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  1. Haha
    chpettit19 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Lawyers Agree: Twins, Vikings Monday Games Were Cruel, Unusual.   
    Minnesota sports fans had to endure a long, 5-game weekend of dreadful Twins baseball, one that essentially zapped the squad's dwindling playoff hopes. After Monday afternoon’s 11-4 beatdown, anyone seeking solace from the Minnesota Vikings were met with a humiliating 24-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
    Now, some local attorneys are fighting back.
    “It’s outrageous that we just let the billionaires of Major League Baseball and National Football League schedule these games on the same day,” said Jacob Moynahan, a junior partner at Frederickson & Byron. “The foreseeable emotional damage this day would impart on innocent taxpayers and their guileless, doe-eyed children was avoidable. They simply chose to ignore it.”
    Meyer is just one of the lawyers filing a class-action lawsuit against MLB, the NFL, Bally Sports North, and ESPN on behalf of Twins fans, Vikings fans, and anyone who was at a Buffalo Wild Wings for Boneless Wing Mondays and was exposed to the broadcasts.
    “The Twins going into Cleveland with their season on the line is traditionally a bad idea,” said Robin Sherman, an attorney with Faegre Drinker. “The names ‘Ron Davis’ and ‘Jamie Quirk’ are burned into our collective memory, the trauma passed down from generation to generation.”
    “You send the baseball team to Cleveland in mid-September,” said Moynahan. “Then you add Monday Night Kirk (a reference to Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins, whose performance in nationally televised games is often compared to watching your first childhood pet die from loneliness) to the mix? Malice. Negligence. High crimes.”
    Sherman says they’re seeking damages in the millions of dollars.
    “They say you can’t put a price tag on suffering,” said Sherman. “They also say the AL Central was an easy division to win, or that the Vikings turned a corner after whipping the Packers in Week 1. They say a lot of things. We demand compensation. We demand to be heard. We demand a Monday where we can watch Wheel of Fortune and get a good night’s sleep, where the sadness won’t find us.”
    MLB, the NFL, the Twins, and the Vikings did not return calls seeking comment.
  2. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Twins Facing a Shakeup Without Massive 2023   
    Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over the Minnesota Twins front office six seasons ago. 2023 will be year seven. In that timeframe the club has been to the postseason three times while winning two AL Central division titles. There’s certainly some success there, but ultimately it comes with an 0-6 record in the postseason, which has accounted for one-third of the 0-18 futility during October.
    There’s only a partial pass for the Twins to be had in 2022. The injuries were significant. 37 pitchers have been used for the first time in franchise history. Byron Buxton played injured from the jump, and time was missed by Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Max Kepler, and Jorge Polanco. All those things are fair to suggest that plenty has been working against Rocco Baldelli and his bosses. It’s also time to realize there’s no more room for error or excuses.
    It’s safe to say that the front office, and the manager, aren’t looking for a pass. Both those in the clubhouse and those employing it are looking for a way to create a sustainable winner for the future. Falvey was brought in to develop a pitching pipeline similar to that of Cleveland. Levine is a smart general manager who has made some shrewd moves. Baldelli can run a clubhouse and has orchestrated difficult decisions. For all the good each party has done, the results now have to follow.
    In year seven the Twins won’t, and shouldn’t be given the benefit of doubt. 2022 saw a franchise-high payroll that included the signing of superstar shortstop Carlos Correa. He fell into Minnesota’s lap and is likely gone over the offseason. It will be on the front office to appropriately name his replacement, and find ways to use that money. Plenty of the roster is penciled but almost all of it carries some level of uncertainty as to availability or expectation.
    There’s no more room for acquisitions like Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer. Every offseason addition has to be made under the premise of creating the best roster possible, with nothing added just to fill the fringes. Management can’t dictate any more reclamation projects to play a substantial role, and when something doesn’t work similar to Emilio Pagan this season, the plug has to be pulled.
    It’s more than fair to understand those running the Twins are an incredibly smart group with very good ideas. Both rooted in analytical outcomes and results based decision making, there’s probably never been a better group across the board. Ultimately though, the only thing that matters is the wins and losses, and they haven’t had enough of them.
    Over the winter the front office and coaching staff will need to find ways to improve internally. That will mean staffers being replaced, coaches being changed out, and developmental areas being addressed. This should be the last go-round for the collective as a whole, and there’s no excuse to forgo bringing in fresh faces to help reach the ultimate goal.
    There’s plenty of argument to be made that 2022 was never seen as the year to go “all in.” The trade deadline was navigated with a focus on the now, but a vision to the future as well. Fast forwarding to Opening Day 2023 and the future becomes now, with no more room for missteps. It’s time to come through on the vision, or change it entirely.
  3. Sad
    chpettit19 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, In the End, the 2022 Twins Never Stood a Chance   
    The purpose of this article is try and lay out, in no uncertain terms, the insurmountable magnitude of injuries and medical odysseys to which this year's Twins roster has been subjected. There are worthwhile conversations to be had about the way this team is managing players physically, evaluating new acquisitions, and handling rehab plans. But let's take a step back. 
    When you acknowledge that, to a large degree, injury rates and recoveries are driven by luck and uncontrollable forces, I don't see much of a case for holding the manager or even the front office primarily accountable for what's gone down this season. 
    There's no planning for, or adapting, to the way injuries have impacted this roster. There's no managing a bunch of backups and fourth-string options to sustained contention. 
    I recognize this is very unsatisfying for those who demand accountability and want to see heads roll in the wake of such a disappointing turn of events. But when you remove emotion and try to see the situation objectively, I'm not sure how much more you could expect from the execs and decision makers dealt an unwinnable hand. 
    Could they have done certain things better? Of course. Was it going to turn the unstoppable tide that has plunged this ship asunder? No.
    This side-by-side comparison of the injured lists for Cleveland and Minnesota, here in the heart of the stretch run, kind of says it all. Sixteen Twins players on IL, including several vital cornerstones, compared to three Guardians. How do you realistically overcome that?
    Let's review all these injuries that have torpedoed a promising season, and the context behind them. I've tried to order them from most devastating to least. 
    Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff.
    When people talk about the 2022 season and what's gone wrong, I feel like this calamity gets glossed over way too much. To me, it is the '1A' headline for all the team's unmet potential. This horrible twist of fate is what I would categorize as unthinkably disastrous.
    Lewis and Kirilloff are two of the most important assets for this franchise. (I ranked them #3 and #4 during the offseason, behind Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco – also both currently on IL.) They are at the ages and junctures of development where you'd expect them to start making a real impact the major-league level, and both showed that ability in brief flashes this year.
    However, both of their seasons were ended in premature fashion. And in BOTH cases, major surgery was required to address the SAME injury that knocked them out for the previous season. (Did I mention this is essentially the third straight lost season for both?)
    Kirilloff's wrist surgery from last year didn't take, so now he's undergone a more invasive, last-ditch operation to try and alleviate the debilitating issue. Lewis, during his first game back in what appeared to be a permanent call-up, tore the very same ACL he had reconstructive surgery on last year.
    You can't make this stuff up. And what's most crushing about it all is that both of these absolutely critical players will inevitably be shrouded in doubt going forward. 
    Can Lewis rebound from a second straight surgery on the same knee, especially when his game is founded on agility and foot speed? 
    Will this somewhat experimental surgery for Kirilloff correct a problem that's been plaguing him for years now, sapping his most elite skill? 
    Realistically, it's hard to feel much assurance on either front, and for that reason it's hard to feel optimistic about the Twins' immediate future. It really can't be overstated how disruptive these unforeseeable developments are for a front office trying to build a championship.
    Tyler Mahle and Chris Paddack.
    We all understand that Mahle and Paddack came with known injury risk to varying degrees. At the same time, so do a lot of trades. You've got to believe a club carefully reviews medicals and gains a level of comfort before pulling the trigger on significant deals like these ones. Yeah, it's easy to scream "incompetence" in hindsight. Too easy. There are a lot of top-of-field experts involved in these decisions.
    Maybe, taking each player on his own, it shouldn't be all that surprising that Mahle or Paddack succumbed to (likely) season-ending arm injuries. 
    But for both to do so? And not only that, but for it happen SO quickly in both cases? Paddack made it to his fifth start before his partially torn UCL gave way, requiring elbow surgery. Mahle lasted only three before his velocity nosedived and a mysterious shoulder injury threatened to end his campaign.
    A combination of worst-case injury scenarios. Of course. And it really hurts, because the talent evaluation in both cases was sound. I genuinely believe that if healthy these would be the Twins' two best starters. Alas, much like Lewis and Kirilloff, their uncertain futures complicate the front office's planning going forward.
    Paddack will be coming back from a second Tommy John surgery. Who knows what's going on with Mahle but it seems impossible we'll go into the offseason feeling confident about his shoulder, with one year of team control left.
    Byron Buxton.
    Look, we know injuries for Buxton have to be expected and accounted for. They're baked into his legacy, and his new contract. Still, this year the gravity of his durability issues came into sharper focus than ever, primarily because it constitutes a "healthy" season for Buxton. 
    He's already made the second-most plate appearances of his career. He avoided the injured list until August. He still might get to 100 games!
    And yet, that old injury phantom has conspicuously followed Buxton all year, ever since he came up slamming his hand into the dirt at Fenway one week in. Despite his mightiest efforts, he couldn't outrun his eternal tormentor, and now this season is wrapping up like so many before it: Buxton on the sidelines, watching his team fall short. 
    I guess the point of this blurb is not so much about the micro misfortune of injuries sabotaging another year for Buxton, but more an observation about his appropriateness as face of the franchise: 
    The Twins to lost their way into drafting one of the most talented, electric, special players in modern baseball history who also happens to be the (?) single-most injury prone at that level.
    Ryan Jeffers and Trevor Larnach.
    I group these two together because while neither injury was totally unforeseeable – catchers get hurt a lot by nature, and Larnach was also sidelined for much of last year – they definitely qualify as bad luck, and both absences led to huge drop-offs in terms of backup plans.
    Jeffers was having a reasonably solid season before suffering a thumb fracture in mid-July, which may cost him his entire second half. Larnach developed a sports hernia requiring surgery in mid-June, and still hasn't made it back yet. In both cases, the path to returning has arduously dragged well beyond original estimates, and continues to do so – another unfortunate commonality.
    With Jeffers sidelined, the Twins were left at catcher with the husk of Gary Sánchez and trade acquisition Sandy León, who'd been toiling in the minors for Cleveland. It's been ugly, much like the outfield in the absence of Larnach, Kirilloff and Buxton.
    Bailey Ober and Josh Winder.
    Winder is no longer on the injured list, but I view him much as the same as Ober: a homegrown talent, 25 years old and coming off a great season, clearly a core part of the Twins pitching plans. Granted, they both had their own warning labels coming into this season, but no clear red flags. 
    As it turns out, both will end up maxing out around 50 innings pitched in the majors – big setback seasons for developing pitchers who will now be challenged to rebuild their workloads once again. In each case, the injury seems not well understood. Ober went down with a groin injury first framed as minor that never seemed to heal. Winder's had recurring bouts with an impinged, but structurally sound, shoulder dating back to last year.
    On their own, these are losses you could withstand, which is why they're relatively low on this list. But combined with all of the above? Getting almost nothing from Ober, or Winder, or Paddack, or their marquee deadline acquisition Mahle? How do you cobble together a decent rotation through all of that?
    The only Twins starting pitchers that have truly managed to stay healthy are the guys they signed cheaply to fill the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. 
    Jorgé Alcala and Matt Canterino.
    These two are lumped as high-upside relievers who could have had transformative impacts on the Twins bullpen, but instead fell victim to essentially worst-case scenarios with their elbows. Alcala missed all of this season; Canterino never made it to the majors and will likely miss all of the next one.
    Maybe these blows would've been easier to sustain if some of the relief contingency plans held up. However...
    Danny Coulombe, Cody Stashak, and Jhon Romero.
    None of these three were projected to be pivotal late-inning weapons, but they were all viewed as important parts of the depth mix. Coulombe and Romero were on the Opening Day roster, and Stashak a late cut. All suffered season-ending injuries early on. 
    Kenta Maeda and Randy Dobnak.
    I have these two at the bottom because, unlike everyone above, no one realistically expected much out of them this year. But it would have been nice to get something, *anything* from either. Both have been derailed so much for both that it's easy to forget that, coming out of the 2020 season, we were envisioning each as key long-term pieces for the pitching staff.
    You can look back now and say, "Well the front office shouldn't have been planning around these guys." Or they shouldn't have traded for Paddack or Mahle and the associated risk. Or they shouldn't have committed to Buxton as a centerpiece, or they should have better medical personnel and training philosophies, and so on.
    There may be truth to these things. But you bet on players you like, and you accept a certain amount of risk. Otherwise, you end up where the previous front office was for so long, treading water in a pointless middle ground.
    At the end of the day, injuries happen. They're never as predictable or controllable or correctable as people want to believe. Sadly, this scourge has been especially prevalent for the Twins and, more sadly, a lot of these health woes are going to carry forward in terms of their implications.
    I firmly believe the front office built a team capable of winning the division this year, and Rocco Baldelli was the guy to lead that group. For a while, it was all coming together as planned. 
    Unfortunately, the current team barely resembles what was built.
  4. Sad
    chpettit19 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Week in Review: Death Spiral   
    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/5 through Sun, 9/11
    Record Last Week: 1-6 (Overall: 69-70)
    Run Differential Last Week: -15 (Overall: +13)
    Standing: 3rd Place in AL Central (4.5 GB)
    Last Week's Game Results:
    Game 133 | NYY 5, MIN 2: Homers from Marwin, Judge Sink Twins
    Game 134 | NYY 5, MIN 4: Offense Stymied by Yankees Bullpen
    Game 135 | NYY 7, MIN 1: Nothing Left in the Tank for the Nightcap
    Game 136 | MIN 4, NYY 3: Twins Finally Scrape Out a Win in NYC
    Game 137 | CLE 7, MIN 6: Late Rally Can't Overcome Bad Bundy
    Game 138 | CLE 6, MIN 4: Another Early Hole Proves Too Deep
    Game 139 | CLE 4, MIN 1: Overmatched Twins Go Quietly in Sweep
    A week ago the Twins found themselves precariously perched atop the division. "While they're still tied for first out of sheer circumstance" I wrote in the lede, "this team is not in a good place."
    Boy, that was putting it mildly. Seven long days later, the Twins are now below .500 and buried in third place. Their chances of making the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight, have sunk to 8 percent.
    The past week saw a lot of roster movement on the pitching staff, with the usual drumbeat of churn and burn remaining steady here as the end draws near. A quick rundown:
    Cole Sands was activated from his injured list stint on Thursday, supplanting Austin Davis from the roster. In fact, Davis was designated for assignment, one day after giving up three runs on four walks in one inning against the Yankees. Another brilliant waiver pickup by this front office. Speaking of waiver pickups, right-hander Jake Jewell – claimed from Cleveland in mid-August – was outrighted from the 40-man roster. He never got a chance with the Twins. STILL speaking of waiver pickups, Jharel Cotton will likely get another chance with the Twins, having been re-added to the 40-man and active rosters. Minnesota needed the additional pitching depth with Chris Archer landing on the IL due to pectoral tightness that forced him out of Saturday's game.  In slightly positive news, the Twins did get Josh Winder back following his time spent on the IL, rehabbing, and then at Triple-A. He gave up a couple of solo homers but mostly looked solid in his return to action. Sands was optioned to make room for Winder.
    Louie Varland, take a bow.
    The reigning Twins minor league pitcher of the year was called upon for his big-league debut in the toughest of circumstances on Wednesday: at Yankee Stadium, against an eternal franchise tormentor, in the midst of a tight pennant race. Despite the immense pressure, Varland came through in flying colors, allowing just one run through five innings before being pulled midway through the sixth.
    The runner he left behind scored on a home run off Griffin Jax, so Varland finished with this nevertheless brilliant line: 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K. He returned to the minors later that day, having been called up as a 29th man for the doubleheader, but we'll presumably see the right-hander again soon.
    Varland's arrival will go down as a signature moment in this season, but likely one that came too little and too late from a team contention perspective. The same can be said about Carlos Correa emerging at last with the game-changing clutch hits we've all been waiting for. 
    The shortstop was instrumental in securing a single victory at Yankee Stadium, with his two-out, two-run homer in the eighth inning on Thursday proving to make the difference in a 4-3 win. The following night, Correa went 4-for-5 with four RBIs in trying (futilely) to will the team past Cleveland.
    Sadly, because Correa's teammates have done so little to support the cause, his September heroics will likely end up doing more to stoke his impending free agent market than thrust the Twins back into contention.
    If the previous weekend's 13-0 dismantling in Chicago was the lowlight of the entire season – and I'd argue it was – Tuesday's tragic mess in New York has to be a close runner-up. 
    Despite getting a brilliant start from Varland in his debut, and taking a 3-0 early lead, and throwing all of their best relievers, and having endless opportunities to break the game open ... the Twins fell in 12 innings. Their absolute lack of fortitude was as glaring as it has been all year. 
    It really felt like the Yankees didn't even care much to win the game, trotting out a backup-filled lineup and lower-caliber arms, while the Twins were furiously throwing everything they had – their six best relievers, pinch-runners, pinch-hitters – and still they couldn't find a way to squeak it out.
    Max Kepler, who struck out looking as a pinch-hitter with two outs and two on in the eighth that night, has been completely ineffective for several months, and it snowballed last week as he battled through a hip injury that ultimately shut him down on Sunday. Kepler struck out in two of his three pinch-hit appearances and popped out behind the plate in another. On Saturday he hit cleanup and went 0-for-5.
    With their season rapidly slipping away and so many key fixtures sidelined, the Twins have been desperate for Kepler to step up – left with no choice but to write him into the middle of their decimated lineup against right-handed pitchers. Kepler has done the opposite of answering the call, with the worst WPA on the team since August 1st. It's not lost on me that he's been playing through things physically, but those excuses feel empty for a player whose unwavering, deeply flawed approach keeps him endlessly bound to mediocrity, while those around him grow and progress. 
    Maybe the new rules limiting defensive shifts in 2023 will prove to be a salve for Kepler's long-stagnating game. To be honest I'm not super interested in finding out. 
    Kepler contributed to a roundly horrible performance from the Twins' beleaguered outfield in another sparse offensive week that saw the club score more than four runs just once in seven games:
    Kyle Garlick, also playing through pain while being forced into more action against righties than anyone would like, went 3-for-24 with 11 strikeouts. Zero walks, zero extra-base hits, zero RBIs. Like Kepler, he probably shouldn't even be on the field. Jake Cave's moment as catalyst and hype man proved short-lived. He managed a double and two singles in 23 at-bats. Gilbert Celestino produced four singles in 19 at-bats. His OPS has cratered to a season-low .623 as he's ceased to present any kind of meaningful threat at the plate. In an ideal world he'd be learning how to hit in Triple-A. With the exception of Varland, pitching was really no better over the past week, surrendering 37 runs and 13 homers in seven games. You of course had the expected lapses from Dylan Bundy (4.2 IP, 7 ER vs. CLE) and Archer (2 ER allowed in 2 IP before exiting Saturday's game). Other struggles were more concerning – like those of Jorge López, continuing to exhibit shaky confidence and command ever since being acquired, as well as the rookie starter they hoped to entrench as a rotation cornerstone.
    Almost every time he faces a lineup with power, we're reminded why the prospect of Joe Ryan starting a playoff game is so foreboding. That's becoming less of an immediate concern, but still, the Twins will be positioned to depend heavily on Ryan again in 2023, with Tyler Mahle in total limbo, Chris Paddack rehabbing into the season, and Kenta Maeda returning from a lost season at age 35. 
    Wednesday night's game typified the new norm for Ryan, who nibbled around the zone and issued four walks before (former Twin!) Isiah Kiner-Falefa – owner of a .328 slugging percentage coming into the game – delivered a back-breaking grand slam in the fourth inning on a first pitch that must've looked like a beach ball. 
    After looking so cool, collected, and in control early on, Ryan now seems to be on the defensive more often than not, trying keep hitters off his low-90s fastball with secondary stuff that just hasn't been very effective.
    In the first two months Ryan posted a 2.28 ERA with three home runs allowed in eight starts (0.6 HR/9). Since the start of June, he has a 5.01 ERA with 17 home runs allowed in 15 starts (1.9 HR/9).
    That's a trend that has reflected the team at large: strong front-runners early on, progressively running out of steam to the point where they now barely look competitive against quality opponents. There's technically time left to turn it around, but why would anyone believe?
    Trailing by 4 ½ games in the AL Central with 23 left to play, the Twins are mathematically still alive, and they actually have a path to making up rapid ground with 11 games in those remaining 23 against the two teams ahead of them. 
    Given the current state of the team, it feels nigh impossible to envision such a turn of fate, but stranger things have happened. For what it's worth, there is still a possibility of the roster getting a bit stronger during these last few weeks. Winder looked decent in his return on Sunday. Bailey Ober rejoining the rotation is imminent after a 66-pitch rehab tune-up at St. Paul on Sunday. 
    Jorge Polanco should be back this week. Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers and Byron Buxton are all still ostensibly expected to return before year's end, although time is running out for them to make any kind of meaningful impact. 
    As poorly as they've played, and as fatal as the past week might've felt to any lingering hopes for the Twins, there's a pretty feasible scenario that gets them back within striking distance in the next eight days: 
    Twins sweep the Royals at home. Cleveland drops two of three at home against the Angels while the White Sox split a home two-game series against Colorado. White Sox beat Guardians in a makeup game on Thursday. Twins take four of five from Guardians in Cleveland, while White Sox lose two of three in Detroit. It's a series of events that would leave the division looking like this with a little over two weeks to go:
    1st: CWS: 75-71 1st: MIN: 75-71 3rd: CLE: 75-72 (0.5 GB) This would put the Twins in front of Cleveland and tied with Chicago, still holding six head-to-head matchups against the latter. Of course, you might tell me it's not especially feasible for Minnesota to pull this off, given how they've looked, and I'd agree. But the fact remains that the opportunity is still there. Even if you picture a slightly less rosy scenario, it's not unthinkable the Twins are somehow in the thick of it a week from now. Which is incredible to think about.
    TUESDAY, 9/13: ROYALS @ TWINS – LHP Kris Bubic v. RHP Joe Ryan
    WEDNESDAY, 9/14: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Zack Greinke v. RHP Sonny Gray
    THURSDAY, 9/15: ROYALS @ TWINS – LHP Daniel Lynch v. RHP Dylan Bundy
    FRIDAY, 9/16: TWINS @ GUARDIANS – TBD v. RHP Shane Bieber
    SATURDAY, 9/17 (G1): TWINS @ GUARDIANS – TBD v. LHP Konnor Pilkington
    SUNDAY, 9/18: TWINS @ GUARDIANS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Cody Morris
  5. Yikes
    chpettit19 reacted to TwinsData for an article, Twins Tidbit: Results Against the Best Teams in the League   
    The above graph plots the results for every major league team against the five opponents currently on pace for more than 95 wins: Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, Braves, and Mets. The x-axis is win percentage in those games and the y-axis is run difference per game. A few notes:
    The Twins were far and away the worst team in the league against this set of teams with a 0.11 win percentage, going 2-16. Those losses were well-earned, with an average run difference of -3.67. In-division foes Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City, and the White Sox will have played an almost identical schedule to the Twins, so comparisons between them are particularly appropriate. Even the lowly Tigers and gutted Royals have outperformed the Twins against the class of the league. The Twins' current deficit in the division can be attributed to their performance in these games. By contrast to the Twins' 2-16, the Guardians are a respectable 6-10 and the White Sox are 7-10. A similar performance from the hometown nine would have the Twins comfortably in first place in the AL Central. Luckily, none of the power five are divisional foes, so the Twins will still have a chance to squeak into the playoffs. We are all hoping for another shot at the Yankees or Astros in October. Right?
  6. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Short Starts Are Not a Minnesota Twins Thing   
    At the Major League Baseball level, most things are about the process working to dictate ideal results. Whether you view the concept of analytics as annoying or not, the reality is that they represent an application of information. When it comes to pitching, hitting, or virtually anything else on a baseball diamond, results are calculated by statistics derived from outcomes.
    Every time that Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli steps onto the field and travels to the pitching mound hand-wringing ensues. Of course this is often because the removal of a starting pitcher is happening in the 5th inning or earlier. It’s not something done on gut feeling or through a knee-jerk reaction, but instead a reflection of what makes sense based on actual results.
    Four pitchers have made the vast majority of starts for the Twins this season. Among them, Sonny Gray is the only one you would even consider for a top spot or two in a good rotation. Joe Ryan, while flashing signs of solid stuff, more closely resembles a number three or four pitcher. He’s been pulverized by teams above .500 all season long, and while that’s to be expected given his age and exposure, it doesn’t excuse the reality.
    I have been vocal in that Dylan Bundy seems to be found value for Minnesota considering his output in spite of the predictive metrics. He is going to regress. Everything about his outcomes suggests regression will hit him hard. What the Twins have done is dance around having that reality smack them in the face to this point, and pitching him any more than he has would be playing with fire. Chris Archer is that fire that routinely burns both his manager and the bullpen beyond three or four innings. His stuff has been good, but the wheels fall off and things go awry.
    Asking pitchers to face a lineup more than two times is not a bad idea, in fact it’s one that should be welcomed. In operating that way however, you need to have a stable of pitchers capable of completing that feat. There’s absolutely no argument to be made that the Twins had those arms when the season started, and now 36 pitchers into the year, they couldn’t be further from that being a possibility.
    If there’s criticism to be had, it’s towards Derek Falvey and Thad Levine in failing to adequately supplement their starting staff. Major League Baseball as a whole has trended towards shorter starts for quite some time. Through the first handful of months this season, the average start was lower than five innings for the first time in history. With that reality, you’re effectively asking managers to massage a bullpen for something like four innings on any given night. That requires both high-end arms, as well as solid depth.
    Minnesota had no arms capable of going deep into games when the season started, and their answer to a bullpen needing supplemental capabilities was a 38-year-old sidearmer in the form of Joe Smith. It’s great that rookie Jhoan Duran has been amazing, but it’s also been absolutely necessary for the Twins to stay afloat. His win probability added leads the league because of the weight being carried on his shoulders, and Baldelli wasn’t provided any additional answers until August. Jorge Lopez has regressed, and Michael Fulmer has been mediocre. Yes, Griffin Jax is a nice development, and it’s great Caleb Thielbar returned from coaching Division 2 baseball, but what are we doing here?
    At the end of the day, the question as to why the Twins don’t allow starters to go deeper into ballgames really becomes why doesn’t Minnesota have better starting pitchers. It’s a process to develop arms, and very few will ever be a true ace. It’s also incredibly difficult to spend dollars on arms with 29 other teams vying for their services, and even less talent finding you desirable.
  7. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Ranking the 15 Most Important Twins Players for the Stretch Run   
    In order to beat out Cleveland (leading the division by one game entering Friday), and Chicago (trailing Minnesota by a game and a half), the Twins will need contributions from across the roster. But they'll really need their cornerstone stars to step up and lead the way. 
    I took a shot at ranking the 15 players who are most critical to the team's success in these final 46 games.
    1. Luis Arraez
    If the Twins are gonna win this thing, they need the offense to do the heavy lifting. Even in a best case scenario, the pitching staff will probably only be good enough to play a supporting role. Arraez is – as they say – the straw that stirs the drink. He might not be as explosive or electric as some others on this list, but he's been the most consistent hitter on the team all year long. Continuing to grind down opposing pitchers day in and day out will be paramount to the Twins playing consistent baseball. 
    2. Carlos Correa
    Is the best from Correa yet to come? That's what the Twins are banking on. Correa's been fairly underwhelming for much of the summer but we all know what he's capable of – it's been demonstrated time and time again. The past couple series have offered hopeful signs that the shortstop is beginning to catch fire; he went 8-for-19 against the Angels and Royals, although seven of those hits were singles, and we're still waiting on some big signature moments. Now is the time for Correa to make good on the front office's $35 million investment.
    3. Byron Buxton
    At full strength, Buxton would be atop this list, but the knee injury that has continually limited his performance and availability figures to be a reality the rest of the way. Buxton's impact is greatly reduced when he's hitting well as a DH as opposed to hitting amazingly as a center fielder. Even still, his elite power and clutchness will be vital. The Twins need him on the field as much as is reasonably possible. 
    4. Tyler Mahle
    The front office spent big to acquire Mahle at the deadline for a reason: they needed a frontline starter who could go toe-to-toe with high-octane lineups. The presence of a similar caliber starter in Sonny Gray somewhat lessens the importance of Mahle in isolation, but both are key, which is why they're right next to one another below the team's top stars. Needless to say, the outlook for Mahle's shoulder weighs heavily right now. 
    5. Sonny Gray
    Gray is arguably a slight step behind Mahle in terms of quality and upside, but they are more or less interchangeable, and about equally important on their own. If this analysis were extended into the postseason, where the impact of top starters is heightened, these two might be #1 and #2 on my list.
    6. José Miranda
    Some will surely argue that I've got Miranda too low. There's no doubt he's crucial to this lineup, and has been the offense's savior for the past couple months. But realistically, we've got to expect a bit of regression, and the team's dependence on Miranda will hopefully be lessened by the top three carrying the load, as well as bats like Trevor Larnach and Kyle Garlick potentially returning to the fold. 
    7. Jhoan Duran
    Another guy who would've ranked much higher on this list before the trade deadline, which speaks to why the front office's moves were so very necessary and so important. Duran remains the team's best reliever – and one of the best in the league – but the team's hopes are not quite so singularly hinging on his continued health and effectiveness with Jorge López and Michael Fulmer in the fold. 
    8. Jorge Polanco
    He's firmly fifth in the pecking order in terms of offensive contributors, but Polanco is a veteran fixture who's shown the ability to get hot and go on torrid runs to propel the offense. I'm not necessarily expecting one now, given that he's been steadily good-not-great this year and is currently dealing with a knee issue, but as a guy who will bat at the heart of the order everyday (if healthy), Polanco is obviously someone the Twins need to perform. 
    9. Jorge López
    Closers are critical during a stretch run. That's a lesson Twins fans have learned the hard way before. (Sorry LaTroy.) López has a unique ability to impact outcomes given his role, though I suspect Duran will routinely pitch in more decisive spots. Obviously López could totally derail things if he blows a few more saves, but the presence of other high-leverage options gives Rocco Baldelli a fallback should trust be shaken.
    10. Max Kepler
    This feels like a big moment for Kepler. He's been with the Twins for seven seasons. He's had his ups and downs, with some legit high points, but has been a complete zero in the postseason (0-for-15 in the 2019/20 ALDS). Following a good start this year, he's fallen into a dire midseason lull, slashing .199/.281/.290 since the end of May. Kepler could really put a new spin on his legacy here by flipping a switch and making a big positive difference the rest of the way. Of course, I don't expect it, based on his recent track record, and that's why he's 10th on this list despite his potential for two-way impact.
    11. Joe Ryan
    I've cooled quite a bit on Ryan, who has a 4.73 ERA/4.63 FIP since the end of April, and hasn't gotten through six innings in a start since July 1st. He's a mid-rotation starter with strikeout stuff and a propensity for giving up hard contact. The righty is clearly not on the same level as Mahle or Gray, but also a clear cut above Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer, making him integral to the rotation's sustainability – especially if Mahle has to miss time.
    12. Caleb Thielbar
    After seven appearances this year, Thielbar had a 15.19 ERA. It doesn't get much worse than that. Since then he has a 2.43 ERA and 51-to-11 K/BB ratio in 37 innings. It doesn't get much better than that. His last two appearances have demonstrated Thielbar's ability to play the fireman role, and right now he's got more trust than any Twins reliever not named Duran or López. He also brings the unique ability to neutralize lefty hitters, who have a .499 OPS against him this year.
    13. Michael Fulmer
    Fulmer is a very solid setup man, and having him fourth in your bullpen hierarchy is a major luxury. You've got to have guys who can reliably bridge the gap from the middle to late innings if you want to rattle off wins, and thus Fulmer's veteran stability is very valuable. 
    14. Griffin Jax 
    Everything stated about Fulmer above basically applies to Jax, except that he's a rookie who's been struggling lately. Given how much the Twins lean on their bullpen for innings, they simply need all of these relievers to get it done in the final weeks. One thing I really appreciate about the deadline deals is that they took some pressure off of Jax, who's still acclimating in his first year as a full-time reliever.
    15.  Nick Gordon
    Circumstances have pushed Gordon into an everyday role, more or less – and he's been capitalizing, with a .309/.356/.489 slash line since the start of July. That's as good as anyone could have reasonably expected from Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff, whose voids the fellow first-rounder has been left to fill. If he can keep doing so, he'll be an instrumental factor in the team's success.
  8. Haha
    chpettit19 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Slovenly Oaf Thinks Buxton Should Play Through Pain   
    As the Minnesota Twins closely monitor the condition of Byron Buxton’s knee, at least one fan thinks the whole situation has gone too far.
    “There’s a difference between hurt and injured, and sometimes you have to play hurt,” said Charlie Johnsrud, 54, a real slob. “I think the Twins know this, but they’re coddling him a little bit.”
    The Bloomington-based call center manager, who has called in sick to work because of a hangover twice in the last three months, claims it’s unusual for a team’s superstar to take so many days off.
    “I just think, given the financial commitment the team made to him, that he has to put his big boy pants on,” said the twice-divorced goon, who has a pair of sweatpants he calls “my going-out ones.”
    Johnsrud, who would drink the dipping sauce from Raising Cane’s out of a pint glass if people would just be cool about it, thinks Buxton’s patellar tendinitis is as mental as it is physical.
    “He’s had a ton of injuries in his career, so he’s probably paranoid,” said Johnsrud, whose unused Lifetime Fitness membership is entering its fourth year. “He needs to get out of his head and onto the field, just saying.”
    With the team out of first place for the first time in months, he thinks the urgency of the moment demands action.
    “When I threw out my back, I still had to go to work,” said Johnsrud, who actually took two weeks off to recuperate after his cat scared him while he was on the toilet. “Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. They need all hands on deck.”
    Johnsrud, who attacks a Culver’s ButterBurger with a ferocity not usually seen outside the animal kingdom, still considers himself a Buxton fan.
    “I love the guy, I even bought a Buxton jersey last year. When he’s healthy he’s a beast.”
    Johnsrud could not confirm if the significant stain on the jersey was ketchup or spaghetti sauce, but agreed that it looks like Germany.
  9. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Melissa Berman for an article, Fans Enjoy "Chillin' It" at Target Field's First-Ever Postgame Concert   
    Following the Twins' 9-2 series opener loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, the team hosted country music artist Cole Swindell. The vast majority of the game’s sellout crowd stuck around for the show, free for fans who had a ticket to the game. Fans who bought a special ticket package watched the concert from the infield dirt directly in front of the stage, located in the grass behind second base. Target Field staff set up flooring so that fans walking onto the field from the third baseline did not trample the grass, and fencing kept the fans off the infield and outfield grass. 
    To pull this concert off, staff had to spring into action moments after the last out. The Twins said the concert would start 15 minutes after the game.
    Almost immediately after the last pitch, the left field gate opened up, and out rolled a readymade stage. The Blue Jays bullpen was still walking across the field to leave when a grounds crew cart and a team of staff members began to move the stage across the field.
    Though the stage was pre-assembled and instruments like the drum set and keyboard were already sitting on top, stagehands had some more setup to do once the stage was actually in place. By the time the show started, it was 10:45 p.m., about 30 minutes after the game ended. The fans did not seem to mind. 
    Just as the Twins promised, Swindell played a 75-minute set, mixing in his older hits with newer ones from his most recent album “Stereotype,” which came out in April. He also played several songs he wrote for other artists, like Florida Georgia Line's "This Is How We Roll," which he co-wrote with country music artist Luke Bryan. Fans swayed and put their cell phone lights in the air when Swindell performed "You Should Be Here." Perhaps the biggest cheers of the night came when he played "Chillin' It," one of his top hits.

    Swindell joked to the crowd that even though he didn’t “make it in baseball,” he can "still play at baseball stadiums." He noted that this was his first time back at Target Field since he opened for country music star Kenny Chesney in 2015.
    Swindell's keyboard player, a Minneapolis-native according to Swindell, performed in a baby blue Kent Hrbek jersey.
    Twins Daily writer David Youngs watched the concert from the stands above the first baseline and appreciated the Twins' desire to bring new fans to the stadium.
     "I think it's great to see the Twins incorporate things outside of baseball to draw people to Target Field," Youngs said. “There is a historic relationship between baseball and country music, and it's great to see the Twins incorporate it."
    The postgame concert brought a couple of changes to the Twins game. The Twins kept the beer flowing for the entire game rather than ceasing alcohol sales in the 7th inning like a normal night. Fans erupted with cheers when the public address announcer relayed this to the crowd. Sales continued during the concert as well. Another noted change was that the Twins almost exclusively played country music during the game.
    Even though the game itself did not turn out in Twins fans’ favor, those who stuck around felt the concert more than made up for it.
    'I thought: 'there is going to be a save situation tonight: Cole Swindell is going to save the day and put on a great show for Twins Territory," Twins fan Jared Saue said.
    Several fans remarked that they hoped the Twins would host more postgame concerts in the future. They did not seem to mind that the concert took place on what for many is a work night. Though some fans trickled out during the show, most of the crowd stayed until end.
    After the show ended at the stroke of midnight, fans mingled in the concourse and took group pictures in the stands before dancing off into the Minneapolis summer night. 
    Did you stick around for the postgame concert? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below. 
  10. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Matt Braun for an article, This Trade Deadline Will Not Be a Simple Endeavor   
    Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: this is not a pre-emptive defense of the team if they fail to make a big splash; anyone who implies so in the comments will have their thinking privileges taken away. Pointing out the challenges of navigating the trade deadline in 2022 is not equal to offering consent for possible inaction.
    When we speak of trading for a player, it’s easy to allude vaguely to quality players, veterans on poor teams begging to find a more successful franchise to aid with their incredible skills. We look to the Nether, or the Upside-Down, and claim that Capable Reliever is sitting there, moping around on Bad Team, waiting for a Better Franchise to scoop them up. Yes, players like that exist on losing teams, but they must be specifically identified, not nebulously referred to.
    Finding that player is going to be harder this season; the extra wild card playoff spot ensures that the typical suspects—the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Dodgers—will have company as teams who otherwise never had a chance—those sitting around .500 looking at the third wild card spot—are now likely to enter the negotiation table as a buyer.
    It may not seem like a significant calculus change, but 17 teams either claim a playoff spot or sit no further than three games away from one; that’s a lopsided field. At the deadline in 2021, there were only 12 such franchises. Most teams in MLB should legitimately enter into trade negotiations, shooting up the value of the few coveted players on bad teams. It’s double jeopardy; each franchise that doesn’t sell will likely become one to buy. In a pool of 30 teams, each minor shift could drastically alter the deadline’s power balance.
    The Twins are in a bad spot for another reason: they’re basic. What pieces do they need the most? Starting and relief pitchers. What players do most buyers need every year? Starting and relief pitchers. When 10 teams want Tyler Mahle as well, you will have to part with much better prospects than you anticipated to deal; if the team plays as conservative as they have under this regime at past deadlines, they’ll end up with some bubblegum and a Wade Boggs rookie card. The aforementioned Mahle, Frankie Montas, and Luis Castillo; relievers like David Robertson, Scott Effross, and David Bednar; such players will be involved in enormous bidding wars, more so than usual. The Twins could easily find themselves with S*m D*s*n 2.0 if they are too careful.
    All of this—the messy trade deadline combined with a team needing reinforcements and a Carlos Correa contract drama that this article didn’t even touch on—must force the Twins’ hand and move them away from conservatism. If they repeat their strategy in 2019 and avoid pushing beyond comfort for the big splash, they’ll have no chance at acquiring the player talent they need; other teams will overwhelm them with competitive offers. 
    Will it happen? The front office proved capable of some genuinely chaotic moves when they dealt their recent first-round pick for Sonny Gray, then shocked baseball by swiping Carlos Correa up in free agency; signing Josh Donaldson and dealing a top prospect in Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda broke the mold as well. They may be working on an absurd deal as we wait.
    Until that trade bursts through to the public through a Jeff Passan tweet, we can only imagine the deals teams are discussing. The extra few legitimate buyers could alter the negotiations, upsetting the dynamic by limiting who is available to franchises looking to win. The Twins will need to continue acting aggressively, remembering that prospects often bust while flags fly forever.
  11. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Do the Twins Have Anything to Trade?   
    Now, to be completely fair, the Minnesota Twins farm system has plenty of talent. While the group may not be topping charts across the league as a whole, there’s a glut of future Major Leaguers within the ranks. The larger question here is to what extent are Minnesota’s prospects coveted by other organizations, and what can they realistically bring in return.
    That question is not easy because so many of the Twins top prospects have recently graduated. Jose Mirnada is thriving at the Major League level. Alex Kirilloff looks healthy and competitive. Gilberto Celestino may be near his ceiling, but it’s clear he’s a capable big-league outfielder. Trevor Larnach is currently hurt, but has flashed being an impact bat. There shouldn’t be any desire to trade Royce Lewis, and Jhoan Duran may wind up as Minnesota’s best rookie. The top of the farm system is now being coached by Rocco Baldelli.
    After recently updating my top 30 prospects following day one of the Major League Baseball Draft, each of Minnesota’s three picks has found their way into the group. I can’t imagine a scenario in which any of them are considered in a package right now, and that’s before considering the complications limiting any of them being moved.
    At the top of the group, you find Austin Martin. Looking to increase his power potential, Martin has changed his swing and approach this season. What was once a high-average hitter is a guy posting a .691 OPS and no longer a shortstop. He’s far too young to suggest this is a bust, but the prospect luster around him when acquired in exchange for Jose Berrios has worn a bit.
    Simeon Woods-Richardson has taken over for Jordan Balazovic as Minnesota’s top pitching prospect, but he’s currently on the injured list and his rebound has been just to the tune of 53 innings this season. Matt Canterino looks like he could be a dominant reliever, but there has to be a better string of health there. Speaking of Balazovic, he’s looked completely lost at Triple-A and couldn’t be dealt at a time where his value looks any lower.
    Realistically speaking, the first two names that come to mind when constructing a trade package are Spencer Steer and Matt Wallner. The former is following a path similar to that of Miranda last season and has done incredibly well at both Double and Triple-A. Steer should absolutely be a name that the Twins start conversations with, but I don’t know that a recent addition to the back half of top 100 lists will be enough of a building block to land a big-name starter like Frankie Montas.
    In Wallner, Minnesota has a better version of what Brent Rooker could have been. Wallner is a massive power bat that has made strides when it comes to controlling the strike zone. It will be interesting to see if he can keep that up while remaining at Triple-A, but there’s a saving grace in the outfield. Wallner isn’t exactly Max Kepler out there, but his massive arm provides plenty of assist opportunity. The Twins didn’t work him as a pitcher in pro ball, but that could be a fallback option for an acquiring team if need be.
    Ultimately I think it’s evident that Minnesota has the pieces to acquire just about any amount of relief help they need. On the starting front though, especially the big-name talents, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which prospects alone are enough to get a deal done.
  12. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Jamie Cameron for an article, 2022 MLB Draft Consensus Big Board, Part 2 (25-1 Overall)   
    I’ve been working on this project for Twins Daily for a long time. As part of our draft coverage this season, we are not releasing a ‘Top 50 Prospects’ piece. Instead, we’re going to do something different, that I hope will grow and evolve over time, a ‘Consensus Big Board’.

    If you missed it, here's a link to part 1 (prospects 56-26).
    What and Why?
    I’ve always enjoyed draft coverage and analysis, in all sports. Arif Hasan of The Athletic releases a consensus big board for the NFL Draft each year. The concept is simple, there’s value in consensus. Why rely on one set of rankings, or one big board, when you can rely on many? The consensus big board is simply an amalgamation of a few key industry sources on the MLB draft that will (hopefully) give more and greater insight into how prospects are viewed and the variance of those evaluations, a level of variance that is typically greater in MLB than in other major sports.
    As this is a first version of this process I kept things simple. I combined rankings from Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, ESPN (Kiley McDaniel), The Athletic (Keith Law), and Prospects Live to form a consensus top 56 prospects for the 2022 MLB draft. This is part two (prospects 25-1). I hope that this is a valuable resource for Twins fans and Twins Daily readers. Ultimately, I hope it is a useful resource for baseball fans of any team. If it’s well received, I plan on expanding the 2023 version to be a top 100 and include more sources. Additionally, I’d welcome any constructive feedback folks have, or simply to know whether you value this type of content.
    For each prospect, they are listed by name, position, then high school or college attended. Their listed age is their age on draft day (July 17th). Additionally, you’ll notice a ‘high’ and ‘low’ number. These indicate what was the highest position that player appeared in a ranking from the sources I used and what was the lowest, giving an idea of if the evaluations are clustered or if there is a greater range for that prospect. Finally, ties (there were only a few) were broken by median, then mode. If they were still tied after that, I averaged the middle two evaluations. There’s a brief write up of each player to try and give a flavor of what the strengths and areas of growth in their games, but the majority of the work was compiling the data that went into the rankings.
    Let’s get stuck in to part two.
    25. Carson Whisenhunt, LHP, East Carolina
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 17 Low: 40
    Evaluators were eagerly awaiting Whisenhunt’s 2022 season when he was ruled ineligible for the year after failing a drug test. Whisenhunt maintained the failed test was unintentional and due to supplements taken in the offseason. Whisenhunt has a fastball that sits between 92-95 mph and one of the best changeups in the draft (it generated close to 60% whiffs in 2021). Lastly, he has an average curveball and above average command. Whisenhunt has a polished skillset, with an elite off-speed pitch. Combine that with some projectability and its likely his name is called in the first round on July 17th.
    24. Sterlin Thompson, OF, Florida
    Age: 21 B/T: L/R
    High: 19 Low: 36
    Thompson is a 6’4 outfielder out of Florida who has shown a plus hit tool in his time with the Gators. Although he didn’t display obvious power, Thompson has a strong, line drive swing that could produce more power based on the size of his frame. Thompson has a good arm in the field and is likely destined for a corner outfield spot at the big league level. Thompson is a high floor, lower ceiling type prospect that makes sense at the back of the first round of beginning of the second.
    23. Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 17 Low: 37
    Prielipp looked destined to be a top ten overall pick before needing Tommy John surgery in 2021. With that out the way, Prelipp made his return and has thrown multiple bullpen sessions for evaluators in late spring. Prielipp boasts the type of arsenal that could make its way to the top 25 of global prospect lists. Two plus pitches, a good fastball and a devastating slider, an above average changeup and solid command. While he has a limited track record of pitching in games, Prielipp has the tools to become a frontline starting pitcher. He is one of the few pitchers the Twins have been linked to in the pre-draft process (along with Cade Horton). If the Twins want to gamble on a high upside arm, he should be available at eight.
    22. Gabriel Hughes, RHP, Gonzaga
    Age: 20 B/T: R/R 
    High: 22 Low: 30
    With a range of just eight in his evaluations across five major industry outlets, Hughes represents one of the most consistently evaluated college pitching prospects in this draft class. Hughes has the prototypical starting pitching body, at 6’4, 220 lbs. Hughes has a fastball that sits 93-94 mph but can reach 97 mph. He has a good but inconsistent slider that has the spin profile to become a plus pitch. Hughes also has a changeup that needs further development. There’s plenty of projectability here with a big frame and being just 20 years old on draft day. In a pretty thin class of college arms, Hughes is a safe bet to be a back of the rotation starter.
    21. Jordan Beck, OF, Tennessee
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 14 Low: 36
    Beck was a name evaluators linked to the Twins in early spring, connecting his profile to a player type the Derek Falvey led front office has often targeted in early rounds. Beck is a 6’3 outfielder with a strong athletic profile. He has good bat speed and generates good power, while having good speed for his size and a strong arm. The questions around Beck are rooted in his contact rates, as he can be overly aggressive at the plate. If his hit tool develops, Beck will be a very strong all around player and good value in the mid to late first round.
    20. Chase DeLauter, OF, James Madison
    Age: 20 B/T: L/L
    High: 15 Low: 35
    DeLauter was close to a consensus top ten pick for the majority of the spring (except Law) before slipping at the end of the season. DeLauter put up incredible numbers at James Madison, albeit against middling opposition. A broken foot ended his 2022 season after a solid start. If DeLauter hits, he profiles as a middle of the order, bat first outfielder. He has plus raw power, is a good athlete with solid speed, and should be a solid defensive corner outfielder. 
    19. Justin Crawford, Bishop Gorman HS, NV
    Age: 18 B/T: L/R
    High: 13 Low: 27
    Justin Crawford is the son of Carl, former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder, speedster, and former All Star. Unsurprisingly, Crawford’s tools are set of by 70-grade speed and a 60-grade arm. Crawford already has a good hit tool, with strong bat to ball skills and has begun to generate hard contact and drive the ball with more consistency. Crawford is committed to LSU, but the opportunity for him to be an outstanding defensive center fielder with the potential for his hitting to continue to develop make him a safe bet for the middle of the first round. Someone is buying.
    18. Drew Gilbert, OF, Tennessee 
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 11 Low: 32
    Minnesota represent. Stillwater’s own Drew Gilbert has rocketed up draft boards this spring due to his strong performance for an incredible Volunteers team. Although undersized at 5’9, he hit 10 home runs and 20 doubles in 54 games for the Vols and was consistently the best hitter on the best regular season team in the country. Gilbert doesn’t have a weak tool and doesn’t have an outstanding one either. Some evaluators are split on whether there is more projectability in his game due to his smaller size. There has been steam linking him to the Twins in recent weeks, but it may be little more than a home town connection. Gilbert is the kind of player opposition players hate playing against and opposing fans love to hate. He’s likely to be a mid first round selection.
    17. Cole Young, North Allegheny High School, PA
    Age: 18 B/T: L/R
    High: 12 Low: 33
    Pennsylvania is hardly a prep baseball hotbed. Alas, it produces one of the better high school prospects in the 2022 draft. Young’s plus tool currently is hit bat, with good contact skills. Young has a good enough arm and defense to remain at shortstop permanently, and has plenty of room and time to build on his already excellent hit tool. He is committed to Duke.
    16. Brandon Barriera, LHP, American Heritage High School, FL
    Age: 18 B/T: L/L
    High: 15 Low: 22
    Barriera is a high school prep arm to dream on. The Vanderbilt commit has a fastball the regularly touches 96 mph, a good slider with a ton of horizontal movement, and a solid changeup. Add already above average command, some remaining projectability and a remarkably tight cluster of evaluations for a prep pitcher (a range of 15-22) and Barriera has the upside of a mid-rotation starting pitcher, with an already fairly polished skillset.
    15. Jett Williams, SS/OF, Rockwall-Heath High School, TX
    Age: 18 B/T: S/R
    High: 11 Low: 21
    Williams is one of the smallest players in the entire draft class, but he packs some excellent tools into a small package. Williams has good bat speed, leading to an above average hit tool and room to grow into more power. Williams has good strike zone control and rarely swings and misses. He has plus speed (has to with that name!). If a team thinks he can stick at shortstop, his already advanced plate approach should have him drafted in the teens.
    14. Daniel Susac, C, Arizona
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 11 Low: 23
    Susac has been a prospect of interest to Twins Daily readers due to a lack of organizational depth at catcher. Susac is a draft eligible sophomore, just turned 21. Despite his large frame (6’4) he moves well, has a rocket of an arm, and should be at least an average defender behind the plate. He has above average hit and power tools at the plate, hitting 12 home runs and 19 doubles in 2022 for the Wildcats. While he does chase off-speed and breaking balls, Susac has the ability to be a well above average offensive big-league backstop, with at least average defense.
    13. Brock Porter, RHP, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School, MI
    Age: 19 B/T: R/R
    High: 9 Low: 24
    Like Cole Young, Porter is another excellent prep prospect from a state that doesn’t typically produce that many. With Dylan Lesko recovering from Tommy John surgery, Porter is the best healthy prep arm in the draft class. At 6’3, 188 pounds, Porter has good amount of projectability left as he fills out. Porter already has two 70-grade pitches, a fastball that sits in the upper 90s, and a changeup that has a ton of horizontal action. Porter is committed to Clemson, but has a good chance to be the first pitcher off the board in a draft lacking in high end arm talent.
    12. Zach Neto, SS, Campbell
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 9 Low: 17
    Neto is a prospect whose stock is on the rise, and has been connected with the Twins at eight overall considerably in recent weeks. The shortstop prospect is likely to be Campbell’s first ever first round pick. Simply put, he does everything well. Neto slugged .751 over three collegiate seasons, and excelled in the Cape Cod league prior to the 2022 season. Neto is an aggressive base runner and has a great arm (he hit 93 mph as a relief pitcher in college). His arm, movement, and defense make him likely to stick a shortstop, although he played all infield positions in college and that defensive versatility never hurts. Neto is one of a handful of players who might be considered ‘favorites’ to be drafted by the Twins at eight.
    11. Dylan Lesko, RHP, Buford High School, GA
    Age: 18 B/T: R/R
    High: 8 Low: 15
    Lesko was a lock to be a top 10 pick and was trending towards the top five when he was hurt and Tommy John surgery ended his season. On talent alone, he’s the best prep arm in the class and could prove a good value pick in the teens. Lesko has a mid 90s fastball that tops out at 97 mph with the ability to command it well. This is paired with a devastating, 70-grade changeup, one that has been called ‘one of the best prep changeups ever scouted’. Lesko also features an above average curveball and good command. In 2021, he struck out 112 batters in just 60 innings of work. He has the tools needed to be a front of the rotation starting pitcher, but his injury has clouded his status ahead of Sunday.
    10. Jacob Berry, CI, LSU
    Age: 21 B/T: S/R
    High: 7 Low: 27
    Berry is a switch hitting corner outfielder who has drawn comparisons for his offensive game to Andrew Vaughn. Berry has good plate discipline, 60-grade hit and power tools, and is equally effective from both sides of the plate. While Berry is a little positionless, he probably fits best long term at first base. Many Twins fans have balked at the idea of drafting Berry as a stale, uninteresting pattern of the front office (bat first college players), but the bat is a true weapon. He’s one of three college hitters (Cross and Neto) most likely to be drafted by the Twins at eight IF the first round sticks to the consensus board through seven picks.
    9. Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech
    Age: 21 B/T: L/R
    High: 8 Low: 13
    The younger brother of Texas Rangers prospect Josh Jung, Jace is another bat first college player whose offensive tools deserve plenty of respect. Like Berry, Jung as 60-grade hit and power tools, displaying line drive ability all over the field. Jung has great discipline, owning a career 19 BB%. Similarly to Berry, his defensive home is uncertain. Jung’s bat more than makes up for this however, as there’s .285 hitter with 25-30 home run power upside.
    8. Gavin Cross, OF, Virginia Tech
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 8 Low: 10
    Cross has some of the most consistent evaluations in the entire draft class, with a range of just two across five evaluations on the consensus big board, ridiculous. The strong, athletic outfielder is a half step below Berry and Jung in terms of his hit and power tools, but miles ahead defensively. Although he played center field for the Hokies, he profiles as a defensively strong corner outfielder at the big league level with a solid arm and good speed. I’d bet Cross is among the first 12 picks on July 17th and is player who has been consistently linked to the Twins, who will value his outstanding exit velocities.
    7. Kevin Parada, C, Georgia Tech
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 6 Low: 7
    College catchers don’t often have seasons like Parada did in 2022. In 59 games he hit 26 home runs and drove in 88 runners. Parada has a weird setup at the plate, laying the barrel of hit bat almost flat on his back, pointing straight down at the ground. Whatever works though, right? Parada grades out with 60-grade hit and power tools (around .285, 25 home run power). Although his defense is not yet a strength, it’s solid enough for him to be at least average behind the dish. Hitters with his upside and production at premium defensive positions don’t come around often. Parada will likely be off the board in the first six picks.
    6. Cam Collier, 3B, Chipola JC
    Age: 17 B/T: L/R
    High: 2 Low: 8
    Along with Walter Ford, Collier is one of two 17 year old's in the consensus top 56. Collier is a third baseman with big league bloodlines. He left high school after his sophomore year and transferred to Chipola, one of the best JC programs in the country (Andrew Bechtold is an alum). Collier slugged .537 with eight home runs. Collier already has a 60-grade hit tool and above average power. At 6’2, 210 pounds, there’s plenty left in the tank too. With a cannon of an arm, he’ll easily stick at third base. Collier could become an absolute monster if he hits a solid percentile on his development trajectory. He’s been mocked to the Twins plenty, but chances are he’s going in the first seven picks. He’s currently committed to Louisville.
    5. Elijah Green, OF, IMG Academy, FL
    Age: 18 B/T: R/R
    High: 2 Low: 7
    Green is the best athlete in this class, bar none. Son of a Pro-Bowl tight end, Green’s tools are off the charts. A recent mock described him as a ‘more physical Byron Buxton’. Wow. Green has 70-grade power and is a 70-grade runner. A plus arm, combined with his athleticism mean he should be able to play elite center field defense. His remaining question marks are around his hit tool. If he can continue to develop it to be above average, Green could be an franchise caliber player.
    4. Brooks Lee, SS, Cal-Poly
    Age: 21 B/T: S/R
    High: 2 Low: 5
    The Twins have been doing their due diligence scouting Lee in recent days. While there have been mock drafts where he made it to eight, it’s likely the floor is too high, and the hit tool too good, for that to happen. If it did, the Twins should be sprinting to the podium. Lee played at Cal Poly under the coaching of his father (and well respected hitting coach) Larry Lee. He has a legit 70-grade hit tool, with the ability to develop above average power. He has a good glove and excellent arm but limited quickness inhibit his infield range and its likely he eventually moves to third base. Lee hardly ever strikes out, with elite bat to ball skills. He put together a .667 SLG in a spell in the Cape Cod league against solid competition. He has the best hit tool in college baseball and he’s as safe a pick as you can get in the top five.
    3. Termarr Johnson, 2B/SS Mays High School, GA
    Age: 18 B/T: L/R
    High: 2 Low: 7
    Johnson has been consistently at the top of draft boards since the beginning of the pre-draft process. A compact 5’8, he has an elite hit tool and approach for a high-school player, with one of the smoothest swings in the draft. Don’t let his height fool you, however, Johnson has plus power as well thanks to great bat speed and barrel control. Johnson has a solid arm and a good glove, but is likely destined for second base long term. The Twins have been said to be interested in both Johnson and Collier, were one of the prep bats fall to them at eight.
    2. Jackson Holliday, SS, Stillwater High School, OK
    Age: 18 B/T: L/R
    High: 2 Low: 6
    Holliday ascended to the top of draft boards in the second half of the spring, and boy was it a rapid rise. The son of former Cardinal Matt Holliday, Jackson seems like a lock for a top three pick. An increase in size and weight this spring boosted Holliday’s stock, such that he already has above average power to go with plus hit, a plus arm, and a plus run tool. His uncle would stand to be his head coach in college if he makes it to campus, but Holliday is beginning to look more and more like a future star.
    1. Druw Jones, OF, Wesleyan High School, GA
    Age: 18 B/T: R/R
    High: 1 Low: 1
    It’s simple. Druw Jones is the consensus number one prospect ahead of the draft. Like, on every big board you can find. The son of should-be-Hall-of-Famer Andruw Jones, there’s plenty that reminds of the great center fielder in his son’s game. Simply put, Jones is a five tool talent. Jones has a swing that is still developing but will generate plus power and is already driving the ball to all fields against good pitching. His athleticism really shines in the field, with plus speed, a plus arm, and incredible defense that should make him an elite center fielder for a decade. Jones is committed to Vanderbilt but should be the first or second overall selection.
    Who would you like to see the Twins take at 8? How about at 48? Where do you think the two Minnesotan's in the consensus 56 will go? Share your thoughts in the chat.
  13. Haha
    chpettit19 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Minnesota’s Big Second Half Move Revealed: Keep Tony La Russa Employed   
    With obvious needs like bullpen depth and another starting pitcher staring them in the face, sources familiar with the Twins front office say they have a singular focus headed into the All-Star break:
    The godless Chicago White Sox. In particular, the manager’s job security.
    Tony La Russa, the 76-year-old DUI enthusiast and leader of the godless Chicago White Sox, has appeared befuddled and bewildered at times. His team, heavily favored to win the AL Central, has struggled mightily all season long and continues to trail the first-place Twins in the standings. Given the talent on White Sox roster, Minnesota is banking on the manager continuing to waste it at every turn.
    “Obviously, we would love to reinforce the bullpen,” said a front office source. “The thing is, that takes money and prospects. Keeping Tony in charge on the South Side costs us nothing. We'll be putting a lot of encouragement on our social channels and via group chat with White Sox players and staff. Lots of 'Really admire what you're doing' and 'Looks like you're turning things around, we just hope we can get a wild card.' Stuff like that.”
    Unlike godless Chicago White Sox teams of the past, this roster is loaded with likeable, talented players. Liam Hendriks, Tim Anderson, Dylan Cease, the unbuttoned majesty of Eloy Jimenez. Sources say it’s dumbfounding that they’ve been unable to catch an overperforming, banged-up Twins team with a threadbare bullpen. Minnesota aims to keep it that way.
    “Another front-line starting pitcher would be terrific, especially if you’re looking towards the playoffs,” said the source. “But you have to get there first. Letting Tony cook is the best way to ensure that.”
    Observers close to the situation agree.
    “Not a lot of managers could pull off what La Russa is doing,” said a Twins coach. “He’s a legend for a reason.”
    “I heard he might start every inning with an intentional walk on Saturday,” said an MLB source. “It’s unorthodox to be sure, but he says that it sets up the double play every time. That’s just facts. He’s a Hall of Famer.”
  14. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Jamie Cameron for an article, 2022 MLB Draft Consensus Big Board, Part 1 (56-26 Overall)   
    I’ve been working on this project for Twins Daily for a long time. As part of our draft coverage this season, we are not releasing a ‘Top 50 Prospects’ piece. Instead, we’re going to do something different, that I hope will grow and evolve over time, a ‘Consensus Big Board’.
    What and Why?
    I’ve always enjoyed draft coverage and analysis, in all sports. Arif Hasan of The Athletic releases a consensus big board for the NFL Draft each year. The concept is simple, there’s value in consensus. Why rely on one set of rankings, or one big board, when you can rely on many? The consensus big board is simply an amalgamation of a few key industry sources on the MLB draft that will (hopefully) give more and greater insight into how prospects are viewed and the variance of those evaluations, a level of variance that is typically greater in MLB than in other major sports.
    As this is a first version of this process I kept things simple. I combined rankings from Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, ESPN (Kiley McDaniel), The Athletic (Keith Law), and Prospects Live to form a consensus top 56 prospects for the 2022 MLB draft. This will be split into part one (56-26), and part two (26-1). I hope that this is a valuable resource for Twins fans and Twins Daily readers. Ultimately, I hope it is a useful resource for baseball fans of any team. If it’s well received, I plan on expanding the 2023 version to be a top 100 and include more sources. Additionally, I’d welcome any constructive feedback folks have, or simply to know whether you value this type of content.
    For each prospect, they are listed by name, position, then high school or college attended. Their listed age is their age on draft day (July 17th). Additionally, you’ll notice a ‘high’ and ‘low’ number. These indicate what was the highest position that player appeared in a ranking from the sources I used and what was the lowest, giving an idea of if the evaluations are clustered or if there is a greater range for that prospect. Finally, ties (there were only a few) were broken by median, then mode. If they were still tied after that, I averaged the middle two evaluations. There’s a brief write up of each player to try and give a flavor of what the strengths and areas of growth in their games, but the majority of the work was compiling the data that went into the rankings.
    Before we start, a huge shout of appreciation to all the amazing outlets that do this work. In particular, Carlos Collazo and Geoff Pontes at BA, Joe Doyle and Will Hoefer at Prospects Live and the many other scouts (both amateur and professional) who provide amazing video, analysis, and content. Let’s get stuck in.
    NOTE: MLB Pipeline updated their rankings between me finalizing the consensus rankings on 07.12 and publishing them on 07.14 The update did not offer me enough time to add new rankings to the consensus board but there were minimal shifts to final MLB Pipeline rankings.
    56. Mikey Romero, SS, Orange Lutheran HS, CA
    Age: 18 B/T: L/R
    High: 40 Low: 79
    The LSU commit is one of the best high school shortstop prospects in this year’s draft. Romero has the chance to have a plus hit tool and is a smooth defender but needs to add strength and power to generate more hard contact.
    55. Roman Anthony, OF, Stoneman Douglas HS, Parkland, FL
    Age: 18 B/T: L/R
    High: 31 Low: 74
    Anthony is a powerful athlete and likely, an eventual corner outfielder (he plays center field currently). He has good power and has improved his contact this spring, whilst offering a good arm and solid defense. Anthony is committed to Ole Miss.
    54. Adam Mazur, RHP, Iowa
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 24 Low: 70
    Minnesota represent! Mazur is from Woodbury, MN, and has rocketed up draft boards after an outstanding 2022 season. Mazur has two distinct fastballs, one of which he cranks up to 97 mph. Mazur struck out 98 in 93 plus innings of work in 2022. There’s a wide range of evaluations for Mazur, but his stock has risen significantly this spring.
    53. Logan Tanner, C, Mississippi St
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 37 Low: 69
    Tanner is a solid defensive catcher with an absolute rocket of an arm (he hit 96 mph with his fastball in college). He has the potential to have above average, 20 home run power. Combined with good strike zone control, Tanner is one of the better college-catching prospects this season.
    52. Jonathan Cannon, RHP, Georgia
    Age: 22 B/T: R/R
    High: 45 Low: 60
    Cannon is a tall (6’6), lean right-handed starting pitcher coming off his third season at Georgia. He offers a mid-90s fastball, a sinker, slider, and a cutter and boasts outstanding command. Cannon profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher and should be able to move through the minor leagues at a good clip.
    51. Landon Sims, RHP, Mississippi St
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 22 Low: 70
    Sims is a college pitcher with a ton of variance in his evaluations, due to Tommy John surgery in March at the beginning of the college season. Had Sims stayed healthy and continued his strong production from the beginning of the season, he would have been a lock for the front end of the first round. He carries an excellent mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider. If he sticks as a starter he profiles as a middle of the rotation arm, but there’s a good chance he ends up as an elite, high-leverage bullpen arm.
    50. Cayden Wallace, 3B, Arkansas
    Age: 20 B/T: R/R
    High: 31 Low: 71
    Wallace hit 15 home runs in his 2022 season with Arkansas. Although he is an average hitter with average power, he is a good defender at the hot corner, a solid base runner and has one of the best infield arms in college baseball.
    49. Jake Bennett, LHP, Oklahoma
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 39 Low: 68
    Bennett has an ideal build and skillset to become a back of the rotation starting pitcher in the major leagues. He’s 6’6, 235 pounds. He has a solid delivery with some deception, and has reverse splits due to a plus changeup which right handed hitters struggle with. Bennett also offers a solid fastball and a sweeping slider, in addition to good command. He still has some projectability because of his size, but the floor is already decently high.
    48. Walter Ford, RHP, Pace High School, FL
    Age: 17 B/T: R/R
    High: 29 Low: 53
    At just 17, Ford is one of the youngest prospects in the consensus top 56 (along with Cam Collier). Ford is an Alabama commit with an upper 90s fastball and a sharp slider. Ford has spotty command and needs to develop a third pitch, but he’s incredibly young and there is plenty of time for him to develop and outgrow these challenges.
    47. Eric Brown, SS, Coastal Carolina
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 28 Low: 63
    Brown is an excellent athlete and player with no one standout tool because they are all good. Despite a weird setup at the plate, he slugged .566 this spring with more walks than strikeouts. Brown has also proven himself in the Cape Cod league, earning an All-Star nod. A good arm and smooth movement make him one of the better defensive college shortstops, with a chance to stick at the position. 
    46. Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 20 Low: 80
    You won’t come across a ton of 6’7 outfielders. Jones is an excellent athlete who has the potential to develop plus power. Jones hit 12 home runs and 20 doubles this spring for the Commodores. Jones is a good runner and solid defender but has a strikeout rate that needs to be curtailed in pro ball.
    45. Payton Pallette, RHP, Arkansas
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 37 Low: 58
    Pallette’s season was lost to Tommy John surgery after moving to a starting pitching role in 2021. He throws a solid to good mid 90s fastball and an excellent curveball. If Pallette can stay healthy and meets his ceiling, he could profile as a number two type starter in the majors.
    44. Henry Bolte, OF, Palo Alto High School, CA
    Age: 18 B/T: R/R
    High: 40 Low: NR
    Bolte is less well know than he should be when considering his tools, due to some of the prep high school outfielders at the top of the board (Jones and Green). He’s 6’3, 200 pounds and has some of the best tools on the draft board. Bolte has easy plus raw power and plus speed. His hit tool, and his commitment to the University of Texas, remain the biggest questions marks on his considerable upside.
    43. Dalton Rushing, C, Louisville
    Age: 21 B/T: L/R
    High: 31 Low: 50
    Rushing succeeded Henry Davis as Louisville’s primary catcher after Davis was drafted number one overall in 2021, no easy feat. Rushing had an impressive season with the bat in 2022, swatting 22 home runs to go with a cool 17% walk rate. Were it not for Kevin Parada, his offensive numbers would be more widely heralded. Rushing has a good arm and both solid and improving receiving behind the plate. 
    42. J. R. Ritchie, RHP, Bainbridge High School, WA
    Age: 19 B/T: R/R
    High: 21 Low: 52
    Ritchie struck out 84 hitters in 39.1 innings this spring. In addition, his fastball velocity took a leap, sitting in the mid 90s but reaching 97 mph. Ritchie also has a curveball and a slider, with solid command. Although there’s not a ton of projectability given his smaller size, Ritchie has plenty to be excited about. He’s committed to UCLA.
    41. Thomas Harrington, RHP, Campbell
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 35 Low: 48
    Harrington has a nice profile as a draft-eligible sophomore who will just be 21 on draft day. Harrington has elite command and possessed one of the best K:BB ratios in the country in 2022. Over 15 starts, he managed a 30.0 K% and 4.9 BB%. On the mound he throws a fastball in the low to mid-90s. Harrington also possesses a changeup with good tumble and a slider, that can both be above average to good pitches. He already has a high floor, and projects to develop further with the upside of a number three starter.
    40. Jacob Miller, RHP, Liberty Union High School, OH
    Age: 18 B/T: R/R
    High: 29 Low: 59
    Miller is a Louisville commit who has cranked his fastball up a notch this spring, reaching 96 mph. He also has two good breaking pitches, a slider and a curveball, with a changeup that can still be developed to be a solid pitch. Miller has good command and attacks the strike zone well. He should be picked in the first two rounds.
    39. Owen Murphy, SS/RHP, Riverside-Brookfield High School, IL
    Age: 18 B/T: R/R
    High: 27 Low: NR
    Murphy is a two-way prospect committed to Notre Dame. On the mound he throws a low to mid 90s, high spin, four seam fastball. His secondary offerings are led by a good, slurvy curveball, and a developing changeup. Scouts has complimented Murphy’s competitive nature on the mound. He profiles as a mid-rotation starting pitcher.
    38. Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego East High School, IL
    Age: 18 B/T: L/L
    High: 24 Low: 49
    A 6’9 left-handed pitcher who will be just 18 on draft day, there’s a ton to like about Schultz. Schultz has a three quarter arm slot which, when paired with his length, makes his slider pretty baffling to hitters, especially lefties. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90s and he possesses good command and body control, particularly for a pitcher of his size. Schultz is thought to be a difficult sign away from the Commodores. 
    37. Brock Jones, OF, Stanford
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 20 Low: 57
    Jones is an excellent all around athlete who boasts strong physical tools across the board. His hit tool and a weak arm are his biggest detractors right now. Jones has the opportunity to develop 20 all-aroundhome run power and to stick at center field, with good speed, range, and excellent defense.
    36. Cade Horton, RHP, Oklahoma
    Age: 20 B/T: R/R
    High: 14 Low: 93
    There are few players in the 2022 draft class with a wider range of evaluations than Cade Horton, a college right-handed pitcher the Twins have been linked with. Horton ascended draft boards at a remarkable pace off the back of an incredible College World Series performance for Oklahoma. Horton throws a high spin, high carry, 98 mph fastball, a hard slider he cranks up to 90 mph, and a slower curveball. Horton’s profile gives him the ceiling of a number two starting pitcher and his ascent has put him firmly in the round one conversation.
    35. Dylan Beavers, OF, Cal
    Age: 20 B/T: L/R
    High: 22 Low: 52
    Beavers is a 6’4, college outfielder with some of the most exciting tools at his position in the draft. He has easy plus power, good speed, strong defense, and an excellent arm. There are lots of questions about his hit tool however as he’s often late to the ball. Beavers upside is a low batting average (.235) with 25-30 home run power who can be an excellent defensive corner outfielder.
    34. Justin Campbell, RHP, Oklahoma St
    Age: 21 B/T: L/R
    High: 27 Low: 39
    At 6’7, 220 pounds, Justin Campbell is a big-bodied starting pitcher with a unique approach angle that hitters struggle to pick up. Campbell struck out 141 hitters in 101 innings in 2022 while walking just 25. Campbell’s fastball sits 92-94 mph but can go higher, with good run. Additionally, he offers a solid curveball, developing slider, and an good changeup. Campbell’s high floor will allow him to move quickly in the minors and he profiles as a number three or four starter in the major leagues.
    33. Tucker Toman, 3B, Hammond High School, SC
    Age: 18 B/T: S/R
    High: 15 Low: 44
    Toman is one of many LSU commitments that could be drafted in the early rounds in mid July. Toman has a fairly wide range of evaluations, typical of a high school prospect. At his best, Toman has a good approach from both sides of the plate, driving the ball to all fields. He has one of the best combinations of hit and power tools of any high schooler in the class, but his defense is fringy at the moment.
    32. Kumar Rocker, RHP, Independent Ball
    Age: 22 B/T: R/R
    High: 19 Low: 54
    Rocker is one of the most famous prospects in the entire draft after the Mets balked at signing him due to his medicals in 2021. Rocker has an awesome one two punch with a fastball that an get to 99 mph and a devastating slider. Details of a shoulder surgery in September were recently made public. On talent alone, Rocker is the best non-prep arm in the class. Where he is selected, hinges entirely on his medicals.
    31. Blake Tidwell, RHP, Tennessee
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 25 Low: 52
    Tidwell missed the first six weeks of the 2022 season due to shoulder soreness. Had he not, he’d likely feature higher on the consensus big board. The Tennessee right-hander features a fastball he can run up to 99 mph, a good sweeping slider, an above average changeup that generated a ton of whiffs, and a developing curveball. Although his command can use some refinement. There’s plenty of clay to be molded here into a good major league starting pitcher.
    30. Cooper Hjerpe, LHP, Oregon St
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 18 Low: 56
    Hjerpe has a huge evaluation range for a college pitcher, from 18 overall to 56 overall. Hjerpe doesn’t have a great fastball, which sits at 90-92 mph. Hjerpe combines it with a breaking ball from a three quarters slot that leads to a ton of deception. While Hjerpe doesn’t have a huge ceiling, being a left-handed college starting pitcher will likely elevate his floor to the back of the first round.
    29. Jackson Ferris, LHP, IMG Academy, FL
    Age: 18 B/T: L/L
    High: 19 Low: 41
    Ferris was an early first-round favorite prior to the beginning of the 2022 season. The 18 year old Ole Miss commit has plenty of projectability in a 6’4, 195 pound frame. Ferris’ fastball sits between 93-95 mph and he has an above average slider and changeup to compliment it. Ferris has suffered from inconsistent command at times, but has plenty of time to develop. He profiles as a mid-rotation starting pitcher if it all comes together. 
    28. Robbie Snelling, LHP, McQueen High School, NV
    Age: 18 B/T: R/L
    High: 16 Low: 55
    Snelling is yet another LSU commit who is getting attention in the first two rounds of the draft (good luck telling Wes Johnson ‘no’). Snelling has been a helium prospect this spring, rapidly rising up draft boards in the latter half of the season. On the mound, he throws a fastball that sits between 90-95 mph, an excellent, sharply breaking curveball, and a changeup that he uses infrequently and needs further development. Snelling has good control and his projectability should lead to plenty of interest in the first round.
    27. Jacob Melton, OF, Oregon St
    Age: 21 B/T: L/L
    High: 25 Low: 40
    Melton is a college outfielder with a strong all around game. In 2022 he hit 15 home runs, slugged .684, and stole 20 bases. Excellent speed and solid defense give him the opportunity to stick at center field. Melton has a bit too much swing and miss at the plate, but has a strong overall profile and should move relatively quickly when drafted.
    26. Peyton Graham, SS/3B, Oklahoma
    Age: 21 B/T: R/R
    High: 26 Low: 36
    Graham has a tight clustering of evaluations due to his solid athleticism and strong overall tools. He slugged .661 with 19 home runs and 32 stolen bases in the regular season for an incredibly successful Oklahoma team. While Graham produces good exit velocities, he is a free swinger who could stand to cut down his strikeout and whiff rates. He has the ability to play multiple infield positions and his strong all-around game should give him a solid floor as an average major league regular.
    The second part of the Consensus Big Board (26-1 overall) will be posted at Twins Daily on Friday, July 15th. Who are players you think would be a good fit for the Twins at 48 overall? Or even 8? Share your thoughts in the comments. Any feedback on the project, format etc. will be gratefully received.
  15. Haha
    chpettit19 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Dozens Injured as Twins Bullpen Attempts to Prepare Salad   
    Thursday’s off day provided the Minnesota Twins with some much-needed downtime, including their annual Summer Potluck. But the charcuterie turned to carnage when members of the Twins bullpen botched their dish, injuring dozens in the clubhouse.
    “We had a real nice spread laid out,” said a team source. “Buffalo chicken dip, sliders, Minnesota sushi, you name it. Then all of a sudden I just hear shouting and screaming and then the burning. The burning.”
    Sources say the bullpen was assigned chips and ice, but when reliever Emilio Pagan got lost on his way to Kowalski’s and drove to Fort Smith, Arkansas instead, they improvised a pasta salad. That’s when the trouble began.
    “First of all, they didn’t have any of the ingredients one would need to make a pasta salad,” said a clubhouse source. “They had plenty of enthusiasm, but noodles? No. Veggies? No. Dressing? No. A pot and water? Again, no.”
    “I can’t stress this enough: the clubhouse doesn’t have a stove,” said former Twin and current Bally Sports North analyst Glen Perkins. “They removed it after they found out (Carl) Pavano was living there for a couple years to in his words ‘let some things sort themselves out.’ You couldn’t even start a fire if you wanted to. And yet.”
    Multiple cell phone videos appear to show Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar and other unidentified relief pitchers pouring a Ziploc bag labeled “MAKE CAR GO WATER, DON’T DRINK” on a bucket of gum and sunflower seeds, then attempting to light the unconventional salad with a road flare.
    “If I heard them correctly, they said they were marinating the gum and seeds mixture and hoping to sear it to seal in the juices,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “Right before the flames engulfed us, I heard Thielbar call it a Goodhue County sous vide. I don’t think that’s right.”
    A team spokesperson said that no decision has been made about rescheduling Friday’s game at Texas. Although the injuries are minor, the spokesperson said the bullpen is entirely healthy and they must consider that before making the final call.
  16. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Jose Miranda Deserves a Shot   
    Jose Miranda was brought aboard the Twins organization as a shortstop/second/third base type player years ago. Despite that fact, he's played first base almost exclusively since making his debut, and basically only plays a couple days per week against left handed pitching. Not only has his usage directly contradicted the Twins handling of top prospects in the past, but it's also crippled his ability to show that he belongs in the MLB. Jose Miranda is deserving of so much more.
    Defensive Ability
    Miranda has come to develop the reputation as a terrible defender among fans already, which is true if you're talking about first base. Many are quick to judge his ability at third base as surely if he can't handle what's considered the easiest infield position he can't play anywhere else. Unfortunately for Miranda, he was thrust into the role he has now as the Twins lack any other right handed hitters capable of playing first base. 
    Miranda played some first the last few years in the minors, though his innings there were insignificant compared to his time at second and third. We've seen him mess up all kinds of in between plays on defense, which makes sense considering he's been forced to debut at what is not his primary position. In his limited time at 3rd base with the big league club, he's made one error and there isn't close to enough of a sample size yet to deem him a bad defender.
    Offensive Ability
    Despite the Twins unwillingness to budge from their current platooning of Miranda, his bat has been good enough to warrant more of a look. While players such as Sanchez, Kepler and Larnach are limping through June, Miranda has posted a .314/.340/.510 line which almost directly coincides with his recall from AAA at the end of May.
    Any hitter can go on a hot stretch, but Miranda's numbers since returning to Target Field are showing off what made him the 2021 minor league hitter of the year. He has contact skills, he has plate discipline, he has power. We saw a defensively inept Luis Arraez make himself expendable in 2019 based solely on his bat and look at him now. What else does Miranda have to do at the plate?
    The Twins Can Make Room
    The Twins don't have quite the log jam it appears they do in the lineup. It's understandable why Miranda is on the short end of a platoon at first base when they have Kirilloff and Arraez to mash right handed pitching. Across the rest of the lineup however, opportunity should exist. The Twins just continue to write out lineup cards that include both Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers. Not only does this open them up for disaster if the starting catcher gets injured, it's just plain ineffective. Both catchers are capable of going on a run offensively for short periods, Jeffers is on one now. Both however are below league average hitters at the moment, and going an extra mile to get a second catcher in your lineup regardless of the name seems like getting too cute. MI'd argue it's worth getting Miranda some DH at bats instead of one of the catchers that we expect little offensive value from.
    In addition to DH, Gio Urshela just does not need to be the 7 days per week starting third baseman. The best day at the plate he's had all season on Wednesday elevated him from a below average hitter to slightly above. He was worth 0 fWAR coming into that game making him exactly a replacement level player. His increase by 0.2 in one game is impressive, but his total value on the season still isn't anything special and I don't think we expect such performances from him regularly.
    In addition, Urshela's defense appears to be overrated by many, mainly because he can make some incredible plays at the hot corner while also booting plays that should be routine.
    It's a very interesting skillset for Urshela who definitely holds his own but doesn't have a gold glove like defensive skill to keep him in the lineup regardless of his bat. Mixing Miranda in every once in awhile just to evaluate him at his primary position just shouldn't be difficult.
    The Twins usage of Miranda has been perplexing. We've heard them say it a million times, most recently with Royce Lewis. They don't want him on the big league club if he can't play everyday. Miranda isn't the high profile prospect Lewis is, but they're treating him like they don't care about his development at all. They're DHing below league average catchers and awarding 100% playing time to players who don't deserve it while Miranda, one of the team's hottest hitters in June, plays a couple days per week.
    It's possible the Twins don't see Miranda as a future regular, an odd conclusion to already be drawing. Perhaps they see him as a trade piece as many have suggested, although I'd argue playing him solely at a foreign position on very rare occasions isn't the best way to showcase his skills.
    At any rate, Jose Miranda needs more of a look. After one of the single greatest minor league seasons in Twins history, Miranda has earned more than pinch hit and weak side platoon duty on a big league club that hasn't exactly been steamrolling the competition recently.
    Would you like to see more Jose Miranda in the Twins lineup? Let us know below!
  17. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Matt Braun for an article, Are the Twins Brewing up Steals in the Minors?   
    Let’s look at his team specifically: the Wichita Wind Surge. Currently, they sit as the 3rd most steal-happy team in their division, the Texas League. The two most effective culprits are Austin Martin and DaShawn Keirsey, as Martin has 22 bags swiped under his name, and Kiersey has 18. Michael Helman has also broken double digits—without being caught as well—but no other player stands out like Martin and Kiersey. Instead, the team offers a democratic approach, with only one player, Catcher Alex Isola, lacking a successful steal so far this season.
    For Martin, his stealing acumen appears to be a new or at least unreleased skill. He had a comparatively low 14 steals last year, holds a 50 FV grade in “Run” according to Fangraphs, and the only mention I can find about his speed on Fangraphs’ scouting reports is Eric Longenhagen calling it “solid.” Although, Jeffrey Paternostro at Baseball Prospectus noted that he “was aggressive on the basepaths” in college. Perhaps the Twins wanted to unleash a wild baserunner otherwise limited by the Blue Jays.
    Wichita isn’t the only team running mayhem on the base paths. The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels are also 3rd in their division in burglary. Mikey Perez alone has gotten away with an otherworldly 24 steals—a total that defines him as the 19th most prolific stealer in Minor League Baseball. Noah Miller, Jake Rucker, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Daniel Ozoria join Perez as double-digit swipers; like Wichita, their catchers, Kyle Schmidt and Dillon Tatum, are the only regular players without a steal.
    Slight tangent: Mikey Perez is an enigma. I’ve been writing about his great play all year, but I can barely find any information on him. No one at Fangraphs has written anything him; Baseball Prospectus is equally silent. The only articles/mentions/smoke signals/morse code orders/messages from a bottle I can find about him come from an MLB. com article from last year and the three sentences that make up his Perfect Game scouting report. How is a player so good at stealing? I want to know!
    One big question remains: why more steals? The stolen base and its adjacent scrappy playstyle have taken a back seat to power since the Kansas City Royals lost their credibility following their World Series victory. Guess who the league leader in steals is; do you know? It’s Julio Rodriguez, but only Mariners fans and other niche hipster baseball dorks aggressively celebrate it. Once teams realized that hitting the ball over the fence ensures a run on the board, speed fell quickly out of favor as MLB’s metagame moved towards homers.
    But the steal may return soon. Proposed rule changes like bigger bases, a limit on pickoffs, and the seemingly inevitable pitch clock all at least implicitly support a rejuvenated stolen-base metagame. One of my followers pointed out that the pitch clock can work as a countdown for the baserunner as well; they can take off at the precise moment the pitcher must throw the ball.
    Anyways, it’s unclear whether this is an affiliate-at-large movement. The Cedar Rapids Kernels are 9th in their 12-team division, while the St. Paul Saints are 14th out of 20 teams. This swiped bags movement could be a serendipitous meeting of a few steal-happy players collaborating to annoy catchers in an otherwise neutral team philosophy; little stands out in the stats to say otherwise. Still, the franchise has a handful of successful stealers moving through their system, and their playstyle could add a dynamic wrinkle to a homogenous power-focused offense.
  18. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Lucas Seehafer PT for an article, Royce Lewis Had ACL Surgery With a Twist   
    The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the most important structures in the knee as it pertains to athletics. It’s a robust structure comprised primarily of collagen—the compound that gives ligaments and tendons their strength and elasticity—that stabilizes the knee. When the ACL is compromised—either by a partial tear or a complete rupture—the knee becomes much more unstable, particularly with rotation and highly-athletic movements such as cutting and jumping.

    During a typical ACL reconstruction procedure, a portion of the athlete’s patellar or hamstring tendon is removed and inserted into the femur (i.e. thigh bone) and tibia (i.e. shin bone) in the location where the ligament was originally located. Over the span of 9-12 months, the tendon transforms structurally until it resembles a ligament—a process known as ligamentization—and the athlete gradually rehabs until they are strong enough to return to play. The majority of athletes will go on to rebound to their prior levels of success and will continue on with their careers without a hitch. But depending on the sport and type of tendon graft utilized, upwards of 6-31% will go on to either re-tear their ACL or rupture the one in their other knee. Such was the case, unfortunately, for Lewis.

    The reasons why ACL re-tear rates are so high are myriad, complex, and up for debate. However, one theory that has rise to prominence over the last handful of years involves the compromise of the anterolateral ligament (ALL).

    In terms of anatomical discoveries, the ALL is much like that of Big Foot, except if Big Foot was actually real. The ligament was first described in the 1870s by a French surgeon, but was not officially recognized as actually existing as an isolated structure until the early 2010s. While the ACL is the primary stabilizer against rotation in the knee, the ALL is believed to hold a role in rotational stabilization as well. It has been theorized that the ALL likely ruptures along with the ACL and that individuals who do not have their ALL repaired will continue to suffer from some rotational instability in the knee and, thus, be at a greater risk for re-injury.

    Now, I don’t know for sure that this is exactly what happened with regard to Lewis. And, frankly, it doesn’t really matter. Subsequent ACL injuries aren’t uncommon. An athlete, surgeon, rehab team, front office, and coaching staff can “do everything right” and ACL re-injuries can still happen. Such is the unfortunate nature of sport.

    But what we do know is that the surgery team in Dallas “basically, [did] something with the IT band,” according to Lewis to help “brace” his knee and improve its stability. The “something” he is likely referring to is known as a lateral tenodesis.

    The IT band is a long, thick tendinous structure that runs from the hip to just below the knee. It’s most commonly known as a structure that gives long distance runners one heck of a time if they don’t remain flexible, but it also serves as a key attachment point for various lower extremity muscles and assists in moving the leg. 

    Due to its inherent strength, it serves as a good candidate for a graft during ACL reconstruction. Additionally, the lower portion of the IT band can be surgically relocated (i.e. tenodesis) to provide rotational stability. In short, the IT band takes over for the compromised ALL to provide extra rotational stability for the knee. 

    The long-term outcomes for this procedure in the athletic population, and specifically the MLB population, is unknown, but theoretically it should allow Lewis to return to play with greater stability in the knee. The recovery will still take 9-12 months, but the procedure should not reduce Lewis’s speed or power much beyond the natural regression that is expected with aging. Baseball is a fairly linear sport, which reduces the potential impact of multiple ACL surgeries on performance compared to a sport like basketball that relies on quick pivots, explosive jumping, and constant running to be successful.
  19. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, What’s the Ceiling for Trevor Larnach?   
    Back in mid-April I wrote about Trevor Larnach’s process. That was just five games into the season and he had just a .616 OPS. Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs quipped that making much out of such a small sample (3 games) was likely nothing, but the hard-hit rates were impossible to ignore. Fast forward to the end of May, and the process has turned into results.
    On the season Larnach has been worth 1.3 fWAR, the highest total on the Twins. His .886 OPS is already a strong number considering the state of offense across the league this season. Over his last 18 games though, Larnach has slashed .339/.424/.625 with seven doubles and three dingers. The 161 OPS+ on the season is indicative of an offensive threat nearly twice that of the league average.
    What’s also impressive is that Larnach isn’t simply generating hard contact, but he’s reigned in some of the swing and miss as well. After being at a nearly 17% whiff rate last season, Larnach has dropped that to 13.9% in 2022. That’s helped to slightly increase his walk rate but has also added to his overall contact ability. Larnach has been a good hitter everywhere he’s gone, and he’s been more choosy this season as well. Shaving nearly 5% off his chase rate, pitchers are having to attack him within the strike zone.
    The scouting report on Larnach has never changed. He’s going to make loud contact and do damage because of it. Dealing with lower-body injuries last season, there’s reason to believe that hampered performance. His 41.9% hhard-hitrate in 2022 is nearly 10% higher than what it was a season ago. Larnach has also dropped points off his ground ball rate adding both to fly ball and line drive production, both outcomes providing a better opportunity for success.
    It’s been a game of adjustments for Larnach as well, and being the extremely smart player he is, he’s handled them well. Pitchers have basically tried throwing slop at him since he entered the league. The book on him, and teammate Alex Kirilloff, was that they could handle velocity. Larnach has seen four-seam fastballs just 27% of the time this season. Slider has been the most common offspeed offering, but the pitch selection runs the gambit when looking at breaking balls. Because of the work he’s put in, there’s a drastic shift in how the production looks, specifically against the slider, compared to last season. Being able to sit on breaking pitchers, Larnach has made it so there’s nothing he can’t handle at the dish.

    If there’s something somewhat unexpected it’s on the defensive side of things. Larnach was never going to be a hack in the outfield, but I’m not sure his arm was expected to play as it has. He’s already generated three outfield assists this season and it shouldn’t be too long before runners stop testing him. Larnach also has 7 defensive runs saved (DRS) in left field with an additional added in right. That number leads all Major League left fielders.
    When Minnesota took Larnach they were keyed in on a powerful college bat that was set up to do damage any time he made contact. He was already an advanced hitter that didn’t simply swing to launch or miss, but there was refinement needed. Now getting to the big leagues, Larnach looks the part of a player that can anchor the heart of a lineup and put up a thirty-homer season in his sleep. It’s still early in his career, but multiple All-Star game selections don’t seem like a lofty expectation anymore.
    No doubt Minnesota hopes this new core will blossom together. Larnach is starting to see that take shape. If Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, and Jose Miranda can follow suit, they’ll experience plenty of victories along the way.
  20. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, First Place, Feeling Great: 4 Twins Observations at the Quarter Pole   
    1: People aren't fully buying into the team's success.
    The Twins are on pace to win 99 games, which would stack up as one of the best seasons in franchise history. But if this Twins Daily Twitter poll from Sunday night is any indication, most people aren't convinced that they'll be able to keep up with that pace.
    With 500 votes in, only 5% of respondents said the Twins will finish with 100 or more wins, and only 12% had them landing in the 95-to-99 range where they are currently projected. A vast majority (61%) expect the team to finish with 90-to-94 wins, and more voters envision the Twins winning fewer than 90 (22%) than 95 or more (17%).
    It's fair! Perspective matters. We are currently sizing up the Twins in the midst of a hot streak against blatantly poor competition. The only time we saw them face a great opponent this month, the Twins were swept and thoroughly dismantled by the Astros – albeit without two of their best players in Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez.
    Most people are gonna need to see the Twins win a few slugfests in their own weight class before anointing them a true upper-echelon contender. Nothing wrong with that. The team will have its chance in early June with a tour of top dogs in the AL East: Blue Jays, Yankees, Rays, successively. 
    2: The front office's bets are paying off (mostly).
    The Twins opted not to invest heavily in the free agent reliever market, signing only one player to a major-league contract: Joe Smith, on a cheap one-year $2.5 million deal. That move couldn't have worked out better so far, as Smith has yet to allow an earned run through 16 appearances.
    The bullpen as a whole has been far better than expected, in spite of the passive offseason approach. The team's belief in Jhoan Durán helped them feel comfortable trading Taylor Rogers for Chris Paddack (a bet that did NOT pay off, for this year anyway) on the eve of Opening Day. They've been rewarded. Griffin Jax has also been excellent in his transition to the pen.
    The front office's boldest gambit of the offseason was that wild mega-deal with the Yankees, which involved losing Mitch Garver and taking on Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela in order to to dump Josh Donaldson's salary. (Thus setting up the Correa signing.) That one's looking pretty good too.
    Donaldson is hitting decently well as a frequent DH for the Yankees, but drawing headlines in New York for all the wrong reasons. The improvement in clubhouse culture for the Twins since his departure has been apparent even from the outside. Meanwhile, Sánchez is emerging as the slugging force that the Twins hoped Garver (slashing .207/.295/.370 for the Rangers so far) would be.
    3: The Twins/White Sox rivalry we wanted last year has now arrived.
    The Royals and Tigers have already pretty much rendered themselves irrelevant, and it's hard to buy into the mediocre Guardians, despite the greatness of José Ramirez. Chicago has been scuffling a bit in the early going but garnered some momentum on Sunday with a doubleheader sweep over the Yankees. They're back above .500 and trailing the Twins in the Central by four games.
    There was a lot of hype surrounding the return of this classic rivalry last year, following a tight race in the shortened 2020 season, but the Twins never showed up for the fight. This year they're showing up, and I suspect the White Sox will too. Both teams have a lot of talent and a lot of character, so it should be fun.
    4: The combination of standout rookies and established stars is really exciting.
    There's just a great vibe on this team. It's awesome to see Joe Ryan stepping up and leading the rotation, while Durán establishes himself as The Guy in the bullpen. Gilberto Celestino is blossoming before our eyes. We've already seen flashes from Royce Lewis; he and other top prospects are likely to factor in as the season goes on: Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Simeon Woods Richardson, José Miranda (maybe after a get-right stint in Triple-A). All in play.
    Meanwhile, the true leaders of this team are Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa, two bona fide superstars in their prime. Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez are on the next tier. 
    Max Kepler is having a resurgent season to reinsert himself into that conversation. We can maybe say the same about Gary Sánchez, who seems to be getting exactly what he needed out of this change of scenery.
    The intermingling of experienced mainstays who are performing well, and young up-and-comers who are often contributing immediately, along with a $35M free agent who somehow gives off no "mercenary" vibes ... it's really cool. This is a very likable group and it's adding all the more to the enjoyment of this (so far) surprisingly wonderful 2022 season. 
    Here's hoping we feel the same way at the halfway point, and especially at the finish line.
  21. Haha
    chpettit19 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Twins Fans Absolutely Furious at Surprise First Place Start   
    With the Minnesota Twins holding a surprisingly sturdy lead in the American League Central, it’s no wonder that the team’s fans have some strong words about their unexpected success.
    “It is absurd to me that they treat Byron Buxton with kid gloves,” said Hank Winters, 67, a retired bank executive. “Harmon Killebrew played every day and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Buxton may as well just work for the government. Sick of this.”
    The Twins lead the heavily favored and godless Chicago White Sox by three games after a rocky 4-8 start. They're on pace to win a stunning 94 games. This playoff-worthy effort has given the fanbase plenty to talk about.
    “Royce Lewis hits the cover off the ball and you send him to Triple-A,” said Beck Bradford, 41, a youth volleyball coordinator from Castle Rock Township. “Miranda can’t hit a bull in the ass with a handful of sand and Correa won’t even be here next year. But the boy geniuses (Twins executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) looked at the algorithms and said, ‘Nope, Royce, you go over to St. Paul, grab a stool at Alary’s, get comfortable. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.’
    “I’ve never been more angry,” added Bradford.
    Minnesota’s 22-16 record can be chalked up to several factors, perhaps none more important than the bullpen, which has been asked to do a lot with the starters still rounding themselves into shape after the lockout-shortened spring. This has not gone unnoticed.
    “Chris Paddack is already going under the knife for Tommy John and we have no consistent closer,” said Tamara Kapsner, 49, a car salesperson in Robbinsdale. “Meanwhile, Taylor Rogers is going to the All-Star Game. If I made that kind of deal at my job they wouldn’t have to fire me, I’d just throw my [EXPLETIVE] in a box and go. Great call. Super.”
    With the team’s schedule remarkably soft over the next couple weeks, the chance for Minnesota to put some space between them and the rest of the Central has people talking.
    “I never took PTO in 27 years at TCF (Bank),” said Winters. “Because I had a work ethic. Did I miss birthdays and graduations and custody hearings and my third marriage? Yes. All of them. Cry more, Byron.”
    “Spreadsheet oughta be manager, not Rocco (Baldelli),” said Bradford. “Bleep boop, pivot table, bench Correa, he’s played one game in a row, might hurt himself again.”
    “May as well just trade (Jhoan) Duran for (retired former Twin) Mike Pelfrey,” said Kapsner. “Disgusting. Pohlads should’ve contracted them when they had the chance.”
  22. Sad
    chpettit19 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, The Alex Kirilloff Situation Is a Colossal Bummer   
    Alex Kirilloff's first stretch in the majors (not counting his postseason debut in 2020) was a great example of why you shouldn't put too much stock into results over a modest sampling of at-bats, at least without taking a deeper look. He started out his career in an 0-for-15 slump, but it was clear to anyone watching that Kirilloff was hardly overmatched. He wasn't striking out and when he connected he was driving the ball. 
    We all knew the hits were going to come. And they did, in a hurry. The outfielder broke out with a nine-game hitting streak that included three doubles and four home runs. But during that stretch – on May 3rd, while sliding into second on one of those doubles – Kirilloff hurt his wrist. And since then nothing has really been the same.
    He kept playing for a couple more months but managed only 13 extra-base hits in 46 games the rest of the way before undergoing surgery in July. The hope was that this procedure would correct the wrist issue while also giving him plenty of time to rehab and be ready for this 2022 season. Unfortunately, it hasn't played out like that.
    At no point this year has Kirilloff really looked like himself. He opened the season in a 1-for-17 slump and unlike that opening drought from last year, this one carried no signs of being a mirage. He admitted his wrist was still causing him "a lot of pain" while swinging and went on the injured list, receiving a cortisone shot. Since returning, little has changed.
    Statcast, which measures the quality and characteristics of batted balls, paints an almost incomprehensibly grim picture of Kirilloff's performance. His highest exit velocity all year is 100.8 MPH, which puts him in the 9th percentile of MLB hitters for Max AV. Last year he topped that number 35 times. His average exit velocity is down to 85 MPH from 91 last year. He has recorded zero barrels all season, meaning he basically has not once truly squared a ball up.
    Kirilloff's launch angle is what really tells the story. It's at -14.1 degrees this year, which means he is basically hitting everything directly into the ground. The extreme nature of that figure cannot be overstated – there is not a single qualified MLB player with a negative launch angle this season, much less that deep in the red. Last year there was one player in the negative (Raimel Tapia of the Rockies at -4.4). 
    It's unheard of. Kirilloff's swing is completely broken and that is especially hard to see from a player of his natural talent, who was showing glimpses of letting that talent shine. Kirilloff says he's never been able to swing pain-free since the surgery, and he now sounds like he's just trying to cope with this new reality.
    "There's still discomfort, and he thinks that his swing does feel different from how it did before the surgery," wrote Do-Hyoung Park for MLB.com. "He's just not able to pinpoint the exact ways in which it feels different. It might be physical. It might be mental. It's likely some combination of both."
    I wish I could feel confident he was going to head to Triple-A and figure things out in short order. But Kirilloff is just so far from where he needs to be, and the path to getting there is so unclear. Playing in a doubleheader for the Saints on Sunday, he notched four hits – all singles. The former standout slugger still has yet to collect his first extra-base hit through 69 plate appearances in the majors and minors.
    The Twins need his bat at its full potency. Kirilloff can be a pivotal difference-maker for this lineup, as without him they are severely lacking for left-handed power. They need this swing back: 
    Is it still within him? The 24-year-old is going to try to find something that works over the coming weeks at St. Paul. If another month or so passes without the power starting to manifest, you have to wonder if they'll turn to Plan B: another surgery. 
    Park mentioned in his article that a procedure could be done to create more space between bones where Kirilloff's cartilage has worn away, contributing to the discomfort. He added that this surgery is "more invasive and involves shortening his ulna altogether by breaking and cutting out a section of the bone."
    Sounds unpleasant and undesirable. But we're now basically sorting through bad scenarios to land on the least bad. And in the meantime, Kirilloff – who already lost a full year of his career to Tommy John surgery – is watching his prime playing days pass by while he wrestles with, in his words, "one long, continuous puzzle to try to figure out."
  23. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Are These Twins For Real?   
    (*Get it? Fielding? Little baseball pun there. It's well known that The Baseball Gods love baseball puns.)
    The team didn't look "for real" last night against the Astros and Justin Verlander, but Verlander clearly has some celestial blood running through his veins. He's 39, coming off Tommy John surgery, leads MLB in innings pitched, and has a 1.55 ERA. If that doesn't whisper "demigod," you deserve whatever wrath those Divine Deities of the Diamond throw your way.
    But despite last night, the Twins are for real. I won't suggest the path will be an easy one because I don't want to assume that the Twins players won't continue to drop like flies. (The Baseball Gods hate it when you assume your team's players won't drop like flies.) And because The Baseball Gods love stats (they work overtime devising new stats), let's look at a few.
    Twins run differential +35

    Runs are the currency by which wins are purchased. I think Bill James wrote that, and if so, I'm sure it'll be referenced when The Baseball Gods consider him for Assumption. Runs tend to stay in sync with win-loss records. If they don't, one or the other is likely to adjust. 
    But they're in lockstep for the Twins. Given how many 1-run games the Twins have recently won (seven in a row), they might feel like they're getting a little lucky. And they are. The crazy endings versus the White Sox and Tigers were undoubtedly The Baseball Gods entertaining themselves. But their run differential, which ranks third in the American League, suggests the team is also pretty good. 
    Twins record vs teams better than .500 = 5-3

    Doubters love to look at a team's record against winning teams, but the Twins are one of only three teams better than .500 versus winning teams. That can be a tricky stat. Some teams go back and forth over that line. For instance, the Twins are 3-0 versus the White Sox, who are precisely .500 when I'm writing this. If they win one more game, the Twins' record improves to 8-3, which is even better.
    AL Central's cumulative record = 12 games below .500

    The Baseball God hate taking opponents for granted. But they also hate the hubris that can result from leading a bad division. So let's be clear: the AL Central is bad. The Twins need to take advantage of that.
    The Twins get to play 67 more games against the worst division in the American League. Finishing atop that division doesn't guarantee any postseason success (a fact that The Baseball Gods have emphasized mercilessly for the Twins' last 18 postseason games), but it still punches a postseason ticket.
    The news gets better. There are also three Wild Card teams in the postseason this year. While the Yankees, Rays, and Jays are scrapping, the Twins will be competing with the Guardians and White Sox for a high 80s win total.
    So put me in the "cautiously optimistic" category about the Twins' chances this year because that is as high a category as The Baseball Gods condone. It might even be too high. (After all, they were already merciful once in that category. Remember, we were "cautiously optimistic" about Buxton's knee.)
    But to be safe, let's sit and watch and enjoy the season. The Baseball Gods love that.
  24. Haha
    chpettit19 reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Grandfather Amuses Child with Apocryphal Tales of Twins Offense   
    Rowan Landskog, 6, loves it when his grandfather Bill Landskog comes over to read him bedtime stories. He especially loves it when the stories are in the realm of the fantastic and unbelievable, with tales of monsters and Martians sending him to sleep.
    Lately, the stories have taken an even more outrageous turn, as “Grampa Billy” tells his baseball-crazy grandson about the legend of the Minnesota Twins offense.
    “Grampa Billy said the Minnesota Twins used to hit a bunch of dingers,” said the junior Landskog, who lives with his mother in Stillwater. “He says they would hit them all the time and score a bunch of points. Wow!”
    The elder Landskog usually starts his reading shift with Dr. Seuss, moves on to Shel Silverstein or Where the Wild Things Are, then completes his duties by reading the Baseball Reference page for the 2019 Minnesota Twins.
    “Grampa said that when I was in preschool the Twins set the record for home runs,” said an astonished Rowan. “I think he knew I didn't believe him but he swore it was true." 
    The kindergartner was especially awestruck by a new term he learned last night.
    “He told me a fun story about a friendly dragon who saved a pretty princess,” said an excited Rowan, his eyes filled with wonder. “And then Grampa Billy said that if a batter gets a home run when the bases are loaded, they call it a grand slam, and that the Twins have done it a lot! I love it when he tells me his crazy stories.”
    The storytelling grandfather was unavailable for comment but could be overheard issuing a series of expletives at his car radio when the Twins hit into their second double play during Thursday afternoon’s game against Kansas City.
  25. Like
    chpettit19 reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Tyler Duffey's Dreadful Start Is Déjà Vu All Over Again   
    To suggest that Duffey is solely responsible for the two losses he's been tagged with is not quite fair. In both cases he was working with an extremely thin late-game lead thanks to an offense that just can't seem to get going.
    Nevertheless, both on April 9th against Seattle and on Tuesday night against Kansas City, Duffey entered with a fresh inning and one-run lead. In both cases, those leads turned to deficits (and eventual losses) on his watch.
    As a result, Duffey enters play on Wednesday with the worst Win Probability Added (-0.88) among all major-league players. If this feels familiar, there's a reason. In 2021, Alex Colomé had the worst WPA in the majors by a wide margin for the month of April. We saw the effect his implosion had on the course of the Twins season. It's difficult not to feel a sense of déjà vu.
    Now, it also must be noted that we're dealing with incredible small sample sizes here. Duffey has made only three appearances this season. Making rash decisions on such a basis tends to be unwise. For example, Liam Hendriks also finds himself near the bottom of the WPA leaderboard – I doubt the White Sox are about to bump him into mop-up duty.
    But there is really no optimism to be drawn from Duffey's performance. He looks TERRIBLE. It seemed clear that he was on the road to regression last year as his peripherals all slid downward, but it was hard to envision such an extraordinary manifestation of this regression so rapidly.

    The main problem is that Duffey's fastball, which needs to be a reliable mainstay to set up his breaking ball, is an unusable pitch. He has thrown it 22 times so far and produced zero swings and misses. When putting the four-seamer in play, opponents are 4-for-6 with two doubles and a  home run. The average exit velocity on this contact is a whopping 103 MPH. Good grief.
    Rocco Baldelli is short on alternatives at the back end of the bullpen presently, which casts a pall on the decision to trade Taylor Rogers on the eve of Opening Day. (Rogers, by the way, is 5-for-5 in save attempts with a 0.00 ERA for the Padres.) 
    But using Duffey in big spots is simply not an option right now. He needs to be relegated to low leverage and unless things change quickly he's probably going to be on DFA watch. 
    It's unfortunate to see from a well-liked player who's been with the organization for so long. But the Twins don't have the luxury of letting sentimentality affect their decision-making. Baldelli simply cannot stand idly by and let another season spin off the rails out of deference to a bad relief pitcher based on nothing more than stature and track record. He just can't.
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