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    twinssporto reacted to Lucas Seehafer PT for an article, The Twins Have Got to Make Their Loaded Farm System Count   
    Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff were consensus top 100 prospects. However, outfielder Trevor Larnach, catcher Ryan Jeffers, and pitchers Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic also found their names among the league's most exciting future players depending on which prospect rankings site one preferred.
    Royce Lewis lost a second straight campaign after he tore his ACL. Kirilloff, Larnach and Jeffers graduated thanks to a bevy of injuries and poor play from the MLB club. Duran and Balazovic missed time at the beginning of the season with arm injuries and slow starts. (Balazovic has turned it on as of late, while Duran was shut down with an elbow injury.)
    The sheen on the Twins' top 12-15 farm system became far duller by mid-June despite the encouraging progress shown by the likes of utility infielder Jose Miranda and pitcher Josh Winder.
    Before Friday's trade deadline, the Twins' system lacked a level of potential high-end talent that most of the teams inside the top 10 had, and some teams, like the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, had in spades. However, that all changed when the Twins dealt Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for shortstop Austin Martin and pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson. 
    Martin is a consensus top 60 prospect who hits for average, gets on base at a high clip, and has projectable power, despite his low home run output this year at Double-A. His long-term fit at shortstop is dubious, with most experts believing he'll eventually find a home at either second base or center field. Woods Richardson is a consensus top 75 prospect who boasts four legit pitches and substantial strikeout numbers but struggles with command, though, to be fair, what 20-year-old doesn't? 
    When paired alongside pitchers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, who the Twins acquired from the Rays in exchange for Nelson Cruz, the Twins added four prospects to their top 10 and two to their top five over the last two weeks to more than replenish their future talent cupboard. Their farm system metamorphosed from good to excellent, from deep to DEEP, from top 15 in the league to arguably top 5 in a brief amount of time.
    But a stockpile of minor league talent does nothing for a franchise unless it's developed adequately and positively impacts the major league team or tapped into to bring in quality MLB talent. No team gets to hang a banner for having the best farm system in place. 
    Now the ball is in Derek Falvey, Thad Levine, and the various Twins coaching staffs' court. It is on their shoulders to make the Twins' newfound prospect currency count.
    The Twins possess the most depth at starting pitcher, with the majority of their top 20 prospects - Balazovic, Woods-Richardson, Canterino, Duran, Winder, Ryan, Strotman, Blayne Enlow, Chase Petty, Cole Sands, and Chris Vallimont - having the potential to one day slot into the team's starting rotation. 
    Of course, not all of them will, but the more fish in the barrel, the more likely one is to snag a catch. The Twins need to develop at least two or three of their starting pitching prospects into legitimate No. 2 or 3 starters. They would also be wise to dangle a few of them as trade bait to bring in impact MLB talent, particularly if the likes of Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Jorge Polanco find themselves on new teams in the coming years.
    However, their talent extends beyond the mound. Miranda has exploded onto the scene and is far more likely to be considered a top 100 prospect now than entering the season. Similarly, relatively unknown prospects Matt Wallner, Edouard Julien, Jermaine Palacios, and Yunior Severino have had strong seasons, boosting their prospect status.
    Despite trading the best arm the franchise has employed since Johan Santana, the Twins still see themselves as a team that can contend for a playoff spot in the not-too-distant future, and perhaps as early as next year.
    "The future is very bright," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters following the Twins' trade of Berrios. "We have the pieces already here that we're trying to supplement right now with some of the moves that we're making in order to get to a point where we are a playoff baseball team again. And I don't think we're very far away."
    Falvey largely echoed Baldelli's sentiment.
    "Our view of this is sustainability," Falvey said of the trade. "[This year] has not been what we wanted. But we still feel, even as Jose walked out the door here, and that's not easy, don't get me wrong, that we feel we have a lot of talent in that clubhouse coming back in '22 and '23 and beyond and so how do you build a sustainable group? You've got to retool it sometimes."
    The only way the Twins can find themselves back in the playoff hunt next year and beyond is if the franchise capitalizes on their current wealth of young assets. Despite their current 100-loss pace, doing so is not an unrealistic goal. They simply need to go and make it happen.
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  2. Like
    twinssporto reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Cashing In at the Deadline Will Require Painful Decisions for Twins   
    The Twins, destined for irrelevance this season, have a variety of players they'd be more than happy to ship out. Impending free agents like Andrelton Simmons, Michael Pineda, Hansel Robles and J.A. Happ? Why not? Makes no difference really. Those players will be free for anyone to sign come November, and there's no reason to be clamoring for an extension with any of them. 
    Even players under control beyond this year, like Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sanó, could be dealt with a viable argument their salary allotment is better diverted elsewhere. 
    The problem, of course, is that none of these players are likely to generate significant demand at the deadline. Due either to performance, contracts, injuries, or some combination, they're all burdened by drawbacks that significantly dash their trade value. In any of these cases, the Twins are going to be accepting an underwhelming return. Many trade scenarios would qualify as no more than a salary dump.
    When it comes to selling high, the front office has three opportunities, and in only two of those cases will they be able to dictate a market and drive up the asking price. 
    Fresh off his All-Star appearance, Nelson Cruz is an elite hitter, and basically the biggest offensive upgrade a team could ask for at the deadline. He's a bona fide difference-maker for a contender, and all but certain to get moved. But as a 41-year-old pure DH with two months left on his deal, Cruz's market is inherently limited. When you narrow down the field of teams that actually have a fit, are willing to pay his remaining salary, and are in contention for a championship, you wind up with a handful at most. 
    Cruz will almost surely be traded, but he's not going to bring back a game-changing prospect. That's the nature of the beast.
    If the Twins want to sell high and compel another team to overpay at the deadline, they're going to need to trade away either their best starter, José Berríos, or their best reliever, Taylor Rogers. 
    Now this is not an endorsement of that course of action. I feel the same reservations as many people reading this do. 
    In part, the attachment is sentimental. Berríos and Rogers are both extremely likable, as well as extremely familiar. They are among the longest-tenured Twins players – both drafted in 2012 before making major-league debuts in 2016. They've remained constants in the rotation and bullpen while the team has changed drastically around them. Both are models of durability and consistency.
    But sentimentality aside, the more important factor here is that both Berríos and Rogers are critical if not essential to any hopes of the Twins rebounding and returning to contention in 2022.
    It's already difficult enough to envision the club fielding a contention-caliber rotation OR bullpen next year, given the sorry current state of both units. But when you remove the top performer (by a wide margin) in each, the task feels insurmountable. 
    Berríos and Rogers should theoretically be centerpieces of a retool-and-reset strategy. They are both under team control at a reasonable rate next year, and each is on top of his game. Berríos ranks seventh among AL starters in fWAR, while Rogers ranks fifth among relievers – a first-time All-Star with career highs in K-rate, swinging-strike rate, and FIP.
    Of course, these are exactly the reasons they will generate outsized demand. Whereas Cruz has a narrow field of suitors, Berríos and Rogers are attractive to any team that's even THINKING about buying. 
    Which brings us back to the point at hand. I don't like the idea of trading either of these long-time fixtures, especially when you'd be subtracting from a clear area of weakness. But no one can deny that if the Twins want to make a real splash and acquire substantial prospect capital to aid whatever scale of rebuild they are about to undertake ... they really have no other choice.
    This front office prides itself on being opportunistic, and has never been weighed down by sentimentality. We'll see where they land.
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  3. Like
    twinssporto reacted to Lucas Seehafer PT for an article, Game Recap: Twins 9, Detroit 4   
    Box Score
    Ober: 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
    Home Runs: Alex Kirilloff (8), Jorge Polanco (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco .454, Luis Arraez .128, Alexander Colomé .124
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    It appeared as though a win simply wasn’t in the cards for the Twins for the majority of the game on Saturday afternoon.
    Starting pitcher Bailey Ober started off the game strong, striking out the side in the first inning, but flamed out brightly during the Tigers’ second time through the order. Niko Goodrum and Zack Short crushed balls over the fence and Harold Castro brought in another to give Detroit a 4-0 lead after four innings.
    But, remarkably, things started to go the Twins’ way in the second half of the game.
    Derek Law and Danny Coloumbe came on in relief for Ober and pitched 3 ⅔ innings of scoreless ball. Alex Kirilloff blasted a home run over the right centerfield fence to cut the lead to 4-2 in the sixth. Jorge Polanco added three more in the seventh with his 11th home run of the season. Alexander Colomé pitched a scoreless top of the eighth inning after allowing a leadoff double and four Twins’ runners touched home in the bottom of the frame.
    After the dust had settled, the Twins had turned a 4-0 deficit with an 8.2% win expectancy into a 9-4 win, clinching a series victory over the Tigers.
    While their opponent was not exactly the same caliber of, say, a Chicago or Boston, the Twins’ win on Saturday should provide the masses with a breath of fresh air. The bullpen performed well, the offense came through in the clutch, one of the franchise’s premier prospects hit a mammoth bomb. At the end of the day, a quality win is a quality win, regardless of opponent.
    A Note on Ober
    Although Ober struggled against an iffy Tigers lineup, he continued to display signs of promise for the future.
    By now it has been well established that his fastball is significantly improved from the last time he played live ball in 2019 and it is that improvement that helped propel him into the majors this season. However, the key for him moving forward is all about process.
    At 92-94 mph, Ober isn’t going to overpower batters on a consistent basis. That is where his strong command and control comes into play. If he is able to place a 94 mph heater wherever he wishes, he becomes a much more dangerous opponent. However, over his last two starts, his command has been mediocre at best. He walked three during his win over the White Sox and two against the Tigers on Saturday.
    But, I wonder if the Twins are working with him on improving his pitch placement. Ober consistently works his fastball up in the zone with up-and-away being the second most frequent location it was deployed against Detroit; this is where his fastball is most effective. He couples his fastball with a sharp curveball down in the zone. In the minors, pitchers of Ober’s caliber can get away with somewhat shoddy pitch command/location. That won’t fly against a major league batting order.
    Making adjustments on the fly to where he is looking to throw the ball would help explain at least some of the control issues Ober has displayed as of late. His strikeout numbers are there, but once his command improves and he starts missing more barrels, he’ll be right in-line to contend for a rotation spot moving forward.
    Postgame Interviews
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Law 0 0 50 0 0 27 77 Thielbar 29 0 20 0 20 0 69 Duffey 17 0 0 15 0 21 53 Rogers 31 0 0 6 0 0 37 Robles 12 0 0 0 24 0 36 Colomé 0 14 0 0 0 17 31 Coulombe 0 12 0 0 0 13 25 Alcala 0 0 0 0 23 0 23  
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