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New Target field policy...no bags of any kind

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:27 PM
Thankfully we went before gates opened and were warned by a friendly security guy in advance that this year there are no bags of any kind...
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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:52 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:58 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Ex Twins in 2021: Where Are They Now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:48 AM
One of my favorite annual threads on the site. Let’s stay updated on ex-Twins in the news... This is a start of a list, and feel free to...
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Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 04:36 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
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Projecting the Saints' Opening Day Roster

The St. Paul Saints are gearing up for their first season as the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Who will we see across the river?
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
STARTING ROTATION

LHP LEWIS THORPE

Thorpe is turning heads early at camp, pumping 92-93 with his fastball after his velocity alarmingly dropped in 2020. The Twins would benefit greatly from a league-average or better performance from Thorpe in 2021. With another option in tow, it’s likely he’ll need to impress further in St.Paul to start the season before re-joining the Twins.



RHP BAILEY OBER

The 6-foot-9 Ober has dominated at every minor league level. The Twins added him to their 40-man roster this offseason, showing belief in his unique skillset. Ober’s stuff isn’t on the level of fellow giant Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays, but he has excellent command and his long right arm creates latitudinal diception for hitters.

LHP DEVIN SMELTZER

There’s a fair chance Smeltzer cracks the Twins’ opening day roster. It’s likely the team will favor 14 pitchers over 13 position players, which could open the door for the Alka Smeltz. The addition of Matt Shoemaker viably pushed Smeltzer, who owns a 4.57 ERA in 18 career MLB games, to Lowertown.

RHP GLENN SPARKMAN

Sparkman, released by the Royals in November, is a non-roster invite to Fort Myers. The 28-year-old has pitched to a 6.00 ERA over his last 141 major-league innings but owns a 3.53 ERA in 81 2/3 career innings at Triple-A. He upped his slider usage in a limited 2020 sample and averaged 93 MPH with his four-seamer.

RHP GRIFFIN JAX

Jax pitched to a 2.69 ERA over his first 18 starts for Double-A Pensacola in 2019. The Twins bumped him to Rochester for a couple weeks before sending him back for the Southern League playoffs. He started two postseason games for the Blue Wahoos, holding his opponents to a .171/.205/.195 slash line in 11 innings. Keep an eye on him.

BULLPEN

RHP EDWAR COLINA

Colina’s debut with the Twins went as poorly as possible and he’s currently sporting an 81.00 career ERA. He’ll be an asset out of the bullpen soon for Minnesota, however. He just needs some more experience and tweaking. As a former starter, he could pitch in a hybrid role to endure more innings. Colina has an electric triple-digit fastball and a killer slider.

RHP IAN GIBAUT

Gibaut was outrighted and successfully passed through waivers, ultimately assuring he’ll pitch for the Saints. Spotty control of huge stuff has duped the 27-year-old throughout his career. He’s posted great strikeout rates, even in the majors, but needs to hone in his command in order to join the defending A.L. Central champions.

RHP DEREK LAW

Law might be the most interesting minor-league signing for the Twins. The right-hander was tremendous in 2016 for the Giants, posting a 2.13 ERA and 19.2% strikeout-to-walk rate in 55 innings. Law has since scuffled with command issues and overall ineffectiveness. Law throws in the mid-90s and drew a 42% whiff rate on his slider in 2019.

RHP TOM HACKIMER

Hackimer, 26, has posted huge strikeout rates in the minors as a side-winding righty. He struck out 31% of batters faced across High-A and Double-A in 2019. He combined for a 2.54 ERA in 36 appearances out of the bullpen. His walk rate was an alarming 11% but he’s flashed swing-and-miss stuff.

RHP JUAN MINAYA

Minaya, much like the right-handers above him, has battled with his command. He throws a tremendous changeup and enjoyed above-average numbers for much of his four seasons out of the White Sox bullpen. He’s a good depth piece for the Saints (and Twins).

LHP DANNY COULOMBE

Coulombe has big league experience, appearing in 155 games over six seasons. He throws a high-spin curveball much like Caleb Thielbar. The Twins could look to Coulombe if Thielbar or Taylor Rogers is hurt or struggling.

LHP BRANDON WADDELL

Waddell didn’t survive the late surge of Twins signings and was dropped off the 40-man to make room for fellow waiver claim Kyle Garlick. He passed through and was outrighted to the minors. Waddell revealed productivity with a 2.23 ERA and 29% strikeout rate in 2019 at Double-A Altoona. More left-handed depth for the club.

RHP IAN HAMILTON

Hamilton has been plagued by bad luck and setbacks. He possessed a high-90s fastball and low-90s slider not that long ago but suffered facial fractures after taking a line drive in 2019. He has high upside, maybe more than anyone on this projected roster.

INFIELDERS

SS/2B/OF TZU-WEI LIN

Lin, a super-utility Swiss Army knife, destroyed at Triple-A in the Red Sox system in 2018. He hit .307/.362/.448 with 20 doubles and five home runs in 68 games. Now 27, Lin has 101 games of big league experience, hitting a paltry .223/.298/.316 for Boston in short stints over four seasons. Maybe a change of scenery will help him flourish offensively.

2B/SS NICK GORDON

Gordon had a brutally long fight with COVID-19 last summer, knocking him out for a majority of alternate-site activities. He’s now entering the most crucial year of his career. Will he finally force his way to Minnesota?

SS/3B/2B DREW MAGGI

Maggi, 31, sported an impressive .384 on-base percentage for Rochester in 2019. He also hit 10 homers and 19 doubles in 108 games. Maggi is going into his 11th minor-league season and is a very solid asset for the Saints.

1B/LF ZANDER WIEL

Wiel has huge power, evidenced by his 69 extra-base hits and .514 slugging percentage at Triple-A in 2019. He’ll be a middle of the order bat for the Saints and needs to clean up his plate discipline in order to join the Twins.

SS/3B/OF JT RIDDLE

Riddle has 787 MLB plate appearances with little success. His OPS is 33% below league average since 2017. He’s a versatile, strong defender with the ability to play at multiple key positions. He could be a valuable piece for the Saints.

C TOMÁS TELIS

Telis, 29, was a star for the Red Wings at Triple A in 2019. He hit .330/.364/.490 in 82 games. He’s played in nearly 1,000 minor league games with impressive offensive numbers overall. Hitting just .230/.267/.298 in 122 MLB games has limited his opportunities to show more. If Mitch Garver or Ryan Jeffers go down, Telis could be a more attractive option than Willians Astudillo to fill the void for the Twins.

2B/3B TRAVIS BLANKENHORN

Blankenhorn projected to make the Twins’ opening day roster until they signed Andrelton Simmons. A big left-handed bat, Blankenhorn figures to man one of the top spots in St.Paul’s lineup. He owns a solid .756 OPS in five minor-league seasons.

C CALEB HAMILTON

Of the seven catchers in Fort Myers, Hamilton is one of the four or five with experience above Double-A. This puts the 26-year-old on track to start the season in St.Paul, backing up Telis. Hamilton is a lighter-hitting right-handed catcher but adds nice depth to the system.

IF/OF ROB REFSNYDER

Refsnyder was an interesting organizational pickup this winter. In 427 career games at Triple-A, Refsnyder has hit .296/.372/.436 with 100 doubles, 35 home runs and eight triples. Refsnyder is a bit of a tweener but his minor-league numbers pop.

OUTFIELDERS

KYLE GARLICK

Garlick, 29, has shown signs of harnessing a prolific bat. He’s hit .288/.345/.536 with 91 home runs in 464 minor league games. Garlick posted a 1.072 OPS against Triple-A lefties in 2019. He’ll compete with Brent Rooker as a right-handed option off the bench for the Twins.

ALEX KIRILLOFF

Kirilloff’s journey will likely begin in St.Paul, although recent reports have shed light on the possibility of the Twins nixing service time manipulation to bring him up on opening day. Kirilloff, a .317/.365/.498 hitter in the minors, will be must-watch at either level.

KEON BROXTON

Broxton played a decent center field and accumulated 2.5 bWAR in 2016-17 for the Brewers. His lack of contact skills came back to bite him over the next two seasons. He hit just .170 and settled for an NRI with the Twins. He has some pop and great speed and should be the starting center fielder for St.Paul.

PROJECTED LINEUP VS. RHP:
  • DREW MAGGI, 2B - R
  • ALEX KIRILLOFF, RF - L
  • KYLE GARLICK, LF - R
  • TRAVIS BLANKENHORN, 3B - L
  • ZANDER WIEL, 1B - R
  • TOMÁS TELIS, C - S
  • ROB REFSNYDER, DH - R
  • TZU-WEI LIN, SS - L
  • KEON BROXTON, CF - R

SP LEWIS THORPE (L)

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23 Comments

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strumdatjaguar
Feb 26 2021 08:10 PM
I suspect Sparkma. Would rather have played when “The Igniter” was manager.
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strumdatjaguar
Feb 26 2021 08:10 PM
Oops. I meant Sparkman.
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strumdatjaguar
Feb 26 2021 08:10 PM
Oops. I meant Sparkman.
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Channing1964
Feb 26 2021 11:10 PM
Sparkman just may beat out Shoemaker
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theBOMisthebomb
Feb 27 2021 12:23 AM
What are the chances of La Tortuga mania taking a grip of CHS Field this summer?
    • Minny505 and iowaguychris like this

Nice, there's actually a decent amount of talent to work with here. I wonder if Larnach might start at AAA as well? I think we'd also see Charlie Barnes in the AAA rotation.

    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

Hopefully Astudillo is with the Saints.

    • Twins33 and yeahyabetcha like this
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TwinsFan268
Feb 27 2021 07:55 AM

I have one question, and I don't know if anybody really knows the answer, but what happens to the old Saints players who played before the Saints became the Twins AAA team? Does anyone know?

No Duran to start? I find that at least somewhat surprising.
    • mikelink45, dbminn and rdehring like this
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Major League Ready
Feb 27 2021 08:49 AM

 

No Duran to start? I find that at least somewhat surprising.

 

I had the same reaction. However, we don't know how these guys performed at the alternate site. It could be they want to start Duran and Balazovic together to determine who is most ready to contribute. Then, promote one of them after a few weeks. Less chance of injury in warmer weather too.

    • DocBauer likes this
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IndianaTwin
Feb 27 2021 09:57 AM

Uh, Dobnak? 

 

If the MLB rotation is Berrios-Maeda-Pineda-Happ-Shoemaker, I’d rather see Dobnak staying stretched out as a starter in St. Paul over being used in the MLB bullpen. Odds are someone from the Saints will be needed to make a Twins start before April is over.

    • Twins33, dbminn and Minny505 like this
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IndianaTwin
Feb 27 2021 10:08 AM

And though they added him to the 40-man, I’d be a little surprised if they jumped Ober to AAA to start the season, with only four starts in AA and a 79-inning season in 2019 under his belt. The delayed start to the season for AA seems built for keeping minor league guys from needing to a make a significant jump in innings after having a season off from competition.

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IndianaTwin
Feb 27 2021 10:17 AM

 

I have one question, and I don't know if anybody really knows the answer, but what happens to the old Saints players who played before the Saints became the Twins AAA team? Does anyone know?

They were already outside the umbrella of organized baseball, so they are free to sign with anyone, just like you and me (though at least in the case of me, they are more likely to do so — I’ve found the market for mid-50s knuckleballers sorely lacking).

    • DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan, rdehring and 1 other like this

I’ve found the market for mid-50s knuckleballers sorely lacking).

Yeah, that's what I call my fastball, too! :)
 

    • DocBauer, IndianaTwin and tarheeltwinsfan like this

Over the last few years I have come to think of AAA as the emergency call up level - not the prospect.I will be disappointed if Kiriloff is there and Larnach is a perfect choice to fit into that slot so the faithful have one bonified prospect to watch.  

 

The rest - the minor league pickups, their ages and their stories make them viable for short term fill ins, but not long term.And I think that is what is happening all over MLB.The true potential stars are moved up from AA unless they are just put their for the phony three weeks to avoid the contract issues later on.

 

A player like Lewis would have really juiced this lineup.  

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IndianaTwin
Feb 27 2021 11:20 AM

 

Yeah, that's what I call my fastball, too! :)
 

 

Let's just say that my fastball has an above-average amount of vertical drop. 

 

(And a pretty high launch angle, both when thrown and when hit.)

    • ashbury and DocBauer like this

I would be rather shocked if Dobnak is not in St a Saints uni to start the season, unless there is an injury to one of the projected starting five.

I think the odds of the Twins going to a 6-man rotation to keep Dobnak on the MLB roster is higher than Dobnak making the roster as a reliever. 

    • IndianaTwin likes this

As strange as this competition sounds, the 26th man probably comes down to Astudillo vs Smeltzer. 

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Nash Walker
Feb 27 2021 11:34 AM

 

I would be rather shocked if Dobnak is not in St a Saints uni to start the season, unless there is an injury to one of the projected starting five.

I think the odds of the Twins going to a 6-man rotation to keep Dobnak on the MLB roster is higher than Dobnak making the roster as a reliever. 

The Twins have valued a long-relief option out of the bullpen. Dobnak fills that perfectly in my eyes. 

    • DocBauer likes this

Have been wondering about the Saints starting rotation, considering their unusual schedule. Seeing that they will have all 6-game series from Tuesday thru Sunday, would they consider a 6-man rotation? Has anyone at TD heard anything about this possibility?

 

Will be thrilled if Jax is on this roster, what a great story.

 

Over the last few years I have come to think of AAA as the emergency call up level - not the prospect.I will be disappointed if Kiriloff is there and Larnach is a perfect choice to fit into that slot so the faithful have one bonified prospect to watch.  

 

 

 

I'm curious to see if that adjusts over the next handful of years because of the geographic realignment of MiLB

    • mikelink45 likes this
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IndianaTwin
Feb 27 2021 01:00 PM

 

I would be rather shocked if Dobnak is not in St a Saints uni to start the season, unless there is an injury to one of the projected starting five.

I think the odds of the Twins going to a 6-man rotation to keep Dobnak on the MLB roster is higher than Dobnak making the roster as a reliever. 

 

I thought of the 6-man rotation option as well, and would concur on that being more likely (and better) than the pen. Word is that teams are worried about guys bouncing back to a full season after the abbreviated version. In the Twins case, it seems wise to be planning for the possibility of going well into October, something that's less of a consideration for, say, the Tigers. 

 

And perhaps especially with the signing of Shoemaker, the Twins are in the enviable position of being able to make this decision based on ability, not necessity. If all six are pitching well, go with that and take advantage of the extra rest. If not, go with five. 

 

    • Minny505 likes this

Interesting exercise.Some interesting names.Kiriloff aside, a guy I'm really curious about is Ober.To see if he can continue to have success as he climbs the ladder.On a side note, just how stinking cool is it that we can head to St.Paul and watch Twins prospects in a fun environment the Saints provide?!

    • Heiny likes this