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Andrew Luedtke

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  1. The Twins were victorious today over Pittsburgh and the Opening Day roster is set. More details inside today’s Offseason Notebook. We are three days away from regular season baseball, Twins fans!Minnesota 5, Pittsburgh 3

    Box Score

     

    Twins Takeaways

    Standout pitcher: Derek Law (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K’s - 18 pitches)

    Standout hitter: Willians Astudillo (2-for-3 with a HR and 2 RBI)

     

    Fastest pitch (mph): Josh Winder (97.5 mph)

    Fastest exit velo (mph): Jose Miranda (106.4 mph)

     

    In the second to last game of the spring, the Twins came out with a “W” and some familiar faces were keys to the victory. Also, Mitch Garver returned to his first game since leaving last week after injuring his finger on a foul tip.

     

     

    Turtle Power:

     

    Willians Astudillo got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and mashed it to left-center field to put the Twins on the board 2-0 in the second inning. And he admired this one…

     

    Astudillo will be heading north with the Twins to Milwaukee on Thursday.

     

     

    Cave shows off speed:

     

    One of the most exciting plays in baseball -- a triple! Jake Cave had an RBI triple in the fourth inning to put the Twins back on top 3-2, and they didn’t give it back from there. Cave has six career triples.

     

    More on Jake Cave in just one second …

     

    Twins Bullpen Solid:

     

    Josh Winder got the start today vs. the Pirates. He allowed four hits over 2 2/3 innings. The only runs he allowed were on a HR in the third to Erik Gonzalez. He touched 97.5 mph today. Cody Stashak and Caleb Thielbar worked back to back scoreless innings. They will be on the Twins Opening Day roster. Derek Law, who impressed all Spring, was untouchable in his inning of work. He walked one but struck out three. Check back for the winner of the #SireofFortMyers crown later this week.

     

    It should be noted that Matt Canterino was impressive. He picked up a two-inning save scattering two hits and striking out three. His top speed was 95.1 mph. His slider generated three whiffs.

     

    Opening Day Roster set!

     

    Well Twins fans, you’ve been following the roster battles all Spring long. Finally, we have a 26-man roster. Baseball is upon us!

     

     

    You can find more details on the roster, here.

     

    Clearly, the most interesting development is that Kyle Garlick beat out Brent Rooker for the last corner OF spot. Garlick posted a 1.011 OPS in Spring while Rooker only a .712.

     

    On paper, it seems the plan is for Garlick and Jake Cave/Luis Arraez to platoon in LF until there is an injury or they feel one of Alex Kirilloff or Brent Rooker are ready to take the role.

     

    Rocco Baldelli made some interesting comments after today’s game about the Rooker decision noting that the Twins want him to be a more “well-rounded player”.

     

     

    As Twins Daily writer Cody Pirkl points out, a platoon of Garlick and Cave should work out just fine. Eddie Rosario has a career 106 wRC+, for what it’s worth.

     

     

    Other notable choices:

     

    Fan favorite Willians Astudillo made the team after an impressive Spring (1.235 OPS with 4 HR’s) and Caleb Thielbar was selected as the second LHP over Brandon Waddell. Thielbar posted an impressive 2.25 ERA with a 9.9 K/9 in 20.0 IP in 2020.

     

    Following 2020’s rules due to the pandemic shortened season, 2021 also allows for a five-man taxi squad to travel with the team. Those players are:

     

     

    First pitch is three days away!

     

     

    Other News and Notes:

     

    Randy Dobnak’s contract details released today:

     

     

    The White Sox make a move:

     

    The Sox picked up 1B/3B/DH Jake Lamb today after he was released from the Braves. Lamb figures to slot in as their DH. Lamb posted a 144 OPS+ in a very small sample of 49 PA’s for the Athletics after being traded last year, but hasn’t posted a OPS+ above 100 since 2017 when he was an All-Star in Arizona.

     

     

    That’s a wrap from today. Only one game left on the schedule before the team packs their bags and heads to Milwaukee!

     

    Next up:

     

    Twins vs. Pirates @ 11:05am CST Tuesday

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

     

    Twins Daily Staff Predictions: National League

    How the Twins Have Hedged Against Injury Risk

    Twins Finalize Opening Day Roster

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

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  2. The Twins were victorious today over Atlanta as Nelson Cruz crushed his second Spring Training homer and the Twins pitching staff, led by José Berríos, struck out 11. Additionally, the Twins announced how fans can secure tickets to the first 17 games at Target Field this season. Check it out in this edition of the Offseason Notebook!Minnesota 4, Atlanta 2

    Box Score

     

    Twins Takeaways

    Standout pitcher: José Berríos (4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K’s - 82 pitches)

    Standout hitter: Nelson Cruz (1-for-3 with a 2-run HR)

    Fastest pitch (mph): José Berríos - 95.8 mph

    Fastest exit velo (mph): Nelson Cruz 107.5 mph

     

    Twins fans got a good one today. Not only was the game televised on FOX Sports North, the lineup included many potential Opening Day starters.

     

    We are 10 days away from regular season baseball!

     

     

    Berríos Solid:

     

    José Berríos pitched well today in what may be his second to last Spring start. He didn’t allow any runs and struck out six. He also had 13 swings and misses, five of them on his changeup.

     

    Across four games combined in Florida, José has a 2.63 ERA with 14 K’s in 13 2/3 innings.

     

    Nelson Cruz destroyed a baseball:

     

    Nelson Cruz was doing Nelson Cruz things this afternoon as he took an 0-1 fastball from Kyle Wright and sent it to the moon. The ball left the bat at 107.5 mph and went a projected 426 feet (seems light). That was Cruz’s second homer of the Spring.

     

     

    Jorge Polanco making plays at 2B

     

    Early indications are that Jorge Polanco’s ankle is feeling good. He homered in yesterday’s game vs. the Orioles and roped a 105.2 mph double down the RF line in the first inning turning on a fastball. Something he struggled with last year with his injured ankle. He also made two nice plays today defensively.

     

    In the fourth inning he caught a liner off the bat of Cristian Pache (.410 xBA) and in the fifth saved two runs with a nice play up the middle off the bat of Austin Riley (.670 xBA).

     

     

    Polanco has a .899 OPS in 11 games this Spring.

     

    Kepler still struggling:

     

    Max Kepler’s tough Spring continued today. He went 0-for-3 with two weak groundouts and a strikeout. He is now 2-for-30 this Spring with no walks. The only two hits are singles. During the broadcast today, Twins hitting coach Edgar Varela was interviewed and didn’t sound too concerned about Kepler as he noted he has “had some bad luck and hit some balls hard”. He also preached how Spring training was about “process over results” where Kepler does a great job looking at the positives and will be in a “good spot” come Opening Day.

     

    Kepler is historically a good hitter early on in the regular season. He owns a .882 OPS in 264 AB over his career in March/April.

     

    Matthew Trueblood wrote a nice piece on Twins Daily about Kepler’s success early in at-bats.

     

    Let’s not panic, yet.

     

     

    Bullpen looked strong:

     

    After Berríos' day was finished, the Twins bullpen took over. Fans got to see Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, and Taylor Rogers, which project to be essential in the backend of the Twins ‘pen in 2021.

     

    Rogers worked a 1-2-3 inning with two K’s on 14 pitches. Colomé and Robles each had a K in scoreless innings of work. Robles hit 95 mph on his Fastball. Encouraging signs.

     

    Twins Regular Season Tickets on Sale!

     

    Today, the Twins announced that on Thursday @ 10am CST fans can purchase tickets to the first 17 home games at Target Field. This includes Opening Day. The Twins can have 10,000 fans in attendance each game. Tickets will be available in “pods” of two or four tickets spread out throughout the ballpark to meet state COVID-19 guidelines.

     

     

    That’s a wrap from today. Make sure to check back tomorrow when we recap the Twins vs. Pirates at LECOM Park. First pitch is at 12:05pm CST.

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

     

    Sire of Fort Myers Update! Who is Derek Law?

    Road to October: Breakdown of the Twins Schedule

    The Last Transaction the Twins Should Make Before Opening Day

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

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  3. The Twins dropped today’s Grapefruit League contest to Atlanta 5-1. But, J.A. Happ and Caleb Thielbar made their Spring Training debuts and one member of the Twins continues to hit this Spring. That and more from the March 15 edition of the Offseason Notebook.Atlanta 5, Minnesota 1 (9 innings)

     

    Box Score

     

    Twins Takeaways:

     

    Standout pitcher: J.A Happ (2 IP, 1H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K)

    Standout hitter: Kyle Garlick (1-for-3 with a solo HR)

     

    Not much going today for the Twins who were on the road to face the Atlanta Braves. This usually means that a lot of the regulars do not make the trip. Nevertheless, there’s always a few takeaways from any Spring Training game.

     

    Here’s how the Twins lined up today against an Atlanta team that had Acuña, Albies, Freeman, Ozuna, Swanson and other potential starters in it’s lineup.

     

     

    Highlights:

     

    J.A. Happ made his Twins debut and looked pretty good! Well actually, sounded pretty good. Today’s game wasn’t televised so all fans could do is listen to the Atlanta radio feed.

     

     

    This is an encouraging start as Happ’s Spring was delayed due to COVID-19. It will be interesting to see how the Twins ramp him up prior to Opening Day and when he will make his debut. Nate Palmer details that, here.

     

    Caleb Thielbar also made his debut today after missing some time due to a back strain. He faced four players that subbed in for the middle part of the Braves lineup. He retired three of them with a flyout, groundout, and strikeout. He only allowed one hit, a single.

     

    Some notables on the offensive side…

     

    Luis Arraez went 2-for-3 with two singles. He now has six hits on the Spring, second most on the Twins. He noted after the game today he “feels ready to go”. Arraez hit leadoff today and started at 3B. When he does play in 2021, could Rocco be batting Arraez in the top of the order more often? Check out this piece from Cody Christie.

     

     

    Kyle Garlick continues to mash this Spring. He went 1-for-3 with a solo HR off RHP Jacob Webb. Garlick leads the Twins in hits (7) and homers this Spring (3).

     

    Twins send more players to alternate training site:

     

    For the second day in a row, the Twins assigned players to the alternate training site as the roster starts to take shape. Blakenhorn and Gordon were contenders to make the club for the second utility spot.

     

     

    Starters to see more playing time?

     

    If you haven’t noticed, the Twins played nine innings today for the first time all Spring. Now that there have been some players reassigned, Rocco Baldelli mentioned in his post-game press conference that players should start to see more frequent playing time and stay in games longer. 51 players remain in camp, meaning they have 25 more moves to make before going north with the final 26-man roster in Milwaukee. More from Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, here.

     

    Celebrating 40 years of Baseball America

     

    If you love prospects (and I know many of you do at Twins Daily), you’ll love this 40 year recap from Baseball America detailing the 40 best prospects in the last 40 years. HINT: I think you will recognize one of Minnesota’s own on this list.

     

     

    That’s a wrap from today. Make sure to check back tomorrow when we recap the Twins vs. Pirates at Hammond Stadium. First pitch is at 12:05pm CST.

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

     

    Sire of Fort Myers Update!

    How the Twins Win the 2021 AL Central

    Kirilloff’s Poise Fits Baldelli’s Mantra

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

    Click here to view the article

  4. With the Twins Home Opener exactly one month from today, it looks optimistic that fans might be able to return to Target Field! Plus, some other news and notes from around the AL Central.Fans back at Target Field this Spring?

     

    The Twins were off today Monday, but there were still some meaningful updates for fans who have been patiently (OK, impatiently) waiting for news on if they can return to Target Field this Spring. News Talk 830 WCCO reported this morning the Twins have “quietly gotten the OK” from the state to host 26% capacity.

     

     

    It should be noted that the team nor the State have commented on this report. Either way, with the Twins needing enough lead time to get the stadium ready safely, there should be further clarity on this topic later in the week.

     

    How many fans is 26% capacity you ask? Well, Target Field holds just over 39,500 - so 10,271 could be in attendance when the Twins host the Mariners on Thursday, April 8 at 3:10 pm CST.

     

    It’s too early to tell what Target Field could look like with fans and safety measures in place, but John Bonnes detailed his account of how Hammond Stadium has been operating in Fort Myers this Spring.

     

    KSTP reported tonight that “guidance” will be coming this week on the decision to allow fans. The Twins have even disclosed info on how they would attempt to make Target Field a “contactless” experience for food and drink. In any case, some optimism for the fans looking to get back to watching the Twins in person this year.

     

     

    Does Lewis Thorpe have a fourth Option?

     

    It was reported in mid-February (subscription required) that MLB had ruled Lewis Thorpe would receive a fourth option this year. However, Phill Miller of the Star Tribune reported today that may not necessarily be the case. According to this report, the fourth option is not yet official and will be determined by an arbitrator “in the next 10 days or so”.

     

     

    Thorpe has been very impressive in his outings so far this Spring. He struck out the side in his start yesterday vs. the Rays on 13 pitches. But, knowing if Thorpe receives a fourth option or not is essential for how the Twins build their roster for Opening Day and beyond. Cody Pirkl details the options (no pun intended) the Twins face.

     

     

    News and Notes from around the AL Central

     

    With the Twins off today, I wanted to point out a couple of interesting stories that happened during Spring Training play today that are worth mentioning as it pertains to the Twins AL Central foes.

     

    Royals top prospect continues to impress

     

    If you haven’t heard the name Bobby Witt Jr. yet, you may want to get familiar. The #2 overall pick in the 2019 draft figures to be a thorn in the Twins side for many years to come. Today, he hit a 484 ft homer off Oakland A’s reliever, Yusmeiro Petit. He is now hitting .353 with 2 HR this Spring.

     

     

    Do the White Sox have a Kelly Leak problem?

     

    Ok, I know it's somewhat of a slow news day in Twins Territory but I did think this was at least interesting. White Sox fans have frequently complained on Twitter about Eloy Jimenez’s outfield ability. They’re worried his ineptitude defensively may cause him to get injured, which has happened already.

     

    There have been numerous times where center fielder Luis Robert and Jimenez have collided (or nearly collided). Robert, who is a potential superstar in the making, can cover as much ground as anyone. Maybe someone in the White Sox front office told him to get any ball that he can reach, a la Kelly Leak in Bad News Bears.

     

     

    Cleveland Players violate COVID Protocol

     

    Cleveland will be without a few key players for the foreseeable future as the team announced they have violated health & safety protocol over the weekend.

     

     

    Minnesota Twins Home Opener Countdown is ON!

     

    We’ve nearly made it, baseball fans. Many Twins players took to social media today to share their excitement for the season kicking off on April 1 in Milwaukee. After a two series road trip to play the Brewers and Tigers on the road, the Twins will return home to host the Mariners on April 8.

     

    Be sure to check out Twins Dailyeveryday for news and notes from Fort Myers leading up to the start of the season!

     

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers

    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums

    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email

     

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  5. The Twins win again, a Sire of Fort Myers update, and there's a new reporter on the Twins beat. That and more in today's edition of the Offseason Notebook!The Twins continued their undefeated Spring Training campaign on the road today in Port Charlotte. They defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 in six innings.

     

    Twins 6, Tampa Bay 5 (6 innings)

    Box Score

     

    TWINS TAKEAWAYS

     

    Standout pitcher: Lewis Thorpe (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K)

    Standout hitter: Brent Rooker (1-for-2 with a solo HR and Sac Fly)

     

    A stronger, harder throwing, Lewis Thorpe got the start for the Twins today. His performance did nothing to slow down the “Hype Train”. Unlike in the Twins game yesterday at Hammond Stadium, the Rays facility was not equipped with Statcast so fans were unable to reference any of the data. However, it was noted from the Rays radio broadcast that Thorpe was hitting 93 mph.

     

    After an adventurous first inning that included a scary moment when Thorpe hit Joey Wendle in the helmet (Wendle was OK), Thorpe settled down and had a 1-2-3 second. He struck out Yoshi Tsutsugo and Taylor Walls.

     

    On the other side of the hill for the Rays was Tyler Glasnow and his 100 mph fastball. Glasnow threw 35 pitches and didn’t make it out of the second inning. While working on a new slider grip, Glasnow struck out Cave, Larnach, and Garlick but had three walks. He allowed two runs.

     

    One was a home run to Brent Rooker.

     

     

    The other was this very impressive at-bat by Luis Arraez which resulted in a bases loaded walk, leading to a 2-0 Twins lead.

     

     

    For more detail, be sure to check out John’s Report From the Fort feature on today’s game.

     

    Other Notable Efforts:

     

    Some other notable performances by the Twins today included:

     

    Kyle Garlick went 1-for-3 with a go-ahead two run homer. As a right handed hitting corner OF, could him and Rooker be competing for a spot on the roster? He had a 1.057 OPS in 304 PA’s in 2019 at AAA.

     

     

    Luke Farrell threw one inning. He struck out the side. Speaking of Luke Farrell, he would like everyone to know he didn’t give up a HR to Buxton in live batting practice last week :)

     

     

    He went 0-for-1 today with a BB, but it should be noted that Travis Blakenhorn started at first base. According to Baseball Reference, Blakenhorn has only played 15 innings at 1B in his minor league career. That was in 2015. Clearly, the Twins are trying out some things this Spring. Blakenhorn figures to be in a battle for the second utilityman spot on the Twins roster. Other names in competition include Nick Gordon, Willians Astudillo, JT Riddle, Tzu-Wei Lin, and Andrew Romine. Something to monitor ...

     

    Sire of Fort Myers Update!

     

    If you’re not following the most coveted award this side of the Mississippi, you’re missing out! More details, here.

     

    Speaking of Andrew Romine, he helped his case today in his quest for the #SireOfFortMyers crown. He started at SS and went 2-for-3 at the plate.

     

    Bullpen Woes?

     

    I couldn’t write this headline without laughing a bit since it’s literally the second game of Spring Training but, another projected piece of the Twins bullpen struggled today.

     

    Shaun Anderson made his Spring debut and it wasn’t pretty (1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). He joins Tyler Duffey and Cody Stashak, who pitched yesterday, in tough starts.

     

    This means very little, if anything at all. In fact, it’s already been pointed out that Shaun Anderson is working on a splitter. It’s hard to tell without Statcast data which pitches were thrown today, but assuming this was part of his mix. I wouldn’t be too worried because, you know, these games don’t matter.

     

     

    New Twins Beat Reporter!

     

    The Star Tribune announced LaVelle E. Neal’s replacement on the beat today. Megan Ryan will be covering the Twins this season and you can follow her here!

     

     

    One less suitor for Jake Odorizzi?

     

    Still a free agent, Jake Odorizzi has been linked to several teams this offseason. The Phillies were one of them and it appears they are “holding off” on spending anymore. The Blue Jays and Angels have also shown interest. We’re all curious to see where he ends up.

     

    Eddie Rosario in a Cleveland Uniform is Weird

     

    Eddie Rosario made his Spring debut today against the Royals. He batted 3rd and went 1-for-3 with a single. Yeah, it’s going to take me a while to get used to seeing this too.

     

     

    That is it from today’s edition of the offseason Notebook. Make sure you are following Twins Daily on Twitter all Spring Training long for exclusive look-in’s and footage of the Twins in Florida.

     

    Tomorrow: Twins at Braves at 12:05 pm CST

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

     

    Minnesota’s 5 Best Players Under 25

    AL Central Rundown: Relievers

    The Odd Man Out?

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

    Click here to view the article

  6. Happy Pitchers & Catchers report week, Twins fans! We've officially made it to the start of Spring Training. In an eventful Monday, Feb. 15 edition of the Offseason Notebook, we have lots to discuss. The Twins sign Matt Shoemaker, announce Minor League invitees to camp, and an update on Big Sexy?Twins sign SP Matt Shoemaker to 1-year/$2M deal

     

    Today, the Twins upgraded their rotation by signing Matt Shoemaker. Shoemaker will likely compete with Dobnak for the fifth spot.

     

     

    He’s battled injury issues his whole career and has only thrown 88 innings since 2018, but when on the mound, he has been productive. He owns a career 3.86 ERA and there’s plenty of reason to believe in some upside. Check out an article by Andrew Thares where he dives into this and more, here.

     

    TD writer, Matthew Taylor also noted some intriguing numbers on his splitter.

     

     

    Could Wes Johnson and the rest of the staff unlock more potential from Shoemaker?

     

    All in all, the Twins rotation depth chart figures to consist of:

     

    Maeda

    Berrios

    Pineda

    Happ

    Shoemaker

    Dobnak

    Smeltzer

    Thorpe

     

    A definite improvement from what this looked like just 4 weeks ago.

     

    Twins announce list of non-roster invitees to camp

     

    The Twins announced that they will be inviting 18 players on minor league deals to Spring Training.

     

    You can see the full press release below.

     

     

    If you like prospects, you’re in luck! Seven of the 18 invitees are on the Twins top-10 prospect list. Keep following along as we count down to #1. Nick Nelson just profiled camp invitee and our #9 prospect, Matt Canterino.

     

     

    LHP Justin Wilson signs with the Yankees. Wilson was rumored to be on the Twins radar.

     

     

    Additionally, RHP Keone Kela and Mark Melancon signed with the Padres. Like Wilson, Melancon was rumored to be connected to the Twins.

     

    If interested in seeing the up-to-date unsigned free agent relievers, check out this handy tool via Fangraphs. From Dan Hayes of The Athletic (subscription required) article last week, a few names left on the board that the Twins have “checked in” on are RHP’s Tyler Clippard, Ian Kennedy, and Shane Greene.

     

    More #OldFriend’s find homes

     

    Speaking of former Twins, it looks like some more ex-players found homes today.

     

    C.J. Cron agreed to a minor-league with the Colorado Rockies.

     

     

    Blake Parker has signed with Cleveland.

     

     

    And, who doesn’t love a Big Sexy update? Looks like the ageless wonder is going to pitch in 2021. He’s 47.

     

     

    That's a wrap on an eventful Monday night in Twins territory.

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

     

    Twins Offseason Status Update: All Done?

    Which Twins Will the Deadend Ball Hurt the Most?

    Masters of Efficiency

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

    Click here to view the article

  7. In today's Offseason Notebook for Monday, Feb. 8, the Twins make several minor league signings, MLB and MLBPA agree on a deal for health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, plus the baseball is changing in 2021?Andrew Albers reunites with the Twins

     

    Today, the Twins and Andrew Albers agreed on a minor-league contract which will include an invitation to MLB spring training.

     

     

    Twins fans should remember Albers as he played for them in 2013 and 2016. In 2013 he threw 17 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two starts — a Twins franchise record for longest scoreless streak to start their career with the team. This included a complete game shutout of Cleveland in his second start.

     

     

    From 2018-20, Albers pitched in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes. In 2020, he posted a 3.66 ERA in 96 IP with 70 strikeouts and 24 walks. Albers, now 35, will add some depth to the Twins starting pitching options, but figures to see most of his time in St. Paul with the Saints.

     

    Twins sign Keon Broxton, Robinson Leyer, and Chandler Shepherd to Minor League Deals

     

    This afternoon, the Twins announced three more minor league signings. The most intriguing of which is OF, Keon Broxton. Broxton, a third-round draft pick by the Diamondbacks in 2009, has played for five major league teams. From 2016-17, Broxton produced a .741 OPS with 29 HR’s in 218 G for the Brewers. Since, Broxton has played for four teams producing a .565 OPS in 151 G combined in 2018 & 2019. He’s a solid defensive player producing 34 OAA (outs above average) in his career. He no doubt would be an intriguing option as a fourth OF and backup for Byron Buxton on the Twins roster. He has played all three OF positions in his career. It also helps that he is right handed as the Twins have plenty of lefty options (Kepler, Cave, Kirilloff, and Larnach).

     

     

    Also, the Twins added 27-year-old RHP Robinson Leyer. Leyer pitched in six games last year for the Red Sox. He posted a 21.21 ERA with nine K’s in 4.2 innings. It should not be a surprise to anyone that he throws a mid-90’s fastball (averages 95 mph) and a slider.

     

    Here’s a fun video of him striking out Marcell Ozuna.

     

     

    Additionally, the Twins added Taylor Rogers' former University of Kentucky teammate, Chandler Shepherd. Shepherd, 28, appeared in five G’s for the Orioles in 2019 (starting in three of them). He’s mostly pitched as a starter in the minors.

     

    Only Broxton has an invite to Major League Spring Training out of these three.

     

    MLB Deadening the baseball?

     

    Ken Rothenthal and Eno Sarris of The Athletic reports (subscription required), that the baseballs used in 2021 will “change slightly”. Additionally, five more MLB teams will add humidors to store game baseballs — an obvious attempt by MLB to to reduce the HR rates across the league.

     

    The Twins, who led the world in home runs in 2019, stand to be impacted by the change. Also, for anyone who watched the Twins on TV in 2020, it seemed like they were only able to score if a home run was it. But, playing devil’s advocate here, the Twins had six players averaging home runs hit over 400 feet in 2020 (Jeffers, Cruz, Sano, Garver, Kepler, and Buxton), they are not exactly hitting “cheapies”.

     

    Check out a fun breakdown written last year by Six Man Rotation that details which players benefited the most from the “ping pong” baseballs used in 2019. Spoiler: there is a Twin mentioned.

     

    In any case, it’s frustrating as fans to see the consistent overreaching by the league who, in many people’s opinion, make the game less fun.

     

    Who doesn’t love dingers?

     

     

    Grapefruit Schedule Changes for Spring Training

     

    MLB is working on a plan to place teams in different “pods” for Spring Training in Florida to eliminate the amount of travel and hopefully help mitigate the opportunity for COVID-19 spread.

     

     

    The Bringer of Rain Opens Baseball Academy

     

    Josh Donaldson broke ground today on the “Josh Donaldson Baseball Academy” in Mobile, Alabama. Josh of course is a graduate of Auburn University located in Alabama.

     

     

    MLB and MLBPA Reach Agreement on Health and Safety Protocols

     

    It appears MLB/PA have a deal on the protocols for spring training and the regular season. This includes 7-inning double headers, runner starting on 2B in extra innings, and does not include the universal DH.

     

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

     

    Am I Still Excited about Willians Astudillo?

    Dealing With the Dodgers

    Projecting the 2021 Twins Bullpen

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

    Click here to view the article

  8. It seems there was a lot at play here with how the Player's viewed the MLB's offer. This article breaks it down pretty well. The Passan article I cited earlier in the Notebook piece does too. I think it would be a different conversation if this was December and not two weeks before Spring Training begins, not to mention all the players that are already at their teams facilities. 

    If this rejected proposal is any indication of our odds to have a normal season or any season next year it does not look good. Players sited injury concerns. Last year the wanted the opposite. As many games jammed in as possible and playing into much colder weather. Of course, cold weather would promote injury and increase Covid danger. 

     

    What is the players cut of the expanded playoffs? The net is that they turned down additional compensation (playoff cut), right? Their give was apparently adjusting their schedules. Does not bode well for baseball next year.

     

  9. Astudillo could definitely fit what they are looking for. Since they have Simmons and Polanco, they don't need a guy who can play SS. Rocco might view having 3 catchers on the roster advantageous anyways for late game substitutions. I also would keep an eye on Blakenhorn. He could be a guy to fill that role.

    Could the Twins second utility position be filled by Astudillo? Doesn't play shortstop, but can play second, third, the corner outfield and catch. Isn't great at any of them, but also not the worst in the league. Assuming there is a 26 man roster again, is there?, might be the best choice for that 13th slot on the bench.

     

    I thought the MLB proposal was reasonable. Disappointed that it got rejected outright. Unless they can get vaccinations for all teams/personnel by early March, there will be cancelled games. And heck, will Arizona even allow the teams to enter their spring training sites next week? Hopefully, they will get back together this week.

     

  10. A couple starting pitchers were traded, a Red Sox legend retired, and is Spring Training really starting this month? Here's a recap of today's news in Major League Baseball.MLBPA rejects MLB’s offer on a shortened season:

     

    Late last week MLB submitted a proposal to the MLB Players Association that would delay the start of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. See below tweet from Tim Brown at Yahoo Shorts on details of MLB’s proposal.

     

     

    However, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the MLBPA is likely to reject the MLB’s offer, thus meaning the regular season and spring training will start as scheduled. He indicated there would be a final decision coming sometime early this week. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for the Minnesota Twins on Feb. 18th. Their first Grapefruit League game is Feb. 27th.

     

    Tonight, news broke that the MLBPA officially rejects.

     

     

    So, game on?

     

    Alex Cobb traded to the Angels

     

    Although the deal has not yet been made official by the clubs, it appears that the Orioles have traded RHP Alex Cobb to the Angels in return for 2B Jahmai Jones. Jones was the Angels second round pick in 2015 and their #8 rated prospect.

     

    Cobb is in the last year of his 4/$57M deal signed in 2018 and at the time, was a free agent target of the Minnesota Twins. The Twins ended up going in a different direction acquiring Cobb’s former teammate, Jake Odorizzi, and signing Lance Lynn to a one-year deal.

     

    In 2020, Cobb had a 4.30 ERA in 10 GS. He projects to fill out the Angels rotation that now includes Dylan Bundy, Jose Quintana, Andrew Heaney, Griffin Canning, and Shohei Ohtani.

     

    This takes another trade target off the board for the Twins and perhaps rules out the Angels as a landing spot for Trevor Bauer?

     

     

    Jordan Yamamoto traded to the Mets

     

    Late last week it was announced that the Marlins DFA’ed RHP Jordan Yamamoto to make room for new free agent acquisition Anthony Bass. In a somewhat surprising move, Twins fans took to Twitter and instantly made the connection that he could be a fit to fill out the 2021 rotation. One Twins Daily writer (*cough* Cody Pirkl), was a little more than excited that Yamamoto might end up in Minnesota. So much so, that I counted twenty (20!) tweets from him that mentioned the words “Yamamoto” dating back to Oct. 2020. I will give him credit, he identified Yamamoto as a target early.

     

     

    However, it was announced today that Yamamoto has been traded to the Mets for minor league infielder, Federico Polanco.

     

    It’s unclear whether the Twins were “in” on Yamamoto.

     

     

    A Red Sox Icon Retires

     

    After 14 MLB seasons, Dustin Pedroia has announced his retirement. In 74 career games vs the Twins, Pedroia batted .363/.410/.536 with eight HR. He won the 2008 MVP award with 16 first place votes beating out Justin Morneau, who finished second, and Joe Mauer, who finished fourth.

     

    As a Twins fan, I was shocked to see that Pedroia ONLY batted .363 in his career vs Minnesota ... it seemed worse.

     

     

    MLB The Show has its poster boy!

     

    Rightfully so, Fernando Tatis has earned himself the cover spot on this year's version of MLB The Show -- and he is bat flipping nonetheless!

     

    XBox owners can finally rejoice as this is the first year it will be available on this console.

     

    The countdown begins as The Show hits stores on 4.20.21.

     

     

    Happy PECOTA Projection Day

     

    Baseball Prospectus has announced that their PECOTA projections are now available for download (subscription required).

     

    PECOTA, which stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm is BP’s model that projects individual and team performance for the upcoming year.

     

    I have not had the opportunity to dig into the numbers myself, but I am sure there will be plenty of Twins specific content coming to Twins Daily very soon!

     

    Here’s a nice piece from Matthew Trueblood to get you started.

     

     

    2021 Carribean Series in Full Swing

     

    Yesterday marked the first day of the Carribean Series. A 63-year-old international competition featuring the champions of the Latin American Winter Leagues. This year, competition includes six teams and concludes Feb. 6.

     

    Some games can be found on ESPN Deportes.

     

    #OldFriend Oswaldo Arcia and current Minnesota Twin, Willians Astudillo are playing for the Caribes de Anzoátegui representing Venezuela.

     

    Some other notable players in the tournament include Yadier Molina, Carlos Martínez, Robinson Canó, and Melky Cabrera.

     

     

    Hanser Alberto signs with Kansas City

     

    I’ve made no secret about my infatuation with a certain free agent middle infielder over the last week on Twitter. Even after signing Andrelton Simmons, moving Polanco to 2B, and Arraez to the flex role, the Twins still have a need for a second utility player.

     

    Alberto seemed to have checked a lot of boxes. He was affordable, could play multiple positions and mashes LHP. Since 2019, Alberto has posted a .942 OPS vs southpaws.

     

    However, on Sunday night, it was announced he was signing a minor league deal with the Royals.

     

    The 2nd utility position remains open for the 2021 Twins.

     

    David Youngs wrote a nice breakdown onTwins Daily last week comparing an internal option vs Marwin Gonzalez.

     

     

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

     

    2021 Winter Meltdown Glasses still on sale!

    STONKS! The 3 Twins Players You Need to Invest in Right Now

    3 Ways Fans Can Use the Enhanced Game Score Leaderboard

     

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

     

    Click here to view the article

  11. I love the idea of a bullpen that features Brad Hand + Taylor Rogers. Or, like someone else mentioned here, is there a possibility to just pay Hand and non-tender Rogers? I was excited about this possibility until I saw that the experts believe Hand will get a 3-year deal. Not sure the Twins will be in on this even if there is a hometown discount. 

     

    My thought with any of these buy-low targets is not that the Twins should target them solely, but they should be targeted and combined with other signings, otherwise it doesn't make sense. The hope is that they go after a guy like Walker to be their #5 SP because they already signed someone to be their #4 like Gausman or Odorizzi. If they sign Walker hoping he is going to be their #4 and then he gets hurt, well then you're stuck with Dobnak as your #4 and a Thorpe/Smeltzer/(insert other rookie here) combo, which is not ideal. 

    I would also like the Twins to sign Brad Hand, he is a local boy and maybe would give a slight discount.  

    Also like Walker and would kick tires on Kela (do not know if his clubhouse presence is toxic).  All should be possibilities as the Twins should take advantage of the current market to find some players needing to rebuild value or just good(Walker).   I would prefer Walker over most of other names here.

     

  12. I am in on a low-risk Kluber deal. I just don't think his market will bear that. I really feel some team is just going to give him a 1/$12-$14M deal which I don't think the Twins should or would do. If he agrees to a $8M deal with incentives for innings pitched (basically a slightly more expensive Rich Hill deal), it would be a good fit. 

     

    And with Clippard, I think there is a good chance he is back. Maybe another 1/$2.75-$3.5M deal? My point in writing this blog was not that we should soley target these names, but they could be good affordable options so that the Twins can spend their money elsewhere too. For example, wouldn't you rather have Oliver Perez + Tyler Clippard for a total of $5M vs. paying Trevor Rothenthal a 2/$14M deal?

    Rehab Kluber at a cheap price? Do an incentive-based low-risk contract to see if he has anything left or if the injuries have functionally ended his career.

     

    Oliver Perez doesn't do much for me; would rather bring back Clippard. Are we thinking that Clippard is going to suddenly be too expensive? Dude is 35, I just don't see teams throwing a multi-year deal at him.

     

  13. I actually like Justin Wilson too. Solid numbers and can be a good option as the second best LHP in the Twins 'pen behind Rogers and ahead of Thielbar. The problem is, he would cost a bit more. I would rather pay Oliver Perez and Tyler Clippard for the salary that Justin Wilson should command. If that makes sense. 

    Anthony Bass and Justin Wilson for RP targets?

    I really like Smiley as an under the radar target.

     

  14. Today is the official first day of the offseason! Nobody knows what to expect, but it's assumed the Twins' payroll will be reduced. With that in mind, the front office will have to be smarter about their spending. Here are a few “under the radar” pitching signings that could prove valuable in 2021.The way I am looking at this is that the Twins have at least one spot open in their rotation. Ideally, I would like to see them add two this offseason and push Dobnak to the #6 spot, looking in. More on that in my 2021 “Offseason Blueprint” that I hope to write next week.

     

    Also, with Romo now officially a free agent alongside May and Clippard, the Twins will have to look for some more help in the bullpen. I don’t fully trust Thielbar to be the lone lefty next to Taylor Rogers so I examine two lefty arms that can be had for a discount and one possible right handed replacement for May/Clippard.

     

    Each name below could provide a solution at a relatively low price.

     

    Drew Smyly

     

    Smyly signed a one-year/$4M deal in San Francisco in 2020. He appeared in seven games in 2020 (five starts). In 26 innings he produced 42 (!!!) strikeouts for a 14.4 K/9. He was good for a 3.42 ERA (2.01 FIP).

     

    Between the Rangers and the Phillies in 2019, Smyly started 21 games. In 114 total innings he produced a 6.24 ERA (6.24 FIP) with a 9.5 K/9. His WHIP ballooned to 1.588, where he also posted a 4.2 BB/9. 2019 was his first full season since 2016 following Tommy John surgery in 2017.

     

    What changed? Small sample size? Finally healthy?

     

    Taking a look at BrooksBaseball, Smyly went from a four-pitch mix to just three pitches midway through 2019. He abandoned his changeup entirely and instead focused on a four seam, cutter, and curve. He added 2.6 mph to his fastball in 2020 (from 91.2 to 93.8 mph). Opponents also went from slugging .632 on that pitch in 2019 to only .263 in 2020 (small sample size of 220 pitches). His curve was especially devastating in 2020, opponents only hit .184 in 50 PA’s. 27 of his 42 Ks were on this pitch (64.3%).

     

    If the Twins believe his numbers are for real, and maybe there’s another gear here, he could be a solid low-cost #5 SP or swingman between the rotation and the ‘pen.

     

    Could they sign him for a one-year, $4-6M contract?

     

    Taijuan Walker

     

    Rumored to have been in the mix to sign Taijuan Walker before the 2020 season, the Twins ultimately passed when he showed up to a tryout throwing his fastball in the mid-80’s.

     

    Having recently come off of Tommy John as well (missed most of 2018 and 2019), there was concern about his arm.

     

    He ended up settling for a one-year/$2M deal with Seattle, and was eventually traded to Toronto at this year’s trade deadline. At only 27 years old, Walker put up solid numbers this year between two teams:

     

    11 GS, 53.1 IP, 2.70 ERA (4.56 FIP), 8.4 K/9

     

    His fastball velocity stayed up where he averaged 93 mph (in 2015 - 2016 he averaged 95.1 mph). He was brilliant in five of his six outings as a Blue Jay, ending with a 1.37 ERA in his last 26 innings.

     

    There are some concerns, however, with such a small sample size, the peripherals are not amazing. Other than limiting hard hit %, the screenshot below doesn’t scream ‘sustainable’.

     

    Download attachment: TWalker.png

     

    But, if looking for a buy-low #5 SP, you could do much worse than Walker. The bet is that he stay healthy for an entire year.

     

    Will he take another one-year deal in the $4-5M range?

     

    Oliver Perez

     

    Do you also feel like Perez has been around FOREVER? Well, he has. He made his debut in 2002.

     

    Lately, he has been hiding in Cleveland’s bullpen only to be deployed very carefully by Terry Francona. When used correctly, the 39 year old is still effective.

     

    From 2018 - 2020 with CLE, Perez appeared in 139 games. Here are his numbers over that time:

     

    91 IP, 105 K’s (10.4 K/9), 2.67 ERA (2.83 FIP)

     

    Forever considered a LOOGY, I was concerned how the new three-batter rule in 2020 would impact Perez, but, he did just fine:

     

    2.00 ERA in 18 innings with 14 Ks.

     

    He is still death to lefties, and when used properly, could be a good addition to the Twins ‘pen with a lack of lefty arms behind Rogers and Thielbar (who, again, I don’t fully trust). Perez vs LHH 2018 - 2020:

     

    191 batters faced, .295 SLG, 52 Ks

     

    Last year he signed a one-year, $2.5M deal, would he take equal to or less than that in 2021?

     

    Sean Doolittle

     

    OK. This one is a bit trickier to predict. Sean was an All-Star in 2018 with the Nationals. But since, hasn’t been great (other than his takes on social media, which are awesome by the way).

     

    In 2018 with OAK, Doolittle was nails. He posted a 1.60 ERA in 45 innings with 25 saves and a 12 K/9.

     

    In 2019 - 2020, Doolittle struggled. He posted a 4.26 ERA (4.70 FIP) in 67.2 IP and a 9.6 K/9. In 2020, he had a knee issue and struggled with a dip in velocity but recovered a bit before a second injury ended his season entirely.

     

    Doolittle was a staple in the Nationals ‘pen during their World Series run in 2019. He threw 10 1/3 innings only allowing two runs while striking out eight. He threw three scoreless innings in the World Series.

     

    Like Perez, he is a lefty tough on left-handed batters. Doolittle vs LHB 2018 - 2020:

     

    131 batters faced, .331 SLG, and 48 Ks

     

    Doolittle will be 35 by the end of the 2021 season. It’s unlikely that he will earn the $6.5M salary he had in 2020.

     

    Will he consider a one-year $2-3M deal? Or if his market has plummeted entirely, a minor league deal?

     

    Keone Kela

     

    OK. I have no clue what to expect here. There’s a lot to unpack. Kela came up as a promising arm in the Rangers organization. He had some issues with management when they put him in a minor league practice game in Spring Training, and his effort, um wasn’t there. The Rangers ended up trading him to Pittsburgh where he had some other issues including not even showing up to the Bucs for a week, getting suspended for a clubhouse issue, and delaying his 2020 season due to COVID testing.

     

    Injuries impacted his 2019 and ultimately ended his 2020 season with right forearm inflammation.

     

    But, when going right, Kela is one of the best right handed arms in the game. He ended his season in 2018 as the closer in Texas and was the expected closer in PIT before the injuries.

     

    He basically just relies on two pitches, a four seam that can touch 97 mph and a curve. Between 2018 - 2020 Kela appeared in 89 games:

     

    83.2 IP, 2.90 ERA (3.29 FIP), 11.0 K/9, 25 saves

     

    If the Twins can find a way to bring Kela in on a reasonable one-year deal, there is loads of upside. However, I do feel the interest is going to be very high among all teams for this reason given his age and potential.

     

    So, that's it. Are there any "under the radar" pitchers you think the Twins should go after?

     

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  15. I was thinking the other day...

     

    Do the Twins have anyone on their current roster that can help recruit a 2019 free agent? 

     

    Last year I know Jonathan Schoop was instrumental in bringing Nelson Cruz to Minnesota. I wonder which connections the Twins front office can leverage to help sign players this offseason. 

     

    Here are a few I found when doing some research today: 

     

    - Zach Wheeler and Jake Odorizzi were teammates on the 2012 USA Futures Team.

    - Thad Levine was the Assitant GM on the Rangers that traded for Cole Hamels in 2015.

    - Gerrit Cole and Marwin Gonzalez were teammates on the Astros in 2018. 

    - Josh Donaldson follows Special Assistant of Baseball Operations, Torii Hunter on Instagram 

     

    Please post your findings below!

  16. Here is my 2020 off-season blueprint. 

     

    - Leave the historic offense alone

    - Beef up the bullpen (Will Harris & Pomeranz additions)

    - Sign a veteran backup catcher to a one-year deal who is solid defensively (Martin Maldonado)

    - Go find an "ace" starter (Zach Wheeler) while keeping Odorizzi

    - Bring in vet presence on a short term deal to help the rotation (Cole Hamels)

     

    Payroll: a modest $141.5M

     

    This team might not win 101 games again but looks like a force in the playoffs, on paper, at least.

     

    What do you all think?

    post-8482-0-05693300-1573492745_thumb.png

  17. In the end I think you tender all of them. It would say a lot of they non tendered either Gibby or Santiago. That would mean they clearly have other plans (which is good) and see something in our roster/farm system the old regime didn't.

     

    I have been waiting for Gibson to break out for 4 years but after numerous injuries, I think 2015 is the best we are going to get from him. At best he is a 4/5 starter. 

     

    Additionally, I have always been hard on him since the Twins took Gibson 22nd in 2009 while Mike Trout went 3 picks later at 25th overall :) Let that sink in. 

  18. Best option I believe is to sign a vet guy on a cheap one-year deal in the hopes that Garver will be ready to make the jump. Looks like his bat is there judging by his AA/AAA numbers and his defense has been above average in the minors. 

     

    Having a name like Castro, Wieters, or Ramos would be fun, sure. But how much will they really help vs. an internal option? If the FO has no faith in our current players then definitely invest now. Maybe Ramos will be cheap coming off injury

  19. This season has been a fun ride.Finally igniting this state, making baseball in Minnesota fun again. I went into this year optimistically, like I do every year. I keep a tally at my desk of the Twins record and how many games back we are of the WC.

     

    We are in this race for sure and I think everybody in that clubhouse is going to do everything they can to push us to the playoffs. I watch every game enjoying meaningful September baseball as long as it's here and hope that we have it for many years to come.

     

    Im not a bad fan, but an optimistic, hopeful one. Because at the end of the day as a fan, all we have is hope.

     

    Go Twins!

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