The Twins added pitcher Bailey Ober to their 40-man roster last fall to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
The 6-foot-9 righthander will make his major league debut tonight when he starts against the White Sox (6:40 p.m., BSN) at Target Field.
Scheduled starter Michael Pineda had a cyst removed from his inner thigh and has stitches, so the Twins moved his start back, manager Rocco Baldelli said. More "inconvenience" than injury, he said.
Righthander Cody Stashak was also called up. Shaun Anderson and Derek Law pitched last night, and Anderson (strained quad) was put on the injured list. Law was designated for assignment.
Max Kepler (hamstring) will be back in the lineup tonight, but catcher Mitch Garver (knee contusion) is not starting. Baldelli said Garver would not be headed for the IL, however.
Ober was a 12th round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston. He has started two games for the St. Paul Saints this year, striking out eight and giving up one run in seven innings.
The 25-year-old is 17-3 with a 2.43 ERA during his minor league career (36 games, 33 starts). He sat out last season with the minor league shutdown.
Patrick Reusse wrote about Ober during spring training here.
Former Twin Lance Lynn (4-1, 1.30 ERA) starts for the White Sox, who won a 16-4 laugher on Monday night. The Twins used four relievers, including Willians Astudillo, as their pitching staff wears thin during a stretch of 17 games in 16 days.
WHITE SOX LINEUP
Tim Anderson, SS
Jake Lamb, LF
Yoán Moncada, 3B
Yermín Mercedes, DH
Adam Eaton, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andrew Vaughn, 1B
Leury Garcia, CF
Nick Madrigal, 2B
Luis Arraez, 2B
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Jorge Polanco, DH
Max Kepler, CF
Miguel Sano, 1B
Trevor Larnach, LF
Kyle Garlick, RF
Andrelton Simmons, SS
Ben Rortvedt, C
Here's a excerpt from a January story on Ober from Baseball America:
Bailey Ober is constantly inviting comparisons that are unfair to him. For instance, at a solid 6-foot-9, he has the build of Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, but c'mon. He's righthanded and his fastball only occasionally reaches 90 mph.
The same principal holds with Ober's minor-league resume. The Charlotte native's repertoire of four plus pitches has made him a strikeout machine, and his command of the strike zone has given him a cartoonishly good strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10.62. In fact, of the nearly 850 pitchers to start at least 30 minor-league games since 2017, only one has displayed such elite command: A Cy Young winner named Shane Bieber.
Then again, Ober pitched at three levels in 2019 and didn't post an ERA over 1.00 in any of them. Know who else did that? Nobody.
Finally, a comparison to somebody with the same level of attention as this under-the-radar 12th-round pick. Ober, whose 24 career wins are the second-most in College of Charleston history, was little noticed when the Twins took him on the 2017 draft's second day, but that changed as soon as he took the mound. With a knee-buckling changeup, Ober dominated Appy League hitters in six starts, striking out 35 in 28 innings while walking only three.
"He's been among the best pitchers in the minor leagues," said Derek Falvey, the Twins' president of baseball operations, who promoted Ober to the major-league roster in November, even though the 25-year-old didn't throw a competitive pitch in 2020 due to the pandemic. "The track record speaks for itself and he's found a way to do it without elite velocity."