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Blake Snell a trade target or not

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:22 PM
I would personally be happy to offer up Kirilloff and a few other prospects for him!!! What do you guys think he would cost and would you...
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Is Cruz a MUST signing? And what if he doesn't fit?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:18 PM
Let me state I love Cruz and want him back if possible. I not only believe he brings class, experience, knowledge and leadership to the t...
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2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook Available NOW!

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:59 AM
The 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook will be now available.By clicking here, you can order the paperback version of the PDF/E-Book...
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Twins Minor League Signings

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:59 AM
I thought I should set up a thread for minor league signings. Use this thread to post when the Twins sign a minor leaguer or when a forme...
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Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason

Other Baseball Today, 04:18 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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Minnesota Made: Caleb Thielbar

The Land of 10,000 Lakes has a rich history of cultivating homegrown talent in the sport of baseball. Hear the authentic stories of those who grew up in Minnesota and have had the chance to fulfill the childhood dream of wearing a Twins jersey.
Image courtesy of Caleb Thielbar and Kim Klemment, USA TODAY
The sound of a clanking spoon and jubilant laughs of a child resonate through the waves of Caleb Thielbar’s kitchen over Zoom.

“Do I need to repeat anything or is he too loud? My wife’s at work and I got home a bit late so it’s lunchtime.”

The 33 year old Randolph, Minnesota native has worn a wealth of hats over the years; St. Paul Saints standout, International League pitcher, DII pitching coach, a prospect that ‘shouldn't have made it,’ and most importantly, husband to Carissa and dad of Joshua.

To Twins fans, he’s the pinnacle of feel-good stories in the franchise’s history.

Coming off a stellar season in his second stint with his home-state team, baseball and the Minnesota Twins were staples in the Thielbar family since Caleb was a young boy.

“Baseball was huge for my parents. Heck, my dad still played until I was 12 or 13 in various leagues,” Caleb recalled. “He was a pitcher.”

Young Caleb took after his father Calvin, cementing his place on the mound in the youth leagues of south central Minnesota.

Attached Image: Thielbar Randolph.jpg
Thielbar was a standout for the Randolph Rockets both on the bump and on the basketball court, scoring the second most points in school history. Courtesy of Caleb Thielbar

“Growing up in a small town, if you could throw the ball hard and anywhere near the plate you were going to pitch,” Thielbar said.

Thielbar and his father weren’t the only ones in the family who spent time on the diamond. Caleb’s mom Janet was the starting shortstop on her high school baseball team as a senior; an opportunity that connected her with assistant coach Calvin, her future husband.

“The Greatest Place on Earth”
Nestled just half an hour south of the Twin Cities, some of Caleb’s fondest childhood memories came from making the trek up to the Metrodome to watch his favorite team. Calvin would get tickets from work and the family would go to three or four games per year.

Like most, Caleb knew that the Dome wasn’t the gold encrusted palace that other teams had to call home. That didn’t matter.

“Going to the Metrodome, ears popping (through the doors), getting to the concourse where you couldn’t hear anything. All of a sudden you’d get into the stadium and start to hear the crack of the bat from batting practice.”

For the wide-eyed Minnesota boy the Metrodome couldn’t have been more perfect.

“I got to play in the Dome in college and we all kind of knew it wasn’t the nicest, but when you’re a kid and you're going to a Major League game you think it’s the greatest thing in the world,” Caleb recalled.

Johan and Torii
Growing up in the 90’s, the Twins were nothing to write home about. Yet when Caleb was striking out hitters on the bump for Randolph High School in the early 2000’s, Johan Santana was baffling hitters with his changeup and the Dome outfield was where homers went to die thanks to Torii Hunter.

“Johan was my favorite pitcher growing up and all of us loved Torii, making those amazing catches,” Thielbar said. “Those were the two players I liked most because in high school when I wasn’t pitching I was playing centerfield.”

Things came full circle for Thielbar this spring. Throwing his first bullpen of the year, a familiar face appeared behind the mound to watch and critique the crafty lefty.

It was no other than Caleb’s childhood hero, Johan himself.

“It was kind of surreal to have him there after growing up watching him your entire childhood,” Caleb said.

Lifelong Learner
There are few players in baseball that have seen their career evolve the way Thielbar has. From a blue-collar recruit who didn’t necessarily see himself being good enough to compete at South Dakota State to a big league pitcher who’s future seemed uncertain due to arm injuries, Caleb never gave up.

“After having some arm problems with the Twins it did take a few years to get it back,” Thielbar said. “Luckily I was able to keep playing, most guys hang it up after that.”

In between his time with the Twins, Thielbar spent two seasons across the Mississippi with the St. Paul Saints. He credits his time in the American Association towards where he’s at today.

“I enjoyed my time with the Saints and was lucky to have a couple of good years with them,” Thielbar said. “I needed to learn how to stay healthy and the independent league was a really good place to do that.”

A firm believer that there is always learning to do, regardless of the level, Thielbar’s grit was rewarded this year by achieving a goal that’s been in his mind since he was a boy in Randolph; winning an AL Central title.

“Watching all of those (division titles) growing up, it became a goal of mine,” Thielbar said. “Not just winning it, but getting to do it with a lot of guys that I got to play with in the minors or that I already knew. They're a bunch of really good people and seeing them succeed is great.”

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He pitched much better than I expected. It was great to see Rocco gain confidence using him in higher leverage situations as the season progressed. He pitched as many innings this year as Romo and Rodgers (20.0). Nice year .... meat.

    • DocBauer and David Youngs like this
Nov 02 2020 03:23 PM

Great story and his different offerings should play again in 2021, At least I hope so.

    • AceWrigley and David Youngs like this

Love seeing this.I was elated to see him excel in big situations.Brody Rodning on the same track?

I like to pride myself on Twins knowledge and a good memory. But I have to be honest that I barely recall his initial time with the Twins. Looking at his stats, they were OK. Not great, but OK.

When the Twins brought him back, and I read his story, and I heard about all his changes and increased velocity, saw what he did at AAA for Detroit, I thought "why not take a flier"? But honestly, I wasn't expecting much.

What I saw this year surprised me. I DIDN'T see him sit around 93-94 as had been reported. Instead, what I saw was solid breaking stuff and great control. He actually reminded me of Stashak from the port side.

I applaud his dedication! I really hope what we saw in 2020 was not a mirage. If it wasn't, he could be a solid middle innings guy for the next few years.

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