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  1. After a long and emotional trade deadline day on Friday that ended in another Twins loss, the team came out hitting on Saturday and the pitching backed them up on the way to a nice 8-1 win in St. Louis. Box Score Bailey Ober: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (64 pitches, 44 strikes (68.8%)) Home Runs: Jeffers (9), Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (0.126), Bailey Ober (0.117), Miguel Sano (.109) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Return of Arraez Before Saturday’s game, the Twins announced that Luis Arraez was being activated from the Injured List. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul (will he finally make his Saints debut?). He was put into the cleanup spot in the Twins lineup. It paid immediate dividends for the team. In the first inning, he came up with runners on second and third base. He gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly. He added another RBI his second time up. With runners on first and second, he hit a double down the right field line. He added a walk later in the game. Bailey’s Big Hit Bailey Ober had not had an at-bat in a baseball game in eight years, since he and Vikings center Garrett Bradbury were starring at Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina. He stepped to the plate, and on an 0-1 pitch, lined a single to right field for his first big-league hit. OK, softly lined a single to right field. It doesn’t matter. Congratulations to Ober! The Twins' pitchers haven’t had a lot of hits of late. More importantly, Bailey Ober pitched well. He began with three scoreless innings, and then in the fourth, he gave up a run but was able to limit damage with a big double play ball. Despite a 7-1 lead, Ober was due to bat for the third time but Willians Astudillo pinch hit and grounded a single through the infield to give the Twins an 8-1 lead. Ober’s fastball sat between 92 and 93 mph, but he is able to get swings and misses with it up in the strike zone. Why? As important, the Twins bullpen combined for five shutout innings. Jorge Alcala worked two innings, and then Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alexander Colome each pitched one inning. (see the bullpen usage chart below) Jeffers Jolts In the third inning, Ryan Jeffers came to the plate and hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 7-0 lead. It was his ninth homer of the season, but it was his third in his past two starts. Remember, he had two homers in that crazy, 17-14 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday. In his past nine games, Jeffers is 9-for-29 (.310) with two doubles, three homers and an OPS north of 1.000). Since returning from the IL, Mitch Garver has played in five games and hit .278 (1.324 OPS) with two doubles, three homers and ten RBI. After both struggled mightily at the plate in April, Twins fans are now seeing what we thought we might from the Twins catching duo. It feels appropriate to talk about the performance of Twins catchers on a night when Hall of Fame catcher Ted Simmons' number was retired by the Cardinals and a statue of his likeness was unveiled outside the stadium. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 10 0 0 23 0 33 Thielbar 13 16 0 0 0 14 43 Alcala 0 11 0 0 0 21 32 Gant 0 0 24 0 0 0 24 Colomé 16 0 0 0 0 16 32 Minaya 0 0 45 0 0 18 63 Duffey 11 7 0 0 32 0 50 Burrows 0 0 63 0 0 0 63 View full article
  2. Box Score Bailey Ober: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (64 pitches, 44 strikes (68.8%)) Home Runs: Jeffers (9), Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (0.126), Bailey Ober (0.117), Miguel Sano (.109) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Return of Arraez Before Saturday’s game, the Twins announced that Luis Arraez was being activated from the Injured List. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul (will he finally make his Saints debut?). He was put into the cleanup spot in the Twins lineup. It paid immediate dividends for the team. In the first inning, he came up with runners on second and third base. He gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly. He added another RBI his second time up. With runners on first and second, he hit a double down the right field line. He added a walk later in the game. Bailey’s Big Hit Bailey Ober had not had an at-bat in a baseball game in eight years, since he and Vikings center Garrett Bradbury were starring at Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina. He stepped to the plate, and on an 0-1 pitch, lined a single to right field for his first big-league hit. OK, softly lined a single to right field. It doesn’t matter. Congratulations to Ober! The Twins' pitchers haven’t had a lot of hits of late. More importantly, Bailey Ober pitched well. He began with three scoreless innings, and then in the fourth, he gave up a run but was able to limit damage with a big double play ball. Despite a 7-1 lead, Ober was due to bat for the third time but Willians Astudillo pinch hit and grounded a single through the infield to give the Twins an 8-1 lead. Ober’s fastball sat between 92 and 93 mph, but he is able to get swings and misses with it up in the strike zone. Why? As important, the Twins bullpen combined for five shutout innings. Jorge Alcala worked two innings, and then Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alexander Colome each pitched one inning. (see the bullpen usage chart below) Jeffers Jolts In the third inning, Ryan Jeffers came to the plate and hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 7-0 lead. It was his ninth homer of the season, but it was his third in his past two starts. Remember, he had two homers in that crazy, 17-14 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday. In his past nine games, Jeffers is 9-for-29 (.310) with two doubles, three homers and an OPS north of 1.000). Since returning from the IL, Mitch Garver has played in five games and hit .278 (1.324 OPS) with two doubles, three homers and ten RBI. After both struggled mightily at the plate in April, Twins fans are now seeing what we thought we might from the Twins catching duo. It feels appropriate to talk about the performance of Twins catchers on a night when Hall of Fame catcher Ted Simmons' number was retired by the Cardinals and a statue of his likeness was unveiled outside the stadium. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 10 0 0 23 0 33 Thielbar 13 16 0 0 0 14 43 Alcala 0 11 0 0 0 21 32 Gant 0 0 24 0 0 0 24 Colomé 16 0 0 0 0 16 32 Minaya 0 0 45 0 0 18 63 Duffey 11 7 0 0 32 0 50 Burrows 0 0 63 0 0 0 63
  3. The Twins followed up losing a close game on Saturday by… losing a less close game on Sunday. This one played out in a different way, but the result stayed the same. Read about what happened on Sunday here. Box Score Bailey Ober: 5 ⅓ IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (67.7% strikes) HR: Max Kepler (13), Brent Rooker (2) Bottom 3 in WPA: Miguel Sanó (-0.236), Jorge Alcala (-0.149), Danny Coulombe (-0.109) Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs) Early Offense Saturday night was characterized by a distinct lack of hitting ability, but Sunday quickly proved to be a different story. Max Kepler continued his hot streak by blasting a lead-off homer to kick off the scoring. In the time it took this author to inform his mom of what Kepler did, Brent Rooker, the breaker of no-hitters, absolutely launched a titanic bomb that landed somewhere in Canada. Coming into the game, Kepler had been slugging .597 since July 4th (date chosen for no particular reason). A streak of good health has been a blessing for the outfielder who has been inconsistent since his 2019 breakout. For Rooker, the opportunity is golden. The DH spot is wide open now that Nelson Cruz is on the Rays, and Rooker must impress in a speedy manner if he wishes to be a mainstay in 2022 and beyond. Blasting a ball like that off of a righty is an excellent start. A Familiar Face Returns Jake Cave made his first start for the Twins since May 12th. The added depth is much welcomed as the team has run through approximately 1053 different center fielders in 2021. Cave can provide relief for a struggling Gilberto Celestino. This is more of a result of improper seasoning than an indictment on Celestino’s upside, which simply needs more time to be seen. At any rate, it’s good to see Cave back off the IL. Ober The Hills And Far Away The oak-like rookie made another impressive start on Sunday. Ober punched out four while allowing a pair of earned runs in what is now his longest career start (5 ⅓ IP). Ober could have gone longer, but the team has been especially careful in limiting his innings in 2021 since he did not get to pitch in games in 2020. His xFIP of 4.19 on the year places him among names like Zack Greinke, Aaron Civale, and Casey Mize. Ober may only make a handful of starts down the stretch, though. Sunday’s affair brought him to 59 ⅓ innings pitched split between St. Paul and Minnesota in 2021. His previous high mark came in 2019 when Ober threw 78 ⅔ innings between three levels of the minors. It is unclear just how many more innings the team will allow him to throw-either in an effort to match his career high or lightly pass it-but it can be solidly predicted that the team will be conservative in his workload going forward. Enjoy watching him while you can! Where Did The Momentum Go? Despite getting off to a fast 2-0 start, the Twins let their lead slowly slip away. Max Stassi proved to be an especially pesky enemy as he tripled and homered to bring the game to a tie. With the game tied, the unrivaled Shohei Ohtani took one look at a hanging Danny Coulombe slider and bazooka’d it out of right field. After Rooker’s homerun, the Twins offense let Jamie Barria settle into a groove. The righty put the homers behind him, and cruised through seven innings of work with just four baserunners allowed after the homers. None of the two Twins hits after the 1st went for extra bases. The inability of the Twins to push more runs across after getting off to such a hot start has been an issue the entire season and, once again, put a dent in their chances of winning on Sunday. It was a close 3-2 game headed into the top of the 9th. The game was still well within grasp for the Twins even if they did not have the strongest part of the lineup set up for the bottom of the inning. But, things got messy. Jorge Alcala gave up a single, a double, and another single in succession, and the Angels notched two more runs. Los Angeles would have six runs on the board when it was all said and done. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Colomé 26 22 0 11 0 10 69 Alcala 24 0 0 0 10 24 58 Duffey 0 38 0 0 0 0 38 Thielbar 17 16 0 0 16 0 49 Coulombe 5 0 32 0 0 18 55 Rogers 0 0 0 18 0 0 18 Robles 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 Minaya 0 0 0 20 0 0 20 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
  4. Box Score Bailey Ober: 5 ⅓ IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (67.7% strikes) HR: Max Kepler (13), Brent Rooker (2) Bottom 3 in WPA: Miguel Sanó (-0.236), Jorge Alcala (-0.149), Danny Coulombe (-0.109) Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs) Early Offense Saturday night was characterized by a distinct lack of hitting ability, but Sunday quickly proved to be a different story. Max Kepler continued his hot streak by blasting a lead-off homer to kick off the scoring. In the time it took this author to inform his mom of what Kepler did, Brent Rooker, the breaker of no-hitters, absolutely launched a titanic bomb that landed somewhere in Canada. Coming into the game, Kepler had been slugging .597 since July 4th (date chosen for no particular reason). A streak of good health has been a blessing for the outfielder who has been inconsistent since his 2019 breakout. For Rooker, the opportunity is golden. The DH spot is wide open now that Nelson Cruz is on the Rays, and Rooker must impress in a speedy manner if he wishes to be a mainstay in 2022 and beyond. Blasting a ball like that off of a righty is an excellent start. A Familiar Face Returns Jake Cave made his first start for the Twins since May 12th. The added depth is much welcomed as the team has run through approximately 1053 different center fielders in 2021. Cave can provide relief for a struggling Gilberto Celestino. This is more of a result of improper seasoning than an indictment on Celestino’s upside, which simply needs more time to be seen. At any rate, it’s good to see Cave back off the IL. Ober The Hills And Far Away The oak-like rookie made another impressive start on Sunday. Ober punched out four while allowing a pair of earned runs in what is now his longest career start (5 ⅓ IP). Ober could have gone longer, but the team has been especially careful in limiting his innings in 2021 since he did not get to pitch in games in 2020. His xFIP of 4.19 on the year places him among names like Zack Greinke, Aaron Civale, and Casey Mize. Ober may only make a handful of starts down the stretch, though. Sunday’s affair brought him to 59 ⅓ innings pitched split between St. Paul and Minnesota in 2021. His previous high mark came in 2019 when Ober threw 78 ⅔ innings between three levels of the minors. It is unclear just how many more innings the team will allow him to throw-either in an effort to match his career high or lightly pass it-but it can be solidly predicted that the team will be conservative in his workload going forward. Enjoy watching him while you can! Where Did The Momentum Go? Despite getting off to a fast 2-0 start, the Twins let their lead slowly slip away. Max Stassi proved to be an especially pesky enemy as he tripled and homered to bring the game to a tie. With the game tied, the unrivaled Shohei Ohtani took one look at a hanging Danny Coulombe slider and bazooka’d it out of right field. After Rooker’s homerun, the Twins offense let Jamie Barria settle into a groove. The righty put the homers behind him, and cruised through seven innings of work with just four baserunners allowed after the homers. None of the two Twins hits after the 1st went for extra bases. The inability of the Twins to push more runs across after getting off to such a hot start has been an issue the entire season and, once again, put a dent in their chances of winning on Sunday. It was a close 3-2 game headed into the top of the 9th. The game was still well within grasp for the Twins even if they did not have the strongest part of the lineup set up for the bottom of the inning. But, things got messy. Jorge Alcala gave up a single, a double, and another single in succession, and the Angels notched two more runs. Los Angeles would have six runs on the board when it was all said and done. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Colomé 26 22 0 11 0 10 69 Alcala 24 0 0 0 10 24 58 Duffey 0 38 0 0 0 0 38 Thielbar 17 16 0 0 16 0 49 Coulombe 5 0 32 0 0 18 55 Rogers 0 0 0 18 0 0 18 Robles 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 Minaya 0 0 0 20 0 0 20 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Matt Braun kicked off the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Prospect Rankings. He shared the honorable mentions and then went through the last quarter on the list. Looking ahead to the final five before getting into the top ten, that’s where we find ourselves now. It is worth noting that prospect graduations have and will happen throughout 2021. Names like Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, Gordon, and Rortvedt are no longer eligible for consideration. With that said, let’s get into who’s next. 15. Misael Urbina OF Age: 19 ETA: 2024 2021 Stats (A): 42 G .191/.298/.268 3 2B 3 3B HR 24 RBI 23 BB 39 K 2021 Ranking: 14th Minnesota signed Urbina out of Venezuela back in 2018 during the International Signing Period. Jesse Sanchez called him, “one of the most coveted prospects from Venezuela in this year's international class” at the time. The bonus came in at $2.75 million, and that’s indicative of how the Twins see his tools developing. Urbina is playing in his first stateside season this year, and while the numbers aren’t gaudy by any means, controlling the strike zone is something he’s shown a strong ability to do as a young player. 14. Brent Rooker OF/1B Age: 26 2021 Stats (AAA): 43 G .243/.386/.547 6 2B 13 HR 28 RBI 31 BB 54 K 2021 Ranking: 12th Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2020 before injury ended his season with just seven games played. Rooker has appeared in just eight games for the Twins this year going 3-for-29. Despite crushing Triple-A, his opportunities have been limited with the outfield capabilities being stretched, and him not being a true fit at first base. Should the Twins deal Nelson Cruz, Brent would appear to be in line for substantial big league at bats as the DH. 13. Cole Sands RHSP Age: 23 2021 Stats (AA): 31 2/3 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 3.10 FIP, 30.7 K%, 13.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 15th Sands was a 5th round selection in the 2018 draft and it didn’t take long to see that Minnesota had something special here. There’s velocity, there’s command, there’s a real starting pitcher. Sands dominated three separate levels in 2019, and has picked up where he left off in 2021. The 11.9 K/9 is a strong number at Double-A, and while the command has slipped some, there’s no long term worry there. Currently injured, Minnesota hopes to have Cole back on the bump sooner rather than later. 12. Bailey Ober RHSP Age: 25 2021 Stats (AAA): 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 1.67 FIP, 32.3 K%, 7.7 BB% 2021 Ranking: 20th Now in the big leagues taking regular turns with the Twins, Ober parlayed his quick Triple-A success into six turns in the big league rotation. He owns a 5.84 ERA there but has been bit most by the home run. Strikeouts and command continue to play, while his velocity has seen an uptick and is, in part, what has elevated his prospect status. There’s a good back-end rotation piece here, and it’d be a good bet he gets plenty of leash to showcase that the rest of 2021. 11. Blayne Enlow RHSP Age: 22 2021 Stats (A+): 14 2/3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 2.80 FIP, 39.0 K%, 10.2 BB% 2021 Ranking: 10th Arguably one of the most exciting prospects to see showcased following the 2020 minor league hiatus, Enlow came out as expected. He below the doors of High-A hitters and looked the part of a prospect that could put together an amazing season. Unfortunately, it ended quickly as he’s now recovering from Tommy John surgery, but look for him to be back stronger on the back half of 2022, and still with a ceiling that could be among the highest in the system as far as pitchers go. View full article
  6. It is worth noting that prospect graduations have and will happen throughout 2021. Names like Kirilloff, Larnach, Jeffers, Gordon, and Rortvedt are no longer eligible for consideration. With that said, let’s get into who’s next. 15. Misael Urbina OF Age: 19 ETA: 2024 2021 Stats (A): 42 G .191/.298/.268 3 2B 3 3B HR 24 RBI 23 BB 39 K 2021 Ranking: 14th Minnesota signed Urbina out of Venezuela back in 2018 during the International Signing Period. Jesse Sanchez called him, “one of the most coveted prospects from Venezuela in this year's international class” at the time. The bonus came in at $2.75 million, and that’s indicative of how the Twins see his tools developing. Urbina is playing in his first stateside season this year, and while the numbers aren’t gaudy by any means, controlling the strike zone is something he’s shown a strong ability to do as a young player. 14. Brent Rooker OF/1B Age: 26 2021 Stats (AAA): 43 G .243/.386/.547 6 2B 13 HR 28 RBI 31 BB 54 K 2021 Ranking: 12th Rooker was the 35th overall pick by Minnesota back in the 2017 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2020 before injury ended his season with just seven games played. Rooker has appeared in just eight games for the Twins this year going 3-for-29. Despite crushing Triple-A, his opportunities have been limited with the outfield capabilities being stretched, and him not being a true fit at first base. Should the Twins deal Nelson Cruz, Brent would appear to be in line for substantial big league at bats as the DH. 13. Cole Sands RHSP Age: 23 2021 Stats (AA): 31 2/3 IP, 2.84 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 3.10 FIP, 30.7 K%, 13.1 BB% 2021 Ranking: 15th Sands was a 5th round selection in the 2018 draft and it didn’t take long to see that Minnesota had something special here. There’s velocity, there’s command, there’s a real starting pitcher. Sands dominated three separate levels in 2019, and has picked up where he left off in 2021. The 11.9 K/9 is a strong number at Double-A, and while the command has slipped some, there’s no long term worry there. Currently injured, Minnesota hopes to have Cole back on the bump sooner rather than later. 12. Bailey Ober RHSP Age: 25 2021 Stats (AAA): 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 1.67 FIP, 32.3 K%, 7.7 BB% 2021 Ranking: 20th Now in the big leagues taking regular turns with the Twins, Ober parlayed his quick Triple-A success into six turns in the big league rotation. He owns a 5.84 ERA there but has been bit most by the home run. Strikeouts and command continue to play, while his velocity has seen an uptick and is, in part, what has elevated his prospect status. There’s a good back-end rotation piece here, and it’d be a good bet he gets plenty of leash to showcase that the rest of 2021. 11. Blayne Enlow RHSP Age: 22 2021 Stats (A+): 14 2/3 IP, 1.84 ERA, 1.295 WHIP, 2.80 FIP, 39.0 K%, 10.2 BB% 2021 Ranking: 10th Arguably one of the most exciting prospects to see showcased following the 2020 minor league hiatus, Enlow came out as expected. He below the doors of High-A hitters and looked the part of a prospect that could put together an amazing season. Unfortunately, it ended quickly as he’s now recovering from Tommy John surgery, but look for him to be back stronger on the back half of 2022, and still with a ceiling that could be among the highest in the system as far as pitchers go.
  7. If the Twins trade away veterans on expiring contract, they are going to need replacements until season’s end. Here is some of the roster shuffle that will occur as veterans are dealt. Injuries are obviously impacting multiple players listed below. In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to trade away all their veterans for valuable pieces, but almost nothing has gone perfectly for the Twins in 2021. That being said, here’s some of the roster shuffle that will occur over the next month. DH: Miguel Sano Replaces Nelson Cruz Miguel Sano seems destined to be the team’s DH throughout the remaining years on his contract. There are only a handful of contending teams that need help at DH, but the most logical choice might be the AL’s best team. Brent Rooker is another possibility to get some DH at-bats in the season’s second half. At Triple-A this year, he has an .861 OPS with 10 home runs and three doubles and it seems like he’s become Minnesota’s forgotten prospect. Moving Sano off first base also allows Alex Kirilloff to start getting more consistent reps at first, which is his expected long-term defensive position. SS: Jorge Polanco Replaces Andrelton Simmons Minnesota is likely hesitant to move Polanco back to shortstop, but the team’s other options are limited. Royce Lewis was supposed to be the heir apparent, but he’s out for the year. He likely won’t be ready at the beginning of 2022, so the Twins will be players in the best free agent shortstop class in baseball history. There are some benefits to moving Polanco back to short. This allows the team to get a longer look at Nick Gordon as the team has kept him on the active roster over Gilberto Celestino and Willians Astudillo. At Triple-A, J.T. Riddle has gotten most defensive starts at shortstop, but he only has .675 OPS and he’s not part of the team’s long-term plans. SP: [Break In Case of Emergency] Replaces Michael Pineda This is going to be the toughest spot to replace, because Twins pitching has be historically bad this season. Minnesota has already added Randy Dobnak and Bailey Ober to the rotation, but where does the team turn to next? Top pitching prospect Jhoan Duran was put on the IL this week with a strained right elbow, so it doesn’t seem likely for him to pitch bulk innings at the big-league level this season. Jordan Balazovic, the team’s other top pitching prospect, has allowed 10 earned runs in 14 innings so far in 2021. Charlie Barnes and Griffin Jax can be given longer looks as rotational options, but these aren’t the exciting prospects fans have eagerly been waiting to see. RP: Jorge Alcala Replaces Hansel Robles Outside of Taylor Rogers, Robles has been the team’s most consistent reliever. To take over his late inning role, I’m all on board the Jorge Alcala train. He’s been working on increasing his changeup usage so he can be more effective versus left-handed batters. He has the potential to be a late-inning shutdown arm and the team needs to give him the opportunity to prove if he can sink or swim in this role. Minnesota’s bullpen will need an overhaul for 2022, but the team can use the rest of 2021 as a tryout for players in different roles. Can these play better than the players they are replacing? 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
  8. Injuries are obviously impacting multiple players listed below. In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to trade away all their veterans for valuable pieces, but almost nothing has gone perfectly for the Twins in 2021. That being said, here’s some of the roster shuffle that will occur over the next month. DH: Miguel Sano Replaces Nelson Cruz Miguel Sano seems destined to be the team’s DH throughout the remaining years on his contract. There are only a handful of contending teams that need help at DH, but the most logical choice might be the AL’s best team. Brent Rooker is another possibility to get some DH at-bats in the season’s second half. At Triple-A this year, he has an .861 OPS with 10 home runs and three doubles and it seems like he’s become Minnesota’s forgotten prospect. Moving Sano off first base also allows Alex Kirilloff to start getting more consistent reps at first, which is his expected long-term defensive position. SS: Jorge Polanco Replaces Andrelton Simmons Minnesota is likely hesitant to move Polanco back to shortstop, but the team’s other options are limited. Royce Lewis was supposed to be the heir apparent, but he’s out for the year. He likely won’t be ready at the beginning of 2022, so the Twins will be players in the best free agent shortstop class in baseball history. There are some benefits to moving Polanco back to short. This allows the team to get a longer look at Nick Gordon as the team has kept him on the active roster over Gilberto Celestino and Willians Astudillo. At Triple-A, J.T. Riddle has gotten most defensive starts at shortstop, but he only has .675 OPS and he’s not part of the team’s long-term plans. SP: [Break In Case of Emergency] Replaces Michael Pineda This is going to be the toughest spot to replace, because Twins pitching has be historically bad this season. Minnesota has already added Randy Dobnak and Bailey Ober to the rotation, but where does the team turn to next? Top pitching prospect Jhoan Duran was put on the IL this week with a strained right elbow, so it doesn’t seem likely for him to pitch bulk innings at the big-league level this season. Jordan Balazovic, the team’s other top pitching prospect, has allowed 10 earned runs in 14 innings so far in 2021. Charlie Barnes and Griffin Jax can be given longer looks as rotational options, but these aren’t the exciting prospects fans have eagerly been waiting to see. RP: Jorge Alcala Replaces Hansel Robles Outside of Taylor Rogers, Robles has been the team’s most consistent reliever. To take over his late inning role, I’m all on board the Jorge Alcala train. He’s been working on increasing his changeup usage so he can be more effective versus left-handed batters. He has the potential to be a late-inning shutdown arm and the team needs to give him the opportunity to prove if he can sink or swim in this role. Minnesota’s bullpen will need an overhaul for 2022, but the team can use the rest of 2021 as a tryout for players in different roles. Can these play better than the players they are replacing? 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
  9. Things obviously weren’t supposed to be this bad for the 2021 Twins. Can the team improve moving forward just by accident or will they continue to be cellar dwellers? The Twins roster isn’t this bad. Heck, the team entered play on Monday half of a game ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central standings. Yes, this is the same Tigers squad that has lost 98 or more games in each of the last three full seasons. Detroit is trotting out plenty of replacement level players and prospects as a club that is clearly rebuilding. Yet, the Twins find themselves playing catch up in the division with nearly half the season finished. Minnesota’s failings have been well documented at Twins Daily. So far, the pitching staff has been arguably the worst in team history, but an influx of younger pitchers in the second half might help to boost the team. Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ have not worked out as planned but adding in other players like Bailey Ober and top prospect Jordan Balazovic might bring some excitement to a non-contending team. Unfortunately, many prospects will be on an innings limit due to the lack of a 2020 minor league season and Jhoan Duran, the team’s other top prospect, recently landed on the IL. From a draft standpoint, it helps to for the Twins to continue to be bad, because that results in a higher draft pick during the 2022 MLB Draft. Minnesota will likely deal away players on expiring contracts like Nelson Cruz, Michael Pineda, and Andrelton Simmons and this might result in the team being even worse after the trade deadline. However, the players replacing these veterans will also likely have something to prove. So, what parts can improve as the season progresses? Byron Buxton has been the team’s best player when he has been on the field. In Monday’s update of the All-Star Game fan vote, he is still in the top-3 among AL outfielders and that lines him up to be in a starting role. If he continues to play this way, he can insert himself back into the MVP conversation. Buxton isn’t the only position where the Twins can see some accidental improvement. Max Kepler recently returned from injury, and he can help improve a right field group that has accumulated the sixth lowest AL WAR total. Before his gruesome injury, Mitch Garver seemed to be swinging the bat like the 2019 version of himself. He can add even more offensive depth when he returns. Minnesota has been underperforming throughout the 2021 season and there is too much talent on the roster for the team to play at such a low level. Entering play on Monday night, Baseball Prospectus has the Twins projected to finish the season at 83-79, which is quite the turnaround. Cleveland and Chicago are projected to finish at 87-75, which certainly puts the Twins in the conversation for the division by season’s end. Before the All-Star Game, the Twins have 25 straight games against the AL Central, which means the team has their fate in their own hands. Minnesota has a chance to improve, and it may be an accident waiting to happen. Do you think the Twins will accidently improve? 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. The Twins roster isn’t this bad. Heck, the team entered play on Monday half of a game ahead of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central standings. Yes, this is the same Tigers squad that has lost 98 or more games in each of the last three full seasons. Detroit is trotting out plenty of replacement level players and prospects as a club that is clearly rebuilding. Yet, the Twins find themselves playing catch up in the division with nearly half the season finished. Minnesota’s failings have been well documented at Twins Daily. So far, the pitching staff has been arguably the worst in team history, but an influx of younger pitchers in the second half might help to boost the team. Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ have not worked out as planned but adding in other players like Bailey Ober and top prospect Jordan Balazovic might bring some excitement to a non-contending team. Unfortunately, many prospects will be on an innings limit due to the lack of a 2020 minor league season and Jhoan Duran, the team’s other top prospect, recently landed on the IL. From a draft standpoint, it helps to for the Twins to continue to be bad, because that results in a higher draft pick during the 2022 MLB Draft. Minnesota will likely deal away players on expiring contracts like Nelson Cruz, Michael Pineda, and Andrelton Simmons and this might result in the team being even worse after the trade deadline. However, the players replacing these veterans will also likely have something to prove. So, what parts can improve as the season progresses? Byron Buxton has been the team’s best player when he has been on the field. In Monday’s update of the All-Star Game fan vote, he is still in the top-3 among AL outfielders and that lines him up to be in a starting role. If he continues to play this way, he can insert himself back into the MVP conversation. Buxton isn’t the only position where the Twins can see some accidental improvement. Max Kepler recently returned from injury, and he can help improve a right field group that has accumulated the sixth lowest AL WAR total. Before his gruesome injury, Mitch Garver seemed to be swinging the bat like the 2019 version of himself. He can add even more offensive depth when he returns. Minnesota has been underperforming throughout the 2021 season and there is too much talent on the roster for the team to play at such a low level. Entering play on Monday night, Baseball Prospectus has the Twins projected to finish the season at 83-79, which is quite the turnaround. Cleveland and Chicago are projected to finish at 87-75, which certainly puts the Twins in the conversation for the division by season’s end. Before the All-Star Game, the Twins have 25 straight games against the AL Central, which means the team has their fate in their own hands. Minnesota has a chance to improve, and it may be an accident waiting to happen. Do you think the Twins will accidently improve? 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. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/31 through Sun, 6/6 *** Record Last Week: 3-4 (Overall: 24-35) Run Differential Last Week: -13 (Overall: -35) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (12.5 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 53 | MIN 3, BAL 2: Twins Edge O's Behind Strong Berríos Effort Game 54 | BAL 7, MIN 4: Orioles Snap Losing Streak Against Twins Game 55 | BAL 6, MIN 3: Twins Sink to New Low, Drop Series in Baltimore Game 56 | KC 6, MIN 5: Bats Unable to Overcome Happ's Poor Start Game 57 | KC 14, MIN 5: Okay, Now THIS Was a New Low Game 58 | MIN 5, KC 4: Home Runs Power Minnesota to Narrow Victory Game 59 | MIN 3, KC 2: Strong Effort from Staff Aids Another Close Win NEWS & NOTES This team is absolutely ravaged. A nonstop barrage of injuries has forced the Twins to reach into the deepest corners of their minor-league depth, routinely fielding lineups populated by guys playing out of position or above their appropriate competition level. Not only have the injuries been plentiful, but also astoundingly inconvenient and untimely. For example, our last Week in Review column noted that "the biggest bright spot on offense right now has got to be Mitch Garver, who suddenly looks like his old Silver Slugger self." Naturally, in the first inning of the first game last week, Garver went down. The catcher experienced a brutal mishap that no one would wish upon their worst enemy, taking a foul tip directly in the groin and requiring emergency surgery that night. He'll be sidelined for the foreseeable future. In last week's column we also noted "Rocco Baldelli's made no secret of the fact that he'll be riding Rob Refsnyder hard in the short-term, and the manager will have to hope his opportunistic 30-year-old can stay hot (and healthy)." Naturally, in the same game where Garver got hurt, Refsnyder ran into the outfield wall in Baltimore and soon after went on the shelf with a concussion. With Refsnyder joining Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jake Cave on IL, the Twins had little choice but to call up prospect Gilberto Celestino, their only available center fielder on the 40-man roster. The 22-year-old, who'd played less than two dozen games above Single-A in the minors, has looked like a player that belongs nowhere near the big leagues, and I don't think the Twins would even deny that. But their alternative options are basically non-existent. Also hitting the Injured List this past week: relievers Caleb Thielbar (groin strain) and Shaun Anderson (blisters). Juan Minaya was designated for assignment and Dakota Chalmers was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Griffin Jax and Bailey Ober were recalled, with the latter making an impressive start in Kansas City on Sunday. HIGHLIGHTS In a season where postseason hopes have been effectively snuffed out by early June, you have to focus on the smaller individual storylines to find fulfillment as a fan – especially those with potential to impact the long-term outlook as this team aims to pick up the pieces and remake itself with help from the internal pipeline. Ober is an intriguing asset from this standpoint. In a spot start on Sunday, he tossed four innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts and no walks. He induced an impressive eight swinging strikes on 51 pitches, flashing 93-94 MPH on the gun repeatedly with his four-seamer. Despite an intimidating 6-foot-9 frame, Ober has generally been viewed as having a limited ceiling, due mainly to his middling fastball velocity as a starter. While coming up as a prospect he usually worked in the high 80s or low 90s. The increase we're seeing now plays up his secondary stuff, and when you add strong command to the mix, you've got a pitcher with some real upside. He has a 21-to-5 K/BB ratio in 16 innings at Triple-A and now an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio in eight innings with the Twins. He should stick in the rotation and get a long look this summer. Another prospect taking advantage of his unexpected opportunity and running with it: Nick Gordon, who provided a rare heartwarming highlight amidst a barrage of uninspiring performances for the Twins last week. With his father Tom "Flash" Gordon watching from the stands on Friday, Gordon went 3-for-4 with his first major-league home run. In total, Gordon made four starts and went 7-for-16 (.438) with two RBIs and a stolen base. He's slashing .400/.429/.550 in his young big-league career, and dating back to 2019 he now has a .312 batting average and .474 slugging percentage in 340 at-bats between Triple-A and the majors. He's 22-for-26 on steal attempts during that span. Through all the tribulations he's faced over these past few years, Gordon has stepped it up on the field and really produced when given a chance. This season is a giant bummer, obviously, but if the Twins can take the opportunity to get extended looks at fringe-type prospects like Ober and Gordon, and find that maybe they actually have something in them, that's a big win with possible implications going forward. LOWLIGHTS It needs to be stated: The front office completely whiffed on nearly every significant pitching acquisition during the offseason. Starters, relievers, free agents, trades ... they've almost all panned out poorly. None worse than Matt Shoemaker, who received a $2 million deal to plug in as Minnesota's No. 5 starter and has been a total disaster. His start on Friday was one of the worst ever seen from a Twins pitcher, as the right-hander surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits and two walks while recording one out. The catastrophic performance inflated his ERA to 7.28 and tagged him with his league-leading seventh loss. Shoemaker absolutely deserves to be out of the rotation but that's not happening at this point, due to the aforementioned lack of bodies. The Twins can't afford to give away any of their MLB depth, no matter how atrocious it may be. Fellow free agent starter J.A. Happ hasn't been quite as bad as Shoemaker, but he sure hasn't been good. Happ gave up five earned runs on nine hits (three home runs) in five innings against Kansas City the previous night. He now owns a 5.61 ERA to go along with a 4.77 FIP. That includes a 10.17 ERA over his past five turns, during which opponents have slashed .360/.405/.680 against the veteran, who looks pretty cooked by now. Bullpen pickups have been similarly disappointing, just about across the board. Centerpiece free agency addition Alex Colomé gave up a two-run homer in Baltimore; his modest momentum built up in early May has now completely evaporated. Colomé has a 9.00 ERA in his past six outings and opponents are slashing .389/.450/.889. The team's lone trade acquisition of the winter, Anderson, pitched badly in his only appearance of the week before going back on IL. We've already seen Derek Law and Brandon Waddell pass through with lackluster stints. What happened to the mojo and moxie of this front office and coaching staff when it comes to identifying and developing arms? It's the top story of the season, in my opinion. Entering play on Sunday, the Twins had the third-worst ERA in the American League (ahead of only the Orioles and Angels) and the second-worst pitching WAR in the major leagues (ahead of only the Diamondbacks). The bats have their issues and the lineup is decimated but this lousy pitching staff gives the team no real shot at getting on any kind of sustained run. TRENDING STORYLINE It appears the Twins may be getting back two of their most critical pieces in the near future. Buxton, who has now missed a full month and counting since straining his hip on May 6th, completed a baserunning program without issue and will likely head on a rehab stint in the days ahead. It wouldn't be shocking to see him back in the outfield for next weekend's series against Houston. Meanwhile, Kenta Maeda went through a 35-pitch bullpen session on Sunday morning and came out of it fine. He too is on the verge of a rehab assignment, which presumably would entail one or two starts with the Saints. Will the time off prove an elixir for his woefully underwhelming performance up to this point? The Twins are probably in too deep of a hole, and plagued by too many flaws on the roster, for an historical comeback thrusting them back into contention to be realistic. If such a thing was ever going to happen though, getting back their best player and best pitcher at full strength will absolutely need to be a part of the equation. LOOKING AHEAD Well, here we go. After going 7-6 during their two-week soft patch against the Orioles and Royals, the Twins are about to see the difficulty level steepen sharply. The dreaded Yankees and Astros are coming to town. This could get ugly. (Uglier, I should say.) TUESDAY, 6/8: YANKEES @ TWINS – LHP Jordan Montgomery v. RHP Michael Pineda WEDNESDAY, 6/9: YANKEES @ TWINS – RHP Gerrit Cole v. RHP Randy Dobnak THURSDAY, 6/10: YANKEES @ TWINS – TBD v. LHP J.A. Happ FRIDAY, 6/11: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP José Urquidy v. RHP José Berríos SATURDAY, 6/12: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP Luis Garcia v. RHP Bailey Ober SUNDAY, 6/13: ASTROS @ TWINS – LHP Framber Valdez v. RHP Michael Pineda
  12. It was yet another losing week for the Minnesota Twins – one that included some new lows with a series loss against the last-place Orioles in Baltimore and a humiliating blowout in Kansas City. Hurt and humbled, the wayward Twins limp forth in this summer of despair. Amid all of the misery, there are positives worth gravitating toward. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/31 through Sun, 6/6 *** Record Last Week: 3-4 (Overall: 24-35) Run Differential Last Week: -13 (Overall: -35) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (12.5 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 53 | MIN 3, BAL 2: Twins Edge O's Behind Strong Berríos Effort Game 54 | BAL 7, MIN 4: Orioles Snap Losing Streak Against Twins Game 55 | BAL 6, MIN 3: Twins Sink to New Low, Drop Series in Baltimore Game 56 | KC 6, MIN 5: Bats Unable to Overcome Happ's Poor Start Game 57 | KC 14, MIN 5: Okay, Now THIS Was a New Low Game 58 | MIN 5, KC 4: Home Runs Power Minnesota to Narrow Victory Game 59 | MIN 3, KC 2: Strong Effort from Staff Aids Another Close Win NEWS & NOTES This team is absolutely ravaged. A nonstop barrage of injuries has forced the Twins to reach into the deepest corners of their minor-league depth, routinely fielding lineups populated by guys playing out of position or above their appropriate competition level. Not only have the injuries been plentiful, but also astoundingly inconvenient and untimely. For example, our last Week in Review column noted that "the biggest bright spot on offense right now has got to be Mitch Garver, who suddenly looks like his old Silver Slugger self." Naturally, in the first inning of the first game last week, Garver went down. The catcher experienced a brutal mishap that no one would wish upon their worst enemy, taking a foul tip directly in the groin and requiring emergency surgery that night. He'll be sidelined for the foreseeable future. In last week's column we also noted "Rocco Baldelli's made no secret of the fact that he'll be riding Rob Refsnyder hard in the short-term, and the manager will have to hope his opportunistic 30-year-old can stay hot (and healthy)." Naturally, in the same game where Garver got hurt, Refsnyder ran into the outfield wall in Baltimore and soon after went on the shelf with a concussion. With Refsnyder joining Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jake Cave on IL, the Twins had little choice but to call up prospect Gilberto Celestino, their only available center fielder on the 40-man roster. The 22-year-old, who'd played less than two dozen games above Single-A in the minors, has looked like a player that belongs nowhere near the big leagues, and I don't think the Twins would even deny that. But their alternative options are basically non-existent. Also hitting the Injured List this past week: relievers Caleb Thielbar (groin strain) and Shaun Anderson (blisters). Juan Minaya was designated for assignment and Dakota Chalmers was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Griffin Jax and Bailey Ober were recalled, with the latter making an impressive start in Kansas City on Sunday. HIGHLIGHTS In a season where postseason hopes have been effectively snuffed out by early June, you have to focus on the smaller individual storylines to find fulfillment as a fan – especially those with potential to impact the long-term outlook as this team aims to pick up the pieces and remake itself with help from the internal pipeline. Ober is an intriguing asset from this standpoint. In a spot start on Sunday, he tossed four innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts and no walks. He induced an impressive eight swinging strikes on 51 pitches, flashing 93-94 MPH on the gun repeatedly with his four-seamer. Despite an intimidating 6-foot-9 frame, Ober has generally been viewed as having a limited ceiling, due mainly to his middling fastball velocity as a starter. While coming up as a prospect he usually worked in the high 80s or low 90s. The increase we're seeing now plays up his secondary stuff, and when you add strong command to the mix, you've got a pitcher with some real upside. He has a 21-to-5 K/BB ratio in 16 innings at Triple-A and now an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio in eight innings with the Twins. He should stick in the rotation and get a long look this summer. Another prospect taking advantage of his unexpected opportunity and running with it: Nick Gordon, who provided a rare heartwarming highlight amidst a barrage of uninspiring performances for the Twins last week. With his father Tom "Flash" Gordon watching from the stands on Friday, Gordon went 3-for-4 with his first major-league home run. In total, Gordon made four starts and went 7-for-16 (.438) with two RBIs and a stolen base. He's slashing .400/.429/.550 in his young big-league career, and dating back to 2019 he now has a .312 batting average and .474 slugging percentage in 340 at-bats between Triple-A and the majors. He's 22-for-26 on steal attempts during that span. Through all the tribulations he's faced over these past few years, Gordon has stepped it up on the field and really produced when given a chance. This season is a giant bummer, obviously, but if the Twins can take the opportunity to get extended looks at fringe-type prospects like Ober and Gordon, and find that maybe they actually have something in them, that's a big win with possible implications going forward. LOWLIGHTS It needs to be stated: The front office completely whiffed on nearly every significant pitching acquisition during the offseason. Starters, relievers, free agents, trades ... they've almost all panned out poorly. None worse than Matt Shoemaker, who received a $2 million deal to plug in as Minnesota's No. 5 starter and has been a total disaster. His start on Friday was one of the worst ever seen from a Twins pitcher, as the right-hander surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits and two walks while recording one out. The catastrophic performance inflated his ERA to 7.28 and tagged him with his league-leading seventh loss. Shoemaker absolutely deserves to be out of the rotation but that's not happening at this point, due to the aforementioned lack of bodies. The Twins can't afford to give away any of their MLB depth, no matter how atrocious it may be. Fellow free agent starter J.A. Happ hasn't been quite as bad as Shoemaker, but he sure hasn't been good. Happ gave up five earned runs on nine hits (three home runs) in five innings against Kansas City the previous night. He now owns a 5.61 ERA to go along with a 4.77 FIP. That includes a 10.17 ERA over his past five turns, during which opponents have slashed .360/.405/.680 against the veteran, who looks pretty cooked by now. Bullpen pickups have been similarly disappointing, just about across the board. Centerpiece free agency addition Alex Colomé gave up a two-run homer in Baltimore; his modest momentum built up in early May has now completely evaporated. Colomé has a 9.00 ERA in his past six outings and opponents are slashing .389/.450/.889. The team's lone trade acquisition of the winter, Anderson, pitched badly in his only appearance of the week before going back on IL. We've already seen Derek Law and Brandon Waddell pass through with lackluster stints. What happened to the mojo and moxie of this front office and coaching staff when it comes to identifying and developing arms? It's the top story of the season, in my opinion. Entering play on Sunday, the Twins had the third-worst ERA in the American League (ahead of only the Orioles and Angels) and the second-worst pitching WAR in the major leagues (ahead of only the Diamondbacks). The bats have their issues and the lineup is decimated but this lousy pitching staff gives the team no real shot at getting on any kind of sustained run. TRENDING STORYLINE It appears the Twins may be getting back two of their most critical pieces in the near future. Buxton, who has now missed a full month and counting since straining his hip on May 6th, completed a baserunning program without issue and will likely head on a rehab stint in the days ahead. It wouldn't be shocking to see him back in the outfield for next weekend's series against Houston. Meanwhile, Kenta Maeda went through a 35-pitch bullpen session on Sunday morning and came out of it fine. He too is on the verge of a rehab assignment, which presumably would entail one or two starts with the Saints. Will the time off prove an elixir for his woefully underwhelming performance up to this point? The Twins are probably in too deep of a hole, and plagued by too many flaws on the roster, for an historical comeback thrusting them back into contention to be realistic. If such a thing was ever going to happen though, getting back their best player and best pitcher at full strength will absolutely need to be a part of the equation. LOOKING AHEAD Well, here we go. After going 7-6 during their two-week soft patch against the Orioles and Royals, the Twins are about to see the difficulty level steepen sharply. The dreaded Yankees and Astros are coming to town. This could get ugly. (Uglier, I should say.) TUESDAY, 6/8: YANKEES @ TWINS – LHP Jordan Montgomery v. RHP Michael Pineda WEDNESDAY, 6/9: YANKEES @ TWINS – RHP Gerrit Cole v. RHP Randy Dobnak THURSDAY, 6/10: YANKEES @ TWINS – TBD v. LHP J.A. Happ FRIDAY, 6/11: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP José Urquidy v. RHP José Berríos SATURDAY, 6/12: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP Luis Garcia v. RHP Bailey Ober SUNDAY, 6/13: ASTROS @ TWINS – LHP Framber Valdez v. RHP Michael Pineda View full article
  13. A quick glance at his overall numbers is the stuff of video games. In eight starts with Ft. Myers, he went 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA. In four starts with Pensacola, he is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA. Overall, he’s given up just eight walks while striking out 87 batters in 69 2/3 innings. The sample size was small, but his numbers remained strong and even improved as he moved up to Double-A. “I haven’t really tried to change anything from my standpoint. I’ve mainly been sticking to my strengths and doing what I do well. But there are some differences. There are some guys who will take pitches that are borderline. For right now, my stuff that’s been in the zone has been playing as it was playing in Ft. Myers. However, these guys definitely are more polished. If you leave one over the middle, they might smack one a little farther than they would down there.” On the other hand, Ober knows the kind of talent that he is playing with on this Pensacola roster. He played with these guys in Cedar Rapids in 2018, and with the Miracle earlier in 2019. “It’s really cool. A lot of these guys were down there (Ft. Myers) during the first half of the year. The first month or two in Ft. Myers, we were winning a lot. Once we got these guys up here in Pensacola, they’ve started shifting that way as well, and the last couple of weeks, we’ve been playing very well.” So, what has been the key for Ober? How has he been able to maintain his success this season despite missing a couple of months and despite moving up a level? “I just think my mentality is different. This year I’ve been able to focus in with all four of my pitches. That’s been a big thing. I’ve been able to mix really well, trusting my command. Not having to fall behind hitters, always being in attack mode. Being ahead and controlling the pace of the game.” Ober’s primary pitch this year has been a four-seam fastball. He adds, “primarily throwing it up in the zone. I’m trying to use my extension, my carry, and my movement on the fastball to get swings and misses up there.” Ober added, “Started throwing that and having a lot of success living with my four-seam up in the zone and in and out. Once we established that pitch, we started working on breaking balls that I could tunnel the same type of path that the fastball has and it breaks at the last second.” “Tunneling” is one of those new baseball terms. Essentially it is working to maintain a release point so that the ball will travel most of the way toward the plate on the same path until breaking or moving differently. As Ober says, “It’s throwing every pitch the same way and letting them work off each other.” His secondary stuff has really improved as well. As he notes, “I’ve been using my slider a lot to get ahead and it’s been a lot better this year. Same with my changeup. I think my curve ball’s been a big difference, being able to play off of my high fastball and getting more swings and misses on that.” We know that the Twins have embraced the use of analytics and technology throughout the minor leagues for years, but that has been amped up the last couple of seasons. It’s something that Ober has used and embraces as well. “I learned about all this stuff in 2018 at spring training. They introduced it to a lot of our guys. They sat down with us and explained how it works and what it shows us, and the type of information and feedback that it can give us. Being able to know what works best, and when, definitely helped out a lot of our guys, especially me. I came into the Twins organization only throwing two-seam fastballs in college. I showed up, and immediately once I got put on the Rapsodo, they were like, ‘Hey, you’ve got good carry on the two-seam, let’s try the four-seam too.” One other value of the Rapsodo and other technologies might be trying to discover ways of keeping pitchers healthy, obviously something that is important to all pitchers in all organizations. Whether is noticing a drop in spin rate, velocity, release point or something else, may help determine what can be done. With Ober having spent time on the injured list this year and in previous years, they have worked and reviewed the data. “Not so much with my extension. They say that’s pretty healthy. Have a better lead leg so I can stabilize my weight balance and leg transfer. When your lead leg is not stable, it can lead to some inconsistencies in arm path which can lead to some injuries. So that’s mainly the thing we’ve been working on. This past year, we’ve been working on it a lot. It’s better to the point where I feel healthier on the mound but I still have a little ways to go.” In short, the data and technology are certainly being used in an attempt to keep pitchers healthy. Imagine the value in keeping even one pitcher away from surgery. The Blue Wahoos put Ober on the IL before Game 5 on Sunday morning with some elbow inflammation. It is not believed to be serious. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Ober was fantastic in April with the Miracle. Unfortunately, as the month ended, he was placed on the IL with a forearm injury. He rehabbed for two months and returned to the GCL for some rehab games. The timing worked out well for Ober on a personal level. “My wife and I welcomed a baby girl on June 26th. I was doing my rehab then, so I was able to go home for a couple of days to be with her.” He returned to Ft. Myers and began his rehab on July 2nd. Since then, he has had plenty of family with him. “Recently, they were able to come out when I got the news that I was going to go to Pensacola. I called and said, ‘Hey, I’m going up there, see if you guys can fly out and spend the rest of the year here.’” It worked out, so he was able to have his newly-expanded family with him for the remainder of the season. “It’s awesome. It’s been a little different, trying to adjust to a dad lifestyle, but I love it.” Ober and his wife (and daughter Blake) live in Denver during the offseason. They moved there from North Carolina to be near his wife’s family. Ober graduated from the College of Charleston last fall with a degree in Business Administration. (“No more school for me!”) In the offseason, he will be working as a pitching instructor and some other side jobs while preparing himself for the 2020 season. He noted that he has been invited to go to Ft. Myers for camps at the end of this month. Hopefully he gets lots and lots of time this winter to work on that dad lifestyle! You can follow Bailey Ober on Twitter and Instagram. Get to Know Bailey Ober (interview following the 2017 season)
  14. The Minnesota Twins find themselves doubled up in the loss column at the time of this post, at 13-26, and the biggest controversy is whether Yermin Mercedes should be able to swing 3-0 against Willians Astudillo. If that doesn't tell you how this season has gone, I'm not sure what will. I've already wrote about players that we could see traded, as well as ranked all the Twins MLB roster by trade value. I expect many of those moves to be made in July, although some could roll in earlier, especially with all of the injuries around Major League Baseball. When all of these expected moves come around, the Twins are going to have to fill these holes with players from the minor leagues, or possibly by players coming in from the trades. This series will take a look at the players the Twins front office will want to take a longer look at come late July, August, and September in order to put themselves in a position to succeed in 2022. RHP Randy Dobnak Dobnak came into the Twins organization as a feel good story, and even started a playoff game for the Twins. He also signed a 5 year extension this past offseason, which locked in financial security for the former Uber driver, and gave the Twins a cheap depth option for the foreseeable future. However, there is questions around Twins territory on whether Dobnak is an MLB starter, or more of a long man. With expected trades of JA Happ and Michael Pineda, and the likely DFA or move to the bullpen for Matt Shoemaker, the Twins will have plenty of chances to evaluate some of the AAA starters. Dobnak should, and likely will be, the first option to fill the hole. Dobnak relies on pinpoint control over his sinker, and a very good slider to pair with the sinker. In order to be an effective MLB starter, Dobnak will have to develop a reliable third pitch, with the changeup being the most likely. Even if Dobnak isn't a long term starter, he will be on the opening day roster in 2022. LHP Lewis Thorpe Lewis Thorpe is a former top prospect out of Australia, but certainly hasn't met those expectations thus far. The key to Thorpe being a useful arm in the major leagues all rely on his fastball velocity. Last season we saw Thorpe's velocity fall below 90, which was not the norm for him, and unsurprisingly, he got shelled. However, there were signs of hope for the southpaw during spring training, where he said he "refocused mentally and physically" and the results backed it up. Thorpe was sitting in the low 90's during spring training, but that has suddenly disappeared. During Thorpe's two spot starts thus far, he's once again sitting 89.7 MPH on the fastball, and shared that he's going through a dead arm phase. If Thorpe snaps out of his dead arm, and regains his velo, he has a chance at a starter to pair with his very good slider. However, if the fastball velo is only sustainable in short stints, a move to the pen seems inevitable. We'll get an answer on this question during the dog days of the 2021 summer. RHP Bailey Ober As I'm writing this article, Bailey Ober is pitching the first inning of his MLB debut. Ober is a big, right handed arm who stands at 6 feet 9 inches, but doesn't have the velo that matches the body. The Twins drafted Ober in the 12th round in 2017, which is the same draft where Royce Lewis was the #1 pick. The fact that Ober has already made his MLB debut, despite being a 12th round pick, means he's outperformed expectations. Bailey was added to the 40 man roster this past offseason, despite not throwing in a live game since 2019. Ober has four quality pitches, with the fastball sitting in the upper 80's, and the lower 90's on occasion. His best putaway pitch is a changeup, which moves with a lot of armside run. He also features a slider and curveball, but neither project as anything more than an average pitch. Despite the fastball not cracking 90, it has a lot of carry on it which allows him to successfully pitch in the upper part of the zone. With the next wave of top arms coming to Target Field soon in Johan Duran and Jordan Balazovic, Ober will have to perform well to stay apart of Minnesota's long term plans, as he is a starter or bust.
  15. Bailey Ober, added to Minnesota's 40-man roster a few days ago, is set to become the latest in a long line of Twins pitchers that are really, really tall. It's a running fascination that traces back through several different front office configurations. Let's explore the recent history of towering Twins hurlers.Tall pitchers have a natural mystique, which is rooted in both romantic and scientific thinking. Scouts cherish a tall young thrower, evoking adjectives like "angular" and "projectable." A mountainous figure on the mound is inherently imposing, and there are also more tangible advantages, like a deeper release point and sharper downward plane. Six-foot-10 Randy Johnson represented the epitome of these qualities, and he's rightly revered as one of the most dominant to ever take the hill. To an extent, you could argue being tall is almost a requisite for greatness. Last year Eli Ben-Porat of The Hardball Times reviewed the top pitchers from 2016 through 2018, and he more or less reached this conclusion. "All seven of the top pitchers over the past three seasons were at least 6-foot-3, with only two of the top 14 (6-foot-2 Aaron Nola and 6-foot-1 Trevor Bauer) shorter than that. Of the top 23, only five are below 6-foot-3, and all are at least 6-foot-1," he wrote. "Marcus Stroman is correct that Height Doesn’t Measure Heart; however, it definitely measures an individual’s potential to be a front-end major league baseball starter, especially in today’s game." Now, there's a difference between being lower-case "tall" and upper-case TALL. While the former is prototypical, the latter is more experimental, and Minnesota's many ventures on this front have been uneven. Standing 6-foot-9, Ober certainly lands in the TALL category. Starting with him, here's a backward-chronological look at some notable altitudinous specimens of the franchise's recent past. Bailey Ober, RHP (6'9"): He was recently added to the Twins' 40-man roster, paving way for a not-too-distant MLB debut. Drafted in the 12th round of the 2017 draft, Ober put up big numbers during his first two professionals seasons (181.2 IP, 2.38 ERA, 11.0 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, 0.94 WHIP), and was lights-out in his 2019 stint at Double-A, where he allowed one earned run on 10 hits over 24 innings with a 34-to-2 K/BB ratio. Despite the huge numbers (largely accrued as an advanced college arm facing inexperienced competition), Ober's stuff isn't considered overpowering and his fastball tops out in the 80s. Michael Pineda (6'7"): It wasn't necessarily Pineda's height that attracted Minnesota's front office to him three offseasons ago, so much as a favorable opportunity to land a quality pitcher on a savvy contract coming off surgery. But Big Mike is a big man, and his size certainly plays a role in his standout ability. He's the closest thing to a dominant starting pitcher on this list, which is saying something because while he can throw in the mid-90s and induce a fair share of whiffs, he's more of an efficient strike-thrower than intimidating power arm. Aaron Slegers (6'10"): Terry Ryan's Twins added Slegers in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, viewing him as an interesting project despite his meager strikeout numbers at the University of Indiana. Slegers was fairly similar to Ober in build, and likewise, didn't bring much heat. Unlike Ober, though, Slegers never posted impressive K-rates in the minors, and that has translated to a 5.3 K/9 rate in 58 MLB innings. He did make three appearances in the playoffs for Tampa this year. Mike Pelfrey (6'7"): Six months before Ryan's front office added Slegers in the draft, they added Pelfrey as a free agent. Pelf is the banner example of a tall pitcher whose primary appeal seems to be that he's tall. And to his credit, I guess, it's a trait that carried him through a remarkably lengthy major-league career. He was a first-round draft pick (ninth overall) by the Mets in 2006, and went on to make more than 250 MLB starts, logging nearly 1,500 innings. This despite the fact that he consistently put forth poor strikeout rates, poor control, and generally lackluster results. Pelfrey never struck out even twice as many batters as he walked, and never posted so much as a league-average ERA after his career year in 2010. Despite that, he pitched in the majors through 2017, receiving not one but TWO contracts from TR and the Twins. Alex Meyer (6'9"): One month before signing Pelfrey as a free agent, the Twins acquired Meyer from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Denard Span. Ryan definitely had a type in his second stint as GM. A lean, lanky fireballer with a quirky delivery, Meyer was much more of a high-upside prospect in the theoretical Randy Johnson mold. Unfortunately, his fate was one that befalls all too many tantalizing prodigies of this ilk: erratic control and injuries. They derailed the righty before he could even scratch the surface of his potential. Meyer threw 95 innings in the majors (just six with the Twins) before retiring. Jon Rauch (6'11"): While Terry Ryan clearly had an affinity for tall pitchers, it was his temporary replacement Bill Smith who traded for the tallest pitcher in major-league history. With the Twins racing for a playoff berth run in 2009, Smith acquired Rauch from Arizona in exchange for Kevin Mulvey. Minnesota was one of seven major-league stops for Rauch in an 11-year MLB run spent mostly in the bullpen. While he definitely carved out a nice career for himself, Rauch was known more for steadily solid reliability as opposed to overpowering dominance. His fastball often sat in the upper-80s and he never averaged even a strikeout per inning. Michael Tonkin (6'7"): The Twins took a liking to Tonkin as a high schooler in Palmdale, CA. They chose him with a late-round pick in 2008 and convinced him to sign for a huge over-slot bonus ($230K). At the time, Baseball America spoke highly of Tonkin's "projectable frame" and "ideal build." Fitting more of the prototypical mold for a tall and lanky pitcher, Tonkin used a power fastball to tally big strikeout totals and strong overall numbers in the minors, but he never translated it to sustained MLB success, mainly because of his proneness to home runs. Tonkin made 141 appearances over five seasons with the Twins, posting a 4.43 ERA, then spent 2018 pitching in Japan before returning in 2019 and pitching on a few different minor-league clubs. Still only 31, it's possible we haven't seen the last of him. Loek van Mil (7'1"): If he ever got his shot, Van Mil would've supplanted Rauch from his title as tallest MLB pitcher ever. Minnesota signed the unconventional Dutch right-hander out of the Netherlands in 2005, and he showed occasional flashes while rising through their system, though – much like for Meyer – injuries and control were constant battles. The Twins traded Van Mil to the Angels in exchange for Brian Fuentes in 2010 – incidentally, just two days after they acquired Rauch from Arizona. From there, Van Mil bounced around between a few different organizations, went to pitch in Japan and then the Netherlands, resurfaced in the Twins system for a bit in 2015-16, and then spent a few years pitching in Australia. Tragically, he passed away in July of 2019 at age 34. It's possible I'm missing a name or two, but these are the players that stand out to me from over the past couple of decades. Kyle Gibson (6'6") would be another borderline example but I kind of (arbitrarily) set the threshold at 6-foot-7 or taller. Such pitchers are relatively rare, but as you can see the Twins have found plenty to try and work with. So what have we learned on this journey? Maybe not much, other than that height is anything but a dependable predictor of dominance. While a few pitchers on the list above have managed to carve out lengthy and respectable major-league careers, none did so in a fashion even remotely resembling The Big Unit. In terms of stuff and approach, Ober is fairly comparable to a guy like Slegers, coming consistently over the plate with an arsenal that doesn't sizzle. But Slegers never put up remotely impressive K-rates at any level of the minors, whereas as Ober has shown an exceptional ability to miss bats, all the way up through Double-A. In his four starts at Pensacola to close out the 2019 campaign, Ober struck out 40% of the batters he faced with a 21% swinging strike rate. Velocity or not, those are the kind of flat-out dominant results you dream of from a 6-foot-9 figure on the hill. Even in light of the checkered history of outcomes, I'm really curious to see what becomes of Ober as the latest experiment in sky-scraping pitchers for the Twins. With his tremendous early success in the minors, he carries quite a bit of intrigue in the context of this list. If you want to learn more about the new Twins 40-man addition, in his own words, Seth interviewed Ober shortly after the roster move was announced. You can watch their conversation below on Twins Spotlight: MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  16. Tall pitchers have a natural mystique, which is rooted in both romantic and scientific thinking. Scouts cherish a tall young thrower, evoking adjectives like "angular" and "projectable." A mountainous figure on the mound is inherently imposing, and there are also more tangible advantages, like a deeper release point and sharper downward plane. Six-foot-10 Randy Johnson represented the epitome of these qualities, and he's rightly revered as one of the most dominant to ever take the hill. To an extent, you could argue being tall is almost a requisite for greatness. Last year Eli Ben-Porat of The Hardball Times reviewed the top pitchers from 2016 through 2018, and he more or less reached this conclusion. "All seven of the top pitchers over the past three seasons were at least 6-foot-3, with only two of the top 14 (6-foot-2 Aaron Nola and 6-foot-1 Trevor Bauer) shorter than that. Of the top 23, only five are below 6-foot-3, and all are at least 6-foot-1," he wrote. "Marcus Stroman is correct that Height Doesn’t Measure Heart; however, it definitely measures an individual’s potential to be a front-end major league baseball starter, especially in today’s game." Now, there's a difference between being lower-case "tall" and upper-case TALL. While the former is prototypical, the latter is more experimental, and Minnesota's many ventures on this front have been uneven. Standing 6-foot-9, Ober certainly lands in the TALL category. Starting with him, here's a backward-chronological look at some notable altitudinous specimens of the franchise's recent past. Bailey Ober, RHP (6'9"): He was recently added to the Twins' 40-man roster, paving way for a not-too-distant MLB debut. Drafted in the 12th round of the 2017 draft, Ober put up big numbers during his first two professionals seasons (181.2 IP, 2.38 ERA, 11.0 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, 0.94 WHIP), and was lights-out in his 2019 stint at Double-A, where he allowed one earned run on 10 hits over 24 innings with a 34-to-2 K/BB ratio. Despite the huge numbers (largely accrued as an advanced college arm facing inexperienced competition), Ober's stuff isn't considered overpowering and his fastball tops out in the 80s. Michael Pineda (6'7"): It wasn't necessarily Pineda's height that attracted Minnesota's front office to him three offseasons ago, so much as a favorable opportunity to land a quality pitcher on a savvy contract coming off surgery. But Big Mike is a big man, and his size certainly plays a role in his standout ability. He's the closest thing to a dominant starting pitcher on this list, which is saying something because while he can throw in the mid-90s and induce a fair share of whiffs, he's more of an efficient strike-thrower than intimidating power arm. Aaron Slegers (6'10"): Terry Ryan's Twins added Slegers in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, viewing him as an interesting project despite his meager strikeout numbers at the University of Indiana. Slegers was fairly similar to Ober in build, and likewise, didn't bring much heat. Unlike Ober, though, Slegers never posted impressive K-rates in the minors, and that has translated to a 5.3 K/9 rate in 58 MLB innings. He did make three appearances in the playoffs for Tampa this year. Mike Pelfrey (6'7"): Six months before Ryan's front office added Slegers in the draft, they added Pelfrey as a free agent. Pelf is the banner example of a tall pitcher whose primary appeal seems to be that he's tall. And to his credit, I guess, it's a trait that carried him through a remarkably lengthy major-league career. He was a first-round draft pick (ninth overall) by the Mets in 2006, and went on to make more than 250 MLB starts, logging nearly 1,500 innings. This despite the fact that he consistently put forth poor strikeout rates, poor control, and generally lackluster results. Pelfrey never struck out even twice as many batters as he walked, and never posted so much as a league-average ERA after his career year in 2010. Despite that, he pitched in the majors through 2017, receiving not one but TWO contracts from TR and the Twins. Alex Meyer (6'9"): One month before signing Pelfrey as a free agent, the Twins acquired Meyer from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Denard Span. Ryan definitely had a type in his second stint as GM. A lean, lanky fireballer with a quirky delivery, Meyer was much more of a high-upside prospect in the theoretical Randy Johnson mold. Unfortunately, his fate was one that befalls all too many tantalizing prodigies of this ilk: erratic control and injuries. They derailed the righty before he could even scratch the surface of his potential. Meyer threw 95 innings in the majors (just six with the Twins) before retiring. Jon Rauch (6'11"): While Terry Ryan clearly had an affinity for tall pitchers, it was his temporary replacement Bill Smith who traded for the tallest pitcher in major-league history. With the Twins racing for a playoff berth run in 2009, Smith acquired Rauch from Arizona in exchange for Kevin Mulvey. Minnesota was one of seven major-league stops for Rauch in an 11-year MLB run spent mostly in the bullpen. While he definitely carved out a nice career for himself, Rauch was known more for steadily solid reliability as opposed to overpowering dominance. His fastball often sat in the upper-80s and he never averaged even a strikeout per inning. Michael Tonkin (6'7"): The Twins took a liking to Tonkin as a high schooler in Palmdale, CA. They chose him with a late-round pick in 2008 and convinced him to sign for a huge over-slot bonus ($230K). At the time, Baseball America spoke highly of Tonkin's "projectable frame" and "ideal build." Fitting more of the prototypical mold for a tall and lanky pitcher, Tonkin used a power fastball to tally big strikeout totals and strong overall numbers in the minors, but he never translated it to sustained MLB success, mainly because of his proneness to home runs. Tonkin made 141 appearances over five seasons with the Twins, posting a 4.43 ERA, then spent 2018 pitching in Japan before returning in 2019 and pitching on a few different minor-league clubs. Still only 31, it's possible we haven't seen the last of him. Loek van Mil (7'1"): If he ever got his shot, Van Mil would've supplanted Rauch from his title as tallest MLB pitcher ever. Minnesota signed the unconventional Dutch right-hander out of the Netherlands in 2005, and he showed occasional flashes while rising through their system, though – much like for Meyer – injuries and control were constant battles. The Twins traded Van Mil to the Angels in exchange for Brian Fuentes in 2010 – incidentally, just two days after they acquired Rauch from Arizona. From there, Van Mil bounced around between a few different organizations, went to pitch in Japan and then the Netherlands, resurfaced in the Twins system for a bit in 2015-16, and then spent a few years pitching in Australia. Tragically, he passed away in July of 2019 at age 34. It's possible I'm missing a name or two, but these are the players that stand out to me from over the past couple of decades. Kyle Gibson (6'6") would be another borderline example but I kind of (arbitrarily) set the threshold at 6-foot-7 or taller. Such pitchers are relatively rare, but as you can see the Twins have found plenty to try and work with. So what have we learned on this journey? Maybe not much, other than that height is anything but a dependable predictor of dominance. While a few pitchers on the list above have managed to carve out lengthy and respectable major-league careers, none did so in a fashion even remotely resembling The Big Unit. In terms of stuff and approach, Ober is fairly comparable to a guy like Slegers, coming consistently over the plate with an arsenal that doesn't sizzle. But Slegers never put up remotely impressive K-rates at any level of the minors, whereas as Ober has shown an exceptional ability to miss bats, all the way up through Double-A. In his four starts at Pensacola to close out the 2019 campaign, Ober struck out 40% of the batters he faced with a 21% swinging strike rate. Velocity or not, those are the kind of flat-out dominant results you dream of from a 6-foot-9 figure on the hill. Even in light of the checkered history of outcomes, I'm really curious to see what becomes of Ober as the latest experiment in sky-scraping pitchers for the Twins. With his tremendous early success in the minors, he carries quite a bit of intrigue in the context of this list. If you want to learn more about the new Twins 40-man addition, in his own words, Seth interviewed Ober shortly after the roster move was announced. You can watch their conversation below on Twins Spotlight: MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. First and foremost, the Twins minor league academy has been a tremendous success for a number of reasons: First, they have been able to conduct camps throughout the offseason. In the fall, there are camps for position players to work on their speed and agility or other specific areas of their game. In January, there are pitch camps for control or velocity. Rehabbing players are also there a lot in the offseason. They are able to do that because there is comfortable lodging for the players without sending them to a hotel. And the players are taking advantage of it. Also, players have been coming to Ft. Myers well before spring training. By the first week in January, minor leaguers start to arrive. In fact, I was told by several people that only three or four of the minor leaguers have not already shown up to camp despite the fact that the official report day is still three or four days away. That is incredible. And the players are coming into camp in really good shape and ready to go. While the practices aren’t official, there is a real level of formality to it. Coaches are assigned. Conditioning is done. Stretching. Base running. Bullpens. Batting practice. Grounders are being taken and fly balls are being caught. It’s as if practice had already started. The only difference is they aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re dressed in warmup attire, which is really creating issues for me in identifying most of the new players. I’ll adjust, don’t worry. Anyway, what is impressive is that they aren’t just in early spring mode. They’re working on things. Infield coordinator Billy Boyer is working with the infielders on specific things, on taking grounders or throws to the bases from various positions, simulating their shift positions. Hitters aren’t just taking batting practice and crushing fastballs. They are already hitting nasty sliders off of the pitching machine. Pitchers are working on location and their pitches, but they’re doing it in a fun, competitive mode. For instance, here is a video of Blayne Enlow and Jordan Balazovic. They go back and forth and simulate an 0-2 count on a hitter. What will they throw? What will the location be? https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233794708763299840 I did see Bailey Ober throwing some impressive breaking balls too. Here he is working along-side Enlow. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1234105413408370689 And Matt Canterino’s bullpen was very workmanlike. He was throwing all of his pitches; fastball, changeup, slider and curveball. All looked to have the potential to be plus pitches (based on this bullpen session, at least). https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1233795751567929345 By the way, one name to kind of keep in the back of your mind during the 2020 season is RHP Jon Olsen. He was the Twins 12th round pick in 2018 from UCLA. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and rehabbed from that and other arm issues in 2019. But he appears to be healthy and really had an impressive bullpen. On Saturday morning, I did a 25-minute radio spot on Bison 1660 in Fargo from the back field, trying to stay out of the wind. You can listen to that here. https://twitter.com/Bison1660/status/1233799305447776256 But following that interview, I walked to Bill Smith Field. That is the field behind the academy where the GCL Twins play. As I was approaching the field, I heard hollering. And then I see a ball launched out of the park. And then another ball well beyond the fence in left center field. That’s when I realized who was hitting in the cage. It was Twins 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco. For good measure, he hit the next ball even further. I had also seen him the day before fielding ground balls at shortstop. Very impressive defensively. And he is a big, strong kid. He has the hands and speed for shortstop, but he’s got the size to be a third baseman. Definitely one to watch progress. After his round of batting practice. He and fellow young prospect Jesus Feliz posed for a photo. Speaking of top picks, it was great to watch Forest Lake’s own Matt Wallner take some batting practice. The young man is impressive. He’s tall and strong, and he can hit the ball a long way. In just observing, he appeared to be very coachable as well. Later, he came up and introduced himself and it was a Minnesota Nice conversation. It was good to see Taylor Grzelakowski on the field and healthy. He had a tough year last year in Pensacola. He played through a lot of pain before finally having a second ankle surgery in June. He said that his offseason and rest really helped it recover. I tell you what, there are a lot of great stories to be told on the minor league side of the complex. Hopefully I can get to some of them. One name in camp that Twins fans will find interesting. Levi Michael is back in the organization. The 2010 first-round pick spent seven seasons in the Twins organization. He split time between AA and AAA with the Mets in 2018 and did the same in the Giants system in 2019. Alright, I’m sure there is more and there will continue to be more. But feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to answer, or I’ll try to watch that player/those players more closely.
  18. Twins minor league camp doesn’t officially start until the middle of this coming week, but I have spent parts of the past three days down on the minor league fields. Here are a handful of notes.First and foremost, the Twins minor league academy has been a tremendous success for a number of reasons: First, they have been able to conduct camps throughout the offseason. In the fall, there are camps for position players to work on their speed and agility or other specific areas of their game. In January, there are pitch camps for control or velocity. Rehabbing players are also there a lot in the offseason. They are able to do that because there is comfortable lodging for the players without sending them to a hotel. And the players are taking advantage of it. Also, players have been coming to Ft. Myers well before spring training. By the first week in January, minor leaguers start to arrive. In fact, I was told by several people that only three or four of the minor leaguers have not already shown up to camp despite the fact that the official report day is still three or four days away. That is incredible. And the players are coming into camp in really good shape and ready to go. While the practices aren’t official, there is a real level of formality to it. Coaches are assigned. Conditioning is done. Stretching. Base running. Bullpens. Batting practice. Grounders are being taken and fly balls are being caught. It’s as if practice had already started. The only difference is they aren’t wearing uniforms. They’re dressed in warmup attire, which is really creating issues for me in identifying most of the new players. I’ll adjust, don’t worry. Anyway, what is impressive is that they aren’t just in early spring mode. They’re working on things. Infield coordinator Billy Boyer is working with the infielders on specific things, on taking grounders or throws to the bases from various positions, simulating their shift positions. Hitters aren’t just taking batting practice and crushing fastballs. They are already hitting nasty sliders off of the pitching machine. Pitchers are working on location and their pitches, but they’re doing it in a fun, competitive mode. For instance, here is a video of Blayne Enlow and Jordan Balazovic. They go back and forth and simulate an 0-2 count on a hitter. What will they throw? What will the location be? But following that interview, I walked to Bill Smith Field. That is the field behind the academy where the GCL Twins play. As I was approaching the field, I heard hollering. And then I see a ball launched out of the park. And then another ball well beyond the fence in left center field. That’s when I realized who was hitting in the cage. It was Twins 2019 first-round pick Keoni Cavaco. For good measure, he hit the next ball even further. I had also seen him the day before fielding ground balls at shortstop. Very impressive defensively. And he is a big, strong kid. He has the hands and speed for shortstop, but he’s got the size to be a third baseman. Definitely one to watch progress. After his round of batting practice. He and fellow young prospect Jesus Feliz posed for a photo. Speaking of top picks, it was great to watch Forest Lake’s own Matt Wallner take some batting practice. The young man is impressive. He’s tall and strong, and he can hit the ball a long way. In just observing, he appeared to be very coachable as well. Later, he came up and introduced himself and it was a Minnesota Nice conversation. It was good to see Taylor Grzelakowski on the field and healthy. He had a tough year last year in Pensacola. He played through a lot of pain before finally having a second ankle surgery in June. He said that his offseason and rest really helped it recover. I tell you what, there are a lot of great stories to be told on the minor league side of the complex. Hopefully I can get to some of them. One name in camp that Twins fans will find interesting. Levi Michael is back in the organization. The 2010 first-round pick spent seven seasons in the Twins organization. He split time between AA and AAA with the Mets in 2018 and did the same in the Giants system in 2019. Alright, I’m sure there is more and there will continue to be more. But feel free to ask questions and I’ll try to answer, or I’ll try to watch that player/those players more closely. Click here to view the article
  19. No award may be more fun to hand out than the starting pitcher of the year award. Up and down the minor league system there are arms full of life and promise who have just one goal in mind; make hitters miserable. That they did this year, as every affiliate ranked highly in their respective leagues for pitching strikeouts and high impact starters made their presence known on each squad. Here we will appreciate and celebrate those individual starters who had the best seasons in 2019.Previous Starting Pitcher of the Year Winners: 2018 winner - Tyler Wells 2017 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2016 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2015 winner - Jose Berrios 2014 winner - Jose Berrios 2013 winner - Taylor Rogers 2012 winner - BJ Hermsen Previous 2019 Winners: 2019 minor league relief pitcher of the year-Anthony Vizcaya 2019 short-season pitcher of the year-Cody Laweryson 2019 short-season hitter of the year-Matt Wallner The Twins’ minor league system has seen some large advancements recently in player development and the most impacted area has arguably been the starting pitching. New players have come in and seen their velocity gain a tick or two, recent draft picks have flourished quickly at each level, and great performances have come from unexpected areas. It has become almost astounding to look to each affiliate’s starting rotation and see how much talent there is in every single rotation. There were many great choices here and I know that I personally found this vote the most challenging one to make. Six Twins Daily Minor League writers voted for the various awards this year. For the starting pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below. Others receiving votes: Luis Rijo - 19 GS, 5-8, 2.86 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 107 IP, 89 H, 23 BB, 99 KJhoan Duran - 22 GS, 5-12, 3.76 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 115 IP, 97 H, 40 BB, 136 KDevin Smeltzer - 19 GS, 4-5, 2.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 104 ⅓ IP, 87 H, 22 BB, 104 KJosh Winder - 21 GS, 7-2, 2.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 125 ⅔ IP, 93 H, 30 BB, 118 KStarting Pitcher of the Year: Here are the top five vote-getters voted on by the Twins Daily minor league crew. T-#4 - Cole Sands, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 18 GS, 7-3, 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 97 ⅓ IP, 81 H, 19 BB, 108 K Sands was taken by the Twins in thefifth round of the 2018 MLB draft out of Florida State University. He did not pitch in the Twins’ system that year which isn’t rare for college pitchers, so 2019 was his first year in professional baseball and what an impression he made. Splitting time between three levels of the minors, Sands dazzled with a 9.99 K/9, a 1.76 BB/9, and a 2.45 FIP. Injuries limited him to 97 1/3 innings pitched in 2019 but a strong season on the field made Sands one of the premier starters in the system and he may be up in the majors as soon as next year. T-#4 - Griffin Jax, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Rochester Red Wings: 23 GS, 5-7, 2.90 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 127 ⅓ IP, 117 H, 27 BB, 94 K Jax was a graduate of the Air Force and was granted the ability to pitch in the Twins system full-time in 2018 under the military’s World Class Athlete Program which allows active-duty personnel to to train full-time for the Olympics. Jax backs up his cool story with some cool pitching as he threw the third most innings in the Twins’ system in 2019 and held the third lowest ERA among those in the system with at least 100 innings pitched. Jax ended the season at AA, had a taste of AAA, and will need to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the rule 5 draft, so he may factor into the Twins’ starting rotation in 2020. #3-Bailey Ober, GCL Twins, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 13 GS, 8-0, 0.69 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 78 ⅔ IP, 55 H, 9 BB, 100 K Ober unfortunately was not able to throw as many innings as the other names on this list, but his numbers were absolutely eye-popping in 2019. Out of every minor league pitcher who had at least 70 innings pitched in 2019, Ober had the lowest ERA with his 0.69 mark (second place was 1.10). Ober’s K-BB% of 30.7% would be the second highest mark among qualified MLB starting pitchers with Gerrit Cole being the only starter with a better percentage. Really, this is all just me saying that Ober had a fantastic year and when healthy he is one of the best pitchers in the entire system. He discussed his 2019 season, his pitches and more in a Twins Daily interview earlier this week. #2-Jordan Balazovic, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Myers Miracle: 18 GS, 8-5, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 93 ⅔ IP, 67 H, 25 BB, 129 K As a cold-weather pitcher before the draft, Balazovic was a prime candidate for developing quickly when placed into a professional system...and that he did. Balazovic had a good 2018 and then followed it up with an absolutely phenomenal 2019 that saw his prospect stock rise to the top of the Twins’ system. Balazovic’s K% of 33.9% in 2019 would be the fifth highest among qualified MLB starters this year and his batting average allowed of .191 would the third lowest among qualified MLB starters. His 2019 was mostly spent at Fort Myers but he was promoted late in the season and was able to make a single playoff start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in which seven of the 14 outs he made were by strikeout. #1-Randy Dobnak, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Rochester Red Wings 21 GS, 12-4, 2.07 ERA, .98 WHIP, 135 IP, 104 H, 28 BB, 109 K Dobnak is the only starter in the top five to pitch for the Twins in 2019 and he very well may be the only one to pitch at four different levels in 2019 if you consider MLB as its own “level”. Nevertheless, Dobnak was an absolute horse in 2019 as he was first among all Twins’ minor league pitchers in innings pitched and his 2.07 ERA was the lowest among starters in the Twins’ system with more than 80 innings pitched. Dobnak was undrafted out of college and went to pitch in independent ball to start in 2017. Not long after the start of his career for the Utica Unicorns, Dobnak was picked up by the Twins on a minor league deal and he pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids that year. Beyond baseball, Dobnak was an Uber driver as recently as spring training in 2019 and he apparently was excellent as he had a rating of 4.99 stars out of 5. Man, these advanced stats are getting pretty weird even for me. Luckily for Dobnak, the major league paycheck is just a touch higher than the minor league one so he can retire from his Uber career. Dobnak’s professional career so far has been nothing short of incredible but he is much more than just a story. Dobnak’s wonderful 2019 season earned him a promotion to the majors where has allowed just two earned runs so far over his 11 major league innings. With some question marks in the Twins’ starting rotation at the moment, Dobnak will certainly get a few opportunities to prove that he belongs in the majors and that one’s draft position (or lack thereof) does not necessarily dictate how successful they will be in baseball. Dobnak has had a great 2019 in the minors and hopefully he will continue to have a great 2019 in the majors. The Ballots: Seth Stohs: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Bailey Ober 3) Jordan Balazovic 4) Josh Winder 5) Luis Rijo Tom Froemming: 1) Jordan Balazovic 2) Randy Dobnak 3) Cole Sands 4) Bailey Ober 5) Luis Rijo Cody Christie: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Griffin Jax 3) Devin Smeltzer 4) Jhoan Duran 5) Josh Winder Matt Braun: 1) Bailey Ober 2) Jordan Balazovic 3) Cole Sands 4) Jhoan Duran 5) Luis Rijo Ted Schwerzler: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Bailey Ober 3) Griffin Jax 4) Jordan Balazovic 5) Devin Smeltzer Steve Lein: 1) Jordan Balazovic 2) Randy Dobnak 3) Josh Winder 4) Bailey Ober 5) Cole Sands Feel free to discuss our ballots! Who was completely wrong? Who needs a shout out because they were overlooked? What would your ballot look like? Click here to view the article
  20. Previous Starting Pitcher of the Year Winners: 2018 winner - Tyler Wells 2017 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2016 winner - Stephen Gonsalves 2015 winner - Jose Berrios 2014 winner - Jose Berrios 2013 winner - Taylor Rogers 2012 winner - BJ Hermsen Previous 2019 Winners: 2019 minor league relief pitcher of the year-Anthony Vizcaya 2019 short-season pitcher of the year-Cody Laweryson 2019 short-season hitter of the year-Matt Wallner The Twins’ minor league system has seen some large advancements recently in player development and the most impacted area has arguably been the starting pitching. New players have come in and seen their velocity gain a tick or two, recent draft picks have flourished quickly at each level, and great performances have come from unexpected areas. It has become almost astounding to look to each affiliate’s starting rotation and see how much talent there is in every single rotation. There were many great choices here and I know that I personally found this vote the most challenging one to make. Six Twins Daily Minor League writers voted for the various awards this year. For the starting pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below. Others receiving votes: Luis Rijo - 19 GS, 5-8, 2.86 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 107 IP, 89 H, 23 BB, 99 K Jhoan Duran - 22 GS, 5-12, 3.76 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 115 IP, 97 H, 40 BB, 136 K Devin Smeltzer - 19 GS, 4-5, 2.76 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 104 ⅓ IP, 87 H, 22 BB, 104 K Josh Winder - 21 GS, 7-2, 2.65 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 125 ⅔ IP, 93 H, 30 BB, 118 K Starting Pitcher of the Year: Here are the top five vote-getters voted on by the Twins Daily minor league crew. T-#4 - Cole Sands, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 18 GS, 7-3, 2.68 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 97 ⅓ IP, 81 H, 19 BB, 108 K Sands was taken by the Twins in thefifth round of the 2018 MLB draft out of Florida State University. He did not pitch in the Twins’ system that year which isn’t rare for college pitchers, so 2019 was his first year in professional baseball and what an impression he made. Splitting time between three levels of the minors, Sands dazzled with a 9.99 K/9, a 1.76 BB/9, and a 2.45 FIP. Injuries limited him to 97 1/3 innings pitched in 2019 but a strong season on the field made Sands one of the premier starters in the system and he may be up in the majors as soon as next year. T-#4 - Griffin Jax, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Rochester Red Wings: 23 GS, 5-7, 2.90 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 127 ⅓ IP, 117 H, 27 BB, 94 K Jax was a graduate of the Air Force and was granted the ability to pitch in the Twins system full-time in 2018 under the military’s World Class Athlete Program which allows active-duty personnel to to train full-time for the Olympics. Jax backs up his cool story with some cool pitching as he threw the third most innings in the Twins’ system in 2019 and held the third lowest ERA among those in the system with at least 100 innings pitched. Jax ended the season at AA, had a taste of AAA, and will need to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the rule 5 draft, so he may factor into the Twins’ starting rotation in 2020. #3-Bailey Ober, GCL Twins, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 13 GS, 8-0, 0.69 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 78 ⅔ IP, 55 H, 9 BB, 100 K Ober unfortunately was not able to throw as many innings as the other names on this list, but his numbers were absolutely eye-popping in 2019. Out of every minor league pitcher who had at least 70 innings pitched in 2019, Ober had the lowest ERA with his 0.69 mark (second place was 1.10). Ober’s K-BB% of 30.7% would be the second highest mark among qualified MLB starting pitchers with Gerrit Cole being the only starter with a better percentage. Really, this is all just me saying that Ober had a fantastic year and when healthy he is one of the best pitchers in the entire system. He discussed his 2019 season, his pitches and more in a Twins Daily interview earlier this week. #2-Jordan Balazovic, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Fort Myers Miracle: 18 GS, 8-5, 2.69 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 93 ⅔ IP, 67 H, 25 BB, 129 K As a cold-weather pitcher before the draft, Balazovic was a prime candidate for developing quickly when placed into a professional system...and that he did. Balazovic had a good 2018 and then followed it up with an absolutely phenomenal 2019 that saw his prospect stock rise to the top of the Twins’ system. Balazovic’s K% of 33.9% in 2019 would be the fifth highest among qualified MLB starters this year and his batting average allowed of .191 would the third lowest among qualified MLB starters. His 2019 was mostly spent at Fort Myers but he was promoted late in the season and was able to make a single playoff start for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in which seven of the 14 outs he made were by strikeout. #1-Randy Dobnak, Fort Myers Miracle, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Rochester Red Wings 21 GS, 12-4, 2.07 ERA, .98 WHIP, 135 IP, 104 H, 28 BB, 109 K Dobnak is the only starter in the top five to pitch for the Twins in 2019 and he very well may be the only one to pitch at four different levels in 2019 if you consider MLB as its own “level”. Nevertheless, Dobnak was an absolute horse in 2019 as he was first among all Twins’ minor league pitchers in innings pitched and his 2.07 ERA was the lowest among starters in the Twins’ system with more than 80 innings pitched. Dobnak was undrafted out of college and went to pitch in independent ball to start in 2017. Not long after the start of his career for the Utica Unicorns, Dobnak was picked up by the Twins on a minor league deal and he pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids that year. Beyond baseball, Dobnak was an Uber driver as recently as spring training in 2019 and he apparently was excellent as he had a rating of 4.99 stars out of 5. Man, these advanced stats are getting pretty weird even for me. Luckily for Dobnak, the major league paycheck is just a touch higher than the minor league one so he can retire from his Uber career. Dobnak’s professional career so far has been nothing short of incredible but he is much more than just a story. Dobnak’s wonderful 2019 season earned him a promotion to the majors where has allowed just two earned runs so far over his 11 major league innings. With some question marks in the Twins’ starting rotation at the moment, Dobnak will certainly get a few opportunities to prove that he belongs in the majors and that one’s draft position (or lack thereof) does not necessarily dictate how successful they will be in baseball. Dobnak has had a great 2019 in the minors and hopefully he will continue to have a great 2019 in the majors. The Ballots: Seth Stohs: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Bailey Ober 3) Jordan Balazovic 4) Josh Winder 5) Luis Rijo Tom Froemming: 1) Jordan Balazovic 2) Randy Dobnak 3) Cole Sands 4) Bailey Ober 5) Luis Rijo Cody Christie: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Griffin Jax 3) Devin Smeltzer 4) Jhoan Duran 5) Josh Winder Matt Braun: 1) Bailey Ober 2) Jordan Balazovic 3) Cole Sands 4) Jhoan Duran 5) Luis Rijo Ted Schwerzler: 1) Randy Dobnak 2) Bailey Ober 3) Griffin Jax 4) Jordan Balazovic 5) Devin Smeltzer Steve Lein: 1) Jordan Balazovic 2) Randy Dobnak 3) Josh Winder 4) Bailey Ober 5) Cole Sands Feel free to discuss our ballots! Who was completely wrong? Who needs a shout out because they were overlooked? What would your ballot look like?
  21. Since the Twins drafted him in the 12th round of the 2017 draft out of the College of Charleston, Bailey Ober has been consistently one of the best pitchers in minor league baseball… when he takes the mound. 2019 has been a remarkable season for the 6-9 right-hander when he has taken the mound for the Ft. Myers Miracle or for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Twins Daily recently chatted with Ober about his incredible 2019 season. A quick glance at his overall numbers is the stuff of video games. In eight starts with Ft. Myers, he went 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA. In four starts with Pensacola, he is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA. Overall, he’s given up just eight walks while striking out 87 batters in 69 2/3 innings. The sample size was small, but his numbers remained strong and even improved as he moved up to Double-A. “I haven’t really tried to change anything from my standpoint. I’ve mainly been sticking to my strengths and doing what I do well. But there are some differences. There are some guys who will take pitches that are borderline. For right now, my stuff that’s been in the zone has been playing as it was playing in Ft. Myers. However, these guys definitely are more polished. If you leave one over the middle, they might smack one a little farther than they would down there.” On the other hand, Ober knows the kind of talent that he is playing with on this Pensacola roster. He played with these guys in Cedar Rapids in 2018, and with the Miracle earlier in 2019. “It’s really cool. A lot of these guys were down there (Ft. Myers) during the first half of the year. The first month or two in Ft. Myers, we were winning a lot. Once we got these guys up here in Pensacola, they’ve started shifting that way as well, and the last couple of weeks, we’ve been playing very well.” So, what has been the key for Ober? How has he been able to maintain his success this season despite missing a couple of months and despite moving up a level? “I just think my mentality is different. This year I’ve been able to focus in with all four of my pitches. That’s been a big thing. I’ve been able to mix really well, trusting my command. Not having to fall behind hitters, always being in attack mode. Being ahead and controlling the pace of the game.” Ober’s primary pitch this year has been a four-seam fastball. He adds, “primarily throwing it up in the zone. I’m trying to use my extension, my carry, and my movement on the fastball to get swings and misses up there.” Ober added, “Started throwing that and having a lot of success living with my four-seam up in the zone and in and out. Once we established that pitch, we started working on breaking balls that I could tunnel the same type of path that the fastball has and it breaks at the last second.” “Tunneling” is one of those new baseball terms. Essentially it is working to maintain a release point so that the ball will travel most of the way toward the plate on the same path until breaking or moving differently. As Ober says, “It’s throwing every pitch the same way and letting them work off each other.” His secondary stuff has really improved as well. As he notes, “I’ve been using my slider a lot to get ahead and it’s been a lot better this year. Same with my changeup. I think my curve ball’s been a big difference, being able to play off of my high fastball and getting more swings and misses on that.” We know that the Twins have embraced the use of analytics and technology throughout the minor leagues for years, but that has been amped up the last couple of seasons. It’s something that Ober has used and embraces as well. “I learned about all this stuff in 2018 at spring training. They introduced it to a lot of our guys. They sat down with us and explained how it works and what it shows us, and the type of information and feedback that it can give us. Being able to know what works best, and when, definitely helped out a lot of our guys, especially me. I came into the Twins organization only throwing two-seam fastballs in college. I showed up, and immediately once I got put on the Rapsodo, they were like, ‘Hey, you’ve got good carry on the two-seam, let’s try the four-seam too.” One other value of the Rapsodo and other technologies might be trying to discover ways of keeping pitchers healthy, obviously something that is important to all pitchers in all organizations. Whether is noticing a drop in spin rate, velocity, release point or something else, may help determine what can be done. With Ober having spent time on the injured list this year and in previous years, they have worked and reviewed the data. “Not so much with my extension. They say that’s pretty healthy. Have a better lead leg so I can stabilize my weight balance and leg transfer. When your lead leg is not stable, it can lead to some inconsistencies in arm path which can lead to some injuries. So that’s mainly the thing we’ve been working on. This past year, we’ve been working on it a lot. It’s better to the point where I feel healthier on the mound but I still have a little ways to go.” In short, the data and technology are certainly being used in an attempt to keep pitchers healthy. Imagine the value in keeping even one pitcher away from surgery. The Blue Wahoos put Ober on the IL before Game 5 on Sunday morning with some elbow inflammation. It is not believed to be serious. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Ober was fantastic in April with the Miracle. Unfortunately, as the month ended, he was placed on the IL with a forearm injury. He rehabbed for two months and returned to the GCL for some rehab games. The timing worked out well for Ober on a personal level. “My wife and I welcomed a baby girl on June 26th. I was doing my rehab then, so I was able to go home for a couple of days to be with her.” He returned to Ft. Myers and began his rehab on July 2nd. Since then, he has had plenty of family with him. “Recently, they were able to come out when I got the news that I was going to go to Pensacola. I called and said, ‘Hey, I’m going up there, see if you guys can fly out and spend the rest of the year here.’” It worked out, so he was able to have his newly-expanded family with him for the remainder of the season. “It’s awesome. It’s been a little different, trying to adjust to a dad lifestyle, but I love it.” Ober and his wife (and daughter Blake) live in Denver during the offseason. They moved there from North Carolina to be near his wife’s family. Ober graduated from the College of Charleston last fall with a degree in Business Administration. (“No more school for me!”) In the offseason, he will be working as a pitching instructor and some other side jobs while preparing himself for the 2020 season. He noted that he has been invited to go to Ft. Myers for camps at the end of this month. Hopefully he gets lots and lots of time this winter to work on that dad lifestyle! You can follow Bailey Ober on Twitter and Instagram. Get to Know Bailey Ober (interview following the 2017 season) View full article
  22. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Six Starters for August, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. There are two pitchers in the Honorable Mention category who had K:BB ratios of 30:2 and 23:3! You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in August. HONORABLE MENTION Kohl Stewart - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 18 H, 11 BB, 21 K Dakota Chalmers - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 1.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10 H, 13 BB, 29 K Blayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 16 H, 10 BB, 17 K Cole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 3 GS, 15.0 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 22 H, 2 BB, 23 K Andrew Cabezas - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 27.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 21 H, 12 BB, 15 K Luis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 29.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12 H, 2 BB, 30 K Donny Breek - GCL Twins - 4 G, 2 GS, 17.1 IP, 0.52 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10 H, 5 BB, 21 K Niklas Rimmel - GCL Twins - 3 G, 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 8 H, 1 BB, 13 K THE TOP SIX STARTING PITCHERS #6 - RHP Chris Vallimont - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 15 H, 4 BB, 28 K Chris Vallimont came to the Twins in the trade deadline deal with the Marlins in which the Twins also received Sergio Romo and Cash in exchange for Lewin Diaz. Vallimont had a strong first month in the Twins organization despite a rough first start in which he gave up six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. However, in three starts since, he has been remarkable. His next two starts came against his former teammates, the Jupiter Hammerheads. In both games, he had a no-hitter into the late innings and completed seven in both games. So, while his ERA is a bit high because of the first start, his ability to limit base runners and that strikeout-to-walk ratio are both quite impressive. We caught up with Vallimont for this story shortly after his trade to the Twins. #5 - RHP Josh Winder- Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 25.2 IP, 1.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 20 H, 6 BB, 28 K Winder was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in June, and he’s been really consistent all season with the Kernels. He was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In August, he worked innings, limited runs and base runners. He also missed bats. Opponents hit just .206 with a .528 OPS against him. Overall this season, Winder went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over 21 starts and 125 2/3 innings. Steve Buhr wrote about Winder earlier this season. #4 - RHP Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 H, 5 BB, 28 K Balazovic began the month in Lima, Peru, where he helped Team Canada to a silver medal at the Pan Am Games. He returned to the MIracle and was very good. In his first start back, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. In his final start of the month, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. Along with the above numbers (which are very impressive), opponents hit just .169 off of him (with a .460 OPS). The lanky right-hander was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Ontario. #3 - RHP Cody Laweryson - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 12 H, 4 BB, 34 K We all remember that 15 strikeout game that Laweryson tossed last week for the E-Twins, but the Twins 14th-round pick from the University of Maine in June was good all month. He began with a spot start in Cedar Rapids where he tossed five shutout innings. In his four E-Twins starts, he gave up earned runs in just one of them. Opponents hit just .143 with a .414 OPS against him in the month. Pretty good first impression for the right-hander. #2 - RHP Matt Canterino - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 6 H, 7 BB, 25 K Canterino was the Twins’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Rice University. After tossing 99 1/3 innings this spring for the Owls, the Twins have wisely eased him into pro ball. After some time away from the mound, he went to the GCL where he worked five innings over two games. He moved up to Cedar Rapids at the beginning of the month and they continued to monitor his innings. He averaged just four innings per start and hasn’t thrown more than 72 pitches in any outing. Nevertheless, he has been really impressive. He gave up just three runs, recorded strikeouts and opponents hit just .091 off of him in the month. Learn more about Canterino in this week’s article from Steve Buhr. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - RHP Bailey Ober - 4 GS, 27.0 IP, 0.67 ERA, 0.56 HIP, 13 H, 2 BB, 39 K Bailey Ober has put up eye-popping numbers in 2019. Overall, he is 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. In April, he was a very close runner up in our monthly Starting Pitcher of the Month voting. Unfortunately, he ended the month on the Injured List and didn’t return until early July when he made a couple of rehab appearances before rejoining the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, after just four starts there, he earned his promotion to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in early August. He continued to dominate. In his first start, he gave up two hits and one run over seven innings. In his second Blue Wahoos start, he struck out 12 batters over seven shutout innings. His third start? 11 strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings. In his final start of the month, and of the regular season, he gave up one hit over three innings in preparations for the playoffs. For the month, opponents hit just .141 with a .351 OPS against him. Ober was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston. In college and as a pro, he has been very good on the mound when healthy. The 6-9 right-hander has a strong four-pitch mix and is certainly one to watch in 2020! Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-hander Bailey Ober. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  23. Earlier this week, Twins Daily named Zander Wiel the Hitter of the Month for August. Today, we announce our choice for the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month. While the choice was ultimately pretty easy, I was in awe of how much strong pitching there was in the season’s final month. It’s really exciting to see. Next week, we will start handing out our 2019 season awards, but let’s take a quick look back at the Twins Minor League Starting Pitchers of the Month from earlier this season. Previous 2019 Starting Pitchers of the Month: April - Devin Smeltzer - Pensacola Blue Wahoos May - Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle June - Josh Winder - Cedar Rapids Kernels July - Edwar Colina - Pensacola Blue Wahoos August -Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Six Starters for August, there were some other strong starting performers that just missed the cut. There are two pitchers in the Honorable Mention category who had K:BB ratios of 30:2 and 23:3! You can certainly agree or disagree with the rankings. Let’s discuss the top starting pitchers in the organization in August. HONORABLE MENTION Kohl Stewart - Rochester Red Wings - 6 G, 5 GS, 27.2 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 18 H, 11 BB, 21 KDakota Chalmers - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 20.1 IP, 1.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10 H, 13 BB, 29 KBlayne Enlow - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.0 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 16 H, 10 BB, 17 KCole Sands - Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 3 GS, 15.0 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 22 H, 2 BB, 23 KAndrew Cabezas - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 27.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 21 H, 12 BB, 15 KLuis Rijo - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 29.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 12 H, 2 BB, 30 KDonny Breek - GCL Twins - 4 G, 2 GS, 17.1 IP, 0.52 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10 H, 5 BB, 21 KNiklas Rimmel - GCL Twins - 3 G, 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 8 H, 1 BB, 13 KTHE TOP SIX STARTING PITCHERS #6 - RHP Chris Vallimont - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 22.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 15 H, 4 BB, 28 K Chris Vallimont came to the Twins in the trade deadline deal with the Marlins in which the Twins also received Sergio Romo and Cash in exchange for Lewin Diaz. Vallimont had a strong first month in the Twins organization despite a rough first start in which he gave up six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. However, in three starts since, he has been remarkable. His next two starts came against his former teammates, the Jupiter Hammerheads. In both games, he had a no-hitter into the late innings and completed seven in both games. So, while his ERA is a bit high because of the first start, his ability to limit base runners and that strikeout-to-walk ratio are both quite impressive. We caught up with Vallimont for this story shortly after his trade to the Twins. #5 - RHP Josh Winder- Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 25.2 IP, 1.40 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 20 H, 6 BB, 28 K Winder was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month in June, and he’s been really consistent all season with the Kernels. He was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2018 out of Virginia Military Institute. In August, he worked innings, limited runs and base runners. He also missed bats. Opponents hit just .206 with a .528 OPS against him. Overall this season, Winder went 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP over 21 starts and 125 2/3 innings. Steve Buhr wrote about Winder earlier this season. #4 - RHP Jordan Balazovic - Ft. Myers Miracle - 4 GS, 19.1 IP, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 H, 5 BB, 28 K Balazovic began the month in Lima, Peru, where he helped Team Canada to a silver medal at the Pan Am Games. He returned to the MIracle and was very good. In his first start back, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. In his final start of the month, he struck out nine batters in five shutout, two-hit innings. Along with the above numbers (which are very impressive), opponents hit just .169 off of him (with a .460 OPS). The lanky right-hander was the Twins fifth-round pick in 2016 out of high school in Ontario. #3 - RHP Cody Laweryson - Elizabethton Twins - 5 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 12 H, 4 BB, 34 K We all remember that 15 strikeout game that Laweryson tossed last week for the E-Twins, but the Twins 14th-round pick from the University of Maine in June was good all month. He began with a spot start in Cedar Rapids where he tossed five shutout innings. In his four E-Twins starts, he gave up earned runs in just one of them. Opponents hit just .143 with a .414 OPS against him in the month. Pretty good first impression for the right-hander. #2 - RHP Matt Canterino - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 GS, 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 6 H, 7 BB, 25 K Canterino was the Twins’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Rice University. After tossing 99 1/3 innings this spring for the Owls, the Twins have wisely eased him into pro ball. After some time away from the mound, he went to the GCL where he worked five innings over two games. He moved up to Cedar Rapids at the beginning of the month and they continued to monitor his innings. He averaged just four innings per start and hasn’t thrown more than 72 pitches in any outing. Nevertheless, he has been really impressive. He gave up just three runs, recorded strikeouts and opponents hit just .091 off of him in the month. Learn more about Canterino in this week’s articlefrom Steve Buhr. And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is: Ft. Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos - RHP Bailey Ober - 4 GS, 27.0 IP, 0.67 ERA, 0.56 HIP, 13 H, 2 BB, 39 K Bailey Ober has put up eye-popping numbers in 2019. Overall, he is 8-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. In April, he was a very close runner up in our monthly Starting Pitcher of the Month voting. Unfortunately, he ended the month on the Injured List and didn’t return until early July when he made a couple of rehab appearances before rejoining the Ft. Myers Miracle. However, after just four starts there, he earned his promotion to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in early August. He continued to dominate. In his first start, he gave up two hits and one run over seven innings. In his second Blue Wahoos start, he struck out 12 batters over seven shutout innings. His third start? 11 strikeouts and only an unearned run in seven innings. In his final start of the month, and of the regular season, he gave up one hit over three innings in preparations for the playoffs. For the month, opponents hit just .141 with a .351 OPS against him. Ober was the Twins 13th-round pick in 2017 out of the College of Charleston. In college and as a pro, he has been very good on the mound when healthy. The 6-9 right-hander has a strong four-pitch mix and is certainly one to watch in 2020! Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, Pensacola Blue Wahoos right-hander Bailey Ober. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. Click here to view the article
  24. Hard to believe that the 2019 minor league season is over. Labor Day marks the final day of the minor league regular season. Five months of games have certainly done what we hope. Some prospects have taken big steps forward. There have been injuries. There have been struggles and adjustments. There have been promotions and demotions. There have been major-league debuts. It has been a lot of fun, and we thank you for following the Twins minor league system each day in our minor league reports. We work hard to bring you the best coverage of the Twins farm system available. Join me in thanking Tom Froemming, Cody Christie, Steve Lein, Ted Schwerzler and Matt Braun for their weekly coverage. Over the next week to ten days, we will also be unveiling the Twins Daily Minor League Awards. So check back soon to see who our winners will be. However, you’ll be glad to know that we will keep the minor league reports going for as long as the Twins have an affiliate playing playoff baseball. On Wednesday, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Cedar Rapids Kernels begin their playoff seasons. And even throughout the offseason, we will cover the winter leagues and the Arizona Fall League as well.Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with the awards and transactions of the day. AWARDS Rochester announced their 2019 team awards, voted by their fans. Congratulations to all three!Wilin Rosario was named the team’s MVP.Zander Wiel was named the most popular.Jake Reed was named the Most Civic-Minded for the second straight year for his work in the community. He volunteered his time at various events and programs throughout the Rochester area, including heavy involvement with Rochester Challenger Baseball..TRANSACTIONS Rochester announced that infielder Joe Cronin joined them from Pensacola. LHP Denny Bentley was transferred to the Elizabethton roster after pitching on Sunday.Pensacola announced that they have received infielder Jose Miranda from the Miracle for their playoff roster.Darren Wolfson has reported that Trevor Hildenberger will be joining the Twins in Boston on Tuesday. He likely isn’t the last player who will be added to the Twins September roster. (according to Doogie's new The Scoops podcast, the Twins will also recall Ryne Harper and Fernando Romero.)RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Syracuse 8 Box Score The Red Wings end their season with a .500 record, 70-70. With several players already up with the Twins, the Red Wings used several players from lower levels to fill their roster. The game was a bullpen game. Jake Reed made the start. He gave up two runs on four hits over the first two innings. He struck out four batters. Next in was Alex Schick who spent most of the second half of the season in Cedar Rapids. He gave up one run on two hits over three innings of work. Sam Clay came on and gave up five runs on six hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. Trevor Hildenberger allowed two inherited runners to score and then recorded the next four outs, two on strikeouts. Ryne Harper struck out three, and walked one, in the final inning. Drew Maggi led the offense. He went 3-for-4. Ramon Flores was 2-for-4. The Red Wings had a couple of milestone homers. Brandon Barnes hit his 30th International League home run of the year. Wilin Rosario hit his 20th home run of the year. BLUE WAHOOS BITES Pensacola 8, Montgomery 0 Box Score The Blue Wahoos finished their schedule with a strong all-around game. As we like to do, if a team throws a shutout, we’ll start with the pitching update. It is most impressive because they only had their starter, Bailey Ober, go three innings before much of the bullpen got an opportunity. Ober continued his impressive run with three scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three batters. Anthony Vizcaya gave up one hit and struck out two batters in his inning. Jovani Moran then struck out four batters over two scoreless innings. Andrew Vazquez and Tom Hackimer each struck out the side in their inning. Marcos Diplan finished it off with a scoreless ninth inning. The bats came out for the final game as well. They also weren’t afraid to take their walks. Trevor Larnach went 1-for-2 and walked three times. Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis each had a single and two walks. Jose Miranda made his Double-A debut and went 3-for-5 with a double. Travis Blankenhorn, Ryan Costello, Caleb Hamilton and Taylor Grzelakowski each had two hits. Also of note, after playing centerfield on Sunday, Royce Lewis split Monday’s game between second base and third base. The Blue Wahoos end their regular season with an overall record of 76-63. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Beloit 3 Box Score Gabe Snyder has had a very strong first full season in professional baseball. He ended his regular season strong. The Midwest League’s postseason All Star first baseman went 2-for-5 with his 19th home run and three RBI. Seth Gray and Chris Williams each had two hits in the game. Wander Javier hit his 11th homer of the season. It was a bullpen game for the Kernels as they prepare for their playoff run. Brian Rapp gave up one run on three hits over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out three batters. JT Perez came on and gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits and a walk over two innings. Nate Hadley got the next four outs. Austin Schulfer struck out the side in the eighth inning. Dylan Thomas gave up two hits and a walk in the ninth inning but did not allow a run. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Bailey Ober, Pensacola Blue Wahoos Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jose Miranda, Pensacola Blue Wahoos PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2 BB, R, 2 K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2 BB, R, RBI #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 1-2, 3 BB, R, 2 RBI #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, R, 2 RBI, K #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 3-4, 2 R, 2B(13) #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, R, K #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 2-6, R TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Pensacola vs Biloxi - No game on Tuesday. Their series begins in Biloxi on Wednesday. Cedar Rapids vs Quad Cities - Not game on Tuesday. Their series begins on Wednesday in Quad Cities. Luis Rijo the likely Game 1 starter. Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like. Click here to view the article
  25. Find out everything that happened happened in the Twins system on Monday, starting with the awards and transactions of the day. AWARDS Rochester announced their 2019 team awards, voted by their fans. Congratulations to all three! Wilin Rosario was named the team’s MVP. Zander Wiel was named the most popular. Jake Reed was named the Most Civic-Minded for the second straight year for his work in the community. He volunteered his time at various events and programs throughout the Rochester area, including heavy involvement with Rochester Challenger Baseball.. TRANSACTIONS Rochester announced that infielder Joe Cronin joined them from Pensacola. LHP Denny Bentley was transferred to the Elizabethton roster after pitching on Sunday. Pensacola announced that they have received infielder Jose Miranda from the Miracle for their playoff roster. Darren Wolfson has reported that Trevor Hildenberger will be joining the Twins in Boston on Tuesday. He likely isn’t the last player who will be added to the Twins September roster. (according to Doogie's new The Scoops podcast, the Twins will also recall Ryne Harper and Fernando Romero.) RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 4, Syracuse 8 Box Score The Red Wings end their season with a .500 record, 70-70. With several players already up with the Twins, the Red Wings used several players from lower levels to fill their roster. The game was a bullpen game. Jake Reed made the start. He gave up two runs on four hits over the first two innings. He struck out four batters. Next in was Alex Schick who spent most of the second half of the season in Cedar Rapids. He gave up one run on two hits over three innings of work. Sam Clay came on and gave up five runs on six hits and a walk in just 1 2/3 innings. Trevor Hildenberger allowed two inherited runners to score and then recorded the next four outs, two on strikeouts. Ryne Harper struck out three, and walked one, in the final inning. Drew Maggi led the offense. He went 3-for-4. Ramon Flores was 2-for-4. The Red Wings had a couple of milestone homers. Brandon Barnes hit his 30th International League home run of the year. Wilin Rosario hit his 20th home run of the year. https://twitter.com/RocRedWings/status/1168646092780658690 BLUE WAHOOS BITES Pensacola 8, Montgomery 0 Box Score The Blue Wahoos finished their schedule with a strong all-around game. As we like to do, if a team throws a shutout, we’ll start with the pitching update. It is most impressive because they only had their starter, Bailey Ober, go three innings before much of the bullpen got an opportunity. Ober continued his impressive run with three scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three batters. Anthony Vizcaya gave up one hit and struck out two batters in his inning. Jovani Moran then struck out four batters over two scoreless innings. Andrew Vazquez and Tom Hackimer each struck out the side in their inning. Marcos Diplan finished it off with a scoreless ninth inning. The bats came out for the final game as well. They also weren’t afraid to take their walks. Trevor Larnach went 1-for-2 and walked three times. Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis each had a single and two walks. Jose Miranda made his Double-A debut and went 3-for-5 with a double. Travis Blankenhorn, Ryan Costello, Caleb Hamilton and Taylor Grzelakowski each had two hits. Also of note, after playing centerfield on Sunday, Royce Lewis split Monday’s game between second base and third base. The Blue Wahoos end their regular season with an overall record of 76-63. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 9, Beloit 3 Box Score Gabe Snyder has had a very strong first full season in professional baseball. He ended his regular season strong. The Midwest League’s postseason All Star first baseman went 2-for-5 with his 19th home run and three RBI. Seth Gray and Chris Williams each had two hits in the game. Wander Javier hit his 11th homer of the season. It was a bullpen game for the Kernels as they prepare for their playoff run. Brian Rapp gave up one run on three hits over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out three batters. JT Perez came on and gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits and a walk over two innings. Nate Hadley got the next four outs. Austin Schulfer struck out the side in the eighth inning. Dylan Thomas gave up two hits and a walk in the ninth inning but did not allow a run. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day - Bailey Ober, Pensacola Blue Wahoos Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jose Miranda, Pensacola Blue Wahoos PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Royce Lewis (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2 BB, R, 2 K #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - 1-4, 2 BB, R, RBI #4 - Trevor Larnach (Pensacola) - 1-2, 3 BB, R, 2 RBI #5 - Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) - 1-5, R, 2 RBI, K #14 - Luis Arraez (Minnesota) - 3-4, 2 R, 2B(13) #15 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, R, K #20 - Travis Blankenhorn (Pensacola) - 2-6, R TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Pensacola vs Biloxi - No game on Tuesday. Their series begins in Biloxi on Wednesday. Cedar Rapids vs Quad Cities - Not game on Tuesday. Their series begins on Wednesday in Quad Cities. Luis Rijo the likely Game 1 starter. Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games or any other minor league topics you would like.
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