Tomorrow is the day that pitchers and catchers finally, mercifully, officially report to the Twins facility at Fort Myers for spring training. In that spirit, here is a quick look at each of the Twins’ non-roster invitees. Most of these guys won’t be heading to Minneapolis in late March with the team, but there is almost always at least one guy who stakes a claim to a roster spot. In total, there are twenty non-roster players who will be in camp, in addition to those on the forty man roster. The breakdown is eight pitchers, four catchers, five infielders, and three outfielders.
Tim Collins, LHP
Collins has more MLB experience than most guys on this list. He was a fairly decent reliever with the Royals for a few years, from 2011-2014. During that span, he posted ERA’s consistently between 3.00 and 4.00, while amassing over 200 innings pitched. He didn’t pitch for a couple years due to injury, but resurfaced with the Washington Nationals last season, posting a 4.37 ERA in 22 innings. Due to his experience (and some of the other left-handers having options) he has a relatively decent chance to open his age-29 season in the major leagues with the Twins.
Justin Nicolino, LHP
Nicolino spent all of last season with the International League Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Reds. He posted a 4.69 ERA in 134 innings there. Prior to that, he pitched for the Marlins from 2015-2017. With Miami, he pitched 70 plus innings in 2015 and 2016, and another 48 in 2017. In his rookie season, his ERA was 4.01, while it was near 5.00 in both of the following campaigns. Based off experience and statistics, he will likely be behind Collins to begin camp, but a strong spring could also land him with the Twins.
Chase De Jong, RHP
We’ve talked a bit about De Jong lately, as he was DFA’d to make room on the roster for Martin Perez. Since he passed through waivers, De Jong remains with the Twins. The return from the Zach Duke trade, De Jong still has rookie status, despite debuting with Seattle in 2017, and pitching for the Twins last season. Last year, he threw 17 innings for Minnesota across four starts, with a 3.57 ERA. He’s a very dark horse to begin the season in the rotation, but could be called upon due to injuries at some point.
Ryan Eades, RHP
Eades was a 2013 draft pick of the Twins, out of Lousiana State University. He’s been working his way up the Twins system ever since, reaching Triple-A Rochester during 2017, in his age-25 season. His ERA at Rochester was 0.59 last year, although in only 15 innings, as he spent most of the season at Double-A Chattanooga. Eades is likely to begin his season in the minors as well, but may be called up to fill in the bullpen at some point.
Preston Guilmet, RHP
In a four-year MLB career, Guilmet has pitched for six teams, and never thrown more than ten MLB innings in a season. The ultimate Triple-A journeyman, Guilmet pitched 33 innings at that level in 2018, and allowed a 1.60 ERA. At the MLB level, he pitched ten innings, split between the Cardinals and Blue Jays, and gave up an ERA of 11.70. He is likely roster-filler for Rochester at this point, but could be called when the rosters expand in September.
Ryne Harper, RHP
Harper has spent the last few seasons between Double-A and Triple-A. He will be returning for his second year with the Twins organization, having split last year between Chattanooga and Rochester. He’s never made a big-league appearance, but put up a 3.60 ERA in 65 total innings last season. He’ll probably start out with Pensacola.
Mike Morin, RHP
Morin had a 2.90 ERA in 59 innings as a rookie with the Angels in 2014. Since then he has never pitched as many innings, and his ERA’s have been north of six. He looks to be pure roster-filler at this point, probably for Rochester.
Jake Reed, RHP
Finally, a guy I’ve heard of! Reed is another Twins draft pick, who has been in the system since 2014. He reached Triple-A Rochester in 2017, and pitched 47 innings there in 2018, with 1.89 ERA. Expect him to be in the bullpen mix for the Twins this season, even if he doesn’t start the season there. His middle name is Hubert, so maybe he was destined to pitch for the Twins. Too bad the Metrodome is gone.
Brian Navarreto, C
Navarreto has been with the Twins since 2013, when he was signed out of Puerto Rico. He’s spent the last couple years with Double-A Chattanooga, and is more organizational depth than prospect. He’ll likely be in Pensacola for 2019, as the Twins have a good handful of guys ahead of him on the catcher depth chart. Teams always invite lots of catchers to big-league camp, and that is the case here.
Ben Rortvedt, C
Rortvedt has a chance to be the catcher-of-the-future for the Twins, but is mainly invited to camp due to numbers at this point in his career. The 21-year-old Wisconsin native finished last season at High-A Fort Myers with a line of .250/.337/.372. The Twins could have him start at Fort Myers again, or move him up to Double-A Pensacola to start the season.
Wynston Sawyer, C
Sawyer is another catcher who is more organizational depth than anything, spending most of last season at Triple-A Rochester, although he didn’t play in a lot of games. He returns to the Twins organization as depth, and will probably be assigned to Rochester or Pensacola, as there are likely a half-dozen catchers ahead of him.
Tomas Telis, C
Telis is a newcomer to the organization, and is likely the fourth catcher on the depth chart, perhaps third, depending on the organization’s opinion of Willians Astudillo behind the plate. Telis is a switch-hitting career back-up, who has had cups of coffee with both the Rangers and the Marlins. He swings a reasonable stick for the position, with a career .230/.267/.298 in 267 plate appearances. Expect to see him assigned to Triple-A Rochester unless someone suffers an injury. He is this season’s version of Bobby Wilson.
Dean Anna, IF
Anna saw most of his MLB career take place back in 2014 with the Yankees, taking part in 25 games in pinstripes. He also saw action in a 2015 game for the Cardinals. Since then, he’s been a career minor-leaguer, and is likely organizational depth. He hit .271/.367/.341 with the Triple-A affiliate of the Phillies last season, and will most likely spend the season with Rochester as well. He could be a September and/or injury call-up at some point, but has several guys ahead of him for that role.
Randy Cesar, IF
Cesar plays the corner infield positions, and as such, is likely to be buried on the depth chart, especially at first. He can be considered organizational depth at third base, however, where the Twins are fairly thin. He spent last year at Double-A Corpus Christie of the Texas League, and will likely be assigned to the Blue Wahoos to start the season. If things break poorly for Miguel Sano, you might hear Cesar’s name again, as his bat has played well so far.
Lucas Duda, IF
Duda has been worth 8.0 bWAR in his career. That was also a few years ago. Last season he worth 0.4 bWAR split between the Royals and the Braves. He plays first base, so if he makes the team, that implies that either Tyler Austin or C.J. Cron did not. He would, however make a great platoon partner for either of those players. With a strong spring, he has one of the better shots to make the MLB roster for late March.
Royce Lewis, IF
The Twins’ top prospect will be making his first MLB spring training appearance. He is there for the experience, and not because he has any shot of making the roster. After tearing up the Midwest League last season, he earned a midseason promotion to High-A Fort Myers. The Twins could push him to Double-A Pensacola to start the season, but will more likely take a slightly more conservative tack, and start him off back with the Miracle.
Adam Rosales, IF
Likely nearing the end of his career, the 35-year old Rosales is an excellent depth, as he has played all four infield positions, plus spent a few innings in the outfield as a major league player. He spent most of last year with Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate, but did get into 13 games with the big league squad. He’ll probably start the season with Rochester, but would be one of the first options the Twins would turn to in case of injury.
Alex Kirilloff, OF
The top outfield prospect for the Twins, this is a case similar to Lewis, in which Kirilloff is being brought to camp for the experience. The 21-year-old right fielder hit the cover off the ball last season in High-A, and could quite possibly begin the season at Double-A. He will most certainly end the season there, if not higher. It will be interesting to see if the Twins get him some reps at first base, as many prospect evaluators think that would get him into the MLB lineup faster.
Luke Raley, OF
Raley is part of the return from the Brian Dozier trade, and spent all of last season at Double-A, where he hit .275/.350/.471. He will likely start the season back at Double-A, and work his way up to Triple-A. He is starting out behind Jake Cave, Zack Granite, Michael Reed, and LaMonte Wade on the depth chart, but a strong season could see him pass any or all of those names.
Brent Rooker, OF
Rooker, whether in the outfield or at first base, has a crowded depth chart above him as well. He spent his age-23 season at Double-A last year, in only the second year since the Twins drafted him. He’ll probably start this season there as well, but has a good chance to move up to Triple-A, and perhaps even get a big-league cup of coffee.