glunn reacted to Theo Tollefson for an article, Blue Jays 3, Twins 2: Bad Replay Review Costs Twins
SP: Chris Archer 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 52 strikes (65.8 strike %))
Home Runs: None
Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler -.303, Nick Gordon -.282, Gio Urshela -.243
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Chris Archer made the start for the Twins. He came into the game with three consecutive starts of three or more walks allowed, Archer was hoping to have better control of the strike zone Sunday afternoon. For his first inning of work, Archer retired the minimum on 15 pitches, 12 strikes.
When the time came for the Twins to hit, Jorge Polanco was practically given a free pass to get on base. The Blue Jays opted for a four-man outfield against Polanco, who was hitting lefty against Kevin Gausman. With that, it opened up the entirety of the left side of the infield for Polanco to lace a half-swing single and reach base.
Even with greater control of the strike zone, the Blue Jays still made Archer hurt in the second inning as Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single on the first pitch and Bo Bichette followed with an RBI double on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 1-0 Blue Jays. The Jays wouldn’t score any more runs against Archer in the second but worked him to throw 30 pitches in the inning, only expediting Cole Sands appearance out of the bullpen.
The Jays bats would strike again against Archer in the top of the third as Cavan Biggio led off with another double and scored on the next at-bat off a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. RBI single. That would be the only run allowed by Archer in the third as the Jays now led 2-0.
As Archer settled down to retire the Blue Jays with no runs or walks allowed through his five innings of work, only Luis Arraez managed to get on base for the Twins after the Blue Jays scored their second run. Both times were on singles but the Twins failed to make contact as easily as the last time they faced Gausman on Sunday, June 5.
Archer was done for the afternoon after five innings of work and did not allow any walks in his five innings, making it his first start since June 19 against the Diamondbacks, without allowing any walks.
To everyone’s surprise, Sands was not the first arm out of the Twins bullpen to replace Archer on the mound. Instead it was every Twins fan “favorite” Emilio Pagan. Pagan would come out of the sixth earlier than expected due to a shoulder injury. He only allowed one hit, a single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and worked a 2-2 count to Hernandez before being removed from the game with a right lat cramp.
Sands came in to finish the at-bat against Hernandez, and he doubled. Bichette followed with a five-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout and kept the Jays lead at 2-0.
The Twins were finally able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Polanco reached base on his second hit of the game. Two at-bats later, rookie sensation Jose Miranda drove in Polanco, marking at least one RBI in all games against the Blue Jays in this series. Miranda’s RBI made it a 2-1 score.
Sands pitched an effective three innings of relief for the Twins and was pulled after totaling 51 pitches and allowing Alejandro Kirk on with a hit and two outs in the top of the ninth. Caleb Thielbar was called in to get the final out and achieved that, keeping it a run one game for the Twins to try and walk-off the Blue Jays for the season.
Carlos Correa came in as a pinch hitter for Jake Cave in the bottom of the ninth. Correa reached base, getting clipped by a pitch in the shoulder. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch runner for Correa which brought up another walk-off opportunity for Byron Buxton. Buxton disappointed fans with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a pitch that went right down the middle from Jordan Romano.
Fortunately for Twins fans, Gary Sanchez kept the game alive after Buxton’s strikeout. Sanchez got a single that advanced Beckham to third, giving Arraez a chance to tie the game. And tie the game he did as he laced a single to right field scoring Beckham. Arraez’s game-tying hit made it his 12th three or more hit game for 2022.
Polanco followed Arraez with a fielder’s choice groundout with the force at second base. This at least advanced Sanchez to third with runners on the corners, two outs and Max Kepler at the plate. Kepler pulled the ball to the first baseman, sending the game into extras.
As the Twins went into extras, Whit Merrifield came in as the Manfred Man on second for the Jays. He advanced to third on a flyout by Santiago Espinal but in the next at-bat, Merrifield once again tried to tag and score on a flyout to left. However, Beckham, playing left field for the second time this season, nailed Merrifield out at home as it was originally called.
The call was overturned by umpires in New York based off of Merrfield placing his slide directly into Sanchez's knee. Even as the video showed that Sanchez did allow Merrifield a lane to the plate, the Blue Jays gained a run for a 3-2 lead.
This also led to Rocco Baldelli’s most fired-up ejection of his managing career as he asked why the call was overturned due to catcher interference.
The Twins got out of the inning without surrendering more runs, but the damage was already done to them from people 1,200 miles away from Target Field.
The Twins are off Monday and will head to the Los Angeles area for five games in six days. The first series starts Tuesday against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CT with Joe Ryan scheduled to start for the Twins. Ryan will match up against one of many Dodger lefties, Julio Urias.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
glunn reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Twins Trade for Set-up Man Michael Fulmer
The last two years, Michael Fulmer has owned a 3.06 ERA, and that coincides with him increasing the usage of his slider to the point where he is throwing it almost 65% of the time this year. That includes almost 72% of the time versus right-handers, who are posting just a 401 OPS(!) against him this year.
Twins fans may remember the right-hander as less dominant, as he’s been knocked around by the Twins twice over the last month, including giving up two critical runs in last night’s Twins win. Overall, since July 1st, he’s been less effective, with a 6.55 ERA, though he’s also struck out 11 in 11 innings pitched, and not given up a home run.
But he’s also walked seven over that span, and control has been an issue with 20 walks in 39 innings this year. But that’s not terribly uncommon for a slider-first pitcher. Overall, his performance has not matched his relatively encouraging numbers: his Win Probability Added (WPA) is -0.22, though it was in positive territory before last night's Twins comeback. Since the Twins play the Tigers again tonight, it's possible that Fulmer will simply switch dugouts and be available for tonight's game.
Fulmer is purely a rental for this season. He is due to become a free agent at the end of this year for the first time in his career.
The 29-year-old is far from a dominant reliever but he has proved to be a fairly reliable arm, and the slider-first philosophy meshes well with the organization and pitching staff. He should remain in fairly middle to low leverage situations since the Twins also acquired Orioles closer Jorge Lopez earlier today. As such, his job will be to provide manager Rocco Baldelli at least a little more depth to handle some of the middle-inning issues that have cost the team several games.
To acquire Fulmer, the Twins traded right-handed pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. The 24-year-old was the Twins sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Mercer. This season began in High-A Cedar Rapids where he went 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA. He had 52 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. He was recently promoted to Double-A Wichita and is 3-4 with a 7.17 ERA over 37 2/3 innings. He has 35 strikeouts. Overall this season, he has 19 walks and 87 strikeouts over 87 1/3 innings. He ranked #20 Twins Prospect by Twins Daily in July.
With just minutes remaining before the trade deadline, will the Twins make any more moves?
glunn reacted to Jeremy Nygaard for an article, Twins Draft Class 2022 Update
You can go more in-depth on any specific player in the Twins Daily Draft Tracker.
I'll give you the class overview here.
All of the Top 10 round selections and seven of the Day 3 selections are signed, sealed and delivered. We'll keep you updated at Twins Daily as they all embark soon on their professional careers.
Only Brooks Lee (first round) and Connor Prielipp (second round) came in over slot. Surprisingly enough, Lee's bonus was more over slot than Prielipp's. Both figure to enter the Twins Top 10 prospects and it isn't out of the question to consider Lee and Prielipp the organization's top hitting and pitching prospect, respectively.
In order to get both players signed to over slot deals, the Twins had to shave money off their Day 2 picks. Each one of those players came in under slot - between $24,100 and $178,500 - to guarantee the Twins could make that happen.
Now that the dust has settled and figures are public, there are a few interesting tidbits.
The Twins spent $9,933,700 of their $10,081,500 bonus pool, meaning they still have $147,800 remaining to spend. Additionally, they could spend 105% of their bonus pool without any penalty. That means the Twins could spend up to $651,875 more.
Omari Daniel has not signed yet, but he will be reporting to Fort Myers this weekend and is likely to forego his college eligibility to begin his professional career. Sources have indicated that Daniel's bonus will not exceed $125,000, which would require the signing team to dip into their bonus pool.
So that leaves Garrett McMillan (Alabama) and Korbyn Dickerson (Kentucky prep committed to Louisville). Both have said publicly they will not be signing and that would be the expected outcome. The Twins could offer either one $272,800 (sixth round money) to sign. That would put them right at the limit of their bonus pool. If they wanted to use the 5% extra, they could sign either to $776,875 (which is basically third round money) or they could offer each $450,937 (late fourth round money).
A late signing after professing publicly that a player is returning isn't unprecedented. The Twins signed Edouard Julien for $493,000 in 2019 after he stated he was going back to Auburn
As the signing deadline approaches next week, the only question remains... will either McMillan or Dickerson change their mind?
MINNESOTA TWINS $651,875 Player Round Slot Bonus $147,800 Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly 1 $5,442,400 $5,675,000 -$232,600 Connor Prielipp, LHP, Alabama 2 $1,662,700 $1,825,000 -$162,300 Tanner Schobel, SS, Virginia Tech"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Tanner Schobel, SS, Virginia Tech CB $1,002,000 $1,002,000 $0 Andrew Morris, RHP, Texas Tech"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Andrew Morris, RHP, Texas Tech 4 $533,300 $500,000 $33,300 Ben Ross, SS, Notre Dame Coll."}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Ben Ross, SS, Notre Dame Coll. 5 $398,500 $220,000 $178,500 Jorel Ortega, 2B, Tennessee"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Jorel Ortega, 2B, Tennessee 6 $301,200 $250,000 $51,200 Kyle Jones, RHP, Toledo"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Kyle Jones, RHP, Toledo 7 $235,600 $176,700 $58,900 Zebby Matthews, RHP, W. Carolina"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Zebby Matthews, RHP, W. Carolina 8 $187,900 $125,000 $62,900 Cory Lewis, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara"}" style="font-size:8pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Cory Lewis, RHP, UC-Santa Barbara 9 $164,100 $140,000 $24,100 Dalton Shuffield, SS, Texas State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Dalton Shuffield, SS, Texas State 10 $153,800 $20,000 $133,800 Andrew Cossetti, C, St. Joseph's"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Andrew Cossetti, C, St. Joseph's 11 - $125,000 Nate Baez, C, Arizona State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Nate Baez, C, Arizona State 12 - $125,000 C.J. Culpepper, RHP, Cal Baptist"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">C.J. Culpepper, RHP, Cal Baptist 13 - $125,000 Omari Daniel, SS, The Walker School 14 - Agreed Ben Ethridge, RHP, So. Miss."}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Ben Ethridge, RHP, So. Miss. 15 - $125,000 Jankel Ortiz, SS, Ac. Pres. HS (PR) 16 - $125,000 Alec Sayre, OF, Wright State"}" style="font-size:9pt; padding:2px 3px 2px 3px; vertical-align:bottom">Alec Sayre, OF, Wright State 17 - $100,000 Zachary Veen, LHP, Point Loma 18 - $80,000 Garrett McMillan, RHP, Alabama 19 - intends to return to Alabama Korbyn Dickerson, OF, Trinity HS (KY) 20 - intends to go to Louisville
glunn reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Minnesota’s 3 Options with Carlos Correa
Minnesota’s front office knew what it was doing when they signed Carlos Correa. He is one of baseball’s best players, and he brings playoff experience to an organization that has lost 18 straight postseason games. Both sides know that Correa will likely opt out of his contract at the season’s end so he can return to the free agent market. Even knowing all of this, three options are still on the table.
Option 1: Keep Correa for the Stretch Run
Minnesota has surprised many by being at the top of the AL Central throughout the first half. Even with a recent slump, the Twins sit ahead of Cleveland and Chicago. Keeping Correa is the best way to win games during the 2022 season because the baseball playoffs can be a crapshoot, and it’s essential just to qualify for the postseason. Last season, the Braves won 88 games, but they added pieces at the deadline and got hot in October. Not every franchise can follow this mold, but it helps to get to the postseason with a healthy roster and the best players performing well.
Option 2: Sign Correa to a Long-Term Deal
According to the Star Tribune, the Twins have not engaged with Correa and his team on a long-term extension. It’s easy to see why the Twins would want to keep Correa as he helped shape a positive clubhouse culture this season. Earlier this season, Correa told Ken Rosenthal that he is open to an extension with the Twins. It will likely take a more significant contract than the 10-year, $325 million deal signed by Corey Seager last winter. As a franchise, Minnesota hasn’t handed out those types of contracts in the past, so it seems unlikely for a long-term deal to be reached unless the Twins do something out of character.
Option 3: Trade Correa Before the Deadline
Trading Correa before the deadline might shake up the clubhouse, but it avoids the team seeing him walk for nothing. It would allow the Twins to fill other needs on their roster or to rebuild a farm system that ranks in baseball’s bottom half. Finding a team willing to trade for Correa is also challenging, as many of baseball’s best teams already have a strong shortstop. Some possible teams looking for an upgrade include the Philadelphia Phillies or the St. Louis Cardinals. Also, Minnesota would be left with no clear shortstop replacement if Correa is dealt. Overall, the front office already made one unpopular trade by sending away the team’s closer before Opening Day. Can it withstand another unpopular move?
Realistically, the Twins should stick with option one because anything can happen in October. However, trading Correa makes sense if the front office doesn’t make additions before the trade deadline. Minnesota needs multiple relievers and a front-line starting pitcher to be taken seriously in the postseason. With an already depleted farm system, the front office might not be willing to trade away the prospect capital required to obtain those types of players.
Which option do you feel the Twins should choose? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
glunn reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Post Draft: Who's the Twins' Top Pitching Prospect?
Prospect lists can be exciting, especially as the trade deadline approaches at the beginning of August. Contending teams must part with some of the top-rated prospects so they can add veteran pieces to their roster. Minnesota expects to be active in the trade market, so who are the organization's top pitching prospects?
RHP Jordan Balazovic
Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus named Balazovic as one of their top 100 prospects entering the 2022 season. Unfortunately, injuries have impacted him over the last two seasons. He suffered a back injury in spring training last year that delayed the start of his season until June. From there, he was solid with a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 20 appearances. In 2022, he began the season on the IL with a knee strain, and he has struggled since returning. Across 11 appearances, he has a 10.13 ERA with a 2.32 WHIP. He has yet to pitch 100 innings in any professional season.
RHP Matt Canterino
When healthy, Canterino has sliced through minor league batters. He has struck out 126 batters in 82 1/3 innings in his professional career, but those innings have been spread over three seasons. All 11 of his appearances have come at Double-A this season with a 1.83 ERA and 13.1 K/9 in a career-high 34 1/3 innings. An argument can be made that he is the best pitching prospect in the system. However, the organization may need to shift him to a bullpen role if he can't stay healthy.
LHP Connor Priellip
Minnesota selected Connor Priellip in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, but he's no ordinary second-round pick. The left-handed pitcher was in the conversation to be the number one overall pick in the current draft class before requiring Tommy John surgery in May 2021. He is healthy and will be able to pitch in the organization after he signs. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches, and he continues to improve with his changeup. There is hope that he will be able to add more velocity as he continues to get further away from elbow reconstruction.
RHP Marco Raya
Raya missed most of last season with a shoulder strain, so the 2022 season marks his professional debut. He's been outstanding in 13 appearances with Fort Myers, where he is three years younger than the average age of the competition. In 47 innings, he has a 2.87 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and a 56-to-16 strikeout to walk ratio. Only 80% of his match-ups have come against older batters who have been held to a .586 OPS. Raya has been the biggest breakout pitcher in the organization this year, but he still has a long way to go before reaching Target Field.
RHP Simeon Woods Richardson
As a 20-year-old, Woods Richardson faced multiple challenges as he pitched the entire year at Double-A, joined Team USA in Japan, and was traded for the second time in his career. Based on those reasons, it's easy to see his performance struggled (5.91 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP). His second Double-A stint has improved as he has a 3.40 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 9 K/9. Woods Richardson has held batters to a .595 OPS, and over 96% of his plate appearances have come against older batters. He may have solidified his stock more this season than the others mentioned above.
Cody's Current Top-5 Twins Pitching Prospects
1. Connor Priellip
2. Simeon Woods Richardson
3. Matt Canterino
4. Marco Raya
5. Jordan Balazovic
How would you rank the organization's pitchers? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
glunn reacted to Jamie Cameron for an article, Twins Select Tanner Schobel at #68 in the 2022 MLB Draft
Tanner Schobel is a 5'10, 170-pound shortstop out of Virginia Tech. Although he didn't make the consensus top 56 players, Schobel checked in at 73rd overall on our consensus big board and is drafted around the range one would expect based on his evaluations.
Schobel is young as a draft-eligible sophomore (he recently turned 21). In his freshman season at Virginia Tech who moved around the infield frequently, spending time at shortstop and second base. In his first season with the Hokies, he had a middling offensive output, putting up .279/.359/.441 with 7 home runs and 10 doubles.
In between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Virginia Tech, Schobel played in the Cape Cod league, managing a .378 OBP and 3 home runs in 29 games.
He showed additional pop in the 2022 season, hitting .362/.445/.689 with 19 home runs and 74 RBIs in 59 games and lifting more batted balls in the air, particularly to the pull side. Schobel is a solid player defensively and has versatility around the infield. He profiles as a good utility player who can move around the infield and do everything solidly. While his pull side power may not hold up professionally in a wooden bat environment, Schobel will still have solid line drive power, particularly to the pull side.
Schobel's long term upside with the Twins will hinge on whether his newly developed pull side power can be maintained at the pro level (the Twins have been developing bats well in recent years). If it can, he has a chance to stick as a regular instead of a utility man. Either way, he will be a useful prospect for the Twins. The slot value for the #68 pick in $1 million. Schobel was recommended by Twins scout John Wilson
What do you think of the Twins selecting Tanner Schobel at #68 overall? Which of the Twins picks from day one of the draft are you most excited for? Share your thoughts in the comments.
glunn reacted to Jamie Cameron for an article, Twins Select Connor Prielipp at #48 in the 2022 MLB Draft
Industry buzz had the Twins interested in Connor Prielipp at number eight overall in the draft. Instead, they were able to nab him with their second pick at #48 overall. The slot value for the #48 pick is $1.62 million. Jeremy Nygaard drafted Prielipp at #8 overall for the Twins in the Prospects Live Mock Draft.
Prielipp already has two plus pitches. The first is a 60 grade fastball that sits 93-95 mph. His slider is his best secondary pitch and one of the better offerings in the entire draft. It generated 50% whiffs when he threw it in college. Finally, he has a serviceable changeup that is already above average, and can be developed further. Prielipp had good command pre-surgery, but this may take some time to return.
Prielipp didn't allow a run in 21 innings pitched in the 2021 season before COVID halted play in the SEC. He struck out 35 hitters. Prielipp is 6'2, 205 pounds and still has a ton of projectability to add velocity, an endeavor the Twins have shown proficiency with. When he is fully recovered, I'd expect them to be able to add a tick or two to his fastball as he fills out more.
Prielipp missed the entire 2022 season due to Tommy John surgery. The Tomah, Wisconsin native was in line to be a top ten overall talent in the draft has he remained healthy. With his surgery and rehab behind him, Prielipp was able to throw multiple times in front of talent evaluators in late spring, including at the MLB Combine. Expect the Twins to bring Prielipp along slowly, but the upside here is a front of the rotation arm. Prielipp fell due to such a limited track record. If he can remain healthy, the Twins may have a steal at 48 overall. Prielipp was recommended by Twins scout Matt Williams.
What do you think of the Twins taking Connor Prielipp at #48 overall?
glunn reacted to David Youngs for an article, Minor League Report (6/22): Gray Goes Deep, Winder Continues Return
No transactions today within the Minnesota Twins minor league system!
Buffalo 3, St. Paul 2
Leading for eight innings, the Saints fell just short on Wednesday courtesy of a pair of runs in the ninth inning runs by Buffalo. After two solid innings of work, reliever Ariel Jurado gave up a pair of hits and struck a batter to allow the Bison to walk off St. Paul in the final frame of the game.
The Saints scored their two runs in the fourth and seventh innings. With Jake Cave on second base, Mark Contreras laced his 11th double of the season to right field to get the Saints on the board. The red-hot first-baseman now has six hits and four runs in his last three games. Roy Morales followed the trend in the seventh inning with a double (4) to center field that scored Contreras from second.
Inching his way back to full strength, starting pitcher Josh Winder was excellent for the Saints through four, striking out three while allowing just one run on one hit and two walks. Wednesday was the longest of three starts that Winder has made since returning from the 15-day Injured List with a shoulder injury.
WIND SURGE WISDOM
Wind Surge 2, San Antonio 1
SUSPENDED IN THE 4TH
Wednesday night's game against San Antonio was suspended due to inclement weather in Wichita. The game will pick up tomorrow as part of a double-header.
Cedar Rapids 4, West Michigan 2
A third-inning bomba from Seth Gray and a stellar outing from Brent Headrick propelled the Kernels to a 4-2 victory on Wednesday afternoon in Cedar Rapids.
Already leading 1-0 thanks to an RBI single from Kennie Taylor, Gray took an 0-1 pitch to the moon over the right-field wall in the third innings to give Cedar Rapids a lead that they wouldn't surrender. Gray now has eight homers on the year and is slashing .235/.362/.772.
The Kernels added an insurance run in the fourth when Alerick Soularie smoked his seventh double of the year to center field, scoring Charles Mack.
Already off to a blazing start on the season, starting pitcher Brent Headrick continued his dominance, striking out four batters while allowing just one run on three hits through five innings. Headrick is now an impressive 7-2 on the year with a 2.48 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Pretty darn impressive. Don't be surprised if Headrick gets the call to Kansas in the near future.
Leading in a tight game, the Kernels' bullpen was rock solid through four innings. Miguel Rodriguez (H, 5) and Cody Lawyerson (S, 1) allowed just one run and were able to work their way out of multiple jams to keep Cedar Rapids afloat.
The Kernels are now 43-22 on the season.
Lakeland 3, Fort Myers 1
The bats ran dry on a cloudy day in Lakeland as the Mussels fell short to the Flying Tigers on Wednesday. Carlos Aguilar drove in the Mussels' only run on a second-inning double that scored Dillon Tatum.
Fort Myers only tallied three hits on the day, two of which were doubles. In addition to Aguilar's double, Tatum also doubled to kick off the second inning.
Starting pitcher Travis Adams (L. 4-3) allowed three runs on seven hits through four innings while striking out three and walking one. Two of Adams' runs allowed came from a two-out fourth-inning homer. It was only the fourth homer that Adams has surrendered this season and the 23-year-old touts a 3.23 ERA and 0.91 WHIP through 11 starts.
DSL Braves 3, DSL Twins 2 (7 innings)
The DSL Twins lost a tight one to the Atlanta Braves' Dominican Summer League team on Wednesday afternoon. The Twins jumped out to an early lead in the second inning when Junior Del Valle launched a two-run homer over the left-field wall. The home run was Del Valle's first of the season and the Venezuelan is now slashing an impressive .345/.429/.946 through 29 at-bats so for this season. Del Valle also lined a single to left in the fourth inning and was the only Twins player to record multiple hits on the day.
The two runs from Del Valle's bomb would be the only two on the day. Twins starting pitcher Ledwin Taveras was excellent through five innings, allowing only two runs (one earned) on five hits with one walk while striking out three. Through three starts Taveras is 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.
Reliever Oscar Paredes was solid in relief, failing to allow a hit and striking out three through two innings. However, Paredes ran into trouble with walks and a throwing error in the seventh that led to the Braves scoring the go-ahead run.
The DSL Twins are now 6-7 on the year.
TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Hitter of the Day: Seth Gray (Cedar Rapids)- 2-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
Pitcher of the Day: Brent Headrick (Cedar Rapids) W (7-2), 5 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, 4 K
TWINS DAILY PROSPECT SUMMARY
#7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, 2 K
#9 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, K
#18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, 2 K
THURSDAY'S PROBABLE STARTERS
St. Paul @ Buffalo (6:05 PM CDT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-2, 7.89 ERA)
San Antonio @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Blayne Enlow (0-2, 5.31 ERA)
West Michigan @ Cedar Rapids (12:05 PM CDT) - LHP Aaron Rozek (6-2, 3.70 ERA)
Fort Myers @ Lakeland (5:30 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (3-3,5.21 ERA)
FCL Pirates @ FCL Twins (12:00 PM CDT) - TBD
DSL Braves @ DSL Twins (10:00 AM CDT) - TBD
Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
glunn reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Partial ACL Tear Ends Lewis's Season... Again!
It's just not fair! Why can't we have nice things?
When did this start anyway? Joe Mauer was hurt in his second game, hurting his knee sliding on the Metrodome turf. That was April 2004. Since then, Jason Kubel missed over a year when he tore up his knee playing in the Arizona Fall League. Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff had Tommy John surgery when they were in the minor leagues. Of course, several pitchers have lost development time due to Tommy John, including Francisco Liriano, maybe the best pitcher over any two-month stretch in Twins history, is the toughest example.
The list goes on and on, and we haven't even mentioned the concussions that altered the career trajectories of Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, and others.
And Byron Buxton. Like Buxton, Royce Lewis works incredibly hard. He is well-liked by everyone around him, especially their teammates. They want to play. They want to play well. They want to win. But unfortunately, staying on the field
Players get hurt. That's part of the game. We know that. But it certainly seems the Twins have had way more of their fair share.
Lewis told reporters, "It sucks!"
The initial report was a bone bruise, but there was so much swelling, another MRI was needed. Encouraged to get a second opinion, Lewis saw the MRI. "I love my teammates, and I'd love to be out there as much as I can, but I don't want to be out there halfway."
He also said that this time, they will also take steps to brace the knee so it has a little less give to make any further similar injuries less likely. "It basically tightens your right side and makes it more stable."
Maybe the most frustrating part is he doesn't know exactly how it happened. "All I remember was I was about to make a really cool play," he said, laughing. "You can just tell when you're about to make a catch.
Lewis is expected to miss 12 months again after the complete reconstruction of his ACL again. "Yeah, I'm not afraid of the surgery. That's for sure. The first time, if I told you I wasn't, I was definitely hiding it."
"It's just another pause in my life here."
Lewis hit over .300 in his 11 games with the Twins. He showed off his power, speed, arm, and defense in his short stint. Lewis knows he can and will come back, and be able to play in the big leagues.
The Catch? "Yeah, I just mistimed my jump. I'm not familiar with the outfield, in general. So that's probably why. I'm very happy I made the catch, though."
But he certainly is taking lessons from the incident. "So, yeah, I'm afraid of the wall."
But he definitely does not regret playing the outfield. "I'm a baseball player. I want to help my team and compete. It's unfortunate I got hurt. It's a freak injury. Nothing we could have done. Truly wouldn't have done anything different."
His manager, Rocco Baldelli, feels the same way. The organization had a need, and Lewis had some experience in center field, including a couple years ago in the Arizona Fall League. "On my end, and on the organization's end, I don't think we would say we regret any part it. I regret that he has to go through this right now."
Baldelli, who struggled with his own health issues throughout his playing career, is impressed with what he sees from Lewis, even as he faces this frustration head on. "He's handling is as well as I think any young person could handle something like this. Or anyone at all. He is, as we know, a very upbeat and positive individual,"
Needless to say, the mood was pretty somber in the Twins clubhouse as the news was digested. "It's one of those things that it's almost hard to wrap your head around, that fact that this is going to happen again," Baldelli reflected. "But I fully expect him to come back and do exactly what he did this time around. I see no reason why he won't. And he's one of the best young players in baseball."
glunn reacted to Sherry Cerny for an article, Twins 3, Royals 7: The Twins Lose That Loving Feeling...and to the Royals
SP:Chris Archer 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (78 pitches, 50 strikes (64.1%))
Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (2)
Top 3 WPA: Trevor Larnach (.153), Ryan Jeffers (.104), Byron Buxton (.08)
Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.334), Jorge Polanco (-.109), Gio Urshela (-.103)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
He Was Inverted
Chris Archer started out the first inning by attacking the strike zone and the Royals took advantage of that and got the first run of the game. Archer’s control has continued to trend upward as he settles into the club. Archer, who has been limited on innings because of having no spring training and pitching very little overall the past two seasons, has really continued to improve as he’s stretched out.
He had an ERA of 3.86 prior to today’s game, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Archer has kept his pitching consistent with each performance and the only thing hurting his ERA up until now is his only registered loss, which came against Houston, but all of the Twins' pitchers struggled that series.
Archer has not been allowed to go past four innings all season and today we saw why. By the fourth inning, Archer seemed to lose a little of the command he had in the second and third innings and gave up a run before Wes Johnson made a visit to the mound. After the visit, Archer gave up another two runs before getting the third out which was the 28th pitch of the inning. A Jorge Polanco error could have been the third out. Instead, it was followed by a two-run double.
Dick Bremer and LaTroy Hawkins both talked about how Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been taking his time with the RHP who has spent a lot of time in the past three years injured and only pitched 19 ¾ innings last season. As much as Archer wants to go out and bring the heat full send, the plan that Rocco has him on to help him stretch out and work on his command has proven that not only does Baldelli know what his team needs, but what it is going to take to be competitive.
"Remember, Boys, no points for Second Place"
The Twins may have lost the game, but they still have the chance to tie the series on Sunday. The first hit of the game looked promising as Byron Buxton ran out a double with his first at-bat of the day as he poked a ball out to right field. Frustratingly Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa left him stranded, but Trevor Larnach answered the Royals with a home run deep to center field. Larnach has had two home runs for the season, both within the past two series and since returning from the IL. It seemed like every time there was a glimmer of hope, there was a sigh of frustration.
The Twins have only started out behind in 17 of the 46 games they have played so far this season. In the other 29 games, they scored first and in 24 of those, they won. The Twins certainly did have quiet bats Saturday against Kansas City’s pitchers. There have been a lot of moves lately with injuries, COVID and giving players rest. Baldelli mentioned prior to the game today that even with all the moves lately, the guys continue to stay ready, work hard and show up when they need to.
A lot of the guys have not had much rest so far this season. Max Kepler, who has been amazing this season both in the field and at the plate, seemed to gingerly run to first base and left the game with right leg tightness. Kyle Garlick came in for Kepler. While the bats seemed to pick up a small amount in the sixth inning with a hit from Arraez and Garlick following up with a single advancing Arraez to third, the Royals pulled Brady Singer to preserve their lead.
Larnach continued to battle at every at-bat and drew a walk against pitcher Dylan Coleman, helping to load the bases for Ryan Jeffers, who came in for Gary Sanchez, who left the game with a heat-related illness in between innings. Jeffers wasted no time in helping get the guys back on the board and hit a line drive up the middle scoring Arraez and Garlick before ending the inning bringing the Twins to only a two-run deficit with plenty of game left.
The Twins looked like they were making a comeback in the ninth inning with Luis Arraez getting his third hit of the day, followed by Correa getting on base. Polanco came up to bat, hitless the entire game made Josh Staumont work his count, and drew a walk bringing Garlick up to hit with bases loaded and two outs and the fans to their feet. Garlick hit a beautiful fly ball to centerfield but was just short, ending the game 7-3.
The Twins finish out their series with the Royals tomorrow at 1:10pm before flying off to play in Detroit.
Pitching matchup tomorrow:
Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (21-1, 2.60 ERA) vs RHP Zack Grienke (0-3, 4.53 ERA) Postgame Interviews
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Minaya 41 0 0 0 31 72 Moran 31 0 0 0 34 65 Duffey 12 0 31 0 20 63 Megill 0 8 0 26 0 34 Duran 14 0 0 19 0 33 Thielbar 0 30 0 1 0 31 Pagán 0 21 0 3 0 24 Jax 0 23 0 0 0 23 Smith 0 3 0 18 0 21
glunn reacted to David Youngs for an article, Astros 5, Twins 0, Lack of Luck, Runners Left on Base
Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder, 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3BB, 2 K (77 pitches, 45 strikes, 58%)
Home Runs: none
Bottom Three WPA: Josh Winder (-.209), Byron Buxton (-.105), Jose Miranda (-.097),
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
After a rocky finish to last night's weather-delayed game, the Twins finished up a 'less than pretty' series against the Astros with a 5-0 shutout loss on Thursday afternoon. Despite garnering seven hits (to Houston's eight), the Twins were unable to convert any rallies and left 16 runners on base throughout the game.
First Foe for Winder
After two incredible starts to kick off his MLB campaign Josh Winder had his first sub-par start on Tuesday afternoon. The highly-touted prospect lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six hits while walking three batters. Twins trainer Abe Masa accompanied skipper Rocco Baldelli to the mound to check on Winder towards the end of his outing. Winder continued to pitch and appeared fine. Hopefully, the young talent is healthy and will rebound for another great start next week!
After a rough outing in the first game of the day, the Twins' bullpen was adequate through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar followed Josh Winder in relief and was scoreless through 1 2/3 innings. Tyler Duffey followed suit with two innings of scoreless ball. The highlight of the bullpen experience came from Cole Sands in the top of the eighth inning. Called up to the 40-man roster after last night's delay, Sands struck out the side, providing the only 1-2-3 inning on the day for the Twins' pitching staff. Sands wasn't as lucky in the ninth, giving up a homer to Yordan Alvarez.
Arraez and Rocco Return
Despite the gloom of the box score, Luiz Arraez and Rocco Baldelli returned from the COVID protocol on Thursday. Baldelli managed both games today and Arraez made his debut in the second game of the pseudo-double-header, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.
Nick Gordon is a Renaissance Man
The Twins may have lost, but Nick Gordon won over the hearts of Twins fans between the two games on Thursday. After pitching a scoreless ninth inning of a blowout loss, Gordon made one of the most spectacular catches across the league in the second inning of the second game.
Gordon had an impressive day at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in the fifth and seventh innings. The former first-round pick has been a joy to watch for the Twins this season both in the field and at the plate. The Avon Park, Florida native has hit .294 in his last seven games, and Thursday afternoon's game was his first multi-hit game since April 21 against Kansas City.
Bullpen Usage Chart
After a disappointing sweep, the Twins will look to regain momentum tomorrow night with a home series against the Cleveland Guardians. RHP Sonny Gray (0-1, 3.48 ERA) will face off against Aaron Civale (1-2, 9.45 ERA) in a battle of two of the AL Central's top teams. First pitch at Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 pm CST.
glunn reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Prospect Retrospective: OF Mark Contreras
Recently I was chatting with a former Minnesota Twins minor leaguer. I think if you asked him, he would have called himself a suspect instead of a prospect. We were talking about current prospects, and I made the comment that I always have a soft spot for guys who either weren’t drafted or were drafted in the late rounds.
Mark Contreras wasn’t a late-round pick, but he fits into another similar category. He was a ‘Senior Sign.’ In 2017, the Twins had the top overall pick and signed Royce Lewis. He signed for under-slot value to allow the team to also draft and go way over-slot RHP Blayne Enlow in the third round. In addition, the Twins drafted three college seniors with their eighth (Bryan Sammons), ninth (Contreras), and tenth (Calvin Faucher) round picks and signed each of the for just $10,000.
It’s a strategy every team uses to manipulate the current draft slot system. The Twins have had success with several senior signs. In 2013, they drafted Mitch Garver, a senior catcher from the University of New Mexico, in the ninth round. In 2008, Brian Dozier, a shortstop from Southern Mississippi, was the Twins' eighth-round pick.
With that as the backdrop, let’s take a look back at the baseball career and timeline of Mark Contreras, all of which has led him to his first big-league call-up today.
High School: Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley, California
Contreras was a four-year starter in high school. He worked hard on the field and in the classroom. He was known already then for his great defense. He played in the infield, mostly at third base until his senior season when he moved to shortstop.
Despite all of his high school successes - his team won the league championship all four years, he was all-league his final three years - he didn’t have a lot of college offers. He stayed fairly close to home and enrolled at UC-Riverside.
As a freshman, he played in just 19 games and went 4-for-27 (.148). His sophomore year, an opening presented itself in the outfield. His coach asked how comfortable he would be in the outfield. Contreras replied, “If I’m in the lineup, it doesn’t matter. I’d love to play.”
He showed it could do just that, hitting .284 with ten doubles. In his junior season, he played in 55 games and hit .332/.407/.430 (.837) with 14 doubles and a homer. He went undrafted.
He returned for his senior season and hit .366/.427/.558 (.985) with 11 doubles, eight triples, and two homers in 42 games.
Northwoods League: Rochester Honkers
His time with the Saints and Twins does not mark his first time playing ball in Minnesota. In the summers of 2015 and 2016, he played for the Rochester Honkers.
“That was fun. Meeting new guys. The competition was great. The success our first year. We got to the semi-finals. The St. Cloud Rox kept kicking our butt. They put it on us. Going back for another year was great. Playing in Rochester exposes you to a lot of excellent players from around the country.”
Professional Baseball: Minnesota Twins
As mentioned, Contreras became the Twins’ ninth-round draft pick in 2017. He signed quickly at $10,000 and went to Elizabethton. In 43 games, he hit .275/.319/.421 (.740) with nine doubles, two triples, and four home runs.
In 2018, he played in 97 games with Ft. Myers and hit .212/.302/.361 (.663) with 15 doubles, four triples, and nine home runs. He also stole 12 bases. He did hit .440 in seven games in Cedar Rapids at the end of the season.
2019 was a tough season for Contreras. He played in 27 games for Ft. Myers and hit just .101 with three doubles. He moved back and forth to Double-A Pensacola several times. In 85 games with the Blue Wahoos, he hit .210/.279/.381 (.660) with 12 doubles, three triples, and ten home runs.
Double-A manager Ramon Borrego talked last year about the challenge for Contreras, moving back and forth between Ft. Myers and Pensacola. It was difficult to get into any sort of routine. He later said, “That back-and-forth helped me understand the mental grind of the game.”
To illustrate that, Contreras was named a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award winner. Defense has always been an important part of his game, and he is capable of playing all three outfield positions very well.
The home run power he started to show at the end of 2019 was something he wanted to continue to improve upon in 2020. Unfortunately, there was no 2020 minor league season due to the pandemic. He spent the whole lost season, working with his dad, hitting every weekday.
It helped. In 2021, Contreras’s prospect stock rose with his play at the highest level. He began the season in Wichita, and like in 2019, he moved back and forth between Double-A and Triple-A a couple of times. In 19 games at Double-A, he hit .269/.355/.448 (.803) with four doubles and two homers. In 95 games at Triple-A, he hit .248/.335/.493 (.828) with 26 doubles and 18 home runs.
In 2022, he has hit .239/.350/.489 (.838) with five doubles, five homers, and five stolen bases.
Being just a short drive from Target Field has been a motivator to Twins prospects the last two seasons. Contreras said last year, “We're 20 minutes from Target Field, and being so close to that… We know we're so close.”
He has seen several of his current and former teammates get The Call. He noted, “"It's definitely amazing to see my teammates that I grinded a whole year at High-A or Double-A with getting their opportunity to be in the big leagues. Not just there and back, but proving that they can be in the big leagues. Trevor Larnach. Alex Kirilloff. Luis Arraez is one of the best hitters I've seen. Griffin Jax got his opportunity this year, and he's doing what he needs to do. Charlie Barnes just got called up the other day, and he had a great outing for his first start. We were drafted in the same year. I know there's a lot more that I've played with. Akil Baddoo is getting his opportunity. It's very motivating because it shows that they're getting the chance to show.”
Last summer, he also told me, “I'm not there, so the goal is to take care of the What, and then the When will happen.”
Tuesday became the When for Mark Contreras when he was called up to the Twins for the first time. With the team having two players on the Covid list, Contreras (and Jharel Cotton) did not need to be added to the 40-man roster. It’s very possible that if Luis Arraez is activated on Wednesday, Contreras could be on a plane to Columbus to meet the Saints.
Let's start with the defense. Again, Contreras is a plus-defender at all three outfield positions. He isn't a burner, but he gets good jumps. He also has a very strong arm. Offensively, he has power. After 20 combined homers in 2021, Contreras has five homers in 26 games for the Saints this year. Only Matt Wallner, with six, has more homers in the Twins minor leagues. A left-hander, he will strike out quite a bit, but he has learned which pitches he can do something with and can really drive. Contreras is a team player who will do what he can to help the team win.
For much, much more on Mark Contreras, click here to see all of the Twins Daily articles Contreras has been tagged in.
glunn reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Is It Time to Start Worrying About Austin Martin?
When the Blue Jays drafted Austin Martin fifth overall, some evaluators considered him the best player in the 2020 MLB Draft. His collegiate career was nothing short of amazing as he hit .368/.474/.532 (1.007). Martin also played multiple positions in college, so there was hope his athleticism would translate to his professional career and make him a versatile player.
Because of the pandemic, Martin couldn’t make his pro debut until the 2021 season, but this didn’t stop the Blue Jays from being aggressive. Martin debuted in Double-A, where he hit .281/.424/.383 (.807) with 14 extra-base hits before being traded. When Martin joined the Twins organization, his OPS dropped to .779, but he was still getting on base nearly 40% of the time. He’s back in Wichita to start 2022, and he is hitting .244/.375/.321 (.696) through the season’s first 20 games. Martin’s pro career hasn’t lived up to his pre-draft expectations, but he is still over a year younger than the average age of the competition at his level.
Baseball America updated their top-100 prospect list following the season’s first month, and Austin Martin dropped significantly in their eyes. Here at Twins Daily, the writers also updated their top prospect lists, and Royce Lewis took over the top spot from Martin. It’s clear his stock has dropped, but what are the reasons behind his struggles?
One of Martin’s most significant concerns has been his lack of power since leaving college. In 93 games last season, he combined for 25 extra-base hits. So far in 2022, he has been limited to six doubles in 78 at-bats. On the positive side, he has shown the ability to make contact and use the entire field, but he has over 500 minor league plate appearances, and his power is still absent.
“We do think there’s some untapped power potential in there,” Twins player development director Alex Hassan said. “We tried to get him to catch the ball a little more out front and be comfortable using the big part of the field and use the pull side a little more.”
Martin dealt with a hand issue last season, which may have been one of the reasons for his lack of power. He also tended to crouch and stride toward the plate, which gave him more coverage but took away from his power. If Minnesota can fix this, he has the potential to unlock more power.
There are also questions about Martin’s eventual defensive home. In college, he played time at shortstop and third base, but there have been some throwing issues in the past. Since turning pro, he has split time between shortstop and center field. Second base might be his eventual defensive home, and he has made starts at that position during the 2022 campaign. It’s interesting to consider that he has yet to play a pro game at third base, which was the position he played most often in college. However, he’d need to showcase more power if he wanted to move to the hot corner.
Power is the key to unlocking Martin’s full potential. Luckily, he is only 23-years-old, and there is no reason to rush him through the upper levels of the minors. He’s played fewer than 65 games in the Twins organization, so there is time for him to continue to develop under the tutelage of Minnesota’s coaches.
Are you worried about Martin’s falling stock? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
glunn reacted to Andrew Mahlke for an article, Twins Minor League Report (4/29): Pitching, Defense Shine, Runs at a Premium
The weather was a factor for two of the Twins’ affiliates today. The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels game was postponed and the St. Paul Saints game was suspended after six innings. The Mighty Mussels hope to play a doubleheader on Saturday. The two games that were completed went to extra innings, but Twins affiliates in these games only combined for just eight hits.
In addition, we saw one Twins' top prospects continue to climb the stolen bases leaderboard as he proves that he can make an impact at the major league level.
Without further ado, let’s see what happened on this Friday in the Twins organization.
St. Paul 3, Nashville 7
The Saints tied the game up at three in the bottom of the sixth before the rain hit and the game was suspended.
Chi Chi Gonzalez made the start for the Saints and allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings while striking out six batters. He has now allowed five earned runs in 10 2/3 innings this season.
The Saints looked like they were going to get off to a hot start in the first inning after Royce Lewis walked and Alex Kirilloff hit a single, but the next three batters were retired in order to strand the runners.
Nashville hit a home run in each of the second and third innings, but the Saints finally broke through to the run column in the fourth inning when Jake Cave singled and Daniel Robertson drove him in with a double to reduce the deficit to two runs.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Daniel Gossett replaced Gonzalez. Gossett faced four batters, struck out two, and induced two ground balls to Lewis to finish the sixth inning unscathed. In the bottom of the frame, Cave and Jermaine Palacios singled before Elliot Soto drove them both in with a double to tie the game up at three.
After Nashville got out of the inning, the rain became too heavy and the game was halted going into the seventh inning in a 3-3 tie. When the game continued Saturday afternoon, Nashville scored a run in the top of the eighth to take the lead but a runner got thrown out at home on a relay from Mark Contreras to Robertson to David Banuelos to end the top of the eighth.
After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Saints turned to Juan Minaya in the ninth, who walked the first three batters before allowing an RBI single and a two-run double before being pulled with runners on second and third with no outs. The Saints then turned to Ryan Mason out of the bullpen who struck out the first batter, walked Brewers #4 prospect Brice Turang, and struck out the last two batters to send the game to the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 7-3. Mason has now struck out nine batters in five and 2/3 innings in 2022.
In the bottom half, Lewis and Jose Miranda singled but the Saints couldn't bring either of them across, falling 7-3 to the Nashville Sounds.
Lewis went 1-1 with four walks in the game, raising his season on-base percentage to .433. Cave went 2-5 with two runs scored and Soto finished with two RBI. The Saints are now 12-9 on the season.
WIND SURGE (AA)
Wichita 3, Arkansas 1
In a lackluster offensive performance, the Wichita Wind Surge beat the Arkansas Travelers behind some excellent pitching.
Matt Canterino made the start for Wichita, going three strong innings, striking out four, and not allowing any hits. He is now up to 12 2/3 innings this season and his ERA is down to 2.13. He has struck out 18 batters and allowed nine walks. He has been limited due to elbow issues in 2021, but his workload is slowly increasing in hopes that he could be an impact pitcher in the big leagues sometime soon.
After Canterino was done, Steven Klimek threw two scoreless innings. The Wind Surge didn’t get their first base runner until the fifth inning when Matt Wallner singled. After Arkansas broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth, the Wind Surge tied it up when Cole Sturgeon came in to score on a double play after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.
The Wind Surge got some excellent relief pitching from Brandon Lawson and Evan Sisk to force extra innings while the offense remained stagnant. Sisk got out of a huge second-and-third jam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra frames. He has not allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings this year.
In the top of the tenth, the Wind Surge began with Leobaldo Cabrera on second base and got off to a good start when Kevin Merrell reached on a sacrifice bunt and Andrew Bechtold walked to load the bases. DaShawn Keirsey and Austin Martin hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to give the Wind Surge a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the tenth, where Alex Scherff didn’t allow a run thanks to Wallner throwing out a runner at home to end the game.
Sturgeon and Wallner collected the only two hits for the Wind Surge in the contest. Despite going hitless, Martin had a productive day at the plate by walking, reaching via hit by pitch, stealing a base, and driving in a run on a sac fly. Martin now has ten stolen bases, good for second in the league. The Wind Surge are now 11-8 this season as well as 3-1 in extra-inning games.
Cedar Rapids 2, Beloit 3
The Cedar Rapids Kernels dropped a heartbreaker to the Beloit Snappers in 10 innings, losing 3-2 on a walk-off single. The extra-inning runner-on-second rule hurt Cedar Rapids, as they were unable to score in the top of the tenth with their extra runner, and Beloit walked them off in the bottom half of the inning.
Sean Mooney was masterful in his third start of the season, throwing five scoreless innings while striking out eight batters and only allowing two walks and one hit. For the season, he is up to 13 innings while allowing three earned runs, eight hits, and 17 strikeouts.
The Kernels couldn’t get anything going offensively through the first five innings, only mustering up four singles against Beloit. In the sixth inning, the Kernels put up two runs when Christian Encarnacion-Strand singled, Aaron Sabato walked, Jair Camargo scored Encarnacion-Strand with a double, and Jeferson Morales scored Sabato with a sacrifice fly to give the Kernels a 2-0 lead.
The game stayed 2-0 until the eighth inning, thanks to two scoreless innings from Bobby Milacki. In the bottom of the eighth, the Snappers used single and back-to-back doubles to tie the game up at two going into the ninth inning. After an uneventful ninth inning in which he struck out two batters, Derek Molina began the tenth inning and gave up a hit to Davis Bradshaw which proved to be the walk-off hit thanks to the extra-inning runner-on-second rule.
Encarnacion-Strand and Will Holland each had two hits in the game to lead the offense for Cedar Rapids.
MIGHTY MUSSELS (LOW-A)
Fort Myers, Clearwater (Postponed)
Friday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The plan is for these teams to play two, seven-inning games on Saturday, starting at 4:30.
TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Pitcher of the Day – Sean Mooney (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K
Hitter of the Day – Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-1, 4 BB
We will again keep tabs on the Twins' top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here.
Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed:
#1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-2, BB, SB (10), RBI, K (played CF)
#2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-1, 4 BB, SB (5)
#3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-4, K
#6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (42 pitches, 25 strikes)
#12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-3, BB, 2 K
#19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-4, BB
SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS (Saints game will continue at 1:07 PM CST)
Nashville @ St. Paul (2:07 CST) - RHP Jacob Faria (0-0, 4.76 ERA)
Wichita @ Arkansas (7:05 CST) - RHP Ben Gross (0-0, 5.19 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (1-0, 2.08 ERA)
Clearwater @ Fort Myers (DH @ 4:30 CST) - RHP Travis Adams (1-0, 1.20 ERA)
Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!
Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
glunn reacted to Melissa Berman for an article, Twins Seek to Bolster Attendance Through Bargain Ticket Deals
This year, the Twins announced a number of ticket deals in order to give fans further incentive to come out to games. Some of these deals have become a yearly staple, but other new offers show that the team is looking to bolster its sales right off the bat of this new season.
The Twins started out the post-lockout period by running a limited-time no-fees ticket deal for single-game tickets. Around this same time, the Twins brought back the Twins Pass, a $54/month subscription pass that gets fans ballpark access, otherwise known as standing room only tickets, to every home game during the season excluding the Home Opener and games in September.
After the Twins beat the Seattle Mariners on April 10 to collect their first win of the season, the team announced a new sale called the Superstars Superdeal, which gives fans the ability to buy tickets to any Monday-Thursday game for cheap- $4 for upper-level tickets and $25 for lower-level seats. This sale runs through April 13. And once again this year, the Twins are running their perennial student discount, which allows college students to purchase $5 standing room tickets to any Monday-Thursday game. There is certainly no shortage of deals to be had for both loyal Target-Field goers and those who might need an extra monetary push to get out to a game.
The decision to bring back and expand ticket incentives for fans appears to be a wise one. So far this season, turnout at the games has been decidedly abysmal, though the cooler-than-average weather is certainly not helping. At the Home Opener, the Twins announced an attendance of 35,462, which was the smallest crowd to attend an opener - other than the COVID-impacted 2020 and 2021 seasons- in Target Field's history. It was just behind 2017's attendance of 35,837. No other opener has drawn less than 38,000 fans since Target Field opened in 2010. At the Twins’ April 11 game on a pleasant, 54-degree evening, attendance was announced at 12,932, presumably, a large portion of whom were season ticket holders.
So far this season, the Twins have had the third least attendance of the MLB teams who have played games at home, though once again, the Minnesota weather has been less-than-pleasant and the Twins opened at home rather than somewhere warmer on the road. (Of interesting note, the Tampa Bay Rays so far have the worst attendance in the MLB despite being the near-consensus #1 team in the power rankings. Hey, I myself love "The Trop").
Still, despite the at-times iffy weather, one might have hoped for a better fan showing on Opening Weekend, the fans' first weekend to see Carlos Correa in a Twins uniform, or in the Twins series against the Dodgers. The Dodgers are one of the top teams in baseball, and the Twins have not hosted them since 2017. Both are aspects which should create intrigue. Many of the fans who were at Target Field were not even Twins fans; it was readily apparent to those attending Tuesday and Wednesday's games that a large portion of the fans in the stands were wearing Dodger blue (and delighting in booing Correa). While it wasn't 50:50 Twins to Dodgers fans, it was not too far off that ratio.
Since Target Field opened in 2010, attendance has almost continuously dropped. Part of this can likely be attributed to the novelty allure of the sparkling, new Target Field wearing off after a season or two. The team's performance has been somewhat up and down during this time period too..
It is worth noting that attendance is falling league-wide as well. The Twins did experience an attendance uptick in 2019, the “Bomba Squad” year where the Twins set the MLB home run record and also won the AL Central Division, thus showing that attendance is predictably due at least in part due to performance. But if performance on the field cannot carry ticket sales on its own, the marketing department might consider continuing being creative and generous with new promotions.
The Twins should continue doing everything they can to get fans into seats, especially if the Twins struggle this season. True, attendance for April Twins games is generally lower while it is cooler and kids are in school, and hopefully, more fans will come out of hibernation as the weather becomes more pleasant, but after last season's lack of success, fans might not be as eager to show out to the park. The Twins should continue running more $4 ticket deals or even consider giving away some free tickets. A fan with a free ticket would still likely spend some money on concessions or bring more profit to the team than an empty seat. Anecdotally, I have a friend who bought tickets to 20 games using the Superstars Superdeal. He says these are tickets he otherwise probably would not have bought, and I am sure he is not the only one. The team should consider expanding these promotions to weekend games, and/or just giving college discount students or Twins pass holders an actual seat for the game. It is the least the team can do for fans who are choosing to show up.
Having mostly-empty ballparks is demoralizing for both fans and players, and I am sure does not look good for potential free agents either. Even though these ticket deals arguably decrease the value of having season tickets or flex plan packages, filling seats should be a top priority. Though it is too early to tell how the team will fare this year, the Twins should keep the ticket steals coming.
Did any of these ticket deals incentivize you to buy more tickets? Leave a COMMENT below.
glunn reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Sonny Gray Gives Twins a New Jose Berrios
Last season the front office decided against extending Berrios and flipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Getting two-top 100 prospects for a guy under team control for just one more year was an excellent come-up for Minnesota. If they had decided against paying him, that level of return is certainly a welcomed one. They had to replace Berrios, though.
Going back to 2019, Berrios owns a 3.66 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9. He’d put up dominant outings at times and then see late-season slides. Home runs got him every once in a while, but he was every bit a staff ace for Minnesota. After passing on virtually all of the free-agent starting pitching market, they found something of a clone. Looking back to 2019 for Gray, the Reds hurler owns a 3.49 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. It's almost as if the Twins had determined they had a "type" when it comes to a frontline starter. Minnesota had squeezed more out of Berrios under pitching coach Wes Johnson, and while Grady is older, it's not crazy to think they may be able to teach him some new tricks. Gray exits a Reds team looking to tear everything down, and he also has the benefit of escaping a hitters paradise in Cincinnati.
Berrios is the slightly harder thrower of the two, averaging 94 mph on his fastball. Gray has seen diminished velocity as he ages but still sits at 92.6 mph. Gray gives up less hard contact, but we’re splitting hairs on the differences between the two when it comes to whiff rates as well as CSW% (Called+Swinging Strike Percentage). Looking at each of their Statcast profiles from 2021, it’s actually Gray that sees the scales tilted his way when diving into more analytically based outputs.
Another interesting note on Gray is that while he has seen diminished velocity, his stuff ranks extremely well. Highlighted multiple times by Rob Friedman's Pitching Ninja account, and noted in a tweet by The Athletic's Eno Sarris, there's more to pitching than simply pumping velocity. For Gray, as the fastball might have dipped, he's added substantial shape through movement to his pitches. In attempting to keep batters off balance Gray has worked on crafting pitches that miss bats. Although Minnesota's Johnson is seen as a velocity guru, it's the analytical additions to pitching development that have pushed guys to get more from their overall repertoire. Gray will have a whole new pool of information to work with.
At the end of the day, Minnesota accomplished a few things in the entirety of their starting pitching scenario. They dealt a guy they weren’t going to pay and got peak value for him. They then acquired an older starter for a highly volatile return and have to pay him substantially less. All of that takes place while the on-field returns could very comfortably be projected to be even.
Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Gray for a 3.78 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 2022. The same projection system has Berrios at a 3.84 ERA and 9.3 K/9. If the track records of similarity don't provide something to key in on, there's at least an upcoming season in which both are expected to provide similar levels of value.
What do you think about the Twins swap of top starters? Would you rather have Berrios purely from a pitching perspective, or are you good with Gray, the similarities, and all of the additional prospect capital?
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glunn reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Final Workout Has Twins Ready for Season
After a torrid Spring Training, Byron Buxton was back in Minnesota and stepped up to the podium. The weather wasn’t on his mind as Buxton said the club really hadn’t considered the weather until leaving JetBlue yesterday following their game against the Boston Red Sox. “Sano said he didn’t have a coat, and then the rest of us looked around and realized we didn’t either.”
Given his scorching pace this spring, it’s not shocking the weather didn’t deter the Twins centerfielder. While the games don’t factor into the standings, Buxton posted a .469/.514/.1.094 slash line. Talking about what leads to production at that level, he said, “Confidence is pretty high. Knowing I’m here for seven more years as well is a big factor.”
Buxton brought up this point multiple times, and manager Rocco Baldelli later said, “There’s comfort in being able to not worry about your family and just playing the game,”
After signing with the Twins, during his press conference, Carlos Correa brought up how his focus will be turned towards working on perfection. He brings a winning attitude, has been a winner, and wants to win. That seems to have permeated quickly throughout the clubhouse. Buxton said, “We want to win. Obviously, when I signed, that was a big focus.”
He followed up by saying, “It’s very special right now, the things going on in that clubhouse.” Buxton’s confidence isn’t just internal. Knowing the talent of his teammates, he said, “We know we got a great defense. We rake.”
As Correa did when meeting the media, Buxton echoed a desire for rings today. This is a team ready to get going, and while Opening Day is delayed by 24 hours, they’re chomping at the bit to show the league what they’re about.
The man leading them once again is Rocco Baldelli. Coming off a disappointing season, it’s evident that the skipper sees his club in the same light as his clubhouse leaders. Despite outsiders' questions regarding the rotation, Baldelli said, “I actually like having youth on our pitching staff. Youth can be a very good thing.”
He gushed about the confidence in arms like Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober, notably professing the work Minnesota’s staff has seen.
In touching on veteran Chris Archer, Baldelli said, “I’ve known Arch for a very long time as a pitcher and as a person. He looked great.” The former Rays starter stayed an extra day in Fort Myers to work another outing with pitching coach Wes Johnson, in which he got in 50-55 pitches.
Minnesota is looking to replace a leadership presence in Nelson Cruz, but Correa has stepped in. While Baldelli said each team has a different feel, he came away impressed by “the number of very particular conversations he had with people on day one…he had the charisma and confidence wanting to talk about the Twins, the way we operate, what we need from him, what he needs from us, and how it all comes together.”
Carrying over from the Twins time down in Fort Myers, everything about this club continues to be about winning. The Minnesota clubhouse is filled with guys singularly focused on the ultimate goal. “The talk and feel of every guy in our clubhouse revolve around the right things. The number one thing being winning baseball games, winning a World Series.”
A couple of additional positives came from Baldelli as he wrapped up his press conference before the players hit the field. Nick Gordon is all systems go after his collision with Max Kepler in the outfield earlier this week. The medical staff hasn’t alerted Baldelli of anything new, and Gordon himself hasn’t suggested there have been any setbacks.
That clean bill of health also applies to Alex Kirilloff. Baldelli did say that Kirilloff will play plenty of outfield and first base, “even switching between the two mid-game at times.” Asked about the lack of time in left field, Baldelli said Kirilloff has consistently been rotated through both corner spots, and they are confident with him in either role.
This evening, Minnesota is looking to set their Opening Day 28-man roster, likely featuring 16 pitchers. Baldelli said, “one decision will impact a couple of guys,” so the front office and coaching staff continue to work through that.
Following today's workout, the Twins will have a quiet day tomorrow before kicking off their 2022 regular season at 3:10 pm on Friday.
glunn reacted to Andrew Mahlke for an article, What Does the Carlos Correa Signing Mean for Royce Lewis?
Of 56 first overall picks, 48 have reached the major leagues. Of the eight that didn't, four fizzled out, and four are still working their way to the majors. The latter group includes Royce Lewis. Lewis, the first overall selection in the 2017 draft, looked well on his way to the major leagues before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. After an incredible Arizona Fall League performance in which Lewis garnered AFL MVP honors, he was named the fifth-best prospect in baseball, behind current superstars Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Fernando Tatis Jr.
But since then, Lewis hasn't appeared in a regular-season professional game. With the 2020 minor league season getting wiped out due to the pandemic, Lewis spent the 2020 season at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. Lewis tore his ACL in February of 2021 after wiping out on the ice in Texas, to make matters worse.
Lewis has completed his ACL rehab and is playing in spring training, where he went 1-for-8 in major league spring training action. Recently, he was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul, where he will presumably be the starting shortstop. From being the MLB.com fifth-best prospect pre-pandemic to their 46th best prospect currently, Lewis will have a lot to prove in St. Paul. There have been many questions about if Lewis can play shortstop at the major-league level, and he will look to regain his status as a top prospect in St. Paul.
A Tale of Two Stories
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Twins have a new shortstop named Carlos Correa. Correa was widely regarded as the best free agent in the 2021-22 free-agent class and is one of the best players in baseball. Since entering the league in 2015, Correa leads all shortstops in WAR (34.1). He is a career .277/.356/.481 (.837) hitter with a flare for the dramatic, as he is tied for the seventh most postseason home runs of all time (18).
Although they were both first overall selections out of high school as shortstops, Correa and Lewis have taken different paths. In June 2022, it will have been five years since the Twins selected Lewis with the first overall pick. Lewis has been through the wringer in his first five years, from showing unbelievable promise to a significant ACL tear setback. In the first five years after Correa was drafted, he won the American League Rookie of the Year, was named an all-star, and in his fifth year, won the World Series.
Could Adding Correa Help Royce Lewis?
Although Lewis hasn't had Correa's success, he's still an immense talent that could impact the Twins in the next few years. Adding Correa provides mentorship and comfort for Lewis.
Before the Twins inked Correa to a record-breaking deal, their roster's most significant question mark was at shortstop. Were they going to trade for Elvis Andrus? Were they going to sign Trevor Story? Would they play an internal option at shortstop like Nick Gordon, Lewis, or Austin Martin? The Twins chose none of the above and signed one of the best shortstops in baseball.
In Correa's three-year, $105.3 million deal, there are opt-outs after years one and two. These opt-outs will allow Correa to potentially take advantage of the free-agent market in a typical offseason, which doesn't include a three-month lockout. If Correa has a good 2022, he could enter free agency again in search of a larger deal. In this scenario, Lewis would most likely be the Twins shortstop in 2023 if all goes as planned.
Had the Twins not signed Correa, they could have rushed Lewis through Triple A. The Correa signing allows Lewis to be the everyday shortstop in St. Paul for at least the 2022 season, allowing him to reacclimate himself to playing shortstop every day in the minor leagues without the added stress of playing in the big leagues right away. If Correa leaves after 2022, Lewis can take over the shortstop role for the big league club with a higher level of comfort and more experience.
Lewis also may need someone to mentor him and help him through the pressure of being a first overall pick. Correa had high praise when asked about Royce Lewis at his introductory press conference. "He's a special talent; the future is bright for him. He is a hard worker, I love his attitude, and we've built a good relationship in the few days I've been here with him", said Correa.
For the Twins, it would be best to extend Carlos Correa and lock down the premier position in baseball for the next five to seven years. But right now, it looks most likely that Correa will be gone in the next year or two, so the Twins must groom Lewis into a major league-caliber shortstop, and who better to do that than Carlos Correa.
Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
glunn reacted to renabanena for an article, Four Free Agent Relievers the Twins Should Reunite With
Twins’ Tenure: 2020
Tyler Clippard celebrated his fifteenth season in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, where he quietly had one of his best seasons yet. In the most competitive division in baseball, Clippard held a 3.20 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, and 1.9 K/W ratio. At age 37, Clippard is one of the oldest relievers on the market and unlikely to get a long-term contract with any team. This makes him a cost-efficient and effective addition to the team as an alternative to Taylor Rogers or Caleb Thielbar in short relief scenarios.
Twins’ Tenure: half of 2019
Blake Parker was designated for assignment during the height of the Bomba Squad era and was quickly picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies. Last season, we briefly saw him in Cleveland’s bullpen, where he was, dare we say, pretty good! It’s as close to a 180 as we’ve seen since his last days in Minnesota. His 3.09 ERA, 142 ERA+, and 2.64 SO/W in 43 innings last season are fairly comparable to Tyler Duffey’s statistics. Similar to Clippard, his age is a disadvantage on paper, but his price tag is unlikely to break the bank.
Twins’ Tenure: 2018 - 2019
The Twins selected Kohl Stewart fourth overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, over the likes of Tim Anderson, Aaron Judge, and Twins’ legend Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He demolished the Minor Leagues until he was called up to the Majors in 2018, where he fizzled out almost immediately. Things have been challenging for Stewart since his release in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season due to having Type 1 Diabetes, pitched for two months last year with the Cubs until he was placed on the 60-day IL, and was offered only a minor league assignment with the Cubs.
With that said, Kohl Stewart is only 26 years old, making him over a decade younger than the others on this list. With the addition of a Cutter last season, Stewart has a six-pitch repertoire with varying degrees of success. He currently relies heavily on his Sinker, which is by far his least effective pitch. If the Twins can focus Stewart on perfecting his virtually unhittable Slider and newly-added Cutter, Stewart can become a Sergio Romo-esque reliever with a Thielbar-esque story. Due to his recent misfortunes, Stewart is likely also the cheapest addition on this list, Signing Stewart to another Minor League assignment is low-cost with a high upside.
Twins’ Tenure: 2019 - 2020
Speaking of Sergio Romo, this fan-favorite has spent time with almost every team in the league with no signs of stopping. Last season, opponents had a paltry .219 batting average against his infamous Slider. Romo also pitched 61 2/3 innings last year, one inning more than his All-Star season in 2013. Romo is a workhorse who seems to defy time and gravity. His return to Minnesota will be a welcome relief (pun intended) for fans who have lost so many other favorites this past week.
Who else would you like to see the Twins reunite with? Leave a comment below!
glunn reacted to Thiéres Rabelo for an article, Trevor Story’s Splits Shouldn’t Scare You
First and foremost, I believe it’s crucial to get as much important information about this topic as possible out in the open. People shouldn’t just stick to shallow common-places when there’s so much in-depth information and analysis out there. That’s especially true when it comes to the effects of altitude in baseball.
In this brilliant 2020 article, Rox Pile’s Kevin Larson buts the myth that hitters at Coors Field only succeed because of the altitude. I’ll be quoting a few parts of that article here, but I think everyone would learn a lot if they read the whole thing. Basically, Larson advises people to do two things when analyzing players' performances at Coors:
Take into account the unique circumstances Rockies hitters live through, having to adjust to different pitcher approaches in Denver and on the road; Ignore the traditional stats splits and focus on Park Adjusted stats, like wRC+, OPS+, and DRC+, which can paint the big picture more nicely; Then, Larson goes on to provide several examples of both hitters who improved their wRC+ after leaving the Rockies, but also the contrary, players whose offensive productivity decreased after they joined the Rockies from other teams. Can you guess a former Twin, winner of an MVP in Minnesota, who falls in that last category?
The bottom line is, things aren’t as simple as “hitters won’t succeed after leaving Coors.” Trevor Story's traditional splits sure don’t look good, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to bring him to Minnesota. Not only would the Twins be giving up on a potentially above-average right-handed hitter, but they would be bailing on one of the best defenders in the game.
One of the best examples of former Rockies who succeeded elsewhere is second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who was signed by the Yankees in 2019 and has since won two Silver Slugger awards and received MVP votes in two seasons (finishing third in 2020). Take a look at some of his numbers.
DJ LeMahieu's splits during his time with the Rockies (2012-2018), per Fangraphs:
DJ LeMahieu as a Yankee, overall (since 2019), per Fangraphs:
The same way the belief that “Coors hitters do badly once they leave Colorado” shouldn’t be a rule, LeMahieu’s example isn’t a rule either. Former Rockies cornerstone third baseman Nolan Arenado, for instance, didn’t improve his numbers the same way LeMahieu did. However, his overall numbers in St. Louis didn’t get worse either. They were actually slightly better than his road numbers while with the Rockies.
Nolan Arenado's splits during his time with the Rockies (2013-2020), per Fangraphs:
Nolan Arenado as a Cardinal, overall (since 2021), per Fangraphs:
In conclusion, Trevor Story’s splits shouldn’t dissuade the Twins from trying to sign him. As someone who follows the Rockies very closely, I can attest to how talented and hard-working he is, and also how fun it is to watch him play every night.
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glunn reacted to Sherry Cerny for an article, One Fan's Opinion: Ranking the Remaining Trade Candidates (Pitchers)
The Twins made one minor acquisition before the lockout, adding right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy. In 2020, he posted a 3.29 ERA and 1.03 WHIP but had a setback in 2021. While the Twins fans were hoping for starting pitching, they weren’t impressed with the last purchase.
Now that the lockout is over and baseball can get back to business, here are my thoughts on the top five trade candidates to help the Twins pitching staff..
5. Luis Castillo
Luis Castillo (29/RHP) carries a career ERA of 3.72, with a strikeout rate of 23.9% and a higher walk rate than Tyler Mahle at 9.3%. During the 2021 season, Castillo was tied for the most games started (33) but also tied for the most Base on Balls (75) and losses (16). With one of the highest amounts of innings thrown, there will be negative numbers. Nash Walker wrote about Castillo's impressive ability at limiting home runs which is more significant than worrying about walks.
Because his cost for trade is so high, I am ranking Luis Castillo as a last resort because the possibility of a package deal with this player is slim. Luis Castillo is a massive commodity in trade talks right now, and the Angels have shown interest. Castillo still has two years of club control at the price point of around $7.6MM. There has been no speculation about what the Reds would want in return, considering they are shopping three of their pitchers right now.
4. Chris Bassitt
Chris Bassitt (33/RHP) has an overall impressive ERA of 3.15 (ERA+ of 130) over his 27 starts and 157 innings pitched in 2021. He has been an above-average pitcher since Tommy John surgery back in 2018. Bassitt was a Cy Young contender the past two seasons and could be a safe bet for the Twins, which knowing the Twins is all they are willing to do when it comes to pitching.
One of the best options available for the Twins, Bassitt is on the cheaper end of the trade scale, due for arbitration in 2022, and in 2023 he will be a free agent. He has been a Twins Daily favorite for trade talks in the past. The trade would be worth it to get what the Twins need out of him before he becomes a free agent. It wouldn't be the best trade the Twins could make, but it would be something that could help through the 2022 season with starter pitching.
3. Sonny Gray
Sonny Gray (32/RHP) has a solid arm; his age doesn't seem to deter him at all from being one of the Reds best starting pitchers. James Cameron talked about in his Twins Daily post relaying that Gray has the makings of a great starting pitcher for the Twins. One of the things that makes Gray a solid choice is his ability to grow and change. His pitches have made him dangerous on the mound. He has a strong four-pitch mix that has long made him a quality starter. .
The Reds have not been shy about shopping Gray, along with his counterparts Mahle and Castillo. Gray is projected to make $10.67MM in 2022 and remains under club control for 2023 via the $12.5MM club option.
2. Frankie Montas
Frankie Montas - (28/RHP) The Oakland Athletics have had a solid pitching rotation, including Montas, who slid into the number six position of the 2021 Cy Young Award voting. The 28-year-old right-hander has command of the mound. His fastball was in the range of 90-99mph throughout the 2021 season, contributing to the 26.6% strikeout ratio compared to 7.3% walks and earning him a 3.36 ERA. While he struggled in the minors, he continued to pitch smarter and work harder to create reliable confidence for his team throughout 2021.
His age makes him a prime candidate for creating a long-term contract with the organization that picks him up. With Montas's previously moving around from team to team, a long-term solution might be great not only for him but for whoever picks him up. The Twins have pieces to trade to acquire Montas. The A's know what they have in Montas, making him potentially a more challenging trade, leaving the possibility of a three-team trade, but the Twins could avoid that with the right offer.
1. Tyler Mahle
Tyler Mahle may not have the name recognition and notoriety that his Reds teammates do, but he's developed into a quality mid-rotation arm over the past two seasons. Mahle owns a 3.72 ERA with an impressive 28.1% strikeout rate against a respectable 8.9% walk rate. Throughout his career, the most considerable concern has been his walks and home runs.
Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors projects a $5.6MM salary in 2022 for Mahle. Mahle is the youngest of the possible acquisitions mentioned, so he'll pitch nearly all of the 2022 season at 27 years old. Out of all the Twins' options, Mahle would be a great asset to the Twins starting rotation; Trading for Mahle just might be the smartest option for the Twins to start.
Free Agency is going to be insanely competitive in the coming days which could be good for the Twins. That said, due to the competitive nature of free agency and the potential for scorned owners, lots of teams may be looking to trade possibilities. While age is a factor, so is longevity and more and more baseball players are showing age is just a number and can work past their “prime”. Sonny Gray would be a great addition to the Twins rotation, but if it’s money they are worried about, Tyler Mahle will be the best option, in this fan's opinion.
What do you think the Twins should be looking for in a pitcher? Should they be looking on the free agency market or play it safe and offer trades?
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glunn reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Which Twins Surpass Their 2021 Numbers?
There’s no denying that the 2021 club failed to meet expectations. Coming off two-straight American League Central Division championships, the thought was that the club would contend for a third. Unfortunately, they wound up as cellar-dwellers instead, and 2022 stands as an opportunity to right the ship.
All was not lost individually, though, as a handful of solid performances were tallied. Looking at a few key guys, here are some expectations in relation to where they finished a season ago:
Byron Buxton OVER 4.2 fWAR
Of the numbers below, this one gets the most tricky when considering lost games. WAR is a compiling stat, and the less runway a player has, the more difficult it becomes to accumulate. That said, Buxton played at an MVP level last season and posted a 4.2 fWAR in just 61 games. I’d be relatively shocked if the regular season isn’t something like 120 games, and he should blow by that number. Buxton’s performance wasn’t a fluke last season, and his injuries have gotten to the point where they may be. Whatever the season length is, give me a full year of health for the newly-extended centerfielder and watch this all-encompassing stat be gaudy.
Miguel Sano OVER .778 OPS
Suggesting the slugging first basemen had an awful start would be putting things lightly. He tallied a .675 OPS through the first two months of the season, and it seemed like his bat couldn’t catch up to a fastball. After June 1, a period of 97 games, Sano turned things around to the tune of an .817 OPS. From July 1 onward, that OPS rose to .824. It’s not as though Sano will all of a sudden stop striking out, but he remains a relatively disciplined hitter within the zone. If he can shed even a month of the slump, we have seen him streak through in recent years, an above-average .800 OPS should be well within his reach.
Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff OVER .750 OPS
Two of the best hitting prospects Minnesota has seen in a long time; both flopped in their rookie seasons. Larnach was demoted with a .672 OPS, and Kirilloff wound up needing surgery after owning just a .722 OPS. The former dealt with an ankle problem that no doubt impacted his base in the box, and the latter was sapped of his power after playing through a nagging wrist that had previously been a problem in his career. Both tore up the minors when healthy, and their advanced eye combined with a strong approach at the plate bore plenty of fruit. I’d be far from shocked if we don’t see a substantial turnaround from both given a clean bill of health.
Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober UNDER 4.00 ERA
Projection systems seem to like Ryan quite a bit, and if that’s the case, he stands to improve upon the 4.05 ERA from his first five big league starts. Ryan will likely surrender his fair share of longballs without much velocity on his fastball. The ability to miss bats and stinginess of allowing walks can’t be overstated, and that proved to be a recipe for success last season. Ober gave up a hefty amount of dingers on the flip side, but a handful came in droves. Like Ryan, Ober limits free passes while mowing down the competition, and the impact of that combination is significant. Neither should be expected to be aces, but something in the mid-to-high threes from an ERA standpoint seems logical.
If we were dealing with a traditional season and counting stats were easier to evaluate, Jorge Polanco and Jorge Alcala make sense in this space. As much as Polanco has broken out from an offensive standpoint, a repeat of his 33-home run performance seems unlikely. It’s not as though he hasn’t previously displayed that power, but the big number would prove hard to replicate. I like Alcala to pick up plenty of save opportunities in the bullpen. Minnesota has had multiple guys shine in the closer role over the past handful of years, and a double-digit tally for the blossoming Dominican seems pretty fair.
What do you think? Are there any rebound candidates I missed?
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glunn reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Twins Daily 2022 Top Prospects: #5 Joe Ryan
Age: 25 (DOB: 6/5/1996)
2021 Stats: (Triple-A/MLB): 92 2/3 IP, 3.59 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 122 K, 17 BB
2021 Ranking: NR
National Top 100 Rankings
BA: 86 | MLB: NR | ATH: NR | BP: 96
What's To Like
During his professional career, Ryan has been a strikeout machine, and he continued that trend at the big-league level last season. Throughout his minor league career, he struck out 13 batters per nine innings with a WHIP under 0.90. During his five big-league starts, Ryan struck out 30 and only walked five. He provided quality starts in four of his five starts and pitched into the fifth inning in every appearance. Ryan showed that he has little left to prove in the minors and can immediately join the Twins rotation.
So, how does Ryan accumulate all of these strikeouts? He offers a unique arm angle that makes batters perceive that the ball is coming at a higher velocity. Also, Ryan has excellent command, as evidenced by his walk rates throughout his professional career (2.1 BB/9 in the minors). His change-up and slider were also better than advertised as he can tunnel the ball well to keep batters off-balance. Out of his 30 strikeouts, 13 came from his off-speed pitches, which he throws 34% of the time.
What's Left to Work On
Ryan shouldn't see the minors again, so the bulk of his development is tied to his adjustments at the big-league level. One of the biggest knocks against Ryan in his career has been his fastball-dependent approach. He threw his fastball nearly two-thirds of the time at the MLB level. Out of the 16 hits he allowed, ten came off his fastball, including five extra-base hits. His fastball velocity (91 avg mph) is significantly below the league average, but his unique arm angle makes it challenging for batters to track the ball. Will MLB hitters be able to find more success against him next season? That remains to be seen.
His home run rate was also higher than some would like from a possible front-line starter. During his five MLB starts, he allowed four home runs which translates to a 1.4 HR/9. Ryan works high in the zone with his fastball, resulting in more fly-balls and home runs. In the minors, his career HR/9 rate was under 1.0, so there is some element of small sample size with his MLB total. His fastball is such a weapon up in the zone that he will continue to use it, and fans will have to be okay with him allowing an occasional home run.
Ryan also needs to prove he can neutralize left-handed hitters with his off-speed offerings. In the minors last season, lefties posted a .650 OPS, which was 173 points higher than righties. His home run rate was higher, and his strikeout rate was lower when facing southpaws. Lefties went 7-for-47 (.149 BA) against Ryan at the big-league level, but they collected three of the four home runs he allowed. Can Minnesota help him find an off-speed pitch to limit damage from left-handed hitters?
One of the reasons Minnesota traded for Ryan was because he was big-league ready. The Twins starting rotation has holes to fill for Opening Day, and Ryan looks like the team's number three starter. It will be imperative for the team to track his innings throughout his rookie season. He has only pitched more than 100 innings in one of his professional seasons, which was back in 2019.
Is Joe Ryan going to develop into an ace that Twins fans have been clamoring for in recent years? This seems unlikely, and there are few of these pitchers in baseball. However, he is big-league ready and projects near the top of the team's rotation for years into the future. Are you excited about the Joe Ryan Experience? If not, get ready to jump on the bandwagon.
#10: Josh Winder, RHP
#9: Chase Petty, RHP
#8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
#7: Jhoan Duran, RHP
#6: Matt Canterino, RHP
#5: Joe Ryan, RHP
#4: Coming tomorrow
glunn reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Royce Lewis Continues to Get a Raw Deal
We've already surpassed the original start date for spring training. The deadline for avoiding a delay of the regular season is fast approaching. Insiders see little reason to believe an agreement will be reached in time.
But that's only the major-league season. Since most minor leaguers aren't part of baseball's union, they're not subject to the CBA or lockout. Thus, those affiliate seasons will begin as planned, starting in early April.
Except, not all prospects will be able to participate. Those who've already been added to the 40-man roster are now in the MLB Players Association, meaning they're affected by the union's actions and decisions, despite often having never received a big-league paycheck.
By nature of what a 40-man promotion signifies, prospects who are in this category tend to be some of the best, and some of the closest to the majors. For the Twins, this group includes Josh Winder, Jhoan Duran, and José Miranda, all of whom would likely be spending the early part of the minor-league season solidifying their cases for big-league opportunities.
But no player's plight through this lens feels quite as unfortunate as that of Lewis. I say this not from a financial standpoint – his $6.7 million signing bonus from 2017 gives him much more padding on that front than most prospects awaiting their first chances – but from a developmental one.
Let's run through his series of experiences leading us up to where we are at today:
In 2018, Lewis puts together a fantastic first full pro season, earning his way to consensus status as a top-10 prospect in baseball. In 2019, his performance takes a step backward, which is hardly that alarming for a 20-year-old competing in High-A and Double-A. In 2020, his minor-league season is wiped out by the pandemic, costing him a critical chance to rebound and get right. In 2021, his minor-league season is wiped out by a fluke knee injury, which forces him to spend the next nine months rehabbing. Last November, just days before the lockout commenced, he was added to the 40-man roster – a procedural move designed to protect him from being taken in the Rule 5 draft ... which ended up not even happening. And now, because of that last development, he won't be able to report to Wichita or St. Paul when their seasons start, assuming the lockout persists. Another force completely out of his control, threatening to rob him of direly-needed reps in a crucial stage of growth.
Meanwhile fellow top prospect Austin Martin, who is in some ways directly competing with Lewis for a shot at the majors, will get to start his season on time, work on his game, and build his case. Purely by virtue of not being on the 40-man roster, even though he's older than Lewis.
Recently, Ted Schwerzler interviewed Royce on behalf of Twins Daily to get a feel for where the snakebitten shortstop is at, physically and mentally.
In typical fashion, the 22-year-old continued to express upbeat optimism and determination.
"My will to succeed and finally get to the big leagues has continued to be such a driver," said Lewis. "There’s been a lot of things that have been hiccups or hindrances in me becoming a big leaguer, but as unfortunate as they have been, I’d rather be up there and ready than one of those guys that’s overly excited and then has to get sent back down and do it all over again."
This perspective reflects the measured, mature and humble demeanor that sets Lewis apart from so many other athletes on his tier of greatness. It's one big reason that many expressed confidence he'd be able to persevere and overcome the series of setbacks up to this point, and now he'll need to keep relying on his faith and will to succeed. The world keeps conspiring against him and his path to fulfilling his lofty potential.
No player deserves to go through all this, but it's hard to think of anyone who could deserve it less.
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glunn reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Was the Miguel Sanó Extension a Mistake?
Back in the winter of 2019-20, the Twins were coming off a remarkable season where the club set the MLB record for home runs in a season. One of the most potent parts of the Bomba Squad line-up was Miguel Sanó, who was coming off career highs in home runs (34), SLG (.576), and OPS (.923). He had two years remaining of arbitration, but the Twins decided to sign him to an extension.
Minnesota signed him to a three-year, $30 million extension in January 2020. The first three years of the deal (20-22) paid him $27 million with a $14 million club option or a $3 million buyout for the 2023 season. At the time, Sanó had been the team's primary third baseman, but the club signed Josh Donaldson weeks after the Sanó extension. Thus, Minnesota moved the burly slugger to a less demanding defensive position.
Since signing the extension, Sanó has hit .218/.303/.470 (.772) with a 110 OPS+ and 43 home runs in 188 games. He clubbed 30 home runs for the second time in his career last season. He has posted an above-average OPS+ in each of the previous two seasons. When he makes contact, there's little question about the type of power he can provide. Last season, he ranked in the 97th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit %, and barrel %.
Sanó may have also quieted some injury concerns last season. After missing 155 games between the 2018-2020 seasons, he played a career-high 135 games in 2021. Staying healthy can provide value, especially when he can go on streaks where he seems to be able to hit nearly everything out of the park. In the season's final three months, he combined for an OPS north of .820 and an OPS+ above 120. During a disappointing season, Twins fans may have tuned out in the second half and missed what Sanó was able to accomplish.
At this point in his career, Sanó's expectations aren't going to change even if expectations were higher for him as a prospect. He has a ton of power, but he is a streaky hitter that racks up strikeouts. He led baseball with 90 strikeouts during the pandemic shortened 2020 campaign. Last season, he struck out a career-high 183 times, which ranked fifth in the AL. He also set the MLB record for fastest to 1,000 career strikeouts.
The value he has provided the Twins has decreased since signing his extension. In three of his first five seasons, he compiled a WAR total of 2.4 or higher. Over the last two seasons, he has been worth 1.0 WAR. FanGraphs pegs his value as worth $7.7 million from 2020-21, and the Twins paid him $11 million just for the 2021 season.
Some of his decline in value is tied to his defensive skills. He led all AL first basemen in errors last season, and he had the league's second-lowest SDI ranking. Sanó was considered a below-average defensive third baseman, but there was hope he'd be able to transition to first base and be closer to average. That hasn't transpired, and the team may need to shift him to a more regular DH role in 2022.
Sanó is due to make $9.25 million in 2022, and it seems unlikely for the Twins to pick up his $14 million option for 2023. If this is the case, he is entering a contract year that may motivate him. In the end, Minnesota likely could have filled Sanó's line-up spot with a cheaper option for 2022.
Do you think the Sanó extension was a mistake? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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