Following Thursday evening’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox, the Minnesota Twins sent left-handed pitcher Nik Turley back to Triple-A Rochester and put shortstop Ehire Adrianza on the disabled list with abdominal issues.
The corresponding moves will be made when the team gets to Cleveland to open a weekend series against the division-leading Indians, but so far we know one of the pitchers who will be joining the team, via Darren Wolfson of KSTP Channel 5.
Righty Trevor Hildenberger is reportedly en route to Cleveland from the Red Wings, with a 40-man move needed as the Twins will have to purchase his contract. It’s possible the Twins could make a paper move by putting the rehabbing Phil Hughes on the 60-day disabled list, while the Twins also have some other options as far as players they could designate for assignment as well.
UPDATE (Friday): The Twins announced on Friday that left-handed pitcher Mason Melotakis and right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers were designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
UPDATE (late Thursday): Lavelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that Dillon Gee will be the other player joining the team in Cleveland.
Gee was just officially added the roster with the Rochester Red Wings on Thursday after signing a minor-league contract, and was slated to start Friday before plans changed. We had a full breakdown of Gee on the site which can be seen here. Gee’s promotion will also require a 40-man move.
Hildenberger, who turned 26 last December, was a 22nd-round pick of the Twins in the 2014 draft, and has ascended through the system fairly rapidly after being taken out of the University of California – Berkeley.
Through four seasons in the Twins system, Hildenberger has a 1.57 ERA, 10.5 K/9 and just 1.4 BB/9 with a WHIP of 0.88. He’s been tremendous this year in his first taste of Triple-A as well, tossing 30.2 innings in 21 games with a 2.05 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a WHIP of 1.14.
Despite the gaudy numbers, Hildenberger is not a prototypical reliever. He throws from a sidearm slot and relies more on deception and movement than raw stuff.
The high man on Hildenberger from a scouting standpoint is probably Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs.com, as he has the righty 18th on his list of prospects that was published last November.
Longenhagen says Hildenberger has a “three-pitch mix that staves off left-handed hitters,” and adds that he’ll sit 89-93 with a fastball that not only sinks but also runs. The slider is not great but plays up due to his arm slot, and he has a pretty good changeup. As his walk rate attests, he does a good job with location and “creates weak contact and uncomfortable swings with his delivery’s deceptive funk.” Ultimately, Longenhagen suggests middle relief is the likely role for Hildenberger, though the command and deception means he could progress.
Frankly, it sounds a little bit like former Twins righty Pat Neshek.
Hildenberger just missed the Twins’ top-20 prospects list on MinorLeagueBall.com, and has ranked 27th on Baseball America’s Twins prospect lists following the last two seasons.