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  1. Minnesota missed out on the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes but there might be some good news on the horizon. There are multiple teams still in the race for Ohtani and they need international slot money to spend on the two-way Japanese star. On Wednesday night, the Twins struck two deals to send money to teams still in the race for Ohtani. What prospects did the Twins receive? How did Minnesota have this money? Who will get some of their international slot money?Marte Money Jelfry Marte had been signed by the Twins to a $3 million deal this summer. However, an issue found on his physical exam meant the deal was voided. With Marte’s money back in their international pool, Minnesota had $3.245 million to try and lure Ohtani to the Midwest. Last weekend, he informed the Twins that he wouldn’t be signing with them. This allowed the club to trade away some of their pool money to eager Ohtani suitors. Mariners Trade Catcher David Banuelos, a 21-year old Ontario, CA native, was drafted this year by Seattle in the fifth round out of Long Beach State. He spent all of this season in the Northwest League (Short-A) where he hit .236/.331/.394 with four home runs and eight doubles in 36 games. He made 26 starts behind the plate with a .982 fielding percentage. He threw out 18 potential runners and allowed 30 stolen bases. With his college experience, he is considered a strong defender. He shows the ability to get on base and he has some power from the right-side of the plate. He could develop into a big league catcher in the years to come. Angels Trade Outfielder Jacob Pearson, a 19-year old, was drafted this year by the Angels in the third round. Los Angeles had to go overslot and offer him a $1 million to lure him away from his LSU commitment. He spent all of last season in the Arizona League (Rookie) where he hit .226/.302/.284 with seven doubles and a triple in 40 games. He played center field and left field during his professional debut but 31 of his 40 starts came in left. His defensive skills are a weak spot at this point in his career but he’s still a teenager. The Twins hope he can continue to develop the right kind of speed and power combination to make him a legitimate threat at the plate. So how did the Twins do? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  2. Marte Money Jelfry Marte had been signed by the Twins to a $3 million deal this summer. However, an issue found on his physical exam meant the deal was voided. With Marte’s money back in their international pool, Minnesota had $3.245 million to try and lure Ohtani to the Midwest. Last weekend, he informed the Twins that he wouldn’t be signing with them. This allowed the club to trade away some of their pool money to eager Ohtani suitors. Mariners Trade https://twitter.com/Feinsand/status/938591497712267264 Catcher David Banuelos, a 21-year old Ontario, CA native, was drafted this year by Seattle in the fifth round out of Long Beach State. He spent all of this season in the Northwest League (Short-A) where he hit .236/.331/.394 with four home runs and eight doubles in 36 games. He made 26 starts behind the plate with a .982 fielding percentage. He threw out 18 potential runners and allowed 30 stolen bases. With his college experience, he is considered a strong defender. He shows the ability to get on base and he has some power from the right-side of the plate. He could develop into a big league catcher in the years to come. Angels Trade https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/938592436816941056 Outfielder Jacob Pearson, a 19-year old, was drafted this year by the Angels in the third round. Los Angeles had to go overslot and offer him a $1 million to lure him away from his LSU commitment. He spent all of last season in the Arizona League (Rookie) where he hit .226/.302/.284 with seven doubles and a triple in 40 games. He played center field and left field during his professional debut but 31 of his 40 starts came in left. His defensive skills are a weak spot at this point in his career but he’s still a teenager. The Twins hope he can continue to develop the right kind of speed and power combination to make him a legitimate threat at the plate. So how did the Twins do? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. Hunting For An Ace Things a running a little ahead of schedule in Minnesota after the team qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Thad Levine and Derek Falvey intend to be buyers this offseason in hopes of making a longer playoff run. There are a number of big name free agents on their list but MLB insider Joy Heyman reports that Yu Darvish is at the top. Levine helped to bring Darvish to Texas, so there is already a relationship between the Twins’ GM and the star pitcher. Darvish posted a 10-12 record with a 3.86 ERA and 209 strikeouts. Jake Arrieta and Lance Lynn are also options for the Twins but the club will be pushing for Darvish to start the off-season. Marte’s Contract Voided Minnesota made a splash on the International market this summer by signing 16-year old Dominican shortstop Jelfry Marte. This week the Twins voided his $3 million contract due to an issue the team discovered during his physical. Sources say the issue was related to his vision. Marte is now a free agent and has been working out for clubs in Florida. With Marte’s contract off the books, the Twins have an extra $3 million available in their bonus pool to spend on other players. The deadline to use that money is June 15, 2018. https://twitter.com/jjcoop36/status/930829687231860739 Looking To Japan The Twins could be looking to spend the money saved from Marte on Japanese star Shohei Otani. Under the new posting system, the release fee was capped at $20 million. To put that in perspective, the Rangers paid a $51 million posting fee to sign Yu Darvish. The lower posting fee will have almost every team interested, including the Twins. MLB’s newest Collective Bargaining Agreement changed the type of deal Otani can sign. He will be subject to international bonus pools. Under the new CBA, players must now be 25 and have played six seasons in a foreign professional league to be exempt from bonus pools. If he waited until next season, he would qualify as a free agent which would mean a lot more money in his pocket. However, he wants to come to MLB now. What are your thoughts on the Twins news from this week? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. Even though it is the offseason, the Twins have been making news. Last week, Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier were honored for their outstanding defense. Paul Molitor was named the American League Manager of the Year after the Twins tremendous turnaround in 2017. Here are three other stories that have ties to the Twins. Could the Twins sign one of baseball’s biggest free agent pitchers? What happened with Jelfry Marte? Would Minnesota consider signing one of Japan’s biggest baseball stars?Hunting For An Ace Things a running a little ahead of schedule in Minnesota after the team qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Thad Levine and Derek Falvey intend to be buyers this offseason in hopes of making a longer playoff run. There are a number of big name free agents on their list but MLB insider Joy Heyman reports that Yu Darvish is at the top. Levine helped to bring Darvish to Texas, so there is already a relationship between the Twins’ GM and the star pitcher. Darvish posted a 10-12 record with a 3.86 ERA and 209 strikeouts. Jake Arrieta and Lance Lynn are also options for the Twins but the club will be pushing for Darvish to start the off-season. Marte’s Contract Voided Minnesota made a splash on the International market this summer by signing 16-year old Dominican shortstop Jelfry Marte. This week the Twins voided his $3 million contract due to an issue the team discovered during his physical. Sources say the issue was related to his vision. Marte is now a free agent and has been working out for clubs in Florida. With Marte’s contract off the books, the Twins have an extra $3 million available in their bonus pool to spend on other players. The deadline to use that money is June 15, 2018. Looking To Japan The Twins could be looking to spend the money saved from Marte on Japanese star Shohei Otani. Under the new posting system, the release fee was capped at $20 million. To put that in perspective, the Rangers paid a $51 million posting fee to sign Yu Darvish. The lower posting fee will have almost every team interested, including the Twins. MLB’s newest Collective Bargaining Agreement changed the type of deal Otani can sign. He will be subject to international bonus pools. Under the new CBA, players must now be 25 and have played six seasons in a foreign professional league to be exempt from bonus pools. If he waited until next season, he would qualify as a free agent which would mean a lot more money in his pocket. However, he wants to come to MLB now. What are your thoughts on the Twins news from this week? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  5. With that, let’s take a look at my choices for Twins prospects 26-30. #30 SS Jelfry Marte Marte is one of the more intriguing names on this prospect list. Signed in July out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million, most believe that he has the potential to stay at shortstop. He’s got good speed, range and a strong arm. While he is currently about 5-10 and 140 pounds, it is believed that he will grow. There are mixed opinions about his offensive potential While many believe that he will likely be a bottom of the order hitter, some think that he could grow and eventually add some power. He could begin his pro career in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, though it’s possible he’ll move up to the GCL. #29 RHP Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez recently became a free agent. He was drafted by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of high school in Florida. He spent the first three seasons of his pro career as an outfielder in the rookie leagues. He started the transition to pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appy League Pitcher of the Year. He finished the 2016 season with a 2.56 ERA in Ft. Myers. He was an All Star for the Miracle in 2017, going 5-2 with a 2.51 ERA. He moved up to AA where he went 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA. Last offseason, he helped win a championship in the Puerto Rico Winter League and was then named an alternate for the talented Puerto Rico WBC team. He’s 25 but continues to take strides forward. He throws 90-93, touching 94. He’s got a good slider as well and a changeup. He was able to get more ground balls. He even got to attend his father’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown in August. #28 3B Andrew Bechtold Bechtold was the Twins fifth-round draft pick this year out of junior college powerhouse Chipola College. Coming out of high school, he went to Maryland. He made seven starts before getting hurt and getting a medical redshirt. In 2017, he hit .419/.532/.676 with 12 homers. He had committed to LSU but instead signed with the Twins. At Elizabethton, he hit .299/.406/.424 with ten doubles and two homers. At 6-1 and 195 pounds, Bechtold was moved to third base at Chipola (though he may have played shortstop at LSU). He already has shown his ability to work the count and take walks. He also has a chance to hit for a lot of power. #27 RHP Griffin Jax Jax made a start in Elizabethton this summer before making four starts in Cedar Rapids. That marked his three-week leave from the Air Force. When he left, he headed to Cape Canaveral where he is an acquisitions officer. His duty will be complete next summer, though he may be able to make the trek to Ft. Myers on weekends in the summer. Jax, whose dad played in the NFL for a decade, was the Twins third-round pick in 2016. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and has a good slider and a changeup to go with it. He will turn 23 in two weeks, so his career will be delayed by two years. We’ll have to be patient, but he has the stuff to be good. (Get to know him.) #26 OF Aaron Whitefield The Twins have done well with toolsy hitters in the past. In the Twins minor league system, there are not players more athletic than the outfielder from Australia. He’s only been playing baseball for about three years after spending most of his youth playing softball at a high level. Defensively, he can cover ground in center field with anyone (not named Byron Buxton). Offensively, he’s still working on things, but he hit .268/.318/.414 (.732) with 18 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs. He also stole 33 bases. He’ll need to adjust and put the ball in play more, but he’s definitely a sleeper. (Get to know him.) So there you have Part 3 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect rankings, prospects 26-30. Be sure to check out Part 1 (41-50) and Part 2 (31-40), and feel free to discuss any of these players or ask questions below.
  6. In Part 1, I gave my selections for Twins prospects 41-50. Earlier this week, Part 2 reviewed Twins prospects 31-40. Today, the countdown continues with Part 3, my choices for Twins prospects 26-30. This is an interesting group of prospects. While there is a free agent whom I would hope the Twins would want to bring back, the four other players are high-ceiling types but very raw and inexperienced. They are the types of players who could move up this list a lot in 2018.With that, let’s take a look at my choices for Twins prospects 26-30. #30 SS Jelfry Marte Marte is one of the more intriguing names on this prospect list. Signed in July out of the Dominican Republic for $3 million, most believe that he has the potential to stay at shortstop. He’s got good speed, range and a strong arm. While he is currently about 5-10 and 140 pounds, it is believed that he will grow. There are mixed opinions about his offensive potential While many believe that he will likely be a bottom of the order hitter, some think that he could grow and eventually add some power. He could begin his pro career in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, though it’s possible he’ll move up to the GCL. #29 RHP Dereck Rodriguez Rodriguez recently became a free agent. He was drafted by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of high school in Florida. He spent the first three seasons of his pro career as an outfielder in the rookie leagues. He started the transition to pitcher in 2014. In 2015, he was the Appy League Pitcher of the Year. He finished the 2016 season with a 2.56 ERA in Ft. Myers. He was an All Star for the Miracle in 2017, going 5-2 with a 2.51 ERA. He moved up to AA where he went 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA. Last offseason, he helped win a championship in the Puerto Rico Winter League and was then named an alternate for the talented Puerto Rico WBC team. He’s 25 but continues to take strides forward. He throws 90-93, touching 94. He’s got a good slider as well and a changeup. He was able to get more ground balls. He even got to attend his father’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown in August. #28 3B Andrew Bechtold Bechtold was the Twins fifth-round draft pick this year out of junior college powerhouse Chipola College. Coming out of high school, he went to Maryland. He made seven starts before getting hurt and getting a medical redshirt. In 2017, he hit .419/.532/.676 with 12 homers. He had committed to LSU but instead signed with the Twins. At Elizabethton, he hit .299/.406/.424 with ten doubles and two homers. At 6-1 and 195 pounds, Bechtold was moved to third base at Chipola (though he may have played shortstop at LSU). He already has shown his ability to work the count and take walks. He also has a chance to hit for a lot of power. #27 RHP Griffin Jax Jax made a start in Elizabethton this summer before making four starts in Cedar Rapids. That marked his three-week leave from the Air Force. When he left, he headed to Cape Canaveral where he is an acquisitions officer. His duty will be complete next summer, though he may be able to make the trek to Ft. Myers on weekends in the summer. Jax, whose dad played in the NFL for a decade, was the Twins third-round pick in 2016. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and has a good slider and a changeup to go with it. He will turn 23 in two weeks, so his career will be delayed by two years. We’ll have to be patient, but he has the stuff to be good. (Get to know him.) #26 OF Aaron Whitefield The Twins have done well with toolsy hitters in the past. In the Twins minor league system, there are not players more athletic than the outfielder from Australia. He’s only been playing baseball for about three years after spending most of his youth playing softball at a high level. Defensively, he can cover ground in center field with anyone (not named Byron Buxton). Offensively, he’s still working on things, but he hit .268/.318/.414 (.732) with 18 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs. He also stole 33 bases. He’ll need to adjust and put the ball in play more, but he’s definitely a sleeper. (Get to know him.) So there you have Part 3 of my Top 50 Twins Prospect rankings, prospects 26-30. Be sure to check out Part 1 (41-50) and Part 2 (31-40), and feel free to discuss any of these players or ask questions below. Click here to view the article
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