Minnesota Twins Rumors
The Rays are likely to promote Wil Myers in the next ten days, says ESPN's Jim Bowden (on Twitter). Myers has not yet appeared in the Majors. Myers, 22, is currently hitting .279/.354/.486 for Triple-A Durham. He is rated as the No. 4 prospect in baseball by Baseball America, Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo. The cutoff point for Super Two eligibility is not entirely clear, but we're now at a point in the season where it's unlikely Myers would be eligible for Super Two status if he were to earn a callup and stick. Regardless, the Rays would maintain his rights through 2019. Here are more notes from around the Majors.
- David Ortiz thought the Red Sox would sign Josh Hamilton this offseason, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. "I thought it was going to happen," says Ortiz. "It didn’t happen, but I thought it was going to happen. We let some guys go that was like $300 million, so I thought there was a chance." Bradford cites a source who says Hamilton and the Red Sox never came close to an agreement. Hamilton later signed with the Angels for five years and $125MM.
- Denard Span was surprised when the Twins traded him to the Nationals for Alex Meyer last offseason, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger reports (via Twitter). "I thought I was one of the cornerstones of the team. When I signed my contract, I thought I’d be there for five years," says Span, who's hitting .267/.318/.360 for the Nats this season.
- Brad Hawpe of the Angels is back in the big leagues after nearly two years away, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez notes. The Angels promoted Hawpe from Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday after he hit .305/.405/.504 in 131 at bats there. His last appearance in a big-league game was June 18, 2011 with the Padres. Hawpe says he had resigned himself to the idea that he might not play in the Majors again. "I was OK with it," he says. "I've had a bunch of good memories in this game. I've been very fortunate and blessed. It doesn't mean I wouldn't like to make some more memories, but I've been very blessed, and if that was the end of it, I was OK with it."
The Nationals have claimed Tyler Robertson off of waivers from the Twins, the clubs have announced. Robertson was designated for assignment by Minnesota on Monday.
The left-hander is the son of Jay Robertson, who works within the Nats' front office as a special assistant to the GM. Robertson owns a 5.54 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 across 26 innings of work over the last two seasons for the Twins. The 25-year-old has also spent parts of three seasons at Triple-A where he posted a 3.64 ERA with 9.8 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN has plenty of Twins-oriented news in this week's edition of his "Scoops" column. Here are the highlights...
- Grady Sizemore has resumed baseball activities, and there's a "strong belief" that the Twins will be interested when ready to sign with a team in a month or two. The Twins did their due diligence on Sizemore in March, but Sizemore made it clear in January that he preferred not to sign until he was able to play in games.
- The Twins are one of many teams with interest in Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Wolfson reports. They will send a scout to attend his showcase on June 20. We learned last night that the Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox and Cubs are all in on Gonzalez as well, so the Twins will have some deep-pocketed competition.
- Vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff told Wolfson that the Twins "made an effort" to sign Yasiel Puig last year, but obviously they didn't come close to the Dodgers' seven-year, $42MM offer. Many around the game considered the Puig signing to be a drastic overpay at the time, but the Dodgers clearly aren't complaining right now.
- The Twins are still planning to select as many as seven pitchers with their first 10 picks. Both Kohl Stewart and Ryan Eades, the Twins' two picks on day one of the draft, are right-handed pitchers. Eades is being advised by Scott Boras, Wolfson reports.
- Clete Thomas, who was recently promoted based on his strong Triple-A results and ability to play center field, had an opt-out clause in his minor league contract this week. Radcliff told Wolfson that the timing of his promotion was more coincidental than anything else, though. Their first option for a backup center fielder may have been Quintin Berry, whom the team was interested in. The Royals had priority due to their inferior record and claimed Berry.
We've already had one post's worth of draft news today, and now here's the latest...
- Other teams believe that the Royals have reached a deal to take right-handed high schooler Phil Bickford with the eighth overall pick, Peter Gammons reports (Twitter link). Bickford, who is committed to Cal State Fullerton, hasn't been evaluated as No. 8 pick material -- Baseball America ranks Bickford as the 20th best prospect in the draft, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo has him at No. 26 and ESPN's Keith Law (Insider subscription required) has him all the way down at No. 55.
- The Twins will take right-handed high schooler Kohl Stewart with the fourth overall pick, a source "with a stake in the Twins' draft" tells Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com (Twitter link). The source says that Stewart, a Houston native, won't be taken first overall by his hometown Astros and that Oklahoma righty Jonathan Gray won't fall to the Twins at #4.
- The Twins would be "pleased" if Gray or third baseman Kris Bryant made it past the first three picks, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. It isn't as certain if the club would be happy if Stanford right-hander Mark Appel was still available, as Appel is advised by Scott Boras and would likely be a tougher sign.
- The Twins were one of the last teams to do extensive medical research on pitching prospects but scouting director Deron Johnson tells 1500ESPN.com's Phil Mackey that the team have been much more thorough over the last three years. Four MInnesota pitchers taken in the first- or supplementary round between 2008-10 have undergone arm surgeries, three of them Tommy John cases.
- Several Red Sox executives, including GM Ben Cherington, have scouted high school outfielders Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. Abraham predicts the Red Sox will take Meadows with the seventh overall pick unless Stewart or possibly Colin Moran are still available.
- Since the Padres have a number of good arms in their minor league system, MLB.com's Corey Brock predicts the team will take a position player with the 13th overall pick.
The 2013 Major League Baseball amateur draft will begin later today and the Houston Astros possess the first overall pick for the second year in a row. The draft acts as a cost-effective tool for clubs looking to stockpile young talent. Despite the thousands of hours logged by each club's scouting department while trying to determine the best amateur talents available, the draft remains a bit of a crapshoot and will be full of hits and misses -- although it may be years before most teams' outcomes are fully known.
Five players from the 2012 draft -- Kevin Gausman (fourth overall, Orioles), Michael Wacha (19th overall, Cardinals), Paco Rodriguez (second round, Dodgers), Alex Wood (second round, Braves) and Michael Roth (ninth round, Angels) -- have already made their debuts in The Show. Many others have seen their prospect values soar, while a select few have already taken steps backward. It's generally thought that the best talents of any given draft will be found in the first five to 10 picks but success is never a guarantee. Let's have a look at the early results from the first 10 picks of the 2012 draft and see if that belief has held true.
1. Carlos Correa, SS, Astros (Puerto Rico HS): It's been reported that Houston's front office went down to the wire before finally settling on Correa as the first overall pick. While speaking with "someone in the know" during the offseason, I was told that one of the things that made the young Puerto Rican attractive -- other than his obvious raw talents -- was that he will likely be ready to be an impact talent at the big league level when the rebuilding Astros are ready to legitimately compete in the American League West. Someone like Gausman, Mark Appel, or Mike Zunino are more likely to see their best seasons occur while the club is still finding its competitive footing. Still just 18, Correa has held his own in A-ball while showing the ability to hit for a solid average, an impressive understanding of the strike zone and good power.
2. Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (Georgia HS): Buxton, a toolsy Georgia native, has made Correa's 2013 numbers look pedestrian. The Twins prospect is currently hitting .348 with a 1.023 OPS and 26 stolen bases in 53 games. At just 19 years of age, the gifted centerfielder looks too advanced for Low-A ball. Robert Emrich of MiLB.com wrote a piece on Buxton last night after the prospect went 5-for-6 with two triples.
3. Mike Zunino, C, Mariners (University of Florida): Seattle fans were eager to see the catcher make the big league club out of Spring Training but the organization wisely played it safe and assigned him to Triple-A. After a quick start to the 2013 season, holes in Zunino's game were exposed and his batting average plummeted while his strikeout rate rose. Currently hitting just .228, he's still showing impressive power with 11 home runs in 43 games.
4. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (LSU): As mentioned above in the intro, Gausman has already reached the Majors -- no doubt a welcome sight for the O's after former top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy succumbed to an elbow injury. Gausman struck out 49 batters with just five walks in eight Double-A starts, though his Major League results have thus far been inconsistent (a 7.20 ERA through three starts).
5. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals (University of San Francisco): Considered almost on par with Gausman from a talent perspective prior to the draft, Zimmer is currently stuck in High-A ball. He's flashed a heavy, powerful fastball and has struck out 65 batters in 52 innings of work but he's struggled with his command, resulting in seven home runs allowed and a 5.54 ERA.
6. Albert Almora, OF, Cubs (Florida HS): Considered a gifted fielder, it was said that Almora's defensive work in center field was almost MLB caliber at the time of the draft. The Florida native got a late start to the 2013 season thanks to a broken hamate bone but he's been on fire since being activated. He's hitting .429 with just six strikeouts in 12 games.
7. Max Fried, LHP, Padres (California HS): Fried got off to a quick start to the year and has shown glimpses of his immense talent but he's also displayed the need for improvements in a number of areas. He's allowed 13 runs in his last 13 1/3 innings of work. On the year, he's issued 22 walks in 44 innings and has struggled against right-handed hitters ( RHHs at .265 vs. LHHs batting .149).
8. Mark Appel, RHP, Pirates (Stanford): Appel was the lone 2012 first-rounder that did not come to terms with the club that selected him. He returned to Stanford for his senior year of college and has improved his draft stock; he's expected to be a top-three pick, going to either the Astros, Cubs or Rockies. That should land him a larger signing bonus than he would have been eligible for with the Pirates in 2012. Had Appel signed with Pittsburgh, he would have given the organization quite an impressive future rotation along with Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. Tim Keown of ESPN.com recently wrote about Appel's decision to return to college and re-enter the draft in 2013.
9. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Marlins (Oklahoma State): Like Almora, Heaney was slowed by injury and did not make his first start of the year until late May. In total, he's made three starts and has an ERA below 2.00 with 18 strikeouts in just 12 1/3 innings. He joins Justin Nicolino, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in the offseason, as a pair of impressive left-handed pitching prospects that look close to ready for the challenge of Double-A.
10. David Dahl, OF, Rockies (Alabama HS): Dahl made a very positive impression during his 67-game pro debut in 2012 and, during the offseason, was touted as one of the steals of the draft as the 10th overall selection. However, some questionable decision making (which reportedly involved missing a flight) got him shipped out to extended Spring Training in April, despite originally earning a roster spot on the Low-A club to begin the season. Dahl has since regained his Low-A spot and produced solid-but-unspectacular results in his first 10 games; he was recently placed on the minor league disabled list.
Supplemental Round Picks of Note
The first round of the MLB amateur draft is not the only place to find high-ceiling talent. Quality prospects can be found littered throughout the 40 rounds. Below are some of the players that were taken in the supplemental first round -- picks mainly given as compensation for the loss of key free agents from the previous offseason. A number of the players selected in that round have looked impressive early in their careers and have performed well enough to suggest they should have been true first-round selections.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins: Berrios brings a much-needed power arm to the Twins organization. The Puerto Rico native has struck out 44 batters in 39 innings despite being one of the youngest pitchers in the Low-A Midwest League; Berrios just recently turned 19 years old.
Zach Eflin, RHP, Padres: Like his fellow Padres prospect Max Fried, Eflin was a promising prep arm acquired in the 2012 draft. Unlike his southpaw teammate, though, the right-hander has gotten stronger as the year has progressed and has been a little more consistent.
Daniel Robertson, SS, Athletics: Originally expected to move from shortstop to third base as a pro, Robertson's steady defensive play has convinced the organization to give him a longer look at his natural position. Despite missing much of the first month of the year while rehabbing an injury, the young hitter has shown flashes of above-average potential at the plate.
Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets: High draft picks from the college ranks typically skip over Low-A ball and begin their careers in High-A ball, but the Mets organization has been cautious with Plawecki -- possibly to give him an opportunity to polish his defense. The 22-year-old prospect is showing that his bat is more than ready for a promotion with a .341 batting average and 30 extra base hits. MLB.com's Teddy Cahill recently wrote a feature on Plawecki.
Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers: After a much-hyped start to his pro career that saw him hit 22 home runs in his first 59 games, the left-handed hitter has come crashing back down to earth. He's slugged another 14 dingers this year but he's also struck out 89 times in 55 games, causing his batting average to dip to .210. He has a lot of adjustments to make to avoid becoming the next Russell Branyan.
Lance McCullers Jr., RHP, Astros: McCullers showed the raw potential to be a first round draft pick in the 2012 draft but questions about his delivery and potential move to the bullpen caused him to slip into the supplemental round. The young pitcher, though, has temporarily quieted his critics and overpowered the Midwest League with a 1.70 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings.
Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies: As with McCullers, Butler was thought to be potentially headed for a pro career out of the bullpen. He's been exceptional as a starter, although the college product did begin the year in Low-A ball where he should have dominated the less-experienced competition. He was recently promoted to High-A ball and has a 3.71 ERA in his first three starts. David Lee of the Augusta Chronicle wrote about Butler's promotion.
The 2013 amateur draft goes down at 6pm central tomorrow and we'll have wall-to-wall coverage here on MLBTR. Here's a look at the latest news on the eve of the draft..
- Picking at No. 7 hasn't changed much about the Red Sox's draft philosophy as they will still take the best player still left on the board, writes Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. "I've always thought you've got to take the best player," amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye said. "That's the way I've been taught. That's the way we've tried to proceed here in the last 10 years, 15 years. That's the way we'll continue to do it."
- Twins Vice President of Player Personnel Mike Radcliff told Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter) that pitcher Jonathan Gray is "still a player you're considering and have a lot of interest in" despite his positive test for Adderall. After the news broke, ESPN's Keith Law estimated that the news wouldn't harm the Oklahoma product's draft position.
- Radcliff expects to draft at least seven pitchers with the Twins' first ten picks and at least 20 with their top 40 picks, Wolfson tweets.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America looked at graduation rates and the impact that they historically have had on top 100 picks in the draft. Among other observations, Eddy surmises that teams seem more than willing to players who profile as corner players or second basemen prove themselves in college before committing big bucks to them outside of the first round.
From earlier today in the two Central divisions, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer sat down for a podcast with ESPN's Buster Olney, the Brewers are looking to the future and Jake Peavy is willing to be traded anywhere if the White Sox see fit to move him. Here are some other items from both the AL and NL Central...
- Francisco Liriano's 2014 option with the Pirates will vest for $6MM if the southpaw can avoid spending 120 days on the disabled list this season, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports. Liriano signed a complicated deal with the Bucs in February that only guaranteed him $1MM in 2013 but could've been worth as much as $12.75MM if Liriano stayed healthy. His stint on the DL this season already cost him around $1.625MM this season and an extra $2MM for 2014.
- Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter threw to live batters on Monday, The Associated Press reports, and may repeat the process if his shoulder doesn't become numb. Carpenter was thought to be out for all of 2013 and was pondering retirement due to ongoing shoulder injuries, but the former Cy Young Award winner has taken several positive steps in his comeback.
- The Twins had some interest in Quintin Berry before the Royals claimed the outfielder off waivers earlier today, 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson tweets.
- Scott Kazmir credits his development of secondary pitches and better pitching strategies for his return to the Major Leagues, Howard Megdal of Sports On Earth writes. Kazmir has a 5.13 ERA in eight starts with the Indians this season but his secondary numbers are good enough that MLBTR's Steve Adams believes he could earn a decent free agent contract this winter.
- "Lots of changes figure to occur" with the Royals if the team can't get on track, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes as part of a reader mailbag. If they make a big move like trading Ervin Santana, Dutton figures K.C. would look to acquire a slugging corner outfielder or a second baseman in return.
- Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago covers several White Sox and Cubs topics and rumors in his live chat about Windy City baseball.
Baseball is a generational game, and it should come as no surprise to hear that many of this year's prospects have relatives involved in the sport. Conor Glassey of Baseball America ran down some of the more prominent players who have fathers, uncles, brothers and cousins involved in baseball. Top prospect Colin Moran has major big league ties as his brother is Mariners pitching prospect Brian Moran and his uncles are former outfielder B.J. Surhoff and pitcher Rich Surhoff. Here's more draft linkage...
- The Twins would take Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray if he was available when the club was on the board with the fourth overall pick, two sources tell Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com (Twitter link). It's no surprise the pitching-hungry Twins would take the highly-touted righty, though it would be a mild surprise to see Gray drop to the No. 4 pick, his recent positive test for Adderall notwithstanding.
- Stanford right-hander Mark Appel tops Keith Law's ranking of the top 100 draft prospects. While Law thinks Appel is the best talent in this year's draft, he predicted the Astros would take Moran with the first overall pick in his most recent mock draft (an ESPN Insider subscription required for both pieces).
- Blue Jays amateur scouting director Brian Parker talks to Sportnet's Shi Davidi about the upcoming draft and how the Jays won't have extra compensatory picks for the first time since 2008.
- The most recent collective bargaining agreement hurt the amateur draft, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes, and Griffin believes the system would be improved by a worldwide talent pool draft and allowing picks to be traded.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America spoke with Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith about the Blue Jays' possibilities in the draft. While there's no Bryce Harper-type player to be found in this year's class, Toronto can still snag a "really good player" at No. 10 overall, in Callis' estimation. Kohl Stewart is a guy that could intrigue the Blue Jays, but Callis expects the Twins to snag him at No. 4.
- The Mariners see plenty of promise at the No. 12 pick, writes MLB.com's Greg Johns. "I keep reading and hearing this is a weak Draft and I always stay away from that," M's scouting director Tom McNamara said. "I think it's fine. Where we're picking, we're fine." Catcher Reese McGuire is regarded as a top 12 pick by most experts and is right in the Mariners' backyard, but McNamara is predictably tight-lipped about the club's potential interest in him.
- Callis also checked in with Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com about what we might see the Orioles do. In two of his three mock drafts so far, Callis has the O's taking South Carolina high school catcher Nick Ciuffo and the BA scribe says that he has gotten some A.J. Pierzynski comps.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The Twins announced today they've designated lefty Tyler Robertson for assignment, while selecting the contract of outfielder Clete Thomas. Thomas gives the Twins another center field option while Wilkin Ramirez recovers from a concussion, notes Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Robertson, 25, made 40 appearances out of the Twins' bullpen last year as a rookie. This year he made a couple of April appearances before being optioned to Triple-A, where he compiled a 3.05 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and 7.0 BB/9 with no home runs allowed in 20 2/3 innings. It's the worst walk rate Robertson has posted at any level.
The Twins drafted Robertson out of high school in the third round in '06, a round notable for other big leaguers such as Joe Smith, Brennan Boesch, Jason Donald, and Zach McAllister. Prior to the '07 season, Baseball America wrote that Robertson's "stuff is already solid average, with a 90-91 mph fastball that touches 94 and good curveball with depth." Despite inconsistent velocity in the years that followed, the 6'5" lefty rose up the ranks of Twins prospects and was praised for his makeup before moving to relief in 2011. He currently works at 85-88 miles per hour, according to BrooksBaseball.net. Robertson's father, Jay, is employed as a scout for the Nationals.
The Rangers should seriously consider trading Jurickson Profar, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Galloway argues that, despite Davis' strong 2012 and brilliant start in 2013, he won't criticize Jon Daniels' 2011 trade of Chris Davis (and Tommy Hunter) for Koji Uehara, because the trade was intended to position Texas for a World Series run, and the Rangers did in fact make it to the World Series. If the Rangers can arrange a Profar trade that sets them up for another run at a title, Galloway argues that they should make the deal and live with the results. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, however, tells ESPN's Jim Bowden that, while the Rangers will likely be active at this year's trade deadline, they plan to keep Profar, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, rather than dealing one of them (both links via Twitter).
As a side note, Galloway calls the Davis/Uehara deal "the worst MLB trade of this decade," even though he refrains from criticizing Daniels for it. Uehara was excellent for the Rangers, particularly in 2012, but he's since moved on, and Davis is currently hitting .357/.440/.754 with 20 home runs for the Orioles. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman discusses Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract in an interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. Rodriguez and the Yankees are currently in the sixth year of the deal, and Rodriguez will make $86MM from 2014 through 2017. Rodriguez has not yet played in 2013. "Alex would even tell you he couldn't live up to [the contract]," Cashman says. "Hopefully he can return to being, at the very least, an above-average player at that position."
- When Jose Reyes returns, the Blue Jays will have to decide what to do with Munenori Kawasaki, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. Due to the Jays' contractual obligations to Maicer Izturis and the presence of Emilio Bonifacio and Mark DeRosa, there would appear to be no space for Kawasaki once Reyes returns. Griffin suggests that the trade market for Izturis could be better than that of Kawasaki, though the Jays might have to pay some of the approximately $9MM remaining on Izturis' contract.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum is hoping for an infusion of arms in this week's draft, Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports. "Obviously pitching is what you want to get in the organization as much as you possibly can," says Sveum. When the Cubs make the No. 2 overall selection, either Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray or Stanford's Mark Appel, or perhaps both, will still be on the board.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan discusses the role of general managers in the draft in an interview with 1500ESPN's Phil Mackey. GMs generally get credit or blame for their draft picks, but other front office personnel may be more responsible for those picks. "My role would be to take the blame when we don't do well, but I also get the praise when we do well. That's not fair," says Ryan. For example, Ryan discusses his role in the selection of Ben Revere, the No. 28 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. "That's a pick that I got praise for I think at the time. I didn't have anything to do with Ben Revere. (Our scouts) did. They all had seen him a lot. I get the praise. 'Good pick, there you go Terry.' Hell, I never even saw (Revere)."
- Quintin Berry, who was recently designated for assignment by the Tigers, could make it through waivers and wind up back with Triple-A Toledo, MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets. Given that Berry is 28 and has hit just .168/.278/.234 so far for Toledo this season, that seems to be a fairly likely scenario.
- When the Blue Jays begin a series in San Francisco Tuesday night, Melky Cabrera will face Giants fans for the first time since being suspended last August for failing a PED test, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports. Cabrera vanished after receiving word of the suspension, not talking to the San Francisco media. He then signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Jays in the offseason. Cabrera says he isn't concerned with how the fans will react to his return. "I don't worry about that, it's up to the fans. It's nothing I have control of," Cabrera explains. "I'm just going to play the game. If they decide to boo, that's fine. If they decide to cheer, that's fine with me, too. But, I'm not going to worry about that."