefty, or a short-term option versus a more long-term guy? Share your thoughts below.
  11. I think we can all agree that the first guys promoted from Rochester to attempt to help the Twins bullpen early this season did not perform well in their first outings. So, who else is in Rochester? Let’s get to know the rest of the Red Wings bullpen.The Twins wanted to call up Zack Littell last weekend but because the season was not yet ten days old, they were unable to. Instead, they put Chase De Jong back on the 40-man roster and Designed Tyler Austin for Assignment. At the time, the Twins needed someone available in the bullpen who could eat some innings after Jake Odorizzi didn’t get out of the first inningFriday night. De Jong was not needed after all in Philadelphia thanks to good starts by Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios. He got his first opportunity on Tuesday night against the Mets. He came in to finish the ninth inning with the Twins leading 14-4. He needed 46 pitches to finish the ninth and gave up four runs and six base runners. Following the game, he was returned to Rochester since he would be unable to pitch for the Twins for several days. Lefty Andrew Vasquez, the easy choice for 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year, was recalled to take De Jong’s spot. Unlike De Jong, Vasquez was thrown right into a tough situation. With two outs in the fifth inning last night, Jake Odorizzi loaded the bases with a walk to opposing starter Noah Syndergaard. With left-handed hitting Brandon Nimmo due up, Rocco Baldelli called on the left-hander who struck out 108 batters in 69+ innings last year. Simply put, it did not go well for Vasquez. He couldn’t throw strikes and frankly, wasn’t close. He hit Nimmo (to put one run on the board). Then he walked both Pete Alonso and Robinson Cano to score two more runs. His fastball topped out at 87 mph and he couldn’t command the slider at all. I will advocate for not giving up on Andrew Vasquez, and I would assume that most of you would look at that outing as a case of nerves in his return to the big leagues. While he had struck out four batters in 1 1/3 innings in his one Red Wings appearance, he also walked two batters and gave up a hit. I’m not advocating that Vasquez needs to be optioned right away, though it would be understandable. But if he is, or on a higher level, if at any time the Twins need to call back to Rochester looking for some relief help, what options are there? Below you’ll find the current group of Red Wings relievers, any of who could be an option at some point this season. THE RELIEVERS IN ROCHESTER (in alphabetical order) AUSTIN ADAMS Age - 32 MLB Experience - Parts of three seasons (2014-16) with Cleveland. 53 games, 58 2/3 innings, 6.29 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K The Twins signed Adams late last year out of independent ball and he pitched briefly for Chattanooga. This year, is hitting 94-96 for the Red Wings in the early goings. Presumably, Derek Falvey is quite familiar with him due to his years in Cleveland. TYLER DUFFEY Age - 28 MLB Experience - Parts of four seasons (2015-18) with the Twins. 111 games (37 starts), 287 innings, 5.46 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Duffey made such a strong impression on Twins fans late in the 2015 season, nearly catapulting a surprising team to the playoffs. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that performance since and was moved to the bullpen a few years ago. He has the curveball and spin rate that teams love. RYAN EADES Age - 27 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K Eades made a strong impression during an impressive run in big league spring training this year. He showed a big fastball which reached into the mid-90s. He also showed his array of pitches. Before this season, he had just seven games of Triple-A experience. PRESTON GUILMET Age - 31 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2013-18) with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Toronto, Milwaukee. 27 games, 33 innings. 9.27 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Guilmet has had a long career. He’s pitched for six teams in the big leagues to go with several other organizations in the minor leagues. He’s got enough stuff to keep getting opportunities. MIKE MORIN Age - 27 MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2014-18) with Angels. 186 games, 174 innings, 4.66 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Born in Minnesota, his family soon moved to the Kansas City area, but he’s still got family in the area. It would certainly be a thrill for him to play for the Twins. Morin pitched between 47 and 60 games each year out of the Angels bullpen between 2014 and 2016. He’s been hurt the last two years, but he appears to be fully healthy again. He’s a low-90s guy with a really, really good changeup. JAKE REED Age - 26 MLB Experience - None 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Reed moved up to AA really quickly after being drafted by the Twins in 2014. He’s been up and down ever since, but he was remarkable for the Red Wings after June 1st last year (23 G, 37.2 IP, 1.43 ERA, .167 opponents batting average). Walks always a concern, but Reed gets a lot of movement. His fastball is 95-97, and he’s got a sharp slider too. . FERNANDO ROMERO Age - 24 MLB Experience - Debuted with the Twins in 2018. Made 11 starts, 55 2/3 innings. 4.69 ERA. 2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K Romero was really good for his first four MLB starts last year and then struggled the rest of the way. It was surprising that the Twins decided so quickly in spring training that he would pitch out of the bullpen. He struggled in spring training and was optioned to the Red Wings. He’s off to a fast start. In his 3 1/3 hitless, no-walk innings on Wednesday, he was getting swings and misses on 97 and 98 mph fastballs. Currently DJ Baxendale (27) and Zack Weiss (26) are on the Red Wings injured list. *Note that the 2019 Red Wings Stats are for just two games, so the sample size is definitely small. THE STARTERS Chase De Jong returns to the Red Wings starting rotation. The other starters in the Red Wings rotation are 23-year-old RHP Zack Littell, 23-year-old LHP Lewis Thorpe, 24-year-old RHP Kohl Stewart, 25-year-old RHP Sean Poppen and 27-year-old MLB veteran, LHP Justin Nicolino. LHP Stephen Gonsalves is on the IL as well and should be back in early May. These guys are options if and when a long-reliever might be needed. They could also be summoned to the Twins when a starter is needed, such as in a doubleheader situation. THE INJURED LIST As a reminder, right-handers Matt Magill and Addison Reed, along with LHP Gabriel Moya are on the injured list. We haven’t heard updates on them recently. They are also options to join the big league bullpen when they are ready, though a rehab stint would seem very likely for all three as they have not pitched in a long time. THE FREE AGENTS I’ll just throw this tweet from Nick Nelson here: So, do you have a current hierarchy of who the Twins should call up next as they have needs? How about breaking that out between whether they need a long reliever, or a lefty, or a short-term option versus a more long-term guy? Share your thoughts below. Click here to view the article
  12. So this spring, we will set out to identify those players who have the most to gain from posting impressive stat lines and eventually crown one of them Sire of Fort Myers. I know what some of you are thinking, “really, are we that desperate for baseball we’re going to keep an eye on a bunch of has-beens and never-beens?” Well first off, yes. It’s February and the snow piled around my house is taller than Michael Pineda, so I am that desperate for baseball. Secondly, how dare you speak ill of Sire Ryan LaMarre, he who smote the Clevelanders in the Battle of Puerto Rico. Lastly, this is like a really, really serious honor, OK? Show some respect. Last year was really the perfect time to debut this idea. Coming into spring, who could have seen LaMarre heading north with the Twins? Here’s part of what I wrote in my preview last year: “But, just to be clear, these guys' chances of breaking camp with the Twins are anywhere from remote to downright unthinkable.” He did it. Ryan LaMarre dreamed the impossible dream and made the team. That was crazy. So I’m not ruling anything out this time around. Who are the top contenders for this year’s crown? Let's go over who’s eligible first. Anyone who’s not on the 40-man roster is eligible, as well as the few players who are on the 40 man but haven’t made their MLB debut. So before anybody asks, no, Willians Astudillo (a 2018 Sire of Fort Myers honorable mention) is not eligible this year. Just a reminder, this isn't about identifying the player most likely to make the team, it's simply honoring the player who had the most impressive spring training performance. Without further ado, here’s who I think are the top 10 contenders for 2019 Sire of Fort Myers, in alphabetical order: Randy Cesar, 24, 3B/1B This guy seems interesting. Cesar hit .296/.348/.428 (.777 OPS) for Houston’s Double-A team and had a 42-game hitting streak last year. His BABIP dropped from an insane .444 through his first 64 games (which coincided with the end of that impressive streak) to just .277 over his final 52 games. So maybe his success was a complete mirage, but he’s a fun guy to bring in on a minor league deal. Cesar split time between third base and first base last year. Tim Collins, 29, LHP Remember this guy? Collins was a long-time member of the Royals’ bullpen before he had to suffer through not one but two Tommy John surgeries. He worked his way back to the big leagues for the first time since 2014, pitching to a 4.37 ERA in 22 2/3 innings with the Nationals last year. His fastball velocity was pretty much back to where it was when he was with Kansas City, averaging 92.5 mph. Chase De Jong, 25, RHP The Twins removed De Jong from the 40-man roster earlier this offseason, but he cleared waivers. Acquired in the trade that sent Zach Duke to Seattle, De Jong barely hits 90 mph but manages to induce a fair amount of weak contact. He had a 3.57 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Twins, 3.20 ERA in 39 1/3 innings with Rochester and a 3.80 mark in 120 2/3 innings with the Mariners’ Double-A team. Lucas Duda, 33, 1B Duda is hands down the favorite this year. He boasts a career 118 OPS+ and has hit 27 or more home runs three times in the big leagues. They’re trending in two different directions, but Duda’s resume is really even more impressive than that of projected starting first baseman C.J. Cron. The past few years have not been kind to one-dimensional players such as Duda. The fact he had to settle on a minor league deal illustrates that, but he still hit .264/.336/.477 (813 OPS) against right-handers last season. Ryan Eades, 27, RHP Eades was drafted in the second round in 2013 but his prospect shine faded fairly quickly. Last year was his second season pitching primarily out of the bullpen. Something clicked. After averaging 6.7 K/9 previously, Eades posted a 10.4 K/9 in 2018. He finished on a particularly high note, giving up just five earned runs over his final 30 1/3 innings (0.89 ERA) while holding opposing hitters to a .198/.244/.225 line, earning a promotion to Rochester in the process. Nick Gordon, 23, SS/2B Probably the most recognizable name on this list to Twins fans, Gordon’s stock dropped some after an uninspiring first showing in Triple A. In 164 games at Double A, however, Gordon hit .285/.350/.436 (.787 OPS) with 39 doubles, 11 triples and 14 home runs. He also stole 20 bases during his time in Chattanooga, had 86 RBIs and scored 102 runs. Even in a down season, Gordon posted his best OPS against left-handed pitching (.636) since his draft year. Mike Morin, 27, RHP Morin was a mainstay in the Angels’ bullpen from 2014-17, pitching to a 4.49 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 3.42 K:BB ratio over 177 appearances. He spent the majority of last season with Seattle’s Triple-A team, where he had a 3.86 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, though he also pitched in three games for the Mariners. Morin’s fastball sits 91.5 mph but he mixes in a changeup about a third of the time and relies on his slider for roughly a quarter of his pitches. I think he’ll get plenty of looks this spring, making him a strong contender for the crown. Morin was born in Andover but grew up in Kansas. Jake Reed, 26, RHP FREE REED! This guy has a 1.92 ERA in 89 career Triple-A innings. Considering some of the other guys the Twins have trotted out in their bullpen the past few years it’s pretty incredible he hasn’t had an opportunity to make his debut. The 26-year-old right-hander struck out 50 batters in 47 2/3 innings for Rochester last year. In 246 2/3 career innings in the minor leagues, Reed has surrendered just seven home runs. He’s faced 576 right-handed hitters and they’ve taken him deep just four times. That’s crazy. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1099458324037332992 Lewis Thorpe, 23, LHP The 2018 season was a great building block for Thorpe. He reached a career high 129 2/3 innings, excelling in his first regular time in Double-A to the point where he earned a late-season promotion up to Rochester. Altogether, the Aussie lefty had a 3.54 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while averaging 10.9 K/9 against just 2.5 BB/9. That works out to an outstanding 4.36 K:BB ratio. The Twins have, understandably, been a little careful with him, but I wonder if they may loosen the reins a bit this year. LaMonte Wade, 25, OF It was nowhere near the level of Gordon’s drop off, but Wade slumped some in his first shot in Triple-A too. It was the first time he had more strikeouts than walks, which is pretty incredible in today’s age. But allow me to make the same kind of presentation we did with Gordon. In 163 career games in Double-A, Wade hit .294/.396/.418 (.815) with 14 home runs, 102 walks and just 91 strikeouts. He scored 104 times and drove in 94. He’s played all over the outfield, but seems to have settled in as a left fielder. Here are the other non-roster invitees I didn’t include in the top 10: Preston Guilmet, Ryne Harper, Justin Nicolino, Brian Navarreto, Ben Rortvedt, Wynston Sawyer, Tomas Telis, Luis Arraez, Randy Cesar, Royce Lewis, Adam Rosales, Alex Kirilloff, Luke Raley and Brent Rooker. Just a couple quick notes on those included on that list above: I’d expect Lewis and Kirilloff to be among the first cuts. It wouldn’t surprise me if Arraez turned some heads, he just missed my top 10. Harper was another guy who just missed, he had an insane 8.60 K:BB ratio down on the farm for the Twins last year (65 IP, 86 K, 10 BB). Guilmet's another guy who could've very easliy been named in the top 10. He has some ugly MLB numbers but a 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 in 265 career innings at Triple A. Rosales is 35 now, but he’s coming off of somewhat of a power outburst, as he popped 18 home runs for Cleveland’s Triple-A team last year. There will be other minor leaguers who work their way in from time to time, especially on the days where the Twins have split squad games on the schedule, but I wouldn’t anticipate them getting enough playing time to be in contention for this most prestigious honor. So what do you think? I’ve tabbed Duda as the favorite among hitters and Morin among pitchers. Will anybody give either of those guys a run for their money?
  13. The Twins opened spring training play this afternoon, meaning it’s time to start searching for the 2019 Sire of Fort Myers. You generally shouldn’t pay any attention to stats this time of year, but there’s always a population of players who have a ton to gain from putting together an impressive spring. This is their opportunity to show the Twins coaching staff what they can do, not to mention the other teams across baseball.So this spring, we will set out to identify those players who have the most to gain from posting impressive stat lines and eventually crown one of them Sire of Fort Myers. I know what some of you are thinking, “really, are we that desperate for baseball we’re going to keep an eye on a bunch of has-beens and never-beens?” Well first off, yes. It’s February and the snow piled around my house is taller than Michael Pineda, so I am that desperate for baseball. Secondly, how dare you speak ill of Sire Ryan LaMarre, he who smote the Clevelanders in the Battle of Puerto Rico. Lastly, this is like a really, really serious honor, OK? Show some respect. Last year was really the perfect time to debut this idea. Coming into spring, who could have seen LaMarre heading north with the Twins? Here’s part of what I wrote in my preview last year: “But, just to be clear, these guys' chances of breaking camp with the Twins are anywhere from remote to downright unthinkable.” He did it. Ryan LaMarre dreamed the impossible dream and made the team. That was crazy. So I’m not ruling anything out this time around. Who are the top contenders for this year’s crown? Let's go over who’s eligible first. Anyone who’s not on the 40-man roster is eligible, as well as the few players who are on the 40 man but haven’t made their MLB debut. So before anybody asks, no, Willians Astudillo (a 2018 Sire of Fort Myers honorable mention) is not eligible this year. Just a reminder, this isn't about identifying the player most likely to make the team, it's simply honoring the player who had the most impressive spring training performance. Without further ado, here’s who I think are the top 10 contenders for 2019 Sire of Fort Myers, in alphabetical order: Randy Cesar, 24, 3B/1B This guy seems interesting. Cesar hit .296/.348/.428 (.777 OPS) for Houston’s Double-A team and had a 42-game hitting streak last year. His BABIP dropped from an insane .444 through his first 64 games (which coincided with the end of that impressive streak) to just .277 over his final 52 games. So maybe his success was a complete mirage, but he’s a fun guy to bring in on a minor league deal. Cesar split time between third base and first base last year. Tim Collins, 29, LHP Remember this guy? Collins was a long-time member of the Royals’ bullpen before he had to suffer through not one but two Tommy John surgeries. He worked his way back to the big leagues for the first time since 2014, pitching to a 4.37 ERA in 22 2/3 innings with the Nationals last year. His fastball velocity was pretty much back to where it was when he was with Kansas City, averaging 92.5 mph. Chase De Jong, 25, RHP The Twins removed De Jong from the 40-man roster earlier this offseason, but he cleared waivers. Acquired in the trade that sent Zach Duke to Seattle, De Jong barely hits 90 mph but manages to induce a fair amount of weak contact. He had a 3.57 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Twins, 3.20 ERA in 39 1/3 innings with Rochester and a 3.80 mark in 120 2/3 innings with the Mariners’ Double-A team. Lucas Duda, 33, 1B Duda is hands down the favorite this year. He boasts a career 118 OPS+ and has hit 27 or more home runs three times in the big leagues. They’re trending in two different directions, but Duda’s resume is really even more impressive than that of projected starting first baseman C.J. Cron. The past few years have not been kind to one-dimensional players such as Duda. The fact he had to settle on a minor league deal illustrates that, but he still hit .264/.336/.477 (813 OPS) against right-handers last season. Ryan Eades, 27, RHP Eades was drafted in the second round in 2013 but his prospect shine faded fairly quickly. Last year was his second season pitching primarily out of the bullpen. Something clicked. After averaging 6.7 K/9 previously, Eades posted a 10.4 K/9 in 2018. He finished on a particularly high note, giving up just five earned runs over his final 30 1/3 innings (0.89 ERA) while holding opposing hitters to a .198/.244/.225 line, earning a promotion to Rochester in the process. Nick Gordon, 23, SS/2B Probably the most recognizable name on this list to Twins fans, Gordon’s stock dropped some after an uninspiring first showing in Triple A. In 164 games at Double A, however, Gordon hit .285/.350/.436 (.787 OPS) with 39 doubles, 11 triples and 14 home runs. He also stole 20 bases during his time in Chattanooga, had 86 RBIs and scored 102 runs. Even in a down season, Gordon posted his best OPS against left-handed pitching (.636) since his draft year. Mike Morin, 27, RHP Morin was a mainstay in the Angels’ bullpen from 2014-17, pitching to a 4.49 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 3.42 K:BB ratio over 177 appearances. He spent the majority of last season with Seattle’s Triple-A team, where he had a 3.86 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, though he also pitched in three games for the Mariners. Morin’s fastball sits 91.5 mph but he mixes in a changeup about a third of the time and relies on his slider for roughly a quarter of his pitches. I think he’ll get plenty of looks this spring, making him a strong contender for the crown. Morin was born in Andover but grew up in Kansas. Jake Reed, 26, RHP FREE REED! This guy has a 1.92 ERA in 89 career Triple-A innings. Considering some of the other guys the Twins have trotted out in their bullpen the past few years it’s pretty incredible he hasn’t had an opportunity to make his debut. The 26-year-old right-hander struck out 50 batters in 47 2/3 innings for Rochester last year. In 246 2/3 career innings in the minor leagues, Reed has surrendered just seven home runs. He’s faced 576 right-handed hitters and they’ve taken him deep just four times. That’s crazy. Here are the other non-roster invitees I didn’t include in the top 10: Preston Guilmet, Ryne Harper, Justin Nicolino, Brian Navarreto, Ben Rortvedt, Wynston Sawyer, Tomas Telis, Luis Arraez, Randy Cesar, Royce Lewis, Adam Rosales, Alex Kirilloff, Luke Raley and Brent Rooker. Just a couple quick notes on those included on that list above: I’d expect Lewis and Kirilloff to be among the first cuts. It wouldn’t surprise me if Arraez turned some heads, he just missed my top 10. Harper was another guy who just missed, he had an insane 8.60 K:BB ratio down on the farm for the Twins last year (65 IP, 86 K, 10 BB). Guilmet's another guy who could've very easliy been named in the top 10. He has some ugly MLB numbers but a 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 in 265 career innings at Triple A. Rosales is 35 now, but he’s coming off of somewhat of a power outburst, as he popped 18 home runs for Cleveland’s Triple-A team last year. There will be other minor leaguers who work their way in from time to time, especially on the days where the Twins have split squad games on the schedule, but I wouldn’t anticipate them getting enough playing time to be in contention for this most prestigious honor. So what do you think? I’ve tabbed Duda as the favorite among hitters and Morin among pitchers. Will anybody give either of those guys a run for their money? Click here to view the article
  14. Friday afternoon, Derek Falvey revealed the names of the internal Twins players who have received an invitation to Minnesota Twins big league spring training. The list includes top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff and Brent Rooker.We have seen some Twins minor league signings trickle in over the past month or more. Some of them may receive an invitation to big league camp. On Friday, Derek Falvey only announced the Twins internal players who will be invited to spring training. The list includes infielders Royce Lewis and Brent Rooker, outfielders Luke Raley and Alex Kirilloff, catchers Ben Rortvedt and Brian Navarreto, and pitchers Ryan Eades and Jake Reed. Regarding the invites, Derek Falvey noted, "I never look at invites, especially internal invites, as saying they're all competing to make the team. In fact, a lot of times I tell them at the front end that they're not because that last thing you want is somebody to go out in his first bullpen of the year and try to throw 100 mph. It's not good for anybody." Royce Lewis (19), the top overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft, put together a strong professional debut season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He ended the season with a month in Ft. Myers where he helped lead the Miracle to a Florida State League championship. He hit a combined .292 with an .803 OPS. He added 29 doubles, 14 homers and an organization-leading 28 stolen bases. Alex Kirilloff (21) also played in his first full minor league season. The 2016 first-round pick missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery, but he came back in 2018 and was one of the best all-around hitters in all of baseball. The Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year evenly split his season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit .348 with a .970 OPS in 2018. He led minor league baseball with 44 doubles and added 20 homers and 105 RBI. Falvey added, "It's about exposure. For some of our young guys, and I know a lot of attention will go to Royce and Alex, those are two young guys and you obviously know how we feel about them, and we're excited about the investment in them from a development standpoint. It's a chance to get them around Rocco and the major-league staff. We anticipate they'll get back on the minor league side to get their seasons rolling. That's a great taste in my mind, to get a major league feel before you take a run. "I think from a timeline standpoint, that's aggressive, clearly. But I've always said don't put limitations or ceilings on guys and I'm not going to put it on those two, and I think there's a number of others in that group at could find their ways to the big leagues at some point, certainly in the next couple of years." Here is more about those other guys. Brent Rooker (24) was the Twins supplemental first-round pick in 2017 after finishing the 2017 season as the Triple Crown award winner in the SEC. He spent 2018 in Double-A Chattanooga where he hit 32 doubles and 22 home runs. Luke Raley (24) joined the Twins organization at the trade deadline this year. He was acquired from the Dodgers organization in the Brian Dozier deal. Raley joined the Lookouts and ended the season with 20 combined home runs on the season. Ben Rortvedt (21) was the Twins second-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Wisconsin. He split 2018 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit .262 with 16 doubles and five homers over 90 games in 2018 and plays strong defense. Brian Navarreto (24) will return for a second big league camp. The 2013 sixth round pick from high school in Florida spent the 2018 season Chattanooga. He hit .247 with 19 doubles and four homers. However, it is his defense that makes him a prospect. Jake Reed (26) also returns for another big league camp. The fifth round pick in 2014 out of Oregon was nearly unhittable over the final four months of the 2018 season at Rochester. Hopefully 2019 is the year he finally gets an opportunity. Ryan Eades (27) was the Twins second-round pick in 2013 out of LSU. He spent most of 2018 in Chattanooga though he ended the season strong with a month in Rochester as well. Click here to view the article
  15. We have seen some Twins minor league signings trickle in over the past month or more. Some of them may receive an invitation to big league camp. On Friday, Derek Falvey only announced the Twins internal players who will be invited to spring training. The list includes infielders Royce Lewis and Brent Rooker, outfielders Luke Raley and Alex Kirilloff, catchers Ben Rortvedt and Brian Navarreto, and pitchers Ryan Eades and Jake Reed. Regarding the invites, Derek Falvey noted, "I never look at invites, especially internal invites, as saying they're all competing to make the team. In fact, a lot of times I tell them at the front end that they're not because that last thing you want is somebody to go out in his first bullpen of the year and try to throw 100 mph. It's not good for anybody." Royce Lewis (19), the top overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft, put together a strong professional debut season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He ended the season with a month in Ft. Myers where he helped lead the Miracle to a Florida State League championship. He hit a combined .292 with an .803 OPS. He added 29 doubles, 14 homers and an organization-leading 28 stolen bases. Alex Kirilloff (21) also played in his first full minor league season. The 2016 first-round pick missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery, but he came back in 2018 and was one of the best all-around hitters in all of baseball. The Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year evenly split his season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit .348 with a .970 OPS in 2018. He led minor league baseball with 44 doubles and added 20 homers and 105 RBI. Falvey added, "It's about exposure. For some of our young guys, and I know a lot of attention will go to Royce and Alex, those are two young guys and you obviously know how we feel about them, and we're excited about the investment in them from a development standpoint. It's a chance to get them around Rocco and the major-league staff. We anticipate they'll get back on the minor league side to get their seasons rolling. That's a great taste in my mind, to get a major league feel before you take a run. "I think from a timeline standpoint, that's aggressive, clearly. But I've always said don't put limitations or ceilings on guys and I'm not going to put it on those two, and I think there's a number of others in that group at could find their ways to the big leagues at some point, certainly in the next couple of years." Here is more about those other guys. Brent Rooker (24) was the Twins supplemental first-round pick in 2017 after finishing the 2017 season as the Triple Crown award winner in the SEC. He spent 2018 in Double-A Chattanooga where he hit 32 doubles and 22 home runs. Luke Raley (24) joined the Twins organization at the trade deadline this year. He was acquired from the Dodgers organization in the Brian Dozier deal. Raley joined the Lookouts and ended the season with 20 combined home runs on the season. Ben Rortvedt (21) was the Twins second-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Wisconsin. He split 2018 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit .262 with 16 doubles and five homers over 90 games in 2018 and plays strong defense. Brian Navarreto (24) will return for a second big league camp. The 2013 sixth round pick from high school in Florida spent the 2018 season Chattanooga. He hit .247 with 19 doubles and four homers. However, it is his defense that makes him a prospect. Jake Reed (26) also returns for another big league camp. The fifth round pick in 2014 out of Oregon was nearly unhittable over the final four months of the 2018 season at Rochester. Hopefully 2019 is the year he finally gets an opportunity. Ryan Eades (27) was the Twins second-round pick in 2013 out of LSU. He spent most of 2018 in Chattanooga though he ended the season strong with a month in Rochester as well.
  16. Before we get into it, here’s a look back at the players I’ve covered in this series so far: Jhoan Duran Alex Kirilloff Lewis Thorpe Royce Lewis Each of the previous installments of this series focuses on a specific aspect of a player's game or homes in on a particular performance. This will be more of an overview. We’re in the era of the 13-man pitching staff. Every team in baseball cycles through a great number of relievers each season, but there figure to be plenty of opportunities in the Twins’ bullpen this coming season. Relief Candidates on the 40-Man Roster The only relief pitcher who still has prospect status is Andrew Vasquez, but there are also all those starting pitchers who debuted last season who appear to be on the outside looking in. Might it make sense to give one of Chase De Jong, Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart or Lewis Thorpe a shot in the bullpen? None of those guys have pitched much in relief, and some don’t fit a typical reliever profile, but it wasn’t long ago you could have said those same things about Taylor Rogers. There’s already been some talk of Fernando Romero (who is no longer technically a prospect) getting a look in the pen, maybe the Twins will consider a conversion for one of these prospects. Romero may have the most tantalizing arsenal of that group, but it's interesting to note that both Littell and Gonsalves had better strikeout rates in Triple A last season. Romero averaged 6.8 K/9 in 90 2/3 innings with Rochester while Gonsalves was at 8.5 K/9 in 100 1/3 innings and Littell had 8.3 K/9 in 106 innings. Back to Vasquez, in terms of true relievers, he ranks third on the lefty depth chart behind Rogers and Gabriel Moya. There's a great chance he'll see time in the majors again if that remains the case. The Vasquatch has dominated the minor leagues, pitching to a 1.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 13.4 K/9. Who’s Next on the Farm? Before we get to the prospects, there are a few minor league veteran guys who have an outside chance at working their way up into a low-leverage role. Guys like Ryne Harper, Dario Alvarez, Mike Morin, Zack Weiss and Jeffery Ames. I’m sure the Twins will add a few other relievers on minor league deals. Some of those guys won’t even last through spring training, but others will get an opportunity to show what they’ve got in Rochester. This front office seems to be intrigued by fringy relief pitchers, though they’ve mostly acquired them through waivers (Matt Magill, Oliver Drake, David Hale, Dillon Gee, Nik Turley and Drew Rucinski among others). I assume they’ll continue to be active on that front as well. The guys this front office do not seem to like are all the relief pitchers drafted in the earlier rounds under Terry Ryan. Jake Reed is pretty much the last man standing among that group. He’s 26-years-old and has 61 Triple-A appearances under his belt, so what are they waiting for? Well, behind Reed’s sterling 1.92 ERA in the 89 innings he’s pitched for the Red Wings the past two seasons is a less impressive 8.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. Still, production is production, and Reed should be the first man up if the front office is in the position where they need to add a relief arm to the 40-man roster. It’d be a shame if he doesn’t get a look at some point. Another name of note in Triple A is Ryan Eades. Drafted in the second round as a starter back in 2013, Eades has primarily worked out of the bullpen the past two seasons. After posting just a 6.9 K/9 in 2017, he hiked that all the way up to 10.4 K/9 last season. The really great part was that he also lowered his walk rate from 3.4 BB/9 to 2.6 BB/9 last year. Eades was outstanding in the six starts he made, posting a 0.45 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, but the longest he went was four innings. Could he be the perfect opener? Eades is 27-years-old, so there’s really no use in leaving him in the minors should an opportunity present itself. Behind Reed and Eades is another bunch of guys who’ve only reached Double A. Tyler Jay is certainly the highest-profile name among them. For me, the question is does the velocity come back? If it does, I could see Jay move up very quickly. If not, well, he didn’t exactly inspire confidence by posting a 4.22 ERA and 1.58 WHIP last season. So let’s forget about Jay for a minute. The name I really want you to come away from this article with is Cody Stashak. The Twins converted him to the bullpen last season and it was a roaring success. The 24-year-old right-hander was one of the best pitchers in all of Double A. It’s not like Stashak was a failed starter by any means. In 2017, Stashak had a 3.89 ERA, 1.10 WHIP over 16 starts. His strikeout rate was a fairly modest 7.8 K/9, but he was certainly getting the job done. Stashak was forced to the DL in late July, had a few rehab appearances out of the bullpen with the GCL Twins, then made his final three outings of the year in relief for Chattanooga. I’m not sure the reasoning behind why they decided to keep him in the bullpen, but it’s looking like a very wise decision. In 2018, Stashak had a 2.87 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 11.2 K/9. He also continued to have very good control, posting a 2.3 BB/9, giving him a K:BB ratio of 4.93. There were 289 players who pitched 50 innings or more in Double A last season. Stashak ranked fifth in K-BB%, eighth in FIP, 12th in strikeout rate and 16th in swinging strike rate. It was basically your dream scenario when you move a guy to the pen. Here’s a quick look back at one of Stashak appearances from last year just to give you an idea of who he is. This is every single pitch of this particular outing, so there’s no sugar coating involved. I’d hoped to pull some more video on him, but MiLB.tv was malfunctioning, so this also wasn’t a cherry-picked outing. It just happened to be the one I was able to get. https://twitter.com/BaseballByTom/status/1087101499073839109 Stashak also ended the year particularly strong, allowing just two earned runs over his final 23 innings (0.78 ERA). If he carries that performance over to this season, he may be knocking at the door for his major league debut. This front office has made some eyebrow-raising decisions with relief prospects, but most of the guys they’ve passed over had some degree of wildness. That hasn’t been an issue for Stashak. Speaking of guys who moved from the rotation to the bullpen, there’s also Devin Smeltzer, a lefty who the Twins acquired from the Dodgers in the Brian Dozier trade. He didn’t have the same type of dynamite transition as Stashak, but his strikeout rate did see an incredible jump. After striking out just 53 batters in 70 1/3 innings as a starter (6.8 K/9), Smeltzer rung up 30 batters in just 25 1/3 innings out of the bullpen (10.7 K/9) in 2018. One guy who could be a huge x-factor is Jorge Alcala. The flame-throwing right-hander who the Twins got from Houston in the Ryan Pressly trade could really rocket up to the majors if he successfully transitioned to a relief role, not that I’ve heard that’s the plan for him. Alcala made 16 starts and another eight appearances in relief in 2018, performing about the same in either role. He struck out 104 batters in 99 1/3 innings last season. Anybody who hasn’t pitched in Double A is a longshot to make it all the way up to the majors in one year, but hey, Andrew Vasquez did it. Quite a few members of last year’s Miracle bullpen were college draftees who will now be entering their age 24 or even 25 seasons. Guys like Hector Lujan, Ryan Mason, Alex Robinson, Colton Davis, Adam Bray and Tom Hackimer. If one of them really takes off, there doesn’t seem to be much reason not to fast track them, though a Vasquez-type ascent would be surprising. More than 160 players are featured in the Prospect Handbook.We had a ton of fun putting the book together and we’re really excited for people to read it. Recognizing these minor league players for their efforts and ability is a big motivating factor in the project, so we would love for you to pick up a copy. Click here for more information on the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook
  17. Morning Updates (The Rule 5 draft just started. Players selected by the Twins or from the Twins will be mentioned here): Only 14 total players were selected in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft. The Twins did not lose any players. In the AAA portion, the Twins selected RHP Dusten Knight from the Giants. The team lost no one in the AAA portion. -------------------------------------------------- Stop by this article throughout the morning on Thursday for any updates regarding the Rule 5 draft. Again, reports from the Twins beat writers on hand in Las Vegas noted that Derek Falvey said the Twins are not likely to make a selection in the Rule 5 draft. The roster is currently at 40, so potentially they could remove a player before the draft to make a pick. The other side of that is that the Twins could lose players in the Major League Rule 5 draft. Who are players that have a chance to be selected? Here's a quick list: Tyler Jay - LH RP Jay is one of several former first-round picks, ,and a few top 10 picks, who went unprotected and are eligible. The Twins top pick in 2015 out of Illinois has had several injuries and struggled in his roles (starter and then reliever). The potential is still there for him to be a quality late-inning reliever if he can be healthy. Jake Reed - RH RP Jake Reed was incredible over the final three months of the 2018 season, so it was very surprising (disappointing) that he didn't receive a September call up. He was left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft for the third straight year. His stuff is still really good, and he put up the strong numbers to back it. He's done everything he can in AAA. If I was a team with a spot, I'd strongly consider him. But I said the same thing the last two years. Johan Quezada - RH RP Definitely the sleeper of the group since he has less than ten innings in his professional career above the rookie leagues, and that was late last season in Cedar Rapids. He missed all of 2017 with a shoulder injury. However, he was hitting 98 late last year. Would he be able to stick on a big league roster all year? Seems unlikely, but there are teams that might be willing to take a shot on the flame thrower. Hector Lujan - RH RP Lujan has been really good the last couple of seasons. He led the organization (minor leagues) in saves in 2017 in Cedar Rapids. He finished very strong for Ft. Myers in 2018 and then pitched in the Arizona Fall League. Lujan played in college at UC-Santa Barbara and then at Westmont College with Andrew Vasquez. He throws hard, 94-96 mph, and he's been great in the community. Lewin Diaz - 1B Diaz was coming off of a strong season in Cedar Rapids in 2017, hitting doubles and home runs. He went undrafted in the Rule 5 draft. 2018 was not a good year for the Dominican slugger. He didn't hit well, and then he broke his wrist and missed the rest of the season. It's probably less likely that he gets drafted, but not out of the realm of possibility. He was a big, big man when he was signed, but he has worked really hard. He is now down to 220 pounds and when he gets out of the Florida State League, his power could really start to show. Other Twins Players Potentially Selected: RH SP Andro Cutura, OF/1B Zander Wiel, RH RP Ryan Eades, C Brian Navarreto, OF Jaylin Davis, RH RP Cody Stashak, 3B Brian Schales, IF Randy Cesar, RHP Preston Guilmet and RHP Zack Weiss. JJ Cooper of Baseball America posted a list of many of the players who are available in the MLB Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Check out his list and see if there are any players that the Twins should be interested in. As you know, it costs $100,000 to make a Rule 5 selection. Then that player must remain on the draft team's active roster all year or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. Trades can be worked out as well Minor League Rule 5 Draft While we can spend hours going over a list of which players are eligible for the MLB Rule 5 draft, there is no way to prepare for the minor league portion. Those rosters aren't made public. Unlike the MLB portion, players selected in the minor league Rule 5 draft go to the other team. They can be placed anywhere in the system and do not have to be offered back. The Twins selected Yancarlos Baez last year in the minor league portion. He didn't pitch after having Tommy John surgery, but he should return to the mound in 2019. Feel free to discuss the Rule 5 draft here as it happens or rumors before and after. The article will be updated after the MLB portion of the Rule 5 and after the Minor League portion of the Rule 5.
  18. The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas have been fairly quiet against in 2018. Certainly there are meetings, but there haven't been a lot of signings or trades. Thursday is the final day of the Winter Meetings. The highlight of the final day of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 draft (11:00 central time). The Twins have stated publicly that it is unlikely that they will make a Rule 5 selection, but could they lose players? What will happen in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Check back to this article throughout the morning for more updates. This article will be update throughout the Rule 5 draft.Morning Updates (The Rule 5 draft just started. Players selected by the Twins or from the Twins will be mentioned here): Only 14 total players were selected in the MLB portion of the Rule 5 draft. The Twins did not lose any players. In the AAA portion, the Twins selected RHP Dusten Knight from the Giants. The team lost no one in the AAA portion. -------------------------------------------------- Stop by this article throughout the morning on Thursday for any updates regarding the Rule 5 draft. Again, reports from the Twins beat writers on hand in Las Vegas noted that Derek Falvey said the Twins are not likely to make a selection in the Rule 5 draft. The roster is currently at 40, so potentially they could remove a player before the draft to make a pick. The other side of that is that the Twins could lose players in the Major League Rule 5 draft. Who are players that have a chance to be selected? Here's a quick list: Tyler Jay - LH RP Jay is one of several former first-round picks, ,and a few top 10 picks, who went unprotected and are eligible. The Twins top pick in 2015 out of Illinois has had several injuries and struggled in his roles (starter and then reliever). The potential is still there for him to be a quality late-inning reliever if he can be healthy. Jake Reed - RH RP Jake Reed was incredible over the final three months of the 2018 season, so it was very surprising (disappointing) that he didn't receive a September call up. He was left unprotected from the Rule 5 draft for the third straight year. His stuff is still really good, and he put up the strong numbers to back it. He's done everything he can in AAA. If I was a team with a spot, I'd strongly consider him. But I said the same thing the last two years. Johan Quezada - RH RP Definitely the sleeper of the group since he has less than ten innings in his professional career above the rookie leagues, and that was late last season in Cedar Rapids. He missed all of 2017 with a shoulder injury. However, he was hitting 98 late last year. Would he be able to stick on a big league roster all year? Seems unlikely, but there are teams that might be willing to take a shot on the flame thrower. Hector Lujan - RH RP Lujan has been really good the last couple of seasons. He led the organization (minor leagues) in saves in 2017 in Cedar Rapids. He finished very strong for Ft. Myers in 2018 and then pitched in the Arizona Fall League. Lujan played in college at UC-Santa Barbara and then at Westmont College with Andrew Vasquez. He throws hard, 94-96 mph, and he's been great in the community. Lewin Diaz - 1B Diaz was coming off of a strong season in Cedar Rapids in 2017, hitting doubles and home runs. He went undrafted in the Rule 5 draft. 2018 was not a good year for the Dominican slugger. He didn't hit well, and then he broke his wrist and missed the rest of the season. It's probably less likely that he gets drafted, but not out of the realm of possibility. He was a big, big man when he was signed, but he has worked really hard. He is now down to 220 pounds and when he gets out of the Florida State League, his power could really start to show. Other Twins Players Potentially Selected: RH SP Andro Cutura, OF/1B Zander Wiel, RH RP Ryan Eades, C Brian Navarreto, OF Jaylin Davis, RH RP Cody Stashak, 3B Brian Schales, IF Randy Cesar, RHP Preston Guilmet and RHP Zack Weiss. JJ Cooper of Baseball America posted a list of many of the players who are available in the MLB Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Check out his list and see if there are any players that the Twins should be interested in. As you know, it costs $100,000 to make a Rule 5 selection. Then that player must remain on the draft team's active roster all year or be offered back to the original team for $50,000. Trades can be worked out as well Minor League Rule 5 Draft While we can spend hours going over a list of which players are eligible for the MLB Rule 5 draft, there is no way to prepare for the minor league portion. Those rosters aren't made public. Unlike the MLB portion, players selected in the minor league Rule 5 draft go to the other team. They can be placed anywhere in the system and do not have to be offered back. The Twins selected Yancarlos Baez last year in the minor league portion. He didn't pitch after having Tommy John surgery, but he should return to the mound in 2019. Feel free to discuss the Rule 5 draft here as it happens or rumors before and after. The article will be updated after the MLB portion of the Rule 5 and after the Minor League portion of the Rule 5. Click here to view the article
  19. 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 2014 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2015. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Players drafted or signed during the 2012 season became free agents after the World Series was complete. That includes Luke Bard and DJ Baxendale. If the Twins signed them (or other minor league free agents) before the Rule 5 draft, they would be eligible to for the Rule 5 draft. But back to the players needing to be added or risk losing to the Rule 5 draft, I’ll break them into a few categories. The Givens are players that I think have to be added or there is a high percentage that they will be selected if they are not. The next are players that are more On The Bubble. It will be interesting to see which of these guys are added. How many spots are available on the team’s 40-man roster, etc. I’m going to add a couple of Sleepers. Finally, the Next category are those players that probably won’t be added and yet do have a chance to be selected by the right team with the right need or the right report. The Givens Andrew Vasquez would have been in this list, but he was called up to the Twins on September 1st. I have two players listed as givens. SS/2B Nick Gordon - He may have struggled in the second half of the season after his promotion to the Red Wings, but Gordon, the team’s top pick in 2014 just turned 23 and remains a quality prospect. Will he play second base or shortstop, or both, in the big leagues? Yes. OF LaMonte Wade - Wade will turn 25 on New Years Day. He returned to AA to start 2018 and hit the same number of home runs in less than half as many games. He hit .229 in Rochester and still got on base 33% of the time. The outfielder is close and for the right team, he could start in the big leagues now. On The Bubble Again, this group is the players on the bubble. Depending upon how many players the Twins add, a couple of these players could be added. 2B Luis Arraez - After missing most of 2017, Arraez returned to form with the Miracle in 2018 and ended the season with two months in Chattanooga. While not a high ranking prospect, the second baseman can hit single after single. RHP Jake Reed - If it was me, Reed would be a given, but he already didn’t get selected a year ago in the Rule 5 draft, and he didn’t get a September call up despite being tremendous over the final three months of the season. Now 26, he is ready for a big league opportunity. RHP Nick Anderson - As good as Reed was over the final three months, that’s how good Anderson was during the season’s first three months. Another inexplicable exclusion from the September roster adds, Anderson is absolutely ready for a big league opportunity, making him a strong Rule 5 candidate. LHP Tyler Jay - The Twins top pick in 2015 has endured a series of arm injuries which have cost him time and some of his stuff. Now a reliever, he still has a chance to be a big league contributor. The Sleepers Here are a couple of guys who might be brought up some places as possible . RHP Johan Quezada - Signed way back in September of 2012, Quezada only has four games pitched above the rookie leagues. He was very raw when he signed. He grew a ton, but then he struggled with shoulder issues for a couple of years. He returned this year and found an upper-90s fastball. He turned 24 late in the season and isn’t likely to stick, but he is a very intriguing arm. RHP Andro Cutura - Cutura returned in May after missing two years due to Tommy John surgery. The former seventh-round pick threw well for the Miracle in his return. Again, probably not so much a Rule 5 guy as one to watch in 2019. The Next 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/OF Zander Wiel - Now playing first base and left field, Wiel had a really nice season in AA Chattanooga before a late-season promotion to Rochester. RHP Ryan Eades - The Twins second round pick in 2013, Eades continued to pitch in multiple roles. Not a starter, and not a late-inning guy, Eades could be intriguing for teams interested in using him as an Opener candidate. C Brian Navarreto - Navaretto is such a strong defensive catcher. If he can hit even a little bit, he could have a long big league career. He’s got the size, but he just hasn’t put up the numbers offensively. OF Jaylin Davis - Davis is playing well in the Arizona Fall League. He was able to cut down his K-rate and increase his walk rate in 2018. RHP Hector Lujan - Another AFL candidate, Lujan has slowly worked up the system and continued to add pieces to his game. He throws hard and has some intriguing secondary pitches. RHP Cody Stashak - Stashak moved to the bullpen in 2018 and really had a nice season. He too could be intriguing as teams look to use the Opener of bullpening strategies in coming years. The Rest Here is a list of other players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the Twins organization. LHP Sam Clay OF Tanner English RHP Randy LeBlanc IF Alex Perez LHP Alex Robinson 1B/3B Chris Paul OF Jean-Carlos Arias RHP Miguel De Jesus RHP Sandy Lugo LHP Lachlan Wells RHP Yancarlos Baez RHP Williams Ramirez RHP Moises Gomez Now, the number of players added to the 40-man roster will in large part depend upon how many players that the front office is willing to remove from the 40-man roster over the next couple of weeks. In the comments below, discuss my ranking and rank them by how you would protect them.
  20. The MLB offseason is upon us. There are many decisions that this front office will need to make. Some will happen soon. One big decision that is made every November is which players to add to the 40-man roster. Being added to the 40-man roster is a huge thing for players. They make a little more money in the minor leagues, but more important, a huge obstacle to being called up to the big leagues is removed. Here is a list of Twins minor leaguers who would be eligible for the Rule 5 draft if not protected.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 2014 (during the minor league season).Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2015.Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.Players drafted or signed during the 2012 season became free agents after the World Series was complete. That includes Luke Bard and DJ Baxendale. If the Twins signed them (or other minor league free agents) before the Rule 5 draft, they would be eligible to for the Rule 5 draft.But back to the players needing to be added or risk losing to the Rule 5 draft, I’ll break them into a few categories. The Givens are players that I think have to be added or there is a high percentage that they will be selected if they are not. The next are players that are more On The Bubble. It will be interesting to see which of these guys are added. How many spots are available on the team’s 40-man roster, etc. I’m going to add a couple of Sleepers. Finally, the Next category are those players that probably won’t be added and yet do have a chance to be selected by the right team with the right need or the right report. The Givens Andrew Vasquez would have been in this list, but he was called up to the Twins on September 1st. I have two players listed as givens. SS/2B Nick Gordon - He may have struggled in the second half of the season after his promotion to the Red Wings, but Gordon, the team’s top pick in 2014 just turned 23 and remains a quality prospect. Will he play second base or shortstop, or both, in the big leagues? Yes.OF LaMonte Wade - Wade will turn 25 on New Years Day. He returned to AA to start 2018 and hit the same number of home runs in less than half as many games. He hit .229 in Rochester and still got on base 33% of the time. The outfielder is close and for the right team, he could start in the big leagues now.On The Bubble Again, this group is the players on the bubble. Depending upon how many players the Twins add, a couple of these players could be added. 2B Luis Arraez - After missing most of 2017, Arraez returned to form with the Miracle in 2018 and ended the season with two months in Chattanooga. While not a high ranking prospect, the second baseman can hit single after single.RHP Jake Reed - If it was me, Reed would be a given, but he already didn’t get selected a year ago in the Rule 5 draft, and he didn’t get a September call up despite being tremendous over the final three months of the season. Now 26, he is ready for a big league opportunity.RHP Nick Anderson - As good as Reed was over the final three months, that’s how good Anderson was during the season’s first three months. Another inexplicable exclusion from the September roster adds, Anderson is absolutely ready for a big league opportunity, making him a strong Rule 5 candidate.LHP Tyler Jay - The Twins top pick in 2015 has endured a series of arm injuries which have cost him time and some of his stuff. Now a reliever, he still has a chance to be a big league contributor.The Sleepers Here are a couple of guys who might be brought up some places as possible . RHP Johan Quezada - Signed way back in September of 2012, Quezada only has four games pitched above the rookie leagues. He was very raw when he signed. He grew a ton, but then he struggled with shoulder issues for a couple of years. He returned this year and found an upper-90s fastball. He turned 24 late in the season and isn’t likely to stick, but he is a very intriguing arm.RHP Andro Cutura - Cutura returned in May after missing two years due to Tommy John surgery. The former seventh-round pick threw well for the Miracle in his return. Again, probably not so much a Rule 5 guy as one to watch in 2019.The Next 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/OF Zander Wiel - Now playing first base and left field, Wiel had a really nice season in AA Chattanooga before a late-season promotion to Rochester.RHP Ryan Eades - The Twins second round pick in 2013, Eades continued to pitch in multiple roles. Not a starter, and not a late-inning guy, Eades could be intriguing for teams interested in using him as an Opener candidate.C Brian Navarreto - Navaretto is such a strong defensive catcher. If he can hit even a little bit, he could have a long big league career. He’s got the size, but he just hasn’t put up the numbers offensively.OF Jaylin Davis - Davis is playing well in the Arizona Fall League. He was able to cut down his K-rate and increase his walk rate in 2018.RHP Hector Lujan - Another AFL candidate, Lujan has slowly worked up the system and continued to add pieces to his game. He throws hard and has some intriguing secondary pitches.RHP Cody Stashak - Stashak moved to the bullpen in 2018 and really had a nice season. He too could be intriguing as teams look to use the Opener of bullpening strategies in coming years.The Rest Here is a list of other players who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the Twins organization. LHP Sam ClayOF Tanner EnglishRHP Randy LeBlancIF Alex Perez LHP Alex Robinson1B/3B Chris PaulOF Jean-Carlos AriasRHP Miguel De Jesus RHP Sandy Lugo LHP Lachlan WellsRHP Yancarlos Baez RHP Williams Ramirez RHP Moises Gomez Now, the number of players added to the 40-man roster will in large part depend upon how many players that the front office is willing to remove from the 40-man roster over the next couple of weeks. In the comments below, discuss my ranking and rank them by how you would protect them. Click here to view the article
  21. Earlier this week, Twins Daily announced the Short Season Pitcher and Hitter of the Year, and tonight we switch to the full season awards, beginning with the Relief Pitcher of the Year. In recent history, this award has been an indicator of a player making the major leagues at some point—­John Curtiss won in 2017 and also made his MLB debut, and before that Trevor Hildenberger won in 2015 and 2016 before becoming the stalwart in the bullpen he is now with the Minnesota Twins.There were several standout strikeout arms in the Twins system when it came to relief pitchers, as you will see below. Some of them have spent time in the majors this season, while a few others appear ready for their opportunity. Short profiles of our top five are to follow, but first, some players worthy of honorable mention. These players also received votes. Others Receiving Votes Nick Anderson, Rochester Red Wings – 39 G, 8-2, 4 Saves, 3.30 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 60.0 IP, 49 H, 19 BB, 88 KGabriel Moya, Rochester Red Wings – 26 G, 1-1, 4 Saves, 1.90 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 42.2 IP, 38 H, 12 BB, 50 KJohn Curtiss, Rochester Red Wings – 38 G, 2-4, 10 Saves, 3.42 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 55.1 IP, 41 H, 31 BB, 61 KRyne Harper, Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings – 38 G, 1-5, 6 Saves, 3.60 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 65.0 IP, 61 H, 10 BB, 86 KThese are the top five players to receive votes for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year #5 – Jake Reed, Rochester Red Wings – 30 G, 0-3, 2 Saves, 1.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 47.2 IP, 34 H, 21 BB, 50 K For a few years now, it has seemed like Jake Reed was knocking on the door to the major leagues, but in part due to some injuries, hasn’t yet made the jump. I’ll say quite frankly that he should have, at least for September of this year (and last year for that matter). The ERA to finish his season is great, but he really turned it on as the season wore on, appearing in both July and August’s Relief Pitcher of the Month entries. In that time frame Reed appeared in 16 games, pitching 26 total innings and allowing just four earned runs (1.38 ERA) on 10 hits and 10 walks (good for a 0.77 WHIP), while striking out 29. #4 – Alan Busenitz, Rochester Red Wings – 27 G, 2-3, 7 Saves, 2.48 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 40.0 IP, 32 H, 8 BB, 45 K Despite appearing in 28 games with the Twins in 2017 and delivering a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, Busenitz has been on the Triple A shuttle several times this season, never quite being able to settle in. He was excellent in the minors again in 2018, including the month of May in which he didn’t allow a single run in eight appearances and 13 total innings. He was recognized in both May and June’s Relief Pitcher of the Month awards, and in that stretch over a period of 13 MiLB appearances, did not allow a run while striking out 27 in 23 innings pitched. #3 – Cody Stashak, Fort Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts – 37 G, 2-1, 4 Saves, 2.87 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 59.2 IP, 49 H, 15 BB, 74 K Stashak was a starting pitcher for the first two years of his professional career, and a decent one, after being drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of St. Johns University. But that changed in 2018, as the Twins put him in the bullpen for its entirety. He didn’t miss a beat, sustaining a sub 3.00 ERA, sub 1.10 WHIP, and sub .240 batting average against while increasing his K-rate. Stashak has always had good control, and that also didn’t leave him out of the ‘pen allowing him to have the best K/BB ratio of his career. From July through the end of the season, spanning 17 appearances and 23 innings pitched, Stashak allowed just two earned runs (0.78 ERA) on 19 hits and only 2 walks, while striking out 25. He was #2 in July’s Relief Pitcher of the Month entry and made honorable mention in two others during the season. #2 – Jovani Moran, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle – 37 G, 9-3, 8 Saves, 2.49 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 76.0 IP, 45 H, 35 BB, 107 K If you paid attention during the year or have been clicking the links throughout this article, you know of the legend that is Jovani Moran already. He took home the monthly relief pitcher honors in June and July and received an honorable mention twice. The first thing you’ll notice with him is obviously the K’s. After striking out literally everybody with Elizabethton in 2017 (almost, his rate was 16.4/9IP) and taking home the Short Season Pitcher of the Year award, Moran continued that success with the Kernels and Miracle in 2018, finishing with a rate of 12.7K/9IP between his two stops. Surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2016 seemingly ended his development path as a starter, but what they’ve found as a reliever is hard to ignore. Listed at 6’1” and 170 lbs, Moran hasn’t been known for his velocity, but may have kicked it up some in the bullpen. He has also improved the movement of his secondary pitches, led by a great changeup and improving breaking ball. Moran is one to watch closely moving forward. #1 – Andrew Vasquez, Fort Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings – 40 G, 1-2, 6 Saves, 1.30 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 69.1 IP, 50 H, 21 BB, 108 K If you thought Moran’s strikeout total was egregious, take a look at Andrew Vasquez’s. There’s a reason the left-handed Vasquez jumped from Fort Myers all the way to the Twins bullpen during the 2018 season—he has been as untouchable as his slider is elite. Like Moran, Vasquez made appearances on several of the monthly awards, including winning in August before his September callup to the majors. Leading to his recent MLB debut, Vasquez has had a standout minor league career since being drafted by the Twins in the 32nd round of the 2015 draft out of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. His career minor league ERA is just 1.52 in four seasons and he has struck out 13.4/9IP. While his fastball will only touch the 90’s, as Twins farm director Jeremy Zoll noted to Twins Daily, “It’s all about the slider with Andrew.” Because of this pitch, he didn’t allow a single extra-base-hit to same-sided hitters during his 2017 season that ended with a trip to the Arizona Fall League (fun fact only I may know since I wrote about it: his first hit allowed in the AFL was a double to a lefty). His efforts during that 2017 campaign also landed him at #5 in this award category last year. Zoll went on to talk about how Brad Steil, Luis Ramirez (Vasquez’s pitching coach in rookie ball), and the Twins pushed him to rely on the pitch after turning pro. “The slider is your thing, make it your thing. He really owned that this year. I think he realized that not only lefties, but righties were having a really hard time hitting it too. Once he got to Double A it was like ‘All right, I’m catching a groove here’ and you could see his confidence boost. It’s been really fun to see him have that type of success, starting in high-A and ending up in the big leagues.” You can definitely see that boost in confidence talked about in his numbers on the year. With Fort Myers, Vasquez pitched 32.2 innings with a 1.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 37:13 K to BB ratio. With the Lookouts, those numbers improved to 31.0 innings with a 1.16 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and a 59:4 K to BB ratio. Then, before he was called up to the Twins he made four appearances with the Rochester Red Wings, pitching 5.2 innings and striking out 12 of the 28 hitters he faced (42.3%). It was an easy decision to add Vasquez to the 40-man when rosters expanded for September based on his numbers and the fact that he would have to be protected in the offseason anyway. Twins fans should be able to see that slider plenty of times over the final month and get an idea of what the future could hold for the 6’6” left-hander. It’s very apparent how much the Twins believe in Vasquez and his slider, as Zoll closed by recalling a conversation with Tim O’Neill, one of their national cross-checkers, who said, “How about the kid from Westmont?!” Zoll went on, “It’s an interesting story and situation to see that type of profile, having a reliever with that type of slider. Where did you learn that thing and how can we teach other people? Maybe there’s something in the water. We’ll have to ship that out to Fort Myers.” Definitely look into that, Mr. Zoll! Congratulations to Andrew Vasquez and the rest of the relievers recognized by Twins Daily for their efforts in 2018. Vasquez has the ingredients to stick around for a while, even if it’s just to devastate left-handed hitters. The Ballots In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth Stohs – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Jake Reed, 4) Alan Busenitz, 5) Cody StashakJeremy Nygaard – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Alan Busenitz, 4) Cody Stashak, 5) Nick AndersonCody Christie – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Gabriel Moya, 4) Cody Stashak, 5) Alan BusenitzTom Froemming – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Cody Stashak, 4) Ryne Harper, 5) Nick AndersonSteve Lein – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Cody Stashak, 4) Ryne Harper, 5) Nick AndersonTed Schwerzler – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jake Reed, 3) John Curtiss, 4) Alan Busenitz, 5) Jovani MoranWhat do you think? How would your ballot look? Click here to view the article
  22. There were several standout strikeout arms in the Twins system when it came to relief pitchers, as you will see below. Some of them have spent time in the majors this season, while a few others appear ready for their opportunity. Short profiles of our top five are to follow, but first, some players worthy of honorable mention. These players also received votes. Others Receiving Votes Nick Anderson, Rochester Red Wings – 39 G, 8-2, 4 Saves, 3.30 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 60.0 IP, 49 H, 19 BB, 88 K Gabriel Moya, Rochester Red Wings – 26 G, 1-1, 4 Saves, 1.90 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 42.2 IP, 38 H, 12 BB, 50 K John Curtiss, Rochester Red Wings – 38 G, 2-4, 10 Saves, 3.42 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 55.1 IP, 41 H, 31 BB, 61 K Ryne Harper, Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings – 38 G, 1-5, 6 Saves, 3.60 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 65.0 IP, 61 H, 10 BB, 86 K These are the top five players to receive votes for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year #5 – Jake Reed, Rochester Red Wings – 30 G, 0-3, 2 Saves, 1.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 47.2 IP, 34 H, 21 BB, 50 K For a few years now, it has seemed like Jake Reed was knocking on the door to the major leagues, but in part due to some injuries, hasn’t yet made the jump. I’ll say quite frankly that he should have, at least for September of this year (and last year for that matter). The ERA to finish his season is great, but he really turned it on as the season wore on, appearing in both July and August’s Relief Pitcher of the Month entries. In that time frame Reed appeared in 16 games, pitching 26 total innings and allowing just four earned runs (1.38 ERA) on 10 hits and 10 walks (good for a 0.77 WHIP), while striking out 29. #4 – Alan Busenitz, Rochester Red Wings – 27 G, 2-3, 7 Saves, 2.48 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 40.0 IP, 32 H, 8 BB, 45 K Despite appearing in 28 games with the Twins in 2017 and delivering a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, Busenitz has been on the Triple A shuttle several times this season, never quite being able to settle in. He was excellent in the minors again in 2018, including the month of May in which he didn’t allow a single run in eight appearances and 13 total innings. He was recognized in both May and June’s Relief Pitcher of the Month awards, and in that stretch over a period of 13 MiLB appearances, did not allow a run while striking out 27 in 23 innings pitched. #3 – Cody Stashak, Fort Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts – 37 G, 2-1, 4 Saves, 2.87 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 59.2 IP, 49 H, 15 BB, 74 K Stashak was a starting pitcher for the first two years of his professional career, and a decent one, after being drafted in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of St. Johns University. But that changed in 2018, as the Twins put him in the bullpen for its entirety. He didn’t miss a beat, sustaining a sub 3.00 ERA, sub 1.10 WHIP, and sub .240 batting average against while increasing his K-rate. Stashak has always had good control, and that also didn’t leave him out of the ‘pen allowing him to have the best K/BB ratio of his career. From July through the end of the season, spanning 17 appearances and 23 innings pitched, Stashak allowed just two earned runs (0.78 ERA) on 19 hits and only 2 walks, while striking out 25. He was #2 in July’s Relief Pitcher of the Month entry and made honorable mention in two others during the season. #2 – Jovani Moran, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle – 37 G, 9-3, 8 Saves, 2.49 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 76.0 IP, 45 H, 35 BB, 107 K If you paid attention during the year or have been clicking the links throughout this article, you know of the legend that is Jovani Moran already. He took home the monthly relief pitcher honors in June and July and received an honorable mention twice. The first thing you’ll notice with him is obviously the K’s. After striking out literally everybody with Elizabethton in 2017 (almost, his rate was 16.4/9IP) and taking home the Short Season Pitcher of the Year award, Moran continued that success with the Kernels and Miracle in 2018, finishing with a rate of 12.7K/9IP between his two stops. Surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2016 seemingly ended his development path as a starter, but what they’ve found as a reliever is hard to ignore. Listed at 6’1” and 170 lbs, Moran hasn’t been known for his velocity, but may have kicked it up some in the bullpen. He has also improved the movement of his secondary pitches, led by a great changeup and improving breaking ball. Moran is one to watch closely moving forward. #1 – Andrew Vasquez, Fort Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts/Rochester Red Wings – 40 G, 1-2, 6 Saves, 1.30 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 69.1 IP, 50 H, 21 BB, 108 K If you thought Moran’s strikeout total was egregious, take a look at Andrew Vasquez’s. There’s a reason the left-handed Vasquez jumped from Fort Myers all the way to the Twins bullpen during the 2018 season—he has been as untouchable as his slider is elite. Like Moran, Vasquez made appearances on several of the monthly awards, including winning in August before his September callup to the majors. Leading to his recent MLB debut, Vasquez has had a standout minor league career since being drafted by the Twins in the 32nd round of the 2015 draft out of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA. His career minor league ERA is just 1.52 in four seasons and he has struck out 13.4/9IP. While his fastball will only touch the 90’s, as Twins farm director Jeremy Zoll noted to Twins Daily, “It’s all about the slider with Andrew.” Because of this pitch, he didn’t allow a single extra-base-hit to same-sided hitters during his 2017 season that ended with a trip to the Arizona Fall League (fun fact only I may know since I wrote about it: his first hit allowed in the AFL was a double to a lefty). His efforts during that 2017 campaign also landed him at #5 in this award category last year. Zoll went on to talk about how Brad Steil, Luis Ramirez (Vasquez’s pitching coach in rookie ball), and the Twins pushed him to rely on the pitch after turning pro. “The slider is your thing, make it your thing. He really owned that this year. I think he realized that not only lefties, but righties were having a really hard time hitting it too. Once he got to Double A it was like ‘All right, I’m catching a groove here’ and you could see his confidence boost. It’s been really fun to see him have that type of success, starting in high-A and ending up in the big leagues.” You can definitely see that boost in confidence talked about in his numbers on the year. With Fort Myers, Vasquez pitched 32.2 innings with a 1.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 37:13 K to BB ratio. With the Lookouts, those numbers improved to 31.0 innings with a 1.16 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and a 59:4 K to BB ratio. Then, before he was called up to the Twins he made four appearances with the Rochester Red Wings, pitching 5.2 innings and striking out 12 of the 28 hitters he faced (42.3%). It was an easy decision to add Vasquez to the 40-man when rosters expanded for September based on his numbers and the fact that he would have to be protected in the offseason anyway. Twins fans should be able to see that slider plenty of times over the final month and get an idea of what the future could hold for the 6’6” left-hander. It’s very apparent how much the Twins believe in Vasquez and his slider, as Zoll closed by recalling a conversation with Tim O’Neill, one of their national cross-checkers, who said, “How about the kid from Westmont?!” Zoll went on, “It’s an interesting story and situation to see that type of profile, having a reliever with that type of slider. Where did you learn that thing and how can we teach other people? Maybe there’s something in the water. We’ll have to ship that out to Fort Myers.” Definitely look into that, Mr. Zoll! Congratulations to Andrew Vasquez and the rest of the relievers recognized by Twins Daily for their efforts in 2018. Vasquez has the ingredients to stick around for a while, even if it’s just to devastate left-handed hitters. The Ballots In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth Stohs – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Jake Reed, 4) Alan Busenitz, 5) Cody Stashak Jeremy Nygaard – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Alan Busenitz, 4) Cody Stashak, 5) Nick Anderson Cody Christie – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Gabriel Moya, 4) Cody Stashak, 5) Alan Busenitz Tom Froemming – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Cody Stashak, 4) Ryne Harper, 5) Nick Anderson Steve Lein – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jovani Moran, 3) Cody Stashak, 4) Ryne Harper, 5) Nick Anderson Ted Schwerzler – 1) Andrew Vasquez, 2) Jake Reed, 3) John Curtiss, 4) Alan Busenitz, 5) Jovani Moran What do you think? How would your ballot look?
  23. Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew is generally considered the greatest Twins player in their 58-year history in Minnesota. He was an imposing figure on the field, capable of altering a game with one swing of his mighty bat. Off the field, Killebrew was said to be one of the most genuinely compassionate men, respectful and helpful. Following the Hall of Famer’s death in 2011, the Twins announced the initiation of the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service. One player from each of the four Twins full-season affiliates would be presented with the award in recognition of their work in their community. Over the coming days, we’ll share with you the four 2018 recipients of the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service.The 2018 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service recipient for the Rochester Red Wings is right-handed relief pitcher Jake Reed. On the field, it was a real solid season for the hard-throwing right-hander. His overall numbers were terrific. He posted a 1.89 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. In 47 2/3 innings, he walked 21, but he struck out 50 batters. He missed some time early in the season, but since June 1, he was tremendous. Over the season’s final three months, his ERA was just 1.43 and opponents hit just .167 off of him. It is difficult to understand why he did not receive a September call up based on his statistical line, especially late in the season. As impressive as he was on the mound for the Red Wings, he made a strong impression in the Rochester community as well. Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason nominated Reed saying, “Jake has been a phenomenal representative for the Red Wings and the Twins in our community this season volunteering at a variety of both corporate partner events as well as community events.” The list of activities that Reed helped with in the community was quite lengthy. Mason continued, “Some of the community events he participated in include: delivering meals with Meals on Wheels. Speaking engagement for Rochester Regional Hospital, Foodlink Summer kickoff, USSSA clinic, School of the Holy Childhood ( for mentally challenged kids) clinic, Challenger Baseball World Series here at Frontier Field, Red Wings Baseball camp, and another Challenger baseball camp. ” Reed truly appreciated the opportunities he had to work in and for the community thanks to the Red Wings. He said, “The Red Wings have been one of the best organizations I have ever seen as far as the opportunities they give us players to get out into the community and serve. We have done everything from visiting hospitals and running baseball camps, to delivering meals to less fortunate families and working alongside the Challenger baseball league in Rochester, which has been my favorite.” But, according to Mason, Reed went above and beyond the team-sponsored activities. “On his own time, without anyone in our office asking him, Jake visited a Challenger baseball field on his own on a Saturday morning in June. He also can often be seen before games chatting with fans and signing autographs, doing his best to provide lifelong memories for our fans. He truly understands his responsibilities as a professional baseball player on and off the field.” Reed deserved a September call up because of his work on the field for the Red Wings in 2018. However, he fully understands his role in society and the opportunities and the platform he’s been given and chooses to use it for good. He noted recently that he really appreciates receiving the honor and having his name associated with someone like Harmon Killebrew. He said, “This award actually means a lot. I will be honest. Not getting the call at the end of the season was disappointing. But getting this reward definitely reminded me of why God actually has me playing this game. It’s not about baseball. It really isn’t. It’s about loving and serving the people that you come into contact with, and the great thing about baseball is it gives us players plenty of opportunity to do so. I think men like Harmon Killebrew have set the example for us as far as what it looks like to be more than a baseball player.” Reed joined Episode 7 of Seth’s Twins On Deck Podcastlast offseason to talk about the work he’s done on the field, but also to discuss his faith as it is a very important an instrumental part of his life. Previous Red Wings Killebrew Award winners: 2011 - Kyle Gibson 2012 - JR Towles 2013 - Brian Dinkelman 2014 - Logan Darnell 2015 - Logan Darnell 2016 - Logan Darnell 2017 - DJ Baxendale 2018 - Jake Reed Congratulations to Jake Reed on earning the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for the Rochester Red Wings. Over the coming days, we will share the stories of the Killebrew Award winners for the Chattanooga Lookouts, Ft. Myers Miracle and Cedar Rapids Kernels (in which there is an interesting tie to Killebrew himself). Click here to view the article
  24. The 2018 Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service recipient for the Rochester Red Wings is right-handed relief pitcher Jake Reed. On the field, it was a real solid season for the hard-throwing right-hander. His overall numbers were terrific. He posted a 1.89 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. In 47 2/3 innings, he walked 21, but he struck out 50 batters. He missed some time early in the season, but since June 1, he was tremendous. Over the season’s final three months, his ERA was just 1.43 and opponents hit just .167 off of him. It is difficult to understand why he did not receive a September call up based on his statistical line, especially late in the season. As impressive as he was on the mound for the Red Wings, he made a strong impression in the Rochester community as well. Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason nominated Reed saying, “Jake has been a phenomenal representative for the Red Wings and the Twins in our community this season volunteering at a variety of both corporate partner events as well as community events.” The list of activities that Reed helped with in the community was quite lengthy. Mason continued, “Some of the community events he participated in include: delivering meals with Meals on Wheels. Speaking engagement for Rochester Regional Hospital, Foodlink Summer kickoff, USSSA clinic, School of the Holy Childhood ( for mentally challenged kids) clinic, Challenger Baseball World Series here at Frontier Field, Red Wings Baseball camp, and another Challenger baseball camp. ” Reed truly appreciated the opportunities he had to work in and for the community thanks to the Red Wings. He said, “The Red Wings have been one of the best organizations I have ever seen as far as the opportunities they give us players to get out into the community and serve. We have done everything from visiting hospitals and running baseball camps, to delivering meals to less fortunate families and working alongside the Challenger baseball league in Rochester, which has been my favorite.” But, according to Mason, Reed went above and beyond the team-sponsored activities. “On his own time, without anyone in our office asking him, Jake visited a Challenger baseball field on his own on a Saturday morning in June. He also can often be seen before games chatting with fans and signing autographs, doing his best to provide lifelong memories for our fans. He truly understands his responsibilities as a professional baseball player on and off the field.” Reed deserved a September call up because of his work on the field for the Red Wings in 2018. However, he fully understands his role in society and the opportunities and the platform he’s been given and chooses to use it for good. He noted recently that he really appreciates receiving the honor and having his name associated with someone like Harmon Killebrew. He said, “This award actually means a lot. I will be honest. Not getting the call at the end of the season was disappointing. But getting this reward definitely reminded me of why God actually has me playing this game. It’s not about baseball. It really isn’t. It’s about loving and serving the people that you come into contact with, and the great thing about baseball is it gives us players plenty of opportunity to do so. I think men like Harmon Killebrew have set the example for us as far as what it looks like to be more than a baseball player.” Reed joined Episode 7 of Seth’s Twins On Deck Podcast last offseason to talk about the work he’s done on the field, but also to discuss his faith as it is a very important an instrumental part of his life. Previous Red Wings Killebrew Award winners: 2011 - Kyle Gibson 2012 - JR Towles 2013 - Brian Dinkelman 2014 - Logan Darnell 2015 - Logan Darnell 2016 - Logan Darnell 2017 - DJ Baxendale 2018 - Jake Reed Congratulations to Jake Reed on earning the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service for the Rochester Red Wings. Over the coming days, we will share the stories of the Killebrew Award winners for the Chattanooga Lookouts, Ft. Myers Miracle and Cedar Rapids Kernels (in which there is an interesting tie to Killebrew himself).
  25. The Minnesota Twins front office is sure making a habit of blundering important decisions here in September. With respect to Byron Buxton, and the late season promotions, there's plenty of head-scratching and hand-wringing to be observed. At this current juncture, it's maybe worth speculating if everyone isn't on the same page? Over the course of the 2018 major league season, I have found myself as a supporter of the new front office. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had an exceptional offseason, and they positioned this Twins club for success in the current season. As everything has gone up in flames however, their responses have seemed less than satisfactory. Now as real adversity creeps in, we may be seeing some cracks in the armor as well. Obviously the biggest misstep thus far has been the handling of Byron Buxton. This isn't the space to rehash that situation, but I believe I did a good job of explaining the situation here. Looking back at it however, something has stuck out to me, and that's the quote from Thad Levine to Mike Berardino. Minnesota's GM said, “Their recourse has not been laid out to us. They’re certainly entitled to whatever they think is in the best interest of Byron Buxton. From this day forward, I think we recognize a responsibility to make amends and that we’re going to need to invest in the relationship with Byron Buxton. We understand this is a blow to the player, a potential blow to the relationship." In analyzing that quote, it's hard not to wonder why the Twins GM is being so open and candid about the situation as a whole. He talked about service time implications to the media as well, and the suggestion that this team decision could be potentially damaging to a long term relationship speaks volumes. As the only member of the front office to speak on the decision thus far, it's hard not to speculate as to whether Thad is simply acting as the orator here, and there's some dissension in the room. Derek Falvey is 35 years-old and holds the title of Chief Baseball Officer for the Minnesota Twins. His top rank previously was the title of Assistant General Manager for the Cleveland Indians. While he's obviously skilled and qualified for the role in which he's been enlisted, there's also an equally capable and qualified network of support around him. When making such delicate decisions, it's more than fair to wonder whether or not his peers all jump onto the same page. When it comes to head-scratching options, Minnesota embarked on another when they revealed their full list of September call-ups. On top of the egregious missing name in Buxton, neither Nick Anderson or Jake Reed saw their names included among the group either. The Twins are currently 63-74, 14.0 games out of the AL Central, and have nothing left to play for in 2018. With those parameters, September immediately becomes a breeding ground for acclimation and assimilation with talent that could prove useful on the 2019 Opening Day roster. Except the Twins chose to forego that route. It's great that John Curtiss, Chase De Jong and Tyler Duffey found themselves recalled, but so too did Chris Gimenez, Gregorio Petit, and Johnny Field. The latter three players represent veteran retreads that have no real value on a big league bench. Given the current state of the team in Minnesota, Mitch Garver or Jake Cave losing at bats to that duo seems counter productive. On top of that, the Twins left a stocked cupboard and closed the door. There's two spots still open on the 40 man roster, and of the 40 spots available on the active roster in September, only used 34 of them. Anderson, a Minnesota native, turned in a 3.30 ERA, 13.2 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 across 60.0 IP for Triple-A Rochester this season. Jake Reed posted a 1.89 ERA and 9.4 K/9 in 47.2 IP, and owned an even better 1.16 ERA in his last 31.0 IP. After signing multiple relief arms to short term deals this winter, squeezing out all the available talent within the organization seems like a smart blueprint. Given that neither now have an opportunity at the major league level in September, their afforded sample size will be a minimal one during big league camp (assuming they are invited, and still around). Without being behind closed doors, it's impossible to know what Derek Falvey's impact on each decision is. It's also unfair to assume how he is viewed by his peers. What is absolutely certain though, is that there's a danger to always believing you're the smartest person in any given room. If the operating tactics are less collaborative than the amount the term has been used by the head honcho, it's hard to see how lackluster buy in is a positive. Maybe Levine's comments surrounding Buxton are nothing more than they appear on the surface. Maybe no one in the front office saw the idea to waste the opportunity September roster expansion provides as a bad thing. Maybe everyone truly is on the same page. If that's the case though, we might be in even more trouble than it seems. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
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