Live Fort Myers Report from the Twins Spring Training: 3/20/17

This is the latest report of the happenings in the Twins' Spring training, and the first live from Fort Myers.   The previous one is here, and can find all 2017 Twins Spring Training related posts here.  I will be describing events of interesting in the Twins' camp as well as happenings with former Twins.  For two weeks, starting this week, these reports will be live from Fort Myers and daily and will be indicated in the title.

  • Nick Burdi pitched a perfect inning last Wednesday.  
  • Kennys Vargas was 2 for 5 with a walk, a home run and three strikeouts for Team Puerto Rico in a WBC game Saturday.
  • Ervin Santana started for the Dominican Republic against the US last Saturday.  He pitched 2-2/3 innings, threw 68 pitches, allowed six hits, including a HR, 4 earned runs and struck out two hitters, taking the loss.
  • Former Twins RHP Pat Light was cut by the Pirates and was assigned to their minor league camp. 
  • The Twins battle for the last 2 spots still remains interesting.  Hector Santiago has not pitched more than 2-2/3 innings for Puerto Rico and will be used from the pen in tonight's game against the Netherlands.  Jason Haley did not pitch very well on Sunday at the Rex Sox,  lasting two innings, allowing 5 hits, including a HR, a walk, and 4 ERs.  He struck out 4 in those 2 innings.  On Monday at the Blue Jays Tyler Duffey went 5 innings, allowing only 4 hits and a walk, striking out 2 and dropping his Spring ERA down to 3.86.  At the same game Adalberto Mejia followed, pitching 4 innings allowing 3 hits (including a HR,) 2 walks and 2 ER, while striking out 5.  His ERA is now at 1.88.  These 4 pitches, in addition to Jose Berrios who might start the WBC final for PR, are in battle for the last 2 rotation sports for the Twins.
  • ByungHo Park and Miguel Sano had long HRs today and Dunedin, but so did Mitch Garver at the back fields that was my focus of the action for the last two days, and attracted Twins Brass including Favrey, Levine, Antony, Steil, etc.  News from the back fields:
  • Pitching Notes:  RHP Ryan Eades, who dropped from my top 50 prospect list, was the biggest surprise today (and, yes, Tyler Jay was also pitching.)  The 25 year old former second roung pick in 2013, sported shoulder long hair and a big fastball that was sitting at 94-96 mph that he supplemented with a low to mid 80s changeup.   He looks like he is making the transition to a reliever, but that fastball was very surprising.  The command is not as crisp as it should be, but this is his second ST week.   Tyler Jay who the organization fast tracked by deciding that he will be a full time reliever was throwing 92-94 with the fastball that was hitting spots and inducing ground balls that was supplemented with a very good, 79-81 mph curve that was missing bats and was commanded very well.  Bit of rust, but still early in the ST.  A few relatively new to organization players also pitched:  23 year old Tyler Fox who was signed as an undrafted free agent last season was hit pretty hard yesterday and was serving bombs to the Cedar Rapids hitters.  34 year old Jim Miller who was acquired as a minor league free agent this off-season was ineffective for Rochester, topping off at 89 mph and trying to get outs with off-speed pitches that was sitting from the high 60s to low 70s.  However fellow minor league free agent signee this off-season, 28 year old lefty Matt Tracy was pretty impressive starting for Rochester: He was an imposing figure on the mount featuring an 89-91 mph fastball and a very good 80-81 mph change that induces swings and misses, having 4 strikeouts in 2 innings.  Very composed and excellent command and control.  He might pitch for the Twins this season, if this continues.  Alan Busenitz (of the Nolasco and Meyer trade fame) throws a 93-95 mph fastball and a low 80s curve and the 26 year old looked pretty promising today.  26 year old Dominican Confesor Lara who was singed late last season from the independent leagues as an injury fill in looks like a worth while work in progress.  He throws a very heavy sinker at 91-93 mph that induces plenty of swings and misses that he supplements with a mid 80s off-spead offering that needs some work.  But that singer is a good base to make him a suitable reliever, if he develops a secondary pitch.
  • Other than the Fort Myers (and maybe Rochester, pending opt outs) team, it looks like that the full season minor league teams of the Twins will be excellent this season, with the bats at Cedar Rapids and the arms in Chattanooga leading the way.  A Burdi, Jay, Curtiss pen in Chattanooga has the possibility of being one of the most lethal ever at any level.
  • Tomorrow the Twins are hosting the Phillies and I will be following this action.

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