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Here Come the First-Rounders


The Minnesota Twins need help. Is it on the way?

 

Friday they'll be joined by two former first-round draft picks, who have followed radically different paths to get here. The stakes are high: for the team, for Alex Kirilloff, and especially for Nick Gordon.Returning home after one of the worst road trips imaginable, the Twins are shorthanded, with at least three regulars sidelined. Miguel Sanó (hamstring) joins Andrelton Simmons and Max Kepler (COVID) on the injured list, while the status of hobbled Nelson Cruz is uncertain.

 

The good news, for both the Twins and their newly promoted prospects, is that Kirilloff and Gordon can functionally fill the gaps quite well. There will be no shortage of opportunity right away for these guys.

 

 

Our John Bonnes was on hand at CHS Field in St. Paul on Thursday for what proved to be a final tune-up for the two prospects, and tweeted a thread. Gordon homered to straightaway center in the scrimmage. Kirilloff was playing first base, and it's likely we'll see him there quite often with the Twins in Sanó's absence.

 

 

Kirilloff can also help in the outfield corners to offset the losses of Kepler and Kyle Garlick. I would expect him to be playing almost everyday. Of course, that was always been the plan in some form, because Kirilloff is the team's top prospect and he is ready.

 

Since being selected 15th overall in 2016, the 23-year-old has hit, hit, hit (with a brief Tommy John intermission). He now has a chance to emphatically cement his big-league status.

 

The future of Gordon is much murkier. Drafted fifth overall two years earlier, his acclimation to the professional ranks has been much less smooth and successful. Once viewed as an exciting prospect, Gordon's stock faded over the years as he failed to develop any real standout skills.

 

He's also been the victim of some rotten luck. Gordon was finally clicking at Triple-A in 2019, with a .298/.342/.459 slash line in 70 games, when a pitch directly into his back knee ended his season in early August.

 

 

Last summer, while Kirilloff was dazzling everyone at the alternate site, eventually earning a postseason promotion, Gordon was recovering from a scary and prolonged bout with COVID. He missed the entire season, which is a true shame because he undoubtedly would've gotten a shot with the injury-ravaged Twins grasping for reinforcements.

 

They now find themselves doing so again, very early, in 2021. And this time Gordon is ready to answer the call. He's not a guy who's been on the radar for some time, and it might feel easy to downplay his addition, but I will say this: The Twins front office has stuck with this guy, and they sure didn't need to.

 

They had no real attachment to him, as an underperforming draft pick of the former regime, but they've steadfastly kept him on their 40-man roster – sometimes at the expense of quality players that got away. (At the moment, Akil Baddoo comes to mind.)

 

They see something in Gordon. He's always been a talented and innately gifted ballplayer, infused with big-league DNA, and now he'll finally get to step onto the big stage, with a mire of misfortune hopefully behind him.

 

I'm excited for Kirilloff, but I also have a baseline idea of what to expect from him. I'm deeply intrigued by Gordon because I have no idea what to expect. I do know this much: if he can make any kind of impact off the bat, playing time is available at second base right now.

 

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Speaking of second base. I really wish Arraez was the 2B. The front office deserves credit for moving Arraez up through the system so quickly and getting him to the majors.

 

Kirilloff should be in the lineup tonight. Good luck to Gordon! He is going to need it. If Simmons is ready to return, Gordon’s role looks very limited to me.

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First of all none of these guys have dazzled anybody who knows anything about major league baseball.

(Using my best Dwight Schrute voice): FALSE!

 

Nick Gordon was ranked 48th and 50th, respectively on the MLB Top Prospects list a few years ago. That's in all of Major League Baseball. He was the #2 ranked Twins prospect at the time.

 

Kiriloff came into the 2021 season ranked 21st on that same list, in all of MLB.

 

Scouts and MLB employees know a lot about baseball and they have very high opinions of both of these players.

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looks like MLB transactions have Tomas Tellis contracted purchased by Twins.  So that move looks to be 3rd catcher and Tortuga to 1b with Kiriloff rotation.  Tortuga anywhere else on field wouldn't be good.  Blankenhorn most likely getting booted

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Kirilloff should have a real opportunity here and should be given some rope.

 

I'm not sure where the opportunity is for Gordon past this weekend. Arraez has the best PAs on the team, Simmons is a wizard at short and was hitting, and Polanco appears to be turning the corner (325 OBP the last 10 games).

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Best of luck to the newest Twins. I feel really badly for Blankenhorn. Hopefully he will be consoled by some of the older players and he will keep on plugging away. 

I still don't understand why Rocco had Arraez at 3B and Blankenhorn at 2B in that 13-12 disaster game when I think Arraez is better at 2B and Blankenhorn is better at 3B. Both made errors in that inning at their lesser position. Aaargh.

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Just a quick comment on the Badoo situation.  Yes, he tore it up his first week plus, but looking over his last week, he is striking out at an over 50% clip, with no walks(only 1 on the season) and his OPS has dropped to normal levels.  My point is, to judge him on his first week, or even his follow up week is not proper.  What will be the judge of him will be how he adjusts.  

 

If Detroit is sold on him for the future they can ride him all year and accept a drop off of production.  I will tell you what though, if he keeps striking out at over a 50% clip his numbers will really drop a ton. His BABIP over last 7 games is 667, but his average is only .240.  I do not know what his expected BABIP is based on exit velo but point is, few players can carry that high of a BABIP. So something will have to give, either he puts more balls in play or his overall average will drop below .200.  Badoo in his first 8 games only struck out 4 times, in next 7 games struck out 14 times.  League may be adjusting to him, now he needs to adjust to them. 

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I still don't understand why Rocco had Arraez at 3B and Blankenhorn at 2B in that 13-12 disaster game when I think Arraez is better at 2B and Blankenhorn is better at 3B. Both made errors in that inning at their lesser position. Aaargh.

I don't have a direct opinion on Blankenhorn's polish at either position but he has played more innings in the minors at 2B than at 3B.

 

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looks like MLB transactions have Tomas Tellis contracted purchased by Twins.  So that move looks to be 3rd catcher and Tortuga to 1b with Kiriloff rotation.  Tortuga anywhere else on field wouldn't be good.  Blankenhorn most likely getting booted

Telis was added a couple days ago, when Riddle went on the COVID IL. This was likely just because Telis was on the taxi squad in Oakland (and may have been the last position player left on the taxi squad at that time?).

 

I would expect Telis to be removed from the roster today.

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Not that it should matter, but does calling up Kiriloff affect the service time "issue"?

 

Do they get the extra year of control by calling him up today?

I'm pretty sure-but not completely sure-the date is April 24...tomorrow.
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Not that it should matter, but does calling up Kiriloff affect the service time "issue"?

 

Do they get the extra year of control by calling him up today?

This was the magic date, since his doubleheader appearance last week.

 

Kirilloff has now spent exactly 21 days on "optional assignment" to the minors this season, which was the minimum required to assure he won't get credit for a full year of service time in 2021.

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I'm pretty sure-but not completely sure-the date is April 24...tomorrow.

Nope, it is today. He just needed 21 non-consecutive days in the minors this year, counting from opening day April 1st. So after his one-day MLB appearance in the doubleheader last week, yesterday April 22nd he hit that threshold of 21.

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Shocker that he's suddenly ready. Truly. 

 

He should play, and play every day. 

 

I'm not sure what to make of Gordon, but I'm hoping he's at least a good defensive backup.

To be fair there's no reason to believe that he'd have been called up today had the Twins not been short multiple corner OFs and their 1B. It is entirely possible he still would have been called up and this was their plan all along, but this isn't exactly them saying "now he's ready and he's replacing 'player x'."

 

Cave isn't a great player, but I don't think anyone could have honestly expected him to be this incredibly bad. Kepler is out. Garlick is out. Sano is out. The timing certainly doesn't make the optics look good and gives the impression the Twins were planning to manipulate service time from the jump, but that's ignoring a lot of other variables.

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I haven’t seen it mentioned on this thread but Nick Gordon has been dealing with gastrointestinal issues for awhile. I believe this contributes to his inability to put on weight and his tendency for late in the season fading performance. Also likely explains why COVID-19 sidelined him most of last year as one of the symptoms is of Covid is gut inflammation. I can’t remember his medical condition but it may be Crohn’s disease. I am happy for Nick Gordon that he got the call and hope he does well.

 

https://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sports/baseball/6925813-After-more-health-issues-Twins-prospect-Nick-Gordon-‘thankful’-to-be-back-on-field

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