Minnesota Twins make several cuts, including former first round selection Levi Michael
The Minnesota Twins are trying to set their Opening Day rosters at all levels. Today that resulted in a number of minor leaguers being cut from the team.
The Minnesota Twins are trying to finalize rosters across all levels of their organization. As those minor league rosters come together, some players ultimately don’t make the rosters and are cut. Some of that happened today as the Twins have released Tyler Beardsley, Sandy Lugo, Keaton Steele, Eduardo del Rosario, Patrick McGuff, and most notably former first-round selection Levi Michael.
Michael was the 30th selection in the 2011 MLB Draft. At that point, the Twins had just finished a season with J.J. Hardy as their starting shortstop. Hardy was traded away in the offseason in hopes that the Twins would be able to use recently signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka at shortstop. Beyond that, there was little hope for a shortstop within the Twins system. And that hope around Nishioka was short lived. As a college player, Michael represented a middle infielder that would hopefully progress through the Twins system quickly.
The shortstop was drafted with those high hopes, but there were plenty of questions attached to him from the beginning. Namely, scouts questioned Michael’s ability to stick at the shortstop position as he progressed through professional baseball. Regardless of defense, Michael struggled period his first two seasons as a pro player. While college infielders are rarely the most exciting picks in the later parts of the first round, the hope would be their experience would have helped Michael to succeed quicker at those lower minor league levels.
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In 2014 he finally found his way at the plate it seemed. Across three levels of the minor leagues with the tops being Double-A, Michael slashed .313./.389/.387. He only managed one home run that season, but he was at least making contact and getting on base. Something that gave his development some positive momentum.
By the end of 2014, Michael had already lost out on one of his greatest assets, his position. The once shortstop had now almost entirely been moved to second base as his primary position. Michael only played three games in 2014 from the six spot.
As we now know with Michael’s release it really didn’t matter what position he played, his bat hasn’t developed enough to this point for him to progress through the minors and into the majors. In his third go-around at Double-A last season, Michael ended the season hitting .264/.362/.380. We also can now assume that spring training was truly a make it or break it for Michael. It was, unfortunately, a break outcome and now he is looking for a new home.
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It is never fun to see a prospect not make it to the majors. We can only hope for Michael’s sake that he will catch on somewhere and be able to turn his career around. For now, the middle infielder who found himself among a deep group of middle infielders ran out of roster room and time in order to make it with the Twins.