The Twins announced they have recalled right-handed pitcher Ronny Henriquez, with fellow righty Dereck Rodriguez designated for assignment in a corresponding move. This drops the club’s 40-man roster to 39.
Henriquez, 22, began his career with the Rangers and pitched in rookie ball in 2018 and then A-ball in 2019. He pitched well enough down there that he first cracked Baseball America’s list of top Texas farmhands in 2020. After the minor leagues were canceled by the pandemic that year, Henriquez split his 2021 between High-A and Double-A. He appeared in 21 games, 16 starts, throwing 93 2/3 innings with a 4.71 ERA, 27.1% strikeout rate and 6.5% walk rate. Those are strong rate stats, but 17 home runs helped inflate the ERA.
He was added to the Rangers’ 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, which ended up getting canceled by the lockout. Once the lockout was over, the Rangers flipped him to the Twins as part of the Mitch Garver and Isiah Kiner-Falefa deal. The Twins have kept Henriquez in Triple-A all year to this point, giving him 14 starts and 10 further bulk appearances. Through 95 1/3 innings, he’s again posted strong rate stats but has seen the long ball contribute to poor results overall. He has a 5.66 ERA on the season with 19 homers, despite striking out 25.7% of batters faced and walking just 8% of them.
The Twins led the AL Central for much of the season but have slipped recently, thanks in part due to mounting injuries. They are now seven games behind the Guardians with the White Sox in between them and even further back in the Wild Card race. With their playoff hopes fading and their roster decimated by injuries, they’ll turn to Henriquez and see how he fares against MLB hitters down the stretch.
As for Rodriguez, this goes down as an exceptionally short stay on the roster as his contract was selected just yesterday. He pitched 3 2/3 innings in the 15-inning nightcap of yesterday’s marathon doubleheader. He didn’t allowed any earned runs but did take the loss thanks to the Manfred man scoring in the bottom of the 15th. As a thank you for that yeoman’s work, he’ll be sent out to the waiver wire. He’s logged 89 2/3 innings in Triple-A this year with a 5.02 ERA, 22.9% strikeout rate, 7.5% walk rate and 30.1% ground ball rate. If he clears waivers, he will be eligible to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency since he has been previously outrighted in his career.