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Ted Schwerzler

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  1. It’s been a few days since the Minnesota Twins allowed the dust to settle on their 2021 Trade Deadline moves. With some big names leaving the organization, and some big prospects entering, it’s time to take a look at the talent that moved places. The headliner was obviously the Jose Berrios move. As a fan, this one was always going to be hard to stomach. Berrios was drafted by the organization, developed, and became one of the best pitchers in Twins history. As it became increasingly evident that he would not sign a long-term extension with the club, moving him made more and more sense. Derek Falvey had to maximize the return on Berrios is there was going to be a deal, and he did absolutely that. I noted Austin Martin being my desired target should a swap with the Blue Jays be the plan of action. Still though, getting controllable pitching needed to happen considering Minnesota was moving an ace. To get both Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson was an absolute coup, and it was the strongest return any swap generated during the deadline. I wrote up the Cruz swap last week and getting Joe Ryan looks like a very strong return for a guy that’s an impending free agent and had limited suitors. While Nelson Cruz is great, there was never a point in which I thought he’d bring back much to work with. Instead, the Twins got Team USA’s game one starter in Ryan, and a flier that’s close to major league ready in Drew Strotman. No matter how Falvey organized this one, he did incredibly well. Flipping J.A. Happ to the Cardinals was impressive as well. I’ve kicked the notion that he could be seen as valuable to someone for weeks. That always was tongue in cheek with how poorly he’s pitched but leave it to St. Louis to make me look smart. John Gant is under team control in 2022, and that gives the Twins a veteran arm with a longer runway to decide a future on. He can both start and relieve, although he’s currently in Rocco Baldelli’s pen. Gant has pitched well above expectations this year, and his FIP suggests some massive regression is coming. That said, if the Twins can unlock another tier, they may have something to work with down the line. It wasn’t unexpected to see Hansel Robles moved, although I did think that Alex Colome may wind up being the more coveted reliever. Boston sent back a non-top 30 arm in Alex Scherff, but the 23-year-old has big strikeout numbers and is already at Double-A. Although he’s a reliever, that’s still a useful arm to add for an organization needing to develop pitchers for the highest level. There has to be some criticism directed at Falvey and Thad Levine, although none of it should be for what they did. Instead, not trading Michael Pineda or Andrelton Simmons looks like a missed opportunity. Both are impending free agents and serve no purpose to this club down the stretch. I’d like to see Pineda back next season, but that could happen on the open market anyways. There’s no reason for this team to hold onto any semblance of respectability and turning the results over to youth makes more sense than ever. Simmons has been fine defensively, but he’s non-existent at the plate and some contender could’ve parted with a bag of balls for a shortstop upgrade. When the bell run on July 31, we had seen the most exciting trade deadline in Major League Baseball history come to an end. The Minnesota Twins bettered their future, and made some high impact moves that both Falvey and Levine should be praised for. Now it’ll be up to the organizational infrastructure to develop and best position these talents in an opportunity to bear fruit and turn the tides of the big-league club. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. Jose Berrios’ time with the Minnesota Twins has come to an end. After being made the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft, he’ll have been with Minnesota for just shy of 10 years. Maybe this story ends differently had 2021 gone as planned, but the Twins saw Berrios go from prospect to All-Star from within their reach. With virtually every top prospect, the intrigue surrounds what they’ll become at the next level. Berrios was a wiry kid from Puerto Rico. He became a workout warrior known for posting videos of flipping tires and pulling cars during winters on the island. There was not a consensus view on what type of pitcher he’d slot in as in the big leagues, but it’s hard to say he’s been anything but a success story for the Twins. He finishes his time in Minnesota having pitched 781 ⅓ innings across 136 games. His 4.08 ERA is weighed down by the 8.02 mark he put up during his rookie campaign, but he racked up 779 strikeouts and recorded 55 wins. Berrios pitched for some terrible Twins teams and some outstanding ones. He drew some huge Postseason starts, and his last turn against the Houston Astros in 2020 may have been his best. During his Twins tenure Berrios made two All-Star teams and could’ve been in line for another had this season been more competitive. He’s shown Gold Glove-worthy fielding prowess, and he’s revamped that workout routine seen so often in tweets to sustain effectiveness and increase velocity. Jose has always been a humble human being, but he’s grown maturity wise as well handling interviews with increasing confidence. Both on and off the field, Berrios has embodied a consistent and commendable amount of transformation. It’s hard to fault a player like Berrios for wanting to see that massive payday. He’ll enter free agency as one of the premier talents available, and pitching is always something that gets paid for. After playing through arbitration to this point, maximizing his value makes a lot of sense and is also an avenue the Twins may be right in avoiding. Although Minnesota won’t see the end of Berrios’ team control, it’s hard not to look at the life cycle of this player as a big win for them. He was drafted, developed, performed at or above expectations, and now has become a transferable asset. The hope would be that Derek Falvey executes a move bringing back a pitching-laden haul to help the club compete in 2022 and beyond. Maybe Berrios never became the ace that the Twins had hoped for, but he has been their number one starter for virtually the entirety of his time as an established big league veteran. Maybe there’s another step for him to unlock in the years ahead, and this is absolutely a guy that Twins fans can cheer for well beyond his time in the hometown threads. 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
  3. With virtually every top prospect, the intrigue surrounds what they’ll become at the next level. Berrios was a wiry kid from Puerto Rico. He became a workout warrior known for posting videos of flipping tires and pulling cars during winters on the island. There was not a consensus view on what type of pitcher he’d slot in as in the big leagues, but it’s hard to say he’s been anything but a success story for the Twins. He finishes his time in Minnesota having pitched 781 ⅓ innings across 136 games. His 4.08 ERA is weighed down by the 8.02 mark he put up during his rookie campaign, but he racked up 779 strikeouts and recorded 55 wins. Berrios pitched for some terrible Twins teams and some outstanding ones. He drew some huge Postseason starts, and his last turn against the Houston Astros in 2020 may have been his best. During his Twins tenure Berrios made two All-Star teams and could’ve been in line for another had this season been more competitive. He’s shown Gold Glove-worthy fielding prowess, and he’s revamped that workout routine seen so often in tweets to sustain effectiveness and increase velocity. Jose has always been a humble human being, but he’s grown maturity wise as well handling interviews with increasing confidence. Both on and off the field, Berrios has embodied a consistent and commendable amount of transformation. It’s hard to fault a player like Berrios for wanting to see that massive payday. He’ll enter free agency as one of the premier talents available, and pitching is always something that gets paid for. After playing through arbitration to this point, maximizing his value makes a lot of sense and is also an avenue the Twins may be right in avoiding. Although Minnesota won’t see the end of Berrios’ team control, it’s hard not to look at the life cycle of this player as a big win for them. He was drafted, developed, performed at or above expectations, and now has become a transferable asset. The hope would be that Derek Falvey executes a move bringing back a pitching-laden haul to help the club compete in 2022 and beyond. Maybe Berrios never became the ace that the Twins had hoped for, but he has been their number one starter for virtually the entirety of his time as an established big league veteran. Maybe there’s another step for him to unlock in the years ahead, and this is absolutely a guy that Twins fans can cheer for well beyond his time in the hometown threads. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. It was a tough day on the farm for the Minnesota Twins affiliates. Runs were at a premium and wins were nearly non-existent. The Saints came through with the drama. TRANSACTIONS There were no reported transactions today. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Indianapolis 2 (F/10) Box Score Veteran Matt Shoemaker continued his strong stretch with the Saints again in this one. He turned in seven strong allowing just two hits while striking out six and giving up just two walks. St. Paul scored first on a Keon Broxton solo shot in the bottom of the third inning. Jimmy Kerrigan then scored the second run on a wild pitch in the 7th. After an 8th inning homer knotted things up for Indianapolis, this one would see extras. In the 10th Tomas Telis drew a bases loaded walk allowing J.T. Riddle to waltz in for the game winning run. Kerrigan was joined by Jose Miranda as the lone batters to record two-hit games. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 12, Wichita 1 Box Score Northwest Arkansas came out with bats ready to go from the jump. Bryan Sammons was blitzed early for a four run 2nd inning but did well to rebound and complete four for Wichita. The Wind Surge were down 11-0 by the 8th inning, and Spencer Steer’s solo shot only brough them back within 10. The Naturals responded with a run of their own in the bottom half, and the deficit ended at 11. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 4, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Tyler Watson was great for the Kernels allowing just a single unearned run on four hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked just one on the evening. Cedar Rapids recorded 10 hits, including three from Wander Javier and two each from Michael Helman and Daniel Ozoria. They turned into just one run though, a Helman homer in the 9th. Trying to erase a four-run deficit, it just wasn’t enough. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Clearwater 4, Fort Myers 2 (F/7) Box Score Brent Headrick took the ball for Fort Myers in the first game of their doubleheader today and worked four innings. He gave up four runs on four hits while striking out six and walking two. All four Threshers runs came in the 4th inning. Trailing going into the top half of the 5th, the Mighty Mussels pushed across their answer. Misael Urbina allowed Ruben Santana to score despite a double play, and then Nick Anderson drove in Justin Washington on a single. Both sides mustered just four hits on the day, and it was Anderson pinch hitting for Aaron Sabato that was the lone batter to record a multi-hit effort in this one. Game 2: Clearwater 3, Fort Myers 2 (F/8) Box Score Landon Leach was on the hill for game two and went four innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking one and punching out two. Fort Myers pushed across the game’s first run in the top half of the 1st. Charles Mack drove in Jeferson Morales with a liner to left and then Will Holland plated Mack with a single of his own. Unfortunately, and despite 11 hits in the game, that’s where the scoring ended for the Mighty Mussels. Things were even after the 3rd, and the Threshers pushed across the game winning run in the 8th. Mack and Jesus Feliz both recorded three-hit games in this one, while Ruben Santana had a pair of his own. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Pirates Black 9, FCL Twins 6 Box Score Giovahniey German made the start today for the Twins and went three innings allowing just a single hit and one walk while striking out three. The bullpen struggled giving up nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits. Alexander Pena drove in the game’s first run scoring Emmanuel Rodriguez on a first inning single. From there though, the Pirates added eight before the Twins answered in the 7th. A Malfrin Sosa single scored Yonardy Soto bringing the deficit to six. After giving up another Pirates run, the Twins added four in a 9th inning rally that ultimately came up short. Luis Baez scored Nelson Roberto on a single before Rodriguez drove in Rubel Cespedes on a sacrifice fly. A Kala’i Rosario single scored Baez and LaRon Smith singled to drive in Rodriguez. The Twins outhit the Pirates 10 to eight, but it wasn’t enough in the runs column. Baez, Rosario, and Cespedes all recorded two hits in the game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day- Tyler Watson (Cedar Rapids) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Hitter of the Day- Michael Helman (Cedar Rapids) – 2-4, R, RBI, HR(10) PROSPECT SUMMARY Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) –Did not pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 2-3, 2 BB #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Did not play #7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – No game #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 0-0 (was removed in game one) #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 0-4, K #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – No game #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) –Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – No game #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-7, BB #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 1-3, R, RBI, HR(8), BB, 2 K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 3-4 #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – RHP Griffin Jax (4-1, 3.32 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05PM CST) – RHP Jordan Balazovic (3-1, 2.74 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (7:05PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross (4-0, 2.41 ERA) Fort Myers @ Clearwater (5:30 PM CST) – TBD View full article
  5. TRANSACTIONS There were no reported transactions today. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Indianapolis 2 (F/10) Box Score Veteran Matt Shoemaker continued his strong stretch with the Saints again in this one. He turned in seven strong allowing just two hits while striking out six and giving up just two walks. St. Paul scored first on a Keon Broxton solo shot in the bottom of the third inning. Jimmy Kerrigan then scored the second run on a wild pitch in the 7th. After an 8th inning homer knotted things up for Indianapolis, this one would see extras. In the 10th Tomas Telis drew a bases loaded walk allowing J.T. Riddle to waltz in for the game winning run. Kerrigan was joined by Jose Miranda as the lone batters to record two-hit games. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 12, Wichita 1 Box Score Northwest Arkansas came out with bats ready to go from the jump. Bryan Sammons was blitzed early for a four run 2nd inning but did well to rebound and complete four for Wichita. The Wind Surge were down 11-0 by the 8th inning, and Spencer Steer’s solo shot only brough them back within 10. The Naturals responded with a run of their own in the bottom half, and the deficit ended at 11. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 4, Cedar Rapids 1 Box Score Tyler Watson was great for the Kernels allowing just a single unearned run on four hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked just one on the evening. Cedar Rapids recorded 10 hits, including three from Wander Javier and two each from Michael Helman and Daniel Ozoria. They turned into just one run though, a Helman homer in the 9th. Trying to erase a four-run deficit, it just wasn’t enough. MUSSEL MATTERS Game 1: Clearwater 4, Fort Myers 2 (F/7) Box Score Brent Headrick took the ball for Fort Myers in the first game of their doubleheader today and worked four innings. He gave up four runs on four hits while striking out six and walking two. All four Threshers runs came in the 4th inning. Trailing going into the top half of the 5th, the Mighty Mussels pushed across their answer. Misael Urbina allowed Ruben Santana to score despite a double play, and then Nick Anderson drove in Justin Washington on a single. Both sides mustered just four hits on the day, and it was Anderson pinch hitting for Aaron Sabato that was the lone batter to record a multi-hit effort in this one. Game 2: Clearwater 3, Fort Myers 2 (F/8) Box Score Landon Leach was on the hill for game two and went four innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking one and punching out two. Fort Myers pushed across the game’s first run in the top half of the 1st. Charles Mack drove in Jeferson Morales with a liner to left and then Will Holland plated Mack with a single of his own. Unfortunately, and despite 11 hits in the game, that’s where the scoring ended for the Mighty Mussels. Things were even after the 3rd, and the Threshers pushed across the game winning run in the 8th. Mack and Jesus Feliz both recorded three-hit games in this one, while Ruben Santana had a pair of his own. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Pirates Black 9, FCL Twins 6 Box Score Giovahniey German made the start today for the Twins and went three innings allowing just a single hit and one walk while striking out three. The bullpen struggled giving up nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits. Alexander Pena drove in the game’s first run scoring Emmanuel Rodriguez on a first inning single. From there though, the Pirates added eight before the Twins answered in the 7th. A Malfrin Sosa single scored Yonardy Soto bringing the deficit to six. After giving up another Pirates run, the Twins added four in a 9th inning rally that ultimately came up short. Luis Baez scored Nelson Roberto on a single before Rodriguez drove in Rubel Cespedes on a sacrifice fly. A Kala’i Rosario single scored Baez and LaRon Smith singled to drive in Rodriguez. The Twins outhit the Pirates 10 to eight, but it wasn’t enough in the runs column. Baez, Rosario, and Cespedes all recorded two hits in the game. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day- Tyler Watson (Cedar Rapids) – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Hitter of the Day- Michael Helman (Cedar Rapids) – 2-4, R, RBI, HR(10) PROSPECT SUMMARY Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) –Did not pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 2-3, 2 BB #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Did not play #7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – No game #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 0-0 (was removed in game one) #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 0-4, K #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – No game #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) –Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – No game #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-7, BB #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 1-3, R, RBI, HR(8), BB, 2 K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 3-4 #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – Did not pitch FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – RHP Griffin Jax (4-1, 3.32 ERA) Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05PM CST) – RHP Jordan Balazovic (3-1, 2.74 ERA) Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (7:05PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross (4-0, 2.41 ERA) Fort Myers @ Clearwater (5:30 PM CST) – TBD
  6. We still have a ways to go, and while there is no August waiver trade period in 2021, Rocco Baldelli’s roster should continue to get a shake-up over the next few weeks. Cycling in different hitters and pitchers when attempting to find future opportunities, this club can also look back on what has been and begin making assessments for 2022 and beyond. While not all the biggest storylines, here are five key takeaways from what we’ve seen to this point: Miguel Sano is inconsistently consistent Through 21 games to start the year, Sano owned a .119/.280/.209 slash line. Over his next 38 games from May 15 through June 30, he held a .233/.280/.549 slash line. Then, in July, he’s owned a .246/.325/.478 slash line across 20 games. He’s got a .737 OPS in 79 games this year and has paired that with 17 homers and a .291 OBP. If you’re looking for Miguel Sano to be the mega-prospect he once was considered, that’s probably on you at this point. The slash line still leaves plenty to be desired, but he’s got a 103 OPS+ and has not wavered on a solid sense of plate discipline. Timing continues to elude him for frustrating stretches, but he’s also capable of going on an absolute power tear. Should the Twins find themselves back in a position of strength throughout their lineup, a bat like that in the bottom half is hardly something to scoff at. He’s owed $9.25 million in 2022, and that’s an overpay but not to the extent of being ultimately damaging and acting as a primary designated hitter; that may be the role he’s always been destined for anyways. Nick Gordon has utility I was convinced that opportunity had passed the Twins former first-round pick by for quite a while. I knew he could play at the big-league level but wasn’t sure it would happen in a Minnesota uniform. Now I’m more convinced that it needs to continue. He’s still the same player he’s been throughout the minors. A soft-hitting speedster that will occasionally run into one, this is a singles hitter that has the instincts to swipe bases. Add in the utility he’s provided by learning centerfield on the fly, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be on the Opening Day roster in 2022. Gordon may find a bit more success in year two when it comes to batting average; he’s made a career out of taking steps forward after acclimating to a level. Even if he doesn’t, though, speed on the bench is something Minnesota hasn’t had, and the combination of being a lighter version of Chris Taylor is a good thing for any roster to have. Mitch Garver can still mash To say that 2020 was disastrous for Mitch Garver would be putting it lightly. The Twins Silver Slugger winning catcher posted a terrible .511 OPS and hit just two homers in 23 games. Things started slow for him in 2021, with a .517 OPS being toted through 17 games. In his last 29 games since April 28, with a severe injury mixed in there, Garver has slashed .299/.449/.740 with nine homers and a 20/19 K/BB. The life-altering foul tip he took was incredibly scary, but as rehab progressed and healing took place, he’s been back behind the dish and picked up where he left off. Even after being plunked by a pitch on his hand recently, it’s fair to dream of the production that will soon return. Garver is a late-blooming prospect, so he’s going to age relatively quickly, but this is the anchor of a tandem behind the dish that Twins fans were hoping for. The pitching staff needs an overhaul Minnesota owns the fourth-worst pitching staff in baseball by fWAR in 2021. The starters rank 24th, and the relievers are 25th. The entire unit has been a complete abomination. With the uncertain status of Jose Berrios’ future and veterans like J.A. Happ and Michael Pineda being done this offseason, the rotation will be in flux. Taylor Rogers sapped his trade value with a finger injury just days ago, but whether he was dealt or not, the rest of the bullpen remains a complete question mark. None of the signings made by the front office have worked out, and while they were short-term pacts, a re-do is less exciting when considering just how many times they missed over the winter. Derek Falvey has long been lauded for his ability to develop and identify pitching. Minnesota has a farm system rich with names attached to arms, but none have begun to bear fruit, and plenty are currently injured. For this organization to thrive at the highest level, it’s going to need to start on the mound once again, and they’re going to be doing so from next to nothing for 2022. Corner rookies are real In a season where winning takes a back seat, the best way to prevent it from becoming lost is by watching your youth thrive. Alex Kirilloff is done for the year after having wrist surgery, but it’s pretty realistic to call his rookie campaign a success. The top prospect came up early and handled his own. He’s not an ideal fit in the outfield, but he’ll play at first base, and the bat is every bit as advertised. Trevor Larnach joined Kirilloff sooner than expected, but it’s hard to pick apart much of what he’s done this season. Even while slumping of late, the 24-year-old owns a .322 OBP and has shown plenty of power potential. He’ll run into more baseballs as his career progresses, and the discipline in the box has been a sight to behold. These are both pillar players that Minnesota needs to see as foundational cornerstones of future lineups, and early returns should suggest they are both capable of doing just that. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. To say the 2021 Major League Baseball season has not gone as planned for the Minnesota Twins would be an understatement. It’s been a catastrophic failure of expectations, but there are things to be learned in this smoldering mess. We still have a ways to go, and while there is no August waiver trade period in 2021, Rocco Baldelli’s roster should continue to get a shake-up over the next few weeks. Cycling in different hitters and pitchers when attempting to find future opportunities, this club can also look back on what has been and begin making assessments for 2022 and beyond. While not all the biggest storylines, here are five key takeaways from what we’ve seen to this point: Miguel Sano is inconsistently consistent Through 21 games to start the year, Sano owned a .119/.280/.209 slash line. Over his next 38 games from May 15 through June 30, he held a .233/.280/.549 slash line. Then, in July, he’s owned a .246/.325/.478 slash line across 20 games. He’s got a .737 OPS in 79 games this year and has paired that with 17 homers and a .291 OBP. If you’re looking for Miguel Sano to be the mega-prospect he once was considered, that’s probably on you at this point. The slash line still leaves plenty to be desired, but he’s got a 103 OPS+ and has not wavered on a solid sense of plate discipline. Timing continues to elude him for frustrating stretches, but he’s also capable of going on an absolute power tear. Should the Twins find themselves back in a position of strength throughout their lineup, a bat like that in the bottom half is hardly something to scoff at. He’s owed $9.25 million in 2022, and that’s an overpay but not to the extent of being ultimately damaging and acting as a primary designated hitter; that may be the role he’s always been destined for anyways. Nick Gordon has utility I was convinced that opportunity had passed the Twins former first-round pick by for quite a while. I knew he could play at the big-league level but wasn’t sure it would happen in a Minnesota uniform. Now I’m more convinced that it needs to continue. He’s still the same player he’s been throughout the minors. A soft-hitting speedster that will occasionally run into one, this is a singles hitter that has the instincts to swipe bases. Add in the utility he’s provided by learning centerfield on the fly, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be on the Opening Day roster in 2022. Gordon may find a bit more success in year two when it comes to batting average; he’s made a career out of taking steps forward after acclimating to a level. Even if he doesn’t, though, speed on the bench is something Minnesota hasn’t had, and the combination of being a lighter version of Chris Taylor is a good thing for any roster to have. Mitch Garver can still mash To say that 2020 was disastrous for Mitch Garver would be putting it lightly. The Twins Silver Slugger winning catcher posted a terrible .511 OPS and hit just two homers in 23 games. Things started slow for him in 2021, with a .517 OPS being toted through 17 games. In his last 29 games since April 28, with a severe injury mixed in there, Garver has slashed .299/.449/.740 with nine homers and a 20/19 K/BB. The life-altering foul tip he took was incredibly scary, but as rehab progressed and healing took place, he’s been back behind the dish and picked up where he left off. Even after being plunked by a pitch on his hand recently, it’s fair to dream of the production that will soon return. Garver is a late-blooming prospect, so he’s going to age relatively quickly, but this is the anchor of a tandem behind the dish that Twins fans were hoping for. The pitching staff needs an overhaul Minnesota owns the fourth-worst pitching staff in baseball by fWAR in 2021. The starters rank 24th, and the relievers are 25th. The entire unit has been a complete abomination. With the uncertain status of Jose Berrios’ future and veterans like J.A. Happ and Michael Pineda being done this offseason, the rotation will be in flux. Taylor Rogers sapped his trade value with a finger injury just days ago, but whether he was dealt or not, the rest of the bullpen remains a complete question mark. None of the signings made by the front office have worked out, and while they were short-term pacts, a re-do is less exciting when considering just how many times they missed over the winter. Derek Falvey has long been lauded for his ability to develop and identify pitching. Minnesota has a farm system rich with names attached to arms, but none have begun to bear fruit, and plenty are currently injured. For this organization to thrive at the highest level, it’s going to need to start on the mound once again, and they’re going to be doing so from next to nothing for 2022. Corner rookies are real In a season where winning takes a back seat, the best way to prevent it from becoming lost is by watching your youth thrive. Alex Kirilloff is done for the year after having wrist surgery, but it’s pretty realistic to call his rookie campaign a success. The top prospect came up early and handled his own. He’s not an ideal fit in the outfield, but he’ll play at first base, and the bat is every bit as advertised. Trevor Larnach joined Kirilloff sooner than expected, but it’s hard to pick apart much of what he’s done this season. Even while slumping of late, the 24-year-old owns a .322 OBP and has shown plenty of power potential. He’ll run into more baseballs as his career progresses, and the discipline in the box has been a sight to behold. These are both pillar players that Minnesota needs to see as foundational cornerstones of future lineups, and early returns should suggest they are both capable of doing just that. 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
  8. Byron Buxton is quite arguably the most talented player in Minnesota Twins history. His athleticism is unmatched, and his production is unparalleled. Then there’s the caveat, when healthy. With the hometown nine looking at the doldrums of the division, and the 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline looming, plenty of storms are brewing on the roster construction front. One of the most reported is that of Minnesota’s failed attempts at a contract extension with their star centerfielder. Currently shelved after being hit by a pitch, Buxton had rebuffed the latest seven-year, $80 million pact that would add addition earning opportunity through incentives. That deal was just a $7 million increase over the previous offer, and still nearly $20 million shy of where this front office paid another oft-injured 3rd basemen (who is five years older) just two seasons ago. The refrain regarding Buxton’s availability is a common one, he has been shelved often throughout his career. The reality though, is that it is through the injury history where the Twins find themselves offered grace. Because he’s been unavailable, Buxton’s $200 million or more payday is not going to happen. He would command plenty on the open market with more competition bidding on his services, but it’s the Twins who have the table and the realistic opportunity because of how his career has played out. Coming into 2021 the team was expected to be good. Unfortunately, the front office has watched each of its offseason acquisitions tie together career-worst seasons, as well as regression from plenty of holdover talents. Unless there’s an admittance of poor talent assessment virtually across the whole roster, then there should be reason to look at this season as an outlier. 2022 represents an opportunity to reload. If the core of this club was seen as competitive before, and that’s been proven through their track record of winning, an alteration of that belief shouldn’t be so swift. To suggest there’s an attempt at competing in the year ahead while dealing the team’s best player would be hollow at best. Certainly, both Jose Berrios and Buxton should command a haul when it comes to prospect capital in exchange for their services. The volatility of those players will always be high however, and you’d need at least two reaching something like the 95th percentile of their hopefully outcomes to feel good about what you gave up. Berrios would love a gaping hole in an already poor rotation, and Buxton’s presence would be missed on a nightly basis. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have put in an infrastructure of sustainability and competitiveness. They should be commended for that. Bailing on that process at the Major League level rather than supplementing what they have fostered would be a hard pill to swallow, and one worthy of substantial criticism. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  9. When initially coming back to the lineup from his stint on the Injured List, Kirilloff noted that he would be playing through pain, and it was all about tolerance. Surgery was never ruled out, and as can be the case with these types of injuries, it seemed like a matter of when, not if. Through 47 games back in the lineup, Minnesota’s rookie slashed .260/.316/.387. The first two numbers aren’t bad, but the slugging percentage leaves plenty to be desired from a guy who has shown so much more power potential. The “more” is why 2022 looks to be a really exciting opportunity for Kirilloff. Assuming surgery goes well, and rehab is straightforward, the inputs for substantially better outputs are already there. Kirilloff’s xwOBA in 2021 sits at .365, nearly 60 points higher than his .308 mark. His .288 xBA is more than 30 points higher than his .251 avg, and his xSLG at .532 is a far cry more impressive than the actual .432 mark he compiled. In the Statcast numbers, we can see what he can become, or maybe even should’ve been. Kirilloff crushed opposing pitching to a similar tune as teammate Nelson Cruz. The difference is that one has a healthier (Cruz dealt with a ruptured tendon in recent seasons) wrist, which enables strength through the point of contact. Looking at Kirilloff’s assessment of projected and actual outcomes, we can see a stark difference between what was and what is. Notably, the max exit velocity and hard-hit percentage are substantially lower than what you’d expect for someone with consistent exit velocity and a high barrel rate. It’s why, and you can gravitate towards any batter’s expected outcomes, there’s reason to believe that future reality skews more towards the expected than actual production. So, what does that mean for the Twins and their star rookie? If there’s a positive when it comes to such an injury, it’s that a cleaner bill of health should allow runway for a loftier set of expectations to be reached. I wouldn’t put it past Kirilloff to contend for a batting title; his swing is that pure. What should be a near-certain bet is multiple 30 homer seasons once settling in at the highest level. The Twins look to have played this timeline correctly. Kirilloff more than got his feet wet this season and was able to adjust to the opposition on the fly. He now has an entire offseason to rehab and get right while also understanding what lies ahead in terms of competition. The results aren’t where he’d have liked them to be, and surgery isn’t an ideal scenario, but he’s best equipped to attack the competition in the season ahead. Bet on Alex bouncing back well, and those expected outcomes should soon start to become a reality. 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. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins announced that rookie Alex Kirilloff would undergo surgery on his ailing wrist. It looks to be virtually season-ending, but the return provides plenty of reason for promise. When initially coming back to the lineup from his stint on the Injured List, Kirilloff noted that he would be playing through pain, and it was all about tolerance. Surgery was never ruled out, and as can be the case with these types of injuries, it seemed like a matter of when, not if. Through 47 games back in the lineup, Minnesota’s rookie slashed .260/.316/.387. The first two numbers aren’t bad, but the slugging percentage leaves plenty to be desired from a guy who has shown so much more power potential. The “more” is why 2022 looks to be a really exciting opportunity for Kirilloff. Assuming surgery goes well, and rehab is straightforward, the inputs for substantially better outputs are already there. Kirilloff’s xwOBA in 2021 sits at .365, nearly 60 points higher than his .308 mark. His .288 xBA is more than 30 points higher than his .251 avg, and his xSLG at .532 is a far cry more impressive than the actual .432 mark he compiled. In the Statcast numbers, we can see what he can become, or maybe even should’ve been. Kirilloff crushed opposing pitching to a similar tune as teammate Nelson Cruz. The difference is that one has a healthier (Cruz dealt with a ruptured tendon in recent seasons) wrist, which enables strength through the point of contact. Looking at Kirilloff’s assessment of projected and actual outcomes, we can see a stark difference between what was and what is. Notably, the max exit velocity and hard-hit percentage are substantially lower than what you’d expect for someone with consistent exit velocity and a high barrel rate. It’s why, and you can gravitate towards any batter’s expected outcomes, there’s reason to believe that future reality skews more towards the expected than actual production. So, what does that mean for the Twins and their star rookie? If there’s a positive when it comes to such an injury, it’s that a cleaner bill of health should allow runway for a loftier set of expectations to be reached. I wouldn’t put it past Kirilloff to contend for a batting title; his swing is that pure. What should be a near-certain bet is multiple 30 homer seasons once settling in at the highest level. The Twins look to have played this timeline correctly. Kirilloff more than got his feet wet this season and was able to adjust to the opposition on the fly. He now has an entire offseason to rehab and get right while also understanding what lies ahead in terms of competition. The results aren’t where he’d have liked them to be, and surgery isn’t an ideal scenario, but he’s best equipped to attack the competition in the season ahead. Bet on Alex bouncing back well, and those expected outcomes should soon start to become a reality. 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. Holy wow, catching up on the discussion very late here. Sorry about that. Glad to see so many comments and great discussion. In talking with Seth after writing this, I think my key takeaway is that the Twins greatest spending problem isn't related to an actual number. It's in using the right numbers, and then doing a better job pairing them with other pieces. Taking a step back this year post-pandemic made some sense, but they couldn't afford to do so substantially because of the window they are currently in. Happ and Shoemaker looked fine on paper, but by going that route your room for error is so small. Having spent big on Donaldson, it'd have been nice to see them aim a bit higher whether through trade or free agency. Same thing for the bullpen. You can't hand out money to one or two guys and think it will work. You also can't skimp on so many guys and hope you're going to be able to unlock something. I think they need to pay both Berrios and Buxton, but either way, that still comes with the caveats that other moves have to be their for supplementing. There was an article not long ago about this front office doing a mediocre job of self scouting. That's probably more true than I'd like it to be. They've also fared poorly in free agency, and that only highlights a greater need to retain the talent you know.
  12. TRANSACTIONS Minnesota Twins place C Mitch Garver on the paternity list, recall C Ben Rortvedt from St. Paul Minnesota Twins trade DH Nelson Cruz and RHP Calvin Faucher to Tampa Bay for RHP Joe Ryan and RHP Drew Strotman OF Kyle Garlick removed from MLB rehab, will have surgery to repair a sports hernia. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Omaha 5 Box Score Big league veteran Matt Shoemaker made the start in this one. He’s also worked in relief for the Saints, but he went five innings allowing four runs on seven hits while punching out six and walking one. After getting behind 2-0 in the 1st, St. Paul answered with two of their own in the 3rd. Solo shots from Roberto Pena and Jose Miranda put the good guys on top. Down again in the 6th, Mark Contreras singled to score Brent Rooker before Keon Broxton scored Tomas Telis on a fielder’s choice. Now knotted up at four, it was a brand new ballgame. Again, trailing by a run in the 9th, St. Paul plated Drew Stankiewicz after his double was followed by one from Pena to even it up at five. After further clogging up the bases, the Saints continue to be comeback kids with Tomas Telis driving in Miranda and Jimmy Kerrigan on a single to give them a 7-5 lead. Ian Hamilton came on and worked a flawless 9th in order to wrap up his third save and lower his ERA to 1.13 on the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 5, Arkansas 0 (F/8) Box Score Starting tonight for the Wind Surge, Chris Vallimont went six innings allowing just three hits and three walks while punching out eight. He was nothing short of dominant for Wichita. Spencer Steer launched his sixth homer of the year to kick off the scoring in the first inning, and things were silent until Roy Morales and B.J Boyd drove in and additional three runs on a single and double in the 8th. Aaron Whitefield then drove in Morales on a sacrifice fly to push across the fourth run of the frame. Leading 5-0 with two outs in the bottom of the 8th, this game was called official due to a weather delay. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Beloit 0 Box Score Jon Olsen recorded his first win of the season going 5 1/3 for the Kernels tonight. He struck out five and walked two while allowing zero runs on three hits. A fifth inning Michael Helman single drove in Seth Gray to score the game’s only run. Cedar Rapids batters combined for just five total hits in this one, and Alex Isola matched Gray as the only players to record extra-base hits, both on doubles. Breckin Williams and Zach Featherstone worked in relief to preserve the shutout. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 5, Daytona 0 Box Score Brent Headrick was on the bump to start this one and turned in three scoreless innings allowing just two hits while punching out six. He did allow four walks on the evening, but no damage was done against him. Fort Myers got on the board early with Misael Urbina scoring on a Jeferson Morales single in the first and Yunior Severino driving in Morales with a single of his own. Charles Mack singled in the 6th to score Severino before a Justin Washington single plated Willie Joe Garry Jr. With the inning ending, the Mighty Mussels lead was 4-0. Keoni Cavaco padded the score with an RBI single in the 8th scoring Garry Jr. again and Fort Myers hung on for the shutout. Yunior Severino had three hits on the evening as the lone multi-hit batter, while Zaquiel Puentes and Denny Bentley combined to preserve the shutout. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Rays 9, FCL Twins 3 Box Score Develson Aria made the start and went three innings allowing just a single hit and punching out six. He was incredible in this one. Alexander Pena scored the game’s first run on a Rubel Cespedes force out in the 4th inning, but the Twins found themselves trailing 8-1 after the top half of the 6th inning. Gregory Duran drove in Luis Baez on a single in the 8th and Wander Valdez scored on a single from Frank Nigro in the 9th. The deficit was too much to overcome, however. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day- Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day- Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR(6), K PROSPECT SUMMARY Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 2-5, 2 R, RBI HR(7) #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 1-5, RBI, 2K #7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – 1-3, RBI #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-4, BB, K #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 0-3, 2 K #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 1-5, R, 2K #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 1-5, R, K #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR(6), K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 0-3, 2 K #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes (5-2, 3.88 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10PM CST) – RHP Austin Schulfer (2-7, 4.38 ERA) Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Tyler Watson (1-0, 1.88 ERA) Daytona @ Fort Myers- (6:00PM CST) – RHP Landon Leach (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games!
  13. Tonight, the Twins farm system saw a few key hitting performances as well as a pair of shutouts. No matter your preference for a game type, there was something for everyone. TRANSACTIONS Minnesota Twins place C Mitch Garver on the paternity list, recall C Ben Rortvedt from St. Paul Minnesota Twins trade DH Nelson Cruz and RHP Calvin Faucher to Tampa Bay for RHP Joe Ryan and RHP Drew Strotman OF Kyle Garlick removed from MLB rehab, will have surgery to repair a sports hernia. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Omaha 5 Box Score Big league veteran Matt Shoemaker made the start in this one. He’s also worked in relief for the Saints, but he went five innings allowing four runs on seven hits while punching out six and walking one. After getting behind 2-0 in the 1st, St. Paul answered with two of their own in the 3rd. Solo shots from Roberto Pena and Jose Miranda put the good guys on top. Down again in the 6th, Mark Contreras singled to score Brent Rooker before Keon Broxton scored Tomas Telis on a fielder’s choice. Now knotted up at four, it was a brand new ballgame. Again, trailing by a run in the 9th, St. Paul plated Drew Stankiewicz after his double was followed by one from Pena to even it up at five. After further clogging up the bases, the Saints continue to be comeback kids with Tomas Telis driving in Miranda and Jimmy Kerrigan on a single to give them a 7-5 lead. Ian Hamilton came on and worked a flawless 9th in order to wrap up his third save and lower his ERA to 1.13 on the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 5, Arkansas 0 (F/8) Box Score Starting tonight for the Wind Surge, Chris Vallimont went six innings allowing just three hits and three walks while punching out eight. He was nothing short of dominant for Wichita. Spencer Steer launched his sixth homer of the year to kick off the scoring in the first inning, and things were silent until Roy Morales and B.J Boyd drove in and additional three runs on a single and double in the 8th. Aaron Whitefield then drove in Morales on a sacrifice fly to push across the fourth run of the frame. Leading 5-0 with two outs in the bottom of the 8th, this game was called official due to a weather delay. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 1, Beloit 0 Box Score Jon Olsen recorded his first win of the season going 5 1/3 for the Kernels tonight. He struck out five and walked two while allowing zero runs on three hits. A fifth inning Michael Helman single drove in Seth Gray to score the game’s only run. Cedar Rapids batters combined for just five total hits in this one, and Alex Isola matched Gray as the only players to record extra-base hits, both on doubles. Breckin Williams and Zach Featherstone worked in relief to preserve the shutout. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 5, Daytona 0 Box Score Brent Headrick was on the bump to start this one and turned in three scoreless innings allowing just two hits while punching out six. He did allow four walks on the evening, but no damage was done against him. Fort Myers got on the board early with Misael Urbina scoring on a Jeferson Morales single in the first and Yunior Severino driving in Morales with a single of his own. Charles Mack singled in the 6th to score Severino before a Justin Washington single plated Willie Joe Garry Jr. With the inning ending, the Mighty Mussels lead was 4-0. Keoni Cavaco padded the score with an RBI single in the 8th scoring Garry Jr. again and Fort Myers hung on for the shutout. Yunior Severino had three hits on the evening as the lone multi-hit batter, while Zaquiel Puentes and Denny Bentley combined to preserve the shutout. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Rays 9, FCL Twins 3 Box Score Develson Aria made the start and went three innings allowing just a single hit and punching out six. He was incredible in this one. Alexander Pena scored the game’s first run on a Rubel Cespedes force out in the 4th inning, but the Twins found themselves trailing 8-1 after the top half of the 6th inning. Gregory Duran drove in Luis Baez on a single in the 8th and Wander Valdez scored on a single from Frank Nigro in the 9th. The deficit was too much to overcome, however. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day- Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day- Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR(6), K PROSPECT SUMMARY Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Injured List (right elbow strain) #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 2-5, 2 R, RBI HR(7) #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 1-5, RBI, 2K #7 – Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) – 1-3, RBI #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-4, BB, K #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 0-3, 2 K #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – Did not pitch #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #14 – Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 1-5, R, 2K #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 1-5, R, K #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR(6), K #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 0-3, 2 K #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A (foot injury) #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes (5-2, 3.88 ERA) Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10PM CST) – RHP Austin Schulfer (2-7, 4.38 ERA) Beloit @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Tyler Watson (1-0, 1.88 ERA) Daytona @ Fort Myers- (6:00PM CST) – RHP Landon Leach (0-0, 0.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! 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  14. Nelson Cruz is the newest member of the Tampa Bay Rays. This offseason Tampa was among the final suitors in contention to land his services. Minnesota ended up bring back the 40-year-old and he’s picked up right where he left off. Unfortunately for the Twins, their season has gone as anything but expected, and they find themselves as a clear seller. The best designated hitter in the American League stays in that role and gives Tampa another thumper in the middle of their lineup. Given Cruz’s advanced age and contract status, it was hard to fathom much of a return. Minnesota instead included Calvin Faucher as a throw in prospect and landed Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, Tampa’s 10th and 17th best prospects per MLB pipeline. Both may be relievers, and are already past their 24th birthdays, but they have high velocity stuff and already are at Triple-A. For an organization needing arm talent as both starters and in the bullpen, this is a real solid get for a guy that wasn’t going to be around in a couple of months. Ryan will need to be added to the 40 man this winter, with Strotman already holding down a spot. Cruz leaves as a fan favorite, one of the most productive players in history, and having done so as a leading member of a record setting homer club. Here’s some instant analysis from industry experts: For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
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