Live from Fort Myers: Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/24/2018

This is my daily live report from Fort Myers on the Twins' Spring Training:
  • This is my last day at Fort Myers  and the last live from Fort Myers Twins Spring Training Notes.  The next version will come from Pennsylvania along with my annual Twins' prediction post.  
  • We are five days away from the major league Opening Day and twelve days from the minor leagues Opening Day.
  • The Twins have re-claimed 1B Kennys Vargas from the Reds on waivers.  The 40-man roster is at 40 currently. 
  • From the trainer's room: Phil Hughes is nursing a left oblique strain, and Zack Granite a right shoulder contusion; both might start the season in the DL because of it.
  • The Twins are currently playing the Orioles in Sarasota, but there was plenty of action in the back fields today.
  • Zack Littell pitched for the AA squad against the Red Sox' and he was very good.  He is not overpowering with a fastball that sits from 88-90 and he commands masterfully up and down left and right, inducing plenty of ground balls.  In several respects he reminds me of former Twins' RHP Brad Radke, but unlike Radke's changeup, Littell's out pitch is a low 70s curve, which make his high 80s fastball look much faster.  He also throws a mid 80s cutter that moves in to righties and out to the lefties.
  • Eddie Rosario hit with the AA team and sat in batter's box during the pregame bullpen sessions.  He still has a bit of timing issues due to rustiness from sitting with the triceps issue, but I think that he will be fine in time for the opener.
  • Speaking of injuries, Kohl Stewart had ice over his elbow after his bullpen and Tyler Jay had to do shoulder stretches with a band before he went to the game.
  • Jay's velocity is not there.  His fastball was at 90-91 and hit 92 once.  His mid-80s slider is still a devastating pitch, and he threw some 75-77 mph curveballs that looked promising, albeit wild.  Hopefully the shoulder will be healthy enough to see a few more ticks in the fastball this season.
  • I had the opportunity to see the Twins' 13th round pick from 2016, RHP Ryan Mason, pitch for the first time.  The now full time reliever did one of the most amazing tricks one can do with a baseball in College.  He has an interesting delivery throwing lower than 3/4 and higher than side arm, I guess that you can call it 2/3 delivery, and across his body.  This bring a lot of deception and downwards torque.  He throws a 90-91 mph fastball and a mid 70s slider (unlike what the velocity indicates, it is a slider vs a curveball.)  He also threw a changeup in the 80s.  The slider is frisbee-like but with tighter downward break and his fastball has good movement.  Keep an eye on him, you can see him in a bullpen in your favorite ballpark one of these days, if his command improves a bit.
  • As far as hitters go, Brent Rooker played at left field and hit a moonshot over to International Avenue.  I ranked him as the Twins' fourth prospect, with an ETA this season; I still believe that he can be in the Twin Cities under the right circumstances this season.
  • I have not always been the biggest Travis Blakenhorn fan.  This off-season he fell to 27th  in my prospect rankings from 15th in 2017.  He did make huge strides from when I last saw him as far as his hitting goes.  His power and contact will be much better this season.  He still has issues with fielding.  He started the game at third base and ended it at left field.  If he finds a home with the glove, his future will be bright, but right now he is a man without a position, which is part of the issue that drove down my ranking.  His bat is legitimate on the other hand.  Interesting to see what he can do with the glove.
  • The Twins made a trade with the Dodgers.  They received Minnesotan high A starting RHP Adam Bray for cash considerations.

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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