Saturday, August 4, 2012

Minor league health matters

Four Twins prospects of some prominence are either in or out ...

RHP Alex Wimmers, first round pick in the 2010 draft, had Tommy John surgery on Thursday. He'd been sidelined for much of the season with what had been described as an elbow strain, and had thrown just five innings all year.

This is essentially the second straight wasted season in his development, and next season now promises to be a third. When the Twins drafted him (21st overall), he was reasonably expected to be a quick rise to the majors. For a team in need of starting pitching, his problems have really hurt.

Wimmers' case may have reverberations beyond the pitching staff. General manager Terry Ryan was widely described last week as irritated by the lengthy delay in reaching a diagnosis. I continue to expect, at some point, a shakeup in the organization's medical and/or training staffs.

Lester Oliveros had
a brief major league
call-up this season.
RHP Lester Oliveros, acquired almost a year ago when the Twins sent Delmon Young to Detroit, is out of the remainder of the season to having bone chips removed from his elbow. This is not as significant a surgery as Wimmers', and I would expect Oliveros to be a contender for a bullpen job in 2013.

When the Twins tabbed Luis Perdomo to fill a bullpen spot last month, a commenter wondered what the move implied for a handful of pitchers who, unlike Perdomo, were already on the 40-man roster. In Oliveros' case, the answer is now obvious: He was hurt.

Oliveros was having a good season, split between Double A and Triple A.

In better news ...

RHP Kyle Gibson, having made seven appearances for the complex team at  Fort Myers, is going to start moving up the ladder. Gibson had his Tommy John surgery almost a year ago and is described as throwing better than he has at any time in the Twins system.

Gibson was the Twins first-round pick in 2009 (22nd overall), and, as with Wimmers, his health problems have mattered on the big-league level..

2B/OF Eddie Rosario, sidelined earlier this summer when a line drive hit him in the face during batting practice, is back with Low A Beloit.

I wonder if, absent the injury, he would have gotten a promotion to High A Fort Myers. The hitting numbers -- .307/.371/.496 -- on their own merit a promotion. But my guess is that the organization would have kept him at Beloit on the basis that staying at one level would ease his transition from outfielder to second base.

1 comment:

  1. As Ryan points out, health decisions are often not technical judgments, but personal ones. One player can play with an injury that looks no different than a player who can't.

    It sounds like Wimmer had a strained ligament that tore when he tried to pitch with it after resting. I am not sure that says much about the medical staff.

    There are lots of fans who seem to think Tommy John surgery is an automatic fix with no risks. Its not. Matt Bashore, a high Twin draft choice a few years ago, is a case in point. He had Tommy John surgery and the Twins ended up releasing him.