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Patrick Wozniak

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  1. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from glunn in Contemplating the Twins Catching Conundrum   
    Entering the postseason one of the things that will be interesting to watch is how the catcher situation shakes out. Coming into the year it would have seemed all but certain that Mitch Garver would be the number one backstop barring injury, but his struggles combined with rookie Ryan Jeffers’ prowess on both sides of the ball put Garver’s status in doubt.After a season for the ages in 2019, it’s hard to paint Garver’s 2020 as anything but a complete disaster. Granted it’s a small sample and Garver’s been banged up (including a recent stint on the IL), but after slashing a Piazza-like .273/.365/.630 (155 wRC+) last season, Garver’s .148/.243/.197 (25 wRC+) likely has Drew Butera blushing. He’s striking out at a 42.9% clip, and hasn’t turned things around since coming off the IL (1-for-9 against the Cubs with 66.7% K-rate).
     
    Garver’s obviously not as bad as his disastrous shortened season would suggest, but he’s running out of time to turn things around and rookie Ryan Jeffers has made a compelling case to get the majority of the starts come October. It makes sense to get Garver as many reps as possible to try to get right for the remainder of the regular season, but beyond that it’s an open question.
     
    Since receiving his call-up, Jeffers has been somewhat of a revelation on both sides of the ball. He’s slashed a really good .283/.365/.478 (132 wRC+) in 23 games, and although he’s swinging and missing a bit more than he did in the minor leagues (32.7 K% vs. 19.2% at AA in 2019), his bat basically hasn’t skipped a beat (he hit.287/.374/.483 at AA).
     
    For the time being, Jeffers definitely looks to be a better bet with the bat than either Garver or backup Alex Avila (who’s only plus skill at this point in this career is his propensity for taking walks). If we turn to the other side of the ball, Jeffers also seems to be the preferred defensive option. He had the reputation of being an elite pitch framer in the minors and thus far that has shaken out in the big leagues as well. His Statcast numbers put him in the 87th percentile for framing (compared to the 34th percentile for Garver and 28th percentile for Avila), confirming what the eye-test already told us. Garver has worked hard to improve his framing and defense, but Jeffers brings a defensive skill-set that Garver will never approach.
     
    Considering Garver’s struggles and the limited amount of season left, it makes sense to lean heavily on Jeffers in the postseason. When Garver was out, Jeffers was able to handle a fairly heavy workload (especially relative to the rest-heavy Twins) and his pitch framing skills and potent bat make him the obvious choice for the present. As we’ve seen, the Twins could use all the help they can get scoring runs, and Jeffers has hit.
     
    Although it’s early, I do think it’s fair to question the future of the catching position in Minnesota. The Twins are in a great position with two talented backstops who are under team control well into the future. With the emphasis the Twins (and growingly the rest of the MLB and sports world as a whole) place on rest and recovery, there’s undoubtably a path forward for both, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see something like a 60/40 spit in Jeffers’ favor.
     
    Jeffers is just 23-years-old, while Garver is four months shy of turning 30, an age where it is not uncommon to see MLB bats begin to decline. Jeffers recently snuck his way into FanGraphs top-100 prospect list at number 97, so it’s not only the Twins who are high on Jeffers, and he’s already hit a ball 112.9 mph (for context, Garver’s career high max exit velo is 111.0 mph). As the better defender, Jeffers will also have the higher floor going forward, making offensive slumps more palatable.
     
    2021 feels a bit reminiscent of 2019 when Garver was the newcomer who looked all but sure to steal reps from veteran Jason Castro as the season wore on. Of course, Garver had an astounding season that Jeffers is unlikely to ever match, but if we’re being honest, Garver’s not going to either. How quickly things can change, as it’s now Garver who has the target on his back, and Jeffers whose future shines bright. Here’s hoping for a binary star.
     
    Click here to view the article
  2. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from Huskertwin in Contemplating the Twins Catching Conundrum   
    Entering the postseason one of the things that will be interesting to watch is how the catcher situation shakes out. Coming into the year it would have seemed all but certain that Mitch Garver would be the number one backstop barring injury, but his struggles combined with rookie Ryan Jeffers’ prowess on both sides of the ball put Garver’s status in doubt.After a season for the ages in 2019, it’s hard to paint Garver’s 2020 as anything but a complete disaster. Granted it’s a small sample and Garver’s been banged up (including a recent stint on the IL), but after slashing a Piazza-like .273/.365/.630 (155 wRC+) last season, Garver’s .148/.243/.197 (25 wRC+) likely has Drew Butera blushing. He’s striking out at a 42.9% clip, and hasn’t turned things around since coming off the IL (1-for-9 against the Cubs with 66.7% K-rate).
     
    Garver’s obviously not as bad as his disastrous shortened season would suggest, but he’s running out of time to turn things around and rookie Ryan Jeffers has made a compelling case to get the majority of the starts come October. It makes sense to get Garver as many reps as possible to try to get right for the remainder of the regular season, but beyond that it’s an open question.
     
    Since receiving his call-up, Jeffers has been somewhat of a revelation on both sides of the ball. He’s slashed a really good .283/.365/.478 (132 wRC+) in 23 games, and although he’s swinging and missing a bit more than he did in the minor leagues (32.7 K% vs. 19.2% at AA in 2019), his bat basically hasn’t skipped a beat (he hit.287/.374/.483 at AA).
     
    For the time being, Jeffers definitely looks to be a better bet with the bat than either Garver or backup Alex Avila (who’s only plus skill at this point in this career is his propensity for taking walks). If we turn to the other side of the ball, Jeffers also seems to be the preferred defensive option. He had the reputation of being an elite pitch framer in the minors and thus far that has shaken out in the big leagues as well. His Statcast numbers put him in the 87th percentile for framing (compared to the 34th percentile for Garver and 28th percentile for Avila), confirming what the eye-test already told us. Garver has worked hard to improve his framing and defense, but Jeffers brings a defensive skill-set that Garver will never approach.
     
    Considering Garver’s struggles and the limited amount of season left, it makes sense to lean heavily on Jeffers in the postseason. When Garver was out, Jeffers was able to handle a fairly heavy workload (especially relative to the rest-heavy Twins) and his pitch framing skills and potent bat make him the obvious choice for the present. As we’ve seen, the Twins could use all the help they can get scoring runs, and Jeffers has hit.
     
    Although it’s early, I do think it’s fair to question the future of the catching position in Minnesota. The Twins are in a great position with two talented backstops who are under team control well into the future. With the emphasis the Twins (and growingly the rest of the MLB and sports world as a whole) place on rest and recovery, there’s undoubtably a path forward for both, but it wouldn’t be too surprising to see something like a 60/40 spit in Jeffers’ favor.
     
    Jeffers is just 23-years-old, while Garver is four months shy of turning 30, an age where it is not uncommon to see MLB bats begin to decline. Jeffers recently snuck his way into FanGraphs top-100 prospect list at number 97, so it’s not only the Twins who are high on Jeffers, and he’s already hit a ball 112.9 mph (for context, Garver’s career high max exit velo is 111.0 mph). As the better defender, Jeffers will also have the higher floor going forward, making offensive slumps more palatable.
     
    2021 feels a bit reminiscent of 2019 when Garver was the newcomer who looked all but sure to steal reps from veteran Jason Castro as the season wore on. Of course, Garver had an astounding season that Jeffers is unlikely to ever match, but if we’re being honest, Garver’s not going to either. How quickly things can change, as it’s now Garver who has the target on his back, and Jeffers whose future shines bright. Here’s hoping for a binary star.
     
    Click here to view the article
  3. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from glunn in Have We Already Seen the Best of Max Kepler?   
    2019 felt like a launching pad for Max Kepler. He belted a career-high 36 home runs in just 134 games. Sure the batting average was still low, but his .252 represented a career best. He finished with a 121 wRC+, meaning he was 21% better than the average MLB hitter and played great defense. At age-26 the best seemed yet to come. But has it already passed?While the Twins are undoubtably excited to have Kepler back from his 10-day IL stint after suffering a groin injury, his (albeit brief) 2020 campaign has looked less a leap into superstardom and more like pre-2019 breakout Kepler.
     
    His walk and strikeout percentages have remained very good, but his overall numbers have slid back to his career norms. Although he’s hit seven home runs, Kepler’s slashing just .221/.322/.420 for a 102 wRC+, meaning his bat is league average and pretty much exactly where it was in 2018. After seemingly figuring out lefties last season (.264/.372/.552), Kepler’s looked lost in 2020 (.111/.195/.139). Naturally, we’re dealing with a relatively small sample size in 2020, but his surface numbers aren’t the only thing going against Kepler’s breakout year.
     
    Last year Kepler increased his aggressiveness at the plate and pulled the ball more than ever. After raising his pull percentage by over 10% in 2019 (up to 53.4%), Kepler is back down to 44.3% in 2020. His swing rate was all the way up to 49.3% in 2019, whereas this year it’s at 42.9% (similar to his 2018 rate of 42.6%) despite seeing slightly more pitches in the strike zone. He’s also stopped going aggressively after the first pitch, with his 1st pitch swing percent going down to 29.4% after ascending all the way to 40.4% in 2019.
     
    Download attachment: Have We Already Seen...Kepler...Swing percent chart pic.png
     
    So Kepler’s swinging less and pulling the ball less, but he’s also doing less damage when he does make contact. Intuitively this makes sense, as his power comes from pulling the ball, and by not swinging as often at first pitches he’s presumably missing out on some cookies (he’s hitting .368 on first pitches). A quick glance at his Statcast page shows the dreaded blue in exit velocity (88.1, down from 89.7), hard hit percent (36.1%, down from 42.1%), and barrel percent (6.2%, down from 8.9%). Like everything else, the Statcast numbers have regressed to pre-2019 Kepler.
     
    Download attachment: Have We Already Seen...Kepler...statcastpic.png
     
    While we may have dreamed of Kepler ascending from 2019 to a Christian Yelich-like plateau, in reality last year was probably the pinnacle of what we’ll see from Max. If he’s able to return to his 2019-self, Kepler will be extremely valuable to the Twins due to his team-friendly contract, but even if 2019 was an outlier and Kepler really is approximately a league average bat, his plus defense in right (and ability to fill-in for Byron Buxton in center), cheap cost, and relatively young age should allow him to remain a fixture in Minnesota’s lineup for years to come. And maybe facing Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox once again will remind Kepler of the damage he can do against that first pitch.
     
    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
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    Click here to view the article
  4. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from Melissa in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  5. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from JoshDungan1 in Can Nelson Cruz Win the Triple Crown?   
    Cruz didn't pick up any homers or RBI tonight but his three hits bring the average all the way up to .328. Unfortunately, Tim Anderson's three hits brought his BA up to .345 though. But the Twins won!
  6. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from JDubs in Can Nelson Cruz Win the Triple Crown?   
    Cruz didn't pick up any homers or RBI tonight but his three hits bring the average all the way up to .328. Unfortunately, Tim Anderson's three hits brought his BA up to .345 though. But the Twins won!
  7. Like
    Patrick Wozniak reacted to Puckett34 in Tonight Marks Bert Blyleven's Final Game as Twins Broadcaster   
    "Oh, we're live?!?"
  8. Like
    Patrick Wozniak reacted to kydoty in Tonight Marks Bert Blyleven's Final Game as Twins Broadcaster   
    Let’s remember some Bert-isms.
     
    Dick: “Today is national left handed day. And in honor of that, I’ve done everything today with my left hand.”
     
    Bert: “...everything?”
     
     
    Dick: “So did you ever run out of gas while on the mound?”
     
    Bert: “Oh I always had gas. My problem is that I never ran out.”
     
     
    Dick: “One of your nicknames was Dr. Hook. Was that because of your curveball!”
     
    Bert: “Probably...unless they saw me in the shower.”
     
    Dick: “Never have I wanted a Twins player to hit into an inning ending double play more than I do now.”
  9. Like
    Patrick Wozniak reacted to blindeke in Tonight Marks Bert Blyleven's Final Game as Twins Broadcaster   
    Best Dutch pitcher of all time. I'll always have a soft spot for him just because of this shirt. 
  10. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from Alex Schieferdecker in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  11. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from bird in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  12. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from Joey P in Can Nelson Cruz Win the Triple Crown?   
    Cruz didn't pick up any homers or RBI tonight but his three hits bring the average all the way up to .328. Unfortunately, Tim Anderson's three hits brought his BA up to .345 though. But the Twins won!
  13. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from NapoleonComplex in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  14. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from dex8425 in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  15. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from Shaitan in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  16. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from mikelink45 in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  17. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from DocBauer in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  18. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from wavedog in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  19. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from KFEY93 in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  20. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from rdehring in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  21. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from Dman in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  22. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from JDubs in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  23. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from chinmusic in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  24. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from bighat in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
  25. Like
    Patrick Wozniak got a reaction from Richard Swerdlick in Twins 3, White Sox 2: Pineda, Buxton Shine in Return to Roster   
    Who would have thought coming into the year that Thielbar would be getting the 7th in a tie game (and picking up the "W") with Wisler collecting the save?!
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