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Nash Walker

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  1. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from luckycharmguy for an article, 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch   
    The Needs
    This changes weekly (or even daily) as injuries and ineffectiveness ebbs and flows throughout a season. Even then, every team can get better in any area. The 2019 Astros had a rotation fronted by Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the No. 1 and 2 finishers in Cy Young voting. That didn’t stop them from trading with Arizona for Zack Greinke, who had pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 146 innings for the Diamondbacks. You can *always* get better. Knowing this, here are the needs I’ve identified for the 2022 Twins. 
    1. Frontline starter
    Nothing has changed here. As well as Twins starters have fared, they could use another frontline starter to pair with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. This starter doesn’t necessarily have to cost a ton, nor do they have to be team-controlled beyond this season. 
    Enter Nathan Eovaldi:
    The Red Sox are off to a plodding start. The rotation has been shaky, the bullpen shakier, and the looming threat of Xander Bogaerts’ impending free agency is hovering above it all. Not only is Bogaerts likely to opt out of his contract, their No. 1 starter, Nathan Eovaldi, is nearing the end of his four-year, $68 million contract. Eovaldi, 32, is emerging as a prime trade candidate as the Red Sox fall behind in a tough division. The American League East is a gauntlet, and someone has to finish fourth. 
    Eovaldi has coughed up an MLB-leading 14 home runs in eight starts, including five in the 2nd inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Astros. It’s been a rough go, but one need not look far to find the appeal in the right-hander. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a slider that produced a 35% whiff rate last season. His 2.95 FIP led the American League in 2021. Eovaldi is coming off two career years in one of the harshest pitching environments in baseball and he struck out eight Yankees in five-plus innings of one-run ball in the Wild Card Game. 
    The Red Sox owe Eovaldi $17 million this summer, so any team he joins will take on the remaining salary (~$9 million at the deadline). The performances of both the Red Sox and Eovaldi over the next two months will dictate his trade value, but it’s hard to imagine him costing more than a few mid-level prospects. Eovaldi is a viable game one starter if he’s right and at least a mid-rotation starter if he’s who he was before 2021. 
    Other Red Sox to watch: DH/OF J.D. Martinez: another impending free agent who continues to produce. Imagine a lineup with righties Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Martinez, flanked by Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and a revamped Max Kepler. Sheesh. 
    2. High-leverage reliever
    Jhoan Duran has fully embraced his role in the bullpen and is currently must-watch TV. He’s a legitimate weapon, but who else back there is? Emilio Pagán, while posting solid numbers, continues to tightrope trouble. Griffin Jax is an exciting development, but his command is spotty enough to wonder if he could handle high-leverage situations. The Twins could use a high-octane, late-inning option. 
    Let me introduce Jorge López, who you may remember from the rival Royals. López posted a 6.42 ERA in 158 ⅓ innings as a hybrid starter in Kansas City. The stuff has always been there for the Puerto Rican, and now he’s finally settled into a late-inning role for the Orioles. López, 29, averages 98 MPH with a turbo sinker, and opponents are having serious trouble hitting his high-spin curveball. He’s missing barrels and forcing opponents to beat balls straight into the ground. Like most unestablished flamethrowers, López sometimes battles his control. When he’s throwing strikes, López is shutting down both righties and lefties. 
    Acquiring López would require a change in the Twins’ style. They rarely commit to relievers past one year, and they’ve never broken the bank for one via trade. López is under team control through 2024, so a trading team would essentially get 2.5 years of his services. López and Duran would give the Twins two fire-breathing right-handers, with Jax, Pagán, Caleb Thielbar, and Tyler Duffey all moved down in the pecking order. 
    Other Orioles to watch: OF Anthony Santander: an underrated switch-hitter who has learned how to draw more walks. A free agent after the 2024 season, Santander is not a particularly great defensive outfielder, but not a complete butcher. 
    3. A big bat
    The Twins are benefitting from improved depth. Gilberto Celestino has been a pleasant surprise in the outfield, and Gary Sánchez is driving in runs as the backup catcher and part-time DH. Luis Arraez spends his time at first base as Gio Urshela and José Miranda man the hot corner. Oh, and Royce Lewis is simmering at Triple-A. The offense isn’t a weakness, but it could stand to get better. 
    Nationals first baseman Josh Bell could be an excellent fit for the Twins. 
    Bell, 29, traded to Washington in 2020, has been a solid contributor in more ways than one. Bell does a lot of things well. Through Friday, he’s hit .273/.360/.472 (133 OPS+) with 31 homers in 182 games for the Nats. He’s a switch-hitter who rakes from the left side. He’s a serviceable right-handed hitter, but Bell’s main utility for the Twins would be against right-handed pitchers. Bell has a career .845 OPS as a left-handed hitter, and his 2022 overall expected batting average ranks in the 93rd percentile. 
    Bell is an average defensive first baseman and brings the experience the Twins are looking for at the position. Bell’s career strikeout rate is sub-20%. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball. He's an impending free agent, with the Nationals owing him $10 million in his final year of arbitration.
    This is a fun lineup to dream on for the second half:

    1. Byron Buxton, CF
    2. Carlos Correa, SS
    3. Jorge Polanco (S), 2B
    4. Josh Bell (S), 1B
    5. Luis Arraez (L), DH
    6. Royce Lewis, 3B
    7. Max Kepler (L), RF
    8. Ryan Jeffers/Gary Sánchez, C
    9. Trevor Larnach (L), LF
    Other Nationals to watch: DH Nelson Cruz: Cruz could be hitting that 41-year-old sized wall, but his batted-ball data is still excellent. How about one final playoff chase with the Boomstick?
    What do you think about these trade options for the Twins? Comment below!
  2. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Melissa for an article, 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch   
    The Needs
    This changes weekly (or even daily) as injuries and ineffectiveness ebbs and flows throughout a season. Even then, every team can get better in any area. The 2019 Astros had a rotation fronted by Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the No. 1 and 2 finishers in Cy Young voting. That didn’t stop them from trading with Arizona for Zack Greinke, who had pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 146 innings for the Diamondbacks. You can *always* get better. Knowing this, here are the needs I’ve identified for the 2022 Twins. 
    1. Frontline starter
    Nothing has changed here. As well as Twins starters have fared, they could use another frontline starter to pair with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. This starter doesn’t necessarily have to cost a ton, nor do they have to be team-controlled beyond this season. 
    Enter Nathan Eovaldi:
    The Red Sox are off to a plodding start. The rotation has been shaky, the bullpen shakier, and the looming threat of Xander Bogaerts’ impending free agency is hovering above it all. Not only is Bogaerts likely to opt out of his contract, their No. 1 starter, Nathan Eovaldi, is nearing the end of his four-year, $68 million contract. Eovaldi, 32, is emerging as a prime trade candidate as the Red Sox fall behind in a tough division. The American League East is a gauntlet, and someone has to finish fourth. 
    Eovaldi has coughed up an MLB-leading 14 home runs in eight starts, including five in the 2nd inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Astros. It’s been a rough go, but one need not look far to find the appeal in the right-hander. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a slider that produced a 35% whiff rate last season. His 2.95 FIP led the American League in 2021. Eovaldi is coming off two career years in one of the harshest pitching environments in baseball and he struck out eight Yankees in five-plus innings of one-run ball in the Wild Card Game. 
    The Red Sox owe Eovaldi $17 million this summer, so any team he joins will take on the remaining salary (~$9 million at the deadline). The performances of both the Red Sox and Eovaldi over the next two months will dictate his trade value, but it’s hard to imagine him costing more than a few mid-level prospects. Eovaldi is a viable game one starter if he’s right and at least a mid-rotation starter if he’s who he was before 2021. 
    Other Red Sox to watch: DH/OF J.D. Martinez: another impending free agent who continues to produce. Imagine a lineup with righties Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Martinez, flanked by Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and a revamped Max Kepler. Sheesh. 
    2. High-leverage reliever
    Jhoan Duran has fully embraced his role in the bullpen and is currently must-watch TV. He’s a legitimate weapon, but who else back there is? Emilio Pagán, while posting solid numbers, continues to tightrope trouble. Griffin Jax is an exciting development, but his command is spotty enough to wonder if he could handle high-leverage situations. The Twins could use a high-octane, late-inning option. 
    Let me introduce Jorge López, who you may remember from the rival Royals. López posted a 6.42 ERA in 158 ⅓ innings as a hybrid starter in Kansas City. The stuff has always been there for the Puerto Rican, and now he’s finally settled into a late-inning role for the Orioles. López, 29, averages 98 MPH with a turbo sinker, and opponents are having serious trouble hitting his high-spin curveball. He’s missing barrels and forcing opponents to beat balls straight into the ground. Like most unestablished flamethrowers, López sometimes battles his control. When he’s throwing strikes, López is shutting down both righties and lefties. 
    Acquiring López would require a change in the Twins’ style. They rarely commit to relievers past one year, and they’ve never broken the bank for one via trade. López is under team control through 2024, so a trading team would essentially get 2.5 years of his services. López and Duran would give the Twins two fire-breathing right-handers, with Jax, Pagán, Caleb Thielbar, and Tyler Duffey all moved down in the pecking order. 
    Other Orioles to watch: OF Anthony Santander: an underrated switch-hitter who has learned how to draw more walks. A free agent after the 2024 season, Santander is not a particularly great defensive outfielder, but not a complete butcher. 
    3. A big bat
    The Twins are benefitting from improved depth. Gilberto Celestino has been a pleasant surprise in the outfield, and Gary Sánchez is driving in runs as the backup catcher and part-time DH. Luis Arraez spends his time at first base as Gio Urshela and José Miranda man the hot corner. Oh, and Royce Lewis is simmering at Triple-A. The offense isn’t a weakness, but it could stand to get better. 
    Nationals first baseman Josh Bell could be an excellent fit for the Twins. 
    Bell, 29, traded to Washington in 2020, has been a solid contributor in more ways than one. Bell does a lot of things well. Through Friday, he’s hit .273/.360/.472 (133 OPS+) with 31 homers in 182 games for the Nats. He’s a switch-hitter who rakes from the left side. He’s a serviceable right-handed hitter, but Bell’s main utility for the Twins would be against right-handed pitchers. Bell has a career .845 OPS as a left-handed hitter, and his 2022 overall expected batting average ranks in the 93rd percentile. 
    Bell is an average defensive first baseman and brings the experience the Twins are looking for at the position. Bell’s career strikeout rate is sub-20%. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball. He's an impending free agent, with the Nationals owing him $10 million in his final year of arbitration.
    This is a fun lineup to dream on for the second half:

    1. Byron Buxton, CF
    2. Carlos Correa, SS
    3. Jorge Polanco (S), 2B
    4. Josh Bell (S), 1B
    5. Luis Arraez (L), DH
    6. Royce Lewis, 3B
    7. Max Kepler (L), RF
    8. Ryan Jeffers/Gary Sánchez, C
    9. Trevor Larnach (L), LF
    Other Nationals to watch: DH Nelson Cruz: Cruz could be hitting that 41-year-old sized wall, but his batted-ball data is still excellent. How about one final playoff chase with the Boomstick?
    What do you think about these trade options for the Twins? Comment below!
  3. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Fatbat for an article, 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch   
    The Needs
    This changes weekly (or even daily) as injuries and ineffectiveness ebbs and flows throughout a season. Even then, every team can get better in any area. The 2019 Astros had a rotation fronted by Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the No. 1 and 2 finishers in Cy Young voting. That didn’t stop them from trading with Arizona for Zack Greinke, who had pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 146 innings for the Diamondbacks. You can *always* get better. Knowing this, here are the needs I’ve identified for the 2022 Twins. 
    1. Frontline starter
    Nothing has changed here. As well as Twins starters have fared, they could use another frontline starter to pair with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. This starter doesn’t necessarily have to cost a ton, nor do they have to be team-controlled beyond this season. 
    Enter Nathan Eovaldi:
    The Red Sox are off to a plodding start. The rotation has been shaky, the bullpen shakier, and the looming threat of Xander Bogaerts’ impending free agency is hovering above it all. Not only is Bogaerts likely to opt out of his contract, their No. 1 starter, Nathan Eovaldi, is nearing the end of his four-year, $68 million contract. Eovaldi, 32, is emerging as a prime trade candidate as the Red Sox fall behind in a tough division. The American League East is a gauntlet, and someone has to finish fourth. 
    Eovaldi has coughed up an MLB-leading 14 home runs in eight starts, including five in the 2nd inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Astros. It’s been a rough go, but one need not look far to find the appeal in the right-hander. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a slider that produced a 35% whiff rate last season. His 2.95 FIP led the American League in 2021. Eovaldi is coming off two career years in one of the harshest pitching environments in baseball and he struck out eight Yankees in five-plus innings of one-run ball in the Wild Card Game. 
    The Red Sox owe Eovaldi $17 million this summer, so any team he joins will take on the remaining salary (~$9 million at the deadline). The performances of both the Red Sox and Eovaldi over the next two months will dictate his trade value, but it’s hard to imagine him costing more than a few mid-level prospects. Eovaldi is a viable game one starter if he’s right and at least a mid-rotation starter if he’s who he was before 2021. 
    Other Red Sox to watch: DH/OF J.D. Martinez: another impending free agent who continues to produce. Imagine a lineup with righties Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Martinez, flanked by Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and a revamped Max Kepler. Sheesh. 
    2. High-leverage reliever
    Jhoan Duran has fully embraced his role in the bullpen and is currently must-watch TV. He’s a legitimate weapon, but who else back there is? Emilio Pagán, while posting solid numbers, continues to tightrope trouble. Griffin Jax is an exciting development, but his command is spotty enough to wonder if he could handle high-leverage situations. The Twins could use a high-octane, late-inning option. 
    Let me introduce Jorge López, who you may remember from the rival Royals. López posted a 6.42 ERA in 158 ⅓ innings as a hybrid starter in Kansas City. The stuff has always been there for the Puerto Rican, and now he’s finally settled into a late-inning role for the Orioles. López, 29, averages 98 MPH with a turbo sinker, and opponents are having serious trouble hitting his high-spin curveball. He’s missing barrels and forcing opponents to beat balls straight into the ground. Like most unestablished flamethrowers, López sometimes battles his control. When he’s throwing strikes, López is shutting down both righties and lefties. 
    Acquiring López would require a change in the Twins’ style. They rarely commit to relievers past one year, and they’ve never broken the bank for one via trade. López is under team control through 2024, so a trading team would essentially get 2.5 years of his services. López and Duran would give the Twins two fire-breathing right-handers, with Jax, Pagán, Caleb Thielbar, and Tyler Duffey all moved down in the pecking order. 
    Other Orioles to watch: OF Anthony Santander: an underrated switch-hitter who has learned how to draw more walks. A free agent after the 2024 season, Santander is not a particularly great defensive outfielder, but not a complete butcher. 
    3. A big bat
    The Twins are benefitting from improved depth. Gilberto Celestino has been a pleasant surprise in the outfield, and Gary Sánchez is driving in runs as the backup catcher and part-time DH. Luis Arraez spends his time at first base as Gio Urshela and José Miranda man the hot corner. Oh, and Royce Lewis is simmering at Triple-A. The offense isn’t a weakness, but it could stand to get better. 
    Nationals first baseman Josh Bell could be an excellent fit for the Twins. 
    Bell, 29, traded to Washington in 2020, has been a solid contributor in more ways than one. Bell does a lot of things well. Through Friday, he’s hit .273/.360/.472 (133 OPS+) with 31 homers in 182 games for the Nats. He’s a switch-hitter who rakes from the left side. He’s a serviceable right-handed hitter, but Bell’s main utility for the Twins would be against right-handed pitchers. Bell has a career .845 OPS as a left-handed hitter, and his 2022 overall expected batting average ranks in the 93rd percentile. 
    Bell is an average defensive first baseman and brings the experience the Twins are looking for at the position. Bell’s career strikeout rate is sub-20%. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball. He's an impending free agent, with the Nationals owing him $10 million in his final year of arbitration.
    This is a fun lineup to dream on for the second half:

    1. Byron Buxton, CF
    2. Carlos Correa, SS
    3. Jorge Polanco (S), 2B
    4. Josh Bell (S), 1B
    5. Luis Arraez (L), DH
    6. Royce Lewis, 3B
    7. Max Kepler (L), RF
    8. Ryan Jeffers/Gary Sánchez, C
    9. Trevor Larnach (L), LF
    Other Nationals to watch: DH Nelson Cruz: Cruz could be hitting that 41-year-old sized wall, but his batted-ball data is still excellent. How about one final playoff chase with the Boomstick?
    What do you think about these trade options for the Twins? Comment below!
  4. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from PatPfund for an article, 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch   
    The Needs
    This changes weekly (or even daily) as injuries and ineffectiveness ebbs and flows throughout a season. Even then, every team can get better in any area. The 2019 Astros had a rotation fronted by Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the No. 1 and 2 finishers in Cy Young voting. That didn’t stop them from trading with Arizona for Zack Greinke, who had pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 146 innings for the Diamondbacks. You can *always* get better. Knowing this, here are the needs I’ve identified for the 2022 Twins. 
    1. Frontline starter
    Nothing has changed here. As well as Twins starters have fared, they could use another frontline starter to pair with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. This starter doesn’t necessarily have to cost a ton, nor do they have to be team-controlled beyond this season. 
    Enter Nathan Eovaldi:
    The Red Sox are off to a plodding start. The rotation has been shaky, the bullpen shakier, and the looming threat of Xander Bogaerts’ impending free agency is hovering above it all. Not only is Bogaerts likely to opt out of his contract, their No. 1 starter, Nathan Eovaldi, is nearing the end of his four-year, $68 million contract. Eovaldi, 32, is emerging as a prime trade candidate as the Red Sox fall behind in a tough division. The American League East is a gauntlet, and someone has to finish fourth. 
    Eovaldi has coughed up an MLB-leading 14 home runs in eight starts, including five in the 2nd inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Astros. It’s been a rough go, but one need not look far to find the appeal in the right-hander. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a slider that produced a 35% whiff rate last season. His 2.95 FIP led the American League in 2021. Eovaldi is coming off two career years in one of the harshest pitching environments in baseball and he struck out eight Yankees in five-plus innings of one-run ball in the Wild Card Game. 
    The Red Sox owe Eovaldi $17 million this summer, so any team he joins will take on the remaining salary (~$9 million at the deadline). The performances of both the Red Sox and Eovaldi over the next two months will dictate his trade value, but it’s hard to imagine him costing more than a few mid-level prospects. Eovaldi is a viable game one starter if he’s right and at least a mid-rotation starter if he’s who he was before 2021. 
    Other Red Sox to watch: DH/OF J.D. Martinez: another impending free agent who continues to produce. Imagine a lineup with righties Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Martinez, flanked by Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and a revamped Max Kepler. Sheesh. 
    2. High-leverage reliever
    Jhoan Duran has fully embraced his role in the bullpen and is currently must-watch TV. He’s a legitimate weapon, but who else back there is? Emilio Pagán, while posting solid numbers, continues to tightrope trouble. Griffin Jax is an exciting development, but his command is spotty enough to wonder if he could handle high-leverage situations. The Twins could use a high-octane, late-inning option. 
    Let me introduce Jorge López, who you may remember from the rival Royals. López posted a 6.42 ERA in 158 ⅓ innings as a hybrid starter in Kansas City. The stuff has always been there for the Puerto Rican, and now he’s finally settled into a late-inning role for the Orioles. López, 29, averages 98 MPH with a turbo sinker, and opponents are having serious trouble hitting his high-spin curveball. He’s missing barrels and forcing opponents to beat balls straight into the ground. Like most unestablished flamethrowers, López sometimes battles his control. When he’s throwing strikes, López is shutting down both righties and lefties. 
    Acquiring López would require a change in the Twins’ style. They rarely commit to relievers past one year, and they’ve never broken the bank for one via trade. López is under team control through 2024, so a trading team would essentially get 2.5 years of his services. López and Duran would give the Twins two fire-breathing right-handers, with Jax, Pagán, Caleb Thielbar, and Tyler Duffey all moved down in the pecking order. 
    Other Orioles to watch: OF Anthony Santander: an underrated switch-hitter who has learned how to draw more walks. A free agent after the 2024 season, Santander is not a particularly great defensive outfielder, but not a complete butcher. 
    3. A big bat
    The Twins are benefitting from improved depth. Gilberto Celestino has been a pleasant surprise in the outfield, and Gary Sánchez is driving in runs as the backup catcher and part-time DH. Luis Arraez spends his time at first base as Gio Urshela and José Miranda man the hot corner. Oh, and Royce Lewis is simmering at Triple-A. The offense isn’t a weakness, but it could stand to get better. 
    Nationals first baseman Josh Bell could be an excellent fit for the Twins. 
    Bell, 29, traded to Washington in 2020, has been a solid contributor in more ways than one. Bell does a lot of things well. Through Friday, he’s hit .273/.360/.472 (133 OPS+) with 31 homers in 182 games for the Nats. He’s a switch-hitter who rakes from the left side. He’s a serviceable right-handed hitter, but Bell’s main utility for the Twins would be against right-handed pitchers. Bell has a career .845 OPS as a left-handed hitter, and his 2022 overall expected batting average ranks in the 93rd percentile. 
    Bell is an average defensive first baseman and brings the experience the Twins are looking for at the position. Bell’s career strikeout rate is sub-20%. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball. He's an impending free agent, with the Nationals owing him $10 million in his final year of arbitration.
    This is a fun lineup to dream on for the second half:

    1. Byron Buxton, CF
    2. Carlos Correa, SS
    3. Jorge Polanco (S), 2B
    4. Josh Bell (S), 1B
    5. Luis Arraez (L), DH
    6. Royce Lewis, 3B
    7. Max Kepler (L), RF
    8. Ryan Jeffers/Gary Sánchez, C
    9. Trevor Larnach (L), LF
    Other Nationals to watch: DH Nelson Cruz: Cruz could be hitting that 41-year-old sized wall, but his batted-ball data is still excellent. How about one final playoff chase with the Boomstick?
    What do you think about these trade options for the Twins? Comment below!
  5. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from The Mad King for an article, 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch   
    The Needs
    This changes weekly (or even daily) as injuries and ineffectiveness ebbs and flows throughout a season. Even then, every team can get better in any area. The 2019 Astros had a rotation fronted by Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the No. 1 and 2 finishers in Cy Young voting. That didn’t stop them from trading with Arizona for Zack Greinke, who had pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 146 innings for the Diamondbacks. You can *always* get better. Knowing this, here are the needs I’ve identified for the 2022 Twins. 
    1. Frontline starter
    Nothing has changed here. As well as Twins starters have fared, they could use another frontline starter to pair with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. This starter doesn’t necessarily have to cost a ton, nor do they have to be team-controlled beyond this season. 
    Enter Nathan Eovaldi:
    The Red Sox are off to a plodding start. The rotation has been shaky, the bullpen shakier, and the looming threat of Xander Bogaerts’ impending free agency is hovering above it all. Not only is Bogaerts likely to opt out of his contract, their No. 1 starter, Nathan Eovaldi, is nearing the end of his four-year, $68 million contract. Eovaldi, 32, is emerging as a prime trade candidate as the Red Sox fall behind in a tough division. The American League East is a gauntlet, and someone has to finish fourth. 
    Eovaldi has coughed up an MLB-leading 14 home runs in eight starts, including five in the 2nd inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Astros. It’s been a rough go, but one need not look far to find the appeal in the right-hander. He pairs an upper-90s fastball with a slider that produced a 35% whiff rate last season. His 2.95 FIP led the American League in 2021. Eovaldi is coming off two career years in one of the harshest pitching environments in baseball and he struck out eight Yankees in five-plus innings of one-run ball in the Wild Card Game. 
    The Red Sox owe Eovaldi $17 million this summer, so any team he joins will take on the remaining salary (~$9 million at the deadline). The performances of both the Red Sox and Eovaldi over the next two months will dictate his trade value, but it’s hard to imagine him costing more than a few mid-level prospects. Eovaldi is a viable game one starter if he’s right and at least a mid-rotation starter if he’s who he was before 2021. 
    Other Red Sox to watch: DH/OF J.D. Martinez: another impending free agent who continues to produce. Imagine a lineup with righties Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Martinez, flanked by Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, and a revamped Max Kepler. Sheesh. 
    2. High-leverage reliever
    Jhoan Duran has fully embraced his role in the bullpen and is currently must-watch TV. He’s a legitimate weapon, but who else back there is? Emilio Pagán, while posting solid numbers, continues to tightrope trouble. Griffin Jax is an exciting development, but his command is spotty enough to wonder if he could handle high-leverage situations. The Twins could use a high-octane, late-inning option. 
    Let me introduce Jorge López, who you may remember from the rival Royals. López posted a 6.42 ERA in 158 ⅓ innings as a hybrid starter in Kansas City. The stuff has always been there for the Puerto Rican, and now he’s finally settled into a late-inning role for the Orioles. López, 29, averages 98 MPH with a turbo sinker, and opponents are having serious trouble hitting his high-spin curveball. He’s missing barrels and forcing opponents to beat balls straight into the ground. Like most unestablished flamethrowers, López sometimes battles his control. When he’s throwing strikes, López is shutting down both righties and lefties. 
    Acquiring López would require a change in the Twins’ style. They rarely commit to relievers past one year, and they’ve never broken the bank for one via trade. López is under team control through 2024, so a trading team would essentially get 2.5 years of his services. López and Duran would give the Twins two fire-breathing right-handers, with Jax, Pagán, Caleb Thielbar, and Tyler Duffey all moved down in the pecking order. 
    Other Orioles to watch: OF Anthony Santander: an underrated switch-hitter who has learned how to draw more walks. A free agent after the 2024 season, Santander is not a particularly great defensive outfielder, but not a complete butcher. 
    3. A big bat
    The Twins are benefitting from improved depth. Gilberto Celestino has been a pleasant surprise in the outfield, and Gary Sánchez is driving in runs as the backup catcher and part-time DH. Luis Arraez spends his time at first base as Gio Urshela and José Miranda man the hot corner. Oh, and Royce Lewis is simmering at Triple-A. The offense isn’t a weakness, but it could stand to get better. 
    Nationals first baseman Josh Bell could be an excellent fit for the Twins. 
    Bell, 29, traded to Washington in 2020, has been a solid contributor in more ways than one. Bell does a lot of things well. Through Friday, he’s hit .273/.360/.472 (133 OPS+) with 31 homers in 182 games for the Nats. He’s a switch-hitter who rakes from the left side. He’s a serviceable right-handed hitter, but Bell’s main utility for the Twins would be against right-handed pitchers. Bell has a career .845 OPS as a left-handed hitter, and his 2022 overall expected batting average ranks in the 93rd percentile. 
    Bell is an average defensive first baseman and brings the experience the Twins are looking for at the position. Bell’s career strikeout rate is sub-20%. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he’s one of the more underrated players in baseball. He's an impending free agent, with the Nationals owing him $10 million in his final year of arbitration.
    This is a fun lineup to dream on for the second half:

    1. Byron Buxton, CF
    2. Carlos Correa, SS
    3. Jorge Polanco (S), 2B
    4. Josh Bell (S), 1B
    5. Luis Arraez (L), DH
    6. Royce Lewis, 3B
    7. Max Kepler (L), RF
    8. Ryan Jeffers/Gary Sánchez, C
    9. Trevor Larnach (L), LF
    Other Nationals to watch: DH Nelson Cruz: Cruz could be hitting that 41-year-old sized wall, but his batted-ball data is still excellent. How about one final playoff chase with the Boomstick?
    What do you think about these trade options for the Twins? Comment below!
  6. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Monkeypaws for an article, Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters   
    Matt Canterino has been dominant since the Twins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft. Canterino starred at Rice University, where they’re known to push their young arms. He pitched very well there, but his numbers pale compared to his production in the minors. 
    Canterino has pitched 68 2/3 innings in the Twins system. He’s given up nine runs, which equates to a 1.18 ERA. He’s struck out 104 of the 259 hitters he’s faced, a 40% clip. He pairs a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with a hammer breaking ball and a sneaky firm changeup, a pitch Canterino has worked on to better attack lefties. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 straight innings, striking out 23. Opponents have gone 4-for-55 with one extra-base hit. Canterino, 24, is charging up prospect lists.
    It was a rough start to 2022 for Canterino, who walked six in his first 3 2/3 innings of the season. Since then, he’s been absolute nails. Canterino has given up just one homer in his Minor League career, and now he’s shoving at the upper levels. Right-handed hitters have gone 15-for-151 (.099) with 70 strikeouts against him since his Minor League debut in 2019. He struck out 45 of the 81 hitters he faced in 2021. He's posted video-game numbers since day one. 
    Canterino has thrown 20 2/3 innings for Wichita, posting a 1.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate. He’s walked more than he would prefer, but it’s a sterling start considering he spent much of 2022 on the injured list with an elbow problem. Canterino may possess the second-best repertoire in the system, behind only Jhoan Duran. 
    Like Duran, there are real questions about Canterino’s ability to remain as a starter. He has a herky-jerky delivery and has already dealt with arm troubles. The Twins are watching his workload closely, and he’s averaging around 50 pitches per start. Canterino may end up in the Twins’ bullpen, and it’s fair to wonder if he could help them as soon as mid-summer. He has the stuff and the makeup to accelerate quickly. 
    Canterino is a key part of a wave of upper-minors starting pitchers the Twins have been developing. While Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder impress for the big league club, the depth in the minors is exciting. Jordan Balazovic is back, Cole Sands is on the cusp of the majors, and Canterino is mowing down hitters at Double-A. Not to mention 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland, who is off to a strong start at Double-A as well. This was the plan and remains the largest storyline for the 2022 Twins. 
    Beyond the obvious stars in the system, 2020 fourth-round pick Marco Raya has a 2.40 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings for Low-A Fort Myers. David Festa, the Twins' 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall in last year's draft, is pumping 97-99 with his fastball, carving out his path for a breakout season. Simeon Woods Richardson, acquired at the 2021 deadline, has a 1.67 ERA in five starts for the Wind Surge. Even Blayne Enlow is back after undergoing Tommy John surgery 11 months ago. Improved health (so far) has been the difference between 2021 and 2022 for the Twins' top pitching prospects. 
    Canterino could follow a similar path to Duran, who started in St. Paul's rotation last year before going down with elbow soreness of his own. The Twins moved Duran to the bullpen, recognizing that his outstanding stuff could help the team immediately. They seem determined to let Canterino start for as long as possible. An ideal season for Canterino would be reaching the 80-inning mark while finding success in a promotion to Triple-A. It's viable that Canterino joins the Twins for the stretch run, especially if the team is lacking high-powered arms late this season. For now, he's whooping almost every hitter who stands in the box. 
     
  7. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters   
    Matt Canterino has been dominant since the Twins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft. Canterino starred at Rice University, where they’re known to push their young arms. He pitched very well there, but his numbers pale compared to his production in the minors. 
    Canterino has pitched 68 2/3 innings in the Twins system. He’s given up nine runs, which equates to a 1.18 ERA. He’s struck out 104 of the 259 hitters he’s faced, a 40% clip. He pairs a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with a hammer breaking ball and a sneaky firm changeup, a pitch Canterino has worked on to better attack lefties. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 straight innings, striking out 23. Opponents have gone 4-for-55 with one extra-base hit. Canterino, 24, is charging up prospect lists.
    It was a rough start to 2022 for Canterino, who walked six in his first 3 2/3 innings of the season. Since then, he’s been absolute nails. Canterino has given up just one homer in his Minor League career, and now he’s shoving at the upper levels. Right-handed hitters have gone 15-for-151 (.099) with 70 strikeouts against him since his Minor League debut in 2019. He struck out 45 of the 81 hitters he faced in 2021. He's posted video-game numbers since day one. 
    Canterino has thrown 20 2/3 innings for Wichita, posting a 1.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate. He’s walked more than he would prefer, but it’s a sterling start considering he spent much of 2022 on the injured list with an elbow problem. Canterino may possess the second-best repertoire in the system, behind only Jhoan Duran. 
    Like Duran, there are real questions about Canterino’s ability to remain as a starter. He has a herky-jerky delivery and has already dealt with arm troubles. The Twins are watching his workload closely, and he’s averaging around 50 pitches per start. Canterino may end up in the Twins’ bullpen, and it’s fair to wonder if he could help them as soon as mid-summer. He has the stuff and the makeup to accelerate quickly. 
    Canterino is a key part of a wave of upper-minors starting pitchers the Twins have been developing. While Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder impress for the big league club, the depth in the minors is exciting. Jordan Balazovic is back, Cole Sands is on the cusp of the majors, and Canterino is mowing down hitters at Double-A. Not to mention 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland, who is off to a strong start at Double-A as well. This was the plan and remains the largest storyline for the 2022 Twins. 
    Beyond the obvious stars in the system, 2020 fourth-round pick Marco Raya has a 2.40 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings for Low-A Fort Myers. David Festa, the Twins' 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall in last year's draft, is pumping 97-99 with his fastball, carving out his path for a breakout season. Simeon Woods Richardson, acquired at the 2021 deadline, has a 1.67 ERA in five starts for the Wind Surge. Even Blayne Enlow is back after undergoing Tommy John surgery 11 months ago. Improved health (so far) has been the difference between 2021 and 2022 for the Twins' top pitching prospects. 
    Canterino could follow a similar path to Duran, who started in St. Paul's rotation last year before going down with elbow soreness of his own. The Twins moved Duran to the bullpen, recognizing that his outstanding stuff could help the team immediately. They seem determined to let Canterino start for as long as possible. An ideal season for Canterino would be reaching the 80-inning mark while finding success in a promotion to Triple-A. It's viable that Canterino joins the Twins for the stretch run, especially if the team is lacking high-powered arms late this season. For now, he's whooping almost every hitter who stands in the box. 
     
  8. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from MN_ExPat for an article, Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters   
    Matt Canterino has been dominant since the Twins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft. Canterino starred at Rice University, where they’re known to push their young arms. He pitched very well there, but his numbers pale compared to his production in the minors. 
    Canterino has pitched 68 2/3 innings in the Twins system. He’s given up nine runs, which equates to a 1.18 ERA. He’s struck out 104 of the 259 hitters he’s faced, a 40% clip. He pairs a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with a hammer breaking ball and a sneaky firm changeup, a pitch Canterino has worked on to better attack lefties. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 straight innings, striking out 23. Opponents have gone 4-for-55 with one extra-base hit. Canterino, 24, is charging up prospect lists.
    It was a rough start to 2022 for Canterino, who walked six in his first 3 2/3 innings of the season. Since then, he’s been absolute nails. Canterino has given up just one homer in his Minor League career, and now he’s shoving at the upper levels. Right-handed hitters have gone 15-for-151 (.099) with 70 strikeouts against him since his Minor League debut in 2019. He struck out 45 of the 81 hitters he faced in 2021. He's posted video-game numbers since day one. 
    Canterino has thrown 20 2/3 innings for Wichita, posting a 1.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate. He’s walked more than he would prefer, but it’s a sterling start considering he spent much of 2022 on the injured list with an elbow problem. Canterino may possess the second-best repertoire in the system, behind only Jhoan Duran. 
    Like Duran, there are real questions about Canterino’s ability to remain as a starter. He has a herky-jerky delivery and has already dealt with arm troubles. The Twins are watching his workload closely, and he’s averaging around 50 pitches per start. Canterino may end up in the Twins’ bullpen, and it’s fair to wonder if he could help them as soon as mid-summer. He has the stuff and the makeup to accelerate quickly. 
    Canterino is a key part of a wave of upper-minors starting pitchers the Twins have been developing. While Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder impress for the big league club, the depth in the minors is exciting. Jordan Balazovic is back, Cole Sands is on the cusp of the majors, and Canterino is mowing down hitters at Double-A. Not to mention 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland, who is off to a strong start at Double-A as well. This was the plan and remains the largest storyline for the 2022 Twins. 
    Beyond the obvious stars in the system, 2020 fourth-round pick Marco Raya has a 2.40 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings for Low-A Fort Myers. David Festa, the Twins' 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall in last year's draft, is pumping 97-99 with his fastball, carving out his path for a breakout season. Simeon Woods Richardson, acquired at the 2021 deadline, has a 1.67 ERA in five starts for the Wind Surge. Even Blayne Enlow is back after undergoing Tommy John surgery 11 months ago. Improved health (so far) has been the difference between 2021 and 2022 for the Twins' top pitching prospects. 
    Canterino could follow a similar path to Duran, who started in St. Paul's rotation last year before going down with elbow soreness of his own. The Twins moved Duran to the bullpen, recognizing that his outstanding stuff could help the team immediately. They seem determined to let Canterino start for as long as possible. An ideal season for Canterino would be reaching the 80-inning mark while finding success in a promotion to Triple-A. It's viable that Canterino joins the Twins for the stretch run, especially if the team is lacking high-powered arms late this season. For now, he's whooping almost every hitter who stands in the box. 
     
  9. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Dman for an article, Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters   
    Matt Canterino has been dominant since the Twins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft. Canterino starred at Rice University, where they’re known to push their young arms. He pitched very well there, but his numbers pale compared to his production in the minors. 
    Canterino has pitched 68 2/3 innings in the Twins system. He’s given up nine runs, which equates to a 1.18 ERA. He’s struck out 104 of the 259 hitters he’s faced, a 40% clip. He pairs a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with a hammer breaking ball and a sneaky firm changeup, a pitch Canterino has worked on to better attack lefties. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 straight innings, striking out 23. Opponents have gone 4-for-55 with one extra-base hit. Canterino, 24, is charging up prospect lists.
    It was a rough start to 2022 for Canterino, who walked six in his first 3 2/3 innings of the season. Since then, he’s been absolute nails. Canterino has given up just one homer in his Minor League career, and now he’s shoving at the upper levels. Right-handed hitters have gone 15-for-151 (.099) with 70 strikeouts against him since his Minor League debut in 2019. He struck out 45 of the 81 hitters he faced in 2021. He's posted video-game numbers since day one. 
    Canterino has thrown 20 2/3 innings for Wichita, posting a 1.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate. He’s walked more than he would prefer, but it’s a sterling start considering he spent much of 2022 on the injured list with an elbow problem. Canterino may possess the second-best repertoire in the system, behind only Jhoan Duran. 
    Like Duran, there are real questions about Canterino’s ability to remain as a starter. He has a herky-jerky delivery and has already dealt with arm troubles. The Twins are watching his workload closely, and he’s averaging around 50 pitches per start. Canterino may end up in the Twins’ bullpen, and it’s fair to wonder if he could help them as soon as mid-summer. He has the stuff and the makeup to accelerate quickly. 
    Canterino is a key part of a wave of upper-minors starting pitchers the Twins have been developing. While Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder impress for the big league club, the depth in the minors is exciting. Jordan Balazovic is back, Cole Sands is on the cusp of the majors, and Canterino is mowing down hitters at Double-A. Not to mention 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland, who is off to a strong start at Double-A as well. This was the plan and remains the largest storyline for the 2022 Twins. 
    Beyond the obvious stars in the system, 2020 fourth-round pick Marco Raya has a 2.40 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings for Low-A Fort Myers. David Festa, the Twins' 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall in last year's draft, is pumping 97-99 with his fastball, carving out his path for a breakout season. Simeon Woods Richardson, acquired at the 2021 deadline, has a 1.67 ERA in five starts for the Wind Surge. Even Blayne Enlow is back after undergoing Tommy John surgery 11 months ago. Improved health (so far) has been the difference between 2021 and 2022 for the Twins' top pitching prospects. 
    Canterino could follow a similar path to Duran, who started in St. Paul's rotation last year before going down with elbow soreness of his own. The Twins moved Duran to the bullpen, recognizing that his outstanding stuff could help the team immediately. They seem determined to let Canterino start for as long as possible. An ideal season for Canterino would be reaching the 80-inning mark while finding success in a promotion to Triple-A. It's viable that Canterino joins the Twins for the stretch run, especially if the team is lacking high-powered arms late this season. For now, he's whooping almost every hitter who stands in the box. 
     
  10. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from mikelink45 for an article, Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters   
    Matt Canterino has been dominant since the Twins drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2019 Draft. Canterino starred at Rice University, where they’re known to push their young arms. He pitched very well there, but his numbers pale compared to his production in the minors. 
    Canterino has pitched 68 2/3 innings in the Twins system. He’s given up nine runs, which equates to a 1.18 ERA. He’s struck out 104 of the 259 hitters he’s faced, a 40% clip. He pairs a mid-to-upper 90s fastball with a hammer breaking ball and a sneaky firm changeup, a pitch Canterino has worked on to better attack lefties. He hasn’t allowed a run in 17 straight innings, striking out 23. Opponents have gone 4-for-55 with one extra-base hit. Canterino, 24, is charging up prospect lists.
    It was a rough start to 2022 for Canterino, who walked six in his first 3 2/3 innings of the season. Since then, he’s been absolute nails. Canterino has given up just one homer in his Minor League career, and now he’s shoving at the upper levels. Right-handed hitters have gone 15-for-151 (.099) with 70 strikeouts against him since his Minor League debut in 2019. He struck out 45 of the 81 hitters he faced in 2021. He's posted video-game numbers since day one. 
    Canterino has thrown 20 2/3 innings for Wichita, posting a 1.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate. He’s walked more than he would prefer, but it’s a sterling start considering he spent much of 2022 on the injured list with an elbow problem. Canterino may possess the second-best repertoire in the system, behind only Jhoan Duran. 
    Like Duran, there are real questions about Canterino’s ability to remain as a starter. He has a herky-jerky delivery and has already dealt with arm troubles. The Twins are watching his workload closely, and he’s averaging around 50 pitches per start. Canterino may end up in the Twins’ bullpen, and it’s fair to wonder if he could help them as soon as mid-summer. He has the stuff and the makeup to accelerate quickly. 
    Canterino is a key part of a wave of upper-minors starting pitchers the Twins have been developing. While Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Josh Winder impress for the big league club, the depth in the minors is exciting. Jordan Balazovic is back, Cole Sands is on the cusp of the majors, and Canterino is mowing down hitters at Double-A. Not to mention 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland, who is off to a strong start at Double-A as well. This was the plan and remains the largest storyline for the 2022 Twins. 
    Beyond the obvious stars in the system, 2020 fourth-round pick Marco Raya has a 2.40 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings for Low-A Fort Myers. David Festa, the Twins' 13th-round pick out of Seton Hall in last year's draft, is pumping 97-99 with his fastball, carving out his path for a breakout season. Simeon Woods Richardson, acquired at the 2021 deadline, has a 1.67 ERA in five starts for the Wind Surge. Even Blayne Enlow is back after undergoing Tommy John surgery 11 months ago. Improved health (so far) has been the difference between 2021 and 2022 for the Twins' top pitching prospects. 
    Canterino could follow a similar path to Duran, who started in St. Paul's rotation last year before going down with elbow soreness of his own. The Twins moved Duran to the bullpen, recognizing that his outstanding stuff could help the team immediately. They seem determined to let Canterino start for as long as possible. An ideal season for Canterino would be reaching the 80-inning mark while finding success in a promotion to Triple-A. It's viable that Canterino joins the Twins for the stretch run, especially if the team is lacking high-powered arms late this season. For now, he's whooping almost every hitter who stands in the box. 
     
  11. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, Carlos Correa and the Twins' Fresh Vibe   
    For as unlikely as the signing was, Carlos Correa is precisely who the Twins need at this point, both as a player and person. Coming off an extremely disappointing and last-place season, fans were rightly frustrated about the club's direction. It’s not like losing teams are ever *that* fun, but the 2021 Twins were downright dull. They played with complacency that was evident to the naked eye. Reporters had little access for much of the year due to Covid, but the sense of a discouraged and disjointed clubhouse was real. 
    Nelson Cruz led the Twins to back-to-back division titles in 2019 and 2020, hitting .308/.394/.626 with 57 homers in 173 games. He was an incredible contributor to the offense, but his guidance off the field sent his value through the roof. Leadership styles and vibes vary, even among the winningest clubhouses. Cruz’s loose, fun, and calm personality perfectly fits Rocco Baldelli’s mantra. I can't say the same for Josh Donaldson, who assumed a leadership role after signing a four-year, $92 million deal before the 2020 season. 
    At the time of the signing, I felt Donaldson was a perfect key to help the Twins break out of their postseason losing streak. Now, I can’t help but think his clubhouse fit never made sense. It rarely looked like he was an actual part of the team, and Correa’s immediate impact only amplifies this feeling. Donaldson certainly contributed when healthy, posting a 128 OPS+ in 163 games, and I’m not suggesting teammates disliked him. It just didn’t work for both sides, and that’s fine!
    It’s impossible to know the impact Donaldson had on the clubhouse, but it’s fair to say his hardened style paled in comparison to Cruz and Baldelli. Donaldson's bulldog-vibe could be a double-edged sword. A winning team may appreciate his bravado, but a last-place team could wear down over the 162-game grind. The Yankees, Donaldson’s new team, have won 18 of their first 25 games. It’s about fit, and I’m not sure Donaldson ever did in Minnesota. 
    With Correa, who values the day-to-day focus and trusts the process, the Twins have the co-leader they need. Byron Buxton is the face of the Twins, and even Correa admits this is “Byron’s team,” but Correa’s presence is undoubtedly impactful. Of course, this is easier to conclude as the team is in first place. Buxton did admit this spring, though, that it's a "night and day" feeling in the clubhouse. 
    It goes behind Correa. Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic wrote about the "immediate bond" felt among the Twins' rotation members. The 2022 Twins look (so far) like a tough, entertaining, and tightly-knit group. 
    I have no idea if the Twins' change in vibe is sustainable, or if it will wear down with a losing stretch. I do know that even if it’s a one-year deal, Correa feels like a Twin. Donaldson hoped he would leave a legacy in Minnesota, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. Correa is off to a great start in that regard, and the sky is the limit for how far he can take the 2022 Twins. 
    Please leave your thoughts, questions, and COMMENTS below. 
     
  12. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Jerr for an article, Carlos Correa and the Twins' Fresh Vibe   
    For as unlikely as the signing was, Carlos Correa is precisely who the Twins need at this point, both as a player and person. Coming off an extremely disappointing and last-place season, fans were rightly frustrated about the club's direction. It’s not like losing teams are ever *that* fun, but the 2021 Twins were downright dull. They played with complacency that was evident to the naked eye. Reporters had little access for much of the year due to Covid, but the sense of a discouraged and disjointed clubhouse was real. 
    Nelson Cruz led the Twins to back-to-back division titles in 2019 and 2020, hitting .308/.394/.626 with 57 homers in 173 games. He was an incredible contributor to the offense, but his guidance off the field sent his value through the roof. Leadership styles and vibes vary, even among the winningest clubhouses. Cruz’s loose, fun, and calm personality perfectly fits Rocco Baldelli’s mantra. I can't say the same for Josh Donaldson, who assumed a leadership role after signing a four-year, $92 million deal before the 2020 season. 
    At the time of the signing, I felt Donaldson was a perfect key to help the Twins break out of their postseason losing streak. Now, I can’t help but think his clubhouse fit never made sense. It rarely looked like he was an actual part of the team, and Correa’s immediate impact only amplifies this feeling. Donaldson certainly contributed when healthy, posting a 128 OPS+ in 163 games, and I’m not suggesting teammates disliked him. It just didn’t work for both sides, and that’s fine!
    It’s impossible to know the impact Donaldson had on the clubhouse, but it’s fair to say his hardened style paled in comparison to Cruz and Baldelli. Donaldson's bulldog-vibe could be a double-edged sword. A winning team may appreciate his bravado, but a last-place team could wear down over the 162-game grind. The Yankees, Donaldson’s new team, have won 18 of their first 25 games. It’s about fit, and I’m not sure Donaldson ever did in Minnesota. 
    With Correa, who values the day-to-day focus and trusts the process, the Twins have the co-leader they need. Byron Buxton is the face of the Twins, and even Correa admits this is “Byron’s team,” but Correa’s presence is undoubtedly impactful. Of course, this is easier to conclude as the team is in first place. Buxton did admit this spring, though, that it's a "night and day" feeling in the clubhouse. 
    It goes behind Correa. Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic wrote about the "immediate bond" felt among the Twins' rotation members. The 2022 Twins look (so far) like a tough, entertaining, and tightly-knit group. 
    I have no idea if the Twins' change in vibe is sustainable, or if it will wear down with a losing stretch. I do know that even if it’s a one-year deal, Correa feels like a Twin. Donaldson hoped he would leave a legacy in Minnesota, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. Correa is off to a great start in that regard, and the sky is the limit for how far he can take the 2022 Twins. 
    Please leave your thoughts, questions, and COMMENTS below. 
     
  13. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from DannySD for an article, Carlos Correa and the Twins' Fresh Vibe   
    For as unlikely as the signing was, Carlos Correa is precisely who the Twins need at this point, both as a player and person. Coming off an extremely disappointing and last-place season, fans were rightly frustrated about the club's direction. It’s not like losing teams are ever *that* fun, but the 2021 Twins were downright dull. They played with complacency that was evident to the naked eye. Reporters had little access for much of the year due to Covid, but the sense of a discouraged and disjointed clubhouse was real. 
    Nelson Cruz led the Twins to back-to-back division titles in 2019 and 2020, hitting .308/.394/.626 with 57 homers in 173 games. He was an incredible contributor to the offense, but his guidance off the field sent his value through the roof. Leadership styles and vibes vary, even among the winningest clubhouses. Cruz’s loose, fun, and calm personality perfectly fits Rocco Baldelli’s mantra. I can't say the same for Josh Donaldson, who assumed a leadership role after signing a four-year, $92 million deal before the 2020 season. 
    At the time of the signing, I felt Donaldson was a perfect key to help the Twins break out of their postseason losing streak. Now, I can’t help but think his clubhouse fit never made sense. It rarely looked like he was an actual part of the team, and Correa’s immediate impact only amplifies this feeling. Donaldson certainly contributed when healthy, posting a 128 OPS+ in 163 games, and I’m not suggesting teammates disliked him. It just didn’t work for both sides, and that’s fine!
    It’s impossible to know the impact Donaldson had on the clubhouse, but it’s fair to say his hardened style paled in comparison to Cruz and Baldelli. Donaldson's bulldog-vibe could be a double-edged sword. A winning team may appreciate his bravado, but a last-place team could wear down over the 162-game grind. The Yankees, Donaldson’s new team, have won 18 of their first 25 games. It’s about fit, and I’m not sure Donaldson ever did in Minnesota. 
    With Correa, who values the day-to-day focus and trusts the process, the Twins have the co-leader they need. Byron Buxton is the face of the Twins, and even Correa admits this is “Byron’s team,” but Correa’s presence is undoubtedly impactful. Of course, this is easier to conclude as the team is in first place. Buxton did admit this spring, though, that it's a "night and day" feeling in the clubhouse. 
    It goes behind Correa. Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic wrote about the "immediate bond" felt among the Twins' rotation members. The 2022 Twins look (so far) like a tough, entertaining, and tightly-knit group. 
    I have no idea if the Twins' change in vibe is sustainable, or if it will wear down with a losing stretch. I do know that even if it’s a one-year deal, Correa feels like a Twin. Donaldson hoped he would leave a legacy in Minnesota, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. Correa is off to a great start in that regard, and the sky is the limit for how far he can take the 2022 Twins. 
    Please leave your thoughts, questions, and COMMENTS below. 
     
  14. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Longdistancetwins for an article, Carlos Correa and the Twins' Fresh Vibe   
    For as unlikely as the signing was, Carlos Correa is precisely who the Twins need at this point, both as a player and person. Coming off an extremely disappointing and last-place season, fans were rightly frustrated about the club's direction. It’s not like losing teams are ever *that* fun, but the 2021 Twins were downright dull. They played with complacency that was evident to the naked eye. Reporters had little access for much of the year due to Covid, but the sense of a discouraged and disjointed clubhouse was real. 
    Nelson Cruz led the Twins to back-to-back division titles in 2019 and 2020, hitting .308/.394/.626 with 57 homers in 173 games. He was an incredible contributor to the offense, but his guidance off the field sent his value through the roof. Leadership styles and vibes vary, even among the winningest clubhouses. Cruz’s loose, fun, and calm personality perfectly fits Rocco Baldelli’s mantra. I can't say the same for Josh Donaldson, who assumed a leadership role after signing a four-year, $92 million deal before the 2020 season. 
    At the time of the signing, I felt Donaldson was a perfect key to help the Twins break out of their postseason losing streak. Now, I can’t help but think his clubhouse fit never made sense. It rarely looked like he was an actual part of the team, and Correa’s immediate impact only amplifies this feeling. Donaldson certainly contributed when healthy, posting a 128 OPS+ in 163 games, and I’m not suggesting teammates disliked him. It just didn’t work for both sides, and that’s fine!
    It’s impossible to know the impact Donaldson had on the clubhouse, but it’s fair to say his hardened style paled in comparison to Cruz and Baldelli. Donaldson's bulldog-vibe could be a double-edged sword. A winning team may appreciate his bravado, but a last-place team could wear down over the 162-game grind. The Yankees, Donaldson’s new team, have won 18 of their first 25 games. It’s about fit, and I’m not sure Donaldson ever did in Minnesota. 
    With Correa, who values the day-to-day focus and trusts the process, the Twins have the co-leader they need. Byron Buxton is the face of the Twins, and even Correa admits this is “Byron’s team,” but Correa’s presence is undoubtedly impactful. Of course, this is easier to conclude as the team is in first place. Buxton did admit this spring, though, that it's a "night and day" feeling in the clubhouse. 
    It goes behind Correa. Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic wrote about the "immediate bond" felt among the Twins' rotation members. The 2022 Twins look (so far) like a tough, entertaining, and tightly-knit group. 
    I have no idea if the Twins' change in vibe is sustainable, or if it will wear down with a losing stretch. I do know that even if it’s a one-year deal, Correa feels like a Twin. Donaldson hoped he would leave a legacy in Minnesota, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. Correa is off to a great start in that regard, and the sky is the limit for how far he can take the 2022 Twins. 
    Please leave your thoughts, questions, and COMMENTS below. 
     
  15. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from JDubs for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  16. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from nclahammer for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  17. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from VivaBomboRivera! for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  18. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from The Mad King for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  19. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from DocBauer for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  20. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from 4twinsJA for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  21. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Melissa for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  22. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Game7-91 for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  23. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Dman for an article, 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    1. The Central looks weak
    Sooner or later, the White Sox will find their stride. They’re missing key pieces from a roster that won 93 games and the division in 2021. Third baseman Yoán Moncada is progressing toward a return from an oblique injury. Lance Lynn, who threw 157 outstanding innings for an excellent rotation last year, is hoping to return in late May from knee surgery. 2020 Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jiménez likely won’t be back until the summer months, but he’s on the mend. The cavalry is coming. 
    Even then, the White Sox have evident flaws. Their defense is the worst in the American League by Outs Above Average, and Defensive Runs Saved. Bullpen stalwarts Liam Hendriks and Aaron Bummer are struggling to get outs in the late innings. Without Lynn, the rotation is thin. Dallas Keuchel has been terrible, while Vince Velasquez can’t keep runners off base. The White Sox’s depth is far from what it was in 2021, and they’re digging a hole early. 
    The Tigers and their fans hoped the team would produce a hot start, burying the rebuild in the rearview. The opposite is happening. The Tigers have lost 12 of their first 18 games with a weak offense and equally lousy defense. Desperately needing a run, the Tigers must go to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers this weekend. It’s too early to call a season doomed, but things are rough in the Motor City. 
    The Guardians made some noise early, pairing good offensive production with their outstanding pitching. They’ve crashed back to earth since that solid 7-5 start. They’re struggling to score runs, an expected trend when their only hitters with track records are superstar José Ramírez and streaky slugger Franmil Reyes. It’s possible Cleveland surprises, but their ceiling feels limited. 
    The Royals could present challenges for the competitive teams in the division. They've already won series' against the Twins and White Sox, and they're always tricky at Kauffman. I'd be surprised if they won more than 75 games, but I wouldn't completely write them off as a walk-in-the-park matchup.  
    2. They have a competent starting rotation
    It’s unlikely Twins starters will continue to pitch as well as they have, but the perception of the rotation has changed considerably since Opening Day. Joe Ryan is better than he was last September. Chris Paddack is, too. The Twins will get their projected No. 1 starter, Sonny Gray, back in short order (hamstring). The Twins' rotation is taking shape. 
    Dylan Bundy won’t post a sub-1 ERA this year, but he may finish as a solid No. 4 starter in a competitive rotation. That’s not insignificant, especially considering his 6.06 ERA and 5.51 FIP from a year ago. Bundy’s presence as a five-inning, three runs or less starter is potentially a massive development for the Twins. Bailey Ober had been rock-solid before his groin injury, and Paddack has pitched like a No. 3. 
    There’s a real chance the Twins will have at least an average starting rotation by the trade deadline. That outcome felt like a long shot less than a month ago, so I’m still setting the expectations relatively low. If the Twins have a winning team and are within striking distance of the playoffs, I’d expect them to make that move for an impact starter. They’ll need him if October becomes a reality. 
    3. They have depth, with more on the way
    In the preseason, the 2021 Twins looked to have substantial depth in all roster areas. That couldn’t have been further from the outcome. The Twins quickly learned they lacked viable backups at almost every position, especially in the rotation. Injuries hampered the young starting pitchers in the minors, though, which hasn’t been the case early this year. Fingers crossed. 
    Royce Lewis is performing exceptionally well in St.Paul. José Miranda was in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot after a terrific Minor League season in 2021. Beyond them, Spencer Steer, an underrated versatile infielder, is raking at Double-A Wichita. The Twins have desirable depth in the infield. A healthy Alex Kirilloff would go a long way in the outfield, sending Trevor Larnach down the depth chart. 
    The most important storyline for the 2022 Twins remains with the young starters. Simeon Woods Richardson has yet to allow a run through 21 ⅔ innings for Wichita. Matt Canterino is back on track after a shaky start, and his stuff looks pristine. Jordan Balazovic is still on the injured list with a knee strain, but he is still their best pitching prospect. There look to be reinforcements in both the rotation and bullpen. 
    The Twins have a long way to go, and it’s wise to watch with a skeptical eye, but it’s hard not to get excited about where they could go this year. 
  24. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from MN_ExPat for an article, Twins-Tigers Series Preview   
    Growling Expectations
    The Tigers, coming off five straight losing seasons, expect to compete in 2022. They won 77 games in manager A.J. Hinch’s first season with the club, finishing in third place in the Central in 2021. While the Tigers surprised with nearly 80 wins, they feasted off a historically bad division. 
    It hasn’t been a clean start, as the Tigers have won only six of their first 15 games. The offense has been poor, and they’ve dealt with many injuries. So far, performance hasn’t met the loftiest expectations Tigers fans have had since they won four straight AL Central titles from 2011 to 2014.  
    How Detroit won 77 games in 2021 is somewhat remarkable. Tigers position players accounted for 9.4 fWAR, the third-lowest in MLB. The pitching staff accumulated 10.2 fWAR, tied for 8th-lowest. It wasn’t a good team, but it was a significant step forward in a new era with Hinch. There is reason for optimism in the Motor City. 
    The Tigers' hopes start with former No. 1 pick Casey Mize, who is currently on the injured list with an elbow sprain. Lefty Tarik Skubal is off to a terrific start and harnesses a fastball in the mid-90s. The Twins have trouble against velocity-oriented lefties, and they’ll see Skubal in Thursday’s finale. Current Twins do have six homers in 73 plate appearances against him. 
    Speaking of lefties, the Tigers signed former Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez for five years and $77 million this offseason. Rodríguez has given up eight runs in 13 innings with an elevated fly-ball rate. He's set to pitch the series opener on Tuesday. 
    Many Twins fans thought the team should bring back veteran Michael Pineda to round out the rotation. Instead, Pineda signed with the Tigers for one year and $5.5 million, and he pitched well in his first start, throwing 60 pitches and holding the Yankees down for five innings. Pineda will return to the Target Field mound Wednesday in a different uniform. 
    The Tigers also added a new shortstop in Javier Báez on a six-year, $140 million deal. Báez is a divisive but highly talented player and can carry an offense for prolonged periods. He’s also an elite defender at shortstop, saving 46 runs since his debut in 2014. Of course, that comes with extreme swing-and-miss and long stretches of slumps
    Detroit’s offense posted a measly 93 wRC+ in 2021 (100 in league average), even with a Jeimer Candelario breakout and strong seasons from rookie Akil Baddoo and career minor-leaguer Eric Haase. This year, 2020’s first overall pick Spencer Torkelson joins the lineup. Torkelson looked like a complete hitter in the minors, and he enters the series hitting .217/.345/.435 in 15 games. 
    The Tigers have a dynamic and semi-dangerous set of hitters, especially after the late addition of Austin Meadows. Mr. 3000 Miguel Cabrera is always a focus, and the Tigers have a group that could cause problems for the Twins. 
    THREE SERIES X-FACTORS:
    1. Carlos Correa
    Byron Buxton frankly took control of the Twins’ sweeping of the White Sox over the weekend. He leads the American League with 1.3 fWAR and a .946 slugging percentage. He can completely flip any game, and the Tigers certainly know the damage he is capable of. Carlos Correa, meanwhile, is hitting a light .192 with minimal power. If he can get going behind Buxton, the Tigers will have trouble keeping this lineup down for three games. 
    2. Javier Báez
    Báez is back after a thumb injury landed him on the 10-day injured list. He has the highest upside of any Tiger and is hitting the middle of the order. Báez, like Buxton, can heat up and dominate in a hurry. The Twins will feed him a steady diet of breaking balls, but if they hang it, he’ll bang it. Báez presents a simple but not easy challenge. 
    3. The bullpens
    The Tigers’ bullpen ranks first in the American League with a 2.30 ERA. Gregory Soto is evolving into an elite closer, and Michael Fulmer has found a new (and successful) home as a reliever. The Twins sport the 7th-highest bullpen ERA in MLB (4.16). If current trends hold, the Twins may be in trouble in the late innings. 
    Pitching Probables
    Tues (6:40 CT): RHP Chris Paddack (0-2, 5.00 ERA) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 5.27 ERA) 
    Wed (6:40 CT): RHP Joe Ryan (2-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Pineda (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Thurs (12:10 CT): RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.81 ERA) vs LHP Tarik Skubal (1-1, 2.30 ERA) 

    What do you think the keys to this week's series are? 
  25. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Dave The Dastardly for an article, Twins-Tigers Series Preview   
    Growling Expectations
    The Tigers, coming off five straight losing seasons, expect to compete in 2022. They won 77 games in manager A.J. Hinch’s first season with the club, finishing in third place in the Central in 2021. While the Tigers surprised with nearly 80 wins, they feasted off a historically bad division. 
    It hasn’t been a clean start, as the Tigers have won only six of their first 15 games. The offense has been poor, and they’ve dealt with many injuries. So far, performance hasn’t met the loftiest expectations Tigers fans have had since they won four straight AL Central titles from 2011 to 2014.  
    How Detroit won 77 games in 2021 is somewhat remarkable. Tigers position players accounted for 9.4 fWAR, the third-lowest in MLB. The pitching staff accumulated 10.2 fWAR, tied for 8th-lowest. It wasn’t a good team, but it was a significant step forward in a new era with Hinch. There is reason for optimism in the Motor City. 
    The Tigers' hopes start with former No. 1 pick Casey Mize, who is currently on the injured list with an elbow sprain. Lefty Tarik Skubal is off to a terrific start and harnesses a fastball in the mid-90s. The Twins have trouble against velocity-oriented lefties, and they’ll see Skubal in Thursday’s finale. Current Twins do have six homers in 73 plate appearances against him. 
    Speaking of lefties, the Tigers signed former Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodríguez for five years and $77 million this offseason. Rodríguez has given up eight runs in 13 innings with an elevated fly-ball rate. He's set to pitch the series opener on Tuesday. 
    Many Twins fans thought the team should bring back veteran Michael Pineda to round out the rotation. Instead, Pineda signed with the Tigers for one year and $5.5 million, and he pitched well in his first start, throwing 60 pitches and holding the Yankees down for five innings. Pineda will return to the Target Field mound Wednesday in a different uniform. 
    The Tigers also added a new shortstop in Javier Báez on a six-year, $140 million deal. Báez is a divisive but highly talented player and can carry an offense for prolonged periods. He’s also an elite defender at shortstop, saving 46 runs since his debut in 2014. Of course, that comes with extreme swing-and-miss and long stretches of slumps
    Detroit’s offense posted a measly 93 wRC+ in 2021 (100 in league average), even with a Jeimer Candelario breakout and strong seasons from rookie Akil Baddoo and career minor-leaguer Eric Haase. This year, 2020’s first overall pick Spencer Torkelson joins the lineup. Torkelson looked like a complete hitter in the minors, and he enters the series hitting .217/.345/.435 in 15 games. 
    The Tigers have a dynamic and semi-dangerous set of hitters, especially after the late addition of Austin Meadows. Mr. 3000 Miguel Cabrera is always a focus, and the Tigers have a group that could cause problems for the Twins. 
    THREE SERIES X-FACTORS:
    1. Carlos Correa
    Byron Buxton frankly took control of the Twins’ sweeping of the White Sox over the weekend. He leads the American League with 1.3 fWAR and a .946 slugging percentage. He can completely flip any game, and the Tigers certainly know the damage he is capable of. Carlos Correa, meanwhile, is hitting a light .192 with minimal power. If he can get going behind Buxton, the Tigers will have trouble keeping this lineup down for three games. 
    2. Javier Báez
    Báez is back after a thumb injury landed him on the 10-day injured list. He has the highest upside of any Tiger and is hitting the middle of the order. Báez, like Buxton, can heat up and dominate in a hurry. The Twins will feed him a steady diet of breaking balls, but if they hang it, he’ll bang it. Báez presents a simple but not easy challenge. 
    3. The bullpens
    The Tigers’ bullpen ranks first in the American League with a 2.30 ERA. Gregory Soto is evolving into an elite closer, and Michael Fulmer has found a new (and successful) home as a reliever. The Twins sport the 7th-highest bullpen ERA in MLB (4.16). If current trends hold, the Twins may be in trouble in the late innings. 
    Pitching Probables
    Tues (6:40 CT): RHP Chris Paddack (0-2, 5.00 ERA) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 5.27 ERA) 
    Wed (6:40 CT): RHP Joe Ryan (2-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Pineda (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Thurs (12:10 CT): RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 2.81 ERA) vs LHP Tarik Skubal (1-1, 2.30 ERA) 

    What do you think the keys to this week's series are? 
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