Friday was the deadline for teams to protect their current minor leaguers from the Rule 5 draft by putting them on the 40-man major league roster. The Twins elevated seven prospects -- and lost two players with some major league time, catcher Josmil Pinto and right-hander A.J. Achter, on waivers, Pinto to the Padres and Achter to the Phillies.
I'll probably write something in more detail about the Pinto move next week. Achter is a marginal reliever who had another good season in Triple A last year -- he has a 2.69 ERA in 99 Triple A appearances -- who might be able to wander into a decent major league season if given a chance, but lacks the dominant pitch to force a career. Good luck to both of them.
The seven additions include several pitchers who emphatically have that dominant pitch. I see four categories in the seven:
Hard-throwing right-handed relievers: J.T. Chargois and Yorman Landa.
Left-handed Triple A starters: Pat Dean and Taylor Rogers.
Left-handers with Tommy John surgery: Mason Melotakis and Randy Rosario.
Outfielder: Adam Brett Walker.
Landa and Rosario spent 2015 at low A Cedar Rapids, and I saw both pitch during my handful of Kernels games last August, Rosario as a starter and Landa as a reliever. I didn't write about Landa, but he did show some serious velocity; I wrote instead about Luke Bard, who wasn't put on the 40 and is eligible for Rule 5. Anyway -- while Landa and Rosario will be in major league camp, I don't think the Twins will elevate either to the majors this year.
Dean and Rogers are slightly surprising protects to me. I don't see either as a particularly likely candidate to ever be starters for the Twins. There are certainly a lot of rotation guys ahead of them.
Walker's protection illustrates the importance of the power tool. ABW has serious power -- and, like Oswaldo Arcia, little else to recommend him. I'm not particularly enthused about Walker's chances.
Melotakis missed 2015 with Tommy John surgery while Chargois returned from two years on the shelf. These two guys each have pitched in Double A and have realistic chances to be part of the reconstructed 2016 bullpen, although I doubt the Twins would graduate Melotakis in particular to the majors out of spring training.
The Twins now have 38 player on their 40-man roster. One of the open slots is slated for Byung Ho Park; the other may well go to a Rule 5 selection.