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Danchat

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Blog Entries posted by Danchat

  1. Danchat

    Aggregated Prospect Rankings
    Continuing from my Top 30 Prospect Rankings in the winter, I have updated my standings in accordance to how well things have gone for the individual players. I'll try to keep this brief, but I can promise nothing!
    Format
    #Num - Pos Player (Winter Rating)
    Current Level - Quick Summary
    Graduated
    #1 OF Trevor Larnach
    #2 C Ryan Jeffers
    #3 OF Alex Kirilloff
    DFA'd
    #18 2B Travis Blankenhorn
    #35 SP Dakota Chalmers
     
    Top 30 Prospects
    #30 - 2B Edouard Julien (Not Ranked)
    A - A former 18th round pick, Julien is raking at Fort Myers. Has a long way to go, but he's on my radar now.
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    #29 - CF Gabriel Maciel (#24)
    A+ - Maciel got off to a rough start and has shown zero pop in his bat. He profiles as a Ben Revere type.
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    #28 - 3B Seth Gray (#32)
    A+ - Gray has shown improvement at the plate and has a high .368 OBP. Part of that is because of 9 HBPs (hit by pitches).
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    #27 - 2B Will Holland (#26)
    A - Got a late start and has been a bit shaky in a small sample size.
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    #26 - SP Luis Rijo (#23)
    A+ - Got a late start, pitched in one game, and hit the IL with a forearm strain. This reeks of a lost season.
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    #25 - SS Jermaine Palacios (NR)
    AA - Palacios is quite the story. He was the only prospect in the Odorizzi trade with the Rays, but he completely flopped in AA Montgomery. He signed back with the Twins in free agency and is hitting up a storm (.850 OPS with great OBP and some power) and he already profiles well as a defender. He always had a high ceiling, which earns him a spot in the top 30.
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    #24 - OF Emmanuel Rodriguez (#29)
    Not playing yet.
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    #23 - OF Alerick Soularie (#28)
    Not playing yet / injured.
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    #22 - RP Yennier Cano (NR)
    AAA - Cano crushed AA with a 13.7 K/9 ratio and doesn't hand out too many walks. The 27 year old Cuban is now pitching at AAA and should debut in August/September for the Twins as a reliever.
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    #21 - RP Edwar Colina (#15)
    On the 60 day IL after having bone spurs removed from his elbow. Still the organization's best reliever prospect, Colina missing a year of development is awful for both him and the Twins.
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    #20 - C Ben Rortvedt (#20)
    MLB - He's filling in as the backup catcher, and as I speculated before, he's a strong defender who can't hit. He'll do better than .140, but he's always going to be a liability at the plate.
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    #19 - SS Danny De Andrade (#25)
    Not playing yet
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    #18 - 2B/CF Nick Gordon (#22)
    MLB - Gordon went from potential DFA candidate to a quality bench player. Even with almost 2 years off, his swing looks good and his speed gives him SB opportunities and can fill in as a CF. This is likely his ceiling, though.
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    #17 - SS Wander Javier (#19)
    AA - Javier is looking better at the plate, but is still only hitting .692 OPS. His future may be as a backup SS who can field better than most, but can't hit.
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    #16 - 2B Spencer Steer (#21)
    A+ - Steer is absolutely raking at Cedar Rapids with a .915 OPS, 10 HRs, and .405 OBP. He may earn a late promotion to AA and has potential to climb higher if he keeps hitting.
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    #15 - SP Blayne Enlow (#16)
    A+ - Looked great in 3 starts, but then needed Tommy John surgery. The first of a bundle of quality starting pitcher prospects, this injury sets him back at least a year.
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    #14 - 1B/DH Brent Rooker (#7)
    AAA - Rooker plummets down the rankings after looking terrible in his short MLB stint and getting passed up by the likes of Garlick, Refsnyder, Gordon (for MLB ABs, not outfield play). He's hit well in St. Paul (.925 OPS 11 HRs), but he turns 27 soon, and if he can't hit MLB pitching, he has no place on any roster.
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    #13 - CF Misael Urbina (#14)
    A - Urbina has struggled at Fort Myers, but he's only 19. It's too early to be concerned.
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    #12 - 3B Keoni Cavaco (#13)
    A - Cavaco is hitting better, though with no power and too many Ks. At just 20, he has a long ways to go.
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    #11 - SP Bailey Ober (#33)
    MLB - Ober takes a massive leap up as I originally projected him as a reliever. He's looked better than expected in the Twins' rotation, and while he has been hittable and given a strict inning limit, he's been able to strike out some of the league's best hitters. If he get more innings under his belt, he could solidify himself as a decent MLB starter.
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    #10 - SP Josh Winder (#27)
    AA - I initially rated Winder too low, as he's now dominating AA with a WHIP under 1.0, 10.7 K/9, and 5.4 innings per start. At this rate he will be able to graduate in 2022 and he profiles as a mid-rotation starter, not just a back-end guy.
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    #9 - 1B Aaron Sabato (#9)
    A - Many thought Sabato might start at A+, but instead he starts at the bottom and he's been bad at the plate. A 33 K% in the minors is a big red flag. It is early, but like Rooker you have to wonder if his power-first approach will sink him at the plate.
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    #8 - CF Gilberto Celestino (#10)
    MLB - Celestino went from AA to MLB in the span of two days, and unsurprisingly looked shaky at the plate. He needs more time to work on his bat, but 2022 will be his final option year (had to be protected from Rule 5 draft). It'd be nice to use Celestino as a Buxton substitute.
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    #7 - SP Cole Sands (#12)
    AA - Like Winder, Sands looked very good at AA, albeit with a few too many walks. Unfortunately, he's on the IL with an undisclosed injury.
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    #6 - OF/1B Matt Wallner (#8)
    A+ - Wallner was hitting at a ridiculous 1.005 OPS (.333/.384) before hitting the IL with a hamate bone injury. He did have a 38% K rate in that small sample size.
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    #5 - 3B Jose Miranda (#17)
    AA - I mentioned last time that Miranda needed to take a big step forward, and that's exactly what he did. With an insane 1.0006 OPS (.348/.415), 12 HRs, and a microscopic 10% K rate, Miranda looks like the real deal despite his struggles in the lower minors. It's fair to debate if he can stay at 3B full-time, but his bat looks like it has MLB staying power.
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    #4 - SP Matt Canterino (#11)
    A+ - Canterino looked flat-out unhittable until hitting the IL with elbow issues. Hope for the best, everyone.
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    #3 - SP Jhoan Duran (#5)
    AAA - Duran has struggled with injuries and command so far, and has now been shut down with an elbow problem. This is looking like a lost season.
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    #2 - SP Jordan Balazovic (#6)
    AA - After missing time with a back problem, Balazovic is ramping up and has been a bit shaky. He has nasty stuff, but needs to get more innings under his belt.
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    #1 - SS/CF Royce Lewis (#4)
    Torn ACL - With my top three graduated, Lewis took over the top spot, but of course blew his ACL in Spring Training. He should be ready for the 2022 season where he will likely start in AAA. 
     

    Rule 5 Eligible Prospects for Winter 2021:
    Royce Lewis
    Jermaine Palacios
    Jose Miranda
    Josh Winder
    Cole Sands
    Wander Javier
    Gabriel Maciel
    Blayne Enlow
  2. Danchat
    For those who may be new to this game, I’ll give a detailed breakdown.
    So when a pitcher faces a batter, three dice are rolled. The white die determines which card will be used; 1 to 3 summons the hitter card, and 4 to 6 summons the pitcher card. The two red dice will determine the outcome of the play. In a standard game, one would switch out the hitter cards for each batter and the pitcher cards during any pitching change. However, for my setup, I will be using the Master Hitting and Master Pitching cards. This prevents the need for a card for each player, which is also great because I’m cheap and hate spending money to buy more stuff!
    Here’s part of my custom-made hitting card:

     
    But how random and how varied can each player be if they’re all using the same card? The answer to that would be in the player’s skill level. At the current moment, here are the skills that are recorded:
    Hitting 1 to 8 (higher number being the better value)
    Power 1 to 8
    Speed E to AA
    Fielding 1 to 5
    Drawing walks 1 to 5
    Strikeout tendency 1 to 5
     
    And for the pitchers:
    Preventing hits 1 to 8
    Preventing HRs 1 to 5
    Allowing walks 1 to 5
    Getting strikeouts 1 to 5
    Here is an example; the current Twins squad:


     
    This roster was created with stats from Baseball-Reference with specific cutoffs for each rank for each skill. Now here is a picture of some of the cuttoffs:

     
    It can take a little while to come up with the teams since I have to research every single player, but this process helps me becoming more informed about other teams’ players
    If you’re unfamiliar with Strat-O-Matic baseball, there are also a few supplemental charts. There’s the X-Chart, which either sees a groundball or flyball get hit at a certain position that will be difficult to play. Great defenders will almost always make the play, but the poorer the fielder, the higher chance of an error or a hit (lack of range, I guess). Here’s a screenshot of the X-Chart:

     
    And there’s also the Strategy Chart. This determines how groundballs and flyouts will be fielded, and allows for managers to try bunting, hit-and-run, bringing the infield in, and more. Since I’m playing alone (is that weird to you guys?), I get to decide what strategy for each team might be the best. This also applies to pitching changes and offensive substitutions. Here’s part of the chart:

     
    With all this put together, let’s test a plate appearance and see how things work:

     
    In this scenario, Jorge Polanco faces Ryan Yarbrough. He rolls a 4-5, which goes to the pitching card, with the number 5. With this roll, the batter will groundout (though all runners on base will advance); however, if the pitcher is a #4 or 5 in strikeouts, the batter will strike out. Also, if the pitcher is a #1 or #2 hitting-wise, the batter will hit a single. Since Ryan Yarbrough is a #3 strikeout-wise and #5 hitting-wise, Polanco grounds out.
     
    I hope you understand how the Strat-O-System works a little better now, and I’ll be bringing you another game this weekend. Post any questions or suggestions you may have!
  3. Danchat
    #8 - Matt Wallner OF (1st Round 2019, Southern Miss)
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    Another bat-first prospect, Wallner has some serious power behind his bat after hitting 58 HRs at Southern Mississippi (in just 872 PAs!). He did alright at Elizabethton, and his main concern as a hitter will be limiting the strikeouts. Defensively he's a subpar runner and will be limited to corner OF, if not 1B. He also pitched part-time in college, which means he's got the arm to throw out runners.
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    #7 - Brent Rooker 1B (1st Round 2017, Miss State)
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    Rooker's very similar to Sabato and Wallner, but unlike them, he's ready to play in the majors. He did well in his first week of games in the majors before fracturing his wrist on a pitch, and we saw a glimpse into his upside. He's got the power to hit 25+ HRs a season and his batting average did not suffer much in the minors. Strikeouts will be a concern, as he had a dangerously high 33.8% strikeout rate at AAA. Despite that he still hit .928 OPS with a super strong .399 OBP. Defensively, he really shouldn't be playing in the outfield. He hasn't played a ton of 1B, but hopefully he's given plenty of practice there because that would be an ideal place to end up. Otherwise he'll be a DH his whole career.
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    #6 - Jordan Balazovic RHP (5th Round 2016, HS)
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    The Twins have gone through a drought of starting pitcher prospects for at least 10 years, and have been desperate to get a guy like Balazovic up and going. He mowed through Fort Myers A+ in 2019 with a strong 2.84 ERA, a phenomenal K/9 rate (11.8) without a bad BB/9 rate (2.6). He uses a strong mix of a 94-95 MPH fastball that acts a sinker, and sprinkles in similar-looking curveballs and sliders. He needs to get more innings under his belt and I don't think he profiles as a #1 or #2 starter, but he has a clean injury history and he'll likely be starting in AA at the young age of 21. Balazovic has a bright future in the big leagues if he continues down the path he's headed.
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    #5 - Jhoan Duran RHP (International from Dominican Republic, acquired in 2018 trade)
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    The top pitching prospect, Duran turned his career around once arriving in the Twins organization, going from a #20-30 prospect in Arizona to top-tier prospect. Duran's fastball has sped up the past couple season, sitting in the upper 90s and he'll hit 100 every once in a while. His secondary pitch is a splitter that can hit 94, and consistently fool hitters with its fastball-speed. His command can be a bit shaky at times, but that's even been a huge problem for him. Duran does have the toolset to be a dynamite reliever, but he's successfully pitched a starter's workload in the minors and should land in the rotation. Perhaps he pitches in the Twins' bullpen down the stretch in 2021 as his first dip into the MLB pool.
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    #4 - Royce Lewis SS (1st Round 2017, HS)
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    Most prospect rankers won't agree with this, but I'm not as high on Lewis as most are. The first overall draft pick in 2017, Lewis had very strong 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he hit poorly in 2019 at A+ and AA. He was promoted to AA despite hitting .665 OPS, and proceeded to hit .649 OPS there. Critics have pointed out that Lewis' swing does not look good and his approach at the plate needs heavy refinement, and his pitch recognition is currently poor. He's still young, turning 22 this summer, but I don't think he's particularly close to being MLB-ready. There has also been debate about whether he will end up at SS or CF, as he has the raw speed to handle both. This ranking has mostly been negative, but Royce has the potential to become a talented hitter with 60-65 power potential and has the highest ceiling of any prospect on this team. I just get the sense that Lewis will become a hitter whose approach at the plate won't click until Year 4 or 5 of his career.
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    #3 - Alex Kiriloff OF (1st Round 2016, HS)
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    The Twins are poised to make Kiriloff their starting LF in 2021, and it's not hard to see why. He has a career .317 batting average in the minors, and that's no fluke. Scouts rave about his ability to make consistent contact on tough pitches, he has has some serious power behind his swing, with the potential for 20+ HRs a year. Kiriloff's focus on contact has kept the number of walks low, but that's not a big concern if he hits > .300. He's had a couple of wrist injuries and missed the entire 2017 season. Defensively Kiriloff is one of the lower prospects on this list, and while he has a good glove and a great arm, he may end up at 1B. Hopefully his bat will end up somehwere in the #2-4 spot in the lineup one day.
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    #2 - Ryan Jeffers C (2nd Round 2018, UNC Wilmington)
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    This is probably the highest you've ever seen Jeffers on a prospect ranking, but I am comfortable putting him this high. Good catching prospects are rare, and Jeffers is the entire package. He was yet another 'questionable draft pick' in the 2nd round, but the Twins organization sculpted him into one of the best defensive backstops in the minor leagues after initial scouting reports claimed he wouldn't be able to stay at catcher. He ranked as a top-notch pitch framer, and showed as much in his 26 game debut in 2020. His bat was always his calling card, and it didn't disappoint in the minors with a very strong (.296/.383/.453 .836 OPS). He'll take a lot of walks and has the potential for more power. Jeffers is ready to graduate off this list and will push for the starting role as the Twins' catcher.
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    #1 - Trevor Larnach OF (1st Round 2018, Oregon State)
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    I conclude with another bat-first position player, of whom has the best minor league track record to this point. Larnach covered 4 levels of the minor leagues through only two years (2018-19) and held his own at every level, never dipping below a .295 batting average or .840 OPS. In total he's recorded a (.307/.385/.468) triple slash, and that's even with only 18 HRs in that stretch. He's got more power in that bat, no doubt. Larnach will take plenty of walks too, as his K/BB ratio was very healthy too. Defensively he's a bit on the slower side, but I think he will work as a RF with a decent glove and strong arm. Once he figures out the big leagues, Larnach is a hitter whose name should be penned into the #3 spot in the lineup and be let loose to rake to his heart's content.
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    I will add one more blog post soon going over my formula of how these rankings were calculated. Until then, let me know what you think!
  4. Danchat
    Continuing on from Part 2:
     
    #16 - Blayne Enlow RHP (3rd Round 2017, HS)
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    Enlow has had a very average minor league career so far. He throws 4 different pitches, which gives him an edge to be a starting pitcher, but his K/BB ratio (2.39) leaves a lot to be desired. He averages 92 MPH but can touch 95-96 on occasion. Enlow still has time to take a big step forward, and a good 2021 season could vault him into the top 10.
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    #15 - Edwar Colina RHP (International from Venezuela, 2016)
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    Ignore his bad outing in the final game of the 2020 season, I think Colina has a bright future, albeit as a reliever. His fastball can reach up to 100 MPH, and in combination with a strong slider, he was able to average about a strikeout an inning. Walks have been a problem for him, with a career 3.9 BB/9. He found more success in 2019 once he mostly ditched his changeup, though if he could bring that back, his repertoire would be all the more stronger. Colina should bounce between AAA and the MLB team in 2021, with the hope that he can figure things out like Jorge Alcala did in 2020.
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    #14 - Misael Urbina CF (International from Venezuela, 2018)
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    Urbina gets the nod over the other top [internal] international prospects after he had a strong 2019 in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .825 OPS. Urbina is ahead of most other prospects his age (he'll turn 19 soon), as scouts praise his plate discipline and hand-eye coordination. If he can develop power later on, he should jump up into the top 5. He was a base-stealing threat as well, but it's questionable if he'll continue to be such a fast runner after he puts on more muscle.
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    #13 - Keoni Cavaco 3B (1st Round 2019, HS)
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    Many considered Cavaco to be a reach in the draft at pick #13, and his play in rookie league only confirmed this for some. Cavaco hit .470 OPS with a dreadful 38% strikeout rate. Hope should not be abandoned for the young infielder, as many project him to have a 55 to 60 power ranking, and he's working on accessing this power. He's also blazing fast, having enough quickness to play SS, but is currently error-prone. Cavaco needs to get his career on the right path with a strong 2021 season.
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    #12 - Cole Sands RHP (5th Round 2018, Florida State)
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    Sands has dealt with some injury issues, but when he's healthy, he deals. He had a quality fastball that touches 95/96 and mixes in a curveball that might be the best in our system. He turned in a strong 2019 season, posting a 2.68 ERA in 18 starts with healthy K/BB numbers. Sands turns 24 in 2021, and needs to pitch a whole season (likely at AA) to prove himself as a starting pitcher. He could challenge for a spot in the 2022 rotation if all goes well.
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    #11 - Matt Canterino RHP (2nd Round 2019, Rice)
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    We haven't seen a full season in the minors from Canterino yet, but the scouts are raving about him. He's recently developed a nasty changeup that complements his strong fastball, which has already seen an increase in speed since his college days. He's going to be getting strikeouts by the dozens, if his track record is anything to go by. Canterino is still a ways away, and for pitching prospects, I don't count chickens until the eggs are close to hatch.
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    #10 - Gilberto Celesinto CF (International from , acquired in 2018 trade)
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    Unquestionably the best outfielder defensively on the prospect ranking, Celestino boasts a 60-60 run and fielding toolset and could be an elite defender in CF. As you might expect, his bat has been a bit shaky in the minors, as his 2019 season ran hot and cold - his first half was dismal, but his second half was stupendous. He won't be a power hitter in the big leagues, but he did knock out 10 HRs. Celestino profiles as a CF in the same vein as Kevin Kiermaier or Kevin Pillar.
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    #9 - Aaron Sabato 1B (1st Round 2020, North Carolina)
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    The Twins just can't resist a good hitting prospect, no matter how their caliber of athleticism. Sabato, the Twins' latest 1st rounder, crushed the ACC conference at college as he had a crazy .332/.459/.708 line. That's only over 368 career PAs, however. He's already rated as a 60 power hitter, meaning he could be a 30+ HRs a year guy. The problem will be what position he plays... it's either going to be 1B or DH. He's already a hefty guy and will need to learn how to play 1B. I don't mind having a pure hitting prospect like this, there's just a few too many of them just like him for my taste.
  5. Danchat
    I'm attempting my first batch of prospect rankings ever! Here's how it will go:
     
    I'm calling this an Aggregated Prospect Ranking. That means that I'm outsourcing opinions from several sources to form my own rankings - I haven't watched most of these players, so there isn't a whole lot that I can add from a scouting standpoint. I would, however, like to weigh the rankings to factors measured by others; for example, boosting a player's ranking due to position scarcity, or quantifying how their minor league play boosts their odds at panning out in the majors. It'll make for a useful ranking to look back on in the future, but just remember that I'm not an expert!
     
    I will reveal my formula for ranking the players where they are in the final article... and there will be some selections that some will find surprising. But I hope you will enjoy it!
     
    Sources:
    MLB.com Pipeline: https://www.mlb.com/prospects/twins/
    Fangraphs: https://www.fangraphs.com/teams/twins
    Baseball Savant: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/dakota-chalmers-663793?stats=career-r-pitching-milb
    Other Prospect Rankings on Twins Daily
     
     
    Honorable Mentions
    Outside the Top 30
     
    RHP Griffin Jax - The former 3rd rounder has been available to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft in 2019 and 2020, but with no takers. He's stuffed the stat sheet in the minors with consistently low ERAs, but does not get strikeouts often and his stuff is likely not going to cut it in the MLB. He's already 26 and in AAA, which makes him a spot starter at best.
     
    OF Kala'i Rosario - A 5th rounder in the very small Twins 2021 Draft Class, Rosario is a high schooler out of Hawaii. Scouts expect him to develop some power as he gets older. I could see him cracking prospect lists in 2022-23 if all goes well.
     
    RHP Bailey Ober - Despite topping out around 87 MPH, Ober drew tons of strikeouts and clean innings in his first full season in 2019 between Rookie league, A+, and AA. The Twins saw enough promise in him to hand him a 40 man roster spot and could make his MLB debut this year. Ober will likely need to move to the bullpen to get a few more ticks on his fastball, but his breaking pitches and command are top notch.
     
    RHP Dakota Chalmers - Acquired in the Fernando Rodney trade, Chalmers was added to the 40 man roster in late 2019, meaning he's already burned an option. He has a fastball that tops out at 96 and has the secondary pitches to consistently strike anyone out, but he's outside of the top 30 due to an inability to throw strikes and a spotty injury history. If he ever does crack the majors, it'll likely be as a reliever since he's never pitched more than 67 innings in a season.
     
    OF Willie Joe Garry Jr. - He didn't hit so well in Elizabethton(rookie league) with a .228/.301/.365 line, but scouts are never-the-less still excited for him. The lefty has the tools to be a CFer with a strong arm, but his bat has a long way to go. He's not much more than a lottery ticket at this point.
     
    3B Seth Gray - Gray had a decent debut at Elizabethton with a .225/.336/.445 (.781 OPS) line. He already has hit for power, as he swatted in 11 HRs in his first 257 PAs, and drew 30 walks in that span. His fielding ability is questionable, as it's fair to wonder if he'll stick at 3B.
     
     
    The Top 30
     
    #30 - Yunior Severino 2B (International from Dominican Republic, acquired in 2018 trade)
    Severino had a quality rookie season in 2018, but fractured his thumb in 2019 and didn't play much. Still only 21, Severino has plenty of raw strength, but has yet to put it on display. He's going to be striking out a lot. He has a strong enough arm to play any spot on the diamond, but his bigger frame will likely put him at 2B.
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    #29 - Emmanuel Rodriguez OF (International from Dominican Republic, 2019)
    We haven't gotten to see our top international prospect from the 2019 class thanks to the virus. He'll turn 18 this year and has a long road ahead of him, but boasts a jack of all trades toolset. He's got a strong arm and enough speed to play center, and even some pop in his bat.
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    #28 - Alreick Soularie OF (2nd round 2020, Tennessee)
    Many questioned this pick at the time, and you can count me as one of them. Normally I'd be placing a 2nd rounder coming out of college higher on the list, but there are too many question marks surrounding Soularie to earn a high ranking. He appears to be a one tool prospect - he can hit. He managed a .336 batting average at Tennessee and reportedly shows great bat control. He was not good defensively and has a ways to go if he wants to be a corner outfielder.
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    #27 - Josh Winder RHP (7th round 2018, Virginia Military Institute)
    Winder put himself on the radar with a strong 2019 campaign, sporting a WHIP under 1.0 and a shiny 2.65 ERA. He even managed 5.96 innings a start. He was old for pitching at Low A (22), and may not have the type of pitches that makes him a true threat in the big leagues, but the results are there. He will be Rule 5 eligible in 2021.
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    #26 - Will Holland 2B (5th round 2019, Auburn)
    Holland had a rough outing at Elizabethton hitting .192, Holland profiles as an athlete who is still figuring out how to hit. Fangraphs rated him with the highest "run" tool, but thinks he'll end up at 2B, while MLB.com's report claims he can stick at short. If he can hold up defensively at short, he'll have a chance to develop into a quality utility infielder.
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    #25 - Danny De Andrade SS (International from Venezuela, 2021)
    The Twins just acquired De Andrade two weeks ago, spending $2.2M to land him as their top international free agent of the year. He ranked as a top 10 international prospect in this year's class. The 16-year-old has a solid frame to grow into, but none of his tools stands out. We don't have many pure shortstop prospects in our system, so it would be ideal if De Andrade could rise up to be one of the better ones.
     
    Coming up next: #17-24
  6. Danchat
    6/18/19 - Red Sox at Twins - David Price vs Michael Pineda
    Box Score:
     

     
    Game Summary
    The Twins struck first in the second inning with Sano notching a one-out double, followed by a Jake Cave two run homer. It was a no-doubter, as I had a 6-12 roll, which meant that unless the pitcher is very good at preventing HRs, this one was gone. Price is good at preventing homers, but not great, so the Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
    The Sox chipped away at the lead as Betts hit a RBI single in the 3rd inning, but the bats exploded in the 4th inning. What followed was an error to get Martinez on 1st, a Devers double, Chavis double, Bradley Jr. single, Betts single, and a Benintendi single. The Red Sox took a strong 5-2 lead that they later strengthened to a 6th run.
    The Twins fired back in the bottom of the 5th, though, as Cave lead the inning off with a triple. Schoop singled him in, followed by Garver singling him to second. We then saw Rosario hit a double and Cron hit a single to make the game 6-5 by the end of the 5th.
     
    And then in the 6th, the Twins struck again! Cave hit a double (this dude is on a tear!), followed by a Schoop single that moved him to 3rd. David Price was pulled for Mike Shawaryn, who immediately gave up a game-tying single to Polanco. Garver then hit a double that scored Schoop, which gave the Twins a 7-6 lead.
     
    But then the bullpen struck - Littell gave up a single, and I pulled him and placed Morin in with one out already recorded. Then Michael Chavis, the young Boston 1st baseman, nailed a 2 run homer to give them a 8-7 lead. This one seems like a game of tug-of-rope.Trevor May then came out to pitch the 8th and gave up 3 singles and a 2 run homer to Mookie Betts, making it 10-7. This is getting real ugly!
     
    However, in the 9th, Cruz lead off with a single and Cron walked to get the tying run up to the plate. But Gonzalez and Sano both struck out and Brasier got the save. We are now 1-2 in Strat-O-Land.
     
    Another one went down the drain today... but at least this one didn't go 17 innings. I think my record for my longest Strat-O-Matic game went 13 innings. I'd like to see if I could ever break that number.
    Here's hoping we can win one next time out!
  7. Danchat
    Welcome, readers! In past years, I’ve taken control of a game thread once or twice a year and ran a Strat-O-Matic game in real time alongside the Twins game in real life. With the game threads headed in a different direction, I’ve thought about how I might deliver some Strat-O-Matic content to Twins Daily in a better-suited format. After some deliberation, I decided to start a blog here and see if this format will satisfy the masses. Just so you know, I work a 9 to 5 job Monday through Friday and I’m also a content creator at Purple Pain, a Vikings forum, so my time is limited, but I hope to bring a somewhat consistent source of simulations this season. And with that out of the way...
     
    Today I will lead off with a box score from my simulation of Sunday’s (6/2/19) game against the Rays. In my next blog posts I’ll explain my system of simulation in detail - I don’t actually use the cards that came with the game, I’m using my own custom version that I’ve been working on for the past 8-9 years. Strat-O-Matic sets are expensive and I don’t want to wait a full year after the 2019 season ends to get my hands on the 2019 cards. While my simulation isn’t going to have the pinpoint accuracy and realism that the original game provides, I think it can work as a quick-and-dirty version that is far more flexible than the original game could ever be.
    Now, onto the game itself:
     

     
    Summary:
    This game went very similarly to the actual one, with the Twins getting a 8-0 lead at one point, as compared to a 7-0 lead in real life. However, no bullpen collapse happened and it was a rather uneventful outing. Mitch Garver kicked some serious butt in his first game back, and Sano hit a 1B, 2B, and HR. We'll have to see if Garver can stay hot and if guys like Polanco can have better games next time out.
     
    To-Do List: Too many errors. The X Chart, which determines whether a fielder will make a play or not, is rather harsh on fielders who aren’t elite. The chances of rolling an error are far too high for my liking.
    Also, I’m not sure what happened with walks - we saw just 2 in the game and both happened in the 9th inning. There is a solid 8.5% chance of a walk happening on any normal plate appearance, though that varies with the batter’s and pitcher’s tendencies. I won’t tinker anything in this category... yet.
     
     
    Next Time:
    A intricate breakdown on my unique Strat-O-Matic setup, and possibly another game simulated. I'm not sure how many games I'll get to, but I'd like to do a whole bunch (10 to 20?) and be able to see which players are doing the best in this simulation.
  8. Danchat
    Now that the 25 man roster is finalized for the Twins, I'm going to publish my predictions here and then analyze them at the end of the year to see if I guessed anything correctly.
    -Stats I'm going to use-
    Batting Average/On base percentage/HRs
     
    C Kurt Suzuki 2013: .232/.290/5
    Prediction for 2014: .240/.297/7
     
    We all want Pinto to take over. Suzuki has severely declined over the last two years. As much as it seems like Pinto will take over, I think Suzuki actually has a decent year and gets his batting average up a bit higher.
     
    C Josmil Pinto 2013: .342/.398/4
    Prediction for 2014: .266/.310/12
     
    Insert *He's not possibly going to play as well as he did last fall* argument here. This is going to be the beginning of a great career for Pinto. Let's just hope he doesn't go down the Parmelee path.
     
    1B Joe Mauer 2013: .324/.404/11
    Prediction for 2014: .329/.406/16
     
    Everyone is predicting an increase in Joe-Joe's batting average. I'll give him a small bump in BA but I do think he'll hit 5 more HRs, if that means anything. Don't expect him to get much better at the plate.
     
    1B/Utility Chris Colabello 2013: .194/.284/7
    Prediction for 2014: .222/.302/8
     
    I've heard a lot of positive clamor about Colabello, but his numbers look pretty bad. His strikeouts (58 in 181 PAs) happened way too often, but if you're looking for positives, his 20 walks shows some upside. With experience, I think he will improve, however, at age 30, this is the best year he's going to have.
     
    2B Brian Dozier 2013: .244/.312/18
    Prediction for 2014: .263/.326/10
     
    It was good to see Dozier break out of his slump around halfway in 2013 and pull out a good sophomore year actually a weak rookie season. Batting leadoff, his BA will go up but his HRs will suffer, but that's fine as long as he's getting on base for Mauer.
     
    SS Pedro Florimon 2013: .221/.281/9
    Prediction for 2014: .202/.260/6
     
    If I've learned anything from watching tons of baseball and football, it's that injuries nag players and can wreck seasons even when the player seems to have recovered from the injury. This is a wild guess here... but I'm going to speculate that Florimon won't be 100% after his appendectomy and he'll play through it. He already can't hit, and even though I hate to project regression, I think he won't do very well.
     
    2B/SS Eduardo Escobar 2013: .236./282/3
    Prediction for 2014: .256/.291/7
     
    I'm aboard the Eddie 400 train. I hope Escobar gets at least 400 ABs because I think he has some potential. He had a hot streak last year but he lost his groove quickly. His bat can come alive when he's hot, but when he's not, he struggles at getting walks. I'm looking forward to watching Eduardo play this season.
     
    3B Trevor Plouffe 2013: .254/.309/14
    Prediction for 2014: .239/.288/15
     
    I'm not a fan of Plouffe. He's basically Danny Valencia (who I liked) except... okay, I can't come up with a good reason why. It's mostly his defense, but his hitting is so inconsistent and could have hit more HRs last year. I hope he surprises me and has a solid 2014, but I just don't see it.
     
    LF Josh Willingham 2013: .208/.342/14
    Prediction for 2014: .211/.319/9
     
    I really like Willingham. But there isn't much hope for him. Just take a gander at his stats in spring training. As Pat Reusse said, he's finished. I really want the Hammer to succeed, but I don't see it. He can only hit pop-ups, strikeout, or walk. And he walks and takes pitches like a boss. But that's it. 2012 was a great year, Josh. I'll always remember that year with him mashing 35 HRs.
     
    CF Aaron Hicks 2013: .192/.259/8
    Prediction for 2014: .229/.285/14
     
    OK, Hicks, let's forget last year even happened. It was bad. People point out that he walked 24 times, and then I'll reply that he struck out 84 times. Dang. It will be a long road to earning that CF spot, but I think he improves, and in 2015, he'll crack .250 and 15 HRs.
     
    RF Oswaldo Arcia 2013: .251/.304/14
    Prediction for 2014: .279/.328/22
     
    I like Oswaldo. He's on his way to becoming a really good player. He's like Jason Kubel on steroids. Hopefully will cut his strikeouts away, though it will take a long time for him to work on it, in the long-term, his kid is going to go down as a great Twin. He gives me hope for this 2014 team.
     
    Coming soon, the pitching predictions for 2014.
  9. Danchat
    This is my first blog post... so bear with me, folks. It's not hard to make a report card type of blog, so I'm going to focus on my own analysis of the players and the improvement they've made. And for many, regression that has happened. So, without further ado, let's take a look at how our pitchers did this season... get your barf bags ready.
     
    SP Kevin Correia, 4.18 ERA, 4.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9
    I chose these specific stats because that's what I will analyze for these players.
    Believe it or not, Correia had has 2nd best season of his career (as a starter) and surpassed my expectations. He's raised his strikeouts slightly and also had his lowest walk rate ever. He did what he was signed for, and no matter how this $10 million was spent, they got what they could out of him.
     
    SP Mike Pelfrey, 5.19 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9
    So which Pelfrey are we going to get... the one who can go 6 innings and give up 1 run? Or the one that implodes in the 2nd inning? ESPN nominated him for the midseason Cy Yuck and they had good merit. Pelfrey is a last resort #5 option in the rotation and I want nothing of him next season. Although he was capable of strikeouts (getting a career high 6.0), he rarely ever escaped the 6th inning and isn't capable of many innings. He clearly regressed, but he was coming off Tommy John surgery and entered the American League for the 1st time.
     
    SP Scott Diamond, 5.43 ERA, 3.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9
    I don't want to repeat what everyone else is saying. Yeah, he was bad. But holy mother of pearl, 3.6 K/9??!?!? No wonder he was a punch bag for these batters. After an impressive rookie reason, Diamond followed it up with a complete clunker. So which Diamond are we going to get? Unfortunately, I'd bet he's just as bad next year.
     
    SP Sam Deduno, 3.83 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9
    Wow, we could call him Deduno 2.0. How in the world did he manage NOT to strike out over 6K/9 innings? At least they lowered his walk ratio to around league average, but I think he has some unearthed potential. If the Pirates got their hands on this guy, they could make him better than Liriano right now.... but the big problem is Deduno's health. He should be ready for next year, but he's a glass cannon. He is clearly the most improved of the starters.
     
    SP Pedro Hernandez, 6.83 ERA, 4.6 K/9, 3.7 BB/9
    My gosh.... how in the world does Hernandez qualify as the 5th starter? This is seriously worse than last year. That atrocious ERA is backed up by his other stats, like the revolting 1.82 WHIP he had. If you're not going to strike anyone out, his BB/9 should be under 3.0 at least! There is no reason for him to pitch for the Twins ever again, and if he does, please, let it be in the bullpen.
     
    SP Andrew Albers, 4.05 ERA, 3.8 K/9, 1.1 BB/9
    Well, if you're going to refuse to throw strikeouts, at least he doesn't walk anyone. There's nobody close to him on this team with a 1.1 BB/9. However, I don't buy his 4.05 ERA. He's extremely flukey and is reminiscent of Scott Diamond. I would welcome him into the rotation next season but I suspect he'll decline.
     
    SP Kyle Gibson, 6.53 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9
    Everyone was excited to see Gibson pitch... and now we understand why he wasn't rushed. These stats couldn't be more disappointing for him (except maybe the next guy on the list).There is nowhere to go but up and I hope that applies for his K/9. I do expect him to throw less walks. I also suspect the pitching staff is responsible for his failures. He has so much talent, so how can he flop like this?
     
    SP Vance Worley, 7.21 ERA, 4.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9
    Words can not do this justice. Worley's regression from Philly is astounding beyond measure. His ERA increased from 3.50 to 7.21, faster than that guy on the Supersize Me movie could gain weight. His K/9 plummeted from a respectable 7.7 to 4.6. And worst of all, his Hits/9 went from 9.0 to 15.2. YOU HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING A GUY OUT WITH A PITCHING MACHINE.
     
    That is all for the starters. Hendriks, Walters, and De Vries are so bad/meh/unimportant that they don't need to be mentioned.
     
    CL Glen Perkins 2.30 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 2.2 BB/9
    What a phenomenal season from Perkins. Every stat shows he was incredible, and while he likely won't be able to keep up these stats, it looks like we have a reliable closer for the future. He probably had the best season of his career. 'Nuff said.
     
    RP Jared Burton 3.82 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.0 BB/9
    I have a thing for Burton, he's one of my favorite pitchers on the team. (maybe because he's semi-competent, like few others?) However, it seemed whenever there was a tie game in the 8th inning, Burton would come out and blow it. He somehow lost 9 games this way. His stats looked pretty good, and I think his ERA will drop next year. I'd say he had a slight regression, but it was unlikely he was going to repeat last year's campaign.
     
    RP Josh Roenicke 4.35 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 5.2 BB/9
    Not sure what to think of this guy. I thought Tim Wood or Alex Burnett would take this spot from him, and he held it the whole year. He's hittable, OK at strikeouts, and walks way too many guys. Yet he had a sub-4.00 ERA most the year, inflated by a couple really bad outings. He had a great season, but it sure looks like he can't possibly keep this up. I expect him to find a job elsewhere.
     
    RP Casey Fien, 3.92 ERA, 10.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/9
    Fien topped last season with an even better year. He was elite and shut down several games, winning 5. When he gave up runs, it was typically in non-important situations. The Twins found him with a minor league deal and now have a menacing reliever who strikes out over a batter per inning. Just look at that juicy BB/9 ratio. Nice! He won't keep those numbers up next year, but I think he'll continue his dominance. Kudos to the Twins management for finding this gem.
     
    RP Brian Duensing, 3.98 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9
    I think the perfect adjective for Brian Duensing is "meh." He's hittable, gives up runs, and is a specialist. His ERA is low in my opinion, and he's likely to regress next year in my opinion. He's hit his ceiling and it might be time to move on. Perhaps we can trade him after he signs his RFA deal. I'd like to see someone like Tonkin take this spot.
     
    RP Anthony Swarzak, 2.91 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9
    Three cheers for the best long reliever in baseball! Hip hip.... OK, maybe he's not the best, but he just had his best season (probably in his career). He isn't as hittable as before (8.3 H/9) and is very important for the (seemingly daily) game where the starters can't make it past the 5th inning. Sign this guy up because until we have a reliable starting staff we'll need this doctor to stop the bleeding.
     
    RP Ryan Pressly 3.87 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9
    Who expected this guy to make the team? Who expected him to pitch the whole season? The Rule 5 pick out of Boston's minor leagues looked really good early in the season and slowly has declined. In his rookie season, Pressly looks like a future Duensing or Swarzak to me. I love that the Twins have a surplus of guys who can throw in the bullpen, but I fear the time they'll move him to the starting rotation. Hopefully he stays in the pen and continues his success.
     
    RP Caleb Thielbar 1.76 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
    Speaking of surprises, Thielbar has sure been a welcome addition. Another rookie, Thielbar has looked dominant and I seriously see little reason for his numbers to decline. I know that 1.76 ERA is bound to increase, but he passes the eye test (at least my eye test) and gets strikeouts and key outs. I forsee him having a key place in the bullpen one day.
     
    Phew... that's all for now. Expect the batters on Wednesday.
    Feel free to comment or agree/disagree on anything.
  10. Danchat
    Continuing on from part 1:
     
    #24 - Gabriel Maciel CF (International from Brazil, acquired in 2018 trade)
    |
    The second best prospect acquired in the Escobar trade, Maciel is a speedy outfielder who loves to spray singles all around the field. He's a frequent base stealer who's capable of swiping 20+ a year, but gets caught more often than he should. He has a career .288 average in the minors and will rarely strike out, but the downside is that he has little power. Not just a lack of HRs, but also 2Bs and 3Bs. He profiles as a 4th OF who will be useful as a pinch hitter, defensive replacement, and pinch runner.
    |
    #23 - Luis Rijo RHP (Acquired in 2018 trade)
    |
    Rijo jumped onto the scene after a great 2019 season as he posted a 2.86 ERA over 19 starts at single A Cedar Rapids. Sporting a WHIP of nearly 1.0 and a healthy 8.3 K/9, Rijo's fastball touches 95 and his secondary pitches are rated well. Scouts have critisized the 'hitability' of his fastball and deemed his curveball to be too predictable, which probably factors into why he was passed up in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. He's still got time to improve his pitches and build more innings in the minors to try and become a #4/5 starter. Unlike other pitching prospects, he doesn't strike me as a future reliever, unless he becomes a long reliever.
    |
    #22 - Nick Gordon SS/2B (1st Round 2014, HS)
    |
    Gordon has had a long and drawn out minor league career, but seemed to be heading towards the majors in 2019 once being added to the 40 man roster, but a leg injury prevented that (he was a near lock to at least be called up in September). He then had a long bout with COVID in 2020 and never even made it to the alternate site. He's now 25 and has just one option left, but remains on the roster. His minor league track record isn't bad, as he's been a decent pure hitter (.276 average), but he never developed any power and will likely end up like his older brother Dee - a sub .700 OPS hitter. To provide value he'll need to become a strong defensive player, but he's also got a shaky track record as a fielder and might end up as a second baseman. All in all, Gordon will likely settle into a utility role if he can crack the majors.
    |
    #21 - Spencer Steer 2B (3rd Round 2019, Oregon)
    |
    Steer had a quality debut in 2019, hitting .949 OPS at Elizabethton and went to single A Cedar Rapids and hit for .358 OPS (.745 OPS). He handled 3B and 2B primarily, and doesn't seem likely to play SS. The Twins will need to figure out how to develop his power, after hitting just 12 HRs in 3 years at Oregon (and 4 in the minors so far). The scouts seem to believe that there is potential for more pop in his bat, and that would elevate him into a top 15 spot if he could.
    |
    #20 - Ben Rortvedt C (2nd Round 2016, HS)
    |
    Ben seems destined to be a long-term backup catcher in the big leagues. Scouts rave about his defensive capabilities behind the plate, consistently blocking balls in the dirt, pitching frame, and throwing out runners. He's also go the potential to hit a few HRs and will take plenty of walks. The main problem is that he's a mediocre hitter, likely doomed to be a .210-.230 hitter in the majors. MLB teams will put up with that if he's as good defensively as the scouts say.
    |
    #19 - Wander Javier SS (International from Dominican Republic, 2016)
    |
    The Twins poured $4M into Javier in 2016, and the returns don't look good so far. After hitting well in Elizabethton in 2017, Javier missed 2018 with an injury, and turned in a very poor 2019 season at Cedar Rapids. Javier needed a rebound year in 2020 to get back on track, and now he's already Rule 5 eligible despite having just 552 professional PAs. Javier should be better than a .177 hitter, and has a skillset that should play at SS, but his time is running out. He needs several years in the minors just to get back on track, but if he could, he's got the potential to be a top 5 prospect. Everyone below him on the rankings doesn't have close to the ceiling Javier does.
    |
    #18 - Travis Blankenhorn 2B/3B (3rd Round 2015, HS)
    |
    Like many other prospects in this system, Blankenhorn's strength is hitting the ball hard, and is a bit on the chunky side. Splitting most of his time between 2B, 3B, and LF (he stopped playing 3B at AA, though), Travis took a step forward in 2019 at AA and crushed 19 HRs with a nice .278 average. He doesn't take a lot of walks, and his strikeout rate isn't a big concern. He's on the slower side, and would likely be a liability at 3B and LF. He's got the bat to play 2B, and he's probably ready to get his first big chance (he got into 1 game with the Twins in 2020). Expect to see him on the bench and play a bit in Marwin Gonzalez's old role when injuries inevitably hit.
    |
    #17 - Jose Miranda 3B (2nd Round 2016, HS)
    |
    Miranda is the last player on this list to have been passed over in the Rule 5 Draft. He boasts a solid set of tools but nothing splashy - he looks the part to handle 3B, but his bat has never quite developed. In almost 600 PAs at Fort Myers, he hit just .659 OPS. Scouts think there's potential for more power (just 8 HRs in 2019) and multiple sources lauded his bat speed and swing, but so far he's been unable to realize his potential. He needs to take a big step forward if he's going to want to become a starter in the big leagues.
  11. Danchat
    The Twins have stunk it up in the playoffs in real life, but would they do the same in Strat-O-Matic land? Let's find out!
    -
    GAME SUMMARY
    -
    The Twins got a double from Polanco in the first inning, and he moved to 3rd on an error that let Rosario reach, but they failed to knock any runs in. The Yankees had the same fate, as they left the bases loaded in the first after a Judge single, Encarncion double, and a Stanton walk.
    -
    The fireworks began in the second inning; Gonzalez took a walk, which was immediately followed by a Cron HR. Then, with 2 outs, Mitch Garver launched one out of the park. The Twins took a 3-0 lead, and the Yankees couldn't do anything in the bottom of the 2nd to strike back.
    -
    Nelson Cruz sent a bomba over the fence in the third, making it 4-0. In the bottom half, Berrios struck out the side, which was impressive against Judge-Gardner-Encarnacion. I imagine this would have shut up the New Yorker crowd.
    -
    After an uneventful 4th inning, Polanco singled in the top of the 5th and Cruz advanced him to 2nd on a groundout. The Yankees then pulled James Paxton for Chad Green, but that move proved to be a poor one as Eddie Rosario immediately hit a 2 run homer, making it 6-0.
    -
    The Yankees finally struck back in the 6th inning, as Encarnacion and Torres collected solo HRs of their own, and I yanked Berrios after getting 5.1 innings with just 2 earned runs, which was mission accomplished in my humble opinion. I relied on Duffey to finish the inning. That was a mistake, as he gave up a double to Sanchez, single to Urshela, and an RBI single to LaMahieu. I called on Romo to save the inning and he did, and we went on to the 7th inning with a 6-3 Twins lead.
    -
    The Twins increased their lead in the 7th on Tommy Kahnle, thanks to a Rosario single and a whopping 3 walks, making it 7-3. Sergio Romo gave up no baserunners in the bottom of the 7th.
    -
    Things got even better in the 8th, as Zach Britton walked the bases full. Rosario hit into a fielder's choice, nabbing one more run, and then Kepler swatted out a 3 run HR that broke this one wide open, MIN 11-3. The Yankees were not going to recover from this fatal blow.
    -
    For the lulz I sent out Graterol to pitch the 8th and 9th and he didn't even give up a run. Take that, dirty Yanks!
    -
    BOX SCORE
    -

     
    I'll tell you what, I wasn't expecting the Twins to win here. They've been a pathetic 2-5 in my simulations (I did a couple that I didn't report on in the past couple months), but they showed up today. And thus, unless the Twins make an unprecedented run in the ALDS, that will be my last Strat-O-Matic simulation of the year. I hoped you enjoyed this little mini-series.
  12. Danchat
    The first place Twins and the first place Yankees clash in a Strat-O-Matic battle of epic proportions! Both teams carry high-powered offenses in, and the while the real life game was exciting, this one was too... for a while.
     
    Game Summary
     
    You would expect the Twins and Yankees to score a lot of runs. Well, you won't be disappointed by this result!
    The first inning went off with a bang, as both teams loaded the bases with no outs, and both teams came up with 3 runs out of the 1st. The Yankees got a RBI single from Gary Sanchez, an RBI walk Luke Voit, and an RBI groundout from Gleyber Torres. Meanwhile, the Twins got an RBI single from Rosario, and LF Tauchman errored another run in, and then Gonzalez hit a sac fly.
    --
    The second inning didn't have a baserunner, oddly enough. Then the Yankees struck back in the 3rd inning - Sanchez singled, Sano errored a ball at 1st base, and Luke Voit crushed a 3 run HR to make it 6-3. But that's not all! Perez inexplicably allowed the bases to get loaded again, just for Judge to hit a 2 RBI double to make it 8-3. Ouch. And now I'll have to dive into the bullpen!
    --
    Sano nailed a solo HR in the 3rd, inching the Twins closer at 8-4. Then the Yankees piled on 3 more runs in the top of the 4th with Tyler Duffey pitching, with a 2 run HR from Voit and a solo shot from Tauchman. The Twins scratched one more run across in the 4th with a Schoop triple and a Polanco triple... very unlikely to happen in real life, but I'll take it.
    --
    I got Lewis Thorpe to pitch clean 5th and 6th innings, which was nice, for a change. The Twins hitters found some life in the bottom of the 6th against Luis Cessa, as Arraez led things off with single, followed by two more singles from Garver and Polanco, making it 11-6. Cruz struck out, but Rosario was able to hit a sac fly, making it 11-7.
    And in the 7th, Cessa returned to give up a double to Gonzalez, an RBI single to Kepler, and a double to Schoop, making it 11-8 with runners on 2nd and 3rd one out. Unfortunately, Chad Green was able to come in and save the day, getting three outs in that RISP situation.
    --
    Cody Stashak took the 8th and 9th and did a great job in his first MLB appearance, giving up just a single hit and a walk. However, being up by just 2 runs caused the Yankees to get Ottavino and Aroldis Chapman pitching, and the Twins' batters were blown away by these two. We've lost again, dropping our Strat-O-Record to 1-4. Very disappointing, boys!
    --
    Box Score
    --

  13. Danchat
    Game Summary
     
    The Twins were able to scratch cross just a single run in the first, despite hitting 4 singles. Two of them were infield hits, not allowing for runners to take an extra base. Schoop struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning... and then Pineda fell apart.
    -
    Pineda gave up 2 runs in the second, 2 in the third, and despite pulling him early in the fourth, he gave up another 4 runs. Asdrubal Cabrera let the Rangers take the lead as he hit a 2 run HR in the second. The next inning, Pineda gave up two singles and then a double to Mazara. Then, he allowed the bases to be loaded in the fourth and then I pulled him. Matt Magill promptly allowed all three runners to score on a RBI groundout and a single. This is the third straight start Pineda has had in this Strat-o-Matic simulation, and I've fed up with him. Down 8-1 in the fourth, this game is pretty much over already.
    -
    And it was, despite our bullpen's best efforts. Perhaps, if I pulled Pineda an inning earlier, we could have had something. The Twins offense was only able to scratch a few more runs across with a Buxton RBI single in the 6th, and then a Arraez sac fly followed by a Sano RBI single.
     
    Highlights: Sano is crushing it in Strat-O-Land, as he's added another 4 hits - 2 singles, a double, and even a triple. Kepler got on base 4 times but only scored once. The fielding was better this time around, with just a single error (that did lead to an unearned run). The Twins are now 1-3 in my simulations... I hope for a win next time around.
    -
     
    Box Score
     

  14. Danchat
    With the breakdown of how things will work in Strat-O-Land, let's simulate another game. This is based off Friday's bout with the Tigers.
     
    Box Score
     


    Summary
    The Twins first inning saw singles from Garver, Cruz, and Cron, followed by a bases-clearing double by Marwin Gonzalez. It appears this offense is as devastating in Strat-O-Land as in real life.
    Pineda started off great with 6 of his first 8 outs being strikeouts... but then he got crushed by Christin Stewart, who knocked in a 2 run HR in the 3rd inning against him. The 4th inning didn't go much better with a single, double, and walk that loaded the bases. Pineda was able to get 2 strikeouts and a flyout to escape that mess.
    Polanco, who was 0 for 8 in Strat-O-Land thus far, lead the 4th off with a home run. The offense quieted down until the 6th inning arrived. Buxton reached on an error and Polanco doubled, followed by a pitching change and a walk to Garver. This loaded the bases for Nelson Cruz, who grounded out to third, but he did drive in a run to make it 5-2.
     
    Pineda turned in a good 6 inning start, and Morin delivered a perfect 7th. Things got very hairy in the 8th inning when Harper gave up a double to Cabrera and then two singles. I pulled him for Duffey, who had a groundball hit to SS but Polanco errored on it, and then Lugo hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-4. Duffey then gave up a double to the 9th hitter, Jacoby Jones, and the Tigers tied it up. And if you thought that's where this ended... nope! Duffey gave up another double to Goodrum which gave the Tigers their first lead at 6-5, and then Stewart singled. I yanked Duffey for Parker who then gave up an RBI double to Nick Castellanos, which gave them a 8-5 lead. Wow... 6 runs, changing this from a Twins 3 run lead to a Tigers 3 run lead. Brutal!
     
    Garver hit a double in the 9th, but Greene shut the rest of the crew down, sealing a 8-5 win for the Tigers. Well that was disappointing!
     
    Darn, I felt like we had that one. I guess the game knows the Twins' bullpen is a weak spot in real life! We'll head into our next matchup 1-1 and hope for some better pitching.
  15. Danchat
    It's time for the predictions for the Twins pitching staff!
    Here's the format of my stats:
    ERA/K per 9/ BB per 9
     
    Ricky Nolasco 2013: 3.70/7.4/2.1
    2014: 4.53/6.0/1.7
     
    Nolasco had a career year and cashed in with the Twins. His career ERA is 4.37 and that's 100% in the national league, and that's gonna go up with the Twins. He does have the capability to go past 6 innings, so in the end he will make the Twins more competitive.
     
    Phil Hughes 2013: 5.19/5.7/1.9
    2014: 4.07/4.9/1.8
     
    If the ballpark factor comes into play, Hughes will be our best pitcher. He's given up 59 HRs over the last two years, but hopefully that will shrink at Target Field. I am concerned about his strikeout rate, and it'll probably drop thanks to our pitching staff, but either way, Hughes will be a huge step forward from what we saw in 2013.
     
    Mike Pelfrey 2013: 5.19/6.0/3.1
    2014: 4.98/6.4/3.1
     
    Odd. Pelfrey had the exact same ERA of 5.19. Very odd. Coincidences aside, Pelfrey is now on year 2 of his recovery from TJ surgery, meaning he should be better. If you read my first blog, you know I turned off the TV whenever Pelfrey pitched. Ironically, the one game I saw at Fort Myers this year was watching Pelfrey pitch. He isn't spectacular, but I think he will improve.
     
    Kevin Correia 2013: 4.18/4.9/2.2
    2014: 4.80/4.9/2.7
     
    Everyone was surprised when Correia pitched well last year. Looking at his K/9, I'd say he won't be able to keep up his 4.18 ERA. But I'm no sabermetrics wizard, so I can't guarantee you anything. Expect he'll be mediocre, of course.
     
    Kyle Gibson 2013: 6.53/5.1/3.5
    2014: 2.97/6.7/3.0
     
    Yes. That's right. 2.97 ERA. Are you taking me seriously? No?
    My big prediction of the year is Gibson's emergence as our best pitcher. I wouldn't bet money on this, but I just have that feeling. He's got over his anxiety of being a rookie under pressure. He's further removed from TJ surgery. The stars have aligned. My predictions may look grim at times, but here is a shining light for all to see! (please, Gibson, prove me right. I will look like an idiot if you pitch as bad as last year.)
     
    Sam Deduno 2013: 3.83/5.6/3.4
    2014: 3.61/7.7/4.0
     
    Let's face it. When one of the five guys above gets injured, it's probably Deduno time. I predict he will start half of the games in the season, so maybe 16 starts. In the bullpen, his strikeouts should increase, but I fear his walks will grow too high. I'm worried for his health, but other than that, he will kick butt. Here's to hoping he won't fizzle out like Scott Diamond did.
     
    Anthony Swarzak 2013: 2.91/5.8/2.9
    2014: 3.91/6.1/2.6
     
    Compare Deduno's 2013 numbers with Swarzak's. Pretty similar, right? Well, Swarzak was in the bullpen, but their numbers are freaky close. Clearly the bullpen is the place to be, but he will regress after a fantastic 2013. He's going to be moving to the 7th inning role, which he won't be as good at. Still, don't worry about him.
     
    Brian Duensing 2013: 3.98/8.3/3.2
    2014: 3.55/8.0/3.3
     
    Duensing is still a bit of a mystery. After flaming out as a starter, Duensing found his value as a reliever. He's unpredictable, but his 8.3 K/9 was pretty radical. He won't get over 8.3 again but he's a solid lefty in the bullpen.
     
    Glen Perkins 2013: 2.30/11.1/2.2
    2014: 3.00/9.2/2.4
     
    Just gaze at those 2013 numbers. Keep looking. Man, what a year. He'll never be that good again, however, he'll live up to his new extension. At Fort Myers, he blew away the batters with his pitches. I couldn't help but smile. Perkins might just be my favorite current Twin right now. (Until Buxton makes the roster.)
     
    Jared Burton 2013: 3.82/8.3/3.0
    2014: 2.73/8.1/2.5
     
    Burton regressed last year, and in the setup role, blew every tie game he had. He won't do that again this year, and he'll return to his 2012 form. He is getting to the age where he could decline permanently, but let's not talk about that. His 8.3 K/9 clip looks pretty good and should remain there.
     
    Caleb Thielbar 2013: 1.76/7.6/2.7
    2014: 3.66/7.9/2.6
     
    I hate agreeing with the consensus, but Thielbar cannot possibly be as good as last year. That won't prevent him from having an overall postitive year, as a 3.66 ERA isn't bad for a former St. Paul Saint pitcher.
    Casey Fien 2013: 3.92/10.6/1.7
    2014: 3.15/9.8/2.4
     
    It just isn't right when you have a SO/BB of 6.08 (that's high) and your ERA balloons up almost 2 points. ERA is not the greatest stat and it's not close, and I don't believe it's super-accurate. However, if Fien pitches like he did last year, it will go down. I'm a fan of Fien and I hope he continues his dominant run in the bullpen. He could become the setup man.
     
    Michael Tonkin 2014: 2.37/10.9/3.7
     
    Tonkin will come into the big leagues exactly how Thielbar did. He will dominate everyone and have a basement-deep ERA. He won't repeat these stats in 2015 but he's on his way to one day becoming the closer.
     
    That should be it, but I have one more bold prediction, and it's not pretty. Look away, optimists.
     
     
     
     
    Alex Meyer 2014: 6.73 ERA/8.5/4.5
     
    I'm sorry if I upset someone. Just think about it. Nobody thought Kyle Gibson would have an ERA north of 6. And nobody thinks Meyer will struggle this bad... except me, the pessimist. I like him, but knowing our luck, he'll get hurt and keep pitching.
     
    I'm sorry if I poisoned your mind with grim predictions, but our pitching staff is getting much better. Please, leave a comment and I will respond back.
    I will analyze my predictions at the end of the year. Let's see if my big 2 predictions will come true!
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