The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

July 13, 2014

Thoma column: Berrios, Meyer and Vargas provide a glimpse of the Futures

Meyer has best chance to be back at Target Field this season

Ever been in a situation where you're introduced to 50 people all at once and you have no chance at remembering all of them?

The Futures Game is like that.

Sunday's game at Target Field was a quick introduction to 50 up-and-coming minor leaguers, some close to playing in the majors, some still years away. All are among the best prospects in their respective organizations.

We won't remember all of them. We pick the priorities and stash them away, to be sure.

For Twins fans, that was Jose Berrios, the 20-year-old who started for the World Team, flashing a 95-mph heater in a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the United States squad.

It was Alex Meyer, the tall righty acquired two winters ago for Denard Span, needing less than a half dozen pitches to set the World team down in the fifth inning.

And it was Kennys Vargas, the massive switch-hitting first baseman who has slugged his way into a prominent slot in the Twins system, hitting cleanup for the World and lashing a double to right field.

It was a good introduction for all three. But just an introduction.

Meyer might be back in Target Field later this season. Or he might not, depending on how strictly the Twins restrain his workload after a 2013 season in which he missed two months with injury.

Vargas might be back — but that would probably require the Twins to peddle Kendrys Morales. Vargas and Morales are essentially the same player: Switch-hitting sluggers better suited to being the designated hitter than playing first base, and not suited to any other position at all. If Morales is around, there's really no role for Vargas.

Berrios, who climbed past Meyer and the even younger Kohl Stewart in Baseball America's midseason prospect rankings, just got promoted to Double A. He's not coming to the majors in 2014.

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