Signing Early Benefits Twins Second-Rounder Boer

MINNEAPOLIS—North Carolina shortstop Levi Michael had racked up 10 weeks of inactivity by the time the first-round pick signed his contract.

By that same date, second-round pick Madison Boer, a 21-year-old righthander from Oregon, had racked up 10 saves as a professional.

Guess which one the Twins think is more valuable?

"The guys who sign early can really get a jump on their careers," farm director Jim Rantz said. "Boer signed right away and has already gotten acclimated to being a pro. He's already moved up a level."

Rantz doesn't begrudge the last-minute holdouts—"It's just the way the system works now."—but believes that draftees benefit by not sacrificing the whole summer to contract negotiations.

Boer, who grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie, agreed to a $405,000 bonus on June 18, less than two weeks after being selected with the 87th overall pick. Mindful of the 99 innings Boer already had pitched during the Pacific-10 Conference season, the Twins put him in the bullpen at Rookie-level Elizabethton.

"You don't want to wear him out," Rantz said. "But you want him to get used to playing every day."

Boer quickly ascended to role of closer with the E-Twins with a potent repertoire, including a fastball that can reach 96 mph with sinking action and a power slider in the mid-80s.

Boer logged 17 innings while striking out 31, allowing 15 baserunners and collecting nine saves in 15 appearances. A promotion to low Class A Beloit quickly followed.

The Snappers used Boer just twice a week, but that didn't stop him from notching two saves in his first five appearances.

"These two and a half months have really given him a head start on next year," Rantz said.


• The Twins added a pair of pitching prospects when they dealt Delmon Young to the Tigers. Righthander Lester Oliveros, a fastball/changeup reliever, made his big league debut for Detroit this season. He dominated at Double-A, but his performance backed up in Triple-A (6.10 ERA, 1.81 WHIP). Cole Nelson, a 6-foot-7, arm-strength lefty at the high Class A level, sits in the low-90s with a workable breaking ball.

• Four months after his disastrously wild first start, 2010 first-round righthander Alex Wimmers allowed a run on two hits, with four strikeouts and three walks in three innings on Aug. 16, his second start for high Class A Fort Myers.