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renabanena

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  1. Box Score: Griffin Jax: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (83 pitches, 61 strikes) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (16) Win Probability Chart: Top 3 WPA: Mitch Garver (.122) Byron Buxton (.096) Jake Cave (.091) Bottom 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (-.188); Josh Donaldson (-.188) Griffin Jax (-.169) Jax Maxes Out It’s been a tough rookie season for Griffin Jax. After being called up in early June, Jax became a full-time starter almost immediately. He’s shown glimmers of hope, but today was not one of those days. After today’s outing, his ERA rose slightly to 6.78 on the season. Nothing to write home about, per se, but a good outing against the Blue Jays at that. This leaves questions to be asked about his role for next season. Ted Schwerzler took a look at the future of this role (and many others) earlier this week. Lord Byron is Back! Even the mighty need some time to heat up after returning from the IL. Since returning from the IL on August 27th, Byron Buxton hasn’t quite lived up to the bar of his MVP-caliber run in the first half of the season. However, Buxton seems to be heating back up, just in time for the end of the season. Today, he hit his 6th home run of the month, putting him just one less than Jorge Polanco. Since coming back from the IL, the Twins have been 14-14 in games that Buxton plays in. Even though the games don’t matter on paper, Buxton gives hope to all Twins fans for next year on the horizon. In the meantime, enjoy Buxton’s bomb from today. GarvSauce: Good as Gravy Mitch Garver finds himself in a very similar but elongated boat as Byron Buxton. Long IL stint: check. Painful recovery post IL stint: check. The past year hasn’t been kind to Mitch. However, Garver continues to bounce back to his 2019 ways with another double today that almost left the ballpark. Since coming back from this latest stint, Garver has been a gravy train that can’t be stopped with back-to-back multi-hit games before today. If this continues, Garver will finish the season with a line slightly higher than his career numbers, showing that continued improvement is on the horizon. Around the Bases Max Kepler came back to the lineup with two singles under his belt, his first multi-hit game since his undisclosed (but non-COVID) illness. Jake Cave hushed his haters by driving in the first run of the game. Although Miguel Sano later struck out to leave two runners stranded, he produced a big double off of Alek Manoah. Nick Vincent balked. Bullpen Usage WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Vincent 0 13 0 0 33 46 Coulombe 0 0 0 37 0 37 Farrell 0 19 0 18 0 37 Garza Jr. 0 16 0 0 18 34 Barraclough 0 0 0 33 0 33 Minaya 13 0 19 0 0 32 Thielbar 0 14 0 0 17 31 Duffey 12 0 17 0 0 29 Colomé 24 0 5 0 0 29 Moran 0 0 0 19 0 19 Alcalá 10 0 6 0 0 16 Postgame Interviews
  2. The offensive juices ran dry once again for the Twins, leading to a series split against the playoff-hopeful Blue Jays. Box Score: Griffin Jax: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (83 pitches, 61 strikes) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (16) Win Probability Chart: Top 3 WPA: Mitch Garver (.122) Byron Buxton (.096) Jake Cave (.091) Bottom 3 WPA: Nick Gordon (-.188); Josh Donaldson (-.188) Griffin Jax (-.169) Jax Maxes Out It’s been a tough rookie season for Griffin Jax. After being called up in early June, Jax became a full-time starter almost immediately. He’s shown glimmers of hope, but today was not one of those days. After today’s outing, his ERA rose slightly to 6.78 on the season. Nothing to write home about, per se, but a good outing against the Blue Jays at that. This leaves questions to be asked about his role for next season. Ted Schwerzler took a look at the future of this role (and many others) earlier this week. Lord Byron is Back! Even the mighty need some time to heat up after returning from the IL. Since returning from the IL on August 27th, Byron Buxton hasn’t quite lived up to the bar of his MVP-caliber run in the first half of the season. However, Buxton seems to be heating back up, just in time for the end of the season. Today, he hit his 6th home run of the month, putting him just one less than Jorge Polanco. Since coming back from the IL, the Twins have been 14-14 in games that Buxton plays in. Even though the games don’t matter on paper, Buxton gives hope to all Twins fans for next year on the horizon. In the meantime, enjoy Buxton’s bomb from today. GarvSauce: Good as Gravy Mitch Garver finds himself in a very similar but elongated boat as Byron Buxton. Long IL stint: check. Painful recovery post IL stint: check. The past year hasn’t been kind to Mitch. However, Garver continues to bounce back to his 2019 ways with another double today that almost left the ballpark. Since coming back from this latest stint, Garver has been a gravy train that can’t be stopped with back-to-back multi-hit games before today. If this continues, Garver will finish the season with a line slightly higher than his career numbers, showing that continued improvement is on the horizon. Around the Bases Max Kepler came back to the lineup with two singles under his belt, his first multi-hit game since his undisclosed (but non-COVID) illness. Jake Cave hushed his haters by driving in the first run of the game. Although Miguel Sano later struck out to leave two runners stranded, he produced a big double off of Alek Manoah. Nick Vincent balked. Bullpen Usage WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Vincent 0 13 0 0 33 46 Coulombe 0 0 0 37 0 37 Farrell 0 19 0 18 0 37 Garza Jr. 0 16 0 0 18 34 Barraclough 0 0 0 33 0 33 Minaya 13 0 19 0 0 32 Thielbar 0 14 0 0 17 31 Duffey 12 0 17 0 0 29 Colomé 24 0 5 0 0 29 Moran 0 0 0 19 0 19 Alcalá 10 0 6 0 0 16 Postgame Interviews View full article
  3. The Twins looked towards taking the series against the Cardinals after a dazzling offensive performance the night before. However, once again, the errors and pitching couldn’t keep the bottom of the Cardinals’ order at bay. Box Score: Michael Pineda: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (68 pitches, 52 strikes) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (16) Win Probability Chart: Top 3 WPA: Trevor Larnach (.077) Jorge Polanco (.068) Miguel Sanó (.065) Bottom 3 WPA: Michael Pineda (-.179) Max Kepler (-.125) Luis Arraez (-.082) No Offense, The Defense For the second game in a row, Michael Pineda gave up two earned runs. If there is one thing that can be said about Pineda, it’s his consistency. All year, Pineda has hovered around a couple of earned runs and 5 strikeouts, and today was no exception. The brightest spot of his performance today is his high strike percentage of 76.5%. According to Team Rankings, Pineda’s strike percentage in his last 10 games is 67.6%, putting him above the likes of Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda. Despite the eventual loss, his improved performance and general consistency is a silver lining for Pineda. The bullpen is another story. Once again, the Twins’ relievers were responsible for the ultimate demise, despite the L being placed under Pineda’s name. In his Twins’ debut, John Gant helped the Cardinals add to their lead. To add insult to injury, the Cardinals seem to have already forgotten who he is. Danny Coulombe surrendered one more after Gant, and Beau Burrows closed out the game with the final two Cardinals runs. Marco, Polo! The Twins’ offense were partly to blame for the loss, as they barely made a splash after the two-run second inning. However, in the sixth inning, Jorge Polanco hit his 16th home run from the left side of the plate off of salsa-king Adam Wainwright. He is only six away from his career high from 2019, his All-Star season. He only has one home run less than Miguel Sanó at the moment. Polanco had a monstrous July, only going seven games without a hit recorded, most of which were in the first half of the month. He’s showing no sign of stopping. Without Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, and Byron Buxton in the lineup, the offense has struggled to push runs across the plate. Polanco has picked up their load and more. It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane. No, It’s Miguel Sanó on Base The departure of mentor Nelson Cruz hasn’t slowed down Sanó. Despite only hitting slightly above the Mendoza Line on paper, Sanó has continued to heat up nicely. His double today increases his OPS has to .746, two hundred points higher than where he started the season. Lately, Sanó seems to be spending more time on base than the dugout. While there are mixed feelings among fans on Sanó as an everyday player, additional playing time has proven to be beneficial for Sanó so far. With Alex Kirilloff on the IL, the Twins need his continued improvement. Bullpen Usage WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Coulombe 0 0 23 0 21 44 Thielbar 0 0 0 14 0 14 Alcala 0 0 0 21 0 21 Gant 24 0 0 0 16 40 Colomé 0 0 0 16 0 16 Minaya 45 0 0 18 0 63 Duffey 0 0 32 0 0 32 Burrows 63 0 0 0 45 108 Around the Bases Andrelton Simmons batted in the first two runs of August after hitting .163 with 4 RBI in the month of July. Josh Donaldson’s hamstring kept him out of action once again. Luis Arraez made a seemingly costly error that didn’t end up as the game decision maker. He also did not make up for it offensively, going 0-4. Trevor Larnach hit his 10th double of the year, tying him with the aforementioned Arraez and Mitch Garver. Garver continues to hit, scoring one of the Twins’ runs. View full article
  4. Box Score: Michael Pineda: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (68 pitches, 52 strikes) Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (16) Win Probability Chart: Top 3 WPA: Trevor Larnach (.077) Jorge Polanco (.068) Miguel Sanó (.065) Bottom 3 WPA: Michael Pineda (-.179) Max Kepler (-.125) Luis Arraez (-.082) No Offense, The Defense For the second game in a row, Michael Pineda gave up two earned runs. If there is one thing that can be said about Pineda, it’s his consistency. All year, Pineda has hovered around a couple of earned runs and 5 strikeouts, and today was no exception. The brightest spot of his performance today is his high strike percentage of 76.5%. According to Team Rankings, Pineda’s strike percentage in his last 10 games is 67.6%, putting him above the likes of Jose Berrios and Kenta Maeda. Despite the eventual loss, his improved performance and general consistency is a silver lining for Pineda. The bullpen is another story. Once again, the Twins’ relievers were responsible for the ultimate demise, despite the L being placed under Pineda’s name. In his Twins’ debut, John Gant helped the Cardinals add to their lead. To add insult to injury, the Cardinals seem to have already forgotten who he is. Danny Coulombe surrendered one more after Gant, and Beau Burrows closed out the game with the final two Cardinals runs. Marco, Polo! The Twins’ offense were partly to blame for the loss, as they barely made a splash after the two-run second inning. However, in the sixth inning, Jorge Polanco hit his 16th home run from the left side of the plate off of salsa-king Adam Wainwright. He is only six away from his career high from 2019, his All-Star season. He only has one home run less than Miguel Sanó at the moment. Polanco had a monstrous July, only going seven games without a hit recorded, most of which were in the first half of the month. He’s showing no sign of stopping. Without Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, and Byron Buxton in the lineup, the offense has struggled to push runs across the plate. Polanco has picked up their load and more. It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane. No, It’s Miguel Sanó on Base The departure of mentor Nelson Cruz hasn’t slowed down Sanó. Despite only hitting slightly above the Mendoza Line on paper, Sanó has continued to heat up nicely. His double today increases his OPS has to .746, two hundred points higher than where he started the season. Lately, Sanó seems to be spending more time on base than the dugout. While there are mixed feelings among fans on Sanó as an everyday player, additional playing time has proven to be beneficial for Sanó so far. With Alex Kirilloff on the IL, the Twins need his continued improvement. Bullpen Usage WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Coulombe 0 0 23 0 21 44 Thielbar 0 0 0 14 0 14 Alcala 0 0 0 21 0 21 Gant 24 0 0 0 16 40 Colomé 0 0 0 16 0 16 Minaya 45 0 0 18 0 63 Duffey 0 0 32 0 0 32 Burrows 63 0 0 0 45 108 Around the Bases Andrelton Simmons batted in the first two runs of August after hitting .163 with 4 RBI in the month of July. Josh Donaldson’s hamstring kept him out of action once again. Luis Arraez made a seemingly costly error that didn’t end up as the game decision maker. He also did not make up for it offensively, going 0-4. Trevor Larnach hit his 10th double of the year, tying him with the aforementioned Arraez and Mitch Garver. Garver continues to hit, scoring one of the Twins’ runs.
  5. To Twins fans, he’s the guy from the Boston Red Sox. To Red Sox fans, he was the Swiss Army knife who couldn’t find a permanent home on the diamond, despite being touted as their 16th-best prospect. To Taiwan, Tzu-Wei Lin is one of the most valued baseball players in history.In 2012, the “Tzunami” received the largest signing bonus for a Taiwanese position player in history from the Red Sox and was touted as the second “Linsanity” after Jeremy Lin. The past decade has been a challenging journey for Lin, with many ups and downs. I had the privilege of spending an afternoon hearing his story and chatting with Lin, one of the most lauded and forgotten players in baseball. Patience is a Virtue When I arrived at the ballpark, Tzu-Wei Lin was in the on-deck circle, quietly waiting for Travis Blankenhorn to complete his home run derby. At a slight 5’9", Lin is not built like his teammate, and this is reflective in his home run statistics (he hit one in four years). However, despite his lack of power, Lin showed his patience in BP, hitting what would’ve been several screaming singles up the middle. Download attachment: Tzu-Wei Lin 2.jpg Patience is a word that Lin has come to know very well. At age 16, Lin was named the Most Valuable Player, Leading Batter, and had the most runs scored in the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship. He was also named to the All-Tournament team as the best third baseman, where he was joined by Francisco Lindor and Michael Lorenzen. Although he had to turn down a contract with the Yankees after the tournament due to a rule by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association to complete his schooling or be banned for life, his patience paid off two years later, when he signed a $2.05M signing bonus with the Red Sox. During the two years between his contracts, Lin started to put in work to prepare for a career in the MLB. He mentioned that his coach recommended that in order to elongate his longevity in America, he needed to become the most valuable version of himself by becoming the most versatile version of himself. Lin started by learning how to catch, one of the most valuable and difficult positions in baseball, and made his way to each base and outfield position. When asked what his favorite was, Lin didn’t hesitate before saying “shortstop”, the first position he ever learned. Unfortunately, he did not enjoy his only pitching appearance in the majors, when he gave up three runs in one inning. Coming to America There are many factors that aren’t considered when a baseball player immigrates to the United States. The biggest is that English is likely not your first language. In Lin’s case, he knew “nothing at all, except hello and goodbye”. Therefore, during the day, Lin grinded in the minor leagues. At night, Lin grinded in ESL courses with several teammates. Given how few members of the clubhouse spoke Mandarin, Lin made it a personal goal to be able to converse in English independently as quickly as possible. In two years, Lin advanced to Class A Greenville Drive and stopped using his interpreter. Flash forward to the present day, where Lin is nervously approaching me for his interview. Although Lin now conducts his interviews solely in English, there are still big challenges that come with using your second language. Lin mentions that he’s “rarely asked for a player interview” and that he’s feeling “rather nervous”. Therefore, we conducted the entire interview in Mandarin, my second language, so that I can get a better understanding of what it’s like for a player to come from another country and carry the expectation of using this new language. And let me just say, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Thankfully, Lin graciously and patiently waited for me to express my questions in my questionable at-best Mandarin. Beyond the Red Sox When discussing his career with the Red Sox, Lin was grateful for his experiences. Although the end of his career in Boston was difficult, Lin is optimistic. Both 16-year old Lin and the present day 26-year old know the importance of patience and opportunity in the MLB. Lin told me that you’ll never find him arguing with an umpire, because every at bat is crucial to him. He cannot risk the chance of getting thrown out of a game and missing an opportunity to make a difference for his team. Being at the ballpark and playing the game that he loves is his biggest goal. He’s willing to wait for any opportunity to come his way. In the meantime, fans can find him at CHS Field day after day, staying warm and ready in case the Twins need him at Target Field. In Lin, I see a humble, down-to-earth human, who despite numerous adversities after being touted as the next biggest thing, who just wants to play the game he’s spent his whole life loving. After the interview, he thanked me for my time and for wanting to share his story. Although I’m uncertain of the future, it’s impossible to not root for a player like Tzu-Wei Lin, the Tzunami. Download attachment: Tzu-Wei Lin.jpeg If you’d like to learn more about his Lin and his statistics, check out this article by Twins Daily’s Lucas Seehafer PT. In the meantime, stop by CHS Field and check out the Twins' taxi squad. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  6. In 2012, the “Tzunami” received the largest signing bonus for a Taiwanese position player in history from the Red Sox and was touted as the second “Linsanity” after Jeremy Lin. The past decade has been a challenging journey for Lin, with many ups and downs. I had the privilege of spending an afternoon hearing his story and chatting with Lin, one of the most lauded and forgotten players in baseball. Patience is a Virtue When I arrived at the ballpark, Tzu-Wei Lin was in the on-deck circle, quietly waiting for Travis Blankenhorn to complete his home run derby. At a slight 5’9", Lin is not built like his teammate, and this is reflective in his home run statistics (he hit one in four years). However, despite his lack of power, Lin showed his patience in BP, hitting what would’ve been several screaming singles up the middle. Patience is a word that Lin has come to know very well. At age 16, Lin was named the Most Valuable Player, Leading Batter, and had the most runs scored in the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship. He was also named to the All-Tournament team as the best third baseman, where he was joined by Francisco Lindor and Michael Lorenzen. Although he had to turn down a contract with the Yankees after the tournament due to a rule by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association to complete his schooling or be banned for life, his patience paid off two years later, when he signed a $2.05M signing bonus with the Red Sox. During the two years between his contracts, Lin started to put in work to prepare for a career in the MLB. He mentioned that his coach recommended that in order to elongate his longevity in America, he needed to become the most valuable version of himself by becoming the most versatile version of himself. Lin started by learning how to catch, one of the most valuable and difficult positions in baseball, and made his way to each base and outfield position. When asked what his favorite was, Lin didn’t hesitate before saying “shortstop”, the first position he ever learned. Unfortunately, he did not enjoy his only pitching appearance in the majors, when he gave up three runs in one inning. Coming to America There are many factors that aren’t considered when a baseball player immigrates to the United States. The biggest is that English is likely not your first language. In Lin’s case, he knew “nothing at all, except hello and goodbye”. Therefore, during the day, Lin grinded in the minor leagues. At night, Lin grinded in ESL courses with several teammates. Given how few members of the clubhouse spoke Mandarin, Lin made it a personal goal to be able to converse in English independently as quickly as possible. In two years, Lin advanced to Class A Greenville Drive and stopped using his interpreter. Flash forward to the present day, where Lin is nervously approaching me for his interview. Although Lin now conducts his interviews solely in English, there are still big challenges that come with using your second language. Lin mentions that he’s “rarely asked for a player interview” and that he’s feeling “rather nervous”. Therefore, we conducted the entire interview in Mandarin, my second language, so that I can get a better understanding of what it’s like for a player to come from another country and carry the expectation of using this new language. And let me just say, it was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Thankfully, Lin graciously and patiently waited for me to express my questions in my questionable at-best Mandarin. Beyond the Red Sox When discussing his career with the Red Sox, Lin was grateful for his experiences. Although the end of his career in Boston was difficult, Lin is optimistic. Both 16-year old Lin and the present day 26-year old know the importance of patience and opportunity in the MLB. Lin told me that you’ll never find him arguing with an umpire, because every at bat is crucial to him. He cannot risk the chance of getting thrown out of a game and missing an opportunity to make a difference for his team. Being at the ballpark and playing the game that he loves is his biggest goal. He’s willing to wait for any opportunity to come his way. In the meantime, fans can find him at CHS Field day after day, staying warm and ready in case the Twins need him at Target Field. In Lin, I see a humble, down-to-earth human, who despite numerous adversities after being touted as the next biggest thing, who just wants to play the game he’s spent his whole life loving. After the interview, he thanked me for my time and for wanting to share his story. Although I’m uncertain of the future, it’s impossible to not root for a player like Tzu-Wei Lin, the Tzunami. If you’d like to learn more about his Lin and his statistics, check out this article by Twins Daily’s Lucas Seehafer PT. In the meantime, stop by CHS Field and check out the Twins' taxi squad. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Opening Day is down, so naturally, it’s time to make early, blanket assumptions for the remaining 161. Happy April Fools or are we the fools?But first, let’s address the elephant in the room. Overreactions are good natured and fun on paper, but could there be an iota of truth of what’s to come? Here are some Opening Day events of the past two seasons that ironically laid out the rest of the season: 2019: Jose Berrios will have the best season of his career (so far)Taylor Rogers will be the Twins’ best reliever this yearThe Twins will beat Cleveland to take the division2020:Tyler Duffey and Trevor May will lead the pack in the year of the relieversMitch Garver will not repeat his 2019 featsLuis Arraez will be an OBP GodThe Twins will beat the White Sox to take the divisionWhile it’s unlikely the Twins will beat the Brewers to take the division, here are some other good natured, questionably valid overreactions from this season’s Opening Day. Mitch Garver’s Will Be Better in 2021, but This Isn’t a Comeback Mitch Garver had an unfortunate first day. The recipe just hasn’t quite clicked for Minnesota’s beloved GarvSauce. While he stayed one strikeout away from the golden sombrero, there was very little to celebrate. Twins Daily’s Matthew Taylor highlighted Garver’s continued struggles at the plate with fastballs today. While Garver’s decline last year can be explained by his oblique injury, his recent good health indicates that he should be ready for a comeback. However, after a serious injury and a change in his swing mechanics to adjust for said injury, it’s more likely that this is an adjustment season for Garver, rather than a full comeback. While I am the biggest believer that Spring Training statistics shouldn’t be taken at face value, Garver’s run this spring showed that he may still be perfecting his plate approach and swing. With Ryan Jeffers and red-hot Willans Astudillo ready in the wings, the Twins will see a more frequent revolving door of catchers throughout the season. Kenta Maeda’s Demeanor Will Lead to his Second Cy Young Candidacy Had Shane Bieber had a season akin to this outing, Kenta Maeda may have gone down in history as last season’s Cy Young winner. Today, Kool, Kalm, and Kollected Kenta had a shaky third inning that cost him the cusp of his pitch count but only one run. Unlike other pitchers today, Maeda was the only who successfully pitched himself out of a bases loaded jam with only this run as collateral. Although his WHIP inflated to a 1.85 in his first outing, more than two times last season, his stability and demeanor kept his bad situation from becoming a disaster, even when his command was off. Maeda has proved season after season that his stuff has the IT factor. If Maeda can continue to keep his demeanor through days like today where his command is a factor, a second Cy Young candidacy is definitely in the cards for this overdue ace. Guess Who's Buck, Buck Again (Tell a Friend) 2021 is Byron Buxton's year, and we are just living in it. Buxton showed every side of his abilities today, from his baserunning, defense, and the immense power behind his 456 ft. (!!!) home run. This is the Byron Buxton the Twins have prayed and wished for for the past six years. It doesn’t take an expert to see that Byron Buxton has the athleticism and talent of an MVP. With a strong outfield presence behind Byron Buxton, the Twins can surely do their part in giving him enough days away from the wall to keep him healthy. Josh Donaldson’s Legs Can Cost the Division No one reading this needs an introductory paragraph explaining why Josh Donaldson is a crucial player for the Twins. The Twins need Donaldson behind Arraez, who seems to live on base. Unlike the outfield, there are no outstanding prospects waiting in the wings. Donaldson is the only solution. Losing Donaldson for an extended period of time puts the Twins back on even playing field with the White Sox. Eliminate the Closer Former closer Taylor Rogers hit 98. Current closer Alex Colomé was hit around instead. A reason for Rogers’ success was that he was finally put into a situation where the matchup was favorable, instead of shelving him exclusively for the ninth inning. Given his history, I’m not ready to write off Colomé entirely, but signs show that he could be on the decline. Therefore, if a favorable matchup occurs before the ninth inning, there is no reason to save him until later, just because he is the “closer.” *Disclaimer: this paragraph was not sponsored by the Tampa Bay Rays What are some other overreactions that you have from Opening Day? Comment them below. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  8. But first, let’s address the elephant in the room. Overreactions are good natured and fun on paper, but could there be an iota of truth of what’s to come? Here are some Opening Day events of the past two seasons that ironically laid out the rest of the season: 2019: Jose Berrios will have the best season of his career (so far) Taylor Rogers will be the Twins’ best reliever this year The Twins will beat Cleveland to take the division 2020: Tyler Duffey and Trevor May will lead the pack in the year of the relievers Mitch Garver will not repeat his 2019 feats Luis Arraez will be an OBP God The Twins will beat the White Sox to take the division While it’s unlikely the Twins will beat the Brewers to take the division, here are some other good natured, questionably valid overreactions from this season’s Opening Day. Mitch Garver’s Will Be Better in 2021, but This Isn’t a Comeback Mitch Garver had an unfortunate first day. The recipe just hasn’t quite clicked for Minnesota’s beloved GarvSauce. While he stayed one strikeout away from the golden sombrero, there was very little to celebrate. Twins Daily’s Matthew Taylor highlighted Garver’s continued struggles at the plate with fastballs today. https://twitter.com/MatthewTaylorMN/status/1377719694694703110 While Garver’s decline last year can be explained by his oblique injury, his recent good health indicates that he should be ready for a comeback. However, after a serious injury and a change in his swing mechanics to adjust for said injury, it’s more likely that this is an adjustment season for Garver, rather than a full comeback. While I am the biggest believer that Spring Training statistics shouldn’t be taken at face value, Garver’s run this spring showed that he may still be perfecting his plate approach and swing. With Ryan Jeffers and red-hot Willans Astudillo ready in the wings, the Twins will see a more frequent revolving door of catchers throughout the season. Kenta Maeda’s Demeanor Will Lead to his Second Cy Young Candidacy Had Shane Bieber had a season akin to this outing, Kenta Maeda may have gone down in history as last season’s Cy Young winner. Today, Kool, Kalm, and Kollected Kenta had a shaky third inning that cost him the cusp of his pitch count but only one run. Unlike other pitchers today, Maeda was the only who successfully pitched himself out of a bases loaded jam with only this run as collateral. Although his WHIP inflated to a 1.85 in his first outing, more than two times last season, his stability and demeanor kept his bad situation from becoming a disaster, even when his command was off. Maeda has proved season after season that his stuff has the IT factor. If Maeda can continue to keep his demeanor through days like today where his command is a factor, a second Cy Young candidacy is definitely in the cards for this overdue ace. Guess Who's Buck, Buck Again (Tell a Friend) 2021 is Byron Buxton's year, and we are just living in it. Buxton showed every side of his abilities today, from his baserunning, defense, and the immense power behind his 456 ft. (!!!) home run. This is the Byron Buxton the Twins have prayed and wished for for the past six years. It doesn’t take an expert to see that Byron Buxton has the athleticism and talent of an MVP. With a strong outfield presence behind Byron Buxton, the Twins can surely do their part in giving him enough days away from the wall to keep him healthy. Josh Donaldson’s Legs Can Cost the Division No one reading this needs an introductory paragraph explaining why Josh Donaldson is a crucial player for the Twins. The Twins need Donaldson behind Arraez, who seems to live on base. Unlike the outfield, there are no outstanding prospects waiting in the wings. Donaldson is the only solution. Losing Donaldson for an extended period of time puts the Twins back on even playing field with the White Sox. Eliminate the Closer Former closer Taylor Rogers hit 98. Current closer Alex Colomé was hit around instead. A reason for Rogers’ success was that he was finally put into a situation where the matchup was favorable, instead of shelving him exclusively for the ninth inning. Given his history, I’m not ready to write off Colomé entirely, but signs show that he could be on the decline. Therefore, if a favorable matchup occurs before the ninth inning, there is no reason to save him until later, just because he is the “closer.” *Disclaimer: this paragraph was not sponsored by the Tampa Bay Rays What are some other overreactions that you have from Opening Day? Comment them below. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. While Tyler Duffey’s velocity concerns appear to be resolved, the prospect of a diminished Duffey shined a light on how fragile a bullpen can be. The Twins could still use one more arm to shore up the bullpen, and there’s a World Series champion waiting for a call.In case you missed it, Duffey’s fastball early this spring was, well, less fast. Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl pointed this out during Duffey’s outing on March 9. Luckily, Duffey’s heater looked more like we’re used to seeing from him in his appearance Tuesday. Here are more details from Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic. If Duffey’s fastball lost its effectiveness, the Twins would lose one of their most stable pitchers and would need to pivot to other arms in high-leverage situations. It appears there’s no longer concern about Duffey, but that doesn’t mean the Twins are completely out of the woods. This brings us to the next question, who is the next most stable arm in the bullpen and can handle such high leverage situations? After the departures of Trevor May, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, and Matt Wisler, four pillars and veterans of the bullpen last season, the Twins only signed one big name reliever in Alex Colomé, with Hansel Robles and Shaun Anderson to supplement. With Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe’s early spring training success, it’s likely that they’ll be used in starting or long reliever roles. Cody Stashak falls under the same umbrella. The aforementioned Colomé and Taylor Rogers will be saved for late innings. This leaves a potential gap and a need to address in the Twins’ bullpen. One of the biggest advantages that the Twins had last season was depth. The Bomba Squad was carried to the offseason by their pitching, not their offense. Adding a trustworthy, veteran arm to the bullpen is a safe bet that can only bring good, not harm. With only $40M dollars spent in the offseason and a total payroll of $117M, the Twins are still in a safe position to sign one last bullpen piece before Opening Day. Although there are slim pickings left on the Free Agent board, one last veteran quietly remains. David Robertson did not pitch in 2020, due to a setback from Tommy John surgery, but prior to this, Robertson was one of the best relievers in baseball for 11 seasons. An 11th reliever with 11 seasons of experience is the perfect final addition to the Twins’ bullpen. According to MLB’s Mark Feinsand, Robertson recently threw in a showcase, where his fastball velocity reached 92 mph, his career average fastball speed. At 35 years old, Robertson is on the later end of his career, but he would be one of the only relievers in the bullpen with extensive Postseason experience and a World Series ring. Since Robertson was called up by the Yankees to replace legendary reliever Mariano Rivera, he’s had six postseason appearances in thirteen series, one of which was against Minnesota when he held the Twins to three hits and no runs in 3 1/3 innings. While Robertson’s career statistics can be dissected further, it’s impossible to quantify the value of Robertson’s veteran presence and postseason experience. With how low his current value is due to missing all of 2020, the Twins can sign Robertson on a one-year steal, akin to their Hansel Robles deal. Even if all the relievers currently on the roster pan out, it still wouldn’t hurt to have a reliever like Robertson on the team. Not only do the Twins need to prepare for situations that test their depth in the regular season (say it with me, no more Taylor Rogers on consecutive days), but the Twins also need to focus on how they can make an impact on a playoff game. Robertson would be the man for this job. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  10. In case you missed it, Duffey’s fastball early this spring was, well, less fast. Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl pointed this out during Duffey’s outing on March 9. https://twitter.com/CodyPirkl/status/1369372917964955651?s=20 Luckily, Duffey’s heater looked more like we’re used to seeing from him in his appearance Tuesday. Here are more details from Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic. https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/1371921814125867013 If Duffey’s fastball lost its effectiveness, the Twins would lose one of their most stable pitchers and would need to pivot to other arms in high-leverage situations. It appears there’s no longer concern about Duffey, but that doesn’t mean the Twins are completely out of the woods. This brings us to the next question, who is the next most stable arm in the bullpen and can handle such high leverage situations? After the departures of Trevor May, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, and Matt Wisler, four pillars and veterans of the bullpen last season, the Twins only signed one big name reliever in Alex Colomé, with Hansel Robles and Shaun Anderson to supplement. With Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe’s early spring training success, it’s likely that they’ll be used in starting or long reliever roles. Cody Stashak falls under the same umbrella. The aforementioned Colomé and Taylor Rogers will be saved for late innings. This leaves a potential gap and a need to address in the Twins’ bullpen. One of the biggest advantages that the Twins had last season was depth. The Bomba Squad was carried to the offseason by their pitching, not their offense. Adding a trustworthy, veteran arm to the bullpen is a safe bet that can only bring good, not harm. With only $40M dollars spent in the offseason and a total payroll of $117M, the Twins are still in a safe position to sign one last bullpen piece before Opening Day. Although there are slim pickings left on the Free Agent board, one last veteran quietly remains. David Robertson did not pitch in 2020, due to a setback from Tommy John surgery, but prior to this, Robertson was one of the best relievers in baseball for 11 seasons. An 11th reliever with 11 seasons of experience is the perfect final addition to the Twins’ bullpen. According to MLB’s Mark Feinsand, Robertson recently threw in a showcase, where his fastball velocity reached 92 mph, his career average fastball speed. https://twitter.com/Feinsand/status/1362873642443542529 At 35 years old, Robertson is on the later end of his career, but he would be one of the only relievers in the bullpen with extensive Postseason experience and a World Series ring. Since Robertson was called up by the Yankees to replace legendary reliever Mariano Rivera, he’s had six postseason appearances in thirteen series, one of which was against Minnesota when he held the Twins to three hits and no runs in 3 1/3 innings. While Robertson’s career statistics can be dissected further, it’s impossible to quantify the value of Robertson’s veteran presence and postseason experience. With how low his current value is due to missing all of 2020, the Twins can sign Robertson on a one-year steal, akin to their Hansel Robles deal. Even if all the relievers currently on the roster pan out, it still wouldn’t hurt to have a reliever like Robertson on the team. Not only do the Twins need to prepare for situations that test their depth in the regular season (say it with me, no more Taylor Rogers on consecutive days), but the Twins also need to focus on how they can make an impact on a playoff game. Robertson would be the man for this job. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. All hailed the king, Andrelton “Simba” Simmons, when his signing was announced earlier this week. However, amid the celebrations, the question of Luis Arraez’ future role lingered on fans’ minds.To our collective relief, ESPN’s Jeff Passan announced that Arraez will move into a utility role for the club. However, you can’t but wonder what could’ve been if Arraez was on the trade market. What could the Twins have received in return? Which other clubs could he have been a perfect piece for? Why not take a perfectly reasonable solution for him with the team and bring chaos into the picture? Here are three potential teams that Arraez could’ve landed with had the Twins decided to move on with their breakout star. *** Disclaimer: I do not necessarily condone or recommend the trade of Luis Arraez. Let’s try and have fun here. F. U. N. Oakland Athletics Billy Beane’s squad lost their brightest star in Marcus Semien to free agency. Despite this, the most understated team in baseball may still be the favorite to win the AL West. Adding Luis Arraez to their roster could’ve significantly helped with those chances. Oakland will likely utilize both Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder at second base, both utility players with below league average offensive metrics. While Arraez will not replace the home run production lost with Semien’s exit, his OBP and low strikeout rate would make him an ideal candidate to hit ahead of Khris Davis or Matt Olson. The return: Despite their lack of big ticket pitchers, Oakland has one of the best bullpens in baseball with Lou Trivino leading the pack. After losing several members of its stable bullpen to free agency, the Twins could use one of Oakland’s stable arms to further increase its depth. Outside of the bullpen, Sean Manaea is another interesting trade target as a fourth starter behind Michael Pineda. Last season, Manaea introduced the cutter and curveball into his pitch repertoire. If he continues to work on his control of both pitches and can work into later innings, the Twins could have an ace on their hands. San Francisco Giants Every student in America has experienced a group project where one member does all the work (and it’s usually you). For this team, that group member is Mike Yastrzemski. Yastrzemski plays all three positions in the outfield and produces the most offense on the team. Outside of starting pitching, the Giants could use an additional bat. Arraez would fit in perfectly with the Giant’s formula of utilizing numerous utility players across their roster, such as the previously mentioned Yastrzemski as well as Donovan Solano and Mauricio Dubon. Like the Athletics, utilizing Arraez to hit ahead of Yastrzemski seems like the perfect formula. The return: Again, in the name of fun, the most reasonable thing here is to trade for Tyler Rogers. Because what isn’t fun about twin brothers playing for the Twins? Someone ping the analytics department STAT about the last time this historical event has occurred. If you disagree with this, you hate fun. Cleveland If the Red Sox and Yankees can make a trade, the sky's the limit. It’s widely agreed upon that while Cleveland will still be a competitive team in the AL Central, the loss of Francisco Lindor cements their status as a third place team. It’s also likely that the spring cleaning has just begun. There are rumors swirling of potential trades of Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber. A trade with Cleveland is less about filling a need for Cleveland but can more about fulfilling a need for the Twins. The return: Even without Shane Bieber, Cleveland still has one of the best rotations in baseball. Triston McKenzie, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac have done a phenomenal job of making us forget about the Kluber/Bauer era. If the Twins want to make a blockbuster deal akin to last season for starting pitching, it’s the 216 area code that they should be dialing. If Cleveland doesn’t extend Bieber, the Twins need to take advantage of Cleveland’s plans to clean house and make a play for the best pitcher in baseball. If Bieber is unavailable, any of the three other rookie pitchers mentioned above would be a great fit with the Twins. It’s a reasonable move to try and obtain a piece of one of the best rotations in baseball when this rare opportunity presents itself. In the name of fun, what other transactions do you think Arraez could be a good bargaining chip for? Comment below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  12. To our collective relief, ESPN’s Jeff Passan announced that Arraez will move into a utility role for the club. However, you can’t but wonder what could’ve been if Arraez was on the trade market. What could the Twins have received in return? Which other clubs could he have been a perfect piece for? Why not take a perfectly reasonable solution for him with the team and bring chaos into the picture? Here are three potential teams that Arraez could’ve landed with had the Twins decided to move on with their breakout star. *** Disclaimer: I do not necessarily condone or recommend the trade of Luis Arraez. Let’s try and have fun here. F. U. N. Oakland Athletics Billy Beane’s squad lost their brightest star in Marcus Semien to free agency. Despite this, the most understated team in baseball may still be the favorite to win the AL West. Adding Luis Arraez to their roster could’ve significantly helped with those chances. Oakland will likely utilize both Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder at second base, both utility players with below league average offensive metrics. While Arraez will not replace the home run production lost with Semien’s exit, his OBP and low strikeout rate would make him an ideal candidate to hit ahead of Khris Davis or Matt Olson. The return: Despite their lack of big ticket pitchers, Oakland has one of the best bullpens in baseball with Lou Trivino leading the pack. After losing several members of its stable bullpen to free agency, the Twins could use one of Oakland’s stable arms to further increase its depth. Outside of the bullpen, Sean Manaea is another interesting trade target as a fourth starter behind Michael Pineda. Last season, Manaea introduced the cutter and curveball into his pitch repertoire. If he continues to work on his control of both pitches and can work into later innings, the Twins could have an ace on their hands. San Francisco Giants Every student in America has experienced a group project where one member does all the work (and it’s usually you). For this team, that group member is Mike Yastrzemski. Yastrzemski plays all three positions in the outfield and produces the most offense on the team. Outside of starting pitching, the Giants could use an additional bat. Arraez would fit in perfectly with the Giant’s formula of utilizing numerous utility players across their roster, such as the previously mentioned Yastrzemski as well as Donovan Solano and Mauricio Dubon. Like the Athletics, utilizing Arraez to hit ahead of Yastrzemski seems like the perfect formula. The return: Again, in the name of fun, the most reasonable thing here is to trade for Tyler Rogers. Because what isn’t fun about twin brothers playing for the Twins? Someone ping the analytics department STAT about the last time this historical event has occurred. If you disagree with this, you hate fun. Cleveland If the Red Sox and Yankees can make a trade, the sky's the limit. It’s widely agreed upon that while Cleveland will still be a competitive team in the AL Central, the loss of Francisco Lindor cements their status as a third place team. It’s also likely that the spring cleaning has just begun. There are rumors swirling of potential trades of Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber. A trade with Cleveland is less about filling a need for Cleveland but can more about fulfilling a need for the Twins. The return: Even without Shane Bieber, Cleveland still has one of the best rotations in baseball. Triston McKenzie, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac have done a phenomenal job of making us forget about the Kluber/Bauer era. If the Twins want to make a blockbuster deal akin to last season for starting pitching, it’s the 216 area code that they should be dialing. If Cleveland doesn’t extend Bieber, the Twins need to take advantage of Cleveland’s plans to clean house and make a play for the best pitcher in baseball. If Bieber is unavailable, any of the three other rookie pitchers mentioned above would be a great fit with the Twins. It’s a reasonable move to try and obtain a piece of one of the best rotations in baseball when this rare opportunity presents itself. In the name of fun, what other transactions do you think Arraez could be a good bargaining chip for? Comment below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. The weirdest and worst year in recent memory is finally coming to an end. This is the time when we make breakable, unrealistic promises about how we’ll turn into the brightest new leaf on January 1st, only to crash into an abyss of disappointment by February 1st. However, given this is 2020, anything can happen, including manifesting 21 realistic resolutions that we hope the Twins can stick to in the upcoming year.1. Win a playoff game “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 was at the top of the charts the last time the Twins won a playoff game. 2. Keep Josh Donaldson’s calves healthy through at least 100 games Donaldson played in 28 games last season, but it felt more like 8. His absence was most felt during the most critical portions of the season, including the playoffs. The Twins need to find a healthy balance to his and a possible utility’s playing time to ensure that he is available and productive in 2021 if they want to meet their first resolution. 3. Revitalize Jorge Polanco’s numbers after ankle surgery (and painful 2020) According to the Associated Press, Polanco ended his season by hitting .167 in his last 15 games. Polanco was an All-Star in 2019, winning that honor over Francisco Lindor. 4. Keep in touch with Nelson Cruz Just to see if he’s having a good offseason...among other things. 5. Also keep in touch with Marcus Semien We hope he’s doing well too. 6. Might as well keep in touch with Michael Brantley and Marcell Ozuna too They might like a nice holiday card. 7. Prevent sophomore slump for Ryan Jeffers Jeffers literally stepped up to the plate this season. While Garver struggled in one of the worst sophomore slumps in recent memory, the rookie provided solid offense and well-seasoned defense. Jeffers has only seen AL Central pitching, so while his sophomore slump may be delayed to 2022, early adjustments can ensure his continued productivity even as pitchers adjust to him. 8. Cultivate Mitch Garver’s ultimate comeback GarvSauce was more GarvGravy last season, and his right intercostal strain didn’t help. While we can list all of his statistical drops this past season, it’s more important to keep in mind that Garver *was* that guy in 2019. The Silver Slugger will not allow this season to repeat without a fight. Besides, his hard-hit rate, exit velocity, and a healed intercostal muscle can give Twins fans a glimmer of hope in the upcoming season. 9. A no-hitter for Kenta Maeda The man was THREE OUTS away. 10. Extend the closer role into a closer rotation Taylor Rogers struggled last season, posting a career high 4.05 ERA. As we know, Rogers’ effectiveness greatly decreases if he is used on consecutive days. While Tyler Duffey is the clear choice for a second closer, he’s often used in a high leverage situation prior to the ninth. The Twins need more options instead of continuing the overuse of Rogers. Jorge Alcala and Hansel Robles are two viable options. 11. Make room for the next generation of the Twins The biggest storylines in baseball this year were dominated by rookies, like the baby Blue Jays and Fernando Tatis Jr. Here in Minnesota, many of the Twins’ top prospects will likely become everyday players. Ryan Jeffers is here, Alex Kiriloff will likely take over Eddie Rosario’s role, and Brent Rooker’s flexibility will boost his playing time. Aside from these three, we may also see appearances from Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran, and Jordan Balazovic. The Twins have a great problem on their hands. 12. Secure an arm to join the likes of Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda I hear a guy whose last name sounds like “over-easy” is on the market. 13. Check in with the Dodgers It seems that the Dodgers now have a formidable opponent in their division that they may want to become more competitive against. How convenient that both Kenta Maeda and Brusdar Graterol had great seasons with their new clubs. 14. Also check in with the Cubs and Rays….. They may have a few more cards up their sleeves that they’re looking to deal... 15. Fulfill Byron Buxton’s destiny as AL MVP Byron Buxton is a five-tool player who has all the qualities needed to be an MVP. However, every time fans think he’s finally put the pieces together, he’s set back by another injury. If this final piece can fall into place, Buxton will be the first Twin since Joe Mauer to win this honor. 16. Re-establish leadership in the clubhouse, given the potential loss of almost all veterans including Nelson Cruz, Sergio Romo, Rich Hill, and Trevor May Nelson Cruz served as a father figure to Miguel Sano in the clubhouse. Rich Hill was there to comfort Edwar Colina after a poor performance. A veteran presence can’t be quantified, and its importance isn’t always properly recognized. 17. Figure out Randy Dobnak’s future role, either as a fifth starter or a long reliever He was on the short list for Rookie of the Year for a period of time. While his usage diminished as players started to sink his sinker, this can’t be the end for Dobnak. Besides, remember when Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, and Taylor Rogers were starters? 18. Cheaper beverages at the stadium for fans …..why not 19. A much anticipated breakout season for Jose Berrios and his four-seamer Year after year, baseball analysts have predicted that this will finally be Berrios’ breakout year. His four-seamer is frequently ranked as one of the best in baseball. While Berrios has always been good, he hasn’t quite filled his potential of greatness. Maybe this season will finally be the long awaited breakout year that’s been waiting in the wings. 20. Keep players healthy and safe through next year, given the continued uncertainty from the ongoing pandemic 21. ​Win a playoff game *In Rose Dawson’s voice* It’s been 16 years. What other resolutions do the Twins need to make next season? Comment below! Click here to view the article
  14. The weirdest and worst year in recent memory is finally coming to an end. This is the time when we make breakable, unrealistic promises about how we’ll turn into the brightest new leaf on January 1st, only to crash into an abyss of disappointment by February 1st. However, given this is 2020, anything can happen, including manifesting 21 realistic resolutions that we hope the Twins can stick to in the upcoming year.1. Win a playoff game “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 was at the top of the charts the last time the Twins won a playoff game. 2. Keep Josh Donaldson’s calves healthy through at least 100 games Donaldson played in 28 games last season, but it felt more like 8. His absence was most felt during the most critical portions of the season, including the playoffs. The Twins need to find a healthy balance to his and a possible utility’s playing time to ensure that he is available and productive in 2021 if they want to meet their first resolution. 3. Revitalize Jorge Polanco’s numbers after ankle surgery (and painful 2020) According to the Associated Press, Polanco ended his season by hitting .167 in his last 15 games. Polanco was an All-Star in 2019, winning that honor over Francisco Lindor. 4. Keep in touch with Nelson Cruz Just to see if he’s having a good offseason...among other things. 5. Also keep in touch with Marcus Semien We hope he’s doing well too. 6. Might as well keep in touch with Michael Brantley and Marcell Ozuna too They might like a nice holiday card. 7. Prevent sophomore slump for Ryan Jeffers Jeffers literally stepped up to the plate this season. While Garver struggled in one of the worst sophomore slumps in recent memory, the rookie provided solid offense and well-seasoned defense. Jeffers has only seen AL Central pitching, so while his sophomore slump may be delayed to 2022, early adjustments can ensure his continued productivity even as pitchers adjust to him. 8. Cultivate Mitch Garver’s ultimate comeback GarvSauce was more GarvGravy last season, and his right intercostal strain didn’t help. While we can list all of his statistical drops this past season, it’s more important to keep in mind that Garver *was* that guy in 2019. The Silver Slugger will not allow this season to repeat without a fight. Besides, his hard-hit rate, exit velocity, and a healed intercostal muscle can give Twins fans a glimmer of hope in the upcoming season. 9. A no-hitter for Kenta Maeda The man was THREE OUTS away. 10. Extend the closer role into a closer rotation Taylor Rogers struggled last season, posting a career high 4.05 ERA. As we know, Rogers’ effectiveness greatly decreases if he is used on consecutive days. While Tyler Duffey is the clear choice for a second closer, he’s often used in a high leverage situation prior to the ninth. The Twins need more options instead of continuing the overuse of Rogers. Jorge Alcala and Hansel Robles are two viable options. 11. Make room for the next generation of the Twins The biggest storylines in baseball this year were dominated by rookies, like the baby Blue Jays and Fernando Tatis Jr. Here in Minnesota, many of the Twins’ top prospects will likely become everyday players. Ryan Jeffers is here, Alex Kiriloff will likely take over Eddie Rosario’s role, and Brent Rooker’s flexibility will boost his playing time. Aside from these three, we may also see appearances from Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran, and Jordan Balazovic. The Twins have a great problem on their hands. 12. Secure an arm to join the likes of Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda I hear a guy whose last name sounds like “over-easy” is on the market. 13. Check in with the Dodgers It seems that the Dodgers now have a formidable opponent in their division that they may want to become more competitive against. How convenient that both Kenta Maeda and Brusdar Graterol had great seasons with their new clubs. 14. Also check in with the Cubs and Rays….. They may have a few more cards up their sleeves that they’re looking to deal... 15. Fulfill Byron Buxton’s destiny as AL MVP Byron Buxton is a five-tool player who has all the qualities needed to be an MVP. However, every time fans think he’s finally put the pieces together, he’s set back by another injury. If this final piece can fall into place, Buxton will be the first Twin since Joe Mauer to win this honor. 16. Re-establish leadership in the clubhouse, given the potential loss of almost all veterans including Nelson Cruz, Sergio Romo, Rich Hill, and Trevor May Nelson Cruz served as a father figure to Miguel Sano in the clubhouse. Rich Hill was there to comfort Edwar Colina after a poor performance. A veteran presence can’t be quantified, and its importance isn’t always properly recognized. 17. Figure out Randy Dobnak’s future role, either as a fifth starter or a long reliever He was on the short list for Rookie of the Year for a period of time. While his usage diminished as players started to sink his sinker, this can’t be the end for Dobnak. Besides, remember when Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, and Taylor Rogers were starters? 18. Cheaper beverages at the stadium for fans …..why not 19. A much anticipated breakout season for Jose Berrios and his four-seamer Year after year, baseball analysts have predicted that this will finally be Berrios’ breakout year. His four-seamer is frequently ranked as one of the best in baseball. While Berrios has always been good, he hasn’t quite filled his potential of greatness. Maybe this season will finally be the long awaited breakout year that’s been waiting in the wings. 20. Keep players healthy and safe through next year, given the continued uncertainty from the ongoing pandemic 21. ​Win a playoff game *In Rose Dawson’s voice* It’s been 16 years. What other resolutions do the Twins need to make next season? Comment below! Click here to view the article
  15. 1. Win a playoff game “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 was at the top of the charts the last time the Twins won a playoff game. 2. Keep Josh Donaldson’s calves healthy through at least 100 games Donaldson played in 28 games last season, but it felt more like 8. His absence was most felt during the most critical portions of the season, including the playoffs. The Twins need to find a healthy balance to his and a possible utility’s playing time to ensure that he is available and productive in 2021 if they want to meet their first resolution. 3. Revitalize Jorge Polanco’s numbers after ankle surgery (and painful 2020) According to the Associated Press, Polanco ended his season by hitting .167 in his last 15 games. Polanco was an All-Star in 2019, winning that honor over Francisco Lindor. 4. Keep in touch with Nelson Cruz Just to see if he’s having a good offseason...among other things. 5. Also keep in touch with Marcus Semien We hope he’s doing well too. 6. Might as well keep in touch with Michael Brantley and Marcell Ozuna too They might like a nice holiday card. 7. Prevent sophomore slump for Ryan Jeffers Jeffers literally stepped up to the plate this season. While Garver struggled in one of the worst sophomore slumps in recent memory, the rookie provided solid offense and well-seasoned defense. Jeffers has only seen AL Central pitching, so while his sophomore slump may be delayed to 2022, early adjustments can ensure his continued productivity even as pitchers adjust to him. 8. Cultivate Mitch Garver’s ultimate comeback GarvSauce was more GarvGravy last season, and his right intercostal strain didn’t help. While we can list all of his statistical drops this past season, it’s more important to keep in mind that Garver *was* that guy in 2019. The Silver Slugger will not allow this season to repeat without a fight. Besides, his hard-hit rate, exit velocity, and a healed intercostal muscle can give Twins fans a glimmer of hope in the upcoming season. 9. A no-hitter for Kenta Maeda The man was THREE OUTS away. 10. Extend the closer role into a closer rotation Taylor Rogers struggled last season, posting a career high 4.05 ERA. As we know, Rogers’ effectiveness greatly decreases if he is used on consecutive days. While Tyler Duffey is the clear choice for a second closer, he’s often used in a high leverage situation prior to the ninth. The Twins need more options instead of continuing the overuse of Rogers. Jorge Alcala and Hansel Robles are two viable options. 11. Make room for the next generation of the Twins The biggest storylines in baseball this year were dominated by rookies, like the baby Blue Jays and Fernando Tatis Jr. Here in Minnesota, many of the Twins’ top prospects will likely become everyday players. Ryan Jeffers is here, Alex Kiriloff will likely take over Eddie Rosario’s role, and Brent Rooker’s flexibility will boost his playing time. Aside from these three, we may also see appearances from Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran, and Jordan Balazovic. The Twins have a great problem on their hands. 12. Secure an arm to join the likes of Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda I hear a guy whose last name sounds like “over-easy” is on the market. 13. Check in with the Dodgers It seems that the Dodgers now have a formidable opponent in their division that they may want to become more competitive against. How convenient that both Kenta Maeda and Brusdar Graterol had great seasons with their new clubs. 14. Also check in with the Cubs and Rays….. They may have a few more cards up their sleeves that they’re looking to deal... 15. Fulfill Byron Buxton’s destiny as AL MVP Byron Buxton is a five-tool player who has all the qualities needed to be an MVP. However, every time fans think he’s finally put the pieces together, he’s set back by another injury. If this final piece can fall into place, Buxton will be the first Twin since Joe Mauer to win this honor. 16. Re-establish leadership in the clubhouse, given the potential loss of almost all veterans including Nelson Cruz, Sergio Romo, Rich Hill, and Trevor May Nelson Cruz served as a father figure to Miguel Sano in the clubhouse. Rich Hill was there to comfort Edwar Colina after a poor performance. A veteran presence can’t be quantified, and its importance isn’t always properly recognized. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1309710985444446208 17. Figure out Randy Dobnak’s future role, either as a fifth starter or a long reliever He was on the short list for Rookie of the Year for a period of time. While his usage diminished as players started to sink his sinker, this can’t be the end for Dobnak. Besides, remember when Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, and Taylor Rogers were starters? 18. Cheaper beverages at the stadium for fans …..why not 19. A much anticipated breakout season for Jose Berrios and his four-seamer Year after year, baseball analysts have predicted that this will finally be Berrios’ breakout year. His four-seamer is frequently ranked as one of the best in baseball. While Berrios has always been good, he hasn’t quite filled his potential of greatness. Maybe this season will finally be the long awaited breakout year that’s been waiting in the wings. 20. Keep players healthy and safe through next year, given the continued uncertainty from the ongoing pandemic 21. ​Win a playoff game *In Rose Dawson’s voice* It’s been 16 years. What other resolutions do the Twins need to make next season? Comment below!
  16. The Minnesota Twins should stay away from signing any of the non-tendered players, regardless of how enticing these targets may appear on paper.We said goodbye to Eddie Rosario and Matt Wisler this week. Fans outside of the Midwest were surprised about Rosario’s departure, but real Minnesotans knew that this day was coming. After another year of questionable plays and free swings, the coffin was far sealed for this fan favorite. This year’s free agency class is strong across the board, but in the non-tendered class, Rosario sits near the top of the board according to many sources, including MLB’s Mark Feinsand. Given this reason, among others, the Minnesota Twins should stay away from signing any of the non-tendered players, regardless of how enticing these targets may appear on paper. The non-tendered, free agent class is littered with some of the bigger names in baseball, such as Kyle Schwarber, Adam Duvall, and Archie Bradley. Overall, these players were non-tendered for a combination of these four factors: price, health, production, and replaceability. Generally, these factors are all quantifiable. Take Schwarber for example. He was a 2014 first round draft pick who was known for his power. Although there were concerns about his speed and defense, his incredible slash lines guided him all the way to the majors, where he failed to meet production expectations from season to season. Rosario also falls in this quantifiable category, where his high price tag exceeded his expected return, and his replacement is waiting in the wings. However, a team’s decision to non-tender a player is often blurry and difficult to justify on paper. Take the aforementioned Matt Wisler for starters. Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson highlighted every reason to keep Wisler, from his stats to his low price tag, but the Twins still chose to move forward, despite losing bullpen pieces Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Clippard to free agency. If it has to be boiled down on quantifiable facts that you can write on paper, the Twins non-tendered Matt Wisler, reliever with above average stats last season, despite losing three members of the bullpen. However, Twins Daily’s Matthew Trueblood dissected the red flags and lingering questions surrounding Wisler, such as small sample size and various other anomalies, that outweighed his pros. At the end of the day, whether you are Team Nelson or Trueblood, it’s impossible to ignore that Wisler carries attributes that make him more of a toss up than other free agent relievers on the market, despite how attractive his statistics indicate on paper. It’s painfully obvious that teams should sign the least risky players with all four factors mentioned above in mind. The gamble of signing any player is what I like to call “the tomato-tomato dilemma”. Only players in the caliper of Francisco Lindor and Mike Trout are excluded from the dilemma, where their guaranteed return outweighs their associated price. With the top free agents on the market, such as Trevor Bauer and JT Realmuto near one end of the spectrum and players who will likely remain unsigned at the end of the offseason on the other, many of these enticing non-tendered free agents fall closer towards the middle, where, like in Wisler’s case, you can make the argument that his statistics justify his price tag, tomato, or a gamble on his red flags can’t justify his price tag, tomato. In the case of a team with a seemingly unlimited budget, a bad gamble or rotten tomato hardly makes a difference. However, we are not in the Bronx, and The Twins typically keep their payroll below or around the league minimum. If this pattern continues, they seem to have two options: Option A: Save for a top free agentOption B: Sign numerous contracts to good free agentsWith many top free agents that fulfill the Twins’ immediate needs with lower risk and higher reward than what the group of non-tendered free agents can provide, the Twins need to keep their eye on the ball and focus on signing one of the top free agents in one of the most diverse pools of free agents of recent. It’s undeniable that with another ace, the Twins’ rotation can be in the conversation with Cleveland. It’s quantifiable that the Twins currently don’t have a DH. It’s factual that the Twins may need another arm in the bullpen. While there is immense talent in the group of non-tendered free agents, the Twins need to focus on the few players they need the most, instead of adding quantity to the already competitive roster. We all know what happens when you take your eye off the prize. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  17. We said goodbye to Eddie Rosario and Matt Wisler this week. Fans outside of the Midwest were surprised about Rosario’s departure, but real Minnesotans knew that this day was coming. After another year of questionable plays and free swings, the coffin was far sealed for this fan favorite. This year’s free agency class is strong across the board, but in the non-tendered class, Rosario sits near the top of the board according to many sources, including MLB’s Mark Feinsand. Given this reason, among others, the Minnesota Twins should stay away from signing any of the non-tendered players, regardless of how enticing these targets may appear on paper. The non-tendered, free agent class is littered with some of the bigger names in baseball, such as Kyle Schwarber, Adam Duvall, and Archie Bradley. Overall, these players were non-tendered for a combination of these four factors: price, health, production, and replaceability. Generally, these factors are all quantifiable. Take Schwarber for example. He was a 2014 first round draft pick who was known for his power. Although there were concerns about his speed and defense, his incredible slash lines guided him all the way to the majors, where he failed to meet production expectations from season to season. Rosario also falls in this quantifiable category, where his high price tag exceeded his expected return, and his replacement is waiting in the wings. However, a team’s decision to non-tender a player is often blurry and difficult to justify on paper. Take the aforementioned Matt Wisler for starters. Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson highlighted every reason to keep Wisler, from his stats to his low price tag, but the Twins still chose to move forward, despite losing bullpen pieces Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Clippard to free agency. If it has to be boiled down on quantifiable facts that you can write on paper, the Twins non-tendered Matt Wisler, reliever with above average stats last season, despite losing three members of the bullpen. However, Twins Daily’s Matthew Trueblood dissected the red flags and lingering questions surrounding Wisler, such as small sample size and various other anomalies, that outweighed his pros. At the end of the day, whether you are Team Nelson or Trueblood, it’s impossible to ignore that Wisler carries attributes that make him more of a toss up than other free agent relievers on the market, despite how attractive his statistics indicate on paper. It’s painfully obvious that teams should sign the least risky players with all four factors mentioned above in mind. The gamble of signing any player is what I like to call “the tomato-tomato dilemma”. Only players in the caliper of Francisco Lindor and Mike Trout are excluded from the dilemma, where their guaranteed return outweighs their associated price. With the top free agents on the market, such as Trevor Bauer and JT Realmuto near one end of the spectrum and players who will likely remain unsigned at the end of the offseason on the other, many of these enticing non-tendered free agents fall closer towards the middle, where, like in Wisler’s case, you can make the argument that his statistics justify his price tag, tomato, or a gamble on his red flags can’t justify his price tag, tomato. In the case of a team with a seemingly unlimited budget, a bad gamble or rotten tomato hardly makes a difference. However, we are not in the Bronx, and The Twins typically keep their payroll below or around the league minimum. If this pattern continues, they seem to have two options: Option A: Save for a top free agent Option B: Sign numerous contracts to good free agents With many top free agents that fulfill the Twins’ immediate needs with lower risk and higher reward than what the group of non-tendered free agents can provide, the Twins need to keep their eye on the ball and focus on signing one of the top free agents in one of the most diverse pools of free agents of recent. It’s undeniable that with another ace, the Twins’ rotation can be in the conversation with Cleveland. It’s quantifiable that the Twins currently don’t have a DH. It’s factual that the Twins may need another arm in the bullpen. While there is immense talent in the group of non-tendered free agents, the Twins need to focus on the few players they need the most, instead of adding quantity to the already competitive roster. We all know what happens when you take your eye off the prize. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. One topic on everyone’s minds this offseason whether the Twins should offload Eddie Rosario before his 2021 free agency. Although Rosario has shown patience at the plate, many fans’ patience is wearing thin. As the last standing Twins Daily writer who doesn’t want to phase out Rosario, I wanted to show the readers a rare glimpse into a day in my life.7:00 am - Wake up 7:01 am - Roll over and immediately grab my phone 7:02 am - Invigorate my morning with the video of Eddie Rosario’s throw to tag out Rafael Devers at home plate in 2019 7:03 am - Realize that Eddie Rosario’s strikeout to walk ratio (SO/W) has significantly decreased from 2019, from 3.91 to 1.79. Despite the small sample size, he would’ve needed to increase his ratio by three times for the remaining 102 games to finish out the season at a higher SO/W ratio than in 2019. 7:05 am - As I start to wake up, my stomach grumbles in pain, and I start to think about skipping my daily workout with this excuse. This makes me wonder how to quantify health and playing time as a legitimate player's statistic. Eddie Rosario only missed three games all season in 2020. After 2016, he’s never played less than 137 games in a season. With injuries playing such a large role in many team’s struggles, including the Twins’, playing time cannot be overlooked. 7:15 am - 8:45 am - Workout 9:00 am - 12:00 pm - Do my job and not think about Eddie Rosario 12:01 pm - 12:30 pm - Eat my salad and ruminate on how Eddie Rosario compares to other hitters. Although his exit velocity of 82.2 mph and hard hit rate of 30.3% leave much to be desired, Rosario’s SLG percentage of .476 and wOBA of .347 are still far above league average. Other notable hitters around the league with similarly concerning exit velocities are Whit Merrifield (86.1 mph), Kris Bryant (86.1 mph), and Edwin Encarnacion (85.4 mph). Similarly, notable players around the league with low hard hit rates include White Merrifield (27.3%), Jeff McNeil (26.5%), and Charlie Blackmon (29.7%). 12:31 pm - 5:00 pm - Continue to do my job and not think about Eddie Rosario 5:10 pm - 6:00 pm - Walk my daily loop around my neighborhood while listening to the Twins Daily podcast 6:30 pm - Eat dinner and ponder about Rosario’s six seasons so far with the Twins. In the past years, fans have seen up and downs with their team and their left fielder. Overall, fans have seen improvement from Rosario, although there are still missing gaps from bad defensive plays to questionable base running. Rosario hit a home run in his very first at-bat as a Twin, and one of his most endearing qualities is hitting the most questionable balls out of the zone, out of the park. How do you quantify the importance of a player outside of his statistics and analytics? At the end of the day, he’s been a core, everyday player who has ridden the wave of the worst Twins’ seasons to some of their most memorable recent moments. Season and players have come and gone, but Rosario has stayed put. 6:45 pm - 10:45 pm - Melt into my couch 11:00 pm - Turn off the lights and think about the next day and hope that Twins fans will also see a next day with Eddie Rosario on the team MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  19. 7:00 am - Wake up 7:01 am - Roll over and immediately grab my phone 7:02 am - Invigorate my morning with the video of Eddie Rosario’s throw to tag out Rafael Devers at home plate in 2019 7:03 am - Realize that Eddie Rosario’s strikeout to walk ratio (SO/W) has significantly decreased from 2019, from 3.91 to 1.79. Despite the small sample size, he would’ve needed to increase his ratio by three times for the remaining 102 games to finish out the season at a higher SO/W ratio than in 2019. 7:05 am - As I start to wake up, my stomach grumbles in pain, and I start to think about skipping my daily workout with this excuse. This makes me wonder how to quantify health and playing time as a legitimate player's statistic. Eddie Rosario only missed three games all season in 2020. After 2016, he’s never played less than 137 games in a season. With injuries playing such a large role in many team’s struggles, including the Twins’, playing time cannot be overlooked. 7:15 am - 8:45 am - Workout 9:00 am - 12:00 pm - Do my job and not think about Eddie Rosario 12:01 pm - 12:30 pm - Eat my salad and ruminate on how Eddie Rosario compares to other hitters. Although his exit velocity of 82.2 mph and hard hit rate of 30.3% leave much to be desired, Rosario’s SLG percentage of .476 and wOBA of .347 are still far above league average. Other notable hitters around the league with similarly concerning exit velocities are Whit Merrifield (86.1 mph), Kris Bryant (86.1 mph), and Edwin Encarnacion (85.4 mph). Similarly, notable players around the league with low hard hit rates include White Merrifield (27.3%), Jeff McNeil (26.5%), and Charlie Blackmon (29.7%). 12:31 pm - 5:00 pm - Continue to do my job and not think about Eddie Rosario 5:10 pm - 6:00 pm - Walk my daily loop around my neighborhood while listening to the Twins Daily podcast 6:30 pm - Eat dinner and ponder about Rosario’s six seasons so far with the Twins. In the past years, fans have seen up and downs with their team and their left fielder. Overall, fans have seen improvement from Rosario, although there are still missing gaps from bad defensive plays to questionable base running. Rosario hit a home run in his very first at-bat as a Twin, and one of his most endearing qualities is hitting the most questionable balls out of the zone, out of the park. How do you quantify the importance of a player outside of his statistics and analytics? At the end of the day, he’s been a core, everyday player who has ridden the wave of the worst Twins’ seasons to some of their most memorable recent moments. Season and players have come and gone, but Rosario has stayed put. 6:45 pm - 10:45 pm - Melt into my couch 11:00 pm - Turn off the lights and think about the next day and hope that Twins fans will also see a next day with Eddie Rosario on the team MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  20. After last night’s victory over the Tigers, the Twins are in sole possession of first place in the AL Central. Here’s a rundown of five potential wild cards of each playoff team that could derail the Twins on their postseason run.Although most conversations are currently dominated by the Chicago White Sox and whether the Twins will be in the Bronx next week, it’s often forgotten that when the Twins advance (see what I did there), the Twins could potentially face any playoff team, not just New York and the AL Central. Although the playoffs are always unpredictable, facing five brand new opponents in a playoff bubble makes it that much more unexpected. Tampa Bay Rays: Kevin Cash The Rays have won their first AL East Title in a decade. The Rays have a total payroll of $26.7M dollars, which is less than half the league average of $58.2M. The only teams with a smaller payroll are the non-contending Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. Their success is largely contributed to the brilliant management of Kevin Cash. Cash is used to making marvels out of nothing. He rarely puts out the same lineup two days in a row. Twins fans are occasionally frustrated by Rocco Baldelli’s lineup experiments that often mirror Cash’s, but for some reason, it works for Cash. According to the Associated Press, the Tampa Bay Rays became the first major league team in the modern era to start a batting order with all left-handed batters to face the Red Sox righty Andrew Triggs. As a result, Triggs was pulled after the first inning, and the Rays’ offense dominated Boston 11-1. If the Rays find themselves in a situation in the playoffs, you can expect an unexpected counter from Cash. Cash’s familiarity with Baldelli, who spent 3 years in the Rays’ organization prior to the Twins, can also make any surprises from Baldelli not so surprising to Cash. New York Yankees: the Bullpen The 2019 Yankees’ bullpen was unhittable. In last year’s ALDS, the Twins scored a measly 2 runs off of the Yankees’ bullpen. The core of the bullpen saw sub-2 ERA’s across the board, with Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman leading the pack. This season has been a different story for the Yankees. Zack Britton is currently the only bullpen piece with a sub-3 ERA, and Kahnle is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Although the backbone of their team is damaged, the signs of life shown by Britton’s return from the IL and better performances overall indicate that it has not collapsed. This bullpen has stopped Minnesota from late inning comebacks in the past, and history suggests that this could happen again in 2020 if the bullpen can kick it into high gear in the playoffs. Toronto Blue Jays: the New Kids on the Block The Jays currently have very few homegrown players on their roster, with a lineup primarily consisting of baby bombers and newly acquired pitching pieces. The Jays followed the offseason signings of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, and Chase Anderson by trading for Robbie Ray, Ross Stripling, and Taijuan Walker. Although the Jays have a 6 man rotation, their pitching has left much to be desired. The Jays currently hold a 4.70 ERA, which puts them at 18th overall in the MLB behind the Royals and Orioles. Anderson and Roark’s ERA have ballooned to 7.00+. It’s no secret that the Jays’ offense is their biggest weapon. However, Ryu, Roark, Anderson, Ray, Stripling, and Walker have one immeasurable commonality: experience. With the addition of top prospect Nate Pearson to their bullpen, the Jays could look like a brand new team in October. If the new pitchers on the block can live up to their hype in the playoffs, the Twins could be in trouble against Toronto. Oakland Athletics: Robbie Grossman Robbie Grossman was having a comeback season prior to September. He’s currently batting .232 with 6 home runs and a .794 OPS. Grossman is hitting only .111 against left-handed pitching. Although his offense makes him one of the less threatening players in Oakland’s lineup, Grossman has always dominated the Minnesota Twins after his departure. In 2019, Grossman batted .440 against the Twins, with 11 hits and four runs in 25 at bat. His familiarity with the team as well as experience in Petco Park could make Grossman the x factor, once again, against Minnesota. Houston Astros: the Core Four The Houston Astros will currently enter the playoffs with the lowest overall record. Maybe it’s karma, maybe it’s all four of Houston’s 2017 World Series’ core of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa collectively having a down year. For the first time in his career, Jose Altuve has a negative war (-0.8) and is batting barely above the Mendoza Line. Alex Bregman has 4 home runs on the year, compared to 37 the year prior. Since his recent IL return, Bregman has batted .122. Before his resurgence in September, Springer had been struggling at the plate, with only 19 hits combined in July and August. While this is the first season in recent memory where Correa hasn’t spent time on the IL, he’s been good but not outstanding at the plate. Without addressing the elephant in the room, it’s safe to say that all four players’ numbers have come back down to earth in 2020. However, it’s hard to argue against playoff experience. Although the core four haven’t looked the same all year, they can be unstoppable if they start to show signs of life in October. This group brought the Astros back to the World Series last year without, ahem, *help*, and they can do it again. Who are some other wild cards that you think could affect the Twins’ postseason? Comment below! Click here to view the article
  21. Although most conversations are currently dominated by the Chicago White Sox and whether the Twins will be in the Bronx next week, it’s often forgotten that when the Twins advance (see what I did there), the Twins could potentially face any playoff team, not just New York and the AL Central. Although the playoffs are always unpredictable, facing five brand new opponents in a playoff bubble makes it that much more unexpected. Tampa Bay Rays: Kevin Cash The Rays have won their first AL East Title in a decade. The Rays have a total payroll of $26.7M dollars, which is less than half the league average of $58.2M. The only teams with a smaller payroll are the non-contending Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. Their success is largely contributed to the brilliant management of Kevin Cash. Cash is used to making marvels out of nothing. He rarely puts out the same lineup two days in a row. Twins fans are occasionally frustrated by Rocco Baldelli’s lineup experiments that often mirror Cash’s, but for some reason, it works for Cash. According to the Associated Press, the Tampa Bay Rays became the first major league team in the modern era to start a batting order with all left-handed batters to face the Red Sox righty Andrew Triggs. As a result, Triggs was pulled after the first inning, and the Rays’ offense dominated Boston 11-1. If the Rays find themselves in a situation in the playoffs, you can expect an unexpected counter from Cash. Cash’s familiarity with Baldelli, who spent 3 years in the Rays’ organization prior to the Twins, can also make any surprises from Baldelli not so surprising to Cash. New York Yankees: the Bullpen The 2019 Yankees’ bullpen was unhittable. In last year’s ALDS, the Twins scored a measly 2 runs off of the Yankees’ bullpen. The core of the bullpen saw sub-2 ERA’s across the board, with Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman leading the pack. This season has been a different story for the Yankees. Zack Britton is currently the only bullpen piece with a sub-3 ERA, and Kahnle is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Although the backbone of their team is damaged, the signs of life shown by Britton’s return from the IL and better performances overall indicate that it has not collapsed. This bullpen has stopped Minnesota from late inning comebacks in the past, and history suggests that this could happen again in 2020 if the bullpen can kick it into high gear in the playoffs. Toronto Blue Jays: the New Kids on the Block The Jays currently have very few homegrown players on their roster, with a lineup primarily consisting of baby bombers and newly acquired pitching pieces. The Jays followed the offseason signings of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, and Chase Anderson by trading for Robbie Ray, Ross Stripling, and Taijuan Walker. Although the Jays have a 6 man rotation, their pitching has left much to be desired. The Jays currently hold a 4.70 ERA, which puts them at 18th overall in the MLB behind the Royals and Orioles. Anderson and Roark’s ERA have ballooned to 7.00+. It’s no secret that the Jays’ offense is their biggest weapon. However, Ryu, Roark, Anderson, Ray, Stripling, and Walker have one immeasurable commonality: experience. With the addition of top prospect Nate Pearson to their bullpen, the Jays could look like a brand new team in October. If the new pitchers on the block can live up to their hype in the playoffs, the Twins could be in trouble against Toronto. Oakland Athletics: Robbie Grossman Robbie Grossman was having a comeback season prior to September. He’s currently batting .232 with 6 home runs and a .794 OPS. Grossman is hitting only .111 against left-handed pitching. Although his offense makes him one of the less threatening players in Oakland’s lineup, Grossman has always dominated the Minnesota Twins after his departure. In 2019, Grossman batted .440 against the Twins, with 11 hits and four runs in 25 at bat. His familiarity with the team as well as experience in Petco Park could make Grossman the x factor, once again, against Minnesota. Houston Astros: the Core Four The Houston Astros will currently enter the playoffs with the lowest overall record. Maybe it’s karma, maybe it’s all four of Houston’s 2017 World Series’ core of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa collectively having a down year. For the first time in his career, Jose Altuve has a negative war (-0.8) and is batting barely above the Mendoza Line. Alex Bregman has 4 home runs on the year, compared to 37 the year prior. Since his recent IL return, Bregman has batted .122. Before his resurgence in September, Springer had been struggling at the plate, with only 19 hits combined in July and August. While this is the first season in recent memory where Correa hasn’t spent time on the IL, he’s been good but not outstanding at the plate. Without addressing the elephant in the room, it’s safe to say that all four players’ numbers have come back down to earth in 2020. However, it’s hard to argue against playoff experience. Although the core four haven’t looked the same all year, they can be unstoppable if they start to show signs of life in October. This group brought the Astros back to the World Series last year without, ahem, *help*, and they can do it again. Who are some other wild cards that you think could affect the Twins’ postseason? Comment below!
  22. The Twins were swept out of Detroit over the weekend, scoring a meager six runs, then followed that up with another loss Monday against the White Sox. That marked the first time the Twins had lost six games consecutively since July 4, 2018, a disappointing season when the Twins under-performed after a Wild Card run.Two seasons later, the lead is again slipping away toward our division rivals to the east.If the playoffs started today, the current seeding would look like this: Tampa Bay RaysOakland A’sCleveland IndiansChicago White SoxHouston AstrosNew York YankeesMinnesota TwinsToronto Blue JaysThe Twins would face the Oakland A’s, one of the hottest teams in baseball. However, Baseball Reference paints a slightly different playoff picture (predicted wins in parenthesis):Tampa Bay Rays (38.0 - 22.0)Cleveland Indians (37.0 - 23.0)Oakland A’s (36.6 - 23.4)Houston Astros (35.6 - 24.4)Minnesota Twins (34.5 - 25.5)New York Yankees (34.2 - 25.8)Chicago White Sox (33.9 - 26.1)Toronto Blue Jays (31.2 - 28.8)In this projection, the Minnesota Twins would face off against the Houston Astros, while the Cleveland Indians would face off against the Chicago White Sox. This season, the only teams that any division winner could play in the first round are the Wild Card teams and a second place team. However, the top two seeds of the second place teams are guaranteed to play one another. On paper, winning the division is the most favorable. Realistically, with the current field of Wild Card teams and the last second place seed, it is most favorable for the Twins to finish second in their division as the fourth or fifth seed to avoid potentially facing either the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, or Toronto Blue Jays as a division winner. Given the history of Twins and Yankees postseason meetings, no explanation is needed as to why the Twins should avoid New York at all costs. The Chicago White Sox have been a surprise this season with their lethal offense, led by rookie Luis Robert. Having to face left-handed veteran Dallas Keuchel in the second game of a White Sox matchup puts the pressure on the first game against “no-hitter” Lucas Giolito if the Twins want to advance. Given the Jays’ trade deadline moves and the imminent return of Bo Bichette, the Jays will be an even more formidable opponent in September. The numbers also suggest that the Astros are a preferable opponent over Toronto and other playoff contenders. The Jays’ pitching has been surprisingly lethal this season with a 3.60 ERA that ranks them 5th in baseball, over the Twins, Chicago, Tampa, New York, and Houston. Their rotation holds a 1.30 WHIP over the Astros’ 1.33, and opponents are batting .232 off of Jays pitchers. The addition of Robbie Ray adds another veteran lefty to their rotation (with Ryu), while the only left-handed Astros starter is Framber Valdez. Right-handed veteran Justin Verlander currently has no return date, in addition to Roberto Osuna, Brad Peacock, Jose Urquidy, and Chris Devinski. The baby Jays have quietly been lethal offensively as well, with every single rookie batting over .252 with an .800 OPS or better. The Jays are currently outhitting both the Twins and Astros in home runs and OPS and have a similar batting average as the Astros. The Jays have reached all of their current milestones without Bo Bichette. However, Jonathan Villar was acquired as an insurance bat in Bichette’s absence. Meanwhile, many of the Astros’ best hitters are struggling at the plate, with Altuve hitting under .200 until a week ago. Unlike Toronto, Houston did not add an insurance bat to take the place of Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, or Michael Brantley. With no home-field advantage, the seeds become a moot point and puts the emphasis on the matchups. In a normal season, a division win is the only guaranteed way into the playoffs. However, in this unusual year, the road less traveled, a second place finish, could be the Twins’ key to success. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  23. Two seasons later, the lead is again slipping away toward our division rivals to the east.If the playoffs started today, the current seeding would look like this: Tampa Bay Rays Oakland A’s Cleveland Indians Chicago White Sox Houston Astros New York Yankees Minnesota Twins Toronto Blue Jays The Twins would face the Oakland A’s, one of the hottest teams in baseball. However, Baseball Reference paints a slightly different playoff picture (predicted wins in parenthesis): Tampa Bay Rays (38.0 - 22.0) Cleveland Indians (37.0 - 23.0) Oakland A’s (36.6 - 23.4) Houston Astros (35.6 - 24.4) Minnesota Twins (34.5 - 25.5) New York Yankees (34.2 - 25.8) Chicago White Sox (33.9 - 26.1) Toronto Blue Jays (31.2 - 28.8) In this projection, the Minnesota Twins would face off against the Houston Astros, while the Cleveland Indians would face off against the Chicago White Sox. This season, the only teams that any division winner could play in the first round are the Wild Card teams and a second place team. However, the top two seeds of the second place teams are guaranteed to play one another. On paper, winning the division is the most favorable. Realistically, with the current field of Wild Card teams and the last second place seed, it is most favorable for the Twins to finish second in their division as the fourth or fifth seed to avoid potentially facing either the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, or Toronto Blue Jays as a division winner. Given the history of Twins and Yankees postseason meetings, no explanation is needed as to why the Twins should avoid New York at all costs. The Chicago White Sox have been a surprise this season with their lethal offense, led by rookie Luis Robert. Having to face left-handed veteran Dallas Keuchel in the second game of a White Sox matchup puts the pressure on the first game against “no-hitter” Lucas Giolito if the Twins want to advance. Given the Jays’ trade deadline moves and the imminent return of Bo Bichette, the Jays will be an even more formidable opponent in September. The numbers also suggest that the Astros are a preferable opponent over Toronto and other playoff contenders. The Jays’ pitching has been surprisingly lethal this season with a 3.60 ERA that ranks them 5th in baseball, over the Twins, Chicago, Tampa, New York, and Houston. Their rotation holds a 1.30 WHIP over the Astros’ 1.33, and opponents are batting .232 off of Jays pitchers. The addition of Robbie Ray adds another veteran lefty to their rotation (with Ryu), while the only left-handed Astros starter is Framber Valdez. Right-handed veteran Justin Verlander currently has no return date, in addition to Roberto Osuna, Brad Peacock, Jose Urquidy, and Chris Devinski. The baby Jays have quietly been lethal offensively as well, with every single rookie batting over .252 with an .800 OPS or better. The Jays are currently outhitting both the Twins and Astros in home runs and OPS and have a similar batting average as the Astros. The Jays have reached all of their current milestones without Bo Bichette. However, Jonathan Villar was acquired as an insurance bat in Bichette’s absence. Meanwhile, many of the Astros’ best hitters are struggling at the plate, with Altuve hitting under .200 until a week ago. Unlike Toronto, Houston did not add an insurance bat to take the place of Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, or Michael Brantley. With no home-field advantage, the seeds become a moot point and puts the emphasis on the matchups. In a normal season, a division win is the only guaranteed way into the playoffs. However, in this unusual year, the road less traveled, a second place finish, could be the Twins’ key to success. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. We are two and a half weeks away from the trade deadline in a season where pretenders are suddenly contenders. Currently, 14 out of 30 teams have a .500 winning percentage or better, and a team who wins over 35 games is essentially a lock for the postseason. The teams that end up selling at the trade deadline might not be clear until days before.On the surface, the Twins don’t have any missing pieces to address. Jake Odorizzi, Homer Bailey, Rich Hill, and Josh Donaldson simultaneously hitting the IL was a small blip on the radar due to the Twins’ roster depth. The bullpen has effectively stepped in for the 3 starters, and there are a slew of prospects who can fill in the infield. However, one lingering bullpen issue still hangs in flux. There’s no argument that Taylor Rogers is one of the best closers in baseball. However, his effectiveness strongly depends on his days of rest, and he has proven this over and over again. In 2019, when Rogers pitched on no days of rest, his ERA ballooned to 7.20. His only losses last season were when he pitched on back to back nights. This was again showcased this week during the Milwaukee series when Rogers blew the save after pitching on consecutive nights. On just one day of rest, Rogers’ ERA deflated to 4.66. However, by 2 days of rest, his ERA was down to 1.10. Last season, he did not walk a single player in 16.1 innings, struck out 20, and only gave up 1 home run while on 2 days of rest. This dominant pattern continued for him with more days of rest. While it’s not feasible for Rogers to be only used on 2 or more days of rest, having another closer option can help mitigate the need to utilize Rogers when consecutive save situations present itself. This other closer option manifests itself in the form of Boston’s closer, Brandon Workman. Now the million dollar question: will Boston sell at the deadline? They are off to a cold start, much of which is attributed to the Red Sox’s abysmal pitching. Their rotation currently holds a 5.24 ERA (25th in the league) and 1.56 WHIP (30th), compared to 4.70 ERA and 1.379 WHIP in 2019, when the team finished 3rd in the AL East. The Yankees and Rays show no signs of stopping, the baby Blue Jays are exceeding expectations, and Baltimore is off to the hottest start in years. With no Mookies Betts, no bets are off for Boston’s playoff potential. Brandon Workman has been one of the only consistent pieces in their pitching staff for the past two seasons. With his pending free agency, he will become the hottest commodity on the market if Boston decides to sell. According to ESPN’s David Schoenfield, Workman is 10-1 over the past two years, with a 1.88 overall ERA and 34 hits and 1 home run allowed over 76⅔ innings. In high leverage playoff games, having another consistent bullpen piece can be key, especially if there are two or three save situations in a row. Utilizing Workman and a well-rested Rogers will turn the Twins’ bullpen from good to unstoppable. Although Sergio Romo has been used in the ninth inning in the past, all hands on deck will be required in the playoffs. Since Romo and Rogers are both frequently used together, Romo would be unavailable to close a game if a second save situation occurs. Having one more experienced bullpen piece can be crucial during a make-or-break game in the playoffs. Workman is the perfect candidate to lessen the pressure for Rogers to pitch on consecutive nights. Plus, his postseason experience and experience against the Twins’ kryptonite, the Yankees, makes him an invaluable asset. No one has ever criticized a team for having too much depth. Is there another player that you’re hoping the Twins land before the trade deadline? Comment below! Click here to view the article
  25. On the surface, the Twins don’t have any missing pieces to address. Jake Odorizzi, Homer Bailey, Rich Hill, and Josh Donaldson simultaneously hitting the IL was a small blip on the radar due to the Twins’ roster depth. The bullpen has effectively stepped in for the 3 starters, and there are a slew of prospects who can fill in the infield. However, one lingering bullpen issue still hangs in flux. There’s no argument that Taylor Rogers is one of the best closers in baseball. However, his effectiveness strongly depends on his days of rest, and he has proven this over and over again. In 2019, when Rogers pitched on no days of rest, his ERA ballooned to 7.20. His only losses last season were when he pitched on back to back nights. This was again showcased this week during the Milwaukee series when Rogers blew the save after pitching on consecutive nights. On just one day of rest, Rogers’ ERA deflated to 4.66. However, by 2 days of rest, his ERA was down to 1.10. Last season, he did not walk a single player in 16.1 innings, struck out 20, and only gave up 1 home run while on 2 days of rest. This dominant pattern continued for him with more days of rest. While it’s not feasible for Rogers to be only used on 2 or more days of rest, having another closer option can help mitigate the need to utilize Rogers when consecutive save situations present itself. This other closer option manifests itself in the form of Boston’s closer, Brandon Workman. Now the million dollar question: will Boston sell at the deadline? They are off to a cold start, much of which is attributed to the Red Sox’s abysmal pitching. Their rotation currently holds a 5.24 ERA (25th in the league) and 1.56 WHIP (30th), compared to 4.70 ERA and 1.379 WHIP in 2019, when the team finished 3rd in the AL East. The Yankees and Rays show no signs of stopping, the baby Blue Jays are exceeding expectations, and Baltimore is off to the hottest start in years. With no Mookies Betts, no bets are off for Boston’s playoff potential. Brandon Workman has been one of the only consistent pieces in their pitching staff for the past two seasons. With his pending free agency, he will become the hottest commodity on the market if Boston decides to sell. According to ESPN’s David Schoenfield, Workman is 10-1 over the past two years, with a 1.88 overall ERA and 34 hits and 1 home run allowed over 76⅔ innings. In high leverage playoff games, having another consistent bullpen piece can be key, especially if there are two or three save situations in a row. Utilizing Workman and a well-rested Rogers will turn the Twins’ bullpen from good to unstoppable. Although Sergio Romo has been used in the ninth inning in the past, all hands on deck will be required in the playoffs. Since Romo and Rogers are both frequently used together, Romo would be unavailable to close a game if a second save situation occurs. Having one more experienced bullpen piece can be crucial during a make-or-break game in the playoffs. Workman is the perfect candidate to lessen the pressure for Rogers to pitch on consecutive nights. Plus, his postseason experience and experience against the Twins’ kryptonite, the Yankees, makes him an invaluable asset. No one has ever criticized a team for having too much depth. Is there another player that you’re hoping the Twins land before the trade deadline? Comment below!
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