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  • Q&A with Lewis Thorpe

    I'd guess it is fair to assume that the name of Lewis Thorpe snuck up on most Twins fans. The lefty from Australia signed with the Minnesota Twins as a 16-year-old in July of 2012. Most talked about Amaurys Minier, the Twins top international signing that year at $1.5 million, but in 2013, Thorpe made his US and GCL debut and put together a fantastic season. With the GCL Twins, he went 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. In 44 innings, he walked just six and struck out 66.

    He won't turn 18 until the end of November, and yet it's been reported that he already is able to touch 95 mph with a fastball. That's going to get you noticed, and recognized, as he was when Baseball America named him the #7 prospect in the Gulf Coast League.


    Twins Daily was able to ask him a few questions recently and he was gracious enough to respond. Get to know a little bit more about Lewis Thorpe below, and feel free to ask questions and discuss in the comments. (Note I'll be back tomorrow to continue the Top 50 prospect series with prospects 16-20.)

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    Twins Daily: As an amateur, how much contact did you have with MLB teams and what was it that caused you to decide to sign with the Twins?

    Lewis Thorpe: At about 15 is when all the scouts started chatting to me. The Twins have a lot of Australians, and I wanted to feel comfortable, and I did.

    TD: What was the adjustment like for you last spring moving from Australia to Florida? What were the biggest challenges?

    LT: The biggest challenges were the weather change and humidity. That was tough, as was getting homesick a couple times.

    TD: You had a successful first professional season with the GCL Twins. What were your keys to your success?

    LT: My keys were cutting down the walks. If I had a bad outing, I had 1 or 2 walks, if I had a good outing, 0 walks. Location was a big thing.

    TD: What pitches do you throw? What is your best pitch, and what is the pitch that you really want to improve?

    LT: Fastball, Curveball, Change up and Slider. Really need to improve on curveball and slider. Need more control with those 2 pitches.



    TD: After the GCL season, you were impressive while representing Australia in an international tournament. What's it like to pitch for your country?

    LT: (Itís the) best feeling pitching for your country, listening to the National Anthem when you line up before the game, knowing everyone back home is supporting and cheering for you to succeed.

    TD: Away from baseball, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

    LT: Round of 18 holes on the links, movies, putt-putt and fishing.

    TD: Are there certain areas of your game or preparation that you'd like to focus on during this offseason, looking to 2014?

    LT: I really need to work on the curveball and slider. I think if I get those two pitches going, it will help me a lot. Getting fitter to make sure I don't get lazy and get out of bed and work on something every day.

    TD: Growing up, who were some of your role models in the game of baseball?

    LT: My role model was Mark Ellis. If it wasn't for him and his son, Mitch Ellis, I wouldn't be where I am today. They told me to come and try baseball which I did really enjoy and haven't stopped playing since that day at age 6. When I started growing up and knowing the game, Graeme Lloyd was a big role model too. Hearing his stories of how he got to the big leagues really touched me.

    TD: What are some of your goals for the 2014 season? Are there certain statistics that you focus on?

    LT: Certain goals are to cut down the walks again this year, to be more consistent with the slider and curveball, and hopefully end up in Low A. That will be awesome.

    TD: What would it mean to you and your family to be able to reach the major leagues and put that uniform on for the first time?

    LT: It would mean the world to my family and I. They have done so much for me already like driving me places, putting food on the table, putting a roof over my head. I just have to make sure I don't stop working hard and hopefully one day my dream will come true.

    TD: What was the highlight of your 2013 season, your first year in the Twins organization?

    LT: It was probably making the Baseball America Top 20 in GCL prospects list, or probably going to instructional ball. That was really good, helped me learn a lot!

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    Thank you very much to Twins minor league pitcher Lewis Thorpe for taking time to answer our questions. Feel free to discuss below.
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      How recent is this picture? He really looks like such a kid.

      Oh don't mind me, just need to work on my third and fourth pitches this coming year after I turn 18 . . . .
    1. mini_tb's Avatar
      mini_tb -
      Thank you for the interview.

      That's appears to be quite the inverted W.
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      Seth, you're awesome. Thanks again for your hard work and dedication to TD.

      Is there a chance, with a good showing in EST, that he could join Cedar Rapids without going to E-Town? I know that you want players to develop, and take their time (he's only 18ish!), but 66-6 K:BB is pretty filthy. Why not challenge the kid a little? He seems to have the right mindset. Would it really stunt his development if he goes to A-ball after a few weeks in EST and experiences some growing pains? It may actually be good for him, because right now it's coming to easy for him.
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      Quote Originally Posted by mini_tb View Post
      That's appears to be quite the inverted W.
      I've heard this before, but I'm not sure if that is a bad thing, good thing, or just a thing. Is there any significants to this delivery?
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      This kid, along with Buxton seem so down to earth. That's one thing I'm really enjoying about seeing these 'kids' develop as players. They don't seem to just be looking for the money or the fame. It's a joy and there's a humility in how they do things, a respect for the sacrifices others have done so they could get to the point where they are. Ultimately, I think things like that will really help their development in the long run as determination, will, and acknowledgement of having to work hard and working to give a gift to someone else often results in greater results.

      Very refreshing, thanks for going out of your way to get this interview.
    1. Celebrity Weddings!'s Avatar
      Celebrity Weddings! -
      Quote Originally Posted by Chance View Post
      I've heard this before, but I'm not sure if that is a bad thing, good thing, or just a thing. Is there any significants to this delivery?
      It's apparently a bad thing, responsible for a curiously diverse set of arm injuries.

      That conclusion is not necessarily supported by research.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Seth: good work as usual.

      I too would like to see the Twins organization take a chance on this Aussie kid and start him in Cedar Rapids instead of Extended Spring Training. Lets see if he can handle low A batters right off.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Seth: good work as usual.

      I too would like to see the Twins organization take a chance on this Aussie kid and start him in Cedar Rapids instead of Extended Spring Training. Lets see if he can handle low A batters right off.
      Totally agree.

      Based on interviews by Byron Buxton, he said Low-A pitchers are basically 'locating' a fastball and a changeup anyway. That seems to be what Thorpe already does quite well - noting his BB/SO per IP numbers.

      High-A and the Arizona Fall League pitchers will mix in more sliders and curves. And if they can begin to locate them, go to AA.

      So, if Buxton's assessments are correct (they seem in line). It would seem that Thorpe would be in the mix for that A-/A+ level.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Considering both Stewart and Gonsalves had no problems with the appy league and Thorpe was putting up numbers better than both of them, I'd probably put all 3 in Cedar Rapids next season. I could see weekend trips lined up to catch those 3 on a Fri/Sat/Sun.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      A question I have is: do we have information about how many "innings" guys pitch in EST and if that factors into next seasons innings limit? Otherwise, 44 innings isn't a lot to build off of if going to Cedar Rapids.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Thanks for the interview Seth. You might want to clarify who "Mark Ellis" is, in this context (Australian baseball coach?), so readers don't confuse him with the veteran MLB second baseman.
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      Don't forget he went to Instructional League and the international tournament, so I imagine he is in the 70 inning range.

      I don't know if he is on CRs opening day roster, as that gets a 'good' pitcher ~130 innings. However, I think he may start in the MWL prior to mid-June before the Appy league starts.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      I was looking for similarly dominant GCL pitching performances (good news: there aren't many), and I found Clayton Kershaw 2006. Kershaw jumped to low-A the next year, but he was about ~8 months older than Thorpe, and perhaps more importantly, a much bigger kid (6'3", 215 lbs when drafted, as compared to Thorpe's listed 6'1", 160 lbs).
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      I was looking for similarly dominant GCL pitching performances (good news: there aren't many), and I found Clayton Kershaw 2006. Kershaw jumped to low-A the next year, but he was about ~8 months older than Thorpe, and perhaps more importantly, a much bigger kid (6'3", 215 lbs when drafted, as compared to Thorpe's listed 6'1", 160 lbs).
      That's an interesting result of your search! I see that Kershaw also pitched 122 innings that next year. I think that maybe 100 could be somewhat reasonable. I often think that innings limits end up slowing down some of these prospects too much in the Twins' system.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Let's not forget that he threw 44 innings in the GCL, from late June through mid-August. Remember, he was also throwing/pitching in Extended Spring Training from March through mid-June, so you can likely at least double the innings he threw in the GCL, then the international tournament, and then Instructs.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsfan34 View Post
      This kid, along with Buxton seem so down to earth. That's one thing I'm really enjoying about seeing these 'kids' develop as players. They don't seem to just be looking for the money or the fame. .
      I agree about them being down to early. However a gently reminder:

      In order for an average college graduate to match what Buxton made in one year, he/she has to work 100-120 years. For an average high school graduate (Buxton's education level), it will take 200-250 years of work

      So no wonder he is not worried about money...

      Perspective.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      I agree about them being down to early. However a gently reminder:

      In order for an average college graduate to match what Buxton made in one year, he/she has to work 100-120 years. For an average high school graduate (Buxton's education level), it will take 200-250 years of work

      So no wonder he is not worried about money...

      Perspective.
      Good lord, Thrylos. I mean you are 100% correct. But still, good lord.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Nice interview, this guy is exciting. Looks like the pics could use a bit of an update though, he seems to have filled out quite a bit:

      Lewis Thorpe Minnesota Twins Bullpen at Valhalla - YouTube

      I think we got something here.

      Edit: Also, I can't find a profile video of his current delivery, but that pic of him in the Doncaster uniform is his Australian team. For all I know there should be concerns about his delivery but it's likely been adjusted in some manor since playing pro-ball.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by Celebrity Weddings! View Post
      It's apparently a bad thing, responsible for a curiously diverse set of arm injuries.

      That conclusion is not necessarily supported by research.

      The inverted W name is funny. Why not just call it an M? I think you are right. I think the high elbow in the throwing arm can cause a violent snap when coming through and can lead to issues because of the elbow stress.
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Penz View Post
      The inverted W name is funny. Why not just call it an M? I think you are right. I think the high elbow in the throwing arm can cause a violent snap when coming through and can lead to issues because of the elbow stress.
      totally off topic; but why is it called a "double U", when it should be called a "double V"
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