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2019/2020 Twins Minor League Coaching Changes

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Mailbag: Duda In, Gordon’s Future, Contention Time

It’s finally here. Our long national nightmare is over with pitchers and catchers reporting at the end of the week. Spring training can finally begin and that means regular season baseball is a little over a month away. It’s crazy to think the Twins are going to host a regular season home game at the end of March but that’s something that needed to happen with the Final Four being held in Minneapolis at the beginning of April.

Thanks to everyone for this week’s mailbag questions. Let’s see what’s in the mailbox.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

My first thought to this question was I hope so. That being said, the Twins don’t necessarily need him to be what Logan Morrison was supposed to be last year. Morrison was brought in to be the team’s regular designated hitter. Lucas Duda is certainly not going to be give that responsibility with Nelson Cruz on the roster. Plus, Duda isn’t guaranteed any money under his deal with the Twins. He must be on the roster and contributing to get paid.

Duda is left-handed so that could help him to find a place on a very right-handed heavy Twins line-up. Last season, he hit .241/.313/.418 with 29 extra-base hits in 107 games between Kansas City and Atlanta. He has a pair of 30 home run seasons under his belt including one as recent as 2017. CJ Cron, Tyler Austin, and Duda will all be battling for time at first base. A platoon with Cron or Austin versus lefties and Duda versus righties could add some power to the Twins line-up.


I certainly believe the Twins think they can contend this season especially in a very open AL Central. One of the biggest keys for 2019 is making sure the young core is ready to take the next step. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano have plenty to prove after last season. Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios were two of the team’s best players last year but they each could be more consistent this season. Max Kepler destroyed every level of the minor leagues and he hasn’t shown that ability at baseball’s highest level. Prospects don’t always pan out, so the club needs to continue to add depth throughout the minor league system. They were able to do that in last year’s draft and by trading away assets at last year’s deadline.

Last year’s club was a good example of why one-year deals don’t typically work. There were a bunch of players with no connection to the club and very little team chemistry. Minnesota is never going to outspend other teams and I doubt many big-name free agents are identifying the Twins as an ideal destination for their talents.

As much as fans don’t want to hear it, the Twins need to see what their young core can do this season. Everything could come together and be great or things could crash and burn. We will have to see what players are up to the challenge.


There has been some talk of teams offering Manny Machado and Bryce Harper shorter-term deal with more annual money associated with each contract. I believe both players and their agents are looking for more long-term stability. They are each reaching free agency at a young age so the next contract they sign could take them through the bulk of their formative (and defining) years in the big leagues. They need to make sure the city and team are the right fit and that the contract works for their future.

I think there are a few reasons as to why the Twins wouldn’t be interested at four-years and $40 million per season. Adding another $80 million to the payroll seems like quite the jump. Minnesota needs to get into a situation where they can make more money on their television contract and that could help open the coffers for more payroll funding. I also don’t know if these two players want to be on the same team. They both have big egos and each wants to be the face of a franchise.


Nick Gordon is coming off his worst season as a professional. Most of last year, Gordon was playing at Triple-A where he was four and a half years younger than the competition. He struggled mightily with Rochester by hitting .212/.262/.283. His power hasn’t developed, and he doesn’t show much patience in the batter’s box. He’s spent the off-season adding some weight to his frame, which could help him in the power department.

He was a consensus top-100 MLB prospect in each of the last four off-seasons, but he didn’t make any top-100 lists this off-season. Here at Twins Daily, he dropped from the organization’s third best prospect to the club’s 12th best prospect. He was added to the 40-man roster this off-season, so I think he will make his big league debut this season. Gordon needs to find his swing at Triple-A and then he will be just a phone call away.


There are certainly some trickle down effects from the big-league level all the way down to Double-A. Players throughout the system are impacted by those already ahead of them on the organizational depth chart. With that in mind, there are a lot of things that will impact who is starting at which level.

I believe pitching continues to evolve and organizations are going to start taking a unique approach to the roles of starters. Chattanooga likely starts the year with a six-man rotation, but the organization most assuredly will be using more openers during the season. The Blue Wahoos’ bullpen will be equally important.

If I am picking the rotation today, I think it will include Jorge Alcala, Tyler Wells, Sean Poppen, Daniel Camarena, Charlie Barnes, and Clark Beeker. Alcala was acquired from the Astros last season as part of the Ryan Pressly trade. Wells made five starts at Double-A last season and should start the year there again. Poppen spent the majority of 2018 in Chattanooga but there is depth ahead of him that will likely keep him at Double-A. Camarena was signed as a minor league free agent and hasn’t pitched yet in the Twins organization. Barnes pitched all last year at Fort Myers so he should move up a level. Beeker will be 26-years old this season, so he likely starts in Pensacola.

What do you think? Leave a COMMENT and answer any of the questions above.

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45 Comments

Somehow the only big excitement for the Twins is first base - Cron, Austin, Duda, Sano.First Base is not usually the critical position for teams and this emphasis leaves me cold.It is the rest of the infield that I really care about and that is both offense and defense. 

13 pitchers makes for a 3-man bench. Once the schedule picks up and the 13th pitcher becomes a fixture, a platoon of a Cron and Duda...two guys that can’t play any position other than first base becomes...next to impossible. A much more likely platoon at first would be Duda (if he were to win the job) and Sano...with Adrianza (sigh) playing third against lefties.
    • Mike Sixel, SF Twins Fan, bighat and 1 other like this

I don't see Duda making the team unless injury strikes, though I am of the opinion that Austin will be hanging around on the roster. 

 

I'm not sure about Nick Gordon anymore... he might end up as a utility infielder with the way things have gone - not great SS defense, power hasn't developed, not great OBP skills... yikes.

    • caninatl04 likes this
I think Nick is getting a really bad rap and it seems like fans always want to be so quick to jump off the band wagon. All that has happened so far is that Nick had a really bad 3 month at Rochester. In a quarter of the season at Chattanooga last year Nick had 10 doubles, 3 triples and 5 homers while having a slash line of .333/.381.525. Those extra base numbers would total 40 doubles, 12 triples and 20 homers over a full season. That is an iso power of .192 which is excellent. Thru June 7th at Rochester he still had an OPS above .800. In the 1st half of 2017 over 64 games Gordon put up 21 doubles, 6 triples and 6 homers. That would equate to 50 doubles, 15 triples and 15 homers over a full season. His slash line in that 1st half was .315/.376/.504. Those power and OBP number look just fine to me. I think this more a case that Gordon really wears down in the 2nd half of seasons. That isn’t totally uncommon for young players, especially ones Gordon’s size. It is also something that can improve as he matures and gains strength. I really expect Nick to get off to a great start this year in Rochester like has has in every other year.
    • Steve Lein, birdwatcher, Mike Sixel and 12 others like this

Like Kohl Stewart before him, I have been off the Nick Gordon bandwagon for more than a year, since his cool second half at AA in 2017.Won't be looking to jump back on until I see a sustained performance in 2019.As for Kohl, really liked the progress he made with the Twins last fall and will be looking for his wagon to make a stop at my wagon stop.

 

Have a question, Cody, about Brusdar Graterol.Do you think there is a chance, or even a good chance, that he is in the Blue Wahoo starting rotation with a good spring?I know the Twins like to start players where they finished the prior year if they were there only part of the year.But there is a lot of new management in the organization and Graterol may be good enough to get a real good push up the ladder.Your thoughts?

Austin, Cron, Duda, Cruz....

Other teams are looking for guys that can play multiple positions, and the Twins have brought in four DH, 1B, types. Right after drafting Rooker.

I don't get it.

It's too early to give up on Gordon, but last year is a red flag to raise doubts.
    • dbminn, KidBro, SF Twins Fan and 5 others like this

Kepler is interesting.  He was known as a good OBP guy at AA and AAA, but it has not translated to MLB.  There is some power there as we have seen, but low batting averages and low OBP has me concerned.

    • LA VIkes Fan and Don Walcott like this
Maybe someone can answer this for me. The Twin Cities are the 16th largest market in the US. They have the 20th ranked tv deal. Seattle just passed us for the 15th ranked metro area. They have the 5th highest tv deal. What gives? Our games are shown statewide and in neighboring states. Not the case for Seattle. Maybe I should apply for a job?
    • Tjwalsh65, SF Twins Fan and jrod23 like this
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MMMordabito
Feb 12 2019 08:39 AM

 

I think Nick is getting a really bad rap 

 

I see what you did there

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, LimestoneBaggy and 3 others like this

 

Maybe someone can answer this for me. The Twin Cities are the 16th largest market in the US. They have the 20th ranked tv deal. Seattle just passed us for the 15th ranked metro area. They have the 5th highest tv deal. What gives? Our games are shown statewide and in neighboring states. Not the case for Seattle. Maybe I should apply for a job?

 

Not that I think there's any chance the Twins can approach that type of TV deal, but their current deal is more than a few years old, which is probably one of the reasons it's pretty far down in the rankings. 

 

Let's look at the market size for a second...

 

SEA-TAC - 3.9M

MSP - 3.6M

 

But obviously the games are being broadcast beyond the immediate metro area. Let's look at the regional population, where the "local" games are likely being broadcast

 

Washington + Oregon + Idaho = 13.5M

 

Minnesota + ND + SD = 7.2M

There are some parts of Wisconsin and Iowa that are part of the Twins region, but not the very populated parts. At most, it probably adds up to 8.5M

 

    • PDX Twin, Minny505, bighat and 2 others like this

 

Austin, Cron, Duda, Cruz....

Other teams are looking for guys that can play multiple positions, and the Twins have brought in four DH, 1B, types. Right after drafting Rooker.

I don't get it.
 

 

It must be the shift. Play 4 firstbasemen and pitch the lefties inside. :)

    • ashbury, USAFChief, Mike Sixel and 7 others like this

 

Maybe someone can answer this for me. The Twin Cities are the 16th largest market in the US. They have the 20th ranked tv deal. Seattle just passed us for the 15th ranked metro area. They have the 5th highest tv deal. What gives? Our games are shown statewide and in neighboring states. Not the case for Seattle. Maybe I should apply for a job?

 

We get Seattle games in Oregon, and I believe that they go out to Idaho and maybe Western Montana and parts of Utah as well. Their region seems comparable to the Twins'.

    • SF Twins Fan and Minny505 like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Feb 12 2019 09:48 AM

"Last year’s club was a good example of why one-year deals don’t typically work. There were a bunch of players with no connection to the club and very little team chemistry. Minnesota is never going to outspend other teams and I doubt many big-name free agents are identifying the Twins as an ideal destination for their talents."

 

But yet they are repeating the same thing over again this season. We could be looking at 9-10 players on the OD roster who weren't on it last opening day. With all of the 1 year deals we have on hand now we could potentially be looking at the same scenario next season. When we won our WS's all those so many years ago it was due in large part b/c those guys knew each other like the back of their own hand. When does Falvine learn?

    • Mike Sixel, SF Twins Fan and BJames like this
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killertwinfan
Feb 12 2019 09:49 AM

Duda? Now? Does this even make sense? So what if one, two or three of these guys knocks the cover off the ball and fields like a demon in spring training?It's not indicative of what we'll get come regular season, especially for the entire year!All you are doing is providing fodder fanbase and media of shoulda, coulda, woulda... BOOO!

    • Mike Sixel and SF Twins Fan like this

 

Maybe someone can answer this for me. The Twin Cities are the 16th largest market in the US. They have the 20th ranked tv deal. Seattle just passed us for the 15th ranked metro area. They have the 5th highest tv deal. What gives? Our games are shown statewide and in neighboring states. Not the case for Seattle. Maybe I should apply for a job?

As part of their TV deal, weren't the Twins were given partial ownership of Fox Sports North?  That has to make their TV deal more valuable than it seems.

In a related note, I see now that Jim Pohlad has joined an effort to buy the entire Fox Sports Network.

Duda? Now? Does this even make sense? So what if one, two or three of these guys knocks the cover off the ball and fields like a demon in spring training? It's not indicative of what we'll get come regular season, especially for the entire year! All you are doing is providing fodder fanbase and media of shoulda, coulda, woulda... BOOO!

Dude, it’s a minor league deal, it’ll take at least one injury for him to get on the roster. Teams make signings like this all the time...
    • brvama, Otwins, RaymondLuxuryYacht and 5 others like this

 

I think Nick is getting a really bad rap and it seems like fans always want to be so quick to jump off the band wagon. 

Not sure what you mean by that.He had a .544 OPS in 382 at Rochester last year.There have been concerns about his glove and how he can hold up to a long season.I had a much more positive view of him before the his callup to Rochester, but after that performance I am not so sure how can take a glass half full view of him at this point in time.  

 

If not a single person said BOO about him he would still need to dig himself of this hole that he is in now.

He had a bad 3 months in his first exposure to AAA in the second half of the season.  All I'm saying is have a little patience before we just write guys off.  Gordon will play this entire season at 23.  

 

Not sure what you mean by that.He had a .544 OPS in 382 at Rochester last year.There have been concerns about his glove and how he can hold up to a long season.I had a much more positive view of him before the his callup to Rochester, but after that performance I am not so sure how can take a glass half full view of him at this point in time.  

 

If not a single person said BOO about him he would still need to dig himself of this hole that he is in now.

 

    • brvama likes this
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killertwinfan
Feb 12 2019 11:03 AM

 

Dude, it’s a minor league deal, it’ll take at least one injury for him to get on the roster. Teams make signings like this all the time...

Don't we have two of him already at first base?FO is feeling the heat and trying to make it like they are doing something when they are doing more of nothing.Still BOO!

    • Mike Sixel and SF Twins Fan like this

 

We get Seattle games in Oregon, and I believe that they go out to Idaho and maybe Western Montana and parts of Utah as well. Their region seems comparable to the Twins'.

 

That region has twice as many people as the Twins region.

Dude, it’s a minor league deal, it’ll take at least one injury for him to get on the roster. Teams make signings like this all the time...

There's an opt-out for the player about a week before Spring Training ends, so it puts some tiny bit of pressure on the team to give him at least some solid hope, if not add him to the 40-man right then.

 

I expect a good FO to deal with pressure, particularly when self-imposed pressure. But, still, it's not just like every AAA signing.

 

He had a bad 3 months in his first exposure to AAA in the second half of the season.  All I'm saying is have a little patience before we just write guys off.  Gordon will play this entire season at 23.  

Again.If not a single person said a thing about his performance he would still have to dig himself of the hole he has dug.

 

 

 

Austin, Cron, Duda, Cruz....

Other teams are looking for guys that can play multiple positions, and the Twins have brought in four DH, 1B, types. Right after drafting Rooker.

I don't get it.

And until Duda, it was four RIGHT-HANDED power bats with little or no defensive flexibility.

 

They knew they would lose Mauer's left-handed OBP...they chose to part with Grossman's left-handed OBP...so they picked up more right-handed power bats (Cruz and Cron) with mediocre OBP to go with the questionable OBP right-handed power bats they already had (Austin and Rooker).

 

Cruz was a no-brainer. But Cron and Austin are totally redundant, and potential blockers of Rooker depending upon how the season goes. Then you add Duda in what seems a complete after-thought even though it doesn't immediately cost a roster spot..."Wait...all our marginal and inflexible first-basemen are right-handed. We have to find a margin and inflexible left-handed first baseman." Weird to say the least.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

As part of their TV deal, weren't the Twins were given partial ownership of Fox Sports North? That has to make their TV deal more valuable than it seems.
In a related note, I see now that Jim Pohlad has joined an effort to buy the entire Fox Sports Network.

Ah money laundering... Remind me not to play a Pohlad for money in chess. I kid,I kid
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Battle ur tail off
Feb 12 2019 01:18 PM

 

I think Nick is getting a really bad rap and it seems like fans always want to be so quick to jump off the band wagon. All that has happened so far is that Nick had a really bad 3 month at Rochester. In a quarter of the season at Chattanooga last year Nick had 10 doubles, 3 triples and 5 homers while having a slash line of .333/.381.525. Those extra base numbers would total 40 doubles, 12 triples and 20 homers over a full season. That is an iso power of .192 which is excellent. Thru June 7th at Rochester he still had an OPS above .800. In the 1st half of 2017 over 64 games Gordon put up 21 doubles, 6 triples and 6 homers. That would equate to 50 doubles, 15 triples and 15 homers over a full season. His slash line in that 1st half was .315/.376/.504. Those power and OBP number look just fine to me. I think this more a case that Gordon really wears down in the 2nd half of seasons. That isn’t totally uncommon for young players, especially ones Gordon’s size. It is also something that can improve as he matures and gains strength. I really expect Nick to get off to a great start this year in Rochester like has has in every other year.

 

Do what you just did with any player and you can make them look good. If this guy didn't have this bad stretch, they would be great. Hope you are right though and he is just young and small. 

 

 


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