I have been out and about and tried to catch up on the Twins Daily site here at 8:45, I have some thoughts that might spur on conversations. Feel free to comment on any of these thoughts.
Minor League Injuries and Disappointments--Today's announcements about a season-ending injury to Akil Baddoo, surgery for Luke Raley plus two of the better starting pitching prospects (Gonsalves and Graterol) are going on the injured list adds to an already long list of missed time due to injuries. Royce Lewis, Wander Javier, Nick Gordon, and Alex Kirilloff, all top prospects, have all missed time and there are others. These injuries sap the depth available and also reduce the number of trade chips available at the trading deadline. In addition, the players named are missing valuable development time. Seth has also written about this in the minor league forum.
Adalberto Mejía--When he was placed on the Injured List, it looked to me (and most on TD) that he was being "stashed". It's been two weeks since he went on the IL and according to media reports, Mejía won't begin throwing until next month. I believe the young man has potential and he could be in the starting rotation next year. First of all, maybe the nagging injury caused his ineffectiveness. Secondly, he has three decent pitches and maybe he would be better served to be a starter. If he could be an effective reliever, there is a need for another lefty in the bullpen.
Position Players--Two players are on the Injured List and the Twins still have quality players top to bottom. With less than 20 plate appearances, it can't be said that Arraez is a good player, but every indication is that he is. Nominal bench players Adrianza, Astudillo, and super-utility player Marwin Gonzalez are good players and all have stepped up when they have an opportunity. Jake Cave is toiling at Rochester and could be recalled in the event of an injury. I believe this club has enough talent and depth to withstand a normal amount of injuries and ineffectiveness and remain among the very best offenses in MLB. BTW, Astudillo has shown me enough to believe he is a good enough receiver to stay in the majors only as a catcher (another good pitching performance today with the Turtle behind the plate).
Kyle Gibson--Since I had a two-minute conversation with him at Spring Training, I've been a Gibson fan. He's received criticism here for being a "nibbler" and not being able to get deep into games. I think some of that is justified, but Gibson can't throw pitches in the middle of the zone, he needs to own the corners. When he's sharp, he gets ahead and gets weak contact and swings and misses. Gibson has morphed from a pitch-to-contact sinkerballer into a guy who uses all his pitches and gets his share of strikeouts. While he probably won't ever be an ace, he is a competent, durable starter who will most likely get paid. I hope the Twins keep him beyond this year.
Bullpen--Things haven't exactly gone as planned. Hildenberger flopped in May, Romero wasn't good in the spring, hasn't been good enough to stay in the majors so far, and a couple of other arms have failed to impress in major league auditions, but the bullpen has been okay so far. I don't anticipate that they'll be successful throughout the season. Tyler Duffey and Matt Magill are throwing hard enough to be capable relievers in this day and age. If Magill can keep pitches in the strike zone, I think he can be a valuable high-leverage reliever. I do think the Twins definitely need to upgrade in the bullpen to have success beyond the regular season and probably to help the club make postseason.
My, the first 51 games have been fun! It would be great to keep it up all year and beyond that, it would be fun to have a top-tier team for years to come.