Rundown: Mauer Being a Pain, Prospect Lists, Philly Trade Rumors and Other Notes
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsThere were so many great Mauer articles, and I’m sure there will be more to come, but one of my favorite pieces from yesterday came from Scott Merkin of MLB.com. It may seem weird to include something from a White Sox beat writer, but I’ve really enjoyed hearing the reactions to Mauer’s retirement from sources outside of the Twins organization/Twin Cities.
Merkin asked former Twins pitcher and longtime White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about Joe. Cooper called Mauer the best left-handed hitter he’s seen in the 15 years he’s been with Chicago and added “he became a pain in the ass.” I don’t know if you can get a higher compliment than that coming from a very well-respected pitching guru. There are several other glowing quotes from Cooper on Mauer in that piece.
It was prospect list mania last week. Seth shared his preliminary top 30 here at the site. Also, Mike Berardino’s top 10 list for Baseball America was unveiled. Lance Brozdowski shared his own top 30 at Prospects Live.
Jhoan Duran, who was acquired in the Eduardo Escobar trade, has some serious steam. He was inside the top 10 in each of the lists linked above. I get it, Duran has good size, a smooth delivery and sits 96 mph easy and the secondary stuff is also getting rave reviews. I do think it’s curious that he had relatively little success in his three and a half seasons in the Diamondbacks system, at least in comparison to how he broke out with the Twins.
I’m also surprised at the lack of love for Lewis Thorpe. Seth had him at No. 8, which feels about right, but he didn’t make the BA top 10 and Prospects Live had him at 22. I guess in some ways I can understand that too, as Thorpe’s overall athleticism doesn’t stand out like some of the other pitchers in the system. A lot of scouts also believe Thorpe will end up in the bullpen.
As with all prospects, you can see a lot of potential future outcomes with these two, but it seems to me like these rankings are generally bumping Duran more for his ceiling while knocking Thorpe down for his floor. I may end up the high man on Thorpe and the lowest on Duran (you’ll be able to find my list in the Twins Prospect Handbook, which comes out later this winter), but all that really means is I’m more comfortable with Thorpe, who’s a much more realized product. If Duran puts up the kind of numbers Thorpe already has in the high minors, I think we’d all be thrilled.
Over at FanGraphs, Craig Edwards both ranked and put a dollar value on all the farm systems across baseball. The Twins slotted in at seventh behind only the Padres, Braves, White Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and Reds.
Among the many notes in his latest piece, Ken Rosenthal passed along that the Phillies are pushing Carlos Santana aggressively on the trade market. Santana is coming off somewhat of a down year by his standards, but he still had a .352 OBP and more walks than strikeouts. He’s owed more than $35 million total over the next two seasons, then has a $17.5 million option in 2021. A switch-hitter with good on-base skills would look really good in the Twins lineup, and Derek Falvey is obviously very familiar with Santana after all the years they spent together in Cleveland.
Over at MLB.com, Mike Petriello listed the Twins as one of the four logical trade destinations for Santana. The other teams listed were the Rockies, Mariners and Angels.
Late last week over at The Athletic, Dan Hayes wrote an article about how Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton have put the Twins at a crossroads. There are a lot of interesting parallels drawn between the Twins and some of the most successful teams in baseball right now, along with some interesting quotes from members of the Astros and Cubs front offices. But something Thad Levine said was a bit deflating to me.
Levine told Hayes that if Sano and Buxton take a step forward “I think we have primed ownership to then give us the green light to take more of an aggressive step forward with this unit of players.” We’ll see how the offseason unfolds, but that quote leads me to believe there’s going to be more of a holding pattern this upcoming season. That they'll wait for a Sano/Buxton breakout before really getting aggressive. That’s the last thing I want to see. Be buyers or sellers. You’re either in or you’re out. No more middle ground.
Looking for a job in baseball? The Twins are hiring a Baseball Research Analyst. Duties include “statistical modeling and quantitative analysis to aid in the creation and improvement of models/tools for decision making in player development, game strategy, scouting, trades and free agency.” I sure hope they hire somebody soon!
MLB Trade Rumors released its list of non-tender candidates and there are a number of interesting middle infielders included. They’re on the list for a reason, but guys like Devon Travis, Jonathan Schoop and Tim Beckham are still fairly young and have shown some flashes. Old friend Yangervis Solarte is also on the list.
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that there’s nearly zero chance Michael Brantley returns to the Indians. He adds that the starting outfield as it stands would be some combination of Jason Kipnis, Leonys Martin, Greg Allen or Tyler Naquin. In other words, not good.
Jon Heyman of Fancred reported that Cleveland had talks with the Yankees about potential Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco trades. It’s hard to really make any conclusions until actual transactions start to happen, but it’s certainly sounding like Cleveland is more likely to sell off pieces than it is to make any big additions.
Six of the seven players who were extended qualifying offers rejected them. The only player to accept was Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will return to the Dodgers. I’m not sure if the Twins would have had a realistic shot to land Ryu, but his absence from the free agent market will create some more competition for the left-handed starters who are available.
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