Edwar Colina Puts On A Show
It’s a 15-minute drive between Target Field in Minneapolis and CHS Field in St. Paul. Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey makes the trip on a regular basis, but says he would travel a lot farther to watch righthander Edwar Colina throw one pitch in particular.
“He may have the best slider in our system,” Falvey said. “Just in terms of pure slider, the signature traits you look for—it’s sharp, it’s hard, it’s down. It’s one of those pitches that gets a guy noticed, and makes you say, ‘Wow, if we put something around that, now you’re really in business.’ “
Too bad there’s no business for Colina, a 23-year-old Venezuelan, to handle this summer. He puts on a show for coaches and teammates once or twice a week in an empty minor league ballpark, but the refinement that’s necessary, the development the Twins envision, remains on hold.
It’s hard for Falvey to avoid getting antsy.
“Like most pitchers at this level, Edwar has some control issues with his fastball, and that’s what gets him into trouble,” Falvey said, though noting that Colina can reach 99 mph with that pitch. “If we were playing real games, we would be starting him and building on that strong two-pitch mix. We’d see if a third pitch evolves to keep him in that role, and if it doesn’t, I could see him pitching out of our bullpen for a long time.”
The Twins signed Colina in 2016 for just $8,000 after other teams passed on him, perhaps because of his 5-foot-11, 240-pound build. But in 2019, he rocketed up three levels, posting a 2.96 ERA while climbing from high Class A to Triple-A, with just four home runs allowed and 102 strikeouts in 97.1 innings.
“When you watch Edwar pitch, you assume (he’s a) reliever because of how intense and aggressive he is," Falvey said. "If he can stay a starter, great. But that slider—I feel like everyone will get a chance to see it."
— Nearly two months after testing positive for the coronavirus, Nick Gordon passed MLB’s virus protocols and felt well enough to return to action. Since Gordon, a shortstop chosen fifth overall in 2014, will focus on restoring his conditioning rather than baseball activities, the Twins received permission to allow him to report to their spring headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., rather than their alternate location in St. Paul. Gordon is the brother of Mariners outfielder Dee Gordon.
— The Twins have begun a program of remote coaching of their new draftees and nondrafted free agent signees, and have discussed with MLB adding an instructional camp for face-to-face training this winter.
“We’ve had some conversations with Major League Baseball about what the fall and winter could look like,” Falvey said. “We’d like to offer our minor league players and incoming draftees a development program of some kind, but we have not gotten clearance for that yet.”