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Potential rule change: require different DH for each pitcher

Other Baseball Today, 03:09 PM
I just read this potential rule change on Twitter and I am intrigued:   https://twitter.com/...4091739136?s=20     For th...
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White Sox make changes

Other Baseball Today, 03:09 PM
Both Manager Rick Rentaria and pitching coach Don Cooper were let go.     Was a bit surprised by this, because the White S...
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Nelson Cruz wants 2 years

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:31 AM
https://www.mlbtrade...-year-deal.html
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Target Field Tax Status

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:35 AM
Been reading about all the losses (alleged or not) that MLB has (and maybe will again) taken with the pandemic, and wondered how the tax...
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What to do with Lewis Thorpe?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:09 PM
Lewis Thorpe is out of options. The Twins either need to keep him on the MLB team as their 5th starter or as a reliever out of the bullpe...
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Contemplating a Twins Wild Card Series Roster

The Minnesota Twins have clinched a playoff berth. No surprise there. With just four more games to play, we still don’t officially know yet who or where they will play, though I think most have accepted what is most likely. Who will be on the Twins 28-man roster for the first series? Let’s discuss.
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA Today
Unlike “normal” seasons, the 2020 postseason roster will utilize a 28-man roster, as teams have done since the third week of this abbreviated season. However, no matter what the roster count is, the last roster spots always create some quality discussion.

The first thing that they’ll need to determine is how many hitters and pitchers they will want. Remember, the Wild Card series is a Best of Three series. For my purposes here, I am going to say that the Twins will go with 13 pitchers and 15 hitters. It’s very possible that they would go with just 12 pitchers for a short series as well.

The Hitters (15)

Catchers (3) - Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers, Alex Avila

Mitch Garver is being given opportunity here late in the season to regain his 2019 form, or something resembling it. Last night’s mammoth home run helps, of course. Ryan Jeffers also has earned a spot on the roster because he really came on strong in recent weeks too. Alex Avila is a terrific backup, and right now having a third catcher makes sense, especially since Garver and Avila are just recently back from their Injured List stints.

Infielders (6) - Miguel Sano, Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, Ehire Adrianza, Marwin Gonzalez.

The only question here is if Luis Arraez is able to return. We learned on Tuesday that he sprained his ankle in an intrasquad game on Monday and needed a little more time. One would think the team would like to get him some at bats over the final four games of the season. But if he’s deemed healthy, he will be on the roster. No other surprises in this group.

Outfielders (4) - Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Jake Cave

Also, no surprises here. The Twins three outfielders have all impacted a few games of late, and Jake Cave has had some strong moments this year and in the past. He’s also been a pinch-running option for the team.

Designated Hitter (1) - Nelson Cruz

It certainly is concerning that Cruz hasn’t played for nearly a week with “minor soreness” in his knee and hip. The whole purpose of that is to make sure the MVP candidate is ready for the postseason.

That is 14 spots, so the team needs just one more hitter on the roster. Here are the candidates:

LaMonte Wade, Jr. - Wade has been on the big-league roster about half of the 2020 season. Early in the season, he didn’t get much playing time. Since his return, he’s provided solid outfield defense and done a nice job in a few games at first base. He puts together great at bats and gets on base which could be important in pinch-hitting duties.

Willians Astudillo - Do the Twins need a fourth catcher? No. But in talking about the final ‘hitter’ spot on the roster, Astudillo might make sense as a pinch hitting option.

Travis Blankenhorn - Blankenhorn can play second base, third base, first base and a little in the outfield. A depth piece, he could pinch hit or pinch run.

Royce Lewis - Since we’d be looking for players to fit certain roles, the team could use a speed guy. The speediest of options would be Royce Lewis. Could he make his MLB debut in the playoffs in a late-inning pinch-running situation? I'm "voting" for Lewis because I think that is a role that could be most useful to the team in a short series. Of course, my 'vote' doesn't hold much weight.

The Pitchers (13)

Starters (3) - Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and either Michael Pineda OR Rich Hill

I think we can all agree that Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios are going to be in the rotation. Maeda starting on Wednesday lines him up perfectly for Game 1. Having pitched on Sunday night, Berrios may be more in line for a Game 3 start, which would be fine too. Two weeks ago, I think we mostly agreed that Pineda would be the logical, mayb easy, choice for the third starting spot. He’s been just fine, but so has Rich Hill who has been good in four of his past five starts and has a ton of playoff experience. My assumption is that one of the two will be the third starter, if needed, in the Wild Card series. The other could be left off the Wild Card roster, set up to start Game 1 of an ALDS series.

Long Relief (1) - Randy Dobnak

Because of the starter situation explained above, I think Dobnak can fill the role of long reliever. It’s an important role because, even with a deep bullpen, it would be good to not have to use up all of those arms in a blowout situation.

Relievers (7) - Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, Tyler Duffey, Tyler Clippard, Trevor May, Matt Wisler, Jorge Alcala.

While there may be questions about individual roles in the bullpen, these seven names are the Givens to make the playoff roster. Who will be the closer? What is the pecking order that Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson will use in the Wild Card series? Those are questions for other article. But there is no doubt that these seven will be on the roster (pending something happening over the next four or five days).

So, now we are at 11 pitchers which means we have room for two more pitchers. The candidates:

Cody Stashak - I think that last night’s impressive outing might be enough to push Stashak from On The Bubble to a lock. He hadn’t been as sharp since returning from a month on the IL, but he sure looked strong on Tuesday.

Caleb Thielbar - Another that should be a lock, but it might be more about which team they match up with and their lineup potential.

Devin Smeltzer - Really it depends on if the Twins might want a second long reliever. In a three-game series, if you feel like need two long relievers, you probably aren’t in a good situation, at all. Smeltzer would be a good option.

Jake Odorizzi/Homer Bailey - Both are options to fill a long-relief role. Bailey returned to the mound on Tuesday and looked good for three innings before not getting an out in the fourth. Odorizzi has been snake bit this season. But he was an All Star last year and could start on Sunday. If he does, he probably wouldn’t be able to pitch in the Wild Card round, but he could be the fifth starter in a later series.

Jhoan Duran - Why not throw a surprise name into this? Could Duran make his MLB debut in a playoff role too? Not likely, but worth spending a minute just thinking about what he (or Edwar Colina) could do in a relief inning or two for the Twins.

My non-counting votes would go to Stashak and Thielbar. Both are very deserving.

Of course, the Twins could decide to go with 14 pitchers and 14 hitters. That could be more likely in the next round when there are more games (if the Twins get there)... We’ll worry about that later though. Let's see how we feel after seeing a playoff game won... and then a playoff series won!

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28 Comments

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TwinsFan268
Sep 23 2020 05:12 AM

I think Arraez can come back, let's not forget he sprained his ankle in like, the second to last game of the season, and was in the starting lineup for game one of the ALDS.

Selling out? Most likely? Ye of little faith. Still to early to resign to second in the division.

    • bighat and Joey P like this
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ToddlerHarmon
Sep 23 2020 06:45 AM

I'm ok with this, except I think you have to put both Pineda and Hill on the roster. If Hill is sharp, coming in as a lefty in long relief could blunt a rally nicely.

 

Last hitter: for OBP, I'd say Wade. But to protect Arraez, it probably has to be Blankenhorn

 

    • spycake, SF Twins Fan, Joey P and 1 other like this
Cody Stashak is a she? Hope Cody knows that ;-)

I trust all our pitchers right now, except May and Rogers.
    • mikelink45 and SF Twins Fan like this

The Yankees seem heavy with right handed batters. Even though in this short season they've hit right handed pitchers better, last year for them was more normal in that regard.

 

For the rotation I'm inclined to skip the tactical approach and go with who I think has better stuff and hits his spots and is physically closer to 100%. For me that's Pineda over Hill.

 

Hill could be the hero who rides in during an emergency in the third inning in any of the games and saves the day with multiple innings of opposite-handed relief.

 

He could also be an Extreme LOOGY - one crucial opposing batter, the entire 3-game series. :)

    • spycake, DocBauer and ToddlerHarmon like this

 

My assumption is that one of the two will be the third starter, if needed, in the Wild Card series. The other could be left off the Wild Card roster, set up to start Game 1 of an ALDS series.

Seth, there are 3 scheduled off days between the wild card round and the start of the ALDS. So Maeda-Berrios-Pineda could start game 1, 2, 3 of both rounds on 5 days rest each (which even gives us room to tolerate a rain out during the wild card round).

 

Hence, no reason to leave the 4th starter (Hill) off the wild card round roster -- he can be available as an emergency starter or in relief.

 

(And you should choose someone to start ALDS game 1 who you would be willing to start again on short rest in a potential game 5.)

    • woolywoolhouse, DocBauer, JoshDungan1 and 4 others like this

Wade as extra hitter, Stashak and Thielbar as pitchers.

    • jun, jrod23 and Joey P like this

Seth, your choice for last bat is very interesting. I initially thought Wade and no way Austudillo. Then I went Blankenhorn and finally went Austudillo. However silly having 4 catchers on the post season roster

It would be really controversial, but against the Yankee bats I would leave Rogers off. 

    • davethekid likes this

 

Selling out? Most likely? Ye of little faith. Still to early to resign to second in the division.

Seriously. We're a half game out with Det and Cin remaining, while Chicago has 2 games each against both Cle and the Cubs. We're still very much in the division race

    • Aichiman, Joey P and Joey Self like this

 

It would be really controversial, but against the Yankee bats I would leave Rogers off. 

I get what you're saying.  

And it won't happen. 

 

JcS

    • ToddlerHarmon and twinbythebay like this

Read in the Strib this morning that the starters would be Maeda-Berrios-Pineda. 

 

Personally, I would have Hill as a long man with Dobnak not making the cut. Not certain what I think of that as am a huge fan of the Dobber. Bullpen has to include Stashak and Thielbar. Was thinking last night when Cody was pitching how well he really has done this year. Expect he and Alcala will both be huge parts of next year's pen.

 

As for the last hitter, expect they will keep Wade who really has been a valuable part of this team the last month or so.

    • jun likes this
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SconnieinTC
Sep 23 2020 08:37 AM

Royce Lewis won't be on it as he didn't make the 40-man pool. 

    • Danchat and spycake like this
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SF Twins Fan
Sep 23 2020 08:46 AM

Can we leave Rogers off the playoff list? He doesn't deserve to be there.Put Hill and Thielbar as the left handers out of the bullpen.

    • davethekid likes this

 

It would be really controversial, but against the Yankee bats I would leave Rogers off. 

 

 

Can we leave Rogers off the playoff list? He doesn't deserve to be there.Put Hill and Thielbar as the left handers out of the bullpen.

 

With a 28-man roster, there is no need to leave Rogers off the roster, even if you don't want to trust him in key spots. There is no roster crunch.

 

Just take the current 28 man roster. If you want to activate Arraez, you can deactivate the third catcher (a third catcher seems especially like overkill for a best-of-3 series) or Wade.

 

If you want to activate Odorizzi or Dobnak, you can deactivate Bailey.

    • mikelink45 and twinbythebay like this

 

Royce Lewis won't be on it as he didn't make the 40-man pool. 

 

Hmmm... Wish I would have spent more time on Twitter last night before writing... but ... 

    • SconnieinTC likes this

It's an interesting debate on Wade vs Astudillo for the last hitting spot: both offer some interesting advantages as a pinch hitter. Wade is going to take a good AB, he's going to force a pitcher to throw him a strike, and would be a great choice to start a rally by grinding out a walk even if he doesn't necessarily get a hit. Astudillo isn't going to take a K, so if you're in a position where you just need the ball in play, his ability to get his bat on anything he wants is magnified in the postseason.

 

Either is a useful pinch hitting option, for very different reasons. I'm guessing it might be Astudillo, because he's got broader positional flexibility (even if it's not ideal) but I think it could go either way. I think it's definitely between the two of them: I like Blankenhorn and I think he's got a future, but he didn't really get enough run to be selected above the other two...yet.

    • mikelink45, DocBauer and Joey Self like this
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SF Twins Fan
Sep 23 2020 10:27 AM

 

With a 28-man roster, there is no need to leave Rogers off the roster, even if you don't want to trust him in key spots. There is no roster crunch.

 

Just take the current 28 man roster. If you want to activate Arraez, you can deactivate the third catcher (a third catcher seems especially like overkill for a best-of-3 series) or Wade.

 

If you want to activate Odorizzi or Dobnak, you can deactivate Bailey.

 

There is reason to leave him off.Then Rocco can't make a stupid decision to use him once again in a key situation like he did last night.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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JoshDungan1
Sep 23 2020 10:45 AM

I'm glad they went with Wade. I've always had a soft spot for a guy like Wade who can work a walk with a great eye that can drive a pitcher nuts at the plate (one of the reasons why I was an Arraez fan early last year). Hopefully Arraez heals up quick and can be of use to the team in the second round if they make it that far (though if they feel he's healthy earlier, that's good too!)

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I Never Bet On Sports
Sep 23 2020 10:54 AM

 

Seth, there are 3 scheduled off days between the wild card round and the start of the ALDS. So Maeda-Berrios-Pineda could start game 1, 2, 3 of both rounds on 5 days rest each (which even gives us room to tolerate a rain out during the wild card round).

 

Hence, no reason to leave the 4th starter (Hill) off the wild card round roster -- he can be available as an emergency starter or in relief.

 

(And you should choose someone to start ALDS game 1 who you would be willing to start again on short rest in a potential game 5.)

Also, Berrios would not need to start game 3. He pitched Sunday and should pitch again this Friday on his normal 4 days rest, then would be available to pitch game 2 on Wednesday on 4 days rest again. What am I missing?

We play the Yankees of course if we win the Central....according to SC. I'd start Rogers and May in the remaining games.

 

Also, Berrios would not need to start game 3. He pitched Sunday and should pitch again this Friday on his normal 4 days rest, then would be available to pitch game 2 on Wednesday on 4 days rest again. What am I missing?

You are correct, and that is how the Twins are setting it up now.

 

But before that was announced, just extrapolating that last turn through the rotation, it would have been Pineda before Berrios.

At the beginning of this season, I thought that seeing Kirilloff and/or Larnach was a given.I get there were other players who also deserved shots as well, but Kirilloff and Larnach are two impact bats that are just going to sit longer.

 

I love the idea for Royce's speed, but...yeah.

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TouchEmAllGuy
Sep 23 2020 12:11 PM

No need for Alex Avila, IMO.

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twinbythebay
Sep 23 2020 12:12 PM

 

There is reason to leave him off.Then Rocco can't make a stupid decision to use him once again in a key situation like he did last night.

Sheesh, it sounds like Rogers has personally wronged you in the past. I, for one, am glad that Rocco isn't as fickle as the majority of Twins fans, and I bet his players feel the same way.

    • dbminn and SconnieinTC like this