glunn reacted to nicksaviking in Ronny Henriquez Has Earned a Shot
I’m all for giving him a shot to tear it up in the bullpen, but I don’t know that he “earned” anything. He was pretty terrible last year despite his stuff.
Not entirely his fault, the Twins had zero business pushing him as a starter most of the year. It was clear from the get go that his only path to success was in the pen.
glunn reacted to mikelink45 in Ronny Henriquez Has Earned a Shot
I have not seen enough of him to agree with this essay. A short stint at the end of the season has had a lot of players look good only to be exposed in a full season. I hope you are right, but for now he is one of many we hope might give us one really good RP.
glunn reacted to MTV in Ronny Henriquez Has Earned a Shot
Ronny Henriquez should be a depth option, he’s a good piece but shouldn’t be looked at to start opening day. Last year was proof this team needs a serious amount of depth, and Henriquez could easily provide in that position. I think he’ll get his shot in 2023, just not immediately, and that’s okay.
glunn reacted to Dman in Ronny Henriquez Has Earned a Shot
I think given his size and the fact he has a fastball he can run into the upper 90's he looks like a much needed bullpen arm to me. This bullpen can use more high octane arms and if he is ready he could mix well with Duran and Alcala.
If he does well in the pen they could throw him into a rotation spot in 2024 when Gray, Maeda and Mahle might no longer be with the club. Sale started as a bullpen arm so they could still work him in as a starter after using him in the bullpen if they think that makes sense down the road.
glunn reacted to Cody Pirkl in Ronny Henriquez Has Earned a Shot
By the time Ronny Henriquez debuted in 2022 many fans were likely already tuned out, which is fair. His late season appearance however shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to the role he could play in 2023.
Image courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Ronny Henriquez was acquired in the Mitch Garver deal and was seen as a middling starting pitching prospect. The ERA results weren’t there, but at 21 years old, Henriquez posted a 25%+ K rate at every stop in the minors. His generous listing at 5’10 raised questions about his ability to stand up to a starter’s workload, and those concerns escalated when he posted a near 6 ERA in AAA out of St. Paul’s rotation in 14 starts. His strikeouts continued to impress however, and he was finally moved to a relief role toward the end of the season.
As the Twins faded out of contention, they finally began cycling in younger talent instead of pitchers such as Joe Smith and Tyler Thornburg. In the case of Henriquez, what we saw was very encouraging.
As we’ve seen with Twins pitchers who boast plus sliders, the Twins weren’t shy about having Henriquez go back to the well on his best pitch. He threw his breaking ball nearly 50% of the time as his primary pitch, and in his short stint it proved to be lethal. Despite being by far his most used pitch, the slider induced a whiff rate of over 31%. Not only did it avoid being hit, it allowed a .136 batting average and .227 slugging % when hitters did make contact. His secondary pitch being the changeup only drew a 22.6% whiff rate, but it too allowed a sub .200 average and sub .300 slugging % against as well. Henriquez flashed two plus offerings to get both left and right handed hitters out consistently.
The issue with Henriquez was the fastball. His main concern in St. Paul was the long ball, and the culprit was front and center when he joined the Twins. In his admittedly limited action, his four seam allowed a .400 batting average and staggering 1.400 slugging percentage. Hitters teed off on the pitch, and it’s not difficult to see why:
The good news on the rocky debut of his fastball is that the adjustment is obvious and likely easily fixed: Keep it out of the heart of the zone. The heat map at the top of the zone is fantastic. Adjusting the trend in the middle of the zone could raise his game to new levels in a bullpen role.
Henriquez shouldn’t be an offspeed needy, fastball avoidant pitcher. The 55 scouting grade on his heater is easily justified, as the pitch has been noted to have tremendous ride and can often be pushed into the upper 90s when needed.
While the slider was the eye popping weapon he showed in his debut, it’s possible the fastball could become just as big of a pitch moving forward despite how bad it looked through his first 11+ innings. Even pushing the pitch to average would make Henriquez a legitimate bullpen piece.
Despite being just 22 years old, it can be argued that Henriquez’s days in the minors should be over. With his three-pitch mix one could argue Henriquez should still be working toward a future rotation spot. The issue is that Henriquez is currently on the 40-man roster and would likely be 7th on the starting pitching depth chart at best. He’d have to have a good bit of success in AAA before being entrusted in such a role with the big league club. Much like what’s been argued with fellow top prospect Matt Canterino, it seems like a waste of time to slow cook prospects who appear to be able to help the club right now in pursuit of the very small chance that they can latch on as a starter.
It’s not entirely clear what the Twins offseason plan is regarding the bullpen, but we can assume nothing big is coming. At most they’ll likely sign a Joe Smith caliber pitcher to fill some innings and try to milk some value out of. They may make a waiver claim on a pitcher who does one thing well in pursuit of the next Matt Wisler. Instead we should be hoping for the Twins to turn to one of their young upside arms, a commodity that has been very difficult for this front office to come by.
Rather than spending a few million on another veteran reliever to spend the last year of their career in Minnesota, why not turn to the 22 year old with two plus offspeed pitches and a high 90s fastball? Henriquez could take a low leverage, possibly even multi inning role and get a chance to work his way up the depth chart. If he struggles he can be optioned for another arm as opposed to the yearly bounce back candidate signing that sticks on the roster far too long due to their veteran status.
Last year the Twins may have leaned too heavily on their internal pitching production. This year they have much more in place, and gambling on Henriquez in a minor role seems like a worthwhile bet. Ronny Henriquez should be in the Twins Opening Day bullpen
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glunn reacted to Minny505 in Is a Healthy Tyler Mahle an Ace?
You are really underselling the impact of Reds Stadium in this piece. It is not just hitter friendly, it is the unanimous most homer-friendly stadium in MLB.
Every "Park Factors" algorithm out there has different results for 2-10 on the most homer-friendly stadiums in MLB, but #1 is always the Reds's stadium.
Just like Target Field helped Sonny Gray put up the best "Per IP" season he's had since donning green and gold, it will do the same for Mahle, but likely even more so due to Mahle's higher fly ball rate.
Not an ace, but yet another solid #2. This is why the Twins would benefit most from acquiring a true #1 vs acquiring an elite player for any other role on the team, including SS. They simply have no pitcher in the org with elite potential.
glunn reacted to LA VIkes Fan in Is a Healthy Tyler Mahle an Ace?
I agree and I think the trade was a good gamble. There are no guarantees in trades and what we gave up was never going to be enough to get someone without risk. To me, this is the kind of thing that mid-market teams do to try to improve. I supported the trade then and I still support it now.
glunn reacted to roger in Is a Healthy Tyler Mahle an Ace?
Is he an ACE? Not by my definition, but there are only a half dozen or so who are. Is he the Twins best pitcher, maybe? Probably? Doesn't mean he is my opening day starter. That job goes to Sonny Gray.
Why? I want Gray matched up with the other team's top pitcher. Then have Mahle going in the #2 slot where he should be as good or better than most team's #2. Advantage Twins. Give me the advantage in game 2 and game 3 and they will win a lot of series, even in the playoffs. And they will do that without paying +$20M to some aging name we all recognize.
As for an extension. Let's see how he is pitching come spring training. If all it good, you betcha. Count me among those who believe last winter's lockout and shortened spring training had a major effect on the health of many players...Mahle may have been one of them.
glunn reacted to Nashvilletwin in Is a Healthy Tyler Mahle an Ace?
I’ll take 140 innings and a sub 4.00 ERA right now and be perfectly happy. There will be some days when he is superb and a few clunkers for sure. But that would be a great season from Mahle. Anything better than that is gravy; however, if pressed, I’d probably bet the under. Seriously, given the arm issues late last season, should we realistically expect any more than that through the course of an entire season?
Hopefully that type of season will not qualify as the Twins 2023 “Ace” - Ryan, and both Gray and Maeda if healthy, should outperform that.
glunn reacted to saviking in Is a Healthy Tyler Mahle an Ace?
Provided he can stay healthy and get back a little more zip on his fastball I can see Mahle. I remember Mahle pitching against STL about 6 weeks before we got him and was impressed with his overall stuff. When healthy he seems like someone we could lean on to pitch 7 innings every now and then.
That said, I think it is very premature to talk about him becoming our ace. Front line starter maybe. But who knows. I'll keep my mind open
glunn reacted to wsnydes in Is a Healthy Tyler Mahle an Ace?
Not by my definition, but he's possibly the best pitcher on this team's staff. A staff ace, if you will. That's dependent on which Joe Ryan shows up though; Pre-covid or post-covid. Getting a full season of pre-covid Ryan probably gives him that title.
All that said, a healthy Mahle is a definite boost to the rotation.
glunn reacted to Ted Schwerzler in Is a Healthy Tyler Mahle an Ace?
Needing help on the starting pitching front, the Minnesota Twins teamed up with the Cincinnati Reds at the 2022 trade deadline to acquire Tyler Mahle. He made just four starts for Minnesota before succumbing to a season-ending injury, but how good can he be with a clean bill of health?
Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports There’s no denying that the Twins and Reds front office have found favor with one another. After dealing for Sonny Gray prior to the 2022 season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent, Steve Hajjar, Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand to Cincinnati in exchange for Tyler Mahle. Heck, the two sides continued making moves this offseason when Casey Legumina was flipped for Kyle Farmer. It’s clear the two organizations see ways to help one another.
Although Mahle was unable to provide much of a boost for Minnesota down the stretch as he dealt with a shoulder injury, the hope is that he enters Spring Training at 100% and ready to go. If that is the case, then there’s a lot of excitement to dream on should the Twins be able to unlock the talent.
Over the previous three seasons coming into 2022, Mahle owned a 3.95 ERA with the Reds, and it was backed by a 3.84 FIP. His 10.2 K/9 was plenty exciting, and he was producing at that level despite allowing a 1.2 HR/9 playing in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. In over 400 innings with Cincinnati last season, his 4.40 ERA equated to a career best 3.60 FIP. Although the velocity dipped slightly to a 93 mph average, he maintained strong chase and whiff rates.
Plenty of the excitement surrounding Mahle has long been tied to expected numbers. He has controlled hitters and found himself unlucky at times. That could be a byproduct of playing in a less-than-ideal stadium, or pitching in front of bad teams. Either way, there’s a path to unlocking more if the Twins can figure him out.
In Mahle, Minnesota was looking for a pitcher under team control that they can work with and attempt to find another level. The former Reds starter isn’t a free agent until 2024, and this may be a decent time for the sides to hammer out an extension if they so choose. Although the shoulder issue popped up last season, Mahle threw 180 innings in 2021.
Suggesting a pitcher can be an ace is tough. While each team has their best arm, there’s probably only 10 or so arms across the entirety of the game that earn the definition of true Ace. Even at his best, Mahle becoming peak Justin Verlander seems unlikely. He could, and maybe even should, outperform anyone on the Twins staff though and that then allows a more nuanced conversation to happen.
We won’t see the best of Mahle until he’s healthy, but if the Twins spend the offseason making sure he is, then helping to unlock what the numbers say is there gets increasingly more exciting.
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glunn reacted to DJL44 in How Big is the Twins Catching Problem?
He's coached to frame the ball low as much as possible, including receiving the ball with a leg out instead of in a crouch. That decision affects his ability to block and his pop time to second base. I think Jeffers could adjust and improve in these areas if the team wanted him to do so. They'd rather have him framing low pitches for strikes.
I keep going back to Jeffers' actual stats for base stealing. He was 3 bases below league average. Not runs, but bases allowed. If he's "terrible" then the average MLB catcher is also "terrible". With base stealing at a 50 year low I doubt the catchers are that bad at throwing out baserunners. It's far more likely that teams only attempt to steal with elite baserunners.
I would love to see the team sign Vazquez. I enjoyed watching him play during the postseason (which also showcased the elite skills of Realmuto). I agree the team needs to add AAA depth as well.
glunn reacted to roger in How Big is the Twins Catching Problem?
Must take exception to your comment that Jeffers is a strong defender. Yes, he has a reputation for framing, which hopefully goes away in the next year or two with some type of robo ump or challenge system. The catcher I have seen behind the plate is bad at blocking balls and terrible at throwing out anybody. Yes, the pitchers often are as much to blame about steals, but his record last year was bad.
To answer your question, catching is the biggest problem the Twins have, HUGE! They need a new starter, who preferably swings from the left side. Someone who will play about 90 games a year with Jeffers at 70, MAX. They also need a third guy. Could be someone like Leon who is at St. Paul on a minor league deal. Ideally, this is an older vet who is fantastic working with the young pitchers who are one step away. And finally, they need a third guy. Some guy at AA who is a solid prospect and could/should be ready by 2024.
glunn reacted to Ted Schwerzler in How Big is the Twins Catching Problem?
Going into the offseason the Minnesota Twins have just one catcher on their 40-man roster. With little other help immediately seen throughout the system, it’s a position needing to be addressed this winter. The question for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine may be just how dire is the issue?
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Last offseason the Twins traded Silver Slugger Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers. Injury had been his bugaboo in recent seasons, and he was ultimately shut down with Texas to undergo an arm procedure. In trading Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees, Minnesota opted to pair Ryan Jeffers with former standout Gary Sanchez. It did not go well.
While a timeshare was probably somewhat expected, Jeffers ultimately could’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. Unfortunately, he dealt with injury and ineffectiveness, playing only 67 games and posting an 86 OPS+. Looking ahead to 2023, it’s basically Jeffers or bust until Minnesota’s front office decides otherwise. The 2018 2nd-round pick has to show he’s capable of that 119 OPS+ he posted across his first 26 games in the majors.
It’s hard to make much of 2022 for Jeffers given how truncated the action was. He bottomed out with a .550 OPS through his first 39 games, but then on June 8 started a little turnaround. In his next 21 games, through July 14, Jeffers slashed .286/.342/.529 (.871) with nine extra-base hits, including four home runs. In a year in which his power had looked nonexistent, it finally arrived at that point. Then the injury happened.
Returning to a fading team in late September, Jeffers followed up a successful rehab in St. Paul by playing in just seven more games. It wasn't enough to settle in, and nothing about his production provided answers for the year ahead. Gone are Sanchez and Sandy Leon, leaving only Jeffers to assume time. Another talent will be brought in to work alongside him, but the level of that player should say plenty as to where Minnesota’s front office believes their backstop situation is.
It was this front office that took a risk on Jeffers in the draft. Despite some reports and evaluations by other organizations that he may never have the defensive chops behind the plate, Minnesota took him on as a bat-first prospect. We have now seen a strong defender emerge, and it’s largely been the bat that has lagged behind. That alone should give hope to an organization relying on analysis from when Jeffers was originally drafted.
For this pitching staff to be successful, Jeffers is the type of catcher they’d prefer working with. More often than not Sanchez had them working against a stacked deck, and Leon was leaned on heavily down the stretch. The front office could opt for a veteran backup in the form of Omar Narvaez, or they could make a big splash and land a starting type akin to Sean Murphy or Danny Jansen. There are ways for the roster to work with either path, but plenty will be said about the current prognosis of Jeffers in relation to whatever option they choose.
There was a time that Jeffers and Garver held down the position almost as well as peak Joe Mauer did. Minnesota hasn’t had that consistency since the future Hall of Famer moved to first base, however, and they’ll be looking for a much better outcome from behind the dish in 2023.
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glunn reacted to Steve71 in Trade Polanco to Mariners?
MLB Trade Rumors just posted a lengthy article indicating the Mariners want a left handed hitting 2nd baseman and that the FA market is pretty naked.
I like Polanco, and perhaps we would be selling low after a down year, but the guy should fetch a very healthy return on a reasonable contract. Hopefully that return would be excellent, and it would also open a spot for Julien and, after recovery, someone like Lewis is we sign a FA SS like Correa.
Thoughts? Any juicy targets in the Mariners system we could expect in return? BTV has him set at 19.9, which is probably low for the former All Star who has the bonus of being a switch hitter....
glunn reacted to jorgenswest in Max Kepler’s Value
The Twins need a catcher and a shortstop assuming Farmer is in a platoon/utility role. I wondered what Kepler might bring as the main piece the Twins might send in return.
I went to BTV searching for shortstops with at least medium trade availability and value in the Kepler range. They include Luis Guillorme, Amed Rosario, Jorge Mateo, Taylor Walls and Edmundo Sosa. .
There are also some second basemen that have played SS like Vidal Brujan, Brendan Rogers and Rodolpho Castro. Another name that jumps out in this group is Nick Gordon.
I did the same for catchers and came up with Luis Campusano, Reese McGuire, Joey Bart, Austin Nola, Selby Zavala, Tom Murphy, Rene Pinto and Mitch Garver.
Many of these teams probably need that catcher or infielder more than they need Kepler. Do any appear to be really good fits? Would we be selling low on Kepler for someone in this group?
J.P. Crawford and Jonah Heim are also is listed at medium but their cost is more in the Larnach range. Would it be better to retain Kepler and trade Larnach instead?
glunn reacted to Doctor Gast in Conceptualizing a Creative, Realistic, Winning Contract for Carlos Correa
I like your idea Nick, Correa & Boras would love this contract. I don't think anyone would come close to offer this contract with this total amount of money & years, together with opt outs. But I agree with Steve this contract could very well hamstring our club.
I'd suggest a lower base pay with incentives (like an escalating price based on how many games he plays, WS, championships, awards etc) that could bring this total to the ammount you recommended. I wouldn't mind giving him these yrs. & $ if it's linked to incentives.
Correa & Boras egos would be satisfied with having a record salary yet it gives the club some breathing room.