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Pitchers and Catchers Report Date?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:22 PM
What is the current status of Spring Training, and the start of the season? Is there a schedule?
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Jake Odorizzi, What's going on w/ him?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:22 AM
Since the beginning there was a lot of FA talk surrounding Jake &thattherewas a lot of interest from various teams. Thought he'd be g...
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Twins DH

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:11 PM
Is the Twins DH already on the roster?I love watching Nelson Cruz, but we are going to jam up the pipeline of prospects if we keep Cruz....
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fangraphs and other national, non-local articles about th...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:02 PM
Can't find the old thread on this but it's probably time for a new one anyway. Fangraphs just published their playoff odds - https:...
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Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason

Other Baseball Yesterday, 06:49 PM
Free agency is likely going to be a really slow burn this year, but I still think it's worth having a thread to discuss signings. ...
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Reacting to Twins Minor League Realignment

While there hasn’t technically been an official announcement yet, La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported a series of changes to the Twins minor league structure that had been rumored for months. The big headline is the St. Paul Saints becoming an affiliate, but there are changes to all four top levels.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily
Triple A: St. Paul Saints
Here’s where I’m going to be a wet blanket. As exciting it is to be able to have a minor league affiliate so close, this is probably bad for baseball as a whole.

Minor league baseball helps get some of the best players in the world in front of a lot of fans who otherwise don’t have access to that level of the game. Let’s be honest, the Twin Cities doesn’t need both a major league team and a Triple-A club (in addition to all the great other baseball options we’re spoiled with).

Like I imagine a lot of other people, I was first exposed to the Saints in the wake of MLB’s strike in 1994. Beyond all the extra fun, it was nice to have the option of watching a high-level of baseball played aside from MLB. Let’s revisit this topic after next season, when the current collective bargaining agreement expires.

The Saints are the crown jewel of independent baseball. I have concerns about the American Association being able to survive without them. The fewer indy league teams, the less likely it is guys like Caleb Thielbar, Randy Dobnak and even Rich Hill (Long Island Ducks, 2015) keep their careers alive.

Having the Triple-A team basically at arm’s length will obviously benefit the Twins, so that’s great, but something to keep in mind is the best prospects don’t actually spend a lot of time at the top level of the minors. Miguel Sanó, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco all played for the Twins before they appeared in Triple A.

It’s going to be cool to have a Twins affiliate so close, I’m still excited about it, but there are some things that feel problematic about the whole thing.

Double A: Wichita Wind Surge
I was very happy with the relationship between the Twins and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, but getting an affiliate here that was gearing up to host a Triple-A club is likely going to work out nicely. They were supposed to be the Miami Marlins’ top minor league affiliate before all of this realignment started.

This moves the Twins Double-A affiliate from the Southern League to the Texas League, which typically has the higher run-scoring environment. We’re not sure how Wichita’s Riverfront Stadium will play yet because 2020 was supposed to be its inaugural season. It appears to be a beautiful ballpark, and you’d have to imagine the amenities for the players are state-of-the-art.

It's difficult to imagine an upgrade from Pensacola, but that may turn out to be exactly what this is.

High A: Cedar Rapids Kernels
Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers swap places here, and the big win is for any hitters moving up the chain. Previously, they had to both adjust to tougher pitchers and a challenging scoring environment when making the leap from Low-A to High-A.

A lot of things were up in the air during the time all these changes were just rumors, and there seemed to be some uncertainty surrounding the Midwest League, and potentially this franchise. I’m happy to see that not only will they remain a Twins affiliate, but they’re getting an upgrade in terms of level. Among these changes, I think this is the biggest “feel-good” story.

Low A: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
Yes, that is really their name now. This year was supposed to be the first season of the change from Miracle to Mighty Muscles.

Here’s where I believe flipping these affiliates will greatly benefit development. Possibly the biggest jump the average player makes in his journey through the minors is from short-season to full-season ball. Being in a familiar setting should help lower the degree of difficulty in that jump.

Players spend a lot of time early in their careers at the team’s complex in Fort Myers. The Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Twins play their games here, instructs are conducted here and, of course, Spring Training.

It makes a lot more sense for players to break into full-season ball here, then “go out into the world” than it does to have them go to Cedar Rapids and then come back.

Elizabethton: Left out in the cold
MLB is contracting more than 40 affiliated minor league teams, one of which is the E-Twins. This was announced a couple months ago, but the Appalachian League will operate as a college summer league.

E-Town had been a Twins affiliate since 1974. That’s a lot of Twins players whose careers went through Elizabethton, Tenn. over the years.

Just two years ago, the Elizabethton City Council approved a ballpark renovation project aimed at keeping the Twins there that came in somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million. This is a town with a population of around 14,000, mind you. Here’s hoping the new college summer league works out for them.


For Seth's thoughts on the minor league realignment, check out his Nine Innings article today.

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17 Comments

I was looking forward to trying to get to a game at Pensacola, but I guess that's how it goes.

 

The Wichita Wind Surge? That's kind of ...

    • jrod23 and MN_ExPat like this
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Tom Froemming
Dec 02 2020 08:20 AM

 

I was looking forward to trying to get to a game at Pensacola, but I guess that's how it goes.

 

The Wichita Wind Surge? That's kind of ...

I think I read somewhere the people of Wichita actually started a petition to try to get the team to change its name.

    • SQUIRREL, tarheeltwinsfan and MN_ExPat like this
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WallySzczerbiak
Dec 02 2020 08:23 AM
Low A: Fort Myers Mighty Muscles
Yes, that is really their name now.

 

 

Well, not really...

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Tom Froemming
Dec 02 2020 09:13 AM

 

Well, not really...

Fixed, lol. Must have been thinking about their roided out mascot as I typed that :)

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tarheeltwinsfan
Dec 02 2020 10:15 AM

Tom, I just looked at the images of the Pensacola ball park and the Wichita ballpark. One stood out by leaps and bounds over the other in my opinion. I'll not say which one looked better to me, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think it will be evident if you look at multiple pictures of both the ballparks.  

    • MN_ExPat likes this

1.) As a fan of the game, I love these moves.Brings the minors closer to Minnesota and aligns better.

 

2.) Thrilled Cedar Rapids is still affiliating.

 

3.) If I were Elizabethton I'd look into each avenue to sue the Twins.I hate saying that, but there's NO WAY that the owners should have allowed the renovations to take place knowing that they were about to try to contract them.They sold ketchup popsicles to people wearing white gloves in Elizabethton.That money was originally supposed to go towards renovating their police station and to a new sports arena at a local park.The Twins allowed Elizabethton to go on with the ballpark renovations instead.

    • h2oface likes this

 

I think I read somewhere the people of Wichita actually started a petition to try to get the team to change its name.

 

It's the 'surge' part of the name that is weird to me ... maybe just leave it at 'wind' ... but then that opens up the door for other jokes. I suppose tornados or cyclones is overused in that part of the country

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IndianaTwin
Dec 02 2020 08:31 PM

 

It's the 'surge' part of the name that is weird to me ... maybe just leave it at 'wind' ... but then that opens up the door for other jokes. I suppose tornados or cyclones is overused in that part of the country

 

Agreed. There's tornados, sure, but in my experience in Kansas, the wind never "surges." It's constant. 

 

They should change name to “wind blowing hard from funnel cloud that is approaching the ground”
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Major League Ready
Dec 03 2020 09:50 AM

Moving AAA here is big. For starters, it has to be advantageous in terms of really knowing what's going on in terms of managing the final stages of development for players that reach this level. Of course, it also makes it much easier to give guysthat are close a look for a few days or even utilize them as an expanded roster.

 

.

 

3.) If I were Elizabethton I'd look into each avenue to sue the Twins.I hate saying that, but there's NO WAY that the owners should have allowed the renovations to take place knowing that they were about to try to contract them.They sold ketchup popsicles to people wearing white gloves in Elizabethton.That money was originally supposed to go towards renovating their police station and to a new sports arena at a local park.The Twins allowed Elizabethton to go on with the ballpark renovations instead.

Not sure the full situation, but MLB took away the short season league, not the Twins.Not sure what level of knowledge the Twins had of it when the renovation went down.I fully agree though that MLB should put some money up for teams like E-Town that spent money to try and stay in the minor league group but still left out.  

First, I am happy the Saints will be connect to Twins now.I will agree it may hurt their former league, but it will make me want to go to Saints game even more.I will have more of vested interest in how the players are performing and it will be cheaper shot to see some prospects.Also, it may help sign some vets to minor league deals because they are now in a major city and will not have to move or live in a hotel when they get called up, not a huge factor but think some will like it. 

 

I have little comment on the AA club.However, I do like the switch of High A to Mid-west league and low at FL.It makes much sense for reasons article states.The lower level prospects will have more chances to get extra instruction before they head out into the world. 

 

It is sad E-Town is gone, not that I followed them or anything, but sounded like the town liked having the Twins there.I hope they get a club there either the MLB summer league, or join an independent league. 

    • Nine of twelve likes this

They should change name to “wind blowing hard from funnel cloud that is approaching the ground”



Thw wind stopped blowing once in Wichita and we all fell down.

 


Thw wind stopped blowing once in Wichita and we all fell down.

So ... what do people in Wichita think of the name?

 

So ... what do people in Wichita think of the name?

 

Rumor is they think it blows............

 

Rumor is they think it blows............

Well, as long as they blow away the competition, I'll be all right with it

So ... what do people in Wichita think of the name?

I don't think it was that popular to begin with but who cares it's Twins baseball now. I can live with it!