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Twins to protect top prospects as draft approaches

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 draft by placing them on the 40-man roster.

Minnesota Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20,  to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 draft by placing them on the 40-man roster.

Among prospects likely to be added are shortstop Nick Gordon, outfielder Lamonte Wade and second baseman Luis Arraez. If unprotected, minor leaguers become eligible for the Rule 5 draft – open to all 30 teams in a draft determined by the previous season’s record - after four (if signed after turning 19) or five (before age 19) minor league seasons unless they’re on the 40-man roster.

The Rule 5 draft traditionally takes place on the last day of winter meetings; this year, that’s Dec. 13 in Las Vegas.

The Twins have 36 players on their 40-man roster, so they can add four without releasing anyone, a move that opens a player to waiver claims as well as the Rule 5 draft. According to mlb.com ’s Prospect Watch, Gordon, the Twins’ first-round pick (fifth overall) in the 2014 draft, is the team’s only top 10 prospect who needs to be protected.

In his first season at Triple-A Rochester, Gordon, 23, hit .212 with 40 runs scored and 19 extra-base hits. The Twins’ top prospects, shortstop Royce Lewis and outfielder Alex Kirilloff, do not need to be protected.

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Wade, Arreaz and outfielder/first baseman Lewin Diaz are ranked 13th, 15th and 16th, respectively, in the Twins farm system.

Wade, 24, has hit .284 with 35 home runs and 211 runs batted in in four minor league seasons, and .229 with four homers, 21 RBIs in 74 games at Rochester last season.

Arraez, 21, has hit .329 with 72 doubles and eight triples in five minor league seasons. Signed when he was 16, the second baseman is hitting .331 in Venezuelan winter league, according to baseball-reference.com .

Left-hander Tyler Jay, drafted sixth overall in 2015, also must be protected. Jay, 24, is pitching in the Arizona Fall League after going 4-5 with a 4.22 ERA and two saves in 38 appearances at Class AA Chattanooga.

The Twins will hold their first full-team spring training workout on Monday, Feb. 18, in Fort Myers, Fla., the team announced. Games begin Feb. 25 against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium. Single-game tickets go on sale Dec. 4 at twinsbaseball.com or by calling 1-800-33-TWINS.

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