1/20/17

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 1/20/2017

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • The Twins have released OF Luis Martinez (1/17)
  • The Twins have released OF Joe Maloney (1/17)
  • The Twins have released OF Brad Hartong (1/17)
  • The Twins have released OF Tyree Davis (1/17)
  • The Twins have released SS Manuel Guzman (1/17)
  • The Twins have released 2B Jorge Andrade (1/17)
  • The Twins have released LHP Luke Westphal (1/17)
  • The Twins have released LHP Onas Farfan (1/17)
  • The Twins have released RHP Miles Nordgren (1/17)
  • The Twins have released RHP C.K. Irby (1/17)
  • The Twins have released RHP Daniel Martinez (1/17)
  • The Twins have released RHP Sam Gibbons (1/17)
  • The Twins have checked on  Korean free agent 3B Jae-gyun Hwang, but he is not a fit (1/10)
  • It seems that the Twins and the Dodgers discussions regarding Brian Dozier are at an impasse (1/10)  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal with the Dodgers (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins' RHP Adrian Salcedo was released by the Dodgers' organization (1/17)
  • Former Twins' RHP Blaine Boyer has signed a minor league deal with the Braves (1/17) 
  • Former Twins' OF Danny Ortiz  has signed a minor league deal with the Pirates (1/17)

1/19/17

2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 41-45

You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2016 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here.    Here is my 2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.

This is the countdown for players ranked 51-55th in the system. You can find players 56-60 here, players 51-55 here, 46-50 here, and all segments in the series here.

45. Pedro Garcia (--)
DOB: 7/21/1995; Age: 21
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'2", Weight: 180 lbs
Acquired: International free Agent Signing
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/DSL (2016)
ETA: 2020+

The Twins signed Pedro Garcia as an international free agent from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on October 11, 2015. Garcia had his first professional season in the Dominican Summer Rookie League in 2016 and he was the ace of that team, starting 14 games (62-1/3 IP), striking out 69 (10.0 K/9, 28.2 K%), and walking 24 (3.5 BB/9, 18.4 K-BB%).  He finished the season with a 5-1 record, 2.17 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 1.01 WHIP (.260 BABIP).  Oponents had a very hard time making contanct (.181 OBA), especially when hiting from the right side (.155 OBA)  Garcia has 3 pitches, a low to mid 90s fastball with good command, a workable changeup and an above average breaking ball.  There is some wildness there (he also hit 5 batters and had 2 wild pitches) but he really improved in August (4 GS, 21 IP, 5 BB, 30 K, 4-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, .123 OBA) which suggests that there is huge room of improvement and he is already on his way. If that 12.9 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 of August as a starting pitcher is sign of what it is to come from Garcia, expect him to move really fast in the organization.

Likely 2017 path:  Extended Spring Training in the United States, then GCL or Elizabethton, depending his adjustment and the Twins 2017 draft.

44. Humberto Maldonado (--)
DOB: 12/30/1997; Age: 19
Positions: CF
Bats: S, Throws: R
Height: 6'3", Weight: 202 lbs
Acquired: International free Agent Signing
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/DSL (2016)
ETA: 2020+

The Twins signed Humberto Maldonado as an international free agent from  San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic on November 15, 2015. Maldonado had a good first professional season, hitting .283/.363/.404 as the starting centerfielder of the DSL Twins, in a league dominated by pitchers.  He flashed a bit of power (15 xBH / 47 H) and speed (stole 14 bases in 24 tries.)  He is a switch hitter and equally well from both sides of the plate.  His glove is adequate at CF at this point.  He also played 17 games at LF and finished a game at 1B.  He is strong athletic type (6'3 - 202 lbs) who can develop into a five tool talent and stick at centerfield.  Think of a bit taller and stronger version of Joe Benson, as a prospect.  Tons of potential, but he has a long ways to go, and Joe Benson did not go very far for the Twins.

Likely 2017 path:  Extended Spring Training in the United States, then GCL, depending his adjustment and the Twins 2017 draft.

43. Zach Granite (--)
DOB: 9/17/1992; Age: 24
Positions: CF
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 6'1", Weight: 175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 14th round in 2013
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/DSL (2016)
ETA: 2017

Zach Granite was drafted by the Twins in the 14th round of the 2013 draft from Seton Hall University.  The Staten Island, NY native as a collegiate hit .299/.391/.367 with 91 BB and 75 K in 156 games (633 AB).  He also stole 67/78 bases.  After he was drafted in 2013 he started his pro career in Elizabethton where he hit .285/.362/.343 with 29 BB, 25 K, and 14/21 SB in 61 games (278 PA.) He was promoted to Cedar Rapids in 2014 but was a lost season for him going to the disabled list multiple times with leg ailments.  He only managed to play 21 games (85 PA) and had decent success (.291/.321/.367, 4 BB, 8 K, 1/5 SB.)  He started the 2015 season also in Cedar Rapids where he his the cover off the ball (.358/.463/.463, 12 BB, 6 K, 7/8 SB) and after 19 games was propoted to Fort Myers were he landed hard, having the worst season of his career: In 105 games (441 PA) he hit .249/.328/.304 with 41 BB and 63 K and was 21/33 in stolen bases.    He was promoted to AA Chattanooga last season where he rebounded as a 23 year old, hitting .295/.347/.382 with 42 BB and 43 K, stealing 56 of 70 bases and had 8 triples in 127 games (584 PA.)  His glove at centerfield is above average and his splits as LHB were equally good in AA against both LHP (.291/.345/.339) and RHP (.296/.348/.396) for the first time in his career, having reverse splits previously. 

There have been some comparisons to Ben Revere after his season in Chattanooga, but Granite is a very poor man's Ben Revere.  Their tool sets are the same, hit for average, speed, and defense; however Revere's tools were much better at the same points of their career, not to mention that Revere was in the majors by age 22 where Granite just finished his age 24 season.  Revere owned a career .325/.382/.402 minor league line and a .353 career BABIP in the minors where Granite's are .282/.349/.354 and .321 respectively.  For someone whose game is to get on base and use his speed to move ahead that difference of 43 points on the battling average, 33 on the on-base percentage and 32 on the batting average of the balls in play are huge.  In the modern game those skills are much more devalued than they were 2 decades ago.  Granite's ceiling is more of an Eric Yelding vs. a Juan Pierre type of player, which is that of a AAAA of that might spend some time in a mediocre or worse MLB team's bench.  The Twins added him on their 40 man roster this season and he might be afforded that opportunity.  A potential trade piece to a National League team that might value his skills as a PR and a PH and a defensive glove at the end of a game more that the Twins. 

Likely 2017 path:  Starting CF at Rochester and potentially part time with the Twins based on needs and injuries.

42. Brandon Peterson (29)
DOB: 9/23/1991; Age: 25
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 190 lbs
Acquired: 13th Round Draft Pick 2013
Professional Experience: 5; Highest level: AA (2015, 2016)
ETA: 2017

Brandon Peterson was drafted in the 13th round of the 2013 draft from Wichita State University.  The Savage, MN native moved pretty fast in the Twins organization, reaching the high A Fort Myers Miracle squad in the second half of his second pro season, but ended up being caught in the numbers games, having to start each of the last two seasons at that level before being promoted to AA Chattanooga the second half of the last two seasons.  His 2015 and 2016 seasons both split between A+ and AA were almost identical in peripheral numbers, but not in effectiveness.  Here are his numbers in both organizations for the last 2 seasons:

2015-A+: 21 G, 31-2/3 IP, 44 K (12.5 K/9, 36.1 K%), 17 BB (4.3 BB/9, 23.8 K-BB%), 0.85 ERA, 1.81 FIP, 0.92 WHIP (.222 BABIP)   
2016-A+: 22 G, 34 IP, 44 K (11.7 K/9, 33.3 K%), 14 BB (3.7 BB/9, 22.7 K-BB%), 2.65 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 1.00 WHIP (.264 BABIP)
2015-AA: 20 G, 29-1/3 IP, 33 K (10.1 K/9, 25.4 K%), 13 BB (4.0 BB/9, 15.4 K-BB%), 3.38 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 1.47 WHIP (.354 BABIP)
2016-AA: 16 G, 26 IP, 31 K (10.7 K/9, 27.2 K%), 15 BB (5.2 BB/9, 14 K-BB%), 4.15 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 1.35 WHIP (.288 BABIP)

Peterson has a fastball that sits at 95 mph and a slider that is a hair below a plus pitch.  I think that the 2017 season is a make or break season for the 25 year old.  After last season, I thought that it might be that he needs to adjust his approach to be successful against better competition rather than his stuff not playing against better competition, based on his results in AA compared to A+, especially with that high AA BABIP.  Having pretty much the similar results between the two leagues in 2016, reduces my confidence in Peterson.  While in A+ he looks like a borderline elite reliever, albeit with some wildness, in AA he looks like a mediocre reliever, and the Twins are full of young promising RHRP who are ahead of him both in the high minors and majors.

Likely 2016 path:  Sharing closer duties in AA, a promotion to AAA is probably depending his success and promotions to the MLB bullpen of AAA pitchers allowing him a path there.

41. Brandon Lopez (SS)
DOB: 9/9/1993; Age: 23
Positions: SS
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 190 lbs
Acquired: 10th Round Draft Pick 2016
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019

Brandon Lopez was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 draft from the University of Miami as a senior.  The Miramar, FL native Sports Administration major was the Hurricanes' starting SS all 4 seasons with the team and was previously drafted out of High School by the Blue Jays in the 34th round of the 2012 draft.  He struggled somewhat his first two seasons as a collegiate with the bat, keeping the starting SS position because of his glove, he improved in his junior season and had a stellar senior season in 2016.   He hit .376/.449/.469 with 23 BB and 34 K, stealing 5 out of 7 bases and having 14 doubles and 2 home runs, in 58 games (214 AB).  He started his professional season in Elizabethton where he continue hitting well despite the transition to the wooden bat.  He hit .337/.474/.413 with 21 BB and 19 K, was 4/4 in stolen bases and had 5 doubles and 1 HR in 27 games (92 AB).  He was promoted to Cedar Rapids at the end of the season where he played 18 games (70 AB) and hit .286/.398/.329 with 11 BB and 16 K and 3 doubles.  His BABIP numbers this season were .433 with Miami, .425 with Elizabethton and .370 with Cedar Rapids.  His junior season, his BABIP was .357, which suggests that there is potential to sustain a BABIP at the .375 level as a professional player.  Very limited power, but some potential and average speed, but above average pitch selectivity and glove at SS; a bit older for both of his leagues at 23, but much better than average performance.  He hits Left and Right hand pitchers equally well.

Lopez has the potential to be a good glove shortstop that can hit and take a walk.  Because his performance requires that he maintains a high BABIP, which is not beyond Lopez, it is interesting to see how he will do against better pitching competition, especially at the A+ and AA levels.  Potentially blocked by Nick Gordon at this point, if Gordon stays at SS, Lopez might be a valuable trade chip for the Twins down the road.  But there is long way to go.   Lopez in a pretty high ceiling but high risk player, thus the reason he missed a top 40 inclussion.  This will change with sustained success, esp. keeping his BABIP high.

Likely 2017 path:  Starting SS at Cedar Rapids with a potential move to Miracle mid-season

1/18/17

2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 46-50

You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2016 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here.    Here is my 2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.

This is the countdown for players ranked 51-55th in the system. You can find players 56-60 here, players 51-55 here, and all segments in the series here.

50. Jordan Balazovic (--)
DOB: 9/17/1998; Age: 18
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'4", Weight: 175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 5th round in 2016
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/GCL (2016)
ETA: 2020+

Jordan Balazovic was drafted by the Twins in the 5th round of the 2016 draft from St Martin Secondary School in Mississauga, ON, Canada.  Balazovic was the highest ranked Prep from Canada in the 2016 draft and comes from a baseball family, with both his father and grandfather playing professionally, the latter in the Cleveland Indians organization as an outfielder in the 1950s.  He has a great feel for the game.  He commands his low 90s fastball well and his changeup is close to a plus pitch.  He never threw a breaking ball until age 14 (that was 4 years ago) so his slider is a work in progress at this point, but it has been improving.  Very good mechanics and projectible build.  Has the potential to add velocity, but still very young.  In his first professional season he pitched in 8 games in the GCL league making 8 starts for 32 innings, striking out 16  (4.5 K/9, 12 K%) and walking 5 (1.4 BB/9, 8.3 K-BB%).  He had a 1.97 ERA, 3.54 FIP and 0.970 WHIP (.248 BABIP).  Still very raw, but with a plus changeup, very good control and command of the fastball and feel for the game, there is a lot of potential for Balazovic.

Likely 2017 path:  In EST and then the Elizabethton rotation.

49. Eduardo Del Rosario (--)
DOB: 5/19/1995; Age: 21
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'0", Weight: 145 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent signing 2012
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019


Eduardo Del Rosario was signed by the Minnesota Twins as an internation free agent from the Dominican Republic on Dec. 21, 2012, as a 17 year old and started his professional career at the Dominican Summer League in 2013.  There he has shown enough potential as a starter to make his stateside debut in Extended Spring Training and the Gulf Coast League the following season.   Del Rosario adjusted to the life in the United States as a reliever in 2014 and returned to starting and the GCL in 2015.  There he started 10 games (47-1/3 IP) striking out 50 (9.5 K/9, 27.8 K%), and walking 9 (1.7 BB/9, 22.8  K-BB%) and held opponents to a .217 average.  He finished with a 1.90 ERA, 2.08 FIP, 0.95 WHIP (.310 BABIP). He also made an emergency start in Elizabethton and got shelled (4 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 3 ER.)  He started 2016 in Extended Spring Training again, and was promoted to class A Cedar Rapids bypassing Elizabethon in June. In Cedar Rapids he started 16 games (83-1/3 IP) walking 32 (3.5 BB/9, 14 K-BB%) and striking out 81 (8.8 K/9, 23.3 K%), allowing a .244 opponent average without major slip deviations against lefties or righties.  He had a 3.67 ERA, 3.95 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP (.304 BABIP). 

He did show an improvement in effectiveness as the season went along (his ERA went from 6.58 in June to 2.83 in July and 1.69 in August,) however his biggest issue, wildness, was pretty constant.  In addition to the fairly high 3.5 BB/9 walk rate, in those 83-1/3 innings he threw 12 wild pitches and hit 5 batters. Del Rosario has excellent command of this low 90s fastball and he pitches ahead of hitters and then tries to get them out by swinging at his secondary stuff (changeup and slider) outside the zone.  He has been inducing massive strikeout numbers in bunches, including this appearance were he struck out 11 in 6 innings.. His problem is that his secondary staff is average and, on more than an occasion, hitters are ignoring it and sitting on the fastball or taking walks.  Improving his secondary stuff and their command will get him a long way; regardless, it is refreshing seeing a Twins' pitcher not being afraid to pitch outside the zone.

48. Taylor Clemensia (--)
DOB: 2/20/1997; Age: 19
Positions: LHP
Bats: L, Throws: L
Height: 6'1", Weight: 185 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent 2015
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/GCL (2016)
ETA: 2020+

Taylor Clemensia was signed by the Twins as an International Free Agent from the Netherlands in 2015.  2016 was his first professional season in the United States, as well as his first full season as a pitcher, playing 3 professional seasons in the Dutch League as an outfielder, and appearing only 5 games as a pitcher last season.  He started the season in Extended Spring Training and then moved to the Gulf Coast League where he pitched in 11 games, 10 as a starter, for 43-2/3 innings, striking out 47 and walking 12. He also threw 8 wild pitches and hit 6 batters.  He finished with a 2.47 ERA, FIP, and 1.214 WHIP (BABIP). 

Big fastball that is all over the place, above average curveball, good feel for the changeup and very consistent mechanics on a frame that suggests durability.  The command and control issues are concerning, but Clemensia has only pitched a season and a half, so there is a lot of room for improvement.

Likely 2017 path:  Extended Spring Training and then in the Elizabethton rotation, depending on the Twins' 2017 draft

47. Nelson Molina (--)
DOB: 4/30/1995; Age: 21
Positions: IF
Bats: L, Throws: R
Height: 6'3", Weight: 175 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round in 2013
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2020

Nelson Molina was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB J Draft from Antonio Luchetti High School in Arecibo, PR.  He has been developing slowly for the Twins, starting and repeating the GCL level his first two seasons, moving to Elizabethton in 2015 and to A level Cedar Rapids in 2016.  He was drafted as a SS, but has played every infield and the corner outfield positions, concentrating recently at third base that will likely be his position of the future.  Molina always had good plate discipline, but had a hard time making contact.  However something clicked for him this season, hitting .300/.374/.381 overall (with only a 13.9 K% and 9.9 BB%) and .321/.383/.419 against RHPs.  He is tall and lanky with limited power, but the potential to establish it as he grows.  He has some speed, stealing 12 bases in Elizabethton, but this season he only had 6 attempts (and 5 SB.) He has been improving at third base, but made 9 errors in 67 games last season.  At this point his bat is ahead of his glove, which will catch up as he is settles in one position.  However, this might be a catch-22 for Molina, because positional versatility might be his key to the majors at some point and I suspect that will be the path that the Twins take for his development, unless his bat jumps yet another level and the power and speed numbers improve yo be projected as a potential starter in the hot corner.  It will be interesting to see how he will respond in higher levels of competition, esp facing better off-speed pitches, and with more aggressive coaches at the base paths.   

Likely 2017 path:  On the Fort Myers Miracle roster as a utility player

46. Tyler Benninghoff (--)
DOB: 9/17/1997; Age: 19
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'4", Weight: 180 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round in 2016
Professional Experience: -; Highest level: - (-)
ETA: 2020+

The Twins drafted Tyler Benninghoff in the 11th round in the 2016 draft from Rockhurst High in Kansas City, MO.  Benninghoff who was committed to Arkansas before the draft was a top 100 High School Prospect and projected to be drafted in the first 3 rounds, before his 2016 was derailed with Tommy John surgery and recovery.  The Twins drafted him and signed him to an overslot value bonus ($600K vs $100K slot value) to entice him away from college.  Benninghoff is a project in many respects, but before his injury he had a plus hammer curve and an above average fastball, seating at 90-92 mph and touching mid 90s.  Projectible body and still growing, the health of his arm being the major concern.  If healthy and if he develops a third pitch or improves his fastball, he could rise fast in the organization.  2017 will be an assessment season for him.

Likely 2017 path:  Extended Spring Training

1/17/17

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 1/17/2017

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • Twins C Jairo Rodriguez has announced his retirement and was given a position as a coach with the DSL Twins (1/14)
  • The Twins have agreed with RHP Kyle Gibson to an 1yr/$2.9M contract, avoiding arbitration (1/13)
  • The Twins have agreed with RHP Ryan Pressly to an 1yr/$1.175M contract, avoiding arbitration (1/13)
  • The Twins have agreed with RHP Brandon Kintzler to an 1yr/$2.925M contract, avoiding arbitration (1/13)
  • The Twins have agreed with LHP Hector Santiago to an 1yr/$8M contract, avoiding arbitration (1/13)
  • The Twins have met with OF Jose Bautista's agent (1/10)
  • The Twins have checked on  Korean free agent 3B Jae-gyun Hwang, but he is not a fit (1/10)
  • It seems that the Twins and the Dodgers discussions regarding Brian Dozier are at an impasse (1/10)  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal with the Dodgers (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  
  • The Twins are interested in free agent RHSP Tyson Ross (12/26)
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins IF Yangervis Solarte has signed a 2yr/$7.5M extension with the Padres (1/14)
  • Former Twins 3B Danny Valencia agreed to an 1yr/$5.5M contract with the Mariners, avoiding arbitration (1/13) 
  • Former Twins IF Edwardo Nunez agreed to an 1yr/$4.2M contract with the Giants, avoiding arbitration (1/13) 
  • Former Twins RHP Liam Hendriks agreed to an 1yr contract with the Athletics, avoiding arbitration (1/13)

1/16/17

2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 51-55

You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2016 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here.    Here is my 2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.

This is the countdown for players ranked 51-55th in the system. You can find players 56-60 here and all segments in the series here.

55. Cody Stashak (--)
DOB: 6/4/1994; Age: 22
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'2", Weight: 169 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 13th round in 2015
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: A+ (2016)
ETA: 2019

Cody Stashak was drafted by the Twins in the 13th round of the 2015 draft from St. Johns University.  The New Jersey native majored in Criminology and St. John's was his second College, transfering there in 2015 from Cumberland (NJ) County (Junior) College, where he was a two way player, starting pitcher and outfielder.  His pitching record was 16-5 with a 2.92 ERA, including 7 complete games and 130 Ks in 129-1/3 innings.  He was very good as a position player as well, hitting .359 with 23 2B, 7 3B, 7 HR, and 91 RBI in 104 games, helping his team reach number 1 in national NJCAA Division III ranking and second in the 2014 NJCAA Division III World Series. In St. Johns he made 16 starts (85-2/3 IP), struck out 69 (7.3 K/9) and walked 24 (2.9 BB/9), ending up with a 3.57 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He begun his professional career at Elizabethton in 2015, where he started 10 games (44-2/3 IP), struck out 53 (10.7 K/9, 29% K%) and walked 11 (2.2 BB/9, 23 K-BB%) and finished with a 5-2 record, 3.43 ERA, 3.18 FIP, and 1.119 WHIP (.310 BABIP).  He begun last season at EST and moved up to A Midwest League Cedar Rapids where he appeared in 18 games (17 starts and a 4 IP relief appearance) pitching 105-1/3 innings, striking out 80 (6.8 K/9, 18.8 K%) walking 30 (2.6 BB/9, 11.8 K-BB%), finishing with a 3.16 ERA, 3.39 WHIP and 1.139 WHIP (.279 BABIP).  He was promoted to the A+ Florida State League Fort Myers in August where he pitched 3 games for 16-2/3 innings, with 10K and 3 BB, 0.54 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 0.960 WHIP (.260  BABIP), before going to the disable list with "shoulder discomfort" for the rest of the season.

Shoulder injury whose severity is unknown aside, Stashak has been a very steady pitcher, pitching several innings (130-1/3 in 2015 between College and Rookie ball and 122 in 2016 before his injury) with good results.  The strikeout to walk ratio, other that his short Elizabethton stint in 2015, is a tad lower than optimal, allowing more contact than necessary, which combined with the fact that he is a fly ball pitcher (about 2 fly outs per ground out) make one worry whether Stashak will have success in higher levels of professional ball.  He throws an above average 88-92 mph fastball that he commands well complements with an above average curveball.  He has been also working on a changeup and a slider/cutter. Stashak is a player who can move though a system fast if a couple of his pitches develop to a plus level and his control improve.  As mentioned previously the shoulder is a concern.

Likely 2017 Path: Starting the season with Fort Myers Miracle, pending his shoulder health.

54. Tyler Wells (--)
DOB: 8/26/1994; Age: 22
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'8", Weight: 265 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 15th round in 2016
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/Elizabethton (2016)
ETA: 2020

Tyler Wells was drafted by the Twins in the 15th round of the 2016 draft from California State San Bernandino.  The California native was a starter there for 3 seasons, pitching in 38 games (35 starts) for a total of 204 innings, striking out 191 (8.4 K/9), walking 90 (4.0 K/9), with a 3.84 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.  His last (junior) season he had better results (2.84 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 15 games, 92 IP) while his peripherals remained pretty much constant (8.7 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9) which indicates that he got a better feel in pitching.  He continued as a pro to Elizabethton where he started 10 games (47-1/3 IP), striking out 59 (11.2 K/9, 29.2 K%) and walking 17 (3.2 BB/9, 20.8% K-BB%) finishing with a 3.23 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 1.20 WHIP (.328 BABIP).  In total 2016 has been a good year for Wells, starting 25 games for 149-1/3 IP between college and rookie league.  Wells is a very durable starter and has the physique of a football lineman.  As a high school senior he was listed at 6'7" and 212 lbs. At San Bernandino he grew an inch and filled up his frame to 265 lbs, without being overweight.

As a collegiate his strikeouts were in bursts.  He had games where his strike outs were in double digits and games where there were few.  His results in Elizabethton show a gleam of hope that he can consistently keep his strikeout high by getting a better feel for his stuff from start to start.  His mechanics are very good and consistent for his size and there is a lot of potential for improvement of his pitches, which in combination with his durability, makes Wells an interesting prospect

Likely 2017 Path: Starting the season with Cedar Rapids

53. Zander Wiel (--)
DOB: 1/11/1994; Age: 24
Positions: 1B
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'3", Weight: 232 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 12th round in 2015
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019

Zander Wiel  was drafted by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2015 draft from Vanderbilt University.  The Tennessee native had an excellent last season there in 2015 highlighted by a .316/.406/.571 slash line and 15 HR in 275 AB (18.3 AB/HR).  Making the transition to a wooden bat is sometimes tricky for power hitters, but Wiel hit .265/.323/.494 with 5 HR in 83 AB (16.6 AB/HR) at the Cape Code League the previous summer, so it seems that his power would translate in the professional level.  He played 16 games (36 AB) in Elizabethton last season and his first small sample of professional baseball was not stellar (.194/.333/.333 ; 1 HR and missed most of the season with an injured wrist due to a HBP) but inconclusive. He played the full 2016 season in A League Cedar Rapids.  He played for 128 games (501) and hit .259/.336/.459 with 19 HRs (26.4 AB/HR.)  He started 123 of those games at 1B where he made 17 errors.

Wiel has power which is his best tool, but is not quite elite like Kennys Vargas (14.0 AB/HR at the same level,) Miguel Sano (16.3 AB/HR at the same level), or Adam Brett Walker (18.8 AB/HR at the same level.)  His fielding is a work in process.  The critical component for Wiel will be the amount of progress he makes making contact.  His batting average (.259) is pretty similar to what he had at the Cape Cod league (.265), which means that there might still be an adjustment period to the wooden bat.  His strikeouts (22%) are not bad for a power hitter and they were better than his highly regarded (but 3 years younger) teammate Travis Blackenhorn's (27.5%.)  There is a lot of potential here, but improvements in power, contact, and fielding need to be made for already 24-year old Wiel to realize it.

Likely 2017 Path: Opening day first baseman with Fort Myers.

52. Andrew Vasquez (--)
DOB: 9/14/1994; Age: 23
Positions: LHP
Bats: S, Throws: L
Height: 6'5", Weight: 210 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 32nd round in 2015
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019


Andrew Vasquez was drafted by the Twins in the 32nd round of the 2015 draft from Westmont College where he transferred as a senior from University of California Santa Barbara where he pitched his first 3 collegiate seasons.  The California native was Highly recruited out of High School after finishing 5-1 with 1.54 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 52-1/3 IP and being a switch hitting first baseman.  His freshman season he started 15 games (88-2/3 IP) had 106 strikeouts (10.6 K/9) and 63 BB (6.4 BB/9) with a 1.93 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.  The next 2 seasons the wheels fell off and his ERA ballooned to mid 4s, before dropping to 3.06 after his transfer.  The problem?  Andrew Vasquez is an unusual pitcher.  One has to think of him as a knuckleballer, but unlike a knuckleballer, Vasquez bread and butter pitch is his curveball that he throws most of the time.  And it is a beautiful slow curveball that sits at the high 60s low 70s, which most of the time is a plus plus pitch that misses bats and induces very weak contact when it does.  He occasionally throws a mid 80s fastball that was just a step above a playground pitch at college but improving.  Missing bats is what Vasquez does, but when he misses the plate with his curveball and the hitters are sitting on his fastball, the results have been disastrous.  All of his collegiate career he was given more walks than hits. His strikeout numbers (13.1 K/9) and hits (4.8 hits per 9 innings) have been stellar his senior year, but walks were the problem (5.7 BB/9).  In his first pro-season with the Twins, Vasquez transitioned to the pen in the Gulf Coast League where the trent continued.  He pitched 12-1/3 innings in 12 games, striking out 22 (16.1 K/9) allowing 10 hits (7.3 H/9) but walking 15 (11 BB/9).  He started 2016 in extended spring training and looks like something clicked for Vasquez.  He moved to Elizabethton for 4 games, pitched 10 innings striking out 15 (13.5 K/9, 38.5 K%) allowing 6 hits (5.4 H/9) and walking only 4 hitters (3.6 BB/9, 28.2 K-BB%) ending up with an 0.90 ERA,  2.46 FIP, and 1.00 WHIP (.333 BABIP.)  He was promoted to Cedar Rapids where the success continued: He came of the pen in 13 games for 28-1/3 innings, with 36 K (11.4 K/9, 31.6% K%), 12 BB (3.8 BB/9, 21.1 K-BB%) and 13 H (4.1 H/9) translating into a 1.59 ERA, 2.63 FIP and 0.88 WHIP (.210 BABIP).

It has to be mentioned that Vasquez has not allowed a home run as a pro player.  As mentioned earlier, even though a secondary pitch, his fastball has improved this season and he has been also toying with a slurve that sits at high 70s to low 80s.  He is lethal against LHBs. In Cedar Rapids he faced 36 lefties allowing 3 hits and 3 walks and had 18K.  He is a very interesting prospect who will live and die with the control and command of his curveball and if that holds up in higher levels, he might be a fast riser.  The benefit he has as a reliever that he did not have as a starter is that he can reduce his exposure when his command and control is not there.

Likely 2017 Path: In the Fort Myers bullpen

51. Jason Wheeler (--)
DOB: 10/27/1990; Age: 26
Positions: LHP
Bats: l, Throws: L
Height: 6'6", Weight: 255 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 8th round in 2011
Professional Experience: 5; Highest level: AAA (2014, 2015, 2016)
ETA: 2017

Jason Wheeler was drafted by the Twins in the 8th round of 2011 from Loyola Marymount University.  The California native has been in the Twins system since 2012, starting his professional career with the A Midwest League Beloit Snappers, starting from 25-28 games every seasons and pitching from 137-2/3 to 169-1/3 innings every season.  Wheeler was placed on the Twins' 40 man roster after the 2014 season to be protected from the Rule 5 draft, but was removed after the 2015 season.  He has been the poster boy of durability and consistency and has also suffered by the Twins' practice to block prospects at the high levels by singing aging veterans with little hope to contribute to the Twins to minor league contracts, blocking rising prospects.  Due to this, he started both the last seasons in AA and moved to AAA in the season and was bypassed by the likes of Andrew Albers in pitching for the Twins.  In 2016 Wheeler started 4 games in AA Chattanooga and 24 in AAA Rochester.  He pitched 169-1/3 innings striking out 135 (7.3 K/9, 19.1 K% ) and walked 40 (2.1 BB/9, 12.9 K-BB%) with a 3.30 ERA, 3.41 FIP and 1.163 WHIP (.283 BABIP).

Wheeler is a major league ready pitcher who is not flashy, entering his prime at 26, but can contribute at the end of a rotation.  He has a 88-90 mph fastball that he commands very well and generates soft contact.  He is also throwing an above average cutter/slider and change up.  He is about equally effective against lefties and righties and the last time he came out of a bullpen was as a college sophomore in 2010, so his future as a potential reliever is unknown.

Likely 2017 Path: Starting for Rochester, potential September or injury call up for the Twins.

1/13/17

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 1/13/2017

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • The Twins have signed C Chris Gimenez to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp (1/12)
  • The Twins have signed IF/OF Jonathan Rodriguez to a minor league contract (1/11)
  • The Twins have met with OF Jose Bautista's agent (1/10)
  • The Twins have checked on  Korean free agent 3B Jae-gyun Hwang, but he is not a fit (1/10)
  • It seems that the Twins and the Dodgers discussions regarding Brian Dozier are at an impasse (1/10)  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal with the Dodgers (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  
  • The Twins are interested in free agent RHSP Tyson Ross (12/26)
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:

  • Former Twins' LHP Neal Cotts has signed a minor league contract with the Nationals and was invited to their Spring Training  (1/13)

1/12/17

2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 56-60

You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2016 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here.    Here is my 2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.

Without further ado, here is the 2017 countdown of prospects, with their ranking in the 2016 list in parenthesis:

60. Mike Cederoth (--)
DOB: 11/25/1992; Age: 24
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'6", Weight: 195 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round in 2014
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: A (2015, 2016)
ETA: 2018

Mike Cederoth was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft from San Diego State University.  The San Diego native started in his first years at SDSU and he was their closer his last year, dropping his ERA to about half (2.29 vs 4.26) and saving 20 games. In 2012 Cederoth was hit  on the face by a comebacker, suffered a fractured jaw and had to have it wired shut for seven weeks.  He was one of several College closers that the Twins have drafted that season with the intent to convert to starters but failed.  Cederoth was ranked as the Twins' 23rd best prospect in my 2015 off-season list, after an unfortunate season in Elizabethton, and disappeared from my rankings in 2016, after a more unfortunate season in Cedar Rapids, both as a starter.  This season the Twins converted him back to a reliever and he repeated the A level Cedar Rapids assignment with promising results: He appeared in 30 games, pitched 47-2/3 innings, striking out 61 (11.5 K/9, 29.2% K%), walking 33 (6.23 BB/9, 13.4% K%-BB%) for a 1.43 WHIP (.288 BABIP, 88.3% LOB%), 2.45 ERA and 3.87 FIP.  His strikeout rate against RHBs was phenomenal (he faced 86 RHBs total and struck out 37).  A major difference from his previous seasons was that his first two seasons as a starter he had averaged 2 ground ball outs to all other outs where last season the ration was 0.84, which indicates a major difference in his approach.

Even out of college Cederoth had two ready pitches: a plus plus fastball that sits in the high 90s and touches triple digits and a plus slider.  He has been playing with a curveball and changeup in the minors that are workable, but not above average.  His curveball has had flashes of above average.   His problem has always been his delivery and mechanics and this has translated into more than optimal walks, which is his barrier to excellence and the one thing that he needs to overcome to become a major league pitcher, because his fastball and slider are major league ready.  Full transition to the bullpen and a program geared towards improving his mechanics may do wonders for Cederoth, as the abandonment of his two lesser pitches.  But he has a long way to go.

Likely 2017 path:  Will start the season in the A+ Fort Myers bullpen and depending on his success will move to AA Chattanooga.

59. Aaron Whitefield (--)
DOB: 9/2/1996; Age: 20
Positions: IF/OF
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'4", Weight: 200 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent from Australia
Professional Experience: 2; Highest level: Rookie/GCL (2015, 2016)
ETA: 2020

Aaron Whitefield was signed by the Twins as an International Free Agent from Australia.  2016 was his second professional season (he played 7 games in the GCL in 2015) and it highlighted Whitefield's versatility and steady hitting.  He played 51 games in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, starting 17 at CF, 8 at RF, 2 at LF, 5 at 3B and 18 at 1B.  Outfield is probably his best position, but at 6'4" and growing, having the versatility to play first base might help his career.  He is an excellent fielder thoughout.  He also played shortstop in the Australian Baseball League.  He hit .298/.370/.366 with 2 HR, 7 2B, in 217 PA. Struck out 47 times and walked 19, stole 31 bases and was caught 9 times. In addition to the 19 BBs, he had 48 singles, which means he attempted to steal 40 of the 67 times he reached first base, which is a very high rate.   His bat is advanced for someone with only few years of playing baseball (Whitefield is a converted softball player) and improving.  As most converted softball players, he is hitting RHP better that LHP.  His slash line against RHP was .325/.366/.423 vs .250/.378/.265 against LHP.   This off-season Whitefield is playing for his hometown Brisbane in the Australian League and hitting .342/.387/.541 (.349/.407/.566 against RHPs) with 4 HRs and 12/14 SB in 118 PA in 28 games.  The competition in the ABL is much higher than that at the GCL, which is very encouraging.

Whitefield is still very raw, but has good instincts both with the glove and the bat.  The bat will continue to improve the more he gets adjusted to baseball from softball, and right now it is much ahead of his peers.  He is one of the players who might make considerable jumps in prospect lists, since he has all the makings of a five-tool player if his power improves.  Definitely a player to follow.

Likely 2017 path:  Based on his ABL progress, I am bullish on Whitefield.  I think that he will start the season in Cedar Rapids and skip Elizabethton

58. Tanner English (--)
DOB: 3/11/1993; Age: 23
Positions: CF
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 5'10", Weight: 160 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 11th round in 2014
Professional Experience: 3; Highest level: AAA (2016)
ETA: 2018

Tanner English was drafted by the Twins in the 11th round of the 2014 draft from the University of South Carolina.  The Pittsburgh, PA, native is one of the purest centerfielders in the Twins' system with a plus glove.  He played 7 games in AAA last season out of need, however he spent most of the season in A+ Florida State League Fort Myers with the Miracle, and about three months of it in the disabled list because of a concussion.  English's career minor league numbers (.270/.372/.425, 13 HR, 31 2B, 14 3B, 54/62 SB in 756 PA in 177 games) added to a plus glove would make one think that he should be ranked maybe in the top 30 of the organization, but his problem has been staying on the field.  He plays the game relentlessly, since his days with the South Carolina Gamecocks, and gets hurt. A lot. Those 177 professional games came in three seasons.  In addition his hit tool was challenged this season This season in 33 games with the A+ Miracle, English hit .235/.348/.429 and struck out 47 times in 142 PAs (33.1%).  He played in the Arizona Fall League for 22 games, where he hit .239/.333/.338 with 25 K in 81 PAs (30.9%).    Those strikeout rates, in addition to problems with making contact demonstrated by the .230s batting average against better pitching this season question his potential as a major leaguer.  

His numbers (.417/.548/.750, 7 BB, 7K) in a super small sample of 31 PAs against LHP this season at Fort Myers, offer a glimmer of hope.  However, returning from a concussion is not an easy accomplishment and English will have an uphill battle. 

Likely 2017 path:  Will start the season in AA Chattanooga

57. Williams Ramirez (--)
DOB: 8/8/1992; Age: 24
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 200 lbs
Acquired: International Free Agent from the Dominican Republic
Professional Experience: 4; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019

Williams Ramirez was signed as a 20 year old from the Dominican Republic on December of 2012 and spend his first two professional seasons in the Dominican Summer League, coming stateside in the 2015 season.  He is a late bloomer.  In his first season stateside he pitched for the GCL Twins in 11 games (9 starts) for 47-1/3 innings, walking 19 and striking out 54 (29.2%).  He had a miniscule 1.14 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 0.908 WHIP (.211 BABIP).  Last season he jumped two levels to the A Midwest League Cedar Rapids where he moved permanently to the pen and had a similarly good season: 29 games, 55 innings, walking 34 and striking out 66 (29.7%).  2.62 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 1.055 WHIP (.197 BABIP).   His BABIP is bothersome as are his bases on balls.  However the reason for walking is not mechanics, but inconsistency of his secondary pitches.  He has a plus fastball with good movement that sits in the mid 90s and touches 96, a curve ball that flashes plus on occasion, but is out of control and a below average change up.  He participated in the instructional league this off-season.  

Ramirez is lethal against RHBs, allowing them to hit only .111 and striking out 39 of the 87 he faced, which may indicate that if he attends to his control issues he could potentially be a valuable arm out a pen.  Still at 24, he will be a bit older than most leagues he pitches.

Likely 2017 path:  Will start the season in A+ Fort Myers and maybe move up to Chattanooga depending on results and need.

56. Colton Davis (--)
DOB: 1/5/1994; Age: 23
Positions: RHP
Bats: R, Throws: R
Height: 6'1", Weight: 160 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 25th round in 2016
Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: A (2016)
ETA: 2019

Colton Davis was drafted by the Twins in the 25th round of last July's draft as a Senior from Western Carolina University.   The Commerce, GA native was assigned to Rookie Appalachian League Elizabethton Twins and he pitched in 13 games before moving to A Midwest League Cedar Rapids Kernels for 2 games in September because of need.   Davis was an all conference Academic Criminology major and his career numbers (90 games, 9 starts, 146-1/3 IP, 169 H, 98 BB, 177 K, .291 OBA, 33 WP, 12 HBP, 5.84 ERA, 1.907 WHIP) from far suggest that the likelihood to get a pro contract was small, however looking closely there is potential:  In his senior 2016 season Davis pitched in 31 games (1 start) for 67-1/3 innings he stuck out 89 batters of whom 34 looking and he had a 7 strikout relief appearance.  The previous summer in the New England Collegiate League Davis appeared in 6 games (9-2/3 IP) he had 18 strikeouts (16.8 K/9) and 4 walks (3.7 BB/9) with a 0.93 ERA and 0.930 WHIP.  Thus when his walks were controlled, there was a potential for good things.   And good things happened to him this season. In 13 games for Elizabethton (19-1/4 IP) he struck out 23 (10.71 K/9, 30.7% K%) walked 8 (3.72 BB/9, 20.0 K-BB%) had a 3.26 ERA, 2.83 FIP and 0.98 WHIP (.262 BABIP) as the Twins' closer.

Consistency and secondary pitches are the name of the game for Davis.  He has a low 90s fastball with terrific movement that he can spot around the plate; however his secondary staff leave a lot to be desired.  There is a lot of potential there, but also a lot of work to come close to realizing it.

Likely 2017 path:  Will start the season in the Cedar Rapids bullpen.

1/11/17

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 1/11/2017

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • The Twins have signed RHP Ryan Vogelsong to a minor league contract with Spring Training invitation (1/10)
  • The Twins have signed RHP Nick Tepesch to a minor league contract with Spring Training invitation (1/10)
  • The Twins have met with OF Jose Bautista's agent (1/10)
  • The Twins have checked on  Korean free agent 3B Jae-gyun Hwang, but he is not a fit (1/10)
  • It seems that the Twins and the Dodgers discussions regarding Brian Dozier are at an impasse (1/10)  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal with the Dodgers (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  
  • The Twins have hired former Yankees' scout Greg Orr as a pro scout (1/9)
  • The Twins have hired former Twins' UT and son of their former manager, Toby Gardenhire as a coach for their Rookie GCL team (1/9)
  • The Twins agreed on a minor league contact with LHP Matt Tracy (1/6)
  • The Twins are interested in free agent RHSP Tyson Ross (12/26)
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:


  • Former Twins 3B/1B Trevor Plouffe has signed with the Athletics to an 1 yr/~$5M contract, pending a physical (1/10)

1/10/17

2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: Introduction

With pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training in about 5 weeks, it is time for the annual Twins' off-season top prospect list.  The past 4 seasons, this list was a top 40 list, but I decided it to grow it to a top 60 list this off-season for various reasons, including some uncertainty towards the end of the rankings, plus the fact that I tend to include several players who have not yet played stateside.

Unlike other prospect lists that include all players who qualify as rookies, mine does not include players who have played in the majors.  I find it awkward to see players like J.T. Chargois who appeared in 25 games in the majors and was a major league player for the best part of 2 months, listed as a "prospect", and in some places with ETA 2017.  Players like Adalbelto Mejia who appeared for one game only in the majors, take a mulligan and still treated as prospects in my list.

I have waited as much as I could to include potential players received in trades, but I am afraid that if I wait any longer, I will run out of time, so additional incoming prospects will be ranked retroactively.

As a baseline, here is my 2016 Twins' off-season list (the full link and analysis is here; it includes 2015 ranking in parenthesis and ETA)


1. Jose Berrios RHSP (5), 2016
2. Tyler Jay (--) LHSP, 2017
3. Nick Burdi (6) RHRP, 2016
4. Stephen Gonsalves (13) LHSP, 2018
5. Lewin Diaz (9) 1B/DH, 2019
6. JT Chargois (--) RHRP, 2016
7. Wander Javier (--) SS, 2020+
8. Jermaine Palacios (36) SS/3B, 2020
9. Nick Gordon (12) SS, 2019
10. Mitch Garver (17) C, 2017
11. Levi Michael (22), 2B, 2016
12. Mason Melotakis (--), LHRP, 2016
13. Kohl Stewart RHSP (7), 2017
14. Travis Harrison (14), OF/1B, 2017
15. Amaurys Minier (6) OF/1B, 2019
16. Jake Reed (16) RHRP, 2017
17. Lewis Thorpe (11) LHSP, 2019
18. Daniel Palka (--) OF, 2017
19. Adam Walker (21), OF, 2016
20. Felix Jorge (29), RHSP, 2018
21. Rainis Silva (24), C, 2018
22. Jean Carlos Arias (--), CF, 2020
23. Engelb Vielma SS (20), 2017
24. Luis Arraez IF (40), 2019
25. Ryan Eades RHSP (30), 2017
26. Lachlan Wells (--), LHSP, 2020
27. Huascar Ynoa (--), RHSP, 2020
28. Brusdar Graterol (--), RHSP, 2020+
29. Brandon Peterson (27), RHRP, 2017
30. Taylor Rogers (--), LHR/SP, 2016
31. LaMonte Wade (--), CF, 2018
32. Kolton Kendrick (--), 1B/DH, 2020+
33. Chris Paul (--) IF/OF, 2018
34. Fernardo Romero (37), RHSP, 2019
35. Yorman Landa (--), RHRP, 2018
36. Kuo Hua Lo (--), RHRP, 2018
37. Niko Goodrum (--), CF/IF, 2017
38. Travis Blankenhorn (--), 3B/1B, 2020
39. Trey Cabbage (--), IF/OF, 2020+
40. Emmanuel Morel (--) IF, 2020+

Berrios (1), Chargois (6), and Rogers (30) have graduated, Walker (19), Landa (35) and Lo (36) are no longer with the organization.

The next segment will start the top 60 prospects countdown and will be the 56-60 prospects.


1/6/17

The Twins announce non-roster Spring Training invitees and there are some surprises

Today the Twins have announced that the following players not on their 40-man roster will be invited to the MLB Spring Training camp:

RHP Raul Fernandez
IF Tommy Field
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
IF Bengie Gonzalez
IF Niko Goodrum
IF Nick Gordon
IF Matt Hague
IF Ben Paulsen
RHP Jake Reed
IF Leonardo Reginatto
C Eddy Rodriguez
C Dan Rohlfing
RHP Drew Rucinski
OF J.B. Shuck
RHP Aaron Slegers
RHP Alex Wimmers

This puts the total number of invitees to 56.  Last season there were 23 non-roster invitees, so I do expect some additions.   However, there are a few surprises:  DJ Baxendale,  Nick Burdi, and Tyler Jay could all help the Twins' bullpen and Levi Michael could potentially fight for a utility spot.  The addition of Nick Gordon who is not close to being MLB-ready is also puzzling.   I expect that a few more catchers and at least one more OF will be added who potentially are not yet in the organization

1/5/17

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 1/5/2017

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • The Twins agreed on a minor league contact with RHP Jim Miller (1/4)
  • It was officially announced that Jake Mauer will be the AA Chattanooga Lookouts manager (1/3) 
  • It was officially announced that Doug Mientkiewicz will be the A+ Fort Myers Miracle manager (1/3) 
  • It was officially announced that Tommy Watkins will be the A Cedar Rapids Kernels manager (1/3)
  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).   The Angels and Philies are among the teams interested in Dozier (11/25). .  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal with the Dodgers (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  Add the San Fransisco Giants to the teams interested in Dozier (12/17) (and 12/20),. however nothing is imminent (12/17).  The Cardinals and Nationals are also interested in Dozier, in addition to the Giants and Dodgers (12/26).  However both the Cardinals and the Nats deny active interest (12/27).  The Twins have informed interested clubs, including the Braves that are newly mentioned, to submit their best offers because they are looking for a quick resolution (12/30)
  • The Twins are interested in free agent RHSP Tyson Ross (12/26)
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:

No recent news

1/2/17

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 1/2/2017

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • It looks like Jake Mauer will be the new manager at Fort Myers and there is a manager's vacancy at Cedar Rapids (12/31)
  • The Twins have re-signed LHP Nick Greenwood to a minor league contract (12/30)
  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).   The Angels and Philies are among the teams interested in Dozier (11/25). .  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal with the Dodgers (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  Add the San Fransisco Giants to the teams interested in Dozier (12/17) (and 12/20),. however nothing is imminent (12/17).  The Cardinals and Nationals are also interested in Dozier, in addition to the Giants and Dodgers (12/26).  However both the Cardinals and the Nats deny active interest (12/27).  The Twins have informed interested clubs, including the Braves that are newly mentioned, to submit their best offers because they are looking for a quick resolution (12/30)
  • The Twins are interested in free agent RHSP Tyson Ross (12/26)
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:

  • Former Twins RHP Joe Nathan has signed  with the Giants (1/2) 
  • Former Twins' minor league pitching coach Steven Mintz was named the pitching coach of the Down East Wood Ducks (A+ Carolina League, Rangers' affiliate) (1/2)

12/29/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 12/29/2016

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • The Twins are interested in free agent RHSP Tyson Ross (12/26)
  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).   The Twins are "aiming high" as far as returns for Dozier go and are "shooting for the stars" (11/25). The Angels and Philies are among the teams interested in Dozier (11/25).  The latest news indicates that the Dodgers have piqued the Twins' interest as far as a potential Dozier trade goes (12/4). The Dodgers are still interested, even after their latest signings (12/12), and the dialogue still continues (12/14).  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  Add the San Fransisco Giants to the teams interested in Dozier (12/17) (and 12/20),. however nothing is imminent (12/17).  The Cardinals and Nationals are also interested in Dozier, in addition to the Giants and Dodgers (12/26).  However both the Cardinals and the Nats deny active interest (12/27)
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:

  • Former Twins RHP Edward Mujica has signed a minor league contract with the Tigers, which includes a Spring Training invitation  (12/29)
  • Former Twins RHP Eric Hacker re-signed with KBO's NC Dinos (12/27)

12/26/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 12/26/2016

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • The Twins have signed OF Leandro Castro to a MiLB contract (11/26)
  • The Twins have signed 3B Dan Gamache and RHP Henry Centeno to minor league contracts (12/24)
  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).   The Twins are "aiming high" as far as returns for Dozier go and are "shooting for the stars" (11/25). The Angels and Philies are among the teams interested in Dozier (11/25).  The latest news indicates that the Dodgers have piqued the Twins' interest as far as a potential Dozier trade goes (12/4).  Add the Yankees to the list of the teams interested in Dozier (12/5), a report that Yankees' GM Cashman later called false (12/5).  The Dodgers are still interested, even after their latest signings (12/12), and the dialogue still continues (12/14).  Jose DeLeon might be the centerpiece of a deal (12/16) and there seems that the two teams have already agreed on DeLeon and discussing potentially other players (12/21).  Add the San Fransisco Giants to the teams interested in Dozier (12/17) (and 12/20),. however nothing is imminent (12/17).
  • There is interest by unnamed teams on Twins RHP Ervin Santana and the Twins have indicated that nobody is "untouchable" (12/16)
  • The Twins could have interest in Red Sox'  P Drew Pomeranz, but have not discussed them yet with Boston (12/6); However are not listed among the teams that were interested in Red Sox' pitchers per Boston sources (12/7)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:

  • Former Twins SS Heineke Meneses has signed a minor league contact with the Red Sox (12/26)
  • The Braves have signed former Twins LHP Andrew Albers to a minor league contract (12/24)
  •  Former Twins C Josmil Pinto was signed by the Giants to a minor league contract (12/24)
  • The Angels have signed former Twins' OF Ben Revere to an 1yr/$4M contract with additional $2.25M in incentives (12/23)
  • Former Twins' OF Mike Ryan was named the manager for AA Altoona Curve (Eastern League, Pittsburg Pirates' affiliate) (12/23)