Minnesota Twins add one, lose two in Rule 5 draft
The Minnesota Twins selected one player in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft Thursday and picked up three more in the minor league portion of the draft.
The Minnesota Twins were active in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday morning, both in drafting players and having players drafted.
The Twins have a long history in the Rule 5 draft, with some of the organization’s best players in recent history coming from the Rule 5 draft. Most recall Johan Santana as being a Rule 5 selection, but many forget that the player who led the 1991 World Series championship team in bWAR among position players, Shane Mack, was also once a Rule 5 selection.
So let’s look at the draft results from today…
Minnesota Twins draftees
The Twins only selected one player in the major league phase of the Rule 5, reliever Tyler Kinley, from the Miami Marlins organization. Kinley was originally a 16th round selection in the 2013 draft from Barry University in Florida.
Kinley has been a reliever throughout the majority of his minor league career, making just 3 starts over 162 minor league appearances. Kinley worked in high-A and AA in 2017, both in leagues where he faced Twins affiliates, posting a 3.54 ERA combined over 50 appearances, saving 17 games and throwing 53 1/3 innings with a 1.22 WHIP, 9.7% walk rate, and a 31.7% strikeout rate.
Kinley is having an exceptional winter league season, with 13 appearances, hurling 18 innings without allowing a single run, posting a 0.67 WHIP and an 8/29 BB/K ratio.
He will have to be kept on the 25-man roster through the whole season to be retained or returned back to Miami. The Twins could choose to trade a player or cash to the Marlins for Kinley’s rights if they would like to keep him and send him to the minor leagues.
In the minor league portion, the Twins made two selections: Yancarlos Baez, a pitcher from the Yankees organization, and Sandy Lugo, a pitcher from the Reds organization.
Baez comes to the Twins after being an infielder with the Yankees until 2016. He transitioned to the mound in 2017 after hitting just .211/.278/.296 over 151 career minor league games from 2014-2016. He only pitched at the Gulf Coast League level this season as he learned the craft, but he has a big arm, able to reach the upper 90s with his fastball. He posted a 3.51 ERA over 8 games (5 starts) and 25 2/3 innings this season, with a 1.21 WHIP, 6.7% walk rate, and 15.2% strikeout rate.
Baez will get the chance to develop as a pitcher in an organization that just recently had success doing the same with Dereck Rodriguez before he signed a minor league deal with the Giants this winter.
Lugo was a “late” signee from the Dominican, making his pro debut at 20 with the Reds Dominican Summer League team. He’s progressed as a reliever since then, pitching with low-A Dayton and high-A Daytona in 2017, putting up a combined 5.01 ERA and 1.39 WHIP as walks ate him up, posting a 13.5% walk rate and a 28.4% strikeout rate.
Lugo’s 2016 spent entirely with Dayton was much better, and certainly should give fans some hope that the walks are not a permanent thing, as he made 30 appearances, throwing 55 innings, with a 2.45 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 5.8% walk rate, and 34.4% strikeout rate.
All three picks add to the Twins depth of hard-throwing arms in their minor league system or near the major leagues.
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Twins Rule 5 losses
One of the downfalls of the build up of an excellent farm system is that each season, you will lose players to minor league free agency, 40-man roster crunch, and the Rule 5 draft. This offseason had already seen Dereck Rodriguez, Randy Rosario, Daniel Palka, and others lost.
The Minnesota Twins had two selections from their farm system in the Rule 5 draft, #3 selection Nick Burdi to the Phillies and #17 selection Luke Bard to the Angels.
Burdi had Tommy John surgery last summer and will be out most likely all of 2018. He’s already been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates since the draft. Burdi’s struggled with injury and performance in his time with the Twins, posting a 3.68 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and a 13.2% walk rate and 26.8% strikeout rate in AA.
Bard is coming off of an excellent 2017 where he finished in AAA, and he will see his impressive fastball go to an Angels bullpen with plenty of spots available, so he could definitely earn a role. In 2017, Bard posted a 2.76 ERA and 1.33 WHIP combined between AA and AAA over 65 1/3 innings, with a 8.4% walk rate and 34.7% strikeout rate.
Next: Twins winter meeting primer
That concludes the winter meetings. Many players remain out there for the Twins to target. Be looking for an article here on Puckett’s Pond later today discussing who is still left after the dust has cleared.