LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. – The Twins picked up righthander Tyler Kinley from the Marlins organization with the 20th overall pick in the Rule 5 draft Thursday.
Kinley, a 16th-round pick of the Marlins in 2013, went 2-3 with a 3.54 ERA last season between Class A Jupiter and Class AA Jacksonville. He has to remain on the 25-man roster in 2018 or be offered back to Miami for half of the $100,000 selection fee.
“A big, strong kid,” said Brad Steil, the Twins pro scouting director. “Good fastball, good slider. A potential power arm for our bullpen. Hopefully he comes in and competes for a job in spring training.”
According to Steil, Kinley’s fastball ranges from 96 to 98 miles per hour and his slider comes in around 87-90 mph. He averaged 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings last season, but control has been an issue — 3.5 walks per nine innings during his minor league career.
Twins scout Fred Guerrero has sent back strong reports from the Dominican Winter League, where Kinley, 26, has tossed 18 scoreless innings for Licey.
The Twins lost two hard-throwing relievers in the draft. Nick Burdi went third overall to Philadelphia — who then dealt him to Pittsburgh for international signing bonus money — and Luke Bard was selected 17th by the Angels.
Burdi, the 46th overall pick in the 2014 draft, was at one time considered the Twins’ closer of the future with a 100 mph fastball, but he could not stay healthy and still is waiting to make his major league debut. He had two stints on the disabled list in 2016 and appeared in only three games. He pitched in 14 games last season, posting a 0.53 ERA, but was lost for the season because of Tommy John surgery in May.
Bard has battled shoulder problems early in his pro career but pitched in 37 games last season between Class AA Chattanooga and Class AAA Rochester.
“We thought going in this that there was a chance we could lose a guy or two, and it turned out that way,” Steil said. “Those roster decisions are always difficult and we didn’t want to lose them, but those guys probably deserve to be taken.”
In the minor league phase of the draft, the Twins selected righthander Yancarlos Baez, 22, from the Yankees in the first round and righthander Sandy Lugo, 23, from the Reds in the second round.