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Article: Twins Daily 2019 Midseason Top 40 Prospects: Recap

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Trading From A Position of Strength

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MIN 8, DET 3: Now Witness the Firepower

This Twins lineup is a thing of destructive beauty. The scary part: Even a couple of the guys who got off to slow starts are starting to catch fire. C.J. Cron hit a big three-run home run tonight. He also homered this afternoon, giving him nine round trippers in his last 25 games. Marwin Gonzalez added a dinger of his own.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Game 2 Box Score
Stewart: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 63.3% strikes (57 of 90 pitches)
Home Runs: Cron (9), Gonzalez (3)
Multi-Hit Games: Cron (4-for-5, 2B, HR), Rosario (3-for-5), Gonzalez (2-for-4, HR, BB), Buxton (2-for-4, 2B)
WPA of +0.1: Cron .243
WPA of -0.1: None
Attached Image: Win511g2.png
(chart via FanGraphs)

Through his first 10 games with Minnesota, Cron had just a .508 OPS and Twins fans were starting to compare him to the other former Tampa Bay first baseman who flopped with the team. After a big day at the plate, Cron’s OPS is all the way up to .839. He’s been on an absolute tear.

With two more hits in this game, Gonzalez is now 12-for-33 so far in May (.364). He had just 13 hits in all of April. And, of course, some of the other usual suspects delivered tonight. Eddie Rosario had three hits, Byron Buxton picked up his 16th double and Mitch Garver hit an RBI triple.

Much like with Pineda’s start in the afternoon game, Kohl Stewart was wavering early. He gave up three runs in his first three innings, but settled in and provided the Twins with a quality start.

There has been some question as to why Stewart has been the go-to guy in these doubleheader spot starts. While wasn’t too sure he was the best option to call up either, I am starting to see some of the logic. This guy is not bothered by the big stage.

The last thing you want in these spots is for a young guy to come up, put too much pressure on himself and try to pitch his way onto the roster in one night. Stewart has been through this a few times now, so he knows his role.

It’s not like Stewart was outstanding, but he certainly did his job. Giving the Twins six innings in the night cap of a doubleheader when they have games on the schedule the next 10 days is a big deal.

It just so happened to work out that the Tigers, on the other hand, did call upon a less experienced pitcher. Gregory Soto, 24, made his Major League debut in this game. He had just three starts in Double A, and it showed. He gave up seven runs on nine hits and a couple walks over four innings.

The bullpen trio of Matt Magill, Mike Morin and Tyler Duffey each pitched a scoreless inning. Duffey struck out all three batters he faced.

Fernando Romero, Stewart and Duffey, who was the bonus 26th man for today's doubleheader, were all optioned back to Rochester after this game. Martin Perez will come off the paternity list and Willians Astudillo is expected to be activated off the IL tomorrow morning.

Postgame with Stewart


Postgame with Baldelli

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Pen511g2.png
Next Three Games
Sun vs. DET, 1:10 pm CT (Perez-Norris)
Mon vs. LAA, 6:40 pm CT (TBD)
Tue vs. LAA, 6:40 pm CT (TBD)

Last Game
DET 5, MIN 3: Tigers Out-Tater Twins, Gardy Gets Tossed

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26 Comments

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Original Whizzinator
May 11 2019 09:20 PM
Stewart was a very candid interview on the post game show
    • Dman, adorduan, CUtomorrownight and 1 other like this

Doing some extrapolating here, but:

 

vs Elite teams (Yankees, Astros): 5-5

vs Contenders (Indians, Phillies, Mets): 4-4

vs Non-Contenders (Royals, Tigers, Blue Jays, O's): 16-4

 

The Twins playing around .500 ball vs good teams might be good enough, but it's hard to imagine playing .800 ball against the bad teams. There are a lot of games against the bad teams on our schedule, but maintaining a 16-4 pace against them is unsustainable. 

 

What am I getting at? This run has ben outstanding, but I don't think the Twins are going to win 106 games. At this point, though, 95 is very doable.

    • glunn, Danchat, mikelink45 and 5 others like this

C.J. Cron has been everything I've hoped for - finally, a 1B with a power bat, very good defense, and some big games with tons of hits. He's looking so much better than Morrison was last year. Schoop also looks like he's returned to his 2017 form, showing plenty of discipline at the plate. Even Marwin has started to look good. So far, everything's gone right for the offense!

    • glunn, diehardtwinsfan, PseudoSABR and 9 others like this

Duffey looked great! I imagine that spin rate reading machine or whatever it's called might work some magic on him. Get him down to FB / curve, with a few different locations, and he might be a good bullpen arm. 

    • glunn, bighat and Original Whizzinator like this
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Mile high twins fan
May 11 2019 09:46 PM
I was really impressed by Duffy’s performance tonight. I can’t recall him ever throwing 96 in the past. That curveball looks a lot better when it’s complimented by a fastball at 95-96 instead of a fastball at 91-93. Nice to see some promise there as I’m sure he’ll be on that flight from Rochester many more times this summer.
    • glunn, mikelink45, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
May 11 2019 10:20 PM
Glad to see Cron’s OPS back up among the team leaders. Great pickup, and Marwin called him “the goalkeeper” after the game. :) First base defense is very underrated in my opinion and Cron is playing it just as well as Mauer was; which is to say, at a gold glove level.
    • glunn, mikelink45, Dman and 5 others like this
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wallyrichards
May 11 2019 11:00 PM

Roco seems to make all the right moves but I have to say something about his decision to use Hildeberger instead of using his closer in the first game. What a perfect spot to get Rodgers and or Parker an inning of work and possibly win the game. Hasn't Hilde pitched enough? Not sure what the hell he was thinking about. What did he want to give Detroit a game because he felt sorry for them? Jesus Roco pull your head out. Right now Parker pitches about every 4 or 5 days so he could use a little more work.Not sure what he was thinking about but he pulled a real Boner. 

    • mikelink45 likes this
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stringer bell
May 11 2019 11:13 PM
Hindsight is 20-20. There was another game to consider with a callup from Rochester starting. I do think that Rocco might consider Hildenberger and Harper swapping roles.
    • glunn, DocBauer and bighat like this

 

Oh yeah? What did he have to say?

 

It's included in the article.

    • glunn and PseudoSABR like this

First time I've ever seen Tyler Duffey blow a side away with just his heater. Lots of 95's and a few 96mph fastballs, and it looked like he was commanding their location. Has Duffey been talking to president Wes Johnson, too?

    • glunn, CUtomorrownight, gman and 1 other like this
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twinsfaninsaudi
May 12 2019 03:28 AM
The more they win the better that gold trim looks on the uniforms.
    • Dman and bighat like this
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diehardtwinsfan
May 12 2019 05:59 AM

To be clear Tom, I'm not quite sure this deathstar is fully operational just yet... Still got one more key piece on the O sitting in AAA.

    • ashbury, Tom Froemming and bighat like this

Solid job by Stewart. He's absolutely right: he needs to get at least one more pitch working in order to stick up here, but he did a nice job once that sinker started sinking like usual and commanding thepitches that were working for those last 3 innings. I''d say he showed why the Twins have him on the Rochester shuttle and how he can compete in MLB.

 

I'm starting to really enjoy Cron's laser shot HRs. I know launch angle is the big thing right now, but hardhit line drives play well in any era, and its pretty fun to watch those streak out. He's been a good signing, worked his way out of an early slump and seems to be seeing the ball very well right now. And the defense has been very very good, something Morrison never brought to the table.

 

I was surprised Marwin was back today, that collision looked really awful. Glad to hear there were no concussion issues and that he's feeling ok. He certainly played well again; Marwin in May is the guy we were expecting to get and he's another weapon.

    • Dantes929, mikelink45 and RaymondLuxuryYacht like this

After a shaky first couple innings, Stewart settled in nicely.Certainly reason to believe he can be a serviceable #5 starter should the need arise.  

 

Was that the best inning we have seen from Duffey since he was starting that year he was called up?Maybe, just maybe, he can fill one of the needed spots in the pen later this year.

 

And a question for all of you.With one-quarter of the season nearly behind us, is Mitch Garver the best hitting catcher in baseball?The kid is on track for 30 some home runs while playing in just over half the games.With an average well over .300, he sure is answering the question of who should be the Twins starting catcher the next five plus years.  

    • diehardtwinsfan, mikelink45 and RaymondLuxuryYacht like this

 

C.J. Cron has been everything I've hoped for - finally, a 1B with a power bat, very good defense, and some big games with tons of hits. He's looking so much better than Morrison was last year. Schoop also looks like he's returned to his 2017 form, showing plenty of discipline at the plate. Even Marwin has started to look good. So far, everything's gone right for the offense!

Cron' fielding has been great so we have no loss there, but in the hitting department I think we see why Mauer was not made for 1B, Cron is the classic 1B hitter and it makes a difference. 

If you would have told me on April 1 that Cruz would be 5th on the team in HR and tied with Polanco...I would have thought that was a bad thing.

 

What an offense so far.

    • USAFChief, 70charger, dbminn and 1 other like this
I liked the Cron signing but had no clue he could play defense like this! It's not hyperbole to say he's played at a Gold Glove level thus far.

His low AVG and OPS mentioned are misleading. His numbers clearly show he has been productive. He started slow, had a bit of s hot streak, then cooled down again before this most recent outburst. Numbers fluctuate a lot in the early going.

He was such a smart sign!!
    • JLease and RaymondLuxuryYacht like this
Might be the first time I've ever listened to an interview with Stewart. Agree he sounded very candid about today, no excuses, knew what worked and what didnt and made some adjustments.

Still only 24yo until after the season and in his first full season of AAA, and yet it just feels like he's been around forever.

He scares me when I watch him sometimes as it seems he's just on the edge. But as he stated, if he can get that 3rd (of 4) pitch working most nights, he shows he can at least be solid. I think we all know by now he's just not going to be the top of the rotation guy we hoped for. And at 24, he's not exactly a late bloomer. He just is what he is and what he's going to be, which is probably a nice, solid #4-5 SP. There is still real value in that.

I was really impressed by Duffy’s performance tonight. I can’t recall him ever throwing 96 in the past. That curveball looks a lot better when it’s complimented by a fastball at 95-96 instead of a fastball at 91-93. Nice to see some promise there as I’m sure he’ll be on that flight from Rochester many more times this summer.


Duffey has been such a frustrating enigma. Looked like the move to the rotation was a smart one, and then it blew up. No problem, just move him to the pen again. Except, he's just been so inconsistent there as well.

But it's not only a new season, but a new staff. Early results are excellent at both Rochester and with the Twins. SSS, but encouraging. To me his biggest problem has been lack of consistent control and location of his curve. If he can find that, and this increased velocity is for real, he could be a huge help.

Is this more of Johnson's work? If so, it's a small piece of the puzzle most have dismissed that could pay real dividends.
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Longdistancetwins
May 12 2019 10:46 AM

I just purchased a new device that included Siri.First question: "Who's the best team in baseball?"She passed the test. :)

    • Dantes929, Hosken Bombo Disco and PDX Twin like this
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stringer bell
May 12 2019 11:03 AM

 

Might be the first time I've ever listened to an interview with Stewart. Agree he sounded very candid about today, no excuses, knew what worked and what didnt and made some adjustments.

Still only 24yo until after the season and in his first full season of AAA, and yet it just feels like he's been around forever.

He scares me when I watch him sometimes as it seems he's just on the edge. But as he stated, if he can get that 3rd (of 4) pitch working most nights, he shows he can at least be solid. I think we all know by now he's just not going to be the top of the rotation guy we hoped for. And at 24, he's not exactly a late bloomer. He just is what he is and what he's going to be, which is probably a nice, solid #4-5 SP. There is still real value in that.

I thought the interview was very interesting. He got a win and a quality start, but was candid that he wasn't close to dominant. It is a tough life for a starting pitcher nowadays if you can't strike out guys and have to depend on the fielders behind you (and high walls). Stewart doesn't have a swing and miss or putaway pitch. He does get a lot of ground balls. 

 

IMHO, unless he finds another consistent effective pitch, he's not even a #4 or #5 starter. He is still relatively young and perhaps he will blossom. It is no small feat for any high school draft choice to make the majors and he has done that. 

    • DocBauer likes this
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drivlikejehu
May 12 2019 11:06 AM

Would be interested to see if Stewart would increase his velocity significantly out of the bullpen.

 

Duffey has been such a frustrating enigma. Looked like the move to the rotation was a smart one, and then it blew up. No problem, just move him to the pen again. Except, he's just been so inconsistent there as well.

 

Inconsistent is what we hear most about Duffey, May, Hildenberger and Romero. To me this is the best case to be made for letting guys like these pitch more than one inning when they are throwing well.  

 

I thought the interview was very interesting. He got a win and a quality start, but was candid that he wasn't close to dominant. It is a tough life for a starting pitcher nowadays if you can't strike out guys and have to depend on the fielders behind you (and high walls). Stewart doesn't have a swing and miss or putaway pitch. He does get a lot of ground balls. 

 

IMHO, unless he finds another consistent effective pitch, he's not even a #4 or #5 starter. He is still relatively young and perhaps he will blossom. It is no small feat for any high school draft choice to make the majors and he has done that. 

 

I think there's still room for a pitcher who induces a lot of weak contact in MLB, but in order to be successful long term that pitcher needs to not walk guys while not grooving the ball in on those 3 ball counts. You just can't afford the extra baserunners, because you're giving up more hits too and the double play isn't always going to come.

 

It was unsustainable for Gibson because he was churning out a WHIP of 1.5. Two years where he'd have games where he'd go 8 innings and guys are beating the ball into the turf, then get knocked around for 4-5 runs and be done after 5. Gibson changed the pitch mix, upped the Ks and cut down the hits putting himself into a much more consistent and sustainable approach. If Stewart can drop the walks while not getting more hittable, he won't necessarily have to change his mix and approach to be a sturdy innings eater. I don''t know if he has the command to make that happen, but maybe Wes Johnson can help him figure that out too.

And a question for all of you.With one-quarter of the season nearly behind us, is Mitch Garver the best hitting catcher in baseball?The kid is on track for 30 some home runs while playing in just over half the games.With an average well over .300, he sure is answering the question of who should be the Twins starting catcher the next five plus years.  

It's been a good season. I used baseball-reference.com to locate all major league catchers with at least 50 plate appearances, who have played at least half their games at Catcher.

 

Mitch's OPS of 1.223 coming into today's game is tops.

 

Of all time.

    • rdehring and railmarshalljon like this

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