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  1. Ranking the Twins Best Pitches

    Best Fastball: Trevor May
    FBv: 95.6, wFB: 17.4
    With Brusdar Graterol no longer on the roster, there’s a new sheriff in town. Trevor May was supposed to evolve into a middle of the rotation starter when the Twins traded for him, but now he has become a shutdown late-inning relief pitcher. One of the biggest reasons for his improved performance… a lights-out fastball that has continue to improve since he switched to the bullpen.

    Back in 2014 May was a starter, trying to find himself on a struggling Twins squad. His fastball wasn’t hitting 93 and it didn’t seem like the rotation was a spot where he would thrive. Fast-forward to 2019 and his fastball has jumped to 95.5 mph and he is using it almost 62% of the time. The transition to the bullpen can be tough for some players, but opponents compiled a .150 batting average against his heater and most fans will take that every day of the week.

    Honorable Mention: Jake Odorizzi (20.8 wFB), Jose Berrios 11.5 (wFB)

    Best Slider: Taylor Rogers
    SLv: 82.3, wSL: 7.4
    Taylor Rogers is good. Let me restate that, Taylor Rogers is really good, and I don’t think the rest of baseball realizes how good he was last season. One of the biggest changes for him last season was using his curveball less often and relying more on his slider. Spoiler alert… his slider is unhittable when paired with his other off-speed pitches.

    Outside of Jose Berrios, Rogers might have been the most enjoyable Twins pitcher to watch last season. His calm demeanor on the mound separates him from more recent Twins closers, but his pitching repertoire certainly puts him in the same class as his successors. Having a shortened 2020 season is depriving fans of another stellar year from Rogers.

    Honorable Mention: Sergio Romo (wSL 3.6), Lewis Thorpe (wSL 3.9)

    Best Curveball: Devin Smeltzer
    CBv: 76.6, wCB: 3.0
    Smeltzer doesn’t have the velocity most would expect from a big-league pitcher, but the movement on his pitches helps to separate him from others on the staff. Fans are constantly in awe of the movement he is able to create from his lanky frame, especially when the pitches aren’t coming in at triple-digits on the radar gun. One of the biggest reasons for his success is his ability to change pitches and alter the batter’s vantage point.

    Last season, his spin on his curveball ranked in the 80th percentile across baseball. He only threw the pitch 24.5% of the time so it could be a pitch that see increase usage in the years ahead. Smeltzer is never going to blow away other batters. He has to rely on movement to be successful and he could rely on his unique abilities to be a back of the rotation starter.

    Honorable Mention: Jose Berrios (wCB -1.8), Tyler Duffey (wCB -0.8)

    Best Change-Up: Michael Pineda
    CHv: 87.2, wCH: 4.9
    Twins fans might not appreciate how good Michael Pineda was for the team last season. He was once a top prospect, but he has evolved as a pitcher with more big-league experience. His fastball and slider might be below league average but his change-up is on another tier. He threw it more with the Twins than in any other season during the StatCast era.

    Opponents were held to a .238 batting average and a .253 WOBA on his change-up last season. Compare that to previous seasons and opponents were hitting over .290 with a .318 WOBA. Granted he missed a season due to Tommy John, but it takes nothing away from how he was able to adapt last season.

    Honorable Metnion:Trevor May (wCH: 2.2), Sergio Romo (wCH: 1.6)

    Do you agree with these rankings? What is the best pitch in the Twins organization? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    • May 06 2020 03:30 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  2. Unfortunate Circumstances Driving Positive Creativity for MLB

    For the past few years, it has seemed like Major League Baseball’s Commissioner is the only one convinced that the sport is poor in its current state. Maybe you can include certain broadcasters (I’m looking at you John Smoltz), but the decisions suggested and made often have a far-fetched alteration tied to them. Behind the veil defined as pace of play issues, there have been numerous instances in which unnecessary paths have been traversed. Now needing to band together for the greater good, we’re seeing baseball spread its wings.

    Early on when the shutdown of Major League Baseball was first imposed, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer quickly pulled together a Sandlot-esque game. Intended initially to be more focused around the actual game, it turned into a whiffle ball form of deli. Still, it was broadcast and had participation from multiple players on multiple different teams. Just hours into a new normal, the crave of competition was highlighted.

    Now multiple weeks into a schedule that isn’t taking place Minnesota Twins Trevor May stepped up and assumed the role of virtual Commissioner. With Sony San Diego Studios and MLB The Show 20, May blazed the trail that has become the MLB Players League. Each club has a representative competing a few nights a week and will play each opponent one time. Games are broadcast on Twitch, MLB Network’s Robert Flores is commentating, and there’s a full league page hosted on MLB.com.



    If you’ve tuned into any of the streams, we’ve seen everything from players succeeding as their virtual selves, witty banter, and even in-depth breakdowns designed to translate the similarities between the game and real life. What was likely dreamt up as little more than a fun departure from the current monotony has turned into an outlet generating multiple forms of genuine creativity.



    I don’t know when baseball will return, and I’m still not convinced that it’ll happen in 2020. Outlined by John Bonnes earlier this week however, the capacity in which it does will be different. Rob Manfred is currently tasked with doing everything in his power to get creative and make sure the sport lives this season in some sense. While the parameters of play are just one aspect being discussed, it’s also the acceptance and inclusion of creativity born through this time that could breathe new life into the game.

    We still have regional blackouts in the sport. There are fines handed down for players wearing accessories and equipment that doesn’t directly follow certain color schemes. Major League Baseball imposes copyright on far reaching avenues that would otherwise have the opportunity to grow the fanbase in untapped markets. Whether directly or not, all these things come back to Manfred. It is currently his baby and he has the power to embrace individuality and utilize this creativity.

    From the guy that immediately attempted to shut Trevor Bauer’s fun down, we can only hope some of the lessons learned aren’t immediately forgotten when a return to relative normalcy is reached.

    An aside: Despite writing this today organically, I stumbled on this video from a few days ago. Trevor Bauer and one of YouTube's largest content creators, Fuzzy, put out a very cool video talking in depth about baseball and content creation. While much of it has to d specifically with the YouTube platform, the overarching theme is still about how far MLB has to go in terms of embracing individuality and engaging fans through creativity. It's most definitely worth a watch.



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    • Apr 14 2020 11:06 AM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  3. Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Relief Pitcher

    Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo, Zach Littell, Matt Wisler, Cody Stashak

    Depth: Fernando Romero, Sean Poppen, Danny Coulombe, Ryan Garton, Blaine Hardy, Cory Gearrin, Caleb Thielbar
    Prospects: Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Jake Reed

    THE GOOD

    September 14th was perhaps the most memorable day of the 2019 season. On this date, the Twins swept a doubleheader in Cleveland, effectively putting the division on ice. While Miguel Sano's splashy grand slam dominated the highlight reels, there's no question who was the star of this show: Minnesota's blossoming bullpen.

    The games were "started" by Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe, and featured a total of nine different pitchers deployed by Rocco Baldelli. Smeltzer and Thorpe combined with Zack Littell, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Taylor Rogers, Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol and Trevor May to hold Cleveland to five runs on 13 hits in 18 innings. The seven pitchers who appeared as relievers totaled 14 strikeouts and zero walks.

    This immaculate collective performance epitomized the bullpen's brilliant second half. Even with top deadline addition Sam Dyson completely fizzling, the Twins relief corps ranked third among MLB teams in fWAR after July 31st, trailing only the Yankees and Rays. While the closer Rogers continued to excel, he was surrounded by strong performers, with May, Duffey, Romo, and Littell all contributing in major ways. Meanwhile, Stashak and Graterol joined the fray as impact rookies.

    Graterol won't return, but everyone else will, along with waiver gamble Matt Wisler and free agent acquisition Tyler Clippard, whose reverse splits make him the weapon Baldelli needs against southpaws.

    Minnesota is about seven-deep with quality big-league relievers, and that's before you account for long-relief options such as Thorpe and Smeltzer, or ready-to-go reinforcements such as Sean Poppen and Fernando Romero. Even with the inherent volatility of MLB bullpens, and the inevitability of at least a few injuries, this relief unit is poised to be one of the American League's finest.

    THE BAD

    Graterol is a big loss. While he was the least established among this entire crop, he undoubtedly offered the most upside, which was set to be unleashed after the team's acknowledgement he was slated for a relief role in 2020. The Twins bolstered their rotation by trading the young flamethrower for Kenta Maeda, but there's a clear trade-off in bullpen caliber.

    By no means were the Twins counting on Graterol to be an essential fixture in this year's bullpen, but that was the beauty of his presence: a total bonus and a wild-card, with serious "ace in the hole" potential in this season and many to come.

    It may not be felt as strongly since we were only beginning to acclimate ourselves to the idea of him as a long-term relief pitcher, but make no mistake: Graterol's absence creates a spacious void in the bullpen's outlook going forward. The Twins will have to hope a rebounding Romero or an emerging Jhoan Duran can fill it in some way.

    Ultimately, the most evident weakness in Minnesota's bullpen is a lack of established track records beyond Rogers. As good as May, Duffey, and Littell were last year, none had a substantive history of MLB relief success prior. Wisler is still searching for his first above-average season in the majors.

    Signing Clippard and Romo helps in this regard, of course, but they are middle relief types. The Twins are counting heavily on May and Duffey to repeat their dominant performances from 2019. There's no specific reason to think either one won't but... relievers are relievers.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    Bullpen is undoubtedly a differentiating asset for the Twins heading into 2020, as they've retained all the top performers in a unit that progressively emerged last year as one of the league's best and deepest. Rogers ranks among the position's elite, and is surrounded by a couple setup men who could easily join the closer in this distinction.

    Reliable options abound for Baldelli, who shouldn't find himself running short on trusted relievers barring an abundance of injuries and setbacks.

    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Catcher
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: First Base
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Second Base
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Third Base
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Shortstop
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Left Field
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Center Field
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Right Field
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Designated Hitter
    Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher

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    • Apr 09 2020 08:59 PM
    • by Nick Nelson
  4. 5 Twins Players Most Impacted by MLB's Suspended Season

    I feel for each of these guys, who will be dealing with shutdown disruption at critical junctures.

    Nelson Cruz, DH

    The veteran slugger's 40th birthday, July 1st, is a pretty reasonable over-under at this point for Opening Day – if not a tad optimistic. He looked incredibly good last year, giving no warning of imminent decline, but his age puts him up against the clock.

    This delay will remove a significant portion of the remaining games Cruz has left in the tank. And given how brilliantly he's still playing (including this spring, where he mashed three homers and two doubles in 23 at-bats), that's a shame.

    Trevor May, RHP

    It's been a long journey for May. He was a fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2008, traded to Minnesota in 2012. He debuted in the majors in 2014 as a starter, transitioned fully to relief in 2016, then lost basically two full seasons to Tommy John surgery. Last year, at age 29, May finally broke through, posting a stellar 2.94 ERA and 11.1 K/9 rate as one of the team's highest-leverage relievers.

    This included a 1.38 ERA in 23 appearances between August and September. May was carrying a full head of steam into the biggest season of his career, with free agency coming at the end.

    Due to his ill-timed elbow injury and role-switching, the right-hander has burnt through most of his team service time without truly establishing himself, in spite of his immense talent, dedication, and intelligence. That's why he finds himself looking ahead to the open market already, with fewer than 300 total MLB innings. He's yet to earn a salary over $1 million.

    The 2020 season represented a huge opportunity for May to make his case on a big stage. And yes, that opportunity should still be awaiting him whenever baseball resumes. But I sure would've liked to see him ride all that built-up momentum. After putting it all together at long last, being forced to wait has gotta be especially painful for him.

    Rich Hill, LHP

    One might argue that Hill actually stands to be the beneficiary of a suspended season. He wasn't expected back until June at least, so a months-late start could make him available for the Twins from the jump. And should the season get extended later into the year to include more games, it's possible the Twins could get more starts from Hill than they ever expected upon signing him.

    It's possible.

    But any theoretical notion of Hill joining the club midseason, in classic form, was always steeped in hopeful optimism. The reason he and his immaculate track record were available to the Twins at such a fine value is that Hill is a longshot. He turned 40 a week ago and is trying to come back from rarely utilized elbow surgery.

    In a situation like this, you need a lot to go right. Like all players, Hill will have to deal with the auxiliary impacts of a total league shutdown, including the loss of access to his team's world-class trainers, equipment, and rehab regimens. The southpaw will certainly stick to his own program but there's no replacement for the steady, organized ramp-up process with assorted milestones and benchmarks.

    If the entire season is lost, this could very well be it for Hill's career.

    Jake Odorizzi, RHP

    Much like May, Odorizzi is heading into a pivotal year. In accepting Minnesota's qualifying offer, he opted to bypass a multi-year contract in favor of the short-term payday. Coming off an All-Star campaign, he was set to make $17.8 million and then hit the open market. Now, his plan is in flux.

    In a shortened season, would players receive prorated salaries? It stands to reason. And in such a scenario, Odorizzi's perfectly logical gamble stands to backfire. He wouldn't earn the full 2020 figure that enticed him, and he would end up auditioning for his next contract in a weird, partial campaign.

    Maybe that's not how it plays out. Hopefully baseball can find a way to ease the relative burdens for players in such tough positions. While these examples all obviously pale in comparison to the thousands of less-wealthy individuals who work at ballparks and fill their stands, there's an unmistakable difference between a player in Josh Donaldson's position of total security, and one in Odorizzi's. Not to mention a fringe player trying to seize what might be his biggest chance.

    Randy Dobnak, RHP

    His 2019 season was one of the best real-life underdog stories in memory, and there was more to Dobnak than just a fun narrative. He pitched extremely well, displaying poise and precision beyond his years. From undrafted independent-leaguer to ALDS starter, the right-hander is on a journey like no other.

    He was set to continue it under favorable circumstances this spring. A spot in the Twins rotation was for the taking, and his case was strong coming off a dazzling debut. But a delayed start shifts those circumstances. Suddenly, the starting corps could become crowded much more quickly, with Hill and even Michael Pineda potentially entering the fold sooner, and no injuries to open up spots.

    Minnesota's 2020 roster was meticulously built for the rigors of a 162-game season, loaded with depth and contingencies. A shortening of the season wouldn't negate this strength, but it would be costly for players like Dobnak on the fringes. Everyone knows how difficult it is to carve out a niche at the highest level of this game. Hard-working young men who are at the apex of their opportunities will lose time they can't get back.

    That's just one of many harsh realities rippling from this occurrence. But to look on the bright side, baseball will be back eventually. And when that happens, so many of its players – these five especially – will be poised for inspiring tales of perseverance and success in the face of adversity.

    I can't wait to write about them.

    • Mar 18 2020 06:26 PM
    • by Nick Nelson
  5. 3 Free Agents-To-Be With Something to Prove in 2020

    Ehire Adrianza
    Adrianza has been part of three different organization and gotten claimed off waivers multiple times, but he has never been a free agent. He provides an interesting case, because he has mostly served a role player during his Twins tenure. In three seasons in Minnesota he has hit .260/.321/.391 (.711) while averaging 89 games played.

    His 2018 season might give the best glimpse of how he could produce if he was an everyday player. Adrianza was given the opportunity to man shortstop while Jorge Polanco started the year suspended. He played in 114 games that season and compiled a .680 OPS and this included playing over 750 innings at shortstop and third base.

    He could possibly serve as an everyday player on a club, but he would need an opportunity to prove himself this season. It would take an injury to Polanco for Adrianza to play every day and the Twins certainly don’t want that to happen.

    Trevor May
    May’s transition from starter to reliever came with some growing pains, but he has turned into one of the team’s best late-inning options. Something clicked for him when he came back from Tommy John surgery back in 2018. Since that time, he has held opponents to a .195 average with a terrific 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings.

    Outside of Taylor Rogers, May might be Minnesota’s best relief option and that’s saying a lot with the current make-up of the bullpen. He should see plenty of time late in games this year and it will be interesting to see if Rocco Baldelli continues to use him in a similar fashion. He was only used for more than an inning in 10 of his appearances last season. Could that change in 2020?

    If May continues to pitch like he has over the last two seasons, there’s a chance a team would want to add him as a potential closer, even if the closer role continues to evolve. That could lead to an even bigger payday for the 30-year old free agent-to-be.

    Jake Odorizzi
    Odorizzi bet on himself this season by accepting the Twins' one-year qualifying offer. Granted the $17.8 million one-year deal is more money than he has made in his entire career, but now he knows he will be a free agent next winter. He might have been kicking himself for accepting the offer after seeing the contracts being handed out to other starters on the open market.

    He made his first All-Star team this past season on the heels of a first half where he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP. Opponents hit only .214/.285/.335 (.620) against him and he had 96 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings pitched. The second half didn’t go nearly as well as batters' OPS rose 111 points. He finished the year by starting Game 3 of the ALDS by allowed two earned runs on five hits over five innings.

    In an offensive environment like 2019, Odorizzi’s first half is certainly impressive. If he can put together a full season like he did last year then he will be looking at a handsome free agent contract next winter and this time it will be a multi-year deal.

    Which player has the most to prove this season? Who will score big next off-season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    • Mar 10 2020 05:52 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  6. Twins Have Two Candidates For Their Next Ryan Pressly

    Often on Twitter from 2015-2017 I found myself banging a drum that Ryan Pressly was the next great arm out of the Minnesota bullpen. He’d scuffled plenty, and the numbers weren’t glowing, so there was always plenty of pushback. His 2017 was especially mediocre, but there was another level to be achieved. In 2018 he raced out to a 3.40 ERA across 47.2 IP but was backed by a 2.47 FIP and 12.8 K/9. By all intents and purposes, he’d arrived.

    The Twins, not being in an immediate place of contention, made a difficult but logical decision. They cashed in on a reliever and sent him to Houston. He went on to post a 0.77 ERA in his final 23.1 IP and then followed it up with a 2.32 ERA last season. The Astros deserve credit for taking him to heights Minnesota was not previously equipped to accomplish, but the ability was always there to mold.

    Now with what finished as the third best bullpen in baseball during the 2019 season, and a group that could vie to be the best in 2020, there’s two arms that jump out as potential suitors to take that next Pressly-esque step.

    Trevor May – 2019 Stats 2.94 ERA 3.73 FIP 11.1 K/9 3.6 BB/9

    The gaming celebrity is now 30 and already an established veteran for the Twins. He’s a free agent following this season, and despite the already glowing ERA, there’s reason to believe another level is possible. May worked around some additional trouble last year, having a FIP nearly a full point higher. Although he decreased his hit and HR rate, he doubled his walk rate and got away from the glowing 1.8 BB/9 mark he set in 2018.



    Under the hood is where things get exciting for Trevor. His 34.8% hard hit rate was the lowest he’s posted as a reliever, and his 95.9 mph average velocity isn’t far off from adding two full ticks to his fastball. This is an age that relievers should see a decline in their abilities. But May, having fewer miles on his arm, could be gaining benefit from that past lack of use. Wes Johnson has him throwing absolute darts, and there’s room for a slight rebound in strikeout and whiff rates. He’s probably close to a finished product, but as the Twins invest in technology and May incorporates it, even a slight tweak could have him in the conversation for a top ten pen arm.

    He’s also all in on one series being more exciting than the rest.



    Zack Littell – 2019 Stats 2.68 ERA 3.62 FIP 7.8 K/9 2.2 BB/9

    Acquired by the Twins when Derek Falvey flipped Jaime Garcia to the New York Yankees, Littell has long looked the part of an intriguing arm. He wasn’t ever going to be a top of the rotation starter, but the floor has never looked anything but promising. After being moved to the bullpen full time a year ago, it seemed Minnesota was ready to unleash what had quickly been established as a weapon.

    Utilizing his fastball nearly 50% of the time, he too saw a near 2 mph jump on the pitch. Now averaging 94 mph, his whiff rate nearly doubled, and the chase rate rose 10%. Just 24-years-old, Littell is still settling into a relief role after a pro career of starting. His strikeout rate hasn’t seen the substantial jump yet, but I’d be on it coming.

    Phil Miller of the Star Tribune recently wrote about Littell changing up his offseason, essentially shifting towards a more intentional path towards development. He had produced some eye-popping numbers last season on what largely derived from talent and ability. Embracing data and generating actionable outcomes could be the thing that takes him to a new level of sustainability. Not all relievers are late bloomers, and Littell looks the part of a guy who’s settled into a role and now is ready to explode.

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    • Feb 25 2020 01:09 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  7. How Have the Twins Fared in Previous Top-100 Prospect Trades?

    Wilson Ramos
    Many fans will be upset when mentioning the Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps trade. Ramos was a top-65 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He recorded seven hits in his first two professional games, and it seemed like he could team up with Joe Mauer as a tremendous catching duo.

    Having Mauer still behind the plate made a catching prospect more expendable. Minnesota also needed more relief help during the 2010 campaign. If Capps had helped the Twins to an extended playoff run, his trade might have been forgotten. Instead, Twins fans watched Ramos blossom into an All-Star catcher with the Nationals and Rays.

    WAR Acquired: 0.9 WAR (Before Capps Resigned)
    WAR Lost: 10.4 WAR

    Matt Garza
    Trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young seemed like a perfect fit for both teams at the time with each player being a highly ranked prospect. Tampa needed more pitching to help them take the next step and Young provided a powerful right-handed bat between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Twins line-up. Tampa would ride Garza to a World Series run, while the Twins made playoff appearances but Young was never a difference maker.

    Young, a former number one overall pick, finished second in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting. After joining Minnesota, he hit .287/.324/.429 (.753) but his bat never reached the potential he showed as a prospect and his defense was atrocious. Garza was the ALCS MVP and provided WAR totals of 3.4 or above in two of his three seasons in Tampa.

    WAR Acquired: 1.0 WAR
    WAR Lost: 8.5 WAR

    Alex Meyer and Trevor May
    These two trades seemed to get lumped together since they happened in the same off-season. With both trades above, the Twins were sending away top-100 prospects, but these trades were a little different. Minnesota dealt established outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in exchange for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May along with Vance Worley.

    Meyer struggled as he moved through the upper levels on the minor leagues and he would only pitch in parts of four seasons in the organization. Eventually, he was traded to the Angels before injuries ended his career. He played 22 games at the big-league level and retired after his age-27 season.

    When trading for May, the Twins likely saw him as a starting pitching prospect, but he has found his niche in the Twins bullpen. Last season, he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while striking out 79 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He can be a free agent at season’s end so he will have plenty to pitch for during the 2020 campaign.

    WAR Acquired: -0.6 (Meyer), 2.0 (May), and -1.1 (Worley)
    WAR Lost: 7.0 (Span) and 4.1 (Revere)

    How did the Twins fare in these trades involving former top-100 prospects? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    • Feb 16 2020 08:49 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  8. The Twins Biggest Celebrity Might Just Be Trevor May

    If you Google the Minnesota reliever, the first thing that pops up is a link to his Twitter feed and then it’s his Wikipedia page. There’s a set of questions that starts with “Is Trevor May good at baseball?” and then is quickly followed by “Is Trevor May good at Fortnite?” It isn’t until after those entries that his MLB.com bio makes an appearance.

    This isn’t some sort of coincidence. The popularity of eSports is into the stratosphere, and May is synonymous with the biggest names in the community. He wore the “IamTrevorMay” moniker on the back of his Player’s Weekend jersey, and it’s certainly his outlet when not at work. I caught up with the Twins fireballer (who did hit 100 mph last season) to talk all things not related to baseball.

    Twins Daily: Obviously athletes have hobbies off the field, but how did it become gaming for you?

    Trevor May: I’ve always been a gamer from when I was really young. There were some great games that came out when I had a lot of down time from injuries, so here we are. (Note: May was traded to the Twins prior to the 2013 season. He pitched just 46 innings in 2016 and missed all of the 2017 season rehabbing.)

    TD: Specifically, what about Fortnite drew you in?

    TM: All of my friends played it AND I love that it was something completely new to learn and master. Then, factor in that creating content around the game was always fresh and fun; I just couldn’t get enough.

    TD: Was the goal always to create a brand and generate a business of sorts, or what was your initial goal when hopping on Twitch?

    TM: I just like to perform and interact with people. Sure, building brands and businesses is also something that I’m really passionate about and like doing, but it began as something just to enjoy doing with my spare time.

    TD: There’s a ton of big names in the eSports community as well. Do you find yourself getting recognized or approached as Trevor May the pitcher, or the streamer that plays baseball?

    TM: It’s about 50/50 at this point. That’s so cool to me, that it’s like that now. Best of both worlds, I guess.

    TD: Was it just natural to gravitate toward some of the other large streamers as your own brand grew? Were those relationships you had previously, or how did you end up meeting some of those guys?

    TM: Yeah, honestly, the biggest draw was that we’re all very similar. We’re older guys that had a lot of the same gaming experiences through our childhoods. Collaboration is huge in gaming and I’m so happy I met all these great people.

    TD: Where do you go from here? Is it a look towards the next game, an opportunity to create a revenue stream and business post playing career, or is it all just up in the air and see what happens?

    TM: I’m more interested in learning to build really great businesses to be honest. I’ll always create content and that is a passion of mine, but my ultimate goal is to build great stuff and be fully my own boss. I’ll podcast, I’ll try radio and broadcast I’m sure, but I really just want to test ideas, try different strategies, and ultimately make a lasting difference in this world.

    TD: Gaming ends up being a great outlet to step away from whatever else we’re committed to. What about the hobby helps you to release away from the diamond?

    TM: Well, firstly, my performance doesn’t really matter when I play games. I don’t live or die based on outcomes and that’s just nice sometimes, haha. Also, I get to stay in contact with friends, learn new things, and build that side of my life. Kaizen (Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency) is my motto. It’s all about 1% better, more efficient, every day.

    You can obviously catch Trevor back on the mound in the coming weeks, but he’ll be hanging out at his Twitch channel in between. Seeing guys like May and former Minnesota pitcher Phil Hughes creating content online is a fun view into the more human side of athletes, and it’s something that the masses are definitely embracing. Next time you’re at Target Field, look and see if you can spot any of May’s new baseball jerseys alongside the #65 with the Twins.

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    • Feb 04 2020 09:11 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  9. 2020 Twins Super (Bowl) Predictions

    As you will see below, some predicted scores. Some predicted the MVP. Some did both. I encourage you to post your Super Bowl predictions in the comments below.

    Rocco Baldelli (Following seven MLB seasons (2003-10), he had a number of roles in the Rays organization including coaching. Became Twins manager late in 2018 and won the AL Manager of the Year Award in 2019.)

    I have no prediction on the score, but Patrick Mahomes will be the MVP.

    Randy Dobnak (RHP signed with the Twins from the independent USPBL late in 2017. In 2019, he pitched for the Miracle, Blue Wahoos, Red Wings and the Twins.)

    KC 24 SF 21

    Akil Baddoo (Twins Compensation Round pick in 2016 out of high school. He began 2019 with the Miracle before season-ending Tommy John surgery.

    Go chiefs! 24-17

    Trevor Plouffe (Twins 1st round pick in 2004. He played in 723 games over parts of seven seasons with the Twins from 2010-2016.

    33-27 Chiefs

    Adam Brett Walker (Twins 3rd round pick in 2012 from Jacksonville. He hit 124 homers in five minor league seasons. Spent 2019 with his hometown Milwaukee Milkmen.)

    I got KC winning 28- 21. Chiefs come out hot early and hold em off for the W!

    Brian Meyer (will be starting his first season in the organization as one of the hitting coaches for the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. He had previously coached at Butler.)

    Chiefs - 35
    49ers - 38

    Casey Fien (RHP spent 8 seasons in the big leagues between 2009 and 2017 including 2012-2016 with the Twins. He went 17-15 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 237 1/3 innings.)

    KC Chiefs 31 SF 49ers 27
    MVP: Tyreek Hill

    Jay Rainville (One of the Twins first round pick in 2004 draft, he played through the 2009 season. He is now in law enforcement)

    31-28 San Francisco
    Michael McCarthy (After pitching in the Red Sox organization from 2011-16, he became a coach for the Rochester Red Wings.)

    31-24 49ers. Garappolo as MVP.

    Regi Grace (Twins 9th round pick in 2018. Pitched for the GCL in 2019.)

    I got the Chiefs winning it

    Audra Martin (Sideline Reporter for Twins games, and pre and post game host for the Twins and Wild.

    I’m going Chiefs 27 Niners 21... Niners with a defensive TD, and someone with lose a shoe

    Blaine Hardy (LHP spent the past six seasons with the Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Twins early this offseason and will compete for a spot on the Twins roster.)

    49ers will win. 35-28.

    Kyle Gibson (RHP spent 11 seasons in the Twins organization. Signed three-year deal with Rangers this offseason)

    I will take the Chiefs at 35-24

    Matt Walbeck‘(Catcher spent 11 seasons in the big leagues including 1994-1996 with the Twins)

    I have a prediction but I do have a quick story. Pat Mahomes and I were teammates with the Twins when Patrick was born in ‘95. I’ll never forget how excited Pat was in the clubhouse after he returned from Texas after the birth of his son, Patrick. He was adamant, telling us that he had a boy and his boy was going to be an athlete that was going to set the world on fire some day. Was he right or what?
    49ers 28-24.

    Jason Kanzler (OF was the Twins 20th round pick in 2013 from the U of Buffalo. Spent 2013-2015. Now coaching in the minor leagues.

    27-13 Chiefs
    Mahomes throws for 300+ yards

    Denny Bentley (LHP was the Twins 33rd round pick in 2018. He spent 2019 in Elizabethton and ended the season with two scoreless innings for Rochester)

    I think it’ll be 28-21 San Fran

    Shawn Schlecter (Enters his first year in the organization as GCL Twins hitting coach. Previously at North Iowa Area CC)

    KC- 34 San Fran-13
    Pat Mahomes MVP

    Matt Hodson (Works in Twins media relations)

    As a native of Northern California who grew up in the ‘80s as a big Niners fan (still have a Montana retro jersey!), I’m calling SF in a 27-24 thriller.

    Ryan Jeffers (Twins 2nd round pick in 2018 split the 2019 season between Ft. Myers and Pensacola)

    I’m going Chiefs. Andy Reed’s finally gonna get a ring

    Trevor Hildenberger (Twins 22nd round pick in 2014, he pitched for the Twins in 2017-2019. He will pitch for the Red Sox in 2020.)

    Niners by 3. 34-31

    Todd Van Steensel (Australian spent 2011 and then 2014 through 2018 in the Twins minor leagues. He won a American Association championship with the St. Paul Saints.)

    41- 27 Chiefs win
    Basing that on the only knowledge I have on these two teams is that Mahomes is a stud.

    Luke Bard (Twins third first-round pick in 2012, Bard has pitched for the Angels in 2018-2019.)

    28-27 chiefs

    Ernie de la Trinidad (OF came to Twins from Arizona in the Eduardo Escobar trade in July 2018. He split 2019 between Ft. Myers and Pensacola)

    I got the chiefs winning by a touchdown. I think Mahomes running ability is going to give the niners defense some trouble

    Shane Carrier (former Twins minor league OF from 2016-2018, played in the Frontier League in 2019)

    I’ve got it as 28-13 Niners, Jimmy G MVP.

    Chris Mazza (RHP was Twins 27th round pick in 2011, pitched in minors from 2011-15. Bounced around including independent ball. Debuted with Mets in 2019. Claimed by Red Sox for 2020)

    49ers 35-28

    Tyler Webb (Twins 40th round pick in 2018 from Memphis, he split 2019 between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids)

    Gonna be a good game but I got the 49ers 42-35

    Taylor Rogers (Twins 11th round pick in 2012 from Kentucky, he debuted in 2016. Became one of the top closers in baseball in 2019.)

    Taking the 49ers 35-27

    Landon Leach (Twins 2nd round pick in 2017 from Canada, returning from injury in 2020)

    I think Mahomes will come out clutch like he usually does with a Chiefs victory 33-27 victory!

    Tanner Swanson (Twins minor league catching coordinator in 2018-2019. He joined the Yankees MLB coaching staff this offseason)

    Chiefs 37, Niners 24
    Go HAWKS!

    Nat Ballenberg (joined Twins organization as coach in 2019. Will be a pitching coach at Pensacola in 2020)

    Chiefs

    Wesley Wright (After 8 MLB seasons as an LHP, Wright enters his third season as Twins pro scout.)

    I’m going 38-31 Chiefs.

    Tyler Benninghoff (Twins 11th round pick in 2016, he spent 2019 season in Elizabethton)

    Chiefs 52 49ers 44

    Brian Rapp (Twins 26th round pick in 2018 from Boston College, he pitched in Cedar Rapids in 2019 and was their Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service recipient)

    27-24 Niners.
    The game is either going to be a close win for the 49ers like that or an absolute blowout by Mahomes.

    Hunter McMahon (RHP was acquired this week from the Nationals for Ryne Harper. Was Washington’s 9th round pick in 2019 from Texas State.)

    CHIEFS! 31-28.

    Taylor Grzelakowski (Signed with Twins as non-drafted free agent in 2017. Played for Ft. Myers and Pensacola in 2019.)

    Chiefs win 34-21!!

    Logan Darnell (Twins 6th round pick in 2010 from Kentucky. He pitched in seven games for the 2014 Twins. He is currently in Puerto Rico playing for Team Venezuela in the Caribbean Series.)

    Kittles-21. Kelces- 31

    Gabe Snyder (1B was the Twins 21st round in 2018 out of Wright State. Hit 19 homers for Cedar Rapids in 2019.
    35-31 chiefs!

    Malique Ziegler (OF from Des Moines came to the Twins in April 2019 from the Giants in the Tyler Austin trade)

    I predict the score will be 24-30 Chiefs!

    Roy Smalley (SS played 13 MLB seasons including 1976-1982 and then 1985-1987 with the Twins. Hit .262 with 110 HR for the Twins and ended his career a World Series champion. Now is an analyst for the Twins on FSN)

    I think it will be a great game—SF dominant lines vs Mahomes talent and Andy Reed schemes. KC defense concerns me a little, but in the end I think Mahomes will be the difference. KC 28-24

    Dave St. Peter (Twins President)

    KC 39, SF 35


    Tommy Watkins (infielder was drafted by the Twins in 38th round in 1998. Spent 12 seasons as a player, including 9 games with the 2007 Twins. Coached and managed in Twins minors from 2008-2018. Became Twins OF and 1B coach in 2019.Also, cousin of Chiefs Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins)

    I’m rooting for the Chiefs. 38-24

    Tyler Smarslok (Joins the Twins organization as a coach of the GCL Twins)

    My prediction: 31-27 49ers win.

    49ers just play clean football consistently. I think the Chiefs will drive the ball down the field but won’t convert TD’s in the red zone as often. 49ers defense will make the big stops when they need to.

    Bradley Hanner (Twins 21st round pick in 2019 from Patrick Henry Community College. Pitched in the GCL last season.)

    I think the 49ers take it home my family is 49ers fans and I’m pulling for them 24-14 49ers

    Dick Bremer (FSN play-by-play man enters his 37th season of calling Twins games on television. Has a book coming out soon that all Twins fans will definitely want.)

    I'm pulling for the Chiefs but the Niners running game will keep Mahomes off the field. San Francisco 27, Kansas City 21

    Benjamin Dum (side-winding RHP signed with Twins last summer out of independent ball after four seasons at Virginia Commonwealth.)

    I’ve got the chiefs 27-24, I love Mahomes and I am an Eagles fan so I am rooting for Andy Reid to get a Super Bowl.

    Andro Cutura (RHP was the Twins 7th round pick in 2014 from Southeastern Louisiana University. Spent 2019 in Pensacola and made one start in Rochester.)

    New Orleans Saints 2021 Super Bowl Champs

    Aaron Sutton (joins organization as manager of the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels after four years as head coach at Montana State in Billings).

    Tough to go against that defense the Niners got rolling but pulling for Andy Reid to get his ring. Chiefs 31 Niners 24

    Cory Provus (2020 will be his ninth season as the Twins radio voice.)

    Sure. 31-17 Chiefs. Mahomes MVP

    Kevin Gorg (He is an analyst and sideline reporter for hockey and baseball on Fox Sports North.)

    I'm going San Fran 27, KC 24
    Kittle will be a difference maker in the red zone and Jimmy G plays mistake-free football.

    Matt Wallner (He was Mr. Minnesota Baseball in 2016, and a Twins draft pick, from Forest Lake. He went to Southern Mississippi, was a three-time All American and was the 39th overall pick in the 2019 draft by the Twins.)

    49ers 38-35 in close affair

    Travis Harrison (50th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Harrison played in the Twins organization through the 2017 season.

    31 -28 Chiefs! Jimmy G is pretty but Mahomes just can't be stopped!

    Michael Quesada (Catcher was the Twins 24th round pick in 2010, he played through the 2015 season. He has become an amateur scout for the Twins in recent years.)

    I’m taking the 49ers 24-21 with a field goal to win it

    Tyler Wells (RHP was the Twins 15th round pick in 2016 from Cal State San Bernadino. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2018. Missed 2019 with Tommy John surgery. Began throwing in the past week.)

    I’m gonna predict that the Niners win, even tho I would like to see Mahomes get a ring. I think the score is gonna be 24-34 Niners

    Travis Blankenhorn (Twins third round pick in 2015 from high school in Pennsylvania. After a month in Ft. Myers, he hit 18 homers for Pensacola. Added to 40-man roster after the season.)

    31-27 Chiefs

    Spencer Steer (Twins 3rd round pick in 2019 out of Oregon. Split summer between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids.)

    KC wins, 35-31

    Steve Singleton (Twins 11th round pick in 2006 out of the U of San Diego. He played in the system for six seasons. He was also a coach in the organization for three seasons. Currently the assistant coach and hitting coach for the University of Texas’s women’s softball team.)

    49ers!!!
    38-35
    The defense tightens up late, long 49ers drive to setup a go ahead FG and a big TO ends it.

    Trevor May (Twins late inning reliever. He joined the organization from the Phillies after the 2012 season. He has pitched in 292 ⅔ innings for the Twins since his debut in 2014.)

    Chiefs 28 - 24

    Tyler Watson (Came to Twins from Nationals organization in July 2017 for Brandon Kintzler. Spent the 2019 season pitching for the Ft. Myers Miracle.)

    I think the Chiefs are gonna win it this year, 24-17

    Bonus: no passing touchdowns for the 49ers

    Josh Rabe (Twins 11th round pick in 2000 from Quincy University. Played 8 season in Twins system. Played 38 games in the big leagues between 2006 and 2007. Hit .250 with three homers in 82 plate appearances. Now the head coach at his alma mater.)

    38 - 24 Chiefs
    Mahomes lights it up in the second half. Chiefs Kingdom runs the KC streets

    Donegal Fergus (begins first season as Twins minor league hitting coordinator after spending 2019 with UC-Santa Barbara.)

    I’ve got Bud Heavy making a comeback, like its 1999, and winning the commercial war. Fingers crossed for horses.

    Gregg Olson (The 1989 AL Rookie of the Year played 14 games in the big leagues including an 11-game stint with the Twins in 1997.)

    Chiefs 31-21. Mahomes wins MVP.

    Casey Scoggins (Twins 40th round pick in 2016 fro m Tampa. He played two seasons in the organization, peaking at Ft. Myers. He spent a season in independent ball before going into coaching.

    Good halftime show, great Super Bowl! 49ers win 48-45

    Seth Pinkerton (RHP was the Twins 20th round pick in 2018 from Hartford. Missed 2019 season with a knee injury.)

    46-38 Kansas City. Mahomes is MVP. Hope it’s a shootout and crazy offensive game.

    Tucker Frawley (After 12 years of coaching at Yale, he is now the assistant field coordinator and coordinator of skill development.)

    Putting a lot of faith in Mahomes and those versatile arm angles... 34-23 Chiefs

    Chase De Jong (RHP came to the Twins in July 2018 trade from Seattle. He made five appearances for the Twins over 2018 and 2019).

    I’ll just say the Niners are going to win.

    Ryley Widell (Twins 7th round pick in 2017 from Central Arizona College, he spent the 2019 season with the Elizabethton Twins.)

    49ers on top 21-10!

    Derek Molina (The RHP was the Twins 14th round pick in 2017 from Merced College. He struck out 61 batters in 41 innings in 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers.)

    I’m going with the 49ers

    Nick Brown (RHP was the Twins 32nd round pick in 2017 from the College of William & Mary. Spent 2018 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.)

    Chiefs by 14. Tyreek hill makes a mockery of the San Fran secondary. He unlocks the ability to teleport halfway through the second quarter and goes 2 TD and 147 rec yards. Onside kick in the 4th gets recovered by the niners but taken away by an offsides.

    Niall Windeler (LHP was the Twins 19th round pick in 2019 from the University of British Columbia. He pitched in the GCL last year.)

    I’m going with the niners!

    Adam Bray (RHP is an Eden Prairie native who was traded to the Twins from the Dodgers in spring 2018. He split 2019 between Pensacola and Rochester.)

    I’m taking the chiefs. Their offense is too explosive!

    Jacob Pearson (OF was traded to the Twins from the Angels in December 2017. He split 2019 between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers.)

    I’m going to have to root for the 49ers because they gave the saints the best game of the year. I got 49ers 34-27

    Brent Headrick (LHP was the Twins 9th round pick in 2019 from Illinois State. He made three appearances in Elizabethton.)

    I’m going to have to go with the Chiefs 34-24. I don’t think the 49ers can stop Mahomes.

    Andrew Cabezas (RHP was the Twins 18th round pick in 2018 from Miami. He made 22 starts for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2019.)

    Chiefs 35 - 31

    Annie Sabo (joined FSN last September. She is a studio host for “Wolves Live.”)

    I’m taking the Chiefs 41-30. One word, Patrick Mahomes. Chiefs have had quite the playoff run, their momentum/confidence carries into the Super Bowl.

    Evan Gillespie (LHP signed with the Twins from Faulkner University after the 2019 draft and pitched in 12 games for the GCL Twins)

    I think the score will be 27-24. Both good offensive teams but with the event being the Super Bowl I don’t think it will be a scoring fest, but still a close game.

    Jared Gaynor (pitching coach in the GCL in 2020. He also owns Gaynor Strength & PItching.)

    49ers over the Chiefs 31-24

    Alex Phillips (RHP signed with the Twins late in the 2018 season and helped the Miracle to an FSL title. Split 2019 between Ft. Myers and Pensacola.)

    Give me the team with the best D Line.
    49ers - 24, Chiefs - 22

    Steven Theetge (RHP signed with the Twins after the 2019 draft from Bryant University and spent the summer in the GCL.)

    I got Chiefs 27 49ers 24 with Mahomes winning MVP

    Parker Phillips (1B was the Twins 27th round pick in 2019 from Austin Peay. Split the summer between the GCL and Elizabethton.)

    I truly believe that the 49ers are going to get a little taste of what it feels like to be the Dolphins playing at Hard Rock.. Which is not a good feeling at all. Chiefs 37 49ers 17

    Alec Craig (infielder signed with the Twins after the 2019 draft from the USPBL. He is an on-base machine who played in the GCL.)

    I like the 49ers winning 35-31

    Twins Daily Owners, Writers

    Seth Stohs

    Chiefs 40,
    49ers 16

    After giving up a first-drive touchdown to the 49ers, the Chiefs will completely dominate. Tyreek Hill will get consideration, but Patrick Mahomes will be the MVP.

    Ted Schwerzler

    Chiefs 35 49ers 17
    Hard to go against Patrick Mahomes, no matter the defense. Andy Reid is the king of bye weeks. Jimmy G finally is asked to do too much.

    Steve Lein

    49ers 27, Chiefs 24
    Gotta go with the healthy SF defense to be the difference maker, but should be a close one!

    Nate Palmer

    Chiefs 30-27
    It feels like it could be close but I think Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce’s athleticism will simply be able to win out.

    Cooper Carlson

    I have two predictions. First, the Chiefs will win the game by a score of 27-24. Second, we will see Andy Reid eating a celebratory cheeseburger during his press conference after the game.

    Rena Banena

    The spirit of Tom Brady will manifest in Mahomes, rather than Garoppolo, with a final score of 34-28 Chiefs. The MVP is Shakira.

    Nash Walker

    I'll take the Chiefs 31-28!

    Matt Lenz

    Chiefs 24, 49ers 14

    Steve Buhr

    49ers to win 28-24. Hawkeye alum George Kittle is the MVP, obviously!

    Throw in your predictions in the Comments below. This page will be updated with more predictions right up until game time on Sunday.

    • Feb 03 2020 08:33 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  10. Twins Ready to Compete for Best Bullpen in Baseball

    When headed to Spring Training prior to the 2019 season, the Twins were coming off of two years in which they finished 24th and 18th as a bullpen respectively. Garvin Alston had been shown the door, and so too had skipper Paul Molitor. In an age where rotations had become simply a means to an end, it was the power bullpens that reigned supreme.

    Breaking camp to head north Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson took a relief corps that included Taylor Rogers, Adlaberto Mejia, Trevor May, Blake Parker, Trevor Hildenberger, and Ryne Harper. Just two of those names remain for the 2020 squad, and they’ve now been developed into absolute studs.

    Coming out of the 2019 season, Johnson and Baldelli had orchestrated a relief group that posted the third best fWAR (7.3) across baseball. Rogers and May were joined by Tyler Duffey in hitting career marks, and Zack Littell was groomed into a solid back end arm. Though this group may not have the names of some other top units, their creating household numbers on their own.

    Johnson helped Rogers to produce the 11th best single season reliever fWAR (2.1) in Twins history. It was the best single-season performance since 2006 when Joe Nathan recorded the second-best mark (3.1) in club history, and it was a step up from Taylor’s already impressive 2018 season. It isn’t just about what Johnson got out of an already good arm, however.

    Acquired in the Ben Revere trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, Trevor May never worked out as a starter. Injuries mounted, and after sorting out his back issues, relief work became the way to go. He posted a career best FIP in 2018 and ratcheted up the strikeout numbers. Last year though, he became a true shutdown type while posting 11.1 K/9, and career lows in both H/9 (6.0) and HR/9 (1.1).

    Joining May in taking a step forward was Tyler Duffey. The former Rice closer went down the starting path and we nearly cast aside after a disastrous 7.20 ERA in 2018. Over 57.2 IP a year ago, he turned in a 2.50 ERA, 12.8 K/9 (nearly double the 2018 number), and a 3.06 FIP. With one of the best curveballs on the staff, the guy known as Doof certainly can mow 'em down in big moments.

    Minnesota identified Sergio Romo in an astute trade during last year’s deadline, and the fan favorite was brought back this year after posting a 146 ERA+ and 10.6 K/9. Looking great in Cleveland a year ago, 35-year-old Tyler Clippard and his strong career numbers over 13 years were added to the veteran presence.

    Being able to add Littell, who posted a 0.88 ERA and 27/8 K/BB over his final 30.2 IP, was one of the Twins great accomplishments a season ago. Matt Wisler is a former Top-100 prospect that hasn’t seen big league success, but there’s no denying Johnson sees something he likes there. Minnesota gave him a guaranteed contract, and the slider is a pitch to work with.

    Then there’s phenom Brusdar Graterol. It’s hardly a death sentence to send a 21-year-old kid to the bullpen (ask Johan Santana). Still looking to develop a complete repertoire, Graterol’s triple-digit heater should be plenty useful when attacking the opposition. Baldelli being able to go there in earlier innings is something a luxury only a pen this good could afford. Maybe his role is tweaked down the line, but there’s something to be said about adding arguably the best available relief arm by simply picking from your own organization.

    Things never go according to plan, so being able to rest on depth like Cody Stashak and his nutty 25/1 debut K/BB, or Jorge Alcala and his big fastball are certainly realities new to the organization. When hired from the Indians organization it was consistently noted that Derek Falvey’s calling card was developing pitching. It’s not hard to see how powerful the infrastructure he’s blueprinted now is, and the fruit that it continues to bear.

    Minnesota was topped by the Rays (7.6 fWAR) and Yankees (7.5) last year. Jumping to that top spot isn't at all unlikely. This ain’t your grandad’s Minnesota Twins bullpen. They have to go out and perform, but this is a unit that is going to be an absolute problem in the best way possible.

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
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    • Jan 22 2020 12:30 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  11. 3 Current Twins That Were Late-Blooming Prospects

    Mitch Garver
    Twins fans are well aware of what Mitch Garver was able to accomplish last season on the way to his first Silver Slugger Award. Among American League catchers, Garver ranks first in WAR, first in slugging percentage, first in on-base percentage, and second in home runs. He did all of this in his age-28 season after posting a .739 OPS with seven home runs over his first two big-league seasons.

    Garver was never considered a top-10 prospect in the Twins organization. Seth and I both had him in the teens entering the 2017 and 2018 seasons respectively. Throughout his minor league career, he hit .270/.363/.428 (.791), which are very respectable numbers for a catcher. His power numbers last season were completely off the charts and it will be interesting to see if Garver can continue to be one of the best hitting catchers in the American League.

    Highest Twins Prospect Ranking (Year)
    Cody: 13 (2017)
    Seth: 16 (2018)

    Trevor May
    When the Twins traded for Trevor May, he was supposed to become a starting pitcher. Tommy John surgery cost him the 2017 season and he has been pitching out of the bullpen over the last two seasons. During that time, he has posted a 3.01 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and 11.5 SO/9. Last season was his first time making over 60 appearances and he posted a career best 2.94 ERA.

    Prior to the 2012 season, May was considered a top-100 prospect by all three national prospect ranking entities (Baseball America, MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus). He was coming off a season where he was almost two years younger than the competition in the FSL while posting a 12.4 SO/9 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. As part of the Twins Prospect Handbook, Seth and I both had him in our top-10 Twins prospects prior the 2013 campaign.

    Highest Twins Prospect Ranking
    Cody: 6 (2013)
    Seth: 9 (2013)

    Taylor Rogers
    Minnesota’s bullpen had some rocky moments last season, but the one consistent was Taylor Rogers and his dominance in late inning situations. He ranked second among AL relievers in WAR and Win Probability Added. Rogers wasn’t being relied on as a traditional closer either. In 17 different appearances, Rocco Baldelli asked Rogers to collect more than three outs. Minnesota’s bullpen looks stronger for 2020, so it will be interesting to see if he is used in a more traditional closer role.

    Throughout his minor league career, Rogers was always considered a starting pitcher. In fact, 87 of his 99 minor league appearances came as a starting pitcher. Because he was usually projected as a starter, Seth and I never had Rogers ranked inside out top-10 Twins prospects. Now this past season, he might have been the most valuable reliever in the American League.

    Highest Twins Prospect Ranking
    Cody: 17 (2016)
    Seth: 11 (2015)

    If you want to learn more about potential late blooming prospects, make sure to pick up a copy of the 2020 Twins Prospect Handbook. There are profiles and scouting reports on nearly 170 players in the Twins farm system along with articles and prospect rankings.

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
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    • Jan 14 2020 04:36 PM
    • by Cody Christie
  12. Twins and 2020 Arbitration

    Earlier in the offseason, the Twins had to make decisions on which players they would offer arbitration to. Players with less than six years of service time, and more than three years (and the top 30% of players with more than two years of service time are Super-2 players) are eligible for salary arbitration.

    At that time, the team non-tendered RHP Sam Dyson early in the process. They also non-tended CJ Cron, who has since signed with the Tigers. They also agreed to terms with infielder Ehire Adrianza and RHP Matt Wisler.

    Below are the players that will know a lot more about their 2020 salaries by this afternoon. They will either agree to terms before 11:00 (which is usually what happens), or at that time, the team and the player will make their "bids" for their 2020 salaries. If they are unable to agree to terms before their arbitration date, the two sides will go in front of an arbitration panel and have the 2020 salary determined. This also does not happen often.

    So let's get to the players. What you will see below is the MLB Trade Rumor projection, and also the Twins Daily projection (found in the Offseason Handbook). When we see that an agreement has been reached, we will also post that under each player's name.

    UPDATE (5:00 pm.) - more specifics will be posted below when details are available.



    Trevor May

    MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2.1 million
    Twins Daily Projection: $2.5 million
    Actual: $2.205 million

    Eddie Rosario

    MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $8.9 million
    Twins Daily Projection: $7.5 million
    Actual: $7.75 million

    Miguel Sano

    MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $5.9 million
    Twins Daily Projection: $5.5 million
    Actual: Agreed to multi-year deal through 2022, with option for 2023.

    Byron Buxton

    MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2.9 million
    Twins Daily Projection: $3.5 million
    Actual: $3.025 Million (per Jon Heyman)



    Taylor Rogers

    MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.9 million
    Twins Daily Projection: $4.0 million
    Actual: $4.45 million

    Tyler Duffey

    MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million
    Twins Daily Projection:$1.25
    Actual: $1.2 million.



    Jose Berrios

    MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $5.4 million
    Twins Daily Projection: $4.5 million
    Arbitration: No agreement yet.
    Twins offer: $4.025 mlillion, Berrios asked: $4.4 million.



    https://twitter.com/...803718043684864


    Feel free to discuss.

    • Jan 11 2020 09:22 AM
    • by Seth Stohs
  13. Now Entering Second Guess Season

    Starting Pitchers
    After watching Jake Odorizzi on Monday night, plenty of fans were questioning the decision to hold him off until game three. As the series started, Minnesota’s logic was to use Odorizzi, a fly-ball pitcher, at Target Field, which is a less-prone fly-ball park than Yankee Stadium. Randy Dobnak had been a good story for the Twins, but he was a rookie with few MLB appearances.

    Odorizzi had been named an All-Star and he might have been Minnesota’s best pitcher down the stretch. While Jose Berrios struggled in the second half (4.64 ERA, 1.38 WHIP), Odorizzi posted a 2.86 ERA in August and a 3.27 ERA in September. In a shorter five-game series, Odorizzi might have been the better choice in the second game of the series.

    Kepler’s Injury
    Minnesota, like a lot of teams, deal with injuries down the stretch. Luis Arraez suffered what looked like a season-ending injury in the Twins’ last series of the year as he had to be carted off the field. He came back to hit 5-for-11 against the Yankees and he became the first to record to record four doubles in an ALDS. Max Kepler also missed time at the end of the year, but he didn’t fare nearly as well against New York.

    Kepler did not record a hit in 13 plate appearances and he officially finished the postseason going 0-for-10 with three strikeouts and three walks. Some might question if Kepler was healthy enough to play in the post-season, but the second guessing could come in the team’s decision not to play him in the season’s final series against Kansas City. It’s hard to know if Kepler was healthy enough to play. However, standing in for at-bats against the Royals might have helped him to get some of his timing back after being injured.

    Bullpen
    Taylor Rogers didn’t pitch until the third game of the ALDS and Trevor May was limited to one pitch in the entire series. Some might question whether Kyle Gibson should have even been on the roster. In Game 1, Minnesota turned to Zack Littell after only four innings out of Jose Berrios. From there the Twins turned to the likes of Cody Stashak and the aforementioned Gibson. This wasn’t exactly the power bullpen Minnesota had used the final weeks of the season.

    The results from Game 2 weren’t much better as Dobnak recorded six outs before Duffey struggled in his 2/3 of an inning. By the middle of the second game of the series, Duffey was the lone key relief option to make multiple appearances and the team’s two best relievers (Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers) had yet to appear. Rocco Baldelli made plenty of good decisions throughout the season, but his bullpen usage in October is something to be questioned.

    If you are second guessing the Twins, what decision would you change? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    • Oct 09 2019 05:37 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  14. Damage Control: Pitching is Minnesota's Primary Advantage in ALDS

    STARTING PITCHING

    The Twins have question marks in the rotation, yes, but the Yankees even more so.

    Minnesota ranks 11th among MLB teams in starting pitching ERA, and seventh in WAR. New York ranks 11th and 17th, respectively.

    While the Twins may lack a prototypical ace, their top two starters have easily outperformed their Bronx counterparts:

    Jose Berrios: 200.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 124 ERA+, 3.68 FIP, 1.22 WHIP
    Jake Odorizzi: 159 IP, 3.51 ERA, 131 ERA+, 3.35 FIP, 1.21 WHIP

    Here's take a look at New York's top two starters this year:

    James Paxton: 150.2 IP, 3.82 ERA, 116 ERA+, 3.86 FIP, 1.28 WHIP
    Masahiro Tanaka: 182 IP, 4.45 ERA, 100 ERA+, 4.27 FIP, 1.24 WHIP

    The caveat here is that New York also has Luis Severino, who's likely their best starter on talent alone. But Severino missed almost the entire season with a shoulder injury, coming back to make three appearances in September. He pitched well in those appearances (1.50 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 12 innings) but still... he's barely pitched. CC Sabathia is no more than a mediocre long reliever at this point, and J.A. Happ has had a crummy season though he did finish it strong.

    Interestingly, both rotations are without key third pieces due to self-created messes. The Twins are obviously missing Michael Pineda, who received a PED suspension in early September. Meanwhile, Yankees right-hander Domingo German was 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 153-to-39 K/BB ratio before being placed on administrative leave in mid-September due to domestic violence allegations.

    Depending on your level of belief in Randy Dobnak, the Twins have either a slight or considerable advantage in starting pitching in the first round – a chasmic difference from a scenario where they would've drawn Houston.

    RELIEF PITCHING

    The Yankees spent big to build a power bullpen, and to an extent it has paid off. The $39 million trio of Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino has been phenomenal. New York has a couple of other rock-solid relief arms in Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle. But they're without an essential fixture in Dellin Betances, who suffered a partial Achilles tear and is done for the year.

    Minnesota's top three bullpen arms – Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey and Trevor May – are roughly equivalent to New York's prime trio, at about 10% of the cost. But the next wave of depth is where the Twins start to pull away: Zack Littell, Cody Stashak, Sergio Romo, and the electric wild-card that is Brusdar Graterol... these guys have the performance and stuff to inspire confidence. The absence of deadline dud Sam Dyson barely even seems to factor – certainly not the extent of Betances for New York.

    In terms of season numbers, these two clubs are very comparable. New York ranks second in bullpen WAR at 7.5, while Minnesota is third at 7.3. New York ranks ninth in bullpen ERA at 4.08, Minnesota ranks 10th at 4.17. Minnesota ranks first in bullpen FIP at 3.92, New York ranks ninth 4.15.

    You could argue that the Yankees are equal or even superior in this department on some of those counts, but in present terms, overall numbers overstate the impact of Betances for New York, and understate the impact of guys like Duffey and Stashak for Minnesota. Since the All-Star break, the Twins edge the Yankees in basically every measure. In fact, since the All-Star break, Minnesota's bullpen is conquering the world according to certain metrics. For example...

    Top Second-Half Bullpen WAR:

    1. MIN - 4.8
    2. TB - 3.7
    3. NYY - 3.7
    4. SD - 3.4
    5. BOS - 2.7

    That's some gap at the top. Rocco Baldelli told media on Tuesday, "Right now I think we have one of the best bullpens I've ever seen." And really, it's not a ridiculous statement. This unit is a strength unrivaled by any other team in this postseason mix. Given the immense relief struggles the Twins were facing around the deadline, and the total fizzling of their marquee addition at that time, this is a borderline miraculous development.

    It may be the story of the season in a year where the Twins sent two starters to the All-Star Game and set the MLB home run record. Amidst all the talk of these two powerful lineups clashing, not enough attention is being paid to Minnesota's elite, spectacular bullpen. That depth will come heavily into play as Baldelli attempts to navigate this series with a shorthanded rotation.

    In all likelihood, neither of these imposing lineups are getting silenced. In a series like this, it's about damage control. That happens to be Minnesota's primary advantage on paper.

    • Oct 02 2019 04:34 AM
    • by Nick Nelson
  15. The Twins Playoff Hopes Rely On the Three T's

    In 2015, the Royals pioneered the strategy of five-and-dive starters, and allowed the pen to handle the rest. The merits of relievers now rests in the seventh through ninth innings, and given the Twins recent playoff demons that should bring nightmarish flashbacks.

    Bullpens are a focal point of postseason success. In the 2017 wildcard game, Ervin Santana was yanked three innings into his start. Luis Severino, the Yankees starter was also removed on a much shorter hook after just 1/3 of an inning with three runs already allowed. It's no safe assumption a starter will go five innings or 100 pitches.
    Shutdown starters and unhittable closers get all the glory, but the unsung heroes of the past season, such as Josh Hader, are much more valuable than they get credit for.

    Trevor May has received his fair share of criticism. Saturday night’s display of pure dominance predicated on fastball command would be a welcomed sight in the postseason. More breaking ball usage and less dependence on a flat changeup could perhaps be enough for May. A much smoother finish with his mechanics, and not leaving as many pitches in the whomping zone of hitters have been helpful for Trevor. Since his bad stretch of home runs he has lost all trust in his curve, which could fuel more good fortune.

    [attachment=13159:HardHitHeat.png]

    May has had the year of his life in 2019. He had a promising end to his 2018 campaign that saw him flash the truly elite stuff that he flashed as a middling fourth/fifth starter in the dawn of his career. He’s bumped his velocity up considerably, and lately has sliced his pitch assortment, providing a better directive to his mound mindset.

    Taylor Rogers might be the most underrated pitcher, perhaps even player, in baseball thanks to his above average fastball and frisbee slider. A bullpen absent the invincible Aroldis Chapman fireball, or the radioactive cutter of Kenley Jansen, or the capital C-declared closer, might be an assembly of relief pitchers as effective, or more so, than any other in baseball.



    If there was one point of criticism for Rogers, I would point to the curveball and slider blending together. But that in no way detracts from the set of weapons that he has, and that the Twins have, that their playoff success could hinge on.

    Tyler Duffey might be the most remarkable story of the entire season for the Twins. He flamed-out as a starter in 2016 and followed with a pair of enigmatic seasons. At the tipping point of his career, he took on a complete overhaul, reinvention and refinement of his mechanics and approach under the tutelage of Wes Johnson.
    Duffey was taught sinkers inside and low, during the Rick Anderson, Neil Allen and Garvin Alston regimes.

    Jace Frederick of the Pioneer Press recently wrote an article that delved into Duffey's progress that included some illuminating quotes. Duffey spoke to how different Wes Johnson's mentality is.

    “Obviously I had the potential to be good, but it was seeing why I could be, understanding why I could be, and then doing it and repeating was the last piece of that. I think for me, personally, it’s just been trusting the whole plan that’s been set and going with it.
    “Pitching with conviction is the name of the game. Hitters can tell when you’re not convicted in what you’re doing. I think I’m trusting it, I feel good doing it and the results are speaking for themselves.”

    “He can be a strikeout guy, and he’s learned that,” Johnson said. “When we started back in spring training, our goal was to strike out more hitters than we ever have. We’re getting there, incrementally. And Tyler is someone you’re seeing make progress really fast.”

    The intuitive and tailored recipe for success spearheaded with the ongoing trend of elevating, decelerating and spiking. Fastballs up, sliders and curves down and away, and toggling with the velocity of those breakers has paved the way to a 2.35 ERA and a 1.0 WAR during this 2019 run to the postseason. A truly remarkable achievement for a pitcher once on the bubble.

    For the Twins to succeed in the postseason, a strong back-end of the bullpen must complement a competent starting staff. It could be a feasible plan, given that the trio of Trevor May, Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers has arrived and they are here to stay.

    • Sep 25 2019 02:50 PM
    • by Sabir Aden
  16. Twins Game Recap (9/20): Randy Dobnak Continues to Dominate in 4-3 Win

    Box Score
    Dobnak: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 61% strikes (45 of 74 pitches)
    Bullpen: 2.9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

    Home Runs: None
    Multi-Hit Games: None

    Top 3 WPA: Randy Dobnak (0.25), Trevor May (0.17), Marwin Gonzalez (0.13)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Eddie Rosario (-0.11), Devin Smeltzerr (-0.07), Jonathan Schoop (-0.05)

    The legend of Randy Dobnak continues.

    Randy Dobnak has the greatest mustache of all time and also is the greatest Twins pitcher of all time. That was a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture. He continued his great rookie campaign with 5 1/3 great innings allowing only three hits and one run. Even he would have never predicted to be in the majors this season as two years ago he scheduled his wedding for the upcoming Sept. 28. Would it be weird to get married in the clubhouse or on the mound?

    The only run given up was actually off a pitch from Cody Stashak so I’m sure Randy is eternally angry with him. Besides that hit, Stashak was dominant once again, striking out the next two batters he faced. That makes 21 strikeouts and just one walk so far in his young career. When he first came up, he said he was just here to throw strikes and he seems to be doing that.

    Twins offense scores early, waits five innings and scores again

    The bats got off to a quick start tonight with a Mitch Garver walk and a Polanco double. Nelson Cruz followed with a sacrifice fly that Dick Bremer probably convinced you was a home run. Then the most unlikely event possible occurred when Miguel Sano hit an RBI triple to the right center gap. Yes, I said triple.



    After nothing really got going from innings two through five, the Twins got it going again in the sixth with a Polanco walk, a Sano walk, and then a Marwin Gonzalez RBI double that let Miguel Sano once again show off his insane speed. Who needs Buxton when Sano is running like this?



    Royals put up a fight but ultimately they achieve their 99th loss.

    Devin Smeltzer had a nice and clean seventh inning but he and Brusdar Graterol ran into some bad luck in the eighth with batters reaching on balls with an expected batting average of .170, .140, .400 and .200 so the Royals scrappy approach finally found some luck. Brusdar and his bazooka would leave the eighth inning with a 4-3 lead.

    Trevor May came in for the save and struck the first batter out on three pitches. Then he struck out Whit Merrifield looking. He capped off the save with....another strikeout! All three of the strikeouts came on fastballs and hitters have just a .158 BA against his fastball to go with a 32% whiff rate. It’s his best pitch and he throws it 62% of the time. Trevor May also has a 1.62 ERA since the start of August. Elite.


    Twins magic number drops to five and lead in the central stays at four.

    With today’s win the Twins have dropped their magic number to five games. Fangraphs has the Twins at a 99% chance to win the division. I know a lot of you are taking that 1% but just so we are all clear, the Twins will win the AL Central. As Trevor May would say, go Twins.

    Postgame With Baldelli


    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

    • Sep 21 2019 04:47 AM
    • by Cooper Carlson
  17. Mission Accomplished: An Elite Twins Bullpen

    For months there was a growing notion that the Twins would make a move. This club looked the part and jumped out to a big divisional lead. With a relief corps that could use some reinforcements, the front office would almost assuredly deal from depth to bolster the bullpen. Although it didn’t happen in as timely of a matter as some may have hoped, and there could have been some hiccups avoided mid-summer, moves came. Two veteran arms with high ceilings would be added to a back end that already had some promise.

    But then, two became one, and a handful emerged.

    Dyson was the best reliever dealt at the deadline. There were bigger names that weren’t moved, but it was he who had previous closing experience and top-notch stuff. He has since been shut down and it looks like his season may be over. Romo and his wipe-out slider are still getting the job done, and he’s stuck in high leverage as expected. One of the two moves worked, but it’s the ones set into motion many months before that are truly paying off.

    Back in February I suggested that the Twins would win 92 games en route to a Central division crown. Chief among the reasons was the revamped coaching staff and infrastructure within the organization. The current group is a collaborative power that is constantly changing on the fly and looking for an opportunity to exploit the next level out of each player. For some, it takes longer to unlock then others, but if there’s a way this contingent of coaches is going to find the right buttons. There’s no more apparent area currently reflective of that then the bullpen.

    Since the trade deadline the Twins have posted 2.9 fWAR (2nd in MLB). Their 2.06 BB/9 is the lowest in baseball as is the 3.58 FIP that suggests they’re even better than a fifth best 3.67 ERA. The 1.54 WPA is fifth in baseball and one of just 12 teams currently putting up positive numbers. No one has opponents chasing more than the Twins' 35.2% and the arms they’re doing it with are virtually all home grown.

    You already know Taylor Rogers is an absolute menace. He’s a lefty with high velocity stuff that doesn’t care what side of the plate you stand on. Tyler Duffey owns 0.8 fWAR since August 1st and hasn’t given up a run since July 23 (a streak of 18.2 IP). He has a ridiculous 30/5 K/BB in that time, and looks the part of the elite closer that Minnesota drafted out of Rice way back in 2012.

    Looking for his calling with the Twins, there’s no denying Trevor May appears to have found it. Despite an ugly breaking pitch against Cleveland, and one that Rafael Devers beat him on in Boston, his 20 innings since the deadline have been exceptional. May has generated 0.5 fWAR and has allowed just those two earned runs in 20.0 IP. He has a 25/4 K/BB and opposing batters have mustered a sad .325 OPS against him.

    Arguably the most impressive work comes from the guy that the least was expected of. Still just 23-years-old, Zack Littell was asked to take a game against the Rays on the chin in May. He went back to Triple-A and transitioned to relief. Ramping up the velocity in shorter stints, he showcased his stuff in brief call-ups throughout the year. Now adding the time up, he’s pitched 24.2 innings in relief since June. Littell has allowed just two runs, both in the same outing, and has 21 strikeouts to his credit. He’s still working through command issues at times, but the .209 batting average against is exceptional.

    With just two weeks left until postseason baseball, Minnesota’s earliest bugaboo has now become an area of strength. This isn’t a lineup that needs to pad a starter’s lead bridging a gap to Taylor Rogers. The Twins are something like six or seven deep in quality arms, and none of those guys could care less who is in the opposing batter's box. Opponents may not have heard of anyone aside from the elder statesmen Romo, but this is a group that will generate name recognition as they turn from the plate watching the ball go around the horn following any given at-bat.

    There’s no denying that Rocco Baldelli is going to need a healthy dose of mix and match in October. Only the Astros go deep enough to throw starting cares to the wind. Teams like Minnesota will need to get what they can from the first man on the bump and then turn it over to the reinforcements behind the wall. Fortunately for this group, everyone from Baldelli to Wes Johnson, Jeremy Hefner, and the entirety of the minor league pitching support staff deserves a significant pat on the back for the speed with which they turned a deficiency into an asset.

    • Sep 17 2019 06:16 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  18. Twins Game Recap (9/14): Sano Grand Slam Overcomes Rocky Start for Win

    Box Score
    Starter: Lewis Thorpe 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 59% strikes (49 of 83 pitches)
    Bullpen: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

    Home Runs: Eddie Rosario (29), Nelson Cruz (37), Miguel Sano (28)
    Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (3-for-5)

    Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.256), Eddie Rosario (.243), Miguel Sano (.213)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Lewis Thorpe (-.302), Max Kepler (-1.00), Luis Arraez (-.077)

    Eddie Rosario started game two of the doubleheader off right as he hit his 29th home run on the season to score Jorge Polanco and put the Twins up 2-0 early. That early lead wouldn’t hold nearly as long as one had hoped.

    Lewis Thorpe continued the parade of bullpen arms that passed over the mound Saturday. While game one resulted in a shutout, Thorpe wasn’t as sharp. Instead the Indians scored two runs in the first and another three in the fourth before Thorpe left the game with the Indians leading 5-2.

    In the sixth inning the Twins began to chip away at the Indians' lead with a Cruz home run. It was then in the eighth inning when all of Twins Territory could exhale and then celebrate as the Twins erupted for five runs. With Sano’s first career grand slam being the biggest of exclamation points on the Twins' night and putting the Twins up 9-5.



    While Sano will be the one remembered, Polanco and the relievers should not be overlooked. Polanco, along with going 3-for-5 on the night also scored three of the Twins nine runs. After the exit of Thorpe, the Twins pitchers allowed only one hit, issued no walks or runs, and struck out six Indian batters.

    That puts the Twins 5.5 games up in the Central and the Indians are now in danger of missing out on the playoffs all together. I will allow your imagination to insert an earlier tweeted premature farewell tweet here...

    Postgame With Baldelli


    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

    • Sep 14 2019 09:19 PM
    • by Nate Palmer
  19. Is It Time for a New Bullpen Paradigm?

    With the emergence of quality relief arms like Tyler Duffey and Trevor May, who are capable of pitching late in the game, and the addition of late-inning arms in Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson (if he’s ever healthy), the Twins haven’t felt as much need to pitch Rogers multiple days in a row. Add in Zack Littell, who has also been really solid down the stretch, and the Minnesota bullpen appears to be in good shape, especially relative to starting pitching and the dearth of healthy position players.

    With a bullpen that is overflowing with arms due to September call-ups, I was curious to see how the aforementioned relievers have performed while pitching on back-to-back days. With so many quality relief options and the September additions, it seems less necessary than ever to pitch anyone without a day of rest between outings. Of course, rosters will contract prior to the postseason, but with so many good relievers right now (and problems in the rotation), the Twins would do well to consider the best usage of the bullpen. Let’s take a look at how the top six relievers have performed both on zero-days rest (in the left-side of the box) compared to their overall numbers on the season (on the right-side).

    [attachment=13084:BullpenSheet.png]
    Yikes! Those numbers on zero days of rest are pretty atrocious across the board. The one glaring exception is Trevor May, who contrary to the trend, actually has pitched much better without a day off between appearances. Of course, we’re talking about a very small sample size of just 9 2/3 innings, but compared to his peers it seems that May is the man to go to if you need someone to pitch two days in a row. However, in the course of a full season the Twins would have to be careful not to overuse May if he was to be relied on to go back-to-back days more often than the others.

    As far as the others go, the numbers while pitching with no rest really stand out compared to their overall numbers, especially considering that the no-rest performances are also included in the overall numbers, causing them to be a bit bloated. Looking at the differences in OPS allowed shows that the pitchers are making hitters look below replacement level overall, while Rogers, Duffey, and Littell are allowing batters to look like MVP-caliber hitters when pitching on back-to-back days. The diminished strikeout-to-walk ratios of Rogers and Duffey point to a lack of control potentially due to the extra fatigue of pitching without a day of rest.

    Before the trade deadline, Minnesota rode Rogers hard out of necessity, but it is really no longer advisable to do so. With five to six high quality relief arms (depending on Dyson’s health) the Twins don’t really need to use any reliever on back to back days. Rocco Baldelli deserves credit for the overall fluidity of the bullpen roles, but the Twins can afford to be even less strict with the positioning of their best arms. Although Rogers is the preferred reliever to bring in to close out the game, Romo has done so on occasion since joining the team, and both Duffey, and to a lesser extent May, can be trusted in the highest-leverage situations. And if the Twins aren’t married to Rogers in save situations, he can be brought in to late-inning situations with more lefties due up or when facing the heart of an opposition’s order prior to the ninth. While the Twins might not want to bring Littell in to end the game, he has pitched really well and seems to be at the point where he can be trusted in the late innings of a close game. Dyson is a bit of a wildcard as he hasn’t pitched in a while due to injury, but if he comes back strong he also has closer experience and is capable of being a late-inning weapon.

    Minnesota currently has a plethora of lesser relief options that should be considered before pitching anyone other than May on zero rest days. Relievers like Cody Sashak, Ryne Harper, or possibly even Brusdar Graterol could be preferable to the non-rested options. Depending on how the opener role is used going forward, Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe, and Devin Smeltzer would also be viable options out of the pen. The Twins would then be able to use three of their superior options for the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, saving the other two or three for the next game whenever possible. They could also let one of the top relievers go more than one inning on occasion, especially if they are not asked to pitch in the next game. And while the “lesser options” may not be as attractive as the top five or six, when compared with the numbers of the “superior” pitchers with no rest, they don’t look so bad, and their effectiveness could be further enhanced by being utilized against the bottom of opposing team’s lineups.

    The Twins have yet to clinch the division, but they are well on their way to doing so and with the number of relievers that they have available there is really no reason to run out any relievers on back-to-back days. The postseason is a completely different animal, and with the current lack of starting pitching the bullpen will be paramount if the Twins hope to advance. The good news is that there are plenty of days off between games in the postseason, which should prevent the top bullpen options from too much overuse. Obviously, Minnesota wants its best pitchers throwing in the postseason, but they only seem to be at their best when they are properly rested. It will certainly help to have such a high number of quality late-inning arms, and hopefully an extra lefty or two.

    Beyond this season, Minnesota may be able to take advantage of limiting the use of relievers on back-to-back days next season as well. Sergio Romo is the only impending free agent of the top six arms, so the Twins should have plenty of good options for high-leverage situations. They also have plenty of young arms with options left, so they will be likely to keep the Rochester-Minneapolis shuttle going strong, making it easier to have fresh arms available. Beyond that, the new rules for 2020 could also lead to less reliever overuse. With pitchers having to face a minimum of three batters (unless the inning ends first) there should be fewer situational pitcher changes, although the Twins don’t do a whole lot of that due to the lack of LOOGYs in their pen. Rosters will also expand to 26 players which will make it all the easier to carry an extra arm.

    Utilizing the bullpen is essential not only for the remainder of the regular season, but for the postseason if the Twins are to go anywhere at all. After much fan dissatisfaction with the bullpen in the first half of the year, the Twins now have one of the best pens in all of baseball and are poised to be strong in 2020 as well. It’s always nice to have your best pitcher in the game, especially when the game is on the line, but it appears that the best are only the best when they have proper rest (all you coaches out there feel free to use that handy rhyme with the youngsters). It’s already a huge advantage to have such a large quantity of quality arms, and if the Twins are able to fully utilize their relievers with rest between outings, the bullpen will that much more of a weapon going forward.

    • Sep 14 2019 10:06 AM
    • by Patrick Wozniak
  20. Constructing a Way-Too-Early Twins Playoff Bullpen

    On the morning of Sept. 3, 2019 the Minnesota Twins have a 99.7% chance to make the playoffs and 94.5% chance of winning the division. Of course the division race is not mathematically over, but with just under a month to go and a 6.5 game lead, you have to feel good about where the Twins are. Just look at this fun graph from Fangraphs. The Twins have not been under 50% since May 7 and even when Cleveland took the lead the Twins still had a better chance.

    [attachment=13044:division odds.png]

    With the Twins all but guaranteed to go to the playoffs, a lot of talk about the potential playoff roster has been heating up. With a current 36-man roster including fifteen pitchers after September call-ups, the Twins will have a few tough decisions. Who will be in a playoff rotation? Will Kyle Gibson make the roster? How many bullpen pitchers will the Twins carry? I think the Twins will go with a three-man rotation, Kyle Gibson will still be recovering, and the Twins will have nine in the bullpen.

    Who will make the Twins playoff bullpen?

    After months of questioning if the Twins would even have enough pitchers to make up a competent playoff bullpen, the script has been completely flipped. The Twins now have about ten to twelve guys with a real shot to make an impact in the playoffs, but it will likely come down to about eight or nine. With five guys being locked in, who else has a shot? This list will assume Berrios, Pineda, and Odorizzi make the roster.

    Locks:
    1. Taylor Rogers
    2. Tyler Duffey
    3. Sergio Romo
    4. Sam Dyson
    5. Trevor May

    Most likely:
    6. Zack Littell
    7. Brusdar Graterol
    8. Martin Perez
    9. Ryne Harper
    10. Lewis Thorpe

    Unlikely:
    11. Devin Smeltzer
    12. Cody Stashak
    13. Trevor Hildenberger
    14. Jorge Alcala
    15. Fernando Romero
    16. Randy Dobnak
    17. Kohl Stewart

    Going off of these rankings, creating a playoff bullpen will be tough and that is a good problem to have. With a three-man rotation, the Twins can likely afford to have nine men in the playoff bullpen, but who will they be?

    Zack Littell is probably the easiest answer at this point. Since being transferred to the bullpen full time, he has pitched 19 2/3 innings and given up just two runs on two solo home runs. That is good for a 0.92 ERA to go with a 1.12 WHIP, 22.4 K%, and .675 OPS. The Twins have used him in a set-up role lately, showing him that they trust him. He gets the sixth spot in my way too early playoff bullpen.

    Next up, the Twins will probably want at least one more left-hander to be used as a lefty specialist to go get an out against Didi Gregorius even though it seems impossible. The three competitors will be Perez, Smeltzer, and Thorpe. The best OPS against left handed hitters this season from that group belongs to Perez at just .583 (Thorpe at .929 and Smeltzer at .816) so I expect him to be an effective bullpen arm. He gets bullpen spot number seven. That leaves two more.

    The eighth guy in my bullpen is someone who the Twins and everyone around them have been talking about for months, and that is the flame-throwing right-hander Brusdar Graterol. Honestly I don’t think I would be able to forgive myself if I didn’t put him here. The upside for Graterol has already been expressed by everyone around Twins Territory but even Thad Levine was saying this is definitely a special pitcher. He made these comments about him to the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

    “In my entire career, I’ve never seen a pitcher other than [Yankees All-Star closer] Aroldis Chapman sit above 100 MPH for an entire inning,” Levine said. “I think he threw one fastball that was timed at 99, and it was almost disappointing.”

    The final spot in my early bullpen is completely up for grabs from anyone remaining. The player who outperforms the rest this month will get a playoff job so you may want to keep your eyes out for the hot hand. It could really be any of these players, but my best guess would have to be Lewis Thorpe. His 2.76 FIP and 9.2 K/9 are extremely impressive, and his best games have been against the Yankees and Red Sox. Sign me up for some more Thorpedo.

    Final bullpen:
    1 Taylor Rogers
    2 Tyler Duffey
    3 Sergio Romo
    4 Sam Dyson
    5 Trevor May
    6 Zack Littell
    7 Martin Perez
    8 Brusdar Graterol
    9 Lewis Thorpe

    What would you change about the bullpen? Let me know in the comments below.

    • Sep 04 2019 04:04 PM
    • by Cooper Carlson
  21. A Revamped Approach Has Made All The Difference For Trevor May

    During the first half of the season, Trevor May was one of the more reliable options coming out of the Twins bullpen. At the All-Star Break, May had posted a 3.06 ERA, and was holding opposing hitters to a .596 OPS. Once play started in the second half, it quickly fell apart for Trevor May. It started with him giving up a costly, go-ahead home run, to Carlos Santana, late in the game against the Cleveland Indians. He followed that up, his next time out, by giving up a three-run home run to Dominic Smith, when the Twins were holding a 3 to 2 lead in the seventh inning. In both instances, the opposing hitter took Trevor May deep on a braking ball that he failed to get down and out of the zone. In his next outing after that, Trevor May failed to protect a 5 to 3 Twins lead late in the game, against the Oakland Athletics, and just like that all the good work he had done all season, was seemingly erased.

    Over the two weeks, following those performances, Trevor May made just two appearances, as it appeared that the Twins were giving Trevor May some time to get himself right. That plan has paid off big time for the Twins. Since that mini-break, Trevor May has morphed himself into a whole new pitcher. In the month of August, Trevor May allowed just one run, and had a 19 to 3 strikeout to walk ratio across 13 and 1/3 innings pitched. As a result, hitters had a staggeringly low .363 OPS against Trevor May, over that time.

    So, what has made all of the difference for Trevor May? While many people have pointed out that he seems to be throwing his fastball harder of late, that really isn’t the case. In the month of August, his average four-seam fastball velocity was 96.0 MPH on the nose, which is actually slightly down from the 96.5 MPH he was averaging in July. The real difference with Trevor May hasn’t been the velocity of his fastball, but rather, the frequency of use of his fastball. From April through June, Trevor May threw his fastball 61 percent of the time. In July, that frequency dipped, down to just 54 percent of the time, as Trevor May was focusing more on the use of his slider. However, since the beginning of August, Trevor May has all but scratched that mindset, and is now rearing back and challenging opposing hitters with his fastball at a 71 percent clip.

    [attachment=13032:Trevor May Fastball Pitch Percent.PNG]

    When you consider Trevor May is as a pitcher, this bulldog style approach makes a lot of sense for him. Among the 160 pitchers who have thrown at least, 500 four-seam fastball this season, on Giovanny Gallego has a better wOBA allowed on his four-seamer than Trevor May’s 0.228. That just shows how effective of a weapon Trevor May’s four-seam fastball really is.

    If Trevor May can continue to have this much success against opposing hitters, he will make a great addition to Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, Sam Dyson and Tyler Duffey as established and reliable relievers down the stretch and into the Postseason. Not only will this give Rocco Baldelli plenty of options to get outs, but it will take some of the pressure off the starting rotation to go deep into games.

    • Sep 01 2019 10:07 AM
    • by Andrew Thares
  22. Surging Twins Bullpen Boasts Enviable Depth, Additional Reinforcements on the Way

    Since the All-Star break, the Twins have baseball’s best SIERRA (a better or more comprehensive branch of FIP), and K-BB% a very good indicator of sustainably- sterling pitching, even while posting baseball’s highest zone per pitch%.

    We expected Wes Johnson to initiate some velocity increases, but he’s also helped a few relievers unleash some more bite on their breaking pitches.

    [attachment=13030:RogersDuffeyMay.png]

    Velocity has risen, the sharpness of break along with the tunneling of those pitches in relation to fastball location has improved, and in turn that’s led to more strikeouts and weaker contact.

    Tyler Duffey is an interesting experiment, and they’ve built a rapport with using the fastball as a catalyst to set up the wipeout slider, a new pitch he believes is just a harder thrown version of his former knucklecurve. With improved control, Trevor May has been an appealing seventh-inning guy to watch. Taylor Rogers, once was a generic LOOGY, is now perhaps the most impactful left-handed reliever in baseball excluding Felipe Vazquez. A 1.9 WAR is absolutely insane!

    Do you remember the old Rogers, Duffey, and May? They all relied on softer secondary stuff to get away with the weaker fastballs they had previously. Now armed and loaded with fastball velocity, they still haven’t ventured too far (apart from May) from their old plan of attack.

    What’s important to note is the current assembly of Twins pitchers is perfectly able at proving capable in the postseason.

    In Extra Innings, a book by Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh advocated for relievers to be picked at the margins or be groomed through the system once failing as starting pitchers.

    It’s an interesting proposal. Don’t ever buy a reliever because he'll often turn out to be a poor investment. Instead, build your bullpen with roster casualties and scuffling relievers that good teams feel they can’t wait to get better.

    [attachment=13031:FA contract WAR.png]

    The Twins haven’t been the most hardcore adherents to this system of thinking. They jettisoned Nick Anderson, Nick Burdi, JT Chargois and others for guys that may or may not have been past their primes on the free-agent market. That Addison Reed, Matt Belisle, Dillon Gee and Craig Breslow were all acquired under the Falvine regime, might be the result of fan pressure than actual thorough analysis on the makings of on-the-margin acquisitions.

    Guys like Tanner Rainey, Nick Anderson, Brendan Brennan, Austin Adams and Ty Buttrey were all traded in low-profile deals and turned out to be dynamic relievers.

    The Twins found innovative ways to hire intuitive and introspective thinkers to take on these projects in Duffey, May, Rogers and others.

    This bullpen is stacked with assorted gadgets and analytical fireman. So here’s my postseason bullpen predictions….

    Multi Inning Firemen; Brusdar Graterol (RHP) / Taylor Rogers (LHP)
    Set Up; Sam Dyson (RHP) / Trevor May (RHP)

    Situational; Tyler Duffey (RHP) / Trevor Hildenberger (RHP) / Sergio Romo (RHP)

    Swiss Army Knife; 1 OF EITHER Martin Perez (LHP) / Zack Littell (RHP)

    Not included on the postseason roster: Randy Dobnak (RHP), Sean Poppen (RHP), Cody Stashak (RHP), Lewis Thorpe (LHP), Ryan Harper (RHP), Devin Smetlzer (LHP).

    • Sep 01 2019 04:20 PM
    • by Sabir Aden
  23. Twins Game Recap (8/30): Bats Back Up Gibson, Twins Win 6th Straight

    Box Score
    Gibson: 5.0 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 69.1% strikes (74 of 107 pitches)
    Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

    Home Runs: Cron (23)
    Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2-for-5, RBI), Polanco (3-for-4), Cruz (3-for-4, 2 RBI), Rosario (2-for-5, 3 RBI), Cron (2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI)

    Top 3 WPA: Polanco .125, Kepler .113, Cron .104

    The Tigers put up a fight early, as Gibson got off to a slow start, but the Twins scored in four of the first five innings. Despite not being as sharp as he’s been during the first half of the season, Gibby was the winning pitcher for the second consecutive start, which happened for only the second time since June 1. August was the month he posted his worst ERA of the season, 6.11. He finished his outing on a positive note, however, retiring 11 of the last 13 men he faced.

    This was the eighth consecutive win for the Twins on the road, matching a club record set in 2006. At 83-51, the Twins are 32 games above .500 for the first time since September 22, 2010. That’s also the third time in the past nine years that Minnesota reached that many wins in a season. The club is now on pace to win 100 games, something that happened only one other time in Minnesota Twins history (1965, 102 wins). With the Cleveland loss in Tampa, the Twins now have a four-and-a-half game lead over the Indians, their largest since July 16.

    Offense bails Gibson slippery beginning
    Gibson was given a 4-0 lead before he took the mound. The Twins started out aggressively and hitting three straight singles after getting a leadoff walk. They had a three-run lead before the Tigers recorded an out. Nelson Cruz, Eddie Rosario and Luis Arráez each batted in a run, while Miguel Sanó reached on a fielder’s choice.

    Gibby allowed two runs on five hits in a 35-pitch first inning. Three of the seven batters he faced produced at-bats of at least six pitches.

    Fortunately, small ball kept working for the Twins, as Max Kepler doubled to bring home another leadoff walk in Jason Castro and he later scored on a Cruz sacrifice fly. Minnesota regained a four-run lead, winning 6-2 after two.

    But again, the Tigers gained some ground in the third. Gibson allowed three straight hits to start the inning, two of those being doubles, and Detroit scored another run. With runners on the corners, he managed to catch a break, inducing an inning-ending ground ball double play.

    Twins take advantage of sloppy Tiger defense
    Minnesota scored two more runs in the third, with a little help from the Detroit defense. The Twins loaded the bases with one out after outfielders Victor Reyes and Harold Castro got under a C.J. Cron pop up but couldn’t make the catch. That was when Ron Gardenhire pulled the plug on starter Edwin Jackson. Reliever Matt Hall couldn’t take care of the inherited runners. Jake Cave grounded out to score Arráez and Castro scored on a passed ball to make it 8-3.

    Meanwhile, Gibson picked up the pace a little bit and pitched his first 1-2-3 inning. To make things easier, he got more run support, as the offense slugged its way to a four-run fourth highlighted by a three-run homer from Cron to make it 12-3 Minnesota.



    Bullpen cools things down
    The Tigers responded in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo home run from John Hicks. Gibby handed over the game to the bullpen in the sixth inning and it couldn’t have been in better hands. Coming into this game with the most fWAR in baseball in the previous seven days (0.8), the Twins relievers took care of business. Tyler Duffey and Trevor May were simply lights-out, with Duffey coming up just short of an immaculate inning (nine strikes on ten pitches).

    Sam Dyson allowed a solo homer to Ronny Rodriguez in the eighth inning before Sergio Romo closed the books in the ninth. Twins relievers combined for eight strikeouts, one more than the entire Tigers team. Eddie Rosario helped the cause with an RBI single in the eighth.

    Postgame With Baldelli


    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

    • Aug 31 2019 05:10 AM
    • by Thiéres Rabelo
  24. Twins Game Recap (8/21): Giolito Throws Complete Game as Sox Take Series

    Box Score
    Odorizzi: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 62.5% strikes (65 of 104 pitches)
    Bullpen: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
    Home Runs: None
    Multi-Hit Games: None

    Bottom 3 WPA: Rosario, Arraez and Castro -.055, Sano -.056, Odorizzi -.163

    Giolito Sails to Complete Game

    Giolito absolutely cruised through the Twins offense today after getting some early runs from his offense. He used those first-inning runs and first-pitch strikes to really settle down and go deep into today’s game. Giolito struck out 12 batters, his third straight game with 10+, and got first-pitch strikes on 22 of the 30 batters he faced.

    The first time through the Twins’ order, Giolito gave up just one hit, which was to Polanco in the first on a bunt, and struck out five batters. The Twins picked up their second hit in the fourth on a rocket by Nelson Cruz that had an exit velocity of 117 MPH, but Giolito got two outs on the next two batters.

    He worked through the fifth and sixth innings very rapidly, using only eight and nine pitches, respectively, to get two more 1-2-3 innings. In the seventh inning, it took him 12 pitches to get the 1-2-3 mostly because Cruz worked a full count then drilled a ball straight to Engel in center field.

    He had two very impressive streaks of consecutive batters sent down. After the Polanco bunt single, he set down the next nine batters before Cruz picked up his single. Rosario reached on a fielder's choice the next at-bat and then Giolito sent down the next 11 batters including three straight 1-2-3 innings.

    It wasn’t until Schoop hit a double with one out in the eighth that the Twins’ had their first runner in scoring position. They failed to do anything with it as Giolito picked up two more strikeouts to end the inning. Giolito completed this game while facing the Twins’ top three hitters picking up two more strikeouts on Kepler and Cruz.

    Odorizzi’s Bad Luck

    If you just looked at the box score, you’d get a different view of how today’s game went for Odorizzi. Odorizzi struggled to retire the first batter of innings which helped lead to a short start and the White Sox hitters also seemed to be finding the perfect spots for their hits. But, Odorizzi also was throwing some good pitches that hitters were putting in play for hits.

    In the first inning, Polanco missed touching second base on a double-play attempt which was originally called a FC, but changed to an error on Polanco, his 17th this season. Jose Abreu reached on 2-2 cutter, poking the ball into left field for the White Sox to score their first run. After a wild pitch, Skole also found himself in a 2-2 count, and a hit a blooper over second with an exit velocity of 67.7 for the Sox's second run of the inning.

    In the third, Odorizzi again gave up a leadoff single, and two singles later, which included Abreu’s second RBI of the game on a ball that landed perfectly in right field between Cave and Schoop with an expected batting average of .050. After three innings, the White Sox had seven hits, all singles, with only two of them being hard-hit, and three runs.

    In the fifth inning, Odorizzi gave up another leadoff hit, but this time for a double. After getting a strikeout and a groundout, Odorizzi looked as if he would be able to pitch around this. He threw another wild pitch and Abreu was able to come around to score. Odorizzi was able to strike out Goins to end the inning, but this is definitely a start Odorizzi is going to want to forget.

    Bullpen Solid Again

    A night after the bullpen had a perfect two innings to help secure the win, the bullpen again was shut-down today, though Giolito’s very solid outing kept the offense at bay.

    Ryne Harper was the first one out of the pen and ran into some trouble after a leadoff double, wild pitch and walk, putting himself in a jam. He was able to pick up a huge fly out and strikeout, then Polanco made an amazing snag to end the threat and inning.



    Then it turned to Sam Dyson and Tyler Duffey who each had quick and easy 1-2-3 innings. Dyson looked really solid, and since coming back from injury, has given up just one run in five innings. Duffey came in for the eighth and struck out two hitters and hasn’t given up a run in his past 11 outings.

    Trevor May got the ninth inning and struck out the first batter he faced, then gave up a single, but got an infield fly out and a fly ball to Arraez to end the inning. May has now only given up one earned run in his last 11 innings.

    Postgame With Baldelli


    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
    Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

    • Aug 21 2019 08:12 PM
    • by AJ Condon
  25. Brusdar Graterol Hits 103+ MPH, Is Promoted To AAA

    The 20-year-old Graterol started the year as a starting pitcher and posted a 1.89 ERA with 46K in 47.2 IP, but suffered from a shoulder impingement condition in early June, and was shut down until late-July. Since his return to Pensacola, he’s been used as a reliever, throwing five innings, holding opponents to a 0.71 ERA, though he’s only struck out four batters. His outing yesterday versus Chattanooga was when he threw the 103.8 MPH pitch.



    He is being joined at Rochester by Jorge Alcala. Like Graterol, Alcala also has a triple-digit fastball and started the year at AA-Pensacola as a starting pitcher, but he has posted a 5.87 ERA. He also was recently moved into a relief role and has posted a 1.69 ERA, and held opponents to a .179 batting average and struck out seven in 10.2 IP.

    The move to Rochester gives both time to build on their move to the bullpen, while facing a higher level of competition and using the more homer-friendly major league baseball, which AAA adopted this year. Both could help the Twins bullpen for the stretch run and help the team in the playoffs. Rosters expand on September 1st, and both are eligible for the postseason roster.

    Both would also likely shatter the previous records for “fastest pitch ever thrown by a Twins pitcher.” The top five are:

    Juan Morillo 100.3
    Trevor May 99.8
    Ryan Pressly 99.0
    JT Chargois 98.9
    Fernando Romeo 98.7

    • Aug 18 2019 04:08 PM
    • by John Bonnes