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  • Who Do The Twins Miss Most?

    Cody Pirkl

    The Twins Injured List continues to grow as the season rolls on as they’re now missing several important contributors who hopefully haven’t made their last marks on this 2022 Twins team. Some absences however weigh a bit heavier than others.

    Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

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    It seems like there’s a new player added to the Injured List every other day as the Twins have found themselves filling out the daily lineup card with players we never imagined they’d be relying on. Outfield, catcher, pitchers of all roles, there’s nowhere the Twins haven’t felt the sting of injury. For them to get back on the right track, I’ve ranked the top 3 players in order of importance to how the Twins may wind up finishing their season.

    3. Alex Kirilloff
    Number three is close between Max Kepler and Kirilloff, although Kepler seems like much more of a certainty return given his ailment being a straightforward broken toe. Unlike Kepler, Kirilloff has consistently shown off an impact-level bat when healthy. While his outfield defense isn’t exactly a plus skill, his presence keeps players such as Mark Contreras out of the lineup. His ability to switch over to first base and his possession of a DH-worthy bat also makes the lineup not only better, but more flexible when Alex Kirilloff is healthy.

    As for the odds of his return, they remain to be seen. His wrist is now a consistent issue, as it’s been a problem more often than not this season. At this point we have to worry not only about his impact on the 2022 Twins, but about his entire career. He recently received another cortisone injection, and if we cross our fingers perhaps he’s available before the end of the season again.

    2. Ryan Jeffers
    Many complained about Jeffers’ bat, myself included for much of the season. While he hasn’t lit the world on fire, it’s hard to deny that Jeffers has a superior glove to Gary Sanchez who’s played nearly daily since Jeffers went down. Gary Sanchez, a bat-first catcher, has given us a newfound appreciation for Jeffers’ modest offensive skills since he’s become the everyday catcher. Gary was 24% below the league average hitter in June, and a Drew Butera-esque 59% below in July. Not only is his defense not up to Jeffers’ standards, but the Twins have basically been giving away 3-4 free outs per game to their opponents from the catcher’s spot for over a month.

    It’s possible Sandy Leon begins significantly eating into Gary’s playing time as he can at least provide stellar work behind the plate, but the Twins certainly would benefit from Jeffers return sooner rather than later. The floor of his framing work behind the plate and occasional hot streak sounds far superior to the current setup behind the plate. It’s hopeful Jeffers returns towards the end of August and certainly for the stretch run in September.

    1. Bailey Ober
    The Twins had a fantastic trade deadline, there’s no disputing that. They had a significant amount of needs and addressed the most important ones in a market that many teams called difficult. Had they made one more move, another filler starting pitcher likely would have been the best play. The Twins are in an interesting spot with the rotation. Joe Ryan has begun to surpass previous career highs in innings pitched. It’s hard to expect more than four innings pitched from Bundy and Archer every time out, and there’s little to no help on the way in the minors aside from Devin Smeltzer. A lot will hinge not only on the rotation staying healthy, but on the duo of Bundy and Archer occasionally providing starts that give the Twins a chance to win, which is no sure thing.

    Having Ober back even under the premise that he’s a solid #4 starter would be a game changer for a Twins rotation that lacks any kind of depth. It’s unclear what Ober’s timeline is, but we’ve been told we can expect him back this season still at this point. Hopefully, good news starts to emerge sooner rather than later, as the Twins could sure use one of their lone bright spots from the 2021 rotation.

    Admittedly this list is plenty interchangeable ad there are several options not even listed here. Let's be honest, we have plenty of injured players to choose from! Do you agree with the order of the list? Do you think someone not listed here deserves to be at the top? Let us know below.



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    Who Do The Twins Miss Most?

    There stars being stars and picking up the slack for the injured players, a little thinking outside the box from the FO/Manager on how to better get though games then relying on relief pitchers pitching innings 4/5 though the end of the game.

    Sure they miss what we all hoped AK would be, but hasn't been close to that yet. They miss Jeffers because while not an big upgrade from Sanchez he is better than the others. As for Ober, do they miss another starter that pitches 5 or less innings, I would say sure/maybe he is upgrade over Archer and Bundy if he actually averages more innings per start than he has so far.  

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    Eduardo Escobar, even if he is have a bad year.

    Kirilloff's lacks game power and refuses to take walks.
    Jeffers is no better than Sanchez.
    Ober's probably not a rotation piece with his injury history at this point, and even if he was, he's a back end rotation arm. Number 4-5 guys are nice to haves, but Kenta Maeda would have been far more valuable to have this year.

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    Kepler is a must return. I would not be adverse to Sanchez being more of a DH except the Twins still need to play a Miranda Arraez and Urshela every game possible,  Maeda will be back. 

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    I believe we are talking about guys who may come back yet. Maeda is #1 in my book. Alcala doesn't count as he is done for the year. 

    Jeffers is better than Sanchez. Once Sanchez started catching every day, his batting tanked.


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    I agree with @Vanimal46, I think it has to be Maeda.  Especially given the injuries to the rotation.  The injury may have forced their hand to go out and get Mahle, but there's no reason that wouldn't have happened anyway considering the injuries the staff has suffered.

    On the offensive side, I think Lewis' injury was pretty deflating.  It was a short stint, but it was quite a good one.  If we're talking about expected Opening Day roster guys though, I think it has to be Kirilloff.  Between filling in at LF, a very good defensive 1B is missing from this team.  That's not a shot at Arraez or Miranda, but neither have the glove Kirilloff does there.  

    The silver lining of AK's injury is that it allowed Miranda to come up and stay up.  That's been a big plus for a lagging lineup.

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    I am going to say Cruz; his leadership in the club house is void not refilled.

    Were he here with Correa, Urshela, Sanchez, Sano their numbers would better as would Cruz's though his rbi production is still plenty this year.

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    Had to go back and review your assumption.  Yes, it appears you had the ‘return this year’ language.  My top three would be:  Maeda, Alcala (he was ruled out for the year only this week), and Ober.  So many struggles from the pitching staff, gotta be pitchers more so than any hitters.

    If we didn’t have the return language, I would have Paddack as #2 or #3 with Ober dropping off.

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    OK, YES, Maeda might be the biggest missing piece. Short season or not, he was OUTSTANDNG in 2020. Despite that, he was working on a new pitch to be even better going forward. And he was looking great in ST and ready to roll. And then his arm betrayed him. And a healthy Alcala, growing and developing and coming off a tremendous late 2021 run, has been missed. And listing them is obvious and relevant to be sure. And perhaps they should be included. No argument from me.

    But in regard to just the OP....

    ....I'm really torn how to rank these choices. 

    3] I actually like Jeffers a lot as a catcher, even though he's disappointed this year with the bat. (Though he was heating up and has real bat potential). Sanchez is much better than I expected defensively, and I think some of that is kudos to the Twins. Love his arm. Leon has next to nothing with the bat but hope, but he provides what you need behind the plate.

    2] I'm going to say Ober as #2 due to his ability, and potential, but also because of the rash of injuries in the OF. I think a lot of people sell Ober short. His IP were closely monitored in 2021 for a real reason. He was looking very good in 2022 before his injury. Frankly, he was better than Bundy or Archer. He might have continued to be a 5 IP starter who might occasionally pitch 6, but he's still better than anyone else. I think we've missed him a LOT! He has a chance to be a solid back end piece for the next few years.

    1] Take your pick between Kepler, Kirilloff, and Larnach. Arraez and Miranda can play an OK 1B. But AK can play a very good 1B, a solid OF, and has legitimate middle of the order production if he can get 100% one of these days. Contreras is a good defensive OF, but he's not the experienced Kepler nor does he have his bat. And Larnach is "solid" in the OF with a great arm who has shown in 2021 and 2022 that his bat has real life and potential. Give me ONE of them healthy and ready to go I'm OK and sorta happy. Give me 2 and ecstatic.  All 3 back somehow? I'm going to dance an embarrassing jig. 

    Based on the OP, that's my list.

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    1 hour ago, Buenos_beisbol said:

    I miss Buxton.  Bite the bullet.  Put him on the 10 day now and rehab the knee fully so he can play everyday in September.

    Chances are that no amount of rest will keep it from flaring up just as soon as he puts the knee under any stress.  I am guessing off-season surgery is the plan.

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