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Cody Christie

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    Born and raised in NoDak. Now a resident of the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.
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  1. Plenty of former fan favorites populate the rosters of the National League’s best teams this season. Not all of these players have performed admirably this season, but the playoffs allow for players to shine on the biggest stage. Here are eight former Twins to watch on the NL’s playoff teams. Mets: Trevor May, Eduardo Escobar Escobar is in his 12th big league season with his fifth different organization. During the 2022 campaign, he has been the primary third baseman for the Mets in their fight for the NL East title. However, his defense at third ranks among the NL’s worst for third basemen, as only Alec Bohm has a lower SDI. Escobar provides other dynamics to a club as he has an OPS+ above 100 for the fifth consecutive season, where he has played more than 60 games. The Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, so the club has pressure to win in October. May is heading to free agency at the season’s end, so he wants to end his Mets tenure on a high note. In 23 appearances, he has an ERA north of 5.50 with a 1.57 WHIP. He is striking out more than ten batters per nine innings for the sixth consecutive season. He’s had multiple IL stints this year for a stress reaction on the lower portion of his humerus and a COVID situation. In September, he has a 3.14 ERA while holding opponents to a .694 OPS, so the Mets hope this carries over to the postseason. Braves: Jake Odorizzi, Ehire Adrianza, Eddie Rosario, Robbie Grossman Odorizzi was pitching well for the Astros to start the season, but the Braves traded for him at the deadline for reliever Will Smith. Since joining Atlanta, Odorizzi has posted a 5.66 ERA with a 1.67 WHIP in nine starts. Odorizzi isn’t guaranteed to make the playoff rotation with other strong pitchers, but Spencer Strider’s injury may give Odorizzi an opportunity. Adrianza made ten playoff appearances during the Braves’ 2021 World Series run, and the club found a way to bring him back for 2022. He started the year in the Nationals organization, but the Braves traded Trey Harris to Washington for Adrianza. So far in 2022, Adrianza has hit .174/.267/.207 (.473) in limited action. He will likely serve as a bench option for Atlanta as a late-inning defensive replacement. Rosario was a playoff hero for the Braves last season, winning the NLCS MVP before heading to free agency. Atlanta re-signed the outfielder to a 2-year, $18 million contract, and he’s having a career-worst offensive season. In 76 games, he has posted a 69 OPS+ with 18 extra-base hits. Rosario has missed time this season with an eye injury and a hamstring problem. Can Rosario make Braves fans forget his poor season with another October to remember? After leaving the Twins, Grossman revitalized his career in the A’s and Tigers organizations. Since 2019, he has posted a 99 OPS+ while playing strong outfield defense. The Braves acquired Grossman from the Tigers at the trade deadline for Kris Anglin, and he has raised his OPS by 61 points since moving to the NL. Atlanta has multiple outfield injuries that may push Grossman into a more critical role. Dodgers: Brusdar Graterol Graterol is having his best big-league season as he has set career-best marks in ERA, strikeouts, H/9, and ERA+. Los Angeles continued to use him in late-inning situations as he earned the first three saves of his career. His postseason numbers are even better than his regular season totals. In 18 appearances, he has a 2.04 ERA with a 0.62 WHIP and a 13-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Dodgers look like one of baseball’s best teams, and Graterol will be asked to get some big outs in October. Phillies: Kyle Gibson The Phillies are fighting for their playoff lives, and Gibson might be one of the players to push them into the postseason. Gibson is heading to free agency this winter, so October is an opportunity for him to shine. Last season, he was a first-time All-Star but struggled after being traded to the Phillies (5.09 ERA). In 2022, he posted a 4.84 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP across 30 starts. Gibson was terrific in August with a 2.30 ERA as he held batters to a .637 OPS. Philadelphia will need that version of Gibson to make a deep October run. Can any of these players have an Eddie Rosario-type October in 2022? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  2. Last season, Eddie Rosario was a key player for the Braves on their way to a World Series title. Can any other former Twins help their club find postseason glory in 2022? Image courtesy of Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports Plenty of former fan favorites populate the rosters of the National League’s best teams this season. Not all of these players have performed admirably this season, but the playoffs allow for players to shine on the biggest stage. Here are eight former Twins to watch on the NL’s playoff teams. Mets: Trevor May, Eduardo Escobar Escobar is in his 12th big league season with his fifth different organization. During the 2022 campaign, he has been the primary third baseman for the Mets in their fight for the NL East title. However, his defense at third ranks among the NL’s worst for third basemen, as only Alec Bohm has a lower SDI. Escobar provides other dynamics to a club as he has an OPS+ above 100 for the fifth consecutive season, where he has played more than 60 games. The Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, so the club has pressure to win in October. May is heading to free agency at the season’s end, so he wants to end his Mets tenure on a high note. In 23 appearances, he has an ERA north of 5.50 with a 1.57 WHIP. He is striking out more than ten batters per nine innings for the sixth consecutive season. He’s had multiple IL stints this year for a stress reaction on the lower portion of his humerus and a COVID situation. In September, he has a 3.14 ERA while holding opponents to a .694 OPS, so the Mets hope this carries over to the postseason. Braves: Jake Odorizzi, Ehire Adrianza, Eddie Rosario, Robbie Grossman Odorizzi was pitching well for the Astros to start the season, but the Braves traded for him at the deadline for reliever Will Smith. Since joining Atlanta, Odorizzi has posted a 5.66 ERA with a 1.67 WHIP in nine starts. Odorizzi isn’t guaranteed to make the playoff rotation with other strong pitchers, but Spencer Strider’s injury may give Odorizzi an opportunity. Adrianza made ten playoff appearances during the Braves’ 2021 World Series run, and the club found a way to bring him back for 2022. He started the year in the Nationals organization, but the Braves traded Trey Harris to Washington for Adrianza. So far in 2022, Adrianza has hit .174/.267/.207 (.473) in limited action. He will likely serve as a bench option for Atlanta as a late-inning defensive replacement. Rosario was a playoff hero for the Braves last season, winning the NLCS MVP before heading to free agency. Atlanta re-signed the outfielder to a 2-year, $18 million contract, and he’s having a career-worst offensive season. In 76 games, he has posted a 69 OPS+ with 18 extra-base hits. Rosario has missed time this season with an eye injury and a hamstring problem. Can Rosario make Braves fans forget his poor season with another October to remember? After leaving the Twins, Grossman revitalized his career in the A’s and Tigers organizations. Since 2019, he has posted a 99 OPS+ while playing strong outfield defense. The Braves acquired Grossman from the Tigers at the trade deadline for Kris Anglin, and he has raised his OPS by 61 points since moving to the NL. Atlanta has multiple outfield injuries that may push Grossman into a more critical role. Dodgers: Brusdar Graterol Graterol is having his best big-league season as he has set career-best marks in ERA, strikeouts, H/9, and ERA+. Los Angeles continued to use him in late-inning situations as he earned the first three saves of his career. His postseason numbers are even better than his regular season totals. In 18 appearances, he has a 2.04 ERA with a 0.62 WHIP and a 13-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Dodgers look like one of baseball’s best teams, and Graterol will be asked to get some big outs in October. Phillies: Kyle Gibson The Phillies are fighting for their playoff lives, and Gibson might be one of the players to push them into the postseason. Gibson is heading to free agency this winter, so October is an opportunity for him to shine. Last season, he was a first-time All-Star but struggled after being traded to the Phillies (5.09 ERA). In 2022, he posted a 4.84 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP across 30 starts. Gibson was terrific in August with a 2.30 ERA as he held batters to a .637 OPS. Philadelphia will need that version of Gibson to make a deep October run. Can any of these players have an Eddie Rosario-type October in 2022? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  3. Minnesota fell out of playoff contention, but there are plenty of former Twins to watch in October. Here are six former Twins that fans can follow during their new team’s playoff run. Image courtesy of David Banks-USA TODAY Sports Some of these players left after poor performances, while others were never even given a chance to suit up in a game. New York has seen multiple former Twins find different levels of success on the position player side, while the other playoff rosters will use former Minnesota pitchers. There’s a good chance at least one former Twins player will represent the AL in the World Series. Yankees: Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Aaron Hicks Hicks is the longest-tenured Yankee of this group, as he has played over 600 games in pinstripes. During the 2022 season, he has hit .224/.334/.324 (.658), which translates to a 90 OPS+ in over 120 games. It’s only the second time he has played over 123 games since being traded to New York. Most Of his defensive innings have come in center field, where his -4.0 SDI is the second lowest in the American League. Age has continued to impact Donaldson, and the Yankees have less time for him to play DH. In his age-36 season, his OPS dropped below .750 for the first time in a decade. His defense continues to be terrific as he leads all AL third basemen in SDI, and only four defenders have accumulated more SDI than him this season. Donaldson has over 167 playoff plate appearances, and the Yankees hope his experience pays off in October. Kiner-Falefa’s Twins tenure lasted hours as the team quickly dealt him to the Yankees after acquiring him from the Rangers. His first season in New York has gone about as expected on both sides of the plate. Offensively, he has hit .263/.315/.331 (.646) with 24 extra-base hits in 137 games. Defensively, he ranks seventh among AL shortstops in SDI, which is two spots behind Minnesota’s Carlos Correa. Astros: Ryan Pressly Pressly continues to be a dominant closer for the Astros, one of two powerhouse teams in the AL. In 47 appearances this season, he has a 2.91 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP and a career-high 31 saves. He has posted an 11.8 K/9 as he has struck out nearly 35% of the batters facing him. The Astros are one of the favorites for the AL pennant, and Pressly will be asked to close out some critical games in the coming weeks. Blue Jays: Jose Berrios Berrios has gone through a terrible first full season in Toronto as he leads in AL in hits allowed and earned runs. He had been so consistent throughout his career that it’s hard to pinpoint where things have gone wrong with the Blue Jays. There is no guarantee that Berrios will be included in Toronto’s rotation for the playoffs. Would the team try to use him as a bullpen option? That seems unlikely since he has never previously been used in that role. Rays: JT Chargois Minnesota selected Chargois in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft, but he only made 25 appearances with the club back in 2016. Since then, he has bounced around to multiple organizations before landing with the Rays over the last two seasons. He’s been limited to 19 appearances this season because of an oblique injury, but he seems to be healthy as the team gets closer to October. In 19 1/3 innings, he has a 2.79 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and a 14-to-5 strikeout to walk ratio. Perhaps Chargois can be a secret weapon for the Rays. Which former Twin will have the best postseason? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. Some of these players left after poor performances, while others were never even given a chance to suit up in a game. New York has seen multiple former Twins find different levels of success on the position player side, while the other playoff rosters will use former Minnesota pitchers. There’s a good chance at least one former Twins player will represent the AL in the World Series. Yankees: Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Aaron Hicks Hicks is the longest-tenured Yankee of this group, as he has played over 600 games in pinstripes. During the 2022 season, he has hit .224/.334/.324 (.658), which translates to a 90 OPS+ in over 120 games. It’s only the second time he has played over 123 games since being traded to New York. Most Of his defensive innings have come in center field, where his -4.0 SDI is the second lowest in the American League. Age has continued to impact Donaldson, and the Yankees have less time for him to play DH. In his age-36 season, his OPS dropped below .750 for the first time in a decade. His defense continues to be terrific as he leads all AL third basemen in SDI, and only four defenders have accumulated more SDI than him this season. Donaldson has over 167 playoff plate appearances, and the Yankees hope his experience pays off in October. Kiner-Falefa’s Twins tenure lasted hours as the team quickly dealt him to the Yankees after acquiring him from the Rangers. His first season in New York has gone about as expected on both sides of the plate. Offensively, he has hit .263/.315/.331 (.646) with 24 extra-base hits in 137 games. Defensively, he ranks seventh among AL shortstops in SDI, which is two spots behind Minnesota’s Carlos Correa. Astros: Ryan Pressly Pressly continues to be a dominant closer for the Astros, one of two powerhouse teams in the AL. In 47 appearances this season, he has a 2.91 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP and a career-high 31 saves. He has posted an 11.8 K/9 as he has struck out nearly 35% of the batters facing him. The Astros are one of the favorites for the AL pennant, and Pressly will be asked to close out some critical games in the coming weeks. Blue Jays: Jose Berrios Berrios has gone through a terrible first full season in Toronto as he leads in AL in hits allowed and earned runs. He had been so consistent throughout his career that it’s hard to pinpoint where things have gone wrong with the Blue Jays. There is no guarantee that Berrios will be included in Toronto’s rotation for the playoffs. Would the team try to use him as a bullpen option? That seems unlikely since he has never previously been used in that role. Rays: JT Chargois Minnesota selected Chargois in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft, but he only made 25 appearances with the club back in 2016. Since then, he has bounced around to multiple organizations before landing with the Rays over the last two seasons. He’s been limited to 19 appearances this season because of an oblique injury, but he seems to be healthy as the team gets closer to October. In 19 1/3 innings, he has a 2.79 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and a 14-to-5 strikeout to walk ratio. Perhaps Chargois can be a secret weapon for the Rays. Which former Twin will have the best postseason? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Simeon Woods Richardson has risen on Twins prospect lists over the last year. Now, the Twins are calling him up to make his big league debut. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints Simeon Woods Richardson has had a whirlwind professional career as he has been part of three different organizations and two blockbuster trades. His professional journey started in the Mets organization when they took him with a second-round pick in 2018 out of high school in Texas. After signing, he split time between the GCL and the Appalachian League, posting a 1.56 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in seven appearances. New York was aggressive with him to start 2019 as they sent him to Low-A, where he was nearly four years younger than the average age of the competition. Woods Richardson allowed 37 runs in 78 1/3 innings with a 1.21 WHIP and 97 strikeouts. At the trade deadline, Woods Richardson was dealt along with Anthony Kay to the Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman. Toronto was even more aggressive with Woods Richardson by sending him to High-A. He improved in his six starts following the trade as he lowered his ERA to 2.54 and posted a 29-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio. His stock rose as the 2020 season began, with Baseball America and MLB.com including him in their top-100 prospects. Unfortunately, the pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor league season, and Woods Richardson couldn’t build off his success from the end of 2019. The Blue Jays continued to be aggressive with Woods Richardson in 2021 by sending him to Double-A. He was so young for the level that he only had four at-bats versus younger batters for the entire season. There were struggles throughout the season as he adjusted to one of baseball’s highest levels. He posted a 6.55 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in his first 11 starts. From there, he headed to Japan to represent the United States in the Olympics, but his opportunities were limited on the international stage. While he was overseas, the Twins traded for Woods Richardson and Austin Martin in a deal that sent Jose Berrios to Toronto. Woods Richardson only made four appearances in the Twins organization after the trade deadline and allowed six earned runs in eight innings. It was a disappointing end to a season where he never seemed to get his feet under him at Double-A. With his sub-par performance, Baseball America and MLB.com dropped Woods Richardson from their top-100 prospects entering the 2022 season. Minnesota had him repeat the Double-A level, where he continued to be 3.5 years younger than the average age of the competition. In 16 appearances (70 2/3 innings), he posted a 3.06 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and a 77-to-26 strikeout to walk ratio. By the middle of August, the Twins had seen enough and called him up to Triple-A. Woods Richardson’s performance improved after the promotion. He had a 2.21 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP in seven starts with the Saints. He struck out more than a batter per inning while continuing to show command of the strike zone. His performance was so good that he finished runner-up for the TD Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He has pitched well in the upper levels of the minors, and now the Twins hope he can translate that success to the big-league level. What stands out most to you about Woods Richardson’s professional career? What is his ceiling? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. Simeon Woods Richardson has had a whirlwind professional career as he has been part of three different organizations and two blockbuster trades. His professional journey started in the Mets organization when they took him with a second-round pick in 2018 out of high school in Texas. After signing, he split time between the GCL and the Appalachian League, posting a 1.56 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in seven appearances. New York was aggressive with him to start 2019 as they sent him to Low-A, where he was nearly four years younger than the average age of the competition. Woods Richardson allowed 37 runs in 78 1/3 innings with a 1.21 WHIP and 97 strikeouts. At the trade deadline, Woods Richardson was dealt along with Anthony Kay to the Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman. Toronto was even more aggressive with Woods Richardson by sending him to High-A. He improved in his six starts following the trade as he lowered his ERA to 2.54 and posted a 29-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio. His stock rose as the 2020 season began, with Baseball America and MLB.com including him in their top-100 prospects. Unfortunately, the pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor league season, and Woods Richardson couldn’t build off his success from the end of 2019. The Blue Jays continued to be aggressive with Woods Richardson in 2021 by sending him to Double-A. He was so young for the level that he only had four at-bats versus younger batters for the entire season. There were struggles throughout the season as he adjusted to one of baseball’s highest levels. He posted a 6.55 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in his first 11 starts. From there, he headed to Japan to represent the United States in the Olympics, but his opportunities were limited on the international stage. While he was overseas, the Twins traded for Woods Richardson and Austin Martin in a deal that sent Jose Berrios to Toronto. Woods Richardson only made four appearances in the Twins organization after the trade deadline and allowed six earned runs in eight innings. It was a disappointing end to a season where he never seemed to get his feet under him at Double-A. With his sub-par performance, Baseball America and MLB.com dropped Woods Richardson from their top-100 prospects entering the 2022 season. Minnesota had him repeat the Double-A level, where he continued to be 3.5 years younger than the average age of the competition. In 16 appearances (70 2/3 innings), he posted a 3.06 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and a 77-to-26 strikeout to walk ratio. By the middle of August, the Twins had seen enough and called him up to Triple-A. Woods Richardson’s performance improved after the promotion. He had a 2.21 ERA with a 0.85 WHIP in seven starts with the Saints. He struck out more than a batter per inning while continuing to show command of the strike zone. His performance was so good that he finished runner-up for the TD Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He has pitched well in the upper levels of the minors, and now the Twins hope he can translate that success to the big-league level. What stands out most to you about Woods Richardson’s professional career? What is his ceiling? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. Baseball development is not a linear path. Prospects can look great one month and then spiral downward later in the same year. Organizations with the greatest success level can minimize slumps and help their prospects improve before reaching their ultimate goal. The Twins drafted Jordan Balazovic in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He was a high school pitcher from Ontario, Canada, which isn’t exactly a hotbed of MLB talent. Minnesota liked his frame and projectability, and those scouting reports looked true as he began his professional career. Since he was 17 years old, Minnesota kept Balazovic in the GCL for two seasons to start acclimating to the professional ranks. He posted a 3.61 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP, but he was adding to his frame and making adjustments to help him as he moved up the organizational ladder. His first full season came in 2018 at Cedar Rapids, where he posted an 11.4 K/9 with a 1.17 WHIP and a 3.94 ERA. At the time, he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition in the Midwest League. The 2019 season put Balazovic on the prospect map as he continued to be young for his level. In 18 appearances (93 2/3 innings), he posted a 2.69 ERA with a 0.98 WHIP and a 129-to-25 strikeout to walk ratio. He represented the Twins at the 2019 Futures Game, and it looked like the Twins had developed a top-of-the-rotation starter. Baseball America and MLB.com placed him in their top-100 lists entering the 2020 season. Coming out of the lost COVID season, Minnesota sent Balazovic to Double-A, and he made 20 starts in the Wind Surge rotation. He continued to strike out more than a batter per inning (9.5 K/9), but he also started giving up more hits (9.1 H/9) and walks (3.5 BB/9). By the season’s end, he had a 3.62 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP as over 81% of his at-bats came against older batters. The 2022 season was setting up to be a critical turning point in Balazovic’s development. Balazovic entered the 2022 season as a borderline top-100 prospect, with Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus including him on their list. At Twins Daily, he was the fourth overall prospect in the Twins organization and the highest-rated pitcher. He had success in the upper minors and was projected to make his big-league debut, but that plan didn’t work out. During spring training, Balazovic suffered a back injury that forced him to begin the 2022 season on the injured list. His first appearance came in May for Fort Myers as he worked his way back. By May 7th, he was in the Saints rotation, but there were struggles to start the year. Through his first nine starts, he posted a 9.24 ERA as batters accumulated a 1.141 OPS with eight home runs against him. His next eight starts slightly improved as his ERA dropped to 8.88, but he continued to surrender too many home runs. It looked like a lost season for Balazovic, but something clicked near the season’s end. During September, Balazovic had his best month of the season. He posted a 3.43 ERA in five starts with 30 strikeouts and ten walks in 21 innings. Batters still hit four home runs, but two of those home runs came in the same game. For the month, batters hit .247/.330/.469 (.799) as he filled the strike zone with a 62% strike rate. It had to be a satisfying end to a season that didn’t go as planned for Balazovic. Entering 2023, Balazovic won’t make any top-100 lists, and he will drop on Twins prospect rankings. However, he has something to build off of for 2023. Sometimes struggles are part of the development process, and Minnesota hopes Balazovic can learn from a rough 2022 season. What are your thoughts on Balazovic’s 2022 season? What is his ceiling? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. Not much went right for Jordan Balazovic during the 2022 season. Thankfully, he finished the season strongly with an eye toward 2023. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints Baseball development is not a linear path. Prospects can look great one month and then spiral downward later in the same year. Organizations with the greatest success level can minimize slumps and help their prospects improve before reaching their ultimate goal. The Twins drafted Jordan Balazovic in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He was a high school pitcher from Ontario, Canada, which isn’t exactly a hotbed of MLB talent. Minnesota liked his frame and projectability, and those scouting reports looked true as he began his professional career. Since he was 17 years old, Minnesota kept Balazovic in the GCL for two seasons to start acclimating to the professional ranks. He posted a 3.61 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP, but he was adding to his frame and making adjustments to help him as he moved up the organizational ladder. His first full season came in 2018 at Cedar Rapids, where he posted an 11.4 K/9 with a 1.17 WHIP and a 3.94 ERA. At the time, he was nearly three years younger than the average age of the competition in the Midwest League. The 2019 season put Balazovic on the prospect map as he continued to be young for his level. In 18 appearances (93 2/3 innings), he posted a 2.69 ERA with a 0.98 WHIP and a 129-to-25 strikeout to walk ratio. He represented the Twins at the 2019 Futures Game, and it looked like the Twins had developed a top-of-the-rotation starter. Baseball America and MLB.com placed him in their top-100 lists entering the 2020 season. Coming out of the lost COVID season, Minnesota sent Balazovic to Double-A, and he made 20 starts in the Wind Surge rotation. He continued to strike out more than a batter per inning (9.5 K/9), but he also started giving up more hits (9.1 H/9) and walks (3.5 BB/9). By the season’s end, he had a 3.62 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP as over 81% of his at-bats came against older batters. The 2022 season was setting up to be a critical turning point in Balazovic’s development. Balazovic entered the 2022 season as a borderline top-100 prospect, with Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus including him on their list. At Twins Daily, he was the fourth overall prospect in the Twins organization and the highest-rated pitcher. He had success in the upper minors and was projected to make his big-league debut, but that plan didn’t work out. During spring training, Balazovic suffered a back injury that forced him to begin the 2022 season on the injured list. His first appearance came in May for Fort Myers as he worked his way back. By May 7th, he was in the Saints rotation, but there were struggles to start the year. Through his first nine starts, he posted a 9.24 ERA as batters accumulated a 1.141 OPS with eight home runs against him. His next eight starts slightly improved as his ERA dropped to 8.88, but he continued to surrender too many home runs. It looked like a lost season for Balazovic, but something clicked near the season’s end. During September, Balazovic had his best month of the season. He posted a 3.43 ERA in five starts with 30 strikeouts and ten walks in 21 innings. Batters still hit four home runs, but two of those home runs came in the same game. For the month, batters hit .247/.330/.469 (.799) as he filled the strike zone with a 62% strike rate. It had to be a satisfying end to a season that didn’t go as planned for Balazovic. Entering 2023, Balazovic won’t make any top-100 lists, and he will drop on Twins prospect rankings. However, he has something to build off of for 2023. Sometimes struggles are part of the development process, and Minnesota hopes Balazovic can learn from a rough 2022 season. What are your thoughts on Balazovic’s 2022 season? What is his ceiling? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  9. For most of the season, fans have wondered if Carlos Correa would opt out of his unique Twins contract. His message on Thursday points to a clear decision already in his mind. Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports There were many reasons why the Twins were able to sign Carlos Correa. Minnesota freed up salary space by dumping Josh Donaldson's contract on the Yankees. The front office also hadn't made any major free agent signings, so there was still payroll flexibility. And that was just the beginning of the Correa free agent puzzle. Correa's new agent, Scott Boras, didn't want to split his major contract with his previous representatives. His free agent market didn't develop exactly as planned, and he was young to reach free agency, so pushing his major contract one year shouldn't hurt his long-term value. The perfect storm allowed Correa to wear a Twins' uniform for the year. Correa started slowly in 2022, but some of that may have been expected after an abbreviated spring training. His OPS was under .700 in the season's first month, and the rest of the campaign became a roller coaster ride. He posted an OPS above 1.000 in July and saw it dip to under .620 in August. While the Twins have faded in September, Correa has been playing his best. In 25 games, he has hit .347/.405/.594 (1.000) with seven doubles and six home runs. His 5.1 WAR leads the Twins, and he's also made defensive improvements after a slow start on that side of the ball. Through the 2022 season, Correa has made it clear that he'd love to stay with the Twins. He has two years remaining on the $105.3 million deal he signed this winter. However, he told reporters what it would take for him to stay with the Twins for 2023 and beyond. Correa said, "When I go to the mall and I go to the Dior store and I want something, I get it. I ask how much it costs and I buy it. So if you really want something, you just go get it. I'm the product here, so if they want my product, they just gotta come get it." It seems clear from this message that Correa will opt out of his contract in the days following the World Series. He's also making it clear that the club won't be receiving any type of discount even after paying him the highest annual contract for any infielder in baseball history. The Twins would have to pay up to sign Correa long-term, which seems unlikely to happen. If he opts out, Correa will join a free agent class that is expected to include Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson. Last winter, Corey Seager received $325 million from the Texas Rangers, so it seems likely for Correa to want to be around that contract amount. Minnesota can give him a contract near that total, but this front office enjoys payroll flexibility. As the Twins finish the season, it's even more apparent now than before that Correa's on his way out the door. Did Correa's comments surprise you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  10. There were many reasons why the Twins were able to sign Carlos Correa. Minnesota freed up salary space by dumping Josh Donaldson's contract on the Yankees. The front office also hadn't made any major free agent signings, so there was still payroll flexibility. And that was just the beginning of the Correa free agent puzzle. Correa's new agent, Scott Boras, didn't want to split his major contract with his previous representatives. His free agent market didn't develop exactly as planned, and he was young to reach free agency, so pushing his major contract one year shouldn't hurt his long-term value. The perfect storm allowed Correa to wear a Twins' uniform for the year. Correa started slowly in 2022, but some of that may have been expected after an abbreviated spring training. His OPS was under .700 in the season's first month, and the rest of the campaign became a roller coaster ride. He posted an OPS above 1.000 in July and saw it dip to under .620 in August. While the Twins have faded in September, Correa has been playing his best. In 25 games, he has hit .347/.405/.594 (1.000) with seven doubles and six home runs. His 5.1 WAR leads the Twins, and he's also made defensive improvements after a slow start on that side of the ball. Through the 2022 season, Correa has made it clear that he'd love to stay with the Twins. He has two years remaining on the $105.3 million deal he signed this winter. However, he told reporters what it would take for him to stay with the Twins for 2023 and beyond. Correa said, "When I go to the mall and I go to the Dior store and I want something, I get it. I ask how much it costs and I buy it. So if you really want something, you just go get it. I'm the product here, so if they want my product, they just gotta come get it." It seems clear from this message that Correa will opt out of his contract in the days following the World Series. He's also making it clear that the club won't be receiving any type of discount even after paying him the highest annual contract for any infielder in baseball history. The Twins would have to pay up to sign Correa long-term, which seems unlikely to happen. If he opts out, Correa will join a free agent class that is expected to include Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson. Last winter, Corey Seager received $325 million from the Texas Rangers, so it seems likely for Correa to want to be around that contract amount. Minnesota can give him a contract near that total, but this front office enjoys payroll flexibility. As the Twins finish the season, it's even more apparent now than before that Correa's on his way out the door. Did Correa's comments surprise you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach both made top-100 prospect lists on their way to the big leagues. Minnesota expected both players to be in the middle of the order for the next decade. Over the last 12 months, Matt Wallner has put himself on the prospect map, and he may have altered the team’s future outfield outlook. Alex Kirilloff 2022 Stats (45 G): .250/.290/.361 (.651), 7 2B, 3 HR, 36 K, 5 BB Kirilloff’s 2022 season was plagued by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery. Each of his first two seasons has been cut short because of a wrist injury. His wrist surgery this season is unique in the fact that they are shortening his ulna, which is something that few MLB players have had done. Kirilloff showed signs of being able to play through the injury as he dominated at Triple-A with a 1.106 OPS in 35 games. Eventually, he wasn’t able to play through the injury. "Any time you're talking about shaving a bone down or shortening a bone, I mean that's a substantial procedure," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But we're hopeful that by getting it done now gives us a chance to use the offseason to get right, to start swinging the bat again, to feel good and to start getting ready for next year." Minnesota hopes Kirilloff is ready for the start of spring training, but there is no guarantee with this type of surgery. Out of these players, Kirilloff was seen as the best prospect, because Baseball America and MLB.com had him in their top-15 prospects leading into the 2019 campaign. Entering his age-25 season, questions will continue to follow him regarding his wrist and whether or not he can get his career back on track. Trevor Larnach 2022 Stats (51 G): .231/.306/.406 (.712), 13 2B, 5 HR, 57 K, 18 BB Like Kirilloff, injuries have impacted Larnach’s first two seasons in the majors. Last year, he posted an .806 OPS through his first 50 games, but things went south. His OPS dropped to .672 before the team eventually demoted him to Triple-A. He eventually revealed that a hand injury had bothered him through part of the season. Larnach started the 2022 season well and was one of the team’s best hitters during May as he posted a 1.077 OPS. By the end of June, his performance had suffered and the team announced he’d undergo a bilateral surgical repair to treat the core muscle strain. At the time, the team announced that he’d need about 6-8 weeks before returning, but he learned that he needed more time to recover. “You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it." During his rehab with the Saints, Larnach suffered a wrist injury that will end his season. He seemed close to returning, so this is likely a frustrating end for the 24-year-old. He has been limited to 130 games in his first two seasons, and injuries have stopped him from producing like he did in the minors. Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (AA/AAA 128 G): .277/.412/.542 (.953), 32 2B, 4 3B, 27 HR, 170 K, 97 BB Unlike Larnach and Kirilloff, Wallner is coming off a tremendous season where he played well in the upper minors and made his big-league debut. In 128 minor league games, Wallner posted a .953 OPS on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. Kirilloff (2018) and Larnach (2019) were both previous winners of this award, but Wallner’s stock is on the rise. He’s seen limited action at the big-league level, but he has been on base over 30% of the time and three of his eight hits have been for extra bases. Wallner used last year’s Arizona Fall League to make adjustments for the 2022 season. “It’s just cool to bounce ideas off different guys and strategies that they have going into the game, at the plate, in the field, whatever,” Wallner said during last year’s AFL. “I’ve definitely learned a lot since I’ve been out here, even in a short six weeks. So, it’s definitely been good for me.” All three outfielders will be entering their age-25 season in 2023. Kirilloff and Larnach were seen as better prospects in the minors with both making top-100 lists before debuting. Now, Wallner may have passed them by, especially with the injury concerns facing the other two outfielders. There's no question that Minnesota’s future line-up is better with all three bats being healthy and hitting in the middle of the order. Do you think Wallner has passed Kirilloff and Larnach this season? Will all three players be able to stay healthy in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  12. The Twins have seen a trio of talented outfielders move through the farm system in recent years. After a rough 2022 season, what does the future hold for these young players? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach both made top-100 prospect lists on their way to the big leagues. Minnesota expected both players to be in the middle of the order for the next decade. Over the last 12 months, Matt Wallner has put himself on the prospect map, and he may have altered the team’s future outfield outlook. Alex Kirilloff 2022 Stats (45 G): .250/.290/.361 (.651), 7 2B, 3 HR, 36 K, 5 BB Kirilloff’s 2022 season was plagued by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery. Each of his first two seasons has been cut short because of a wrist injury. His wrist surgery this season is unique in the fact that they are shortening his ulna, which is something that few MLB players have had done. Kirilloff showed signs of being able to play through the injury as he dominated at Triple-A with a 1.106 OPS in 35 games. Eventually, he wasn’t able to play through the injury. "Any time you're talking about shaving a bone down or shortening a bone, I mean that's a substantial procedure," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But we're hopeful that by getting it done now gives us a chance to use the offseason to get right, to start swinging the bat again, to feel good and to start getting ready for next year." Minnesota hopes Kirilloff is ready for the start of spring training, but there is no guarantee with this type of surgery. Out of these players, Kirilloff was seen as the best prospect, because Baseball America and MLB.com had him in their top-15 prospects leading into the 2019 campaign. Entering his age-25 season, questions will continue to follow him regarding his wrist and whether or not he can get his career back on track. Trevor Larnach 2022 Stats (51 G): .231/.306/.406 (.712), 13 2B, 5 HR, 57 K, 18 BB Like Kirilloff, injuries have impacted Larnach’s first two seasons in the majors. Last year, he posted an .806 OPS through his first 50 games, but things went south. His OPS dropped to .672 before the team eventually demoted him to Triple-A. He eventually revealed that a hand injury had bothered him through part of the season. Larnach started the 2022 season well and was one of the team’s best hitters during May as he posted a 1.077 OPS. By the end of June, his performance had suffered and the team announced he’d undergo a bilateral surgical repair to treat the core muscle strain. At the time, the team announced that he’d need about 6-8 weeks before returning, but he learned that he needed more time to recover. “You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it." During his rehab with the Saints, Larnach suffered a wrist injury that will end his season. He seemed close to returning, so this is likely a frustrating end for the 24-year-old. He has been limited to 130 games in his first two seasons, and injuries have stopped him from producing like he did in the minors. Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (AA/AAA 128 G): .277/.412/.542 (.953), 32 2B, 4 3B, 27 HR, 170 K, 97 BB Unlike Larnach and Kirilloff, Wallner is coming off a tremendous season where he played well in the upper minors and made his big-league debut. In 128 minor league games, Wallner posted a .953 OPS on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. Kirilloff (2018) and Larnach (2019) were both previous winners of this award, but Wallner’s stock is on the rise. He’s seen limited action at the big-league level, but he has been on base over 30% of the time and three of his eight hits have been for extra bases. Wallner used last year’s Arizona Fall League to make adjustments for the 2022 season. “It’s just cool to bounce ideas off different guys and strategies that they have going into the game, at the plate, in the field, whatever,” Wallner said during last year’s AFL. “I’ve definitely learned a lot since I’ve been out here, even in a short six weeks. So, it’s definitely been good for me.” All three outfielders will be entering their age-25 season in 2023. Kirilloff and Larnach were seen as better prospects in the minors with both making top-100 lists before debuting. Now, Wallner may have passed them by, especially with the injury concerns facing the other two outfielders. There's no question that Minnesota’s future line-up is better with all three bats being healthy and hitting in the middle of the order. Do you think Wallner has passed Kirilloff and Larnach this season? Will all three players be able to stay healthy in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  13. Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune that the Twins will rehaul all their on-field looks before the 2023 season. These changes will include a new logo, new lettering, and new uniforms. However, the plan is for the colors to stay the same, which may upset some fans that don't like the Kasota gold that has been prominently used in recent years. "Our uniforms are going to evolve and take a step toward the future," St. Peter told the Star-Tribune. "There is always a sensitivity to paying respect to the history and the heritage of the franchise, but there's also a desire to move it forward, much like we did in the mid-'80s." Minnesota used the same uniforms for the first decade the club was in the Twin Cities. In the early 1970s, the club added the famous baby blue road uniform. By the late 1980s, the club switched to a pinstripe look at home and on the road. For one season (1997), the club infamously had a red alternate jersey that the team only wore twice for the entire season. There were plenty of other alternate jerseys used in the Metrodome era, but the Target Field era has seen some changes. Minnesota removed pinstripes on the road jerseys for the 2010 season and added a cream-colored home alternate. Then some of the most significant changes were made following the 2014 All-Star Game as the team added Kasota gold to the team's uniforms, and pinstripes became a thing of the past. "The Padres are a great example — they went with a refresh that actually reached back to their origins, but they did it in a really bold, dynamic way," St. Peter also said. "It wasn't just a cookie-cutter of what Steve Garvey wore in 1984. And our goals are the same. How do you pay tribute to that history and heritage but do it in a very modern way?" Minnie and Paul aren't going to be going away from Target Field. The Twins don't want to lose the franchise's identity that has been formed over six decades. There is going to be a modern spin to the uniforms while also including some classic elements. Will the team use the TC logo or bring back the M logo from the World Series era? Will Kasota gold continue to be part of the color scheme? Will pinstripes be added back to the home or road jerseys? We won't know the answers to those questions until later this off-season. Other MLB clubs have also been getting City Connect uniforms, but the Twins aren't scheduled to wear those until 2024. In his interview, St. Peter hinted that the Twins might unveil the City Connect uniforms next year. The Timberwolves have had multiple City Edition jerseys, so the Twins can learn from the good and the bad at Target Center. What do you want from a new Twins uniform? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  14. Earlier this week, the Twins announced that the team will be rebranding for the 2023 season. What will this mean for the Twins, and how have their jerseys changed throughout the franchise's history? Image courtesy of graphics by Thieres Rabelo Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune that the Twins will rehaul all their on-field looks before the 2023 season. These changes will include a new logo, new lettering, and new uniforms. However, the plan is for the colors to stay the same, which may upset some fans that don't like the Kasota gold that has been prominently used in recent years. "Our uniforms are going to evolve and take a step toward the future," St. Peter told the Star-Tribune. "There is always a sensitivity to paying respect to the history and the heritage of the franchise, but there's also a desire to move it forward, much like we did in the mid-'80s." Minnesota used the same uniforms for the first decade the club was in the Twin Cities. In the early 1970s, the club added the famous baby blue road uniform. By the late 1980s, the club switched to a pinstripe look at home and on the road. For one season (1997), the club infamously had a red alternate jersey that the team only wore twice for the entire season. There were plenty of other alternate jerseys used in the Metrodome era, but the Target Field era has seen some changes. Minnesota removed pinstripes on the road jerseys for the 2010 season and added a cream-colored home alternate. Then some of the most significant changes were made following the 2014 All-Star Game as the team added Kasota gold to the team's uniforms, and pinstripes became a thing of the past. "The Padres are a great example — they went with a refresh that actually reached back to their origins, but they did it in a really bold, dynamic way," St. Peter also said. "It wasn't just a cookie-cutter of what Steve Garvey wore in 1984. And our goals are the same. How do you pay tribute to that history and heritage but do it in a very modern way?" Minnie and Paul aren't going to be going away from Target Field. The Twins don't want to lose the franchise's identity that has been formed over six decades. There is going to be a modern spin to the uniforms while also including some classic elements. Will the team use the TC logo or bring back the M logo from the World Series era? Will Kasota gold continue to be part of the color scheme? Will pinstripes be added back to the home or road jerseys? We won't know the answers to those questions until later this off-season. Other MLB clubs have also been getting City Connect uniforms, but the Twins aren't scheduled to wear those until 2024. In his interview, St. Peter hinted that the Twins might unveil the City Connect uniforms next year. The Timberwolves have had multiple City Edition jerseys, so the Twins can learn from the good and the bad at Target Center. What do you want from a new Twins uniform? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  15. Blame can be passed around when a team doesn't meet expectations. Who should receive blame for the Twins' failures, and who is most responsible? Image courtesy of Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports The Twins are finishing a terrible September that saw the team go from contender to pretender in a few weeks. There are plenty of reasons for fans to be frustrated, but the season's conclusion offers time to reflect on the 2022 campaign. Here are the people most responsible for the Twins' downfall this season. Culprit 1: The Front Office The front office will take the brunt of the blame for any team that falls short of its ultimate goal. Last off-season was unique because of the lockout, and Minnesota took a unique approach to construct the roster. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine thought the pitching pipeline was ready to contribute in 2022, so the team didn't need to acquire any of the best free agent pitchers. This plan failed as the team's farm system took a step back, and the pitching pipeline has yet to arrive. It's also easy to blame the front office for some of the prominent players the team acquired during the 2022 season. Minnesota traded Taylor Rogers shortly before Opening Day for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan. The timing of the trade was terrible, even if Rogers ended up having a poor season. Paddack was terrific for four games before needing Tommy John surgery. Pagan has been one of baseball's worst relievers for multiple seasons, and the team continued to use him in high-leverage situations. Minnesota's front office received praise following July's trade deadline because it seemed like the team was "going for it." Neither of the other AL Central teams made significant moves, and the Twins acquired Tyler Mahle, Jorge Lopez, and Michael Fulmer. Mahle has struggled with a shoulder injury since being acquired, and Lopez hasn't lived up to his All-Star performance from the first half. Mahle's acquisition might be the most frustrating as he added his name to a growing list of injured pitchers the Twins acquired via trade. In the end, the front office was wrong about the organization's young pitchers being ready to contribute. Falvey and Levine didn't address the bullpen in the offseason, which haunted the team. It cost the team multiple prospects at the trade deadline after the club had already been treading water for most of June and July. Now, the front office is facing a critical offseason as this current group's winning window is closing. Culprit 2: Rocco Baldelli Minnesota's front office gave Baldelli a vote of confidence over the weekend when they said he is part of the team's long-term plans. Fans may still blame the manager for the team's poor performance for multiple months. Obviously, he has been dealing with one of baseball's most injured rosters, but the team doesn't seem to have much fight left in them. Last season, the team was out of the race for much of the season, but the club played well in September as younger players got an opportunity. This year's team played its worst baseball in September. Sometimes it's easy to forget that preseason models projected this team to finish around .500. Pitching staff usage is one of the most significant areas where fans blame a manager. Many will point fingers at Baldelli for his bullpen usage or for pulling his starters too early. However, it is also essential to consider that the team lost its pitching coach in the middle of the season. Minnesota's bullpen was terrible, and there is only so much Baldelli can do with the players on the roster. Also, Twins starters were rarely allowed to face a line-up for the third time, a philosophy many organizations have adopted in recent years. Baldelli deserves some blame, but even baseball's best manager wouldn't have won with Minnesota this season. Culprit 3: Injuries It's easy for anyone looking at the Twins' 2022 season to blame injuries for the team's poor performance. No American League team has put more players on the IL than the Twins this season. At one point, Minnesota had nearly a full roster of players on the IL, and it was a team that could be reasonably competitive in the AL Central. The Reds are the only club with more days lost to injury than the Twins, but anyone following the team knows that number doesn't tell the whole story. Minnesota allowed many players to stay off the IL even when injuries hampered their performance. Bryon Buxton talked his way out of multiple IL stints, and there were stretches where he struggled on the field. Jorge Polanco tried to play through an injury, Tyler Mahle made two starts at less than 100%, and Max Kepler played through a broken toe. Few organizations have the depth to withstand the number of injuries the Twins suffered in 2022. Reflecting on a season that started with renewed expectations can be challenging. However, there is plenty of blame to go around as the season winds to a close. Who deserves the most blame for the Twins' failures in 2022? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
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