Rene Tosoni last donned a Twins uniform in 2011 when he played as primarily a left fielder for 60 games. He hit .203/.275/.343 to go with five dingers and 22 RBIs in a largely forgettable season. Alex Burnett pitched for Minnesota from 2010-2012. The righty posted a 4.70 ERA in three seasons with the club where he struck out 5.6 batters and walked 3.7 batters per nine innings.
Surprisingly, both players are now teammates again, but at a very unexpected place. The two former twins are currently playing for the Sioux City Explorers out of the American Association. One player has been a cornerstone for the team this year, and the other has been very less than stellar. But first, here's a look at each players path between Minnesota and Sioux City for funzies.
After Tosoni’s one and only season in the majors, he spent 2012 in the Twins minor league system where he played at four different levels. His numbers were similar to his time with the big league club: a .224/.293/.315 triple slash, four home runs, and 23 RBIs. After 2012 he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers where he played 131 games for the AA Huntsville Stars.
He actually had one of his better seasons offensively with the club, a .238/.304/.359 line with 11 long balls and 46 RBIs, but was granted free agency at the end of the season and signed with the Explorers after not receiving a call from any MLB team.
Burnett had his best season with the Twins in 2012 with a 3.52 ERA, but only threw in three more major league games after leaving the twins. In two games with the Orioles, he surrendered three runs in 1.1 innings and threw one shutout inning for the Cubs.
He played for three AAA affiliates in 2013 and recorded a respectable 2.93 ERA. But just like Tosoni, Burnett couldn’t find an MLB team willing to sign him. His offseason lasted a little longer than Tosoni’s as he wasn’t signed by the Explorers until June 13.
Simply put, Tosoni has been the single best batter for the Explorers this season. Tosoni’s triple slash is a nice .261/.346/.422. Tosoni is also the team leader in home runs, RBIs, runs, doubles, and walks. Granted Sioux City is a team that is lacking in power as only two players have hit more than three in 50 games, but he’s team leader nonetheless.
Burnett has thrown in only six games for Sioux City, but they have been anything but pretty. His 9.00 ERA is highest on the team and he’s surrendered 17 hits and seven walks in 10 innings of work. The one glimmer of a bright spot is that he’s struck out 12 batters in those 10 innings.
Sioux City sits at 20-30, seven games back in the American Association Central Division, and a lot of that is thanks in large part to Tosoni. The club has one of the best pitching staffs in the league with a team ERA of 3.78, but who knows where the club would be without him. You never want to hear that a major league player has dropped to independent level ball, but it’s nice to know that at least Tosoni has found a place where he can be an impact player.
If you’re interested in reading a little more about Tosoni, here’s a pretty nifty interview via www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com. He talks about everything from the World Baseball Classic to how he was considering retirement in the offseason to being teammates with Chris Colabello in AA.