DETROIT — Simeon Woods Richardson admits he had thought about the absurdity of what his full last name would look like on the back of a Major League team’s jersey. It’s 16 characters long, pushing it decisively ahead of the surname’s labyrinthine former leader, former big league catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, for what is thought to be the longest name on the back of a big league history shirt.
“I could already imagine it,” Woods Richardson said. “I already know it’s going to go from love handle to love handle.”
He needn’t imagine it anymore, as such a jersey now exists and hangs from a locker in the Comerica Park visitor clubhouse, with his beautifully arched surname wrapping around a number 78 jersey. Woods Richardson, l 6 prospect in the organization, joined the Twins on Friday as part of the five-cab squad, and manager Rocco Baldelli has confirmed the 22-year-old right-hander will pitch for the Twins before the end of the season regular.
While the Twins have yet to make an official announcement as to when that will happen, it would make sense that Woods Richardson’s big league debut could come in Sunday’s series finale against the Tigers. , as the club announced their likely starting pitchers for everyone else. regular season game Sunday still listed as ‘TBD’.
“You balance the kind of year he has and you balance the kind of advantage and what you think a guy could get out of it, where he is in his career,” Baldelli said. “There are guys you want out. You want to see them. You want to get them to a place where if they make a debut for you the next spring or the next year at the start of the year, they’ve done it before.
Woods Richardson was one of two prospects acquired by the Twins on last year’s Trade Deadline, along with Austin Martin, as part of the deal that sent José Berríos to the Blue Jays. At this point, it seems safe to call it the headliner of the trade.
Although Woods Richardson no longer ranks among MLB’s top 100 prospects (he was ranked No. 68 at the time of the trade), he has bounced back from a 21 season hiatus with a remarkable 22 in which he has posted a 2.77 ERA in 23 appearances (including 22 starts) across Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul, with 115 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings. He hasn’t allowed more than five hits in any of his seven starts since his promotion to Triple-A.
Woods Richardson had a 5.91 ERA last season at the Double-A level in the Toronto and Minnesota organizations, but the Twins expected a big improvement this year due to the right-hander’s youth – he just turning 22 on Tuesday when he was initially told he would join the Twins on this road trip – and also because his 21 season was cut short for nearly two months when he was named in the US team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Armed with a much improved slider, more consistent mechanics, and the ability to mostly stay in a steady pace this year barring a month and a half away due to COVID-19, Woods Richardson seemed to be reaching for his skies. – high potential – and the Twins are ready to see him at the Major League level, with the hope that Woods Richardson will take his big league cameo as a learning experience before the offseason.
“I think that’s a tremendous help,” Woods Richardson said. “Just seeing the type of caliber of the hitters in the box, reading their swings, reading my swings, it improves your game. You’ll do better, you’ll feel better, you’ll think better. It’s all in field-to-field goal. I think that’s what I’m most excited to see.
When Woods Richardson makes his debut, he will be the youngest pitcher to appear in the Majors this year, narrowly edging out teammate Ronny Henriquez (the organization’s No. 22 prospect). The twins aren’t worried at all.
“If they’re on the verge of being able to help you, if they’re fully ready to be able to help you and you’re watching all of this — sometimes just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t come here and compete and that doesn’t mean you’re not ready for those opportunities,” Baldelli said. “We think those guys are, obviously.”