Bailey Ober Gets Off To Tremendous Start
Bailey Ober is constantly inviting comparisons that are unfair to him.
For instance, at a solid 6-foot-9, 260 pounds, he has the build of Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. But come on: he’s a righthander and his fastball only occasionally reaches 90 mph.
The same principle holds with the 25-year-old Ober’s minor league résumé. The North Carolina native’s repertoire of four 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 10.6 in three seasons.
Ober made 14 appearances in 2019, mostly at High-A Fort Myers but also including four at Double-A Pensacola. He finished the year at 8-0, 0.69 with 100 strikeouts and nine walks in 78.2 innings
Ober, whose 24 career wins are the second-most in College of Charleston history, was little noticed when the Twins drafted him in the 12th round in 2017, but that changed as soon as he took the mound.
With a knee-buckling changeup, Ober dominated the Rookie-level Appalachian League hitters in 2017 in six appearances, striking out 35 in 28 innings while walking just three.
And that was just the start.
“He’s been among the best pitchers in the minor leagues,” said Derek Falvey, president of baseball operations, who added Ober to the 40-man roster in November, even though Ober didn’t throw a competitive pitch in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The track record speaks for itself and he’s found a way to do it without elite velocity.”
So forget the comparisons, Falvey said. The Twins are excited about what Ober can do.
“Can’t wait,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to seeing him back on the mound this year.”
— Fernando Romero, one of the Twins’ top prospects in 2017 and 2018, was sold to Yokohama of the Japanese Central League on Dec. 17. Romero, who posted a 1.99 ERA in his first five major league starts in 2018 but never found consistent success after that, did not pitch in 2020 after being denied entry into the United States in February when a U.S. Customs agent found a small amount of marijuana in his luggage.
— The Twins signed eight major league veterans to minor league contracts on Dec. 17, five of them pitchers, and invited all eight to big league camp. Included in the group was lefthander Danny Coulombe, who made two appearances for Minnesota during the 2020 season. The group also included righthanders Juan Minaya, Luke Farrell, Derek Law and Glenn Sparkman, catcher Tomas Telis, outfielder Rob Refsnyder and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.