Twins’ Minor League Musings

Jose Salas, Jupiter Hammerheads, Florida State League, April 13, 2022. Photo credit Bryan Green, begreen90 on Flickr

Since the Twins Top 50 prospects list was released last month, the entire Twins organization has been busy at work. Not only did they officially re-sign Carlos Correa, but they also acquired Pablo Lopez and Michael A. Taylor in two separate trades. It’s these moves, plus some smaller ones, that have made Minnesota one of the better teams in the American League in the hopes of competing for a playoff spot.

Within the various levels of their minor league system, the organization has been making others moves geared towards solidifying its future. Through participating in the international signings period, inviting minor leaguers to Spring Training, and signing players to minor league contracts, the Twins’ franchise is making tweaks to their already set lineups. Here are a few of the noteworthy ones.

Twins sign twelve international prospects

It was a busy day for the Twins, as they had over $6 million to spend, and did so wisely. Of the players that they signed, three of them were listed within Baseball America’s Top 25 making it an impressive haul for the Twins. The first is outfielder Ariel Castro from Cuba, and he profiles as a big and tall sixteen-year-old left-handed bat. His bat is one that could eventually provide plus power and he is right now being compared to fellow prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez. He is likely headed toward the corner outfield. The second big-name player signed was Carlos Silva, a catcher from Venezuela. Currently, he profiles as someone with good defensive instincts behind the plate with an ability to throw out batters. His bat seems on par with being ready with good bat speed. He’s one to monitor since the Twins’ organization has struggled to produce much consistency at the catcher position. Finally, the Twins signed Hendry Chivilli, a shortstop out of the Dominican Republic. As a tall and lanky seventeen-year-old, the team hopes that his body will fill out while he maintains his very athletic nature. He’s scouted as someone who is good at everything without a standout skill.

Twins receive two prospects in the trade for Pablo Lopez

The biggest name of the two is Jose Salas, who has impressed in his short amount of time while with the Marlins organization. At only nineteen years of age, he still has some time to fill out his tall and thin body, which could take away some of his 60 Grade speed. Still, he has good instincts in the field, can run the basepaths, and is believed to have the ability to play anywhere in the field when he eventually does get the call to the majors. While he does possess a lot of upside with his ability to make contact and demonstrate patience at the plate, he does need some refining with the glove. His twelve errors in 2022 and eighteen errors in 2021 show that he’s a work in progress everywhere. Perhaps being given a focus on where he will be playing in the field will give him the direction needed to refine his craft and be the player they believe that he can be.

The other prospect headed to the Twins is Byron Chourio, a 17-year-old outfielder who posted a .344/.429/.410 line for Miami’s DSL team in 2022. He’s too young to project much of anything as he’s incredibly young. That said, he seems like a contact hitter who can run, despite his seven times caught stealing. Still, he’s another project who had a nice little first year of professional ball, and someone the team can see if they can build into something more.

Twins claim Ortega off waivers from the Angels and designate Enlow for assignment

Oliver Ortega comes to the Twins after a Jekyll and Hyde-type 2022 season for the Los Angeles Angels. The right-handed reliever started the year with a 1.15 ERA through his first 15.2 innings and looked to be a solid option for the team. His next 15 innings saw him post a 7.20 ERA while surrendering four home runs. While he finished off with four scoreless outings, he was relegated back to Triple-A where he stayed for the remainder of the year. At age 26, he has a chance to make the Twins’ bullpen out of camp. The casualty of designating Blayne Enlow for assignment came as a mild shock since he was protected for years despite his extended rehab from Tommy John surgery. Still, he did struggle to keep batters off the base paths, and the Twins must have liked the opportunity that they saw in Ortega.

Twins re-sign Sanchez to a minor-league contract

After arriving from the Nationals last summer, Aaron Sanchez impressed the team to want to bring him back. While with the Twins, he posted a 4.71 ERA with a 1.33 WHP, with both numbers being significantly better than when he was with the Nationals. He will likely be set for long relief if he can win a spot on the roster.

Twins invite 25 players to Spring Training

This is a long list of players that have been invited to Spring Training for various reasons. Some will be there to gain experience against tougher competition, others will be there to learn from the veterans about how to function with a Major League team, and even more will be there to try to win a spot with the Twins themselves. With health being a major concern for some rostered in Minnesota, there could be an opportunity for someone there to make the team Players such as Willi Castro, Mark Contreras, and Chance Sisco all have had some success at various levels and could make minor impact.

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.

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