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  1. Like
    h2oface reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, Velocity Is (Still) a Problem for the Minnesota Twins   
    Before we dig into some of the numbers, here’s a quick video on a handful of harder-throwing starting pitchers who could be value targets for the Twins this offseason:
    Here is a team-by-team breakdown sorted by average four-seam fastball velocity. It’s color coded, so green is good and red is bad. The information below was gathered from FanGraphs.
    Team vFA ERA FIP xFIP WAR CHW 95.5 3.73 3.74 3.85 27.1 NYY 94.9 3.76 3.90 4.00 22.3 BOS 94.8 4.27 3.95 4.07 19.2 NYM 94.5 3.90 4.04 3.99 16.4 COL 94.5 4.83 4.47 4.38 13.4 SDP 94.4 4.10 4.18 4.08 12.8 CIN 94.3 4.41 4.34 4.18 16.2 ATL 94.3 3.89 4.08 4.09 15.9 LAD 94.1 3.03 3.54 3.75 26.9 TBR 94.1 3.67 3.79 3.97 18.7 PHI 94.1 4.39 4.15 4.02 17.9 DET 94.1 4.32 4.60 4.65 10.2 KCR 94.0 4.65 4.39 4.52 12.5 CLE 93.9 4.34 4.43 4.27 10.2 MIA 93.8 3.96 4.01 4.21 15.1 SFG 93.7 3.25 3.55 3.87 21.9 TEX 93.6 4.80 4.76 4.57 4.5 TOR 93.5 3.91 4.18 4.06 14.6 STL 93.4 4.00 4.30 4.66 12.1 PIT 93.4 5.08 4.74 4.70 5.0 WSN 93.3 4.82 4.87 4.53 6.5 MIL 93.2 3.50 3.72 3.75 23.5 HOU 93.2 3.78 4.12 4.12 16.9 OAK 93.2 4.02 4.10 4.35 15.1 SEA 93.2 4.30 4.26 4.47 14.3 CHC 93.0 4.88 4.88 4.43 4.9 LAA 92.9 4.68 4.25 4.26 15.4 BAL 92.9 5.85 5.15 4.91 7.9 MIN 92.2 4.83 4.66 4.44 8.2 ARI 92.2 5.15 4.88 4.85 4.0  
    As you can see, there’s a fairly strong correlation between teams that throw harder and success. Not only are the Twins near the bottom, there’s also a significant gap between them and the Orioles. That 0.7 mph gap is the same as what separates the fourth-place team from the 15th.
    Let’s switch things up a bit and look at pitches in excess of 95.0 mph instead of average fastball velocity. The information below was gathered from Baseball Savant. The color-coded column is percent of pitches thrown at least 95.0 mph.
    CWS 27.9 6626 23713 NYY 21.5 5112 23761 BOS 20.8 5033 24193 MIL 20.7 4966 23967 NYM 21.4 4799 22405 PHI 20.0 4745 23739 MIA 20.5 4704 22990 COL 20.0 4603 22960 DET 18.1 4339 23914 CIN 17.6 4316 24548 ATL 18.5 4294 23228 LAD 18.3 4187 22927 TB 17.4 4027 23169 KC 16.5 4017 24307 TOR 16.6 3911 23549 SD 14.0 3386 24196 OAK 14.4 3325 23102 STL 14.1 3299 23419 WSH 13.2 3125 23732 SEA 13.0 3111 23859 CLE 13.0 3057 23459 BAL 10.6 2598 24474 SF 10.4 2386 22859 HOU 9.9 2368 23917 CHC 9.4 2238 23877 PIT 9.3 2225 24045 TEX 8.3 1967 23586 LAA 7.6 1847 24415 MIN 6.4 1516 23714 ARI 5.0 1188 23827 Being 29th is bad enough, but even if the Twins were to double the number of pitches that were 95+ mph they’d still only rank 22nd. The Kansas City Royals threw 2,501 more pitches 95+ mph than the Twins — or 15 more per game played — and they barely rank in the top half of the league themselves.
    Do the Twins have an aversion to high-velocity pitchers? That seems like a crazy question to ask, but let’s take a look at some former Twins prospects who were shipped out in trades.
    2021 % of Pitches 95.0+ mph
    66.0 Brusdar Graterol
    44.2 Luis Gil
    38.4 Huascar Ynoa
    15.1 MLB Average
    6.4 Minnesota Twins
    Graterol (Kenta Maeda trade), Gil (Jake Cave trade) and Ynoa (Jaime Garcia trade) all have well above average velo, all were traded away. They also just lost Edwar Colina and his triple-digit heat to waivers. Are the Twins actively avoiding high-octane pitchers? At the very least it sure doesn't feel like they’re making them a priority.
    This seems like a great time to revisit the Twins carpool commercial from 2007 featuring Johan Santana and Joe Nathan.
    That’s how you win Cy Youngs, baby! While this ia a velocity-obsessed article, pitching in the big leagues is obviously about more than just throwing hard. It sure does seem to help, though.
    While the lack of velo is nothing new for the Twins, to be fair, it didn’t prevent them from having successful pitching staffs the previous couple years. Here’s a look at some the numbers throughout the Falvey-era:
    Minnesota Twins Four-Seam Fastball Velo
    2021: 29th, 92.2 mph (26th in ERA)
    2020: 30th, 92.0 mph (4th in ERA)
    2019: 24th, 93.0 mph (9th in ERA)
    2018: 21st, 92.7 mph (22nd in ERA)
    2017: 30th, 92.4 mph (19th in ERA)
    Still, any pitcher who tells you he wouldn’t like to throw harder is either a liar or in denial.
  2. Like
    h2oface reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Ranking What Went Right for the 2021 Twins   
    Why have you continued to watch the Twins in the second half? Have you tuned in for Jorge Polanco’s hot bat? Did you watch some of the young pitching making their MLB debuts? Below is a ranking of the top three things that went right for the 2021 Twins.

    3. Jorge Polanco
    Jorge Polanco has been one of the most prominent bright spots this season. After having ankle surgery the past two off-seasons, there were plenty of question marks about his long-term role for the Twins. The team moved him away from shortstop, and other players on the roster can fit into the plan at second base. He faced these challenges head-on and is ending the season as the team’s most valuable player. 

    Polanco set the franchise record for home runs by a switch-hitter after a slow start to the season. He will end the year with more than 30 homers, 30 doubles, and ten steals, which are numbers only a few MLB players have accumulated this year. Baseball Reference has him with the sixth-highest WAR total among AL position players. His at-bats have become one of the main reasons to watch the Twins in the second half. 
    2. Aggressive Trade Deadline
    Minnesota’s front office said the Twins will compete in 2022, so trading away players like Jose Berrios can be tough to make that a reality. An argument could have been made to retain players and take another run in 2022. Instead, the Twins were able to get two top-100 prospects for Berrios and two big-league ready arms for Nelson Cruz’s expiring contract. These aren’t the only parts of the trade deadline that impacted the team’s long-term outlook.

    Besides Cruz and Berrios, Minnesota dealt away J.A. Happ and Hansel Robles for pitching prospects. Happ and Robles were on expiring deals, and neither had performed exceptionally well during their Twins tenure, so getting value was an impressive feat for the front office. Minnesota also held on to players like Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Max Kepler. All of these players can help the Twins to be competitive in 2022.

    1. Experience for Young Players
    In a lost season, big-league experience can be invaluable for the players who make up the core of the next winning Twins team. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach were thrust into the Twins line-up with some bumps and bruises along the way. Kirilloff fought through a wrist injury and was still able to produce a 98 OPS+. Larnach held his own in the season’s first half (.755 OPS) before the team needed him to rediscover his swing in St. Paul. Both players will be in the middle of Minnesota’s line-up for most of the next decade. 

    On the mound, starters like Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan have shown they can more than hold their own at the big-league level. As of right now, no members of the 2021 Opening Day starting rotation will be with the Twins next year. Minnesota likely feels comfortable with both of these pitchers penciled into the back of the 2022 rotation. Starting pitching depth was an issue in 2022, so the front office has plenty of work to do on this front over the next couple of months. 
    How would you rank these positives from 2021? What would you add to the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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  3. Like
    h2oface reacted to Cody Christie for an article, One Former Twin Helping Each AL Playoff Contender   
    Some of these players had memorable Twins tenures, while others might not have gotten a full opportunity. Either way, they are in the thick of the playoff hunt as their team’s search for October glory. 

    Division Leaders
    Tampa Bay: Nelson Cruz, DH
    Nelson Cruz was dealt at the trade deadline in a move that brought back two top pitching prospects, including Joe Ryan. Since the trade, Cruz has posted a .776 OPS, which is 130 points lower than he had with the Twins this year. He still has a 117 OPS+, and he has some big hits in a Rays uniform. Tampa looks to go back to the World Series with Cruz as their veteran leader. 
    Chicago: Liam Hendriks, RP
    Chicago paid Liam Hendriks a ton of money this winter to bring him to the Southside, and he has lived up to the hype. He leads the American League in Saves, and he has a career-high strikeout rate. Minnesota never gave Hendriks a chance in the bullpen, and some question the team’s decision to let him go. Either way, Chicago paid him to perform like this and to help the team in October.
    Houston: Ryan Pressly, RP
    Pressly was dealt to the Astros back in 2018 for Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino. Both of these players have impacted the 2021 Twins, and they look to have bright futures. Ryan Pressly is in the midst of a tremendous season at the backend of the Astros bullpen. He has a sub 1.00 WHIP for the second time in his career, and his chase rate ranks in the 94th percentile. 
    Wild Card Contenders
    Boston: Martin Perez, SP
    Twins fans may not have fond memories of Martin Perez as he posted a 5.12 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in over 165 innings back in 2019. His time in Boston has only been slightly better. In the season’s first half, he posted a 4.04 ERA, which isn’t easy to do in the AL East. His average exit velocity and BB% both rank in the 60th percentile or higher. 
    Toronto: Jose Berrios, SP
    On Sunday, Jose Berrios made his first career start against the Twins, and the Blue Jays walked away with the win. Berrios was part of a blockbuster deadline deal that brought Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson to Minnesota. Toronto didn’t need Berrios to be an ace, and he has posted a 130 OPS+. Also, he has been worth more win probability added for the Blue Jays this season than with the Twins.
    New York: Luis Gil, SP
    In 2018, Gil was sent to the Yankees for Jake Cave, but he was a long way from making an impact at the big-league level. He’s been impressive across six big-league starts this season by posting a 3.07 ERA and 11.7 SO/9. Right now, the Yankees are on the outside of the playoffs, but Luis Gil might be one of the pieces to get them back into the postseason. 

    Oakland: Deolis Guerra, RP
    Deolis Guerra was part of the Johan Santana trade, and Oakland is his sixth organization since leaving Minnesota. Oakland also has former Twin Sergio Romo, but Guerra has been the more valuable player this season. He ranks in the 84th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, xwOBA, xSLG, hard-hit %, and chase rate.   

    Which of these players has the most significant impact on the playoff races? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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  4. Like
    h2oface reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Twins Worst Free Agent Signing Ever?   
    After Jorge Polanco limped through 2020 with an ankle injury that required a second surgery, it became more than apparent that Rocco Baldelli needed a different option at shortstop. Before Royce Lewis was shelved with a torn ACL, the big league club needed a stabilizing presence at the most critical position on the infield.
    Casting a wide net made the most sense for the Twins. Marcus Semien was arguably the best option, and despite finishing a close runner-up for his services, the former Athletics infielder has posted an otherworldly season for the Blue Jays. Many players would qualify as fringe options, having one or more holes in their games. Falvey opted for a pact with Gold Glove-winning fielder Andrelton Simmons. The former Angels shortstop always carried a light bat, but his defense got the job done.
    Welcome to 2021.
    It’s not as though Simmons’ defense has fallen off a cliff; he’s still been a valuable commodity in the field for Minnesota. His 11 defensive runs saved rank third in baseball at the position, and he’s behind only Nick Ahmed and Francisco Lindor when it comes to outs above average at shortstop. Simmons has induced many highlight-reel plays this season behind Twins pitching, but his blunders have always been highly noticeable.
    Simmons has been miscast for a guy who needs to make an impact defensively to hide his bat, given the results Minnesota has generated on the season as a whole. He carries value for a good team that can afford to have a complete non-factor in the lineup. Given the Twins inability to pitch and often hit, the marginal defensive upgrade he has been only amplified the awful season of production.
    At -0.4 fWAR, Simmons has been Minnesota’s third-worst position player behind Willians Astudillo and Gilberto Celestino. Without finding a trade partner for him at the deadline, the Twins have allowed Simmons to play in 116 games despite being a free agent at year’s end. He’s being paid $10.5 million in 2021 and has been worse than a non-factor offensively. His .561 OPS is dead last in baseball among 154 hitters with at least 400 plate appearances. He has a .286 OBP and has a whopping 14 extra-base hits.
    The most divisive contribution Simmons has made to the Twins clubhouse may have been a medical one. Just days after being outspoken regarding his stance on vaccines, the shortstop tested positive, and Minnesota soon experienced an outbreak. Without attributing fault to any one person, Simmons' brash nature and desire to publicly share his opinions on Twitter were undoubtedly met with backlash given how the season began to spiral.
    Over the years, plenty of front offices have missed when it comes to spending money on players leaving other organizations. Sometimes those players move on for the sake of a big contract. Other times it happens because the club is moving on before getting caught holding the bag. This may be more of the latter when considering the Angels situation, and Minnesota felt the wrath of a decision gone wrong.
    You could make a case for Tsuyoshi Nishioka or Ricky Nolasco when considering previous Twins missteps. Still, nothing about how Andrelton Simmons has fared in Minnesota is good, and it’s a shock he’ll survive the year without a DFA. Back to the drawing board at shortstop for 2022.
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  5. Like
    h2oface reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins to Promote Olympic Medalist Joe Ryan, Slated to Start Wednesday   
    When the Twins take on the Cubs on Wednesday night against the Cubs, we will be able to watch the major-league debut of Joe Ryan. Darren Wolfson reports that Ryan is being promoted tomorrow, with rosters expanding on September 1st, and the expectation is that he'll take the hill at Target Field in Kenta Maeda's place on Wednesday.
    It's been a pretty crazy travel schedule for the former Rays prospect the past two months. In late June, he headed to the Olympics in Tokyo. Upon his return to the States, he went to North Carolina to pack up and move to the Twin Cities. He has spent the past couple of weeks with the Saints, making starts at CHS Field, and in Toledo. He was in Columbus, Ohio, when he learned that he got The Call. And now he will be back in Minneapolis, excited for his debut.  
    Scouting Report
    Joe Ryan is a fastball pitcher. He throws, literally, at least 70% fastballs. But it’s not because he has huge velocity; his fastball sits between 90 and 93 mph. Like another Twins pitcher, it has proved more effective than the radar gun readings.
    Bailey Ober sits 91-93 mph with his fastball, his length allows him to release the ball closer to home plate. In essence, he can make 91 look like 94 just because of that release point. 
    Joe Ryan is only 6-2, but he still has some deception in his delivery. He throws from a lower release point. While the average pitcher’s release point is 5.9 feet, Ryan’s average release point is just 4.8 feet from the ground. Not one starting pitcher in the big leagues throws from that low. He also gets Ober-like extension in front of the mound. It’s something that he credits his water polo background with helping him. He told Verducci in a Sports Illustrated article: 
    Here's a breakdown of Joe Ryan by Twins Daily's own Nash Walker:
    “"In water polo you learn how to skip the ball,” he says. “I spent 10 years trying to skip the ball in water polo, and it’s the same concept as throwing a fastball: Get the shoulder in position and then let the hand work and get it out front. Throwing a baseball feels the same way. You get that zip right at the end.”
    He has always had supreme confidence in his fastball, even though he doesn’t throw it real hard. He has a swagger. He believes that his movement and location will make it difficult for the hitter to square up. When he gets ahead, he - again like Ober - can get a lot of swings-and-missed up in or just above the strike zone. In fact, in his two starts with the Saints, he struck out 17 batters in just nine innings. 
    In 2019, Ryan was pitching in High-A Charlotte. His pitching coach was Doc Watson. In a 2019 Baseball America article, he shared a story about facing then-Miracle outfielder Trevor Larnach, who was the Florida State League MVP that season: 
    “Several guys kept saying ‘I’ve not seen a fastball like that in my career, “High Class A Charlotte pitching coach Doc Watson said. “Even when we were playing Fort Myers, (Trevor) Larnach, who’s their best hitter, in my opinion, he made a comment … he said ‘Doc, I’m gonna tell you what, that arm is electric. It comes through and you do not see the baseball until it’s on top of you.’ so I’ll take it from them and just say that it is an electric arm.””
    But Ryan has also shown a solid slider. In his two starts since joining the Saints, he has been able to locate it at the knees and near the outside corner very consistently. It will obviously be an important second pitch for him to keep hitters off balance. Even within that, he throws a couple different sliders. Sometimes it acts like a cutter, and just moves enough to stay off a barrel. Other times, he’ll throw the slider with a bigger break. He will also throw a slower, more 12-to-6 curveball. 
    Joe Ryan turned 25 years old in June, and he sits on the precipice of a lifelong dream and goal, the big leagues. It’s been a somewhat unusual path to get here, and to land with the Twins. 
    Joe Ryan grew up in Northern California, miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. He led a unique early life. From a Tom Verducci article in Sports Illustrated, Ryan “grew up without travel ball, video games or cable while living an old-fashioned Tom Sawyer life in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods in Marin County, California”
    His father, Kurtis, was “an extreme athlete and runner.” The family didn’t have cable TV. He didn’t play video games until middle school. At age 8, he entered a 7.2 mile cross-country race with his dad. He and his dad went into the mountains to camp, fish and hunt. He played water polo competitively, even during the baseball season. 
    He attended Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, California. As a senior, he went 12-1 with a 0.76 ERA. He was drafted in the 39th round by his hometown San Francisco Giants. 
    Instead of signing, Ryan headed to Los Angeles to attend Cal State - Northridge. As a freshman, he pitched in 13 games (9 out of the bullpen) and posted a 1.48 ERA in 30 1/3 innings. As a sophomore, seven of his 11 appearances were starts. He went 1-2 with a 3.35 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. As a junior in 2017, he posted a 12.79 ERA in just 6 1/3 innings due to lat injury. 
    At the end of that season, he decided to transfer. If he had gone to another Division I school, he would have had to sit out a year. The Twins and other teams tried to sign him as a non-drafted free agent that summer. Instead, he headed back to northern California and went to Division II Cal State - Stanislaus. It proved to be a great decision for him. In 14 starts - and with health - Ryan went 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 98 1/3 innings. He had 127 strikeouts with just 13 walks. 
    In June of 2018, the Tampa Bay Rays selected him with their seventh-round draft pick. Because he had received a medical redshirt that junior season, he had some leverage and signed for just shy of $150,000, about $60,000 under slot value.
    He spent that summer in the New York-Penn League, but in 2019 he raced through three levels of the minors, making it to AA. He also led the entire minor leagues in strikeouts (183) in just 123 2/3 innings, while walking only 27 batters. 
    He didn’t pitch officially in 2020 due to the pandemic, but he did work out at the Rays alternate site and continued to progress under the Rays’ strong pitcher development program. 
    He began the 2021 season at Triple-A Durham. He pitched in 12 games (11 starts) and went 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA. In 57 innings, he walked just ten and struck out 75 batters. 
    He then was named to the Team USA Olympic team and had a fantastic run. He started the team’s first game in the tournament. He then was the starting pitcher against Korea in the semi-finals, a win that put USA into the Gold Medal game. The team won the silver medal, but Ryan really impressed. 
    While in Japan, he learned that he had been traded (along with RHP Drew Strotman) and has made two starts for the St. Paul Saints. In the first start, he struck out the first six batters he faced and nine batters over four innings of work. 
    In his second start, last Thursday, he struck out nine batters in five innings. In his two starts, he only gave up five hits and two runs over nine innings, to go with seventeen strikeouts. Turns out that was enough to prove to the Twins brass that it was time to call him up. 
    On Wednesday, Joe Ryan will make his long-anticipated Twins debut (long-awaited in this case being since the July 31st trade) at Target Field against the Chicago Cubs. It's always fun to watch an MLB debut, but Twins fans should be excited about seeing Ryan for the season's final month. 
  6. Like
    h2oface reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Join Twins Daily at Target Field this Wednesday Night   
    John will be the celebrity bartender at the Gray Duck Deck along with Lindsay Guentzel as the Twins face the Cubs. The best part is it’s easy peasey. Just get a cheap ticket to the game and swing by the Gray Duck Deck during the first 4-5 innings of the game. Say hi. Order a beer. Or a Bomba Juice. Or both. John will serve you and you can meet and greet other Twins Daily community members. 
    Plus, it’s supposed to be a gorgeous summer night!

    Twins Daily's events have become the stuff of legend. This is probably our last time to gather before the Winter Meltdown, so let’s make it count.  We know it’s late notice but summer ends quickly around here. Take yourself out to the ballgame and swing by to say “Hi”. 
  7. Like
    h2oface reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, A Heartfelt Apology to Jorge Polanco   
    May 5th was a bad day. I attended the Twins game at Target Field and watched a lifeless team sink to 11-18 with a 3-1 loss against the last-place Rangers. Polanco and Max Kepler went a combined 0-for-8 with six strikeouts. I came home grumpy, and lamented that the Twins had seemingly founded their team-building strategy upon faulty cornerstones. In my frustration, I may or may not have fired out a tweet labeling Polanco and a couple other laggards "garbage."  That same night, I declared I had seen enough, and wrote off the 2021 Twins as contenders.
    Sadly I was not wrong on the latter assertion, but the unkind assessment of Polanco looks downright silly in the wake of his dramatic and remarkable turnaround.
    In my defense, there was plenty of validity in the expression of doubt. Polanco became a heightened subject of my scrutiny, in part because his swing looked so blatantly bad and in part because his manager seemed oddly unconcerned.
    In mid-April, I wrote an article here wondering when Rocco Baldelli's faith in Polanco's bat would be shaken, noting the mounting evidence of his diminished offensive ability. At that point, Polanco owned a .358 OPS and had slashed .260/.313/.393 over his previous 164 games – good for a .303 wOBA that was nearly identical to Andrelton Simmons over the same time period. 
    Given this evidence, there was just no real reason to believe in Polanco. I didn't doubt that his poor production was more a reflection of ongoing health issues than his true talent, but there were no signs of improvement on that front. Even after a second consecutive offseason ankle surgery, he was still unable to put his lower half into his left-handed swing, and thus, his numbers against right-handed pitchers remained abysmal. 
    What's happened since is a good reminder that the body can sometimes take a long time to get right, and patience is generally a good policy. 
    Since my aforementioned cranky tweet on May 5th, Polanco has slashed .290/.351/.533 with 20 home runs in 86 games, and lately he's turned into a walk-off machine. His Statcast metrics look radically different from the ones I shared in April. He's hitting for as much power as anyone in the league.
    Polanco is not just playing at an All-Star level; he'd be right in the MVP conversation if the Twins weren't so bad.
    Most importantly, Polanco has re-established himself as a high-quality building block and a key fixture in the club's contention hopes going forward. 
    Hard to remember another time when I've been this delighted to be this wrong. Sorry again, Jorge. 
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  8. Like
    h2oface reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, How to Deal with a Meaningless Yankees Series   
    The season’s shot. The Yankees can’t hurt you any more than the Twins already have. And yet here we are, a 4-game series against New York on the road. The Yankee Stadium house of horrors should be causing you to [drink heavily/guzzle Pepto-Bismol/both] as the first pitch approaches. Instead, you feel nothing. What in the heck?!?
    It’s not your fault. When the Twins are competitive, it’s almost always the Yankees who show up at summer’s end to bring sadness and pain. When the Twins aren’t competitive, it’s very often the Yankees turning an April or May series into a nightmare from which you cannot awake that confirms it’s just not happening this season.
    This year? The 2021 campaign was circling the drain when the Twins dropped 2 of 3 to New York in June. Honestly, the fact that they won a game at all should have been a sign that something was different. Meanwhile, New York is in the thick of the American League playoff race, although not unbeatable by any means. How are Twins fans supposed to handle such an odd circumstance?
    Twins Daily reached out to Jon Marthaler, a Falcon Heights-based expert on sports-derived frustration and boundless rage, to ask if he had any advice for struggling fans. He shared the following tips:
    Ease into it. Find clips from the last 19 Twins playoff losses, many of which came at New York’s hands. Remember the sorrow. Soak in it for a while. Cry if you must. Crying lets the sad out. Find a similar interest. He suggests looking for an activity that’s as equally frustrating/miserable as watching a standard Twins/Yankees game. For those wanting to get out of the house, Marthaler recommends golfing on a course overrun with fire ants. For the homebound, he put forward the reading of any American newspaper’s online comments section. Punch drywall. “It just feels good, and the repair work gives you something to do on a weekend,” says Marthaler. “My hand hurts very badly. This has some downside risks, frankly. Ouch. Ouch.” Watch the Vikings. “It looks like their season is going to be a hot mess,” speculated Marthaler. “They have a preseason game on Saturday. Even pretend Vikings games offer something to make your day just a little bit worse.” Extend grace to yourself and others. "If you just decide to sit on a park bench and crush heaters, that's OK. If you see someone in a Byron Buxton shirsey wandering around the mall and barely keeping it together, give them space. No one really knows what to do until its done."  Marthaler said he personally will drive the entire 94/494/694 loop twice on Friday night with the radio off, contemplating eternity and drinking a tepid Sprite. 
    Image license here.
  9. Like
    h2oface reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Week in Review: New-Look Rotation   
    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/2 thru Sun, 8/8
    Record Last Week: 4-2 (Overall: 48-64)
    Run Differential Last Week: +2 (Overall: -73)
    Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (17.5 GB)
    Last Week's Game Recaps:
    Game 107 | MIN 7, CIN 5: Garver, Polanco Power Exciting Win
    Game 108 | CIN 6, MIN 5: Twins Comeback Falls Short
    Game 109 | MIN 5, HOU 3: Jax Earns First MLB Win as Starter
    Game 110 | MIN 5, HOU 4: Twins Rally from Early Deficit
    Game 111 | HOU 4, MIN 0: Lineup Has No Answers for Houston Pitching
    Game 112 | MIN 7, HOU 5: Polanco's 2 Homers Lift Twins to Series Win
    Sidelined since early June by a bad hammy strain, Rob Refsnyder finally returned from the Injured List on Thursday, and has since resumed his role as semi-regular center fielder in Byron Buxton's absence. Refsnyder's activation led to Nick Gordon being optioned to Triple-A, which caused some consternation among fans who wished to see Gordon get a real shot.
    I get it. I like Gordon as a person and would love to see him succeed. It can feel hard to understand what's holding him back from more playing time on a bad team that's going nowhere. But this move makes it all the clearer how the Twins view him, and ... can you really blame them? 
    While the speed is nice, Gordon has simply shown no signs that he can be an impactful contributor on a major-league team. He's a capable defender at several spots, but nowhere is he a standout, and the Twins seem to have zero interest in playing him at short. When you combine that defensive profile with a completely punchless bat, there isn't much value to be found. During his time in the majors, Gordon put 70 balls in play and recorded one barrel. He slashed .176/.263/.235 in his final 20 games. He lacks any discipline at the plate, offering at 45.8% pitches outside the zone, which is second on the team behind (of course) Willians Astudillo.
    It's not happening for Gordon this year. Now that doesn't preclude the possibility that he works his ass off during the winter, bulks up, and comes out next spring with a significantly bolstered skill set. We'll see if the Twins hold him on the 40-man roster and pursue that avenue. For now, the sad fact is that Refsnyder has a better chance of being a valuable contributor on the 2022 Twins.
    In other roster news of the week: Another right-handed reliever picked up off waivers. Just days after snagging Edgar Garcia following his DFA from Cincinnati, the Twins claimed former Astro Ralph Garza Jr., who was immediately optioned to Triple-A to join Garcia on the Saints.
    Garza, like many pitchers the Twins have added of late, has intriguing attributes and big strikeout rates in the minors, but also some clear flaws. There's no particular reason to think he or Garcia – discarded cast-offs from other organizations – will turn to anything useful. 
    But then again, the same thing applies in the bullpen as in the rotation: the Twins are going to need help from the minors and every lottery ticket helps. It's a numbers game and the team is improving its odds.
    With veterans José Berríos and J.A. Happ departing at the deadline, Minnesota plugged in Griffin Jax and Charlie Barnes, who join incumbent rookie Bailey Ober in a suddenly very inexperienced rotation. It's quite the departure from Opening Day, when Berríos was their youngest starter.
    While veteran holdovers Kenta Maeda and Michael Pineda are interesting to track for their own reasons, the youth movement is now the central focus for the starting corps. None of the three rookies currently in the rotation are top prospects, but in the numbers game, it's all about letting them run and seeing if one emerges. 
    This past week, the numbers showed some things to like from Jax and Ober:
    Jax spun 5 ⅓ innings of one-run ball in Houston on Thursday against the highest-scoring offense in the majors. (Albeit one missing several key bats.) He allowed only three hits and one walk in an efficient and impressive performance. Jax recorded zero strikeouts and only three swinging strikes in the outing, which is concerning, but he did pile up six strikeouts on 16 whiffs against the White Sox two starts prior, so he has at least shown the capability to miss bats. In his past three starts dating back to that one, Jax has a 1.88 ERA with six hits allowed in 14 ⅓ frames. Ober's start on Saturday was a mixed bag. On the one hand, we saw his strengths on display, with five strikeouts and one walk pushing his outstanding seasonal ratio to 56-to-15 ratio in 52 ⅓ innings. Ober's 3.7 K/BB ranks second among Twins starters behind Pineda. Ober also gave up two home runs in his five innings of work, surfacing his biggest weakness, but in general he too has been on a good track. In his past three starts, Ober has a 3.77 ERA and 15-to-3 K/BB ratio in 14 ⅓ frames. Several relievers also had strong showings as the bullpen rebounded from a very ugly run the previous week. Jorge Alcala allowed one hit (a home run) in three innings of work, striking out six of the 11 batters he faced. Alex Colomé worked four scoreless appearances and picked up three saves. Juan Minaya struck out eight over 4 ⅓ shutout innings between three appearances, allowing just two hits.
    On the offensive side, it was a relatively quiet week with a few standout performances. In spite of his barking knees, Luis Arraez continues to rake; he notched hits in every game he played and went 10-for-17 overall to raise his average to .318, which would rank sixth in baseball if qualified. Jorge Polanco drilled three more homers, and leads the American League in long balls over the past month. It's a remarkable turnaround from a player whose power had been totally sapped.
    Miguel Sanó did not have a particularly strong week overall, but he did make a game-saving defensive play at third on Friday night, and did this to a baseball on Sunday:
    While Jax and Ober came through with encouraging performances, Barnes was less inspiring. Facing Cincinnati on Wednesday, the left-hander was knocked around for five earned runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings of work. Through two major-league starts he has a 6.23 ERA with three strikeouts and three walks in 8 ⅔ innings. He has induced only seven swinging strikes on 148 pitches between the two outings (5%).
    Barnes isn't embarrassing as a spot-starter type but it'd be nice to get someone in that fifth rotation slot with a little more upside. The Twins are slowly starting to get healthier in their starting pitching ranks, so maybe a few options will emerge in the coming weeks. Lewis Thorpe was activated from a lengthy IL stint and started Sunday for the Saints. Randy Dobnak was reportedly doing some "light throwing at Target Field" on Sunday morning, suggesting he's on the comeback trail.
    I realize these names aren't going to have folks leaping with excitement but they both have a better chance of factoring significantly into the 2022 rotation than Barnes.
    Brent Rooker cooled off following a red-hot start to his second stint with the Twins this year, going just 3-for-22, although he continued to flash power with all three hits going for doubles. Selectiveness at the plate will be the key thing to watch from Rooker, and he's leaving much to be desired in that area. He's not working into enough favorable counts and when at-bats end with pitchers ahead, he's just 1-for-29 this season. 
    Alas, Rooker looks like an unstoppable offensive force in comparison to Andrelton Simmons. Anyone does. Simmons just continues sinking to new depths, with a 2-for-18 week dropping his slash line to a pitiful .216/.280/.275. His last extra-base hit came on July 2nd, 30 games ago, and since then he has a .355 OPS. 
    There's no point in continuing to run him out there. Remaining money owed is unfortunately a sunk cost. The Twins would be better off sliding Polanco back over to short for the rest of the season and giving the reps at second base to someone like Arraez or Gordon or even Jose Miranda.
    When they acquired him as the headliner in the Berríos trade, I wrote about why Austin Martin is a prospect very much worth getting excited about. Since the trade, he's been doing plenty to fuel the hype.
    Following a three-hit game for the Wichita Wind Surge on Sunday, Martin is now batting .400 with a .571 on-base percentage since coming over to the Twins organization. His eye at the plate is outrageously good, as illustrated by a 1-to-6 K/BB ratio in six games with Wichita. He has proven already to be a playmaker in the outfield and on the basepaths.  
    Since the start of July, Martin has reached base in 52% of his plate appearances. That's no tiny sample. The idea of him complementing Arraez at the top of order, in front of a proven pack of power hitters, is beyond tantalizing. How far is it from becoming a reality? Next year seems likely, and maybe even from the start. But in order to make Martin a viable candidate for Opening Day, the Twins will need to take some preparatory steps. I'll be quite curious to see if he joins the club as a September call-up, or at least gets a late-season look in Triple-A. 
    His defensive profile makes Martin an especially intriguing piece in the team's planning. Could he take over in center field if Buxton is traded this offseason? Maybe Martin steps in at second with Polanco pivoting back to short. Or perhaps, as I posited in my theoretical 2022 lineup on Twitter, left field is Martin's best initial entry point into the majors.
    It bums me out to look ahead at the schedule right now. If things had gone as planned, this would've been an absolutely crucial and thrilling stretch: The Twins, returning home from their longest road trip of the year, face off against the White Sox, Rays, and Cleveland, in consecutive series at Target Field. Could you imagine the stakes and intensity if Minnesota was in contention?!
    Alas, they are not. So all we can really look forward to is the return of Nelson Cruz to Target Field in another uniform. Hooray.
    MONDAY, 8/9: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito v. LHP Charlie Barnes
    TUESDAY, 8/10: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – LHP Dallas Keuchel v. RHP Griffin Jax
    WEDNESDAY, 8/11: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lance Lynn v. RHP Bailey Ober
    FRIDAY, 8/13: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Shane McClanahan v. RHP Michael Pineda
    SATURDAY, 8/14: RAYS @ TWINS – RHP Michael Wacha v. RHP Kenta Maeda
    SUNDAY, 8/15: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Josh Fleming v. LHP Charlie Barnes
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
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  10. Like
    h2oface 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."
  11. Like
    h2oface reacted to Andrew Thares for an article, Game Score: Reds 6, Twins 5   
    Box Score
    Barnes: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
    Home Runs: Polanco (18)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Barnes (-0.299), Sano (-0.259), Rooker (-0.215)
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Jorge Polanco Gets the Twins on the Board Early
    Just a matter of hours after hitting the game winning home run in the top of the ninth in Tuesday night’s ballgame, Jorge Polanco went deep again in the first inning of today’s game, giving the Twins the early 1-0 lead. Polanco had another good performance at the plate again today, as he would go 2-for-4 with a walk.
    Charlie Barnes Gets the Nod for Second Career Start
    25-year-old Charlie Barns began the game on the mound this afternoon for the Twins. In his only previous start, the 2017 4th round pick out of Clemson did well, as he only allowed one run, on a solo shot, over four innings of work to the Detroit Tigers back on July 17th.
    Things went well for Burns to begin the ballgame. He gave up a leadoff single to Jonathan India, who has lived up to the hype so far as the former 5th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft was recently named the NL Rookie of the Month for July. That would be no trouble for Burns, however, as he got Jesse Winker to flyout to left before Kyle Farmer grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the second, Burns gave up a two out single to Eugenio Suarez, but other than that looked sharp. 
    The third inning is where things got away from Burns. Reds center fielder Shogo Akiyama singled to begin the inning, before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Reds pitcher Luis Castillo. Burns then got Jonathan India to strikeout and appeared to be on the cusp of getting out of the inning with no damage done. That would not be the case, however, as the next four Reds batters went walk, single, double, single and before you knew it they had a 4-1 lead.
    The Reds would tack on another run against Charlie Burns in the fourth. After Aristides Aquino flew out to begin the inning, Burns issued a one out walk to Shogo Akiyama. The Reds then executed National League style baseball to perfection, as they had Luis Castillo sacrifice him over to second and Jonathan India came through with a clutch two out single to give the Red the 5-1 lead.
    Juan Minaya Strikes Out Five in Two Innings of Relief Work
    A week removed from his outing against Detroit in the emphamis 17-14 Twins loss, where Juan Minaya was cruising until everything fell apart on him in the ninth, Rocco Baldelli learned his lesson and only left Minaya in for two innings of work.
    The outing did not get off to a great start for Juan Minaya, as he walked both Kyle Farmer and Joey Votto to leadoff the fifth. However, after a mound visit from pitching coach Wes Johnson, Minaya found his rhythm as he struck out each of the next three batters to get out of the inning. Minaya would follow that up with another scoreless inning in the sixth, where he gave up a two out double to Jonathan India, but struck out two more hitters, including Jesse Winker to get out of the inning unscathed.
    Reds Add Crucial Insurance Run in the 7th
    After an excellent outing from Juan Minaya, Rocco Baldelli turned to Beau Burrows in the seventh, with the Twins still trailing 5-1 at the time. Burrows looked decent in the inning, as he retired three of the four batters he faced. Unfortunately for the Twins, the loan batter he failed to get out was Tyler Stephenson, who took Burrows deep to center field giving the Reds a 6-1 lead. While it may not have seemed like it at the time, that run would be monumental just an inning later.
    Twins Comeback Effort Falls Short
    With the Twins trailing 6-1 entering the eighth inning, it seemed as though the game was getting out of reach of the Twins if they didn’t get something going with the bats in a hurry, and that is exactly what they did.
    Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez leadoff the inning with a couple of walks, before Miguel Sano laced an opposite field double into right, bringing Polanco around to score and advancing Arraez to third. The Reds then went to the bullpen and brought in Luis Cessa to face Trevor Larnach, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts at that point in the game. That would change quickly, though, as Larnach delivered with a ground ball double that was just fair down the first baseline, bringing around both Arraez and Sano to score.
    With Nick Gordon up with Trevor Larnach on second, and the Twins now down by just two with still nobody out, they seemed primed to finish off the big comeback right here. Gordon would wind up advancing Larnach to third on a groundout, before Ryan Jeffers brought him in with a one out single.
    The Reds would go to the bullpen once again, this time bringing in Michael Lorenzen. With the pitcher’s spot in the order due up, Josh Donaldson made an appearance as a pinch hitter, but he would fail to help the cause as he struck out for the second out of the inning. It was then Max Kepler’s turn, who would come up with a big double of his own. Despite being two outs in the inning, Ryan Jeffers was unable to score for first and was held up at third. While Jeffers being not the most fleet of foot base runners did not help, credit the Reds defense for getting the ball back in so quickly and forcing Tony Diaz to put the stop sign up for Jeffers as he rounded third.
    This put the pressure on an already 0-for-4 Brent Rooker to come up with a big two out hit. However, things did not turn out the Twins' way, as Rooker struck out to end the scoring threat.
    The Twins would have another chance in the top of the ninth with Polanco, Arraez and Sano due up. Polanco put up a good battle, but eventually struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Luis Arraez then did his job as he got on base with a one out single. Nothing came of that however, as Miguel Sano would immediately ground into a double play to end the ballgame.
    Bullpen Usage Chart

      SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Coulombe 0 21 0 13 0 34 Burrows 0 45 0 0 13 58 Gant 0 16 0 22 0 38 Colomé 16 0 0 20 0 36 Duffey 0 0 0 0 0 0 Alcala 21 0 0 0 0 21 Minaya 18 0 0 0 44 62 Thielbar 14 0 0 0 22 36  Postgame Interviews 
    What's Next
    The Twins will travel to Houston to face the Astros in a four-game series beginning Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. CDT. Griffen Jax (6.41 ERA) is scheduled to be on the mound against Astros starter Framber Valdez (3.01 ERA).

  12. Like
    h2oface reacted to Matthew Lenz for an article, Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Hitter of the Month - July 2021   
    After Mitch Garver and Nelson Cruz took home the prestigious title in May and June, respectively, we will have a new award winner for the month of July. Before we announce the winner, let’s look at a group of honorable mentions for the month.

    Honorable Mention #3: Luis Arraez
    Arraez missed some time in July, otherwise he’d be higher on this list, but he was still one of the most productive Twins of the month. In the month of July, he had the highest batting average (.373) and on-base percentage (.415) of his career in months where he had at least 40 at-bats. Due to the time he’s missed this year, he’s currently about 50 plate appearances short of being a qualified hitter but he would rank 13th in the league in batting average if he had the minimum number of plate appearances. He gets bonus points for the crafty slide he showed on July 19th against the Chicago White Sox
    Honorable Mention #2: Josh Donaldson
    At 35-years-old, it’s safe to assume that Donaldson’s MVP days are behind him but that was probably an unfair bar to hold him to in the first place. Over the last two months, Donaldson has been one of the Twins best hitters smashing 11 homeruns with a .929 OPS. Although Donaldson slowed a bit in July and missed some time, he still accrued 0.5 fWAR with three homeruns and a .854 OPS. Included in his three home runs from the month was this 446 foot moon shot against off of José Cisnero where he broke through some career milestones.
    Honorable Mention #1: Max Kepler
    Kepler has struggled since his impressive 2019 season, but he hit well in July hitting one double, one triple, and a team-leading eight homeruns. He ended the month slashing .228/.290/.522 with a wRC+ of 118. Most notably, he became the all-time leader in walk off hits with this bloop against the Tigers that scored utility pinch runner Kenta Maeda in extras.
    Many thought that Kepler might get traded at the deadline and it even sounds like they had some preliminary talks with the Yankees. Alas, he’ll keep manning Centerfield and Right Field for the foreseeable future as the Twins begin a (hopefully) mini rebuild.
    Hitter of the Month: Jorge Polanco
    This was quite easy. In the month of July, Polanco slashed .327/.366/.548 with a wRC+ of 149 and this is now two plus months of solid play from the Twins second baseman. 
    It seems that part of Polanco’s rebound can be thanks to a healthy ankle, and I wonder if shifting to second is a little easier on the joint. Regardless, this is an important development for a player who is under contract until 2024-2025 and could theoretically be a contributor to the next competitive window for the Twins.
  13. Like
    h2oface reacted to Thiéres Rabelo for an article, What Can the Santana Trade Teach the Twins About Berríos?   
    Please, calm down.
    I’m not at all saying Berríos is, today, similar to what Santana was when the Mets acquired him from Minnesota. Nor that he will be nearly as good as the Venezuelan. But bear with me, while I look at what those two deals have in common.
    Their role in the Twins
    After the 2007 season, Santana was already one of baseball’s greatest pitchers, if not the best one. Mentioning his accolades up until that moment has no use here. They couldn’t afford him, so they found themselves forced to trade him. Berríos, right now, may not be the ace Johan was, but he is certainly one of baseball’s most reliable arms. Especially, you know, health-wise. So far in his career, Berríos hasn’t had any serious injury that cost him relevant playing time. His injury history is immaculate. Minus 2016, the year he got called up for the first time, and 2020, the 60-game season, Berríos has logged at least 145 innings in each season of his career.
    He’s having career numbers this year, which indicates that he’s only getting better. So he may not be as talented as Santana, but he’s a solid piece of this rotation. A player who could easily be a number three starter for the vast majority of MLB teams. And, at 27, which is two years younger than Santana when he was dealt, you just have to assume he’s just entering his prime.
    What if they stayed?
    My main point here is this. What could’ve happened if the Twins could afford Santana and signed him to an extension? And what may happen if they decide to hold on to José now? Everything from now on will be hypothetical, so get ready for many ‘what ifs.’ When Minnesota traded Santana, they knowingly gave up on a two-time Cy Young Award winner, the best starter they had since… Blyleven? Viola in ‘91? Or the best one ever? You decide. If he had stayed, he would’ve made that phenomenal Twins team even better.
    After a disappointing 79-83 record in 2007, Minnesota went on to win at least 87 games in each of the following three seasons, including a 94-win season in 2010, capping a second consecutive AL Central title. However good they were, those teams could never get past the Yankees in their trips to the ALDS.
    How much closer to winning a World Series would that particular team be, had Santana stayed? No one will ever know. But I think it’s fair to assume they would have much, much better odds. In conclusion, trading away Johan, even though it was the only logical solution given the club’s financial reality at that point, undeniably made the Twins a worse team.
    With that being said, let’s shift to Berríos’ case now. Realistically speaking, the Twins are a much better team with him around. No pitcher within the organization brings to the table, today, the same productivity from Berríos. Kenta Maeda bounced back very nicely, but there’s no way he’s had a better season than José so far.
    If you’re not looking at the prospect of a two or three-year rebuilding process, there’s no way you trade Berríos now. Minnesota’s chances of having a competitive rotation in 2022 are not better at all with the absence of Berríos. Unless, of course, they pull a huge free agent signing during the winter, which is very unlikely.
    Let me repeat myself: Berríos is no ace (yet), and he doesn’t bring to the table the same as Santana 13 years ago. But if you keep him, adding one or two good free agent arms during the winter could turn this rotation around next year. If you don’t, you’re considerably further along.
    What is the big difference?
    Like I said before, the Twins had no alternatives but to trade Santana. Revenue wasn’t the same, so it’s understandable. What you can question is how bad the return for Santana was. That deal turned out to be one of the worst in club history. But, yeah, trading him was a must.
    On the other hand, that certainly doesn’t seem to be the same case with Berríos now. First, a contract extension to José wouldn’t be nearly as expensive. Twins Daily’s Ted Schwerzler believes that a Berríos contract would look similar to those of Luis Severino, Aaron Nola, and Lance McCullers, ranging around the  $12-15M AAV and going for four or five years. We don’t know the complete picture of Minnesota’s financial reality, but that doesn’t seem like a very expensive ask.
    The aftermath
    While the return for Santana was suboptimal, sadly, the remainder of Santana’s career was severely affected by injuries. While still a fine pitcher and pitching an amazing 2008 season, he needed to go through two season-ending surgeries in 2009 and 2010, the latter one also removing him from the entirety of 2011.
    Again turning to hypotheticals, if he had been healthy in New York, watching him pitch at a high level for a different team could be somewhat similar to watch David Ortiz slug his way into the Hall of Fame in a Red Sox uniform. What aggravates Ortiz’s case is the fact that no one saw that coming, unlike Santana. Still, it wouldn’t feel nice.
    Thinking about the comparison with Berríos, how frustrating would it be to see him actually become an ace for a different team? Many Twins fans don’t consider him ace material up until now. But are you willing to bet money that this will never change? How certain are you that he won’t be one of the league’s top starters two or three years from now?
    Offering a more optimistic perspective: how amazing would it be if Berríos actually becomes an ace and the Twins had already locked him up long-term with a ‘bargain’ of $15M AAV? He would not only be the cornerstone of the Twins rotation, but he would also serve as a mentor to all the exciting arms coming up from the farm. Just picture, three years from now, a rotation containing Berríos and names like Josh Winder, Jordan Balazovic, Griffin Jax, and Bailey Ober.
    Assuming the financial aspect isn’t an issue, the only thing standing between Berríos and a future with the Twins is whether the club wants him around or not – unlike Santana. A haul in exchange for him would obviously look nice. But keeping him may potentially be even more profitable.
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  14. Like
    h2oface reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Second Half Success   
    Be sure to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday, and then jump into the minor league week. 
    Before we get started, let’s check out the Transactions and the FCL Twins game on Monday: 
    Infielder Yunior Severino was promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids.  Right-Handed Pitcher Cole Bellair was sent from Ft. Myers to the Complex.  FCL Twins Talk
    On Monday, the FCL Twins game against the FCL Orioles Black was suspended in the first inning. 
    With that, let’s look at Week 12 in the Twins minor leagues: 
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (4-2, @ Omaha), overall (37-34)
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (4-2, @ Arkansas), overall (41-31)
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, hosting Beloit), overall (40-32)
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3, hosting Daytona), overall (39-33) 
    Complex League FCL Twins: Week (1-4), overall (5-14)

    Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. 
    Twins Minor League Week in Review: All Four Teams Over .500  Tuesday: Balazovic Extends Scoreless Streak  Wednesday: Dingers Galore, Nick Vincent Shines  Thursday: Little Bit of Everything  One Prospect the Twins Should be Willing to Trade  Friday: Close Games Across the Board  Twins Minor League Pitching Report: Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman  Finding Hope for a 2022 Bullpen  Saturday: Some Strong Corn Sunday: Fantastic Feliz!  This Saints Outfielder is Making his Mark  Highlights
    We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 12 performances
    Twins Player of the Week: Trey Cabbage, Wichita Wind Surge      
    Trey Cabbage was the Twins choice for Hitter of the Week. He played in all six games for the Wind Surge. He hit .304/.320/.652 (.972) with two doubles and two home runs. 
    Cabbage was the Twins fourth-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Tennessee. He began the season in High-A Cedar Rapids. In 40 games, he hit .266/.342/.538 (.880) with 10 doubles and nine home runs. In 25 games for Wichita, he has hit .231/.317/.451 (.768) with five doubles and five more home runs. His 15 doubles this season is fifth in the Twins system, and his 14 homers ranks fourth. His 49 RBI ranks third in the organization this year. 
    Twins Pitcher of the Week: Louie Varland, Cedar Rapids Kernels       
    In his second start with the Kernels, Varland tossed five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out nine batters. In his first start for Cedar Rapids, he threw six shutout innings. Overall this year, he is 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. In 58 1/3 innings, he has walked 20 and struck out 90 batters. 
    Varland, who has a diploma from  North St. Paul High School, was the Twins 15th round pick in 2019 out of Concordia University in St. Paul. His brother Gus Varland pitches for Tulsa, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

    St. Paul Saints
    It’s the highlights list, so of course Jose Miranda needs to be here. In six games last week, he hit .321/.345/.714 (1.059) with two doubles, three homers and six RBI. Roberto Pena doesn’t play a ton, but he went 3-for-9 with a double and a homer. He also walked three times. Jimmy Kerrigan played in five games and hit .300/.533/.800 (1.333) with two doubles, a homer and five walks. 
    Andrew Albers gave up one run on six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out six batters. Chandler Shepherd gave up one runover five innings in his outing. He struck out six as well. Andrew Vasquez came out of the Saints’ bullpen three times and recorded seven outs, three on strikeouts. 
    Wichita Wind Surge
    Along with Cabbage, the Wind Surge’s top performers last week were hitters signed to minor league contracts before or during the season. Catcher/First Baseman Roy Morales played in all six games and hit .500/.571/.636 (1.208) with a double, a triple and five walks.  Jermaine Palacios was limited to three games, but he hit .308/.357/.769 (1.126) with two home runs. DJ Burt played four games and went 8-for-15 (.533) with a double and a triple. 
    Adam Lau made a spot start for the Wind Surge. He went 3 2/3 scoreless innings and gave up just one hit and walk. He struck out six. Continuing his return to the mound, Cole Sands struck out four batters over three shutout innings. Chris Vallimont was very good in his start. He tossed six scoreless innings, gave up three hits, three walks and struck out eight batters. On Tuesday, Jordan Balazovic tossed seven shutout innings to extend his streak to 25 2/3 consecutive scoreless frames. He wasn’t as strong in his second start of the week. He gave up three runs on five hits and five walks in five innings. 
    Cedar Rapids Kernels
    The highlight of the week for the Kernels, at least from a Twins/Player Development standpoint, has to be the return of Matt Wallner from his hamate bone injury. He played in five games and hit .278/.381/.611 (.992) with two home runs. Gabriel Maciel played in four games and hit .500/.571/.583 (1.155) with a double and three big RBI. Kyle Schmidt played in three games and went 5-for-11 (.455). 
    Along with Louie Varland, the Kernels had some really good starts. Ben Gross struck out eight batters in five shutout innings. Jon Olsen gave up just three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Cody Laweryson and Tyler Watson both gave up one run on three hits in their five-inning starts. The sixth Kernels starter, Tyler Beck gave up two runs (and struck out seven batters) in five innings. 
    Melvi Acosta struck out six batters in 3 2/3 innings. He gave up only an unearned run. Zach Featherstone struck out six batters in 2 2/3 one-hit innings. Erik Manoah struck out five batters in three no-hit innings. 
    Ft. Myers Might Mussels
    Charlie Mack played in five games last week. He hit .333/.429/.500 (.929) with three walks, a homer and four RBI. Jesus Feliz posted an .807 OPS, but he also provided the team with a walk-off homer on Sunday.  
    Lefty Zarion Sharpe had his best start. He gave up two hits over five shutout innings. He struck out five. Sawyer Gipson-Long had a Quality Start. He gave up two runs on six hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out 11 batters. 
    Denny Bentley pitched in three games. He got a Win and two Saves. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up one hit, walked three and struck out seven batters. 
    FCL Twins 
    Luis Baez went 6-for-15 (.400) with a double and a triple last week. Alexander Pena went 5-for-11 (.455) with a double. LaRon Smith, Malfrin Sosa, Argenis Jimenez and Kala’i Rosario each hit a home run. 
    Develson Aria and Juan Mendez each tossed three scoreless innings. Aria struck out six and gave up only one hit. 
    We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches.  
    St. Paul Saints
    It has certainly been a struggle of late for JT Riddle. He played all six games last week, but went just 1-for-19 (.053). 
    Ian Hamilton has been fantastic for the Saints for a couple of months, but he had a rough week. He came into three games and was charged with four runs on one hit and four walks. That said, he also was 2-for-2 in Save Opportunities. Yennier Cano gave up five runs (4 earned) on nine hits over just 3 2/3 innings. 
    Wichita Wind Surge
    Last week, we highlighted catcher Chris Williams. This week, he only played twice and went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Aaron Whitefield went 2-for-17 (.118, .308 OPS). Spencer Steer went 3-for-22 (.136) with a homer (.409 OPS). 
    Bryan Sammons gave up four runs on two hits and four walks in three innings in his appearance. Joe Kuzia made one appearance and gave up three runs on two hits, a walk and a hit batter in just 2/3 of an innings. 
    Cedar Rapids Kernels
    A lot of Kernels struggled at the plate last week. Wander Javier went 2-for-20 (.100) with eight strikeouts. Edouard Julien went 2-for-24 (.083) with 11 strikeouts. Max Smith went 1-for-11 (.091). DaShawn Keirsey went 1-for-12 (.083). 
    Luis Rijo made one appearance out of the bullpen. In 1 2/3 innings, he gave up four runs on five hits and a walk. 
    Ft. Myers Might Mussels
    Justin Washington played four games and went 1-for-12 (.083). Willie Joe Garry was hitless in 14 at bats, but he did walk five times for a .300 on-base percentage. Keoni Cavaco played in four games in his return to the lineup after missing a week. He went 3-for-19 (.158) with eight strikeouts. Aaron Sabato went 2-for-16 (.125) with ten strikeouts in five games. He did walk seven times and had an on-base percentage of .391. 
    Bobby Milacki gave up five runs (4 earned) on five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Juan Pichardo gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in two innings. 
    FCL Twins 
    31-year-old lefty Sean Gilmartin pitched in 81 games in the big leagues from 2015 through 2020. The Twins signed him a few weeks ago, probably with the plan of getting him up to the Double-A or Triple-A level soon. In three games and 4 1/3 innings, he has given up nine runs (8 earned) on ten hits, two walk sand eight strikeouts. 
    It’s been a tough season for righty from The Netherlands, Donny Breek. He pitched in four games with the Mighty Mussels earlier this year. He gave up 11 runs on six hits and 12 walks in just 3 2/3 innings. For the FCL Twins, he has now worked 1 2/3 innings and gave up nine runs (4 earned) on zero hits and seven walks. Overall, that’s a 25.31 ERA and a  4.69 WHIP in 5 1/3 innings. He’s given up six hits, walked 19, hit four and struck out three batters. 
    Trending Storyline 
    The trade deadline is Friday afternoon at three o’clock. The team has already made one trade, acquiring Triple-A right-handed pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman from the Rays for Nelson Cruz. There is a good chance that by the next time you read this, the Twins will have acquired several more prospect for us to research and discuss. 
    Along with the draft picks that have signed, we may even be in need of a new prospect rankings. 
    We have now updated this Prospect Summary to show our Midseason Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings… 
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
    #2 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain) 
    #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 10 GS, 49.1 IP, 41 H, 15 BB, 61 K, 2.74 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
    #4 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain)
    #5 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 71 games, .342/.405/.610 (1.015) with 16 doubles, 21 homers, 60 RBI, 28 BB, 43 K
    #6 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 42 games, .264/.343/.346 (.689) with 6 doubles, 2 triple, 1 homer, 19 RBI, 18 BB, 52 K, 6 SB
    #7 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (22 games, .140/.183/.298 (.482) with 3 BB, 13 K)
    #8 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 14 GS, 72.0 IP, 55 H, 13 BB, 80 K, 2.63 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
    #9 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 70 games, .185/.370/.290 (.660) with 13 doubles, 4 homers, 26 RBI, 66 BB, 97 K
    #10 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 24 games, .322/.380/.600 (.980) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 6 homers, 16 RBI, 7 BB, 36 K.
    #11 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th)
    #12 - Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (10 GS, 43.1 IP, 42 H, 13 BB, 45 K, 5.19 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
    #13 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 9 GS, 36.2 IP, 25 H, 18 BB, 49 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
    #14 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (58 games, .239/.368/.566 (.934) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 homers, 37 BB, 74 K), Minnesota (12 games, .136/.191/.386 (375) with 2 double, 3 homers, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 18 K)
    #15 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 64 games, .208/.310/.308 (618) with 7 doubles, 4 triples, 3 homer, 42 RBI, 34 BB, 56 K, 10 SB)
    #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 68 games, .244/.356/.465 (.821) with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 16 homers, 37 RBI, 42 BB, 59 K)
    #17 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 66 games, .215/.274/.400 (.674) with 11 doubles, 5 triples, 9 homers, 36 RBI, 18 BB, 96 K)
    #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured)
    #19 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips)
    #20 - Chris Vallimont (Wichita) - 12 GS, 51.0 IP, 46 H, 28 BB, 82 K, 3.88 ERA, 1.45 WHIP

    Ft. Myers @ Clearwater (Sawyer Gipson-Long, Brent Headrick, Landon Leach, TBD, TBD):
    Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin:(Louie Varland, Jon Olsen, Tyler Watson, Ben Gross, Cody Laweryson, Tyler Beck)
    Wichita @ NW Arkansas: (Chris Vallimont (Cole Sands), Austin Schulfer, Bryan Sammons, Jordan Balazovic, TBD, Chris Vallimont)
    Indianapolis @ St. Paul: (Beau Burrows, Charlie Barnes, Matt Shoemaker, Griffin Jax, Drew Strotman, Beau Burrows): 

    Feel free to ask any questions you like. 
  15. Like
    h2oface reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Letting Byron Buxton Walk Will Haunt   
    In Minnesota baseball lore, David Ortiz is the equivalent of Boston's Bambino, or Wrigleyville's billy goat. The very mention of Big Papi causes a visceral shudder for any Twins fan within earshot, surfacing deep feelings of regret and lament. How differently things might have gone for the Twins had Ortiz stayed in Minnesota. (Aaron Gleeman wrote a fun "what if" article about this last year.)
    Naturally, the Ortiz example is invoked any time a promising Twins player departs unduly – the sports fan's equivalent of a PTSD reaction. Lingering fear of a recurrence envelopes us, clouding our judgment. In most cases, this apprehension proves unwarranted. Nonetheless, the Curse of Papi persists.
    You all know where I'm going with this: Is Byron Buxton the next David Ortiz??
    In some ways, it's a fitting parallel. Ortiz left Minnesota in his late 20s, having shown flashes of standout ability, before immediately blossoming elsewhere. In Boston, he emerged as a perennial MVP contender, postseason legend, and franchise icon. It's all too easy to envision the same path for Buxton, except therein lies the difference: you don't need to imagine it. Buxton already IS that guy. He was the AL Player of the Month in April and has been one of the game's best players on a per-game basis for the last three years. After a long and meandering path, he has finally reached his true potential as a top-shelf elite MLB player. 
    Yes, the injuries have remained a constant. But that's exactly why a long-term extension with Buxton would even be attainable right now for a team like the Twins. If not for the implications and associated risk of his health history, he'd likely be eyeing a deal outside of Minnesota's realistic scope. 
    It might seem odd when you're talking about offering more than $100 million to a player whose track record is as sparse as Buxton's, but the Twins should theoretically be able to secure a relative bargain here due to the circumstances. 
    Alas, the front office seems a tad too ambitious in its hunt for a bargain. The allure of signing Buxton long-term is that he can offer a potential impact on the level of a Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or Fernando Tatis Jr., but at a fraction of the guaranteed commitment.
    That said, the clear value needs to be there for Buxton, who knows his level of ability, and it is evidently not. His camp rejected Minnesota's offer, which reportedly elevated from $73 million to $80 million in guaranteed money with a "unique incentive package." Sounds like those incentives were the sticking point. At this juncture we don't what was proposed or countered, so analyzing the negotiation is murky.
    Then again, it's also difficult to fathom what kind of request or suggested terms from Buxton's agent would make the Twins balk to the point they're giving up on an opportunity to secure this generational talent, at the precipice of true superstardom.
    A somewhat similar dynamic is at play with José Berríos, who was drafted the same year as Buxton and is also looking ahead to free agency at the end of 2022. One can certainly argue that Berríos is more critical to the Twins' future, given their scarcity of high-quality arms. 
    But in a way, he is the antithesis of Buxton: ultra-reliable with a capped ceiling. Berríos has been one of the most durable and consistent pitchers in the game – steadily very good, just short of great, always available. Meanwhile, Buxton has improved every season in a setback-riddled career that's been full of ups and downs. He's just now reaching his full form, displaying game-changing greatness that is almost unparalleled.
    Yes, Berríos will be difficult to replace, in that arms like his don't come along often. The Twins certainly haven't proven adept at finding or developing them. But Buxton is irreplaceable in a more absolute sense. Athletes and human beings like him almost NEVER come along. His speed, power, and defense are off-the-charts good. He's one of the most entertaining players I've ever seen. And he's still getting better.
    I can see the rationale in moving on from Berríos. He's clearly intent on testing free agency and maximizing his earnings. There will be no discount or bonus-contingent contract in play there. And it's awfully hard for a mid-market team to build balanced contending rosters when paying one of their five starting pitchers $25+ million annually.
    Their everyday center fielder, though? One who's proven to be an MVP-caliber talent while on the field? And who won't even be reaching that salary range unless he's staying on the field enough to trigger incentives? 
    I'm struggling to understand why the Twins aren't stepping up here. Target Field was ostensibly built for the exact purpose of keeping a player like this. From available evidence, it doesn't seem like the team is making a particularly hearty effort to do what it takes to retain him. Whatever Buxton's side is asking for – $30-plus million in annual achievable salary, an early opt-out clause, lower-than-desired bonus thresholds – none of those should be deal-breakers.  
    Maybe there's still a way. Buxton said on Monday "it's not the end," leaving some faint cause for hope. But at this point, the outlook is grim. 
    It's true that signing Buxton long-term would entail some risk. But it pales in comparison to the risk of watching him go elsewhere, shake off the snakebitten injury luck, and emerge as a late-blooming legend while Twins fans spend another decade lamenting the one that got away. In this case, it'd be a much less excusable gaffe than releasing David Ortiz. 
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  16. Like
    h2oface reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Scientists Warn Ohtani/Astudillo Matchup Might Deliver ‘Too Much’ Joy   
    The Los Angeles Angels make their yearly visit to Target Field this weekend, meaning Twins fans will get to see the brilliant Shohei Ohtani. In the other clubhouse, Willians Astudillo returns from St. Paul to take Alex Kirilloff’s place on the roster.
    And that has some physicians worried.
    “Quite simply, if you’re in poor health or have underlying conditions, watching these games might be harmful,” said Dr. David Gorman, a heart specialist at Fairview Southdale. “The human body wasn’t meant to experience this much spectacle.”
    Ohtani, the American League’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, also leads the majors with 34 home runs, many of which involve him sending baseballs to hell, where they belong. Astudillo, while not nearly as accomplished a player as Ohtani, plays every game like a bowling ball filled with kerosene, set on fire, and rolled into a Williams-Sonoma. The combination of that much skill and abandon may be too much for some people.
    “What if Ohtani hits one that lands at, like, the Pizza Luce on 4th Street,” said Gorman. “Then the next inning Astudillo tries to stretch a single to a double? So many people skipped their regular check-ups in the last year or so that we have to be concerned about how the body will react.”
    Gorman said the true concern comes on Sunday.
    “The Angels haven’t announced their starting pitcher yet,” said Gorman. “What if they pencil in Ohtani, and the Twins send Astudillo to the plate? What if Astudillo hits a comebacker and they’re racing to the bag? Is that too much joy? You have to ask yourself if the risk is worth it. The teams could do it, but no one is asking if they should do it.”
  17. Like
    h2oface reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Taylor Rogers Named to All Star Team   
    Taylor Rogers wasn’t part of the original AL All-Star roster, but Yusei Kikuchi was placed on the inactive list due to COVID protocols and now Rogers gets to live out what must feel like a dream. He attended Rockies games growing up and now he has a chance to pitch on the Coors Field mound for the first time in his professional career. Rogers was already in Denver, so it took him just under 90 minutes to get from his Denver home to last night’s Home Run Derby.
    Minnesota has won back-to-back AL Central titles and during that stretch, Rogers has been one of baseball’s best relievers. Since the start of 2018, he ranks fifth among relievers in FanGraph’s WAR. This puts him behind names like Josh Hader, Liam Hendriks, Edwin Diaz, and Ryan Pressly. His value to the Twins goes much deeper than WAR.
    According to Win Probability Added, Rogers has been the AL’s best relief pitcher since 2018. While some clubs might relegate Rogers to a traditional closer role, Minnesota has used him in a variety of late-inning situations that come with some of the highest leverage. In fact, there have been multiple stretches where he has felt like the only reliable option out of the Twins’ bullpen.  
    Rogers and his quiet demeanor don’t necessarily fit the prototypical personality of a late-inning reliever, but he is a team leader on and off the field. After Kyle Gibson left following the 2019 season, Rogers took over as Minnesota’s player representative to the MLB Players Association. His first year in the role saw him having to represent the team through a pandemic, which couldn’t have been an easy task.
    Besides his off-field responsibilities in 2020, Rogers saw his performance suffer for the first time during the pandemic shortened season. He posted his highest career ERA, WHIP and H/9, but he did all of this in only 20 innings pitched. The peripheral numbers pointed to him being unlucky as he had a 2.84 FIP and he was getting BABIP’ed to death (.400 BABIP). He has bounced back nicely in 2021 and being selected to his first All-Star Game is just part of the reward.
    His Statcast numbers are also some of baseball’s best. His chase rate ranks in the 100th percentile and he ranks in the 90th percentile or higher in xwOBA, xERA, K%, and BB%. There are few relievers that can match one of those statistical areas let alone be ranked that highly in five different Statcast categories.  
    Minnesota has been lucky to have quite the run of All-Star relievers over parts of the last two decades. Joe Nathan was selected to four All-Star teams with the Twins after being traded from the Giants. Glen Perkins made three All-Star appearances from 2013-2015 as he got to close out the 2014 All-Star Game in front of the Target Field crowd. Now Rogers, a Colorado native, has the opportunity to make his own memories at Coors Field.
    Congratulations to Taylor Rogers!
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  18. Like
    h2oface reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, The Twins (Still) Have a Velocity Problem   
    I talked about velocity in the video below, starting at Josh Winder’s Futures Game outing that led me down this trail and ending with a stat that the team ranks dead last in the league in.
    It’s worth pointing out that throwing hard doesn’t guarantee success. Guys like Kyle Hendricks, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Wade Miley rarely (if ever) crack 90 mph and they’re still effective starting pitchers. There are also flamethrowers who stink at pitching. On average, however, lower-velo pitches are hit and hit harder more often.
    If it seems like the Twins are throwing harder these days, you’re right. Unfortunately, they’re just not advancing enough to keep pace with the rest of the league. 
    The Twins have had 23 pitchers appear for them in 2021 (excluding Willians Astudillo’s three innings) and just five of them have thrown a pitch in excess of 96 mph. Twins pitchers have combined to hit that benchmark a grand total of 595 times. There are eight pitchers who’ve eclipsed that mark all on their own.

    Pitches 96+ mph Zack Wheeler 960 Sandy Alcantara 784 Brandon Woodruff 763 Gerrit Cole 760 Luis Castillo 730 Jacob deGrom 697 Frankie Montas 649 Nathan Eovaldi 610 Minnesota Twins 595 Taking a look at the team level, it’s pretty striking how much the Twins and White Sox are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of pitcher velocity. The vast majority of Chicago pitchers have reached 96 mph and they’ve tallied more than four times as many 96+ mph pitches than the Twins this year.

      Twins White Sox Pitchers 23 19 # to 96+ mph 5 15 % to 96 mph 21.7% 78.9% Pitches 13,206 13,048 # 96+ mph 595 2,527 % 96+ mph 4.5% 19.4% Not surprisingly, the Twins rank near the bottom of the league in several pitching categories. They’re 21st in K%, 24th in swinging-strike rate and 27th in FIP. Meanwhile, the White Sox are second, first and fourth in those categories.
    Help is on the way ... hopefully. In addition to Winder, who I mentioned earlier, the Twins also have hard-throwers like Jhoan Duran and Matt Canterino (among others) in the minors. They took triple-digit teen Chase Petty with their first pick in the draft. He’s years away from contributing to the big club, of course, but I still found it encouraging to see the front office appear to make velocity a priority with that pick.
    We won’t have to wait much longer to find out if velo is made a point of emphasis for the Twins at the trade deadline. Here’s hoping they add some gas to the staff.
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  19. Like
    h2oface reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Promotions and FCL Opening Day   
    As always, I welcome your feedback on what you would like to see from these Week in Review articles, so let me know in the comments below. Of course, I also encourage you to read Nick’s Twins Week in Review from yesterday. 
    Before we get started, the Twins made a flurry of pretty big transactions throughout the system on Monday: 
    RHP Josh Winder promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. IF Jose Miranda promoted from Wichita to St. Paul. LHP Bryan Sammons sent from St. Paul to Wichita.  OF/1B Trey Cabbage promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. IF Spencer Steer promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita. IF Yeltsin Encarnacion sent from Wichita to Cedar Rapids. IF/LF Edouard Julien promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids.  With that, let’s look at Week 8 in the Twins minor leagues: 
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (2-4 at Columbus), overall (21-26)
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1 at Midland), overall (28-20)
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (4-2, hosting Lansing), overall (26-22)
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3 at Palm Beach), overall (28-20) 

    Here are the week’s Twins minor league-related articles. 
    Twins Minor League Week in Review: Kernels Jump Over .500 Twins Claim RHP Beau Burrows off Waivers  Tuesday: Mark and Miranda Mash  Wednesday: Winder Wows, Rooker Rakes, Bechtold Blasts  Thursday: Cabbage Crushes, Miranda Continues Success  Friday: A Dismal Day on the Farm  Confidence and Patience are Keys for Wander Javier  Saturday: Contreras Crushes for Saints  Sunday: The Surge Goes On for Wichita   
    We will start with the Twins choices for the organizational hitter and pitcher of the week, and then mention several other Twins prospects who had good Week 8 performances too. However, kind of cool to see both of the Twins choices get promoted to Triple-A. 
    Twins Player of the Week: Jose Miranda, Wichita Wind Surge    
    Miranda just continues to rake, and he may have had his best week of the season. In six games and 29 plate appearances, he hit .481/.517/.778 (1.295) with two doubles and two homers. 
    Miranda has played in 47 of 48 Wind Surge games. He has hit .345/.408/.588 (.996) with eight doubles and 13 homers. He also leads the organization with 38 RBI.  
    Twins Pitcher of the Week: Josh Winder, Wichita Wind Surge    
    Another repeat choice, Winder is back on the list. In his start this week, he gave up one run on four hits over seven innings. He struck out seven without issuing a walk.  
    On the season, Winder has made 10 starts. He is 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA. In 54 2/3 innings, the 24-year-old has struck out 65 batters and walked just ten. 
    Other Strong Performances this Week
    St. Paul Saints
    Mark Contreras was a minor league Gold Glove outfielder in 2019. This week, he put up huge numbers for the Saints. In six games and 25 plate appearances, he hit .409/.480/.909 (1.389) with two doubles and three homers. In the series in Columbus, Contreras had 20 total bases and three homers. Brent Rooker continues to hit for a low average while bashing the ball and getting on base. In five games, he hit .235/.435/.588 (1.023) with three doubles and a home run. He currently has a streak of reaching base safely in 15 consecutive games. 
    Lefty Andrew Vasquez pitched twice and tossed 4 1/3 innings. He gave up zero runs, zero hits, walked none and struck out six batters. Long-time MLB veteran Nick Vincent joined the team and pitched twice, working a scoreless inning each time. Bryan Sammons went five innings in his start this week. He gave up just one run on two hits over five innings. However, he did walk four and struck out three. Ian Hamilton hasn't allowed an earned run since May 18th. That covers 11 games and 16 innings. The 11 outings rank tied for fifth-longest in the Triple-A East. 
    Wichita Wind Surge
    Along with Miranda, BJ Boyd had a big week. The “outfielder-turned football player-turned back to the outfield” played in all six games. He hit .381/.480/.619 (1.099) with two doubles and a homer. Aaron Whitefield had a strong week. He hit .407/.429/.556 (.984) with a double and a homer. He also stole four bases. He is now hitting .314 on the season. Andrew Bechtold has really come on after a slow start. During this week, he hit .261/.320/.609 (.929) with two doubles and two homers. In four games, David Banuelos hit .385/.529/.385 (.914). 
    While Winder had one terrific start, Austin Schulfer had two terrific starts. Over 11 combined innings, the righty from Wisconsin-Milwaukee did not allow a run. He gave up seven hits, walked four and struck out 13 batters. What a week! On Sunday, Chris Vallimont tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out nine. 
    Cedar Rapids Kernels
    If we’re looking for highlights, Gabriel Maciel was certainly one. In five games, he hit .357/.438/.571 (1.009). And...how about his walk-off grand slam this week? 
    Also nice to see outfielder DaShawn Keirsey return from his hamstring injury. He went 2-for-3 on Sunday with a double and a three-run inside-the-park home run. 
    Trey Cabbage led the offense this week. In six games, he hit .300/.348/.700 (1.048) with two doubles, two homers and six RBI. 
    The Kernels got some big hits this past week, but man, did they ever get some great pitching performances! Tyler Beck tossed four scoreless innings (2 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts). Andrew Cabezas tossed five scoreless innings (4 hits, 2 walks, six strikeouts). Ben Gross gave up two unearned runs over five innings (4 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts. Jon Olsen tossed five scoreless innings (1 hit, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. Kody Funderburk had a strange start too. He walked six batters in four innings, but he didn’t give up a run, or even a hit. Zach Featherstone gave up an unearned run over 3 2/3 innings this week. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out seven batters. Derek Molina tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out six. 
    Ft. Myers Might Mussels
    Infielder Will Holland hit .267/.500/.467 (.967) with three doubles. He also had six walks over his five games played.  
    Sawyer Gipson-Long gave up just one run on six hits over six innings this week in his start. He struck out five. Bobby Milacki gave up one run on five hits over five innings. He struck out six without issuing a walk. Miguel Rodriguez and Louie Varland each had a start in which they gave up two runs (1 earned) on seven hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. Osiris German and Matthew Swain each struck out four batters over three scoreless innings (in two games) this past week. 
    We are talking about small samples for these six-game weeks, so it’s important not to make any big decisions or develop a full impression on a player from this small size. It’s just a reminder of the fact that baseball is hard, and all players have good and bad stretches.  
    St. Paul Saints
    It was another rough week for Keon Broxton. He played in four games and went 1-for-15 (.067) with 10 strikeouts in 16 plate appearances. 
    The Saints had a couple of rough starts. Rob Whalen gave up seven runs on seven hits and four walks over just 2 2/3 innings. Charlie Barnes had a rough start… actually a rough inning. However, he was able to recover from a seven run (6 ER) inning to provide five innings.  
    Wichita Wind Surge
    Caleb Hamilton played all six games. He went 3-for-21 (.143), though he did get on base 31% of his 26 plate appearances. 
    Minnesota native Jordan Milbrath continued to struggle. He came into one game with a big lead. He gave up three runs on two hits and a walk and recorded just one out. In four games and 5 1/3 innings, he has now walked 11 batters.  
    Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Max Smith played in all six games, but he went just 1-for-19 (.053) with nine strikeouts. Michael Helman went 1-for-18 (.056) over five games. Alex Isola played in four games and went 1-for-11 (.091), though he got on base at a 33% clip.   
    Ft. Myers Might Mussels
    Willie Joe Garry went 4-for-19 (.211). Aaron Sabato went 3-for-21 (.167), though he did walk five times.  
    Trending Storyline 
    Monday was Opening Day in the Florida Complex League. Yes, that is the league formerly known as the Gulf Coast League (GCL). With the elimination of minor league affiliates last offseason, the Twins no longer have a rookie-league team in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Instead, players not with full-season affiliates remain at the Florida Complex. Hence, the Florida Complex League. With the new creative naming conventions in minor league baseball this year, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to read that there is also an Arizona Complex League. 
    So, Monday was Opening Day in the FCL, and the FCL Twins hosted the FCL Orioles. I believe they even played at Hammond Stadium. The Twins lost by a score of 6-1. (Box Score). Below is the roster, so check out which players will be playing in the FCL to start their season. 
    While we know very little about many of these players because most have played in the DSL, or not at all yet after signing, we do know that this is a melting pot of players from around the globe. You’ll also notice there is a strong representation from the Dominican Republic. I have included their age and where they are from. Please note that some of the older players on the roster have been recently signed out of independent leagues and have yet to be added to a full-season roster. 
    The FCL Twins will be managed by Takashi Miyoshi. There will be four pitching coaches (Dan Urbina, Calvin Maduro, Jared Gaynor, Bobby Hearn). There will be two hitting coaches (Shawn Schlecter, Seth Conner). Yeison Perez and Brad McKenney will also be coaches on the team. 
    Right-Handed Pitchers
    Cole Bellair (24, USA)  Donny Breek (21, Netherlands)  Rafael Feliz (20, Dominican Republic)  Giovahniey German (20, USA)  Landon Leach (21, Canada) - 2nd round pick in 2017, he hasn’t pitched since 2018 due to a variety of injuries.  Juan Mendez (22, Dominican Republic) Erasmo Moreno (18, Venezuela) Danny Moreno (21, Venezuela) Matt Mullenbach (24, USA) Ramon Pineda (23, Dominican Republic) - Yes, Michael Pineda’s brother.  Zaquiel Puentes (20, Venezuela) John Stankiewicz (22, USA) Lucas Sweany (22, USA) Joseph Yabbour (17, Venezuela) Marco Raya, IL (18, USA) Niklas Rimmel, IL (22, Germany)  Left-Handed Pitchers 
    Develson Aria (20, Dominican Republic) Elpidio Perez (22, Dominican Republic) Samuel Perez (21, Venezuela) Wilker Reyes (19, Dominican Republic) Aaron Rozek (25, USA) - Burnsville native.  Ryan Hortsman, IL (28, USA)  Jesus Toledo, IL (21, Venezuela)  Catchers
    Wilfri Castro (20, Dominican Republic) Willy Diaz-Vasquez (21, Dominican Republic) Nick Garland (25, USA) Frank Nigro (23, USA) Ricardo Olivar (19, Venezuela) Laron Smith (20, Canada) Amilcar Vasquez (19, Venezuela) Infielders 
    Rubel Cespedes (20, Dominican Republic) Jesus Feliz (21, Dominican Republic) Luis Gomez (20, Dominican Republic) Alexander Pena (19, Venezuela) Breilin Ramirez (18, Domincan Republic) Jose Rodriguez (19, Venezuela) Yonardy Soto (18, Dominican Republic) Wander Valdez (21, Dominican Republic) Jim Caceres, IL (20, Dominican Republic)  Outfielders
    Carlos Aguiar (19, Venezuela) Luis Baez (20, Domincan Republic) Rhodery Diaz (20, Dominican Republic) Nelson Roberto (20, Dominican Republic) Emmanuel Rodriguez (18, Dominican Republic) Kala’i Rosario (19, USA) Malfrin Sosa (18, Dominican Republic) Miguel Vallejo (19, Dominican Republic) Please feel free to ask questions about these players if you have any. 
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects have performed on the season (as well as too many unfortunate injuries). The Top 20 Prospect Rankings will be updated very soon.  
    #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – St. Paul (2 rehab games, went 3-6 with 2 homers, 2 K), Minnesota (42 games, .260/.303/.442 (.745) with 8 doubles, 1 triple, 6 homers, 26 RBI, 10 BB, 36 K)
    #2 - Royce Lewis (Wichita) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
    #3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – St. Paul (3 games, went 3-11 with two homers, two walks, 8 strikeouts), Minnesota (41 games, .250/.359/.417 (.776) with 7 doubles, 5 homers, 13 RBI, 18 BB, 45 K) 
    #4 - Ryan Jeffers (Minnesota) – St. Paul (24 games, .217/.340/.446 (.786) with four doubles, five homers, 16 BB, 26 K), Minnesota (28 games, .200/.269/.411 (.680) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 14 RBI, 9 BB, 37 K)
    #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 5 G, 4 GS, 16.0 IP, 16 H, 13 BB, 22 K, 5.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP (on IL with a right forearm strain)  
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 5 GS, 18.2 IP, 26 H, 6 BB, 27 K, 5.79 ERA, 1.71 WHIP 
    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 28 games, .264/.333/.340 (.673) with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 11 RBI, 10 BB, 32 K, 4 SB (on Injured List, Concussion) 
    #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 47 games, .182/.381/.296 (.676) with 9 doubles, 3 homers, 17 RBI, 47 BB, 66 K
    #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – 4 GS, 18.0 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 35 K, 1.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP (went on the IL with right elbow strain)
    #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP (underwent Tommy John surgery on June 9th) 
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesotal) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (12 games, .105/.128/.211 (.339) with 1 BB, 8 K)
    #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (40 games, .226/.371/.511 (.882) with 6 doubles, 11 homers, 28 BB, 53 K), Minnesota (8 games, .103/.133/.241 (375) with 1 double, 1 homer, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 13 K)
    #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 17 games, .333/.384/.621 (1.005) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 14 RBI, 5 BB, 28 K. (on IL after having hamate bone surgery)
    #14 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – 40 games, .200/.302/.280 (582) with 3 doubles, 3 triples, 1 homer, 24 RBI, 21 BB, 38 K, 7 SB)
    #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 7 GS, 31.2 IP, 22 H, 18 BB, 42 K, 2.84 ERA, 1.26 WHIP (about to go on the IL) 
    #16 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (had surgery on his right elbow to remove bone chips)
    #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – St. Paul (5 games, .286/.318/.571 (.890) with 3 doubles, 1 homer, 1 BB, 6 K), Minnesota (21 games, .140/.189/.220 (409) with 1 double, 1 homer, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 20 K)
    #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured)
    #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 47 games, .345/.408/.588 (996) with 8 doubles, 13 homers, 38 RBI, 17 BB, 25 K (promoted to AAA St. Paul on Monday) 
    #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – St. Paul (4 GS, 16.0 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 21 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), Minnesota (5 GS, 21.1 IP, 24 H, 4 BB, 23 K, 4.64 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) 

    Ft. Myers @ Palm Beach (Miguel Rodriguez, Brent Headrick, TBD, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Louie Varland, Bobby Milacki): 
    Lansing @ Cedar Rapids:(Tyler Watson, Ben Gross, Cody Laweryson, Tyler Beck, Kody Funderburk, Jon Olsen)
    Wichita @ Midland: (Jason Garcia, Jordan Balazovic, Bryan Sammons, Chris Vallimont, Austin Schulfer, Jason Garcia) 
    Iowa @ St. Paul: (Yennier Cano (opener)/Rob Whalen, Andrew Albers, Michael Pineda (Rehab), Charlie Barnes, TBD, TBD): 

    Feel free to provide some feedback below regarding these reports. What do you like to read? What types of information would you like added? Also, feel free to ask any questions you like.
  20. Like
    h2oface reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Do the Twins Have a Self-Scouting Issue?   
    There’s no question that successful organizations need to have a strong scouting department. It is the job of this group to find talent at any level and decide if those players are a good fit for an organization. One undervalued scouting skill might be the ability of an organization to evaluate their own talent and decide which pieces are most critical for an organization’s long-term success.
    Unfortunately, these three players have all found success with other organizations without getting a long look at the big-league level by the Twins.
    Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers
    Minnesota drafted Baddoo in the second round back in 2016 and he played his first four professional seasons in the organization. Back in 2019, he topped out at High-A where he hit .214/.290/.393 in 29 games. Entering the 2021 season, he didn’t have an at-bat at the Double-A level and the lost 2020 season certainly took away some development time, so the Twins left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. Now, it’s looking like the Twins might have given up on him too soon.
    Detroit is in rebuild mode so they can afford to take some chances in the Rule 5 Draft, and they were willing to give Baddoo a shot at the big-league level. His hot start to the season was well documented as he had a 1.024 OPS through his first 15 games. He may not be getting the hype he was at season’s start, but he entered play on Monday with a 142 OPS+ while leading the American League in triples. Minnesota had a lot of minor league outfield depth, but Baddoo is looking more like he can be a contributor for years to come.  
    LaMonte Wade Jr., San Francisco Giants
    Wade was a ninth-round pick by the Twins in the 2015 MLB Draft and the Twins had used him throughout parts of the 2019 and 2020 season. In those two years, he compiled an 87 OPS+ in 42 games and he looked to have a shot at making the 2021 Twins. The decision came down to picking Wade or Jake Cave as the team’s fourth outfielder. Minnesota was able to trade Wade to the Giants in exchange for Shaun Anderson, who was recently claimed off waivers by the Rangers. It was a deal that couldn’t have gone more poorly for the Twins.
    In his age-27 season, Wade has found a role with the Giants, the first team to 50 wins this season. Through his first 28 games, he has posted a 136 OPS+ while playing all three outfield positions and first base. Cave compiled a 43 OPS+ in 31 games this year before ending up on the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction in his lower back. Wade is finding big-league success on one of baseball’s best teams while the Twins have been forced to shuffle through a variety of outfielders.
    Nick Anderson, Tampa Bay Rays
    Anderson, a Minnesota native, had to work his way into professional baseball after attending college at Mayville State University in North Dakota. The Twins signed him out of independent baseball and used him as a reliever in four different seasons as he topped out at Triple-A. In November 2018, the Twins traded him to the Miami Marlins for Brian Schales and Anderson has pitched at the big-league level ever since that deal.
    Anderson was a critical piece of the Rays bullpen that drove them to the 2020 World Series. Throughout the 2019-20 seasons, he has combined for a 155 ERA+ with a 0.96 WHIP and 15 SO/9. His 2021 season hasn’t started yet as he recovers from a partial torn ligament in his right elbow. The injury didn’t require surgery and he is supposed to return for the season’s second half. This will be a welcome boost to a Rays club that is fighting for an AL East crown. He would also be a welcome addition to a Twins bullpen that has seen it’s fair share of struggles this season.
    It’s great to see these players writing their own success story, but it’s too bad those achievements didn’t come in a Twins uniform. Minnesota needs to hang on to players like these that can add to their organizational depth and that process might start with looking in the mirror at their own self-scouting.
    Do you think the Twins have a self-scouting issue? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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  21. Like
    h2oface reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, On the Minnesota Twins Front Office, Faith and Being Fickle    
    Falvey took over a 100-loss team and turned it into a 100-win team just three seasons later. Even with this poor start to the 2021 season, the team’s record under his regime is 331-288, a .535 winning percentage. That might not jump off the page — it’s an 87-win pace — but keep in mind how bad things were before that. In the six seasons prior to Falvey taking over, the Twins posted a 407-565 record. That’s a .419 winning percentage, or a 68-win pace.
    So that’s it, right? Case closed, Falvey has been great for the Minnesota Twins. Well ...
    How much of the Twins’ success can be attributed to this front office? That’s a really tricky question to try to answer. If we look at advancements in systems and technology, the Twins are definitely in a much better place than they were in 2016. So is basically every other team in baseball. 
    Has this Falvey and Levine-led front office been better than one could expect from a “replacement-level” front office? I think this is a better concept to ponder, as opposed to just comparing them to their direct predecessors. 
    Would the Twins have been any more or less successful under another set of front office leaders? Would the organization be any better or worse setup for future success had it been under different leadership? Do we think Falvey and Levine are better than whoever the current up-and-coming front office stars/future GM types are available right now?
    This may seem like a weird way to frame the conversation, but why not? It’s just like the players, there are only so many of these jobs.
    The overall team success has been there (well, prior to this season) but this front office has not delivered a pitching pipeline nor impact pitching through free agency. About a month ago, Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic took a look back at every Falvey-Levine era free agent signing. It wasn’t inspiring. Their record in trades isn’t looking so great, either. 
    Falvey and Levine are also no longer the new kids. The Twins have been an incredibly loyal organization, there’s been remarkable consistency in their front office over the past several decades. That’s admirable, but it’s not the way things work elsewhere.
    Levine is already in the top half of the most-tenured general managers in baseball, ranking 13th. Here are those who have held their positions longer than Thad. Among the GMs with a longer tenure, seven of them have held their role a mere 15 more months (or less) than Thad has. Just five active general managers have held their positions for six years or more. There’s a lot of turnover.
    Things are a little more difficult to measure with Falvey. Front office structure seems to be getting more and more complex with new titles and job roles seeming to be invented each season. Heck, Falvey himself was promoted from the title Executive Vice President and Chief Baseball Officer to President of Baseball Operations back in November of 2019.
    I always feel slimy about calling anyone’s job into question. These are people with lives and families. This is how they earn a living. But after having months of bad baseball and being able to ponder about these things I keep coming back to the notion there are only 30 of these jobs. You must perform.
    Some may criticize that as too extreme of a “what have you done for me lately” mentality but you tell me, what have they done? The team’s winning percentage since they took over is nice, but it’s difficult to say how much credit they really deserve for that and (sorry, yes, this does have to come up in every conversation) it’s not like it resulted in any postseason success.
    This team has the potential to bounce back next year and still have another window of contention, but it’s going to take a good trade deadline followed by a good offseason. Do I trust this front office to deliver in both of those areas?
    Thinking about that is what led me to write this, and I encourage you to consider that same question and let me know your thoughts.
    Personally, I do not trust them to deliver anymore. I’ve lost faith in this front office. Call that fickle if you’d like, you’re probably right. What can I say? This is what a lost summer can do to a baseball fan.
    Injuries Don’t Excuse How Bad This Twins Team Has Been | Tom Froemming
    How Much Can The Twins Spend This Offseason? | John Bonnes
    Revisiting the Shaun Anderson Trade | Cody Pirkl
    Do the 2021 Twins Have the Worst Pitching Staff in Team History? | Cody Christie
    There's No Easy Way Out of This for the Minnesota Twins | Tom Froemming
  22. Like
    h2oface reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Revisiting the Shaun Anderson Trade   
    LaMonte Wade Jr. was an easy player to like. He slowly worked his way up through the minors over five years using his patient plate approach and solid outfield defense and found himself on the back end of a deep outfield rotation in 2019 and 2020. Nobody expected Wade to be a star player, but he seemed like the kind of solid contributor that fills out the edges of a competitive roster. He slashed .211/.336/.388 in a Twins uniform, played decent defense in the outfield, and even filled in at first base on occasion.
    It basically came down to a battle between Wade and Jake Cave for a roster spot last winter. To Cave’s and the Twins credit, he was fantastic, especially against righties prior to his disastrous 2020 season in which he was 18% below league average offensively. Cave’s prior play ultimately won him the roster spot as the Twins rightfully were planning on a rebound. Wade was eventually shipped to San Francisco for a high upside arm in Shaun Anderson.
    Now I like Shaun Anderson despite his struggles in a Twins uniform and I liked the trade at the time. He’s a high octane righty with a nasty slider that he struggles to locate. Plenty of adjustments that can be made. Unfortunately Anderson never figured it out in his brief time with the Twins, as he was claimed off waivers by Texas after posting a 9.35 ERA and 4.90 FIP in 8.2 innings. Meanwhile LaMonte Wade Jr. is slashing .257/.350/.443 with the Giants. No explanation is needed on Jake Cave’s performance.
    This wasn’t a noteworthy outcome in a vacuum, mistakes happen. I find it significant for two reasons however. 
    First of all, this move symbolizes the entire offseason in my eyes. Was it an exciting move? No. You could make out what the Twins were trying to do however and it didn’t take much to get excited over someone they handpicked that was so under the radar. The same could be said for the signings of Robles, Happ, Shoemaker, Simmons and Colomé. Much like all of these but Robles however, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the outcome could’ve been worse.
    Second, for whatever reason for all of the mistakes that were made this offseason, Shaun Anderson (who has minor league options and is 26 years old) is the first addition the front office has admitted failure on by placing him on waivers. Meanwhile J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker and Alexander Colomé continue to “eat innings” with absolutely zero chance of having any future on this team beyond 2021. It’s simply baffling.
    This move didn’t change the course of the Twins success in 2021, but it’s incredibly frustrating because it embodies the offseason perfectly. The majority of this winters acquisitions were sensible at the time but look absolutely horrible in retrospect as pretty much anything that could have gone wrong did.
    The result of such a string of lame duck acquisitions leaves Twins fans’ faith wavering, as all of the good will built up throughout 2019 and 2020 was undone in one fell swoop of atrocious pitching additions.
    The Twins will enter the 2021 offseason with ample money to spend and plenty of holes to fill. Can so many disastrous moves be chalked up to bad luck? Can Twins fans feel good about an upcoming offseason of acquisitions that will surely be relied upon to get back on track in 2022?
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  23. Like
    h2oface reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Down on Dobnak   
    No player in baseball is immune to the league adjusting and Dobnak has proven to be no different. After posting a 1.59 ERA through 28.1 innings in his debut season, Dobnak took a bit of a tumble in 2020. He started out just as hot but eventually was optioned and finished the season with a 4.05 ERA. The league really appeared to finally figure him out as he tallied a 6.41 mark in his last 6 appearances.
    Since then the numbers speak for themselves. Through 36 innings this year Dobnak owns a 7.36 ERA and 7.95 FIP. He’s been worth -.4 fWAR, often allowing blowup performances that take the Twins out of the game before they even have a chance. So what happened to Randy Dobnak?
    Walks Will Haunt
    Dobnak by no means has what would be considered a walk problem by league standards. Unfortunately the bar is much higher for a pitcher with Dobnak’s skillset. In his rookie season he had a respectable 19.5% K rate and an incredible 4.2% walk rate. Unfortunately his K rate has dropped by over 6% over the last two seasons lowering his margin for error. It may not seem like much of a change, but his increase to a 6.5% walk rate since his rookie season means the tightrope Dobnak walks gets a little bit thinner.
    We’ve seen the “bad luck” starts from Dobnak in the past where seemingly every batted ball finds a hole. With little strikeout ability to fall back on, Dobnak relies too much on batted ball luck to really issue any free passes at all. Asking for no walks at all is a tall order, which is why the more obvious solution would be to try to increase whiffs. 
    The Slipping Slider
    Dobnak and the Twins appear well aware of his dilemma which is why so much was made of his new slider grip this spring. Dobnak looked like a completely different pitcher in Spring Training by generating tons of swings and misses with the new pitch, but unfortunately those gains appear to have been short lived. 
    Dobnak’s attempt to adjust to the league has simply turned out to be a disaster. To be fair the new slider has drawn a 4% increase in whiff rate thus far, but it’s hard to argue against the fact that the pitch is worse in pretty much every other measurable way. The path to consistent success was tough enough as a contact oriented control artist who leans heavily on two pitches. Without the slider it’s hard to see a light at the end of these struggles. So where can he go from here?
    These issues Dobnak has had obviously run deeper than this shallow explanation but it’ll be interesting to see what he can do to adjust. Perhaps the first step is a return to the slider that worked so well for him in his first year and a half. It was a bit surprising that the initial adjustment Dobnak made wasn’t a new pitch to add to his repertoire such as a cutter, perhaps something like this could still be in the cards for the right handed sinkerballer.
    One thing is for certain, Dobnak has a lot of work to do to restore faith in him as even a reliable back of the rotation starter for 2022. The Twins didn’t invest much into this extension but it certainly does run the risk of becoming a sunken cost if Dobnak can’t right the ship. Much like the Twins as a whole this year, Randy Dobnak is dealing with significant adversity. Can he overcome it?
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  24. Like
    h2oface reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Rocco Baldelli Urges Team to ‘Get Into’ Steely Dan   
    With the 2021 season rapidly slipping away, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli needed to do something. With making the team healthier being out of his hands, he did what he thought best: put on some Steely Dan.
    “I think the players-only meetings and office sit-downs only accomplish so much,” said Baldelli. “What you really need are the sardonic lyrics of Donald Fagen, the tasteful guitar of Walter Becker, and the in-the-pocket grooves of the finest session players in Los Angeles.”
    When the players showed up to Target Field on Thursday after another punishing loss to the New York Yankees, they weren’t met with extra batting practice or a shouting fit from the coaching staff. Instead, the clubhouse was lined with shag carpeting, incense sticks, and the Dan’s 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy booming through cabinet speakers.
    “This sounds like something my dad would listen to,” said catcher Ryan Jeffers. “I mean, it’s fine. The guy sure sings about drugs and sex stuff a lot.”
    Baldelli says he plans to go through the entire discography in hopes that the team will use the band’s jazz-inflected rock stylings and tales of southern California decadence to inspire them.
    “Their evolution from a touring band to creatures of the studio can maybe show the guys here that there’s more than one way to get after it,” said Baldelli. “When you get those Michael McDonald backing vocals on ‘Peg’ it oughta help clear your mind and let your natural talent and coaching do the rest of the work.”
    “This sounds like the music my dentist plays in his office,” said outfielder Trevor Larnach. “But then the lead singer who can’t really sing sings about Jose Cuervo and the caves of Altamira. I’m worried about Rocco.”
    For his part, Baldelli says he’s confident that he’s making the right move.
    “You know, when an engineer accidentally erased the recording of ‘The Second Arrangement’, Donald Fagen didn’t blow up. He simply walked out of the studio. So when I show up at the park and they tell me another player is out for two weeks because of whatever that day’s injury is, I ask what would Donald do? I don’t erupt. I simply walk out of the room.”
    When it was pointed out that Steely Dan didn’t record a new album for twenty years after that incident, Baldelli began to sob before composing himself and asking the reporter if he could pick out Mark Knopfler’s guitar on “Time Out of Mind.”
  25. Like
    h2oface reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, Alex Kirilloff’s Growing Pains   
    Kirilloff gave Minnesota Twins fans a glimpse into his immense potential when he hit four home runs in a three-game stretch. Because this is 2021, he landed on the IL with an injured wrist just a game later and hasn’t been the same since.
    Kirilloff homered in both games of his rehab assignment with the Saints, but his power has been non-existent since returning to the Twins. Here’s a look at some of the numbers.

      Before IL Since IL Slash .214/.227/.571 .254/.309/.302 K% / BB% 29.5 / 2.2 25.0 / 7.4 Avg. Exit Velo 96.7 mph 90.1 mph Luckily, the dip in power production has come along with some more hits falling in and gains in regard to both strikeouts and walks. But that’s case closed, right? The dip in power is all the result of the wrist injury. Probably, but Kirilloff is also being pitched a lot differently since his return from the IL. 

      Before IL Since IL Fastball % 50.6 41.4 Breaking % 26.3 41.9 Offspeed % 23.1 16.9 Kirilloff was already seeing a shortage of fastballs before he got hurt — across the league, pitchers are throwing fastballs 57.3% of the time — but since his return fastballs have been even fewer and further between. This is particularly significant because Kirilloff has murdered fastballs.
    If we’re taking the stance that the wrist injury has sapped his power, which I think is legit, then his pre-IL performance should be viewed as more representative of who he is. Here’s a look at how Kirilloff was performing prior to the injury using xwOBA, with the league averages included for context.

    xwOBA Kirilloff (pre IL) Leage Average Fastballs .605 .351 Offspeed .457 .289 Breaking .112 .269 So Kirilloff is both trying to hit with a wrist that’s less than 100% and being served a diet of breaking balls usually reserved for established middle of the order hitters. 
    Welcome to The Show, kid.
    Here's where I take a page out of my four-year-old's book and tantrum about how IT'S NOT FAIR!!! Other rookies get to come up and slaughter a steady dose of fastballs while our guy get's hampered by a wrist injury and pitched to like he's the next Babe Ruth. Anyway ...
    While Kirilloff has been doing a better job at controlling his plate appearances, maybe the best thing he can do for himself right now, that .611 post-IL OPS is disappointing. As a result, I think he may be pressing. At least that’s the conclusion I’ve come to in explaining the couple bizarre plays he was involved in Sunday in Kansas City. Here’s a video with more on that.
    *All data in this article is via Baseball Savant.
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