Happy Birthday–December 27

Jim Tobin (1912)
Phil Gagliano (1941)
Roy White (1943)
Craig Reynolds (1952)
Jim Leyritz (1963)
Dean Palmer (1968)
Jeff D’Amico (1975)
Jason Repko (1980)
David Aardsma (1981)
Michael Bourn (1982)
Chris Gimenez (1982)
Cole Hamels (1983)
Rick Porcello (1988)
Tyler Duffey (1990)
Stuart Turner (1991)

Outfielder Jason Edward Repko was a reserve for the Twins in 2010. He was born in East Chicago, Indiana, went to high school in Richland, Washington, and was drafted in the first round by the Dodgers in 1999. He was up and down in the minors, but got it going in 2004 when he hit .303 with 13 homers in a year split between AA and AAA, actually hitting a little better in AAA that year. As a result, he spent almost all of 2005 and most of 2006 in the majors with the Dodgers. The latter was his best year in the majors so far, as he hit .254 with an OPS of .722 in 130 at-bats. He missed all of 2007 with an ankle injury and was back in the minors for most of 2008 and 2009. He hit well there, combining for an average of .281 and an OPS of .812, but got only cups of coffee in the majors, getting a total of 23 big league at bats. The Dodgers released him at the end of March of 2010, and he signed with the Twins a week later. He did fairly well in Rochester and came up to the Twins in late June. He got off to a hot start but then struggled, hitting just .171 after August 8. He was with Minnesota almost all of 2011 as a reserve outfielder but did nothing offensively.  He became a free agent after the season and signed with Boston for 2012, but spent almost the entire season in AAA, getting only five games in the majors.  A free agent again, he played with York in the Atlantic League in 2013 and didn't do a whole lot.  He retired in 2013, but came back to play for York again in 2014  He was batting .196 when he was hurt in July.  He came back in 2015 with Sioux Falls in the American Assocation and had a fine season, batting .291 with an OPS of .858.  He was with York in the Atlantic League in 2016 and had another solid season, but did not play after that.  As a Twin, Jason Repko hit .227/.297/.315 in 260 at-bats.  Those numbers are pretty much in line with his career major league numbers.  At last report, he had returned to the Richland, Washington area.

Catcher/first baseman/outfielder/pitcher Christopher Paul Gimenez played for the Twins from 2017-2018.  Born and raised in Gilroy, California, he attended the University of Nevada-Reno and was drafted by Cleveland in the nineteenth round in 2004.  He batted .300 for short-season Mahoning Valley that year, but his batting statistics are then unimpressive until 2008, when he batted .304 with an OPS of .873 in a season split between AA and AAA.  It should be noted that his AA numbers that year were substantially better than his AAA numbers.  He reached the majors in June of 2009, and became pretty much the definition of a replacement level backup catcher.  He spent time in both the majors and the minors in every season from 2009-2016, never getting as many as 200 at-bats in the majors and only coming close to that once, in 2010.  With those small sample sizes, he had the occasional season in which he looked like a competent batter,  most notably 2015 when he batted .255 with an OPS of .820.  He was with the Indians through 2010, with Seattle in 2011, Tampa Bay in 2012-2013, Texas and Cleveland again in 2014, Texas again in 2015, and Cleveland again in 2016.  In addition to catching, he made occasional appearances at first or the outfield in those years, and was used as a mop-up pitcher three times.  The Twins signed him as a free agent and he got his first full season in the majors in 2017 at age thirty-four.  In 186 at-bats, he batted .220/.350/.382, numbers that are actually a little better than his career numbers.  A free agent after the season, he spent most of the 2018 season in the minors, getting twenty-eight at-bats with the Cubs.  At the end of August he was traded back to Minnesota for Bobby Wilson in an exchange of replacement-level backup catchers.  He went 8-for-29 the rest of the season, making his numbers as a Twin .228/.350/.400.  He also pitched in seven games as a Twin, with a record of 0-0, 13.50, 2.17 WHIP in six innings.  He called it quits after the season and was hired by the Dodgers as a "game planning coach."  We're not sure what that is, but it sounds impressive.  It would not be surprising if Chris Gimenez remained in baseball in one way or another for forty more years or so.

Right-hander Tyler Blinn Duffey has pitched for the Twins off and on since 2015.  Born and raised in Houston, he attended Rice University (also in Houston) and was drafted by the Twins in the fifth round in 2012.  He was used in relief in Elizabethton that year and was dominant in twelve appearances, but became a starter in 2013.  He pitched very well in Cedar Rapids that year, but not as well when moved up to Fort Myers.  He began 2014 in Fort Myers but was quickly moved up to AA and also made three starts in Rochester.  He started 2015 back in AA but was promoted to Rochester after eight starts.  He pitched very well in both places and made it to the Twins in early August.  In ten starts he went 5-1, 3.10, 1.31 WHIP with 53 strikeouts in 58 innings.  If you throw out a really bad first start his numbers were even better:  5-0, 2.25, 1.23 WHIP.  He obviously wasn't going to do that long-term, but it gave Twins fans reason to hope he'd be a reliable starter.  It didn't happen:  in 2016, he was 9-12, 6.43, 1.59 WHIP.  He moved to the bullpen in 2017 and was better, but still not really good--2-3, 4.94, 1.37 WHIP.  He split 2018 between AAA and the majors, pitching very well in Rochester but not well at all in Minnesota.  For his career, Tyler Duffey is 18-18, 5.46, 1.40 WHIP in 111 games (37 starts).  He turns twenty-eight today.  We wish him well, but if he doesn't get going pretty soon he's going to run out of chances.

Catcher Randy Stuart Turner did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system from 2013-2016.  Born and raised in Eunice, Louisiana, he attended the University of Mississippi and was drafted by Minnesota in the third round in 2013.  He simply could not hit.  His best offensive season was 2013, when he batted .264/.340/.380 in 121 at-bats as a twenty-one-year-old in Rookie ball.  He never had an OPS over .700 after that.  The Twins apparently believed in him--they promoted him to Class A in 2014, to AA in 2015, sent him to the Arizona Fall League (despite the fact that he had batted just .223 in AA), and put him in AA in 2016.  They understandably left him off the forty-man roster after the season, and Cincinnati chose him in the Rule 5 draft.  The Reds dutifully kept him around as a backup catcher, and he batted about like you'd expect him to--.134/.182/.244 in 82 at-bats.  He appears to have been injured much of 2018.  He turns twenty-seven today and as far as I can tell he's still in the Reds' system.  We assume he's considered to be an excellent defensive catcher.  Even so, he's going to have to learn to hit at least a little if he's going to have a major league career.

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday–December 27”

  1. I see that I missed Addison Reed (1988). I don't have time to add him today--we'll try to get him next year. Sorry about that, Addison.

Comments are closed.