Twins’ Landa Stays Grounded

MINNEAPOLIS—The quality that may help righthander Yorman Landa reach the majors is most evident, the Twins say, when he’s getting belted. Say, when he gives up a home run.

OK, bad example. Landa doesn’t give up home runs.

“He’s got a really heavy ball, and it stays in the park,” vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff said. “I’ve watched him a lot, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen” him surrender a homer.

Not many have. The 21-year-old Venezuelan, who signed in September 2010, has allowed just four home runs in his five pro seasons and 181 innings, never more than one in a season. It’s a talent that intrigues the Twins almost as much as Landa’s 97 mph fastball.

“He’s played in some small ballparks, and his control is still an issue,” Radcliff said, “but even when he was a starter (in 2011-13), he didn’t give up home runs. That’s huge for a young kid.”

The 21-year-old Landa doesn’t act young. He rarely lets mistakes snowball into big innings, Radcliff said, because “he’s exceptionally calm on the mound, very unemotional. He doesn’t get bothered by setbacks, and that’s become part of his résumé.”

Landa also missed big chunks of the past three seasons with injury. He needed shoulder surgery in 2014, ending his season after just two months. The Twins’ goal in 2015 was to just get him healthy. Though it took awhile, Landa touched the high 90s late in the season and threw his slider for strikes.

By striking out 31 in 27 innings at low Class A Cedar Rapids, Landa convinced Twins scouts that “he could move up in a hurry,” Radcliff said.

The Twins added Landa to the 40-man roster in November, “and that’s a pretty good indicator of our expectation for him. He’s much closer than people think.”


• In addition to shortstop and center field, which he has played in the major and minor leagues, Danny Santana spent much of his Dominican League season at second base, in hopes of earning a utility job this season.

• Lefthander Aaron Thompson, demoted to Triple-A Rochester midway through 2015, recorded a 2.70 ERA in 17 innings in the Australian Baseball League. The Twins invited him to big league spring training.

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