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roger

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  1. Like
    roger reacted to Jeremy Nygaard for an article, Twins Daily 2022 Draft Coverage, May 12   
    Before we get into any injury updates, I wanted to point out that Keith Law released his Top 100 late last week. (You need a subscription to The Athletic to view this list.)
    Out of respect to being behind a paywall, I’m only going to highlight where some players are ranked. One thing about Keith Law - love him or hate him - he’s ranking these players on his own and doing it with conviction. 
    Law has Cam Collier, a 17-year-old junior college third baseman, ranked second overall. Collier went the “Bryce Harper way” by getting his GED after his sophomore year of high school and enrolling at Chipola Junior College. He’s torn up the JC ranks so far with an OPS around 1.000. I checked in with an area scout in regards to Collier who called him a “great young man” and in addition to being complementary of his offensive game, says he’s a solid third baseman with a 70 arm.
    Law notes that a team who factors age into analytics - and the Twins do - will really like Collier. 
    Another player of note is Alabama LHP Connor Prielipp, ranked #15. Prielipp was the first big Tommy John domino to fall in this draft class (last May) when he was viewed as a potential Top 5 pick. He hasn’t pitched since. In fact, he’s only pitched seven times in college total. But he’s getting close to 100%, is going to throw before the draft, and has become my favorite college pitching prospect.
    The last name to highlight is Kumar Rocker, who Law ranks #46. Rocker hasn’t pitched competitively since leaving Vanderbilt last year and there are no known plans of when he will pitch again. But he’ll have to throw before the draft. Won’t he?
    LSU 3B/1B Jacob Berry is the latest to get bitten by the injury bug. It’s not as major - it’s just a finger. But the switch-hitter will be limited. And for a guy with big defensive questions, having a broken finger is going to limit his opportunities to prove himself on the defensive side of the ball. I’m buying his offense, but the more I hear about his profile being so driven by his bat, the more I’m worried… and his drop from my Top 10 reflects that.
    And, finally, in more injury news, Florida LHP Hunter Barco announced that he underwent Tommy John surgery recently. 
    Barco was projected to be picked in the top few rounds, but now his status is murkier as he will likely be unavailable even into next year’s Spring Training.
    JEREMY’S TOP 10 PROSPECTS
    Collier and Prielipp are new. Berry and Susac drop out.
    1.) Druw Jones, OF, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit)
    2.) Termarr Johnson, 2B, Georgia prep (Arizona State commit)
    3.) Elijah Green, OF, Florida prep (Miami commit) (Baseball America breaks down his game.)
    4.) Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly 
    5.) Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
    6.) Jackson Holliday, SS, Oklahoma prep (Oklahoma State commit) 
    7.) Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola JC
    8.) Connor Prielipp, P, Alabama
    9.) Dylan Lesko, SP, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit) (Baseball America breaks down his game.)
    10.) Jace Jung, 3B, Texas Tech (previously: 😎

    Dropped out: Jacob Berry, 3B, LSU (previously: 7); Daniel Susac, C, Arizona (previously: 10)
    JEREMY TALKS PITCHING PROSPECTS
    Jeremy is also writing about the 2022 draft at Brewer Fanatic. While the Twins select at #8, the Brewers have to wait until nearly the end of the first round. Jeremy discusses some of the pitchers that may be available for the Brewers late in the first round. These could also be pitchers the Twins consider in Round 2 if they are still available.  https://brewerfanatic.com/videos/milwaukee-brewers-minor-leagues/2022-mlb-draft-preview-r5/ 
    MOCK DRAFTS / PROSPECT BOARDS
    Baseball America - v3.0 (4/28/22) / (v2.0 (4/1/22) /  v1.0 (2/10/22) / Top 300 (4/27/22) / Staff Draft v.1.0 (4/20/22) MLB.com - Mock Draft (4/27/22) / Callis - Top 10 (12/15/21), Mayo - Top 20 (7/20/21) / Top 150 (4/25/22) The Athletic - Law Top 100 (5/5/22) / Law Top 30 (3/10/22) ESPN - Early Draft Rankings (7/26/21) ($$$ - ESPN+) / McDaniel’s Draft Rankings (2/24/22) / Draft Rankings 2.0 (4/27/22) Fangraphs - The Board / 2022 MLB Draft Rankings and Offseason List Primer (11/30/21)  Prospects Live - v2.0 (4/21/22) / v1.0 (1/4/22)  Just Baseball v1.0 (2/10/22) My MLB Draft (1/18/22)  
  2. Like
    roger reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, 2022 St. Paul Saints Opening Day Roster Preview   
    In 2021, the Saints joined the Twins family of affiliates and had a really strong, veteran roster. With so many Twins injuries, the Saints roster often was loaded with minor-league veterans. In 2022, there should be several of the organization’s top prospects including the return of Royce Lewis after not playing for the past two years. Jose Miranda also returns after his incredible 2021 campaign. 
    Several return to Toby Gardenhire’s roster from last year, but there will also be many new faces, including on his coaching staff. Pitching coach Cibney Bello and Defensive Coach Tyler Smarslok return. Hitting Coach Matt Borgschulte got a big-league job with the Orioles. He was replaced by Ryan Smith who moves up to the Saints after spending last season in Wichita. Michael McCarthy left the organization to be the Triple-A pitching coach for the Padres. Virgil Vasquez moves up from the Wind Surge to take his place. . 
    Here we will introduce you to the 2021 Saints Opening Day roster with a tweet-length bio. For much more on each player, click the hyperlink with the name and see all of the Twins Daily stories in which each player is tagged. There are some terrific prospects on this roster to go with all the veterans and there are some great stories as well. 
    COACHES 
    Manager: Toby Gardenhire  Hitting Coach: Ryan Smith  Pitching Coaches: Cibney Bello, Virgil Vasquez  Defensive Coach: Tyler Smarslok  PITCHERS 
    RHP Yennier Cano (28) - The 28-year-old signed with the Twins in the summer of 2019. He began 2021 in Wichita for 12 games before joining the Saints for 30 games. Combined, he went 5-3 with five saves, a 3.23 ERA. In 69 2/3 innings, he struck out 86 batters. Strong pitch-mix and always willing to take the ball.  RHP Jake Faria (28) - One of the final cuts in spring training, Faria has played in the big leagues for parts of four of the past five seasons. He debuted with the Rays in 207 and has pitched for the Brewers and Diamondbacks as well. He can work multiple innings out of the bullpen.  RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (30) - Gonzalez pitched for the Rangers in 2015 and 2016. He missed the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to injury, but he has spent time with the Rockies each of the past three seasons and posted ERAs well over five each year. Hopefully will eat innings for the Saints.  RHP Jordan Gore (27) - The shortstop-turned-reliever started last season in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Wichita where he became the closer and performed even better. Combined, he went 8-2 with seven saves. In 67 2/3 innings, he struck out 88 batters. Mid-90s fastball is combined with a good slider and a good changeup.  RHP Daniel Gossett (29) - After pitching at Clemson, he was drafted by the A’s in 2014 and pitched in their system through the 2019 season. He debuted with the A’s in 2017 and then made five more starts in 2018. He pitched in Triple-A with the Red Sox last year. He signed a minor-league deal with the Twins and provides depth to the organization.  RHP Ian Hamilton (26) - Drafted by the White Sox in 2016, Hamilton pitched for that organization through the 2020 season. He pitched 10 games for the Sox in 2018 and four more games in 2020 before spending time on the waiver wire. The Twins claimed him and DFAd him in spring training. He cleared and he spent the full season with the Saints.  RHP Ryan Mason (27) - Drafted in the 13th round in 2016 out of California, Mason has slowly but steadily risen through the Twins farm system. He ended last year with 13 games with the Saints. Combined, he had 63 strikeouts in 54 innings.  RHP Trevor Megill (28) - Big (6-8), burly (250 pounds) right-hander debuted with 28 games with the Cubs in 2021. In 23 2/3 innings with the Cubs, he had 30 strikeouts. Megill throws hard and just might have some potential out of the bullpen.  RHP Juan Minaya (31) - Minaya has pitched in 154 big league games including 29 games with the Twins in 2021. In 40 innings last year, he struck out 43 batters and posted a 2.48 ERA. It was somewhat surprising when he was DFAd after the season, but fortunately, they were able to bring him back on a minor-league deal.  LHP Jovani Moran (24) - Moran was drafted by the Twins in 2015. When healthy, he has been dominant. Blessed with a mid-90s fastball, a good slider, and a tremendous changeup, he has the ability to miss a lot of bats. He debuted with the Twins with five games in September 2021. One of the last players optioned to St. Paul, he should spend a lot of time with the Twins.  RHP Wladimir Pinto (24) - Signed by the Tigers in 2015, he reached Triple-A in 2021 but became a free agent following the season. The Twins picked him up on a minor league deal. Last year, in 50 2/3 innings, he walked 35 and struck out 60 batters. He throws hard. He’s got good stuff, but clearly, control is the issue. Just 24, this is the kind of upside minor-league signings that are fun!  RHP JC Ramirez (33) - Signed just last week, the Nicaraguan debuted with the Phillies in 2013. Since, he has pitched in the big leagues for the Diamondbacks, Mariners, Reds, and from 2016 to 2019 with the Angels. He pitched in Mexico and China in 2021.  RHP Dereck Rodriguez (29) - Drafted in 2011 by the Twins, he spent the first three pro seasons as an outfielder before moving to the moun in 2014. He reached Double-A with the Twins before signing with the Giants as a free agent in 2018. That year, he debuted with 21 games (19 starts) in the big leagues for San Francisco. He pitched for the Giants into the 2020 season. Pitched at Triple-A with the Rockies in 2021 and came back to the Twins this offseason.  RHP Mario Sanchez (27) - The Venezuelan signed with the Nationals in 2011. He spent two seasons in the Phillies system, but then he was back in the Nationals system from 2019-21. Last year, he went 4-8 with a 4.16 ERA. In 114 2/3 innings, he struck out 115 and walked just 23 batters.  RHP Cole Sands (24) - Sands is the #13 ranked prospect in the system. The team’s fifth-round pick in 2018 from Florida State, Sands went 4-2 with a 2.46 ERA at Wichita. In 80 1/3 innings, he walked 35 and struck out 96 batters. He was added to the 40-man roster in November.  LHP Devin Smeltzer (26) - The southpaw debuted with seven games for the Twins in 2019 and then pitched in seven games for them in 2020. Last year, he made one appearance (4 2/3 scoreless innings) before his season came to an end because of a herniated disc in his neck. He was removed from the 40-man roster, but this spring, he gave up just five hits over 11 scoreless innings. I’d expect him to pitch for the Twins in 2022.   RHP Drew Strotman (25) - A former fourth-round pick of the Rays, Strotman came to the Twins with Joe Ryan in last July’s Nelson Cruz trade. He struggled in adjusting to the Twins, but even so, he was hitting 97-99 mph with a fastball. He’s developed as a starter because he has a four-pitch mix, but he is now shifting to the bullpen. He will debut in 2022.  CATCHERS 
    David Banuelos (25) - After being drafted by the Mariners, the Twins acquired him for international signing dollars that offseason. In 2021, he played in 15 games for Wichita and 30 games with the Saints. Overall, he hit .201/.245/.340 (.586) with seven doubles, two triples and three homers. All but two doubles came with the Saints. But Banuelos is a plus defensive catcher who works really well with pitchers.  Stevie Berman (27) - Came to the Twins very late last year from the Dodgers in the Andrew Vasquez trade. Definitely a defense first veteran backstop.   Caleb Hamilton (27) - Drafted from Oregon State in 2016, Hamilton was moved behind the plate. However, he has played all over the diamond. He played 78 games in 2021 between Wichita and St. Paul and hit a combined .181/.308/.341 (.649) with eight doubles and nine home runs.  Chance Sisco (27) - Not officially on the roster yet, but he was signed by the Twins on Monday to a minor-league deal, Sisco will be joining the team in Louisville soon. The former top prospect of the Orioles, he spent part of each of the past five seasons in the big leagues. In 191 games, he has hit .297/.317/.337 (.654).  INFIELDERS 
    Royce Lewis (22) - The Twins' top pick in the 2017 draft is a Top 100 prospect and remains the #2 Twins prospect. Unfortunately, he missed 2021 with a torn ACL. He’s excited to be back and will be playing shortstop most every day. He was added to the 40-man roster in November and could debut in 2022. Jose Miranda (23) - Miranda has always had the tools, and in 2021, he busted out in a big way. Between Wichita and St. Paul, Miranda hit .344/.401/.572 (.973) with 32 doubles and 30 homers in 127 games. He was added to the 40-man roster in November. Able to play first base, second base, and third base, Miranda is just waiting for an opportunity, and for some, he will have to prove that 2021 was the real deal.  Jermaine Palacios (25) - While fans may not get excited, the idea of Palacios getting to the big leagues with the Twins would be pretty neat. He became a good prospect with the Twins and then was traded to the Rays for Jake Odorizzi. After struggling mightily, Palacios returned to the Twins as a free agent last year. In 110 games at Wichita, he hit .259/.341/.439 (.780) with 17 doubles, 19 homers, and 18 stolen bases. In addition, he is a really good defensive shortstop. That said, he’s likely to play all over the infield in 2022.  Daniel Robertson (28) - The veteran utility infielder played in the big leagues with the Rays from 2017 to 2019, the Giants in 2020, and the Brewers in 2021. Overall, he has hit .227/.338/.345 (.683) with 34 doubles and 18 home runs in 299 games. He can play all of the infield positions pretty well and has minimal time spent in the outfield.  Elliot Soto (32) - The Twins drafted Soto in 2007 out of high school He didn’t sign, went to Creighton, and was drafted by the Cubs in 2010. Beyond the Cubs, he has also played in the Marlins, Rockies, Angels, and Dodgers organizations. In 2020, he played in three big league games for the Angels and hit .333 (2-for-6) with a double.  Curtis Terry (25) - Terry was drafted out of high school in Georgia in 2015 by the Rangers. He slowly worked up the Texas system, and finally got an opportunity in the big leagues in 2021. He had four hits including two doubles, in 13 games. He became a free agent after the seasons and very quickly joined the Twins on a minor league deal in November.  OUTFIELDERS
    Jake Cave (29) - Cave has spent most of the past four seasons with the Twins. He has played in 281 games and hit .240/.305/.417 (.722) with 36 doubles, seven triples, and 28 home runs. For the first two seasons, he was a quality fourth outfielder who did well in limited duty. In the last couple of years, he has been a bit over-exposed and struggled. He was removed from the 40-man roster before spring training.  Gilberto Celestino (23) - If you only watch the big league games, you saw Celestino really struggle in his debut in 2021. He hit just .136 over 62 plate appearances, though he had three doubles and two homers. In reality, he made that MLB debut with only 21 games played above A-ball and 29 games above Low-A. Excessive injuries forced him to The Show. But with the Saints, he hit .290/.384/.443 (.827) with 13 doubles and five homers in 49 games.   Mark Contreras (27) - After four years at UC-Riverside, Contreras was the Twins' ninth-round pick in 2017. After a tough 2019 season (in which he still won a minor-league Gold Glove)  and a lost 2020, Contreras broke out in 2021. In 114 games (95 in St. Paul), he hit .251/.338/.485 (.824) with 30 doubles, 20 homers and 15 RBI.   Derek Fisher (28) - Over the past five seasons, Fisher has spent time in the big leaguers with the Astros, Blue Jays, and Brewers. In 172 big-league games, he’s hit. 195/.285/.378 (.663) with eight doubles and ten homers.  Trevor Larnach (25) - Twin's top pick in 2018 from Oregon State, Larnach was the minor league hitter of the year in 2019. He was at the alternate site in 2020. After just one game in Triple-A last year, he was called up having had just a half-season at Double-A two years earlier. He started well but struggled late. Still, he will make adjustments and get back to the big leagues where in time he can hit for average and power. Should still be considered a big part of the Twins' future.   There are likely to be several changes coming soon. For instance, will Kyle Garlick or Brent Rooker be on the Saints roster? Will Jose Godoy clear waivers and join the Saints? 
    The Injured List includes Tim Beckham (quad), Jordan Balazovic (knee), and Ariel Jurado (Tommy John) to start the season.
    Like I said at the top, this roster has a solid mix of prospects and minor-league veterans. As you would expect, there are certain to be many transactions, but the depth is strong.
     
  3. Like
    roger reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Grading the Twins Offseason   
    Coming into the offseason and lockout notwithstanding, the focus for the Twins had to be on adding pitching. The rotation was without its top two starters from last season, and middle-man Michael Pineda was also gone. The lineup needed a shortstop with Andrelton Simmons hitting the open market, and the lineup was likely to have a few new faces.
    Before giving out a grade, let’s look at what took place.
     
    Who Minnesota Lost this Offseason: Michael Pineda, Andrelton Simmons, Mitch Garver, Josh Donaldson, Ben Rortvedt, Chase Petty
     
    Who Minnesota Gained this Offseason: Carlos Correa, Dylan Bundy, Joe Smith, Chris Archer, Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela
    It’s an odd offseason when extending your best player to a seven-year, $100 million deal isn’t the top move, but that’s where we are. Minnesota paid the man and locked Byron Buxton up into the foreseeable future. He represents one of the best talents in baseball when healthy, and keeping him was always going to be a priority.
    Buxton is betting on himself with an incentive-laden deal that rewards performance. He can win multiple MVP awards if he can stay on the field, and the questions about whether he’ll break out no longer are present. Buxton was on a torrid pace last season before being hit by a pitch, and there’s been nothing this spring to suggest he won’t pick up where he left off.
    Trumping that move was the acquisition of what could be considered baseball’s best free agent. Carlos Correa wound up with the Twins following a hectic few hours. Despite the assumption that Trevor Story would be a target, the sides never came close to a deal, and a pivot to a premier option was made. Correa’s deal could effectively wind up being a one-year pact, albeit the richest infield contract in Major League history, but he’s certainly saying the right things about making a home here.
    In needing a shortstop, the front office didn’t just wind up with a defensive-only option as they opted for last season. Correa has won a Gold Glove and brings one of the best power bats at the position. He’s won a World Series and brings a winning mentality to a club looking for a resurgence.
     
    Needing pitching, Minnesota found a partner on the trade market. Sonny Gray could be had for an uncertain, high-velocity prospect with the Cincinnati Reds piecing out their roster. Gray looks the part of former staff ace Jose Berrios, which provides a strong presence at the top of the group. He’s a tested veteran that should be reliable and potentially take a step forward, leaving the hitters haven that is Great American Ballpark.
    With depth, a focus following the debacle on the mound last season, Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer represent back-end options tasked with holding serve. Bundy is probably more of a number four than anything, and while Archer has upside if he’s healthy, there are no guarantees as that’s been something alluding him for years.
     
    The bullpen was always going to be rounded out with internal options, and bringing back a healthy Taylor Rogers was necessary. Adding a solid veteran in Joe Smith helps raise the water level as a whole. A couple of hard throwers at the top level of the minors could bolster this group as well.
    Swapping out Mitch Garver and Josh Donaldson for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela is probably a net negative. Sanchez is not a good defensive catcher, though his bat may find a resurgence of sorts getting out of New York. Urshela had a poor showing in 2021 but was both sick and hurt. Being a good-to-great player at the hot corner in 2019 and 2020 is what the Twins are hoping to see.
     
    Judging the offseason requires the view of substantial give and take. The Opening Day payroll is likely to check in below where it was a season ago, but that’s not for lack of trying. Unfortunately, the Twins sat back again and picked their spots while also focusing on trades. That didn’t work as well with a lockout and left them at the mercy of any partner’s willingness. Spending handsomely on Correa was nice, but allocating the final dollars on the necessary top pitching option never came.
    There was the infamous “Have a freaking offseason” tweet last year, and I think there’s probably little denying that this crop is both more exciting and provided plenty of entertainment along the way. Minnesota didn’t need a massive overhaul, as much of the rebound should be expected to come from a lineup capable of being among the game’s best. The pitching is where the focus had to be, and while Gray is a substantial get, he’s not enough on his own. The rotation will primarily be dependent upon the health and effectiveness of the back-end guys.
    I still think there’s too much certainty being placed upon Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober; they have a combined 25 Major League starts. Minnesota has a ton of pitching talent at the top levels of the minors, but thrusting them in too early could result in a revolving door.
     
    As currently constructed, this is a team that should be in the hunt for a postseason appearance. The White Sox won’t run away with the division, and further additions by the front office could continue closing the gap. It was a good offseason, but the missing pitching move keeps it from being great.
     
    Grade: B+
     
    What are you giving the Twins for their offseason grade?
  4. Like
    roger reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, The Talented Mr. Henry   
    Ron Henry was born in 1936 in Chester, Pennsylvania. Because of some illness in his family, he missed some school. That said, he became a top baseball prospect in the northeast, displaying a strong arm behind the plate and some power. 
    In 1954, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves, just over a year after the team relocated from Boston. He played in their minor-league system through the 1960 season. At the end of the year, the Twins selected him in the 1960 Rule 5 draft. 
    In order to keep his services, Henry made the Twins Opening Day roster in 1961, the team’s first year in Minnesota. That said, he was the team’s third catcher and played in just 20 games the whole year. He had four hits in 28 at-bats (.143). 

    He played in Triple-A Vancouver in 1962. In 1963, he started at Triple-A Dallas-Ft. Worth and then ended the season at Double-A Charlotte. After 54 games in Charlotte in 1964, he played 22 more games in the big leagues. He was still the third catcher, so there wasn’t a lot of playing time. He went 5-for-41 (.122), but he did hit a double, a triple, and two home runs. 
    He played for the Twins Triple-A team, now located in Denver, in 1965, 1966, and the start of the 1967 season. He then ended that season and started the 1968 season in the Astros system before retiring from the game of baseball at the age of 31 after 15 professional seasons. 
    After concluding his playing career, Ron Henry spent some time in the Army before returning to Denver where he began a career that lasted over 35 years. 
    He became a legend in the Denver club scene, mostly for good reasons. He could play instruments and was known as a jazzman. He could sing and led a group called Ron Henry and Pride. Colorado Music Hall of Famer Lannie Garrett came to Denver and heard Henry perform. She asked if she could join him and was a background vocalist for the next couple of years. They opened for the likes of Ray Charles and Tina Turner. 
    Along with the music, Ron Henry also performed in plays in the Denver theaters and dinner clubs. 
    In 2001, he and his wife moved to Raleigh. He was starting to have knee problems from his catching days. He also had a heart transplant. 

    Provided to the Denver Post by Rebecca Mobley 
    In 2008, he returned to Denver and continued to have some limited performances until his death in 2016. Henry passed away due to cardiovascular disease and end-stage renal disease. He was surrounded by his family, including his five kids, and many friends and people who enjoyed his performances over the years. 
    His daughter, Rebecca Mobley, told the Denver Post following her father's death, "He loved his friends, he loved his life, he loved all the people he encountered, all the people he interacted with especially with the music." She continued, "He was a fun-loving guy. He liked to laugh a lot. He was kind of a jokester. He loved us a lot. He tried to give us a lot of good advice. … He really adored his grandkids."
    Ron Henry was part of the very first Minnesota Twins roster in 1961. He was one of three African Americans on the roster that year, along with outfielder Lenny Green and fellow-catcher Earl Battey. 
    While his big-league career consisted of just 42 games and a .130 batting average, he was fortunate to spend 15 years as a professional baseball player. That career led him to Denver where he became immensely successful in the music scene with a career more than double the length of his baseball career. 
    Henry isn't the first former pro ballplayer to also succeed in music. Charley Pride played minor-league ball before embarking on his legendary country music career. Bernie Williams is now a classically-trained guitarist who has already been nominated for a Latin Grammy. 
    Who knows, maybe we can see if Trevor Plouffe, Drew Butera, Toby Gardenhire and Dustin Martin will have a Beach Bums reunion? Or, maybe Brian Dozier will bring back Silky Smooth and show off his guitar and piano skills. 
    Keep checking back to Twins Daily throughout Black History Month as we hope to share several more stories about African Americans to don a Twins uniform over the past 62 seasons.

    screenshot from above YouTube video 
  5. Like
    roger reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, The Lockout Diaries: Week 6   
    We've reached mid-January and, under normal circumstances, the spring training report date for pitchers and catchers would be about one month away. However, the idea of spring camps firing up on time feels like a pipe dream at this point. MLB and its players association still have yet to engage in serious discussions.
    On the bright side, that is finally about to change. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported earlier this week that the two sides plan to convene and hold a bargaining session on Thursday for the first time in six weeks. 
    I wish I could say I was confident this meeting would result in rapid action, but I'm not. We all lived through the agony of following "negotiations" during the COVID shutdown in 2020, with proposals from each side repeatedly being scoffed at by the other. 
    I suspect we'll see a similar series of rebuffs in the weeks ahead, with the urgency and stakes growing higher as spring approaches and scores of free agents remain in limbo. 
    I've been using the downtime to fully take stock of the Twins organization as it currently stands, ponder the fallout of trade scenarios, and reminisce on Minnesota teams past. None of these activities serve as fitting substitutes for actual baseball news and the palpable excitement of spring training's approach but ... you work with what you've got.
    To that end, I've been incredibly impressed by the inventiveness of our Twins Daily writing community. I come here every day and find multiple new articles covering interesting topics despite the total lack of anything happening. It's quite amazing.
    I've read great stories about potential international signings, and Dereck Rodriguez returning to the Twins, and Jim Kaat's number retirement, and 2022 sleepers to watch, and a mother's perspective on two identical twins who happen to be start relievers, and much more. These are all from the past few days.
    The passion of fellow Twins fans is helping to keep my impassioned disgust with Rob Manfred and the league at bay, for now. 
    When I helped launch Twins Daily a decade ago (10th anniversary coming up next month!), we envisioned it as exactly this: a refuge for lovers of baseball, even when baseball doesn't love us back. For me, it's been that and more. And it's honestly making a significant difference in my morale as this stupid lockout drags on.
    There's a good chance I'd have checked out on baseball – at least for the time being – amidst all this stupidity, if not for the writers, readers, and audience here at TD. I'd like to let them know how much I appreciate 'em. But for now I can only tell it to you, dear journal, here in this extremely private, anonymous, discreet setting.
    Anyway, seeya next week. Hopefully I'll bring news of any substance. I'm not counting on it.
  6. Like
    roger reacted to Steve Lein for an article, Twins Minor League Report (8/10): Balazovic Gets Back on Track   
    Keep reading to find out how all your favorite Minnesota Twins prospects fared in Tuesday nights series opening action!
    TRANSACTIONS
    The Minnesota Twins selected the contract of 35-year old RHP Nick Vincent from the St. Paul Saints, and optioned RHP Beau Burrows back to triple-A. St. Paul released 1B Roberto Pena and RHP Rob Whalen, while calling up LHP Chris Nunn from Wichita and activating RHP Joe Ryan, fresh off his stint with the United States Olympic team. In double-A, the Wind Surge released RHP Joe Kuzia and activated RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, also recently returned from the Olympics in Tokyo. SAINTS SENTINEL
    St. Paul 8, Indianapolis 9
    Box Score
    St. Paul and Indianapolis traded leads a few times on Tuesday with big innings, but the Saints came out on the losing end with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a walk-off blast.
    Starting for the Saints was left-hander Andrew Albers, and while he finished five frames, one of those big innings for Indy was the fifth, where they scored five to take a 7-4 lead. In all, Albers allowed seven runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out four on the game. 
    After Indianapolis took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a home run, St. Paul answered with a three-run top of the fourth behind back-to-back jacks from Gilberto Celestino and Ben Rortvedt. Celestino’s was of the two-run variety to tie the game. Nick Gordon added an RBI single in the fourth to give the good guys a 4-2 lead before the big five-run inning for the bad guys.
    The recently claimed Ralph Garza Jr. also made his second appearance with the organization to start the sixth inning and went two scoreless frames. He hit one batter and struck out two.
    The Saints offense tied the game at seven in the seventh inning with another three-run frame. Three straight singles from JT Riddle, Jose Miranda, and Nick Gordon plated the first run of the inning. That was followed by a hit-batter to load the bases, then a walk to Celestino and another hit batter to score the other two runs. St. Paul took the lead 8-7 in the eighth frame thanks to a Tomas Telis RBI single.
    Yennier Cano was summoned from the bullpen to start the eighth inning and recorded five outs, including three strikeouts, until major leaguer Michael Chavis stepped to the plate with a runner on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Chavis didn’t miss the first pitch he saw, sending a middle-out fastball over the fence in left-center for the walk-off win. Cano was charged with the blown save and loss in allowing the two runs on three hits and two walks in his 1 2/3 innings pitched.
    The Saints got multiple hits on the night from six hitters in their lineup, including Miranda (2-for-5, R, K), Gordon (2-for-5, R, RBI, 2 K, SB), Telis (2-for-5, R, RBI), Celestino (2-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K), Drew Maggi (2-for-4, 2B, BB, SB), and Riddle (2-for-4, 3 R, 2B).
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 5, Tulsa 1
    Box Score
    Coming off a pair of outings where he allowed six earned runs in each, starting pitching Jordan Balazovic was looking to get back on track like he’d been when he delivered 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings earlier in the year.
    Mission accomplished.
    Balazovic started a new streak with six shutout innings, scattering five singles and zero walks, along with punching out four Drillers. He finished his game after 87 pitches, with 59 going for strikes (67.8%), including thirteen swinging. He was up to 97 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball during the game in picking up his fourth win of the season. After a pair of singles in the first, he faced one batter over the minimum through the fifth inning, retiring six men in a row before an error in the third, and then seven in a row after a leadoff single in the fourth.
    The Wind Surge offense spotted Balazovic a nice lead before he even took the mound, when cleanup hitter Trey Cabbage clubbed 19th home run of the season (10th in double-A) in the top of first, a three-run shot that left the stadium.
    That was it for the offenses on both teams until the late innings, when Wichita added a couple of insurance runs thanks to an errant throw on a steal attempt in the seventh, and an Ernie De La Trinidad solo home run in the ninth.
    Jason Garcia was the first man out of the bullpen to start the seventh, but recorded only one out before being lifted as he loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter. Jordan Gore escaped that jam by inducing a double play ball to end the inning with the shutout still intact. Back out for the eighth, the Drillers finally got on the board with a solo homer, but Gore also struck out two in the frame.
    Erik Manoah Jr. came on in the ninth for his Double-A and Wichita debut and delivered a scoreless frame. He gave up one walk and struck out two.
    While there were no hitters to collect more than one hit in the game, there were five different batters who scored a run for the Wind Surge and four who reached base twice via a walk or hit-by-pitch (Austin Martin, Roy Morales, Cabbage, Aaron Whitefield). Spencer Steer added a double to the effort and Whitefield stole his 22nd base of the season.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 7
    Box Score
    The Kernels offense was outhit 10-3 by the Chiefs in this one, and the final scoreboard reflected that disparity.
    Starter Tyler Watson was roughed up in the third inning for five earned runs before his night came to an early end with one out. In 2 1/3 innings, he allowed six hits, walked two, and struck out four. Andrew Cabezas came on from the bullpen and allowed two inherited runners to score in addition to one of his own in the fourth to put Peoria out front 6-1 after four innings. Cabezas allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out two in 1 2/3 innings.
    Relievers Melvi Acosta and Tyler Palm then steadied the ship for the final four innings. Acosta allowed one hit and struck out one in his two frames, and Palm surrendered an unearned run on one hit while striking out four Chiefs in his two innings.
    Edouard Julien (single), Yunior Severino (home run), and Matt Wallner (double) accounted for the Kernels three hits. Wallner drove in the other Kernels run. As a team they managed just three at-bats with runners in scoring position on the game and left only three men on base. Julien also stole his fifth base with the Kernels, and 26th on the season. Julien also drew a walk and continues to lead the minors in that category this season.
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 5, Bradenton 8
    Box Score
    The Mighty Mussels built a 5-0 lead after the top of the sixth inning behind a slugger who has been struggling most of the year, but the rest of the lineup and bullpen was unable to hold it on Tuesday.
    Starter Sean Mooney was fantastic for the first three innings in this one, allowing no hits and striking out six Marauders. He was extremely efficient as well, throwing just 38 pitches, with 29 going for strikes and falling behind in a count only once among the nine batters he faced.
    In the top of the fourth, Aaron Sabato got Fort Myers on the board with his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to open the game’s scoring. He added another home run in the sixth, this one of the two-run variety, to extend the Mussels lead to 5-0. Misael Urbina drove in two others earlier in the inning with his eighth double of the season. Unfortunately, the offense had just one other hit on the game, a single from Will Holland. The team had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position in the game and drew only two walks. Not much you can do beyond home runs when other opportunities never surface.
    The bullpen duo of Orlando Rodriguez (2 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, 4 K) and Matthew Swain (1 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, K) combined to allow eight runs in the sixth and seventh innings that put the game well out of reach. Denny Bentley finished off the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing four hits but being charged with no runs. He walked one and struck out one as the Mussels fell to the team in front of them in the standings by 5.0 games.
    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    FCL Twins 2, FCL Braves 3
    Box Score
    The Twins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to consecutive walks to start the game that were followed by a balk, a Wander Valdez RBI single, and a successful double-steal attempt. Unfortunately for the offense they were unable to scratch any more runs across the plate the rest of the game.
    Valdez (2-for-4, RBI, K) collected two of the team's five hits, Argenis Jiminez had the only extra-base-hit with a triple, and Alerick Soularie drew two walks out of the leadoff spot, but also struck out three times. As a team they were just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, left seven men on base, and struck out 18 times.
    Left-hander Wilker Reyes made the start for the Twins and went the first four innings. He scattered six hits and allowed two earned runs while striking out four batters. Matt Mullenbach came on for the next three innings and kept the game tied, surrendering two hits while also striking out four Braves. Ramon Pineda finished the game with two-plus innings, but allowed the Braves to easily get the winning run in the 10th inning after a pair of wild pitches to the leadoff man. He gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out three in taking the loss.
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY

    Pitcher of the Day - Jordan Balazovic, Wichita Wind Surge (W, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)
    Hitter of the Day - Aaron Sabato, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K)
    PROSPECT SUMMARY

    #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain)
    #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - W, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
    #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain)
    #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-for-5, R, K
    #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 3 K
    #7 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 2-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, K
    #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List 
    #9 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K
    #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, K
    #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
    #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) - Did not pitch
    #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #14 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, K
    #15 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI
    #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B
    #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 0-for-4, 3 K
    #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) - 0-for-3, R, BB, 3 K
    #19 - Edwar Colina (rehab) - Injured List (elbow)
    #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS

    St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05PM CST) - RHP Drew Strotman (7-3, 3.59 ERA)
    Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05PM CST) - LHP Bryan Sammons (2-4, 7.18 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:35PM CST) - RHP Ben Gross (4-1, 3.27 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) - RHP Landon Leach (0-1, 4.85 ERA)
    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
     
  7. Like
    roger reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Experts: Naming Five Twins Starters Right Now 'Pretty Good'   
    When the Twins opened a 4-game series versus the Houston Astros on Thursday, the lineup was markedly different from their brief 2020 playoff series. No Nelson Cruz, no Jose Berrios, and a lot of "wait, who's that again?" Experts say that reaction is nothing to be concerned about.
    "I had season tickets in 2000," said Tyler Bouman, a Forest Lake IT specialist. "Some of the guys who would end up doing things were there, like (Corey) Koskie or Jacque Jones. But if you had asked me who was playing second base at any point in the season I would have had no idea. Jay Canizaro played over 100 games. I had to look that up. Honestly, Baseball Reference might be messing with me. There's no way that can be right."
    [EDITOR'S NOTE: Canizaro played 102 games. Jason Maxwell played 64. Twins Daily has not been able to confirm if these are real people. Baseball Reference could not be reached for comment.]
    The lost season makes it very difficult for casual fans to keep up with a lineup in transition, but authorities like Bouman say it really separates o the diehards from the casual fans.
    "OK, look at tonight's game," said Bouman. "The odds of you guessing more than one outfielder is astronomical. Maybe you'd pull Trevor Larnach if you were on your toes. Maybe. After that you'd be throwing darts. If someone told you on Opening Day that we'd be rolling with Larnach, Brent Rooker, and Rob Refsnyder on August 5th you'd punch them in their filthy, lying mouth. And yet, here we are."
    Jon Marthaler, a Falcon Heights-based expert on sports-derived frustration and boundless rage, says that guessing five of nine starters in any Twins game going forward is incredibly impressive.
    "Kids are going back to school, so they'll be distracted," said Marthaler. "Their parents are dealing with that and COVID and any number of things. How are they to know that Griffin Jax is an every-fifth-day starting pitcher? He sounds like a law firm that will help you with your mesothelioma settlement. Josh Donaldson's calf might turn to wet Grape Nuts at any moment. Correctly naming five of nine starters is frankly astonishing. I include Rocco Baldelli in this."
  8. Sad
    roger reacted to Matthew Lenz for an article, Potential Trade Packages for José Berríos   
    The last article generated some good discourse on this topic and really showed that fans really are split on this topic. Some are wondering if it’s a panic move based on two months of data while others are wondering who would replace Berríos in the rotation if he were traded? In Matthew Taylor’s article, which was the inspiration for my articles on this topic, he is of the ilk that the last two months show the Twins aren’t in that window to compete for a World Series this year or next. He doesn’t believe a complete rebuild is necessary, as the Twins boast one of the best farm systems in baseball, and thinks the window is just shifted to 2023 and beyond. On the other hand, I’ve just lost the faith in Berríos to take that next step to be a frontline starter but, with one-and-a-half years of team control remaining and being on the younger side, I think a team would “pay up” for that potential that many Twins fans thinks he still has. If the Twins were to hold him and look to sign an extension, I’d want it to be no more than $15MM AAV over a two or three years but even the top end of that feels too rich for me. If we were to move on from Berríos this year and think that we will compete in 2022, then there are about a dozen free agents options that I think would sufficiently replace him but that sounds like an article for another day. I think one thing that we need to be reminded of is that this informal series that Matthew and I have created wasn’t just a spur of the moment, “panic” decision.
    To be fair, this sounds more like speculation than an actual report but it comes from a legitimate journalist who’s been tied to Major League Baseball since the early 2000’s. Even if it’s speculation, he’s been through enough seasons and trade deadlines to have an idea on how the trade market could come together in the coming months. In particular, he mentioned the Blue Jays as a potential suitor but I also think the Braves and Yankees are two other teams who have the offense for a postseason run while needing some rotation help, and have the farm system necessary to add an impact starter. Looking at the Twins farm system and young talent already in the Majors, I think the biggest needs for the Twins would be a pitching prospect, ideally left-handed, and/or a prospect who could play third base who can help within the next couple of seasons. Theoretically, the Twins could probably piece together a second base/shortstop/third base puzzle that included Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, Royce Lewis, and even Keoni Cavaco over the next few seasons but they really don’t  have a true third base prospect in their system. Based on my previous article, I don’t think the Twins will net a top-100 prospect for Berríos alone and would likely need to add another piece to sweeten the deal whether that be cash, a rent-a-reliever (i.e. Hansel Robles or Alex Colomé), or a position player (i.e. Kepler with the emergence of Larnach and Kirilloff). Without further ado, here are the players I would be targeting a Berríos deal.
    Toronto Blue Jays (24-23, 4th in AL East, 39.3% chance to make the playoffs, per FanGraphs)
    The Jays farm system is stacked and they have one of the best offenses in baseball that needs to be supplemented with some pitching help in both their rotation and bullpen. If I were to put together a deal involving Berríos and one of our rent-a-relievers, I would be targeting the following:
    Simeon Woods-Richardson - RHP prospect known more for his command of the zone than being a power pitcher Jordan Groshans - a SS/3B prospect with a good bat who needs another season or two in the minors Alek Manoah - RHP prospect with a big arm that needs to improve control I’m more interested in the top two than Manoah and, of course, he’s coming off a fantastic MLB debut. They might be pressed to move on from Groshans as they don’t have any other future options at third with Vladimir Guerror Jr moving to 1st but, if the Twins are sellers, they’ll have the assets to net him and Woods-Richardson.
    Atlanta Braves (24-25, 2nd in the NL East, 36.1% chance to make the playoffs)
    Like the Blue Jays, the Braves have the offense to contend but really need help in their rotation and bullpen making them a good match if the Twins are sellers. Moreover, they have one of the better farm systems in baseball making it plausible they’d be willing to move things around to make a push in the second half of the season. I would target the following:
    Braden Shewmake - 2B/SS prospect projects as a good contact hitter with good speed and a good glove, but not great skills. Tucker Davidson - LHP prospect who projects to be good, not great, with a plus fastball but needs to work on improving his offspeed. Kyle Muller - hard throwing LHP prospect with plus pitches but struggles with control which will likely be a deciding factor in how his career plays out. As I mentioned earlier, the Twins are chalked full with young middle infield options but when Shewmake was drafted (2019, 1st round) some thought his long-term outlook was at 3rd base, although he’s played exclusively at short in the Braves system. Of the two lefties, which is a need for the Twins, Muller has the higher ceiling while Davidson has the higher floor and has also made two appearances for the Braves over the last two seasons.
    New York Yankees (28-20, 1st in the AL East, 87.0% chance to make the playoffs)
    The Yankees starting rotation has been better than most would have thought but just lost Corey Kluber for at least two months to a shoulder injury, and I don’t think they have the reinforcements that can be relied on in 2021. I would target the following:
    Luis Medina - hard throwing RHP prospect who really needs to work on control. Probably needs at least one or two more seasons in the minors. I didn’t even mention higher ranked RHP prospects like Clarke Schmidt who has already had Tommy John surgery and multiple issues with his elbow, Luis Gil or Deivi Garcia who don’t move the needle for me. On the other hand, Medina would be an intriguing project that has the potential to be better than Berríos but also has the floor where he’s a non-factor. Outside of Jasson “the next Mike Trout” Dominguez, they don’t have the farm system to acquire a big-time arm (i.e. Max Scherzer) midseason, so a mid level starter like Berríos is probably more realistic.
    I wouldn’t be overly concerned with our lack of 3rd base prospects and would be targeting pitchers as the headliner in a trade involving Berríos, as you can never have enough pitching. Furthermore, I think finding a team like the Blue Jays or Braves that need help in the rotation and bullpen could really help a better prospect by creating a bigger package of immediate contributors to potential playoff teams.
    What are your thoughts on some of the names in this article? There are undoubtedly more teams that would be interested in Berríos...do you have a certain team or prospect in mind you’d like to see the Twins acquire?
    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
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  9. Like
    roger reacted to Cody Christie for an article, 3 Twins Prospects That Have Stood Out So Far   
    Keoni Cavaco, SS (Low-A)
    Cavaco was a player that had shot up draft boards when the Twins drafted him back in 2019. He didn’t make many appearances at the big prep events leading into the draft and so there were questions about how he would fare against tougher professional competition. His first professional season fed into those concerns as he hit .172/.217/.253 (.470) with 35 strikeouts in 87 at-bats. As an 18-year-old, he looked overmatched and missing development time last year only added more questions.
    He has started the 2021 season on a rampage at Low-A as he entered play on Thursday hitting .355/.444/.516 (.916) with three extra-base hits in 31 at-bats. He is still striking out in over 22% of his at-bats, but he seems more than comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. Cavaco is over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he has faced older pitchers in 86% of his plate appearances.
    Yennier Cano, RHP (Double-A)
    Cano was a late signing back in the 2019 international signing period as they inked him to a $750,000 bonus. At the time, MLB.com had him ranked as the second-best international prospect in his class. When he signed, he was 25-years old, which is old for a prospect, but that also means he came with plenty of professional experience. He joined the Twins with five different pitches and the ability to pitch multiple innings each time out.
    Now, Cano is 27-years old and pitching out of Wichita’s bullpen. So far this year, he has posted a 1.59 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers are great, but his strikeout numbers are what truly make him standout. He has struck out 11 of the 24 batters he has faced for a 17.5 SO/9. He’s old for his current level, but he has only pitched 15 innings since signing with the Twins. Look for him to move quickly if he continues to strikeout batters at a high rate.
    Melvi Acosta, RHP (High-A)
    Acosta is entering his fifth professional season after joining the Twins as an international signee out of Venezuela in 2015. During the 2019 season, he split time as a starter and reliever. There were some positive signs in his transition to the bullpen as he saw his strikeout rate improve from 5.8 SO/9 to 9.9 SO/9. The 2020 season would have allowed him to prove that he was a potential weapon out of the bullpen, but that obviously didn’t happen.
    Fast-forward to 2021 and Acosta will get the opportunity to pitch out of the bullpen on a regular basis. He’s made three appearances for Cedar Rapids and posted a 1.42 ERA with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. His strikeout rate (9.9 SO/9) has continued to stay high, and batters are having a tough time reaching base against him as he’s posted a 0.79 WHIP. Like Cano, he is old for his level, but maybe he will have the opportunity to follow in Cano’s footsteps as he moves up the organizational ladder.
    What prospects have stood out to you so far this year? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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