Phil Miller of the Star Tribue reported last night on the Twins' first wave of September callups, and they're all players that we expected to see. Here's what we can tell you about the players arriving.
The 6' 5", 290 slugger struggled out of the gate this season with the Twins after a surprising and successful rookie campaign. Just as he seemed to be finding his feet he was sent to Double-A, where he hit .287/.417/.516 in 35 games and was subsequently promoted to Triple-A. He did almost as well there, batting .279/.411/.475 in 38 games. That's a .910 OPS between the two levels, and I think it's fair to say he's given the Twins' brain trust exactly what they wanted to see in order to earn a call up in September.
Vargas will get occasional starts at first base and at designated hitter, but simply having power like that available off the bench will be a big tool in Paul Molitor's case.
As goes Vargas, as goes Santana, apparently. There's no denying that Danny looked over-matched at times early in the season and he was destined for a demotion weeks before it actually happened, but in 35 games for Rochester he hit .322/.348/.500. That's way over his head as far as historical minor league production is concerned, and the lack of walks is still an issue, but production is production.
Santana could see time all over the diamond as a type of super utility player, but if Eduardo Escobar goes cold I can't imagine that Molitor would hesitate to plug in Santana in the hope of catching another hot hand.
Having a third catcher on the roster is a luxury a lot of teams would love to have, and September provides that opportunity. We need to wait for the other shoe to drop here to see who will make way on the 40-man roster for Fryer.
Could this be the last time Tonkin rides the train from Rochester to Minnesota? The 25-year old right-hander has seemingly made a dozen trips since 2013, but in 2015 he's put forward a minor league performance that seems undeniable in terms of showing whether or not Tonkin is ready to perform. In 33 games and 41 innings for the Red Wings, he's posted a 1.10 ERA and 0.73 WHIP while striking out 46, walking just five, and giving up just 25 hits. That's absolutely outstanding, and you really can't ask a reliever to show you anymore than what Tonkin has done for the Red Wings.
Tonkin's abilities should allow him to slot anywhere in a bullpen hierarchy, and out of each of these four players he's the guy most likely to make an immediate impact as the club is wanting for quality arms out of the bullpen. For the time being I expect that Molitor will try him in the sixth or seventh, allowing Kevin Jepsen, Casey Fien, and hopefully Glen Perkins to hold down the back end of a game.
As good as Tonkin has been this year, Achter has been almost as good. Rochester was spoiled in relief this year. Achter posted a 2.62 ERA in 43 appearances and 48 innings, striking out 47, walking 13, and surrendering just 28 hits en route to a 0.85 WHIP. It's an absolutely stellar campaign from the 26-year old, and it would be a real shame if the Twins didn't endeavor to keep him around next season to see if he can't translate his performance into a Major League career.
Minor league seasons end early next week, followed by post-season play, which is when Minnesota will make a move for another wave of minor league help. Jose Berrios, health and innings provided, could make his debut at that time.