Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The first cuts

The Twins on Monday shipped out half a pitching staff -- all them prospects who had no realistic chance at theopening day roster.

Optioned out: Felix Jose, Mason Melotakis, Fernando Romero and Randy Rosario.

Reassigned to minor league camp: Stephen Gonsalves and Aaron Slegers.

The difference being that the first four are on the 40-man roster, and the latter two were non-roster invitees.

Before the news of Trevor May's elbow injury led me to change plans, I had figured to write the Monday print column (which didn't see print on Monday after all) on "the pitchers who aren't there" -- two starting pitcher prospects who were taken above Gonsalves and Slegers in the same draft but clearly at this point aren't regarded well enough to merit big league camp time.

Kohl Stewart was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft. Gonsalves -- like Stewart a high schooler, unlike Stewart a left-hander -- went in the fourth round. He almost certainly would have gone higher but for a suspension that wiped out his senior season. Stewart's ERAs last year (split between High A and Double A) aren't bad, but his strikeout rates have been unimpressive, and particularly so in his 16 starts for Chattanooga.

Ryan Eades was the Twins' second round pick in 2013, a right hander out of LSU. Slegers, another college righty (Indiana) went in the fifth round. Last year Eades racked up a 4.61 ERA in Chattanooga. Slegers, at the same level, had a 3.41 ERA and more than 30 more innings.

Four pitchers taken in the first five rounds that year by the Twins, and the latter pair are looking better than the first two.

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