Friday, November 20, 2015

Sorting Through The 40 Man

The deadline for the Minnesota Twins to add players eligible for the Rule 5 draft to their 40 man roster has come and gone. Going into Friday. Minnesota had a 40 man roster with seven openings, and ending the day, there are just two. With some expected, and some unexpected names, the regular season 25 man is becoming more clear.

First off, those players added today include J.T. Chargois, Yorman Landa, Pat Dean, Mason Melotakis, Taylor Rogers, Randy Rosario, and Adam Brett Walker. Among the grouping, it was always expected that Chargois, Rogers, and Walker would get the inclusion. The rest of the additions provided a bit further intrigue.

Rounding out the top four, Pat Dean had to be the obvious name. The lefty rebounded well in 2015, and threw to the tune of a 2.82 ERA with Triple-A Rochester. Considering his left-handedness, and his impressive showing at the highest minor league level, it stands to reason he would have been a Rule 5 draft pick of another organization.

The inclusion of Melotakis is an upside play. Despite coming off of Tommy John surgery, he has the ability to push near triple digits when healthy. He's going to be back in 2016 at some point, and could be a bullpen option down the road. Landa, a Venezuelan, should appear for Fort Myers in the year ahead. He looked good at Cedar Rapids this past season, and while he may be a long shot for a big league team to hide in 2016, his long term upside was one the Twins felt worth protecting. That leaves just Rosario. He's probably the most surprising inclusion given his current status. He's not among the Twins top 30 prospects, and despite upper 90's and being a lefty, losing him wouldn't be terrible.

Looking at the roster moves from the other side, there's some pretty obvious surprises as to who was left off. Starting with former first round picks, the Twins have left Levi Michael, Luke Bard, Travis Harrison, and Alex Wimmers are susceptible to being drafted. Of those, really only Michael should be expected to go. He turned in a decent-enough season last year with Double-A Chattanooga, and has the makings of a utility type at the next level.

Arguably the most egregious snubs outside of Michael may come from another level or two down. Both Felix Jorge and Zack Jones are guys that I'd believe a handful of other organizations could use. Asking Jorge to jump from Low-A Cedar Rapids to the big leagues is a tough ask, but his 2015 should some impressive signs for his future. While Jones was demoted to Fort Myers during 2015, he started strong at Double-A, and finished strong playing High-A ball. A power arm out of the pen can play, and Jones has absolutely that.

The Rule 5 draft a season ago saw the Twins select J.R. Graham from the Atlanta Braves. He gave the club 63.2 IP with a 4.95 ERA and totaled one of the best strikeouts ratios in the Twins pen at 7.5 K/9. The club lost Sean Gilmartin to the Mets, and he went on to be a World Series roster inclusion.

For the upcoming Rule 5 draft, I'd have to expect that the Twins would lose at least one of the aforementioned players. With a deep farm system, it's hard to protect all of your assets, and the organization is no doubt well aware of that. With the roster currently at 38 players, Minnesota has room for some movement yet. Obviously, Byung-Ho Park will be taking one of those spots, but the other could be a Rule-5 pick of their own, or a potential free agent signing.

Also on the day, Minnesota lost both Josmil Pinto and A.J. Achter on waivers. Pinto was expected to win the backup catcher job, but concussions stalled his year before it got started. In going to the Padres, one has to wonder whether he wasn't a San Diego target for quite some time as the Twins had documented trade discussions with the NL club. Achter was a 46th round pick and little more than a depth arm. He got into 11 games for the Twins a season ago, and heads to the Phillies.

With the Hot Stove season heating up, the Twins are going to be well worth monitoring in the weeks ahead.

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