Writers Note: A weekly review of the Minnesota Twins offseason transactions, including reaction and opinions from fans and myself. Look for future polls on my Twitter account to share your opinions.
Last week, I featured what a Twins lineup, in my mind, would look like.
This week, the big news is Spring Training invites. Due to the slow pace of the Minnesota Twins offseason transactions this is big.
The Spring Training list of invites includes Jose Berrios, the #2 rated Twins prospect by MLBPipeline.com. With his major league debut extremely likely to happen in the 2016 season, I asked fans when Jose Berrios will make the Twins active roster.
It seems likely that the Twins will send Berrios to triple-A and treat him like the Cubs handled Kris Bryant. I predict the Twins would want to have Berrios for another year under team control. He has risen quickly through the ranks. The Twins need to have him under control for as long as possible. As of now, he is the best pitcher the active roster has not seen yet. All through the minors, Berrios has pitched exceptionally well.
Berrios’s career minor league statistics are impressive to say the least. 464 SO in 440 1/3 innings pitched and a 2.98 ERA grabs the attention right away. For the amount of innings pitched, his 0.5 HR9 is quite low. What worries me is the walk rates and the wild pitches. If you remember, Berrios pitched in the 2015 Futures game. He looked rather wild in that game. Maybe nerves were a part of it. The fact remains that he is still the best player yet to see major-league time in the Twins system.
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If Berrios injures himself in some facet, it would without a doubt keep him from making the Twins Opening Day roster. Depending on severity, Berrios would be handled with newborn like care from the Twins. If a slotted rotation man falters or is on the DL during Spring Training, Berrios has a better shot of making the Twins roster on Opening Day.
If he struggles, I believe a similar situation occurs. Injury or a poor spring showing would mean coddling of Berrios. Which puts his debut back to July – August.
I agree with the majority vote on this poll. Look for Berrios to debut in May. Remember, the Twins must add him to the 40-man roster first. A trickier task than it appears.
We have already gone through the list of Twins players invited to Spring Training. This list coming from MLB.com.
Lets go through the list again:
- Fernando Abad
- Buddy Boshers
- Dan Runzler
- Aaron Thompson
- Brandon Kintzler
- Joe Benson
- Darin Mastroianni
- Juan Centeno
- Wilfredo Tovar
- Ryan Sweeney
- Mitch Garver
- Carlos Paulino
- Alex Swim
- James Beresford
- Buck Britton
- Heiker Meneses
- Reynaldo Rodriguez
- Nick Burdi
- Jake Reed
- Stuart Turner
- Engelb Vielma
- Jose Berrios
As it stands, I believe many players on this list could make the active roster on Opening Day. Abad, Kintzler and Thompson are the easy choices here. All have MLB experience. The Twins bullpen has openings as of now, these three could benefit from that.
However, there is a reason these three signed minor-league contracts. Abad had one of the worst statistical years of his career, Kintzler spent all of 2015 recovering from an injury he suffered in May, and Thompson pitched poorly after the first two months of the season and spent the rest of the season in the minors.
It bears repeating, the Twins bullpen has openings as of now. I suspect a move regarding the bullpen to transpire down the road. For now these three have a shot to make it out of Spring Training. In all likelihood, Abad, Kintzler and Thompson would compete with Burdi and Reed for bullpen spots.
It is worth noting that Mastroianni and Sweeney could compete for the fourth outfielder spot. Both have spent enough time in the majors to warrant consideration.
Former Twins In The News
Former Twins pitcher A.J. Achter is now a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher as well. Earlier this offseason, the Phillies claimed him off of waivers from the Twins. During the last week, the Los Angeles Angels claimed him off of waivers.
On Monday, Josmil Pinto was designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres. He was claimed off of waivers the same day as Achter. The move to designate Pinto was to make room for Buddy Baumann, who signed to a one-year major-league deal.