The Twins announced today that they’ve selected the contract of left-handed reliever Gabriel Moya from Double-A Chattanooga and designated minor league shortstop Engelb Vielma for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.
Vielma, 23, was added to the 40-man roster last offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft despite a lack of offensive track record in the Majors. The Venezuelan native has drawn praise for defensive abilities in the past, though Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wrote last offseason that he may not have enough bat to even profile as a utility option. Baseball America rated him 25th among Minnesota prospects in the offseason, calling him the system’s best pure shortstop but expressing similar concerns about his offense.
Minnesota put him on the 40-man last offseason after he hit .265/.344/.310 between Class-A Advanced and Double-A, but he’s taken a step back from even that modest level of output in 2017. This year, Vielma split the season between Double-A and Triple-A, where he batted .229/.273/.280 through 455 plate appearances.
The 22-year-old Moya has posted video-game numbers in Double-A this year, working to a combined 0.77 ERA with 13.4 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 with a ground-ball rate of about 41 percent through 58 1/3 innings between two organizations. Acquired from Arizona in late July for catcher John Ryan Murphy, Moya would have been added to the 40-man this winter as well, so this move will just give Minnesota an earlier chance to evaluate him for a future role.