If we are to look at any move the Twins have made with some amount of regret on behalf of the organization, you might lament the Ryan Pressly trade, wondering what might have been. How could the Twins and their vaunted braintrust miss out on his eventual development be missed?
Or you could say that the Twins did recognize Pressly’s value. They dealt him to the Astros at the deadline last year, and acquired two players that are now prospects #20 and 22 in the system, including Gilberto Celestino, who is was just added to the 40 man roster, and Jorge Alcala, who made it to the major league roster last season.
Derek Falvey was promised to have a great acumen with regards to organizational pitching development, and indeed, the Twins also seem to have an eye for pitchers that can be made better from other organizations. Also on the 40 man roster are Falvey trade acquisitions Devin Smeltzer, Zach Littell, Joan Duran and Dakota Chalmers. Am I forgetting anyone?
That’s right, Jake Odorizzi! He was snagged at a bargain price from the Rays, and elevated his game last season under the direction of new pitching coach Wes Johnson, who had been hired away from the University of Arkansas. Not only does the new front office have a knack for finding talent (5 of the top 30 prospects the Twins have were pitchers acquired by the current regime) but they also have an ability to find coaches that get the best out of those players.
While Odorizzi was the most prominent beneficiary of the Twins new pitching coach, it’s hard to ignore how solid the bullpen became, despite being a collection of slow developing former prospects. Littell, Trevor May and Tyler Duffey all became stalwart relievers after their careers had been unremarkable and unreliable to that point. They were joined late by Randy Dobnak and Cody Stashak who made rapid ascensions to relevance in the organization.
The Twins, the fans and the media have made it clear that this offseason should be focused nearly entirely on the pitching additions for the Twins. Fortunately, it appears that this is a team well suited for the task at hand.