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  1. After seven seasons of managing the GCL Twins (and Extended Spring Training), Ramon Borrego moved up to manager of the Ft. Myers Miracle this year. The Twins brought in Dan Ramsey as their new manager. He had been the coach at Whitworth University in Washington. He had led his team to the national Division III tournament three times. Ramsey is joined by two pitching coaches. Richard Salazar is in his first season on the job. He was drafted in 2001 and played pro ball right up through the 2017 season. Frank Jagoda joins the organization in 2018 as another pitching coach. He’s had a variety of roles in recent years including coaching at Patrick Henry Community College in Virginia and USA Baseball the last couple of summers. The Twins also hired a couple of new hitting coaches for the GCL. Luis Rodriguez originally signed as a player with the Twins in 1997. He worked his way up and spent time with the Twins for parts of 2005 through 2007. He spent parts of three more season in the big leagues. This is his first coaching opportunity. Also, Matt Borgschulte comes to the Twins organization after coaching in the Cardinals system in 2017. Prospects To Watch While none of the GCL Twins ranked among the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects coming into the season, this is a very talented group. Landon Leach is a very hard-throwing pitcher who will do well when he’s activated. Tyler Benninghoff was another high-ceiling prep pick from the 2016 draft who has a chance to jump up prospect rankings this year. The pitcher from the DSL that gets talked about the most is Michael Montero. Willie Joe Garry has a ton of potential, but he’s very raw. He may take a few years to get going, but has a very high ceiling. RHP Regi Grace also signed for significantly over slot value in the 10th round forgoing a scholarship to Mississippi State. While he wasn't on the roster yet, he obviously will appear soon, and he's got a ton of potential. THE ROSTER The Pitchers LHP Petru Balan (22) - signed November 2016 from Moldova RHP Tyler Benninghoff (20) - 11th round pick in 2016 from high school in Missouri RHP Prelander Berroa (18) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic RHP Donny Breek (18) - signed September 2017 from the Netherlands RHP Amilcar Cruz (22) - signed May 2016 from the Dominican Republic RHP Steven Cruz (19) - signed March 2017 from the Dominican Republic RHP Osiris German (19) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic RHP Tanner Howell (23) - 35th round pick in 2018 from Dixie State (Utah) RHP Landon Leach (18) - 2nd round pick in 2017 (37th overall) from high school in Canada RHP Andriu Marin (19) - signed November 2014 from Venezuela RHP Michael Montero (18) - signed July 2016 from Venezuela RHP Junior Navas (18) - signed July 2016 from Venezuela RHP Joe Record (23) - 28th round in 2017 from UC-Santa Barbara RHP Niklas Rimmel (18) - signed September 2017 from Germany LHP Fredderi Soto (19) - signed January 2015 from the Dominican Republic RHP Dylan Stowell (23) - 34th round pick in 2018 from California Baptist RHP Kai-Wei Teng (19) - signed October 2017 from Taiwan RHP Frandy Torres (22) - signed May 2016 from the Dominican Republic As I noted yesterday, it’s hard to always know the roles of the pitchers. Because of innings limits and innings already thrown in Extended Spring Training, as well as giving people opportunities, roles can shift throughout the short-season. Joe Record missed the entire 2017 season with Tommy John surgery and will likely not pitch in 2018 either. Soto is also on the 60-Day Disabled List. Meanwhile, Landon Leach and Junior Lavas will also begin the season on the 7-Day Disabled List. Tyler Benninghoff came back late last year to pitch a couple of innings in the GCL. Drafted in 2016, he immediately had Tommy John surgery. He has a chance to really step it up in 2018. The GCL Twins is a melting pot. As you can see, it has players from six different countries. This rotation consists of several players that performed very well in the Dominican Summer League. Steven Cruz went 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 29 1/3 innings. Andriu Marin went 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. Michael Montero went 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 58 1/3 innings. Junior Navas went 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 18 2/3 innings. Fredderi Soto was 1-1 with a 1.34 ERA in 53 2/3 innings. Frandy Torres went 6-0 with a 0.72 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. Along with 2018 draft picks Tanner Howell and Dylan Stowell, Donny Breek, Niklas Rimmel and Kai-Wei Teng will make their professional debuts the first time they step on the mound in a game. The Catchers Yeremi De La Cruz (20) - signed September 2015 from the Dominican Republic Yeison Perez (22) - signed May 2016 out of the Dominican Republic Kidany Salva (19) - 17th round in 2016 out of high school in Texas (via Puerto Rico) Janigson Villalobos (21) - acquired in trade with San Diego Padres in May 2018 Villalobos came to the Twins organization last month as part of the trade that sent Phil Hughes to the Padres. This is Salva’s third season in the GCL yet remains younger than the two catchers who came to the States from the DSL. De La Cruz hit .286 with an .811 OPS a year ago. The Infielders Yeltsin Encarnacion (19) - signed in February 2015 from the Dominican Republic Edgar Herrera (21) - signed July 2013 out of Venezuela Agustin Marte (19) - signed February 2016 from the Dominican Republic Emmanuel Morel (21) - signed July 2013 out of the Dominican Republic Gabe Snyder (23) - 21st round in 2018 from Wright State Victor Tademo (18) - signed September 2015 out of Venezuela Estamy Urena (19) - signed July 2016 from the Dominican Republic Victor Tademo is the one player in this group that spent the 2017 season in the GCL. He was one of the youngest players in the league, and he still will be in 2018. Herrera and Morel were actually both eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year, and last year, but they have fought injuries. Morel is on the DL to start this season again. Herrera missed a lot of time last year with a hamate bone injury. Gabe Snyder was a big bat in the middle of the Wright State lineup. The three players who are making their Stateside debut this year all are intriguing. Encarnacion hit .318/.408/.523 (.931) with nine doubles, eight triples and two homers. Agustin Marte hit .299/.366/.419 (.785) with 11 doubles, three triples and a homer. Estamy Urena hit .306/.369/.434 (.802) with seven doubles, three triples and three homers. Outfielders Willie Joe Garry (18) - 9th round draft pick in 2018 from high school in Mississippi Alberoni Nunez (19) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic Samuel Vasquez (21) - signed October 2015 from the Dominican Republic Tyler Webb (22) - 40th round draft pick in 2018 out of Memphis The Twins went over slot to sign Willie Joe Garry and keep him from college. Tyler Webb was the team’s final draft pick this year. He was the centerfielder and third hitter for Memphis this season. Alberoni Nunez hit .352/.420/.545 (.965) in the DSL last year with nine doubles, seven triples and three homers. Vasquez hit .301/.396/.398 (.793) with four doubles, three triples and two homers. So there you have it, the Opening Day roster of the Gulf Coast League Twins. There are 30 players listed above, and as mentioned, more will likely be added in coming days as more players (hopefully Charlie Mack, at least) sign. For more information on the 2018 Twins draft picks, please click here (links at bottom of article).
  2. On Monday, the GCL Twins began their 2018 season with a win against the GCL Orioles. After previewing the Elizabethton Twinsyesterday, today we preview the Gulf Coast League Twins.After seven seasons of managing the GCL Twins (and Extended Spring Training), Ramon Borrego moved up to manager of the Ft. Myers Miracle this year. The Twins brought in Dan Ramsey as their new manager. He had been the coach at Whitworth University in Washington. He had led his team to the national Division III tournament three times. Ramsey is joined by two pitching coaches. Richard Salazar is in his first season on the job. He was drafted in 2001 and played pro ball right up through the 2017 season. Frank Jagoda joins the organization in 2018 as another pitching coach. He’s had a variety of roles in recent years including coaching at Patrick Henry Community College in Virginia and USA Baseball the last couple of summers. The Twins also hired a couple of new hitting coaches for the GCL. Luis Rodriguez originally signed as a player with the Twins in 1997. He worked his way up and spent time with the Twins for parts of 2005 through 2007. He spent parts of three more season in the big leagues. This is his first coaching opportunity. Also, Matt Borgschulte comes to the Twins organization after coaching in the Cardinals system in 2017. Prospects To Watch While none of the GCL Twins ranked among the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects coming into the season, this is a very talented group. Landon Leach is a very hard-throwing pitcher who will do well when he’s activated. Tyler Benninghoff was another high-ceiling prep pick from the 2016 draft who has a chance to jump up prospect rankings this year. The pitcher from the DSL that gets talked about the most is Michael Montero. Willie Joe Garry has a ton of potential, but he’s very raw. He may take a few years to get going, but has a very high ceiling. RHP Regi Grace also signed for significantly over slot value in the 10th round forgoing a scholarship to Mississippi State. While he wasn't on the roster yet, he obviously will appear soon, and he's got a ton of potential. THE ROSTER The Pitchers LHP Petru Balan (22) - signed November 2016 from Moldova RHP Tyler Benninghoff (20) - 11th round pick in 2016 from high school in Missouri RHP Prelander Berroa (18) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic RHP Donny Breek (18) - signed September 2017 from the Netherlands RHP Amilcar Cruz (22) - signed May 2016 from the Dominican Republic RHP Steven Cruz (19) - signed March 2017 from the Dominican Republic RHP Osiris German (19) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic RHP Tanner Howell (23) - 35th round pick in 2018 from Dixie State (Utah) RHP Landon Leach (18) - 2nd round pick in 2017 (37th overall) from high school in Canada RHP Andriu Marin (19) - signed November 2014 from Venezuela RHP Michael Montero (18) - signed July 2016 from Venezuela RHP Junior Navas (18) - signed July 2016 from Venezuela RHP Joe Record (23) - 28th round in 2017 from UC-Santa Barbara RHP Niklas Rimmel (18) - signed September 2017 from Germany LHP Fredderi Soto (19) - signed January 2015 from the Dominican Republic RHP Dylan Stowell (23) - 34th round pick in 2018 from California Baptist RHP Kai-Wei Teng (19) - signed October 2017 from Taiwan RHP Frandy Torres (22) - signed May 2016 from the Dominican Republic As I noted yesterday, it’s hard to always know the roles of the pitchers. Because of innings limits and innings already thrown in Extended Spring Training, as well as giving people opportunities, roles can shift throughout the short-season. Joe Record missed the entire 2017 season with Tommy John surgery and will likely not pitch in 2018 either. Soto is also on the 60-Day Disabled List. Meanwhile, Landon Leach and Junior Lavas will also begin the season on the 7-Day Disabled List. Tyler Benninghoff came back late last year to pitch a couple of innings in the GCL. Drafted in 2016, he immediately had Tommy John surgery. He has a chance to really step it up in 2018. The GCL Twins is a melting pot. As you can see, it has players from six different countries. This rotation consists of several players that performed very well in the Dominican Summer League. Steven Cruz went 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 29 1/3 innings. Andriu Marin went 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. Michael Montero went 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 58 1/3 innings. Junior Navas went 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 18 2/3 innings. Fredderi Soto was 1-1 with a 1.34 ERA in 53 2/3 innings. Frandy Torres went 6-0 with a 0.72 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. Along with 2018 draft picks Tanner Howell and Dylan Stowell, Donny Breek, Niklas Rimmel and Kai-Wei Teng will make their professional debuts the first time they step on the mound in a game. The Catchers Yeremi De La Cruz (20) - signed September 2015 from the Dominican Republic Yeison Perez (22) - signed May 2016 out of the Dominican Republic Kidany Salva (19) - 17th round in 2016 out of high school in Texas (via Puerto Rico) Janigson Villalobos (21) - acquired in trade with San Diego Padres in May 2018 Villalobos came to the Twins organization last month as part of the trade that sent Phil Hughes to the Padres. This is Salva’s third season in the GCL yet remains younger than the two catchers who came to the States from the DSL. De La Cruz hit .286 with an .811 OPS a year ago. The Infielders Yeltsin Encarnacion (19) - signed in February 2015 from the Dominican Republic Edgar Herrera (21) - signed July 2013 out of Venezuela Agustin Marte (19) - signed February 2016 from the Dominican Republic Emmanuel Morel (21) - signed July 2013 out of the Dominican Republic Gabe Snyder (23) - 21st round in 2018 from Wright State Victor Tademo (18) - signed September 2015 out of Venezuela Estamy Urena (19) - signed July 2016 from the Dominican Republic Victor Tademo is the one player in this group that spent the 2017 season in the GCL. He was one of the youngest players in the league, and he still will be in 2018. Herrera and Morel were actually both eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year, and last year, but they have fought injuries. Morel is on the DL to start this season again. Herrera missed a lot of time last year with a hamate bone injury. Gabe Snyder was a big bat in the middle of the Wright State lineup. The three players who are making their Stateside debut this year all are intriguing. Encarnacion hit .318/.408/.523 (.931) with nine doubles, eight triples and two homers. Agustin Marte hit .299/.366/.419 (.785) with 11 doubles, three triples and a homer. Estamy Urena hit .306/.369/.434 (.802) with seven doubles, three triples and three homers. Outfielders Willie Joe Garry (18) - 9th round draft pick in 2018 from high school in Mississippi Alberoni Nunez (19) - signed July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic Samuel Vasquez (21) - signed October 2015 from the Dominican Republic Tyler Webb (22) - 40th round draft pick in 2018 out of Memphis The Twins went over slot to sign Willie Joe Garry and keep him from college. Tyler Webb was the team’s final draft pick this year. He was the centerfielder and third hitter for Memphis this season. Alberoni Nunez hit .352/.420/.545 (.965) in the DSL last year with nine doubles, seven triples and three homers. Vasquez hit .301/.396/.398 (.793) with four doubles, three triples and two homers. So there you have it, the Opening Day roster of the Gulf Coast League Twins. There are 30 players listed above, and as mentioned, more will likely be added in coming days as more players (hopefully Charlie Mack, at least) sign. For more information on the 2018 Twins draft picks, please click here (links at bottom of article). Click here to view the article
  3. It was a hot and muggy weekend down in Fort Myers, so much so that the Hi A Miracle were delayed on Friday night and completely rained out Saturday night. Unlike the Hi A club, the GCL starts their games at noon daily and at 10am on Saturdays thus getting out of the heat sooner and less likely for late day downpours. Rehabber RHP Nick Tepesch started the game and looked decent the first two innings with his fastball hitting 86-88mph, maxing out at 89 mph before a really scary moment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0v-nouSlXE He got up and left on his own free will, I talked to him afterwards and he said he was fine and "had a hard head". Tepesch on the mound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTd83KQ8Y0w On this weekend, the first overall pick in this year's draft showed why he was just that. Here is video of the wunderkid hitting, taking grounders at SS and running the bases: Royce Lewis hitting, fielding and running the bases https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C29KTFqS51U Lewis was not the only 2017 draftee who was on display as I took video of De La Torre, Burns, and Robles. Even with Lewis putting on his show, the name in camp that has surprised the most is Victor Tademo. Tademo's bat is advanced for his age as he won't turn 18 til later in the week but there is some good pop coming out of it. Defensively, he's made a couple of difficult plays at the hot corner. 6th rounder SS Ricardo De La Torre https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcITLLYFJ08 18th rounder OF Colton Burns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7VHZb7dpVo 30th rounder 1B Alex Robles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnCux3ViJGI 2016 International Free Agent 3B Victor Tademo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91LqrSEIcDg
  4. Today we share our sixth Minnesota Twins minor league affiliate roster preview, for the Gulf Coast League Twins. It is an interesting group of players including the top pick in the 2017 MLB draft, and some of the other top young talent in the system. Last Friday night the Elizabethton played their Opening Night game, a day after it was scheduled, so it became a doubleheader. We previewed their roster here. Then on Monday afternoon (well, morning in Minnesota time), the Gulf Coast League Twins played their first game of the season. You might have heard, a certain #1 overall draft pick started his career with a bang! Today, we will preview the GCL Twins roster.The Gulf Coast League has an interesting blend of players. There are kids who signed after being drafted out of high school. There are players in their first year or two from another country There are some late-round college picks. This year, there aren’t any undrafted free agents (yet) to help fill out the roster, but that’s still possible. Like the E-Town roster, it allows for many more players, 35, to be exact. The roster is also subject to quite a lot of change as more players sign, or if some players move up and down from Elizabethton. The team plays at noon six days a week (Sundays off). The playing time is generally split a little more equally, generally, with the exception of the guys who are considered the priority prospects. Same thing at Elizabethton. Look at the number of plate appearances and games played to see who the top prospects likely are. With that mini intro, let’s get to the GCL roster. The team is managed by Ramon Borrego. He is assisted by extra coaching since these rookie leagues are all about player development. The hitting coaches last year were Javier Valentin and Steve Singleton, but they have moved up to Chattanooga and Ft. Myers, respectively. Toby Gardenhire was hired to be a hitting coach in the GCL after coaching at UW-Stout the last several years. He spent the first half up in Rochester, coaching third base after manager Mike Quade hurt his shoulder in a spring training car accident. The pitching coaches are Virgil Vazquez (third year) and Cibney Bello (second year). GCL Twins Roster Catchers: Jhon Alvarez (21), Kidany Salva (18), Kerby Camacho (19), Darling Cuestro (19). Alvarez signed in 2012 and spent three seasons in the DSL. Last year in the GCL, he hit .259/.371/.293 (.665) with two doubles. Salva was the Twins 17th-round pick last year out of high school in Texas where he spent one year after moving from Puerto Rico. Camacho was drafted by the Twins in 2015, but he missed the 2016 season after a 80-game suspension. Cuestro comes over from the DSL where he hit .245/.376/.315 (.690). Infielders: Dane Hutcheon (22), Emmanuel Morel (20), Roni Tapia (20), Mariano Calcano (20), Victor Tademo (17), Royce Lewis (18), Ricardo de La Torre (17), Benjamin Rodriguez (22), Alex Robles (21), Edgar Herrera (DL-20). The big name in this list, of course, is Royce Lewis, the #1 overall draft pick in the June draft. He’s got speed and as we’ve already seen his power potential. He’ll play a lot of shortstop. It will be interesting to see how well he plays, how quickly he develops and just when the Twins will push him up to Elizabethton. Dane Hutcheon is a middle infielder, drafted out of college in 2016. Alex Robles was the Twins 30th-round pick this year from Austin Peay. Benjamin Rodriguez was drafted as a catcher out of Pepperdine. He will likely play quite a bit of first base. Ricky De La Torre is an exciting shortstop prospect from Puerto Rico drafted in the sixth round this year. Some projected him as a early-round pick early in the season, though he fell back a little bit. Emmanuel Morel and Roni Tapia spent time in the GCL last year after signing out of the Dominican Republic. Morel hit just .116 in 104 plate appearances. Tapia hit just .127, although three of his seven hits were home runs. Both are still just 20. Mariano Calcano and Victor Tademo came over to the States from the Dominican Summer League. Calcano is a first baseman who hit .206/.287/.386 last year in the DSL as a 19-year-old. Tademo was probably the most intriguing DSL Twins player in 2016. As a 16-year-old, he hit .311/.388/.429 with 16 doubles, a triple and a homer last year. Edgar Herrera is out with a fractured hamate bone. He hit .317 last year in the DSL. Outfielders: Jean Carlos Arias (19), Akil Baddoo (18), Humber Maldonado (19), Jared Akins (20), Colton Burns (21). Akil Baddoo was the first of back-to-back supplemental picks for the Twins following the second round of the 2016 draft. Jose Miranda was the other one, and he’s up in Elizabethton. Maybe that’s where Baddoo will end up, but the outfielder will start in the GCL. Jean-Carlos Arias is a big kid, young, but very talented. Last year in the GCL, he hit .202/.265/.266, but he should take a big step forward this year. Jared Akins was the team’s 13th-round pick this month out of Fresno State. Colton Burns was selected in the 18th round this year out of UC-Santa Barbara. It is possible one of these guys will move up to E-Town when Brent Rooker moves up in a week or two. Humberto Maldonado is a big kid with lots of power potential. He’s quite raw, but he hit .283/.363/.404 (.766) with 11 doubles, three triples and a homer. Pitchers: Vadim Balan (24), Petru Balan (20), Jordan Balazovic (18), Brusdar Graterol (18), Matz Schutte (19), Jose Bermudez (19), Amilcar Cruz (21), Pedro Garcia (21), Matt Jones (18), Juan Mojica (21), Landon Leach (17), Blayne Enlow (18), Derek Molina (19), Austin Dizzle (22), Zach Featherstone (21). Let’s start with the starting pitchers. Jordan Balazovic was drafted in the seventh round last year. Many thought he might go up to Elizabethton to start the season, and maybe the Canadian will get there, but he’ll start in the GCL. Brusdar Graterol, coming off of Tommy John surgery and a broken hand, pitched on Opening Day. He’s got a huge arm. Juan Mojica, Pedro Garcia and Carlos Suniaga will start the season in the team’s starting rotation after pitching last year in the DSL. Garcia was 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA. He had 69 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. Mojica was 5-2 with a 2.47 ERA. He had 73 strikeouts in 62 innings. Finally, Suniaga was 7-3 with a 2.03 ERA. In his 57.2 innings, he had 58 strikeouts. (Tyler Benninghoff was the team’s 11th-round pick a year ago out of high school in Kansas. He immediately had Tommy John surgery and could pitch some in 2017.) Twins tird-round pick Blayne Enlow will also start the season in the rotation, though they may stretch him out before he works too many innings. Second-round pick Landon Leach signed last week. He is still working with the Twins to get his visa. When he arrives, he’ll be stretched out as well. Speaking of 2017 pick, 40th-round selection Austin Bizzle will be working out of the bullpen. 14th rounder Derek Molina is going to have his season start late due to a back strain. I think one of the more interesting roster spot here is the last one listed, Zach Featherstone. He was drafted in 2016 as a first base/outfielder. Just a few weeks ago, he began the transition to pitching. Matt Jones, like Balozovic, was a Canadian prep pitcher drafted last year. He signed later last season and will work out of the bullpen initially as well. The Moldovan Brothers are both starting with the GCL Twins. On Monday, elder brother Vadim Balanpitched in a game for the first time in two years due to a back injury. He gave up just one hit over 2.2 scoreless innings. Left-hander Petru Balan is going to make his professional debut with the GCL squad as well. Other bullpen arms who have come to the States from the Dominican Summer League include Jose Bermudez and Amilcar Cruz. Matz Schutte is in his third season out of The Netherlands and still won’t turn 20 until a month after the season. So there you have it… a current look at the Gulf Coast League team roster. The youngest player on this roster is 17 (Victor Tademo) while the oldest just recently turned 24. (Vadim Balan, and that's because he's missed two years with injury) It’s a diverse group in terms of number of countries represented as well. It’s always a fun roster to follow and they’ve now gotten one game under their belts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, though I may need Jeremy Nygaard’s thoughts on some of the 2017 draft picks. Click here to view the article
  5. The Gulf Coast League has an interesting blend of players. There are kids who signed after being drafted out of high school. There are players in their first year or two from another country There are some late-round college picks. This year, there aren’t any undrafted free agents (yet) to help fill out the roster, but that’s still possible. Like the E-Town roster, it allows for many more players, 35, to be exact. The roster is also subject to quite a lot of change as more players sign, or if some players move up and down from Elizabethton. The team plays at noon six days a week (Sundays off). The playing time is generally split a little more equally, generally, with the exception of the guys who are considered the priority prospects. Same thing at Elizabethton. Look at the number of plate appearances and games played to see who the top prospects likely are. With that mini intro, let’s get to the GCL roster. The team is managed by Ramon Borrego. He is assisted by extra coaching since these rookie leagues are all about player development. The hitting coaches last year were Javier Valentin and Steve Singleton, but they have moved up to Chattanooga and Ft. Myers, respectively. Toby Gardenhire was hired to be a hitting coach in the GCL after coaching at UW-Stout the last several years. He spent the first half up in Rochester, coaching third base after manager Mike Quade hurt his shoulder in a spring training car accident. The pitching coaches are Virgil Vazquez (third year) and Cibney Bello (second year). GCL Twins Roster Catchers: Jhon Alvarez (21), Kidany Salva (18), Kerby Camacho (19), Darling Cuestro (19). Alvarez signed in 2012 and spent three seasons in the DSL. Last year in the GCL, he hit .259/.371/.293 (.665) with two doubles. Salva was the Twins 17th-round pick last year out of high school in Texas where he spent one year after moving from Puerto Rico. Camacho was drafted by the Twins in 2015, but he missed the 2016 season after a 80-game suspension. Cuestro comes over from the DSL where he hit .245/.376/.315 (.690). Infielders: Dane Hutcheon (22), Emmanuel Morel (20), Roni Tapia (20), Mariano Calcano (20), Victor Tademo (17), Royce Lewis (18), Ricardo de La Torre (17), Benjamin Rodriguez (22), Alex Robles (21), Edgar Herrera (DL-20). The big name in this list, of course, is Royce Lewis, the #1 overall draft pick in the June draft. He’s got speed and as we’ve already seen his power potential. He’ll play a lot of shortstop. It will be interesting to see how well he plays, how quickly he develops and just when the Twins will push him up to Elizabethton. Dane Hutcheon is a middle infielder, drafted out of college in 2016. Alex Robles was the Twins 30th-round pick this year from Austin Peay. Benjamin Rodriguez was drafted as a catcher out of Pepperdine. He will likely play quite a bit of first base. Ricky De La Torre is an exciting shortstop prospect from Puerto Rico drafted in the sixth round this year. Some projected him as a early-round pick early in the season, though he fell back a little bit. Emmanuel Morel and Roni Tapia spent time in the GCL last year after signing out of the Dominican Republic. Morel hit just .116 in 104 plate appearances. Tapia hit just .127, although three of his seven hits were home runs. Both are still just 20. Mariano Calcano and Victor Tademo came over to the States from the Dominican Summer League. Calcano is a first baseman who hit .206/.287/.386 last year in the DSL as a 19-year-old. Tademo was probably the most intriguing DSL Twins player in 2016. As a 16-year-old, he hit .311/.388/.429 with 16 doubles, a triple and a homer last year. Edgar Herrera is out with a fractured hamate bone. He hit .317 last year in the DSL. Outfielders: Jean Carlos Arias (19), Akil Baddoo (18), Humber Maldonado (19), Jared Akins (20), Colton Burns (21). Akil Baddoo was the first of back-to-back supplemental picks for the Twins following the second round of the 2016 draft. Jose Miranda was the other one, and he’s up in Elizabethton. Maybe that’s where Baddoo will end up, but the outfielder will start in the GCL. Jean-Carlos Arias is a big kid, young, but very talented. Last year in the GCL, he hit .202/.265/.266, but he should take a big step forward this year. Jared Akins was the team’s 13th-round pick this month out of Fresno State. Colton Burns was selected in the 18th round this year out of UC-Santa Barbara. It is possible one of these guys will move up to E-Town when Brent Rooker moves up in a week or two. Humberto Maldonado is a big kid with lots of power potential. He’s quite raw, but he hit .283/.363/.404 (.766) with 11 doubles, three triples and a homer. Pitchers: Vadim Balan (24), Petru Balan (20), Jordan Balazovic (18), Brusdar Graterol (18), Matz Schutte (19), Jose Bermudez (19), Amilcar Cruz (21), Pedro Garcia (21), Matt Jones (18), Juan Mojica (21), Landon Leach (17), Blayne Enlow (18), Derek Molina (19), Austin Dizzle (22), Zach Featherstone (21). Let’s start with the starting pitchers. Jordan Balazovic was drafted in the seventh round last year. Many thought he might go up to Elizabethton to start the season, and maybe the Canadian will get there, but he’ll start in the GCL. Brusdar Graterol, coming off of Tommy John surgery and a broken hand, pitched on Opening Day. He’s got a huge arm. Juan Mojica, Pedro Garcia and Carlos Suniaga will start the season in the team’s starting rotation after pitching last year in the DSL. Garcia was 5-1 with a 2.17 ERA. He had 69 strikeouts in 62.1 innings. Mojica was 5-2 with a 2.47 ERA. He had 73 strikeouts in 62 innings. Finally, Suniaga was 7-3 with a 2.03 ERA. In his 57.2 innings, he had 58 strikeouts. (Tyler Benninghoff was the team’s 11th-round pick a year ago out of high school in Kansas. He immediately had Tommy John surgery and could pitch some in 2017.) Twins tird-round pick Blayne Enlow will also start the season in the rotation, though they may stretch him out before he works too many innings. Second-round pick Landon Leach signed last week. He is still working with the Twins to get his visa. When he arrives, he’ll be stretched out as well. Speaking of 2017 pick, 40th-round selection Austin Bizzle will be working out of the bullpen. 14th rounder Derek Molina is going to have his season start late due to a back strain. I think one of the more interesting roster spot here is the last one listed, Zach Featherstone. He was drafted in 2016 as a first base/outfielder. Just a few weeks ago, he began the transition to pitching. Matt Jones, like Balozovic, was a Canadian prep pitcher drafted last year. He signed later last season and will work out of the bullpen initially as well. The Moldovan Brothers are both starting with the GCL Twins. On Monday, elder brother Vadim Balan pitched in a game for the first time in two years due to a back injury. He gave up just one hit over 2.2 scoreless innings. Left-hander Petru Balan is going to make his professional debut with the GCL squad as well. Other bullpen arms who have come to the States from the Dominican Summer League include Jose Bermudez and Amilcar Cruz. Matz Schutte is in his third season out of The Netherlands and still won’t turn 20 until a month after the season. So there you have it… a current look at the Gulf Coast League team roster. The youngest player on this roster is 17 (Victor Tademo) while the oldest just recently turned 24. (Vadim Balan, and that's because he's missed two years with injury) It’s a diverse group in terms of number of countries represented as well. It’s always a fun roster to follow and they’ve now gotten one game under their belts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, though I may need Jeremy Nygaard’s thoughts on some of the 2017 draft picks.
  6. Royce Lewis At Bat In the last weekend before the Gulf Coast League opens up on Monday, the Twins played a five inning intersquad game. With the Red Team taking on the Blue Team. The Starters for the teams were lefty Matt Jones (Red Team) and 2013 first rounder righty Kohl Stewart (Blue Team). Jones threw three innings while Stewart went five. Stewart's four seamer fastball was 90-93 mph with late life with his slider 79-83 mph and his cutter 85-87 mph. He did make 2017 1st rounder Royce Lewis look silly on a cutter in his first at bat. After the game Kohl said this was his last start down in Florida and is headed back to Chattanooga. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy2jePVlnIs In the field were several of the latest draft picks, 13th Rounder Jared Akins, 18th Rd Colton Burns 30th Rder Alex Robles, 38th Rder Ben Rodriguez as well as Austin Bizzle in the stands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3x8N7s0yJ0 The former first rounder raved about Lewis, saying the kid is the real deal. "He's got great hands and he's going to be dangerous once he starts to trust them." Kohl talked about Royce getting fooled on a cutter in his first at bat but then making the adjustment the next time he saw it driving it and was very impressed. As far as Lewis' speed, he's fast, very fast, maybe faster than Buxton and has a long stride. He stole a base on Stewart (near the 1:00 mark in video) and was practically standing on second by the time the ball was there despite a short lead. In the field, I saw Rolls Royce make a couple of routine plays, showing good footwork and natural instincts in charging a weakly hit grounder. His arm looked strong and accurate even when making throws on the run. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvVY_NEHLcw Brusdar Graterol is slated to throw four innings in the GCL opener on Monday but he will not be the starter as that will go to an undisclosed rehab starter for one inning. Ben Rodriguez and Alex Robles Emmanuel Morel, Darling Cuesto, Victor Tademo, Dane Hutcheon Jose Bermudez and Brusdar Graterol Intrasquad Lineup Card 6/24/2017
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