Twins Release 12 Minor Leaguers

29 Mar

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We all get wrapped up in the major league players, and I get wrapped up in the minor leaguers. Hopefully we will never get so into these things that we forget that these are real people. They aren’t robots. We can talk about how this player is playing great, and he gets to the big leagues. We too often write about how this player has been really disappointing. But like us, they are all people, subject to ups and downs. And today, for 12 Twins minor leaguers, they have lost their jobs. Some of them may get another opportunity in another organization. Some of them may go on to play independent baseball to keep their dreams alive. For some, that dream of getting to the big leagues may have been shattered. I hope that none of us are so callous not to realize the enormity of this to these players.

Knowing some of these guys, they’ll be just fine regardless of what life puts in front of them going forward. Since I spend some much time covering and writing about the Twins minor leagues, I think it’s important to step back and realize just how difficult it is to get to the big leagues. Realize just how few people live that dream, even among those who get an opportunity to play minor league ball.

Over the past two days, the Twins have informed the following players that they have been released:

  • Steve Blevins – RHP –The 24 year old was the 21st round pick of the Twins in 2008 out of Marshall. He began the 2010 season back in Beloit, but after 12 games, he was promoted to Ft. Myers. There, he pitched in 33 games. When there was a need at New Britain, he pitched 10.1 innings in four games for the Rock Cats. When I saw Blevins in Ft. Myers, I was very impressed with his fastball and slider. I hope that he will get an opportunity with another organization. If not, Blevins is a terrific guy who worked one offseason as a student teacher. He will do well with whatever direction he goes.
  • Brian Burke – IF – The already-24 year old was the Twins 29th round pick in 2010. He played at several colleges. He played 1B primarily for the Elizabethton Twins and hit .286/.343/437 with 15 doubles and six home runs in 60 games.
  • Brett Carroll – LHP – The Twins 42nd round pick in 2010 pitched well for the GCL Twins. The 23 year old was able to pitch in three games for the Ft. Myers Miracle and in eight innings, he walked none and struck out seven.
  • David Deminsky – LHP – The Sartell native and St. Cloud State alum was the Twins 44th round pick in 2010. The lefty did well last year in the GCL and got into two games in Ft. Myers as well. He was a subject of my 2010 Draft Stories article in the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. He has overcome a lot in his life, and he will get past this too.
  • Joe Dickerson – OF – Dickerson was a 4th round pick of the Royals in 2005. After a strong start to his career, he fought injuries for two years before being let go in 2009. He didn’t play in 2010. When I talked to him briefly in Ft. Myers, he was just happy for another opportunity.
  • Justin Huber – DH – As I mentioned in an earlier blog today, Huber was released. It is somewhat surprising after he returned from playing in Japan last year.
  • Peter Kennelly – RHP – The 23 year old righty from Fordham University was the Twins 38th round pick of the Twins in 2009. In 69 innings over the last two years at E-Town and Beloit, he struck out 67, but he also walked 55.
  • Michael McCardell – RHP – McCardell burst onto the prospect scene shortly after the team used their 6th round pick in 2007 on the Kutztown University alum. He walked just eight and struck out 95 in his 63 inning rookie league debut. In 2008, he went 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in Beloit. He split 2009 between Ft. Myers and New Britain. Last year, he went 3-13 with a 5.28 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in New Britain. He did a Q&A for this site and was a guest on a podcast last year. There is a chance that someone will pick him up. He’s got good size, and has shown very good control in his career.
  • Kyle Orr – P – The 22 year old was the 4th round pick of the Dodgers in 2006. He spent three years and hit just .225 with the Dodgers’ rookie league teams. Last year, he played in the Independent leagues. The Twins recently signed him and gave him a chance as a pitcher.  
  • Derrick Phillips – OF – The 20 year old was the 23rd round pick of the Nationals in 2008. They released him last summer during his third year with the GCL Nationals. He played a few games in Elizabethton. He is a big, strong athlete with power but he just didn’t make enough contact. He would have had to make the Beloit team.
  • Nick Tindall – C – Drafted in the 17th round out of high school by the Twins in 2009, Tindall is a 6-4 catcher. In two years with the GCL Twins, he hit .172.
  • Juan Portes – 3B/OF – Portes could have been a 6 year minor league free agent last offseason, but he quickly signed to stay with the Twins. The team’s 15th round draft pick out of high school in 2004, the 25 year old made some noise in big league spring training in 2010. Then he hit just .213/.287/.331 in his return trip to New Britain.

Best wishes to all of these guys going forward.  If you have any comments, please feel free to leave them here.


8 Responses to “Twins Release 12 Minor Leaguers”

  1. Brian March 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Blevins is the only real surprise for me. I thought he would get more of a chance.

  2. TT March 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Portes is a bit of surprise. As a second baseman he looked like he would hit more than enough. But the move to the outfield raised the ante on his bat. Then he seemed to hit a wall in AA.

  3. Jeff March 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Seth, thanks for the details. I really appreciated your introductory statement about these guys being real people who have lost real jobs and whose dreams are on the line. Keep up the stellar coverage!

  4. thisisbeth March 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Thanks, Seth. I, too, wish these guys the best at whatever road they travel down.

  5. Jon March 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    A real tough day for a group of fine young men.

  6. Carla Arias March 30, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    So appreciate this article because it really hits close to home. I’ve had two sons drafted, one released, the other still playing. There’s nothing worse than getting that call early in the morning (especially during spring training) saying “I’ve been released”. Breaks your heart because, as you said, these guys are real people with real dreams. Thanks again and best of luck to these fine, hard working young men

  7. Paul Andersen April 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Thanks Seth for the news on Dickerson. He lives down the street and chose baseball right after HS. Had a scholarship to Texas! Injuries play a big part in their dreams as it did for Joe. He felt good about his chances this spring. His dad will mentor him well now. 😦

  8. Evan Benz April 24, 2011 at 3:28 am #

    I had bought the MLB Spring Training Pass last year and listened to those Twins games where Juan Portes was seeing the ball so well.

    Much like Jake Fox, Michael Morse, and Ryan Roberts through out spring training this year.

    I seriously thought it was only a matter of time.
    And now here I am checking back in on him and he’s released.


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