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Matt Braun

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  1. 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.
     
     
  2. Sad
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Minny505 for an article, Yankees 10, Twins 7: You're Never Gonna Guess What Happened   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy, 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, K
    Home Runs: Luis Arraez (2), Byron Buxton 2 (14, 15), Carlos Correa (4), Trevor Larnach (5)
    Top 3 WPA: Byron Buxton (.337), Luiz Arraez (.094), Carlos Correa (.068)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Dylan Bundy matched up against Gerrit Cole in the series' rubber match. It looked like a classic David-vs-Goliath battle nestled within a broader clash in a similar vein; the Twins against the Yankees.
    Bundy coughed up a run in the 1st inning off some dinks and dunks, but the real story of the inning wouldn’t exist until the bottom half. Luis Arraez sent a ball over the wall for a solo homer, Byron Buxton followed suit, and Carlos Correa finally made it an improbable three-peat with a solo home run that made it a 3-1 game before Cole recorded a single out. For real, against Cole.
    But this was just the 1st inning—one against the Yankees no less; the game was far from over.
    Bundy nabbed two quick outs in the 2nd inning before Jose Trevino dumped a single into center, and muscly big man Joey Gallo provided the “blast” portion of “a bloop and a blast.” 1st inning fanfare could barely have time to recede before the game turned tied.
    Because this was a Yankees vs. Twins game, the craziness refused to exit the ballpark, and Buxton launched a three-run homer off Cole in the bottom of the 2nd to push the lead to 6-3. Again, against Gerrit Cole.
    The Yankees went quietly in the 3rd—perhaps saving their torrent for later—and Trevor Larnach tacked on a solo shot for the 5th Twins homer of the night. 
    There’s probably some German word out there for it—god knows how to spell or say it—but the feeling at this point became an uneasy comfort, one that acknowledges the incredible lead while still not believing for a second that it will hold. Sure, the Twins held a four-run lead after dumping all over one of the finest starting pitchers in the sport, but come on, we know how this story goes; we aren’t fools. 
    The Yankees moved in the 5th inning. Bundy gave up a massive homer to Joey Gallo, the second of the night for the former Ranger before Rocco Baldelli took the lonely trot to the mound and called upon Jharel Cotton in the hopes that he could provide some necessary relief. He did not. A tough missed strike three call necessitated an extra pitch, and D.J. Lemahieu cut the lead down to two with a solo bomb of his own.
    The Twins' offense was in scuffle mode. Yankees lefty Lucas Leutge pulled a Chad Green in 2017 (since when has it almost been five years since that game?) and held back the onslaught while New York’s bats chipped away as the outs melted away slower than the Twins would have liked. At this point, Twins fans anticipated the dreadful reality of this game's conclusion. The lead lasted one more full inning before, sigh, old friend Aaron Hicks knotted the game at 7 with a two-run homer. 
    It didn’t stop there—the Yankees jumped all over Jhoan Duran and plated two more runs thanks to an Anthony Rizzo single and a Hicks opposite-field knock. New York took just four innings to tie and eventually overtake Minnesota’s quick, fleeting lead.
    Slow, draining baseball followed until the game mercifully ended. Whatever reliever Aaron Boone chose didn’t matter; they all methodically shut down a Twins offense that crushed Gerrit Cole but could find no answers for Wandy Peralta. The team mustered up just one lonely hit once the struggling starter exited the game. So it goes.
    The Yankees plated another run—they didn’t matter at this point, but the spirit of competition and sportsmanship call for it—and Minnesota officially fell to New York by a score of 10-7.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  3. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Strombomb for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  4. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from ToddlerHarmon for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  5. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from TwinsAce for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  6. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from PatPfund for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  7. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Jeff D. for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  8. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  9. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  10. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from MN_ExPat for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  11. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Dman for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  12. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Gary Sánchez is Different (And May be Underperforming)   
    We’ll focus solely on Sánchez’s bat in this article; defensive analysis can be left to Parker Hageman or some other actual baseball knower with a shred of a clue regarding mechanics. The Twins weren’t acquiring the frustrating catcher for his glove, after all; they were after his inconsistent yet potentially game-altering bat. 
    You’re well aware of Sánchez’s MLB career narrative. He set the world on fire in 2016, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Michael Fulmer, before running it back in 2017 with an elite wRC+ (131) that no qualified catcher has topped over an entire season since. It’s been shaky after that season; Sánchez has oscillated between mediocre, good, and dreadful, with “frustrating” working as the only consistently accurate description of his play in New York.
    But he’s in Minnesota now; a fresh start with a new franchise. Has he changed?
    Yes, to a degree. His strikeout and walk rates have moved in the wrong direction for a hitter (career 9.8 BB% to 5.8, and 26.7 K% to 28.3), but the under-the-hood numbers tell a far more interesting story.
    This story drew inspiration from this one image.

    Look at that cluster in right-center; does that reflect what you would expect from a traditional dead-pull righty? It may only be four doubles, but that’s enough to catch one’s eye. A similar grouping only ever shows up in his 2017 hit map; what’s going on?

    WARNING! Numbers ahead, like a lot of them.

    After seeing that, I moved to check his batted ball data, and wouldn’t you know it, Sánchez has inched towards a more democratic approach to hitting. His pull rate is down (45.5% vs career 51.7%), moving more batted balls into center (31.8% vs career 30.2%) and right (22.7% vs career 18.0%). Becoming a more well-rounded hitter in this vein sounds like a good thing by itself, but it may not be ideal for a powerful pull-hitter. We need more information—is Sánchez doing more damage with this new philosophy?
    Yes! Actually. Sánchez owns a wRC+ of 172 on batted balls sent to what Fangraphs defines as centerfield—a number almost equal to what he did during his fabulous 2017 campaign (174). He’s still not great on balls shot the other way (57 wRC+)—we didn’t expect him to become righty Juan Soto overnight—but it certainly appears that he’s found a more well-rounded stroke. Is it any coincidence that his BABIP is back up to .282 after he wallowed in Keplerian levels for the last four seasons?
    The good news is that he isn’t sacrificing any of his crucial pull-power to accomplish this. Sánchez is crushing balls to the tune of a 240 wRC+ when he sends them to left field—a number even finer than his legendary 2017 season.
    He’s not perfect, however. It seems that his new approach has cost him valuable walks, and his strikeouts have ticked up a touch as well, although I question how sticky the extra Ks are. Walks are valuable, but extra-base hits are even more precious, and the Twins seem to believe that Sánchez is a cleaner fit in the lineup when he’s doing damage, not setting the table.
    The "underperforming" part of the title stems from his Statcast data; Sánchez is walloping fastballs at a .412 xWOBA clip but only has a .328 wOBA against the pitch. Sure, some of that is due to the soggy ball draining power from everyone's bat, but nearly .100 points of wOBA cannot be explained away with that answer; luck must be involved. It's easy to imagine that his approach will bear even more fruit once the summer heat pushes those warning track disappointments into free souvenirs. 
    There you have it; sometimes, an intuition or a minor blip of information can send you down a rabbit hole from which a truth hides. Gary Sánchez has adjusted his hitting style, and it may have been precisely what the doctor ordered. The former hulking slugger has embraced right-center field and may flourish for it.
  13. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from operation mindcrime for an article, Minor League Report (6/4): Alerick Soularie Hits For The Cycle! Wind Surge Win on Walk-off!   
    TRANSACTIONS
    INF Anthony Prato promoted to AA Wichita
    OF Dylan Neuse promoted to A+ Cedar Rapids
    OF Nelson Roberto promoted to A Fort Myers
    C Jair Camargo placed on IL (AA Wichita)
    RHP Chi Chi González optioned to AAA St. Paul
    Saints Sentinel
    St. Paul 5, Iowa 8
    Box Score
    Dereck Rodriguez: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, K
    HR: Spencer Steer (3), Alex Kirilloff (4)
    Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-for-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Tim Beckham (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI)
    Iowa kicked St. Paul into a hole early on Saturday, and they never recovered.
    The Cubs jumped all over Dereck Rodriguez in the first inning, plating six runs before the mayhem came to a merciful end. Rodriguez stayed in for another inning, but his night was far shorter than he probably anticipated. 
    St. Paul didn’t take it laying down, though. Spencer Steer popped his third AAA homer, because of course he did, while Tim Beckham drove in runs in the 3rd and 5th innings to slash the lead to two. Alex Kirilloff brought the game within a run with a solo homer in the 7th.
    Then the momentum ended for St. Paul. Iowa added three runs thanks in part to a homer from Technically Old Friend John Hicks. Jake Faria gritted out six clutch, effective innings, but the task was too tall in the end.
    Of note: Steer played SS in this game.
    Wind Surge Wisdom
    Wichita 8, Frisco 7
    Box Score
    Louie Varland: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    HR: Chris Williams (4), Edouard Julien (2), Matt Wallner (11)
    Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, HR, R, RBI), Matt Wallner (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI)
    Wichita won an extra-inning affair on Saturday.
    Louie Varland made his bid for pitcher of the day, striking out nine batters over five innings with just two earned runs to his name. On any other day, that start would win him the title, but some other arms were just a bit better.
    The bats followed a homer-heavy itinerary. Chris Williams, Edouard Julien, and Matt Wallner all crushed bombs; Williams was the only one who did so with runners on base, though. 
    The Wind Surge carried the lead into the 9th, but the usually reliable Evan Sisk was fallible and allowed the tying run to score. 
    The teams exchanged blows in the 10th before Dennis Ortega sent fans home happy with a zombie runner-scoring single.
     
     
    Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 7, Lansing Lugnuts 5
    Box Score
    Brent Headrick: 5 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    HR: Alerick Soularie (5)
    Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (4-for-4, HR, 3B, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI), Pat Winkel (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R)
    The Kernels won again on Saturday.
    It was the “thousand paper-cuts” method of execution, but that counts all the same. Cedar Rapids was like David Bowie in his Berlin sessions—a consistent force pumping out more hits than you can believe. All but two batters reached base.
    Brent Headrick continued his excellent start to the season. He netted 17 outs—perhaps the most this author has observed from a Twins minor league starter this year—and never found himself in consistent trouble. The lefty struck out nine hitters.
    Alerick Soularie was the star of the game, going a perfect 4-for-4 and hitting the Kernels’ first cycle in 13 years. He also walked once.
    Things got tight in the final innings as Lansing plated a few runs, but the Kernels pulled through in the end. Old Friend Gabriel Maciel was the final out.
    Mussel Matters
    Fort Myers 8, Tampa 2
    Box Score
    Travis Adams: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
    HR: Keoni Cavaco (3)
    Multi-hit games: Keoni Cavaco (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Kala’i Rosario (3-for-4, R)
    Fort Myers smacked Tampa on Saturday.
    Travis Adams set the tone, making sure that his hitters didn’t have to worry about hitting their way out of a deficit. The young righty dominated, allowing just a single earned run over five innings of work with eight strikeouts and no walks. Yeah, that’ll play.
    The bats picked him up almost immediately. The Mighty Mussels took a slim 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning before Keoni Cavaco blew the doors down and smacked a three-run homer. Cavaco then added an RBI single in the 7th. It’s been a good last 10 days for the former first-round pick, as he came into the day slashing .286/.333/.524 over that stretch. 
    Jaylen Nowlin and Hunter McMahon worked four combined stellar innings in relief, allowing 0 earned runs while punching out nine batters. Fort Myers pitchers struck out 17 Tampa batters overall on Saturday.
    The Mighty Mussels must have had intel on Tarpons catcher Antonio Gomez, as four different players nabbed a steal off him; Jake Rucker nabbed his 12th of the season, Emmanuel Rodriguez swiped his 11th. 
    Uber prospect Jasson Dominguez went hitless, netting an RBI and striking out once.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Travis Adamsm, Ft. Myers 
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alerick Soularie, Cedar Rapids 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, R, K
    #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K
    #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
    #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, RBI, BB, SB
    #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4, R, BB, K
    #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
    #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K
    SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Iowa (1:08 PM) - RHP Cole Sands
    Frisco @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson 
    Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (12:05 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek
    Tampa @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM) - RHP Pierson Ohl
    Tampa @ Fort Myers (Game Two) - TBD
     
  14. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from nicksaviking for an article, Minor League Report (6/4): Alerick Soularie Hits For The Cycle! Wind Surge Win on Walk-off!   
    TRANSACTIONS
    INF Anthony Prato promoted to AA Wichita
    OF Dylan Neuse promoted to A+ Cedar Rapids
    OF Nelson Roberto promoted to A Fort Myers
    C Jair Camargo placed on IL (AA Wichita)
    RHP Chi Chi González optioned to AAA St. Paul
    Saints Sentinel
    St. Paul 5, Iowa 8
    Box Score
    Dereck Rodriguez: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, K
    HR: Spencer Steer (3), Alex Kirilloff (4)
    Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-for-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Tim Beckham (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI)
    Iowa kicked St. Paul into a hole early on Saturday, and they never recovered.
    The Cubs jumped all over Dereck Rodriguez in the first inning, plating six runs before the mayhem came to a merciful end. Rodriguez stayed in for another inning, but his night was far shorter than he probably anticipated. 
    St. Paul didn’t take it laying down, though. Spencer Steer popped his third AAA homer, because of course he did, while Tim Beckham drove in runs in the 3rd and 5th innings to slash the lead to two. Alex Kirilloff brought the game within a run with a solo homer in the 7th.
    Then the momentum ended for St. Paul. Iowa added three runs thanks in part to a homer from Technically Old Friend John Hicks. Jake Faria gritted out six clutch, effective innings, but the task was too tall in the end.
    Of note: Steer played SS in this game.
    Wind Surge Wisdom
    Wichita 8, Frisco 7
    Box Score
    Louie Varland: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    HR: Chris Williams (4), Edouard Julien (2), Matt Wallner (11)
    Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, HR, R, RBI), Matt Wallner (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI)
    Wichita won an extra-inning affair on Saturday.
    Louie Varland made his bid for pitcher of the day, striking out nine batters over five innings with just two earned runs to his name. On any other day, that start would win him the title, but some other arms were just a bit better.
    The bats followed a homer-heavy itinerary. Chris Williams, Edouard Julien, and Matt Wallner all crushed bombs; Williams was the only one who did so with runners on base, though. 
    The Wind Surge carried the lead into the 9th, but the usually reliable Evan Sisk was fallible and allowed the tying run to score. 
    The teams exchanged blows in the 10th before Dennis Ortega sent fans home happy with a zombie runner-scoring single.
     
     
    Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 7, Lansing Lugnuts 5
    Box Score
    Brent Headrick: 5 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    HR: Alerick Soularie (5)
    Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (4-for-4, HR, 3B, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI), Pat Winkel (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R)
    The Kernels won again on Saturday.
    It was the “thousand paper-cuts” method of execution, but that counts all the same. Cedar Rapids was like David Bowie in his Berlin sessions—a consistent force pumping out more hits than you can believe. All but two batters reached base.
    Brent Headrick continued his excellent start to the season. He netted 17 outs—perhaps the most this author has observed from a Twins minor league starter this year—and never found himself in consistent trouble. The lefty struck out nine hitters.
    Alerick Soularie was the star of the game, going a perfect 4-for-4 and hitting the Kernels’ first cycle in 13 years. He also walked once.
    Things got tight in the final innings as Lansing plated a few runs, but the Kernels pulled through in the end. Old Friend Gabriel Maciel was the final out.
    Mussel Matters
    Fort Myers 8, Tampa 2
    Box Score
    Travis Adams: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
    HR: Keoni Cavaco (3)
    Multi-hit games: Keoni Cavaco (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Kala’i Rosario (3-for-4, R)
    Fort Myers smacked Tampa on Saturday.
    Travis Adams set the tone, making sure that his hitters didn’t have to worry about hitting their way out of a deficit. The young righty dominated, allowing just a single earned run over five innings of work with eight strikeouts and no walks. Yeah, that’ll play.
    The bats picked him up almost immediately. The Mighty Mussels took a slim 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning before Keoni Cavaco blew the doors down and smacked a three-run homer. Cavaco then added an RBI single in the 7th. It’s been a good last 10 days for the former first-round pick, as he came into the day slashing .286/.333/.524 over that stretch. 
    Jaylen Nowlin and Hunter McMahon worked four combined stellar innings in relief, allowing 0 earned runs while punching out nine batters. Fort Myers pitchers struck out 17 Tampa batters overall on Saturday.
    The Mighty Mussels must have had intel on Tarpons catcher Antonio Gomez, as four different players nabbed a steal off him; Jake Rucker nabbed his 12th of the season, Emmanuel Rodriguez swiped his 11th. 
    Uber prospect Jasson Dominguez went hitless, netting an RBI and striking out once.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Travis Adamsm, Ft. Myers 
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alerick Soularie, Cedar Rapids 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, R, K
    #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K
    #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
    #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, RBI, BB, SB
    #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4, R, BB, K
    #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
    #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K
    SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Iowa (1:08 PM) - RHP Cole Sands
    Frisco @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson 
    Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (12:05 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek
    Tampa @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM) - RHP Pierson Ohl
    Tampa @ Fort Myers (Game Two) - TBD
     
  15. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from nclahammer for an article, Minor League Report (6/4): Alerick Soularie Hits For The Cycle! Wind Surge Win on Walk-off!   
    TRANSACTIONS
    INF Anthony Prato promoted to AA Wichita
    OF Dylan Neuse promoted to A+ Cedar Rapids
    OF Nelson Roberto promoted to A Fort Myers
    C Jair Camargo placed on IL (AA Wichita)
    RHP Chi Chi González optioned to AAA St. Paul
    Saints Sentinel
    St. Paul 5, Iowa 8
    Box Score
    Dereck Rodriguez: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, BB, K
    HR: Spencer Steer (3), Alex Kirilloff (4)
    Multi-hit games: Alex Kirilloff (2-for-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB), Tim Beckham (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI)
    Iowa kicked St. Paul into a hole early on Saturday, and they never recovered.
    The Cubs jumped all over Dereck Rodriguez in the first inning, plating six runs before the mayhem came to a merciful end. Rodriguez stayed in for another inning, but his night was far shorter than he probably anticipated. 
    St. Paul didn’t take it laying down, though. Spencer Steer popped his third AAA homer, because of course he did, while Tim Beckham drove in runs in the 3rd and 5th innings to slash the lead to two. Alex Kirilloff brought the game within a run with a solo homer in the 7th.
    Then the momentum ended for St. Paul. Iowa added three runs thanks in part to a homer from Technically Old Friend John Hicks. Jake Faria gritted out six clutch, effective innings, but the task was too tall in the end.
    Of note: Steer played SS in this game.
    Wind Surge Wisdom
    Wichita 8, Frisco 7
    Box Score
    Louie Varland: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    HR: Chris Williams (4), Edouard Julien (2), Matt Wallner (11)
    Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, HR, R, RBI), Matt Wallner (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI)
    Wichita won an extra-inning affair on Saturday.
    Louie Varland made his bid for pitcher of the day, striking out nine batters over five innings with just two earned runs to his name. On any other day, that start would win him the title, but some other arms were just a bit better.
    The bats followed a homer-heavy itinerary. Chris Williams, Edouard Julien, and Matt Wallner all crushed bombs; Williams was the only one who did so with runners on base, though. 
    The Wind Surge carried the lead into the 9th, but the usually reliable Evan Sisk was fallible and allowed the tying run to score. 
    The teams exchanged blows in the 10th before Dennis Ortega sent fans home happy with a zombie runner-scoring single.
     
     
    Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 7, Lansing Lugnuts 5
    Box Score
    Brent Headrick: 5 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
    HR: Alerick Soularie (5)
    Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (4-for-4, HR, 3B, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI), Pat Winkel (2-for-4, 2B, 2 R)
    The Kernels won again on Saturday.
    It was the “thousand paper-cuts” method of execution, but that counts all the same. Cedar Rapids was like David Bowie in his Berlin sessions—a consistent force pumping out more hits than you can believe. All but two batters reached base.
    Brent Headrick continued his excellent start to the season. He netted 17 outs—perhaps the most this author has observed from a Twins minor league starter this year—and never found himself in consistent trouble. The lefty struck out nine hitters.
    Alerick Soularie was the star of the game, going a perfect 4-for-4 and hitting the Kernels’ first cycle in 13 years. He also walked once.
    Things got tight in the final innings as Lansing plated a few runs, but the Kernels pulled through in the end. Old Friend Gabriel Maciel was the final out.
    Mussel Matters
    Fort Myers 8, Tampa 2
    Box Score
    Travis Adams: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
    HR: Keoni Cavaco (3)
    Multi-hit games: Keoni Cavaco (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI), Kala’i Rosario (3-for-4, R)
    Fort Myers smacked Tampa on Saturday.
    Travis Adams set the tone, making sure that his hitters didn’t have to worry about hitting their way out of a deficit. The young righty dominated, allowing just a single earned run over five innings of work with eight strikeouts and no walks. Yeah, that’ll play.
    The bats picked him up almost immediately. The Mighty Mussels took a slim 2-1 lead in the 3rd inning before Keoni Cavaco blew the doors down and smacked a three-run homer. Cavaco then added an RBI single in the 7th. It’s been a good last 10 days for the former first-round pick, as he came into the day slashing .286/.333/.524 over that stretch. 
    Jaylen Nowlin and Hunter McMahon worked four combined stellar innings in relief, allowing 0 earned runs while punching out nine batters. Fort Myers pitchers struck out 17 Tampa batters overall on Saturday.
    The Mighty Mussels must have had intel on Tarpons catcher Antonio Gomez, as four different players nabbed a steal off him; Jake Rucker nabbed his 12th of the season, Emmanuel Rodriguez swiped his 11th. 
    Uber prospect Jasson Dominguez went hitless, netting an RBI and striking out once.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Travis Adamsm, Ft. Myers 
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Alerick Soularie, Cedar Rapids 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-4, R, K
    #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, 2B, R, RBI, 2 K
    #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-for-5, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
    #8 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, RBI, BB, SB
    #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-4, R, BB, K
    #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
    #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB, K
    SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Iowa (1:08 PM) - RHP Cole Sands
    Frisco @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson 
    Cedar Rapids @ Lansing (12:05 PM) - LHP Aaron Rozek
    Tampa @ Fort Myers (11:00 AM) - RHP Pierson Ohl
    Tampa @ Fort Myers (Game Two) - TBD
     
  16. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Hunter48 for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  17. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from h2oface for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  18. Haha
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Heiny for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  19. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Karbo for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  20. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from TwinsAce for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  21. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from Dave The Dastardly for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  22. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from PopRiveter for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  23. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Why We Should be Worried About the Twins   
    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?
    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).
    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.
    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.
    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 
    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.
    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
     
  24. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from MN_ExPat for an article, Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - May 2022   
    Previous 2022 Starting Pitcher of the Month
    April - John Stankiewicz
    Methodology:
    This isn’t a scientific ranking by any stretch of the imagination. Other minor league writers gave feedback on their top players before the author weighed their choices with his own opinions. Results were less clear-cut than one would hope (one writer had Matt Canterino 2nd while another had him 6th). This is meant to act as a general spotlight to shine on many players, not just the one we deemed “the best,” so don’t take this any more seriously than it needs to be. 
    Honorable Mention - Travis Adams - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 3.15 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 29.7 K%, 20 IP
    Travis Adams, the Twins 6th round pick in 2021 out of Sacramento State, threw his hat in the ring of notable college arms making noise in 2022. He allowed a few more runs than the arms that will grace this list, but he was still outstanding—allowing an opponent batting average of .162 in May against a WHIP of 0.85.
    Honorable Mention - Chi Chi González - St. Paul Saints, 2.53 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 24.4 K%, 21 1/3 IP
    Chi Chi González joined the Twins organization this past off-season, inking a minor league deal hoping that he could pitch his way into an unsteady major league rotation. That hasn’t happened yet, but González took a significant step towards that future in May. He rebounded from a shaky April to pitch to a respectable 2.53 ERA in May without giving up a long ball in four starts.
    Number Five - Sawyer Gipson-Long - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.74 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 29.5 K%, 20 2/3 IP
    Sawyer Gipson-Long, another recent college arm (someone should write about that), popped up on the prospect radar last season and is proving that his success is no fluke. The righty from Mercer crushed his competition in May, allowing a sub-.200 batting average against while striking out batters at nearly a 30% clip. That’s good, folks. His age, combined with his status as an older arm, curses his evaluations to be bland; Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin described him as someone who sits “90-94 with an above-average slider and plenty of strikes.” Keep an eye on him as an under-the-radar pitcher who could be in Wichita very soon.
    Number Four - Brent Headrick - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 0.93 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 26.0 K%, 19 ⅓ IP
    Another former-collegiate pitcher, Brent Headrick, has found command in 2022, and hitters have suffered for it. Headrick crushed May, holding a WHIP of just 0.78 with three of his four starts ending without him surrendering an earned run. His FIP held him back from placing higher on this list—the next three pitchers all dominated in ERA and peripherals—but that’s hardly a knock on Headrick’s pitching ability. Allowing two earned runs in an entire month is elite, no matter how you slice it.
    Number Three - Matt Canterino - Wichita Wind Surge, 2.00 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 37.3 K%, 18 IP
    Matt Canterino had an unusual month of May; he started four games while piggybacking in another but still ended up with fewer innings than all previously named starters. Nonetheless, he dominated. Canterino allowed runs in just one outing while striking out the world as he returns from an elbow injury that shortened his 2021 season. The Rice product walked more batters than one would prefer (12.0% of them), but his strikeout total in May was so ridiculous that he still ended up at the number three spot.
    Number Two - David Festa- Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.45 ERA, 2.32 FIP, 36.8 K%, 18 2/3 IP
    One of the most talked-about Twins prospects this year, David Festa, had a month to remember in May. The 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall embodied efficiency, striking out hitters like an elite MLB reliever while not sacrificing command in favor of his stuff; he walked just 5.9% of hitters in May. His performance earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids, where he made two outings; one great and one forgettable. His ascent through the minors could be rapid, so make sure to stop and appreciate Festa before he switches levels again. 
    Number One - Steve Hajjar - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 0.51 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 42.6 K%, 17 ⅔ IP
    For a while, Steve Hajjar was like Cthulu—legendary and fearsome, but never seen as he pitched with a Fort Myers team that doesn’t broadcast their games and only occasionally plays against a team that does. Then May 26th happened. Hajjar took the mound against the Bradenton Marauders and shut them down completely, fanning 10 over 5 ⅔ innings with no earned runs. It was the perfect culmination of Hajjar’s ability.
    The Twins drafted the tall lefty out of Michigan in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft; enamored by his potential, they handed him over $1 million. Hajjar didn’t pitch for the organization that year, but grumblings from team sources indicated that they were pleased with his internal performance. 
    2022 hasn’t left much for the imagination. The fewest amount of strikeouts Hajjar netted in a single game is 5, and he’s already punched out 50 batters through 29 innings of work. 29; he’s thrown 29 innings and has 50 strikeouts. Walker Buehler has thrown nearly 60 innings and only has 49. 
    The primary issue left for Hajjar is command—he’s walked 17 hitters in those 29 innings to give him a ghastly 14.7 BB% on the year. Although, there may be signs of control as he’s walked just one batter respectively in each of his last two starts. Hajjar is a starter with immense potential, and it will be a great joy to watch him develop in the Twins system.
     
     
  25. Like
    Matt Braun got a reaction from MadHits for an article, Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - May 2022   
    Previous 2022 Starting Pitcher of the Month
    April - John Stankiewicz
    Methodology:
    This isn’t a scientific ranking by any stretch of the imagination. Other minor league writers gave feedback on their top players before the author weighed their choices with his own opinions. Results were less clear-cut than one would hope (one writer had Matt Canterino 2nd while another had him 6th). This is meant to act as a general spotlight to shine on many players, not just the one we deemed “the best,” so don’t take this any more seriously than it needs to be. 
    Honorable Mention - Travis Adams - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 3.15 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 29.7 K%, 20 IP
    Travis Adams, the Twins 6th round pick in 2021 out of Sacramento State, threw his hat in the ring of notable college arms making noise in 2022. He allowed a few more runs than the arms that will grace this list, but he was still outstanding—allowing an opponent batting average of .162 in May against a WHIP of 0.85.
    Honorable Mention - Chi Chi González - St. Paul Saints, 2.53 ERA, 2.52 FIP, 24.4 K%, 21 1/3 IP
    Chi Chi González joined the Twins organization this past off-season, inking a minor league deal hoping that he could pitch his way into an unsteady major league rotation. That hasn’t happened yet, but González took a significant step towards that future in May. He rebounded from a shaky April to pitch to a respectable 2.53 ERA in May without giving up a long ball in four starts.
    Number Five - Sawyer Gipson-Long - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.74 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 29.5 K%, 20 2/3 IP
    Sawyer Gipson-Long, another recent college arm (someone should write about that), popped up on the prospect radar last season and is proving that his success is no fluke. The righty from Mercer crushed his competition in May, allowing a sub-.200 batting average against while striking out batters at nearly a 30% clip. That’s good, folks. His age, combined with his status as an older arm, curses his evaluations to be bland; Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin described him as someone who sits “90-94 with an above-average slider and plenty of strikes.” Keep an eye on him as an under-the-radar pitcher who could be in Wichita very soon.
    Number Four - Brent Headrick - Cedar Rapids Kernels, 0.93 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 26.0 K%, 19 ⅓ IP
    Another former-collegiate pitcher, Brent Headrick, has found command in 2022, and hitters have suffered for it. Headrick crushed May, holding a WHIP of just 0.78 with three of his four starts ending without him surrendering an earned run. His FIP held him back from placing higher on this list—the next three pitchers all dominated in ERA and peripherals—but that’s hardly a knock on Headrick’s pitching ability. Allowing two earned runs in an entire month is elite, no matter how you slice it.
    Number Three - Matt Canterino - Wichita Wind Surge, 2.00 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 37.3 K%, 18 IP
    Matt Canterino had an unusual month of May; he started four games while piggybacking in another but still ended up with fewer innings than all previously named starters. Nonetheless, he dominated. Canterino allowed runs in just one outing while striking out the world as he returns from an elbow injury that shortened his 2021 season. The Rice product walked more batters than one would prefer (12.0% of them), but his strikeout total in May was so ridiculous that he still ended up at the number three spot.
    Number Two - David Festa- Fort Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels, 1.45 ERA, 2.32 FIP, 36.8 K%, 18 2/3 IP
    One of the most talked-about Twins prospects this year, David Festa, had a month to remember in May. The 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall embodied efficiency, striking out hitters like an elite MLB reliever while not sacrificing command in favor of his stuff; he walked just 5.9% of hitters in May. His performance earned him a promotion to Cedar Rapids, where he made two outings; one great and one forgettable. His ascent through the minors could be rapid, so make sure to stop and appreciate Festa before he switches levels again. 
    Number One - Steve Hajjar - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 0.51 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 42.6 K%, 17 ⅔ IP
    For a while, Steve Hajjar was like Cthulu—legendary and fearsome, but never seen as he pitched with a Fort Myers team that doesn’t broadcast their games and only occasionally plays against a team that does. Then May 26th happened. Hajjar took the mound against the Bradenton Marauders and shut them down completely, fanning 10 over 5 ⅔ innings with no earned runs. It was the perfect culmination of Hajjar’s ability.
    The Twins drafted the tall lefty out of Michigan in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft; enamored by his potential, they handed him over $1 million. Hajjar didn’t pitch for the organization that year, but grumblings from team sources indicated that they were pleased with his internal performance. 
    2022 hasn’t left much for the imagination. The fewest amount of strikeouts Hajjar netted in a single game is 5, and he’s already punched out 50 batters through 29 innings of work. 29; he’s thrown 29 innings and has 50 strikeouts. Walker Buehler has thrown nearly 60 innings and only has 49. 
    The primary issue left for Hajjar is command—he’s walked 17 hitters in those 29 innings to give him a ghastly 14.7 BB% on the year. Although, there may be signs of control as he’s walked just one batter respectively in each of his last two starts. Hajjar is a starter with immense potential, and it will be a great joy to watch him develop in the Twins system.
     
     
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