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Cody Pirkl

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  • Birthday 09/22/1995

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  1. On Wednesday we got news that two months after acquiring him, Chris Paddack had undergone the 2nd Tommy John surgery of his career. Despite the obvious disappointment, the book on this trade is far from written. It was always fair to question trading away Taylor Rogers before a season in which the Twins were expected to compete. Chris Paddack did his part to quiet those worries through his first four starts, pitching to a sub 4.00 ERA and looking like a solid mid-rotation, arm who was controlled for three years. Now that he’s certain to miss the remainder of 2022 however, frustrations with the trade have begun to boil over again. It’s worth considering however that several pieces of this trade have yet to play out. The full details of the trade involved the Twins shipping out Rogers and Brent Rooker and receiving Paddack, Emilio Pagán, and eventually player to be named later Brayan Medina. While the Twins have used Pagán in high leverage despite his tightrope act, the backbone of the trade was Rogers for Paddack. Admittedly this comparison is heavily skewed in the Padres favor, at least in the short term as we’re left with Pagan vs Rogers. Looking at the full picture however, we have a ways to go before declaring this trade a disaster. The mainstream belief at this point is the Twins traded their fan-favorite invaluable relief arm for five starts of Chris Paddack. What people seem to have missed is that in acquiring Paddack, the Twins were actually acquiring his services through 2024. This fact doesn’t help them currently, but it provides plenty of time for the right-hander to make good on the Twins attempt to acquire a valuable starting pitcher. Tommy John is still a dreaded announcement in baseball, but it’s not the boogeyman it once was. Even for players who have required it multiple times as Chris Paddack has, full recoveries have become the norm. This list includes Nate Eovaldi, Mike Clevinger, Drew Rasmussen, and many more. In addition to the overall effectiveness of the procedure, more and more cases have emerged where the pitcher returns in a much shorter time than what would have been expected even just a few years ago. Look no further than the Twins own Blayne Enlow in the minors who’s back on the mound after tearing his UCL about 10 months ago. In Paddack’s case, no timeline has been announced yet. The word on the street however is the Twins almost exclusively defer to a new procedure when it comes to their players which expects a 9-12 month recovery rather than the traditional 12-18. We may not have anything concrete yet, but it’s entirely possible that Chris Paddack is still able to return for a good chunk of 2023 and all of 2024. The context of the trade in which the Twins are now without the starting pitcher they wanted and without their best bullpen arm isn’t great, but in the aggregate, this trade still has the potential to be lopsided in their favor when all is said and done. Despite a high walk rate which we hope Pagán will iron out, he appears to have improved in multiple areas including strikeouts and limiting hard contact, and he’s controlled for two years. Paddack looked to have made improvements prior to injury that he could hopefully continue building off when once again healthy. Make no mistake, I loved the value of this deal at the time it was announced and personally I’d hit the “undo” button at this point. Any time a player is acquired who almost immediately loses their entire season to injury, it’s safe to say things didn’t go your way. It’s also entirely fair to question why the Twins were even engaging in talks for a pitcher with a well known partially torn UCL. That being said, there is no “undo” button. There’s nothing wrong with saying this trade is bad, but such statements have to include an understanding that we’re far from done here. If Paddack comes back and provides a year and a half of the performance he showed in his first few starts, the Twins still nailed this one overall, even if it may cost them in 2022. So what do you think? Is there still the potential we look back at some point and say the Twins won this trade? Without Rogers for this year does it even matter? Let us know below. — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  2. It was always fair to question trading away Taylor Rogers before a season in which the Twins were expected to compete. Chris Paddack did his part to quiet those worries through his first four starts, pitching to a sub 4.00 ERA and looking like a solid mid-rotation, arm who was controlled for three years. Now that he’s certain to miss the remainder of 2022 however, frustrations with the trade have begun to boil over again. It’s worth considering however that several pieces of this trade have yet to play out. The full details of the trade involved the Twins shipping out Rogers and Brent Rooker and receiving Paddack, Emilio Pagán, and eventually player to be named later Brayan Medina. While the Twins have used Pagán in high leverage despite his tightrope act, the backbone of the trade was Rogers for Paddack. Admittedly this comparison is heavily skewed in the Padres favor, at least in the short term as we’re left with Pagan vs Rogers. Looking at the full picture however, we have a ways to go before declaring this trade a disaster. The mainstream belief at this point is the Twins traded their fan-favorite invaluable relief arm for five starts of Chris Paddack. What people seem to have missed is that in acquiring Paddack, the Twins were actually acquiring his services through 2024. This fact doesn’t help them currently, but it provides plenty of time for the right-hander to make good on the Twins attempt to acquire a valuable starting pitcher. Tommy John is still a dreaded announcement in baseball, but it’s not the boogeyman it once was. Even for players who have required it multiple times as Chris Paddack has, full recoveries have become the norm. This list includes Nate Eovaldi, Mike Clevinger, Drew Rasmussen, and many more. In addition to the overall effectiveness of the procedure, more and more cases have emerged where the pitcher returns in a much shorter time than what would have been expected even just a few years ago. Look no further than the Twins own Blayne Enlow in the minors who’s back on the mound after tearing his UCL about 10 months ago. In Paddack’s case, no timeline has been announced yet. The word on the street however is the Twins almost exclusively defer to a new procedure when it comes to their players which expects a 9-12 month recovery rather than the traditional 12-18. We may not have anything concrete yet, but it’s entirely possible that Chris Paddack is still able to return for a good chunk of 2023 and all of 2024. The context of the trade in which the Twins are now without the starting pitcher they wanted and without their best bullpen arm isn’t great, but in the aggregate, this trade still has the potential to be lopsided in their favor when all is said and done. Despite a high walk rate which we hope Pagán will iron out, he appears to have improved in multiple areas including strikeouts and limiting hard contact, and he’s controlled for two years. Paddack looked to have made improvements prior to injury that he could hopefully continue building off when once again healthy. Make no mistake, I loved the value of this deal at the time it was announced and personally I’d hit the “undo” button at this point. Any time a player is acquired who almost immediately loses their entire season to injury, it’s safe to say things didn’t go your way. It’s also entirely fair to question why the Twins were even engaging in talks for a pitcher with a well known partially torn UCL. That being said, there is no “undo” button. There’s nothing wrong with saying this trade is bad, but such statements have to include an understanding that we’re far from done here. If Paddack comes back and provides a year and a half of the performance he showed in his first few starts, the Twins still nailed this one overall, even if it may cost them in 2022. So what do you think? Is there still the potential we look back at some point and say the Twins won this trade? Without Rogers for this year does it even matter? Let us know below. — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  3. If you’ve watched every outing of Emilio Pagán’s this season, you’re probably in a constant state of indigestion at this point. Time and time again he’s been trusted with high leverage after Tyler Duffey ceded such opportunities early in the season. Time and time again he’s flirted with disaster. Pagán’s struggles are no secret: Every time he takes the mound the opponent gets one free base runner at the very least. Pagán’s free passes have spiraled out of control in his last 6 outings in particular, in which he’s issued nine walks in 5 2/3 innings. To this point, he’s gotten the job done, although this stretch includes two saves recorded on full counts with bases loaded in one-run games, while another involved runners on 2nd and 3rd. After watching such outings, it’s fair to wonder when Pagán’s luck is going to run out. Emilio Pagán was always something of a reclamation project for the Twins after being acquired on Opening Day. After shining in Tampa Bay’s bullpen, he posted ERAs north of 4.50 in 2020 and 2021 in San Diego and quickly fell out of favor with the Padres. In San Diego, Pagán’s strikeouts dropped considerably from a 36% rate to a rate of about 26% during his two years with the Padres. More notably, Pagán started getting absolutely crushed. All of his quality of contact measurements such as hard-hit rate, barrels etc. cratered. Home runs became his Achilles Heel, although his walk rates still remained respectable at 10.3% in 2020 and just 6.8% in 2021. So where does Pagán’s near 25% walk rate come from in 2022? Before any trade talk even started, Pagán noted that he had planned to start throwing a splitter he learned from former all-star closer Kirby Yates this season. Long just a fastball/cutter pitcher, it sounded like a great idea as his lack of variety in his repertoire likely led to his loud contact issues. His early returns are good as the pitch has a 40% whiff rate and he has yet to allow a hit on it. It’s worth wondering however whether this new pitch has thrown him off his game a bit. This could be a case where the new splitter is directly accounting for more balls in Pagán’s appearances. The pitch is rarely actually in the strike zone, and all it takes is a scouting report and the ability to recognize it’s not a fastball or cutter, and hitters can sit back and watch it go by. It’s also worth noting that individual pitches can actually affect a pitcher’s overall repertoire. Chris Paddack is famous for losing a tremendous amount of ride on his fastball in San Diego after adding his curveball. Whether it’s psychological or physical, adding a pitch isn’t always just a plug-and-play situation. At any rate, Pagán appears to be making significant strides in the direction of becoming a valuable reliever again… except the disastrous walk rate. His whiffs are fantastic, his quality of contact has been much improved, and he now possesses a pitch mix that should conceivably be able to get hitters out on both sides of the plate. The question is whether he can once again figure out how to throw strikes. If not, all of his improvements become a moot point, as sooner or later his free passes will start crossing home plate. For a pitcher with a 7% career walk rate, it may be worth betting on Pagán’s recent issues being a blip on the radar rather than a crippling problem developed at the age of 31 after six seasons in the MLB. That being said, it’s a problem that needs to be fixed ASAP, and likely shouldn’t be done in the 9th inning with games on the line. The streak of “effectiveness” we’ve recently seen keeps looking more and more like good luck, and carrying these issues into the remaining four and a half months of the season simply will not end well. Emilio Pagán is doing a lot right, but it’s what he’s doing wrong that’s drawing the most attention. Can he get his walks under control or will his improvements from the last two years be wasted by too many free passes? — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  4. The Twins likely felt they were getting a closing candidate in return from the Taylor Rogers trade. In their defense, they weren’t wrong. For Emilio Pagán to remain in the high-leverage mix, however, he has a massive issue to fix. If you’ve watched every outing of Emilio Pagán’s this season, you’re probably in a constant state of indigestion at this point. Time and time again he’s been trusted with high leverage after Tyler Duffey ceded such opportunities early in the season. Time and time again he’s flirted with disaster. Pagán’s struggles are no secret: Every time he takes the mound the opponent gets one free base runner at the very least. Pagán’s free passes have spiraled out of control in his last 6 outings in particular, in which he’s issued nine walks in 5 2/3 innings. To this point, he’s gotten the job done, although this stretch includes two saves recorded on full counts with bases loaded in one-run games, while another involved runners on 2nd and 3rd. After watching such outings, it’s fair to wonder when Pagán’s luck is going to run out. Emilio Pagán was always something of a reclamation project for the Twins after being acquired on Opening Day. After shining in Tampa Bay’s bullpen, he posted ERAs north of 4.50 in 2020 and 2021 in San Diego and quickly fell out of favor with the Padres. In San Diego, Pagán’s strikeouts dropped considerably from a 36% rate to a rate of about 26% during his two years with the Padres. More notably, Pagán started getting absolutely crushed. All of his quality of contact measurements such as hard-hit rate, barrels etc. cratered. Home runs became his Achilles Heel, although his walk rates still remained respectable at 10.3% in 2020 and just 6.8% in 2021. So where does Pagán’s near 25% walk rate come from in 2022? Before any trade talk even started, Pagán noted that he had planned to start throwing a splitter he learned from former all-star closer Kirby Yates this season. Long just a fastball/cutter pitcher, it sounded like a great idea as his lack of variety in his repertoire likely led to his loud contact issues. His early returns are good as the pitch has a 40% whiff rate and he has yet to allow a hit on it. It’s worth wondering however whether this new pitch has thrown him off his game a bit. This could be a case where the new splitter is directly accounting for more balls in Pagán’s appearances. The pitch is rarely actually in the strike zone, and all it takes is a scouting report and the ability to recognize it’s not a fastball or cutter, and hitters can sit back and watch it go by. It’s also worth noting that individual pitches can actually affect a pitcher’s overall repertoire. Chris Paddack is famous for losing a tremendous amount of ride on his fastball in San Diego after adding his curveball. Whether it’s psychological or physical, adding a pitch isn’t always just a plug-and-play situation. At any rate, Pagán appears to be making significant strides in the direction of becoming a valuable reliever again… except the disastrous walk rate. His whiffs are fantastic, his quality of contact has been much improved, and he now possesses a pitch mix that should conceivably be able to get hitters out on both sides of the plate. The question is whether he can once again figure out how to throw strikes. If not, all of his improvements become a moot point, as sooner or later his free passes will start crossing home plate. For a pitcher with a 7% career walk rate, it may be worth betting on Pagán’s recent issues being a blip on the radar rather than a crippling problem developed at the age of 31 after six seasons in the MLB. That being said, it’s a problem that needs to be fixed ASAP, and likely shouldn’t be done in the 9th inning with games on the line. The streak of “effectiveness” we’ve recently seen keeps looking more and more like good luck, and carrying these issues into the remaining four and a half months of the season simply will not end well. Emilio Pagán is doing a lot right, but it’s what he’s doing wrong that’s drawing the most attention. Can he get his walks under control or will his improvements from the last two years be wasted by too many free passes? — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  5. On Wednesday night in Baltimore, Dylan Bundy took away any possibility of a Twins win for the second straight start. While recording just 11 outs, Bundy surrendered 11 hits, two walks, two home runs, and nine earned runs. For the second straight start, he allowed a string of five-plus hitters to reach base safely without recording an out, a feat that’s rare enough to wonder whether it could possibly be a fluke. After dazzling in his first three starts, Bundy has absolutely cratered his season line. The result of this is a reality check for Twins fans on a pitcher who’s failing to crack 90 mph and posted an ERA over 6.00 in 2021. Having signed for $5m, Bundy should have never been expected to provide premium innings, even after his first three starts. The question is whether the Twins' front office has received this same reality check. The issues were plentiful for the 2021 Twins, but starting pitching was arguably #1 on the list. The signings of J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker, whom the Twins had identified as values in the offseason, turned out to be two of the worst pitchers in all of baseball and provided the Twins with a predetermined loss every 4th and 5th day. Despite this fact, Shoemaker remained in the rotation until the end of June and Happ remained until he was somehow traded at the deadline. Both proved that pitching signings of their tier simply don’t warrant a whole lot of patience. Neither has a job in Major League Baseball in 2022. Context is key in this scenario, as by the time they need to move on became abundantly clear, the Twins season was effectively over already. The farm system also suffered from a wide range of pitching injuries, leaving the Twins with several bullpen days per week and no replacement options for the rotation. In short, the goal became crossing off innings rather than filling them in a meaningful way. In 2022, things have to be different. Two starts make up just a small percentage of a pitcher’s season-long workload, and plenty of high-quality arms will struggle for such a short stretch. For that reason it’s not yet time to make any significant moves with Dylan Bundy. That being said, it is time for the Twins to feel some skepticism towards the 29-year-old right-hander. After watching three starts and wondering whether any kind of success could continue given Bundy’s visible lack of stuff, these last two starts may be the beginning of our answer. Unlike 2021, the Twins simply have too many alternatives to allow Bundy to become a deciding factor in their 2022 season. Their financial commitment to him is too low, as are the odds of him factoring into any long-term plans. With him headed to the COVID IL, we should get to see more from Josh Winder for another start or two, although it’s very likely Bundy gets a chance to reclaim his spot in the rotation. In the meantime, if Josh Winder continues to stake his claim to a rotation spot, it may leave the Twins set up to act quickly if Bundy doesn’t rebound. For what it’s worth, they’ve shown early signs of learning from their mistakes in 2021. After sticking with Alex Colomé through one of the worst months by a reliever in franchise history, the Twins were very quick to pull the plug on Tyler Duffey in high leverage this season after his early struggles. I would guess their lack of patience with a homegrown former staple of their bullpen foreshadows a very short leash for a one-year bounceback candidate in the rotation. At this point one thing is certain, Dylan Bundy is currently the last man on the totem pole that is the Twins rotation. The wounds that 2021 left in Twins Territory are still fresh in the minds of fans as many already wonder “How many more starts can we let this happen?”. For a front office that was seemingly so eager to show off the arrival of their pitching pipeline, my best bet would be “Not much longer” as the Twins attempt to make a worst to first rebound in 2022. How long of a leash should Dylan Bundy get? — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  6. Some say you learn more from losing than from winning. 2021 in that case should have provided the Twins with an exorbitant amount of knowledge. Will we see them learn from their 2021 meltdown? On Wednesday night in Baltimore, Dylan Bundy took away any possibility of a Twins win for the second straight start. While recording just 11 outs, Bundy surrendered 11 hits, two walks, two home runs, and nine earned runs. For the second straight start, he allowed a string of five-plus hitters to reach base safely without recording an out, a feat that’s rare enough to wonder whether it could possibly be a fluke. After dazzling in his first three starts, Bundy has absolutely cratered his season line. The result of this is a reality check for Twins fans on a pitcher who’s failing to crack 90 mph and posted an ERA over 6.00 in 2021. Having signed for $5m, Bundy should have never been expected to provide premium innings, even after his first three starts. The question is whether the Twins' front office has received this same reality check. The issues were plentiful for the 2021 Twins, but starting pitching was arguably #1 on the list. The signings of J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker, whom the Twins had identified as values in the offseason, turned out to be two of the worst pitchers in all of baseball and provided the Twins with a predetermined loss every 4th and 5th day. Despite this fact, Shoemaker remained in the rotation until the end of June and Happ remained until he was somehow traded at the deadline. Both proved that pitching signings of their tier simply don’t warrant a whole lot of patience. Neither has a job in Major League Baseball in 2022. Context is key in this scenario, as by the time they need to move on became abundantly clear, the Twins season was effectively over already. The farm system also suffered from a wide range of pitching injuries, leaving the Twins with several bullpen days per week and no replacement options for the rotation. In short, the goal became crossing off innings rather than filling them in a meaningful way. In 2022, things have to be different. Two starts make up just a small percentage of a pitcher’s season-long workload, and plenty of high-quality arms will struggle for such a short stretch. For that reason it’s not yet time to make any significant moves with Dylan Bundy. That being said, it is time for the Twins to feel some skepticism towards the 29-year-old right-hander. After watching three starts and wondering whether any kind of success could continue given Bundy’s visible lack of stuff, these last two starts may be the beginning of our answer. Unlike 2021, the Twins simply have too many alternatives to allow Bundy to become a deciding factor in their 2022 season. Their financial commitment to him is too low, as are the odds of him factoring into any long-term plans. With him headed to the COVID IL, we should get to see more from Josh Winder for another start or two, although it’s very likely Bundy gets a chance to reclaim his spot in the rotation. In the meantime, if Josh Winder continues to stake his claim to a rotation spot, it may leave the Twins set up to act quickly if Bundy doesn’t rebound. For what it’s worth, they’ve shown early signs of learning from their mistakes in 2021. After sticking with Alex Colomé through one of the worst months by a reliever in franchise history, the Twins were very quick to pull the plug on Tyler Duffey in high leverage this season after his early struggles. I would guess their lack of patience with a homegrown former staple of their bullpen foreshadows a very short leash for a one-year bounceback candidate in the rotation. At this point one thing is certain, Dylan Bundy is currently the last man on the totem pole that is the Twins rotation. The wounds that 2021 left in Twins Territory are still fresh in the minds of fans as many already wonder “How many more starts can we let this happen?”. For a front office that was seemingly so eager to show off the arrival of their pitching pipeline, my best bet would be “Not much longer” as the Twins attempt to make a worst to first rebound in 2022. How long of a leash should Dylan Bundy get? — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  7. Chris Paddack burst onto the scene in 2019 posting a 3.33 ERA in San Diego over about 140 innings. He paired a dominant mid to high-90s fastball with a plus-plus changeup and fantastic command to put together a rookie campaign that hinted at a future ace-level pitcher. Over the next two years, however, Paddack came to find that the MLB is unforgiving toward starting pitchers with only two pitches. And so he went to work. Contrary to popular belief, Paddack wasn’t quite a two-pitch pitcher in 2021. He had incorporated a curveball 12% of the time and had fantastic results on the pitch. His 5+ ERA finish was instead a result of an underperforming fastball, although you could argue that Paddack wasn’t throwing the breaking ball nearly enough which could have helped the performance of the rest of his repertoire. Luckily, Paddack appears to have made significant adjustments to both pitches. This small change should pay off twofold. On one hand, getting the fastball away from the heart of the plate is always a good idea. Also consider the fact that he’s upped his breaking ball usage to over 20% so far, meaning it’s harder to look fastball. Mixing in more breaking balls typically makes any fastball more effective, but now that he has one to pair with a devastating changeup, his fastball at the top of the zone should be that much harder to get around on. We’ve seen early signs of hitters already having difficulties with this change. While it’s admittedly a small sample size, Paddack’s better overall performance appears to be tied to his once broken fastball making a huge rebound. After batters hit .314 on the pitch in 2021, they’re posting a .250 mark so far this year. More impressively, after allowing a .531 slugging % on the pitch last season, hitters have posted a .357 mark so far in 2022. This is all despite the fact that his average fastball velocity is down from 94.8 to 92.9 this year after a shortened spring and pitching in colder weather. It’s possible the pitch may actually improve as the season rolls on. The biggest Chris Paddack storyline to keep an eye on however is his development of yet another pitch. As a fastball/changeup pitcher for most of his career, Paddack has posted fantastic reverse splits as we often see with pitchers whose primary offspeed is a changeup. Holding left-handers to a .226/.273/.408 line is impressive for a right-handed pitcher, but in Paddack’s case his lack of an equalizer for right-handed hitters has resulted in them posting a healthy .742 OPS against him. Luckily it appears the Twins were two steps ahead on this one. In his third start with the Twins, Paddack threw what Statcast calls a cutter seven times. Whether it’s a cutter or a slider, this would really round out Paddack’s repertoire with a pitch that traditionally stifles right-handed pitching. It’s too small of a sample to draw any conclusions from the pitch, but the fact of the matter is if Paddack can make any strides in limiting right-handed hitters, it’s not hard to see him being one of the leaders in the rotation for the next three years. It was easy to question parting with Taylor Rogers for a struggling Chris Paddack at the time, but it’s become very clear in this early season that the Twins did so with a very specific plan in mind. At 26 years old after a few tough seasons, Paddack appears to still have the raw talent that once earned him the reputation as one of the up-and-coming stud pitchers in baseball. With a change in scenery, a change in pitch sequencing, and possibly a new trick or two up his sleeve, Chris Paddack could become the high-end pitcher fans were calling for all offseason. Do you agree? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  8. Long considered a two-pitch pitcher, Chris Paddack appeared to be far from the high-end arm the Twins needed when they shipped off Taylor Rogers on Opening Day. In the young stages of the 2022 season, however, Paddack is showing that it may be time to recalibrate expectations. Chris Paddack burst onto the scene in 2019 posting a 3.33 ERA in San Diego over about 140 innings. He paired a dominant mid to high-90s fastball with a plus-plus changeup and fantastic command to put together a rookie campaign that hinted at a future ace-level pitcher. Over the next two years, however, Paddack came to find that the MLB is unforgiving toward starting pitchers with only two pitches. And so he went to work. Contrary to popular belief, Paddack wasn’t quite a two-pitch pitcher in 2021. He had incorporated a curveball 12% of the time and had fantastic results on the pitch. His 5+ ERA finish was instead a result of an underperforming fastball, although you could argue that Paddack wasn’t throwing the breaking ball nearly enough which could have helped the performance of the rest of his repertoire. Luckily, Paddack appears to have made significant adjustments to both pitches. This small change should pay off twofold. On one hand, getting the fastball away from the heart of the plate is always a good idea. Also consider the fact that he’s upped his breaking ball usage to over 20% so far, meaning it’s harder to look fastball. Mixing in more breaking balls typically makes any fastball more effective, but now that he has one to pair with a devastating changeup, his fastball at the top of the zone should be that much harder to get around on. We’ve seen early signs of hitters already having difficulties with this change. While it’s admittedly a small sample size, Paddack’s better overall performance appears to be tied to his once broken fastball making a huge rebound. After batters hit .314 on the pitch in 2021, they’re posting a .250 mark so far this year. More impressively, after allowing a .531 slugging % on the pitch last season, hitters have posted a .357 mark so far in 2022. This is all despite the fact that his average fastball velocity is down from 94.8 to 92.9 this year after a shortened spring and pitching in colder weather. It’s possible the pitch may actually improve as the season rolls on. The biggest Chris Paddack storyline to keep an eye on however is his development of yet another pitch. As a fastball/changeup pitcher for most of his career, Paddack has posted fantastic reverse splits as we often see with pitchers whose primary offspeed is a changeup. Holding left-handers to a .226/.273/.408 line is impressive for a right-handed pitcher, but in Paddack’s case his lack of an equalizer for right-handed hitters has resulted in them posting a healthy .742 OPS against him. Luckily it appears the Twins were two steps ahead on this one. In his third start with the Twins, Paddack threw what Statcast calls a cutter seven times. Whether it’s a cutter or a slider, this would really round out Paddack’s repertoire with a pitch that traditionally stifles right-handed pitching. It’s too small of a sample to draw any conclusions from the pitch, but the fact of the matter is if Paddack can make any strides in limiting right-handed hitters, it’s not hard to see him being one of the leaders in the rotation for the next three years. It was easy to question parting with Taylor Rogers for a struggling Chris Paddack at the time, but it’s become very clear in this early season that the Twins did so with a very specific plan in mind. At 26 years old after a few tough seasons, Paddack appears to still have the raw talent that once earned him the reputation as one of the up-and-coming stud pitchers in baseball. With a change in scenery, a change in pitch sequencing, and possibly a new trick or two up his sleeve, Chris Paddack could become the high-end pitcher fans were calling for all offseason. Do you agree? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  9. The tale of Trevor Larnach’s debut is not uncommon among big-time hitting prospects. He came up and punished major-league fastballs until he was fed a steady diet of breaking pitches. At that point not even his hot start could keep Larnach from taking a trip back to St. Paul where his season eventually ended with an injury. In his short stint in AAA to end 2021, Larnach didn’t have much time to get his footing back and work to adjust back to MLB pitching which had pinpointed his Achilles Heel. The left-handed slugger swung and missed at 54% of the breaking balls he saw. Unsurprisingly, he hit just .167 and slugged .218 against such pitches. It was fitting that he was slated to spend a chunk of time in St. Paul to begin the year before Alex Kirilloff landed on the IL. In short, Larnach is once again receiving the “trial by fire” treatment. At first glance, Larnach appears to be failing miserably, as his slash line of .190/.192/.174 appears to fit right in with a Twins 1-9 that ranks as one of the worst offenses in all of baseball. Unlike his lineup mates, however, Larnach is doing everything right to start his second MLB season. Has it felt like Larnach regularly punishes baseballs that just so happen to wind up in a defender's glove? It should, because that’s exactly what’s happening. Statcast data suggests Larnach has been the unluckiest hitter in the Twins lineup. So far he’s increased his barrel rate from 9.5% to 10.5% from last year. His .240 expected batting average is more than acceptable when paired with a .473 expected slugging percentage. Mix in his tremendous eye at the plate and a decrease in his swing and miss rate from 34.6% to 19.2% and the Twins have what looks like a middle-of-the-order bat who’s gotten unlucky across a couple of weeks. So how do we know Larnach isn’t off to just another hot streak that’s destined to crash back down like last year? The early returns on Larnach’s ability to hit breaking balls are unbelievable. Pitchers have continued feeding him spinners as his scouting report likely calls for. According to just about every measurement, Larnach’s ability to not only make contact but to barrel such pitches has made a dramatic improvement. The Twins admittedly don’t have a lot to get excited about in their lineup at the moment as most hitters are either making poor contact or no contact at all. Trevor Larnach is different. After showing a crippling weakness in his MLB debut, the former first-round pick appears to have made a measurable change in approach that simply hasn’t quite paid off yet in this young season. Despite his poor surface numbers, I’d argue Larnach is showing more at the plate than most of the lineup thus far. The Twins are struggling to score any runs at all and even just one player really clicking would really make a world of difference. So far the numbers say Trevor Larnach could be such a player. Do you agree?
  10. The Twins offense has been a massive disappointment as a whole. Looking across the lineup, it’s hard to find much to be impressed with. This is also the case for Trevor Larnach, but taking a deeper dive tells a much different story. The tale of Trevor Larnach’s debut is not uncommon among big-time hitting prospects. He came up and punished major-league fastballs until he was fed a steady diet of breaking pitches. At that point not even his hot start could keep Larnach from taking a trip back to St. Paul where his season eventually ended with an injury. In his short stint in AAA to end 2021, Larnach didn’t have much time to get his footing back and work to adjust back to MLB pitching which had pinpointed his Achilles Heel. The left-handed slugger swung and missed at 54% of the breaking balls he saw. Unsurprisingly, he hit just .167 and slugged .218 against such pitches. It was fitting that he was slated to spend a chunk of time in St. Paul to begin the year before Alex Kirilloff landed on the IL. In short, Larnach is once again receiving the “trial by fire” treatment. At first glance, Larnach appears to be failing miserably, as his slash line of .190/.192/.174 appears to fit right in with a Twins 1-9 that ranks as one of the worst offenses in all of baseball. Unlike his lineup mates, however, Larnach is doing everything right to start his second MLB season. Has it felt like Larnach regularly punishes baseballs that just so happen to wind up in a defender's glove? It should, because that’s exactly what’s happening. Statcast data suggests Larnach has been the unluckiest hitter in the Twins lineup. So far he’s increased his barrel rate from 9.5% to 10.5% from last year. His .240 expected batting average is more than acceptable when paired with a .473 expected slugging percentage. Mix in his tremendous eye at the plate and a decrease in his swing and miss rate from 34.6% to 19.2% and the Twins have what looks like a middle-of-the-order bat who’s gotten unlucky across a couple of weeks. So how do we know Larnach isn’t off to just another hot streak that’s destined to crash back down like last year? The early returns on Larnach’s ability to hit breaking balls are unbelievable. Pitchers have continued feeding him spinners as his scouting report likely calls for. According to just about every measurement, Larnach’s ability to not only make contact but to barrel such pitches has made a dramatic improvement. The Twins admittedly don’t have a lot to get excited about in their lineup at the moment as most hitters are either making poor contact or no contact at all. Trevor Larnach is different. After showing a crippling weakness in his MLB debut, the former first-round pick appears to have made a measurable change in approach that simply hasn’t quite paid off yet in this young season. Despite his poor surface numbers, I’d argue Larnach is showing more at the plate than most of the lineup thus far. The Twins are struggling to score any runs at all and even just one player really clicking would really make a world of difference. So far the numbers say Trevor Larnach could be such a player. Do you agree? View full article
  11. The offense as a whole has failed to match a surprisingly strong start to the season for the Twins pitching staff. Few hitters have shown any kind of consistency, but it’s plenty easy to key in on right-handed slugger Miguel Sano. Every year it’s seemingly the same with Sano. Struggle for the first month or two, make some adjustments, iron out the timing at the plate and finish the season looking like everything has been fixed only for the same cycle to be repeated again. Perhaps in a touching tribute to the banning of pitchers hitting in the NL, Sano has been particularly terrible to begin the season in 2022. Yes, Miguel Sano is yet again approaching the record books after becoming the fastest player in Major League history to 1000 strikeouts at the end of 2021. Through six games it’s been particularly frustrating to watch, which has fans already wondering: What can we do with Miguel Sano? Cut Him As is tradition, the calls to cut Miguel Sano or try to send him to AAA have already erupted. The latter scenario is downright unrealistic. Sano would have to essentially be cut and re-signed in agreement with going to St. Paul, a situation that would never play out. Another team would surely pick Sano up on the league minimum, and he would most certainly prefer to play in the MLB elsewhere than in AAA here. Some would call this an upgrade to the team, but there aren’t any legitimate replacements at first base. Alex Kirilloff is out for the foreseeable future after his recurring wrist issue flared up and players like Jose Miranda who have some experience at first base aren’t the kind of player you ship a veteran out for. Not to mention the fact that the Twins likely would never pay the $9.25m remaining on his deal to play elsewhere. Bench Him An adjustment is likely in order for Sano to catch up to fastballs and barrel up breaking balls again. So why not have him work exclusively on making adjustments with the coaching staff in an environment where he’s not dragging down the lineup? Even if the Twins had an obvious short-term replacement at first base, Sano’s main issue is timing. Perhaps it is a mechanical tweak that helps him lock-in, but tee work isn’t going to do him much good. We saw in 2019 when Sano was struggling to keep his strikeout rate below 40% for the first two months that he benefits from working through his timing issues by getting his reps in during games. There isn’t much substitute for live pitching when it comes to a player with such significant swing and miss tendencies. Ride It Out This leads to the most likely option, the Twins are likely going to ride this out. After all, Sano has shown time and time again that their patience will pay itself off. Taking an at-bat away from Miguel Sano is taking him one step further from breaking out and being one of the better hitters in the lineup for at least some period of time. The second halves of his seasons are always better than the first, and at some point, he’s going to return to being a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat. Is it an ideal scenario to have a player with such crippling gaps in production in the lineup? No. I’d guess the Twins' front office would go back in time and undo the extension they signed Sano to if given the opportunity. It’s also hard to imagine a scenario where they pick up his $14m option for 2023. That being said, Miguel Sano is likely here for 2022 for better or worse. We’ve been watching him since 2015. It’s time to be realistic about the Miguel Sano situation. He’s going to be beyond frustrating until he’s on one of the most ungodly heaters we’ll see from a player this season. It may hurt the Twins' season tremendously, or perhaps he’ll play a large part in them returning to the postseason. Be as frustrated as you’d like, but Miguel Sano likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
  12. In case you haven’t heard, Miguel Sano has begun his yearly early season slump. As he struggles to contribute anything at all to an offense that has been inconsistent at best, what can the Twins do with Miguel Sano? The offense as a whole has failed to match a surprisingly strong start to the season for the Twins pitching staff. Few hitters have shown any kind of consistency, but it’s plenty easy to key in on right-handed slugger Miguel Sano. Every year it’s seemingly the same with Sano. Struggle for the first month or two, make some adjustments, iron out the timing at the plate and finish the season looking like everything has been fixed only for the same cycle to be repeated again. Perhaps in a touching tribute to the banning of pitchers hitting in the NL, Sano has been particularly terrible to begin the season in 2022. Yes, Miguel Sano is yet again approaching the record books after becoming the fastest player in Major League history to 1000 strikeouts at the end of 2021. Through six games it’s been particularly frustrating to watch, which has fans already wondering: What can we do with Miguel Sano? Cut Him As is tradition, the calls to cut Miguel Sano or try to send him to AAA have already erupted. The latter scenario is downright unrealistic. Sano would have to essentially be cut and re-signed in agreement with going to St. Paul, a situation that would never play out. Another team would surely pick Sano up on the league minimum, and he would most certainly prefer to play in the MLB elsewhere than in AAA here. Some would call this an upgrade to the team, but there aren’t any legitimate replacements at first base. Alex Kirilloff is out for the foreseeable future after his recurring wrist issue flared up and players like Jose Miranda who have some experience at first base aren’t the kind of player you ship a veteran out for. Not to mention the fact that the Twins likely would never pay the $9.25m remaining on his deal to play elsewhere. Bench Him An adjustment is likely in order for Sano to catch up to fastballs and barrel up breaking balls again. So why not have him work exclusively on making adjustments with the coaching staff in an environment where he’s not dragging down the lineup? Even if the Twins had an obvious short-term replacement at first base, Sano’s main issue is timing. Perhaps it is a mechanical tweak that helps him lock-in, but tee work isn’t going to do him much good. We saw in 2019 when Sano was struggling to keep his strikeout rate below 40% for the first two months that he benefits from working through his timing issues by getting his reps in during games. There isn’t much substitute for live pitching when it comes to a player with such significant swing and miss tendencies. Ride It Out This leads to the most likely option, the Twins are likely going to ride this out. After all, Sano has shown time and time again that their patience will pay itself off. Taking an at-bat away from Miguel Sano is taking him one step further from breaking out and being one of the better hitters in the lineup for at least some period of time. The second halves of his seasons are always better than the first, and at some point, he’s going to return to being a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat. Is it an ideal scenario to have a player with such crippling gaps in production in the lineup? No. I’d guess the Twins' front office would go back in time and undo the extension they signed Sano to if given the opportunity. It’s also hard to imagine a scenario where they pick up his $14m option for 2023. That being said, Miguel Sano is likely here for 2022 for better or worse. We’ve been watching him since 2015. It’s time to be realistic about the Miguel Sano situation. He’s going to be beyond frustrating until he’s on one of the most ungodly heaters we’ll see from a player this season. It may hurt the Twins' season tremendously, or perhaps he’ll play a large part in them returning to the postseason. Be as frustrated as you’d like, but Miguel Sano likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. View full article
  13. By now we’re all probably approaching the end of the grieving stage of losing Taylor Rogers in a massive Opening Day deal that brought Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota. That being said, it’s probably time to consider why on earth the Twins would trade away their star closer at the start of a season in which they intend to compete. The Pursuit of Value By now we’ve come to expect the Twins front office to always search for value above all else when they’re making any kind of deal. In fairness, their successes across the last year are few and far between, but it’s easy to see the thought process they’re operating from. In parting with Rogers, the Twins give up one year of a relief pitcher who may not even finish the season with the team if things fall apart before the trade deadline. In return, they receive a rotation-ready starting pitcher in Chris Paddack who’s under control for three years in addition to reliever Emilio Pagan who’s under control for two years. They did of course also ship out Brent Rooker, but by all accounts, he was likely on the verge of getting cut loose regardless. When looking at pure value, it’s hard to argue against this trade. There’s almost no scenario where Rogers amasses more bWAR, fWAR, or whatever measurement you can find in his lone season in San Diego than Paddack and Pagan will in Minnesota across their five combined years. The math is certainly on the Twins' side for this trade. This however doesn’t tell the whole story as it misses the context of the Twins parting with their best reliever right before a 2022 season where they may desperately need him Relievers are Unpredictable Another core value of the Falvine era, the Twins simply don’t value relief pitchers highly. And to be honest, they probably shouldn’t. Relievers often burn bright for a few years before fading away. We see it year after year whether it’s Alex Colomé just stinking it up out of nowhere or Trevor Rosenthal succumbing to injury. Pitchers as a whole are always risky, but historically speaking relievers are particularly fickle. Taylor Rogers may repeat his incredible performance in 2022, in fact, I’d bet on it. That being said, he did suffer a significant finger injury in 2021. Although he’s recovered and was looking great in the spring, he’s now into his 30s and the odds of a recurrence or even a new injury grows ever stronger. Is that reason for the Twins to look to actively dump their closer? No. But it does at least help explain why Rogers wasn’t untouchable in trade. In addition to the risk of Rogers' performance or health slipping, it’s entirely possible several other arms step up in a big way to fill the void. Between pitchers such as Jorge Alcala who appeared to break out in the second half or newly bullpen-bound Jhoan Duran sitting in triple digits, it’s not hard to find candidates to take the lead in this group. Between AAA and the existing bullpen, there are several options to get some looks in high leverage and I see several taking the baseball world by storm in 2022. This group is undisputedly more talented than the bullpen the Twins fielded at the end of 2021 who by the way were rock solid without Taylor Rogers in the mix. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with hating this trade. The self-anointed “competitive” Twins roster just got a huge downgrade in their bullpen on paper no matter how you shake it. In addition, this could have been avoided had they just been more aggressive in signing legitimate starting pitching pre-lockout. Even for one year of Taylor Rogers, the Twins are taking a gamble on Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan bouncing back. It’s one that’s not so different from the many bets the front office made last season that left them bankrupt. That being said, aside from the personal attachment that comes with losing a homegrown star like Rogers, it’s easy to understand why the Twins made this deal. There’s a decent chance that we look back on this trade as a “win” for the Twins, and there’s a non-zero chance it can turn out to be an absolute home run. Should the Twins have stood pat with Rogers or perhaps asked for more in return? Do you think this deal will work out for the Twins in the long run? Let us know below!
  14. So the day before the season starts the Twins traded away the head of their bullpen and supposed closer. Taylor Rogers made up half of the projected fWAR of the Twins bullpen per Fangraphs. What was the front office thinking? By now we’re all probably approaching the end of the grieving stage of losing Taylor Rogers in a massive Opening Day deal that brought Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota. That being said, it’s probably time to consider why on earth the Twins would trade away their star closer at the start of a season in which they intend to compete. The Pursuit of Value By now we’ve come to expect the Twins front office to always search for value above all else when they’re making any kind of deal. In fairness, their successes across the last year are few and far between, but it’s easy to see the thought process they’re operating from. In parting with Rogers, the Twins give up one year of a relief pitcher who may not even finish the season with the team if things fall apart before the trade deadline. In return, they receive a rotation-ready starting pitcher in Chris Paddack who’s under control for three years in addition to reliever Emilio Pagan who’s under control for two years. They did of course also ship out Brent Rooker, but by all accounts, he was likely on the verge of getting cut loose regardless. When looking at pure value, it’s hard to argue against this trade. There’s almost no scenario where Rogers amasses more bWAR, fWAR, or whatever measurement you can find in his lone season in San Diego than Paddack and Pagan will in Minnesota across their five combined years. The math is certainly on the Twins' side for this trade. This however doesn’t tell the whole story as it misses the context of the Twins parting with their best reliever right before a 2022 season where they may desperately need him Relievers are Unpredictable Another core value of the Falvine era, the Twins simply don’t value relief pitchers highly. And to be honest, they probably shouldn’t. Relievers often burn bright for a few years before fading away. We see it year after year whether it’s Alex Colomé just stinking it up out of nowhere or Trevor Rosenthal succumbing to injury. Pitchers as a whole are always risky, but historically speaking relievers are particularly fickle. Taylor Rogers may repeat his incredible performance in 2022, in fact, I’d bet on it. That being said, he did suffer a significant finger injury in 2021. Although he’s recovered and was looking great in the spring, he’s now into his 30s and the odds of a recurrence or even a new injury grows ever stronger. Is that reason for the Twins to look to actively dump their closer? No. But it does at least help explain why Rogers wasn’t untouchable in trade. In addition to the risk of Rogers' performance or health slipping, it’s entirely possible several other arms step up in a big way to fill the void. Between pitchers such as Jorge Alcala who appeared to break out in the second half or newly bullpen-bound Jhoan Duran sitting in triple digits, it’s not hard to find candidates to take the lead in this group. Between AAA and the existing bullpen, there are several options to get some looks in high leverage and I see several taking the baseball world by storm in 2022. This group is undisputedly more talented than the bullpen the Twins fielded at the end of 2021 who by the way were rock solid without Taylor Rogers in the mix. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with hating this trade. The self-anointed “competitive” Twins roster just got a huge downgrade in their bullpen on paper no matter how you shake it. In addition, this could have been avoided had they just been more aggressive in signing legitimate starting pitching pre-lockout. Even for one year of Taylor Rogers, the Twins are taking a gamble on Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan bouncing back. It’s one that’s not so different from the many bets the front office made last season that left them bankrupt. That being said, aside from the personal attachment that comes with losing a homegrown star like Rogers, it’s easy to understand why the Twins made this deal. There’s a decent chance that we look back on this trade as a “win” for the Twins, and there’s a non-zero chance it can turn out to be an absolute home run. Should the Twins have stood pat with Rogers or perhaps asked for more in return? Do you think this deal will work out for the Twins in the long run? Let us know below! View full article
  15. The Twins have completed several rounds of roster cuts this spring with another handful to go. Still, several non-roster invitees remain in camp and have a legitimate shot at making the Opening Day roster. The Twins are down to just six non-roster players remaining on their spring roster. Several players were sent to minor-league camp so that they can head up to Minnesota this weekend. The Saints season starts on Tuesday in Louisville. The six non-roster players remaining in the big-league camp include left-handed pitchers Devin Smeltzer and Danny Coulombe, right-handed pitcher Jake Faria, infielder Daniel Robertson, and outfielders Kyle Garlick and Jake Cave. While there are certainly several good reasons to not add non-roster players to the 40-man roster knowing that the active roster will drop back to 26 players by May 1st. However, here are three players that I think do have a realistic opportunity to make the Twins Opening Day roster. Jake Faria Jake Faria had limited success in Tampa Bay’s rotation all the way back in 2017 when he posted a 3.43 ERA across just under 90 innings in his debut. After bouncing around for a while and not pitching in 2020, the right-hander finds himself as a realistic bullpen option for the Twins on Opening Day. With the lockout leading up to a short Spring Training ramp-up, the Twins are likely to employ some sort of “piggyback” method to start the season to allow the rotation to ramp up and remain healthy. Faria has been used in a multi-inning role this spring which could be a hint that the Twins may be taking a look at him to fill such a piggybacking role. He’s allowed just one run in his five spring innings and his mix of a split-finger and breaking ball could make him more prepared to navigate the entirety of a lineup than a traditional right-handed pitcher with just a fastball and slider. While no sure thing, Faria is a name to watch in the waning days of Spring Training. Kyle Garlick Kyle Garlick could make the 2022 roster again in the same role as 2021 as the backup right-handed masher in the outfield. Ideally the Twins would give him all of Max Kepler’s at bats against left-handers, against whom Garlick posted an incredible .878 OPS in 2021 before being shut down with a core muscle injury. The counter argument is it would come at the expense of Brent Rooker’s roster spot, who is a home--grown talent and some feel still has a ceiling higher than a platoon bat such as Garlick. That said, Rooker hasn't played in a game for a week with a shoulder soreness, so an IL stint is possible. Since the two right-handers are fairly equal on defense, the Twins could easily see Garlick as the obvious option. In addition to his 2021, Garlick has absolutely punished southpaws during his entire career, posting an incredible .865 OPS against them thus far. It may take giving up on Brent Rooker, but the immediate payoff of Garlick being the matchup role player in the outfield seems like a sure bet to provide some value. Jake Cave The Twins just can’t seem to quit Jake Cave. Thus far he’s outlasted Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino in camp with only a few more cuts to make. It’s hard to imagine the squad heading north with the 29-year-old Cave who owns a paltry .202/.263/.332 (.595) slash line since the start of 2020, especially since Nick Gordon’s ability to fill in at center field from the left side of the plate makes him redundant. That being said, the fact that he’s still with the team is worth wondering whether Cave may just stick around. In Cave’s favor, he has logged 144 games in center field in his career, a resume that the Twins may value given Byron Buxton’s injury history. He’s also improved defensively over the years, performing around league average on defense in 2020 and 2021 at the position. Another left handed bat in the outfield may not make much sense on paper, especially one you would expect absolutely nothing from offensively. That being said, Cave’s ability to man center field may be seen as a worthy trade off compared to someone like Kyle Garlick who only fills a very specific role offensively and is confined to the corners. The cuts are likely coming in short order with only a few decisions left to be made. Are there any other remaining non roster invitees that could sneak their way into Target Field on Opening Day? Let us know below! View full article
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