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Front Page: Dealing with Wheeler Gets Minnesota an Ace

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:10 PM
This offseason the Minnesota Twins chief focus is going to be on acquiring impact pitching. The front office has suggested as much, and w...
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Plan to reduce minor league teams

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https://www.nytimes....ue-changes.html   https://www.baseball...r-league-teams/   It would appear that MLB must be thinking the...
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Front Page: Three Critical Developments in Tyler Duffey...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:10 PM
Despite having a clear need in their bullpen, the Twins spent last offseason focusing on offensive upgrades. Their only addition was fung...
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Front Page: Can the Twins Become the New Astros? Part 2

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:34 PM
After looking into the similarities in the use of analytics, technology, and communication in both the Twins and Astros organizations in...
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Front Page: Can the Twins Become the New Astros? Part 3

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:10 PM
In the final installment of this three-part series comparing the Twins to the Astros, we will look into the role that an important vetera...
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How the Twins Are Preparing for the Impact of Injuries

I think it’s safe to say that most Twins fans – if not all of them – expected a lot more from their club in 2018 after such exciting playoff run six months before. The signings of a number of free agents coming off a very decent previous season got a lot us over the moon. But one factor played a big role in Minnesota’s disappointing season: injuries. Is there even a way to dodge this problem or at least soften the blow? Yes, there is, and the Twins are doing a fine job on that front.
Image courtesy of © Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
First of all, in this stats oriented sports era you can find numbers to quantify virtually anything within the game. In 2017, Roster Resource came up with a very interesting metric to show which teams have been hit hardest by injuries, as explained here by Jason Martinez. It’s called Roster Effect Rating and its formula takes into account a player’s projected value to his team and the number of days that he has spent in the DL. It’s pretty neat.

To exemplify, the Angels had the highest Roster Effect Rating in the majors last year, with 16.97. They weren’t the team with the most DL stints (they ranked third, with 32), but among the 23 players they’ve had going to the DL last year, three of them were extremely valuable: Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani spent 54 days sidelined. The team that suffered the least with injuries during 2018 were the Astros, having the smallest Roster Effect Rating of the MLB with 3.44 and the second fewest trips to the DL, with 17.

So, how much did injuries affect the Twins last year? More than twice as much in comparison with the year before. To be more exact, 2.3 times more.

Two years ago, no more than 16 Twins players went to the DL. And the most important players to do so didn’t stay there for long, with the exception of Miguel Sanó. He practically missed the final month and a half of the season, totaling 40 days out of action. Joe Mauer, Byron Buxton, Jason Castro and Robbie Grossman didn’t spend more than 18 days on the DL. Overall, Minnesota had a Roster Effect Rating of only 3.93, which ranked as MLB’s ninth smallest. But that was about to change.

It certainly is too shallow to say that injuries were the biggest reason for the drop off in 2018, but they absolutely took quite a toll. According to the DL Tracker, Minnesota’s most missed player was Byron Buxton, who spent 58 days recovering from a fractured toe and a sore wrist, not to mention the strong migraines. If by any chance some of us don’t remember, Buxton was the position player with the second highest fWAR of the Twins in 2017, with 3.5. Right after him in 2018 there’s Ervin Santana, who spent the second most amount of time on the DL with 286 days as he was recovering from finger surgery. Santana was one of the most important players of the 2017 campaign, tying with José Berríos for most fWAR among pitchers, with 2.9. Two of the additions that came to the Twins via free agency also were sidelined for quite a while last year. Logan Morrison was out of action for 184 days, whereas Addison Reed couldn’t play for 18 days.

The 2017 Twins had only five players who spent 100 or more days on the DL, with none of them spending more than 183. In 2018 they had six such players, with four of them going over 200 days. Still comparing the last two seasons, Spotrac shows that last year Twins players spent a total of 1,099 days on the DL, with those players accounting for $33,774,552 in salary. The year before that, they had had 942 days and the club had spent $14,184,723 on those players.

Needless to say, the Twins had a much worse record, going from 85-77 to 78-84. It’s hard to say how many of those extra seven losses came as a result of those injuries, but it’s impossible to deny they did contribute a lot. But it seems like this year the club is working on the best way to prevent injuries having such a big impact, which is investing in depth.

Opening Day is very far away and the roster will (hopefully) still be improved. There are many ways to do so. But if we take a look at the roster they way it’s designed right now, we can tell that it is deep in most of its areas.

Position players
Of the nine positions, only three of them have only one player listed, which are 3B, RF and DH. But that shouldn’t be an issue, given the multitude of players who can fill in, especially in the OF, which is currently carrying seven players. All of the others have at least two players available.

Catchers: Jason Castro, Mitch Garver, Willians Astudillo
First basemen: C.J. Cron, Tyler Austin
Second basemen: Jonathan Schoop, Ronald Torreyes, Luis Arraez
Shortstops: Jorge Polanco, Ehire Adrianza, Nick Gordon
Third basemen: Miguel Sanó
Right fielders: Max Kepler
Center fielders: Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Zack Granite, Michael Reed
Left fielders: Eddie Rosario, LaMonte Wade
Designated hitters: Nelson Cruz

We always hope that nothing bad happens, but using 2018 as an example, we would have gladly welcomed the Astudillo-Garver duo instead of Bobby Wilson for 47 games, after Castro had a season ending surgery. Buxton was deeply missed, but having Cave right out of the gate could have been much better in comparison with Ryan LaMarre for 34 games. Besides Cron, Austin and Astudillo have also given some nice indications that they could fill in decently in the event of a (God forbid!) Nelson Cruz injury. Last year, while Morrison suffered with injuries, Robbie Grossman was having a nothing-better-than-average first half of the season. So things look, at least in theory, a bit better this year.

Pitchers
Starting Pitchers: José Berríos, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, Martín Pérez

Starting depth: Adalberto Mejía, Fernando Romero, Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart, Lewis Thorpe

Relief pitchers: Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Addison Reed, Blake Parker, Trevor Hildenberger, Tyler Duffey, Matt Magill, Gabriel Moya, Andrew Vasquez

The fight for a spot in the Twins rotation probably hasn’t been this fierce in years. The Pérez signing was tricky, but we have tried to show how he could represent good backend of the rotation help. Really, it’s even confusing to try to work out the Twins pitching staff right now. There are literally too many options.

Minnesota currently carries more than two rotation's worth of starting pitchers. Of course, Pineda and Pérez are question marks at this point, but Mejía (who doesn’t have minor league options left, so would have to start the year out of the bullpen, if not DFA’d) is hungry to prove he belongs in the rotation. The same works for Romero. The bullpen is also crowded, with the players I’ve listed as depth being all options as well. A lot of good arms will have to start the year in Triple-A Rochester. And that’s exciting, if you think about it.

Rocco Baldelli can complain about many things, but slim pickings is not one of them. Most of Twins fans are mad because of the front office’s lack of bold moves that we believed they could’ve done. But let’s tip our hats to their construction of a better and deeper roster, as of now.

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45 Comments

Signing #5 pitchers so you can drop a #5 pitcher with options from your 40 man seems like a bad way to prepare for injuries.
    • Twins33, Danchat, Hosken Bombo Disco and 2 others like this

The most important thing for the Twins FO to prepare for injuries is to keep telling us fans that we're a small market team, and that we're still a couple years from making a run...kind of like nuclear fusion - just a few years out of reach, stop complaining beeches, buy moar season tickitz!


Yaaaaas!

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    • jimbo92107 likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 05 2019 01:07 PM

 

Of course they need more stars, but that's no reason to punt the 25th spot.

we don't agree that they are punting on that spot. 

 

To an extent, it's a bit of both. We all like Astrudilo, but he's also at best a very flexible option who won't embarrass himself anywhere, but he's not going to stand out much either. He has options, and some of the other options we have on the 25 man don't. You get rid of those guys and then you're using someone a whole lot worse than Willins to fill in. That's the logic, and it makes sense even if that means Astrudillo is in AAA. It's literally a 1 day issue at most. 

 

I'm not losing too much sleep over the 25th man spot... I think you and I should both agree that we need more talent much higher up on the roster than there.

 

If Astudillo continues to hit like he did last year (That's a big If in my opinion). He would be the best hitting catcher in baseball. 

 

However... it is a big big If and I believe that he still has to do it again to fully earn it. We are still in a small sample size with him. I am pulling for him... big time. 

 

As for the 25th spot... Personally... I lose sleep over it.

 

I don't like calling it the 25th spot. I think spots 1 through 25 should be simply "Roster Spots" with no number attached to them. Let's the players sort out the rankings by how they perform. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this
Why does he have to hit that well to play? How about tenth best catcher, or even twentieth?

we don't agree that they are punting on that spot.


I must have read your post wrong, it seemed like you don't care much about that spot one way or the other. It's a precious commodity. there are only 25

https://www.theringe...rie-dj-lemahieu

 

This article is a must read

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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 06 2019 07:44 AM

 

If Astudillo continues to hit like he did last year (That's a big If in my opinion). He would be the best hitting catcher in baseball. 

 

However... it is a big big If and I believe that he still has to do it again to fully earn it. We are still in a small sample size with him. I am pulling for him... big time. 

 

As for the 25th spot... Personally... I lose sleep over it.

 

I don't like calling it the 25th spot. I think spots 1 through 25 should be simply "Roster Spots" with no number attached to them. Let's the players sort out the rankings by how they perform. 

 

To me, I think you see Austin in that 25th man spot... and I'm not losing sleep over that, as Rocco will always have a decent bat on the bench for strategic purposes. Willins can be called up if someone gets hurt, and that goes back to your point of him needing to earn it... He WILL have opportunities to do so this season.

 

Now that said, if you give the slot to Willins and (presumably cut someone else such as say Austin) and someone gets hurt (say Cruz or Cron)... then who do you call up? I agree with you that I don't want to see Adrianza getting 300 ABs this year. If that happens, it won't be because they didn't put Astrudillo on the 25 man out of ST. It will likely be because they cut someone that they shouldn't have and don't have a stop gap in the minors. 

 

I've got zero problems with Astrudillo on the Rochester shuttle. It solves your first concern (that he needs to earn it) and gives us more flexibility... not less. That's using an option wisely so that you effectively have 26 on your 25 man roster.

    • Riverbrian likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 06 2019 07:50 AM

 

I must have read your post wrong, it seemed like you don't care much about that spot one way or the other. It's a precious commodity. there are only 25

 

 

I do care about the spot. I like the idea of having a solid bench bat available for a late PH opportunity every game (I'm not quite as keen on a 8th reliever, but that's a different issue). I also like the idea of having what appears to be a very good stop gap who can be called up right away. I don't think it's punting on the spot to put Astrudillo in AAA, especially given that he's not exactly a known commodity at this point. He will get plenty of chances to prove himself over the course of the season. I'd wager a decent amount that he'll be called up no later than May as someone will have hit the DL by then. 

 

I will get more upset if they choose to not use the DL when a guy is hurt.

 

And I think we're both in agreement that the bigger problem here is that they've done nothing about other spots on the 25 man. We need a bullpen ace, and I'm really not excited about Perez. Hopefully I'm eating my words on Perez and we still end up with Kimbrel, but I doubt it. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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Halsey Hall
Feb 06 2019 01:33 PM

There's a ways to go before they break camp, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Gibson start on the Dl.He's thin as a rail having lost 25 pounds with Ecoli.

 

There's a ways to go before they break camp, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Gibson start on the Dl.He's thin as a rail having lost 25 pounds with Ecoli.

 

Yikes! 

 

To me, I think you see Austin in that 25th man spot... and I'm not losing sleep over that, as Rocco will always have a decent bat on the bench for strategic purposes. Willins can be called up if someone gets hurt, and that goes back to your point of him needing to earn it... He WILL have opportunities to do so this season.

 

Now that said, if you give the slot to Willins and (presumably cut someone else such as say Austin) and someone gets hurt (say Cruz or Cron)... then who do you call up? I agree with you that I don't want to see Adrianza getting 300 ABs this year. If that happens, it won't be because they didn't put Astrudillo on the 25 man out of ST. It will likely be because they cut someone that they shouldn't have and don't have a stop gap in the minors. 

 

I've got zero problems with Astrudillo on the Rochester shuttle. It solves your first concern (that he needs to earn it) and gives us more flexibility... not less. That's using an option wisely so that you effectively have 26 on your 25 man roster.

 

Not quite. 

 

I can't stress this enough. I don't believe in a "25th man spot" and refuse to designate someone in that sense. I only see roster spots. Tyler Austin would have a roster spot and the right to compete for as much playing time as he earns in comparison with his teammates.

 

I believe that as soon as you designate someone for a 25th roster spot role, or designate anyone for reduced playing time and then subsequently give them one of the 25 man roster spot. You've blown it before the season even starts. The reason is real simple... we can count on someone (usually multiple players) from the "projected starting 9" to either get hurt or struggle. 

 

I have probably the same concerns with Adrianaza as you do by my concerns will manifest themselves differently. I'm saying that Adrianaza BETTER GET 300 AB's if you give him a roster spot or you have wasted that roster spot. With Adrianaza... I don't know if he is the guy I would have chose for a roster spot but if the front office has chosen him.... they must believe in him... now they must provide ample opportunity for him to justify the selection. They could have traded for someone like Profar or signed someone like Lowrie or Tulo but they didn't... instead they offered a contract to Adrianaza early. 

 

I will wait until the off-season is complete to see how the roster shapes up... I will also wait past that... right into the season before I make any judgements What I don't ever want to see again... Is struggling players playing every day like they are Mike Trout. And I especially don't want to ever hear again... "we have to play the struggling player every day because all we have is Ryan Lamarre. 

 

I got beat up last year by posters... I was accused of being a Ryan Lamarre bobo. My point about Ryan Lamarre was consistent... You gave him a roster spot with whatever methodology that I don't have access to... He's gathering dust on the bench and we have players who suck right now playing every day. Play him or cut him. Quit wasting precious 25 man roster space with players that you don't want to play. And rostering a player with the intention of playing in a diminished role is a player that you don't want to play. 

 

I've looked at playing time allocation and roster management for the Twins over the past decade. I studied it and I looked at again... 3 4 5 times and came to the same conclusion each time. 

 

The Twins consistently reward Average to Below Average to Bad Players with everyday playing time when they should be competing for that playing time. This fundamental issue has slowed our rebuild to a crawl. The reason it's crawling is because nobody is increasing in value.

 

Just look and see what we got back for the limited trades we made. It's a laundry list of names who became nothing. Look at what our departing free agents got for contracts and how soon they were out of baseball after being everyday players for us. 

 

We got nothing of value to trade... we have no room for rookies to play and increase in value because we have been blocked up with 9 starting AVERAGE baseball players. 

 

I'm saying that if you are going to take this approach with the average baseball player. You need more of them... Don't go average one at a time with a starting 9... You need to flood it and reward the best performer. That's how you find Astudillo and Cave. That's how you find Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Kike Hernandez, JD Martinez, David Ortiz. That's how you stop Logan Morrison from playing every day... that's how you become bullet proof and how you stop yourself from going down with the ship. 

 

Speaking of Astudillo... Yep... we agree 100%. He has options... players with options remaining allows you to keep the player close by while you give a player without options a chance. Players with options remaining should blow the doors down before you waste that potential depth. Because either Castro or Garver is going to get hurt and someone needs to show up from Rochester and it better not be Bobby Wilson.  

 

One last thing... I'm still thinking of Ash's word "Appreciably" from an earlier post. We all seem to imagine in our head the starting 9 playing "Appreciably" better than the others. In the past decade... how often have we had starting players performing "Appreciably" better. There's been a few but not that many. Certainly miles from close enough to ever think we have this "STARTING 9" thing down to a science".:)

 

Alright... i feel better. Til next time. I'll be back with this again I'm sure. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this

There's a ways to go before they break camp, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Gibson start on the Dl.He's thin as a rail having lost 25 pounds with Ecoli.

I don't recall seeing this tidbit before now. If so, I wonder whether the Twins' unexpectedly signing Perez has any connection with it.

 

I don't recall seeing this tidbit before now. If so, I wonder whether the Twins' unexpectedly signing Perez has any connection with it.

The Twins signing a SP was unexpected?

    • Vanimal46 likes this

The Twins signing a SP was unexpected?

The Twins signed a starting pitcher? Who'd we get?
    • Mike Sixel and Riverbrian like this

The Twins signing a SP was unexpected?

I never had particularly strong hopes, and particularly by that point in the off-season, yeah, Perez was unexpected to me.

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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yarnivek1972
Feb 07 2019 12:20 PM

There's a ways to go before they break camp, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Gibson start on the Dl. He's thin as a rail having lost 25 pounds with Ecoli.


I would. You’re talking about a professional athlete. Pitchers are still almost a week away from even starting workouts. E coli poisoning isn’t particularly serious unless you are very young, very old or otherwise unhealthy. None of these apply to Gibson.
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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 07 2019 03:21 PM

It likely will be to the extent of the damage. If he's recovered at this point, he might get off to a bit slower start, but yeah, I'd think he'd be fine...

 

but based on the amount of weight lost, I've got to think that this was a bit more than a random case of food poisoning. He's going to need to rebuild strength/muscle. 

Depending on which Hildenberger is the real Hildenberger ('17 or '18), he might not belong in the league, let alone the '19 bullpen.


I am still of the opinion the Hildy was over / mis used in '18 and that he will be of value in '19 and beyond
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sweetmusicviola16
Feb 07 2019 06:17 PM

No talk of marwin Gonzalez? This is the type of guy that we need. A solid bat who can play almost every position at an ML caliber of play. And switch hits. 

 

Our FO talks of being ready to strike when the oppurtunity comes. Should we just expect that oppurtunity to fall out of the sky? How about you put yourself in a better position for it to happen in the first place. A Gonzalez puts us in a far better position than Austin ever can.

    • Mike Sixel and Twins33 like this

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