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Everything posted by jmlease1

  1. Really nice start from Joe Ryan. I continue to be a fan of his, and his starts are usually pretty fun to watch. I like the way he works a game, and he seems to keep things moving along pretty well. The slider is coming along well and even without elite velocity hitters struggle to square up on it up in the zone. Setting a team rookie record for Ks in a season is pretty impressive, especially when the guys you topped are Bert Blyleven and Francisco Liriano! He's still got some things to work on (sharpening up that 3rd pitch, finishing off hitters faster, keeping his command so that slider doesn't drop into the heart of the plate, etc) but he had a very successful rookie campaign. Pagan does nothing for me, and I would move on from him in the offseason. He gets strikeouts, but he walks too many guys and gives up too many hits because when his command gets shaky (and it frequently does) he ends up lobbing one in the heart of the plate and it gets hammered. At some point you can't keep hoping the stuff will play up. We can do better. Moran, on the other hand, I do like. He's a little more wild than I would like, but he doesn't give up the piles of hits and I think he can be a big part of the bullpen solution going forward. I love love love that change up. It's so fun watching a guy with that elite change up pitch, it's such a fun pitch to see. He can really make guys flail at it.
  2. by not taking into consideration how much the contract will cost and what the value will be like to the team through the length of it? Since urshela is likely going to get $10M in arbitration this offseason, let's use that as the starting point. Any long-term deal is going to have an AAV of $10M per season. Do we want to be paying Gio Urshela $10M+ at 34? He's got a nice OPS+ of 118 this season, which seems repeatable in 2023...but how excited are you about that contract if/when his production dips to an OPS+ of 101 in 2024? Or his defense slips? or both? Bird in the hand is fine, but just like young players don't pan out, veteran players get older and produce less. You're talking about locking up 3B for the next 4 years, so you have consider every aspect of this. And if you're the twins and you're going to start from a position of "none of our prospects are going to pan out" I think you're in a lot of trouble. And you're essentially saying "Give Gio 4 years and $40M+, because I don't think Martin, Lee, or Julien will be able to handle 3B by 2024 if we have Miranda already plugged in a 1B."
  3. I think the teams that would offer a 3-4 year deal have fewer in-house options to play 3B, let alone hard-charging prospects. And I'm arguing to keep him for next season, not let him go. But considering what our options will look like in 2024 (Miranda, with Martin, Lee, and Julien pushing up from the minors with Arraez still an option if needed/wanted) does locking in a good, but not great player to an expensive multi-year deal make the most sense? or are you better off paying him in 2023 on a 1 year deal to ensure you have his quality, professional play and if someone like Julien hits so well at AAA that you have to find a spot for him, you can easily flip him at the deadline? And if Kirilloff is healthy, he'll almost certainly be absorbing some time at 1B, but Miranda's bat will need to be in the lineup.
  4. I think this is a fair analysis. I will say the biggest organizational philosophy they need to examine in bullpen construction is identifying 2 pitchers that they intend to throw more than 1 inning per outing. The back end is looking a lot stronger going into next season than it was at the start of this one with Lopez, Duran, Thielbar, Jax, and (hopefully) Alcala. But I think with starters often being in the "5 and Fly" mode you need a couple of relievers that you expect to throw 2-3 innings when they come in to bridge the gap. Do they have that in Moran, Sands, winder, etc? Could Dobnak be that kind of guy? Don't know, but having TWO guys who can attack the game that way makes it viable to manage the innings load. Kepler is unlikely to ever have a 2019 season again; it's looking like a Brady Anderson-style fluke year. but Polanco was great in 2021 and has been injured in 2022, not bad. (and Kepler has actually produced enough to be a reasonable starter even with the injuries and sapped power...which almost certainly has a lot to do with the busted toe) Nick Gordon has improved as a hitter to the point where he's a quality player, especially as a super-utility guy; he's going to finish the year right around 2 bWAR. Larnach was having a fine season before injury, so saying that "he's not that good" is a snap judgment that's awfully hasty. We shouldn't assume he's going to be as great as he was in May, but we also should write him off already no better than he was in April. Buxton might never play a full season again, but even in 92 games he was worth 4 bWAR. That's a really good player. If they can get him to 120-130 games a season he's an all-star quality player every year. I mean, if you're determined to presume the worst case scenario for every Twins player, I don't know what to tell you. Find a new team if you think the twins are uniquely jinxed? While I don't think every fan has to look only on the positive side of things, casting everything in a negative light, even when the evidence suggests a different story isn't very helpful. Polanco isn't a bad player. Polanco doesn't need to go back to 2019; he was actually better in 2021. Nick Gordon is proof for why you shouldn't give up on Larnach too soon. Buxton, Kirilloff, and Lewis might never stay healthy enough to maximize their talent...but that's the great unknown.
  5. The roster crunch is interesting, but we will have some guys moving off the 40-man (Sano, Bundy, and Archer, for example) who make it less of a problem and there's some fungible relievers as well. I think offering Urshela arbitration makes sense, even if his number comes in at $10M. He's been more than worth that this season and there's little reason to think he can't be a 2-3 bWAR player; 2021 looks more like the aberration year for him not the expected. He's not an elite defender, but he's still a solid one, and has some positional flexibility if needed (I wouldn't want him playing SS on the regular, but it's nice to have options in an emergency and I expect he could slot in at 2B or 1B if needed without too much aggro). He get hits, has enough pop in his bat to be a threat and fit in very nicely in the bottom 3rd of your order to not give pitchers a break. I probably wouldn't look to extend him, though. It's unlikely he'd be interested in a deal shorter than 3-4 years and that's a little more of a commitment I want to make, especially if the AAV is $10M+. 3B is easily his best position right now, but we also have young prospects with higher upsides coming through the system and that deal might not look great in 2 years. He's not going to do 1 plus a team option or even 2 plus a team option; he might want to stay, but he's getting right at the cash in point and if he were a FA this year he'd definitely be getting 3-4 year offers. Hard to think he won't bet on himself by taking $10M and becoming a FA. Which is probably ok for both sides, really.
  6. Urshela definitely passes the eye test at 3B, but the metrics are a little less high on him defensively. He's still a quality 3B in the field though. I think it's important to note that he's been worth almost exactly the same bWAR as Josh Donaldson while costing $15M less. Urshela's been better that the plate, Donaldson better in the field. It's going to be a very interesting decision on Urshela with arbitration next season; I expect he'll cost $8-10M, but he definitely a nice player to have on your team one of those very solid guys who adds things to the table rather than take them off. As much as it matters having high-end star talent for a team, it's also very important to raise the floor. The fewer ABs given to bad players, the better off you are and having guys like Urshela who might not be at an all-star level but is still a quality starter is really nice. Would like to see him back.
  7. He's stretched in CF, is a below average hitter, and hits lefty. He's a bad fit for the Twins for next season, who need RH hitting for the OF to back guys like Kepler (if he stays), Larnach, Kirilloff, Gordon, and Wallner. For guys under contract/control for next season with MLB experience (counting wallner's short stint), Cave is probably the 8th best OF and 6th best lefty. I'm fine with retaining him on another minor league deal as AAA depth, but under no circumstance should he be a contender for a roster spot or tendered a major-league contract. He might be better than Celestino, but Celestino hits RH and definitely has a higher ceiling (while being cheaper). Thielbar did a nice job last night and has been a quality pitcher this season. I assume the Twins will try and retain him next year, and he should be a good fit for the middle innings...as long as he doesn't turn into a pumpkin at age 36! I always love beating the White Sox. Even when the season has fallen apart, beating the White Sox always brings a smile to my face. Wallner did a nice job last night, Urshela is absolutely playing like he wants a starting job next year, and Miranda seems to have come out of his slump nicely (10 hits in the last 4 games? Love it).
  8. I guess we should just assume that anyone who is injured will never be healthy and successful ever again?
  9. Ober looked terrific and it was really fun to watch him pitch. It's too bad that he's missed so much time this season, because he's been very good when he's pitched. He could be a strong part of the rotation next year if they can keep him healthy. Wallner is doing fine for his first taste of MLB, but the Ks still make me nervous. He whiffs a LOT. But he's also got the power to hit a ball that for most batters would be a towering fly ball to shallow right and send it out. I have no problem with seeing him compete for spot next season.
  10. I think this is a pretty fair statement. There's really no arguing #1, and even the FO would probably agree if you poured enough beer into them, seeing as they made the Mahle trade at midseason. I think there was reason to believe they could cobble together a bullpen, based on past performance and the way TB has managed it...but it really hurt them early on and the team paid the price. Games in April/May count as much as July/August. I don't know how many games the poor baserunning & defensive lapses cost, but there's no doubt we had too many that it stuck out like a sore thumb. (I never need to see Tommy Watkins standing by 3B ever again, no matter how nice a dude he is) The injuries are the biggest determining factor for me in this season's disappointing conclusion, but there's no doubt the Twins FO made other mistakes in roster construction this season and in coaching.
  11. I feel like statements akin to this one ignore the 2019 & 2020 seasons for the Twins (maybe because they didn't win in the playoffs). because I recall the 2019 season being a freakin' delight. the Bomba Squad was sending them flying, the bullpen was very very good and the starters were actually pretty good with Berrios & Odorizzi leading the way. 2020 was also pretty fun in the shortened season with an ace-level performance from Maeda. It's sorta like those seasons never happened for some people? yeah, last year sucked and this year has ended in disappointment. But it hasn't been all garbage and misery!
  12. Regardless, Royce Lewis is super easy to root for. I hope he gets to have the injury-free season we all want for him.
  13. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? When teams win lots of close games, people talk about their "winning mentality". When players hit with runners in scoring position they're described as "clutch". There's been some pretty good studies over the years that suggests that the variance in team's W-L record in 1-run games is mostly about luck. The Twins this season are a better team than last year's edition, for a variety of reasons (and are guaranteed to finish with a better record). But last year's team was substantially better in 1-run games. Did last year's team have more of a winning mentality than this year's team? Frequently a hallmark of a good team is some good luck. Are they lucky because they're good or are they good because they're lucky? (and injuries are part of that luck) I'd argue it's always a bit of both.
  14. Are we having the same discussion from the end of last season? Outside of injuries, I'm not sure we are. Except for the people who want baseball to go back to some version of what they think they remember from days of yore...those people are always having the same conversation in pretty much every thread, and likely will be having the same conversation for years to come, because baseball ain't gonna go back to what they think it was any time soon (if ever). We're not asking the same questions about the rotation for next season; end of last season it was "who the hell is going to start for this team", and this year the real question is "can this group be healthy enough?" We were asking "do we sign Buxton or trade him" and now we're asking "how do we manage it for the 30-70 games he might/will miss?" And as frustrating as this season has been, it's not the same as last year. Last season, we had a team that fell apart early and threw itself in the dumpster fire. They were never in the hunt, and looked like the last place team they were. This season is a different kind of disappointment; an injury-fueled collapse after a pretty good start that had them on pace to win the division, even with the flaws that were obvious for all to see. But they addressed those at the deadline...and it didn't work out or matter, because injuries and some poor performance (and bad luck) wiped them out. being 20-25 in 1-run games is partly about ability, but it's partly about luck. Facing lefty pitching at a time when your RH hitters are all hurt (hi, Texas!) is bad luck. Going 1-11 against your division rival in close games is really bad luck. We're 6-13 vs Cleveland this season, but the runs scored is dead even. (Cleveland is 26-16 in 1-run games this year. yes, they're playing well, but that's also luck) I mean, the Twins were not a good team in 2021, but they were 25-19 in 1-run games.
  15. Next season is definitely a crossroads year. They're starting out at a much better baseline for the rotation and the bullpen then they did last year before free agency began, which is good. No reason to dumpster-dive for reclamation projects for the rotation, and if anyone does get signed that way they should know they're not getting in on scholarship and might be moved into a long relief role. Personally, I would say the standard on the rotation is "don't sign anyone not expected to be better than Joe Ryan. This is not a knock on joe, but a notation that their improvement need to be top-end, not backside) the lineup is where we're really looking at uncertainty, despite having a number of quality players. We don't know who plays SS. The entire OF has amazingly high variance. Larnach & Kirilloff are really talented, but have never shown it over a season because of injury. Wallner has only a cup of coffee. Buxton is awesome, but seems unlikely to reach 100 games for the 5th straight season. Celestino has shown improvement, but is still young. Garlick can't stay healthy. Kepler seems to have hit his ceiling and the 2019 explosion looks like a juiced ball fluke year. They need decisions at 3B, SS, and 1B and reinforcements at catcher. If the lineup implodes again next season, then we're looking at really big changes, because it means that guys like Kirilloff/Larnach/Wallner aren't able to step in and be the future in the corners. That they can't find a defensive home for Miranda or Arraez. And if that happens, I think you'll see bigger changes in the team, from the front office on down. YMMV on how beneficial that will be. They need to get the offseason right, they need a little injury luck, and they need a couple of young players to really be hitters. A rotation with Mahle, Gray, Ryan, Maeda, & Ober could be quite good. A bullpen with Lopez, Duran, Jax, Alcala, Thielbar & Moran could be quite good. But they'll need a lineup of Polanco, Buxton, Arraez, Miranda, Kirilloff, Larnach, and jeffers to also be good and to play.
  16. team seems gassed to me, and it's just tough when you have 9 position players on the IL. the OF has been the Legion of Injuries. I get that injuries can happen to any team, and I know there are some (many?) around here that have no interest in injuries as an excuse, but...9 position players on the IL is a LOT! Here's the playoff contenders in the AL right now: Cleveland: 0 Chicago: 3 NY: 3 Toronto: 2 TB: 4 Baltimore: 0 Houston: 0 Seattle: 2 Wallner has done pretty well in his first shot at MLB, Nick Gordon has exceeded all expectations and we're lucky to have him. Urshela has been a stalwart. Arraez & Correa have been key. Miranda has dropped off but had a pretty nice rookie season. but there's been a lot of "injured or bad" everywhere else, and it's really caught up to this team where we needed the lineup to be a strength and right now it's struggling.
  17. All fine choices. I was surprised to see Wallner described as a player who barely walked, since he's never had a season where his OBP was less than .350 and it's not like he was cranking out high BAs. The contact issue will be the question for him until he proves it in MLB, but if he makes enough of it...the power plays. He's had a terrific season. Just be prepared for the Ks, because they're going to keep coming in bunches. SWR is a player I've always liked and he's had a nice year. It's great to have him finish at AAA. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see his K numbers tick back up a little either. He's got the stuff to be a rotation staple, IMHO.
  18. How many times has this actually happened to the Twins? Paddack (whom they knew it was a concern and decided it was worth the risk. YMMV on that one). I know Cody listed Maeda, but we had a fantastic season from him before he went down...so no immediate arm issues there. Dyson wasn't a "big" trade by any stretch of the imagination (dealt for 2 lottery ticket pitchers, one of whom is no longer in the SF system and Jaylin Davis, who got 3 cups of coffee in MLB with SF before being waived, picked up by Boston and is now back not hitting for the BoSox in AAA) Odorizzi had 2 healthy years before getting injured. Phil Hughes & Michael Pineda were signed as FA, and both had at least one healthy season anyways. It's been bad luck this year, in a season where a little good injury luck would have made a HUGE difference, but I dunno if there's really a pattern for the franchise.
  19. Eh, I dunno. I think the real issue with Canterino is he went to Rice and they abused the @&$*%# out of his arm. But you don't really know for sure where it's at until he pitches, and they lost all of 2020 as an option. I suspect he would have ended up on the surgery list in 2021 if they hadn't lost that minor-league season. It's hard to get too upset about the medical team trying to avoid surgical options, since that's usually better for the person even if it might mean that it hurts the team later. Martin is a puzzle, but I'm certainly not ready to give up on him. His speed and on-base skills certainly play. I wouldn't call this a healthy season for him since he missed almost 6 weeks in the middle of it. I have to wonder how much of his development got screwed up by having no 2020 minor league season and then getting dropped into AA immediately. He's literally never played a game of A-ball in his pro career, and outside of a 2-game rehab stint in rookie ball (which I assume was so they could see him play while close to the medical facilities in Ft. Myers), he hasn't ever played below AA. Balazovic has had the nagging injuries this season, but for him to be so wildly ineffective when supposedly healthy has been really confusing. he's been staggeringly hittable. The last handful of starts have been better (K's are back up and he's limited the damage), but he's still giving up too many hits while handing out free passes. He's given up 2 walks in 7 of the last 8 starts (15 walks in only 32 2/3 innings is not going to get it done, especially when you give up 35 hits in the same span). He needs a reset.
  20. Cavaco is still only 21 and lost a crucial development season due to the pandemic, but it's hard to look at him as being a successful pick. Still too early to give up on him; sometimes it takes a few years to unlock the tools, but his performance has not been great. lot of Ks, few walks, not a lot of hits. He is on a 9-game hitting streak right now, with 3 2B & 3 HRs during this stretch (but also only 1 BB), and seems to be finishing the season strong (stronger?). Incremental improvement, I guess? Balazovic has been very disappointing. Everything looked great about him in A-ball, and then he misses a season due to pandemic, has a good but not great season in AA where literally every metric started going the wrong way. This year he's been brutal: incredibly hittable, wild, and homer-happy. Maybe it's mostly injury-related, and he's definitely looked a little better lately, but it's damning with faint praise: I'm not exactly cheering about Balazovic going from getting his brains beat in over 3 innings to being kinda ok over 4 or 5. he needs a big reset. (normally I'd say he'd be a contender to go to the AFL and try and build on the late-season stuff, but maybe he really needs to just go home for the winter, work the program, rest, and forget all about 2022) Julien has had a wonderful year. It was fair to be skeptical of his OBP from last year (he was a more advanced hitter, it's A-ball where guys are wilder, etc) but he's continued to be an on-base machine in AA and done a fine job punishing the ball when he does decide to swing at it. I'm pretty excited about his future...as a hitter, at least. Are they using the automated strike zone in AA?
  21. It's sort of shorthand the whole $8M per fWAR, I guess? I don't love it because the first unit of fWAR isn't really worth as much as the 4th or 5th. there are so many fewer players that are truly 5 fWAR guys that is probably isn't very linear. but in terms of roughing our basic value it's not too bad.
  22. He's averaging over a K/inning this season, which is down a little for him but I'm not sure it's something to worry about it at this point. He hasn't been at elite levels this year, but his K/9 would be higher than any Twins starter this season outside of Louie Varland (who has one game under his belt, but has a higher K/9 in the minors as well). I'm very happy with SWR's season: he's pitching late into the year, he's been mostly healthy (except for a bout with COVID I believe), he's pitched more innings than any year since he was 18, and he absolutely earned the promotion to AAA and performed really well since moving up.
  23. No lie. KC really looks rough. Witt is a real player, and maybe Pasquantino can be a big bat, but they're still looking very thin. The vets almost all look at the end of the line and there's not enough young guys stepping up. Brady Singer might be their only real quality starter? (He's having a very good year on a bad team) They won't be competing for a while, i think. Good to see the Twins handle them easily the last two games, though. Gotta beat up on the bad teams when you play them!
  24. There's no question that Kepler is the superior OF. He's an excellent defender in the corners with a good arm and he has enough range to backup CF (though clearly the Twins aren't enthusiastic about that any longer). He also seems to be who he is as a hitter now: a low BA hitter who gets on base pretty well but doesn't make enough hard contact to be more than a league average to slightly below average hitter. It seems likely that his 2019 was a fluke year enhanced by the juiced baseball. Wallner isn't a great OF (though his arm is superior) but he's not Delmon Young or Josh Willingham out there. And there's a real chance that his bat will be substantially better than Kepler's. I wouldn't hand him the job on scholarship, but the bottom half of the order has gotten pretty ugly this season and I'm increasingly unenthusiastic about Kepler's bat ending up in the 5th or 6th spot. It's also very possible that he's the lefty version of Brent Rooker at the plate: huge power who doesn't make enough contact for it to matter. (Wallner is better than Rooker in the field, for sure, errors or no)
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