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wsnydes

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  1. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Target Field’s Most Memorable Home Runs: 1-5   
    5. Trevor Plouffe: 55 HR
    Plouffe hit the first Target Field home run during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He also hit a milestone home run during Target Field's third season as he collected the 300th home run hit at the park. 
    4. Max Kepler: 64 HR
    Kepler has a chance to move up this list during the 2022 campaign. At the end of April, he clocked two home runs in one game against Detroit. His first career home run was one he likely will never forget as he walked off the Red Sox.
    3. Eddie Rosario: 67 HR
    Rosario had a flair for the dramatic, and he was part of the team's Bomba Squad dramatics in 2019. He helped the Twins set a record for most players with 30 home runs in a season. One of his most significant home runs from that 2019 season was a pinch-hit homer that gave the Twins a late-inning lead.
    2. Miguel Sanó: 76 HR
    Sanó can be a free agent at season's end, but that still gives him a chance to take over the top spot on this list. However, his cold start and recent injury may leave him searching for at-bats when he returns. There's no question that he has been one of the best power hitters for Minnesota in the Target Field era.
    1. Brian Dozier: 80 HR
    Dozier has the most Twins home runs in Target Field history. He was also responsible for one of the Target Field's best moments. In July 2015, he smacked a walk-off home run that capped a seven-run ninth inning to give the Twins the win.
    Do any of these names surprise you? Which of the top-5 players has the most memorable home run? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

    PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES
    -Home Run Hitters: 11-15
    -Home Run Hitters: 6-10
  2. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Otto von Ballpark for an article, Forum Friday: To Sweep or Be Swept   
    Whether 'tis nobler in the forums to suffer the slings and arrows of the outrageous Astros, or to take arms against the Oakland A's, the TD community found itself looking closely at a changing roster all week, as well as pondering rosters that might have been.
    @4twinsJA celebrates Gilberto Celestino in Have Twins found their 4th outfielder? That's two signs of progress in one post: Celestino's stront start and the performance of our "starting" three outfielders. We hope those trends continue.
    Looking west, the eponymous topic Taylor Rogers finds @CRF acknowledging the closer's solid season. Unfortunately, it's for the Padres, as Twins fans are left pondering the trade returns and how his absence might ultimately affect our 2022 season fate.
    No such regret is detected from @Trov in Did Twins Trade Berrios at right time? Our former ace has scuffled a bit in Toronto, while the Twins rotation has started strong this year and the prospects received are nearing the bigs.
    Another cautionary tale of a one-time "player who got away" is Akil Baddoo-What a Difference a Year Makes. @zwiefz notes his fall from Rookie of the Year candidate a year ago to the minor leagues now.
    Finally, did you know the Twins magazine is not only distributed at the ballpark, but also online? @shortround81 shared that tip in the forum last month, and this month suspects a "cover jinx" in the magazine with Could It Be? Stay tuned to see if any players are willing to pose for the June cover.
    Got a roster move to break, a player to discuss, or a superstition to share? The community welcomes it in the TD forums.
  3. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Melissa Berman for an article, Twins Fans Ride Out Severe Weather at Wednesday's Suspended Game   
    Under a fittingly dark and foreboding sky, the Twins took the field alongside Darth Vader and a gaggle of stormtroopers in honor of Star Wars Night.   From the moment "Obi-wan Kepleroni" and "Buck Skywalker" took the field, the wind was already whipping. Napkins and trash swirled across the field and fans chased hats ripped from their heads. As the first couple innings passed, the sky continued to darken until finally the rain opened up during the bottom of the second inning and sent fans scattering for the overhang and concourse.   "It's watering down my beer!" a guy with a beer near me exclaimed as we both bolted for shelter.   The Astros jumped all over Chris Archer and quickly took a 5-1 lead. The teams continued to play on through the rain and even some lightning (no comment on that one), but once reports of a tornado warning in nearby Eden Prairie came through, it seemed like only a matter of time until the rain and severe weather would continue its eastward march, reach downtown Minneapolis and bring the game to a halt. It was not lost on me that there was a tornado confirmed in Hutchinson, a mere hour west of Minneapolis, and my family and friends in the west metro were sheltered in basements, yet here we were at a baseball game completely exposed to the elements and in the storm's path.    Sure enough, as the Twins took the field to begin the 4th inning, the grounds crew came out to tidy up the infield dirt (a fool's errand with the incoming rain, I thought to myself) and rookie reliever Yennier Cano warmed up on the mound, out came the tarp and into a rain delay the game went- before Cano could throw his first MLB pitch. Interestingly, it will go down as the date of his MLB debut.    The Target Field Grounds Crew visibly struggled in the high winds to get the tarp down on the ground, and it was so windy that they had to weigh down the tarp with nine golf carts parked along its corners and sides.   The Twins PA announcer and the outfield big screen instructed fans to seek shelter on the concourse and displayed an ominous radar graphic showing a giant mass of dark colors headed directly our way.     At first, fans on the 300 level were allowed to stay on the upper concourse, where they mostly mingled and took videos of the torrential rain being blown across the field. I was doing exactly that when a concession worker walked up.    "Do you want to see a really great view of the sky?" he asked.    He motioned me to follow him, and we walked past a concession stand over to a beautiful view of North Loop overlooking the lightrail station. Lighting radiated across the sky and I snapped some pictures as a young man next to me profusely apologized to his date for the terrible game experience. You know the saying, you can't control the weather, but you can check the forecast. Actually, I just made that up.    The concession stand worker stopped by about five minutes later to take another look at the sky.   "You're still here?" he asked me.   Sirens began wailing, and the ushers shepherded us to the lower concourse, which was jam-packed with soggy fans. I found a spot overlooking the field above the first base dugout and watched. I have truly never seen anything like it: the rain was coming down in such thick sheets that you could barely see the outfield video boards. The National Weather Service Twin Cities tweeted that the storm was expecting to bring Minneapolis wind gusts of up to 80 mph. A damage survey conducted the next day on Thursday May 12 concluded that an EF0 tornado touched down in Coon Rapids 15 miles north of Target Field.    Despite the torrential downpour, I was awestruck with how well the Target Field drainage system seemed to be keeping up. While there was rain pooled on top of the tarp, the water on the infield dirt and surrounding grass was largely dissipating.      As time ticked by, Target Field tried to find ways to keep fans entertained. With their tongue in cheek, they played "Rain Is A Good Thing" by Luke Bryan, which fans gleefully sang along to, and the Twins alternated between showing a Marney Gellner interview with Justin Morneau and an apocalyptic warning to stay sheltered. Unfortunately for those looking to dance, Club Rayne did not open today because the Twins cleared fans out of all seats.    Fans appeared to be in good spirits during the delay, though some outwardly questioned why the Twins decided to play the game at all given the evening's forecast.    At one point, a guy took advantage of there being no security on the field and ran onto the field. He ran across the tarp (without slipping, somehow) before he was apprehended near the third base dugout in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion- no tackling or chasing, he simply stopped running and walked into the loving, open arms of Target Field security.    Though the severe weather had blown through by about 8:40 p.m., it continued to rain steadily, and it looked like it would continue until midnight. The concourse started to empty out.    Then at 9:17 p.m., 1 hour and 20 minutes after they first rolled out the tarp, the Twins officially announced they were suspending the game until the following day, Thursday May 12 at 12:10 p.m. The Twins would pick up in the top of the 4th inning down 5-1.   After being almost no-hit by Justin Verlander the day before, it was not the start of the game the Twins were hoping for. Can we get a do-over?   Regardless, to me, Wednesday's game was one of those sporting events that is so bizarre that it rises to the level of being fun.   The remaining fans in the stadium trickled out as "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival played overhead. I sloshed back to my car dreaming of sunnier days ahead- both in the forecast and on the baseball diamond.    *** Were you at the game yesterday or watching from somewhere else that got hit by severe weather? What was your experience like? Leave your comments, thoughts, and stories below. 
  4. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review (5/3-5/9): Wallner, Miller, Steer, Headrick, Stankiewicz Star   
    The Twins have won 14 of their past 17 games. Some of the organization's top prospects have found their way to the big leagues and contributed. All the while, three affiliates find themselves in first place. As we all know, Player Development is the most important aspect of minor league baseball. However, "winning" is not a bad thing either. Learning how to win and contribute to a team are part of the development process as well. Nothing wrong with learning how to win and making that a priority. 
    Disclaimer (kind of): Be sure to use these weekly reports for what they are. A look at the week. We want to highlight deserving prospects. They have earned it. Celebrate the successes throughout the whole season. 
    If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week.
    TRANSACTIONS 
    There have been no official transactions from later on Sunday and on Monday. 
    RESULTS
    Previous Week in Review (4/26-5/2): Prospect Movement, Strong Performances, and Wins   Tuesday: Dreary Tuesday on the Farm  Wednesday: Headrick Fans Ten, Bats Burst in Lowertown  Thursday: Stankiewicz Stays Hot, Miller Mussels Up  Friday: Promotion Season is Here  Saturday: Top Pitching Prospects Galore  Sunday: Kernels Win in a Walk-off, Martin Homers on Mothers Day  MORE TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE CONTENT 
    The Next Twins Prospect Promotion  Is It Time to Start Worrying About Austin Martin?  Twins Promote Top Prospect Royce Lewis  Prospect Retrospective: Royce Lewis  Three Questions With… Mighty Mussels OF Kyler Fedko (Video)  WEEK IN REVIEW 

    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: 
    Week: 3-3, hosting Iowa 
    Season: 15-13 overall, 3rd place in the International League West. They are 4 1/2 games behind Nashville (20-9) and Columbus (18-12). 

    The Saints split their six games last week against the Iowa Cubs. The Cubs came to St. Paul with former Twins Stephen Gonsalves, Luke Farrell, John Hicks, Ildemaro Vargas, and Andrelton Simmons made his first rehab appearances for the Cubs too. Each team won three games. The Saints outscored the Cubs 31-29. Yet none of the games was settled by less than three runs. 
    When the week started, and really up until the weekend, the Saints roster included Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff, but both were called up on Friday. Jose Godoy was called up Sunday after playing four games in St. Paul. 
    Mark Contreras played in all six games. He went 8-for-21 and hit .381/.500/.714 (1.214) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. He also walked four times.  32-year-old veteran Elliot Soto played all six games too. He went 6-for-21 and hit .286/.423/.524 (.947) with a triple and a home run. He also walked five times.  Curtis Terry had a nice week. In six games, he went 5-for-18 and hit .278/.500/.444 (.944) with three doubles. He also had eight walks to go with just two strikeouts.  Great to see Jordan Balazovic back after starting the season on the Injured List with a knee injury. He made one rehab appearance in Ft. Myers and then started for the Saints on Saturday. He went 3 2/3 scoreless innings despite giving up five hits and two walks. He struck out four batters.   
    Yennier Cano pitched in three innings over three games. He didn’t give up a run. He allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out four batters.  JC Ramirez came out of the bullpen after Balazovic’s start. He gave up just one hit and walked one batter over 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out four batters.  Daniel Gossett threw three scoreless, hitless innings in a relief appearance. He walked one and struck out four. Devin Smeltzer has been that stalwart of the Saints’ staff all season. He finally had a rough start. He gave up six runs on eight hits over two innings in his start.   What’s Next? The Saints travel to Columbus to take on the Clippers for the week. 

    Pitching Probables (RHP Ronny Henriquez, RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez, RHP Jake Faria, RHP Jordan Balazovic, TBD, TBD) 
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge 
    Week: 3-2, hosting Tulsa  
    Season: 16-10 overall, 1st place in the Texas League North Division with Tulsa. They are 1.0 game ahead of Tulsa (15-11).  
    It was billed as the week when Louie and Gus Varland would make history as brothers pitching against each other in a minor-league game. They were supposed to match up on Tuesday and again on Sunday. Instead, the teams were rained out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They played doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday. The Varlands pitched against each other on Friday. The offense scored just over six runs per game. 
    Here are some of the top performances for the Wind Surge this past week: 
    Let’s start on the mound. Matt Canterino made another start. Previously he had been working three innings. This week, he went four shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked two, and struck out four batters.  There were several really strong bullpen performances. Atop that list is Austin Schulfer who finished two games last week. In 2 1/3 innings, he gave up just one hit and struck out four batters.  Bryan Sammons came out of the bullpen and gave up only a solo homer over three innings. He struck out three batters.  Matt Wallner backed up last week’s player of the week performance with an even better week. In five games, he went 8-for-16 and hit .500/.579/1.063 (1.642) with three doubles, two homers and eight RBI. He also walked three times.  Spencer Steer had a good week too. In five games, he went 8-for-20 and hit .400/.381/.900 (1.281) with a double, three homers and eight RBI.   
    Edouard Julien played in four games and went 6-for-12. He hit .500/.563/.667 (1.230) with two doubles. He also had three walks and stole two bases.  Michael Helman played in all five games. He went 6-for-15 and hit .400/.471/.600 (1.071) with a homer and two walks. He had three stolen bases.  Andrew Bechtold played in three games. He went 3-for-10 (.300) with a double and a home run.  Leobaldo Cabrera went just 2-for-12 (.167) in five games. Well, hey, a week ago, we wrote that he started the season 0-for-32. In the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday, he got out the first two at-bats, but in the sixth inning, he hit a solid single to center, ending the hitless string at 34. Two hits are a start!  What’s Next? The Wind Surge will travel to NW Arkansas.  

    Pitching Probables (RHP Ben Gross, RHP Matt Canterino, RHP Louie Varland, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Casey Legumina)    
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: 
    Week: 4-2, hosting Quad Cities 
    Season: 19-8 overall, 1st place in the Midwest League West Division, 2.0 games ahead of Wisconsin (17-10).  

    The Kernels have found a lot of ways to win games. Last week, they needed strong pitching and got it. They won four of the six games, but they only outscored Quad Cities 21-15. Offense has been a struggle for the Kernels the past couple of weeks. 
    Five Kernels bullpen arms did not allow a run last week. Bradley Hanner worked twice and gave up just one hit and one walk over four innings. He struck out six batters. Andrew Cabezas had five strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings in two perfect appearances.  John Stankiewicz made his High-A debut last week out of the bullpen. In five scoreless innings, he gave up only one hit and no walks. He struck out seven batters. In 26 2/3 innings, he has 38 strikeouts to go with just five walks.  Brent Headrick went six shutout innings in his start. He struck out ten batters and one gave up one hit and one walk.  On Sunday, Sawyer Gipson-Long worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and struck out six batters without a walk.  Cade Povich moved quickly past his first rough start. This past week, he gave up an unearned run on four hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out eight batters.  Cody Laweryson also made his first start of the season. He went four shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked none, and struck out four batters.     Jeferson Morales went 5-for-10 (.500) in the three games he played. He had a double and a walk.  Anthony Prato played in all six games. He went 6-for-22 and hit .273/.346/.636 (.982) with a triple, two homers, and five RBI. He also walked twice. On Sunday, he had a walk-off sacrifice fly.  Aaron Sabato also had two homers and five RBI on the week. Alerick Soularie’s struggles continued. On the week, he went 0-for-15 and is now hitting just .137 in his first 21 games of the season.    What’s Next? The Kernels will be traveling to Peoria to take on the Chiefs.  

    Pitching Probables (LHP Brent Headrick, RHP Sean Mooney, LHP Aaron Rozek, LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, RHP Cody Laweryson)   
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
    Week: 3-3, at Lakeland  
    Season: 14-10 overall, 1st place in the Florida State League West, but just 1/2 game ahead of Bradenton (15-12) and 1.0 game ahead of Clearwater (13-11).

    The Florida State League is typically not known for much offense. While the Mussels scored a combined four runs over their first two games last week, they scored 32 runs over the final four games. The team gave up 26 runs on the week. However, 12 of those came in just one game. 
    The best start of the week for Ft. Myers came from RHP Pierson Ohl. He was charged with one run on four hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out four batters.  Nine Mighty Mussels starters worked last week without giving up an earned run. Regi Grace, Hunter McMahon, Juan Mendez, Matthew Swain, and John Wilson each worked twice and worked between 2 2/3 innings and four innings. Steven Hajjar had an interesting start. In three innings, he did not give up a run or a hit. He struck out eight batters (in nine outs). But he also walked four batters.  The worst start of the week came from Blayne Enlow. He gave up seven runs (3 earned) on five hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. Sure, that’s a minimal negative, but it was Enlow’s first rehab start since he had Tommy John surgery last year. He got through it, and he felt good on Sunday. The better news? He is expected to make his next start for Wichita.   Offensively, Noah Miller had a great week! In six games, he went 11-for-23 and hit .478/.556/.783 (1.339) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, and four walks. He also stole three bases.  Jake Rucker also played in six games. He went 10-for-22 and hit .455/.500/.682 (1.182) with three doubles and a triple. He also walked four times and stole three bases.   Daniel Ozoria played in five games and went 7-for-17 (.412) with two steals. Mikey Perez had four hits last week including one double and one home run. He added three walks.   What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will return to Hammond Stadium to take on the Palm Beach Cardinals.   

    Pitching Probables (RHP David Festa, RHP Travis Adams, RHP Pierson Ohl, RHP Mike Paredes, RHP Marco Raya, LHP Steven Hajjar) 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week (April 26 - May 1). You may have noticed that the Prospect Tracker has been updated, and will be updated on the first of each month throughout the season.  

    #1 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 3 G, 3-for-12 (.250), 2-2B, 0-HR, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K (Season: 24 G, .310/.430/.563 (.993), 11-2B, 1-3B, 3-HR, 21 R, 11 RBI, 17 BB, 20 K)
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 3 G, 3-for-10 (.300), 1-2B, 0-HR, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K (Season: 3 G, .300/.300/.400 (.700), 1-2B, 0-3B, 0-HR, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K) 
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 5 G, 4-for-17 (.235), 0-2B, 1-HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 0 K (Season: 25 G, .242/.376/.337 (.713), 6-2B, 0-3B, 1-HR, 22 R, 8 RBI, 15 BB, 16 K, 14 SB, 0 CS)
    #3 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 4.2 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K (Season: 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 5 R, 16 H, 7 BB, 28 K, 3-1, 1.63 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 9.1 K/9)
    #4 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5 G, 6-for-18 (.333), 2-2B, 1-HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1K (Season: 21 G, .256/.295/.442 (.737), 10-2B, 2-HR, 10 R, 12 RBI, 5 BB, 14 K)
    #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - Week: 6 G, 4-for-22 (..182), 2-2B, 1-HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K (Season: 7 G, .154/.214/.346 (.560), 2-2B, 1-HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K)
    #5 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Week/Season: 1 GS, 3.2 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K.

    #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5.1 IP,  4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 K (Season: 5 GS, 27.0 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 12 H, 8 BB, 24 K, 2-0, 1.33 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.0 K/9)
    #7 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 8 K  (Season: 5 G, 2 GS, 22.1 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 12 H, 4 BB, 20 K, 2-0, 1.61 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 1.6 BB/9, 8.1 K/9)
    #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 G, 2.2 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K  (Season: 10 G, 14.2 IP, 6 R, 10 H, 3 BB, 24 K, 0-1, 2 Saves, 3.68 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 14.7 K/9)
    #9 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1 GS, 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K (Season: 6 GS, 16.2 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 11 BB, 22 K, 0-1, 1.62 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 5.9 BB/9, 11.9 K/9)
    #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 3-for-16 (.188) , 0-2B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 9 BB, 6 K (Season: 22 G, .229/.450/.486 (.936), 3-2B, 5-HR, 17 R, 9 RBI, 27 BB, 28 K)

    #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 6 G, 11-for-23 (.478), 2-2B, 1-3B, 1-HR, 4 BB, 6 K (Season: 23 G, .287/.426/.379 (.805), 3-2B, 1-3B, 1 HR, 14 R, 6 RBI, 19 BB, 28 K)
    #12 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K  (Season: 5 G, 4 GS, 25.2 IP, 12 R, 9 ER, 18 H, 11 BB, 28 K, 3-1, 3.16 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, 9.8 K/9)
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 6 K (Season: 5 G, 4 GS, 15.2 IP, 15 R, 22 H, 5 BB, 18 K, 0-4, 8.62 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 10.3 K/9)
    #13 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - Season: 1 G, 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K 
    #14 - Ronny Henriquez (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 3.1 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 K (Season: 3 G, 2 GS, 9.0 IP, 5 R, 9 H, 6 BB, 9 K, 0-1, 5.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 6.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9)
    #15 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 2 G, 1 GS, 4.2 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, (Season: 4 G, 3 GS, 15.0 IP, 6 R, 4 ER, 11 H, 3 BB, 19 K, 2-1, 2.40 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 11.4 K/9)  

    #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 5 G, 8-for-20 (.400), 1-2B, 3-HR, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K (Season: 25 G, .320/.395/.570 (.965), 11-2B, 1-3B, 4-HR, 19 R, 21 RBI, 10 BB, 19 K)
    #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 K (Season: 4GS, 19.0 IP, 9 R, 7 ER, 18 H, 5 BB, 31 K, 2-1, 3.32 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 14.7 K/9) 
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 5 G, 4-for-18 (.222), 1-2B, 0-HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K (Season: 25 G, .364/.423/.586 (1.009), 5-2B, 1-3B, 5-HR, 16 R, 25 RBI, 11 BB, 28 K)
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 4 G, 6-for-12 (.500), 2-2B, 0-HR, 3 BB, 4 K (Season: 17 G, .281/.394/.439 (.833), 4-2B, 1-3B, 1-HR, 11 R, 10 RBI, 12 BB, 15 K)
    #20 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL (elbow): Rehab start with Ft. Myers. 1.2 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
    PLAYERS OF THE WEEK 

    Hitter of the Week: Outfielder Matt Wallner, Wichita Wind Surge  
    Noah Miller was the Twins' choice for player of the week, and he had a big week. The 2021 first-round pick hit .478 with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. He posted a tremendous OPS of 1.339.
    However, Matt Wallner hit .500/.579/1.063 (1.642) with three doubles and two home runs in his five games. That 1.642 OPS is about as good as you can get. 
     
    It has been a tale of two, two-week stretches for former first-round pick and Forest Lake alum, and that’s why we have to remember that it is a long season, and talent is talent. Matt Wallner is immensely talented. Experts will often say that Double-A is where a lot of players really struggle. If that’s the case, Matt Wallner figured some things out really quickly, and for the second straight week, he is the Twins Daily Hitter of the Week. 
    First 2 weeks (4/8 - 4/24): 12 G, 5-for-45, .111/.222/.178 (.400), 0-2B, 1-HR, 13.0% BB%, 44.4% K%  Past 2 weeks (4/26 - 5/8): 11 G, 15-for-35, .429/.535/.971 (1.506), 4-2B, 5-HR, 18.6% BB%, 27.9% K% Baseball is all about adjustments, and it’s pretty impressive that it appears Wallner has been able to adjust quickly. Few, if any, have as much power potential as Wallner. 
    Pitcher of the Week: LHP Brent Headrick, Cedar Rapids Kernels  

    Headrick was a solid candidate for his award last week after he tossed five shutout innings against Beloit. He had given up just three hits, walked none, and struck out seven batters. He was even better this past week in his start against Quad Cities. He threw six more scoreless innings. He gave up only one hit, walked one, and struck out ten batters. 
     
    Overall, the 24-year-old has made five starts for the Kernels this year. He is 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA. in 23 2/3 innings, he has given up just ten hits, walked five, and struck out 38 batters. Those numbers result in a miniscule 0.63 WHIP and an impressive 14.5 K/9. 
    Headrick was the Twins' ninth-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State where he pitched for former Twins catcher Steve Holm. As a junior, he had gone 9-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 16 starts. He pitched in just three games for Elizabethton that summer. Like most, he missed the entire 2020 season. In 2021, he pitched in 15 games and made 14 starts. He went 3-5 with Ft. Myers with a 3.82 ERA. But this year, the southpaw has pitched at a new level.
     
     
  5. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Theo Tollefson for an article, Minor League Report (5/8): Kernels Win in a Walk-off, Martin Homers on Mother's Day   
    TRANSACTIONS 
    Twins placed OF Trevor Larnach on the IL (right adductor strain) Twins recalled C Jose Godoy.  OF Jake Cave was activated from the temporarily inactive list.  C Roy Morales activated from the Development List and promoted to the Saints.  SAINTS SENTINEL 
    St. Paul 3, Iowa 10
    Box Score
    SP: Cole Sands - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
    HR: David Banuelos (2)
    Multi-hit games: Mark Contreras (2-5, 2 2B, RBI (17), 2 K)

    The Saints played the final game of their 12-game homestead on Sunday with the conclusion of their series against the Iowa Cubs. On Saturday, the Saints crushed the Cubs in a 9-2 victory. On Sunday, they received the other end of the stick. 
    The Cubs got to the Saints early in the top of the second scoring four runs on five hits and a walk off of starter Cole Sands. Sands had a better go in both the first and third innings giving up only one hit in each of those innings. The high number of strikeouts and a tiring second inning had Sands at 71 pitches through three innings, and six Saints relievers came in to finish out the game. 
    At the plate, many of the Saints bats went cold aside from Mark Contreras who had two doubles and an RBI for the Saints on Sunday. The Saints lineup also featured the return of Jake Cave from the temporarily inactive list leading off for St. Paul and going 1-for-4 with a double and RBI. 
    One of the newest additions to the Saints roster, second baseman Kevin Merrell, spoke on adjusting to the new clubhouse after his promotion from Wichita and which players he has gravitated to as mentors with the Saints. 
    “There are so many guys in there with a ton of experience, and I just need to watch closely and see what I can pick up. It’s been an easy transition, there’s a lot of phenomenal dudes on this team,” said Merrell.  
    Merrell is a former first-round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2017 and went 33rd overall in the draft. Merrell has already found a teammate on the Saints he wants to learn as much as possible from, that teammate being Saints infielder Elliot Soto.
    Merrell explained, “He can talk to anybody. He’s super encouraging, and he’s very confident in what he does. I think that’s contagious for a lot of us. He’s played for a long time. He’s 32 or so, has a lot of experience, and I would say he stands out the most for me.”
    The Saints will start a two-week road trip on Tuesday with two different stops, the first being in Columbus, Ohio for a week-long match-up with the Clippers. 
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Game 1 
    Wichita 4, Tulsa 7 
    Box Score Game 1
    SP: Chris Vallimont - 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: None

    Game 2 
    Wichita 5, Tulsa 6
    Box Score Game 2 
    SP: Casey Legumina - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 5 K
    HR: Austin Martin (1), Michael Helman (4)
    Multi-hit games: Martin (2-4, R, HR, RBI (8)), Edouard Julien (2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10), K)
    The Wind Surge entered Sunday afternoon riding an eight-game win streak and had a doubleheader scheduled with the Tulsa Drillers to finish out their five-game series. Unfortunately for the WInd Surge, they were swept in the doubleheader. 
    Chris Vallimont was on the mound for his sixth start of the season. Vallimont had a strong first inning recovering from a leadoff triple to Drillers shortstop Jacob Amaya. Amaya scored in the next at-bat on a sacrifice groundout. Vallimont continued to cool off in the second with a 1-2-3 inning, but the Drillers picked up three more runs in the third off of Vallimont which later knocked him out of the game. 
    The Wind Surge bats were cold throughout Game 1 and although they tallied seven hits, no Wind Surge player was able to tally more than one hit. Wind Surge third baseman Spencer Steer managed to drive in two of their four runs in the game.
     
     
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Game 2 brought a better hitting game for the Wind Surge, but they still fell short in another loss against the Drillers.
    Game 2 was started by Casey Legumina who made his first start for the Wind Surge after three starts with Cedar Rapids to start 2022. Legumina gave up two walks in the top of the first inning but left the runners on base to get out of a jam. He continued that success in the second and retired the minimum in order. The third inning was where Legumina struggled the most, walking four batters and giving up two hits including a home run to Drillers left fielder James Outman. 
    Austin Martin fans were able to rejoice at least in Game 2 as he hit his first home run of the season. Third baseman Michael Helman also had a home run in the sixth inning that brought Wichita within one run. The Wind Surge were unable to score more runs in the bottom of the seventh in order to tie the game and force it into extras.
     
     
    The Wind Surge begin their next series on the road against Northwest Arkansas Tuesday morning for another six-game series with the Naturals. 
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1
    Box Score
    SP: Sawyer Gipson-Long 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
    HR: None 
    Multi hit games: Jair Camargo (2-5, K)

    The Kernels completed their final game against the River Bandits on Sunday taking a win to complete a 4-2 series victory of Quad Cities. 
    The 2-1 victory for the Kernels was the smallest scoring game of the series as Anthony Prato and Wander Javier drove in the only two runs. Javier hit into a force out in the bottom of the 8th inning to score Aaron Sabato with the game-tying run. They went to extra innings. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Javier was on third base when Anthony Prato his a fly ball to right field, deep enough to end the game. 
     
     
    Sawyer Gipson-Long had his best start of the season on Sunday. He had season highs in the start with innings pitched (5 1/3) and strikeouts (6). He also did not give up any runs or walks in the game. 
    The Kernels will be on the road in Peoria to play another six-game series against the Chiefs. 
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 9, Lakeland 1
    Box Score
    SP: Steve Hajjar 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K
    HR:  None
    Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6)), Mikey Perez (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI (7), 2 BB), Kyle Schmidt (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI (13), 2 BB, 2 K), Daniel Ozoria (2-4, R)

    The Mighty Mussels completed their series against the Lakeland Flying Tigers with a lopsided 9-1 victory which brought about a series split. 
    The Mighty Mussels pitching was dominated by Steve Hajjar and Marco Raya. Hajjar started the game and threw three no-hit innings, walking four and striking out eight out of the nine outs. Raya came into the game in the top of the fifth. Although Raya gave up a home run in the top of the sixth, he only allowed one other base runner on a hit and struck out four to earn the win. 
    The Mussels offense lit up all afternoon scoring nine runs on 11 hits without the help of a home run. Mussels third baseman Jake Rucker led the offense with a three-hit game. 
    The Mussels will begin their next series at home on Tuesday night against Palm Beach for another six-game series against the Cardinals Low-A affiliate.  
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day –  Sawyer Gipson-Long (Cedar Rapids) - 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
    Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2 R, SB (6), RBI (6) 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed:
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-3  
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-2, R, 2 BB Game 2, 2-4, R, HR, SB, RBI 
    #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-4, R, 2B, RBI (3)
    #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, R, 2 BB
    #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, RBI (6), BB, K
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
    #15 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
    #16 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Game 1, 1-4, SB, 2 RBI (20)
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, SB, BB, K 
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - Game 1, 0-3, BB, K Game 2, 2-3, R, 2 2B, RBI (10)
    TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    All Twins Minor League Affiliates are off on Monday and will resume their games on Tuesday, May 10. The only Monday in which there will be minor-league games is July 4th (and some for the Saints in September). 
    St. Paul @ Columbus (6:05 PM CST) - Ronny Henriquez
    Wichita @ Northwest Arkansas (11:05 AM CST) - Ben Gross
    Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:05 PM CST) - TBD
    Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (5:30 PM CST) - David Festa

    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games. 
     
  6. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Lucas Seehafer PT for an article, Carlos Correa Avoids Broken Finger, Injured List   
    Carlos Correa exited in the seventh inning after taking another pitch to his right hand during a partial swing. He underwent x-rays and was diagnosed with a potential non-displaced fracture in his middle finger. He underwent a CT scan on Friday to confirm the initial diagnosis, but the results of the exam had not yet been announced when this article was published. In the past hour, we have learned that Correa did NOT break a finger, and at least for now, he will avoid the Injured List. 
    (Quick note: Why is it that x-ray imaging detected a potential fracture, but the CT scan did not? Both imaging techniques are good at identifying boney injuries, but CT scan provided a much clearer and more in-depth picture than x-rays. As such, they are considered the gold standard for skeletal pathology. If x-rays are inconclusive, CT scans are often utilized to make a firm diagnosis.)
     
    The reaction from Correa and a teammate... 
     
    Now, Correa is still sore and won't be able to play for a few games. So, Royce Lewis is still being promoted and will take Luis Arraez's spot on the roster. Arraez is out after a positive Covid test. 
    With that, we had asked Lucas to tell us what he knows about a non-displaced fracture of the finger, why it doesn't need surgery, and how long would it take for Correa to potentially get back in the lineup.  We are still going to leave this article here as information on what could have happened, and thankfully has been avoided now. 
    --------------------------------
    Luckily for Correa and Twins, bone is one of the only tissues in the body to heal completely and typically does so within 4-6 weeks of the fracture. The term “non-displaced” means that the two portions of the fractured bone did not separate from each other and, therefore, can typically mend on their own without surgery. The prognosis for this type of injury is excellent as the finger bones have good blood supply, making a complicated recovery unlikely.

    In the grand scheme, Correa’s injury is relatively minor, and he should be back on the diamond by mid-to-late-June. The Twins’ schedule is relatively fluffy during the weeks in which Correa is expected to miss and he should be back in the lineup by the time the schedule heats up after the All-Star Break.

    In the meantime, the Twins will rely on top prospect Royce Lewis in his stead. Lewis missed the previous two seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an ACL injury, but he has torn up Triple-A pitching through the first 24 games of the season, slashing .310/.430/.563 with three home runs and 11 doubles. 
  7. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Twins Promote Top Prospect Royce Lewis to Take Over at Shortstop   
    It's been quite an interesting journey for Royce Lewis. The Twins surprised the baseball world when they selected him first overall in 2017, signing the California prep star below slot while passing up flashy names like Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay and MacKenzie Gore to gamble on the toolsy shortstop.
    It paid off. Lewis emerged as a superior prospect compared to all others at the top of that draft, and was a consensus Top 10 prospect in baseball heading into 2019, where he appeared in the Futures Game. But that season was a bit of a struggle for him, facing advanced competition in the higher minors. 
    Lewis missed the next two seasons entirely, with COVID wiping out 2020 and a knee injury sidelining him for all of 2021. He came into this 2022 campaign plagued by question marks, but wasted no time in putting them to rest.
    Playing at Triple-A for the first time, Lewis has been an absolute monster. He hit his 11th double on Thursday night and is batting .310 with a .993 OPS for the Saints. The speedster didn't lose a step from his knee surgery, as he's already got eight steals on nine attempts. 
    Perhaps most impressively, this historically undisciplined hitter has a 20-to-17 K/BB ratio in 107 plate appearances. Lewis came back after a two-year layoff and immediately conquered the biggest weakness in his game. 
    Those of us who've been following him along the way are not shocked. Lewis is a rare specimen and it's extremely exciting that we'll now get to see him take the big-league stage, even if the circumstances that precipitated it are undeniably bogus. 
    Lewis has played shortstop almost exclusively in the minors and is poised to play there almost every day for the Twins in Correa's absence, however long that lasts. (Presumably not long since he avoided the IL.) Lewis' defense will be worth watching closely, since many feel he's not destined to stick at the position. 
    Despite his rocky road, Royce Lewis is going to debut in the majors at age 22, less than five years after being drafted out of high school. Somehow, despite all the turbulence, his timeline still worked out almost exactly as you'd hope. Now he's got a chance to make an impression -- albeit perhaps a brief one.
    Editor's Note: This article was updated to correct the mistaken assumption that Correa's broken finger was confirmed by Friday morning's CT scan. We apologize for the error.
     
     
  8. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Otto von Ballpark for an article, Forum Friday: Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy?   
    The 7-game win streak may have ended, but the Twins kept rolling on the East Coast while the conversations kept rolling in the TD community.
    You may not know this (probably because it isn't true), but there is a print version of Twins Daily, being compiled by a team of reference librarians for publication after the internet inevitably crumbles. And @Brock Beauchamp's So, about that pitching pipeline... was the first TD post in quite some time to be filed under the index heading "Pitching, Young" but not also "Pitching, In Desperate Need of". File that under "Progress" too!
     
    But it's not just the youngsters. Looking beyond the stat sheet, Veteran Pitching Leading Twins Success says 2022 forum rookie @Marshall_P. And even the stat sheet isn't as bad as last year's free agent pitchers (who shall not be named).
    While a steady diet of sliders is generally considered bad for one's health, @Lucas Seehafer PT found a Twin that is feasting on them: Trevor Larnach is crushing sliders. Could an endorsement deal with White Castle be next?
    In light of recent success, @wsnydes asks us to update our count of chickens mid-hatching in So, now how many wins? The correct prognosticator could (but most likely won't) win a supply of Larnach-branded sliders!
    And after a first month that felt like winter at times, the community warmed up to @snotboogie's discussion of a popular summer pastime: Herb Carneal and Cory Provus (and kinda John Gordon) Listening to the Twins. Which one is your favorite radio announcer?
    Got your own question to ask, an idea to suggest, or a memory to share? There's room for all that and more in the TD forums.
  9. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Sherry Cerny for an article, Twins 9, Rays 1: Garlick Powers Twins to Win   
    Box Score
    SP: Chris Archer: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 46 strikes (58.2%))
    Home Runs: Kyle Garlick 2 (3), Max Kepler (5)

    Top 3 WPA: Kyle Garlick (.316), Gilbert Celestino (.73), Carlos Correa (.60)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

     
    Chris Archer Returns to Tampa Bay
    Chris Archer was acquired by the Twins from Tampa Bay on March 28 of this season, Saturday, he pitched against the team that he spent eight seasons with. While the asset for the Twins was knowing that Archer knows what to throw to his former teammates, the Rays also know what he will throw, which caught up to the pitcher in the bottom of the second when Taylor Walls hit a home run into right-center field off Archer’s slider in the second inning but is the only run that he gave up during his return to Tropicana.
    In Archer’s first start against his former team, the Rays lineup made him work for every pitch that was thrown, but he completed four innings with the help of his defense and certainly calm demeanor. 
    Rocco Baldelli has been limiting his pitches to around 60 during his first three games this season. The Twins are easing Archer into the season after spending most of 2021 injured with right forearm tenderness. Archer’s confidence continued to grow, allowing him to throw a season-high of 79 pitches. He managed to work through four innings and only allowed two hits and one solo-home run before being relieved by Cody Stashak.
    The Bullpen did an amazing job of going five scoreless innings holding Tampa Bay to just one run for this game. 
    Last Minute Roster Changes Assist in Game Win
    The further the Twins have gone into April, the more injuries have popped up along the way. This series both Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton missed starting different games due to injuries. In their absence, other players have been stepping up figuratively and literally to get their chance at staying on the roster. 
    Trevor Larnach replaced Buxton today in the lineup. Buxton was a late scratch for today’s game after he received a contusion from being hit in the hand during the game Friday. Larnach’s hitting against lefties has continued to improve and in his first at-bat, he walked, making McClannahan work.
    The Twins kept Larnach in the line-up even after the McClannahan had retired, allowing him to help the Twins continue to work towards the win, getting a double in the top of the seventh scoring Celestino giving the Twins a little padding with a 4-1 lead. 
    Larnach’s performance has continued to improve substantially over the past two weeks as he puts in the work to show why he should stay after they reduce the roster in May. 
    Sano is back in the lineup after missing games with a sore knee. Batting eighth in the lineup, he wasn’t able to find his stride in the game and struck out with each at-bat.  Frustrating, for not only Sano, but for the team as well. Sano typically thrives at Tropicana Field with hits and RBIs, making it one of his more successful parks to play in, but just couldn’t seem to get anything going. 
    Bailey Ober was placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday and brought up Cole Sands to take his place. Sands most likely will be making his MLB debut with the team after the Rays series when they travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles. 
    Kyle Garlick was the MVP of the game today as he smashed two home runs, a solo homer in the first inning, and a two-run shot in the sixth inning to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. Garlick had his first career multi-home run game of his career today and after his second home run, the Rays removed McClannahan bringing out JP Feyereisen to finish out the inning. Kyle Garlick was taken out after hitting his second home run. He returned to the dugout and the Twins brought in Max Kepler for defensive purposes, and because they would be facing right-handed pitchers the rest of the game.
     
    Kepler wasted no time getting in on the action hitting a single in his first at-bat and joining the player he replaced by hitting a home run deep to right-centerfield. 
    Not Finished YET
    The Twins used the ninth inning to give Twins fans a show, getting seven hits and four runs before leaving the bases loaded. The Twins have been on a hot streak lately winning eight of their last nine decisions and potentially could close out this series with a win. 
    What’s Next? 
    The Twins have a get-away day game tomorrow to complete the series with the Rays before heading to the east coast for a four-game series against the Orioles at historic Camden Yards. Pitching matchups for tomorrow: 
    Sunday 12:10: Chris Paddack (0-2, 5.00) vs Josh Flemming LHP (2-2) Postgame Interview 
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

     
  10. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, A New Sheriff In Town?   
    Chris Paddack burst onto the scene in 2019 posting a 3.33 ERA in San Diego over about 140 innings. He paired a dominant mid to high-90s fastball with a plus-plus changeup and fantastic command to put together a rookie campaign that hinted at a future ace-level pitcher. Over the next two years, however, Paddack came to find that the MLB is unforgiving toward starting pitchers with only two pitches. And so he went to work.
    Contrary to popular belief, Paddack wasn’t quite a two-pitch pitcher in 2021. He had incorporated a curveball 12% of the time and had fantastic results on the pitch. His 5+ ERA finish was instead a result of an underperforming fastball, although you could argue that Paddack wasn’t throwing the breaking ball nearly enough which could have helped the performance of the rest of his repertoire. Luckily, Paddack appears to have made significant adjustments to both pitches.
    This small change should pay off twofold. On one hand, getting the fastball away from the heart of the plate is always a good idea. Also consider the fact that he’s upped his breaking ball usage to over 20% so far, meaning it’s harder to look fastball. Mixing in more breaking balls typically makes any fastball more effective, but now that he has one to pair with a devastating changeup, his fastball at the top of the zone should be that much harder to get around on. We’ve seen early signs of hitters already having difficulties with this change.
    While it’s admittedly a small sample size, Paddack’s better overall performance appears to be tied to his once broken fastball making a huge rebound. After batters hit .314 on the pitch in 2021, they’re posting a .250 mark so far this year. More impressively, after allowing a .531 slugging % on the pitch last season, hitters have posted a .357 mark so far in 2022. This is all despite the fact that his average fastball velocity is down from 94.8 to 92.9 this year after a shortened spring and pitching in colder weather. It’s possible the pitch may actually improve as the season rolls on.
    The biggest Chris Paddack storyline to keep an eye on however is his development of yet another pitch. As a fastball/changeup pitcher for most of his career, Paddack has posted fantastic reverse splits as we often see with pitchers whose primary offspeed is a changeup. Holding left-handers to a .226/.273/.408 line is impressive for a right-handed pitcher, but in Paddack’s case his lack of an equalizer for right-handed hitters has resulted in them posting a healthy .742 OPS against him. Luckily it appears the Twins were two steps ahead on this one.
    In his third start with the Twins, Paddack threw what Statcast calls a cutter seven times. Whether it’s a cutter or a slider, this would really round out Paddack’s repertoire with a pitch that traditionally stifles right-handed pitching. It’s too small of a sample to draw any conclusions from the pitch, but the fact of the matter is if Paddack can make any strides in limiting right-handed hitters, it’s not hard to see him being one of the leaders in the rotation for the next three years.
    It was easy to question parting with Taylor Rogers for a struggling Chris Paddack at the time, but it’s become very clear in this early season that the Twins did so with a very specific plan in mind. At 26 years old after a few tough seasons, Paddack appears to still have the raw talent that once earned him the reputation as one of the up-and-coming stud pitchers in baseball. With a change in scenery, a change in pitch sequencing, and possibly a new trick or two up his sleeve, Chris Paddack could become the high-end pitcher fans were calling for all offseason. Do you agree?
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
     
  11. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Twins Minor League Report (4/28): Mack Attack Keeps Kernels Rolling   
    SAINTS SENTINEL 
    Nashville 6, St. Paul 2
    Box Score
    Minnesota acquired Ronny Henriquez in the Mitch Garver trade with the Texas Rangers and tonight he worked as the St. Paul Saints starter. Lasting just 2 2/3 innings, Henriquez gave up four earned runs on three hits and four walks. Two big flies were sent out of the park against him.
    Brewers star prospect Brice Turang opened the scoring with a first-inning bomb before Nashville extended things to a 3-0 lead in the 3rd inning. Jake Cave put the Saints on the board with an RBI single scoring Royce Lewis in the bottom half but the three-run deficit is as close as they’d cut it.
    After giving up another Sounds run on a Jon Singleton homer in the 5th inning, St. Paul drew within three again on a Derek Fisher 6th inning double. Jose Miranda scored but Curtis Terry was thrown out at third base on the play.
    The deficit was pushed back to four after the second Weston Wilson home run of the game in the 8th inning and that’s where things wound up.
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 2, Arkansas 0
    Box Score
    Stud pitching prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson was on the bump tonight for the Wind Surge. Working five scoreless innings, he’s now recorded 21 2/3 scoreless innings to start the season. He punched out four while walking three and owns an 18/7 K/BB thus far. After a weird season with an Olympics break thrown in, he looks like an incredible addition from the Toronto Blue Jays.
    Arkansas stifled the Wind Surge offense for the most part as well. Only four Wichita hits were recorded and single runs came in the 4th and 8th innings. Cole Sturgeon scored the first run on an Andrew Bechtold ground out while Spencer Steer was plated on a Michael Helman single.
    In a game that was largely devoid of offense, Wichita produced when needed.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 3, Beloit 0
    Box Score
    Looking for continued dominance the Cedar Rapids Kernels gave the ball to Brent Headrick tonight and he handled business. Working five scoreless innings, Headrick allowed just three hits while punching out seven and giving up no free passes. The bullpen came on to shut it down and preserve a shutout as the Kernels improved to a staggering 15-3 on the year.
    On the offensive side of things, the Kernels were largely held in check. Only two batters recorded base hits prior to the final frame. In the 9th inning Jeferson Morales started things off with a single before advancing to 2nd base on a wild pitch. Wander Javier then drew a walk before a Charles Mack double drove in two.
    The Kernels closed things out in the bottom half and it’s been nothing short of an amazing start to the season.
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 3, Clearwater 2
    Box Score
    John Stankiewicz has been nothing short of dominant to start 2022 for the Mighty Mussels and he continued that streak tonight. Working 5 2/3 innings, the Fort Myers hurler gave up just a single unearned run on five hits. Stankiewicz also added three strikeouts with just one walk while lowering his season ERA to 0.83.
    After getting behind in the first inning, Fort Myers remained resilient and broke through in the 5th inning. A Jesus Feliz double drove in Noah Cardenas before Kala’i Rosario left the building for his second big fly of the season.
    Although Clearwater came within on during the bottom of the 7th inning, that’s as close as they’d get in this one.
    Cardenas was the lone Mighty Mussels batter to record a two-hit night, and he’s pushed his season OPS to .843. Mike Paredes worked 2 1/3 innings of relief for Stankiewicz allowing just a single run on four hits while recording five strikeouts and allowing no free passes. Matthew Swain then came on to close it out in the 9th inning.
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day – Simeon Woods-Richardson (Wichita) 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
    Hitter of the Day – Charles Mack (Cedar Rapids) 2-4, 2 RBI, 2B
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. 
    Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed:
    #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-4, R, K
    #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-4, R
    #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL
    #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
    #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-3, BB, K
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-2, 2 BB, K
    #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 0-3, 2 K
    #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, K
    #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2B
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 0-5, 3 K
     
    FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Nashville @ St. Paul (6:37PM CST) - RHP Chi-Chi Gonzalez
    Wichita @ Arkansas (7:05PM CST) - RHP Matt Canterino
    Cedar Rapids @ Beloit (6:35PM CST) - RHP Sean Mooney
    Clearwater @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - RHP David Festa
    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  12. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Kirilloff, Smeltzer Hope to Rejoin Twins Soon   
    Devin Smeltzer threw 11 innings for the big league club down in Fort Myers during Spring Training this year and gave up just five hits while striking out nine and walking two batters. He was seen as a longshot to make the Opening Day roster, but with a clean bill of health, he looked the part of an arm that may be able to help in 2022.
     
    Ultimately, the Twins decided to send Smeltzer to Triple-A, but the strong performances haven’t stopped. Working five innings today, he allowed just a single run, Smeltzer owns a 1.42 ERA through 19 innings and has a 16/6 K/BB.
     
    Given how solid Minnesota’s starters have looked thus far, it’s hard to see a place where Smeltzer fits into the rotation. There’s little reason to believe he can’t be of service in another capacity. Right now, the only left-handed arms in Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen are Danny Coulombe and Caleb Thielbar. After being reliable the past couple of seasons, Thielbar has produced lackluster results to open 2022.
     
    I’d wager Minnesota wants to see more from Thielbar before making a change, but he does have an option left. With an expected ERA of 3.63, there is reason to believe that with more outings, he will straighten things out. Whether taking over for Thielbar or someone else, it’s good to see Smeltzer making a renewed case for inclusion on the 26-man roster.
     
    Talking to Smeltzer after his outing, he suggested "health" is the most significant difference in his performance. “I had some long-term cancer side effects that popped up the past two years, finally got that taken care of. Got the neck taken care of. Everything else has just kind of fallen into place.”
    Working as a starter at Triple-A but having worked out of the bullpen previously, Smeltzer said, “I always prefer to start. I’m going to do everything in my power to force them to make a move.”
    A notoriously quick worker, Smeltzer is experiencing the minor-league pitch clock for the first time. He’s certainly not a fan. “I think it’s destroying the game of baseball. I had two strikeouts in my last game on it (granted strikes from the umpire), and it’s ridiculous, honestly. These are guys’ careers. It’ll never happen in the big leagues. I don’t think the union will ever allow it.”
    Sharing very similar feelings to myself, Smeltzer continued, “It’s not baseball. Shaving off 15-20 minutes of a game isn’t going to pack the stadium. You either like baseball, or you don’t.”
     
    On the other side of the ball, there was talented Twins left fielder Alex Kirilloff playing in just his fourth Triple-A game. Having rehabbed for two games with the Saints last season after dealing with the same wrist issue, he was playing left field today after DHing on Tuesday.
    In his first game back following a cortisone shot, Kirilloff went 1-for-1 with three walks. Making contact in each of his first three at-bats today, he went 0-for-4 while sending two fly balls to left field and grounding out on a ball to second base.
     
    The ball found him plenty in the outfield as he recorded the game’s first out on a routine fly ball. There isn’t much concern with his fielding ability, as the problem has always persisted when swinging. Last season, the cortisone shot was deemed helpful for a time before he was shut down and eventually underwent wrist surgery. The hope for both Kirilloff and the Twins would be that there’s not a consistent issue this time around, and things have corrected themselves.
     
    After finishing the game, I talked with Kirilloff to check in on the progress and how he was feeling. When asked about continued discomfort in the wrist, he noted feeling it “here and there, but that it’s a lot better than what it was before, so that’s encouraging.”
    Unfortunately, this is a very similar timeline to when Kirilloff’s wrist began to bother him last year. Asked what about this feels different, he said, “It’s a similar feeling to last year, but the hope is that it does the trick and it’ll last longer than it did last year. Structurally now, it’s better than it was because of the procedure I had done. The surgery did what it needed to do as far as the structure. He (the doctor) thinks it will respond differently this time.”
    With a history of going through the same situation, Kirilloff played just two rehab games before returning to Minnesota. When asked about the timeline for a return this season, he said, “I feel like I’m close. I haven’t talked to them yet today, but I’ll be able to find out more information when I do.”
    He said the decision to return would be made collectively.
    St. Paul continues to play good baseball, and they have some of the top hitting talents in the Twins system. It’s more likely that Royce Lewis will force his way to the big leagues this year, and Jose Miranda repeating his 2021 performance should have him to the next level. Lewis inside-outed a double in the 8th inning before walking it off in the 10th inning. Miranda recorded a double and home run.
     
    Keep tabs on St. Paul with plenty to glean for the Twins as the season progresses.
  13. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Twins Banged Up Backstops   
    Throughout the season thus far, manager Rocco Baldelli has used both Ryan Jeffers and Gary Sanchez in the same starting lineups often. With both catchers being deployed, there’s the reality of a lost designated hitter should they need to swap out mid-game. Baldelli has noted that the club was working through identifying an emergency option, and while that hasn’t yet been needed, the depth is being tested early.
     
    After being in the lineup for Friday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox, Sanchez walked with catching coach Hank Conger back to the dugout after initially heading to the bullpen for warmups. Jeffers was shifted into the starting lineup, and it was announced that Sanchez had a sore abdomen. He underwent further testing on Saturday, but an MRI revealed only a minor indication of injury. Avoiding the Injured List, for now, he remained on the active roster over the weekend.
     
    On Sunday, Minnesota had penciled Jeffers into the starting lineup with Sanchez out, but ultimately he was scratched with a left knee contusion. After placing Jorge Alcala on the 60-day Injured List, the open 40-man roster spot was given to Jose Godoy as a necessary move to have a catcher available.
     
    Although Jeffers was said to be potentially available off the bench, that seemed thwarted with multiple late-game situations where his bat or glove could’ve provided an upgrade. While it’s certainly understandable that Minnesota wants to be cautious given the length of the season and needing to keep guys healthy, Sunday’s action brought up questions regarding what happens at a position tied to significant injury risk.
     
    Before the season started, the Twins dealt both Mitch Garver and Ben Rortvedt in separate trades. While that signified Jeffers as the starter and led to an acquisition of Sanchez, it turned the position on its head.
     
    Minnesota claimed Godoy off waivers in a depth move, but he brings just 16 games of experience to the table after debuting with Seattle last season. The Twins have a trio of backstops at Triple-A, and each provides a different skill set. David Banuelos is a 25-year-old with just a .574 career MiLB OPS. Caleb Hamilton is a 27-year-old with a better bat owning a career .667 OPS. The most intriguing name may be the recently claimed Chance Sisco. He’s a former top prospect with an .807 OPS in the minors. He’s yet to put it together at the big-league level but may be next in line for Minnesota.
     
    There’s no denying that it would be a very negative development if both Sanchez and Jeffers were lost at any point during the season. Happening a few weeks in is even less ideal. As their injuries stand now, both seem to be highly short-term and are being managed to have them back quickly. However, playing catcher will invite nicks and bruises, and the Twins may have seen a quick glimpse of what they wish to avoid in keeping all of their backstops healthy.
    Over the weekend, Jeffers saw his bat start to heat up, and carrying that momentum forward would be an excellent development for a player the front office so clearly believes in. Sanchez has flashed extreme pop at times, and while his glove still leaves plenty to be desired, he’s settling into a new home with the Twins. The duo looks like part of a strong position group, and Baldelli needing to figure out how to operate without them is not something he will want to do often.
     
    I don’t know if Godoy or Sisco can hack it for the Twins over any significant stretch of time. I’d certainly prefer not to find out as well.
  14. Like
    wsnydes reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Grandfather Amuses Child with Apocryphal Tales of Twins Offense   
    Rowan Landskog, 6, loves it when his grandfather Bill Landskog comes over to read him bedtime stories. He especially loves it when the stories are in the realm of the fantastic and unbelievable, with tales of monsters and Martians sending him to sleep.
    Lately, the stories have taken an even more outrageous turn, as “Grampa Billy” tells his baseball-crazy grandson about the legend of the Minnesota Twins offense.
    “Grampa Billy said the Minnesota Twins used to hit a bunch of dingers,” said the junior Landskog, who lives with his mother in Stillwater. “He says they would hit them all the time and score a bunch of points. Wow!”
    The elder Landskog usually starts his reading shift with Dr. Seuss, moves on to Shel Silverstein or Where the Wild Things Are, then completes his duties by reading the Baseball Reference page for the 2019 Minnesota Twins.
    “Grampa said that when I was in preschool the Twins set the record for home runs,” said an astonished Rowan. “I think he knew I didn't believe him but he swore it was true." 
    The kindergartner was especially awestruck by a new term he learned last night.
    “He told me a fun story about a friendly dragon who saved a pretty princess,” said an excited Rowan, his eyes filled with wonder. “And then Grampa Billy said that if a batter gets a home run when the bases are loaded, they call it a grand slam, and that the Twins have done it a lot! I love it when he tells me his crazy stories.”
    The storytelling grandfather was unavailable for comment but could be overheard issuing a series of expletives at his car radio when the Twins hit into their second double play during Thursday afternoon’s game against Kansas City.
  15. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Dave Overlund for an article, In Appreciation Of Dick Bremer   
    Dick Bremer was born and raised in Minnesota and has been a Twins fan all of his life. There really aren't too many instances where a hometown kid becomes the announcer of his favorite team. 
    Born in St. Paul and raised in Dumont, Minnesota, Bremer is the fourth-longest tenured radio or television broadcaster in Major League Baseball. He trails only the Royals' Denny Matthews (1969), the Brewers' Bob Uecker (1971), and Texas' Eric Nadel (1979) and is tied with Seattle's Rick Rizzs (1983) and Boston's Joe Castiglione (1983). 
    On that list, only Bremer and Uecker are currently broadcasting games for their hometown teams. 
    With such a long tenure comes an intimate knowledge of the team's history. Cory Provus, who I really enjoy quite a bit on the radio broadcasts, can look up stats and stories from the 1984 season when Kirby Puckett made his debut or watch videos of the 1991 parade, but he wasn't there and didn't live it the same way Bremer did. 
    Not only does Bremer possess a nearly unprecedented wealth of Twins knowledge, but his personality is also a great fit for baseball fans in the Upper Midwest with a dry sense of humor and a large dose of humility. He seems to understand that viewers tune in to watch the games, not for him. That can be rare in today's world. 
    When I was a kid I had two memorable interactions with Bremer. One at Spring Training where I was basically starstruck passing him in the concourse in Ft. Myers.  I managed to sputter out "How will the Twins do this year?" and he gave me a thoughtful, long answer and asked me what I thought. As a kid, I felt so cool having a real conversation with a famous adult. 
    Years later in the 2000's, I was settling into my customary Upper General Admission seat in Section 212 for an afternoon game. I looked down the row a bit, and there was Dick Bremer reading a newspaper in the nosebleeds waiting for the game to start. I remember thinking that it was really neat that he would watch a game from up there on a day the game wasn't televised. 
    In fact, I was in that very seat for one of my favorite Bremer calls: 
    In other words, he strikes me as a real fan of the team. This can be bad (In my opinion Paul Allen takes this a bit too far, nothing against him he's great at what he does) but Bremer seems to know how to toe that line perfectly. 
    I still get goosebumps when I watch this highlight from 2009, coincidentally featuring Kubel as well: 
    That is not a forced home run call. That's not a planned out, "A-Bomb From A-Rod" corny home run call. That is a man who is genuinely excited about what he just saw. 
    I think it is natural to get 'sick of' a broadcaster after this long of a time. If you hear anyone every day for over 30 years, they are probably going to wear on you a bit whether it is a spouse, boss, or sports broadcaster. 
    For the folks who wish for a change in the broadcast booth, be careful what you wish for. There can never be another Dick Bremer. The man has seen it all. 
  16. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Tyler Duffey's Dreadful Start Is Déjà Vu All Over Again   
    To suggest that Duffey is solely responsible for the two losses he's been tagged with is not quite fair. In both cases he was working with an extremely thin late-game lead thanks to an offense that just can't seem to get going.
    Nevertheless, both on April 9th against Seattle and on Tuesday night against Kansas City, Duffey entered with a fresh inning and one-run lead. In both cases, those leads turned to deficits (and eventual losses) on his watch.
    As a result, Duffey enters play on Wednesday with the worst Win Probability Added (-0.88) among all major-league players. If this feels familiar, there's a reason. In 2021, Alex Colomé had the worst WPA in the majors by a wide margin for the month of April. We saw the effect his implosion had on the course of the Twins season. It's difficult not to feel a sense of déjà vu.
    Now, it also must be noted that we're dealing with incredible small sample sizes here. Duffey has made only three appearances this season. Making rash decisions on such a basis tends to be unwise. For example, Liam Hendriks also finds himself near the bottom of the WPA leaderboard – I doubt the White Sox are about to bump him into mop-up duty.
    But there is really no optimism to be drawn from Duffey's performance. He looks TERRIBLE. It seemed clear that he was on the road to regression last year as his peripherals all slid downward, but it was hard to envision such an extraordinary manifestation of this regression so rapidly.

    The main problem is that Duffey's fastball, which needs to be a reliable mainstay to set up his breaking ball, is an unusable pitch. He has thrown it 22 times so far and produced zero swings and misses. When putting the four-seamer in play, opponents are 4-for-6 with two doubles and a  home run. The average exit velocity on this contact is a whopping 103 MPH. Good grief.
    Rocco Baldelli is short on alternatives at the back end of the bullpen presently, which casts a pall on the decision to trade Taylor Rogers on the eve of Opening Day. (Rogers, by the way, is 5-for-5 in save attempts with a 0.00 ERA for the Padres.) 
    But using Duffey in big spots is simply not an option right now. He needs to be relegated to low leverage and unless things change quickly he's probably going to be on DFA watch. 
    It's unfortunate to see from a well-liked player who's been with the organization for so long. But the Twins don't have the luxury of letting sentimentality affect their decision-making. Baldelli simply cannot stand idly by and let another season spin off the rails out of deference to a bad relief pitcher based on nothing more than stature and track record. He just can't.
     
  17. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Steve Lein for an article, Twins Minor League Report (4/19): The Arrival of Raya   
    TRANSACTIONS
    In Fort Myers, IF Jesus Feliz was activated from the 7-day IL and was in the lineup batting sixth and playing first base for the Mighty Mussels. SAINTS SENTINEL
    St. Paul 0, Toledo 11
    Box Score
    Jose Miranda led off the game for the Saints with a double, but that was literally as good as it would get for them the rest of it. As a team they managed just three hits, were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and left only five men on base on the night. In addition to Miranda’s double, Mark Contreras and Jermaine Palacios each had a single.
    Unfortunately, it wasn’t any better for the pitching staff either as Toledo scored at least one run in six of their eight at-bats. Starter Cole Sands went just 1 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits and a walk. Wladimir Pinto, Jovani Moran, Jordan Gore, and Ryan Mason went the next six innings, combining to allow six runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out ten. Catcher David Banuelos was even called upon to get the final out of the game for the Saints and did so with one pitch.
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Midland 4, Wichita 6
    Box Score
    The Wind Surge got a nice bounce-back start from right-hander Matt Canterino in this one, going three hitless innings. He struck out the side in the first on just 11 pitches but labored a little from there. In total, he walked two and struck out six, throwing 51 pitches (29 for strikes) in his outing. He was getting several swings and misses on mid-90s fastballs when he put them inside the zone, but also missed quite often. Overall a very encouraging outing from the top prospect, however. 
    He also got some help from his defense, as left-fielder Leobaldo Cabrera definitely saved a couple of runs with this catch to rob a home run in the second inning:
    Wichita took a 3-0 lead after the second inning as Michael Helman led off the frame with his second home run of the season, and later Cole Sturgeon drove in the other two runs with a single to right field.
    After Canterino’s exit the RockHounds were able to jump on reliever Kody Funderburk in the fourth, as he allowed a two-run homer to cut the lead to one. Funderburk would finish three total innings, allowing two other hits and two walks while striking out two. Zach Featherstone was credited with a blown save and the win after allowing a game-tying two-run home run in the seventh.
    He got the win as the Wind Surge lineup came right back in the bottom half. Spencer Steer drove in one with a fielder’s choice ground ball to score Austin Martin, who had singled and stole his seventh base of the season before that, and Helman added a sac fly to make the final score 6-4.
    Austin Schulfer finished off the final two innings to pick up his second save, allowing two hits and striking out three.
    Dennis Ortega had two hits, Matt Wallner drew two walks and scored a run, and Martin was 1-for-3 with two walks in the game.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Peoria 3, Cedar Rapids 4
    Box Score
    The Kernels got another strong start from left-hander Cade Povich in their series opener with Peoria. He pitched into the fifth inning, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Though he struck out the first two batters of the fifth inning he had reached his pitch count at 81 in the game and was removed. He struck out nine hitters in the game and now has 17 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings pitched on the season in his two starts. 
    Cedar Rapids scored single runs in the first and second innings thanks to RBI singles from Jair Camargo and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. They took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth when Wander Javier slugged his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to make it 4-2.
    Bradley Hanner was the first relief pitcher for the Kernels and went a scoreless 1 1/3 innings. Cody Laweryson went the next 1 1/3, allowing one run on one walk while striking out two. Osiris German finished off the eighth then came back out for the ninth and got into some trouble. A leadoff single was followed by a sac bunt and an error to put the tying run 90-feet away with two outs. But Seth Gray made a diving play to his left at first base, knocking down a screaming grounder, and was able to flip it to German at first base to secure the win. It was German’s third save of the young season and he struck out two in his 1 2/3 innings.
    Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-4, R, RBI, 2 K) and Camargo (2-for-4, RBI) had multiple hits and Aaron Sabato drew two walks in the game. As a team, they collected eight hits, were 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and left eight men on base in improving to 8-2 on the season.
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 4, Dunedin 2
    Box Score
    Before he had even made a professional appearance, starting pitcher Marco Raya was heading into the 2022 season with some major helium as a prospect. After a solid debut last week, you could say Raya officially provided evidence for that helium on this night. He was lights out for six innings, allowing just a single in the first inning, and went on to retire every hitter he faced after that (16 in a row). He had multiple strikeouts in four of his six innings and punched out the last five hitters he faced to reach double-digit strikeouts with 10 on the game. Hopefully, that’s the first of many times moving forward for the 19-year-old phenom. Even more impressive may be that he did this all on just 68 pitches, with 49 of them going for strikes (72%), and 17 of them swinging.
    The Mighty Mussels lineup gave him all the support he and the bullpen would need in the fifth inning, scoring all four of their runs thanks to some wildness from the pitcher and RBI singles from Kyler Fedko and Noah Cardenas. Jake Rucker and Dillon Tatum provided the other two hits in the game, and Noah Miller drew two walks.
    Malik Barrington allowed two runs on two hits in two innings of relief, striking out one. Hunter Mcmahon picked up his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day - Marco Raya, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 6 IP, H, 10 K)
    Hitter of the Day - Wander Javier, Cedar Rapids Kernels (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI)
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-3, R, 2 BB, K, SB (7)
    #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, K
    #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, 2B, K
    #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 3 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 6 K
    #10 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 0-for-2, R, 2 BB
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Pinch runner in the ninth
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 0-for-2, R, 2 BB, SB (1)
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - L, 1 2/3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, BB
    #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Fort Myers) - 0-for-3, R, 3 K
    #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, R, RBI, BB
    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35 PM CDT) - RHP Mario Sanchez (0-0, 4.50 ERA)
    Midland @ Wichita (12:05 PM CDT) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP Sean Mooney (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Dunedin (6:00 PM CDT) - LHP Steve Hajjar (0-0, 12.00 ERA)
    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
     
  18. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review (4/12-18)   
    Over the past week, the Twins went 2-4, but all four of their minor-league affiliates had a winning record. There were postponements and a no-hitter. Games were played in snow. There were some great comebacks, and some absolutely dynamic pitching performances by some top prospects, but also by several that you may not have heard of… yet. And there were some really big offensive performances by prospects and others that are less known. Our purpose here, in large part, is to update you and introduce you to Twins prospects by giving them the credit they deserve. 
    If you missed it, read Nick's Twins Week in Review after you've read about the minor league week.
    Also note, hyperlinks on player names will show you past articles in which that player has been tagged. Click around a bit and see how much some of these players have been written about over the years. 
    WEEK IN REVIEW
    In case you missed a daily report: 
    Tuesday: Povich Nearly Perfect (Video)  Wednesday: Streak Continues, No-No in St. Paul (Video)   Thursday: Varland Victorious and Mussels Mighty (Video)   Friday: Bats Bring the Boom, Pitchers the Brooms (Video) Saturday: The Bats are Sizzling (Video) Sunday: Saints, Wind Surge, Kernels Conclude Week with Wins (Video)   Jhoan Duran is What the Twins Have Always Needed  Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (vs. Indianapolis) 3-2 (8-3 overall)
    The Saints played their home-opening series and got a brutal look at what baseball in Minnesota in April can look like. After dropping the first two games of the week, including being no-hit on Wednesday, the team was snowed-out on Thursday. They came back to play the coldest game in team history on Friday, got the win, then had a crazy come-from-behind win on Saturday, and finished off a series win on Sunday. 
    The Saints scored 28 runs over their five games, and 16 of them came on Saturday. Here are the top offensive performers from the past week: 
    Curtis Terry played four games. He went 4-for-14, hitting .286/.333/.786 (1.119) with a double and two home runs.  Royce Lewis played in all five games. He hit .412/.389/.706 (1.095) with three doubles and a triple. (Yes, he had a sacrifice fly.)  Jermaine Palacios has played around the infield, and in four games last week, he hit .385/.467/.615 (1.082) with a home run.  On the pitching front, there was a lot of solid pitching. Nine pitchers threw in one game and did not allow a run. In that group includes:
    Devin Smeltzer who gave up three hits over five scoreless in his start of the week.  Chi Chi Gonzalez tossed three scoreless, hitless innings in his outing.  Cole Sands had a second strong start. He gave up one run on three hits over five innings.  Finally, Jake Faria stretched out to four innings and gave up just one run.  What’s Next?
    The Saints travel to Toledo to take on the Mudhens. Here are their pitching probables:  
    Pitching Probables (RHP Cole Sands, RHP Mario Sanchez, TBD, TBD, TBD, RHP Cole Sands) 
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (@NW Arkansas) 4-2 (4-5 overall)
    The Surge began their 2022 season with three home losses to Tulsa. This past week, they traveled to NW Arkansas and lost the first two games against the Royals’ affiliate. On Thursday, they grabbed their first win of the season and finished the weekend with four straight wins.
    Things started a bit ominously for the team. In their first game of the week, Edouard Julien walked in the first inning. He stole second, but he hurt his ankle on the play and went on the Injured List the next day. Here are a couple of offensive highlights for the week: 
    Spencer Steer played in all six games. He hit .269/.321/.538 (.859) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run.  Alex Isola hit .286/.353/.500 (.853) with a homer over four games played.  Veteran Kevin Merrell joined the roster this week. He hit .385 in three games (5-for-13).  Austin Martin got off to a rough start, but over the past few games, he has returned to on-base machine status. This week, he hit .292 with a .433 OBP. He had seven hits and five walks, and when he got on base, he was running. He went 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts.  On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Wallner went 2-for-22 (.091) with 12 strikeouts. He did hit his first Double-A homer.  Like the Saints, the Wind Surge got some really strong bullpen performances and a couple of standout starter performances. 
    Eight relievers pitched twice and did not give up an earned run. Among them:  Steven Cruz tossed four hitless innings.  Tyler Viza struck out nine batters in 4 1/3 scoreless innings without issuing a walk.  Austin Schulfer struck out four batters over three, one-hit innings. He recorded one save.  Argenis Angulo struck out six batters over three scoreless innings.  Lefties Bryan Sammons and Evan Sisk each threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings.  Louie Varland got a Win in his start last week. He struck out ten batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and walked one.  Simeon Woods Richardson backed up his strong first start with another very good start. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits over five innings.  On the other side, in Brandon Lawson’s second start of the week, he gave up eight runs without recording an out.  What’s Next? The Wind Surge will be hosting Midland. 
    Pitching Probables (RHP Matt Canterino, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Louie Varland, RHP Brandon Lawson, RHP Matt Canterino)   
     
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (@ Quad Cities) 4-2 (7-2 overall)
    Christian Encarnacion-Strand had a solid week at the plate, a couple of home runs, and still leads all of minor-league baseball in RBI. This week, his OPS ranked sixth among Kernels hitters. The team scored 38 runs in their six games despite playing two, seven-inning doubleheaders. The team hit nine home runs in those six games. 
    Charles Mack has adapted well to playing behind the plate. The team may need to find ways to get his bat in the lineup more. In three games last week, he went 7-for-12 (.583) with two doubles, a homer, and five RBI. He posted a 1.583 OPS. Another catcher, Jair Camargo, played in four games and hit .375/.412/1.000 (1.412) with a double, three homers, and five RBI.  Seth Gray played five games. He hit .429/.600/.786 (1.386) with two doubles and a triple. He also reached five times on walks. Anthony Prato did a great job setting the table from the leadoff spot. In six games, he hit .348/.448/.565 (1.013) with a triple, a homer, five walks, and seven RBI.   Aaron Sabato had a nice week. He played in four games, but he hit .313/.421/.563 (.984) with a double and a home run. He drove in six runs. Maybe more important, he had just three strikeouts in 19 plate appearances.  Alerick Soularie was the only other player with six games played. He went just 2-for-21 (.095) The Kernels got some terrific performances from their starting pitchers last week in Quad Cities. 
    Sawyer Gipson-Long had a strong first start. He was even better in start number two. The right-hander tossed five shutout innings. He gave up three hits, walked none, and struck out nine batters.  Lefty Cade Povich went five shutout innings in his start. He gave up just one hit, walked one, and struck out eight.  Brent Headrick is healthy and put together a second strong start. In four innings, he gave up just one hit. He struck out eight batters and walked none.  A third left-hander, Aaron Rozek, gave up only an unearned run over five innings in his start. He gave up three hits and struck out seven batters without issuing a walk.  Derek Molina worked three scoreless innings over two outings in relief. He struck out five batters.   What’s Next? The Kernels will be hosting Peoria for six games this week. 
    Pitching Probables (LHP Cade Povich, RHP Sean Mooney, RHP Casey Legumina, LHP Brent Headrick, RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long, LHP Aaron Rozek)   
     
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (vs. Jupiter) 4-2 (7-2 overall)
    After winning their first four games of the week, the Mussels were 7-0. However, they lost their final two games of the week. The Mighty Mussels had a couple of big comeback wins, along with a nice 12-0 blowout. They scored 37 runs in their six games last week. 
    A top prospect is making the large Florida State League ballparks look small. And a 2021 All-American showed again that he can flat-out hit. 
    Emmanuel Rodriguez played in five games last week. He went 7-for-16, hitting .438/.591/1.000 (1.591) with three homers. He also walked six times. He heads into this week with just one minor leaguer having more walks than him.  Kyler Fedko had another really good week. He played in all six games. He hit .500/.577/.727 (1.304) with two doubles, a homer, and four RBI. He went 11-for-22.  Dillon Tatum was drafted last year as a catcher, but he’s been spending time at first base too. In four games this week, he went 3-for-12 (.250), but he walked five times in 17 plate appearances.  Another catcher, Kyle Schmidt, played in all six games. He hit .278/.316/.611 (.927) with two homers and nine RBI.  On the flip side, top pick Noah Miller played in five games and went 2-for-20 (.100). He did walk six times. Fellow 2021 draft picks Mikey Perez (2-for-14, .143) and Noah Cardenas (1-for-12, .083) also struggled in the small sample size of one week.  Like the other affiliates, the Mighty Mussels got strong pitching from starters and relievers this week. 
    John Stankiewicz had a very impressive start. The right-hander struck out 11 batters over six shutout innings. He gave up three hits and didn’t issue a walk.  Travis Adams also had a really good start last week. In his start, he struck out seven batters over five scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits and walked one batter.  Lefty Sam Perez struck out five batters in three relief innings. Malik Barrington, Jackson Hicks, Mike Paredes, Matthew Swain, and John Wilson all tossed two scoreless innings in their relief outings.  What’s Next? The Mighty Mussels will head up north to play six games against Dunedin. 
    Pitching Probables (RHP Marco Raya, LHP Steve Hajjar, RHP Pierson Ohl, TBD, RHP Travis Adams, TBD) 
     
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings and how they performed last week (April 12-18). 
    #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-24 (.292), 2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K
    #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 5 G, 7-for-17 (.412), 3-2B, 3B, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K
    #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5 G, 5-for-19 (.263), 3-2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K
    #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL
    #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 7 K
    #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1 GS, 1 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 2 K
    #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 3 G, 4 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K 
    #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K
    #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - 2 G, 6.1 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K 
    #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 2-for-20 (.100), 1 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K. 
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 4 G, 1-for-7 (.143), 2 BB, 4 K
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 5 G, 2-for-22 (.091), HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 12 K.
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K
    #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 1 GS, 5 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K
    #15 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 5 G, 7-for-16 (.438) , 3 HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 4 K
    #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP
    #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL 
    #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 6 G, 7-for-26 (.269), 2-2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1 G, 0-for-0 (.000), 1 BB, 1 SB
    #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 1 GS, 3 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K. (pro debut) 
     
    PLAYERS OF THE WEEK 
    Hitter of the Week: Outfielder Emmanuel Rodriguez, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels 

    Rodriguez is a 19-year-old outfielder that the Twins signed on July 2, 2019, out of the Dominican Republic. It sure took some time for his career to begin. The 2020 season was canceled in the Dominican Summer League too. He made his professional debut in 2021 in the FCL. In 37 games, he hit .214/.346/.524 (.870) with five doubles, two triples, and 10 home runs. He also stole nine bases and is a solid defensive outfielder. He has spent all of his time in centerfield early this season, with a couple of games as DH too. Overall in his eight games this season, he has hit .360/.568/.880 (1.448) with a double and four home runs. More impressive, to this point, he has 12 walks to go with just six strikeouts. In 153 plate appearances a year ago, he walked 15% of the time and struck out nearly 37% of the time. Through just 37 plate appearances this season, Rodriguez has walked an unsustainable 32% of the time and struck out just 16% of the time. That number will certainly go up, but to this point, it is a nice sign of an improved process at the plate. The Florida State League is notoriously tough on hitters, so it will be very interesting to see if he is able to maintain his early-season power too. 
    Pitcher of the Week: John Stankiewicz, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels

    The Twins signed Stankiewicz following the 2020 draft. As you recall, there were just five rounds in the 2020 MLB draft. After it was complete, teams could sign other draft-eligible players for up to $20,000. Stankiewicz signed with the Twins following three solid seasons at Fordham University. Between the 2019 and the four-game 2020 season, he went 10-5 with a 1.56 ERA. In 2021, he spent time at the Florida Complex in the first half of the season. He made one start in the FCL when that season started and struck out six batters in two innings. He then finished with seven games (4 starts) with the Mighty Mussels. He was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He had 24 strikeouts and just eight walks over 23 1/3 innings. 
    In his first start of the season, he went five innings. He was charged with two runs on two hits and two walks. He also struck out eight Clearwater batters. Coupled with his six shutout innings in his second start, he has now struck out 19 batters, and walked just two, over 11 innings. He has been a strike machine so far this season. Over those two starts, he has thrown 145 pitches (11 innings) and thrown 72% strikes. 
     
    Congratulations to our Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, and to all those who have started the 2022 season strong. Check back at Twins Daily at least daily to see our minor league reports, game recaps, and usually some video highlights from the minor league games. 
  19. Like
    wsnydes reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Waiting For Sano   
    MINNIE:
    Nothing to be done.
    PAUL:
    I'm beginning to come ‘round to that opinion. All this time I've tried to put it from me, saying Paul, be reasonable, he hasn't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. So, there you are again.
    MINNIE:
    Am I?
    PAUL:
    I'm glad to see you back. I thought after the lockout you were gone forever.
    MINNIE:
    Me too.
    PAUL:
    Together again at last! We'll have to celebrate this. But how? Get up till I embrace you.
    MINNIE:
    Not now, not now.
    PAUL:
    May one inquire where His Highness spent the night?
    MINNIE:
    In a ditch.
    PAUL:
    A ditch! Where?
    MINNIE:
    Over there.
    PAUL:
    And they didn't beat you?
    MINNIE:
    Beat me? Certainly they beat me.
    PAUL:
    The same lot as usual?
    MINNIE:
    The same? Yankees, Dodgers, I don't know.
    PAUL:
    When I think of it…all these years…but for me…where would you be…you'd be nothing more than a little heap of bones at the present minute, no doubt about it.
    MINNIE:
    And what of it?
    PAUL:
    It's too much for one man. On the other hand, what's the good of losing heart now, that's what I say. We should have thought of it a million years ago, in the nineties.
    MINNIE:
    Ah stop blathering and help me off with this bloody thing. (MINNIE gestures at his Dairy Queen promotional Twins batting helmet.)
    PAUL:
    Hand in hand from the top of the Foshay Tower, among the first. We were respectable in those days. Now it's too late. They wouldn't even let us up. What are you doing?
    MINNIE:
    Taking off my helmet. Did that never happen to you?
    PAUL:
    Helmets must be taken off every day, I'm tired telling you that. Why don't you listen to me?
    MINNIE:
    Help me!
    PAUL:
    It hurts?
    MINNIE:
    Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!
    PAUL:
    No one ever suffers but you. I don't count. I'd like to hear what you'd say if you had what I have.
    MINNIE:
    It hurts?
    PAUL:
    Hurts! He wants to know if it hurts!
    MINNIE:
    (MINNIE points at PAUL's Menards promotional Twins baseball pants) You might button it all the same.
    PAUL:
    True. (PAUL buttons his fly.) Never neglect the little things of life.
    MINNIE:
    What do you expect, you always wait till the last moment.
    PAUL:
    The last moment…hope deferred maketh the something sick, who said that?
    MINNIE:
    Why don't you help me?
    PAUL:
    Sometimes I feel it coming all the same. Then I go all “maybe this is the year he’s consistent all season long.” How shall I say? Relieved and at the same time…appalled. AP-PALLED. Funny. Nothing to be done. Well?
    MINNIE:
    Nothing.
    PAUL:
    Show me.
    MINNIE:
    There's nothing to show.
    PAUL:
    Try and put it on again.
    MINNIE:
    I'll air it for a bit.
    PAUL:
    There's man all over for you, blaming on his promotional Dairy Queen batting helmet for the faults of his head. This is getting alarming. Gogo.
    MINNIE:
    What?
    PAUL:
    Suppose we repented.
    MINNIE:
    Repented what?
    PAUL:
    Oh. We wouldn't have to go into the details.
    MINNIE:
    Our being Minnesota sports fans?
    (PAUL breaks into a hearty laugh which he immediately stifles, his hand pressed to his careworn Bomba Squad t-shirt, his face contorted.)
    PAUL:
    One daren't even laugh any more.
    MINNIE:
    Dreadful privation.
    PAUL:
    Merely smile. It’s not the same thing. Nothing to be done. Gogo.
    MINNIE:
    What is it?
    PAUL:
    Did you ever read Baseball Reference?
    MINNIE:
    Baseball Reference…I must have taken a look at it.
    PAUL:
    Do you remember the Similarity Scores?
    MINNIE:
    I remember the Advanced Batting stats. I remember WAR and Win Probability. I remember seeing that his closest comps are Kyle Schwarber and Adam Duvall and Bo Jackson. The very look of it made me thirsty. That's where he'll go, I used to say, that's where he'll go for our postseason. We'll win. We'll be happy.
    PAUL:
    You should have been a poet.
    MINNIE:
    I was. Isn't that obvious?
    PAUL:
    Where was I…how's your head?
    MINNIE:
    Swelling visibly.
    PAUL:
    Ah yes, the two players. Do you remember the story?
    MINNIE:
    No.
    PAUL:
    Shall I tell it to you?
    MINNIE:
    No.
    PAUL:
    It'll pass the time. Two players traded at the same time as our savior. One—
    MINNIE:
    Our what?
    PAUL:
    Our savior, Joe Mauer. Two players. One is supposed to have been saved and the other…damned.
    MINNIE:
    Saved from what?
    PAUL:
    Hell.
    MINNIE:
    I'm going.
    PAUL:
    And yet…how is it –this is not boring you I hope– how is it that of the four beat writers only one speaks of a player being saved. The four of them were there –or thereabouts– and only one speaks of a player being saved. Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can't you, once in a way?
    MINNIE:
    I find this really most extraordinarily interesting.
    PAUL:
    One out of four. Of the other three, two don't mention any players at all and the third says that both Hardy and Hoey were damned.
    MINNIE:
    Who?
    PAUL:
    What?
    MINNIE:
    What's all this about? Damned how?
    PAUL:
    Hoey got optioned. Hardy went to Baltimore.
    MINNIE:
    Why?
    PAUL:
    Because Hoey couldn't save them.
    MINNIE:
    From hell?
    PAUL:
    Imbecile! From losing.
    MINNIE:
    I thought you said hell.
    PAUL:
    From losing, from losing.
    MINNIE:
    Well what of it?
    PAUL:
    Then the two of them must have been damned.
    MINNIE:
    And why not?
    PAUL:
    But one of the four says that one of the two was saved.
    MINNIE:
    Well? They don't agree and that's all there is to it.
    PAUL:
    But all four were there. And only one speaks of a player being saved. Why believe him rather than the others?
    MINNIE:
    Who believes him?
    PAUL:
    Everybody. It's the only version they know.
    MINNIE:
    People are bloody ignorant apes.
    PAUL:
    Pah!
    MINNIE:
    Charming spot. (MINNIE looks at Twins depth chart.) Inspiring prospects. Let's go.
    PAUL:
    We can't.
    MINNIE:
    Why not?
    PAUL:
    We're waiting for Sano.
  20. Like
    wsnydes reacted to David Youngs for an article, Minor League Report (4/13): Streak Continues, No-no in St. Paul   
    TRANSACTIONS
    Wichita Wind Surge placed 2B Edouard Julien on the 7-day injured list. Fort Myers Mighty Mussels placed SS Keoni Cavaco on the 7-day injured list. Minnesota Twins selected the contract of RHP Dereck Rodriguez from St. Paul Saints. Minnesota Twins recalled OF Trevor Larnach from St. Paul Saints. SAINTS SENTINEL
    St. Paul 0, Indianapolis 5 
    Box Score

    The night after a rain-shortened home-opener, the Saints’ bats ran dry on Wednesday at CHS Field, succumbing to a combined no-hitter at the hands of Pirates Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis. 
    Former Twins reliever Chase De Jong brought some magic to the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Wednesday evening with a dominant pitching performance that lead to a 5-0 Indianapolis victory over the Saints. 
    De Jong, who pitched for the Twins organization in 2018 and 2019 was spectacular, no-hitting the Saints through seven innings while striking out seven and walking two. 
    Jermaine Palacios and Jake Cave were the only St. Paul hitters to reach base in what would prove to be the 15th no-hitter in Indianapolis history. 
    And while the bats may have been cold, the Saints pitching staff had moments of brilliance throughout the evening. 
    Starting pitcher Cole Sands was rock-solid, pitching five innings of three-hit ball while only allowing only one run. That run came on a solo homer in the fourth inning. Sands struck out five with one walk in his second appearance of the season and is sitting at an ERA of 0.90.
    Jovani Moran and Jordan Gore covered the sixth and seven innings with ease, allowing no runs on one hit. Moran was perfect in the sixth inning, striking out all three batters on sixteen pitches. RHP Ryan Mason would finish the night on the bump for the Saints with a perfect frame in the ninth. 
    And while the game remained competitive through seven innings, Indianapolis broke open the flood gates in the eighth with a four-run inning that featured extra-base hits, a fielding error, and a controversial play at the plate.
    Derek Fischer almost ended the no-no in the eighth when he laced a line drive to the right-field corner, only to be robbed on a spectacular play by Indianapolis right-fielder Cal Mitchell. 
    The loss drops the Saints to 5-3 on the season as they look to win their first game of the year against Indianapolis tomorrow night. 
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 5, NW Arkansas 8
    Box Score

    Despite a scattering of runs, the Wind Surge were unable to contain the NW Arkansas offense on Wednesday night. A night after eight innings of scoreless baseball from the bullpen, the Surge surrendered 12 hits and 17 total base runners to the Naturals in a 5-8 defeat.
    Sensational prospect Matt Canterino had a short outing on Wednesday, giving up two runs on three hits and four walks in 1.2 innings. Expect the talented RHP to ease in as he gets more time under his belt at the Double-A level. 
    The Wind Surge struck with a pair of runs in both the second and seventh innings. Following a DeShawn Keirsey walk and a stolen base (2), Andrew Bechtold launched his first homer of the season to plate two runs for the Surge. 
    Keirsey would score again in the seventh. After punching a double (2) to left field, Dennis Ortega homered on a 2-1 count to score two more runs for Wichita.
    Top prospect Austin Martin would score the final Wind Surge run of the game in the eighth. After an infield single, Martin was moved to third on a Spencer Steer double (3) and scored thanks to an RBI single from Matt Wallner. 
    Despite the loss, Spencer Steer continued his red hot start to 2022 on Wednesday night. Steer has now hit safely in all five games this season and his three doubles are tied for second-most in Double-A. 
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids vs. Quad Cities
    POSTPONED

    The Kernel’s Wednesday evening matchup against the River Bandits was postponed due to inclement weather in Davenport. The game will be made up tomorrow as a part of a double-header beginning at 4:30. Casey Legumina will start the first game of the twin bill while the Kernels have yet to announce who will start game two. 
    The Kernels look to continue their hot start after winning their first five games, including an 8-1 beat down of Quad Cities in the series opener last night. 
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 6, Jupiter 4
    Box Score

    Despite an early deficit, the Mussels used a massive third inning surge to push their way past the Hammerheads on Wednesday night in the Sunshine State. Fort Myers plated five runs in the third inning thanks to a Kyler Fedko double (2) and Kyle Schmidt's three-run homer (1) to keep the Mussels' perfect season intact. 
    Fedko also laced a double in the second inning making him the only Fort Myers player with two extra-base hits in the game. 
    And while the offense delivered, the Mussels' bullpen was excellent following the debut of one of the organization's most exciting pitching prospects. 
    Twins Daily Top 20 Prospect and 2021 draft pick Steven Hajjar made his Twins organization debut, giving up four runs and four hits while striking out six in four innings. Expect Hajjar to continue to post high strikeout numbers as he continues to get his feet wet at the pro ball level. 
    After Hajjar exited, the bullpen trio of Jackson Hicks (W, 1-0), John Wilson (H, 1), and Regi Grace (S, 1) made swift work of the Hammerheads, tossing six shutout innings on only two hits. Both Hicks and Wilson managed to strike out three hitters in their two-inning appearances while Regi Grace fanned five hitters in the final two frames, tossing 25 of his 32 pitches for strikes. 
    The Mussels are now 5-0 on the young season and look to continue their run against Jupiter tomorrow night. 
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day - Regi Grace, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (S, 2 IP, 2 H, 5 K)
    Hitter of the Day - Kyler Fedko, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2-for-4, 2 2B, R, R, RBI, K)
    TOP PROSPECTS 
    #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-4, R, K
    #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, K
    #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-for-4, 2 K
    #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R/ER, 4 BB, 2 K (51 pitches, 26 strikes)
    #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-for-3, RBI, 2 BB, K
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - 0-for-3, 3 K
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-4, RBI, K
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP,  3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 45 strikes)
    #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-2, R, 2 BB
    #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - i-for-4, 2B, K
    #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 3.0 IP,  4 H, 4 R/ER, 2 BB, 6 K
    THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Indianapolis @ St. Paul (6:37 PM CDT) - RHP Mario Sanchez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Wichita @ NW Arkansas (7:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (0-1, 7.71 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (Double-header starting at 4:30 PM CDT) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Jupiter @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (0-0, O.00 ERA)
    Give us your thoughts on Wednesday night's performance from around the farm!
     
  21. Like
    wsnydes reacted to renabanena for an article, Ranking the 2022 Minnesota Twins' Walkup Songs   
    10. Jorge Polanco - “Te Siento en Para” by Liro Shaq, Ceky Viciny, Bulin 47
    Is this song actually good, or has it just been around long enough that we can’t live without it? The number of times I’ve hummed the hook to myself in the past few years was enough to secure a spot for this tune, tattooed forever in our eardrums. This music video has a modest 8.8M views on YouTube, with at least half contributed to the Twins’ gameday staff themselves. We do not recommend watching this video at work or in public. 
    9. Max Kepler - “London Calling” by The Clash
    This song was re-released twice before Kepler himself was born. This was the highest-charting single by The Clash until their monstrous hit, “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Rolling Stone has it ranked as one of their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” I can’t argue with greatness, but this tune doesn’t have the average fan busting out of their seat quite like some of the others on this list. Or at least this fan, who is under the age of 50 (sorry). The intro is catchy, though. 
    8. Nick Gordon - “Came and Saw (feat. Rowdy Revel)” by Young Stoner Life & Young Thug
    Full disclosure, I didn’t know this song or any of these artists before today. However, this made me root for more Gordon at-bats. The background trumpets and strong beat bring any couch potato to their feet. 
    7. Bailey Ober - “Public Service Announcement” - Jay-Z
    “Public Service Announcement” was one of the many hits from Jay-Z’s 2003 album, “The Black Album,” which included other hits such as "Encore" and "Dirt off Your Shoulder." As YouTube user NATO FORCE RECORDS said three months ago, “2022 and I’m still here.” Allow Ober to reintroduce himself this season as one of the aces of this pitching staff. 
    6. Luis Arraez - “Ojos Colorau” by Mora
    “Ojos Colorau”, which translates to “colored eyes”, starts off as a slow ballad but abruptly picks up the pace after the first chorus. Mora is a young artist, hailing from Bayamón, PR, the hometown of José Berríos. May all of our young rookies who start the season off slowly also abruptly pick up the pace.
    5. Josh Winder - “Please Take Me Home” by Blink 182
    Like many others born between 1990 and 1998, Winder is an elder millennial who stomped around their bedroom listening to the greatest genre of all time, emo pop. Although this isn’t one of Blink 182’s bigger hits, “Please Take Me Home” has everything you’d need in one stop. With Travis Barker drum riffs and “my” pronounced like “moye”, your head will uncontrollably bop when Winder takes the mound. 
    4. Caleb Thielbar - “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine
    Great alarm clock song. Great tune all around by an all-time band. Fun fact, this song was never released as a single, but it is usually played as the final song of every Rage Against the Machine show. All Thielbar needs now is a trench coat and black sunglasses. Kashmir is a no-go for that trench coat. 
    3. Danny Coulombe - “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone
    Even if you don’t think you know this one, you absolutely do. This kid-friendly tune will bring a smile to every face in the ballpark, and how can you not love that? Thank you, Danny…and Starlord. 
    2. Carlos Correa - “25/8” by Bad Bunny
    Bad Bunny was the most streamed artist on Spotify in the last two years and is one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time. Unfamiliarity with Bad Bunny is a character flaw, and Correa’s pick of "25/8" brings us one of his best sleeper hits. This music video has 88.3M views on YouTube, and while I didn’t do the math, that is probably more views than most of this list combined.  
    1.5 Chris Archer - “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix
    Full disclosure, the announcement of this walk-up song came after I was already done writing this. I couldn’t pick a tune to remove from the list nor disrespect Hendrix. Therefore, I made an executive decision to put him here. Please send all complaints to renabanenacomplaints@gmail.com. 
    Honorable Mentions: 

    Joe Ryan - “Fire on the Mountain” by the Grateful Dead 
    Self-explanatory. 
    Kenta Maeda - “Hikoutei” by King Gnu
    This song would’ve topped the list if Maeda was in the rotation this season, but it didn’t feel right putting this one in if it couldn’t be heard at a ballpark. Spotify just isn’t the same. 
    Jorge Alcala - “Entro Con la U” by Monkey Black
    This one has arguably the most catchy beat out of this entire list, but the repetitiveness took it out of the top ten. 
    1. Tyler Duffey - “Electric Feel” by MGMT
    I didn’t read into the lyrics until I had to take a deep dive into the list of walk-up songs, and I’d recommend against doing so. Your toes will uncontrollably tap, and your mood will instantaneously lift anytime this tune comes on. It’s the perfect vibe for a Sunday afternoon at the ballpark. 
    Check out the full list of all the Twins’ 2022 Walkup music: 
    And teammates supporting one another is always good! 
     
  22. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Brock Beauchamp for an article, Twins Daily Community Awards: 2022 Offseason   
    It’s Twins Daily Community Awards time! If you’re unfamiliar with our community awards, it’s something we organized last year to recognize the top participants in the Twins Daily community. We award two prizes: most popular post and most popular blog entry. We also recognize some of our most prolific posters and contributors but award them nothing for it. We don’t want to inflate anyone’s ego, after all.
    Our prizes have a theme for the first time: “Johan Santana visited the Big Apple, and all we got was this lousy t-shirt.” Enjoy, Twins fans!
    Top Posts of the 2022 Offseason goes to…
    Honorable Mention: @Sielk and their comment in the topic Twins Acquire RHP Sonny Gray from Reds for Chase Petty. After months of hearing Twins fans scream about pitching, sielk offers the quite-reasonable opinion, “wait… so they went and got pitching, and you’re still complaining?” I feel you, sielk. I feel you.
    The Top Post and Prize Winner: @4twinsJA and their comment in the topic FO's tentativeness is killing the team. During the more-than-mildly-concerning period of the offseason when the front office seemed to want to do nothing, 4twinsJA went the tried and true route that always plays up in the Twins Daily community... taking a swipe at Jake Cave. This is a textbook comment, but its excellent execution puts it over the top. For that the comment wins the ultimate prize: a ticket stub from game one of the 2004 ALDS in Yankee Stadium, more colloquially known in Minnesota as “the last ****ing time the ****ing Twins won a ****ing postseason game.”

    Blog Entry of the 2022 Offseason goes to…
    Honorable Mention: @cjm0926 and their blog entry A Different Idea For Twins Catching. Writing this entry in early November, cjm0926 had a crazy idea… trade your catchers! All of them. Ultimately, the Twins front office got halfway there, trading Mitch Garver to the Rangers in a shocking move. This entry deservedly gained a lot of traction with our users, as illustrated by its popularity and honorable mention in the blog entry category.
    The Top Blog Entry and Prize Winner: @Doc Munson, long-time Twins Daily stalwart, takes home the prize for their entry. What are we waiting on to complete our roster? After a flurry of moves followed by radio silence, Doc wasn’t the only Twins fan left scratching their head. Why haven’t we seen more pitching acquisitions? Are we really going to take such half-measures? In the wake of this offseason, what stands out the most was Doc’s now-humorous idea to overpay Trevor Story on a one-year contract… check and mate, Doc.
    As a token of our appreciation for this wildly popular blog entry, I present to you yet another Johan Santana visited the Big Apple, and all we got was this lousy t-shirt prize: a ticket stub from Johan’s no-hitter in a Mets uniform, something he never did in a Twins uniform.
    *weeps silently for a moment*
    After further consideration, these prizes suck.

    Most Popular Topic of the 2022 Offseason…
    @MMMordabito wins the no-prize for the topic T-Mobile to offer Free MLB.TV again in 2022. This is a rarity in the Twins Daily awards category, as it’s only Twins-adjacent but highly informative. Personally, the free MLB.tv is half the reason why I’m with T-Mobile to this day. Thanks for the topic, and keep it coming!
    Most Read Blog Entry of the 2022 Offseason…
    @Doc Munson must have spent the offseason ‘roiding up because they’re flat-out dominating the blogs with yet another entry, Post Lock out Moves: Potential Twins Trades. This entry examined some potential trades the Twins could have executed post-lockout, bringing over 1,800 readers to check out what Doc had to say on the subject. Well done yet again, Doc!
    Prolific Posters of the 2022 Offseason…
    We have a new postmaster for the 2022 offseason! In a surprising out-of-nowhere appearance, @mikelink45 brings home the no-prize with 1,514 reputation points over the offseason! But, as always, laying in wait with a second-place finish is the ever-present @Mike Sixel with 1,283 reputation points… Watch out, Mike, uh… Mike… is coming for you. Wait, what?
    That’s all we have for today; thanks to everyone who makes this site such a great place to hang out every day of the year, even through multiple years of difficult baseball. It means a lot to us that you’ve stuck with Twins Daily through a pandemic, a shortened season, no-attendance games, and a lockout. Without all of you doing your thing daily, Twins Daily would be a shell of its current self.
    We’ll see you mid-season, and let me tell you, that prize is incredible, so get typing, you fools…
  23. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Nash Walker for an article, Twins Minor League Week in Review: Starting Strong   
    Triple-A: St. Paul Saints: Week (@ Louisville) 5-1 (5-1 overall)
    It was an awesome opening week for the Saints. The team scored 47 runs and won five of their six games. Royce Lewis is off to a great start, going 7-for-21 with three doubles and a homer. Lewis stole three bases and reached base in 48% of his plate appearances. He also made numerous strong plays at shortstop. 
    Mark Contreras picked up right where he left off in 2021, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and two homers. The player of the week, though, was Jake Cave, who went 9-for-19 with three doubles and a triple. Cave posted a 1.320 OPS and is undoubtedly itching to join the Twins in Minneapolis. 
    On the pitching front, Cole Sands dazzled with five scoreless innings in Thursday’s loss. Sands struck out seven, walked none, and allowed one hit. He’s a key part of what the Twins hope will be adequate starting pitching depth this season. Several Saints relievers had strong weeks, including Wladimir Pinto (4 IP, 0 ER), Juan Minaya (3 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 K), and Yennier Cano (3 IP, 0 ER, 4 K).
    Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge: Week (vs. Tulsa) 0-3 (0-3 overall)
    The Surge had a rough first go at the plate, hitting .167/.264/.250 with one homer in 110 plate appearances. Austin Martin went 2-for-13 with multiple errors and Matt Wallner went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts. Spencer Steer had a nice weekend with three hits, including two doubles and two RBI. 
    Matt Canterino started the opener and battled through a tenuous first inning. The second was much better, but with the Twins monitoring his workload closely, Canterino lasted two innings and 45 pitches. Twins’ 2021 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Louie Varland made his debut in relief, walking five in a rough 4 2/3 innings. 
    Simeon Woods Richardson pitched very well in his season debut, striking out five and walking two in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. SWR threw 46 of 66 pitches for strikes, an awesome sign after command issues last year. Austin Schulfer, Steven Cruz, and the Surge bullpen was fairly solid all weekend. The bats were the issue. 
    High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels: Week (vs. Beloit) 3-0 (3-0 overall)
    What an insane week for Twins’ 2021 fourth-round pick Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He went 10-for-14 with two doubles, three homers, and 15 RBI. Those 15 RBI are four more than the next high total for all minor leaguers despite Triple-A teams having played six games instead of three. It is six more than anyone below Triple-A. 
    Sawyer Gipson-Long quietly had a solid season in 2021, striking out 32% of hitters across both A-levels. He is off to a nice start this year, pitching four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in his season debut. Brent Headrick and Aaron Rozek also turned in solid starts. 
    Outscoring Beloit 23-8, the Kernels could have a potent offense with Encarnacion-Strand, Alerick Soularie, and Aaron Sabato in the heart of the order. The bullpen was also fantastic, headlined by Osiris German, Cody Laweryson, and Bradley Hanner. 
    Low-A: Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels: (@ Clearwater) 3-0 (3-0 overall)
    Emmanuel Rodríguez will be a must-follow prospect all summer long. The 19-year-old showed elite plate discipline and power in his 2021 debut. Rodríguez walked six times over his first three games this weekend, adding a homer and a double. He also stole a base in Sunday’s win. Rodríguez could move quickly.
    Outfielder Kyler Fedko, the Twins’ 12th round pick in 2021, is off and running with a double, triple, and four RBI. Kala’i Rosario went 2-for-8 with a triple and Keoni Cavaco had a monster Opening Day, going 3-for-5 with a double. Cavaco walked twice Saturday and once more Sunday, but he struck out six times in 15 plate appearances. 
    Starters David Festa, Travis Adams, and John Stankiewicz combined to allow three runs in 15 innings. They struck out 16 and walked only two. The Mighty Mussels lead the league with a 3.00 ERA after the first weekend. They led the Florida State League with a 3.96 ERA and tied for first with 1,288 strikeouts in 2021. 
    Complex League FCL Twins: 2021 Regular Season (21-38)
    The FCL Twins start their season in Mid-June. Players not currently on a full-season affiliate's roster are in Ft. Myers at the complex for what amounts to Extended Spring Training. Several of those players will move back and forth between the Complex roster and the Mighty Mussels roster, or even the other rosters depending on need. 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    This Prospect Summary shows our current Twins Top 20 Prospect Rankings. 
    #1 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-13, 2 2B
    #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 7-for-21, 3 2B, 4 BB, 3 SB
    #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 5-for-25, HR
    #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - IL
    #5 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP (70 pitches, 42 strikes)
    #6 - Matt Canterino (Wichita) - 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K (45 pitches, 26 strikes)
    #7 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (31 pitches, 22 strikes) 
    #8 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, H, 0 R/ER, 2 BB, 5 K (66 pitches, 46 strikes)
    #9 - Josh Winder (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch
    #10 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 4-for-14, SB
    #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Minnesota) - Did Not Play.
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-for-9, 3 BB
    #13 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 7 K
    #14 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 4 K, (86 pitches, 49 strikes)
    #15 - Emmanuel Rodríguez (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-9, 2B, HR, SB
    #16 - Ronny Hendriquez (Development List) - DNP
    #17 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - IL 
    #18 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 3-for-11, 2 2B
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 3-for-11, BB
    #20 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - Did Not Pitch
    Feel free to discuss the teams or players, and ask questions in the COMMENTS below. 
  24. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Cody Christie for an article, One Breakout Prospect for Each Twins Affiliate   
    Minor league rosters are fluid, and many of the players below will play at multiple levels during the 2022 campaign. Jose Miranda was the farm system's breakout prospect last season, but many in the organization predicted that improvements were imminent. So, who are some players to follow at each level to start the year?

    Triple-A: Royce Lewis, SS
    Minnesota stacked the Triple-A roster with some of the team's top prospects, including Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, and Jose Miranda. For good reasons, many prospect rankings have dropped Lewis. Baseball America dropped him 53 spots, MLB Pipeline dropped him 29 spots, and Baseball Prospectus took him out of their top-100. Entering the 2022 season, Lewis hadn't seen game action since the 2019 Arizona Fall League. His speed is one of his best tools, and there were questions about how much his knee surgery would impact this skill. Lewis is looking to prove his doubters wrong this season and put his name back into the conversation as one of baseball's best prospects. 
    Double-A: Simeon Woods Richardson, SP
    Austin Martin, Matt Canterino, and Matt Wallner are all on the Wichita roster, but Woods Richardson is poised to breakout. Toronto and Minnesota were aggressive with Woods Richardson last season as he made 15 appearances at the Double-A level last season as a 20-year-old. He was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level, and he only had four at-bats where he faced a younger batter. He will still be young for Double-A in his first full season in the Twins organization, but now he has had the opportunity to get out some of the kinks. Also, he is in his third organization since the start of the 2018 season. Staying at a level and getting used to a coaching staff can help him thrive in 2022.
    High-A: Yunior Severino, IF
    Cedar Rapids has a loaded roster with plenty of players with breakout potential. Aaron Sabato, Cade Povich, and Alerick Soularie will all look to make their mark this season. Severino is looking to have his first professional season with 100+ games, which has the potential to result in some strong numbers. Last season, he raised his OPS from .740 at Low-A to .907 at High-A. In 35 games with Cedar Rapids, he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 16 extra-base hits. He struck out 125 times in 98 games, so that will be a number to watch. He ended the year with 29 doubles, and if a few more of those balls make it over the fence, he suddenly looks like a very intriguing prospect. 

    Low-A: Steve Hajjar, SP
    In Fort Myers, there is a collection of young players with plenty of upside, including Noah Miller, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Keoni Cavaco. Hajjar's college experience means he has the chance to dominate in the lower levels of the minors. He has the potential to move quickly from Low-A to High-A and a chance of reaching Double-A by the season's end. There's no reason to rush him, but the Twins have already helped him make some promising mechanical adjustments. During the 2021 college season, his fastball averaged 90 mph, but the Twins have helped him add a little more velocity. He's also focused on his slider to try and help him improve against left-handed batters. Minnesota has a lot of young pitchers ready to debut this season, but Hajjar is a solid piece to have waiting in the wings for the years ahead. 

    Which of these players is poised to breakout? Do you have other picks? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  25. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Zack Hample vs the World, Sort Of   
    If you aren’t familiar with Hample, the gist is that he attends baseball games with the sole intention of catching, collecting, and retrieving baseballs. Whether it’s game home runs, foul balls, milestones, or simple toss-ups, he’s the best when it comes to acquiring the baseball.
    Despite having nabbed over 11,000 baseballs during Major League games in his lifetime, or that he has nearly 600,000 followers on YouTube, or how he has nearly 50,000 followers on Twitter, Zack Hample’s pursuit isn’t really a baseball, and the “world” being against him seems wrong.
    I went into Hample’s film with a feeling of indifference towards him. Nothing he does at a game is bothersome to any. He’s gone to great lengths in hopes of getting into more limited events such as the Fort Bragg or Field of Dreams games, but his actions within the stadium aren’t negatively notable. Throughout the film, which was wonderfully put together over the course of eight years by director Jeff Siegel, I found myself thinking the “world” simply needs more Hample’s.
    At his core, described by both Hample and former San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell, Hample’s desire and focus was to play Major League Baseball. Hample calls himself a failure in that regard, but it’s a burning passion that characterizes so many aspects of his life. An obsessive personality, something so many deal with in the world today, Hample has channeled his pursuits and intertwined them with passion.
    Reporter Maria Marino offers several notable quotes throughout the film as she’s gotten to know Hample over a period of time. One of the most profound was how succinctly she put it, “Hample created a career out of something that didn’t exist.” While points are made about him potentially having too much time on his hands or not being tied to a real job, he’s instead blazed the path of never calling a job “work.”
    While Hample’s pursuit of baseballs started many years ago, and he somewhat attributes the passion to his dad, the understanding may be more linked to an excellent level of self-awareness. Ostracized and overlooked for being different, Hample not only dealt with the tumultuous times during his youth but seemingly embraced the opportunity to own himself. Rather than allowing the feelings of others to define them, he understood a need for the world to be better and his place in that coming from within.
    Although a substantial amount of ridicule was tossed his way, suggesting he gets physical with other fans or robs kids of their opportunities, nothing about his videos or any corroborated story suggests anything but the opposite. It’s unfortunate to see a man making a career exploiting memorabilia in Darren Rovell downplay Hample’s pursuits, but that may be trumped by Laurence Levy (known as Marlins Man) hurling awful insults despite being solely known for spending money to purchase fame at baseball games. These are just the tip of the iceberg for Hample, though, and it’s clear he turned from the impact long ago. 
    There’s no denying Hample hears it, and as a human being, he certainly is moved by what is said about him. As has always been the case, though, it’s abundantly clear that Hample chooses instead to surround himself with the positivity of those in his inner circle and, in turn, use his platform as a place of positivity.
    Now over 40 years old, Hample continues a passion that may be single-handedly more beneficial to the growth of baseball than anything the league is currently doing on its own. Again, ball-hawking is simply the vehicle, but Hample is (maybe even unknowingly) changing lives and pushing the sport to a new generation. Many of his fans are children, and they are those consuming his videos on YouTube in droves. When asked for pictures or autographs at games, it’s often from youth. Handing out baseballs to kids and those around him, he’s often connecting the sport with people in a way they may have never previously experienced.

    I reached out to both Siegel and Hample with one simple question. I wanted to know, “If there’s something you want a viewer to take away from this film, what is it?” In a fashion that flows with his actions in the film, Zack said, “Embrace your inner obsessive weirdo and don’t be so quick to judge people for the zany **** they get into. It doesn’t matter if it’s a part-time hobby or a full-time career — the oddities should be celebrated! And also, while it’s awesome to be recognized as the best in the world at something, it’s also great to be known as a quality human being that creates some joy and happiness for others.”
    Having spent nearly a decade making this film, Siegel has come to know Zack well, both at the stadium and outside of it. He shared insight by saying, “I hope you don’t have to be a baseball fan (or even a sports fan) to take something away from Zack’s story. And while Zack’s fanbase will certainly be interested in watching the film, I’m most eager for it to be passed around to those who have never even heard of him before.  
    Over the years I’ve been making this film, I’ve gotten to know the real Zack – the person beyond his superficial public persona. Beneath the surface of obsessive fandom, Zack’s personality transcends the sports world: the “weirdo” who dealt with insufferable bullying as a child, the son of two eccentric, notable parents who embraced individuality and an alternative way to live, the failed professional baseball player who has done everything in his power to keep his baseball dream alive, and the guy who lives life with a level of passion that most of us can only hope for.
    Even though Zack’s dream of being a professional baseball player didn’t work out – just like it didn’t for 99.9% of people – he figured out a way to make a beautiful new sculpture out of his shattered dream (sports psychologist Dr. Jonathan Fader talks about this in the film). And that’s something every single person on the planet could benefit from trying to do.”
    At the end of the day, Zack Hample is someone who’s always embraced differences, had a never-ceasing pursuit of passion, and has long been versus a world that thinks this is about baseballs. Some string and cowhide is definitely what connects Hample to a sport he’s infinitely passionate about, but the tone of who he is comes across so differently in the film, and we’d probably all be better off applying some of the same principles in the way we interact with one another.
    You can check out Zack Hample vs. the World on multiple streaming services found here.
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