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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/23/2021 in Articles

  1. Let's begin with a brief anatomy and biomechanics lesson. The ulnar collateral ligament — more frequently referred to as the UCL — is a robust and triangular sheet of tissue that helps support the inner elbow against valgus stress. The elbow experiences the most valgus stress during a baseball game when the arm is driven forward at high rates of speed while throwing a ball. Damage to the UCL occurs when the torque produced as the arm is thrust forward — the technical term is internal rotation — is more significant than what the structure can compensate. Injury can occur chronically as well as acutely and is generally described as a sprain. The degree of damage is graded on a scale of 1-3. Grade 1 sprains are usually minor injuries that heal within a week or two. Grade 2 sprains — also referred to as partial tears — cause instability in the joint as some 50% of the ligament fibers have been damaged; the most frequently reported symptoms are pain and swelling. The recovery timeline for grade 2 sprains generally extends into months. Grade 3 sprains — or ruptures — result in significant instability and require Tommy John surgery to address. Grade 2 sprains are where the best route of treatment is murkiest. As the UCL is technically an extension of the joint capsule — a larger sheet of tissue that envelops a joint and provides stability and nourishment — it has a relatively good blood supply, meaning it is technically capable of healing on its own without surgery. (Side note: This is why ACL injuries require surgery in most instances. Although the ACL is inside the knee, it is technically separate from the joint capsule, and, thus, has almost no blood supply.) However, the UCL does not have the same blood supply throughout its structure. A recent study found evidence to suggest that the blood supply is best nearer where it connects to the upper arm bone — proximal — and decreases as the ligament extends to the forearm — distal. This finding may suggest that grade 2 sprains of the UCL that occur proximally are more likely to heal without surgery than those that are distal (or, read another way, Tommy John surgeries that treat proximal tears are more likely to be "successful" than their distal counterparts.) (Another side note: Interestingly, a study conducted in 2020 found data to suggest the opposite, though it should be noted that the study had a small sample size and was retrospective; both factors limit the findings' strength.) Rest and anti-inflammatory medication are most often the first two steps in treating a grade 2 UCL sprains followed by physical therapy to improve range of motion and increase the strength of the surrounding muscles. While the UCL provides static stability for the inner elbow (i.e., its fibers don't contract and act as a brace), the forearm musculature provides dynamic stability (i.e., its fibers do contract and pull the inner elbow together). Having strong forearm muscles is vital for protecting the healing UCL. Another treatment often reported after an athlete is diagnosed with a UCL sprain is platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The theory behind PRP is sound. The process involves drawing blood into a test tube, spinning it around rapidly in a centrifuge to separate the blood into plasma and red blood cells, sucking the plasma into a syringe, and injecting the plasma into the injured tissue. Plasma contains a variety of cells and other substances, one of which are platelets. Platelets help form the foundation on which new tissue grows and secret substances that help aid the healing process. Again, theoretically. The results surrounding PRP injections and return to play in baseball are … inconclusive, at best. Read one study, and you may come away believing that they work exceptionally well. Read another, and you may think they're just a bunch of hocus pocus. The fact of the matter is this: Despite being relatively well studied, there is little evidence, at this point, to suggest that PRP injections are the medical savior they were once considered to be. So, back to the original question. Why should Maeda and the Twins even pursue a second opinion? Well, the short answer is "Why not?" If the injury Maeda suffered is a UCL sprain, and if he ultimately undergoes surgery, he'll miss the entirety of the 2022 season anyway. Waiting another week or two to gather more information won't prevent him from playing next year. The longer answer is that the most appropriate course of treatment may or may not be surgery, depending on various factors, including grade, location, and, frankly, a specific doctor's training and treatment philosophy. Again, if Maeda is dealing with UCL damage and if it is partial and proximal, it may have a chance to heal on its own. Also, and this bears repeating, what's the harm in trying conservative rehabilitation and waiting on surgery? Best case scenario: Maeda can pitch again in relatively short order and definitely be next season. Worst case scenario: Maeda has to undergo surgery, which, again, would keep him out of 2022 anyway. At this stage, there is minimal downside for the Twins and Maeda in gathering as much information as possible. The team isn't going to the playoffs, he's under contract next year, and he's one of the more critical pitching pieces in the Twins' system. I'll pose the question again. Why should Maeda and the Twins seek a second opinion? Because it's the right thing to do.
    11 points
  2. The road has been long and windy for Drew Maggi. The Phoenix native was drafted out of Brophy College Prep by the hometown Diamondbacks in the 47th round of the 2008 draft. Two years later, he was the Pirates 15th round pick out of Arizona State. And that began his pro journey. Maggi spent five seasons with the Pirates organization. He reached Double-A in 2014. He posted a .606 OPS in 125 games for the Angels Double-A affiliate in Arkansas in 2015. In 2016, he went to the Dodgers organization and split the season between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. There, he was a teammate of Twins minor league director Alex Hassan. He remained in Oklahoma City in 2017. In 2018, he played for Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate in Columbus. Then in 2019, he signed a minor league deal with the Twins. He began that season with 11 games at Double-A Pensacola. He then played 108 games with Triple-A Rochester and hit .258/.384/.405 (.788) with 19 doubles, four triples and 10 homers. In 2020, he was invited to Twins big-league spring training. As we know, the season was delayed and the minor league season was cancelled, but Maggi was invited and worked out at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. This spring, he was again invited to big-league spring training. He has played in 86 games for the St. Paul Saints. He has hit .261/.364/.486 (.850) with 12 doubles, two triples and 16 home runs. On Saturday morning, he was officially called up to the Twins. Now I know many will ask why I get excited for feel-good stories like this? Many will ask why Maggi instead of top hitting prospect Jose Miranda. I understand that. I initially wondered the same thing, but that dissipated pretty quickly for me. I love feel-good stories. The Twins have done it in the past. All teams have, and I think it's great. Remember five years ago when the Twins called up James Beresford for September. It gave him a chance to make big-league money for a month, but it was also a Thank You from the organization that he called home for ten years. Maggi has only been in the Twins organization for three seasons, but he's been in the game a long time. He's a good player. He's displayed power. He has played wherever he's been asked. He can play all four infield spots and even has spent some time in the outfield. He may rarely play with the Twins. Or, he could come up and get a shot and have a great two-week stretch. Maggi will likely be DFAd at season's end, and that's fine, but forever, he will be able to call himself a big leaguer. From the Twins perspective they have called up several players that they had signed to minor league contracts this year. And, a story like this isn't going to get lost on minor league free agents this offseason, or next offseason. Jose Miranda is a part of the future. He's going to contribute to the Twins for years to come. Drew Maggi is probably playing the final two weeks of his professional career, or maybe he'll be thrilled to come back to the Twins next year because he knows that they have done right by him and others. In a bad season, a dark season, we do need to find the positives. We should be excited for the person, and we should hope for good from Drew Maggi. I know I am happy for him! As mentioned Rob Refsnyder was placed on the Injured List to make room for Maggi on the 28-man roster. Taylor Rogers was placed on the 60-Day IL to make room for Maggi on the 40-man roster.
    10 points
  3. As entities that predate recorded history, it’s very hard to get something by the Injury Gods. Yet that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday afternoon, as a wicked comebacker found Joe Ryan’s pitching hand without causing lasting damage. “Ryan’s a big part of their future plans so it seems like that’s an ideal place to really put the screws to the player and the Twins,” said a source close to Znon the Wrathful, the unspeakable beast responsible for tweaking Minnesota’s ulnar collateral ligaments. “I can’t explain it. Nor can They. The entire nether world is buzzing. To be clear, that’s mostly because of the bees we’re sending to swarm Byron Buxton next Wednesday, but it’s also the talk of the realm.” It initially appeared that the Gods had done as they always have to the bedeviled franchise, with Ryan immediately storming off the mound and heading to the showers. “Oh yeah, I thought for sure we tagged and bagged him,” said another source who works in Damnations and Accounts Receivable for Langurr The Plague King. “I should have known something wasn’t right when the ball didn’t deflect and hit Jorge Polanco in the eye. Classic double play and we didn’t even get the one? You don’t get surprised around this office too often, but that one put us back on our hooves.” The resulting X-rays were negative, with Ryan diagnosed as having a mere bruise. He might not even miss a start. The lack of traumatic injury is leaving more questions than answers among Those who exist to harm and maraud. “It’s a real stumper,” said a source familiar with Znon’s thinking. “His name is Znon the Wrathful. He just loves Himself some wrath. Lots of speculation that He’s going to make up for it by dropping a house on Ryan’s pinky toe or putting a black bear in his car. No one ever expects the black bear. Bears can’t drive!”
    9 points
  4. (For the record, I did not intend for this to be a pseudo-response to Nick Nelson’s article from the other day, but it worked out like that.) In all likelihood, Kenta Maeda’s Tommy John surgery has ended any chance he has of pitching to any significant degree in 2022. There remains an outside chance that he can return in nine months, but even that heavily optimistic prediction shortens his 2022 season. Because of this, the potential Twins starting rotation in 2022 as of this very moment will consist solely of players with little MLB playing time and John Gant. And John Gant is not a starter. You, yes, you, my good reader, have about as much playing time as any of these other guys. Sure, Bailey Ober has flashed some ability; but the names after him are either questionable or dreadful. It is an unsustainable rotation. The natural thought would be then to sign an entire stable of starters. Just line up pitchers and send them through in such rapid fashion that FDR’s 100 days would appear to have run at a snail’s pace. But this would not be a good idea. First, which teams have built a successful starting rotation on such short notice? Yes, the Giants have found success this season with this method, but they are the exceptions. Look down the list of the top rotations by fWAR. Almost every team has a foundation of starters who were either developed internally or acquired before this last off-season. Teams like the Giants are relatively rare in building a starting rotation; most great units require a more solid base. The Twins, by comparison, would have to sign four starters (or three and pray that someone fixed Randy Dobnak) and assume that Bailey Ober will be available for 160+ quality innings next season. Not a great plan. Secondly, let’s think big picture. What good would a patchwork rotation be in 2022? There remain significant questions regarding the stability of this current core of players. The central nucleus of names is getting older. Considering that this same group of players has struggled early in 2021, why should we believe the situation will suddenly be any better? Will Miguel Sanó abruptly learn plate discipline? Will Max Kepler’s BABIP finally go above .250? I think not. The moves made by the front office signal to me that they do not plan on seriously competing until 2023. They traded José Berríos, a starter under control for 2022, for prospects. Yes, it was also because the deal was great for them, but the main driver, I believe, was a fundamental belief that this team, as currently constructed, will come up short in any effort in 2022 without heavenly intervention. Why else would they also peddle core players like Byron Buxton and Kepler? One of the other main tenants in the belief of a 2022 surrender is the prospect situation. It isn’t the lack of quality of prospects; they have those. It’s when they should make their MLB debuts. According to MLB.com, nine of their top 10 prospects will likely debut this year or next year. According to Fangraphs, it is nine of 11. Neither of these lists includes Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach, who, while no longer prospects, will become long-term players in their own right who can (and will) replace current names. These soon-to-be-Twins reflect a conscious effort to have 2022 be a messy season in which the Twins can figure out which players will contribute in 2022 and beyond. Call up all the kids, see what they can do, then decide from there. There will be no competing next season. Now, while this should prevent the Twins from going all-in on starters, they should not utterly abstain from signing. They should target a younger long-term arm like Jon Gray, Eduardo Rodriguez, or even a more prominent name like Marcus Stroman. These players can bring an essential veteran presence while not presenting the same risks that an older (but probably better) pitcher like Zack Greinke or Justin Verlander will have. If the team wants to sign a player of that magnitude, it makes more sense to do so after 2022, when the genetic makeup of the team makes more sense. This line of thought does raise one more important question. If the team only signs one major starter, where does the rest of the money go? Their theoretical spending limit will be significant after this season. While I would love to give Mr. Pohlad a chance to purchase another absurd yacht or buy off a state senator or something, I don’t believe that money should go to waste. Perhaps the team could look towards signing one of the many All-Star shortstops available this off-season or decide to hand out an early extension to one of their numerous pre-arb players. I know that advocating for minimal movement on the rotation front while inking a high-caliber position player to a long-term deal seems like a strange idea, and it is. The key phrase is “long-term”; I’m thinking about building a better 2023 team, not a better 2022 team, and a burnt contract year is just the cost of investing. I get it, though. This team has not won a playoff game since the Bush administration, and it feels that it may be asking the world of some to hold off another season before diving headfirst back into the fray. No one wants to do that. This idea comes from the same desire that every other Twins fan possesses; we want this team to succeed. We want to finally shed the pressure that is years of unmatched playoff ineptitude. All I am asking is that the team realizes the poor situation that 2022 will likely be and instead decide to take a better-calculated shot at playoff success with a more solid foundation underneath them. What good will one more poorly constructed hopeful playoff run do? Plan for a better future.
    8 points
  5. When the Twins take on the Cubs on Wednesday night against the Cubs, we will be able to watch the major-league debut of Joe Ryan. Darren Wolfson reports that Ryan is being promoted tomorrow, with rosters expanding on September 1st, and the expectation is that he'll take the hill at Target Field in Kenta Maeda's place on Wednesday. It's been a pretty crazy travel schedule for the former Rays prospect the past two months. In late June, he headed to the Olympics in Tokyo. Upon his return to the States, he went to North Carolina to pack up and move to the Twin Cities. He has spent the past couple of weeks with the Saints, making starts at CHS Field, and in Toledo. He was in Columbus, Ohio, when he learned that he got The Call. And now he will be back in Minneapolis, excited for his debut. Scouting Report Joe Ryan is a fastball pitcher. He throws, literally, at least 70% fastballs. But it’s not because he has huge velocity; his fastball sits between 90 and 93 mph. Like another Twins pitcher, it has proved more effective than the radar gun readings. Bailey Ober sits 91-93 mph with his fastball, his length allows him to release the ball closer to home plate. In essence, he can make 91 look like 94 just because of that release point. Joe Ryan is only 6-2, but he still has some deception in his delivery. He throws from a lower release point. While the average pitcher’s release point is 5.9 feet, Ryan’s average release point is just 4.8 feet from the ground. Not one starting pitcher in the big leagues throws from that low. He also gets Ober-like extension in front of the mound. It’s something that he credits his water polo background with helping him. He told Verducci in a Sports Illustrated article: Here's a breakdown of Joe Ryan by Twins Daily's own Nash Walker: “"In water polo you learn how to skip the ball,” he says. “I spent 10 years trying to skip the ball in water polo, and it’s the same concept as throwing a fastball: Get the shoulder in position and then let the hand work and get it out front. Throwing a baseball feels the same way. You get that zip right at the end.” He has always had supreme confidence in his fastball, even though he doesn’t throw it real hard. He has a swagger. He believes that his movement and location will make it difficult for the hitter to square up. When he gets ahead, he - again like Ober - can get a lot of swings-and-missed up in or just above the strike zone. In fact, in his two starts with the Saints, he struck out 17 batters in just nine innings. In 2019, Ryan was pitching in High-A Charlotte. His pitching coach was Doc Watson. In a 2019 Baseball America article, he shared a story about facing then-Miracle outfielder Trevor Larnach, who was the Florida State League MVP that season: “Several guys kept saying ‘I’ve not seen a fastball like that in my career, “High Class A Charlotte pitching coach Doc Watson said. “Even when we were playing Fort Myers, (Trevor) Larnach, who’s their best hitter, in my opinion, he made a comment … he said ‘Doc, I’m gonna tell you what, that arm is electric. It comes through and you do not see the baseball until it’s on top of you.’ so I’ll take it from them and just say that it is an electric arm.”” But Ryan has also shown a solid slider. In his two starts since joining the Saints, he has been able to locate it at the knees and near the outside corner very consistently. It will obviously be an important second pitch for him to keep hitters off balance. Even within that, he throws a couple different sliders. Sometimes it acts like a cutter, and just moves enough to stay off a barrel. Other times, he’ll throw the slider with a bigger break. He will also throw a slower, more 12-to-6 curveball. Joe Ryan turned 25 years old in June, and he sits on the precipice of a lifelong dream and goal, the big leagues. It’s been a somewhat unusual path to get here, and to land with the Twins. Background Joe Ryan grew up in Northern California, miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. He led a unique early life. From a Tom Verducci article in Sports Illustrated, Ryan “grew up without travel ball, video games or cable while living an old-fashioned Tom Sawyer life in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods in Marin County, California” His father, Kurtis, was “an extreme athlete and runner.” The family didn’t have cable TV. He didn’t play video games until middle school. At age 8, he entered a 7.2 mile cross-country race with his dad. He and his dad went into the mountains to camp, fish and hunt. He played water polo competitively, even during the baseball season. He attended Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, California. As a senior, he went 12-1 with a 0.76 ERA. He was drafted in the 39th round by his hometown San Francisco Giants. Instead of signing, Ryan headed to Los Angeles to attend Cal State - Northridge. As a freshman, he pitched in 13 games (9 out of the bullpen) and posted a 1.48 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. As a sophomore, seven of his 11 appearances were starts. He went 1-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. As a junior in 2017, he posted a 12.79 ERA in just 6 1/3 innings due to lat injury. At the end of that season, he decided to transfer. If he had gone to another Division I school, he would have had to sit out a year. The Twins and other teams tried to sign him as a non-drafted free agent that summer. Instead, he headed back to northern California and went to Division II Cal State - Stanislaus. It proved to be a great decision for him. In 14 starts - and with health - Ryan went 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 98 1/3 innings. He had 127 strikeouts with just 13 walks. In June of 2018, the Tampa Bay Rays selected him with their seventh-round draft pick. Because he had received a medical redshirt that junior season, he had some leverage and signed for just shy of $150,000, about $60,000 under slot value. He spent that summer in the New York-Penn League, but in 2019 he raced through three levels of the minors, making it to AA. He also led the entire minor leagues in strikeouts (183) in just 123 2/3 innings, while walking only 27 batters. He didn’t pitch officially in 2020 due to the pandemic, but he did work out at the Rays alternate site and continued to progress under the Rays’ strong pitcher development program. He began the 2021 season at Triple-A Durham. He pitched in 12 games (11 starts) and went 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA. In 57 innings, he walked just ten and struck out 75 batters. He then was named to the Team USA Olympic team and had a fantastic run. He started the team’s first game in the tournament. He then was the starting pitcher against Korea in the semi-finals, a win that put USA into the Gold Medal game. The team won the silver medal, but Ryan really impressed. While in Japan, he learned that he had been traded (along with RHP Drew Strotman) and has made two starts for the St. Paul Saints. In the first start, he struck out the first six batters he faced and nine batters over four innings of work. In his second start, last Thursday, he struck out nine batters in five innings. In his two starts, he only gave up five hits and two runs over nine innings, to go with seventeen strikeouts. Turns out that was enough to prove to the Twins brass that it was time to call him up. On Wednesday, Joe Ryan will make his long-anticipated Twins debut (long-awaited in this case being since the July 31st trade) at Target Field against the Chicago Cubs. It's always fun to watch an MLB debut, but Twins fans should be excited about seeing Ryan for the season's final month.
    8 points
  6. Below I will outline a plausible path to a good Twins rotation in 2022. Not an elite rotation – that's probably a bridge too far at this point – but a good one with five solid-or-better starters, capable of competing for a postseason spot and maybe more. There is inherently some optimistic thinking involved here, but I don't think any of these scenarios are out of question. 1. Bailey Ober proves to be the real deal Among starting pitchers currently controlled by the Twins, Ober is the only stable fixture looking ahead to 2022. But he's establishing himself as a pretty viable building block. How did the big right-hander go from relative unknown to indispensable rotation cornerstone in one year's time? By adding 3-4 MPH to his fastball and shedding his label as a "soft-tosser." A few extra ticks of velocity have made a world of difference for the rookie, who is now sneaking heaters past MLB hitters and playing up his lesser offspeed stuff. Toss in excellent command, and you've got a good recipe for success. As we've seen. Ober's overall numbers with the Twins this year are good – 3.98 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 77-to-17 K/BB ratio in 74 ⅔ innings – but even better when you break them down to parse out his progression. His K/BB ratio in the latter sample is legitimately elite (only two qualified MLB starters are averaging more than six strikeouts per walk, and they are Cy Young candidates Corbin Burnes and Gerrit Cole). When you're missing bats, limiting walks, and keeping the hits in check, you're in line for good outcomes. Ober has shown the ability to do all these things, and he's only getting better at each of them. Home runs will be something to monitor, and could sidetrack him if they re-emerge as a weakness, but at this point there's no reason to think a healthy Ober won't be at least a quality #3 or 4 starter in 2022. 2. Twins sign a #2/3 starter in free agency No, they're not going to sign Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer. Probably not Noah Syndergaard either. Even someone like Marcus Stroman or Justin Verlander may be a tad too ambitious. But with ample flexibility (should they choose to keep payroll steady or raise it slightly), there are several names in the next tier that should be within range, and it's not that hard to see one of them settling in as a mid-rotation caliber starter or better. Names in this category include Corey Kluber, Charlie Morton, Alex Cobb, Andrew Heaney, and others. 3. Acquire a #2/3 starter via trade Last year, the Twins acquired Maeda and watched him blossom into a Cy Young caliber performer. This year, their division rivals have done the same with Lance Lynn. We don't need to set our sights that high, though it'd be nice. Jameson Taillon is a less idealistic example. He wasn't a star for Pittsburgh, and the Yankees didn't have to part with top-tier prospect talent to acquire him. But he has served as a very solid mid-rotation arm for New York, at a low price and with multiple years of control remaining. The Twins didn't trade away any of their system's depth last winter, and have only added to it this year by selling at the deadline. Additionally, they have a few semi-redundant pieces at the major-league level that could have value to other clubs (Max Kepler, Mitch Garver ... Luis Arraez?) The front office will have assets to deal for pitching if they are so inclined. 4. Re-sign Michael Pineda The door definitely seems wide open for a reunion, as each side has openly expressed affinity for the other, and with Pineda's challenges this year, he should be pretty affordable – maybe $4-5 million. Given those challenges, I'm sure most Twins fans aren't enthused about the idea of bringing back Pineda. But let's look at the big picture here: the 32-year-old has posted a 3.98 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 8.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 during his time with the Twins. That includes his recent struggles, which can likely be attributed somewhat to health. In his first 36 starts with Minnesota, the team went 24-12. His circumstances, and a theoretical desire to return here, could enable the Twins to score Pineda at the cost of a back-end starter, while hoping an offseason of rest and strengthening returns him to his previous state or close to it. 5. Get Randy Dobnak back on track As with Pineda, it's easy to get caught up in Dobnak's recent struggles while losing sight of his previous success. In fact, it's a lot easier, because Dobnak does not have nearly the track record of Pineda. But through the first 14 outings of his MLB career, the Dobber was simply phenomenal, posting a 1.69 ERA with four home runs allowed over 58 ⅔ innings. This after a tremendous minor-league career that saw him perform well at every level. Dobnak's effectiveness was no accident – the bottom simply fell out on his pitches, making them excruciatingly difficult to lift, and he consistently threw them in the zone. Things went south late in the 2020 season, but Dobnak rebounded with a dominant spring that compelled the Twins to invest with a modest long-term contract. And then the bottom fell out on Dobnak. We all know this season has been a complete and total disaster for the right-hander, but it's unclear to what it extent that owes to injury issues. When you're a slider-reliant sinkerballer who goes from allowing four homers in your first two seasons to allowing 11 in your third, before going on IL for multiple months with a strain in the middle finger that is so crucial in creating that sink ... Well, it points to a natural explanation. There's no guarantee that time off will correct this issue, but we'll at least start to get an idea when Dobnak returns to the rotation on Friday. Regardless of how things go for the rest of this season, he'll most likely get a crack at the 2022 rotation given that he's under guaranteed contract. If he gets back on track and is anywhere close to the version we saw early on in his big-league career, well that's a hell of a good fifth starter. 6. The minors provide depth and jolts Above, we've accounted for all five season-opening rotation spots. And we haven't yet tapped into the impressive minor-league pipeline this front office has built up. Between Joe Ryan, Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Simeon Woods-Richardson, Matt Canterino and Josh Winder, you have a bevy of high-upside arms that are all verging on MLB-ready, if not already there. Granted, it's tough to depend on any of these prospects short-term, given that none have yet appeared in the majors (save Ryan, who debuted impressively on Wednesday) and the group is riddled with significant injury concerns. But that's why I'm not penciling them into any of the top five spots. We can account for those otherwise and keep these exciting arms in reserve, while knowing that just about any one of them has the potential to be a game-changing force for the Twins pitching staff if things break right. Look, I get that it's hard to envision multiple positive scenarios playing out in this fashion, especially with the way faith has been understandably eroded in the this front office over the past year. But one thing I find myself frequently reminding others – and myself – is that things change fast in this game. In 2016 and 2018, nobody was foreseeing good things on the near horizon. The Twins made some mistakes last offseason, but have also been the victims of absolutely horrible luck. This front office and coaching staff have proven their mettle in the past. If they can learn from those mistakes and the pendulum of fortune swings in the other direction, it's not all that difficult to envision a pitching staff capable of supporting what could be a very strong offense to push Minnesota back into contender status. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    7 points
  7. The team has not yet announced that Duran will miss the rest of 2021, but, given the nature of elbow strains, I find it difficult to see him returning to the mound in any meaningful way. There's just no decent reason to push him. Now, 2022 will be about rebuilding (essentially) two years of missed time while juggling playing time at both the AAA and major league levels. That sounds like quite a challenge. Fortunately, there is another player that the Twins can mimic in how they build Duran back up. Unfortunately, that player is on a rival squad. Michael Kopech; you probably know him. The White Sox brought him over with Yoán Moncada when they traded scissors-enthusiast Chris Sale to Boston as a kick-start to their rebuild. Kopech debuted in 2018 with mild success-barely any walks, but a ton of homers-and emerged as something of a budding ace. The following two years were less kind. Kopech missed all of 2019 with Tommy John surgery, and then he opted out of the 2020 season for 'personal reasons'. Kopech was still more-or-less as talented as when he debuted, but he faced an uphill climb in 2021 to build back the stamina needed to be a successful starter. What has been the plan? Use him as a reliever, of course. Kopech has started just three games against 27 relief appearances as of August 23rd. Oddly enough, Chicago immediately threw Kopech into the heat of battle-eight of his first ten appearances lasted longer than one inning-before reining him in afterward. Since May 18th, he has thrown multiple innings just three times, with none of those outings lasting longer than two innings. Perhaps part of that is caution. MLB teams are notorious for treating young pitchers like buried treasure, but I think there's a somewhat different philosophy at play here. Yes, the White Sox want to be careful with Kopech, but they want to get him cheap playing time. Relief pitchers are much easier to command because the manager can control the situations they find themselves in. Do you want to avoid using a guy in a high-leverage context? Then don't. Do you want to get him multiple innings? Go right ahead. The reliever moniker allows the team to be flexible in a way that starters cannot be. I believe that the Twins should follow suit with Duran. His lack of innings perfectly mirrors the situation Kopech was in, and the 2021 season has been fantastic for Chicago's righty (I wrote this sentence before he gave up five earned runs in one inning, whoops.) The team should use Duran as a sort of swingman or as a piggybacker at the major league level as soon as they can. Forcing Duran to burn time at AAA in a vain effort to build back his stamina will only cause the team to avoid utilizing one of their most exciting pitching prospects. "But Matt," you say, "why not just keep him as a starter in AAA? Why force him into the bullpen? What difference does it make?" These are fair questions. The Twins will strongly limit Duran in 2022. My guess is 80 innings-it could be more but likely not by much. Why, then, should Duran waste innings at AAA when he could instead get accustomed to major league talent while also building back his innings? The team will not be competitive in 2022, so Duran taking his occasional licks will hurt no one. Keep in mind that Duran will be 24 when the 2022 season begins, and if they keep him as a starter that season, he likely will not be up in any significant fashion until 2023, when he's 25. That's far from old, but he's getting to the point where his prospect status needs to become actual tangible major league ability. The Twins should be looking solely to prep Duran for 2023, and I see a spot in the major league bullpen as a better alternative than more time at AAA.
    7 points
  8. TRANSACTIONS Wichita Wind Surge activated RHP Adam Lau from the temporarily inactive list. Cedar Rapids Kernels activated RHP Ryan Shreve from the 7-day injured list. Cedar Rapids Kernels placed RHP Steven Cruz on the 7-day injured list. RHPs Travis Adams and Johnathan Lavallee, both 2021 draft picks, were assigned to the FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINAL St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 0 Box Score Jose Miranda had another big game for the Saints, but when a team tosses a two-hit shutout, we'll lead with that. Veteran Derek Law could have become a free agent when the Twins DFAd him for a second time this season recently. Instead, he accepted his assignment to the Saints and has been extended. In his career, he had pitched in 231 minor league games, all out of the bullpen. On this night, he made the start and worked a career-high four innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out six batters. Chandler Shepherd came on, and despite walking three batters and giving up a hit, he did not allow a run. Vinny Nittoli tossed two scoreless before Robinson Leyer completed the shutout with a perfect ninth inning. Back to Miranda because, let's be honest, that's what we're all here for. Miranda went 3-for-5 with his 19th Saints double, and his 15th Saints home run (28th overall). He drove in four of the team's runs. Jimmy Kerrigan was also 3-for-5 on the night. BJ Boyd drove in two runs with a double. Mark Contreras his his 25th double of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 3, Arkansas 2 Box Score Chris Vallimont has had his ups and downs this season, but on Thursday night, he was on the mound with the opportunity to put the Wind Surge in the playoffs. He put together a very solid start. He started with five scoreless innings before allowing a solo homer to Jack Larsen in the top of the sixth inning. Overall, he gave up just the one run in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up just two hits, walked four and struck out four batters. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Ernie de la Trinidad gave the Wind Surge a 2-1 lead with a two-run single. Later in the inning, the Arkansas catcher tried to pick off Andrew Bechtold at third base, but he threw it away allowing Bechtold to score and put Wichita ahead by a score of 3-1. Erik Manoah got the final out of the sixth inning and then worked two more scoreless frames. He struck out four and walked none. Adam Lau came off the IL earlier in the day got the ninth inning. He got the first two outs, on a fly out and a strikeout. However, he walked the next batter. That brought up pinch hitter Joe Rizzo representing the game-tying run. Rizzo drove in a run to cut the lead to 3-2 with a bloop single to center. However, the next batter - another pinch hitter - popped out to center fielder Austin Martin to end the game and place the Wind Surge in the playoffs. Trey Cabbage and Jermaine Palacios each went 2-for-4 in the game. Palacios hit his 17th double. Stevie Berman not only caught a great game, but he went 2-for-3 at the plate with his sixth double. Congratulations to the Wichita Wind Surge on making the playoffs in their first season as a Twins affiliate! KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 1 Box Score Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for second place in the High-A Central League. They were one game ahead of Great Lakes. Just one of those teams will make the playoffs. The game was pretty quiet early. Through the sixth inning, the Kernels found themselves down by a score of 3-1. However, Edouard Julien came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a bases-clearing double to give Cedar Rapids a 4-3 lead. Aaron Sabato then drove in Julien with a sacrifice fly to give the Kernels a 5-3 lead. It was a lead that the Kernels bullpen was able to hold. It was an important win as both Lake County and Great Lakes won their games on Thursday as well. Each team has three games remaining on their schedules. Sean Mooney got the start for the Kernels. He worked the first five innings and did not give up a hit. He was charged with one run on two walks and a hit batter. He struck out seven hitters. Lefty Denny Bentley came in to start the sixth inning. He recorded just one out and was charged with two runs on four hits. Osiris German came on and gave up just one hit over 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Zach Featherstone recorded the final out of the eighth inning before striking out the side in the ninth inning for the Save. All four outs he recorded came on strikeouts. Matt Wallner went 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in the team's first run with a single in the fourth inning. Jair Camargo was also 2-for-3 with a walk. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers, Tampa (Suspended in 1st inning) Box Score Rains have won the day most of the time in recent weeks down in Florida. On Thursday, night, right-hander Jackson Hicks made his Mussels debut, but after just seven pitches and a single to the one batter he faced, the game was suspended. It will be continued on Friday. Unfortunately, the second game of Thursday's doubleheader has simply been cancelled. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday night. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Rays 6, FCL Twins 4 Box Score Two extra-base hits from Endy Rodriguez wasn't enough to propel the FCL Twins to a win on Thursday afternoon in the Sunshine State. Rodriguez tallied two hits and two runs in the loss. The first of those hits came in the third inning when Rodriguez launched a triple to right field. He scored on the next at-bat thanks to a single from Noah Miller. After walking in the seventh, Rodriguez scored on a groundout fielder's choice from Kal'ai Rosario, who had a double on the day. Rodriguez also doubled with two outs in the ninth inning but did not score. Twins starter Travis Adams went 1 1/3 innings in his professional debut. He gave up three runs on two hits while walking two and striking out three batters. Jordan Carr came on and was charged with an unearned run in 1 2/3 innings. Johnathan Lavallee came on for his pro debut. He worked two innings. He gave up one run on two hits over two innings. He struck out three batters with no walks. Erasmo Moreno carried the bulk of the Twins bullpen, tossing four innings of one-run, two hit ball while striking out four hitters. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Derek Law (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, BB #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-5, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-3, BB, RBI, K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-4, BB, K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - No Game (Paternity List) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4 FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Jason Garcia (0-0, 14.40 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (3-2, 2.63 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (First Kernels Start, 4-2, 3.02 ERA in Ft. Myers) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (6:00 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games!
    5 points
  9. Caleb Thielbar thought his days as a baseball pitcher were over. Following the 2019 minor league season, he accepted a coaching job at Augustana University in Sioux Falls as he finished up pitching for Team USA in the 2019 Premier12. Baseball had a different plan for him. Multiple teams invited him to spring training in 2020, including the Minnesota Twins. He decided to give pitching one more chance, and the decision has paid off. Before the 2020 season, Thielbar hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2015, but this was a much different pitcher taking the mound. He cut his pitch selection down from five in 2015 to three for his big-league return. Gone were his sinker and changeup while he focused more on his fastball, slider, and curveball. After being called up in 2020, Thielbar made 17 appearances (20 innings) with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP with a 22-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Opponents didn’t get a hit against his curveball in over 90 pitches. Against his fastball, he limited batters a .213 batting average and a .234 slugging percentage. It was a small sample size, but he seemed to be trending in the right direction. Thielbar changed his approach again for the 2021 season, and he has continued to evolve in the season’s second half. His fastball usage has dropped by four percent this year, but the change in his breaking pitches is even more drastic. He’s more than doubled his slider usage from 16.4% in 2020 to nearly 35% in 2021. His curveball usage has dropped by over 10%. Thielbar’s fastball is averaging 91 mph for the season, but he seems to have found another level over the last couple of months. During August, he held batters to a .167 batting average and a .292 slugging percentage when facing his fastball. His slider also caused some difficulties for batters as they went 2-for-15 (.133 BA) against the pitch for the entire month. But August wasn’t his only strong month in the second half. In 19 second-half appearances, Thielbar has a 2.66 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP while posting a 23-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Batters are hitting .197/.275/.394 (.669) against him since the All-Star break. Rocco Baldelli has also shown confidence in using him at various times during games, with the bulk of his innings coming in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. He’s moved from college coach to effective set-up man in less than two years. Thielbar will turn 35-years-old in January, and relief pitching can be fickle. It certainly seems like something has changed with Thielbar this season, but there’s no telling what the future might hold. The Twins need to rebuild their bullpen for 2022, and Minnesota will undoubtedly want to keep Thielbar from focusing too much on his college coaching career. What are your thoughts on Thielbar so far this season? What changes have you noticed? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    5 points
  10. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/23 thru Sun, 8/29 *** Record Last Week: 3-3 (Overall: 57-73) Run Differential Last Week: -9 (Overall: -99) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (18.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 125 | BOS 11, MIN 9: Jax Runs into a Buzzsaw in Boston Game 126 | MIN 9, BOS 6: Twins Explode in 10th for Wild Finish Game 127 | BOS 12, MIN 2: Bats Can't Salvage Another Pitching Implosion Game 128 | MIN 2, MIL 0: Albers and Bullpen Combine on Shutout Game 129 | MIN 6, MIL 4: Twins Fend Off Threats from Brewers, Rain Game 130 | MIL 6, MIN 2: Jax Struggles Again, Offense Goes Quietly NEWS & NOTES The last man standing from the Opening Day rotation is now gone, along with any semblance of stability the Twins may have leaned on when looking ahead to their starting pitching situation in 2022. Kenta Maeda is slated for elbow surgery on Wednesday, and it sounds like Tommy John is the plan. Barring an unforeseen change of course during the procedure, Maeda is looking at a surgery and rehab that will cost him most or all of his 2022 season. He was the only veteran starter under control for next year, meaning the Twins will be essentially starting from scratch in building their rotation. On the brighter side, Byron Buxton was finally activated from the Injured List, having played just three games since May 6th due to a hip strain and broken hand. He returned to the lineup on Friday and started all three games against Milwaukee over the weekend. Buck hasn't quite found his stroke yet – he went 0-for-11 with five strikeouts in the series – but it sure is nice to have him back. Other updates from the past seven days: To make room for Buxton on the active roster, Mitch Garver was placed on IL due to lower back tightness. A few days later the Twins reinfused some catching depth to account for Garver's absence, recalling Ben Rortvedt from Triple-A and optioning Charlie Barnes. Randy Dobnak advanced to Triple-A in his rehab assignment, starting for the Saints on Thursday and allowing one run over 4 ⅔ innings while progressing to 78 pitches. There's a decent chance he returns to the Twins to take Maeda's vacant turn this week. More churn in the bullpen: Righties Kyle Barraclough and Edgar García were sent to Triple-A, with Jorge Alcala and Ian Gibaut stepping in to replace them. To make room for Gibaut on the 40-man, Luke Farrell was shifted to the 60-day IL, though it doesn't seem he'll be there long as he recently started a rehab assignment with St. Paul. Derek Law also fired up a rehab cent stint with the Saints this past week. HIGHLIGHTS The biggest highlight of the past week came at Fenway Park, where Miguel Sanó launched an instantly legendary blast that cleared the stadium and measured as the longest home run by a major-league hitter this season at 495 feet. It was the most memorable moment in another strong week for the slugger, who drove in eight runs in six games. Since the start of June he's slashing .254/.328/.504 with 14 homers and 16 doubles in 66 games, and critically, he has cut his strikeout rate down to the 30% range from the 40% range where he'd mostly sat since the beginning of 2020. In fact, here in August, he's fanned in only 28 of 98 plate appearances (28.7%). That's closer to the league average than where Sanó resided in during his prolonged run of struggles. It really does seem like Sanó is sacrificing the pull-power fixation for a bit more contact and balance at the plate, making him look like the more complete hitter we saw earlier in his career. This is a promising development for 2022 and a much-needed one given all the setbacks. Also in the category of much-needed positives for 2022: Bailey Ober's splendid outing on Wednesday in Boston, where he spun five shutout innings with seven strikeouts. Pitching in a tough ballpark against a very good lineup that otherwise crushed Twins pitching, Ober continued to excel by peppering the upper regions of the zone with fastballs, then going low with the offspeed. It's a formula that works well with his combination of command and physical extension. Ober has a 2.35 ERA over his past six starts, and overall, his 4.24 K/BB ratio on the season ranks second among Twins starters, trailing only Michael Pineda. When you're beating out José Berríos and Maeda in that category as a rookie, that's a pretty good sign. At this point, so long as he can stay the course for the rest of the season and maintain his health, Ober is all but assured of a spot in the 2022 rotation. That might be the only thing we can say with confidence about that unit's outlook at the moment. Some other noteworthy performances from the past week: Josh Donaldson's bat had been stagnating a bit – he was slashing .216/.273/.294 in August entering the week, with a .731 OPS dating back to the start of July – but saw a major revitalization against the Red Sox and Brewers. Starting all six games, Donaldson went 9-for-21 with three homers and six RBIs. He also made his first start at third base in two weeks on Saturday – seemingly a good sign for his balky hamstring. Jorge Polanco just continues to do his thing. He finished the week 6-for-21 with two home runs and two doubles while driving in five. When Polanco is keying a lineup that has Sanó, Donaldson, and others clicking, this is a pretty good offense, as we saw in Boston when the Twins put up nine runs in successive games. I'll be curious to see what they can do in the final month with Buxton back. LOWLIGHTS In lineups that feature all the names above, it was a little odd to see Rob Refsnyder drawing multiple starts as the No. 3 hitter last week. I mean I guess it doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things but ... why? Refsnyder's surprisingly hot start at the plate as a Twin is now a distant memory; he went 2-for-13 with five strikeouts last week and is slashing .188/.278/.208 in August, with three GIDP and one double. I think I get it. The Twins are trying to elevate possible 2022 role players into heightened roles so they can get more extensive looks (and maybe a small confidence boost) here in the waning weeks of a lost season. But Refsnyder is one of many in this situation who have failed to seize the momentum of a solid stretch and grasp an opportunity. Joining him in this category: Brent Rooker has managed two singles in nine games since his big weekend against the Rays earlier this month, and went 0-for-10 this past week. The endless march of strikeouts simply isn't going to cut it, although he's been drawing a bunch of walks lately which is intriguing. Claimed off waivers in early August, García showed promise during his first string of outings in a Twins uniform, but things quickly devolved, and on Wednesday in Boston, the bottom fell out. Over 1 ⅔ innings, the righty was clobbered for seven earned runs on four hits, three walks, and two homers. He threw just 23 of 48 pitches for strikes, inducing a mere two swings and misses. It was one of the worst relief outings of the year for a really bad bullpen, and the kind of performance that can singularly torpedo your belief in a marginal arm. With Buxton returning, the window might have already closed on Nick Gordon to showcase himself, and he didn't make a strong closing statement. Gordon went 2-for-12 with six strikeouts in the Boston series, and is slashing .185/.267/.259 in nine games since returning from Triple-A. I foresee an offseason DFA. Even amidst all this misfortune, no player's struggles were as deflating as those of Griffin Jax, who saw his impressive run in the Twins rotation come to a screeching halt. Against Boston on Monday, the rookie was absolutely pulverized, coughing up nine earned runs over 4 ⅔ innings. Jax didn't fare much better in his following turn on Sunday, with the Brewers running up six earned runs in five frames against him. His total line for the week: 2 GS, 9.2 IP, 15 ER, 13 H, 8 BB, 9 K, 5 HR This comes on the heels of a stretch in which he allowed only eight earned runs TOTAL over 26 ⅓ innings in five starts. It's not that Jax's latest starts were devoid of encouraging signs – he's seen a nice increase in fastball velocity, and there was some skillful execution mixed into the struggles – but there are also fatal flaws showing through. Chiefly: an inability to escape from his susceptibility to the long ball, which ties more broadly to the frequency of loud contact. Statcast data shows that – even with his successful results mixed in over the previous stretch – opposing hitters are squaring up Jax far too often. There are a number of factors playing into this – among them, the lack of a quality third pitch and the tendency for his slider to flatten out. It adds up to a player who might be better suited for the bullpen, which isn't ideal for a Twins team that will be desperately trying to compile capable starters for next year. TRENDING STORYLINE Forget next year; the Twins are getting pretty desperate for starters now. There are still 32 games left to get through this season. That's a lot of innings to cover for a team with zero veteran starting pitching depth remaining. Ober's workload needs to be managed carefully. Jax probably can keep taking the mound every fifth day, but if things continue to trend as they did this week, you have to ask yourself when it becomes counterproductive for his development. (Then again, he turns 27 in November, so maybe they're not too concerned with that.) Trotting out blow-up candidates like Barnes and John Gant runs the risk of running an already overburdened bullpen ragged – not to mention threatening the "respectability" that the front office has spoken of wishing to maintain. Unfortunately, the Twins just don't have many other alternatives. But, they do have one pretty good option, who happens to line up pretty nicely for a possible Twins debut in the coming week. Joe Ryan, headliner of last month's Nelson Cruz trade, made his second start for the Saints on Wednesday and – much like in the first – he was overwhelmingly dominant. The right-hander struck out eight of the 17 batters he faced en route to four innings of one-run ball. Through two starts in the new organization, he now has a 2.00 ERA and 17-to-2 K/BB ratio in nine innings. While it's fun to see former fringe prospects like Ober and Jax rise above expectations and establish themselves as potential contributors, Ryan would bring a different type of excitement to the table. We've seen a lot of rookies pitch for the Twins this year, but not many with the pedigree of Ryan, who featured as the organization's seventh-best prospect in TD's latest updated rankings. His status as a top prize from the recent deadline would make him an even more compelling figure to follow. Twins fans could really use a morale booster like that. Granted, he probably can't be counted on for much length – Ryan hasn't exceeded 83 pitches or 5 ⅓ innings in a minor-league start all year – but I'm not sure that's a luxury the Twins can expect from anyone in their current starting stable anyway. LOOKING AHEAD On Monday, the Twins travel to Detroit in the middle of their homestand for to play one makeup game against the Tigers, which I'm sure they're thrilled about. They'll return to Target Field on Tuesday for a short series against the Cubs, then head to Tampa to take on Cruz and the Rays. The TBDs for Minnesota in Wednesday's and Friday's probables loom large. Dobnak and Ryan seem like front-runners to take those turns, although Barnes – currently in the minors – could also theoretically be in play. MONDAY, 8/30: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Bailey Ober v. RHP Casey Mize TUESDAY, 8/31: CUBS @ TWINS – RHP Zach Davies v. RHP John Gant WEDNESDAY, 9/1: CUBS @ TWINS – LHP Justin Steele v. TBD FRIDAY, 9/3: TWINS @ RAYS – TBD v. RHP Michael Wacha SATURDAY, 9/4: TWINS @ RAYS – RHP Griffin Jax v. RHP Drew Rasmussen SUNDAY, 9/5: TWINS @ RAYS – RHP Bailey Ober v. RHP Luis Patino MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    5 points
  11. Gipson-Long stands at a robust and athletic 6-foot-4-inches tall with long arms and legs. His windup is smooth, athletic, and repeatable, and he utilizes a three-quarter arm slot for all three of his pitches. Gipson-Long's pitch mix consists primarily of a fastball and slider, though he does throw in an occasional changeup as well. What makes the former Mercer Bear stand out from most of his fellow pitching prospects is his overall command and control. To put it bluntly, the kid doesn't throw balls. In his 102 1/3 total innings in the minors, Gipson-Long has walked a total of 24 batters, has hit only two, and has issued a mere six wild pitches. However, Gipson-Long's impressiveness doesn't stop there. He's also struck out 144 and has never posted a FIP above 3.34, despite owning ERAs of 5.40 and 4.54 at rookie ball and Low-A. Since being called up to High-A Cedar Rapids on August 9, Gipson-Long has struck out 26 batters, walked two, and glided to a 1.86 FIP. In short, Gipson-Long has been one of the more dominant pitchers in the Twins system since 2019. And, yet, you won't find his name on any top prospect list, not even Twins Daily's. While being able to watch Gipson-Long's starts has been difficult due to Low-A Ft. Myers not broadcasting their games, leaving his name outside of the Twins' top 30 prospects has been a grand oversight, in my opinion. His fastball has pop and plays well up in the zone. His slider is a solid strikeout pitch that often leaves opposing batters flailing. And he's shown some signs of having a decent changeup. It would not surprise me if Gipson-Long quickly rises through the Twins system and begins making appearances on the top prospect lists in the not-so-distant future. What he is doing is truly not that different from, say, Louie Varland, and, frankly, Gipson-Long's stuff may be better, particularly when considering his command. There is no such thing as a sure-thing baseball prospect, especially concerning pitchers. However, what Gipson-Long has done this season should not be ignored. He's been great and should be considered among the likes of Varland, Drew Strotman, and Chris Vallimont as good, under-the-radar pitching prospects. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    5 points
  12. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/6 thru Sun, 9/12 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 63-80) Run Differential Last Week: +9 (Overall: -102) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (19.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 137 | MIN 5, CLE 2: Ober and Pineda Piggyback, Polanco Rakes Game 138 | MIN 3, CLE 0: Gant Combines with 4 Relievers in Shutout Game 139 | MIN 3, CLE 0: Ryan Flirts with Perfection, Dominates Cleveland Game 140 | CLE 4, MIN 1: Quantrill Keeps Twins Bats Quiet Game 141 | KC 6, MIN 4: Offense Goes Silent After Explosive First Inning Game 142 | MIN 9, KC 2: Twins Drill 5 Homers, Coast to Easy Win Game 143 | KC 5, MIN 3: Royals Rally Late, Take Series NEWS & NOTES If you had to put your finger on just what's gone wrong with the Twins' pitching staff this year, one culprit would be ... well, fingers. Taylor Rogers has officially been shut down for the season with a middle finger sprain that he suffered in late July. While he'll have a full offseason to heal, the nature of this injury for a slider-reliant pitcher turns the team's top reliever (and one of their top trade candidates) into a major question mark. It's hard to fully trust he'll be the same guy when he returns. The same is more or less true for Randy Dobnak, who went back on the IL ahead of his planned Wednesday start with renewed soreness in his own middle finger, which previously sidelined him for more than two months. Dobnak, unlike Rogers, was struggling pretty consistently before getting hurt so there's even less assurance with him going forward. With Dobnak going down again, Andrew Albers was recalled to start on short notice. He did okay, all things considered, but was returned to St. Paul a couple days later when the Twins promoted (at long last) relief pitcher Jovani Moran. The lefty Moran has been a dominant force this year in the minors, piling up whiffs and strikeouts with help from a standout changeup that makes him even highly effective against righties. Moran made his debut on Monday and looked good, notching a pair of strikeouts over 1 ⅓ innings, though his control started to slip a bit in the latter part of the 37-pitch outing. HIGHLIGHTS Joe Ryan stole the show with a dazzling performance at Cleveland in his second major-league start, carrying a perfect game through six and ultimately allowing just one hit over seven shutout innings. His Game Score of 79 was the second-best for a Twins starter all season, trailing only José Berríos' spectacular first start of the year in Milwaukee. The young right-hander showed pretty much everything you'd want to see in his gem. He worked efficiently, needing only 85 pitches to get through seven frames while throwing 71% strikes. He notched only four strikeouts in this one, but induced plenty of weak contact. And while his fastball was good as advertised, Ryan continued to demonstrate he's no one-trick pony, mixing in some very nice low sliders as well. Ryan was the star in another strong week for the rotation, which got another member back via the return of Michael Pineda. Needing to build up after skipping a rehab stint, Big Mike appeared in relief of Bailey Ober on Monday, tossing three scoreless innings. He followed up with five innings of one-run ball against Kansas City on Saturday night. This isn't the dominant version of Pineda we've seen in the past, but he's still plenty effective and the velocity appears to have rebounded. His fastball averaged 91.6 MPH on Saturday, which is his highest mark since early June. Personally, I believe that Pineda makes a lot of sense to bring back on a low-cost deal for the back of the rotation, although not everyone agrees. Ober, for his part, kept chugging along with a couple more strong performances – albeit in two of his shorter outings in a while. On Monday against Detroit, the big righty tossed four innings of two-run ball, striking out four with no walks. In his following start on Sunday, he was charged with three runs over 4 ⅓ innings, but had his stuff working with six strikeouts and 16 swings-and-misses on 75 pitches (21% SwSt). Ober hasn't issued multiple walks in a start since before the All-Star break, and owns a tremendous 48-to-6 K/BB ratio over 50 innings in his past 10 starts. Toss in a very fine outing on Tuesday from John Gant, who struck out seven over five scoreless, and it was an altogether outstanding week for this mish-mashed collection of starting pitchers. Alas, it's not just the rotation holding things down for the pitching staff as this campaign winds down. The bullpen, to its credit, has really come around. Despite lacking its best player in Rogers, the relief corps has quietly been among the best in baseball since the end of July. The past week saw Minnesota's bullpen deliver a 1.56 ERA, with Alex Colomé, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, and Luke Farrell chipping in three scoreless innings apiece. Jorge Alcala, Ralph Garza Jr., and of course Moran had solid showings as well. Offensively, Jorge Polanco remains the life of the party. He opened his week with a four-hit game in Cleveland that included three doubles and a homer, then launched two bombs against the Royals on Saturday night. The second baseman is putting on a power-hitting clinic here in September, where he's slugging .795 with six doubles and five homers. Perhaps most impressively, he's driving the ball like this without sacrificing much contact. True to form, Polanco has struck out only seven times in 45 plate appearances this month. He's locked in, to put it mildly. Byron Buxton isn't quite on Polanco's level right now, but he does show signs of getting back on track offensively. Buck launched three homers last week, including this mammoth blast to straightaway center on Friday night: He didn't do a ton otherwise, and his swing still feels pretty all-or-nothing at this point, but it's a good start as the center fielder looks to finish strong in another frustrating, incomplete season. LOWLIGHTS Role players vying for opportunities on the 2022 team aren't doing much to help their cases. Brent Rooker came through with a big two-run double on Sunday, but went just 4-for-18 overall with six strikeouts and no walks. Rob Refsnyder – who drew two starts as the No. 3 hitter and one in the two-hole, for reasons unknown – managed three singles in 15 at-bats. Since returning from the IL in early August, he's slashing .208/.313/.236 with two extra-base hits (both doubles) and two RBIs in 83 plate appearances. Jake Cave made one start all week and was 1-for-6 at the plate. In fact, he's started only twice in the team's past 17 games. He's pretty clearly being phased out and his departure this offseason feels like a mere formality. TRENDING STORYLINE Honestly, there's nothing too compelling happening at the moment. Will the Twins avoid 90 losses? (They'd need to go 10-9 or better in the final 19 games.) Can they steer clear of a last-place finish? (They're currently two games behind the fourth-place Royals). How high of a draft pick will they net in 2022? (As Aaron Gleeman notes, they could realistically get as high as No. 7.) Personally I'll be more interested in following some of the noteworthy individual storylines in these last three weeks. I want to see if Buxton can show hints of the player he was back in April. I want to see how Ryan and Ober close out their first impressions in the majors. I want to see how Moran's stuff plays against big-league hitters. The games might not matter much anymore, but there are other implications to this remaining stretch nonetheless. LOOKING AHEAD For a second consecutive week, the Twins must take a disruptive detour in the middle of their homestand, heading to New York on Monday for an afternoon makeup game against the Yankees. Should be a ton of fun! Right?! From there, they quickly turn around and head back home for a double-header against Cleveland on Tuesday. Three games in 35 hours should provide some challenges for Rocco Baldelli in managing a thin pitching staff, but at least there's an off day coming up on Thursday. It's unclear at this point who will take Dobnak's vacant turn with Albers sent back to the minors. Charlie Barnes is a decent bet. MONDAY, 9/13: TWINS @ YANKEES – RHP John Gant v. TBD TUESDAY, 9/14: CLEVELAND @ TWINS (G1) – RHP Aaron Civale v. RHP Joe Ryan TUESDAY, 9/14: CLEVELAND @ TWINS (G2) – RHP Triston McKenzie v. TBD WEDNESDAY, 9/15: CLEVELAND @ TWINS – RHP Cal Quantrill v. RHP Griffin Jax FRIDAY, 9/17: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP Michael Pineda v. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu SATURDAY, 9/18: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Steven Matz SUNDAY, 9/19: TWINS @ BLUE JAYS – RHP John Gant v. RHP Alek Manoah MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    4 points
  13. After Jorge Polanco limped through 2020 with an ankle injury that required a second surgery, it became more than apparent that Rocco Baldelli needed a different option at shortstop. Before Royce Lewis was shelved with a torn ACL, the big league club needed a stabilizing presence at the most critical position on the infield. Casting a wide net made the most sense for the Twins. Marcus Semien was arguably the best option, and despite finishing a close runner-up for his services, the former Athletics infielder has posted an otherworldly season for the Blue Jays. Many players would qualify as fringe options, having one or more holes in their games. Falvey opted for a pact with Gold Glove-winning fielder Andrelton Simmons. The former Angels shortstop always carried a light bat, but his defense got the job done. Welcome to 2021. It’s not as though Simmons’ defense has fallen off a cliff; he’s still been a valuable commodity in the field for Minnesota. His 11 defensive runs saved rank third in baseball at the position, and he’s behind only Nick Ahmed and Francisco Lindor when it comes to outs above average at shortstop. Simmons has induced many highlight-reel plays this season behind Twins pitching, but his blunders have always been highly noticeable. Simmons has been miscast for a guy who needs to make an impact defensively to hide his bat, given the results Minnesota has generated on the season as a whole. He carries value for a good team that can afford to have a complete non-factor in the lineup. Given the Twins inability to pitch and often hit, the marginal defensive upgrade he has been only amplified the awful season of production. At -0.4 fWAR, Simmons has been Minnesota’s third-worst position player behind Willians Astudillo and Gilberto Celestino. Without finding a trade partner for him at the deadline, the Twins have allowed Simmons to play in 116 games despite being a free agent at year’s end. He’s being paid $10.5 million in 2021 and has been worse than a non-factor offensively. His .561 OPS is dead last in baseball among 154 hitters with at least 400 plate appearances. He has a .286 OBP and has a whopping 14 extra-base hits. The most divisive contribution Simmons has made to the Twins clubhouse may have been a medical one. Just days after being outspoken regarding his stance on vaccines, the shortstop tested positive, and Minnesota soon experienced an outbreak. Without attributing fault to any one person, Simmons' brash nature and desire to publicly share his opinions on Twitter were undoubtedly met with backlash given how the season began to spiral. Over the years, plenty of front offices have missed when it comes to spending money on players leaving other organizations. Sometimes those players move on for the sake of a big contract. Other times it happens because the club is moving on before getting caught holding the bag. This may be more of the latter when considering the Angels situation, and Minnesota felt the wrath of a decision gone wrong. You could make a case for Tsuyoshi Nishioka or Ricky Nolasco when considering previous Twins missteps. Still, nothing about how Andrelton Simmons has fared in Minnesota is good, and it’s a shock he’ll survive the year without a DFA. Back to the drawing board at shortstop for 2022. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    4 points
  14. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Gant 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K Homeruns: Rooker (11) Top 3 WPA: Gant .300, Simmons .135, Thielbar .098 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins looked to build on their Labor Day win over Cleveland on Tuesday. They sent John Gant to the mound to face Aaron Civale, who returned from the IL to provide a boost to a beleaguered Cleveland rotation. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the game. Gant, fighting for 2022 rotation consideration, got off to a solid start. He threw two clean innings, working particularly effectively with his changeup and generating extra ride on his fastball, before running into trouble in the third inning. After getting a double play, Gant surrendered two singles and a walk to load the bases. Franmil Reyes missed a grand slam by five feet to keep the game tied, flying out to deep center field. Meanwhile through three innings, Civale showed no signs of rust. Other than giving up singles to Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, he looked highly effective. Civale worked consistently up in the strike zone, throwing a wide variety of breaking balls keeping Twins hitters off balance, and off the bases. Gant returned for a more efficient and effective fourth inning. Despite walking three through four innings, Gant generated nine swings and misses and four strikeouts in as many innings. Is Gant working himself into consideration for a job with the Twins in 2022? The deadlock was finally broken in the sixth inning. After Max Kepler drew a walk to lead off the inning, Andrelton Simmons singled up the middle to drive home Kepler, give the Twins a one to nothing lead, and force Civale from the game. A walk to Luis Arraez put runners on first and second with two out, but Byron Buxton flew out to shallow center field to end the inning one to nothing in favor of the Twins. After walking the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Gant returned to strike out the side. He completed five inning, struck out seven batters, and generated twelve swings and misses. Despite walking four Cleveland hitters, Gant has improved noticeably in each of his starts with the Twins. Gant will be an interesting sub-plot to monitor in the remaining four weeks of the season. Jorge Alcala relieved Gant in the sixth inning. He got Franmil Reyes swinging on a beautiful sinking fastball at 97mph. He followed up with back to back ground-outs, preserving the Twins one run lead heading to the seventh inning. In the seventh inning, Brent Rooker crushed a home run to right center field to increase the lead to two. Juan Minaya pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, striking out two, to preserve the Twins lead. An infield single and an Oscar Mercado double high off the left-field wall created a threat for Cleveland in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and two out, Yu Chang struck out swinging to take the game to the ninth inning. Luis Arraez tripled home Andrelton Simmons to extend the lead to three to nothing in the ninth. Alexander Colome entered to close the game for the Twins. Owen Miller grounded out, before Amed Rosario singled on a fly ball to center field. A Miles Straw flyout and a Bobby Bradley strikeout brought the Twins their third consecutive win. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Colomé 0 0 11 23 9 17 60 Thielbar 0 0 0 28 0 25 53 Minaya 0 0 21 0 0 21 42 Alcalá 0 0 0 15 0 19 34 Garza Jr. 0 8 23 0 0 0 31 Duffey 0 0 0 10 8 0 18 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Joe Ryan will take on Triston McKenzie. First pitch is at 5:10 CST. Postgame Interviews
    4 points
  15. The Twins had a tall order when it came to the 2022 pitching staff even when Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda were slotted into the first two spots. Berrios has since been traded and we’ve received word that Maeda has an ominous elbow injury and will have exploratory surgery next week which could turn into Tommy John. Kenta Maeda That brings us to the number one factor in the Twins rotation rebuild in 2022: Kenta Maeda needs to be anchoring it. The Twins can’t really affect whether Maeda is healthy and at this point it appears him being relied on in 2022 is a long shot, but not having a single veteran arm returning creates a scenario in which some might call it nearly impossible to field a reliable 1-5. Even if Maeda isn’t the bona fide ace we hoped, having him at 2 or 3 in the rotation would at least give the Twins something to work with. Without Maeda, the rotation troubles likely become too much to recover from. Build From Within There’s no doubt that the Falvey/Levine pitching pipeline is growing ever closer to MLB ready and some of it has already arrived. Bailey Ober is likely a favorite to shore up the rotation on Opening Day after he put up an ERA around 4.00 in his first 68 innings. Griffin Jax will likely finish the season in the rotation, and Randy Dobnak should be back in the rotation before year’s end. Joe Ryan may be up in short order as well. Additionally, the Twins do have Duran and Winder at the AAA level with newly-acquired Simeon Woods-Richardson, Cole Sands and Jordan Balazovic at AA. The issue with using internal options is it largely depends on youth, much of which hasn’t even pitched in the majors yet. For as talented as many of the Twins young arms might be, there’s no telling how they’ll perform in their first taste of the big leagues. Furthermore, the Twins simply won’t let any of these young arms throw enough innings to take the ball every fifth day through season’s end even if they are effective. Duran threw over 100 innings in 2019, had 2020 off, and has thrown 16 innings this season. Winder followed a similar trend and has thrown 72 innings this season. Bailey Ober, whose fans typically express their disgust with his limited innings in starts, leads this group with 84 innings in 2021. It would be simply shocking to see any of these young arms reach even 150 innings in 2022. Some innings will be filled internally, but it will likely take some of them debuting down the stretch rather than being leaned on throughout the entire season. Outside Help The Twins are going to have a heavy offseason of trying to acquire pitching on the free agent and hopefully trade market. Even coming into this year they preferred to spend $10m on a combination of Happ and Shoemaker to take up two spots rather than spending on a higher quality arm and dedicating a rotation spot to a young arm like Dobnak. Picking up two free agent starters with three already penciled in in 2021 hints that the Twins will likely pursue three to four starting pitchers this winter at the very least. There are some high level free agent arms available this offseason, but it’s hard to see the Twins pursuing any of them. Spending $15-20m on one single pitcher would limit the Twins ability to effectively fill 3-4 other rotation spots. Instead the Twins will likely have to fill their rotation with middling arms that they can try to tweak and unlock something with. Their rotation’s success will likely have everything to do with their ability to effectively identify some under the radar arms and make the necessary tweaks. So essentially the Twins are relying on a miracle when it comes to Maeda and their effectiveness in bringing in outside options when it comes to their pitching rebound. They’ll certainly be counting on some younger pitchers contributing, but they’re almost certainly going to try to make them complementary pieces. In short, the Twins are in a difficult spot no matter how you spin it. They’re likely going to be headed into 2022 with either four or five starting pitchers in the rotation that weren’t there on Opening Day 2021. That’s an incredibly steep mountain to climb for any front office trying to compete, let alone one that missed on nearly every pitching decision they made just last winter. It’s no fun being negative, but 2022 may be a year to just sit back and enjoy whatever positives shake out with this pitching staff rather than having soaring expectations. There will be a fair share of excitement along the way, but it may be wise for Twins fans to temper expectations. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
    4 points
  16. Former Twins World Series MVP brought up the idea that the organization has failed and changed direction due to the results of 2021. He’s not alone in suggesting that narrative, but to say such a result reflects organizational failure also conveniently ignores what took place the previous four years of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine’s tenure. There’s no denying that 2021 has gone poorly. Most importantly, the Twins pitching has fallen flat. The front office banked on J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker, and some mediocre bullpen additions to supplement a roster looking to rise. As injuries took their toll and ineffective play became prevalent, the entirety of the ship went up in flames. Looking back, though, this front office helped to architect a 26-win improvement and Postseason berth in their first season, as well as having won the division in back-to-back seasons before this year. 2019 will forever go down as among the best in franchise history, and the installment of Rocco Baldelli in 2019 has led to a .550 winning percentage through his first three seasons. Now that praises have been sung, and reality has been levied, it’s time for the trio to grow. For the first time in their tenure, Falvey and Levine fell short. They flopped on Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison previously, but this is a club that had heightened expectations, and virtually every acquisition or move of substance from this offseason went up in flames. Without embarking on a complete rebuild, they’ve traded the club’s ace and now could be without Kenta Maeda in the year ahead as well. The Twins don’t have the best farm system in baseball, and although they’ve been ranked closer to the middle, intriguing depth is there. Unfortunately, there’s been a host of arm injuries across baseball following the 2020 shutdown in the minors, and Minnesota’s best prospects have been hit especially hard. Falvey and Levine will need to work with internal staff to ensure those players' health and future projection while not relying solely on them for a return to relevance in 2022 and beyond. The duo will need to make a better showing than their track record has proven on the acquisition front. Unfortunately, free agency is often a field of landmines, but some teams avoid hitting them all, and Falvey will need to stop the string of consistent blowups. Spending should remain relatively intact, but supplementing the Twins back to the top won’t come entirely through the dollar on the open market. There should be belief in the infrastructure set up since Falvey and Levine have taken over. From baseball operations to the development and coaching staff, there are plenty of talented individuals guiding players down the right path. Putting moldable pieces in front of them should continue to be the goal, and the assumption is that the process will bear positive results. In the dugout, Rocco has his first chance to grow as well. Having dealt with adversity that everyone experienced in 2020 is different than fighting through a season in which results consistently left something to be desired. Baldelli has done well to connect with his players, and he’s been praised for decisions when things have gone right. Unfortunately, all of the coin flips went wrong to start the year, and he’s doubled down with some questionable steps at times since. For the former Rays star, the expectation should be that new faces (and possibly some younger ones) will filter into Target Field during the final month and into 2022. Baldelli will have to put his best foot forward when maximizing their potential while putting them in a position to best capitalize on the opportunity. Right now, the answers aren’t immediately evident, and this writer doesn’t pretend to have them all. That said, it will be on Derek Falvey, Thad Levine, and Rocco Baldelli to show they have the chops to find them. Everyone feels content when things are going well, but through adversity, you’re able to grow and presented with it for the first time that trio has their most significant opportunity yet. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    4 points
  17. The New York Yankees have petitioned Major League Baseball to reschedule last Sunday’s postponed game versus the Minnesota Twins to 2022. While make-up games are ordinarily played in the same season, the Yankees claim that there are special circumstances about this matchup that make it more favorable to play next year. “We won’t bore you with tall tales of competitive balance or fresh legs,” said a team spokesperson. “Another loss to the Yankees in 2021 is meaningless to this broken, beaten franchise. You can’t steal from the man who has nothing! We want the Twins to suffer. The suffering is why.” Sources in the Yankees front office say they’re confident they will not need an extra win over Minnesota this season as they fight for a playoff spot. Instead, the chance to inflict ceaseless pain and torment on the Twins and their fanbase is the club’s primary focus. “Every baseball team, even Baltimore, exits Spring Training with optimism,” said the spokesperson. “Snuffing that optimism out is delicious. Snuffing that optimism out of the Twins is beyond delicious. The tears of stoic Upper Midwesterners just taste a little saltier. You can tell it hurts. The tears have meaning, purpose.” The Twins aren’t scheduled to play New York until June 7, 2022, when they begin a three-game series at Target Field. “There is an open date on Monday, June 6,” said a Yankees source. “Can you just imagine if the Twins have turned things around and are leading the AL Central after Memorial Day? And then for four days, just a constant pummeling in front of their loving fans. Night after night after night after night. A couple 15-2 beatdowns, a couple 11-10 comebacks with blown saves. It’s happening again. You’re powerless to stop it. And there are three more days left in New York in case the light of hope flickers anew. You fools. You fools.” The source then cackled for 45 minutes straight. Image license here.
    4 points
  18. Joe Ryan, RH SP Ryan was one of the key pieces as part of the Nelson Cruz trade and he made his organizational debut last week after returning from the Olympics. His Saints debut was ridiculous as he struck out nine batters in four innings. Ryan, a former water polo player, is known for the life on his fastball and his command of the strike zone. He led the minor-league baseball in strikeout rate in 2019 by fanning 183 batters in 123 2/3 innings. As a 25-year-old, he has already found success in the high minors, and the Twins may want to give him a September audition for the 2022 rotation. Jose Miranda, INF Miranda is having one of the best offensive seasons in team history among players in the high minors, and he is a lock to be the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. There are multiple ways to get him to Minneapolis before the season’s end. Entering 2021, he had struggled with working counts in his favor, which led to a lot of weak contact. Minnesota worked on his approach last season, and the results speak for themselves. St. Paul has been a remarkably better team with Miranda in the line-up, and the team has taken over first place in the division. Jovani Moran, LHRP Moran was left unprotected during this past season’s Rule 5 Draft (and the year before), but he went unselected, which looks like a mistake by MLB’s other organizations. Moran’s stock rose significantly this season as he has compiled strong numbers at Double- and Triple-A. He’s held opponents to hitting .115/.213/.230 (.443) as he has collected 97 strikeouts in 60 innings. His dominant change-up is how he misses bats, as MLB Pipeline calls it a double-plus pitch. Moran is big-league ready, but the Saints are fighting for a division title so the Twins may want to keep him in St. Paul. Austin Martin, SS/CF Martin, one of the pieces of the Jose Berrios trade, is the only player on this list not at Triple-A. He has been playing well at Double-A, and the argument can be made for him as the organization’s top prospect. He is an on-base machine, but there have been some questions raised this year about his power. Defensively, he can play multiple infield positions and centerfield, so this flexibility can allow him to reach the big leagues more quickly. Minnesota has two series against the Blue Jays near the end of September, and that might make for an intriguing big-league debut for Martin. There are a few things to consider when looking at the names above. Three of the players are currently at Triple-A, and St. Paul is in the playoff hunt. Also, none of the players are currently on the 40-man roster, but all but Martin will need to be added this winter. There will be plenty of 40-man roster clean-up to do during the off-season, so the team might not want to add another wrinkle to that equation. All four of these players look more than ready to help the big-league squad. Now the question remains, who will be the first to make it to the show? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    4 points
  19. TRANSACTIONS There were no transactions in the system in advance of the Cedar Rapids Kernels and Wichita Wind Surge starting their league championship series on Tuesday. SAINTS SENTINEL Scheduled Day Off The Saints got an extra day off on their schedule, as they begin the Final Stretch of games happening across the Triple-A level to end the season. They will play five games against the Iowa Cubs at home starting on Wednesday, and then five on the road against Toledo next week. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 1: Wichita 5, NW Arkansas 7 Box Score The Wichita Wind Surge had to feel good about themselves heading into game one against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, with top prospect Jordan Balazovic lined up to start. It didn’t go as well as they hoped, but was a back and forth affair throughout with several lead changes and big plays on both sides. Wichita had a two-out threat in the top of the first after singles from Roy Morales and Spencer Steer put runners on the corners, but Jermaine Palacios grounded out to keep them off the scoreboard in the opening frame. That changed in the second inning when Leobaldo Cabrera clubbed a home run to left field for a 1-0 lead. Balazovic got two quick outs in the bottom of the frame, but the Naturals struck back with a single followed by a triple to tie the game at one. In the third inning, it was a D.J. Burt homer that put the Wind Surge back out front, but another two-out rally from the Naturals brought in two runs of their own that made the score 3-2 after three innings. The fourth inning was much of the same as the teams again traded single runs, with Wichita getting an RBI double from Cabrera in the top half before the Naturals chased Balazovic in the bottom half after a pair of two-out walks loaded the bases. Melvi Acosta was summoned from the bullpen and issued a walk of his own that made the score 4-3 for Northwest Arkansas. The fifth inning was finally a scoreless frame on both sides, though the Wind Surge had a chance as Austin Martin doubled to lead off the inning, but he was stranded on third base. In the sixth inning, it was one swing of the bat from Palacios that again tied the game at four. With two outs in the top of the seventh and Spencer Steer at-bat, a pivotal play was made that may have finally swung the momentum of the game one way. Steer laced a 2-1 pitch deep into the gap in left-center, but the Naturals left fielder tracked it down at full speed before crashing hard into the wall, likely saving a run. That same fielder, Brewer Hicklen, of course was up the next inning, and with that adrenaline still running through his veins, took Erik Manoah Jr. deep to center for a 5-4 lead. The home team added two insurance runs in the eighth for a 7-4 lead that would turn out to be enough for the Naturals to take game one. Wichita threatened in the ninth with three singles that scored one run, but couldn’t get the big hit to bring them all the way back. On the pitching front, Balazovic went 3 2/3 innings in the start, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks while picking up three strikeouts. Acosta went the next 1 1/3 innings, allowing no runs of his own on one hit and one walk. Kody Funderburk went 2/3 of an inning and allowed a hit and walk. Manoah Jr. was tagged with the loss by allowing the go-ahead home run in the seventh. He pitched one inning, allowed two hits, and struck out one. Evan Sisk and Adam Lau each recording two outs, with Sisk allowing two insurance runs on two hits while striking out one. Lau allowed one hit, walked two, and struck out one. The Wind Surge got multiple hits on the night from Martin (2-for-4, 2B, BB), Morales (2-for-5, RBI), Palacios (2-for-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, K), and Cabrera (2-for-4, R, 2B, HR) and the team's three home runs on the night were not enough. Wichita will look to even the series at one with Cole Sands taking the hill tomorrow before heading back home to the ICT to finish off the series. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1 Box Score The Kernels were able to fend off the teams on their heels to grab their league’s final playoff spot, and they sent a big reason why in Louie Varland to the mound in game one. He didn’t disappoint, though it looked shaky for a minute in the second inning. After picking up a groundout for the first out of the frame, Varland allowed a double and the game’s first run on a single that followed. He then walked a batter and surrendered another single to load the bases before a mound visit was in order to get him back in rhythm. After that, he got a grounder to first that forced the runner out at home, then a pop out to escape that jam. His lineup got that run back for him in the bottom of the inning, as consecutive two-out doubles from Jair Camargo and DaShawn Keirsey tied the game at one. That mound visit was definitely what the doctor ordered, as Varland was locked in from then on. He retired nine in a row from the third through the sixth inning, and gave up just two singles to bookend that streak. In all, he finished seven fantastic innings, tying his mark for longest outing of the season, and allowed just the one run on six total hits and one walk. He struck out four River Bandits in the outing and of his 98 pitches, 68 went for strikes (69.4%), along with getting 14 swinging strikes. Varland was matched, however, by the pitching staff of Quad Cities. The game remained tied while he was on the mound. The Kernels were unable to cash in any of their scoring chances, including a bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth. In the seventh inning, the Kernels struck out four times, but nonetheless had an opportunity as one of those K’s resulted in a wild pitch that allowed Edouard Julien to reach base. Another wild pitch moved him to second before the River Bandits played the percentages and intentionally walked Aaron Sabato to get the lefty-lefty matchup against Matt Wallner. It worked, as the pitcher got his fourth K of the inning and kept the game tied at 1-1. In the top of the eighth, the Kernels went to reliever Osiris German, and he delivered a one-two-three inning to bring his team back into the dugout looking to finally break through. Jair Camargo did just that, sending a two-out home run over the wall in right field to give the Kernels the lead. With the lead in hand, Cedar Rapids called on one of the best relievers in the system this year in Zach Featherstone to close out the game. He allowed a one-out single but like he had all season, also racked up the strikeouts, getting three of them to pick up the save and take game one for the Kernels. Camargo (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB, K) was the only batter in the lineup with multiple hits on the night while Sabato and Julien each reached base twice. They were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position compared to 2-for-4 for the River Bandits, but it was enough behind Varland. It’s worth noting that the Kernels were just 7-17 against the River Bandits during the regular season, but that means nothing in a playoff series they now lead 1-0 with Sean Mooney taking the mound in game two tomorrow night. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Kernels (7 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 4 K) Hitter of the Day - Jair Camargo, Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-for-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2B #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 2 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-1 (pinch hit appearance) #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-5, K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Derek Law (1-0, 2.66 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (4-2, 2.46 ERA) Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-1, 6.23 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the playoff games from Tuesday!
    3 points
  20. TRANSACTIONS LHP Charlie Barnes and RHP Andrew Albers were recalled from St. Paul in advance of the Twins doubleheader with Cleveland. In double-A, RHP Tyler Beck was placed on the 7-day injured list with a right forearm strain. RHP Jackson Hicks was officially promoted from the FCL Twins to the Mighty Mussels. RHP Hunter McMahon joined the FCL Twins on a rehab assignment. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 13, Indianapolis 4 Box Score Three days after bludgeoning their opponent 21-4 at CHS Field, the Saints did more of the same to a new opponent on the road in Indianapolis on Tuesday night. A six-run second inning got the party started and included home runs from Mark Contreras and Jose Miranda, along with an RBI double from Damek Tomscha. They extended their lead to 8-0 in the top of the fourth thanks to an error and an RBI groundout from Tomas Telis. Tomscha added a solo home run in the sixth that made it 9-1 before a four-run seventh capped off the evening and was powered by yet another Saints home run off the bat of Sherman Johnson. In all the Saints lineup pounded out 14 hits with eight of them going for extra bases. Though they were only 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position, those hits were big ones with the home runs and doubles. Miranda (2-for-6, R, HR, 4 RBI), Contreras (2-for-5, R, 2B, HR, RBI, K), Jimmy Kerrigan (3-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 K), and Tomscha (4-for-5, 4 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) had multiple hits. Right-hander Drew Strotman made the start and delivered a quality outing. Over six innings he scattered five hits and three walks, allowing two runs (on two homers) while punching out four batters. Ryan Mason pitched two perfect innings of relief, striking out one. Ian Hamilton pitched the ninth and was charged with two earned runs thanks to three walks and one hit, but it was far from enough for Indianapolis. WIND SURGE WISDOM Arkansas 4, Wichita 1 (Game Suspended, to be resumed tomorrow at 4:30 PM) Box Score Unfortunately for the Wind Surge, they played much of this game through some drizzle before the conditions became too much for them to continue. They had not yet completed five innings, so the game was suspended in the top of the fifth and will resume tomorrow. It had been a mixed bag before the game was paused, as Simeon Woods Richardson delivered a fantastic performance for the first three innings of the game, but upon his exit the Travelers struck to take the 4-1 lead against Ben Gross. In his outing, Woods Richardson allowed just two hits while striking out five in his three innings. He definitely looked like a top prospect in this one as compared to his prior outings. Of his 47 pitches in the game, 32 went for strikes (68%), including a whopping 12 swinging strikes. He got those swings and misses on all of his pitches as well, with his changeup especially (to my eyes) looking like it was fooling everyone. Wichita got their lone run in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI infield single from Aaron Whitefield. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Peoria 6 Box Score Cedar Rapids was unable to solve the Peoria pitching staff on Tuesday, resulting in a 6-1 loss that dropped them to 63-52 and just one game ahead of the teams chasing them in the High-A Central playoff race. The lineup was only able to manage four hits on the night, with two of those coming off the bat of Matt Wallner. Their lone run came in the fifth inning thanks to a solo home run from DeShawn Keirsey. As a team they struck out 11 times and drew just one walk, while having only two at-bats with runners in scoring position in the game. Cody Laweryson was on the mound to start and went the first 5 1/3 innings. He allowed all six of the Chiefs runs, on eight hits and one walk, while striking out five. Zach Featherston got the Kernels through the seventh inning without allowing a hit, walking one, and striking out two in his 1 2/3 innings. Tyler Palm finished the game with a scoreless eighth, giving up one hit and striking out two batters. MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa @ Fort Myers, Postponed: Inclement Weather The Mighty Mussels game with the Tarpons was postponed on Tuesday as rain was moving into the area. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Twins 6, FCL Rays 3 Box Score The Twins used a five-run second inning to pull away early, and the pitching staff held the Rays at bay the rest of the way to pick up the win. In that second inning, the Twins took advantage of a pair of errors and got RBI singles from Argenis Jiminez, Noah Cardenas, and Ernie Yake before a sac fly from Endy Rodriguez plated the fifth run. They got an insurance run in the top of the ninth thanks to an RBI single from Wilfri Castro to drive in Gregory Duran who had led off the inning with a triple. Yake (2-for-4, 2B, RBI K) had multiple hits in the contest. Hunter McMahon got the start in his first game with the FCL Twins and went the first two innings, allowing one hit and striking out four batters. Ryan Shreve allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits in his lone inning, though he did strike out three. Wilker Reyes was credited with his first hold by going the next three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two Rays. Juan Mendez picked up his first save by finishing the final three innings. He gave up one run on three hits and struck out three hitters. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Simeon Woods Richardson, Wichita Wind Surge (3 IP, 2 H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Damek Tomscha, St. Paul Saints (4-for-5, 4 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Game suspended #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-6, R, HR, 4 RBI #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 5 K (left game in sixth after being struck in hand with line drive) #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4 #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - W, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 0-for-5, 2 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play (Paternity List) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Game postponed #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Game suspended WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (11:05 AM CST) - RHP Beau Burrows (2-5, 6.16 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (30 min after completion of suspended game) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (5-4, 3.38 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland (6-1, 2.17 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (3:30 PM CST) - RHP John Stankiewicz (0-0, 3.12 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 2 (30 min after Game 1) - RHP Jackson Hicks (Low-A debut) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
    3 points
  21. SAINTS SENTINEL Storm Chasers 3, Saints 2 Box Score Bryan Sammons: 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R/ER, 4 BB, 2 K HR: Jimmy Kerrigan (19), Drew Maggi (16) Multi-hit games: Kerrigan (2-for-4, HR) Bryan Sammons started this very tight game for the Saints and allowed two runs in 3 2/3 innings. The Saints’ bullpen, and especially Yennier Cano, was fantastic. Cano and Nick Vincent threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. Jimmy Kerrigan smashed his 19th homer of the season and Drew Maggi went yard for the 16th time in the seventh inning. Two solo homers was all the offense would provide in the loss. The Storm Chasers broke through in the 10th with an RBI single from Ryan McBroom. St.Paul went down quietly in the bottom half. The Saints fell to 58-56 after the loss. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wind Surge 6, Naturals 2 Box Score Cole Sands: 6 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: D.J. Burt (3), Leobaldo Cabrera (11) Multi-hit games: Burt (2-for-5, HR), Spencer Steer (3-for-4, 2 R), Cabrera (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) Cole Sands was terrific in Sunday’s win. He worked six scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while walking two and striking out five. Sands owns a 1.80 ERA with 17 strikeouts over his last 20 innings. D.J. Burt and Leobaldo Cabrera each blasted homers in the third to help the Surge get out to a 4-0 lead. Kody Funderburk allowed two runs in relief of Sands. Funderburk’s ERA with Wichita sits at a tremendous 1.02. The Wind Surge salvaged a series split with the Naturals. They remain in first place by 2.5 games in the Double-A Central - North. KERNELS NUGGETS Timber Rattlers 5, Kernels 4 Box Score Tyler Watson: 3 IP, 3 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Aaron Sabato (2-for-5, 2 R), DaShawn Keirsey (2-for-3, 2 RBI), Jair Camargo (3-for-4, RBI) The Kernels failed to record an extra-base hit in its 5-4 loss Sunday. Tyler Watson struggled with his command, allowing four runs on three walks and three hits in three innings of work. Carlos Suniaga also walked three and allowed a run in relief. Steven Cruz supplied three innings of scoreless, hitless work, striking out three. Aaron Sabato continued a very nice weekend with two more hits. Sabato entered today hitting .263/.375/.737 with three homers over his last five games. The slugger absolutely mashed at North Carolina prior to struggling in Low-A, but he’s finally starting to click at the plate after the promotion. Despite the loss, the Kernels won four of six games this week against the Timber Rattlers, improving to 63-51 on the season. MUSSEL MATTERS Mighty Mussels 7, Cardinals 6 Box Score Brent Headrick: 2 IP, 4 H, 2 R/ER, BB, 5 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-3, 2 RBI), Patrick Winkel (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) The Mussels had a huge second inning, thanks to RBI doubles from Alerick Soularie and Patrick Winkel, an error, an RBI single from Mikey Perez and a sacrifice fly from Jake Rucker. Fort Myers leaned on its bullpen to hold the lead as Logan Campbell, Juan Pichardo, A.J. Labas, and Matthew Swain combined for seven innings and just two earned runs. Brent Headrick started and struck out five in two innings while allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. It was a great week for the Mussels. They took five out of six games from Palm Beach on the back of some great offensive performances and big outs late. Fort Myers is 57-53. COMPLEX CHRONICLES The FCL Twins did not play Sunday. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day — Cole Sands: 6 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K Hitter of the Day — Jimmy Kerrigan: 2-for-4, HR PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Did not play #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - Did not play #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - On Temporary Inactive List. #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 2 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, BB, 2 K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-for-5, 2 R, RBI #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 6 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-4, 2 R
    3 points
  22. TRANSACTIONS LHP Jovani Moran promoted from Triple-A St. Paul to Minnesota Twins RHP Andrew Albers optioned from Minnesota Twins to Triple-A St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 21, Omaha 4 Box Score Holy runs, Batman! The Saints’ lineup exploded on Saturday evening, particularly prior to the fifth inning, in which they scored 17 of their runs. The 21 runs is the high-water mark for the Triple-A East this season. Shortstop J.T. Riddle set the tone for St. Paul in the bottom of the second inning when he launched his seventh home run of the season to give his squad a 3-0 lead. However, the Saints weren’t done as center fielder Jimmy Kerrigan hit his 18th dinger and first baseman Sherman Johnson his fourth, later in the frame. It was his first hit since he went 3-for-5 on August 26th. He had been 0-for-17, though he had walked seven times in that stretch. Right fielder Mark Contreras joined the fun in the third inning when he smacked his 15th. The ball flew 461 feet. Every Saints batter picked up at least one hit on the evening except for catcher Caleb Hamilton who was a late-game replacement for Tomas Telis, who went 3-for-4. DH Gilberto Celestino led the way, going 4-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored. B.J. Boyd (3-for-5), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-5), and Kerrigan (2-for-6) also contributed multi-hit games. Derek Law, Vinny Nittoli, and Edgar Garcia tossed six innings of scoreless ball out of the pen after Jason Garcia exited after three innings. WIND SURGE WISDOM Arkansas 10, Wichita 3 Box Score Well, let’s just say that it wasn’t Chris Vallimont’s night. The Naturals touched the Twins RHP prospect for nine runs — seven of them earned — in 2 1.3 innings as they cruised to an easy victory. Vallimont was only able to pick up three strikeouts and surrendered nine hits as his ERA ballooned to 6.33. However, despite the first couple of frames going poorly, as a whole the Wind Surge’s pitching staff performed quite well. Evan Sisk, Hector Lujan, Erik Manoah Jr., and Mitchell Osnowitz combined to strike out 10 batters and allow one run over the course of their 6 2/3 innings. Right fielder Trey Cabbage led Wichita in hits as he picked up three — all singles — in four plate appearances. Third baseman Spencer Steer went 2-for-3 with a double; however, it was second baseman D.J. Burt’s mammoth home run in the first inning that was the highlight of the game. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 5, Wisconsin 4, F/10 Box Score The Kernels took home a close victory over the Timber Rattlers Saturday afternoon. Former Minnesota State University, Mankato Maverick Aaron Rozek started the game on the hill, and although he surrendered all four of Wisconsin’s runs — three coming via the long ball — he was able to put together a strong showing, striking out nine and only walking one. The 26-year-old lefty has made a name for himself after being signed midway through the season thanks to gaudy strikeout numbers and a refusal to issue walks. In 51 1/3 innings across Rookie, Low-A, High-A, and Double-A ball this summer, Rozek has punched out 70 and walked only six batters. That’s a nearly 12:1 K:BB ratio, which is the best in the system among pitchers with at least 50 innings and by a wide margin. Andrew Albers is second with a 8.7:1 ratio and Josh Winder is third with a 6.15:1 ratio. Derek Molina and Andrew Cabezas tossed the final five innings with shutout ball, striking out five. Catcher Jefferson Morales and shortstop Anthony Prato each went 3-for-5 on the afternoon; however, it was center fielder DaShawn Keirsey who played the role of hero out of the nine-hole, going 2-for-5 with a double and his fourth home run of the season; he finished with three RBI. Second baseman Edouard Julien (2-for-5, BB) and left fielder Michael Helman (2-for-6, triple, RBI) also contributed multi-hit games. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Palm Beach 5 Box score The Mighty Mussels pulled off a come-from-behind victory against their cross-state rivals despite only one of their seven hits going for extra bases. Fort Myers scored all six of their runs over their final three at-bats, including four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Second baseman Mikey Perez and third baseman Jake Rucker each when 2-for-3, with one of Perez’s hits being the team’s lone double. First baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand kept his hot streak alive as he drove in two of the Mighty Mussels’ runs. While his box score won’t jump off the page, left fielder Alerick Soularie had a productive night going 0-for-1 with three walks, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Regi Grace started on the bump for Fort Myers and tossed three innings, striking out three and walking one. RHP Ramon Pineda, brother of Twins’ RHP Michael, was awarded the win after he threw two innings in relief; he struck out two and allowed one earned run. RHP Matt Mullenbach earned the save. FCL COMPLEX REPORT Game 1: FCL Red Sox 2, FCL Twins 1, F/8 Game 2: FCL Twins 4, FCL Red Sox 1, F/7 2021 first-round draft pick RHP Chase Petty made his professional debut Saturday afternoon and performed largely as advertised. Across two innings of scoreless work, Petty surrendered two hits, struck out two, and did not surrender a run. First baseman Wander Valdez clubbed his fourth home run of the season during the Twins’ win, while DH Carlos Aguiar hit his fifth during the loss. As a unit, the Twins’ offense mustered only nine hits between the two games. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day — Andrew Cabezas, Cedar Rapids: 3 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day — Jimmy Kerrigan, St. Paul Saints: 2-for-6, 2B, HR, 4 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, RBI, BB #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - Did not play #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - On Temporary Inactive List. #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, RBI, BB #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 4-for-6, 2 RBI, 3 R #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 0-for-5, BB #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4 #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-for-3, 2B, BB SUNDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (2:05 PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-2, 4.96 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM CST) - RHP Cole Sands (2-2, 2.86 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (12:05 PM CST) - LHP Tyler Watson (2-3, 4.52 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM CST) - TBD Feel free to comment and discuss tonight’s games!
    3 points
  23. TRANSACTIONS OF Trevor Larnach placed on the 7-day IL at AAA St. Paul retroactive to 9/2 (Left-hand contusion) RHP Alex Phillips placed on the IL at AA Wichita RHP Simeon Woods Richardson activated from development list at AA Wichita Saints Sentinel St. Paul 0, Columbus 5 (7 innings) Box Score Beau Burrows: 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Saints lost firmly on Saturday. Beau Burrows kicked off a quasi-bullpen game by allowing three home runs in his effort. Really, Columbus just needed one of them, so this was a real rude thing for them to do. The Saints knocked out just three hits in this game as they were unable to put up any runs against Heath Fillmyer and Kyle Nelson. On the bright side, two of those hits were doubles (by Drew Stankiewicz and Mark Contreras.) Ryan Mason’s scoreless outing in relief of Burrows is just about the only solid positive that came out of this game, unfortunately. This was also supposed to be the first of an eventual doubleheader, but that game actually was rained out, so there will be a doubleheader (attempt, at least) on Sunday. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 0, Arkansas 1 Box Score Simeon Woods Richardson: 1 ⅓ IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Ernie De La Trinidad (2-for-3) Wichita lost on a walk-off on Saturday. Simeon Woods Richardson made his debut for the Twins organization on Saturday and, well, the start could have gone better. The righty needed 40 pitches to get four outs and the Wind Surge decided that it was not worth it to push him any farther. The good news is this is probably the worst start he will ever make for the team so, you know, silver linings and all that. Tyler Beck saved the day in relief of Woods Richardson. He took over and swiftly established order with five shutout innings. Now that’s what we call a good teammate. Offensively, Wichita could not get anything going. Roy Morales knocked the lone extra-base hit while Ernie De La Trinidad reached base twice. In total, the team struck out 14 times without taking a single walk. Hector Lujan was pushing to send the game into extras when David Shaeffer sent a homer over the wall to end the game. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 8, Quad Cities 7 Box Score Aaron Rozek: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Alex Isola (13), Yunior Severino (3) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) Cedar Rapids won a barn-burner on Saturday. Aaron Rozek effectively held the River Bandits’ offense at bay for five quality innings. The Burnsville native has pitched quite well this season, and he could potentially find himself placed on the back end of some Twins prospect lists. Despite putting up eight runs, the Kernels’ offense was somewhat unusual. They were actually out-hit on the night, but they were able to bunch their scoring and knock in runs when it mattered. Alex Isola continued his ridiculous power stretch with his 13th home run of the season, Yunior Severino blasted a three-run shot of his own, and Edouard Julien set the table for the rest of the offense. All seven RBIs came from Aaron Sabato, Severino, and Isola. The lesson to take away from this is that if a team wants to win, they should bunch their hits together (wow, what wisdom, Matt.) Mussel Matters Fort Myers 4, Daytona 6 Box Score Cade Povich: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Christian Encarnacion-Strand (3-for-4, R, RBI) Fort Myers lost a close one on Saturday. Cade Povich made his Fort Myers debut on Saturday. The 3rd round pick from the 2021 draft impressed with six strikeouts over three innings of work in what was the best outing from any Mighty Mussels pitcher. He will certainly be an interesting arm to keep track of. Just two players stood out offensively for Fort Myers. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, another 2021 pick, dropped in three singles while Will Holland reached base twice. Unfortunately, it was another game in the system tonight where offense was hard to come by. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 3, FCL Red Sox 4 (8 innings) Box Score Brent Headrick: 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K HR: Noah Cardenas (1) Multi-hit games: Argenis Jimenez (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI) The FCL Twins were walked-off in “extras” on Saturday. The pitching effort by the Twins was commendable. Five different pitchers combined to allow just two earned runs over 7 1/3 innings of work. Develson Aria was especially impressive as he threw three shutout innings with six punch outs and only two baserunners allowed. The struggle was for naught, though. The FCL Red Sox pitching staff pitched just as well as the Twins and the two teams were locked in a Cold War stalemate for much of the game. The game was finally decided when Phillip Sikes knocked in the extra-innings runner in the 8th. The good news is that Noah Cardenas, the Twins’ 8th round pick in the 2021 draft, launched his first career professional homer on Saturday. The catcher out of UCLA blasted a solo shot in the 2nd in what was one of two extra-base hits for the team on Saturday. The FCL Twins were also supposed to play a doubleheader but the second game was rained out as well. Mother nature was not born a baseball fan. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Beck Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Christian Encarnacion-Strand PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - Did not play #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-3 #7 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did not play #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-2, BB, K #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - Did not play #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-5, 2B, R #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (1:05 PM) LHP Tyler Watson Wichita @ Arkansas (1:10 PM) RHP Jordan Balazovic St. Paul @ Columbus (2:05 PM) RHP Jason Garcia St. Paul @ Columbus (30 minutes following the end of game one) LHP Charlie Barnes Fort Myers @ Daytona (3:35 PM) RHP Regi Grace
    3 points
  24. International Signing Changes Major League Baseball and MLB Players Association agreed to shift the international signing periods because of the pandemic. That means the players listed below are eligible to sign beginning on January 15, 2022, while the signing period ends on December 15, 2022. Players must turn 17 before September 1, 2022, to be eligible. Most of the top prospects already have their organizations identified even with the signing deadline multiple months in the future. How Much Can the Twins Spend? Eight teams have more money to spend than the Twins, but Minnesota is tied with five other teams in the next bonus pool group. Teams with a Round B competitive balance pick (Arizona, Baltimore, Cleveland, Colorado, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis) have a pool of $6,262,600. The Twins have $5,721,500 in their signing pool along with all the other teams that received a Round A competitive balance pick (Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay). What Players Are Tied to Minnesota? Yasser Mercedes, OF MLB Pipeline Ranking: 17 Mercedes projects to be the Twins’ top signing during the upcoming international signing period. While many prospects list themselves as centerfielders, his speed and defensive ability have the potential to keep him in center field for the long term. MLB Pipeline said, “Mercedes has some of the best tools in this year’s class.” It will take multiple years of development, but Mercedes will be a name to watch in the team’s farm system. Yilber Herrera, SS MLB Pipeline Ranking: 35 MLB Pipeline compares Herrera to a young Jorge Polanco, and that has to get Twins fans excited with how well Polanco has been playing this year. The most significant difference between the two players is that Herrera's arm might be strong enough for him to stick at shortstop long-term. His biggest improvement area is his power, but that is an expectation with teenagers who haven't put on all their muscles. . Bryan Acuna, SS MLB Pipeline Ranking: 39 Acuna, a Venezuela native, is the younger brother of Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. Their father, Ronald Sr, also played professionally but topped out at Double-A. Right now, his best tool is his hit tool, but he has room to grow into his frame and add to some of the other tools. Like many top prospects, he currently plays shortstop, but he has the chance to be above average at multiple positions. Which of these players sounds the most exciting to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    3 points
  25. After an ugly series against the New York Yankees, Minnesota went to Boston with an opportunity to reset. In a game that the Twins put up 14 hits and scored nine runs, they still found themselves on the short side of the ledger. While this season has gone nothing as was expected, this is a reality that’s played out far too often. The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman has consistently reported one of the most telling statistics tied to this club during the season. Giving up five or fewer runs in a baseball game on a nightly basis should not be a difficult task. It also should not so consistently result in an inability to overcome. The turnover in their starting rotation has compounded Minnesota's ineptitude to pitch. The path forward looks even more gloomy with the uncertainty of Kenta Maeda’s health going into the offseason. Offensively the Twins are no longer the Bomba Squad, but they’re hardly a lackluster unit. With 577 runs scored, they are 13th in baseball as a team. They are 13th and 14th in average and on-base percentage, respectively, while rounding out the top 10 in OPS. That’s not by any means world-beating numbers, but being middle-of-the-pack should present a substantially greater opportunity for competitiveness. It’s on the bump where things go completely off the rails. The Twins are 26th in pitcher fWAR, and their 5.00 ERA is 27th in baseball. At 21.7%, they are striking out batters 23rd most across the sport, and there’s been little semblance of bright spots. During the broadcast, Dick Bremer noted the Twins need to overhaul the relief corps in 2022 while Caleb Thielbar was on the mound. The formerly retired pitcher has been a pleasant surprise and was noted by the broadcaster as a near-lock for the unit in the year ahead. He then promptly gave up a two-run shot to Red Sox utility man Enrique Hernandez and Minnesota’s season predictability was as evident as ever. Tonight Rocco Baldelli will turn to another bright spot, Bailey Ober, in hopes of getting back in the win column. Minnesota is an underdog at Fenway while the Red Sox are chasing down Tampa Bay, currently sitting 6.5 back in the AL East. There have been bright spots for this club, but they haven’t been on the mound. Looking to salvage something over the last month, seeing performance from the bump would be a much-welcomed reality
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  26. Max Kepler was a catalyst for the record-breaking Twins in 2019, bashing 36 homers while mostly leading off for the 101-win division champions. Kepler had been a below-average hitter (96 OPS+) in 419 games before his magical hiatus from the trenches of BAbip hell. It was somewhat odd to see. Kepler hit a modest .233/.313/.417 over the first three-plus years of his career. His 93 wRC+ paled in comparison to other right fielders, as the position hit .261/.333/.441 (107 wRC+) leaguewide over that same span. Even with his relative struggles at the plate, Kepler provided value with a strong glove. He saved 22 runs from 2016-2018, tying him for third among qualified right fielders. Kepler was worth 5.4 Wins Above Replacement even with a negative WAR mark offensively. Recognizing a chance for upside, the Twins inked the instant fan-favorite to an extension and initially looked brilliant for doing so. Kepler broke out in 2019 with elite power and an increased ability to reach base. But it wasn't a breakout. Kepler has since gone back to his unremarkable roots at the plate. There’s no doubt that the numbers look uglier than they should. His barrel rate is higher than ever. He’s hitting the ball harder and more than he did in 2019. His strikeout rate is fantastic, and he’s walking in nearly 12% of his plate appearances. So what happened? Outside of the obvious in 2019 (juiced ball), his few weaknesses have capped his upside overall. He's pulling and pulling rather weakly, contributing to that previously-mentioned BAbip purgatory. Plus, there’s the deadly platoon factor. Kepler's line is impacted by his inability to hit lefties, but even if he were facing only right-handers this season, he'd still be below-average among left-handed right fielders in those matchups. Kepler leads right fielders this year in Outs Above Average (7) and is tied for 10th among all qualified outfielders. Even though he’s well below the position average offensively, he ranks 21st out of 30 right fielders with at least 300 plate appearances in fWAR (1.5). He’s not a hindrance per se, but he’s no longer a solid plus-piece in his current spot. Often lost in value analysis is his ability to play centerfield. In 80 games in centerfield since 2019, Kepler’s been worth three Outs Above Average. Still, the Twins have often turned to others when Byron Buxton is out, focusing on keeping Kepler fresh. There’s room for increased value here. If the Twins decide to trade Byron Buxton, wouldn’t Kepler then become the centerfielder where his subpar bat would play much better? In this case, he’s much more valuable. Kepler would be close to an average hitter as a primary centerfielder in 2021 but is 16% below league average in right. Understandably, the Twins want to keep him fresh, especially since he’s had a history of hamstring injuries. Winning in baseball also requires maximum value at each position. Kepler, while still passable in right, is not being maximized. Keeping him in a corner will limit the Twins offensively unless he finds a way to beat the shift or hit lefties again. On the flip side, if the Twins keep Buxton, marketing Kepler as a centerfielder via trade will help them reach his maximum value in return. It’s great to have both in the outfield, but it’s been more a defensive luxury than a damaging duo in the lineup. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  27. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Jax 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Homeruns: Gordon (3) Top 3 WPA: Gordon .217, Donaldson .192, Buxton .175 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The battle for 2022 draft positions continued on Tuesday night, as Minnesota kicked off a two-game set in Chicago against the Cubs. Here’s how the Twins lined up to face Alec Mills. The Twins got off to a strong start, with back-to-back singles putting Luis Arraez on third and Byron Buxton on first base. Buxton stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Wilson Contreras, with Arraez scoring. A Josh Donaldson sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Twins after the top of the first. The Cubs immediately chipped away at the Twins lead, scoring one in the first, one in the second, and one in the third. The later two runs came from solo home runs from Trayce Thompson and Willson Contreras, giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead after three innings. The familiar home run bug has continued to bite Griffin Jax, who only managed to make it through three innings. The Twins fought back in the top of the fourth inning. A Josh Donaldson walk, wild pitch, and Max Kepler single cut the deficit to 3-2. A Nick Gordon home run to left center field added two more runs, giving the Twins a 5-3 lead. The Twins continued to add to their lead in the top of the fifth. A Luis Arraez walk and Byron Buxton single were backed up by further singles from Josh Donaldson and Max Kepler, increasing the Twins lead to 7-3. The Cubs trimmed the lead in the sixth inning. A Rafael Ortega single was followed up by a Frank Schwindel double. Jorge Alcala replaced Danny Coulombe and struck out Wilson Contreras, but allowed a Patrick Wisdom single, scoring two runs. Alcala, however, has been on a recent run of good form which is encouraging news for a bullpen which needs padding heading into 2022. The Twins immediately increased the lead. Doubles from Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, followed by singles from Nick Gordon and Mitch Garver added two runs, pushing the lead to 9-5 and giving the Twins offense 16 hits on the night. Byron Buxton was hit by a pitch in the foot in the top of the ninth inning. Mercifully, Alexander Colome threw a scoreless inning to draw a marathon four-hour game to a close, bringing the Twins record for the season to 66-85. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT Barraclough 0 0 32 0 35 67 Vincent 0 0 0 40 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 0 22 16 38 Minaya 0 0 0 36 0 36 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Farrell 0 0 0 34 0 34 Duffey 0 16 0 0 11 27 Alcalá 0 13 0 0 10 23 Colomé 0 14 0 0 7 21 Garza Jr. 0 0 17 0 0 17 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 17 17 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will finish their short series in Chicago. Joe Ryan will take the mound against Kyle Hendricks. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews
    2 points
  28. If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week. Is it just me, or was that season quick. Twenty weeks of minor league ball complete. The Saints have a couple of weeks to go, to match the Twins schedule. Wichita and Cedar Rapids begin their playoff runs on Tuesday. The Mighty Mussels and FCL Twins seasons are complete, but Tuesday also begins Instructional League. But, before we get to any of that, let's look back at Week 20 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (3-3, @ Indianapolis), overall (61-59) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (4-2, hosting Arkansas), overall (69-51) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, @ Peoria), overall (67-53) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-1, hosting Tampa), overall (60-54) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (2-3), overall (21-38) STANDINGS Triple-A East Midwest: Toledo 69-51, Omaha 66-54, St. Paul 61-59. Double-A Central North: Wichita 69-51, NW Arkansas 64-55, Arkansas 64-56. High-A Central West: Quad Cities 77-41, Cedar Rapids 67-53, Wisconsin 59-60. Low-A Southeast: Tampa 73-43, Bradenton 71-48, Ft. Myers 60-54. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week's Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: One Week To Go Baseball Down Under: The Unique Journey of Aaron Whitefield Tuesday: Woods Richardson Deals, Saints Come Marching In Wednesday: Varland Does it Again Thursday: Wichita Surges Into Playoffs, Kernels Playoff Push Friday: Kernels Edge Closer Twins 2020 Rule 5 Rewind A 32-Year-Old Rookie, Twins Promote Drew Maggi Saturday: A No-Hitter?!* Kernels Klinch with Huge Win Highlights We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week and mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 20 performances. Twins Player of the Week: Aaron Sabato, Cedar Rapids Kernels Aaron Sabato has had an up and down season, but the 22-year-old has been much improved since the beginning of August, especially with the power numbers. In the final regular-season week, Sabato hit .333/.500/.833 (1.333) with three homers. He also walked seven times and had just four strikeouts. He was terrific over the final weekend when the team needed to win. In his first pro season since the Twins made him their first-round pick in the 2020 draft out of North Carolina, he began in Ft. Myers. In 85 games, he hit .189/.365/.357 (.722) with 15 doubles and 11 home runs. In just 22 games with the Kernels, he has hit .253/.402/.613 (1.015) with three doubles and eight home runs. Overall, in 464 plate appearances, he has 92 walks and 149 strikeouts. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Louie Varland was terrific again this week. The 23-year-old from St. Paul struck out 11 batters in six innings in his start this week. He gave up just two runs (1 earned) on four hits and did not issue a walk. Varland was the team's 15th round pick in 2019 out of Concordia University in St. Paul. Varland began the season in Ft. Myers, where he pitched 47 1/3 innings over ten games (8 starts). He went 4-2 with a 2.09 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He was promoted to Cedar Rapids, where he's made ten starts. He is 6-2 with a 2.10 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. In 103 total innings, he has struck out 142 batters while walking just 30. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints The Saints had some really strong performances, especially from bullpen types. Robinson Leyer, Ryan Mason, Vinny Nittoli, and Chris Nunn each tossed three scoreless innings over two outings. Jason Garcia tossed four innings of shutout ball in his start. Derek Law made the first start of his professional career, and he gave up just one hit and struck out six batters over four shutout innings. Also, Beau Burrows had his best start since joining the Twins organization. He gave up just one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six batters. Damek Tomscha had not been playing much recently, but this past week, he played in all six games and responded by hitting .375/.400/.708 (1.108) with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. Drew Stankiewicz also played more. In five games, he hit .385/.438/.615 (1.053) with a homer. Of course, Jose Miranda had another excellent week. He played six games and hit .357/.357/.643 (1.000) with two doubles, two homers, and eight RBI. Jimmy Kerrigan hit .400/.423/.560 (.983) with four doubles. Wichita Wind Surge The week's highlight has to be that the Wichita team clinched a playoff spot and the best record in the Double-A Central Division. They begin their championship series on Tuesday. The individual highlight probably is the performance of Simeon Woods Richardson. After two rough, unintentionally short outings, he made two appearances. He made one start and tossed three scoreless innings. On Sunday, he worked two scoreless innings out of the bullpen to prepare for the playoffs. Chris Vallimont had a nice start this week. He gave up one run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings. Cole Sands was terrific again. He tossed five scoreless innings in his start. In his past three starts, he has given up only an unearned run over 17 innings. Right-hander Hector Lujan became a first-time father, and he got four outs in a perfect outing. Melvi Acosta gave up zero earned runs on one hit over three innings. Erik Manoah pitched some big innings and was terrific. He allowed just one hit and one walk over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out five batters. Trey Cabbage had another solid week. Over five games, he hit .429/.500/.714 (1.214) with a double and a home run. Ernie de la Trinidad hit .308/.400/.615 (1.015) with a double and a big home run. Aaron Whitefield played five games and hit .375/.474/.438 (.911) with a double, three walks, and six stolen bases. Austin Martin hit .316/.480/.421 (.901) with two doubles. He also walked six times. Andrew Bechtold played in six games and hit .294/.357/.417 (898) with a double and a home run. I'm guessing a personal highlight for him was getting to catch a game. The day after the Wind Surge clinched their playoff spot and the top seed, Bechtold found himself behind the plate for a game. It is something that he has been working on throughout the season, trying to give himself more versatility. He caught the game that Cole Sands threw. There were no passed balls or wild pitches, and Sands tossed five scoreless innings. He must have done just fine. Cedar Rapids Kernels Not only did the Kernels have to finish with the second-best record in the High-A Central League, but they also had to win that spot by a game because Lake County and Great Lakes had the tiebreakers. The Kernels came up big and won their final three games to make the playoffs for the eighth time in eight seasons as a Twins affiliate. On Sunday, Aaron Rozek made the start, and the team couldn't have asked for more. He worked five shutout innings and gave up only a hit and a walk. Sean Mooney was outstanding too. He gave up one run on two walks and a hit batter over five innings. He did not allow a hit and struck out seven batters. Zach Featherstone worked in three games and had a big save. He worked 3 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings. He walked two and struck out seven batters. Osiris German also was crucial. He came into two big situations and gave up only one hit over four scoreless innings. He struck out six batters without issuing a walk. Carlos Suniaga and Tyler Watson each had a save as well. Edouard Julien hit just .231, but he posted a .964 OPS with two doubles and three home runs. DaShawn Keirsey had two home runs in Sunday's playoff clincher and three home runs this week. Matt Wallner went 7-for-23 (.304) with a double and a home run. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Fair to say that the highlight of the week was Saturday night's combined no-hitter. Regi Grace worked the first three innings. Landon Leach followed with two innings before Bradley Hanner and Matthew Swain each worked a hitless inning. Swain blew fastballs by the three hitters he struck out in the final inning. Regi Grace struck out four batters in his three innings. Since returning from the shoulder impingement, he has worked nine scoreless innings over three appearances. Brent Headrick struck out seven batters over three scoreless innings in his final start of the season. Cade Povich struck out five batters over two innings in his outing. He gave up an unearned run. John Stankiewicz had a strong start. In six innings, he gave up one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out six batters. Charlie Mack played in three games. He went just 2-for-6 (.333), but he walked five times (.636 OBP) and had a big triple. Patrick Winkel went 3-for-8 (.375) with two doubles and two walks to give him a 1.170 OPS. Mikey Perez has been fantastic since debuting a couple of weeks ago. In four games this week, he hit .444/.500/.667 (1.167) with two doubles. Willie Joe Garry hit .385/.385/.769 (1.154) with a triple and a home run. FCL Twins The FCL Twins concluded their season on Saturday morning. The highlight(s) of the week involved more players getting just a taste of pro ball before the end of the season. 2021 draft picks, right-handed pitchers Christian McLeod, Travis Adams, and Johnathan Lavallee made their pro debuts. Righty Hunter McMahon returned to the mound for a rehab appearance and struck out four batters in two scoreless innings. Mike Paredes, another 2021 pick, made another appearance and struck out five batters over two perfect innings. Wilker Reyes gave up just one hit over three scoreless innings. Kala'i Rosario ended his season strong. He went 4-for-10 (.400) with a double and a home run. Rubel Cespedes and LaRon Smith each hit a homer during the week. Lowlights St. Paul Saints Bryan Sammons struggled in his start. He was charged with seven runs on seven hits (2 HR) and three walks in 3 1/3 innings. Ian Hamilton gave up four runs on five hits and four walks over 2 2/3 innings (though he did strike out six of the eight batters he got out). Yennier Cano gave up three runs on four hits and four walks over 2 1/3 innings. Tomas Telis has been terrific again for the Saints this season. In five games last week, however, he hit .136/.208/.136 (.345). BJ Boyd hit .150/.190/.200 (.390) in five games. Wichita Wind Surge Ben Gross made two appearances, one out of the bullpen and then his first Double-A start on Sunday. Combined, he gave up nine runs (8 earned) on 11 hits and six walks in just 5 2/3 innings. Jordan Balazovic gave up four runs on four hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings. Zach Neff pitched once, but he gave up five runs (4 earned) on three hits and two walks. No player with more than five plate appearances had an OPS under .619. Cedar Rapids Kernels Cody Laweryson gave up six runs on eight hits, a walk, and a hit batter over 5 1/3 innings. Denny Bentley gave up two runs on five hits and got just four outs. Seth Gray had a tough week overall. He had two hits in 20 at-bats (.100) in six games. However, his home run on Saturday night gave the Kernels a 7-6 lead in the ninth inning. Anthony Prato went 2-for-14 (.143). Alex Isola as 4-for-22 (.182). Ft. Myers Might Mussels Jake Rucker went 0-for-9 for the week. Alerick Soularie went 1-for-14 (.071). Misael Urbina went 2-for-13 (.154), though he did have a double. PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our updated Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 37 games, .254/.399/.381 (.779) with 8 doubles, 3 home runs, 19 RBI, 23 BB, 30 K. #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 20 GS, 97.0 IP, 98 H, 38 BB, 102 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.40 WHIP #4 - Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) - 4 G, 3 GS, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 8 BB, 10 K, 6.75 ERA, 1.75 WHIP. #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 117 games, .338/.394/.565 (.959) with 28 doubles, 28 homers, 86 RBI, 39 BB, 72 K #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - St. Paul (2 GS, 9.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K, 2.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP), Minnesota (3 GS, 17.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 14 K, 2.12 ERA, 0.53 WHIP) #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 5 GS, 21.0 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 43 K, 0.86 ERA, 0.67 WHIP (IL, elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - 2 G, 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 5.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP. #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 60 games, .233/.296/.301 (.597) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 24 RBI, 18 BB, 89 K, 5 SB (Temporary Inactive List) #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP (IL, shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 66 games, .264/.350/.508 (.858) with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 15 homers, 47 RBI, 28 BB, 98 K. #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (39 games, .310/.405/.490 (.894) with 11 doubles, 5 homers, 24 RBI, 20 BB, 33 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 10 GS, 47.0 IP, 55 H, 25 BB, 38 K, 7.28 ERA, 1.70 WHIP. #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 22 games, .238/.316/.369 (.685) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 14 RBI, 9 BB, 26 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (46 games, .206/.294/.413 (.707) with 9 doubles, 8 homers, 15 RBI, 13 BB, 58 K) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #18 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 101 games, .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 12 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homers, 52 RBI, 54 BB, 82 K, 16 SB) #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 19 G, 18 GS, 80.1 IP, 59 H, 35 BB, 96 K, 2.46 ERA, 1.17 WHIP #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 110 games, .254/.348/.484 (.833) with 18 doubles, 3 triples, 24 homers, 66 RBI, 55 BB, 105 K) LOOKING AHEAD Ft. Myers Season is Complete. High-A Central League Championship Series: Cedar Rapids vs. Quad Cities: (Louie Varland, Sean Mooney, Casey Legumina, Sawyer Gipson-Long, TBD) Double-A Central League Championship Series: Wichita vs. NW Arkansas: (Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, Austin Schulfer, TBD, TBD): Iowa @ St. Paul: (Derek Law, Bryan Sammons, Beau Burrows, Drew Strotman, Andrew Albers): Also, Instructional League/camp starts on Tuesday in Ft. Myers for some players, particularly those who have lost time due to injury. Good luck to the Wind Surge and the Kernels this week!
    2 points
  29. Some of these players had memorable Twins tenures, while others might not have gotten a full opportunity. Either way, they are in the thick of the playoff hunt as their team’s search for October glory. Division Leaders Tampa Bay: Nelson Cruz, DH Nelson Cruz was dealt at the trade deadline in a move that brought back two top pitching prospects, including Joe Ryan. Since the trade, Cruz has posted a .776 OPS, which is 130 points lower than he had with the Twins this year. He still has a 117 OPS+, and he has some big hits in a Rays uniform. Tampa looks to go back to the World Series with Cruz as their veteran leader. Chicago: Liam Hendriks, RP Chicago paid Liam Hendriks a ton of money this winter to bring him to the Southside, and he has lived up to the hype. He leads the American League in Saves, and he has a career-high strikeout rate. Minnesota never gave Hendriks a chance in the bullpen, and some question the team’s decision to let him go. Either way, Chicago paid him to perform like this and to help the team in October. Houston: Ryan Pressly, RP Pressly was dealt to the Astros back in 2018 for Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino. Both of these players have impacted the 2021 Twins, and they look to have bright futures. Ryan Pressly is in the midst of a tremendous season at the backend of the Astros bullpen. He has a sub 1.00 WHIP for the second time in his career, and his chase rate ranks in the 94th percentile. Wild Card Contenders Boston: Martin Perez, SP Twins fans may not have fond memories of Martin Perez as he posted a 5.12 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in over 165 innings back in 2019. His time in Boston has only been slightly better. In the season’s first half, he posted a 4.04 ERA, which isn’t easy to do in the AL East. His average exit velocity and BB% both rank in the 60th percentile or higher. Toronto: Jose Berrios, SP On Sunday, Jose Berrios made his first career start against the Twins, and the Blue Jays walked away with the win. Berrios was part of a blockbuster deadline deal that brought Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson to Minnesota. Toronto didn’t need Berrios to be an ace, and he has posted a 130 OPS+. Also, he has been worth more win probability added for the Blue Jays this season than with the Twins. New York: Luis Gil, SP In 2018, Gil was sent to the Yankees for Jake Cave, but he was a long way from making an impact at the big-league level. He’s been impressive across six big-league starts this season by posting a 3.07 ERA and 11.7 SO/9. Right now, the Yankees are on the outside of the playoffs, but Luis Gil might be one of the pieces to get them back into the postseason. Oakland: Deolis Guerra, RP Deolis Guerra was part of the Johan Santana trade, and Oakland is his sixth organization since leaving Minnesota. Oakland also has former Twin Sergio Romo, but Guerra has been the more valuable player this season. He ranks in the 84th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, xwOBA, xSLG, hard-hit %, and chase rate. Which of these players has the most significant impact on the playoff races? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  30. Baseball is a challenging game, and even the all-time greats can have a down season. Players fight through injuries, work on swing adjustments, and fight against extensive data compiled on their every weakness. This is a tough environment for any player to find success. Here are three Twins players that underperformed in 2021 that should return to form next season. Randy Dobnak, SP Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Dobnak after signing his extension last spring. Beginning the season as a reliever and multiple IL stints meant his season could never get off the ground. There were brief glimpses of the old Dobnak this season, but he ended up being worth -1.3 WAR. Only J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker posted a lower WAR total for the team this season. Dobnak is also under contract through 2025. In next year's starting rotation, Minnesota will have plenty of opportunities, and Dobnak is better than his numbers from 2021. Alex Colome, RP Like Dobnak, not much went right for Colome at the start of the year. His disastrous April helped put the Twins in a hole that made it nearly impossible to dig out. He has already shown improved performance in the second half with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He's held batters to a .214/.277/.359 slash line in his last 27 games. One of Minnesota's biggest questions this winter will be whether or not to pick up Colome's mutual option. With Taylor Rogers injured, could that make the team want to keep Colome around? Ryan Jeffers, C Minnesota started the year with what looked like one of baseball's best catching duos. Both Ryan Jeffers and Mitch Garver struggled offensively before Jeffers was eventually demoted. Keep in mind that Jeffers had never played at Triple-A in his professional career. In 24 games, he got on base over 34% of the time and posted a .786 OPS. Defensively, he has still provided value as he has been worth four defensive runs saved and ranks in the 72nd percentile for framing. Jeffers doesn't turn 25 until next June, and he is still the future of catching for the Twins. Which Twins player do you feel is the most likely to bounce back in 2022? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  31. Box Score Luke Farrell: 1.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 K (70.5-percent strikes) Homeruns: Rortvedt (3) Bottom 3 WPA: Farrell (-.332), Kepler (-.099), Cave (-.097) Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs) José Berríos Stifles Twins Lowly Offensive Attack The big storyline headed into today was the Twins bad offense against “old friend” José Berríos who’s having the best second half of his career. Despite pitching well for Toronto over the last month and half, today’s start by the former Twins pitcher was reminiscent of his time in Minnesota. Over the first three innings of the game, Berríos was on point by allowing just one hit, a 1st inning double to Byron Buxton, but only struckout one hitter. The Twins were able to put together a little rally in the fourth when Berríos hit Josh Donaldson which was followed up by back-to-back doubles from Miguel Sano and Nick Gordon to give the Twins their first runs of the game. Berríos settled back by getting 10 of the next 11 Twins batters out and allowing a lone walk to Donaldson in the top of the 6th. He’d go out for the 7th but wouldn’t be able to finish the inning as he allowed a solo homerun to Ben Rortvedt, who was batting ninth for the Twins today. The Twins didn’t have the baserunners or runs to show it but they were actually able to hit their former teammate pretty hard today generating 11 balls with exit velocities of 95 miles per hour or greater. For reference, the Twins bullpen game generated 12 hard hits over the same amount of innings. The three runs against Berríos were the only runs the Twins would get as they weren’t able to muster up a hit after the Rortvedt homer. Bullpen Needs Relief Early The Twins elected to use a bullpen game today, which typically means that each relief pitcher used will try and give the club two to three innings. Unfortunately, Luke Farrell got clobbered in the first inning giving up seven straight hits, including a double and two-run homerun, and five earned runs. Farrell was relieved by Nick Vincent at the start of the second inning who was able to silence the best offense in baseball with two innings of shutout work giving up only a hit and a walk while striking out one. Juan Minaya came on in the fourth allowing a walk and a hit but striking out the nine, one, and four hitters in the Blue Jays high powered offense. He continued his strong appearance with two more strikeouts in the fifth and generated 15-percent whiff rate on his fastballs over the two innings pitched. Caleb Thielbar was up next on the merry-go-round giving up one hit while striking out one. Danny Coulumbe finished up the last two innings of the game by striking out two and allowing just one hit. WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Moran 34 0 0 34 0 68 Barraclough 0 0 0 32 0 32 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 Colomé 0 0 14 0 0 14 Vincent 21 0 0 0 40 61 Alcalá 0 0 13 0 0 13 Garza Jr. 0 0 0 17 0 17 Duffey 0 0 16 0 0 16 Minaya 0 0 0 0 36 36 Farrell 0 0 0 0 34 34 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 22 22
    2 points
  32. TRANSACTIONS INF Drew Maggi selected by Twins from AAA St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 5, Indianapolis 9 Box Score Bryan Sammons: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Tomás Telis (3-for-5), Drew Stankiewicz (2-for-4, RBI) The Saints lost on Saturday. Bryan Sammons had a rough day at the office. He allowed seven runs as Indianapolis put up back-to-back four-run efforts in the 3rd and 4th innings. The score was close at times. The Saints originally took the lead in the 2nd inning thanks to singles by Sherman Johnson and Drew Stankiewicz, but that lead did not last for long. Indianapolis instantly responded with five runs over the next two innings; runs that were capped off with a bases-clearing double from Taylor Davis. Damek Tomscha brought the game within striking distance with a triple and eventually came around thanks to a balk. The good news ends there as Indianapolis piled on four more runs in the 4th inning and essentially ended the game there. Mitch Garver went 1-4 with a single and a strikeout in his rehab appearance. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 3, Arkansas 5 Box Score Austin Schulfer: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Wind Surge lost a close one on Saturday. Offensively, Wichita was limited to only singles and walks, but the team was able to scrap themselves to a few runs. Austin Martin, Aaron Whitefield, Jermaine Palacios, and Leobaldo Cabrera all stole a base on Saturday (and Palacios stole two). The steals directly to the three runs the Wind Surge scored. Three runs would not be enough to win. Austin Schulfer allowed two runs in his start, but Evan Sisk matched that total in relief of Schulfer. The Travelers tacked on another run, but that proved to just be unnecessary breathing room. Wichita put together a rally in the 9th inning as Palacios and Trey Cabbage both took walks, but Whitefield and Andrew Bechtold were unable to bring any more runners home. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Peoria 3 Box Score Sawyer Gipson-Long: 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K HR: Edouard Julien (14), Aaron Sabato (8) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4) The Kernels won a close game on Saturday. Sawyer Gipson-Long continued his ridiculous strikeout streak by punching out eight Chiefs. He now has 134 punchies on the season, which, by my count, is pretty darn good. Gipson-Long might still fly under the radar on prospect lists, but he certainly is a name that should be kept track of. Offensively, the Kernels dominated. Only one hitter had multiple hits but that was because every other hitter was too busy taking walks. The team walked eight times with Aaron Sabato leading the way with three free passes on top of his homerun. Let’s talk about his homer. Sabato’s 5th inning shot was his eighth in 92 plate appearances with the Kernels. Over a 600 plate appearance season (a traditional full year of play), that would be good for 52 blasts. I don’t think you need me to tell you how good that is. Not to be outdone, Edouard Julien blasted his 14th homer with the Kernels in the 3rd inning. Julien has seen a dramatic boost in home runs since his promotion (three with Fort Myers, 14 with Cedar Rapids over a comparable amount of playing time), and the new power is quite intriguing. If he can find the perfect mix of discipline and power, then we may be looking at a great hitter for the Twins. Osiris German and Tyler Watson combined to end the game for Cedar Rapids with 2 2/3 clean innings of work between the two pitchers. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 5, Tampa 6 (7 innings) Box Score Jackson Hicks: 0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K HR: Willie Joe Garry Jr. (4) Multi-hit games: Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI) The Fort Myers Miracle lost their paused game on Saturday. Cade Povich took over for Jackson Hicks and performed admirably. He struck out five batters over his two innings of work without allowing an earned run. Povich now has 16 strikeouts over eight innings with Fort Myers, not a bad start at all. Fort Myers held the lead late in the game thanks to Willie Joe Garry Jr’s. two-run homer, Misael Urbina’s double, and some early-inning shenanigans from Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Kole McKinnon. The 6th inning proved to be the back-breaker, though. A single from Tyler Hardman, with the aid of a Garry Jr. error, scored the game-ending go-ahead run. The Mighty Mussels had three total errors in the game. The three errors, along with going 1-9 with RISP, proved to be too much for Fort Myers to overcome. Game two: Fort Myers 3, Tampa 0 Box Score Regi Grace: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels threw a no-hitter* in game two. ...Kind of. MLB already established that a seven-inning no-hitter does not technically count, but I find that to be lame, so Fort Myers threw a no-hitter on Saturday (as declared by Matt Braun.) Regi Grace was astonishingly efficient in his start. Landon Leach, Bradley Hanner, and Matthew Swain combined to complete the game in relief of Grace. In total, the Mighty Mussels struck out 11 batters, allowed no hits (duh), and walked just one batter. That lone walk proved to be the sole blemish on the night. The Fort Myers offense, to their credit, did their part as well. Will Holland doubled home a run, Jake Rucker brought in another with a sacrifice fly, and Patrick Winkel added on with a run-scoring double. Those three runs were more than enough for the Mighty Mussels in game two. Quotes following the game: Matthew Swain, who struck out the side in the ninth inning, said, "I just focused and took it pitch-by pitch. Just trying to get strike one and eliminate hitters. Just wanted to finish out the season strong, on a good note. I had a little chip on my shoulder this game." Tonight's starter, Regi Grace, said of the group, "It's just our organizational philosophy; throw nasty (stuff) in the zone. I guess all four of us were all a little extra nasty tonight." Catcher Patrick Winkel said, "(Manager) Brian (Meyer) told us before the week, this might be the last time you guys play together, so try to have fun with it, and that's exactly what we're doing. That just comes through on the field, the level of energy and the focus we have. We're just trying to enjoy these last few days as a group. We don't know if or when we'll ever play together again. Just trying to go out on a good note." Winkel said of his pitchers, "Regi was dominating with his fastball and then going to his curveball, keeping them off balance. Leach came out and was working really fast, not giving them a chance to breathe and catching them off guard. Working down and away. Putting the ball where he wanted to put it. Hanner came in and had great energy and focus. He didn't back down. He had the top of the order, some of the best hitters in this league, and obviously Swain came in and closed the door by just blew fastballs by them." Hanner said, "I just wanted to end the season on a high note, and I can't think of a better way to do it." Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 4, FCL Red Sox 3 (7 innings) Box Score Mike Paredes: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K HR: Kala’i Rosario (5) Multi-hit games: Kala’i Rosario (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Gregory Duran (2-for-3, 2B) The FCL Twins won their paused game on Saturday. Technically, Kala’i Rosario kicked off the game yesterday with a monstrous first-inning home run. But, because the game did not end until today, I am commandeering the content for today’s write-up. Here it is: Mike Paredes mowed through the FCL Red Sox offense to begin the game before Chase Petty took over to carry the torch. His second professional outing resulted in three earned runs over his three innings of work-not the best performance on the surface, but he also struck out four batters. Those three earned runs turned the tide of the game against the FCL Twins as they now found themselves down by a run. The team was not finished, though. A 6th inning double-steal brought home the tying run, and a 7th inning single from Ricardo Olivar ended the game for good. The Twins and Red Sox were supposed to play a second game, but that game was canceled. Today was also the last day of the season for the FCL and it appears that the team will not make up the game on Sunday. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Sawyer Gipson-Long Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Aaron Sabato PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, K #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-5, 2B #7 – Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, R, 2 K #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-3, 2 R, K #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 K #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-3, BB, K #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-6, R, RBI, 2B, BB, K #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Tampa @ Fort Myers (10:00 AM) LHP Zarion Sharpe St. Paul @ Indianapolis (11:35 AM) RHP Drew Strotman Arkansas @ Wichita (12:05 PM) RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (12:35 PM) TBD
    2 points
  33. Transactions Minnesota Twins select the contract of RHP Nick Vincent from Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins option LHP Andrew Albers to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins sent C Mitch Garver on a rehab assignment to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins promote IF Ernie Yake to Triple-A St. Paul from Twins Complex SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 2, St. Paul 0 Box Score The Saints' never got in gear in this one, spoiling a solid pitching performance across the board. Jason Garcia got the start for Saint Paul and was effective over four full innings. He allowed four hits and walked one but did not allow a run and struck out one. Unfortunately, the Saints’ bats struggled early as well and this contest stayed scoreless until the fifth, when Indianapolis got on the board first. Now facing reliever Edgar Garcia, Indianapolis grabbed a run in the fifth off a Bligh Madris double and another in the sixth from an Ethan Paul single. Those turned out to be the only runs of the game, spurring Indianapolis to a 2-0 win. The Saints only managed multiple base runners in the first and ninth innings and didn’t score in either inning. Miguel Yajure sailed through six against St. Paul before turning it over to the bullpen that was just as effective. Gilberto Celestino had a big 3-for-3 night, but he was the only Saints hitter with more than one knock. Chris Nunn pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings but the damage was done during Edgar Garcia’s outing. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Arkansas 1 Box Score Fresh off clinching a spot in the playoff, Wichita gave the ball to Cole Sands and Twins Daily’s #19 prospect was dominant, as he and Kody Funderburk keyed a pitcher’s duel victory. Sands went five full innings and only allowed three hits while striking out four. He did allow three walks but did not allow any of them to score. In fact he, didn’t allow anyone to score. From there, Funderburk took over and it was as if nothing changed. Kody cruised through three hitless innings, and though he ran into some trouble and allowed a run in the ninth, he still closed out the win. On the offensive end, the Surge didn’t do a lot, but it was just enough. The first run of the game came in the second, when a Jermaine Palacios single finished off a rally that brought Leobaldo Cabrera to the plate. Hours of scoreless baseball later, Ernie De La Trinidad blasted a shot into the bullpen to grab Wichita’s second run of the game. Those runs proved to be all the Surge needed, thanks to the dominant pitching. D.J Burt and Ernie De La Trinidad had the only multi-hit games for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Peoria 6 Box Score With a playoff berth very much in the balance, Cedar Rapids turned to Casey Legumina tonight for his debut start for the Kernels. Legumina allowed three runs and struck out seven in 4 ⅔ innings, keeping the Kernels in it and allowing their late offensive explosion to carry the day. The Kernels didn’t wait to take the lead in this one as Michael Helman came to the plate on a throwing error from Peoria third baseman Jacob Buchberger. Peoria answered in the bottom of the third with a run coming in on a Jhon Torres double, but the Kernels took their lead right back off a massive solo homer from Aaron Sabato. Unfortunately, the Chiefs took the lead for themselves in the fifth with two runs, with Torres and Pedro Pages registering RBI singles. Cedar Rapids still trailed 3-2 heading in the eighth inning, but then they decided they’d had enough of that. The offense blasted three homers in the inning for four runs to take a strong three-run lead. The bombs came from Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, and Aaron Sabato for his second of the night. However, the Chiefs took that punch and responded with one of their own in their half of the eighth. They strung together four straight hits and put up three runs to tie the game, with RBI going to Tommy Jew (2) and Tyler Reichenborn. But, as if to spit in the face of Peoria’s comeback, Seth Gray hit a go-ahead bomb to dead center to lead off the ninth inning. And, though the bottom of the ninth inning didn't go smoothly for Cedar Rapids, no runs were scored and the Kernels secured a massive win. Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for the second playoff spot in High-A Central and both teams were just one game up on Great Lakes with three to play. With losses tonight from both of their playoff rivals, this Kernels win gives them a one-game lead over Lake County. Cedar Rapids trails both Lake County and Great Lakes in the playoff tiebreaker, so that one-game lead is crucial as they'll need it to secure a spot against Quad Cities in the playoff. MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa 0, Fort Myers 0 (postponed top first) Box Score The Mussels were scheduled to finish last night’s postponed game against Tampa tonight. Unfortunately, the rain continued to create problems in Fort Myers and no baseball could be played today. The game that had been scheduled for today has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The Mussels and Tarpons will play a doubleheader tomorrow, weather permitting. COMPLEX CHRONICLES Game 1: FCL Red Sox 10, FCL Twins 2 Box Score It’s Friday, so you already know that the FCL Twins lost to the Red Sox. In the first half of a scheduled doubleheader the Twins struggled on both sides of the ball, losing 10-2. The Twins only managed four hits in this one and no hitter had a multi-hit game. The runs scored on two solo homers, one from LaRon Smith in the second, and the other from Rubel Cespedes in the fifth. The Red Sox offense scored runs in all but two innings and built their substantial lead with a four-run second inning and a three-run second. On the mound for the Twins, Giovahniey German started the game and struggled, allowing five runs (four earned) in less than two innings. Control was an issue for German, as he walked three batters and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. Danny Moreno took over from German and was better, allowing a run and striking out three in two innings of work. Cole Bellair’s 2 ⅔ innings was the longest outing of the night, though he was touched for four earned runs during his time on the bump. Ricardo Velez took care of the seventh and was the only Twins pitcher to not allow a run. Game 2: FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 0 (postponed, bottom second) Box Score TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR (7) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 3 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 3-for-3, BB, 2B #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR (8) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-3, BB, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-2, 5.49 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (6-7, 4.37 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-3, 4.63 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Doubleheader (Game 1: 3:30 PM CST, Game 2 to follow) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
    2 points
  34. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will ultimately steer the direction of the 2022 club this offseason. It’s a very stripped-down roster compared to how this season started in terms of expectations, and how the front office decides to rebuild or retool is yet to be determined. However, there are still pieces in place, and answering questions about three key subjects could determine Minnesota’s outlook in the year ahead. Max Kepler Signed to an extension at the same time as Jorge Polanco, Kepler was given the larger contract. He responded by posting a career-best .855 OPS and was a key contributor on the Bomba Squad. In 155 games since he’s posted just a .737 OPS and 103 OPS+. To say he’s failed expectations would be putting it lightly. Still just 28 years old, Kepler does hope for a prime resurgence to be in front of him. Minnesota dreamed of a player ready to take a step forward, and they saw it for just a single season. Much of how the Twins were expected to compete in 2021 and beyond was reliant on the core of Kepler, Polanco, Miguel Sano, and Byron Buxton. Those players reaching the peaks of their potential at the same time was always the developmental hope. As pointed out by Twins Daily contributors Nash Walker and Tom Froemming, there’s a lot under the hood to like about Kepler. He’s a strong defender, and the inputs still suggest that production has room for positive regression. It’s getting late early, though, and the reality is results must follow. The Twins outfield could be crowded next season, with Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach joining Buxton and Kepler on more of a full-time basis. This winter, the front office may be tempted by dealing the German-born corner. What is the next step for Kepler, and does it happen with the Twins? Miguel Sano On the books for $9.25 million in 2022, Miguel Sano would seem to be in the Twins plans for the upcoming year fiscally. While there were times he looked essentially unplayable at the beginning of 2021, the reality is that he’s a hulking power hitter that’s always been susceptible to cold streaks. The timing wasn’t there out of the gate, but not playing him has often been fruitless. Since July 4, Sano has posted an .865 OPS, which has jumped up to an .895 OPS in September. He’s an asset at the dish while being a patient and potent slugger. The ability at first base leaves plenty to be desired, but there’s an argument to be made that keeps his head in the game rather than just having him hit. Presumably, the Twins won’t have a consistent designated hitter in 2022, which would seem optimal when it comes to roster construction. With Kirilloff worth taking time at first base and Josh Donaldson benefitting from days off in the field, rotating through bats makes sense. Where Miguel Sano fits into the Twins plans next season remains to be seen. Is he cast entirely as their designated hitter, how much time does he split with Kirilloff at first, and is the club more adequately prepared to ride with him through the low points? Starting Rotation Surprisingly the Twins bullpen has taken a positive turn down the stretch, and a unit that was a complete zero to start the year has produced in the latter half of the season. There are usable pieces there looking ahead to 2022, and even Alex Colome could wind up finding his option selected by Minnesota. When it comes to the rotation, the front office has its hands full. Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan look like future pieces, but counting on either of them to be the Opening Day starter seems like an acceptance of futility. Depth and quality would suggest a need for a higher ceiling option to be brought in, and where or how high Falvey aims should say plenty about the intentions for competitiveness. As was the case coming into 2021, Minnesota has plenty of top prospects on the pitching side. Many were shelved at different points throughout this season after having a year off in 2020, and relying on them as more than a bonus seems foolhardy. However, building a group punctuated with retread veterans shouldn’t be expected to move the needle much either. Derek Falvey’s calling card in coming to the Twins was pitching prowess, and while he’s helped develop some throughout the system, an overhaul like this will take some serious architecting. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  35. After failing to contend in 2021, the Twins are in an intriguing position when planning for the future. Can the team be competitive in 2022? Is it going to take multiple years to get back near the top of the AL Central? Josh Donaldson is under contract for two more seasons, and there is a chance he isn’t part of Minnesota’s next winning club. Concern 1: Offensive Production Minnesota paid a hefty premium to sign Donaldson because they were in the middle of a winning window. Generally speaking, the Twins knew what they were getting with Donaldson, and he has lived up to that billing. He’s posted an .822 OPS and a 127 OPS+ during his Twins tenure, which is probably more than fans expected when signing a player in his mid-30s. Since signing, Donaldson ranks ninth in WAR among AL third basemen, just behind Alex Bregman. Only four AL third basemen rank higher than Donaldson when it comes to Win Probability Added. His Baseball Savant page is also full of plenty of red. He ranks in the 90th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel %, and BB %. His offensive skills are still there even at age 35. Concern 2: Long-Term Health This season, health has been less of an issue as he has appeared in over 115 games for only the second time since 2016. Chronic calf issues seem to be part of the Donaldson equation, but maybe he has figured out the proper regimen to stay on the field. Minnesota has also given Donaldson regular rest and time at designated hitter. During the 2021 season, Donaldson has missed the most time with hamstring injuries. He altered his running style to put less pressure on his calves, which might have hampered his hamstrings. Even if he has put some doubts to rest, his age and previous injury history will factor into any Donaldson trade. Concern 3: Large Contract Finding a taker for Donaldson’s contract might be another challenge, because Donaldson has over $50 million in guaranteed money remaining on his contract. Minnesota will likely need to pay some of his remaining guaranteed money to get any value in return. According to FanGraphs, Donaldson was worth just under $7 million in 2020, and he has been worth $12.7 million so far in 2021. That’s lower than the $21.75 million he is due in each of the next two years. Would the Twins be willing to pay $20-25 million of his remaining guaranteed money? That might seem like a lot, but that’s what it may take to get a decent return. Concern 4: Personality There are also some teams that aren't going to be interested in Donaldson because of his on and off the field behavior. Overall, he has a personality that rubs some people the wrong way. Minnesota’s front office had to know what they were getting when they signed Josh Donaldson. He had a proven track record of being outspoken, but the Twins were willing to deal with his on and off-field behavior if he helped push the team to postseason success. Obviously, Donaldson has yet to help the team to October glory, and the team may be ready to move on from him. Do you think Donaldson gets traded this winter? Will the team spend the money needed to get a prospect back? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  36. TRANSACTIONS Charlie Barnes was returned to the Saints after being the 29th man on Tuesday. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Indianapolis 2 Box Score Playing an afternoon matinee in Indianapolis, the Saints sent Beau Burrows to the bump. He tossed 6 1/3 innings of four-hit ball allowing just a single run. Burrows walked two and punched out six in what was among his best outings this season. St. Paul scored first as Sherman Johnson singled home Damek Tomscha in the 2nd inning. After allowing an equalizer in the bottom half, St. Paul added again in the 3rd inning. Jimmy Kerrigan drove in Jose Miranda on a single to center. Putting some distance between the clubs, Caleb Hamilton singled in the 4th inning to score Tomscha and make it a 3-1 game. Things got a bit dicey in the 9th inning when Yennier Cano allowed some traffic to turn into a run. He loaded the bases with a walk on a 3-2 pitch but generated a ground ball to end the game. Miranda continued his amazing season with a 3-for-4 effort and Tomscha had a multi-hit game as well tallying two doubles. WIND SURGE WISDOM Arkansas 10, Wichita 5 (Game 1) Box Score Suspended yesterday, here’s what Steve had to say about the action that did get played: Unfortunately for the Wind Surge, they played much of this game through some drizzle before the conditions became too much for them to continue. They had not yet completed five innings, so the game was suspended in the top of the fifth and will resume tomorrow. It had been a mixed bag before the game was paused, as Simeon Woods Richardson delivered a fantastic performance for the first three innings of the game, but upon his exit the Travelers struck to take the 4-1 lead against Ben Gross. In his outing, Woods Richardson allowed just two hits while striking out five in his three innings. He definitely looked like a top prospect in this one as compared to his prior outings. Of his 47 pitches in the game, 32 went for strikes (68%), including a whopping 12 swinging strikes. He got those swings and misses on all of his pitches as well, with his changeup especially (to my eyes) looking like it was fooling everyone. Wichita got their lone run in the bottom of the second thanks to an RBI infield single from Aaron Whitefield. Picking up in the 5th inning, Trey Cabbage made his presence felt launching his 18th homer of the year, a two-run shot that drew Wichita within one at 4-3. A 6th inning grand slam for Arkansas allowed a five-run inning to provide plenty of distance. Wichita attempted to make things interesting in the 8th inning when Andrew Bechtold singled in Cabbage and Aaron Whitefield drove in Spencer Steer. That 9-5 deficit was the closest things would get, and with Arkansas adding another run in the 9th inning, this one stayed out of reach. Wichita 6, Arkansas 4 (F/7 Game 2) Box Score Jordan Balazovic was on the bump for game two of this non-traditional doubleheader. It wasn’t his sharpest outing and the Twins top pitching prospect went just 3 2/3 innings allowing four runs on four hits and four walks while striking out five batters. Down 2-0 after the first inning, Wichita answered with two runs of their own in the 2nd inning. Jermaine Palacios singled driving in Leobaldo Cabrera, and Andrew Bechtold plated Palacios on a single of his own. Again trailing after the 4th inning, the Wind Surge answered with Spencer Steer ripping a bases loaded double to bring everyone home. Grabbing their first lead of the contest, Cedar Rapids was now on top 5-4. During a 6th inning Bechtold walk, Whitefield swiped third base and scored on an error by the Travelers backstop. 6-4 is where this on would end, and Roy Morales was the lone player to record a multi-hit effort going 3-for-4 on the evening. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 2, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Louie Varland has been dominant at the two levels of Class A ball this season, and he turned in another great start tonight for the Kernels. Working six innings, Varland allowed two runs (just one earned) on four hits and no walks. He punched out 11 batters on the evening and dropped his ERA to 2.10. Derek Molina struck out four batters over the final two innings. Jair Camargo drove in Aaron Sabato with a 5th inning single knotting the game at one, but that was the only run production the Kernels could muster and they fell just short. Camargo had a two-hit night and accounted for half of Cedar Rapids total. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 5, Tampa 2 Box Score Needing just seven total strikeouts to set a new team record, the Mighty Mussels eclipsed the team total set by the Miracle back in 2019. Starter John Stankiewicz picked up six of the necessary punch outs and worked six innings allowing just a single run on five hits and a walk. After getting behind in the first, Charles Mack recorded his second triple of the season plating both Misael Urbina and Will Holland to take the lead. Mack then drew a bases-loaded walk in the third to drive in Alerick Soularie before Jake Rucker was hit and allowed Christian Encarnacion-Strand to score. Kyle Fedko was hit by a pitch and allowed Holland to score. Three runs came across in the inning, and none were generated by a ball put in play. Tampa drew closers with a solo shot in the 9th inning, but the left the bases loaded and wound up on the short side of the scoreboard. Despite being scheduled for a twin bill, rain again impacted tonight’s plans and turned this into a one game, nine-inning affair. COMPLEX CHRONICLES Scheduled Day Off TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Louie Varland (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-4, R PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-2, R, BB, K #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 3.2 IP, 4 H 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-4, R #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - No game #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - Did not play #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - No game #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play (Paternity List) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-3, R, BB #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, 3 RBI THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Derek Law (1-0, 3.20 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (5-7, 6.33 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-1, 9.00 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Game 1 (6:00 PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games!
    2 points
  37. Across baseball, teams will be vying for free-agent shortstops like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager. Minnesota can try to outbid other teams for their services, but the current front office doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to free-agent signings. Instead, the team can look to a buy-low candidate at shortstop. The Yankees are a team that spends money on the free-agent front as they currently have a payroll of over $200 million. New York may also be looking for a shortstop replacement. Gleyber Torres has been the team’s starting shortstop, but he has struggled over the last two seasons. Since 2020, he has hit .248/.330/.353 with 36 extra-base hits in 151 games. Torres, a two-time All-Star, turns 25-years-old this winter. He broke into the big leagues as a 21-year-old and posted a 125 OPS+ while averaging 31 homers through his first two seasons. Shortstop is a challenging position for any team to fill, and it is especially tough in the Bronx with players following Derek Jeter’s footsteps. Still, Torres was considered one of baseball’s best prospects, and he showed it early in his career. Why Would the Yankees Trade Him? Torres has struggled to make hard contact for multiple seasons as his Baseball Savant page has much more blue than red. He ranks in the 40th percentile or lower in average exit velocity, hard-hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel %, and whiff %. His worst category is outs above average, where he ranks in the first percentile. Besides his offensive decline, his defense has also been stretched at shortstop. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, Torres has been the AL’s third-worst defensive shortstop in 2021. Back in 2019, the last full season, he was one of only seven AL shortstops with a positive SDI. There’s a chance an undisclosed injury is impacting his performance, but the Yankees might be ready to move on. For any team looking to acquire Torres, it doesn't seem likely for him to be this bad of a player. He was highly regarded as a prospect, and he had multiple years of big-league success. Minnesota can hope that a change in coaching staffs allows him to return to his previous form. Even his current manager believes he will be an impact player for a long time. What Would the Twins Have to Trade? After a disappointing season, the Twins may have multiple players that would be considered buy-low candidates. One name to consider is Max Kepler. Like Torres, Kepler had a monster 2018 season at the plate, but both players have struggled since that point. They are each under team control through the 2024 season, and there’s a chance each player can improve with a change to a new organization. New York’s outfield dimensions are certainly a benefit for left-handed hitters like Kepler. Torres might be helped by being out of New York’s bright lights. Baseball Trade Values claims a straight trade of Kepler for Torres is a fair trade for each team and would likely be accepted from a future value standpoint. New York may also want prospect capital in return for Torres, and the Twins certainly have options down on the farm. The Twins should be prepared to make the call if the Yankees are ready to move on from Torres. Is Torres a player the Twins should target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  38. Box Score Michael Pineda: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Byron Buxton (13), Jorge Polanco 2 (29), Nick Gordon (2), Max Kepler (17) Top 3 WPA: Michael Pineda .169, Jorge Polanco .167, Byron Buxton .095 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco announced their presence in the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back home runs, setting the tone for the Twins’ offense for the remainder of the game. Nick Gordon followed with a solo shot of his own one inning later, and Max Kepler contributed another in the fourth. In the fifth inning, Polanco’s second dinger of the evening extended the Twins’ lead to 6-1, which was more than enough to propel them to victory. Polanco finished the evening with three hits in five plate appearances and raised his slash line to .280/.336/.520 in 133 games. His 29 home runs represent the most in franchise history by a switch-hitter and by a second baseman not named Brian Dozier. With his performance Saturday evening, Polanco eclipsed the 4.0 fWAR mark, placing him inside the top 25 performers on offense this season. While he did not make the All-Star team and got off to a slow start while still recovering from back-to-back ankles surgeries, Polanco’s second-half eruption is worthy of garnering MVP votes come season’s end despite the Twins being among the worst teams in all of baseball. He won’t get many — heck, there’s a good chance that he won’t get any — but few players have had a more impressive August and early September than the Twins’ second baseman. Even though Polanco and the Twins’ offense stole the show, Michael Pineda’s start should not be overlooked. The impending free agent lowered his ERA to 3.87 on the season and has allowed two or fewer runs in seven of his last 10 appearances. His overall strikeout numbers are down this year, and some of his advanced metrics suggest that he hasn’t been quite as good as his box score numbers, but overall his performance this season, when healthy, has been admirable. The Twins and Royals conclude their series on Sunday afternoon when Bailey Ober (2-2, 4.00 ERA) is expected to face off against Kris Bubic (4-6, 5.07 ERA). First pitch is slated for 1:10 PM CST. Postgame Interviews Coming soon... Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Minaya 21 0 0 40 0 61 Thielbar 25 8 0 0 26 59 Farrell 0 0 32 0 12 44 Colomé 17 0 0 12 0 29 Coulombe 0 0 15 0 23 38 Duffey 0 17 0 11 0 28 Alcalá 19 0 0 9 0 28 Garza Jr. 0 0 19 0 0 19 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    2 points
  39. TRANSACTIONS No transactions today. SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 6, St. Paul 3 Box Score Omaha touched St. Paul for four homers in this one and led wire-to-wire, taking the game 6-3. Bobby Witt Jr. got the game started for the Storm Chasers with a solo homer in the first frame, and Ryan McBroom matched his teammate three innings later to make it 2-0. Omaha added on in the sixth and Witt was involved again. The Royals’ top prospect doubled in a run and later scored on an M.J. Melendez sacrifice fly. The Saints offense finally got off the mark in the sixth, when a Gilberto Celestino double started a rally that scored two and featured an RBI each from Mark Contreras and Jimmy Kerrigan. The Saints’ momentum stopped there, though, as Robinson Leyer gave up a solo bomb to the first batter of the next inning to make it 5-2, and a second McBroom homer in the eighth stretched the Omaha lead one notch further. Tomas Telis homered in the eighth to cut the deficit to 6-3, but the Saints went down quietly in the ninth and lose to that score. Charlie Barnes got the start for the Saints tonight and made just the one mistake to Bobby Witt Jr. over 3 ⅓ innings. Barnes’ early hook didn’t seem to serve any purpose for the Saints in this game, but manager Toby Gardenhire may still have taken him out for a reason: As Seth noted in his tweet, Chandler Shepherd took over from there, but he struggled, allowing three runs in 1 ⅔ innings. Leyer allowed just a solo homer in his two innings, as did Nick Vincent in his only inning of work. Chris Nunn took the ninth and was the only Saint pitcher to not allow a run. Telis and Celestino were the Saints with multi-hit games tonight. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 5, NW Arkansas 3 Box Score Jordan Balazovic did a lot to confirm his title as the Twins’ top pitching prospect with a truly special outing on the mound that keyed tonight’s victory for Wichita. Balazovic allowed a run on an RBI groundout in the third, but he went six full innings, struck out five, and, most notably, did not allow a hit. Balazovic, who had thrown 88 pitches when he left the game, was showing no signs of slowing down, but manager Ramon Borrego evidently didn’t see the benefit in stretching his top asset’s limits. Still, enjoy Balazovic’s six innings of dominance: Meanwhile, the Surge offense was having quite the interesting game as well. Wichita got their first two runs in the third, thanks to Austin Martin. The Wichita star shortstop came to the plate with men on first and second and poked a weak grounder to right side, but he busted out of the box and forced an overthrow (allowing one to score), and then got in a rundown that allowed the second run to score. Just watch: In the fifth, Trey Cabbage (who else?) also drove in two runs, but in a very, very different way: The Surge added another run in the fifth off a Roy Morales single that scored Chris Williams. The Naturals got their first hits of the game in the eighth off Zach Neff, and they scored two as well. Clay Dungan doubled in Kevin Merrell and later scored on a Vinnie Pasquantino sac fly to cut the lead to 5-3. Jordan Gore was rock solid in the ninth inning, though, and put away the two-run W. After Balazovic’s six no-hit innings, Adam Lau pitched a no-hit inning of his own, though he did walk two batters. Neff allowed the two runs (and the Naturals’ only two hits) in the eighth and only managed to get two outs. Gore grabbed the last four outs of the game without allowing a base runner. Cabbage and Roy Morales had multi-hit games for the Surge. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids X, Wisconsin X Box Score This game was an absolute nail-biter until it wasn't: the Kernels explode for four runs in the ninth to take it 7-3. Matt Wallner and Aaron Sabato struck first for the Kernels with back-to-back solo homers in the top of the first: However, Sean Mooney allowed that lead to slip away immediately by allowing a three-run shot to Joey Wiemer in the bottom of the inning. In the third though, Alex Isola pumped a homer of his own well over the fence in the left center to tie the game for Cedar Rapids. Both teams built and squandered numerous chances over the middle innings of this game, but it stayed tied at three into the late innings. Like they had in the fifth, the Timber Rattlers loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, and, just like the fifth, they couldn't bring even one run across. And, unlike in the fifth, this time Wisconsin's lack of clutch hitting really hurt them. While the Timber Rattlers were likely still cursing their failures in the eighth inning, Aaron Sabato came up with a man on and blasted his second bomb of the night to give the Kernels a two-run lead. Then, not to be outdone, Isola followed up with his second homer of the night, and the Kernels still weren't done. Gabriel Maciel ripped an RBI single up the middle to make the score 7-3 and effectively seal the game for Cedar Rapids. However, seemingly just to torture themselves, the Timber Rattlers loaded the bases one more time in the bottom of the ninth, and, one more time, they failed to score. But hey, it's hard to be that upset when you're dressed like this: Other than his three-run mistake, Sean Mooney hung tough on the mound for Cedar Rapids. Those were the only runs he allowed in four innings of work and he struck out six, though he did walk three. Denny Bentley was rock solid again in his 2 ⅔ innings of work, striking out four and working around three hits and two walks. Zach Featherstone got the Kernels into trouble with three walks in the eighth, but Osiris German got them out of the eighth. German went out for the ninth, too and got two outs but was removed from the game with two runners on. Melvi Acosta came on for the last out, and walk the bases loaded before finally closing out the game. MUSSEL MATTERS Palm Beach 2, Fort Myers 0 Box Score The Fort Myers’ arms, led by Cade Povich in his second Single-A start, were excellent in this game. However, the Palm Beach pitchers were two runs better and the Mussels drop this one, 2-0. Povich, the Twins’ latest third round draft pick, was very impressive in his three innings to start this game, allowing only one hit and no runs, while striking out five Cardinal batters. Miguel Rodriguez took the middle three innings of the game, and only allowed one run, a home run off the bat of Ryan Holgate in the fourth inning. Zaquiel Puentes took over from there and allowed only one run over the seventh and eighth innings, as he, too, fell victim to Holgate, this time through an RBI single. Bradley Hanner hurled a scoreless ninth inning to finish off a solid outing from the Mussels pitching staff. Still, despite the successes of their pitchers, Fort Myers never looked like winning this game because their offense fell flat. They did get seven hits – and even loaded the bases in the fifth – but they couldn’t string knocks together and their clutch hitting was atrocious. Alerick Soularie and Mikey Perez got multi-hit games, but the Mussels’ hitters might owe the pitching staff dinner after this 2-0 loss. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Red Sox 16, FCL Twins 10 Box Score The bats came out to play for the FCL Twins tonight, but unfortunately, they came out in greater force for the FCL Red Sox and Minnesota’s complex leaguers drop this one 16-10. Leading the offense for the Twins was Carlos Aguiar, who bopped two homers for a total of four RBI, and Kala’i Rosario, who was 3-for-5 with three runs, two RBI, and a homer of his own. The Twins scored two in the top of the first, but never had the lead again despite plating seven runs over the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. They added one in the ninth, but fell well short of the offensive output from the Red Sox. Other than Aguiar and Rosario, Wander Valdez was the only other Twin with a multi-hit game. It goes without saying that it was a struggle on the mound for the FCL Twins tonight. Giovahniey German started the game and allowed seven runs (six earned) over 2 ⅓ innings. His outing was low-lighted by three different wild pitches and five walks. John Wilson replaced German and was the most effective pitcher for the Twins, allowing only two runs (one earned) in 2 ⅔ innings of work. Danny Moreno followed Wilson, but followed more in German’s footsteps as he was touched for five runs in an inning and a third. Rafael Feliz finished the game by allowing two earned run in 1 ⅔ innings. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 6.0 IP, R, ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 5 K Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR, BB, K PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 6.0 IP, R, ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 5 K #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, K #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2 R, RBI, HR, 2 BB, K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, R, 2B, K #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 1-for-5, 2 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-5, 3 K #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Did not play #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-4, K SATURDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (6:05 PM CST) - TBD NW Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Chris Vallimont (5-6 5.75 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:05 PM CST) - LHP Aaron Rozek (0-1, 4.38 ERA) Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - RHP Regi Grace (1-0, 3.47 ERA) Feel free to comment and discuss tonight’s games!
    2 points
  40. If there’s a takeaway for 2021, it’s that nothing is won in the offseason. Take it from a guy that hung a banner over the winter, and it will be worth taking a significant lap when the dust settles on spending before Opening Day 2022. Going into this season, the Twins needed to do little more than hold serve. This team was no longer the Bomba Squad, but they didn’t need to be. Rocco Baldelli had to have a well-rounded group and one that took a step forward with a well-established core. There was plenty of promise after adding more pitching options, a defensive wizard at shortstop, and bringing back the Boomstick. Depth looked to be in a great place, and the talent at the top should’ve been comparable to anyone. After getting out to a 5-2 start, the Twins went on a 1-9 run. They never recovered and didn’t see a .500 record the rest of the way. That depth was depleted through injury, but it was also worn down through ineffectiveness. Miguel Sano looked lost to start, and Max Kepler may never have been found. The free-agent signings, save for the returning Cruz, all flopped. Kenta Maeda wasn’t the arm that dominated in 2020. The bullpen imploded all over the place. "Unfortunate" would be selling the situation short. Minnesota didn’t perform for any consistent stretch, at any consistent level, and it cost them well beyond the injury concerns they dealt with. Following his extension, Jorge Polanco took the reigns on his career, but Kepler and Sano floundered when expected to contribute. No matter how the offseason acquisitions turned out, the core failed to uphold their end of the bargain. In the future, especially when heading into a season of uncertainty, being reminded the season isn’t won in the offseason is a must. Being able to celebrate moves made is a fair practice. How they gel together and ultimately perform on the field is immeasurable until the games get played. As Derek Falvey reconstructs the future for a Twins team with a drastically different outlook, evaluating the offseason will need to be done individually. How players and contracts fit and money is spent should be a focus. Where the results will end up isn’t worth tying to specific pacts. In the year ahead, Minnesota won’t be able to claim an opportunity for a three-peat, and more than anything else, they’ll be looking to distance from the year that was. As the front office embarks on their first opportunity for significant year-over-year growth, the idea that they had a “freaking offseason” will need some pause in hopes that a well-designed process drives more acceptable results. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  41. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/30 thru Sun, 9/5 *** Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 59-77) Run Differential Last Week: -12 (Overall: -111) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (20.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 131 | MIN 3, DET 2: Twins Take Makeup Game Behind Ober Game 132 | CHC 3, MIN 1: Offense Comes Up Short in Key Spots Game 133 | CHC 3, MIN 0: Ryan Bitten by 3-R HR, Lack of Run Support in Debut Game 134 | TB 5, MIN 3: Dobnak Digs Deep Early Hole in Return to Rotation Game 135 | TB 11, MIN 4: Rays Annihilate Albers, Blow Out Twins Game 136 | MIN 6, TB 5: Offense Snaps Slump with 13 Hits NEWS & NOTES When rosters expanded on September 1st, the Twins called up two starters from the minors – one a new face in pitching prospect Joe Ryan, who came over in the Nelson Cruz deal, and one a familiar face in Randy Dobnak, who had wrapped up a rehab stint in St. Paul. Both pitchers joined the rotation right away, and you can read about their performances below. To make room on the 40-man roster for the new additions, Edgar García was outrighted and Kenta Maeda – who underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday – was moved to the 60-day IL. In a bit of an odd and surprising trade, the Twins dealt minor-league reliever Andrew Vasquez to the Dodgers for minor-league catcher Stevie Berman. Vasquez was called up immediately by Los Angeles, and appeared in Friday's game against the Giants. We've seen Vasquez in brief stints for the Twins before, in 2019 and 2018, and they did not go well. He is what he is – a lefty specialist who has been incredibly effective in that capacity in the minors but also struggles to throw strikes. People around here weren't exactly clamoring for him to promoted, and I'll admit he hasn't been on my radar lately. Still, for a team like the Twins that is desperate for any kind of pitching help – now and going forward – to never even take a look at a pitcher who was deemed immediately valuable by the reigning champs, vying for a ninth straight division title? I dunno. Strikes me as weird. In other news, Trevor Larnach was placed on the IL at Triple-A with a hand contusion, and it sounds like Michael Pineda's return is imminent. The big righty's oblique has healed quickly and he's set to rejoin the Twins rotation this week without a rehab assignment. On Sunday, Luke Farrell was activated from IL, supplanting Andrew Albers, who was utterly clobbered by Tampa on Saturday night. Derek Law was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man. HIGHLIGHTS With Maeda out of the picture, can the Twins realistically build a rotation capable of contending in 2022? I made the case for it here a few days ago, while acknowledging that such an outcome would require multiple savvy offseason moves from the front office, and for things to break right with a few returning arms that are – at best – uncertainties right now. The past week brought much-needed encouraging signs for a few of those arms. Things opened up with yet another excellent outing from Bailey Ober, who delivered six innings of two-run ball in a makeup game at Detroit on Monday. The right-hander struck out five and walked none while allowing five hits in his second big-league win. One thing that I think gets lost in Ober's performance – due to the Twins carefully managing his pitch counts and workload – is that he's showing the potential to provide length once the team loosens up his restrictions a bit. In five August starts, Ober completed at least five innings each time, and got through six twice, despite never throwing more than 82 pitches. If he can continue to pitch this way in 2022, Ober looks like a guy who could give you six or seven innings on a pretty regular basis. We haven't had quite as much time to get a read on Ryan, who made his major-league debut against the Cubs on Wednesday night, but our first glimpse was a promising one. After spending a few months carving Triple-A hitters to shreds, Ryan took his game to Target Field and delivered a pretty good approximation, striking out five over five frames with 14 swinging strikes on 60 pitches (23%). He allowed only three hits and one walk, but his otherwise strong outing was marred by a three-run homer. (Ober can relate on this one.) As for Dobnak ... I don't think a start where the pitcher gives up five earned runs could be described as "good," but there was certainly some optimism to be drawn from his outing on Friday. All of the damage came early against Dobnak, who was likely shaking off some rust after a two-month absence from the rotation. He gave up three straight hits – including back-to-back RBI singles – to open the third, and then settled in to retire 15 straight batters. The last seven all came on groundouts and in total, Dobnak induced 17 grounders over his seven innings of work. He became the first Minnesota starter to complete seven innings since José Berríos in his last Twins start, all the way back on July 24th. Even some of the peripheral arms on the staff had solid showings. John Gant looked about as good as we've seen him in his start against the Cubs on Tuesday, tossing five innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts and no walks. He was spinning the ball around the lower regions of the zone and inducing some fairly ugly swings. Like Griffin Jax, there's evidence Gant could be a useful swingman or long reliever on the 2022 staff. Also deserving of note is Ralph Garza Jr., who tossed three scoreless and hitless innings. The 27-year-old has fared out much better as a Twin than García, claimed off waivers around the same time. Garza Jr. now has a 1.46 ERA with just six hits allowed in 12 ⅓ innings since being acquired. LOWLIGHTS While the pitching staff (sans Albers) held its own, the offense provided little support. Since scoring nine runs in consecutive games in Boston a couple weeks ago, the bats have gone into hibernation, batting just .214 with 29 runs scored in their past 10 games. Conspicuously, the slump in production coincides closely with Byron Buxton's return, which has thus far had the opposite of its intended impact. The center fielder has been playing daily since being activated from IL, but can't find much rhythm at the plate. Last week he went 4-for-21, and overall he's 4-for-35 (.114) with 10 strikeouts and two walks since coming back. I don't think Buxton's struggles are super concerning – ample rust is to be expected following his prolonged absence, and he's not striking out an inordinate amount or anything – but they're definitely threatening the narrative of a breakout season. Is Buxton truly a bona fide MVP-caliber hitter, like we saw back an April and in frequent bursts over the past few years, or is he more of a great but streaky offensive player? The final month should offer a bit more clarity, and could heavily impact the dynamics of any offseason extension talks as Buxton heads into his walk year. Hopefully Sunday's two-hit game is a sign that the 27-year-old is ready to get rolling again. Other players contributing to the lineup's run-scoring scarcity: Luis Arraez is finding the hits uncharacteristically difficult to come by of late. In six games (five starts) last week, Arraez went just 5-for-22, and in fact he's got only five hits in his past 10 games. I'm not sure this qualifies as anything more than regression to the mean for a player who'd previously been hitting nearly .400 since the All-Star break, but it does go to show how much the offense relies on his contributions to spark rallies. Miguel Sanó probably fell into some regression of his own. After posting a 1.005 OPS in his previous 10 games, Sanó went just 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts and two walks. Coming into the week, the first baseman had struck out 3+ times in a game just once in the previous month (a notable feat for him) but he did so twice last week. Sanó got a day off on Sunday; we'll see if this is a mere hiccup or the start of another mega-slump. Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons' season has basically been one long mega-slump. While continuing to draw almost everyday starts due to a lack of compelling alternatives, Simmons was customarily awful at the plate, going 2-for-12 with zero extra-base hits, zero RBIs, and zero runs scored. He now sports a .216 slugging percentage and .468 OPS since the All-Star break. Simmons' consistently meager contact produces almost no chance for successful results, and the 32-year-old (as of Saturday) really does look cooked as a big-league hitter. Alas, the Twins appear committed to running out the string. TRENDING STORYLINE All eyes are on the rotation right now. It'd be nice to see the offense pick up its pace again, but there are no deep concerns about the state of the lineup going forward. Meanwhile, everyone currently slotted into the rotation – Ober, Dobnak, Jax, Ryan, and even the returning Pineda – is making their case for a role on the 2022 staff. Presently I'd say Ober is the only one who could safely be viewed as having a spot carved out, but matters could change over the final four weeks. No storyline looms larger, in my eyes. LOOKING AHEAD A full week of match-ups against fellow AL Central also-rans lies ahead, with the Twins set to play four games in Cleveland followed by three against the Royals at Target Field. Minnesota is amidst a run of 13 straight days of games with no break. Who will start on Friday against the Royals, with Albers now out of the equation? That is the question. Charlie Barnes would seem to be the most likely option at present, if not a bullpen game. The Twins will be operating for a short while without their manager, as Rocco Baldelli departed the team on Sunday for the birth of his first child. (Congrats Rocco and Allie!!) Bill Evers, who announced he'll be retiring at season's end, will take over as interim skipper. MONDAY, 9/6: TWINS @ CLEVELAND – RHP Bailey Ober v. LHP Sam Hentges TUESDAY, 9/7: TWINS @ CLEVELAND – RHP John Gant v. RHP Triston McKenzie WEDNESDAY, 9/8: TWINS @ CLEVELAND – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Cal Quantrill THURSDAY, 9/9: TWINS @ CLEVELAND – RHP Randy Dobnak v. RHP Eli Morgan FRIDAY, 9/10: ROYALS @ TWINS – LHP Daniel Lynch v. TBD SATURDAY, 9/11: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Brady Singer v. RHP Griffin Jax SUNDAY, 9/12: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Jackson Kowar v. RHP Bailey Ober MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  42. August represented the first month of the season in which Minnesota had a winning record. Curiously enough, according to several metrics, it was also the month in which they had their lowest offensive productivity. This controversy (given that their pitching wasn’t substantially better either) could be explained by the fact that Twins hitters performed very well in clutch situations, making the difference between losing and winning in at least a handful of games. Without further ado, here are three honorable mentions, followed by the big winner! Honorable Mention #3: Luis Arraez This is how good Luis Arraez is: despite having a slight dip in productivity during August, he still had one of the top 15 batting averages in baseball. Also, by slashing .291/.371/.384 (.755), he finished the month with the highest batting average on the team. Unsurprisingly, his power numbers aren’t impressive, but he compensates for that with a ton of plate discipline. Among all qualified batters in August, Arraez’s strikeout rate (8.2%) ranked fourth-best in baseball. He only struck out more than one of his teammates in August: bullpen legend Willians Astudillo (2.9%). It should be brought to your attention that Arraez’s final numbers in August started to drop only during the last week of the month. Until Aug 24, he was slashing .314/.381/.404 (.785) before an 0-for-16 slump. Hopefully, the turn of the calendar will help him get back on track. Honorable Mention #2: Miguel Sanó Miguel Sanó’s mere presence in this Twins lineup was a question mark for quite some time. When he struggles, as he did during April and May, many people are vocal about it. Well, for the past three months, he’s been proving many people wrong, having a very consistent, above league average productivity. His highlight of the month happened last week, when he hit the longest home run in all of baseball this year, sending the poor baseball completely out of Fenway Park. During August, Sanó had his highest number of plate appearances of the season (106), and he was able to sustain a season-best .820 OPS while also having a .344 wOBA and 118 wRC+. It seems as if consistent playing time makes all the difference for the big fellow. Sanó had the team’s second-most extra-base hits (11) and third-highest SLG (.489) in August. Not to mention that he stepped up when the team needed him the most, putting the ball in play 50% of the time in high-leverage situations, the eighth-best BABip in all of baseball in such situations. Honorable Mention #1: Josh Donaldson “The Bringer of Rain” had an incredible month of August, possibly his best in a Twins uniform. Donaldson led the team in batting average for the month, slashing .278/.360/.519 (.878) while also posting .376 wOBA and 140 wRC+, both ranking second-best on the team and considerably above league average. This was the fourth month out of five this year in which he maintained a wRC+ of at least 125. For those who believe the Twins should pursue a trade involving him next winter, his improved second half of the season can seriously increase his trade value. Hitter of the Month: Jorge Polanco For the first time since we’ve established the hitter of the month award, we have a player to be named for a second time. In August, Jorge Polanco was easily the Twins’ best hitter, leading the team in fWAR, with 1.1 and also most of the other relevant offensive metrics, including .945 OPS, .612 SLG, .390 wOBA, and 150 wRC+. But what was even more impressive about Polanco’s August was how clutch and decisive he was! He was responsible for three consecutive walk-off RBI hits for Minnesota this month alone. Check out this video from Twins Daily’s Tom Froemming with every one of his five walk-off hits this season. Given his track record and expected statistics, his current power surge is probably unsustainable over an entire season. He slugged .421 for the first three months of 2021 before jumping to .548 in July and .612 in August. Nonetheless, Polanco’s August was just the icing on the cake of what has been one of his best seasons as a major-leaguer, entitling him to be a front-runner to be named the Twins’ hitter of the year. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  43. Some might say the promise of Joe Ryan's debut (An 8-pitch, all-strikes first inning! Five innings of relative competency!) was marred by the 3-run dinger he surrendered to Frank Schwindel, the only runs scored in yet another Twins loss, this one 3-0 to the Chicago Cubs. Some are full of crap. Joe Ryan's truly wondrous hair was the star of Wednesday's game and should be rewarded handsomely. Pun intended. I know the rules say he can't be given the win, as his team lost, he gave up all the runs, and he was the pitcher of record. But! The rules didn't stop the Houston Astros from whaling on garbage cans like a child and their first drum set or the New York Mets from hoovering every drug known to man in 1986. Rules are flexible and our governing bodies impossibly corrupt. Giving both Ryan and the Cubs a win may not be legal, but it feels as right as the shampoo-and-conditioner regimen Ryan follows to give his hair that healthy body and luxuriant shine. That said, I understand that this radical, if obviously correct, solution will be seen as too much in some quarters. What I propose instead is a day of recognition for Ryan's remarkable hair and what it's done for the team, the fans, and the entire community. Every September 1st, we celebrate Joe Ryan's hair. If you normally wear a hat or put your hair in a ponytail, let it go free on Joe Ryan Hair Day. Free like a stallion galloping over the open, untrammeled prairie, with nothing but the wind and the sun as companions. If you're bald or keep it shaved, consider a sassy wig, knowing that even your more hirsute pals will also fail to approach the majesty of Ryan's mane. The Twins could do their part, giving out free combs and hot oil treatments to the first 10,000 customers at Target Field. Give a young Twins fan a novelty baseball cap and they have a hair solution for a day. Teach a young Twins fan to establish a cleaning-and-styling routine with the proper tools and they have a hair solution for a lifetime. In a summer filled with disappointment and outright misery, the calendar turned to September and blessed us with Joe Ryan and his substantial, inspiring flow. This rare gift of hope ought not to be squandered. Thank you, Joe and/or your stylist. Thank you.
    2 points
  44. John will be the celebrity bartender at the Gray Duck Deck along with Lindsay Guentzel as the Twins face the Cubs. The best part is it’s easy peasey. Just get a cheap ticket to the game and swing by the Gray Duck Deck during the first 4-5 innings of the game. Say hi. Order a beer. Or a Bomba Juice. Or both. John will serve you and you can meet and greet other Twins Daily community members. Plus, it’s supposed to be a gorgeous summer night! Twins Daily's events have become the stuff of legend. This is probably our last time to gather before the Winter Meltdown, so let’s make it count. We know it’s late notice but summer ends quickly around here. Take yourself out to the ballgame and swing by to say “Hi”.
    2 points
  45. Box Score SP: Charlie Barnes: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (64 pitches, 47 strikes (73.4%)) Home Runs: None Top 3 WPA: Miguel Sano (.184), Juan Minaya (.177), Josh Donaldson (.119) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) As the game proceeded, it was as if the goal was to get through five innings to make the game complete. Through the game’s first four innings, Charlie Barnes took advantage of aggressive Brewers hitters. Before the rains came, Barnes was sharp with his fastball, changeup and slider, coaxing a lot of weak content. Through four innings, he had allowed only one hit. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Twins scored four runs. With the bases loaded, Miguel Sano grounded a 3-0 pitch past shortstop and turned it into a double. (some might say very similar to Byron Buxton) Adrian Houser's control was certainly affected by the wet conditions. He hit two batters and had a couple of walks. Unfortunately, with a 4-0 lead and the rains continuing to come down, harder than previously, Barnes took the mound needing three outs to qualify for his first MLB Win. He issued his first walk to the leadoff batter. It was followed with three soft singles. Barnes left the game with the Twins holding on to a 4-2 lead. Caleb Thielbar came on and got a pop out for the first out. Willy Adames singled to load the bases for Christian Yelich. Thielbar got the former MVP to fly out to medium-deep right field. Max Kepler caught and threw toward home. Miguel Sano cut it off and threw wildly to third base allowing a second run to score on the error. Thielbar got the team out of the inning with a strikeout. Thielbar recorded a 1-2-3 sixth inning, striking out two batters. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Miguel Sano singled, Brent Rooker was hit by a pitch, and Ryan Jeffers singled to load the bases. Andrelton Simmons grounded into a double play, but the Twins did re-take the lead at 5-4. Veteran Juan Minaya came on for the seventh inning. He needed just six pitches to get three outs that inning. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Josh Donaldson drove in Jorge Polanco with a double to give the Twins a two-run lead. Despite a one-out single to Yelich, Minaya needed just 11 pitches to complete a scoreless eighth inning. Alexander Colome came in for the ninth inning, looking to record the save after a couple of bad outings earlier in the week. He got one out, but then things got interesting by walking a batter and serving up a single to Omar Narvaez. However, before Twins fans were even starting to get too nervous, Jace Peterson grounded out to Simmons who turned the double play to end the game. The Twins will play the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, having already won the series, and they lead the season series 4-1. This month, the Twins are 13-11 and have series wins over the Astros, the White Sox, Cleveland, the Rays and the Brewers. Bullpen Notes Caleb Thielbar gets the win to improve to 6-0. Juan Minaya threw two scoreless innings. He hasn't allowed a run in nine of his past ten appearances. In that time frame, his ERA is just 1.29. In 14 innings, he has 17 strikeouts and the opponents are hitting just .128. The 30-year-old pitched in 125 games for the White Sox between 2016 and 2019. He spent 2020 at the Twins alternate site. He was actually called up for a couple of games, but before he got into a game, he was DFAd. He re-signed with the Twins on a minor league deal, and since his promotion, he has now pitched to a 3.20 ERA over 17 games and 25 1/3 innings. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Albers 0 0 0 88 0 88 Garza Jr. 0 24 4 0 0 28 Coulombe 0 19 0 20 0 39 Thielbar 14 22 0 0 23 59 Duffey 19 9 0 6 0 34 Colomé 0 20 0 13 13 46 Minaya 30 0 0 0 17 47 Gibaut 23 0 0 0 0 23 Alcalá 0 0 0 12 0 12 Barnes 0 0 0 0 64 64
    2 points
  46. The Twins selected Balazovic in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft. The Canadian right-hander was just a thin 17 year old with projectable growth. After the draft, he made a solid first impression, pitching to a 1.97 ERA in 32 innings for the GCL Twins. Even with reasonably good numbers through his first two seasons, Balazovic struck out just 45 of the first 316 batters he faced while walking 25. There wasn’t a ton of reason for excitement. Balazovic posted a 4.91 ERA in the GCL in 2017, again with modest strikeout numbers. Gaining strength and more experience, “Jordy Blaze” took a big step forward in 2018. Balazovic pitched for Cedar Rapids alongside Brusdar Graterol, Jhoan Duran, Randy Dobnak, and Bailey Ober. Balazovic wasn’t the shining star of the staff, but he started gaining legitimate steam as a prospect because of how he was getting outs. His strikeout rate jumped 16.5% from his first two years in the GCL, and the stuff was developing at an encouraging rate. Balazovic posted his first sub-four ERA at Low-A, pitching to older hitters in 240 out of 254 plate appearances. Balazovic dominated right-handed hitters with sharper stuff and an increased feel. Righties hit .188/.245/.316 and struck out over 40% of the time. Balazovic finally appeared on the Twins’ Top-30 at MLB Pipeline. His 2019 breakout felt inevitable. Spending most of his time at High-A, Balazovic was excellent. He posted a 2.69 ERA in a career-high 93 ⅔ innings with 129 strikeouts and 25 walks. Perhaps most encouragingly, lefties hit just .189 with a .501 OPS in 185 plate appearances. Balazovic throws a fastball that averages 94-97 MPH with a sharp breaking ball and an underrated changeup. He has a unique delivery with noted deception. His teammate in Wichita, Spencer Steer calls Balazovic’s stuff “absolutely electric.” “It’s really fun to watch him overpower guys.” Balazovic has had an up-and-down season at Double-A, with flashes of brilliance and stretches of poor command. He had a four-start period of 25 2/3 innings where he didn’t allow a run. Then he allowed 15 runs over his next three starts. Then he gave up zero earned runs in 13 2/3 innings before another tough outing Thursday. Overall, he has a solid 3.62 ERA with a 24% strikeout rate and a 9% walk rate. A strong finish could help Balazovic reach St. Paul before the season’s end, with a call-up to the Twins looming in 2022. He’ll turn 23 in September. Prospect progression is seldom linear, and that is doubly true for pitching prospects. While the Twins have stockpiled some intriguing arms, Balazovic has emerged as the best among them, increasing the stakes for his development. The Twins will be defined by how Balazovic and his pitching counterparts pan out and how soon that takes place. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  47. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO Home runs: Sano (22), Polanco (24), Donaldson (19), Cave (3) Top 3 WPA: Ober (.257), Donaldson (.130) Polanco (.118) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Miguel Sano Hits Longest Home Run in MLB This Season Last week Miguel Sano blasted a 475 foot bomb as part of the Twins extra inning win against Cleveland. At the time, it was the longest home run hit by a Minnesota Twin this season. Well... Sano wasn’t content with just having the Twins longest home run of the season, he wanted more and tonight he did just that as he blasted a 495 foot home run not just over the monster, but the billboards at the back of the deepest part of the monster. Truly a majestic home run that you need to see to believe. Jorge Polanco Hits 24th Home Run of the Season After failing to come through with bases loaded and just one out in the second, Jorge Polanco redeemed himself in his next at-bat. With one on and two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Polanco became the second Twins hitter in as many innings to take Nick Pivetta deep. Bailey Ober Has Another Strong Outing While Griffin Jax has gotten more recognition for his performance of late, Bailey Ober has quietly been very good over the past month as he carried a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts entering Wednesday night’s game. Those numbers only continued to improve after Ober went five shutout innings against the Red Sox. Tonight’s outing was as impressive as any he has made in his young Major League career. The only inning where the Red Sox put together a scoring threat was in the third. Christian Vasquez got the threat started with a one out single, and then advanced to second on a groundout from Enrique Hernandez. Kyle Schwarber then came through with a two-out hit, but poor baserunning from Vasquez caused him to be held up a third. This was the second chance Bailey Ober needed, as he got Xander Bogaerts to fly out to right to end the threat. Alex Colome Blows Yet Another Save If there has been one single theme to this disappointing season from the Twins, it has been Alex Colome blowing save after save. It started from day one and it hasn’t stopped as he blew yet another great performance from his teammates that should have led to a Twins 4-2 victory. Instead, he gave up this game-tying two-run blast to Kyle Schwarber in the bottom of the ninth. Colome then gave up a single and a walk to put the winning run on second base with still nobody out. However, he was able to work out of the jam and send this game to extra innings. Donaldson and Cave Go Yard in the 10th Just when all hope seemed lost, the Twins bats took back the lead with a five-run 10th inning. The inning got started with a two-run home run from Josh Donaldson. While those two runs were nice, it hardly felt like a safe lead for the Twins to hold in the bottom of the inning. Luckily, the Twins were not done hitting. With two outs in the inning, Rob Refsnyder got on base with a line drive single to center. Ryan Jeffers followed by getting hit by his second pitch of the game, setting the stage for Jake Cave who crushed a no-doubter over the bullpen in right, giving the Twins a much more comfortable 9-4 lead. Ralph Garza gave up two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning, but the Twins won 9-6. Bullpen Usage Chart THURS FRI SAT TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 109 0 0 0 109 Minaya 0 16 0 30 0 46 Albers 63 0 0 0 0 63 García 0 0 28 0 0 28 Gant 61 0 0 0 0 61 Garza Jr. 0 0 31 0 24 55 Barraclough 0 46 0 0 4 50 Duffey 0 0 0 19 9 33 Colomé 0 0 0 0 20 0 Coulombe 19 0 0 0 19 19 Thielbar 0 0 0 14 22 23 What's Next? The Twins will face the Red Sox in Game 3 of the series on Thursday night. John Gant is the scheduled Twins pitcher, and he will square off against Chris Sale. Post Game Interviews
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  48. Reed was originally drafted by the Twins in the fifth round back in 2014 out of the University of Oregon. He made a strong first impression as his college experience helped him to dominate the lower levels of the minors. Minnesota sent him to the Arizona Fall League where he continued to pitch well. Things couldn’t have gone much better in his first taste of professional action. During the 2015 season, Reed advanced as far as Double-A and made a return trip to the AFL. Over the next couple seasons, he’d work his way to Triple-A where he compiled some decent numbers. His best Triple-A season came in 2018 as he compiled a 1.89 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He seemed on the cusp of being called up to the big leagues for the Twins. Things didn’t go as smoothly in 2019 as his ERA and WHIP were career worsts, but he struck out 11 batters per nine innings. Minnesota gave him a non-roster invite to big-league camp in 2020, but the COVID pandemic and no minor league season hurt Reed’s chances. Reed fell into a unique group that became first time free agents last winter even though no season was played. Reed signed a minor league deal with the Angels this winter, but he allowed five runs in 10 2/3 innings at Triple-A. His strikeout numbers continued to be through the roof as he struck out 17 batters in eight appearances (14.3 K/9). Organizations with good scouting departments took notice as he signed with the Dodgers and that’s where he’d make his big-league debut. The Dodgers have plenty of pitching depth, so Reed didn’t last long on their 40-man roster. Tampa Bay, another team known for scouting, scooped him up, but he only made one appearance in their organization before being designated for assignment. Now, the Mets have picked him up and it might be a chance for him to stick with an organization. Both his slider and his fastball come in under the league average when it comes to velocity. However, his unique arm action and his ability to generate spin. Batters aren’t prepared to see a ball move the way it does out of Reed’s hand and this makes him more effective. His arm action allows him to release the ball low and then the spin of the ball makes hitters look uncomfortable at the plate. His strikeout rates have continued to rise in recent years and his unique style may be the biggest reason why this has happened. So what does the future hold for Jake Reed? Sometimes changing organizations can make all the difference and he has done plenty of changing this season. On Friday, the Mets placed Reed on the IL with right forearm inflammation, but the hope is he can get back sooner rather than later, especially with the team in the hunt for the NL East title. Do you think the Twins missed something with Reed? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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  49. Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. Before we get started, let’s check out the FCL Twins game and the transactions from Monday. TRANSACTIONS There were several announced transactions on Monday’s minor league off day, and don’t be surprised if there are more tomorrow. OF BJ Boyd was promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. 1B Aaron Sabato was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids. IF Christian Encarnacion-Strand, the Twins 4th round pick in the July draft, was assigned to Ft. Myers. IF Jake Rucker, the Twins 7th round pick in the July draft, was assigned to Ft. Myers. C Kole McKinnon returns to Ft. Myers after rehabbing in the FCL. OF Max Smith (Cedar Rapids) was released . C Allante Hall (FCL Twins) was released. RHP Hector Andrade (DSL Twins) was released. FCL Twins Talk FCL Twins 5, FCL Orioles 6 Box Score This game was shortened to seven innings due to the rains. Jackson Hicks made the start. He was charged with four runs on three hits and a walk over three innings. He struck out four batters. Ricardo Velez went the next two innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He struck out three batters. Cole Bellair struck out four batters over the final two innings. He didn’t give up a hit or issue a walk. Carlos Aguiar went 2-for-2 with a walk and his fourth home run. Emmanuel Rodriguez added his sixth homer of the season, and he threw out a runner trying to advance to third base. Kala’i Rosario had a two-run single. Noah Miller went 1-for-4. Zander Wiel went 1-for-3, and Gabe Snyder went 0-for-2 with a walk, as the first basemen continued their rehab on Monday. With that, let’s look at Week 16 in the Twins minor leagues: RESULTS Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (5-2, hosting Iowa), overall (53-43) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1 @ Springfield), overall (57-39) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, hosting Wisconsin), overall (53-43) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3 @ Dunedin), overall (47-44) Complex League FCL Twins: Week (3-3), overall (12-25) IN CASE YOU MISSED IT Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. Twins Minor League Week in Review: Wind Surge Power TD Top Twins Prospect Rankings (Post Draft and Trade Deadline): Recap Hard Lessons Learned in Trevor Larnach’s Rookie Campaign Tuesday: We Will, We Will, Walk-Off You Scouting Twins Prospects: RHP Ben Gross Wednesday: Affiliates Blast Off Thursday: Oh, ho, ho, it’s Maggi(c)! Joe Ryan and Byron Buxton Highlight an Eventful Night at CHS Field Friday: Ryan Dazzles in Saints Debut Saturday: You Have the Right to be a Hitting Machine Miranda: 3 Ways to Get Him to Minneapolis Sunday: Wichita Bats Surge, Buck Go Boom Highlights We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 16 performances Twins Player of the Week: BJ “Bossman” Boyd, Wichita Wind Surge After spending seven seasons in the Oakland A’s organization, reaching Triple-A in 2018 at 24, BJ Boyd decided to go a different direction. In 2019, he headed to college and played football. He played well enough that he was getting several calls from Division I schools. Then the pandemic hit. This spring, he was sitting at home when the Twins called. He signed and was sent to Double-A Wichita in late May. He has been incredible since. In 66 games, the outfielder has hit .313/.369/.543 (.912) with 12 doubles, 15 homers and 60 RBI for the Wind Surge. And on Tuesday, he will return to Triple-A after earning his promotion. Twins Pitcher of the Week: Joe Ryan, St. Paul Saints He was a strong starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Then he headed to Tokyo to pitch for Team USA. That’s where he found out he had been traded to the Twins in the Nelson Cruz trade. He responded by going 2-0 and helping Team USA to a silver medal at the Olympics! Then he came back, packed up, came to Minnesota and threw a couple of bullpens before making his first start in the Twins organization on Friday night in St. Paul. I think it’s fair to say that it went well. He struck out the first six batters he faced and nine batters in four innings. He gave up just one run, on a solo homer. Ryan was the Rays seventh-round pick in 2018 out of Cal State-Stanislaus. He appeared in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect rankings after he led minor league baseball with 183 strikeouts in 2019. That season, between two levels of A ball and Double-A, he went 9-4 with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP. Before heading to Japan, he pitched in 12 games for Triple-A Durham and was 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. In 57 innings, he had 10 walks and 75 strikeouts. Other Strong Performances this Week St. Paul Saints Drew Maggi continues to have a strong showing in 2021. Last week, he played in five games and hit .357/.526/.571 (1.098) with a homer and five RBI. He also stole three bases. Gilberto Celestino played in all six games and hit .294/.478/.588 (1.066) with two doubles and a homer. He also walked six times with just four strikeouts. Tomas Telis also played all six games. He hit .440/.462/.600 (1.062) with a double and a homer. Jimmy Kerrigan played in just three games but hit .364 with a homer. Ian Hamilton worked 5 1/3 innings over three games last week. He went 1-0 with a save. He gave up no runs on one hit. He walked one and struck out seven. Yennier Cano tossed 3 1/3 scoreless and hitless innings. He walked three and struck out four. Chris Nunn struck out four batters over 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Ryan Mason struck out six batters over 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Wichita Wind Surge Leobaldo Cabrera played in five games. He hit just .263 (5-for-19), but he hit a double and three homers, and drove in nine runs. He posted a 1.164 OPS. Spencer Steer played in just four of the games. He hit .389/.450/.667 (1.117) with two doubles and a homer. Tyler Beck gave up five hits and two walks over six scoreless innings. He struck out six batters. Jordan Balazovic struck out six batters over six shutout frames. More impressive that he didn’t give up any runs when he also gave up four hits and five walks. Jordan Gore recorded a Save and worked 2 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels Michael Helman continued to show some surprising, and impressive power. Last week, he hit .261/.393/.783 (1.175) with four home runs. He also walked five times and stole two bases. Edouard Julien had a nice week. He hit .412/.615/.529 (1.145) with two doubles and nine walks. He also stole two bags. Matt Wallner played five games and hit .350/.458/.650 (1.108) with three doubles and a homer. No extra base hits, but Wander Javier hit .350 (7-for-20). Sawyer Gipson-Long made one start. In six innings, he gave up only an unearned run on three hits. He walked one and struck out eight. Louie Varland became the first Kernels starter to record an out in the 7th inning when he tossed seven full innings. He gave up one run on six hits. He struck out six batters without a walk. Ben Gross worked five innings and gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits. He walked three and struck out six batters. Denny Bentley made his first two High-A appearances. He gave up two hits over four scoreless innings. He struck out five batters without issuing a walk. Zach Featherstone struck out six batters over 3 1/3 hitless innings. He walked one. Ryan Shreve struck out eight batters over 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and walked none. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Jesus Feliz has really come on of late. In six games last week, he hit .333/.481/.762 (1.243) with three home runs. He also walked five times and stole two bases. Patrick Winkel has a strong first full professional week. The catcher played four games and hit .400/.526/.600 (1.126) with a homer and four walks. Steven Cruz had a terrific week. He worked five innings over two outings. He gave up just an unearned run on two hits and a walk. He also struck out ten batters. Randy Dobnak’s rehab appearance was three perfect innings with five strikeouts. Casey Legumina gave up one run over four innings. He struck out seven batters. Juan Pichardo pitched twice and gave up one run over four hits in four innings. He struck out eight batters. FCL Twins Luis Gomez went 5-for-9 (.556) with three doubles in his four games. Carlos Aguiar went 5-for-13 (.385) with three homers and six RBI. Rubel Cespedes went 2-for-9 (.222) over three games this week, but both hits were home runs. Wander Valdez played in five games. He hit .333/.412/.600 (1.012) with a double and a home run. Kala’i Rosario hit .368 with two doubles, a homer and seven RBI. Wilker Reyes went 1-0. He gave up five hits but no runs over five scoreless innings. Giovahnney German threw four hitless, scoreless innings. He struck out three batters. (although he did walk six batters). Malik Barrington recorded a save in his professional debut. He gave up one hit over three scoreless innings. He struck out six batters. Lowlights We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches. St. Paul Saints Ben Rortvedt has certainly had some moments since returning to the Saints. This past week, he went 1-for-13 (.077) with five strikeouts. Sherman Johnson went 1-for-10 (.100), and Drew Stankiewicz went 2-for 16 (.125), though he did have four walks and a homer. Robinson Leyer gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits and two walks over two innings. Nick Vincent got DFAd by the Twins and then gave up five runs (4 earned) on four hits (2 homers) and a walk in 2 2/3 innings. Wichita Wind Surge Ernie de la Trinidad went 2-for-13 (.154) in his three games. Jermaine Palacios played all six games and went 3-for-19 (.158), though he had two doubles. Chris Vallimont made two starts last week. He gave up ten earned runs on ten hits (4 homers) and six walks in just nine innings. Cedar Rapids Kernels Gabriel Maciel played in four games and went 2-for-14 (.143). Seth Gray went 3-for-20 (.150) over five games. He did have a double and a homer and six RBI. Andrew Cabezas gave up six runs on six hits over 2 1/3 innings in his start. Tyler Watson gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk over 2 2/3 innings. Ft. Myers Might Mussels Will Holland played in five games and went 0-for-17. Misael Urbina went 3-for-24 (.125) over six games. Trending Storyline Here is a quick look at how Twins minor leaguers rank against all minor leaguers. Jose Miranda: Batting Average (.342, 5th), Slugging Percentage (.590, 10th), OPS (.995, 8th), Hits (135, 1st), Home Runs (25, 3rd), RBI (72, 11th), Runs (79, 2nd) Extra Base Hits (48, 8th), Total Bases (233, 1st). BJ Boyd: Batting Average (.319, 16th), Trey Cabbage: Home Runs (23, 10th), RBI (71, 15th) Spencer Steer: Home Runs (22, 18th), Runs (70, 17th), Austin Martin: On-Base Percentage (.429, 15th), Hit By Pitch (22, 3rd), Wander Javier: Triples (10, 2nd), Edouard Julien: Walks (90, 1st), Runs (75, 6th), Stolen Bases: (31, 19th), Number of Pitches (1820, 1st)... Aaron Sabato: Walks (73, 5th), Yunior Severino: Doubles (27, 13th), Ben Gross: ERA (3.16, 8th), WHIP (1.19, 18th), Winning Percentage (.833, 3rd), Drew Strotman: Winning Percentage (.700, 13th), PROSPECT SUMMARY This Prospect Summary shows our updated Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 17 games, .262/.444/.377 (.821) with 4 doubles, 1 home run, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 13 K. #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 15 GS, 71.0 IP, 70 H, 29 BB, 78 K, 3.42 ERA, 1.39 WHIP #4 - Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) - Has not pitched since the Olympics. #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 95 games, .342/.405/.590 (.995) with 23 doubles, 25 homers, 72 RBI, 36 BB, 58 K #7 - Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.50 WHIP #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 5 GS, 21.0 IP, 10 H, 4 BB, 43 K, 0.86 ERA, 0.67 WHIP #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Has yet to pitch. #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 54 games, .247/.305/.321 (.626) with 6 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 23 RBI, 17 BB, 78 K, 5 SB #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 44 games, .277/.354/.549 (.903) with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, 35 RBI, 17 BB, 65 K. #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), St. Paul (18 games, .281/.395/.531 (.926) with 4 doubles, 4 homers, 15 RBI, 11 BB, 15 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K) #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 5 GS, 24.0 IP, 28 H, 10 BB, 18 K, 5.63 ERA, 1.58 WHIP. #15 - Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 5 games, .222/.286/.222 (.508) with 2 BB, 8 K #16 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (32 games, .200/.273/.408 (.681) with 7 doubles, 6 homers, 10 RBI, 8 BB, 41 K) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) #18 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 82 games, .190/.289/.294 (583) with 9 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homer, 49 RBI, 41 BB, 65 K, 12 SB) #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 14 G, 13 GS, 55.1 IP, 41 H, 24BB, 75 K, 2.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 87 games, .262/.363/.515 (.878) with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 22 homers, 53 RBI, 46 BB, 78 K) LOOKING AHEAD Bradenton @ Ft. Myers: (Matt Mullenbach, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD): Cedar Rapids @ Beloit:(Louie Varland, Tyler Watson, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Cody Laweryson, Ben Gross, Louie Varland) Tulsa @ Wichita: (Austin Schulfer, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, Austin Schulfer) St. Paul @ Toledo: (Beau Burrows, Joe Ryan, TBD, TBD, Drew Strotman, Beau Burrows): Feel free to ask any questions you like.
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  50. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/16 thru Sun, 8/22 *** Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 54-70) Run Differential Last Week: -16 (Overall: -90) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (18.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 119 | MIN 5, CLE 4: Polanco Ends Sloppy Contest in Extras Game 120 | CLE 3, MIN 1: Bats Stymied by Cleveland Pitching Game 121 | MIN 8, CLE 7: Another Jorge Polanco Walk-Off Game 122 | NYY 7, MIN 5: Twins Drop Bullpen Game Game 123 | NYY 10, MIN 2: Barnes Clobbered in Blowout Game 124 | NYY 7, MIN 1: Another Day in the Bronx NEWS & NOTES There was a ton of roster churn over the past week, as well as some key rehab developments, so let's run through all of the news in bullet form, starting from last Monday: As I hinted they might in last week's edition, the Twins sent slumping Trevor Larnach back to Triple-A to try and fix his broken swing. Nick Gordon was recalled to replace him and has seen plenty of action since the recall, appearing in all six games and starting in four of them. He's primarily been in center field. As expected, Lewis Thorpe was called up to start Wednesday's game against Cleveland. It did not go well and Thorpe's latest stint with the Twins did not last long; he went on the IL with a shoulder impingement following the game. With the Twins in desperate need of arms, Andrew Albers and Kyle Barraclough were recalled from St. Paul on Thursday. To make room for them on the 40-man roster, Beau Burrows and Nick Vincent were outrighted to Triple-A. Amidst all the roster juggling, Edgar Garcia was optioned to Triple-A for exactly one day before returning on Friday, taking over the vacated spot of Miguel Sanó, who went on paternity leave. Randy Dobnak started a rehab assignment in Ft. Myers on Saturday night, tossing three perfect innings with five strikeouts. Dobnak hadn't pitched in a game for more than two months, so it's good to see him on the road back. I consider his status one of the most crucial questions for the team to find clarity on in the second half. In the week's happiest news, Byron Buxton had begun his own rehab stint in Triple-A the prior night. He went 0-for-2 with a strikeout but drove in a run on a sac fly. Buxton took a day off on Saturday, then homered in his first at-bat on Sunday. Presuming all goes smoothly over the next few days, it's reasonable to look at Friday – when the Twins return to Target Field and open a series against Milwaukee – as a reasonable target for Buck's return. HIGHLIGHTS The two most critical rookies in the Twins rotation – Bailey Ober and Griffin Jax – carried their success from the previous week forward. They started against Chicago on Monday and Tuesday night, and each allowed two earned runs over six innings in his respective outing. Neither was spectacular or dominant, but they got it done against a very good team, and that's what we need to see right now. Since the trade deadline, Jax has a 2.82 ERA over 22 ⅓ innings in four starts, and opponents are slashing just .207/.267/.402 against him. In that same span, Ober has a 2.66 ERA over 20 ⅓ innings in four starts, with a 20-to-3 K/BB ratio. The Twins are 6-2 in those eight games. Offensively, Jorge Polanco stayed hot, prompting those of us who doubted him to eat our words. He amazingly walked off Cleveland twice in a three-game series, and finished the week 10-for-28 (.357) with eight RBIs. Sanó also had a very nice week, launching a pair of homers (including an absolutely mythical opposite-field blast) and contributing significantly to the series-clinching win against Cleveland on Wednesday. But if we're being honest, the biggest positives of the week happened on the farm. Joe Ryan made his St. Paul Saints debut on Friday and was simply electric, striking out the first six batters he faced on the way to four innings of one-hit, one-run ball (the hit was a solo homer) with nine Ks. Ryan struggled a bit out of the gates for the Durham Bulls this year, posting a 7.11 ERA in his first three starts. Since then, he has a 2.61 ERA in 10 turns, with a 66-to-6 K/BB ratio in 48 ⅓ innings. Opponents are slashing .150/.191/.293 against him in this time. It's not exactly clear WHY the headliner of the Nelson Cruz trade is so dominant – Ryan's fastball-heavy arsenal isn't visibly overwhelming, with his deceptive heater being labeled in some corners an "invisiball" – but it's clearly working at Triple-A. Will it play in the majors? I suspect we might get our first look in the near future. For what it's worth, Ryan threw 124 innings during his first pro season in 2019 (racking up 183 strikeouts). He's thrown 61 this year, not including the Olympic workload, so the Twins aren't in danger of pushing him too hard. Ryan has a chance to emerge as the top pitching prospect in the organization. But he'll need to overcome Jordan Balazovic, who retains his stake on that claim despite checkered results this season. His past five turns have been perfectly emblematic: 7/30: @ Northwest Arkansas – 3.1 IP 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR 8/5: vs Midland – 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR 8/10: @ Tulsa – 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0 HR 8/15: @ Tulsa – 1.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 0 HR 8/21: @ Springfield – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 0 HR Look: were there some major command struggles mixed in there? Yes. The August 15th outing would not be considered good by anyone, even if he allowed zero "earned" runs (six unearned were charged to him). But at the end of the day, Balazovic has a 3.42 ERA and is averaging well over a strikeout per inning in his first turn at Double-A, coming off the lost season. He's still only 22. While young pitchers are generating reason for optimism, no prospect is matching the hype-building prowess of one Jose Miranda. He keeps adding to one of the greatest seasons in Twins minor-league history, piling on impressive performances for the Saints following a late-June promotion to Triple-A. On Saturday he went 4-for-5 as St. Paul's leadoff hitter, launching his 25th homer of the season. It's easy to be dismayed by what you're seeing from the major-league club. (And we're doing to delve into that next, I'm afraid.) But there truly are some energizing things happening in the system and we shouldn't lose sight of that. LOWLIGHTS Positive vibes for the Twins pitching staff wore off in a hurry as soon as they got to New York. Getting clobbered in three straight by the Yankees before a hurricane canceled Sunday's game served as a cold splash of water in the face. The Twins might have previously enjoyed a solid run against good competition but ... they ain't a good team. It all started with the semi-unavoidable decision to roll with a bullpen game against New York in the series opener. John Gant held his own for a couple innings before the floodgates opened in the third and fourth, leaving the team in a 6-0 hole. The next day, Charlie Barnes toed the rubber for a start at Yankee Stadium and it went about as one would expect. Barnes coughed up seven earned runs over five innings in a 10-2 laugher. His ERA now sits at 6.56. Should he really be in the majors right now? Probably not. But, the Twins' options are thin. And they're even thinner after what played out on Saturday. Kenta Maeda appeared to be building upon his strong run – four scoreless innings to start the game lowered his post-May ERA to 2.74 – and this was fueling some valid enthusiasm. Things went downhill from there, to say the least. Maeda loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, gave up a run on a wild pitch, walked Aaron Judge, exited the game, and was later diagnosed with right forearm tightness, adding to a season where the previously durable hurler has been plagued by uncharacteristic physical issues. Rocco Baldelli gave a post-game quote indicating this setback will be more long-term than short-term, leaving him with more innings to fill. With all of their pitching headaches, you'd like to think the lineup is where the Twins could find comfort in stability. But not so much. The offense scored a whopping three runs over 18 innings during the Friday and Saturday affairs at Yankee Stadium, after squeaking out one-run victories in four of the previous five days. That meager production wasn't going to cut it in NYC, and chief among the under-performers was leadoff man Max Kepler. For whatever reason, he continues to bat atop the order almost daily in Baldelli's lineups, even though his average has sunk to .204 and his on-base percentage to .300. I realize I'm walking on somewhat precarious ground here, having apologized days ago for prematurely judging Baldelli on his enduring faith in Polanco, but ... it's a lot harder to see the lingering upside in Kepler at this point. There is no apparent injury holding him back. He's just an utterly mediocre hitter, plagued by a stagnating swing that produces way more pop-ups than line drives. To be clear, I would LOVE if he proved me wrong on this, as Polanco did. I'd almost begin to see myself as some sort of trash-talking soothsayer. But what are we identifying in Kepler's profile that reinforces him as a building-block caliber player, or a guy who should be lined up for the most at-bats on the team? The past week saw his typical strong plate approach (5 BB, 4 K) accompanied by his typical lackluster hitting results: 2-for-19 (.105) with three runs scored and two RBIs in five starts. Kepler now has a .204/.300/.423 hitting line this year, as a (mainly) right fielder in his ostensible prime at age 28. When you take away the context of his past excellence, there doesn't seem to be a particularly valid case for him as a starter going forward, let alone a leadoff hitter. Then again, I said the same type things about Polanco once upon a time. So I dunno. I'd like to hear what you all think about Kepler in the comments. TRENDING STORYLINE Certain players on the fringe of the Twins' roster have an opportunity to make cases for their future functionality in these final weeks. Will they take advantage? Willians Astudillo did not help his argument much last week. He went 1-for-7 in two starts, and is 2-for-22 (.091) this month. We might be reaching the end of the line for La Tortuga. Rob Refsnyder is a player who I find interesting as a possible 2022 bench piece, but he's definitely been regressing, with a 1-for-15 week dropping his OPS from .852 to .739. Brent Rooker? Well, who knows. He barely played in New York after drawing near-daily looks as Rocco's #2 hitter for almost a month. Has a lack of progression caused the team to sour? The divvying of playing time in these final weeks will be fascinating from this perspective. LOOKING AHEAD There are a lot of unknowns in the Twins rotation at this point. It sounds like Maeda will miss significant time and possibly the rest of the season. He would be the final piece to drop from a dissolved season-opening rotation that included Maeda, José Berríos, Michael Pineda, J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker. At this point, Jax and Ober are basically their steadiest and most dependable starting pitchers, which is saying a whole lot. It'll be interesting to see how they fill the gaps around them. Could Ryan get a look imminently? TUESDAY, 8/24: TWINS @ RED SOX – RHP Bailey Ober v. RHP Tanner Houck WEDNESDAY, 8/25: TWINS @ RED SOX – TBD v. RHP Nick Pivetta THURSDAY, 8/26: TWINS @ RED SOX – LHP Charlie Barnes v. LHP Chris Sale FRIDAY, 8/27: BREWERS @ TWINS – LHP Eric Lauer v. TBD SATURDAY, 8/28: BREWERS @ TWINS – RHP Adrian Houser v. RHP Griffin Jax SUNDAY, 8/29: BREWERS @ TWINS – RHP Corbin Burnes v. RHP Bailey Ober MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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