Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Today, 06:56 PM
Feel free to chime in here about any of the (non-Twins) 2020 MLB postseason games!

Not to add more doom and gloom

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:31 PM
This is interesting and sort of concerning. Article snippet comes from the incomparable Jayson Stark of The Athletic (Which is must read...

Wolfson: Twins Scouting Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:01 PM
  Doogie Wolfson tweeted that the Twins are going to be scouting 22-year-old RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto, "one of the premier young pitc...

White Sox make changes

Other Baseball Yesterday, 10:44 AM
Both Manager Rick Rentaria and pitching coach Don Cooper were let go.     Was a bit surprised by this, because the White S...

Photo

Minnesota Twins Can Begin to Create Believers on Current Homestand

Posted by Tom Schreier , 26 May 2015 · 1,451 views

minnesota twins boston red sox toronto blue jays terry ryan paul molitor
We haven't done anything [yet], but we've put ourselves in good position.
-- Twins general manager Terry Ryan, 5/25/15

The Minnesota Twins are within striking distance of the AL Central lead in April for the first time since 2010. At 26-18, they are eight games above .500, the first time they have been three or more games above .500 since the 2011 season. They are getting contributions from hitters up and down their lineup, the starting pitching is holding its own, and yet fans remain jaded after four years of losing baseball. After only playing three of their last 14 games at home, the Twins are in the middle of a six-game homestand followed against two AL East foes, the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, giving people the opportunity to make a judgement on this surprising team with their own two eyes.
“You can always trace back to the fact that our starting pitchers are giving us a chance almost each and every day, and the people that we bring in our bullpen have certainly held up their end,” said manager Paul Molitor before the first game against the Boston Red Sox. “And offensively, you can look at our stat sheet and see that it's a mixed bag. We've got a lot of guys doing a lot of things -- scoring runs, driving in runs -- and that's kind of what we need. It's not like we have those couple of guys that are locked in there at 4 and 5 that are gonna carry us for any given time, it's been well spread out.”
Make no mistake, there is reason to be skeptical about this team, given that the Twins are coming off four straight 90-loss seasons following the team’s 94-win campaign in 2010. Gone are the likes of Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span, as well as manager Ron Gardenhire, and yet top prospects like Oswaldo Arcia, Kennys Vargas and Josmil Pinto are in Triple-A. Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, the Glimmer Twins, have lost some of their luster following injury and inconsistent play in the minors. And Alex Meyer, a 25 year old 6’8” hard-throwing pitching prospect that was traded straight-up for Span, has been moved to the bullpen in order to try and straighten him out. Promise resides in youth, and yet most of the team’s best young talent can’t crack the major league roster.
The team’s winning ways remain a mystery, which lends credence to the notion that this really is a 75-win team that is bound to regress at some point unless they get a serious push from their best young players. Some people believe that Minnesota has wins “banked” because of the unexpected games won early in the season, while others feel that this team is due for a 10-game losing streak at some point in the season that will even things out.
To be fair, this team isn’t all just low-ceiling veterans. Aaron Hicks, 25, appears to have turned things around, at least in some capacity, and Eddie Rosario, 23, should benefit from the major league experience he’s getting right now, just as Trevor May, 25, did when he floundered last year and was able to get his feet under him before this season.
Danny Santana, 24, has committed 10 errors at shortstop, however, and his .233/.253/.320 line indicates he’s coming back to earth after hitting .319/.353/.472 in 403 plate appearances while holding his own defensively last year considering he was playing out of position at center field last year, and Vargas has already been sent down to Triple-A in order to try and find his power swing again. “He wasn't driving the ball, they were pitching him tough,” general manager Terry Ryan said, explaining Vargas’ demotion. “If you're gonna be in the DH role, you're gonna ultimately have to be some kind of run producer.”
The difference between this year and last year’s club, Ryan believes, is in the team’s ability to win the close games. “The last three or four years we've found ways to lose those games,” he said before the team’s most recent series against the Boston Red Sox. “This year we've just found ways to win instead of lose.”
Certainly having Mike Pelfrey, a first round pick in 2005 who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012, play to his capabilities helps, as does Kyle Gibson’s improved consistency -- the team’s first round selection in 2009 is suddenly looking like the player analysts though he could become when they rated him as a Top 100 prospect in 2010, ‘11 and ‘13. The Twins have also gotten surprisingly good outings from Blaine Boyer, a 33 year old journeyman, and of course have the reliable Glen Perkins closing games out for them following a season that ended in injury.
“I'm not gonna tell you that I'm shocked that we're winning games,” said Ryan. “I said way back in February or March that we kind of like this club, and no one believed us, I know that, because we didn't give you any reason to believe. Now we're starting to win them, and people are starting to see a little bit, 'Hey, maybe they're a little better than we thought.' That's a good feeling.”
Even way back in November, when the Gardenhire firing was still fresh, Ryan was talking about playoffs. Following the Nov. 4 press conference announcing the hiring of Molitor, Ryan told the media he expected the team to make the postseason. “As everybody in this game should be pointing towards the playoffs, we are too,” he said in a heated exchange, during which he vowed to supplement the starting rotation. “I expect to get into the playoffs every year. Why should we take the diamond?”
A month later he inked Ervin Santana, a notoriously durable 32 year old free agent, to a 4-year, $54 million contract. At the time, he emphasized the team’s depth in the starting rotation while downplaying the need for a bona fide ace. “Well, I’m not sure you need a true No. 1 to get to the postseason,” Ryan said on Dec. 15 following the signing. “We have not had a true No. 1 in many of those years that we got there, so if you’ve got the five solid, you’ve got a pretty good chance to get there, and then let the playoffs dictate exactly where you’re headed.”
This sounded insane at the time. Ryan already had the Twins in the postseason, and it sounded like he was making the ace expendable, as though the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals spent upwards of $200 million on Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer just for the hell of it. On top of that, Pelfrey and Ricky Nolasco were not living up to their free agent deals, Gibson was still inconsistent, May was a wild card, and Tommy Milone had not finished the season well after coming over from the Oakland A’s in exchange for outfielder Sam Fuld.
At the very least, Ryan got his glut of pitchers now, even with Santana suspended 80 games at the beginning of the year for PED use. Pelfrey and Gibson are the team’s best two pitchers, Phil Hughes appears to have turned things around following a bad start, May is pitching like a top prospect should and Nolasco went 7.2 innings to earn his 100th win in a 7-2 victory over Boston to kick off the homestand.
Milone was sent down to Triple-A following a string of uninspiring performances, only to register a 0.28 ERA and 41 strikeouts in four starts with Rochester. When asked about how he’s going to go about bringing Milone back into the fold, Ryan essentially shrugged his shoulders, saying he’ll just see how it plays out. “Things are good, everything is going fine, and his opportunity will arise,” said Ryan. “I don't think there's any question whether or not it's in the next few weeks, but I suspect it will come about. It never fails.” Essentially, Pitchers get hurt or go in slumps; it’s nice to have the depth.
Ryan’s words in the offseason have proven prescient so far, but only time will tell if the Twins can keep this pace up. It’s only six games in a 162 game season, but these next few home games matter if only because fans can see this team up close and personal as they close in on Kansas City for the AL Central lead. With Minnesota, a team that hasn’t had a winning season since Target Field opened in 2010, sometimes you have to see it to believe it.

This article was originally posted on the Cold Omaha section of 105TheTicket.com.

Tom Schreier can be heard at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays with Ben Holsen and Mike Morris and co-hosts a morning show 8-10 a.m. on Sundays.
<a href="https://twitter.com/tschreier3" class="twitter-follow-button"




Now have to figure out the Rally Call to get people to come to the games en masses and fill those 15,000 empty seats.

 

I contend that the division is a lot tighter than most people think. The difference in a lot of games will basically be a run or two, which means an error or a bad start can kill the game for any team, as in baseball as a whole. Offensively, the Twins have been consistent with no standouts. They might have trouble against a team's ace, and on paper have no shutdown pitcher themselves. The bullpen is inconsistent but full of bodies. Their lack of wins against Detroit is a tell, but we have to hope that they can take series from the other division. It will be an interesting year. Coming off a nice week of long starts from the rotation ash to be a plus. 

 

What makes the season even mroe exciting is that the players have to produce, or there is someone waiting to replace them. Danny Santana can be cycled out for awhile by Escobar right now. Vargas is down in the minors and Nunez (and maybe Herrmann) will get his at bats. Aaron Hicks has the job if he can keep it. Rosario knows what he has to work on and Arcia needs to listen and play well, or else there's another flip-flop. 

 

The only drawback is 40-man roster construction. You release guys (Duensing, Stauffer) and they don't come back (is that good or bad). At least when youc an option a guy out, they can develop more and come back. But for every name not on the roster, someone has to be moved...sometimes out of the organization. 

 

Again, win or lose, the Twins should be giving every player that has a chance to be a part of 2016 the opportunity to learn and shine in 2015, in the very least (minor league work warranting). 

 

Those players not expected to be around in 2016 should be moved at the first chance that something of value if offered, or at some point pull the plug and eat the salary.

 

42 games down. Let's play another 40 and see where we are!