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    C_frommn reacted to Cody Christie for an article, 3 Players That Could Surprisingly Help the 2022 Twins   
    All three of these players made their debuts in 2021 after taking different routes to the big-league level. Now entering their sophomore seasons, will they be able to avoid a slump? 

    Gilberto Celestino, CF
    Twins fans will remember Celestino floundering during his big-league debut last season, but that is only part of his 2021 campaign. Injuries forced the Twins to call him up with no experience above the Double-A level, and this was on the heels of a non-existent 2020 minor-league season. Transitioning to the big-league level can be challenging, but Celestino is a better player than his debut performance. 

    After his struggles at the MLB level, he settled in nicely for the Saints and hit .290/.384/.443 (.827) while playing above-average defense in center. The chances are that Byron Buxton will be injured in 2022. When that happens, Celestino can rely on his success in the high minors to start transitioning that success to the big-league level. He has the tools to settle into an above-average fourth outfielder role with the Twins. 
    Ben Rortvedt, C
    Rortvedt made his MLB debut last season after Minnesota's two-catcher rotation was unsuccessful. Entering 2022, the Twins have the same three catchers on the roster, so what has changed? Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers are penciled in to be the starters, but Rortvedt has some solid defensive skills that make him a more than capable backup. Scouting reports praise his work behind the plate and his ability to manage the running game. 

    If one of the primary catchers is hurt, he is more than capable of handling the backup duties. His hit tool will never make him an everyday catcher, but he has some pop in his bat when he makes contact. At Triple-A, he hit .254/.324/.426 (.750) with 11 extra-base hits in 34 games. There's still a chance the Twins trade one of their catchers for starting pitching, and then Rortvedt takes on an even more critical role. 
    Nick Gordon, UTL
    Twins fans know Gordon's name well because he was a first-round draft pick and considered a top prospect for multiple seasons. In 2021, he made his big-league debut at age-25 and hit .240/.292/.355 (.647) in 200 at-bats. Gordon was great in June. He got on base one-third of the time and posted a .765 OPS. Fans wanted to see more of Gordon, especially at the club's end of a terrible season.

    The Twins had little desire to play him at shortstop, his defensive position for his entire pro career. Instead, Minnesota used him at all three outfield positions and second base. Gordon's future value is tied to his ability to play multiple defensive positions while finding a way to get on base regularly. Other Twins prospects have developed power later in their career, but Gordon's ceiling seems more likely to be limited to a utility role. 
    Which player do you think has the most significant impact on the 2022 Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    C_frommn reacted to Nash Walker for an article, 3 Moves To Help Twins Maximize Upside In 2022   
    Whenever a team signs a star in their prime, the pressure automatically mounts. Not just the stress of success, but the heat on how the team will build around that star. Will the Angels ever give Mike Trout enough pitching to win? Can the Phillies build enough strength around Bryce Harper? 
    There’s a constant clock tick, tick, ticking. Trout, 30, has nine years remaining on his deal. How many more years can the Angels expect healthy, MVP-level production? Harper, 29, just won MVP for a Philadelphia team that missed the playoffs once again. 
    $300+ million contracts considerably impact spending, even for teams like the Phillies, Angels, and Yankees. For one, that’s a lot of money on the books for a long time. Additionally, teams must supplement the stars they sign with other All-Star level players. 
    For the Twins, a club that just handed out the second-largest contract in team history, the situation is the same. On a per-game basis, Byron Buxton is in the same tier as his $300 million counterparts. The only thing keeping him from that status is his injury history. 
    Now that Minnesota decided Buxton is the building block, the front office must work to avoid wasting his prime. Buxton, 27, will never combine his elite speed and power more than now. In other words, this is likely the best version of Buxton we’ll ever see. 
    Consider this scenario. The Twins continue to sit around in free agency and on the trade market and fail to muster enough pitching to compete in 2022. Let’s say, on top of that, Buxton plays 140 games and wins MVP. This situation is plausible. While Buxton is one of the most impactful players in MLB, he is only one player. See Harper, Bryce and Trout, Mike. 
    By signing this deal, Buxton commits to a team coming off a last-place finish with an unknown road ahead. If he’s healthy, a gamble the Twins have already decided to make; they have to make it matter. Here’s how they can:
    Rumored to be involved in his sweepstakes, the Twins have an opportunity to add an ace for a cheaper-than-usual price tag. Rodón’s injury history is enough to scare off even the riskiest of teams. He barely got through the 2021 season with dwindling velocity and more arm problems. The healthy version of Rodón was the best pitcher in the league, posting a 2.37 ERA and 35% strikeout rate in 132 2/3 innings. He’s the exact type of gamble a team like the Twins should make. 
    Bassitt has the American League’s lowest ERA over the last two seasons (min. 200 innings) and is reportedly available. He works with a deep repertoire of pitches with clear room for improvement. He’d immediately join Rodón as a duo rivaling Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito as the best in the division.
    Pineda had some hiccups over his three years with the Twins, but he was rock-solid and often gave them a chance to win. Pineda’s 3.80 ERA since 2019 is enough to run back for more. A top three of Rodón, Bassitt, and Pineda would enter the season as one of the best the Twins have ever had. (at least since the season they had Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda atop their rotation)
    What do you think? Does the Byron Buxton extension put more pressure on 2022? Do you like these moves? Comment below!
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