To protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft, the Twins added Austin Martin and Emmanuel Rodriguez to their 40-man roster. Yunior Severino and Jair Camargo were added last week to prevent them from reaching minor league free agency. The roster currently stands at 38 players.
Rodriguez, a consensus Top-100 prospect at just 20 years old, spent all of last season at High A Cedar Rapids where he played in 99 games after an injury delayed the start of his season. He went on to hit .240/.400/.463 with 16 HR, 55 RBI, and 20 SB. He plays a decent center field and currently has the speed to stick there, but he still grades as an above-average right fielder if he eventually has to shift positions.
The other three players will have a great chance to contribute to the Twins as early as next season. Severino and Camargo were both left unprotected last year after smaller semi-breakouts, but their continued development forced the Twins’ hand this offseason.
Severino, 24 next season, spent most of his time in AA hitting .287/.365/.560 with 24 home runs in 84 games. That stellar performance earned him a promotion to St. Paul for the last month of the season where he still hit well with a .233/.320./511 line alongside 11 bombs. His combined 35 dingers led all of MiLB. Severino is a switch hitter with almost identical splits from both sides of the plate. He strikes out a ton but has the versatility to play all over the infield.
Camargo was acquired from the Dodgers in the Kenta Maeda/Brusdar Graterol swap. Also 24, he spent the entire 2023 season at AAA where he hit .259/.323/.503 in 90 games. Camargo is your prototypical stocky, right-handed catcher with some pop, and he has also received good marks behind the plate from the Saints’ staff. The Twins were likely planning on him seeing some time with the big league squad last season, but Ryan Jeffers and Christian Vázquez were surprisingly healthy all season, with neither one spending any time on the injured list. Camargo will once again be the next man up should either Twins catcher miss time or is traded.
Austin Martin, of course, was the centerpiece in 2021’s Jose Berrios trade. Unable to develop consistent power, Martin has since lost some of his top prospect shine, but still projects as a decent major leaguer in a utility role. An elbow injury caused him to miss most of the first half in 2023, but he came back with a .263/.387/.405 line and 16 SB in 59 games at St. Paul. Unlike the other prospects added, Martin has great contact skills, striking out at a 16% clip that pairs with a 14% walk rate. He struggled defensively as a shortstop but has since switched to playing second base, center, and left field. If he can bring enough power to be an above-average hitter at the bottom of the lineup, his other skills could make him a great partner with Buxton in centerfield.
The Twins left a few key players unprotected. Jose Salas, acquired as part of the Luis Arraez/Pablo López trade last year, tops that list after a horrendous offensive showing last season. He is unlikely to be selected.
Others include former first-round picks Aaron Sabato and Keoni Cavaco who have both failed to develop. There’s an outside chance that a team takes a shot on Sabato given his excellent college pedigree, but he is a career .212 hitter with a 32% strikeout rate in the minors.
The Twins also have a slew of older utility types in the upper minors to keep an eye on in the draft including Anthony Prato, Michael Helman, DaShawn Keirsey, and Alerick Soularie. They’ve each put up decent enough numbers at their respective levels, but with the Twins competing for a World Series, roster spots are limited and those types of players are fairly easy to replace with minor league signings.
Next up for Derek Falvey and Co. is the non-tender deadline on November 17. Most of the Twins’ arbitration-eligible players are expected to be retained, but decisions will need to be made on both Kyle Farmer and Nick Gordon as their futures with the team remain in flux.