Live from Fort Myers: Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/16/2018

This is my daily live report from Fort Myers on the Twins' Spring Training:

  • The Twins played the Tampa Bay Rays today and playing the Boston Red Sox tonight, in split squad games, but a transaction, or rather a set of two transactions stole the show today:  The Twins announced that they acquired 24 year old OF Jake Cave from the Yankees for 19 year old RHP Luis Gil.  Cave was added to their 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 draft last winter.  When the Yankees acquired Neil Walker they DFA'd Gil to make room.  To make room on their 40-man roster for Gil, who has 3 options, the Twins announced that they have DFA'd 1B/DH Kennys Vargas.
  •  There were some rumors last week that Vargas will be released to play in Japan.  Today the talk is that he will be a great fit for the Rays; however he will need to either clear waivers or not get claimed by teams that claim earlier than the Rays for that to happen.  We shall see
  •  Cave is a yet another left throwing and hitting OF, who opened some eyes last season hitting 20 HRs between AA Trenton and AAA Wilkes-Barre.  At AAA he hit .324/.367/.554 with a 6.1 BB%, and 27.6 K%.  He does not walk much, but  makes successful contact at a good clip and the .230 isoP is intriguing.  To late to include him in my 2018 prospect list, but he would be at the mid 20s or so, close to LaMonte Wade.
  • Gil will be 20 years old this June and was signed as a free agent by the Twins on February 12, 2015.  He played the 2015 season in the DSL, had shoulder surgery missing the following season and returned in the DSL for 2017 making 14 starts for 41-2/3 innings, striking out 49 (10.6 K/9, 27.7 K%) and walking 20 (4.3 BB/9, 16.4 K-BB%), hit 5 and threw 5 wild pitches.  He finished with a 2.59 ERA, 3.34 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP (.287 BABIP).  He throws hard but is wild, has command problems, is about to hit his age 20 season and has not appeared Stateside.  He was not ranked among the top 60 Twins' prospects.
  • Before the Twins game vs the Rays started I had the opportunity to watch Andro Cutura throw live batting practice in the back fields.  Definitely a name to know.  He was drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 season, a season he did not play due to elbow problems, from Southeastern Louisiana University.  He pitched He started 11 game for Elizabethton, pitching for 60-2/3 innings with a 1.34 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 3.27 FIP and 1.01 WHIP.  He started only 6 games next season at Cedar Rapids before being shut down with elbow issues and having Tommy John surgery on October of 2016.  He missed the whole 2017 season recovering.  Not sure how the Twins see him, but he looks like a reliever to me.  He has plenty of pop in his fastball a good changeup and a decent breaking ball.  He is a tad smaller and his delivery is a bit jerky and max effort, which makes me think that the pen might be in his future.
  • Some interesting happenings at the Twins game:  Jose Berrios was riled pretty badly by defensive mistakes behind him and he started pitching very slowly and without any rhythm in the second inning.  It was his worse outing.
  • Speaking of worse, Chris Heisey had a horrible defensive game.  He had a two-base error when he seemed to push a ball with his glove instead of catching it.  At the next inning he should have been charged with another (three base) error, when he lost the ball on the sun multiple times, stopped looking and ducked with his hands crossed above his head.  The ball bounced 15 yards behind him...      I do not see him as a Twin much longer, especially with Cave now in the organization.
  • Jorge Polanco was charged with 2 errors; however the second should have been on Logan Morrison who like Heisey earlier pushed instead of grabbing the ball with his glove.  Morrison did not have a good day, as he was hit with a line drive in the back later in the game.  With Vargas gone, and Morrison's fairly sketchy play at first, I suspect that Mitch Garver might be used as a back up first baseman on occasion.  He played in that role today and was fine with the glove, making an excellent scoop play as well.
  • Miguel Sano was scratched with a knee bruise he suffered sliding into second in the previous game.
  • Joe Mauer hit the ball hard today; good to see from him in a contract issue.  He receives the most cheers from the Hammond crowd in every game.
  • Trevor Hildenberger was again awful, facing mostly AAA competition.  He allowed a walk and three hits (including a 3R HR) in one inning of work.  His ERA is now 10.29.  I just do not see how he can make the Twins this Spring, even though some might think that he is a lock based on past performance.    

To see all the notes and coverage of the 2018 Twins' Spring Training, including my daily live reports from Fort Myers in the second half of March, please visit here

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