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  1. The Twins opened their season with an impressive series win against Cleveland at Target Field, setting the tone for a first half that saw Minnesota build up a sizable lead in the AL Central. That lead had dwindled somewhat by the time last week's All-Star break came around, but the Twins opened their second half by adding to it with another big statement – this one made all the more impressive by preceding trends and an away setting. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/8 through Sun, 7/14 *** Record Last Week: 2-1 (Overall: 58-34) Run Differential Last Week: +5 (Overall: +121) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (6.5 GA) Willians Watch: Out Indefinitely The big surprise coming out of the break was that the Twins did not activate Eddie Rosario, who by all indications was ready to go when his 10 days on the Injured List lapsed, and held back as a mere precaution. Rosario was not in the lineup for any of Minnesota's three games against Cleveland, and his absence was felt – especially on Sunday when the Twins simply could not find that big hit. It sounds like there's a good chance he'll be activated Tuesday against the Mets, but this front office has been really tough to read. They're cryptic in communicating about injury status, and we've seen them opt for the conservative route on almost every occasion. This approach has served them well, so I don't have a problem with it, but it's consequentially impossible to say with certainty when Rosario will be back. The same is true for Byron Buxton, who hit the ground hard on a fantastic diving catch Saturday and was out of the lineup on Sunday, and C.J. Cron, who's eligible to be activated from the IL on Tuesday. One big noteworthy roster move from the past week: Adalberto Mejia was designated for assignment to make room for Jake Odorizzi's return from the IL. The big lefty just hasn't shown enough and his latest meltdown was the last straw. I'm guessing he'll be claimed on waivers by some also-ran non-contender that views him as a cheap starting option with remnants of upside. HIGHLIGHTS Plenty of Twins hitters rose to the occasion in Cleveland. There were home runs from some of the usual fixtures – Max Kepler (x2), Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver – and also big production from an unexpected source: Jake Cave delivered a home run and clutch two-run double in Saturday's series-clinching victory. He had just a .542 OPS with the Twins coming in, and the big breakout was very much welcomed with the continuing absence of Rosario. Jorge Polanco, fresh off delivering an RBI hit in Tuesday's All-Star Game, came through when it mattered on Friday, launching a two-run double over the center fielder's head to put Minnesota in front for good in the seventh. Polanco added three more hits on Saturday. Also on Saturday, fellow All-Star Odorizzi had a nice return to form, hurling 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball to pick up his 11th win of the season (first in nearly a month). A solo homer by Jose Ramirez represented the only damage against Odorizzi, who otherwise allowed just two singles and two walks. Still, despite the successful results, his lack of swing-and-miss prowess was conspicuous. Odorizzi struck out only two hitters, a number he's posted in three of his past four turns. He had struck out three or more in 12 of his first 14 starts. While the lineup and rotation had their moments, the biggest story in this series – in an extension of the encouraging trend we highlighted last week – was the excellent work from Minnesota's bullpen. The unit stepped up after a short start on Friday with 5 1/3 scoreless innings, facilitating the critical comeback win. Trevor May, Zack Littell and Ryne Harper paved the way for Taylor Rogers to close it out with a two-inning save; collectively, those four struck out seven, with two hits and one walk allowed. The Twins turned to Rogers again on Saturday, with a four-run lead in the ninth, and he was perfect. Since that late-May stretch where he allowed home runs in back-to-back games, Rogers has a 0.90 ERA and 25-to-1 K/BB ratio in 20 innings of work. During that span he has allowed seven hits – five of them singles. As Aaron Gleeman notes here, Rogers has been the biggest difference-maker among AL relievers this year, and no one else is close: May's costly mistake on an 0-2 pitch on Sunday, taken deep by Carlos Santana for a decisive home run, was an unfortunate blemish amidst a strong stretch (and, really, season) for the right-hander. He bridged the gap on Friday by getting four big outs, and blew away the three other hitters he faced on Sunday. Over his past six appearances he has piled up a whopping 14 strikeouts with one walk in 7 1/3 innings. Santana's bomb stands as the only extra-base hit allowed during that span, and one of just three homers May's surrendered all year. He's a viable setup man, in spite of this hiccup. Littell is emerging as a legitimate late-inning option himself. He tossed two more scoreless innings last week and hasn't allowed a run in eight appearances since the start of June. During that span he has a dazzling 16% swinging strike rate, although the five walks are a bit concerning. Cleveland's bullpen has the best ERA in the league but it was Minnesota's that shined in this showdown: Twins relievers allowed just two runs (on solo homers against May and Tyler Duffey) in 12 innings, with 14 strikeouts and one walk. Phenomenal stuff. LOWLIGHTS Kyle Gibson was cruising along on Friday, fanning four through three scoreless innings, before everything unraveled in the fourth. A home run, a walk, an error, a bloop two-run single, and a hit-by-pitch all contributed to a series of events that saw Gibson lifted before escaping the frame. It's been a weird run of usage lately for Gibson, whose past four outings have included one-inning appearances as a reliever (in the 17th) and an opener (in the first). Outside of those, in his more traditional starts, he hasn't looked very good of late, allowing three-plus runs in six of his past seven turns. Over the course of the year, Gibson's been plagued by the same issue that afflicted Odorizzi last year: hitters are seeing him way better on successive trips through the order. His first time through, the righty is holding opponents to a .197/.278/.275 line, and we saw this play out on Friday as he mowed through the first three innings. Then, the second time through the order, opponents improve to .246/.311/.442, and the third time that goes up to .340/.376/.553. Against Cleveland, Gibson didn't even make it to that third go-round. To be a reliable force for Minnesota down the stretch, Gibson's going to need to find a way to give hitters a different look in their second and third at-bats. Working deep into games hasn't generally been an issue for Jose Berrios, who has failed to reach the sixth only three times all season. But two of those have come in his past two starts, which have both seen Berrios ousted after five innings while allowing three runs and battling uncharacteristic command struggles. The right-hander's 1.6 BB/9 rate through the first three months ranked among the best in baseball, but he's now issued three walks in back-to-back starts. On offense, there were plenty of trials experienced against Cleveland's outstanding staff, but no one looked worse than Jonathan Schoop, who went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in his two starts. One of those K's came in a huge spot with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh on Sunday, and it ran Schoop's futility with bases juiced this year to 0-for-8. He'd entered the game sporting a .167/.235/.449 line with runners in scoring position, and .158/.256/.184 in "Late & Close" situations. Schoop's overall production has been plenty respectable, but if it seems like he's been getting fat off lopsided blowouts, you're not mistaken. His most recent offensive explosion, before the break when he put up a homer, two doubles and four RBIs in a 15-6 laugher against Texas, was typical. He has a 1.119 OPS when hitting with a score margin of four-plus runs, and his numbers get progressively worse the closer the game is. The Twins are plainly a better team with Luis Arraez or Marwin Gonzalez at second base over Schoop, and you can make a pretty decent case for Ehire Adrianza as well. It'll be interesting to see how the veteran's playing time shapes up in the final months, especially considering the other three are clearly bigger factors in the team's future plans. TRENDING STORYLINE With Mejia out, the Twins have an immediate need for a second southpaw in the bullpen. They really don't have a single situational guy to face tough left-handed hitters at this point, since Rogers is more of a closer and all-around max-leverage stud. That's something they'll almost certainly want to address in short order. Internal options are waning. Like Mejia, Gabriel Moya and Andrew Vasquez have pretty much pushed themselves out of the picture this year, as both have been outrighted from the 40-man roster. Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are certainly intriguing options, but both are still working as starters in Rochester. It seemed like Littell benefited from getting the chance to transition to a relief role in the minors; will the Twins take a similar approach with one of these two? Or will they strike quickly on the trade market to address their need? Or both? DOWN ON THE FARM Minnesota's representatives in the All-Star Futures Game, which took place ahead of last week's midsummer classic, performed accordingly in their returns to the field. Shortstop Royce Lewis and right-hander Jordan Balazovic – ranked No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, in our recently updated midseason prospect rankings – both participated in the talent showcase, then got back to work at Fort Myers. Lewis launched a pair of homers in six games for the Miracle and also drew three walks. The power outburst was nice to see but I'm more heartened by the patience; he has been undone by a lack of discipline this year, and entered last week with a 25-to-2 K/BB ratio in 28 games dating back to the start of June. His balky swing mechanics are among the reasons Keith Law dropped Lewis from No. 9 to No. 34 in his new midseason ranking updates at ESPN. Balazovic, on the other hand, was all the way up to No. 44 in Law's rankings, after appearing as a "Just Missed" guy on the fringe of the spring Top 100. Balazovic had his usage altered a bit coming off the Futures Game appearance, and worked in relief for Fort Myers on Friday night. His results were customary. Entering in the sixth and working the final four frames, Balazovic held the Bradenton Marauder scoreless on one hit while notching six strikeouts. Meanwhile, it's getting tougher and tougher to understand why Trevor Larnach is still on the same roster as these two. Minnesota's first-round pick from last year's draft has been tearing up Florida State League pitching and was tremendous last week, going 12-for-26 with a homer and six RBIs in six games. That home run was his first in five weeks, so there's certainly a noticeable dearth of power from the former star collegiate slugger, but he's batting .316 and the quality of at-bats has consistently been very good. I wonder if the Twins will let the 22-year-old start acclimating to Double-A before season's end. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins came just short of delivering a critical hit to Cleveland on the road, but should still be feeling good with an extra game in the standings as they return home for a fairly key juncture. They'll be lucky to avoid Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom in their two-gamer against the Mets, but will then have a tough challenge ahead of them with four games against an A's team that gave them plenty of trouble in Oakland at the beginning of the month. Meanwhile, Cleveland will get Detroit and Kansas City at home. If they can't close the gap some in the next seven days they'll be facing some cold realities as they look inward at the deadline. TUESDAY, 7/16: METS @ TWINS – RHP Zack Wheeler v. RHP Michael Pineda WEDNESDAY, 7/17: METS @ TWINS – LHP Steven Matz v. LHP Martin Perez THURSDAY, 7/18: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Mike Fiers v. RHP Kyle Gibson FRIDAY, 7/19: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Chris Bassitt v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SATURDAY, 7/20: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – LHP Brett Anderson v. RHP Jose Berrios SUNDAY, 7/21: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Daniel Mengden v. RHP Michael Pineda Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 90 | MIN 5, CLE 3: Late Rally, Bullpen Power Stunning Comeback WinGame 91 | MIN 6, CLE 2: Series Clinched Behind Big Performances From Kepler, CaveGame 92 | CLE 4, MIN 3: Cleveland Prevails, Avoids Sweep Click here to view the article
  2. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/8 through Sun, 7/14 *** Record Last Week: 2-1 (Overall: 58-34) Run Differential Last Week: +5 (Overall: +121) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (6.5 GA) Willians Watch: Out Indefinitely The big surprise coming out of the break was that the Twins did not activate Eddie Rosario, who by all indications was ready to go when his 10 days on the Injured List lapsed, and held back as a mere precaution. Rosario was not in the lineup for any of Minnesota's three games against Cleveland, and his absence was felt – especially on Sunday when the Twins simply could not find that big hit. It sounds like there's a good chance he'll be activated Tuesday against the Mets, but this front office has been really tough to read. They're cryptic in communicating about injury status, and we've seen them opt for the conservative route on almost every occasion. This approach has served them well, so I don't have a problem with it, but it's consequentially impossible to say with certainty when Rosario will be back. The same is true for Byron Buxton, who hit the ground hard on a fantastic diving catch Saturday and was out of the lineup on Sunday, and C.J. Cron, who's eligible to be activated from the IL on Tuesday. One big noteworthy roster move from the past week: Adalberto Mejia was designated for assignment to make room for Jake Odorizzi's return from the IL. The big lefty just hasn't shown enough and his latest meltdown was the last straw. I'm guessing he'll be claimed on waivers by some also-ran non-contender that views him as a cheap starting option with remnants of upside. HIGHLIGHTS Plenty of Twins hitters rose to the occasion in Cleveland. There were home runs from some of the usual fixtures – Max Kepler (x2), Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver – and also big production from an unexpected source: Jake Cave delivered a home run and clutch two-run double in Saturday's series-clinching victory. He had just a .542 OPS with the Twins coming in, and the big breakout was very much welcomed with the continuing absence of Rosario. Jorge Polanco, fresh off delivering an RBI hit in Tuesday's All-Star Game, came through when it mattered on Friday, launching a two-run double over the center fielder's head to put Minnesota in front for good in the seventh. Polanco added three more hits on Saturday. Also on Saturday, fellow All-Star Odorizzi had a nice return to form, hurling 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball to pick up his 11th win of the season (first in nearly a month). A solo homer by Jose Ramirez represented the only damage against Odorizzi, who otherwise allowed just two singles and two walks. Still, despite the successful results, his lack of swing-and-miss prowess was conspicuous. Odorizzi struck out only two hitters, a number he's posted in three of his past four turns. He had struck out three or more in 12 of his first 14 starts. While the lineup and rotation had their moments, the biggest story in this series – in an extension of the encouraging trend we highlighted last week – was the excellent work from Minnesota's bullpen. The unit stepped up after a short start on Friday with 5 1/3 scoreless innings, facilitating the critical comeback win. Trevor May, Zack Littell and Ryne Harper paved the way for Taylor Rogers to close it out with a two-inning save; collectively, those four struck out seven, with two hits and one walk allowed. The Twins turned to Rogers again on Saturday, with a four-run lead in the ninth, and he was perfect. Since that late-May stretch where he allowed home runs in back-to-back games, Rogers has a 0.90 ERA and 25-to-1 K/BB ratio in 20 innings of work. During that span he has allowed seven hits – five of them singles. As Aaron Gleeman notes here, Rogers has been the biggest difference-maker among AL relievers this year, and no one else is close: https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/1150039964517687296 May's costly mistake on an 0-2 pitch on Sunday, taken deep by Carlos Santana for a decisive home run, was an unfortunate blemish amidst a strong stretch (and, really, season) for the right-hander. He bridged the gap on Friday by getting four big outs, and blew away the three other hitters he faced on Sunday. Over his past six appearances he has piled up a whopping 14 strikeouts with one walk in 7 1/3 innings. Santana's bomb stands as the only extra-base hit allowed during that span, and one of just three homers May's surrendered all year. He's a viable setup man, in spite of this hiccup. Littell is emerging as a legitimate late-inning option himself. He tossed two more scoreless innings last week and hasn't allowed a run in eight appearances since the start of June. During that span he has a dazzling 16% swinging strike rate, although the five walks are a bit concerning. Cleveland's bullpen has the best ERA in the league but it was Minnesota's that shined in this showdown: Twins relievers allowed just two runs (on solo homers against May and Tyler Duffey) in 12 innings, with 14 strikeouts and one walk. Phenomenal stuff. LOWLIGHTS Kyle Gibson was cruising along on Friday, fanning four through three scoreless innings, before everything unraveled in the fourth. A home run, a walk, an error, a bloop two-run single, and a hit-by-pitch all contributed to a series of events that saw Gibson lifted before escaping the frame. It's been a weird run of usage lately for Gibson, whose past four outings have included one-inning appearances as a reliever (in the 17th) and an opener (in the first). Outside of those, in his more traditional starts, he hasn't looked very good of late, allowing three-plus runs in six of his past seven turns. Over the course of the year, Gibson's been plagued by the same issue that afflicted Odorizzi last year: hitters are seeing him way better on successive trips through the order. His first time through, the righty is holding opponents to a .197/.278/.275 line, and we saw this play out on Friday as he mowed through the first three innings. Then, the second time through the order, opponents improve to .246/.311/.442, and the third time that goes up to .340/.376/.553. Against Cleveland, Gibson didn't even make it to that third go-round. To be a reliable force for Minnesota down the stretch, Gibson's going to need to find a way to give hitters a different look in their second and third at-bats. Working deep into games hasn't generally been an issue for Jose Berrios, who has failed to reach the sixth only three times all season. But two of those have come in his past two starts, which have both seen Berrios ousted after five innings while allowing three runs and battling uncharacteristic command struggles. The right-hander's 1.6 BB/9 rate through the first three months ranked among the best in baseball, but he's now issued three walks in back-to-back starts. On offense, there were plenty of trials experienced against Cleveland's outstanding staff, but no one looked worse than Jonathan Schoop, who went 1-for-9 with five strikeouts in his two starts. One of those K's came in a huge spot with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh on Sunday, and it ran Schoop's futility with bases juiced this year to 0-for-8. He'd entered the game sporting a .167/.235/.449 line with runners in scoring position, and .158/.256/.184 in "Late & Close" situations. Schoop's overall production has been plenty respectable, but if it seems like he's been getting fat off lopsided blowouts, you're not mistaken. His most recent offensive explosion, before the break when he put up a homer, two doubles and four RBIs in a 15-6 laugher against Texas, was typical. He has a 1.119 OPS when hitting with a score margin of four-plus runs, and his numbers get progressively worse the closer the game is. The Twins are plainly a better team with Luis Arraez or Marwin Gonzalez at second base over Schoop, and you can make a pretty decent case for Ehire Adrianza as well. It'll be interesting to see how the veteran's playing time shapes up in the final months, especially considering the other three are clearly bigger factors in the team's future plans. TRENDING STORYLINE With Mejia out, the Twins have an immediate need for a second southpaw in the bullpen. They really don't have a single situational guy to face tough left-handed hitters at this point, since Rogers is more of a closer and all-around max-leverage stud. That's something they'll almost certainly want to address in short order. Internal options are waning. Like Mejia, Gabriel Moya and Andrew Vasquez have pretty much pushed themselves out of the picture this year, as both have been outrighted from the 40-man roster. Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are certainly intriguing options, but both are still working as starters in Rochester. It seemed like Littell benefited from getting the chance to transition to a relief role in the minors; will the Twins take a similar approach with one of these two? Or will they strike quickly on the trade market to address their need? Or both? DOWN ON THE FARM Minnesota's representatives in the All-Star Futures Game, which took place ahead of last week's midsummer classic, performed accordingly in their returns to the field. Shortstop Royce Lewis and right-hander Jordan Balazovic – ranked No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, in our recently updated midseason prospect rankings – both participated in the talent showcase, then got back to work at Fort Myers. Lewis launched a pair of homers in six games for the Miracle and also drew three walks. The power outburst was nice to see but I'm more heartened by the patience; he has been undone by a lack of discipline this year, and entered last week with a 25-to-2 K/BB ratio in 28 games dating back to the start of June. His balky swing mechanics are among the reasons Keith Law dropped Lewis from No. 9 to No. 34 in his new midseason ranking updates at ESPN. Balazovic, on the other hand, was all the way up to No. 44 in Law's rankings, after appearing as a "Just Missed" guy on the fringe of the spring Top 100. Balazovic had his usage altered a bit coming off the Futures Game appearance, and worked in relief for Fort Myers on Friday night. His results were customary. Entering in the sixth and working the final four frames, Balazovic held the Bradenton Marauder scoreless on one hit while notching six strikeouts. Meanwhile, it's getting tougher and tougher to understand why Trevor Larnach is still on the same roster as these two. Minnesota's first-round pick from last year's draft has been tearing up Florida State League pitching and was tremendous last week, going 12-for-26 with a homer and six RBIs in six games. That home run was his first in five weeks, so there's certainly a noticeable dearth of power from the former star collegiate slugger, but he's batting .316 and the quality of at-bats has consistently been very good. I wonder if the Twins will let the 22-year-old start acclimating to Double-A before season's end. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins came just short of delivering a critical hit to Cleveland on the road, but should still be feeling good with an extra game in the standings as they return home for a fairly key juncture. They'll be lucky to avoid Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom in their two-gamer against the Mets, but will then have a tough challenge ahead of them with four games against an A's team that gave them plenty of trouble in Oakland at the beginning of the month. Meanwhile, Cleveland will get Detroit and Kansas City at home. If they can't close the gap some in the next seven days they'll be facing some cold realities as they look inward at the deadline. TUESDAY, 7/16: METS @ TWINS – RHP Zack Wheeler v. RHP Michael Pineda WEDNESDAY, 7/17: METS @ TWINS – LHP Steven Matz v. LHP Martin Perez THURSDAY, 7/18: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Mike Fiers v. RHP Kyle Gibson FRIDAY, 7/19: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Chris Bassitt v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SATURDAY, 7/20: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – LHP Brett Anderson v. RHP Jose Berrios SUNDAY, 7/21: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Daniel Mengden v. RHP Michael Pineda Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 90 | MIN 5, CLE 3: Late Rally, Bullpen Power Stunning Comeback Win Game 91 | MIN 6, CLE 2: Series Clinched Behind Big Performances From Kepler, Cave Game 92 | CLE 4, MIN 3: Cleveland Prevails, Avoids Sweep
  3. It’s long been a thing in baseball that struggling or failed starting pitchers could simply head out to the bullpen and find another path to success. From the short burst outings, to avoiding multiple lineup turns, and even decreasing the total pitch mitch, it’s a whole different recipe beyond the outfield wall. Adalberto Mejia was thrust into this role for 2019, but it doesn’t appear to be going as smoothly as Minnesota may have hoped. Let me start out by saying that we’re still dealing with a small sample size. Only 27 games have been played, and with the Twins housed in the Midwest, weather has been the enemy more often than it hasn’t. There’s reason to believe that the Dominican native could settle in as the weather warms up, but the flip side of that argument is in the benefit provided to the hitter and batted baseball in those same circumstances. While not dismissing and of these realities, looking at the generated inputs is a must. Prior to 2019 Mejia had operated solely as a starter for Minnesota. With a full rotation for Rocco Baldelli’s squad, the out of options lefty got moved to the bullpen. There was never any indication that this was a more logical path to success as it was a necessity to get all the pieces on the 25-man roster to coexist. Now that we have some actionable data to work with, we can start to make some comments regarding how the transition is working out. Through 11.1 IP Mejia owns an ugly 8.74 ERA having given up earned runs in four of his 11 outings. On three of those occasions, the damage has been in the form of a crooked number. As expected, the velocity and strikeout rates have spiked a bit in short bursts, but the greatest problem has been a complete lack of command. He’s sporting a 7.1 BB/9 and an 11/9 K/BB ratio. Adding in the 8.7 H/9 and a HR/9 rate nearing 2.0 only helps to complete a recipe for disaster. Typically, the thought process of moving a starter to relief would be in the hope that a smaller repertoire and enhanced velocity would provide a two-headed approach towards a more effective arm. Mejia has jumped his velocity, but only minimally. Averaging 93.8 mph he’s up one mph on his number from 2018, but there’s an argument to be made that more is in the tank once the weather warms up. Maximizing effectiveness in his offerings though, the pitch mix is far from specialized. Utilizing the same repertoire as when he was starting, Mejia throws a four-seam fastball, sinker, changeup, slider, and has lightly mixed in a curveball. The four main offerings are all utilized at a relatively high clip, and the greatest change this season has been in muting the traditional fastball while turning to the changeup more often. The lack of specialization, however, is indicative of a guy without a true out pitch. There isn’t enough velocity on the fastball to make it a plus pitch, and just a 9% whiff rate doesn’t scream that any other offering is missing bats either. If you could construct Mejia in the model that Minnesota would like to see, it’d be a lefty that is able to generate power from his size into his fastball. Pairing that one pitch with an off-speed slider or changeup would allow him to effectively keep opponents off balance. Just 2.8% of Adalberto’s fastballs have been whiffed on, with sliders generating a 3.7% whiff rate. That’s far too much contact allowed from a relief pitcher often tasked with keeping opportunities at bay. Add in that you’re giving out free passes at an alarming clip, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. At this point the Twins are getting closer to a point in which they’ll need to decide. It’s unfortunate to lose out on starting pitching talent, and there’s reason to believe that Mejia could bolster the back of a rotation. At almost 26 though, we’re getting to the point that there needs to be more of a plan than just reliance on stuff. He can’t go down without passing through waivers, so unless a flip-flop is being made with Martin Perez in the starting five now, continuing to employ him in the bullpen looks like a losing proposition. As good as Taylor Rogers is, having him be your sole lefty in relief is probably not a path you’d choose to go down. Jake Reed deserves a shot in Minnesota but is of the wrong-handedness for this discussion. Right now, that leaves one of Andrew Vasquez or Gabriel Moya. Both of those guys could certainly take their lumps but investing in them as long-term relief solutions seems to be a better idea than fitting this square peg in a round hole. We can wait another couple of weeks to see if warmth is able to correct any of Adalberto Mejia’s situation, but right now it looks to be larger than something the mercury can correct. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. Well, you couldn’t have expected the Astros’ lineup to be held down for long. One night after being shut out, Houston tagged the Twins for 11 runs. Oh, and they got an even better pitching performance, as Gerrit Cole pitched seven one-hit innings while striking out 11 batters.Box Score Pineda: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 65.3% strikes (64 of 98 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2-for-3, 2B, BB) WPA of +0.1: None WPA of -0.1: Cruz -.127, Pineda -.164 Download attachment: Win430.png (chart via FanGraphs) This game actually got off to a very encouraging start for the Twins. After Michael Pineda pitched a 1-2-3 top of the first inning, Gerrit Cole walked the first two batters he faced and fell behind Nelson Cruz 2-0. That concluded the positive portion of the evening for Minnesota. Cole battled back and induced a double play, though to be fair that pitch was absolutely obliterated. The Twins didn’t get another base runner until the fifth inning and didn’t have a hit until the sixth. By that time, Houston had already busted open a 7-0 lead. In the grand scheme of things, this is just one loss to a good team. But if Pineda can’t be a dependable piece in the rotation, well that would be something to fret about. After giving up just five earned runs on 13 hits over his first 15 innings of the season, Pineda has now surrendered 15 earned runs on 24 hits in 14 innings since. Not good. To be fair, this was a 1-0 game entering the fifth inning, so it’s not like Pineda was completely overmatched from the start. Outside of those rough first couple batters from Cole, however, Twins hitters were most definitely overmatched. Cole was a beast tonight, and is up to 65 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings this year. Just silly. Oh, and the bullpen was bad too. Adalberto Mejia looks completely lost. He walked three of the five batters he faced and threw just 10 of his 27 pitches for strikes. The Twins also played their worst game in the field all season. Just a dreadful all-around performance, really. Positives? Well, Max Kepler got two more hits. Fernando Romero looked pretty nasty in a scoreless ninth. He didn’t seem to have much command, but his stuff was moving all over the place. Let’s see, one more positive … uh … at least there weren’t many people who had to suffer through the whole thing? Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen430.png Next Three Games Wed vs. HOU, 7:10 pm CT (Perez-McHugh) Thu vs. HOU, 12:10 pm CT (Berrios-Peacock) Fri at NYY, 6:05 pm CT (Gibson-TBD) Last Game MIN 1, HOU 0: Let’s Go Crazy Click here to view the article
  5. Box Score Pineda: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 65.3% strikes (64 of 98 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Kepler (2-for-3, 2B, BB) WPA of +0.1: None WPA of -0.1: Cruz -.127, Pineda -.164 (chart via FanGraphs) This game actually got off to a very encouraging start for the Twins. After Michael Pineda pitched a 1-2-3 top of the first inning, Gerrit Cole walked the first two batters he faced and fell behind Nelson Cruz 2-0. That concluded the positive portion of the evening for Minnesota. Cole battled back and induced a double play, though to be fair that pitch was absolutely obliterated. The Twins didn’t get another base runner until the fifth inning and didn’t have a hit until the sixth. By that time, Houston had already busted open a 7-0 lead. In the grand scheme of things, this is just one loss to a good team. But if Pineda can’t be a dependable piece in the rotation, well that would be something to fret about. After giving up just five earned runs on 13 hits over his first 15 innings of the season, Pineda has now surrendered 15 earned runs on 24 hits in 14 innings since. Not good. To be fair, this was a 1-0 game entering the fifth inning, so it’s not like Pineda was completely overmatched from the start. Outside of those rough first couple batters from Cole, however, Twins hitters were most definitely overmatched. Cole was a beast tonight, and is up to 65 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings this year. Just silly. Oh, and the bullpen was bad too. Adalberto Mejia looks completely lost. He walked three of the five batters he faced and threw just 10 of his 27 pitches for strikes. The Twins also played their worst game in the field all season. Just a dreadful all-around performance, really. Positives? Well, Max Kepler got two more hits. Fernando Romero looked pretty nasty in a scoreless ninth. He didn’t seem to have much command, but his stuff was moving all over the place. Let’s see, one more positive … uh … at least there weren’t many people who had to suffer through the whole thing? https://twitter.com/ShipleyMN/status/1123417618323509253 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Wed vs. HOU, 7:10 pm CT (Perez-McHugh) Thu vs. HOU, 12:10 pm CT (Berrios-Peacock) Fri at NYY, 6:05 pm CT (Gibson-TBD) Last Game MIN 1, HOU 0: Let’s Go Crazy
  6. 0:08 John will never be a homer. 0:09 Should the Twins have used an opener tonight? 0:10 The bullpen: Mejia, May, Hildenberger. 0:22 John loses his mind about officiating. 0:24 More bullpen 0:30 Craig Kimbrel 0:40 Amish farms 0:42 John interviews DSP 0:59 Finer Points Series 1:05 Local bar scene 1:08 Hitters & trading for a pitcher You can listen directly here or download directly from iTunes here. Additionally, you can access all the previous episodes as well. Let us know what you think and thanks for listening!
  7. On this Across the Meadow Podcast: Topics and Time Stamp: 0:00 Kohl Stewart's season debut. 0:03 Wednesday transactions. 0:04 Stewart vs Astros last year.0:08 John will never be a homer. 0:09 Should the Twins have used an opener tonight? 0:10 The bullpen: Mejia, May, Hildenberger. 0:22 John loses his mind about officiating. 0:24 More bullpen 0:30 Craig Kimbrel 0:40 Amish farms 0:42 John interviews DSP 0:59 Finer Points Series 1:05 Local bar scene 1:08 Hitters & trading for a pitcher You can listen directly here or download directly from iTunes here. Additionally, you can access all the previous episodes as well. Let us know what you think and thanks for listening! Click here to view the article
  8. After being given the business at home by Toronto, the Minnesota Twins hit the road and handled their business, sweeping a bad Orioles team in Baltimore to salvage a winning week. Your full breakdown lies ahead. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 4/15 through Sun, 4/21 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 12-7) Run Differential Last Week: +8 (Overall: +20) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA) Willians Watch: 5-for-21 last week (Season AVG: .295) Outscoring their opponents by eight over the past seven days, the Twins now find themselves tied with Houston for the third-best run differential in the American League. Minnesota has spent 12 out of 25 days since the season started in first place. It was a positive week for Willians Watch, as La Tortuga delivered some big hits and – most importantly – saw plenty of playing time. Rocco Baldelli was quite creative in finding spots for the unconventional utilityman, who made appearances at four different positions (C, 1B, 3B, RF). More this, please. HIGHLIGHTS Last summer, as I put together these weekly recaps for Twins Daily, one practice became quite familiar: writing about Eddie Rosario in the "Highlights" section. It was a Sunday night tradition as reliable as pre-workweek dread. And Rosie has wasted no time resetting that routine here in 2019. Following a strong finish to the previous week, Rosario was simply unconscious against the Blue Jays and Orioles, going 8-for-30 with six home runs, a double and nine RBIs. At one point, he launched five homers over a span of 11 plate appearances, and seven over a span of 24. His monstrous performance during the doubleheader on Saturday was part of an 11-homer barrage by the Twins offense. Baltimore's pitching didn't navigate The Minefield very successfully. Through three starts at Pensacola, Graterol has allowed one run on seven hits in 17 1/3 innings. If things keep going this way, there's no telling how quickly he could become a factor in the majors. LOOKING AHEAD Orioles, Astros, Orioles, Astros. A weird quirk in the schedule (which have been plentiful early on) has the Twins alternating between these two opponents exclusively for a two-week period. It'll be interesting to see what they do on Wednesday; Jose Berrios was slated to start, but with Friday's rainout he'll be on three days rest. For the purpose of my probable listings below, I'm assuming the Twins slot in another starter (Mejia?) and push everyone else back a day. MONDAY, 4/22: TWINS @ ASTROS – RHP Jake Odorizzi v. RHP Brad Peacock TUESDAY, 4/23: TWINS @ ASTROS – RHP Michael Pineda v. LHP Wade Miley WEDNESDAY, 4/24: TWINS @ ASTROS – TBD v. RHP Justin Verlander FRIDAY, 4/26: ORIOLES @ TWINS – RHP Dan Straily v. RHP Jose Berrios SATURDAY, 4/27: ORIOLES @ TWINS – RHP Alex Cobb v. LHP Martin Perez SUNDAY, 4/28: ORIOLES @ TWINS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. RHP Kyle Gibson Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 13 | TOR 5, MIN 3: About That Bullpen ...Game 14 | TOR 6, MIN 5: Gut PunchGame 15 | MIN 4, TOR 1: Pitching Staff Redemption NightGame 16 | TOR 7, MIN 4: Rosario Homers Twice as Twins Drop Game, SeriesGame 17 | MIN 6, TOR 5: Super Rosario Stars as Twins Sweep DoubleheaderGame 18 | MIN 16, TOR 7: Super Rosario Stars as Twins Sweep DoubleheaderGame 19 | MIN 4, BAL 3: Gibby Good, Hildy Holds, Rogers Saves the Sweep Click here to view the article
  9. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 4/15 through Sun, 4/21 *** Record Last Week: 4-3 (Overall: 12-7) Run Differential Last Week: +8 (Overall: +20) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (1.0 GA) Willians Watch: 5-for-21 last week (Season AVG: .295) Outscoring their opponents by eight over the past seven days, the Twins now find themselves tied with Houston for the third-best run differential in the American League. Minnesota has spent 12 out of 25 days since the season started in first place. It was a positive week for Willians Watch, as La Tortuga delivered some big hits and – most importantly – saw plenty of playing time. Rocco Baldelli was quite creative in finding spots for the unconventional utilityman, who made appearances at four different positions (C, 1B, 3B, RF). More this, please. HIGHLIGHTS Last summer, as I put together these weekly recaps for Twins Daily, one practice became quite familiar: writing about Eddie Rosario in the "Highlights" section. It was a Sunday night tradition as reliable as pre-workweek dread. And Rosie has wasted no time resetting that routine here in 2019. Following a strong finish to the previous week, Rosario was simply unconscious against the Blue Jays and Orioles, going 8-for-30 with six home runs, a double and nine RBIs. At one point, he launched five homers over a span of 11 plate appearances, and seven over a span of 24. His monstrous performance during the doubleheader on Saturday was part of an 11-homer barrage by the Twins offense. Baltimore's pitching didn't navigate The Minefield very successfully. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1119816467606904838 Others who enjoyed strong offensive weeks: C.J. Cron, who went 7-for-23 with a pair of homers and five RBIs, and has quickly pushed his OPS into the .800 range following a slow start Byron Buxton, who collected six hits, all of them doubles. His total of 12 now leads the majors Mitch Garver, who didn't see a ton of action (just two starts) but made the most of it with a double and two more home runs Jorge Polanco, who went 7-for-22 with a 3-to-5 K/BB ratio and finished the week with the fourth-best batting average in the American League (.362) Nelson Cruz, whose 7-for-24 owed mostly to a four-hit night on Saturday After his victorious outing on Wednesday, Jake Odorizzi gave an in-depth self-assessment to The Athletic's Dan Hayes. "I think I'm a lot more consistent with these first four starts, just from stuff-wise, not results-wise, than any point last year," the right-handed opined. It can be tough to explain away poor outcomes without sounding like you're making excuses, but I think Odorizzi hit the right notes. And his confidence is warranted: Through his first four turns, he has held opponents to a .172 average with a blistering 14% swinging strike rate. Those are outstanding numbers. Odorizzi's disastrous second start, on a cold and rainy night in New York, will inflate his overall numbers for a while. But if you take it away, he's got a 2.76 ERA and 20-to-6 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings. He's generating whiffs at one of the highest rates in the league. If he can keep the bouts with control at bay, there's something special here. Monday's road date with the Astros presents a big test. The most notable performer in the bullpen was actually Ryne Harper, who pitched three times and allowed zero runs on three singles while recording 15 outs. He's fast changing his narrative from "good story" to "good reliever." LOWLIGHTS It was a rough week for the bullpen. The unit's questionable depth came into frontal focus on Monday night, when Adalberto Mejia entered in the eighth inning with Minnesota protecting a two-run lead, and completely bombed. The left-hander allowed four runs before recording his first out, effectively turning a win into a loss. Mejia is ostensibly slotted as more of a low-leverage long man in this pen, but Baldelli's hand was forced by necessity: Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May had all thrown 20-plus pitches the previous day, while Trevor Hildenberger was coming off appearances on consecutive days. But those types of situations are going to arise often, and the Twins need to be ready for them. They can ill afford to have a single reliever on the roster they can't trust. To his credit, Mejia bounced back with a solid scoreless outing two days later. Tuesday night featured another bullpen botching. After Rosario tied the game with an invigorating three-run bomb, May came on for the seventh and just couldn't throw strikes. He gave up a single and walked the bases loaded before giving way to Hildenberger, who's been thrown into some obscene pressure spots early on. This time Hildy couldn't bail the Twins out, as Teoscar Hernandez's two-run single was the difference-maker in another loss. Betraying the high expectations he set with a dazzling showing in 2018, May just hasn't looked right this year. His command seems to go amiss every other outing. Swinging strikes are way down. And to whatever extent body language matters, his hasn't really inspired confidence since the start of spring. Of course, this is a guy who had thrown 25 total innings in the past two years coming into 2019. Hopefully he just needs a little time to settle into his groove. There's no question that he's an absolutely critical factor in a successful turnaround for this relief corps. TRENDING STORYLINE For the foreseeable future, it seems likely the bullpen will be this team's most pressing issue – specifically, what the front office can do to bolster it. Fernando Romero wasn't overly impressive during his brief appearance on Saturday. Tyler Duffey (while intriguing) is probably not the answer for late-game leverage. The current IL members (Matt Magill, Addison Reed, Gabriel Moya) can't be counted on for much. If the Twins want to sustain in the division race, they absolutely must avoid leaning too hard on their top relievers early on, which means infusing more high-quality depth. Naturally, there is a continual fan focus on Craig Kimbrel, given his availability in free agency. I myself favor the idea of pursuing the trade market, where the Twins could procure a prime-aged player with multiple years of control on reasonable financial terms. Through savvy drafting and "sell" moves, Minnesota's front office has built up considerable prospect depth in the minors. If the Twins can acquire an equivalent talent to Ryan Pressly, for an equivalent price that Houston paid, they should be looking to make that move at least once. Granted, it's early for in-season dealing. But the landscape has never been better, with so many teams unabashed in their tanking intent. Indeed, reports are already arising that the hopelessly irrelevant Giants are open for business: https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1119692807936053252 There are impact arms in that bullpen. Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Nick Vincent, to name a few. And as it happens, the Twins have already swung two trades with San Francisco in the last month (Michael Reed and Tyler Austin). One would hope Thad Levine is already getting on the horn. DOWN ON THE FARM For two members of this system's "Big Three," the 2019 season is off to a low-key start. Alex Kirilloff still hasn't played as he recovers from a wrist ailment, and Royce Lewis is hitting .214/.357/.286 at Fort Myers. But there's been nothing quiet about Brusdar Graterol's arrival at Double-A. The 20-year-old flamethrower was flat-out brilliant on Tuesday night, hurling seven shutout innings with one hit, one walk, and eight strikeouts. Our guy Tom (whose Twitter account is an absolute must-follow for any Twins fan on the platform) has the grisly highlights: https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1118680112847826946 Through three starts at Pensacola, Graterol has allowed one run on seven hits in 17 1/3 innings. If things keep going this way, there's no telling how quickly he could become a factor in the majors. LOOKING AHEAD Orioles, Astros, Orioles, Astros. A weird quirk in the schedule (which have been plentiful early on) has the Twins alternating between these two opponents exclusively for a two-week period. It'll be interesting to see what they do on Wednesday; Jose Berrios was slated to start, but with Friday's rainout he'll be on three days rest. For the purpose of my probable listings below, I'm assuming the Twins slot in another starter (Mejia?) and push everyone else back a day. MONDAY, 4/22: TWINS @ ASTROS – RHP Jake Odorizzi v. RHP Brad Peacock TUESDAY, 4/23: TWINS @ ASTROS – RHP Michael Pineda v. LHP Wade Miley WEDNESDAY, 4/24: TWINS @ ASTROS – TBD v. RHP Justin Verlander FRIDAY, 4/26: ORIOLES @ TWINS – RHP Dan Straily v. RHP Jose Berrios SATURDAY, 4/27: ORIOLES @ TWINS – RHP Alex Cobb v. LHP Martin Perez SUNDAY, 4/28: ORIOLES @ TWINS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. RHP Kyle Gibson Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 13 | TOR 5, MIN 3: About That Bullpen ... Game 14 | TOR 6, MIN 5: Gut Punch Game 15 | MIN 4, TOR 1: Pitching Staff Redemption Night Game 16 | TOR 7, MIN 4: Rosario Homers Twice as Twins Drop Game, Series Game 17 | MIN 6, TOR 5: Super Rosario Stars as Twins Sweep Doubleheader Game 18 | MIN 16, TOR 7: Super Rosario Stars as Twins Sweep Doubleheader Game 19 | MIN 4, BAL 3: Gibby Good, Hildy Holds, Rogers Saves the Sweep
  10. Box Score Perez: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 66.3% strikes (57 of 86 pitches) Home Runs: Cron (2) Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (3-for-3, BB, R) WPA of +0.1: Cron .223, Perez .221, Polanco .115 WPA of -0.1: Cruz -.120, Mejia -.666 (chart via FanGraphs) There’s only so much a manager can do about a top-heavy bullpen. Rocco Baldelli, much like his predecessor, seems to be taking the approach that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. He’s opted to use his top guys to secure a win at hand and worry about the two games in the bush later. Or, something like that. I understand that strategy, why risk losing a game in hand just to try to plan for something that may not happen later? Make sense, but it can also lead to trouble. With Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger and Blake Parker having all pitched both of the previous two games, it figured that Rocco was going to have to dip a little deeper into the pen tonight. Perez did everything he could to help, needing only 86 pitches to get through six innings. Baldelli decided that was enough for Perez, who had only thrown 44 pitches in his most recent appearance. Ryne Harper pitched a perfect seventh inning (more on that in a moment) before Mejia took over in the eighth. Single, double, RBI single, three-run home run. Also, those were all hit by right-handed batters (and Mejia is, of course, a lefty). Perez’s First Start Perez looked good in what was kind of his second Twins debut. He entered this season with just 13 career bullpen appearances, but he was forced to pitch out of relief due to the extra off days. He didn’t look especially good in those outings. An important thing to remember is that Perez was brought in to be the fifth starter. He’s not expected to be the savior of the rotation. The front office didn’t commit an exorbitant amount of money to him. He just needs to be competent. Anything extra would be a bonus. The especially encouraging part of Perez’s outing tonight wasn’t his increased velocity, but that he was throwing strikes. If he can get into pitcher’s counts and limit walks, he’s going to be an asset. Perez has always had good velocity, but it’s never translated into missing bats. Tonight, he got five strikeouts and eight swinging strikes. Another encouraging sign. It would be fair to point out this Toronto lineup has been among the worst in baseball, but remember, all Perez really needs to do is be a fifth starter. Sire of Fort Myers Still Rolling Ryne Harper pitched, which means I got all sorts of warm fuzzies. He pitched a perfect inning and struck out two batters. He threw 15 pitches, 10 of which were curveballs. That pitch ranged from 72.6 mph to 67.5 mph. https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/status/1117970348530708480 It’s a little like watching a knuckleballer in that anything he throws outside of that signature pitch is a surprise. The 30-year-old rookie has given up zero earned runs, two hits, two walks and has five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. I don’t know how long this ride is going to last, but I’m going to enjoy every last bit of it while it does. The guy is really fun to watch and it’s a great story. Buxton Does it Again Byron was doing his thing again, making an outstanding catch in the first inning. https://twitter.com/MLBStats/status/1117949923880730625 Cron Crushes Another One After hitting a laser line drive for a homer yesterday, Cron blasted a majestic, towering shot for another home run tonight. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1117957095582728194 Rocco Gets Tossed Baldelli got ejected for the first time in his managing career. It was maybe the least entertaining ejection I’ve ever seen. He spoke on the issue during his postgame interview. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1117989128564383746 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Tue vs. TOR, 6:40 pm CT (Gibson-Sanchez) Wed vs. TOR, 6:40 pm CT (Odorizzi-Thornton) Thu v. TOR, 12:10 pm CT (Pineda-Buchholz) Last Game MIN 6, DET 4: Berrios Figures It Out, Bullpen Barely Hangs On
  11. Martin Perez looked good in his first start as a Twin, but Adalberto Mejia gave up the lead in what was a four-run eighth inning for Toronto. This Twins team has had a knack for battling back so far in 2019, but their comeback attempts fell short tonight.Box Score Perez: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 66.3% strikes (57 of 86 pitches) Home Runs: Cron (2) Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (3-for-3, BB, R) WPA of +0.1: Cron .223, Perez .221, Polanco .115 WPA of -0.1: Cruz -.120, Mejia -.666 Download attachment: Win415.png (chart via FanGraphs) There’s only so much a manager can do about a top-heavy bullpen. Rocco Baldelli, much like his predecessor, seems to be taking the approach that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. He’s opted to use his top guys to secure a win at hand and worry about the two games in the bush later. Or, something like that. I understand that strategy, why risk losing a game in hand just to try to plan for something that may not happen later? Make sense, but it can also lead to trouble. With Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger and Blake Parker having all pitched both of the previous two games, it figured that Rocco was going to have to dip a little deeper into the pen tonight. Perez did everything he could to help, needing only 86 pitches to get through six innings. Baldelli decided that was enough for Perez, who had only thrown 44 pitches in his most recent appearance. Ryne Harper pitched a perfect seventh inning (more on that in a moment) before Mejia took over in the eighth. Single, double, RBI single, three-run home run. Also, those were all hit by right-handed batters (and Mejia is, of course, a lefty). Perez’s First Start Perez looked good in what was kind of his second Twins debut. He entered this season with just 13 career bullpen appearances, but he was forced to pitch out of relief due to the extra off days. He didn’t look especially good in those outings. An important thing to remember is that Perez was brought in to be the fifth starter. He’s not expected to be the savior of the rotation. The front office didn’t commit an exorbitant amount of money to him. He just needs to be competent. Anything extra would be a bonus. The especially encouraging part of Perez’s outing tonight wasn’t his increased velocity, but that he was throwing strikes. If he can get into pitcher’s counts and limit walks, he’s going to be an asset. Perez has always had good velocity, but it’s never translated into missing bats. Tonight, he got five strikeouts and eight swinging strikes. Another encouraging sign. It would be fair to point out this Toronto lineup has been among the worst in baseball, but remember, all Perez really needs to do is be a fifth starter. Sire of Fort Myers Still Rolling Ryne Harper pitched, which means I got all sorts of warm fuzzies. He pitched a perfect inning and struck out two batters. He threw 15 pitches, 10 of which were curveballs. That pitch ranged from 72.6 mph to 67.5 mph. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen415.png Next Three Games Tue vs. TOR, 6:40 pm CT (Gibson-Sanchez) Wed vs. TOR, 6:40 pm CT (Odorizzi-Thornton) Thu v. TOR, 12:10 pm CT (Pineda-Buchholz) Last Game MIN 6, DET 4: Berrios Figures It Out, Bullpen Barely Hangs On Click here to view the article
  12. Box Score Odorizzi: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 63.3% strikes (64 of 101 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Cruz (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Gonzalez (2-for-3, BB) WPA of +0.1: Odorizzi .211, Cruz .175 WPA of -0.1: Rosario -.120 (chart via FanGraphs) Odorizzi had an encouraging outing after back-to-back poor starts, Adalberto Mejia recovered from his most recent poor performance with a scoreless outing and Blake Parker, who looked pretty lost over the weekend, got the save in a scoreless ninth inning. Oh, and in between all that Taylor Rogers did his thing in the eighth, turning in a scoreless frame with a pair of strikeouts. Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup and provided a pair of run-scoring hits. He drove in the Twins’ first run with a single in the first, then hit an RBI double in the third inning. Jorge Polanco had yet another excellent game. His OPS is up to 1.242. If you want to put a number on how much more relaxed tonight’s game was compared to the first two of this series (which, of course I’m going to want to do that), Leverage Index would be a good place to look. Tonight, the LI maxed out at 1.95. Last night, 18 plate appearances exceeded that mark with that max at 5.40. There were five plate appearances topped that mark on Monday night, the highest being at 3.41. Postgame With Parker https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1118722648412811264 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Thu vs. TOR, 12:10 pm CT (Pineda-Buchholz) Fri vs. TOR, 6:05 pm CT (TBD-Cobb) Sat vs. TOR, 6:05 pm CT (TBD-TBD) Last Game TOR 6, MIN 5: Gut Punch
  13. It’s amazing how much easier things seem when you get an early lead. Toronto scored a run in the top of the first, but the Twins answered with two runs of their own and never looked back. Jake Odorizzi picked up his first win of the year after holding the Blue Jays to one run over 5 2/3 innings and the bullpen got back on track.Box Score Odorizzi: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 63.3% strikes (64 of 101 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Polanco (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Cruz (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Gonzalez (2-for-3, BB) WPA of +0.1: Odorizzi .211, Cruz .175 WPA of -0.1: Rosario -.120 Download attachment: Win417.png (chart via FanGraphs) Odorizzi had an encouraging outing after back-to-back poor starts, Adalberto Mejia recovered from his most recent poor performance with a scoreless outing and Blake Parker, who looked pretty lost over the weekend, got the save in a scoreless ninth inning. Oh, and in between all that Taylor Rogers did his thing in the eighth, turning in a scoreless frame with a pair of strikeouts. Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup and provided a pair of run-scoring hits. He drove in the Twins’ first run with a single in the first, then hit an RBI double in the third inning. Jorge Polanco had yet another excellent game. His OPS is up to 1.242. If you want to put a number on how much more relaxed tonight’s game was compared to the first two of this series (which, of course I’m going to want to do that), Leverage Index would be a good place to look. Tonight, the LI maxed out at 1.95. Last night, 18 plate appearances exceeded that mark with that max at 5.40. There were five plate appearances topped that mark on Monday night, the highest being at 3.41. Postgame With Parker Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen417.png Next Three Games Thu vs. TOR, 12:10 pm CT (Pineda-Buchholz) Fri vs. TOR, 6:05 pm CT (TBD-Cobb) Sat vs. TOR, 6:05 pm CT (TBD-TBD) Last Game TOR 6, MIN 5: Gut Punch Click here to view the article
  14. The Twins had some ugly moments in their first road series of the season, but you can’t argue with the results. After trailing 6-3 through the first five frames, Minnesota stormed back thanks to big run-scoring hits from Mitch Garver, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario. The bullpen combined to turn in 4 1/3 scoreless innings.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) MIN 7, KC 6: Full Box Score Gibson: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 57.2% strikes Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Astudillo (3-for-5, 2B), Garver (3-for-4, 2B), Rosario (2-for-4, 2B, BB) WPA of +0.1: May .269, Rosario .238, Garver .144, Cruz .113, Kepler .109 WPA of -0.1: Gibson -.469 Download attachment: Win43.png Gibby Gets Started Last April, Gibson averaged 92.2 mph on his four-seam fastball and gained a bit of velocity as the season progressed. With his illness putting him a little bit behind schedule, I was curious to see where he would be today. You could have certainly given him a pass if things were lagging behind a bit. No pass needed. Gibson topped out at 95.1 mph, averaging 93.4 mph on that pitch. It’s just one outing, but that bout with E. coli really put a cloud over Gibson’s winter. Great to see him come out of the gates looking strong. Gibson was cruising through the first 4 2/3 innings, but things completely fell apart from there. He walked Billy Hamilton, who stole second base and was driven in on a single. No error was charged, but Ehire Adrianza played what could have been an inning-ending ground out into a single, then Alex Gordon hit a three-run homer. The bleeding didn’t stop there. Jorge Polanco, who had made a couple nifty defensive plays earlier in the game, committed a throwing error. Two more singles and another run later and Gibson’s day was done. He gave up just one run on three hits up until that big Royals rally, but that terrible turn of events put a very negative spin on his 2019 debut. Mejia Holds Steady Adalberto Mejia took over for Gibson and stopped the bleeding. He got the final out of that messy fifth inning and followed with two more clean innings. He’s opened the season with three no-hit innings and has struck out five batters. Max Bests a Lefty That performance by Mejia bought some time for the bats to fire back. Max Kepler delivered a game-tying, two-out, two-run double off southpaw Jake Diekman in the eighth inning. Ninth-Inning Rally Nelson Cruz drew a six-pitch walk to lead off the ninth inning. Byron Buxton, who was not in the starting lineup due to a back injury, pinch ran for him and stole second base. Eddie Rosario worked a full count, then delivered the go-ahead single to plate Buxton. Big Bullpen Day With Gibson having a bit of a short start and Taylor Rogers coming off a 29-pitch outing the night before, this was an opportunity to get a glimpse at how Baldelli may be inclined to manage his bullpen. After Mejia served admirably as the long man, Trevor May took over in the eighth. He held the bottom of Kansas City’s lineup scoreless, then returned for the ninth. After retiring the first two batters of the ninth inning, May was taken out for Blake Parker. Parker induced a game-ending ground out from Alex Gordon to earn his second save of the season. New-Look Lineup Today marked the first starts for Tyler Austin (first base), Ehire Adrianza (second base) and Jake Cave (right field) this season. Also, Kepler played center field in place of Buxton, who was nursing a sore back after crashing into the wall. It’s interesting to see Rocco Baldelli go with Kepler in center over Cave. Paul Molitor went with that alignment nine times last season but had Cave in center field and Kepler in right 52 times. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen43.png Next Three Games Fri at PHI, 6:05 pm CT Sat at PHI, 1:05 pm CT Sun at PHI, 12:05 pm CT Last Game MIN 5, KC 4 (10 Innings): Cruz Steps Up More From Twins Daily Three Catcher Conundrum Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 419: Tuesday Taproom Tour from Able Brewery Click here to view the article
  15. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) MIN 7, KC 6: Full Box Score Gibson: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 57.2% strikes Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Astudillo (3-for-5, 2B), Garver (3-for-4, 2B), Rosario (2-for-4, 2B, BB) WPA of +0.1: May .269, Rosario .238, Garver .144, Cruz .113, Kepler .109 WPA of -0.1: Gibson -.469 Gibby Gets Started Last April, Gibson averaged 92.2 mph on his four-seam fastball and gained a bit of velocity as the season progressed. With his illness putting him a little bit behind schedule, I was curious to see where he would be today. You could have certainly given him a pass if things were lagging behind a bit. No pass needed. Gibson topped out at 95.1 mph, averaging 93.4 mph on that pitch. It’s just one outing, but that bout with E. coli really put a cloud over Gibson’s winter. Great to see him come out of the gates looking strong. Gibson was cruising through the first 4 2/3 innings, but things completely fell apart from there. He walked Billy Hamilton, who stole second base and was driven in on a single. No error was charged, but Ehire Adrianza played what could have been an inning-ending ground out into a single, then Alex Gordon hit a three-run homer. The bleeding didn’t stop there. Jorge Polanco, who had made a couple nifty defensive plays earlier in the game, committed a throwing error. Two more singles and another run later and Gibson’s day was done. He gave up just one run on three hits up until that big Royals rally, but that terrible turn of events put a very negative spin on his 2019 debut. Mejia Holds Steady Adalberto Mejia took over for Gibson and stopped the bleeding. He got the final out of that messy fifth inning and followed with two more clean innings. He’s opened the season with three no-hit innings and has struck out five batters. Max Bests a Lefty That performance by Mejia bought some time for the bats to fire back. Max Kepler delivered a game-tying, two-out, two-run double off southpaw Jake Diekman in the eighth inning. Ninth-Inning Rally Nelson Cruz drew a six-pitch walk to lead off the ninth inning. Byron Buxton, who was not in the starting lineup due to a back injury, pinch ran for him and stole second base. Eddie Rosario worked a full count, then delivered the go-ahead single to plate Buxton. Big Bullpen Day With Gibson having a bit of a short start and Taylor Rogers coming off a 29-pitch outing the night before, this was an opportunity to get a glimpse at how Baldelli may be inclined to manage his bullpen. After Mejia served admirably as the long man, Trevor May took over in the eighth. He held the bottom of Kansas City’s lineup scoreless, then returned for the ninth. After retiring the first two batters of the ninth inning, May was taken out for Blake Parker. Parker induced a game-ending ground out from Alex Gordon to earn his second save of the season. New-Look Lineup Today marked the first starts for Tyler Austin (first base), Ehire Adrianza (second base) and Jake Cave (right field) this season. Also, Kepler played center field in place of Buxton, who was nursing a sore back after crashing into the wall. It’s interesting to see Rocco Baldelli go with Kepler in center over Cave. Paul Molitor went with that alignment nine times last season but had Cave in center field and Kepler in right 52 times. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1113556139520618496 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Fri at PHI, 6:05 pm CT Sat at PHI, 1:05 pm CT Sun at PHI, 12:05 pm CT Last Game MIN 5, KC 4 (10 Innings): Cruz Steps Up More From Twins Daily Three Catcher Conundrum Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 419: Tuesday Taproom Tour from Able Brewery
  16. The Twins will almost surely break camp with just seven relievers, or eight if you count Martin Perez, since a fifth pitcher isn’t needed until April 16th. With Perez starting in the bullpen, and with very little buzz around camp regarding “Openers” there is no good reason to carry eight other bullpen arms. Which means someone is going to get stuck because there are eight names that seem like they belong in the bullpen. Here they are, more or less in order of my evaluation of their likelihood to make the team: Addison Reed - Unless he’s hurt, he’s in there. He’s making $8M and the Twins and he are both hoping that a lower workload will rejuvenate his arm. Taylor Rogers - Was the Twins most effective remaining reliever, and left-handed, too. Another lock. Blake Parker - I suppose that whatever the concerns were which held up his official signing could convince the Twins that he’s damaged goods, but it seems unlikely their lone free agent bullpen addition wouldn’t make the team. Next we get to a triumvirate of arms that don’t have options. If the Twins give up on any of these guys, they have to place them on waivers, and if a team claims them, they lose them. As such, that all have the inside track on a roster spot. Trevor May - He should probably be above Parker on this list, but I like lumping the guys with no remaining options together. He was one of the Twins most prominent relievers late last year after returning from Tommy John surgery. Adalberto Mejia - He’s being trained as a starter, but appears to be the de facto #6 guy, on the outside looking in. The Twins will want to keep him in case other starting pitchers are hurt, and that means keeping him on the roster. Plus, he’s left-handed, and there aren’t any other southpaws in the bullpen beyond Rogers. Matt Magill - This is the name a lot of people are overlooking. When we get to the names that might not make the opening roster, I suspect a lot of fans will want to come back to this name. But Magill relieved in 40 games last year, averaged 95 mph with his fastball and good enough command. He also gave up way too many home runs, which is a kiss of death to a reliever, but I still don’t think they Twins will risk exposing him to every other team. The rest of the candidates in the bullpen have options remaining, so none of them will be lost to other teams; they’ll just be sent to Rochester. If you agree to the list above, six of the seven spots are taken, and only one spot is left. But two prominent names are left standing: Trevor Hildenberger and Fernando Romero. Last year Hildenberger was supposed to be one the more promising young arms in the bullpen, but stumbled badly in the second half of last year. This year, Fernando Romero is being prepared as a reliever because Baldelli has already described him as a “weapon.”. They both were seen as potential setup men for high leverage innings. Even with math against them, it is still a good chance that both make the roster. After all, injuries happen in spring training. It wouldn’t even have to be an injury to a reliever to open a spot: an injury to a starting pitcher would likely mean Mejia moves to the rotation and then another spot is open in the bullpen. But it looks like the two young homegrown relievers about whom the fan base was most excited about the last two years will be battling it out for the last spot,
  17. Building a bullpen is simple, you can just convert any of your excess starting pitchers into relievers, right? The Twins had better hope so. It’s already been confirmed Fernando Romero won’t be preparing as a starter, and if everyone stays healthy, one of Martin Perez or Adalberto Mejia will likely be joining him in the bullpen.Here’s hoping anyone who ends up converting takes quickly to the role. They won’t exactly be joining the most experienced bullpen out there. Take a look at the 40-man roster, there’s an alarming lack of arms with prior MLB experience pitching out of the bullpen. Here’s the entire list of pitchers with 10 or more career relief appearances in the majors: Addison Reed (465 games in relief) Blake Parker (229) Taylor Rogers (198) Trevor Hildenberger (110) Trevor May (100) Tyler Duffey (74) Matt Magill (45) Gabriel Moya (36) Also, bullpen coach Jeremy Hefner is in his first season. As is pitching coach Wes Johnson. And manager Rocco Baldelli too. What could go wrong? I’m not saying this current bullpen is completely doomed, but the floor is very low. If guys like Reed and Hildy can bounce back, as John wrote about earlier today, and Romero can take to his new role, this could be a pretty strong unit. On the other hand, just imagine the impact a Taylor Rogers injury would have. You can’t expect everything to go your way. If there was ever a team where some Fernando Rodney or Zach Duke types made sense, this would be it. There was a time when giving some fresh faces looks in relief would have made sense, but that seems like a poor plan to open a season in which you hope to compete. The perfect opportunity for guys to get their feet wet would have been at the end of last season. Andrew Vasquez got in there for a whopping five innings, that was nice, but this was also a team that dumped 23 2/3 innings into Matt Belisle. But here we are, it is what it is. That lack of established relievers also means even the bullpen reinforcements appear to be guys who are going to have to adjust to a new role. Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves or even Lewis Thorpe represent the next in line, but some of those guys will need to stay stretched out in order to serve as rotation depth. Of course, they can always make changes to the 40-man roster, but the guys next in line either have never pitched in the majors (Jake Reed, Ryan Eades) or haven’t been effective for some time (Tim Collins, Mike Morin). Just a quick note on the opener, I don’t think we see the Twins do much with it in 2019 unless things go very poorly. Even if it’s something they implement on a regular basis, you still need a lot of traditional relievers in your bullpen anyway. I take a look at the current construction of this pitching staff and see far from an ideal situation to expect a rookie coaching staff to successfully navigate. My original intention of this article was going to try to make sense of what the front office is thinking in terms of the bullpen, similar to the article I wrote about their additions to the lineup, but I can't do it. There’s no way we’re looking at the final picture. No way. I don’t have any inside information, this is all just a hunch, but I cannot imagine the Twins enter the regular season with the bullpen as it’s currently constructed. Among the top free agents still available (STILL!?!?!?) are Craig Kimbrel, Bud Norris, Ryan Madson, Adam Warren and Nick Vincent. Kimbrel is obviously the marquee name of that bunch, but I believe any one of those five guys could help serve as a stabilizing influence for this Twins pen. There are also always trades. The Twins have the prospects to give up, but I’m not sure if most non-contending teams would be motivated to make a move now or rather hold on until the trade deadline. I’ve been drooling over the idea of the Twins nabbing Mychal Givens from the hapless Orioles, though I’m not sure if there’d be any interest from either side. But the Twins will do something. I mean, they have to ... right? Right? Click here to view the article
  18. Here’s hoping anyone who ends up converting takes quickly to the role. They won’t exactly be joining the most experienced bullpen out there. Take a look at the 40-man roster, there’s an alarming lack of arms with prior MLB experience pitching out of the bullpen. Here’s the entire list of pitchers with 10 or more career relief appearances in the majors: Addison Reed (465 games in relief) Blake Parker (229) Taylor Rogers (198) Trevor Hildenberger (110) Trevor May (100) Tyler Duffey (74) Matt Magill (45) Gabriel Moya (36) Also, bullpen coach Jeremy Hefner is in his first season. As is pitching coach Wes Johnson. And manager Rocco Baldelli too. What could go wrong? I’m not saying this current bullpen is completely doomed, but the floor is very low. If guys like Reed and Hildy can bounce back, as John wrote about earlier today, and Romero can take to his new role, this could be a pretty strong unit. On the other hand, just imagine the impact a Taylor Rogers injury would have. You can’t expect everything to go your way. If there was ever a team where some Fernando Rodney or Zach Duke types made sense, this would be it. There was a time when giving some fresh faces looks in relief would have made sense, but that seems like a poor plan to open a season in which you hope to compete. The perfect opportunity for guys to get their feet wet would have been at the end of last season. Andrew Vasquez got in there for a whopping five innings, that was nice, but this was also a team that dumped 23 2/3 innings into Matt Belisle. But here we are, it is what it is. That lack of established relievers also means even the bullpen reinforcements appear to be guys who are going to have to adjust to a new role. Zack Littell, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves or even Lewis Thorpe represent the next in line, but some of those guys will need to stay stretched out in order to serve as rotation depth. Of course, they can always make changes to the 40-man roster, but the guys next in line either have never pitched in the majors (Jake Reed, Ryan Eades) or haven’t been effective for some time (Tim Collins, Mike Morin). Just a quick note on the opener, I don’t think we see the Twins do much with it in 2019 unless things go very poorly. Even if it’s something they implement on a regular basis, you still need a lot of traditional relievers in your bullpen anyway. I take a look at the current construction of this pitching staff and see far from an ideal situation to expect a rookie coaching staff to successfully navigate. My original intention of this article was going to try to make sense of what the front office is thinking in terms of the bullpen, similar to the article I wrote about their additions to the lineup, but I can't do it. There’s no way we’re looking at the final picture. No way. I don’t have any inside information, this is all just a hunch, but I cannot imagine the Twins enter the regular season with the bullpen as it’s currently constructed. Among the top free agents still available (STILL!?!?!?) are Craig Kimbrel, Bud Norris, Ryan Madson, Adam Warren and Nick Vincent. Kimbrel is obviously the marquee name of that bunch, but I believe any one of those five guys could help serve as a stabilizing influence for this Twins pen. There are also always trades. The Twins have the prospects to give up, but I’m not sure if most non-contending teams would be motivated to make a move now or rather hold on until the trade deadline. I’ve been drooling over the idea of the Twins nabbing Mychal Givens from the hapless Orioles, though I’m not sure if there’d be any interest from either side. But the Twins will do something. I mean, they have to ... right? Right?
  19. 20. Nick Gordon, SS (23) 2018 Ranking: 13 A year ago, Gordon was already plagued by questions surrounding his viability at shortstop, as well as the legitimacy of his bat coming off a lackluster second half in Chattanooga. These doubts were only magnified during a rough 2018 campaign that saw him fail to gain any offensive traction in Triple-A (.212/.262/.283 in 99 games) while ceding more time to second base. Of course, he was also a 22-year-old in a league where the average player is considerably older. Assessing Gordon's performance is somewhat tough because he's always been relatively young and undeveloped compared to his competition. But now he's catching up, and it's time to show something. Huge year on deck for the former first-round draft pick. 19. C.J. Cron, 1B (29) 2018 Ranking: N/A While I questioned the fit, Cron was undoubtedly a nifty pickup for the Twins when they grabbed him off waivers from Tampa a month ago. It's not every day you can add an affordable and accomplished hitter, under the age of 30, coming off a breakout season, for nothing. Cron has pedigree – formerly a star collegiate slugger who became a first-round draft pick and has hit consistently in the minors and majors. He has upward momentum, having posted 30 home runs and an .817 OPS in his first full season a big-league regular. He's fairly cheap ($4.8 million in 2019), and controllable in 2020 via arbitration as well. 18. Adalberto Mejia, LHP (25) 2018 Ranking: 14 In 2018, Mejia did the same thing he's done almost nonstop since coming over to the Twins at the 2016 trade deadline: he performed. In 118 1/3 innings at Class-AAA Rochester since the trade, he has a 3.27 ERA, and he's held his own during multiple stints in the big leagues, including this year when he turned in a 2.01 ERA over five appearances for Minnesota. He's a big, burly left-hander with some velocity and the ability to miss bats. The only missing ingredient for Mejia has been sustained durability. He totaled less than 130 innings in 2017 and less than 90 in 2018, plagued by wrist and arm ailments down the stretch. Complicating matters is that Mejia's out of options next spring, which forces the Twins' hand in terms of rostering him. But still, this is a proven, capable left-handed starter with five years of team control ahead. There's a ton of potential value here. 17. Jake Cave, OF (26) 2018 Ranking: N/A Last spring the Twins saw an opportunity to add a player they liked and seized it. Cave had been designated for assignment by the Yankees in a roster crunch, so Minnesota flipped them teenage right-hander Luis Gil to acquire Cave before he had a chance to hit waivers. "He made some adjustments that we thought led to the power surge that he had, and we think those will continue going forward," said Derek Falvey at the time. They did indeed. Cave hit 13 home runs and slugged .473 in 91 games for the Twins. He also showed solid range and ability in the outfield. Granted, there were some troubling indicators to be found in his performance – among them, a 5-to-1 K/BB ratio that suggests volatility in the AVG/OBP columns is likely – but the power is legit. Cave was a savvy add by the front office. 16. Wander Javier, SS (20) 2018 Ranking: 18 Javier missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing shoulder labrum surgery. So how does he manage to move up two slots on this list, you ask? Well, it's mainly because folks that were above him a year ago have either backslid or departed, and Javier's tantalizing potential remains even after his setback. He looked like a true shortstop during his time in the Dominican Summer and Appy Leagues, with plenty of range and arm to handle – perhaps even master – the position. That shouldn't change, as the surgery was for his non-throwing arm. He has some lost time to make up for but Javier is expected back fully healthy in spring training and will be poised to take full-season leagues by storm. This has the makings of an Alex Kirilloff-type situation (Kirilloff was 20th in last year's rankings; you'll find out soon where he checks in this year).
  20. Last year around this time, I took a shot at ranking the top 20 player assets in the Minnesota Twins organization. The idea was to think solely in terms of commodity valuation, factoring in things like age, cost, control, and risk management in answering the question: which players are most essential to this team's vision? Given the tumult of the past 12 months, updating these rankings felt like a worthy exercise. So let's get to it.20. Nick Gordon, SS (23) 2018 Ranking: 13 A year ago, Gordon was already plagued by questions surrounding his viability at shortstop, as well as the legitimacy of his bat coming off a lackluster second half in Chattanooga. These doubts were only magnified during a rough 2018 campaign that saw him fail to gain any offensive traction in Triple-A (.212/.262/.283 in 99 games) while ceding more time to second base. Of course, he was also a 22-year-old in a league where the average player is considerably older. Assessing Gordon's performance is somewhat tough because he's always been relatively young and undeveloped compared to his competition. But now he's catching up, and it's time to show something. Huge year on deck for the former first-round draft pick. 19. C.J. Cron, 1B (29) 2018 Ranking: N/A While I questioned the fit, Cron was undoubtedly a nifty pickup for the Twins when they grabbed him off waivers from Tampa a month ago. It's not every day you can add an affordable and accomplished hitter, under the age of 30, coming off a breakout season, for nothing. Cron has pedigree – formerly a star collegiate slugger who became a first-round draft pick and has hit consistently in the minors and majors. He has upward momentum, having posted 30 home runs and an .817 OPS in his first full season a big-league regular. He's fairly cheap ($4.8 million in 2019), and controllable in 2020 via arbitration as well. 18. Adalberto Mejia, LHP (25) 2018 Ranking: 14 In 2018, Mejia did the same thing he's done almost nonstop since coming over to the Twins at the 2016 trade deadline: he performed. In 118 1/3 innings at Class-AAA Rochester since the trade, he has a 3.27 ERA, and he's held his own during multiple stints in the big leagues, including this year when he turned in a 2.01 ERA over five appearances for Minnesota. He's a big, burly left-hander with some velocity and the ability to miss bats. The only missing ingredient for Mejia has been sustained durability. He totaled less than 130 innings in 2017 and less than 90 in 2018, plagued by wrist and arm ailments down the stretch. Complicating matters is that Mejia's out of options next spring, which forces the Twins' hand in terms of rostering him. But still, this is a proven, capable left-handed starter with five years of team control ahead. There's a ton of potential value here. 17. Jake Cave, OF (26) 2018 Ranking: N/A Last spring the Twins saw an opportunity to add a player they liked and seized it. Cave had been designated for assignment by the Yankees in a roster crunch, so Minnesota flipped them teenage right-hander Luis Gil to acquire Cave before he had a chance to hit waivers. "He made some adjustments that we thought led to the power surge that he had, and we think those will continue going forward," said Derek Falvey at the time. They did indeed. Cave hit 13 home runs and slugged .473 in 91 games for the Twins. He also showed solid range and ability in the outfield. Granted, there were some troubling indicators to be found in his performance – among them, a 5-to-1 K/BB ratio that suggests volatility in the AVG/OBP columns is likely – but the power is legit. Cave was a savvy add by the front office. 16. Wander Javier, SS (20) 2018 Ranking: 18 Javier missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing shoulder labrum surgery. So how does he manage to move up two slots on this list, you ask? Well, it's mainly because folks that were above him a year ago have either backslid or departed, and Javier's tantalizing potential remains even after his setback. He looked like a true shortstop during his time in the Dominican Summer and Appy Leagues, with plenty of range and arm to handle – perhaps even master – the position. That shouldn't change, as the surgery was for his non-throwing arm. He has some lost time to make up for but Javier is expected back fully healthy in spring training and will be poised to take full-season leagues by storm. This has the makings of an Alex Kirilloff-type situation (Kirilloff was 20th in last year's rankings; you'll find out soon where he checks in this year). Click here to view the article
  21. Here in mid-December, the Twins have the following pitchers written onto next year's Opening Day roster in ink, more or less: Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Addison Reed. I would consider Trevor Hildenberger close to a lock, so long as he doesn't look like a total mess in spring training. That's eight members of a 12-man (possibly 13-man) staff. So the mission here seems clear, right? Add four more pitchers via free agency or trade – probably one starter and three relievers – and you're all set. It's not quite that simple. While I certainly think the Twins need to add more, and will, there are a few considerations that should be kept in mind as they attack the open market. * The 40-man roster is full. Any new addition on a major-league contract will require the Twins to drop one of their existing players. You might argue that's not the biggest deterrent, considering there are a number candidates for removal on the current roster (I marked nine that I would consider to be "at-risk" below) but it's something to note. * Adalberto Mejia is out of options next year. So is Matt Magill, but I don't think the Twins are too concerned about losing him. Mejia is the kind of arm a rebuilding team needs to hold onto. In 2017 he threw fairly well for Minnesota as a rookie, posting a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts (he also put up a 2.83 ERA in six starts at Rochester). This year he was hampered by injuries but still turned in a 2.01 ERA in five outings for the Twins, and 3.27 over 63 innings at Triple-A. The left-hander has consistently performed since coming over to the Twins, with solid stuff to match. He doesn't turn 26 until next June. I'd go so far as to say that Mejia should be assured a spot as much as the "locks" I listed above, and if you're open to using him as a starter (or perhaps more fittingly a primary), then boom, you've got your rotation completed. * Fernando Romero deserves his shot. He isn't out of options yet, but will be in 2020, so the Twins need to get him settled in a big-league role. You could send him back to Triple-A to start the year but it feels kinda pointless – Romero showed he belonged during an MLB debut this year, and offers more upside than almost anyone else in the mix. I've argued that it might be best to bring him along as a multi-inning fireman reliever. * Andrew Vasquez decimates left-handed hitters. You might feel inclined to find a lefty specialist on the open market, with top bullpen southpaw Taylor Rogers serving in more of a matchup-agnostic setup role. But then again, you might already have that piece on hand in Vasquez, who was added to the 40-man roster during the season in advance of his Rule 5 eligibility, getting a taste of the majors in September. In 69 total innings last year Vasquez held left hitters to a .196/.274/.235 line over 114 PA, with a 38% strikeout rate. The prior year, same-sided batters went .200/.297/.200 against him, managing zero extra-base hits in 75 PA. There's always risk in going with a relatively untested and inexperienced option, but Vasquez is the kind of effective, inexpensive role-filler that can really be an asset to a team like the Twins. * Pitching staffs are fundamentally transforming. Like it or not, the rigid designations of "starter" and "reliever" are fading in today's game. Using openers, and piggybacking starters, should both be concepts in play as you assemble the staff – as should flexibility in the ninth inning. This can help guide your strategy. For instance, if you do end up going with a rotation featuring five right-handers, you might want an extra southpaw reliever that you could plug in for the first inning against a lefty-heavy lineup. Or maybe you want to plan on trying to get 3-4 innings apiece from Mejia and Kohl Stewart every fifth day. With an open-minded approach, there are a lot of options and possibilities. * The rotation lacks continuity going forward. Three of Minnesota's expected starters – Gibson, Odorizzi and Pineda, will be free agents after next season. In terms of rotation members that the Twins can comfortably count on past 2019, Berrios pretty much starts and ends the list. So the quest for rotation help this offseason shouldn't necessarily be limited to short-term commitments. A multi-year deal would make a lot of sense... if it's the right guy.
  22. The Twins have addressed their two biggest needs on the position-player side, adding C.J. Cron at first base and Jonathan Schoop at second. They are reportedly still monitoring the DH market, and might add another catcher yet, but now the front office is turning its attention to the pitching staff. It's obvious that Minnesota could stand to add multiple impact arms. But circumstances will make this a more complicated undertaking than it appears.Here in mid-December, the Twins have the following pitchers written onto next year's Opening Day roster in ink, more or less: Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Addison Reed. I would consider Trevor Hildenberger close to a lock, so long as he doesn't look like a total mess in spring training. That's eight members of a 12-man (possibly 13-man) staff. So the mission here seems clear, right? Add four more pitchers via free agency or trade – probably one starter and three relievers – and you're all set. It's not quite that simple. While I certainly think the Twins need to add more, and will, there are a few considerations that should be kept in mind as they attack the open market. * The 40-man roster is full. Any new addition on a major-league contract will require the Twins to drop one of their existing players. You might argue that's not the biggest deterrent, considering there are a number candidates for removal on the current roster (I marked nine that I would consider to be "at-risk" below) but it's something to note. Download attachment: 40manatrisk1216.png * Adalberto Mejia is out of options next year. So is Matt Magill, but I don't think the Twins are too concerned about losing him. Mejia is the kind of arm a rebuilding team needs to hold onto. In 2017 he threw fairly well for Minnesota as a rookie, posting a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts (he also put up a 2.83 ERA in six starts at Rochester). This year he was hampered by injuries but still turned in a 2.01 ERA in five outings for the Twins, and 3.27 over 63 innings at Triple-A. The left-hander has consistently performed since coming over to the Twins, with solid stuff to match. He doesn't turn 26 until next June. I'd go so far as to say that Mejia should be assured a spot as much as the "locks" I listed above, and if you're open to using him as a starter (or perhaps more fittingly a primary), then boom, you've got your rotation completed. * Fernando Romero deserves his shot. He isn't out of options yet, but will be in 2020, so the Twins need to get him settled in a big-league role. You could send him back to Triple-A to start the year but it feels kinda pointless – Romero showed he belonged during an MLB debut this year, and offers more upside than almost anyone else in the mix. I've argued that it might be best to bring him along as a multi-inning fireman reliever. * Andrew Vasquez decimates left-handed hitters. You might feel inclined to find a lefty specialist on the open market, with top bullpen southpaw Taylor Rogers serving in more of a matchup-agnostic setup role. But then again, you might already have that piece on hand in Vasquez, who was added to the 40-man roster during the season in advance of his Rule 5 eligibility, getting a taste of the majors in September. In 69 total innings last year Vasquez held left hitters to a .196/.274/.235 line over 114 PA, with a 38% strikeout rate. The prior year, same-sided batters went .200/.297/.200 against him, managing zero extra-base hits in 75 PA. There's always risk in going with a relatively untested and inexperienced option, but Vasquez is the kind of effective, inexpensive role-filler that can really be an asset to a team like the Twins. * Pitching staffs are fundamentally transforming. Like it or not, the rigid designations of "starter" and "reliever" are fading in today's game. Using openers, and piggybacking starters, should both be concepts in play as you assemble the staff – as should flexibility in the ninth inning. This can help guide your strategy. For instance, if you do end up going with a rotation featuring five right-handers, you might want an extra southpaw reliever that you could plug in for the first inning against a lefty-heavy lineup. Or maybe you want to plan on trying to get 3-4 innings apiece from Mejia and Kohl Stewart every fifth day. With an open-minded approach, there are a lot of options and possibilities. * The rotation lacks continuity going forward. Three of Minnesota's expected starters – Gibson, Odorizzi and Pineda, will be free agents after next season. In terms of rotation members that the Twins can comfortably count on past 2019, Berrios pretty much starts and ends the list. So the quest for rotation help this offseason shouldn't necessarily be limited to short-term commitments. A multi-year deal would make a lot of sense... if it's the right guy. Click here to view the article
  23. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Adalberto Mejia: 69 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 61.8% strikes (68 pitches, 42 strikes) Home Runs: Mitch Garver (6) Multi-Hit Games: Eddie Rosario (4-for-5, 2 2B), Jorge Polanco (2-for-5), Logan Forsythe (2-for-2, BB) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Mejia .263, Garver .137 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Morrison -.109 This game was delayed more than two hours due to rain. It started coming down again in the second inning, but Garver didn’t seem to mind. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1027009737995386880 Adalberto Mejia gave up just one hit over five shutout innings, but was removed from this game due to a left wrist strain after just 68 pitches. Though Garver’s blast provided all the runs, the Twins’ best bat tonight was Eddie Rosario. He was 4-for-5 with two doubles and was thrown out at second trying to stretch another single into a two-bagger. This was Rosie’s third four-hit game of the season. Gabriel Moya and Taylor Rogers turned in scoreless innings before Trevor Hildenberger gave up a pair of runs in the eighth. Fernando Rodney earned his 25th save of the season, giving the Twins a rare victory in a one-run game. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Wed at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Mike Clevinger Thu at CLE, 12:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Corey Kluber Fri at DET, 6:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games CLE 10, MIN 0: Who Needs Chris Gimenez? MIN 6, KC 5: Cave Slugs Grand Slam as Twins Sweep Royals MIN 8, KC 2: New Twins Ace Wins in Front of Old Twins Ace
  24. Monday night, Mitch Garver got the opportunity to pitch in a blowout. Tonight, he hit a three-run homer. Is 2018 baseball weird, or what? Garver’s three-run blast in the second set the tone for this game.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Adalberto Mejia: 69 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 61.8% strikes (68 pitches, 42 strikes) Home Runs: Mitch Garver (6) Multi-Hit Games: Eddie Rosario (4-for-5, 2 2B), Jorge Polanco (2-for-5), Logan Forsythe (2-for-2, BB) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Mejia .263, Garver .137 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Morrison -.109 Download attachment: WinChart87.png This game was delayed more than two hours due to rain. It started coming down again in the second inning, but Garver didn’t seem to mind. Adalberto Mejia gave up just one hit over five shutout innings, but was removed from this game due to a left wrist strain after just 68 pitches. Though Garver’s blast provided all the runs, the Twins’ best bat tonight was Eddie Rosario. He was 4-for-5 with two doubles and was thrown out at second trying to stretch another single into a two-bagger. This was Rosie’s third four-hit game of the season. Gabriel Moya and Taylor Rogers turned in scoreless innings before Trevor Hildenberger gave up a pair of runs in the eighth. Fernando Rodney earned his 25th save of the season, giving the Twins a rare victory in a one-run game. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen87.png Next Three Games Wed at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Mike Clevinger Thu at CLE, 12:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Corey Kluber Fri at DET, 6:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games CLE 10, MIN 0: Who Needs Chris Gimenez? MIN 6, KC 5: Cave Slugs Grand Slam as Twins Sweep Royals MIN 8, KC 2: New Twins Ace Wins in Front of Old Twins Ace Click here to view the article
  25. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/30 through Sun, 8/5 *** Record Last Week: 4-2 (Overall: 52-58) Run Differential Last Week: +4 (Overall: -17) Standing: 2nd Place in AL Central (9.0 GB) After trading away Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Pressly the previous week, the Twins completed their mini fire-sale as the deadline bore down, adding Brian Dozier, Lance Lynn and Zach Duke to the departing ranks. As a result of all this shuffling, Minnesota brought a number of new young talents into the organization, while shifting their gaze over the final two months to evaluation of remaining assets. These "Week in Review" columns will continue to track the team's record and run differential, but going forward, the tone will be dictated more by developments with those key players than by wins and losses. And through that lens, the past week was a pretty encouraging one. HIGHLIGHTS We're still waiting for Miguel Sano to hit one over the fence (his last home run as a big-leaguer came on May 31st) but he's certainly looking much better at the plate. Last week he went 8-for-20 with three doubles and a 6-to-3 K/BB ratio. Perhaps more importantly, Sano has looked spry at third base (where he's made all but one of his starts since the recall, after frequently bouncing to first base and DH earlier in the season) and is running a lot better; I found this tidbit from MLB report Jarrid Denney, tweeted when Sano legged out an infield single on Friday night, rather interesting: https://twitter.com/jarrid_denney/status/1025590630054092801 Initial results suggest that Sano's physical reboot program in Ft. Myers was a real success. Let's keep the positive signs coming. Sano's nearest infield neighbor is also looking quite sharp. Jorge Polanco went 7-for-23 this week while starting at shortstop and batting third in every game. Over 29 contests since returning to the fold following a PED suspension, Polanco has a 25-to-13 K/BB ratio and .369 OBP over 122 plate appearances. While the power that emerged in the second half last year hasn't resurfaced, it's very promising to see the 25-year-old taking quality ABs and getting on base. He has also been strikingly good defensively, keeping the errors in check and rating better than ever before on range metrics (albeit in an extremely small sample). With Dozier gone and Joe Mauer set to become a free agent, it's anyone's guess what the right side of Minnesota's infield will look like in 2019, but at least we can feel fairly confident at this moment in the outlook for the left side. Another key piece for the future, Adalberto Mejia, asserted that he belongs in the big-league rotation on Wednesday by holding Cleveland scoreless on one hit over five innings. His only Twins appearance in the first half came amidst unfavorable circumstances on a sweltering weekend at Wrigley Field where the whole team melted into a puddle. In three appearances since, Mejia has allowed only one run over 13 1/3 innings (0.68 ERA). The key for him the rest of the way will be efficiency on the mound; he hasn't completed six innings in any of his MLB three starts this year, and did so just four times in 21 turns last year. If he can consistently throw deeper into games over his final ~10 starts while continuing to post solid numbers, there's no reason why Mejia shouldn't be locked into a rotation spot next spring. With Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi in line to return, and with Fernando Romero, Stephen Gonsalves and others waiting in the wings, the Twins are theoretically pretty well set on starting pitchers moving forward. That'd leave Trevor May as an odd man out, but he can sure help the club elsewhere and showed it over the weekend. After shaking off the cobwebs in a shaky 2018 debut on Tuesday, May was a dominant force in his follow-up on Friday. The righty complemented a mid-90s fastball with a hard, biting slider and blew Kansas City hitters away in his one inning, as he struck out the side and tallied six whiffs on 17 pitches. On Sunday, he notched a critical strikeout to strand two runners in the eighth. May's been out of sight for some time, but let's not forget that in 2016 he posted a 12.7 K/9 rate with 13.2% swinging strikes as a full-time reliever. Granted, he also posted a 5.27 ERA. The results weren't there but the stuff most definitely was – weren't we saying that about Pressly not so long ago? Incidentally, May is a sleeper candidate to fill Pressly's vacancy in the bullpen next year as a dominating righty setup man. The Twins have spent long stretches of this season without Sano, Polanco, Mejia and May, but it's deeply invigorating to see them all back on the roster, healthy and performing. LOWLIGHTS Another pivotal long-term figure who's been absent from the Twins for much of 2018 continues to endure setback after setback, and it's looking like he might not make it back this year at all. Byron Buxton, who's been in Triple-A since mid-June – first on rehab and then on optional assignment – spent half of July on the disabled list with a sprained wrist. He returned at the end of the month to make two starts, striking out five times in seven at-bats, and then went back on the shelf last week as the wrist evidently had not healed. Overall, Buxton has slashed .218/.299/.385 with a 31% K-rate in 22 games at Rochester since moving down, as a 24-year-old facing inexperienced prospects and minor-league journeymen. He has not earned his way back to the big leagues on merit, and is fast running out of time to do so. Toss in the inescapable onslaught of injuries, plus service time considerations, and it's pretty clear what the right path is for Minnesota at this point: Leave him down or DLed for the remainder of the campaign. Hope for a full reset in 2019. It's far from ideal, but idealism is out the window with Buck at this point. Having cleared some room on their 40-man roster through all the deadline sell moves, Minnesota picked up a couple of players off waivers last week, including one who has already made his way up to the MLB club. Oliver Drake joined the Twins when Matt Magill left on paternity leave Friday, becoming the latest reliever to get an audition. Drake is a 31-year-old who has bounced around a ton over the past few years. No one has been impressed enough to stick with him long. Don't get me wrong, there are things to like about Drake – his 3.51 FIP rate as a big-leaguer is at odds with the 5.00 ERA and he's got a 9.9 K/9 rate go along with spectacular Triple-A numbers – but it's mystifying that the Twins keep prioritizing veterans off the scrap heap, like him and Matt Belisle, over their own internal options. Why not give Alan Busenitz, Tyler Duffey, Luke Bard, John Curtiss, Nick Anderson or even Kohl Stewart a shot? There is no shortage of worthwhile candidates on the Triple-A roster, and this is seemingly the perfect time to take a look. TRENDING STORYLINE With Dozier gone, I'll be curious to see how playing time at second base is divvied up in the remaining weeks. Thus far, it's been two starts for Ehire Adrianza and three for newly acquired Logan Forsythe. The Twins gain minimal benefit from running Forsythe out there, so I'd hope to see Adrianza get the lion's share of time. I know many would like to get a look at Nick Gordon, but the 22-year-old's considerable struggles at Triple-A make that unlikely. Gordon's been amidst a bit of a free-fall; he went 3-for-28 last week and is batting .106 with zero extra-base hits in his past 17 games. Adrianza's bat has gone cold – he's batting only .125 since the start of July – but his playing time has also been very sporadic. In June, when he started regularly, he posted an .861 OPS. Why not run him out there nightly and see what what he can do? Unlike Forsythe, Adrianza can be a factor for Minnesota next year and perhaps a big one. DOWN ON THE FARM I was remiss not to mention Brent Rooker in the last edition, because he was an absolute monster the previous week (13-for-26, 3 HR, 7 BB, 3 K), so I'll remedy that error by highlighting him now. Rooker had another very solid seven days at Chattanooga, going 5-for-17 with two doubles and five walks. He has piled up 30 doubles and 20 home runs in 104 games at Double-A, and is batting .313 since the start of June. Of all the top 10 Twins prospects, Rooker seems best positioned to make a real impact at the major-league level next year. I'd love it if we got an early look at him in September, and the more he continues to crush week after week, the more realistic that possibility becomes. Another player he deserves to come (back) up to the majors and solidify his case for 2019: Romero, who surpassed his previous career high for innings pitched on Sunday in dazzling fashion, hurling eight shutout frame to shut down the Pawtucket Sox. Romero now owns a 2.71 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for Rochester. I wouldn't mind seeing the Twins go to a six-man rotation in September, adding Romero and lightening the load on him and the rest of the starters. In Cedar Rapids, Minnesota's system is seeing some incredible initial returns on a couple of recent additions. Ryan Jeffers, promoted to the Kernels late last month after decimating the Appy League, went 14-for-26 with three home runs and six doubles, producing an outrageous 1.116 slugging percentage in seven games. He walked four times and struck out once. Minnesota's second-round pick in the June draft has the looks of a fast riser, which is crucial given the position he plays (catcher). Now, it should be noted that it's hardly uncommon for a highly drafted college bat to take the low minors by storm, so we should temper our enthusiasm a bit, but obviously Jeffers is looking like a brilliant pick thus far, and first-rounder Trevor Larnach (.903 OPS through 14 games at Elizabethton) is also making a strong first impression. Speaking of first impressions, they hardly get better than Jhoan Duran's with the Twins organization. The 20-year-old, acquired in the Escobar trade, tossed seven hitless innings in his first start for Cedar Rapids on Monday, and then added 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball on Sunday with nine strikeouts. Duran was one of two players specifically called out by chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, alongside Jorge Alcala, in his chat with Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune regarding the team's deadline prospect haul. Falvey opined that those two have a chance to become upper-end starters, and made note of Duran's "real power stuff." So far that assessment looks correct. LOOKING AHEAD The comfortably mediocre Twins are nine games behind the Indians and five games ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central. They'll face both of them on the road this week. Which direction will Minnesota move? MONDAY, 8/6: TWINS @ INDIANS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. RHP Trevor Bauer TUESDAY, 8/7: TWINS @ INDIANS – LHP Adalberto Mejia v. RHP Carlos Carrasco WEDNESDAY, 8/8: TWINS @ INDIANS – RHP Jake Odorizzi v. RHP Mike Clevinger THURSDAY, 8/9: TWINS @ INDIANS – RHP Jose Berrios v. RHP Corey Kluber FRIDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Ervin Santana v. RHP Jordan Zimmermann SATURDAY, 8/11: TWINS @ TIGERS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. LHP Francisco Liriano SUNDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ TIGERS – LHP Adalberto Mejia v. LHP Matthew Boyd
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