A few days ago the Twins non-tendered right-hander Yorman Landa, opening up a spot on the 40 man roster. With the top pick (another consolation prize for being the worst!) in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft, the Twins could nab anyone they want. If they want anyone. Speculation is fun! If the Twins do pick someone and it isn’t one of these, my next article will be about how wrong I always am.
I have, in my infinite wisdom, picked out 5 potential picks the Twins likely have payed due diligence to. 4 of them could slot into the bullpen and help (to varying degrees) in 2017, while the 5th is more of a stash.
Zack Weiss, Yimmi Brasoban, and Yonny Chirinos have a lot in common. You’ve probably never heard of them, they are minor league righties, and their last place teams didn’t think them worth protecting. I wouldn’t expect a Santana-esque gem from this lot, but with a little luck the Twins might just net a decent bullpen piece.
Zack Weiss spent last year, his age 24 season, playing for the Red’s AA affiliate. And by playing I mean he was sidelined all year with an elbow injury. That’s a scary injury for a pitcher to have, however it isn’t always a death sentence. Weiss looked hot in 2015 when he pitched 63 and 2/3rds innings as AA Pensacola’s closer. He ended up with a 1.98 ERA and a nifty 4.86 strikeout to walk ratio, striking out 11.8/9 and walking only 2.4/9. It seems his injury was the biggest factor in his fall-from-grace, and if the Twins think he can recover from it and return to form we might have a future closer on our hands.
Yimmi Brasoban throws balls in the Padres organization, which means a certain someone here probably knows about him more than I do and will tell me how wrong I am. Still, until then read my words. The 22 year old has a pretty nice life on his fastball, seeing it hit as high as 98. His second offering is a slider that seems to be pretty solid itself. His control isn’t amazing, he walked 4 batters per 9 innings in AA this last season, but he is absolutely brutal on right handed hitters, keeping them to a .190/.292/.238 slash. His floor might be as a rare ROOGY, but he also might just be a good reliever. His age means he’s more of a stash than than Weiss, but I could still see him helping out immediately.
Yonny Chirinos is a 22 year old in the Rays system. His stuff isn’t electric, nor will it ever be, but he has very good control (1.6 BB/9) and a solid changeup. He seems like a Twins pitcher of yore, the very kind of pitch to contact pitcher we’ve grown sick of, but with his low ceiling comes a higher floor. Despite his age, he might be the most likely to hold his own in the bigs and pitch some innings of boring, unspectacular, but still solid baseball.
Ismael Guillon is sort of the left handed version of Brasoban above. His control wavers sometimes, but he is very good against left-handed hitters. Despite being 24, he has only seen action at High A due to an injury slowed start to his career. He wouldn’t be my top pick, but due to his handedness, he might just be an attractive target.
Julian Fernandez would be an awful major leaguer at this moment. Let’s get that out of the way right now. The 20 year old Rocky righty would need to be stashed all year in the majors despite having little chance of being anything but overmatched. But, and this is a big but, he throws baseballs really freakin’ hard. Like super hard! There is little in the baseball world more tantalizing than someone who can make the radar gun flash a nice round 100. Fernandez’s fastball can do that with regularity. He doesn’t really have another pitch right now, and as you might imagine he walks about as many batters as he strikes out (which is lots, btw) but 100 MPH! Stash him for a year and then bring him up properly through the minors and with a little magic, well-wishing and positive energy, out the other side will plop an Aroldis Chapman that is easier to root for.
Tell me you don’t want the privilege of pretending that’s going to happen for a few years before it ultimately doesn’t.