The Minnesota Twins needed to make some 40-man roster decisions and chose to add Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade, protecting them from the Rule 5 draft.
The Minnesota Twins have the deadline to protect any Rule-5 eligible prospects coming up on Tuesday. Monday they chose to act early on at least two players they will be protecting from the Rule 5 draft which is held during the Winter Meetings. That resulted in the Twins adding 2B/SS Nick Gordon and OF LaMonte Wade to the 40-man roster.
Minor league players become eligible for the Rule 5 draft if they are not placed on a team’s 40-man roster after 5 seasons if they were signed as 18-year-olds or 4 seasons if signed at age 19 or later. It is a system put in place so that prospects don’t get locked out of a chance in the majors because they have a star player entrenched in the majors above them.
Gordon has dropped off in many rankings since the end of the 2018 season. Most recently in Baseball America rankings Gordon wasn’t even included in the Twins top-10. Some of that may have to do with some other very good players that are coming up through the Twins system. More of it has to do with a disappointing season from Gordon in 2018.
Gordon tore up Double-A once again at the beginning of the season. In 42 games at Chattanooga, he slashed .333/.381/.525. It was the jump to Triple-A Rochester that was not kind to Gordon. He dropped down to a .212/.262/.283 which has caused panic about his ability to play at a high level moving forward. For a player who at 22-years-old has just now found his first bit of adversity in his professional baseball career, there is still plenty of potential left for Gordon to learn and rebound in 2019.
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Wade is an outfielder who has also been touted fairly highly throughout his minor league career. The almost 25-year-old Wade has been best known for his on-base abilities and is also a good defensive outfielder. He continues to profile as an above average corner outfielder with the ability to play center if needed but that is likely not his ideal position.
Wade, like Gordon, did very well in 46 games at Double-A as he hit .298/.393/.444 and a .837 OPS. Wade then also struggled with the jump from Double-A to Triple-A where after arriving and playing 74 games he only hit .229/.337/.336 and held a .673 OPS. Like Gordon, it isn’t what we would have liked to have seen but no reason to panic just yet.
The Twins also need to make decisions on 2B Luis Arraez (15th ranked Twins prospect according to MLB.com), RF Lewin Diaz (16th ranked), and Tyler Jay (22nd ranked) or risk them being exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Jay is the player that has fallen off the most and is the most easily left unprotected even as a former first-round draft pick. Arraez has really come on strong this past season and Diaz has always been an intriguing bat. They look like they will join Jay as being available to teams next month in the Rule 5 draft.
The Twins 40-man currently sits at 38 after the addition of Gordon and Wade. It will be interesting to see how many players the Twins look to add in free agency and who becomes expendable if 40-man spots need to be opened up.