On Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins announced the additions of eight players to their 40 man roster. This protects those players from being selected in the December 6 Rule 5 draft. They added pitchers Kyle Gibson, Caleb Thielbar, BJ Hermsen, Tim Wood and Michael Tonkin, along with catcher Josmil Pinto, infielder Danny Santana and outfielder Aaron Hicks.
Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson were considered absolutes, the givens, to be added.
Aaron Hicks, the Twins 2008 first round pick out high school in California, put together a terrific 2012 campaign at AA New Britain. He filled the stat sheet quite well. Overall, he hit .286/.384/.460 with 21 doubles, 11 triples, 13 home runs, 61 RBI, 100 runs scored and 32 stolen bases. There has never been any question about his defense. He has terrific range and speed and a very strong arm. In other words, he could be a future centerfielder, but he also has a typical right fielderís arm.
Kyle Gibson was the Twins top pick in the 2009 draft out of the University of Missouri. His career began in 2010, and he raced up the Twins system. He made seven starts at Ft. Myers, 16 starts at New Britain and finished the season with three starts in Rochester. Overall, he went 11-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 26 starts. In 152 innings, he walked 39 and struckout 126. He began the 2011 season quite well. He was among the Top Twins minor league pitchers during the first two months of the season, but then he really struggled. He was hurt, and in September, he had Tommy John surgery. Gibson followed a plan and was able to return to the mound. First, he pitched nine games (14.2 innings) in the Gulf Coast League. Then he made two starts for Ft. Myers before ending the season with two starts for Rochester. He just completed his final outing in the Arizona Fall League where he showed increased velocity and sink on his pitches. He appears to be quite close.
Beyond those two, I think there were several who likely had to be considered. I thought Santana, Tonkin and Hermsen would be added, and they were, but three surprise names were added as well.
Danny Santana just turned 22 years old. He hit .286/.329/.410 (.739) with 21 doubles, 9 triples and 8 home runs in his first season in Ft. Myers. He drove in 60 runs and scored 70 runs. He stole 17 bases. He is a prototypical shortstop, not real big, great speed and a big arm.
BJ Hermsen was the Twins minor league pitcher of the year in 2012 when he combined to go 12-6 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. In 26 starts and 162.2 innings, he gave up 161 hits, walked 30 and struck out 87.
Michael Tonkin will turn 23 next week. He was the 30th
round pick in 2008 and is Jason Kubelís brother-in-law. Began at Beloit and went 3-0 with 6 saves, an ERA of 1.38 and a WHIP of 0.97. After MWL All-Star game, promoted to Ft. Myers. Went 1-1 with 6 saves, a 2.97 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Overall, in 69.1 innings, he gave up just 53 hits, walked 20 and struckout 97.
Caleb Thielbar came to the Twins in August of 2011 from the St. Paul Saints. He took advantage of the opportunity. The lefty started this season in Ft. Myers, quickly moved up to New Britain and then quickly advanced to Rochester. His delivery is interesting and he pitches a lot like Glen Perkins (just in the low-90s instead of the mid-90s).
Tim Wood just came to the Twins a few weeks ago as a minor league free agent. The Twins must believe that someone would have selected the hard-thrower in the Rule 5 draft as they did protect him. He was the International League Relief Pitcher of the Year last year, for what thatís worth.
Josmil Pinto had a very nice season last year in Ft. Myers. He ended by playing a handful of games in New Britain. He is a catcher who has thrown out a good percentage of would-be base stealers, but he is on this list for his bat.
Bruce Pugh is probably the biggest surprise omission from the list. Had he been healthy this year, Adrian Salcedo would have been a given to protect.
What are your thoughts? The Twins now have a full, 40 man roster. These eight players need to remain on the 40 man roster until spring training, so if and when the Twins add some free agents, or make some trades, they may have to drop some others that are on the roster.
Being honest, I am more than a little shocked at the number of players that the Twins chose to add to the 40 man roster, and I canít necessarily say that as a positive thing. It may be good. We will see next year if Tim Wood can finally figure things out, and if Thielbar has a chance. The Twins now have five catchers on their 40 man roster. That said, the five players that I thought the Twins were most likely to add were added, and thatís important.