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gman

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    gman reacted to Jeremy Nygaard for an article, Twins Daily 2022 Draft Coverage, March 1   
    The return of baseball has been a welcome sight to fans. No, we’re not talking about Major League Baseball (yet), but we are talking about the rest of baseball. College seasons have started, with many northern playing teams having flown south for the spring. High school seasons are getting underway in some parts of the nation, while the Midwest will have to wait - for the most part - until the snow clears up. The season is upon us and there has been plenty happening already.
    Carlos Collazo of Baseball America dropped his weekly draft stock watch. Collazo was in Florida for the weekend where he was able to see one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft, prep outfielder Elijah Green. He followed that up with another piece of rising and popup prospects. 
    The Athletic took a very thorough look at shortstop Brooks Lee of Cal Poly. Lee, who many consider that top collegiate bat, would be a welcome sight if he were still available when the Twins come on the clock.
    ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel put out his first draft ranking of the year. As exclusive ESPN+ content, it’s behind a paywall. The story of this draft is in both the prep-hitting class and how many of those top prospects - Druw Jones, Green, Jackson Holliday - are sons of former professional athletes. 
    With the return of college baseball, the dudes over at Fangraphs posted their first-weekend update. 
    The Twins are set to pick eighth, so I’ll leave you each week with my Top 8 Prospects. At this point, it is a baseline only based on who I like and less on anything else. As the draft approaches, I’ll try to make this reflect how I think the Twins will stack their board with some explanation.
    1) Druw Jones, OF, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit)
    2) Brooks Lee, SS, Cal Poly
    3) Elijah Green, OF, Florida prep (Miami commit)
    4) Termarr Johnson, 2B, Georgia prep 
    5) Jacob Berry, 3B, LSU
    6) Dylan Lesko, SP, Georgia prep (Vanderbilt commit) 
    7) Jace Jung, 3B, Texas Tech
    8.) Chase DeLauter, cOF, James Madison
    MOCK DRAFTS / PROSPECT BOARDS
    Baseball America - v1.0 (2/10/22) / Top 100 (1/17/22) MLB.com - Callis - Top 10 (12/15/21), Mayo - Top 20 (7/20/21) / Top 100 The Athletic ESPN - Early Draft Rankings (7/26/21) ($$$ - ESPN+) / McDaniel’s Draft Rankings (2/24/22) Fangraphs - The Board / 2022 MLB Draft Rankings and Offseason List Primer (11/30/21)  Just Baseball v1.0 (2/10/22) Prospects Live v1.0 (1/24/22) My MLB Draft (1/18/22) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
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  2. Like
    gman reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Do the Twins Have a Dark Horse Utility Candidate?   
    As much as I’d be a proponent for Gordon seeing continued reps in the role, there’s reason to believe it could be recently signed Daniel Robertson. While former first-round pick Tim Beckham is the more prominent name of Minnesota’s minor league contracts signed of late, Robertson is younger and could make more sense.
     
    Last season Robertson played in 50 games for the Milwaukee Brewers. It was his worst season as a big leaguer, and he posted just a .164/.303/.274 (.577) slash line. Robertson has never hit for power, with nine longballs being his most in a season coming back in 2018. Like Beckham, Robertson made his debut with the Tampa Bay Rays. He’s played six different positions in a single season and can play shortstop.
    Similar to Beckham, Robertson is stretched defensively almost everywhere. The utility aspect allows him to fill in anywhere, but his glove isn’t likely to be the first option anywhere. The 816 innings at second base would qualify for his greatest at any position, and he’s compiled a -1 DRS in that time.
     
    Unlike Beckham, Robertson has some strong plate discipline skills. Even with the ugly .164 average last season, he still reached base at a .303 clip. That’s mainly due to a chase rate of just 25% and a career whiff rate under 10%. Robertson’s hard-hit rate is not impressive, and he puts the ball on the ground a ton, but the ability to make contact could be something the Twins opt for off the bench.
     
    In an interesting comp for Robertson, Baseball Savant has former Twins backstop Chris Gimenez (during the 2017 season) as a similar batter. That year, Gimenez posted a .731 OPS being a low average but high on-base guy. Gimenez also played a more premium position but contributed as a veteran across 74 games. That Twins squad won 85 games and would seem comparable to the current group, depending on how pitching works out.
     
    Personally, the inclusion of either Robertson or Beckham on the Opening Day roster would be less than ideal. Gordon likely presents at least the same amount of utility, and I think his speed should be a differentiating factor. That said, Minnesota will go lighter somewhere on the roster to accommodate the pitching needs, and the last bench spot certainly isn’t a bad place to do it.
     
    What do you think? Is Daniel Robertson on the Twins Opening Day roster? Does Tim Beckham get that look? Maybe Nick Gordon keeps his role from 2020?
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    gman reacted to Cody Christie for an article, One Final Remnant of the Johan Santana Trade   
    Bill Smith was in a no-win situation. After taking the reins as the Twins GM, Torii Hunter left via free agency, and he faced trading away baseball’s best pitcher. Rumors swirled about potential prospect packages from the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets. Eventually, the Twins settled on a package that included Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey, and Philip Humber.

    Gomez had the longest Twins career, but the club traded him to Milwaukee, where he made back-to-back All-Star appearances. He played his final game in 2019. Humber pitched just over 20 innings in Minnesota, but his most significant mark on baseball was pitching the 21st perfect game in MLB history. His final big-league pitch came in 2013. Mulvey pitched fewer than 30 big-league innings and only appeared in two Twins games. He is about to start his sixth season as the head coach at Villanova. That leaves one man standing.

    Like many pitching prospects, Guerra didn’t follow a linear development path. He pitched his first two professional seasons in the Mets organization, where they were aggressive with his level. Baseball America ranked him as baseball’s 35th best prospect at the time of the trade, while Baseball Prospectus had him ranked 79th. Of course, he had yet to throw an inning above High-A, but evaluators considered him one of the game’s best pitching prospects. 

    Guerra pitched seven seasons in the Twins organization but never got the call to the big league level. He switched to a bullpen role in 2011 after posting an ERA north of 6.00 during the 2010 season. His strikeout numbers improved with the switch, but he still allowed too many runs and gave up too much hard contact. Following the 2013 season, he left the Twins organization and went on quite the professional journey.  

    Pittsburgh signed him for 2015, and he made his big-league debut. Unfortunately, he allowed five home runs in 16 2/3 innings, but he struck out more than a batter per inning. The following winter, he re-signed with the Pirates on December 7, and three days later, the Angels selected him in the Rule 5 Draft. Los Angeles had to keep him on the big-league roster for the 2016 season, and he got his first extended look in his age-27 season. In 53 1/3 innings, he compiled a 3.21 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP and 36-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio. 
    From 2017 to 2020, he bounced around from Los Angeles to Texas to Milwaukee to Philadelphia. During those stops, he made 29 appearances and had a 6.55 ERA with a 1.46 WHIP. He had posted some substantial numbers in the high levels of the minors, but those numbers weren’t translating to the big-league level. Entering his age-32 season, it looked like his career might be coming to a close. 

    Oakland gave Guerra one last chance, and he slid into their bullpen for the entire 2021 season. He posted a 4.11 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP across 65 2/3 innings. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story as he ranked in the 85th percentile or higher in average exit velocity, hard-hit %, wxOBA, xERA, and xBA. Even without eye-popping strikeout numbers, batters cannot make solid contact against his offspeed offerings. In fact, only his four-seam fastball allowed a batting average over .245 and a slugging percentage over .392. He uses five pitches out of the bullpen, which is a rarity in today’s game. 
    Oakland kept Guerra on their 40-man roster this winter, so it looks like he may be part of the team’s plans for the 2022 campaign. Either way, his journey to this point in his career is one of determination and resilience. He’s the last piece of the Johan Santana trade, and he still has something to prove. 

    What do you remember about the Santana trade? Did you think players tied to the trade would still be playing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    gman reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Josh Winder Could Be THE Twins Rookie Pitcher in 2022   
    A 7th round pick in 2018, Josh Winder didn’t break into professional baseball at the top of Twins prospect lists. It would be understandable, in fact, if you hadn’t even heard his name until he really raised some eyebrows last spring.
    Winder reportedly made a lot of good progress during the canceled 2020 Minor League season, but it’s entirely possible he would have debuted long ago without the interruption. After totaling just under 40 innings pitched in his debut 2018 season, he topped 125 innings in 2019 at Cedar Rapids with decent strikeout numbers as well as an impressive avoidance of walks and home runs in A ball.
    2021 showed Winder was far from what you’d expect out of a 7th round draft pick. In 54 innings at AA his strikeout rate eclipsed 31%. He walked under 5% of his batters faced and posted a 0.82 HR/9. His ERA was under 2.
    Upon his promotion to AAA, his strikeouts dropped a bit and home runs increased dramatically in a small sample before his season was cut short with shoulder fatigue. It was a disappointing end to 2021, especially for those hoping to see the 6’5 right-hander at Target Field by season’s end. Still, Winder showed enough to keep your eye on him in 2022.
    Winder has built up his prospect status since his selection in the draft. Scouts give him a 55 future grade fastball with 50 grades for his slider, curveball, and changeup. His pitch mix shows a lot of promise when it comes to sticking in a rotation. He may not have quite the fastball command of Joe Ryan, but the depth of his pitches doesn’t make future bullpen arm concerns quite as obvious.
    In regards to pitch mix, Winder matches up quite well with Bailey Ober who is deservedly receiving quite a bit of buzz headed into 2022. Winder has a superior fastball and slider, while Ober has a plus changeup and impeccable command as Twins fans saw in his 92 innings pitched last season.
    Where Winder undoubtedly bests Ober, however, is his past body of work. The 125 innings in his second professional season were very encouraging. It’s a benchmark that Ober has yet to reach after throwing a career-high 108 innings in 2022 across AAA and the majors. Winder’s season-ending shoulder fatigue was likely just a result of so many innings after a year off, and his injury/durability concerns moving forward shouldn’t be as significant as Ober’s who’s dealt with his fair share of injuries already throughout his career.
    Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober get a lot of love from Twins Territory, and rightfully so. There isn’t much substitution for watching a young arm succeed at the Major League level. It is important to remember that we were right on the edge of Josh Winder possibly being in the same conversation. For as good as Ryan and Ober might be, one could argue that Winder could be the more well-rounded of the trio when it comes to a future in an MLB rotation.
    I’d put my money on Winder spending Opening Day in St. Paul. That being said, depending on how the Twins address the rest of the rotation it’s not impossible that Winder could win a rotation spot out of Spring Training. He’s the next man up when it comes to the Falvine pitching pipeline, and we likely won’t have to wait too long to see him in Minneapolis. 
    He may not receive the attention of the Chase Pettys of the world, but Winder deserves a lot of credit for his meteoric rise from being a 7th round pick where even decent Minor League careers are far from the norm. Regardless of how the season goes, 2022 will be a fun year when it comes to the pitching pipeline. Expect to see Josh Winder as the first of many to stake their claim in the Twins future rotation.
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    gman reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Early Projections Peg Central as Improving   
    Last season, the AL Central was a case of the haves and have nots. Both Chicago and Minnesota were expected to contend while Cleveland sat in no man's land, and Detroit and Kansas City floundered. It was easy to see that the Tigers were building something under A.J. Hinch, and the Royals have a glut of exciting talent ready to help at the big-league level. Because baseball is locked out and transactions are frozen, we don’t know how rosters will finalize, but there’s plenty to draw off now.
     
    ZiPS sees the White Sox as the cream of the crop again, which should be expected. The 88 win total is a good spot, given the projection system. With room to fluctuate on both sides, it’s fair to assess the AL Central Division winner will again come in with a win total in the low-90s. From there, every other team is within four games of each other, and no one has a win total of fewer than 74 games. How these clubs are constructed currently is what makes this interesting.

    Chicago might have already spent on most of their additions in adding Kendall Graveman and re-signing Leury Garcia. They will actively look to shop Craig Kimbrel, but the return doesn’t likely make them a better team. It’s anyone’s guess what the Guardians do as they haven’t spent money and are going the wrong way. Detroit made their big splash in paying for Javier Baez, and the Royals will probably rely more internally than anything. That leads us to the Twins.
     
    Minnesota is currently projected for 75 wins, and that’s with at least two openings in the rotation and a shortstop needing to be addressed. I think it’s a good bet to plan on Derek Falvey acquiring a starter via trade, and then signing someone like Michael Pineda, Zack Greinke, or another veteran presence is a good step forward. Minnesota still has $50 million or more to spend, and being valued as such with the present roster is a testament to the lineup.
     
    There’s no denying that the Twins should hit. They have one of the better lineups in baseball when things are clicking, and adding a healthy Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach should only help cement that reality. Rocco Baldelli’s club will go as far as the pitching staff allows it to, and that group will be as capable as the dollars or acquisition cost is stretched towards.
     
    A year ago, the AL Central might have been the weakest division in baseball, but in 2022 it may wind up being the group with the most parity. Some of those teams on the bottom have strong farm systems ready to bear fruit, and that’s only going to ratchet up their overall competitiveness. Right now, the Twins are in a good place that allows them to put 2021 in the rearview mirror, but they must be committed to making that season little more than a blip on the radar.
    Transactions will come quickly once the lockout is lifted, but how many wins the Twins can add from them will directly correlate to the quality of each move.
  6. Like
    gman reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Lewis, Miranda Among Six Players Added to the Twins 40-Man Roster   
    Top prospect Royce Lewis and 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year Jose Miranda headline the additions. In addition, starting pitchers Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Blayne Enlow and Chris Vallimont were also added to the roster. 
    Despite missing the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL, Royce Lewis was an easy choice to add. The #1 pick in the 2017 draft (and current Twins Daily #1 prospect) remains a top prospect in the organization as well as in all of baseball. He participated at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul in 2020. Lewis should start the 2022 season at Double-A Wichita and from there we’ll just see how his knee and his swing and his glove respond. It's possible that Lewis ends the season with the Twins. 
    Following the announcement, Lewis said he is excited. "It means a lot! I really appreciate any sort of opportunity." And after a lost season and lots of recovery, he added, "Always great to hear any good news!"
    Jose Miranda was a second-round pick in 2016 out of school in Puerto Rico. He’s always had good power potential and contact skills, but things really came together in 2021 when he hit a combined .343 with 30 doubles and 30 home runs between Wichita and St. Paul. Depending on other offseason moves, Miranda should start the 2022 season in St. Paul, hopefully continue mashing and be ready for an opening at third base, or second base, or first base with the Twins. Miranda was the Twins Daily #6 prospect in August. 
    After hearing the news, Miranda told Twins Daily, "It means a lot, especially after a lost season last year. (I'm) excited and pumped for what the future holds, and this makes me want to work harder!"
    Josh Winder broke out in 2021 as well. After impressing coaches at Instructional League a year ago and at big-league spring training this year, he was fantastic in Wichita before starting out strong after his promotion to St. Paul. He pitched in the Futures Game before being shut down with shoulder issues. Assuming health, Winder may be competing for a big-league job in spring training. He’s likely to start in St. Paul but could be ready for The Call whenever needed. Winder is Twins Daily’s #11 prospect. 
    Winder was the team’s seventh-round pick in 2018 from VMI. Two rounds earlier, the Twins selected Cole Sands out of Florida State. Although he missed a few starts with minor injuries, he had a terrific season in Double-A Wichita. Sands should start 2021 in St. Paul and could be ready by midseason. Sands is the #19 Twins Daily prospect. 
    Chris Vallimont had an ERA over six and he walked far too many batters in 2021, but the former Marlins prospect was added to the 40-man roster because he has electric stuff.  While there may be questions about if he’ll be a starter long-term, the worst case is he can be a strong bullpen arm. Vallimont is the Twins Daily #25-ranked prospect. 
    Blayne Enlow was certainly a more difficult choice, but the team decided to believe in the future of their 2017 third-round pick. His potential, even as he continues to rehab from his May 2021 Tommy John surgery, remains very high. In 2021, he was throwing harder, mixed all of his pitches and was missing a lot more bats than he previously had. If all goes well, maybe he is making rehab appearances in June or July. If things go well and he continues to progress, he could debut by the end of the 2023 season. He ranked #17 on Twins Daily's prospect list. 
    After hearing the news, Enlow told Twins Daily he's "just getting started." 
    The goal, of course, is to avoid a situation like a year ago when the Twins lost Akil Baddoo to the Tigers and Tyler Wells to the Orioles. Both not only made their team out of spring training, but they both became important contributors. Last year, due to Covid, there were no minor league games in which to evaluate players. At least this year, they have game video and stats and more with which to do their evaluations. But, that doesn’t make all of the decisions easy. Here are several players at risk to be lost in the Rule 5 draft. 
    Austin Schulfer is a potential Rule 5 pick. As a starter in 2021 in Wichita, he was touching 96 mph with good secondary pitches. Again, he might end up a reliever, but there is certainly potential in his right arm 
    Others who could be at-risk to be selected in the Rule 5 draft include shortstop-turned-pitcher Jordan Gore who was Twins Daily’s Right-Handed Relief Pitcher All Star for his work in Cedar Rapids and Wichita in his first season on the mound. 
    St. Paul Saints relievers Ian Hamilton and Ryan Mason are also now eligible to be Rule 5d next month. Both found success in Triple-A in 2021 and could contribute in the big leagues when called upon. Other relievers that could be selected include lefties Kody Funderburk and Zach Featherstone, along with recently-acquired Alex Scherff. 
    Utility players are often taken in the Rule 5 draft. The Twins could potentially lose Jermaine Palacios (who re-signed with the Twins quickly this offseason), Michael Helman (who broke out power this year while playing six positions well), and Yunior Severino (former big-time prospect who hit well when he joined Cedar Rapids late in the season). In addition, Mark Contreras was left unprotected after hitting 30 doubles and 20 home runs, mostly in Triple-A St. Paul in 2021. He could be a team’s fourth outfielder right now if selected. 
    For more information on the players added or left unprotected, click here.  
    In order to make room, the Twins dropped several players from their 40-man roster. While the players added to the 40-man roster are very excited, the players removed from the 40-man roster are on the opposite end of the excitement spectrum. 
    The Twins have signed OF Jake Cave to an MLB deal. They outrighted LHP Devin Smeltzer and outfielder Kyle Garlick to Triple-A St. Paul. Lefty Charlie Barnes and C/IF Willians Astudillo have been DFAd. The 40-man roster is now at 40.
    Jake Cave was a very productive fourth outfielder for the Twins in 2018 and 2019. Over those two seasons, he hit .262/.329/.466 (.795) with 27 doubles and 21 homers in 163 games. Over the past two seasons, he has played in 118 games and hit just .202/.263/.332 (.595) with nine doubles and seven homers. His OPS+ over those two seasons was just 64. As an arbitration-eligible player, it is likely that he agreed to a deal at the Twins terms. 
    Willians Astudillo (aka, La Tortuga) has been a fan favorite since he was first called up to the Twins and his .355 in 29 games in 2018. He has spent time with the Twins each of the past four years, but taking out that first season, he hit just .251/.278/.382 (.659) in 138 games since the beginning of the 2019 season. That is an OPS+ of just 77, 23% below league average. Will he clear waivers? Will there be a team that thinks his ability to stand at five positions, as well as squat behind the plate, provides value?
    Kyle Garlick was claimed by the Twins before spring training in 2021. His ability to his left-handed pitching gave him and chance and he took full advantage of it. He hit well against southpaws, until he got hurt. He tried to rehab and come back, but he ended up having surgery on a sports hernia. He was drafted in 2015, so he could become a free agent. 
    Devin Smeltzer made an impressive first impression in his debut in 2019. He tossed six shutout innings in his big-league debut against the Brewers and had a 3.86 ERA over 49 innings. Unfortunately, he pitched to an ERA over six in just seven games in the shortened 2020 season. In 2021, He was hurt after just one appearance and missed the rest of the season (though he did toss 4 2/3 scoreless innings). He cleared waivers. 
    Charlie Barnes made nine appearances (8 starts) for the Twins in 2021, usually spot starts, he went 0-3 with a 5.92 ERA. However, he went 6-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 16 starts for the St. Paul Saints, so I'm sure the Twins hope that he passes through waivers unclaimed and they can outright him to Triple-A. 
     
    Let's discuss the Twins additions and subtractions from the 40-man roster. 
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