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  1. Like
    IndyTwinsFan reacted to CoryMoen for a blog entry, Why Donovan Solano is a Better Fit than you Might Think.   
    As you have likely seen at this point, the Twins signed Infielder Donovan Solano to a 1 year, $2 million dollar deal. When you first look at this deal, you may have thought that Solano is a similar role to Kyle Farmer and seems to be redundant. While there may be some overlap, I think there are a few reasons where both guys still get a good amount of at bats this year, especially against lefties. 
    So let's compare Solano to a few other guys that I saw many people mention as targets for the Twins, Luke Voit and Yuli Gurriel. One reason the ladder two guys were brought up was their ability to hit lefties, so let's look at that first. 
    Luke Voit versus lefties in 2022 had the following line: .174/.298/.271. I will concede that these stats are lower than his career .236/.329/.439 line against lefties. 
    Yuli Gurriel versus lefties in 2022 had the following line: .265/.298/.441. These are slightly lower than his career .282/.333/.474 line against lefties as well. 
    As for the Twins most recent acquisition, here are his stats versus lefties: 
    Donovan Solano had a slash line of .301/.348/.422 line versus lefties in 2022. His career line is .282/.322/.389. 
    The next thing I wanted to compare these players on was their Walk%, K% and their projected WAR going forward. 
    Walk %: 
    Voit: 10.2%
    Gurriel: 5.7%
    Solano: 5.7%
    K %: 
    Voit: 28.5%
    Gurriel: 11.2%
    Solano: 18.0%
    Projected WAR (using ZiPS): 
    Voit: 0.8 WAR
    Gurriel: 1.5 WAR
    Solano: 1.2 WAR
    Seeing these stats, you might try to say that Gurriel would be the best choice of the three for a fit. The reason I think this is not the case can be summed up in one word: versatility. 
    Donovan Solano can not only play 1B, but can also play 2B, 3B, and will likely get some ABs as a DH as well, against lefties specifically. Gurriel at this point in his career is a 1B with the ability to DH of course as well. Voit is a 1B/DH as well. 
    Not to overlook Solano's ability to hit against righties as well. He doesn't hit righties super well, but can at least give you a good AB if needed. He has a career slash line of .276/.329/.367 against RHP.
    One thing to remember is Solano is a depth piece who, similar to Kyle Farmer, will play mostly against LHP with occasional starts coming against RHP. Solano's versatility will also be helpful in case someone gets dinged up (which will happen at some point) and as a potential defensive replacement depending on who is in the game as well. Solano hits a lot of line drives, as evidence by his career .332 BABIP. 
    I'd like to make this clear, I don't think Donovan Solano is an all star level player, but I think he's a solid depth piece that gives manager Rocco Baldelli another option this coming year. The Twins depth is much different than the past years, and hopefully this means they learned their lesson regarding not being too top heavy on the roster and not having as much depth. 
    Let me know what you all think of the Solano signing. Who do you think this bumps off the roster? My gut reaction says Larnach, but maybe things change before opening day (perhaps a trade?). 
  2. Like
    IndyTwinsFan reacted to Harrison Smith for a blog entry, Realistic Goals for Twins Hitters in 2023   
    The 2022 Minnesota Twins looked like they were destined for success. They had great chemistry and were winning ballgames, they looked closer to their 2019 form than the disappointing 2021 form we had seen the year prior. However, injuries started to take place and the ballclub started to lose games. As disappointing as this was, we got to see a bunch of new prospects. Promising flashes from players like Jose Miranda and Nick Gordon had us itching for 2023. Now that opening day is less than 60 days away, here are some realistic player goals for some Twins Hitters. 
    Byron Buxton 
    Buxton’s career has always been riddled with health questions. He has played in over 100 games once, and that was back in 2018 when he played 140 games. The results were favorable as he won the Gold Glove and stole 28 bases. Last year we saw the best year of Buxton’s career, as he was named an AL All-Star, had a 138 OPS+, and actually gained some national recognition. The problem? He played in 92 games. If Buxton stays healthy, he is a consensus top-10 player and a huge part of the Twins' success.
    Goals: Show you can stay healthy and play in 120 games, 80 of them in CF. Maintain an OPS of over .800 and hit 30 home runs.

    Carlos Correa 
    The Twins signed Correa to essentially a one-year contract last offseason, and expectations were set high. Correa struggled in the first two months, posting a .633 OPS. Was it the cold? The new home and clubhouse? Just a random bad stretch? Who knows, but he quickly recovered and played like a high-level All-Star for the rest of the season. Now that Correa is here long term, he should be one of the ultimate factors to the Twins success not only this year but in the next five.
    Goals: Prove that you are worth over 30 million. Finish top 10 in MVP voting and be a finalist for Gold Glove. Help develop and mentor young guys like; Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Brooks Lee, and Edouard Julien.
    Jose Miranda 
    Although he was never a top-of-the-line prospect, Miranda had a lot of excitement last year after his breakout 2021 season. Miranda was called up in May and, well, let’s just say he struggled. He posted a .532 OPS and eventually got sent back down to AAA. When he got another shot in June, he didn’t put it to waste. Miranda impressed in June, then impressed even more in July, and remained a steady anchor for the Twins lineup for the rest of the year. Miranda showed very promising flashes in 2022 and if he continues to develop, he should be a core part of this franchise for years to come. 
    Goals: Show that you can stay at the hot corner. Prove yourself as a 4-5 hitter in the lineup and post a .780 OPS.
    Alex Kirilloff
    The former first-round pick had a lot of questions heading into the 2022 season. Will he stay healthy? The ultimate answer was no. Kirilloff has had constant injury issues, specifically ones with his wrist. If AK can stay healthy, he can cement himself as a key piece into the unproven Twins outfield. 
    Goals: Prove that your wrist won’t be an issue in the future. Play in 100 games this year and prove that you have your power back by hitting 15 home runs. Post an OPS of over .780 and show that you belong in the future of this team.

    Joey Gallo 
    Joey Gallo was a star in Arlington, and he didn’t start to decline until his trade to New York. Some blame it on the pressure of a big market team. If this is true, Gallo could have a huge comeback season. So far, it seems like Gallo is enjoying Minnesota. If he can control his strikeouts and utilize the shift ban, he can be put back on the map for MLB stars.
    Goals: Be the person you were in Texas. Be flexible on defense as you may see some 1B. Maintain a .200 average, have an OPS+ of over 100, and hit 30 Home Runs.
    Nick Gordon 
    Gordon was almost forgotten about as a prospect as some major injuries derailed him from stardom. Once a top prospect, he had a ton of upside, especially with his speed. Gordon got a ton of opportunities all over the field and proved himself clutch late in the season. Now with a guaranteed shot in the big leagues, Gordon finds himself with an opportunity to become a full-time big league player. 
    Goals: Keep your OPS+ above league average and steal 10 bases. Prove to be more level at the plate: raise your BB% and try to minimize your strikeouts.
    Royce Lewis 
    Lewis was the first overall pick for the Minnesota Twins back in 2017. Lewis thrived until his 2019 season when he had his first down year. He rebounded winning AFL MVP in late 2019. Due to the canceled 2020 MiLB season and an ACL tear in 2021, Lewis had to be sidelined for two years. Finally getting back on the field in 2022, Lewis Dazzled in AAA and got a call-up. He rocketed past his expectations and looked like that first overall pick that we had seen prior. After suffering his second ACL tear in two years, Lewis is set to come back sometime in the mid-summer and has a chance to prove himself as a big-league player. 
    Goals: Stay healthy through the 2023 season. Show that your 2022 stint wasn’t a fluke. Have an OPS+ over league average and a positive OAA. Show that you still have your speed and steal at least five bases.
    These goals may be a bit aggressive, but I feel like these players have a lot to prove in 2023. Correa said he wanted to build a dynasty in Minnesota, and these players get to decide if that comes true this season.
    This is my first blog post with Twins Daily, so please give some feedback! Keep your eyes peeled for 2023 Pitcher Goals. Thank you!
  3. Like
    IndyTwinsFan reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, 2022 Twins--What Went Wrong and How to Fix It   
    Some time after the All-Star break, I was pondering how the Twins could fit all of their quality major league position players on the active roster. A few weeks later, baseball immortals Mark Contreras and Caleb Hamilton were on the big club. Fast forward to a crucial five-game series in Cleveland and the Twins were starting Bailey Ober, Josh Winder (both coming off injuries) and having Louie Varland make his second major league start and Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino were considered regular starters. The season unraveled quickly and now the Twins look likely to finish below .500 and in third place in the weak AL Central. How did it happen? I have several answers--there have been enduring issues all year exacerbated by a rash of injuries, most of them season-ending. 
    Offense underperformed almost all year. Going back to the start of the season, after a rocky first couple of weeks, the Twins offense was sufficient to win a lot of game despite never scoring runs commensurate with their underlying numbers. Right now, the Twins are 18th in runs scored despite being 11th in OPS and 12th in homers. They have often been futile with runners in scoring position and they have been a terrible running bases as a team. I have seen many posters state that the team is terrible at fundamentals. I would submit that all teams draw their fans ire for not advancing runners and "beating the shift". Part of these problems is the way the Twins are built. They lack team speed and their is a lot of swing and miss in their collective game. With the changes made to limit homers, the Twins (IMHO) have suffered disproportionately. 
    Pitching regressed after overperforming early. The Twins seized first place in late April and held on to the top spot for most of the season bolstered by a pitching staff that performed better than expected. Despite seemingly having at least one and usually two or more guys in their rotation that were locks to go no more than five innings, they won a lot of games and obvious weaknesses at the back end of the bullpen were not evident in the win-loss record. Things unraveled here in slow motion. The failure of anyone but Jhoan Duran in late innings cost games (particularly to Cleveland). The extra innings assigned to the bullpen showed the lack of depth that so many short starts demanded. Back to statistics--the Twins currently are right in the middle of total runs allowed stats. Underlying stats (WHIP, Opponents BA and OPS and BB and K numbers) come out slightly below the mean. I think team defense has been slightly better than average, which has helped keep runs allowed acceptable. 
    Injuries (oh my!). The Twins lead the AL in total man-games on the Injured List. They went into the season with one player slated to miss time, so it isn't like there were a bunch of players already on the IL. Some of the injuries could be expected and put on the front office. The Twins obtained several pitchers with injury issues and this season have come up snake eyes with most of them missing significant time. 
    There have been plenty of position player injuries as well. Regular players Ryan Jeffers, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler have all missed significant portions of the season. Carlos Correa also missed over 20 games with COVID and a badly bruised finger. We all know Buxton hasn't made it through a season without spending time on the IL. The other guys would figure to be healthier than they have this year. 
    Dick Bremer characterized the Twins as developing a "slow leak" from June through August. The leak has been accelerated in the month of September and injuries are a factor in that. That said, even without the injuries, the Twins' flaws probably were too big to win the division. The club exhausted their depth and seeing Jermaine Palacios, Mark Contreras, Caleb Hamilton, Sandy Leon, Aaron Sanchez, and (second half) Devin Smeltzer "perform" in key situations just shows that the Twins have scraped bottom.
    I think some roster turnover is necessary. Among the position players, they need more guys who make contact, are better base runners and who have more speed. They need more left-right balance in corner outfielders. The front office needs to adjust their focus and bring in more durable players. It should be noted that the position players they brought in (Urshela, Sanchez and Correa) have been basically healthy. The problem has been with the pitchers. 
    I think there is too much talent to tear it down. If the club fails to compete next year, it is probably time to try something else, starting at the top. It won't be easy to win the Central next year, but there needs to be significant progress and better health.
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