On Sunday the Minnesota Twins announced their first string of roster cuts. Spring training, and the last couple weeks of March in particular, involve a great deal of roster movement and the Twins are no exception. A vast majority of these moves, particularly at this early stage, are expected and without much surprise. And that's exactly the case with the five players the club cut loose from spring training yesterday.
- IF Heiker Meneses
- RHP Jake Reed
- 1B/OF Reynaldo Rodriguez
- C Alex Swim
- SS Engelb Vielma
Vielma and Meneses had each appeared in seven games this month. Meneses was 3-for-7 with a strikeout; Vielma 5-for-11 with a triple and a pair of runs scored. While Meneses has settled into the "organizational depth" category, Vielma is seen in many circles as one of two possible entries in the category "shortstop of the future." Not as highly regarded as Nick Gordon, Vielma is nevertheless a strong defensive player who is still quite raw. He's been dubbed exceptional in the field, and if his bat can develop at all he could put the organization in a very interesting position.
Rodriguez and Swim didn't have realistic roads to the Opening Day roster, either. Swim in particular didn't get much of a look, as the Twins focused on their options for their third catcher: John Hicks and Juan Centeno. Hicks and Centeno are having good springs so far, although the former may have the heads up as a member of the 40-man roster.
The final cut to discuss is right-handed reliever Reed. He allowed one run off of a hit and a pair of walks in three innings this spring, striking out one. It's nothing upon which to judge of course, and in Reed's case that might be more true than normal. He recorded a single pitch in each of his first two appearances, inducing a double play on March 3 and getting his man on the first swing on March 6. His appearance on March 8 is where he struggled, throwing just three strikes in 11 pitches, which led to the walks, hit and run. Reed's final appearance of the spring, yesterday, saw him much more confident: five pitches, five strikes, and a strikeout in a full inning of work.
Realistically, only Reed is likely to make an impact on the Twins' Major League team at some point in 2016. For now he'll be assigned to one of the club's top-level affiliates, where he'll have the chance to dominate minor league hitters for just a little while longer.
- I'll be sitting down with Twins Assistant General Manger Rob Antony later this week. I'll have a "Questions from the Community" section again, so if you have something you'd like to ask be sure to drop it in the comments.
- It seems strange that Justin Morneau hasn't garnered much interest from around the league over the winter. As Nick Cafardo notes, "nothing has materialized." There's obviously no realistic role for him in Minnesota, but for a player that's hit .316/.363/.487 over the last two seasons it's bizarre that nobody has at least taken a flyer. Granted, injuries limited him to 49 games in 2015, but with the right team he still seems like a good bet to post good rate stats with a chance to hit 20 home runs with enough plate appearances. That's still pretty good.
- Since striking out three times in his first spring training game, Byung Ho Park is 8-for-19 (.421) with three strikeouts, seven runs batted in, and three home runs. He hasn't walked yet either, but at a time where I'm sure he's getting used to Major League pitching, getting his timing and pitch recognition down is more important than proving he can take a walk.
- Finally, our community prospect vote will continue this afternoon. We've had a couple of weeks away from it now, so we'll see if we can't crack on with three rounds through the weekend.