Friday, March 21, 2014

On the minor league side, Part II

As lengthy as this morning's post was, it didn't exhaust the topic. (It merely exhausted me; I had to quit writing and go to bed.)

Here's some more ...


When the Twins drafted a high school catcher named Brian Navarreto in the sixth round last June, I looked at the name and figured: Italian.

Nope. Black kid. Big (listed at 6-3, 220) and said by Baseball America to have the best power bat among the Twins draftees last summer — which isn't all that impressive, as the Twins spent most of their high picks on pitchers.

Still, Seth Stohs was telling me about a massive shot Navarreto hit that was ruled foul. Tom Kelly said, according to Seth, "That was too long anyway."

I watched Navarreto catch a couple of bullpen sessions. Presumably he's a bit raw behind the dish, but he seemed to move well.

He was working with the Cedar Rapids crew, but the catching assignments are particularly fluid; the most likely catchers in Triple A were still in the major league camp at that point, so there will be a downward flow of backstops as the Twins pare the numbers.

Navarreto spent last summer with the Twins GCL team, at the bottom of the ladder, and is probably more likely to be in Elizabethton than in CR this year.


Tyler Grimes caught in CR last year. It was his third season in the Midwest League. But the first two were as a shortstop. Last year the Twins switched him to catcher, and he hit a little better overall than he had as an infielder.

He was drafted out of college, so it's not like he's got lots of time to dawdle in the low minors. I thought he looked pretty good behind the plate in the limited time I saw him last summer, and I rather expected him to be one of the extra catchers invited to major league camp this spring.

He wasn't.

Presumably he'll finally step up the ladder a notch to Fort Myers this year. By the end of last season, he was getting some infield time again, and I saw him playing third base in a game last week, so maybe he's ticketed for a multi-use role. Or maybe he's on his way out the door.


One of the four non-roster catchers early in big league camp was Stuart Turner, the Twins' third-rounder last June. Turner draws raves for his defensive tools, but there's less certainty about his bat.

Turner spent last summer in Elizabethton, with one game in Double A (skipping two levels). I expect him to go to Cedar Rapids, where he figures to be handling a staff of great importance to the Twins future.


The Twins drafted Dereck Rodriguez in the sixth round of the 2011 draft as an outfielder. The son of the catching great Pudge Rodriguez hasn't hit in three years of Rookie ball, so now he's converting to pitching. I didn't see him throw.

He's 21 now, and I wonder where they'll send him. Probably E-town again (where he played last year), but 21 is fairly old for the Appy League. But he's new to mound work, at least as a pro, and the Midwest League is probably too much of a reach for him.

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