Monday, April 4, 2016

Minor League Breakout Pitcher Candidates

With the major league season already off and running, minor league action will shortly follow suit in a matter of days. Many of the full season rosters are set and the focus can turn to making improvements and getting closer to reaching each players ultimate goal of making the big leagues.

Every season, there are players that standout above the crowd to have breakout campaigns. Two seasons ago, Jose Berrios broke onto the scene on his way to be the first player in Twins history to win back-to-back minor league pitcher of the year awards.

Which pitchers should fans keep an eye on this season? Here are a few names to consider.
Felix Jorge (Photo: Seth Stohs)
Felix Jorge- SP
2015 Stats (Low-A): 2.79 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 114 SO, 32 BB, 142.0 IP
I've been one of the few members on the Felix Jorge fan club over the last couple years. He struggled in 2014 with his first taste of the Midwest League but he bounced back in 2015 with some very solid numbers. Most of his innings this years should be in the Florida State League which is a league that tends to favor pitchers. If he can continue to make strides with his secondary pitches, 2016 could see him become one of the Twins top 10 prospects heading into next season.

Mason Melotakis- RP
2015 Stats (N/A): Did Not Play
Melotakis missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Minnesota still felt highly enough about him to add him to their 40-man roster during the off-season. He will be monitored closely this year as he returns to the mound. His path to the big leagues will be as a relief pitcher even though he's done some starting in the past. With a fastball in the mid-90's and a curveball to keep batters on their toes, Melotakis could make it all the way to Minnesota this season if everything breaks right.

Yorman Landa- RP
2015 Stats (Rookie, Low-A): 2.50 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 40 SO, 16 BB, 36.0 IP
Like Melotakis, Landa was added to the team's 40-man roster during the winter. The flame-throwing relief pitcher can reach the high 90's with his fastball but he will need to work on his other pitches as he moves up the ladder.If his control improves, his fastball should help him to continue to overpower batters. Since he is on the 40-man roster, there's a chance he could get a September call-up but the most likely scenario has him reaching Double-A by season's end.

Fernando Romero- SP
2015 Stats (N/A): Did Not Play
Romero was on the fast-track before an elbow issues lead to Tommy John surgery. He only made three appearances in 2014 so he's really coming back after two years away from competitive appearances. His fastball can hit the upper-90's and both of his breaking pitches have a chance to be above-average. He will likely return to Cedar Rapids at some point this season and he has the chance to be one of the Twins top pitching prospects if he comes back strong.

Randy Rosario- SP
2015 Stats (Rookie/Low-A): 3.06 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 54 SO, 20 BB, 61.2 IP
After missing most of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery, Rosario was back on the mound in 2015. Even though he missed a season, he was still almost a year younger than the competition in Cedar Rapids. The southpaw can reach the high-90's with his fastball and he will continue to refine his secondary pitches. The majority of his innings will come with Fort Myers but he has a chance to reach the upper levels of the minor leagues this season.

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