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Article: What if This is the Max for Kepler?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:33 AM
At the end of the 2018 Major League Baseball season the Minnesota Twins had a trio of main narratives. First and foremost, this was a tea...
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2018 Vikings In Season Thread

Minnesota Vikings Talk Yesterday, 11:51 PM
This is correct, they would lose cap room next year. He's going to stay on the team, the question is what role should he have. I'd li...
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Damning article in the Washington Post re: Pressly / Anal...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:49 PM
Very damning article for the (now former) coaching/analytics staff. Pressly is used an example of how the Astros use analytics & coac...
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Article: Offseason Primer: Who Needs a First Baseman Anyw...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:49 PM
The Twins are still waiting for the official word from Joe Mauer on whether or not he’d like to continue his playing career, but anybody...
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2018 MLB Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Yesterday, 09:38 PM
How about a postseason game thread? Any MLB postseason discussion can just go here.
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Spring Training Update: Waiting For The Big Story

We’re still waiting on the Twins big story of the week even as a smaller story played out.

The Twins introduced Erick Aybar to the press today and he said all the right things. That was expected. The modus operandi of this front office is already well known when it comes to signing veterans: they need to be team leaders, they need to be competent, and they need to fill a need.
It’s that last criteria that is the only question. In theory, moving Eduardo Escobar to full time duty at third base opens up a utility infielder spot that Aybar could fill and it sounds like that’s his focus. “I’ll be here for everything. Play second, third, short, outfield, whatever,” said Aybar. “I’m here to play baseball.” Depending on injuries and possible suspensions, that might make sense for him. If not, and he’s willing to spend a month in Rochester, injuries happen.

But the bigger story is that he signed a minor league deal, which means he does not need to be added to the 40-man roster, which means the Twins minted a newly open roster spot which was not for Aybar and for which there is no explanation.


That open spot is still the biggest story of the week, even if we don’t know what the story is yet.

Game Notes And Baseless Speculation
The Twins tied the Orioles last night 1-1. If you’re interested in who did what, here is a link to the box score and recap. I’m determined to ignore all individual results this early in spring training, my theory being that no data is better than noisy misleading data. We’ll see how long I can maintain that stance, because LORD but I miss talking about real baseball games. But it’s a fairly easy resolution to keep for this game due to the lineup the Twins provided.

This was a road game, and it was sandwiched by the season opener (which featured a lot of Opening Day starters) and tomorrow’s home opener (which will likely feature a lot of Opening Day starters). So the best known players in the lineup were Robbie Grossman, Ehire Adrianza, Kennys Vargas & Zach Granite. The only pitchers likely to make the club were starting pitcher Adalberto Mejia and reliever Taylor Rogers.

It did give manager Paul Molitor a chance to talk pregame about Mejia and his impressions of him last year. “I think we saw things at times that were able to get your attention, in terms of his ability to compete against some pretty good lineups,” replied Molitor when asked about Mejia. He also mentioned that Mejia needs to work on his consistency, command and pitch count issues.

Mejia certainly appears to have worked during the offseason. He looks considerably thinner, and says he lost 13 pounds training, including flipping tractor tires. He also lost a lot of weight back in 2016, which was his breakout year in the Giants’ minor league organization.

Mejia had a good outing, but perhaps more telling is that Mejia wasn’t “piggy-backing” with anyone in today’s start. Early in camp, since starting pitchers are only throwing a few innings, it’s not uncommon to have two starting pitchers pitch in the same game. This is especially true if a couple of guys are competing for a single spot in the rotation, since it makes it slightly easier to have them both slot into that same spot in the rotation. That’s piggy-backing.

Mejia wasn’t piggybacking with anyone Saturday night. By most objective observers, he was already fairly safe to win a spot, especially with Ervin Santana out for a few weeks (and provided that 40-man roster spot isn't used for a big name pitcher). This is yet another data point that suggests going into spring training, that it is his spot to lose.

The Rotation Sets Up
  • Kyle Gibson will be pitching the home opener on Sunday afternoon.
  • Phil Hughes will start Monday at home versus the Cardinals.
  • Jose Berrios will be starting Tuesday night when the Red Sox drive across town to Hammond Stadium.
  • Still no word on when we’ll first see Jake Odorizzi, but he would line up for one of the split squad games (probably the home game versus the Rays) on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Anibal Sanchez will be piggy-backing with someone. Hughes would make sense, since they're seemingly competing for the same spot. But it might also be Jose Berrios, as Sanchez is viewed as mentor to younger pitchers.

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15 Comments

Looks like Jake Reed also pitched (in addition to Mejia and Rogers). Sorry to nitpick a tiny piece of your great story.

 

Mejia lost 13 lbs? Hey, that's a positive. Does that mean he's going to stop nibbling while on the mound also? Heyooo!

    • USAFChief, Twins33, DocBauer and 4 others like this
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youngpadawan
Feb 25 2018 08:14 AM
And Trevor Hildenberger pitches yesterday. 😊
I get what you mean about piggy-backing, but Fernando Romero is a starter, and he pitched two (better) innings right after Meija. Not at the end of the game against minor leaguers, but right through the heart of the Orioles MLB lineup.
Is Sanchez on the 40 man? It could be that a stipulation was made with Sanchez and or Aybar that a roster spot be held open so they feel they have an actual shot of making the team. Sanchez would need to make the 25 man as well. Polads have 2.5 mil reasons to cut him.

Romero really impressed.It is too early to count, but a young player cannot overcome bad starts like the regulars can, so 3 Ks is really nice to see.With all the noise about starting pitching, he is the guy I want to see force his way to the big leagues.Really good players can start their major league careers young.  

Is Sanchez on the 40 man? It could be that a stipulation was made with Sanchez and or Aybar that a roster spot be held open so they feel they have an actual shot of making the team. Sanchez would need to make the 25 man as well. Polads have 2.5 mil reasons to cut him.


Sanchez was already added to the 40 man.
Trevor May to 60 day DL.

Romero really impressed. It is too early to count, but a young player cannot overcome bad starts like the regulars can, so 3 Ks is really nice to see. With all the noise about starting pitching, he is the guy I want to see force his way to the big leagues. Really good players can start their major league careers young.


Well Romero isn't going to make the team out of ST. But a strong showing could put him on the radar for a May or June call up.
    • Twins33 and mikelink45 like this
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ScooterDance
Feb 25 2018 10:31 AM
Big story could be LoMo?

    • mikelink45 and Original Whizzinator like this
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Original Whizzinator
Feb 25 2018 11:13 AM

Big story could be LoMo?


Left handed bat
LoMo would spell the end for Vargas.

 

Well Romero isn't going to make the team out of ST. But a strong showing could put him on the radar for a May or June call up.

I'll take that.  

 

Left handed bat

 

I wonder how we would use him.I think it is right that Vargas would be gone, but if Sano cannot play third would he displace Morrison at DH?I am sure Mauer is not going to sit so 1B is not available. But I like this a lot more than the old Napoli discussions. 

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John Bonnes
Feb 25 2018 02:20 PM

It appears that LoMo is indeed, the big story. Fortunately, there are already lot on the site for him.

 

And, yes, even if Romero absolutely dazzles this spring, he would need a number of injuries to put him the discussion to make the team. 

AnOn might be the big story of the day, but I would love for the big story out of camp being someone like Romero staking their claim on a spot in the rotation.  I realize it won't happen out of ST.  Nonetheless, I would love for this team to have a budding, homegrown ace type pitcher on the cusp, a la Liriano or Santana back in the day.  

Like always, the Twins will start the season with the old hacks, before they suck so bad they have to bring up,Slegers, Gonzales and Romero.Why is Enns on the 40 man roster, he is not competing for any job in the bigs and he's not a prospect????