Light Goes On For Twins
MINNEAPOLIS—Rob Antony had never formally met Pat Light, yet the interim general manager had this eerie feeling of familiarity when he contacted the 25-year-old righthanded reliever to welcome him to the Twins.
"I feel like I knew him already,” said Antony, who dealt lefthander Fernando Abad to Boston a few hours before the Aug. 1 trade deadline to acquire Light. "I thought about how many times I’ve stood behind backstops, watching him pitch.”
That’s because the Twins had used their 28th-round pick in the 2009 draft on Light, who had just graduated from high school in Lincroft, N.J., and chose to go to Monmouth instead. But it’s also because the Red Sox, who drafted Light in the supplemental first round in 2012, are closely connected to the Twins, whose spring headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., is located about five miles away.
"He’s pitched against us in the spring,” Antony said. "He’s pitched against us in the (Rookie-level) Gulf Coast League, and in just about every league they’re in. We know a lot about what he can do.”
Specifically: They know Light can throw a baseball 100 mph.
"He brings velocity, and that’s something that interested us,” Antony said. "He’s had some issues with his command, but we feel he’s making progress as he makes the transition to the bullpen.”
That transition began in 2015, when the Red Sox, frustrated by Light’s walk rate, asked him to become a one-inning pitcher. His walk rate initially soared as he re-introduced a splitter to his repertoire.
"It’s a good move for him, if he can get his command under control,” Antony said. "His stuff plays well against both lefthanders and righthanders. He’s a guy who can get big outs.”
Two days after the trade, Light made his debut at Triple-A Rochester, pitching a scoreless inning against Pawtucket, for whom he had saved seven games this year.
• Lefthander Tyler Jay, the sixth overall pick in 2015, was shut down after experiencing lingering neck pain. Doctors determined he has neuropraxia, a stretched nerve in the neck, and he could be throwing again by late August.
Nine First-Round Picks Left Unprotected In First Year Of Rule 5 Eligibility
In total, 27 percent of eligible first round picks from the 2014/2015 drafts were unprotected.