As announced Friday afternoon by Dustin Morse, the Minnesota Twins’ all-around communications gent, the team has protected three players from the Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40-man roster.
The most familiar name to many fans will be that of Jordan Balazovic, as with the trade of Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers, Balazovic became the resident triple-digit thrower. Back in the yonder years of 2019, when Minor League Baseball existed, Balazovic split the year between Cedar Rapids (A-ball) and Fort Myers (high-A), putting up a sub-3.00 ERA and WHIP of 1.00 or lower in both leagues, striking out 129 batters over 18 starts and one additional appearance.
Bailey Ober, another righty, outdid Balazovic in one countable aspect in 2019: he played in three leagues that year, spending time in what was then Double-A Pensacola along with Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers. Ober also racked up a nice number of strikeouts (100 even over 13 starts and a bonus cameo) with an even lower WHIP and ERA; Ober finished 2019 with a 0.69 ERA across all three leagues, none of his ERAs at any of the three levels even reaching 1.00. (Not that they didn’t try — Ober’s 2019 Fort Myers ERA was 0.99.)
On the other end of the battery is Ben Rortvedt, a light-hitting, solid-gloved catcher who spent parts of his 2019 in Fort Myers and Pensacola. Rortvedt’s light hitting can be seen in his combined .238/.334/.379 slash line with just seven potato pops, behind the plate he has received credit for all the defensive tools a catcher possesses: blocking, framing, throwing out stealers, and receiving, the one that actually involves catching the ball.
While fans may not see these three players under the Target Field lights for a while as the Twins continue to develop these three prospects in their farm system, they possess enough talent that the team is ensuring none of the other 29 clubs poaches one or more away come December 10.