The Show Must Go On: Drafting and Dropping
Image courtesy of MLB The Show 20, SonyTo get caught up on what we're doing here, you can check out the introductory post in the series for an explanation of the premise and setup. But the quick version is this: We're playing a progressive simulated Twins season on MLB The Show 20 on PS4, and y'all are helping guide the ship. In each installment I'll update you on what's happened since the last, and put at least one key decision up for vote.
Date In Game: 6/12
Team Record: 38-32
Leading OPS: Mitch Garver (.918 in 187 AB)
Leading ERA (SP): Jake Odorizzi (2.60 in 93.1 IP)
Leading ERA (RP): Tyler Duffey (1.69 in 32.0 IP)
LATEST RESULTS (4-6)
Gm 61 vs TB: L 5-1 (Cruz/Sano/Garver 0-for-10)
Gm 62 vs TB: L 5-0 (Maeda 5 IP, 5 ER, L)
Gm 63 vs TB: L 7-5 (Bailey 3 ER, 5 R, 1 ER, L)
Gm 64 vs LAA: L 3-0 (MIN offense: 5 singles)
Gm 65 vs LAA: W 6-4 (Kepler 2-4, HR, 3B, 3 RBI)
Gm 66 vs LAA: W 5-4 (Buxton 3-4, 2 2B, SB)
Gm 67 vs LAA: L 5-4 (Maeda, 5.2 IP, 5 ER, L)
Gm 68 @ BAL: W 4-3 (Bailey 8 IP, 2 ER, W)
Gm 69 @ BAL: L 6-5 (Kepler 5-7, HR)
Gm 70 @ BAL: W 6-2 (Berrios 8.2 IP, 2 ER, W)
AL CENTRAL STANDINGS
We have drafted! When the 27th pick came up in the first round and it was our turn to select, several appealing names were available.
We could've gone with Elvis Bernstein, the well rounded 22-year-old right fielder out of Kansas. Or with John Ludwick, the 21-year-old strong-armed catcher out of Wisconsin. But with the directive to aim for young upside (per last edition's vote), we instead selected Jose Lopez, a 19-year-old center fielder born in the Dominican Republic (but presumably now living in the U.S., unless MLB The Show has unilaterally decided to allow international players into the Rule 4 draft, which I wouldn't hate).
At 6'1" and 197 lbs, Lopez has elite speed and strong baserunning skills. Our scouts seem to believe he's going to grow offensively from his current limited profile.
We'll keep tabs on Lopez as he acclimates to the pros. Exciting stuff. Less exciting was our team's latest 10-game stretch, which saw the Twins drop from a first-place tie in the Central to 3 1/2 out, as we went 4-6 while Cleveland bounced back from its slump with a 7-3 run.
We opened by getting swept at home by the Rays, in a series where the bats went totally silent.
The first two contests saw Minnesota outscored 10-1 while grounding into five double plays. A pair of errors by Miguel Sano in the third game proved costly, with four unearned runs crossing against starter Homer Bailey.
The Rays were followed into town by the Angels, who themselves bulldozed Twins hitters in the series opener, winning 3-0 behind Jaime Barria. We did finally manage to get on track a little at this point, taking four of the next six against Los Angeles and Baltimore.
With the All-Star break about a month away, and the Indians finding their groove again, our Twins need to start getting on a roll. That might mean shaking things up in the suddenly sluggish lineup. We'll discuss shortly.
It's been nice to see Jose Berrios finally shake off the early-season struggles and look like the guy we expected. He came up big in his latest two starts, both victories, allowing two earned runs over 16 1/3 innings. In the first he played stopper, helping the team end a four-game losing streak while pitching into the eighth. In his second start Berrios nearly completed a shutout in Baltimore, but I had to pull him after he gave up two solo shots in the ninth.
As manager, it's been tough not to turn to the bullpen whenever signs of trouble surface for the starters, because the relievers are so damn good. These five are consistently getting the job done:
- Taylor Rogers - 1.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
- Tyler Duffey - 1.69 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 9.8 K/9
- Tyler Clippard - 2.63 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 6.6 K/9
- Trevor May - 2.73 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
- Sergio Romo - 3.07 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.6 K/9
Offensively, Mitch Garver continues to bring the sauce, batting .323 in the latest slate. With a .918 OPS and 11 homers through 50 games, Garver's second in the All-Star voting at catcher behind Kansas City's Salvador Perez. Max Kepler, now slashing .313/.389/.512 after a 13-for-37 stretch, leads all AL right fielders.
Pretty much everyone on the offense other than Garver and Kepler. Our once-mighty lineup now finds itself sputtering more often than not. Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano and Nelson Cruz, who were driving forces early on, went a combined 15-for-92 (.163) with one home run (by Donaldson) over the past 10 games.
Cruz in particular is worrisome. He's been cited in this section three straight weeks now, as his cold spell lingers indefinitely. He's now slashing just .260/.344/.439 on the season, with a .783 OPS that ranks eighth among Twins hitters. So...
DECISION TIME: SHOULD WE BENCH NELSON CRUZ?
He saw a reduction in playing time over the past 10 games, starting only six, but still looked meager at the plate with four singles in 22 at-bats. Something is clearly amiss with the aging slugger and it's taking a toll on our team's production.
A benching would entail the relegation of Cruz to a role of pinch-hitter and occasional starter. To replace his reps we could rotate various other starters through the DH spot – with Marwin Gonzalez filling in defensively – while also giving more playing time to young Brent Rooker, slashing just .217/.280/.283 over 50 plate appearances in sporadic action.
Vote your choice in the comments section below.
6/12: @ KC
6/13: @ KC
6/14: @ KC
6/16: vs MIL
6/17: vs MIL
6/18: vs NYY
6/19: vs NYY
6/20: vs NYY
6/21: vs NYY
Part 1: We Can Build This Thing Together (0-0)
Part 2: 10 Games In, 6 Games Back (4-6)
Part 3: Roaring Back (11-9)
Part 4: Over the Hill (17-13)
Part 5: Checking In at the Quarter Point (23-17)
Part 6: Rising Power (30-20)
Part 7: First Place! (Barely) (36-24)
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