Spring training is in full force, and the Minnesota Twins announced their first wave of camp cuts on Wednesday morning from Fort Myers.
Left-handed pitcher Dietrich Enns and righty Felix Jorge were sent to Triple-A Rochester. Enns came over from the New York Yankees last season in the Jaime Garcia deal, and has battled shoulder injuries in recent seasons. That continued after the trade as he missed time with the Twins as well, but when he’s been healthy, he’s put up terrific numbers in the minor leagues. Through just over 400 minor-league innings, he has a 1.88 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning. Enns has allowed four earned runs on seven hits in 3.2 spring innings.
Jorge will most likely shuttle back and forth from Rochester to the Twins this season when the need for a starter arises. He’s more or less a finished product as he heads into his age-24 season, and has potential to be a back-end starter if everything lines up right for him. He allowed just one earned run in three innings so far this spring.
Lefty Lewis Thorpe and righty Zack Littell were sent to Double-A Chattanooga. Thorpe was added to the 40-man roster during the offseason, but has only thrown six innings above High-A as he’s battled arm injuries and even a bout with mono in recent seasons. In fact, he still hasn’t thrown 200 professional innings yet despite spending six seasons in the organization. He’s a high-ceiling, boom-or-bust starting pitching prospect who is still headed into just his age-22 season. Thorpe allowed three earned runs in 2.1 spring innings before he was sent out.
Littell also came over in the Garcia trade, and was added to the 40-man roster over the winter. In 27 appearances between High-A and Double-A in both organizations, Littell posted a 2.12 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and a WHIP of 1.12. MLB.com lists him as the No. 15 prospect in the organization, and says he has an average repertoire that plays up due to command, feel and polish. He also induces plenty of grounders; he had a 50 percent rate at all three stops he made last year and has routinely posted rates in the 48-52 percent range.
The MLB average is typically around 44-45 percent.
Catchers Wynston Sawyer and Brian Navarreto were transferred to minor-league camp. Navarreto is a career .209/.263/.297 hitter in the minors with a little time at Double-A, and is regarded more for his work behind the plate than at it. He turned 23 in late December. Sawyer spent most of his 2017 season as a 25-year-old at Double-A Tulsa (Dodgers), hitting .277/.333/.429 while throwing out just 18 percent of attempted base thieves.
Both catchers were in camp mostly to catch bullpens, though Sawyer did go 2 for 5 in limited action at the plate. Navarreto went 0 for 6 this spring.
According to the team release, the Twins still have 53 players in camp, including 38 players on the 40-man roster.
Here’s the layout:
- 26 pitchers (three NRI)
- five catchers (three NRI)
- 13 infielders (five NRI)
- nine outfielders (four NRI)
- Former Twins right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco is reportedly close to signing a deal with the Kansas City Royals, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. It’ll almost certainly be a one-year deal, though it’s unclear if it’ll be a major-league deal. Nolasco was better than he’d been with the Twins as he tossed 181 innings of 4.92 ERA (5.10 FIP) ball with the Los Angeles Angels last season. Though they’ve yet to publicly declare it, the Royals are clearly rebuilding, and will need to get innings from someplace — and Nolasco fits the bill. Right now, their rotation depth chart is Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Nate Karns and Jake Junis, with Karns recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last July. Nolasco makes a lot of sense as the team’s No. 5 starter while bringing Karns along slowly, most likely.
- Logan Morrison left Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox with right glute tightness. Morrison slid into the plate as he came around to score on a single early in the game and was replaced by Kennys Vargas at first base. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that it was just a precautionary move, and that Morrison could get another day off as well just to make sure he’s 100 percent.
- Tampa Bay Times Rays reporter Marc Topkin reports that Jose De Leon has torn his UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery in the days to come. De Leon was the widely reported offered player from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Brian Dozier trade talks which took place just over a year ago, but the Twins balked and ultimately the righty was flipped to the Rays for Logan Forsythe. Neither player had a good 2017 season; De Leon battled myriad injuries, and pitched just 40 innings across four levels including a rather ineffective 2.2-inning stint in the big leagues. Forsythe hit just .224/.351/.327 in 119 games with the Dodgers while ceding playing time at second base to Chase Utley, Chris Taylor and Austin Barnes. Dozier, meanwhile, hit a tremendous .271/.359/.498 and captured his first career Gold Glove award.