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Game Thread Twins @ Royals 6:05pm cdt 8/8/2020ad

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:14 PM
1. Dedication: If i were clever, i would dedicate this game thread to the pioneers of Twins Daily. But i wasn't around in the before time...
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Future Roster Transactions

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Jake Odorizzi gets activated today to face the Royals, filling out the 28-man active roster which will include 16 (!) pitchers. The way t...
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Royce Lewis on YouTube

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Twins top prospect Royce Lewis started his own YouTube page since the quarantine started. He's posted several entries. Some are short. So...
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2020 Twins Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:51 AM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
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Live baseball in 2020: Bay Stars 2 - Swallows 8

Other Baseball Today, 06:19 AM
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world from Target Field, the Yokohama Bay Stars lost 2 - 8 to host Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium i...
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Pending Prospects: Which Outfielder Will Be Called up First?

The time is coming for more Twins prospects to join the club. In 2020, the team figures to dip into their deep pool of outfielders. Who seems most likely to see big league action first?
Image courtesy of © Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports (photo of Luke Raley)
Alex Kirilloff

Kirilloff was selected by the Twins with the 15th overall pick in the 2016 draft as an 18-year-old. He was scouted as a great hitter and average defender with the ability to play first base. He played in 55 rookie games for Elizabethton after the draft and hit .306/.341/.454. Kirilloff missed the 2017 season after Tommy John surgery and was a question mark going into 2018.

Kirilloff started the year in Cedar Rapids and was excellent, hitting .333/.391/.607 with 13 home runs in 65 games. The great first half propelled him to Fort Myers, where he hit .362 with a .943 OPS in the second half of 2018. This incredible bounceback drove MLB Pipeline to rank him as baseball’s 10th best prospect heading into 2019.

The Twins started the 21-year-old at Double-A Pensacola, challenging him against older and more talented pitching. Kirilloff missed April with a wrist injury and returned rusty, hitting just .240 with a .682 OPS in May. Kirilloff battled back to hit .300/.338/.434 from June through August. He also caught fire in the playoffs, showing serious power potential with four home runs in four postseason games:



Brent Rooker

Rooker slugged .810 with 23 home runs in 67 games in his junior season at Mississippi State and was named the National Player of the Year. Rooker was picked by the Twins shortly after, going 35th overall in the 2017 draft. Rooker finished that season in the minors, posting a hefty .930 OPS and 18 home runs in 62 games between Elizabethton and Fort Myers.

Rooker began his age-23 season at Double-A Chattanooga. 2018 was a considerable step back as he hit just .254/.333/.465 in 130 games. The power played as Rooker smacked 22 more home runs, but he struck out in 26% of plate appearances with a 9.8% walk rate. His path to the majors became murkier when Kirilloff broke out during the same year.

Rooker started 2019 at Triple-A Rochester and played very well before a groin contusion knocked him out in July. Rooker hit .281/.398/.535 in 65 games with the Red Wings. Rooker participated in the Premier 12 championship this month and hit .300/.333/.800 with three home runs, including this miraculous blast in an elimination game:



Luke Raley

Raley, Logan Forsythe and Devin Smeltzer were traded from the Dodgers to the Twins for Brian Dozier at the deadline in 2018. Raley was a 23-year-old hitting .275/.345/.477 with 17 home runs in 93 games at Double-A Tulsa. Smeltzer has already provided value to the Twins, making numerous starts last summer, but Raley remains in the minors.

Raley was off to a blistering start in 2019 at Triple-A Rochester, batting .302/.362/.516 with seven home runs in 33 games. In May, he injured his left ankle and was forced to undergo surgery to repair the dislocated tendon. He returned for a short rehab assignment in the GCL in September but ran out of time to return to Rochester.

Raley played with top prospect Royce Lewis in the Arizona Fall League for the Salt River Rafters. He hit just .244/.312/.439 in 23 games, but had a few very strong showings, including a 4-for-4 effort on October 19th. Raley hit two home runs with 3 RBIs in an 8-1 victory. He has clear power from the left side and was recently added to the Twins 40-man roster. Here is a clip of him at 2019 Spring Training:



Trevor Larnach

In 2018, Larnach hit a game-winning two-run home run in the College World Series, making him an instant legend at Oregon State. Larnach hit .348/.463/.652 with 22 home runs and led the Beavers to a National Championship. The Twins responded by drafting him with the 20th overall pick and sending him quickly to the minors. He hit .303/.390/.500 in 42 games between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids.

Larnach started 2019 in Fort Myers and played 84 games for the Miracle, hitting .316 with an .842 OPS and 26 doubles. He was called up to Double-A Pensacola to play in 43 games for the Blue Wahoos. He kept it up, hitting .295/.387/.455 with seven home runs. Larnach won the Florida State Player of the Year award for his brilliance at the dish.

Additionally, MLB Pipeline named him as the Twins’ Hitting Prospect of the Year. Entering his age-22 season, Larnach is picking up steam as a global name, and is currently ranked as the No.77 prospect in baseball. He should start 2020 in Pensacola, but could quickly move up to Rochester or even Minneapolis. Here are Larnach’s 15 hits in the 2018 College World Series, including that game-winner against Arkansas:



Summary

All four of these guys could have very bright futures in the majors, with Kirilloff and Larnach carrying more upside. Rooker and Raley have played at Triple-A, and they seem more major league ready. With the Twins in championship mode, they have serious considerations to make regarding these outstanding players. This chart shows that Rooker posted the highest OPS and would likely have been called up instead of LaMonte Wade Jr. in 2019, if not for the injury.

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30 Comments

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the_brute_squad
Nov 22 2019 10:28 PM

Whether or not we call any of these guys up this year (bar injury) it looks like Rosario's days are numbered. I also wouldn't expect to see all of them in the system by years end if we're in another pennant race. If they perform like they have in the past they will definitely be used as trade bait for a solid starter.

Have to be working on trades. Too many corner OF/IB types.Nice position to be in to be able to trade from a surplus. Can't remember our last real surplus.

    • birdwatcher, alphanumeric, adorduan and 3 others like this

I expect 1 - 2 of them will be gone this winter in deals.Outside of Kiriloff I would think any of the other three are possible.My best bet is Rooker, but will depend on what other clubs will desire.

    • ashbury, Otwins and wabene like this

Of the group I expect either Kiriloff or Larnach to be here at the end of next year.Larnach screems professional hitter to me.This is a nice problem to have.It is possible Rosario will be traded this winter, just that would be a reach given we are now contenders not pretenders.This might be the reason to leave Sano at 3rd, so one of the above can play 1B.

Just do not see where Rooker fits in with this group, but who knows.  

 

    • Dantes929, mikelink45, Dman and 1 other like this
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Dave The Dastardly
Nov 23 2019 08:28 AM

A glance into my old bowling ball (middle-class substitute for a crystal ball) says the Twins package Rosario and Sano in a trade for a topline pitcher, Rooker and Raley (the R&R boys?) come up to the Bigs and platoon at 1st, odd man filling in at the out(field). The Twins take the division, sweep the hated Yankees in three and go on to win the World Series.

 

Oh, and I win the lottery.

    • alphanumeric and wabene like this

Depends on the future of Rosario.

 

Depends on the longterm contract of Buxton.

 

What the Twins do with Cron.

 

No Cron, then Rooker could be in the mix for a callup. Not on the 40-man, they won't add him until they have to add him. 2019 was a lost season for him and Raley. If both were healthy, they could've come up in September and taken the at bats we gave to LaMarre et al.

 

Larnach, too, is the future. Unless we have a major major injurt to two guys, him and Kirilloff will play AAA ball all season. Remember, you won't have unlimited callups this year in September.

 

Waiting to see what minor league free agents the Twins sign. They always sign more than a dozen, losing a few in spring training.

 

In any other season, I would see giving "youngsters" a starting chance. If the Twins truly put together a competitive team (depends on the rotation), we can argue about how much prospect depth they truly need in the minors.

    • mikelink45 likes this
I also like Wade as a 4th outfielder. Very good plate discipline, I prefer him to Cave. Wade just seems more comfortable and competent in his role.

I'm in the trade Rosario camp. I won't expect much in return. Clear the way for this group.

I also really like that ability to play first that these guys have. We might not need a first baseman.

The rankings have it right.I suspect that Raley was put on the 40 man so he could be traded rather than Rule V.Rooker with Sano would be too many Ks.To bad they are not CFs, which is why Celestino is on the 40 man.  

 

What team needs the bats of Rooker and Raley and have a pitcher we would want?

    • Dman likes this
In 2021, We could have a Rooker and Kiriloff rotation at 1B and DH with Larnach in LF.

Who of this group, including Raley, has the best defense in OF, I wonder?

The great Dodger teams of the seventies started 3 of their 4 infielders

who came up as outfielders. (Cey, Russell, Garver, Lopes)Their GM Campanis called this "coconut snatching"...once convinced they could hit big league pitching, you move them to fill an organizational need (which for the Twins is third base so that Sano can move to first). So live with Marwin at 1st in 2020 while these prospects audition for third base in the minors until one of them proves themselves.I believe we will have to give up Kirilloff, Rooker, or Larnach to get Gray along with a couple of AA prospects.

    • TopGunn#22 likes this

Kirilloff: potentially elite hitter, maybe .300 with 25 homers. Can play LF, RF, 1B

 

Larnach: potentially elite hitter, maybe .300 with 25 homers. Can play LF, RF.

 

Raley: potentially solid hitter, maybe .280 with 30 homers. Can play LF, RF, and CF (though he's stretched there)

 

Rooker: potentially potent power hitter, maybe .250 with 35-40 homers. Can play LF or RF (though he's stretched at both) and 1B. 

    • Steve Lein, TopGunn#22, Otwins and 7 others like this

Have to be working on trades. Too many corner OF/IB types.Nice position to be in to be able to trade from a surplus. Can't remember our last real surplus.

It's more than just happenstance, too. The front office's two first-round draft picks in 2019 were a SS and a RF. Their first-rounder in 2018 was a RF. In 2017 it was a SS and corner OF./1B I don't believe they think front-line pitching comes solely after the first round, so it has to be their strategy to trade surplus corner OF/1B for pitching. It has to.

    • Dman and wabene like this

I think you missed one prospect, Nash.As we saw in the AFL, Royce Lewis not only can play center field, but is pretty good out there.As the MVP of the AFL, it is likely he will debut in 2020. 

 

Although it could be in the infield, thus not relevant to this post, I will be surprised if he doesn't start in center when/if Buxton is injured.  

    • Steve Lein and wabene like this
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The Billy Goat
Nov 23 2019 12:43 PM

I have a feeling that Luke Raley is going to be a better MLB player than anticipated.The combination of his hit tool, baseball IQ, and overall tools should play up when he gets the call.He is the one prospect that I hope the Twins hold onto for at least another year or two, as I feel his trade value will go way up, just like the value of Arraez skyrocketed this past year.

If I were the Twins, I would pencil Raley in at LF, trade Rosario, and use the savings to upgrade the starting pitching.Salary wise, Eddie and a pitcher in the Gibson-type range (17.9M per MLBTR) would be equivalent to Ryu and Raley (18.55M).I would much rather have the latter tandem.

    • alphanumeric and Wax off like this

I agree with Seth S. on the future projections of Kiriloff and Larnach.I'm not sure Raley has more power than both but Rooker does.I believe Kiriloff and Larnach could hit right now in the big leagues.They will certainly get on base at a higher clip than Rosario.We cannot keep/play ALL of these 4 guys.I would love to see a way we can keep Kiriloff and Larnach and trade Rooker & Raley in packages to add more pitching.Imagine Rooker in Fenway Park or Coors Field.The Twins may not START the season with Kiriloff and/or Larnach, but one in LF and one at 1B is certainly (or at least SHOULD BE) possible in 2020.I 100% agree with beckmt...Kiriloff & Larnach scream professional hitters.Get them up to the big league club.  

    • wabene likes this

Kirilloff: potentially elite hitter, maybe .300 with 25 homers. Can play LF, RF, 1B
 
Larnach: potentially elite hitter, maybe .300 with 25 homers. Can play LF, RF.
 
Raley: potentially solid hitter, maybe .280 with 30 homers. Can play LF, RF, and CF (though he's stretched there)
 
Rooker: potentially potent power hitter, maybe .250 with 35-40 homers. Can play LF or RF (though he's stretched at both) and 1B.


Might be a little high on Raley's HR potential. And I believe he can also play 1B.
    • Danchat likes this
I absolutely believe a trade involving one of these guys is possible. And depth is nice, between these 4 as well as Cave and Wade. But I kind of chuckle when I hear we have too much depth and simply must move someone.

While I love Buxton and completely believe in his potential and hope for the best, what if the injury bug bites him hard again in 2020? Now Kepler is in CF and one of these guys could be your RF. What if Cruz is done after next season? What if Cron is brought back and gone after next season? Rosario, while I love him, only has one more season of arbitration after this one, and could be traded and then replaced by one of these guys.

Who is up first? Just taking a guess here...Raley or Rooker as they are the most ready but Raley is probably better defensively and Rooker sometimes the season a little cold.

Raley is first up.
    • Steve Lein, rdehring and Melissa like this

Raley is the only one currently on the 40 man so unless he is traded or starts the year off poorly he will be the first one called up. He has good range in the outfield and average to above average power.He looks like he has the tools to make it but he needs to work on his K rate and up his walk rate if he wants that outfield job for the Twins. 

 

The next guy up I think is Larnach as he has good all around hit tools.Good eye at the plate, as his K rate has been really good except in AA and his OBP is very good as well.Has OK power to this point and just seems to have a solid approach all the way around.

 

Next would be Kirillof for me.He has a sweet swing and when on I would place him ahead of Larnach but he doesn't walk much and that can hurt you at the MLB level.If he showed more patience I would put him ahead of Larnach.

 

Last is Rooker but only because this is for an outfield position.If it was for 1st base then I would give Rooker the nod for that position.He has the power to profile there and he should be athletic enough to play 1st base and DH some.

 

That is the order I think they would be chosen to come up but if one of those guys gets hot and the others go cold that could easily change.

    • DocBauer and wabene like this
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jorgenswest
Nov 23 2019 04:06 PM
The Twins need one of the four to be a long time starter and need to trade one for pitching.

My guess is Kirilloff has that career of a long term regular. I think Larnach is the one that I would trade. His value is at a relative high.
    • alphanumeric likes this
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puckstopper1
Nov 23 2019 04:37 PM

 

A glance into my old bowling ball (middle-class substitute for a crystal ball) says the Twins package Rosario and Sano in a trade for a topline pitcher, Rooker and Raley (the R&R boys?) come up to the Bigs and platoon at 1st, odd man filling in at the out(field). 

 

Who is playing 3rd if the scenario above?

Who is playing 3rd if the scenario above?

Of course not. First base, and first base only.

    • DocBauer, puckstopper1 and wabene like this
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alphanumeric
Nov 23 2019 07:33 PM

Great article.I'm not sure why Larnach is ranked so much better than Rooker.Rooker looks better on paper and has a full season at the AAA level and can play first. Can someone explain why that is?

Raley is the only one currently on the 40 man so unless he is traded or starts the year off poorly he will be the first one called up. He has good range in the outfield and average to above average power.He looks like he has the tools to make it but he needs to work on his K rate and up his walk rate if he wants that outfield job for the Twins. 
 
The next guy up I think is Larnach as he has good all around hit tools.Good eye at the plate, as his K rate has been really good except in AA and his OBP is very good as well.Has OK power to this point and just seems to have a solid approach all the way around.
 
Next would be Kirillof for me.He has a sweet swing and when on I would place him ahead of Larnach but he doesn't walk much and that can hurt you at the MLB level.If he showed more patience I would put him ahead of Larnach.
 
Last is Rooker but only because this is for an outfield position.If it was for 1st base then I would give Rooker the nod for that position.He has the power to profile there and he should be athletic enough to play 1st base and DH some.
 
That is the order I think they would be chosen to come up but if one of those guys gets hot and the others go cold that could easily change.

#DmanFANBOY
I hope none of them get called up because if they do that means the Sox have already killed us in our division. The only chance we have is if we keep Rosario, sign wheeler and madbum and Donaldson.. the white Sox with grandal are the best team in the AL we have to be better and we won’t be with those rookies

Great article. I'm not sure why Larnach is ranked so much better than Rooker. Rooker looks better on paper and has a full season at the AAA level and can play first. Can someone explain why that is?


Rooker has way too much swing and miss in his game, IMO. I don't even think he's close to the same class of prospect as Larnach.
    • Twins33 and Danchat like this