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Allen Post

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  1. As I write this, I’m two weeks away from turning 23 years old, which means I was seven when the 2006 Minnesota Twins won the American League Central. It also means I have no meaningful memory of a Twins playoff win, but whatever. I digress. The 2006 season was the first in which I really followed the sport on more than just a watch-guys-hit-ball level. It was that year that I figured out how the standings worked, what a wild card was, and how to calculate basic stats like batting average and ERA. So, of course, the Twins’ magical comeback from 10.5 games back in the second week of August to Division Champs on the last day of the season—their only division lead all year—made me fall in love with the team and the sport. But, the funny thing about falling in love with a team at seven years old is that the way I remember that team is very far from the reality of what actually happened. Obviously, I remember Mauer, Morneau, and Santana being awesome, and, looking back, that memory is absolutely correct; they were awesome. But things get a little more skewed as we move down the rest of the roster. As mentioned in the teaser, I remember thinking that Boof Bonser was some unique diamond in the rough that had a funny name but dominated on the mound. Turns out the opposite is true: he was a highly-touted first round pick that was always young for his level in the minors, but was never great in the bigs. His career lasted only four years and 2006, his rookie and best season, wasn’t even that great. In my mind, Luis Castillo (not the Reds starter, the other one) was THE Twins’ second basemen of the mid-aughts, and that he was one of the better hitters on the team. That just wasn’t true—he finished only seventh on the team in batting average (his main calling card) and Terry freaking Tiffee had a higher slugging percentage than him. Also, the 2006 season was his only full year in a Twins uniform, as he was traded to the Mets at the deadline in 2007. To this day, when I hear the word piranha, I think about Jason Tyner. Ozzie Guillen coined the term “Little Piranhas” to describe Castillo, Tyner, Jason Bartlett, and Nick Punto, but, for whatever reason, Tyner sticks in my head as the most piranha-like. And that’s weird, because according to WAR, he was the least productive of them all, probably because he only appeared in 62 games. And, as sacrilegious as it is to measure the Piranhas using WAR, it does show that he wasn’t nearly as big of a factor as I remember. I didn’t only remember guys for being better than they actually were, though. There were two guys in particular whose output was more significant than I remembered. I remember Nick Punto as a funny, light-hitting, loveable-loser kind of player, and I guess he was that in some sense, but he was a lot more. First, I was shocked to look back and see that he batted .290, and I was even more shocked to find out that he was fifth on the team in WAR, ahead of guys like Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, and Brad Radke. And he did so with one (1) homer. I guess that’s what 135 games of solid third base defense and not terrible hitting get you, but the idea of Punto being legitimately good (if only for a year) is still wild to me. Francisco Liriano will forever stick in my memory as the guy who gets arm surgeries and can’t throw strikes, but he was actually dominant in 2006. He only pitched twice after July and would get Tommy John the following winter, but he made the All Star team as a rookie and pitched to an ERA of 2.16, a WHIP of exactly one, and a K/9 rate of 10.7. His WAR was also third on the team, beating out AL MVP and 130 RBI man Justin Morneau. I also remember Kyle Lohse being an idiot, but I don’t think I’m wrong about that. There’s one more thing I misremember, though. I have very little recollection of the Twins getting swept in the playoffs. I’m sure I watched the games, but they just didn’t stick, though I think I remember my guy Boof starting one of them. That’s okay, though; I will always associate the 2006 Twins with good memories, even if those memories are completely wrong and I have no idea what actually happened. How do you remember the 2006 Twins? What's the first Twins season you remember? Let us know in the comments!
  2. There is almost exactly nothing happening in baseball right now, so it’s a good time for some nostalgia. Follow me on a trip down memory lane to 2006 and the team that made me a baseball fan (and made me think Boof Bonser was good). As I write this, I’m two weeks away from turning 23 years old, which means I was seven when the 2006 Minnesota Twins won the American League Central. It also means I have no meaningful memory of a Twins playoff win, but whatever. I digress. The 2006 season was the first in which I really followed the sport on more than just a watch-guys-hit-ball level. It was that year that I figured out how the standings worked, what a wild card was, and how to calculate basic stats like batting average and ERA. So, of course, the Twins’ magical comeback from 10.5 games back in the second week of August to Division Champs on the last day of the season—their only division lead all year—made me fall in love with the team and the sport. But, the funny thing about falling in love with a team at seven years old is that the way I remember that team is very far from the reality of what actually happened. Obviously, I remember Mauer, Morneau, and Santana being awesome, and, looking back, that memory is absolutely correct; they were awesome. But things get a little more skewed as we move down the rest of the roster. As mentioned in the teaser, I remember thinking that Boof Bonser was some unique diamond in the rough that had a funny name but dominated on the mound. Turns out the opposite is true: he was a highly-touted first round pick that was always young for his level in the minors, but was never great in the bigs. His career lasted only four years and 2006, his rookie and best season, wasn’t even that great. In my mind, Luis Castillo (not the Reds starter, the other one) was THE Twins’ second basemen of the mid-aughts, and that he was one of the better hitters on the team. That just wasn’t true—he finished only seventh on the team in batting average (his main calling card) and Terry freaking Tiffee had a higher slugging percentage than him. Also, the 2006 season was his only full year in a Twins uniform, as he was traded to the Mets at the deadline in 2007. To this day, when I hear the word piranha, I think about Jason Tyner. Ozzie Guillen coined the term “Little Piranhas” to describe Castillo, Tyner, Jason Bartlett, and Nick Punto, but, for whatever reason, Tyner sticks in my head as the most piranha-like. And that’s weird, because according to WAR, he was the least productive of them all, probably because he only appeared in 62 games. And, as sacrilegious as it is to measure the Piranhas using WAR, it does show that he wasn’t nearly as big of a factor as I remember. I didn’t only remember guys for being better than they actually were, though. There were two guys in particular whose output was more significant than I remembered. I remember Nick Punto as a funny, light-hitting, loveable-loser kind of player, and I guess he was that in some sense, but he was a lot more. First, I was shocked to look back and see that he batted .290, and I was even more shocked to find out that he was fifth on the team in WAR, ahead of guys like Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, and Brad Radke. And he did so with one (1) homer. I guess that’s what 135 games of solid third base defense and not terrible hitting get you, but the idea of Punto being legitimately good (if only for a year) is still wild to me. Francisco Liriano will forever stick in my memory as the guy who gets arm surgeries and can’t throw strikes, but he was actually dominant in 2006. He only pitched twice after July and would get Tommy John the following winter, but he made the All Star team as a rookie and pitched to an ERA of 2.16, a WHIP of exactly one, and a K/9 rate of 10.7. His WAR was also third on the team, beating out AL MVP and 130 RBI man Justin Morneau. I also remember Kyle Lohse being an idiot, but I don’t think I’m wrong about that. There’s one more thing I misremember, though. I have very little recollection of the Twins getting swept in the playoffs. I’m sure I watched the games, but they just didn’t stick, though I think I remember my guy Boof starting one of them. That’s okay, though; I will always associate the 2006 Twins with good memories, even if those memories are completely wrong and I have no idea what actually happened. How do you remember the 2006 Twins? What's the first Twins season you remember? Let us know in the comments! View full article
  3. Happy Halloween Twins fans! To “celebrate” the culmination of Spooky Season, I’ve chosen to creep you all out with the scariest scenarios for the Twins’ near future. Beware! Falvine Strike Out on Starting Pitchers With José Berríos in Toronto and Kenta Maeda out for at least the first half of 2022, Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan are the only likely 2022 rotation pieces that are actually on the roster right now. Michael Pineda seems somewhat likely to come back into the fold but that’s no guarantee, and even then, the Twins would need a top-end arm to get the rotation even close to competitive. Cody Christie wrote a compelling argument last week that Falvey and Levine need to cut a big check for a starter, and I tend to agree that without one of the big-money guys, this rotation could look pretty gory, and not in a good way. I guess this is only really scary if you believe the Twins offense can be competitive—as I believe they can—because a young, learning-on-the-job rotation isn’t a bad thing if the team wouldn’t be good anyway. But this team can be good with a solid rotation, so it’d be best not to miss out. Miguel Sanó Never “Figures It Out” Of all the scenarios in this article, this is perhaps the most likely. Miguel Sanó isn’t a bad player. He’s a beast with exit velocity and hard-hit percentage numbers. However, as Twins fans, we seem to struggle to accept that those benefits are always going to come with one of the worst strikeout rates in the league. We seem to think that, someday, something will click and the strikeouts will stop, his average will creep up towards .250, and his OPS will rise to .900+. What if that never happens? What if this is who he always is? Again, he’s not bad, but if who he is now is what he’ll always be, then we have a bad defensive first baseman who strikes out a lot out of the six hole in the lineup, and is borderline unplayable when he’s in a slump. Are the 30 homers a year worth that trouble? That’s a question for more analytical minds than mine to figure out, but I think that type of reality is one we have to come to terms with as the expectation for Sanó’s career, as scary as that may be. Andrelton Simmons Being on the 2022 Roster The Twins signed Simmons last January after reportedly missing out late on Marcus Semien. Then, Semien hit 45 bombs, and Simmons was one of the least impressive hitters in all of baseball, so we’ve already lived this nightmare. Simmons is a free agent again this winter, and he’ll be available for a lot less money than the front office spent for him last winter. And, given how committed the team was to putting his useless bat in the lineup almost every night last season, it doesn’t take much imagination to see them bringing him back in. The Twins certainly can’t trot him out as the Opening Day shortstop (talk about nightmare), but I don’t want the stink of his 2021 campaign anywhere close to the 2022 squad, even if it’s just as a backup utility infielder. The Next Wave of Prospects Falls Short About a year ago, the Twins’ plan seemed clear: the current core was fresh off two straight division titles and was poised to transition perfectly into the years of Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, Ryan Jeffers, and Trevor Larnach. However, 2021 didn’t go well for either the current stars of the team or for those pegged to be next up. The current Twins fell well short of their playoff expectations, Lewis lost his season, Kirilloff was good-not-great and had surgery, and Larnach and Jeffers couldn’t stay up in the big leagues. Now, Kirilloff and Larnach gave us signs that there is real reason for optimism for the next wave of talent, but it often seems that, with prospects, blind optimism is the norm. And I’m not saying it’s worth a whole lot of concern, but there is a scary scenario out there where these guys just don’t live up to the lofty expectations we’ve given them. Byron Buxton Leaves Okay, so I saved the scariest scenario surrounding this team for last. The Byron Buxton extension talks have been well-documented because he’s the most-talented Twin since Joe Mauer and when healthy, plays something like pre-steroid-era Barry Bonds. Obviously, the concern is his constant injury problems, as he hasn’t played 100 games in a season since 2017. But, though it’s hard to commit a $17 million-a-year extension to a guy who may not be in the lineup half the time, the alternative is worse. Think of what Eddie Rosario is doing right now for Atlanta, except that happens all the time and it’s for the Yankees or some other crazy rich club. That’s the nightmare scenario we’re trying to avoid. And, based on the Twins’ history with former players popping off after leaving the club, Buxton may never get injured again if Derek and Thad let him walk. Did I scare you enough? Let me know in the comments! View full article
  4. Falvine Strike Out on Starting Pitchers With José Berríos in Toronto and Kenta Maeda out for at least the first half of 2022, Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan are the only likely 2022 rotation pieces that are actually on the roster right now. Michael Pineda seems somewhat likely to come back into the fold but that’s no guarantee, and even then, the Twins would need a top-end arm to get the rotation even close to competitive. Cody Christie wrote a compelling argument last week that Falvey and Levine need to cut a big check for a starter, and I tend to agree that without one of the big-money guys, this rotation could look pretty gory, and not in a good way. I guess this is only really scary if you believe the Twins offense can be competitive—as I believe they can—because a young, learning-on-the-job rotation isn’t a bad thing if the team wouldn’t be good anyway. But this team can be good with a solid rotation, so it’d be best not to miss out. Miguel Sanó Never “Figures It Out” Of all the scenarios in this article, this is perhaps the most likely. Miguel Sanó isn’t a bad player. He’s a beast with exit velocity and hard-hit percentage numbers. However, as Twins fans, we seem to struggle to accept that those benefits are always going to come with one of the worst strikeout rates in the league. We seem to think that, someday, something will click and the strikeouts will stop, his average will creep up towards .250, and his OPS will rise to .900+. What if that never happens? What if this is who he always is? Again, he’s not bad, but if who he is now is what he’ll always be, then we have a bad defensive first baseman who strikes out a lot out of the six hole in the lineup, and is borderline unplayable when he’s in a slump. Are the 30 homers a year worth that trouble? That’s a question for more analytical minds than mine to figure out, but I think that type of reality is one we have to come to terms with as the expectation for Sanó’s career, as scary as that may be. Andrelton Simmons Being on the 2022 Roster The Twins signed Simmons last January after reportedly missing out late on Marcus Semien. Then, Semien hit 45 bombs, and Simmons was one of the least impressive hitters in all of baseball, so we’ve already lived this nightmare. Simmons is a free agent again this winter, and he’ll be available for a lot less money than the front office spent for him last winter. And, given how committed the team was to putting his useless bat in the lineup almost every night last season, it doesn’t take much imagination to see them bringing him back in. The Twins certainly can’t trot him out as the Opening Day shortstop (talk about nightmare), but I don’t want the stink of his 2021 campaign anywhere close to the 2022 squad, even if it’s just as a backup utility infielder. The Next Wave of Prospects Falls Short About a year ago, the Twins’ plan seemed clear: the current core was fresh off two straight division titles and was poised to transition perfectly into the years of Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, Ryan Jeffers, and Trevor Larnach. However, 2021 didn’t go well for either the current stars of the team or for those pegged to be next up. The current Twins fell well short of their playoff expectations, Lewis lost his season, Kirilloff was good-not-great and had surgery, and Larnach and Jeffers couldn’t stay up in the big leagues. Now, Kirilloff and Larnach gave us signs that there is real reason for optimism for the next wave of talent, but it often seems that, with prospects, blind optimism is the norm. And I’m not saying it’s worth a whole lot of concern, but there is a scary scenario out there where these guys just don’t live up to the lofty expectations we’ve given them. Byron Buxton Leaves Okay, so I saved the scariest scenario surrounding this team for last. The Byron Buxton extension talks have been well-documented because he’s the most-talented Twin since Joe Mauer and when healthy, plays something like pre-steroid-era Barry Bonds. Obviously, the concern is his constant injury problems, as he hasn’t played 100 games in a season since 2017. But, though it’s hard to commit a $17 million-a-year extension to a guy who may not be in the lineup half the time, the alternative is worse. Think of what Eddie Rosario is doing right now for Atlanta, except that happens all the time and it’s for the Yankees or some other crazy rich club. That’s the nightmare scenario we’re trying to avoid. And, based on the Twins’ history with former players popping off after leaving the club, Buxton may never get injured again if Derek and Thad let him walk. Did I scare you enough? Let me know in the comments!
  5. What if I told you one of the 2021 Twins’ best relievers ERA-wise was only given four opportunities to strut his stuff? That’s right, here’s the case for Willians Astudillo as a full-time relief pitcher. Okay, let me start by saying this is an absolutely terrible idea. If you want a serious look at bullpen options for 2022, check out Jamie Cameron’s article from Friday on that very topic. Astudillo will never be seriously considered as a pitcher, partially because selling such a decision to the fanbase unironically would be impossible, but what if he was? What if he got a full sixty innings of relief work? As a primer, let’s look at Astudillo’s pitching numbers from 2021. He was given four opportunities to toe the rubber, all as a mop-up dude in blowout losses. In those four games, he pitched four full innings and allowed only one (rather infamous) run. That’s an ERA of 2.25, which is better than every actual reliever the Twins put out there this year except for four innings of Devin Smeltzer and 12 innings of Nick Vincent. Also, with only one hit allowed all year, Astudillo’s WHIP of .750 was second on the club, trailing only Smeltzer. On the other hand, having walked two and struck out exactly zero (0) hitters, Astudillo’s strikeouts per walk rate is in the mud (at 0.00), but, as Twins fans, we like to pretend that Wes Johnson can fix everything, so let’s assume he gets at least a strikeout every two innings out of Astudillo. Now, obviously, La Tortuga’s four innings pitched is a ridiculously small sample size, but if that’s the type of thing that bothers you, this may not be the article for you, because this entire flimsy argument is based on that small sample size. And, even with that said, we’ve seen position players be immediately terrible on the mound before, and the fact that Astudillo gave the Twins even just four innings of competence means something. With his stats settled (just don’t look at his FIP), let’s examine Astudillo’s stuff. According to FanGraphs, Willians has a fastball that sits in the low-80s, a seldom-used changeup in the low 60s and a heavily-used eephus that comes in at a bizarrely slow 45 miles per hour. Now he’s certainly not blowing up the radar gun, but he can throw each of these pitches for strikes (a remarkable skill) and pitchers have gotten Major League hitters out before with little velocity. Heck, Jamie Moyer’s fastball was tipping the scales at 78 mph when he was pitching real innings in the majors as a 49-year-old. The key is the difference in velocity between your fastest and slowest pitch. In Moyer’s autobiography, Just Tell Me I Can’t, he repeatedly mentioned that he aimed for a 10 mph difference between his fastball and changeup velocity. Well, check out Astudillo; he’s got a 35+ mph difference between his fastest and slowest pitch. This overlay shows you exactly what that looks like: I mean, these pitches cross the plate in completely different time zones. And, it’s not as if those are the only two pitches he throws. If that were the case, hitters could either sit on one or the other and smack the baseball into next week. But Astudillo can get the ball across the plate at virtually any velocity between 45mph and 85 mph, so hitters never really know when the pitch is going to cross. With this bizarre pitch arsenal, there is reason to believe that Astudillo would be unpredictable enough on the mound to have real success. Just check out this highlight tape: It’s clear that big league hitters just simply don’t know what to do with 45 mph over the middle, and then after seeing it a few times, Astudillo shows them the same delivery but fires it in at 72, which is suddenly way too fast to adjust to. Now, obviously, professional hitters would be able to adjust to Astudillo’s antics if he actually became a full-time reliever. The eephus surely wouldn’t be as effective the 100th time Astudillo threw it and his fastball might start to look like batting practice fodder more than anything else. But, given that Astudillo is the only guy in the league that pitches like he does, I’m just not sure hitters would be spending time preparing for the one at-bat a series they might get off him. And, even if they did, it might not matter. When you spend all your career preparing for—and all day hitting off of—high velocity, high spin rate guys, adjusting to hitting off Astudillo likely feels like playing a completely different sport. And that might be just enough to make him viable as a full-time reliever. Again, Falvey and Levine certainly won’t be able to trot out an Opening Day roster that has Astudillo as a pitcher, because, you know, we want the team to be good. However, if the team is going to be bad again—if we make it to July and Minnesota baseball is just as depressing as it was this year—I’d love to see him coming out of the bullpen on a regular basis. I only kind of believe he could do it, but if the Twins are going to be bad, I’d rather they be fun to watch. What do you think? Could La Tortuga actually do it? Let us know in the comments! View full article
  6. Okay, let me start by saying this is an absolutely terrible idea. If you want a serious look at bullpen options for 2022, check out Jamie Cameron’s article from Friday on that very topic. Astudillo will never be seriously considered as a pitcher, partially because selling such a decision to the fanbase unironically would be impossible, but what if he was? What if he got a full sixty innings of relief work? As a primer, let’s look at Astudillo’s pitching numbers from 2021. He was given four opportunities to toe the rubber, all as a mop-up dude in blowout losses. In those four games, he pitched four full innings and allowed only one (rather infamous) run. That’s an ERA of 2.25, which is better than every actual reliever the Twins put out there this year except for four innings of Devin Smeltzer and 12 innings of Nick Vincent. Also, with only one hit allowed all year, Astudillo’s WHIP of .750 was second on the club, trailing only Smeltzer. On the other hand, having walked two and struck out exactly zero (0) hitters, Astudillo’s strikeouts per walk rate is in the mud (at 0.00), but, as Twins fans, we like to pretend that Wes Johnson can fix everything, so let’s assume he gets at least a strikeout every two innings out of Astudillo. Now, obviously, La Tortuga’s four innings pitched is a ridiculously small sample size, but if that’s the type of thing that bothers you, this may not be the article for you, because this entire flimsy argument is based on that small sample size. And, even with that said, we’ve seen position players be immediately terrible on the mound before, and the fact that Astudillo gave the Twins even just four innings of competence means something. With his stats settled (just don’t look at his FIP), let’s examine Astudillo’s stuff. According to FanGraphs, Willians has a fastball that sits in the low-80s, a seldom-used changeup in the low 60s and a heavily-used eephus that comes in at a bizarrely slow 45 miles per hour. Now he’s certainly not blowing up the radar gun, but he can throw each of these pitches for strikes (a remarkable skill) and pitchers have gotten Major League hitters out before with little velocity. Heck, Jamie Moyer’s fastball was tipping the scales at 78 mph when he was pitching real innings in the majors as a 49-year-old. The key is the difference in velocity between your fastest and slowest pitch. In Moyer’s autobiography, Just Tell Me I Can’t, he repeatedly mentioned that he aimed for a 10 mph difference between his fastball and changeup velocity. Well, check out Astudillo; he’s got a 35+ mph difference between his fastest and slowest pitch. This overlay shows you exactly what that looks like: I mean, these pitches cross the plate in completely different time zones. And, it’s not as if those are the only two pitches he throws. If that were the case, hitters could either sit on one or the other and smack the baseball into next week. But Astudillo can get the ball across the plate at virtually any velocity between 45mph and 85 mph, so hitters never really know when the pitch is going to cross. With this bizarre pitch arsenal, there is reason to believe that Astudillo would be unpredictable enough on the mound to have real success. Just check out this highlight tape: It’s clear that big league hitters just simply don’t know what to do with 45 mph over the middle, and then after seeing it a few times, Astudillo shows them the same delivery but fires it in at 72, which is suddenly way too fast to adjust to. Now, obviously, professional hitters would be able to adjust to Astudillo’s antics if he actually became a full-time reliever. The eephus surely wouldn’t be as effective the 100th time Astudillo threw it and his fastball might start to look like batting practice fodder more than anything else. But, given that Astudillo is the only guy in the league that pitches like he does, I’m just not sure hitters would be spending time preparing for the one at-bat a series they might get off him. And, even if they did, it might not matter. When you spend all your career preparing for—and all day hitting off of—high velocity, high spin rate guys, adjusting to hitting off Astudillo likely feels like playing a completely different sport. And that might be just enough to make him viable as a full-time reliever. Again, Falvey and Levine certainly won’t be able to trot out an Opening Day roster that has Astudillo as a pitcher, because, you know, we want the team to be good. However, if the team is going to be bad again—if we make it to July and Minnesota baseball is just as depressing as it was this year—I’d love to see him coming out of the bullpen on a regular basis. I only kind of believe he could do it, but if the Twins are going to be bad, I’d rather they be fun to watch. What do you think? Could La Tortuga actually do it? Let us know in the comments!
  7. The Twins had their fair share of struggles in 2021, but they remained solid in the home run department. Here’s what their 10 longest homers looked and felt like. 10. April 6th: Byron Buxton off Jose Cisnero Distance: 451 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.1 mph, Launch Angle: 38° On the sixth day of the Twins’ young and (at the time) hopeful season, Byron Buxton came up in the eighth with the Twins trailing the Tigers by a run. He did his thing. This 451-foot blast tied the game, only to set the stage for the Twins’ second of many early season extra-inning losses. Interestingly, this homer has the highest launch angle of this list by far, and was the fifth-highest lofted homer of the Twins season. 9. June 30th: Nelson Cruz off Dylan Cease Distance: 453 feet, Exit Velocity: 110.9 mph Launch Angle: 25° This homer would be a lot cooler if the Twins weren’t getting throttled 11-1 by their division rivals at the time it was hit, but 453 feet is 453 feet. That eventual 13-3 loss was also the middle game of a three-game sweep for the White Sox that was played out over the backdrop of drama surrounding Josh Donaldson accusing Lucas Giolito of cheating. So, yeah, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most forgotten long homers of the year. But 453 feet is 453 feet. 8. April 1st: Byron Buxton off Eric Yardley Distance: 456 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.4 mph Launch Angle: 24° Man, early-season Buxton was a sight to see. Five days before hitting the first homer on this list, he hit this behemoth on Opening Day against the Brewers. The two-run shot came in the seventh with the Twins already leading by one, so it looked like the club was going to start the year on the right foot. Unfortunately, early-season Alex Colome was a sight to see for the opposite reason and blew a three-run lead, leading the Twins to their first extra-inning loss of the young campaign. T-6. June 10th: Nelson Cruz off Aroldis Chapman Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.4 mph Launch Angle: 23° This bomb carries a lot more cachet than Cruz’s first entry on this list. It wasn’t only against the hated Yankees, but it was a walk-off against the hated Yankees. And, Cruz turned around a 98-mph Aroldis Chapman fastball to do it. It did go to potentially the ugliest part of Target—landing somewhere in the vertical waste area between the bullpen and the batter’s eye—but who actually cares. It was a monster shot that made sure the good guys came out on top, at least for that night. (Nash named it the Best Moment for the 2021 season.) T-6. September 10th: Byron Buxton off Daniel Lynch Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.9 mph Launch Angle: 29° So, it turns out that Byron Buxton only hits massive homers in extra-inning losses. In this particular instance, Buxton’s 457-foot poke led off the game for the Twins and this was the first of four first-inning runs that only gave the Twins a one-run lead thanks to three Royals’ runs in the first. Kansas City got that run back and two more in the 11th to seal the Twins’ fate. For Buxton, this homer came amidst his coldest stretch of the season, but of course he got hot again, spawning hundreds of “please pay Buxton” takes from the contributors to this website. 5. July 26th: Brent Rooker off Matt Manning Distance: 460 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.1 mph Launch Angle: 29° As Ted tweeted, Brent Rooker murdered this baseball, and he chose the third deck in left field for its burial site. That’s super interesting and all, but the best part about this is Michael Pineda’s reaction. His extended grimace at watching Matt Manning’s hanger get demolished showed admirable loyalty to his fellow pitcher out there laboring on the mound. 4. May 24th: Trevor Larnach off John Means Distance: 461 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.2 mph Launch Angle: 24° Okay, so balls don’t land here. Larnach’s beautifully struck, 461-foot whopper landed perfectly in the Delta 360 Suite above the batter’s eye. That’s not a part of the park where you’re expecting a home run ball. Anyway, this was only Larnach’s second homer of his MLB career and launched him towards a pretty productive June and early July. Larnach later struggled as pitchers adjusted to him, but he remains a big part of the club’s future, and his 460+ foot power is a big reason why. 3. July 28th: Miguel Sanó off Joe Jimenez Distance: 473 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.8 mph Launch Angle: 30° Welcome to the Miguel Sanó portion of this list. Our favorite three-outcome hitter (only) hit three homers over 450 feet, but they were all over 470 feet. This particular bludgeoning (I’m running out of homer words) traveled 473 feet and was a part of a ridiculous, pitching-optional 17-14 loss to the Tigers. This was also Sanó’s second homer of the game and 17th of the year, reminding us all why we just can’t quit him. 2. August 18th: Miguel Sanó off Zach Plesac Distance: 475 feet, Exit Velocity: 113.9 mph Launch Angle: 27° This ball landed in Section 237, which is interesting for two reasons. First, there’s absolutely no way those green-shirted kids packed into the very cheap group-rate seats were expecting a home run ball, which is kind of cool. And secondly, the ball was hit (just barely) to the opposite field, and a 475-foot Oppo Taco is very cool. Sanó is nothing if not a very strong man. 1. August 25th: Miguel Sanó off Nick Pivetta Distance: 495 feet, Exit Velocity: 116.7 mph Launch Angle: 24° Speaking of balls landing where they’re not supposed to… what even happened here? Balls leave Fenway Park and spill onto Lansdowne Street all the time, but they don’t go to that part of Lansdowne Street. Balls will carry those Green Monster billboards every now and then, but they don’t carry that billboard and certainly not by that much. I mean, this ball might’ve put that famous Citgo sign in danger. Sanó’s nuke travelled 20 feet further than the next-longest Twins homer and was the longest in the majors by nine feet. Ted Williams famously hit a 502-foot blast in Fenway, but you’d be hard pressed to find another ball hit harder in that place's history than Sanó’s moonshot. Which homer from this year was your favorite? Let us know in the comments! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. 10. April 6th: Byron Buxton off Jose Cisnero Distance: 451 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.1 mph, Launch Angle: 38° On the sixth day of the Twins’ young and (at the time) hopeful season, Byron Buxton came up in the eighth with the Twins trailing the Tigers by a run. He did his thing. This 451-foot blast tied the game, only to set the stage for the Twins’ second of many early season extra-inning losses. Interestingly, this homer has the highest launch angle of this list by far, and was the fifth-highest lofted homer of the Twins season. 9. June 30th: Nelson Cruz off Dylan Cease Distance: 453 feet, Exit Velocity: 110.9 mph Launch Angle: 25° This homer would be a lot cooler if the Twins weren’t getting throttled 11-1 by their division rivals at the time it was hit, but 453 feet is 453 feet. That eventual 13-3 loss was also the middle game of a three-game sweep for the White Sox that was played out over the backdrop of drama surrounding Josh Donaldson accusing Lucas Giolito of cheating. So, yeah, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most forgotten long homers of the year. But 453 feet is 453 feet. 8. April 1st: Byron Buxton off Eric Yardley Distance: 456 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.4 mph Launch Angle: 24° Man, early-season Buxton was a sight to see. Five days before hitting the first homer on this list, he hit this behemoth on Opening Day against the Brewers. The two-run shot came in the seventh with the Twins already leading by one, so it looked like the club was going to start the year on the right foot. Unfortunately, early-season Alex Colome was a sight to see for the opposite reason and blew a three-run lead, leading the Twins to their first extra-inning loss of the young campaign. T-6. June 10th: Nelson Cruz off Aroldis Chapman Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.4 mph Launch Angle: 23° This bomb carries a lot more cachet than Cruz’s first entry on this list. It wasn’t only against the hated Yankees, but it was a walk-off against the hated Yankees. And, Cruz turned around a 98-mph Aroldis Chapman fastball to do it. It did go to potentially the ugliest part of Target—landing somewhere in the vertical waste area between the bullpen and the batter’s eye—but who actually cares. It was a monster shot that made sure the good guys came out on top, at least for that night. (Nash named it the Best Moment for the 2021 season.) T-6. September 10th: Byron Buxton off Daniel Lynch Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.9 mph Launch Angle: 29° So, it turns out that Byron Buxton only hits massive homers in extra-inning losses. In this particular instance, Buxton’s 457-foot poke led off the game for the Twins and this was the first of four first-inning runs that only gave the Twins a one-run lead thanks to three Royals’ runs in the first. Kansas City got that run back and two more in the 11th to seal the Twins’ fate. For Buxton, this homer came amidst his coldest stretch of the season, but of course he got hot again, spawning hundreds of “please pay Buxton” takes from the contributors to this website. 5. July 26th: Brent Rooker off Matt Manning Distance: 460 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.1 mph Launch Angle: 29° As Ted tweeted, Brent Rooker murdered this baseball, and he chose the third deck in left field for its burial site. That’s super interesting and all, but the best part about this is Michael Pineda’s reaction. His extended grimace at watching Matt Manning’s hanger get demolished showed admirable loyalty to his fellow pitcher out there laboring on the mound. 4. May 24th: Trevor Larnach off John Means Distance: 461 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.2 mph Launch Angle: 24° Okay, so balls don’t land here. Larnach’s beautifully struck, 461-foot whopper landed perfectly in the Delta 360 Suite above the batter’s eye. That’s not a part of the park where you’re expecting a home run ball. Anyway, this was only Larnach’s second homer of his MLB career and launched him towards a pretty productive June and early July. Larnach later struggled as pitchers adjusted to him, but he remains a big part of the club’s future, and his 460+ foot power is a big reason why. 3. July 28th: Miguel Sanó off Joe Jimenez Distance: 473 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.8 mph Launch Angle: 30° Welcome to the Miguel Sanó portion of this list. Our favorite three-outcome hitter (only) hit three homers over 450 feet, but they were all over 470 feet. This particular bludgeoning (I’m running out of homer words) traveled 473 feet and was a part of a ridiculous, pitching-optional 17-14 loss to the Tigers. This was also Sanó’s second homer of the game and 17th of the year, reminding us all why we just can’t quit him. 2. August 18th: Miguel Sanó off Zach Plesac Distance: 475 feet, Exit Velocity: 113.9 mph Launch Angle: 27° This ball landed in Section 237, which is interesting for two reasons. First, there’s absolutely no way those green-shirted kids packed into the very cheap group-rate seats were expecting a home run ball, which is kind of cool. And secondly, the ball was hit (just barely) to the opposite field, and a 475-foot Oppo Taco is very cool. Sanó is nothing if not a very strong man. 1. August 25th: Miguel Sanó off Nick Pivetta Distance: 495 feet, Exit Velocity: 116.7 mph Launch Angle: 24° Speaking of balls landing where they’re not supposed to… what even happened here? Balls leave Fenway Park and spill onto Lansdowne Street all the time, but they don’t go to that part of Lansdowne Street. Balls will carry those Green Monster billboards every now and then, but they don’t carry that billboard and certainly not by that much. I mean, this ball might’ve put that famous Citgo sign in danger. Sanó’s nuke travelled 20 feet further than the next-longest Twins homer and was the longest in the majors by nine feet. Ted Williams famously hit a 502-foot blast in Fenway, but you’d be hard pressed to find another ball hit harder in that place's history than Sanó’s moonshot. Which homer from this year was your favorite? Let us know in the comments! 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. If I had to use one word to describe the 2021 Minnesota Twins it would be embarrassing. The team was expected to win the division, and they finished last and narrowly avoided 90 losses. That’s, in a word, embarrassing. Let’s relive some of the most shameful moments in hopes that, now that it’s all over, we can laugh about it. Maybe. Blankenhorn and Arraez Make Back-to-Back Errors to Lose to Oakland Everyone remembers this game in Oakland. In fact, it was such an important inflection point in the season that Nick Nelson chose it as the most important moment of April. As season-defining as it was, the bottom of the tenth of that game was equally embarrassing. After a tough start, the Twins battled back to take a 10-7 lead in the game, and then promptly blew about three different chances to win the game and it went to (the dreaded) tenth inning. Byron Buxton bent the universe to his will (as he does) with a two-run homer in the top of the tenth, but it only set the stage for a meltdown in the bottom of the inning. Alex Colome, who had already blown a save, had loaded the bases, but there were two outs and the Twins still led by two, so any ball in the infield would surely end the game, right? Wrong. Travis Blankenhorn basically farted on a grounder to second that scored one run. Then Luis Arraez fielded a bouncer to third, but missed first base by a good six feet on his throw, and just like that, the Twins blew their fourth and fifth chances to win the game and Oakland was dogpiling. Pathetic. Rob Refsnyder Introduces Himself to the Camden Yards Wall Remember when Rob Refsnyder was a thing? The 30-year-old journeyman was filling in at the center field spot for Buxton and for a second there, you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Refsnyder was swinging a scorching bat and had some timely hits that helped the Twins to a 10-6 record in his first sixteen games in the lineup. However, in that sixteenth game, Rob took his Buxton impression a little too far and freight-trained himself into the center field wall, injuring himself and ruining the Refsnyder-as-cult-hero vibe the Twins had going on. Also, no image encapsulates the 2021 Twins better than this: ...and getting clowned on by one of the worst teams in baseball didn’t help. Yermin Mercedes Tees Off on Astudillo Okay, this one isn’t even really about the Twins, as it has more to do with infighting between Tony La Russa and his players. But the only issue the White Sox had all year was played out over the backdrop of them consistently brutalizing the Twins on the field, and that’s a tough look. As a reminder, the Twins were getting shellacked by Chicago and sent Willians Astudillo out to the mound while they limped through the final innings. Yermin Mercedes came up with two outs and on a 3-0 count, he deposited Astudillo’s 47-mile-per-hour offering into the shrubs in center. La Russa, Roy Smalley, and basically nobody else got mad about it, but it became a sports news cycle topic for a few days, reminding the national audience that the Twins stank and the White Sox, even with their (invented) issues, didn’t. Also, all that stuff aside, you can’t watch this as a Twins fan and not be a little embarrassed: Almost Getting No-Hit at Home Against Angels On July 24th, Patrick Sandoval took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Twins that was broken up by a Brent Rooker double with two outs left to get. I was at the game that night, so maybe that’s why this sticks with me, but the offense almost could not have looked worse. They struck out thirteen times against Sandoval and the mental gymnastics I was doing to justify buying a ten dollar beer was more entertaining than watching the at-bats the Twins were putting up on the field. It was a clown show. Then, Rooker and Donaldson turned two doubles into one run to make it 2-1, but they couldn’t complete the comeback and somehow that was even worse than getting no-hit. The Ones That Got Away Okay, these next two aren't really moments, but it’s my article, so who’s going to stop me from breaking my own rules? (Editor's Note: Ahem...) Anyway, Whether it’s star players traded away or cut-bait guys who find a huge role elsewhere, perhaps nothing haunts us as Twins fans more than former Twins finding success elsewhere. And there was plenty more of that again this year. Nelson Cruz is hitting homers in the playoffs for the Rays. José Berríos was dicing guys in meaningful games down the stretch for Toronto. Freaking Lamonte Wade Jr. just can’t stop getting big hits in big spots for the 107-win Giants. Even guys like Matt Wisler and Hansel Robles are giving playoff teams important innings this postseason. Also Eddie Rosario is on the Braves, but that one honestly doesn't feel so bad. Seeing the pieces of what should have been your contending team make a difference for real contenders throughout the league is especially humiliating. Signing Andrelton Simmons and Alex Colomé When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine brought Colomé and Simmons to the club, I, along with many others, was pumped. Here was our big late-inning guy and the shortstop upgrade we needed; let’s go win a division. Uh huh. Colomé was sneakily not bad over the second half of the year, but he blew enough games early in the year that his success later in the year (when the games didn’t really matter) will be forgotten. It turns out the the secondary numbers and, you know, every other team in the league was right: he’s not that good. Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons wasn’t just not that good, he was a dumpster fire. Expected to be at least capable at the plate and excellent at shortstop, Simmons slashed a putrid .223/.283/.274 and was nearly special enough in the field to make up for it. He was completely and entirely awful. Falvey and Levine were roundly praised for bringing these guys in, but now they’re facing unfamiliar criticism partially due to these guys’ falling well short of their expectations. Were you able to laugh a little about it? What moments did I miss? Let me know in the comments! View full article
  10. Blankenhorn and Arraez Make Back-to-Back Errors to Lose to Oakland Everyone remembers this game in Oakland. In fact, it was such an important inflection point in the season that Nick Nelson chose it as the most important moment of April. As season-defining as it was, the bottom of the tenth of that game was equally embarrassing. After a tough start, the Twins battled back to take a 10-7 lead in the game, and then promptly blew about three different chances to win the game and it went to (the dreaded) tenth inning. Byron Buxton bent the universe to his will (as he does) with a two-run homer in the top of the tenth, but it only set the stage for a meltdown in the bottom of the inning. Alex Colome, who had already blown a save, had loaded the bases, but there were two outs and the Twins still led by two, so any ball in the infield would surely end the game, right? Wrong. Travis Blankenhorn basically farted on a grounder to second that scored one run. Then Luis Arraez fielded a bouncer to third, but missed first base by a good six feet on his throw, and just like that, the Twins blew their fourth and fifth chances to win the game and Oakland was dogpiling. Pathetic. Rob Refsnyder Introduces Himself to the Camden Yards Wall Remember when Rob Refsnyder was a thing? The 30-year-old journeyman was filling in at the center field spot for Buxton and for a second there, you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Refsnyder was swinging a scorching bat and had some timely hits that helped the Twins to a 10-6 record in his first sixteen games in the lineup. However, in that sixteenth game, Rob took his Buxton impression a little too far and freight-trained himself into the center field wall, injuring himself and ruining the Refsnyder-as-cult-hero vibe the Twins had going on. Also, no image encapsulates the 2021 Twins better than this: ...and getting clowned on by one of the worst teams in baseball didn’t help. Yermin Mercedes Tees Off on Astudillo Okay, this one isn’t even really about the Twins, as it has more to do with infighting between Tony La Russa and his players. But the only issue the White Sox had all year was played out over the backdrop of them consistently brutalizing the Twins on the field, and that’s a tough look. As a reminder, the Twins were getting shellacked by Chicago and sent Willians Astudillo out to the mound while they limped through the final innings. Yermin Mercedes came up with two outs and on a 3-0 count, he deposited Astudillo’s 47-mile-per-hour offering into the shrubs in center. La Russa, Roy Smalley, and basically nobody else got mad about it, but it became a sports news cycle topic for a few days, reminding the national audience that the Twins stank and the White Sox, even with their (invented) issues, didn’t. Also, all that stuff aside, you can’t watch this as a Twins fan and not be a little embarrassed: Almost Getting No-Hit at Home Against Angels On July 24th, Patrick Sandoval took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Twins that was broken up by a Brent Rooker double with two outs left to get. I was at the game that night, so maybe that’s why this sticks with me, but the offense almost could not have looked worse. They struck out thirteen times against Sandoval and the mental gymnastics I was doing to justify buying a ten dollar beer was more entertaining than watching the at-bats the Twins were putting up on the field. It was a clown show. Then, Rooker and Donaldson turned two doubles into one run to make it 2-1, but they couldn’t complete the comeback and somehow that was even worse than getting no-hit. The Ones That Got Away Okay, these next two aren't really moments, but it’s my article, so who’s going to stop me from breaking my own rules? (Editor's Note: Ahem...) Anyway, Whether it’s star players traded away or cut-bait guys who find a huge role elsewhere, perhaps nothing haunts us as Twins fans more than former Twins finding success elsewhere. And there was plenty more of that again this year. Nelson Cruz is hitting homers in the playoffs for the Rays. José Berríos was dicing guys in meaningful games down the stretch for Toronto. Freaking Lamonte Wade Jr. just can’t stop getting big hits in big spots for the 107-win Giants. Even guys like Matt Wisler and Hansel Robles are giving playoff teams important innings this postseason. Also Eddie Rosario is on the Braves, but that one honestly doesn't feel so bad. Seeing the pieces of what should have been your contending team make a difference for real contenders throughout the league is especially humiliating. Signing Andrelton Simmons and Alex Colomé When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine brought Colomé and Simmons to the club, I, along with many others, was pumped. Here was our big late-inning guy and the shortstop upgrade we needed; let’s go win a division. Uh huh. Colomé was sneakily not bad over the second half of the year, but he blew enough games early in the year that his success later in the year (when the games didn’t really matter) will be forgotten. It turns out the the secondary numbers and, you know, every other team in the league was right: he’s not that good. Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons wasn’t just not that good, he was a dumpster fire. Expected to be at least capable at the plate and excellent at shortstop, Simmons slashed a putrid .223/.283/.274 and was nearly special enough in the field to make up for it. He was completely and entirely awful. Falvey and Levine were roundly praised for bringing these guys in, but now they’re facing unfamiliar criticism partially due to these guys’ falling well short of their expectations. Were you able to laugh a little about it? What moments did I miss? Let me know in the comments!
  11. Needing a win to stay close in the Triple-A Final Stretch race, the Saints fell on their face tonight. Find out what went wrong in tonight's Minor League Report. SAINTS SENTINEL Toledo 8, St. Paul 2 Box Score Saint Paul came into tonight’s game with a respectable 5-2 record in the Triple-A Final Stretch race, but with Durham sitting on a 7-0 mark, the Saints found themselves in must-win territory. Unfortunately, they got a lackluster start from Beau Burrows and it only got worse from there. They dropped this one 8-2 and with Durham winning tonight, they have been eliminated from Final Stretch contention. Burrows started out smooth with two scoreless innings, but he made a big mistake to Riley Greene in the third. The Mud Hen center fielder took him deep to center with a man on, giving Toledo a 2-0 lead. The Hens were back at it in the fourth, though they got some help from the Saints. On a first-and-third steal attempt, Saints catcher David Banuelos hesitated and threw the ball in center field, allowing Ryan Kreidler to scamper home. The Saints bats struggled early, but they grabbed Burrows a run of support in the top of the fifth on a Tomas Telis double. Drew Stankiewicz scored on the play, but Jose Miranda was thrown out at the plate trying to grab another run for St. Paul. Burrows was removed with one out in the fifth and replaced with Ian Hamilton. The Saints starter allowed three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He only allowed four hits and struck out four, but walked three. Kreidler scored in another unusual way in the sixth. With one out in the inning and runners on first and third, Hamilton got a tailor-made double play ball to second, but Jacob Robson lured Drew Maggi into a rundown and kept the inning alive long enough for Kreidler to score to make it 4-1. Robinson Leyer took over for Hamilton to start the seventh and a bad situation got worse. Leyer allowed the first three men of the inning to reach and then gave up a grand slam to Aderlin Rodriguez that curled around the left field foul pole. Leyer was removed from the 8-1 ballgame having only gotten one out while allowing four runs. Bryan Sammons took over for Leyer and got the last five outs of the game without allowing a run, but the damage was done. The Saints grabbed a run in the ninth thanks to two Toledo errors, but that run only served to slightly obscure the troubles the offense had all night. They got six hits, but couldn’t string any rallies together. It certainly didn’t help that they struck out 14 times as a team, including eight combined K’s (and a combined 0-for-12) from the three, four, and five hitters. Telis and Maggi were the best of a bad bunch tonight as they both went 2-for-4 with Telis driving in a run and Maggi scoring one. The Saints lose 8-2 and drop to a 5-3 record in the Triple-A Final Stretch. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day: Tomas Telis (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K Pitcher of the Day: Bryan Sammons (St. Paul) - 1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, BB, 3 K PROSPECT SUMMARY #6- Jose Miranda (St. Paul)- 1-for-5 #13- Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul)- 0-for-4, 3 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota)- 1-for-3 (In Progress) SATURDAY'S PROBABLE STARTER St. Paul @ Toledo (4:05PM CST) RHP Drew Strotman (10-4, 5.09 ERA) Feel free to comment and discuss tonight’s game! View full article
  12. SAINTS SENTINEL Toledo 8, St. Paul 2 Box Score Saint Paul came into tonight’s game with a respectable 5-2 record in the Triple-A Final Stretch race, but with Durham sitting on a 7-0 mark, the Saints found themselves in must-win territory. Unfortunately, they got a lackluster start from Beau Burrows and it only got worse from there. They dropped this one 8-2 and with Durham winning tonight, they have been eliminated from Final Stretch contention. Burrows started out smooth with two scoreless innings, but he made a big mistake to Riley Greene in the third. The Mud Hen center fielder took him deep to center with a man on, giving Toledo a 2-0 lead. The Hens were back at it in the fourth, though they got some help from the Saints. On a first-and-third steal attempt, Saints catcher David Banuelos hesitated and threw the ball in center field, allowing Ryan Kreidler to scamper home. The Saints bats struggled early, but they grabbed Burrows a run of support in the top of the fifth on a Tomas Telis double. Drew Stankiewicz scored on the play, but Jose Miranda was thrown out at the plate trying to grab another run for St. Paul. Burrows was removed with one out in the fifth and replaced with Ian Hamilton. The Saints starter allowed three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He only allowed four hits and struck out four, but walked three. Kreidler scored in another unusual way in the sixth. With one out in the inning and runners on first and third, Hamilton got a tailor-made double play ball to second, but Jacob Robson lured Drew Maggi into a rundown and kept the inning alive long enough for Kreidler to score to make it 4-1. Robinson Leyer took over for Hamilton to start the seventh and a bad situation got worse. Leyer allowed the first three men of the inning to reach and then gave up a grand slam to Aderlin Rodriguez that curled around the left field foul pole. Leyer was removed from the 8-1 ballgame having only gotten one out while allowing four runs. Bryan Sammons took over for Leyer and got the last five outs of the game without allowing a run, but the damage was done. The Saints grabbed a run in the ninth thanks to two Toledo errors, but that run only served to slightly obscure the troubles the offense had all night. They got six hits, but couldn’t string any rallies together. It certainly didn’t help that they struck out 14 times as a team, including eight combined K’s (and a combined 0-for-12) from the three, four, and five hitters. Telis and Maggi were the best of a bad bunch tonight as they both went 2-for-4 with Telis driving in a run and Maggi scoring one. The Saints lose 8-2 and drop to a 5-3 record in the Triple-A Final Stretch. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day: Tomas Telis (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K Pitcher of the Day: Bryan Sammons (St. Paul) - 1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, BB, 3 K PROSPECT SUMMARY #6- Jose Miranda (St. Paul)- 1-for-5 #13- Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul)- 0-for-4, 3 K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota)- 1-for-3 (In Progress) SATURDAY'S PROBABLE STARTER St. Paul @ Toledo (4:05PM CST) RHP Drew Strotman (10-4, 5.09 ERA) Feel free to comment and discuss tonight’s game!
  13. The fun-filled season that was Wichita's 2021 campaign came to an end tonight, but Cedar Rapids brought themselves within one game of a championship. Also, the Saints played! Check it all out in tonight's Minor League Report! SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Iowa 1 Box Score Some nights, great pitching and Jose Miranda is all you need to secure a win. Tonight was one of those nights. Charlie Barnes got the start on the mound for St. Paul tonight and he was excellent in a shortened outing. He went four innings and allowed only one run, while accumulating four strikeouts. Barnes threw 70 pitches in this one and wasn’t showing signs of slowing down, so his removal from the game is likely to keep him fresh for potential major league service in the future. The one Cubs run came in the top of the third on an Abiatal Avelino RBI single off Barnes. Fortunately, though, the Saints struck in the bottom of the inning when Jose Miranda belted a no-doubter three-run shot. That blast proved to be all the Saints would need. After Barnes was removed, Beau Burrows entered the game in the fifth, charged with getting the fifteen-out save (not a thing). Burrows was even more fantastic, though, as he didn’t allow a hit until the ninth inning and struck out six Cubs. He did allow two hits in the ninth, but did not allow a run over all five of his innings, and the Saints took the game 3-1. St. Paul improves to 2-1 in the Triple-A Final Stretch. WIND SURGE WISDOM Double-A Central Championship Series Game 3: NW Arkansas 6, Wichita 2 (NW Arkansas wins series 3-0) Box Score Needing a win after their top two arms got roughed up in games one and two, the Wind Surge put the ball in the capable right hand of Austin Schulfer tonight in Riverfront Stadium’s playoff debut. However, a fourth inning grand slam ruined the night for Schulfer and the Surge, and their comeback hopes in this game and in the series never got started. The packed home crowd was amped up early and Jermaine Palacios gave them something to cheer about in the second when he stroked a ball 400 feet the left and bat-flipped the Surge to a 1-0 lead. The Naturals grabbed that run back in the third with a sac fly scoring Blake Perkins, who advanced two bases on an errant Schulfer pickoff attempt. After a close out call at the plate kept Wichita from retaking the lead, Brewer Hicklen, who made a game-saving catch in Game 1, pumped a grand slam over the left field wall to take the air out of the Wichita crowd and give NW Arkansas a 5-1 lead. Spencer Steer doubled and later scored on an Andrew Bechtold groundout in the fourth, but the offense couldn’t build on that and the next run of the game came in the seventh in favor of the Naturals, making it 6-2. In fact, the Surge didn’t put together a meaningful threat the rest of the game and that 6-2 scoreline was enough to earn the Naturals a dog-pile on the infield grass. Schulfer ended up pitching four innings, allowing five runs (four earned) while striking out four. He gave way to Kody Funderburk, who allowed just one run in three innings. Jordan Gore finished the game with two innings of scoreless work. On offense, the Surge grabbed seven hits but, as they have for much of the stretch run, they struggled to bring runs in. Jermaine Palacios and Austin Martin had multi-hit games. KERNELS NUGGETS High-A Central Championship Series Game 3: Cedar Rapids 8, Quad Cities 4 (Cedar Rapids leads series 2-1) Box Score After splitting the first two games, the Kernels endured a lengthy delay and turned to the long ball, bopping 4 homers en route to a crucial 8-4 Game 3 victory. Quad Cities opened their account in the first inning with a Logan Porter RBI single, but DaShawn Kiersey Jr. had an answer in the form of a two-run homer that gave the Kernels a 2-1 second-inning lead. In the third inning, the Kernels loaded the bases but their threat was interrupted by a rain delay. Well over an hour later, the game picked up again and Kiersey flew out to end the threat, permanently this time. In the fourth, though, Edouard Julien doubled the Cedar Rapids lead with a solo homer, and a few batters later, Alex Isola followed suit. Isola’s blast was worth three though, and the Kernels took a 6-1 lead. Quad Cities got a run back in the fifth, but Julien was back at it again in the sixth, with another solo bomb. And, Michael Helman added on another when he doubled and later scored on a Matt Wallner sac fly. Quad Cities got two runs back in the seventh to cut the lead to 8-4 that was as close as their comeback attempts would get and the Cedar Rapids Kernels are one win away from the title. Casey Legumina got the start for Cedar Rapids and allowed one run in two innings but after the lengthy delay, this one became a bullpen game. Adam Rozek matched Legumina, allowing one run over the third and fourth innings. Derek Molina took over and pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, though only one was earned. Carlos Suniaga allowed a few hits, but finished the game with two scoreless innings. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Beau Burrows (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day - Edouard Julien (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR, BB, K PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-3, BB #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, BB, HR (16), 3 RBI #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, RBI, 2 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, BB #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, 2 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Drew Strotman (9-4, 5.13 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (3-3, 4.55 ERA in regular season) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games! View full article
  14. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Iowa 1 Box Score Some nights, great pitching and Jose Miranda is all you need to secure a win. Tonight was one of those nights. Charlie Barnes got the start on the mound for St. Paul tonight and he was excellent in a shortened outing. He went four innings and allowed only one run, while accumulating four strikeouts. Barnes threw 70 pitches in this one and wasn’t showing signs of slowing down, so his removal from the game is likely to keep him fresh for potential major league service in the future. The one Cubs run came in the top of the third on an Abiatal Avelino RBI single off Barnes. Fortunately, though, the Saints struck in the bottom of the inning when Jose Miranda belted a no-doubter three-run shot. That blast proved to be all the Saints would need. After Barnes was removed, Beau Burrows entered the game in the fifth, charged with getting the fifteen-out save (not a thing). Burrows was even more fantastic, though, as he didn’t allow a hit until the ninth inning and struck out six Cubs. He did allow two hits in the ninth, but did not allow a run over all five of his innings, and the Saints took the game 3-1. St. Paul improves to 2-1 in the Triple-A Final Stretch. WIND SURGE WISDOM Double-A Central Championship Series Game 3: NW Arkansas 6, Wichita 2 (NW Arkansas wins series 3-0) Box Score Needing a win after their top two arms got roughed up in games one and two, the Wind Surge put the ball in the capable right hand of Austin Schulfer tonight in Riverfront Stadium’s playoff debut. However, a fourth inning grand slam ruined the night for Schulfer and the Surge, and their comeback hopes in this game and in the series never got started. The packed home crowd was amped up early and Jermaine Palacios gave them something to cheer about in the second when he stroked a ball 400 feet the left and bat-flipped the Surge to a 1-0 lead. The Naturals grabbed that run back in the third with a sac fly scoring Blake Perkins, who advanced two bases on an errant Schulfer pickoff attempt. After a close out call at the plate kept Wichita from retaking the lead, Brewer Hicklen, who made a game-saving catch in Game 1, pumped a grand slam over the left field wall to take the air out of the Wichita crowd and give NW Arkansas a 5-1 lead. Spencer Steer doubled and later scored on an Andrew Bechtold groundout in the fourth, but the offense couldn’t build on that and the next run of the game came in the seventh in favor of the Naturals, making it 6-2. In fact, the Surge didn’t put together a meaningful threat the rest of the game and that 6-2 scoreline was enough to earn the Naturals a dog-pile on the infield grass. Schulfer ended up pitching four innings, allowing five runs (four earned) while striking out four. He gave way to Kody Funderburk, who allowed just one run in three innings. Jordan Gore finished the game with two innings of scoreless work. On offense, the Surge grabbed seven hits but, as they have for much of the stretch run, they struggled to bring runs in. Jermaine Palacios and Austin Martin had multi-hit games. KERNELS NUGGETS High-A Central Championship Series Game 3: Cedar Rapids 8, Quad Cities 4 (Cedar Rapids leads series 2-1) Box Score After splitting the first two games, the Kernels endured a lengthy delay and turned to the long ball, bopping 4 homers en route to a crucial 8-4 Game 3 victory. Quad Cities opened their account in the first inning with a Logan Porter RBI single, but DaShawn Kiersey Jr. had an answer in the form of a two-run homer that gave the Kernels a 2-1 second-inning lead. In the third inning, the Kernels loaded the bases but their threat was interrupted by a rain delay. Well over an hour later, the game picked up again and Kiersey flew out to end the threat, permanently this time. In the fourth, though, Edouard Julien doubled the Cedar Rapids lead with a solo homer, and a few batters later, Alex Isola followed suit. Isola’s blast was worth three though, and the Kernels took a 6-1 lead. Quad Cities got a run back in the fifth, but Julien was back at it again in the sixth, with another solo bomb. And, Michael Helman added on another when he doubled and later scored on a Matt Wallner sac fly. Quad Cities got two runs back in the seventh to cut the lead to 8-4 that was as close as their comeback attempts would get and the Cedar Rapids Kernels are one win away from the title. Casey Legumina got the start for Cedar Rapids and allowed one run in two innings but after the lengthy delay, this one became a bullpen game. Adam Rozek matched Legumina, allowing one run over the third and fourth innings. Derek Molina took over and pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, though only one was earned. Carlos Suniaga allowed a few hits, but finished the game with two scoreless innings. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Beau Burrows (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day - Edouard Julien (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR, BB, K PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-3, BB #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, BB, HR (16), 3 RBI #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, RBI, 2 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, BB #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, 2 K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Drew Strotman (9-4, 5.13 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (3-3, 4.55 ERA in regular season) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
  15. Transactions Minnesota Twins select the contract of RHP Nick Vincent from Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins option LHP Andrew Albers to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins sent C Mitch Garver on a rehab assignment to Triple-A St. Paul Minnesota Twins promote IF Ernie Yake to Triple-A St. Paul from Twins Complex SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 2, St. Paul 0 Box Score The Saints' never got in gear in this one, spoiling a solid pitching performance across the board. Jason Garcia got the start for Saint Paul and was effective over four full innings. He allowed four hits and walked one but did not allow a run and struck out one. Unfortunately, the Saints’ bats struggled early as well and this contest stayed scoreless until the fifth, when Indianapolis got on the board first. Now facing reliever Edgar Garcia, Indianapolis grabbed a run in the fifth off a Bligh Madris double and another in the sixth from an Ethan Paul single. Those turned out to be the only runs of the game, spurring Indianapolis to a 2-0 win. The Saints only managed multiple base runners in the first and ninth innings and didn’t score in either inning. Miguel Yajure sailed through six against St. Paul before turning it over to the bullpen that was just as effective. Gilberto Celestino had a big 3-for-3 night, but he was the only Saints hitter with more than one knock. Chris Nunn pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings but the damage was done during Edgar Garcia’s outing. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Arkansas 1 Box Score Fresh off clinching a spot in the playoff, Wichita gave the ball to Cole Sands and Twins Daily’s #19 prospect was dominant, as he and Kody Funderburk keyed a pitcher’s duel victory. Sands went five full innings and only allowed three hits while striking out four. He did allow three walks but did not allow any of them to score. In fact he, didn’t allow anyone to score. From there, Funderburk took over and it was as if nothing changed. Kody cruised through three hitless innings, and though he ran into some trouble and allowed a run in the ninth, he still closed out the win. On the offensive end, the Surge didn’t do a lot, but it was just enough. The first run of the game came in the second, when a Jermaine Palacios single finished off a rally that brought Leobaldo Cabrera to the plate. Hours of scoreless baseball later, Ernie De La Trinidad blasted a shot into the bullpen to grab Wichita’s second run of the game. Those runs proved to be all the Surge needed, thanks to the dominant pitching. D.J Burt and Ernie De La Trinidad had the only multi-hit games for Wichita. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 7, Peoria 6 Box Score With a playoff berth very much in the balance, Cedar Rapids turned to Casey Legumina tonight for his debut start for the Kernels. Legumina allowed three runs and struck out seven in 4 ⅔ innings, keeping the Kernels in it and allowing their late offensive explosion to carry the day. The Kernels didn’t wait to take the lead in this one as Michael Helman came to the plate on a throwing error from Peoria third baseman Jacob Buchberger. Peoria answered in the bottom of the third with a run coming in on a Jhon Torres double, but the Kernels took their lead right back off a massive solo homer from Aaron Sabato. Unfortunately, the Chiefs took the lead for themselves in the fifth with two runs, with Torres and Pedro Pages registering RBI singles. Cedar Rapids still trailed 3-2 heading in the eighth inning, but then they decided they’d had enough of that. The offense blasted three homers in the inning for four runs to take a strong three-run lead. The bombs came from Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, and Aaron Sabato for his second of the night. However, the Chiefs took that punch and responded with one of their own in their half of the eighth. They strung together four straight hits and put up three runs to tie the game, with RBI going to Tommy Jew (2) and Tyler Reichenborn. But, as if to spit in the face of Peoria’s comeback, Seth Gray hit a go-ahead bomb to dead center to lead off the ninth inning. And, though the bottom of the ninth inning didn't go smoothly for Cedar Rapids, no runs were scored and the Kernels secured a massive win. Coming into this game, the Kernels were tied with Lake County for the second playoff spot in High-A Central and both teams were just one game up on Great Lakes with three to play. With losses tonight from both of their playoff rivals, this Kernels win gives them a one-game lead over Lake County. Cedar Rapids trails both Lake County and Great Lakes in the playoff tiebreaker, so that one-game lead is crucial as they'll need it to secure a spot against Quad Cities in the playoff. MUSSEL MATTERS Tampa 0, Fort Myers 0 (postponed top first) Box Score The Mussels were scheduled to finish last night’s postponed game against Tampa tonight. Unfortunately, the rain continued to create problems in Fort Myers and no baseball could be played today. The game that had been scheduled for today has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. The Mussels and Tarpons will play a doubleheader tomorrow, weather permitting. COMPLEX CHRONICLES Game 1: FCL Red Sox 10, FCL Twins 2 Box Score It’s Friday, so you already know that the FCL Twins lost to the Red Sox. In the first half of a scheduled doubleheader the Twins struggled on both sides of the ball, losing 10-2. The Twins only managed four hits in this one and no hitter had a multi-hit game. The runs scored on two solo homers, one from LaRon Smith in the second, and the other from Rubel Cespedes in the fifth. The Red Sox offense scored runs in all but two innings and built their substantial lead with a four-run second inning and a three-run second. On the mound for the Twins, Giovahniey German started the game and struggled, allowing five runs (four earned) in less than two innings. Control was an issue for German, as he walked three batters and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch. Danny Moreno took over from German and was better, allowing a run and striking out three in two innings of work. Cole Bellair’s 2 ⅔ innings was the longest outing of the night, though he was touched for four earned runs during his time on the bump. Ricardo Velez took care of the seventh and was the only Twins pitcher to not allow a run. Game 2: FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 0 (postponed, bottom second) Box Score TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR (7) PROSPECT SUMMARY #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL) #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4 #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain) #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4 #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - Did not pitch #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain) #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Temporarily Inactive List #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement) #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-5, 3 K #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 3-for-3, BB, 2B #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - Did not play #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR (8) #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery) #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - Rained Out #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-for-3, BB, K SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05 PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (1-2, 5.49 ERA) Arkansas @ Wichita (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (6-7, 4.37 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-3, 4.63 ERA) Tampa @ Fort Myers, Doubleheader (Game 1: 3:30 PM CST, Game 2 to follow) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
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