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  1. Bailey Ober dominated the White Sox on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander struck out ten in seven innings of one-hit baseball, inducing twenty swings and misses. Matt Wallner hit his first home run at Target Field in the win. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K Homeruns: Matt Wallner (2) Top 3 WPA: Bailey Ober .348, Jose Miranda .169, Jake Cave .029 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Here’s how the Twins lined up to face the White Sox in the opening game of a three game series at Target Field on Tuesday night, their final home series of the 2022 season. Ober and Out With nine games remaining at the end of a 2022 season that has come to a sputtering halt, the Twins are left to look for positives. Bailey Ober stepped up in a big way on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander dominated a feeble White Sox lineup. Ober worked quickly, efficiently, and had pinpoint control. Over seven one-hit innings, he threw 73% strikes, struck out ten hitters, and induced twenty swings and misses. Ober is one of many Twins whose season has been derailed by injuries. Furthermore, Ober’s timeline for return consistently shifted throughout the season as he spent significant portions of the season on the IL with groin problems. He reminded Twins fans what he is capable of on Tuesday and adds his name is a stable of possible starting pitching options for 2023, albeit one in which almost every name is also accompanied by health-related questions. Plenty of Offense, Just Enough Runs The Twins had plenty of traffic on the base paths on Tuesday night, with few early returns. Three consecutive singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Jake Cave gave Minnesota a one run lead in the bottom of the second inning. Doubles from Luis Arraez and Miranda added another run to the lead in the bottom of the third. The Twins had tallied nine hits, producing just two runs, when Matt Wallner stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wallner hit his second home run of the season and first at Target Field. The moon shoot cleared the right field wall, giving Twins fans another exciting glimpse of a promising 2023 season storyline. After surrendering his second hit in the top of the eighth inning, Ober was relieved by Griffin Jax, who made short work of the rest of the inning, striking out both hitters he faced on just ten pitches. Jhoan Duran closed the game for the Twins in the ninth inning, striking out two and bringing the total tally to 14 on the night for the Twins pitching staff. On a brisk, 56 degree night at Target Field, seeing the Twins put together an efficient, excellent performance in all phases of the game will be heartening for fans enjoying the dying embers of the 2022 season. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT Henriquez 0 0 68 0 0 68 Megill 28 0 32 0 0 60 Duran 0 24 0 0 15 39 Jax 0 27 0 0 10 37 Thielbar 10 13 0 0 0 23 Pagán 23 0 0 0 0 23 López 0 11 0 0 0 11 Fulmer 0 9 0 0 0 9 Moran 0 0 6 0 0 6 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the White Sox. Josh Winder starts for Minnesota, against Johnny Cueto for the White Sox. First pitch is a 6:40 CT. Postgame Interviews View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K Homeruns: Matt Wallner (2) Top 3 WPA: Bailey Ober .348, Jose Miranda .169, Jake Cave .029 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Here’s how the Twins lined up to face the White Sox in the opening game of a three game series at Target Field on Tuesday night, their final home series of the 2022 season. Ober and Out With nine games remaining at the end of a 2022 season that has come to a sputtering halt, the Twins are left to look for positives. Bailey Ober stepped up in a big way on Tuesday night. The tall right-hander dominated a feeble White Sox lineup. Ober worked quickly, efficiently, and had pinpoint control. Over seven one-hit innings, he threw 73% strikes, struck out ten hitters, and induced twenty swings and misses. Ober is one of many Twins whose season has been derailed by injuries. Furthermore, Ober’s timeline for return consistently shifted throughout the season as he spent significant portions of the season on the IL with groin problems. He reminded Twins fans what he is capable of on Tuesday and adds his name is a stable of possible starting pitching options for 2023, albeit one in which almost every name is also accompanied by health-related questions. Plenty of Offense, Just Enough Runs The Twins had plenty of traffic on the base paths on Tuesday night, with few early returns. Three consecutive singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Jake Cave gave Minnesota a one run lead in the bottom of the second inning. Doubles from Luis Arraez and Miranda added another run to the lead in the bottom of the third. The Twins had tallied nine hits, producing just two runs, when Matt Wallner stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wallner hit his second home run of the season and first at Target Field. The moon shoot cleared the right field wall, giving Twins fans another exciting glimpse of a promising 2023 season storyline. After surrendering his second hit in the top of the eighth inning, Ober was relieved by Griffin Jax, who made short work of the rest of the inning, striking out both hitters he faced on just ten pitches. Jhoan Duran closed the game for the Twins in the ninth inning, striking out two and bringing the total tally to 14 on the night for the Twins pitching staff. On a brisk, 56 degree night at Target Field, seeing the Twins put together an efficient, excellent performance in all phases of the game will be heartening for fans enjoying the dying embers of the 2022 season. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT Henriquez 0 0 68 0 0 68 Megill 28 0 32 0 0 60 Duran 0 24 0 0 15 39 Jax 0 27 0 0 10 37 Thielbar 10 13 0 0 0 23 Pagán 23 0 0 0 0 23 López 0 11 0 0 0 11 Fulmer 0 9 0 0 0 9 Moran 0 0 6 0 0 6 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against the White Sox. Josh Winder starts for Minnesota, against Johnny Cueto for the White Sox. First pitch is a 6:40 CT. Postgame Interviews
  3. Bailey Ober has missed plenty of time due to injury in his professional career, including the majority of 2022. He’s finally made it back just a bit too late. He’ll finish the year in the Twins rotation, but perhaps we could ask, should he stay there long term? Image courtesy of Nick Wosika, USA TODAY Sports The Twins have a lot of returning starting pitching going into 2023, though none of their arms carry too much confidence to be leaned on. Keep your fingers crossed that they bring in a new name that isn’t another Bundy or Archer type, but doing so will push some arms out of the Opening Day rotation. Bailey Ober may be the top candidate to be bumped from a starting role. Injury Concerns Bailey Ober has missed tremendous time in his career due to injury. In 2021, he blew his previous career high in Innings Pitched out of the water with 108. After looking like he had built a foundation to push off of, he followed it up with just 60 innings to date so far in 2022. The fallout from his lost season is that even if healthy in 2023, the Twins will have to handle him with kid gloves yet again. A jump in innings from 60ish to the mid-100s seems like a bit of a stretch. Also worth considering is that the likelihood that he’ll get healthier with age after having such a colorful injury history is incredibly low. Moving into a bullpen role where inning count won’t be an issue may be advantageous. Maximizing Pitch Mix Ober has a pitch mix that’s begging to be simplified, particularly in regard to his changeup. Each of his pitches gets a modest amount of whiffs, but the changeup is the one that has been crushed so far this season. The pitch has allowed a .391 BA and .522 SLG with expected numbers backing up these results. A move to the bullpen could mean he drops this pitch altogether. Plenty of pitchers go this route, and in Ober’s case with two definitive breaking balls, his splits in short stints against lefties shouldn’t be a disaster. His fastball may also play up higher, as we often already see awkward swings due to his size and extension on the pitch. Adding any more velocity in a transition could turn it into a legitimate weapon. The Clock is Ticking It may be a surprise to some, but Ober is already 27 years old. Look no further than top prospect Matt Canterino for an example of how time can catch up. The Twins toyed with Canterino as a starting pitcher through recurring injuries until his elbow finally fully gave way. He’ll now miss much of the 2023 season and will return at nearly 26 years of age having never established an innings floor or reached the majors. Ober is a less extreme example. He’s surpassed 100 innings in a season and made the majors, but it still seems like expecting a full starter's workload could become a futile effort very soon. He could similarly pull up with a significant injury one of these days if he continues to be pushed. A move to the bullpen doesn’t negate that chance, but it may pay off to change up what hasn’t worked to this point in his career while still providing value to the Twins. It also may take until 2024 if everything goes well for him to build up to even 150ish innings to be a starting pitcher, at which point he’ll be 29 years old. If he keeps losing seasons to injury as he nears his 30s, time is bound to eventually run out. Should the Twins actively look to move Ober to the bullpen next season? Not necessarily. He’s been relatively effective as a #3 or #4 starter and even that caliber of pitcher has been hard for the Twins to develop. That being said, in theory, the Twins have a returning staff of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and eventually Chris Paddack with several younger pitchers from AAA in the mix. If the Twins can bring in another quality starting pitcher, somebody is going to lose out. There’s a case to be made that Ober is the prime option. Would you agree with a move to the bullpen for Ober? Has he shown enough to get one last shot in the rotation? View full article
  4. The Twins have a lot of returning starting pitching going into 2023, though none of their arms carry too much confidence to be leaned on. Keep your fingers crossed that they bring in a new name that isn’t another Bundy or Archer type, but doing so will push some arms out of the Opening Day rotation. Bailey Ober may be the top candidate to be bumped from a starting role. Injury Concerns Bailey Ober has missed tremendous time in his career due to injury. In 2021, he blew his previous career high in Innings Pitched out of the water with 108. After looking like he had built a foundation to push off of, he followed it up with just 60 innings to date so far in 2022. The fallout from his lost season is that even if healthy in 2023, the Twins will have to handle him with kid gloves yet again. A jump in innings from 60ish to the mid-100s seems like a bit of a stretch. Also worth considering is that the likelihood that he’ll get healthier with age after having such a colorful injury history is incredibly low. Moving into a bullpen role where inning count won’t be an issue may be advantageous. Maximizing Pitch Mix Ober has a pitch mix that’s begging to be simplified, particularly in regard to his changeup. Each of his pitches gets a modest amount of whiffs, but the changeup is the one that has been crushed so far this season. The pitch has allowed a .391 BA and .522 SLG with expected numbers backing up these results. A move to the bullpen could mean he drops this pitch altogether. Plenty of pitchers go this route, and in Ober’s case with two definitive breaking balls, his splits in short stints against lefties shouldn’t be a disaster. His fastball may also play up higher, as we often already see awkward swings due to his size and extension on the pitch. Adding any more velocity in a transition could turn it into a legitimate weapon. The Clock is Ticking It may be a surprise to some, but Ober is already 27 years old. Look no further than top prospect Matt Canterino for an example of how time can catch up. The Twins toyed with Canterino as a starting pitcher through recurring injuries until his elbow finally fully gave way. He’ll now miss much of the 2023 season and will return at nearly 26 years of age having never established an innings floor or reached the majors. Ober is a less extreme example. He’s surpassed 100 innings in a season and made the majors, but it still seems like expecting a full starter's workload could become a futile effort very soon. He could similarly pull up with a significant injury one of these days if he continues to be pushed. A move to the bullpen doesn’t negate that chance, but it may pay off to change up what hasn’t worked to this point in his career while still providing value to the Twins. It also may take until 2024 if everything goes well for him to build up to even 150ish innings to be a starting pitcher, at which point he’ll be 29 years old. If he keeps losing seasons to injury as he nears his 30s, time is bound to eventually run out. Should the Twins actively look to move Ober to the bullpen next season? Not necessarily. He’s been relatively effective as a #3 or #4 starter and even that caliber of pitcher has been hard for the Twins to develop. That being said, in theory, the Twins have a returning staff of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and eventually Chris Paddack with several younger pitchers from AAA in the mix. If the Twins can bring in another quality starting pitcher, somebody is going to lose out. There’s a case to be made that Ober is the prime option. Would you agree with a move to the bullpen for Ober? Has he shown enough to get one last shot in the rotation?
  5. Bailey Ober and the Twins took on the Kansas City Royals tonight in game two of the three-game series. The Royals hosted not only the Twins, but Bark in the Park night, and needless to say, the Twins had another “ruff” night in Kansas City. Image courtesy of Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (85 pitches, 55 strikes (66%) Home Runs: Bottom 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (-.220), Gio Urshela (-.098), Jermaine Palacios (-0.095) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pitching Coach Pete Maki had to come out early in the first inning after Ober had thrown 21 pitches and given up two runs. After the mound visit, Ober calmed down and got the next three hitters out, but not without running his pitch count up to 28. This was Ober’s second game back since coming off the 60-day IL with a groin injury that put him on the shelf on June 1st. Ober has been on restrictions since returning from the IL, but went five innings on September 16th and only allowed one hit and 70 pitches. This game was a little different for the starting pitcher. By the time he hit the third inning, he was up to 62 pitches and three runs allowed. Ober ended up with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. He retired the remaining seven batters he faced before handing the game over to the bullpen. Aaron Sanchez came for Ober and kept things tight until the wind picked up. The Royals took advantage of mother nature and got another two runs in the seventh inning. Sanchez stayed in through the eighth inning, meaning it was a day off for the remainder of the bullpen. The Twins' offense showed up just as soon as the Royals did, but fell flat as soon as they fired up. In the 2nd inning, Gilberto Celestino got on base on an error which advanced Gary Sanchez to third base. Matt Wallner singled to left, scoring Sanchez and putting the Twins on the board. Wallner was also credited with driving in Nick Gordon in the fourth inning. Wallner has had a hit in all but one of his six games since joining the team and was responsible for two RBI in this game. Wallner has had a lot of fans since coming up. When he got his single to score Sanchez, in the dugout, Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez cheered on the rookie with goofy hand signs and smiles. Correa has been on fire lately at the plate. He has continually boosted his teammates, been a part of mound visits, and ensured that his teammates knew that he was there to help them grow. There have been many endearing moments of him with teammates, but the best relationship has been with fellow 2012 draftee, Byron Buxton. The top two picks that year had time to talk during the Midwest League All-Star Game in Dayton, Ohio in 2013. They played on the same Western Division squad and had time to share the same experiences bonding them for what would be ten years later. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off. The Twins continued to try and rally every inning getting guys on base, but getting outs just as quickly. The club remained scoreless the remainder of the game unable to overcome mother nature and goofy defensive plays that weren’t errors. The Twins had an opportunity and the upper hand through the fourth with Wallner’s double, but the bats fell asleep after that. Pitching for tomorrow’s game: Thursday 1:10pm CST: RHP Josh Winder (4-4, 4.17 ERA) v. RHP Jonathan Heasley (3-8, 5.09 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sanchez 0 49 0 0 0 41 90 Henriquez 0 0 0 73 0 0 73 López 0 32 0 34 0 0 66 Moran 40 15 5 0 0 0 60 Pagán 0 31 0 15 0 0 46 Fulmer 0 17 0 0 23 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 23 0 23 Jax 0 13 0 0 4 0 17 Duran 0 0 17 0 0 0 17 Megill 0 0 0 0 17 0 17 View full article
  6. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (85 pitches, 55 strikes (66%) Home Runs: Bottom 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (-.220), Gio Urshela (-.098), Jermaine Palacios (-0.095) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pitching Coach Pete Maki had to come out early in the first inning after Ober had thrown 21 pitches and given up two runs. After the mound visit, Ober calmed down and got the next three hitters out, but not without running his pitch count up to 28. This was Ober’s second game back since coming off the 60-day IL with a groin injury that put him on the shelf on June 1st. Ober has been on restrictions since returning from the IL, but went five innings on September 16th and only allowed one hit and 70 pitches. This game was a little different for the starting pitcher. By the time he hit the third inning, he was up to 62 pitches and three runs allowed. Ober ended up with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. He retired the remaining seven batters he faced before handing the game over to the bullpen. Aaron Sanchez came for Ober and kept things tight until the wind picked up. The Royals took advantage of mother nature and got another two runs in the seventh inning. Sanchez stayed in through the eighth inning, meaning it was a day off for the remainder of the bullpen. The Twins' offense showed up just as soon as the Royals did, but fell flat as soon as they fired up. In the 2nd inning, Gilberto Celestino got on base on an error which advanced Gary Sanchez to third base. Matt Wallner singled to left, scoring Sanchez and putting the Twins on the board. Wallner was also credited with driving in Nick Gordon in the fourth inning. Wallner has had a hit in all but one of his six games since joining the team and was responsible for two RBI in this game. Wallner has had a lot of fans since coming up. When he got his single to score Sanchez, in the dugout, Carlos Correa and Luis Arraez cheered on the rookie with goofy hand signs and smiles. Correa has been on fire lately at the plate. He has continually boosted his teammates, been a part of mound visits, and ensured that his teammates knew that he was there to help them grow. There have been many endearing moments of him with teammates, but the best relationship has been with fellow 2012 draftee, Byron Buxton. The top two picks that year had time to talk during the Midwest League All-Star Game in Dayton, Ohio in 2013. They played on the same Western Division squad and had time to share the same experiences bonding them for what would be ten years later. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t stay here when he fits in so well, on the field and off. The Twins continued to try and rally every inning getting guys on base, but getting outs just as quickly. The club remained scoreless the remainder of the game unable to overcome mother nature and goofy defensive plays that weren’t errors. The Twins had an opportunity and the upper hand through the fourth with Wallner’s double, but the bats fell asleep after that. Pitching for tomorrow’s game: Thursday 1:10pm CST: RHP Josh Winder (4-4, 4.17 ERA) v. RHP Jonathan Heasley (3-8, 5.09 ERA) Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet TUE SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sanchez 0 49 0 0 0 41 90 Henriquez 0 0 0 73 0 0 73 López 0 32 0 34 0 0 66 Moran 40 15 5 0 0 0 60 Pagán 0 31 0 15 0 0 46 Fulmer 0 17 0 0 23 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 23 0 23 Jax 0 13 0 0 4 0 17 Duran 0 0 17 0 0 0 17 Megill 0 0 0 0 17 0 17
  7. Bailey Ober had a fine start in his return from the injured list, delivering five solid shutout innings. The offense came through early but went ice-cold for the rest of the game, and Cleveland took advantage of a couple of defensive miscues to steal the game late. Image courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober, 5 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 5K (70 pitches, 47 strikes, 67.1%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Griffin Jax (-.305), Jhoan Duran (-.239), Nick Gordon (-.123) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Ober looks sharp in his return, tosses five scoreless Bailey Ober was activated from the 60-day injured list earlier on Friday and was set to make his first big league start since June 1. That last start, which came a few days before he was placed on the 15-day injured list due to a right groin strain, didn’t make for a very good impression, as he gave up five runs in a 5-0 loss to a fourth-place Detroit team. But since returning to action on a minor league rehab assignment, he looked sharp, maintaining a 3.24 ERA through four starts in the minors. That good performance carried on into tonight’s game. Ober looked fantastic to start this game. It took him only 32 pitches to get through the first three innings, and he didn’t allow a single hit in that span. Despite not missing a lot of bats and allowing some hard contact, Ober made sure to induce bad-quality contact. Cleveland hitters couldn’t figure him out earlier, and the only Guardians baserunner came when José Ramírez got hit on the foot during the bottom of the first. The offense came through in response to Ober’s hot start. José Miranda nearly hit a home run in the first after a tremendous 12-pitch at-bat, but he had to settle for a double. Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie got on a roll and retired six consecutive batters after that Miranda double, but he ran into trouble during the third inning. Luis Arráez and Carlos Correa hit back-to-back two-out singles, and Miranda made McKenzie pay. With another double, the rookie pushed Arráez across to score the game’s first run. The bats weren’t done. Gio Urshela led off the top of the fourth with a ground ball single, and a couple of at-bats later, Jake Cave crushed the first pitch he saw on the at-bat for a 412-feet two-run bomb, making it 3-0 Minnesota. That poor ball – may it rest in peace – left his bat at 105.2 MPH. Ober found himself in his only jam of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Ramírez reached for the second time on the night by drawing a one-out walk, then suddenly reached third when Óscar González knocked a two-out single. Ober calmly struck out the last batter to end the threat, though. He came back for the fifth, his final inning of the night, and completed his shutout on 14 pitches. As solid as he had been this season before he got injured – he maintained a 3.25 ERA through the first six of his seven starts before tonight – this was actually Ober’s first shutout of the season. Now, the Twins have gotten three shutout starts from their starters in the last four games, which have combined for a total of 19 innings. Cleveland takes advantage of mistakes, takes the lead It wasn’t just the starting pitching that started clicking for the Twins in the last few days. Coming into tonight’s game, Minnesota’s bullpen had pitched nine consecutive shutout innings in the previous three games. Michael Fulmer came into tonight’s game in relief of Ober, and he extended that streak to ten innings with a scoreless sixth in which he pitched around a Ramírez double. But that streak came to an end during the seventh inning, and it all started with a fielding error. Andrés Giménez reached on a throwing error by Nick Gordon to lead off the inning. He was moved up to third on an Owen Miller single next and scored the Guardians’ first run on a Myles Straw one-out single off Griffin Jax (who was replacing Caleb Thielbar). Had Gordon not made the fielding error, not only would Gimenez not have scored, but Cleveland wouldn’t have tied the game. Jax retired Steven Kwan for the second out of the inning, but he couldn’t get Amed Rosario, who lined to center for a two-run single, to tie it up. After the Cave home run in the fourth, the offense couldn’t figure out McKenzie anymore, going 1-for-12 against him before he departed the game. The bats also went down in order in the top of the eighth, allowing Cleveland to snatch the lead in the home half of the inning. And once again, they took advantage of a Minnesota mistake. Before he could record a single out, Jhoan Duran lost the first two batters on back-to-back singles. Then, on a wild pitch in which Gary Sánchez couldn’t find the ball behind him, pinch-runner Ernie Clement had time to round third and score the winning run. Postgame interview What’s Next? On Saturday, both teams will be back on the field for a doubleheader. Game one is set to begin at 12:10 pm CDT, with rookie Louie Varland (3.38 ERA) taking on staff ace Shane Bieber (2.91 ERA). Then, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT, Josh Winder (3.83 ERA) gets the start of game two, facing Konnor Pilkington (4.30 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Moran 0 40 0 0 0 40 Jax 0 0 0 18 22 40 Thielbar 0 0 12 12 15 39 Duran 0 0 0 19 16 35 Fulmer 0 0 0 21 11 32 López 0 0 17 0 0 17 Megill 0 0 0 14 0 14 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  8. Minnesota playing a crucial late series in Cleveland? Where have I heard that before? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Starting tonight at 6:10 PM sharp, the Twins and Guardians will clash in an extended, unusual five-game series that will likely decide the division. Cleveland finds itself in an unexpected situation; a plethora of young talent—especially on the offensive side of the ball—have stepped in a significant way; Steven Kwan, Oscar González, and Andrés Giménez lead a unique contact-oriented offensive revolution, carrying a consistently excellent pitching staff to a healthy division lead. The Twins' story is more nihilistic; after signing Carlos Correa and trading for Sonny Gray, the team has limped to a 72-70 record, a total that accurately reflects the kind of baseball they have played all season. There have been revelations—Jhoan Duran is a certified face-melter, Jose Miranda is a hitting machine, and Byron Buxton has stayed (mostly) healthy—but injuries and shocking inconsistency have halted the team’s ability to sustain excellent play for more than a few series at a time. Some players will return shortly, but will their impact be enough this late in the season? The White Sox make this a fascinating three-horse race; Chicago has played equally un-inspiring ball, but a recent stretch of play—perhaps buoyed by manager Tony La Russa’s absence—has set them up for a shot at the AL Central title. José Abreu is up to his old tricks, and Dylan Cease has stepped up to become one of the better starters in the AL, but the rest of the team is a mixed bag, oscillating between meeting expectations and disappointing greatly. The White Sox play the lowly Tigers this weekend. The series narrative will focus on the starters; Cleveland will call upon two unproven arms to help guide them to success, while the Twins have yet to announce their starters for either doubleheader game on Saturday. Betting against the Guardians’ ability to create pitching out of thin air is a fool's gambit, but the Twins succeeded in 2019 in a similar spot when they started Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe in a September double game day and walked away with a win in both matches. Game 1 will be a matchup between Bailey Ober and Triston McKenzie. Ober is starting in the majors for the first time since June 1st; a nasty groin strain has quelled his shot at following a promising rookie season with a full campaign, but he could provide the sort of 5-6 innings stability the team has sorely missed in 2022. McKenzie, on the other hand, has enjoyed a breakout season, riding a lively fastball to a 3.05 ERA over 165 1/3 innings. It’s Cleveland; of course, they have great pitching. McKenzie will give the Guardians the upper hand, but Ober's steady, habitual 5-6 inning promise could give the Twins the assurance they need to win. Game 2 will be a battle between TBD and Shane Bieber. TBD possesses good stuff, but he has sometimes failed to reign in his command, leading to an inflated ERA and walk rate; hopefully, he can turn things around soon. Bieber—the 2020 AL Cy Young award winner—has been dominant as usual; a frightening shoulder injury has sapped a few ticks of velocity, but Bieber barely seems to care; his season ERA sits at 2.91. Expect an overwhelming dose of strikeouts in this game. Bieber is always a tough go; the Twins will be fortunate to win this game, and if they do succeed, it will likely be thanks to a timely extra-base hit or two. Game 3—the second match in a Saturday doubleheader—will feature TBD facing off against Konnor Pilkington. It’s a bold strategy for the Twins to start TBD in back-to-back games—on the same day, no less—but desperate times call for such measures (the editor would like to note that Josh Winder will start one of the games while Louie Varland will likely start the other). Pilkington is an intriguing lefty, yet another arm in Cleveland’s factory of stuff, an efficient machine producing a seemingly endless array of dominant starters. Pilkington owns a 4.30 ERA over 52 1/3 career innings in the majors, all coming in 2022. Game three could tilt in the Twins' favor, as Pilkington offers a great chance for Minnesota to jump on an inexperienced arm. Expect a big day from Kyle Garlick. Game 4 will see Joe Ryan start opposite Cody Morris. Fresh off a cruising yet controversial seven shutout inning start, Ryan will look to build off his excellent performance against the Royals in the most crucial start of his young career. Morris is like Pilkington; a young, talented arm with 9 2/3 innings under his wing working to establish himself in the majors. This game will be a proper wild card, but Ryan's relative veteran status could give the Twins the edge. Game 5 — a unique Monday finale — will see Sonny Gray attempt to best Cal Quantrill. Gray has pitched like his usual self in 2022; an efficient, crafty veteran capable of making excellent hitters look foolish as they stare at a sinker down the middle or swing at a curveball that dives when they least expect it. Quantrill is a mystery; a righty sinker/cutter specialist with meh peripherals but a commanding 3.51 season ERA. Game five will probably end as the most intense match of the series; both Gray and Quantrill are capable of pitching deep into the ballgame, so expect a a great nervous feel for this Monday matchup. It’s baseball drama to ever refer to a series as “season-defining,” but the term fits here; the teams will not play each after this series, meaning that an inconclusive result in this series will place AL Central power into the hands of other teams as September winds down. The Twins must win at least three games for their playoff chances to remain firmly in the realm of realism. View full article
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Bailey Ober, 5 IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 5K (70 pitches, 47 strikes, 67.1%) Home Runs: none Bottom 3 WPA: Griffin Jax (-.305), Jhoan Duran (-.239), Nick Gordon (-.123) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Ober looks sharp in his return, tosses five scoreless Bailey Ober was activated from the 60-day injured list earlier on Friday and was set to make his first big league start since June 1. That last start, which came a few days before he was placed on the 15-day injured list due to a right groin strain, didn’t make for a very good impression, as he gave up five runs in a 5-0 loss to a fourth-place Detroit team. But since returning to action on a minor league rehab assignment, he looked sharp, maintaining a 3.24 ERA through four starts in the minors. That good performance carried on into tonight’s game. Ober looked fantastic to start this game. It took him only 32 pitches to get through the first three innings, and he didn’t allow a single hit in that span. Despite not missing a lot of bats and allowing some hard contact, Ober made sure to induce bad-quality contact. Cleveland hitters couldn’t figure him out earlier, and the only Guardians baserunner came when José Ramírez got hit on the foot during the bottom of the first. The offense came through in response to Ober’s hot start. José Miranda nearly hit a home run in the first after a tremendous 12-pitch at-bat, but he had to settle for a double. Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie got on a roll and retired six consecutive batters after that Miranda double, but he ran into trouble during the third inning. Luis Arráez and Carlos Correa hit back-to-back two-out singles, and Miranda made McKenzie pay. With another double, the rookie pushed Arráez across to score the game’s first run. The bats weren’t done. Gio Urshela led off the top of the fourth with a ground ball single, and a couple of at-bats later, Jake Cave crushed the first pitch he saw on the at-bat for a 412-feet two-run bomb, making it 3-0 Minnesota. That poor ball – may it rest in peace – left his bat at 105.2 MPH. Ober found himself in his only jam of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Ramírez reached for the second time on the night by drawing a one-out walk, then suddenly reached third when Óscar González knocked a two-out single. Ober calmly struck out the last batter to end the threat, though. He came back for the fifth, his final inning of the night, and completed his shutout on 14 pitches. As solid as he had been this season before he got injured – he maintained a 3.25 ERA through the first six of his seven starts before tonight – this was actually Ober’s first shutout of the season. Now, the Twins have gotten three shutout starts from their starters in the last four games, which have combined for a total of 19 innings. Cleveland takes advantage of mistakes, takes the lead It wasn’t just the starting pitching that started clicking for the Twins in the last few days. Coming into tonight’s game, Minnesota’s bullpen had pitched nine consecutive shutout innings in the previous three games. Michael Fulmer came into tonight’s game in relief of Ober, and he extended that streak to ten innings with a scoreless sixth in which he pitched around a Ramírez double. But that streak came to an end during the seventh inning, and it all started with a fielding error. Andrés Giménez reached on a throwing error by Nick Gordon to lead off the inning. He was moved up to third on an Owen Miller single next and scored the Guardians’ first run on a Myles Straw one-out single off Griffin Jax (who was replacing Caleb Thielbar). Had Gordon not made the fielding error, not only would Gimenez not have scored, but Cleveland wouldn’t have tied the game. Jax retired Steven Kwan for the second out of the inning, but he couldn’t get Amed Rosario, who lined to center for a two-run single, to tie it up. After the Cave home run in the fourth, the offense couldn’t figure out McKenzie anymore, going 1-for-12 against him before he departed the game. The bats also went down in order in the top of the eighth, allowing Cleveland to snatch the lead in the home half of the inning. And once again, they took advantage of a Minnesota mistake. Before he could record a single out, Jhoan Duran lost the first two batters on back-to-back singles. Then, on a wild pitch in which Gary Sánchez couldn’t find the ball behind him, pinch-runner Ernie Clement had time to round third and score the winning run. Postgame interview What’s Next? On Saturday, both teams will be back on the field for a doubleheader. Game one is set to begin at 12:10 pm CDT, with rookie Louie Varland (3.38 ERA) taking on staff ace Shane Bieber (2.91 ERA). Then, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 pm CDT, Josh Winder (3.83 ERA) gets the start of game two, facing Konnor Pilkington (4.30 ERA). Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Moran 0 40 0 0 0 40 Jax 0 0 0 18 22 40 Thielbar 0 0 12 12 15 39 Duran 0 0 0 19 16 35 Fulmer 0 0 0 21 11 32 López 0 0 17 0 0 17 Megill 0 0 0 14 0 14 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0 Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0
  10. The Minnesota Twins lost 4-3 to the Guardians with the deciding run scoring from second base on ... a wild pitch? Guess I didn't have that on my Minnesota sports doom bingo card. Down in the minors, Ryan Jeffers hit a big home run as the DH for the Saints, but Jorge Polanco was removed early from that game in his attempt to re-join the Twins. Edouard Julien drove in the only two runs of the night in a win for Wichita and stole two bases. Also, Cedar Rapids lost, bringing their season to a close.
  11. The Minnesota Twins lost 4-3 to the Guardians with the deciding run scoring from second base on ... a wild pitch? Guess I didn't have that on my Minnesota sports doom bingo card. Down in the minors, Ryan Jeffers hit a big home run as the DH for the Saints, but Jorge Polanco was removed early from that game in his attempt to re-join the Twins. Edouard Julien drove in the only two runs of the night in a win for Wichita and stole two bases. Also, Cedar Rapids lost, bringing their season to a close. View full video
  12. Starting tonight at 6:10 PM sharp, the Twins and Guardians will clash in an extended, unusual five-game series that will likely decide the division. Cleveland finds itself in an unexpected situation; a plethora of young talent—especially on the offensive side of the ball—have stepped in a significant way; Steven Kwan, Oscar González, and Andrés Giménez lead a unique contact-oriented offensive revolution, carrying a consistently excellent pitching staff to a healthy division lead. The Twins' story is more nihilistic; after signing Carlos Correa and trading for Sonny Gray, the team has limped to a 72-70 record, a total that accurately reflects the kind of baseball they have played all season. There have been revelations—Jhoan Duran is a certified face-melter, Jose Miranda is a hitting machine, and Byron Buxton has stayed (mostly) healthy—but injuries and shocking inconsistency have halted the team’s ability to sustain excellent play for more than a few series at a time. Some players will return shortly, but will their impact be enough this late in the season? The White Sox make this a fascinating three-horse race; Chicago has played equally un-inspiring ball, but a recent stretch of play—perhaps buoyed by manager Tony La Russa’s absence—has set them up for a shot at the AL Central title. José Abreu is up to his old tricks, and Dylan Cease has stepped up to become one of the better starters in the AL, but the rest of the team is a mixed bag, oscillating between meeting expectations and disappointing greatly. The White Sox play the lowly Tigers this weekend. The series narrative will focus on the starters; Cleveland will call upon two unproven arms to help guide them to success, while the Twins have yet to announce their starters for either doubleheader game on Saturday. Betting against the Guardians’ ability to create pitching out of thin air is a fool's gambit, but the Twins succeeded in 2019 in a similar spot when they started Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe in a September double game day and walked away with a win in both matches. Game 1 will be a matchup between Bailey Ober and Triston McKenzie. Ober is starting in the majors for the first time since June 1st; a nasty groin strain has quelled his shot at following a promising rookie season with a full campaign, but he could provide the sort of 5-6 innings stability the team has sorely missed in 2022. McKenzie, on the other hand, has enjoyed a breakout season, riding a lively fastball to a 3.05 ERA over 165 1/3 innings. It’s Cleveland; of course, they have great pitching. McKenzie will give the Guardians the upper hand, but Ober's steady, habitual 5-6 inning promise could give the Twins the assurance they need to win. Game 2 will be a battle between TBD and Shane Bieber. TBD possesses good stuff, but he has sometimes failed to reign in his command, leading to an inflated ERA and walk rate; hopefully, he can turn things around soon. Bieber—the 2020 AL Cy Young award winner—has been dominant as usual; a frightening shoulder injury has sapped a few ticks of velocity, but Bieber barely seems to care; his season ERA sits at 2.91. Expect an overwhelming dose of strikeouts in this game. Bieber is always a tough go; the Twins will be fortunate to win this game, and if they do succeed, it will likely be thanks to a timely extra-base hit or two. Game 3—the second match in a Saturday doubleheader—will feature TBD facing off against Konnor Pilkington. It’s a bold strategy for the Twins to start TBD in back-to-back games—on the same day, no less—but desperate times call for such measures (the editor would like to note that Josh Winder will start one of the games while Louie Varland will likely start the other). Pilkington is an intriguing lefty, yet another arm in Cleveland’s factory of stuff, an efficient machine producing a seemingly endless array of dominant starters. Pilkington owns a 4.30 ERA over 52 1/3 career innings in the majors, all coming in 2022. Game three could tilt in the Twins' favor, as Pilkington offers a great chance for Minnesota to jump on an inexperienced arm. Expect a big day from Kyle Garlick. Game 4 will see Joe Ryan start opposite Cody Morris. Fresh off a cruising yet controversial seven shutout inning start, Ryan will look to build off his excellent performance against the Royals in the most crucial start of his young career. Morris is like Pilkington; a young, talented arm with 9 2/3 innings under his wing working to establish himself in the majors. This game will be a proper wild card, but Ryan's relative veteran status could give the Twins the edge. Game 5 — a unique Monday finale — will see Sonny Gray attempt to best Cal Quantrill. Gray has pitched like his usual self in 2022; an efficient, crafty veteran capable of making excellent hitters look foolish as they stare at a sinker down the middle or swing at a curveball that dives when they least expect it. Quantrill is a mystery; a righty sinker/cutter specialist with meh peripherals but a commanding 3.51 season ERA. Game five will probably end as the most intense match of the series; both Gray and Quantrill are capable of pitching deep into the ballgame, so expect a a great nervous feel for this Monday matchup. It’s baseball drama to ever refer to a series as “season-defining,” but the term fits here; the teams will not play each after this series, meaning that an inconclusive result in this series will place AL Central power into the hands of other teams as September winds down. The Twins must win at least three games for their playoff chances to remain firmly in the realm of realism.
  13. The Minnesota Twins were swept at home by Cleveland to fall 4.5 games back in the AL Central and are now below .500. They're also 2-8 in September. Ouch. In the minor leagues, Bailey Ober and Cody Laweryson looked good on the mound. Seth Gray hit his first Double-A home run. Both the Kernels and Mighty Mussels wrapped up their regular seasons and turn the page to their playoff series starting Tuesday.
  14. The Minnesota Twins were swept at home by Cleveland to fall 4.5 games back in the AL Central and are now below .500. They're also 2-8 in September. Ouch. In the minor leagues, Bailey Ober and Cody Laweryson looked good on the mound. Seth Gray hit his first Double-A home run. Both the Kernels and Mighty Mussels wrapped up their regular seasons and turn the page to their playoff series starting Tuesday. View full video
  15. Joe Ryan looked like a front end starter to begin the year and has slowly trended in the wrong direction throughout the summer as many analysts predicted. As the Twins bottom out it’s fair to ask: Is Joe Ryan who we thought he was? Image courtesy of Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports A 7th-round pick taken by Tampa Bay, Joe Ryan was always an interesting prospect. Throwing his fastball as high as 70-80% of the time in the minors, he always dominated with solid ERAs, eye-popping strikeout numbers, and acceptable home run rates. Still, scouts just didn’t buy the long-term performance with Joe Ryan due to his lack of any kind of consistent secondary offerings to pair with his best pitch. As 2022 rolls on, he’s shown more and more that perhaps the league has caught up to him. Were we too quick to anoint him as a staple for the front of the rotation? When considering this question, there are a few factors we need to keep in mind. Offspeed Debut Joe Ryan was essentially a fastball-only pitcher in the minors because he could get away with it. His fastball is deceptive, and it appears that despite his numbers tailing off as the season went on, the league never really figured the pitch out. He’s thrown it three times as much as any of his other offerings and the pitch has allowed a .183 BA against and .328 slugging %. In order to maintain that effectiveness, however, Ryan has finally had to incorporate more offspeed pitches. Unfortunately, it could be going better. Ryan has allowed a .500+ SLG on every pitch but his fastball this season. As his home run issues have ballooned, the slider is typically the culprit. Having allowed nine HRs on 1,229 fastballs thrown, Ryan has allowed eight on just 431 sliders thrown. In fairness, this is the first Ryan has really had to rely on offspeed stuff, and it’s safe to still call his secondary pitches a work in progress that could easily improve. Bad Luck I hate chalking anything up to bad luck but Joe Ryan actually has dealt with quite a bit of it this season. Ryan posted a 2.28 ERA in eight starts leading up to May 21. He then missed three weeks with COVID and has since posted a 4.78 mark in 16 starts. His velocity and command were both notably lacking for some time following his absence as he was clearly hit hard by the virus considering the amount of time missed. He was due for a bit of regression, but things certainly seemed to snowball after the IL trip. Ryan also has an interesting gap in the expected results of his pitch mix versus the actual results. He’s allowed a SLG of .531 on his slider with a .368 expected SLG. His .538 SLG on his changeup is a far cry from the .443 expected mark. Even his curveball has allowed a .524 SLG compared to a .354 expected SLG. It’s hard to say what’s causing this discrepancy, but the expected stats point to Ryan being a much more effective pitcher than what his (still respectable) results have been. He’s a Rookie It’s easy to forget Joe Ryan is a rookie under control for five more seasons because the Twins have relied on him so heavily. Very rarely does a pitcher debut and provide consistent results. Many called the Twins front office out this spring for essentially hanging the hopes of the season on two pitchers with less than a year of experience (Ryan and Bailey Ober), and they turned out to be correct. While Ryan has worked out better than Ober due to the volume he’s provided, the Twins were always playing with fire. Ryan getting his feet wet to the tune of a low-4s ERA in what will probably be 140ish innings in his rookie season would typically be viewed as a massive success. Unfortunately, the Twins relied on him being a front-of-the-rotation starter. As he builds up a bigger workload and makes adjustments back to the league, it’s easy to see him building off of an up-and-down rookie season and at least providing middle-of-the-rotation value to the team in future years. In short, don’t let the Twins' disappointing end to the season affect your opinion of Joe Ryan. Whether he’s the pitcher we thought he was depends on what you were expecting. As fun as the idea was of a rookie coming up and co-leading the rotation with Sonny Gray en route to a comeback season, that was always the least likely scenario. Instead consider that Ryan has had a solid-to-good debut season, a rarity in Twins territory when it comes to pitchers. As he soars past his career highs in innings pitched, keep in mind that Joe Ryan still has a good chunk of his Twins career left to adjust and improve, and he’s got a nice foundation to build off of from his 2022 season. View full article
  16. A 7th-round pick taken by Tampa Bay, Joe Ryan was always an interesting prospect. Throwing his fastball as high as 70-80% of the time in the minors, he always dominated with solid ERAs, eye-popping strikeout numbers, and acceptable home run rates. Still, scouts just didn’t buy the long-term performance with Joe Ryan due to his lack of any kind of consistent secondary offerings to pair with his best pitch. As 2022 rolls on, he’s shown more and more that perhaps the league has caught up to him. Were we too quick to anoint him as a staple for the front of the rotation? When considering this question, there are a few factors we need to keep in mind. Offspeed Debut Joe Ryan was essentially a fastball-only pitcher in the minors because he could get away with it. His fastball is deceptive, and it appears that despite his numbers tailing off as the season went on, the league never really figured the pitch out. He’s thrown it three times as much as any of his other offerings and the pitch has allowed a .183 BA against and .328 slugging %. In order to maintain that effectiveness, however, Ryan has finally had to incorporate more offspeed pitches. Unfortunately, it could be going better. Ryan has allowed a .500+ SLG on every pitch but his fastball this season. As his home run issues have ballooned, the slider is typically the culprit. Having allowed nine HRs on 1,229 fastballs thrown, Ryan has allowed eight on just 431 sliders thrown. In fairness, this is the first Ryan has really had to rely on offspeed stuff, and it’s safe to still call his secondary pitches a work in progress that could easily improve. Bad Luck I hate chalking anything up to bad luck but Joe Ryan actually has dealt with quite a bit of it this season. Ryan posted a 2.28 ERA in eight starts leading up to May 21. He then missed three weeks with COVID and has since posted a 4.78 mark in 16 starts. His velocity and command were both notably lacking for some time following his absence as he was clearly hit hard by the virus considering the amount of time missed. He was due for a bit of regression, but things certainly seemed to snowball after the IL trip. Ryan also has an interesting gap in the expected results of his pitch mix versus the actual results. He’s allowed a SLG of .531 on his slider with a .368 expected SLG. His .538 SLG on his changeup is a far cry from the .443 expected mark. Even his curveball has allowed a .524 SLG compared to a .354 expected SLG. It’s hard to say what’s causing this discrepancy, but the expected stats point to Ryan being a much more effective pitcher than what his (still respectable) results have been. He’s a Rookie It’s easy to forget Joe Ryan is a rookie under control for five more seasons because the Twins have relied on him so heavily. Very rarely does a pitcher debut and provide consistent results. Many called the Twins front office out this spring for essentially hanging the hopes of the season on two pitchers with less than a year of experience (Ryan and Bailey Ober), and they turned out to be correct. While Ryan has worked out better than Ober due to the volume he’s provided, the Twins were always playing with fire. Ryan getting his feet wet to the tune of a low-4s ERA in what will probably be 140ish innings in his rookie season would typically be viewed as a massive success. Unfortunately, the Twins relied on him being a front-of-the-rotation starter. As he builds up a bigger workload and makes adjustments back to the league, it’s easy to see him building off of an up-and-down rookie season and at least providing middle-of-the-rotation value to the team in future years. In short, don’t let the Twins' disappointing end to the season affect your opinion of Joe Ryan. Whether he’s the pitcher we thought he was depends on what you were expecting. As fun as the idea was of a rookie coming up and co-leading the rotation with Sonny Gray en route to a comeback season, that was always the least likely scenario. Instead consider that Ryan has had a solid-to-good debut season, a rarity in Twins territory when it comes to pitchers. As he soars past his career highs in innings pitched, keep in mind that Joe Ryan still has a good chunk of his Twins career left to adjust and improve, and he’s got a nice foundation to build off of from his 2022 season.
  17. There were multiple shutouts from the pitching staffs of Minnesota Twins affiliates on Tuesday, including one in a triple-A doubleheader, and another down in Fort Myers that was started by a rehabbing Bailey Ober. TRANSACTIONS In Triple-A on Sunday, the St. Paul Saints activated RHP Brock Stewart, who had been down in Fort Myers working his way back. In addition, RHPs Ben Heller, Juan Minaya, and Tyler Thornburg were released. 2022 draft pick, OF Alec Sayre was placed on the 7-Day IL. The Wichita Wind Surge released LHP Bryan Sammons on Monday, and RHP Hunter McMahon was promoted to them from Cedar Rapids. They also transferred RHP Andrew Cabezas to the development list and received RHP Jordan Brink from the FCL Twins on Tuesday. RHP Malik Barrington was promoted from Fort Myers to Cedar Rapids along with RHP Regi Grace. In Fort Myers, RHP Anthony Escobar was released, while the Mighty Mussels received RHP Kyle Jones, LHP Develson Aria, and RHP Zebby Matthews from the FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINEL Game 1: Toledo 1, St. Paul 2 (completion of game suspended July 17th) Box Score This game was suspended over a month ago in the first inning, so there were a lot of changes to the lineups for each team when it resumed on Tuesday. Cole Sands had started the game back then, and allowed one run while recording two outs. Ariel Jurado took over on this night, and got them through the fourth, allowing just one hit and striking out four in 3 1/3 innings. Devin Smeltzer was just as good for the next three innings, also allowing just one hit and striking out four, and would get the credit for the win. Michael Feliz picked up a hold with a one-two-three eighth, striking out two before Brad Peacock picked up his eighth save by striking out two in the ninth as well. Four consecutive singles in the bottom of the second led to the first run of the game for St. Paul, tying it at one. Mark Contreras tallied the third of those singles, driving in Michael Helman who had led off the frame with a base knock of his own. Chris Williams led off the fifth inning with a home run, which actually gets credited as his first of the season in Triple-A when looking at the box score, as well as the second game he played on this day. It is of course his ninth home run with St. Paul, and 27th of the season overall. That was enough to secure the victory as Saints pitching held the Mud Hens to just three hits in the game. Braden Bishop had two hits to lead the lineup, and also drew a walk. Game 2: St. Paul 1, Toledo 0 (7 innings) Box Score In Game 2, Saints pitching again held Toledo to just three hits, and with the result being a shutout the five hits of their own were enough to pull out another victory. Mario Sanchez made the start and went the first four innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three. Drew Strotman pitched a one-two-three fifth to pick up the win, and Jharel Cotton picked up a two-inning save, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out four. St. Paul scored the only run of the game in the top of the sixth after Mark Contreras drew a walk, moved into scoring position on an errant pickoff attempt, then scampered home on a single from Cole Sturgeon. Michael Helman added a single, a walk, and his 29th stolen base of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 Box Score The Kansas City Royals #9 prospect (per MLB.com), outfielder Tyler Gentry, took the Wind Surge to task late on Tuesday, tallying all five of the Naturals' RBI thanks to a two-run homer in the eighth, and a bases-clearing double in the ninth. To that point, Wichita pitchers had been great, as Cody Laweryson made the start and allowed no runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out five in the first four innings. Michael Boyle, Osiris German, and Jordan Brink then were able to add a scoreless inning each, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out three between them before the eighth. Hunter McMahon was the victim of the home run in the eighth before Blayne Enlow got tagged with the double in the ninth. McMahon gave up three hits and struck out one, while Enlow gave up three free passes in front of the double, but did strike out two as well. The Wind Surge’s lone run came in the bottom of the eighth when Yunior Severino delivered a bases loaded single to score Edouard Julien, who had led off the inning with a single of his own. With the bases still loaded and nobody out, a strikeout preceded an inning-ending double play ball to kill their late rally. Julien finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and stolen bases, Aaron Sabato chipped in a double, and Austin Martin was 1-for-4 with a walk and his 32nd stolen base to lead the offense, and also made an athletic tag at second on a steal attempt. KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 6, Cedar Rapids 8 Box Score This one got crazy late, as a six-run inning from the Kernels almost wasn’t enough to hold off a five-run rally from the Cubs in a battle of teams who ended the night with identical 71-56 records on the season. While the Kernels took the West Division first-half title, South Bend looks poised to take the second-half, so this could be a playoff preview series. Orlando Rodriguez took the mound for Cedar Rapids and was fantastic for six innings. He allowed just one run on three hits and a walk, while punching out four Cubs. Matt Mullenbach pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two before the Kernels came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. With the score 2-1 in favor of the good guys at that point, the Kernels broke it open thanks to some wildness to start the inning (two walks and a hit-by-pitch), and loud contact to end it. With the bases loaded Willie Joe Garry Jr. clubbed a double to score two, Dylan Neuse delivered a two-RBI single, and Jake Rucker put the exclamation point on it with a two-run home run, making it 8-1 Cedar Rapids. Then it was time for Regi Grace’s Midwest League debut in the ninth, and it was one he’ll want to forget quickly. While recording two outs, he would be charged with four runs on three hits and walk, and Tyler Palm would be called upon to stop the bleeding. Palm also gave up two hits and a run of his own, but managed to keep the tying run off the basepaths to secure a win. Neuse led the way for the Kernels with three hits in four at-bats, scoring a run and driving in two. In addition to his double, Garry Jr. also drew a walk, scored a run, and stole a base. Brooks Lee was 1-for-5 and scored a run, while Mikey Perez scored two runs and stole two bases. MUSSEL MATTERS St. Lucie 0, Fort Myers 5 Box Score Bailey Ober made his second rehab appearance with the Mighty Mussels, and was in command for all four of his innings. He allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out three in the outing, and should be ready for St. Paul and/or the Minnesota Twins soon. Of his 52 pitches, 38 went for strikes (73%) in the game, and he faced just one hitter over the minimum in the outing. Develson Aria made his debut in full-season ball after Ober’s exit, and threw two scoreless frames, walking two and striking out three. Jackson Hicks then finished off the shutout with three scoreless innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. He allowed just one hit and struck out five Mets hitters, including all three in the ninth. Of note in this one is the 11th overall pick in this year's draft, catcher Kevin Parada, was 0-for-4 and struck out against each Mighty Mussels pitcher. Fort Myers did all their damage in the seventh inning, with the first two runs coming on Keoni Cavaco’s tenth home run of the year, and Noah Cardenas unloading the bases with a double for their final three. Cavaco was 2-for-4 on the night and also stole base in addition to his go-ahead homer. Tanner Schobel added a double, two walks, stolen base, and scored a run. Noah Miller finished 1-for-4 with a run scored, walk, and his 23rd stolen base of the year. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Jackson Hicks, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 3 IP, H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Dylan Neuse, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, R, 2B, 2 K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, SB #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, BB, SB #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-7, BB, K (2 games) #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, K, SB #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, R, 2B, 2 BB, SB #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees (2:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (MLB Debut), Game 2 (Joe Ryan) St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35 PM CDT) - RHP Ronny Henriquez (2-4, 5.94 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (8-5, 3.24 ERA) South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP David Festa (7-3, 2.59 ERA) St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (6-7, 3.53 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! View full article
  18. TRANSACTIONS In Triple-A on Sunday, the St. Paul Saints activated RHP Brock Stewart, who had been down in Fort Myers working his way back. In addition, RHPs Ben Heller, Juan Minaya, and Tyler Thornburg were released. 2022 draft pick, OF Alec Sayre was placed on the 7-Day IL. The Wichita Wind Surge released LHP Bryan Sammons on Monday, and RHP Hunter McMahon was promoted to them from Cedar Rapids. They also transferred RHP Andrew Cabezas to the development list and received RHP Jordan Brink from the FCL Twins on Tuesday. RHP Malik Barrington was promoted from Fort Myers to Cedar Rapids along with RHP Regi Grace. In Fort Myers, RHP Anthony Escobar was released, while the Mighty Mussels received RHP Kyle Jones, LHP Develson Aria, and RHP Zebby Matthews from the FCL Twins. SAINTS SENTINEL Game 1: Toledo 1, St. Paul 2 (completion of game suspended July 17th) Box Score This game was suspended over a month ago in the first inning, so there were a lot of changes to the lineups for each team when it resumed on Tuesday. Cole Sands had started the game back then, and allowed one run while recording two outs. Ariel Jurado took over on this night, and got them through the fourth, allowing just one hit and striking out four in 3 1/3 innings. Devin Smeltzer was just as good for the next three innings, also allowing just one hit and striking out four, and would get the credit for the win. Michael Feliz picked up a hold with a one-two-three eighth, striking out two before Brad Peacock picked up his eighth save by striking out two in the ninth as well. Four consecutive singles in the bottom of the second led to the first run of the game for St. Paul, tying it at one. Mark Contreras tallied the third of those singles, driving in Michael Helman who had led off the frame with a base knock of his own. Chris Williams led off the fifth inning with a home run, which actually gets credited as his first of the season in Triple-A when looking at the box score, as well as the second game he played on this day. It is of course his ninth home run with St. Paul, and 27th of the season overall. That was enough to secure the victory as Saints pitching held the Mud Hens to just three hits in the game. Braden Bishop had two hits to lead the lineup, and also drew a walk. Game 2: St. Paul 1, Toledo 0 (7 innings) Box Score In Game 2, Saints pitching again held Toledo to just three hits, and with the result being a shutout the five hits of their own were enough to pull out another victory. Mario Sanchez made the start and went the first four innings. He gave up just one hit and struck out three. Drew Strotman pitched a one-two-three fifth to pick up the win, and Jharel Cotton picked up a two-inning save, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out four. St. Paul scored the only run of the game in the top of the sixth after Mark Contreras drew a walk, moved into scoring position on an errant pickoff attempt, then scampered home on a single from Cole Sturgeon. Michael Helman added a single, a walk, and his 29th stolen base of the season. WIND SURGE WISDOM NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1 Box Score The Kansas City Royals #9 prospect (per MLB.com), outfielder Tyler Gentry, took the Wind Surge to task late on Tuesday, tallying all five of the Naturals' RBI thanks to a two-run homer in the eighth, and a bases-clearing double in the ninth. To that point, Wichita pitchers had been great, as Cody Laweryson made the start and allowed no runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out five in the first four innings. Michael Boyle, Osiris German, and Jordan Brink then were able to add a scoreless inning each, allowing two hits, a walk, and striking out three between them before the eighth. Hunter McMahon was the victim of the home run in the eighth before Blayne Enlow got tagged with the double in the ninth. McMahon gave up three hits and struck out one, while Enlow gave up three free passes in front of the double, but did strike out two as well. The Wind Surge’s lone run came in the bottom of the eighth when Yunior Severino delivered a bases loaded single to score Edouard Julien, who had led off the inning with a single of his own. With the bases still loaded and nobody out, a strikeout preceded an inning-ending double play ball to kill their late rally. Julien finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and stolen bases, Aaron Sabato chipped in a double, and Austin Martin was 1-for-4 with a walk and his 32nd stolen base to lead the offense, and also made an athletic tag at second on a steal attempt. KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 6, Cedar Rapids 8 Box Score This one got crazy late, as a six-run inning from the Kernels almost wasn’t enough to hold off a five-run rally from the Cubs in a battle of teams who ended the night with identical 71-56 records on the season. While the Kernels took the West Division first-half title, South Bend looks poised to take the second-half, so this could be a playoff preview series. Orlando Rodriguez took the mound for Cedar Rapids and was fantastic for six innings. He allowed just one run on three hits and a walk, while punching out four Cubs. Matt Mullenbach pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out two before the Kernels came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. With the score 2-1 in favor of the good guys at that point, the Kernels broke it open thanks to some wildness to start the inning (two walks and a hit-by-pitch), and loud contact to end it. With the bases loaded Willie Joe Garry Jr. clubbed a double to score two, Dylan Neuse delivered a two-RBI single, and Jake Rucker put the exclamation point on it with a two-run home run, making it 8-1 Cedar Rapids. Then it was time for Regi Grace’s Midwest League debut in the ninth, and it was one he’ll want to forget quickly. While recording two outs, he would be charged with four runs on three hits and walk, and Tyler Palm would be called upon to stop the bleeding. Palm also gave up two hits and a run of his own, but managed to keep the tying run off the basepaths to secure a win. Neuse led the way for the Kernels with three hits in four at-bats, scoring a run and driving in two. In addition to his double, Garry Jr. also drew a walk, scored a run, and stole a base. Brooks Lee was 1-for-5 and scored a run, while Mikey Perez scored two runs and stole two bases. MUSSEL MATTERS St. Lucie 0, Fort Myers 5 Box Score Bailey Ober made his second rehab appearance with the Mighty Mussels, and was in command for all four of his innings. He allowed one hit, walked one, and struck out three in the outing, and should be ready for St. Paul and/or the Minnesota Twins soon. Of his 52 pitches, 38 went for strikes (73%) in the game, and he faced just one hitter over the minimum in the outing. Develson Aria made his debut in full-season ball after Ober’s exit, and threw two scoreless frames, walking two and striking out three. Jackson Hicks then finished off the shutout with three scoreless innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. He allowed just one hit and struck out five Mets hitters, including all three in the ninth. Of note in this one is the 11th overall pick in this year's draft, catcher Kevin Parada, was 0-for-4 and struck out against each Mighty Mussels pitcher. Fort Myers did all their damage in the seventh inning, with the first two runs coming on Keoni Cavaco’s tenth home run of the year, and Noah Cardenas unloading the bases with a double for their final three. Cavaco was 2-for-4 on the night and also stole base in addition to his go-ahead homer. Tanner Schobel added a double, two walks, stolen base, and scored a run. Noah Miller finished 1-for-4 with a run scored, walk, and his 23rd stolen base of the year. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Jackson Hicks, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 3 IP, H, 5 K) Hitter of the Day - Dylan Neuse, Cedar Rapids Kernels (3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-5, R, 2B, 2 K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-for-4, BB, SB #7 - Noah Miller (Fort Myers) - 1-for-4, R, BB, SB #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-for-7, BB, K (2 games) #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, R, K, SB #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-for-2, R, 2B, 2 BB, SB #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 0-for-4, 3 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees (2:05 PM CDT) - RHP Louie Varland (MLB Debut), Game 2 (Joe Ryan) St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35 PM CDT) - RHP Ronny Henriquez (2-4, 5.94 ERA) NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CDT) - LHP Kody Funderburk (8-5, 3.24 ERA) South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CDT) - RHP David Festa (7-3, 2.59 ERA) St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CDT) - RHP Pierson Ohl (6-7, 3.53 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  19. The Minnesota Twins were off but there was plenty to talk about in the minor leagues. Matt Wallner hit for the cycle in a monster offensive outburst for the Saints. It was a rare night where video of Fort Myers was available, so there are highlights included of a rehabbing Bailey Ober, Kala'i Rosario, Noah Miller, Ben Ross, Misael Urbina, Tanner Schobel, Keoni Cavaco and Juan Mendez. Aaron Sabato, Edouard Julien, Yunior Severio and Brooks Lee all homered. That and more in tonight's recap.
  20. The Minnesota Twins were off but there was plenty to talk about in the minor leagues. Matt Wallner hit for the cycle in a monster offensive outburst for the Saints. It was a rare night where video of Fort Myers was available, so there are highlights included of a rehabbing Bailey Ober, Kala'i Rosario, Noah Miller, Ben Ross, Misael Urbina, Tanner Schobel, Keoni Cavaco and Juan Mendez. Aaron Sabato, Edouard Julien, Yunior Severio and Brooks Lee all homered. That and more in tonight's recap. View full video
  21. The Minnesota Twins have fallen to second place in the American League Central division, and while they needed an influx of pitching help at the deadline, the next wave of reinforcements may not come soon enough. With a 9-8 record and just 10 games left in August, the September stretch becomes vital, but who’s there to help? As I wrote last week, the expectation should be that the division is sorted out in the final month of the season. Minnesota will play the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians a combined 17 times in September. Separated by anything less than four games when the calendar turns should represent striking distance. The problem is what will have changed for available options at that point? Right now Rocco Baldelli is forced to roll Jake Cave out on a regular basis. Gary Sanchez has been nothing behind the plate basically all season. The bullpen still has warts, and time is ticking. Over the weekend The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman provided a status update on many of Minnesota’s key pieces. Knowing how awful the lineup has been for weeks suggests that Trevor Larnach and Kyle Garlick could be the most impactful additions. It doesn’t sound like Ryan Jeffers will be back until the second half of September, but the pitching staff should get a few jolts before then. Maybe Josh Winder, Bailey Ober, and Randy Dobnak can provide value in the short term. Hopefully, Kenta Maeda is ready to go soon. No matter what though, all of the timelines still represent a substantial amount of gray area. There’s no denying that the Twins need to put their best foot forward if they’re going to make the postseason. There’s no reason why this team, even as it’s currently constructed, isn’t making up ground on Cleveland. Sure, the White Sox are without Tim Anderson, and have missed Luis Robert at times. The Guardians have shuffled pieces around Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez, but both of those clubs are working towards the same goal as Minnesota. It’s understandable to look at what could be coming back to the Twins clubhouse and be excited. Having that much impactful talent on the shelf is hardly a positive reality. Until we start seeing rehab assignments and activations though, it’s all just a theoretical hope that the next addition is the one that turns the tide. I don’t think you can make a case for many of the Twins pending activations to suddenly trend toward the season-ending type, but every day ripped off in September without additions will be an opportunity missed. As healing and rehab procedures trend toward their completion, Minnesota must be aggressive with the goal of maximizing the impact felt by each player. Taking a look at the Twins record on a rolling monthly basis to this point it’s clear this is a ship that’s been treading water. If they want to be the 18-12 team they were in May to close this out, they’ll have to hope there are no more guys being hidden throughout the roster biding time until they can be swapped out. View full article
  22. As I wrote last week, the expectation should be that the division is sorted out in the final month of the season. Minnesota will play the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians a combined 17 times in September. Separated by anything less than four games when the calendar turns should represent striking distance. The problem is what will have changed for available options at that point? Right now Rocco Baldelli is forced to roll Jake Cave out on a regular basis. Gary Sanchez has been nothing behind the plate basically all season. The bullpen still has warts, and time is ticking. Over the weekend The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman provided a status update on many of Minnesota’s key pieces. Knowing how awful the lineup has been for weeks suggests that Trevor Larnach and Kyle Garlick could be the most impactful additions. It doesn’t sound like Ryan Jeffers will be back until the second half of September, but the pitching staff should get a few jolts before then. Maybe Josh Winder, Bailey Ober, and Randy Dobnak can provide value in the short term. Hopefully, Kenta Maeda is ready to go soon. No matter what though, all of the timelines still represent a substantial amount of gray area. There’s no denying that the Twins need to put their best foot forward if they’re going to make the postseason. There’s no reason why this team, even as it’s currently constructed, isn’t making up ground on Cleveland. Sure, the White Sox are without Tim Anderson, and have missed Luis Robert at times. The Guardians have shuffled pieces around Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez, but both of those clubs are working towards the same goal as Minnesota. It’s understandable to look at what could be coming back to the Twins clubhouse and be excited. Having that much impactful talent on the shelf is hardly a positive reality. Until we start seeing rehab assignments and activations though, it’s all just a theoretical hope that the next addition is the one that turns the tide. I don’t think you can make a case for many of the Twins pending activations to suddenly trend toward the season-ending type, but every day ripped off in September without additions will be an opportunity missed. As healing and rehab procedures trend toward their completion, Minnesota must be aggressive with the goal of maximizing the impact felt by each player. Taking a look at the Twins record on a rolling monthly basis to this point it’s clear this is a ship that’s been treading water. If they want to be the 18-12 team they were in May to close this out, they’ll have to hope there are no more guys being hidden throughout the roster biding time until they can be swapped out.
  23. The Twins Injured List continues to grow as the season rolls on as they’re now missing several important contributors who hopefully haven’t made their last marks on this 2022 Twins team. Some absences however weigh a bit heavier than others. It seems like there’s a new player added to the Injured List every other day as the Twins have found themselves filling out the daily lineup card with players we never imagined they’d be relying on. Outfield, catcher, pitchers of all roles, there’s nowhere the Twins haven’t felt the sting of injury. For them to get back on the right track, I’ve ranked the top 3 players in order of importance to how the Twins may wind up finishing their season. 3. Trevor Larnach Larnach last played at the end of June before undergoing core muscle surgery that turned out to be the likely source of his struggles before hitting the IL. Before being limited by injury, Larnach was a solid contributor to the Twins in multiple ways. The slugging left-hander was about league average in March and April before exploding to the tune of a .333/.431/.646 line in May. He also graded out well in every defensive metric, as what he lacked in outfield range, he made up for in sure-handedness and an arm that had bullied teams out of trying for extra bases. What was originally a six-week timetable appears to have been pushed back to closer to 10 weeks with little updates along the way. The Twins are hoping Larnach can be back in early September for the stretch run which would be huge for the lineup. Any kind of return to form would result in Larnach taking playing time away from players such as Jake Cave and Tim Beckham. Larnach should also slot into the top 4-5 spots in the lineup with his patient approach and bat capable of some much-needed fireworks. He’s been lefty-proof in his career thus far, actually hitting southpaws better than righties which makes him an everyday player if Kyle Garlick doesn’t make his return this season. 2. Ryan Jeffers Many complained about Jeffers’ bat, myself included, for much of the season. While he hasn’t lit the world on fire, it’s hard to deny that Jeffers has a superior glove to Gary Sanchez who’s played far too often since Jeffers went down. The former Yankee, a bat-first catcher, has given us a newfound appreciation for Jeffers’ modest offensive skills since he’s become the everyday catcher. Sanchez was 24% below the league average hitter in June, and a Drew Butera-esque 59% below in July. Not only is his defense not up to Jeffers’ standards, but the Twins have basically been giving away 3-4 free outs per game to their opponents from the catcher’s spot for over a month. Sandy Leon has begun eating into Gary’s playing time as he can at least provide stellar work behind the plate, but the Twins certainly would benefit from Jeffers return sooner rather than later. The floor of his framing work behind the plate and occasional hot streak sounds far superior to the current setup. It’s hopeful Jeffers returns towards the end of August and certainly for the stretch run in September. 1. Bailey Ober The Twins had a fantastic trade deadline, there’s no disputing that. They had a significant amount of needs and addressed the most important ones in a market that many teams called difficult. One more filler-type starting pitcher certainly wouldn’t have hurt, however. The Twins are in an interesting spot with the rotation. Joe Ryan has begun to surpass previous career highs in innings pitched. It’s hard to expect more than four innings pitched from Bundy and Archer every time out, and there’s little to no help on the way in the minors aside from Devin Smeltzer. A lot will hinge not only on the rotation staying healthy, but on the duo of Bundy and Archer occasionally providing starts that give the Twins a chance to win, which is no sure thing. Having Ober back even under the premise that he’s a solid #4 starter would be a game changer for a Twins rotation that lacks any kind of depth. It’s unclear what Ober’s timeline is, but we’ve been told we can expect him back this season still at this point. Hopefully good news starts to emerge sooner rather than later, as the Twins could surely use one of their lone bright spots from the 2021 rotation. Admittedly this list is plenty interchangeable and there are several options not even listed here. Let's be honest, we have plenty of injured players to choose from! Do you agree with the order of the list? Do you think someone not listed here deserves to be at the top? Let us know below. View full article
  24. It seems like there’s a new player added to the Injured List every other day as the Twins have found themselves filling out the daily lineup card with players we never imagined they’d be relying on. Outfield, catcher, pitchers of all roles, there’s nowhere the Twins haven’t felt the sting of injury. For them to get back on the right track, I’ve ranked the top 3 players in order of importance to how the Twins may wind up finishing their season. 3. Trevor Larnach Larnach last played at the end of June before undergoing core muscle surgery that turned out to be the likely source of his struggles before hitting the IL. Before being limited by injury, Larnach was a solid contributor to the Twins in multiple ways. The slugging left-hander was about league average in March and April before exploding to the tune of a .333/.431/.646 line in May. He also graded out well in every defensive metric, as what he lacked in outfield range, he made up for in sure-handedness and an arm that had bullied teams out of trying for extra bases. What was originally a six-week timetable appears to have been pushed back to closer to 10 weeks with little updates along the way. The Twins are hoping Larnach can be back in early September for the stretch run which would be huge for the lineup. Any kind of return to form would result in Larnach taking playing time away from players such as Jake Cave and Tim Beckham. Larnach should also slot into the top 4-5 spots in the lineup with his patient approach and bat capable of some much-needed fireworks. He’s been lefty-proof in his career thus far, actually hitting southpaws better than righties which makes him an everyday player if Kyle Garlick doesn’t make his return this season. 2. Ryan Jeffers Many complained about Jeffers’ bat, myself included, for much of the season. While he hasn’t lit the world on fire, it’s hard to deny that Jeffers has a superior glove to Gary Sanchez who’s played far too often since Jeffers went down. The former Yankee, a bat-first catcher, has given us a newfound appreciation for Jeffers’ modest offensive skills since he’s become the everyday catcher. Sanchez was 24% below the league average hitter in June, and a Drew Butera-esque 59% below in July. Not only is his defense not up to Jeffers’ standards, but the Twins have basically been giving away 3-4 free outs per game to their opponents from the catcher’s spot for over a month. Sandy Leon has begun eating into Gary’s playing time as he can at least provide stellar work behind the plate, but the Twins certainly would benefit from Jeffers return sooner rather than later. The floor of his framing work behind the plate and occasional hot streak sounds far superior to the current setup. It’s hopeful Jeffers returns towards the end of August and certainly for the stretch run in September. 1. Bailey Ober The Twins had a fantastic trade deadline, there’s no disputing that. They had a significant amount of needs and addressed the most important ones in a market that many teams called difficult. One more filler-type starting pitcher certainly wouldn’t have hurt, however. The Twins are in an interesting spot with the rotation. Joe Ryan has begun to surpass previous career highs in innings pitched. It’s hard to expect more than four innings pitched from Bundy and Archer every time out, and there’s little to no help on the way in the minors aside from Devin Smeltzer. A lot will hinge not only on the rotation staying healthy, but on the duo of Bundy and Archer occasionally providing starts that give the Twins a chance to win, which is no sure thing. Having Ober back even under the premise that he’s a solid #4 starter would be a game changer for a Twins rotation that lacks any kind of depth. It’s unclear what Ober’s timeline is, but we’ve been told we can expect him back this season still at this point. Hopefully good news starts to emerge sooner rather than later, as the Twins could surely use one of their lone bright spots from the 2021 rotation. Admittedly this list is plenty interchangeable and there are several options not even listed here. Let's be honest, we have plenty of injured players to choose from! Do you agree with the order of the list? Do you think someone not listed here deserves to be at the top? Let us know below.
  25. Minnesota Twins prospect Louie Varland, a product of St. Paul, made his Triple-A debut for the Saints tonight and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Tonight's recap also features an ejection and some injury updates on Bailey Ober and Kenta Maeda. View full video
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