J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register offers an interesting look at the dynamic between top Twins prospect Royce Lewis and special assistant to baseball operations Torii Hunter. It turns out that Hunter knew Lewis’s father for years, but had no idea his son was a baseball prodigy until after he was picked first overall by the Twins. In fact, neither Hunter nor the younger Lewis knew there was just one degree of separation between them in the form of the elder, William Lewis, who had Hunter’s personal cell phone number for years. Fast forward to now, and Hunter has his own relationship with Royce, the number one overall pick in the 2017 draft. In addition to baseball work, the two spent a week together at Hunter’s home in Dallas, where he reportedly gave Royce some tutoring and life skills advice.
More items concerning the Twins…
- Ervin Santana’s post-surgery comeback continues to drag on slowly, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. The 35-year-old righty failed to reach 90 MPH even once during his 45-pitch live batting practice session in Florida this week. He’d at least managed that velocity in a two-start rehab stint last month, but had to be shut down after those starts in order to rebuild arm strength. There’s currently not a clear timetable for Santana’s return, which is surely disappointing for a Twins organization that once expected to see him back as early as April 20th.
- There’s uncertainty in the Twins organization as to whether they ought to be buyers or sellers at the July non-waiver trade deadline, writes Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. While the club certainly fancied themselves contenders amidst a mostly-weak AL Central division headed into the season, significant struggles of Jake Odorizzi, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, along with the absence of Jorge Polanco and the aforementioned Santana are among the reasons that Minnesota currently sits in third place with a 33-39 record – seven games behind the division-leading Indians. “We’re in an interesting spot; we’re trying to figure out who we are and what we should be doing,” Levine said on the subject. “There are so many teams that are clear-cut sellers and a handful that are clear-cut buyers. We’re more inclined to be patient right now and utilize a little more of the runway we have.”
- The Twins still haven’t signed their top draft pick, outfielder Trevor Larnach. Berardino points out that they’d be likely to sign him under slot considering they went a combined $717K over slot for their picks in rounds 4, 5, 9 and 10. Larnach’s slot comes with a value of $3.12MM.