DETROIT – The Twins have established a foothold in Australia, signed Max Kepler out of Germany and have minor leaguers from Moldova, the Netherlands and South Africa.
In recent weeks, they reached agreement with Taiwanese teenager Kai-Wei Teng, a righthander whose fastball has touched 94 miles per hour. He will be given a $500,000 bonus, according to multiple sources.
The Twins have casted their net worldwide to find players. But that looks to be changing some.
While the organization will continue to scout amateurs around the globe, a greater emphasis is going to be made on Latin America, Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said.
“That’s an area we have spent a lot of time over the last year thinking about,” Falvey said. “The international landscape has changed.”
Falvey is speaking about recent changes to the international bonus structure in Major League Baseball, put in place to keep signing bonuses for amateur players from spiraling out of control. Teams have been allotted between $4.75 million and $5.75 million to sign players for the 2017-18 period. Teams that spend more than their allotted pool money will be penalized.
The Twins did receive $500,000 in international bonus money from Washington as part of the Brandon Kintzler trade July 31, so they have a little more flexibility.
The Twins signaled their shift in foreign policy when they fired their international scouting coordinator, Howard Norsetter, last week. Norsetter has a lengthy history of signing Australian players, with righthander Lewis Thorpe currently one of their better prospects.
They will replace Norsetter, but some resources are being shifted to signing Latin amateurs. There’s simply more players there to choose from.
“As we took a deep dive into areas of the world that we wanted to make sure we were spending most of our time and most of our resources, we feel like there are places we want to be more focused than what the Twins have previously been,” Falvey said.
Falvey insisted the club will continue to scout professional leagues in Japan and South Korea, where players are made available through a posting system. Deron Johnson, Twins senior scouting adviser, recently returned from Japan.
Twins manager Paul Molitor hasn’t announced his starting pitchers for the Cleveland series beyond Bartolo Colon on Tuesday.
The Twins could bring back Kyle Gibson a day early — he is 7-3 with a 3.57 ERA since the All-Star break — so he could pitch twice over the final, and pivotal, week of the season.
“For now, I’m leading not to do a lot of tinkering,” Molitor said.
Despite Colon struggling lately — the 44-year-old has a 13.09 ERA over his past three starts — there are no plans to give him an extra day of rest.
The AL Central champion Indians, winners of 28 of 30 games, will start Josh Tomlin Tuesday and Danny Salazar Wednesday, with Thursday’s starter to be determined.
Kepler leaves game
Right fielder Max Kepler left Saturday’s victory after the first inning, which is when he injured his left hip while fielding and throwing Miguel Carbera’s single to right field. Kepler fell sideways as he threw the ball back in.
“He’s OK,” manager Paul Molitor said. “He just kind of took an awkward fall.”
• It looks as if Miguel Sano, who hasn’t played since Aug. 18, won’t be available if the Twins reach the wild-card game. He is going to continue treatment on his left shin in case the Twins advance to the Division Series and he can resume baseball activities.
• The Twins last week began scouting potential playoff opponents in the AL. Pro scouting coordinator Vern Followell, for instance, is following the Indians.