TODAY: The Twins officially announced the move.
YESTERDAY: The Twins will select the contract of right-hander Randy Dobnak from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday, Darren Wolfson of SKOR North 1500 first reported (Twitter link). Minnesota already optioned righty Kohl Stewart to Rochester following today’s game. The Twins already have a 40-man roster spot open following last month’s bullpen purge that saw the team DFA Adalberto Mejia, Mike Morin, Matt Magill and Blake Parker in less than two weeks’ time.
Dobnak, 24, hasn’t exactly taken a conventional path to the Majors. Undrafted out of Division-II Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia, Dobnak’s first professional outing came with the Utica Unicorns of the independent United Shore League in June 2017. He signed with the Twins less than two months later and began his career in affiliated ball with the Twins’ Rookie-level affiliate in the Appalachian League. Dobnak posted strong numbers there against younger, teenaged competition and enjoyed a solid, if unspectacular 2018 campaign in Class-A Cedar Rapids.
In 2019, Dobnak opened the season in the Class-A Advanced Florida State League but was promoted to Double-A before the calendar flipped to May. By early June, he’d been promoted for his first taste of Triple-A ball. Dobnak hasn’t posted an ERA higher than 2018’s 3.14 mark in the Midwest League at any stop in the minors; in fact, his next-highest ERA at any level is 2.57. Through 125 innings across three minor league levels in 2019, Dobnak has pitched to a minuscule 2.02 ERA with 7.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 0.43 HR/9 and a 59 percent ground-ball rate.
That meteoric rise was enough to land a player who once looked like little more than organizational filler in the No. 30 spot on Baseball America’s midseason update to the Twins’ top prospects, and all he’s done since the publication of that list is toss another 26 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on 12 hits and five walks with 21 strikeouts. While Dobnak still shouldn’t be mistaken for any kind of elite pitching prospect, his ascent from undrafted indie ball player to Major Leaguer in just north of two calendar years is nevertheless remarkable. The Twins currently have Michael Pineda on the injured list, so it’s possible that Dobnak will get a start. If not, he’ll add some length to a Twins bullpen that has been a frequent source of headaches for fans and the organization alike in recent months.