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Mill1634

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I wrote a few days ago on starting pitchers that we are likely to see in the dog days of summer. This of course assumes that the Twins are going to continue down the horrid path that they've gotten off to in the first 40 games of the season, and expiring deals like Michael Pineda and J.A. Happ are moved. The bullpen also contains two names who were brought in on one year deals, one throwing very well, and the other getting off to a horrid start. If someone told you that one would be good and one would be bad, you may not be shocked, but the fact that Robles has outperformed Colome is surprising. If the Twins do decide that they are going to sell, those two will certainly be moved. Some other names like Tyler Duffey or Taylor Rogers could also find themselves being traded, but as I'm writing this I don't foresee it happening. Either way, with injuries, taxing bullpen arms, or relievers not performing, there will be plenty of chances for the Twins brass to bring up some young, intriguing arms. 

 

RHP Yennier Cano

Cano was signed as an older international free agent in 2018 for 750,000 dollars, just before the international period was about to end. The Twins essentially traded OF Zack Granite to the Rangers for Cano, as 750,000 in international money is what the Twins received in compensation. Cano was ranked as the #2 player in the international class, behind OF Victor Victor Mesa. Cano features a unique three-quarters delivery in which he features a fastball sitting in the mid-90's, topping out at 97 MPH. Cano also features a heavy sinker which induces a lot of ground balls, and works a slider and splitter for strikeouts. Cano is currently in AA Wichita, and has gotten off to a torrid start. At the time of this writing, he's worked 6.2 innings with 12 strikeouts, no walks, and no home runs. Cano is likely going to be called up to Saint Paul in the near future, and if things go well, there is no doubt that the 27 year old will be up with the Twins. Due to his age, the ceiling is limited, but Cano could prove to be a useful middle reliever on a team the could badly use one.

 

RHP Dakota Chalmers

Chalmers was acquired as a lottery ticket arm in the 2018 trade that sent Fernando Rodney to the Oakland A's, after being a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft, being signed way over slot at 1.2M. Chalmers battled injury issues early in his career, and received the dreaded Tommy John Surgery in 2018. Due to Chalmers missing much of the 2018 season, the Twins sent Chalmers to the Arizona Fall League in 2019, where things didn't go according to plan. Chalmers made 6 starts, totaling 17.2 IPs, allowing 17 hits and 12 walks. However, Chalmers, who has always had 80 grade stuff, struck out 25 batters. Despite the rough outing in 2019, the Twins added Chalmers to the 40 man roster. Chalmers has continued to work as a starter in 2021 at AA Wichita, but the results still haven't turned around. Chalmers has walked 4 in 8.2 innings, and given up 8 hits, including 4 home runs. Due to Chalmers having 20 or 25 grade control, his chances at starting seem slim to none. Getting Chalmers in the bullpen as an effectively wild pitcher is the best hope for both him and the Twins brass.

 

RHP Tom Hackimer

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Hackimer is an under the radar pitcher within the Twins organization, not appearing on any top prospect list on any site. However, Hackimer has been a very effective reliever in the minors, largely due to his unique delivery.  The Twins righty throws with a submarine type wind-up, which he compares to former Astros reliever Joe Smith.  Hackimer doesn't have blow you away type stuff, with a fastball that sits around 90 MPH, topping out at 94 MPH, but due to the spin rate and unique arm angle, it plays faster than it is. He also features a big, sweeping slider that can get right handed hitters out. He is also working on developing a changeup in order to get left handed hitters out more effectively, but it's a work in progress. If Hackimer is ever going to crack the big leagues, at least with the Twins, this is going to be the year he does so. He is not on the 40 man roster as of now, but with the expected trades, the Twins can make a move to get him a look if they feel like he can succeed. Hackimer is currently at AAA Saint Paul, putting up a scoreless 7.1 innings pitched, and 11 strikeouts. During his minor league career, he's thrown 176.1 innings of 2.65 ERA, while striking out 204 batters. 

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I am Cano and Hackimer fan, but Chalmers has been wild. Chalmers has MLB arm but not MLB control. Hope he figures it out soon, time running out for him. Winder on my list, Canterino has further to go, at high A now, but looks good. Ober did not look overmatched in MLB start. Twins really need to develop some of their own pitching, can't rely on FA market and cast offs every year.

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If this is the best we have to look forward to, it's going to be a long season!  Sitting here in Chicago, I guess I'm spoiled by how well Sox and Cub minor leaguers have stepped up to provide solid innings in relief this season.  The Cubs bullpen has been amazing and the Sox prospects have stepped right in to preserve game after game(in fact, addition of Hendriks has been helpful but certainly not essential to Sox success in late game victories).

Contrast to the Twins org. where retreads like Law, Waddell, Anderson, Thielbar have failed miserably and the one minor leaguer from the Twins system, Alcala, has been a disappointment.  If Cano, Hackimer, and Chalmers are the best we have to look forward to, the Whiz Kids better go back to the drawing boards(or better yet, retire).

There is some hope, if the FO is willing to push some of our top prospects like Duran, Canterino, Winder sooner rather than later, place them in the bullpen and see what we really have for the future.  So far that strategy has worked here in Chicago.  Maybe it can work for the Twins, too.

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2 hours ago, mike8791 said:

If this is the best we have to look forward to, it's going to be a long season!  Sitting here in Chicago, I guess I'm spoiled by how well Sox and Cub minor leaguers have stepped up to provide solid innings in relief this season.  The Cubs bullpen has been amazing and the Sox prospects have stepped right in to preserve game after game(in fact, addition of Hendriks has been helpful but certainly not essential to Sox success in late game victories).

Contrast to the Twins org. where retreads like Law, Waddell, Anderson, Thielbar have failed miserably and the one minor leaguer from the Twins system, Alcala, has been a disappointment.  If Cano, Hackimer, and Chalmers are the best we have to look forward to, the Whiz Kids better go back to the drawing boards(or better yet, retire).

There is some hope, if the FO is willing to push some of our top prospects like Duran, Canterino, Winder sooner rather than later, place them in the bullpen and see what we really have for the future.  So far that strategy has worked here in Chicago.  Maybe it can work for the Twins, too.

I agree that none of these names are all that exciting, but I do think Cano can be a successful MR right this second and should be given the chance. Chalmers has closer like stuff as well, but just struggles with the walks. Get him up and see if the stuff plays. As for the top pitching prospects, I see no reason to bring those guys up right now. If the twins were 28-15 instead of 15-28 I would have a different view on the issue, but with a lost season it’s more beneficial for them to continue to develop as starters in the minor leagues. 

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I don't want to trumpet Cano as any bullpen savior, but to be fair, he was seen as a fast riser when signed. A lost season shouldn't affect any trajectory as to what he could be. I would dare to say his reports at signjng and limited time and projection and performance would say his floor is a solid middle man and a potential set-up guy. Anything more than that is gravy. But age, stuff and numbers and experience indicate he should be a pretty quick promotion to AAA. From there, we will see. But he clearly has arm talent. It's the reason he was signed in the first place.

Selfishly, I WANT Chalmers to stay in the rotation. I WANT better control...which he has flashed at times...and a 3rd pitch that is at least decent to remain a SP. But I think we've all known for a while now that his projection is a RP. Now, he still needs to work on control, but being a little wild as a RP is not a killer with big SO numbers and poor contact. Some kind of 3rd pitch is still beneficial and I hope he can still find/maintain at least a decent offering there. But his projection is floor as a solid arm to ceiling as quality set-up to potential closer. It's up to him, but he was a great flier no matter what.

Hackimer follows a great tradition of ML and Twins RP who throw side-arm, or lower, who produce and flash. So very few have had great or long careers. I hope he defies the odds. He has to be able to throw 90+ consistently with control and also have a couple other pitches. He doesn't have to throw mid 90's due to deception and arm angle. But arm angle alone doesn't do it. He needs to "drop in" breaking stuff and change of speed to be anything other than another milb arm.

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