Minnesota Twins Rule 5 and Minor League Free Agent Preview
With the season completed, it’s time to look ahead to the 2017-2018 Minnesota Twins offseason. Today, we look at the players who could be eligible for Rule 5 and new minor league free agents.
The Minnesota Twins have completed their season, and we at Puckett’s Pond are preparing now for the offseason of a PLAYOFF Twins team.
Puckett’s Pond staff have recapped the offseason free agents and arbitration eligible players already. Now we’ll take a look at players that may be a bit less known to the average fan.
Minor League Free Agent “newbies”
Seth Stohs over at Twins Daily put together an article in July on the topic, though things have changed quite a bit since then.
The minor league free agents that are going to be “new” are guys that were drafted in 2011 and have yet to be added to the major league 40-man roster. That list is fairly short:
Levi Michael – Michael was the Twins top draft pick in the 2011 draft, selected 30th overall out of the University of North Carolina. He has shown an ability to draw a walk in his minor league career, but inconsistent ability to make quality contact has led to him stalling out in the upper minors, really without a set position, playing both second base and the outfield, primarily center field. He very well could end up re-signed as a minor league free agent, but he almost certainly won’t be added to the 40-man roster as he’s struggled to crack the starting lineup in AA and AAA in the last two seasons.
Dereck Rodriguez – The son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck was drafted in the 6th round out of high school in 2011. Rodriguez was originally drafted and started his career as an outfielder, but after three seasons at the plate, he moved exclusively to the mound, so his development path is a bit behind others in his draft class, but he’s made steady and sure progress since moving to the mound, moving from Elizabethton to Chattanooga over four seasons of pitching. Rodriguez is the one of the trio here that could possibly be added to the 40-man roster before the end of the World Series, but he also may be let go in minor league free agency and then brought back, though other teams may offer a 40-man spot to Rodriguez as he has a quality arm that could draw heavy interest.
David Hurlbut – Hurlbut is a left-handed pitcher that the Twins drafted in the 28th round out of Cal State-Fullerton in 2011. He’s had success in the minors as a starter and swing man, but he has gotten by with less than stellar stuff, fitting the profile of a “pitchability” lefty. He spent 2017 as a primary starter, making 23 appearances, 22 of them starts, throwing 130 2/3 innings, with a 3.44 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and a 30/103 BB/K ratio. He’s likely going to be allowed to hit the minor league free agent market, but he could end up re-signed on a minor league deal.