No First Chance For Chargois

MINNEAPOLISRighthander J.T. Chargois earned all-Conference USA honors at Rice when the Twins drafted him in 2012. The switch-hitting first baseman/DH compiled a .422 on-base percentage and had a 33-game on-base streak during his junior year.

So when the Twins used a second-round pick on him, they considered letting him bring along his first baseman’s mitt for, oh, zero seconds.

“We wouldn’t be doing our job if we let a talent like that play first base,” vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff said. “Yeah, he’s a good player. He could have been a minor league first baseman—but we want him in the major leagues.”

The 25-year-old probably will get there this season, because the Twins wisely focused on Chargois’ other baseball asset: A fastball that blows past hitters at 100 mph or faster.

The Owls began giving Chargois a chance to close games during his sophomore year. His pro career has been sidetracked by injuries, including lost seasons in 2013 and 2014.

Chargois threw just 16 innings at Rookie-level Elizabethton in 2012 before feeling pain in his right elbow during extended spring training in 2013. He sat out the entire season, then had Tommy John surgery that September, which wiped out his 2014.

“He didn’t lose any velocity. That was obvious right away. He’s just got to get better command of it,” Radcliff said of Chargois, who struck out 53 batters—and walked 25—in 48 innings at high Class A Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. “But his slider has a hard break, and his changeup is so well-developed, he doesn’t even have to rely (on his fastball).”

Chargois resumed blowing away Southern League hitters this spring, and after just five weeks, the Twins promoted him to Triple-A Rochester.

“He’s got three pitches that will play in the majors right now, and he’s got a great attitude. Fearless,” Radcliff said. “He’s not far away.”


• The Twins signed veteran lefthander Andrew Albers, a 30-year-old starter who pitched for them in 2013, to a minor league contract for Triple-A Rochester.

• Low Class A Cedar Rapids righthander Logan Lombana, a 25th-round pick last summer, was suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

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