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LEN3 Throws Cold Water on Hot Stove

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Cruz, Ramos, Cahill, and Soria

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Derek Falvey Interview on 1500 ESPN

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Article: Gleeman and the Geek, Ep 402:

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Twins with One Spot Left

As Erick Aybar was officially released today, the large remaining position battle is in the bullpen. After being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, Tyler Kinley finds himself competing with Gabriel Moya for one last relief job. The hard thrower from the Marlins organization has had a good spring, while Moya will get another opportunity to stake his claim earning the start on Saturday.
Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Duffey was recently optioned to Triple-A, and the opportunity for Moya to start against the Orioles presented itself. After making his debut in 2017, Moya is looking to cement himself as a fixture in the Twins future bullpen plans. With a quirky setup and delivery, he's got plenty of intrigue, but there's more talent there than just the optics.

It's be pretty hard to argue that Gabriel Moya hasn't earned a spot this spring. Across 10.0 IP Moya has 10 strikeouts and a glowing 0.90 ERA. He was nothing short of exceptional on the farm a year ago and posted a 0.77 ERA split between two Double-A teams. Despite being a strikeout machine with strong walk numbers, the velocity isn't anything to write home about. In his brief time with Minnesota last year, he averaged just 91.1 mph on his fastball. Deception, command, and placement seem to be more of his blueprint to get the job done.

Regarding the competition, Tyler Kinley likely couldn't be more opposite than Moya. A hard thrower that can push it into the upper-90s, he too is a strikeout pitcher but has had plenty of issues with command. Across his 10.0 IP for Minnesota this spring, he's registered 11 strikeouts but they come with seven walks. The 4.50 ERA is inflated due to two outings in which he allowed earned runs, and one of which was a 47-pitch endeavor across two innings. In short, Minnesota has to have liked what they've seen here as well.

When it comes down to it, the reality of flexibility is almost certain to play a factor. Kinley not making the club would force the Twins to either work out a trade or offer him back to the Miami Marlins (though they haven't been in the business of wanting players this offseason). On the flip side, Moya has options remaining, and can be sent down to the farm with no ill-effects whatsoever.

It's hard to see the Twins now deciding to cut bait with Kinley after letting the string play out this far. Duffey being optioned suggested a relative shift in thinking and provided a bit of clarity. Although it's still possible Moya is lights out during his final audition, I'd imagine there's a near insurmountable hill to climb for the former Diamondbacks prospect.

When asking Molitor about the situation regarding Moya and Kinley following today's game, he suggested that tomorrow's game having both arms scheduled doesn't reflect a fate-determining moment. "We've been discussing how it's going to shape up as an organization for a while now. We are in a position where we can get another day out of it. Whether that changes where we are or not, I don't expect it to be a do or die. Just trying to see how it all fits together and what look you want to have."

Looking back at my second 25-man roster projection from March 10, it looks to be spot on outside of Jorge Polanco's departure. With Zack Granite expected to get that roster spot, it's probably a good bet to assume the club will at least break camp with their Rule 5 selection still in tow.


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24 Comments

I have been thinking there may be a third man in the mix for the last two spots, Taylor Rogers.Although he was somewhat better today, he wasn't as sharp as Moya.Should Moya pitch an inning or two of lights out ball tomorrow, they just might decide to keep him as their second leftie and send Rogers down.  

 

 

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ToddlerHarmon
Mar 23 2018 02:19 PM

As others have commented, they seem to be holding a chair open in case an infielder hits the waiver wire in the next few days.  Is Profar a possibility?

It seems like every other time I refresh MLBTR, someone is releasing an infielder.Most have very little intrigue, although Ryan Flaherty at least made me dig into his numbers.

 

I expect this to keep happening over the next few days, so I would guess the Twins will still keep their eyes open for a fit.

 

As much as I like Granite, I think he still has to be in pencil until all the teams are cut down.

    • Blake, Oldgoat_MN, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Mar 23 2018 02:37 PM

 

As others have commented, they seem to be holding a chair open in case an infielder hits the waiver wire in the next few days.  Is Profar a possibility?

 

I feel as though if the Rangers are giving up on Profar, they see him as cooked. Probably not a great sign. If Minnesota did give a guy like that a look though, it wouldn't be at the detriment to a pen arm.

    • MN_ExPat likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Mar 23 2018 02:38 PM

 

As much as I like Granite, I think he still has to be in pencil until all the teams are cut down.

I don't disagree. The "one spot" was in relation to the pen. It's Moya or Kinley's to grab.

 

I do think there's some steam to Minnesota plucking someone off of waivers yet. Grossman could also be the odd man out in that scenario.

Why wouldn't they give Ryan LaMarr a shot?

He sure seems to be proving himself to me, I'm sure somebody could answer that question better than I can.

I wonder if Granite wouldn't be better served by getting regular playing time in AAA early in the season. LaMarre could handle the 4th outfielder role. I'd also rather have two extra infielders the way this team is shaping up. Adrianza could serve as an extra outfielder if you suddenly needed one; you're not going to throw an outfielder (other than Rosario, perhaps) into the middle infield if there's an in-game injury. 

    • TNTwinsFan and bighat like this

 

I don't disagree. The "one spot" was in relation to the pen. It's Moya or Kinley's to grab.

 

I do think there's some steam to Minnesota plucking someone off of waivers yet. Grossman could also be the odd man out in that scenario.

I agree with you, Kinley is going to get his shot.

 

On the other hand, it seems weird to me that Granite would be the beneficiary of the Polanco suspension.With options, and needed development, why have Granite sit on the bench with the big club 3 out of every 4 games (at the least)...not needed for late-inning defense, not pinch-hitting?

 

But sending Granite down and replacing him with an infielder, messes with the 40-man.Sometimes it's just better to defer that as long as possible.But there will be one person on the bench that can play 2B/SS/3B.That hand might get forced sooner rather than later.

 

 

The signings this year have been solid, But, we let Chargois go for no reason and I'd prefer Vargas on the bench.In hindsight I'd have Gaver,Vargas,LaMarre,and Adrianza, seem Molitor prefer Grossman with no upside.I'd also prefer Chargois in the pen over Kinney,Rodger or Hildy right now. 

 

Why wouldn't they give Ryan LaMarr a shot?

He sure seems to be proving himself to me, I'm sure somebody could answer that question better than I can.

 

because he's older and never really been good in the minors. A few spring training ABs don't really mean all that much.

    • brvama, Danchat, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

 

because he's older and never really been good in the minors. A few spring training ABs don't really mean all that much.

Remember when Park was crushing Spring Training last year at this time? Then he didn't make the team... but it turned out to be the right decision. It's fun to see LaMarre crushing Spring Training pitchers but the Twins should keep him in AAA for now.

    • MN_ExPat and sswen like this

 

Why wouldn't they give Ryan LaMarr a shot?

 

Ryan LaMarre:

 

career ST OPS: .834

career MiLB OPS: .719

career MLB OPS: .157

 

Would you give him a shot?

 

    • Homer Hanky likes this

Astudillo played third base today...surprise 25th man?  I can see him pitching as well.  Imagine him throwing strikes to home plate while looking  at the third baseman.

    • Kevin, brvama, goulik and 3 others like this
I prefer Moyà.
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stringer bell
Mar 23 2018 09:26 PM
LeMarre would appear to be a better fit than Granite. He’s been good all spring FWIW, but they’d have to make a space for him on the 40-man roster. I assume he’s a more capable outfielder than Grossman.
    • BJames and sswen like this

 

because he's older and never really been good in the minors. A few spring training ABs don't really mean all that much.

I was just looking at how he is doing this spring and he is knocking the cover off the ball.

I looked at the roster for all Mn teams and i didn't even see him.

I can see how that might be a problem if the players waiting to come up could say he hasn't done anything but I wouldn't just move on without giving him a chance!!!

LeMarre would appear to be a better fit than Granite. He’s been good all spring FWIW, but they’d have to make a space for him on the 40-man roster. I assume he’s a more capable outfielder than Grossman.

Wouldnt be hard to do as there's an open 40 man spot due to Polanco's suspension.
I'd definitely lean Granite, but Lamarre is a RH bat who can play all three OF spots. So the handedness gives him a leg up in that regard.

With Lamarre it's hard to tell his true talent because he said he would change his swing constantly. He's not doing that anymore supposedly. Would it really matter if it's him or Granite? 40 man spot open. RH bat, which is needed. The only real worry is Rosario's arm. Otherwise it probably doesn't make a difference which one is keeping the bench warm, Lamarre or Granite.
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Tommygun921
Mar 24 2018 05:44 AM
I really think the Twins need to cut ties with Grossman. I like him but a patient approach at the plate doesn't make up for his lack of power and defensive flexibility.
    • Homer Hanky, sloopjont, BJames and 1 other like this
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jorgenswest
Mar 24 2018 07:12 AM
LaMarre bats right handed but he has had better splits the last two years against right handed pitching.

Last year he was 7/40 against left handed pitching with no extra base hits, 4 walks and 14 strikeouts. Most of the at bats were in the hitter friendly PCL. He played more in 2016 and his OPS against right handed pitching was better 851 vs 752.

Granite also hits better against right handed pitching but his 822/781 differential is relatively neutral.

I don’t see how LaMarre’s batting right handed helps here. It should matter more how well he hits left handed pitching.
    • MN_ExPat likes this

Still believe there is a chance both Moya and Kinley make the team.In that case. Taylor Rogers could be on his way to Rochester.

 

As for Granite needing to play every day, not certain.He may be close to what he will ever be...and that is a fourth or fifth outfielder.Maybe LaMarre should have the spot, or maybe someone else who isn't yet in the organization.

    • Homer Hanky likes this
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yarnivek1972
Mar 24 2018 08:17 AM

Still believe there is a chance both Moya and Kinley make the team. In that case. Taylor Rogers could be on his way to Rochester.

As for Granite needing to play every day, not certain. He may be close to what he will ever be...and that is a fourth or fifth outfielder. Maybe LaMarre should have the spot, or maybe someone else who isn't yet in the organization.


It would be pretty unusual for a veteran (and Rogers would actually be the longest consecutively tenured member of the pen) to lose his job in spring training. The Twins know who he faced this spring. I would guess he faced a lot of right handed hitters. He likely won’t face many with the game on the line in games that matter. Spring training numbers mean even less for relievers than for other players. They are just getting their work in. No regard is given to who they are brought in to face in ST. That isn’t the case in regular season. When Rogers comes into a close game it will almost always be with a lefty coming up next.

LaMarre bats right handed but he has had better splits the last two years against right handed pitching.
Last year he was 7/40 against left handed pitching with no extra base hits, 4 walks and 14 strikeouts. Most of the at bats were in the hitter friendly PCL. He played more in 2016 and his OPS against right handed pitching was better 851 vs 752.
Granite also hits better against right handed pitching but his 822/781 differential is relatively neutral.
I don’t see how LaMarre’s batting right handed helps here. It should matter more how well he hits left handed pitching.

LaMarre’s problem isn’t splits, it’s that he’s not a good hitter against ANY pitching. He has over 2800 MiLB PAs with a .719 OPS.

On a side note, I also mistrust almost any “reverse platoon split.” There are small sample size examples, but the number of hitters who actually hit same handed pitching better over time is minuscule.

I will bet against those small sample size examples continuing every time, and I’ll win that bet almost every time.

The Twins could really have benefitted from bringing in a decent RH OF bat.
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jorgenswest
Mar 24 2018 08:38 AM

LaMarre’s problem isn’t splits, it’s that he’s not a good hitter against ANY pitching. He has over 2800 MiLB PAs with a .719 OPS.
On a side note, I also mistrust almost any “reverse platoon split.” There are small sample size examples, but the number of hitters who actually hit same handed pitching better over time is minuscule.


The lack of platoon split is much more common for hitters like Granite and LaMarre that rely on speed and contact rather than driving the ball. Neither would make a good platoon on a corner or bench bat to hit against a left handed pitcher. I am hoping that Garver can be an effective late inning pinch hitter against a lefty reliever.

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