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  • Tyler Mahle, Game One Starter


    Andrew Mahlke

    Eighteen. If you follow the Twins, you know what that means. They hold the longest postseason losing streak in North American sports history, having lost their last 18 games. This year, the Twins are on their way to having another chance to break that streak. Who will start the first game on the mound?

    Image courtesy of Kareem Algazzar/USA Today

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    Going into the trade deadline on Tuesday, the Twins’ most significant need was obvious. They needed pitching. They were very successful in doing that, trading for relief pitchers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer and starting pitcher Tyler Mahle.

    Since the departure of Wes Johnson on June 30, the Twins’ starting pitching has been abysmal. Their 6.28 ERA is 28th in the league, their 5.25 FIP ranks 29th, and their 8.8 BB% is 28th. To compete in the playoffs, they must improve their starting pitching.

    Usually, trading three top-20 prospects for a starting pitcher with more losses than wins and an ERA in the mid 4’s does not sound like a great idea. Although Mahle doesn’t look great on the surface, he is much better than these numbers indicate.

    Bad Luck Ballpark
    To start, Mahle pitched at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, which is the second worst park to pitch in, according to ESPN. When Mahle has pitched at home this year, he is 2-5 with a 4.76 ERA while allowing nine home runs in 64 innings. In road games, he is 3-2 with a 3.83 ERA and only three home runs allowed in 40 innings. Target Field is the second best park to pitch in, so Mahle will go from being at a heavy disadvantage to a severe advantage simply by changing home stadiums.

    Mahle is one of the unluckiest pitchers in the league, partially due to playing in Cincinnati. Mahle sports a 4.40 ERA, which is problematic. However, his expected ERA is 3.20, a full run below his actual ERA. This shows that he is due to have some regression and will eventually lower his ERA due to playing in a pitchers’ park. Among Twins starters, Mahle has the lowest expected ERA and the lowest expected batting average against (.206).

    Swing-and-Miss Stuff
    When asked about the Mahle trade, Carlos Correa knew he would be effective. “I checked his Baseball Savant, and there’s a lot of red,” said Correa. Mahle’s Baseball Savant percentile rankings are shown below, and Correa was right.

    SlCdYX_Sx9ojsam55TudcCk3a67mgru0o9gtLPwtLRjP8bL_oUjwV0gXaMDBo8fyz5HcRkYLJWNri40x-YT7bX12yq45OIfkHVZtHkDj2IGwK-qNCMnGyroBsjR1tC41JnJGKKDdEl9RxvNp7x8w4Fk

    Mahle does a great job of missing bats, ranking in the 70th percentile in strikeout rate and the 67th percentile in whiff rate. He is also in the top 25 percent of pitchers in the expected weighted on-base average, expected ERA, expected batting average, and expected slugging percentage. Mahle also has the best strikeout and whiff rate of any Twins starting pitcher. The Twins badly need a starting pitcher who can miss bats, especially when three regular Twins starting pitchers are in the bottom 30 percent of all pitchers in strikeout rate (Archer, Bundy, Smeltzer). 

    Seventy-nine of Mahle’s 114 strikeouts this year have ended with a fastball, as that is his best pitch. Mahle’s fastball has a Stuff+ ranking of 119, which means it is 19 percent above league average when factoring in velocity, movement, arm angle, and release point. Opposing hitters are batting .200 with a .371 slugging percentage against his fastball, but the expected average is .167 with an expected slugging percentage of .293.

    In a playoff series, it helps when you have a pitcher who can strike out opposing hitters at will. Mahle may not have the strikeout stuff of pitchers such as Corbin Burnes and Gerrit Cole, but he has shown time and time again that he can miss bats and rack up strikeouts when needed.

    Another benefit of Mahle is that he can go deep into games. Mahle has gone at least five innings in 12 of his 13 starts and into the sixth inning in 11 of his 13 starts. With an improved bullpen, Mahle could save arms and go deep into games, potentially letting the Twins rely on their top bullpen arms of Jhoan Duran and Jorge Lopez and saving some other arms.

    Playoffs?!
    Under the new playoff format, the Twins will likely be in a wild card series which would play a best-of-three series. Before the trade, the Twins would have started Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, and Chris Archer in a series. Now, they will throw Mahle, Gray, and Ryan.

    Pitching wins championships in baseball, and the Twins have added their ace in Tyler Mahle, who I believe should be the Twins’ game one starter in a playoff series.

    Who do you think should be the Twins’ game one starter? Mahle, Gray, or Ryan? Leave a comment and start a discussion.

    Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!

     

     

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    I's chose Jack Morris. I hate that the 3 game series between the division champ with the worst record among the 3 division champs, will have to play all 3 games at the home field of the last wild card team to get in, if the last wildcard team has a better record than the 3rd best division champ. 

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    I think we sign him up for 10 years and then we talk.................hopefully these moves get us into the postseason and Carlos sees the future that is her and those coming (Lewis will be utility, or dumped - sorry but his injury history bugs me so they need to move him around the IF, to RF or flip him) but we have some things building..............need to get a C in the off season though and another P

     

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    Gray & Ryan have better records but I consider Mahle as our #1 starter. Mahle is very underrated, IMO he'll really blossom with the Twins. Mahle's ability to go longer in the game & added BP has help us tremendously for us to get to the post-season.

    Even with the addition of Mahle, Lopez and Fulmer we might not advance in the post season or even win the 1st game if our pitchers come in tired & injured. To avoid this we need to incorporate long relief to keep our pitchers healthy & rested going into the PS.

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    I looked at the 2021 stats of Mahle, Gray and Luis Castillo with the Reds.   Overall, Castillo had the best numbers but Mahle’s numbers look better than Gray’s.  
    We will see how this pans out over the next two months but I suspect the top 3 will be in this order: Mahle, Gray, Ryan.  

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    4 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

    Any idea when Mahle to have his 1st start as a Twin?

    Hasn't been made official, but all signs are pointing towards Mahle making his debut start on Friday against Toronto and Jose Berrios.

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    57 minutes ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    I's chose Jack Morris. I hate that the 3 game series between the division champ with the worst record among the 3 division champs, will have to play all 3 games at the home field of the last wild card team to get in, if the last wildcard team has a better record than the 3rd best division champ. 

    Jack Morris wasn't a great post-season pitcher. I'd choose somebody good instead.

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    1 hour ago, DJL44 said:

    Anyone else think Correa is going to be a good manager someday?

    I think Correa feels like he's interested in the player management and coaching aspects of the game along with the theory and evolution. I'm not sure if he'd actually be more interested in a GM job (like Jeter) than a manager. 

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    40 minutes ago, Musk21 said:

    Hasn't been made official, but all signs are pointing towards Mahle making his debut start on Friday against Toronto and Jose Berrios.

    Speaking of Berrios... he's straightening things out in Toronto. Over his last 6 starts, Berrios has been very good. 10.5 K/9, 1.75 BB/9, 3.00 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 3.02 xFIP even with the .319 BABIP.

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    2 hours ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    I hate that the 3 game series between the division champ with the worst record among the 3 division champs, will have to play all 3 games at the home field of the last wild card team to get in, if the last wildcard team has a better record than the 3rd best division champ. 

    I don't think that's true, at least not according to this: 

    https://www.mlb.com/news/new-mlb-playoff-format-2022-excitement

    3rd division winner gets three seed, and will host 6 seed for a 3 game series.

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    55 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    I don't think that's true, at least not according to this: 

    https://www.mlb.com/news/new-mlb-playoff-format-2022-excitement

    3rd division winner gets three seed, and will host 6 seed for a 3 game series.

    Thanks Chief for correcting my mistake. That's what I get for relying on google instead of going to mlb.com.  Google said that the team with the better record will host the 3 game series. However upon re-reading what google said, I think it was referring to the wildcard games. At any rate, thank you for posting this information. That certainly makes  better sense than what I had posted. By the way, I plan on coming to Minnesota from North Carolina for at least one playoff game, sooooooooooooooo   Gooooooooooooooooooo Twins.

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    Mahle will be good for the Twins for all of the reasons you state. He will look much better in Target Field.

    Also the Reds are a total mess this year so simply getting him away from that team may also make a difference.

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    6 minutes ago, cHawk said:

    Mahle will be good for the Twins for all of the reasons you state. He will look much better in Target Field.

    Also the Reds are a total mess this year so simply getting him away from that team may also make a difference.

    True. The Twins have an above average defense (10th) and the Reds defense is bad (26th). 46 runs difference over the course of 104 games or nearly half a run per game.

    Fielding Bible

     

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    3 hours ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    I's chose Jack Morris. I hate that the 3 game series between the division champ with the worst record among the 3 division champs, will have to play all 3 games at the home field of the last wild card team to get in, if the last wildcard team has a better record than the 3rd best division champ. 

    Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are both available. 

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    "Although Mahle doesn’t look great on the surface, he is much better than these numbers indicate.

    ....Target Field is the second best park to pitch in, so Mahle will go from being at a heavy disadvantage to a severe advantage simply by changing home stadiums.....

    .....Mahle is one of the unluckiest pitchers in the league......

    .....Among Twins starters, Mahle has the lowest expected ERA and the lowest expected batting average against (.206).'

     

    We will see. Personally, I would rather have a lucky player than consistently unlucky. I alway cringe when you have to sort through the stats available to try to make a case for why someone that is "expected" to be better, but isn't to date, and hasn't been. I would rather see a low ERA and a higher expected ERA, because what actually happens/happened is way more important and real than what one would expect or hope for. I would rather read about what was great and not expected than one is supposedly much better than he actually performed. 

    And if Target Field is the second best park to pitch in, that means that our pitching has been even worse than we think, and our pitchers are worse than we think, because with Target Field, it is expected :go: it should have been much better with the advantage. 

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    5 hours ago, Musk21 said:

    Hasn't been made official, but all signs are pointing towards Mahle making his debut start on Friday against Toronto and Jose Berrios.

    Its official.  Friday.  He was officially activated today.

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    Interesting discussion.  I think Mahle will be just fine.  What is almost amusing is the assumption the Twins will even make the playoffs.  They haven't been playing like a first place team for 2 months.  Lots of injuries and our top offensive players have gone into hiding.  The great Correa, he of the 35mil (money that could have been used to get some good pitching) has been missing in action for several weeks.  As I have been saying since the season started.  What will stop this team is the 5 inning starters and using 4 relievers nightly, and a manager that relies on his computer analytics and avoid common sense managing too much.  Rocco in the end will be the downfall of this team this year.

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    Interesting conversation about Mahle, who I hope/expect will be very good for the Twins as they battle for the Division Crown.

    What I don't understand is the Reds management.  They traded Sonny Gray to the Twins late in spring training.  In the past week they sent Castillo to Seattle and Mahle to the Twins.  That is three starting pitchers most teams would beg to have.  Why weren't they able to keep this trio and build around it.  Considering pitching is the most important aspect of winning baseball, they should have been able to have a competitive team in 2022.

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    3 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

    Interesting discussion.  I think Mahle will be just fine.  What is almost amusing is the assumption the Twins will even make the playoffs.  They haven't been playing like a first place team for 2 months.  Lots of injuries and our top offensive players have gone into hiding.  The great Correa, he of the 35mil (money that could have been used to get some good pitching) has been missing in action for several weeks.  As I have been saying since the season started.  What will stop this team is the 5 inning starters and using 4 relievers nightly, and a manager that relies on his computer analytics and avoid common sense managing too much.  Rocco in the end will be the downfall of this team this year.

    Okay ... a few things to agree with here and a few things to disagree with. First of all ... amusing with the assumptions ... I don't find that amusing, but I am one to not count the chicks before they hatch, so, yeah, I'm tempered, but still think it can be done, because of the division and what we've done to date. (But, tbh, there are LOTS of tempered comments on TD; I think many don't think it's a sure thing.). 'They haven't been playing like a first place team' ... which, I agree with in theory, yet, they are in first, despite all the things you say are and will be their downfall. The injuries, especially to our pitching staff, has really been the worst and I've said in other threads, the team's health could/will determine our playoff chances more than anything else. I'd be surprised if we see Ober or Winder up the rest of the season. And our BP ... Alcala, Coloumbe and Romero all on the 60-day, with Alcala for sure not returning (not sure of the status of the other two) ... that hurts us, a LOT. It's forced us to rely on pitchers we shouldn't be relying on. I, personally, don't think the 5-inning starts hurts as much as just not having the pen to counter it. I think these things are flip sides of the same coin ... either we need starters who can go longer, or we need a better pen to compensate. We've added two good arms, but without the ones on the 60-day IL, we are still short. Duran, López, Fulmer and Jax .... then who? The manager comments I'll just ignore because I don't think that's the issue. Whether or not Rocco is right for this job, he would be replaced with the same 'type' of manager, using analytics to help manage. It's just an easy finger point for those 'not into' that aspect of the game.

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