The Twins have always been active in Australia, and Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports that they’ve done it again, inking Australian LHP Lewis Thorpe. Torpe was widely considered the best July 2 prospect from Australia. Thorpe got 500k, leaving the Twins with 900k left in their international FA budget.
Thorpe is a prototypical Twins pitcher, standing 6′, 175 lbs with a high 80s-low 90s fastball. He has a good feel for pitching and can already throw a decent breaking ball. Hopefully he will continue growing and fill out his frame (remember he’s just 16) and can add a few MPH to his fastball while retaining that feel for pitching.
It has long been reported, and now it is official: On the first day of the international FA signing period the Twins have signed 16 year old Dominican SS Amaurys Minier for $1.4 million, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler. Minier ranked 12th on BA’s top international prospects available.
I gave a mini scouting report on Minier last week when I did my July 2 primer, and I’ll re-hash a bit of it below, with a couple of light edits:
Minier is a 6’2″, 200 lb shortstop who is a shortstop pretty much in name only at this point. Scouts are in near universal agreement that his frame will portend a move to third base, and his bat is what teams are really after. If it sounds a lot like Miguel Sano to you, perhaps you know why the Twins are so interested in Minier. Though he doesn’t have good range, and won’t in the future, scouts say he has soft hands and a rocket arm, making it more likely that he will be able to stick at 3B (though Sano has gotten more positive reports for his hands this year as well, so who knows).
Minier is currently a switch hitter, though he’s much better from the left side currently (scouts do say he can generate the same bat speed and power from both sides of the plate). He’s struggled against breaking balls thus far, but he’s a 16 year old kid and thus there are much worse sins to have at that age. Speaking of youngster sins, he can get pull happy at times, but he’s also shown good power to both alleys. Minier has a lot of holes in his swing that needs to get fixed, but he’s also probably one of the highest ceiling guys on the international FA market.
Once the calendar flips to July 2nd, MLB teams will once again be free to sign 16 year olds from Latin America, but this year there will be a twist. Thanks to the new CBA, teams are limited to $2.9 million in spending, which prompts a couple of interesting shifts in strategy. First, no longer will teams be priced out of Latin America. It used to be where teams could make the excuse (though not a good one) that there was no point in signing international FAs because the richer teams could afford to buy all of them. Now everyone is on the same budget and, assuming the top prospects still take up much of a team’s budget, can afford to sign some players. As such, teams will likely have to face the difficult decision of whether to sign one of the better prospects available and then have their budget sapped, or whether to spread it around and sign some lower profile guys. (I’d go with the lower profile guys, but more on that later).
For now, let’s look at some of the players the Twins are rumored to be interested in: Continue reading