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h2oface

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  1. 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).

  2. 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.
  3. 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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  4. 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: 
    RESULTS
    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)

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... 
    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. 

    Highlights 
    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. 
     
    Lowlights
    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. 
     
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    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

    LOOKING AHEAD
    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. 
     
  5. 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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  6. 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.”
  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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: 
     
    RESULTS
    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) 

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
    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   
    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 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. 
     
    Lowlights
    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. 
     
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    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) 

    LOOKING AHEAD
    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.
     
  10. 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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  11. 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.
    SEE ALSO
    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
  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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.”
     
  15. 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.
  16. Like
    h2oface reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Walk-Offs and Wins   
    For this week again, let’s start with a Question of the Week. Leave your responses in the Comments section.  
    Question of the Week: How concerned are you about all of the injuries in the Twins minor league system already this season? 
    Transactions:
    A few transactions were announced on Monday. 
    RHP Regi Grace was placed on the Mighty Mussels Injured List with a right shoulder impingement.  The Twins signed RHP Bobby Milacki and OF Nick Anderson late last week. On Monday, they were added to the Ft. Myers roster. Milacki was the 38th round pick of the Nationals in 2018 out of Arizona Christian University. He was released after the 2019 season. In his most recent start for the Joliet Slammers of the independent Frontier League, the 24-year-old tossed five shutout innings. Anderson played for four years at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi. He played professionally in 2019, and he began the 2021 season with the Houston Apollos in the American Association.  Cody Laweryson has been added to the Cedar Rapids Kernels roster. He began the season on the Injured List. 
    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. 
    With that, let’s look at Week 5 in the Twins minor leagues: 
    RESULTS
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (2-4 @ Louisville), overall (15-15)
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (4-2 hosting Arkansas), overall (18-12)
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (3-3, @ Ft. Wayne), overall (13-17)
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (5-1, hosting St. Lucie), overall (16-14) 

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
    With the Twins struggles early this season, we have had a lot of minor league articles including articles on players who could be promoted and the daily minor league reports. 
    Twins Minor League Week in Review: Saints Sweep Minnesota’s Forgotten Prospect  Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month - May 2021  Tuesday: Cabbage Blast Propels Kernels  Examining Minnesota’s Center Field Depth  Wednesday: Mussels Muster Night Saving Win  Get Ready for More 2021 Twins Debuts  Thursday: Wind Surge Win in Walk-Off Fashion  Prospect Retrospective: Gilberto Celestino  Friday: These Games Were Closer Than the Major League One!  Time for a Changing of the Guard  Saturday: Jordy Blaze Debuts  Prospect Retrospective: Griffin Jax  Sunday: Salvaging the Sweep   
    News & Notes 
    First and foremost, the St. Paul Saints are at home the next two weeks, and the Twins expect Byron Buxton and Kenta Maeda (and maybe Max Kepler?) to start a rehab assignment very soon. Head over to SaintsBaseball.com and get some tickets! Starting on Tuesday, CHS Field will be open to full capacity. On Tuesday, the Saints will be hosting (Re)Opening Day! 
    The Saints have turned 24 double plays this year. That is most among the Twins affiliates. 
    Brent Rooker has walked three or more times in a game six times in his career. Two of those happened this season. 
    Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids (home of the Kernels) has been the site of the Division III Baseball Championship. On Tuesday morning, Salisbury University (Maryland) will play St. Thomas (Minnesota) for the championship. St. Thomas, in its final season before jumping to Division I, would need to win twice for the title. Former Kernels Tanner and Trey Vavra are coaches for the Tommies. 

    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 5 performances too. 
     
    Twins Player of the Week: Jose Miranda, Wichita Wind Surge   
    The Twins named Jose Miranda their Player of the Week. In six games, he hit .320/.393/.480 (.873) with a double and a 481-foot walk-off homer in extra innings on Friday night. On Sunday, Miranda extended his hitting streak to nine games. The 2016 draft pick has played in all 30 games for the Wind Surge. He has hit .319/.390/.546 (.936) with six doubles, seven homers and 27 RBI. 
    Twins Pitcher of the Week: Sawyer Gipson-Long, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels    
    Gipson-Long was the Twins sixth round pick in 2019 out of Mercer. In his start this past week, he gave up four runs (2 earned) on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out 11 batters without issuing a walk. He has been much better since some early-season struggles. Overall, he has made five starts and is 2-2 with a 7.78 ERA. In 19 2/3 innings, he has walked seven and struck out 30 batters. 
     
    Other Strong Performances this Week
    St. Paul Saints
    Brent Rooker played in all six games. He hit just .222 but posted a .919 OPS thanks to three walks and two home runs. 
    It was an interesting week for Gold Glove outfielder Mark Contreras. When Gilberto Celestino was promoted to Triple-A, Contreras was sent back to Wichita. He played one game and went 2-for-4. When Celestino was called to the Twins, Contreras was back to St. Paul. He hit two doubles and his first Triple-A home run. 
    Charlie Barnes provided the Saints with their best start of the week. He went six shutout innings and gave up three hits, walked two and struck out six batters. Chandler Shepherd gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck one batter out. 
     
    Wichita Wind Surge
    Caleb Hamilton played in five games this past week. He hit .333/.350/.722 (1.072) with a double and two homers. Both home runs came in the same game. Ernie De La Trinidad played in all six games and hit .348/.400/.565 (.965) with two doubles and a home run. Jermaine Palacios and Aaron Whitefield both hit .333 while playing in all six games. 
    Yennier Cano, Ryan Mason, Jovani Moran and Alex Phillips each pitched twice out of the Wind Surge bullpen this past week. They combined to throw 12 2/3 innings and gave up only one unearned run. They walked three batters and struck out 17 batters. The other highlight of the week was the return of Jordan Balazovic. On Saturday night, he made the first start of the season. He struck out five batters in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, walked two batters and hit two batters. 
     
    Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Andrew Cabezas struck out five batters over five shutout innings in his start this week. He gave up just three hits and walked one batter. Jon Cheshire gave up only a walk over 4 1/3 innings over three games. Zach Featherstone got eight outs over two appearances. He struck out seven batters. Jon Olsen gave up one run on two hits and a walk over five innings in his start. Kody Funderburk struck out nine batters over his 4 2/3 innings. 
    Alex Isola continues to be an on-base machine. In five games this week, he hit .250/.455/.563 (1.017) with two doubles and a homer. He walked six times. Max Smith played in four games and hit .438/.471/.500 (.971) with a double and four RBI. Wander Javier hit .318/.375/.591 (.966) with two doubles and two triples. He had a four-hit game. Trey Cabbage hit .333/.391/.571 (.963) with two doubles, a homer and six RBI. Spencer Steer hit two home runs on Sunday, and he also walked seven times. 
     
    Ft. Myers Might Mussels
    Edouard Julien has had a great pro debut, and after one rough weekend, he was strong again this past week. In five games, he hit .438/.524/.688 (1.211) with a double, a homer and three walks. Kyle Schmidt has also become a regular in these weekly reports. In four games this week, he hit .364/.500/.818 (1.318) with a triple and a homer. He also had three walks to just two strikeouts. Jefferson Morales walked six times in his five games and added two doubles. Aaron Sabato and Yunior Severino both went 6-for-20 (.300) in six games last week. 
    The Mussels went 5-1 for the week, and it’s certainly in large part due to their pitching. Louie Varland had the start of the week for the Mussels. The St. Paul native tossed six shutout innings. He gave up just three hits, hit one batter and struck out six batters. Brent Headrick gave up one run on two hits over five innings on Sunday. He walked two and struck out 11 batters. Regi Grace went 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in his start which is impressive when you consider he gave up one hit but walked four batters and hit three more. Sean Mooney walked four and struck out five in his four scoreless innings this week. The Mussels bullpen was strong. Denny Bentley, Steven Cruz, Osiris German, and Juan Pichardo combined to work 12 1/3 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts. Matthew Swain gave up a solo homer, but he struck out nine batters over his two appearances (4 2/3 innings). 
     
    Lowlights
    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
    Lewis Thorpe gave up five runs on three hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings, and actually all of the hits and runs happened in that second inning. More noteworthy than one bad inning, however, is that he ended up going on the Injured List with a shoulder issue. Tom Hackimer gave up three runs on one hit over 1 2/3 innings. He walked seven batters. On Sunday, he walked six batters and got just two outs.  
    The Daniel Delscalso struggles continued. He went 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts this past week. Jimmy Kerrigan and David Banuelos combined to go 0-for-18 with 11 strikeouts. Damek Tomscha and Drew Maggi both went 2-for-17 (.118) in five games. 
     
    Wichita Wind Surge
    Peter Mooney had just one hit in 18 at bats this week. In his past 14 games, he is just 4-for-49 (.082).
    Reliever Brandon Koch pitched in three games. In 3 2/3 innings, he gave up six runs (5 earned) on six hits, three walks and a hit batter. He had a 12.27 ERA and a 2.45 WHIP. In his start, Cole Sands gave up five runs (4 earned) on eight hits, three walks and a hit batter.  
     
    Cedar Rapids Kernels
    Derek Molina gave up three runs on six hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, a 2.73 WHIP. 
    Gabriel Maciel returned to the lineup. In three games he went 1-for-10 (.100). Gabe Snyder went 3-for-23 (.130), but he did have six walks. 
     
    Ft. Myers Might Mussels
    It has been a struggle for 19-year-old outfielder Misael Urbina since a strong first week. Over five games last week, Urbina went 1-for-16 (.063). 
     
    Trending Storyline 
    We have talked about this before. Age-to-level of competition is a factor in prospect rankings, but it doesn’t need to be a primary factor in roster decisions and promotions. That said, following a missed 2020 season due to the pandemic, many of the Twins prospects began this season one step ahead of where they ended 2019. Several stayed at the same level. I thought it would be interesting to see how the current average age of hitters and pitchers at each of the four Twins full-season affiliates compares to the past couple of pre-pandemic seasons. 
     
    LOW-A
    2018 Cedar Rapids: Hitters (20.9), Pitchers (21.4)
    2019 Cedar Rapids: Hitters (21.5), Pitchers (22.1)
    2021 Ft. Myers: Hitters (21.6), Pitchers (22.5)
    I would say that having Keoni Cavaco (20) and Misael Urbina (19) getting nearly everyday playing time helps keep the Low-A average age about the same. Again, many of these players were drafted in 2019 as 21-year-old college juniors (or 22-year-old seniors), and they’re just making their pro debuts (minus a few games at E-Town in 2019). 
     
    HIGH-A 
    2018 Ft. Myers: Hitters (22.2), Pitchers (23.5)
    2019 Ft. Myers: Hitters (21.8), Pitchers (22.8)
    2021 Cedar Rapids: Hitters (23.2), Pitchers (24.3) 
    Several of the primary players in Cedar Rapids are guys who were drafted out of college in 2019. They were 21, and some of them got a little time in Low A Cedar Rapids at the end of that season, but they are now two years older. And the players from that previous draft are now 24 and 25, but they played in Low-A and 22 and 23. On the pitching side, you’ve got Jordan Gore who has moved to pitcher after playing shortstop in the system for a few years. He’s 26 with a 96 mph fastball and three pitches, so it’s a good move to keep him. Zach Featherstone was drafted as an OF/1B out of college but quickly was shifted to a pitcher, and then he needed Tommy John surgery in 2018. 
     
    DOUBLE-A
    2018 Chattanooga: Hitters (24.3), Pitchers (25.3)
    2019 Pensacola: Hitters (23.4), Pitchers (24.3)
    2021 Wichita: Hitters (25.1), Pitchers (25.2) 
    There is a bit of a jump in the hitters’ age, and that makes a lot of sense. These are the most advanced of the prospects that unfortunately missed a season. Most of the prospects here would have likely played in Double-A a year ago. So that is noteworthy, but Peter Mooney is 30 and playing about 75-80% of the time. The same story with the pitchers who are, on average, just under a year older than in 2019. That said, they’re at essentially the same age as 2018, which is a good reminder that these numbers can vary. 
     
    TRIPLE-A 
    2018 Rochester: Hitters (27.2), Pitchers (25.5)
    2019 Rochester: Hitters (27.2), Pitchers (26.3)
    2021 St. Paul: Hitters (28.1), Pitchers (27.5)
    If not for the Twins' plethora of injuries, Kirilloff (23), Larnach (24), Rortvedt (23). Instead, they found themselves in a position to sign 34-year-old Daniel Descalso and play him nearly every day. And now Ryan Jeffers (24) is back in the big leagues. 
    The pitcher ages are a little higher than they have been, but that number could (or should) come down by the end of the season as I would think we would see Josh Winder, Jordan Balazovic and Cole Sands work some Triple-A innings, and Duran will certainly get more before he would be promoted. 
    One thing to watch, as the injuries are piling up now, and the Twins continue to sign players out of independent leagues, those players may alter these numbers, so it will be interesting to see how they look at season’s end. And, ultimately, it won’t matter. Players need to develop at the right pace for them individually, and if players are performing, they’ll move up. 
     
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    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). This was requested in the comments last week. Let me know if it provides value. 
    #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – St. Paul (2 rehab games, went 3-6 with 2 homers, 2 K), Minnesota (28 games, .238/.277/.410 (.686) with 6 doubles, 4 homers, 18 RBI, 6 BB, 30 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 (25 games, .247/.389/.438 (.827) with 5 doubles, 3 homers, 8 RBI, 13 BB, 26 K) 
    #4 - Ryan Jeffers (Minnesota) – St. Paul (24 games, .217/.340/.446 (.786) with four doubles, five homers, 16 BB, 26 K), Minnesota (15 games, .200/.245/.380 (.625) with one double, one triple, two home runs, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 21 K)
    #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – 2 GS, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 14 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP 
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – 1 GS, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.90 WHIP 
    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 24 games, .242/.314/.316 (.630) with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 1 homer, 11 RBI, 9 BB, 30 K, 4 SB
    #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 28 games, .173/.372/.286 (.658) with 5 doubles, 2 homers, 7 RBI, 28 BB, 44 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 (went on IL with right elbow strain) 
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesotal) – Wichita (21 games, .250/.344/.381 (.725) with 5 doubles, 2 homers. 11 BB, 24 K), Minnesota (4 games, .000/.000/.000 (.000) with 0 BB, 4 K)
    #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (24 games, .238/.380/.513 (.893) with one double, 7 homers, 18 BB, 31 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 with wrist injury)
    #14 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – Ft. Myers (22 games, .177/.292/.241 (532) with 1 double, 2 triples, 15 RBI, 11 BB, 21 K, 3 SB)
    #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Wichita (6 GS, 26.1 IP, 21 H, 15 BB, 34 K, 3.42 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) 
    #16 - Edwar Colina (Minnesota) - 60-Day IL (elbow)
    #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – St. Paul (5 games, .286/.318/.571 (.890) with3 doubles, 1 homer, 1 BB, 6 K), Minnesota (15 games, .147/.216/.235 (452) with 1 homer, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 15 K)
    #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured)
    #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 29 games, .322/.394/.557 (950) with 6 doubles, 7 homers, 27 RBI. 10 BB, 14 K
    #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 (2 GS, 8.0 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 5.63 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) 
     
    LOOKING AHEAD
    Ft. Myers @ Jupiter (Sawyer Gipson-Long, Louie Varland, Sean Mooney, Miguel Rodriguez, Brent Headrick, TBD): 
    Cedar Rapids @ Beloit:(TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD, TBD)
    Wichita @ Tulsa: (Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Jordan Balazovic, Chris Vallimont,  Austin Schulfer, Josh Winder) 
    Omaha @ St. Paul: (Charlie Barnes, Kenta Maeda (rehab), Jhoan Duran, Andrew Albers, 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.
  17. Haha
    h2oface reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Tenth Twins Player On Injured List Triggers Valuable Savings   
    Caleb “Meat Raffle” Thielbar landed on the Minnesota Twins injured list Thursday with a strained groin, joining Byron Buxton, Mitch Garver, Kenta Maeda, Max Kepler, Luis Arraez, Devin Smeltzer, Rob Refsnyder, Jake Cave, and Edwar Colina. While this staggering list of casualties is alarming for both the front office and Twins fans, it’s a blessing in disguise for the team’s accountants.
    “We have ten players on the injured list,” said a senior employee with knowledge of the situation. “Next one’s free.”
    Multiple sources confirmed that the Minnesota Twins purchased the Major League Baseball Silver Plan for health insurance, which contains a codicil for catastrophic injuries stating that every player over the tenth on a team’s injured list will have all medical expenses covered.
    “It’s supposed to be triggered by acts of god, a tornado landing in the bullpen, Kent Hrbek bringing room temperature ‘guaca-mayo’ to the clubhouse, things like that,” said the source. “But the rapid accumulation of injuries did the trick.”
    This is a major change from previous years, when the notoriously thrifty team stuck with MLB’s Mild Bronze Plan, in which snake handlers, disgraced veterinarians, and bloodletters were considered primary care physicians, Tylenol cost $800 per bottle, and the only in-network hospital was the abandoned church in Stull, Kansas.
    “Given the pace of injuries, we expect at least 1-3 more Twins to be eligible for free care before players return to the active list,” said the source. “Did that Chinese satellite ever land? You’ve gotta figure it’s gonna fall right on Josh Donaldson’s calf. Hell, I’m calling it now.”
    NOTE: The interview with the source was cut short when a swarm of cicadas attacked J.A. Happ’s face.
  18. Like
    h2oface reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, 5 Most Disappointing Minnesota Twins Players in May   
    There were some bright spots in May, certainly more than there were in April, but another losing month is still dissatisfying. If you’re looking for a bit more balanced look back at the month with a few positive notes mixed in, here’s a video I recorded on the team’s ups and downs for the month.
    Just want to dwell on the downs? Let’s do it. This is my list of five, it’s subjective and partially based on expectations. Share the guys you were most disappointed in down in the comments.
    Nelson Cruz 
    Is it age, injuries or just a bad stretch of luck? Cruz hit .221/.302/.360 (.662 OPS) in May. It’ll come as no surprise that is his worst month as a Twin, but this is the lowest OPS he’s posted in a month since June of 2015.
    Cruz was hit in the wrist by a pitch on May 20 and went 2-for-18 for the rest of the month. With all the other injuries to other veterans this team needs Cruz to be the guy. Here’s hoping the further we get away from that wrist injury the better he starts to look.
    Josh Donaldson
    Donaldson’s overall line wasn’t exactly a trainwreck, he hit .222/.328/.404 (.732 OPS) in May. That was aided by closing on a game in which he reached base four times. The real problem with his performance was what he did in high-leverage situations.
    Donaldson was 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position and hit .158/.208/.211 in 24 plate appearances in those situations. He entered the final day of the month with the worst WPA among all Twins hitters. Thankfully, hitting with runners in scoring position isn’t very predictive, so there’s no reason to believe Donaldson won’t bring in more runs this month.
    J.A. Happ
    One of the biggest bummers of May was the Twins went 1-5 against the Chicago White Sox. Happ was part of the reason why the Twins did so poorly, giving up 15 earned runs in seven innings pitched across two starts against the Sox. 
    Happ had an 8.49 ERA in five starts during May and opponents hit a ridiculous .320/.380/.567 (.947 OPS) against him.
    Jorge Alcala
    This may seem like a surprising entry on the list, but I was really hoping Alcala could emerge as a solution to fixing some of the Twins’ bullpen woes. He may ultimately prove to be just that, but he didn’t take advantage of the opportunities provided to him in May.
    Alcala had a 4.35 ERA and 1.07 WHIP on the month, but issued nearly as many walks (five) as he had strikeouts (six) in 10 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up a two-run homer in the sixth inning of a tie game against Chicago and another two-run homer in the eighth inning while trying to protect a one-run lead against Baltimore. 
    I would have love to see him shine in those moments. Maybe next time.
    Andrelton Simmons
    I’m just done with this guy. Not really in a “I think the Twins should release him” type of way, because he’s one of their few healthy regulars. More in a “I don’t like watching baseball whenever he’s hitting” kind of way.
    Simmons wasn’t brought in for his bat, of course, but he hit .228/.297/.304 (.601 OPS) in May with 21 strikeouts, the most he’s recorded in one month ever. He entered this year with a strikeout rate below 10%, which is basically the only interesting thing about him offensively. He struck out in 20.8% of his plate appearances in May.
    The last bit of disappointing news to go over is that you all are going to have to put up with seeing more junk like this from me. I have stepped down from the content editor role I’ve served in here at Twins Daily since March of 2018 and will instead be focusing my efforts solely on content creation once again. Deal with it.
  19. Like
    h2oface reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Six-Game Series   
    For this week again, let’s start with a Question of the Week. Leave your responses in the Comments section.  
    Question of the Week: Who do you think will be in the Twins Opening Day starting rotation in 2024? 
    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. 
    With that, let’s look at Week 3 in the Twins minor leagues: 
    RESULTS
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (2-4 hosting Indianapolis), overall (7-11) Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (3-3 at Tulsa), overall (11-7) High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (2-4, hosting Beloit), overall (8-10) Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (2-4 at Tampa), overall (8-10) 
    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
    With the Twins struggles early this season, we have had a lot of minor league articles including articles on players who could be promoted and the daily minor league reports. 
    Twins Minor League Week in Review: A Nice Distraction  Tuesday: Enlow Sets Career-High  Cedar Rapids Kernels Pitching Reports: Matt Canterino  Wednesday: Longball Happy in Wichita  Thursday: Five for the Price of Four, Wallner Shines (again)  Friday: Late-Inning Drama and Disappointment  Twins Top Prospect Jhoan Duran Deals in Season Debut  Saturday: Hungry Like the Wolf (Duran’s First 2021 Start) Building a Pitching Pipeline  Sunday: Starting Strong 
    News & Notes 
    Let’s start with the Monday transactions since we don’t have a daily minor league report. 
    Trey Cabbage promoted from Cedar Rapids to Wichita.  Max Smith promoted from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids.  RHP Donny Breek transferred from Ft. Myers to the development complex.  It was a big week for the St. Paul Saints off the field. On Saturday, they played their first of eight games on Bally Sports Network North. Their TV package now includes 28 of their 60 home games. In addition, Sunday afternoon’s game was on KFAN. Several more Sunday Saints games will air on KFAN. Their games regularly air on KFAN+. 
    On Sunday, the Saints scored five runs. It was just the fourth time this season they had scored more than four runs. That said, they also are second in the Triple-A East by hitting .310 in the first inning. (Thank you Nick Gordon!) However, they are hitting over .250 in only one other inning (5th, .284). 
    Also on Sunday, Tom Hackimer recorded his first Triple-A save. It was only the second Saints save in 18 games (7 wins). Interestingly, in the Saints’ 11 losses, their opponents have not yet recorded a save. 
    If you want to watch the Saints on the road, Des Moines is not a far drive down I-35! 
     
    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 3 performances too. 
    Twins Player of the Week: Matt Wallner, Cedar Rapids Kernels  
    For the week, Wallner played in five games and hit .450/.450/.900 (1.350). He had nine hits in 20 at-bats including a double, a triple and two home runs. He has played in 17 of the Kernels 18 games this season. He is hitting .333/.384/.621 (1.005) with three doubles, two triples and four home runs. In 73 plate appearances, he has five walks and 28 strikeouts. 
    Following a four-hit game this week, manager Brian Dinkelman said, “He squared some balls up really well, hit that big home run to give us the lead. Matt’s a good hitter when he stays in the zone and doesn’t expand too much.” 
    Wallner pointed out, “I think I’ve done a better job of hitting the ball to all fields. I feel better trying to stay up the middle as opposed to being a pull-only hitter. I feel better with that, and I’m more comfortable with velocity. I feel good about that.”
    Wallner was the Twins 32nd round pick in 2016 out of Forest Lake High School where he named Mr. Minnesota Baseball. He went to Southern Mississippi where he became a power-hitting All American. The Twins took him with the 39th overall pick in the 2019 draft and he signed. 
     
     
    Twins Pitcher of the Week: Matt Canterino, Cedar Rapids Kernels   
    On Friday night in Cedar Rapids, Canterino struck out a career-high 10 batters over six innings. He gave up two hits, one was a solo home run. He has now made three starts this year and is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP. In 14 innings, he has walked three and struck out 25 batters (16.1 K/9). 
    Canterino said, “You just want to make good pitches early in the count, in the zone, and force them to do something with it. There are so many swings and misses and so many easy outs to be had if you’re in the strike zone early on. It’s important to do that. Hitting is so tough. So if you’re in the zone early on with a couple of different pitches, you often find yourself in good counts where you’ll be able to get a strikeout in the end.
    Canterino was the Twins 2nd round draft pick in June of 2019 out of Rice University. Between a couple of GCL appearances and five starts at then-Low-A Cedar Rapids, he went 1-1 with a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings. He walked eight and struck out 31 batters. 
    Manager Brian Dinkelman said, “He’s just throwing the ball really well for us right now. He gives us good starts, keeps us in the game. We’re excited about the way he throws the ball, and he keeps progressing and get himself to the big leagues hopefully one of these days.” 
    Other Strong Performances this Week
    Nick Gordon, St. Paul Saints: Gordon started the week with two hits but left that game with a minor hamstring injury that cost him a couple of games. He returned, kept hitting and was called up to the Twins (again) three times. In his three games, he hit .500/.545/.500 (1.045). 
    Jimmy Kerrigan, St. Paul Saints: On the week, Kerrigan played all six games and hit .250/.286/.600 (.886), but he had a walkoff single and two big home runs. Also, on Sunday, he threw out two baserunners at home. 
    Mark Contreras, Wichita Wind Surge: The Gold Glove outfielder provided good power for the Wind Surge this week. He hit .261/.346/.565 (.911) with a double and two home runs. Ernie De La Trinidad hit .353 with a double.  
    Jair Camargo, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The 21-year-old backstop has been impressive behind the plate and at the plate. This week, he hit .300/.300/.750 (1.050) with three home runs. He also picked off two base runners at first base. 
    Michael Helman, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The nearly-everyday utility player got off to a rough start. In the season’s first week, he went 0-for-12, though we noted that he walked four times and put together good at-bats. In week three, he played all six games and hit .294/.368/.647 (1.015) with two homers.  
    Charlie Mack, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: The former infielder-turned-catcher played four games for the week. He hit .333/.556/.833 (1.389) with two homers and four RBI. In addition, he walked six ties and struck out four times.  
    Edouard Julien, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: It was another strong week for the infielder from Canada via Auburn. For the week, he hit .421/.621/.526 (1.147) with two doubles. The on-base machine walked nine times and struck out just five times. In addition, he stole six bases in six attempts.  
    Anthony Prato, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Like Helman, Prato was drafted as an infielder, but now he is playing all over the infield and the outfield too. He hit .348/.464/.435 (.899) with two doubles. He also walked five times. 
    Kyle Schmidt, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: The catcher is on this list for a second straight week. In four games, he hit .353/.421/.529 (.950) with three more doubles.  
    Regi Grace, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Grace posted the best start of his minor league career this week when he gave up just one hit over five shutout innings. He walked three and struck out six batters. 
    Casey Legumina, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: The righty came out of the bullpen on Sunday and worked 4 1/3 innings. He was perfect until the final batter he faced who hit a solo homer. He struck out eight batters. 
    Bradley Hanner, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: He gave up two runs (1 earned) on zero hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings in his relief outing. He struck out five batters. 
    ‘Blayne Enlow, Cedar Rapids Kernels: Enlow struck out a career-high ten batters over 5 2/3 innings. He gave up one run on three hits and walked three. 
    Kody Funderburk, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The lefty needed just 55 pitches to complete 5 2/3 innings in his start. He gave up one run on two hits and a walk while striking out three batters. 
    Tyler Beck, Cedar Rapids Kernels: Beck gave up just one run on one hit and one walk over five innings. He struck out four batters. It was the first start of his professional career. 
    Jordan Gore, Cedar Rapids Kernels: His transition from shortstop to pitcher is going pretty well. He pitched twice this week and gave up one run on four hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out eight batters and didn’t walk any. 
    Josh Winder, Wichita Wind Surge: Winder made one start in Tulsa and worked four innings. He gave up no runs and no hits over four innings. He walked one and struck out four batters. Then the rains came and he did not come back into the game after the delay. 
    Cole Sands, Wichita Wind Surge: In his start, Sands gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine batters without walking anyone. 
    Chris Vallimont, Wichita Wind Surge: In his first start of the season, he went 4 2/3 innings. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked two and struck out eight batters. 
    Yennier Cano, Wichita Wind Surge: Cano pitched 2 1/3 innings over two games. He gave up zero runs and zero hits. He walked two, but six of the seven outs he recorded were on strikeouts. 
    Chandler Shepherd, St. Paul Saints: Called upon to start when Bailey Ober was called up to the Twins, Shepherd gave up one run on four hits over four innings. He struck out six batters. 
    Andrew Vasquez, St. Paul Saints: The lefty gave up just one hit over 3 1/3 innings in two games. However, one of those games covered two days. He pitched the eighth inning of the game that was then suspended by rain. The next day, he pitched the ninth inning. He struck out five batters.
    Jhoan Duran, St. Paul Saints: The flamethrowing right-hander made his first appearance of the 2021 season, and his first Triple-A start, on Saturday night. He gave up one run on four hits and a walk over three innings. He struck out six batters. Of course, the highlight was seeing him hit 102 and 103 mph on the Saints radar gun.  
     
    Lowlight and Highlight?
    In Week 2, Wichita’s Austin Schulfer’s start was 5 1/3 scoreless innings. This Tuesday in Tulsa, he was charged with eight runs (7 earned) on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter in 2 2/3 innings. On Sunday, also in Tulsa, Schulfer did not allow a hit until there was one out in the seventh inning. He walked one and hit one batter. He got one more strikeout, his sixth of the game, and then was removed after 6 2/3 scoreless innings. 
    St. Paul Saints starter Griffin Jax had a rough start this past week. On Monday, he was charged with seven runs on nine hits and a walk in his start against Indianapolis. Then on Sunday, he gave up just one run on seven hits and a walk. He struck out eight batters. 
    On Friday night, Tom Hackimer made his Triple-A debut and got two outs, but he walked three batters and hit one. He did strike out the two batters he got out. On Sunday, he came on to protect a 5-4 Saints lead in the ninth inning. He gave up one hit, but then struck out three batters to record the save. 
     
    Lowlights
    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.  
    Daniel Descalso, St. Paul Saints: The Twins signed Descalso almost two weeks ago. The ten-year-MLB veteran did not play in the big leagues in 2020 after spending half of the 2019 season with the Cubs. He just wants to keep playing and the Twins have a need for infielders in the system. He played in five games this past week, and he went 0-for-16 with four walks and eight strikeouts.  
    Ryan Jeffers, St. Paul Saints: Jeffers played in all six games. However, he hit just .105/.280/.158 (.438) with a double. He walked and struck out five times. 
    Brent Rooker, St. Paul Saints: Rooker played in four games this past week and missed the last two games with a minor injury. For the week, he hit .143/.278/.143 (.421). He had three walks but also five strikeouts. 
    JT Riddle/Keon Broxton: St. Paul Saints: I figured I would lump these two veterans together since they both posted OPS of .461 for the week. Broxton hit .150/.222/.472 with a double. Riddle hit .174/.200/.261
    Andrew Bechtold, Wichita Wind Surge: In four games, Bechtold hit .143/.250/.214 (.464) with a double. 
    Tyler Palm, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The lanky right-hander worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up five runs on four hits, a walk and two hit batters. He did strike out three batters. 
    Misael Urbina, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: He was on the highlights list last week, and this week, the 19-year-old potential future star is on the other list.  He hit .120/.267/.120 (.387) with nine strikeouts and three walks.  
    Aaron Sabato, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: The Sabato struggles continued in Week 3.  He hit .091/.286/.136 (.422) with a double. He continues to walk a bunch, but he also struck out ten times in 28 plate appearances. 
    Keoni Cavaco, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: In six games, Cavaco hit .174/.240/.174 (.414) with two walks and nine strikeouts. 

    It was a very rough week for the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels pitchers. Donny Breek, a right-hander from The Netherlands, pitched twice and got a total of two outs. He was charged with eight runs on four hits and seven walks. Lefty Zarion Sharpe came up for his pro debut after being signed after the 2020 draft. Over three games, he got six outs (three strikeouts) and gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks. On Sunday, he pitched a scoreless inning. Steven Cruz made a start and didn’t get out of the first inning. He walked four batters and hit one other batter. Both outs he got were on strikeouts. Brent Headrick was good in his first two starts, but it didn’t go as well in Start #3. He gave up eight runs (7 earned) on nine hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. And, while he still struck out six batters in three innings, Louie Varland also gave up six runs (4 earned) on seven hits and two walks. 
     
    Trending Storyline 
    With the minor league re-alignment also came a new schedule format. All four Twins affiliates will play six game series and have Mondays off for travel or just for a day off. 
    Before the season started, Toby Gardnhire said that it might be an adjustment, and there are potential concerns
    “It’s going to be different. There are going to be challenges because you’re seeing the same guys in the lineup all week long, and you’re seeing some of the same pitchers. If a team has one of our hitters figured out, then that hitter is going to have to figure out how to make some adjustments pretty quick or he’s going to be owned for six days in a row. You worry about guys getting into fights on the field. Usually with a three-game series, if tempers flare in the second or third game, by the time you see them again, it’s a month later and things have cooled down. Now you’re playing six games.” 
    On the other side, "The good part of a six-game series is the travel. We don’t have as many road trips. Once we get to a place, we’re able to stay there for six days. Scouts. Coaches. They’re able to come in. There are a lot of benefits. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be different. I’m excited about it. It’s going to be fun.” 
    Brian Dinkelman, the Kernels manager said, “It’s something that we’re going to learn about this year. It’s uncommon. You’re going to face multiple pitchers and hitters throughout the six game series. There hasn’t been a lot of discussion (between the minor league managers). I think it’s something we’re just going to have to feel out as the season goes on. Logistically, with travel, it’s better for players and staff. You’re not on the road as much or having late-night commutes. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m looking forward to it.” 
    Ft. Myers manager Brian Meyer was named the Mighty Mussels manager about a month before the season began. He thinks the six-game schedule is ideal for the Low-A level, especially this year. “I actually like it because, especially at our level right now, this is some players' first time traveling in the States. We play Bradenton 24 times. Especially this year, it’s just important that we play. But from a travel standpoint, it’s great. Getting every Monday off to clear their heads, get away from baseball and come back fresh on Tuesday. I see this as very beneficial for them in terms of their development.” 
    It isn’t completely foreign to some in the organization. Ramon Borrego is the manager of the Double-A Wichita Wind Surge. He was the manager in Pensacola in 2019 as well. In the Southern League, they played five-game series in the past. 
    He said, “It was good because you play and you have Mondays off. Let’s see what we get. So far. So good.” 
    Brent Rooker said, “The six game series is definitely something a little bit different, it’s something a lot of guys will have to get used to. It’s obviously another day longer than anything we have done in the past. We had five-game series in the Southern League in AA in Chattanooga. That obviously felt long. Six games is just an extra day.”
    Rooker added that another benefit of the Twins having their Triple-A affiliate in St. Paul rather than Rochester, especially for the guys who have gone back and forth. “It makes our lives significantly easier. My wife is up here with me. The ability to have one apartment for an entire season and to know we have a home base and that’s where we’re going to be no matter where I’m at is a huge relief. It’s a massive burden off my mind trying to find a way to move back and forth if that’s the case. It’s a lot easier for guys with families. We talk about that all the time. It’s a massive benefit. It’s a huge weight off our shoulders for sure. 
     
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects have performed on the season. This was requested in the comments earlier in the week. Let me know if it provides value. 
    #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – St. Paul (2 rehab games, went 3-6 with 2 homers, 2 K), Minnesota (15 games, .218/.241/.491 (.732) with 3 doubles, 4 homers, 14 RBI, 2 BB, 16 K)
    #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
    #3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – St. Paul (3 games, went 3-11 with two homers, two walks, 8 strikeouts), Minnesota (14 games, .186/.314/.326 (.639) with 3 doubles, 1 homer, 2 RBI, 7 BB, 14 K) 
    #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – St. Paul (18 games, .222/.325/.429 (.753) with four doubles, three homers, 10 BB, 16 K), Minnesota (11 games, .147/.216/.176 (.393) with one doubles, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 18 K)
    #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – St. Paul (1 GS, 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 3.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP) 
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back)
    #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – Ft. Myers (18 games, .243/.321/.314 (.635) with 2 doubles, 1 homer, 8 RBI, 7 BB, 23 K, 4 SB)
    #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – Ft. Myers (18 games, .143/.349/.238 (.588) with 3 doubles, 1 homer, 5 RBI, 17 BB, 31 K) 
    #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Cedar Rapids ( 3 GS, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 25 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP)
    #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Cedar Rapids (3 GS, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 6 BB, 23 K, 1.84 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) 
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – Wichita (15 games, .214/.343/.304 (.647) with 2 doubles, 1 homer. 10 BB, 17 K). 
    #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – St. Paul (15 games, .191/.381/.383 (.764) with three homers, 15 BB, 17 K), Minnesota (8 games, .103/.133/.241 (375) with 1 double, 1 homer, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 13 K)
    #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – Cedar Rapids (17 games, .333/.384/.621 (1.005) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 4 homers, 14 RBI, 5 BB, 28 K). 
    #14 - Misael Urbina (Ft. Myers) – Ft. Myers (12 games, .214/.353/.214 (567) with 7 RBI, 7 BB, 11 K, 3 SB)
    #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Wichita (4 GS, 18.0 IP, 12 H, 9 BB, 22 K, 3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) 
    #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow)
    #17 - Ben Rortvedt (St.Paul) – St. Paul (1 game, went 2-4, 2B), Minnesota (12 games, .160/.250/.160 (.410) with 2 RBI, 2 BB, 10 K)
    #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (injured)
    #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – Wichita (18 games, .309/.372/.574 (945) with 3 doubles, 5 homers, 17 RBI. 5 BB, 10 K)
    #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – St. Paul (2 GS, 7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.14 WHIP), Minnesota (1 GS, 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 9.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) 
     
    LOOKING AHEAD
    Ft. Myers @ Lakeland (Brent Headrick, Regi Grace, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Louie Varland, Casey Legumina, Hunter McMahon): 
    Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids: (Tyler Beck, Kody Funderburk, Matt Canterino, Andrew Cabezas, Ben Gross, Blayne Enlow)
    Springfield @ Wichita: (Bryan Sammons, Cole Sands, Chris Vallimont, Austin Schulfer, Josh Winder, Bryan Sammons) 
    St. Paul @ Iowa: (Bailey Ober, Charlie Barnes, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, Chandler Shepherd, Bailey Ober): 

     
    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. Haha
    h2oface reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Rare Unwritten Rule Triggers Name Change for Minnesota Twins   
    When the Minnesota Twins took the field against the Los Angeles Angels for the second half of Thursday’s doubleheader, they technically weren’t the Minnesota Twins. In the latest twist involving baseball’s unwritten rules and the franchise, the road team was officially the Cocaine Dentists.
    “I’ve been in the game my whole life and this was news to me,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “But we’ve gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches this year, and now it’s up to us to go out there and play Cocaine Dentists baseball.”
    The unwritten rule stems from a turn-of-the-century handshake deal between a consortium of team owners and Philadelphia dentist Leo Thurm, who advertised himself as “the leading practitioner of cocaine dentistry and orthodonture in the Delaware Valley.” Thurm and the owners agreed that if any team in the league loses twice as many games as they've won, that team must change its name to Cocaine Dentists if the deciding loss comes in the first half of a doubleheader. When Los Angeles sent the Twins to a 14-28 record on Thursday afternoon, the rule was triggered. The team must now go by the name for the next two weeks.
    “As you can guess by the name, there is no written record of this transaction,” said Society for American Baseball Research CEO Scott Bush. “There’ve been whispers of it from guys like (longtime baseball journalist) Peter Gammons, but I don’t think anyone believed it despite it being just as deeply, deeply stupid as all the other unwritten rules. Then Wednesday happens and the Twins are the Cocaine Dentists for a while.”
    Cocaine, which is now illegal, was used as an oral anesthetic at the time of Thurm’s practice. Per Bush, it would behoove the Twins to get themselves out of the American League cellar, and not just because of a restless fan base.
    “If the any team gets no-hit three times, it’s alleged that the team with the worst record in the league must take the name of Thurm’s other business venture for the remainder of the season,” said Bush. “Seattle, Cleveland, and Texas have all been no-hit twice and it's not even June yet. I don't know that the public is ready for the Minnesota Thurm's Miracle Tincture to Increase Vitality and Good Bodily Humours in Your Colicky Newborn. Also, the tincture in question was just opium cut with Dr. Pepper and more opium.”
    As of this writing, Minnesota Cocaine Dentists hats, jerseys, and clothing all sit at number one in the MLB.com online store.
  21. Like
    h2oface reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Twins Bring On Bob Baffert in Consultant Role   
    With the Minnesota Twins 2021 season on the precipice of disaster, the team’s front office made it clear that they are willing to think outside the box in their efforts to salvage it.
    Bob Baffert, the scandal-ridden trainer of champion racehorses, has been brought on as a consultant and assistant nutritionist for the remainder of the 2021 campaign.
    “His track record speaks for itself,” said Twins GM Thad Levine. “We’re not at all ready to give up on this year, we know we have playoff-caliber talent. Bob’s here to make sure we get the most out of it.”
    Baffert’s horses have won 16 Triple Crown races, but those victories have come with no small amount of controversy. Baffert-trained horses have failed multiple drug tests over his four decades in the sport, including four in 2020 and his most recent Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit.
    “We’re aware of the incident but we can’t comment on an ongoing investigation,” said Levine. “Bob said it won’t be a distraction and the culture Rocco (Baldelli) has built in our clubhouse ensures that it won’t.”
    Through a spokesperson, Baffert said he’s unconcerned with the transition from horse racing to baseball.
    “Horses run around the track. Players run around the bases. Same skill set, same concept. To suggest otherwise is a perfect example of cancel culture, frankly.”
    Twins players can best be described as intrigued but skeptical.
    “I guess I don’t mind the front office trying to shake things up,” said Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson. “But it’s weird. (Baffert) doesn’t call us by our actual names and has given us all horse names. I’m Midnight Son. (Jorge) Polanco is Timberline. And he keeps rubbing our haunches and asking if we’d like some more hay.”
    A clubhouse source said the 5-gallon buckets labeled “DINGER JUICE” and “STRIKEOUT BUTTER” observed by multiple reporters are “just standard training room fare.” The source also characterized inquiries about the contents of mason jars with “COSMONAUT URINE” emblazoned on the lids as “you sound like a cop, and you have to tell me if you’re a cop, I know my rights Obama.”
    Baffert’s only previous baseball experience was as a bench coach for the 2005 Florida Marlins, which is perhaps best remembered for the day Josh Beckett threw a 117 mph fastball against the Colorado Rockies before injuring his shoulder and being destroyed on the mound during Take Your Child to a Ballgame Day.
    (H/T to local man Jim Andrews for the inspiration.)
  22. Thanks
    h2oface reacted to Parker Hageman for an article, Twins Pitching Staff Has A Sinister Problem   
    Left-handed hitters have decimated Twins’ pitching to the tune of .301/.377/.563, leading to the worst OPS against in baseball. Essentially, they are turning every hitter on the left side into Bryce Harper. 
    In fact, if the season ended today, that .940 OPS against left-handed hitters would be the worst on record dating back to at least 1990. Only three teams have finished the season with an OPS above .900 against left-handed hitters -- the 1999 Colorado Rockies (.917), the 1994 Texas Rangers (.907) and the 2000 Houston Astros (.903). 
    Fortunately for the Twins, the season does not end today -- with all the new rules I had to double-check -- but this is a historically bad pace. In a time where everything is skewed toward pitching, not being able to get hitters out is a huge problem. Since most teams started shifting heavily on lefties, their overall performance has tanked. The current league-wide OPS for left-handed hitters is at .704 -- only 2014’s .701 OPS was worse.
    Unlike the previous situation where the underlying metrics suggested (as Beck famously added to one of his songs), things are going to change, I can feel it, the pitching staff is getting hit hard across the board. Opponents average a 90.1 mph exit velocity, the second highest in baseball, while nearly 46% of the balls put into play are 95 mph or higher, also the second highest. A year ago, as they cruised to a division title, the Twins had one of the lowest marks in either category. 
    The starting rotation is faring slightly better than the bullpen (867 OPS vs 1.049 OPS) but  right-handers Matt Shoemaker (1.023), Kenta Maeda (.980), and Jose Berrios (.961) have a big problem to solve. 
    The 2020 Twins starters kept lefties subdued with a barrage of non-fastballs. Nearly 60% of incoming pitches were not of the fastball variety and lefties had a 495 OPS against them, the second lowest in baseball. This year, while still throwing a high percentage of non-fastballs, left-handed hitters have a 756 OPS against those. Both Berrios (874 OPS) and Maeda (867) are struggling to keep them off of their breaking ball and changeup combinations -- which is surprising when you consider they both finished last year with those numbers 300 points lower. 
    The larger issue is that bullpen, an area in which match-ups can be somewhat controlled, is failing even worse than the rotation. 
    Both Cody Stashak and Jorge Alcala have OPS figures above 1.400 in 36 match-ups against lefties, albeit in lower leverage situations. Alexander Colomẽ has been almost equally as bad (1.156) in 27 plate appearances (17 of those coming in high leverage situations). Perhaps most frustrating has been the performance of left-handed pitchers Caleb Thielbar (1.189 OPS in 20 plate appearances) and Taylor Rogers (.947 OPS in 19 plate appearances).  
    There are adjustments that need to be made. Maeda and Berrios are better than their numbers indicate. Maeda needs to find his release point for his slider and changeup. Berrios needs to determine which combination to use to get lefties out. Shoemaker needs to...do a lot of things. Many of the arms in the bullpen are capable of getting outs and the numbers are likely to improve over a larger sampling. 
    If the Twins can fix this problem --  and do so in a hurry -- they might have a chance to get back in the race.
     
  23. Thanks
    h2oface reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Six Down, 114 To Go   
    How nice was it to see minor league baseball return this week? And, hopefully you have enjoyed the return of the Twins Minor League Reports each day on this site. 
    I had a great time watching and covering the start of the Cedar Rapids Kernels season from Cedar Rapids. Those that follow me on Instagram or Twitter likely saw that I took approximately 2.3 million pictures over four days. I enjoyed the time and was able to see the Kernels jump up to High-A after being the team’s Low-A affiliate for the previous eight years. 
    My plan is to do a weekly Twins Minor League Week in Review. It will be similar to Nick’s Twins Week in Review, but I will instead be highlighting the goings-on in the Twins farm system. My intent is to show top performers for the week as well as discuss some storylines developing in the system. 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. 
    With that, let’s look at Week 1 in the Twins minor leagues: 
    Results
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (2-4 at Omaha), overall (2-4)
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (5-1 at Springfield), overall (5-1)
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (5-1, hosting Peoria), overall (5-1)
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: Week (3-3, at Bradenton), overall (3-3) 
     
    News & Notes 
    For those of you looking to attend CHS Field for the St. Paul Saints first games as the Twins AAA affiliate, tickets are still available. Check out their website for ticket availability and information. 
    We may have less (though hopefully more and more) readers in the Wichita area, but they also have tickets available for their home opening series against Amarillo. Tickets also available in Ft. Myers as they start their home schedule on Tuesday as well. 
    Wichita opened their new $90 million ballpark, Riverfront Stadium, on April 10th when Wichita State played the University of Houston. Did you know, the last time a MLB-affiliated game was played in Wichita was in August of 2007. 
    Catcher David Banuelos began his season with the Wichita Wind Surge. He did leave the team this weekend, but for good reason. He and his wife are expecting their first child so he is back home. So while he went just 1-for-13 at the plate, this will be a good week for the catcher. 
     
    Highlights
    It’s always nice to start the season on a good note. We are all paying attention early in the season, and then we start looking at season numbers. It’s also a fun time to see players making their professional debuts, or returning from injury, or switching positions, and those are fun to cover as well. 
    We will start with the Twins choices for Hitter and Pitcher of the Week (which is announced on Sunday mornings). 
    Twins Player of the Week: Jose Miranda, Wichita Wind Surge 
    Splitting his time between second base and third base, Miranda provided some thump in the Wind Surge lineup. He hit .370/.414/.741 (1.155) with a double, three home runs and seven RBI. He has had at least one hit in all six games.  
    Twins Pitcher of the Week: Brent Headrick, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels 
    Headrick made one start for the Mussels and it went well. He threw four scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out seven batters. 
    Other Strong Starts
    Aaron Whitefield, Wichita Wind Surge: The speedy outfielder put together a very nice first series of the season. He had multiple hits in all six games. He hit .444/.500/.815 (1.315) with two doubles, a triple and two home runs. He also stole three bases. 
    Matt Wallner, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The Minnesota native who was twice drafted by the Twins got off to a strong start for the Kernels. He hit .381/.462/.810 (1.271) with a double, a triple, two home runs and eight RBI. 
     
    Caleb Hamilton, Wichita Wind Surge: Just before the season started, Hamilton was transferred from the alternate site in St. Paul to the Wichita roster. In four games, he is hitting .417/.611/.583 (1.194) with two doubles. He also had six walks to go with four strikeouts. 
    Edouard Julien, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: The 2019 draft pick hurt his elbow playing for Team Canada that summer. He had Tommy John surgery. So this week marked his professional debut. It went well. He hit .353/.577/588 (1.165) with two doubles and a triple. He also walked nine times compared to seven strikeouts. 
    Trey Cabbage, Cedar Rapids Kernels: He hit .313/.450/.625 (1.075) with a triple and a home run during the week. On Thursday, he went 4-for-4 with the home run, triple, two singles and a walk. All four hits were over 100 mph off the bat. On Opening Night, he also made a great diving catch out in left field.
     
     
    Yunior Severino, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: In five games this week, Severino hit .333/.400/.611 (1.011) with two doubles, a homer and eight RBI. 
    Andrew Vasquez, St. Paul Saints: The lefty reliever worked in three of the Saints six games and gave up just one hit over 3 ⅓ innings. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out six batters, harkening back to his remarkable 2018 season. 
    Cole Sands, Wichita Wind Surge: The 2018 draft pick went 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his 2021 debut. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out three batters. 
    Jovani Moran, Wichita Wind Surge: The lefty worked 3 1/3 scoreless relief innings over two appearances. He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out seven batters. 
    Hunter McMahon, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: The right-hander came to the Twins organization from the Nationals in the Ryne Harper trade. In his first appearance in the organization, he worked 4 2/3 innings and gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out six batters. 
    Randy Dobnak, St. Paul Saints: The righty tossed four scoreless innings for the Saints and gave up just two hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. In fact, he struck out the side in his final inning of work. 
    Kody Funderburk, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The southpaw was the Kernels opening night starter on Tuesday and worked three innings. He came in again on Sunday afternoon and recorded a two-inning save. In all, he gave up two unearned runs in five innings of work and struck out six batters. 
     
    Melvi Acosta, Cedar Rapids Kernels: Acosta worked 4 ⅓ scoreless innings over two appearances in Week 1. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out six batters. 
    Andrew Cabezas, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The righty came out of the bullpen and worked four scoreless innings in his 2021 debut. He gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out two batters. 
    Josh Winder, Wichita Wind Surge: Winder certainly has made a name for himself the past six months. Increased velocity and a strong spring training performance meant he skipped High-A ball and jumped right to AA where he was the team’s Opening Night starter. He also started on Sunday. Combined, he worked 9 2/3 innings and gave up just two runs. He struck out 11 batters. 
    Daniel Ozoria, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: On Sunday, the Mussels lost a crazy game by the score of 18-9. The team’s best pitcher in that game was Ozoria who worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up one hit. He walked one. He didn’t strike anyone out. But he was able to get the team through those final innings… Oh, Ozoria, he’s an infielder. 
     
    Great Comeback Stories
    Zach Featherstone, Cedar Rapids Kernels: The Twins drafted Featherstone in 2016 as a 1B/OF. In 2018, he made the transition to the mound. However, he hurt his elbow, rehabbed, and then after just three games in the GCL, he needed Tommy John surgery. He was ready to return late in 2019, but a hurricane ended the GCL season early. Then came COVID in 2020. On Thursday night, Featherstone returned to the mound in a game for the first time in nearly three years. The lefty was pumping 96 in his first inning and displaying some good secondary pitches too. He worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. 
    After the game, Featherstone said, “It was definitely cool to get back on the mound and be competitive.”
    Jon Olsen, Cedar Rapids Kernels: Olsen starred at UCLA, but early in the 2018 season, he needed Tommy John surgery. The Twins still drafted him in the 11th round that year. He rehabbed that year and in 2019. Olsen was looking strong and excited to get going in 2020, but then came COVID. On Sunday afternoon, he was finally able to make his professional debut. He worked four innings and gave up just one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out four batters. 
     
    Lowlights
    As those who have known me or have read what I’ve written over the last couple decades know, I generally tend to be positive. But for this report, I think having a small ‘Lowlights’ section makes sense. It is , in my mind, more of a reminder for all of us that even the top prospects are still developing. They’re still working on things. They aren’t finished products. So here are a few guys who have started their season slowly in the first week. 
    With the 27th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the Twins selected 1B Aaron Sabato from the University of North Carolina. While there were questions about his defense, the general belief is that he will hit and hit for power. It’s also possible that he could be a fast-riser through the system. He went to Twins spring training (development camp) and played a bunch late in big-league games. It may have surprised many that he began the season (and his professional career) in Low-A Ft. Myers. However, reports surfaced that he had struggled with the bat in minor league camp. 
    Through the season’s first six games, Sabato has started and batted third each game for the Mussels. He is hitting .095/.345/.095 (.440) with no extra base hits. He has walked seven times, but he’s struck out 11 times in his 29 plate appearances. What to do? Well, manager Brian Meyer will most likely play him each of the next six games at home this week, and bat him third, and he will continue to do that as long as Sabato remains with the Mighty Mussels. 
    Gilberto Celestino begins his 2021 campaign in Double-A Wichita despite ending the 2019 season with just eight games in High-A. He began the season by hitting .150/.292/.200 (.492) with one double. He has three hits in 20 at-bats. 

    Trending Storyline 
    It has been interesting to see how the pitching rotations for the Twins affiliates have been set up, especially with the two Class A affiliates. The idea, of course, is to protect the arms of these pitching prospects who were unable to work any official innings in 2020 due to the pandemic.
    On Thursday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels were behind by a score of 4-2 going into the ninth inning. On the mound for the Kernels in the top of the ninth inning… Gabe Snyder, the first baseman. The lefty was hitting 77 mph with his fastball, but he faced five batters, gave up three hits and walked two batters before being replaced by second baseman Yeltsin Encarnacion. Encarnacion gave up two more hits and a long home run, but he got three outs, including one on a strikeout (with an 86 mph fastball). The Kernels lone loss of the season was an 11-2 loss that night. So why did they need to throw a position player into a close game?
    After the game, Kernels manager Brian Dinkelman said, “With a bit of a shortened spring training, guys were not quite built up all the way. We know we have a limit of pitches, and ups and downs for guys. We used some guys the first couple of games. We had our guys that were available tonight, and they threw. I know it’s a tough situation, close ball game in the ninth, to have to throw a position player out there. But we’re trying to protect these players so we can go farther into the season.” 

    The Kernels are not alone with this. Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels pitching coach Peter Larson pointed out “Coming off of the missed year, workload volume management is at the forefront, the most important thing, that we don’t blow these guys out.”
    Because of that, the Mussels roster, specifically the pitching staff, illustrates that. Larson noted, “We have a lot of starters, and we have 15 pitchers. We’re going to look to piggyback starters especially in the early months and it could go the whole season.” 
    He projected the idea of one pitcher starting the first week and then the guys who came in relief would start the second role to give them different opportunities. 
    With the Mighty Mussels, they will also have the advantage of being in the same facilities as the players at the development complex (essentially Extended Spring Training). In week one, we already saw the Mussels add two pitchers from the complex to their roster (Anthony Escobar and Donny Breek). 

    LOOKING AHEAD
    Clearwater @ Ft. Myers (Hunter McMahon, Regi Grace, Miguel Rodriguez, Bradley Hanner, Sawyer Gipson-Long, Louie Varland)
    Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities: (Ben Gross, Blayne Enlow, Tyler Watson, Kody Funderburk, Matt Canterino, Andrew Cabezas)
    Amarillo @ Wichita: (Cole Sands, Austin Schulfer, Dakota Chalmers, Josh Winder, Bryan Sammons, Cole Sands) 
    Iowa @ St. Paul (Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, Bailey Ober, Andrew Albers, Charlie Barnes, TBD)

    With this being the first Week in Review for the Minor Leagues, feel free to provide some feedback below. What do you like to read? What types of information would you like added? And feel free to ask any questions you like.
     
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