And on we go to the pitchers for the Minnesota Twins.
20-year-old Australian pitcher Sam Gibbons only got into one game with the Melbourne Aces back home Down Under and only threw two and a third innings in one game. He got hit hard (six earned runs on six hits and three walks including two home runs) but I’m thinking that he probably sustained an injury. Gibbons had a very solid year in the Gulf Coast League, throwing 42 1/3 innings with a 1.91 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10 walks and 30 strikeouts.
The good news for Twins fans is that 24-year-old righty Deolis Guerra appears to be recovered from the blood clot in his right shoulder than only allowed him to throw four innings in 2013. He put up some solid numbers in relief at home in Venezuela, throwing 21 innings with a 3.86 ERA, 1.33 WHIP with just six walks and 27 strikeouts.
Another young Aussie, 19-year-old Josh Guyer played his first season of affiliated ball in 2013, putting up a 5.30 ERA, 1.66 WHIP with 13 walks and 22 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings in the GCL. He’s playing back home in the ABL with the Sydney Blue Sox (who begin their playoff against the Canberra Cavalry tomorrow) and had a 4.26 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP in 19 innings with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts.
24-year-old Venezuelan lefty Edgar Ibarra split 2013 between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester and had a very strong season with a sub-2.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP to go with 29 walks and 54 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. Pitching at home in Venezuela, he threw 33 innings out of the bullpen, posting a 3.55 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 14 walks and 34 strikeouts.
The Twins got a very good season from righty Yorman Landa, 19. He made 12 starts in Advanced-Rookie Elizabethton, throwing 55 innings with a solid 2.78 ERA but struggled with control, walking 29 and striking out 46. Landa held his own against much more mature competition, throwing 18 innings in relief at home in Venezuela, with a 3.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, just six walks and 17 strikeouts.
26-year-old righty Shairon Martis, who hails from Curacao, returned to the major leagues with the Twins for the first time since 2009 (when he pitched with the Nationals). Martis only threw nine and two-thirds innings for the Twins and gave up six runs there but had a solid season with 80 1/3 innings in Rochester. He threw eight and two-thirds innings in Venezuela this winter with a 4.15 ERA, 11 hits and three walks with just three strikeouts.
A wily veteran of the minor leagues, Yohan Pino just turned 30 and still hasn’t made a major league team. He signed a minor league deal with Minnesota after a solid season spent mostly in Triple-A Louisville (Cincinnati’s affiliate). Pino also threw a lot with Aragua in Venezuela, throwing 68 2/3 innings with a 4.33 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 24 walks and 42 strikeouts.
Aaron Thompson, a 6’3″ lefty, was a teammate with Pino in Aragua, Venezuela this season. He threw just 12 innings with seven runs allowed on 17 hits and three walks with nine strikeouts. Thompson, 26, who saw some major league action with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011, logged 58 2/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A for the Twins with a 2.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 16 walks and 53 strikeouts.
Another young Australian, Lewis Thorpe, 18, made seven starts for Melbourne in the ABL this winter. He pitched very well, racking up a 2.45 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 10 walks and 30 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. As a 17-year-old this season with the Twins GCL team, Thorpe, a lefty, had an outstanding season, throwing 44 innings, walking just six batters and striking out 64.
Virgil Vasquez, a 31-year-old righty from California returned to affiliated ball in 2013 with the Twins and combined for a 3.96 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 27 walks and 94 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings after two seasons in independent baseball. Pitching in Venezuela, Vasquez was plagued by the home run, giving up nine in 43 innings with a 6.49 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. His other peripherals were very good with just four walks and 32 strikeouts.
Californian Dakota Watts, 25, also appeared in the Venezuelan league this winter, throwing 26 2/3 innings with a 3.38 ERA and a lofty 1.69 WHIP thanks to 17 walks and just 14 strikeouts. Watts split the season in 2014 between High-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain, posting better numbers in Double-A with a 0.74 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10 walks and 31 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.