Live Fort Myers Report from the Twins Spring Training: 3/21/17

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.

  • Last day at Fort Myers from me, so the next Twins' Spring Training report will be from up North
  • RHP Trevor May is having his Tommy John surgery today
  • LHP Ryan O'Rourke will start the season in the 10-day Disabled List with elbow tightness, diagnosed as flexor mass strain.  Athletics' P Homer Baily had that condition, and this is an interesting article on it.
  • The Twins released RHP Ryan Vogelsong per his request
  • Looks like C Stuart Turner might be returning from the Reds.
  • Kyle Gibson was good against the Phillies yesterday, pitching for 5 innings allowing 5 hits, including a HR, one walk, that one run and striking out 2.  His Spring ERA is 2.01 and WHIP 1.12 now.  Threw a variety of pitches and had good command and control.  He maxed out at 91 mph.  The Twins relievers, especially JT Chargois (8.64 ERA 2.28 WHIP for Spring), Buddy Boshers (8.59 ERA 1.91 WHIP), and Raul Fernandez (14.93 ERA 3.00 WHIP)were not that good, allowing 8 earned runs to the Philly AAA and AA players.   I cannot see Chargois or Boshers (Fernandez for that matter too, but he was never in the conversation, and, along with Jake Reed was cut after the game) to make the  Twins at this point and they both have options.  Boshers' 40-man spot might also be on jeopardy. 
  • As far as the 25th man spot battle goes, Danny Santana (.256/.289/.395), Ehire Adrianza (.280/.379/.400), and Bengie Gonzales (.462/.481/.654) all played with Santana starting at LF and the other two coming in infielder substitutions.   Despite hitting the least, Santana still has the upper hand because of position flexibility and also because of the fact that Jorge Polanco (.225/.244/.550) and Miguel Sano (.229/.270/.514) have been more than adequate with the gloves in their respective positions.  This fact and the presence of Eduardo Escobar (.273/.333/.303), makes yet another middle infielder less attractive than Santana.
  • RHP Phil Hughes touched 94 mph today at Astros, but pitched only 2 innings allowing 9 hits (2 HRs), 6 runs, and struck out 2.  Not very inspiring outing, but the Twins seem to feel that he is ready.
  • Back field day today where LHPs Craig Breslow and Stephen Gonsalves pitched an inning a piece for the Twins' high A and A teams respectively.  Good to see Gonsalves not being bother from his shoulder issues.  He was throwing all his pitches and had good command of the curveball, which is very encouraging.  As far as other pitchers went, RHP Derreck Rodriguez (A+) sporting long hair and a goatee (not unlike that of JT Chargois) and a new cutter that sat at 84-86 had a very good day.  His high 70s curve was sharp as always and had good command of both his 92-94 mph four-seamer and 89-91 mph two-seamer.  The Twins still treating him as a starter, but I will not be surprised if he is fast-tracked in the pen.  RHP Eddie Del Rosario (A) is lanky, has a rubber arm and a nice 92-93 fastball that looks like it will break a lot of bats.  First time to see one of the newest Twins pitchers and is one to keep an eye on:  Jonny Drozd (A+) who was signed as a minor league free agent this off-season from the Yankees organization.  Tall and lanky he is throwing sidearm with a lot of deception.  His bread and butter pitch is a frisbee slider that he is throwing at any count and runs from 72-74 mph.  He supplements it by a 86-87 mph two-seamer that he has excellent control of and a 76-77 mph change up that is a third pitch.  The lefty is pitching backwards, throwing many more sliders than fastballs and uses his fastball as a change of pace or an out pitch.  Andy McIver (A+) is another talk lanky lefty, but he throws 3/4 and is much more of a traditional pitcher throwing a 88-91 mph fastball with good command and a 78-79 mph change up.
  • Had the opportunity to see 5 catchers today:  On the high A side, I think that AJ Murphy will open a lot of eyes this season. He has very good bat control and squared more than a few balls this spring.  I really expect him to shoot on the prospect rankings.  Brian Navarreto is huge and a tremendous presence behind the plate.   He looks a lot like Adam Walker, but still, albeit being better in recognizing pitches than previous seasons, he has a hard time hitting his way out of a paper bag.  Mitchell Kranson whom the Twins drafted in the 9th round in 2016 from UC Berkeley looks like a catcher and he reminds me of a young Mitch Garver.  Will probably be at Cedar Rapids, but definitely someone to keep an eye on.  On the A side, two teenagers: Ben Rortverdt looks like the real thing behind the plate with good game calling and strong arm.  Passed balls/ wild pitches might give him some trouble this season.  Venezuelan Robert Molina might hit as well  as Navarreto, but he is definitely a presence when he catches.  Interesting to see him develop.
  • Parting thoughts about 2 players who happen to share the same first name:  Travis Blackenhorn looks a lot like Travis Harrison of yore.  Very tentative at the plate and plays smaller than he is.  Travis Harrison on the other hand, really opened some eyes both at Hammond Stadium and at the back fields.  He came in all muscle, attacks the balls and shows the power that the Twins hoped he will show when drafted.  As of now my choice for both the Twins' minor league comeback player of the year and player of the year.  Might be in the Cities by season's end.
  • Tomorrow is my travel day and will post my thoughts regarding my prediction of the 2017 Twins record some time next week.

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