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Reasons for optimism


Things are too negative on TD (I'm partly the reason for that) but there are some reasons for optimism for 2022

1) Buxton is due a full and healthy season. He goes on the IL too much but it's usually a freaky, silly injury, rather than something you expect to be a constant problem. And if Buxton gives the Twins a full season, the Twins will have one of the best players in baseball.

2) Miranda and Martin look to be two pretty good bats that will be ML ready sooner rather than later. Martin was arguably the best bat in last years draft and was thrown straight into AA and more than held his own. Miranda is having the breakout season many of us expected (God, I love that 2016 draft!).

3) Continued improvement from Larnich and Kiriloff. Both seem like they should be solid middle of the order bats in the longterm. Both have struggled at points but both have shown glimpses of what we can dream on for years to come.

4) Balazovic and Woods-Richardson will make the majors. Both are top 100 prospects and I'm really excited to see both of them in the majors. I'm sure they'll struggle a bit (remember Berrios' rookie year?) but I think both will solid ML pitchers.

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The catching situation is as good as it has been in some time. Jeffers is legit. Garver can hit as well as any catcher, and IMO catcher D is over rated. And then Rortverdt is a legit backup catcher, who might be a legit starting catcher.

DH is covered between Garver and whomever they feel works better between Donaldson, Sano, Arraez (my choice, as his D is not great), and Rooker.

Polanco is back, and should be starting at 2B until they decide Martin or someone else should.

They have enough minor league pitching in AA and AAA to build most of a legit bullpen, if they move some guys there sooner rather than later, and bring some up this year to get their feet wet.

They have plenty of money to fix either one SP or SS or possibly both this off season. There are A LOT of SP and SS in this FA class.

 

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I like that the farm system got an injection of talent at the top end.  With Kirilloff, Larnach, Rooker and Jeffers moving up, the system got pretty bottom heavy, particularly in pitching.  I'm anxious to see how it plays out and starts to push its way into the bigs.  

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there's a group of pitchers I'm really interested in: Balazovic, Winder, Canterino, Ryan, Woods-Richardson, and Duran. All have the potential to be really good; none of them look like they're going to be total flame-outs. I wish for good health there so we can find out just how good sooner rather than later.

Jose Miranda brings a smile to my face every time I see his batting line. I love seeing a guy have a breakout year where they unlock something that pulls all their ability and drive together into big-time success. It's getting harder and harder to see this as a fluke; if it was you'd think he'd slow down when he got promoted or something. But literally every metric looks good for him.

Twins have some young hitters coming through that are tough outs, and I like that too. Kirilloff, Martin, Miranda are going to wear some pitchers down (along with Arraez) and could help balance out the lineup. You can afford to have big power, low BA guys like Sano and Rooker (that's my guess on Rooker, but I'd love for him to prove me wrong) when they're balanced with guys who don't rack up K after K after K after K and still do damage to the ball.

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I think the Twins have a great deal of potential. I think the additions we got at the trade deadline this year are exciting and I'm anxious to see what happens with the 2022 CBA and whether or not the Twins will take advantage of what looks to be arguably the best free agent class in history.

  • Garver and Jeffers / Rortvedt seem like a really nice combination at C
  • I have faith Kirilloff will be a very good 1B
  • The Twins have solid options at 2B with Polanco or Arraez.
  • Donaldson is a valuable 3B and Miranda could very well supplant him.
  • I'm not excited with Larnach playing LF
  • Buxton. Expectations of Buxton playing a full season (150G+) ever in his career seem unreasonable; however, the Twins have some redundancy here with Kepler/Celestino/Cave
  • Kepler is a solid RF
  • The rotation is full of holes and question marks, but there are at least a couple guys who should be solid in the rotation starting next year in our MiLB system and the free agent market is awash with talent.
  • The bullpen is full of holes and question marks, but again, we should have a couple really good options coming up from our MiLB system and finding decent pieces in FA isn't generally hard.
  • Sano as a DH is probably replacement level, but Rooker or Larnach or Donaldson can ensure we get value here.

I don't see the Twins as lost cause for 2022, but with so many question marks, I expect the team will take a conservative approach and try to build a contender for cheap rather than spend on better known quantities. Just have to wait and see. The next few months are going to be exciting in my opinion.

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2 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

there's a group of pitchers I'm really interested in: Balazovic, Winder, Canterino, Ryan, Woods-Richardson, and Duran. All have the potential to be really good; none of them look like they're going to be total flame-outs. I wish for good health there so we can find out just how good sooner rather than later.

Jose Miranda brings a smile to my face every time I see his batting line. I love seeing a guy have a breakout year where they unlock something that pulls all their ability and drive together into big-time success. It's getting harder and harder to see this as a fluke; if it was you'd think he'd slow down when he got promoted or something. But literally every metric looks good for him.

Twins have some young hitters coming through that are tough outs, and I like that too. Kirilloff, Martin, Miranda are going to wear some pitchers down (along with Arraez) and could help balance out the lineup. You can afford to have big power, low BA guys like Sano and Rooker (that's my guess on Rooker, but I'd love for him to prove me wrong) when they're balanced with guys who don't rack up K after K after K after K and still do damage to the ball.

I'd add Enlow to that list, and it's a relief that we can eventually move on from parading one low-ceiling starter after another out there (Smeltzer, Dobnak, Barnes, Ober, Jax et al). Every one of those guys represents more promise than the likes of those prospects and free agents like Happ and Shoemaker. I actually chose to take this season off and spend it looking at birds with my son instead. And if this off-season is a bust, I might give it another year to return. Frankly, I find guys like Sano and Rooker to be unwatchable. I want them to move those two, plus Donaldson and Cave. I'd be all for having a "tough out" lineup 1 through 9.

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4 hours ago, gunnarthor said:

Things are too negative on TD (I'm partly the reason for that) but there are some reasons for optimism for 2022

1) Buxton is due a full and healthy season. He goes on the IL too much but it's usually a freaky, silly injury, rather than something you expect to be a constant problem. And if Buxton gives the Twins a full season, the Twins will have one of the best players in baseball.

2) Miranda and Martin look to be two pretty good bats that will be ML ready sooner rather than later. Martin was arguably the best bat in last years draft and was thrown straight into AA and more than held his own. Miranda is having the breakout season many of us expected (God, I love that 2016 draft!).

3) Continued improvement from Larnich and Kiriloff. Both seem like they should be solid middle of the order bats in the longterm. Both have struggled at points but both have shown glimpses of what we can dream on for years to come.

4) Balazovic and Woods-Richardson will make the majors. Both are top 100 prospects and I'm really excited to see both of them in the majors. I'm sure they'll struggle a bit (remember Berrios' rookie year?) but I think both will solid ML pitchers.

I agree with most of this, though I'm concerned about a couple of things:

1. Can Miranda play a useful position or is he going to logjam Sano/Arraez/Larnach/Kirilloff even more? And if he can play third base, how confident are the Twins in moving away from Donaldson? This team can only handle so many corner guys and they already have too many of them.

2. I love the look of the pitching pipeline... on paper, which I'm sure you agree with.... but I have yet to see any execution of transitioning good prospects into good MLB players, which makes me wary of how much progress we'll see and how quickly we'll see it.

Which makes me wonder if the team's best option this offseason might be to trade 1-3 of Donaldson, Kepler, and Garver and stack that pitching pipeline even more, preferably returning at least one decent MLB player under control for 1-3 seasons. It's dangerous to loot the offense too extensively to bring back pitching returns but also, I don't see much choice in the matter if this team wants to start competing in April of 2022.

What makes me optimistic is that unlike most terrible baseball teams, this front office has a lot of talent on-hand, which gives them a bunch of options to improve if they pull the right levers.

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I favor the go-for it now approach and "expect" the minor league system churning out big time talent over the next two years as guys like Winder, Enlow, Balazovic, Sands, Canterino, Woods-Richardson, Lewis and Martin become ready. Signing some short term, mediocre talent to keep the Twins within potential reach of .500 and wait for the pipeline to "prove itself" before investing is tantamount to a vote of no confidence from the front office, and the front office's job was to fix the pipeline and get the Twins back on the path to the World Series (as far as I'm concerned).

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53 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I agree with most of this, though I'm concerned about a couple of things:

1. Can Miranda play a useful position or is he going to logjam Sano/Arraez/Larnach/Kirilloff even more? And if he can play third base, how confident are the Twins in moving away from Donaldson? This team can only handle so many corner guys and they already have too many of them.

2. I love the look of the pitching pipeline... on paper, which I'm sure you agree with.... but I have yet to see any execution of transitioning good prospects into good MLB players, which makes me wary of how much progress we'll see and how quickly we'll see it.

Which makes me wonder if the team's best option this offseason might be to trade 1-3 of Donaldson, Kepler, and Garver and stack that pitching pipeline even more, preferably returning at least one decent MLB player under control for 1-3 seasons. It's dangerous to loot the offense too extensively to bring back pitching returns but also, I don't see much choice in the matter if this team wants to start competing in April of 2022.

What makes me optimistic is that unlike most terrible baseball teams, this front office has a lot of talent on-hand, which gives them a bunch of options to improve if they pull the right levers.

I have watched quite a few games trying to get a look at some of the pitching and Miranda.  He has looked pretty good a 3B when he plays there but they have him playing an equal amount a 1B and 2B so the sample size at 3B is small.  That said you got this one square on the barrel.  He is considerably less valuable if he can't play an average 3B.

Garver would net to bring a big haul for me.  I love Rortvedt's defense enough I could live with trading Garver but it would have to include a stud pitching prospect and a couple other good prospects.  Just fine with them trading Donaldson if they are very confident in Miranda's ability to stay a 3B.  The payroll can be put towards pitching.

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I am very optimistic about the talent on the field, both at the MLB level and in the minors. My biggest area of concern is the manager. Baldelli has made far too many head scratching in-game decisions and his lack of a consistent line-up is hard to take. 

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12 minutes ago, mnfireman said:

I am very optimistic about the talent on the field, both at the MLB level and in the minors. My biggest area of concern is the manager. Baldelli has made far too many head scratching in-game decisions and his lack of a consistent line-up is hard to take. 

People really make too much of the lineup rotations. This team has had between an average and very good offense for three consecutive seasons and Baldelli has rotated players through the lineup all three seasons.

Baldelli has done a lot of stuff that makes me cringe this season but the lineup changes don't even register on my radar.

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In a season where everything has gone wrong that can go wrong…even offensively…the Twins have the 3rd best team OPS in the AL. Even since the trade of Cruz with the mixing and matching, they’ve been above league average.

Even Sano…who’s had a bad year, and many here would apparently be ready and willing to trade for nothing…is sitting at a wRC+ of 103, which is exactly what Joe Mauer’s was as a first-baseman. (Sano’s at 121 since May 15.) And there’s a reasonable chance Kirilloff will be significantly better. Very reasonable chance for improvement at SS and one or both OF corners, as well.

Bottom line…the floor seems absurdly high offensively for a few years yet. Seems to just be a matter of how quickly the pitching can be solved.

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4 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

 

Which makes me wonder if the team's best option this offseason might be to trade 1-3 of Donaldson, Kepler, and Garver

A good major league team has four solid outfielders, 2 RHB and 2 LHB (or SH mixed in). That makes two of Cave, Kepler, Larnach and Kirilloff trade bait. And not Kirilloff.

Be very wary of trading a catcher. Until and unless a fourth catcher emerges I keep the three top catchers we have.

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30 minutes ago, Nine of twelve said:

A good major league team has four solid outfielders, 2 RHB and 2 LHB (or SH mixed in). That makes two of Cave, Kepler, Larnach and Kirilloff trade bait. And not Kirilloff.

Be very wary of trading a catcher. Until and unless a fourth catcher emerges I keep the three top catchers we have.

Oh, I'm very wary of trading a catcher but I'm even more wary of running out another awful starting rotation.

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1 hour ago, jkcarew said:

Even Sano…who’s had a bad year, and many here would apparently be ready and willing to trade for nothing…is sitting at a wRC+ of 103, which is exactly what Joe Mauer’s was as a first-baseman. (Sano’s at 121 since May 15.) And there’s a reasonable chance Kirilloff will be significantly better. Very reasonable chance for improvement at SS and one or both OF corners, as well.

Sano is the easiest player to criticize because when he's off, he's horrible, and even when he's rolling he piles up Ks. The reality of his production is better than the perception, because the aesthetics of his plate appearances can be unpleasant and easy to recall, and the low BA never looks good (while always being shown). The reality is after an abysmal start to the season...he's been fine. Weirdly terrible on the road this year, but he's actually been very good at home. Struggling vs LHP when he's never had much of a platoon split before. Odd ball stuff like that (and his strong July) makes me wonder how much of this is just fluky nonsense that should be ignored and we might see the feared Miguel Sano again.

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8 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

Our talent in AA and AAA gives us a real chance of making this a quick retool vs. a rebuild. Prospect optimism is always dangerous, but there are some interesting guys to watch both now and coming soon.

I know we wanted to stay positive here, so apologies. It's just that prospects don't excite me until they have proven it on the MLB playing field (which quite often takes years).

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13 hours ago, Nine of twelve said:

A good major league team has four solid outfielders, 2 RHB and 2 LHB (or SH mixed in). That makes two of Cave, Kepler, Larnach and Kirilloff trade bait. And not Kirilloff.

Be very wary of trading a catcher. Until and unless a fourth catcher emerges I keep the three top catchers we have.

Agreed on the trading of a catcher. But I take Kirilloff out of that LH OF bat list. He's a 1B moving forward. He can fill in at the corner OF spots, but he's their starting 1B from here on out I think.

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8 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

Agreed on the trading of a catcher. But I take Kirilloff out of that LH OF bat list. He's a 1B moving forward. He can fill in at the corner OF spots, but he's their starting 1B from here on out I think.

This is what I'd like to see as well.  If Sano has a strong finish to the season, it'll be interesting to see how they approach the offseason with Rooker and Sano vying for the DH role going forward.

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16 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

This is what I'd like to see as well.  If Sano has a strong finish to the season, it'll be interesting to see how they approach the offseason with Rooker and Sano vying for the DH role going forward.

If they're going to trade anyone I'd think they'd look to trade Sano or Rooker. But with Sano only having 1 more guaranteed year and Rooker still having an option (I believe) it's also possible they keep them both for depth next year and move on from Sano in 2023. I'm not sold on Rooker. He has negative defensive value anywhere you put him so he's a DH only, and I just don't see a bat that will be good enough to warrant that. But I've been wrong before.

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2 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

If they're going to trade anyone I'd think they'd look to trade Sano or Rooker. But with Sano only having 1 more guaranteed year and Rooker still having an option (I believe) it's also possible they keep them both for depth next year and move on from Sano in 2023. I'm not sold on Rooker. He has negative defensive value anywhere you put him so he's a DH only, and I just don't see a bat that will be good enough to warrant that. But I've been wrong before.

Agreed on all points.  I don't want to see Rooker in the field and if you're moving Kirilloff to 1B, Sano needs a spot in the order if he's still on the roster.  That makes them redundant.  I've liked what I've seen from Rooker's bat after he came back up, but I'm far from sold on him long term.  

Heading into this offseason, I find myself intrigued by smaller things like this that I haven't really paid all that much attention too before.  That's probably because the team is in a transition period and I'm curious to see how it's handled.

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21 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

Tickets will be cheap cheap cheap! the rest of the season. 

Can confirm.  I've got a few games on StubHub that I can't get rid of listed below face value.  Granted, one is against Detroit, but the White Sox and Toronto games are usually an easier sell.  Not right now!

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I'm optimistic that:

  • At least a couple of the long list of SP prospects will become very good major leaguer pitchers. It can take time for them to develop and there have been a lot of injuries, but by sheer numbers, at least a few will succeed. 
  • Rortvedt will eventually hit major league pitching. Catchers are two-way players, so it can take some time for both tools to develop. His defense is so good, he'll get multiple chances to improve his hitting.
  • Miranda will become (at least) a very good major league hitter. He has upped his power a lot, added walks and still doesn't K  much. That's a great combination.
  • I'll continue to attend both Twins and Saints games. The latter to watch all the prospects, the former because major league baseball is great. Once I enter the stadium, I tend to forget about the team's record. It's all about that day's game.
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I love the first item in the "reasons for optimism"; Buxton is due for a full and healthy season. Of course he is due because he has never had one. That is like saying I am due for a hole in one in golf because I have never had one.  As far as the other players involved in the "reasons" are concerned, many are playing now and there are 53 games left. How about a modest 2 game winning streak now for some optimism?

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Don't have a clue what 2022 will bring, much less beyond.  Will be curious to see how the FO approaches next season.  Will they talk a good game while appearing to get back in the hunt, yet really be building towards 2023?

Even though I like the number and quality of the pitchers down on the farm, it is unlikely any will help in 2022.  Maybe Ryan or Strotman sometime mid-season, but any young pitchers filling rotation spots on opening day is probably limited to Jax, Ober, Dobnak, Thorpe and Smeltzer...assuming the last two get beyond November.  The majority of this crop is more likely to arrive late next year and be solid in 2023.

I agree with those above who discuss the every day lineup which should be pretty good next year.  But unless the FO surprises me, I don't see a starting rotation that can win the division.

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Sano gets hammered by fans because he's a detriment to the team most of the year. Slow start? Though true this year, it's not really the issue. Sano goes through long bouts of being unplayably bad followed by a couple weeks of home run derby in blowout games, followed by periods of drought.

  • April - .111/.310/.244 OPS .555 WPA -0.653
  • May - .190/.261/.476 OPS .737 WPA -0.055
  • June - .254/.280/.507 OPS .787 WPA 0.323
  • July - .253/.349/.480 OPS .829 WPA -0.636
  • Aug - .188/.278/.313 OPS .590 WPA -0.187

Sano's WPA is pretty miserable across the entire season reflecting how many times Sano has severely hurt the team's chances of winning games because he's a guaranteed out when the opposing team really needs that out. Sano feasts on mistake pitches and an opposing team is going to limit the mistakes when it matters.

Also, a league average bat at DH is hardly worth playing, and certainly not on a playoff team. A league average DH is wRC+ 120ish, not 105.

 

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Just now, bean5302 said:

Sano gets hammered by fans because he's a detriment to the team most of the year. Slow start? Though true this year, it's not really the issue. Sano goes through long bouts of being unplayably bad followed by a couple weeks of home run derby in blowout games, followed by periods of drought.

  • April - .111/.310/.244 OPS .555 WPA -0.653
  • May - .190/.261/.476 OPS .737 WPA -0.055
  • June - .254/.280/.507 OPS .787 WPA 0.323
  • July - .253/.349/.480 OPS .829 WPA -0.636
  • Aug - .188/.278/.313 OPS .590 WPA -0.187

Sano's WPA is pretty miserable across the entire season reflecting how many times Sano has severely hurt the team's chances of winning games because he's a guaranteed out when the opposing team really needs that out. Sano feasts on mistake pitches and an opposing team is going to limit the mistakes when it matters.

Also, a league average bat at DH is hardly worth playing, and certainly not on a playoff team. A league average DH is wRC+ 120ish, not 105.

 

Remember when this was a thread about optimism?

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