Twins MLB draft glance since 1998: Rounds 2-5

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Major League Baseball draft, which will be held June 10-11, will be limited to five rounds.

With the truncated version this year, we thought we’d take a look back at Minnesota Twins drafts since 1998 – when the last two expansion teams were added – to see how the Twins have fared in each round.

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We’ve already gone over Round 1 and now we’ll look at the players who made the majors from Minnesota’s picks in rounds 2-5. Upcoming articles will touch on rounds 6-20 and 21-50.

Instead of ranking each player subjectively, we’ll order them objectively – by baseball-reference.com’s WAR (wins above replacement). Note: For pitchers, we’re using only their pitching WAR. To add in their hitting WAR seems a bit unfair, but we’ll include it in the capsule for reference sake. Also, this list only included players signed by Minnesota.

 

Round 2

Scott Baker, P, 2003
WAR: 15.8 (15.8 with Twins)

Batting WAR: -0.1 (0.0 with Twins)

Baker made it quickly to the majors, debuting in 2005 with 10 games (nine starts) and a 3.35 ERA. He’d pitch seven seasons with Minnesota, compiling a 63-48 record, 4.15 ERA (102 ERA+) and 1.264 WHIP. In 2009, he had his only 200 inning season (exactly 200) and won 15 games. Baker missed the 2012 season then finished out his career the next three years pitching for Chicago, Texas and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

Jesse Crain, P, 2002
WAR: 11.4 (5.4 with Twins)

Batting WAR: 0.0 (0.0 with Twins)

Crain pitched seven seasons with the Twins from 2004-10, including three playoff teams, before leaving in free agency. He had a 3.42 ERA (128 ERA+) and 1.257 WHIP over that span. Crain signed with the White Sox and had three above-average seasons in Chicago, posting a 2.10 ERA (205 ERA+) and 1.167 WHIP before a shoulder injury effectively ended his career.

 

Anthony Swarzak, P, 2004
WAR: 5.2 (3.0 with Twins)
Batting WAR: -0.1 (-0.1 with Twins)

Originally a starter, Swazark became a reliever and had some nice seasons in what has been an up-and-down career. His best year with Minnesota was 2013 when he posted a 2.91 ERA and 1.156 WHIP in 96 innings. Overall with the Twins he had a 4.48 ERA and 1.385 WHIP in 181 games (32 starts) over five seasons. Since 2015, he’s toiled with the Indians, Yankees, White Sox, Brewers, Mets, Mariners and Braves with a career ERA of 4.32. Swarzak signed with the Phillies this past offseason.

 

Kevin Slowey, P, 2005
WAR: 4.7 (4.4 with Twins)

Batting WAR: -0.3 (0.0 with Twins)

After pitching extremely well at every level of the minors, Slowey got the call to Minnesota in 2007, making 13 appearances with 11 starts. He won 12 games in 2008 with a 3.99 ERA (105 ERA+) and even led the league with two shutouts. But overall in his five years with the Twins he’d go 43-36 with a 4.62 ERA (89 ERA+) and 1.323 WHIP. Traded to Colorado, he re-emerged in Miami and pitched there in 2013-14 with a 4-7 record and 4.45 ERA over 37 appearances.

 

Niko Goodrum, SS, 2010
WAR: 2.6 (-0.2 with Twins)

Goodrum was 1-for-17 with 10 strikeouts with the Twins in 2017, signed with Detroit as a free agent in the offseason and became a super-utility player for the Tigers. Over the past two seasons, he’s played every position but pitcher and catcher and has hit .247/.318/.427 (97 OPS+) with 28 home runs in 243 games.

 

Ryan Eades, P, 2013
WAR:  0.4 (0.1 with Twins)

Batting WAR: n/a

Eades made his major-league debut in 2019 at age 27. He pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the Twins, allowing four hits and two walks with five strikeouts, but was waived and claimed by Baltimore, where he pitched 7 2/3 innings. The Orioles released him after the season and he remains a free agent.

 

JT Chargois, P, 2012
WAR: 0.1 (-0.1 with Twins)
Batting WAR: 0.0 (n/a with Twins)

Once a highly rated prospect – he pitched in the 2016 Futures Game – Chargois appeared in 23 innings for the Twins, all over 10 appearances in that ’16 season. He had a 4.70 ERA and 1.609 WHIP. An injury wiped out his 2017 season and he was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers, where he pitched to a 4.53 ERA over two seasons. Chargois is now pitching in Japan.

 

Rob Bowen, C, 1999
WAR: -0.3 (-0.5 with Twins)

Bowen played in just 24 games in 2003-04, going 4-for-37, before being claimed off waivers by Detroit. He never played for the Tigers but between 2006-08 he appeared with the Padres, Cubs and A’s, finishing with a career average of .209 with nine home runs in 378 at-bats.

 

Tyler Ladendorf, SS, 2008
WAR:  -0.5 (DNP Twins)
Pitching WAR: 0.0

The Twins were the third team to draft Ladendorf – he was taken in the 34th round in both 2006 (Yankees) and ’07 (Giants). Ladendorf never played for Minnesota, dealt at the 2009 deadline for shortstop Orlando Cabrera (-0.1 WAR with Twins). He got into 53 games for Oakland from 2015-16, batting .123 and tossing a scoreless inning of relief.

 

J.D. Durbin, P, 2000
WAR: -0.6 (-0.1 with Twins)

Batting WAR: 0.1 (n/a with Twins)

Durbin got into 7 1/2 innings for Minnesota in 2004, allowing six runs. He never pitched in the majors for the Twins again. He was waived and claimed three times over a 2 1/2-week period in 2007, appearing for both Arizona and Philadelphia in the bigs. He only pitched 2/3 inning for the Diamondbacks but 65 1/3 innings for the Phillies (6.06 ERA).

 

Nick Burdi, P, 2014
WAR: -0.6 (DNP with Twins)

Batting WAR: n/a

Injuries, including undergoing Tommy John surgery, stifled Burdi’s path to the majors with the Twins. He was selected in the 2018 Rule 5 draft by Philadelphia, which traded him to Pittsburgh. Burdi has appeared in 10 innings with the Pirates, posting a 10.80 ERA, although with 19 strikeouts.

 

Joe Benson, OF, 2006
WAR: -0.7

Benson appeared in 21 games for the Twins in 21, going 17-for-71 (.239). He was eventually waived in 2013 and bounced around the minors, returning to the Twins system for one year in 2015.

 

Round 3

Justin Morneau 1999, C
WAR: 27.0 (22.9 with Twins)

Morneau was moved to first base full-time in the minors in 2001, made it to the majors for 40 games in 2003, by mid-July 2004 was Minnesota’s starter and was named American League MVP in 2006 after hitting .321 with 34 home runs and 130 RBI. He’d be named an All-Star the next four seasons. Morneau played with the Twins until being traded on Aug. 31, 2013 to Pittsburgh. In his 11 years with Minnesota he slashed .278/.347/.485 (121 OPS+) with 221 home runs and 860 RBI. Morneau moved to Colorado in 2014, where he lead the league in batting average (.319) before injuries slowed him down his final two seasons with the Rockies and Chicago White Sox.

 

Brian Duensing, P, 2005
WAR: 6.4 (6.4 with Twins)

Batting WAR: -0.2 (-0.1 with Twins)

The left-handed Duensing split time between the bullpen and rotation his first four seasons (2009-12) before becoming strictly a reliever in 2013. He pitched seven year with the Twins, appearing in 354 games with 61 starts, sporting a 41-37 record with a 4.13 ERA (99 ERA+) and 1.384 WHIP. His best season came in 2010 when, pitching in 53 games with 13 starts, he was 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA (156 ERA+) and 1.202 WHIP. Duensing also pitched for Baltimore (2016) and the Chicago Cubs (2017-18), with a career ERA of 4.19. He pitched in 2019 for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs before being released in June.

 

Jose Morales, SS, 2001
WAR: 0.6 (0.8 with Twins)

In 2003, Morales was moved to catcher and he made his debut in the majors four years later, going 3-for-3 in his lone game. Morales played sporadically in 2009-10 for the Twins, appearing in 73 games over those two seasons. He hit .289 in 252 plate appearances for Minnesota before being traded to Colorado, where he hit .267 in 22 games in 2011.

 

Pat Dean 2010, P
WAR: -0.3
Batting WAR: n/a

Dean made his MLB debut roughly two weeks before his 27th birthday in 2016 and picked up his first major-league win two days after turning 27. He’d make 19 appearances with nine starts for the Twins that year and wouldn’t win another game, going 1-6 with a 6.28 ERA. Dean pitched in the KBO League in 2017-18 before signing back with Minnesota in February 2019. He was released in March 2019, signed with the independent Southern Maryland Blue Crabs before joining Colorado’s Triple-A team. He was released November and signed with the independent Somerset Patriots this past March.

 

Tyler Robertson, P, 2006
WAR: -0.5

Robertson pitched 25 innings—in 40 games (yes, he’s left-handed) — for the Twins in 2012 and went 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA, 1.400 WHIP and 9.4 K/9. He made into just one inning over two games the following season, was waived and claimed by Washington, but never made it back to the majors.

 

Stuart Turner, C
WAR: -1.2 (DNP with Twins)

Cincinnati selected Turner in the Rule 5 draft and he played in 37 games in 2017, batting .134 in 82 at-bats. He was sent back to the minors where injuries slowed down his career. He is currently a free agent.

 

Round 4

Eddie Rosario, OF, 2010
WAR: 10.7

Rosario debuted in 2015 with a bang – homering on the first pitch he saw in the majors. He’d end leading the league in triples, with 15, and also having 10+ double, homers and steals. He broke out in 2017, hitting a career-high .290 with 27 home runs. Last year he set career bests in homers (32)m RBI (109) and runs (91). In his five years with the Twins, Rosario has slashed .279/.309/.479 (108 OPS+) with 106 home runs. He’s one of four fourth-round picks Minnesota has selected who have a positive WAR in their careers (Graig Nettles, Scott Erickson and Jim Nettles the others).

 

Danny Ortiz, OF, 2008
WAR:  -0.2 (DNP with Twins)

Ortiz could never make it to the majors with Minnesota. He left the organization as a free agent after the 2015 season, signing with Pittsburgh. He played in nine games (1-for-12) with the Pirates in 2017. Ortiz spent 2019 playing in the Mexican League.

Jason Miller, P, 2000
WAR:  -0.3

Batting WAR: n/a

The left-handed Miller worked his way up Minnesota’s system, finally making it to the majors in 2007. He appeared in four innings in four games and allowed eight runs.

 

Stephen Gonsalves, P, 2013
WAR: -0.7

Batting WAR: n/a

Gonsalves made four starts and three relief appearances in 2018, finishing with a 2-2 record, 6.57 ERA and 2.027 WHIP. He was waived after the 2019 season and claimed by the New York Mets.

 

Round 5

Steven Tolleson, SS, 2005
WAR: 1.2 (DNP with Twins)

The son of former major-league infielder Wayne Tolleson, Steven was waived by Minnesota in 2010 and claimed by Oakland. He’s ended up playing with the A’s (2010), Orioles (2012) and Blue Jays (2014-15), hitting .245 with six home runs in 331 at-bats over 181 games.

 

Tyler Duffey, P, 2012
WAR: 0.1

Batting WAR: 0.0

Duffey was a starter early with the Twins but found his niche in the bullpen, especially in 2019, when he had a 2.50 ERA (184 ERA+), 1.006 WHIP and 12.8 K/9 – all career bests. Overall in his five seasons in Minnesota, Duffey is 23-19 with a 4.04 ERA (87 ERA+), 1.335 WHIP and 8.7 K/9.

 

Aaron Slegers, P, 2013
WAR: -0.2 (-0.3 with Twins)

Batting WAR: n/a

Slegers appeared in eight games with five starts for the Twins in 2017-18. He posted a 5.63 ERA across 29 innings. Pittsburgh claimed him off waivers in January 2019 and two months later sold him to Tampa Bay. Slegers made one relief appearance for the Rays in 2019, allowing one run in three innings.