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3 Twins Players with Something Left to Prove in 2022


Twins Daily Contributor

As the 2022 season closes, there are still meaningful opportunities for Twins players. Here are three players with something to prove in the season’s final games.

Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Teams out of contention are offered a unique opportunity in the season’s final weeks. It can be a time for younger players to prove they are part of the team’s long-term plans, while veteran players can tie a bow on their season. Each player below has something to show the team before the end of the 2022 season. 

Gilberto Celestino, OF
2022 Recap: It’s easy to forget that Celestino is a 23-year-old with fewer than 60 big-league at-bats entering the 2022 season. Outfield injuries have allowed him to play in over 100 games this season with mixed results. May was his best month as he hit .364/.426/.418 (.844) with three doubles and five runs. Since June, he has hit .214/.282/.284 (.565) while providing -0.51 WPA. His frustrations boiled over on the field as Rocco Baldelli benched him following a base running error and a long walk back to the dugout after a frustrating at-bat. 

What To Watch: How will Celestino bounce back after being benched? He is still young and can use his benching as motivation for the season’s remaining games. Celestino needs to show that his performance over the last three months isn’t indicative of the type of big leaguer he can be for the long term. 

Ryan Jeffers, C
2022 Recap: Minnesota showed trust in Jeffers taking over the team’s full-time catching duties this winter when the team traded Mitch Garver to the Rangers. Jeffers posted a 119 OPS+ during his rookie season, but he suffered sophomore struggles as his OPS+ dropped to 84 in 2021. In 60 games this season, Jeffers hit .214/.291/.375 (.666) with ten doubles and seven home runs. He has been sidelined since the middle of July with a broken thumb that required surgery. He has begun a rehab assignment with the Saints and has hit two home runs on his way back to the roster. 

What To Watch: Obviously, it hasn’t been an ideal season for Jeffers, but there are things to watch as he returns from injury. Minnesota needs to decide on a catching plan for 2023 and beyond. The Twins will likely use Jeffers as the primary catcher next season, but the backup catcher role still needs to be decided. Gary Sanchez is a free agent, so Minnesota needs to ensure how much Jeffers can be relied on moving forward. 

Luis Arraez, 1B/DH
2022 Recap: Arraez started his season with a bang as he hit .333/.403/.440 (.844) through the end of July. He was selected to his first All-Star Game and recorded a typical Arraez hit on the national stage. His second half hasn’t gone as well as the first. In 43 games since August 1st, Arraez has hit .276/.312/.385 (.697), falling out of first place in the AL batting title race. Plenty of hitters haven’t performed well for the Twins, but Arraez’s struggles have been more evident because of how well he played in the first half. 

What To Watch: Arraez might be one of the only players that can stop New York’s Aaron Judge from winning the Triple Crown. Over the last week, Arraez’s season batting average has dropped six points. He has fought through some injuries this season but has stayed on the field. Can he become the first Twin to win the batting title since Joe Mauer?

Which players will you keep an eye on as the season winds down? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 


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I would say our starting pitchers have the most to prove.  I like the article and I think Celestino will improve - we brought him up early and he is still at an age where he could be in the minors.  He will do well.  Jeffers is a puzzle, after his rookie year I expected more.  Catcher is going to be a difficult position to judge and he has to take it over and improve on the last two years.  Arraez has disappointed with his entire second half.  He was my favorite player, but he has fallen in my estimation - was it his early power hitting? Did he start swinging for the fences instead of hits?  

I have to admit I am not rooting for Arraez - I want Judge to get the triple crown - it would truly be historic!

To the pitchers - Varland, Winder, Ober, Sands, have to rise and take over in the rotation and the bullpen.  We need Moran to show he can stick.  

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Celestino was never much of a prospect, and isn't one now. He is where he is due to where he came from, a product a terrible trade, Ryan Pressley.  He's not where he is due to baseball skills.

As a side note, I believe him to be the worst baserunner I've seen in decades of watching MLB.

 

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I would have to disagree. Both Jeffers and Arraez have established themselves to be major league players that are important to the Twins going forward. Jeffers was headed towards a good 2nd half of the season before the broken thumb. He'll be just fine come 2023. Arraez has already proven he's one of the best hitters in the game. A second half slump of a .276 batting average is still respectable in todays game and still makes him one of, if not the best hitter on the team. As for Celestino, he's a good defensive player that should never be used as more than a 4th outfielder. With a broken Buxton every year the Twins need to find a better part-time center fielder to play when Buck is not. The FO has chosen to pay for a part-time Buck and need to adjust their "Plan" to account for it. 

Ober, Winder, Moran, and Larnach have the most to prove.

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2 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

 

I have to admit I am not rooting for Arraez - I want Judge to get the triple crown - it would truly be historic !

.

 arraez ,  though he is playing injured and that is easy to tell  , base running , hitting ,  he is grimacing when he swings , left hamstring and maybe knees too have led to his downfall but he is still out there playing and giving it all he's got while injured ... 

Arreaz still gave us plenty of exciting baseball before the allstar break  , also I have seen lots of players in the years that go to allstar game and then have poorer numbers in second half , why is that , pressure , injuries , homerun derby really messes up a hitters swing ...

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IF Jeffers defensive ability does not improve 200 percent , he does not belong on the Twins team.

Arraez is a mystery, some thing changed drastically, some good, home runs, mostly bad, big slump, few walks.

Next spring will be very interesting to see who is there, and who stays on the Major League team, I would love to see every one, and I mean every one, who is on the team now in spring training and then get weeded out.

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I don't think any of these 3 have anything to prove to us Twins. They have been around long enough, to know who they really are. I disagree with Chief that Celestino is a bad prospect. He has always shown us that he can play CF & has kept us in games where Buxton was absent. He has shown us that he can hit for the most part this year (young players have to readjust to pitchers). His over zealous base running isn't necessarily a bad thing, he just needs to mature into it.

Jeffers is who he is. I have never seen Jeffers as a primary catcher and don't think he can change my mind coming off the IL. My suggestion is going after Omar Narvaez in free agency. By most peoples' minds Sanchez is the worst starting catcher in MLB. Yes maybe his defense  dimensions has improved but his hitting took a dive.

Arraez has nothing to prove to us. To us he's the best contact player in the game. On the national level he still needs to prove this but unfortunately he has petered out. There isn't much more that I'd rather see than him doing this but under these circumstances, I don't think that'll happen.

The one that has the most to prove is Palacios. He has to prove to us that he can hit MLB pitching now so that he can sub Correa next year & be the INF utility player or even be the place holder for Lewis. Otherwise we need to go outside the organization.

Ober, Winder, Varland and Sands each proved that they can pitch here and in spring training is where they find their pecking order. I think that FO will have to decide how to use Pagan next year. How they use him now & his performance will dictate his destiny

 

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3 hours ago, RpR said:

IF Jeffers defensive ability does not improve 200 percent , he does not belong on the Twins team.

Arraez is a mystery, some thing changed drastically, some good, home runs, mostly bad, big slump, few walks.

Next spring will be very interesting to see who is there, and who stays on the Major League team, I would love to see every one, and I mean every one, who is on the team now in spring training and then get weeded out.

Almost 0% chance of that.  Sano...gone too expensive to get nothing in return.  Sanchez will probably get 10 million out of someone, guessing he will be gone too.  Correa, odd are he will be gone.  Bundy and Archer...next. Pagan...goner. Garlick and Cave will get minor league contracts at best.  And there most likely be a trade or two.  So no chance of everyone coming back the way teams turn over today.

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6 hours ago, USAFChief said:

As a side note, I believe him to be the worst baserunner I've seen in decades of watching MLB.

Since Carlos Gomez. I don't watch much minor league ball, except for the Saints, and way too many of the Twins' young players seem to be fraught with simple low-IQ baseball mistakes/ It was really hear Gladden mention it a few times on the radio. He was referring, mostly, to Celestino, but was not exclusive in his criticism.

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3 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

He has always shown us that he can play CF & has kept us in games where Buxton was absent. He has shown us that he can hit for the most part this year (young players have to readjust to pitchers). His over zealous base running isn't necessarily a bad thing, he just needs to mature into it.

We are talking about the same Celestino? The 23 soon to be 24 year old player with a .617 OPS correct? and Not a different actually young prospect that I didn't know about?

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