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  1. 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 ne
  2. 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. Th
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. The day is January 26th, 2021. The Minnesota Twins had been rumored to be interested in various middle infield free agent options, but Marcus Semien was their top target, according to Darren Wolfson. The fit made some amount of sense, as the right-handed Semien would provide some pop against lefties and defensive flexibility across the infield. Semien did not sign with the Twins on January 26th. He accepted a one-year contract worth $18M to join the upstart Toronto Blue Jays, as their primary second baseman. The Twins quickly pivoted, signing Andrelton Simmons to a one-year $10.5M contra
  6. One of Minnesota’s offseason focuses was on improving the club’s overall defense. As the season is nearly 25% complete, has the team’s defense improved and if so, by how much? Defensive metrics have come a long way in recent years, so there are plenty of ways to judge a team's defensive value. Minnesota’s front office added pieces this winter to improve the team’s overall defense. Andrelton Simmons being signed allowed Jorge Polanco to move to a stronger position. Whichever position he plays, Alex Kirilloff has the potential to be an upgrade over Eddie Rosario in left field and Miguel Sa
  7. Defensive metrics have come a long way in recent years, so there are plenty of ways to judge a team's defensive value. Minnesota’s front office added pieces this winter to improve the team’s overall defense. Andrelton Simmons being signed allowed Jorge Polanco to move to a stronger position. Whichever position he plays, Alex Kirilloff has the potential to be an upgrade over Eddie Rosario in left field and Miguel Sano at first base. Also, a healthy Josh Donaldson adds plenty of defensive value that the club didn’t get to see in 2020. Outs Above Average There are three key players when
  8. Minnesota didn’t make an offseason splash like the previous winter’s signing of Josh Donaldson. However, the Twins added multiple pieces to supplement the roster. So how have those free agents done so far this year?Andrelton Simmons, SS Contract: 1-year/$10.5 million Minnesota signed Simmons for his elite defensive skills, but he has provided plenty of offensive value so far in 2021. In 10 games, he has hit .355/.474/.452 with three extra-base hits. His 0.6 WAR ranks fourth on the team and that total is already higher than his entire 2020 season. Obviously, his positive COVID test puts a dampe
  9. Andrelton Simmons, SS Contract: 1-year/$10.5 million Minnesota signed Simmons for his elite defensive skills, but he has provided plenty of offensive value so far in 2021. In 10 games, he has hit .355/.474/.452 with three extra-base hits. His 0.6 WAR ranks fourth on the team and that total is already higher than his entire 2020 season. Obviously, his positive COVID test puts a damper on his start to the year, but hopefully he comes out of it healthy, and he can continue to produce at a high level. Alexander Colomé, RP Contract: 1-year/$6.25 million Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly so far
  10. Aaron and John talk about one of the weirdest weeks in Twins history, what happens next following multiple positive COVID tests and canceled games, the domino effects of Josh Donaldson's return, why it might be time for Alex Kirilloff's arrival, and the 60/40 nature of baseball decisions. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Now Click here to view the article
  11. Byron Buxton Finishes in the Top-3 for AL MVP Buxton only has two years remaining until free agency, so there is an incentive for him to stay on the field and produce at a high level. There have been glimpses of his potential at the big-league level, but he hasn’t been able to put it all together over the course of 162-games. Even if he plays 140-150 games, he should accumulate enough WAR to be in the MVP discussion. Last season, he finished eighth highest WAR among AL position players, and he played fewer than 40 games. His defense is always going to provide value, so he will need to put up
  12. Projected Starter: Andrelton Simmons Likely Backup: Jorge Polanco Depth: Luis Arráez, Nick Gordon Prospects: Royce Lewis, Wander Javier THE GOOD Simmons isn't just a good defender, or a great defender, or even an elite defender. He is a generational icon, whose name already sits beside Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel in the annals of all-time gloves at shortstop. At Baseball.FYI last summer, Jacob Kornhauser suggested that Simmons may go down as MLB's best defensive player ever, period. His article points out that Simmons has accumulated 26.7 dWAR through nine seasons in the majors, alre
  13. When is the last time the Minnesota Twins had a truly gifted defensive shortstop? It's been a long time, and there's a good chance this organization has never seen a fielder as good as Andrelton Simmons at the position. How big of an impact can all-world defense (assuming he still possesses it) make at the infield's most critical spot?Projected Starter: Andrelton Simmons Likely Backup: Jorge Polanco Depth: Luis Arráez, Nick Gordon Prospects: Royce Lewis, Wander Javier THE GOOD Simmons isn't just a good defender, or a great defender, or even an elite defender. He is a generational icon,
  14. In 2021 the Minnesota Twins are going to have a new starting shortstop. Despite being delayed to camp, Andrelton Simmons will assume that role shortly. What happens behind him remains a question, but the Riddle could actually be the solution. Alright, enough with the puns, sorry about that. Andrelton Simmons is as clear of a defensive upgrade as it gets. Even if Minnesota employed someone other than a below-average Jorge Polanco as short in recent seasons, Simba as he’s known, has won a Platinum Glove. Despite being in on Marcus Semien (who’s also a defensive upgrade), it’s clear prioritizin
  15. Delays in visas for ballplayers are not uncommon and even more common during the pandemic. Here is a primer on the challenges they face and the process involved.When a sports fan hears that a player on their favorite team is unavailable or late to a season because of “visa issues,” their mind seems to default to Hollywood scripts with the player in a back alley of a dodgy third world country, sweet talking a fat guy smoking a stogie between games of canasta. My personal experience, having processed over 500 such visas, is that little is known about the day to day processes most foreign-born at
  16. When a sports fan hears that a player on their favorite team is unavailable or late to a season because of “visa issues,” their mind seems to default to Hollywood scripts with the player in a back alley of a dodgy third world country, sweet talking a fat guy smoking a stogie between games of canasta. My personal experience, having processed over 500 such visas, is that little is known about the day to day processes most foreign-born athletes have to go through to get travel and work authorization to enter the United States. Then, when a situation happens like Dominican pitcher Fernando Romer
  17. Yesterday the Minnesota Twins inked Matt Shoemaker to a one-year deal worth $2 million. He’ll be the favorite to fill out the starting rotation and likely puts a bow on a strong offseason. Without flash, it’s still exactly what was needed. When looking at free agency it’s often the big signings or high-ticket players that draw all the fanfare. For a team like the Twins though, expectations have to be viewed through the lens of what is necessary. This isn’t to suggest teams shouldn’t spend money, or give them a pass for not doing so, but expecting good clubs to get exponentially better is a f
  18. The Twins front office has proven themselves to be masters of free agent spending efficiency. This offseason, they have spent around $37.5MM, accruing an additional 7.2 fWAR (ZiPS). Baseball is not a salary capped sport, but imagine how effective the Twins would be at managing it if it were. I respect the hell out of how the Twins get their WAR. I decided to dig in and compare the makeup of the 2021 roster with previous seasons. Not Their First Rodeo It’s worth starting before the 2018 season to understand the evolution of the Twins consistent approach to the offseason. Prior to the 2018 sea
  19. Aaron and John discuss the Twins' new shortstop Andrelton Simmons, new contract talks with Nelson Cruz, losing Eddie Rosario to Cleveland and why they miss the Winter Meltdown. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen To Episode 511 Here Now Click here to view the article
  20. As rumors circulated of the Twins pursuing a shortstop in free agency, the rationale was clear enough: a two-for-one solution that both addresses a defensive weakness in the infield and fills internally the super-utility role vacated by Marwin González. Most of us anticipated it would be the incumbent shortstop, Jorge Polanco, assuming the so-called "multi-positional everyday player" designation in such a scenario. Instead, the Twins are expressing an intent to have Polanco stepping in as new everyday second baseman, with Arráez becoming the new Marwin and playing all around the field. In
  21. Thad Levine and Derek Falvey finally popped the champagne to start the Twins free agency party by signing shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a one-year $10.5 million deal Wednesday evening. It was the type of deal myself and many others were waiting for. Simmons is a defensive genius and a solid hitter to boot, so, as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be a huge upgrade as the Twins’ everyday shortstop. Two weeks ago, I wrote an article that ranked a few of the Twins’ offseason targets on the “Fun Meter” and I didn’t talk about Simmons, but, if I had, he would’ve fared rather well. “Simba” is a def
  22. All offseason I’ve been preaching that patience should be exhibited in regards to the Minnesota Twins. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have earned the benefit of doubt and shown that they are sound decision makers. Tonight, that came to fruition. After *missing* out on Marcus Semien as one of the interested parties, they quickly pivoted to the best defender in this free agent class. Andrelton Simmons, formerly of the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels, the Platinum Glove defender makes a tandem of sorts with Byron Buxton. He’s been worth 191 defensive runs saved over the course of his career
  23. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time on Twitter, you know that I’m skeptical when it comes to the Minnesota Twins cult hero. Willians Astudillo made his MLB debut last season, and after a September explosion, fans around Twins Territory lost their collective minds. Both from a conceptual and statistical perspective he’s been a lightning rod player for me, and someone I’ve struggled to get on board with. Rather than tweeting in short bursts I thought it pertinent to organize my thoughts in a single blog post with supporting facts and use this as a point of reference. Maybe some number
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