miracleb reacted to troyjuhn for a blog entry, My Favorite breakout players for the Twins
The Twins come into the year with a lot of guys that can play at the major league level, but with such a logjam at certain positions, it might be hard for some players to distance themselves. These are 5 guys that I think will have potentially huge roles to play if everything goes right for them. In no particular order...
1. Jorge Alcala
This is a pretty common breakout pick and yet I also feel like Alcala is not talked about enough for whatever reason. Alcala, 27, was one of the pieces sent to the Twins in the Ryan Pressely trade back in 2018, Alcala was decent during the COVID season with a 2,63 ERA in 24 innings and a 3.92 ERA in nearly 60 innings in 2021 before a injury to his throwing shoulder sidelined him for the majority of last year. Outside of Duran, Thielbar and Jax, the twins have a lot of uncertainty in the bullpen that was fairly middle of the pack in the MLB last year. Alcala has touched 98 with his fastball this spring and I truly believe he might have a Duran type full breakout depending on his role. The Twins didn't do much this offseason to address the bullpen, so they clearly have a lot of belief in what they have already. I feel like Alcala has the tools already to etablish himself for a long time in the bulpen.
2. Royce Lewis.
We already saw a small sample size of Royce last year, which for the most part showed a ton of promise. In just 12 games, he batted .300 with a grand slam as his first big league homer, and also made some plays out in center. Unfortunately, he suffered another torn ACL that ended his year and will keep him out for at least half of this year. When he eventually goes come up though around the middle of the summer, Royce should provide a great amount of depth in the middle infield and potentially the outfield. Maybe even get reps at SS when Correa has an off day. I thought Royce was going to have a ROY like campaign, but alas that never happened. However the true test for Royce is probably 2024, where I really think he'll start to become an everyday starter for the Twins.
3. Trevor Larnach
Trevor Larnach just had a 4-4 day against Boston in a spring training game today, falling a triple shy of the cycle. I've always liked Larnach, despite relatively mediocre stats in 130 games in two years. With Alex Kirloff starting the year most likely on the IL, it gives more of an opportunity for Larnach, who has a .951 OPS and 3 home runs this spring. With injuires to Polanco as well, it pretty much secured Larnach his spot on the opening day roster for the beginning of the year. If he continues to play like this at the beginning of the regular season, expect Larnach to lock down a lot of playing time, whether that's in a corner outfield spot or as a DH.
4. Bailey Ober
I've always been a fan of Bailey, and this year I think he'll really get a chance to shine in the rotation as the 5th/ maybe even 6th starter. He's thrown 6 shutout innings this spring and has shown that he is at 100% before the year, especially after he struggled to stay healthy last year and only made 11 starts. Still, teams struggled against Bailey when he was on the mound, with only a .227 average and only 4 home runs hit off of him in 56 innings. I'm not going to be too worried if we do suffer an injury in the rotation, because I genuinely believe Bailey has the tools to be a full-time guy in an MLB rotation. If he has to start at AAA, I'm excited to see how he improves before inevitably getting a call up at some point.
5. Austin Martin
This is a wildcard pick for me. Lots of infield prospects could have big breakouts in the majors or at the minor league level this year. I've always liked Austin, his start to last year was rough and the torn UCL didn't help either. His Arizona fall league performance was very promising, as a elite level contact hitter with great discipline, it shouldn't take long for him to rake at AA and get a fast call up to AAA. If he impresses in the minors this year, a 40 man spot might open up, making this year a big audition year for the 24 year old former top 5 draft pick.
miracleb reacted to SportsGuyDalton for a blog entry, Spring Training Winners and Losers
After a long, harsh Minnesota winter, Spring Training offers and a glimpse of green grass and the hope of a successful Twins season. The Twins’ time in Florida is like any trip to the Sunshine State—some visitors leave with a golden tan, others depart with bad sunburn. As the team prepares to head north, here are my winners and losers from the Twins’ Spring Training. Let’s start with the guys who got burned.
1. Kenta Maeda
Spring Training stats should never weigh heavily in player evaluations, but when a veteran pitcher like Maeda returns from 19 months of Tommy John rehab, his performance will be scrutinized. Despite a solid outing today, Maeda’s spring has been mediocre. He has posted a 4.91 ERA in 14.2 innings, issuing 10 walks, striking out 14 batters, and showing inconsistent fastball velocity. These numbers aren’t awful, yet with Bailey Ober, Louie Varland, and Simeon Woods-Richardson all seeking a spot in the rotation, Maeda’s grasp of the fifth starter role grows looser. King Kenta will need to regain his pre-injury form quickly or risk being relegated to a diminished role.
2. Trevor Megill
Megill’s arm talent is undeniable. His fastball consistently touches 100 MPH and advanced metrics show that his breaking pitches are competent. Unfortunately, the on-field results never seem to match the underlying metrics (much like his bullpen mate Emilio Pagán). Megill entered the spring with a shot at a bullpen role with the Twins, then struggled to a 10.80 ERA and 2.10 WHIP before being demoted to Triple-A on March 19. Twins fans will probably see Megill again this season as he will be one of top relief options available in St. Paul, yet it’s fair to wonder how many second chances Megill will receive.
3. Gilberto Celestino
2023 is the most important season of Gilberto Celestino’s career. That is a strange statement considering Celestino played 122 games with the Twins last season and will likely spend most of 2023 in Triple-A. However, given Celestino’s limited minor league experience (only 75 career games above High-A), this season at Triple-A is critical for his maturation as a player. The thumb injury Celestino suffered early in camp required surgery, putting his development plan on hold while he is out until late April. Missing one month isn’t catastrophic, but finger injuries can linger. If Celestino rushes back or suffers a setback, his long-term development will pay the price.
1. Edouard Julien
Despite all the praise that top prospect Brooks Lee garnered in Fort Myers, Julien is undoubtedly the Twins prospect whose stock has risen the most this spring. Across seven games with the Twins and four games with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, Julien is hitting .394 (13 for 33) with five homeruns and six walks. His advanced approach at the plate looks MLB-ready, mixing patience with power. The Twins’ infield depth and questions about Julien’s defensive home created a roster crunch that resulted in Julien being optioned to Triple-A on March 14, but Julien’s performance this spring shows that he is ready to contribute at Target Field.
2. Kyle Farmer
Farmer’s solid Spring Training—an OPS of 1.052 and four homeruns—has flown under the radar as health questions about Alex Kiriloff, Jorge Polanco, and Jose Miranda have dominated Twins infield storylines. The 31-year-old Farmer is a six-year veteran, so a good month of March doesn’t change his projected upside, but he is a “winner” here because he will leave Fort Myers poised to parlay his hot bat into important at-bats for the Twins. His infield counterparts Polanco and Kirilloff are starting the season on the Injured List, meaning Farmer will play a critical role in the Twins’ early-season success. If Farmer keeps hitting, the Twins offense will get a massive boost and Farmer could become a valuable trade chip to fill an everyday role on another team.
3. The Twins Front Office
There are plenty of valid questions about the Twins’ offseason moves. Will Joey Gallo rebound from his terrible 2022 season? And did the team need another left-handed hitting outfielder? How will the offense replace the bat-to-ball skills of Luis Arraez? etc. Regardless, one thing is clear this spring: this Twins roster is deep. Yes, Jorge Polanco and Alex Kiriloff are starting the season on the IL, however the Twins have starting-caliber replacements in Kyle Farmer, Donovan Solano, and Nick Gordon. Typically, exclusively DH-ing a Platinum Glove winner like Byron Buxton would wreck a team’s defense, but the Twins adding recent Gold Glove winners in Michael A. Taylor and Joey Gallo minimizes the defensive decline. And Bailey Ober, probably the odd man out of the Twins’ early-season starting rotation, has yet to allow a run this spring and continues to look like a fourth starter in a competent MLB rotation. Not to mention the prospect reinforcements waiting at Triple-A. All said, Spring Training has shown that this front office deserves credit for building the deepest Twins roster in recent memory.
Thanks for reading! I'm interested to hear your thoughts and your winners/losers of the spring.
miracleb reacted to Doctor Gast for a blog entry, Edgar Quero- A Catching Prospect Target
For some time now I've advocated to trade for a very good catching prospect because our cupboards are bare and I don't see Jeffers as very good catcher who I want to start on any frequency. Last year I advocated for Endy Rodriguez (PIT) who will debut this season, who we could have picked up cheap because they had the '21 #1 draft pick, catcher Henry Davis and he was behind him. Now Endy's talent is very well known and has become very expensive and has leaped frog over Davis.
I have a new target, Edgar Quero, 19 yrs. (LAA) catcher, who was in A ball. Here are a couple sites that evaluated Quero.
"Scout to Statline" is very high on Quero, They rated him #2 behind Alvarez.
"Locked ON MLB Prospects" gives us some insights on his defense. Which were impressed with how he works with pitchers & how to call a game. He had a good CS ratio although he has slightly above average arm. Being only 19 his physical development is still going on where he can develop more arm strength & more power. Quero should start in High A ball this season and IMO could reach AAA by the end. In '24 I believe he could debut.
Quero is just starting to be recognized. If we respond soon, we can still get him pretty reasonable. LAA has O'Hoppe who'll debut this year and is ranked very high as a catcher by all. We should come up with a trade that interests LAA to make this happen. What do you think?
miracleb reacted to Greglw3 for a blog entry, Could Tyler White make the Twins opening day roster?
I’ve been watching Tyler White and the way he has been used, such that he has the second most AB of any Twin. His average is rising and he hit a recent home run. He has 26 HR in 760 MLB appearances (a Willie Wilson season, almost!) to go along with 103 RBIs.
The Twins need a first baseman, Kirilloff seems quite iffy now and White could slide right in and just in 550 AB, he would be expected to hit 19 HR with 75 RBIs.
It might take an unlikely chain of events for White to be the first baseman but I have to think they’re giving him the 2nd most AB on the whole roster for a reason.
miracleb reacted to LA VIkes Fan for a blog entry, Trade Kyle Farmer To The Dodgers? Maybe With Kepler?
Kyle Farmer is a starting quality MLB SS will fill a bench role for the Twins this year. While he is valuable in that role, his biggest value might have just come in - as a trade chip to the Dodgers to replace Gavin Lux at SS after Lux tore his ACL yesterday. The Dodgers other option is 34-year-old Miguel Rojas who they acquired from the Marlins before spring training. You have to think the Dodgers are looking for a starting caliber SS that's locked into a reserve role on another team, particularly one who can be a 1 or 2 year option while Lux recovers or they get a free agent next winter. Voilà! 32-year-old longtime starting SS Kyle Farmer seems to meet all of those criteria.
Interestingly enough, the Dodgers could also use a proven outfielder. They do have Mookie Betts in right, but are looking at an aging Chris Taylor and an unproven Trayce Thompson to play center with a very unproven James Outman in left. It seems like a respected veteran like Max Kepler might be a good fit.
I think there's a real possibility that Kyle Farmer becomes a trade talking point between the Twins and the Dodgers. It would not surprise me if Kepler is also in the discussion. The Dodgers have a deep farm system particularly in pitching and catching. I do think there's a match. May be a Caleb Ferguson or Andre Jackson might be a good piece for Farmer. Add Kepler and maybe you can get Outman, Landon Knack, or Nick Mastrini or 1 of them plus someone a little farther down the list? Who knows, maybe there's a way to pry Ryan Pepiot away if you offer, Farmer, Kepler and maybe a solid AA guy.
I think there's a real opportunity here for the Twins to trade what are now somewhat redundant pieces - a 32-year-old starting caliber Shortstop who will be relegated to a reserve role for the one year he is with the team and a 30-year-old good fielding, roughly average hitting outfielder for whom there seemed to be adequate replacements. The Dodgers are a win now team that needs both those kinds of players. What you guys think?
miracleb reacted to Doc Munson for a blog entry, Bailey Ober needs to be a Primary Starter!!
The Twins will need all of their starting pitching depth, and then some more than likely. Even the healthiest teams use 6-7 starters over the course of a full season. Factoring in recent injury woes for Twins pitchers and one thinks the Twins will use 6-7 starters easily this year. But lets assume the Twins keep a 5 man rotation. With the Twins most likely using 6-7, there will still be 4-5 "Primary starters". and 2-3 that will either be short term starters, sporadic starters, or spot starters.
We have some obvious Primary Starters locked in. Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, and Pablo Lopez are locks.
Lets go ahead and assume that Tyler Mahle is fully healthy and will be good to go. that is a 4th no brainer. So who is, or better yet who SHOULD be #5?
I can tell you right who IS, or WILL be #5, and that is Kenta Maeda. The Twins will be banking on Maeda being the All Star level pitcher he was in 11 games in the Covid shortened 2020 season. Where in 11 games he went 66 innings, good for a 6+ inning average with 80K against 10 BB a 2.70 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP.
But... SHOULD he be th e5th starter? and is it reasonable to expect that after a year+ off? His career averages are a 3.87 ERA just under a 4:1 K:BB rate, a 9.85K/9 and a 1.14 WHIP. Those are still very good numbers anyone would love to have in the rotation.
That being said, in albeit a much shorter sample size, Ober has career numbers of 3.82 ERA, just under a 5:1 K rate, a 9K/9IP and a 1.15 WHIP..
If we go by the numbers, it says they are both equally effective starting pitchers. And the question you must ask then is... "IF they are both equal, and both interchangeable for each other, then who should be the 5th starter?"
"Common sense" or maybe more accurately "traditional thinking" says it should be Maeda, as Ober still has options. But should he???
I would argue we need to look longer term. Any player CAN be resigned this offseason, so in theory ANY of our starters could be back, BUT... in reality we will not resign everyone, and we actually have only Randy Dobnak and Chris Paddack under contract for next year. Of course Joe Gray will be here, and will still have rights to Lopez, BUT the only sure things are Dobnak and Paddack. Most likely Sonny Gray and Maeda will be gone.
With that in mind, I think the correct way to look at things, assuming both pitchers should give roughly the same results is to go with the pitcher who will still be here going forward and continue to give him the experience and build up he will need for next year. This way next year is not his first "full year" in the rotation and is not as much of a question mark.
Secondly while predominately a starter in LA, Maeda did also show he can be very successful out of the bullpen, and if you are a cheapskate you can save millions in bonuses paid to Maeda with him in a relief/PT starter situation.
The clear way of thinking screams the 5th starter needs to be Ober vs Maeda.
miracleb reacted to Doctor Gast for a blog entry, Ricardo Olivar
Although the Twins are really hurting for viable future catching yet it seems like Ricardo Olivar is totally off the Twins radar. In '22, Olivar was named the MVP of the FCL, FCL post season All-Star catcher and FCL player of the month in July. Although he's listed at catcher, where he played the most of his games, he still played a lot of games at CF and some at 2B and cOFs. He's also good defensively w/ above average arm.
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ 2021 MIN FCL 19 34 59 1 5 5 3 13.6% 28.8% .143 .290 .204 .339 .347 .336 92 2022 MIN FCL 20 40 154 5 16 23 5 11.7% 21.4% .256 .430 .349 .442 .605 .480 181 He got drafted in '19 but didn't start pro ball until '21 because of covid. Like a lot of these prospects during this time their development stopped & they became stagnant. The problem is he turned 21 last Aug, & that's a little old for rookie ball. My hope is like Endy Rodriguez exploding this year going from A to AAA, Olivar will do this coming year starting at A ball. Endy was Rule 5 draft eligible this year & Ricardo will be next year.
Ricardo didn't even make TD's honorable mention but he's been on my radar & I'll be tracking him this coming year.