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One Reliever the Twins Gave Up On Too Soon


Minnesota’s relief core has struggled through much of 2021. It doesn’t help to see a former Twins pitcher finding success after the team gave up on him and got nothing in return.

Relievers can be one of the trickiest groups for teams to evaluate. One relief pitcher can look great, and another can look terrible with such small sample sizes attached to their performances. Minnesota saw multiple relievers leave last winter and not all of them have found success with their new teams. However, one pitcher might be proving the Twins gave up on him a little too early.

Zack Littell joined the Twins in 2017 as part of an interesting trade deadline. Minnesota acquired Jaime Garcia from the Braves and then after making one start, he was dealt to the Yankees. Littell was part of the return from New York, and he was amid a tremendous minor league campaign where he posted a 2.12 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.

Littell’s time in Minnesota was filled with ups and downs. After finding some success in the upper minors, Littell seemed to be part of Minnesota’s future bullpen with the numbers he compiled in 2019. As a 23-year-old, he posted a 2.68 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP with a 32 to 9 strikeout to walk ratio. He was striking out less than a batter per inning, but his ERA+ and FIP pointed to him being an above average relief option. He was also one of the team’s most reliable relief arms down the stretch.

Things couldn’t have gone much worse for Littell in 2020. He made six appearances with the Twins and allowed five home runs. He made multiple trips to the injured list as his elbow was bothering him. This probably made it easier for Minnesota to designate him for assignment and remove him from the 40-man roster without another team making a claim. This still left the team in a little bit of a dilemma as he would need to be added back to the 40-man this winter or become a minor league free agent. He became a free agent and signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants.

In a division with the Dodgers and Padres, the Giants weren’t supposed to be in contention, but they entered play on Monday with a one game division lead. Littell has been part of the surprise club as he has posted a 1.47 ERA with a 0.98 WHIP across 20 appearances. The team even turned to him to make a start for the club. His strikeouts per nine are higher than his career average and he’s doing a better job of keeping the ball in the park. Last year’s elbow issues seem to be behind him.

There are likely multiple reasons that Minnesota let Littell go whether they were worried about his elbow or low strikeout numbers. However, his success is tough to swallow when the Twins have struggled to get consistent production out of the bullpen in 2021.

Do you think the Twins gave up on Littell too early? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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Yes. But the numbers ended up working in favor of Littell. Twins also gave up on Hendricks, too. Sometimes your best minor league starters will do better out of the bullpen. And players have ups and downs.

 

I always thought Trevor May was the closer option for the future.

 

Deolis Guerra also ran out of options. Could he have been that backend bullpen arm earlier for the Twins?

 

With rosters now at 26, you can carry that extra arm, or funnel them back and forth from AAA ball, as long as options do remain.

Of course, we also have the case of Nick Anderson, deserving of protection by the Twins but...

And Curtiss and Chargois were also top minor league guys that got away when they didn't produce right away for the Twins, as needed.

 

But then you also have names like DeLong, Harper, Adams, Moran, Hildenberger, Magill, Parker, Eades, Poppen, Stewart, Wisler, Gearrin, Moya, Slegers, Reed, , Kinley, Busenitz, Mejia, Drake.

What is frustrating is when the Twins search out the slush pile and disregard their own prospects.

 

 

 

 

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I already had forgotten about Littell, when thinking about this debacle of a season.  They simply dropped him from the 40-man by outrighting him to AAA last season, and he opted for free agency instead of agreeing to a minor league renewal with the Twins.  His good numbers this year are definitely Small Sample Size as yet, and last year was a disaster for him due in large part to the longball which oftentimes will correct itself.  But he seems like a good example for consideration. 

So, was it

  • fundamental talent evaluation, marking him as simply not good enough to keep on the 40-man?
  • stats analytics, downplaying his potential for a rebound from high BABIP and ridiculous HR rate?
  • coaching, not finding him a way to succeed last year, taking into account injury?
  • medical staff, judging that his elbow was a deal breaker?
  • Levine and/or Falvey, improperly synthesizing the above information being given to them?

Would one person in the above web of experts saying "no, no, we need to keep him" have been enough?  (Maybe one did, and was outvoted/overruled.) 

I'd also love to have insight about Littell's own decision to accept a minor-league offer from a different franchise.  Just a clearer path back to the majors?  Or was there something in the Twins organization he found distasteful?  Can't ever know, of course.

Was it just bad luck?  Or Total System Failure?  I'm really concerned about the decision making.

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There may be reasons that we will probably never know. But this is one case where I think the FO just blew it. He was relatively young, had some milb success and then a great 2019 in the pen. To me, you discount almost everything negative that happened to a player in 2020. Then you add the elbow issue. You keep a guy like that for a hoped/expected rebound unless you thought his elbow was toast for some reason. 

I don't expect the FO to be be perfect and hit all the time. But they blew this one.

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Might be a little too soon to declare it one way or the other; one things we've seen is that relievers at the margin are awfully fungible. Up one year, down the next. Colome had an outstanding track record going into this season and has been trash this year. Robles has been good this year, bad last year, great the year before, etc. Look at someone like Stashak: had two nice years where he was a good reliever...trash this season. How's Trevor May been? (hint: meh.)

Littell has a nice shiny ERA right now, but his FIP is sitting at 4.08. With his K/9 unimpressive (he's a bit above his career average, but still below his career best), the career low H/9 looks a bit like Small Sample Size Syndrome. I see regression to the mean in his future, I'm afraid. He's certainly not someone I would invest in long-term?

Considering the misses on other players this year and the utter failures of the bullpen this year, this one sucks...but I don't really blame them for going that way. Littell still looks like just a guy to me.

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Such a dangerous game to play picking out 1 player and saying "Team X missed on him and should've known better." You can do it for any number of players and every organization. Littell is a bummer because it felt knee jerk to cut him from the 40 man when he was hurt, but let's not forget, as the OP mentions, no other team claimed him. It's not like he was some great prospect or player that had teams knocking down the door to get him. He went unclaimed and then signed a minor league deal. Happens all the time to thousands of players so picking out 1 and saying "look what the Twins screwed up!" is quite a bit misleading.

Obviously Ortiz leads Twins fans to make these complaints quite often. Hendricks is often brought up, too, but he's a great example of 20/20 hindsight. He wasn't good for the Twins as a starter. Was here under a different regime. Was bad for Toronto and KC after he left (KC even tried him in the pen in the year they were the bullpen whisperers and couldn't get him right). Was mostly solid with some flashes of greatness for Toronto and Oakland for the next 4 years (8 years deep in his career at this point). Then finally blew up in his 9th big league season at the age of 30 for Oakland. So acting like the Twins clearly missed something in Hendricks is revisionist history at best.

You can make a list of very good players that were DFA'd, traded, lost to rule 5, etc. for every major league team. Even those super geniuses in Tampa. It happens every single year. Just feels like whatever team you cheer for does it more because you pay attention to that team more closely. Littell certainly looks like he'd help this embarrassment of a pen this year, but he went unclaimed last year and most of the people now clamoring to have him back would have been complaining about having him part of the bullpen plan as we started the season. Plenty of people complained the Twins didn't bring Wisler back and complain about the way the Twins build a pen, but the Giants used the same approach and brought them both in only to see Wisler collapse and Littell succeed. Thus is the life of 90% of bullpen arms.

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15 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

There may be reasons that we will probably never know. But this is one case where I think the FO just blew it. He was relatively young, had some milb success and then a great 2019 in the pen. To me, you discount almost everything negative that happened to a player in 2020. Then you add the elbow issue. You keep a guy like that for a hoped/expected rebound unless you thought his elbow was toast for some reason. 

I don't expect the FO to be be perfect and hit all the time. But they blew this one.

Yeah I agree with you.  I thought it was strange they gave up on him so soon especially with the injury.  I know they wanted to clear 40 man space and I guess they assumed he would sign with them and not elect free agency but they were wrong so it went sideways on them.  They didn't trust him on the 40 man and he obviously didn't see a clear path making it back on the 40 man with the Twins so he went somewhere he thought might give him a better chance.  Makes sense to me but the Twins lost out big time.

It seems like their 40 man construction has been lacking. Especially when it comes to pen arms.  They took big risks this past year in not adding Baddoo and Miranda and Baddoo got taken and to what end so they could claim Waddell, Gibaut, and Hamilton?  What if a team had selected Miranda as well?  Two likely top 10 prospects would have been poached.  Sometimes I think they outsmart themselves. 
They kept Chalmers on the 40 man even though they never used him in spring training and the guy can't throw a strike when he wants to let alone needs to.  They didn't have Ober pitch this spring either.  Why not give him some time facing some actual major league hitters before the season started?  He was on the 40 man.  Too often they do things even a
amateur armchair GM wouldn't do. I hate to second guess because I don't have all the info and other teams mess up as well but I am starting to lose my trust in their decision making.

They are going to have some serious 40 man decisions coming up with Royce Lewis, Jermaine Palacios, Wander Javier and Jose Miranda likely needing to be added as well as Winder, Sands, Enlow, Vallimont, Rijo, and maybe Neff needing to be added.  Right now I don't have a lot of confidence they will pick the right players but there is not going to be room for all of them so they best choose wisely.  There might be more candidates but those are ones I can think of.

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3 hours ago, Rosterman said:

.......What is frustrating is when the Twins search out the slush pile and disregard their own prospects.

Amen.

Right under their nose, and they go looking for the likes of ..... Colome/Shoemaker/Happ et al, who they give a seemingly endless leash to.

But I think it is very fair to point out the ones the FO missed on. It is difficult, to be sure, but that is what they get paid for.... to make the right decisions, not the wrong. When it comes to pitching, it seems this FO had a reputation that they cannot live up to. Perhaps FO performance is also volatile and fleeting, too, and having a good stretch or season does not really mean much.  

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15 minutes ago, h2oface said:

Amen.

Right under their nose, and they go looking for the likes of ..... Colome/Shoemaker/Happ et al, who they give a seemingly endless leash to.

But I think it is very fair to point out the ones the FO missed on. It is difficult, to be sure, but that is what they get paid for.... to make the right decisions, not the wrong. When it comes to pitching, it seems this FO had a reputation that they cannot live up to. Perhaps FO performance is also volatile and fleeting, too, and having a good stretch or season does not really mean much.  

Colome wasn't a scrap heap find, though: he'd been a fine and reliable reliever for 5 years in a row. (interesting question on Colome: is he cooked, or is he going to bounce back, either through the end of this season or next? really hard to know) I was thrilled with the Colome signing and based on what we knew then it was absolutely a fine move...it just hasn't worked out. He's literally having the worse stretch of his career since moving to the bullpen. Maybe it's small sample size and will look different by the end of the year, maybe he's just cooked as a pitcher at 32. But he's a sunk cost now with no trade value unless he gets straightened out. So with the year lost, I'd actually pitch him in higher leverage situations now and see if he gets on a roll and can be dealt. That's not a long leash, that's trying to get something for your money. Hell, he ain't blocking anyone.

Shoemaker & Happ were attempts to add depth to starting pitching and I really don't think anyone was looking towards Littell as a starting option this season; even the Giants weren't looking that way, a spot start not withstanding. And Shoemaker got yanked from the rotation now that someone got healthy. His leash was "long" because we had nothing else. Pineda was hurt (and is again), Maeda was hurt, Thorpe is hurt, Dobnak has been worse, Smeltzer is hurt and was bad last year...

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1 hour ago, Dman said:

Yeah I agree with you.  I thought it was strange they gave up on him so soon especially with the injury.  I know they wanted to clear 40 man space and I guess they assumed he would sign with them and not elect free agency but they were wrong so it went sideways on them.  They didn't trust him on the 40 man and he obviously didn't see a clear path making it back on the 40 man with the Twins so he went somewhere he thought might give him a better chance.  Makes sense to me but the Twins lost out big time.

It seems like their 40 man construction has been lacking. Especially when it comes to pen arms.  They took big risks this past year in not adding Baddoo and Miranda and Baddoo got taken and to what end so they could claim Waddell, Gibaut, and Hamilton?  What if a team had selected Miranda as well?  Two likely top 10 prospects would have been poached.  Sometimes I think they outsmart themselves. 
They kept Chalmers on the 40 man even though they never used him in spring training and the guy can't throw a strike when he wants to let alone needs to.  They didn't have Ober pitch this spring either.  Why not give him some time facing some actual major league hitters before the season started?  He was on the 40 man.  Too often they do things even a
amateur armchair GM wouldn't do. I hate to second guess because I don't have all the info and other teams mess up as well but I am starting to lose my trust in their decision making.

They are going to have some serious 40 man decisions coming up with Royce Lewis, Jermaine Palacios, Wander Javier and Jose Miranda likely needing to be added as well as Winder, Sands, Enlow, Vallimont, Rijo, and maybe Neff needing to be added.  Right now I don't have a lot of confidence they will pick the right players but there is not going to be room for all of them so they best choose wisely.  There might be more candidates but those are ones I can think of.

Yep, some serious 40-man issues. A reason that they sometimes keep the guys at AA or below for the whole 2021 season. Unless total rebuild mode, you could argue of Lewis would be major league ready come 2022.  From the pitchers you list, would you advance any to the team this year for some experience, and have them spend most of the season at AAA. Once you add them to the 40-man, you risk losing them if you remove them. But I don't see any big demand for free agents to sign with the Twins for 2022 and doubtful that 1-2 big names would make much of a difference.

 

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Yes, definitely gave up on him to early.  We new he he had the pitch mix...and was young with proven results.  We gave some slack to other players in 2020, but for some reason we let him go., then go and sign Dobnack to a long term contract.  Did I arrive in crazy town or what.

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49 minutes ago, LewFordLives said:

I watched Sam Clay close out the game for the Nats yesterday. He's not putting up eye popping numbers, but he's a young lefty holding his own in the majors.

Clay is 28 and just making his MLB debut after 6 minor league seasons with an ERA of 4 and a WHIP of 1.5. He has an ERA of 4.5, 1.7 WHIP, and more hits allowed than innings pitched. Has a negative WAR. He's not young, and he's not exactly holding his own.

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Tyler Wells is pitching well for a lousy Baltimore team.  I had mentioned 3 players in an earlier thread that seem like the type this FO won’t audition.   Palacios, Cano, and Moran.  All 3 should be at AAA right now.  IMO They are all  better than their counterparts at STP.  There are other names such Miranda & De la Trinidad that fit the criteria of being better than much of the STP roster.  The Twins have a reputation for promoting their players slowly which is often described as “conservative”.   I can think of other descriptions for that.   Let the kids play!  Give your top minor league club with which you share a market the best available minor league talent.  Who knows, maybe it would be synergistic and help local fans overcome the malaise induced by the mlb squad.  Might even provide a better setup for the FO to evaluate possible LT pieces…(smacks forehead)…

I will sit back and wait for the chorus of “that’s not how it is done” that will come from some quarters 

 

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1 hour ago, Rosterman said:

Yep, some serious 40-man issues. A reason that they sometimes keep the guys at AA or below for the whole 2021 season. Unless total rebuild mode, you could argue of Lewis would be major league ready come 2022.  From the pitchers you list, would you advance any to the team this year for some experience, and have them spend most of the season at AAA. Once you add them to the 40-man, you risk losing them if you remove them. But I don't see any big demand for free agents to sign with the Twins for 2022 and doubtful that 1-2 big names would make much of a difference.

 

Enlow is out injured and it looks like Rijo might be as well. Vallimont is giving up a lot of contact yet so not sure I could see promoting him right away to MLB.  It might be nice to give Sands and Winder a chance at MLB later this year if they hold their own until the trade deadline.  Winder seems to have settled into throwing strikes, he is older and there is nothing in his numbers to indicate he shouldn't get a chance.  I think Sands but I need to see more.  It would be nice if he could get the walks down just a bit, but he looks pretty good right now so far.  He could be a candidate as well.  I think those are the only two though that I would add early.

The larger issue is going to be trying to find room for three Shortstops in Lewis, Palacios and Javier.  We already have Polanco, Arraez and Gordon at 2nd and Miranda will need to be added or lost.  I know they can lose Simmons but they will likely need to sign an experienced SS over the winter because all three of the SS added lack experience.  If they do add all of them maybe they just rotate through them hard to say but they can't really carry all three if they decide to sign someone as well.  They have to get rid of one of either Gordon, Polanco, Arraez or Miranda they can't keep all four.  If they are willing to get rid of Astudillo hopefully at the deadline then they can possibly carry three using one as a utility player.

Again if Palacios is still OPSing 800 like right now or even 700 they should add him early and have him play at the MLB level.  He is 24 and they need to know what they have before the end of the season.  If they are not true believers in Palacios then I would recommend trying to include him in a trade to another team for a comparable SS that doesn't need to be added right away and give them Palacios and let them figure out if they want to add him or not.  If they hang onto him and decide to add him early and he does reasonably well then maybe they have the shortstop position covered for next year as they wait for Lewis and Javier to develop but they should figure that out sooner rather than later IMO. 

Normally I don't worry about adding relievers but Zach Neff and Jovani Moran have had some pretty decent numbers and given how other teams love grabbing our relievers would be nice if they made room for him as well.  There is a lot of season left and the trade deadline could shake things up even more so hard to say what they will do but given where things are right now those are my thoughts.

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57 minutes ago, Dman said:

The larger issue is going to be trying to find room for three Shortstops in Lewis, Palacios and Javier.  We already have Polanco, Arraez and Gordon at 2nd and Miranda will need to be added or lost.  I know they can lose Simmons but they will likely need to sign an experienced SS over the winter because all three of the SS added lack experience.  If they do add all of them maybe they just rotate through them hard to say but they can't really carry all three if they decide to sign someone as well.  They have to get rid of one of either Gordon, Polanco, Arraez or Miranda they can't keep all four.  If they are willing to get rid of Astudillo hopefully at the deadline then they can possibly carry three using one as a utility player.

If they decide 2022 is a rebuilding year they could play Polanco at SS until one of the prospects earns a shot.  That would give them great flexibility.  I think the decision could come down to Arraez or Gordon.  That decision has a few inputs.  Could we get a really good CF / SS or SP prospect for Arraez.  Does Gordon continues to hit and can he go to AAA and prove he can play CF.  That would make him a valuable utility player.  I would love to see the scenario where Gordon continues to hit, proves he can play CF and we get a great prospect for Arraez.  

If they decide 2022 is a rebuilding year they could play Polanco at SS until one of the prospects earns a shot.  That would give them great flexibility.  I agree one of them should be traded but not Miranda as he could be Donaldson's replacement.  It comes down to Arraez or Polanco for me with Gordon being kept as a utility player.  Of course, this assumes we could we get a really good CF / SS or SP prospect for Arraez or Polanco?  Also, does Gordon continues to hit and can he go to AAA and prove he can play CF.  That would make him a valuable utility player.  If not he is the easiest to cut.  I would love to see the scenario where Gordon continues to hit, proves he can play CF and we get a great prospect for Arraez or Polanco.  

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4 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

Might be a little too soon to declare it one way or the other; one things we've seen is that relievers at the margin are awfully fungible. Up one year, down the next. Colome had an outstanding track record going into this season and has been trash this year. Robles has been good this year, bad last year, great the year before, etc. Look at someone like Stashak: had two nice years where he was a good reliever...trash this season. How's Trevor May been? (hint: meh.)

Littell has a nice shiny ERA right now, but his FIP is sitting at 4.08. With his K/9 unimpressive (he's a bit above his career average, but still below his career best), the career low H/9 looks a bit like Small Sample Size Syndrome. I see regression to the mean in his future, I'm afraid. He's certainly not someone I would invest in long-term?

Considering the misses on other players this year and the utter failures of the bullpen this year, this one sucks...but I don't really blame them for going that way. Littell still looks like just a guy to me.

You bring up some interesting points to consider.

1] I thought Colome was a quality signing at the time, and as you mention, he was coming off 5 fine seasons, including his best season ever. Is he toast at 32yo? Maybe. But he's never been about velocity. Considering he has ZERO trade value, you either need to DFA him at some point to audition someone else, OR....and I can't believe I'm saying this....you need to see if he can find himself again the rest of the season and maybe warrant a look-see for 2022 if he looks like his old self. (I'd probably dump him and audition other arms at some point].

2] Conversely, I thought the Robles signing was a possible key addition for this year coming off a terrible 2020. And he's been, largely, quite good. So what is his trade value vs keeping him and maybe re-signing him to a 1yr deal? And I'm not saying they should trade him or keep him, just that there are things here to consider. (I think he's a possible re-sign on a 1yr).

3] The "loss"  of giving up on Littell too soon...which I think they did...may not have any long lasting implications. But it does make me reflect on the future of Stashak. While not possessing a long history of success, he was good in 2019/2020 so does he get dumped this off-season vs a similar growth bounce back in 2021?

Just a few things to consider.

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Seems to me it's like 75% of it is the overlooking of home grown talent .. but also feel like they get too cute/cocky when it comes to protection from rule 5 and waivers. Like they believe there the smartest person in the room. Like other teams don't have capable scouting and such... But some seems like they fell victim to teams who at the time weren't caring about winning so they take chances on them idk... Just an opinion.

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I was pretty high on Littell last year, so it's disappointing to see him do so well just a year after we DFA'd him. Something is wrong with our pitching staff, and our FO seems more interested in trying out 30+ year old journeyman relievers than developing their own internal relievers. 

And then you remember that they essentially traded Huascar Ynoa for Littell... one of the more promising young starters in baseball, now that he's a Brave. I was hoping the Twins' organization would become similar to Cleveland or Tampa Bay in regards to pitching, but that hasn't happened. The true test will be when the FO's pitching prospects start emerging onto the MLB team.

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1 hour ago, Dman said:

Enlow is out injured and it looks like Rijo might be as well. Vallimont is giving up a lot of contact yet so not sure I could see promoting him right away to MLB.  It might be nice to give Sands and Winder a chance at MLB later this year if they hold their own until the trade deadline.  Winder seems to have settled into throwing strikes, he is older and there is nothing in his numbers to indicate he shouldn't get a chance.  I think Sands but I need to see more.  It would be nice if he could get the walks down just a bit, but he looks pretty good right now so far.  He could be a candidate as well.  I think those are the only two though that I would add early.

The larger issue is going to be trying to find room for three Shortstops in Lewis, Palacios and Javier.  We already have Polanco, Arraez and Gordon at 2nd and Miranda will need to be added or lost.  I know they can lose Simmons but they will likely need to sign an experienced SS over the winter because all three of the SS added lack experience.  If they do add all of them maybe they just rotate through them hard to say but they can't really carry all three if they decide to sign someone as well.  They have to get rid of one of either Gordon, Polanco, Arraez or Miranda they can't keep all four.  If they are willing to get rid of Astudillo hopefully at the deadline then they can possibly carry three using one as a utility player.

Again if Palacios is still OPSing 800 like right now or even 700 they should add him early and have him play at the MLB level.  He is 24 and they need to know what they have before the end of the season.  If they are not true believers in Palacios then I would recommend trying to include him in a trade to another team for a comparable SS that doesn't need to be added right away and give them Palacios and let them figure out if they want to add him or not.  If they hang onto him and decide to add him early and he does reasonably well then maybe they have the shortstop position covered for next year as they wait for Lewis and Javier to develop but they should figure that out sooner rather than later IMO. 

Normally I don't worry about adding relievers but Zach Neff and Jovani Moran have had some pretty decent numbers and given how other teams love grabbing our relievers would be nice if they made room for him as well.  There is a lot of season left and the trade deadline could shake things up even more so hard to say what they will do but given where things are right now those are my thoughts.

These topics are really off topic and probably need a different thread...and will probably get one at some point...but the discussion is so interesting that I can't help address it. Lol

Winder is ahead of Balazovic right now due to their individual starts to the season. Winder will be up at AAA fairly soon and could join Duran in August/September. Sands is more of a 2022 mid to late season or depth option, IMO. By that time, and no insult to Sands, Balazovic and Canterino could easily surpass him for "next guy up".

The SS situation is VERY interesting. ASSUMING the Twins find a fill-in SS for 2022, POTENTIALLY there is room for all of Polanco, Arraez and Gordon on the ML roster depending on how it's built. In other words, Polanco can backup SS, MAYBE Gordon also can but he needs a chance to show what he can do. He actually has a healthy off-season, maybe he re-gains weight/strength and his arm may even improve, and he doesn't stink at SS and CF, we MIGHT suddenly have a former top prospect who develops in to a useful utility player. And no reason to re-address the value and usage of Arraez yet again.

On the milb side of this discussion, we all realize Lewis isn't going to be ready in 2022 barring some miracle or maybe a late season shot. And to be fair, the delayed milb season hasn't even reached the half way point yet, but assuming/hoping Palocious and Javier continue to perform, BOTH HAVE to be promoted mid-season. To those who might have forgotten, Palacious brought us Odorizzi but couldn't hit in 2yrs at AA and was cut by the Rays and re-signed by the Twins, he's only 24yo just might be ready for AAA in a few more weeks. Could he be a "late" developing player at only 24 who could be a factor? And we all know Javier's story so no need to go there. But the obvious secondary move is to give him half a season at AA. Right now, he's one of the best milb stories in a season where the ML team is disappointing but the system is offering some good feelings. 

It never used to be that the promotion of milb RP brought attention, much less hope. But since the game has changed so much, the bullpen has become far more key to the fortunes of the parent club. So when we look at the current state of affairs at the ML level, the ideas of Anderson, Hamilton, Cano, Moran, Mason, and Neff....who you mentioned....getting promoted shouldn't be easily dismissed. Really stinks Colina may be out for the season because he might already be up.

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To me, it is simple.  They gave up on him because their analytics told them to.  The boy wonders of the 21st century do what their computers tell them to, and there will be times they get burned because of it.  And not only on who they give up on, but who they sign as well.  And not just pitching........oh, don't get me started.  :)

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35 minutes ago, SadlyAllSota3 said:

Seems to me it's like 75% of it is the overlooking of home grown talent .. but also feel like they get too cute/cocky when it comes to protection from rule 5 and waivers. Like they believe there the smartest person in the room. Like other teams don't have capable scouting and such... But some seems like they fell victim to teams who at the time weren't caring about winning so they take chances on them idk... Just an opinion.

A good post. And let me say I have a lot of belief/faith in our FO. And previously, they have found some arms that have helped make a difference in the pen previously. Guys who were let go by other organizations and done well here, even for a short run. They've also done a good job developing arms on hand....no pun intended. But I do believe you can end up trapping yourself from previous results/accomplishments in to being "too cute" in your roster construction. Or as you put it, believing too much sometimes that you're the smartest person in the room.

Look, the honest truth is that for every journeyman "prosoect" the Twins let go, we could probably show an equal signing of someone let go by someone else. And NO FO EVER hits on alk moves. You hope they do so 70-80% of the time. But when you have a plan....like 2021....that seems smart but goes astray, you have to re-evaluate what you've done.

For a team that believes it is a contender, you simply can't believe you can just rely and promote milb BP arms and expect them to perform in outstanding fashion. And you don't have to make a crazy contract move like the Dirty Sox did with Hendricks. What you CAN DO in a lost season is talk to your managers, coaches and scouts and promote and audition certain arms that show real potential to see if they can stick or be ready at some point in 2022. 

But we can't forget that there only a certain number of milb RP who make and succeed at the ML level as high quality/leverage relievers. Some do. Most were SP who adapted to the pen to excel. Doesn't mean you shouldn't look at high potential arms in your system.

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39 minutes ago, Mark G said:

To me, it is simple.  They gave up on him because their analytics told them to.  The boy wonders of the 21st century do what their computers tell them to, and there will be times they get burned because of it.  And not only on who they give up on, but who they sign as well.  And not just pitching........oh, don't get me started.  :)

I think there is some truth to what you are saying.  We know hard hit rate is something they believe in and try to instill throughout the system.  The math (analytics) makes sense as it does appear to correlate with a higher OPS but if you get away from plate discipline and going oppo you can make a player one dimensional as well and I don't know if they consider that or not.  It could mean that guys not doing well for us do better elsewhere because the philosophy changes and they go oppo more or shorten the stroke after two strikes. Hard to say but when you can shift heavily to the pull side you just are not going to get an expected BABIP and that will drive down a players OPS.  At any rate I agree with you that they play favorites with certain analytics and I don't think it has proven successful just yet.

On the pitching side they are looking for velocity as all teams are and they are interested in movement.  Littell definitely had the movement and velo had been ticking up until injury.  He was giving up significant contact and I believe he had through most of his time in the high minors but he had enough K's to get by.  I think in the end they looked at FIP and xFIP and decided he was a borderline pen arm for them.  They did not see high upside and to that point it appears they were right but they went against that whole philosophy when they signed Colome who doesn't throw hard either.  Granted he had a track record of success but changing their philosophy bit them hard.  It makes me wonder what they see or don't see with certain players.

I know they can only control so much as players have to perform but I am starting to question the path forward and the analytics leading them there.  They are smart guys and have way more info than I do but somehow they have taken the talent they have and made it mediocre or worse.  The farm while deep with solid talent doesn't look like it has many bonafide star players with Larnach and Kirilloff likely no longer prospects it leaves Lewis who is more wild card than sure thing.  Maybe Miranda and Duran or Balazovic but with their slow starts hard to tell where they are at and Duran is no sure thing as a starter.  I hope they can make some deals and get some higher level talent in the system as I think they are going to need the depth.  If they don't start developing pitching soon IMO they are sunk and their jobs likely lost because they will be going through a lengthily rebuild once again and I don't think the fans or the owner will have the stomach for that.

I am sure they will stick with the plan whatever that is but I hope they can make some deals to turn this team around.

 

 

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The last year or so the FO had made some really poor decisions regarding the pitching staff.   There may be a thousand reasons for this, but this is the outcome.  I really wonder if they can see beyond their spreadsheets.  Do they ever look at mental toughness, work ethic, or other intangibles?  Maybe they do, but if Dobnak is an example of this, well...

 

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In that Ballpark, any pitcher can look real good. I'm not the least bit surprised by littells success

Twins need to find their next Matt guerrier 

Jiovani Moran could very well be the next Juan Rincon / JC Romero

 

I wish we had JT Chaegois Riggt now !!

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Polanco is excellent trade bait--a good hitter with flexibility as to where he can play and team control. I'd like to trade him for some upside prospects considering this baseball garbage is about to be jettisoned into space for this year. I'd like to do the same with Kepler, but I am wondering what kind of return we could get considering he has yet again disappointed,

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10 hours ago, Wizard11 said:

 

I will sit back and wait for the chorus of “that’s not how it is done” that will come from some quarters 

 

Just because your paranoid, doesn't mean we're not out to get you! 

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