The Twins added seven players to their 40-man roster on Friday, including power-hitting outfielder Adam Brett Walker. But they said goodbye to two players with major-league experience as well.
Catcher Josmil Pinto, whose 2015 season was ruined by a concussion, was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres, the team announced, while right-handed reliever A.J. Achter, who appeared in 18 games over the past two seasons, was claimed by Philadelphia.
Added to the Twins’ 40-man roster on Friday, and protected from next month’s Rule 5 draft, were pitchers Taylor Rogers, Pat Dean, Randy Rosario, J.T. Chargois, Yorman Landa and Mason Melotakis, in addition to Walker, who led the Southern League with 31 home runs last season.
Friday was the deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster. Minor-league veterans of four or five seasons (depending on their age) who are not on rosters become eligible to be drafted by other teams at next month’s winter meetings in Nashville.
Pinto was considered one of the Twins’ top prospects in 2013, when he batted .342 with four home runs in an impressive September callup performance. But he batted just .219 in 57 games in 2014, and questions arose about his defensive ability.
His hopes for a bounceback season were ruined last spring, when he was hit in the head by Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones’ follow-through and suffered a concussion. Additional injuries, including another concussion, limited Pinto to just 64 games at Class AAA Rochester, and with the acquisition of catcher John Ryan Murphy from the Yankees last week, the Twins exposed Pinto to the waiver wire and the Padres claimed him.
Achter, 27, who piled up 14 saves as Rochester’s closer until being summoned to Minnesota in August, posted a 6.75 ERA in 13 1/3 innings for the Twins.
Dean and Rogers spent the entire 2015 season in the Red Wings’ rotation, and hope to follow Tyler Duffey’s path to the majors. Rogers is a 24-year-old lefthander who posted a 3.98 ERA in 27 starts. Right hander Dean, 26, led the International League with 179 innings pitched and three shutouts, to go with his 2.82 ERA.
Melotakis, a 24-year-old lefthanded reliever, was a mild surprise as a roster addition, because he missed all of the 2015 season after undergoing ligament-replacement surgery in his pitching elbow. But Melotakis’ fastball is considered one of the most impressive in the Twins’ system, so the team clearly feared losing him.
Like Melotakis, Chargois’ career was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery, but he too has a fastball clocked at nearly 100 mph, an increasingly sought-after commodity in the majors. Chargois returned last season to pitch 48 innings at Class A Fort Myers and Class AA Chattanooga, posting a combined 2.62 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 25 walks.
Two pitchers who spent the season at Class A Cedar Rapids were also protected by the Twins. Lana, 21, had a 1.25 ERA in 36 relief innings with the Kernels and the Twins’ Gulf-Coast League team, while Rosario, 21, had a 3.06 ERA with those teams.
Walker is considered the Twins’ best minor-league power prospect, having led his league in home runs in all four of his professional seasons. He batted .239 with 31 home runs and 106 RBIs at Chattanooga last season, and added five more home runs at the Arizona Fall League.
The Twins chose not to protect two former first-round picks, infielder Levi Michael and right-handed pitcher Alex Wimmers.