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Jamie Cameron

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  1. The Twins signed Dylan Bundy hours before the owners forced a lockout. How might the Twins tweak his approach to maximize his ceiling for the 2022 team? The Twins signed Dylan Bundy to a 1-year, $5 million deal on Wednesday night, with a $1 million buyout on an $11 million club option for 2023. The move came just hours before the MLB owners unanimously enforced a lockout of the players. The signing of Bundy shouldn’t alter the fact that the Twins front office receives a ‘doing the bare minimum’ grade in improving the starting rotation thus far in free agency. Frustratingly, we’ll have to wait to see how the story plays out. In Bundy, however, the Twins have signed a solid upside arm they hope will have a Robbie Ray type impact season in 2023. What range of outcomes does Bundy offer? How might the Twins tweak his approach to maximize a high upside play? Let’s dig into the numbers. Conveniently, Bundy has shown his entire range of outcomes in his past two seasons with the Angels. Last season, he was rancid. In 90 2/3 innings he managed a 6.06 ERA (4.83 xERA), a 21.2% K%, and 0.0 fWAR. Woof. Conversely, in the shortened 2020 season over 65 2/3 innings, he managed a 3.29 ERA (3.02 xERA), 27% strikeout%, and 2.0 fWAR, that’s a 6.0 fWAR pace over a full season, phew! To put that all visually, here is 2020 and 2021 next to each other. In incredibly simple terms, a Bundy season splitting the difference of those two outcomes would generate approximately a 2.5 fWAR season which is nothing to be sneezed at and a solid start to what needs to be an extensive overhaul of a non-existent rotation for the Twins before the 2022 season kicks off. So what attracted the Twins to Bundy, and how might they try and tweak his approach next season? Here’s what attracted the Twins to Dylan Bundy. Bundy has a nasty slider. In 2020, he threw it 25% of the time. In 2021, he threw it just 21%. Expect that figure to skyrocket in 2022. It’s by far his best pitch and was worth over four runs in 2021. The Twins will have him throw it 30% of the time or more. It’s notable that Bundy’s slider location was one of the primary reasons he struggled in 2021. In 2020, the heat map has it right in the corner of the strike zone, as opposed to far more centrally located in 2021. Regaining command of that pitch will be critical to his success in 2022. Another reason the Twins were likely attracted to Bundy is his fastball. Long gone are the days when Bundy was a top prospect throwing his fastball in the high-90s. It does, however, have an extremely high spin rate, the Twins’ most obvious fastball-related tendency. Bundy’s formula with the Twins will be fastballs high in the zone a la Jake Odorizzi and a high volume of sliders down and away to right-handed hitters. In my opinion, there’s not much to dislike about the Bundy move. He’s a high upside play who can easily be a solid number three starting pitcher on a great contract. The nagging question which will gnaw at Twins fans throughout the lockout and make it difficult to focus on the positives of the Bundy signing in isolation, was tweeted by John Bonnes yesterday. ‘Do the Twins front office love good contracts more than good players?’ We'll have to wait and see. View full article
  2. The Twins signed Dylan Bundy to a 1-year, $5 million deal on Wednesday night, with a $1 million buyout on an $11 million club option for 2023. The move came just hours before the MLB owners unanimously enforced a lockout of the players. The signing of Bundy shouldn’t alter the fact that the Twins front office receives a ‘doing the bare minimum’ grade in improving the starting rotation thus far in free agency. Frustratingly, we’ll have to wait to see how the story plays out. In Bundy, however, the Twins have signed a solid upside arm they hope will have a Robbie Ray type impact season in 2023. What range of outcomes does Bundy offer? How might the Twins tweak his approach to maximize a high upside play? Let’s dig into the numbers. Conveniently, Bundy has shown his entire range of outcomes in his past two seasons with the Angels. Last season, he was rancid. In 90 2/3 innings he managed a 6.06 ERA (4.83 xERA), a 21.2% K%, and 0.0 fWAR. Woof. Conversely, in the shortened 2020 season over 65 2/3 innings, he managed a 3.29 ERA (3.02 xERA), 27% strikeout%, and 2.0 fWAR, that’s a 6.0 fWAR pace over a full season, phew! To put that all visually, here is 2020 and 2021 next to each other. In incredibly simple terms, a Bundy season splitting the difference of those two outcomes would generate approximately a 2.5 fWAR season which is nothing to be sneezed at and a solid start to what needs to be an extensive overhaul of a non-existent rotation for the Twins before the 2022 season kicks off. So what attracted the Twins to Bundy, and how might they try and tweak his approach next season? Here’s what attracted the Twins to Dylan Bundy. Bundy has a nasty slider. In 2020, he threw it 25% of the time. In 2021, he threw it just 21%. Expect that figure to skyrocket in 2022. It’s by far his best pitch and was worth over four runs in 2021. The Twins will have him throw it 30% of the time or more. It’s notable that Bundy’s slider location was one of the primary reasons he struggled in 2021. In 2020, the heat map has it right in the corner of the strike zone, as opposed to far more centrally located in 2021. Regaining command of that pitch will be critical to his success in 2022. Another reason the Twins were likely attracted to Bundy is his fastball. Long gone are the days when Bundy was a top prospect throwing his fastball in the high-90s. It does, however, have an extremely high spin rate, the Twins’ most obvious fastball-related tendency. Bundy’s formula with the Twins will be fastballs high in the zone a la Jake Odorizzi and a high volume of sliders down and away to right-handed hitters. In my opinion, there’s not much to dislike about the Bundy move. He’s a high upside play who can easily be a solid number three starting pitcher on a great contract. The nagging question which will gnaw at Twins fans throughout the lockout and make it difficult to focus on the positives of the Bundy signing in isolation, was tweeted by John Bonnes yesterday. ‘Do the Twins front office love good contracts more than good players?’ We'll have to wait and see.
  3. In the second of a three-part series, we examine the organizations best suited to impact starting pitching from for the Twins. Who are the names? What do they bring to the table? What might they cost? As we begin the dead period induced by the end of the current CBA, the rest of the AL Central continues to improve while the Twins stand pat. The Tigers and Javy Baez agreed on a six-year, $140 million contract Tuesday, frustratingly adding a premier shortstop to the division, in a position of need for the Twins. In spite of the understandable pessimism with which Twins fandom has greeted the beginning of free agency, the Byron Buxton extension still provides a spark of optimism for me. I simply cannot see a team extending an MVP-caliber center fielder and not continuing to build around him. Earlier this week, I looked at the Reds as an ideal trade candidate in the Twins search for playoff-caliber starting pitching. Today, we’ll turn our attention to the Oakland Athletics, who appear to be on the cusp of a rebuild after a disappointing 2021. The A's off-season got off to a disastrous start when manager Bob Melvin was coaxed to San Diego. Long-term stadium troubles and the exit of premier players like Mark Canha may make for a long winter in northern California. So who does Oakland have? Why should the Twins want them? And what might it take to acquire them? Chris Bassitt If the Twins want to contend for the AL Central in 2022, Bassitt should be their number one target from Oakland. Despite his season being derailed by a facial fracture sustained in August, Bassitt had a memorable season. He amassed career-highs in fWAR (3.3), K/9 (9.1), and managed a 3.34 FIP over just 157 innings. The primary downside to Bassitt is he’s a free agent in 2023, so the Twins would only be acquiring one year of Bassitt, which would make him a little cheaper than other options. Potential trade: Twins trade OF Trevor Larnach to Oakland for RHP Chris Bassitt Frankie Montas Montas really put it together last season with the A's. In 2021, he managed 4.1 fWAR, 9.96 K/9 and a 3.37 FIP while throwing a 97 mph heater and an exceptional slider. Montas is under contract until 2024, and at 28, has age on his side. Consequently, his price would be more expensive than other starting pitching options with two years of team control. Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and INF Keoni Cavaco to Oakland for RHP Frankie Montas Sean Manaea Manaea comprises the left-handed prong of Oaklands top three starting pitchers, and similarly to Montas and Bassitt, had his best season to date in 2021 (which Nash Walker recently covered). Manaea managed 3.3 fWAR, 9.7 K/9 and a 3.66 FIP over 179 innings of work. Manaea also has some injury history and less explosive stuff than Montas or Bassitt, his fastball sitting at around 91 mph. Manaea is a free agent in 2023 and unless the asking price is cheaper than my trade proposal, I wouldn’t pursue him strongly if I were the Twins as there are too many orange flags. Potential trade: The Twins trade C Mitch Garver to Oakland for LHP Sean Manaea What would you offer in a trade with Oakland? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most? View full article
  4. As we begin the dead period induced by the end of the current CBA, the rest of the AL Central continues to improve while the Twins stand pat. The Tigers and Javy Baez agreed on a six-year, $140 million contract Tuesday, frustratingly adding a premier shortstop to the division, in a position of need for the Twins. In spite of the understandable pessimism with which Twins fandom has greeted the beginning of free agency, the Byron Buxton extension still provides a spark of optimism for me. I simply cannot see a team extending an MVP-caliber center fielder and not continuing to build around him. Earlier this week, I looked at the Reds as an ideal trade candidate in the Twins search for playoff-caliber starting pitching. Today, we’ll turn our attention to the Oakland Athletics, who appear to be on the cusp of a rebuild after a disappointing 2021. The A's off-season got off to a disastrous start when manager Bob Melvin was coaxed to San Diego. Long-term stadium troubles and the exit of premier players like Mark Canha may make for a long winter in northern California. So who does Oakland have? Why should the Twins want them? And what might it take to acquire them? Chris Bassitt If the Twins want to contend for the AL Central in 2022, Bassitt should be their number one target from Oakland. Despite his season being derailed by a facial fracture sustained in August, Bassitt had a memorable season. He amassed career-highs in fWAR (3.3), K/9 (9.1), and managed a 3.34 FIP over just 157 innings. The primary downside to Bassitt is he’s a free agent in 2023, so the Twins would only be acquiring one year of Bassitt, which would make him a little cheaper than other options. Potential trade: Twins trade OF Trevor Larnach to Oakland for RHP Chris Bassitt Frankie Montas Montas really put it together last season with the A's. In 2021, he managed 4.1 fWAR, 9.96 K/9 and a 3.37 FIP while throwing a 97 mph heater and an exceptional slider. Montas is under contract until 2024, and at 28, has age on his side. Consequently, his price would be more expensive than other starting pitching options with two years of team control. Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and INF Keoni Cavaco to Oakland for RHP Frankie Montas Sean Manaea Manaea comprises the left-handed prong of Oaklands top three starting pitchers, and similarly to Montas and Bassitt, had his best season to date in 2021 (which Nash Walker recently covered). Manaea managed 3.3 fWAR, 9.7 K/9 and a 3.66 FIP over 179 innings of work. Manaea also has some injury history and less explosive stuff than Montas or Bassitt, his fastball sitting at around 91 mph. Manaea is a free agent in 2023 and unless the asking price is cheaper than my trade proposal, I wouldn’t pursue him strongly if I were the Twins as there are too many orange flags. Potential trade: The Twins trade C Mitch Garver to Oakland for LHP Sean Manaea What would you offer in a trade with Oakland? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most?
  5. Definitely the big question. If they do somewhat punt on 2022 the FO will lose a ton of credibility with the fanbase imo as it's contrary to all their end of season posturing.
  6. I like that option. Have a piece coming on Marlins as trade partners. I agree that them being seriously competitive this year relies on them signing someone pretty solid as a FA option.
  7. One of our friends at Twins Daily, Shea McGinnity, summed it up best. The last 48 hours have likely been the most intense and exciting period of baseball free agency in the sport’s history. Twins fandom is understandably elated at Byron Buxton signing a 7-year, $100 million extension which keeps him a Twin for life. Yet, something feels like it’s missing. Oh, right, the starting pitching. The Twins don’t have much to speak of, and the starting pitching free agent market has been decimated in a pre-lockout financial feeding frenzy In the last 48 hours, Jon Gray, Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Max Scherzer have all signed hefty to record-breaking free-agent contracts. The remaining free-agent starters, using Aaron Gleeman’s Top 25 list at The Athletic, looks thin. Marcus Stroman and Carlos Rodon are the top names remaining. Clayton Kershaw isn’t signing with the Twins. Alex Wood and Alex Cobb are rumored to be signing with the Giants. That leaves Michael Pineda, Danny Duffy, Zack Grienke, Yusei Kikuchi, and Dylan Bundy. The mounting frustration for Twins fans lies in the discrepancy between the front office’s end-of-season rhetoric and their extreme lethargy in the recent free-agent frenzy. All indications from Derek Falvey suggested the Twins were ready to compete in 2022. The Twins front office exists in a challenging tension. They want to establish themselves as an organization that consistently competes through developing its own pitching. Until that labor bears fruit, fans are left to lust after free agent signings that will never come to pass. The Twins organization does not sign pitchers to hefty contracts. With that said, let’s examine some options for how they might strengthen their pitching staff via trade, starting with the Cincinnati Reds. Over the next three weeks, I’ll be profiling the three organizations the Twins should be looking to trade with for starting pitching. I’ll take into account their likely cost, performance, and future contract to rank options 1-3 for each organization. By all accounts, the Reds are open for business. They have an array of excellent MLB pitching, are undergoing organizational change (such as the departure of former pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy) and a good farm system that could use the addition of close to MLB ready bats. Sonny Gray Sonny Gray should be one of the Twins’ primary trade targets currently. In the midst of a 3-year, $32 million contract which runs through 2023, Gray has been worth, on average 2.5 fWAR over his last five seasons. Gray has maintained excellent peripherals and a strong K% throughout his late twenties and early thirties. He fits the profile of a starting pitcher, who the Twins wouldn’t have to give up multiple of their best prospects for, who could start a playoff game for Minnesota. Potential trade: Twins trade RHP Jordan Balazovic and C Ryan Jeffers to the Reds for RHP Sonny Gray. Tyler Mahle Tyler Mahle is best known to Twins fans as the pitcher who broke Byron Buxton’s hand this season but had a quiet breakout year for the Reds. Mahle profiles more similarly to Gray, both in stuff and cost, but has age on his side at just 27. Mahle sported a 27.7% K% in 2021 to go along with a 3.80 FIP, and 3.84 fWAR. Mahle, like Luis Castillo, is not a free agent until 2024. Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and RHP Matt Canterino to the Reds for RHP Tyler Mahle. Luis Castillo Luis Castillo is by far the best of the three Reds options and by far the most expensive, which is why I am ranking him last. Castillo has excellent velocity (97 mph fastball), a devastating changeup, and doesn’t hit free agency until 2024. The asking price on Castillo has been reported to be incredibly high, which it should be for a starting pitcher you would feel confident in leading a good number of MLB rotations. It seems unlikely the Twins would trade for Castillo given the cost. Potential trade: The Twins trade SS Royce Lewis and OF Max Kepler to the Reds for RHP Luis Castillo. Do you agree with my ranking? What would you offer in a trade with Cincinnati? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most?
  8. The starting pitching free agent market has been decimated in the last 48 hours. What can the Twins do to bolster their starting pitching this offseason? Make a trade with the Reds. One of our friends at Twins Daily, Shea McGinnity, summed it up best. The last 48 hours have likely been the most intense and exciting period of baseball free agency in the sport’s history. Twins fandom is understandably elated at Byron Buxton signing a 7-year, $100 million extension which keeps him a Twin for life. Yet, something feels like it’s missing. Oh, right, the starting pitching. The Twins don’t have much to speak of, and the starting pitching free agent market has been decimated in a pre-lockout financial feeding frenzy In the last 48 hours, Jon Gray, Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Max Scherzer have all signed hefty to record-breaking free-agent contracts. The remaining free-agent starters, using Aaron Gleeman’s Top 25 list at The Athletic, looks thin. Marcus Stroman and Carlos Rodon are the top names remaining. Clayton Kershaw isn’t signing with the Twins. Alex Wood and Alex Cobb are rumored to be signing with the Giants. That leaves Michael Pineda, Danny Duffy, Zack Grienke, Yusei Kikuchi, and Dylan Bundy. The mounting frustration for Twins fans lies in the discrepancy between the front office’s end-of-season rhetoric and their extreme lethargy in the recent free-agent frenzy. All indications from Derek Falvey suggested the Twins were ready to compete in 2022. The Twins front office exists in a challenging tension. They want to establish themselves as an organization that consistently competes through developing its own pitching. Until that labor bears fruit, fans are left to lust after free agent signings that will never come to pass. The Twins organization does not sign pitchers to hefty contracts. With that said, let’s examine some options for how they might strengthen their pitching staff via trade, starting with the Cincinnati Reds. Over the next three weeks, I’ll be profiling the three organizations the Twins should be looking to trade with for starting pitching. I’ll take into account their likely cost, performance, and future contract to rank options 1-3 for each organization. By all accounts, the Reds are open for business. They have an array of excellent MLB pitching, are undergoing organizational change (such as the departure of former pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy) and a good farm system that could use the addition of close to MLB ready bats. Sonny Gray Sonny Gray should be one of the Twins’ primary trade targets currently. In the midst of a 3-year, $32 million contract which runs through 2023, Gray has been worth, on average 2.5 fWAR over his last five seasons. Gray has maintained excellent peripherals and a strong K% throughout his late twenties and early thirties. He fits the profile of a starting pitcher, who the Twins wouldn’t have to give up multiple of their best prospects for, who could start a playoff game for Minnesota. Potential trade: Twins trade RHP Jordan Balazovic and C Ryan Jeffers to the Reds for RHP Sonny Gray. Tyler Mahle Tyler Mahle is best known to Twins fans as the pitcher who broke Byron Buxton’s hand this season but had a quiet breakout year for the Reds. Mahle profiles more similarly to Gray, both in stuff and cost, but has age on his side at just 27. Mahle sported a 27.7% K% in 2021 to go along with a 3.80 FIP, and 3.84 fWAR. Mahle, like Luis Castillo, is not a free agent until 2024. Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and RHP Matt Canterino to the Reds for RHP Tyler Mahle. Luis Castillo Luis Castillo is by far the best of the three Reds options and by far the most expensive, which is why I am ranking him last. Castillo has excellent velocity (97 mph fastball), a devastating changeup, and doesn’t hit free agency until 2024. The asking price on Castillo has been reported to be incredibly high, which it should be for a starting pitcher you would feel confident in leading a good number of MLB rotations. It seems unlikely the Twins would trade for Castillo given the cost. Potential trade: The Twins trade SS Royce Lewis and OF Max Kepler to the Reds for RHP Luis Castillo. Do you agree with my ranking? What would you offer in a trade with Cincinnati? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most? View full article
  9. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get stuck in patterns of familiar thinking when considering possible moves the Twins front office could make to fill a need. Let’s take shortstop as an example. The need is clear. Andrelton Simmons was incredibly limited in what he offered the Twins offensively in 2021. The dichotomy I jump to when considering shortstop next steps is this: Target a big-name free agent from the greatest-ever free agent shortstop class, a move doomed to failure OR I resign myself to the inevitable reunion with Simmons which will result in me not being savvy enough to recognize his defensive wizardry while screaming at my TV while he plays fruit ninja at home plate during each at-bat. Neither is satisfactory. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. One of the beauties of the off-season is considering creative possibilities. To escape the painful reverberation in the Twins twitter echo chamber in light of recent Byron Buxton-related developments, I decided to think through some outside-the-box options for the Twins to plug their shortstop-sized roster hole. These moves are predicated on a simple, but important assumption: The Twins are seeking a short-term solution. Whether because they don’t want to, or simply can’t, sign a big-name free agent, I’m going to assume the Twins long-term answer at shortstop is internal, be it Royce Lewis or someone else. So who, or what, are some options we might not have considered? Sign Chris Taylor to a 3 or 4 Year Deal This isn’t exactly a secret. Taylor has been a popular, much-discussed option among Twins fandom this off-season. Let’s add to the context. Taylor has averaged 2.8 fWAR over the last five seasons. Impressive. Last season he played at least 20 games at four different positions (SS, 2B, LF, CF) and is solid defensively in all of them. The Twins have shown in recent seasons, that they have multiple cornerstones in their lineup who are extremely injury prone. This makes so much sense. The beauty of signing Taylor to a three or four-year deal, is if your shorstop of the future is Lewis and he’s ready, the Twins will undoubtedly have a role that needs to be filled with a strong hitter. Taylor isn’t a super-utility player, he’s just a super baseball player. Trade for Arizona Diamondbacks SS Nick Ahmed Nick Ahmed is and has been, one of the best defensive shortstops in the league for some time. In 2021, he massed 19 OAA (Outs Above Average), good for third in the league behind Nicky Lopez and Francisco Lindor and three better than Simmons. Lopez is not a strong hitter and has averaged around a 90 wRC+ for Arizona in the last four seasons (and averaged 1.25 fWAR in that same span). The Diamondback are going nowhere soon and Ahmed should be available at a pretty acceptable price. He will be a free agent in 2024, so if the Twins are confident that Royce Lewis is ready, he immediately becomes a defensively excellent utility infielder. Trade for Tampa Bay Rays Infielder Joey Wendle Joey Wendle is a curious case who doesn’t get much shine because he’s chronically under-utilized. In 2021, Wendle was called into action, playing over 130 games for the first time since 2018. He played at second base, but was primarily at shortstop and third. Wendle was 17th among all infielders in OAA with 8 on the season. Offensively, Wendle is no slouch either, amassing 2.6 fWAR and a 106 wRC+. Indeed, over his last five seasons, Wendle has averaged a 111wRC+. In three of those four, however, he’s played less than 80 games. Like Ahmed, Wendle isn’t a free agent until 2024 and would be an excellent fill-in at other infield positions if he was no longer needed as a primary shortstop. Which of these options do you like most as a potential target for the Twins? What are other names do you like that have not been mentioned to fill needs on the Twins roster? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. The Twins are unlikely to sign a big-name free agent shortstop. Here are three creative ways Minnesota could address its shortstop need. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get stuck in patterns of familiar thinking when considering possible moves the Twins front office could make to fill a need. Let’s take shortstop as an example. The need is clear. Andrelton Simmons was incredibly limited in what he offered the Twins offensively in 2021. The dichotomy I jump to when considering shortstop next steps is this: Target a big-name free agent from the greatest-ever free agent shortstop class, a move doomed to failure OR I resign myself to the inevitable reunion with Simmons which will result in me not being savvy enough to recognize his defensive wizardry while screaming at my TV while he plays fruit ninja at home plate during each at-bat. Neither is satisfactory. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. One of the beauties of the off-season is considering creative possibilities. To escape the painful reverberation in the Twins twitter echo chamber in light of recent Byron Buxton-related developments, I decided to think through some outside-the-box options for the Twins to plug their shortstop-sized roster hole. These moves are predicated on a simple, but important assumption: The Twins are seeking a short-term solution. Whether because they don’t want to, or simply can’t, sign a big-name free agent, I’m going to assume the Twins long-term answer at shortstop is internal, be it Royce Lewis or someone else. So who, or what, are some options we might not have considered? Sign Chris Taylor to a 3 or 4 Year Deal This isn’t exactly a secret. Taylor has been a popular, much-discussed option among Twins fandom this off-season. Let’s add to the context. Taylor has averaged 2.8 fWAR over the last five seasons. Impressive. Last season he played at least 20 games at four different positions (SS, 2B, LF, CF) and is solid defensively in all of them. The Twins have shown in recent seasons, that they have multiple cornerstones in their lineup who are extremely injury prone. This makes so much sense. The beauty of signing Taylor to a three or four-year deal, is if your shorstop of the future is Lewis and he’s ready, the Twins will undoubtedly have a role that needs to be filled with a strong hitter. Taylor isn’t a super-utility player, he’s just a super baseball player. Trade for Arizona Diamondbacks SS Nick Ahmed Nick Ahmed is and has been, one of the best defensive shortstops in the league for some time. In 2021, he massed 19 OAA (Outs Above Average), good for third in the league behind Nicky Lopez and Francisco Lindor and three better than Simmons. Lopez is not a strong hitter and has averaged around a 90 wRC+ for Arizona in the last four seasons (and averaged 1.25 fWAR in that same span). The Diamondback are going nowhere soon and Ahmed should be available at a pretty acceptable price. He will be a free agent in 2024, so if the Twins are confident that Royce Lewis is ready, he immediately becomes a defensively excellent utility infielder. Trade for Tampa Bay Rays Infielder Joey Wendle Joey Wendle is a curious case who doesn’t get much shine because he’s chronically under-utilized. In 2021, Wendle was called into action, playing over 130 games for the first time since 2018. He played at second base, but was primarily at shortstop and third. Wendle was 17th among all infielders in OAA with 8 on the season. Offensively, Wendle is no slouch either, amassing 2.6 fWAR and a 106 wRC+. Indeed, over his last five seasons, Wendle has averaged a 111wRC+. In three of those four, however, he’s played less than 80 games. Like Ahmed, Wendle isn’t a free agent until 2024 and would be an excellent fill-in at other infield positions if he was no longer needed as a primary shortstop. Which of these options do you like most as a potential target for the Twins? What are other names do you like that have not been mentioned to fill needs on the Twins roster? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. In 2020, Ryan Jeffers burst onto the scene like a supernova, crushing major league pitching to the tune of a 120 wRC+ in his maiden MLB season. Although a small sample size (62 plate appearances in a pandemic-shortened season), Jeffers’ emergence wasn’t completely surprising. Before being called up, the bat-first catcher drafted by the front office out of UNC Wilmington had crushed minor league pitching, averaging a 135 wRC+ between High-A and Double-A in 2019. Then, 2021 happened. Jeffers' star came crashing back down to earth. In 2021, he managed an 82 wRC+ and spent a significant amount of time at Triple-A St. Paul. So who is the real Ryan Jeffers? Can he ascend to his 2019 heights in 2022? What does the performance of his bat mean for Minnesota’s potentially dynamic catching tandem? Jeffers’ Range of Outcomes In 2020, Jeffers carried a BABIP of .364, unsustainably good. In 2021, it fell to .236, unsustainable bad. Could 2020 and 2021 simply be indicators of Jeffers’ one hundredth and first percentile outcomes, respectively? Possibly. But digging into Jeffers’ underlying numbers shows some interesting trends and opportunities to improve. What was Different in 2021? Scanning Jeffers’ underlying hitting numbers raises no immediate cause for alarm. In 2021, he increased his Barrel% from 13.9% to 14.5%, his Hard Hit% from 41.7% to 44%. Additionally, his max exit velocity remained consistent with 2020. We know Ryan Jeffers can destroy baseballs. So what changed? Despite some improvements in hard contact, Jeffers’ xBA fell from .232 to .211, his xwWOBA from .332 to .300. Why? Jeffers had less effective control of the strike zone and made contact less often in 2021. While Jeffers’ BB% remained consistent with his 2020 numbers, his o-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches outside the strike zone) increased sharply, from 26% to 33%. Indeed, his z-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches inside the zone) increased 5% from his 2020 numbers. In short, Jeffers was significantly less selective in 2021, which led to a sharp increase in K% from 2020. It’s also worth noting the quality of the contact Jeffers made against various pitches in 2021. Looking at his exit velocities against each pitch type, it’s noticeable that he is hitting the ball less solidly against fastballs and off-speed pitches in 2021. It’s also notable that Jeffers’ average launch angle against the pitches increased significantly last season. In other words, he is swinging underneath fastballs and off-speed pitches more frequently, generating more fly balls and pop-ups. In combination with a decrease in his control of the strike zone, this led to his overall offensive decline in 2021. What about 2022? How do we evaluate Jeffers as a catching option going into 2022? It’s worth noting here that Jeffers is a solid catcher and ranked in the 74th percentile in MLB for pitch framing in 2021 (remarkable for a player who did not have a catching coach in college). If Jeffers falls roughly between his 2020 and 2021 numbers next season, his offensive performance would equate to approximately a 100wRC+, a league-average hitter, but above league average for a catcher, with the pop we have come to expect from his bat. While there has been some speculation that Mitch Garver could be traded, I think it is more likely that the Twins rotate their catchers heavily through the DH spot next season. I’m intrigued by the possibility of Jeffers making adjustments from a poor offensive output in 2021. What are your thoughts on the starting catching situation in 2022? Do you think Jeffers can bounce back? Are you in favor of trading a catcher? Join the discussion below.
  12. Ryan Jeffers burst onto the scene with exciting offensive numbers in 2020 before struggling offensively in 2021. Which is the real Ryan Jeffers? What does his offensive performance mean for the Twins catching situation in 2022? In 2020, Ryan Jeffers burst onto the scene like a supernova, crushing major league pitching to the tune of a 120 wRC+ in his maiden MLB season. Although a small sample size (62 plate appearances in a pandemic-shortened season), Jeffers’ emergence wasn’t completely surprising. Before being called up, the bat-first catcher drafted by the front office out of UNC Wilmington had crushed minor league pitching, averaging a 135 wRC+ between High-A and Double-A in 2019. Then, 2021 happened. Jeffers' star came crashing back down to earth. In 2021, he managed an 82 wRC+ and spent a significant amount of time at Triple-A St. Paul. So who is the real Ryan Jeffers? Can he ascend to his 2019 heights in 2022? What does the performance of his bat mean for Minnesota’s potentially dynamic catching tandem? Jeffers’ Range of Outcomes In 2020, Jeffers carried a BABIP of .364, unsustainably good. In 2021, it fell to .236, unsustainable bad. Could 2020 and 2021 simply be indicators of Jeffers’ one hundredth and first percentile outcomes, respectively? Possibly. But digging into Jeffers’ underlying numbers shows some interesting trends and opportunities to improve. What was Different in 2021? Scanning Jeffers’ underlying hitting numbers raises no immediate cause for alarm. In 2021, he increased his Barrel% from 13.9% to 14.5%, his Hard Hit% from 41.7% to 44%. Additionally, his max exit velocity remained consistent with 2020. We know Ryan Jeffers can destroy baseballs. So what changed? Despite some improvements in hard contact, Jeffers’ xBA fell from .232 to .211, his xwWOBA from .332 to .300. Why? Jeffers had less effective control of the strike zone and made contact less often in 2021. While Jeffers’ BB% remained consistent with his 2020 numbers, his o-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches outside the strike zone) increased sharply, from 26% to 33%. Indeed, his z-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches inside the zone) increased 5% from his 2020 numbers. In short, Jeffers was significantly less selective in 2021, which led to a sharp increase in K% from 2020. It’s also worth noting the quality of the contact Jeffers made against various pitches in 2021. Looking at his exit velocities against each pitch type, it’s noticeable that he is hitting the ball less solidly against fastballs and off-speed pitches in 2021. It’s also notable that Jeffers’ average launch angle against the pitches increased significantly last season. In other words, he is swinging underneath fastballs and off-speed pitches more frequently, generating more fly balls and pop-ups. In combination with a decrease in his control of the strike zone, this led to his overall offensive decline in 2021. What about 2022? How do we evaluate Jeffers as a catching option going into 2022? It’s worth noting here that Jeffers is a solid catcher and ranked in the 74th percentile in MLB for pitch framing in 2021 (remarkable for a player who did not have a catching coach in college). If Jeffers falls roughly between his 2020 and 2021 numbers next season, his offensive performance would equate to approximately a 100wRC+, a league-average hitter, but above league average for a catcher, with the pop we have come to expect from his bat. While there has been some speculation that Mitch Garver could be traded, I think it is more likely that the Twins rotate their catchers heavily through the DH spot next season. I’m intrigued by the possibility of Jeffers making adjustments from a poor offensive output in 2021. What are your thoughts on the starting catching situation in 2022? Do you think Jeffers can bounce back? Are you in favor of trading a catcher? Join the discussion below. View full article
  13. The Twins have an increasing number of intriguing options to help their major-league bullpen in 2022. Here are three names you need to know for next season. Understandably, much of the early off-season Twins conjecture has surrounded trades and free-agent additions the Twins can make to boost their beleaguered pitching staff. The promotion of Jovani Moran and his dynamic changeup is indicative of another direction the organization will have to succeed at if they are to compete in 2022, promoting from within. Twins fans have bemoaned the organization's poor returns on developing its own pitching for as long as I can remember. 2022 will be the year that narrative begins to change. It’s well known that the Twins have a stable (sorry PETA) of young arms in AA and above, with Josh Winder, Jhoan Duran, Cole Sands, Chris Vallimont, Jordan Balazovic approaching major league consideration. What about bullpen options? Here are three names Twins fans should be familiar with who will likely feature in the major league bullpen during the 2022 season. Ian Hamilton Ian Hamilton is perhaps the best known of the trio to Twins fans. A former White Sox top prospect, Hamilton has made a remarkable recovery from a minor car accident and being struck in the face by a batted ball in 2019. Hamilton struck out 33.5% of hitters he faced in 2021 (13.1 K/9) and has enough velocity to be a high-leverage arm. Control was Hamilton’s issue in 2021, with a 15.2% BB%. Hamilton spoke of the challenges of regaining confidence in his mechanics after his injuries. If he can return to the type of command he showed in the 2018 season 5.1% BB%, he could be a huge boon to the Twins bullpen in 2022. Ryan Mason Conversely, Ryan Mason is the name on this list least well known by Twins fans. It’s time to pay attention. Mason was drafted in the 13th round of the 2016 draft out of UC-Berkley. The 6’6 California native was promoted to the Saints at the end of July, after impressing at AA Wichita. Mason combined for 54 innings across two minor-league levels with the Twins and got better when he was promoted to St. Paul. He struck out 29.4% of the batters he faced at AAA (12.1 K/9) and managed a 3.47 FIP. Similarly to Hamilton, it’s control that will be a decisive factor for Mason. At AAA in 2021, he walked 11.8% of hitters (4.8 BB/9). Also like Hamilton, he has a history of good control prior to a pandemic-lost 2020 season (1.6 BB/9 in 92 2/3 innings between 2018-2019). Mason is another MLB-caliber arm to watch out for in 2022. Yennier Cano Cano is an unusual bullpen prospect. The 27-year-old out of Cuba throws in the mid-to-upper 90s and offers a fastball, slider, splitter combination which he executed to great effect in St. Paul in 2021. Cano’s ascent through the Twins MiLB ranks is impressive. He has moved from Rookie ball to AAA in just two seasons, with a season off in-between due to the pandemic. Cano struck out 25.7% of hitters he faced in 51 AAA innings (10.2 K/9). Cano struggled with his control at AAA with a 12.8% BB%, compared to just 6.2% at AA. Similar to Hamilton and Mason, Cano has shown the stuff and performance to be a high-leverage arm, if he can arrive at a greater level of consistency. These three internal options for the Twins bullpen have striking similarities. Excellent arms, excellent stuff, and a need to develop more consistent control. Whether that need arose through injury, or simply missed development time, it’s critical the Twins begin to show the type of success developing their own relievers as many have predicted for their starters in forthcoming seasons. While there is work to be done for all three, make no mistake. Help for the major-league arm barn is on the way from St. Paul. View full article
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