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Matthew Taylor

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  • Birthday 02/13/1993

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  1. Both are Minnesota Twins legends. Both are Hall of Famers. But who was better: Rod Carew or Kirby Puckett? If you look at any ranking of the best Minnesota Twins players of all time, you’re going to find Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett firmly locked into the top five of that list. Both Carew and Puckett were legends whose names will be remembered forever. Today, we will dive into their careers and determine, once and for all, who had the better career. The Case for Rod The case for Rod Carew having a better overall career than Kirby Puckett starts with his numbers at the plate. Over the course of his career, Carew posted a higher batting average (.328 vs .318) and on-base percentage (.393 vs. .360) than Puckett. Carew’s career batting average ranks 30th all-time, and his seven career batting titles are tied for the fourth most in MLB history. Carew amassed over 3,000 hits in his MLB career, ranking 26th in MLB history. Even when accounting for era, Carew was still the better batter as evidenced by his career OPS+ of 131 compared to Puckett’s 124. On the bases, Carew also has the edge. Over his 19 year career, Carew amassed 353 stolen bases, nearly triple the number of career steals as Puckett. Another area where Carew bests Puckett is his longevity. While Puckett’s career was cut short (through no fault of his own), Carew was able to play at an extremely high level for 19 seasons in the Big Leagues. Additionally, Carew reached a higher individual peak than Puckett ever did, marked by the MVP award that he won in 1977 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. In this season, Carew led all of baseball with a .388 batting average, .449 on-base percentage, and 1.029 OPS. Carew led the majors that season in hits (239), runs (128), and triples (178). Carew was the standard of consistency during his Major League Baseball career. Carew was an all-star in 18 consecutive seasons, eclipsed a .300 batting average in 15 consecutive seasons, won four consecutive batting titles, and played in at least 140 games in eight consecutive seasons. Carew played for two different franchises, earning all-star appearances and MVP votes with each team. The Case for Kirby While Rod Carew bests Kirby Puckett at the plate, Kirby more than held his own on offense. Puckett led the Majors in batting average in 1989 and led baseball in hits on four different occasions and total bases on two occasions. Puckett didn’t break any home run records, but consistently put the ball in play and drove in runs, leading the Majors in RBI in his penultimate season in 1994. A huge mark in Kirby’s favor over Carew comes in the field where Puckett was a wizard with his glove at one of the most important defensive positions in baseball, centerfield. Over his 10-year career, Puckett earned the Gold Glove award for best center fielder in baseball six times, including four consecutive from 1986-1989. While Carew wasn’t a butcher in the field, he certainly wasn’t dominant and played a position in second base that just doesn’t bring the importance of center field. Where Kirby absolutely set himself apart from Rod Carew came in his performance in the absolute biggest of moments. Starting off with just clutch performance, Kirby was about as clutch as they come. In high leverage situations over the course of his career, Puckett posted a career OPS of .863 in 1,400 plate appearances compared to Carew’s .823 OPS in 2,095 plate appearances. Moving into the postseason numbers, the difference between the two becomes even more stark. Puckett played in four postseason series in his career, winning all four series en route to two World Series titles. In those four playoff series, Puckett amassed a .897 OPS, highlighted by a ridiculous .913 OPS across his world series appearances in 1987 and 1991. Compare that to Carew who was 0-4 in the four playoff series of his career where he hit just .220 with four extra-base hits. The moment that all Twins fans will remember from Kirby Puckett, and the absolute highlight of a Hall of Fame career was his performance in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series that single-handedly kept the Twins’ playoff hopes alive and sent them to Game 7 where they would eventually win their second title. In this game, Puckett hit a triple in the first inning, robbed Ron Gant of extra-bases in front of the Plexiglass wall in the third inning, and then won the game in the bottom of the 11th inning when he launched a game-winning, walk-off home run in front of the Twins’ faithful. The Verdict Kirby Puckett revitalized an entire generation of Minnesota Twins fans through his "clutchness" and late-game heroics. Puckett’s joy for the game was contagious and his leadership mindset and impact in the community made him a fan favorite for many. Rod Carew, however, had a better career than Kirby. As previously mentioned, Rod Carew beats out Kirby Puckett in just about every offensive category. Carew similarly has the edge over Puckett in terms of value-added. Over his 19-year career, Carew contributed 72.3 fWAR, 3.81 per season compared to Puckett providing 44.9 fWAR over his 12-year career, 3.74 per season. Carew accumulated more individual hardware with his all-star games, MVP awards, and batting titles. Whether fair or not, Puckett is hurt by his career being cut short. Only playing in 12 seasons, Puckett just didn’t have the runway to collect the number of accolades that Carew did. It’s entirely possible that if Puckett didn’t contract glaucoma, he would have gone on to have a 20-year career and rack up MVP awards and all-star game appearances, but with only 12 years, he just didn’t do enough to beat out Carew for the better career. Who do you think had the better overall career between Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett, leave a comment below and join the conversation! View full article
  2. If you look at any ranking of the best Minnesota Twins players of all time, you’re going to find Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett firmly locked into the top five of that list. Both Carew and Puckett were legends whose names will be remembered forever. Today, we will dive into their careers and determine, once and for all, who had the better career. The Case for Rod The case for Rod Carew having a better overall career than Kirby Puckett starts with his numbers at the plate. Over the course of his career, Carew posted a higher batting average (.328 vs .318) and on-base percentage (.393 vs. .360) than Puckett. Carew’s career batting average ranks 30th all-time, and his seven career batting titles are tied for the fourth most in MLB history. Carew amassed over 3,000 hits in his MLB career, ranking 26th in MLB history. Even when accounting for era, Carew was still the better batter as evidenced by his career OPS+ of 131 compared to Puckett’s 124. On the bases, Carew also has the edge. Over his 19 year career, Carew amassed 353 stolen bases, nearly triple the number of career steals as Puckett. Another area where Carew bests Puckett is his longevity. While Puckett’s career was cut short (through no fault of his own), Carew was able to play at an extremely high level for 19 seasons in the Big Leagues. Additionally, Carew reached a higher individual peak than Puckett ever did, marked by the MVP award that he won in 1977 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. In this season, Carew led all of baseball with a .388 batting average, .449 on-base percentage, and 1.029 OPS. Carew led the majors that season in hits (239), runs (128), and triples (178). Carew was the standard of consistency during his Major League Baseball career. Carew was an all-star in 18 consecutive seasons, eclipsed a .300 batting average in 15 consecutive seasons, won four consecutive batting titles, and played in at least 140 games in eight consecutive seasons. Carew played for two different franchises, earning all-star appearances and MVP votes with each team. The Case for Kirby While Rod Carew bests Kirby Puckett at the plate, Kirby more than held his own on offense. Puckett led the Majors in batting average in 1989 and led baseball in hits on four different occasions and total bases on two occasions. Puckett didn’t break any home run records, but consistently put the ball in play and drove in runs, leading the Majors in RBI in his penultimate season in 1994. A huge mark in Kirby’s favor over Carew comes in the field where Puckett was a wizard with his glove at one of the most important defensive positions in baseball, centerfield. Over his 10-year career, Puckett earned the Gold Glove award for best center fielder in baseball six times, including four consecutive from 1986-1989. While Carew wasn’t a butcher in the field, he certainly wasn’t dominant and played a position in second base that just doesn’t bring the importance of center field. Where Kirby absolutely set himself apart from Rod Carew came in his performance in the absolute biggest of moments. Starting off with just clutch performance, Kirby was about as clutch as they come. In high leverage situations over the course of his career, Puckett posted a career OPS of .863 in 1,400 plate appearances compared to Carew’s .823 OPS in 2,095 plate appearances. Moving into the postseason numbers, the difference between the two becomes even more stark. Puckett played in four postseason series in his career, winning all four series en route to two World Series titles. In those four playoff series, Puckett amassed a .897 OPS, highlighted by a ridiculous .913 OPS across his world series appearances in 1987 and 1991. Compare that to Carew who was 0-4 in the four playoff series of his career where he hit just .220 with four extra-base hits. The moment that all Twins fans will remember from Kirby Puckett, and the absolute highlight of a Hall of Fame career was his performance in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series that single-handedly kept the Twins’ playoff hopes alive and sent them to Game 7 where they would eventually win their second title. In this game, Puckett hit a triple in the first inning, robbed Ron Gant of extra-bases in front of the Plexiglass wall in the third inning, and then won the game in the bottom of the 11th inning when he launched a game-winning, walk-off home run in front of the Twins’ faithful. The Verdict Kirby Puckett revitalized an entire generation of Minnesota Twins fans through his "clutchness" and late-game heroics. Puckett’s joy for the game was contagious and his leadership mindset and impact in the community made him a fan favorite for many. Rod Carew, however, had a better career than Kirby. As previously mentioned, Rod Carew beats out Kirby Puckett in just about every offensive category. Carew similarly has the edge over Puckett in terms of value-added. Over his 19-year career, Carew contributed 72.3 fWAR, 3.81 per season compared to Puckett providing 44.9 fWAR over his 12-year career, 3.74 per season. Carew accumulated more individual hardware with his all-star games, MVP awards, and batting titles. Whether fair or not, Puckett is hurt by his career being cut short. Only playing in 12 seasons, Puckett just didn’t have the runway to collect the number of accolades that Carew did. It’s entirely possible that if Puckett didn’t contract glaucoma, he would have gone on to have a 20-year career and rack up MVP awards and all-star game appearances, but with only 12 years, he just didn’t do enough to beat out Carew for the better career. Who do you think had the better overall career between Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett, leave a comment below and join the conversation!
  3. On Monday, we identified three realistic free agent targets for the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen. Today, we’ll focus on three realistic reliever trade targets. Trades are a good route for baseball teams to acquire talent in that they can bring back quality players at a cost-controlled rate that free agency can’t offer. While there is a good argument for why the Minnesota Twins should avoid making a trade this offseason, the three relievers below figure to bring value to the Minnesota Twins without costing much prospect capital to be acquired. Target #1: Chris Stratton, Pittsburgh Pirates After struggling in a starting pitcher role over the first few years of his career, Stratton moved into a reliever role full time after being acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019. Since that time, Stratton owns a 3.69 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in 156 innings. Stratton is a ground ball pitcher who has found success with high spin rates on his fastball and curveball, landing in the 99th and 98th percentile on those respective pitches, the type of reliever who can come into jams with runners on and get out of them with double plays. The right hander still boasts two more years of team control via arbitration. Target #2: Cole Sulser, Baltimore Orioles Hiding on the lowly Orioles, Cole Sulser was quietly one of the better relievers in the American League in 2021. In 63 innings last season, Sulser posted a 3.71 ERA with a K/9 of 9.3 while walking just over three batters per nine innings. The righty boasts an impressive changeup, which allowed him to neutralize left handed hitters last season, allowing them to hit just .186 on the year. Sulser is still pre-arbitration, which means he will come with an affordable price tag over the next handful of seasons. Target #3: Lou Trivino, Oakland Athletics The Oakland Athletics are reportedly open for business as they look to shed salary and right handed reliever Lou Trivino is one of their more intriguing names. In 72 1/3 innings last season, Trivino posted a 3.18 ERA and showed that he has the chops to close ball games, earning 22 saves. While Trivino doesn’t have big time strikeout numbers (9.0 career K/9), he does throw a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and specializes in limiting contact, with an opponent exit velocity of just 87.4 MPH. Trivino is set to earn about $3M in 2022 and still has two more years of arbitration after that, making him an intriguing trade target for the Twins. Which of the above names would you be most interested in seeing the Twins go after in a trade? Are there any other potential trade targets not listed? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  4. Trades are a good route for baseball teams to acquire talent in that they can bring back quality players at a cost-controlled rate that free agency can’t offer. While there is a good argument for why the Minnesota Twins should avoid making a trade this offseason, the three relievers below figure to bring value to the Minnesota Twins without costing much prospect capital to be acquired. Target #1: Chris Stratton, Pittsburgh Pirates After struggling in a starting pitcher role over the first few years of his career, Stratton moved into a reliever role full time after being acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019. Since that time, Stratton owns a 3.69 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in 156 innings. Stratton is a ground ball pitcher who has found success with high spin rates on his fastball and curveball, landing in the 99th and 98th percentile on those respective pitches, the type of reliever who can come into jams with runners on and get out of them with double plays. The right hander still boasts two more years of team control via arbitration. Target #2: Cole Sulser, Baltimore Orioles Hiding on the lowly Orioles, Cole Sulser was quietly one of the better relievers in the American League in 2021. In 63 innings last season, Sulser posted a 3.71 ERA with a K/9 of 9.3 while walking just over three batters per nine innings. The righty boasts an impressive changeup, which allowed him to neutralize left handed hitters last season, allowing them to hit just .186 on the year. Sulser is still pre-arbitration, which means he will come with an affordable price tag over the next handful of seasons. Target #3: Lou Trivino, Oakland Athletics The Oakland Athletics are reportedly open for business as they look to shed salary and right handed reliever Lou Trivino is one of their more intriguing names. In 72 1/3 innings last season, Trivino posted a 3.18 ERA and showed that he has the chops to close ball games, earning 22 saves. While Trivino doesn’t have big time strikeout numbers (9.0 career K/9), he does throw a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and specializes in limiting contact, with an opponent exit velocity of just 87.4 MPH. Trivino is set to earn about $3M in 2022 and still has two more years of arbitration after that, making him an intriguing trade target for the Twins. Which of the above names would you be most interested in seeing the Twins go after in a trade? Are there any other potential trade targets not listed? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Much has been made about starting pitching and shortstop needs this offseason for the Minnesota Twins, however there are still holes in the bullpen that need to be filled. Here are some options for the Twins to target on the free agency market. It’s no secret that the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen struggled in 2021. Over the course of the season, the group of relievers finished 12th in the American League in both ERA and fWAR. They did improve down the stretch, however, finishing 3rd in ERA from August 1st through the end of the season. Nevertheless, there are still holes to fill in the bullpen as Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar and Jorge Alcala are currently the only locks to make the opening day roster. In identifying free agent targets for the bullpen, we want to be sure to look at targets that history has shown us are realistic options that the Falvine regime would consider signing. Since taking over the Minnesota Twins’ front office after the 2016 season, the Twins have only ever signed one reliever to a multi-year contract (Addison Reed, 2017) and have never spent more than $6M on a reliever on a one-year deal (Alexander Colomé, 2021). For this exercise, we will be looking at free agent relief pitchers who figure to sign a one-year contract for around $7M or less. Target #1: Collin McHugh After opting out of the 2020 season, right hander, Collin McHugh just posted the best season of his career in 2021 with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 37 appearances last season, McHugh posted a 1.55 ERA and a sub-one WHIP. Additionally, McHugh bumped his K/9 up to double digits in 2021 for just the second time in his career. The key to McHugh’s success is his slider, which he threw on 53% of his pitches in 2021, allowing opponents to hit just .177 against the pitch. The Twins’ front office has shown an affinity for slider-tossing right handers, making McHugh a perfect fit for the 2022 Twins. Target #2: Ryan Tepera Although not a household name, Ryan Tepera has been a consistently solid reliever over his seven year career, owning a career 3.48 ERA and only posting an ERA over 4.00 in one of his seven seasons. 2021 was the best season of Tepera’s career, with an ERA of 2.79. Tepera is another slider-heavy right hander who has had success against righties and lefties. At 34-years-old, the Twins should be able to bring in Tepera on a one year deal, which would make a lot of sense for a bullpen that could use more right-handed depth. Target #3: Brad Boxberger After a rough 2019 season with Kansas City where he posted a 5.40 ERA, Brad Boxberger has put together back-to-back excellent seasons with Miami and Milwaukee, posting a combined ERA of 3.27 with an outstanding K/9 of 11. Boxberger relies on a mid-90s fastball with a devastating slider that generates a 35% whiff rate. When he limits walks, Boxberger can be a high leverage right handed arm, and figures to go for a salary that is in line with what the Falvey-regime has shown they are comfortable signing. Which of the three reliever targets is most intriguing to you? Are there any other realistic reliever targets that weren’t noted here? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! View full article
  6. It’s no secret that the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen struggled in 2021. Over the course of the season, the group of relievers finished 12th in the American League in both ERA and fWAR. They did improve down the stretch, however, finishing 3rd in ERA from August 1st through the end of the season. Nevertheless, there are still holes to fill in the bullpen as Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar and Jorge Alcala are currently the only locks to make the opening day roster. In identifying free agent targets for the bullpen, we want to be sure to look at targets that history has shown us are realistic options that the Falvine regime would consider signing. Since taking over the Minnesota Twins’ front office after the 2016 season, the Twins have only ever signed one reliever to a multi-year contract (Addison Reed, 2017) and have never spent more than $6M on a reliever on a one-year deal (Alexander Colomé, 2021). For this exercise, we will be looking at free agent relief pitchers who figure to sign a one-year contract for around $7M or less. Target #1: Collin McHugh After opting out of the 2020 season, right hander, Collin McHugh just posted the best season of his career in 2021 with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 37 appearances last season, McHugh posted a 1.55 ERA and a sub-one WHIP. Additionally, McHugh bumped his K/9 up to double digits in 2021 for just the second time in his career. The key to McHugh’s success is his slider, which he threw on 53% of his pitches in 2021, allowing opponents to hit just .177 against the pitch. The Twins’ front office has shown an affinity for slider-tossing right handers, making McHugh a perfect fit for the 2022 Twins. Target #2: Ryan Tepera Although not a household name, Ryan Tepera has been a consistently solid reliever over his seven year career, owning a career 3.48 ERA and only posting an ERA over 4.00 in one of his seven seasons. 2021 was the best season of Tepera’s career, with an ERA of 2.79. Tepera is another slider-heavy right hander who has had success against righties and lefties. At 34-years-old, the Twins should be able to bring in Tepera on a one year deal, which would make a lot of sense for a bullpen that could use more right-handed depth. Target #3: Brad Boxberger After a rough 2019 season with Kansas City where he posted a 5.40 ERA, Brad Boxberger has put together back-to-back excellent seasons with Miami and Milwaukee, posting a combined ERA of 3.27 with an outstanding K/9 of 11. Boxberger relies on a mid-90s fastball with a devastating slider that generates a 35% whiff rate. When he limits walks, Boxberger can be a high leverage right handed arm, and figures to go for a salary that is in line with what the Falvey-regime has shown they are comfortable signing. Which of the three reliever targets is most intriguing to you? Are there any other realistic reliever targets that weren’t noted here? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
  7. The Minnesota Twins have long struggled to acquire top-end starting pitching. This was the case with prior Twins’ front offices and has been the case under Falvey/Levine’s leadership. Whether it is because of injuries (Kenta Maeda) or poor evaluation (J.A. Happ), betting on starting pitchers is extremely risky as the Twins have seen play out season after season. After getting largely shut out from the first wave of free agent starting pitchers, the Twins have now found themselves in a spot where they need to sign Carlos Rodón, trade for starting pitching (they shouldn’t), or be in for another long season with a better shot of fighting for the number one pick in the draft than a playoff spot. But what if there is another direction that the Twins could go? What if the Twins went all in on offense? While there is a shortage of impact starting pitching left on the free agency market, there are no shortage of bats. This surplus of bats on the market could present an opportunity for the Twins to pivot, settle for back-of-the-rotation arms, and instead go heavy on bats to bolster up what is already a strength of the Minnesota Twins. Names like Trevor Story, Kris Bryant, Nicolas Castellanos, and Michael Conforto are all all-star bats and are all still available as free agents. Not only is there a nice supply of big bats left on the free agent market, but the Twins have a need to fill multiple holes in their lineup as well, including shortstop, outfield and (potentially) designated hitter. The Minnesota Twins committed to Byron Buxton this offseason with a seven year contract. Additionally, the Twins have the young bats of Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Royce Lewis and Austin Martin ready to contribute for the next decade as well. An intriguing path for the Minnesota Twins to take would be for them to sign even more bats, completely lean into their offense and take on the identity of a bat-first team that will out-hit all of its opponents for years to come. Assuming that the Twins have $55M to spend this offseason, they would have the funds to bring in two superstar bats this offseason like Trevor Story and Kris Bryant. They could then fill out the rest of their team with fringe starting pitching, or trade Max Kepler and a marginal prospect for a moldable arm. Yes, this would leave the Twins with quite the shaky starting rotation, but with a lineup core of Trevor Story, Kris Bryant, Byron Buxton, and Alex Kirilloff, on top of Josh Donaldson, Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco. John Bonnes could be pitching for the Minnesota Twins and they’d be in good shape with that potent lineup. I mean..just look at this team: You hear about football teams that take on an offensive identity and out-score their opponents in order to win games, but you hardly find that in baseball. The Twins are in a position that they could go all in on offense and outscore the rest of the league by producing fireworks all Summer at Target Field. What do you think?
  8. The Minnesota Twins' need for starting pitching has been well-documented, but what if the Twins pivoted and went all-in on offense? The Minnesota Twins have long struggled to acquire top-end starting pitching. This was the case with prior Twins’ front offices and has been the case under Falvey/Levine’s leadership. Whether it is because of injuries (Kenta Maeda) or poor evaluation (J.A. Happ), betting on starting pitchers is extremely risky as the Twins have seen play out season after season. After getting largely shut out from the first wave of free agent starting pitchers, the Twins have now found themselves in a spot where they need to sign Carlos Rodón, trade for starting pitching (they shouldn’t), or be in for another long season with a better shot of fighting for the number one pick in the draft than a playoff spot. But what if there is another direction that the Twins could go? What if the Twins went all in on offense? While there is a shortage of impact starting pitching left on the free agency market, there are no shortage of bats. This surplus of bats on the market could present an opportunity for the Twins to pivot, settle for back-of-the-rotation arms, and instead go heavy on bats to bolster up what is already a strength of the Minnesota Twins. Names like Trevor Story, Kris Bryant, Nicolas Castellanos, and Michael Conforto are all all-star bats and are all still available as free agents. Not only is there a nice supply of big bats left on the free agent market, but the Twins have a need to fill multiple holes in their lineup as well, including shortstop, outfield and (potentially) designated hitter. The Minnesota Twins committed to Byron Buxton this offseason with a seven year contract. Additionally, the Twins have the young bats of Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Royce Lewis and Austin Martin ready to contribute for the next decade as well. An intriguing path for the Minnesota Twins to take would be for them to sign even more bats, completely lean into their offense and take on the identity of a bat-first team that will out-hit all of its opponents for years to come. Assuming that the Twins have $55M to spend this offseason, they would have the funds to bring in two superstar bats this offseason like Trevor Story and Kris Bryant. They could then fill out the rest of their team with fringe starting pitching, or trade Max Kepler and a marginal prospect for a moldable arm. Yes, this would leave the Twins with quite the shaky starting rotation, but with a lineup core of Trevor Story, Kris Bryant, Byron Buxton, and Alex Kirilloff, on top of Josh Donaldson, Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco. John Bonnes could be pitching for the Minnesota Twins and they’d be in good shape with that potent lineup. I mean..just look at this team: You hear about football teams that take on an offensive identity and out-score their opponents in order to win games, but you hardly find that in baseball. The Twins are in a position that they could go all in on offense and outscore the rest of the league by producing fireworks all Summer at Target Field. What do you think? View full article
  9. ZiPS is a computer projection system that was created by senior writer at Fangraphs, Dan Szymborski in the early 2000s. ZiPS uses a mixture of past performance, similar player comparisons as well as aging curve to project out how a player will perform that next season. Important to note, ZiPS does not project playing time for each individual player, but rather gives numbers for what a player's statistics would be if they were named the starter on the team. 1. Miranda Mania Coming? 2022 ZiPS Projection: .272/.316/.432 No. 1 Player Comp: Mike Lowell Jose Miranda had one of the best Minor League seasons in Minnesota Twins history in 2021 and the hype for his 2022 season is starting to pick up. While it’s no sure thing that Jose Miranda will start the season with the Twins, these ZiPS projections seem to think that he could hold his own in the Big Leagues. Szymborski’s projections have Miranda projected with an OPS+ of 103, which would have been the 6th best OPS+ on the 2021 Twins. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even a top-10 prospect heading into last season. Miranda’s number one player comp will definitely draw some looks as well, Mike Lowell. Lowell was a four-time all-star and also won a gold glove during his time with the Marlins and Red Sox. 2. Keep an Eye on Kerrigan 2022 ZiPS Projection: .221/.272/.373, 14 DRS A prospect name that hasn’t been included in many Twins conversations over the past year has been outfielder prospect, Jimmy Kerrigan. In Szymborski’s 2022 projections, Kerrigan was pegged with a defensive projection of 14 defensive runs saved. In the 2021 season just four players in all of baseball accumulated at least 14 defensive runs saved. Kerrigan’s glove is real, but the X-Factor in Kerrigan’s development as a prospect will be his bat. ZiPS only pegs Kerrigan as a .645 OPS batter, however that is a number higher than Willians Astudillo, Jake Cave and Andrelton Simmons produced in 2021. In 398 plate appearances with the St. Paul Saints in 2021, Kerrigan posted a .814 OPS with 19 home runs. 3. Projections Don’t Love Royce Lewis 2022 ZiPS Projection: .227/.270/.342 No. 1 Player Comp: Jhonny Perez While the ZiPS projections are excited about the potential of Jose Miranda and Jimmy Kerrigan, they are equally down on the potential of Royce Lewis in 2022. Szymborski’s system has Lewis pegged for a lowly .612 OPS and a negative defensive contribution. Royce Lewis is in for a pivotal season in 2022, as he has not truly played baseball since 2019 and hasn’t played well since 2018. 4. The Computers Are Just As Pessimistic about the Twins’ Starting Rotation as You Are Much has been said and written about the Minnesota Twins lack of action on the free agent starting pitching market this offseason. The front office’s lack of activity has left the Twins with a starting rotation featuring Randy Dobnak, Dylan Bundy, and a host of rookies. As a result, the projections for the Twins’s starting rotation are quite poor. While ZiPS is fairly optimistic on both Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober (4.11 and 4.22 ERAs, respectively), not a single pitcher in the Twins’ rotation is projected to eclipse 2.1 WAR in 2022. By comparison, the 2019 Twins had four different pitchers produce an fWAR above 2.1. 5. Fangraphs Doesn’t Think Jorge Polanco’s 2021 Season Was a Fluke The MVP of the 2021 Minnesota Twins unquestionably was Jorge Polanco. In a season where almost nothing went right, Polanco completely dominated the season and put up the best numbers in his career. While it’s natural to think that Polanco might regress in 2022, the ZiPS projections think that Polanco will actually improve at the plate next season. These projections peg Polanco for pacing the Twins in fWAR and posting the second best OPS on the team after Byron Buxton. What stands out to you from these ZiPS projections. What player projections are the most promising and worrying? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
  10. Fangraphs released their annual ZiPS projections for the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday morning, one of the most widely-respected computer projection systems in baseball. Here are five takeaways from their projections of the Twins in 2022. ZiPS is a computer projection system that was created by senior writer at Fangraphs, Dan Szymborski in the early 2000s. ZiPS uses a mixture of past performance, similar player comparisons as well as aging curve to project out how a player will perform that next season. Important to note, ZiPS does not project playing time for each individual player, but rather gives numbers for what a player's statistics would be if they were named the starter on the team. 1. Miranda Mania Coming? 2022 ZiPS Projection: .272/.316/.432 No. 1 Player Comp: Mike Lowell Jose Miranda had one of the best Minor League seasons in Minnesota Twins history in 2021 and the hype for his 2022 season is starting to pick up. While it’s no sure thing that Jose Miranda will start the season with the Twins, these ZiPS projections seem to think that he could hold his own in the Big Leagues. Szymborski’s projections have Miranda projected with an OPS+ of 103, which would have been the 6th best OPS+ on the 2021 Twins. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even a top-10 prospect heading into last season. Miranda’s number one player comp will definitely draw some looks as well, Mike Lowell. Lowell was a four-time all-star and also won a gold glove during his time with the Marlins and Red Sox. 2. Keep an Eye on Kerrigan 2022 ZiPS Projection: .221/.272/.373, 14 DRS A prospect name that hasn’t been included in many Twins conversations over the past year has been outfielder prospect, Jimmy Kerrigan. In Szymborski’s 2022 projections, Kerrigan was pegged with a defensive projection of 14 defensive runs saved. In the 2021 season just four players in all of baseball accumulated at least 14 defensive runs saved. Kerrigan’s glove is real, but the X-Factor in Kerrigan’s development as a prospect will be his bat. ZiPS only pegs Kerrigan as a .645 OPS batter, however that is a number higher than Willians Astudillo, Jake Cave and Andrelton Simmons produced in 2021. In 398 plate appearances with the St. Paul Saints in 2021, Kerrigan posted a .814 OPS with 19 home runs. 3. Projections Don’t Love Royce Lewis 2022 ZiPS Projection: .227/.270/.342 No. 1 Player Comp: Jhonny Perez While the ZiPS projections are excited about the potential of Jose Miranda and Jimmy Kerrigan, they are equally down on the potential of Royce Lewis in 2022. Szymborski’s system has Lewis pegged for a lowly .612 OPS and a negative defensive contribution. Royce Lewis is in for a pivotal season in 2022, as he has not truly played baseball since 2019 and hasn’t played well since 2018. 4. The Computers Are Just As Pessimistic about the Twins’ Starting Rotation as You Are Much has been said and written about the Minnesota Twins lack of action on the free agent starting pitching market this offseason. The front office’s lack of activity has left the Twins with a starting rotation featuring Randy Dobnak, Dylan Bundy, and a host of rookies. As a result, the projections for the Twins’s starting rotation are quite poor. While ZiPS is fairly optimistic on both Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober (4.11 and 4.22 ERAs, respectively), not a single pitcher in the Twins’ rotation is projected to eclipse 2.1 WAR in 2022. By comparison, the 2019 Twins had four different pitchers produce an fWAR above 2.1. 5. Fangraphs Doesn’t Think Jorge Polanco’s 2021 Season Was a Fluke The MVP of the 2021 Minnesota Twins unquestionably was Jorge Polanco. In a season where almost nothing went right, Polanco completely dominated the season and put up the best numbers in his career. While it’s natural to think that Polanco might regress in 2022, the ZiPS projections think that Polanco will actually improve at the plate next season. These projections peg Polanco for pacing the Twins in fWAR and posting the second best OPS on the team after Byron Buxton. What stands out to you from these ZiPS projections. What player projections are the most promising and worrying? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! View full article
  11. The two areas that the Minnesota Twins had an immense need heading into this offseason were starting pitcher and shortstop. Now, the cupboards are all but bare in each of these areas with 13 of Aaron Gleeman’s top 15 free agent starting pitchers and four of Gleeman’s top six free agent shortstops off the board entirely. Aside from signing one of the star free agent shortstops (not likely) or Carlos Rodón (possible), the Minnesota Twins will need to utilize the trade market if they want to bring in any difference-making talent this offseason. Doing so, though, would not be wise. I’m not breaking any news here, but the Minnesota Twins were not a good baseball team last year. The Twins just had their worst season since 2016, and did not show at any point in the season that they were on the verge of being a successful team. In only one full month in 2021 did the Minnesota Twins finish with a record above .500, when they went 14-13 in the month of August. On top of that, the Twins traded away their best starting pitcher since Johan Santana and their best power hitter since Jim Thome. The most likely path for the Minnesota Twins to acquire difference-making talent via the trade market would be by packaging one (or multiple) future prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a win-now player. Trade ideas as proposed by Twins Daily writer, JD Cameron, include Trevor Larnach for Chris Bassit or Jordan Balazovic and Ryan Jeffers for Sonny Gray. While the exact prospects that the Twins would need to part with in these trades could be different, the core idea remains the same…the Twins would need to part with key future prospects if they want to acquire top-shelf talent. The problem, and why they should avoid making deals this offseason, is that the Twins have not shown that they are close to competing and that adding a starting pitcher like Bassit or Gray (or both, even!) would suddenly turn the Twins into contenders. The Twins finished last in the American League Central last season and got worse, while the White Sox, Tigers and Royals all figure to improve. Trading away future pieces such as a Trevor Larnach or a Jordan Balazovic only to marginally improve a still-bad baseball team could prove catastrophic in terms of rebuilding efforts down the line. The other option that the Twins could look at on the trade market would be to trade away a non-prospect batter for some top-line pitching talent. Names like Max Kepler or Luis Arraez could potentially be expendable on a team with more hitting depth than pitching. While this type of trade would prove more palatable for an underwhelming Twins team, they are very difficult to come by. The teams that are looking to add MLB-ready bats are typically not the teams that are willing to part with MLB-ready arms. While it’s possible, I don’t see the Twins making this kind of trade. The best path for the Minnesota Twins to follow in 2022 would be to round out their pitching rotation this offseason with number three or four starting pitchers such as Michael Pineda or Danny Duffy. Then, simply let the season play out. If the Twins’ young arms show that they are the real deal and in turn the Twins prove to be more competitive in 2022 than predicted, Minnesota can then move prospects for win-now arms at the trade deadline. Making a trade now, though, could prove extremely costly.
  12. The Minnesota Twins largely missed the boat on the big time free agents this offseason, as only a few remain after the pre-lockout frenzy. While the trade market could be the next place to look, the front office would be wise to steer clear. The two areas that the Minnesota Twins had an immense need heading into this offseason were starting pitcher and shortstop. Now, the cupboards are all but bare in each of these areas with 13 of Aaron Gleeman’s top 15 free agent starting pitchers and four of Gleeman’s top six free agent shortstops off the board entirely. Aside from signing one of the star free agent shortstops (not likely) or Carlos Rodón (possible), the Minnesota Twins will need to utilize the trade market if they want to bring in any difference-making talent this offseason. Doing so, though, would not be wise. I’m not breaking any news here, but the Minnesota Twins were not a good baseball team last year. The Twins just had their worst season since 2016, and did not show at any point in the season that they were on the verge of being a successful team. In only one full month in 2021 did the Minnesota Twins finish with a record above .500, when they went 14-13 in the month of August. On top of that, the Twins traded away their best starting pitcher since Johan Santana and their best power hitter since Jim Thome. The most likely path for the Minnesota Twins to acquire difference-making talent via the trade market would be by packaging one (or multiple) future prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a win-now player. Trade ideas as proposed by Twins Daily writer, JD Cameron, include Trevor Larnach for Chris Bassit or Jordan Balazovic and Ryan Jeffers for Sonny Gray. While the exact prospects that the Twins would need to part with in these trades could be different, the core idea remains the same…the Twins would need to part with key future prospects if they want to acquire top-shelf talent. The problem, and why they should avoid making deals this offseason, is that the Twins have not shown that they are close to competing and that adding a starting pitcher like Bassit or Gray (or both, even!) would suddenly turn the Twins into contenders. The Twins finished last in the American League Central last season and got worse, while the White Sox, Tigers and Royals all figure to improve. Trading away future pieces such as a Trevor Larnach or a Jordan Balazovic only to marginally improve a still-bad baseball team could prove catastrophic in terms of rebuilding efforts down the line. The other option that the Twins could look at on the trade market would be to trade away a non-prospect batter for some top-line pitching talent. Names like Max Kepler or Luis Arraez could potentially be expendable on a team with more hitting depth than pitching. While this type of trade would prove more palatable for an underwhelming Twins team, they are very difficult to come by. The teams that are looking to add MLB-ready bats are typically not the teams that are willing to part with MLB-ready arms. While it’s possible, I don’t see the Twins making this kind of trade. The best path for the Minnesota Twins to follow in 2022 would be to round out their pitching rotation this offseason with number three or four starting pitchers such as Michael Pineda or Danny Duffy. Then, simply let the season play out. If the Twins’ young arms show that they are the real deal and in turn the Twins prove to be more competitive in 2022 than predicted, Minnesota can then move prospects for win-now arms at the trade deadline. Making a trade now, though, could prove extremely costly. View full article
  13. Box Score Ryan: 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K Home runs: Donaldson (25), Buxton (17, 18), Rooker (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Ryan -.442, Garver -.085, Polanco -.082 Win Probability Chart (Via FanGraphs In a game that was started by two promising starting pitching prospects, offense ruled the day as both pitchers struggled to keep the opposing bats in check. The scoring started quickly for the Minnesota Twins when in the bottom of the first inning, leadoff man Byron Buxton crushed his 17th home run of the season 426 feet to give the Twins an early 1-0 lead. Not long after, in the top of the third inning, old friend Niko Goodrum hit a solo home run of his own to tie the game. Things looked like they were coming up Twins in the third inning, though, when Josh Donaldson connected with a three-run home run to left field, his 25th home run of the season. The home run marked the sixth time in Donaldson’s career in which he has eclipsed 25 home runs in a season, and it was the 250th home run of his career. While Joe Ryan had limited damage for the Twins through the first three innings of the game, the Tigers got to Ryan and opened up the game in the fourth inning when the Tigers converted an RBI double from Harold Castro and another home run from Goodrum to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. The Twins offense continued to fight back, though, this time a solo home run from Brent Rooker to tie the game, the ninth of the season for the right-hander. After Jonathan Schoop and Luis Arraez exchanged RBI singles for each team, Byron Buxton hit his second home run of the night in the bottom of the 7th inning to break the tie and give the Twins a 7-6 lead. The Minnesota Twins’ bullpen was unable to hold the lead for the Twins as the Tigers scored four unanswered runs in the final two innings of the game to give the Detroit Tigers a 10-7 win over the Twins. Postgame Interviews What’s Next The Minnesota Twins will head to Kansas City tomorrow night as they begin their final series of the season.
  14. The Minnesota Twins’ offense put on a show on Thursday night, hitting a combined four home runs on the night. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Tigers plated ten runs, handing the Twins their 88th loss of the season. Box Score Ryan: 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K Home runs: Donaldson (25), Buxton (17, 18), Rooker (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Ryan -.442, Garver -.085, Polanco -.082 Win Probability Chart (Via FanGraphs In a game that was started by two promising starting pitching prospects, offense ruled the day as both pitchers struggled to keep the opposing bats in check. The scoring started quickly for the Minnesota Twins when in the bottom of the first inning, leadoff man Byron Buxton crushed his 17th home run of the season 426 feet to give the Twins an early 1-0 lead. Not long after, in the top of the third inning, old friend Niko Goodrum hit a solo home run of his own to tie the game. Things looked like they were coming up Twins in the third inning, though, when Josh Donaldson connected with a three-run home run to left field, his 25th home run of the season. The home run marked the sixth time in Donaldson’s career in which he has eclipsed 25 home runs in a season, and it was the 250th home run of his career. While Joe Ryan had limited damage for the Twins through the first three innings of the game, the Tigers got to Ryan and opened up the game in the fourth inning when the Tigers converted an RBI double from Harold Castro and another home run from Goodrum to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. The Twins offense continued to fight back, though, this time a solo home run from Brent Rooker to tie the game, the ninth of the season for the right-hander. After Jonathan Schoop and Luis Arraez exchanged RBI singles for each team, Byron Buxton hit his second home run of the night in the bottom of the 7th inning to break the tie and give the Twins a 7-6 lead. The Minnesota Twins’ bullpen was unable to hold the lead for the Twins as the Tigers scored four unanswered runs in the final two innings of the game to give the Detroit Tigers a 10-7 win over the Twins. Postgame Interviews What’s Next The Minnesota Twins will head to Kansas City tomorrow night as they begin their final series of the season. View full article
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