Twins Notes: Rosario, Buck, Draft, Defense

Twins prospect Eddie Rosario‘s 50-game suspension will be over at the end of the week, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff tells Wolfson that Rosario will open his season at Class-A Advanced to shake off some rust, despite a solid showing in 70 Double-A games last season. Rosario has been ranked on several Top 100 Prospect lists — including the 2014 editions of Baseball Prospectus (60) and ESPN’s Keith Law (49) — but his stock took a hit when he tested positive for “a drug of abuse” for the second time this offseason. A few more links on the Twins…

  • Mariners catcher John Buck told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press this weekend that he was “extremely close” to signing in Minnesota this offseason. According to Buck, his agent (Seth Levinson of ACES) told him there was a very good chance they’d finalize a deal, but Kurt Suzuki jumped in at the last minute and landed a spot with the Twins. The way Kurt is swinging, they didn’t choose wrong, I guess,” Buck told Berardino. “He’s doing great.” Suzuki has been a surprisingly strong force this season, slashing .312/.378/.416 with the Twins.
  • La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune spoke with Twins scouting director Deron Johnson about the upcoming draft, who spoke to the tricky nature of this year’s draft without a clear-cut No. 1 overall pick. Neal writes that the Twins are doing the most due diligence on LSU right-hander Aaron Nola and NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon on the college side of things. As far as prep players go, righty Tyler Kolek, left-hander Brady Aiken, shortstop Nick Gordon and catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson are all in play.
  • The 2014 Twins have an alarmingly dangerous mix of low-strikeout pitchers and poor defensive players, writes Mike Petriello in an ESPN Insider piece. Petriello looks at the Twins’ poor outfield defense, in particular, noting what he describes as a “spring decision that backfired terribly.” The Twins elected to keep infielder Jason Bartlett as a utility player/backup outfielder — a decision that resulted in the loss of Alex Presley on waivers. When Bartlett abruptly retired, the Twins were forced to designate outfielder Darin Mastroianni for assignment, and they lost him to Toronto on waivers. In other words, as Petriello writes, by keeping Bartlett, the Twins received zero production and lost two decent outfielders.”

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