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The Cusp Guys


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What are everyone's feelings going into the offseason about our position guys who are middling between St Paul and Minnesota? In this category I'd put Rooker, Larnach, Kirilloff, Lewis, Celestino, Gordon, Rortvedt? How is Royce Lewis going to look after essentially not having seen a game for two straight years? Are Rooker and Larnach going to be guys who show a lot of promise but in the end get leapfrogged by guys like Martin, Miranda etc? How's Kirilloff going to adjust post-surgery? Has Gordon possibly played himself into contention for a utility spot if he has a good Spring in 22? 

On another note - what's the plan for pitchers like Smeltzer & Thorpe? DFA?

Is there a point to keeping Astudillo on the roster at this point? If we had Gordon and Arraez in utility spots, his only limited upside would be a barely passable catching option. We've got Rortvedt who has a framing/arm upside above Astudillo in the wings.

To me it seems like we have an abundance of potentially good but unproven depth and it could still go either way.

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Figure out where guys are on the position chart and plan accordingly. If the Twins do not pursue a DH, like a return of Cruz, who fulfills that spot. Is it a split between Sano/Garver/Kirilloff. Does Garver also play 1B? Then you need Astudillo maybe as a catcher, although since Willians can also play 1st, who bother with Garver there.

 

Same thing with Rooker. Is Kepler the starting right fielder. Does Kirilloff start in left, or are you giving Larnach a wide-open look. Is Rooker the starter in LF when Kirilloff plays first and Sano does the DH number? The days of having Gordon and Arraez playing the outfield should be slim or only in an emergency.

 

Which brings up the mess of the infield. Do you sign shortstop or go with Arraez at second and Polanco at shortstop until you see what you have in Martin or Lewis, with Gordon as the chief backup. Is Donaldson fulltime at third, or also a designated hitter candidate. If Donaldson is only part-time at third, better to give full chance to Miranda (and keep him as a swing man rather than, say, Rooker or Astudillo).

 

You can demote a guy of the 40-man and sign him for pretty much anything you want to keep him from going elsewhere, or getting claimed in the Rule 5 (as Tampa Bay did with Slegers). Ultimately, if a players IS going to accept a minor league contract, they kinda want assurances that they will be considered for major league play when the opportunity happens, depending on what they show during the minor league play.

 

Usually a team adds one player fulltime and another bench from any of the rookie tryouts during the season. So fringe guys are let go and move on.

 

 

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So much depth and the real question is what part of it is good.

The thing is that the team lost 89 games. They were distinctly very bad at playing baseball.

So how much do we care about their current 40-man roster? I honestly do not know. The 40-man shuffle has yet to begin and I'm so interested to see where all of this goes.

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Rooker - Depth and potential DH if Cruz isn’t replaced 

Larnach - Wouldn’t mind him starting at LF/RF for the Twins opening day. Potential trade bait as well. 

Kirilloff - Dude is a stud. He was hitting the cover off the ball before he tore ligaments in his wrist and tried playing through it for 1-2 months. It’s a shame he couldn’t show off his skillset for most of 2021. 

Lewis - Don’t think he’s a realistic option in 2022. I’m the low guy on him and would trade him if he’s still a top 100 ranked prospect. 

Celestino - Competing with Larnach for a starting spot in RF/LF for the Twins. More than likely starting in St Paul opening day 2022. 

Gordon - probable utility guy for the Twins. 

Rortvedt - AAAA filler. Ideal 3rd catcher

Smeltzer and Thorpe - I’d hate to give up on left handed, breathing pitchers. Their best bet is in the bullpen. Hopefully both gain a tick or 3 on their fastball in the pen. 

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Time to move on to next group of pitchers, Winder, Duran, Balazovic, Sands, etc. Not high on potential for Smeltzer, Thorpe, Stashek. I think Jax may have a chance to contribute, Barnes-see him as #8 starter type at AAA. I haven't given up on Dobnak, possible #5 starter to open season. Need to move on from pitchers whose ceiling is borderline MLB pitcher.

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11 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

Rooker - Depth and potential DH if Cruz isn’t replaced 

Larnach - Wouldn’t mind him starting at LF/RF for the Twins opening day. Potential trade bait as well. 

Kirilloff - Dude is a stud. He was hitting the cover off the ball before he tore ligaments in his wrist and tried playing through it for 1-2 months. It’s a shame he couldn’t show off his skillset for most of 2021. 

Lewis - Don’t think he’s a realistic option in 2022. I’m the low guy on him and would trade him if he’s still a top 100 ranked prospect. 

Celestino - Competing with Larnach for a starting spot in RF/LF for the Twins. More than likely starting in St Paul opening day 2022. 

Gordon - probable utility guy for the Twins. 

Rortvedt - AAAA filler. Ideal 3rd catcher

Smeltzer and Thorpe - I’d hate to give up on left handed, breathing pitchers. Their best bet is in the bullpen. Hopefully both gain a tick or 3 on their fastball in the pen. 

I think this is almost exactly right. As for Turtle, he's fun and all but I think it's time to move on. 

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17 hours ago, the_neds said:

What are everyone's feelings going into the offseason about our position guys who are middling between St Paul and Minnesota? In this category I'd put Rooker, Larnach, Kirilloff, Lewis, Celestino, Gordon, Rortvedt? How is Royce Lewis going to look after essentially not having seen a game for two straight years? Are Rooker and Larnach going to be guys who show a lot of promise but in the end get leapfrogged by guys like Martin, Miranda etc? How's Kirilloff going to adjust post-surgery? Has Gordon possibly played himself into contention for a utility spot if he has a good Spring in 22? 

On another note - what's the plan for pitchers like Smeltzer & Thorpe? DFA?

Is there a point to keeping Astudillo on the roster at this point? If we had Gordon and Arraez in utility spots, his only limited upside would be a barely passable catching option. We've got Rortvedt who has a framing/arm upside above Astudillo in the wings.

To me it seems like we have an abundance of potentially good but unproven depth and it could still go either way.

Kirilloff will be fine and I still think Larnach can turn into Geoff Jenkins. I expect both of them to start next season in AAA to get an extra year of club control and to make them earn a roster spot. I see Austin Martin claiming LF eventually because he's the better defender and he gets on base. That leaves RF for Larnach but that will mean trading Kepler to open up the spot.

Is Celestino just a good 4th outfielder or can he be a starting CF? I'm not sure but he's a definite MLB talent.

Can Royce Lewis play SS? They need to find that out with him in AAA to start next season.

Nick Gordon can be the futility infielder until someone else beats him out. I doubt he's ever more than a bench player in the big leagues. He doesn't field well enough for SS and doesn't hit well enough to play anywhere else.

Rooker is a tweener - not enough bat for DH, not enough glove to play the field. He's the kind of player who ends up playing in Japan. Remember Michael Restovich?

Astudillo is just blocking Miranda. Sign him as a minor league free agent and send him to St. Paul. The Saints fans will love him. 

Smeltzer and Thorpe are both likely DFA. They're lefthanded so they will both get a few more chances but they'll both have to settle for minor league free agent contracts.

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Rooker & Larnach should start in AAA. Rooker has + speed?  If so, the Twins should be putting him in training to recognize hit balls, route running and strengthening his arm. This would make him a viable LF contributor.

If Buxton is with us, Celestino could compete with Cave for 4th OF, otherwise he is Buxton's heir apparent..  Perhaps we don't need a 4th OF if we keep Gordon and Arraez?

Garver would be a perfect part-time DH. This means Astudillo is a handy back-up for catcher and 3b/2b/1b or any other spot that doesn't require speed, where we have an injury.

I want Donaldson to be gone so Miranda can play 3b every day. He has nothing to prove in AAA and he should play every day in the majors.

Twins pitching has so many possibilities that I won''t try to address them here.  I do know this. I want at least 3 starting pitchers that regularly pitch 3 times thru a lineup and don't give up more than 3 runs doing it. I'd like 5 pitchers like that, but I am trying to be realistic.  :)

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7 minutes ago, Thegrin said:

Rooker & Larnach should start in AAA. Rooker has + speed?  If so, the Twins should be putting him in training to recognize hit balls, route running and strengthening his arm.

I chuckled at the idea of Rooker being fast and over at Baseball Savant, his sprint speed is 57th percentile.

Wait, what? No way would I have guessed he was over 45th percentile or so. 

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2 hours ago, Thegrin said:

 I want at least 3 starting pitchers that regularly pitch 3 times thru a lineup and don't give up more than 3 runs doing it. I'd like 5 pitchers like that, but I am trying to be realistic.  :)

So just sign 3 of the top 5 free agent pitchers?

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Good pitchers with poor defense -- more losing seasons, period.

Twins need defense as much as pitching, lose the one they have now, see above; EXCEPT, for a bullpen that throws away games, that was a large problem.

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18 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I chuckled at the idea of Rooker being fast and over at Baseball Savant, his sprint speed is 57th percentile.

Wait, what? No way would I have guessed he was over 45th percentile or so. 

I thought i remembered something about Rooker's stolen-base numbers in college, so I looked them up. It looks like he only ran during his final college season, but that season he stole 18 bases at a 78% success rate.

With the caveat that stolen bases aren't equivalent to raw speed, it seems like his issue in the outfield may be reads and routes more than speed? I recall some discussion of one of Rooker's "highlight" catches late in the season, and this seems to track - he may have taken a worse route to that ball than another defender would, but he also had the closing speed to get to it.

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