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Matt Braun

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  1. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from verninski for an article, Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  2. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  3. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from nclahammer for an article, Are the Twins Brewing up Steals in the Minors?   
    Let’s look at his team specifically: the Wichita Wind Surge. Currently, they sit as the 3rd most steal-happy team in their division, the Texas League. The two most effective culprits are Austin Martin and DaShawn Keirsey, as Martin has 22 bags swiped under his name, and Kiersey has 18. Michael Helman has also broken double digits—without being caught as well—but no other player stands out like Martin and Kiersey. Instead, the team offers a democratic approach, with only one player, Catcher Alex Isola, lacking a successful steal so far this season.
    For Martin, his stealing acumen appears to be a new or at least unreleased skill. He had a comparatively low 14 steals last year, holds a 50 FV grade in “Run” according to Fangraphs, and the only mention I can find about his speed on Fangraphs’ scouting reports is Eric Longenhagen calling it “solid.” Although, Jeffrey Paternostro at Baseball Prospectus noted that he “was aggressive on the basepaths” in college. Perhaps the Twins wanted to unleash a wild baserunner otherwise limited by the Blue Jays.
    Wichita isn’t the only team running mayhem on the base paths. The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels are also 3rd in their division in burglary. Mikey Perez alone has gotten away with an otherworldly 24 steals—a total that defines him as the 19th most prolific stealer in Minor League Baseball. Noah Miller, Jake Rucker, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Daniel Ozoria join Perez as double-digit swipers; like Wichita, their catchers, Kyle Schmidt and Dillon Tatum, are the only regular players without a steal.
    Slight tangent: Mikey Perez is an enigma. I’ve been writing about his great play all year, but I can barely find any information on him. No one at Fangraphs has written anything him; Baseball Prospectus is equally silent. The only articles/mentions/smoke signals/morse code orders/messages from a bottle I can find about him come from an MLB. com article from last year and the three sentences that make up his Perfect Game scouting report. How is a player so good at stealing? I want to know!
    One big question remains: why more steals? The stolen base and its adjacent scrappy playstyle have taken a back seat to power since the Kansas City Royals lost their credibility following their World Series victory. Guess who the league leader in steals is; do you know? It’s Julio Rodriguez, but only Mariners fans and other niche hipster baseball dorks aggressively celebrate it. Once teams realized that hitting the ball over the fence ensures a run on the board, speed fell quickly out of favor as MLB’s metagame moved towards homers.
    But the steal may return soon. Proposed rule changes like bigger bases, a limit on pickoffs, and the seemingly inevitable pitch clock all at least implicitly support a rejuvenated stolen-base metagame. One of my followers pointed out that the pitch clock can work as a countdown for the baserunner as well; they can take off at the precise moment the pitcher must throw the ball.
    Anyways, it’s unclear whether this is an affiliate-at-large movement. The Cedar Rapids Kernels are 9th in their 12-team division, while the St. Paul Saints are 14th out of 20 teams. This swiped bags movement could be a serendipitous meeting of a few steal-happy players collaborating to annoy catchers in an otherwise neutral team philosophy; little stands out in the stats to say otherwise. Still, the franchise has a handful of successful stealers moving through their system, and their playstyle could add a dynamic wrinkle to a homogenous power-focused offense.
  4. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for an article, Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  5. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from JDubs for an article, Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  6. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Dave The Dastardly for an article, Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  7. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from PatPfund for an article, Twins 1, Guardians 0: Devin Smeltzer Throws 6 Shutout Innings and the Bullpen Holds on   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Nick Gordon (2)
    Top 3 WPA: Devin Smeltzer (.359), Jhoan Duran (.188), Joe Smith (.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Devin Smeltzer faced off against seatbelt-enthusiast Zach Plesac in the final game of the series against the Cleveland Guardians. It was a beautiful day game; people around the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, while Twins fans looked to celebrate a victory after pulling defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday and Tuesday.
     
     
    The first few innings breezed by before Nick Gordon blasted a hanging curveball deep into center field for his second homer of the season. 
    The opportunity for Gordon to play centerfield and start in the lineup existed in the vacuum left by Byron Buxton’s mysterious, nagging injury. The team’s caution is Gordon’s advantage; the extra playing time has allowed him and Gilberto Celestino to flex their usefulness until Buxton returns. 
    Smeltzer was the story on Thursday. The often-leaned on lefty came up clutch again, firing off 6 shutout innings with three strikeouts to stymy Cleveland’s bats. The Guardians were confounded all day, sending balls directly toward defenders without recourse; their BABIP against Smeltzer was a paltry .167. No one knows how he continues to do this, but few will dare be anything but grateful for the boost Smeltzer has given to the starting rotation in the absence of multiple starters.
    But this is a Twins game in 2022, and we know better than to get our hopes up after a great start; the bullpen must do their job, after all. Joe Smith started the 7th inning, and while he loaded the bases before netting out, he somehow wriggled out of the situation, and the team walked away unscathed. 
    Jhoan Duran had the 8th inning and was considerably less noisy in his work. He “hit” Amed Rosario in the hand with a fastball—Rosario’s hands would no longer exist if that were true—but had an otherwise clean inning. 
    Duran then entered the 9th inning, looking to end the game possibly. He obliterated Franmil Reyes before Rocco Baldelli halted the game and began a slow walk to the mound. It’s unclear what Baldelli said—us mere regulars don’t earn the privilege of knowing—but Caleb Thielbar then came bounding out of the bullpen to the sounds of exhausted boos anticipating the future.
    Andrés Giménez plopped a double into left field, of course, before Ernie Clement dribbled a ball 50 feet; Thielbar threw him out at 1st. Steven Kwan, the nuisance of the series, stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit. Thielbar peppered him with fastballs around the perimeter, daring the rookie to trust his strike zone instincts before blowing a fastball by him for strike three.
    After two barn-burners, Thursday's game was a tame palate cleanser. Both teams collected just five hits⁠—Carlos Correa had three of them for the Twins⁠—and pitchers issued just three walks on the day. If there was ever a dictionary definition of a getaway day-game, this would be it. Outside of Gordon's homer, the only extra-base hit for the Twins belonged to Gio Urshela, who earned credit for a "double" that Reyes brutally fumbled. Apparently the official scorer felt lenient on Thursday.
    What’s Next?
    The Twins will remain in Minnesota and host the Colorado Rockies on Friday, the first time Colorado has played at Target Field since 2017. Dylan Bundy is set to face off against Germán Márquez.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  8. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from operation mindcrime for an article, Twins Minor League Week In Review (6/14-20): Wallner Continues to Rake   
    With short-season teams starting play recently, player names and teams can be somewhat overwhelming. When writing about Rookie Ball and the DSL, I can admit to having to click on a player’s name in the box score to remember their first name; you know you’re digging deep when the players don’t have a photo on MiLB.com. But those games are just as important; the Twins of the future have to start humbly, and they’ll make their way to the upper levels with hard work.
    TRANSACTIONS
    The Twins traded veteran infielder Daniel Robertson to the Phillies for Cash considerations. He has been rehabbing with the FCL Twins for the past two-plus weeks. 
    RESULTS
    Previous Week in Review (6/7-6/13): Saints Sweep Red Wings
    Tuesday: Alex Kirilloff Does It Again
    Wednesday: Rucker walks it off, Varland Double-Header Split Highlight Wednesday in the Twins System
    Thursday: Wallner Blasts on Tough Night for Twins Farm
    Friday: Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout
    Saturday: Kernels Clinch Division Title, Playoff Berth
    Sunday: Walk-off in Cedar Rapids, Saints Blister Bats
    MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT
    Minnesota Twins 2014 Draft Retrospective: Swings and Misses
    TwinsDaily 2022 Draft Coverage, June 16
    This season, MLB Fining Parent Clubs for Minor-League Brawls
    MONDAY’S SHORT SEASON RESULTS
    FCL Twins 11, FCL Orioles 9 (10 innings)  
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Juan Rojas (4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
    Multi-Hit Games: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Alexander Pena (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K), Yonardy Soto (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K), Jefferson De La Cruz (2-for-4, 2 RBI, K, SB), Ricardo Olivar (3-for-4, RBI)
    2B: Alexander Pena (5), Ricardo Olivar (2)
    HR: Alexander Pena (2), Yonardy Soto 2 (2), Gregory Duran (1) 
    Rehab Players: Daniel Robertson (0-for-2, K) 
    Top Prospects: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Fredy Michel (0-for-6, R, 4 K). 

    Summary: What a wild and wacky game! Going into the 9th inning, the Twins held a 4-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the 9th to go ahead 5-0, but the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The Twins scored six runs in the top of the inning to take a big league. They gave up four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning and barely held on. 
    DSL Twins 6, DSL Guardians Blue 14
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Jose Betancourt (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)
    Multi-Hit Games: Isaac Pena (2-for-3, 2 BB. 2 R, 2 SB), Jose Rodriguez (3-for-4)
    XBH: None 
    WEEK IN REVIEW
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints
    Week: 3-3, playing in Columbus
    Season: 33-32 overall
    The Saints treaded water this week, but sometimes that’s all a team needs to do. The Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Guardians, are no pushovers either; they ended the week with a 38-28 season record. These were close affairs; just one run was the difference in five of the six games, including Sunday’s 11-10 thrilling win by the Saints. Manager Toby Gardenhire remained on paternity leave, but the team still gifted him a fine Father’s Day present with his 100th win as St. Paul’s skipper. 
    Alex Kirilloff earned his promotion to the Twins on Friday after collecting four more hits this week. Kyle Garlick began a rehab assignment on Wednesday. The outfielder is hitting .300 over 21 plate appearances but has also struck out eight times. Josh Winder continued his rehab assignment, allowing one run over 3 innings with a strikeout. Curtis Terry hit a blistering .368/.429/.842 with a pair of homers and just one strikeout the entire week. Michael Helman slashed .400/.455/.600 and captured the most hits on the week for the Saints. Spencer Steer returned to orbit as he slashed .179/.200/.321 with 10 strikeouts. Hopefully, this is just a blip on his otherwise outstanding season. Recent signee, Aaron Sanchez, struck out six over 7 1/3 IP but also allowed five earned runs, including a pair of homers. Jordan Balazovic worked in relief this week, allowing two runs over 2 2/3 innings. What’s Next? The Saints are off to Buffalo to play in what was technically a major league ballpark for a year and some change. 
    Pitching Probables (RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, TBD)   
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge
    Week: 1-6, @ Tulsa
    Season: 33-29 overall
    Things could have gone better for Wichita. The team has cooled off tremendously, and the result was an ugly 1-6 week, although five of those losses were by one run, so things may not be as bad as they seem.
    Matt Wallner obliterated the ball and walked away with a hilarious .313/.621/.750 slash line. Even more impressive, he walked more than he struck out (11 to eight). Edouard Julien did well also, hitting .280/.400/.560 with a pair of homers.  
     
    Casey Legumina carried the torch on the mound, allowing only three earned runs over 10 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts.  Daniel Gossett impressed in his first start with Wichita, tossing five shutout innings. Sawyer Gipson-Long finally earned a promotion to AA but was touched up for five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Let’s hope he can brush that off and find his footing with the Wind Surge. Andrew Cabezas threw four shutout innings in relief this week, striking out six while allowing just one hit. What’s Next? Wichita returns home to host the San Antonio Missions. Hopefully, some home cooking will help get them back on track.
    Pitching Probables (RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Kody Funderburk, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Casey Legumina, RHP Louie Varland, TBD)   
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Week: 4-2, hosting Dayton
    Season: 41-22 overall
    The Kernels were one of the teams that clinched a playoff spot this week. The team’s win on Saturday secured the first-half division crown, and the team can rest easy knowing that they will have a spot reserved for them in the post-season. In the meantime, there are ballgames to win.
    Yunior Severino smoked the ball all week, picking up seven hits, including two homers with eight RBIs. Alerick Soularie continued his season turn-around, hitting .368/.478/.632 with a pair of stolen bases. Cody Laweryson spearheaded the pitching effort with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and an incredible 11 strikeouts. Cade Povich wasn’t far behind, as he punched out 11 over 5 innings in his lone start of the week. Aaron Rozek walked away from this week unscathed, as he pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as part of Cedar Rapids’ shutout on Friday. What’s Next? The Kernels will remain at home and host the West Michigan Whitecaps.
    Pitching Probables (RHP David Festa, LHP Brent Headrick, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP John Stankiewicz) 
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
    Week: 4-1
    Season: 39-22 overall
    The Mighty Mussels were the other team that clinched a playoff spot this week. Their win on Wednesday ensured that no team in their division could catch them, and their spot in the post-season is now set in stone.
    Rubel Cespedes burst out of nowhere and dropped nine hits in just 17 at-bats. Kala’i Rosario launched a pair of homers while slugging .857 overall for the week. Luis Baez hit a scorching .500/.579/.563 while striking out as often as he walked (three to three) Noah Miller had just two hits but also walked five times Matt Mullenbach was elite in relief, punching out eight over 5 ⅓ innings devoid of an earned run Malik Barrington followed suit as he tossed 3 shutout innings with six strikeouts. Jordan Carr allowed one earned run in his 5-inning start  What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head out to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers
    Pitching Probables (RHP Jordan Carr, RHP Travis Adams, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, TBD, LHP Jaylen Nowlin)   
    PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
    Hitter of the Week: OF Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge
    Matt Wallner might be turning a corner. The hometown talent has always been a slugger—power was never a question—but this week, he showed off an incredible talent for OBP on top of his already legendary ball-crushing ability. His eight strikeouts were still a touch high, but it feels nitpicky to call out when he walked 11 times while slugging .750. His OBP for the week starts with a .6. Enough said.
     
     
    At 24 years old, Wallner appears to be rounding into form at the right time. The lefty battled an assortment of injuries over his first few years in the minors—a bruise here and a nick there—and they added up to sap Wallner of consistency. His power kept him afloat, despite many (including I) questioning whether he could offset the large strikeout totals he racked up.
    Those strikeouts may never go away, but figuring out how to walk a bunch is an excellent way to even them out. His OBP on the year sits at a massive .408, thanks partly to a (probably) surprising batting average of .270. And, in case you weren’t convinced that his game is more well-rounded than before, he’s even stolen eight bases. It’s hard to see Wallner staying at AA for much longer.
    Pitcher of the Week: RHP Cody Laweryson, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    It’s rare to see a reliever win this distinction, but when you have the kind of week Cody Laweryson had, it’s easy to hand it to him. Laweryson made two relief outings; on June 14th, he struck out six over 3 ⅓ scoreless innings, while on June 17th, he struck out five over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings. That’ll play.
    Laweryson is under the radar, if not entirely off the grid, but that might not be fair to his ability. The righty made noise in 2019 by dominating Rookie-Ball as a 20-year-old, culminating in a monster 15 strikeout performance on August 26th of that season. His road has been bumpier since that breakout, but he could have a nice niche as a long reliever out of the bullpen. Given the breakdown of pitching barriers, that role can be valuable to a team.
    For a scouting report, Eric Longenhagen described him as a “How the hell is this guy doing this?” style of pitcher, sitting 89 MPH and crushing his competition with it. We’ve seen that work for Joe Ryan; perhaps it will serve Laweryson also.
     
     
     
     
  9. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, Twins Minor League Week In Review (6/14-20): Wallner Continues to Rake   
    With short-season teams starting play recently, player names and teams can be somewhat overwhelming. When writing about Rookie Ball and the DSL, I can admit to having to click on a player’s name in the box score to remember their first name; you know you’re digging deep when the players don’t have a photo on MiLB.com. But those games are just as important; the Twins of the future have to start humbly, and they’ll make their way to the upper levels with hard work.
    TRANSACTIONS
    The Twins traded veteran infielder Daniel Robertson to the Phillies for Cash considerations. He has been rehabbing with the FCL Twins for the past two-plus weeks. 
    RESULTS
    Previous Week in Review (6/7-6/13): Saints Sweep Red Wings
    Tuesday: Alex Kirilloff Does It Again
    Wednesday: Rucker walks it off, Varland Double-Header Split Highlight Wednesday in the Twins System
    Thursday: Wallner Blasts on Tough Night for Twins Farm
    Friday: Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout
    Saturday: Kernels Clinch Division Title, Playoff Berth
    Sunday: Walk-off in Cedar Rapids, Saints Blister Bats
    MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT
    Minnesota Twins 2014 Draft Retrospective: Swings and Misses
    TwinsDaily 2022 Draft Coverage, June 16
    This season, MLB Fining Parent Clubs for Minor-League Brawls
    MONDAY’S SHORT SEASON RESULTS
    FCL Twins 11, FCL Orioles 9 (10 innings)  
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Juan Rojas (4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
    Multi-Hit Games: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Alexander Pena (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K), Yonardy Soto (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K), Jefferson De La Cruz (2-for-4, 2 RBI, K, SB), Ricardo Olivar (3-for-4, RBI)
    2B: Alexander Pena (5), Ricardo Olivar (2)
    HR: Alexander Pena (2), Yonardy Soto 2 (2), Gregory Duran (1) 
    Rehab Players: Daniel Robertson (0-for-2, K) 
    Top Prospects: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Fredy Michel (0-for-6, R, 4 K). 

    Summary: What a wild and wacky game! Going into the 9th inning, the Twins held a 4-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the 9th to go ahead 5-0, but the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The Twins scored six runs in the top of the inning to take a big league. They gave up four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning and barely held on. 
    DSL Twins 6, DSL Guardians Blue 14
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Jose Betancourt (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)
    Multi-Hit Games: Isaac Pena (2-for-3, 2 BB. 2 R, 2 SB), Jose Rodriguez (3-for-4)
    XBH: None 
    WEEK IN REVIEW
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints
    Week: 3-3, playing in Columbus
    Season: 33-32 overall
    The Saints treaded water this week, but sometimes that’s all a team needs to do. The Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Guardians, are no pushovers either; they ended the week with a 38-28 season record. These were close affairs; just one run was the difference in five of the six games, including Sunday’s 11-10 thrilling win by the Saints. Manager Toby Gardenhire remained on paternity leave, but the team still gifted him a fine Father’s Day present with his 100th win as St. Paul’s skipper. 
    Alex Kirilloff earned his promotion to the Twins on Friday after collecting four more hits this week. Kyle Garlick began a rehab assignment on Wednesday. The outfielder is hitting .300 over 21 plate appearances but has also struck out eight times. Josh Winder continued his rehab assignment, allowing one run over 3 innings with a strikeout. Curtis Terry hit a blistering .368/.429/.842 with a pair of homers and just one strikeout the entire week. Michael Helman slashed .400/.455/.600 and captured the most hits on the week for the Saints. Spencer Steer returned to orbit as he slashed .179/.200/.321 with 10 strikeouts. Hopefully, this is just a blip on his otherwise outstanding season. Recent signee, Aaron Sanchez, struck out six over 7 1/3 IP but also allowed five earned runs, including a pair of homers. Jordan Balazovic worked in relief this week, allowing two runs over 2 2/3 innings. What’s Next? The Saints are off to Buffalo to play in what was technically a major league ballpark for a year and some change. 
    Pitching Probables (RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, TBD)   
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge
    Week: 1-6, @ Tulsa
    Season: 33-29 overall
    Things could have gone better for Wichita. The team has cooled off tremendously, and the result was an ugly 1-6 week, although five of those losses were by one run, so things may not be as bad as they seem.
    Matt Wallner obliterated the ball and walked away with a hilarious .313/.621/.750 slash line. Even more impressive, he walked more than he struck out (11 to eight). Edouard Julien did well also, hitting .280/.400/.560 with a pair of homers.  
     
    Casey Legumina carried the torch on the mound, allowing only three earned runs over 10 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts.  Daniel Gossett impressed in his first start with Wichita, tossing five shutout innings. Sawyer Gipson-Long finally earned a promotion to AA but was touched up for five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Let’s hope he can brush that off and find his footing with the Wind Surge. Andrew Cabezas threw four shutout innings in relief this week, striking out six while allowing just one hit. What’s Next? Wichita returns home to host the San Antonio Missions. Hopefully, some home cooking will help get them back on track.
    Pitching Probables (RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Kody Funderburk, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Casey Legumina, RHP Louie Varland, TBD)   
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Week: 4-2, hosting Dayton
    Season: 41-22 overall
    The Kernels were one of the teams that clinched a playoff spot this week. The team’s win on Saturday secured the first-half division crown, and the team can rest easy knowing that they will have a spot reserved for them in the post-season. In the meantime, there are ballgames to win.
    Yunior Severino smoked the ball all week, picking up seven hits, including two homers with eight RBIs. Alerick Soularie continued his season turn-around, hitting .368/.478/.632 with a pair of stolen bases. Cody Laweryson spearheaded the pitching effort with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and an incredible 11 strikeouts. Cade Povich wasn’t far behind, as he punched out 11 over 5 innings in his lone start of the week. Aaron Rozek walked away from this week unscathed, as he pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as part of Cedar Rapids’ shutout on Friday. What’s Next? The Kernels will remain at home and host the West Michigan Whitecaps.
    Pitching Probables (RHP David Festa, LHP Brent Headrick, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP John Stankiewicz) 
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
    Week: 4-1
    Season: 39-22 overall
    The Mighty Mussels were the other team that clinched a playoff spot this week. Their win on Wednesday ensured that no team in their division could catch them, and their spot in the post-season is now set in stone.
    Rubel Cespedes burst out of nowhere and dropped nine hits in just 17 at-bats. Kala’i Rosario launched a pair of homers while slugging .857 overall for the week. Luis Baez hit a scorching .500/.579/.563 while striking out as often as he walked (three to three) Noah Miller had just two hits but also walked five times Matt Mullenbach was elite in relief, punching out eight over 5 ⅓ innings devoid of an earned run Malik Barrington followed suit as he tossed 3 shutout innings with six strikeouts. Jordan Carr allowed one earned run in his 5-inning start  What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head out to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers
    Pitching Probables (RHP Jordan Carr, RHP Travis Adams, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, TBD, LHP Jaylen Nowlin)   
    PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
    Hitter of the Week: OF Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge
    Matt Wallner might be turning a corner. The hometown talent has always been a slugger—power was never a question—but this week, he showed off an incredible talent for OBP on top of his already legendary ball-crushing ability. His eight strikeouts were still a touch high, but it feels nitpicky to call out when he walked 11 times while slugging .750. His OBP for the week starts with a .6. Enough said.
     
     
    At 24 years old, Wallner appears to be rounding into form at the right time. The lefty battled an assortment of injuries over his first few years in the minors—a bruise here and a nick there—and they added up to sap Wallner of consistency. His power kept him afloat, despite many (including I) questioning whether he could offset the large strikeout totals he racked up.
    Those strikeouts may never go away, but figuring out how to walk a bunch is an excellent way to even them out. His OBP on the year sits at a massive .408, thanks partly to a (probably) surprising batting average of .270. And, in case you weren’t convinced that his game is more well-rounded than before, he’s even stolen eight bases. It’s hard to see Wallner staying at AA for much longer.
    Pitcher of the Week: RHP Cody Laweryson, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    It’s rare to see a reliever win this distinction, but when you have the kind of week Cody Laweryson had, it’s easy to hand it to him. Laweryson made two relief outings; on June 14th, he struck out six over 3 ⅓ scoreless innings, while on June 17th, he struck out five over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings. That’ll play.
    Laweryson is under the radar, if not entirely off the grid, but that might not be fair to his ability. The righty made noise in 2019 by dominating Rookie-Ball as a 20-year-old, culminating in a monster 15 strikeout performance on August 26th of that season. His road has been bumpier since that breakout, but he could have a nice niche as a long reliever out of the bullpen. Given the breakdown of pitching barriers, that role can be valuable to a team.
    For a scouting report, Eric Longenhagen described him as a “How the hell is this guy doing this?” style of pitcher, sitting 89 MPH and crushing his competition with it. We’ve seen that work for Joe Ryan; perhaps it will serve Laweryson also.
     
     
     
     
  10. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Dman for an article, Twins Minor League Week In Review (6/14-20): Wallner Continues to Rake   
    With short-season teams starting play recently, player names and teams can be somewhat overwhelming. When writing about Rookie Ball and the DSL, I can admit to having to click on a player’s name in the box score to remember their first name; you know you’re digging deep when the players don’t have a photo on MiLB.com. But those games are just as important; the Twins of the future have to start humbly, and they’ll make their way to the upper levels with hard work.
    TRANSACTIONS
    The Twins traded veteran infielder Daniel Robertson to the Phillies for Cash considerations. He has been rehabbing with the FCL Twins for the past two-plus weeks. 
    RESULTS
    Previous Week in Review (6/7-6/13): Saints Sweep Red Wings
    Tuesday: Alex Kirilloff Does It Again
    Wednesday: Rucker walks it off, Varland Double-Header Split Highlight Wednesday in the Twins System
    Thursday: Wallner Blasts on Tough Night for Twins Farm
    Friday: Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout
    Saturday: Kernels Clinch Division Title, Playoff Berth
    Sunday: Walk-off in Cedar Rapids, Saints Blister Bats
    MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT
    Minnesota Twins 2014 Draft Retrospective: Swings and Misses
    TwinsDaily 2022 Draft Coverage, June 16
    This season, MLB Fining Parent Clubs for Minor-League Brawls
    MONDAY’S SHORT SEASON RESULTS
    FCL Twins 11, FCL Orioles 9 (10 innings)  
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Juan Rojas (4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
    Multi-Hit Games: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Alexander Pena (2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K), Yonardy Soto (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 K), Jefferson De La Cruz (2-for-4, 2 RBI, K, SB), Ricardo Olivar (3-for-4, RBI)
    2B: Alexander Pena (5), Ricardo Olivar (2)
    HR: Alexander Pena (2), Yonardy Soto 2 (2), Gregory Duran (1) 
    Rehab Players: Daniel Robertson (0-for-2, K) 
    Top Prospects: Danny De Andrade (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 RBI), Fredy Michel (0-for-6, R, 4 K). 

    Summary: What a wild and wacky game! Going into the 9th inning, the Twins held a 4-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the 9th to go ahead 5-0, but the Orioles scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. The Twins scored six runs in the top of the inning to take a big league. They gave up four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning and barely held on. 
    DSL Twins 6, DSL Guardians Blue 14
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Jose Betancourt (0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)
    Multi-Hit Games: Isaac Pena (2-for-3, 2 BB. 2 R, 2 SB), Jose Rodriguez (3-for-4)
    XBH: None 
    WEEK IN REVIEW
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints
    Week: 3-3, playing in Columbus
    Season: 33-32 overall
    The Saints treaded water this week, but sometimes that’s all a team needs to do. The Columbus Clippers, the AAA affiliate for the Cleveland Guardians, are no pushovers either; they ended the week with a 38-28 season record. These were close affairs; just one run was the difference in five of the six games, including Sunday’s 11-10 thrilling win by the Saints. Manager Toby Gardenhire remained on paternity leave, but the team still gifted him a fine Father’s Day present with his 100th win as St. Paul’s skipper. 
    Alex Kirilloff earned his promotion to the Twins on Friday after collecting four more hits this week. Kyle Garlick began a rehab assignment on Wednesday. The outfielder is hitting .300 over 21 plate appearances but has also struck out eight times. Josh Winder continued his rehab assignment, allowing one run over 3 innings with a strikeout. Curtis Terry hit a blistering .368/.429/.842 with a pair of homers and just one strikeout the entire week. Michael Helman slashed .400/.455/.600 and captured the most hits on the week for the Saints. Spencer Steer returned to orbit as he slashed .179/.200/.321 with 10 strikeouts. Hopefully, this is just a blip on his otherwise outstanding season. Recent signee, Aaron Sanchez, struck out six over 7 1/3 IP but also allowed five earned runs, including a pair of homers. Jordan Balazovic worked in relief this week, allowing two runs over 2 2/3 innings. What’s Next? The Saints are off to Buffalo to play in what was technically a major league ballpark for a year and some change. 
    Pitching Probables (RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD, TBD)   
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge
    Week: 1-6, @ Tulsa
    Season: 33-29 overall
    Things could have gone better for Wichita. The team has cooled off tremendously, and the result was an ugly 1-6 week, although five of those losses were by one run, so things may not be as bad as they seem.
    Matt Wallner obliterated the ball and walked away with a hilarious .313/.621/.750 slash line. Even more impressive, he walked more than he struck out (11 to eight). Edouard Julien did well also, hitting .280/.400/.560 with a pair of homers.  
     
    Casey Legumina carried the torch on the mound, allowing only three earned runs over 10 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts.  Daniel Gossett impressed in his first start with Wichita, tossing five shutout innings. Sawyer Gipson-Long finally earned a promotion to AA but was touched up for five earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Let’s hope he can brush that off and find his footing with the Wind Surge. Andrew Cabezas threw four shutout innings in relief this week, striking out six while allowing just one hit. What’s Next? Wichita returns home to host the San Antonio Missions. Hopefully, some home cooking will help get them back on track.
    Pitching Probables (RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Kody Funderburk, RHP Blayne Enlow, RHP Casey Legumina, RHP Louie Varland, TBD)   
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Week: 4-2, hosting Dayton
    Season: 41-22 overall
    The Kernels were one of the teams that clinched a playoff spot this week. The team’s win on Saturday secured the first-half division crown, and the team can rest easy knowing that they will have a spot reserved for them in the post-season. In the meantime, there are ballgames to win.
    Yunior Severino smoked the ball all week, picking up seven hits, including two homers with eight RBIs. Alerick Soularie continued his season turn-around, hitting .368/.478/.632 with a pair of stolen bases. Cody Laweryson spearheaded the pitching effort with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and an incredible 11 strikeouts. Cade Povich wasn’t far behind, as he punched out 11 over 5 innings in his lone start of the week. Aaron Rozek walked away from this week unscathed, as he pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings as part of Cedar Rapids’ shutout on Friday. What’s Next? The Kernels will remain at home and host the West Michigan Whitecaps.
    Pitching Probables (RHP David Festa, LHP Brent Headrick, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP John Stankiewicz) 
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
    Week: 4-1
    Season: 39-22 overall
    The Mighty Mussels were the other team that clinched a playoff spot this week. Their win on Wednesday ensured that no team in their division could catch them, and their spot in the post-season is now set in stone.
    Rubel Cespedes burst out of nowhere and dropped nine hits in just 17 at-bats. Kala’i Rosario launched a pair of homers while slugging .857 overall for the week. Luis Baez hit a scorching .500/.579/.563 while striking out as often as he walked (three to three) Noah Miller had just two hits but also walked five times Matt Mullenbach was elite in relief, punching out eight over 5 ⅓ innings devoid of an earned run Malik Barrington followed suit as he tossed 3 shutout innings with six strikeouts. Jordan Carr allowed one earned run in his 5-inning start  What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head out to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers
    Pitching Probables (RHP Jordan Carr, RHP Travis Adams, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, TBD, LHP Jaylen Nowlin)   
    PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
    Hitter of the Week: OF Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge
    Matt Wallner might be turning a corner. The hometown talent has always been a slugger—power was never a question—but this week, he showed off an incredible talent for OBP on top of his already legendary ball-crushing ability. His eight strikeouts were still a touch high, but it feels nitpicky to call out when he walked 11 times while slugging .750. His OBP for the week starts with a .6. Enough said.
     
     
    At 24 years old, Wallner appears to be rounding into form at the right time. The lefty battled an assortment of injuries over his first few years in the minors—a bruise here and a nick there—and they added up to sap Wallner of consistency. His power kept him afloat, despite many (including I) questioning whether he could offset the large strikeout totals he racked up.
    Those strikeouts may never go away, but figuring out how to walk a bunch is an excellent way to even them out. His OBP on the year sits at a massive .408, thanks partly to a (probably) surprising batting average of .270. And, in case you weren’t convinced that his game is more well-rounded than before, he’s even stolen eight bases. It’s hard to see Wallner staying at AA for much longer.
    Pitcher of the Week: RHP Cody Laweryson, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    It’s rare to see a reliever win this distinction, but when you have the kind of week Cody Laweryson had, it’s easy to hand it to him. Laweryson made two relief outings; on June 14th, he struck out six over 3 ⅓ scoreless innings, while on June 17th, he struck out five over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings. That’ll play.
    Laweryson is under the radar, if not entirely off the grid, but that might not be fair to his ability. The righty made noise in 2019 by dominating Rookie-Ball as a 20-year-old, culminating in a monster 15 strikeout performance on August 26th of that season. His road has been bumpier since that breakout, but he could have a nice niche as a long reliever out of the bullpen. Given the breakdown of pitching barriers, that role can be valuable to a team.
    For a scouting report, Eric Longenhagen described him as a “How the hell is this guy doing this?” style of pitcher, sitting 89 MPH and crushing his competition with it. We’ve seen that work for Joe Ryan; perhaps it will serve Laweryson also.
     
     
     
     
  11. Haha
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Hunter48 for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  12. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Heiny for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  13. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  14. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from nclahammer for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  15. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from JDubs for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  16. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Dave The Dastardly for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  17. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from The Mad King for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  18. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  19. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from MadHits for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  20. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Richie the Rally Goat for an article, Ryan Jeffers is Secretly Turning a Corner   
    My colleague Nick Nelson recently wrote an article about Ryan Jeffers, outwardly wondering if the team mistakenly bestowed principal catching duties onto the former UNC Wilmington standout. While he never explicitly says it, and I would never want to speak for someone else, I walked away from the piece believing that he thinks that the Twins should not assume Jeffers to be a consistent, everyday starter for them unless he undergoes a serious evolution.
    Without a doubt, Jeffers’ initial hitting numbers are dreadful, mimicking Tim Laudnerian batting prowess instead of the league-average flirtation we expected from him. His career .202/.280/.378 slash line is dragged down by an even poorer .181/.271/.312 2022 season so far. The Manfred Mushball can’t explain that away. Jeffers’s initial 2020 offensive promise seems to be a mirage; he has failed to sniff even league-average production since that year. 
    However, there are under-the-hood stats that tell a different story. Dan Syzmborski’s recent Fangraphs article detailing under and over-performers based on his secret “z” stats caught my eye. Scrolling down a little to his “zSLUG Underachievers” list will procure a list of names, including our subject for today: Ryan Jeffers. ZIPS believes that Jeffers should be slugging .441—a number in the ballpark of Matt Olson's (.440) and Freddie Freeman's (.441) production levels, not the Adam Frazier (.309) plateau he currently sits at. Syzmborski’s projection system is his creation, so how it reaches that conclusion is hidden from us regulars, but it’s a good sign nonetheless. 
    There are other numbers as well. His Baseball Savant page doesn’t reflect un-impeachable elite performance like one sees from an Aaron Judge or a Mike Trout, but it does tell a tale of an unlucky slugger. Jeffers’ xwOBA is .339—right above league average for all hitters. Digging deeper, his barrel rate of 9.0%—a stat that indicates specific instances of a player hitting the crap out of the ball—puts him in elite territory; 26th amongst all qualified batters in MLB. Barrels aren’t an end-all stat—a player like Luis Arraez can be great because of other characteristics—but it is indicative of extra-base damage, and Jeffers’ current production does not reflect how much impact his bat has.
    There are other, more subtle numbers as well. Jeffers has tightened his command of the strike zone; his O-Swing % is down to 28.5, while his overall swinging strike rate has plummeted to 9.6%. Believe it or not, he swings at pitches outside the zone at the same rate as Luis Arraez (28.5%), and he whiffs at about the same rate as Paul Goldschmidt (9.5%). His total contact has also vastly improved (72.0% career vs. 78.5% in 2022, around Francisco Lindor territory (78.7%)). Those discipline numbers aren’t elite by any means, but they are average if not above-average in some cases, and average production would be a tremendous improvement for Jeffers.
    Jeffers’ walk rate reflects these changes (10.9%, up from 8.6%), while his strikeouts have dipped slightly, but probably less than one would expect (30.1%, down from 34.1%). I believe those punchouts will drop even further, given his improved plate control.
    Ryan Jeffers hits the ball hard at an elite level, has improved his plate discipline numbers across the board, and has worse surface-level hitting stats than before. That should change soon. The often-maligned 25-year-old has a good process in place; he has not found the final crucial step in unlocking his potential: luck. Once fortune turns in his direction, Jeffers will find himself as one of the better catchers in the game.
     
  21. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from operation mindcrime for an article, Minor League Report (6/17): Cedar Rapids Throws A Shutout, Wichita *is* Shutout   
    TRANSACTIONS
    C Kyle Schmidt transferred to AA Wichita
    C Frank Nigro transferred to A+ Cedar Rapids
    OF Alex Kirilloff recalled by Twins
    INF Elliot Soto outrighted to AAA St. Paul
    C David Bañuelos placed on 7-day IL (Dislocated right finger)
    C Roy Morales reinstated from 7-day IL (Back spasms)
    RHP Daniel Gossett transferred to AA Wichita
    Saints Sentinel
    St. Paul 6, Columbus 5
    Box Score
    Ariel Jurado: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 4 K
    HR: John Andreoli (4), Mark Contreras (7), Curtis Terry (6), Michael Helman (2)
    Multi-hit games: Michael Helman (3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Curtis Terry (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI)
    St. Paul won a stressful game on Friday.
    The Saints took a democratic approach to hitting; every batter reached base at least once, and their four homers all came from a different source. John Andreoli hit the first bomb, while Mark Contreras followed suit with a two-run shot. Both home runs came in the 3rd inning.
    The Clippers did respond, though. The double Wills of Brenson and Brennan (sounds like a law firm) brought home enough runs to tie the game at three; Curtis Terry broke that tie with a solo home run in the 4th.
    The game entered a pure Cold War stalemate for a handful of innings before Michael Helman Tore Down That Wall with a crucial two-run homer in the top of the 9th inning. Columbus punched through Dereck Rodriguez’s Star Wars defense in the bottom of the inning, but the Saints held strong and walked away victorious. 
    Rodriguez netted the final 15 outs in the game, allowing just two runs in support of Jurado and Hunter Wood. 
    Wind Surge Wisdom
    Wichita 0, Tulsa 5
    Box Score
    Blayne Enlow: 3 2/3 IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: None
    Wichita was shut out on Friday.
    The famous Dodgers minor league system quieted the Wind Surge bats, striking out 15 with an assortment of arms that would make any team jealous. Tulsa pitchers have given the Wind Surge fits since their inception, and this series has been no different. Bobby Miller did it the other day; Clayton Beeter did it on Friday.
    Austin Martin was not in the lineup, and perhaps Wichita lost important vibes because of it. 
    Blayne Enlow continued his attempt at finding his footing again after losing crucial development time to injury. He was admirable, working 3 2/3 innings with two earned runs and four strikeouts for good measure. It’s clear that his command isn’t crisp like he would hope, but this is one step in a marathon for him.
    Alex Scherff was the only pitcher to walk away with an unharmed ERA on Friday, as he allowed no runs in his one inning of work.
    Matt Wallner hit lead-off, which reminded this author of the time Logan Morrison did the same; what a time that was, huh? 
    Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 3, Dayton 0
    Box Score
    Aaron Rozek: 5 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: None
    The Kernels won a shutout on Friday.
    Aaron Rozek was the man of the hour. The lefty held the Dragons to five baserunners over 5 2/3 IP with four strikeouts and, of course, no earned runs. The Dragons are no push-over, as they came into the game with a 38-21 record on the year.
    Cody Laweryson and Bradley Hanner slammed the door shut, netting the final 10 outs with a single hit allowed and six strikeouts. All three pitchers deserved a nice night out to celebrate their success on Friday; shutouts don't happen every day, after all.
    The Kernels’ bats did their job as well. They only needed one run, but they plated three off of a fielding error, a ground-rule double, and a wild pitch. In a form so ironic that Alanis Morissette would appreciate it, neither team allowed an earned run on Friday. This author cannot recall the last time they saw that occur in a baseball game. 
    Despite the lack of runs, Cedar Rapids hitters took seven walks on top of their six hits; luck was their enemy in this game. 
    Mussel Matters
    Fort Myers 8, Bradenton 3
    Box Score
    Pierson Ohl: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, 5 K
    HR: Rubel Cespedes (1), Carlos Aguiar (2)
    Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI), Kala’i Rosario (3-for-4, R), Luis Baez (2-for-4, RBI)
    Fort Myers cruised on Friday.
    The Mighty Mussels jumped out early in the 2nd inning thanks to the “ez” brothers—Mikey Perez doubled home a run, and Luis Baez singled home another. Those two represented an effective back-end of the lineup for Fort Myers on Friday; three of the bottom four hitters netted multiple hits. 
    Bradenton ambushed Pierson Ohl in the 3rd, plating three runs off some piranha-like magic, including an RBI groundout and a two-run single. The 3rd inning proved to be the only one Ohl was not dominant in, and he settled in outside of that inning to not allow a run the rest of the way.
    While Ohl did his job, Malik Barrington and Juan Mendez ensured that the Marauders had no shot to return in the game. The two relievers combined for four effective innings with one hit allowed and an impressive eight strikeouts. Fort Myers pitchers struck out 13 hitters in total.
    The Mighty Mussels embodied the Earl Weaver approach to baseball and blasted a pair of three-run homers to bury Bradenton. Rubel Cespedes hit the first one, while Carlos Aguiar blasted one in the 8th inning for good measure. 
    Complex Chronicles
    FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 4
    Box Score
    Brayan Medina: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Alexander Pena (2-for-4, 2 RBI)
    The FCL Twins took a loss six days in the making.
    The FCL Twins and FCL Red Sox were supposed to play on June 11th, but rain washed away any hope of playing that game beyond the 1st inning.
    Rehabbing starter and forgotten piece from the Lance Lynn trade, Luis Rijo, picked up where Bryana Medina left off, tossing two scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts. Former big-leaguer Daniel Robertson was also on a rehab assignment; he picked up a pair of walks.
    Alexander Pena provided all the runs for the FCL Twins, with his 1st inning single bringing home two baserunners.
    The two teams were supposed to play a second game, but it was canceled due to COVID.
    Dominican Dailies
    DSL Twins 2, DSL Giants Black 6
    Box Score
    Oscar Paredes: ⅔ IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, K
    HR: Jose Rodriguez (2)
    Multi-hit games: None
    Jose Rodriguez provided all the offense for the DSL Twins with a 4th inning solo homer and an RBI groundout in the 6th. Cristian Jimenez struck out five over three innings of work.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Aaron Rozek, Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Michael Helman, St. Paul Saints
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - In Progress.
    #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-5, K
    #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, R, 2 BB
    #14 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 3 ⅔ IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-2, BB, K
    #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, 2 K
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-2, 2 BB, K
    SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Columbus (4:05 PM) - RHP Jake Faria
    Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long
    Dayton @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - LHP Cade Povich
    Bradenton @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM) - RHP Marco Raya
     
  22. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from The Mad King for an article, Can Nick Gordon Carve Out a Niche Role on the Twins?   
    Consider this author among those once skeptical of Gordon’s MLB potential. The son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom Gordon fell flat on his face at AAA in 2018 and only rebounded to respectable, not elite, numbers in 2019. His bat’s potential was less dynamic, his ability to play shortstop was in the “capable of standing in the infield” camp of defensive quality, and the MLB meta grew detached from speed as a desirable trait. Perhaps some role as a utility player—the cursed designation for every fringe player—could fit Gordon’s general skillset, but he would never become a “set it and forget it” type of starter like Jorge Polanco or Max Kepler; he had to fight for a role.
    There are a few ways for an outside player to force a team’s hand; you either hit so well that a team has no choice but to find a position for you, or you scrap around and man numerous positions at an above-average level, allowing a team to use you as a stopgap player. Gordon fits in the latter category.
    His bat isn’t otherworldly, but he does provide value with it in atypical ways. You probably take one look at Gordon—a 160-pound human according to Baseball-Reference—and assume that he’s the type to dink, dunk, and slash his way to doing damage at the plate. However, Gordon is something of a Statcast hero, owning a max exit velocity of 110.7 MPH in 2022, a number ahead of players like Luke Voit, Nick Castellanos, and Tyler O’Neill. Hitting the ball hard is far from the only way a hitter can do damage, but it does represent extra-base upside, and Gordon (perhaps surprisingly) possesses that kind of potential.  xwOBA likes him as well, as Gordon currently sits a few points above the league average in that stat (.333 to .329). 
    How he reaches these concluding stats is the more exciting part. Gordon isn’t one to walk, and he has more swing-and-miss in his game than one would expect, but his contact is strong enough to offset his negative attributes; he owns a .429 xwOBACON in 2022. That’s xwOBA but only including balls in play. Do you want to know how good a .429 xwOBACON is? Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt all have a lower number in that stat. When Gordon puts the ball in play, good things happen.
    What has given Gordon the most value, though, is his newfound ability to play multiple positions. Various afflictions have required him to play left field, center field, shortstop, second base, and the guy even pitched once; talk about utility. He does more than just moonlight at these positions; Statcast credits him with an OAA in both left and center in 2022, as his reaction and burst make up for amateur routes. Considering that most of his minor league innings occurred at shortstop, his early success in the outfield is awe-inspiring; he played just 27 2/3 innings there in the minors. 
    Gordon should continue to be considered solely a “break glass in case of emergency” shortstop, and he’ll probably only rarely play at 2nd base given the glut of talent the team already has there, but his defensive acumen should demand a more active team role than one of a player like Jake Cave. If playing time only exists in the outfield, he’s more than capable of making that work.
    If baseball has an equivalent to the 6th man in basketball, Nick Gordon fits that role perfectly. He’s good at many things but not undeniably elite in any aspect of the game; Gordon instead takes a “jack of all trades” approach, one that stats can only partially quantify. This is also conjecture, but Gordon seems like an excellent clubhouse presence as well, and he can claim a stake in building the culture that many players have raved about this season. The 26-year-old may not be the star we once anticipated, but he’s a useful player on a winning team, and that counts for something.
     
     
  23. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Dave The Dastardly for an article, Can Nick Gordon Carve Out a Niche Role on the Twins?   
    Consider this author among those once skeptical of Gordon’s MLB potential. The son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom Gordon fell flat on his face at AAA in 2018 and only rebounded to respectable, not elite, numbers in 2019. His bat’s potential was less dynamic, his ability to play shortstop was in the “capable of standing in the infield” camp of defensive quality, and the MLB meta grew detached from speed as a desirable trait. Perhaps some role as a utility player—the cursed designation for every fringe player—could fit Gordon’s general skillset, but he would never become a “set it and forget it” type of starter like Jorge Polanco or Max Kepler; he had to fight for a role.
    There are a few ways for an outside player to force a team’s hand; you either hit so well that a team has no choice but to find a position for you, or you scrap around and man numerous positions at an above-average level, allowing a team to use you as a stopgap player. Gordon fits in the latter category.
    His bat isn’t otherworldly, but he does provide value with it in atypical ways. You probably take one look at Gordon—a 160-pound human according to Baseball-Reference—and assume that he’s the type to dink, dunk, and slash his way to doing damage at the plate. However, Gordon is something of a Statcast hero, owning a max exit velocity of 110.7 MPH in 2022, a number ahead of players like Luke Voit, Nick Castellanos, and Tyler O’Neill. Hitting the ball hard is far from the only way a hitter can do damage, but it does represent extra-base upside, and Gordon (perhaps surprisingly) possesses that kind of potential.  xwOBA likes him as well, as Gordon currently sits a few points above the league average in that stat (.333 to .329). 
    How he reaches these concluding stats is the more exciting part. Gordon isn’t one to walk, and he has more swing-and-miss in his game than one would expect, but his contact is strong enough to offset his negative attributes; he owns a .429 xwOBACON in 2022. That’s xwOBA but only including balls in play. Do you want to know how good a .429 xwOBACON is? Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt all have a lower number in that stat. When Gordon puts the ball in play, good things happen.
    What has given Gordon the most value, though, is his newfound ability to play multiple positions. Various afflictions have required him to play left field, center field, shortstop, second base, and the guy even pitched once; talk about utility. He does more than just moonlight at these positions; Statcast credits him with an OAA in both left and center in 2022, as his reaction and burst make up for amateur routes. Considering that most of his minor league innings occurred at shortstop, his early success in the outfield is awe-inspiring; he played just 27 2/3 innings there in the minors. 
    Gordon should continue to be considered solely a “break glass in case of emergency” shortstop, and he’ll probably only rarely play at 2nd base given the glut of talent the team already has there, but his defensive acumen should demand a more active team role than one of a player like Jake Cave. If playing time only exists in the outfield, he’s more than capable of making that work.
    If baseball has an equivalent to the 6th man in basketball, Nick Gordon fits that role perfectly. He’s good at many things but not undeniably elite in any aspect of the game; Gordon instead takes a “jack of all trades” approach, one that stats can only partially quantify. This is also conjecture, but Gordon seems like an excellent clubhouse presence as well, and he can claim a stake in building the culture that many players have raved about this season. The 26-year-old may not be the star we once anticipated, but he’s a useful player on a winning team, and that counts for something.
     
     
  24. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Can Nick Gordon Carve Out a Niche Role on the Twins?   
    Consider this author among those once skeptical of Gordon’s MLB potential. The son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom Gordon fell flat on his face at AAA in 2018 and only rebounded to respectable, not elite, numbers in 2019. His bat’s potential was less dynamic, his ability to play shortstop was in the “capable of standing in the infield” camp of defensive quality, and the MLB meta grew detached from speed as a desirable trait. Perhaps some role as a utility player—the cursed designation for every fringe player—could fit Gordon’s general skillset, but he would never become a “set it and forget it” type of starter like Jorge Polanco or Max Kepler; he had to fight for a role.
    There are a few ways for an outside player to force a team’s hand; you either hit so well that a team has no choice but to find a position for you, or you scrap around and man numerous positions at an above-average level, allowing a team to use you as a stopgap player. Gordon fits in the latter category.
    His bat isn’t otherworldly, but he does provide value with it in atypical ways. You probably take one look at Gordon—a 160-pound human according to Baseball-Reference—and assume that he’s the type to dink, dunk, and slash his way to doing damage at the plate. However, Gordon is something of a Statcast hero, owning a max exit velocity of 110.7 MPH in 2022, a number ahead of players like Luke Voit, Nick Castellanos, and Tyler O’Neill. Hitting the ball hard is far from the only way a hitter can do damage, but it does represent extra-base upside, and Gordon (perhaps surprisingly) possesses that kind of potential.  xwOBA likes him as well, as Gordon currently sits a few points above the league average in that stat (.333 to .329). 
    How he reaches these concluding stats is the more exciting part. Gordon isn’t one to walk, and he has more swing-and-miss in his game than one would expect, but his contact is strong enough to offset his negative attributes; he owns a .429 xwOBACON in 2022. That’s xwOBA but only including balls in play. Do you want to know how good a .429 xwOBACON is? Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt all have a lower number in that stat. When Gordon puts the ball in play, good things happen.
    What has given Gordon the most value, though, is his newfound ability to play multiple positions. Various afflictions have required him to play left field, center field, shortstop, second base, and the guy even pitched once; talk about utility. He does more than just moonlight at these positions; Statcast credits him with an OAA in both left and center in 2022, as his reaction and burst make up for amateur routes. Considering that most of his minor league innings occurred at shortstop, his early success in the outfield is awe-inspiring; he played just 27 2/3 innings there in the minors. 
    Gordon should continue to be considered solely a “break glass in case of emergency” shortstop, and he’ll probably only rarely play at 2nd base given the glut of talent the team already has there, but his defensive acumen should demand a more active team role than one of a player like Jake Cave. If playing time only exists in the outfield, he’s more than capable of making that work.
    If baseball has an equivalent to the 6th man in basketball, Nick Gordon fits that role perfectly. He’s good at many things but not undeniably elite in any aspect of the game; Gordon instead takes a “jack of all trades” approach, one that stats can only partially quantify. This is also conjecture, but Gordon seems like an excellent clubhouse presence as well, and he can claim a stake in building the culture that many players have raved about this season. The 26-year-old may not be the star we once anticipated, but he’s a useful player on a winning team, and that counts for something.
     
     
  25. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, Can Nick Gordon Carve Out a Niche Role on the Twins?   
    Consider this author among those once skeptical of Gordon’s MLB potential. The son of longtime MLB pitcher Tom Gordon fell flat on his face at AAA in 2018 and only rebounded to respectable, not elite, numbers in 2019. His bat’s potential was less dynamic, his ability to play shortstop was in the “capable of standing in the infield” camp of defensive quality, and the MLB meta grew detached from speed as a desirable trait. Perhaps some role as a utility player—the cursed designation for every fringe player—could fit Gordon’s general skillset, but he would never become a “set it and forget it” type of starter like Jorge Polanco or Max Kepler; he had to fight for a role.
    There are a few ways for an outside player to force a team’s hand; you either hit so well that a team has no choice but to find a position for you, or you scrap around and man numerous positions at an above-average level, allowing a team to use you as a stopgap player. Gordon fits in the latter category.
    His bat isn’t otherworldly, but he does provide value with it in atypical ways. You probably take one look at Gordon—a 160-pound human according to Baseball-Reference—and assume that he’s the type to dink, dunk, and slash his way to doing damage at the plate. However, Gordon is something of a Statcast hero, owning a max exit velocity of 110.7 MPH in 2022, a number ahead of players like Luke Voit, Nick Castellanos, and Tyler O’Neill. Hitting the ball hard is far from the only way a hitter can do damage, but it does represent extra-base upside, and Gordon (perhaps surprisingly) possesses that kind of potential.  xwOBA likes him as well, as Gordon currently sits a few points above the league average in that stat (.333 to .329). 
    How he reaches these concluding stats is the more exciting part. Gordon isn’t one to walk, and he has more swing-and-miss in his game than one would expect, but his contact is strong enough to offset his negative attributes; he owns a .429 xwOBACON in 2022. That’s xwOBA but only including balls in play. Do you want to know how good a .429 xwOBACON is? Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, and Paul Goldschmidt all have a lower number in that stat. When Gordon puts the ball in play, good things happen.
    What has given Gordon the most value, though, is his newfound ability to play multiple positions. Various afflictions have required him to play left field, center field, shortstop, second base, and the guy even pitched once; talk about utility. He does more than just moonlight at these positions; Statcast credits him with an OAA in both left and center in 2022, as his reaction and burst make up for amateur routes. Considering that most of his minor league innings occurred at shortstop, his early success in the outfield is awe-inspiring; he played just 27 2/3 innings there in the minors. 
    Gordon should continue to be considered solely a “break glass in case of emergency” shortstop, and he’ll probably only rarely play at 2nd base given the glut of talent the team already has there, but his defensive acumen should demand a more active team role than one of a player like Jake Cave. If playing time only exists in the outfield, he’s more than capable of making that work.
    If baseball has an equivalent to the 6th man in basketball, Nick Gordon fits that role perfectly. He’s good at many things but not undeniably elite in any aspect of the game; Gordon instead takes a “jack of all trades” approach, one that stats can only partially quantify. This is also conjecture, but Gordon seems like an excellent clubhouse presence as well, and he can claim a stake in building the culture that many players have raved about this season. The 26-year-old may not be the star we once anticipated, but he’s a useful player on a winning team, and that counts for something.
     
     
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