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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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Should Brent Rooker Get First Crack at First Base?

If Miguel Sanó is unavailable when the season begins, the Twins have a number of interesting candidates to bridge the gap at the cold corner.
Image courtesy of © Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
With the news that Miguel Sanó has tested positive for COVID-19 and will need to remain away from the team for some period in order to reduce the risk of spread, we should assume there’s at least some chance that Sanó will not be ready to man first base when the season begins.

The most obvious potential replacement for Sanó is Marwin González, whose knee has had extra time to heal after offseason surgery, but who might still not be the best fit for any potential needs in the outfield anytime soon. González came to spring training in March with an adjusted swing, which invited Twins fans to hope he could build upon the impressive batted-ball numbers he had in 2019.

However, González’s utility remains closely tied to his versatility, and there’s still no guarantee that he won’t be needed elsewhere on the diamond come Opening Day. For the moment, outside of González, there are three main candidates to play first base regularly for however long Sanó might be unavailable or unready: Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker, and Zander Wiel.

None of those three are on the 40-man roster right now. All three would need to be added by late November in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, however, so they’re on equal footing in that respect. (Trevor Larnach is both a half-step further from apparent big-league readiness and a year further from needing to be added to the 40-man, which is why he’s not much of a consideration.) The three have very different profiles and prospect statuses, though, and that could help steer the Twins brass toward a decision.

Kirilloff remains a top-100 prospect in the game, and while his 2019 was far less impressive than his breakout 2018, he still looks like an all-around hitter with average power and the ability to handle advanced pitching. He also spent about 40 percent of his 2019 campaign playing first base. However, because he’s such a seemingly safe bat-first prospect, the Twins might reasonably conclude that keeping him off the roster in 2020 would be worthwhile. If they could do so, they’d have significantly better leverage in possible discussions about a long-term extension, especially given the likely financial state of the game over the next few years.

It’s pennywise and (arguably) pound-foolish, and the Twins have worked hard recently to portray themselves as a more progressive organization, but that economic reality could keep Kirilloff off the big-league roster unless and until a more severe injury or illness problem forces the franchise’s hand. The opposite consideration could stand in Wiel’s way. When he’s not a part of the active roster, Wiel isn’t the kind of player teams like to carry on their 40-man roster. He’s not versatile, he’s already 27 years old, and he doesn’t offer much upside. The team would almost certainly wait until they had a clear and sustained need for a bench bat before calling upon the minor-league veteran.

Rooker is the Goldilocks candidate of the set. The Twins used their competitive-balance pick to snag him at the tail end of the first round in 2017, liking his right-handed power and his mental approach to hitting. He’s played more in the outfield than at first base, but he might well be a first baseman or DH in the big leagues, anyway. If he approximates the level the team hopes he’ll attain, he’ll be well worth keeping on the roster even after Sanó returns at full strength, and he could easily become a candidate to replace Nelson Cruz as the DH in 2021.

That said, Rooker is not likely to blossom so impressively that the Twins would have much interest in keeping him beyond 2026, which is when he would hit free agency if he debuts this year. He’s easier to call up than Kirilloff, and easier to keep around when he’s not actively needed than Wiel.

According to PECOTA projections, Kirilloff is the best candidate for the job, on a sheer performance basis.

2020 PECOTA Projections


Attached Image: 1BSheet.png

One huge driver of these projections is that Kirilloff projects to strike out 22.3 percent of the time, about as often as González, whereas both Rooker and Wiel project to strike out well over 30 percent of the time. Rooker projects for the highest walk rate in the group, but because Kirilloff blends contact and a modicum of power, the system views him as more promising.

The counterargument is simple: Rooker’s skill set is the one that truly mirrors Sanó’s. In fact, it mirrors the profiles of almost every offensive success story the Twins have generated over the last handful of seasons, and those of their top recent offensive acquisitions. If the team is as good as they appear to be at coaching up disciplined, pull-happy sluggers, then Rooker could find another gear. It’s also true that, in this shortened season, the variance inherent to the endeavor swamps almost all of the numbers, and makes good predictions next-to impossible.

Given the variables in play and the long-term considerations that underlie the decision, the Twins might be well-served to give Rooker a long look at first base, unless and until Sanó is cleared to rejoin the team and has shaken off the rust. Their bevy of solid options, however, only serves as a reminder that their depth can be an advantage even during a shortened season.

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24 Comments

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IndianaTwin
Jul 06 2020 07:20 PM

A lot may depend on how quickly Sano is back. If he’s cleared relatively soon and it appears they will only miss him for a week or so, it would be easy to use Gonzalez, Adrianza, and Astudillo, each of whom started at least 10 games there last year.

 

If Sano is out longer, or if Donaldson tests positive and Sano has to go back to third, etc., then look at something from the list above. 

    • glunn, DocBauer, Minny505 and 3 others like this

I am for Kiriloff.I do not need someone to provide Sano's strikeouts. 

    • rdehring likes this
Sano almost certainly isn’t missing time because of the infection related to this positive test. If he is in line to miss significant time due to COVID, there is a much larger issue (reinfection, mutation, etc.). We’re likely not playing baseball anyway, in that case.

But, if he happens to blow a hamstring while training in quarantine or something, they’ll go with a combination of Gonzalez and Adrianza. I don’t know if they’d go with Garver there before calling up Rooker, but that wouldn’t shock me (Avila and Tortuga at C).

The real issue is going to be the ones that test positive a couple weeks from now. It’s going to happen.

That said, teams are also going to sink significant resources into keeping this out of their locker room. Right now is the most vulnerable time, in terms of spreading amongst players. It’s very possible we don’t hear much about it during the regular season.

At the end of the day, I think it’ll be tough for a prospect to break the lineup. A contender can’t afford the learning curve in a shortened season, a loser won’t want to waste the service time. Rooker getting some ABs is probably it realistic, but there is no way we’re seeing Kirilloff or Lewis.
    • DocBauer, Minny505, MN_ExPat and 2 others like this
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Channing1964
Jul 07 2020 12:59 AM
It is interesting that i never thought about a Sano backup until i heard he tested positive. After Marwin, and (ugh) Adrianza, who really is our backup 1b?

I like Kirilloff this year, next year and beyond when Sano has moved to DH. Lets all remember when talking about his "less impressive" 2019 stats that he played much of the year with a wrist injury. When healthy, he will become one of the Twins better hitters...hopefully, for a long, long time.

    • glunn, DocBauer, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

I am all for giving Rooker a shot in the majors this year.

 

When healthy, he was destroying AAA last year. I am a little nervous about his high K rate, and because of that, Gonzalez MAY be the better 1B option this year. However, I would rather have Rooker in the lineup this year instead of Adrianza, Astudillo, or Wiel.

 

Also, and I know that the primary goal is to win this year, but I think it's worth mentioning that Gonzalez and Adrianza are on the last year of their deals (so I don't think they'll be back next year), and I don't think Wiel is in the team's long-term plans. If Rooker's bat will be roughly equivalent this year, if not better, than any of them, then wouldn't it help Rooker's development to give the at bats to someone (Rooker) that the team has control over for another 6 years instead of someone who will be gone in the next year or two anyways?

 

As for Kirilloff, I would hate to pigeonhole him into only being a first baseman. It's always nice to have position flexibility, but I would rather he focus on OF. Then he can takeover as the starting LF in a year or two (or this year if Rosario is injured).

    • glunn and DocBauer like this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 07 2020 08:43 AM

A lot may depend on how quickly Sano is back. If he’s cleared relatively soon and it appears they will only miss him for a week or so, it would be easy to use Gonzalez, Adrianza, and Astudillo, each of whom started at least 10 games there last year.

If Sano is out longer, or if Donaldson tests positive and Sano has to go back to third, etc., then look at something from the list above.


Astudillo also tested positive.
    • glunn likes this

Agree that Kiriloff has the highest ceiling of the options, including Marwin. Then Rooker. I think it's notable that Wiel received a lot of ST AB's. I recall he hit well in spring training as well but that probably means nothing. 

 

I doubt any prospects will receive regular at bats this season though, as others have stated. If that happens, there have been lots of positive tests and likely MLB would shut the season down at that point. 

    • glunn likes this

Is there anyone else who thinks of Wiel in the same category as Arraez? Both of them simply hit at every level, but neither was a great prospect. I guess that the difference between 2B and 1B is huge here, but he might end up surprising us if he gets a chance.

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IndianaTwin
Jul 07 2020 09:48 AM

 

Astudillo also tested positive.

 

Thanks. I missed that. 

    • glunn likes this

I am going with Garver and Gonzo if it a short amount of time

    • glunn likes this
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jorgenswest
Jul 07 2020 10:53 AM

 

Is there anyone else who thinks of Wiel in the same category as Arraez? Both of them simply hit at every level, but neither was a great prospect. I guess that the difference between 2B and 1B is huge here, but he might end up surprising us if he gets a chance.

I don’t see it. Arraez was young for his level and putting up OBPs much higher than Wiel in the minors. 
 

Wiel’s minor league slash of 263/340/459 would make him a marginal 1B if he could somehow match his minor league production in the majors.

    • Sconnie likes this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 07 2020 11:15 AM

I am going with Garver and Gonzo if it a short amount of time


The problem with Garver playing first is that it means Avilla is catching. He hits poorly, even for a back up catcher.
    • Tomj14 likes this
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Devilsadvocate
Jul 07 2020 12:51 PM

Is there anyone else who thinks of Wiel in the same category as Arraez? Both of them simply hit at every level, but neither was a great prospect. I guess that the difference between 2B and 1B is huge here, but he might end up surprising us if he gets a chance.

I hate to criticize, but Weil's not anywhere near the same category of a hitter as Arraez. Wiel, is a career .263 hitter in the minors, whereas Arraez hit .331
Apples to oranges as far as I'm concerned.
    • dex8425 likes this
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Channing1964
Jul 07 2020 01:02 PM
I know we all want to put Garver at 1b when he doesn't catch but has he ever played even one major league inning at the position? I would argue that Kepler has played more 1b than Garver ever has.
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stringer bell
Jul 07 2020 01:55 PM

 

I know we all want to put Garver at 1b when he doesn't catch but has he ever played even one major league inning at the position? I would argue that Kepler has played more 1b than Garver ever has.

In the major leagues, Kepler has played 4.1 innings at first base. Garver has logged 39 innings, plus 6 more innings in left field. 

    • glunn and Channing1964 like this

 

In the major leagues, Kepler has played 4.1 innings at first base. Garver has logged 39 innings, plus 6 more innings in left field. 

Granted, Kepler hasn't played much first base in the majors. But I believe he played a fair amount in the minors, whereas, I suspect that Garver played very little. With that said, I don't want to see possibly the best right fielder in the game playing first base.

    • Channing1964 likes this

 

Granted, Kepler hasn't played much first base in the majors. But I believe he played a fair amount in the minors, whereas, I suspect that Garver played very little. With that said, I don't want to see possibly the best right fielder in the game playing first base.

From my Math Kepler played around 813 innings (including fall league and major leagues) and Garver around 516 (including fall league and major leagues)

I agree I want Kepler playing RF for just about every inning this year. I would like to see Garver catch around 35 games and play in close to 50, which means time at DH or 1B.

 

 

    • Sconnie, Channing1964 and Melissa like this
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stringer bell
Jul 07 2020 02:25 PM

 

Granted, Kepler hasn't played much first base in the majors. But I believe he played a fair amount in the minors, whereas, I suspect that Garver played very little. With that said, I don't want to see possibly the best right fielder in the game playing first base.

If memory serves, Garver played around the diamond a fair amount (both outfield and first base) and Kepler also spent some time at first. I do agree that having a plus outfielder is much better than having an acceptable first baseman. I also remember that Levine or Falvey said that until Donaldson signed, the plan was to get Garver reps at first. I would think if there is a longish term vacancy at first, that they would try to use Mitch there at least some of the time.

    • Channing1964 likes this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 07 2020 05:24 PM
Again, Garver at first means the black hole of Avilla’s bat in the lineup. I would expect Garver to start at least 40 games at catcher. Given that travel will be minimal and there will be no fans, I would expect very few day games.

Again, Garver at first means the black hole of Avilla’s bat in the lineup. I would expect Garver to start at least 40 games at catcher. Given that travel will be minimal and there will be no fans, I would expect very few day games.

https://mobile.twitt...edule-released/

There’s two weeks that don’t have two day games in there and a couple weeks that have 2 days games and a 5:10 or 3:10 start. There’s even a week in there with two day games in a row.
    • Channing1964 likes this
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Channing1964
Jul 08 2020 01:39 AM

In the major leagues, Kepler has played 4.1 innings at first base. Garver has logged 39 innings, plus 6 more innings in left field.

Thank you! I honestly did not recall that. I remember when Max was about to get a cup of coffee that i thought it would be great to see him instead of Park at 1b....lol

 

From my Math Kepler played around 813 innings (including fall league and major leagues) and Garver around 516 (including fall league and major leagues)

I agree I want Kepler playing RF for just about every inning this year. I would like to see Garver catch around 35 games and play in close to 50, which means time at DH or 1B.

You're going to take Cruz, our best hitter, out of the lineup? Garver himself stated he'd like to catch 40-45 games. I wouldn't want to take Sano out of the lineup either. 

    • Tomj14 likes this

 

You're going to take Cruz, our best hitter, out of the lineup? Garver himself stated he'd like to catch 40-45 games. I wouldn't want to take Sano out of the lineup either. 

If Cruz plays 60 games, that would be great, if Sano plays 60 games that would be great as well. If those two have days off, then I think Garver could fill those spots. So no I am not taking them out just to take them out and give Garver those starts. If Garver starts 40-45 that also would be wonderful. I