• Twins Prospects in Arizona


    UPDATED at 1:30 CST for Official announcement!

    For fans of the minor leagues, this time of year is pretty fun. The Elizabethton Twins will be starting their playoff run tonight. September call-ups can start happening on Friday. The minor league regular seasons come to an end on Labor Day and then more players get called up while those playoff runs start. As you know, Beloit will be in the Midwest League playoffs, and most likely, they will be the lone Twins full-season playoff team. Today, it is expected that the Arizona Fall League teams will be announced. So, who will represent the Twins in Arizona when the AFL begins on October 9?

    According to the Star-Tribune’s LaVelle E. Neal, the Twins will send six players to the AFL and also save one more spot for another player. Here is the list, which should become official today.

    Chris Herrmann
    – It isn’t usual for the Twins to send a player to the Arizona Fall League two consecutive years, but Herrmann will do just that. Last year, Herrmann made a name for himself on a more national scene with a strong showing in the AFL. He hit .380/.456/.620 in just 57 at bats. He returned to AA New Britain this season and has hit .268/.342/.385 with 23 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs and 55 RBI. The 24 year old has been the team’s primary catcher, but this year, he has returned to playing quite a bit of outfield.

    Evan Bigley
    – The 25 year old outfielder began the 2012 season back in New Britain where he had spent parts of the two previous seasons. In 88 games, he hit .268/.311/.444 with 19 doubles, three triples and 12 home runs. He was promoted to Rochester where, in 35 games, he is hitting .211/.241/.328 with six doubles and three homers. The Right Fielder has a good arm.

    Kyle Gibson
    – Of course, Gibson is the headliner on this roster. Gibson, the Twins 1st round pick in 2009 rocketed through the Twins farm system in 2010. He began 2011 in Rochester where he pitched well until arm issues derailed his season. He had Tommy John surgery last September, and his comeback this season has been going well to this point. He made his first start for the Red Wings in 2011 on Saturday. The goal is to get him as many innings as they can this fall so that he can go to spring training 2013 with a chance to impress.

    Logan Darnell
    – He was the Twins sixth round pick in 2010 out of Kentucky. In 2011, he pitched for Beloit, Ft. Myers and New Britain (5 starts, 5.58 ERA). This season, he has pitched exclusively for the Rock Cats. He has made 26 starts and thrown 145 innings already after throwing a combined 150.1 innings in 2011. He is 9-12 with a 5.21 ERA. He’s given up 181 hits (21 home runs), walked 44 and struckout just 94. Despite the pedestrian stats and the low strikeout numbers, he is said to have some really good stuff.

    Michael Tonkin
    – The Twins can have up to two players from the Ft. Myers roster compete in the AFL. Michael Tonkin will do that this year. He began the season by completely dominating the Midwest League. For Beloit, he went 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in 22 games. He had six saves. In 39 innings, he walked just nine (gave up just one home run) and struckout 53. Opponents hit just .206 off of him. He was promoted to Ft. Myers where opponents are hitting just .202 off of him. He’s 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 20 games. In 28.1 innings, he has walked 11 and struck out 40. He has three good pitches, generally gets a lot of ground balls.

    Caleb Thielbar
    – Thielbar is a lefty from Randolph, MN, who signed with the Twins late last season, the first player the Twins had signed from the St. Paul Saints. Since then, he has been terrific and progressed swiftly up the Twins farm system. He started the season with seven games in Ft. Myers. In 12.1 innings, he gave up four hits, walked two and struck out 16. He moved up to New Britain and pitched in 16 games. In 25 innings ,he gave up 18 hits, walked three and struck out 26. Now, he’s pitched in 24 games for Rochester. In 37 innings, he has given up 40 hits, walked 15 and struckout 29. The Arizona Fall League will be a good challenge for him.

    Joe Benson
    – It’s been a lost season for the Twins talented outfield prospect. He struggled early, but he has had one injury after the next ever since. He had surgery on his hamate bone, he’s had some other minor injuries, and his season came to an end two weeks ago with a knee injury. He will have surgery on Monday. The rehab will likely take at least one month, so the Twins are holding a spot for him in the AFL. He just needs to find some at bats so that he can go into the 2013 season strong and hopefully ready to take that final step.

    Nate Roberts - the 23 year old has been an on-base machine for the Beloit Snappers the past two seasons. He missed a lot of time in 2011 with knee injuries, but he has been relatively healthy. It is possible he will be on the roster until Benson is ready to play.

    The Twins players will play for the Peoria Javelinas with prospects from the Reds, Phillies, Mariners and Padres. They will be managed by Dusty Wathan.
    Be sure to check in with Twins Daily for updates on Twins minor leaguers in the Arizona Fall League, but also Twins minor leaguers playing Winter League ball anywhere. Several players will play in the Caribbean, be it in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Mexico. Several will also be playing in the Australian Baseball League.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Prospects in Arizona started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Good for Tonkin and Thielbar. I fear, a bit, for Darnell in the AFL. Evan Bigley is a surprise. Maybe they want to see if 2012 in NBR was for real, power-wise.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Have the rules changed.....have always read that its only 1 player below AA?
      Pretty close to what I had predicted (got Gibson/Benson/Bigley)
      Had Lance Ray over Tonkin w/Levi Michaels a sleeper...solid add
      Really thought they would have Hermsen over Darnell. Think it speaks volumns of what MN think of BJ (needs to be added this offseason or Rule V eigible)
      Thielbar is fine but I thought Matt Hauser might get a look, or maybe even Nate Hanson
      Other than Darnell, pretty solid list of guys who may be in MN next yr
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I believe last year was the first year that teams could send TWO guys from A ball. I guess I didn't look to see if it changed back.

      I don't think it says anything about Hermsen with the decision to send Darnell. I think that's more of an innings pitched thing, I would guess. Although it certainly makes his 40 man roster decision more difficult to predict.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Hermsen has 156.2IP
      Darnell 145 IP
      not that big of a difference. I take it as a lack of faith in BJ, which will truly be shown when the 40 man rosters come out.
      I woulda thought they would want to see BJ's average 'stuff' play against the better players in AFL.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      NATE ROBERTS is also on the Peoria roster. Good for him, on-base machine, and he may stay there until Benson is ready.

      Also on the Peoria team... Reds SB man Billy Hamilton!! that would be fun to watch!
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Roberts is 23; should have been in FM. Needs to jump to AA next year early.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I can't even disagree with you. He's one guy that is probably where he is because of the playoffs, and I don't have a problem with that especially with all the missed time in 2011. However, he should move up quickly next year to make up some time. he's incredible at getting on-base, not just walks and HBP, but he is a professional hitter.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      According to LaVelle... Joe Benson's rehab will likely be 3 months, taking him out of the AFL... good news for Nate Roberts, but unfortunately for Benson.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      There is not a lot of Top Prospects in this group.

      Interesting that they would put a guy like Thielbar in the AFL. If they are going to send a bullpen guy, I would rather see Watts or Pugh but they must really like him.

      I wonder why they send Bigley. With the OF depth the team has it seems he has little hope of making the team unless they are planning on trading a OF on the 25 man roster next year or they are hoping he puts on a show for a potential trade.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Watts and Pugh both went last year. They have decisions to make on all three of them. The AFL isn't a league just for top prospects. Maybe one or two per organization. For others, it's for help with decisions that need to be made by season's end.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      There is not a lot of Top Prospects in this group.

      Interesting that they would put a guy like Thielbar in the AFL. If they are going to send a bullpen guy, I would rather see Watts or Pugh but they must really like him.

      I wonder why they send Bigley. With the OF depth the team has it seems he has little hope of making the team unless they are planning on trading a OF on the 25 man roster next year or they are hoping he puts on a show for a potential trade.
      The AFL is a good place to see players continue playing after some kind of interesting season . . . whether it be injuries limiting time (Roberts, Gibson) or a jump in performance (Bigley) or a drop in performance (would have been Benson), it can serve to help clear up some question marks.

      I think the Twins likely have confidence now in Watts and Pugh.

      I agree about about Roberts and Fort Myers. Maybe they were trying to have Morales and Rams get their acts together with playing time as they certainly couldn't promote them. They could have pushed Ortiz to AA though.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Ortiz has hit .269/.312/.431 (.742) in 93 games with the Miracle after spending the first month in Beloit. I don't know that he's done anything yet to be pushed up. I agree that they would love to see Rams and Morales do something there. Roberts likely the best of that group.
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Ortiz has hit .269/.312/.431 (.742) in 93 games with the Miracle after spending the first month in Beloit. I don't know that he's done anything yet to be pushed up. I agree that they would love to see Rams and Morales do something there. Roberts likely the best of that group.
      Rams and Morales just seem to muddle along in the under .250 group. Saw that Rams played a bit of LF this year,too.

      Morales had a good game Wednesday, but they've been few and far between.

      Danny Ortiz had a long dry spell, has been hitting better of late. Plenty of bodies that can play the OF in this org.

      You have Willians/Lin/Leachman in addition to Roberts, Rosario still can play OF,and then you have Buxton/Kepler/Jimenez/Rhodes/Hicks/HendricksWalker, and out of this group, older guys who should be given an opp to jump up to FM next year if they start well.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      have the Twins ever called up someone in Sept & then sent them to the AFL also.
      Specifically thinking about Hermann this year.
      Cant remember any, but not sure.
    1. joeboo_22's Avatar
      joeboo_22 -
      Kubel I'm next to positive, he was called up, played in the playoffs, then tore his knee up in the AZL. I'm pretty sure there have been a few others as well.
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