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Matthew Lenz

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  1. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Game Score: Twins 7, Royals 3   
    Box Score
    Charlie Barnes: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER (3 R), 1 BB, 3 K
    Homeruns: Polanco (33), Buxton (19)
    Top 3 WPA: Polanco (.104), Minaya (.091), Vincent (.085)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Twins Offense Strikes Early
    It didn’t take but seven pitches for the Twins to take a three-run lead against rookie Jackson Kowar. After a single by Luis Arraez to start the game, Byron Buxton extended his MLB record with his 41st extra-base hit, and then Jorge Polanco went boom.
    The onslaught continued with a Josh Donaldson walk, Max Kepler single, and an RBI single from Miguel Sanó making it 4-0 Twins before they recorded their first out with a Brent Rooker strikeout. A Nick Gordon fielder's choice scored Kepler and then Ryan Jeffers struck out to end the inning with a 5-0 cushion for Charlie Barnes.

    The Twins were mostly quiet until the top of the lineup was due up for a third time in the top of the fifth. Arraez led off with another single before Buxton, once again, extended his MLB record with another extra-base hit…this time a four bagger to make it 7-0.
    That would be the last of the Twins threats of the day as they were only able to muster up two more hits, another came from Arraez, in the last three innings of play.
    Charlie Barnes Gets Knocked Out Early but Bullpen Finishes Year Strong
    For the first time all season, Barnes wasn’t able to give the Twins four innings as he was pulled after just eight outs. In his 2 ⅔ innings he allowed nine baserunners and three runs (two earned). He actually posted a respectable 13-percent whiff percentage but when the Royals made contact, they averaged an exit velocity of 106.2 miles per hour, which was ultimately his demise.

    Juan Minaya came on in relief and was able to hold the Royals to just the three runs followed by a two strikeout inning in the fourth.

    Nick Vincent shined in his two innings needing only 15 pitches to strikeout two Royals and get six outs.

    Not to be outdone by Vincent, Kyle Barraclough struck out the side in the seventh and added one more in the eighth before being pulled in favor of Jorge Alcala who finished the inning with a strikeout of his own.

    Alcala pitched a clean ninth with two strikeouts and earned his first career save after blowing his first four opportunities this year.
      WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Barraclough 0 14 0 0 36 50 Minaya 22 0 0 0 27 49 Thielbar 0 14 0 26 0 40 Farrell 0 0 38 0 0 38 Moran 0 0 38 0 0 38 Duffey 21 0 0 15 0 36 Alcalá 0 13 0 0 19 32 Vincent 0 16 0 0 15 31 Colomé 18 0 0 7 0 25 Coulombe 0 0 15 0 0 15 Garza Jr. 0 12 0 0 0 12
  2. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from verninski for an article, Game Score: Twins 7, Royals 3   
    Box Score
    Charlie Barnes: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER (3 R), 1 BB, 3 K
    Homeruns: Polanco (33), Buxton (19)
    Top 3 WPA: Polanco (.104), Minaya (.091), Vincent (.085)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Twins Offense Strikes Early
    It didn’t take but seven pitches for the Twins to take a three-run lead against rookie Jackson Kowar. After a single by Luis Arraez to start the game, Byron Buxton extended his MLB record with his 41st extra-base hit, and then Jorge Polanco went boom.
    The onslaught continued with a Josh Donaldson walk, Max Kepler single, and an RBI single from Miguel Sanó making it 4-0 Twins before they recorded their first out with a Brent Rooker strikeout. A Nick Gordon fielder's choice scored Kepler and then Ryan Jeffers struck out to end the inning with a 5-0 cushion for Charlie Barnes.

    The Twins were mostly quiet until the top of the lineup was due up for a third time in the top of the fifth. Arraez led off with another single before Buxton, once again, extended his MLB record with another extra-base hit…this time a four bagger to make it 7-0.
    That would be the last of the Twins threats of the day as they were only able to muster up two more hits, another came from Arraez, in the last three innings of play.
    Charlie Barnes Gets Knocked Out Early but Bullpen Finishes Year Strong
    For the first time all season, Barnes wasn’t able to give the Twins four innings as he was pulled after just eight outs. In his 2 ⅔ innings he allowed nine baserunners and three runs (two earned). He actually posted a respectable 13-percent whiff percentage but when the Royals made contact, they averaged an exit velocity of 106.2 miles per hour, which was ultimately his demise.

    Juan Minaya came on in relief and was able to hold the Royals to just the three runs followed by a two strikeout inning in the fourth.

    Nick Vincent shined in his two innings needing only 15 pitches to strikeout two Royals and get six outs.

    Not to be outdone by Vincent, Kyle Barraclough struck out the side in the seventh and added one more in the eighth before being pulled in favor of Jorge Alcala who finished the inning with a strikeout of his own.

    Alcala pitched a clean ninth with two strikeouts and earned his first career save after blowing his first four opportunities this year.
      WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Barraclough 0 14 0 0 36 50 Minaya 22 0 0 0 27 49 Thielbar 0 14 0 26 0 40 Farrell 0 0 38 0 0 38 Moran 0 0 38 0 0 38 Duffey 21 0 0 15 0 36 Alcalá 0 13 0 0 19 32 Vincent 0 16 0 0 15 31 Colomé 18 0 0 7 0 25 Coulombe 0 0 15 0 0 15 Garza Jr. 0 12 0 0 0 12
  3. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from operation mindcrime for an article, Game Score: Blue Jays 5, Twins 3   
    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
  4. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from verninski for an article, Game Score: Blue Jays 5, Twins 3   
    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
  5. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from verninski for an article, Game Score: Brewers 6, Twins 2   
    Box Score
    Griffin Jax: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 5 K, 3 BB, 65.0% strikes
    Homeruns: Sano (23)
    Bottom 3 WPA:
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Griffin Jax Struggles with Control
    If you’ve followed me long enough, you know how much emphasis I put on pitchers being efficient. Well, unfortunately for Jax he was almost too efficient today throwing 65-percent strikes and 76-percent first pitch strikes, but leaving too many pitches over the middle of the plate.
    Those six extra-base hits could have easily been up to nine extra-base hits but each of the three starting outfielders made nice running catches to limit the Brewers' damage against Jax, including the ball off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr which Byron Buxton snagged with ease.
    If you were listening to the Bally Sports North broadcast, you heard former Twins All-Star reliever Glen Perkins mention Ryan Jeffers glove “drifting” from where he set up due to Jax missing his spots, which is why he got tagged all day. With a wide-open rotation for 2022, Jax will continue to get an opportunity to prove he can stick, but this is now back-to-back starts for Jax where he got absolutely shelled after a string of five solid starts. In today’s game particularly, his pitch movement was on par with where he’s been all season so it’s just a matter of bearing down and hitting the mitt where the catcher sets up. This leaves me a little optimistic that he can rebound the next time he’s on the bump.

     
    Sano Moons One while Rest of Offense is Grounded
    It was a solid day from left-hander Aaron Ashby, but his one mistake was hanging a curveball to Miguel Sano who hit his fourth blast in the last eight games. This was Sano’s 23rd of the season and “only” traveled 420 feet. 
    The rest of the offense was pretty quiet with each of Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, Rob Refsnyder, and Willians Astudillo being the only other players to reach base. In the last twelve plate appearances of the game, the Twins struck out nine times including 1-2-3 in the eighth inning and three straight to end the game. In short, there wasn't ever much from the Twins throughout the entirety of the game.
    Bullpen Usage
    Ian Gibaut made his season debut, providing the Twins with three scoreless innings despite not having a clean inning and getting hit hard. Ralph Garza Jr came on in the 9th inning with two strikeouts on 11 pitches and not allowing anyone to reach base.
      WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Albers 0 0 88 0 0 88 Garza Jr. 24 4 0 0 11 39 Coulombe 19 0 20 0 0 39 Thielbar 22 0 0 23 0 45 Duffey 9 0 6 0 0 15 Colomé 20 0 13 13 0 46 Minaya 0 0 0 17 0 17 Gibaut 0 0 0 0 33 33 Alcalá 0 0 12 0 0 12
  6. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from Minny505 for an article, Twins Options at Shortstop in 2022   
    When the Twins signed veteran Andrelton Simmons to a one-year, $10.5MM deal last offseason, it seemed like a perfect fit for a club that needed their top prospect to get an extra year of seasoning under his belt. A torn ACL and an anti-vaxxer later and what seemed like a perfect fit has turned into a complete disaster, and that’s before pointing out that Simmons has been one of the worst hitters in the league this year. Based on the latest Twitter mentions of Simmons, it’s pretty clear that the fans are ready to turn the page, although after not being dealt at the deadline, we’re likely stuck with him as there isn’t a suitable option to take his place at the moment.

    With Royce Lewis missing two full minor league seasons, he will need to start the year in Wichita or St. Paul and would probably spend the entire season between one of those two spots. Here are the short-term options for the position until he proves he’s ready.
    40-man Roster
    Jorge Polanco - we’re well aware of his recent history with the position, and it’s not pretty. Moreover, I wonder if his 2021 rebound has anything to do with moving to second base. He’s had back-to-back offseasons that required minor ankle surgery but seems to be healthy playing a position that is a little less taxing than shortstop. Based on the season he’s having, I’d hope that Twins don’t push him back to shortstop in 2022, but he also might be the best option currently in the organization. Nick Gordon - after six-plus seasons in the minors, Gordon finally made his Major League debut but didn’t do a great job of taking advantage of the opportunity. In recent years he’s started mixing time in a second, but he does have over 4,500 minor league innings at short. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s not the long-term solution at the position, but he could be an upgrade over Simmons in a season where the Twins likely won’t be competing for a playoff spot. Non-40-man Roster
    Jose Miranda - nobody saw this coming from Miranda, but he’s burst onto the scene and is having arguably the best season of any minor leaguer. He’s crushing so much so that you have fans clamoring for him to be with the big league club right now. In the long run, he’s the current heir apparent to Josh Donaldson, but he’s almost forcing the Twins hand to add him to the 40-man and see what he can do in 2022. A lot of greats have moved from short to third...Ripken, Rodriguez, Machado...and in 2024 or 2025, maybe Miranda can add his name to that list. Austin Martin - the Twins shiny new prospect has done well since coming over in the José Berríos trade, but Ken Rosenthal reported that the front office views him as more of an outfield prospect. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get an opportunity in Spring Training next year, but I would be surprised if he were named the everyday shortstop for the big league club. Jermaine Palacios - he’s having a nice little season for AA-Wichita, but I don’t see him being a candidate for this job in 2022. Drew Maggi or JT Riddle - the two minor league veterans are in St. Paul, but like Palacios, I can’t imagine they’ll get much of a look with other, better options to fill in for a year. Free Agents
    Marcus Semien - he’s having a great season with Toronto after signing a one-year deal last offseason, and entering his age 32-season, I have to imagine he’ll be looking for a multi-year deal. Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and Javier Baez - I group these guys because they are the best young shortstops in the game, and all will be looking to cash in. Like Semien, I foresee them wanting a lot of money over multiple years. José Iglesias - if the Twins are going to hit free agency, this might be a good, cheap target. Iglesias has bounced around the league quite a bit with great defense and a passable bat.  Andrelton Simmons - LOL. It comes down to the vision for the 2022 season, which I believe to be a rebuild or “retool” year. If that’s the case, it doesn’t make sense to spend in free agency when you have the opportunity to give some of your prospects time at the Major League level. No matter who they go with, they will be downgrading the defense, but that comes with an increase in offense. I think a mixture of Polanco, Gordon, Miranda, and Martin would be an okay choice while they spend money to rebuild their rotation and bullpen.
  7. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from Heiny for an article, Twins Options at Shortstop in 2022   
    When the Twins signed veteran Andrelton Simmons to a one-year, $10.5MM deal last offseason, it seemed like a perfect fit for a club that needed their top prospect to get an extra year of seasoning under his belt. A torn ACL and an anti-vaxxer later and what seemed like a perfect fit has turned into a complete disaster, and that’s before pointing out that Simmons has been one of the worst hitters in the league this year. Based on the latest Twitter mentions of Simmons, it’s pretty clear that the fans are ready to turn the page, although after not being dealt at the deadline, we’re likely stuck with him as there isn’t a suitable option to take his place at the moment.

    With Royce Lewis missing two full minor league seasons, he will need to start the year in Wichita or St. Paul and would probably spend the entire season between one of those two spots. Here are the short-term options for the position until he proves he’s ready.
    40-man Roster
    Jorge Polanco - we’re well aware of his recent history with the position, and it’s not pretty. Moreover, I wonder if his 2021 rebound has anything to do with moving to second base. He’s had back-to-back offseasons that required minor ankle surgery but seems to be healthy playing a position that is a little less taxing than shortstop. Based on the season he’s having, I’d hope that Twins don’t push him back to shortstop in 2022, but he also might be the best option currently in the organization. Nick Gordon - after six-plus seasons in the minors, Gordon finally made his Major League debut but didn’t do a great job of taking advantage of the opportunity. In recent years he’s started mixing time in a second, but he does have over 4,500 minor league innings at short. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s not the long-term solution at the position, but he could be an upgrade over Simmons in a season where the Twins likely won’t be competing for a playoff spot. Non-40-man Roster
    Jose Miranda - nobody saw this coming from Miranda, but he’s burst onto the scene and is having arguably the best season of any minor leaguer. He’s crushing so much so that you have fans clamoring for him to be with the big league club right now. In the long run, he’s the current heir apparent to Josh Donaldson, but he’s almost forcing the Twins hand to add him to the 40-man and see what he can do in 2022. A lot of greats have moved from short to third...Ripken, Rodriguez, Machado...and in 2024 or 2025, maybe Miranda can add his name to that list. Austin Martin - the Twins shiny new prospect has done well since coming over in the José Berríos trade, but Ken Rosenthal reported that the front office views him as more of an outfield prospect. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get an opportunity in Spring Training next year, but I would be surprised if he were named the everyday shortstop for the big league club. Jermaine Palacios - he’s having a nice little season for AA-Wichita, but I don’t see him being a candidate for this job in 2022. Drew Maggi or JT Riddle - the two minor league veterans are in St. Paul, but like Palacios, I can’t imagine they’ll get much of a look with other, better options to fill in for a year. Free Agents
    Marcus Semien - he’s having a great season with Toronto after signing a one-year deal last offseason, and entering his age 32-season, I have to imagine he’ll be looking for a multi-year deal. Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and Javier Baez - I group these guys because they are the best young shortstops in the game, and all will be looking to cash in. Like Semien, I foresee them wanting a lot of money over multiple years. José Iglesias - if the Twins are going to hit free agency, this might be a good, cheap target. Iglesias has bounced around the league quite a bit with great defense and a passable bat.  Andrelton Simmons - LOL. It comes down to the vision for the 2022 season, which I believe to be a rebuild or “retool” year. If that’s the case, it doesn’t make sense to spend in free agency when you have the opportunity to give some of your prospects time at the Major League level. No matter who they go with, they will be downgrading the defense, but that comes with an increase in offense. I think a mixture of Polanco, Gordon, Miranda, and Martin would be an okay choice while they spend money to rebuild their rotation and bullpen.
  8. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for an article, Twins Options at Shortstop in 2022   
    When the Twins signed veteran Andrelton Simmons to a one-year, $10.5MM deal last offseason, it seemed like a perfect fit for a club that needed their top prospect to get an extra year of seasoning under his belt. A torn ACL and an anti-vaxxer later and what seemed like a perfect fit has turned into a complete disaster, and that’s before pointing out that Simmons has been one of the worst hitters in the league this year. Based on the latest Twitter mentions of Simmons, it’s pretty clear that the fans are ready to turn the page, although after not being dealt at the deadline, we’re likely stuck with him as there isn’t a suitable option to take his place at the moment.

    With Royce Lewis missing two full minor league seasons, he will need to start the year in Wichita or St. Paul and would probably spend the entire season between one of those two spots. Here are the short-term options for the position until he proves he’s ready.
    40-man Roster
    Jorge Polanco - we’re well aware of his recent history with the position, and it’s not pretty. Moreover, I wonder if his 2021 rebound has anything to do with moving to second base. He’s had back-to-back offseasons that required minor ankle surgery but seems to be healthy playing a position that is a little less taxing than shortstop. Based on the season he’s having, I’d hope that Twins don’t push him back to shortstop in 2022, but he also might be the best option currently in the organization. Nick Gordon - after six-plus seasons in the minors, Gordon finally made his Major League debut but didn’t do a great job of taking advantage of the opportunity. In recent years he’s started mixing time in a second, but he does have over 4,500 minor league innings at short. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s not the long-term solution at the position, but he could be an upgrade over Simmons in a season where the Twins likely won’t be competing for a playoff spot. Non-40-man Roster
    Jose Miranda - nobody saw this coming from Miranda, but he’s burst onto the scene and is having arguably the best season of any minor leaguer. He’s crushing so much so that you have fans clamoring for him to be with the big league club right now. In the long run, he’s the current heir apparent to Josh Donaldson, but he’s almost forcing the Twins hand to add him to the 40-man and see what he can do in 2022. A lot of greats have moved from short to third...Ripken, Rodriguez, Machado...and in 2024 or 2025, maybe Miranda can add his name to that list. Austin Martin - the Twins shiny new prospect has done well since coming over in the José Berríos trade, but Ken Rosenthal reported that the front office views him as more of an outfield prospect. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get an opportunity in Spring Training next year, but I would be surprised if he were named the everyday shortstop for the big league club. Jermaine Palacios - he’s having a nice little season for AA-Wichita, but I don’t see him being a candidate for this job in 2022. Drew Maggi or JT Riddle - the two minor league veterans are in St. Paul, but like Palacios, I can’t imagine they’ll get much of a look with other, better options to fill in for a year. Free Agents
    Marcus Semien - he’s having a great season with Toronto after signing a one-year deal last offseason, and entering his age 32-season, I have to imagine he’ll be looking for a multi-year deal. Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, and Javier Baez - I group these guys because they are the best young shortstops in the game, and all will be looking to cash in. Like Semien, I foresee them wanting a lot of money over multiple years. José Iglesias - if the Twins are going to hit free agency, this might be a good, cheap target. Iglesias has bounced around the league quite a bit with great defense and a passable bat.  Andrelton Simmons - LOL. It comes down to the vision for the 2022 season, which I believe to be a rebuild or “retool” year. If that’s the case, it doesn’t make sense to spend in free agency when you have the opportunity to give some of your prospects time at the Major League level. No matter who they go with, they will be downgrading the defense, but that comes with an increase in offense. I think a mixture of Polanco, Gordon, Miranda, and Martin would be an okay choice while they spend money to rebuild their rotation and bullpen.
  9. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from nclahammer for an article, Game Score: Twins 7, Astros 5   
    Box Score
    Kenta Maeda: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (63-percent strikes)
    Homeruns: Sano (18), Polanco 2 (19, 20)
    Top 3 WPA: Polanco (.259), Colome (.086), Kepler (.055)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Kenta Maeda Provides Five Solid Innings
    At one point, it looked like Maeda was locked in and cruising to provide the Twins with some much needed innings after the bullpen was taxed on Friday night.
    Unfortunately, back-to-back innings of 25 plus pitches ended his day after the fifth inning in what ended up being a good not great start for the right-handed starter.
    Right away in the bottom of the first the Astros put a threat together with some bloop base hits and shoddy Twins defense, but Maeda struckout Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa to end the inning and limit the damage to one run. Shutting down that threat lead to the aforementioned run of Maeda retiring the next nine (tweet was wrong) Astros hitters with the help of a nice defensive play by Luis Arraez on a ball that had an xBA of .380 off the bat of Kyle Tucker. The Astros would put together threats in the fourth and fifth innings, and although he needed a total of 56 pitches to battle through, he was able to limit the damage to just one run in each inning on some unfortunate heads up..misplays…?
    We would have loved to see Maeda get past the fifth inning, especially considering the state of the bullpen, but his box score doesn’t give him the credit he deserves against the best offense in baseball. Out of the 23 batters faced he started 16 of them with first-pitch strikes. Moreover, he was dotting the edges of the zone with his slider which generated 12 whiffs of the 16 whiffs he forced on the day.

    Polanco Leads Offensive Charge with Two Home Runs
    The Twins Daily Hitter of the Month for July is continuing his torrid hitting streak into August as he entered today with an OPS of 901, three homeruns, and six RBI’s in 26 at-bats over six games. After Sunday’s contest, he has now hit five homeruns while getting at least one hit in all but one of seven August games.
    The Twins went down quietly in the first inning, but otherwise had baserunners in nearly every inning, including the 2nd when Trevor Larnach punched a two-out  single to the opposite field, scoring Jake Cave.
    The two-runs in the fourth inning came on this absolute moonshot from Miguel Sanó, his 18th of the season, that landed on the railroad tracks.
    The Twins only mustered up one-run in the fifth inning thanks to a lead off homerun from Polanco, his first of the day and 19th of the year, but chased starter Lance McCuller Jr out of the game by loading the bases after a 5-pitch walk by Larnach. To nobody's surprise, Andrelton Simmons swung at two terrible pitches before lining out to left field.
    Polanco came back up in the sixth, this time against righty Phil Maton, but ended the at-bat with the same result from the fifth inning.
    In all, the Twins had five hitters with multi-hit games: Max Kepler (3), Polanco (2), Arraez (2), Sanó (2), and Larnach (2) while all of those hitters but Kepler also added a walk to their day at the plate. Of course Polanco was the player of the game, but what was more encouraging was the two singles from Larnach on inside pitches that he punched to the opposite field. The rookie is trying to recover from the month of July where he had an OPS of .518 by posting an August OPS of .900 coming into today and having really productive at-bats.
    Bullpen Usage
    Juan Minaya, who started warming in the fifth inning, came on in the sixth where he went 1-2-3 thanks to a 6-4-3 double play. Tyler Duffey came on in the seventh but was pulled mid-inning after a walk, which was erased by another 6-4-3 double play, and back-to-back doubles that lead to an Astros run. Duffey was followed by Danny Coulombe who ended the inning with a Yordan Alvarez groundout. Jorge Alcala needed 29 pitches in the eighth but ultimately was able to hold the Astros while striking out Tucker and former Twins catcher Jason Castro. Alex Colome earned the save in the 9th shutting down the Astros 1-2-3.
      TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Minaya 0 44 0 17 0 12 73 Gant 22 0 0 17 13 0 52 Thielbar 0 22 8 0 20 0 50 Colomé 20 0 7 17 0 18 62 Coulombe 13 0 17 14 0 7 51 Duffey 0 0 21 20 0 15 56 Alcala 0 0 14 14 0 29 57 Burrows 0 13 0 0 0 0 13
  10. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from verninski for an article, Game Score: Twins 7, Astros 5   
    Box Score
    Kenta Maeda: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (63-percent strikes)
    Homeruns: Sano (18), Polanco 2 (19, 20)
    Top 3 WPA: Polanco (.259), Colome (.086), Kepler (.055)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Kenta Maeda Provides Five Solid Innings
    At one point, it looked like Maeda was locked in and cruising to provide the Twins with some much needed innings after the bullpen was taxed on Friday night.
    Unfortunately, back-to-back innings of 25 plus pitches ended his day after the fifth inning in what ended up being a good not great start for the right-handed starter.
    Right away in the bottom of the first the Astros put a threat together with some bloop base hits and shoddy Twins defense, but Maeda struckout Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa to end the inning and limit the damage to one run. Shutting down that threat lead to the aforementioned run of Maeda retiring the next nine (tweet was wrong) Astros hitters with the help of a nice defensive play by Luis Arraez on a ball that had an xBA of .380 off the bat of Kyle Tucker. The Astros would put together threats in the fourth and fifth innings, and although he needed a total of 56 pitches to battle through, he was able to limit the damage to just one run in each inning on some unfortunate heads up..misplays…?
    We would have loved to see Maeda get past the fifth inning, especially considering the state of the bullpen, but his box score doesn’t give him the credit he deserves against the best offense in baseball. Out of the 23 batters faced he started 16 of them with first-pitch strikes. Moreover, he was dotting the edges of the zone with his slider which generated 12 whiffs of the 16 whiffs he forced on the day.

    Polanco Leads Offensive Charge with Two Home Runs
    The Twins Daily Hitter of the Month for July is continuing his torrid hitting streak into August as he entered today with an OPS of 901, three homeruns, and six RBI’s in 26 at-bats over six games. After Sunday’s contest, he has now hit five homeruns while getting at least one hit in all but one of seven August games.
    The Twins went down quietly in the first inning, but otherwise had baserunners in nearly every inning, including the 2nd when Trevor Larnach punched a two-out  single to the opposite field, scoring Jake Cave.
    The two-runs in the fourth inning came on this absolute moonshot from Miguel Sanó, his 18th of the season, that landed on the railroad tracks.
    The Twins only mustered up one-run in the fifth inning thanks to a lead off homerun from Polanco, his first of the day and 19th of the year, but chased starter Lance McCuller Jr out of the game by loading the bases after a 5-pitch walk by Larnach. To nobody's surprise, Andrelton Simmons swung at two terrible pitches before lining out to left field.
    Polanco came back up in the sixth, this time against righty Phil Maton, but ended the at-bat with the same result from the fifth inning.
    In all, the Twins had five hitters with multi-hit games: Max Kepler (3), Polanco (2), Arraez (2), Sanó (2), and Larnach (2) while all of those hitters but Kepler also added a walk to their day at the plate. Of course Polanco was the player of the game, but what was more encouraging was the two singles from Larnach on inside pitches that he punched to the opposite field. The rookie is trying to recover from the month of July where he had an OPS of .518 by posting an August OPS of .900 coming into today and having really productive at-bats.
    Bullpen Usage
    Juan Minaya, who started warming in the fifth inning, came on in the sixth where he went 1-2-3 thanks to a 6-4-3 double play. Tyler Duffey came on in the seventh but was pulled mid-inning after a walk, which was erased by another 6-4-3 double play, and back-to-back doubles that lead to an Astros run. Duffey was followed by Danny Coulombe who ended the inning with a Yordan Alvarez groundout. Jorge Alcala needed 29 pitches in the eighth but ultimately was able to hold the Astros while striking out Tucker and former Twins catcher Jason Castro. Alex Colome earned the save in the 9th shutting down the Astros 1-2-3.
      TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Minaya 0 44 0 17 0 12 73 Gant 22 0 0 17 13 0 52 Thielbar 0 22 8 0 20 0 50 Colomé 20 0 7 17 0 18 62 Coulombe 13 0 17 14 0 7 51 Duffey 0 0 21 20 0 15 56 Alcala 0 0 14 14 0 29 57 Burrows 0 13 0 0 0 0 13
  11. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from Strombomb for an article, Game Score: Twins 7, Astros 5   
    Box Score
    Kenta Maeda: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (63-percent strikes)
    Homeruns: Sano (18), Polanco 2 (19, 20)
    Top 3 WPA: Polanco (.259), Colome (.086), Kepler (.055)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Kenta Maeda Provides Five Solid Innings
    At one point, it looked like Maeda was locked in and cruising to provide the Twins with some much needed innings after the bullpen was taxed on Friday night.
    Unfortunately, back-to-back innings of 25 plus pitches ended his day after the fifth inning in what ended up being a good not great start for the right-handed starter.
    Right away in the bottom of the first the Astros put a threat together with some bloop base hits and shoddy Twins defense, but Maeda struckout Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa to end the inning and limit the damage to one run. Shutting down that threat lead to the aforementioned run of Maeda retiring the next nine (tweet was wrong) Astros hitters with the help of a nice defensive play by Luis Arraez on a ball that had an xBA of .380 off the bat of Kyle Tucker. The Astros would put together threats in the fourth and fifth innings, and although he needed a total of 56 pitches to battle through, he was able to limit the damage to just one run in each inning on some unfortunate heads up..misplays…?
    We would have loved to see Maeda get past the fifth inning, especially considering the state of the bullpen, but his box score doesn’t give him the credit he deserves against the best offense in baseball. Out of the 23 batters faced he started 16 of them with first-pitch strikes. Moreover, he was dotting the edges of the zone with his slider which generated 12 whiffs of the 16 whiffs he forced on the day.

    Polanco Leads Offensive Charge with Two Home Runs
    The Twins Daily Hitter of the Month for July is continuing his torrid hitting streak into August as he entered today with an OPS of 901, three homeruns, and six RBI’s in 26 at-bats over six games. After Sunday’s contest, he has now hit five homeruns while getting at least one hit in all but one of seven August games.
    The Twins went down quietly in the first inning, but otherwise had baserunners in nearly every inning, including the 2nd when Trevor Larnach punched a two-out  single to the opposite field, scoring Jake Cave.
    The two-runs in the fourth inning came on this absolute moonshot from Miguel Sanó, his 18th of the season, that landed on the railroad tracks.
    The Twins only mustered up one-run in the fifth inning thanks to a lead off homerun from Polanco, his first of the day and 19th of the year, but chased starter Lance McCuller Jr out of the game by loading the bases after a 5-pitch walk by Larnach. To nobody's surprise, Andrelton Simmons swung at two terrible pitches before lining out to left field.
    Polanco came back up in the sixth, this time against righty Phil Maton, but ended the at-bat with the same result from the fifth inning.
    In all, the Twins had five hitters with multi-hit games: Max Kepler (3), Polanco (2), Arraez (2), Sanó (2), and Larnach (2) while all of those hitters but Kepler also added a walk to their day at the plate. Of course Polanco was the player of the game, but what was more encouraging was the two singles from Larnach on inside pitches that he punched to the opposite field. The rookie is trying to recover from the month of July where he had an OPS of .518 by posting an August OPS of .900 coming into today and having really productive at-bats.
    Bullpen Usage
    Juan Minaya, who started warming in the fifth inning, came on in the sixth where he went 1-2-3 thanks to a 6-4-3 double play. Tyler Duffey came on in the seventh but was pulled mid-inning after a walk, which was erased by another 6-4-3 double play, and back-to-back doubles that lead to an Astros run. Duffey was followed by Danny Coulombe who ended the inning with a Yordan Alvarez groundout. Jorge Alcala needed 29 pitches in the eighth but ultimately was able to hold the Astros while striking out Tucker and former Twins catcher Jason Castro. Alex Colome earned the save in the 9th shutting down the Astros 1-2-3.
      TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Minaya 0 44 0 17 0 12 73 Gant 22 0 0 17 13 0 52 Thielbar 0 22 8 0 20 0 50 Colomé 20 0 7 17 0 18 62 Coulombe 13 0 17 14 0 7 51 Duffey 0 0 21 20 0 15 56 Alcala 0 0 14 14 0 29 57 Burrows 0 13 0 0 0 0 13
  12. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Hitter of the Month - July 2021   
    After Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz took home the prestigious title in May and June, respectively, we will have a new award winner for the month of July. Before we announce the winner, let’s look at a group of honorable mentions for the month.

    Honorable Mention #3: Luis Arraez
    Arraez missed some time in July, otherwise he’d be higher on this list, but he was still one of the most productive Twins of the month. In the month of July, he had the highest batting average (.373) and on-base percentage (.415) of his career in months where he had at least 40 at-bats. Due to the time he’s missed this year, he’s currently about 50 plate appearances short of being a qualified hitter but he would rank 13th in the league in batting average if he had the minimum number of plate appearances. He gets bonus points for the crafty slide he showed on July 19th against the Chicago White Sox
    Honorable Mention #2: Josh Donaldson
    At 35-years-old, it’s safe to assume that Donaldson’s MVP days are behind him but that was probably an unfair bar to hold him to in the first place. Over the last two months, Donaldson has been one of the Twins best hitters smashing 11 homeruns with a .929 OPS. Although Donaldson slowed a bit in July and missed some time, he still accrued 0.5 fWAR with three homeruns and a .854 OPS. Included in his three home runs from the month was this 446 foot moon shot against off of José Cisnero where he broke through some career milestones.
    Honorable Mention #1: Max Kepler
    Kepler has struggled since his impressive 2019 season, but he hit well in July hitting one double, one triple, and a team-leading eight homeruns. He ended the month slashing .228/.290/.522 with a wRC+ of 118. Most notably, he became the all-time leader in walk off hits with this bloop against the Tigers that scored utility pinch runner Kenta Maeda in extras.
     
    Many thought that Kepler might get traded at the deadline and it even sounds like they had some preliminary talks with the Yankees. Alas, he’ll keep manning Centerfield and Right Field for the foreseeable future as the Twins begin a (hopefully) mini rebuild.
    Hitter of the Month: Jorge Polanco
    This was quite easy. In the month of July, Polanco slashed .327/.366/.548 with a wRC+ of 149 and this is now two plus months of solid play from the Twins second baseman. 
    It seems that part of Polanco’s rebound can be thanks to a healthy ankle, and I wonder if shifting to second is a little easier on the joint. Regardless, this is an important development for a player who is under contract until 2024-2025 and could theoretically be a contributor to the next competitive window for the Twins.
  13. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from h2oface for an article, Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Hitter of the Month - July 2021   
    After Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz took home the prestigious title in May and June, respectively, we will have a new award winner for the month of July. Before we announce the winner, let’s look at a group of honorable mentions for the month.

    Honorable Mention #3: Luis Arraez
    Arraez missed some time in July, otherwise he’d be higher on this list, but he was still one of the most productive Twins of the month. In the month of July, he had the highest batting average (.373) and on-base percentage (.415) of his career in months where he had at least 40 at-bats. Due to the time he’s missed this year, he’s currently about 50 plate appearances short of being a qualified hitter but he would rank 13th in the league in batting average if he had the minimum number of plate appearances. He gets bonus points for the crafty slide he showed on July 19th against the Chicago White Sox
    Honorable Mention #2: Josh Donaldson
    At 35-years-old, it’s safe to assume that Donaldson’s MVP days are behind him but that was probably an unfair bar to hold him to in the first place. Over the last two months, Donaldson has been one of the Twins best hitters smashing 11 homeruns with a .929 OPS. Although Donaldson slowed a bit in July and missed some time, he still accrued 0.5 fWAR with three homeruns and a .854 OPS. Included in his three home runs from the month was this 446 foot moon shot against off of José Cisnero where he broke through some career milestones.
    Honorable Mention #1: Max Kepler
    Kepler has struggled since his impressive 2019 season, but he hit well in July hitting one double, one triple, and a team-leading eight homeruns. He ended the month slashing .228/.290/.522 with a wRC+ of 118. Most notably, he became the all-time leader in walk off hits with this bloop against the Tigers that scored utility pinch runner Kenta Maeda in extras.
     
    Many thought that Kepler might get traded at the deadline and it even sounds like they had some preliminary talks with the Yankees. Alas, he’ll keep manning Centerfield and Right Field for the foreseeable future as the Twins begin a (hopefully) mini rebuild.
    Hitter of the Month: Jorge Polanco
    This was quite easy. In the month of July, Polanco slashed .327/.366/.548 with a wRC+ of 149 and this is now two plus months of solid play from the Twins second baseman. 
    It seems that part of Polanco’s rebound can be thanks to a healthy ankle, and I wonder if shifting to second is a little easier on the joint. Regardless, this is an important development for a player who is under contract until 2024-2025 and could theoretically be a contributor to the next competitive window for the Twins.
  14. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from Richard Swerdlick for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    Conclusion
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from dbminn for an article, Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Hitter of the Month - July 2021   
    After Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz took home the prestigious title in May and June, respectively, we will have a new award winner for the month of July. Before we announce the winner, let’s look at a group of honorable mentions for the month.

    Honorable Mention #3: Luis Arraez
    Arraez missed some time in July, otherwise he’d be higher on this list, but he was still one of the most productive Twins of the month. In the month of July, he had the highest batting average (.373) and on-base percentage (.415) of his career in months where he had at least 40 at-bats. Due to the time he’s missed this year, he’s currently about 50 plate appearances short of being a qualified hitter but he would rank 13th in the league in batting average if he had the minimum number of plate appearances. He gets bonus points for the crafty slide he showed on July 19th against the Chicago White Sox
    Honorable Mention #2: Josh Donaldson
    At 35-years-old, it’s safe to assume that Donaldson’s MVP days are behind him but that was probably an unfair bar to hold him to in the first place. Over the last two months, Donaldson has been one of the Twins best hitters smashing 11 homeruns with a .929 OPS. Although Donaldson slowed a bit in July and missed some time, he still accrued 0.5 fWAR with three homeruns and a .854 OPS. Included in his three home runs from the month was this 446 foot moon shot against off of José Cisnero where he broke through some career milestones.
    Honorable Mention #1: Max Kepler
    Kepler has struggled since his impressive 2019 season, but he hit well in July hitting one double, one triple, and a team-leading eight homeruns. He ended the month slashing .228/.290/.522 with a wRC+ of 118. Most notably, he became the all-time leader in walk off hits with this bloop against the Tigers that scored utility pinch runner Kenta Maeda in extras.
     
    Many thought that Kepler might get traded at the deadline and it even sounds like they had some preliminary talks with the Yankees. Alas, he’ll keep manning Centerfield and Right Field for the foreseeable future as the Twins begin a (hopefully) mini rebuild.
    Hitter of the Month: Jorge Polanco
    This was quite easy. In the month of July, Polanco slashed .327/.366/.548 with a wRC+ of 149 and this is now two plus months of solid play from the Twins second baseman. 
    It seems that part of Polanco’s rebound can be thanks to a healthy ankle, and I wonder if shifting to second is a little easier on the joint. Regardless, this is an important development for a player who is under contract until 2024-2025 and could theoretically be a contributor to the next competitive window for the Twins.
  16. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    Conclusion
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from VivaBomboRivera! for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    Conclusion
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from operation mindcrime for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    Conclusion
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from nicksaviking for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    Conclusion
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  20. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    Conclusion
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from ToddlerHarmon for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    Conclusion
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from operation mindcrime for an article, Trade Candidate Profile: Caleb Thielbar   
    The Minnesota-native, drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, was released in December of 2010 and signed with the Twins on August 19th, 2011, after playing for the St. Paul Saints Much has been made about his return to the big leagues, (after a two-year stint with the Saints) but that’s overshadowed how effective he’s been in a Twins uniform. In the history of the Twins franchise, dating back to the inaugural season in 1961, Thielbar has the tenth best ERA of any pitcher who has thrown at least 150 innings in relief. Moreover, his FIP bumps him up to ninth on the list, yet he doesn’t get nearly the same fanfare of other recent Twins. He’s not the coveted new-age high-velocity pitcher, but he gets the job done and will undoubtedly have value on the trade market.
    As previously suggested, Thielbar’s fastball sits low 90’s, and he throws the pitch about 50-percent of the time while he flashes a sweeping slider and looping curveball for his second and third pitches, respectively.
    Thielbar is not an elite arm by any means, and teams won’t be clamoring over him to be their closer or even set up guy. But he brings value as a low to mid leverage reliever that can bridge the gap between the starter and the back end of the bullpen. Due to his age (34) and limited ceiling, teams won’t be giving up a lot for the lefty reliever, but one interesting thing to note is that Thielbar still has three years of team control after 2021. That’s to say that Thielbar isn’t just a rental but could be a solid piece for teams that look to be contenders for the foreseeable future, like the Padres and Dodgers, for years to come. In fact, I think a trade just completed on Thursday is nearly a perfect comp for what the Twins could look to net in a trade involving Caleb Thielbar.
    The Chicago Cubs sent 33-year-old right-hander Ryan Tepera to the Chicago White Sox for 23-year-old right-handed pitcher Bailey Horn. Horn was a fifth round pick in 2020 with limited success over 38 1/3 minor league innings.

    I think this is a pretty good idea of what the Twins would be looking at for Thielbar. A low-level, albeit top-30, prospect. Tepera doesn’t have the team control that Thielbar has, but I don’t know how much pull that has with a 34-year-old reliever.
    All that said, I know some of you are thinking the Twins could use him for years to come. So what do you say...should he stay or should he go?
  23. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from Dman for an article, Trade Deadline Preview: The San Diego Padres   
    What's Their Situation?
    Coming into the season, everyone expected the Padres and Dodgers to be battling it out for the NL Central crown, which the Padres haven't won since they went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. To almost everyone's surprise, neither team is in first place, as the San Francisco Giants have been baseball's best team over the first 94 games of the season. And even though they find themselves 5.5 games behind the division leader and in third place, FanGraphs has their odds to make the postseason at 92.3-percent, making them the second Wild Card team and likely facing the Dodgers or Giants in the Wild Card round. Currently, the Padres are tied with the Mets with an 8.0-percent chance to win the World Series, which is 5th best in the league.

    What Do They Need?

    Like the Dodgers, but even more so, the Padres need starting and relief pitching. The Padres are 23rd in all of baseball in getting innings from their starters, leading them to use their relievers the most in baseball. Aside from Yu Darvish, who is currently on the IL and has struggled since the MLB cracked down on "sticky stuff," they don't have any top-end arms in their rotation or bullpen. That said, they have gotten good production from Joe Musgrove (SP), Emilio Pagan (RP), Pierce Johnson (RP), and Austin Adams (RP). They could also use a right-handed bat as they are a mediocre team against left-handed pitching.
    Which Twins Are The Best Fit?
    It remains to be seen if anyone will be willing to add any of the Twins expiring contracts who are at least partially responsible for the Twins being sellers in 2021. That said, I think the Twins could DFA Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, or Matt Shoemaker on August 1st if they aren't moved the day before. In short, they would likely take anything (PTBNL or cash) as their return on investment rather than just giving up the players for free. Of course, the headliners for the Twins are José Berríos, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey, but I think Michael Pineda and Caleb Thielbar could be intriguing trade candidates as well. Thielbar is one of the most under-appreciated Twins, and despite being 34-years-old, he still has three years of team control remaining.
    What Could the Twins Get Back?
    The Padres have been very active on the trade market in recent years yet boast one of the best farm systems in baseball. They feature four to five top-100 guys depending on the source and two guys in the top-10. Moreover, many of their top prospects are close to getting their crack at contributing in the Major Leagues. You'll notice that shortstop CJ Abrams, a headliner prospect, isn't on this list because he recently fractured his leg, and I don't see the Padres willing to "sell low" on a player with such a high ceiling. 
    MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 22yo - Gore is one the best prospects in all of baseball and would require a haul to acquire from the Padres if he's even available at all. That said, aside from 101 innings in 2019, he's struggled in the Minors, where he has a 5.85 ERA and is issuing 5.4 walks per nine innings. He fits the current Twins mold, high 90's fastball with a slider, and maybe his struggles have the Padres ready to move on.
    Robert Hassel, OF, 19yo - I'd be remiss if I didn't have Hassel on this list as he's a high-level prospect that would be hard to pass up if he's available, but he is another left-handed hitter of which the Twins are loaded (Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Matt Walner). That said, with his upside, it could provide a future replacement if they were unable to extend Byron Buxton, although his defense obviously would be a significant downgrade.
    Ryan Weathers, LHP, 21yo - despite having less than 130 innings in the minors, Weathers has been forced to the Majors, where he has fared pretty well thru 58.2 innings. His xERA (5.29) and FIP (4.54) aren't favorable, but to this point, he has posted a 2.91 ERA and a K/BB of 2.33, which is decent. Like Gore, Weathers has a high-velocity fastball and a slider, although his best secondary pitch is his change-up. He's a step down from the first three prospects mentioned and thus more available and cheaper.
    Reggie Lawson, RHP, 23yo
    Justin Lange, RHP, 19yo
    Anderson Espinoza, RHP, 23yo
    I grouped these guys because they are intriguing, a tier or two below weathers, and have flaws that would make them cheaper. All would be a risk to take on, especially Lawson and Espinoza, who have battled injuries in their time in the Minors. Lawson, who just recently returned to the mound, has a mid-90's fastball with plus offspeed. Espinoza, who hadn't pitched since 2016, has struggled this year to be expected after such a long layoff and was pumping high 90's in spring training. The risk in adding Lange is that he's only 19-years-old who can hit triple digits, making his health and development a bit of a wild card.
  24. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from Melissa for an article, Game Score: Twins 3, White Sox 2   
    Box Score
    Griffin Jax: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (63.2% strikes)
    Homeruns: Cruz (19)
    Top 3 WPA: Cruz (.310), Duffey (.310), Robles (.201)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Griffin Jax Lights Out
    If things had gone as planned in 2021, Jax would likely be enjoying an off day in St. Paul recovering after celebrating a walk off victory against the Columbus Clippers on Sunday night. Instead, the Twins plans were more-or-less thwarted by mid-April and Jax has been thrusted into a semi-regular role as a spot starter for the Big League Club. All things considered, he’s fared well in most of his starts and had a banner day in game one against the White Sox. Albeit a short career to this point, he set a career high striking out six batters over four frames with the lone hit and earned run coming on a pitch that you can barely call a mistake.

    If we really want to nitpick you could say he left the ball up just a bit too much, especially considering Tim Anderson has a career .490 slugging on low and away fastballs in his career. That said, I think I’ll give the rookie a break here considering the day he had. 
    So was today just a guy having a day or is there more to it? I’ll let Jeremy Maschino of State Street Podcast and our own Parker Hageman answer that.
    Thanks to the increased movement, Jax was able to generate 16 whiffs on just 68 pitches which equates to an ungodly rate of 23.5-percent. It’s hard to know what the near future plans are for Jax, but undoubtedly we will be seeing more of him this season and he’s set a new standard of what to watch for. It’ll be little tidbits like that that should keep you watching the Twins in a lost season.
    Offense 2nd Half Struggles Continue
    To be fair, Lance Lynn has been really good this year for the White Sox...like sub-2.00 ERA good. Had he not given up a 375 foot bomb to Nelson Cruz in the top of the sixth, he would have been credited with his second complete game shutout of the season.
    It was Cruz’s 436th career home run, the 46th most all-time, and his 76th homerun as a member of the Minnesota Twins. The only guy to defeat “father time”, at least for now, wasn’t done as he gave the Twins the lead in the top of the eighth with a broken bat sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Gilbert Celestino. Jorge Polanco added his second hit and first RBI on the day in the very next at-bat with a single to right that scored Luis Arraez, who just snuck in thanks to a crafty slide at the plate.
    Also of note was Arraez adding two more hits and surpassing the .300 plateau on the season and Ryan Jeffers notching two hits of his own. Speaking of Arraez, he is very close to having enough at-bats to qualify for 11th in all of baseball and one spot ahead of Cruz. Again, little tidbits to keep an eye that will make the Twins a little more enjoyable.
    Bullpen Usage
    Jorge Alcala and Taylor Rogers came on in the fifth and sixth, respectively, combining for two hits and three strikeouts. Things got verrrrrry interesting in the bottom of the 7th when Tyler Duffey was one pitch away from walking the bases loaded with two outs, but was bailed out by an Anderson pop up on a 3-0 count that would have been ball four. Aside from giving up a ground rule double to Jose Abreu, Hansel Robles earned the save striking out two batters in the bottom of the eighth.

      THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Burrows 0 0 32 0 0 32 Rogers 0 0 21 0 19 40 Robles 0 0 18 0 19 37 Minaya 0 0 0 13 0 13 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0 Duffey 0 0 0 0 16 16 Colomé 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alcala 0 0 0 0 23 23
  25. Like
    Matthew Lenz got a reaction from Dman for an article, Game Score: Twins 3, White Sox 2   
    Box Score
    Griffin Jax: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (63.2% strikes)
    Homeruns: Cruz (19)
    Top 3 WPA: Cruz (.310), Duffey (.310), Robles (.201)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Griffin Jax Lights Out
    If things had gone as planned in 2021, Jax would likely be enjoying an off day in St. Paul recovering after celebrating a walk off victory against the Columbus Clippers on Sunday night. Instead, the Twins plans were more-or-less thwarted by mid-April and Jax has been thrusted into a semi-regular role as a spot starter for the Big League Club. All things considered, he’s fared well in most of his starts and had a banner day in game one against the White Sox. Albeit a short career to this point, he set a career high striking out six batters over four frames with the lone hit and earned run coming on a pitch that you can barely call a mistake.

    If we really want to nitpick you could say he left the ball up just a bit too much, especially considering Tim Anderson has a career .490 slugging on low and away fastballs in his career. That said, I think I’ll give the rookie a break here considering the day he had. 
    So was today just a guy having a day or is there more to it? I’ll let Jeremy Maschino of State Street Podcast and our own Parker Hageman answer that.
    Thanks to the increased movement, Jax was able to generate 16 whiffs on just 68 pitches which equates to an ungodly rate of 23.5-percent. It’s hard to know what the near future plans are for Jax, but undoubtedly we will be seeing more of him this season and he’s set a new standard of what to watch for. It’ll be little tidbits like that that should keep you watching the Twins in a lost season.
    Offense 2nd Half Struggles Continue
    To be fair, Lance Lynn has been really good this year for the White Sox...like sub-2.00 ERA good. Had he not given up a 375 foot bomb to Nelson Cruz in the top of the sixth, he would have been credited with his second complete game shutout of the season.
    It was Cruz’s 436th career home run, the 46th most all-time, and his 76th homerun as a member of the Minnesota Twins. The only guy to defeat “father time”, at least for now, wasn’t done as he gave the Twins the lead in the top of the eighth with a broken bat sacrifice fly that scored pinch-runner Gilbert Celestino. Jorge Polanco added his second hit and first RBI on the day in the very next at-bat with a single to right that scored Luis Arraez, who just snuck in thanks to a crafty slide at the plate.
    Also of note was Arraez adding two more hits and surpassing the .300 plateau on the season and Ryan Jeffers notching two hits of his own. Speaking of Arraez, he is very close to having enough at-bats to qualify for 11th in all of baseball and one spot ahead of Cruz. Again, little tidbits to keep an eye that will make the Twins a little more enjoyable.
    Bullpen Usage
    Jorge Alcala and Taylor Rogers came on in the fifth and sixth, respectively, combining for two hits and three strikeouts. Things got verrrrrry interesting in the bottom of the 7th when Tyler Duffey was one pitch away from walking the bases loaded with two outs, but was bailed out by an Anderson pop up on a 3-0 count that would have been ball four. Aside from giving up a ground rule double to Jose Abreu, Hansel Robles earned the save striking out two batters in the bottom of the eighth.

      THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Burrows 0 0 32 0 0 32 Rogers 0 0 21 0 19 40 Robles 0 0 18 0 19 37 Minaya 0 0 0 13 0 13 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0 Duffey 0 0 0 0 16 16 Colomé 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alcala 0 0 0 0 23 23
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