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2022 = Development Year


Franz

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I've read plenty of opinions on what the Twins should try to achieve this off-season, ranging from pleas to make a few big-ticket free agent moves to get themselves competitive in 2022 to demands that they tear it all down to start the big rebuild.

I suggest a different path; one that management is perhaps already following, and one that the current roster is best set up to accomplish. The 2022 season is the team's chance to give their top prospects big league at-bats, to find out which of those prospects have big league gloves, and to let young pitchers find their footing.

Let's start with position players. Right now the team has five names they can write into the lineup without thinking; a proven core in my opinion capable of matching up with any team in baseball:

  • Byron Buxton - CF - Signed through 2028
  • Jorge Polanco - 2B - Signed through 2025 (including team option)
  • Josh Donaldson - 3B - Signed through 2024 (including team option)
  • Mitch Garver - C - Arbitration eligible through 2023
  • Miguel Sano - DH - Signed through 2023 (including team option)

That leaves four positions to fill, plus (in this day of crowded bullpens) at least three spots for capable backups:

  • LF
  • RF
  • SS
  • 1B
  • Backup C
  • Backup IF/OF #1
  • Backup IF/OF #2

I'll tackle my top candidates for those spots in the next post.

 

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Why does it have to be all or nothing. Why can't it be a evaluation year while still trying to be competitive?

The Twins offense of predictions put them squarely in the competitive mode, so to piss that away because your trying to evaluate pitching prospects is ridiculous. Solely relying on rookie starting pitchers is going to destroy the bullpen, basically ever start the Twins will have to be prepared for the bullpen to pitch 6 plus innings. If they bring in a couple of guys that most of the time will get you to the 5th even giving up 3,4,5 runs they save the pen from be ruined by June.

 

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Max Kepler has really fallen out of favor in the TD community.  I'd think he'd get one more chance for a bounce-back after a sub-par short season and an injury riddled 2021.  He'll be missed when Lumbering Larnach or Rigid Rooker don't get to balls in the gaps and watch limestone caroms bounce for XBHs.

His contract isn't really that bad for a fourth OF, if the Twins get back into contention and he's still OPSing in the low 700s.  I think he's worth more to the Twins than he would be in any sell-low trade scenario.

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On 1/5/2022 at 1:27 PM, TwinsDr2021 said:

Why does it have to be all or nothing. Why can't it be a evaluation year while still trying to be competitive?

The Twins offense of predictions put them squarely in the competitive mode, so to piss that away because your trying to evaluate pitching prospects is ridiculous. Solely relying on rookie starting pitchers is going to destroy the bullpen, basically ever start the Twins will have to be prepared for the bullpen to pitch 6 plus innings. If they bring in a couple of guys that most of the time will get you to the 5th even giving up 3,4,5 runs they save the pen from be ruined by June.

 

Yeah I think I am with you.  They need to at least start with some more experienced pitching IMO.  I might have a pie in the sky view but I think we can compete while playing some of the younger guys too.  Ober and Ryan kept us in games as rookies I think other guys they have can as well.

Starting pitching and the pen need a fair bit of work next year to compete.  They solve that and I think this team can compete for the division but they need to pitch much, much better than last year.  If guys in the minors stay healthy they should have better depth options this year.  I don't think this team is that far away so while I wouldn't bring in a ton of guys I also wouldn't just play all the rookie pitchers either.  They need to to at least start the season with some experienced pitching.

Position player wise you have Buxton and Kepler in the outfield with your choice of Rooker, Larnach, Kirilloff and Celestino in left.  One of those guys should be good enough to get the job done.

Middle infield is Donaldson, Polanco, Sano with Arraez filling in.  They just need to find a Shortstop but should be able to find a stop gap guy somewhere.  Catcher is Garver, Rortvedt and Jeffers.  Not much is going to change there.  Possibly Miranda could fill in somewhere depending on injury and if Lewis starts out hot he could be a guy that helps with his speed and defense.  The offense was right around a top ten offense despite the poor play from some rookies and fill in's. I don't think there is too much to worry about there.  Pitching needs to improve for the team to improve.  Find that and this team is ready to compete IMO.

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Here you go (In my mind Donaldson takes majority of DH ABs, Arraez starts at 3rd)

LF- Resign Garlick to platoon with Larnach

RF- Kiriloff/Larnach

SS- As much as I hate to say it, Simmons

1B- Sano

Backup C- Rordtvedt as #3, try Garver/Jeffers platoon again

Backup IF/OF #1- Garlick

Backup IF/OF #2- Gordon

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The Twins seem to have some money to spend (SP, SS, LF ), and some trade pieces to shore up weak areas (SP and BP).

I think Arraez is redundant and aside from Polanco the highest valued trade asset the Twins have.  The Twins offense will be just fine without Arraez and Rocco refuses to put him at the top of the order consistently anyway. To the guys who made the point that they would like to see the Twins do BOTH (give opportunities to young talent for development AND acquire some SP and maybe a SS,  I agree 110%.  The A.L. Central is winnable.  We aren't going to have a 105 win team in the A.L. Central.  We. Can. Compete.

I'd sign Trevor Story.  SS hole filled and a good bat in your lineup.  I'm not worried about his "Coors Field Effect."  He'll hit. I would package Arraez to pick up a SP and I wouldn't worry about how many years of control  I'd get, although it would be a strong consideration.  Montas, Sixto Sanchez, Bassitt, Manaea, and a host of others are interesting.  I'd bring back Big Mike for some "glue" and depending on Danny Duffy's health I'd look at him as well.  LF is kind of a black hole.  Larnach, Rooker, Celestino, even Miranda (who would replace Arraez's role) could all be a factor out there.  I'm interested in Garlick, Refsynder, Cave et all.  If THOSE are my options...give me a young player !  The Conforto suggestion is also interesting, maybe even Eddie Rosario.  If the Twins were willing to take on an undesirable contract Wil Myers would be interesting in a trade that would also bring back Gore or Weathers. 

The only other place I could POSSIBLY look to spend some money would be on a TRUE closer.  I think Taylor Rogers could be that guy, but to me it's clear Rocco doesn't.  How else do you explain sticking with Colome last season as the hole the Twins were digging for themselves got bigger and bigger.  I think the Twins have GOBS of In-House options for their Bullpen.  And I think whatever roles they  carve out for these Young Guns gives the team control over innings and usage while getting a good look at what they might have.     

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On 1/4/2022 at 9:39 PM, tony&rodney said:

? - I'll play.

LF - Michael Conforto

RF - Alex Kirilloff

SS - Taylor Walls

1B - Jose Miranda

Bc - Ben Rortvedt

bat - Brent Rooker

utif/of - Nick Gordon

utif - Ehire Adrianza

Mostly young guys. 

Walls doesn't do much for me.  Hit .211 last year and projected for maybe .235 this year.  I'd sooner let some of our own youngsters get their feet wet at the big league level for that kind of production. 

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On 1/9/2022 at 9:32 AM, dxpavelka said:

Walls doesn't do much for me.  Hit .211 last year and projected for maybe .235 this year.  I'd sooner let some of our own youngsters get their feet wet at the big league level for that kind of production. 

Count me in the Taylor Walls fan club. He may or not be a viable starting SS with the bat, but his glove is enough to carry him thru a couple seasons to find out.  

If he can't cut it, he takes over a true SS-capable UI role, a la Nick Punto.

If he can, we have a stud defensive SS for the next 5-7 seasons, a la Omar Visquel.

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5 hours ago, Minny505 said:

Count me in the Taylor Walls fan club. He may or not be a viable starting SS with the bat, but his glove is enough to carry him thru a couple seasons to find out.  

If he can't cut it, he takes over a true SS-capable UI role, a la Nick Punto.

If he can, we have a stud defensive SS for the next 5-7 seasons, a la Omar Visquel.

Sounds almost as if you're talking about the guy we don't want anymore.

 

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16 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

Sounds almost as if you're talking about the guy we don't want anymore.

 

I'd happily take Simmons back as a decent Plan E. Walls is not going to be as good of a defender as Simmons, even being 7 years younger, but only a handful of SS in MLB are as good defensively as Simmons, so that is no slight. He has GG potential, but isn't there yet.

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Simmons has an interesting past with some spectacular defensive seasons.

Walls has a bright future and will never be compared to Simmons as a defensive shortstop.

There isn't a single team in baseball today that would choose Simmons over Walls for their 2022 team.

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