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Article: Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:31 AM
Nowhere has the reforging of this team's identity over the past half-decade been more apparent than in the starting rotation. Five years...
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Article: Could Martin Perez Be 2019's Anibal Sanchez?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:22 AM
Last season, the Twins signed then 34-year-old starting pitcher Aníbal Sánchez to a one-year contract, a move that confused most of their...
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Article: Homonym Leads to Hot Water for Jason Castro, Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:58 AM
Among the many “new school” approaches of the Twins front office is an increased focus on pitch framing, wherein catchers tweak their mov...
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Leadoff Batter

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:36 PM
In most games this spring I've noticed Kepler being used as the leadoff batter. And based on results thus far (yeah, yeah, small sample s...
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Twins Spring Training Highlights

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:56 PM
I'll try to update this thread anytime I'm able to grab some spring training highlights. Here are a few from today:  
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Twins to Retire Mauer's No. 7: Who's Next?

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Twins organization surprised Joe Mauer by announcing his number seven would be retired. This ceremony will take place in a pre-game ceremony at some point in the coming season. As Kirsten Brown mentioned on Twitter, “7/7 is a home game and a Sunday. Seems like the logical choice to me.”

With Mauer’s number being retired, it’s only natural to think about the next player that could receive the honor. There are some possibilities on the current roster and a couple of prospects might be on the path to greatness.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Current Players
After last season, it might be hard to put any player on a path to having his number retired. Jose Berrios had a strong season. In his age-24 season, he was named an All-Star and was tied for the league lead in complete games (2) and shutouts (1). Berrios also pitched over 190 big league innings for the first time in his career. He has a shot at greatness if he can continue to make subtle improvements while becoming the front of the rotation starter the Twins desperately need.

Other players like Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton seemed to be on a path to having their numbers retired. Sano was an All-Star in 2017 as he went on to crack 28 home runs and post a .859 OPS. Buxton was also strong in 2017. He was awarded the American League Platinum Glove for his stellar defense and there were flashes of him putting it together at the plate.

Sano and Buxton stumbled through last season, which makes it tough to imagine their numbers being retired. Sano wound up being demoted to the minor leagues and Buxton fought through multiple injuries. The speedy centerfielder also wasn’t brought up in September and he recently told reports that he was “pissed” with the club about this decision.

Could 17 be added to the Target Field wall? What about 22 or 25?

Top Prospects
Royce Lewis is widely considered the top prospect in the Twins farm system. In the 2019 Twins Prospect Handbook, I wrote an article comparing Lewis’ and Mauer’s careers through their first pair of professional seasons. Both were former number one overall picks and both players started their professional careers on a strong note.

Other top prospects like Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol are coming off strong minor league campaigns. Kirilloff was named MiLB.com’s Breakout Prospect of the Year after destroying the MWL and the FSL. Graterol might be the Twins best pitching prospect since Francisco Liriano and that takes nothing away from how good Berrios could wind up being in the years ahead.

MiLB.com thinks Lewis and Kirilloff might be the most dynamic duo in the minor leagues. They moved through the minor leagues together last year and helped the Miracle win the FSL playoffs. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where one of these two players has his number retired at some point in the next couple of decades.

The next retired number might not be on the roster but there are some bright spots coming in the farm system.

If you would like to read more about the prospects mentioned in this post (along with articles from each Twins affiliate, full articles on the Twins Daily Minor League Award winners, over 160 Twins minor league player profiles, prospect rankings and much more), you have a couple of purchase options. If you want the paperbook copy of the book, it is $17.99. The electronic, PDF version is available for immediate download for $12.99. (Be sure to go to Lulu.com to see if there are any promo codes to provide a better price.)

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58 Comments

They should retire 36 (and that can go both ways, and it will be fun to see two names,) and then 38 after that, but they will unfortunately retire 48 next.

    • Sconnie likes this

I would say it will be a long time.If/when Buxton, Sano and Berrios are at great the Twin's won't pay them to stay or they won't want to stay and will go on to a winning team.Also they are not MN boys!

 

 

What took them so long? 

    • glunn, Puckett34, PseudoSABR and 2 others like this
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jorgenswest
Dec 18 2018 10:13 PM
Next? I like the question though I want to find an objective way to comment.

Radke has nearly as much baseball reference WAR as Blyleven in a Twins uniform. Knoblauch is even closer to Hrbek as a position player. Nathan is the reliever with the most WAR.

Any new addition may be lowering the bar though I am not sure where the bar should be for Nathan other than he is clearly the best reliever to wear a Twins uniform.

I wonder if anyone would stand out differently with Jay Jaffe’s JAWS. Do we consider the season in Senator uniforms for Kaat, Pascual and Allison? I don’t think they catch Radke or Knoblauch but it would be closer.
    • glunn likes this

This strikes me as a sad attempt to create a marketing draw in a down attendance season. It's a bit fast, isn't it?

 

 

    • Platoon likes this
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Pius Jefferson
Dec 18 2018 11:03 PM

Including Jackie Robinson is a real stretch of retired Twin numbers.

 

    • USAFChief, Jerr, scottz and 1 other like this
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Don Walcott
Dec 18 2018 11:42 PM
Robinson? Allison?
    • glunn likes this

This strikes me as a sad attempt to create a marketing draw in a down attendance season. It's a bit fast, isn't it?

Sad, but so Twins like. In 2020 we unveil the new statue in the plaza.
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yarnivek1972
Dec 19 2018 07:03 AM

This strikes me as a sad attempt to create a marketing draw in a down attendance season. It's a bit fast, isn't it?

Pretty sure Puckett and Hrbek both had ceremonies the year following their retirements. Sort of. Hrbek’s career ended with the 1994 strike. There likely wasn’t time to get something on the schedule by the time the 1995 season got going.

Edit: According to his wiki page, Hrbek’s number actually was retired in 1995.

Likewise, there was still hope that Puckett would play again deep into the first season that he did not.
    • glunn and nicksaviking like this

 

This strikes me as a sad attempt to create a marketing draw in a down attendance season. It's a bit fast, isn't it?

Exactly what my wife and I were talking about last night. Its not like Joe is moving out of MN anytime, so no rush to get it done before he moves south. The only games that will be even close to sell outs will be Opening Day and now, whatever day they do this ceremony. 

Even the announcement seemed a little rushed, why do it the week before Xmas? why not wait until the 2nd week of Jan, when theres nothing going on, and itll get more people excited for Twinsfest. 

All that being said, Joe deserves this, and if he is ok with it being this season, great.

    • glunn likes this
I don't think a player will play for the Twins long enough to have this conversation anymore. Not in this risk-averse sport.
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diehardtwinsfan
Dec 19 2018 09:00 AM

Seems a bit too early to be talking Sano, Buxton, and Lewis... So far, none of them have had ML careers worth retiring...

 

I'd vote for Santana and Morneau if I were retire some more numbers. 

    • glunn, ewen21 and Battle ur tail off like this
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Carole Keller
Dec 19 2018 09:22 AM
I think the only numbers to be retired should be an impact player who spends his entire career with the team and/or the next player to go into the HOF as a Twin. I have no idea what future or current player will accomplish that.

Given that, Radke’s number should already be retired.
    • lecroy24fan, glunn, diehardtwinsfan and 1 other like this
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yarnivek1972
Dec 19 2018 09:23 AM
With the exception of Hrbek and Oliva, all the retired numbers are hall of famers, most likely including Mauer. Mauer just broke Hrbek’s tenure record. That is, longest career with the Twins and only the Twins. The hometown aspect is a big reason why Hrbek is retired as well.

By nearly every national account, Oliva is one of the best players not in the Hall and probably should be.

As for other candidates from the past, next in line IMO would be Brad Radke or Joe Nathan. But it wouldn’t be terrible if neither were.

As for future candidates, it is an absurd conversation. That kind of over-hyping is how this organization found itself in the situation it is in with Buxton and Sano.
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nicksaviking
Dec 19 2018 09:50 AM

The Twins didn't retire Blyleven's number until AFTER he got elected into the HOF which always seemed a bit backwards. Kind of like, whelp, I guess we got to do it too.

 

My money is on Johan Santana getting into the HOF with a veteran's committee shortly after he's eligible for their vote, in which case the Twins will feel obligated to retire his number as well.

    • glunn likes this

I remember a few years ago Byron Buxton wore (and preferred) the number 7. It's at least possible that the quick retirement of that number was a response to a request from Buxton to switch his number to 7. I suppose that they could have just told him "No, we're saving that to retire later on," but if you're doing that then you've de facto already retired the number, and why postpone the celebration?

Does Mauer get a spot in the Twins HOF? I don't recall if the articles included that or not. Wouldn't that be a lower honor that would come first, as there are more members of the team HOF than retired numbers?

 

I think the only numbers to be retired should be an impact player who spends his entire career with the team and/or the next player to go into the HOF as a Twin. I have no idea what future or current player will accomplish that.

Given that, Radke’s number should already be retired.

 

Give the team another bad attendance season and it sounds like a great reason to do a promotion.

 

Also 2020 will be the ten year anniversary of the ballpark, certainly worth celebrating with a promotion!!

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Carole Keller
Dec 19 2018 10:10 AM

The Twins didn't retire Blyleven's number until AFTER he got elected into the HOF which always seemed a bit backwards. Kind of like, whelp, I guess we got to do it too.

My money is on Johan Santana getting into the HOF with a veteran's committee shortly after he's eligible for their vote, in which case the Twins will feel obligated to retire his number as well.

Neither player spent their entire careers here. If they had, it’d been done prior, imo. If Santana goes into the Hall as a Twin, then yes. If not, no. That’s how I view it.
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RatherBeGolfing
Dec 19 2018 10:16 AM

 

This strikes me as a sad attempt to create a marketing draw in a down attendance season. It's a bit fast, isn't it?

 

Eh for Mauer and all he meant to this franchise probably not. Just about anyone else being brought up in this thread though I would've agreed with you.

    • Carole Keller likes this

I see no other number.How much had Mauer achieved by the age of Sano and Buxton? This is a discussion for a decade from now.

 

They should retire 36 (and that can go both ways, and it will be fun to see two names,)

 

Those two names are Robbie Grossman and Blaine Boyer, right?;)

    • matthew0211 and IndianaTwin like this

 

I think the only numbers to be retired should be an impact player who spends his entire career with the team and/or the next player to go into the HOF as a Twin. I have no idea what future or current player will accomplish that.

 

That will probably be Jim Kaat

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Tom Froemming
Dec 19 2018 11:15 AM

I'd say Denny Hocking should be next, but Mauer getting 7 retired works as a two birds, one stone situation :)

    • D. Hocking likes this
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yarnivek1972
Dec 19 2018 11:16 AM

That will probably be Jim Kaat


Isn’t Kaat already past consideration, even by the veteran committee?

An interesting case though. 16 consecutive gold gloves should count for something.

A very good career as a starter, albeit in an era with quite a few guys who were a lot better.

Perhaps the first successful middle reliever, setting up Bruce Sutter in St. Louis.

Of his top 10 in BR similarity scores, only Tommy John, Jamie Moyer and Frank Tanana aren’t in. John should be as well. He was the first guy to come back from an injury that ended the career of every pitcher before him. There are probably 3-4 guys in now that wouldn’t be were it not for Tommy John.

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