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  1. The Twins announced tonight that they've acquired minor-league infielder Daniel Ozoria from the Angels in exchange for RHP John Curtiss, who was DFA'ed to make room on the roster for Blake Parker. Ozoria is an 18-year-old infielder who is listed at 5'9" and an almost impossibly tiny 135 lbs. He has a .222/.293/.263 line in around 500 rookie-league at-bats but the Twins are obviously hoping he gets bigger and stronger. Here's a Baseball America report from when he signed for $125K back in 2016: Definitely a lotto ticket, but nice to at least get that for Curtiss as opposed to nothing. Curtiss joins J.T. Chargois as promising Twins relievers lost to LA in roster crunches over the past year.
  2. Below you will find a profile for Daniel Ozario in the form that is found in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. There is header information with the bio information as well as his 2018 statistics. Tom Froemming wrote up his 2018 recap, as he did throughout the Prospect Handbook. I wrote up the background information and the scouting report as well as the 2019 projection. Have you purchased the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook yet? If not, why not? There are over 160 of these profiles for the Twins minor leaguers. There are feature stories on the Twins Daily 2018 Minor League Award winners (Alex Kirilloff, Tyler Wells, Andrew Vasquez), and more articles from the likes of Dan Hayes, Chris Blessing, Ted Schwerzler, Cody Christie and Tom Froemming. There is also an article about each of the Twins top five minor league affiliates that are enjoyable. Plus, you get the Top 30 Twins prospect rankings from Cody, Tom, Jeremy Nygaard, and myself. Plus, you can look at my Top 30 Prospect rankings going all the way back to 2015, if only to mock and ridicule me. DANIEL OZORIA • SHORTSTOP BORN: August 24, 2000 HEIGHT: 5-9 • WEIGHT: 150 BATS: Left • THROWS: Right HIGHEST LEVEL: Orem (Pioneer League - Rookie (Advanced) 2018 STATS: .195/.248/.218 (.461), 0 HR, 12 RBI, 26.4 K%, 5.2 BB%, 6/12 SB ACQUIRED: Acquired from the Angels for John Curtiss (1/15/19) Background: Ozoria grew up in the Dominican capital city of Santo Domingo. While he was not big, scouts saw a young player with great baseball instincts and the ability to play shortstop. He was about as young for the 2016 international signing period as possible. At the time, he was about 5-foot-9 and less than 135 pounds. He made his professional debut in 2017 in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .247/.332/.301 (.633) with six doubles and three triples. He participated in the Angels Instructional League in 2017. 2018 Recap: Ozoria spent all but two games of his 2018 season with the Angels' Arizona League team. He was very young for his level. Not once all season did Ozoria face a pitcher who was younger than he was. He was tested, and the numbers show it. The diminutive Dominican tallied just four extra-base hits in 217 plate appearances on the season. In the field, Ozoria made 33 appearances at shortstop, 13 at second base and five at third base. Scouting Report: If you look at his biographical information on most baseball sites, it will still show him at about 135 pounds. In the two years since signing, he has added some size and strength and is now up to about 150 pounds. Clearly he will have to continue to grow and add strength over the coming years, but the skills and the tools are there. Again, Ozaria is a real good defensive player. He’s got good hands, and good range. He’s also got a good arm, though strength should help his arm improve to above average. Right now, Ozoria has a nice, smooth swing that can produce line drives from gap-to-gap. The Twins took a flyer on Ozoria, and they will certainly need to exhibit a lot of patience. Rule 5 eligible: 2021 Free Agent: 2023 Forecast for ‘19: He will start the season at extended spring training and likely stay in Ft. Myers and play for the GCL Twins. More Notes One comp that I have heard is Engelb Vielma. If the Twins can turn a DFAd player (Curtiss) into a guy who gets to the big leagues, the player development would deserve a ton of credit. Best case scenario… he could become a Dee Gordon type of player. That would work, right? I’ve always been told that statistics matter much, much more in the upper levels than the lower levels. In the DSL or the rookie leagues, statistics all need to looked at, but the stats mean less than the tools. So, the fact that he hit .195 in rookie ball as a 17-year-old isn’t something that should scare anyone away. And, just for fun, here is the profile in the Handbook on former Twins pitcher John Curtiss: Again, if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook today, available in paperback and for immediate PDF download.
  3. On Tuesday, the Twins announced that they had acquired middle infielder Daniel Ozoria from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In exchange, the Twins sent hard-throwing reliever John Curtiss who had been designated for assignment a day earlier to make room for Blake Parker. Today you can get to know a little more about the newest member of the Minnesota Twins organization.Below you will find a profile for Daniel Ozario in the form that is found in the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. There is header information with the bio information as well as his 2018 statistics. Tom Froemming wrote up his 2018 recap, as he did throughout the Prospect Handbook. I wrote up the background information and the scouting report as well as the 2019 projection. Have you purchased the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook yet? If not, why not? There are over 160 of these profiles for the Twins minor leaguers. There are feature stories on the Twins Daily 2018 Minor League Award winners (Alex Kirilloff, Tyler Wells, Andrew Vasquez), and more articles from the likes of Dan Hayes, Chris Blessing, Ted Schwerzler, Cody Christie and Tom Froemming. There is also an article about each of the Twins top five minor league affiliates that are enjoyable. Plus, you get the Top 30 Twins prospect rankings from Cody, Tom, Jeremy Nygaard, and myself. Plus, you can look at my Top 30 Prospect rankings going all the way back to 2015, if only to mock and ridicule me. DANIEL OZORIA • SHORTSTOP BORN: August 24, 2000 HEIGHT: 5-9 • WEIGHT: 150 BATS: Left • THROWS: Right HIGHEST LEVEL: Orem (Pioneer League - Rookie (Advanced) 2018 STATS: .195/.248/.218 (.461), 0 HR, 12 RBI, 26.4 K%, 5.2 BB%, 6/12 SB ACQUIRED: Acquired from the Angels for John Curtiss (1/15/19) Background: Ozoria grew up in the Dominican capital city of Santo Domingo. While he was not big, scouts saw a young player with great baseball instincts and the ability to play shortstop. He was about as young for the 2016 international signing period as possible. At the time, he was about 5-foot-9 and less than 135 pounds. He made his professional debut in 2017 in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .247/.332/.301 (.633) with six doubles and three triples. He participated in the Angels Instructional League in 2017. 2018 Recap: Ozoria spent all but two games of his 2018 season with the Angels' Arizona League team. He was very young for his level. Not once all season did Ozoria face a pitcher who was younger than he was. He was tested, and the numbers show it. The diminutive Dominican tallied just four extra-base hits in 217 plate appearances on the season. In the field, Ozoria made 33 appearances at shortstop, 13 at second base and five at third base. Scouting Report: If you look at his biographical information on most baseball sites, it will still show him at about 135 pounds. In the two years since signing, he has added some size and strength and is now up to about 150 pounds. Clearly he will have to continue to grow and add strength over the coming years, but the skills and the tools are there. Again, Ozaria is a real good defensive player. He’s got good hands, and good range. He’s also got a good arm, though strength should help his arm improve to above average. Right now, Ozoria has a nice, smooth swing that can produce line drives from gap-to-gap. The Twins took a flyer on Ozoria, and they will certainly need to exhibit a lot of patience. Rule 5 eligible: 2021 Free Agent: 2023 Forecast for ‘19: He will start the season at extended spring training and likely stay in Ft. Myers and play for the GCL Twins. More Notes One comp that I have heard is Engelb Vielma. If the Twins can turn a DFAd player (Curtiss) into a guy who gets to the big leagues, the player development would deserve a ton of credit. Best case scenario… he could become a Dee Gordon type of player. That would work, right? I’ve always been told that statistics matter much, much more in the upper levels than the lower levels. In the DSL or the rookie leagues, statistics all need to looked at, but the stats mean less than the tools. So, the fact that he hit .195 in rookie ball as a 17-year-old isn’t something that should scare anyone away. And, just for fun, here is the profile in the Handbook on former Twins pitcher John Curtiss: Again, if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of the 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook today, available in paperback and for immediate PDF download. Click here to view the article
  4. The Minnesota Twins shipped their closer Fernando Rodney to the Oakland Athletics recently. Prior to his departure, he was the only pitcher on the roster to record a save. Over the weekend Trevor Hildenberger joined his graces picking up his first on the year, and second of his career. With no real closer in tow, it’s time for Paul Molitor to open the floodgates and utilize this opportunity. Going into 2019 the expectation should be that the Twins can once again be competitive. The same core that was expected to be relied upon this season remains intact. If the offense rebounds to sufficient levels, while being supplemented with some outside talent, this collection is going to make waves in the AL Central. What does absolutely need to be addressed however is the relief core and status of the bullpen. Coming into 2018, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine helped Minnesota’s skipper by supplementing the pen. Addison Reed, Zach Duke, and Rodney were all brought in to help turn around a collection that had underperformed the year prior. By acquiring two thirds of that group on one-year deals, the Twins were able to benefit from them either as pieces part of a playoff run, or assets to acquire more talent. This winter the front office will find themselves in a similar situation, again looking to stockpile that type of talent. Who they’ll be paired with remains up in the air, and that’s where the current opportunity presents itself. It doesn’t much matter who racks up saves for Minnesota the rest of the way, but it’s integral for a host of arms to be showcased in high leverage situations. Trevor May has looked great since his promotion from Triple-A Rochester following his Tommy John rehab. Tyler Duffey has always seemed like a decent option at the back of a pen, and Taylor Rogers has been arguably the Twins best reliever this season. Trevor Hildenberger has slipped of late but is incredible when on, and Matt Magill has come out of nowhere this season to command much more work than he’s gotten. Stopping with the names currently on the 25-man roster does little for me however. At 53-64 Rochester isn’t going to make the Triple-A postseason. Alan Busenitz, John Curtiss, Jake Reed, and Nick Anderson are all options worth exploring. Busenitz hasn’t ever gotten a chance to acclimate at the big-league level this season, while Curtiss has only experienced the majors in a very muted sense. Reed dealt with injuries that have delayed his debut, but his numbers have begged for an opportunity long enough. Anderson remains a flier that is worth experimenting with during this time of little consequence as well. There’s no reason to suggest that Molitor be tasked with managing a bullpen full of fresh faces and demanded each of them record time in the 9th inning. Having this collection up on the big-league roster and called upon in late game situations does make a lot of sense however. Prioritizing the current big-league roster, and guys that will assuredly be relied upon next year is a must, but the more opportunities for new arms to be tested the better. Minnesota found something solid in guys like Hildenberger and Rogers because they were given a chance to prove themselves. Rather than waiting to see if those opportunities present themselves in a fresh slate next season, now looks like as beneficial of a time as ever. There’s plenty of poor competition on the Twins schedule the rest of the way, and at this point the results don’t much matter. Seeing relief arms filter into the Target Field clubhouse at a very high rate the rest of the way would be something Minnesota fans should absolutely be on board with. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  5. Hopefully you all had a fantastic Fourth of July holiday! After discussion our Twins Daily choices for Twins prospects 31-40 earlier in the week, today we begin diving into our choices for the Top 30 Twins. In Part three of our series, today we look at our choices for prospects 26-30. As you can see, this group has a few players that we have already seen in a Twins uniform. These are guys who have and probably will again play a role with the big league club. But there are a couple of Miracle pitchers with upside that are in this group as well.30. John Curtiss – RH RP Age: 25 ETA: 2017 2018 Stats (AAA): 31.2 IP, 2.56 ERA, 1.1 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 2.56 K:BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 32 | Tom: 31 | Cody: 28 John Curtiss was called up to the Twins right before September last season. After a couple of rough games, he ended the season strong. This year, he began the season in Rochester but got another call up early in the season. He had two outings, and neither was good. He was sent back down, but he has pitched quite well in late innings for the Red Wings. Curtiss began his career with an opportunity to start, but he was moved to the bullpen and he flew up the organization, pitching at each level from Cedar Rapids to the big leagues between 2016 and 2017. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and a couple of breaking pitches. He has the ability and the mentality to be a quality late-inning reliever for years. 29. Zack Granite – OF Age: 25 ETA: 2017 2018 Stats (Rk): .211/.291/.240 (.531 OPS), 6 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 22 K, 25 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: 16 Seth: 34 | Tom: 32 | Cody: 24 Zack Granite came up midway through the 2017 season and showed glimpses of what he can be on the baseball field. For most of his career, he has exemplified what a team might want from a leadoff hitter. He takes pitches, walks more than he strikes out, steals bases and has a little extra base pop at times. Granite was one of the last players optioned at the end of spring training this offseason, a surprise for many. Unfortunately, he soon hurt his non-throwing shoulder and had to miss about six weeks. He’s struggled to get things going since he’s been back, but that doesn’t take away what Granite can be and the role that he can play on the big league club as a fourth outfielder who will play quality defense at three outfield positions and put together quality plate appearances. 28. Jake Cave – OF Age: 25 ETA: 2018 2018 Stats (AAA): .265/.349/.386 (.735 OPS), 9 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 26 K, 55 BB 2018 Stats (MLB): .233/.267/.488 (.755 OPS), 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 2 K, 14 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 25 | Tom: 23 | Cody: 39 The Twins acquired Cave in a late spring training trade with the New York Yankees. After missing some time in the early part of his career with injury, Cave really took off after being selected by the Reds in the Rule 5 draft. While he was one of their final spring training cuts, he returned to the Yankees with renewed confidence and his career took off. A year ago, Cave hit .324 with a .921 OPS at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The Yankees added him to their 40-man roster. Of course, they have a pretty strong outfield and Cave was DFAd which allowed the Twins to acquire him. The Twins have called him up three times already this season and he is now getting an opportunity to play every day, at least until Byron Buxton is ready. At 25, he’s still got some upside. 27. Tyler Wells – RHP Age: 23 ETA: 2020 2018 Stats (A): 63.2 IP, 2.54 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 3.86 K:BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 18 | Tom: 37 | Cody: 31 The Twins drafted Wells in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State San Bernadino. He’s experienced a lot of success during his first two seasons as a professional, pitching in Elizabethton in 2016 and Cedar Rapids in 2017. In the past offseason, Wells went to work and lost 30 pounds from his 6-8 frame. That has really helped him in the Florida State League. While his strikeouts have been down, his control and command of pitches has become much better. Wells has the ability to reach into the 94 mph range with a fastball. His best pitches may be his breaking balls. He throws a 12-6 curveball, but he also has a sharp slider that can get strikeouts. He was the Twins Daily choice for Starting Pitcher of the Month in June. 26. Griffin Jax – RHP Age: 23 ETA: 2020 2018 Stats (A): 30.1 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 4.7 K/9, 0.9 BB/9, 5.33 K/BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 26 | Tom: 21 | Cody: 37 When the Twins used their third-round draft pick in 2016 on Griffin Jax, he became the highest-drafted player from a military academy. There have been some challenges associated with that, but in mid-April, Jax learned that he would be able to serve the remainder of his active duty while pitching in the Twins system (more specifics here). In 2017, Jax was limited to just five games before returning to duty. He has made five appearances this season. The first four were starts. His most recent appearance came after Ervin Santana’s rehab start went three innings. Jax finished the remaining six innings. He has worked at least six innings in all but his first appearance of the year. Jax profiles as a starter with three good pitches. The strikeouts are low so far, but the walks are very low. PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS: 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospects: 36-40 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospects: 31-35 Click here to view the article
  6. 30. John Curtiss – RH RP Age: 25 ETA: 2017 2018 Stats (AAA): 31.2 IP, 2.56 ERA, 1.1 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 2.56 K:BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 32 | Tom: 31 | Cody: 28 John Curtiss was called up to the Twins right before September last season. After a couple of rough games, he ended the season strong. This year, he began the season in Rochester but got another call up early in the season. He had two outings, and neither was good. He was sent back down, but he has pitched quite well in late innings for the Red Wings. Curtiss began his career with an opportunity to start, but he was moved to the bullpen and he flew up the organization, pitching at each level from Cedar Rapids to the big leagues between 2016 and 2017. He’s blessed with a mid-90s fastball and a couple of breaking pitches. He has the ability and the mentality to be a quality late-inning reliever for years. 29. Zack Granite – OF Age: 25 ETA: 2017 2018 Stats (Rk): .211/.291/.240 (.531 OPS), 6 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 22 K, 25 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: 16 Seth: 34 | Tom: 32 | Cody: 24 Zack Granite came up midway through the 2017 season and showed glimpses of what he can be on the baseball field. For most of his career, he has exemplified what a team might want from a leadoff hitter. He takes pitches, walks more than he strikes out, steals bases and has a little extra base pop at times. Granite was one of the last players optioned at the end of spring training this offseason, a surprise for many. Unfortunately, he soon hurt his non-throwing shoulder and had to miss about six weeks. He’s struggled to get things going since he’s been back, but that doesn’t take away what Granite can be and the role that he can play on the big league club as a fourth outfielder who will play quality defense at three outfield positions and put together quality plate appearances. 28. Jake Cave – OF Age: 25 ETA: 2018 2018 Stats (AAA): .265/.349/.386 (.735 OPS), 9 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 26 K, 55 BB 2018 Stats (MLB): .233/.267/.488 (.755 OPS), 2 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 2 K, 14 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 25 | Tom: 23 | Cody: 39 The Twins acquired Cave in a late spring training trade with the New York Yankees. After missing some time in the early part of his career with injury, Cave really took off after being selected by the Reds in the Rule 5 draft. While he was one of their final spring training cuts, he returned to the Yankees with renewed confidence and his career took off. A year ago, Cave hit .324 with a .921 OPS at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. The Yankees added him to their 40-man roster. Of course, they have a pretty strong outfield and Cave was DFAd which allowed the Twins to acquire him. The Twins have called him up three times already this season and he is now getting an opportunity to play every day, at least until Byron Buxton is ready. At 25, he’s still got some upside. 27. Tyler Wells – RHP Age: 23 ETA: 2020 2018 Stats (A): 63.2 IP, 2.54 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 3.86 K:BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 18 | Tom: 37 | Cody: 31 The Twins drafted Wells in the 15th round of the 2016 draft out of Cal State San Bernadino. He’s experienced a lot of success during his first two seasons as a professional, pitching in Elizabethton in 2016 and Cedar Rapids in 2017. In the past offseason, Wells went to work and lost 30 pounds from his 6-8 frame. That has really helped him in the Florida State League. While his strikeouts have been down, his control and command of pitches has become much better. Wells has the ability to reach into the 94 mph range with a fastball. His best pitches may be his breaking balls. He throws a 12-6 curveball, but he also has a sharp slider that can get strikeouts. He was the Twins Daily choice for Starting Pitcher of the Month in June. 26. Griffin Jax – RHP Age: 23 ETA: 2020 2018 Stats (A): 30.1 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 4.7 K/9, 0.9 BB/9, 5.33 K/BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 26 | Tom: 21 | Cody: 37 When the Twins used their third-round draft pick in 2016 on Griffin Jax, he became the highest-drafted player from a military academy. There have been some challenges associated with that, but in mid-April, Jax learned that he would be able to serve the remainder of his active duty while pitching in the Twins system (more specifics here). In 2017, Jax was limited to just five games before returning to duty. He has made five appearances this season. The first four were starts. His most recent appearance came after Ervin Santana’s rehab start went three innings. Jax finished the remaining six innings. He has worked at least six innings in all but his first appearance of the year. Jax profiles as a starter with three good pitches. The strikeouts are low so far, but the walks are very low. PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS: 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospects: 36-40 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospects: 31-35
  7. When the news came out that the Twins had signed Matt Belisle, my level of surprise was fairly low. I don’t know why. It just seems like what we would have always deemed a “Twins” type of move. The DFAing of Petit was also not a surprise. But as I gave it more thought, my mind raced in several different directions, and at the end of the day, I’m much calmer, but I can’t say that the move makes any more sense than it did eight hours ago. It still begs several questions. 1.) What Does Matt Belisle Have Left? Matt Belisle got off to a very slow start last year with the Minnesota Twins, but he turned it on in the second half. He pitched well and did a nice job as the Twins closer after the Brandon Kintzler trade at the deadline. Late in the offseason, he signed a one year, $1.5 million deal with Cleveland. He made the Opening Day roster. He began the season with three scoreless outings before giving up runs in his next three outings. He responded with two scoreless outings. Cleveland DFAd him. Belisle became a free agent, but soon re-signed with the team. He was released on Sunday and signed with the Twins on Tuesday. In his 10 2/3 innings, he posted a 5.06 ERA. He walked one and struck out just four. In nine outings (and also 10 2/3 innings) for Triple-A Columbus, Belisle posted a 4.22 ERA with one walk and 11 strikeouts. In other words, he shouldn’t be a late-inning reliever, but the 38-year-old can probably be a solid big league pitcher still. 2.) What Does It Say About The Front Office’s Opinion of the AAA Relievers? This was my first thought, and I know it was the thought of many others. First and foremost, it is inexplicable to me that Alan Busenitz isn’t pitching in the big leagues. Of course, that was my opinion before the Belisle signing. He pitched well late in the 2017 season for the Twins and became a reliable arm for Paul Molitor. While Busenitz didn’t make the Opening Day roster, he was promoted in mid-April. He then pitched in four of the next six games. The Twins were struggling and needed arms, so Busenitz was sent back to Rochester. In 14 games for the Red Wings, He has posted a 0.38 ERA. In 24 innings, he has given up 15 hits, walked five and struck out 28. The 27-year-old has nothing to prove in AAA, and he still have some upside. But Busenitiz isn’t the only reliever in Rochester who has to be wondering what the Twins front office is thinking. Tyler Duffey was just sent down over the weekend to make room for outfielder Jake Cave. Duffey had pitched well in limited duty since being called back up. That said, it did make sense to want a fourth bench bat. So, three days later, adding a bullpen arm and going back to three bench bats has to make him think. In 26 innings over 11 outings for the Red Wings, Duffey has posted a 1.38 ERA. He’s walked seven and struck out 26 batters. John Curtiss has the pitches to be a dominant reliever. While his short stay with the Twins earlier this season wasn’t pretty, it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) limit anyone’s idea of his potential. Coming into Tuesday, he had a 1.61 ERA in 22 1/3 innings. In that time, he had 31 strikeouts, but ten walks. Luke Bard has 19 strikeouts and six walks in his 17 innings (11 games) since his return to the Red Wings after his stint with the Los Angeles Angels. His big fastball, slider and spin rates are pretty much big league ready. Nick Anderson has given up nine earned runs in his last three outings (2 2/3 innings) which raised his season ERA from 1.16 to 4.15. So, as rough as this current “slump” is, it’s important to think about the first 14 games and 23 1/3 innings. In his 26 innings, he has walked 12 and struck out 39. Jake Reed remains in the organization. He missed time earlier in the year and has struggled somewhat in his return. In his 15 2/3 innings over ten outings, he has walked seven and struck out 14 batters. While he’s left-handed, Gabriel Moya has also pitched well in his five weeks with the Red Wings after being optioned at the end of April. He’s posted a 2.11 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. In that time, he has walked eight and struck out 29 batters. Trevor May is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. As his rehab stint ended, the Twins optioned him to Rochester and he has worked out of the bullpen since. At some point, he’ll be ready as well. That is a lot of quality options who all were just told that they have been pushed down the line another spot with the Belisle signing. The team likely calls it "depth." Hopefully the players will consider it a challenge. The other option is that they get overly upset and don't handle it well. 3.) What Kind of Leader is Belisle? (And What Kind of Leadership Does This Twins Team Need?) Matt Belisle likely isn’t going to be a difference maker for the Twins bullpen (which, frankly, has been pretty solid most of the season). The Twins have pitchers at Rochester who are just as talented, if not more talented, and younger. What we keep hearing is that the Twins are bringing in Belisle for his leadership in the clubhouse. Fair enough. There were plenty of good stories in 2017 about the role Belisle played for the team, particularly in a leadership role. However, when the Twins signed Fernando Rodney, there was some conversation about him being brought in as a leader for the pitchers. Then Zack Duke was signed, and we heard about how great of a teammate he is. And, when they signed Addison Reed, his leadership was again mentioned. I don’t mean to downplay the value of veteran leadership. It is important. But there are a lot of veterans, and there are a lot of veterans who are touted as leaders, and there are several indications that the clubhouse is not a happy place right now. There are issues. The team is five games under .500, not at all where they felt they would be at this point, Can Matt Belisle’s leadership push the Twins to more wins? That is to be determined. Can he help the Twins offense score more runs? That would also be helpful. As would getting more of the regulars back on the field and healthy. Summary So at the end of the day, this is a minor move. Matt Belisle probably has a little left in the tank. Maybe he can help out. Maybe he can eat some of the innings that are currently constantly going to Addison Reed and Ryan Pressly so that they don’t reach 100 games pitched this year. Trevor Hildenberger is starting to take more and more of those opportunities, and Matt Magill has pitched well enough to earn those opportunities as well. We have also seen what Paul Molitor likes from his bullpen. He trusts Addison Reed and Ryan Pressly. In the first half last year, he trusted Taylor Rogers and ran him into the ground by the second half. We saw that somewhat in the second half last year when he used Trevor Hildenberger most every day over the final couple of months. My guess is that Molitor will not be afraid to use Matt Belisle late in games because of how well he did in the role last year. Trust. I also suspect that this is one move that the front office is giving Molitor and the team, a veteran, in an attempt to win this year. The trade deadline is about seven weeks away. By mid-July, the front office will have some big decisions to make. Most important, will they believe that the Twins could still make the playoffs this year? As Nick wrote yesterday, it’s not yet time to give up on this year. What this signing appears to me to be, in the big picture, is a message to the team and its veterans that they have a little over a month to turn things around and put themselves in a position to compete for a playoff spot. If not, all bets are off and at that time, we can start discussing which veterans could be on the trading block and which players will come up to take their places.
  8. On Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins announced that reliever Matt Belisle had signed with the Twins after being released a day earlier by Cleveland. Infielder Gregorio Petit was Designated for Assignment to make room on the 40-man and 25-man rosters. It was a minor transaction, in the big picture, but it certainly created a ton of discussion. What does this signing mean for the Twins? Let’s try to figure it out.When the news came out that the Twins had signed Matt Belisle, my level of surprise was fairly low. I don’t know why. It just seems like what we would have always deemed a “Twins” type of move. The DFAing of Petit was also not a surprise. But as I gave it more thought, my mind raced in several different directions, and at the end of the day, I’m much calmer, but I can’t say that the move makes any more sense than it did eight hours ago. It still begs several questions. 1.) What Does Matt Belisle Have Left? Matt Belisle got off to a very slow start last year with the Minnesota Twins, but he turned it on in the second half. He pitched well and did a nice job as the Twins closer after the Brandon Kintzler trade at the deadline. Late in the offseason, he signed a one year, $1.5 million deal with Cleveland. He made the Opening Day roster. He began the season with three scoreless outings before giving up runs in his next three outings. He responded with two scoreless outings. Cleveland DFAd him. Belisle became a free agent, but soon re-signed with the team. He was released on Sunday and signed with the Twins on Tuesday. In his 10 2/3 innings, he posted a 5.06 ERA. He walked one and struck out just four. In nine outings (and also 10 2/3 innings) for Triple-A Columbus, Belisle posted a 4.22 ERA with one walk and 11 strikeouts. In other words, he shouldn’t be a late-inning reliever, but the 38-year-old can probably be a solid big league pitcher still. 2.) What Does It Say About The Front Office’s Opinion of the AAA Relievers? This was my first thought, and I know it was the thought of many others. First and foremost, it is inexplicable to me that Alan Busenitz isn’t pitching in the big leagues. Of course, that was my opinion before the Belisle signing. He pitched well late in the 2017 season for the Twins and became a reliable arm for Paul Molitor. While Busenitz didn’t make the Opening Day roster, he was promoted in mid-April. He then pitched in four of the next six games. The Twins were struggling and needed arms, so Busenitz was sent back to Rochester. In 14 games for the Red Wings, He has posted a 0.38 ERA. In 24 innings, he has given up 15 hits, walked five and struck out 28. The 27-year-old has nothing to prove in AAA, and he still have some upside. But Busenitiz isn’t the only reliever in Rochester who has to be wondering what the Twins front office is thinking. Tyler Duffey was just sent down over the weekend to make room for outfielder Jake Cave. Duffey had pitched well in limited duty since being called back up. That said, it did make sense to want a fourth bench bat. So, three days later, adding a bullpen arm and going back to three bench bats has to make him think. In 26 innings over 11 outings for the Red Wings, Duffey has posted a 1.38 ERA. He’s walked seven and struck out 26 batters.John Curtiss has the pitches to be a dominant reliever. While his short stay with the Twins earlier this season wasn’t pretty, it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) limit anyone’s idea of his potential. Coming into Tuesday, he had a 1.61 ERA in 22 1/3 innings. In that time, he had 31 strikeouts, but ten walks.Luke Bard has 19 strikeouts and six walks in his 17 innings (11 games) since his return to the Red Wings after his stint with the Los Angeles Angels. His big fastball, slider and spin rates are pretty much big league ready.Nick Anderson has given up nine earned runs in his last three outings (2 2/3 innings) which raised his season ERA from 1.16 to 4.15. So, as rough as this current “slump” is, it’s important to think about the first 14 games and 23 1/3 innings. In his 26 innings, he has walked 12 and struck out 39.Jake Reed remains in the organization. He missed time earlier in the year and has struggled somewhat in his return. In his 15 2/3 innings over ten outings, he has walked seven and struck out 14 batters.While he’s left-handed, Gabriel Moya has also pitched well in his five weeks with the Red Wings after being optioned at the end of April. He’s posted a 2.11 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. In that time, he has walked eight and struck out 29 batters.Trevor May is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. As his rehab stint ended, the Twins optioned him to Rochester and he has worked out of the bullpen since. At some point, he’ll be ready as well.That is a lot of quality options who all were just told that they have been pushed down the line another spot with the Belisle signing. The team likely calls it "depth." Hopefully the players will consider it a challenge. The other option is that they get overly upset and don't handle it well. 3.) What Kind of Leader is Belisle? (And What Kind of Leadership Does This Twins Team Need?) Matt Belisle likely isn’t going to be a difference maker for the Twins bullpen (which, frankly, has been pretty solid most of the season). The Twins have pitchers at Rochester who are just as talented, if not more talented, and younger. What we keep hearing is that the Twins are bringing in Belisle for his leadership in the clubhouse. Fair enough. There were plenty of good stories in 2017 about the role Belisle played for the team, particularly in a leadership role. However, when the Twins signed Fernando Rodney, there was some conversation about him being brought in as a leader for the pitchers. Then Zack Duke was signed, and we heard about how great of a teammate he is. And, when they signed Addison Reed, his leadership was again mentioned. I don’t mean to downplay the value of veteran leadership. It is important. But there are a lot of veterans, and there are a lot of veterans who are touted as leaders, and there are several indications that the clubhouse is not a happy place right now. There are issues. The team is five games under .500, not at all where they felt they would be at this point, Can Matt Belisle’s leadership push the Twins to more wins? That is to be determined. Can he help the Twins offense score more runs? That would also be helpful. As would getting more of the regulars back on the field and healthy. Summary So at the end of the day, this is a minor move. Matt Belisle probably has a little left in the tank. Maybe he can help out. Maybe he can eat some of the innings that are currently constantly going to Addison Reed and Ryan Pressly so that they don’t reach 100 games pitched this year. Trevor Hildenberger is starting to take more and more of those opportunities, and Matt Magill has pitched well enough to earn those opportunities as well. We have also seen what Paul Molitor likes from his bullpen. He trusts Addison Reed and Ryan Pressly. In the first half last year, he trusted Taylor Rogers and ran him into the ground by the second half. We saw that somewhat in the second half last year when he used Trevor Hildenberger most every day over the final couple of months. My guess is that Molitor will not be afraid to use Matt Belisle late in games because of how well he did in the role last year. Trust. I also suspect that this is one move that the front office is giving Molitor and the team, a veteran, in an attempt to win this year. The trade deadline is about seven weeks away. By mid-July, the front office will have some big decisions to make. Most important, will they believe that the Twins could still make the playoffs this year? As Nick wrote yesterday, it’s not yet time to give up on this year. What this signing appears to me to be, in the big picture, is a message to the team and its veterans that they have a little over a month to turn things around and put themselves in a position to compete for a playoff spot. If not, all bets are off and at that time, we can start discussing which veterans could be on the trading block and which players will come up to take their places. Click here to view the article
  9. April was an interesting month for baseball, in the big leagues and in the minor leagues. Weather effected many teams including the Rochester Red Wings and the Cedar Rapids Kernels. But we have a month worth of games, so it’s time to post our first monthly minor league award. Today, we start with the Twins minor league relief pitchers of the month. We’ll count down the Top 5 Twins minor league relievers, and there are enough good bullpen performances that we’ll include some honorable mentions.Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. HONORABLE MENTION Tyler Duffey - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 11.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.36 WHIP.Matt Magill - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 8.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP.Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 8 G, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 14 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIPTodd Van Steensel - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.17 WHIPTHE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Kevin Marnon - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 14 K Kevin Marnon went undrafted last year after his college career, a career that took him to East Tennessee State, Akron and Ball State. He went to the USPBL, but soon after, the Twins called him and he signed. The 6-8 left-hander began the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. As you can see, he did a nice job out of the Kernels bullpen. He worked two innings most times and once worked in five innings in an extra-innings game. As the calendar changed from April to May, Marnon learned that he had been promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle. #4 - John Curtiss - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 17 K Curtiss was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas. In college, he had both thoracic outlet surgery and Tommy John surgery. He missed time his first full season in the minor leagues. However, the last two seasons, he has been as good as any other pitcher in the system and moved up very quickly. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and ended the year with nine games with the Twins. He had a really good April with the Red Wings and earned his promotion to the Twins at the end of the month. He was returned to Rochester last night where he’ll jump back into late-inning relief work. #3 - DJ Baxendale - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G (2 GS), 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 9 K Baxendale was the Twins 10th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Arkansas. He began his career as a starter, but he has worked primarily out of the bullpen in recent years. He’s worked in many roles including short-relief, long-relief and spot starting, a role he has continued to have in 2018. Baxendale was very good in April. While he isn’t a strikeout pitcher, he works fast and has a real good slider and good control. #2 - Ryan Mason - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 19 K Mason led all Twins minor league relievers in innings pitched in April. It’s impressive, in part, because he received a promotion to Ft. Myers mid-month. He moved up and didn’t miss a beat. He’s mostly been working two to three innings late in games. He went 2-1 with three saves in his eight outings. At 6-6, he was drafted in the 13th round out of Cal-Berkeley in 2016. He’s got a good fastball, and he can throw as many as four pitches thanks to his college years as a starter. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Rochester Red Wings – RHP Nick Anderson - 6 G, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 17 K Anderson won this month award a couple of times in 2017 and was a finalist for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. He spent most of 2017 in Chattanooga, but he jumped right to Rochester to start the 2018 season. He continues to do what he has done since signing with the Twins. He throws a lot of strikes. He throws hard, mid-90s, touching 97. He’s got a wipeout slider. He’s able to miss bats. Opponents hit just .162 off of him for the month. While he is not on the 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see if he is given an opportunity with the big league club in 2018. For those still unaware, Anderson’s is a great story. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School. He went to St. Cloud State for three years before heading to Mayville State for a season. The Brewers drafted him, but they didn’t even offer him a contract. After working in the indy leagues for a few seasons, the Twins signed him late in 2015, and he’s been a dominant late inning reliever wherever he’s played. He is in his first season with the Rochester Red Wings. There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in April throughout the Twins minor league system. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, Congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for April 2018, Nick Anderson. Click here to view the article
  10. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. HONORABLE MENTION Tyler Duffey - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 11.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.36 WHIP. Matt Magill - Elizabethton Twins - 5 G, 8.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 13 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP. Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle/Chattanooga Lookouts - 8 G, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 6 BB, 14 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP Todd Van Steensel - Chattanooga Lookouts - 7 G, 13.2 IP, 10 H, 6 BB, 17 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.17 WHIP THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Kevin Marnon - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 14 K Kevin Marnon went undrafted last year after his college career, a career that took him to East Tennessee State, Akron and Ball State. He went to the USPBL, but soon after, the Twins called him and he signed. The 6-8 left-hander began the 2018 season in Cedar Rapids. As you can see, he did a nice job out of the Kernels bullpen. He worked two innings most times and once worked in five innings in an extra-innings game. As the calendar changed from April to May, Marnon learned that he had been promoted to the Ft. Myers Miracle. #4 - John Curtiss - Rochester Red Wings - 5 G, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 17 K Curtiss was the Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas. In college, he had both thoracic outlet surgery and Tommy John surgery. He missed time his first full season in the minor leagues. However, the last two seasons, he has been as good as any other pitcher in the system and moved up very quickly. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2017 and ended the year with nine games with the Twins. He had a really good April with the Red Wings and earned his promotion to the Twins at the end of the month. He was returned to Rochester last night where he’ll jump back into late-inning relief work. #3 - DJ Baxendale - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G (2 GS), 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 9 K Baxendale was the Twins 10th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Arkansas. He began his career as a starter, but he has worked primarily out of the bullpen in recent years. He’s worked in many roles including short-relief, long-relief and spot starting, a role he has continued to have in 2018. Baxendale was very good in April. While he isn’t a strikeout pitcher, he works fast and has a real good slider and good control. #2 - Ryan Mason - Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 2.20 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 19 K Mason led all Twins minor league relievers in innings pitched in April. It’s impressive, in part, because he received a promotion to Ft. Myers mid-month. He moved up and didn’t miss a beat. He’s mostly been working two to three innings late in games. He went 2-1 with three saves in his eight outings. At 6-6, he was drafted in the 13th round out of Cal-Berkeley in 2016. He’s got a good fastball, and he can throw as many as four pitches thanks to his college years as a starter. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Rochester Red Wings – RHP Nick Anderson - 6 G, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 17 K Anderson won this month award a couple of times in 2017 and was a finalist for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. He spent most of 2017 in Chattanooga, but he jumped right to Rochester to start the 2018 season. He continues to do what he has done since signing with the Twins. He throws a lot of strikes. He throws hard, mid-90s, touching 97. He’s got a wipeout slider. He’s able to miss bats. Opponents hit just .162 off of him for the month. While he is not on the 40-man roster, it will be interesting to see if he is given an opportunity with the big league club in 2018. For those still unaware, Anderson’s is a great story. He is a graduate of Brainerd High School. He went to St. Cloud State for three years before heading to Mayville State for a season. The Brewers drafted him, but they didn’t even offer him a contract. After working in the indy leagues for a few seasons, the Twins signed him late in 2015, and he’s been a dominant late inning reliever wherever he’s played. He is in his first season with the Rochester Red Wings. There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in April throughout the Twins minor league system. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, Congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for April 2018, Nick Anderson.
  11. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) New game, new thing to worry about. Let’s turn our attention to Addison Reed. Reed entered the eighth inning of this game with the Twins leading 4-3. He walked the leadoff man, gave up a double and then a sacrifice fly to tie it up. He managed to work out of the inning, sandwiching an intentional walk between two strikeouts. Reed has now given up four earned runs over his last five innings pitched. His main issue was with location tonight, as he threw just 11 of his 23 pitches for strikes, but there is also an alarming trend with his fastball velocity. Reed averaged 90.5 mph on his fastball and topped out at 91.6, per Baseball Savant. Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of his fastball velocity since the start of last season via Brooks Baseball: Uh-oh. The game remained tied thanks to Fernando Rodney working around some suboptimal defense to pitch a scoreless ninth. John Curtiss, making his 11th career MLB appearance, was tasked with keeping things afloat in the 10th inning. To say things didn’t go well would be an understatement, but to be fair it wasn’t all on Curtiss The inning opened with Kevin Pillar smashing a double into the gap. He would later steal third without a throw and then score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. The Blue Jays scored a second run on a hot grounder that Gregorio Petit, who was playing in, failed to field cleanly. Then just for good measure a third run scored on another wild pitch. https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/status/991526406663364608 Ouch. Three runs and the Blue Jays only had to hit one ball out of the infield. This game actually got off to a great start, as the Twins took a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to Joe Mauer’s first homer of the year and an RBI double by Eddie Rosario. https://twitter.com/BallparkVids/status/991475057011646466 Kyle Gibson was cruising along until he gave up a couple of runs in the fifth to tie the game. He finished the night with six strikeouts over five innings, giving up those two runs on five hits and a couple walks. Ryan Pressly gave up a homer to give Toronto its first lead of the night, but it was short-lived. Rosario blasted a go-ahead homer, scoring Eduardo Escobar. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/991499866713899008 Another positive note was that Petit went 2-for-4 in his Twins debut. And guess what? It’s Fernando Romero day tomorrow! So … everything’s still really, really, really great in Twins Territory. Really great. It’s still early, right? Right? Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Wed vs. TOR, 12:10 pm CT Thu at CHW, 7:10 pm CT Fri at CHW, 7:10 pm CT Last Three Games TOR 7, MIN 5: Twins Can’t Recover After Another Poor Start by Lynn CIN 8, MIN 2: Berrios Bombs as Twins Drop Series to Cincy MIN 3, CIN 1: Losing Streak Snapped as Odorizzi Delivers Quality Start More From Twins Daily Twins Minor League Report (5/1): No Hitter In Cedar Rapids Upstages Gonsalves Performance Can Fernando Romero Spark The Twins? Sano to DL, Petit Promoted, Enns Designated, Kinley Returned Royce Lewis is Finding His Stroke Something Has Clicked with Eduardo Escobar
  12. This is getting hard to believe. The Twins lost another game Tuesday night, and this one was a killer. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead and were even up 4-3 in the eighth, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, the defense was atrocious and the Blue Jays took advantage of miscues in the 10th inning.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Download attachment: Snapshot51.png Download attachment: WinEx51.png New game, new thing to worry about. Let’s turn our attention to Addison Reed. Reed entered the eighth inning of this game with the Twins leading 4-3. He walked the leadoff man, gave up a double and then a sacrifice fly to tie it up. He managed to work out of the inning, sandwiching an intentional walk between two strikeouts. Reed has now given up four earned runs over his last five innings pitched. His main issue was with location tonight, as he threw just 11 of his 23 pitches for strikes, but there is also an alarming trend with his fastball velocity. Reed averaged 90.5 mph on his fastball and topped out at 91.6, per Baseball Savant. Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of his fastball velocity since the start of last season via Brooks Baseball: Download attachment: ReedVelo.jpeg Uh-oh. The game remained tied thanks to Fernando Rodney working around some suboptimal defense to pitch a scoreless ninth. John Curtiss, making his 11th career MLB appearance, was tasked with keeping things afloat in the 10th inning. To say things didn’t go well would be an understatement, but to be fair it wasn’t all on Curtiss The inning opened with Kevin Pillar smashing a double into the gap. He would later steal third without a throw and then score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. The Blue Jays scored a second run on a hot grounder that Gregorio Petit, who was playing in, failed to field cleanly. Then just for good measure a third run scored on another wild pitch. Another positive note was that Petit went 2-for-4 in his Twins debut. And guess what? It’s Fernando Romero day tomorrow! So … everything’s still really, really, really great in Twins Territory. Really great. It’s still early, right? Right? Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen51.png Next Three Games Wed vs. TOR, 12:10 pm CT Thu at CHW, 7:10 pm CT Fri at CHW, 7:10 pm CT Last Three Games TOR 7, MIN 5: Twins Can’t Recover After Another Poor Start by Lynn CIN 8, MIN 2: Berrios Bombs as Twins Drop Series to Cincy MIN 3, CIN 1: Losing Streak Snapped as Odorizzi Delivers Quality Start More From Twins Daily Twins Minor League Report (5/1): No Hitter In Cedar Rapids Upstages Gonsalves Performance Can Fernando Romero Spark The Twins? Sano to DL, Petit Promoted, Enns Designated, Kinley Returned Royce Lewis is Finding His Stroke Something Has Clicked with Eduardo Escobar Click here to view the article
  13. The Twins optioned left-handers Adalberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves, right-handed starter Aaron Slegers and right-handed reliever John Curtiss to AAA-Rochester. In addition, right-hander Fernando Romero was optioned to AA-Chattanooga. The surprise in the bunch of options was certainly Mejia who many thought would at least be given a shot to begin the season as a starter in the Twins Opening Day rotation, as he was a year ago. However, the Lance Lynn signing assured that Mejia would start the season in Rochester. And like the other starters optioned on Tuesday, the reality is that they need to go to minor league camp so that they can get stretched out and be ready to make starts when the minor league seasons start. The Twins Rotation RHP Ervin Santana (DL) RHP Jose Berrios RHP Jake Odorizzi RHP Lance Lynn RHP Kyle Gibson RHP Phil Hughes As we know, Ervin Santana will start the season on the disabled list. We still don't know who will be the Twins Opening Day starter, not that it is terribly important. We know that Lance Lynn will join Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson in the Twins rotation. However, Tuesday's transactions also indicate that if the Twins are to start the season with a fifth starter, it would likely be Phil Hughes, who could also shift to long-relief if they do decide to go with four starters. The Red Wings Rotation With the Twins rotation fairly well determined and the Tuesday transactions, the AAA-Rochester rotation is coming into focus too. LHP Adalberto Mejia LHP Stephen Gonsalves RHP Aaron Slegers RHP Felix Jorge LHP Dietrich Enns RHP Myles Jaye While there aren't any lefties in the Twins projected starting rotation, they have several southpaws in their Rochester rotation. Mejia would likely be the first to get called back up to the Twins when there is a need, especially early in the season. Slegers and Jorge each made a couple of starts for the Twins in 2017. While Slegers is closer to really being big-league ready, Jorge is quite talented as well. Enns came over from the Yankees and he made one start for the Twins before getting injured. Gonsalves is the big prospect in this group. By midseason, he could be the guy that the Twins would go to if there is a need. Myles Jaye made a few starts for the Tigers last year, and he remains a non-roster guy in Twins camp. The Lookouts Rotation And as the Red Wings rotation is coming into focus, we're also getting closer to a Lookouts rotation in Chattanooga. RHP Fernando Romero RHP Zack Littell RHP Kohl Stewart LHP Lewis Thorpe RHP Ryan Eades RHP Randy LeBlanc Fernando Romero made a strong impression in Twins camp again this year, throwing eight no-hit, scoreless innings. While some might be tempted to fast track him to the Twins bullpen, the team is wisely keeping him on a starter's track. They will also continue to take care of his arm. Littell was the MiLB.com starting pitcher of the year in 2017 and also made a good first impression in big league camp. He'll return to the Lookouts where he ended the 2017. Kohl Stewart is sticking with baseball, and if healthy, I would expect to see him take a step forward in 2018. Lewis Thorpe was added to the 40-man roster this year. He spent the second half of 2017 in Ft. Myers and made one start for the Lookouts. Ryan Eades is at minor league spring training working out as a starter. Randy LeBlanc made the trip between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga approximately 327 times during the 2017 season. Depending upon whether the Lookouts go with five of six starters in their rotation, one or both of them could be considered. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We could continue down this path to project the starting staffs for Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids, but frankly, at this point, there are a lot of options. Some decisions will depend on injuries and players returning and the roles they could be used in early in the season versus later in the season when innings become a question. Also, the guys who start the year at Rochester and Chattanooga have a legitimate shot at pitching in the big leagues in 2018.
  14. On Tuesday morning, the Minnesota Twins brass made its second wave of roster cuts. Five pitchers were optioned, and in doing so, there should now be a lot more clarity in the Twins starting rotation. However, it also starts providing clarity on the Rochester and Chattanooga starting staffs when their seasons get started later this month.The Twins optioned left-handers Adalberto Mejia and Stephen Gonsalves, right-handed starter Aaron Slegers and right-handed reliever John Curtiss to AAA-Rochester. In addition, right-hander Fernando Romero was optioned to AA-Chattanooga. The surprise in the bunch of options was certainly Mejia who many thought would at least be given a shot to begin the season as a starter in the Twins Opening Day rotation, as he was a year ago. However, the Lance Lynn signing assured that Mejia would start the season in Rochester. And like the other starters optioned on Tuesday, the reality is that they need to go to minor league camp so that they can get stretched out and be ready to make starts when the minor league seasons start. The Twins Rotation RHP Ervin Santana (DL)RHP Jose BerriosRHP Jake OdorizziRHP Lance LynnRHP Kyle GibsonRHP Phil HughesAs we know, Ervin Santana will start the season on the disabled list. We still don't know who will be the Twins Opening Day starter, not that it is terribly important. We know that Lance Lynn will join Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson in the Twins rotation. However, Tuesday's transactions also indicate that if the Twins are to start the season with a fifth starter, it would likely be Phil Hughes, who could also shift to long-relief if they do decide to go with four starters. The Red Wings Rotation With the Twins rotation fairly well determined and the Tuesday transactions, the AAA-Rochester rotation is coming into focus too. LHP Adalberto MejiaLHP Stephen GonsalvesRHP Aaron SlegersRHP Felix JorgeLHP Dietrich EnnsRHP Myles JayeWhile there aren't any lefties in the Twins projected starting rotation, they have several southpaws in their Rochester rotation. Mejia would likely be the first to get called back up to the Twins when there is a need, especially early in the season. Slegers and Jorge each made a couple of starts for the Twins in 2017. While Slegers is closer to really being big-league ready, Jorge is quite talented as well. Enns came over from the Yankees and he made one start for the Twins before getting injured. Gonsalves is the big prospect in this group. By midseason, he could be the guy that the Twins would go to if there is a need. Myles Jaye made a few starts for the Tigers last year, and he remains a non-roster guy in Twins camp. The Lookouts Rotation And as the Red Wings rotation is coming into focus, we're also getting closer to a Lookouts rotation in Chattanooga. RHP Fernando RomeroRHP Zack LittellRHP Kohl StewartLHP Lewis ThorpeRHP Ryan EadesRHP Randy LeBlancFernando Romero made a strong impression in Twins camp again this year, throwing eight no-hit, scoreless innings. While some might be tempted to fast track him to the Twins bullpen, the team is wisely keeping him on a starter's track. They will also continue to take care of his arm. Littell was the MiLB.com starting pitcher of the year in 2017 and also made a good first impression in big league camp. He'll return to the Lookouts where he ended the 2017. Kohl Stewart is sticking with baseball, and if healthy, I would expect to see him take a step forward in 2018. Lewis Thorpe was added to the 40-man roster this year. He spent the second half of 2017 in Ft. Myers and made one start for the Lookouts. Ryan Eades is at minor league spring training working out as a starter. Randy LeBlanc made the trip between Ft. Myers and Chattanooga approximately 327 times during the 2017 season. Depending upon whether the Lookouts go with five of six starters in their rotation, one or both of them could be considered. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We could continue down this path to project the starting staffs for Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids, but frankly, at this point, there are a lot of options. Some decisions will depend on injuries and players returning and the roles they could be used in early in the season versus later in the season when innings become a question. Also, the guys who start the year at Rochester and Chattanooga have a legitimate shot at pitching in the big leagues in 2018. Click here to view the article
  15. Let’s take a quick look back at all the articles from the front page in the order they were published. This edition of Twins Weekly covers Friday, Jan. 19 to Thursday, Jan. 25. Diamond Awards A Big Success | John Bonnes Players’ Union Rejects Pace Of Play Proposals | Cody Christie Johan Santana Elected To Twins Hall of Fame | Seth Stohs The Twins Almanac for January 21–27 | Matt Johnson Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 352: Winter Meltdown 2018 | John Bonnes Can Addison Reed Become Minnesota's Bullpen Ace? | Nick Nelson Twins On Deck With Seth Podcast (Episode 3) | Seth Stohs Top Ten Twins Players Under 25 (6-10) | Cody Christie Overheard at TwinsFest: Granite Wants to Kick Yankee @!# | Tom Froemming Fernando Romero Is Healthy, Ready To Compete | Seth Stohs Glen Perkins: Tribute To A Twins Daily Hall Of Famer | Nick Nelson Would You Rather: Darvish or a Cobb/Lynn Combo? | Tom Froemming 5 Challenges The Twins Should Be Prepared To Face In 2018 | Nick Nelson Report: Darvish Decision Expected This Week, Twins In Consideration | Cody Christie Video: Slowing Things Down To See Jason Castro’s Silent Skill | Tom Froemming Get To Know Rule 5 Pick Tyler Kinley | Seth Stohs The Minnesota Twins Said No To Jim Thome | Parker Hageman Dollars Make Sense for 2018 Twins | Ted Schwerzler Twins Daily Blogs Below are some additional items of note from the blog area. I've pulled excerpts from each piece in an attempt to hook you in. The Sport of Immigrants By mikelink45 From the start the Minnesota Twins had an international connection. In the 1960’s before the recent surge in Foreign born players, the Twins had a Cuban connection that brought us Camilo Pascual, Tony Oliva, Zoilo Versalles, Sandy Valdespino, and Luis Tiant. And from Venezuela – Cesar Tovar who took us to the 1965 World Series. In their first years, when I was an usher, I always tried to get near the first base bag as the game moved on and the seats were full so I could watch my favorite player – Vic Power from Puerto Rico. I loved Pedro Ramos who complimented Pascual on the mound and does anyone remember Elmer Valo from Slovakia? Or Reno Bertoia from Italy who lived in Canada and is in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame? There were 9 foreign born players on our first Minnesota Twins team. Twins Analytics Infrastructure By jharaldson This Twins have had a bit of a tortured history with analytics. In 2010 Rob Antony did an interview with TwinsDaily’s own Parker Hageman and revealed some interesting facts about the Twins and Sabermetrics. Antony stated this about their analytics department, “we're probably one of the last, if not the last, team to address it with a person dedicated solely to that.”. He went on further to fail to understand some fairly basic concepts about Sabermetrics. He thought FIP was “first strike in inning pitched” and was unable to guess about BABIP. He then revealed they had just hired their analytics guy and stated he would be “Gathering information and creating databases. This will be his first year. The guy that we brought in will start creating systems to build a foundation of our own that we can look at.” This is what I primarily want to get into as I have a background in IT. WAR on Twins Hall of Fame By sethmoko The announcement of Johan Santana's well-deserved selection to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame as well as the round-and-round Twitter and blog conversation about MLB Hall of Fame selections got me thinking: Who is in the Twins Hall of Fame that might surprise and who are other deserving candidates. Twins Showing Interest in Wade Miley By Andrew Thares Wade Miley isn’t the sexiest name out there on the starting pitcher market, but he could be a value grab for the Twins as they look to add depth to their rotation. One thing the Twins will be able to count on in Miley is his durability, as he has averaged 186 innings per season over the last six years. Miley has a respectable 4.38 ERA, and 3.95 xFIP, over his career, though he has been suspect of late with a 5.48 ERA over the past two seasons. This will make Miley a cheap signing, that the Twins could take a flyer on. Bullish - The Upside of the 2018 Bullpen By Jamie Cameron Looking at the most effective bullpens of 2017, an even more integral stat is K/9. This makes a ton of sense, not much can go wrong if you’re striking hitters out on a consistent basis. In 2017, there were 9 teams with a bullpen K/9 of at least 9.5. Between them, these clubs averaged a WAR of 6.5 for their bullpen. The Twins bullpen WAR in 2017 was 2.2, not a disaster, good for 22nd in MLB. By K/9, the Twins ranked 29th, with just 7.66 strikeouts per nine innings. Hardly surprising, when you are cycling through nearly 30 relievers over the course of the season. So how do the Twins new additions stack up in generating more strikeouts? What does one of the newest predictive measurements tell about the Twins' bats in 2018? By Thrylos As indicated only Joe Mauer, and in a lesser degree, Jason Castro are projected to improve, as far as the 2018 startling 9 of the Twins go. Pretty much everyone else is projected to decline. If one looks at several projections about what the 2018 will do, which are based on xwOBA, expect them to show an overall decline in wins. Video of the Week New Hall of Famer Jim Thome was only with the Twins for two seasons, but he sure gave us some tall tales during his time here. eBay Item of the Week It’s too bad Glen Perkins’ prime coincided with a down period for the Twins, but Perk closing out the All-Star Game at Target Field was one of the highlights of that period. Check out this sweet program from that game with the hometown boy on the cover: This isn’t on eBay, but if you’re looking to score some other sweet Twins memorabilia and support a good cause, check out the listings at the Darrell and Merry’s Cancer Fund charity auction. There are 14 items up for grabs from Twins legends like Tony Oliva to prospects like Royce Lewis and everybody in between. Additional Links Baseball: Twins' Curtiss saves the day in relief By the Duluth News Tribune John Curtiss took the call on Monday in Dallas asking if he could fill in for fellow Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios on the team's annual Winter Caravan after Berrios returned home to Puerto Rico to attend to a family matter. Curtiss sprang into action, but his flight to Minneapolis on Monday was delayed due to the blizzard that hit the Twin Cities. He even offered to fly to Omaha, Neb., and then drive the rest of the way, but he instead ended up flying out Tuesday morning, where he joined the Winter Caravan later that day. Target Field renovations for 2018 unveiled By Maija Varda of Twinkie Town The biggest change happening is that the Metropolitan Club — the big glass area in right field reserved exclusively for season ticket holders — will be no more. Instead, it will be replaced by a new club called Bat & Barrel, and will be open to all ticket holders. It’ll have bar, table, and lounge seating, a bunch of TVs, alcohol, new food, and all the other things you’d expect the Twins to put in there. More unexpectedly, the club will also be the home for various team awards, including both World Series Championship trophies! Woo! Unfortunately, the team didn’t say whether these would be the real World Series trophies, or replicas like the ones they already display in the Champions Club behind home plate (the real trophies are kept in the team offices). Torres, Tatis Jr. lead Top 10 SS Prospects list (includes Royce Lewis and Nick Gordon) By Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com Keep an eye on - Wander Javier, Twins By the end of the year, it's possible that Javier will be getting more of the attention among Twins shortstops. Signed for $4 million in 2015, he had a strong United States debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2017 and could really break out with a move to the Midwest League this season. Minnesota Twins Spring Training Countdown: 22, Brad Radke By Benjamin Chase of Puckett’s Pond The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th. Some pitchers put up incredible ERA numbers, some pitchers put up incredible strikeout numbers, and some pitchers simply put up consistent numbers year-after-year to create their value over time. One of the best examples of that model is Twins Hall of Fame starter Brad Radke, who wore #22. Baseball is Good By Cory Engelhardt I had my 32nd episode last night. I was my own guest. It was really interesting/unusual doing a show all on my own, and I felt at times like I was rambling on a bit. Outside of that, I enjoyed doing the show and asking myself some of the questions that I have asked other people in previous podcast. I touched on how I grew to love the sport, why I enjoy still talking about baseball, what I see as the future of Baseball is Good, and lastly I ended the show going over some memories I had from TwinsFest this past weekend. Please give it a listen! Calling All Bloggers!!! Reminder: Anyone can start a blog at Twins Daily. If you're interested in being a regular writer for the site, the blog section is how you get your foot in the door. The only reason you're reading my words right now is because I started my own blog at Twins Daily. Calling All Readers!!! I don’t want to leave you out, either. If there's anything you'd love to read about next week, please let us know in the comments. That does it for this edition of Twins Weekly, have a great weekend everyone.
  16. The Minnesota Twins minor league season came to about ten days ago, but it was a successful season all around. The Rochester Red Wings won 80 games and lost a tie-breaker for the wild card spot in the International League playoffs.The Chattanooga Lookouts were the best team in the Southern League and shared the league’s championship due to Hurricane Irma.The Ft. Myers Miracle had a terrific second half to earn a playoff berth where they lost in the first round.The Cedar Rapids Kernels earned their playoff spot in the first half. They won their first playoff series before losing in Game 3 of the West Division championship. The team that beat them, Quad Cities, went on to win the Midwest League championship.The Elizabethton Twins won another Appalachian League title, and it appears they will remain a Twins affiliate for another five years (or more).The Gulf Coast League team won its division and lost in the GCL semifinals.The Dominican Summer League Twins also made the playoffs in 2017.Last week, we announced our minor league awards:Short-Season Minor League Pitcher of the Year - Jovani MoranShort-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year - Akil BaddooTwins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year - John CurtissTwins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year - Stephen GonsalvesTwins Minor League Hitter of the Year - Mitch GarverToday, we would like to announce our choices for 2017 Minnesota Twins All Stars. Our Twins Daily minor league report writers were asked to vote for a catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, three outfielders, a DH, a left-handed starting pitcher, a right-handed starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever and a right-handed reliever. The player at each position who received the most votes takes the spots. Read through our choices for each position. Check out how each of our writers voted. And then discuss and cast your votes as well. Let’s get started. (Note - all photos below from Seth Stohs, Twins Daily; exception, Brent Rooker photo by Mariana Guzman) The Twins Daily 2017 Minnesota Twins Minor League All Star Team Catcher: Mitch Garver - Chattanooga Lookouts, Rochester Red Wings Acquired: Twins 9th-round draft pick in 2013 out of New Mexico 2017 Stats: .291/.387/.541 (.928) with 29 doubles, 17 homers and 45 RBI Garver was the Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Daily 2014 Hitter of the Year when he played in Cedar Rapids. As you saw last week, he earned the award again in 2017 for his play with the Rochester Red Wings. His 2017 season began in big league camp as a non-roster invitee for the third straight year. He went to Rochester where he spent the final month of the 2016 season. He split time behind the plate early in the season with John Ryan Murphy. He began seeing some time in left field. Behind the plate, he threw out 31% of would-be base-stealers. He’s thrown out between 31-33% each season. In mid-August, he was called up to the Twins and has played in 15 games so far. ETA - August 2017 First Base: Jonathan Rodriguez - Chattanooga Lookouts, Rochester Red Wings Acquired: Minor League Free Agent in 2017 2017 Stats: .303/.408/.518 (.926) with 31 doubles, 22 homers and 78 RBI Rodriguez was the 19th-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 and spent the first eight seasons of his career in that organization. Last offseason, he became a minor league free agent and signed with the Twins. He spent most of the season in Chattanooga where he put up fantastic numbers and was consistent throughout the season. He spent the final week of the regular season with the Red Wings where he added another home run. He returned to the Lookouts for their playoff run, and his tremendous season culminated when he hit a two-run, walk off home run to give the Lookouts a share of the Southern League championship. ETA - June 2018 Second Base: Travis Blankenhorn - Cedar Rapids Kernels Acquired: 3rd-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania 2017 Stats: .251/.343/.441 (784) with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 13 home runs and 69 RBI. Blankenhorn spent the full 2017 season in Cedar Rapids where he hit anywhere from first to third in their lineup. Still trying to develop defensively, he spent the first half of the season playing third base. In the second half, he moved over to second base and did well. Offensively, he has a good, patient approach at the plate. He’s strong and could add significant power in time, but he’s also got real good speed. He should move up to Ft. Myers for the 2018 season. ETA: July 2020 Third Base: TJ White Chattanooga Lookouts Acquired: Twins 19th-round draft pick in 2014 out of UNLV 2017 Stats: .276/.358/.484 (.842) with 26 doubles, 4 triples, 14 home runs and 65 RBI. White was a high school teammate of Rangers infielder Joey Gallo, playing against the likes of Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper. White stayed home and went to college at UNLV. He spent 2015 in Cedar Rapids. He began 2016 in Ft. Myers, but an injury pushed him to Chattanooga early in the season and he struggled. This year, he struggled some in spring training and stayed back in extended spring training to work through some things with his swing. The work paid off as he put together a tremendous season. White is very strong and could develop a lot more power, but he’s also got good speed. ETA: September 2018 Shortstop: Jermaine Palacios - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: signed in September 2013 out of Venezuela 2017 Stats: .296/.333/.454 (.788) with 21 doubles, 10 triples, 13 homers and 67 RBI Palacios burst on the scene when he came to the States in 2015 and hit .370 in the GCL and .336 in Elizabethton. He went to Cedar Rapids to start the 2016 season, but he really struggled with the adjustment (whether is was the weather or the league). He hit just .222/.276/.287 (.564) in 71 games before getting hit by a pitch in the hand and ending his season. He returned to the Kernels this year and his prospect status was regained, and maybe heightened. He hit .320/.362/.544 (.907) in 62 games with the Kernels before moving up to Ft. Myers where he hit .269/.303/.359 (.662) in 62 games. He also had a .961 fielding percentage at shortstop. ETA: June 2020 Outfielder: LaMonte Wade - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 9th-round draft pick in 2015 out of Maryland 2017 Stats: .292/.397/.408 (.805) with 22 doubles, 3 triples, 7 homers and 67 RBI Despite playing just 32 games for Ft. Myers in the second half of the 2016 season, LaMonte Wade was pushed up to AA Chattanooga. He struggled for the first two weeks, and then he returned to form. Wade has a very advanced plate approach. He knows the strike zone well and has a plan for each plate appearance. He can hit for average. He walks more than he strikes out, and he does have some power. While he hasn’t hit a lot of home runs, he has hit some of the longest home runs of the year, so he should develop that skill. Wade can play an adequate center field in the minors, though he probably profiles more as a left fielder in the big leagues ETA: August 2018 Outfielder: Zack Granite - Chattanooga Lookouts Acquired: Twins 14th round draft pick in 2013 out of Seton Hall 2017 Stats: .340/.394/.479 (.872) with 17 doubles, 5 doubles, 5 triples, 30 RBI. Back in early 2014, then-Kernels manager Jake Mauer told me that Granite would have the most professional at-bats I’d see. Over the last two seasons, as he has been healthy, he has shown that to be true. Granite is a prototype for a leadoff hitter. He puts together quality at-bats. Knows the strike zone well, and has the cool and calm to handle tough situations. In 2016, the Twins named him their minor league player of the year. He was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason and made a strong impression on Paul Molitor at spring training. In June, he hit .470 in Rochester. In early July he was called up to the Twins where he played most games as Byron Buxton was on the disabled list. He went back down and came back up in late August. ETA: July 2017 Outfielder - Akil Baddoo - GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins Drafted: Twins 2nd-round (compensation round) pick in 2016 out of high school in Georgia 2017 Stats: .323/.436/.527 (.964) with 19 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs and 29 RBI. The Twins have had terrific success drafting baseball players and athletes and letting them develop. Niko Goodrum and Byron Buxton are two examples, but Georgia has produced a lot of terrific baseball players in the last decade or more. Baddoo, one of two compensatory picksafter the second round in 2016, is another example. He has really good speed which could lead to a lot of extra-base hits, stolen bases, and range in the outfield. He also gained 15 pounds in the offseason and has a lot of power now with a ton of power potential. He began the season in the GCL, but moved up to Elizabethton as soon as Brent Rooker was promoted from E-Town to Ft. Myers. Upon joining the E-Twins, he became an instigator at the top of the lineup. In August, he had 13 doubles and got on base over 50% of the time. The future is bright. He was the Twins Daily short-season Hitter of the Year. ETA: June 2021 Designated Hitter: Brent Rooker - Elizabethton Twins, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 1st-round (compensation) draft pick in 2017 out of Mississippi State 2017 Stats: .281/.364/.566 (.930) with 11 doubles, 18 homers and 52 RBI The Twins drafted Brent Rooker late in the 2016 draft , but he chose to bet on himself and returned to college for his senior season. He won the SEC’s Triple Crown, and the Twins took him this year with a compensation pick right after the first round. (Interview) Since he’s had four years of college and is an advanced hitter, the Twins had him adjust to pro ball and life in Elizabethton for 21 games before aggressively promoting him to Ft. Myers. With the Miracle, he was twice named the Florida State League’s player of the week. His 18 homers in his draft season are the most since Paul Russo hit 22 in Elizabethton in 1991. He hit 11 of those homers for the Miracle. The last time a player hit double digits in homers in Ft. Myers during their draft season was Todd Walker, in 1990. ETA: July 2018 Right-Handed Starting Pitcher: Clark Beeker - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 33rd-round pick in 2016 out of Davidson 2017 Stats: 12-4, 2.63 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, 5.8 K/9 This was a close vote, as you might expect. There were a lot of options, but it was Beeker who got the most votes. Drafted late in 2016, he split his time between the GCL and Elizabethton. He began this season in Cedar Rapids and was one of the most consistent starting pitchers throughout the season. His fastball tops out at about 89, maybe 90, but he showed impeccable control and really good secondary pitches to keep hitters off balance. He had a stretch of 34.1 scoreless innings at one point. He received a promotion to Ft. Myers late in the year but returned to the Kernels for the playoffs. Get to know him. ETA: May 2020 Left-Handed Starting Pitcher: Stephen Gonsalves - Ft. Myers Miracle, Chattanooga Lookouts Acquired: Twins 4th-round pick in 2014 out of high school in California 2017 Stats: 9-5, 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.7 K/9 Gonsalves has moved up a level a year (with midseason promotions along the way) and dominated at each level. He was the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016, as well as the Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2016. He earned an invitation to big league spring training and pitched well before his shoulder started bothering him. He remained in Ft. Myers, rehabbing and building strength until moving back up to Chattanooga in the middle of May. From there, he was really good again. In early August, he was promoted to AAA Rochester where he made five starts. The left-hander has good velocity, sitting between 91 and 93, touching 94 with the fastball. He’s got a good changeup, and his slider and cutter continued to improve and has become a good pitch for him. He repeated as Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2017. ETA: June 2018 Right-Handed Relief Pitcher: John Curtiss - Chattanooga Lookouts, Rochester Red Wings Acquired: Twins 6th-round draft pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas 2017 Stats: 2-0, 19 Saves, 1.28 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, 9.7 K/9 2016 was the breakout season for Curtiss. He dominated in Cedar Rapids for a month before dominating at Ft. Myers for the rest of the season. He impressed in the Arizona Fall League last year as well. He began this season in Chattanooga where he took off as their closer and was a Southern League All Star. He didn’t give up a run until June 13th. He was promoted to Rochester and made his AAA debut June 23rd. He continued to pitch well, and in late August, he was surprised to get the call to the big leagues. He faced 194 batters this year between AA and AAA and didn’t give up a home run. He’s faced 22 big league hitters and given up two homers. But with a 97 mph fastball and a really good slider, he’s got a chance to be a really good cog in the back of the Twins bullpen for years to come. He’ll need to cut down the walks some, but he certainly can miss bats. He earned the Twins Daily Relief Pitcher of the Year for 2017. ETA: August 2017 Left-Handed Relief Pitcher: Andrew Vasquez - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 32nd-round draft pick in 2016 out of Westmont College 2017 Stats: 4-1, 2 Saves, 1.55 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 13.2 K/9 Vasquez looks the part of a potential dominant lefty reliever. He’s tall. He’s thick. He throws hard, and he’s got a strong slider. His pitches can be described as heavy and hitters rarely seem to make good contact off of him. As you can see from his 2017 numbers, he misses a lot of bats. He began the season in Cedar Rapids where he posted a 1.61 ERA and 13.3 K/9. He moved up to the Miracle where he had a 1.51 ERA and 13.1 innings. He’s certainly one to watch as he moves forward. ETA: August 2019 The Votes So there you have it. The second annual Twins Daily Minor League All Star team. Who would get your vote? Below are the votes/selections of our 2017 Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth: C-Garver, 1B-Diaz, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Gordon, OF-Granite, Wade, Rooker, DH-Rodriguez, LH SP- Gonsalves, RH SP-Slegers, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Anderson Jeremy: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Wade, Rooker, DH-Diaz, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-T Wells, LH RP-Turley, RH RP-Curtiss Cody: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Murphy, Rooker, DH-Vargas, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Beeker, LH RP-Clay, RH RP-Curtiss Steve: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Gordon, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Wade, Baddoo, DH-Rooker, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Beeker, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Anderson Eric: C-Garver, 1B-Paul, 2B-Goodrum, 3B-Reginnato, SS-Gordon, OF-Wade, Granite, Corcino, DH-Vargas, LH SP-Thorpe, RH SP-Jorge, LH RP-Clay, RH RP-Van Steensel Tom: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Wade, Baddoo, DH-Rooker, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Poppen, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Curtiss Ted: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-Hague, SS-Lewis, OF-Baddoo, Granite, Wade, DH-Rooker, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Romero, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Curtiss Looking Back: 2016 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Nelson Molina, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Daniel Palka, DH: Adam Brett Walker. RH SP: Fernando Romero, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Trevor Hildenberger, LH RP: Michael Theofanopoulos. Click here to view the article
  17. Today, we would like to announce our choices for 2017 Minnesota Twins All Stars. Our Twins Daily minor league report writers were asked to vote for a catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, three outfielders, a DH, a left-handed starting pitcher, a right-handed starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever and a right-handed reliever. The player at each position who received the most votes takes the spots. Read through our choices for each position. Check out how each of our writers voted. And then discuss and cast your votes as well. Let’s get started. (Note - all photos below from Seth Stohs, Twins Daily; exception, Brent Rooker photo by Mariana Guzman) The Twins Daily 2017 Minnesota Twins Minor League All Star Team Catcher: Mitch Garver - Chattanooga Lookouts, Rochester Red Wings Acquired: Twins 9th-round draft pick in 2013 out of New Mexico 2017 Stats: .291/.387/.541 (.928) with 29 doubles, 17 homers and 45 RBI Garver was the Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Daily 2014 Hitter of the Year when he played in Cedar Rapids. As you saw last week, he earned the award again in 2017 for his play with the Rochester Red Wings. His 2017 season began in big league camp as a non-roster invitee for the third straight year. He went to Rochester where he spent the final month of the 2016 season. He split time behind the plate early in the season with John Ryan Murphy. He began seeing some time in left field. Behind the plate, he threw out 31% of would-be base-stealers. He’s thrown out between 31-33% each season. In mid-August, he was called up to the Twins and has played in 15 games so far. ETA - August 2017 First Base: Jonathan Rodriguez - Chattanooga Lookouts, Rochester Red Wings Acquired: Minor League Free Agent in 2017 2017 Stats: .303/.408/.518 (.926) with 31 doubles, 22 homers and 78 RBI Rodriguez was the 19th-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 and spent the first eight seasons of his career in that organization. Last offseason, he became a minor league free agent and signed with the Twins. He spent most of the season in Chattanooga where he put up fantastic numbers and was consistent throughout the season. He spent the final week of the regular season with the Red Wings where he added another home run. He returned to the Lookouts for their playoff run, and his tremendous season culminated when he hit a two-run, walk off home run to give the Lookouts a share of the Southern League championship. ETA - June 2018 Second Base: Travis Blankenhorn - Cedar Rapids Kernels Acquired: 3rd-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pennsylvania 2017 Stats: .251/.343/.441 (784) with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 13 home runs and 69 RBI. Blankenhorn spent the full 2017 season in Cedar Rapids where he hit anywhere from first to third in their lineup. Still trying to develop defensively, he spent the first half of the season playing third base. In the second half, he moved over to second base and did well. Offensively, he has a good, patient approach at the plate. He’s strong and could add significant power in time, but he’s also got real good speed. He should move up to Ft. Myers for the 2018 season. ETA: July 2020 Third Base: TJ White Chattanooga Lookouts Acquired: Twins 19th-round draft pick in 2014 out of UNLV 2017 Stats: .276/.358/.484 (.842) with 26 doubles, 4 triples, 14 home runs and 65 RBI. White was a high school teammate of Rangers infielder Joey Gallo, playing against the likes of Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper. White stayed home and went to college at UNLV. He spent 2015 in Cedar Rapids. He began 2016 in Ft. Myers, but an injury pushed him to Chattanooga early in the season and he struggled. This year, he struggled some in spring training and stayed back in extended spring training to work through some things with his swing. The work paid off as he put together a tremendous season. White is very strong and could develop a lot more power, but he’s also got good speed. ETA: September 2018 Shortstop: Jermaine Palacios - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: signed in September 2013 out of Venezuela 2017 Stats: .296/.333/.454 (.788) with 21 doubles, 10 triples, 13 homers and 67 RBI Palacios burst on the scene when he came to the States in 2015 and hit .370 in the GCL and .336 in Elizabethton. He went to Cedar Rapids to start the 2016 season, but he really struggled with the adjustment (whether is was the weather or the league). He hit just .222/.276/.287 (.564) in 71 games before getting hit by a pitch in the hand and ending his season. He returned to the Kernels this year and his prospect status was regained, and maybe heightened. He hit .320/.362/.544 (.907) in 62 games with the Kernels before moving up to Ft. Myers where he hit .269/.303/.359 (.662) in 62 games. He also had a .961 fielding percentage at shortstop. ETA: June 2020 Outfielder: LaMonte Wade - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 9th-round draft pick in 2015 out of Maryland 2017 Stats: .292/.397/.408 (.805) with 22 doubles, 3 triples, 7 homers and 67 RBI Despite playing just 32 games for Ft. Myers in the second half of the 2016 season, LaMonte Wade was pushed up to AA Chattanooga. He struggled for the first two weeks, and then he returned to form. Wade has a very advanced plate approach. He knows the strike zone well and has a plan for each plate appearance. He can hit for average. He walks more than he strikes out, and he does have some power. While he hasn’t hit a lot of home runs, he has hit some of the longest home runs of the year, so he should develop that skill. Wade can play an adequate center field in the minors, though he probably profiles more as a left fielder in the big leagues ETA: August 2018 Outfielder: Zack Granite - Chattanooga Lookouts Acquired: Twins 14th round draft pick in 2013 out of Seton Hall 2017 Stats: .340/.394/.479 (.872) with 17 doubles, 5 doubles, 5 triples, 30 RBI. Back in early 2014, then-Kernels manager Jake Mauer told me that Granite would have the most professional at-bats I’d see. Over the last two seasons, as he has been healthy, he has shown that to be true. Granite is a prototype for a leadoff hitter. He puts together quality at-bats. Knows the strike zone well, and has the cool and calm to handle tough situations. In 2016, the Twins named him their minor league player of the year. He was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason and made a strong impression on Paul Molitor at spring training. In June, he hit .470 in Rochester. In early July he was called up to the Twins where he played most games as Byron Buxton was on the disabled list. He went back down and came back up in late August. ETA: July 2017 Outfielder - Akil Baddoo - GCL Twins, Elizabethton Twins Drafted: Twins 2nd-round (compensation round) pick in 2016 out of high school in Georgia 2017 Stats: .323/.436/.527 (.964) with 19 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs and 29 RBI. The Twins have had terrific success drafting baseball players and athletes and letting them develop. Niko Goodrum and Byron Buxton are two examples, but Georgia has produced a lot of terrific baseball players in the last decade or more. Baddoo, one of two compensatory picks after the second round in 2016, is another example. He has really good speed which could lead to a lot of extra-base hits, stolen bases, and range in the outfield. He also gained 15 pounds in the offseason and has a lot of power now with a ton of power potential. He began the season in the GCL, but moved up to Elizabethton as soon as Brent Rooker was promoted from E-Town to Ft. Myers. Upon joining the E-Twins, he became an instigator at the top of the lineup. In August, he had 13 doubles and got on base over 50% of the time. The future is bright. He was the Twins Daily short-season Hitter of the Year. ETA: June 2021 Designated Hitter: Brent Rooker - Elizabethton Twins, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 1st-round (compensation) draft pick in 2017 out of Mississippi State 2017 Stats: .281/.364/.566 (.930) with 11 doubles, 18 homers and 52 RBI The Twins drafted Brent Rooker late in the 2016 draft , but he chose to bet on himself and returned to college for his senior season. He won the SEC’s Triple Crown, and the Twins took him this year with a compensation pick right after the first round. (Interview) Since he’s had four years of college and is an advanced hitter, the Twins had him adjust to pro ball and life in Elizabethton for 21 games before aggressively promoting him to Ft. Myers. With the Miracle, he was twice named the Florida State League’s player of the week. His 18 homers in his draft season are the most since Paul Russo hit 22 in Elizabethton in 1991. He hit 11 of those homers for the Miracle. The last time a player hit double digits in homers in Ft. Myers during their draft season was Todd Walker, in 1990. ETA: July 2018 Right-Handed Starting Pitcher: Clark Beeker - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 33rd-round pick in 2016 out of Davidson 2017 Stats: 12-4, 2.63 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 1.4 BB/9, 5.8 K/9 This was a close vote, as you might expect. There were a lot of options, but it was Beeker who got the most votes. Drafted late in 2016, he split his time between the GCL and Elizabethton. He began this season in Cedar Rapids and was one of the most consistent starting pitchers throughout the season. His fastball tops out at about 89, maybe 90, but he showed impeccable control and really good secondary pitches to keep hitters off balance. He had a stretch of 34.1 scoreless innings at one point. He received a promotion to Ft. Myers late in the year but returned to the Kernels for the playoffs. Get to know him. ETA: May 2020 Left-Handed Starting Pitcher: Stephen Gonsalves - Ft. Myers Miracle, Chattanooga Lookouts Acquired: Twins 4th-round pick in 2014 out of high school in California 2017 Stats: 9-5, 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 9.7 K/9 Gonsalves has moved up a level a year (with midseason promotions along the way) and dominated at each level. He was the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2016, as well as the Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2016. He earned an invitation to big league spring training and pitched well before his shoulder started bothering him. He remained in Ft. Myers, rehabbing and building strength until moving back up to Chattanooga in the middle of May. From there, he was really good again. In early August, he was promoted to AAA Rochester where he made five starts. The left-hander has good velocity, sitting between 91 and 93, touching 94 with the fastball. He’s got a good changeup, and his slider and cutter continued to improve and has become a good pitch for him. He repeated as Twins Daily Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2017. ETA: June 2018 Right-Handed Relief Pitcher: John Curtiss - Chattanooga Lookouts, Rochester Red Wings Acquired: Twins 6th-round draft pick in 2014 out of the University of Texas 2017 Stats: 2-0, 19 Saves, 1.28 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, 9.7 K/9 2016 was the breakout season for Curtiss. He dominated in Cedar Rapids for a month before dominating at Ft. Myers for the rest of the season. He impressed in the Arizona Fall League last year as well. He began this season in Chattanooga where he took off as their closer and was a Southern League All Star. He didn’t give up a run until June 13th. He was promoted to Rochester and made his AAA debut June 23rd. He continued to pitch well, and in late August, he was surprised to get the call to the big leagues. He faced 194 batters this year between AA and AAA and didn’t give up a home run. He’s faced 22 big league hitters and given up two homers. But with a 97 mph fastball and a really good slider, he’s got a chance to be a really good cog in the back of the Twins bullpen for years to come. He’ll need to cut down the walks some, but he certainly can miss bats. He earned the Twins Daily Relief Pitcher of the Year for 2017. ETA: August 2017 Left-Handed Relief Pitcher: Andrew Vasquez - Cedar Rapids Kernels, Ft. Myers Miracle Acquired: Twins 32nd-round draft pick in 2016 out of Westmont College 2017 Stats: 4-1, 2 Saves, 1.55 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 13.2 K/9 Vasquez looks the part of a potential dominant lefty reliever. He’s tall. He’s thick. He throws hard, and he’s got a strong slider. His pitches can be described as heavy and hitters rarely seem to make good contact off of him. As you can see from his 2017 numbers, he misses a lot of bats. He began the season in Cedar Rapids where he posted a 1.61 ERA and 13.3 K/9. He moved up to the Miracle where he had a 1.51 ERA and 13.1 innings. He’s certainly one to watch as he moves forward. ETA: August 2019 The Votes So there you have it. The second annual Twins Daily Minor League All Star team. Who would get your vote? Below are the votes/selections of our 2017 Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth: C-Garver, 1B-Diaz, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Gordon, OF-Granite, Wade, Rooker, DH-Rodriguez, LH SP- Gonsalves, RH SP-Slegers, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Anderson Jeremy: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Wade, Rooker, DH-Diaz, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-T Wells, LH RP-Turley, RH RP-Curtiss Cody: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Murphy, Rooker, DH-Vargas, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Beeker, LH RP-Clay, RH RP-Curtiss Steve: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Gordon, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Wade, Baddoo, DH-Rooker, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Beeker, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Anderson Eric: C-Garver, 1B-Paul, 2B-Goodrum, 3B-Reginnato, SS-Gordon, OF-Wade, Granite, Corcino, DH-Vargas, LH SP-Thorpe, RH SP-Jorge, LH RP-Clay, RH RP-Van Steensel Tom: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-White, SS-Palacios, OF-Granite, Wade, Baddoo, DH-Rooker, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Poppen, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Curtiss Ted: C-Garver, 1B-Rodriguez, 2B-Blankenhorn, 3B-Hague, SS-Lewis, OF-Baddoo, Granite, Wade, DH-Rooker, LH SP-Gonsalves, RH SP-Romero, LH RP-Vasquez, RH RP-Curtiss Looking Back: 2016 Twins Daily Minor League All Stars C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Zander Wiel, 2B: Luis Arraez, 3B: Nelson Molina, SS: Nick Gordon, OF: LaMonte Wade, Zack Granite, Daniel Palka, DH: Adam Brett Walker. RH SP: Fernando Romero, LH SP: Stephen Gonsalves, RH RP: Trevor Hildenberger, LH RP: Michael Theofanopoulos.
  18. We begin a review of our Top 20 Minnesota Twins prospects with prospects 16-20. Below you’ll find five more intriguing prospects with big potential. #20 SS Jermaine Palacios After a disappointing 2016, his debut with a full-season league in Cedar Rapids, Palacios returned in 2017 and put himself in position to move up prospect lists again. He returned to the Kernels where he .320/.362/.544 (.907) with 13 doubles, six triples and a surprising 11 home runs in 62 games. He earned a mid-season promotion to Ft. Myers and hit .269/.303/.359 (.662) with eight doubles, four triples and two homers in 62 games. Palacios signed with the Twins after the 2013 season so he doesn’t need to be added to the Twins 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. He turned 21 in July. He should spend most of the 2018 season with the Miracle. #19 2B Jose Miranda Miranda was the first of two consecutive compensatory following the second round of the 2016 draft. He is a 19-year-old drafted out of the Leadership Christian Academy in Puerto Rico. He spent 2016 in the Gulf Coast League. In 2017, he made the move across the diamond to second base though many still believe that he could eventually move over to third place. With the E-Twins, he hit .283/.340/.484 (.824) with eight doubles, two triples and 11 home runs in 54 games. Miranda is a good athlete with room to grow and continue to add power. #18 RHP Felix Jorge In 2017, Felix Jorge received the call every ballplayer dreams of, the call to the big leagues. On July 1st, he made his MLB debut. Through five innings, he gave up two runs. He gave up a single to lead off the 6th inning and was replaced by Buddy Boshers who gave up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer. So, three runs in five innings in his debut was pretty good. He made a second start that didn’t go quite as well. The 23-year-old went back to Chattanooga and later ended the regular season with a promotion to AAA. In Chattanooga, he went 10-3 with a 3.54 ERA. He made three starts in AAA which is where he’ll begin the 2017 season. He was added to the 40-man roster a year ago, so he has used one option year. #17 2B/3B Travis Blankenhorn Blankenhorn was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. A year ago, he began the season in extended spring training before posting a .900 OPS in 34 games in Elizabethton. That earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids where he spent the final 25 games and playoffs. He spent the full 2017 season with the Kernels and hit .251/.343/.441 (.784) with 22 doubles, 11 triples and 13 home runs. He also stole 13 bases, including home twice. He just turned 21 in August, and he doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the 2019 season. He played third base the first half of the season and then moved over to second base in the second half. He could see time in the outfield too. #16 RHP John Curtiss Curtiss needed to be added to the Twins 40-man roster before Monday (Nov 20). Instead of wondering for the next few days, the Twins called him up in late August to work out of their bullpen over the final month. Curtiss was the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. He began the season at AA Chattanooga where he didn’t give up an earned run until June 13th. A week later, he was pitching in AAA Rochester. Overall in 49.1 innings, he walked 22 and struck out 68 before getting The Call. The Twins sixth-round pick in 2014. He struggled some in the big leagues, but the 24-year-old showed his repertoire which includes a mid-90s fastball and a potentially great breaking ball. He’ll likely start next season in Rochester, though he will compete for a spot in the big leagues from day one. So there are my choices for Twins prospects 16-20. Just three more parts coming next week and we’ll reach #1. Feel free to discuss these players, ask questions and start contemplating the Top 15. Part 1: Prospects 41-50 Part 2: Prospects 31-40 Part 3: Prospects 26-30 Part 4: Prospects 21-25
  19. Today we enter the Top 20 of my postseason Minnesota Twins Prospect rankings. Since we started, two ranked players are no longer in the organization. Dereck Rodriguez signed with the Giants, and the Twins voided their deal with Jelfry Marterecently. The group below contains a couple of players that we saw in a big league uniform and likely will again in 2018. The other three players are infielders who have several levels to go, but the talent needed to get there.We begin a review of our Top 20 Minnesota Twins prospects with prospects 16-20. Below you’ll find five more intriguing prospects with big potential. #20 SS Jermaine Palacios After a disappointing 2016, his debut with a full-season league in Cedar Rapids, Palacios returned in 2017 and put himself in position to move up prospect lists again. He returned to the Kernels where he .320/.362/.544 (.907) with 13 doubles, six triples and a surprising 11 home runs in 62 games. He earned a mid-season promotion to Ft. Myers and hit .269/.303/.359 (.662) with eight doubles, four triples and two homers in 62 games. Palacios signed with the Twins after the 2013 season so he doesn’t need to be added to the Twins 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. He turned 21 in July. He should spend most of the 2018 season with the Miracle. #19 2B Jose Miranda Miranda was the first of two consecutive compensatory following the second round of the 2016 draft. He is a 19-year-old drafted out of the Leadership Christian Academy in Puerto Rico. He spent 2016 in the Gulf Coast League. In 2017, he made the move across the diamond to second base though many still believe that he could eventually move over to third place. With the E-Twins, he hit .283/.340/.484 (.824) with eight doubles, two triples and 11 home runs in 54 games. Miranda is a good athlete with room to grow and continue to add power. #18 RHP Felix Jorge In 2017, Felix Jorge received the call every ballplayer dreams of, the call to the big leagues. On July 1st, he made his MLB debut. Through five innings, he gave up two runs. He gave up a single to lead off the 6th inning and was replaced by Buddy Boshers who gave up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer. So, three runs in five innings in his debut was pretty good. He made a second start that didn’t go quite as well. The 23-year-old went back to Chattanooga and later ended the regular season with a promotion to AAA. In Chattanooga, he went 10-3 with a 3.54 ERA. He made three starts in AAA which is where he’ll begin the 2017 season. He was added to the 40-man roster a year ago, so he has used one option year. #17 2B/3B Travis Blankenhorn Blankenhorn was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. A year ago, he began the season in extended spring training before posting a .900 OPS in 34 games in Elizabethton. That earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids where he spent the final 25 games and playoffs. He spent the full 2017 season with the Kernels and hit .251/.343/.441 (.784) with 22 doubles, 11 triples and 13 home runs. He also stole 13 bases, including home twice. He just turned 21 in August, and he doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the 2019 season. He played third base the first half of the season and then moved over to second base in the second half. He could see time in the outfield too. #16 RHP John Curtiss Curtiss needed to be added to the Twins 40-man roster before Monday (Nov 20). Instead of wondering for the next few days, the Twins called him up in late August to work out of their bullpen over the final month. Curtiss was the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. He began the season at AA Chattanooga where he didn’t give up an earned run until June 13th. A week later, he was pitching in AAA Rochester. Overall in 49.1 innings, he walked 22 and struck out 68 before getting The Call. The Twins sixth-round pick in 2014. He struggled some in the big leagues, but the 24-year-old showed his repertoire which includes a mid-90s fastball and a potentially great breaking ball. He’ll likely start next season in Rochester, though he will compete for a spot in the big leagues from day one. So there are my choices for Twins prospects 16-20. Just three more parts coming next week and we’ll reach #1. Feel free to discuss these players, ask questions and start contemplating the Top 15. Part 1: Prospects 41-50 Part 2: Prospects 31-40 Part 3: Prospects 26-30 Part 4: Prospects 21-25 Click here to view the article
  20. 40-man roster consideration comes into play during the August trade period. So I think it’s a good time to take a first glance at which players in the Twins system would be Rule 5 draft eligible if they are not protected before the Winter Meetings. I put together the list of players, and then sorted them into three categories. The Givens: There is no question in my mind that these guys will be added… or lost. 2nd Tier: These guys have to be given strong consideration. For one reason or another, they are not quite givens, but have a decent chance depending on how many players get added. 3rd Tier: The next group probably won’t be added. It’s not that there aren’t some really good baseball players in this group. It’s that you’ll see the number of players who fall into the first two categories. However, the front office will need to have a conversation on several of these players. So, I often get asked who is eligible for the Rule 5. The following are eligible this offseason for the first time: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2013 (during the minor league season). Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2014. Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again. Impending Minor League Free Agents Before spring training, I wrote about five players who would become free agents after the 2017 World Series if they were not added to the Twins 40-man roster before then. Four of those players remain in the organization. Levi Michael - 2011 first-round pick. Travis Harrison - 2011 supplemental first-round pick. Dereck Rodriguez - 2011 6th round pick. David Hurlbut - 2011 28th-round pick. Hurlbut is starting for the Red Wings. The other three players are playing for Chattanooga. While the Twins may try to bring back a couple of these players on minor league free agent deals, Rodriguez is the one player the team may consider adding to the 40-man roster before the completion of the World Series. The Givens Stephen Gonsalves - The lefty is a Top 100 prospect who has had a lot of success this year in AA Chattanooga. Easiest choice of the bunch. Zack Littell - Like Gonsalves, Littell was drafted out of high school in 2013. He has split this season between High-A and AA, and will debut with the Lookouts this week. Jake Reed - Drafted in 2014 out of Oregon, Reed moved up the system very quickly. The last couple of years he’s split between AA and AAA. Like Gonsalves, his season started late due to injury, but he’s back with the Red Wins and should debut this season. John Curtiss - Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of Texas, Curtiss was given some time as a starter early in his career, but since moving to the bullpen for the 2016 season, he has taken off and become one of the most dominant relievers in the organization. He was recently promoted to AAA. Lewin Diaz - Signed out of the Dominican in July of 2013, Diaz gradually worked his way up. Last year, he started showing his power at Elizabethton. He’s been a solid performer at Cedar Rapids this year. He’s a top ten prospect (#6, for me). 2nd Tier The following list is really tough, but as I mentioned above, the Twins are going to have some really difficult decisions, and a couple of these guys will likely be left off the list. I’ll put them in the order I would likely add them, but you can feel free to discuss. 6.) Lewis Thorpe - The left-hander was eligible a year ago, but since he hadn’t pitched in two seasons, he went unselected. He’s been back for a couple of months now, and he’s been solid. He’s getting stronger, and he’s pitching well in Ft. Myers. He’s pretty close to a given. 7.) Aaron Slegers - Slegers was eligible for the Rule 5 draft last year and a lot of people thought there was a good chance he would be taken. He wasn’t, and the team invited him to big league camp. He moved up to Rochester, and he has been good, especially his last eight starts over which he has gone 8-0. Slegers should be promoted soon, even before September. 8.) Kohl Stewart - The strikeouts, I know. However, based on his draft position (1st round, 4th overall, in 2013), there’s a good chance he’s added. He hasn’t put up the numbers that Gonsalves has, particularly lacking in strikeouts, but until his rough start this season, he has always limited baserunners and runs with little hard contact. 9.) Gabriel Moya - He was acquired last week in the trade for John Ryan Murphy. He’s putting up incredible numbers in AA. While he doesn’t throw real hard, the lefty gets strikeouts, has deception and dominates. 10.) Luke Bard - The supplemental 2012 first-round pick has been healthy these last two years. With health, he’s improved his velocity and spin rates, and he has missed a lot of bats this year. Bard should be called up before the end of the season. 11.) Nick Burdi - A year ago, even having missed most of 2016 with the humerus injury, Burdi would have been an easy add. He was off to a great start this year and certainly would be up with the Twins by now. Instead, he had Tommy John surgery and will likely miss at least half of the 2018 season.That’s why he’s a borderline add. 12.) Mason Melotakis - He spent about a season and a half on the 40-man roster, but last month he was removed. His velocity has been down, but he has been very good since his promotion to Rochester. It’s possible he could be added back, though it may make more sense to call him up in late August or September. 3rd Tier Remember the players in this group have a lot of talent. However, those first two groups of twelve, plus Dereck Rodriguez, are really talented and not all of them will be added. Jhon Alvarez DJ Baxendale Cameron Booser Sam Clay Edgar Corcino Andro Cutura Eduardo Del Rosario Ryan Eades Tanner English Edgar Herrera Zack Jones Randy LeBlanc Jose Martinez Amaurys Minier Nelson Molina Robert Molina Ariel Montesino Emmanuel Morel Alex Muren Max Murphy Brian Navarreto Callan Pearce Johan Quezada Williams Ramirez Rainis Silva Keaton Steele Roni Tapia Todd Van Steensel Michael Theofanopoulos Ryan Walker TJ White Before I get asked… and since this is right at the end, it probably will be asked (so you can answer it for me). What about Jermaine Palacios and Luis Arraez. Arraez signed in 2013, but not until November, so he won’t be eligible until next season. Palacios signed on September 6th, 2013, just days after the regular season ended. I believe that means that he does not have to be added until after the 2018 season as well. So, with the above information, who would you add? The Twins have added anywhere from three players to eight players in a year, so it could be anywhere in there.
  21. The July 31st trade deadline has now passed, but that doesn’t mean that the Twins are necessarily done trading. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are likely to continue racking up minutes on their phones throughout the month. In November, the front office will have to make some difficult decisions as it relates to the 40-man roster. At the trade deadline, the team added Dietrich Enns, who is already on the 40-man roster. They added Zack Littell and Gabriel Moya who are currently not on the 40-man roster but are certainly candidates. They don’t have to decide yet on Tyler Watson. In case you missed them, here are the Twins trades: John Ryan Murphy for Gabriel Moya - Diamondbacks Jaime Garcia for Ryan Littell and Dietrich Enns - Yankees Brandon Kintzler for Justin Watson - Nationals40-man roster consideration comes into play during the August trade period. So I think it’s a good time to take a first glance at which players in the Twins system would be Rule 5 draft eligible if they are not protected before the Winter Meetings. I put together the list of players, and then sorted them into three categories. The Givens: There is no question in my mind that these guys will be added… or lost. 2nd Tier: These guys have to be given strong consideration. For one reason or another, they are not quite givens, but have a decent chance depending on how many players get added. 3rd Tier: The next group probably won’t be added. It’s not that there aren’t some really good baseball players in this group. It’s that you’ll see the number of players who fall into the first two categories. However, the front office will need to have a conversation on several of these players. So, I often get asked who is eligible for the Rule 5. The following are eligible this offseason for the first time: Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2013 (during the minor league season).Players who signed when they were 19 or older in 2014.Players who were eligible in previous seasons are also eligible again.Impending Minor League Free Agents Before spring training, I wrote about five players who would become free agents after the 2017 World Series if they were not added to the Twins 40-man roster before then. Four of those players remain in the organization. Levi Michael - 2011 first-round pick.Travis Harrison - 2011 supplemental first-round pick.Dereck Rodriguez - 2011 6th round pick.David Hurlbut - 2011 28th-round pick.Hurlbut is starting for the Red Wings. The other three players are playing for Chattanooga. While the Twins may try to bring back a couple of these players on minor league free agent deals, Rodriguez is the one player the team may consider adding to the 40-man roster before the completion of the World Series. The Givens Stephen Gonsalves - The lefty is a Top 100 prospect who has had a lot of success this year in AA Chattanooga. Easiest choice of the bunch.Zack Littell - Like Gonsalves, Littell was drafted out of high school in 2013. He has split this season between High-A and AA, and will debut with the Lookouts this week.Jake Reed - Drafted in 2014 out of Oregon, Reed moved up the system very quickly. The last couple of years he’s split between AA and AAA. Like Gonsalves, his season started late due to injury, but he’s back with the Red Wins and should debut this season.John Curtiss - Twins sixth-round pick in 2014 out of Texas, Curtiss was given some time as a starter early in his career, but since moving to the bullpen for the 2016 season, he has taken off and become one of the most dominant relievers in the organization. He was recently promoted to AAA.Lewin Diaz - Signed out of the Dominican in July of 2013, Diaz gradually worked his way up. Last year, he started showing his power at Elizabethton. He’s been a solid performer at Cedar Rapids this year. He’s a top ten prospect (#6, for me).2nd Tier The following list is really tough, but as I mentioned above, the Twins are going to have some really difficult decisions, and a couple of these guys will likely be left off the list. I’ll put them in the order I would likely add them, but you can feel free to discuss. 6.) Lewis Thorpe - The left-hander was eligible a year ago, but since he hadn’t pitched in two seasons, he went unselected. He’s been back for a couple of months now, and he’s been solid. He’s getting stronger, and he’s pitching well in Ft. Myers. He’s pretty close to a given. 7.) Aaron Slegers - Slegers was eligible for the Rule 5 draft last year and a lot of people thought there was a good chance he would be taken. He wasn’t, and the team invited him to big league camp. He moved up to Rochester, and he has been good, especially his last eight starts over which he has gone 8-0. Slegers should be promoted soon, even before September. 8.) Kohl Stewart - The strikeouts, I know. However, based on his draft position (1st round, 4th overall, in 2013), there’s a good chance he’s added. He hasn’t put up the numbers that Gonsalves has, particularly lacking in strikeouts, but until his rough start this season, he has always limited baserunners and runs with little hard contact. 9.) Gabriel Moya - He was acquired last week in the trade for John Ryan Murphy. He’s putting up incredible numbers in AA. While he doesn’t throw real hard, the lefty gets strikeouts, has deception and dominates. 10.) Luke Bard - The supplemental 2012 first-round pick has been healthy these last two years. With health, he’s improved his velocity and spin rates, and he has missed a lot of bats this year. Bard should be called up before the end of the season. 11.) Nick Burdi - A year ago, even having missed most of 2016 with the humerus injury, Burdi would have been an easy add. He was off to a great start this year and certainly would be up with the Twins by now. Instead, he had Tommy John surgery and will likely miss at least half of the 2018 season.That’s why he’s a borderline add. 12.) Mason Melotakis - He spent about a season and a half on the 40-man roster, but last month he was removed. His velocity has been down, but he has been very good since his promotion to Rochester. It’s possible he could be added back, though it may make more sense to call him up in late August or September. 3rd Tier Remember the players in this group have a lot of talent. However, those first two groups of twelve, plus Dereck Rodriguez, are really talented and not all of them will be added. Jhon AlvarezDJ BaxendaleCameron BooserSam ClayEdgar CorcinoAndro CuturaEduardo Del RosarioRyan EadesTanner EnglishEdgar HerreraZack JonesRandy LeBlancJose MartinezAmaurys MinierNelson MolinaRobert MolinaAriel MontesinoEmmanuel MorelAlex MurenMax MurphyBrian NavarretoCallan PearceJohan QuezadaWilliams RamirezRainis SilvaKeaton SteeleRoni TapiaTodd Van SteenselMichael TheofanopoulosRyan WalkerTJ WhiteBefore I get asked… and since this is right at the end, it probably will be asked (so you can answer it for me). What about Jermaine Palacios and Luis Arraez. Arraez signed in 2013, but not until November, so he won’t be eligible until next season. Palacios signed on September 6th, 2013, just days after the regular season ended. I believe that means that he does not have to be added until after the 2018 season as well. So, with the above information, who would you add? The Twins have added anywhere from three players to eight players in a year, so it could be anywhere in there. Click here to view the article
  22. Andrew Romine played all nine positions for the Tigers, but the Twins still couldn’t beat them, not that it matters. What does matter is tonight marked the return of Miguel Sano to the lineup. It was also an emotional evening for Glen Perkins, who likely made his final appearance for the Twins.Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) Download attachment: Snapshot930.png Any time a guy plays all nine positions it’s obviously a bit of a stunt. Detroit clearly has nothing to play for at this point, and tonight’s accomplishment by Romine is among the highlights of their season. This was all for fun, and it’s hard to hold anything against the Tigers, but I would assume the Twins weren’t thrilled with how he was used on the mound. The only batter Romine pitched to was Sano. That was unfortunate timing.I don’t think the Twins needed to see what Sano could do against 85 mph batting practice. Sano hit a 113.6 mph single in his first at bat of the night, but followed that up with strikeouts in his next two plate appearances. Against Romine, he grounded out to third base. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: bullpenupdate.png Looking Ahead Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) vs. Detroit (Anibal Sanchez), 2:10 pm CT Mon: OFF Tue: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Yankees (Luis Severino), 6:00 pm CT Looking Back MIN 6, DET 3: Dozier, Escobar Lead Offense To Victory CLE 5, MIN 2: Ervin Caps Banner Year With 5 Shutout Innings CLE 4, MIN 2: Twins Lose, Clinch Postseason Berth Anyway Click here to view the article
  23. Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) Any time a guy plays all nine positions it’s obviously a bit of a stunt. Detroit clearly has nothing to play for at this point, and tonight’s accomplishment by Romine is among the highlights of their season. This was all for fun, and it’s hard to hold anything against the Tigers, but I would assume the Twins weren’t thrilled with how he was used on the mound. The only batter Romine pitched to was Sano. That was unfortunate timing.I don’t think the Twins needed to see what Sano could do against 85 mph batting practice. Sano hit a 113.6 mph single in his first at bat of the night, but followed that up with strikeouts in his next two plate appearances. Against Romine, he grounded out to third base. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/914273015822553088 Aaron Slegers went 4.1 innings and gave up three runs, but one of them was unearned and another was an inherited runner allowed in by Dillon Gee. Slegers gave up three hits and a walk. He also had three strikeouts. Gee gave up a pair of hits over his 0.2 innings. One of those outs was courtesy of a great throw by Eddie Rosario to nap old friend Alex Presley at home. Michael Tonkin pitched 2.0 no-hit innings, John Curtiss followed with 1.2 no-hit innings of his own before Perkins came in to record the final out of the ninth. Perkins will surely have his option declined for next season, leaving his future extremely uncertain. But you don’t have to tell that to Glen, it was clear he knew the gravity of tonight’s appearance. He asked for the ball back as he and his teammates left the field and got emotional in the dugout and during postgame interviews (see below). Obviously the comeback didn’t go as well as Perkins would have hoped, but if this is the end for his playing career, it’s a pretty good way to go out. It would’ve been a shame if he’d never returned from that injury that costed him most of two seasons. Joe Mauer drew three walks and Zack Granite reached base twice, drawing a walk and hitting an RBI single. Max Kepler drew a bases-loaded walk to score the Twins first run. Postgame With Perkins https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/914319330434629632 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Looking Ahead Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) vs. Detroit (Anibal Sanchez), 2:10 pm CT Mon: OFF Tue: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Yankees (Luis Severino), 6:00 pm CT Looking Back MIN 6, DET 3: Dozier, Escobar Lead Offense To Victory CLE 5, MIN 2: Ervin Caps Banner Year With 5 Shutout Innings CLE 4, MIN 2: Twins Lose, Clinch Postseason Berth Anyway
  24. The Twins got to closer Cody Allen but were unable to overcome Cleveland, so all eyes were on the Angels-White Sox game at the conclusion of this one. If the White Sox can win, the Twins would clinch the second Wild Card spot. UPDATE: The White Sox won it on a walk-off homer in the 10th inning, the Twins are in the postseason!Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) Download attachment: SnapShot927.png The Twins displayed their typical “no retreat, no surrender” mentality we’ve seen all season, but their comeback effort fell short. Entering the ninth inning, the Twins had just a pair of doubles and a walk, all of which came with two outs. It was another impressive display from the Cleveland staff, who had allowed 60 fewer earned runs than any other AL team heading into tonight. But Brian Dozier led off the ninth inning with a single and Jorge Polanco drove him in on his 13th home run of the season to make the score 4-2 Cleveland. Byron Buxton added a two-out single to keep the rally alive, but Max Kepler grounded out to end the game. UPDATE: Who cares!?!?!?!? Let's just skip right to the celebration: OK, back to Wednesday night's game. Adalberto Mejia lasted just 3.2 innings, continuing a trend of brief starts for the 24-year-old. In 21 starts, Mejia is averaging less than five-innings per outing and has only gone 6.0 innings or more in four of those starts. Still, he’s posted a respectable 4.50 ERA over his rookie season. Danny Salazar was electric tonight for Cleveland, but luckily was on a pitch count. He struck out nine batters over 4.2 one-hit innings. Unfortunately, things didn’t get any easier against the bullpen. A bright spot for the Twins tonight was the bullpen, as five relievers combined to limit Cleveland to one earned run over 4.1 innings. Another unearned run scored due to an error by Eduardo Escobar. John Curtiss pitched 1.2 no-hit innings in relief and had one strikeout and hit a batter. That’s three-straight scoreless appearances for Curtiss now. AL Wild Card Standings THE TWINS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!!! Go crazy, folks. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen927.png Looking Ahead Thu: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Cleveland (Carlos Carrasco), 11:10 am CT Fri: Twins (Jose Berrios) vs. Detroit (Matthew Boyd), 7:10 pm CT Sat: Twins (Kyle Gibson) vs. Detroit (Buck Farmer), 6:10 pm CT Looking Back MIN 8, CLE 6: Twins Use Team Record 10 Pitchers In Victory MIN 10, DET 4: Deja Vu All Over Again MIN 10, DET 4: Twins Blow Out Tigers Bullpen Click here to view the article
  25. Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) The Twins displayed their typical “no retreat, no surrender” mentality we’ve seen all season, but their comeback effort fell short. Entering the ninth inning, the Twins had just a pair of doubles and a walk, all of which came with two outs. It was another impressive display from the Cleveland staff, who had allowed 60 fewer earned runs than any other AL team heading into tonight. But Brian Dozier led off the ninth inning with a single and Jorge Polanco drove him in on his 13th home run of the season to make the score 4-2 Cleveland. Byron Buxton added a two-out single to keep the rally alive, but Max Kepler grounded out to end the game. UPDATE: Who cares!?!?!?!? Let's just skip right to the celebration: OK, back to Wednesday night's game. Adalberto Mejia lasted just 3.2 innings, continuing a trend of brief starts for the 24-year-old. In 21 starts, Mejia is averaging less than five-innings per outing and has only gone 6.0 innings or more in four of those starts. Still, he’s posted a respectable 4.50 ERA over his rookie season. Danny Salazar was electric tonight for Cleveland, but luckily was on a pitch count. He struck out nine batters over 4.2 one-hit innings. Unfortunately, things didn’t get any easier against the bullpen. A bright spot for the Twins tonight was the bullpen, as five relievers combined to limit Cleveland to one earned run over 4.1 innings. Another unearned run scored due to an error by Eduardo Escobar. John Curtiss pitched 1.2 no-hit innings in relief and had one strikeout and hit a batter. That’s three-straight scoreless appearances for Curtiss now. AL Wild Card Standings THE TWINS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!!! Go crazy, folks. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Looking Ahead Thu: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Cleveland (Carlos Carrasco), 11:10 am CT Fri: Twins (Jose Berrios) vs. Detroit (Matthew Boyd), 7:10 pm CT Sat: Twins (Kyle Gibson) vs. Detroit (Buck Farmer), 6:10 pm CT Looking Back MIN 8, CLE 6: Twins Use Team Record 10 Pitchers In Victory MIN 10, DET 4: Deja Vu All Over Again MIN 10, DET 4: Twins Blow Out Tigers Bullpen
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