When the Minnesota Twins released Monday their 60-man roster for an abbreviated season, the Blue Wahoos had connections across every position.
In fact, one third of the Twins’ player pool for a 60-game season which starts either July 23-24, consists of players who wore a Blue Wahoos uniform for at least three games in 2019.
Those 20 are led by the trifecta of first-rounders – Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Royce Lewis – who were together in Pensacola as former No. 1 draft picks during the second half of last season.
In addition to the Twins’ ties, four other Blue Wahoos players from last season were part of other teams’ pool of players for summer camp which begins on Wednesday.
Those four are pitcher Brusdar Graterol with the Los Angeles Dodgers, outfielder Jaylin Davis with the San Francisco Giants, first baseman Lewin Diaz and catcher Brian Navarreto, both with the Miami Marlins.
All will be part their teams’ preparations for the 2020 season, which will include 30-player rosters in the first two weeks, then eventually pared to 26 players for the rest of the season.
Of the players who don’t make the big league team, the rest will remain active during the season in case of injury or other issues.
With the Twins, two of the catchers, Willians Austudillo and 2019 All-Star Mitch Garver, both had injury rehab assignments in Pensacola and played at Blue Wahoos Stadium. A third catcher, Ryan Jeffers, who played in 24 games last season for the Blue Wahoos, was also on the 60-man roster.
In the infield, Travis Blankenhorn joined Royce Lewis and Drew Maggi as part of a star-kissed MLB veteran group that led by Pensacola native and multiple All-Star Josh Donaldson.
Twins basher Miguel Sano, who did a rehab assignment in Pensacola and rookie star Luis Arraez, who rose from the Blue Wahoos in May to a starting position weeks later with the Twins, rounded out the group.
In the outfield, Kirilloff, Larnach and Lamonte Wade Jr, were invited to join the Twins’ veterans.
On the mound, seven former Blue Wahoos made up a massive group of starting pitchers. They included four ex-Wahoos – Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, Sean Poppen and Jorge Alcala – all of whom made their MLB debuts last season with the Twins.
Relievers Cody Stashak, who pitched last year for the Twins and Sam Clay, completed the list of former Blue Wahoos.
Pensacola’s former affiliation, the Cincinnati Reds, had 14 former Blue Wahoos on their summer camp roster.
That group included seven pitchers.
Navarre High grad Matt Cronin joined former Blue Wahoos pitcher Tanner Rainey on the Washington Nationals staff for the summer camp.
Billy Hamilton and Didi Gregorius, two of the Blue Wahoos stars from their inaugural 2012 season, are now trying to return to MLB success with different teams.
Hamilton is part of the Giants outfielders with Jaylin Davis. Gregorius is expected to be the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop, after signing a one-year free-agent deal in the off-season.
Former Blue Wahoos’ Brian O’Grady, now a Pensacola resident, who worked out from late March through early June at Blue Wahoos Stadium, is part of the Tampa Bay Rays 60-man roster.
The former Reds’ organization member is joined by Ryan LaMarre, part of the Blue Wahoos’ 2012 roster, and playing for his fifth different MLB team.
FORMER BLUE WAHOOS IN “SUMMER CAMP”
*-- Designates player did rehab assignment in Pensacola
Catchers – Ryan Jeffers, Willians Austidillo* and Mitch Garver*
Infielders – Luis Arraez, Royce Lewis, Travis Blankenhorn, Drew Maggi, Miguel Sano*
Outfielders – Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Lamont Wade Jr.
Pitchers – Jorge Alcala, Dakota Chalmers, Sam Clay, Edwar Colina, Randy Dobnak, Jhoan Duran, Sean Poppen, Devin Smeltzer, Cody Stashak.
Pitchers -- Luis Castillo, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, Tyler Mahle, Cody Reed, Sal Romano, Robert Stephenson, Alex Powers,
Infielders -- Alex Blandino, Josh VanMeter, Alfredo Rodriguez.
Outfielders – Philip Ervin, Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker, Aristides Acquino.
OTHER MLB TEAMS
San Francisco Giants – Wandy Peralta, Jaylin Davis, Billy Hamilton
Miami Marlins – Brian Navarreto, Chad Wallach, Lewin Diaz
Arizona Diamondbacks – Keury Mella
Seattle Mariners – Shed Long, Joe Hudson
Philadelphia Phillies -- Didi Gregorius
Washington Nationals -- Tanner Rainey
Texas Rangers -- Jimmy Herget
Tampa Bay Rays -- Ryan LaMarre, Brian O’Grady
Boston Red Sox – Domingo Tapia