The Twins announced Wednesday that they’ve added left-handers Tim Collins and Justin Nicolino on a pair of minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. Beyond that, recently designated right-hander Chase De Jong cleared waivers and will remain in the organization. De Jong, like Collins and Nicolino, will be in Major League camp as a non-roster invitee.
Now 29 years old, Collins was once a key member of the bullpen for the division-rival Royals, but a pair of Tommy John surgeries kept him off the field from 2015-17. The diminutive southpaw returned to the Show this past season with the Nationals, however, totaling 22 2/3 innings with a 4.37 ERA and a 21-to-12 K/BB ratio. Collins’ 92.5 mph average fastball was only narrowly south of his pre-surgery velocity, and he posted a solid 11.6 percent swinging-strike rate to go along with a 31.7 percent chase rate on pitches out of the strike zone. Control has long been an issue for Collins, but he notched a solid 3.54 ERA with 9.4 K/9 in 211 innings prior to his injury troubles.
As for Nicolino, the former second-round pick (Blue Jays, 2010) was once viewed as a Top 100 prospect but has never lived up to that potential. He’s amassed 201 1/3 MLB innings, all with the Marlins, but turned in a pedestrian 4.65 ERA with just 3.8 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 in that time. He spent the 2018 season with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, where he was knocked around for a 4.69 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 134 1/3 innings.
Presently, Taylor Rogers and Adalberto Mejia are the Twins’ top two left-handed relief options. Rogers finished out the year as one of the game’s most effective relievers after adopting a slider partway through the season and didn’t allow a run in his final 28 appearances. Mejia, meanwhile, is out of minor league options. Both seem quite likely to make it to the club’s Opening Day roster, barring injury. Meanwhile, southpaws Gabriel Moya and Andrew Vasquez are likely ticketed for Triple-A to open the season. That presents both Collins with quite a bit of competition in vying for a roster spot, and the rotation picture for Nicolino (if he’s still to be used as a starter), is all the more crowded.
I recall people saying the Marlins dropping Nicolino was going to be of Hand, or even Miller somehow.
it’d be great if Nicolino would FINALLY put his potential into results. Could end up really good, but we’ll have to wait & see.
It’s kind of amazing that at the time of the Blue Jays/Marlins blockbuster Miami had the choice between one of Nicolino, Sanchez, or Syndergaard and they ended up picking Nicolino.
Would finally rise to his potential? Sounds like the entire Twins roster for the last decade.
Fun fact I faced Nicolino in high school in Orlando. He could throw heat from 14 years old. Wish him the best
I’ve watched Nicolino pitch a couple of times. He has some of the least dynamic stuff I’ve seen. He’s one of those guys who needs a good defense behind him because the ball is going to be put in play a lot.
Kinda like a lot of the stuff that Twinkies have been doing this offseason except for the Molitor firing, think he earned more of a leeway.
He was never Falvine’s man. Not that that’s a good or a bad thing. It did seem like he didn’t quite have a grip on the team towards the end.
Me too. Some fans forget that we won’t 75+ games. Imagine if we didn’t have that 11 game losing streak in April. This team is much improved. Rocco seems to be doing all the right things thus far by going to the DR to see Sano, meet with Buxton etc. Molly was not going to do those things.
There’s a misprint. Mejia should be the top #5 starter option. Not this Perez thing they signed!
Mejia can’t be considered as a realistic #5 starter candidate UNLESS: he can consistently last at least 6 innings OR the “opener” strategy is employed by the Twins in the games where Mejia pitches as the “starter”.
Look at his last few starts before injury last year. 10 innings 2 hits. Give the guy a shot!
Mejia is a starter. He put together at least 6 innings in all 7 of his final starts at AAA. The Twins weren’t pulling him because he was up against a pitch count of 100 or something in his MLB appearances, either. They were typically yanking him at 70-80 pitches.
That describes our entire rotation other than JB, I still don’t trust Gibson. He reminds me of Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey.
Please sign Keuchel!!!
I’m surprised that Chase De Jong cleared waivers. Pretty telling, I guess.
Yeah. It says teams are terrified of pitchers the Twins don’t want. Teams haven’t figured out the Twins are clueless when it comes to pitching talent, period.
What would it take the Ray’s to land Buxton? Is anyone good with the fv’s? I like alot of their future value 45-50’s. McCarthy for instance should be getting a chance this season and Meadows or Pham seem likely to be traded as a result.
Tough to say. It seems like Falvey and Levine are playing the “All In” card with Buxton. I’d imagine the Rays would have to give up a Brendan McKay type of prospect.