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Twins Rule 5 Draft Primer

Are there any good options that could fill the back end of the bench or bullpen?

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Last year, the Twins bench consisted primarily of Kyle Farmer, Donovan Solano, and Willi Castro, all of whom played well in their roles. As of now, the bench options include Castro and a collection of question marks. Farmer (trade candidate), Jose Miranda (injury and performance issues), Nick Gordon (injury/performance), and Trevor Larnach (performance), with AAA depth players Yunior Severino and Austin Martin next in line. With the upcoming Rule 5 Draft scheduled for Wednesday, December 6, are there good options to compete for the last few spots?

Offensive Team Needs:

  1. Glove-first centerfield option with decent speed
  2. Infielder (specifically, SS) with good contact skills
  3. Corner infield and outfield glove, bonus for being right-handed
  4. Bullpen help

CF with decent speed:

  • Matt Gorski (OF)...AA - AAA: evenly split in the outfield with some 2B and 1B, pull hitter, double digit HR and SB potential, RHH
  • Elijah Dunham (OF)...AA - AAA: mostly LF but some CF and RF (dabbled at 1B), pull hitter, runner (35 SB), LHH

SS with good contact skills:

  • Nasim Nuñez (SS, 2B)...AA: hits to all fields (higher oppo field than pull percentage, good plate discipline (14.5 BB%, 19 K%), speed (52 SB) and glove
  • Freddy Zamora (SS, 2B)...AA: decent spray chart, good plate discipline (12 BB%, 20 K%), speed (17 SB), and glove, injury concerns

Right-handed corner options:

  • Devin Mann (3B/2B)...AAA: experience at SS, 1B, COF, all pull, high strikeout (28%) but good walk (15%), decent power (20 HR, 40 2B)
  • Nick Podkul (1B)...AA - AAA: some 2B and 3B, all pull, decent plate discipline (down to 18 K%, plus a 14 BB%)
  • Tristin English (corners)...AA - AAA: RF, LF, and 1B (some 3B), good spray chart, solid walk rate (12.5%), some power (17 HR)
  • Blaine Crim (1B/3B)...AAA: has dabbled in the OF, pull hitter, decent K rate (20%), good power (20+ HR three times)
  • Isaac Collins (2B, OF)...AA - AAA: mostly LF, some 2B, OF, 3B, fairly even pull/oppo, walks as much as he strikes out, doubles power, good speed (30 SB back-to-back years), switch-hitter

It’s also worth having the conversation about catcher options. With the Twins shopping Christian Vazquez, the only other 40-man option is Jair Camargo. The top options behind the plate are Will Banfield and Brandon Valenzuela, both of whom are inexperienced, have high strikeout rates (albeit, lower than Camargo’s), and not great contact skills so it’s hard to envision the Twins going this route.

The last option worth looking into is a bullpen guy. Here, there are a few options:

  1. High-90s fastballs with a plus out pitch
  2. Flawed started who could be bullpen converts
  3. Injury concerns looking for consistency
  • Justin Slaten…AA - AAA: good fastball, great slider, solid strikeout rate (12 K/9 in AA) but high walk rate (5 BB/9)
  • Matt Sauer…Rookie - AA: well-regarded until a ‘19 injury, continues to start and put up good strikeout numbers (10.93 K/9 in AA) with a solid fastball/slider combination
  • Nelson L. Alvarez…A - AA: another fastball/slider guy with big strikeout numbers (13 K/9) and a high ground ball percentage (60%)
  • Luarbert Arias…A - AA: young (22), solid strikeout (12 K/9) and walk (2 BB/9) guy with a big changeup and a decent fastball (mid-90s)
  • Tyler Owens…A - AA: another young (22) pitcher with a good fastball and curveball combo, solid strikeout (9 K/9) and walk rates (3.2 BB/9) that could be improved if transitioned exclusively to the bullpen.

I don’t envision the Twins taking up a roster spot by drafting one of these guys but it’s always fun to look at options and dream about the next Rule 5 success story.


Do the Twins make a selection in the Rule 5 Draft?

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