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Andrew Mahlke

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  1. A couple of Twins affiliates played extra-inning games. Alex Kirilloff had his best game of the year. Louie Varland was outstanding once again. Noah Miller had a multi extra-base-hit day. And Spencer Steer has ice in his veins. In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to transition to his role as a starter masterfully. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization without further ado. TRANSACTIONS The Twins activated Carlos Correa from the 10-day IL and optioned Royce Lewis to St. Paul. SS Ernie Yake was assigned to Wichita from St. Paul. Wichita placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day IL SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 7, Omaha 8 Box Score On Wednesday, the St. Paul Saints fell to the Omaha Storm Chasers 8 to 7, but Alex Kirilloff showed some very encouraging signs. After an extra-base-hit hiatus of 73 plate appearances to begin his 2022 season, Kirilloff recorded two extra-base hits on Wednesday to show some signs of power that many thought he lost due to a lingering wrist injury. Jake Faria made his seventh start of the 2022 season for the Saints and struggled again, only going three innings of work. Faria allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in those three innings while striking out two batters. His season ERA increased to 7.77 in the lackluster performance. The Saints stranded Kirilloff at second base in the first inning after his double, and Faria struggled. Faria gave up three runs on two hits and three walks in the first, but he stranded two runners thanks to a clutch 5-4-3 double play. In the third inning, the Storm Chasers scored another run thanks to a two-out homer from Brewer Hicklen. The Saints responded in the top half of the fourth with the Kirilloff homer and got another run when Jake Cave scored on a Jermaine Palacios single, but the Saints left runs on the table and stranded the bases loaded. Daniel Gossett came on to relieve Faria in the fourth and immediately gave up a homer to JaCoby Jones. Gossett settled in and worked three innings of relief while allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Cave scored again in the top of the sixth, this time on a single from David Banuelos to pull the game within two runs. The Storm Chasers responded with one in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead back to three. In the seventh, the Cave show continued when he clubbed his first homer of the year to pull the game back within two runs. Drew Strotman came on in relief in the bottom of the seventh and threw one and ⅓ scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out two batters. In the top of the eighth, the Saints put together an incredible rally when Elliot Soto and Mark Contreras led off with back-to-back singles, and Curtis Terry drew a walk to give Kirilloff bases loaded with no outs. Kirilloff responded by hitting a two-run single to knot the game up at six, followed by Terry scoring on a balk to give the Saints a 7 to 6 lead. Strotman gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth and struck out Hicklen before being replaced by Jordan Gore. The first batter Gore faced hit an RBI single, and the Cardinals tied the game again. After an uneventful ninth, the Saints couldn’t get anything going offensively in the tenth inning. Jake Petricka came on in relief in the bottom half, and the first batter he faced singled, ending the game due to a runner starting on second base. The Saints fell to 15-20 with the loss. Kirilloff was 4-for-6 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Cave went 2-for-6 with a homer and three runs scored. Roy Morales went 2-for-5, and Soto reached base four times due to two hits and two walks. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 7, Springfield 6 Box Score The Wichita Wind Surge were victorious over the Springfield Cardinals on Wednesday by a score of 7-6. Twins Daily #12 prospect Louie Varland made a start for the Wind Surge, and he pitched well, throwing six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. He decreased his season ERA to 3.58 and continued to be an excellent minor league pitcher. The Wind Surge took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning behind four straight singles from Austin Martin, Alex Isola, Andrew Bechtold, and Matt Wallner. Martin scored on Bechtold’s single, while Isola came in to score on a double play later in the inning. Varland gave up a homer to MLB.com’s #27 overall prospect Jordan Walker to tie the game at two in the third inning. The game remained a stalemate for a couple more innings until the bottom of the fifth when Wallner came up clutch with a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to give the Wind Surge a 4-2 lead. In the top of the seventh, reliever Osiris German wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the score at 4-2. The Wind Surge couldn’t muster anything offensively in the seventh or eighth innings, so the Wind Surge turned to Alex Scherff to close the game down. Thanks to three walks, an error, and a hit-by-pitch, the Cardinals tied the game in the ninth. Austin Schulfer came in the ninth to clean up the mess and continued working into the tenth, as he recorded a 1-2-3 frame in the tenth. Wallner was intentionally walked to set up the double play in the bottom half of the inning, and it worked, as Michael Helman bunted into a fielder's choice. DaShawn Keirsey struck out with runners on the corners and two outs to send the game into the eleventh. Ben Gross came in to work the eleventh inning, and the first batter he faced singled, setting up runners on the corners and nobody out. The next batter hit into a double play, but the go-ahead run came in to score. The Cardinals hit a homer with two outs to make it 6-4. In the bottom of the eleventh, Chris Williams worked a leadoff walk. The Wind Surge then called on their best hitter, Spencer Steer, who had the night off. Steer got the count to 2-2, then unloaded on a fastball to left field for a three-run, walk-off homer, his seventh homer. The Wind Surge improved their record to 21-12 on the season thanks to heroics from their star player. Isola went 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Wallner was 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks, and a stolen base. Williams was 2-for-3 with two walks. And the hero, Steer, was 1-for-1 with a homer and three RBI. Gross picked up his third win as his record improved to 3-0. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Lake County 4 Box Score On Wednesday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels fell to the Lake County Captains 4 to 2. Aaron Rozek toed the rubber for the Kernels as he went three and ⅓ innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three batters. He took his first loss as his record went to 4 and 1. He now has a 5.1 ERA. The Captains started the game quickly, getting a home run from the game's second batter. Twins Daily #18 prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand roped a double in the bottom half of the first but was stranded at third base. Rozek allowed two runs after a walk, single, RBI double, and sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Kernels faced a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the third, but they responded. Willie Joe Garry Jr. led off the inning with a walk, and Will Holland tripled on the first pitch of his at-bat; driving in Garry Jr., Anthony Prato hit a sacrifice fly to score Holland, and the Kernels deficit was down to one run after the third inning. Bradley Hanner came on in relief of Rozek and threw one and ⅔ innings of scoreless relief while striking out three batters. Hanner’s ERA is down to a minuscule 0.54 on the year. In the bottom of the fifth, Holland hit a double for his second extra-base hit of the game but was stranded at second base. Ryan Shreve came in to relieve Hanner and let up a home run in the top of the sixth to increase the Kernel deficit to two runs. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Kernels threatened after a leadoff double from Prato and a single from Aaron Sabato. Still, they failed to capitalize, leaving these runners stranded at first and third. In the ninth inning, the Kernels got the tying run to the plate, but Holland struck out to end the game, and the Kernels lost 4 to 2. With the loss, the Kernels fall to 24-11. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, which ultimately decided the game. Holland was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, and Encarnacion-Strand was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Cody Laweryson threw two innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts, and Miguel Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) GAME 1: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 10 Box Score The Mighty Mussels dropped game one of the double-header with Clearwater. Right-hander Pierson Ohl made his sixth start of the year for Fort Myers. Ohl went four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three batters. Clearwater started the scoring at the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits to take a 1-0 lead. The Mighty Mussels responded with a run in the top of the second when a pitch hit Dylan Neuse, Neuse stole second base, and Luis Baez had a clutch two-out single to drive in Neuse. However, Clearwater retook the lead in the bottom half of the second when Ohl allowed a two-out solo home run. In the top of the third, the Mighty Mussels got a one-out walk from Twins Daily #10 prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez walked, stole second, and scored on a Mikey Perez double. When the Mighty Mussels needed a shutdown inning in response, Ohl could not deliver as he allowed three hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch which led to three runs, and the Mighty Mussels trailed 5-2 after three innings. After an uneventful fourth inning, Jake Rucker led off the top of the fifth with a single and stole second base. After Rucker moved up to third on a groundout, Rodriguez drew another walk and promptly stole second base for the second time of the game. Former first-round pick Keoni Cavaco singled with two outs to score Rucker and put the Mighty Mussels within two runs of the lead. Jackson Hicks replaced Ohl on the mound in the bottom of the fifth. After an error, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, a single, a ground-rule double, and a wild pitch, Hicks had given up five runs and was pulled from the game after only collecting two outs. The score was 10-3 when Hicks came out, and the game was all but over. John Wilson replaced Hicks and pitched one and ⅓ innings of perfect baseball to finish off the game for the Mighty Mussels. In the top of the seventh, Rucker walked, followed by a two-run home run by 2021 first-round pick Noah Miller, his second of the year. The game ended after seven innings, and the Mighty Mussels lost game one of the double-header, 10-5. Miller went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI, and Rucker went 2-for-3 with a walk. GAME 2: Fort Myers 2, Clearwater 0 Box Score Game two was a much different story for the boys in Fort Myers. The Mighty Mussels turned to right-hander Mike Paredes to try to salvage a split in the double-header. Paredes turned in an excellent outing for the Mighty Mussels, going four shutout innings while striking out three batters. The only baserunner Paredes allowed was a single in the first inning, and he only threw 45 pitches. Paredes was primarily used in a relief role to start the season, but his last two appearances have been starts, and that is a role Paredes seems to thrive in, as he has only allowed one hit through seven innings as a starter. The game was deadlocked at zero until the fourth inning. Fresh off a multi-hit performance, Miller was in an 0-2 count with one out in the fourth when he hit his second triple of the year to get the first runner in scoring position of the game. After a strikeout of Noah Cardenas, Perez came up in another RBI spot, and he delivered, cranking his fourth home run of the season to give the Mighty Mussels a 2-0 lead. After the Perez homer, the Mussels couldn’t manage any more hits and relied on their defense and pitching to win them the game. In the top of the fifth, Niklas Rimmel replaced Paredes and threw two great innings of relief, holding the opposition scoreless and striking out three. Fort Myers turned to Regi Grace in the top of the seventh to close the game out, and he pitched phenomenally, striking out all three batters he faced on only 12 pitches to earn his second save of the season. After the double-header split, the Mighty Mussels record is 22-12. Mikey Perez finished the game 2-for-3 with the game-winning homer, and Noah Miller went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. These were the only three hits of the game for Fort Myers, but they proved to be enough. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Fort Myers) - 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Kirilloff (St. Paul) - 4-for-6, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, HBP #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-1, HBP #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (9) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-for-7, HR (2), 3B (2), 2 R, 2 RBI #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-1, HR (7), 3 RBI, R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2B (7), BB THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-0, 4.76 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-1, 2.20 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (2-2, 4.03 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  2. St. Paul and Wichita each played extra-inning games. Fort Myers played a double-header. A top-seven pitcher made a start and was very solid. One player who desperately needed to show some power broke out of a slump in a significant way. A top-20 prospect delivered a walk-off homer. Read all about them and more in tonight’s Minor League Report. A couple of Twins affiliates played extra-inning games. Alex Kirilloff had his best game of the year. Louie Varland was outstanding once again. Noah Miller had a multi extra-base-hit day. And Spencer Steer has ice in his veins. In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to transition to his role as a starter masterfully. Let’s see what happened this Wednesday in the Twins organization without further ado. TRANSACTIONS The Twins activated Carlos Correa from the 10-day IL and optioned Royce Lewis to St. Paul. SS Ernie Yake was assigned to Wichita from St. Paul. Wichita placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day IL SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 7, Omaha 8 Box Score On Wednesday, the St. Paul Saints fell to the Omaha Storm Chasers 8 to 7, but Alex Kirilloff showed some very encouraging signs. After an extra-base-hit hiatus of 73 plate appearances to begin his 2022 season, Kirilloff recorded two extra-base hits on Wednesday to show some signs of power that many thought he lost due to a lingering wrist injury. Jake Faria made his seventh start of the 2022 season for the Saints and struggled again, only going three innings of work. Faria allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in those three innings while striking out two batters. His season ERA increased to 7.77 in the lackluster performance. The Saints stranded Kirilloff at second base in the first inning after his double, and Faria struggled. Faria gave up three runs on two hits and three walks in the first, but he stranded two runners thanks to a clutch 5-4-3 double play. In the third inning, the Storm Chasers scored another run thanks to a two-out homer from Brewer Hicklen. The Saints responded in the top half of the fourth with the Kirilloff homer and got another run when Jake Cave scored on a Jermaine Palacios single, but the Saints left runs on the table and stranded the bases loaded. Daniel Gossett came on to relieve Faria in the fourth and immediately gave up a homer to JaCoby Jones. Gossett settled in and worked three innings of relief while allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Cave scored again in the top of the sixth, this time on a single from David Banuelos to pull the game within two runs. The Storm Chasers responded with one in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead back to three. In the seventh, the Cave show continued when he clubbed his first homer of the year to pull the game back within two runs. Drew Strotman came on in relief in the bottom of the seventh and threw one and ⅓ scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out two batters. In the top of the eighth, the Saints put together an incredible rally when Elliot Soto and Mark Contreras led off with back-to-back singles, and Curtis Terry drew a walk to give Kirilloff bases loaded with no outs. Kirilloff responded by hitting a two-run single to knot the game up at six, followed by Terry scoring on a balk to give the Saints a 7 to 6 lead. Strotman gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the eighth and struck out Hicklen before being replaced by Jordan Gore. The first batter Gore faced hit an RBI single, and the Cardinals tied the game again. After an uneventful ninth, the Saints couldn’t get anything going offensively in the tenth inning. Jake Petricka came on in relief in the bottom half, and the first batter he faced singled, ending the game due to a runner starting on second base. The Saints fell to 15-20 with the loss. Kirilloff was 4-for-6 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. Cave went 2-for-6 with a homer and three runs scored. Roy Morales went 2-for-5, and Soto reached base four times due to two hits and two walks. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 7, Springfield 6 Box Score The Wichita Wind Surge were victorious over the Springfield Cardinals on Wednesday by a score of 7-6. Twins Daily #12 prospect Louie Varland made a start for the Wind Surge, and he pitched well, throwing six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out eight batters. He decreased his season ERA to 3.58 and continued to be an excellent minor league pitcher. The Wind Surge took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning behind four straight singles from Austin Martin, Alex Isola, Andrew Bechtold, and Matt Wallner. Martin scored on Bechtold’s single, while Isola came in to score on a double play later in the inning. Varland gave up a homer to MLB.com’s #27 overall prospect Jordan Walker to tie the game at two in the third inning. The game remained a stalemate for a couple more innings until the bottom of the fifth when Wallner came up clutch with a two-out, two-strike, two-run single to give the Wind Surge a 4-2 lead. In the top of the seventh, reliever Osiris German wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the score at 4-2. The Wind Surge couldn’t muster anything offensively in the seventh or eighth innings, so the Wind Surge turned to Alex Scherff to close the game down. Thanks to three walks, an error, and a hit-by-pitch, the Cardinals tied the game in the ninth. Austin Schulfer came in the ninth to clean up the mess and continued working into the tenth, as he recorded a 1-2-3 frame in the tenth. Wallner was intentionally walked to set up the double play in the bottom half of the inning, and it worked, as Michael Helman bunted into a fielder's choice. DaShawn Keirsey struck out with runners on the corners and two outs to send the game into the eleventh. Ben Gross came in to work the eleventh inning, and the first batter he faced singled, setting up runners on the corners and nobody out. The next batter hit into a double play, but the go-ahead run came in to score. The Cardinals hit a homer with two outs to make it 6-4. In the bottom of the eleventh, Chris Williams worked a leadoff walk. The Wind Surge then called on their best hitter, Spencer Steer, who had the night off. Steer got the count to 2-2, then unloaded on a fastball to left field for a three-run, walk-off homer, his seventh homer. The Wind Surge improved their record to 21-12 on the season thanks to heroics from their star player. Isola went 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Wallner was 2-for-3 with two RBI, two walks, and a stolen base. Williams was 2-for-3 with two walks. And the hero, Steer, was 1-for-1 with a homer and three RBI. Gross picked up his third win as his record improved to 3-0. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Lake County 4 Box Score On Wednesday night, the Cedar Rapids Kernels fell to the Lake County Captains 4 to 2. Aaron Rozek toed the rubber for the Kernels as he went three and ⅓ innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three batters. He took his first loss as his record went to 4 and 1. He now has a 5.1 ERA. The Captains started the game quickly, getting a home run from the game's second batter. Twins Daily #18 prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand roped a double in the bottom half of the first but was stranded at third base. Rozek allowed two runs after a walk, single, RBI double, and sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Kernels faced a three-run deficit going into the bottom of the third, but they responded. Willie Joe Garry Jr. led off the inning with a walk, and Will Holland tripled on the first pitch of his at-bat; driving in Garry Jr., Anthony Prato hit a sacrifice fly to score Holland, and the Kernels deficit was down to one run after the third inning. Bradley Hanner came on in relief of Rozek and threw one and ⅔ innings of scoreless relief while striking out three batters. Hanner’s ERA is down to a minuscule 0.54 on the year. In the bottom of the fifth, Holland hit a double for his second extra-base hit of the game but was stranded at second base. Ryan Shreve came in to relieve Hanner and let up a home run in the top of the sixth to increase the Kernel deficit to two runs. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Kernels threatened after a leadoff double from Prato and a single from Aaron Sabato. Still, they failed to capitalize, leaving these runners stranded at first and third. In the ninth inning, the Kernels got the tying run to the plate, but Holland struck out to end the game, and the Kernels lost 4 to 2. With the loss, the Kernels fall to 24-11. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, which ultimately decided the game. Holland was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, and Encarnacion-Strand was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Cody Laweryson threw two innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts, and Miguel Rodriguez pitched a scoreless inning. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) GAME 1: Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 10 Box Score The Mighty Mussels dropped game one of the double-header with Clearwater. Right-hander Pierson Ohl made his sixth start of the year for Fort Myers. Ohl went four innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three batters. Clearwater started the scoring at the bottom of the first with back-to-back hits to take a 1-0 lead. The Mighty Mussels responded with a run in the top of the second when a pitch hit Dylan Neuse, Neuse stole second base, and Luis Baez had a clutch two-out single to drive in Neuse. However, Clearwater retook the lead in the bottom half of the second when Ohl allowed a two-out solo home run. In the top of the third, the Mighty Mussels got a one-out walk from Twins Daily #10 prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez walked, stole second, and scored on a Mikey Perez double. When the Mighty Mussels needed a shutdown inning in response, Ohl could not deliver as he allowed three hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch which led to three runs, and the Mighty Mussels trailed 5-2 after three innings. After an uneventful fourth inning, Jake Rucker led off the top of the fifth with a single and stole second base. After Rucker moved up to third on a groundout, Rodriguez drew another walk and promptly stole second base for the second time of the game. Former first-round pick Keoni Cavaco singled with two outs to score Rucker and put the Mighty Mussels within two runs of the lead. Jackson Hicks replaced Ohl on the mound in the bottom of the fifth. After an error, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, a single, a ground-rule double, and a wild pitch, Hicks had given up five runs and was pulled from the game after only collecting two outs. The score was 10-3 when Hicks came out, and the game was all but over. John Wilson replaced Hicks and pitched one and ⅓ innings of perfect baseball to finish off the game for the Mighty Mussels. In the top of the seventh, Rucker walked, followed by a two-run home run by 2021 first-round pick Noah Miller, his second of the year. The game ended after seven innings, and the Mighty Mussels lost game one of the double-header, 10-5. Miller went 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI, and Rucker went 2-for-3 with a walk. GAME 2: Fort Myers 2, Clearwater 0 Box Score Game two was a much different story for the boys in Fort Myers. The Mighty Mussels turned to right-hander Mike Paredes to try to salvage a split in the double-header. Paredes turned in an excellent outing for the Mighty Mussels, going four shutout innings while striking out three batters. The only baserunner Paredes allowed was a single in the first inning, and he only threw 45 pitches. Paredes was primarily used in a relief role to start the season, but his last two appearances have been starts, and that is a role Paredes seems to thrive in, as he has only allowed one hit through seven innings as a starter. The game was deadlocked at zero until the fourth inning. Fresh off a multi-hit performance, Miller was in an 0-2 count with one out in the fourth when he hit his second triple of the year to get the first runner in scoring position of the game. After a strikeout of Noah Cardenas, Perez came up in another RBI spot, and he delivered, cranking his fourth home run of the season to give the Mighty Mussels a 2-0 lead. After the Perez homer, the Mussels couldn’t manage any more hits and relied on their defense and pitching to win them the game. In the top of the fifth, Niklas Rimmel replaced Paredes and threw two great innings of relief, holding the opposition scoreless and striking out three. Fort Myers turned to Regi Grace in the top of the seventh to close the game out, and he pitched phenomenally, striking out all three batters he faced on only 12 pitches to earn his second save of the season. After the double-header split, the Mighty Mussels record is 22-12. Mikey Perez finished the game 2-for-3 with the game-winning homer, and Noah Miller went 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. These were the only three hits of the game for Fort Myers, but they proved to be enough. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Fort Myers) - 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Alex Kirilloff (St. Paul) - 4-for-6, R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, HBP #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 0-for-1, HBP #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (9) #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 3-for-7, HR (2), 3B (2), 2 R, 2 RBI #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-1, HR (7), 3 RBI, R #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, 2B (7), BB THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (6:35 CST) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-0, 4.76 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05 CST) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (2-1, 2.20 ERA) Lake County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - LHP Cade Povich (2-2, 4.03 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  3. The weather was a factor for two of the Twins’ affiliates today. The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels game was postponed and the St. Paul Saints game was suspended after six innings. The Mighty Mussels hope to play a doubleheader on Saturday. The two games that were completed went to extra innings, but Twins affiliates in these games only combined for just eight hits. In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to climb the stolen bases leaderboard as he proves that he can make an impact at the major league level. Without further ado, let’s see what happened on this Friday in the Twins organization. SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 3, Nashville 7 Box Score The Saints tied the game up at three in the bottom of the sixth before the rain hit and the game was suspended. Chi Chi Gonzalez made the start for the Saints and allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings while striking out six batters. He has now allowed five earned runs in 10 2/3 innings this season. The Saints looked like they were going to get off to a hot start in the first inning after Royce Lewis walked and Alex Kirilloff hit a single, but the next three batters were retired in order to strand the runners. Nashville hit a home run in each of the second and third innings, but the Saints finally broke through to the run column in the fourth inning when Jake Cave singled and Daniel Robertson drove him in with a double to reduce the deficit to two runs. With two outs in the fifth inning, Daniel Gossett replaced Gonzalez. Gossett faced four batters, struck out two, and induced two ground balls to Lewis to finish the sixth inning unscathed. In the bottom of the frame, Cave and Jermaine Palacios singled before Elliot Soto drove them both in with a double to tie the game up at three. After Nashville got out of the inning, the rain became too heavy and the game was halted going into the seventh inning in a 3-3 tie. When the game continued Saturday afternoon, Nashville scored a run in the top of the eighth to take the lead but a runner got thrown out at home on a relay from Mark Contreras to Robertson to David Banuelos to end the top of the eighth. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Saints turned to Juan Minaya in the ninth, who walked the first three batters before allowing an RBI single and a two-run double before being pulled with runners on second and third with no outs. The Saints then turned to Ryan Mason out of the bullpen who struck out the first batter, walked Brewers #4 prospect Brice Turang, and struck out the last two batters to send the game to the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 7-3. Mason has now struck out nine batters in five and 2/3 innings in 2022. In the bottom half, Lewis and Jose Miranda singled but the Saints couldn't bring either of them across, falling 7-3 to the Nashville Sounds. Lewis went 1-1 with four walks in the game, raising his season on-base percentage to .433. Cave went 2-5 with two runs scored and Soto finished with two RBI. The Saints are now 12-9 on the season. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 3, Arkansas 1 Box Score In a lackluster offensive performance, the Wichita Wind Surge beat the Arkansas Travelers behind some excellent pitching. Matt Canterino made the start for Wichita, going three strong innings, striking out four, and not allowing any hits. He is now up to 12 2/3 innings this season and his ERA is down to 2.13. He has struck out 18 batters and allowed nine walks. He has been limited due to elbow issues in 2021, but his workload is slowly increasing in hopes that he could be an impact pitcher in the big leagues sometime soon. After Canterino was done, Steven Klimek threw two scoreless innings. The Wind Surge didn’t get their first base runner until the fifth inning when Matt Wallner singled. After Arkansas broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth, the Wind Surge tied it up when Cole Sturgeon came in to score on a double play after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. The Wind Surge got some excellent relief pitching from Brandon Lawson and Evan Sisk to force extra innings while the offense remained stagnant. Sisk got out of a huge second-and-third jam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra frames. He has not allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings this year. In the top of the tenth, the Wind Surge began with Leobaldo Cabrera on second base and got off to a good start when Kevin Merrell reached on a sacrifice bunt and Andrew Bechtold walked to load the bases. DaShawn Keirsey and Austin Martin hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to give the Wind Surge a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the tenth, where Alex Scherff didn’t allow a run thanks to Wallner throwing out a runner at home to end the game. Sturgeon and Wallner collected the only two hits for the Wind Surge in the contest. Despite going hitless, Martin had a productive day at the plate by walking, reaching via hit by pitch, stealing a base, and driving in a run on a sac fly. Martin now has ten stolen bases, good for second in the league. The Wind Surge are now 11-8 this season as well as 3-1 in extra-inning games. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Beloit 3 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels dropped a heartbreaker to the Beloit Snappers in 10 innings, losing 3-2 on a walk-off single. The extra-inning runner-on-second rule hurt Cedar Rapids, as they were unable to score in the top of the tenth with their extra runner, and Beloit walked them off in the bottom half of the inning. Sean Mooney was masterful in his third start of the season, throwing five scoreless innings while striking out eight batters and only allowing two walks and one hit. For the season, he is up to 13 innings while allowing three earned runs, eight hits, and 17 strikeouts. The Kernels couldn’t get anything going offensively through the first five innings, only mustering up four singles against Beloit. In the sixth inning, the Kernels put up two runs when Christian Encarnacion-Strand singled, Aaron Sabato walked, Jair Camargo scored Encarnacion-Strand with a double, and Jeferson Morales scored Sabato with a sacrifice fly to give the Kernels a 2-0 lead. The game stayed 2-0 until the eighth inning, thanks to two scoreless innings from Bobby Milacki. In the bottom of the eighth, the Snappers used single and back-to-back doubles to tie the game up at two going into the ninth inning. After an uneventful ninth inning in which he struck out two batters, Derek Molina began the tenth inning and gave up a hit to Davis Bradshaw which proved to be the walk-off hit thanks to the extra-inning runner-on-second rule. Encarnacion-Strand and Will Holland each had two hits in the game to lead the offense for Cedar Rapids. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) Fort Myers, Clearwater (Postponed) Friday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The plan is for these teams to play two, seven-inning games on Saturday, starting at 4:30. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sean Mooney (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-1, 4 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-2, BB, SB (10), RBI, K (played CF) #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-1, 4 BB, SB (5) #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-4, K #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (42 pitches, 25 strikes) #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-4, BB SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS (Saints game will continue at 1:07 PM CST) Nashville @ St. Paul (2:07 CST) - RHP Jacob Faria (0-0, 4.76 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (7:05 CST) - RHP Ben Gross (0-0, 5.19 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-0, 2.08 ERA) Clearwater @ Fort Myers (DH @ 4:30 CST) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.20 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  4. Fort Myers did not play on Friday due to poor weather. Saint Paul played two-thirds of a game before they were suspended due to poor weather. The two other Twins affiliates played extra-inning games. A Top 5 pitcher made a start and continued to dominate. A couple of Top 5 hitters had productive days at the plate without recording hits. Read all about them and more in tonight’s Minor League Report. The weather was a factor for two of the Twins’ affiliates today. The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels game was postponed and the St. Paul Saints game was suspended after six innings. The Mighty Mussels hope to play a doubleheader on Saturday. The two games that were completed went to extra innings, but Twins affiliates in these games only combined for just eight hits. In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to climb the stolen bases leaderboard as he proves that he can make an impact at the major league level. Without further ado, let’s see what happened on this Friday in the Twins organization. SAINTS (AAA) St. Paul 3, Nashville 7 Box Score The Saints tied the game up at three in the bottom of the sixth before the rain hit and the game was suspended. Chi Chi Gonzalez made the start for the Saints and allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings while striking out six batters. He has now allowed five earned runs in 10 2/3 innings this season. The Saints looked like they were going to get off to a hot start in the first inning after Royce Lewis walked and Alex Kirilloff hit a single, but the next three batters were retired in order to strand the runners. Nashville hit a home run in each of the second and third innings, but the Saints finally broke through to the run column in the fourth inning when Jake Cave singled and Daniel Robertson drove him in with a double to reduce the deficit to two runs. With two outs in the fifth inning, Daniel Gossett replaced Gonzalez. Gossett faced four batters, struck out two, and induced two ground balls to Lewis to finish the sixth inning unscathed. In the bottom of the frame, Cave and Jermaine Palacios singled before Elliot Soto drove them both in with a double to tie the game up at three. After Nashville got out of the inning, the rain became too heavy and the game was halted going into the seventh inning in a 3-3 tie. When the game continued Saturday afternoon, Nashville scored a run in the top of the eighth to take the lead but a runner got thrown out at home on a relay from Mark Contreras to Robertson to David Banuelos to end the top of the eighth. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Saints turned to Juan Minaya in the ninth, who walked the first three batters before allowing an RBI single and a two-run double before being pulled with runners on second and third with no outs. The Saints then turned to Ryan Mason out of the bullpen who struck out the first batter, walked Brewers #4 prospect Brice Turang, and struck out the last two batters to send the game to the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 7-3. Mason has now struck out nine batters in five and 2/3 innings in 2022. In the bottom half, Lewis and Jose Miranda singled but the Saints couldn't bring either of them across, falling 7-3 to the Nashville Sounds. Lewis went 1-1 with four walks in the game, raising his season on-base percentage to .433. Cave went 2-5 with two runs scored and Soto finished with two RBI. The Saints are now 12-9 on the season. WIND SURGE (AA) Wichita 3, Arkansas 1 Box Score In a lackluster offensive performance, the Wichita Wind Surge beat the Arkansas Travelers behind some excellent pitching. Matt Canterino made the start for Wichita, going three strong innings, striking out four, and not allowing any hits. He is now up to 12 2/3 innings this season and his ERA is down to 2.13. He has struck out 18 batters and allowed nine walks. He has been limited due to elbow issues in 2021, but his workload is slowly increasing in hopes that he could be an impact pitcher in the big leagues sometime soon. After Canterino was done, Steven Klimek threw two scoreless innings. The Wind Surge didn’t get their first base runner until the fifth inning when Matt Wallner singled. After Arkansas broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth, the Wind Surge tied it up when Cole Sturgeon came in to score on a double play after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. The Wind Surge got some excellent relief pitching from Brandon Lawson and Evan Sisk to force extra innings while the offense remained stagnant. Sisk got out of a huge second-and-third jam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra frames. He has not allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings this year. In the top of the tenth, the Wind Surge began with Leobaldo Cabrera on second base and got off to a good start when Kevin Merrell reached on a sacrifice bunt and Andrew Bechtold walked to load the bases. DaShawn Keirsey and Austin Martin hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to give the Wind Surge a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the tenth, where Alex Scherff didn’t allow a run thanks to Wallner throwing out a runner at home to end the game. Sturgeon and Wallner collected the only two hits for the Wind Surge in the contest. Despite going hitless, Martin had a productive day at the plate by walking, reaching via hit by pitch, stealing a base, and driving in a run on a sac fly. Martin now has ten stolen bases, good for second in the league. The Wind Surge are now 11-8 this season as well as 3-1 in extra-inning games. KERNELS (HIGH-A) Cedar Rapids 2, Beloit 3 Box Score The Cedar Rapids Kernels dropped a heartbreaker to the Beloit Snappers in 10 innings, losing 3-2 on a walk-off single. The extra-inning runner-on-second rule hurt Cedar Rapids, as they were unable to score in the top of the tenth with their extra runner, and Beloit walked them off in the bottom half of the inning. Sean Mooney was masterful in his third start of the season, throwing five scoreless innings while striking out eight batters and only allowing two walks and one hit. For the season, he is up to 13 innings while allowing three earned runs, eight hits, and 17 strikeouts. The Kernels couldn’t get anything going offensively through the first five innings, only mustering up four singles against Beloit. In the sixth inning, the Kernels put up two runs when Christian Encarnacion-Strand singled, Aaron Sabato walked, Jair Camargo scored Encarnacion-Strand with a double, and Jeferson Morales scored Sabato with a sacrifice fly to give the Kernels a 2-0 lead. The game stayed 2-0 until the eighth inning, thanks to two scoreless innings from Bobby Milacki. In the bottom of the eighth, the Snappers used single and back-to-back doubles to tie the game up at two going into the ninth inning. After an uneventful ninth inning in which he struck out two batters, Derek Molina began the tenth inning and gave up a hit to Davis Bradshaw which proved to be the walk-off hit thanks to the extra-inning runner-on-second rule. Encarnacion-Strand and Will Holland each had two hits in the game to lead the offense for Cedar Rapids. MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A) Fort Myers, Clearwater (Postponed) Friday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The plan is for these teams to play two, seven-inning games on Saturday, starting at 4:30. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Sean Mooney (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-1, 4 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-2, BB, SB (10), RBI, K (played CF) #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-1, 4 BB, SB (5) #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-4, K #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (42 pitches, 25 strikes) #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, 2 K #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-4, BB SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS (Saints game will continue at 1:07 PM CST) Nashville @ St. Paul (2:07 CST) - RHP Jacob Faria (0-0, 4.76 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (7:05 CST) - RHP Ben Gross (0-0, 5.19 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-0, 2.08 ERA) Clearwater @ Fort Myers (DH @ 4:30 CST) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.20 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  5. With 31 hours until their first game, the Twins traded away their closer, Taylor Rogers. With the season starting very soon, the Twins now have a few big question marks in their bullpen. Who will they rely on to get big outs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings? What roles will each reliever play in the bullpen? How confident are we in each arm? Here are confidence rankings in the Twins bullpen. Minnesota has made a plethora of moves in the offseason in hopes of going from worst to first in the AL Central. The most recent of these moves was trading away Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the San Diego Padres for right-handed pitchers Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagán. The Twins added some starting pitching depth with Paddack but downgraded their bullpen when they went from one of the better closers in the game in Rogers to a reliever looking to get back to his 2019 self, Pagán. With the Twins figuring to start the year with a six-man rotation, they will have ten bullpen arms. Here are my confidence rankings of the ten. 10. Jhon Romero Romero was claimed off waivers from the Washington Nationals on March 21, and he will serve primarily to eat innings in Minnesota. Romero throws in the mid-90s with a ton of vertical break on his fastball, so he may need to develop a plus-offspeed pitch, but he is a promising reliever for the Twins. Romero made five appearances for the Nationals in 2021, giving up two earned runs and striking out three batters in four innings of work. He will need to earn the trust of the Twins and the Twins fan base before they can gain confidence in him pitching in big spots. 9. Danny Coulombe A pleasant surprise in 2021, the left-handed Coulombe threw 34.1 innings for the Twins with a 3.67 ERA and a 3.75 FIP. The 32-year-old journeyman is an offspeed pitcher, throwing 66 percent of his pitches as either sliders or curveballs in 2021. Coulombe was also very good at controlling free passes, as he only walked five percent of opposing batters. In 2022, I see the Twins using Coulombe against left-handed batters, as he and Caleb Thielbar are now the only left-handers in their bullpen. Coulombe still needs to prove that he can sustain this level of success, but he could quickly jump up these rankings. 8. Josh Winder Along with teammate Jhoan Duran, Winder displayed some of the best stuff in big league spring training out of all pitchers in 2022. Injuries shortened Winder's 2021 season, but he still managed to go 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA between AA and AAA. He had a sub-1 WHIP, and the hard-throwing righty limits walks and strikes guys out, leading me to believe that he will have no problem transferring his game to the big league level. Winder will be a long reliever, and he will probably make some spot starts in 2022. 7. Jharel Cotton A pitcher nobody is talking about, Jharel Cotton could be the most underrated pitcher in the Twins bullpen. Cotton has the most vertical break on his fastball out of any pitcher in MLB and a highly effective changeup to pair with it. He had a 3.52 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 30 innings for the Texas Rangers in 2021. Cotton will be used in primarily lower leverage situations to start, and his workload could see an uptick with good performance. 6. Caleb Thielbar Despite not having an overwhelming fastball, Caleb Thielbar has done one thing very well over the past two seasons with the Twins. And that is preventing runs. Thielbar only averages 91 miles per hour on his fastball, but it pairs well with his loopy 72 mile per hour curveball. Since 2020, Thielbar has had a 3.00 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 84 innings. Although he was used in low leverage situations in 2020, with the subtraction of Taylor Rogers, the Twins will turn to Thielbar to get crucial outs against left-handed hitters, who batted .214 against him in 2021. 5. Joe Smith An under-the-radar signing for the Twins this offseason, the Twins signed former Astro Joe Smith to a one-year deal. Despite his unorthodox delivery, the 38-year-old has always had major league-level success. His 4.99 ERA in 2021 was misleading, as poor batted-ball luck inflated his ERA. His xERA was 3.55, and he has a 3.08 career ERA. Smith should slot nicely into a middle relief role, especially against righties, against whom he has allowed a .607 OPS in his career. 4. Jhoan Duran As pitchers are throwing harder than ever before, the Twins' only fireballer on the staff in 2021 was Jorge Alcalá. Until now. Jhoan Duran made the Twins opening day roster, and when he debuts, he will be electric. The centerpiece of the Eduardo Escobar trade in 2018, Duran sits in the upper 90s with his fastball, topping at 101 miles per hour in spring training. Duran had the highest STUFF+ ratings in spring training despite a small sample size. For years to come, Duran's nasty stuff could lead to him being a weapon at the back of the Twins bullpen. 3. Emilio Pagán One of the more intriguing pitchers on Minnesota's roster, Pagán will look to return to his Tampa Bay form. In 2019, Pagán was one of the best relievers in baseball as he struck out 96 batters in 70 innings with the Rays. He also had a 2.31 ERA and recorded 20 saves. He struck out 36 percent of batters and only walked 4.9 percent. When he got to San Diego, he took a step back. In 2021, he went 4-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 63 innings. He gave up 16 home runs in those 63 innings, and he ranked in the seventh percentile of all pitchers in xSLG. Pagán, like the next pitcher on this list, will look to get back to his former self. Pagán will most likely start the year as the Twins' closer. 2. Tyler Duffey After being one of the best relievers in baseball in 2019 and 2020, Duffey took a significant step back in 2021 and will need to rediscover his success for the Twins to have a shutdown bullpen in 2022. In 2019-20, Duffey was in the 93rd percentile of pitchers in strikeout percentage and the 92nd percentile in xERA. He also had a 2.26 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 83.2 innings. In 2021, Duffey was in the 54th percentile in strikeout percentage and the 66th percentile in xERA. He had a 3.18 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 62 innings. While Duffey was by no means terrible in 2021, he was a different pitcher than he was in 2019 and 2020. Duffey will be a significant part of the Twins bullpen in 2022, especially if he can regain his old form. 1. Jorge Alcalá Alcalá has always been a high octane arm who has shown flashes of dominance, and he offered three signs he was on the verge of breaking out in 2021. Alcalá has a 3.48 ERA in 85 career innings, and his stuff plays very well, as he is in the 96th percentile of all MLB pitchers in fastball velocity and chase rate. This combination could be due to him using his fastball less and his changeup more. He was also in the 86th percentile of pitchers in walk percentage in 2021. This combination of good stuff and low walk rates could lead to Alcalá being a force in the back of the Twins bullpen in 2022. With Taylor Rogers gone, I look for Alcalá to take over the closer role in 2022. Who are your top three relievers for the Twins in 2022? What would you change about these rankings? Are there any guys currently in the minors who you think will majorly impact the bullpen? Let me know in the comments and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  6. Minnesota has made a plethora of moves in the offseason in hopes of going from worst to first in the AL Central. The most recent of these moves was trading away Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the San Diego Padres for right-handed pitchers Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagán. The Twins added some starting pitching depth with Paddack but downgraded their bullpen when they went from one of the better closers in the game in Rogers to a reliever looking to get back to his 2019 self, Pagán. With the Twins figuring to start the year with a six-man rotation, they will have ten bullpen arms. Here are my confidence rankings of the ten. 10. Jhon Romero Romero was claimed off waivers from the Washington Nationals on March 21, and he will serve primarily to eat innings in Minnesota. Romero throws in the mid-90s with a ton of vertical break on his fastball, so he may need to develop a plus-offspeed pitch, but he is a promising reliever for the Twins. Romero made five appearances for the Nationals in 2021, giving up two earned runs and striking out three batters in four innings of work. He will need to earn the trust of the Twins and the Twins fan base before they can gain confidence in him pitching in big spots. 9. Danny Coulombe A pleasant surprise in 2021, the left-handed Coulombe threw 34.1 innings for the Twins with a 3.67 ERA and a 3.75 FIP. The 32-year-old journeyman is an offspeed pitcher, throwing 66 percent of his pitches as either sliders or curveballs in 2021. Coulombe was also very good at controlling free passes, as he only walked five percent of opposing batters. In 2022, I see the Twins using Coulombe against left-handed batters, as he and Caleb Thielbar are now the only left-handers in their bullpen. Coulombe still needs to prove that he can sustain this level of success, but he could quickly jump up these rankings. 8. Josh Winder Along with teammate Jhoan Duran, Winder displayed some of the best stuff in big league spring training out of all pitchers in 2022. Injuries shortened Winder's 2021 season, but he still managed to go 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA between AA and AAA. He had a sub-1 WHIP, and the hard-throwing righty limits walks and strikes guys out, leading me to believe that he will have no problem transferring his game to the big league level. Winder will be a long reliever, and he will probably make some spot starts in 2022. 7. Jharel Cotton A pitcher nobody is talking about, Jharel Cotton could be the most underrated pitcher in the Twins bullpen. Cotton has the most vertical break on his fastball out of any pitcher in MLB and a highly effective changeup to pair with it. He had a 3.52 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 30 innings for the Texas Rangers in 2021. Cotton will be used in primarily lower leverage situations to start, and his workload could see an uptick with good performance. 6. Caleb Thielbar Despite not having an overwhelming fastball, Caleb Thielbar has done one thing very well over the past two seasons with the Twins. And that is preventing runs. Thielbar only averages 91 miles per hour on his fastball, but it pairs well with his loopy 72 mile per hour curveball. Since 2020, Thielbar has had a 3.00 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 84 innings. Although he was used in low leverage situations in 2020, with the subtraction of Taylor Rogers, the Twins will turn to Thielbar to get crucial outs against left-handed hitters, who batted .214 against him in 2021. 5. Joe Smith An under-the-radar signing for the Twins this offseason, the Twins signed former Astro Joe Smith to a one-year deal. Despite his unorthodox delivery, the 38-year-old has always had major league-level success. His 4.99 ERA in 2021 was misleading, as poor batted-ball luck inflated his ERA. His xERA was 3.55, and he has a 3.08 career ERA. Smith should slot nicely into a middle relief role, especially against righties, against whom he has allowed a .607 OPS in his career. 4. Jhoan Duran As pitchers are throwing harder than ever before, the Twins' only fireballer on the staff in 2021 was Jorge Alcalá. Until now. Jhoan Duran made the Twins opening day roster, and when he debuts, he will be electric. The centerpiece of the Eduardo Escobar trade in 2018, Duran sits in the upper 90s with his fastball, topping at 101 miles per hour in spring training. Duran had the highest STUFF+ ratings in spring training despite a small sample size. For years to come, Duran's nasty stuff could lead to him being a weapon at the back of the Twins bullpen. 3. Emilio Pagán One of the more intriguing pitchers on Minnesota's roster, Pagán will look to return to his Tampa Bay form. In 2019, Pagán was one of the best relievers in baseball as he struck out 96 batters in 70 innings with the Rays. He also had a 2.31 ERA and recorded 20 saves. He struck out 36 percent of batters and only walked 4.9 percent. When he got to San Diego, he took a step back. In 2021, he went 4-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 63 innings. He gave up 16 home runs in those 63 innings, and he ranked in the seventh percentile of all pitchers in xSLG. Pagán, like the next pitcher on this list, will look to get back to his former self. Pagán will most likely start the year as the Twins' closer. 2. Tyler Duffey After being one of the best relievers in baseball in 2019 and 2020, Duffey took a significant step back in 2021 and will need to rediscover his success for the Twins to have a shutdown bullpen in 2022. In 2019-20, Duffey was in the 93rd percentile of pitchers in strikeout percentage and the 92nd percentile in xERA. He also had a 2.26 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 83.2 innings. In 2021, Duffey was in the 54th percentile in strikeout percentage and the 66th percentile in xERA. He had a 3.18 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 62 innings. While Duffey was by no means terrible in 2021, he was a different pitcher than he was in 2019 and 2020. Duffey will be a significant part of the Twins bullpen in 2022, especially if he can regain his old form. 1. Jorge Alcalá Alcalá has always been a high octane arm who has shown flashes of dominance, and he offered three signs he was on the verge of breaking out in 2021. Alcalá has a 3.48 ERA in 85 career innings, and his stuff plays very well, as he is in the 96th percentile of all MLB pitchers in fastball velocity and chase rate. This combination could be due to him using his fastball less and his changeup more. He was also in the 86th percentile of pitchers in walk percentage in 2021. This combination of good stuff and low walk rates could lead to Alcalá being a force in the back of the Twins bullpen in 2022. With Taylor Rogers gone, I look for Alcalá to take over the closer role in 2022. Who are your top three relievers for the Twins in 2022? What would you change about these rankings? Are there any guys currently in the minors who you think will majorly impact the bullpen? Let me know in the comments and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  7. My picks: MVP: Carlos Correa Top Pitcher: Sonny Gray Most Improved: Jorge Alcala Top Rookie: Joe Ryan Gold Glove Winners: Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton Silver Slugger Winners: Byron Buxton Team Record: 86-76 Place in Division: Second AL Central Standings: White Sox, Twins, Royals, Guardians, Tigers Minor League Hitter: Aaron Sabato Minor League Starting Pitcher: Blayne Enlow Minor League Reliever: Ronny Henriquez
  8. Last week, MLB Network released their Top-100 Players Right Now, and the only Twins players to make it were Carlos Correa at number 14 and Byron Buxton at number 39. As we all know, a healthy Buxton is not the 39th best player in the league; he is more towards the top ten. This dynamic duo for the Twins is amongst the best in the league, but could it be the best duo the Twins have ever had? 2022 marks the first time since MLB Network started making their top-100 lists in 2014 that the Twins have ever had two players in the top 40. Buxton and Correa have the potential to be the best duo in Twins history in 2022. After watching Buxton hit .469 with five home runs in 32 at-bats and Correa hit .350 with three home runs in 20 at-bats, it's easy to dream about this duo. Who would they have to pass to become the best single-season duo in Twins history? Let's look at the top five. Rod Carew and Lyman Bostock, 1977 In Rod Carew's historic 1977 season, in which he won MVP and bid to hit .400 (finished at .388), he and the late Lyman Bostock combined with being the best duo in Twins history when they combined for 13.7 fWAR. Carew accounted for 8.6 WAR while Bostock accumulated the other 5.1 WAR in a career year when he had a career-best 142 wRC+. Carew, on the other hand, had the best offensive season in Twins history, leading the league in runs (128), hits (239), triples (16), batting average (.388), on-base percentage (.449), and OPS (1.019). However, this team only went 84-77 and finished fourth in the AL West. Joe Mauer and Denard Span, 2009 Joe Mauer missed the first month of the 2009 season and still managed to have the fourth-best single-season WAR total of any catcher (8.4). Mauer's MVP season was a driving force in the Twins making it to the playoffs. Mauer and centerfielder Denard Span combined for 12.5 fWAR in the Twins' last season in the Metrodome. Mauer led MLB in batting average (.365), on-base percentage (.444), and led the American League in slugging percentage (.587) and OPS (1.031). He hit a career-high 28 home runs and drove in 96 runs. He won the American League Most Valuable Player award, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove honors. Span was no slouch himself, hitting .311/.392/.415 (.807) with an American League-leading ten triples. Mauer was the driving force in this duo, but every Batman needs a Robin. Bob Allison and Tony Oliva, 1964 In a season where Tony Oliva had a historic debut season, winning American League Rookie of the Year, his counterpart, 1959 AL Rookie of the Year Bob Allison, was equally good. Oliva posted 6.2 WAR, and Allison was right there with him, posting 6.2 WAR. Allison hit .287/.404/.553 (.957) and had a career-high 161 wRC+. Oliva led the AL in hits, doubles, batting average, and runs as a rookie. He also hit a career-high 32 home runs. Oliva had the best OPS as a rookie in Twins history (.916). Harmon Killebrew accumulated 4.8 WAR, completing a legendary trio of Twins legends, along with these two legendary Twins. However, the Twins finished 79-83-1 in 1964, so three players can only do so much for a team. Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew, 1969 Debatably the top two players in Twins history made up for the fourth-best duo in Twins history in 1969. Killebrew posted a career-high 7.1 WAR and won the AL MVP award while hitting the most single-season home runs in Twins history (49) during Billy Martin's lone season as Twins manager. Killebrew led MLB in RBI (140) thanks to a fantastic 23-year-old table-setter named Rod Carew. In Carew's third big league season, he was worth 5.0 WAR while leading the American League in batting average (.332). After a subpar sophomore campaign in 1968 in which his wRC+ dipped to 96, he had an outstanding 138 wRC+ and never let that figure dip below 100 for the final 17 years of his major league career. This Twins team went 97-65, winning the AL West. Unfortunately, they got swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the playoffs. Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva, 1965 In one of the strangest seasons of all time, Zoilo Versalles led the American League in runs (126), doubles (45), triples (12), and total bases (308). In a career where he was only worth 13.1 WAR over 12 seasons, he accumulated 7.0 WAR in 1965 alone to win the AL MVP award. Tony Oliva followed up his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign with a solid 5.1 WAR season in a less fluky season. In MVP voting, Oliva finished runner-up to Versalles while leading the AL in hits (185) and batting average (.321). This Twins team was one of the best in history, going 102-60 but losing to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in the World Series in seven games. Where do Buxton and Correa fit? Last season, Buxton and Correa combined for 10 WAR. These aforementioned duos all had at least 12 WAR, so it will take something special for Buxton and Correa to join this list. However, if Buxton would have played in 60 more games last year at the same level he played at in the 61 games he was on the field for, he would’ve been worth 8.4 WAR while Correa posted 5.8. If these two guys combine for 14 WAR, they are the top duo in Twins history. Of course, it will take some luck, health, and very good production, but these are two of the most talented players the Twins have ever had, so if anyone can do it, it’s them. What do you think? Where do you think Buxton and Correa could fit in on this list? Leave a comment and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  9. 2022 marks the first time since MLB Network started making their top-100 lists in 2014 that the Twins have ever had two players in the top 40. Buxton and Correa have the potential to be the best duo in Twins history in 2022. After watching Buxton hit .469 with five home runs in 32 at-bats and Correa hit .350 with three home runs in 20 at-bats, it's easy to dream about this duo. Who would they have to pass to become the best single-season duo in Twins history? Let's look at the top five. Rod Carew and Lyman Bostock, 1977 In Rod Carew's historic 1977 season, in which he won MVP and bid to hit .400 (finished at .388), he and the late Lyman Bostock combined with being the best duo in Twins history when they combined for 13.7 fWAR. Carew accounted for 8.6 WAR while Bostock accumulated the other 5.1 WAR in a career year when he had a career-best 142 wRC+. Carew, on the other hand, had the best offensive season in Twins history, leading the league in runs (128), hits (239), triples (16), batting average (.388), on-base percentage (.449), and OPS (1.019). However, this team only went 84-77 and finished fourth in the AL West. Joe Mauer and Denard Span, 2009 Joe Mauer missed the first month of the 2009 season and still managed to have the fourth-best single-season WAR total of any catcher (8.4). Mauer's MVP season was a driving force in the Twins making it to the playoffs. Mauer and centerfielder Denard Span combined for 12.5 fWAR in the Twins' last season in the Metrodome. Mauer led MLB in batting average (.365), on-base percentage (.444), and led the American League in slugging percentage (.587) and OPS (1.031). He hit a career-high 28 home runs and drove in 96 runs. He won the American League Most Valuable Player award, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove honors. Span was no slouch himself, hitting .311/.392/.415 (.807) with an American League-leading ten triples. Mauer was the driving force in this duo, but every Batman needs a Robin. Bob Allison and Tony Oliva, 1964 In a season where Tony Oliva had a historic debut season, winning American League Rookie of the Year, his counterpart, 1959 AL Rookie of the Year Bob Allison, was equally good. Oliva posted 6.2 WAR, and Allison was right there with him, posting 6.2 WAR. Allison hit .287/.404/.553 (.957) and had a career-high 161 wRC+. Oliva led the AL in hits, doubles, batting average, and runs as a rookie. He also hit a career-high 32 home runs. Oliva had the best OPS as a rookie in Twins history (.916). Harmon Killebrew accumulated 4.8 WAR, completing a legendary trio of Twins legends, along with these two legendary Twins. However, the Twins finished 79-83-1 in 1964, so three players can only do so much for a team. Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew, 1969 Debatably the top two players in Twins history made up for the fourth-best duo in Twins history in 1969. Killebrew posted a career-high 7.1 WAR and won the AL MVP award while hitting the most single-season home runs in Twins history (49) during Billy Martin's lone season as Twins manager. Killebrew led MLB in RBI (140) thanks to a fantastic 23-year-old table-setter named Rod Carew. In Carew's third big league season, he was worth 5.0 WAR while leading the American League in batting average (.332). After a subpar sophomore campaign in 1968 in which his wRC+ dipped to 96, he had an outstanding 138 wRC+ and never let that figure dip below 100 for the final 17 years of his major league career. This Twins team went 97-65, winning the AL West. Unfortunately, they got swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the playoffs. Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva, 1965 In one of the strangest seasons of all time, Zoilo Versalles led the American League in runs (126), doubles (45), triples (12), and total bases (308). In a career where he was only worth 13.1 WAR over 12 seasons, he accumulated 7.0 WAR in 1965 alone to win the AL MVP award. Tony Oliva followed up his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign with a solid 5.1 WAR season in a less fluky season. In MVP voting, Oliva finished runner-up to Versalles while leading the AL in hits (185) and batting average (.321). This Twins team was one of the best in history, going 102-60 but losing to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in the World Series in seven games. Where do Buxton and Correa fit? Last season, Buxton and Correa combined for 10 WAR. These aforementioned duos all had at least 12 WAR, so it will take something special for Buxton and Correa to join this list. However, if Buxton would have played in 60 more games last year at the same level he played at in the 61 games he was on the field for, he would’ve been worth 8.4 WAR while Correa posted 5.8. If these two guys combine for 14 WAR, they are the top duo in Twins history. Of course, it will take some luck, health, and very good production, but these are two of the most talented players the Twins have ever had, so if anyone can do it, it’s them. What do you think? Where do you think Buxton and Correa could fit in on this list? Leave a comment and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  10. Thanks, Mike! I am not quite sure what Sonny's deal is but I expect him to make a start opening weekend. Archer is making his first spring training start today, so that will be telling with how he looks, how much he pitches, etc. I am unsure if they are just doing this for the first weekend, but I imagine Sonny will be our number one long term I imagine Ober is the three, with the rotation long-term being Gray, Ryan, Ober, Bundy, Archer And yes, I am a big Winder fan. He was great last year and has showed no signs of slowing down this spring
  11. Thursday afternoon, Rocco Baldelli announced that Twins rookie right-handed pitcher Joe Ryan will take the mound in game one of the Twins 2022 regular season against the Seattle Mariners. Naming a rookie the Opening-Day starter says many things about the Twins' state. So let’s dive into what this means. Congratulations are in order for the rookie, as it is rare for a pitcher this new to the league to get an opening day start. Ryan getting the nod on opening day shows that the Twins are extremely confident in him, but they also may have a problem with their starting rotation. Thanks for the Memories, Nelson First, who would have thought the return would have been this immense when the Twins dealt Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays in July of 2021. Obviously, the Twins received Ryan, who is now an MLB dot com Top-100 prospect, and the Twins' opening-day starter, along with right-handed pitcher Drew Strotman, who is the Twins' 19th-best prospect according to MLB dot com. The Twins traded away 59 games of a designated hitter who hit .226/.283/.442 (.725) with a 96 wRC+ for the Rays. Over that stretch for the Twins, the designated hitter spot hit .244/.353/.463 (.816) with a wRC+ of 124. As crazy as it sounds, the Twins actually upgraded their designated hitter position by trading away Cruz and spreading out designated hitter at-bats. Josh Donaldson (30 starts), Brent Rooker (10 starts), Miguel Sano (6 starts), Jorge Polanco (6 starts), Luis Arraez (4 starts), Mitch Garver (2 starts), and Max Kepler (1 start) all received at-bats in the designated hitter role. This combination of players was more productive for the Twins in the DH role than Cruz was for the Rays. Considering that the Twins upgraded at DH and received their opening-day starter for the following season, this trade looks like a massive win for Derek Falvey and company. Positives Obviously, the Twins giving a rookie a nod on opening day for the first time since Tom Hall in 1969 shows the immense amount of confidence they have in Ryan. Ryan has had a good spring training thus far, throwing five innings, allowing no runs, and striking out six. It has been a minimal sample size, but Ryan has looked very sharp and poised in both starts he has made. Ryan has been a strikeout machine in his professional baseball career despite having below-average velocity. Ryan averaged 13 strikeouts per nine throughout the minor leagues, and his success continued in his five big league starts, striking out 30 batters in 26 2/3 innings. He was 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA, but poor batted-ball luck inflated his ERA. His xERA was 2.99, suggesting that he is better than the 4.05 figure. So how does Ryan have so much success with below-average velocity? Does he throw the majority of his pitches as off-speed pitches? Nope, it's more like the opposite. Of 616 pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 25th highest fastball percentage, throwing a fastball 65.8 percent of the time. For Ryan, it all comes down to deception and movement. Of that same group of pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 33rd most vertical movement on his fastball (18.3 inches). This puts him in the top six percent of pitchers in terms of vertical movement on his fastball. Additionally, Ryan may be so effective because of his unorthodox release point. Ryan has an extremely low release point, as among 555 right-handed pitchers with a four-seam fastball in MLB, Ryan has the 24th lowest average release point (5.05 feet), and nobody with a lower release point than him throws the pitch as frequently as he does. His unorthodox deception and movement make his fastball appear to be rising, making it very tough on hitters. TwinsDaily's own Parker Hageman does a great job of highlighting this below. Between Ryan's strong track record of strikeouts and his unorthodox fastball, there is a reason to believe that he will be a solid contributor to the Twins pitching staff in 2022 and on, making it easy to see why the Twins have so much confidence in him. Negatives Although Ryan is an up-and-coming pitcher for the Twins, it is tough to justify having an inexperienced pitcher be the opening-day starter for a team that wants to contend. A team that signed Carlos Correa to the largest deal ever for an infielder. A team that, as Ted Schwerzler would say, "paid the man" when they extended Byron Buxton for seven years. A team that went out and traded their first-round pick from just last year to acquire Sonny Gray, who most people presumed would take the role of staff ace. It is a little problematic when you realize that Ryan is one of the least experienced pitchers in MLB history to get the opening-day nod for his team. As Twins beat writer Do-Hyoung Park points out, there have only been two other pitchers in MLB history to make an opening-day start within their first six career games, and Joe Ryan is the first one to do it since the disposable camera was invented (1987). I'm as big of a Joe Ryan fan as anyone, but starting him on opening day says more about the Twins' starting rotation than anything. How many other teams would Ryan be the opening day starter for if you look around the league? Five? Less? How many of these teams expect to contend? I would guess that this number is zero. Concluding Thoughts Yes, it may be problematic for the Twins rotation if they see a guy with five career starts as their best starting pitcher going into the year. Fortunately, most people still see Sonny Gray as the staff ace, but Ryan will start on opening day for whatever reason the Twins management and coaching see fit. Although it may be problematic right now, man, will it be fun. There weren't many moments in a disappointing 2021 season that were very memorable, but every start Ryan made was great entertainment. The confidence he exudes is unparalleled among rookies. Maybe a young, confident pitcher is what the Twins need to set the tone for the 2022 season. What do you think? Is Joe Ryan the right choice to start opening day for the Twins? Share your thoughts on this decision in the comments below and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  12. Congratulations are in order for the rookie, as it is rare for a pitcher this new to the league to get an opening day start. Ryan getting the nod on opening day shows that the Twins are extremely confident in him, but they also may have a problem with their starting rotation. Thanks for the Memories, Nelson First, who would have thought the return would have been this immense when the Twins dealt Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays in July of 2021. Obviously, the Twins received Ryan, who is now an MLB dot com Top-100 prospect, and the Twins' opening-day starter, along with right-handed pitcher Drew Strotman, who is the Twins' 19th-best prospect according to MLB dot com. The Twins traded away 59 games of a designated hitter who hit .226/.283/.442 (.725) with a 96 wRC+ for the Rays. Over that stretch for the Twins, the designated hitter spot hit .244/.353/.463 (.816) with a wRC+ of 124. As crazy as it sounds, the Twins actually upgraded their designated hitter position by trading away Cruz and spreading out designated hitter at-bats. Josh Donaldson (30 starts), Brent Rooker (10 starts), Miguel Sano (6 starts), Jorge Polanco (6 starts), Luis Arraez (4 starts), Mitch Garver (2 starts), and Max Kepler (1 start) all received at-bats in the designated hitter role. This combination of players was more productive for the Twins in the DH role than Cruz was for the Rays. Considering that the Twins upgraded at DH and received their opening-day starter for the following season, this trade looks like a massive win for Derek Falvey and company. Positives Obviously, the Twins giving a rookie a nod on opening day for the first time since Tom Hall in 1969 shows the immense amount of confidence they have in Ryan. Ryan has had a good spring training thus far, throwing five innings, allowing no runs, and striking out six. It has been a minimal sample size, but Ryan has looked very sharp and poised in both starts he has made. Ryan has been a strikeout machine in his professional baseball career despite having below-average velocity. Ryan averaged 13 strikeouts per nine throughout the minor leagues, and his success continued in his five big league starts, striking out 30 batters in 26 2/3 innings. He was 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA, but poor batted-ball luck inflated his ERA. His xERA was 2.99, suggesting that he is better than the 4.05 figure. So how does Ryan have so much success with below-average velocity? Does he throw the majority of his pitches as off-speed pitches? Nope, it's more like the opposite. Of 616 pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 25th highest fastball percentage, throwing a fastball 65.8 percent of the time. For Ryan, it all comes down to deception and movement. Of that same group of pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 33rd most vertical movement on his fastball (18.3 inches). This puts him in the top six percent of pitchers in terms of vertical movement on his fastball. Additionally, Ryan may be so effective because of his unorthodox release point. Ryan has an extremely low release point, as among 555 right-handed pitchers with a four-seam fastball in MLB, Ryan has the 24th lowest average release point (5.05 feet), and nobody with a lower release point than him throws the pitch as frequently as he does. His unorthodox deception and movement make his fastball appear to be rising, making it very tough on hitters. TwinsDaily's own Parker Hageman does a great job of highlighting this below. Between Ryan's strong track record of strikeouts and his unorthodox fastball, there is a reason to believe that he will be a solid contributor to the Twins pitching staff in 2022 and on, making it easy to see why the Twins have so much confidence in him. Negatives Although Ryan is an up-and-coming pitcher for the Twins, it is tough to justify having an inexperienced pitcher be the opening-day starter for a team that wants to contend. A team that signed Carlos Correa to the largest deal ever for an infielder. A team that, as Ted Schwerzler would say, "paid the man" when they extended Byron Buxton for seven years. A team that went out and traded their first-round pick from just last year to acquire Sonny Gray, who most people presumed would take the role of staff ace. It is a little problematic when you realize that Ryan is one of the least experienced pitchers in MLB history to get the opening-day nod for his team. As Twins beat writer Do-Hyoung Park points out, there have only been two other pitchers in MLB history to make an opening-day start within their first six career games, and Joe Ryan is the first one to do it since the disposable camera was invented (1987). I'm as big of a Joe Ryan fan as anyone, but starting him on opening day says more about the Twins' starting rotation than anything. How many other teams would Ryan be the opening day starter for if you look around the league? Five? Less? How many of these teams expect to contend? I would guess that this number is zero. Concluding Thoughts Yes, it may be problematic for the Twins rotation if they see a guy with five career starts as their best starting pitcher going into the year. Fortunately, most people still see Sonny Gray as the staff ace, but Ryan will start on opening day for whatever reason the Twins management and coaching see fit. Although it may be problematic right now, man, will it be fun. There weren't many moments in a disappointing 2021 season that were very memorable, but every start Ryan made was great entertainment. The confidence he exudes is unparalleled among rookies. Maybe a young, confident pitcher is what the Twins need to set the tone for the 2022 season. What do you think? Is Joe Ryan the right choice to start opening day for the Twins? Share your thoughts on this decision in the comments below and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  13. I'm sure with the Twins and Saints facilities being so close to each other, Royce and Carlos will interact on a somewhat regular basis. They could interact over the phone, it will just be nice for Royce to have someone who was also a number one pick and plays shortstop that he can talk to
  14. Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr, Chipper Jones, Bryce Harper, Joe Mauer, Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis. What do all of these players have in common? They were all first overall picks in the MLB Draft. Of this group, there is one Twins legend, one current Twin superstar, and one Twin of the future. First Overall Of 56 first overall picks, 48 have reached the major leagues. Of the eight that didn't, four fizzled out, and four are still working their way to the majors. The latter group includes Royce Lewis. Lewis, the first overall selection in the 2017 draft, looked well on his way to the major leagues before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After an incredible Arizona Fall League performance in which Lewis garnered AFL MVP honors, he was named the fifth-best prospect in baseball, behind current superstars Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr. But since then, Lewis hasn't appeared in a regular-season professional game. With the 2020 minor league season getting wiped out due to the pandemic, Lewis spent the 2020 season at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. Lewis tore his ACL in February of 2021 after wiping out on the ice in Texas, to make matters worse. Lewis has completed his ACL rehab and is playing in spring training, where he went 1-for-8 in major league spring training action. Recently, he was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul, where he will presumably be the starting shortstop. From being the MLB.com fifth-best prospect pre-pandemic to their 46th best prospect currently, Lewis will have a lot to prove in St. Paul. There have been many questions about if Lewis can play shortstop at the major-league level, and he will look to regain his status as a top prospect in St. Paul. A Tale of Two Stories Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Twins have a new shortstop named Carlos Correa. Correa was widely regarded as the best free agent in the 2021-22 free-agent class and is one of the best players in baseball. Since entering the league in 2015, Correa leads all shortstops in WAR (34.1). He is a career .277/.356/.481 (.837) hitter with a flare for the dramatic, as he is tied for the seventh most postseason home runs of all time (18). Although they were both first overall selections out of high school as shortstops, Correa and Lewis have taken different paths. In June 2022, it will have been five years since the Twins selected Lewis with the first overall pick. Lewis has been through the wringer in his first five years, from showing unbelievable promise to a significant ACL tear setback. In the first five years after Correa was drafted, he won the American League Rookie of the Year, was named an all-star, and in his fifth year, won the World Series. Could Adding Correa Help Royce Lewis? Although Lewis hasn't had Correa's success, he's still an immense talent that could impact the Twins in the next few years. Adding Correa provides mentorship and comfort for Lewis. Before the Twins inked Correa to a record-breaking deal, their roster's most significant question mark was at shortstop. Were they going to trade for Elvis Andrus? Were they going to sign Trevor Story? Would they play an internal option at shortstop like Nick Gordon, Lewis, or Austin Martin? The Twins chose none of the above and signed one of the best shortstops in baseball. In Correa's three-year, $105.3 million deal, there are opt-outs after years one and two. These opt-outs will allow Correa to potentially take advantage of the free-agent market in a typical offseason, which doesn't include a three-month lockout. If Correa has a good 2022, he could enter free agency again in search of a larger deal. In this scenario, Lewis would most likely be the Twins shortstop in 2023 if all goes as planned. Had the Twins not signed Correa, they could have rushed Lewis through Triple A. The Correa signing allows Lewis to be the everyday shortstop in St. Paul for at least the 2022 season, allowing him to reacclimate himself to playing shortstop every day in the minor leagues without the added stress of playing in the big leagues right away. If Correa leaves after 2022, Lewis can take over the shortstop role for the big league club with a higher level of comfort and more experience. Lewis also may need someone to mentor him and help him through the pressure of being a first overall pick. Correa had high praise when asked about Royce Lewis at his introductory press conference. "He's a special talent; the future is bright for him. He is a hard worker, I love his attitude, and we've built a good relationship in the few days I've been here with him", said Correa. Final Thoughts For the Twins, it would be best to extend Carlos Correa and lock down the premier position in baseball for the next five to seven years. But right now, it looks most likely that Correa will be gone in the next year or two, so the Twins must groom Lewis into a major league-caliber shortstop, and who better to do that than Carlos Correa. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  15. First Overall Of 56 first overall picks, 48 have reached the major leagues. Of the eight that didn't, four fizzled out, and four are still working their way to the majors. The latter group includes Royce Lewis. Lewis, the first overall selection in the 2017 draft, looked well on his way to the major leagues before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After an incredible Arizona Fall League performance in which Lewis garnered AFL MVP honors, he was named the fifth-best prospect in baseball, behind current superstars Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr. But since then, Lewis hasn't appeared in a regular-season professional game. With the 2020 minor league season getting wiped out due to the pandemic, Lewis spent the 2020 season at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. Lewis tore his ACL in February of 2021 after wiping out on the ice in Texas, to make matters worse. Lewis has completed his ACL rehab and is playing in spring training, where he went 1-for-8 in major league spring training action. Recently, he was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul, where he will presumably be the starting shortstop. From being the MLB.com fifth-best prospect pre-pandemic to their 46th best prospect currently, Lewis will have a lot to prove in St. Paul. There have been many questions about if Lewis can play shortstop at the major-league level, and he will look to regain his status as a top prospect in St. Paul. A Tale of Two Stories Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Twins have a new shortstop named Carlos Correa. Correa was widely regarded as the best free agent in the 2021-22 free-agent class and is one of the best players in baseball. Since entering the league in 2015, Correa leads all shortstops in WAR (34.1). He is a career .277/.356/.481 (.837) hitter with a flare for the dramatic, as he is tied for the seventh most postseason home runs of all time (18). Although they were both first overall selections out of high school as shortstops, Correa and Lewis have taken different paths. In June 2022, it will have been five years since the Twins selected Lewis with the first overall pick. Lewis has been through the wringer in his first five years, from showing unbelievable promise to a significant ACL tear setback. In the first five years after Correa was drafted, he won the American League Rookie of the Year, was named an all-star, and in his fifth year, won the World Series. Could Adding Correa Help Royce Lewis? Although Lewis hasn't had Correa's success, he's still an immense talent that could impact the Twins in the next few years. Adding Correa provides mentorship and comfort for Lewis. Before the Twins inked Correa to a record-breaking deal, their roster's most significant question mark was at shortstop. Were they going to trade for Elvis Andrus? Were they going to sign Trevor Story? Would they play an internal option at shortstop like Nick Gordon, Lewis, or Austin Martin? The Twins chose none of the above and signed one of the best shortstops in baseball. In Correa's three-year, $105.3 million deal, there are opt-outs after years one and two. These opt-outs will allow Correa to potentially take advantage of the free-agent market in a typical offseason, which doesn't include a three-month lockout. If Correa has a good 2022, he could enter free agency again in search of a larger deal. In this scenario, Lewis would most likely be the Twins shortstop in 2023 if all goes as planned. Had the Twins not signed Correa, they could have rushed Lewis through Triple A. The Correa signing allows Lewis to be the everyday shortstop in St. Paul for at least the 2022 season, allowing him to reacclimate himself to playing shortstop every day in the minor leagues without the added stress of playing in the big leagues right away. If Correa leaves after 2022, Lewis can take over the shortstop role for the big league club with a higher level of comfort and more experience. Lewis also may need someone to mentor him and help him through the pressure of being a first overall pick. Correa had high praise when asked about Royce Lewis at his introductory press conference. "He's a special talent; the future is bright for him. He is a hard worker, I love his attitude, and we've built a good relationship in the few days I've been here with him", said Correa. Final Thoughts For the Twins, it would be best to extend Carlos Correa and lock down the premier position in baseball for the next five to seven years. But right now, it looks most likely that Correa will be gone in the next year or two, so the Twins must groom Lewis into a major league-caliber shortstop, and who better to do that than Carlos Correa. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  16. This guy being a St Thomas grad is hilarious. Great work as always
  17. The first chat are his spin rates by month in 2021 (ban was late June). Even though his spin rates decreased his xwOBA against did not have a huge change in any of his pitches
  18. In one of the most active offseason weekends in Twins history, the Twins acquired three players who will have a large impact on the Twins for the 2022 season and possibly beyond. These moves may be the first in a series of moves to come for the Twins, and we could have a crazy few days ahead of us. Weekend Recap: On Saturday, the Twins traded catcher Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Twins legend Isiah Kiner-Falefa and right-handed pitching prospect Ronny Henriquez. Sunday afternoon, the Twins traded 2021 first-round pick Chase Petty to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray and right-handed pitching prospect Francis Peguero. And finally, late Sunday night, the Twins traded third baseman Josh Donaldson, Kiner-Falefa, and catcher Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees for infielder Gio Urshela and catcher Gary Sanchez. Since the season is only a few weeks away, let’s focus on the three players who will make an impact on the Twins from the get go. Sonny Gray Trading a first round pick who was only drafted nine months prior and has thrown his fastball over 100 miles per hour as a prep pitcher means that you must have a lot of faith in what you are getting in return. A two-time all-star, Gray has had a successful career to this point, going 82-72 with a 3.61 career ERA while pitching for the Athletics, Yankees, and Reds. In 2021, Gray was 7-9 with a 4.19 ERA. In a vacuum, these statistics are very average, as the MLB average ERA is 4.26. However, Gray pitched better than these numbers suggest. Let’s dive into it. Gray suffered from poor batted-ball luck when he was on the mound in 2021. Although his ERA was 4.19, his expected ERA (xERA) based on the quality of contact he allowed was 3.22. This is something to point to when people may suggest that Gray is past his prime. In his three years in Cincinnati, who have revamped their organizational philosophy to develop strong pitchers, Gray posted 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. This is a big change from his two seasons in New York, in which he posted 8.4 strikeouts per nine. One reason for Gray’s increased success has been the improvement of his slider. Gray has one of the best sliders in baseball. According to Baseball Savant, Gray has the eighth most vertical movement on his slider and the ninth most horizontal movement among all qualified pitchers in Major League Baseball. His baseball savant percentile ranking chart is a thing of beauty, showing that he is near the top of the league in limiting hard contact, which will be a huge positive for a team that struggled so desperately to limit hard contact in 2021. Finally, Gray is only due to make $10.2 million in 2022 with a $12 million club option in 2023, making him a relatively cheap option for the next two years for the Twins. Gio Urshela Unlike Gray, Urshela is a player who has been overlooked his entire career. After going unselected in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, Urshela made the rest of the league seem foolish when he hit .314/.355/.534 (.889) with 21 home runs in 2019 for the Yankees. He followed up that performance with a short-season .298/.368/.490 (.858) performance in 2020. In 2021, Urshela took a minor step back after having an injury riddled season. He hit .267/.301/.419 (.720) and only posted 1.0 fWAR in 116 games. With the Twins trading away slugger Josh Donaldson, they will need Urshela to step up in a big way in 2022 at the hot corner. Similar to Gray, there is some promise in Urshela. His 2021 season was not very good statistically, as his Baseball Savant numbers are shown above. These struggles could very well be injury related and he could return to his 2019-20 form where he was in the 98th percentile of all hitters in expected batting average and the 90th percentile in terms of strikeout rate. Urshela is promising with the bat, not anything special with the glove, but he could definitely be a solid contributor for the Twins in ‘22. Gary Sanchez When a TwinsDaily writer brings up the name Miguel Sano, you usually hear a variety of different opinions ranging from “send him down to AAA” to “don’t trade him, he is the next David Ortiz”. Well Twins fans, get ready for another polarizing player in Gary "The Sanchise" Sanchez. When Sanchez made his debut in 2016, it seemed like we were witnessing the next Yankee great. That year, he hit 20 home runs in 53 games. His .657 slugging percentage was the best ever by a rookie (min. 200 plate appearances). He followed it up by hitting .278/.345/.531 (.876) with 33 home runs in 2017. After those two years, Sanchez has been very average offensively, still hitting for power but failing to have an OBP above .316 since 2017. He also has been one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball. In 2021, Sanchez was the fourth worst catcher in baseball in terms of framing, costing his team six runs because of his inability to frame. Sanchez could be a primary DH for the Twins when not catching, and with his extreme power potential he could be a scary force, especially against lefties, against whom he posted a .835 OPS in 2021. The Twins added three players who all could make a very good impact on the team’s 2022 success if they live up to their potential. Which of these players are you most excited to watch? What move do you think the Twins make next? Leave a comment below and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  19. Weekend Recap: On Saturday, the Twins traded catcher Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Twins legend Isiah Kiner-Falefa and right-handed pitching prospect Ronny Henriquez. Sunday afternoon, the Twins traded 2021 first-round pick Chase Petty to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray and right-handed pitching prospect Francis Peguero. And finally, late Sunday night, the Twins traded third baseman Josh Donaldson, Kiner-Falefa, and catcher Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees for infielder Gio Urshela and catcher Gary Sanchez. Since the season is only a few weeks away, let’s focus on the three players who will make an impact on the Twins from the get go. Sonny Gray Trading a first round pick who was only drafted nine months prior and has thrown his fastball over 100 miles per hour as a prep pitcher means that you must have a lot of faith in what you are getting in return. A two-time all-star, Gray has had a successful career to this point, going 82-72 with a 3.61 career ERA while pitching for the Athletics, Yankees, and Reds. In 2021, Gray was 7-9 with a 4.19 ERA. In a vacuum, these statistics are very average, as the MLB average ERA is 4.26. However, Gray pitched better than these numbers suggest. Let’s dive into it. Gray suffered from poor batted-ball luck when he was on the mound in 2021. Although his ERA was 4.19, his expected ERA (xERA) based on the quality of contact he allowed was 3.22. This is something to point to when people may suggest that Gray is past his prime. In his three years in Cincinnati, who have revamped their organizational philosophy to develop strong pitchers, Gray posted 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. This is a big change from his two seasons in New York, in which he posted 8.4 strikeouts per nine. One reason for Gray’s increased success has been the improvement of his slider. Gray has one of the best sliders in baseball. According to Baseball Savant, Gray has the eighth most vertical movement on his slider and the ninth most horizontal movement among all qualified pitchers in Major League Baseball. His baseball savant percentile ranking chart is a thing of beauty, showing that he is near the top of the league in limiting hard contact, which will be a huge positive for a team that struggled so desperately to limit hard contact in 2021. Finally, Gray is only due to make $10.2 million in 2022 with a $12 million club option in 2023, making him a relatively cheap option for the next two years for the Twins. Gio Urshela Unlike Gray, Urshela is a player who has been overlooked his entire career. After going unselected in the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, Urshela made the rest of the league seem foolish when he hit .314/.355/.534 (.889) with 21 home runs in 2019 for the Yankees. He followed up that performance with a short-season .298/.368/.490 (.858) performance in 2020. In 2021, Urshela took a minor step back after having an injury riddled season. He hit .267/.301/.419 (.720) and only posted 1.0 fWAR in 116 games. With the Twins trading away slugger Josh Donaldson, they will need Urshela to step up in a big way in 2022 at the hot corner. Similar to Gray, there is some promise in Urshela. His 2021 season was not very good statistically, as his Baseball Savant numbers are shown above. These struggles could very well be injury related and he could return to his 2019-20 form where he was in the 98th percentile of all hitters in expected batting average and the 90th percentile in terms of strikeout rate. Urshela is promising with the bat, not anything special with the glove, but he could definitely be a solid contributor for the Twins in ‘22. Gary Sanchez When a TwinsDaily writer brings up the name Miguel Sano, you usually hear a variety of different opinions ranging from “send him down to AAA” to “don’t trade him, he is the next David Ortiz”. Well Twins fans, get ready for another polarizing player in Gary "The Sanchise" Sanchez. When Sanchez made his debut in 2016, it seemed like we were witnessing the next Yankee great. That year, he hit 20 home runs in 53 games. His .657 slugging percentage was the best ever by a rookie (min. 200 plate appearances). He followed it up by hitting .278/.345/.531 (.876) with 33 home runs in 2017. After those two years, Sanchez has been very average offensively, still hitting for power but failing to have an OBP above .316 since 2017. He also has been one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball. In 2021, Sanchez was the fourth worst catcher in baseball in terms of framing, costing his team six runs because of his inability to frame. Sanchez could be a primary DH for the Twins when not catching, and with his extreme power potential he could be a scary force, especially against lefties, against whom he posted a .835 OPS in 2021. The Twins added three players who all could make a very good impact on the team’s 2022 success if they live up to their potential. Which of these players are you most excited to watch? What move do you think the Twins make next? Leave a comment below and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  20. Although MLB is in the middle of a lockout, that doesn’t mean baseball as a whole is shut down. If you find yourself missing baseball, I would highly suggest getting into college baseball. There are nearly 300 Division I baseball programs in the country, so you surely should be able to find a team to root for, wherever you may live. On the Twins 40-man roster, there are five position players who played college baseball. All five of these players had great success in college, leading them to get drafted in the top ten rounds of the MLB draft. Josh Donaldson, C/IF, Auburn After hitting .515 as a senior in high school, the future Twins third baseman decided to take his talents to Auburn University. In Donaldson's freshman year, he immediately made an impact on the Tigers. After seeing limited playing time for the first month of the season, he became their everyday third baseman in their series against Arkansas and never looked back. Donaldson finished his freshman campaign hitting .294/.347/.477 (.824) with seven doubles, seven home runs, and 26 RBI. Donaldson came into his sophomore year with increased responsibilities, as he was asked to catch. He made 56 starts (every game), with 36 being behind the dish and 20 being at third base. He once again was a very solid bat for the Tigers, hitting .276/.331/.487 (.818) with 16 doubles, ten home runs, and 42 RBI. This season earned him Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American status heading into his junior year. In Donaldson's junior year, he was stellar in all facets of the game. He hit .349/.444/.591 (1.035) with 19 doubles, 11 home runs, and 54 RBI. He also walked 38 times compared to only 27 strikeouts. One aspect of Donaldson’s game that really came into fruition was his baserunning. Donaldson stole 17 bases after only stealing one base between his first two years. It was clear from this standout season that Donaldson was ready for the big leagues, so he got drafted with the 48th overall pick by the Chicago Cubs after his junior season. Donaldson finished his career hitting .307/.378/.522 (.900) with 42 doubles, 28 home runs, and 122 RBI in 158 career games with the Tigers. Mitch Garver, C, University of New Mexico In 2013, the Twins used their ninth-round pick on a bat-first catcher out of the University of New Mexico by the name of Mitch Garver. A hometown kid, Garver grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was lucky enough to be able to stay at his hometown university for college at UNM. As a freshman, Garver served as the backup catcher to former Brewers farmhand Rafael Neda. He made 11 starts and hit .277/.351/.385 (.736) with five doubles and 15 RBI. Neda got drafted after this year, and Garver took the reins his sophomore year in which he started all 61 games. He improved at the plate, hitting .300/.380/.400 (.780) with 13 doubles, two home runs, 28 walks (led team), and 27 RBI. Garver went from a solid hitter his first two years to an absolute powerhouse his junior year. In his junior year, Garver once again started all 61 games, hitting .377/.438/.612 (1.050) with 27 doubles (led team), ten home runs, and 57 RBI. He earned Co-Mountain West Player of the Year honors, was named a national finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, and was named a second-team All-American by Louisville Slugger. Defensively, he was great, throwing out 39.6 percent of base stealers In his senior year, Garver once again started every game. He set the record for most consecutive games started at UNM with 181. He also hit .390/.458/.589 with 21 doubles, five triples, and six home runs. He also drove in 68 runs and was once again named a Johnny Bench finalist, Co-MW Player of the Year, and an Academic All-American for the fourth straight year. He finished his Lobo career 5th all-time in doubles and had the most career hits as a catcher in Lobo history. Ryan Jeffers, C, UNC Wilmington When Ryan Jeffers decided to go to UNC Wilmington, he would only be heading about two hours south from his hometown of Raleigh, NC. The three-time all-conference player in high school would go on to have an unbelievable career at Wilmington where he was one of the best catchers in the country. His freshman year, he served as the backup catcher behind future Diamondback farmhand Gavin Stupienski. Jeffers appeared in 13 games as a freshman, going 8-for-23 (.348) at the plate with three doubles and a home run. Although he did not see a whole lot of action in his freshman year of 2016, Jeffers showed a lot of promise and it was clear that he would be one of their best guys going forward, with Stupienski getting drafted following the 2016 season. In Jeffers’ sophomore campaign, he started 52 games and proved his success in 2016 was no fluke. He hit .328/.422/.604 (1.026) with 19 doubles, ten home runs, and 32 RBI. He also received a variety of honors, including NCCSIA First-Team All-State, ABCA All-East First-Team, and First-Team All-CAA. His third and final year at UNC Wilmington, he started all 62 games, hitting .315/.460/.635 (1.095) with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 59 RBI, and 51 walks. He led the Colonial Athletic Association in doubles, home runs, OBP, and slugging percentage. He was once again named First-Team All-CAA and to the NCAA Greenville All-Regional team. Jeffers was rewarded for his great season by being drafted in the second round with the 59th pick by the Twins in the 2018 draft. Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State Despite being drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 40th round of the MLB Draft out of high school, Trevor Larnach opted not to sign and headed up to Corvallis, Oregon to start his college baseball career. Larnach’s freshman season at Oregon State was quite unremarkable. In 28 games (12 starts), Larnach hit a measly .157/.271/.176 (.447) with one double and three RBI. In increased playing time sophomore year (58 starts), Larnach hit .303/.421/.429 (.850) with 16 doubles, three home runs, 39 walks (led team), and 48 RBI (led team). He was named All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention and was also named to the Corvallis Regional All-Tournament Team. The Oregon State Beavers made it to the semifinals of the College World Series before falling to LSU. In 2018, Larnach’s junior year, he was one of the best players in the country. Larnach hit .344/.458/.648 (1.106) with 18 doubles, 19 home runs, and 76 RBI. He was named to the All-American team, PAC-12 All-Conference Team, and received many other prestigious awards. On top of all of that, Larnach’s Beavers won the College World Series, much to his help. In the College World Series, Larnach hit .417/.447/.694 (1.142) with five doubles, one home run, and nine RBI. He also had the biggest hit of the World Series, a tie-breaking two home run in Oregon State’s elimination game with two outs in the top of the ninth. Larnach was drafted by the Twins in the first round (20th overall) in 2018. Larnach is a legend in Corvallis, and hopefully he can bring some of that playoff magic to the Minnesota Twins in the near future. Brent Rooker, OF, Mississippi State Rooker, unlike Larnach, was relatively unknown going into his freshman year at Mississippi State. Rooker did not see any action in his first year as a Bulldog, taking a redshirt year. His sophomore year, he played in 34 of the team’s 54 games, making 20 starts. He hit .257/.325/.378 (.703) with three doubles, two home runs, and 12 RBI. He primarily served as the team’s designated hitter and played a couple of games in left field. In Rooker's junior year, he took a major step forward. He hit .324/.376/.578 (.954) and had a team-best 11 home runs and 54 RBI. For this effort, Rooker was named to the All-SEC second team and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round. However, Rooker opted not to sign and came back to Mississippi State for his senior season. Rooker just did that, having a historic 2017 for the Bulldogs. Rooker absolutely mashed, hitting .387/.495/.810 (1.305!!!). Rooker set the single-season Mississippi State record for doubles in a season with 30. He led the SEC in doubles, home runs (23), batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, and RBI (82). He even stole 18 bases. He was named All-SEC first team, All-American, SEC player of the year, and National Player of the Year. Rooker’s 2017 season is one of the best seasons by any college player in recent history, and he was drafted in the first round by the Twins with the 35th overall pick. Had Rooker signed in 2016, he would have received a $1,000 signing bonus. In 2017, he received a $1.935 million dollar signing bonus. Rooker bet on himself and it paid off. Who had the best college career out of these five? Which current Twins prospects that attended college are you most excited for? Leave a comment below and start a discussion Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email. View full article
  21. On the Twins 40-man roster, there are five position players who played college baseball. All five of these players had great success in college, leading them to get drafted in the top ten rounds of the MLB draft. Josh Donaldson, C/IF, Auburn After hitting .515 as a senior in high school, the future Twins third baseman decided to take his talents to Auburn University. In Donaldson's freshman year, he immediately made an impact on the Tigers. After seeing limited playing time for the first month of the season, he became their everyday third baseman in their series against Arkansas and never looked back. Donaldson finished his freshman campaign hitting .294/.347/.477 (.824) with seven doubles, seven home runs, and 26 RBI. Donaldson came into his sophomore year with increased responsibilities, as he was asked to catch. He made 56 starts (every game), with 36 being behind the dish and 20 being at third base. He once again was a very solid bat for the Tigers, hitting .276/.331/.487 (.818) with 16 doubles, ten home runs, and 42 RBI. This season earned him Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American status heading into his junior year. In Donaldson's junior year, he was stellar in all facets of the game. He hit .349/.444/.591 (1.035) with 19 doubles, 11 home runs, and 54 RBI. He also walked 38 times compared to only 27 strikeouts. One aspect of Donaldson’s game that really came into fruition was his baserunning. Donaldson stole 17 bases after only stealing one base between his first two years. It was clear from this standout season that Donaldson was ready for the big leagues, so he got drafted with the 48th overall pick by the Chicago Cubs after his junior season. Donaldson finished his career hitting .307/.378/.522 (.900) with 42 doubles, 28 home runs, and 122 RBI in 158 career games with the Tigers. Mitch Garver, C, University of New Mexico In 2013, the Twins used their ninth-round pick on a bat-first catcher out of the University of New Mexico by the name of Mitch Garver. A hometown kid, Garver grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was lucky enough to be able to stay at his hometown university for college at UNM. As a freshman, Garver served as the backup catcher to former Brewers farmhand Rafael Neda. He made 11 starts and hit .277/.351/.385 (.736) with five doubles and 15 RBI. Neda got drafted after this year, and Garver took the reins his sophomore year in which he started all 61 games. He improved at the plate, hitting .300/.380/.400 (.780) with 13 doubles, two home runs, 28 walks (led team), and 27 RBI. Garver went from a solid hitter his first two years to an absolute powerhouse his junior year. In his junior year, Garver once again started all 61 games, hitting .377/.438/.612 (1.050) with 27 doubles (led team), ten home runs, and 57 RBI. He earned Co-Mountain West Player of the Year honors, was named a national finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, and was named a second-team All-American by Louisville Slugger. Defensively, he was great, throwing out 39.6 percent of base stealers In his senior year, Garver once again started every game. He set the record for most consecutive games started at UNM with 181. He also hit .390/.458/.589 with 21 doubles, five triples, and six home runs. He also drove in 68 runs and was once again named a Johnny Bench finalist, Co-MW Player of the Year, and an Academic All-American for the fourth straight year. He finished his Lobo career 5th all-time in doubles and had the most career hits as a catcher in Lobo history. Ryan Jeffers, C, UNC Wilmington When Ryan Jeffers decided to go to UNC Wilmington, he would only be heading about two hours south from his hometown of Raleigh, NC. The three-time all-conference player in high school would go on to have an unbelievable career at Wilmington where he was one of the best catchers in the country. His freshman year, he served as the backup catcher behind future Diamondback farmhand Gavin Stupienski. Jeffers appeared in 13 games as a freshman, going 8-for-23 (.348) at the plate with three doubles and a home run. Although he did not see a whole lot of action in his freshman year of 2016, Jeffers showed a lot of promise and it was clear that he would be one of their best guys going forward, with Stupienski getting drafted following the 2016 season. In Jeffers’ sophomore campaign, he started 52 games and proved his success in 2016 was no fluke. He hit .328/.422/.604 (1.026) with 19 doubles, ten home runs, and 32 RBI. He also received a variety of honors, including NCCSIA First-Team All-State, ABCA All-East First-Team, and First-Team All-CAA. His third and final year at UNC Wilmington, he started all 62 games, hitting .315/.460/.635 (1.095) with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 59 RBI, and 51 walks. He led the Colonial Athletic Association in doubles, home runs, OBP, and slugging percentage. He was once again named First-Team All-CAA and to the NCAA Greenville All-Regional team. Jeffers was rewarded for his great season by being drafted in the second round with the 59th pick by the Twins in the 2018 draft. Trevor Larnach, OF, Oregon State Despite being drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 40th round of the MLB Draft out of high school, Trevor Larnach opted not to sign and headed up to Corvallis, Oregon to start his college baseball career. Larnach’s freshman season at Oregon State was quite unremarkable. In 28 games (12 starts), Larnach hit a measly .157/.271/.176 (.447) with one double and three RBI. In increased playing time sophomore year (58 starts), Larnach hit .303/.421/.429 (.850) with 16 doubles, three home runs, 39 walks (led team), and 48 RBI (led team). He was named All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention and was also named to the Corvallis Regional All-Tournament Team. The Oregon State Beavers made it to the semifinals of the College World Series before falling to LSU. In 2018, Larnach’s junior year, he was one of the best players in the country. Larnach hit .344/.458/.648 (1.106) with 18 doubles, 19 home runs, and 76 RBI. He was named to the All-American team, PAC-12 All-Conference Team, and received many other prestigious awards. On top of all of that, Larnach’s Beavers won the College World Series, much to his help. In the College World Series, Larnach hit .417/.447/.694 (1.142) with five doubles, one home run, and nine RBI. He also had the biggest hit of the World Series, a tie-breaking two home run in Oregon State’s elimination game with two outs in the top of the ninth. Larnach was drafted by the Twins in the first round (20th overall) in 2018. Larnach is a legend in Corvallis, and hopefully he can bring some of that playoff magic to the Minnesota Twins in the near future. Brent Rooker, OF, Mississippi State Rooker, unlike Larnach, was relatively unknown going into his freshman year at Mississippi State. Rooker did not see any action in his first year as a Bulldog, taking a redshirt year. His sophomore year, he played in 34 of the team’s 54 games, making 20 starts. He hit .257/.325/.378 (.703) with three doubles, two home runs, and 12 RBI. He primarily served as the team’s designated hitter and played a couple of games in left field. In Rooker's junior year, he took a major step forward. He hit .324/.376/.578 (.954) and had a team-best 11 home runs and 54 RBI. For this effort, Rooker was named to the All-SEC second team and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round. However, Rooker opted not to sign and came back to Mississippi State for his senior season. Rooker just did that, having a historic 2017 for the Bulldogs. Rooker absolutely mashed, hitting .387/.495/.810 (1.305!!!). Rooker set the single-season Mississippi State record for doubles in a season with 30. He led the SEC in doubles, home runs (23), batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, and RBI (82). He even stole 18 bases. He was named All-SEC first team, All-American, SEC player of the year, and National Player of the Year. Rooker’s 2017 season is one of the best seasons by any college player in recent history, and he was drafted in the first round by the Twins with the 35th overall pick. Had Rooker signed in 2016, he would have received a $1,000 signing bonus. In 2017, he received a $1.935 million dollar signing bonus. Rooker bet on himself and it paid off. Who had the best college career out of these five? Which current Twins prospects that attended college are you most excited for? Leave a comment below and start a discussion Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email.
  22. So many good ones. Some of my favorites: Shane Robinson, Alex Presley, Dennys Reyes, Josmil Pinto, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Chris Colabello
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