10/14/16

The Twins 40-man roster Part 2: Who should be protected from the Rule 5 Draft

The first segment of this series was dedicated to cleaning up the Twins' existing 40-man roster, assuming that the new management will do the right thing and go for a full rebuild.  This second segment, further adjusts the roster by adding players to protect from the draft, and maybe subtracting some of the players on the derived roster.  As a bonus, I will be listing additional Twins minor leaguers who do not need to be protected for the Rule 5 draft, but might merit consideration for a spot on the roster.  This list will give a good overview of the high level minor league talent available currently in the Twins' organization.  I will not proposed to add anyone who does not need to be added on the 40-man roster right now, eg. Steven Gonsalves, Jake Reed etc, but instead, the Twins should invite them as non-roster players to the 2017 Spring Training.  If they win a job there, they should merit a roster spot, but the Twins would need much roster flexibility this off-season.

Here is the 24 man roster, after the clean up.  Noted that if Perkins is moved to the 60-day disabled list, the roster would stand at 23, allowing up to 17 openings:

Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (RHSP)
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 (C)
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RHRP)
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RHRP)
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (RHSP)
Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989 (IF)
Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RHRP)
Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RHRP)
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 (1B/DH)
Trevor May 9/23/1989 (RHSP)
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (LHSP)
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (LHRP)
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 (C)
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 (1B/DH)
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 (LHRP) (*)
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (LHRP)
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (LHRP)
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B/DH)
Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)

Clearly the weakest lings on the roster are the two borderline age-wise position players, Catcher Juan Centeno, and utility infielder Eduardo Escobar.  In addition, Pat Light is the weakest relief pitcher, so borderline players would be compared to these three because they will be fighting for their spots.

Here are the Rule 5 Draft-eligible Position players, by position:

Catchers: 

Kevin Garcia, 9/17/1992, A/A+, 2016: .249/.302/.323, career: .252/.321/.315
Mitch Garver, 1/1/1991, AAA/AA, 2016: .270/.342/.422, career: .267/.359/.406 (*)
Rainis Silva, 3/20/1996 A, 2016: .230/.297/.254, career: .238/.295/.293
Stuart Turner, 12/27/1991, AA, 2016: .239/.322/.363, career: .241/.325/.352

Clearly Mitch Garver should be on the roster, since he will be fighting for a starting job in 2017.  Rainis Silva's glove is the best in the organization at the Catcher position right now, but his bat stinks, and unless that improves (and there is a lot of time, he just turned 20,) there is no risk of losing him.  I do not see Kevin Garcia being selected.  Whether adding Stuart Turner on the roster, is a toss-up.  His bat does not play in the majors, but his glove might.  Which brings the question: who should be on the roster, Turner or Centeno?  I think that Centeno's lefty bat that was not unrespectable in the majors wins here, but it is a close call.  It might be an academic question because the Twins are in dire need of a young good catcher, and if they obtain him this off-season will take the spot now reserved for Centeno.

Additions:  Garver

Infielders: 

Niko Goodrum, 2/28/1992, A+/AA, 2016: .275/.352/.464, career: .247/.339/.368
Levi Michael 2/9/1991, AA, 2016: .215/.293/.291, career: .250/.341/.343
Amaurys Minier, 1/20/1996, RK+, 2016: .222/.318/.449, career: .233/.321/.422
Rafael Valera, 8/25/1994, A, 2016: .261/.366/.409, career: .260/.380/.333
Engelb Vielma, 6/22/1994, A+/AA, 2016: .265/.344/.310, career: .264/.327/.309  
Ryan Walker, 3/26/1992, A+/AA, 2016: .271/.347/.345, career:  .262/.324/.321

Levi Michael had a terrible season after two strong ones, and I am not sure whether he is even in the Twins' plans right now that the administration that picked him in the first round is extinct.  I cannot see Valera or Walker get selected,  I think that Niko's Goodrum's career year and positional versatility (can play both positions on the left side of the infield, and can sub for both Sano and Polanco, plus Centerfield) as well as Engelb Vielma's standout glove and improved to respectability bat, will entice teams and could help the Twins in the future.  As a matter of fact, either would be better as a utility player for the 2017 Twins than Eduardo Escobar. Both in, Escobar traded/non-tendered.  The last player in this list is a wild card.  Amaurys Minier has had superstar potential but been plagued by injuries and inconsistencies.  Has not played above Elizabethton, but I am so afraid that someone could pull a Johan Santana on the Twins and pick him.  Got to protect him for at least another year.

Additions: Goodrum, Minier, Vielma
Subtractions: Escobar

Outfielders:

Edgar Corcino 6/7/1992, AA/A+ 2016: .273/.337/.420, career:  .245/.316/.368
JJ Fernandez, 3/30/1994, A, 2016: .225/.293/.363, career: .239/.293/.363
Zach Granite, 9/17/1992, AA, 2016: .295/.347/.382 (56/70 SB), career: .282/.349/.354 (*)
Max Murphy, 11/17/1992, A/A+, 2016: .236/.289/.358, career: .252/.329/.411
Travis Harrison, 10/17/1992, AA, 2016: .230/.338/.339, career: .254/.360/.380
Daniel Palka, 10/28/1991, AA/AAA, 2016: .254/.327/.521, career: .268/.346/.509 (*)

I think that what I wrote previously regardless Levi Michael, applies to Travis Harrison as well.  This might be his last chance in the Twins' organization.  Fernandez and Murphy are not close to being MLB-ready or selected in the draft.  Corcino is a better player than both, but still ways away.  This leaves the player whom the Twins named minor league player of the year, Zach Granite, and the player they should had named, Daniel Palka.  They both should be protected and added on the 40-man roster.  Palka will fight (or push back to second base) Eduardo Rosario for a corner outfielder job and Zach Granite and his 56 stolen bases might make the best 4th outfielder, pinch runner combination the Twins have had for years.

Additions: Granite, Palka

Notable non-Rule 5 Draft-eligible at A+ and above position players:

Nick Gordon (SS) 10/24/1995, A+, 2016: .291/.335/.386, career: .285/.335/.371
LaMonte Wade (OF) 1/1/1994, A/A+, 2016: .293/.402/.438, career: .297/.409/.459

Both should be invited to the 2017 Spring Training and given the ability to win an MLB job, but they should not be added on the roster unless they need to.

Rule 5 Draft-eligible Pitchers: 

Starters:

Ryan Eades (R), 12/15/1991, AA, 2016: 4.61 ERA, 1.376 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 career:  4.33 ERA, 1.379 WHIP, 6.7 K/9
Felix Jorge.(R) 1/2/1994, A+/AA, 2016: 2.69 ERA, 1.088 WHIP, 5.9 K/9 career:  3.17 ERA, 1.164  WHIP, 7.4 K/9
Aaron Slegers, (R) 9/4/1992, AA,  2016: 3.41 ERA, 1.259 WHIP, 6.4 K/9 career:  3.54 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, 6.5 K/9
Fernando Romero, (R) 12/24/1994, A/A+, 2016: 2.09 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 career:  2.37 ERA, 1.032 WHIP, 8.8 K/9
Lewis Thorpe, (L), 11/23/1995. lost 2015 and 2016 with Tommy John surgery & other ailments. 2012-2014:  2.96 ERA, 1.176 WHIP, 11.2 K/9
Jason Wheeler (L), 10/27/1990, AAA/AA, 2016: 3.30 ERA, 1.163 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 career:  3.66 ERA, 1.325 WHIP, 6.4 K/9

Ryan Eades had a below average season as a starter and I expect him to make the transition to the pen this season, which will be his best opportunity to get to the majors.  Felix Jorge and Fernando Romero are just too good not to add.  Both, especially Romero, have outside chances of wining a position in the Twins' rotation this spring.  They are both no-brainer additions.  Lewis Thorpe was a phenomenal prospect who lost 2 seasons in a row.  Is he back?  Only the Twins know.  I just do not see a chance for anyone to select him, but if the Twins think there is, I can see him add him on the roster.  I won't.  Slegers is an intriguing possibility:  He has been above average his career with above average stuff, but has shown nothing eye opening, in both raw stuff and results. Very intriguing conversion to a reliever who might get a mid to high 90s fastball from this frame.  Should the Twins add him on the roster and do it?  In the expense of Pat Light or any of the other relievers who need protection?  I don't think so. Regardless whether he is selected or not, he should be in a bullpen next season.   This leaves us to Jason Wheeler whom the Twins protected in 2015, unprotected in 2016, and snubbed him for a call up, in a year he was pitching well in both AA and AAA, for the likes of Anrew Albers.  Terrible decision, but I hope that the change in the administration does the right thing and protects him, if for not other reason, because he is lefty and successful and he is second, after Adalberto Mejia, in the Twins LHSP depth chart.  This might change during the off-season if the Twins acquire a LHSP or two better than Mejia, and they should target that.  But until then, Wheeler is in, at least for 2017 to show what he can do.

Additions: Jorge, Romero, Wheeler

Relievers:

Luke Bard (R) 11/13/1990, A+/AA, 2016: 3.74 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 career:  3.23 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
DJ Baxendale (R), 12/8/1990, As a RP only: AAA 2016: 1.29 ERA, 1.029 WHIP, 10.3 K/9
Omar Bencomo (R) 2/10/1989, AA/AAA, 2016: 3.74 ERA, 1.352 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, career:  3.77 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 6.7 K/9
Cameron Booser (L), 5/4/1992, A/A+, 2016: 8.53 ERA, 2.013 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, career:  4.32 ERA, 1.571 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
Alan Busenitz (R) 8/22/1990, AA/AAA, 2016: 3.54 ERA, 1.262 WHIP, 8.1 K/9 career:  3.55 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 7.6 K/9 (might protect him for political reasons - he came in the Meyer/Nolasco trade, but there are better players)
C.K. Irby, (R), 5/6/1992, A, 2016: 2.42 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, 10.5 K/9 career:  3.56 ERA, 1.264 WHIP, 11.5 K/9
Zack Jones (R), 12/4/1990, AA/AAA, 2016: 3.47 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, 12.4 K/9 career:  2.97 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, 12.7 K/9
Brandon Peterson, (R), 9/23/1991, A+/AA, 2016: 3.30 ERA, 1.150 WHIP, 11.2 K/9 career:  2.41 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
Brian Gilbert, (R), 8/9/1992, A+, 2016: 5.53 ERA, 2.024 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, career: 3.66 ERA, 1.439 WHIP, 6.6 K/9
Williams Ramirez, (R), 8/8/1992, A, 2016: 2.62 ERA, 1.055 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, career:  1.97 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 10.1 K/9
Todd Van Steensel (R), 1/14/1991, A+/AA, 2016: 3.88 ERA, 1.324 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, career:  3.42 ERA, 1.291 WHIP, 9.7 K/9

This is a long list of 11 relievers, with only one of them (Booser) a lefty.  Booser had a disappointing season in both High A and A and will not be selected.  The same is true for Brian Gilbert. Bencomo is a last option type of player, and will not be selected. Van Steensel's season was not strong enough to get consideration.  C.K. Irby's was, however it was not at a high enough level.  The same for Williams Ramirez, but watch out if these two repeat their results in high A and/or AA in 2017.  Which brings us to Luke Bard, the Twins' former 1st round pick, who is about to turn 26, and had an average season, but has not been the same after losing 2014 recovering from shoulder surgery.  I think that this will be his last chance to prove that he belongs in the prospect conversation and I will not be surprised if it is not in the Twins' organization.  Alan Busenitz is an interesting case.  He pitched in AA and AAA with average results, that reflect the rest of his minor league career, but the Twins might protect him for political reasons, since he was acquired in the Alex Meyer, Ricky Nolasco trade that also brought Hector Santiago to the Twins.  Maybe the new administration will let the past go and would not protect him.  I wouldn't.  However, I would protect the most successful reliever in the Twins' minor league system, DJ Baxendale, who after transitioning to that role for Rochester upon his promotion from Chatanooga  excelled.  This leaves us two pitchers who might depart via the draft, and one last off-season:  Zach Jones and Brandon Peterson.  Got to add Pat Light to the conversation and it is two out of three.  I'd picke Jones and Light, risking Peterson's departure, mainly because he has played in more junior levels (only 16 games in AA) and might deemed less ready.  But it is a risk.

Additions: Baxendale, Jones.

Notable non-Rule 5 Draft-eligible at A+ and above:

Starters:

Stephen Gonsalves (L) 7/8/1994 A+/AA, 2016: 2.06 ERA, 1.021 WHIP, 10.0 K/9 career:  2.13 ERA, 1.072 WHIP, 9.7 K/9
Tyler Jay (L) 4/19/1994 A+/AA, 2016: 3.33 ERA, 1.231 WHIP, 8.3 K/9 career:  3.44 ERA, 1.265 WHIP, 8.7 K/9
Kohl Stewart (R), 10/7/1994, A+/AA,  2016: 2.88 ERA, 1.343 WHIP, 5.7 K/9 career:  2.84 ERA, 1.284 WHIP, 5.9 K/9

Relievers:

Nick Burdi (R), 1/19/1993, AA, 2016: shut down after 3 games, career: 3.72 ERA, 1.322 WHIP, 12.6 K/9
Trevor Hildenberger (R), 12/15/1990, AA/A+, 2016: 0.75 ERA, 0.792 WHIP, 9.9 K/9 career:  1.47 ERA, 0.823 WHIP, 10.5 K/9
Jake Reed (R), 9/29/1992, AAA/AA,  2016: 3.57 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 9.2 K/9 career:  3.47 ERA, 1.130 WHIP, 8.8 K/9
Michael Theophanopoulos (L), 8/5/1992, A/A+,  2016: 2.20 ERA, 1.163 WHIP, 11.6 K/9 career:  3.29 ERA, 1.351 WHIP, 10.5 K/9

As with the position players, all of the above, in addition to several Rule 5-eligible players who will remain with the Twins but not added to the roster, and hopefully several new young good players should be invited to the Twins 2017 Spring Training.

This leaves the modified Twins 40-man roster with 34 (33 (*) if Perkins is on the 60-day DL) spots and 6 (or 7) openings, which are enough for the Twins to be flexible in targeting acquisitions in trades and potentially shopping the Rule 5 draft and the waiver wire (and a reminder that they have the right of first refusal, because of the worst record in the majors, for both.)  Here is the modified roster:

DJ Baxendale 12/8/1990 (RHRP)
Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (RHSP)
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 (C)
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RHRP)
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RHRP)
Mitch Garver, 1/1/1991 (C)
Zach Granite, 9/17/1992 (OF)
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (RHSP)
Zack Jones 12/4/1990 (RHRP)
Felix Jorge  1/2/1994 (RHSP)
Niko Goodrum, 2/28/1992 (SS/3B/CF)
Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RHRP)
Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RHRP)
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 (1B/DH)
Trevor May 9/23/1989 (RHSP)
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (LHSP)
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (LHRP)
Amaurys Minier, 1/20/1996 (1B/OF)
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 (C)
Daniel Palka, 10/28/1991 (OF)
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 (1B/DH)
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 (LHRP) (*)
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (LHRP)
Fernando Romero 12/24/1994(RHSP)
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (LHRP)
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B/DH)
Engelb Vielma, 6/22/1994 (SS)
Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)
Jason Wheeler 10/27/1990 (LHSP)


Next installment will be a critical view of the roster, assessing weaknesses and looking for potential positions that the Twins should target this off-season.


5 comments:

Marv said...

Lots of fun stuff. I think this is my third trip trying to digest it all.

Non-tender Escobar? He is a year away from a very respectable year. It is true that he had a down year in 2016, but you know very well he was the defensive minor league player of the year twice for the White Sox. The guy has value, even if it isn't on this roster.

You cam keep Vielma for his glove, but he will no more hit than Florimon or Adam Everett did. And we know how patient everyone was with that.
Minier, a 20 year-old in Rookie ball, will never be picked by someone who then has to keep him on the roster for the entire season. If I'm wrong I would actually eat one of my hats, but I suspect he is no more likely to be picked in a Rule 5 draft than you or me. I'm going to keep an eye on him though, because you seem pretty high on him.

I may try to tackle more later. Great article! Thank you

thrylos98 said...

I am on the fence with Minier. He might get picked, he might not.

This is about Escobar and Goodrum and who will have the highest likelihood of being there when the good Twins' core is on their prime. I do like Escobar, but at this point I like Goodrum more. If Goodrum is not added he will become a MiLB free agent. I see him as a Gene Larkin type of bat with the ability to play more positions and be better on the field than Larkin.

Vielma is getting better with the bat and it is interesting. He actually hit AA pitching. .345 OBP in AAA is not that bad. Also Vielma turns into (good) Mauer when he faces LHP. He hit .338/.407/.416 off them in AA. That with good fielding makes him at least interesting as a bench option for a MLB, and I'd rather see that team be the Twins...

So Goodrum + Vielma > Escobar is the equation.

Marv said...

Good points. I appreciate that.

However, if you want to rid yourself of Escobar I have to believe you could get something for him in a trade. Even a 'maybe, who knows' A ball player would be better than nothing.

He has value. We picked up Everett later in his career (he of the career OPS+ of 66).
Please lets not non-tender Eduardo.

David Jernigan said...

This is more about your previous post, but you skipped Danny Santana in the stay or go discussion. I am assuming you consider him less valuable than Escobar and therefore out. I am intrigued by his defensive ceiling at SS, but he's awfully old for that to show. Thoughts?

thrylos98 said...

Oh yeah. I would trade Escobar if there are takers for sure.

Great catch re: Santana :) Not sure what to do with him. Goordum makes him redundant and I would DFA him just to not see Molitor play him at the OF. If there are any takers, I'd trade him of course.