A familiar face will be back with the Minnesota Twins this season if he makes it to the Major League club.  Randolph High School and South Dakota State graduate Caleb Thielbar signed a Minor League contract this week with the organization.  Thielbar is a left handed pitcher and was the 2013 Twins Rookie of the Year.

Drafted in 2009 by the Milwaukee Braves in the 18th round Thielbar set a Twins franchise record his rookie season with them by starting his season with 20 scoreless innings pitched.  In his first 17 appearances he did not allow a single run.

It was a Twins record and something only six people had ever done in the majors since 1921.  From June 9, 2013 to July 8, 2013 Thielbar retired 33 consecutive batters.  That season he finished with a 1.76 ERA while throwing in 49 games and 46 innings allowing 24 hits, 14 walks, 39 strikeouts with 4 homers allowed. Opponents had a batting average of .154.

In 2014 the current pitching coach for Augustana University in South Dakota saw his ERA become 3.40 while throwing 47 2/3 innings in 54 appearances allowing 51 hits, 16 walks, 35 strikeouts with 3 home runs allowed.  Opponents had a batting average of .280.

When he was called up to the majors with the Twins he became the first South Dakota State University player in their history to make it to the majors.

Thielbar will be 33 January 31, 2020 and has agreed to return to Augustana to continue his pitching coach duties next fall for the 2018 NCAA Division II Baseball Champions.  He pitched a handful of games for the Twins in 2015 and has bounced around since including two stints with the St. Paul Saints.

First he went back to the Milwaukee Brewers.  Last spring he started with his former Manager Ron Gardenhire with the Detroit Tigers but appeared to be caught in the middle of their youth movement.  He was eventually traded to the Atlanta Braves and played for their Triple A club the Gwinnett Stripers.

Thielbar opted for free agency in early November and was contacted by several teams in search of a hard throwing left handed pitcher according to his former American Legion baseball coach Pat McIntee.

He threw in 50 games for the Toledo Mudhens before going to Gwinnett in 2019.

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