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Twins protect 6 from Rule 5 draft; Willians Astudillo among those removed from 40-man roster

Top 2017 draft pick Royce Lewis and Twins minor league player of the Jose Miranda among those protected.

Minnesota Twins top prospect Royce Lewis missed the 2021 season after tearing his ACL in February. Star Tribune file photo / TNS
Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune/St

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Twins added six players to their 40-man roster on Friday, the last day to shield prospects ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, which is scheduled for next month.

Top prospect Royce Lewis, a shortstop, as well as fellow infielder Jose Miranda and four pitchers — Josh Winder, Blayne Enlow, Cole Sands and Chris Vallimont — were added to the roster.

Lewis, 22, was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. He missed all of the 2021 season — which he likely would have started at Double-A — after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee prior to the start of spring training, an injury which required surgery and a full season of rehab.

Miranda had a breakout season in 2021, leading him to be named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year. Between Double- and Triple-A, he hit .344 with a .973 OPS, swatting 30 home runs in 535 games.

Winder, one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, was promoted to Triple-A alongside Miranda. He appeared in the Futures Game, though didn’t pitch again after July as he dealt with an injury. He finished his year with a 2.63 earned-run average between the two levels.


Enlow, the Twins’ third-round pick in 2017, missed most of the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was at Class-A Advanced Cedar Rapids before the injury.

Sands, 24, posted a 3.02 ERA in 19 games pitched this season at Double-A Wichita and Vallimont, who the Twins acquired as part of the trade with the Marlins for reliever Sergio Romo in 2019, also spent his season with the Wind Surge, where he posted a 6.03 ERA.

To make room on the roster, the Twins outrighted lefty Devin Smeltzer and outfielder Kyle Garlick, both of whom spent much of the 2021 season injured, to Triple-A. The Twins designated lefty Charlie Barnes for assignment, as well as utilityman Willians Astudillo, who became a fan favorite in 2018.

The Twins also reached an agreement with outfielder Jake Cave, who was arbitration-eligible, on a major league contract. With the moves, the Twins’ 40-man roster currently sits at 40.

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