3 Takeaways from the Minnesota Twins' First Weekend of Spring Training
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports1. Early returns on José Berríos are strong
They say that first impressions can work wonders, and boy did Jose Berríos’s first impression work wonders today in his 2020 spring raining debut. In two innings today, Berríos faced the minimum six batters while striking out four. The right-hander was working all four of his pitches today, but what was most impressive was his fastball which struck out two and hit 95 MPH multiple times.
In a quote from Betsy Helfand’s post-game piece, Baldelli said of Berríos, “José looked great. His fastball command was great,” Baldelli said. “He even reached back at the end of some of these at-bats and gave us something extra. But he looked very comfortable. He had a plan, and he executed well. Again, another start you would want to see from one of your guys to start spring training.”
While the key for Berríos has never been his early season performance, seeing him look strong and in command to kick off his 2020 campaign after a rigourous offseason filled with tweaks and changes was certainly refreshing.
2. Bullpen looking to pick up where it left off in 2019
Only the Tampa Bay Rays posted a higher team fWAR from their bullpen than the Minnesota Twins in 2019. After adding Tyler Clippard this offseason, hopes are high for the Twins bullpen heading in to 2020, confirmed by Rocco Baldelli saying at the 2019 Diamond Awards, “I think we have the best bullpen in baseball”.
While the first few games of spring training don’t mean much (let’s be real, they don’t mean anything), seeing the collection of arms pitch well in their first action of 2020 just reinforces the fact that hopes are high for the bullpen this season. Over the past two games, pitchers from the projected 2020 Twins bullpen (Zack Littell, Cody Stashak, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, Taylor Rogers) put up a combined 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H and 9 Ks.
Expectations for the Twins bullpen in 2020 are high, and there’s been nothing from the Twins first weekend of spring training to change those expectations.
3. “Best shape of his life” may not be hyperbole for Miguel Sanó
After seeing all of the tweets about Miguel Sanó being in “the best shape of his life”, Twins fans were intrigued to see what Sanó would actually look like out on the baseball diamond. After seeing him play today they should be nothing but impressed. He looked trim in his new white Nike uniform and made some plays with his feet that I’m not sure Miguel Sanó of days past would have made. In a sequence of events you don’t see often, the Twins’ first run of the game was generated solely by Miguel Sanó’s legs. In the second inning of Sunday’s game, Miguel Sanó ran out a bloop single to first base, moved to second base on an Adrianza single, and then advanced to third and home on consecutive sacrifice flies.
While he didn’t have to make any difficult plays in his debut as a full time first-baseman, Sanó had a clean game and gave Twins fans a preview of what his connection with Josh Donaldson will look like when he cleanly snagged a throw from the Bringer of Rain off of a Brandon Drury grounder in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game.
What did you take away from the Minnesota Twins’ first weekend of Spring Training? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
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