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Nash Walker

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  1. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch   
    The Twins have a lot more baseball to play and many more games to win. It’s too early to call them genuine contenders, but it’s never early enough to look at who may be available for them to make a move at the deadline. Let’s dive in!
     
    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!

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  2. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Dave The Dastardly in Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters   
    Twins fans have already seen numerous exciting MLB debuts from the organization’s top pitching prospects. There’s more on the way, and perhaps the best one resides in Double-A Wichita’s rotation.
     
    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. 
     

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  3. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in Matt Canterino Continues To Dominate Minor League Hitters   
    Twins fans have already seen numerous exciting MLB debuts from the organization’s top pitching prospects. There’s more on the way, and perhaps the best one resides in Double-A Wichita’s rotation.
     
    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. 
     

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  4. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in 3 Reasons to Believe in These Twins   
    The Twins have navigated through a demanding schedule in April. There’s a considerable buzz surrounding the club as they sit in first place in the American League Central. Here are three reasons to believe in the 2022 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. 

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  5. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from wabene in Twins Have Important Reinforcements Close   
    It’s been an ugly start for the Twins and their bat rack. Aaron Gleeman broke down the awful numbers here if you thought your eyes were deceiving you. The good news is that the Twins have three hopeful offensive contributors on the way. 
    It’s never wise to place the “instant contributor” tag on any prospect. The early struggles of Bobby Witt Jr., baseball’s No. 1 prospect, and Spencer Torkelson, the first-round pick in the 2020 Draft, show that it’s unwise to expect immediate results from even the best rookie hitters. 
    The Twins are struggling to score runs. Naturally, fans start to wonder about reinforcements. Who could give this group a boost? And more importantly, why should you believe it could be better in the future? 
    Gary Sánchez, Carlos Correa, and Miguel Sanó are virtual locks to depart after the season, while Max Kepler enters the final guaranteed year of his contract in 2023. Gio Urshela is a clear non-tender candidate. There was significant turnover this offseason, especially in the rotation. We could see the same type of flip in the lineup next winter. 
    It doesn’t have to start then, though. MLB Pipeline ranks three Twins hitters in their Top-100 Prospect Rankings. Royce Lewis (45) has dropped considerably since the Twins selected him with the first pick in 2017, but his talent is undeniable. 
    Lewis is raking at Triple-A for the Saints. He’s hitting for power, drawing walks, using the opposite field, and stringing outstanding plays at shortstop. It’s still super early, but the early returns on Lewis are nothing short of remarkable. His production shouldn’t be a surprise to those who know how special his tools still are. 
    The assumed plan to replace Correa with Lewis in 2023 looks sound so far. If things continue to go this well for him at Triple-A, it’s not crazy to think Lewis could join the Twins relatively soon. He’s the highest upside player in the entire system, and his previous prospect status would’ve placed him at a 2022 mid-season debut.
    While Lewis carries the most upside, Austin Martin’s floor feels the safest. Martin, ranked as the No. 51 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, is known for his quality of at-bat and elite ability to make contact. His skillset is a right-handed Luis Arraez, and that specific mastery tends to translate fastest. Martin may never develop real power, but it feels like he’s close to the majors even without it. 
    The Twins’ Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2021 put together one of the best seasons the organization has ever seen. José Miranda, now a Top-100 prospect, led the minors in total bases and hit 30 homers across the two highest levels. He’s off to a slow start in 2022, but Miranda had an outside chance of making the team outright this spring. He’s likely the first call if a corner infielder gets hurt. 
    The Twins are hoping that Lewis, Martin, and Miranda make up the heart of the lineup for the next half-decade, preferably as soon as possible. With Byron Buxton locked in, it’s easy to envision a potential core for the future. If things continue to stay downhill for the Twins’ offense, they have three top prospects who could help when the weather warms up. 

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  6. Incorrect
    Nash Walker got a reaction from RpR in Twins Have Important Reinforcements Close   
    It’s been an ugly start for the Twins and their bat rack. Aaron Gleeman broke down the awful numbers here if you thought your eyes were deceiving you. The good news is that the Twins have three hopeful offensive contributors on the way. 
    It’s never wise to place the “instant contributor” tag on any prospect. The early struggles of Bobby Witt Jr., baseball’s No. 1 prospect, and Spencer Torkelson, the first-round pick in the 2020 Draft, show that it’s unwise to expect immediate results from even the best rookie hitters. 
    The Twins are struggling to score runs. Naturally, fans start to wonder about reinforcements. Who could give this group a boost? And more importantly, why should you believe it could be better in the future? 
    Gary Sánchez, Carlos Correa, and Miguel Sanó are virtual locks to depart after the season, while Max Kepler enters the final guaranteed year of his contract in 2023. Gio Urshela is a clear non-tender candidate. There was significant turnover this offseason, especially in the rotation. We could see the same type of flip in the lineup next winter. 
    It doesn’t have to start then, though. MLB Pipeline ranks three Twins hitters in their Top-100 Prospect Rankings. Royce Lewis (45) has dropped considerably since the Twins selected him with the first pick in 2017, but his talent is undeniable. 
    Lewis is raking at Triple-A for the Saints. He’s hitting for power, drawing walks, using the opposite field, and stringing outstanding plays at shortstop. It’s still super early, but the early returns on Lewis are nothing short of remarkable. His production shouldn’t be a surprise to those who know how special his tools still are. 
    The assumed plan to replace Correa with Lewis in 2023 looks sound so far. If things continue to go this well for him at Triple-A, it’s not crazy to think Lewis could join the Twins relatively soon. He’s the highest upside player in the entire system, and his previous prospect status would’ve placed him at a 2022 mid-season debut.
    While Lewis carries the most upside, Austin Martin’s floor feels the safest. Martin, ranked as the No. 51 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, is known for his quality of at-bat and elite ability to make contact. His skillset is a right-handed Luis Arraez, and that specific mastery tends to translate fastest. Martin may never develop real power, but it feels like he’s close to the majors even without it. 
    The Twins’ Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2021 put together one of the best seasons the organization has ever seen. José Miranda, now a Top-100 prospect, led the minors in total bases and hit 30 homers across the two highest levels. He’s off to a slow start in 2022, but Miranda had an outside chance of making the team outright this spring. He’s likely the first call if a corner infielder gets hurt. 
    The Twins are hoping that Lewis, Martin, and Miranda make up the heart of the lineup for the next half-decade, preferably as soon as possible. With Byron Buxton locked in, it’s easy to envision a potential core for the future. If things continue to stay downhill for the Twins’ offense, they have three top prospects who could help when the weather warms up. 

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  7. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in Twins Have to Weather April Storms   
    The Twins’ 2022 schedule is an exciting mix of challenging stretches, light runs, and everything in-between. April offers perhaps their most difficult month of the year. 
    The Twins’ first ten games of the season are against teams that won 90 or more games last year. The Mariners added Jesse Winker, Robbie Ray, and uber-prospect Julio Rodríguez to a talented roster that lost only 72 games in 2021. The Dodgers, baseball’s premier team, signed superstar Freddie Freeman. The heart of the Red Sox lineup is as dangerous as any, and the Twins must face them in their home-opening series at Fenway. Tough sledding. 
    No one is crying for the Twins. The team insisted they were trying to compete this year, and if you can’t hang with the best teams, you have no business making a run to the postseason. The Twins’ most-winnable series of April is a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium next week, but the Royals have always played the Twins tough, especially in Kansas City. 
    The good news for a Twins club needing a solid start is that May lightens up considerably. Four games in Baltimore, six games against the now-lowly Athletics, and 13 straight games against the Royals and Tigers await. The Twins, if they are a real contender this year, should be able to handle most of those matchups. It’s how they won 101 games in 2019. They'll have to do it without Alex Kirilloff and Jorge Alcala, at least for now. 
    The Twins ended their season extremely early last year. They dug a hole so deep (14-28 record) before the summer months even arrived. It’s okay to find your footing early, and it would be understandable for the Twins to scuffle a hair in the first half with young starters on the rise. There’s a stark difference, though, between scuffling and sinking. The Twins have to remain around .500 through April. 
    The goal: 11-11 or 10-12 by the end of the Tampa Bay series on May 1st. It’s a relatively low bar, but April rivals August as the Twins’ most challenging month. If they can weather the storm, they should be in a good spot when the calendar flips to April. Of course, they still have to play and win those lighter games.
    The Twins project to win between 80 and 86 games this year. Taking care of business against visibly-inferior teams (Royals, A’s, Orioles) is essential, but so is managing the tough stretches. The difference between 11-11 April and an 8-14 April is massive. If we manage expectations, the Twins should be shooting for a record that’s five or six games above .500 by the All-Star Break. They have the ammunition to add at the deadline and make a push in August and September. 
    The Twins will show us glimpses of who they are as soon as this weekend at Fenway. Split or win the series, and things are looking up. Lose three out of four or get swept, and the confidence will continue to dwindle. You are your record, after all. 

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  8. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in 3 Twins Prospects Off to Great Starts   
    Hope springs eternal, and there’s no hope like a prospect in baseball. Several Twins prospects had a lovely first weekend, flashing the talent fans hope to see at Target Field soon.
    Christian Encarnacion-Strand
    The Twins selected Encarnacion-Strand in the fourth round of last year’s draft, investing in the right-handed corner infielder from Oklahoma State. Encarnacion-Strand dominated the Big 12 with a .361/.442/.661 slash and 35 extra-base hits in 56 games. He followed that up with an incredible debut at Low-A Fort Myers, hitting .391/.424/.598 in 22 games, prompting many to choose him as their breakout candidate for 2022. 
    The Twins sent him to High-A Cedar Rapids, and he’s been nothing short of incredible. Encarnacion-Strand went 10-for-14 with three homers, two doubles, and 15 RBI through his first three games. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A. 
    Already 22, Encarnacion-Strand could move quickly through the system, with evaluators impressed by his agility and hands at third base. 
    Royce Lewis
    After missing nearly three years of minor league action, Lewis hasn’t missed a beat. He is 7-for-21 with a homer and three doubles. Lewis has stolen three bases and made a handful of great plays at shortstop. He’s walked four times and been hit by two pitches while striking out seven times. 
    Lewis’ talent speaks for itself, and he’s capable of dominating Triple-A and forcing the Twins’ hand this summer. He’ll likely go through a tough stretch or two due to the time off, but this start is precisely what the doctor ordered. The Twins have to be pleased with his first week of game action. 
    Simeon Woods Richardson
    Speaking of ultra-talented breakout candidates, Woods Richardson had a rough go at Double-A last year. He’s now a year older at 21 and has settled into his third organization. After walking 34 batters in 53 1/3 innings last year, refining command is undoubtedly a focus in 2022. 
    Woods Richardson was excellent in his first start Saturday, striking out five over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up one hit and walked two. 46 of his 66 pitches were strikes, a great sign. Woods Richardson has the stuff and the size to become a mid-rotation force, and his first start was a step in the right direction.
     

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  9. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in Twins Minor League Week in Review: Starting Strong   
    Minor League Baseball is underway! The Twins’ affiliates kicked offseasons that will be filled with breakouts, wins, and box score hawking. On the whole, the system went 11-4. 
    If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week.
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (@ Louisville) 5-1 (5-1 overall)
    It was an awesome opening week for the Saints. The team scored 47 runs and won five of their six games. Royce Lewis is off to a great start, going 7-for-21 with three doubles and a homer. Lewis stole three bases and reached base in 48% of his plate appearances. He also made numerous strong plays at shortstop. 
    Mark Contreras picked up right where he left off in 2021, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and two homers. The player of the week, though, was Jake Cave, who went 9-for-19 with three doubles and a triple. Cave posted a 1.320 OPS and is undoubtedly itching to join the Twins in Minneapolis. 
    On the pitching front, Cole Sands dazzled with five scoreless innings in Thursday’s loss. Sands struck out seven, walked none, and allowed one hit. He’s a key part of what the Twins hope will be adequate starting pitching depth this season. Several Saints relievers had strong weeks, including Wladimir Pinto (4 IP, 0 ER), Juan Minaya (3 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K), and Yennier Cano (3 IP, 0 ER, 4 K).
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (vs. Tulsa) 0-3 (0-3 overall)
    The Surge had a rough first go at the plate, hitting .167/.264/.250 with one homer in 110 plate appearances. Austin Martin went 2-for-13 with multiple errors and Matt Wallner went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts. Spencer Steer had a nice weekend with three hits, including two doubles and two RBI. 
    Matt Canterino started the opener and battled through a tenuous first inning. The second was much better, but with the Twins monitoring his workload closely, Canterino lasted two innings and 45 pitches. Twins’ 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland made his debut in relief, walking five in a rough 4 2/3 innings. 
    Simeon Woods Richardson pitched very well in his season debut, striking out five and walking two in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. SWR threw 46 of 66 pitches for strikes, an awesome sign after command issues last year. Austin Schulfer, Steven Cruz, and the Surge bullpen was fairly solid all weekend. The bats were the issue. 
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (vs. Beloit) 3-0 (3-0 overall)
    What an insane week for Twins’ 2021 fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He went 10-for-14 with two doubles, three homers, and 15 RBI. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A. 
    Sawyer Gipson-Long quietly had a solid season in 2021, striking out 32% of hitters across both A-levels. He is off to a nice start this year, pitching four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his season debut. Brent Headrick and Aaron Rozek also turned in solid starts. 
    Outscoring Beloit 23-8, the Kernels could have a potent offense with Encarnacion-Strand, Alerick Soularie, and Aaron Sabato in the heart of the order. The bullpen was also fantastic, headlined by Osiris German, Cody Laweryson, and Bradley Hanner. 
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (@ Clearwater) 3-0 (3-0 overall)
    Emmanuel Rodríguez will be a must-follow prospect all summer long. The 19-year-old showed elite plate discipline and power in his 2021 debut. Rodríguez walked six times over his first three games this weekend, adding a homer and a double. He also stole a base in Sunday’s win. Rodríguez could move quickly.
    Outfielder Kyler Fedko, the Twins’ 12th round pick in 2021, is off and running with a double, triple, and four RBI. Kala’i Rosario went 2-for-8 with a triple and Keoni Cavaco had a monster Opening Day, going 3-for-5 with a double. Cavaco walked twice Saturday and once more Sunday, but he struck out six times in 15 plate appearances. 
    Starters David Festa, Travis Adams, and John Stankiewicz combined to allow three runs in 15 innings. They struck out 16 and walked only two. The Mighty Mussels lead the league with a 3.00 ERA after the first weekend. They led the Florida State League with a 3.96 ERA and tied for first with 1,288 strikeouts in 2021. 
    Complex League FCL Twins: 2021 Regular Season (21-38)
    The FCL Twins start their season in Mid-June. Players not currently on a full-season affiliate's roster are in Ft. Myers at the complex for what amounts to Extended Spring Training. Several of those players will move back and forth between the Complex roster and the Mighty Mussels roster, or even the other rosters depending on need. 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. 
    #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-13, 2 2B
    #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 7-for-21, 3 2B, 4 BB, 3 SB
    #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5-for-25, HR
    #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL
    #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes)
    #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes)
    #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes) 
    #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 46 strikes)
    #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch
    #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-14, SB
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Did Not Play.
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-9, 3 BB
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K
    #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes)
    #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-9, 2B, HR, SB
    #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP
    #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL 
    #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-11, 2 2B
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-11, BB
    #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch
    Feel free to discuss the teams or players, and ask questions in the COMMENTS below. 

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  10. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from operation mindcrime in Just How Good Is Carlos Correa?   
    Thank you so much! I added "actually paid" in there to clarify. The most they've ever paid is $49 million to Ervin, per Gleeman. Donaldson got something like $30 million from them. 
  11. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan in Just How Good Is Carlos Correa?   
    Thank you so much! I added "actually paid" in there to clarify. The most they've ever paid is $49 million to Ervin, per Gleeman. Donaldson got something like $30 million from them. 
  12. Like
    Nash Walker reacted to RJA in Just How Good Is Carlos Correa?   
    Great detailed article.  Thanks, Nash.  What will be fun to watch is the WAR contest between Correa and Buxton IF Buck (and Correa) stay healthy all year.  Buck had 4.2 WAR last year in 254 plate appearances which is really amazing.  Actually, we have two superstars on this team.  Let's pray for health.
  13. Like
    Nash Walker reacted to Mauer4HOF in Twins Bullpen Boost: Let Jhoan Duran Eat   
    Great article Nash!  I agree, people have too much time on their hands if they are dissecting what it means to let him eat.  100MPH and 3 consecutive seasons >10 K/9 seems like a talent that is ready for extended MLB bullpen duty.  In a season that if the chips fall right we get into the playoffs, feels like we don’t have a lot to lose by putting him in situations to succeed early in the year.  Let’s see what he has and maybe he builds himself into a reliable arm WHEN we are playing in October!
  14. Like
    Nash Walker reacted to HerbieFan in Twins Bullpen Boost: Let Jhoan Duran Eat   
    I've long stumped for allowing young, promising arms to get their first taste as part of a bullpen.  Seems like most organizations are worried about innings loads with young guys, so this is an ideal balance.  The Twins can get help from a young, electric arm.  They can manage innings as well as what type of leverage situations they are used in.  Seems like a win-win.
    Only thing I didn't like Nash, was reminding all of us that the White Sox will once again have Kopech in their rotation.
  15. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from Minny505 in The Twins Have a Yellow Brick Road   
    It’s been a hectic, wild, *insert synonym for crazy* post-lockout season for the Twins. Even now, there’s plenty of work to do, with the path to a winning offseason rearing its beautiful head. 
    There’s more than one route for the Twins, who’ve infused the roster with a new look. If you were taken back or even shocked to see Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela in Twins gear, you aren’t alone. Sunday night’s trade was wild enough to fill an entire month of offseason hunger, but it came after two more huge trades in subsequent days. 
    By trading Josh Donaldson and his contract to New York, the Twins added Sonny Gray’s salary for free. The Twins’ payroll remains at $94 million, even after the trade that sent first-round pick Chase Petty to the Cincinnati Reds. That leaves roughly $30-35 million in spending room for the Twins, with very few viable, high-priced free agents left. 
    As soon as the Donaldson deal broke, the attention seemingly shifted immediately to Trevor Story, the former Rockies star shortstop who remains a free agent. There had been speculation pre-lockout that the Twins could take a run at the two-time All-Star, but it was more hope than reality. That sense is shifted. Dan Hayes reported the Twins have indeed been in contact with Story’s camp and that smoke could trail actual fire. 
    Story is an excellent player with clear question marks, the reason why the Twins have any chance to sign him. Only Xander Bogaerts has a higher OPS than Story (.880) among shortstops who’ve played at least 300 games since 2018. Story produced 19.9 b-Wins Above Replacement in that span, second to Marcus Semien, now a second baseman. 
    Story’s relative down year in 2021 (still above-average), the Coors Field factor, and his defensive inconsistencies are real concerns, but they’re the only reason he’s not signing for $300 million. Since 2018, Story has more bWAR than Francisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, and Carlos Correa. 
    The Twins traded two of their three best right-handed hitters, have clean books, and a gaping hole at shortstop. Story fits in a meaningful way. He’s a $30 million player who may sign for closer to $20 million, another attractive proposition for a Twins team that still needs quality starting pitching. 
    In the still unlikely scenario where the Twins sign Story, the pressure increases on more additions. Enter Frankie Montas, the electric and highly sought-after right-hander from the Oakland Athletics. Montas isn’t a household name, primarily because of Oakland’s small market and because he hasn’t completely lived up to his stuff. 
    Montas lives with an upper-90s set of fastballs, his four-seamer performing better than his sinker. Montas’ best pitch is his splitter, a tumbling offering that kept hitters to a .164 wOBA in 2021. His slider has been devastating in the past, but not as much in 2021. Cutting down on the sinker and upping his slider usage could unlock a new weapon.  
    Montas threw 187 innings last year, another important aspect for the Twins. Montas dominated down the stretch, pitching to a 2.17 ERA and a 30% strikeout rate in the second half. 
    If the Twins sign Story, they’re signaling that Royce Lewis is not the shortstop of the future, adding to a glut at third base and in the outfield. Austin Martin and José Miranda already project for a corner, and Luis Arraez’s best defensive position is third base. Oh, and did I mention Urshela, the best defender of the group? There’s an influx. 
    The path is clear. Story, Montas, a reliever or two, and a depth addition of Michael Pineda is the slam-dunk route for the Twins. This team is one I’ve wanted them to assemble since the offseason commenced. It gives them a chance to compete with an expanded playoff field, and it excites fans for what could be an exhilarating team this summer. 
    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
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    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
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  16. Like
    Nash Walker reacted to DocBauer in The Twins Have a Yellow Brick Road   
    Playing the amateur GM game, this not the way I would have approached the re-tooling of our beloved Twins. But nobody has offered me the job, or sought my advice, lol. So let's look at this yellow brick road idea.
    I'm not as big a fan or Story as a lot of others. Despite various reports I've read that his bat comes around later on road trips as he becomes acclimated to being away from Coors Field, I'm still worried about his huge career splits. Now, NOT having half his games in the thin air might alow him to further adjust on a regular, daily basis, and he might be just fine. That's the hope, right? Even then, I doubt we'd see the same kind of numbers/production he had in Colorado. Doesn't mean he wouldn't still be a solid hitter with said adjustments, just probably not the producer he was previously. He fits a HUGE need, the $ is there to make it happen, and he'd be the best every day SS the Twins have had since...you pick the player and year. It's been a while. And his signing in no way is an indictment of Lewis's potential or future. The kid needs to PLAY. What's the worst case scenario? A year, year and a half from now the Twins have a great young talent ready and can stick at SS or move around? That's a GREAT problem to have!
    I hope a Story happens, and I hope it happens soon so we can continue to put this team together. 
    I DON'T like moving both Garver AND Rortvedt at all, even though I like Jeffers and think he will do just fine. I'm not as down on Sanchez as some. While not great defensively, he can offer experience and leadership to Jeffers and the team as a whole. He has undeniable power, and has consistently kept his OB above .300 even with a declining BA. A new start, new opportunity, could his bat rebound? Even hitting in the .220-.230 range with power could provide value. And while the Twins like to rest their catchers, I bet he only starts about a third of the games. But I'd sure like to see someone else brought on board in some capacity for depth. The Twins have a handful of guys who have at least SOME promise, but we're lacking anything close to ready depth at this point.
    I kinda like Urshela as a depth/insurance piece at 3B and SS with at least a little experience and possibility at 2B and 1B. The glove is at least OK. It appears the bat is at least OK, and he has power. He could provide help, especially if Arraez is moved in a deal.
    I like getting Gray. Period!
    The LAST THING I want the FO to do is trade off a slew of top prospects for a short term gain. But between a deal with Oakland, maybe Miami, or even re-visiting another deal with Cincinnati, adding a 2nd quality arm really puts this team in a good place. But again, the last they need to do is mortgage the future for 2022.
    Some have viewed the Yankees trade as a cost cutting move. Well, yea, it is. But that cost cutting move frees the team to make a Story deal. It allows them to maybe extend whatever pitcher they still add. They might even tack on a quality RH bullpen arm to really set things up there. (Pun slightly intended). And there is additional $ potentially coming off the books in the next year or so for greater flexibility.
    There is a real method to the madness with the FO I can clearly see. But it might just blow up in their face if they don't make the Story signing a reality.
     
  17. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in The Twins Have a Yellow Brick Road   
    It’s been a hectic, wild, *insert synonym for crazy* post-lockout season for the Twins. Even now, there’s plenty of work to do, with the path to a winning offseason rearing its beautiful head. 
    There’s more than one route for the Twins, who’ve infused the roster with a new look. If you were taken back or even shocked to see Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela in Twins gear, you aren’t alone. Sunday night’s trade was wild enough to fill an entire month of offseason hunger, but it came after two more huge trades in subsequent days. 
    By trading Josh Donaldson and his contract to New York, the Twins added Sonny Gray’s salary for free. The Twins’ payroll remains at $94 million, even after the trade that sent first-round pick Chase Petty to the Cincinnati Reds. That leaves roughly $30-35 million in spending room for the Twins, with very few viable, high-priced free agents left. 
    As soon as the Donaldson deal broke, the attention seemingly shifted immediately to Trevor Story, the former Rockies star shortstop who remains a free agent. There had been speculation pre-lockout that the Twins could take a run at the two-time All-Star, but it was more hope than reality. That sense is shifted. Dan Hayes reported the Twins have indeed been in contact with Story’s camp and that smoke could trail actual fire. 
    Story is an excellent player with clear question marks, the reason why the Twins have any chance to sign him. Only Xander Bogaerts has a higher OPS than Story (.880) among shortstops who’ve played at least 300 games since 2018. Story produced 19.9 b-Wins Above Replacement in that span, second to Marcus Semien, now a second baseman. 
    Story’s relative down year in 2021 (still above-average), the Coors Field factor, and his defensive inconsistencies are real concerns, but they’re the only reason he’s not signing for $300 million. Since 2018, Story has more bWAR than Francisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, and Carlos Correa. 
    The Twins traded two of their three best right-handed hitters, have clean books, and a gaping hole at shortstop. Story fits in a meaningful way. He’s a $30 million player who may sign for closer to $20 million, another attractive proposition for a Twins team that still needs quality starting pitching. 
    In the still unlikely scenario where the Twins sign Story, the pressure increases on more additions. Enter Frankie Montas, the electric and highly sought-after right-hander from the Oakland Athletics. Montas isn’t a household name, primarily because of Oakland’s small market and because he hasn’t completely lived up to his stuff. 
    Montas lives with an upper-90s set of fastballs, his four-seamer performing better than his sinker. Montas’ best pitch is his splitter, a tumbling offering that kept hitters to a .164 wOBA in 2021. His slider has been devastating in the past, but not as much in 2021. Cutting down on the sinker and upping his slider usage could unlock a new weapon.  
    Montas threw 187 innings last year, another important aspect for the Twins. Montas dominated down the stretch, pitching to a 2.17 ERA and a 30% strikeout rate in the second half. 
    If the Twins sign Story, they’re signaling that Royce Lewis is not the shortstop of the future, adding to a glut at third base and in the outfield. Austin Martin and José Miranda already project for a corner, and Luis Arraez’s best defensive position is third base. Oh, and did I mention Urshela, the best defender of the group? There’s an influx. 
    The path is clear. Story, Montas, a reliever or two, and a depth addition of Michael Pineda is the slam-dunk route for the Twins. This team is one I’ve wanted them to assemble since the offseason commenced. It gives them a chance to compete with an expanded playoff field, and it excites fans for what could be an exhilarating team this summer. 
    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Order the Offseason Handbook
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email 

    View full article
  18. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from mikelink45 in Playoff Expansion Leaves No Excuses for Twins Front Office   
    I really appreciate all your responses, including this one. 
  19. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from alexthegreat in Playoff Expansion Leaves No Excuses for Twins Front Office   
    I really appreciate all your responses, including this one. 
  20. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in Playoff Expansion Leaves No Excuses for Twins Front Office   
    I really appreciate all your responses, including this one. 
  21. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in Playoff Expansion Leaves No Excuses for Twins Front Office   
    With recent reports of a playoff expansion all but assured, the Twins have more reason to compete in 2022.
    Maybe the idea that the Twins had little chance in a five-team American League playoff field was accurate. But if it was, it wasn’t a slam dunk proclamation, and with an extra team (or two) added, there are no excuses left for this front office.
    Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have preached a desire for “sustained success” during their tenure running the Twins. They felt the breeze from a wide-open contention window following a two-year run where the Twins led the American League in regular-season wins. Many believe the team shouldn’t even try to get better one offseason later. 
    It’s an understandable viewpoint. The American League is ratcheting up, even more so than what we’re accustomed to. The East has four legitimate World Series contenders, with the Mariners in the West looking to knock off the powerhouse Astros. In the Central, the White Sox sit at the peak of their powers, with the Tigers and Royals hoping to take steps forward. It won’t be easy.
    The belief that the Twins, coming off a horrifically disappointing 73-win season *can’t* improve enough to win is giving too much slack to this front office. Ownership hired them to build a sustainable winner, a team that would compete every year. They failed in 2021. Does that mean a “punt” in 2022 should be easily forgiven and understood? I’m not convinced. 
    Listen, I understand there's a pitching pipeline coming. I cover the Minor League system on a daily basis, and I'm equally excited. Why does investing in the 2022 team automatically take away from the future? There's a happy medium here. 
    The Twins signed Josh Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million contract to compete for the duration. They traded Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda to solidify a rotation needing assistance. They extended Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sanó to build around. Did they really extend Byron Buxton just to waste his age-28 season? Deciding to throw away an entire season by not making impactful additions is not acceptable, especially with an expanded postseason. Why build all of that financial flexibility? For nothing? 
    The Boston Red Sox won 24 out of 60 games in the shortened 2020 season. That followed an incredibly disappointing follow-up to a dominant World Series run, one that looked to set the tone for years to come. Instead of folding for 2021, the team invested by signing Kiké Hernández and Hunter Renfroe and trading for Adam Ottavino. 
    Those moves weren’t earth-shattering, as the Red Sox had the offensive pieces in place to score runs in bunches. The rotation looked bleak, with Eduardo Rodríguez still recovering from myocarditis, Nick Pivetta struggling mightily in 2020, and Nathan Eovaldi throwing just 116 combined innings over the prior two seasons. 
    Boston didn’t throw in the towel. They gave themselves a fighting chance, relied on a potent offense, and eventually appeared in the ALCS. I agree the Twins shouldn’t trade away the entire future, but they can give themselves a chance in a six or seven-team field with the right moves. 
    This current Twins roster has little upside, but the floor is high enough offensively that the team could surprise this summer with substantial additions. It’s disheartening that the pain of the 2021 season eliminated this reality from so many minds. We shouldn’t let it. 
    Don’t let this front office off the hook. They were brought in to build a consistent winner. The jury is out whether they'll stick to their word. 
     
    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Order the Offseason Handbook
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
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    View full article
  22. Like
    Nash Walker reacted to DocBauer in Playoff Expansion Leaves No Excuses for Twins Front Office   
    I think the OP is pretty spot on. And I like and agree with so many comments here. But I think there's a lot to discuss and I'm going to attempt to bullet point here;
    1] Back in the day, I always hated only 2 divisions in each league. No matter how good you were, if you finished 2nd your season was done. Never made sense to me. I think 3 divisions in each league took WAY TOO LONG to happen, but it finally did, with a WC. I think baseball was better for it.
    I've never had a problem with 2 WC teams, but I've always felt the 1 game "coin flip" to advance was ridiculous. It should have always been a 3 game "play in" format.
    I am just fine with 12 teams, if you can actually make it work without similar "coin flip" games...but I will adjust I guess...and not prolong thr season well in to November. But I really hate a 14 team format! At that point, it's mediocrity vs money ONLY and everything becomes watered down. ESPECIALLY with this BIZARRE idea of a 1-0 nothing series lead on the books. 
    Do we really want baseball to follow the NBA and NFL format of allowing .500 and below teams in, on occasion? Especially when the 162G marathon is supposed to mean something? Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! And the "ghost win" is so abhorantly ridiculous I can't even laugh! Just play a 3 game series or continue with the 1 game "coin flip" that I hate. At least it would be decided on the field.
    2] Regarding sustainability, that doesn't mean, and has never meant, the Twins would be in contention EVERY season. NOBODY can guarantee that EVERY season. It's about being a good, solid team with a chance to win and be relevant MOST years. (Same with any sport). Over the past 5 years the Twins won, went to the playoffs, lost, and then won 101 and 36 games, (prorated was about 96G), and were in the playoffs and then had a weird, bizarre, who could predict 2021. THREE winning seasons out of five and in the playoffs. And no matter how much we want to look back on 2021 with revisionist eyes and opinions, or languish about how things didn't turn out and this and that happened...2021 just HAPPENED. Even the pundits felt the Twins would win, and fight the Dirty Sox for the Central crown. Crap happens, and it happened in Biff Tannen horse crap way.
    But 3 of 5 years, to me, is a mark of sustainability, even with unexpected disaster in 2021.
    3] When crap happens like it did in 2021...and I include an implosion of prospects, mostly pitching being affected by a variety of 2020 factors, and the Twins weren't the only team affected...sometimes a team needs a re-set. It's unfortunate, and sucks, but it's reality. The Maeda injury only magnifies the issue.
    I am NOT a fan of punting on 2022, especially with the talent on hand, and an expanded playoff format. And while a fan of our FO, I am NOT a fan of ignoring the opportunity to add pre-lockout that seemed so obvious to me. Add while still providing opportunity during the season just made so much sense!
    I would be stunned if the FO traded more than 2 players off the 40 man as well as 2-4 prospects from the top 15-20 list to add pitching. I DO believe that they had some trade options they liked but couldn't pull the trigger due to the lockout.
    I NEVER saw the Oddo trade, or the Maeda trade, or the Donaldson signing. I was even pleasantly surprised by the Cruz signing. So I really have no clue what our FO is looking at once the lockout is done.
    Could they make a Story or Rodon signing? Maybe. Could they trade from ML and milb depth to aquire a quality pitcher? Absolutely and maybe. Could they bring back Pineda and someone like Kikuchi to flesh out their roation with a veteran and an "upside not yet realized" addition? Yes. Maybe Odorizzi comes back cheap but as a good fit.
    Again, not exactly happy how things happened, or didnt happen, pre-lockout. And no matter what happens, i think having room for young pitchers being allowed to progress and audition is important.  And i think that is ultimately part of the 2022 plan. But I dont feel the FO is done with moves once the lockout is done. 
    ..
  23. Like
    Nash Walker reacted to TopGunn#22 in Crucial Seasons at Risk for Several Twins   
    I think you nailed it Nash.  And combining Kiriloff and Sano into one was shrewd.  They are linked to each other for a number of reasons.  I think people are "fairly" comfortable about what Joe Ryan will provide.  But Ober MUST not falter.  And it doesn't matter if the Twins bring in some vet SP's thru trade or FA to bolster the roster or not.  Ober is being counted on heavily and then need him to continue to progress.  And I like that you saved Lewis for last.  He could be Buxton-esque in many ways, or never clear the hurdle of "health" first so he can let his talent flow.  These last 3 years for him have not helped his situation at all.  Twins fans still have high hopes.
  24. Like
    Nash Walker reacted to RJA in Crucial Seasons at Risk for Several Twins   
    Nice article, Nash.  Clearly you hit the nail on the head with Lewis.  Of all the players anywhere in baseball, I am not sure there is another player who needs to play baseball and have a good season more than Lewis.  With all the crap going on in baseball now, it sure would be a great story if Lewis hit the ground running and had a great year.  He is such a good kid and has worked so hard to comeback that you have to pull for him. Let's play baseball!
  25. Like
    Nash Walker got a reaction from glunn in PECOTA & Joe Ryan: A Love Story   
    It’s the most beautiful time of the year! PECOTA projections are out, and they’re bullish on a particular Twins starting pitcher. 
    It’s essential to mention right off the bat: your expectations for Joe Ryan should remain in the third or fourth starter range. He’s thrown a total of 26 ⅔ innings in the majors, and it’s unfair to expect the same production as the first four starts of his career.
    Even then, there’s plenty of reason to be excited about the 25-year-old, invisiball-throwing vibe machine. Ryan looks ready to step right into the Twins’ rotation, and at this point, he’s likely to start on Opening Day in Chicago. 
    Many are hesitant to put much stock into PECOTA projections from the esteemed crew at Baseball Prospectus. The system projects the seasons of over 1,600 players, so there are bound to be errors. The projections can be wacky, unpredictable, and, yes, extremely exciting. 
    PECOTA projects Ryan to throw 143 innings with a 2.87 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 2022. They peg him for 2.5 WARP, tied for 20th and ahead of José Berríos, Frankie Montas, Freddy Peralta, and Lucas Giolito. 
    DRA- (deserved run average) is a statistic that measures the rate a pitcher expects to give up runs. PECOTA projects Ryan for a better DRA- than Lance Lynn, Sandy Alcantara, and Shohei Ohtani. The system essentially projects Ryan to be a frontline starter in 2022. 
    Pointing out the gaudy projections for Ryan isn’t an attempt to put lipstick on the pig that is the Twins rotation. On the contrary, this is more reason to win in 2022 with actual, impact moves for starting pitching. 
    If the Twins still had Berríos, the outlook would be incredibly different. They don’t, though, and they need to acquire someone on his level to compete in an improving division. Even if Ryan somehow matches these excellent numbers, the rest of the rotation isn’t strong enough to support them.
    PECOTA also likes Bailey Ober as a solid mid-rotation starter, projecting him for a 3.57 ERA, 3.81 FIP, and a better-than-average DRA- in 124 innings. The Twins have a base to work from, even if it’s not entirely sturdy. Will they add enough to make it matter?
    What do you think of Ryan’s PECOTA projections? Comment below!
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