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Cooper Carlson

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  1. The MLB All Star Game rosters were announced on July 4th and the Twins representative is Nelson Cruz. Don't get me wrong, Cruz is very deserving, but so is Taylor Rogers. He was robbed! The Twins bullpen has been about as big of a mess as possible in 2021 but there is one reliever having a career year that needs to be recognized. After a good but inconsistent 2019 and 2020, Taylor Rogers has become the reliever we've all been waiting for. Aside from Hansel Robles on a good day, Rogers is the only true trustworthy reliever in the Twins bullpen and he is one of the most trustworthy relievers in the American League. Rogers deserved to make his first All Star Game but now has to hold out hope to be a replacement. Who could he have made it over? There are a total of five relievers representing the American League in the All Star Game this season. Three are deserving, two not so much Liam Hendriks: 35.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 1.1 fWAR (WAR calculated on Fangraphs) Matt Barnes: 36.0 IP, 2.75 ERA, 1.96 FIP, 1.7 fWAR Ryan Pressly: 35.0 IP, 1.54 ERA, 1.38 FIP, 1.7 fWAR Gregory Soto: 33.0 IP, 2.18 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 0.6 fWAR Aroldis Chapman: 28.2 IP, 3.77 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 0.5 fWAR For context on reliever WAR, Chapman is tied with Caleb Thielbar. He's also one of the most hated players in baseball. I swear I can think of a much more deserving left handed (no, not Thielbar) pitcher that pitches in Minnesota. Oh, Taylor Rogers! Taylor Rogers: 33.0 IP, 2.73 ERA (26th in AL), 2.22 FIP (6th), 1.2 fWAR (5th) Rogers is no longer some no name up and coming young reliever. He turned 30 six months ago and, like any elite reliever, could flame out in any given season. It sucks that he won't be getting the recognition he deserves this season and instead Aroldis Chapman, who can't help but blow leads every game, is getting the nod. It is what it is and ultimately it's hard for a terrible team to get a ton of recognition. Nonetheless, Taylor Rogers deserves to be pitching in Colorado with Nelson Cruz hitting in the next half inning. Perhaps all is not lost yet, as we often see replacements due to injury or players opting out. Hopefully Rogers is able to secure a spot soon. What do you think? Should Rogers be in the All Star Game? Leave a comment below and discuss! View full article
  2. The Twins bullpen has been about as big of a mess as possible in 2021 but there is one reliever having a career year that needs to be recognized. After a good but inconsistent 2019 and 2020, Taylor Rogers has become the reliever we've all been waiting for. Aside from Hansel Robles on a good day, Rogers is the only true trustworthy reliever in the Twins bullpen and he is one of the most trustworthy relievers in the American League. Rogers deserved to make his first All Star Game but now has to hold out hope to be a replacement. Who could he have made it over? There are a total of five relievers representing the American League in the All Star Game this season. Three are deserving, two not so much Liam Hendriks: 35.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 1.1 fWAR (WAR calculated on Fangraphs) Matt Barnes: 36.0 IP, 2.75 ERA, 1.96 FIP, 1.7 fWAR Ryan Pressly: 35.0 IP, 1.54 ERA, 1.38 FIP, 1.7 fWAR Gregory Soto: 33.0 IP, 2.18 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 0.6 fWAR Aroldis Chapman: 28.2 IP, 3.77 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 0.5 fWAR For context on reliever WAR, Chapman is tied with Caleb Thielbar. He's also one of the most hated players in baseball. I swear I can think of a much more deserving left handed (no, not Thielbar) pitcher that pitches in Minnesota. Oh, Taylor Rogers! Taylor Rogers: 33.0 IP, 2.73 ERA (26th in AL), 2.22 FIP (6th), 1.2 fWAR (5th) Rogers is no longer some no name up and coming young reliever. He turned 30 six months ago and, like any elite reliever, could flame out in any given season. It sucks that he won't be getting the recognition he deserves this season and instead Aroldis Chapman, who can't help but blow leads every game, is getting the nod. It is what it is and ultimately it's hard for a terrible team to get a ton of recognition. Nonetheless, Taylor Rogers deserves to be pitching in Colorado with Nelson Cruz hitting in the next half inning. Perhaps all is not lost yet, as we often see replacements due to injury or players opting out. Hopefully Rogers is able to secure a spot soon. What do you think? Should Rogers be in the All Star Game? Leave a comment below and discuss!
  3. If you've been paying any attention at all to the Twins this season you know this team simply might not be good. That is extremely frustrating for Twins fans who were basically promised another successful regular season and another shot at the playoffs. As I write this on June 11th, the Twins have just a 3.0% chance to make the playoffs according to Fangraphs. Then you remember that Nelson Cruz walkoff and can't help but think about the 3% and what needs to happen to get there. The winning has to start immediately. The Twins will play 18 more games in June before July rolls around and trades must be made. These games will be against the Astros, Mariners, Rangers, Reds, Cleveland, and the White Sox. Not too easy, not too difficult. If the Twins realistically want to get back into striking distance of the playoffs then they'll have to win 12 of these 18 games minimum. Ideally they take anywhere from 13-18 of the games, but let's stay realistic. Going 12-6 shouldn't be out of the question and it's about time this team goes on a run. Winning 12 games would put them at 37-43 at the start of July. That's not pretty, but it's better than the current 12 games under .500 so it would work. For this experiment let's say the Twins go 12-6 and everyone ahead of them goes .500 until July. This would put the Twins about 10.0 games back of Chicago for the division and 7.0 games back of the second wild card spot. Is that enough to hold back the front office from selling everyone? Probably not. Will the Twins instead have to go 14-4 or so until July to be around 8.0 back for the division and roughly 5.0 back for the wild card? Probably. It's an uphill climb for the Twins but they've dug this hole for themselves and now they'll have to dig out of it themselves. For now, the team has to take it one game at a time. Sports are all about momentum and maybe that Nelson Cruz home run sparked something in the team that we are yet to see in 2021. Maybe this is some weird stage of grief that I'm going through where I'm writing about this bad team going 14-4 in their next 18. That seems like the likely scenario here. Either way, time for the Twins to win or say goodbye to some fan favorites.
  4. The Minnesota Twins finally got some revenge on the Yankees with a dramatic walkoff win. When Cruz was rounding the bases I thought "Well... what if?" and that is a dangerous path! Let's explore it! If you've been paying any attention at all to the Twins this season you know this team simply might not be good. That is extremely frustrating for Twins fans who were basically promised another successful regular season and another shot at the playoffs. As I write this on June 11th, the Twins have just a 3.0% chance to make the playoffs according to Fangraphs. Then you remember that Nelson Cruz walkoff and can't help but think about the 3% and what needs to happen to get there. The winning has to start immediately. The Twins will play 18 more games in June before July rolls around and trades must be made. These games will be against the Astros, Mariners, Rangers, Reds, Cleveland, and the White Sox. Not too easy, not too difficult. If the Twins realistically want to get back into striking distance of the playoffs then they'll have to win 12 of these 18 games minimum. Ideally they take anywhere from 13-18 of the games, but let's stay realistic. Going 12-6 shouldn't be out of the question and it's about time this team goes on a run. Winning 12 games would put them at 37-43 at the start of July. That's not pretty, but it's better than the current 12 games under .500 so it would work. For this experiment let's say the Twins go 12-6 and everyone ahead of them goes .500 until July. This would put the Twins about 10.0 games back of Chicago for the division and 7.0 games back of the second wild card spot. Is that enough to hold back the front office from selling everyone? Probably not. Will the Twins instead have to go 14-4 or so until July to be around 8.0 back for the division and roughly 5.0 back for the wild card? Probably. It's an uphill climb for the Twins but they've dug this hole for themselves and now they'll have to dig out of it themselves. For now, the team has to take it one game at a time. Sports are all about momentum and maybe that Nelson Cruz home run sparked something in the team that we are yet to see in 2021. Maybe this is some weird stage of grief that I'm going through where I'm writing about this bad team going 14-4 in their next 18. That seems like the likely scenario here. Either way, time for the Twins to win or say goodbye to some fan favorites. View full article
  5. It's the middle of May and I'm writing about which key players hold the most trade value. I think something may have gone wrong recently... This isn't necessarily who could or will get traded (Cody Christie did a piece on that recently) but instead who holds the most value. For a team looking at the Twins, which players would help or be the most impactful? Sure, J.A. Happ is likely to be dealt but he sure isn't in the top five for most value. For this exercise we're going to exclude rookies such as Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach because they will be on this team for years to come. Let's get right into it. 5. Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS Under team control through 2025 Stats since 2019: 241 G, .281/.340/.447 (.787), 109 wRC+, 5.5 WAR Projected 2 year WAR (2022-23): 5.1 I debated with myself for who should get this number five spot for quite a while. Other candidates included Max Kepler and Nelson Cruz but ultimately I decided on Polanco. He is a second baseman now who can still play a capable shortstop and he is back to being an above average major league hitter after a rough 2020. Kepler has not done that and Cruz is older than time itself. Polanco projects to be a top 3 hitter on this current Twins roster for the next two seasons and his recent bounce back has helped him reach this spot on my rankings. The four years of control after this season certainly help a lot. 4. Byron Buxton, CF Under team control through 2022 Stats since 2019: 140 G, .280/.319/.578 (.897), 135 wRC+, 6.3 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 4.4 Placing Buxton on this list is extremely difficult. When healthy, he is potentially a top five player in baseball. When healthy. If you look at the games played, he has played 100 less than Polanco since 2019 and over 100 games just once since his career began in 2015. Buxton is just bitten by injury every single season no matter what he does. He's tried crashing into the wall less, changing how he runs, how he slides, and nothing seems to work. As I write this, he is sideline for at least another month after getting hurt running to first base. Despite all that, he is a phenomenal player. If he could play even 130 games this season he would be a top 10 MVP candidate without a doubt. Maybe some team wants to gamble on the health and the Twins could get a ton back. 3. Kenta Maeda, SP Under team control through 2023 Stats since 2019: 254 IP, 3.83 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, 4.5 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 4.3 Maybe I'll get some heat for not having Maeda at two or one because of his contract ($3 million over the next two seasons) but his start to this season has been very discouraging. I know, small sample size bla bla bla but Maeda is now 33 years old and basically just an above average starter if you exclude 2020. Number three on this list is still very good and Maeda would be an excellent acquisition for anyone because even if he doesn't pan out, that's just $3 million. There is almost no way Maeda doesn't provide $3 million worth of value until his current contract is up and that dollar figure only goes up if he is pitching well. 2. Jose Berrios, SP Under team control through 2022 Stats since 2019: 302 IP, 3.73 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 6.2 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 6.8 It took me a while to decide between Berrios and Maeda for who gets this spot, but ultimately projections, potential and age won me over. Berrios has the potential to be an ace (I know, we've been saying this forever) and any team would love that on their starting staff. He is just entering his prime at 26 years old and still has a year of control under his belt. The Twins could get a huge haul for Berrios who right now is an excellent number two starter with the potential to be one of the best in baseball. This might be the time for the Twins to trade him if they want to get the best return possible. 1. Luis Arraez, UTIL Under team control through 2025 Stats since 2019: .322/..387/.415 (.803), 120 wRC+, 3.7 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 6.3 Number one on my list is the 24 year old .300 average .800 OPS hitter that can play pretty much wherever you need him too. Oh, he's also under team control for the next four seasons after 2021. Fangraphs loves him, projecting him to be the Twins best hitter on the current roster over the next two seasons and I can't blame them. All Arraez has done since arriving to the majors is hit successfully and has solidified himself as one of the only trustworthy hitters day in and day out. His technique and hitting ability allows him to remain consistent all year without many big slumps and his ceiling is winning the batting title in any given season. I love Arraez and despite barely getting started in the majors he seems to be almost a guaranteed .300 hitter every season. What did you think of these rankings? I can't lie, they were extremely hard to order but I at least think I got the five players right. You can switch up the order however you want but after these five the value starts to drop off pretty dramatically not counting the rookies. I'm not sure any of these guys get traded, and that's probably for the best if the Twins want to compete next season.
  6. Happy May, I guess it's already time to talk about trades. Who on the Twins major league roster has the most trade value? Come find out who I ranked 1-5. It's the middle of May and I'm writing about which key players hold the most trade value. I think something may have gone wrong recently... This isn't necessarily who could or will get traded (Cody Christie did a piece on that recently) but instead who holds the most value. For a team looking at the Twins, which players would help or be the most impactful? Sure, J.A. Happ is likely to be dealt but he sure isn't in the top five for most value. For this exercise we're going to exclude rookies such as Alex Kirilloff or Trevor Larnach because they will be on this team for years to come. Let's get right into it. 5. Jorge Polanco, 2B/SS Under team control through 2025 Stats since 2019: 241 G, .281/.340/.447 (.787), 109 wRC+, 5.5 WAR Projected 2 year WAR (2022-23): 5.1 I debated with myself for who should get this number five spot for quite a while. Other candidates included Max Kepler and Nelson Cruz but ultimately I decided on Polanco. He is a second baseman now who can still play a capable shortstop and he is back to being an above average major league hitter after a rough 2020. Kepler has not done that and Cruz is older than time itself. Polanco projects to be a top 3 hitter on this current Twins roster for the next two seasons and his recent bounce back has helped him reach this spot on my rankings. The four years of control after this season certainly help a lot. 4. Byron Buxton, CF Under team control through 2022 Stats since 2019: 140 G, .280/.319/.578 (.897), 135 wRC+, 6.3 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 4.4 Placing Buxton on this list is extremely difficult. When healthy, he is potentially a top five player in baseball. When healthy. If you look at the games played, he has played 100 less than Polanco since 2019 and over 100 games just once since his career began in 2015. Buxton is just bitten by injury every single season no matter what he does. He's tried crashing into the wall less, changing how he runs, how he slides, and nothing seems to work. As I write this, he is sideline for at least another month after getting hurt running to first base. Despite all that, he is a phenomenal player. If he could play even 130 games this season he would be a top 10 MVP candidate without a doubt. Maybe some team wants to gamble on the health and the Twins could get a ton back. 3. Kenta Maeda, SP Under team control through 2023 Stats since 2019: 254 IP, 3.83 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, 4.5 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 4.3 Maybe I'll get some heat for not having Maeda at two or one because of his contract ($3 million over the next two seasons) but his start to this season has been very discouraging. I know, small sample size bla bla bla but Maeda is now 33 years old and basically just an above average starter if you exclude 2020. Number three on this list is still very good and Maeda would be an excellent acquisition for anyone because even if he doesn't pan out, that's just $3 million. There is almost no way Maeda doesn't provide $3 million worth of value until his current contract is up and that dollar figure only goes up if he is pitching well. 2. Jose Berrios, SP Under team control through 2022 Stats since 2019: 302 IP, 3.73 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 6.2 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 6.8 It took me a while to decide between Berrios and Maeda for who gets this spot, but ultimately projections, potential and age won me over. Berrios has the potential to be an ace (I know, we've been saying this forever) and any team would love that on their starting staff. He is just entering his prime at 26 years old and still has a year of control under his belt. The Twins could get a huge haul for Berrios who right now is an excellent number two starter with the potential to be one of the best in baseball. This might be the time for the Twins to trade him if they want to get the best return possible. 1. Luis Arraez, UTIL Under team control through 2025 Stats since 2019: .322/..387/.415 (.803), 120 wRC+, 3.7 WAR Projected 2 year WAR: 6.3 Number one on my list is the 24 year old .300 average .800 OPS hitter that can play pretty much wherever you need him too. Oh, he's also under team control for the next four seasons after 2021. Fangraphs loves him, projecting him to be the Twins best hitter on the current roster over the next two seasons and I can't blame them. All Arraez has done since arriving to the majors is hit successfully and has solidified himself as one of the only trustworthy hitters day in and day out. His technique and hitting ability allows him to remain consistent all year without many big slumps and his ceiling is winning the batting title in any given season. I love Arraez and despite barely getting started in the majors he seems to be almost a guaranteed .300 hitter every season. What did you think of these rankings? I can't lie, they were extremely hard to order but I at least think I got the five players right. You can switch up the order however you want but after these five the value starts to drop off pretty dramatically not counting the rookies. I'm not sure any of these guys get traded, and that's probably for the best if the Twins want to compete next season. View full article
  7. The current Twins are all doom and gloom these days. Let's build a new team using current players who have recently departed the team. Come see who made the squad!The Minnesota Twins have decided to completely blow up the entire team and only bring in players who have been on the team before. This team will include someone at every position, five starters, three bullpen arms, and no bench players. Let's get started! Starting pitchers: SP1: Kyle Gibson SP2: Lance Lynn SP3: Jake Odorizzi SP4: Martin Perez SP5: Rich Hill Wow, talk about an elite pitching rotation! I had to put Gibson over Lynn just because I like Gibson much more than Lynn. They've also been pretty much the only very successful starting pitchers to leave the Twins recently. Rich Hill has been bad and is 41. Martin Perez is, well, Martin Perez. Jake Odorizzi could be fine but he's been hurt a lot recently. Combined ERA: 4.04 2021 Twins SP ERA: 4.06 Relief pitchers RP1: Brusdar Graterol RP2: Trevor May CP: Ryan Pressly Others: Matt Wisler, Zack Littell, Sergio Romo, Ervin Santana Both Graterol and Pressly left via trade and Trevor May left via free agency. All three have been good with their new teams and all three would be good on the current Twins. I'd probably take this big three over whoever the best three relievers on the Twins currently are. Behind them it gets ugly quickly so I'd probably give the edge to the current relievers. Infielders: 1B: C.J. Cron 2B: Jonathan Schoop SS: Niko Goodrum 3B: Eduardo Escobar Would you rather have those four players or have Sano/Kirilloff, Polanco, Simmons, and Donaldson? Probably the current players and the stats back that up. Cron and Escobar are off to a great start, both with an OPS over .815 but Schoop and Goodrum are both below .700 this season. Imagine Eduardo Escobar on this team, that would just add a whole new layer of fun we just don't see. Outfielders/DH: LF: Eddie Rosario CF: LaMonte Wade jr. RF: Akil Baddoo DH: Marwin Gonzalez Anyone else starting to miss the "Eddie Eddie Eddie" chants from the left field bleachers? He hasn't been good in Cleveland thus far but he'd be fun on this Twins team. I have not missed Wade jr or Baddoo and after his scorching start Baddoo has come back to earth. Wade jr has played just three games in the majors since leaving the Twins but I challenge you to find someone better to fit this new team. Overall, this outfield kinda stinks. Then we have the beloved Marwin at DH. Nothing exciting there as he is having another bad season in Boston. Overall: The Twins have had some big time players like Eduardo Escobar, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, and Trevor May leave. After that, meh. This team wouldn't be very good but you have to ask yourself just one question. Would this team have more than 11 wins this far into the 2021 season? Leave a comment and let me know! Click here to view the article
  8. The Minnesota Twins have decided to completely blow up the entire team and only bring in players who have been on the team before. This team will include someone at every position, five starters, three bullpen arms, and no bench players. Let's get started! Starting pitchers: SP1: Kyle Gibson SP2: Lance Lynn SP3: Jake Odorizzi SP4: Martin Perez SP5: Rich Hill Wow, talk about an elite pitching rotation! I had to put Gibson over Lynn just because I like Gibson much more than Lynn. They've also been pretty much the only very successful starting pitchers to leave the Twins recently. Rich Hill has been bad and is 41. Martin Perez is, well, Martin Perez. Jake Odorizzi could be fine but he's been hurt a lot recently. Combined ERA: 4.04 2021 Twins SP ERA: 4.06 Relief pitchers RP1: Brusdar Graterol RP2: Trevor May CP: Ryan Pressly Others: Matt Wisler, Zack Littell, Sergio Romo, Ervin Santana Both Graterol and Pressly left via trade and Trevor May left via free agency. All three have been good with their new teams and all three would be good on the current Twins. I'd probably take this big three over whoever the best three relievers on the Twins currently are. Behind them it gets ugly quickly so I'd probably give the edge to the current relievers. Infielders: 1B: C.J. Cron 2B: Jonathan Schoop SS: Niko Goodrum 3B: Eduardo Escobar Would you rather have those four players or have Sano/Kirilloff, Polanco, Simmons, and Donaldson? Probably the current players and the stats back that up. Cron and Escobar are off to a great start, both with an OPS over .815 but Schoop and Goodrum are both below .700 this season. Imagine Eduardo Escobar on this team, that would just add a whole new layer of fun we just don't see. Outfielders/DH: LF: Eddie Rosario CF: LaMonte Wade jr. RF: Akil Baddoo DH: Marwin Gonzalez Anyone else starting to miss the "Eddie Eddie Eddie" chants from the left field bleachers? He hasn't been good in Cleveland thus far but he'd be fun on this Twins team. I have not missed Wade jr or Baddoo and after his scorching start Baddoo has come back to earth. Wade jr has played just three games in the majors since leaving the Twins but I challenge you to find someone better to fit this new team. Overall, this outfield kinda stinks. Then we have the beloved Marwin at DH. Nothing exciting there as he is having another bad season in Boston. Overall: The Twins have had some big time players like Eduardo Escobar, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, and Trevor May leave. After that, meh. This team wouldn't be very good but you have to ask yourself just one question. Would this team have more than 11 wins this far into the 2021 season? Leave a comment and let me know!
  9. The Twins are hoping for a bit of a bounce-back season from Miguel Sano in 2021, but so far things aren't going well. Let's take a look at how he has started.The short 2020 season was not kind to Miguel Sano. Although he did hit the ball as hard as any other year, he rarely hit the ball. His K% was a career high at 43.9% which was in the bottom 1% in baseball. Along with that, his OPS dropped to .757 in what was a down season overall. He showed a lot of potential in 2019 that made us think 2021 should be a bounce-back season. Unfortunately, that has not at all been the case so far. Through his first six games (I know, small sample size,) Sano has just two hits in 23 at-bats with 12 strikeouts. He has a career-high Whiff% at 46.9% and a career-low exit velocity at 87.1 MPH. For context, in 2019 the Whiff% was 37.7% and exit velocity was 94.4 MPH. With Josh Donaldson going down immediately, the Twins need the power and consistency from Miguel Sano that we saw in 2019. If he can just hit for a .240 average with an OPS of .850 that would be more than enough production. He is off to a terrible start so I expect Sano to raise those numbers, but can he raise them above the rough 2020 numbers? Right now I think I would bet he looks more like the 2020 version of himself than the 2019 version, which is not good for the Twins. By the end of this month we will have a much better sample size to determine what kind of year Sano will probably have. Right now we can only go off of a very rough first five games. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  10. The short 2020 season was not kind to Miguel Sano. Although he did hit the ball as hard as any other year, he rarely hit the ball. His K% was a career high at 43.9% which was in the bottom 1% in baseball. Along with that, his OPS dropped to .757 in what was a down season overall. He showed a lot of potential in 2019 that made us think 2021 should be a bounce-back season. Unfortunately, that has not at all been the case so far. Through his first six games (I know, small sample size,) Sano has just two hits in 23 at-bats with 12 strikeouts. He has a career-high Whiff% at 46.9% and a career-low exit velocity at 87.1 MPH. For context, in 2019 the Whiff% was 37.7% and exit velocity was 94.4 MPH. With Josh Donaldson going down immediately, the Twins need the power and consistency from Miguel Sano that we saw in 2019. If he can just hit for a .240 average with an OPS of .850 that would be more than enough production. He is off to a terrible start so I expect Sano to raise those numbers, but can he raise them above the rough 2020 numbers? Right now I think I would bet he looks more like the 2020 version of himself than the 2019 version, which is not good for the Twins. By the end of this month we will have a much better sample size to determine what kind of year Sano will probably have. Right now we can only go off of a very rough first five games. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. The Opening Day roster was revealed a couple days ago and there was a notable surprise. Outfielder Kyle Garlick made the team over Brent Rooker. Why?The quick emergence from Brent Rooker last season before the season ending injury was a ton of fun. He finally made it to the majors and was displaying the power we had all heard so much about. It looked like he may finally have a future on the Twins big league club. Fast forward to Opening Day, 2021 and once again he is stuck in the minor leagues. The thought throughout most of the spring was Kirilloff would have a chance to take a spot from Rooker on the team, but even without Kirilloff the Twins still opted against keeping Rooker on the team. Instead, Kyle Garlick is the fourth or fifth outfielder. Garlick is a 29 year old player who has played 42 career MLB games with a career .691 OPS. He has had some success in the minors, but not enough to ever keep him on a team. The Twins brought him in this spring and he showed off what he can do, hitting .293/.304/.683 (.987) with five homers in 18 games. He was impressive enough to make the opening day team over the 26 year old prospect Brent Rooker. Rooker had a rough spring statistically, hitting .237/.250/.395 (.645) with just one homer in 18 games. The Twins seemed to take spring performance as an actual measuring stick for who makes the team, which is something a lot of people no longer like to do. This was the case for Kirilloff who didn't make it and Astudillo who did make it. Performance mattered more than potential this spring. Garlick may very well be off the roster in a month, but it's interesting to see the Twins reward him for playing well this spring. They obviously saw something in Garlick when they claimed him, and now they could see him work well on the roster. So what's the plan for Rooker? I think he has the potential to be the future designated hitter and fourth outfielder on this Twins team. Hopefully he is just going down to the minors for a short stint because the Twins may need his powerful bat on the bench ready to go. What did you think of the decision to keep Garlick over Rooker? Was it a mistake? Let me know down below in the comments! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  12. The quick emergence from Brent Rooker last season before the season ending injury was a ton of fun. He finally made it to the majors and was displaying the power we had all heard so much about. It looked like he may finally have a future on the Twins big league club. Fast forward to Opening Day, 2021 and once again he is stuck in the minor leagues. The thought throughout most of the spring was Kirilloff would have a chance to take a spot from Rooker on the team, but even without Kirilloff the Twins still opted against keeping Rooker on the team. Instead, Kyle Garlick is the fourth or fifth outfielder. Garlick is a 29 year old player who has played 42 career MLB games with a career .691 OPS. He has had some success in the minors, but not enough to ever keep him on a team. The Twins brought him in this spring and he showed off what he can do, hitting .293/.304/.683 (.987) with five homers in 18 games. He was impressive enough to make the opening day team over the 26 year old prospect Brent Rooker. Rooker had a rough spring statistically, hitting .237/.250/.395 (.645) with just one homer in 18 games. The Twins seemed to take spring performance as an actual measuring stick for who makes the team, which is something a lot of people no longer like to do. This was the case for Kirilloff who didn't make it and Astudillo who did make it. Performance mattered more than potential this spring. Garlick may very well be off the roster in a month, but it's interesting to see the Twins reward him for playing well this spring. They obviously saw something in Garlick when they claimed him, and now they could see him work well on the roster. So what's the plan for Rooker? I think he has the potential to be the future designated hitter and fourth outfielder on this Twins team. Hopefully he is just going down to the minors for a short stint because the Twins may need his powerful bat on the bench ready to go. What did you think of the decision to keep Garlick over Rooker? Was it a mistake? Let me know down below in the comments! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. Remember 2019 when the Twins set a major league record for home runs in a season? That was fun. Another full season is set to begin soon so who will lead the team in homers?Let’s take a look at the ZiPS projections from FanGraphs to see the projected home run leaders on the Twins. For this, we will use the 10 players I expect to get the most playing time. Sano, 34Cruz, 32Kepler, 27Donaldson, 22Buxton, 21Rooker, 19Kirilloff, 18Polanco, 17Garver, 17Simmons, 7The obvious four players with the potential to lead the team in homers are Sano, Cruz, Donaldson and Kepler. Those four are not surprisingly also the projected leaders. Who has the best chance to take home the home run crown? Miguel Sano The power hitting first baseman has as good a chance as anyone because home runs are his game. He is arguably becoming the standard strikeout or home run hitter and it’s alright to have one of those in your lineup. He is likely going to have another solid season where he will go on two week stretches of elite play and then slow down for two weeks. If he can get back to hitting fastballs like he was in 2019 then he should be the favorite to take home the crown. In 2019 when he was hitting well he led the Twins in HR/FB% at 36.6% so he just needs to get the ball in the air. Nelson Cruz The ageless wonder will return for yet another season and he isn’t slowing down yet. At nearly 41 years old, Cruz is projected to hit 32 bombs and it doesn’t feel like a stretch at all. It almost feels like a given that if he stays healthy then 30+ home runs won’t be a problem. Of course, father time is undefeated so perhaps this is the year that Cruz falls off and only hits like 25 homers. He finished just behind Sano in exit velocity and hard hit% in 2019. Max Kepler Kepler is one of the more interesting players on this list. It feels like he could either go for 20 homers or 40. Neither would be a huge surprise to me after the excellent 2019 followed by the disappointing 2020 season. Max has felt like a player primed for a breakout for a few years now and we just keep waiting for the huge season. He has even been compared to Christian Yelich at times. It’s hard to take anything away from 2020, but his .211 ISO and .760 OPS aren’t exactly comforting. Josh Donaldson Entering the second year of his four year, $92 million contract, Donaldson has something to prove. His 2020 season was about as disappointing as it gets with him playing just 28 of the 60 games while dealing with a lingering calf injury. That injury isn’t one that just goes away and we will likely see it play a role in 2021, we just don’t know how big. Donaldson is now 35 and nobody aged like Cruz so age may be a concern. The Twins went all in on the third baseman last offseason so 2021 needs to be a big year for the team to get their money's worth. If injuries aren’t a concern, watch out. Buxton/Rooker/Kirilloff With Eddie Rosario gone, the fifth projected spot is intriguing. Buxton leads the group, but if Rooker plays 120 games or so then I would bet on him. If nothing else, he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. Kirilloff could have the best season, but that may not lead to big power numbers. Then there's Buxton who is in a similar boat to Kepler. We keep waiting for the huge breakout season and if he gets it then 21 homers could be a bargain. Overall this outfield trio is going to be exciting to watch no matter what happens. If I was a betting man (I’m not, I’m terrible at it) then I would pick Cruz to lead the club. I would take the over on Donaldson and the under on Sano. Do the opposite if you like betting and not losing money. Who do you think will lead the club? Leave your comments below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  14. Let’s take a look at the ZiPS projections from FanGraphs to see the projected home run leaders on the Twins. For this, we will use the 10 players I expect to get the most playing time. Sano, 34 Cruz, 32 Kepler, 27 Donaldson, 22 Buxton, 21 Rooker, 19 Kirilloff, 18 Polanco, 17 Garver, 17 Simmons, 7 The obvious four players with the potential to lead the team in homers are Sano, Cruz, Donaldson and Kepler. Those four are not surprisingly also the projected leaders. Who has the best chance to take home the home run crown? Miguel Sano The power hitting first baseman has as good a chance as anyone because home runs are his game. He is arguably becoming the standard strikeout or home run hitter and it’s alright to have one of those in your lineup. He is likely going to have another solid season where he will go on two week stretches of elite play and then slow down for two weeks. If he can get back to hitting fastballs like he was in 2019 then he should be the favorite to take home the crown. In 2019 when he was hitting well he led the Twins in HR/FB% at 36.6% so he just needs to get the ball in the air. Nelson Cruz The ageless wonder will return for yet another season and he isn’t slowing down yet. At nearly 41 years old, Cruz is projected to hit 32 bombs and it doesn’t feel like a stretch at all. It almost feels like a given that if he stays healthy then 30+ home runs won’t be a problem. Of course, father time is undefeated so perhaps this is the year that Cruz falls off and only hits like 25 homers. He finished just behind Sano in exit velocity and hard hit% in 2019. Max Kepler Kepler is one of the more interesting players on this list. It feels like he could either go for 20 homers or 40. Neither would be a huge surprise to me after the excellent 2019 followed by the disappointing 2020 season. Max has felt like a player primed for a breakout for a few years now and we just keep waiting for the huge season. He has even been compared to Christian Yelich at times. It’s hard to take anything away from 2020, but his .211 ISO and .760 OPS aren’t exactly comforting. Josh Donaldson Entering the second year of his four year, $92 million contract, Donaldson has something to prove. His 2020 season was about as disappointing as it gets with him playing just 28 of the 60 games while dealing with a lingering calf injury. That injury isn’t one that just goes away and we will likely see it play a role in 2021, we just don’t know how big. Donaldson is now 35 and nobody aged like Cruz so age may be a concern. The Twins went all in on the third baseman last offseason so 2021 needs to be a big year for the team to get their money's worth. If injuries aren’t a concern, watch out. Buxton/Rooker/Kirilloff With Eddie Rosario gone, the fifth projected spot is intriguing. Buxton leads the group, but if Rooker plays 120 games or so then I would bet on him. If nothing else, he can hit the ball out of the ballpark. Kirilloff could have the best season, but that may not lead to big power numbers. Then there's Buxton who is in a similar boat to Kepler. We keep waiting for the huge breakout season and if he gets it then 21 homers could be a bargain. Overall this outfield trio is going to be exciting to watch no matter what happens. If I was a betting man (I’m not, I’m terrible at it) then I would pick Cruz to lead the club. I would take the over on Donaldson and the under on Sano. Do the opposite if you like betting and not losing money. Who do you think will lead the club? Leave your comments below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. The Twins finally brought back Nelson Cruz on a one year deal. The man simply doesn't age as he will be 41 at the end of the season. Is it actually true that he isn't slowing down? Come find out!At the end of the short 2020 season, it seemed like Nelson Cruz might have finally been slowing down a bit. His numbers took a dip as the season progressed, but was age catching up to him or was he just in a bit of an unlucky slump? Cruz played 53 total games in 2020, so here are his splits broken into three parts. The first 18 games, the next 18, then the final 17 to reach 53. First 18: .328/.392/.552 (.944), 4 HR, 27.0 K%, 6.8 BB%, 158 wRC+Next 18: .328/.451/.828 (1.278), 9 HR, 24 K%, 15.5 BB%, 226 wRC+Final 17: .250/.348/.417 (.764), 3 HR, 30.4 K%, 13.0 BB%, 108 wRC+It's clear that Cruz dropped off quite a bit in the final third of the season, but maybe it was just due to some very bad luck. Looking at a couple of graphs, the numbers seem to go against each other. Using xSLG, a metric that attempts to determine slugging percentage by taking exit velocity and launch angle and determining if a batted ball should be a single, double, triple, or home run, Cruz declined greatly near the end. Download attachment: xSLG.png That's not great. What's weird is if you then think "well he must have stopped hitting the ball hard," you're wrong. He actually hit the ball harder as the season progressed. Download attachment: Screenshot 2021-02-03 141338.png That doesn't make much sense, so I dug further to see if I could find anything convincing. Near the end his fly balls decreased but his line drives increased so that might explain the home run and slugging dip. That shouldn't be a concern, as long as he continues to hit the ball hard the fly balls will return. Basically what I have concluded is a very boring, stupid answer to the question of whether or not Cruz is falling off due to age ... I don't think so? The shortened season of 2020 didn't give us clear answers to this. The sample is just so small that the stats cancel each other out. The Twins obviously have faith that Cruz will continue to be a productive player, so we should trust them. There will be a day that Cruz can no longer be a productive player, but we'll all be dead by then. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
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