Twins Organization Report
Tremendously Tall Twin
MINNESOTA--Righthander Loek Van Mil is an anomaly, but not because he’s a native of the Netherlands--he is 7-foot-1. If he ever makes it to the major
leagues, he will become the tallest player in big league history.
Van Mil has been playing baseball since he was 8. The Twins scouted him for three years in the Netherlands and signed him last summer. He spent the winter pitching in Australia and is expected to debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League this summer.
Van Mil’s fastball is in the low 90s, and he complements it with a slider and changeup. The organization has been impressed with his mechanics, considering the length of his arms and legs.
“You’re thinking a 7-foot guy is going to be long and lanky, with a delivery that looks like a train wreck,” minor league pitching coordinator Rick Knapp said. “That’s certainly not the case with this fellow.”
Van Mil grew up as a catcher but moved to the mound when he was 15, and Twins scouts first saw him when he was 17. When scouts first saw him Van Mil threw sidearm, but Twins scouts Howard Norsetter and Larry Corrigan encouraged him to throw from a three-quarters angle.
“It’s a unique angle,” director of baseball operations Rob Antony said. “As a hitter, it looks like it’s coming out of the sky.”
The Twins will be patient with Van Mil, who will be a project. In addition to improving as a pitcher, he needs to learn how to hold runners on base, which is often difficult for pitchers with such a lengthy delivery. He also must grow accustomed to stares from fans and opponents.
“He’s going to have a lot of distractions that most Rookie league players don’t have,” Knapp said. “But he’s really a good-hearted kid.”
Van Mil certainly realizes his size will attract attention and hopes to cut off the same question with a shirt that says, “Don’t ask” on the front and “7-foot-1. No, I don’t play basketball” on the back.TWIN KILLINGS
• Switch-hitting infielder Alexi Casilla, who was acquired from the Angels this offseason for lefthander J.C. Romero, was leading high Class A Fort Myers with a .329 average through 79 at-bats.
• The roster at low Class A Beloit featured two infielders who are sons of former major leaguers: Andrew Thompson’s father Robby played for the Giants, and Toby Gardenhire is the son of Twins manager Ron, who played for the Mets.