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Sherry Cerny

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  1. Trey Mancini has been an all-star caliber hitter, but has had his highs and lows since. Last year, those highs made him a big target at the trade deadline, but the lows make him an affordable free agent. That’s just one reason why Mancini could be a perfect fit for the Twins' roster. Image courtesy of Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports Trey Mancini is just coming off the best feeling in the world of baseball: a World Series championship. At the beginning of the season, Mancini was with the Baltimore Orioles, the organization he had played for since they drafted him in 2013. The Orioles were just getting hot as Mancini's bat cooled off, but the Astros still saw something. The 30-year-old was part of a three-team trade that sent him from Baltimore to Houston. Mancini was hitting .268/.347/.404 with ten homers before the trade and was a "high-value" hitter, which would undoubtedly have helped in the postseason. Mancini came in as a veteran player at first base and helped alleviate some pressure from struggling first baseman Yuli Gurriel. He could also serve as a DH, and played 31 games in the corner outfield positions, but his bat was most attractive to the Astros. However, Mancini slumped in Houston, hitting .176/.258/.364, and struggled in the postseason. One could easily blame that on a major trade late in the season and after being with a club for six seasons, but he certainly did not produce like the Astros’ thought he would at the plate. However, he did play great defense, which helped secure game five of the World Series. He snagged a hit off Kyle Schwarber and got his first postseason hit in game six, which resulted in a run. He did both of these coming off the bench. He shared his frame of mind with Michael Shapiro of Chron in a post-game interview. “In a series of this magnitude, you can’t reflect on what’s going on. You have to look forward,” Mancini explained. “You gotta wash [your mistakes], go to the next day and be ready for your team.” The Twins can relate to late-season and postseason struggles. They started hot last season but faltered after the All-Star break, mainly due to injuries. Those injuries forced the organization to bring up many Triple-A players pushed to the big leagues potentially before they were ready, and those injuries leave a lot of question marks in exactly the positions where Mancini played. Twins players cycled through first base and designated hitter last year after Miguel Sano was injured. Luis Arraez will certainly play one of those spots after earning himself the American League batting title and contributing heavily to many of the Twins' wins. But even Arraez's time was limited due to injuries and pain, but still earned his first Silver Slugger Award. Meanwhile, the Twins' corner outfield positions are mostly manned by unproven younger players, many of whom have injury concerns, and almost all of whom hit left-handed. Mancini's veteran right-handed bat is a great compliment to those spots, too. So there are a lot of places where he would be a benefit to the squad. Plus, with Mancini's late-season fade, the Twins could likely offer him a short-term deal. Mancini would be a better overall player than the Twins' Kyle Garlick, who the Twins signed on November 15 to a one-year $750,000 deal to avoid arbitration. Garlick managed to have good numbers in 2022 despite being hurt throughout the season. Garlick has worked out well for the team, particularly his ability to get clutch hits off lefties, but his role has been limited, and he's had trouble staying healthy, too. Mancini's health is also a significant part of his story. After his breakthrough 2019 season, he missed the 2020 season with stage III colon cancer. His return earned him the 2021 AL Comeback Player of the Year award. 2022 was another step forward, and ended in a World Championship. Perhaps 2023 can, too? That would also be a good fit for Mancini and the Twins. What do you think? Do you like Mancini as a pickup for the Twins this offseason? Tell us in the comments below. View full article
  2. Trey Mancini is just coming off the best feeling in the world of baseball: a World Series championship. At the beginning of the season, Mancini was with the Baltimore Orioles, the organization he had played for since they drafted him in 2013. The Orioles were just getting hot as Mancini's bat cooled off, but the Astros still saw something. The 30-year-old was part of a three-team trade that sent him from Baltimore to Houston. Mancini was hitting .268/.347/.404 with ten homers before the trade and was a "high-value" hitter, which would undoubtedly have helped in the postseason. Mancini came in as a veteran player at first base and helped alleviate some pressure from struggling first baseman Yuli Gurriel. He could also serve as a DH, and played 31 games in the corner outfield positions, but his bat was most attractive to the Astros. However, Mancini slumped in Houston, hitting .176/.258/.364, and struggled in the postseason. One could easily blame that on a major trade late in the season and after being with a club for six seasons, but he certainly did not produce like the Astros’ thought he would at the plate. However, he did play great defense, which helped secure game five of the World Series. He snagged a hit off Kyle Schwarber and got his first postseason hit in game six, which resulted in a run. He did both of these coming off the bench. He shared his frame of mind with Michael Shapiro of Chron in a post-game interview. “In a series of this magnitude, you can’t reflect on what’s going on. You have to look forward,” Mancini explained. “You gotta wash [your mistakes], go to the next day and be ready for your team.” The Twins can relate to late-season and postseason struggles. They started hot last season but faltered after the All-Star break, mainly due to injuries. Those injuries forced the organization to bring up many Triple-A players pushed to the big leagues potentially before they were ready, and those injuries leave a lot of question marks in exactly the positions where Mancini played. Twins players cycled through first base and designated hitter last year after Miguel Sano was injured. Luis Arraez will certainly play one of those spots after earning himself the American League batting title and contributing heavily to many of the Twins' wins. But even Arraez's time was limited due to injuries and pain, but still earned his first Silver Slugger Award. Meanwhile, the Twins' corner outfield positions are mostly manned by unproven younger players, many of whom have injury concerns, and almost all of whom hit left-handed. Mancini's veteran right-handed bat is a great compliment to those spots, too. So there are a lot of places where he would be a benefit to the squad. Plus, with Mancini's late-season fade, the Twins could likely offer him a short-term deal. Mancini would be a better overall player than the Twins' Kyle Garlick, who the Twins signed on November 15 to a one-year $750,000 deal to avoid arbitration. Garlick managed to have good numbers in 2022 despite being hurt throughout the season. Garlick has worked out well for the team, particularly his ability to get clutch hits off lefties, but his role has been limited, and he's had trouble staying healthy, too. Mancini's health is also a significant part of his story. After his breakthrough 2019 season, he missed the 2020 season with stage III colon cancer. His return earned him the 2021 AL Comeback Player of the Year award. 2022 was another step forward, and ended in a World Championship. Perhaps 2023 can, too? That would also be a good fit for Mancini and the Twins. What do you think? Do you like Mancini as a pickup for the Twins this offseason? Tell us in the comments below.
  3. As crazy as the season was, the off-season seems even crazier and filled with more drama. While fans want the front office to land Carlos (Correa), bringing in the other Carlos (Rodón) would make the most sense for the club and could solidify the Twins starting rotation. Image courtesy of Stan Szeto, USA Today The jury is still out on the starting rotation for the Twins, but it looks like Sonny Gray is the anchor, with Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda, Bailey Ober, and Tyler Mahle penciled into spots with question marks. If the team experiences anything like they did last season, injuries always loom heavily with this club. Taking on one more starter would benefit the club immensely, especially with uncertainty about Kenta Maeda's health and how he might pitch following surgery. Even with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan at the top of the rotation, Carlos Rodon would easily be the team's ace, something that the Twins have not had of late. Jose Berrios was the closest the Twins have come to an ace in a long time, and the fans and club need more at the top of their rotation if they want to compete. With the Giants in 2022, Rodón had a 2.88 ERA and led the majors with a 2.25 FIP. He finished second in the National League with 237 strikeouts and hit double-digits 11 times, a franchise record. Rodón made a career-high 31 starts, putting aside (at least for now) the concerns about his shoulder that limited his market a year ago. 2022 was his best season since entering the majors. At 29 years old, his market this offseason should include a lot of teams. Watching pitchers like Jacob de Grom, Justin Verlander, and C.C. Sabathia, Rodón has the potential to continue for several seasons, provided he can stay healthy. His contract last offseason was a two-year $44 million deal with the Giants, but it included an opt-out clause that he took advantage of after the season. Since 2015, he has outperformed his contract and is worth more than what he made. The team that signs him this offseason will give up a draft pick as San Francisco made him a qualifying offer, which he declined. However, that should not stop him from getting at least four years with an average annual value of over $25 million. He pitched for a long time with the White Sox and knows the AL Central Division. However, it can be assumed that Rodon will be courted by nearly every team that intends to contend for a playoff spot in 2023 and beyond. As the non-tender deadline creeps up, additional players will become available. Several pitchers could potentially fill the Twins need, but Rodón would be a good fit in the league, division, and clubhouse. View full article
  4. The jury is still out on the starting rotation for the Twins, but it looks like Sonny Gray is the anchor, with Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda, Bailey Ober, and Tyler Mahle penciled into spots with question marks. If the team experiences anything like they did last season, injuries always loom heavily with this club. Taking on one more starter would benefit the club immensely, especially with uncertainty about Kenta Maeda's health and how he might pitch following surgery. Even with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan at the top of the rotation, Carlos Rodon would easily be the team's ace, something that the Twins have not had of late. Jose Berrios was the closest the Twins have come to an ace in a long time, and the fans and club need more at the top of their rotation if they want to compete. With the Giants in 2022, Rodón had a 2.88 ERA and led the majors with a 2.25 FIP. He finished second in the National League with 237 strikeouts and hit double-digits 11 times, a franchise record. Rodón made a career-high 31 starts, putting aside (at least for now) the concerns about his shoulder that limited his market a year ago. 2022 was his best season since entering the majors. At 29 years old, his market this offseason should include a lot of teams. Watching pitchers like Jacob de Grom, Justin Verlander, and C.C. Sabathia, Rodón has the potential to continue for several seasons, provided he can stay healthy. His contract last offseason was a two-year $44 million deal with the Giants, but it included an opt-out clause that he took advantage of after the season. Since 2015, he has outperformed his contract and is worth more than what he made. The team that signs him this offseason will give up a draft pick as San Francisco made him a qualifying offer, which he declined. However, that should not stop him from getting at least four years with an average annual value of over $25 million. He pitched for a long time with the White Sox and knows the AL Central Division. However, it can be assumed that Rodon will be courted by nearly every team that intends to contend for a playoff spot in 2023 and beyond. As the non-tender deadline creeps up, additional players will become available. Several pitchers could potentially fill the Twins need, but Rodón would be a good fit in the league, division, and clubhouse.
  5. No-hitters and perfect games certainly are some of the most entertaining games to watch in baseball. Pitchers have a stressful job on the mound, but they are complemented by another position that sits behind the plate and helps them to get through those moments and games. The catcher is often the forgotten unsung hero of the no-hitters, perfect games, and game-day preparation. Image courtesy of Brad Rempel; USA Today 2018 The battery is an essential component of the game, and catchers are the magicians who orchestrate it all. Let's look at what a catcher does and which Minnesota Twins catchers were the best at each job that a catcher does behind the plate. Terry Steinbach - The Toughest Catcher It's one of the most demanding positions to play on the baseball field: Catchers are constantly beaten up and hit with bats, balls, and sometimes players. They must squat down on their knees for nine or more innings, catching hundreds of pitches of varying speeds, movements, and breaks. A catcher must be in peak physical shape to stay in the game. MLB made a change to emphasize player safety in 2011 after a collision at home plate that saw star catcher Buster Posey suffer a season-ending ankle injury. Before the rule change where a player could no longer run through a catcher, Terry Steinbach was one of the best but most beat-up-on catchers during his time in MLB. Steinbach was no stranger to catching injuries. In 1988 he was hit by a thrown ball during batting practice, suffering five fractures around his left eye and requiring surgery. He also had a collision with future teammate Kirby Puckett just four days after returning from the injured list. Steinbach took a forearm to the jaw from Hall of Famer Cal Ripken during a collision and, later in the season, was hospitalized after taking a hit to the head from pitcher Bobby Thigpen in a contentious, tied late game. Steinbach, a Minnesota native who started his career on the west coast but ended with the Twins, spent 14 seasons behind the plate. As one of the Twins' best catchers, he also had his best season when he came to join the Twins in 1996 with 34 home runs, and his 100 RBI were the most by an Athletics catcher since Mickey Cochrane in 1932. He also caught Eric Milton's no-hitter in May of 1999 before retiring. Joe Mauer - The Best Defensive Catcher The catcher helps dictate the game because they touch the ball on nearly every pitch. They help set the players before the game and let players know where to stand based on different hitters. Crouched behind home plate, they call and receive pitches from the pitcher, frequently field bunts, and throw out runners trying to steal bases. Catchers frame close strikes, blocks balls in the dirt, and react with lightning quickness as the entire game plays out before them. The position requires a rare combination of spryness, strength, durability, and leadership. Joe Mauer, the best Minnesota Twins catcher in history, won three consecutive gold glove awards from 2008 through 2010. He had a lifetime .995 fielding percentage as a catcher and a caught-stealing percentage of 33%. Mauer led AL catchers multiple times in caught-stealing and fielding percentages. Brian Harper - The Modest Catcher It may seem cruel and unfair, but it's the truth. When watching a game, the focus will always be on the pitcher and their performance. Being able to put aside ego and pride is a huge thing for someone in this position. They have to know that while they contribute heavily in many ways, it's ultimately about the pitcher and helping them succeed. Having humility and the ability to selflessly support the staff, unseen, takes a special person, Brian Harper was that Minnesota Twin. Harper spent six of his 16 MLB seasons with the Minnesota Twins. One of the best catchers in the organization, he was the primary catcher behind the plate for the Twins during the early 90s. He and Jack Morris created a duo in two games that would be integral in the Twins winning the 1991 World Series. In Game 4, Harper stood out when he received a perfect relay throw from Puckett and Chuck Knoblauch and endured a massive collision with Lonnie Smith at home plate. He held on to the ball through the clash to secure the out. In Game 7, Harper not only caught all 10 innings of Jack Morris' legendary shutout but also turned the pivotal 3-2-3 double play with Kent Hrbek to end the eighth inning and squelch the Braves' most dangerous scoring threat of the game. Other catchers that have stood out for the Twins are guys like Mitch Garver and A.J. Pierzynski, rare examples of backstops who can really bring it with the bat. As we get ready for 2023, looking at what is coming up, do you think the Twins will ever have another catcher that can do what any of these three brought to the table? View full article
  6. The battery is an essential component of the game, and catchers are the magicians who orchestrate it all. Let's look at what a catcher does and which Minnesota Twins catchers were the best at each job that a catcher does behind the plate. Terry Steinbach - The Toughest Catcher It's one of the most demanding positions to play on the baseball field: Catchers are constantly beaten up and hit with bats, balls, and sometimes players. They must squat down on their knees for nine or more innings, catching hundreds of pitches of varying speeds, movements, and breaks. A catcher must be in peak physical shape to stay in the game. MLB made a change to emphasize player safety in 2011 after a collision at home plate that saw star catcher Buster Posey suffer a season-ending ankle injury. Before the rule change where a player could no longer run through a catcher, Terry Steinbach was one of the best but most beat-up-on catchers during his time in MLB. Steinbach was no stranger to catching injuries. In 1988 he was hit by a thrown ball during batting practice, suffering five fractures around his left eye and requiring surgery. He also had a collision with future teammate Kirby Puckett just four days after returning from the injured list. Steinbach took a forearm to the jaw from Hall of Famer Cal Ripken during a collision and, later in the season, was hospitalized after taking a hit to the head from pitcher Bobby Thigpen in a contentious, tied late game. Steinbach, a Minnesota native who started his career on the west coast but ended with the Twins, spent 14 seasons behind the plate. As one of the Twins' best catchers, he also had his best season when he came to join the Twins in 1996 with 34 home runs, and his 100 RBI were the most by an Athletics catcher since Mickey Cochrane in 1932. He also caught Eric Milton's no-hitter in May of 1999 before retiring. Joe Mauer - The Best Defensive Catcher The catcher helps dictate the game because they touch the ball on nearly every pitch. They help set the players before the game and let players know where to stand based on different hitters. Crouched behind home plate, they call and receive pitches from the pitcher, frequently field bunts, and throw out runners trying to steal bases. Catchers frame close strikes, blocks balls in the dirt, and react with lightning quickness as the entire game plays out before them. The position requires a rare combination of spryness, strength, durability, and leadership. Joe Mauer, the best Minnesota Twins catcher in history, won three consecutive gold glove awards from 2008 through 2010. He had a lifetime .995 fielding percentage as a catcher and a caught-stealing percentage of 33%. Mauer led AL catchers multiple times in caught-stealing and fielding percentages. Brian Harper - The Modest Catcher It may seem cruel and unfair, but it's the truth. When watching a game, the focus will always be on the pitcher and their performance. Being able to put aside ego and pride is a huge thing for someone in this position. They have to know that while they contribute heavily in many ways, it's ultimately about the pitcher and helping them succeed. Having humility and the ability to selflessly support the staff, unseen, takes a special person, Brian Harper was that Minnesota Twin. Harper spent six of his 16 MLB seasons with the Minnesota Twins. One of the best catchers in the organization, he was the primary catcher behind the plate for the Twins during the early 90s. He and Jack Morris created a duo in two games that would be integral in the Twins winning the 1991 World Series. In Game 4, Harper stood out when he received a perfect relay throw from Puckett and Chuck Knoblauch and endured a massive collision with Lonnie Smith at home plate. He held on to the ball through the clash to secure the out. In Game 7, Harper not only caught all 10 innings of Jack Morris' legendary shutout but also turned the pivotal 3-2-3 double play with Kent Hrbek to end the eighth inning and squelch the Braves' most dangerous scoring threat of the game. Other catchers that have stood out for the Twins are guys like Mitch Garver and A.J. Pierzynski, rare examples of backstops who can really bring it with the bat. As we get ready for 2023, looking at what is coming up, do you think the Twins will ever have another catcher that can do what any of these three brought to the table?
  7. Glad I could bring you a little something you didn't know! I am enjoying learning about these guys! They are hard workers and a lot of fun!
  8. Because it came up under Twins Spring training and I couldn't find any photos of Hammond. I will be taking note of this for next time!
  9. I am keeping this post in my back pocket. Festa never showed up for me because I didn't have as much knowledge of him. But, I do now. I am still learning the minor leagues - there are a lot of guys down there and information like this is super helpful!!!
  10. It SOUNDS weird, but When I went to pull Twins Spring Training, this is the picture it gave me. I have to use USA Today pictures and they didn't have ones I could find of Hammond This was from one of their spring training games tho!
  11. The Twins pitching rotation struggled on and off this season from starters to the bullpen. Injuries early on created a lack of starting pitching for the Club, putting lots of pressure on the bullpen to perform; they also suffered a significant loss with Pitching Coach Wes Johnson leaving mid-way through the season. Because of the pitching woes, Twins fans got a glimpse of what the farm system has in store by bringing up players such as Louie Varland, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Jordan Balazovic. The arms in the farm system give hope that the Twin's pitching could match the Guardian's deep farm pitching model. Brayan Medina He is focused and driven but has components that will need to improve if he wants to make his appearance in 2023. He was the top Venezuelan pitching prospect in the 2019-20 international class. Medina initially signed with the Padres for $700,000 on July 2, 2019. The Twins acquired him as the player to be named later in the deal that sent Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres. The pandemic canceled the 2020 season, so Medina spent some time in San Diego's fall instructional camp. He had his professional debut in 2021 with the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Fall League. He has three pitches: slider, fastball, and changeup. His pitches already have good velocity, and as he grows from his 6'1", 180-pound frame, he should be able to add a bit more velocity in the future. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches the upper-90s on occasion. He also throws an above-average slider, and his slider continues to improve. Medina has focused delivery and the ability to be aggressive with hitters. In seven starts, he struck out 24 in 23 2/3 innings in 2022 with the FCL Twins. Medina never saw more than three innings in a game in 2022. He posted a 6.46 ERA, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 24-to-20. Medina is only 20 years old and has plenty of room to grow in size and craft. The concern with Medina is the high pitch count due to lack of control, working himself out of the game sooner and putting more pressure on the bullpen. If Medina can garner control of his pitches and perfect them, he is equipped with the proper elements but needs to work heavily on his plate command to bring his ERA and walk down. Steven Cruz If Cruz can harness his control and improve on his strike zone, there is potential for him to make an appearance in 2023. The Twins signed Cruz back in March 2017 for just $30,000 as an international free agent. He spent his first two seasons playing with the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League, Elizabethton Twins. In 2021 he started in Single-A Fort Myers and, late in the season, was promoted to High-A Kernels. After two starts with the Kernels, he struggled to harness his control, posting an 8.10 ERA in 3 1/3 innings; the Twins sent him back down to focus on improving. He finished the 2021 season with Fort Myers and, in 2022, was sent to AA Wichita Surge posting a 5.14 ERA and 72-to-35 Strikeout to Walk ratio. Finding the strike zone has been Cruz back; the right-hander walked more than six batters per nine innings early in his Minor League career. The 6-foot-7 Cruz has a ton of power and throws his fastball in the 95-101 mph range, and it's a pitch with some riding life. He also has a hard slider, thrown around 89 mph, a potential out pitch that can miss a lot of bats. His walk rate continues to trend down each year, and his strike count over nine innings continues to increase. How much he can refine his control and strike zone will determine whether he can handle a high-leverage role in the future. Marco Raya The 2022 season was the first time Raya pitched in affiliated games since the Twins selected him in the fourth round of the 2020 draft due to a shoulder strain that sidelined him for most of the 2021 season. Raya returned more robust and better after his injury and didn't disappoint, throwing extremely well with Single-A Fort Myers with three wins and two losses. At six feet tall and 165-pounds, what the right-handed pitcher lacks in size, he makes up for with athleticism and pure stuff. He's got a few pitches in his arsenal and relies on a big four-seamer alongside a high-quality curveball, a slider, and a changeup with great pitch profiles. The Twins feel like there's only a little work needed on those. His fastball continued to sit in the high 90s in the 2022 season, hitting 98. If Raya can stay healthy, he will be one of the system's best pitchers. At 19 years old, in his first season with Fort Myers, he posted a 3.05 ERA and had a 76-to-23 Strikeout-to-Walk ratio over 65 innings. With less than four walks per nine innings and over ten strikeouts, Raya doesn't hold back. Raya pitches with a chip on his shoulder. The chip may have helped him make significant strides in his development toward the close of 2021. Like many young pitchers, the Twins hope he'll simplify and attack the strike zone with his quality stuff, which he's done in the past. Moving to Double-A would be a big jump, and with a small sample size, inviting him to spring training would give the organization an opportunity to see if he has the tenacity to jump directly over the Kernels. Do you think these prospects could see action with the Twins in 2023? Probably not, but what are your thoughts on these pitchers and which pitchers do you anticipate breaking out in 2023?
  12. These are three prospects that have the potential to be a part of the long-term solution for the Twins rotation very soon. Image courtesy of Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports The Twins pitching rotation struggled on and off this season from starters to the bullpen. Injuries early on created a lack of starting pitching for the Club, putting lots of pressure on the bullpen to perform; they also suffered a significant loss with Pitching Coach Wes Johnson leaving mid-way through the season. Because of the pitching woes, Twins fans got a glimpse of what the farm system has in store by bringing up players such as Louie Varland, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Jordan Balazovic. The arms in the farm system give hope that the Twin's pitching could match the Guardian's deep farm pitching model. Brayan Medina He is focused and driven but has components that will need to improve if he wants to make his appearance in 2023. He was the top Venezuelan pitching prospect in the 2019-20 international class. Medina initially signed with the Padres for $700,000 on July 2, 2019. The Twins acquired him as the player to be named later in the deal that sent Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres. The pandemic canceled the 2020 season, so Medina spent some time in San Diego's fall instructional camp. He had his professional debut in 2021 with the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Fall League. He has three pitches: slider, fastball, and changeup. His pitches already have good velocity, and as he grows from his 6'1", 180-pound frame, he should be able to add a bit more velocity in the future. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and touches the upper-90s on occasion. He also throws an above-average slider, and his slider continues to improve. Medina has focused delivery and the ability to be aggressive with hitters. In seven starts, he struck out 24 in 23 2/3 innings in 2022 with the FCL Twins. Medina never saw over three innings a game in 2022. For every one strike out, he allowed two walks. He posted a 6.46 ERA, 17 earned runs, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 24-to-20. Medina is only 20 years old and has plenty of room to grow in size and craft. The concern with Medina is the high pitch count, working himself out of the game sooner putting more pressure on the bullpen. If Medina can garner control of these pitches and perfect them, he is equipped with the proper elements but needs to work heavily on his plate command to bring his ERA and walk down. Steven Cruz If Cruz can harness his control and improve on his strike zone, there is potential for him to make an appearance in 2023. The Twins signed Cruz back in March 2017 for just $30,000 as an international free agent. He spent his first two seasons playing with the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League, Elizabethton Twins. In 2021 he started in Single-A Fort Myers and, late in the season, was promoted to High-A Kernels. After two starts with the Kernels, he struggled to harness his control, posting an 8.10 ERA in 3 1/3 innings; the Twins sent him back down to focus on improving. He finished the 2021 season with Fort Myers and, in 2022, was sent to AA Wichita Surge posting a 5.14 ERA and 72-to-35 Strikeout to Walk ratio. Finding the strike zone has been Cruz back; the right-hander walked more than six batters per nine innings early in his Minor League career. The 6-foot-7 Cruz has a ton of power and throws his fastball in the 95-101 mph range, and it's a pitch with some riding life. He also has a hard slider, thrown around 89 mph, a potential out pitch that can miss a lot of bats. His walk rate continues to trend down each year, and his strike count over nine innings continues to increase. How much he can refine his control and strike zone will determine whether he can handle a high-leverage role in the future. Marco Raya The 2022 season was the first time Raya pitched in affiliated games since the Twins selected him in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft due to a shoulder strain that sidelined him for most of the 2021 season. Raya returned more robust and better after his injury and didn't disappoint, throwing extremely well with Single-A Fort Myers with three wins, two losses. At 6-foot, 165-pound, what right-handed pitcher lacks in size; he makes up for with athleticism. He's got a few pitches in his arsenal that rely on a big four-seamer alongside three high-quality curveballs, a slider, and a changeup with great pitch profiles. The Twins feel like there's only a little work needed on those. His fastball continued to sit in the high 90's in the 2022 season, hitting 98. If Raya can stay healthy, he will be one of the system's best pitchers. At 19 years old, in his first season with Fort Myers in 2022, he posted a 3.05 ERA and had a 76-to-23 Strikeout-to-Walk ratio over 65 innings. With less than four walks per nine innings and over ten strikeouts, Raya doesn't hold back. Raya pitches with a chip on his shoulder. The chip on his shoulder may have helped him make significant strides in his mental development toward the close of 2021. Like many young pitchers, the Twins hope he'll simplify and attack the strike zone with his quality stuff, which he's done in the past. Moving to AA would be a big jump, and with a small sample size, inviting him to spring training would give the organization an opportunity to see if he has the tenacity to jump directly over the Kernels. Do you think these prospects could see action with the Twins in 2023, or are they more suited for High-A? View full article
  13. MLB has been working to make changes to the culture of the game to entice a new generation of fans. In that same vein, they have also added a new sponsor: Charlotte's Web, a CBD company. Image courtesy of John Bonnes, Twins Daily Many things in MLB are changing, bigger bases, runners on second in extra innings, and now new sponsorships. In the ever-evolving world of the decriminalization of marijuana, more and more athletes and fans are using non-THC binding supplements. MLB is the first of the “League” sports organizations to use it in a sponsorship role, starting with advertising during the World Series. Charlotte's Web makes CBD products such as gummies and topical sprays. CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound found in the cannabis plant and touted as a natural remedy for reducing inflammation and stress. MLB will have its logo on a "sport" version of CBD that would show that athletes use it, too. CBD products are easy to acquire in a fully legal state; one could eschew the dispensary in favor of a pharmacy and find products like Charlotte’s Web lining a wall behind the cashiers. Although their effects can vary according to the product (ointment, tincture, and even lip balm), they generally offer a soothing, relaxing feeling that can work perfectly with the post-game de-stressing that athletes (or people in other stressful professions) undergo. Each person will respond differently, however, the result is relief from pain, or to have the ability to relax or sleep. MLB has been entertaining the idea of Charlotte's Web as a sponsor but needed a little more assurance before signing on the dotted line. Aside from Nascar, MLB will be the first of Major League Sports to join CBD companies for sponsorships to sign a league-wide deal. Noah Garden, Chief Revenue Officer a representative from MLB stated in an article with Marijuana Moment, "We've been watching this category for a while and waiting for it to mature to the point where we can get comfortable with it. Our fans are the customers they are looking for, and we like being first. It's a good opportunity for us and the clubs." Baseball is constantly looking for ways to make improvements to the game so that younger fans are more likely to stay interested. From changing the pace of play with pitching clocks to adding CBD as a sponsor. It’s part of several changes in attitude around CBD products. On June 22, 2022, MLB announced that teams could solicit and acquire CBD sponsorships, though players could not individually be sponsored or hold a stake in such companies. In 2019, MLB decided to implement a change to take place in 2020: MLB would not punish players for using it on their off-time or having a positive test, a complete reversal of their previous banned substance, where marijuana would garner a $35,000 fine. There are boundaries for obtaining a sponsorship, with rules and guidelines to be followed. For example, a team could only sell a CBD sponsorship if a prospective company's products were certified by NSF International, a consumer safety and product-testing organization that sports leagues use. The club would also need authorization from the MLB commissioner's office. The CBD must not have any THC, meaning that marijuana products with THC will still fall under the scrutiny of MLB. This new relationship is not a pass for players to engage in activities outside the Major League Drug Policy rules. The rule created in 2020 still stands and states; players can be "subject to discipline" by their team or the MLB "for engaging in certain cannabinoid-related conduct, including violations of federal, state or local laws," such as distributing marijuana or driving under the influence. Cannabis is a large and profitable industry, and with its popularity growing, so has its profit. In 2021 alone, the cannabis industry topped $4.7 billion last year, and now MLB will start to see a cut of those profits. Charlotte's Web has started small with the MLB logo on the side of their "Sport CBD" bottle and is officially known as the "CBD of the MLB." There has been no formal statement from the Minnesota Twins, nor any statements on how it would affect minor league teams. Each state has rules and regulations based on its state's marijuana laws. Sports sponsorships have gotten away from things like cigarettes and alcohol because of the harm they can do when used in excess. Do you think that CBD as a sponsor is smart for the industry and something that will help get younger fans involved in the game? View full article
  14. Many things in MLB are changing, bigger bases, runners on second in extra innings, and now new sponsorships. In the ever-evolving world of the decriminalization of marijuana, more and more athletes and fans are using non-THC binding supplements. MLB is the first of the “League” sports organizations to use it in a sponsorship role, starting with advertising during the World Series. Charlotte's Web makes CBD products such as gummies and topical sprays. CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound found in the cannabis plant and touted as a natural remedy for reducing inflammation and stress. MLB will have its logo on a "sport" version of CBD that would show that athletes use it, too. CBD products are easy to acquire in a fully legal state; one could eschew the dispensary in favor of a pharmacy and find products like Charlotte’s Web lining a wall behind the cashiers. Although their effects can vary according to the product (ointment, tincture, and even lip balm), they generally offer a soothing, relaxing feeling that can work perfectly with the post-game de-stressing that athletes (or people in other stressful professions) undergo. Each person will respond differently, however, the result is relief from pain, or to have the ability to relax or sleep. MLB has been entertaining the idea of Charlotte's Web as a sponsor but needed a little more assurance before signing on the dotted line. Aside from Nascar, MLB will be the first of Major League Sports to join CBD companies for sponsorships to sign a league-wide deal. Noah Garden, Chief Revenue Officer a representative from MLB stated in an article with Marijuana Moment, "We've been watching this category for a while and waiting for it to mature to the point where we can get comfortable with it. Our fans are the customers they are looking for, and we like being first. It's a good opportunity for us and the clubs." Baseball is constantly looking for ways to make improvements to the game so that younger fans are more likely to stay interested. From changing the pace of play with pitching clocks to adding CBD as a sponsor. It’s part of several changes in attitude around CBD products. On June 22, 2022, MLB announced that teams could solicit and acquire CBD sponsorships, though players could not individually be sponsored or hold a stake in such companies. In 2019, MLB decided to implement a change to take place in 2020: MLB would not punish players for using it on their off-time or having a positive test, a complete reversal of their previous banned substance, where marijuana would garner a $35,000 fine. There are boundaries for obtaining a sponsorship, with rules and guidelines to be followed. For example, a team could only sell a CBD sponsorship if a prospective company's products were certified by NSF International, a consumer safety and product-testing organization that sports leagues use. The club would also need authorization from the MLB commissioner's office. The CBD must not have any THC, meaning that marijuana products with THC will still fall under the scrutiny of MLB. This new relationship is not a pass for players to engage in activities outside the Major League Drug Policy rules. The rule created in 2020 still stands and states; players can be "subject to discipline" by their team or the MLB "for engaging in certain cannabinoid-related conduct, including violations of federal, state or local laws," such as distributing marijuana or driving under the influence. Cannabis is a large and profitable industry, and with its popularity growing, so has its profit. In 2021 alone, the cannabis industry topped $4.7 billion last year, and now MLB will start to see a cut of those profits. Charlotte's Web has started small with the MLB logo on the side of their "Sport CBD" bottle and is officially known as the "CBD of the MLB." There has been no formal statement from the Minnesota Twins, nor any statements on how it would affect minor league teams. Each state has rules and regulations based on its state's marijuana laws. Sports sponsorships have gotten away from things like cigarettes and alcohol because of the harm they can do when used in excess. Do you think that CBD as a sponsor is smart for the industry and something that will help get younger fans involved in the game?
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