Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Theo Tollefson

Twins Daily Contributor
  • Posts

    194
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Social

  • Twitter
    TheodoreTollef1

Recent Profile Visitors

6,587 profile views

Theo Tollefson's Achievements

  1. A.J. Pierzynski has not been a Minnesota Twins player in 20 years, but the team he was drafted by is still reaping the rewards of his return thanks to a favorable trade lineage the Twins have had in that time frame. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn, USA Today Sports A.J. Pierzynski is a complicated player in Twins' history. He played a big part in keeping the Twins here and was an all-star catcher on the 2002 team that won the division and beat the Moneyball Oakland A’s. Over the course of his six seasons as a Twin, he spent half that time as the starting catcher, hitting .301 with 26 home runs and 193 runs batted in. Pierzynski’s promise to continue as an all-star catcher was there going into the 2003-2004 offseason, but the Twins had a local kid named Joe Mauer, that had much more to offer for the team’s future. On November 14, 2003, the Twins took into favor the promise of Mauer and shipped Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser. Pierzynski had a one-and-done year with the Giants and signed with the White Sox the next off-season. The Twins, however, are still reaping the benefits of acquiring these three pitchers as their acquisition of Liriano brought forth the opportunity to bring Jhoan Duran into the Twins organization. Nathan needs no reminder of his impact on the Twins. Not only did he become the best closer in franchise history but also one of baseball's best relievers of the 2000s. Bonser was a cult hero with the Twins as a rookie in 2006 making 18 starts and finding success at home in the Metrodome. The success of his rookie year was short-lived as it never carried over into the next two seasons. Bonser spent 2007 as the Twins fifth starter and split time between the rotation and bullpen in 2008. Following an injury that kept him out all of the 2009 season. The Twins flipped Bonser to the Red Sox for minor-leaguer Chris Province who was out of baseball after one year between Double-A and Triple-A. Then there is Liriano, the key figure of this trade and the leg of the trade that lives on today. Liriano was a staple to the Twins' rotation until the 2012 trade deadline. While he was struggling to be consistent at that time after his 2006 Tommy John surgery, the White Sox still called the Twins, seeing value in the lefty. In return for Liriano, the Twins received LHP Pedro Hernandez and infielder Eduardo Escobar. Hernandez was around for the 2013 season with the Twins making 14 forgettable starts and accounting for a 6.83 ERA on the season. He went 8-3 over 16 starts for the Saints in 2015. Escobar didn’t immediately become the player that most Twins fans remember him. Once he became an everyday player for the Twins in 2014, that’s when fans began to notice him as a utility infielder that could certainly help this team flourish. Escobar’s time as a Twin was most memorable in the 2017 Wild Card season when he hit 21 home runs, drove in 73 runs, and posted a career-high (at the time) with a .758 OPS. As Escobar built off his success in 2017 the next year, the Twins were not able to do so as a team seeing themselves as sellers during the 2018 trade deadline. On July 27, 2018, the Twins traded Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks and in return received a couple of outfield prospects and a pitcher named Duran. Jhoan. Duran. While Jhoan Duran worked his way through the minors as a starting pitcher. In 2022, Twins fans came to know Duran as their best rookie and best reliever. His time with the Twins looks to be certain until he is eligible for free agency in 2028. A lot can still happen between now and then though. There is a possibility the Twins continue growing branches of this trade history lineage tree, in hopes a player of Duran, Escobar, Liriano, or Nathan’s caliber is received in return. View full article
  2. A.J. Pierzynski is a complicated player in Twins' history. He played a big part in keeping the Twins here and was an all-star catcher on the 2002 team that won the division and beat the Moneyball Oakland A’s. Over the course of his six seasons as a Twin, he spent half that time as the starting catcher, hitting .301 with 26 home runs and 193 runs batted in. Pierzynski’s promise to continue as an all-star catcher was there going into the 2003-2004 offseason, but the Twins had a local kid named Joe Mauer, that had much more to offer for the team’s future. On November 14, 2003, the Twins took into favor the promise of Mauer and shipped Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser. Pierzynski had a one-and-done year with the Giants and signed with the White Sox the next off-season. The Twins, however, are still reaping the benefits of acquiring these three pitchers as their acquisition of Liriano brought forth the opportunity to bring Jhoan Duran into the Twins organization. Nathan needs no reminder of his impact on the Twins. Not only did he become the best closer in franchise history but also one of baseball's best relievers of the 2000s. Bonser was a cult hero with the Twins as a rookie in 2006 making 18 starts and finding success at home in the Metrodome. The success of his rookie year was short-lived as it never carried over into the next two seasons. Bonser spent 2007 as the Twins fifth starter and split time between the rotation and bullpen in 2008. Following an injury that kept him out all of the 2009 season. The Twins flipped Bonser to the Red Sox for minor-leaguer Chris Province who was out of baseball after one year between Double-A and Triple-A. Then there is Liriano, the key figure of this trade and the leg of the trade that lives on today. Liriano was a staple to the Twins' rotation until the 2012 trade deadline. While he was struggling to be consistent at that time after his 2006 Tommy John surgery, the White Sox still called the Twins, seeing value in the lefty. In return for Liriano, the Twins received LHP Pedro Hernandez and infielder Eduardo Escobar. Hernandez was around for the 2013 season with the Twins making 14 forgettable starts and accounting for a 6.83 ERA on the season. He went 8-3 over 16 starts for the Saints in 2015. Escobar didn’t immediately become the player that most Twins fans remember him. Once he became an everyday player for the Twins in 2014, that’s when fans began to notice him as a utility infielder that could certainly help this team flourish. Escobar’s time as a Twin was most memorable in the 2017 Wild Card season when he hit 21 home runs, drove in 73 runs, and posted a career-high (at the time) with a .758 OPS. As Escobar built off his success in 2017 the next year, the Twins were not able to do so as a team seeing themselves as sellers during the 2018 trade deadline. On July 27, 2018, the Twins traded Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks and in return received a couple of outfield prospects and a pitcher named Duran. Jhoan. Duran. While Jhoan Duran worked his way through the minors as a starting pitcher. In 2022, Twins fans came to know Duran as their best rookie and best reliever. His time with the Twins looks to be certain until he is eligible for free agency in 2028. A lot can still happen between now and then though. There is a possibility the Twins continue growing branches of this trade history lineage tree, in hopes a player of Duran, Escobar, Liriano, or Nathan’s caliber is received in return.
  3. BLOOMINGTON – The Minnesota Twins have a new look for the 2023 season, and fans, front office members, and players gathered at the Mall of America on Friday to see the new design of the Twins jerseys. Revealing the first new jersey design on the baseball diamond catwalk was Jose Miranda in the new home, white jerseys. Miranda is coming off an impressive rookie season with the Twins leading the team in RBI. He is most excited about accessorizing his cleats and glove with the new look. “I haven't really customized cleats yet but for sure next year. I want to do something with them and there are some people that want to meet on some designs during the winter with custom cleats. I'm gonna do something but I got to see what we're going to wear on Opening Day,” said Miranda. Matthew Wolff, a longtime Twins fan and designer for the new Twins look, spoke on keeping the history of the old with the new uniforms. “It was really important to respect the history of the team. Twins fans have a strong emotional attachment to the team's marks and uniforms and it was really important from the start of the project to respect them.” The message that the Twins organization wanted to incorporate with the new uniform designs was to include the state of Minnesota as a whole, and not just the Twin Cities. The new M hats now include the North Star above them to add that state-wide incorporation. While not directly an homage to the old North Stars hockey team, Wolff hopes fans could recognize it as one and appreciate the tie-in to an old franchise. The player consensus for which of the new uniforms is their favorite goes toward the new road grey jerseys. These jerseys call back to the Twins road uniforms from 1987-2009, while still incorporating the new M design for the road. Luis Arraez had the honor of sporting the new road uni and believes they will be a good luck charm. “I think we can score like 10 runs with these uniforms every game. I can't wait to wear this next year,” said Arraez. His teammate Jorge Polanco did wear the same pants but had on the new navy blue road, alternative jersey. Polanco, slightly jealous he didn’t wear the greys, still complemented Arraez appearance in them. “He’s [Arraez] wearing it, he looks good. I wish I would have worn it.” The material that goes into making these jerseys is also new, which Polanco already feels will be better for each game. “It’s a lot lighter and that makes us feel easier to move around the infield,” said Polanco. The only Twins pitcher in attendance was Joe Ryan, rocking the new home, navy blue alternative jerseys. Ryan (top picture) had the most exciting catwalk on the diamond stage, running out as if he had just finished throwing a no-hitter. The only thing missing to add a grand crescendo to Ryan's stage walk/run was his famous turtle neck under the jersey. "They said be quicker, so I was like, 'Alright, take a zip around the bases," said Ryan. The man dawning the newest alternative home jerseys for the team was star centerfielder Byron Buxton. Buxton spoke on how the new uniforms keep the Twins' tradition intact while also evolving it. “When I got drafted in 2012 it was pinstripes. To come out of that was a little bit different, knowing the Minnesota tradition was pinstripes. But over the years we've tried to change tradition quite a bit so this is just a new look for us. We got a new team, a new outlook, new meaning for us and this is just the start of something new,” said Buxton. While the decision for which of the Twins' uniforms will be worn on Opening Day is still months away. Fans can narrow it down to either the new pinstripe grey, road uniforms, or alternate navy blues as the Twins start the season in Kansas City on March 30. Fans can now buy the new uniforms at the Twins team store at Target Field, Mall of America or order them online at Twinsbaseball.com/shop.
  4. After weeks of build-up, the Twins' new uniform and logo design were unveiled at Mall of America on Friday, featuring models like Byron Buxton, Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Jose Miranda and Joe Ryan. Image courtesy of Theo Tollefson BLOOMINGTON – The Minnesota Twins have a new look for the 2023 season, and fans, front office members, and players gathered at the Mall of America on Friday to see the new design of the Twins jerseys. Revealing the first new jersey design on the baseball diamond catwalk was Jose Miranda in the new home, white jerseys. Miranda is coming off an impressive rookie season with the Twins leading the team in RBI. He is most excited about accessorizing his cleats and glove with the new look. “I haven't really customized cleats yet but for sure next year. I want to do something with them and there are some people that want to meet on some designs during the winter with custom cleats. I'm gonna do something but I got to see what we're going to wear on Opening Day,” said Miranda. Matthew Wolff, a longtime Twins fan and designer for the new Twins look, spoke on keeping the history of the old with the new uniforms. “It was really important to respect the history of the team. Twins fans have a strong emotional attachment to the team's marks and uniforms and it was really important from the start of the project to respect them.” The message that the Twins organization wanted to incorporate with the new uniform designs was to include the state of Minnesota as a whole, and not just the Twin Cities. The new M hats now include the North Star above them to add that state-wide incorporation. While not directly an homage to the old North Stars hockey team, Wolff hopes fans could recognize it as one and appreciate the tie-in to an old franchise. The player consensus for which of the new uniforms is their favorite goes toward the new road grey jerseys. These jerseys call back to the Twins road uniforms from 1987-2009, while still incorporating the new M design for the road. Luis Arraez had the honor of sporting the new road uni and believes they will be a good luck charm. “I think we can score like 10 runs with these uniforms every game. I can't wait to wear this next year,” said Arraez. His teammate Jorge Polanco did wear the same pants but had on the new navy blue road, alternative jersey. Polanco, slightly jealous he didn’t wear the greys, still complemented Arraez appearance in them. “He’s [Arraez] wearing it, he looks good. I wish I would have worn it.” The material that goes into making these jerseys is also new, which Polanco already feels will be better for each game. “It’s a lot lighter and that makes us feel easier to move around the infield,” said Polanco. The only Twins pitcher in attendance was Joe Ryan, rocking the new home, navy blue alternative jerseys. Ryan (top picture) had the most exciting catwalk on the diamond stage, running out as if he had just finished throwing a no-hitter. The only thing missing to add a grand crescendo to Ryan's stage walk/run was his famous turtle neck under the jersey. "They said be quicker, so I was like, 'Alright, take a zip around the bases," said Ryan. The man dawning the newest alternative home jerseys for the team was star centerfielder Byron Buxton. Buxton spoke on how the new uniforms keep the Twins' tradition intact while also evolving it. “When I got drafted in 2012 it was pinstripes. To come out of that was a little bit different, knowing the Minnesota tradition was pinstripes. But over the years we've tried to change tradition quite a bit so this is just a new look for us. We got a new team, a new outlook, new meaning for us and this is just the start of something new,” said Buxton. While the decision for which of the Twins' uniforms will be worn on Opening Day is still months away. Fans can narrow it down to either the new pinstripe grey, road uniforms, or alternate navy blues as the Twins start the season in Kansas City on March 30. Fans can now buy the new uniforms at the Twins team store at Target Field, Mall of America or order them online at Twinsbaseball.com/shop. View full article
  5. The deadline for MLB team’s to tender contracts to players is coming up this Friday, November 18. The Twins have as many as two players who could be non-tendered on Friday; Emilio Pagan, and Gio Urshela. With a lot of focus in Twins Territory with the non-tender deadline on Gio Urshela and if the Twins will keep him or non-tender him, there are still many other names from other teams that could be good or better fits for the team’s needs than those currently on the free agent market. The only notable name likely to be non-tendered for the Twins' biggest need at shortstop is the man they traded alongside Josh Donaldson to have money available for Carlos Correa. There are still some names to help bolster the Twins' outfield and pitching rotation depth to avoid the troubles seen in 2022. Here are five players who are likely to be non-tendered on Friday that the Twins Front Office should consider pursuing. 5. Jeff Hoffman A former top prospect that was a part of the deal that brought Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays, Jeff Hoffman had a decent season in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen posting a 3.83 ERA in 34 relief appearances. Hoffman has seen time in and out of the starting rotation throughout his career but had his first full season as a reliever this year. Hoffman does not pop out as a top-quality, high-leverage reliever. He is still someone who fits the model of the current front office’s methods of relievers to pick up off the market. There is potential there for Hoffman to be a strong reliever as he has two breaking balls with a splitter and a slider. The average velocity for his fastball hits 94.5 mph. If the Twins front office takes their time, as usual, this offseason to sign free agents, Hoffman may be one of those late off-season patches to help the bullpen. 4. Lou Trivino Trivino had a very bad season in 2022, at least until he was traded from the Oakland A’s to the Yankees. Just how bad was his time in Oakland this year? Trivino had a 6.47 ERA and 1.87 WHIP in 39 games. While the trade to the Yankees didn’t help his teammate Frankie Montas, the trade was certainly worthwhile for Trivino. In 25 games he posted a 1.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 238 ERA+. Trivino’s season rebound after leaving Oakland could make him a highly-sought reliever if he is non-tendered. The only thing that could keep Trivino from leaving the Yankees is their own belief in him being a boost to their bullpen with the departure of Aroldis Chapman. And given Chapman’s problems with the organization at seasons end, the Yankees will be trying all the relievers they can for the closer role. 3. Brian Anderson Originally drafted by the Twins out of high school in 2011, Anderson opted to go to college at the University of Arkansas instead. Brian Anderson could be a good right-handed bat to add to the Twins' depth chart in 2023. Anderson has often split time between third base and right field throughout his career. If the Twins do non-tender Urshela, he would be a valuable backup at that position to Jose Miranda and fill in well as a much-needed right-handed hitter in the outfield. The biggest concern when it comes to Brian Anderson is his health. Anderson has not played over 100 games since 2019 and in the last two seasons has had significant setbacks with shoulder injuries. The shoulder injuries have also set back Anderson’s offensive production. He has failed to hit more than 10 home runs in the last two years and averaged a .687 OPS in 647 plate appearances in that course of time. Maybe a change of scenery could help Anderson on the field as his health improves over that time. The Twins may consider Anderson as a platoon option between third and right field pending the decision on Urshela this Friday. 2. Elieser Hernandez Elieser Hernandez is an interesting case for the Twins and any team interested in him. The Miami Marlins have touted him on the mound both as a starter and reliever over his five-year career. This season, Hernandez split his time evenly as a starter and reliever this season. He actually saw more success in the rotation versus the bullpen, but his season ERA came to 6.35 with a 1.42 WHIP and ERA+ of 64. Hernandez’s time in Miami is likely coming to a close as he has a 5.04 ERA across the five seasons there. He is a reclamation project for any team that picks him up, and when it comes to the Twins, he levels himself in a similar position to Ronny Henriquez or Cole Sands. These two prospects still have starter potential but are likely shifting into bullpen roles. Hernandez's velocity on his fastball isn’t the highest as it averages out to 91.6 MPH. Many still see the potential of Hernandez to turn his career around as he turns 28 next May. There is a case to be made for the Twins to go out and sign him to a one-year deal and see what comes out of it. 1. Hunter Renfroe This right fielder is the complete opposite of Max Kepler over the last two seasons. Renfroe is known for being a power hitter with little defensive value while Kepler is a top defender at his position but has struggled mightily with the bat. With David Stearns stepping down from the role as the Brewers' President of Baseball Operations, there is heavy speculation the Brewers may tear down their roster. Renfroe hits this list as his salary is estimated at $11.2 million, according to John Bitzer of Baseball Trade Values, and not to mention, the top five Brewers prospects on MLB.com are outfielders. As the Twins limped their way to the end of the 2022 season with their outfielder, right-handed hitting outfielders were missing altogether with Buxton out and Kyle Garlick struggling mightily. Given a good track record of health and posting a .257/.315/.497 (.812) line in the last two seasons. Renfroe would be a good one-year pick-up for the Twins outfield while Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, and Matt Wallner find their footing with good health in the Majors. All five of these non-tender candidates have something to offer the Twins. Whether they enter the free agent market or not is still up in the air until Friday, but there is a good chance one of them could be in a Twins uniform for 2023.
  6. The free agent market is set to grow this Friday as the MLB non-tender deadline is upcoming and there are a few players likely to be let go by their teams that could fit the Twins' needs for 2023. Image courtesy of Jasen Vinlove, USA Today Sports The deadline for MLB team’s to tender contracts to players is coming up this Friday, November 18. The Twins have as many as two players who could be non-tendered on Friday; Emilio Pagan, and Gio Urshela. With a lot of focus in Twins Territory with the non-tender deadline on Gio Urshela and if the Twins will keep him or non-tender him, there are still many other names from other teams that could be good or better fits for the team’s needs than those currently on the free agent market. The only notable name likely to be non-tendered for the Twins' biggest need at shortstop is the man they traded alongside Josh Donaldson to have money available for Carlos Correa. There are still some names to help bolster the Twins' outfield and pitching rotation depth to avoid the troubles seen in 2022. Here are five players who are likely to be non-tendered on Friday that the Twins Front Office should consider pursuing. 5. Jeff Hoffman A former top prospect that was a part of the deal that brought Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays, Jeff Hoffman had a decent season in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen posting a 3.83 ERA in 34 relief appearances. Hoffman has seen time in and out of the starting rotation throughout his career but had his first full season as a reliever this year. Hoffman does not pop out as a top-quality, high-leverage reliever. He is still someone who fits the model of the current front office’s methods of relievers to pick up off the market. There is potential there for Hoffman to be a strong reliever as he has two breaking balls with a splitter and a slider. The average velocity for his fastball hits 94.5 mph. If the Twins front office takes their time, as usual, this offseason to sign free agents, Hoffman may be one of those late off-season patches to help the bullpen. 4. Lou Trivino Trivino had a very bad season in 2022, at least until he was traded from the Oakland A’s to the Yankees. Just how bad was his time in Oakland this year? Trivino had a 6.47 ERA and 1.87 WHIP in 39 games. While the trade to the Yankees didn’t help his teammate Frankie Montas, the trade was certainly worthwhile for Trivino. In 25 games he posted a 1.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 238 ERA+. Trivino’s season rebound after leaving Oakland could make him a highly-sought reliever if he is non-tendered. The only thing that could keep Trivino from leaving the Yankees is their own belief in him being a boost to their bullpen with the departure of Aroldis Chapman. And given Chapman’s problems with the organization at seasons end, the Yankees will be trying all the relievers they can for the closer role. 3. Brian Anderson Originally drafted by the Twins out of high school in 2011, Anderson opted to go to college at the University of Arkansas instead. Brian Anderson could be a good right-handed bat to add to the Twins' depth chart in 2023. Anderson has often split time between third base and right field throughout his career. If the Twins do non-tender Urshela, he would be a valuable backup at that position to Jose Miranda and fill in well as a much-needed right-handed hitter in the outfield. The biggest concern when it comes to Brian Anderson is his health. Anderson has not played over 100 games since 2019 and in the last two seasons has had significant setbacks with shoulder injuries. The shoulder injuries have also set back Anderson’s offensive production. He has failed to hit more than 10 home runs in the last two years and averaged a .687 OPS in 647 plate appearances in that course of time. Maybe a change of scenery could help Anderson on the field as his health improves over that time. The Twins may consider Anderson as a platoon option between third and right field pending the decision on Urshela this Friday. 2. Elieser Hernandez Elieser Hernandez is an interesting case for the Twins and any team interested in him. The Miami Marlins have touted him on the mound both as a starter and reliever over his five-year career. This season, Hernandez split his time evenly as a starter and reliever this season. He actually saw more success in the rotation versus the bullpen, but his season ERA came to 6.35 with a 1.42 WHIP and ERA+ of 64. Hernandez’s time in Miami is likely coming to a close as he has a 5.04 ERA across the five seasons there. He is a reclamation project for any team that picks him up, and when it comes to the Twins, he levels himself in a similar position to Ronny Henriquez or Cole Sands. These two prospects still have starter potential but are likely shifting into bullpen roles. Hernandez's velocity on his fastball isn’t the highest as it averages out to 91.6 MPH. Many still see the potential of Hernandez to turn his career around as he turns 28 next May. There is a case to be made for the Twins to go out and sign him to a one-year deal and see what comes out of it. 1. Hunter Renfroe This right fielder is the complete opposite of Max Kepler over the last two seasons. Renfroe is known for being a power hitter with little defensive value while Kepler is a top defender at his position but has struggled mightily with the bat. With David Stearns stepping down from the role as the Brewers' President of Baseball Operations, there is heavy speculation the Brewers may tear down their roster. Renfroe hits this list as his salary is estimated at $11.2 million, according to John Bitzer of Baseball Trade Values, and not to mention, the top five Brewers prospects on MLB.com are outfielders. As the Twins limped their way to the end of the 2022 season with their outfielder, right-handed hitting outfielders were missing altogether with Buxton out and Kyle Garlick struggling mightily. Given a good track record of health and posting a .257/.315/.497 (.812) line in the last two seasons. Renfroe would be a good one-year pick-up for the Twins outfield while Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, and Matt Wallner find their footing with good health in the Majors. All five of these non-tender candidates have something to offer the Twins. Whether they enter the free agent market or not is still up in the air until Friday, but there is a good chance one of them could be in a Twins uniform for 2023. View full article
  7. Welp. Astros resigned Montero to a 3-year, $34.5 Million deal this morning so he's off the list.
  8. Molitor was still managing in 2018. Yes, Rogers had 30 saves in 2019 but he was never officially announced as a closer on the record, same with Colome.
  9. The Twins have not had a default closer in their bullpen since 2018 with the famous journey-man reliever Fernando Rodney. If the Twins continue without a default closer next year, which relievers would be best to go after? Image courtesy of Eric Hartline, USA Today Sports Since becoming manager of the Twins, Rocco Baldelli has avoided designating any of his relievers as the team’s go-to closer. While one reliever has recorded over 20 saves in the Baldelli era (Taylor Rogers with 30 in 2019), no player has come close to 20 since. This is a change from the previous front office regime of Terry Ryan and managers Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor’s days of operating a bullpen. From the time of Gardy’s first season to Molitor’s final, the Twins had a go-to closer for the majority of seasons developing all-star closers such as Eddie Guardado, Joe Nathan, and Glen Perkins leading this front. This method of bullpen management reached a new peak for the Twins' 2022 season as no reliever recorded more than nine saves, Emilio Pagan leading the team with nine. While 14 of the 23 relievers in the bullpen were brought in for save opportunities, almost double the number of relievers that came in for save opportunities in 2021 with eight. This season the Twins were also dead last in the American with total saves at 28 and tied for last in all of Major League Baseball alongside the Washington Nationals. As of now the guy currently in the Twins bullpen that looks to have a “primary closer” role for 2023 is Jhoan Duran. The top rookie of 2022 may eventually see more save opportunities as the season goes on, but it is uncertain if that role will be thrust upon him immediately come Opening Day. Jorge Lopez was brought in to be the Twins' closer at the trade deadline but struggled in his short time with the Twins as the season waned, making it less likely for Lopez to be used as a closer for the start of the 2023 season. The stat to quantify who may be best to trade off with Duran for save opportunities is the relievers version of a quality start: shutdowns. FanGraphs has quantified this stat for years and has offered a countermark to that stat with meltdowns. Duran was eighth in all of MLB with 34 shutdowns and had the fifth-lowest amount of meltdowns with four. 25 relievers reached the threshold of 30 or more shutdowns this season but only three of these relievers are free agents. All three of these relievers are players the Twins should consider for their bullpen. Rafael Montero Rafael Montero made himself one of baseball’s best-known relievers this postseason with the Houston Astros. Even before raising his value en route to his first World Series ring, Montero pitched his best season in the majors this regular season. Montero recorded 37 shutdowns, tied for second in MLB with Toronto's Jordan Romero. He also had very few meltdowns with five, only one more than Duran. Montero had 14 saves on the season which helped to balance former Twin Ryan Pressly’s workload as a closer. If the Twins were to pursue Montero this offseason, he could be the biggest reliever acquired from free agency in the history of the Derek Falvey/Thad Levine era. Any contract that would be offered to Montero longer than a year also has a chance of eclipsing Addison Reed’s 2-year, $16.75 million deal from the 2017-18 offseason. Brad Boxberger After a few rough seasons in Arizona and Kansas City, Brad Boxberger has revitalized himself as a high-leverage reliever with the Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers. Boxberger is not the reliever he used to be nor is he seeing much of any save opportunities, appearing in only 13 over the last three seasons. Boxberger still has been used in many high-leverage opportunities this season, recording 35 shutdowns in 70 reliever appearances. There is one downside to offering Boxberger a contract, he was tied alongside Griffin Jax, Jake Diekman, and Tanner Scott to lead MLB with 17 meltdowns out of the bullpen. This tallies to nearly a quarter of Boxberger’s relief appearances turning bad for him and the Brewers in 2022. Boxberger suits the Twins better on a one-year deal given his hit-or-miss success in high-leverage situations as well as turning 35 during the 2023 season. Matt Moore Once the highest-ranked prospect in all of baseball (MLB.com, 2012), Matt Moore revitalized his career this season in the Texas Rangers bullpen. Moore’s transition into a full-time reliever worked to his benefit as he posted a 1.95 ERA in 63 relief appearances with the Rangers this season. The Rangers also trotted Moore out for six save opportunities, five of which he converted. The major success of Moore’s numbers in the 2022 season makes him of the more sought-after high-leverage lefty relievers this offseason. This also shows with his shutdown-to-meltdown numbers as he recorded 31 shutdowns out of the bullpen while only having nine meltdowns. With Caleb Thielbar guaranteed a spot in the Twins' 2023 bullpen and Jovani Moran more than likely to join him, signing Moore as a third lefty for the Twins bullpen could crowd the space up. But he is a worthwhile option for the Twins to consider partnering with Duran to close out games. Any one of these three relievers would be a good fit for the Twins for the 2023 season. If a designated closer is still something Baldelli and the front office want to start the season without, either Montero, Boxberger, or Moore may suit a role to ensure the Twins are not just punting for bullpen help this offseason. View full article
  10. Since becoming manager of the Twins, Rocco Baldelli has avoided designating any of his relievers as the team’s go-to closer. While one reliever has recorded over 20 saves in the Baldelli era (Taylor Rogers with 30 in 2019), no player has come close to 20 since. This is a change from the previous front office regime of Terry Ryan and managers Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor’s days of operating a bullpen. From the time of Gardy’s first season to Molitor’s final, the Twins had a go-to closer for the majority of seasons developing all-star closers such as Eddie Guardado, Joe Nathan, and Glen Perkins leading this front. This method of bullpen management reached a new peak for the Twins' 2022 season as no reliever recorded more than nine saves, Emilio Pagan leading the team with nine. While 14 of the 23 relievers in the bullpen were brought in for save opportunities, almost double the number of relievers that came in for save opportunities in 2021 with eight. This season the Twins were also dead last in the American with total saves at 28 and tied for last in all of Major League Baseball alongside the Washington Nationals. As of now the guy currently in the Twins bullpen that looks to have a “primary closer” role for 2023 is Jhoan Duran. The top rookie of 2022 may eventually see more save opportunities as the season goes on, but it is uncertain if that role will be thrust upon him immediately come Opening Day. Jorge Lopez was brought in to be the Twins' closer at the trade deadline but struggled in his short time with the Twins as the season waned, making it less likely for Lopez to be used as a closer for the start of the 2023 season. The stat to quantify who may be best to trade off with Duran for save opportunities is the relievers version of a quality start: shutdowns. FanGraphs has quantified this stat for years and has offered a countermark to that stat with meltdowns. Duran was eighth in all of MLB with 34 shutdowns and had the fifth-lowest amount of meltdowns with four. 25 relievers reached the threshold of 30 or more shutdowns this season but only three of these relievers are free agents. All three of these relievers are players the Twins should consider for their bullpen. Rafael Montero Rafael Montero made himself one of baseball’s best-known relievers this postseason with the Houston Astros. Even before raising his value en route to his first World Series ring, Montero pitched his best season in the majors this regular season. Montero recorded 37 shutdowns, tied for second in MLB with Toronto's Jordan Romero. He also had very few meltdowns with five, only one more than Duran. Montero had 14 saves on the season which helped to balance former Twin Ryan Pressly’s workload as a closer. If the Twins were to pursue Montero this offseason, he could be the biggest reliever acquired from free agency in the history of the Derek Falvey/Thad Levine era. Any contract that would be offered to Montero longer than a year also has a chance of eclipsing Addison Reed’s 2-year, $16.75 million deal from the 2017-18 offseason. Brad Boxberger After a few rough seasons in Arizona and Kansas City, Brad Boxberger has revitalized himself as a high-leverage reliever with the Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers. Boxberger is not the reliever he used to be nor is he seeing much of any save opportunities, appearing in only 13 over the last three seasons. Boxberger still has been used in many high-leverage opportunities this season, recording 35 shutdowns in 70 reliever appearances. There is one downside to offering Boxberger a contract, he was tied alongside Griffin Jax, Jake Diekman, and Tanner Scott to lead MLB with 17 meltdowns out of the bullpen. This tallies to nearly a quarter of Boxberger’s relief appearances turning bad for him and the Brewers in 2022. Boxberger suits the Twins better on a one-year deal given his hit-or-miss success in high-leverage situations as well as turning 35 during the 2023 season. Matt Moore Once the highest-ranked prospect in all of baseball (MLB.com, 2012), Matt Moore revitalized his career this season in the Texas Rangers bullpen. Moore’s transition into a full-time reliever worked to his benefit as he posted a 1.95 ERA in 63 relief appearances with the Rangers this season. The Rangers also trotted Moore out for six save opportunities, five of which he converted. The major success of Moore’s numbers in the 2022 season makes him of the more sought-after high-leverage lefty relievers this offseason. This also shows with his shutdown-to-meltdown numbers as he recorded 31 shutdowns out of the bullpen while only having nine meltdowns. With Caleb Thielbar guaranteed a spot in the Twins' 2023 bullpen and Jovani Moran more than likely to join him, signing Moore as a third lefty for the Twins bullpen could crowd the space up. But he is a worthwhile option for the Twins to consider partnering with Duran to close out games. Any one of these three relievers would be a good fit for the Twins for the 2023 season. If a designated closer is still something Baldelli and the front office want to start the season without, either Montero, Boxberger, or Moore may suit a role to ensure the Twins are not just punting for bullpen help this offseason.
  11. One year ago, the Minnesota Twins launched a new entrepreneur accelerator program in partnership with TechStars, an entrepreneur-launching company that focuses on people wanting to add to technology, sports, and entertainment. Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports MINNEAPOLIS – During the early days of COVID-19 lockdowns, the Minnesota Twins Business Development Office looked for ways to grow the Twins brand beyond baseball. Last year, they launched the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by TechStars program to not only grow their brand but find new revenue streams from outside the game itself. Chris Iles, Senior Director of Brand Experience and Innovation for the Twins, spoke about the program and what it offers for participants. “We're looking to push the Minnesota Twins brand beyond baseball, and we see tech and venture as one way we can do that,” said Iles. “It is our mechanism for investing in tech startups. Throughout the course of a three-year partnership with TechStars, the Minnesota Twins will invest in 30-plus tech startups with the help of our friends at TechStars.” The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars began its second class of participants this week as the program runs from now until February 15, 2023. This year’s class features 10 different entrepreneurs, seven from across the United States, one from the United Kingdom, another from Nigeria and one more international entrepreneur. The majority of the participants are also from historically-marginalized groups of people. Expanding the Twins brand beyond baseball with a cohort such as this is one of the most unique things the franchise is doing off the diamond. Only one other MLB team has experimented with a venture like this before, the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. Iles shared that when MLB and all other major American sports were shut down in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic it allowed time for the front office staff to look into the venture the Dodgers had done before to bring forth what the Twins are doing now. “COVID lockdowns gave us a chance to step back and really spend some time thinking about our business. We went through a pretty extensive brand-evolution exercise with the help of a local agency called Zeus Jones here. One of the ideas to percolate out of that was this accelerator and brought us to where we are now,” said Iles. While the program focuses on helping entrepreneurs get off their feet, it has also added to the fan experience at Target Field in ways Twins fans may not have noticed this last season. One of the participants in last year’s class was AWSM Sauce, a sauce company focused on creating zero-waste sauces. Their products were served at all concession stands in the Delta 360 Sky Legends Club this season. Along with providing a new platform for entrepreneurs to discover their craft, the Twins front office sees this program as an additional revenue stream for the organization. While the revenue stream is something the Twins will not see a return on for at least half a decade, It could, hypothetically, be revenue placed toward player salary, as Iles explained. “It's a long-term play we won't see returns on this for six to 10 years. I liken it to when a major-league player or when a player gets drafted and you're not going to see them in the major leagues for six years. Realistically, that's the same timeline we're dealing with these companies. So yes, in theory, this could go to player payroll but we're a ways away from seeing the returns on this particular program,” said Iles. With ten new entrepreneur programs making their way to network in the Twin Cities and develop their ideas into a full business. They will also be working toward a chance to become a part of the fan experience at Target Field for the 2023 season. A demo day will be hosted for the end of the program on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at the Filmore just down the street on the north end of Target Field. View full article
  12. MINNEAPOLIS – During the early days of COVID-19 lockdowns, the Minnesota Twins Business Development Office looked for ways to grow the Twins brand beyond baseball. Last year, they launched the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by TechStars program to not only grow their brand but find new revenue streams from outside the game itself. Chris Iles, Senior Director of Brand Experience and Innovation for the Twins, spoke about the program and what it offers for participants. “We're looking to push the Minnesota Twins brand beyond baseball, and we see tech and venture as one way we can do that,” said Iles. “It is our mechanism for investing in tech startups. Throughout the course of a three-year partnership with TechStars, the Minnesota Twins will invest in 30-plus tech startups with the help of our friends at TechStars.” The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars began its second class of participants this week as the program runs from now until February 15, 2023. This year’s class features 10 different entrepreneurs, seven from across the United States, one from the United Kingdom, another from Nigeria and one more international entrepreneur. The majority of the participants are also from historically-marginalized groups of people. Expanding the Twins brand beyond baseball with a cohort such as this is one of the most unique things the franchise is doing off the diamond. Only one other MLB team has experimented with a venture like this before, the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. Iles shared that when MLB and all other major American sports were shut down in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic it allowed time for the front office staff to look into the venture the Dodgers had done before to bring forth what the Twins are doing now. “COVID lockdowns gave us a chance to step back and really spend some time thinking about our business. We went through a pretty extensive brand-evolution exercise with the help of a local agency called Zeus Jones here. One of the ideas to percolate out of that was this accelerator and brought us to where we are now,” said Iles. While the program focuses on helping entrepreneurs get off their feet, it has also added to the fan experience at Target Field in ways Twins fans may not have noticed this last season. One of the participants in last year’s class was AWSM Sauce, a sauce company focused on creating zero-waste sauces. Their products were served at all concession stands in the Delta 360 Sky Legends Club this season. Along with providing a new platform for entrepreneurs to discover their craft, the Twins front office sees this program as an additional revenue stream for the organization. While the revenue stream is something the Twins will not see a return on for at least half a decade, It could, hypothetically, be revenue placed toward player salary, as Iles explained. “It's a long-term play we won't see returns on this for six to 10 years. I liken it to when a major-league player or when a player gets drafted and you're not going to see them in the major leagues for six years. Realistically, that's the same timeline we're dealing with these companies. So yes, in theory, this could go to player payroll but we're a ways away from seeing the returns on this particular program,” said Iles. With ten new entrepreneur programs making their way to network in the Twin Cities and develop their ideas into a full business. They will also be working toward a chance to become a part of the fan experience at Target Field for the 2023 season. A demo day will be hosted for the end of the program on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at the Filmore just down the street on the north end of Target Field.
  13. The Twins had a handful starting pitching prospects that made brief appearances in the big leagues during the 2022 season. Three of these pitchers, Louie Varland, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Josh Winder, are likely to make appearances for the Twins during the 2023 season. Which of these three is most likely to spend the most time in the Twins' starting rotation? Image courtesy of Lon Horwedel, USA Today Sports Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Josh Winder all made their MLB debuts during the 2022 season. Winder was the only one of the trio to exceed his rookie status this season. Right now, the Twins projected 2023 Opening Day rotation is made up of Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, and Bailey Ober, dependent largely on health. There is the possibility the Twins could roll out a six-man rotation as they did this season, but it is too early to tell if that will be the case for 2023. All three of these pitchers will likely make starts for the Twins during the 2023 season whether by earning a spot in the rotation or filling in for an injured starter. Based on what was seen from these pitchers during the 2022 season, here is my ranking of who will make the most starts. 1. Louie Varland The Twins two-time Minor League Pitcher of the Year showed great promise in his five late-season starts in September. Varland posted a 3.81 ERA in 26 innings and earned his first big-league win on the season's final day. Earning the Minor League Pitcher of the Year award will also help Varland’s case to start the season with the Twins either as the Twins fifth/sixth starter or long reliever. If Varland is not in the back end of the Twins' starting rotation for Opening Day, he will surely be the first guy to be added in for another due to injury. Varland made 23 minor-league starts between Double-A and Triple-A. He remained healthy and made the most starts of any pitcher on this list. With how many injuries the 2022 Twins suffered, it would not be a surprise if the front office gives the North St. Paul native a similar role as Bailey Ober/Chris Paddack had as the team’s sixth starter to start the season. To put an estimation on how many starts Twins fans could expect from Varland in 2023, it’s safe to guess he will take anywhere from 10-15 starts along with a few appearances out of the bullpen. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson Twins fans were fortunate to see one start from Woods Richardson before the regular season ended. He had five innings of work in his start against the Detroit Tigers and allowed two earned runs. Woods Richardson also missed time last year due to COVID-19. He made 22 minor-league starts prior to his one with the Twins. His best stretch came during his stint in St. Paul, where he made seven starts and posted a 2.21 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, striking out 38 batters in 36 2/3 IP. Woods Richardson turned 22 on September 27, meaning age is on his side to start his 2023 season at Triple-A St. Paul. His best chance of making the Opening Day roster appears to depend on the health of others. It is likely he will make anywhere between eight and 12 starts this upcoming season, maybe more.. 3. Josh Winder Josh Winder struggled the most out of these three pitchers this season as he was just one of the many Twins who missed time due to injury. He exceeded his rookie status with his 67 big-league innings pitched. As a starter, Winder struggled at both the major league and minor league levels. He posted a 4.79 ERA across 50 2/3 IP in his 11 starts with the Twins. In the minors, he posted a 5.00 ERA across six starts (one rehab in Ft. Myers) with the Saints. Winder’s injuries affected his performance this season and given his workload and results, it’s possible the Twins could convert him into a full-time long reliever. They would likely make him a long relief man with the opportunity to turn into a high leverage reliever as Griffin Jax was this season for the Twins. Winder’s pitch usage is also similar to that of Jax’s during the 2021 season as both were throwing mostly fastballs, 40.1% for Winder in 2022 compared to 45.9% for Jax in 2021. With the slider as their go-to breaking ball, 33.3% for Winder in '22 compared to 31.1% for Jax in '21, Jax turned his slider into his go-to pitch throwing it 48.4% of the time this year according to FanGraphs. The Twins may have a second reclamation project with a former top prospect in Winder as they did in Jax this year. If the Twins opt for this route, then don’t expect any starts from Winder, but since that is only speculation as of now, expect five or fewer starts from Winder in 2023. Three Other Options Three young pitchers to keep an eye on to possibly be added into the Twins rotation at some point in the season are Jordan Balazovic, Ronny Henriquez, and Cole Sands. However, given the depth ahead of them on this list, it is looking unlikely they serve more than relief roles if and when they pitch for the 2022 Twins. Balazovic struggled mightily throughout the 2022 season with the Saints and only began to see success toward the end of the year after battling a nagging knee injury all year. He will surely start his 2023 season with the Saints. Both Henriquez and Sands saw time with the Twins this year, mainly as long relievers. Sands had a stretch of three starts for the Twins from May 31 to June 12, but pitched much more effectively as a reliever. Henriquez only pitched out of the bullpen in three relief appearances for the Twins. He made 14 starts with the Saints over the summer but was found to be more effective piggybacking with the starter. Balazovic is the most likely to make a start for the Twins next season. If the Twins see great success in either Henriquez or Sands, they will be given another chance as a starter. However, it is more likely that if those two are making starts, the rotation depth is in dire straits. Conclusion All three of these young pitchers will play more important roles with the Twins pitching staff in 2023 than they did in 2022. Twins fans can expect to see them all at different points of the season. And hopefully, when Varland, Winder, and Woods Richardson arrive on the Twins roster, it is because of their earning a spot rather than constantly replacing an injured teammate. View full article
  14. Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Josh Winder all made their MLB debuts during the 2022 season. Winder was the only one of the trio to exceed his rookie status this season. Right now, the Twins projected 2023 Opening Day rotation is made up of Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, and Bailey Ober, dependent largely on health. There is the possibility the Twins could roll out a six-man rotation as they did this season, but it is too early to tell if that will be the case for 2023. All three of these pitchers will likely make starts for the Twins during the 2023 season whether by earning a spot in the rotation or filling in for an injured starter. Based on what was seen from these pitchers during the 2022 season, here is my ranking of who will make the most starts. 1. Louie Varland The Twins two-time Minor League Pitcher of the Year showed great promise in his five late-season starts in September. Varland posted a 3.81 ERA in 26 innings and earned his first big-league win on the season's final day. Earning the Minor League Pitcher of the Year award will also help Varland’s case to start the season with the Twins either as the Twins fifth/sixth starter or long reliever. If Varland is not in the back end of the Twins' starting rotation for Opening Day, he will surely be the first guy to be added in for another due to injury. Varland made 23 minor-league starts between Double-A and Triple-A. He remained healthy and made the most starts of any pitcher on this list. With how many injuries the 2022 Twins suffered, it would not be a surprise if the front office gives the North St. Paul native a similar role as Bailey Ober/Chris Paddack had as the team’s sixth starter to start the season. To put an estimation on how many starts Twins fans could expect from Varland in 2023, it’s safe to guess he will take anywhere from 10-15 starts along with a few appearances out of the bullpen. 2. Simeon Woods Richardson Twins fans were fortunate to see one start from Woods Richardson before the regular season ended. He had five innings of work in his start against the Detroit Tigers and allowed two earned runs. Woods Richardson also missed time last year due to COVID-19. He made 22 minor-league starts prior to his one with the Twins. His best stretch came during his stint in St. Paul, where he made seven starts and posted a 2.21 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, striking out 38 batters in 36 2/3 IP. Woods Richardson turned 22 on September 27, meaning age is on his side to start his 2023 season at Triple-A St. Paul. His best chance of making the Opening Day roster appears to depend on the health of others. It is likely he will make anywhere between eight and 12 starts this upcoming season, maybe more.. 3. Josh Winder Josh Winder struggled the most out of these three pitchers this season as he was just one of the many Twins who missed time due to injury. He exceeded his rookie status with his 67 big-league innings pitched. As a starter, Winder struggled at both the major league and minor league levels. He posted a 4.79 ERA across 50 2/3 IP in his 11 starts with the Twins. In the minors, he posted a 5.00 ERA across six starts (one rehab in Ft. Myers) with the Saints. Winder’s injuries affected his performance this season and given his workload and results, it’s possible the Twins could convert him into a full-time long reliever. They would likely make him a long relief man with the opportunity to turn into a high leverage reliever as Griffin Jax was this season for the Twins. Winder’s pitch usage is also similar to that of Jax’s during the 2021 season as both were throwing mostly fastballs, 40.1% for Winder in 2022 compared to 45.9% for Jax in 2021. With the slider as their go-to breaking ball, 33.3% for Winder in '22 compared to 31.1% for Jax in '21, Jax turned his slider into his go-to pitch throwing it 48.4% of the time this year according to FanGraphs. The Twins may have a second reclamation project with a former top prospect in Winder as they did in Jax this year. If the Twins opt for this route, then don’t expect any starts from Winder, but since that is only speculation as of now, expect five or fewer starts from Winder in 2023. Three Other Options Three young pitchers to keep an eye on to possibly be added into the Twins rotation at some point in the season are Jordan Balazovic, Ronny Henriquez, and Cole Sands. However, given the depth ahead of them on this list, it is looking unlikely they serve more than relief roles if and when they pitch for the 2022 Twins. Balazovic struggled mightily throughout the 2022 season with the Saints and only began to see success toward the end of the year after battling a nagging knee injury all year. He will surely start his 2023 season with the Saints. Both Henriquez and Sands saw time with the Twins this year, mainly as long relievers. Sands had a stretch of three starts for the Twins from May 31 to June 12, but pitched much more effectively as a reliever. Henriquez only pitched out of the bullpen in three relief appearances for the Twins. He made 14 starts with the Saints over the summer but was found to be more effective piggybacking with the starter. Balazovic is the most likely to make a start for the Twins next season. If the Twins see great success in either Henriquez or Sands, they will be given another chance as a starter. However, it is more likely that if those two are making starts, the rotation depth is in dire straits. Conclusion All three of these young pitchers will play more important roles with the Twins pitching staff in 2023 than they did in 2022. Twins fans can expect to see them all at different points of the season. And hopefully, when Varland, Winder, and Woods Richardson arrive on the Twins roster, it is because of their earning a spot rather than constantly replacing an injured teammate.
×
×
  • Create New...