BOSTON–It appears pitching prospect Jorge Alcala will not be joining the Twins in September.
On Tuesday, the Twins added three more pitchers—Trevor Hildenberger, Ryne Harper, and Fernando Romero—but opted not to call up Alcala. With Triple-A Rochester’s season over, that likely means Alcala won’t be joining the big league club this season.
Alcala, acquired in last year’s trade deadline deal that sent Ryan Pressly to the Astros, has an electric fastball that touches 100 MPH. Like Brusdar Graterol, he began the year in Double-A Pensacola’s rotation before transitioning to the bullpen. Alcala was promoted to Rochester on the same day as Graterol, and pitched extremely well.
Although he struck out more than a batter an inning as a starter, Alcala struggled with walks and home runs, finishing his time in Pensacola’s starting rotation with a 6.36 ERA. After his move to the ‘pen, he was lights out. In 18.1 IP between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Rochester, Alcala had a 0.98 ERA with 18 strikeouts, four walks, and no home runs allowed. In shorter appearances, Alcala presumably was able to rely more on his plus-fastball, and the results followed.
It seemed as though the Twins were grooming Alcala for a possible call-up, given his transition to the ‘pen and promotion to Rochester on the same day as Graterol. Alcala only helped his case once he got to the minors’ highest level, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Rochester. Unless they call him up later in September, though, it seems he won’t be appearing with the big club.
Alcala isn’t on the 40-man roster, which made a callup more difficult. Ian Miller took the final available 40-man spot, and the Twins opened up a spot for Graterol by putting reliever Sean Poppen on the 60-day IL. Still, the Twins could have created a spot for Alcala by calling up Nick Gordon and placing him on the 60-day IL (Gordon hasn’t played since early August).
With 19 pitchers on the active roster (20 once Kyle Gibson returns), it’s possible the Twins simply didn’t think there would be enough available innings in September for Alcala. It would only make sense to call up a prospect in the middle of a pennant race if the feeling was that he could help in September and possibly October. The Twins certainly think Graterol, their top pitching prospect, has the ability to do so. Alcala, despite his success out of the ‘pen, likely won’t get the opportunity to show what he can do in the big leagues this year.