It’s been a long time coming, but Opening Day is just around the corner. The Minnesota Twins had several top prospects join the team for Spring Training, but almost all of them have since been reassigned to the minors. Here’s a quick look at some of the performances these future Twins put up, and then I’ll open up the mailbag to answer some prospect questions.
- RHP Fernando Romero threw eight scoreless innings over four appearances this spring while allowing no hits, one walk and eight strikeouts. He will begin the year at Double-A Chattanooga, where he went 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA and 120 strikeouts over 125 innings in 2017. The more I’ve seen of Romero, the more I’m thinking he’ll end up being the better pitcher than Stephen Gonsalves — who I had ranked as my No. 1 prospect in my preseason Twins Top 50 Prospects.
- SS Nick Gordon and OF LaMonte Wade had two of the top performances at the plate among the Twins prospects this month, with Gordon hitting .421 and Wade hitting .318. Gordon was 8-19 with a double, a triple, zero walks and seven strikeouts, while Wade was 7-22 with two doubles, a team-high seven walks and three strikeouts. Barring trade or injury, neither of them will be on the Twins’ active roster this year outside of a September call-up, but it is good to see them performing well in this opportunity against some major league talents.
- The Twins have already had two prospects from my Top 50 list change teams this spring. Shortstop Jermaine Palacios, my No. 16 prospect, was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for starter Jake Odorizzi, while reliever J.T. Chargois, my No. 26 prospect, was placed on waivers to make room on the 40-man roster and was claimed by the Dodgers. Palacios went 0-2 over two games for the Rays this spring, while Chargois has a 1.80 ERA with five strikeouts over five innings of work.
- Minnesota also added a new prospect, as they acquired outfielder Jake Cave from the Yankees for RHP Luis Gil. Gil is a 20-year-old pitcher who transitioned from a reliever to a starter last year where he went 0-2 with a 2.59 ERA and 10.6 K/9 in the Dominican Summer League. Cave was ranked No. 21 on Ryan Ortiz’s Top 50 Yankees Prospects list earlier this year. Here is what he had to say about the 25-year-old:
Jake Cave‘s 2017 performance will go overshadowed by the many other story lines that Yankee outfielders produced in 2017. Across AA and AAA, Cave slashed .305/.351/.521 while smacking 20 dingers (a personal best). 15 of those home runs came against AAA pitching but with the stark power surplus Cave also saw a decline in his plate discipline, posting career worsts in both walk and strikeout ratios. Cave is on the younger side for producing in AAA but the Yankee OF is as crowded as can be, especially with the addition of Stanton. Where Cave ends due to this will be interesting, but at the moment there’s just no room for him.
- LHP Lewis Thorpe and RHP Zack Littell will start the year off at Chattanooga along with Romero, while LHPs Dietrich Enns and Stephen Gonsalves and RHPs Felix Jorge, Aaron Slegers and John Curtiss will begin 2018 at Triple-A Rochester.
And now here are a couple questions I received from Reddit.
When do you see Fernando Romero making an impact in fantasy? —/u/nmjohn4
Long story short, Romero likely won’t have an impact until next year at the earliest. By all appearances he looks to be ready or almost ready to contribute at the major league level, it’s just a matter of finding a spot in the rotation. This year the Twins have Lance Lynn, Phil Hughes, Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson who will fill out the rotation to start the season. On top of that, Ervin Santana and Michael Pineda will eventually claim a spot in the rotation after they return from injury, and waiting in the minors along with Romero are Stephen Gonsalves, Felix Jorge, Adalberto Mejia and several others who can all start. I think what will most likely happen is we see Romero make a couple spot starts later in the season, and that will be his audition for the starting rotation when several spots will be open for competition. When Romero does land a spot in the rotation, I think he can be a top-60 starting pitcher almost immediately and he could quickly move up those rankings.
Got any info on Gabriel Moya?? —/u/dayman763
Moya has put up some good numbers this spring, allowing only one run on six hits and one walk while striking out nine over nine innings pitched with one save in two save opportunities. With three straight seasons in the minors of at least 11 K/9, Moya has potential to be an impact reliever and possibly a closer at some point. But as of right now it appears he is on the outside looking in for a spot in the Twins bullpen out of Spring Training. Even if he does secures a spot in the bullpen, it’s unlikely he would have much fantasy impact as he is presumably the fourth or fifth in line for the closer’s role. If you’re in a dynasty league with a deep bench, he might be worth a speculative stash as a future closer, but otherwise until something changes he won’t be worth owning in any league.
Article featured image of Gabriel Moya – courtesy photofile.com.