04-23-2012, 12:51 PM #1
Darin Paul Mastroianni is my adopt-a-prospect.
Darin was Toronto's 16th round draft pick in 2007. The Twins picked him up as a waiver acquisition in February 2012. He was raised in New York, and played college ball in both South Carolina (Winthrop) and Indiana (University of Southern Indiana), so he came to minor league ball already a little well-traveled. He bats and throws right-handed, and is of normal ballplayer stature - 5'11" and 190 pounds, maybe a little small for an outfielder. You can find him easily enough on baseball-reference.com, or you can click here.
He signed right away, and started with promising results in low-A ball (Auburn) in 2007 as a 21 year old, and had steady promotions with recognition as a Florida State League all-star in 2009 and as an Eastern League all-star in 2010. Though never a high-ranking prospect, in January 2012 he was close to Toronto's top 30 according to Baseball America (link). If you like deep stats you probably already have a favorite site where you can go and check, but here is a summary of his batting record:
Age Year Level PA OBP SLG
21 2007 A- 274 .391 .409
22 2008 A 369 .302 .311
23 2009 A+ 274 .426 .390
23 2009 AA 292 .372 .340
24 2010 AA 617 .390 .398
25 2011 AA 198 .342 .355
25 2011 AAA 364 .358 .389
He had the briefest of cups of coffee with Toronto in 2011. He began 2012 at AA New Britain, with rather poor batting results (.231/.171 in 40 PA), and was promoted to AAA on April 14, with a .304 BA (.304/.304 in 23 PA) at Rochester through April 22.
Rather than plagiarize too much on tidbits about Darin, I'll refer you to this link at jaysjournal.com .
He has been an outfielder through most of his pro career, with CF skills and good fielding percentages and range factors. However he was a middle infielder in high school and college, and in his first pro year he saw significant time at 2B. He was tried there again in Spring Training games at Fort Myers this year, perhaps representing his better path to the majors; I happened to watch him take drills with Nishioka and other infielders on the AAA field one day. This does not seem to have panned out, as his position in both New Britain and Rochester games has been exclusively in the outfield, LF mainly.
He's a speed guy, with SB being a significant part of his offensive game. Plate discipline also figures in, as his OBP in typical years includes about .100 beyond his batting average. His power seems limited mainly to hitting doubles.
Darin had an interesting quote that I can't find now, comparing the atmosphere in Toronto's spring training camp to the Twins', in which he said that in previous years if he made a bad play in the outfield he would get "reamed" (his word, I definitely remember) for it when he came back to the dugout, whereas he referred to an incident this spring where he got turned around when trying to make a play on a long fly ball, and when he got back to the dugout at the end of the inning Tom Kelly (I think it was) just said "let's try and keep the 360s to a minimum, OK?" Same message but a lighter touch, apparently.
I have another 2012 Fort Myers anecdote that definitely I've not seen in any article. During batting practice on the AAA field, Mastroianni and Aaron Bates were together (with a third hitter I am forgetting) taking their turns in the cage. Now, I have seen somewhere that Darin was sometimes referred to as Maestro during his time in Toronto's organization. In Fort Myers, coach Tom Brunansky was instead calling him Master - "hey Master, you're up". Fair enough, players and coaches will concoct all kinds of variations on a teammate's name. Then I noticed that Brunansky was calling Aaron by the nickname "Bater" - "c'mon, Bater, hit this one". (I don't know if this has been Bates's nickname throughout his time with the Twins organization.) It took me a few moments to realize what Brunansky was doing there, as he called out the BP order a little more frequently than anybody needed to be reminded. Yeah, this is actually a Bruno anecdote in disguise.
For such a stupid reason, I find myself signing up to follow Darin's progress with the Twins this season. I suspect that an inability to handle 2B well enough in Spring, coupled with the acquisition of Clete Thomas, makes his promotion to the parent club a bit unlikely, and he represents instead the Twins' commitment to giving AAA Rochester a more competitive club than they have had the past few seasons. But, we shall see, and I'm crossing fingers for "my" guy.
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 05-02-2012 at 04:43 PM. Reason: Trying to add a photo
04-23-2012, 01:25 PM #2
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Haha! That is a great Brunansky story.
04-23-2012, 01:45 PM #3
Darin was a third-team academic all-American, and apparently is fluent enough in Spanish to accept a video interview during winter ball: Youtube link .
That makes me worried that Darin will occupy the Kevin Slowey endowed professorship chair in Gardy's mind, if he's ever promoted to the big club.
There's plenty more Youtube items of Darin out there, so I'll just invite you to do a search like this one. The good news is that he's personable in his interviews, and doesn't sound like The Smartest Guy In The Room. So there's hope we won't be seeing anything about Hipster Darin.
Oh, and I didn't know this until I started my "research", but in one of the interview videos he looks a little (a little) like one of my sons, depending on hair length and beard style at any given time, and is one month younger. One more reason to root.
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 04-23-2012 at 06:37 PM.
04-25-2012, 10:50 PM #4
From Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, of the Red Wings 10-5 loss to Syracuse April 25:
"Wings leadoff man Darin Mastroianni went 3-for-4, scored two runs, drove in two and stole two bases. He also scored from third on a wild pitch in the seventh. Mastroianni has four multiple hits in four of his seven games and is hitting .370."
Darin also had a walk in this game; his base hits were all singles.
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 04-25-2012 at 11:00 PM.
04-27-2012, 01:28 PM #5
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle featured Darin in their writeup of the April 26 doubleheader.
“What a prototypical leadoff guy,” Wings manager Gene Glynn said. “He causes havoc with his speed.”
In the first game, which the Red Wings lost 5-4, Darin had a single and a triple in three at bats, the latter a two-out RBI to tie the game in the 7th, plus a walk and a stolen base leading to a run in the first inning. The nightcap, a makeup for the rainout of Tuesday, was less of a success for Darin, who went 0-4, although he did contribute a leftfield assist to nail a runner at third to help keep the game close in the 3-2 loss. He didn't strike out in either game. Altogether, the night dropped his BA to .353 but the triple and walk elevated both his OBP and SLG slightly, so that he now has a .801 OPS in AAA.
04-28-2012, 11:14 AM #6
Despite appearances, I don't intend to post daily updates about Darin. But he's on a hot streak, and in the game Friday (a 7-3 loss to Buffalo) he went 3-for-4 plus a walk, driving in one run. (No one drove Darin in. Booooo!) He's batting .395 now, with an OPS of .886.
Rochester's offense seems to suffer the same malady as the parent club: Table-Setter-Itis. They loaded the bases twice without scoring further. One other time they loaded the bases, and did score one run on a sac fly but then followed with a DP.
05-01-2012, 01:10 PM #7
April 2012 summary:
AAA Rochester (I give him a mulligan on his poor AA stats in 9 early April games)
A 12-game stretch Darin can be proud of. He leads the team in batting average and on-base percentage and is second in slugging average.
05-04-2012, 01:29 PM #8
Darin had another fine game on Thursday, May 3, in the Red Wings' 4-3 win over the peripatetic Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Empire State for 2012) Yankees. He singled three times, and also reached base on a first-base error following a comebacker to the pitcher. Scoring two of Rochester's runs and driving in another (in a clutch two-out situation for the final go-ahead run), he neither walked nor struck out; in addition to stealing two bases, he also advanced on a passed ball, and scampered for two extra bases on the first error and again for a base on a throwing error after his hit in the decisive eighth. The only slight knock on his night was later being thrown out at home for the third out, trying for an insurance run from second on Revere's single to left - sounds like just good old hard-nosed baseball to me, kudos to Dewayne Wise for the throw. The 3-for-5 line raises his AAA batting average back to .364.
05-06-2012, 10:29 AM #9
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Asbury - do you own a crystal ball? This guy did it again yesterday in a 2 game 7 inning each double header - knocked in 4 in the 2nd game. Another SB and 3 more hits and a walk
05-09-2012, 12:14 PM #10
Mastroianni continues with the hot bat and good overall play. He stole home in the third inning of Rochester's 3-1 win over Pawtucket on Tuesday.
He's also been seeing some time playing second base, in keeping with the apparent plans during Spring Training, although in Tuesday's game he was back in left field in favor of 2B Joe Thurston (?!?, maybe Tosoni is a little banged up still?), so it's not necessarily a permanent shift yet. He's errorless in 17 2B chances so far, likewise oopsie-free in his LF work.
Through May 8 his AAA record in 19 games and 80 plate appearances shows a batting average of .365, two doubles and two triples, ten stolen bases (caught once), and 10 runs and 11 RBI. He's struck out twelve times and walked five times. He's got an OPS of .851, which is pretty darn good for basically a singles hitter with speed.
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 05-09-2012 at 12:25 PM.
05-09-2012, 12:50 PM #11
Isn't there another 2B/PF at Rochester that we forget about -- Brian Dinkelman. He got on base, not much else.
05-09-2012, 02:56 PM #12
Adopt-a-Prospect page - the most recent note there is from K-Bro at the end of April, saying Brian is rehabbing in Ft Myers and out "indefinitely". You could ask there.
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 05-09-2012 at 03:00 PM.
05-10-2012, 07:06 PM #13
The Twins announced Wednesday night they are promoting Darin Mastroianni to the parent club. Darin's last game for the Red Wings was below par, 0-4 with two strikeouts. So the batting line for his time in Rochester changes a little from the previous report: BA .346 and 14 strikeouts, his OPS drops to .816, and the rest of his counting-stats remain the same.
My guess is that he'll be in a platoon in RF with the lefty Komatsu to start out, even though his pro experience has been almost exclusively CF-LF (after that first year at 2B), or maybe even be given a chance full-time considering how poorly Komatsu has started out. He'll likely be designated Span's backup, and will fill in defensively late in the game at LF and/or pinch run, as needed. I doubt he will be a serious candidate to backup at 2B, despite nominally taking an infielder's roster spot (Valencia).
Best of luck Darin!
[Update later in the afternoon: shows what I know. Darin is starting in LF, and Erik has right. JWill is DH'ing, instead.]
10-04-2012, 02:07 PM #14
I've left this thread alone after Darin's callup, but congratulations to him on a nice rookie season in the big leagues. His .252 BA and .678 OPS probably don't fully reflect his contribution as an able fill-in for the outfield. Nice pickup by Terry Ryan and the scouting staff, as well.
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 10-04-2012 at 02:09 PM.