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Who will be 2020’s Randy Dobnak?

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A glance at some of the under-the-radar pitching in the Twins system.

Divisional Series - Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees - Game Two Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Much was made last season of Randy Dobnak’s surprise rise. His rise of surprise, if you will. From having gone undrafted just two years prior to starting Game Two of a playoff series in Yankee Stadium, few could have predicted the Dobstache’s last-season influence.

However, I’ll take “few could have” to mean “me could have.” And to prove it, I’ll be attempting to forecast which minor-league pitcher will stamp his Dobnak-esque mark on the upcoming season. For this exercise, I’ll be using a set of parameters around which to make this prediction:

Like Dobnak, this year’s Dobnak (let’s call him 2obnak) must:

  • Be under 25 years old
  • Not be on the 40-man roster
  • Have some level of potential to grow a sick-ass patch of face grass

Shall we begin?

LHP Charlie Barnes

Barnes was a fourth-round pick in 2017. You’re probably wondering why his name is familiar, and it may be because he was announced as a non-roster invitee earlier this week. This, at the very least, means the Twins want to see what he’s got against a pool of mixed talent this spring.

Barnes’ Double-A numbers are the ones to look at; strangely, he struggled at both Triple-A and High-A in 2019. At Pensacola, however, he had an 8.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9, as well as a 3.36 FIP in 75 innings even. It was there, also, that Barnes managed his highest GB% (56.7) since the year he was drafted out of Clemson.

Let’s take a look at the ‘stache potential. It’s there; it’s pretty newly grown in his team photo, but he’s got options once this fills out. It looks like he could go the route of a traditional biker-style Dobstache, but it looks like he could do something more creative with the chin area, which would obviously be clean-shaven should he choose to rock the low handlebar. We also don’t know how long it took him to grow this.

RHP Edwar Colina

Another NRI guy heading down to Florida, Colina is of the same ilk as Barnes in that he hasn’t impressed above Double-A yet. However, Colina is considerably younger, and with Triple-A experience at age 22, he’s got plenty of time to become 2obnak. (Although, if someone else becomes 2obnak first, he may be relegated to Do3nak or Dobn4k.)

Colina had a K/9 over 10 in 31 Double-A innings last year, splitting time between relief and starting duty. He had a 2.2 BB/9 down in High-A. At both levels, he managed a low ERA (2.34 at High-A and 2.03 at Double-A.) It’s at Rochester where he imploded, but the 17.36 ERA over less than five innings can mostly be attributed to small sample size. (Mostly...he gave up five runs in his first outing and four in his second, so it wasn’t like one bad inning doomed him.)

Here’s the rub.

Yikes. Not a stray hair to be seen.

It’s not a particularly high-quality photo, but you can at least see some facial shadowing that doesn’t appear to be a byproduct of the lighting equipment. A deep dive into some older photos reveals a little chin action when he was in a Kernels cap, but not much else. Potential here is low, although Colina’s youth could allow for an eleventh-hour jolt of facially-oriented testosterone.

RHP Bryan Sammons

After a couple of spring training-related guesses, here’s a dark horse pick. Sammons isn’t really on the radar right now; no invite to Fort Myers, no appearance on any prospect ranking lists...but he’s shown flashes of dominance at various levels, including allowing just four earned runs in about forty innings in High-A. With the Blue Wahoos, he put up decent numbers, although he could stand to find the zone and keep balls in the yard a bit more.

But just check out this face.

That is a self-assured smirk on the stubbled visage of a man who knows he can grow a Dobstache and doesn’t need to prove it to you. I can foresee Sammons rocking a Pavano-style solo stache if he so chose.

Honorable Mentions

RHP Cole Sands

RHP Bailey Ober

RHP Josh Winder

What do you think?

There’s a million arms to choose from if you’re looking for non-roster farmhands with a chance to make an impact in 2020. Who’s your guy? Get a discussion going in the comments below so you can gloat about your accuracy later this summer.

Poll

Who will be this year’s Randy Dobnak?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Charlie Barnes
    (30 votes)
  • 23%
    Edwar Colina
    (33 votes)
  • 19%
    Bryan Sammons
    (27 votes)
  • 23%
    One of the honorable mentions
    (33 votes)
  • 11%
    Somebody else! (Inform us below...)
    (16 votes)
139 votes total Vote Now