Twins option, reassign 6 top prospects

Molitor, Ryan impressed with what they saw while players were in Major League camp

March 14th, 2016

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Twins further trimmed their roster before Monday's 5-3 Grapefruit League win over the Cardinals with a dozen players either optioned or assigned to the Minors, but manager Paul Molitor was impressed with what he saw while those players were in Major League camp this spring.

"Those guys, for all, it was [their] first time at Major League camp, and they handled themselves extremely well," Molitor said.

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Among the moves Monday were lefty pitchers Pat Dean and Mike Strong, both of whom were optioned to Triple-A Rochester along with outfielder Adam Walker. Pitchers Mason Melotakis and J.T. Chargois were optioned to Double-A Chattanooga, while pitchers Randy Rosario and Yorman Landa were sent to Class A Fort Myers. The Twins also reassigned pitcher Jake Reed, catcher Alex Swim, infielders Heiker Meneses and Engelb Vielma and outfielder Reynaldo Rodriguez to Minor League camp.

Six of those players are among the Twins' Top 30 Prospects, with Chargois leading at No. 10, Walker at No. 11, Reed at No. 16, Vielma at No. 17, Melotakis at No. 20 and Landa at No. 25.

"A compliment to them, particularly the way they went about everything, from their defensive work and also the fact I could see those guys picking our veterans' brains," Molitor said. "They were being observant. They were trying to watch, ask questions, what they need to be successful. We were excited to see those guys up close and personal, and now they've got to go get themselves ready to try to find a way to climb the ladder, find a way to try to make an impression where we have to consider them when we have to go down there."

Molitor said that the primary aspect that the organization will be looking to see improvement with in the young pitchers sent down Monday is their consistency, particularly their fastball command.

"I think they saw up here when they didn't command their fastball, it didn't matter how hard they threw," Molitor said.

That assessment was echoed by Twins general manager Terry Ryan prior to Monday's game.

"We've got some depth there, and we've got some promise, and now it's just a matter of them going out and proving it," Ryan said. "It's not just arm strength. We're aware of the arm strength. Anybody can read a radar gun. Now, it's basically command, control and what else are they going to feature."

Ryan said all of the young pitchers "have the stuff" to make it to the big club and that to a great extent they will dictate when they will be promoted.

"Now it's more pitchability and damage control and managing a running game, fielding their position, all that stuff that comes with maturation," Ryan said.

Molitor said that Walker, a top prospect who hit 31 homers and had 106 RBIs at Chattanooga last season, was optioned to Rochester to give him more playing time because he's had limited at-bats this spring.

Worth noting

• Ryan said that versatile utility infielder/outfielder Danny Santana is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday when the Twins host the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. Santana, who has been given some time in center field as well as shortstop, has been nursing a tender left wrist.