Minnesota Twins Rule 5 and Minor League Free Agent Preview
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Lewin Diaz, 1B
Sweet-swinging lefty-hitting first baseman out of the Dominican Republic. Diaz has been slowly working his way up the Twins system, breaking through with Elizabethton in 2016 when he hit .310/.353/.575 with 9 home runs in 46 games. He led the entire Twins organization in doubles at Cedar Rapids in 2017. He may have only been in low-A ball, but with the sweet swing he has and an advanced ability to avoid striking out for a future power hitter. Diaz is the type of guy that a team could hide on their bench for a year as a pinch hitter and then send down to AA/AAA for a year and come back as a beast. Regardless, the Twins don’t want to lose him.
Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
MLB Pipeline’s pitching prospect of the year in the organization is incredibly talented, and he should factor into the competition for the starting rotation in 2018. Gonsalves has worked himself to the top pitching prospect in the organization, and he’ll be an easy guy to protect.
Zack Littell, RHP
On his third team in a calendar year, you’d think there’s something “wrong” with Littell, but instead it’s a matter of him being that highly desired that he’s been the focus of two acquisitions by two teams that ended up in the playoffs this season. Littell may not have an ace upside in his pitches, but he has a quality array of pitches that could be very good as a #2/#3 pitcher if he hits his top ends, and Twins fans would be very pleased with that in their rotation for sure. Littell is coming off an impressive minor league season where he was the first pitcher in well over a decade to win 20 games in a minor league season.
Lewis Thorpe, LHP
After two seasons where he didn’t throw a regular season pitch, the work that Thorpe did on the mound in 2017 was excellent. He’s made just one start above A-ball, but he showed extremely well in 2017 after two seasons missed, showing very good velocity, a quality breaking pitch, and good feel for his change after two years off. He would likely be gobbled up in a hurry in the Rule 5 if not protected.