jmlease1 reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Twins Daily Social Club's Home Opener Pregame Draws 350+ Fans
Over 350 Twins fans attended Twins Daily Social Club's pregame party at Tom's Watch Bar prior to the Twins' home opener on Friday afternoon. The afternoon included a lot of socializing, games, baseball cards, and Gray Duck Vodka Game Change Shots. Needless to way it both had and built a lot of energy for the 3-2 win over Houston.
Vikings legend Chad Greenway also joined the party to help us with our Last Fan Standing game. The winner got a great prize pack and a Twins/Gray Duck Tin Tacker that Greenway signed.
The final giveaway of the day was a limited edition Carlos Correa bat, but just as good was how fans qualified to win it. Each received a pack of six vintage baseball cards and had to trade with others to get "six of a kind." It could be all the same position, same team, same pose, or just guys with mustaches (and man did a lot of ballplayers have mustaches on those vintage cards). Of course, some people also opted to just keep them.....
And Tom's did a great job of keeping everyone fed and, um, let's say hydrated.
It was a great time, and we want to thank everyone who joined us. We'll try to do more of them soon, because Twins Daily isn't just about great Twins' writing, it's also about building community. In the meantime, whether you made it or not, you can see pictures from the event by searching #TwinsDailySocialClub on Twitter.
jmlease1 reacted to Greggory Masterson for an article, The Golden Grapefruit Awards: Our Favorite Spring Training Clichés
Welcome, welcome, everyone to the first annual Golden Grapefruit Awards show. We’ve finally made it through another spring training, so let’s take a moment to look back at some memorable moments and hand out some spring training awards.
Every year, the same storylines tend to pop up, and fans consume them like animals every year. We had a great showing this year. Every predicted cliché had at least one qualifier, and many award winners shone magnificently, going above and beyond what the academy (Greggory and his cats) was looking for. Let’s get started!
Miguel Sanó Memorial "Best Shape of his Life" Award: José Miranda
We start our awards with a classic. Each year, someone in every camp shows up in what they or someone else can describe as “the best shape of his life.” Sometimes several people show up in such a state. Some people show up in such a state several times.
With the departure of perennial "Best Shape of his Life" candidate Sanó, this award had no clear frontrunner and big shoes to fill. Miranda certainly filled those shoes, hiring a nutritionist over the offseason and weighing in 12 pounds lighter than he did at the end of 2022 in an effort to slim down and hold up better over the season.
Take Carlos Correa’s word for it: “He looks sexy. You see that body?” Congratulations on your first Golden Grapefruit, José.
"Newest Pitch" Award: Griffin Jax and Joe Ryan (tie)
There was a crowded field for this award, with at least six players showing up to camp with what could be called a “new pitch.” None of these pitchers may still be throwing their new pitches come September, but spring training is built on hope and optimism.
Emilio Pagán emerged as the early favorite, adding a new pitch down the stretch in 2022—a curveball with which he saw moderate success. Then, early in camp, it was revealed that Griffin Jax, Tyler Mahle, Caleb Thielbar, and Joe Ryan all spent time at Driveline this winter to revamp their arsenals.
Jax added a cutter to pair with his slider. Mahle both changed his slider and split changeup. Thielbar fine-tuned his mix, and Ryan changed his slider to a sweeper while also adding a split change. After camp started, Aaron Gleeman and Jeremy Maschino noticed that Pablo López and Jovani Morán, respectively, both made adjustments to their curveball and slider, respectively, to throw a sweeper.
I’m here to make the executive decision that changing a breaking pitch to a sweeper doesn’t count as throwing a new pitch, nor does tinkering with an existing pitch. As such, edging out Pagán by a few weeks, we have Jax and Ryan as our co-winners of the "Newest Pitch" Award for their new cutter and split-change developed at the same time.
We only have one trophy, so they’ll need to settle it between themselves.
"Most Revamped Swing" Award: Max Kepler
Most years, this award would go to the player who spent the offseason working with a guru to fix a glaring hole in their swing, refine their mechanics, or build consistent timing. Joey Gallo was a prime candidate for the award, and he did reportedly spend time this offseason fixing holes in his swing. Even the value-brand Gallo, Matt Wallner, was reported to have done the same.
However, this year, the award goes to Kepler, who took the unorthodox path toward fixing his swing—getting his mind right while sipping wine in Paris. Kepler, who went through a significant emotional struggle over the past year, stated that he needed to clear his mind for a month to work through it.
Hey, if it works, who cares how he got there? Best of luck in a shift-free 2023, Mr. Kepler.
"Weirdest Injury" Award: Jordan Balazovic
Although not a cliché, it seems that every year there is an inexplicable injury that can only be chalked up to spring training. Recall 2021, when Byron Buxton missed a few weeks due to a root canal after chipping his tooth while eating steak.
Balazovic, a pitching prospect, spent spring training 2023 with his mouth wired shut after a couple of sucker punches broke his jaw the night before spring training started. In this case, the award was won before a game or even practice took place.
"Honey, Grab my Program" Award: Andrew Bechtold
Spring training, especially early in the year and late in games, features a rotating cast of characters more extensive than The Simpsons. Non-roster invites, prospects, and career minor leaguers are each given their turn in the Florida sun. Every year, a few prospects get their number called more than others, consistently sending fans scrambling to look up who #89 is.
Only players who have never appeared in MLB and are not on the 40-man roster qualify for this award. Bechtold was the winner, leading qualified players in both games (15) and plate appearances (27) and showing off his defensive versatility. Unfortunately, he has a .305 OPS this spring. But it’s the times you get up that counts, or whatever Rocky Balboa said.
"First Cliché Statement" Award: Carlos Correa
It’s not every day that Buxton is the second fastest to get somewhere, but Correa beat him to the first spring training cliché uttered in 2023. Players often repeat some cliché line to the media early in camp about having a good group of guys, a mix of veterans and rookies, or championship aspirations, like in Buxton’s case this year.
Correa narrowly edged out Buxton in making a clichéd comment to the media. He hit it out of the park by lecturing his teammates about needing to stay healthy, challenging them to wait until they retire to retire go partying. When the 200 million dollar man speaks, I’m guessing they listen.
Congratulations Carlos! I’m sure you’ll be in the running for earliest cliché for the better part of the next decade, so we’ll see you here next year to defend your title.
"Grainiest Video" Award: Do-Hyoung Park
Finally, my favorite award—the media can’t help themselves, and we, as fans, will eat up whatever they give us. When baseball’s back, we need proof. Grainy videos taken through a fence at the beginning of camp are a spring training staple.
There were many great candidates, but Do hit a grand slam with this video. First, it appeared even before pitchers and catchers reported. Next, it was filmed through not only one fence but two. Finally, Alex Kirilloff’s bat, shorts, and shirt blend in so well with the backdrop that all you can see are his lightning-fast appendages and what I assume are dashing good looks (I couldn’t tell through the fence).
Congratulations Do! You might not have won Jeopardy, but you did win a Golden Grapefruit.
jmlease1 reacted to Matt Braun for an article, Derek Falvey Isn't Wrong About the Bullpen
Derek Falvey rustled some feathers the other day when, in an article written by Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, the exec said, "[i]f we were to do anything at this point, it would likely be to add depth in the middle [innings]. We'll keep an open mind, but [relief pitching is] not a priority." It’s a shockingly straightforward answer not saturated with Falvey’s typical lawyer-ish flourishes.
Falvey and Miller covered the gambit in reliever talk in that article; I recommend people read the entire piece before outraging (that will never happen).
Initially, it’s tough to accept Falvey’s evaluation. I watched the same 2022 Twins team he did, and that squad specialized in blowing games in the late innings. They often failed to hold leads in games that really should have won. Cleveland proved to be a special problem, as Minnesota handed out late wins like Costco free samples as Tyler Thornburg and his ilk tried their darndest to not be a part of the problem. It didn't work, and they finished with the seventh-most meltdowns, a quick-and-dirty Fangraphs stat that uses win probability to determine poor reliever performance. But you don’t need to hear it from a number: that bullpen stunk.
Perhaps we’re looking at the issue too broadly, though. Yes, the relief corps was terrible in the first half of the season—Fangraphs pegged them as the 2nd worst in MLB—but they didn’t remain static. Michael Fulmer and Jorge López joined the squad. Caleb Thielber emerged as a tremendous, reliable arm. People with eyes determined that Emilio Pagán should probably not pitch late in games. Evolution took its course.
Quietly, so silent that no one cared to notice, the Twins bullpen improved drastically in the second half. Sure, they couldn’t fall further than before, but their bullpen now ranked 4th in MLB in FIP, only sitting behind the blue-blood organizations who consistently dominate the pitching charts. Part of that may be the inherent randomness in reliever performance, but tangible changes appeared to afflict the Twins for the better.
Take it from Falvey: "I feel like we saw a lot of progress as last season went on, and within a group that still can make even more progress as they gain experience."
Bullpens aren’t made of numbers. People pitch those innings, at least for now. Minnesota’s group includes four arms dancing around one year of MLB service time with another, Jorge Alcalá, who is about as green as the others. Is it unreasonable to believe that Jovani Moran succeeds in an expanded role, Griffin Jax finds another gear, or Trevor Megill fully realizes his strikeout potential? Jhoan Duran will continue melting faces in the near future. The teams main worry will be the complimenting pieces always at risk for the bullpen randomness bug; there's nothing that signing Corey Knebel would do to alleviate that.
The issue with the Twins bullpen is perhaps one of perception: because they seemingly blew an incalculable number of games in 2022, they appear incompetent, doomed to blow games again. But that may not be fair. As this author noted in July, relievers are an odd group, one whose jobs rely on the starting pitcher's effectiveness; it could be an all-hand-on-deck night, or Rocco Baldelli may only need the services of two arms the do the job. Given Minnesota’s dreadfully short starting pitching, the bullpen felt an extreme strain. Much of those games were technically the fault of the relief corps, but part of the battle is placing those arms in a position to succeed; Minnesota lost that fight consistently in 2022.
And they likely won’t have to carry that weight in 2023. With plenty of wood knocking, the 2023 Twins rotation appears a more trustworthy bunch than their previous counterparts. Swapping Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer for Kenta Maeda and Pablo López gives them a deep rotation. No arm sticks out as truly dominant, but their reliability should feed into the bullpen, removing pressure and allowing its hierarchy to remain intact. The days of Jharel Cotton saving games are over.
It is risky. Fewer outcomes in baseball are less aesthetically pleasing than a late blown lead; the win should have been in hand, after all. If López doesn’t regain his Orioles form, Alcalá fails to show the improvement he flashed in 2021, or if any of the breakout 2022 arms regress, it could be a tough summer to bear.
jmlease1 reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, "Stepping Back" Isn't an Option
Reports are starting to surface about the possible path of the Twins taking a “step back” in 2023, with players such as Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda starting to draw trade interest. Who could blame teams for asking? It sure appears the Twins had all of their eggs in the Carlos Correa basket, as just two of the top fifteen free agents remained at the time the Twins got news that their star shortstop had chosen to move to San Francisco.
The twins are left with a strikingly similar roster to their 2022 squad that finished in 3rd place of the soft AL Central, minus their most valuable player of course. Even if they turn to Joey Gallo and trade Max Kepler, it's hard to count on the trade off adding much value unless Gallo rebounds in a major way. With the cost of free agent pitchers and the Twins having three starters set to depart after 2023 in Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda, it may become tempting as teams begin offering impressive packages to pry them away. It's easy to look at investments in a new catcher and outfielder and see the intent to compete now, but a lack of further success in acquiring players and some tempting trade offers being dangled could definitely sway a team that still looks to be on the bubble. Unless the Twins have plans to replace one of these arms after trading them, this simply cannot be a solution.
Since the end of the 2010 season, the Twins have made the playoffs three times, being swept out on each occasion. They’ve been above .500 four times in those twelve seasons, including a six-year stretch from 2011 to 2016 in which the team was completely irrelevant. Since winning back-to-back AL Central division titles and appearing to be building steam as an up and coming core in 2019 and 2020, they’ve missed the playoffs twice, including in the inaugural expanded playoff season in 2022.
In short, it sure looks a whole lot like Twins fans have spent the majority of the last twelve years in misery. Their only payoff is back-to-back division titles resulting in an immediate exit from the playoffs. Is that the business model the Twins want to present to their fanbase by entering yet another rebuild? The Twins were already publicly disappointed by fan attendance in 2022. It’s safe to imagine those issues accelerating greatly with any steps back in attempting to compete. They also have a TV network negotiation on the horizon, a transaction the Twins will have little leverage in as the viewership numbers almost certainly crater.
From a pure baseball perspective, the Twins are in the easiest division in baseball with two more teams being admitted to the playoffs in the AL moving forward. They have one of the better rotations on paper that they’ve had in recent years. They still have star power and core contributors such as Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, and Luis Arraez on the position player side. With just a handful of acquisitions, the Twins could take the projected 78-81 wins they already have currently and easily become competitors. Having spent very little of the assumed $50m or so they had available coming into the offseason, deciding to take the easy way out would be a devastating decision for all parties involved.
The prospect of the Twins actually going this route sounds ridiculous, but you can imagine a situation where they can justify it to themselves. The front office wouldn’t go this route unless they had no concern about losing their jobs. It was very heavily expressed at the end of 2022 that ownership still had faith in Falvey and company. They’ve always operated with an eye on getting value, oftentimes at the expense of acquiring players that actually make the team better.
With the way free agent contracts have blown up on pitchers, this may be the most valuable time in history to trade pitchers such as Gray and Mahle who are only controlled for one year. There could be a scenario where they look at the dwindling free agent market and the likely inflated trade offers they receive and decide to once again side with value over acquiring quality players.
At this point, improving this team is going to hurt and likely draw scrutiny. The majority of impact will have to come from trade at the cost of organizational talent, a disappointing outcome considering the amount of money they should have had to spend on free agents. They did this to themselves though, and the alternative is simply unacceptable in regards to Twins fans who have spent far too much time and money watching a mediocre product. In 2023, a step back simply isn’t an acceptable conclusion.
jmlease1 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, First Place, Feeling Great: 4 Twins Observations at the Quarter Pole
1: People aren't fully buying into the team's success.
The Twins are on pace to win 99 games, which would stack up as one of the best seasons in franchise history. But if this Twins Daily Twitter poll from Sunday night is any indication, most people aren't convinced that they'll be able to keep up with that pace.
With 500 votes in, only 5% of respondents said the Twins will finish with 100 or more wins, and only 12% had them landing in the 95-to-99 range where they are currently projected. A vast majority (61%) expect the team to finish with 90-to-94 wins, and more voters envision the Twins winning fewer than 90 (22%) than 95 or more (17%).
It's fair! Perspective matters. We are currently sizing up the Twins in the midst of a hot streak against blatantly poor competition. The only time we saw them face a great opponent this month, the Twins were swept and thoroughly dismantled by the Astros – albeit without two of their best players in Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez.
Most people are gonna need to see the Twins win a few slugfests in their own weight class before anointing them a true upper-echelon contender. Nothing wrong with that. The team will have its chance in early June with a tour of top dogs in the AL East: Blue Jays, Yankees, Rays, successively.
2: The front office's bets are paying off (mostly).
The Twins opted not to invest heavily in the free agent reliever market, signing only one player to a major-league contract: Joe Smith, on a cheap one-year $2.5 million deal. That move couldn't have worked out better so far, as Smith has yet to allow an earned run through 16 appearances.
The bullpen as a whole has been far better than expected, in spite of the passive offseason approach. The team's belief in Jhoan Durán helped them feel comfortable trading Taylor Rogers for Chris Paddack (a bet that did NOT pay off, for this year anyway) on the eve of Opening Day. They've been rewarded. Griffin Jax has also been excellent in his transition to the pen.
The front office's boldest gambit of the offseason was that wild mega-deal with the Yankees, which involved losing Mitch Garver and taking on Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela in order to to dump Josh Donaldson's salary. (Thus setting up the Correa signing.) That one's looking pretty good too.
Donaldson is hitting decently well as a frequent DH for the Yankees, but drawing headlines in New York for all the wrong reasons. The improvement in clubhouse culture for the Twins since his departure has been apparent even from the outside. Meanwhile, Sánchez is emerging as the slugging force that the Twins hoped Garver (slashing .207/.295/.370 for the Rangers so far) would be.
3: The Twins/White Sox rivalry we wanted last year has now arrived.
The Royals and Tigers have already pretty much rendered themselves irrelevant, and it's hard to buy into the mediocre Guardians, despite the greatness of José Ramirez. Chicago has been scuffling a bit in the early going but garnered some momentum on Sunday with a doubleheader sweep over the Yankees. They're back above .500 and trailing the Twins in the Central by four games.
There was a lot of hype surrounding the return of this classic rivalry last year, following a tight race in the shortened 2020 season, but the Twins never showed up for the fight. This year they're showing up, and I suspect the White Sox will too. Both teams have a lot of talent and a lot of character, so it should be fun.
4: The combination of standout rookies and established stars is really exciting.
There's just a great vibe on this team. It's awesome to see Joe Ryan stepping up and leading the rotation, while Durán establishes himself as The Guy in the bullpen. Gilberto Celestino is blossoming before our eyes. We've already seen flashes from Royce Lewis; he and other top prospects are likely to factor in as the season goes on: Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Simeon Woods Richardson, José Miranda (maybe after a get-right stint in Triple-A). All in play.
Meanwhile, the true leaders of this team are Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa, two bona fide superstars in their prime. Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez are on the next tier.
Max Kepler is having a resurgent season to reinsert himself into that conversation. We can maybe say the same about Gary Sánchez, who seems to be getting exactly what he needed out of this change of scenery.
The intermingling of experienced mainstays who are performing well, and young up-and-comers who are often contributing immediately, along with a $35M free agent who somehow gives off no "mercenary" vibes ... it's really cool. This is a very likable group and it's adding all the more to the enjoyment of this (so far) surprisingly wonderful 2022 season.
Here's hoping we feel the same way at the halfway point, and especially at the finish line.
jmlease1 reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Seth's 2022 Twins Top Prospect Summary
Again, I certainly think that the Twins system is strong. It likely won’t be a Top 10 organization by the national publications, but I legitimately think that as many as 25 or more from each of the lists can play in the big leagues with continued development, health, and of course a little luck.
Before getting too far, let’s take a look at the two lists...
And before I do that, I will acknowledge my mistakes. (Yes, I make them from time to time...)
1.) I switched shortstops Jermaine Palacios and Wander Javier in my rankings. I showed Palacios ranking as the #25 hitter with Javier checking in at #15. Those should be reversed.
2.) I was looking at my living Twins Top 152 prospect rankings (Yes, I have one, and no, not going to share it) for this summary and realized that I just missed RHP Austin Schulfer. I have placed him in where I had ranked him among pitchers and overall in the below charts.
I acknowledged in one of the pitcher articles that while it is a good start to split up the Hitters and Pitchers, there was a logical additional separation that is needed... Starting Pitchers and Relief Pitchers. You see, right or wrong, I still have it in my head that a #3 of #4 starter is still going to through 150-160 innings a season while even the best relievers will throw 60-70 innings in a season. Fair? Not necessarily because no one is questioning the importance of a quality bullpen. Twins fans certainly understand that need. And, maybe it's something that will change in time. If we're being honest, we have seen pitching roles change over the past few years and I would expect that will continue. Aside from the top starting pitchers, most starters are only going through the batting order twice, pitching four or five innings. That is making the value of relievers much more important. So, I did want to take a few minutes and also provide my list of the top 15 Twins relief pitching prospects.
Top 15 Relief Pitching Prospects
1. Jovani Moran, LHP
2. Osiris German, RHP
3. Yennier Cano, RHP
4. Jordan Gore, RHP
5. Steven Cruz, RHP
6. Ryan Mason, RHP
7. Alex Scherff, RHP
8. Denny Bentley, LHP
9. Zach Featherstone, LHP
10. Ryan Shreve, RHP
11. Derek Molina, RHP
12. Zach Neff, LHP
13. David Festa, RHP
14. Josh Mitchell, LHP
15. Melvi Acosta, RHP
Again, that is a really good group. The top five were included among the Top 30 Pitching Prospects, and likely #6 through #12 on this list would have appeared very soon.
Seth's Top 50 Twins Prospects
(Clicking on the player links will bring you to a list of any article that player has been tagged in on Twins Daily. It's fun to look back and see how they've progressed, and other interesting information from their careers.)
Royce Lewis, SS (Hitter 1) Jose Miranda, IF (H2) Austin Martin, SS/OF (H3) Matt Canterino, RHP (Pitcher 1) Joe Ryan, RHP (P2) Jordan Balazovic, RHP (P3) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (P4) Josh Winder, RHP (P5) Chase Petty, RHP (P6) Marco Raya, RHP (P7) Jhoan Duran, RHP (P8) Cade Povich, LHP (P9) Noah Miller, SS (H4) Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (H5) Steve Hajjar, LHP (P10) Kala’I Rosario, OF (H6) Blayne Enlow, RHP (P11) Gilberto Celestino, OF (H7) Louie Varland, RHP (P12) Spencer Steer, IF (H8) Cole Sands, RHP (P13) Edouard Julien, IF (H9) Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP (P14) Drew Strotman, RHP (P15) Aaron Sabato, 1B (H10) Matt Wallner, OF (H11) Misael Urbina, OF (H12) Jovani Moran, LHP (P16) Casey Legumina, RHP (P17) Keoni Cavaco, SS (H13) Chris Vallimont, RHP (P18) Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B (H14) Jermaine Palacios, SS (H15) Regi Grace, RHP (P19) Yunior Severino, IF (H16) Alerick Soularie, OF (H17) Jair Camargo, C (H18) Osiris German, RHP (P20) Christian MacLeod, LHP (P21) Alex Isola, C/1B (H19) Sean Mooney, RHP (P22) Yennier Cano, RHP (P23) Austin Schulfer, RHP (P24) Jeferson Morales, C/OF (H20) Seth Gray, 3B (H21) Will Holland, SS/CF (H22) Cody Laweryson, RHP (P24) Jordan Gore, RHP (P25) Mark Contreras, OF (H23) Charlie Mack, C (H24) Notes
It is hard not to notice that the top three prospects are hitters. However, prospects four through 12 are all pitchers. Frankly, an argument could be made that those nine pitchers could be fairly interchangeable. If you were to tell me that Jhoan Duran or Josh Winder or Chase Petty should rank fourth, I'm not going to argue too vehemently. More important than the actual ranking is that the Twins have a lot of pitchers with not only big-league potential, but they have potential to be playoff starters in the future. I noted this throughout the series, particularly in the comments, but it's important to note who is no longer eligible for prospect status. On the mound, Bailey Ober, Griffin Jax , and Ralph Garza, Jr. surpassed rookie qualifications. Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers, Brent Rooker, Ben Rortvedt, and Nick Gordon are no longer "prospects" either. For those curious, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, Cody Stashak and Jorge Alcala were not rookies in 2021 after their big-league time in 2020. Breakdown (Pitchers): Right-Handed Starting Pitchers (19), Left-Handed Starting Pitchers (3), Right-Handed Relief Pitchers (3), Left-Handed Relief Pitchers (1). All three left-handed starters were drafted in 2021. Breakdown (Position Players): Catchers (4), Infielders (13), Outfielders (7). Obviously versatility is important in the organization and several players got time in multiple spots. I tried to include them where they played most often. How Acquired: Drafted by Twins (35), Acquired in Trade (8), International Signing (6), Minor League Signing (1, Jermaine Palacios). This is a large number, but more important, three of the top 7 prospects were acquired in July. 13 of these 50 players are on the Twins 40-man roster, so if there is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they will not be able to start spring training. They can't just go to minor league spring training. Several have told me (in the Twins organization and elsewhere ) that Covid could potentially have rippling negative impact on organizations and player development for a couple of years. Obviously that is primarily regarding pitchers, but there can also be hitters who will hopefully get their groove back again in 2022. It's also important to remember that a pitcher drafted out of college in 2019 was likely 21-22 years old. With the missed 2020 season, they pitched in 2021 at 23-24. Four-year college players even a year older. While age-to-level of competition is often a factor in prospect rankings, and it needs to be, it's my opinion that it has almost no bearing right now on what a pitcher can be as we move forward, and if they come up at 24 or 26 isn't a very big deal. So when I read comments like, "Well, Pitcher A is already 24, he has to be rushed up now..." I can't disagree more. As always, what makes doing these rankings fun is the interaction with the readers. Here at Twins Daily, I believe we have the best Twins minor league coverage around, and we have a lot of our readers and writers that have a strong interest in learning more. These lists serve many purposes. First, it's to highlight players that deserve to be talked about. Second, it's fun to think we are smart and that there is some science to these prospect rankings. I've done Twins prospect rankings going back to 2003 or 2004 online. It is not a science. These are kids, working their way up an organizational ladder, just like many kids just out of high school or college. The develop at different rates. They work hard. They get hurt. Things happen and they don't always pan out. So, we need to give them credit when we can, and we can dream on them helping our favorite team become a viable, consistent winning team. I enjoy the comments section. I enjoy being challenged. I try not to run from questions you ask while also being respectful of the players and their families. So please discuss these players and more in the comments. And also, please let us know what you want to see from Twins Daily's minor league coverage in 2022? What can we do better? What would you like to see more of, or less of? Your feedback helps us so much and we want to continue to improve.
Several of these Twins players have been a guest on Twins Spotlight over the past two offseasons. We have now had 51 episodes. To look back and see who we have interviewed and listen back to them, click here.
(To look back at what I wrote about the 60 players, click below)
Hitters Part 1: 26-30
Hitters Part 2: 21-25
Hitters Part 3: 16-20
Hitters Part 4: 11-15
Hitters Part 5: 6-10
Hitters Part 6: 1-5
Pitchers Part 1: 26-30
Pitchers Part 2: 21-25
Pitchers Part 3: 16-20
Pitchers Part 4: 11-15
Pitchers Part 5: 6-10
Pitchers Part 6: 1-5
jmlease1 reacted to Dave Overlund for an article, Twins Nostalgia: What Is Your All-Time Favorite Twins Baseball Card?
Baseball card collecting has become much more intense than it was in my childhood. Our biggest choice was whether to spend the 75 cents on a standard pack of Topps or spring for the $1.25 pack of glossy, flashy, hologram-y Upper Deck. Or, if we were really feeling fancy, we could go to KB Toys and splurge on a rack pack!
I am going to sound like some kind of boomer here, but I can't keep up with the refractors, variations, jersey patches, etc... nor can I afford a box of cards from the local hobby shop at this point. So, with that being said, I have shifted my focus to trying to collect each and every Topps base-set Twins card in existence.
No matter how many team sets I buy, or binders I fill with chronologically-cataloged cardboard Twins, my favorite card remains the same:
The 1989 Topps Gary Gaetti card.
Listen, I get it, it's a pretty unremarkable card for most people and it's worth MAYBE ten cents at the present time.
However, for me it's about the memory associated with the card as opposed to its value.
I can remember sitting on our rickety metal swing set as a seven-year-old when my dad returned from the store (to which he undoubtedly went to buy some dip). He handed me a pack of baseball cards, and I immediately began rifling through them looking for Jose Canseco, Cal Ripken, Kirby Puckett, and other superstars of the day, but mostly I was most stoked to get a Twins card.
After flipping past Mike Moore, Jeffrey Leonard and other randoms from that '89 set, I saw it: a Gary Gaetti card. I excitedly showed it to my dad, who exclaimed "Wow! Not bad for a 75-cent pack of cards! Hang onto that one!"
And I have. It's the only card I would never trade or gamble with as a kid. Why Gary Gaetti? I don't know. He is a Twins Hall of Famer, won a World Series ring and has two cool nicknames in "G-Man" and "The Rat!" Maybe it's some of this too...
My latest mission has been to find autographed cards of the 1989 Topps set. I have acquired most of them in person, a couple off of Twins fan groups and one off of eBay of questionable quality. My white whale, of course, is a legit signed 1989 Topps Kirby Puckett.
What is your favorite Twins card and why? What do you collect? Let us know in the comments!
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Order the Offseason Handbook
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email