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Recent Blogs


Five Twins Players’ Resolutions

The beginning of a new year means a chance to reflect on 2017 and look for improvement for 2018. You and your loved ones might have sat down over the long weekend to plot out your own resolutions. Maybe you want to lose some weight. Perhaps you want to plan a vacation. Or maybe you want to try and get to Target Field as much as possible in 2018.

How can the Twins improve on their playoff appearance in 2017? Here are five Twins players who have some resolutions for 2018.
Image courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA Today Sports
Jose Berrios
Resolution: Increased strikeout rate in 2018
Berrios has pitched over 200 innings at the big league level. During his five minor league seasons, he posted a 9.6 strikeout per nine rate. At the MLB level, that total has dipped to 8.3 strikeouts per nine. His base on balls has also increased from 2.5 to 3.7 and his hits per nine has gone from 7.3 to 9.0. Berrios has shown flashes of dominance in the big leagues but he needs to find some more consistency. If he is able to find a consistent out-pitch, he should see some improvement in all of his numbers in 2018.

Byron Buxton
Resolution: Avoid a slow start
As a Georgia native, Buxton might not get along with the cold Minnesota springs. His struggles at the beginning of last season were well documented as he was striking out at a historic rate. After hitting under .250 through the season’s first three months, Buxton hit over .320 in July and August while averaging a .973 OPS. For the entire second half, he hit .300/.347/.546 with 24 extra-base hits. It might be tough to keep that pace to start 2018 but it should be easier for Buxton to avoid duplicating his slow start from 2017.

Stephen Gonsalves
Resolution: Earn a rotation spot
Gonsalves was close to making his debut in 2017 but he wasn’t on the 40-man roster. One hurdle is over as he was add to the 40-man this off-season. There’s plenty of rumors swirling about the Twins looking at adding a top of the rotation starter. Plenty of players sit ahead of Gonsalves on the team’s current depth chart. If he has an impressive spring, he could make it hard to send him to Rochester. Gonsalves will debut in 2018 and he has the opportunity to win a rotation spot.

Joe Mauer
Resolution: Go win that Gold Glove
Mauer watched Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier walk away with the hardware in 2017. Mauer was robbed of even being a finalist when his numbers clearly put him near the top of the American League. Mauer’s defense was strong and his offensive numbers also improved in 2017. He hit over .300 and had an OPS above .800 for the first time since 2013. Only two players, Darin Erstad and Placido Polanco, have won a Gold Glove at multiple positions. Mauer should join that small group in 2018.

Jorge Polanco
Resolution: Solve Minnesota’s revolving door at shortstop
It’s been a long time since Minnesota has seen some consistency at shortstop. The position has seemed to be a revolving door dating all the way back to the Metrodome days. In 133 games, Polanco batted .256/.313/.410 with 13 home runs and 30 doubles. As a prospect, there were questions about his defense but he seemed to be able to hold his own at the big league level. Other prospects like Nick Gordon and Royce Lewis are moving towards Target Field. Polanco needs to show his value to the club.

What other players have resolutions for 2018? Do you have a resolution for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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20 Comments

First additional resolution that comes to mind is Max Kepler: Solve left handed pitching.

 

Without digging into numbers, I don't recall this being a particularly obvious hole in his game in the minors, but he's looked totally lost at times against lefties at the big league level.

 

There's nothing wrong with having a lengthy MLB career as a productive platoon outfielder and that might appear to be Kepler's "floor" right now. 

 

But he has the potential to be SO much more than that and it starts with showing he can rip on southpaws. Get it done, Max!

    • ashburyjohn, PseudoSABR, dbminn and 7 others like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Jan 01 2018 02:52 PM
What does Miguel Sano's resolution look like? I am guessing much different than a week or so back.
    • caninatl04 likes this
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yarnivek1972
Jan 01 2018 03:26 PM
Shortstop has been a black hole since day one for the franchise. There have been maybe 5 guys that have started the majority of games for 3 consecutive years: Zoilo, Smalley, Gagne, Meares and Guzman. Coming up on 60 years of the Twins and those 5 manned the spot for maybe 25 of them.
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ashburyjohn
Jan 01 2018 03:37 PM

Kennys Vargas

Resolution: Treat every plate appearance as though trying out for the team

 

No more wasted at-bats. No more falling behind 0-2 on weak breaking stuff out of the zone. If his last at-bat in a Twins uniform occurs this season, make sure that the video of it shows it was a professional one.

 

 

    • PseudoSABR, SD Buhr, dbminn and 1 other like this
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IndianaTwin
Jan 01 2018 04:28 PM

Trevor May

Resolution: Get healthy enough, stay healthy enough, and pitch effectively enough to get 140 innings as a starter or 50 appearances in the pen.

    • dbminn, caninatl04 and Original Whizzinator like this

Front Office - do something we can be excited about.

    • h2oface, spanman2, KGB and 5 others like this
Erv Santana: Beat father time for another season.
    • h2oface, Sconnie, dbminn and 2 others like this

Front Office: sign at least one pitcher that slots in front of Santana.

 

    • h2oface and IaFan1 like this

Eddie Rosario: figure out when to either hit the cutoff man or just throw to second to keep the runner from advancing.Then go to the All-Star game.

    • dbminn and Original Whizzinator like this

 

First additional resolution that comes to mind is Max Kepler: Solve left handed pitching.

 

It's common for young players to have to adjust to MLB-level lefties. But Kepler is off the charts on the bad side when it comes to his performance v. lefties. Being this bad is probably an aberration that can be corrected, but he needs a hell of a lot of practice. I'm guessing he isn't seeing the ball well if at all.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this

 

Trevor May

Resolution: Get healthy enough, stay healthy enough, and pitch effectively enough to get 140 innings as a starter or 50 appearances in the pen.

 

Doggone it, Trevor, people like you

    • IndianaTwin and less cowbell more neau like this

It's common for young players to have to adjust to MLB-level lefties. But Kepler is off the charts on the bad side when it comes to his performance v. lefties. Being this bad is probably an aberration that can be corrected, but he needs a hell of a lot of practice. I'm guessing he isn't seeing the ball well if at all.


In an ideal world he could have used more time in AAA learning this against better competition than AA. This is a result of relying on prospects to fill MLB jobs.

Granted he's had moderate success so far. I don't envy him learning something critical for his long term career at the highest level.
    • Doomtints likes this

 

Kennys Vargas

Resolution: Treat every plate appearance as though trying out for the team

 

No more wasted at-bats. No more falling behind 0-2 on weak breaking stuff out of the zone. If his last at-bat in a Twins uniform occurs this season, make sure that the video of it shows it was a professional one.

 

Vargas runs up the count. His most common at bat has a 2-2 count, with 1-2 and 3-2 being next up. This is good.

 

He needs to hit better when at 0-2, 1-2, 2-2 however. With any other count he is Dangerous with a capital D. More experience should fix that.

    • ashburyjohn and Original Whizzinator like this

 

In an ideal world he could have used more time in AAA learning this against better competition than AA. This is a result of relying on prospects to fill MLB jobs.

Granted he's had moderate success so far. I don't envy him learning something critical for his long term career at the highest level.

 

True, but unfortunately he was out of options. The Twins F.O. at the time kept him in the low minors for a very long time, longer than it looked necessary by his numbers.

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Longdistancetwins
Jan 02 2018 05:07 PM

 

Shortstop has been a black hole since day one for the franchise. There have been maybe 5 guys that have started the majority of games for 3 consecutive years: Zoilo, Smalley, Gagne, Meares and Guzman. Coming up on 60 years of the Twins and those 5 manned the spot for maybe 25 of them.

Get your point, and this is nitpicking, but give Leo Cardenas credit for playing in lots and lots of games for the three years he was here.  

And what might be Berrios’ “out” pitch?
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less cowbell more neau
Jan 03 2018 05:09 PM

Phil Hughes: Next a rib needs to come out, get the whole rib removed at one time.

Re: Berrios:Last season he improved from 2016. From 17.4 to 22.6% K% and from 12.5 to 7.8 BB%. And in the first half he was a pretty remarkable 23.7 K% and 6.5 BB%

 

I think that his 2017 goal was to be able to throw his fastball for strikes and get ahead, something that he had issues with in 2016.  This season his goals should be: a. to build on that, b. mix it up with a third pitch a bit more; esp. against LHB (11.9 BB% and 1.58 WHIP vs. 4.3 BB% and 0.98 WHIP for RHB); he threw the change only 8.6% of the time.Needs to be higher.and c. build up a bit more endurance; which is something that will eventually come.

    • Sconnie and Vanimal46 like this

And what might be Berrios’ “out” pitch?


That Wipeout curveball. When it was on last year, it was deadly. He seemed to always get the Sunday afternoon starts last season. So I was fortunate to watch a vast majority of his starts.

Re: Berrios: Last season he improved from 2016. From 17.4 to 22.6% K% and from 12.5 to 7.8 BB%. And in the first half he was a pretty remarkable 23.7 K% and 6.5 BB%

I think that his 2017 goal was to be able to throw his fastball for strikes and get ahead, something that he had issues with in 2016. This season his goals should be: a. to build on that, b. mix it up with a third pitch a bit more; esp. against LHB (11.9 BB% and 1.58 WHIP vs. 4.3 BB% and 0.98 WHIP for RHB); he threw the change only 8.6% of the time. Needs to be higher. and c. build up a bit more endurance; which is something that will eventually come.

this... needs to get his change up improved enough to rely on it for lefties like he does his curve for righties.

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