Twins Intrasquad Scrimmage Preview: Maeda and Team Polo vs. Smeltzer and Team Kep
As mentioned in the Tweet above, the game will be streamed online by both the Twins and FSN. Unlike previous streams of Summer Camp, this scrimmage will feature play-by-play from Dick Bremer and Justin Morneau.
The pitching matchup will be new Twin Kenta Maeda vs. Devin Smeltzer. Cody Christie recently wrote an article on how the Twins are pairing up pitchers. Here’s a excerpt from that piece:
RHP Kenta Maeda/LHP Devin Smeltzer
Kenta Maeda, Minnesota’s big off-season trade acquisition, has something to prove as a starter after being used as a starter and reliever with the Dodgers. Like Maeda, Devin Smeltzer started his professional career in the Dodgers organization. Smeltzer found success last season even though his pitching repertoire would hardly be called overpowering. He relies on a fastball that ranks in the 6th percentile for velocity and in the 86th percentile for spin. As with Odorizzi and Thorpe, this pairing gives the Twins another righty-lefty pitching combo.
Parker Hageman also recently wrote about Smeltzer's new slider, and featured Maeda in an article earlier this offseason.
There are some interesting items to takeaway from these lineups. The Twins received good news about Byron Buxton’s left leg injury, but there’s still no guarantee he’ll be ready for Opening Day. The center fielders for tonight’s scrimmage are Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade Jr.
We’ve seen plenty of Cave at the position, he’s started 78 games in center field over the past two seasons, but it’s especially intriguing to see Wade get the nod in center over Max Kepler, who’ll play usual right field. Wade made nine starts in center for the Twins last season, but 65 of his 80 outfield appearances in the minor leagues last year were in the corners.
The Twins also got good news on Miguel Sanó, who was cleared to return to the team after two negative tests for COVID-19. Handling first base duties tonight will be Alex Kirilloff and Brent Rooker. Kirilloff started to play more first base toward the end of the last minor league season while Rooker exclusively played outfield for the first time in his professional career in 2019.
One last notable item is that Travis Blankenhorn is handling third base. He has plenty of previous experience there, but in 2019 made just two appearances at the hot corner. Blankenhorn played 72 games at second base and 24 in left field last season.
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