Ladies and gentlemen: Wilkin Ramirez.
Every year the Twins sign a few minor league free agents to supplement Rochester's roster. It's one of the first things they did last season when they went out and found players like Ray Chang, Eric Hacker, Jeff Bailey, and Chuck James. Unfortunately for the Twins (and the Red Wings), not many quality minor leaguers will be making the jump to triple-A to start the season. In an effort to, once again, allow talent to stay where they are since they're not quite ready to advance, we find the front office loading up on filler talent.
After the jump we'll take a brief look at each of the six new Twins. Do any of them look like potential contributors?
Jared Burton, RHP
2012 Age: 31
Burton was actually a good reliever in 2007 and 2008 for the Reds, striking out 94 in 102 innings. He walked too many batter (47), but he was able to limit base hits and put up a combined 2.92 ERA. Injuries helped slow him in '09, and over the last two seasons he's largely been used as an injury replacement. But that didn't mean he was healthy and pitching in triple-A.
Between the majors and the minors, Burton has thrown just 63 innings the last two seasons.
At his healthiest, Burton throws a decent low-90s fastball with a plus cutter, a mid 80s slider, and an average changeup - an arsenal that induced plenty of ground balls as hitters wouldn't make solid contact. If he's healthy, maybe he gets an opportunity with the Twins. But in his age-31 season and three seasons removed from his last good year, is it in the cards? Probably not. This could be Burton's last chance.
Matt Carson, OF
2012 Age: 30
Carson had brief stints with the Athletics in 2009 and 2010, but it wasn't pretty. I won't even show you the numbers. He spent all of 2011 in triple A, where he's been the last four seasons, and was his typical self: a guy who could hit for power, but without the offensive prowess that would translate to the majors. But if the Red Wings want a little offense, they've got it. Carson has hit .280/.343/.515 in 1600 triple-A plate appearances. If he sees time with the Twins, either something has gone unbelievably awesome for terribly, terribly wrong.
Samuel Deduno, RHP
2012 Age: 28
Deduno has combined for 5.2 MLB innings over the last two years, splitting those innings between the Rockies and the Padres. His minor league track record, apart from the walks (5.1 BB/9) has a couple of interesting things to note, including the fact that he's allowed just 37 home runs in 738 innings. Without overly impressive stuff, Deduno strikes me as a player similar to Carson: talented, a good ball player...just not quite good enough to hold down a spot on a 25-man roster. He certainly has the ability to strike out minor league hitters.
Luis Perdomo, RHP
2012 Age: 28
Perdomo spent both of his partial Major League seasons with the Padres, and was a teammate of Deduno's in San Diego's triple-A affiliate. But back in '09 he threw 60 innings of relief for the Padres, posting a 4.80 ERA. He picked up 55 strikeouts, but he also walked 34 and allowed 11 home runs.
Since then, though, it's like he's forgotten how to strike batters out. He didn't make the roster in 2010, and has struck out just 100 batters in 153 triple-A innings since. I'm not sure what the Twins see in him right now, to be honest. He's not missing bats, he's hittable, and has next to no command. It's an interesting choice. I'd probably still prefer Kiko Calero.
Wilkin Ramirez, OF
2012 Age: 26
13 plate appearances with the Tigers in '09, and 30 plate appearances with the Braves in '11. That's Ramirez's MLB experience. In the minors he's displayed some power, although less than Carson, but Ramirez has more speed. He's stolen 162 bases, getting caught just 55 times. If the Twins plan on using a lot of Rene Tosoni and Joe Benson in Minnesota, Ramirez and Carson should pair to give the Red Wings a couple of proven minor league performers. But a call to Minnesota is highly unlikely.
Brendan Wise, RHP
2012 Age: 26
The only player on this list without any Major League experience, Wise has risen to triple-A through the power of low ERAs. In 113.2 career triple-A innings his ERA is an impressive 1.98, in spite of striking out just 4.9 batters per nine innings, and in his entire minor league career his ERA is 3.37. He's a great example of being effective in spite of some pretty poor peripherals: his strikeout-to-walk ratio is less than 2:1.
If Wise shows up in Rochester this season, strikes out 4.5 batters per nine, walks 3.2 per nine, but posts a 2.90 ERA going into June? Yeah. He could be the best bet of anyone on this list to make it to Minnesota.