Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Let's Worry About the Lineup This Winter


    Cody Pirkl

    Every offseason seems to have the same blueprint in Twins Territory: find some pitching. While far from well off on arms, for once it can be argued that the Twins should be a bit more worried about the lineup.

    Image courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

     

    Talks of coaxing a high end starting pitcher to Minnesota are swirling as should always be the case when premier pitching is available, but the Twins don’t have an entire rotation to overhaul as they have in recent years. Adding an ace to the group of Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda, and Bailey Ober would be a massively positive move, but with a fair amount of pitching talent and depth in Minnesota, perhaps we should be turning more attention towards getting lineup help.

    As things stand, Carlos Correa is not currently a Minnesota Twin. Though inept in clutch spots for much of the season, a massive chunk of the Twins offense will be missing should Correa find another home. The Twins set a floor at shortstop with a savvy addition of Kyle Farmer, but the dropoff from a player who was 40% above league average offensively to one that was 9% below in Farmer would be felt on a daily basis. Farmer being the Opening Day shortstop would be far from a disaster, but in order to compete, the Twins would need to massively supplement their position player group elsewhere.

     

     

    Headed into 2023, the Twins have a fun group of young, high upside hitters that have some questions to answer including Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Matt Wallner, and eventually Royce Lewis. It’s a similar position to the one they were in last winter with the pitching staff. Having filled out 40% of the rotation with Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer and another 40% of the rotation with two rookies in Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober, the Twins gambled on contributions from their young pitching which had proven nothing yet.

    It was an unmitigated disaster aside from Ryan. Top prospects such as Jordan Balazovic cratered in AAA. Josh Winder was ineffective and had recurring shoulder issues. Having done so in just about every season of his career aside from 2021, Bailey Ober once again missed massive amounts of time. They didn’t have the floor they thought they did.

     

     

    The Twins need to avoid gambling on their player development in 2023 as much as possible. They’ve drastically overestimated their ability to produce quality regulars in recent years. And while the most recent bursted bubble was on the pitching side, gambling on unproven, often injured players such as Larnach, Kirilloff, and Lewis to keep an MLB roster afloat simply cannot be the game plan at this point. They also had to trade away several up-and-coming possible impact hitters as a result of their recent miscalculations.

    Also consider the health of the team. Beyond the young players having missed time in 2022, players such as Jorge Polanco no longer appear to be locks to play 150+ games. Byron Buxton’s injury risk will always be a consideration. They also no longer have Gio Urshela to add production to the fringes of the roster, and unfortunately at this point anyone expecting any kind of offensive competence from players like Max Kepler are likely going to be very disappointed.

     

    In short, the Twins lineup isn't a force to be reckoned with. It does appear to have some upside and depth, but the trick is getting said lineup to the threshold of “quality” which likely requires multiple more additions. Perhaps it is adding Correa or one of his fellow free agents such as Xander Boegarts . The heavily left-handed outfield could also use another right-handed option such as Mitch Haniger. Perhaps they’ve even liked what they’ve seen from Jose Abreu across the division enough to bring him in as a veteran RBI machine that can DH and cycle into first base.

    While several creative moves are certainly on tap for the winter, it may be time to recognize that the current rotation has the possibility of helping a team to a playoff run. It’s hard to say the same about the position player group. For once perhaps fans should pivot off of the “Can he pitch?” replies to every acquisition the Twins make. It’s time to worry about the bats.

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Become a Twins Daily Caretaker

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    I disagree - this should be the season that Kiriloff and Larnach stay healthy and give us a strong duo to put around Miranda.  Arraez will continue to do what he always does, Polanco perhaps stays healthy too.  And as the theme of my response is health, maybe Buxton if finally ready for a full year.  I will take Farmer if he is healthy.  Correa ended great, but you forget all the Twins Daily columns about his lack of clutch hitting.  

    Kepler will start, but Wallner has shown he can provide power.  So the catcher position is the weak spot.  It has been for the last two years.   I expect to see Julien and Lewis this year, probably Martin too. 

    No need to panic.  Let's ride with the lineup we have and let if grow the the Hrbek, Puckett, Gaetti...years. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I agree. I am leery of the lineup. With or without Correa. I think it's safe to expect better health as a whole. But who other than Polanco and Arreaz have any proven anything in the lineup when healthy? Jeffers? nope. Keplar? nope. Kirilloff? not really. Larnach? for a month. Buxton? Yeah, just plan on 100 games or less. That's a lot of IDK's. 

    I hope Correa is settled early so they can pivot or fill out the margins while quality players are still available.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Nice assessment, but I disagree with your overall conclusion. 

    health is paramount. Some injuries are not knowable in advance.

    but you have to trust there is growth. The gamble last year on the pitching was in Bundy, Paddock and Archer and not the young pitchers. 
     

    it is refreshing to have a solid core of in-house pitching. I still want a Top Dog on our staff. 
     

    the lineup I am mostly happy with except SS.  Let’s go around the horn 

    1B: Arraez (hitting machine) & at minimum avg to plus fielder 

    2B:Polanco seriously seems to oscillate   Almost great years with down years. 2022 was a down year. 

    SS: C4, C5 whatever it takes (Mr Mom) I want C4. After that I am open a bit.

     
    3B: Jose “Read Me My Rights” Miranda. He can hit. I remember Gary Gaetti struggling his first year at 3rd and became a good hot corner fielder

    LF: AK,or Larnarch (health concerns at the moment on both. I hope AK fully recovers. Beautiful swing

    CF: BB, but we need a good backup. If nothing changes on the roster then Kepler with Wallner filling in at RF

    RF: Kepler/Wallner

    c: Jeffers AND ??

    DH: AK, Larnrach, Wallner, Arraez,

    SUte: Farmer

    could we use a RH bat. Definitely

    could we use a platoon at C to spell Jeffers if he doesn’t improve his splits. Also definitely 

    but I am not down on young guys

    a LOT hinges on C4. He brings the intangibles along with his skill & production. We can fill in the field aspects but the leadership is another story 

    MY WISH LIST:  C4, one of DeGrom/Verlander/Rodon,solid RH Bat if Royce is unable to join us and a better catching duo  it could put us in the $170M for payroll but it would be offset sone by ticket & merch sales  

    Non player addition, the #2 marketing guy at Barcelona or Man Utd, to start marketing us beyond the middle of the country  in a 2020 report, Barcelona topped €800M in marketing  no way the Twins do that but an increase of $40M covers the difference between our normal salary and this once in a lifetime chance 

    The Kids Are Alright

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It would be nice if the young players could stay healthy  and play a full year to really evaluate their talent at the major league level  , they had good minor league stats but have been injury prone here at the major league level , they have shown SSS at the major league level  , here's to a healthy season guys ....

    The pitching is solid for winning regular season games but I'm not encouraged enough that they will win playoff games ...

    Miscalculations on the FO has been the norm  , they are not the smartest guys in the room ...

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, Blyleven2011 said:

    Miscalculations on the FO has been the norm  , they are not the smartest guys in the room ...

     

    I'm sure every player you hoped the team would sign has put up great numbers wherever else they signed....maybe you should forward your number to the front office guys so they can consult you before signing/trading players.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    #1 Priority keeping our team healthy- maybe the new health guy can advise the players how to get conditioned during off the season and how prepare before the game (like Cruz did). Advise management how to regularly use long relief so our rotation & short relief will remain strong, refreshed and staving off ineffectiveness & injury. Also advise management to give breaks to player when needed, especially when they're hurting. It was really sad to see them run a hurting Polanco to the ground until he could longer take the field. If a player is hurting give him rest. If that does work put him on the IL, don't keep running a player out on the field at much less than 100%. If something needs fixing, shut him down & fix it, This will give us more effeciency & more games from each player. If they fix this problem they'll fix many others weak points.

    #2 Priority SS- Unfortunely our past health guy didn't advise management not play  Lewis in CF,so we now have a big void at SS until he Lewis  can come back. We have 2 good solutions  Plan A sign Correa, Plan B get a stop gap to platoon with Farmer until Lewis can come back.

    #3 Priority Catcher- We can't blame the past health guy on this one, We have short & longe range problem here that needs to be seriously addressed. Which I addressed here

    #4 Priority SP- When #1 priority is taken care of, this is no longer a big problem. But because of the ?s with health & stamina of Mahle, Maeda and Ober- a frontline SP can help us to compete and you can't have too much SPing.

    I don't see high leverage RP or line up as a priority, because the solution of Priority #1 will solve both of them in the most part. But yeah, another high leverage RP and an RH bat would be nice. 

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Maybe I’m just a worrier. But I’m worried about all four aspects of the 2023 Twins - and, if we sign Correa, the position player lineup is the least of those worries. In order:

    1. Starting staff - sorry, but we have two decent starters on whom we can reasonably rely (and one of them, Gray, should not be expected to be healthy throughout the season).  Might be able to get through the year on depth, but a true inning eating #3 would be a huge hedge on Mahle, Maeda, and Ober.

    2. Relief staff - Four or five fairly reliable one inning guys. Lopez is a big if. With a two times through the order starter strategy, our depth needs augmenting by at least two/three solid additions.

    3. Coaching staff - Rocco has not proven he and his staff can develop young talent or keep the players on the field.  In addition, his in game decision making needs to be a net 5 wins vs. a net 5 losses over the season (can’t back up that stat with data, but it feels like about that).

    4. Sign Correa and a catcher - no worries then. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It would be nice if the rookies performed at the levels this place says they will but in reality some will be end up like Palacios and Contreras.

    Wallner belongs in AAA , at best, very poor fielder and his batting average was heading for the Mendoza line.

    They badly need a catcher or TWO.

    It is a long time till Sprint Training and who the Twins keep or trade is any one's guess; Twins Front Office wishful thinking probably is in a diffrent universe than the one that floats out of here.?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I may be one of the only person who thinks we should go really big. Bring in Judge if possible . Our attendance was about 20000 a game. If we had him we would be a sellout almost every game. Gaining us 1 + million fans a season. If every fan spent 30 dollars or more on tickets, parking, food , drinks and merchandise. That would pay most of his salary.  We wouldn't need Kepler, we could save money by trading Mahler and paddock. Judge would be a good fill in for Buxton when he's dh. If we could get Rondon we would be set.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This is a big issue that hasn’t really been talked about, as it stands the Twins don’t have a ton of impact bats, especially RBI hitters. Here’s how the lineup looks as of right now: (btw I guarantee we trade Kepler, so im not counting him)

    1. Buxton, CF

    2. Arraez, 1B

    3. -

    4. Miranda, DH

    5. Polanco, 2B

    6. Kirilloff, LF

    7. Larnach, RF

    8. -

    9. Jeffers, C

    Bench:

    1. Gordon, Farmer, Garlick, Backup Catcher to be named

    (Celestino and Wallner are in the minors)

    Larnach and Kirilloff could be huge but aren’t proven and while I think Miranda will be very good I don’t think he’ll hit 30 Home Runs and Drive in 100 RBIs this year, so an Improvement as a 4th batter would be nice. To be fair, I would like them to get a very good pitching staff and rock-solid bullpen before this and deal with impact bats at the deadline, but power hitters would still be nice. The twins had awful Slugging %’s last year, let’s improve on that.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    3 hours ago, Nashvilletwin said:

    Starting staff - sorry, but we have two decent starters on whom we can reasonably rely (and one of them, Gray, should not be expected to be healthy throughout the season).  Might be able to get through the year on depth, but a true inning eating #3 would be a huge hedge on Mahle, Maeda, and Ober.

     

    Yes, there will be a solid reliance on Maeda, Mahle and Ober. But I doubt all 3 of these pitchers will be as injured as last year, plus Louie Varland and SWR are major-league ready if any of that group underperforms. Get an Ace who can Pitch 200 Innings and that’s all you need for starters.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Yes, we need to add to the offense. 

    The parallels between the pitching staff and the lineup are mirror images of one another. Both, on paper right now, have a lot of good looking options. And there's at least some depth. But there's questions about each.

    The lineup looks much better with 1 of the top 4 SS being added, if the Twins are as serious about doing so as they appear to be. While Swanson is probably the lightest of the bats, he's still good and all pencil in somewhere at the top of the lineup with Arraez and Polanco. 

    Buxton is anywhere from good/dangerous to outstanding when in the lineup. Miranda has the real stuff, even though young and speed bumps happen. Ditto for AK, Larnach, and Wallner. All 3 young LH have real potential and have consistently grown and produced at the milb level and have flashed at the ML level. And a healthy Kepler, if he's kept, is just not as bad as he was in 2022. (Though he belongs lower in the order). Whether you like him or not, Jeffers has a lot of untapped potential with his bat. A solid co-catcher of some sort is needed, of course.

    But questions of health are an issue, same as the pitching staff. I don't want to ignore the staff. I'd like a pen arm, maybe 2 if it can fit in the budget, and I'm all in for a quality rotation add. But even with a TOP SS add, once again, a quality RH bat simply must be added to balance and deepen the roster/lineup. It's been ignored for 2yrs now and simply has to be worked in to the 2023 budget/roster somewhere.

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    12 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

    I.  So the catcher position is the weak spot.  It has been for the last two years. 

    I agree Mike. Jeffers is one answer, but the Twins need two more catchers  (one on the major league team and one at AAA, besides Farmer, who can catch in a pinch. I noticed the Yankees young catcher, Antonio Gomez was left off the Yankees 40 man roster, making him available to be claimed by the Twins. His arm is rated as a 70. He also has a very quick delivery. His single A hitting stats are average,  but he struck out  way too much (100 times), but he is only 21. Teach him to bunt and he couldn't be worse than Sandy Leon.  But he would not have Leon's experience behind the plate. He only played single A last year (hit .252 with 8 HR OPS .701), but is 6 foot 2 and 210 so he should gain power as he matures. One article I read stated he was the best catching defender  in the Yankees system. Since this is a huge weakness in the Twins farm system, and on the Twins major league team, what are the arguments why the Twins should/should not grab him? 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    9 hours ago, mnfireman said:

    I'm sure every player you hoped the team would sign has put up great numbers wherever else they signed....maybe you should forward your number to the front office guys so they can consult you before signing/trading players.

    If you read Cody's post  , he mentioned miscalculations and I just added my two cents worth  ....

    if you like the additions the FO  has made in free agency or by trades I'm happy for you ...

    Yes I am not impressed . But I also realize that you have to give up talent to get talent  ...

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    I agree Mike. Jeffers is one answer, but the Twins need two more catchers  (one on the major league team and one at AAA, besides Farmer, who can catch in a pinch. I noticed the Yankees young catcher, Antonio Gomez was left off the Yankees 40 man roster, making him available to be claimed by the Twins. His arm is rated as a 70. He also has a very quick delivery. His single A hitting stats are average,  but he struck out  way too much (100 times), but he is only 21. Teach him to bunt and he couldn't be worse than Sandy Leon.  But he would not have Leon's experience behind the plate. He only played single A last year (hit .252 with 8 HR OPS .701), but is 6 foot 2 and 210 so he should gain power as he matures. One article I read stated he was the best catching defender  in the Yankees system. Since this is a huge weakness in the Twins farm system, and on the Twins major league team, what are the arguments why the Twins should/should not grab him? 

    He would do nothing to strengthen the weakness.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Offense is probably my least component I am worried about.  You don't need a team of boppers 1-9 in the lineup to be successful.  League avg for ding-dongs was 174, Twins finished +4 at 178.  Cleveland Guardians had 127 total and only the lonely Tigers were worse.  Pitching as measured by ERA gives us an idea of where teams were the strongest, thus small ball can win games.  All 12 teams that made the playoffs were 3.87 or better for ERA (Toronto was the last team in at 3.87). Dodger and Astros were only team under 3.00.  So Cleveland didn't have chicks who were digging the long ball but they were digging their balanced offense and Pitching to a tune of 3.46 which was 5th best in the league.  Hell the Rays were 4th at 3.41 and they are consistently in the running for playoffs each year.  Pitching and Defense wins games as they say.  Do Twins have enough on that side?  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Just a thought, but what would it take to sign Josh Bell, a switch hitting 1B with power vs. a RH outfielder?  If we could add him along with Correa(this is my first priority) it would alleviate the RH bat problem and use Arraez primarily as DH and occasional utility infielder.  That gives us alot of flexibility  while using Kiriloff and Larnach as corner outfielders if healthy.  I still think Kepler gets traded and Walner could start in St. Paul.  However, I haven't heard what kind of money this would require.  But, I have always been in favor of the traditional Power hitter at 1B.  Seems like a lot of work to do this offseason, but speculation is half the fun.  What do TDer's think of this senario.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    23 hours ago, Stew said:

    I may be one of the only person who thinks we should go really big. Bring in Judge if possible . Our attendance was about 20000 a game. If we had him we would be a sellout almost every game. Gaining us 1 + million fans a season. If every fan spent 30 dollars or more on tickets, parking, food , drinks and merchandise. That would pay most of his salary.  We wouldn't need Kepler, we could save money by trading Mahler and paddock. Judge would be a good fill in for Buxton when he's dh. If we could get Rondon we would be set.

    When the team reached 42-0 and Judge already hir his 25 home run with Arraez already on base there might be sell outs then. To spend as the Dodgers, Yankees and the like, every fan would have to spend about $100. Merchandise is a league thing, The Twins do not get parking revenue, and there is the revenue sharing that goes on. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The twins have about 50  million to spend. Add to that Kepler's 8.5, Mahles  8.0 , paddocks 2.5. that's almost 70 million dollars. And that's if we only spend 140 million total. Let's see Judge at 43 , Rondon at 27 . That doesn't leave much for a backup catcher , unless. We spend a little more. What else do we desperately need? And tell me honestly that you wouldn't want to. Judge in a twins uniform. It gets really tiring going after broken down old vets when Pohlad has as much money as most of the owners. The twins need to put there money where there mouths are. Quit selling us a product that has no prayer of winning.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, Stew said:

    The twins have about 50  million to spend. Add to that Kepler's 8.5, Mahles  8.0 , paddocks 2.5. that's almost 70 million dollars. And that's if we only spend 140 million total. Let's see Judge at 43 , Rondon at 27 . That doesn't leave much for a backup catcher , unless. We spend a little more. What else do we desperately need? And tell me honestly that you wouldn't want to. Judge in a twins uniform. It gets really tiring going after broken down old vets when Pohlad has as much money as most of the owners. The twins need to put there money where there mouths are. Quit selling us a product that has no prayer of winning.

    We do not need a back-up catcher we need a competent every day catcher; as of now that is Sanchez.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    21 hours ago, umterp23 said:

    Offense is probably my least component I am worried about.  You don't need a team of boppers 1-9 in the lineup to be successful.  League avg for ding-dongs was 174, Twins finished +4 at 178.  Cleveland Guardians had 127 total and only the lonely Tigers were worse.  Pitching as measured by ERA gives us an idea of where teams were the strongest, thus small ball can win games.  All 12 teams that made the playoffs were 3.87 or better for ERA (Toronto was the last team in at 3.87). Dodger and Astros were only team under 3.00.  So Cleveland didn't have chicks who were digging the long ball but they were digging their balanced offense and Pitching to a tune of 3.46 which was 5th best in the league.  Hell the Rays were 4th at 3.41 and they are consistently in the running for playoffs each year.  Pitching and Defense wins games as they say.  Do Twins have enough on that side?  

    All 12 teams that made the playoffs were 3.87 or better for ERA (Toronto was the last team in at 3.87)

    This is true... The Twins team ERA was 3.98.

    The Guardians, Padres, Mariners were mid-pack in most offensive cats and the Rays were well below average offensively.  The top 8 hitting teams in 2022 all made the playoffs 

    The Phillies were a terrible defensive team according to the metrics. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Twins need pitching.  They aren't deep enough at all.  Our current staff has injury issues, performance issues and experience issues.  I also think the Twins need to make Correa their best and FINAL offer.  If he rejects it, then move on.  It hampers team plans if we have to wait up to a couple of months for his decision as has been rumored.  Besides that 30 some mil could sure be used to make improvements in other areas.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Gambling is the magic word. The future could be bright...if healthy.

    Can Royce be the longterm solution at shortstop? How long will we have to wait to see. And, if so, where do we plug in Martin and Lee in the seasons following.

    The outfield logjam. We know Kepler. But Wallner, Kirilloff and Larnach are unknowns, still. Celestino is also still a prospect.

    We have half-a-catcher.

    Arraez is great, but he is far from your typical first baseman. But the Twins still have a designated hitter/bench spot need when all is said and done. Hopefully a right-handed puncher who can also play the field, somewhere.

    Front office, don't try and sell us on a competitive team. Still doing the tryout thing, and the best we can ask is that the guys get playing time, and do well, and surprise us all before you discover they really aen't that good and have to make some mid-season movements, if the team is still competitive. Otherwise, if not, we look at the next batch scheduled to get playing time come end of '23 or soemtime in '24.

    Unless you open the wallet and sign two top flight free agents (rotation arm and catcher and/or right-handed bat). Of course, you could also trade for a catcher, depending on who you sign for a pitching ace and a right-handed bat from what would then be rotation arm depth and a surplus of outfield "talent."

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...