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  1. Like
    RJA reacted to Matthew Lenz for an article, Highlighting the Archive Tour at Target Field   
    I had the opportunity to interview The Guide a few years ago in 2018 which you can revisit here, and what’s great about the archives tour is, with a Legends Club ticket, it can be a self-guided tour. That said, what you’ll be missing are the countless stories that Doepner has to go with each piece of memorabilia that is displayed at Target Field. Not just a curator, Doepner is a former United States history teacher which, explains why he’s such a phenomenal storyteller making the memorabilia come to life through anecdotes that he keeps on an imaginary rolodex in his brain. Before sharing stories of the memorabilia, you learn of how he came into his role with the Twins which is also told in the interview linked above. In short, it started with a “thank you” and a cheap Twins owner, and then Doepner starts the tour.

    The tour starts at Hrbek’s Pub right behind home plate. As you can imagine, or maybe have seen, the pub is full of memorabilia from Kent Hrbek’s career, including a bobblehead of the “wrestling move” in the 1991 World Series as The Guide put it, that you might have heard about once or twice. The picture below is from my personal bobblehead collection.

    He goes on to point out each of Hrbek’s jerseys from his professional career from the Elizabethton Twins to the Minnesota Twins before pointing out that he was also able to grab Hrbek’s high school uniform from his time at Bloomington Kennedy. After coming up empty when he reached out to Hrbek and his former varsity coach, he was able to acquire the jersey from the former Athletic Director who was hesitant to hand over the piece of history. You’ll notice that all of the jerseys are hung high enough in the bar it would require a ladder to get them down, and when the former AD asked about the placement of the uniform Doepner told him “it’s so you can never take it back” with a chuckle. It was getting busy and our group was in the way so I couldn't get a picture of the jersey, but you can see it in the header photo on the bars website.

    After you finish your drink at Hrbek’s, you can head up to the Legends Club (again, you’ll need a ticket to access the rest of the tour) and find the wood burned mural of Kirby Puckett behind the bar named after the Twins Hall-of-Famer and make your away to the display case near the back of the bar.

    Doepner shares countless stories about the former third overall pick but what I find most interesting is the willingness of the family to “loan” the memorabilia to Target Field for all fans to see. In fact, even when Kirby’s children turned 18 and became the legal owners of Kirby’s estate, they agreed with their Mom that it belonged at Target Field. Every so often, Doepner will rotate things in and out of the case and had just done so at the start of the 2022 season.



    As you’re making your way around the same case, you’ll come across one display dedicated to the three All-Star Games that the Minnesota Twins have hosted…1965 at Met Stadium, 1985 at the HHH Metrodome, and of course 2014 at Target Field. Doepner has the 2014 All-Star game as the second greatest event that Target Field has hosted only behind the stadiums first game in 2010.


    Once you’ve reminisced over your favorite All-Star Game memories, head across the hall and find two cases dedicated to another hometown kid, Joe Mauer. Doepner hopes to double the size of this display sometime in the near future and is quick to point out Joe’s first uniform as a member of the Minnesota Twins organization is number 71…not number 1 like is the practice now when you’re a first round pick.

    Doepner recounts living near the ballfield that Mauer grew up on and watching him as a little kid, not being the biggest kid on the diamond but being the best hitter he’s ever seen. It’s hard not to get the same chills you got on September 30th, 2018 when Doepner highlights the catcher’s gear that Mauer wore in the final game, final inning, and final pitch of his career. Despite hesitation from his doctors and his wife due to the number of concussions he’s had, Mauer sat behind home plate one more with the promise from the White Sox that Yoan Moncada would not swing at the final pitch Mauer would catch. I like to think of it as an ode to a player who was infamous for not swinging at the first pitch of an at-bat.

    The Guide finishes the tour down the hall from Mauer’s display case by recounting memories from Hammerin’ Harmon Killebrew. In the display case, you’ll see a lot of non-baseball or Twins memorabilia that helps tell the story of Harmon’s life. From his days as an eight-year-old basketball player when he donned the number 3 which is now a retired number within the Minnesota Twins organization to when he was a senior in high school choosing his next path in life.

    Despite being known as one of the most prolific home run hitters in Major League Baseball history, The Killer had offers to play football from the cream of the crop of football powerhouses at the college level. Fortunately for the Minnesota Twins franchise and baseball fans alike, he chose to sign a 3-year, $10,000 contract with the Washington Senators because he wanted to provide financial support for his family. From there the rest is history, with Killebrew hammerin’ 573 home runs…the final one fittingly coming as a member of the Kansas City Royals at Met Stadium and you can see the exact bat used in the display case.

    This article (and surely the pictures...see the note below) doesn’t do the tour or Clyde “The Guide” Doepner justice. If you’re ever given the opportunity, please say “hi” to Clyde if you see him in the halls. He’s always around. If you’re lucky, you can pluck his brain on anything and everything related to the Minnesota Twins.

    Note: I apologize for the picture quality. I’m not a photographer by any stretch and I did the best I could with the lighting! Even more reason to go on the self-guided tour yourself!



     
  2. Like
    RJA reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Minor League Report (5/25): Cavaco Carries Mussels to Big Win   
    Let’s get to the report. As always, please feel free to discuss and ask questions. 
    TRANSACTIONS
    RHP Joe Ryan was placed on the Covid-IL on Wednesday. LHP Devin Smeltzer was recalled from St. Paul to take his spot.  RHP Chris Vallimont was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins had placed him on waivers over the weekend.  SAINTS SENTINEL 
    Game 1 - St. Paul 10, Indianapolis 16 
    Box Score
    Game 2 - St. Paul 5, Indianapolis 3 
    Box Score
    Fair to say that Game 1 did not go as the Saints would have wanted. Jordan Balazovic started and had his struggles again. That said, he gave up just one run over the first three innings. Then came a forgettable fourth frame. Balazovic was charged with four more runs. Tyler Viza came on in relief and allowed two inherited runners to score and four of his own and only got one out. Daniel Gossett got out of that inning, but then he gave up seven runs on seven hits over the final three innings as well. 
    Jermaine Palacios led the Game 1 offense. He went 2-for-4 with his sixth double and four RBI. Cole Sturgeon drove in three runs as well as the Saints tried to come back but were just too far behind. Spencer Steer went 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. 
    Game 2 was a lot cleaner, and through four-and-a-half innings, it was a 1-1 ballgame. Royce Lewis’s fifth Saints homer gave the Saints a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth frame. Indianapolis took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Jermaine Palacios and David Banuelos each homered and the Sanits had a 5-3 lead that they held onto. 
    Lewis led the offense, going 3-for-4 with the home run. Mark Contreras went 2-for-3. 
     
    Chi Chi Gonzalez made the start. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven batters. Wladimir Pinto came on and walked two batters and giving up the tying run before getting an out. Jharel Cotton got the final four outs for the Saints. 
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wichita 3, Corpus Christi 4 
    Box Score

    The Wind Surge made the incredibly long, 16-hour bus ride to Corpus Christi, but when the game started, they were ready to go. Matt Wallner crushed a three-run homer in the first inning to start things out well. Unfortunately, that was about it for the Surge offense. 
     
    Simeon Woods Richardson started the game and threw two zeroes on the board before giving up four runs in the third inning. He gave up four runs on six hits and four walks in four innings. He struck out six batters. Ben Gross walked two over 1 1/3 scoreless relief innings. Osiris German got the next five batters out. Alex Scherff struck out two in the final innings. 
    Wind Surge manager Ramon Borrego was ejected for the first time in a game since he’s been with Wichita. 
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 1, Wisconsin 5 
    Box Score

    The Kernels took Game 1 of this series on Tuesday night. On Wednesday afternoon, the Timber Rattlers evened the series and returned to just one game back of the Kernels in the divsion. 
    Cade Povich started and worked the first five innings. He gave up a single run in the fifth inning on a Carlos Rodriguez homer. He came back out for the sixth inning but with two runners on, he was replaced by Cody Laweryson who gave up doubles to Wes Clarke and Carlos Rodriguez and Wisconsin had a 5-0 lead. Andrew Cabezas, Ryan Shreve, and Orlando Rodriguez each pitched a scoreless inning. 
    Seth Gray hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to avoid the shutout, but overall, Justin Jarvis and the Timber Rattler pitching staff were in control of this game. The Kernels had just four hits total. In his first at-bat with the Kernels, Patrick Winkel hit a double.   
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 10, Bradenton 2
    Box Score

    Things have not gone smoothly for Keoni Cavaco early in his career, but on Wednesday, he had a terrific game for the Mussels. In the first inning, he hit a two-run double. Then in the fifth inning, he launched a grand slam. Overall, he went 3-for-4 with his eighth double, first home run and six RBI. 
     
    Noah Miller went 2-for-3 with a walk and his 11th stolen base. He scored three runs. Emmanuel Rodriguez went 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer, his sixth of the season, in the third inning. 
     
    By the way, thank you to the Bradenton Marauders who are the only team in the Florida Sate League on milb dot tv! 
    Mike Paredes made the start. He gave up two runs on three hits over five innings. He struck out seven batters without a walk. Samuel Perez came on and walked two but struck out three batters over the final two innings before lightning ended the game early. 
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day – Mike Paredes (Ft. Myers) - 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K
    Hitter of the Day – Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) - 3-4, 2B, HR/GS, 6 RBI, 1 R. 
    PROSPECT SUMMARY

    Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed:
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, R (Game 1, played SS)
    #1 - Royce Lewis (Minnesota) - 4-for-4, HR (5), R, RBI. (Game 2, DHd) 
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-for-4 (played SS)
    #4 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) -  0-for-0 
    #5 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (73 pitches, 44 strikes)
    #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K (87 pitches, 52 strikes)
    #8 - Jhoan Duran (Minnesota) - Did Not Pitch
    #10 - Emmanuel Rodriguez (Ft. Myers) - 1-for-3, BB, HR(6), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
    #11 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 2-3, BB, 3 R, SB (11) 
    #16 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul ) - 1-for-2, BB HBP, 2 R (Game 1, played 2B)
    #16 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul ) - 1-for-3 (Game 2, played 3B)
    #17 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (89 pitches, 55 strikes)
    #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-4, K
    #19 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - IL
    THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Indianapolis @ St. Paul (7:07 PM CST) - RHP Mario Sanchez (2-1, 4.63 ERA) 
    Wichita @ Corpus Christi (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Blayne Enlow (0-0, 4.70 ERA)
    Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-2, 2.56 ERA) 
    Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 PM CST) - TBD 
    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! 
     
  3. Like
    RJA reacted to Sherry Cerny for an article, Josh Winder to the Starting Rotation: A "Smooth" Transition   
    For the first time in spring training of 2022, fans saw Josh Winder take the mound unless you've been following on milb.tv in recent years. The 6'5" right-handed pitcher calmly, quietly, struck out hitter after hitter. Like a lion stalking prey, he studied his opponents in the batter's box, and then with a quick snap of his wrist, he threw a nasty slider to get his opponent out. After each strikeout, he circles the mound in true predatory fashion getting ready for his next ambush. 
    Josh Winder strikes out two | 04/05/2022 | Minnesota Twins (mlb.com)
    When the Twins made the 28-man roster announcement, I was delighted and somewhat surprised. But it was no surprise and no shock for people in his life. 
    Young Prodigy
    Josh Winder's baseball career has been pushing the boundaries over his entire life, which is probably why the coaching staff at VMI started recruiting him, and the Twins started scouting him, so early in their respective times. Winder started playing travel ball for the Prince George Swamp Things out of Prince George, Virginia, where his coaches saw early in his pre-teen years that he would be going places. His head coach at VMI, John Hadra saw him growing up playing on the fields of VMI, "Josh just had a natural talent. He had the ability to hone in on the strike zone".
    Leslie Winder, Josh's mom, said "Well, of course, as his parents, we knew that college was a possibility, but at that time, we weren't thinking of him playing past that."
    As he got older Leslie and Lee Winder started to see what the coaches saw. While playing travel ball, Winder would sometimes play up on the same team with older brother Gregory. Playing up a level provided Winder a chance to be challenged and grow in his discipline. His siblings always allowed him to be competitive.
    Leslie tells me that the kids had a great relationship; they all got along, but when it came to games and Wiffle Ball in the front yard, she would have to go outside to quiet the yelling from the "players" for not taking their outs, trying to steal a base or bending the rules. She said, "When they played Wiffle ball, they were playing for the World Series every time they played." 
    The competitive nature in Wiffle ball stuck with Winder as he grew in baseball. His college coach Jon Hadra said that Josh is highly competitive, he wants to win, and he will do whatever is asked of him to help not only get his team a win but also improve. "Josh is competitive," Coach Hadra states in our interview, "but he is competitive internally. He takes things personally. If he has a bad inning or rough outing, he gets frustrated with himself, never the defense". 
    Coach Hadra said that Winder never got angry or upset externally; he would work harder. He is a good leader, the other guys looked to him for leadership, and he didn't even have to say anything; he would show leadership. Josh's strong leadership and presence make him an asset to the game of baseball and the team that he is on. 
    Winder's talent and ability to throw strikes make him an above-average rookie. He doesn't just throw the baseball; he takes the temperature of the man he is facing, taking a moment to decide what to do next. Winder has excellent control of the mound. He is not just a thrower; he is a pitcher. There are pitchers, throwers, and Winder's arm and delivery make him an outstanding pitcher and a menace on the mound. 
    Winder is so good, he began the year at the Minnesota Twins AA affiliate Wichita in 2019 and in 10 starts for the Wind Surge went 3-0 with a 1.98 ERA, 65 strikeouts and just 10 walks over 54.2 innings. Winder was promoted to Class AAA St. Paul in late June and has a 3.52 ERA and a 1-0 record in two starts. He began the season as the Twins #12 ranked prospect by MLB.com.  
    Even with missing a season in 2020 and the lockout in early 2022 he didn't miss a beat. "He continued to work out every day", says his mom, "He wasn't worried about it, or if he was, he certainly didn't show it. He came home and lived with his friends who continued to work with him. He worked out, threw and focused on being ready for whenever baseball would be back. He never got out of routine, or out of shape". 
    Winder knows the importance of being ready at a moment's notice, like a lot of other players who weren't sure if they would play again, he took the opportunity to work hard and improve, making him even more of a threat on the mound. It's no wonder he only played three seasons in the minors.
    Winder makes hitters work. Some hitters can make a pitcher's pitch count rise, but Winder stays low in the count as he works through a game, making hitters chase, get tired, second guess their swings, and strike out before they even know what's going on. His junior high friends said he was so smooth when he pitched, he was stuck with the nickname “smooth” - because that’s what he is when he pitches. 
    Natural Born Leader
    Josh doesn't say a lot, to himself, or anyone else really when he is on the mound. He is working and he has a job to do and that job requires focus. He learned that early on. When he was drafted in 2018, he left one semester of college behind him, but knowing how important that component was to his success, he came back later that fall to finish his degree. 
    Coach Hadra says, "Josh is a good leader, a strong leader. He doesn't say much, you know? He doesn't have words of wisdom, or 'try this', he shows guys what makes him successful and they follow suit," He went on to tell me that, "when Josh came back to finish his semester after being drafted, he came to the field frequently to help players. They would get so excited because he was spending time with them, talking to them about his experiences and what made him successful. Those guys, who are now getting ready to graduate are doing the same thing, he is left an imprint, that is affecting the program in a generational capacity".
    This is exactly what the Twins need on the mound, someone who is a leader, who can set the tone for years to come. He may be a rookie, but as Josh's mom points out, "he's an old soul". He is routine, strict in his time management and is willing to listen to learn and to pass on whatever he is taught. 
    His family dynamic is another part of his leadership. No matter how busy the rookie pitcher and his family are, they always make time for each other. His mom talks about how often they text, or when he calls home after a game. They also have weekly zoom calls with family that include Grandpa, who sometimes struggles with technology, but is quick to pull up an article on Twins Daily (thanks, Grandpa!).
    Family is a huge component to his success and something that is important to Winder off and on the field, and with the Twins going through constant transitions, leadership is something that would benefit everyone. It's been awhile since the pitching staff can say there has been one leader in the bullpen, and Winder may fit that role well. 
    A leader never asks someone to do what they can't, even if they don't want to, adversity makes players (and people) who they are and one thing that Winder is not afraid of is adversity. 
    Able to make it through transition
    When Coach Hadra first saw Winder at a young age, he came across him throwing bullpen, but he quickly noticed that as Winder grew, he was a starter. That is not always an option in the big leagues and his bullpen lessons aided him as he made his debut as a Twins pitcher.
    Coach Hadra told me that Josh has always been a starter, but when it comes to the team, Winder will do anything he can to get his team a win.
    He came in as a long reliever before his May 1 start with the Twins, which he had never had to do before. During his first three games as a long reliever, Winder got a chance to see how different that was for him to "be ready" to play at any time. The mentality to switch from working from a starting position to being ready to take over as a long reliever is very difficult for a pitcher. If they are used to a routine by starting, that can affect the pitcher’s game. That did not stop the predatory mentality from the mound from the rookie pitcher. Ready isn’t a thing in the majors, if Skip tells you you’re playing, you go. 
    His relief appearances leave room for growth compared to his starting appearances,  Winder showed not only the Twins but also the Dodgers who he is and why they should be ready when he's on the mound with his MLB debut.
    Winder came in to relieve Chris Archer in the fifth inning, and the line-up that he was coming into was no joke. Winder started his debut by striking out Will Smith, walking Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor. When Gavin Lux came up to hit, Cody Bellinger ran on Winder to steal second. 
    "Okay, I will never do that again," Leslie Winder said as she talked about his first inning as a Twin, "He is used to watching from the dugout, not the bullpen. He watches the hitters and analyzes them. This was different for him and he knew as soon as Bellinger stole second, that letting his eye off of him was a big mistake. But, it was a learning mistake and Josh, he catches on quickly.".
    That is how he has approached his baseball career, taking each play and player and learning from it—continuing to analyze his prey and knowing how next time: how to be more aware, more stealthy, more elusive in his pitching, and ready for his next attack. 
    His relief games with Houston and the Athletics was the most we have seen the pitcher struggle this season, but even then he controlled his emotions and his arm. He documented his first losses of the season, but still managed to strike out players and maintain a low ERA. While he doesn't shine as a reliever, there is only one way to get better and that's putting him in every chance they get. 
    The more he sees, the better he will get. Compared to other starters in the rotation, he is just as reliable to control games, especially with the defense behind him. Being a long reliever is not where Winder will be successful for the Twins, he certainly makes it work in a pinch, but where he will be the biggest asset is in the starting lineup.
    Winder is hungry; his drive for perfection and success is evident when he gets on the mound. While he prefers to start a game, Winder does recognize that being put into the games to be a long reliever gives him a different vantage point. This different vantage point got him ready for his first official start on May 1, which was anything but short of amazing. 
    Mound Command
    When he was younger and even now, Winder has a great command of the mound. During college he had health issues his junior year, giving him a struggle off and on, but his numbers and his attitude would never let you know. 
    On April 13, 2018, Winder had a season high 11 strikes to get the win versus Western Carolina. He also, finished his career at VMI with the top K/9 mark in school history, second in BB/9, tied for third in wins, second in strikeouts, and fourth in both games started and innings pitched. 
    In his first start against Tampa Bay, Winder pitched six innings, had seven strikes, and only allowed two hits and one walk. A smiling Winder was excited to not only share his experience.
    By the time the second start came around, he was able to use his five-day routine to prepare for the game and he counted his second win (in a week) as a rookie pitcher. During his post-game interview after his second start, after going six scoreless innings, a journalist inquired if he was ready or surprised to start that day. Winder replied, "I knew I would be starting, and I had to fly to meet the team, so I was in bed by 10:30 pm the night before to get lots of rest".
    When Winder is getting ready for a start, he has a five-day routine to get him ready, and he does not use his phone on game days at all. He also calls his dad after every game. His ability to be called into any situation shows he is a solid component of the team and dangerous to anyone in the batter's box.
    Ready to Set Records
    So far this season, Winder has started three times winning two and losing one. He relies heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider, which are as fast as they are nasty. His fastball sits at about 94mph and if he really wants to make a hitter work, he will use a curveball to throw them off dropping the speed down to roughly 80 mph and make them chase. Winder is the fourth pitcher since 1913, with zero errors and over seven strikeouts in his first two starts. 
    In 2021 he was a part of the Futures American League Team as part of All-Star Week. The Futures game is for the top prospects across MLB. 
    The defense that Winder gets to work with is one of the best in the league, even if news outlets won't say it, he is not afraid to. Players like Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, and Luis Arraez round out his support if a ball gets hit into play. There is no doubt that there are great tools around the already outstanding pitcher. He also has strong chemistry with both Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers.
    The season is still early. There is no doubt that as Winder continues on this journey, there will be losses, errors, and rough starts, but no more than what the starting rotation has been through. Winder may give Joe Ryan a run for becoming the Twins rookie pitcher of the year. 
     
  4. Like
    RJA reacted to Cody Christie for an article, What Will It Take for Carlos Correa to Stay in Minnesota?   
    Minnesota's front office recognized the opportunity they received when they signed Carlos Correa this spring. He's being paid the highest single-season salary for an infielder in MLB history, and he has the opportunity to opt out of his contract at season's end. Many viewed Correa's deal as a one-year contract so that he could test the free-agent market again next winter. However, he may be interested in staying in Minnesota long-term.

    Earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal reported that Correa is very willing to sign a long-term deal to stay in Minnesota. Correa said. "I love the people here. I love the way I'm treated here. If you guys see the value I bring to this organization and what I do for other people around me and the game that I bring, I would love to have a long-term relationship here if that's what you guys would like." Correa also pointed to how comfortable his family already feels in Minnesota, even though it's very early into his Twins tenure. 

    So, what will it take to keep Correa in Minnesota beyond 2022? 

    Last winter, multiple shortstops signed multi-year free-agent contracts. Texas handed out the two highest free-agent contracts for shortstops to Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. Seager signed for 10-years and $325 million, while Semien got 7-years and $175 million. Boston gave Trevor Story $140 million over six years, and Detroit signed Javier Baez to an identical deal. Correa was ranked highly, so he was likely looking for a total similar to what Seager got from the Rangers.

    Next winter's shortstop class also has some superstar players. Outside of Correa, Trea Turner will be the top available shortstop, and he will likely get a higher contract than Seager. Other potential free agent shortstops include Xander Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson. Correa is younger than all of these options, and teams will likely view this as a positive when negotiating a long-term deal. 
    Minnesota has seen Correa's work on and off the field, which can open up the opportunity for more long-term discussions. He and his agency will likely want him paid like a top free agent. Taking out his $34 million for the 2022 season, he has $291 million left to reach what Seager got last winter. It seems like an eight-to-nine-year deal for $275-290 million would be the range. That would be a significant investment from a front office that loves payroll flexibility. Luckily, the Twins don't have a lot of contracts on the books in the years ahead, and much of their pitching will be young and cheap. A Correa-level deal fits with the team's current flexibility and future finances. 
    Another aspect of signing Correa is his lack of ties to the Twins organization. Since signing, Correa has made it clear that the Twins are Byron Buxton's team. Buxton is off to a tremendous start that puts him into the conversation as one of baseball's best players. Is Correa satisfied being the Robin to Buxton's Batman, or does he want to be considered the best player on his team? A contract worth over $250 million will probably solve any of those concerns. 

    Do you think the Twins will sign Correa to a long-term deal? What type of contract is fair for both sides? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Like
    RJA reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Saints Season Preview: Lineup Locked In   
    On Sunday the Twins Triple-A affiliate held their first full-squad workout at CHS Field before departing for Louisville where they’ll kick off the minor league season on Tuesday. Although more than a handful of players remained in Fort Myers, there was a good contingent of returning players getting work in.
    Last season the Saints got out to a slow start offensively, but that shouldn’t be the case this year as the club looks to be loaded throughout the roster with players that have Major League experience as well as guys that have significant prospect hype, Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate should be more than a force to be reckoned with.
     
    Right now Toby Gardenhire’s club is filled with names such as Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda, and Royce Lewis. Gilberto Celestino broke out at Triple-A last season, while Mark Contreras had a coming-out party in 2021. Derek Fisher has significant big-league experience, and Curtis Terry has pummeled the ball in the minors. Gardenhire will have a challenge finding ample time for everyone to contribute.
    Now in his second season with the Saints, Gardenhire suggested the first month will be interesting due to the shortened Spring Training and Minnesota having signed some guys late. “Our roster might be a little up and down at times, but we’ve got a good group of guys and a good group of young prospects. I think they are going to help the big league team out during the season.”
     
    Looking at his lineup and hoping to start faster this season Gardenhire said, “On paper, it looks great, right? We had Larnach here to start last year and he ended up in the big leagues after one game or something. It’s a one-day at a time situation, but having Royce Lewis back, I’m happy for him. He’s a great player. He’s a great kid. I’m excited to watch him. Larnach is pushing the big leagues. I told him already I expect him to help out in the big leagues sooner rather than later. Miranda had a great year last year. If he can keep doing that, it won’t be long before he’s up there either.”
    “This group (Miranda, Larnach, Lewis) fit great in the big league clubhouse this spring. Miranda, nothing ever seems to phase that guy.” Gardenhire spent a good deal of time in the Major League dugout this spring down in Fort Myers as plenty of his players competed for the Twins. He talks glowingly of the talent he has close, both top prospects and veterans alike. It’s evident that Gardenhire is excited to coach a club that should have one of the best lineups in minor league baseball.
     
    For the Saints, and Lewis as well, it will be exciting to have Minnesota’s top prospect back on the field. He’s not going to have an immediate workload resembling no restrictions, but it doesn’t sound as though Gardenhire is worried about any setbacks or issues for the talented shortstop.
     
    When looking at the roster it’s fair to drool over the big names, but there’s plenty of sustainability here too when considering those under the radar types as well. Terry was prioritized as a free agent while big-league veterans will be present. Continued development of players like Contreras, David Banuelos, and Caleb Hamilton is going to be nice to see.
     
    Having been down this path both as a player and following in the managerial footsteps of his dad, Gardenhire gets it. He’s a quality leader, a strong developer of talent, and certainly going to have a front-row seat to a very intriguing Saints club in the year ahead.
  6. Like
    RJA reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Coulombe Makes Opening Day Roster, Godoy DFAd   
    The Twins need their roster for Opening Day to be at 28. As of this moment, it is now down to 30 players following a flurry of roster moves on Monday morning. 
    First, congratulations to lefty reliever Danny Coulombe. The 32-year-old veteran has worked 5 2/3 scoreless innings this spring. he's given up just two hits, walked two and struck out six. When he makes his first pitch in 2022, he will have pitched in eight major-league seasons. Over the past two seasons, he has worked in 31 games for the Twins including 29 games in 2021. From 2016-2018, he pitched in 134 games for the Oakland A's. He has also pitched for the Dodgers in his career. 
    To make room for Coulombe on the 40-man roster, the team designated catcher Jose Godoy for assignment. The move seemed strange at the time as the Twins will only have two catchers on the 40-man roster, one of which is Gary Sanchez. The 27-year-old made his MLB debut a year ago for the Mariners, but this will be his third DFA since the end of last season. 
    However, soon after, the team announced that they have signed catcher Chance Sisco to a minor-league deal. He will report to St. Paul shortly. The 27-year-old backstop was a Top 100 catching prospect in 2017 and 2018. He played in the 2016 and 2017 Futures Games. He debuted with the Orioles in 2017 and has since been a part-timer in the big leagues. In 196 career games, he has hit .197/.317/337 (.654) with 24 doubles and 16 homers. So, basically, he is Jose Godoy. But, he does provide depth behind the plate. 
    In addition, RHP Jake Faria and infielder Daniel Robertson were also assigned to minor-league camp. They will head to the Saints as well, maybe in time for their season-opener on Tuesday in Louisville. 
    That leaves the Twins with 30 players on their active camp roster. There are 17 pitchers. There are now just two catchers. They have six infielders and five outfielders. The lone non-roster player remaining in camp is outfielder Kyle Garlick. 
    So, what does it all mean? 
    Well, basically it means that the biggest decision remaining is whether to add Kyle Garlick to the 40-man roster or just roll with Brent Rooker. It isn't an easy decision. Garlick crushes left-handed pitching, and that is an important trait for a fourth-outfielder. While not great defensively, he can play both corners adequately. Rooker is on the 40-man roster, but he has been slowed by a shoulder injury. On Saturday, he returned to the Twins lineup. He is in the Twins spring lineup for Monday. It is very possible that the decision has been made and they will just wait until after today's game to announce it. The interesting piece will be who would get DFAd to make room for Garlick on the roster. 
    In addition, the Twins will have to decide whether they want to start the season with 15 or 16 pitchers on the roster. if they want 16, they will need to option one pitcher to St. Paul. If they decide to take just 15 pitchers, that would leave possible the idea of keeping both Garlick and Rooker on the active roster, though a roster move would still be needed. 
    How is this going to shape out over the next few days? Will the team make any trades before the season to add another pitcher, or a player from another position? What do you think? 
  7. Like
    RJA reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Ranking the Twins Top-5 Changeup Prospects   
    When evaluating players, scouts and front offices use a 20-80 scale to grade current and future value. The pitchers below still have development to complete, which points to their changeups being even better in the future. Here are the top-five changeups in the Twins organization. 

    5. Steven Hajjar, RHP
    Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 50/55
    Minnesota selected Hajjar out of Michigan in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft. In his final college season, he led the Big Ten in strikeouts. Because of his full collegiate season, he has yet to make his pro debut. Since joining the Twins system, he has been able to add more velocity to his fastball, which will pair well with his changeup, which is considered a plus pitch. His college experience and solid stuff could make him a fast riser during the 2022 season. 
    4. Ronny Henriquez, RHP
    Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/55
    Henriquez was the prospect the Twins received along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Mitch Garver. He already occupies a 40-man roster spot, so there is a chance he will make his big-league debut in 2022. Henriquez is under six feet tall, so his size leads to questions about his long-term durability as a starter. However, his fastball, slider, and changeup all have a chance to be plus pitches. He consistently throws strikes, so it will be intriguing to see what tweaks the Twins make to his repertoire this season. 

    3. Matt Canterino, RHP
    Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60
    Canterino’s changeup was one of the reasons he was able to strike out 100-plus batters in each of his collegiate seasons. His changeup may currently be his worst pitch out of his four pitches. He’s a talented player that the Twins have a lot of faith in, but there are health questions like many pitchers from Rice University. Injuries have limited him to 48 innings so far in his professional career. When healthy, he may be the system’s best pitching prospect, so 2022 will be a pivotal year to prove he can stay on the mound.

    2. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
    Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 55/60
    Wood Richardson may feel like the forgotten prospect in the José Berríos trade, but he is a legitimate starting pitching prospect. Last season, the Blue Jays were aggressive by sending him to Double-A as a 20-year-old. He posted a 5.91 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. His fastball velocity dipped a little last season, so that is one of the things the Twins have worked to improve, and it will likely help improve his changeup.
    1. Jovani Moran, RHP
    Current Changeup/Future Changeup: 70/70
    Moran’s changeup led him to put up unheard-of strikeout numbers in the minors last season. He collected 109 strikeouts In 67 1/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A. Minnesota called him up for his big-league debut, where he pitched in five games and allowed seven earned runs. Even with some rough outings, he posted an 11.3 K/9 which is just below his 13.3 K/9 from his time in the minors. Minnesota’s bullpen can take on a different look after 2022, and Moran has an opportunity to be part of the team’s long-term solution. 
    Can anyone contend with Moran for the best changeup in the Twins system? Should someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

    OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
    — Top Slider Prospects
    — Top Fastball Prospects
    — Top Power Tool Prospects
    — Top Hit Tool Prospects
    — Top Speed Tool Prospects
     
  8. Like
    RJA reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Ryan Jeffers Will Justify Front Office's Belief   
    One question that I have been asked frequently over the past couple of offseasons was, “How would you split up the catcher position between Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers?” 
    It was a great question and one I enjoyed answering. In my mind, there was a great answer. Play both of them half of the time. Keep them both fresh. Keep them both playing often. Help both of them keep their legs underneath them. The two backstops are so similar in so many ways offensively and defensively in such a way that should allow for continuity for the pitchers. 
    Physically, Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers are both big catchers. Garver is about 6-1 and 230 pounds. Jeffers stands 6-4 and about 240 pounds. 
    I think in some ways, their size gave both of them a perception of poor defense. Garver certainly acknowledged his defensive deficiencies early in his career and set out to improve behind the plate with the help of then-minor-league catching coordinator Tanner Swanson. True to the hard work, over one season he went from the worst pitch framer in baseball to league average. That’s more impressive when you consider that it was becoming a huge focus in the game and the overall framing numbers were improving. 
    Like Garver, Jeffers was drafted as an offense-first catcher, at least in the eyes of national sources. However, the Twins scouts saw something in Jeffers that told them he can be a very good catcher. When he got into pro ball and started having the technology and analysis to determine such things, it showed that he was a plus-pitch framer. And he has continued to rank highly even in his first two big-league seasons. 
    Jeffers and Garver are both very smart away from the baseball field. Garver went to the University of New Mexico to become a chiropractor and play a little baseball. Jeffers was a physics major at UNCW. 
    Aside from general intelligence, both have a very high Baseball IQ. Both are analytical and study the game. They put in the time before the game to understand what the opposing hitters like and how that day’s pitcher could use their repertoire to get each hitter out. 
    As important, both are tremendous communicators. They work well with their pitchers and their coaches. They both have talked about their communication with each other on pre-game scouting reports and planning. And yes, both are fantastic with the media too. 
    And then there is the offense. Yes, both can mash. Both have had rough spots in their careers, but overall, these guys can really hit
    Mitch Garver posted an OPS over 1.000 in his junior and senior seasons at New Mexico. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter in 2014 when he played at Cedar Rapids, and in 2017 with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. He made his MLB debut late that season. He has been in the big leagues since. He earned the American League’s Silver Slugger Award in 2019 when he hit  .273/.365/.630 (.995) with 16 doubles and 31 home runs. Yes, he struggled and was hurt in the shortened 2020 season. But after a slow April in 2021, he was back. Overall, he hit .256/.358/.517 (.875) with 15 doubles and 13 home runs in 68 games. 
    Jeffers posted an OPS over 1.000 in all three seasons he played at UNC-Wilmington. Along with power, he walked more than he struck out, something that was important to him. After being drafted in 2018, he crushed the ball at both Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids. He split the 2019 season between Ft. Myers and Double-A Pensacola. 
    He was invited to the Twins’ alternate site in St. Paul, and when Garver was hurt, the Twins went directly to Jeffers. In 26 games, he hit .277/.355/.436 (.791) with three homers. He had a rough season offensively in 2021 as Garver began the season by getting significantly more playing time. While he hit just .199, he still provided the team with 10 doubles and 14 home runs. His power is legit. 
    Following the lockout, the Twins front office traded Garver, 31, to the Texas Rangers which started a series of moves. A week later, Ben Rortvedt was included in a deal with the New York Yankees. 
    After having the question about how to split up playing time between Garver and Jeffers for a couple of years, there were questions about the Twins’ sudden lack of catcher depth behind Jeffers. Yes, they acquired veteran Gary Sanchez from the Yankees, but he will certainly do less catching and more DHing. That’s why they added minor-league veteran Jose Godoy on a waiver claim to provide another body, a guy who can play good defense. 
    And, after Jeffers’ disappointing .199 batting average in 2021, it is fair for some Twins fans to question the decision of handing him the reins behind the plate. 
    However, if one thing is clear, it’s that the Twins front office has complete confidence in the abilities behind the plate and at the plate of 24-year-old Ryan Jeffers. When a team is looking for a catcher, there is a mental checklist that a front office marks up in their mind as they evaluate a player. For a catcher, that list includes defense, framing, leadership, communication, and then offense, quality plate appearances, power, etc. While needing to show more consistency, Jeffers is a guy who checks all the boxes. 
    So why even bring up Mitch Garver in this article? Why not just speak on the accolades and talents of Jeffers? I think it's important for a couple of reasons. First, it's OK for Twins fans to miss Mitch Garver. He was great with fans and media alike. And, he was a senior sign who made it big, against the odds, to be a Top 5 player at his position. Second, and certainly more important to the Twins and their fans going forward, I think it showed the similarities. Just because players are similar does not mean that the results will be similar. However, it is important to understand what kind of potential Ryan Jeffers has. 
    In 2022, Ryan Jeffers will start getting that opportunity to prove it on a larger scale, as the Twins’ primary catcher. He will likely be able to hit toward the bottom of the lineup which may help take a little bit of the pressure off of his bat. He will be challenged with a pitching staff with three new veteran starters and two pitchers with less than one year of service time. That is a lot to take on, to be sure, but Jeffers is certainly up for the challenge.
  9. Like
    RJA reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Minnesota’s Up-the-Middle Defense Among Baseball’s Best   
    Up-the-middle defense is one of the most critical aspects of the game. Having one weak link up the middle can result in poor defensive plays and more strain on a pitching staff. Luckily, the Twins have some of baseball’s best defenders at the most important positions on the field.  
    Carlos Correa, SS
    2021 SDI Ranking: 1
    Correa is coming off a season where he took a massive step forward as a defender and won the AL’s Platinum Glove Award. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, he was baseball’s best overall defender last season. His 20 Defensive Runs Saved were nearly double his previous high. In 2016, he was worth -18 Outs Above Average, and he improved to 12 Outs Above Average in 2021. As long as his back doesn’t flare up, Correa is among baseball’s best defenders at a critical defensive position. 
    Jorge Polanco, 2B
    2021 SDI Ranking: 4
    Polanco’s defensive transition was relatively seamless as he shifted from being a below-average defensive shortstop to an above-average second baseman. He set career highs in Defensive Runs Saved (3) after being worth negative DRS at shortstop. During 2019, Polanco’s last entire season at shortstop, he was worth -22 OAA, which put him near the bottom of the league. Last year, he posted a -1 OAA at second base after being limited to 43 big-league innings at the position in previous years. Polanco gets another season to get comfortable at the position while continuing to improve. 
    Byron Buxton, CF
    2021 SDI Ranking: NR
    Buxton’s 2021 injuries kept him from being featured on the final SDI leaderboard, but he still ranked highly in other defensive metrics. He was worth 7 OAA and 10 DRS, which is tremendous considering he was limited to just over 500 defensive innings. His sprint speed continues to be in the top 1% of the league, so it will be interesting to see how he ages during the life of his contract extension. He is arguably baseball’s best defender when healthy, and the Twins hope he can be back to his Gold Glove-winning ways in 2022.
    Ryan Jeffers, C
    2021 SDI Ranking: 8 
    Jeffers finished in the top-10 for SDI last season despite being in the minor leagues for over 20 games. Minnesota traded Mitch Garver and is seemingly handing the starting catcher duties to Jeffers. His framing skills ranked in the 74th percentile, a 16 point drop from his 2020 campaign. He was worth 4 DRS in 2021, but his below-average arm allows more steals than a team may prefer. Many viewed Jeffers as a bat-first catcher when the Twins drafted him, but he has completely revamped his defensive reputation as a professional. Minnesota needs Jeffers to take the next step this season, including improving on both sides of the ball. 
    Where do you think Minnesota’s defense now ranks among baseball’s best? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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  10. Like
    RJA reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Pain in the Back: Reviewing Carlos Correa's Injury History   
    Twins fans are familiar with injuries to star players as the team was able to sign oft-injured Byron Buxton to a team-friendly extension. Correa and Buxton were the first two picks in the 2012 MLB Draft, and Correa has played 259 more games than Buxton. However, Correa has missed time with injuries throughout his career.

    2017: Correa injured a thumb ligament when he slid into a catcher's shin guard on a slide into home. While this may seem like a fluke injury, he missed 42 games, and he aggravated the injury in the postseason. Houston won the World Series that season and Correa was a crucial cog in that championship run. 

    2018: During the 2018 campaign, Correa landed on the IL for 36 games due to a back injury. He returned from the injury, but it was one of his worst big-league seasons. In 110 games, he posted a .728 OPS with 20 doubles and 15 home runs. His back was still bothering him, but he tried to play through the injury as the Astros made another run to the ALCS. 
    2019: Correa's back injury didn't completely go away as he missed time in August and September of 2019. His most considerable injury came in 2019 when he missed two months with a cracked rib. One might think this was caused by a diving play or a fastball to the rib cage, but those would be incorrect guesses. An in-home massage caused his rib injury, and he was limited to 75 games this season. 
    2020: The shortened 2020 season impacted players differently, but it was Correa's worst at the big-league level. His .709 OPS was almost 20 points lower than his 2018 campaign when he tried to play through his back injury. Even with the poor performance, he played nearly every game of the shortened season. Correa's only missed time was in September when he fouled a ball off his ankle. He helped the Astros defeat the Twins during the playoffs. He went 3-for-6 with a home run. 

    2021: Correa played 148 games last season, which is the second-highest total of his career. His only missed time was when he was placed on the IL due to health and safety protocols. He had one of his best offensive seasons, finishing fifth for the AL MVP and winning the Platinum Glove as the AL's best defender. 

    When taking out the shortened 2020 season, Correa has averaged over 115 games per season since he debuted in 2015. He hasn't been Cal Ripken Jr. at the shortstop position, but few players are ironmen in today's game. Correa has dealt with back issues throughout his career, which can worsen as players age. 

    Minnesota fans and Correa can hope he stays healthy this season and posts monster numbers. It will likely mean his Twins tenure is short, but he will undoubtedly be fun to watch in the season ahead. 

    Are you concerned by Correa's injury history? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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  11. Like
    RJA reacted to Jamie Cameron for an article, Breaking Down the Twins Signing Carlos Correa   
    How’s this for a Story? The best free agent this offseason just signed with the Minnesota Twins.
    In an absolutely stunning turn-of-events, Carlos Correa and the Minnesota Twins agreed to a three-year, $103.5 million contract early on Saturday morning.
    Earlier on Friday evening, Thad Levine had made comment on the unusually slowly unfolding trade market stifling moves, a reality frustrating Twins fans in their thirst for the team to add talent to the major league roster. Well, the Twins sure were working in immaculate, exquisite silence on this one. The delicious irony of trading the expensive contract of aging third baseman Josh Donaldson, only to sign the All-Star shortstop coveted by the Yankees with the newly-freed funds, is a breathtakingly brazen and exquisite move almost too delightful to put into words. 
    The Contract and Correa’s Market
    It’s innumerable the amount that Twins’ fans have collectively thought, written, tweeted, and spoken the phrase ‘we’re not getting Correa’ since pre-lockout free agency began, and with good reason. No one saw this coming. So how did the Twins acquire Correa? What does it indicate about his market, and what does the deal look like?
    The three-year $103.5 million pact makes Correa the highest-paid infielder by average annual value in Major League Baseball. That sentence in itself is a marvel to type. The Twins' ability to land this deal is surely linked to the shorter, high-AAV (Average Annual Value) contract. One would think they would not have been able to contend with other suitors' offers over a longer number of years, but even this assumption is something we should call into question. This signing will result in Twins fans having a free agency-based reckoning with themselves, to reconsider what is and what is not on the table with future targets.
    Correa’s three-year deal comes with player opt-outs after year one and year two, allowing Correa to test the waters of free agency if he wishes. Should he see out the entirety of his contract, he will be with the Twins through the end of his age-29 season. There will be time to agonize over Correa’s likely pre-contract-ending opt-out later. For now, who cares?
    What are the Twins Getting?
    So what are the Twins getting in Correa? Simply put, a superstar. Correa put up the best season of his career in 2021, amassing a whopping 5.8 fWAR over 148 games played for the Houston Astros. In 2021, Correa has a career high in home runs (26) while posting a 134 wRC+, .485 SLG, and .364 wOBA. By any offensive measure you care to choose, he’s elite.

    Defensively, Correa posted 12 OAA (outs above average), good for sixth in the league behind only Nicky Lopez, Francisco Lindor, Nick Ahmed, Andrelton Simmons, and Brandon Crawford. Put simply, the Twins were able to secure the single free agent who could move the needle most in the 2022 season, for any team in the league. Oh and by the way, he rakes at Target Field.
    Correa has had a clean bill of health in recent seasons, spending one 2021 trip on the IL due to health protocols, and one more in the shortened 2020 season due to a back problem. If you go back further to 2019, Correa spent a chunk of the season on the IL with back and rib injuries, but that season has been the exception, not the norm, since he made his MLB debut in 2015.
    What about the Prospects?
    The Correa move is a seismic pivot for the Twins, who just a week ago, traded Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Isiah Kiner-Falefa with the intention that he be their starting shortstop. Talk about an adjustment.
    It's easy to wonder what is next for the Twins shortstop prospects, particularly Royce Lewis, their number one draft pick in the 2017 draft. Lewis has undergone an uncanny streak of bad luck in recent seasons, punctuated by a lost season due to the pandemic in 2020 and another due to injury in 2021. The Correa deal both protects Lewis and highlights his bright future with the Twins. Lewis can get a season under his belt, moving through the high minors while Correa patrols shortstop for the Twins in 2022. It seems likely that Correa will opt out and test the waters of free agency after his first, or second season in Minnesota, meaning that if Lewis can get his development back on track, there’s a spot for him with the Twins at the major league level in 2023 and beyond. It’s a win-win in terms of competing in 2022 and maintaining flexibility at the position in the future.
    What is next for the 2022 Twins?
    So, er, what now? Two things are clear in the aftermath of signing Correa. First of all the Twins are clearly, undoubtedly working hard to win right now. Lastly, they still have work to do. While the signing of Correa could not have worked out more perfectly for the front office with their ‘let the off-season come to us’, approach, the same cannot be said for the rotation.
    The Twins currently have Sonny Gray, Bailey Ober, Joe Ryan, and Dylan Bundy penciled into a very underwhelming starting five just a few short weeks from the start of the regular season. There are undoubted moves coming to address this. Whether it is Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, or a pitcher we have not considered yet (scrambles to check the starters for every team in the league), Twins fans can be left with little doubt the additional help is on the way. What a great comfort and excitement that is.
    Whether Correa spends one season or three in Minnesota, the signing has indelibly altered the franchise. Correa is, by far, the best free agent the Twins have ever attracted. We will forever have to question the tired refrain of ‘player x isn’t coming here’ or ‘we have no shot’. The Twins just signed the number one free agent this off-season, let that sink in. 
    Carlos Correa plays for the Minnesota Twins.
     
  12. Like
    RJA reacted to John Bonnes for an article, The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund   
    Well, we built that community. All of us. Over the past ten years, we’ve accumulated over 100 million page views on the site and are the premier location to talk Twins baseball. We have extremely active forums, the best news page in the Twins world, and user blogs that fill every niche of the baseball spectrum. Dozens of writers have used the TD platform to find and grow their audiences. In the past year, we even added video to our stable of ever-growing Twins content.
    So what comes next? Caretaking.
    You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. All of this expanding content with our community managers, video creators, and all that Twins Daily brings to the world requires so many people to dedicate themselves – always in their “free time” – to provide that content to Twins Territory.
    We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premier Twins news site on the internet long into the future.
    What is caretaking, you ask?
    Caretaking is subscribing to the site and allowing us a consistent fund from which to distribute to all our content creators. From this fund, 100% of which will be reinvested into our writers, videographers, community managers, and the other people who make Twins Daily a place you want to visit every single day.
    One hundred percent. That’s our promise.
    Your subscription will go entirely back into making Twins Daily even better than it is today. Have you been enjoying our latest features like the prospect tracker? We have a lot more planned but we need your support to enlist more time from the creators you enjoy every day.
    Why do we need additional funding? Because this site has grown enormously over the past year. We've hired outside development help to assist Brock Beauchamp in making the site bigger and better, as the site is becoming too large for one person to manage. The prospect tracker alone was over 100 hours of development work to implement, never mind the recurring upkeep every week to keep it current. In the coming months, we plan to move to a distributed server to keep the site up and running during peak traffic times like the draft and trade deadline, which means our hosting costs will nearly double overnight.
    And there are our content creators. While we already revenue share everything we do with our creators who make that content, it's simply not as much as they deserve. Most of the caretaking fund will go directly into their pockets, which will allow them to write more often and focus on longer, higher-quality content. That means an even better Twins Daily for everyone.
    One of the most important things we want to get across here is that if you do not join the caretaker community, your site experience at Twins Daily will not be affected in any way. This is not a paywall of any kind, but rather a completely optional way to show your support for the site and contribute to its long-term health.
    With that said, there will be perks to signing up and hopping aboard. This is what we can offer for your caretaking:
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    On behalf of all Twins Daily, we know this is a big ask but we hope that, at this point, you trust us and know that we stand by our word. And our mission, 100% of the time, is about building a bigger and better Twins Territory. Help us achieve that goal today.
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  13. Like
    RJA reacted to Melissa Berman for an article, Why is the MLB increasing the size of its bases?   
    In the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the MLB Players Association and the owners agreed to increase the size of first, second, and third bases from 15 inches square to 18 inches beginning in the 2023 season. The size of home plate will remain the same. 
    MLB began experimenting with this larger size of bases during the 2021 season, when they increased the size of the bases in the Triple-A as a part of a group of experimental playing rules. 
    But is bigger better when it comes to bases? MLB seems to think so. 
    Bigger bases might lead to less injuries
    MLB’s primary reason for experimenting with base size in Triple-A was a belief that making the bases bigger will “reduce player injuries and collisions” on the base paths. The idea is the bigger the base, the more space runners will have to slide around defenders.
    With slightly shorter base paths, players will also not have as much time to reach full speed, and therefore slides and collisions might not be at the rates of speed previously seen. It is little surprise that the MLBPA signed onto a change which may allow for the game to be safer for its players in the long run,
    Larger bases might equal more action and excitement
    A common thread that connects several of the MLB’s new rules- the addition of a pitch clock, banning the shift, and larger base size is a desire to stimulate in-game action and increase excitement for fans.
    “The Competition Committee also expects the shorter distances between bases created by increased size to have a modest impact on the success rate of stolen base attempts and the frequency with which a batter-runner reaches base on groundballs and bunt attempts,” the league wrote when introducing the 2021 Triple-A experimental rules. 
    While a few inches does not sound like much, in baseball there are a sizeable amount of plays at home plate or a base that require deferral to the replay booth because they are too close to call. Every inch and fraction of a second count when trying to beat out a ground ball or steal a base.
    In the MLB, the amount of stolen bases has been steadily decreasing over the years and is down from the heyday that largely lasted from the late-70s to mid-90s. Last season, there were 2,213 stolen bases league-wide, which is the fewest in a non-shortened season since 1973, when there were six fewer teams in the league. There are both fewer bases being stolen and fewer attempts. This decline is at least in part due to modern analytics allowing teams to more intelligently gauge the risk-reward of stealing a base. Bunting too has seen a steep decline in usage in the age of analytics. 
    But in the Triple-A last year, the league saw an increase in stolen base rates after implementing the larger base size, though this is a small sample size and it is difficult to definitively attribute it to the base size.
    According to Baseball Reference, during the 2021 MLB season 711 players were caught stealing (only 15 of these were by the Twins- the second lowest in the MLB). 
    It is the MLB’s hope that not only will the larger base size encourage runners to steal more but will also allow runners to be successful on more of these attempts. The MLB knows fans love watching steals because they are gutsy, daring plays.
    Unsuccessful stolen base attempts are not only the result of the ball beating the runner to the bag, but because a base runner over-slid the base or was unable to stop on a dime and not go through the base while running full speed. According to a 2021 report from the New York Post, bigger bases might help solve this issue:
    'The current base, if you don't hit the front of it and stop, you're going through it,' Chris Marinak, MLB's chief operations and strategy officer, told the New York Post. 'And this base is a little more forgiving in the sense that, if you hit the front of it, hopefully there's more catch on the base. You can actually stop on the bag without popping off. Certainly that's one of the ideas behind it.'
    Stealing bases is exciting for fans, and so is watching players beat out grounders and bunts and stretch singles into doubles. Time will tell if a slight infield change has the ability to make a big difference on in-game action and injury prevention. And if not, the kids will love stomping on those oversize Target Field bases anyway. 
    What are your thoughts on the league's decision to increase the size of the bases starting in the 2023 season? Leave a COMMENT below. 
  14. Like
    RJA reacted to Jeremy Nygaard for an article, Draft Changes As Result of New CBA   
    The biggest, most significant change will be the introduction of a Draft Lottery beginning in 2023. In an anti-tanking measure, MLBPA was pushing for more teams to be included in the lottery. The more teams included, the less appealing having the worst record is. MLB wanted less teams. The compromise, eventually, was six teams, which should be considered a win for the union.
    The worst three teams will each have an equal shot (16.5%) at getting the first overall pick, while the tenth worst and better will all have less than a 2% chance at getting the first overall pick. 
    There are some interesting caveats to be included in the lottery though. According to MLB.com, "teams that receive revenue-sharing payouts can't receive a lottery pick for more than two years in a row and those that don't can't get a top-six choice in consecutive Drafts. Furthermore, a club that's ineligible for the lottery can't select higher than 10th overall."
    The last sentence is interesting to me. I take that to read that a unsigned player in the top 10 will net the team a pick no higher than 10th. So if you don't sign the top pick, you're not getting pick #2 the following year. You're getting pick #10.
    Speaking of unsigned players, a rule will be put into place that any Top 300 player who submits to a pre-draft physical cannot be offered less than 75% of his drat slot. It's being referred to as the "Kumar Rocker Rule," which is interesting. Rocker was drafted and not offered a contract by the Mets after failing a post-draft physical, but he didn't share his pre-draft medicals. Maybe he would have taken a pre-draft physical... but either way, what this is aiming to solve wasn't the reason that Kumar Rocker didn't sign.
    Another interesting tidbit is the return of draft-and-follows. Nick Blackburn may be the best-known example as it pertains to the Twins. The "draft-and-follow" allows you to select a player and, if that player attends junior college, you retain his signing rights until the next year's draft. So teams will take a flyer on a guy, continue to watch him play the next season, and then sign him. 
    The Twins drafted Nick Blackburn in the 29th round of the 2001 draft. He didn't sign, and instead pitched a second year at Seminole State College, and the Twins signed him before the 2002 draft. Blackburn became the organization's #1 prospect and a mainstay in the Twins rotation for five years.
    Additionally, the time of the 40-round draft has officially come to an end. The draft will be 20 rounds, as it was last year, for the next five years.
    There was not an agreement on an International Draft, but there will be before July 25. If there isn't, draft-pick compensation will be tied to free agents, something the union wants to rid themselves of.
    So what's missing? The ability to trade draft picks. I really thought/hoped it would find its way into this CBA. Guess we'll have to wait another five years.
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  15. Like
    RJA reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, The Talented Mr. Henry   
    Ron Henry was born in 1936 in Chester, Pennsylvania. Because of some illness in his family, he missed some school. That said, he became a top baseball prospect in the northeast, displaying a strong arm behind the plate and some power. 
    In 1954, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves, just over a year after the team relocated from Boston. He played in their minor-league system through the 1960 season. At the end of the year, the Twins selected him in the 1960 Rule 5 draft. 
    In order to keep his services, Henry made the Twins Opening Day roster in 1961, the team’s first year in Minnesota. That said, he was the team’s third catcher and played in just 20 games the whole year. He had four hits in 28 at-bats (.143). 

    He played in Triple-A Vancouver in 1962. In 1963, he started at Triple-A Dallas-Ft. Worth and then ended the season at Double-A Charlotte. After 54 games in Charlotte in 1964, he played 22 more games in the big leagues. He was still the third catcher, so there wasn’t a lot of playing time. He went 5-for-41 (.122), but he did hit a double, a triple, and two home runs. 
    He played for the Twins Triple-A team, now located in Denver, in 1965, 1966, and the start of the 1967 season. He then ended that season and started the 1968 season in the Astros system before retiring from the game of baseball at the age of 31 after 15 professional seasons. 
    After concluding his playing career, Ron Henry spent some time in the Army before returning to Denver where he began a career that lasted over 35 years. 
    He became a legend in the Denver club scene, mostly for good reasons. He could play instruments and was known as a jazzman. He could sing and led a group called Ron Henry and Pride. Colorado Music Hall of Famer Lannie Garrett came to Denver and heard Henry perform. She asked if she could join him and was a background vocalist for the next couple of years. They opened for the likes of Ray Charles and Tina Turner. 
    Along with the music, Ron Henry also performed in plays in the Denver theaters and dinner clubs. 
    In 2001, he and his wife moved to Raleigh. He was starting to have knee problems from his catching days. He also had a heart transplant. 

    Provided to the Denver Post by Rebecca Mobley 
    In 2008, he returned to Denver and continued to have some limited performances until his death in 2016. Henry passed away due to cardiovascular disease and end-stage renal disease. He was surrounded by his family, including his five kids, and many friends and people who enjoyed his performances over the years. 
    His daughter, Rebecca Mobley, told the Denver Post following her father's death, "He loved his friends, he loved his life, he loved all the people he encountered, all the people he interacted with especially with the music." She continued, "He was a fun-loving guy. He liked to laugh a lot. He was kind of a jokester. He loved us a lot. He tried to give us a lot of good advice. … He really adored his grandkids."
    Ron Henry was part of the very first Minnesota Twins roster in 1961. He was one of three African Americans on the roster that year, along with outfielder Lenny Green and fellow-catcher Earl Battey. 
    While his big-league career consisted of just 42 games and a .130 batting average, he was fortunate to spend 15 years as a professional baseball player. That career led him to Denver where he became immensely successful in the music scene with a career more than double the length of his baseball career. 
    Henry isn't the first former pro ballplayer to also succeed in music. Charley Pride played minor-league ball before embarking on his legendary country music career. Bernie Williams is now a classically-trained guitarist who has already been nominated for a Latin Grammy. 
    Who knows, maybe we can see if Trevor Plouffe, Drew Butera, Toby Gardenhire and Dustin Martin will have a Beach Bums reunion? Or, maybe Brian Dozier will bring back Silky Smooth and show off his guitar and piano skills. 
    Keep checking back to Twins Daily throughout Black History Month as we hope to share several more stories about African Americans to don a Twins uniform over the past 62 seasons.

    screenshot from above YouTube video 
  16. Like
    RJA reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, The Lockout Diaries: Week 6   
    We've reached mid-January and, under normal circumstances, the spring training report date for pitchers and catchers would be about one month away. However, the idea of spring camps firing up on time feels like a pipe dream at this point. MLB and its players association still have yet to engage in serious discussions.
    On the bright side, that is finally about to change. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported earlier this week that the two sides plan to convene and hold a bargaining session on Thursday for the first time in six weeks. 
    I wish I could say I was confident this meeting would result in rapid action, but I'm not. We all lived through the agony of following "negotiations" during the COVID shutdown in 2020, with proposals from each side repeatedly being scoffed at by the other. 
    I suspect we'll see a similar series of rebuffs in the weeks ahead, with the urgency and stakes growing higher as spring approaches and scores of free agents remain in limbo. 
    I've been using the downtime to fully take stock of the Twins organization as it currently stands, ponder the fallout of trade scenarios, and reminisce on Minnesota teams past. None of these activities serve as fitting substitutes for actual baseball news and the palpable excitement of spring training's approach but ... you work with what you've got.
    To that end, I've been incredibly impressed by the inventiveness of our Twins Daily writing community. I come here every day and find multiple new articles covering interesting topics despite the total lack of anything happening. It's quite amazing.
    I've read great stories about potential international signings, and Dereck Rodriguez returning to the Twins, and Jim Kaat's number retirement, and 2022 sleepers to watch, and a mother's perspective on two identical twins who happen to be start relievers, and much more. These are all from the past few days.
    The passion of fellow Twins fans is helping to keep my impassioned disgust with Rob Manfred and the league at bay, for now. 
    When I helped launch Twins Daily a decade ago (10th anniversary coming up next month!), we envisioned it as exactly this: a refuge for lovers of baseball, even when baseball doesn't love us back. For me, it's been that and more. And it's honestly making a significant difference in my morale as this stupid lockout drags on.
    There's a good chance I'd have checked out on baseball – at least for the time being – amidst all this stupidity, if not for the writers, readers, and audience here at TD. I'd like to let them know how much I appreciate 'em. But for now I can only tell it to you, dear journal, here in this extremely private, anonymous, discreet setting.
    Anyway, seeya next week. Hopefully I'll bring news of any substance. I'm not counting on it.
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