Monday, December 21, 2015

Making sense of the Twins new crop of minor league signees

Over the weekend the Twins signed 6 new minor league free agents:  RHRPs David Martinez Raul Fernandez, and  Marcus Walden,  IF Leonardo Reginatto, OF Keury De La Cruz, and  C Jose Ortiz.   Let's examine each of them

RHP David Martinez ( 28 years old, 6'2", 220 lbs) was signed by the Astros as a sixteen year old International Free Agent in 2005.  He needed 4 seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League before he crossed the border as a 21 year old.  At that point he climbed fast the Astros organization going from Rookie ball to a cup of coffee in the majors in 4 seasons.  Fastball (low 90s), slider, change reliever, with mixed results that were better in the lower minors.  His career AAA numbers (3 seasons) are 5.77 ERA, 1.617 WHIP, 6.5 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9.  He does have the excuse of pitching in the Pacific Coast League, but lots of pitchers pitch there with better results.  Organizational depth signing at this point with not much upside.

RHP Raul Fernandez (25 years old, 6'2", 180 lbs) was signed by the Rockies as a seventeen year old International Free Agent out of the Dominican.  He was signed as a Catcher and converted to a pitcher his second professional season.  Moved to the States in 2011 as a 21 year old and he has been moving slowly up the minors.  Was traded to the White Sox the 2014 season.   In his only AA season in 2015 (Southern League) he pitched late in the games for the Birmingham Barons appearing in 36 games (61.3 IP) with a 4.26 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, 6.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.   Organizational depth, with just a tick or two of upside.

RHP Marcus Walden (27 years old, 6'0", 180 lbs) was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 9th round of the 2007 draft from Fresno City College.  After 2 seasons in low levels, he lost 2 seasons with elbow issues, one trying the rest and relaxation bit, before he head the surgery the next.   Coming back from the surgery he was a better pitcher, but pitched in A and high A teams that were too young for his age at that point.    When he moved to AA and AAA in the subsequent seasons he had trouble getting hitters out.  Moved to the A's organization in 2014 and to the Independents in 2015 before signed up by Cincinnati to pitch a single AA game (3 IP).   Organizational depth at this point, with not much upside.

IF Leonardo Reginatto (RHB, 25 years old, 6'2", 180 lbs) is a Brazilian who was signed at 18 as an International Free Agent by the Rays and had spent all of his career with that organization.  He has played mostly at SS and 3B, and a few games at 2B and LF.    Mostly a utility player in the minors; he made it up to AAA for a half season in 2015.  Career .286/.346/.351  slash line with 8 HRs and 48 SB in 7 MiLB seasons.  Organizational depth, but there might be something there.

Keury De La Cruz (24 years old, LHB, 5'11", 170 lbs) was signed by the Red Sox as a 16 year old International Free Agent out of the Dominican in 2008 and moved pretty fast in their system.   He can play all OF positions, including Centerfield.  He opened some eyes in 2012 when he hit .308/.352/.536 with 19 HRs and 19 SB (506 PAs) as a 20 year old for A Class Greenville (South Atlantic League).  2013 at High A was unremarkable, but he rebounded in 2014 in an injury shortened season in AA: .295/.327/.434 7 HRs and 3 SB (275 PAs).  He repeated AA last season with not that great results:  .240/.282/.375, 9 HRs, 3 SBs (433 PAs).  Could potentially be a change of scenery candidate.  He is still young, and had great results before, so worth a second look.  His biggest issue is a pretty violent inconsistent swing that tends to get a lot of strikeouts.  Needs work with his routes at the outfield.


C Jose Ortiz (RHB, 21 years old, 5'11", 205 lbs).  Ortiz was drafted by the Reds in the 17th round of the 2012 draft from Puerto Rico.  He is very young, and he has played that last 2 seasons in Dayton of the Midwest League, so he is familiar to some Twins.   He is very young but not very good, hitting just  .199/.239/.321 with 6 HRs and 0 SB (309 PAs) in those 2 seasons in the Midwest League.   Hard to see why the Twins signed him, other than replacing the equally bad but older Michael Quesada who was released last week.

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