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  1. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have not had a good experience on the free-agent market during their tenure at the top of Minnesota’s front office. Many organizations find landmines, but did this season include the worst signing in franchise history? After Jorge Polanco limped through 2020 with an ankle injury that required a second surgery, it became more than apparent that Rocco Baldelli needed a different option at shortstop. Before Royce Lewis was shelved with a torn ACL, the big league club needed a stabilizing presence at the most critical position on the infield. Casting a wide net made the most sense for the Twins. Marcus Semien was arguably the best option, and despite finishing a close runner-up for his services, the former Athletics infielder has posted an otherworldly season for the Blue Jays. Many players would qualify as fringe options, having one or more holes in their games. Falvey opted for a pact with Gold Glove-winning fielder Andrelton Simmons. The former Angels shortstop always carried a light bat, but his defense got the job done. Welcome to 2021. It’s not as though Simmons’ defense has fallen off a cliff; he’s still been a valuable commodity in the field for Minnesota. His 11 defensive runs saved rank third in baseball at the position, and he’s behind only Nick Ahmed and Francisco Lindor when it comes to outs above average at shortstop. Simmons has induced many highlight-reel plays this season behind Twins pitching, but his blunders have always been highly noticeable. Simmons has been miscast for a guy who needs to make an impact defensively to hide his bat, given the results Minnesota has generated on the season as a whole. He carries value for a good team that can afford to have a complete non-factor in the lineup. Given the Twins inability to pitch and often hit, the marginal defensive upgrade he has been only amplified the awful season of production. At -0.4 fWAR, Simmons has been Minnesota’s third-worst position player behind Willians Astudillo and Gilberto Celestino. Without finding a trade partner for him at the deadline, the Twins have allowed Simmons to play in 116 games despite being a free agent at year’s end. He’s being paid $10.5 million in 2021 and has been worse than a non-factor offensively. His .561 OPS is dead last in baseball among 154 hitters with at least 400 plate appearances. He has a .286 OBP and has a whopping 14 extra-base hits. The most divisive contribution Simmons has made to the Twins clubhouse may have been a medical one. Just days after being outspoken regarding his stance on vaccines, the shortstop tested positive, and Minnesota soon experienced an outbreak. Without attributing fault to any one person, Simmons' brash nature and desire to publicly share his opinions on Twitter were undoubtedly met with backlash given how the season began to spiral. Over the years, plenty of front offices have missed when it comes to spending money on players leaving other organizations. Sometimes those players move on for the sake of a big contract. Other times it happens because the club is moving on before getting caught holding the bag. This may be more of the latter when considering the Angels situation, and Minnesota felt the wrath of a decision gone wrong. You could make a case for Tsuyoshi Nishioka or Ricky Nolasco when considering previous Twins missteps. Still, nothing about how Andrelton Simmons has fared in Minnesota is good, and it’s a shock he’ll survive the year without a DFA. Back to the drawing board at shortstop for 2022. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Following the 2020 Major League Baseball season, we would get a year in which normalcy returned to ballparks. The Minnesota Twins had won two straight AL Central titles, and their offseason set up a three-peat opportunity. Then the games started. If there’s a takeaway for 2021, it’s that nothing is won in the offseason. Take it from a guy that hung a banner over the winter, and it will be worth taking a significant lap when the dust settles on spending before Opening Day 2022. Going into this season, the Twins needed to do little more than hold serve. This team was no longer the Bomba Squad, but they didn’t need to be. Rocco Baldelli had to have a well-rounded group and one that took a step forward with a well-established core. There was plenty of promise after adding more pitching options, a defensive wizard at shortstop, and bringing back the Boomstick. Depth looked to be in a great place, and the talent at the top should’ve been comparable to anyone. After getting out to a 5-2 start, the Twins went on a 1-9 run. They never recovered and didn’t see a .500 record the rest of the way. That depth was depleted through injury, but it was also worn down through ineffectiveness. Miguel Sano looked lost to start, and Max Kepler may never have been found. The free-agent signings, save for the returning Cruz, all flopped. Kenta Maeda wasn’t the arm that dominated in 2020. The bullpen imploded all over the place. "Unfortunate" would be selling the situation short. Minnesota didn’t perform for any consistent stretch, at any consistent level, and it cost them well beyond the injury concerns they dealt with. Following his extension, Jorge Polanco took the reigns on his career, but Kepler and Sano floundered when expected to contribute. No matter how the offseason acquisitions turned out, the core failed to uphold their end of the bargain. In the future, especially when heading into a season of uncertainty, being reminded the season isn’t won in the offseason is a must. Being able to celebrate moves made is a fair practice. How they gel together and ultimately perform on the field is immeasurable until the games get played. As Derek Falvey reconstructs the future for a Twins team with a drastically different outlook, evaluating the offseason will need to be done individually. How players and contracts fit and money is spent should be a focus. Where the results will end up isn’t worth tying to specific pacts. In the year ahead, Minnesota won’t be able to claim an opportunity for a three-peat, and more than anything else, they’ll be looking to distance from the year that was. As the front office embarks on their first opportunity for significant year-over-year growth, the idea that they had a “freaking offseason” will need some pause in hopes that a well-designed process drives more acceptable results. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  3. If there’s a takeaway for 2021, it’s that nothing is won in the offseason. Take it from a guy that hung a banner over the winter, and it will be worth taking a significant lap when the dust settles on spending before Opening Day 2022. Going into this season, the Twins needed to do little more than hold serve. This team was no longer the Bomba Squad, but they didn’t need to be. Rocco Baldelli had to have a well-rounded group and one that took a step forward with a well-established core. There was plenty of promise after adding more pitching options, a defensive wizard at shortstop, and bringing back the Boomstick. Depth looked to be in a great place, and the talent at the top should’ve been comparable to anyone. After getting out to a 5-2 start, the Twins went on a 1-9 run. They never recovered and didn’t see a .500 record the rest of the way. That depth was depleted through injury, but it was also worn down through ineffectiveness. Miguel Sano looked lost to start, and Max Kepler may never have been found. The free-agent signings, save for the returning Cruz, all flopped. Kenta Maeda wasn’t the arm that dominated in 2020. The bullpen imploded all over the place. "Unfortunate" would be selling the situation short. Minnesota didn’t perform for any consistent stretch, at any consistent level, and it cost them well beyond the injury concerns they dealt with. Following his extension, Jorge Polanco took the reigns on his career, but Kepler and Sano floundered when expected to contribute. No matter how the offseason acquisitions turned out, the core failed to uphold their end of the bargain. In the future, especially when heading into a season of uncertainty, being reminded the season isn’t won in the offseason is a must. Being able to celebrate moves made is a fair practice. How they gel together and ultimately perform on the field is immeasurable until the games get played. As Derek Falvey reconstructs the future for a Twins team with a drastically different outlook, evaluating the offseason will need to be done individually. How players and contracts fit and money is spent should be a focus. Where the results will end up isn’t worth tying to specific pacts. In the year ahead, Minnesota won’t be able to claim an opportunity for a three-peat, and more than anything else, they’ll be looking to distance from the year that was. As the front office embarks on their first opportunity for significant year-over-year growth, the idea that they had a “freaking offseason” will need some pause in hopes that a well-designed process drives more acceptable results. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Plenty has gone wrong for the Twins during the 2021 season, and these players have been adding to the trouble. Which Twins have been the least valuable so far in 2021? WAR According to FanGraphs, the Twins have four players that have accumulated a negative WAR total in 2021. Gilberto Celestino ranks lowest with a -0.7 WAR, but that was expected for a player forced into the big leagues before he had significant time in the high minors. Brent Rooker is just slightly negative at -0.1 WAR, with most of his negative value coming on the defensive side of the ball. The other two players with negative WAR are polarizing for Twins fans. Willians Astudillo and Andrelton Simmons are tied with -0.5 WAR, but their path to those totals is entirely different. Simmons posts strong defensive numbers, and his offense has been atrocious. His -23.0 OFF ranking is the lowest on the team, and it’s more than double the next closest player. Astudillo doesn’t have a perfect defensive home, and his offensive skills are limited. He even has a negative WAR as a relief pitcher. On the mound, Matt Shoemaker accumulated a negative WAR in his time as a starter (-0.2 WAR) and as a reliever (-0.5 WAR). Griffin Jax, Beau Burrows, and Andrew Albers are all tied with a -0.3 WAR among players classified as starters. Minnesota’s bullpen has been a mess as 12 players have a negative WAR total. Randy Dobnak, Brandon Waddell, Hansel Robles, and Edgar Garcia all have a -0.3 WAR as relievers. WPA Four Twins players have accumulated a Win Probability Added of more than -0.75. Andrelton Simmons has been worth -3.03 WPA, which is the team’s lowest total. Trevor Larnach ranks the second lowest (-1.78 WPA), with all his negative value coming on the defensive side. Miguel Sano (-1.44), Willians Astudillo (-1.48), and Ryan Jeffers (-1.59) round out the bottom five when it comes to WPA among position players. Among pitchers, J.A. Happ was worth -1.87 WPA during his Twins tenure, and the Twins were still able to get something for him at the trade deadline. Randy Dobnak is in the middle of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season. His -1.42 WPA is the second-worst and ranks just below Griffin Jax (-1.23 WPA) and Alex Colome (-1.26 WPA). Surprisingly, Matt Shoemaker only has the tenth worst WPA among Twins pitchers. Ranking the Top-5 Least Valuable Twins 5. Willians Astudillo: He can certainly be entertaining, and his relief appearances have added some fun to a disappointing season. Overall, his lack of defensive home and low offensive ceiling put him on this list. 4. J.A. Happ: In 19 starts for the Twins, he accumulated a 6.20 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings. Minnesota’s lack of pitching depth meant they had to keep trotting him out there. 3. Alex Colome: Colome would have topped this list in the early part of the season. However, he has been better lately (Editor's Note: For instance, he has recorded saves in four straight games), but it doesn’t take away from his disastrous start to the season. 2. Matt Shoemaker: Shoemaker didn’t cut it as a starter or a reliever. He claimed the Twins tried to make some adjustments during spring training that hurt his performance. 1. Andrelton Simmons: He ranks among baseball’s best defensive shortstops, which shows how inept his offense has been this year. His 57 OPS+ is 18 points lower than his previous career low. How would you rank these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  5. After Jorge Polanco limped through 2020 with an ankle injury that required a second surgery, it became more than apparent that Rocco Baldelli needed a different option at shortstop. Before Royce Lewis was shelved with a torn ACL, the big league club needed a stabilizing presence at the most critical position on the infield. Casting a wide net made the most sense for the Twins. Marcus Semien was arguably the best option, and despite finishing a close runner-up for his services, the former Athletics infielder has posted an otherworldly season for the Blue Jays. Many players would qualify as fringe options, having one or more holes in their games. Falvey opted for a pact with Gold Glove-winning fielder Andrelton Simmons. The former Angels shortstop always carried a light bat, but his defense got the job done. Welcome to 2021. It’s not as though Simmons’ defense has fallen off a cliff; he’s still been a valuable commodity in the field for Minnesota. His 11 defensive runs saved rank third in baseball at the position, and he’s behind only Nick Ahmed and Francisco Lindor when it comes to outs above average at shortstop. Simmons has induced many highlight-reel plays this season behind Twins pitching, but his blunders have always been highly noticeable. Simmons has been miscast for a guy who needs to make an impact defensively to hide his bat, given the results Minnesota has generated on the season as a whole. He carries value for a good team that can afford to have a complete non-factor in the lineup. Given the Twins inability to pitch and often hit, the marginal defensive upgrade he has been only amplified the awful season of production. At -0.4 fWAR, Simmons has been Minnesota’s third-worst position player behind Willians Astudillo and Gilberto Celestino. Without finding a trade partner for him at the deadline, the Twins have allowed Simmons to play in 116 games despite being a free agent at year’s end. He’s being paid $10.5 million in 2021 and has been worse than a non-factor offensively. His .561 OPS is dead last in baseball among 154 hitters with at least 400 plate appearances. He has a .286 OBP and has a whopping 14 extra-base hits. The most divisive contribution Simmons has made to the Twins clubhouse may have been a medical one. Just days after being outspoken regarding his stance on vaccines, the shortstop tested positive, and Minnesota soon experienced an outbreak. Without attributing fault to any one person, Simmons' brash nature and desire to publicly share his opinions on Twitter were undoubtedly met with backlash given how the season began to spiral. Over the years, plenty of front offices have missed when it comes to spending money on players leaving other organizations. Sometimes those players move on for the sake of a big contract. Other times it happens because the club is moving on before getting caught holding the bag. This may be more of the latter when considering the Angels situation, and Minnesota felt the wrath of a decision gone wrong. You could make a case for Tsuyoshi Nishioka or Ricky Nolasco when considering previous Twins missteps. Still, nothing about how Andrelton Simmons has fared in Minnesota is good, and it’s a shock he’ll survive the year without a DFA. Back to the drawing board at shortstop for 2022. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. The Twins eked out a 3-0 win over Cleveland on Tuesday. John Gant continued his steady improvement in a starting pitching role, the bullpen was outstanding, and Brent Rooker homered for Minnesota. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Gant 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K Homeruns: Rooker (11) Top 3 WPA: Gant .300, Simmons .135, Thielbar .098 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins looked to build on their Labor Day win over Cleveland on Tuesday. They sent John Gant to the mound to face Aaron Civale, who returned from the IL to provide a boost to a beleaguered Cleveland rotation. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the game. Gant, fighting for 2022 rotation consideration, got off to a solid start. He threw two clean innings, working particularly effectively with his changeup and generating extra ride on his fastball, before running into trouble in the third inning. After getting a double play, Gant surrendered two singles and a walk to load the bases. Franmil Reyes missed a grand slam by five feet to keep the game tied, flying out to deep center field. Meanwhile through three innings, Civale showed no signs of rust. Other than giving up singles to Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, he looked highly effective. Civale worked consistently up in the strike zone, throwing a wide variety of breaking balls keeping Twins hitters off balance, and off the bases. Gant returned for a more efficient and effective fourth inning. Despite walking three through four innings, Gant generated nine swings and misses and four strikeouts in as many innings. Is Gant working himself into consideration for a job with the Twins in 2022? The deadlock was finally broken in the sixth inning. After Max Kepler drew a walk to lead off the inning, Andrelton Simmons singled up the middle to drive home Kepler, give the Twins a one to nothing lead, and force Civale from the game. A walk to Luis Arraez put runners on first and second with two out, but Byron Buxton flew out to shallow center field to end the inning one to nothing in favor of the Twins. After walking the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Gant returned to strike out the side. He completed five inning, struck out seven batters, and generated twelve swings and misses. Despite walking four Cleveland hitters, Gant has improved noticeably in each of his starts with the Twins. Gant will be an interesting sub-plot to monitor in the remaining four weeks of the season. Jorge Alcala relieved Gant in the sixth inning. He got Franmil Reyes swinging on a beautiful sinking fastball at 97mph. He followed up with back to back ground-outs, preserving the Twins one run lead heading to the seventh inning. In the seventh inning, Brent Rooker crushed a home run to right center field to increase the lead to two. Juan Minaya pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, striking out two, to preserve the Twins lead. An infield single and an Oscar Mercado double high off the left-field wall created a threat for Cleveland in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and two out, Yu Chang struck out swinging to take the game to the ninth inning. Luis Arraez tripled home Andrelton Simmons to extend the lead to three to nothing in the ninth. Alexander Colome entered to close the game for the Twins. Owen Miller grounded out, before Amed Rosario singled on a fly ball to center field. A Miles Straw flyout and a Bobby Bradley strikeout brought the Twins their third consecutive win. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Colomé 0 0 11 23 9 17 60 Thielbar 0 0 0 28 0 25 53 Minaya 0 0 21 0 0 21 42 Alcalá 0 0 0 15 0 19 34 Garza Jr. 0 8 23 0 0 0 31 Duffey 0 0 0 10 8 0 18 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Joe Ryan will take on Triston McKenzie. First pitch is at 5:10 CST. Postgame Interviews View full article
  7. WAR According to FanGraphs, the Twins have four players that have accumulated a negative WAR total in 2021. Gilberto Celestino ranks lowest with a -0.7 WAR, but that was expected for a player forced into the big leagues before he had significant time in the high minors. Brent Rooker is just slightly negative at -0.1 WAR, with most of his negative value coming on the defensive side of the ball. The other two players with negative WAR are polarizing for Twins fans. Willians Astudillo and Andrelton Simmons are tied with -0.5 WAR, but their path to those totals is entirely different. Simmons posts strong defensive numbers, and his offense has been atrocious. His -23.0 OFF ranking is the lowest on the team, and it’s more than double the next closest player. Astudillo doesn’t have a perfect defensive home, and his offensive skills are limited. He even has a negative WAR as a relief pitcher. On the mound, Matt Shoemaker accumulated a negative WAR in his time as a starter (-0.2 WAR) and as a reliever (-0.5 WAR). Griffin Jax, Beau Burrows, and Andrew Albers are all tied with a -0.3 WAR among players classified as starters. Minnesota’s bullpen has been a mess as 12 players have a negative WAR total. Randy Dobnak, Brandon Waddell, Hansel Robles, and Edgar Garcia all have a -0.3 WAR as relievers. WPA Four Twins players have accumulated a Win Probability Added of more than -0.75. Andrelton Simmons has been worth -3.03 WPA, which is the team’s lowest total. Trevor Larnach ranks the second lowest (-1.78 WPA), with all his negative value coming on the defensive side. Miguel Sano (-1.44), Willians Astudillo (-1.48), and Ryan Jeffers (-1.59) round out the bottom five when it comes to WPA among position players. Among pitchers, J.A. Happ was worth -1.87 WPA during his Twins tenure, and the Twins were still able to get something for him at the trade deadline. Randy Dobnak is in the middle of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season. His -1.42 WPA is the second-worst and ranks just below Griffin Jax (-1.23 WPA) and Alex Colome (-1.26 WPA). Surprisingly, Matt Shoemaker only has the tenth worst WPA among Twins pitchers. Ranking the Top-5 Least Valuable Twins 5. Willians Astudillo: He can certainly be entertaining, and his relief appearances have added some fun to a disappointing season. Overall, his lack of defensive home and low offensive ceiling put him on this list. 4. J.A. Happ: In 19 starts for the Twins, he accumulated a 6.20 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings. Minnesota’s lack of pitching depth meant they had to keep trotting him out there. 3. Alex Colome: Colome would have topped this list in the early part of the season. However, he has been better lately (Editor's Note: For instance, he has recorded saves in four straight games), but it doesn’t take away from his disastrous start to the season. 2. Matt Shoemaker: Shoemaker didn’t cut it as a starter or a reliever. He claimed the Twins tried to make some adjustments during spring training that hurt his performance. 1. Andrelton Simmons: He ranks among baseball’s best defensive shortstops, which shows how inept his offense has been this year. His 57 OPS+ is 18 points lower than his previous career low. How would you rank these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Gant 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K Homeruns: Rooker (11) Top 3 WPA: Gant .300, Simmons .135, Thielbar .098 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins looked to build on their Labor Day win over Cleveland on Tuesday. They sent John Gant to the mound to face Aaron Civale, who returned from the IL to provide a boost to a beleaguered Cleveland rotation. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the game. Gant, fighting for 2022 rotation consideration, got off to a solid start. He threw two clean innings, working particularly effectively with his changeup and generating extra ride on his fastball, before running into trouble in the third inning. After getting a double play, Gant surrendered two singles and a walk to load the bases. Franmil Reyes missed a grand slam by five feet to keep the game tied, flying out to deep center field. Meanwhile through three innings, Civale showed no signs of rust. Other than giving up singles to Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, he looked highly effective. Civale worked consistently up in the strike zone, throwing a wide variety of breaking balls keeping Twins hitters off balance, and off the bases. Gant returned for a more efficient and effective fourth inning. Despite walking three through four innings, Gant generated nine swings and misses and four strikeouts in as many innings. Is Gant working himself into consideration for a job with the Twins in 2022? The deadlock was finally broken in the sixth inning. After Max Kepler drew a walk to lead off the inning, Andrelton Simmons singled up the middle to drive home Kepler, give the Twins a one to nothing lead, and force Civale from the game. A walk to Luis Arraez put runners on first and second with two out, but Byron Buxton flew out to shallow center field to end the inning one to nothing in favor of the Twins. After walking the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Gant returned to strike out the side. He completed five inning, struck out seven batters, and generated twelve swings and misses. Despite walking four Cleveland hitters, Gant has improved noticeably in each of his starts with the Twins. Gant will be an interesting sub-plot to monitor in the remaining four weeks of the season. Jorge Alcala relieved Gant in the sixth inning. He got Franmil Reyes swinging on a beautiful sinking fastball at 97mph. He followed up with back to back ground-outs, preserving the Twins one run lead heading to the seventh inning. In the seventh inning, Brent Rooker crushed a home run to right center field to increase the lead to two. Juan Minaya pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, striking out two, to preserve the Twins lead. An infield single and an Oscar Mercado double high off the left-field wall created a threat for Cleveland in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and two out, Yu Chang struck out swinging to take the game to the ninth inning. Luis Arraez tripled home Andrelton Simmons to extend the lead to three to nothing in the ninth. Alexander Colome entered to close the game for the Twins. Owen Miller grounded out, before Amed Rosario singled on a fly ball to center field. A Miles Straw flyout and a Bobby Bradley strikeout brought the Twins their third consecutive win. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Colomé 0 0 11 23 9 17 60 Thielbar 0 0 0 28 0 25 53 Minaya 0 0 21 0 0 21 42 Alcalá 0 0 0 15 0 19 34 Garza Jr. 0 8 23 0 0 0 31 Duffey 0 0 0 10 8 0 18 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Joe Ryan will take on Triston McKenzie. First pitch is at 5:10 CST. Postgame Interviews
  9. Defensive improvement was a focus for the Twins this season, but that plan hasn’t gone perfectly. So, has the Twins’ defense improved or declined in the second half? Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One newer defensive metric was developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and it is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, SABR has used SDI as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. Here is how the Twins rank through games played on August 22, 2021: Pitcher (AL Ranking): Jose Berrios, 3.7 SDI (3rd) Berrios was traded before the deadline, but he accumulated the bulk of his SDI total while still in a Twins uniform. Earlier this season, he ranked sixth overall in the AL, so he has made a significant jump in the second half. However, his defense isn’t helping the Twins anymore, and there are no other Twins players on the current leaderboard. Dallas Keuchel is the favorite among AL pitchers as he has nearly double the SDI total of the second-ranked pitcher. Catcher (AL Ranking): No Twins’ Players Qualify At the All-Star Break, both Twins catchers ranked in the top-12 when it came to SDI. Garver’s extended time on the IL pushed him out of the rankings, while Jeffers spent some time in St. Paul trying to find his swing. Over the last few weeks, Jeffers has been catching regularly, so it will be interesting to see if he winds up on the final leaderboard. First Base (AL Ranking): Miguel Sano -2.5 SDI (10th) Only two qualified first basemen, Nathaniel Lowe and Bobby Delbec, have a lower SDI total than Miguel Sano. His months of July and August continued to bring down his total as he was at -0.9 SDI. It also doesn’t help that Minnesota’s best defensive first baseman, Alex Kirilloff, is injured and won’t be back in 2021. At the All-Star break, he ranked third among all AL first basemen. For 2022, Minnesota should pencil Kirilloff in at first base every day. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco, 3.3 SDI (3rd) Polanco has been on an offensive tear in the second half, and his defense has also significantly improved. In less than two months, he moved from 8th to 3rd in SDI among AL second basemen. At that time, I mentioned that he was only 0.5 SDI out of the top-3, and he now ranks 1.2 SDI ahead of fourth place. Polanco looks to be in line to be a Gold Glove finalist, but Whit Merrified and Marcus Semiem have accumulated over twice as much SDI as Polanco. Third Base (AL Ranking): Luis Arraez, 0.4 SDI (7th) Arraez isn’t exactly known for his defensive prowess, so this ranking might come as a surprise to some Twins fans. Every third baseman ranked below Arraez has a -4.0 SDI or lower. Josh Donaldson was known for being a strong defender when the Twins signed him, but he has fallen off the leaderboard since the All-Star break. At that time, he looked to be in the middle of his worst defensive season. Does the future at this position belong to Arraez or Jose Miranda? Shortstop (AL Ranking): Andrelton Simmons, 6.4 SDI (3rd) Simmons is having another solid defensive season, but he has taken a step back in the second half. In July, he ranked as one of the AL’s best defenders, and he was the number one ranked shortstop. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Carlos Correa have stormed past him over the last two months. Simmons looks like he will be a Gold Glove finalist, but he won’t be coming away with the hardware. Left Field (AL Ranking): No Twins' Players Qualified Trevor Larnach was on these rankings at the All-Star break, but he was near the bottom with a -2.2 SDI. He no longer qualifies as the team demoted him to Triple-A after some offensive struggles. Overall, this race looks to be one of the AL's tightest when it comes to the Gold Glove winner. There is no clear-cut favorite, with Austin Hays (2.1 SDI) and Michael Brantley (1.8 SDI) leading the rankings. Center Field (AL Ranking): No Twins' Players Qualified Byron Buxton is still one of baseball's best defenders, but a hip injury and a broken hand have kept him sidelined for a good chunk of the second half. Former Twins prospect Akil Baddoo has the third-lowest SDI total among qualified AL center fielders. Michael Taylor (9.5 SDI) and Myles Straw (7.1 SDI) are at the top of the leaderboard with a month to go in the season. Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler, 0.8 SDI Kepler has a positive SDI, but only one qualified right fielder sits below him in the rankings. His second-half defense has improved because he had accumulated a -0.1 SDI in right field at the All-Star break. He dealt with a hamstring injury earlier in the season, which might have brought down his SDI total. Do any of these rankings surprise you? Do you think the team's defense has been worse in the second half? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  10. Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One newer defensive metric was developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and it is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, SABR has used SDI as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. Here is how the Twins rank through games played on August 22, 2021: Pitcher (AL Ranking): Jose Berrios, 3.7 SDI (3rd) Berrios was traded before the deadline, but he accumulated the bulk of his SDI total while still in a Twins uniform. Earlier this season, he ranked sixth overall in the AL, so he has made a significant jump in the second half. However, his defense isn’t helping the Twins anymore, and there are no other Twins players on the current leaderboard. Dallas Keuchel is the favorite among AL pitchers as he has nearly double the SDI total of the second-ranked pitcher. Catcher (AL Ranking): No Twins’ Players Qualify At the All-Star Break, both Twins catchers ranked in the top-12 when it came to SDI. Garver’s extended time on the IL pushed him out of the rankings, while Jeffers spent some time in St. Paul trying to find his swing. Over the last few weeks, Jeffers has been catching regularly, so it will be interesting to see if he winds up on the final leaderboard. First Base (AL Ranking): Miguel Sano -2.5 SDI (10th) Only two qualified first basemen, Nathaniel Lowe and Bobby Delbec, have a lower SDI total than Miguel Sano. His months of July and August continued to bring down his total as he was at -0.9 SDI. It also doesn’t help that Minnesota’s best defensive first baseman, Alex Kirilloff, is injured and won’t be back in 2021. At the All-Star break, he ranked third among all AL first basemen. For 2022, Minnesota should pencil Kirilloff in at first base every day. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco, 3.3 SDI (3rd) Polanco has been on an offensive tear in the second half, and his defense has also significantly improved. In less than two months, he moved from 8th to 3rd in SDI among AL second basemen. At that time, I mentioned that he was only 0.5 SDI out of the top-3, and he now ranks 1.2 SDI ahead of fourth place. Polanco looks to be in line to be a Gold Glove finalist, but Whit Merrified and Marcus Semiem have accumulated over twice as much SDI as Polanco. Third Base (AL Ranking): Luis Arraez, 0.4 SDI (7th) Arraez isn’t exactly known for his defensive prowess, so this ranking might come as a surprise to some Twins fans. Every third baseman ranked below Arraez has a -4.0 SDI or lower. Josh Donaldson was known for being a strong defender when the Twins signed him, but he has fallen off the leaderboard since the All-Star break. At that time, he looked to be in the middle of his worst defensive season. Does the future at this position belong to Arraez or Jose Miranda? Shortstop (AL Ranking): Andrelton Simmons, 6.4 SDI (3rd) Simmons is having another solid defensive season, but he has taken a step back in the second half. In July, he ranked as one of the AL’s best defenders, and he was the number one ranked shortstop. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Carlos Correa have stormed past him over the last two months. Simmons looks like he will be a Gold Glove finalist, but he won’t be coming away with the hardware. Left Field (AL Ranking): No Twins' Players Qualified Trevor Larnach was on these rankings at the All-Star break, but he was near the bottom with a -2.2 SDI. He no longer qualifies as the team demoted him to Triple-A after some offensive struggles. Overall, this race looks to be one of the AL's tightest when it comes to the Gold Glove winner. There is no clear-cut favorite, with Austin Hays (2.1 SDI) and Michael Brantley (1.8 SDI) leading the rankings. Center Field (AL Ranking): No Twins' Players Qualified Byron Buxton is still one of baseball's best defenders, but a hip injury and a broken hand have kept him sidelined for a good chunk of the second half. Former Twins prospect Akil Baddoo has the third-lowest SDI total among qualified AL center fielders. Michael Taylor (9.5 SDI) and Myles Straw (7.1 SDI) are at the top of the leaderboard with a month to go in the season. Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler, 0.8 SDI Kepler has a positive SDI, but only one qualified right fielder sits below him in the rankings. His second-half defense has improved because he had accumulated a -0.1 SDI in right field at the All-Star break. He dealt with a hamstring injury earlier in the season, which might have brought down his SDI total. Do any of these rankings surprise you? Do you think the team's defense has been worse in the second half? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. It was a tough battle, but the Twins came out on top to win their fourth series in a row thanks to yet another Jorge Polanco walk-off! Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT. View full article
  12. Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT.
  13. If you get the movie reference, good for you! If you don't, rewind your life to 1995 and find the movie Liar, Liar. You are welcome. Onto Baseball! The Twins have made some really great moves in the trade season. While it brought some heart break for fans of players like Berrios and Cruz, it also brought in some pitching prospects that are going to be a great addition to the line up in terms of pitching, to include the pitcher from the Team USA Baseball Team that won silver in the 2021 Olympics, Joe Ryan. Our roster is continuing to improve, we can round out the team and safely secure our position in the 2022 season, hopefully as division leaders again. In order to do that, players that are dragging down the team like Simmons. Andrelton Simmons has not been worth the money that the Twins initially paid him to bring him in for the 2021 season. January 31, 2021 the Twins signed Simmons from Anaheim for $10.5 million dollars, a signing that most (this fan not included) Twins fans thought was a “great move” and “he’s a golden glove player”...the excuses kept coming. The trade deadline came and went and there were some really fun transactions, but one thing stood out, I was right about Simmons. We couldn’t get even a bag of balls for him based on his performance this season. The best thing for the Twins to do at this point is release him and bring up or retain talent that will fit the big moves we have made already this year. Simmons started out the year with coming down with Covid-19 which shut down our entire Club for two days and removed Simmons for the two week duration of the ailment. We don’t have anything to compare his performance to prior to coming down with Covid-19 but upon his return and since then he has struggled at the plate with a lackluster .219 average and more walks than RBI’s. Defensively he is average comparatively with other shortstops in the league but still not the best when you look at players who are making around his same salary. There are other players that can not only hang with him defensively, but can bring more hits to keep our offense doing their job and give the pitching a break. One player that stands out is one that we have brought onto our field from right across the river in St. Paul, Nick Gordon. Gordon not only has shown so much promise and improvement, he’s only actually played 12 games for STP while playing 37 games for the Twins and continues to be a permanent fixture. Gordon has a .250 batting average, continues to make great decisions at the plate, his fielding is where he is really showing that he can make a huge difference compared to Simmons. He has played 2B for most of his time here, but he has also taken on the shortstop positions, showing he is versatile when the team needs him to be. Bringing Gordon up from St. Paul in a market where there are shortstops that the Twins likely wouldn’t pay for would not only be the best decision for the club house but make the most sense financially. If the Twins were willing to spend a little more money for assets, two other great players they could work with are Carlos Correra from Houston and Javier Baez. Both would be fantastic acquisitions to the team. Carlos Correra is one of the best shortstops in MLB as far as I am concerned and he can rake at the plate. He has a discipline and swing at the plate that could be far more worth the money we are paying Simmons. Not only can he out hit Simmons, but his hustle at shortstop is one of the fastest. Fielding is bound to have errors and between Simmons and Correra the errors are within two, but the fielding percentage is better than Simmons over all. Javier Baez would be a FANTASTIC free agent choice if the Twins were to make a purchase here. He has 24 homeruns this season in comparison to Simmons' meager three and his .241 batting average while still lower than Nick Gordon’s is far better than Simmons. There are options that are ready to go, the Twins just have to bring their wallet to dinner. If we could acquire one of these two players, it would help our team exponentially.
  14. Could the Twins and the White Sox swing an intra-division trade? What are areas of need for Chicago? What could the Twins get back from an unlikely trade partner? The 2021 season was supposed to be a battle for AL Central supremacy between the Twins and White Sox. Instead, the Twins are languishing in last place with the fifth-worst record in baseball while Chicago is cruising to their first division title since 2008. What’s Their Situation? Currently owners of the fifth-best record in baseball, the White Sox have a commanding 9.5 game lead over Cleveland entering play on Wednesday. They are competing with the Red Sox Astros, Dodgers, and Giants for the best record in MLB. Perhaps more impressively, they have accomplished this working around significant injuries to the likes of Eloy Jiminez and Nick Madrigal. The White Sox are a lock for post-season play, now, their focus is on gearing up for a strong playoff run. What do They Need? Not a lot. The White Sox have the fifth-best offense in baseball right now, sporting a cumulative 113 wRC+. They have a strong front of the rotation between Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dallas Keuchel. While Giolito and Keuchel have been, perhaps, a little disappointing, Rodon and Lynn form a formidable one-two punch in any playoff series. The White Sox could strengthen their bullpen for an October run. Currently the 13th best in baseball with the third-worst xFIP, there is a lack of depth behind Liam Hendriks. The other area of need for the Sox is strengthening their infield. Nick Madrigal had season-ending surgery on a torn hamstring, leaving a lack of depth up the middle after the perennially excellent Tim Anderson. Which Twins are the Best Fit? Infield depth and relief pitching may be the biggest needs the Twins could fill for the Southsiders. Andrelton Simmons would be a massive defensive upgrade. Despite 61 wRC+, Simmons has been worth 15 outs above average, good for second in all of baseball behind Nick Ahmed. With Taylor Rogers currently on the IL and reportedly seeking a second and potentially third opinion on his sprained middle finger, Tyler Duffey would be an option that would add depth to the Chicago bullpen. There’s no question Duffey has taken a step back this year, the most concerning seeing his K/9 numbers drop from 11.6 in 2020 to 7.3 in 2021. In spite of this, Duffey still sports a strong 3.20 ERA and doesn’t reach free agency until 2023, making him an appealing option for any team hoping to contend beyond this season. Who Could the Twins get Back? The White Sox system like the Twins has been weakened by a significant number of graduations. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, Garrett Crochet, and Michael Kopech are all 2021 graduates, leaving the Sox as the only MLB team without a top 100 prospect. Any return for Simmons would fetch a C-level prospect and serve mainly to shed salary. Duffey would fetch a greater price but teams may be wary of his diminishing peripherals. Yolbert Sanchez, SS, AA Sanchez signed out of Cuba during the international free agency period in 19-20. His best tool is 60-grade defense which makes him a viable big-league shortstop or a quality utility infielder. Sanchez is a right-handed hitter who shows solid contact skills. Sanchez is currently sporting a .360 OBP over two minor league levels in 2021. Tyler Johnson, RHP, AAA Johnson was the closer for South Carolina in his collegiate career, signing as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. In his first three seasons of pro ball, Johnson tallied 169 strikeouts in 115 innings and managed a 2.27 ERA. Johnson’s best pitch is his fastball, which can reach 98 mph. His inconsistent delivery and mechanics seem to impact the quality of his secondary pitches. His ceiling is a late-inning reliever in the majors. Kade McClure, RHP, AA McClure is a behemoth at 6’7 and best known for being the number two starter behind Brendan McKay at Louisville. McClure missed significant time in his first few pro seasons with injuries. Despite his height, he has a fastball that sits around 92 mph and excellent control, walking just 2.1 per nine innings in 2019. McClure profiles as a back-end starter with a similar makeup to Bailey Ober. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  15. The 2021 season was supposed to be a battle for AL Central supremacy between the Twins and White Sox. Instead, the Twins are languishing in last place with the fifth-worst record in baseball while Chicago is cruising to their first division title since 2008. What’s Their Situation? Currently owners of the fifth-best record in baseball, the White Sox have a commanding 9.5 game lead over Cleveland entering play on Wednesday. They are competing with the Red Sox Astros, Dodgers, and Giants for the best record in MLB. Perhaps more impressively, they have accomplished this working around significant injuries to the likes of Eloy Jiminez and Nick Madrigal. The White Sox are a lock for post-season play, now, their focus is on gearing up for a strong playoff run. What do They Need? Not a lot. The White Sox have the fifth-best offense in baseball right now, sporting a cumulative 113 wRC+. They have a strong front of the rotation between Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dallas Keuchel. While Giolito and Keuchel have been, perhaps, a little disappointing, Rodon and Lynn form a formidable one-two punch in any playoff series. The White Sox could strengthen their bullpen for an October run. Currently the 13th best in baseball with the third-worst xFIP, there is a lack of depth behind Liam Hendriks. The other area of need for the Sox is strengthening their infield. Nick Madrigal had season-ending surgery on a torn hamstring, leaving a lack of depth up the middle after the perennially excellent Tim Anderson. Which Twins are the Best Fit? Infield depth and relief pitching may be the biggest needs the Twins could fill for the Southsiders. Andrelton Simmons would be a massive defensive upgrade. Despite 61 wRC+, Simmons has been worth 15 outs above average, good for second in all of baseball behind Nick Ahmed. With Taylor Rogers currently on the IL and reportedly seeking a second and potentially third opinion on his sprained middle finger, Tyler Duffey would be an option that would add depth to the Chicago bullpen. There’s no question Duffey has taken a step back this year, the most concerning seeing his K/9 numbers drop from 11.6 in 2020 to 7.3 in 2021. In spite of this, Duffey still sports a strong 3.20 ERA and doesn’t reach free agency until 2023, making him an appealing option for any team hoping to contend beyond this season. Who Could the Twins get Back? The White Sox system like the Twins has been weakened by a significant number of graduations. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, Garrett Crochet, and Michael Kopech are all 2021 graduates, leaving the Sox as the only MLB team without a top 100 prospect. Any return for Simmons would fetch a C-level prospect and serve mainly to shed salary. Duffey would fetch a greater price but teams may be wary of his diminishing peripherals. Yolbert Sanchez, SS, AA Sanchez signed out of Cuba during the international free agency period in 19-20. His best tool is 60-grade defense which makes him a viable big-league shortstop or a quality utility infielder. Sanchez is a right-handed hitter who shows solid contact skills. Sanchez is currently sporting a .360 OBP over two minor league levels in 2021. Tyler Johnson, RHP, AAA Johnson was the closer for South Carolina in his collegiate career, signing as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. In his first three seasons of pro ball, Johnson tallied 169 strikeouts in 115 innings and managed a 2.27 ERA. Johnson’s best pitch is his fastball, which can reach 98 mph. His inconsistent delivery and mechanics seem to impact the quality of his secondary pitches. His ceiling is a late-inning reliever in the majors. Kade McClure, RHP, AA McClure is a behemoth at 6’7 and best known for being the number two starter behind Brendan McKay at Louisville. McClure missed significant time in his first few pro seasons with injuries. Despite his height, he has a fastball that sits around 92 mph and excellent control, walking just 2.1 per nine innings in 2019. McClure profiles as a back-end starter with a similar makeup to Bailey Ober. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. The Twins made their first big move sending Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay in exchange for two pitching prospects. There were reports over the weekend that Byron Buxton won't be signing a contract extension with the club and rumors of willingness to listen on team-controlled players such as Jose Berrios, Taylor Rogers, and Max Kepler. So, where do we go from here? We're going to start with the players on expiring contracts. Trade Andrelton Simmons to the Reds for SS Gus Steiger. Steiger, who is from Minnetonka and played collegiately at South Dakota State, signed with the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and would provide organizational depth in Fort Myers. The Twins would send no cash in the deal, leaving the Reds on the hook for the remaining $3.5 million on Simmons' contract. Trade Michael Pineda to the Astros for P Misaell Tamarez. Tamarez has less than 75 professional innings under his belt and has a walk rate over six, but he also strikes out more than a hitter per inning and has some ceiling. Tamarez would join the Fort Myers staff, where he could start or relieve. The Twins would get all of next year to evaluate Tamarez before deciding whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster. Pineda has $3.4 million left on his contract, which the Astros would pick up. I'd also expect Big Mike to be back with the Twins on a two-year deal this offseason. Trade Hansel Robles to the Red Sox for RP Durbin Feltman. Boston will give up Feltman, who may help in a bullpen someday, for Robles, who will help them in the bullpen for the rest of the year. Robles is owed less than $700,000 for the remainder of the year. Feltman, who has seen his velocity dip since turning pro in 2018, is the type of prospect on who the Twins could take a chance. If they can unlock some of that lost velocity, there is a chance he could be added to the 40-man when first eligible this upcoming offseason. Trade J.A. Happ to the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash. Happ broke into the big leagues with Philadelphia in 2007 and can provide rotational depth. The return for Happ would likely be a little bit of cash to offset his contract. He's still owed just shy of $3 million. The Twins would stay on the hook for almost all of that. The only other impending free agent is Alex Colome, who has been bad this year. If there's a team interested, he could be had for a meager price. Even if the Twins pay the remainder of his salary, the return will be low… in fact, it would be a win if someone else would be responsible for buying out his option. Before going on to the next - and definitely more debatable - part, one thing that needs to be discussed (because it will get a lot of consideration) is the 40-man roster. Except for Drew Strotman, none of the actual or projected returns to this point include someone on the 40-man roster. The Twins also have five players on the 60-day IL that will need to be activated this offseason. Now, granted, the roster has several fringe-40-man players that can be removed, but the organization has to be very careful about the position they put themselves in with acquiring players. Part of the reason Tampa Bay was ok giving up two of their top prospects for Cruz likely had to do with the crunch they were going to face this offseason. (They probably would have lost Strotman on outright waivers.) Just by my quick estimation, there are eight players (seven pitchers!) that I think are more likely to get added to the 40-man than not either later this season or in the offseason. If the Twins are going to rebuild, they would be wise to acquire prospects who are at least a year away from needing to be added to the 40-man roster. Whatever Taylor Rogers did to his finger last night puts his status on the trade market in question. If healthy - and if I were calling the shots - I would have him very available. But for this exercise, he will remain with the Twins. I'm not going to trade Josh Donaldson either. My stance would be that I would make him available, but I want a fair prospect return. The money complicates that. The Twins, in my opinion, will move Donaldson if someone is willing to take on the remainder of his contract. That will minimize the return. Josh Donaldson is too good of a baseball player just to give away. I'll listen on Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, but I don't see either getting moved. Kenta Maeda as well. For an overpay, I'd move every one of them. Now for the big dogs… Not only do I think Byron Buxton will not be moved, I believe a whirlwind Trade Deadline Week is going to be capped off with a Byron Buxton extension. Maybe it won't be Friday because the front office will be busy. But soon enough that the fanbase won't be able to check out for the year. Jose Berrios is a different story. Even a week ago, I wasn't convinced that Berrios was going anywhere. Now I've done a complete 180 and think there is no way he's not traded. And there's going to be a market. Take your pick… San Diego is aggressive, has prospects, and is forward-thinking enough to pull off another blockbuster. Would they include any of their four top prospects? Would MacKenzie Gore, who's been a mess lately, even be enough? Or would the Twins shoot for the injured CJ Abrams or Robert Hassell? Could the Twins bring back Eric Hosmer's bad contract to help the Padres out financially and ask for another top prospect too? The Dodgers don't want to share the spotlight. Is it really a possibility that they offer Dustin May? If so, that is a conversation that needs to be had. Maybe the Giants won't want to be outdone, and though they can't offer a top-end pitching prospect, they do have prospect currency, including SS Marco Luciano and C Joey Bart. There should be enough interest that the Twins don't have to settle for prospects that aren't in the top tier. The AL East is also worth watching. Toronto (P Nate Pearson and SS Austin Martin) and New York (P Deivi Garcia) would both be able to move the needle. The NL East is just as interesting. The Mets have the prospects, but all are a few promotions from the major yet. (Plus, Kevin Mulvey is no longer available.) The Braves could be a match. So what would I do….? I'd call Trader Jerry and make a deal with the Mariners. The basic framework would be Jose Berrios for P George Kirby. Kirby is a Top 20 prospect and hasn't reached AA yet (but will soon). The Mariners are also in the market for an infielder. Does expanding the deal to include Jorge Polanco make sense? Would the Mariners have any interest in taking on Josh Donaldson? Does DiPoto want to roll the dice on Taylor Rogers being ready soon and helping out down the stretch? It would be hard to bet against the Mets, Dodgers, Padres, or Yankees in a bidding war, but the Mariners are a longshot who could make the best deal for both teams. Maybe the holes these trades would create would have to be filled internally, which may not seem to scream "we're competing in 2022," but in a season with so many questions and so few answers, do we really want to be tricked into thinking that's possible anyway?
  17. The trade deadline is fast approaching, and Twins Daily has explored many of the teams that the Twins could potentially trade with. Let's take a shot at putting all of those puzzle pieces together and preview what the organization could look like when the dust settles. The Twins made their first big move sending Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay in exchange for two pitching prospects. There were reports over the weekend that Byron Buxton won't be signing a contract extension with the club and rumors of willingness to listen on team-controlled players such as Jose Berrios, Taylor Rogers, and Max Kepler. So, where do we go from here? We're going to start with the players on expiring contracts. Trade Andrelton Simmons to the Reds for SS Gus Steiger. Steiger, who is from Minnetonka and played collegiately at South Dakota State, signed with the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and would provide organizational depth in Fort Myers. The Twins would send no cash in the deal, leaving the Reds on the hook for the remaining $3.5 million on Simmons' contract. Trade Michael Pineda to the Astros for P Misaell Tamarez. Tamarez has less than 75 professional innings under his belt and has a walk rate over six, but he also strikes out more than a hitter per inning and has some ceiling. Tamarez would join the Fort Myers staff, where he could start or relieve. The Twins would get all of next year to evaluate Tamarez before deciding whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster. Pineda has $3.4 million left on his contract, which the Astros would pick up. I'd also expect Big Mike to be back with the Twins on a two-year deal this offseason. Trade Hansel Robles to the Red Sox for RP Durbin Feltman. Boston will give up Feltman, who may help in a bullpen someday, for Robles, who will help them in the bullpen for the rest of the year. Robles is owed less than $700,000 for the remainder of the year. Feltman, who has seen his velocity dip since turning pro in 2018, is the type of prospect on who the Twins could take a chance. If they can unlock some of that lost velocity, there is a chance he could be added to the 40-man when first eligible this upcoming offseason. Trade J.A. Happ to the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash. Happ broke into the big leagues with Philadelphia in 2007 and can provide rotational depth. The return for Happ would likely be a little bit of cash to offset his contract. He's still owed just shy of $3 million. The Twins would stay on the hook for almost all of that. The only other impending free agent is Alex Colome, who has been bad this year. If there's a team interested, he could be had for a meager price. Even if the Twins pay the remainder of his salary, the return will be low… in fact, it would be a win if someone else would be responsible for buying out his option. Before going on to the next - and definitely more debatable - part, one thing that needs to be discussed (because it will get a lot of consideration) is the 40-man roster. Except for Drew Strotman, none of the actual or projected returns to this point include someone on the 40-man roster. The Twins also have five players on the 60-day IL that will need to be activated this offseason. Now, granted, the roster has several fringe-40-man players that can be removed, but the organization has to be very careful about the position they put themselves in with acquiring players. Part of the reason Tampa Bay was ok giving up two of their top prospects for Cruz likely had to do with the crunch they were going to face this offseason. (They probably would have lost Strotman on outright waivers.) Just by my quick estimation, there are eight players (seven pitchers!) that I think are more likely to get added to the 40-man than not either later this season or in the offseason. If the Twins are going to rebuild, they would be wise to acquire prospects who are at least a year away from needing to be added to the 40-man roster. Whatever Taylor Rogers did to his finger last night puts his status on the trade market in question. If healthy - and if I were calling the shots - I would have him very available. But for this exercise, he will remain with the Twins. I'm not going to trade Josh Donaldson either. My stance would be that I would make him available, but I want a fair prospect return. The money complicates that. The Twins, in my opinion, will move Donaldson if someone is willing to take on the remainder of his contract. That will minimize the return. Josh Donaldson is too good of a baseball player just to give away. I'll listen on Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, but I don't see either getting moved. Kenta Maeda as well. For an overpay, I'd move every one of them. Now for the big dogs… Not only do I think Byron Buxton will not be moved, I believe a whirlwind Trade Deadline Week is going to be capped off with a Byron Buxton extension. Maybe it won't be Friday because the front office will be busy. But soon enough that the fanbase won't be able to check out for the year. Jose Berrios is a different story. Even a week ago, I wasn't convinced that Berrios was going anywhere. Now I've done a complete 180 and think there is no way he's not traded. And there's going to be a market. Take your pick… San Diego is aggressive, has prospects, and is forward-thinking enough to pull off another blockbuster. Would they include any of their four top prospects? Would MacKenzie Gore, who's been a mess lately, even be enough? Or would the Twins shoot for the injured CJ Abrams or Robert Hassell? Could the Twins bring back Eric Hosmer's bad contract to help the Padres out financially and ask for another top prospect too? The Dodgers don't want to share the spotlight. Is it really a possibility that they offer Dustin May? If so, that is a conversation that needs to be had. Maybe the Giants won't want to be outdone, and though they can't offer a top-end pitching prospect, they do have prospect currency, including SS Marco Luciano and C Joey Bart. There should be enough interest that the Twins don't have to settle for prospects that aren't in the top tier. The AL East is also worth watching. Toronto (P Nate Pearson and SS Austin Martin) and New York (P Deivi Garcia) would both be able to move the needle. The NL East is just as interesting. The Mets have the prospects, but all are a few promotions from the major yet. (Plus, Kevin Mulvey is no longer available.) The Braves could be a match. So what would I do….? I'd call Trader Jerry and make a deal with the Mariners. The basic framework would be Jose Berrios for P George Kirby. Kirby is a Top 20 prospect and hasn't reached AA yet (but will soon). The Mariners are also in the market for an infielder. Does expanding the deal to include Jorge Polanco make sense? Would the Mariners have any interest in taking on Josh Donaldson? Does DiPoto want to roll the dice on Taylor Rogers being ready soon and helping out down the stretch? It would be hard to bet against the Mets, Dodgers, Padres, or Yankees in a bidding war, but the Mariners are a longshot who could make the best deal for both teams. Maybe the holes these trades would create would have to be filled internally, which may not seem to scream "we're competing in 2022," but in a season with so many questions and so few answers, do we really want to be tricked into thinking that's possible anyway? View full article
  18. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/19 through Sun, 7/25 *** Record Last Week: 3-5 (Overall: 42-58) Run Differential Last Week: -5 (Overall: -71) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (17.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 93 | MIN 3, CWS 2: Jax Deals, Twins Steal One in Extras Game 94 | CWS 5, MIN 3: Berrios Goes Deep, Then Sheets Does Game 95 | CWS 9, MIN 5: Bullpen Implodes in Five-Run 8th Inning Game 96 | MIN 7, CWS 2: Polanco, Kepler Power Twins to Split Game 97 | LAA 3, MIN 2: Cruz-less Offense Comes Up Short Game 98 | MIN 5, LAA 4: Aggressive Baserunning Sparks Win Game 99 | LAA 2, MIN 1: Twins Narrowly Avoid Getting No-hit Game 100 | LAA 6, MIN 2: Bats Go Silent Once Again NEWS & NOTES The sell-off has officially begun. Nelson Cruz always ranked No. 1 on the list of Twins players most likely to be traded, and the front office didn't waste time, striking a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays eight days ahead of the deadline. Losing Cruz is painful in the sense that he's a legendary and incredibly likable player, but this is best for all involved. He ends up on a contending team where he makes a huge difference. Tampa reached the World Series last year and Nelly can help propel them back. Meanwhile, the Twin landed a pair of intriguing pitching prospects who are verging on big-league ready. And those prospects now have a much clearer path than in Tampa's crowded pitching pipeline. Naturally, we had plenty of coverage here; I recommend reading the articles below, which include Seth's instant report, Lucas' breakdown of the return package, John's reaction to the deal, and Nash's tribute to Cruz. Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers, by Seth Stohs Twins Minor League Pitching Report: Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, by Lucas Seehafer Three Things to Like (and Hate) About the Nelson Cruz Trade, by John Bonnes Thank You Nelson Cruz! By Nash Walker We won't be seeing Cruz in a Twins uniform again this year. Nor Alex Kirilloff. The rookie outfielder opted for wrist surgery after reporting that the pain stemming from a torn ligament had intensified recently. His rehab will carry through the rest of the season but he'll have plenty of time to get ready for 2022, which is really all that matters at this point. Kirilloff finishes his first MLB campaign with a .251/.299/.423 slash line and eight home runs in 59 games. Adding to the exodus of high-quality hitters, Luis Arraez hit the Injured List on Saturday after injuring his knee early in the week. Thankfully, his absence looks to be more temporary than the other two, although his continuing knee troubles don't bode well for the 24-year-old. While the Twins suffered some tough losses last week, they did also get some guys back. Mitch Garver returned with a bang on Monday, launching home runs in his first two at-bats. Brent Rooker was recalled after mashing in Triple-A, and should get an extended look at DH in Cruz's stead. Jake Cave was also activated following a two-month stay on IL. HIGHLIGHTS With the trade deadline fast approaching, it's possible we'll see the Twins part with one or more of their foundational building block type players. Jorge Polanco is probably not among them, which is just fine because he's been busy proving he still deserves to be in that class. Polanco struggled last year and throughout the early weeks of 2021. He entered June with a sub-700 OPS but then finally started to find his groove again, swinging with greater authority and driving the ball with more consistency. Finding himself back near the top of the order regularly, Polanco is keying the offense right now; the past week saw him chip in a pair of three-hit games and two home runs, finishing 10-for-25 with six RBIs. Dating back to the start of June he's slashing .297/.346/.506, which is nearly identical to his overall line in 2019 (.295/.356/.485). On Wednesday, Michael Pineda took the mound for the first time in two weeks, and it was a big step in the right direction at a crucial moment. Through five efficient innings, Pineda held the White Sox to one run on four hits, striking out three and walking one. It wasn't a dominating whiff clinic like we saw earlier this year when Big Mike was at his best, but a reassuring performance nonetheless for any interested buyer. Pineda's slated to face the Tigers on Monday – his last turn before the deadline. Whatever Pineda gets back in a trade, it won't be much. To really score a haul, the Twins will need to give up one of their most in-demand pitching assets, and both are doing plenty to stoke their markets. Taylor Rogers tossed a pair of scoreless innings with three strikeouts, while José Berríos was masterful in his Saturday night start, allowing just two unearned runs over seven innings against the Halos. LOWLIGHTS The front office would surely love to unload Andrelton Simmons and the remaining millions he's owed before re-entering free agency at season's end. Problem is, they might be hard-pressed to find a taker. Simmons has been good in the field, but not good enough to offset the complete and total lack of offense. With each passing week, the shortstop slides further and further into futility at the plate. He went 2-for-22 in the most recent one, and is now slashing a woeful .220/.287/.288 with a negative WAR. Is any contending team really going to view him as enough of an upgrade to take on his remaining $4 million or so in salary? Getting back any kind of prospect is out of the question. Another dead-end move from the past offseason for this front office. It's beginning to look like we can place Hansel Robles in that bucket too. The Twins are more likely to find a buyer for him than Simmons, given the lesser money involved and the ubiquitous need for relief pitching, but he's not making himself a prized asset. Robles pitched twice this past week and gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits, including a back-breaking home run against the White Sox on Tuesday. Robles has a 5.32 ERA over his past 24 appearances, with opponents hitting .292/.376/.528 against him. One way or another, Robles will be gone after this year. Alex Colomé too. Rogers is "likely to be dealt" at the deadline according to Ken Rosenthal. Beyond Tyler Duffey there is no continuity built into this bullpen, especially because Jorge Alcala has obliterated all confidence. The right-hander is completely unraveling, and the past week added to his woes with five runs allowed over three innings of work. In his past dozen appearances Alcala has taken three losses, blown two saves, and given up 14 earned runs on 19 hits in 10 ⅓ innings (12.20 ERA). It's not even clear he should be in the majors right now, let alone pitching meaningful innings. You look at this relief corps in its current state, and it's just so immensely difficult to envision the kind of abrupt and drastic turnaround needed for the Twins to return to contention in 2022. Which may partially explain why the front office has seemingly softened its commitment to holding players with control beyond this year. This is starting to look more like a full-on rebuild. TRENDING STORYLINE The biggest storyline trending around the Twins right now is a deeply disheartening one: Byron Buxton reportedly rejected the team's contract extension offer as the two sides sought to find common ground, at perhaps their last opportunity to do so. It sounds like the club's final offer to Buxton was around $80 million plus incentives, which understandably wasn't enough to entice the superstar center fielder's camp as free agency looms. Hitting a wall in extension negotiations will compel the Twins to fully explore Buxton's trade market, but probably not until the offseason. The more immediate names to watch are guys like Berríos, Rogers, and Josh Donaldson, who could all be shipped out this week along with impending free agents. The deadline falls on Friday at 3:00 PM – and it's a hard deadline this time, with no post-waiver avenue available. Buyers need to stock up, nor or never. How different will the Twins' roster, and future, in a week? We should all be bracing ourselves for a major shakeup. LOOKING AHEAD The July 30th trade deadline is, of course, the date to circle. Rumors are sure to be flying throughout the next four days, with all the action building up to Friday afternoon. Berríos is scheduled to pitch for the Twins that night; will he still be here? Or have we already seen him for the last time in a Twins uniform? MONDAY, 7/26: TIGERS @ TWINS – TBD v. RHP Michael Pineda TUESDAY, 7/27: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Tyler Alexander v. RHP Kenta Maeda WEDNESDAY, 7/28: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Wily Peralta v. LHP J.A. Happ FRIDAY, 7/30: TWINS @ CARDINALS – RHP José Berríos v. LHP Wade LeBlanc SATURDAY, 7/31: TWINS @ CARDINALS – RHP Bailey Ober v. RHP Jake Woodford SUNDAY, 8/1: TWINS @ CARDINALS – RHP Michael Pineda v. RHP Johan Oviedo MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. The Twins lost their best veteran hitter to a trade, and lost their best young hitter to wrist surgery. Now they face the prospect of losing their best all-around player in the near future, following news of failed extension negotiations. Things are decidedly not chill in Twins Territory. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/19 through Sun, 7/25 *** Record Last Week: 3-5 (Overall: 42-58) Run Differential Last Week: -5 (Overall: -71) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (17.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 93 | MIN 3, CWS 2: Jax Deals, Twins Steal One in Extras Game 94 | CWS 5, MIN 3: Berrios Goes Deep, Then Sheets Does Game 95 | CWS 9, MIN 5: Bullpen Implodes in Five-Run 8th Inning Game 96 | MIN 7, CWS 2: Polanco, Kepler Power Twins to Split Game 97 | LAA 3, MIN 2: Cruz-less Offense Comes Up Short Game 98 | MIN 5, LAA 4: Aggressive Baserunning Sparks Win Game 99 | LAA 2, MIN 1: Twins Narrowly Avoid Getting No-hit Game 100 | LAA 6, MIN 2: Bats Go Silent Once Again NEWS & NOTES The sell-off has officially begun. Nelson Cruz always ranked No. 1 on the list of Twins players most likely to be traded, and the front office didn't waste time, striking a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays eight days ahead of the deadline. Losing Cruz is painful in the sense that he's a legendary and incredibly likable player, but this is best for all involved. He ends up on a contending team where he makes a huge difference. Tampa reached the World Series last year and Nelly can help propel them back. Meanwhile, the Twin landed a pair of intriguing pitching prospects who are verging on big-league ready. And those prospects now have a much clearer path than in Tampa's crowded pitching pipeline. Naturally, we had plenty of coverage here; I recommend reading the articles below, which include Seth's instant report, Lucas' breakdown of the return package, John's reaction to the deal, and Nash's tribute to Cruz. Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers, by Seth Stohs Twins Minor League Pitching Report: Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman, by Lucas Seehafer Three Things to Like (and Hate) About the Nelson Cruz Trade, by John Bonnes Thank You Nelson Cruz! By Nash Walker We won't be seeing Cruz in a Twins uniform again this year. Nor Alex Kirilloff. The rookie outfielder opted for wrist surgery after reporting that the pain stemming from a torn ligament had intensified recently. His rehab will carry through the rest of the season but he'll have plenty of time to get ready for 2022, which is really all that matters at this point. Kirilloff finishes his first MLB campaign with a .251/.299/.423 slash line and eight home runs in 59 games. Adding to the exodus of high-quality hitters, Luis Arraez hit the Injured List on Saturday after injuring his knee early in the week. Thankfully, his absence looks to be more temporary than the other two, although his continuing knee troubles don't bode well for the 24-year-old. While the Twins suffered some tough losses last week, they did also get some guys back. Mitch Garver returned with a bang on Monday, launching home runs in his first two at-bats. Brent Rooker was recalled after mashing in Triple-A, and should get an extended look at DH in Cruz's stead. Jake Cave was also activated following a two-month stay on IL. HIGHLIGHTS With the trade deadline fast approaching, it's possible we'll see the Twins part with one or more of their foundational building block type players. Jorge Polanco is probably not among them, which is just fine because he's been busy proving he still deserves to be in that class. Polanco struggled last year and throughout the early weeks of 2021. He entered June with a sub-700 OPS but then finally started to find his groove again, swinging with greater authority and driving the ball with more consistency. Finding himself back near the top of the order regularly, Polanco is keying the offense right now; the past week saw him chip in a pair of three-hit games and two home runs, finishing 10-for-25 with six RBIs. Dating back to the start of June he's slashing .297/.346/.506, which is nearly identical to his overall line in 2019 (.295/.356/.485). On Wednesday, Michael Pineda took the mound for the first time in two weeks, and it was a big step in the right direction at a crucial moment. Through five efficient innings, Pineda held the White Sox to one run on four hits, striking out three and walking one. It wasn't a dominating whiff clinic like we saw earlier this year when Big Mike was at his best, but a reassuring performance nonetheless for any interested buyer. Pineda's slated to face the Tigers on Monday – his last turn before the deadline. Whatever Pineda gets back in a trade, it won't be much. To really score a haul, the Twins will need to give up one of their most in-demand pitching assets, and both are doing plenty to stoke their markets. Taylor Rogers tossed a pair of scoreless innings with three strikeouts, while José Berríos was masterful in his Saturday night start, allowing just two unearned runs over seven innings against the Halos. LOWLIGHTS The front office would surely love to unload Andrelton Simmons and the remaining millions he's owed before re-entering free agency at season's end. Problem is, they might be hard-pressed to find a taker. Simmons has been good in the field, but not good enough to offset the complete and total lack of offense. With each passing week, the shortstop slides further and further into futility at the plate. He went 2-for-22 in the most recent one, and is now slashing a woeful .220/.287/.288 with a negative WAR. Is any contending team really going to view him as enough of an upgrade to take on his remaining $4 million or so in salary? Getting back any kind of prospect is out of the question. Another dead-end move from the past offseason for this front office. It's beginning to look like we can place Hansel Robles in that bucket too. The Twins are more likely to find a buyer for him than Simmons, given the lesser money involved and the ubiquitous need for relief pitching, but he's not making himself a prized asset. Robles pitched twice this past week and gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits, including a back-breaking home run against the White Sox on Tuesday. Robles has a 5.32 ERA over his past 24 appearances, with opponents hitting .292/.376/.528 against him. One way or another, Robles will be gone after this year. Alex Colomé too. Rogers is "likely to be dealt" at the deadline according to Ken Rosenthal. Beyond Tyler Duffey there is no continuity built into this bullpen, especially because Jorge Alcala has obliterated all confidence. The right-hander is completely unraveling, and the past week added to his woes with five runs allowed over three innings of work. In his past dozen appearances Alcala has taken three losses, blown two saves, and given up 14 earned runs on 19 hits in 10 ⅓ innings (12.20 ERA). It's not even clear he should be in the majors right now, let alone pitching meaningful innings. You look at this relief corps in its current state, and it's just so immensely difficult to envision the kind of abrupt and drastic turnaround needed for the Twins to return to contention in 2022. Which may partially explain why the front office has seemingly softened its commitment to holding players with control beyond this year. This is starting to look more like a full-on rebuild. TRENDING STORYLINE The biggest storyline trending around the Twins right now is a deeply disheartening one: Byron Buxton reportedly rejected the team's contract extension offer as the two sides sought to find common ground, at perhaps their last opportunity to do so. It sounds like the club's final offer to Buxton was around $80 million plus incentives, which understandably wasn't enough to entice the superstar center fielder's camp as free agency looms. Hitting a wall in extension negotiations will compel the Twins to fully explore Buxton's trade market, but probably not until the offseason. The more immediate names to watch are guys like Berríos, Rogers, and Josh Donaldson, who could all be shipped out this week along with impending free agents. The deadline falls on Friday at 3:00 PM – and it's a hard deadline this time, with no post-waiver avenue available. Buyers need to stock up, nor or never. How different will the Twins' roster, and future, in a week? We should all be bracing ourselves for a major shakeup. LOOKING AHEAD The July 30th trade deadline is, of course, the date to circle. Rumors are sure to be flying throughout the next four days, with all the action building up to Friday afternoon. Berríos is scheduled to pitch for the Twins that night; will he still be here? Or have we already seen him for the last time in a Twins uniform? MONDAY, 7/26: TIGERS @ TWINS – TBD v. RHP Michael Pineda TUESDAY, 7/27: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Tyler Alexander v. RHP Kenta Maeda WEDNESDAY, 7/28: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Wily Peralta v. LHP J.A. Happ FRIDAY, 7/30: TWINS @ CARDINALS – RHP José Berríos v. LHP Wade LeBlanc SATURDAY, 7/31: TWINS @ CARDINALS – RHP Bailey Ober v. RHP Jake Woodford SUNDAY, 8/1: TWINS @ CARDINALS – RHP Michael Pineda v. RHP Johan Oviedo MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  20. Minnesota’s front office focused on defense this winter and the results have certainly been mixed throughout the first half. Here is how the Twins rank so far according to SABR’s Defensive Index. Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One newer defensive metric was developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and it is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, SDI has been used as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. Pitcher (AL Ranking): Jose Berrios, 2.2 SDI (6th); Michael Pineda, 0.6 SDI (19th); Kenta Maeda, 0.1 SDI (23rd) Berrios has always been a strong defensive pitcher and his defensive metrics point to him being near the top of the AL. Last season, Berrios finished 10th in SDI after finishing 16th in 2019. For his career, his highest 162-game season finish was in 2018 when he ranked 13th in the AL. Maeda was a Gold Glove finalist last season, but he hasn’t accumulated enough SDI to be in the discussion so far this year. Catcher (AL Ranking): Mitch Garver 1.3 SDI (10th); Ryan Jeffers 1.2 SDI (11th) Jeffers has been touted as the better defensive catcher, but he is slightly behind Garver in the first half SDI rankings. Garver has been on the shelf since his gruesome injury, and this means Jeffers has accumulated more innings behind the plate. Ben Rortvedt doesn’t have enough big-league time to show up on the SDI rankings, but he might by season’s end if the team is careful with Garver’s catching innings as he returns from injury. First Base (AL Ranking): Alex Kirilloff 1.7 SDI (3rd); Miguel Sano -0.9 SDI (11th) Outside of Simmons (See Below), Kirilloff ranks as the highest defender on the team at his position. Jake Bauers (2.6 SDI) and Ty France (2.3 SDI) have logged more than double the defensive innings compared to Kirilloff’s total. Kirilloff is much better than Sano at first and he has a chance to be a finalist for a Gold Glove in his rookie season. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco 1.1 SDI (8th); Luis Arraez -0.8 SDI (15th) Polanco had flaws as a defensive shortstop and his move to second base was seen as a way to increase his defensive value. Even with his current ranking, he is only 0.5 SDI out of ranking in the AL’s top three. Marcus Semien, another converted shortstop, leads the AL by one of the biggest margins at any position. Third Base (AL Ranking): Josh Donaldson -1.1 SDI (11th) Donaldson has long been considered a strong defender, but he might be in the middle of his worst defensive season. According to SDI, he ranked as high as second back in 2019 when he only finished behind Nolan Arenado in the NL. He’s been playing through hamstring issues that have significantly slowed him down and this might be one of the reasons for the decline in his defensive numbers. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Andrelton Simmons 4.4 SDI (1st) Simmons might be one of the all-time best defensive players, so it makes sense to see him at the top of the SDI rankings among shortstops. Only seven AL defenders have accumulated a higher SDI than Simmons including Semien, another player the Twins targeted for middle infield depth this winter. Simmons might have the inside track for another Gold Glove, but will he be with the Twins after the trade deadline? Left Field (AL Ranking): Trevor Larnach -2.2 SDI (14th) Larnach isn’t in the big leagues because of his defense, and this shows up in his SDI total. Only four qualified players rank lower than Larnach among AL left fielders. Former Twin Eddie Rosario currently ranks second with a 2.5 SDI and he is only 0.6 SDI behind first place. This might surprise Twins fans because he was never known for his defense when he was in Minnesota. Center Field (AL Ranking) Minnesota doesn’t currently have any players that qualify for the SDI rankings. <Insert sad trombone sound for Byron Buxton> Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler -0.1 SDI (10th) Kepler’s total might be the most surprising on the midseason rankings. Throughout his career, he has been considered a strong defensive player with the Twins even using him in center field. Kepler is a year older, and he might have lost a step, or his hamstring injuries have slowed him down. Which of these rankings surprises you the most? Leave a COMMENT and star the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  21. Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One newer defensive metric was developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and it is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, SDI has been used as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. Pitcher (AL Ranking): Jose Berrios, 2.2 SDI (6th); Michael Pineda, 0.6 SDI (19th); Kenta Maeda, 0.1 SDI (23rd) Berrios has always been a strong defensive pitcher and his defensive metrics point to him being near the top of the AL. Last season, Berrios finished 10th in SDI after finishing 16th in 2019. For his career, his highest 162-game season finish was in 2018 when he ranked 13th in the AL. Maeda was a Gold Glove finalist last season, but he hasn’t accumulated enough SDI to be in the discussion so far this year. Catcher (AL Ranking): Mitch Garver 1.3 SDI (10th); Ryan Jeffers 1.2 SDI (11th) Jeffers has been touted as the better defensive catcher, but he is slightly behind Garver in the first half SDI rankings. Garver has been on the shelf since his gruesome injury, and this means Jeffers has accumulated more innings behind the plate. Ben Rortvedt doesn’t have enough big-league time to show up on the SDI rankings, but he might by season’s end if the team is careful with Garver’s catching innings as he returns from injury. First Base (AL Ranking): Alex Kirilloff 1.7 SDI (3rd); Miguel Sano -0.9 SDI (11th) Outside of Simmons (See Below), Kirilloff ranks as the highest defender on the team at his position. Jake Bauers (2.6 SDI) and Ty France (2.3 SDI) have logged more than double the defensive innings compared to Kirilloff’s total. Kirilloff is much better than Sano at first and he has a chance to be a finalist for a Gold Glove in his rookie season. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco 1.1 SDI (8th); Luis Arraez -0.8 SDI (15th) Polanco had flaws as a defensive shortstop and his move to second base was seen as a way to increase his defensive value. Even with his current ranking, he is only 0.5 SDI out of ranking in the AL’s top three. Marcus Semien, another converted shortstop, leads the AL by one of the biggest margins at any position. Third Base (AL Ranking): Josh Donaldson -1.1 SDI (11th) Donaldson has long been considered a strong defender, but he might be in the middle of his worst defensive season. According to SDI, he ranked as high as second back in 2019 when he only finished behind Nolan Arenado in the NL. He’s been playing through hamstring issues that have significantly slowed him down and this might be one of the reasons for the decline in his defensive numbers. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Andrelton Simmons 4.4 SDI (1st) Simmons might be one of the all-time best defensive players, so it makes sense to see him at the top of the SDI rankings among shortstops. Only seven AL defenders have accumulated a higher SDI than Simmons including Semien, another player the Twins targeted for middle infield depth this winter. Simmons might have the inside track for another Gold Glove, but will he be with the Twins after the trade deadline? Left Field (AL Ranking): Trevor Larnach -2.2 SDI (14th) Larnach isn’t in the big leagues because of his defense, and this shows up in his SDI total. Only four qualified players rank lower than Larnach among AL left fielders. Former Twin Eddie Rosario currently ranks second with a 2.5 SDI and he is only 0.6 SDI behind first place. This might surprise Twins fans because he was never known for his defense when he was in Minnesota. Center Field (AL Ranking) Minnesota doesn’t currently have any players that qualify for the SDI rankings. <Insert sad trombone sound for Byron Buxton> Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler -0.1 SDI (10th) Kepler’s total might be the most surprising on the midseason rankings. Throughout his career, he has been considered a strong defensive player with the Twins even using him in center field. Kepler is a year older, and he might have lost a step, or his hamstring injuries have slowed him down. Which of these rankings surprises you the most? Leave a COMMENT and star the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. In 2020 Minnesota finished the season with 17 DRS (defensive runs saved). That was good for 8th in Major League Baseball. Only 11 teams finished with a double-digit mark, and only the Pirates missed the Postseason among teams performing better than the Twins. Removing Eddie Rosario from left field and swapping Jorge Polanco to the right side of the diamond was supposed to push the needle upwards, but plans haven’t gone as expected. Originally the Twins targeted Marcus Semien for their shortstop vacancy. He ultimately chose to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays and is having a career year. They pivoted to Andrelton Simmons and that looked like a great decision given his defensive wizardry. It comes with the caveat that he’s virtually a negative asset in the lineup, but that has only compounded Minnesota’s problems, not acted as an ignitor for them. Simmons has drawn criticism of late due to some costly miscues. Overall, however, he’s been as billed. In terms of DRS, he ranks 6th among MLB shortstops, but his 10 OAA is 2nd best at the position. Polanco has never put up that production, and the tandem of him and Luis Arraez was substantially stretched. Simba is tracking towards something like 10 DRS in 2021, which wouldn’t touch his otherworldly numbers, but is on par with where he was at in 2019. The bigger problem for Minnesota is that their injuries have hit most often in the outfield. Regardless of Alex Kirilloff not being the Opening Day left fielder, defensively that was a position of weakness. While Rosario previously underwhelmed in the role, he was a more natural fit athletically. Kyle Garlick, Brent Rooker, and Kirilloff have all spent time in the corners, and none will ever grade out positively. Throw in extended absences from Byron Buxton and Max Kepler to find yourself with a doomsday scenario. Minnesota’s -10 DRS in the outfield is 28th in baseball, better than only the Mariners and Reds. Another area of issue is at the hot corner. Formerly a defensive stud at third, we’ve seen Josh Donaldson flash more than we’ve seen him be reliable. The consistency has been there from a playing time perspective, but he’s put up a -2 DRS and is on track for his worst season defensively. Sure, aging obviously factors into that reality, but this was a guy that posted a 10 DRS for the Braves in 2019. He’s failed to be positive by DRS standards for much of his career, but a career worst slide with a strong shortstop next to him probably wasn’t expected. The laundry list of issues for this Twins collection is by no means short in 2021. They haven’t hit and they haven’t pitched. When they’ve done one, they haven’t done the other. At all times though, they’ve been poor defensively, and constructed in a way in which was a point of emphasis, that’s been a tough pill to swallow. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. A year ago, the Minnesota Twins were one of the top-10 defensive teams in all of baseball. Looking to take a step forward, that became a focus this offseason. The result has been nothing short of a disaster. In 2020 Minnesota finished the season with 17 DRS (defensive runs saved). That was good for 8th in Major League Baseball. Only 11 teams finished with a double-digit mark, and only the Pirates missed the Postseason among teams performing better than the Twins. Removing Eddie Rosario from left field and swapping Jorge Polanco to the right side of the diamond was supposed to push the needle upwards, but plans haven’t gone as expected. Originally the Twins targeted Marcus Semien for their shortstop vacancy. He ultimately chose to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays and is having a career year. They pivoted to Andrelton Simmons and that looked like a great decision given his defensive wizardry. It comes with the caveat that he’s virtually a negative asset in the lineup, but that has only compounded Minnesota’s problems, not acted as an ignitor for them. Simmons has drawn criticism of late due to some costly miscues. Overall, however, he’s been as billed. In terms of DRS, he ranks 6th among MLB shortstops, but his 10 OAA is 2nd best at the position. Polanco has never put up that production, and the tandem of him and Luis Arraez was substantially stretched. Simba is tracking towards something like 10 DRS in 2021, which wouldn’t touch his otherworldly numbers, but is on par with where he was at in 2019. The bigger problem for Minnesota is that their injuries have hit most often in the outfield. Regardless of Alex Kirilloff not being the Opening Day left fielder, defensively that was a position of weakness. While Rosario previously underwhelmed in the role, he was a more natural fit athletically. Kyle Garlick, Brent Rooker, and Kirilloff have all spent time in the corners, and none will ever grade out positively. Throw in extended absences from Byron Buxton and Max Kepler to find yourself with a doomsday scenario. Minnesota’s -10 DRS in the outfield is 28th in baseball, better than only the Mariners and Reds. Another area of issue is at the hot corner. Formerly a defensive stud at third, we’ve seen Josh Donaldson flash more than we’ve seen him be reliable. The consistency has been there from a playing time perspective, but he’s put up a -2 DRS and is on track for his worst season defensively. Sure, aging obviously factors into that reality, but this was a guy that posted a 10 DRS for the Braves in 2019. He’s failed to be positive by DRS standards for much of his career, but a career worst slide with a strong shortstop next to him probably wasn’t expected. The laundry list of issues for this Twins collection is by no means short in 2021. They haven’t hit and they haven’t pitched. When they’ve done one, they haven’t done the other. At all times though, they’ve been poor defensively, and constructed in a way in which was a point of emphasis, that’s been a tough pill to swallow. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  24. Mitch Garver: .497 xwOBAcon What makes Garver’s injury tough to swallow is how well he had been hitting at the plate. His Statcast numbers point to this improvement even after his slow start to the season. For those unfamiliar, xOBAcon uses three variables: exit velocity (EV), launch angle (LA), and sprint speed. Garver’s exit velocity and launch angle have allowed him to spray the ball all over the field. He currently ranks in the top 6% of the league in xwOBAcon so the hope is he can return sooner rather than later. As Rocco Baldelli alluded to after Tuesday’s game, it’s hard to imagine he will be behind the plate anytime soon. Luis Arraez: .308 xBA Arraez is another player the Twins are missing on the IL. During his big-league career, Arraez has been known for his bat to ball skills with many thinking a batting title is in the realm of possibility for him. Expected batting average (xBA) is a metric that measures the likelihood a batted ball will become a hit. Sometimes a player gets lucky, and ball falls in for a hit and other times a hard-hit ball ends up being an out. Arraez currently has a .277 batting average, but his xBA is over 30 points higher as he ranks in the top 3% of the league. Arraez provides an energy at the plate and the Twins offense has been struggling to find energy in recent weeks with him out of the line-up Andrelton Simmons: 9 Outs Above Average The Twins signed Simmons to provide a defensive upgrade and he has certainly come as advertised on that side of the ball. Only three players have produced an outs above average total of nine as Simmons is joined by Matt Chapman and Nick Ahmed. His recent play has moved him up this list so it will be intriguing to see if he can stay healthy and producing on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, his strikeout numbers have made him a disappointment on the offensive side, but he might be on his way to winning another Gold Glove. As a veteran with an expiring contract, the only question that remains is whether or not he is with the Twins after July. Nelson Cruz: 10.5 Barrels/Plate Appearance % Like Simmons, Cruz struggled mightily in the month of May, but this was on the heels of a torrid stretch at season’s start. Only five AL batters have a higher Barrels/PA % than Cruz and that isn’t the only Statcast metric where he ranks near the top of the league. He ranks well in barrel % (Top 7%), max exit velocity (Top 1%), and hard hit % (top 5%). His xwOBA over his last 100 plate appearances is dropping faster than Rob Refsynder running into the outfield wall in Baltimore. Is age catching up to Cruz or will he be able to solve his offensive woes? Which one of these Statcast numbers stands out the most to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. With a third of the 2021 season in the rearview mirror, the Twins struggles have been well documented. However, these four players have stood out in various Statcast categories as the calendar turns to June. Mitch Garver: .497 xwOBAcon What makes Garver’s injury tough to swallow is how well he had been hitting at the plate. His Statcast numbers point to this improvement even after his slow start to the season. For those unfamiliar, xOBAcon uses three variables: exit velocity (EV), launch angle (LA), and sprint speed. Garver’s exit velocity and launch angle have allowed him to spray the ball all over the field. He currently ranks in the top 6% of the league in xwOBAcon so the hope is he can return sooner rather than later. As Rocco Baldelli alluded to after Tuesday’s game, it’s hard to imagine he will be behind the plate anytime soon. Luis Arraez: .308 xBA Arraez is another player the Twins are missing on the IL. During his big-league career, Arraez has been known for his bat to ball skills with many thinking a batting title is in the realm of possibility for him. Expected batting average (xBA) is a metric that measures the likelihood a batted ball will become a hit. Sometimes a player gets lucky, and ball falls in for a hit and other times a hard-hit ball ends up being an out. Arraez currently has a .277 batting average, but his xBA is over 30 points higher as he ranks in the top 3% of the league. Arraez provides an energy at the plate and the Twins offense has been struggling to find energy in recent weeks with him out of the line-up Andrelton Simmons: 9 Outs Above Average The Twins signed Simmons to provide a defensive upgrade and he has certainly come as advertised on that side of the ball. Only three players have produced an outs above average total of nine as Simmons is joined by Matt Chapman and Nick Ahmed. His recent play has moved him up this list so it will be intriguing to see if he can stay healthy and producing on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, his strikeout numbers have made him a disappointment on the offensive side, but he might be on his way to winning another Gold Glove. As a veteran with an expiring contract, the only question that remains is whether or not he is with the Twins after July. Nelson Cruz: 10.5 Barrels/Plate Appearance % Like Simmons, Cruz struggled mightily in the month of May, but this was on the heels of a torrid stretch at season’s start. Only five AL batters have a higher Barrels/PA % than Cruz and that isn’t the only Statcast metric where he ranks near the top of the league. He ranks well in barrel % (Top 7%), max exit velocity (Top 1%), and hard hit % (top 5%). His xwOBA over his last 100 plate appearances is dropping faster than Rob Refsynder running into the outfield wall in Baltimore. Is age catching up to Cruz or will he be able to solve his offensive woes? Which one of these Statcast numbers stands out the most to you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
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