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Andrew Luedtke

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  1. 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? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  2. 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’. 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? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Today is the official first day of the offseason! Annnnd nobody knows what to expect. What we almost assuredly can count on is that the Twins payroll will be reduced from what it was in 2020. With that in mind, the front office will have to be smarter about how they spend their money. 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 1 year/$4M deal in San Francisco in 2020. He appeared in 7 games in 2020 (5 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 4-pitch mix to just 3 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 K’s 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 1/$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 1-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 93mph (in 2015 - 2016 he averaged 95.1mph). He was brilliant in 5 of his 6 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’. 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 1-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. 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 3-batter rule in 2020 would impact Perez, but, he did just fine: 2.00 ERA in 18 innings with 14 K’s. 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 K’s Last year he signed a 1-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 however a staple in the Nationals ‘pen during their World Series run in 2019. He threw 10.1 innings only allowing 2 runs while striking out 8. He threw 3 scoreless IP in the WS. Like Perez, he is a lefty tough on left-handed batters. Doolittle vs LHB 2018 - 2020: 131 batters faced, .331 SLG, and 48 K’s 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 1-year $2-3M deal or if his market has plummeted entirely, a minor league deal with MIN? 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 1-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?
  4. We’ve done it, Twins fans. We’ve officially made it to Spring Training! Baseball games at Target Field will be played before we know it. As the team assembles in Ft. Myers, some of the burning questions that will assuredly be asked of Rocco Baldelli are “Who will be hitting leadoff?” or “What will the batting order be?” It’s a fun exercise as a fan because there really seems to be no wrong answer with this team. If Rocco wanted to, he could draw names out of a hat and the 2020 Twins would score some runs. This lineup has no weak spots. Check out this article from Mike Petriello about how deep the Twins are. The 2020 lineup is similar to the ‘19 version except the Twins are getting a full season of Luis Arraez and of course, they added Josh Donaldson. I’ve been calling them the “Bomba Squad 2.0”. No matter how you slice it, the 2020 Twins lineup is downright silly. The definition of #FunToWatch. They have a real opportunity to break their own major league record of 307 bombas hit in 2019. It got me thinking… How does the 2020 Twins lineup potentially compare to one of the most lethal teams of all-time - The 1927 “Murderers’ Row '' New York Yankees? Of course, the ‘27 Yankees are widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best team in baseball history. They won 110 games, a record at the time, and cakewalked their way to a 4-game sweep of the Pirates in the World Series. Four players in the starting lineup ended up in the Hall of Fame: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, and Earle Combs. You might be asking yourself, there’s no way the 2020 team holds a candle to one of the best teams of all-time? Well, it’s potentially closer than you think… 1927 Yankees Top 9 Starting Position Players - SLG % C Pat Collins - .418 1B Lou Gehrig - .765* 2B Tony Lazzeri - .482 SS Mark Koenig - .382 3B Joe Dugan - .362 OF Bob Meusel - .510 OF Babe Ruth - .772* OF Earle Combs - .511 UTIL Ray Morehart - .328 *I would like to point out how insane Gehrig and Ruth’s SLG % were. They were #1 and #2 atop the league in 1927. The third highest SLG % that year was Al Simmons at .645. Those poor 1920’s era pitchers... Combined: AB’s: 4217 1B: 874 2B: 253 3B: 85 HR: 152 SLG: .53189 2020 Twins Top 9 Starting Position Players - Using ‘19 SLG% C Mitch Garver - .630 1B Miguel Sano - .576 2B Arraez - .439 SS Polanco - .485 3B Donaldson - .521 OF Rosario - .500 OF Buxton - .513 OF Kepler - .519 DH Cruz - .639 Combined: AB’s: 4008 1B: 608 2B: 244 3B: 16 HR: 247 SLG: .53193 That’s right. The 2020 Twins projected lineup actually out-slugged the 1927 Yankees (by .0004). Granted, the comparison is a little unfair since I am using 2019 stats. Not to mention the ‘27 Yankees performed better than the Twins in many scenarios (OPS, R/G, and AVG). But for this scenario, I choose to ignore that and only focus on the 2020 Twins being better than the 1927 Yankees at something. Speaking of something, SLG % isn’t the only stat that the 2020 Twins had an advantage over the 1927 Yankees. They also hit more home runs (247 - 152), had more total bases per plate appearance, and had more hitters with an above average OPS relative to the rest of the league. Think about these stats for a second. Who would have thought that entering the 2020 season, we’d be talking about the Twins and Murderers’ Row in the same breath. Imagine telling a Twins fan that after the 100-loss 2016 season. So there you have it. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have slowly constructed one of the most terrifying offenses in the game today, maybe...ever? OK, that might be a stretch. Only time will tell. Here’s to hoping the 2020 “Bomba Squad 2.0” season ends the same way as the Murderers’ Row - with a World Series victory.
  5. That's an awesome point that I guess I should have addressed in the blog. The price for McHugh is not just McHugh...it's McHugh and whoever you lose. I agree. I think they see something in Wisler and it might be tough to bump him for McHugh if they believe Wisler has more upside than McHugh. McHugh's health being a factor too. Jon Gray or Robbie Ray, that's a different story. My hope is that if they go with this swingman approach with a young guy, they stick Graterol in the rotation then move him to the pen once Pineda returns or later. Currently, I feel there is too much weight in Thorpe, Smelly, and Dobnak. This would alleviate slightly some pressure.
  6. They're pretty different pitchers. Here are their 2018 - 2019 stats as a comparison. McHugh gets more K's and is better overall. Plus, I envision under this "swingman" idea, he would see most of his time in the bullpen after Pineda returns.
  7. Thanks for stopping by. I would have liked to take a flier on Wood...especially for the price the Dodgers paid. I think he has upside in the rotation and if that didn't work out, he had solid numbers in the 'pen. Could have been a good lefty option to compliment Rogers. Oh well. I could be talked into Walker but the reason I liked McHugh was because he could be added to the bullpen after making some spot starts in the rotation. His SP numbers in 2019 were not pretty but after seeing he was pretty good in 5 of his first 6 starts, why not go get him on a one-year deal.
  8. In his fourth offseason at the head of the Minnesota Twins, there are two words Derek Falvey wishes he could take back, "Impact Pitching". It's all the casual Twins fan has been talking about this offseason, up until the Josh Donaldson signing, of course. The fact of the matter is that the Twins were agressive in pursuing their "Plan A" options for the offseason in free agents Ryu, Bumgarner, and Wheeler. It just didn't work out, mostly because of forces outside of their control. To me, the Josh Donaldson signing signaled that the front office is pushing their chips to the middle of the table in 2020. At 34 years old, Donaldson might only have two years of elite production left. Now might be the time to capitalize in making that final offseason move for "impact pitching" right?; not necessarily. The Twins made a pair of early offseason moves to their staff with Odorizzi accepting their Qualifying Offer, Pineda coming back on a two year deal, and a pair of New Years Eve signings in Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. There is no doubt the Opening Day pitching staff still has some question marks but on paper this is a fine starting 5. The question marks of course come from Pineda who is suspended for the first 39 games of 2020 and Rich Hill, who had "primary and revision" surgery and won't be back until "June or July". Per Fangraphs Team Depth Charts 2020 Projections, the Twins starting staff projects to have a total WAR of 11.6, ranked 21st in MLB. Now, like I mentioned, this is because of the starts that should be made by Pineda and Hill in April - June will have to be made up by the likes of Dobnak, Smeltzer, and Thorpe. Fangraphs projects that this trio will pitch 169 total innings - which may be too many for a team with deep playoff run aspirations. But if things shake out like the Twins hope, they will have a fine starting 5 for the second half of the year, not even factoring in a potential July 31st trade. But they have to get there first. That's the key. As of right now there are two options the Twins have to add to their existing rotation, trade or sign a remaining free agent. Sure, trading for a Robbie Ray, Matthew Boyd, or Jon Gray would be nice. However, it seems that with each day closer to Spring Training, that possibility dwindles. What if they went a different direction... What if they were able to sign a pitcher with starting experience who can bridge the gap in April and May to fill in until Pineda's return? What if once he is not needed in the rotation anymore he can be added to the bullpen to strengthen the back end of baseball games? What if he actually happens to be a very good reliever? Enter, Collin McHugh. Collin McHugh - The Starter In 2016 - 2017, McHugh started 45 games for the Astros. In 248 innings, McHugh posted a 4.14 ERA, 3.92 FIP, and a 8.7 k/9. He missed quite a bit of time in 2017 with right shoulder tendonitis. In 2018 he pitched only in the bullpen (more on that in a minute). In 2019, the Astros put McHugh in the rotation on Opening Day. On the surface his numbers are ugly as a starter. In 8 starts, he posted a 6.37 ERA in 41 innings with a 9.2 k/9 allowing an OPS of .808 (yikes). But let's break this down a bit and only focus on the first six starts he made in 2019, as that really is all the Twins would need out of him before Pineda is back on May 10th. McHugh only had one rough start. If you eliminate that outing, 5 of those 6 starts were very good. He threw 28.2 innings, struck out 36 batters, had three quality starts (one out away from 4), and allowed 8 runs - a 2.51 ERA. That tells a much different story. Collin McHugh - The Reliever As stated earlier, in 2018 McHugh became a full time reliever. He was outstanding posting a 1.99 ERA, 2.72 FIP, a 11.7 k/9 in 72.1 innings. He also pitched in 4 playoff games that year allowing zero runs in 4 innings. After he was done starting in 2019, he went back to the Astros bullpen posting a 2.67 ERA, a 10.7 k/9, in 27 appearances across 33.2 innings. Solid. Do I think the Twins still need an "impact" SP to propel them to postseason success? Sure. Do I think the July 2019 Twins rotation could be very solid? Of course. But, they have to get there. Collin McHugh would help the Twins do that and add depth to an already established bullpen core for the second half of the season. A very hybrid and cost effective approach to bolstering the Opening Day Twins rotation. They can always wait to make their "impact pitching" move until the July 31st deadline. Signing McHugh would allow them the flexibility to do that.
  9. Last week I wrote a blog titled 127 Feet where I tried to answer the question "Should Miguel Sano play 1B or 3B in 2020?". Well, that question has been answered in a BIG way by the Twins front office with the news of Josh Donaldson signing with the Twins. So, I am repurposing some of the points I made in a prior blog to show the history of slugging, right handed 3B, transitioning to 1B. My focus will be on Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Ryan Zimmerman. I will be evaluating them in two different ways: 1. Their defensive and offensive metrics in their last season as a full time 3B 2. Their defensive and offensive metrics in their first season as a full time 1B The defensive metrics I am using are a combination of your typical, pre-analytics, back of the baseball card stats, errors and fielding percentage, and more modern metrics like defensive runs saved (DRS), ultimate zone rating (UZR), and UZR/150 which is just that stat scaled to an average number of chances for a season. *Note: You can find more info on these stats from Fangraphs. I realize they have their limitations ie. UZR doesn’t factor in shifts and is a "relative positional average" compared to the other players in the league at that position, some positions are obviously harder to play than others as is the case here. But nonetheless, this is what we are going to use for this exercise. As a rule of thumb, negative (-) = bad Miguel Cabrera: Let’s start with Miguel Cabrera who Sano drew early comparisons to at the beginning of his career. Cabrera started as a SS with the Marlins but quickly converted to 3B and stuck there until 2008 - his first year in Detroit. He was a full time first basemen until 2011, then the Tigers moved him back to 3B for the 2012 and 2013 seasons (his back-to-back MVP seasons) before ultimately moving him back to 1B for good in 2014. He was never a strong defensive 3B (career -58 DRS and -5.6 UZR/150) Offensively in 2007, his last year on the Marlins, Cabrera was solid, of course, with a .320/.401/.565 and 34 homers. Defensively however, that was a different story. In 1,310.2 innings he committed 23 errors, had a fielding % of .941, -19 DRS, and -5 UZR/150. In 2008, his age 25 season, he moved to first base full time (for the first time). His metrics relative to his 1B peers were much improved from 3B. In 1,245.2 innings his fielding % was .992, -7 DRS, and a -4.2 UZR/150. Not gold glove worthy but no doubt an improvement from the prior year. Offensively, his stats took a “dip” but he was still a very solid player. Albert Pujols: Personally, Fat Albert is one of my favorite baseball players of all time. As I kid, I wore #5 because of him. I know nobody cares - so moving on. Drafted as a 3B in the 13th (!!!) round in 1999, Pujols quickly made his way to the majors making his debut in 2001. He made the Opening Day roster after H.O.F. 1B Mark McGwire said not putting Pujols on the team “would be one of the worst moves of his (Tony LaRussa’s) career”. Pujols is a little odd compared to the rest of the group because the Cardinals never really had a true position for Albert until he moved to 1B full time in 2004. In years 2001 - 2003 he played 3B and LF because the Cardinals had *checks notes* 34 year old Tino Martinez at the first sacker in 2002. So, for the data below I combined his 3B metrics from 01 and 02. In total, he played 96 games, 727.2 innings, committed 16 errors, had a fielding % of .938 and -6.9 UZR/150. (DRS apparently was not tracked prior to ‘03). In his first year at 1B in 2004, his age 24 season, he made the transition flawlessly. In 1,338 innings he had a positive 7 DRS and 3.7 UZR. Offensively, he was a monster winning a silver slugger, finishing top-3 in the MVP voting, and was an All-Star. Pujols of course remained at 1B the rest of his career, picking up Gold Gloves in ‘06 and ‘10 before ultimately limping out the rest of his days as the Angels DH. I think Sano would take even a fraction of Pujols’ career as his ceiling. *Note a couple things about Pujols and Cabrera: They both transitioned from 3B to 1B at relatively young ages. Miguel Sano will be 27 in May, 2020. He will be older than both these players when they made the switch. Ryan Zimmerman: Drafted as a 3B, the Nationals first ever pick in a Major League draft was Ryan Zimmerman. He made his Major League debut in the year he was drafted (2005) and played 3B until 2013. Overall, he was a VERY solid 3B (Gold Glove winner in 2009, if you care about those things) where he posted a positive 52 DRS, and 33.5 UZR for his career in 9925.2 innings. Shoulder injuries led to his downfall. However, we are going to focus on his last year at the position and his subsequent move across the diamond. In 2013, his aged 28 season, Zimmerman played 1,245.2 innings, committed 21 errors (.945 fielding %), and a -13.7 UZR/150. Offensively, he was solid posting a 124 wRC+ in 633 PA’s. This is all coming off of a shoulder surgery after the 2012 season, mind you. At the end of the 2013 season, he was having injury issues again to the point where 2014 was basically a wash. His spot at the hot corner was taken by a fella by the name of Anthony Rendon. So in 2014, Zimmerman played in LF. It wasn’t until 2015 he took over at 1B. His first year at 1B was solid defensively when he played. He only got into 93 games but played 792.1 innings of 1B, only made 4 errors (.995 fielding percentage), -1 DRS, and -.1 UZR/150 - not bad! Offensively, he was barely above league average. It wasn’t until 2017 where he returned with authority. Again, keep in mind his health. Overall, a very good transition over to 1B from 3B for Zimmerman. Edwin Encarnacion: Last on this list is the parrot-keeper himself, Edwin Encarnacion. Edwin has had an interesting career to say the least. People forget he started as a 3B (albeit a butcher of one, more on that in a minute). Edwin was drafted in the 9th round by the Reds in the year 2000 as a 3B. Does anyone know who the Twins selected #2 overall that year? Bonus points if you do. It was Twins legend, Adam Johnson (who?) Adam Wainwright and Chase Utley were taken later in the first round. Sorry to pour salt in the wound... He played there through his 2010 season, his first full one on the Blue Jays. I think they said, uh, yeah, I’ve seen enough. In 95 games, 841.2 innings he made 18 (!!) errors. But somehow *only* posted -4 DRS and a positive .5 UZR/150. After that he pretty much was positioned as a part-time DH and 1B. His first “full” year at 1B was in 2012, his aged 29 season, when he broke out offensively. He played 68 games at first, 583.1 innings and was serviceable despite a -9.2 UZR/150. Note, it is tough to use this stat for less than a full season’s worth of data. For his career at 1B he played 4,170 innings from 2011 - 2019 and was not awful with -20 DRS across all years and a -3.8 UZR/150. Comparatively, his 3B career numbers (hold your laughs) were -52 DRS, -48.4 UZR, and 114 errors across 5,751.2 innings. He was much better defensively relative to the 1B in the league than 3B. Miguel Sano: Now, you probably are wondering, how does Miguel Sano compare to these players? Here you go. Across 91 games in 2019 at 3B, Sano committed 17 errors (.926 fielding percentage), -5 DRS, and a -19.9 UZR/150. Additionally, I looked at Sano’s career defensive metrics at 1B. Again, SUPER small sample size. He’s played 233 innings there, -2 DRS, and a -5.3 UZR/150. That is without dedicating 100% of his focus to the position. From his press conference yesterday, he said he is committed to play wherever the Twins put him. Now, that position is 1B https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1217254719078518784?s=20 Sano is young and athletic enough where there is hope that he should be able to transition into an average defensive 1B relative to the rest of the league. It helps he has spent some time there. It's not a completely new position like him playing RF in 2016 (gasps). In every scenario listed above, each player was a better 1B than 3B relative to their peers at those respective positions. Fans should not worry too much about Sano as there is no doubt Donaldson at 3B and Sano at 1B upgrades the entire Twins infield for 2020 and beyond.
  10. I too hope they aim higher than Frazier if they make this move, however, would Frazier be a better 2020 fit than the remaining 1B free agent options or internal options? This is assuming we miss out on JD, of course. 2019 stats: Todd Frazier .251/.329/.443 with 21 HR's, 106 wRC+, 1.9 WAR - and just about average defense at 3B Mitch Moreland .252/.328/.507 with 19 HR's, 112 wRC+, .7 WAR in 91 games - just about average defense, almost assuredly be a step up from Sano defensively at 1B Marwin Gonzalez .264/.322/.414 with 15 HR's, 93wRC+, 1.4 WAR - having Marwin play 1B or platoon hurts his greatest ability which is being versatile. After seeing this laid out, yeah, I hope we land Donaldson or make a trade?
  11. Thanks for reading. I agree. I think the sooner they declare Sano a 1B, if they are going to move him, the better. In a perfect world they would have announced to Sano as they were packing up their lockers after the playoffs that he should focus on 1B this offseason. That being said, he had to "learn" RF in a month in 2016. Remember that disaster? 1B I believe is easier to play and he has played there before ie. he actually owns a 1B mitt. If they don't move him this season, I wonder if they move him next if he has a similar defensive year.
  12. 127 feet, 3 3/8 inches - the distance between third base and first base. In other words, the distance Miguel Sano might be asked to move this season. Even the casual Twins fan following the 2020 offseason knows that the front office is in talks with free agent 3B, Josh Donaldson. And before that, there were reports at the beginning of November the Twins were interested in Todd Frazier, also a free agent 3B option. It was assumed, and then reported on, that if the Twins were to acquire a 3B, that would mean Miguel Sano would shift from 3B to 1B - a common cycle in MLB history for big slugging right handed hitters who typically move from 3B to 1B, then finally to DH by the end of their careers. It got me thinking, how have other players before Sano fared in their transition from the hot corner across the diamond to man first base? In the below post I will show some recent examples (in the last 20 years) of players who did just that. My focus will be on Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Ryan Zimmerman. I will be evaluating them in two different ways: 1. Their defensive and offensive metrics in their last season as a full time 3B 2. Their defensive and offensive metrics in their first season as a full time 1B The defensive metrics I am using are a combination of your typical, pre-analytics, back of the baseball card stats, errors and fielding percentage, and more modern metrics like defensive runs saved (DRS), ultimate zone rating (UZR), and UZR/150 which is just that stat scaled to an average number of chances for a season. *Note: You can find more info on these stats from Fangraphs. I realize they have their limitations ie. UZR doesn’t factor in shifts and is a "relative positional average" compared to the other players in the league at that position, some positions are obviously harder to play than others as is the case here. But nonetheless, this is what we are going to use for this exercise. As a rule of thumb, negative (-) = bad At the end of this article, I will present my conclusion based on my findings from this exercise and ask for the community’s opinion on which position does Sano give the Twins the most value. Miguel Cabrera: Let’s start with Miguel Cabrera who Sano drew early comparisons to at the beginning of his career. Cabrera started as a SS with the Marlins but quickly converted to 3B and stuck there until 2008 - his first year in Detroit. He was a full time first basemen until 2011, then the Tigers moved him back to 3B for the 2012 and 2013 seasons (his back-to-back MVP seasons) before ultimately moving him back to 1B for good in 2014. He was never a strong defensive 3B (career -58 DRS and -5.6 UZR/150) Offensively in 2007, his last year on the Marlins, Cabrera was solid, of course, with a .320/.401/.565 and 34 homers. Defensively however, that was a different story. In 1,310.2 innings he committed 23 errors, had a fielding % of .941, -19 DRS, and -5 UZR/150. In 2008, his age 25 season, he moved to first base full time (for the first time). His metrics relative to his 1B peers were much improved from 3B. In 1,245.2 innings his fielding % was .992, -7 DRS, and a -4.2 UZR/150. Not gold glove worthy but no doubt an improvement from the prior year. Offensively, his stats took a “dip” but he was still a very solid player. His overall WAR, however, you will notice was nearly cut in half from 5.2 to 2.8 - something to keep in mind as you determine the overall value of a 3B vs. 1B. Albert Pujols: Personally, Fat Albert is one of my favorite baseball players of all time. As I kid, I wore #5 because of him. I know nobody cares - so moving on. Drafted as a 3B in the 13th (!!!) round in 1999, Pujols quickly made his way to the majors making his debut in 2001. He made the Opening Day roster after H.O.F. 1B Mark McGwire said not putting Pujols on the team “would be one of the worst moves of his (Tony LaRussa’s) career”. Pujols is a little odd compared to the rest of the group because the Cardinals never really had a true position for Albert until he moved to 1B full time in 2004. In years 2001 - 2003 he played 3B and LF because the Cardinals had *checks notes* 34 year old Tino Martinez at the first sacker in 2002. So, for the data below I combined his 3B metrics from 01 and 02. In total, he played 96 games, 727.2 innings, committed 16 errors, had a fielding % of .938 and -6.9 UZR/150. (DRS apparently was not tracked prior to ‘03). In his first year at 1B in 2004, his age 24 season, he made the transition flawlessly. In 1,338 innings he had a positive 7 DRS and 3.7 UZR. Offensively, he was a monster winning a silver slugger, finishing top-3 in the MVP voting, and was an All-Star. Pujols of course remained at 1B the rest of his career, picking up Gold Gloves in ‘06 and ‘10 before ultimately limping out the rest of his days as the Angels DH. I think Sano would take even a fraction of Pujols’ career as his ceiling. *Note a couple things about Pujols and Cabrera: They both transitioned from 3B to 1B at relatively young ages. Miguel Sano will be 27 in May, 2020. If he moves to 1B, he will be older than both these players when they made the switch. Ryan Zimmerman: Drafted as a 3B, the Nationals first ever pick in a Major League draft was Ryan Zimmerman. Mr. National. I am sure he enjoyed the 2019 World Series win more than anyone. It was fun to see him get there. He made his Major League debut in the year he was drafted (2005) and played 3B until 2013. Overall, he was a VERY solid 3B (Gold Glove winner in 2009, if you care about those things) where he posted a positive 52 DRS, and 33.5 UZR for his career in 9925.2 innings. Shoulder injuries led to his downfall. However, we are going to focus on his last year at the position and his subsequent move across the diamond. In 2013, his aged 28 season, Zimmerman played 1,245.2 innings, committed 21 errors (.945 fielding %), and a -13.7 UZR/150. Offensively, he was solid posting a 124 wRC+ in 633 PA’s. This is all coming off of a shoulder surgery after the 2012 season, mind you. At the end of the 2013 season, he was having injury issues again to the point where 2014 was basically a wash. His spot at the hot corner was taken by a fella by the name of Anthony Rendon. So in 2014, Zimmerman played in LF. It wasn’t until 2015 he took over at 1B. His first year at 1B was solid defensively when he played. He only got into 93 games but played 792.1 innings of 1B, only made 4 errors (.995 fielding percentage), -1 DRS, and -.1 UZR/150 - not bad! Offensively, he was barely above league average. It wasn’t until 2017 where he returned with authority. Again, keep in mind his health. Overall, a very good transition over to 1B from 3B for Zimmerman. Edwin Encarnacion: Last on this list is the parrot-keeper himself, Edwin Encarnacion. Edwin has had an interesting career to say the least. People forget he started as a 3B (albeit a butcher of one, more on that in a minute). Edwin was drafted in the 9th round by the Reds in the year 2000 as a 3B. Does anyone know who the Twins selected #2 overall that year? Bonus points if you do. It was Twins legend, Adam Johnson (who?) Adam Wainwright and Chase Utley were taken later in the first round. Sorry to pour salt in the wound... He played there through his 2010 season, his first full one on the Blue Jays. I think they said, uh, yeah, I’ve seen enough. In 95 games, 841.2 innings he made 18 (!!) errors. But somehow *only* posted -4 DRS and a positive .5 UZR/150. After that he pretty much was positioned as a part-time DH and 1B. His first “full” year at 1B was in 2012, his aged 29 season, when he broke out offensively. He played 68 games at first, 583.1 innings and was serviceable despite a -9.2 UZR/150. Note, it is tough to use this stat for less than a full season’s worth of data. For his career at 1B he played 4,170 innings from 2011 - 2019 and was not awful with -20 DRS across all years and a -3.8 UZR/150. (A hot take of mine was that the Twins should have signed him for the 2020 season. Obviously, that didn’t happen but imagine that lineup). Comparatively, his 3B career numbers (hold your laughs) were -52 DRS, -48.4 UZR, and 114 errors across 5,751.2 innings. He was a much better relative 1B than 3B. Miguel Sano: Now, you probably are wondering, what is the point of this if you can’t compare it to Miguel Sano himself? Well, here you go. Across 91 games in 2019 at 3B, Sano committed 17 errors (.926 fielding percentage), -5 DRS, and a -19.9 UZR/150. If you are like me and watched every game this year you might say something along the lines of “ only -5 DRS, it felt more like - 50”. Kidding, kidding. Honestly, I felt when Sano first came back from his injury, his defense was fine. He tailed off as the year went on. If he is average or slightly below average, with his bat, I think the Twins are OK with that. They know he is not going to win any Gold Gloves. Many questions remain: Is he better off at 1B than 3B long term? What Sano defensive position gives the Twins the best chance to succeed in 2020? Now, many things go into this. Especially with how the Twins play baseball. Keep in mind they shift often and Sano plays all over like diamond sometimes asked to play the SS position with lefties up. I have no doubt that the Twins have their own metrics where they grade their players, but, we as fans, have Fangraphs. Just for fun, I pulled up Sano’s career defensive metrics at 1B. Again, SUPER small sample size. He’s played 233 innings there, -2 DRS, and a -5.3 UZR/150. That is without really knowing how to play the position properly. Seems on the surface less of a liability than having him at 3B. You would assume that if the Twins made the decision to put him at 1B for *good*, they would dedicate the time and effort to train and coach him. Can we get Ron Washington, the infield guru, on this Twins staff PLEASE? If he can get Chris Pratt to play 1B, he can get Miguel Sano to as well (Moneyball joke). Conclusion: Now that we all have the facts in front of us, I will present to you my opinion that literally nobody asked for. I believe seeking a defensive upgrade at 3B would improve the overall team drastically. It would be preferred that the player has at least equal offensive metrics to CJ Cron, since that is who is ultimately being replaced here. Josh Donaldson is the dream scenario (believe me, I am praying to the baseball Gods daily). But, a player like Todd Frazier also could be a fit. Not to mention, trade possibilities (Kris Bryant, anyone?). Doing this exercise also gave me a lot of optimism that players can make the switch on the fly to 1B and have done it without being too much of a liability, and in most cases above, much less a liability at 1B than 3B. Some of the arguments against moving Sano are that he is too young (Pujols and Cabrera were younger) and that he has more value as a 3B (2 of the 4 players listed above had a better WAR in their first season at 1B than their last at 3B). I think it’s easy. Move him to 1B. I would love to hear your feedback. What position do you think Miguel Sano should play in the 2020 season, and why?
  13. 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!
  14. This is a great blueprint. Awesome job. I would be 100% on-board if this is what our roster looked like on Opening Day 2020. I especially appreciate the jab at Toronto's front office for "not calling the Twins back" on Stroman at the deadline. Wheeler. Ray. Let's. Play.
  15. I think there is definitely ways this could be improved ie a trade, getting Wheeler for a lesser deal, and I too would prefer Castro on a one year deal over Maldonado. I just think he's going to want (and get) a two year deal to start somewhere. I hope they can turn this fan wishful thinking in a reality!
  16. I am all open to Romo, I really do think he will be back. His market last year was non-existent. $3.5M on a one year deal should get it done. I felt that if I had to pick Harris or Romo, I was willing to go with Harris, but why not both! Pineda over Hamels is also fine with me. If we can get him on an affordable two year deal, that would help more so with 2021 than Hamels on a one-year deal. Let's hope this is what our roster looks like on Opening Day!
  17. I am very onboard with putting together a deal for Wood. I wonder if he would be open to a 2-3 year deal with low money. Maybe something similar to what Perez got last year ie. $6M per year with a team option for 2021 of $9M. The Twins seem to like those deals. MLB TR has him projected for $8M on a one year deal. I am all in if they can make it work. Can't hurt. I just would like to see that signing be more of a luxury than banking on him being our #3 starter.
  18. Thank you! Pomeranz's market will be interesting. With not as many free agent relievers as last offseason, teams might overpay for his 26 innings of solid pitching. I could definitely see that.
  19. Yeah, for some reason I just feel that his market is going to be strong since more teams in theory will be in on Wheler than Cole or Stras. Anywhere in the $20-$25M range makes sense even though that might seem like overpaying. If Odorizzi rejects the QO, I think a 3 year deal in the $12-$15M range is in play. I'm with you on Hamels being low. I saw MLB TR projected a 2/$15M deal. But who knows, maybe we can put something together that is incentive loaded on a one year deal. With extensions, who knows, maybe they can get creative and push money out further. I think Berrios makes sense as an extension candidate. If we give him what the Phillies gave Aaron Nola (4/$45M) even that only bumps up our payroll to $148.25 - which is getting on the high side, but the Pohlad's can manage
  20. That would be ideal. It would be nice to have that surefire #1 ace that can almost "guarantee" a win in a playoff game. Cole or Stras obviously fit that mold. Another option would be to try to improve the #5 spot in the rotation via trade and hope that guy can maybe have a ceiling as a #2 or #3. Maybe the Twins could target Jon Gray, Robbie Ray, or take a flier on Chris Archer if they believe there is untapped potential. For now, I kind of like the idea of leaving the #5 spot open and hope that Graterol can be an impact arm or who knows, maybe Balazovic is ready by Sep 2020. Either way, I am happy we are going into the off-season talking about playoff match-ups instead of hoping to even make the wildcard game. A fresh change of pace in Minnesota!
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