Last month, the Minnesota Twins approached the International signing period by doing what they always do: making a splash. This year, they spent almost $5.8 million on nine players, some of which have the potential to be special in the future. As with most players in any year, there will likely be no impact felt in the short term for any Twins’ player signed here. There could, however, be something bigger down the road as some of the talent here has special characteristics and qualities that could push them up rankings boards.
Also of note, the Twins were able to sign three of the top-ranked stars of this player pool, making them, arguably, one of the surprisingly bigger success stories of the entire signing period. That being said, here is a recap of what the Twins did with a breakdown of their top three signings. Not listed on this tweet were signees Daniel Peña, C, Venezuela and Bryan Acuña, SS, Venezuela.
We signed 7 international players today!
-Harold Grant: INF Boca Chica, DR
-Yilber Herrera: INF Baní, DR
-Yasser Mercedes: OF Nizao, DR
-Anderson Nova: OF Santo Domingo, DR
-Jose Rodriguez: OF Nizao, DR
-Ledwin Taveras: RHP Santiago, DR
-Juan Zapata: INF San Pedro De Macorís, DR pic.twitter.com/qaPDBAgraj
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) January 17, 2022
Yasser Mercedes, OF, Dominican Republic
MLB Pipeline Ranking: #17
Signing: $1.7 million
Who is he?
At only 17 years of age, Mercedes is a tall and lanky player who has yet to grow into his body. He has good fielding skills and solid defensive instincts, with good enough speed to warrant him becoming an everyday staple in center field. He currently projects to have average power at the plate with a decent enough bat for possible four-category potential, but once he fills out, there’s the potential for some untapped power.
Yasser Mercedes is a Twin! This video is from two years ago. pic.twitter.com/QoHeMFROYM
— Jeff (@MNTwinsZealot) January 15, 2022
Mercedes seems like a great signing for the Twins at a fair price. They paid him enough to show that they believe in him and are willing to give him a shot.
Yilber Herrera, SS, Dominican Republic
MLB Pipeline Ranking: #35
Who is he?
Herrera comes to the Twins as a contact-first type of hitter who can place the ball all over the field. While power isn’t a part of his profile, there is a potential uptick should he grow into his body more. His natural instinctive ability on the field while having plus-arm in his arsenal gives him a chance to remain as a middle infielder option with shortstop being the likeliest of outcomes.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) January 17, 2022
This seems like someone who fits the mold of what the Twins do, and he could be a great signing.
Bryan Acuña, SS, Venezuela
MLB Pipeline Ranking: #39
Who is he?
Bryan, who already has two older brothers in baseball, one of which is one of the best players in the game, has been doing his thing for years. He’s an incredibly smart player since his family lineage is stock full of players. While he isn’t as strong with the glove as some of the other new Twins, Acuña’s bat and knack for making contact could give him the outlet he needs to succeed. And while he’s only 16 years old, there’s optimism that his growth will allow him to hit for more power.
The newest Twins prospect in 16-year-old Bryan Acuña has a sweet swing
Yes that’s Ronald’s brother pic.twitter.com/U2N5Ndib3r
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) January 17, 2022
Bryan Acuna’s swing looks just like his big brothers 💪💪
— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) November 17, 2019
Putting the namesake aside, Acuña seems like an average player with a similar potential for his future. However, knowing the lineage from which he has learned, it’s possible that this is a great signing, given how he has grown up with baseball his entire life and has the family tools
This seems like a successful outing for the Twins. They have seen a difference within their system with regards to the type of talent they have going forward. Whereas before they had a ton of hitting prospects at the top of their rankings, they now find themselves with pitching as their strength, and thus a re-stocking of offense makes perfect sense. None of these players are expected to make much of an impact for at least two years, and even then, the chances are minimal, at least with respect to the timeline. That being said, while these players are great additions to the franchise, I do wish they had been a little more aggressive in their spending.
They finished the period as the 21st ranked team in terms of money spent, at $3.1 million. While that total is nothing to scoff at, it pales in comparison to the top three teams, who each spent at least $5.0 million apiece. In fact, the top team, San Diego, spent $5.9 million and signed 23 players. That is unbelievable. In my opinion, this draft truly summarized the state of the Twins as a whole. They don’t always spend a ton of money, but when they do, it’s usually done to acquire someone who is talented and has potential but also has a few underlying issues. They always seem to pay just under fair-market value for their talent. For once, I’d like to see the team go for it.
Dave Funnell covers the Minnesota Twins minor leagues for Prospects1500. Located just south of Toronto in the city of Hamilton, he's an hour away from Buffalo (and the Bisons). He's been a fan of baseball his entire life and doesn't have a favorite team, which hopefully gives way for objectivty in analysis. Dave is in multiple keeper fantasy baseball leagues and is active on Twitter at @sportz_nutt51.