Strong Gets New Start With Twins

MINNESOTA—Lefthander Mike Strong got married, had his first child, bought his first house and changed organizations—twice—all in the span of six weeks this offseason.

Two days after his family moved to Oklahoma in early December, Strong learned he had been removed from the Brewers’ 40-man roster. Two hours later, the Marlins claimed him on waivers.

About a week later, the Marlins designated him for assignment, and Strong was off again, this time to his hometown Twins.

“I’m going to miss the Brewers. I was there five years,” said Strong, 27, “but I’m looking forward to a new start.”

Strong is from Afton, Minn., and went to high school in Stillwater, Minn. He has a fastball that sits in the low 90s and a curve that ranges in the upper 70s. Over the past two seasons, he has added a changeup that averages 85 mph.

“His fastball and breaking ball can be very effective if he keeps it over the plate,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan told BA correspondent Mike Berardino. “And he’s lefthanded, which is always helpful, certainly in our case.”

He received his most extensive work at the Double-A level in 2015, recording a strikeout rate of 8.9 per nine innings and 0.93 WHIP in 38 relief appearances at Huntsville.

Promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs in August, Strong ran up a 7.16 ERA in 12 appearances. He struggled with the high altitude at his home park, and when he fell behind hitters, the ball tended to go flying.

Strong said he will be stronger for the experience, and that’s been his track record all along.

Undrafted out of high school—in large part because he stood 5-foot-9 and weighted 155 pounds—he went to Iowa Western CC and helped the program reach the Junior College World Series two years in a row.

By the time he finished his college career with two years at Oklahoma State, Strong had been drafted three times before finally signing with the Brewers as a 10th-round pick in 2011.

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