Jump to content
  • Create Account
  • entries
    852
  • comments
    3,419
  • views
    1,520,596

The Twins Earn Their “A”


Ted Schwerzler

3,524 views

And there was much rejoicing…Remember when the Chicago White Sox won the AL Central back in December 2020? Unfortunately for them, the Minnesota Twins have a few tricks still up their sleeve. Now days before Spring Training is set to commence, the reigning champs are positioned for a repeat.

 

After signing Nelson Cruz and Alex Colome to deals for the upcoming season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have all but put a bow on their winter spending. I’d still think a pact with Tyler Clippard or a reliever in the $2 million range could make sense, as does a trade or non-roster invite for some starting pitching. No matter what happens from here on out though, the Fightin’ Baldelli’s are ready to go.

 

Continuing to view this organization through the lens of Terry Ryan and Bill Smith regimes has been a fool’s errand for some time now. It’s been the blueprint of Falvey and Levine to be calculated, risk averse, and strike where opportunity is deemed to match projectability.

 

Andrelton Simmons is not someone’s leftovers, and Josh Donaldson allowed Minnesota a new high-water mark in free agent history. Colome comes in above the bottom of the relief market, and both Happ and Cruz look like team-friendly deals in the landscape of their peers.

 

The Twins didn’t go out and sign George Springer or Trevor Bauer this offseason, but they didn’t need to. This is already a club that had all of the pieces for a deep run, and reality suggests they just need to get out of their own way. Anything can happen in a short series, which is why winning a World Series in incredibly tough. That said, you should continue to expect Postseason appearances often into the foreseeable future.

 

Today it was announced that 28% of Hammond Stadium will host fans for Spring Training, the players are just days from arriving, and we’re soon going to hear “play ball!” Minnesota is ready to make noise in the American League, and there isn’t a team in the National League that should be licking their chops come October either.

 

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

3 Comments


Recommended Comments

I share your optimism for the Twins for this coming season. The roster looks promising and the divisional competition will be the strongest it has been in some time. I always appreciate your articles.

One small quibble - there isn't any need nor use to mention excellent baseball people such as Terry Ryan or Bill Smith in any fashion but a positive light. Dave St. Peter and the Pohlads would agree. Change happens.

The return of fans to stadiums with the smells, sounds, and sights is a positive turn that brings a smile just thinking about it.

Link to comment

I enjoyed the article and agree that we Twin fans can feel more optimistic now than in December, especially with the Simmons and Cruz signings, but I can't see this FO getting an  A Rating.  Time will tell, of course, but the sole object of this offseason(and the actual 2021 season) was to move the needle  enough to improve our chances not only to make the playoffs, but to succeed in these same playoffs, at least to the point of becoming serious WS contenders.

 

Simmons was the only move that really moved the needle somewhat.  The other additions filled some holes:  Cruz/ Cruz; Happ/Odorrizi & Hill;  Colome and Robles/May, Romo, Wisler, Clippard.  Net result: while we haven't fallen back, this team's odds of breaking their long playoff futility run is still pretty much dependent on the ability of Donaldson and Buxton to enjoy  productive full seasons and Maeda to repeat his great 2020 year.  If any one of these keys fail, we just don't have the depth to compensate.

 

Many readers applaud Falvine's smart, under-the-radar moves.  As you say, this is a risk-averse FO, that is more interested in finding value than "big" moves.  So true!  Others of us who well remember the glory days of 1987/1991 would like to see a repeat.  I realize that this org. will never match the Dodgers, Yanks, Bosox, Cubs in spending, but there are other ways to move the needle, as the Pods have shown.  Yes, Falvine should be applauded for 3 out of 4 years getting the Twins into the playoffs and certainly setting us up for a strong 2021, but can such a risk averse FO bring us a WS?  The answer to that question will ultimately determine their grade. As of now, give them an above average B Grade and hope they drop their aversion to risk and move the needle a bit further than has been done.

Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recent News

  • Posts

    • Last month I wrote that the Twins’ lineup was poised to make life difficult for left-handed pitching. Since that post, the Twins own the second-highest slugging percentage and OPS versus lefties in baseball (.539 and .844, respectively).  Unfortunately, there is another lefty problem: their own pitching staff cannot get left-handed hitters out.       Left-handed hitters have decimated Twins’ pitching to the tune of .301/.377/.563, leading to the worst OPS against in baseball. Essentially, they are turning every hitter on the left side into Bryce Harper.  In fact, if the season ended today, that .940 OPS against left-handed hitters would be the worst on record dating back to at least 1990. Only three teams have finished the season with an OPS above .900 against left-handed hitters -- the 1999 Colorado Rockies (.917), the 1994 Texas Rangers (.907) and the 2000 Houston Astros (.903).  Fortunately for the Twins, the season does not end today -- with all the new rules I had to double-check -- but this is a historically bad pace. In a time where everything is skewed toward pitching, not being able to get hitters out is a huge problem. Since most teams started shifting heavily on lefties, their overall performance has tanked. The current league-wide OPS for left-handed hitters is at .704 -- only 2014’s .701 OPS was worse. Unlike the previous situation where the underlying metrics suggested (as Beck famously added to one of his songs), things are going to change, I can feel it, the pitching staff is getting hit hard across the board. Opponents average a 90.1 mph exit velocity, the second highest in baseball, while nearly 46% of the balls put into play are 95 mph or higher, also the second highest. A year ago, as they cruised to a division title, the Twins had one of the lowest marks in either category.  The starting rotation is faring slightly better than the bullpen (867 OPS vs 1.049 OPS) but  right-handers Matt Shoemaker (1.023), Kenta Maeda (.980), and Jose Berrios (.961) have a big problem to solve.  The 2020 Twins starters kept lefties subdued with a barrage of non-fastballs. Nearly 60% of incoming pitches were not of the fastball variety and lefties had a 495 OPS against them, the second lowest in baseball. This year, while still throwing a high percentage of non-fastballs, left-handed hitters have a 756 OPS against those. Both Berrios (874 OPS) and Maeda (867) are struggling to keep them off of their breaking ball and changeup combinations -- which is surprising when you consider they both finished last year with those numbers 300 points lower.  The larger issue is that bullpen, an area in which match-ups can be somewhat controlled, is failing even worse than the rotation.  Both Cody Stashak and Jorge Alcala have OPS figures above 1.400 in 36 match-ups against lefties, albeit in lower leverage situations. Alexander Colomẽ has been almost equally as bad (1.156) in 27 plate appearances (17 of those coming in high leverage situations). Perhaps most frustrating has been the performance of left-handed pitchers Caleb Thielbar (1.189 OPS in 20 plate appearances) and Taylor Rogers (.947 OPS in 19 plate appearances).   There are adjustments that need to be made. Maeda and Berrios are better than their numbers indicate. Maeda needs to find his release point for his slider and changeup. Berrios needs to determine which combination to use to get lefties out. Shoemaker needs to...do a lot of things. Many of the arms in the bullpen are capable of getting outs and the numbers are likely to improve over a larger sampling.  If the Twins can fix this problem --  and do so in a hurry -- they might have a chance to get back in the race.   View full article
    • I'm not really interested in filling the #3 WR spot because I don't think Cousins will ever really look that way.  I'd be more interested in seeing the rookies they just drafted get those very few reps. I'm more than happy finding more talent to help on the DL though.  
    • I'd heard that as rumor last week, but I believe it is true.
    • Yeah, I think it's inevitable that Sano gets traded at some point, most likely in a midseason trade, after sucking for the first half.  Some contender will take that risk for sure.  Maybe this is the year.
    • Oops! Should have been mentioned.    Also, Spencer Steer is hitting .350.
    • The reinforcements are Kirilloff, Larnach, Gordon, Rooker and Jeffers. They up or injured, or down to get playing time. Dobnak and Thorpe looking to be good SP depth. 
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Popular Contributors

×
×
  • Create New...