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  1. It's now officially been three years since 2020. Here's where the Twins top 30 prospects of that time, according to MLB.com, may be starting their 2023 seasons. Image courtesy of David Banks, USA Today Sports As the calendar flips into the new year, its time to look at where the Twins top 30 prospects according to MLB.com from 2020 are currently or expected to be for the 2023 season. Many of these 30 players are set to start their 2023 season playing professional baseball. Here’s the outlook for these past or even present Twins prospects 2023 seasons. 1. Royce Lewis Lewis' story is well known to Twins Territory. In a recent interview with the Athletic's Dan Hayes, Lewis is well aware of his situation and expects to have limited activity during Spring Training. A rehab assignment does not look likely before Memorial Day based off his recovery schedule. Still, there is great optimism that Lewis will be the Twins everyday shortstop upon his return from the IL. 2023 Season Start: IL 2. Alex Kirilloff Kirilloff is another story. Fortunately, he is expected to take part in full activities for the start of the Twins 2023 Spring Training. With the free agent acquisition of Joey Gallo on December 16, the expectation for Kirilloff is for him to see more playing time at first base than the outfield for 2023. Of course the health of Kirilloff’s wrist will be the major concern next to his everyday performance. As long as his wrist remain heathy, the sky is the limit for what he can do at the plate every day. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 3. Trevor Larnach Larnach, compared to his other two teammates, finished the season playing, although he ended the season with the Saints and didn't return to the Twins. Still with his core muscle healed, everyday playing opportunities aren’t a guarantee for Larnach right now with a crowded outfield. It is likely that Max Kepler will be traded before Spring Training begins, and with Kirilloff being prioritized at first, the corner spots could come down to him and Joey Gallo. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 4. Jordan Balazovic Balazovic had a season to forget at Triple A in 2022. After missing the first month of the season, Balazovic did not get a start until the first Saturday in May. Every start after then until September was a mess for the Twins top pitching prospect in 2020. Given the crowded rotation, Balazovic is likely to start his season at Triple A in St. Paul to prove that the flukes of his 2022 season were just a short term ordeal. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 5. Jhoan Duran There’s no question on where Jhoan Duran will be to start his 2023 season. The best rookie season for an American League reliever since 2006, Duran looks to repeat the success and protect his title of being baseball’s fastest pitching arm. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 6. Ryan Jeffers The promise of Jeffers as a starting catcher hasn’t exactly panned out how the Twins hoped it would have been when he made his MLB debut in 2020. Now, he will be splitting starting time with a defending World Series champion, Christian Vazquez. Like many others on this list, the question around Jeffers is how well can he play if he can remain healthy. Not having the bulk of catching duties on him should help in preventing further injuries from deteriorating his playing time. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 7. Keoni Cavaco Cavaco was drafted out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California in 2019. Having missed out on key development in 2020 with no Minor League season, he spent all of the 2022 season at Low A Ft. Myers. Cavaco’s numbers didn’t flash off the back of a baseball card in the 99 games in which he played. He was drafted as a shortstop but shifted to third base full time in 2022. Given that Cavaco does not turn 22 until June, his 2023 season will be focusing on getting to higher levels of the Twins farm system. 2023 Season Start: High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels 8. Wander Javier Javier once had a lot of promise to be a second coming of Jorge Polanco, now after an under productive season mostly spent in Cedar Rapids, the Twins have let go of Javier. He is now a minor league free agent. Javier is still 24 years old but only spent seven games in his career above the High A level. That and having not had a batting average above .225 or OPS above .693 since the 2017 season will make him a hard sign for many teams, even on a minor league deal. 2023 Season Start: Inactive 9. Blayne Enlow Enlow’s 2022 season was spent recovering from Tommy John surgery that had him shut down for the 2021 season. Aside from a rehab start in Ft. Myers, Enlow spent his entire season at Double A Wichita, where he was used both as a starter and reliever. His numbers on the mound did not jump off the board as he posted at 4.50 ERA as a reliever in 14 games and 4.86 ERA in 11 starts and 37 innings pitched. Enlow is currently on the 40-man roster for the Twins, but given his need to reinvent himself as a pitcher from a bad recovery year, it is likely he will start the season back in Wichita. 2023 Season Start: Double A Wichita Wind Surge 10. Lewis Thorpe After being cut by the Saints following his one and only start in the Twins system, Thorpe went to play for the Independent League Kansas City Monarchs. His season was mediocre there at best, and following the Monarchs season, Thorpe returned to his home country of Australia. He is not currently playing in the Australian Baseball League, though their season is underway. Given that he is back home and inactive, it is hard to say if he’ll make the return to the States and play professional here for the 2023 season. 2023 Season Start: Inactive 11. Matt Canterino Canterino showed a lot of promise during his 2022 season, so much that many anticipated he’d be making his MLB debut with the Twins to help the broken bullpen. Unfortunately, that never happened as he was shut down for Tommy John surgery in August. With that, Canterino is not expected to return to pitching until mid to late-August, as the 25-year-old will not likely make his MLB debut until 2024 at the earliest. Fortunately for him, he is on the Twins current 40-man roster and will be alongside Lewis as he moves to the 60-day IL as early as possible. 2023 Season Start: IL 12. Brent Rooker Rooker was traded to the Padres along with Taylor Rogers the day before 2022's Opening Day, and spent the year with San Diego and Kansas City, mainly playing at both their Triple A affiliates. 2023 could be the best season for everyday playing time for Rooker as he was claimed off waivers from the Royals to the Oakland A’s earlier this offseason. Oakland’s 40-man roster is a mess and not too many players are guaranteed to be on the Opening Day roster, especially on the offense side. If he has a strong spring training, Rooker has a good chance to be on Oakland’s Opening Day roster. 2023 Season Start: Athletics Opening Day Roster 13. Akil Baddo Baddo’s disappointing 2022 season has been hashed on over, and over again. Fortunately for him, he is currently one of only four listed outfielders on the Tigers 40-man roster, meaning there’s a good chance he stays on the 26-man roster for Opening Day. Still, Baddo will have to prove his sophomore slump to be just that in Spring Training if he wants to bank on his chances of being on the road in Tampa for the Tigers’ opening series against the Rays. 2023 Season Start: Tigers Opening Day Roster 14. Matt Wallner The Forest Lake native had an impressive end to his 2022 season coming home to play in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Wallner’s MLB debut was a bit rushed as the Twins outfield became completely depleted by September. With the addition of Gallo, the Twins left-handed hitting outfielders count is at six. Wallner is likely to start his 2023 season in St. Paul for a few weeks before returning to the Twins for more playing time. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 15. Gilberto Celestino Celestino logged 119 games in the outfield for the Twins in 2022, but with a lackluster performance at the plate all season, it’s likely the Twins will send him to Triple A to start the season. Celestino struggled on the field defensively as the 2022 season winded down as well. Having time with the Saints to have less pressure on his role as he did in 2022 with the Twins could help develop Celestino into a strong fourth outfielder again. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 16. Edwar Colina Colina had a cup of coffee with the Twins in 2020 making his MLB debut out of the bullpen for the final series of a 60-game season. Unfortunately, Colina has not pitched a professional game since then due to elbow issues. The Texas Rangers claimed Colina off waivers from the Twins on October 6, 2021, and has remained with the organization on a minor league deal. He turns 26 on May 3 and still could become an effective reliever out of their bullpen. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Round Rock Express 17. Nick Gordon Nick Gordon had a fantastic 2022 season amongst all the woes for the Twins last year. There is no doubt that he and Kyle Farmer are going to play heavy utility roles for the Twins in 2023. The main questions surrounding Gordon for 2023 are where he’ll receive the most playing time on the field and how often he’ll be in the lineup. The outfield is crowded for the Twins, especially in left field, plus Kyle Farmer and Jorge Polanco will be playing up the middle of the infield daily as they are better defenders at second and short. This is a good problem to have for Gordon as he will still contribute well to this Twins team. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 18. Travis Blankenhorn Blankenhorn, like Colina, had a quick cup of coffee with the Twins in 2020 playing in just one game against the White Sox in mid-September. He played one more game with the Twins in 2021 before being claimed off waivers not once, but three times and landing on the Mets. This off-season, Blankehorn signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. He is not on their 40-man roster but with a depleted roster from their World Series win just a few years ago, there’s a good chance he can land some playing time in Rochester during this season. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Rochester Red Wings 19. Cole Sands Sands had an iffy 2022 season between his time with the Twins and Saints. He had an ERA north of 5.00 at both levels, demonstrating a need for development either as a starter or reliever in St. Paul for 2023. Sands will certainly not be in the Twins starting rotation for Opening Day and as long as the rotation stays healthy. He may end up as a bullpen piece when he’s up for the Twins throughout the 2023 season. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 20. Will Holland Holland was the Twins fifth overall pick in the 2019 Amateur Draft and spent his 2022 season between Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Holland’s numbers as a hitter have never been eye popping since being drafted. His Minor League career triple slash in three seasons sits at .217/.331/.380 with a .711 OPS. Fortunately, Holland’s versatility as a defender is his strength as he can play at each position up the middle of the field. 2023 Season Start: Double A Wichita Wind Surge 21. Misael Urbina Urbina had a decent year between the Mighty Mussels and Florida Complex League, totaling 60 games between the two levels in 2022. Urbina is still a ways out from becoming an impact player in the Major Leagues, though. He still needs to establish himself as an everyday outfielder between both A-level affiliates and even then, there’s the biggest jumpfrom High A to Double A. Urbina turns 21 in April, so age is on his side for making big jumps for the 2023 season. 2023 Season Start: Low-A Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels 22. Jose Miranda Miranda fluctuate up and down on Twins prospect lists through the years. Now he’s become the Twins everyday third baseman for the 2023 season. While Miranda had a strong rookie performance for the Twins in 2022. Many believe he will improve greatly both defensively at third and at the plate knowing he won’t move around the infield as often in 2023. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 23. Dakota Chalmers Chalmers has not been in the Twins organization since the beginning of 2021. He was moved over to the Cubs that season and spent a brief amount of the time with the Dodgers Triple A affiliate in 2022. Chalmers ended up leaving the Oklahoma City Dodgers mid season to join the Atlantic League’s Gastonia Honey Hunters. It is likely he will keep pitching in independent baseball to start 2023 and hope to find his way back into pro ball before the season is over. 2023 Season Start: Atlantic League 24. Yunior Severino Severino is another player who has slowly but surely worked his way up the Twins system in recent years. He had a solid season between Cedar Rapids and Wichita posting a .278/.370/.536 triple slash and .907 OPS between the two levels. Severino will most likely start in Wichita for 2023 but he is certainly a sleeper pick for Twins fans to keep an eye on once he gets the call up to St. Paul. 2023 Season Start: Double A Wichita Wind Surge 25. Jorge Alcala Both the Twins bullpen and fans missed Alcala dearly last season with his injury that kept him out almost all year. That being said, expectations for Alcala’s return are high going into the 2023 season. The Twins desperately need their bullpen to be much better than it was in 2022, but there is no telling as of now if Alcala will be the same pitcher as he was prior to his surgery on his right elbow for arthroscopic debridement. Alcala has had no setbacks in recovery and is still expected to be good to go for Spring Training. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 26. Emmanuel Rodriguez Next to Brooks Lee, Emmanuel Rodriguez is the Twins prospect with the most hype and promise for what he can achieve for future Twins teams. Rodriguez only played in 47 games with the Mighty Mussles in 2022 as he battled injuries throughout the year. This season he’ll likely start in Ft. Myers again but all eyes will be on the soon to be 20-year-old's health and progression as a hitter. We'll see if he can make the jump from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids, and maybe even Wichita, before the 2023 season is over. 2023 Season Start: Low-A Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. 27. Gabriel Maciel The Twins lost Maciel to the Oakland A’s in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft last offseason. He played decently across 62 games for their High A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts, in 2022 but was released by them at season’s end. Maciel remains a minor league free agent, currently. He has promise both as a hitter and defender but still has not played above High A baseball and will be turning 24 next week. Maciel’s numbers compared to Javier make him less of a gamble to sign and add to a Double A roster, but only time will tell if that ends up being his case. 2023 Season Start: Double A team TBD 28. Ben Rortvedt Rortvedt’s playing time in 2022 was limited to injuries and the Yankees (who acquired him in the Josh Donaldson trade) were able to maintain a good platoon at catcher between Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka. As long as both of them are healthy and the Yankees don’t opt to have three catchers on their Opening Day roster, he is most likely to start his 2023 season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Triple A. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 29. Chris Vallimont The Twins lost Vallimont last season as the Baltimore Orioles claimed him off waivers and added him to their 40-man roster. While he pitched much better for their Double A team than he did for the Wind Surge, Vallimont still showed he wasn’t quite MLB ready having a 5.38 ERA in 72 innings for the Norfolk Tides. Vallimont is still seen as a starter by some and will likely be starting his season in Norfolk as long as he remains on the Orioles 40-man roster before spring training cuts happen. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Norfolk Tides 30. Josh Winder Winder’s 2022 season started decently as a rookie but he battled injuries and saw struggles as many Twins pitchers did for the season. Winder is still seen as a rotation option going into the 2023 season, but belongs in the same group as Louie Varnland and Simeon Woods Richardson as likely to start the season in St. Paul If Winder is to crack a spot on the Twins Opening Day roster, it will likely be in the bullpen. But given his struggles at the MLB level in 2022, the Twins are likely to opt him over to St. Paul to ensure he has regular time as a starter and redevelop himself into a better pitcher for 2023. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints Total Prediction Spots for Players 2023 Seasons On the Twins Opening Day roster: 7 In the Twins System to start 2023: 11 On another MLB team’s Opening Day roster: 2 Starting in the Minor Leagues or Indy Ball: 6 On Injured List: 2 Inactive: 2 Much can still change between now and Opening Day for all of these players but in a perfect world of predictability, these are the most likely of spots for all of these 30 current or former prospects of the Twins to start the 2023 season. Where do you believe that these players to start their 2023 season? Leave your own predictions below. View full article
  2. As the calendar flips into the new year, its time to look at where the Twins top 30 prospects according to MLB.com from 2020 are currently or expected to be for the 2023 season. Many of these 30 players are set to start their 2023 season playing professional baseball. Here’s the outlook for these past or even present Twins prospects 2023 seasons. 1. Royce Lewis Lewis' story is well known to Twins Territory. In a recent interview with the Athletic's Dan Hayes, Lewis is well aware of his situation and expects to have limited activity during Spring Training. A rehab assignment does not look likely before Memorial Day based off his recovery schedule. Still, there is great optimism that Lewis will be the Twins everyday shortstop upon his return from the IL. 2023 Season Start: IL 2. Alex Kirilloff Kirilloff is another story. Fortunately, he is expected to take part in full activities for the start of the Twins 2023 Spring Training. With the free agent acquisition of Joey Gallo on December 16, the expectation for Kirilloff is for him to see more playing time at first base than the outfield for 2023. Of course the health of Kirilloff’s wrist will be the major concern next to his everyday performance. As long as his wrist remain heathy, the sky is the limit for what he can do at the plate every day. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 3. Trevor Larnach Larnach, compared to his other two teammates, finished the season playing, although he ended the season with the Saints and didn't return to the Twins. Still with his core muscle healed, everyday playing opportunities aren’t a guarantee for Larnach right now with a crowded outfield. It is likely that Max Kepler will be traded before Spring Training begins, and with Kirilloff being prioritized at first, the corner spots could come down to him and Joey Gallo. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 4. Jordan Balazovic Balazovic had a season to forget at Triple A in 2022. After missing the first month of the season, Balazovic did not get a start until the first Saturday in May. Every start after then until September was a mess for the Twins top pitching prospect in 2020. Given the crowded rotation, Balazovic is likely to start his season at Triple A in St. Paul to prove that the flukes of his 2022 season were just a short term ordeal. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 5. Jhoan Duran There’s no question on where Jhoan Duran will be to start his 2023 season. The best rookie season for an American League reliever since 2006, Duran looks to repeat the success and protect his title of being baseball’s fastest pitching arm. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 6. Ryan Jeffers The promise of Jeffers as a starting catcher hasn’t exactly panned out how the Twins hoped it would have been when he made his MLB debut in 2020. Now, he will be splitting starting time with a defending World Series champion, Christian Vazquez. Like many others on this list, the question around Jeffers is how well can he play if he can remain healthy. Not having the bulk of catching duties on him should help in preventing further injuries from deteriorating his playing time. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 7. Keoni Cavaco Cavaco was drafted out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California in 2019. Having missed out on key development in 2020 with no Minor League season, he spent all of the 2022 season at Low A Ft. Myers. Cavaco’s numbers didn’t flash off the back of a baseball card in the 99 games in which he played. He was drafted as a shortstop but shifted to third base full time in 2022. Given that Cavaco does not turn 22 until June, his 2023 season will be focusing on getting to higher levels of the Twins farm system. 2023 Season Start: High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels 8. Wander Javier Javier once had a lot of promise to be a second coming of Jorge Polanco, now after an under productive season mostly spent in Cedar Rapids, the Twins have let go of Javier. He is now a minor league free agent. Javier is still 24 years old but only spent seven games in his career above the High A level. That and having not had a batting average above .225 or OPS above .693 since the 2017 season will make him a hard sign for many teams, even on a minor league deal. 2023 Season Start: Inactive 9. Blayne Enlow Enlow’s 2022 season was spent recovering from Tommy John surgery that had him shut down for the 2021 season. Aside from a rehab start in Ft. Myers, Enlow spent his entire season at Double A Wichita, where he was used both as a starter and reliever. His numbers on the mound did not jump off the board as he posted at 4.50 ERA as a reliever in 14 games and 4.86 ERA in 11 starts and 37 innings pitched. Enlow is currently on the 40-man roster for the Twins, but given his need to reinvent himself as a pitcher from a bad recovery year, it is likely he will start the season back in Wichita. 2023 Season Start: Double A Wichita Wind Surge 10. Lewis Thorpe After being cut by the Saints following his one and only start in the Twins system, Thorpe went to play for the Independent League Kansas City Monarchs. His season was mediocre there at best, and following the Monarchs season, Thorpe returned to his home country of Australia. He is not currently playing in the Australian Baseball League, though their season is underway. Given that he is back home and inactive, it is hard to say if he’ll make the return to the States and play professional here for the 2023 season. 2023 Season Start: Inactive 11. Matt Canterino Canterino showed a lot of promise during his 2022 season, so much that many anticipated he’d be making his MLB debut with the Twins to help the broken bullpen. Unfortunately, that never happened as he was shut down for Tommy John surgery in August. With that, Canterino is not expected to return to pitching until mid to late-August, as the 25-year-old will not likely make his MLB debut until 2024 at the earliest. Fortunately for him, he is on the Twins current 40-man roster and will be alongside Lewis as he moves to the 60-day IL as early as possible. 2023 Season Start: IL 12. Brent Rooker Rooker was traded to the Padres along with Taylor Rogers the day before 2022's Opening Day, and spent the year with San Diego and Kansas City, mainly playing at both their Triple A affiliates. 2023 could be the best season for everyday playing time for Rooker as he was claimed off waivers from the Royals to the Oakland A’s earlier this offseason. Oakland’s 40-man roster is a mess and not too many players are guaranteed to be on the Opening Day roster, especially on the offense side. If he has a strong spring training, Rooker has a good chance to be on Oakland’s Opening Day roster. 2023 Season Start: Athletics Opening Day Roster 13. Akil Baddo Baddo’s disappointing 2022 season has been hashed on over, and over again. Fortunately for him, he is currently one of only four listed outfielders on the Tigers 40-man roster, meaning there’s a good chance he stays on the 26-man roster for Opening Day. Still, Baddo will have to prove his sophomore slump to be just that in Spring Training if he wants to bank on his chances of being on the road in Tampa for the Tigers’ opening series against the Rays. 2023 Season Start: Tigers Opening Day Roster 14. Matt Wallner The Forest Lake native had an impressive end to his 2022 season coming home to play in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Wallner’s MLB debut was a bit rushed as the Twins outfield became completely depleted by September. With the addition of Gallo, the Twins left-handed hitting outfielders count is at six. Wallner is likely to start his 2023 season in St. Paul for a few weeks before returning to the Twins for more playing time. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 15. Gilberto Celestino Celestino logged 119 games in the outfield for the Twins in 2022, but with a lackluster performance at the plate all season, it’s likely the Twins will send him to Triple A to start the season. Celestino struggled on the field defensively as the 2022 season winded down as well. Having time with the Saints to have less pressure on his role as he did in 2022 with the Twins could help develop Celestino into a strong fourth outfielder again. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 16. Edwar Colina Colina had a cup of coffee with the Twins in 2020 making his MLB debut out of the bullpen for the final series of a 60-game season. Unfortunately, Colina has not pitched a professional game since then due to elbow issues. The Texas Rangers claimed Colina off waivers from the Twins on October 6, 2021, and has remained with the organization on a minor league deal. He turns 26 on May 3 and still could become an effective reliever out of their bullpen. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Round Rock Express 17. Nick Gordon Nick Gordon had a fantastic 2022 season amongst all the woes for the Twins last year. There is no doubt that he and Kyle Farmer are going to play heavy utility roles for the Twins in 2023. The main questions surrounding Gordon for 2023 are where he’ll receive the most playing time on the field and how often he’ll be in the lineup. The outfield is crowded for the Twins, especially in left field, plus Kyle Farmer and Jorge Polanco will be playing up the middle of the infield daily as they are better defenders at second and short. This is a good problem to have for Gordon as he will still contribute well to this Twins team. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 18. Travis Blankenhorn Blankenhorn, like Colina, had a quick cup of coffee with the Twins in 2020 playing in just one game against the White Sox in mid-September. He played one more game with the Twins in 2021 before being claimed off waivers not once, but three times and landing on the Mets. This off-season, Blankehorn signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. He is not on their 40-man roster but with a depleted roster from their World Series win just a few years ago, there’s a good chance he can land some playing time in Rochester during this season. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Rochester Red Wings 19. Cole Sands Sands had an iffy 2022 season between his time with the Twins and Saints. He had an ERA north of 5.00 at both levels, demonstrating a need for development either as a starter or reliever in St. Paul for 2023. Sands will certainly not be in the Twins starting rotation for Opening Day and as long as the rotation stays healthy. He may end up as a bullpen piece when he’s up for the Twins throughout the 2023 season. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints 20. Will Holland Holland was the Twins fifth overall pick in the 2019 Amateur Draft and spent his 2022 season between Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Holland’s numbers as a hitter have never been eye popping since being drafted. His Minor League career triple slash in three seasons sits at .217/.331/.380 with a .711 OPS. Fortunately, Holland’s versatility as a defender is his strength as he can play at each position up the middle of the field. 2023 Season Start: Double A Wichita Wind Surge 21. Misael Urbina Urbina had a decent year between the Mighty Mussels and Florida Complex League, totaling 60 games between the two levels in 2022. Urbina is still a ways out from becoming an impact player in the Major Leagues, though. He still needs to establish himself as an everyday outfielder between both A-level affiliates and even then, there’s the biggest jumpfrom High A to Double A. Urbina turns 21 in April, so age is on his side for making big jumps for the 2023 season. 2023 Season Start: Low-A Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels 22. Jose Miranda Miranda fluctuate up and down on Twins prospect lists through the years. Now he’s become the Twins everyday third baseman for the 2023 season. While Miranda had a strong rookie performance for the Twins in 2022. Many believe he will improve greatly both defensively at third and at the plate knowing he won’t move around the infield as often in 2023. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 23. Dakota Chalmers Chalmers has not been in the Twins organization since the beginning of 2021. He was moved over to the Cubs that season and spent a brief amount of the time with the Dodgers Triple A affiliate in 2022. Chalmers ended up leaving the Oklahoma City Dodgers mid season to join the Atlantic League’s Gastonia Honey Hunters. It is likely he will keep pitching in independent baseball to start 2023 and hope to find his way back into pro ball before the season is over. 2023 Season Start: Atlantic League 24. Yunior Severino Severino is another player who has slowly but surely worked his way up the Twins system in recent years. He had a solid season between Cedar Rapids and Wichita posting a .278/.370/.536 triple slash and .907 OPS between the two levels. Severino will most likely start in Wichita for 2023 but he is certainly a sleeper pick for Twins fans to keep an eye on once he gets the call up to St. Paul. 2023 Season Start: Double A Wichita Wind Surge 25. Jorge Alcala Both the Twins bullpen and fans missed Alcala dearly last season with his injury that kept him out almost all year. That being said, expectations for Alcala’s return are high going into the 2023 season. The Twins desperately need their bullpen to be much better than it was in 2022, but there is no telling as of now if Alcala will be the same pitcher as he was prior to his surgery on his right elbow for arthroscopic debridement. Alcala has had no setbacks in recovery and is still expected to be good to go for Spring Training. 2023 Season Start: Twins Opening Day Roster 26. Emmanuel Rodriguez Next to Brooks Lee, Emmanuel Rodriguez is the Twins prospect with the most hype and promise for what he can achieve for future Twins teams. Rodriguez only played in 47 games with the Mighty Mussles in 2022 as he battled injuries throughout the year. This season he’ll likely start in Ft. Myers again but all eyes will be on the soon to be 20-year-old's health and progression as a hitter. We'll see if he can make the jump from Ft. Myers to Cedar Rapids, and maybe even Wichita, before the 2023 season is over. 2023 Season Start: Low-A Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels. 27. Gabriel Maciel The Twins lost Maciel to the Oakland A’s in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft last offseason. He played decently across 62 games for their High A affiliate, the Lansing Lugnuts, in 2022 but was released by them at season’s end. Maciel remains a minor league free agent, currently. He has promise both as a hitter and defender but still has not played above High A baseball and will be turning 24 next week. Maciel’s numbers compared to Javier make him less of a gamble to sign and add to a Double A roster, but only time will tell if that ends up being his case. 2023 Season Start: Double A team TBD 28. Ben Rortvedt Rortvedt’s playing time in 2022 was limited to injuries and the Yankees (who acquired him in the Josh Donaldson trade) were able to maintain a good platoon at catcher between Jose Trevino and Kyle Higashioka. As long as both of them are healthy and the Yankees don’t opt to have three catchers on their Opening Day roster, he is most likely to start his 2023 season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Triple A. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 29. Chris Vallimont The Twins lost Vallimont last season as the Baltimore Orioles claimed him off waivers and added him to their 40-man roster. While he pitched much better for their Double A team than he did for the Wind Surge, Vallimont still showed he wasn’t quite MLB ready having a 5.38 ERA in 72 innings for the Norfolk Tides. Vallimont is still seen as a starter by some and will likely be starting his season in Norfolk as long as he remains on the Orioles 40-man roster before spring training cuts happen. 2023 Season Start: Triple A Norfolk Tides 30. Josh Winder Winder’s 2022 season started decently as a rookie but he battled injuries and saw struggles as many Twins pitchers did for the season. Winder is still seen as a rotation option going into the 2023 season, but belongs in the same group as Louie Varnland and Simeon Woods Richardson as likely to start the season in St. Paul If Winder is to crack a spot on the Twins Opening Day roster, it will likely be in the bullpen. But given his struggles at the MLB level in 2022, the Twins are likely to opt him over to St. Paul to ensure he has regular time as a starter and redevelop himself into a better pitcher for 2023. 2023 Season Start: Triple A St. Paul Saints Total Prediction Spots for Players 2023 Seasons On the Twins Opening Day roster: 7 In the Twins System to start 2023: 11 On another MLB team’s Opening Day roster: 2 Starting in the Minor Leagues or Indy Ball: 6 On Injured List: 2 Inactive: 2 Much can still change between now and Opening Day for all of these players but in a perfect world of predictability, these are the most likely of spots for all of these 30 current or former prospects of the Twins to start the 2023 season. Where do you believe that these players to start their 2023 season? Leave your own predictions below.
  3. The Minnesota Twins are soon going to be looking at decisions for 2023 with their offseason underway. They’ll have plenty of new faces for the upcoming year, but it’s one decision that could present the biggest head-scratcher of the past nine months. Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Right before Opening Day 2022 Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent Taylor Rogers to the San Diego Padres (along with Brent Rooker) in exchange for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan (as well as Brayan Medina). Without them ever suggesting as much, I think there’s a few reasons this deal was made. Rogers was coming off an injury and lacking performance in 2021. He wasn’t going to be re-signed and was in the final year of his contract. Minnesota saw an opportunity to buy low on a high-ceiling starter pitcher, and they assumed risk, likely knowing his medical issues. Without Rogers in the fold, and Joe Smith being the only bullpen addition last winter, Pagan was targeted as a necessary add to the relief unit. He hadn’t been good for a while, but the stuff suggested it could play, and previous success with Tampa Bay was just two years away. So, the decision (at least in a vacuum) to swing the deal from Minnesota’s perspective made sense. Now though, we know exactly how this has gone. Rocco Baldelli was saddled with Pagan as his closer from the get-go. He made a negative impact in his second outing of the year, taking a loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Minnesota’s fifth game. His ERA ballooned to 5.34 by his 30th outing, and he wound up responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Pagan was demoted from the closer role all the way to mop-up duty, and he constantly struggled even there. It was a complete disaster. Bought into by the front office, Baldelli had to deploy an arm that was at his disposal, even when the result became predictable. From a few different sources within the front office and connected to the team, I have been told there had been some initial pushback from Pagan in regard to change. The Twins clearly saw an opportunity to get him right, or at least tap into analytically-driven numbers suggesting his stuff could play. Rather than embracing the information, he leaned on the belief that what he was doing could work, and the definition of insanity continued to play out for a period. I don’t know whether a lacking connection with former pitching coach Wes Johnson, or current coach Pete Maki, was ever an issue, but something changed. Over his last 13 outings, dating back to August 23rd, Pagan has allowed a run just four times and none of those instances were crooked numbers. He owns a 2.16 ERA across 16 2/3 innings with an 21/8 K/BB and, most notably, just one home run. It seems he’s deployed a new pitch, and if it helps to keep the ball in the yard while limiting walks, everyone is better for it. I’m not here to suggest that 13 outings is reason to keep Pagan around for 2023. What would make absolutely zero sense though, is to cut bait over the winter after hanging on through what the Twins did. The front office all but allowed Pagan to sink their season at critical junctures this season, and even with the cloud of dust that was 2022, his statistics are better than what they were when he was traded for. Making just $2.3 million this year, he’ll be due for a bump in arbitration, but the results should mute just how far it goes. The Twins focus over the winter has to be figuring out how to marry their starting and relief pitching plans. Either acquire and develop better starters or create a lockdown bullpen. Keeping Pagan, at least to start the year, as a middle reliever would make sense. There’s no downside to that move, as long as there is a quicker hook when things go sideways. There’s no reason the Twins should feel compelled to carry Pagan all of 2023, but in doing so through 2022, dumping him where he’ll likely be claimed on recent success alone at this point would be a suggestion of process gone entirely wrong. View full article
  4. Right before Opening Day 2022 Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent Taylor Rogers to the San Diego Padres (along with Brent Rooker) in exchange for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan (as well as Brayan Medina). Without them ever suggesting as much, I think there’s a few reasons this deal was made. Rogers was coming off an injury and lacking performance in 2021. He wasn’t going to be re-signed and was in the final year of his contract. Minnesota saw an opportunity to buy low on a high-ceiling starter pitcher, and they assumed risk, likely knowing his medical issues. Without Rogers in the fold, and Joe Smith being the only bullpen addition last winter, Pagan was targeted as a necessary add to the relief unit. He hadn’t been good for a while, but the stuff suggested it could play, and previous success with Tampa Bay was just two years away. So, the decision (at least in a vacuum) to swing the deal from Minnesota’s perspective made sense. Now though, we know exactly how this has gone. Rocco Baldelli was saddled with Pagan as his closer from the get-go. He made a negative impact in his second outing of the year, taking a loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Minnesota’s fifth game. His ERA ballooned to 5.34 by his 30th outing, and he wound up responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Pagan was demoted from the closer role all the way to mop-up duty, and he constantly struggled even there. It was a complete disaster. Bought into by the front office, Baldelli had to deploy an arm that was at his disposal, even when the result became predictable. From a few different sources within the front office and connected to the team, I have been told there had been some initial pushback from Pagan in regard to change. The Twins clearly saw an opportunity to get him right, or at least tap into analytically-driven numbers suggesting his stuff could play. Rather than embracing the information, he leaned on the belief that what he was doing could work, and the definition of insanity continued to play out for a period. I don’t know whether a lacking connection with former pitching coach Wes Johnson, or current coach Pete Maki, was ever an issue, but something changed. Over his last 13 outings, dating back to August 23rd, Pagan has allowed a run just four times and none of those instances were crooked numbers. He owns a 2.16 ERA across 16 2/3 innings with an 21/8 K/BB and, most notably, just one home run. It seems he’s deployed a new pitch, and if it helps to keep the ball in the yard while limiting walks, everyone is better for it. I’m not here to suggest that 13 outings is reason to keep Pagan around for 2023. What would make absolutely zero sense though, is to cut bait over the winter after hanging on through what the Twins did. The front office all but allowed Pagan to sink their season at critical junctures this season, and even with the cloud of dust that was 2022, his statistics are better than what they were when he was traded for. Making just $2.3 million this year, he’ll be due for a bump in arbitration, but the results should mute just how far it goes. The Twins focus over the winter has to be figuring out how to marry their starting and relief pitching plans. Either acquire and develop better starters or create a lockdown bullpen. Keeping Pagan, at least to start the year, as a middle reliever would make sense. There’s no downside to that move, as long as there is a quicker hook when things go sideways. There’s no reason the Twins should feel compelled to carry Pagan all of 2023, but in doing so through 2022, dumping him where he’ll likely be claimed on recent success alone at this point would be a suggestion of process gone entirely wrong.
  5. Rumors started last night. It appears both sides took the night to sleep on it, and on Thursday morning have finalized a deal that sends Twins top reliever Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker to the Padres in exchange for starter Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagan. There is no question that the Twins prioritized adding starting pitching this offseason. To this point, they had added Sonny Gray in a trade with the Reds, and free-agent deals with veterans Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer. On Thursday, they added Padres right-hander Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagan in exchange for All-Star closer Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker. The Twins are sending $6.6 million to the Padres (essentially paying Rogers' 2022 salary, per Ken Rosenthal), and the Twins will be getting a Player to be Named Later. The trade adds a young, team-controlled, backend-of-the-rotation starting pitcher (Paddack) to the team. In return, the Twins downgraded their bullpen a notch (Rogers vs. Pagan) and traded away a prospect they were likely going to lose for nothing (Rooker). In addition, while losing Rogers is difficult, years of team control make the deal make some sense. Rogers can become a free agent at the end of the 2022 season. Paddack has three more years of team control, and Pagan has two more years of team control. Emilio Pagan is a 30-year old with over four years of service time. He will make $2.3 million in 2022 and eligible for arbitration in 2023. He played for the Mariners in 2017, the A's in 2018, the Rays in 2019, and the Padres the last two years. Last year, he went 4-3 with a 4.83 ERA. In 63 1/3 innings, he walked 18 and struck out 69 batters. During his season with the Rays, he posted his best season (which will surprise no one). He went 4-2 with 20 saves and a 2.31 ERA and a career-high 12.3 K/9 (96 K, 13 BB in 70 IP). Pagan's weakness throughout his career has been that he give up too many home runs. He's always maintained a solid strikeout rate, and his career walk rate is a decent 2.3 BB/9. But he's been susceptible to the long ball, which balances an outstanding ability to keep runners off base. (He has a 1.031! career WHIP). But he's not Taylor Rogers. The 31-year-old Rogers was the Twins 11th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. In 2013, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He made his debut in 2016 and has pitched in 319 games for the Twins over six seasons. He is 17-18 with 50 saves. In 314 2/3 innings, he struck out 361 batters (10.3). He is coming off of his best season in 2021. He went 2-4 with nine saves. In 40 1/3 innings, he walked just eight (2 intentional) and struck out 59 batters (13.2 K/9). He made his first All Star team, though he also missed the last two months of the season with a finger injury. He will also be a free agent at the end of the year. In addition, Rogers has served as the team's player representative the past two seasons and led the Twins players through some rough years. He heads to the Padres where he will be able to compete against his brother Taylor and the Giants frequently. The main target for the Twins in this trade is Paddack. He's only 26 years old. As a 23-year-old rookie in 2019, he went 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA. He had 153 strikeouts and 31 walks in 140 2/3 innings. Things haven't been real good since. In 2020, he went 4-5 with a 4.73 ERA. In 2021, he was 7-7 with a 5.07 ERA, though as people have pointed out, his FIP was just 3.78. While he throws a lot of strikes, his strikeout rate has dropped from 9.8 to 8.8 to 82 over his three seasons in the big leagues. The other piece the Twins sent in return was Brent Rooker, who was drafted by the Twins in the Competitive Balance Round after the first round in 2017 after an amazing Triple Crown season in his final year at Mississippi State. The powerful slugger debuted in 2020 and hit .316 with two doubles and a homer in seven games before being hit by a pitch ended his season. In 2021, he played in 58 games with the Twins, but surprisingly wasn't called up until late July . He hit .201/.291/.397 (.688) with 10 doubles and nine home runs. It became increasingly clear that he wasn't going to get extended run with the Twins. In fact, the 'final' roster spot with the Twins appeared to be between Rooker and Kyle Garlick. With this move, we have our answer. In fact, it's possible that's the direction the Twins were already looking. If so, it's very possible that Rooker may have been DFAd to make room to add Garlick to the roster. This story will continue to be edited as details and nuances are added. What are your thoughts on this deal? View full article
  6. There is no question that the Twins prioritized adding starting pitching this offseason. To this point, they had added Sonny Gray in a trade with the Reds, and free-agent deals with veterans Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer. On Thursday, they added Padres right-hander Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagan in exchange for All-Star closer Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker. The Twins are sending $6.6 million to the Padres (essentially paying Rogers' 2022 salary, per Ken Rosenthal), and the Twins will be getting a Player to be Named Later. The trade adds a young, team-controlled, backend-of-the-rotation starting pitcher (Paddack) to the team. In return, the Twins downgraded their bullpen a notch (Rogers vs. Pagan) and traded away a prospect they were likely going to lose for nothing (Rooker). In addition, while losing Rogers is difficult, years of team control make the deal make some sense. Rogers can become a free agent at the end of the 2022 season. Paddack has three more years of team control, and Pagan has two more years of team control. Emilio Pagan is a 30-year old with over four years of service time. He will make $2.3 million in 2022 and eligible for arbitration in 2023. He played for the Mariners in 2017, the A's in 2018, the Rays in 2019, and the Padres the last two years. Last year, he went 4-3 with a 4.83 ERA. In 63 1/3 innings, he walked 18 and struck out 69 batters. During his season with the Rays, he posted his best season (which will surprise no one). He went 4-2 with 20 saves and a 2.31 ERA and a career-high 12.3 K/9 (96 K, 13 BB in 70 IP). Pagan's weakness throughout his career has been that he give up too many home runs. He's always maintained a solid strikeout rate, and his career walk rate is a decent 2.3 BB/9. But he's been susceptible to the long ball, which balances an outstanding ability to keep runners off base. (He has a 1.031! career WHIP). But he's not Taylor Rogers. The 31-year-old Rogers was the Twins 11th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. In 2013, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He made his debut in 2016 and has pitched in 319 games for the Twins over six seasons. He is 17-18 with 50 saves. In 314 2/3 innings, he struck out 361 batters (10.3). He is coming off of his best season in 2021. He went 2-4 with nine saves. In 40 1/3 innings, he walked just eight (2 intentional) and struck out 59 batters (13.2 K/9). He made his first All Star team, though he also missed the last two months of the season with a finger injury. He will also be a free agent at the end of the year. In addition, Rogers has served as the team's player representative the past two seasons and led the Twins players through some rough years. He heads to the Padres where he will be able to compete against his brother Taylor and the Giants frequently. The main target for the Twins in this trade is Paddack. He's only 26 years old. As a 23-year-old rookie in 2019, he went 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA. He had 153 strikeouts and 31 walks in 140 2/3 innings. Things haven't been real good since. In 2020, he went 4-5 with a 4.73 ERA. In 2021, he was 7-7 with a 5.07 ERA, though as people have pointed out, his FIP was just 3.78. While he throws a lot of strikes, his strikeout rate has dropped from 9.8 to 8.8 to 82 over his three seasons in the big leagues. The other piece the Twins sent in return was Brent Rooker, who was drafted by the Twins in the Competitive Balance Round after the first round in 2017 after an amazing Triple Crown season in his final year at Mississippi State. The powerful slugger debuted in 2020 and hit .316 with two doubles and a homer in seven games before being hit by a pitch ended his season. In 2021, he played in 58 games with the Twins, but surprisingly wasn't called up until late July . He hit .201/.291/.397 (.688) with 10 doubles and nine home runs. It became increasingly clear that he wasn't going to get extended run with the Twins. In fact, the 'final' roster spot with the Twins appeared to be between Rooker and Kyle Garlick. With this move, we have our answer. In fact, it's possible that's the direction the Twins were already looking. If so, it's very possible that Rooker may have been DFAd to make room to add Garlick to the roster. This story will continue to be edited as details and nuances are added. What are your thoughts on this deal?
  7. So far - and understandably so - there has been very little information released on the future mystery player aside from one tweet from Darren “Doogie” Wolfson. Anything beyond that is complete speculation. But speculation can be fun, so let’s take a closer look at who the Twins might be adding in the next few weeks. To give me an idea of players who might be included, I plugged the trade into Baseball Trade Values. Obviously, this isn't an exact science, but it’s probably the least biased way to come up with a list of names. Plugging in the trade as it happened, the simulator had the Twins giving up 4.9 more value points than it received. The potential inclusion of any of the Padres top prospects would tip the scale heavily in the Twins favor, but there are a number of prospects in the next tier who could make sense as this “player to be named later.” Typically, when a trade like this occurs, the teams agree to a list of players and conditions. It could be as simple as having six names on a list and the Twins get to pick one name off of that list on May 1. It could be something more complex. It could be - and this case might be - something that makes a whole lot of sense. Let’s take a look at some names that may be on that list. And why the Twins may want them. Ranked from least likely to most likely to be a Twin, in my opinion. Joshua Mears, Outfield. Ranked in the system’s Top 10 by both MLB.com and Baseball America, Mears was drafted in 2019. His power is his calling card. He already has two home runs in three games this season in high-A, but has struck out in eight of his twelve at bats. As the top-rated prospect on my list and - in my opinion - the likelihood that the Twins prefer pitching, I think the chances of Mears being the player is small. Samuel Zavana, Outfield. Zavana checks in on BA’s list at #12, but missed MLB.com’s. Zavala fits the profile of what the Twins like with a scouting report that includes things like “regarded as one of the best pure hitters” in his signing class and having “long possessed a knack for finding the barrel.” The 17-year-old would make a ton of sense. But in trying to sleuth this out, Zavala will be playing in the complex league this year, so the Twins won't even get a chance to scout him between now and then. So if it were to be him, why not just include him in the original deal? Victor Acosta, Shortstop. Acosta, like Zavana, will be playing in a complex league this summer. Ranked #11 by MLB and #12 by BA, I put Acosta a notch above Zavana because he has more defensive value. But, again, if you can’t see him in the next month, wouldn’t you have wanted to get him into your complex as soon as possible? Robert Gasser, Pitcher. Gasser is ranked #9 on both sites after being selected in the Competitive Balance, B Round in the 2021 draft. After getting 15 innings of pro ball under his belt last year, Gasser, a lefty, made his High-A debut last week. It was brutal. Four walks, four hits, seven outs. I don’t think a single game is a reason the Twins wouldn’t trade for him though, I think it’s because the Padres would be less likely to include him on the list. The next guy is a complete wild-card who technically fits Doogie’s profile. Adrian Morejon, Pitcher. Morejan, 23, is a highly-regarded Cuban left-hander who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s a “non-roster” guy because he’s on the 60-day Injured List, so he wouldn’t require a 40-man move. Morejan has 16 games of MLB experience under his belt and spent the last five seasons ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100. While not expected to return to the mound until later this season, it’s been a year since his surgery. Being a PTBNL could just be a way of giving the Twins a chance to get a greater feel of how his recovery is going. Remember, this trade all came together very quickly. For what it's worth, even though there are over 100 potential players for this to be, I’d bet on it being one of these three over the field. Full disclosure: I like taking long odds. It’s not often successful. Victor Lizarraga, Pitcher. Signed out of Mexico last year and ranked #13 by MLB and #15 by BA, Lizarraga is pitching in Low-A ball at 18 this year. He would make a ton of sense as a lottery ticket in a trade such as this. He’s a fastball/curveball/changeup pitcher with shaky command. Kevin Kopps, Pitcher. Kopps, currently in AA, ranks #14 on BA’s list and #16 on MLB’s list. Drafted in the 3rd round last year, Kopps spread his 14 ⅔ innings over three levels, striking out 22 and notching three saves. Kopps is serving as a closer using one big weapon: a breaking ball that has been nearly unhittable. Some call it a cutter, some call it a slider. Baseball America calls it the best slider in the system. The Twins, if I had to guess, would deploy whatever it is in the same way they used Sergio Romo’s and Tyler Clippard’s sliders. Kopps, who turns 25 soon, has Tommy John in his rearview and could soon be a bullpen option for whatever team he is on. Jarlin Susana, Pitcher. Susana is ranked #18 by MLB.com and the just-turned-18-year-old has an impressive and imposing 6’ 6”, 235-pound frame. Signed in January by the Padres for $1.7 million, Susana has a big-time fastball that can touch 100 and a slider that is next best pitch (among the four he throws). So what separates him from the other complex league pitchers? Because of when he signed, he can’t be traded until later this month. ? Maybe it’s a coincidence. Or maybe Susana is the player to be named later. (The Padres also added many other international free agents in mid-January who become eligible to be traded later this month. Among them are two 16-year-old infielders, Yendry Rojas and Rosman Verdugo. Neither are as highly regarded as Susana, though. Rojas, from Cuba, is a very good hitter with decent size (6' 1", 190) and speed and Verdugo, from Mexico, was considered the top prospect from Mexico.) What do you think? Who do you prefer?
  8. There was no Twins game last Thursday, but there was still activity at 1 Twins Way as the team completed a trade with the Padres. Heading to San Diego was Taylor Rogers, Brent Rooker and a whole bunch of cash. Coming back to Minneapolis was Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan and the always interesting “player to be named later.” So far - and understandably so - there has been very little information released on the future mystery player aside from one tweet from Darren “Doogie” Wolfson. Anything beyond that is complete speculation. But speculation can be fun, so let’s take a closer look at who the Twins might be adding in the next few weeks. To give me an idea of players who might be included, I plugged the trade into Baseball Trade Values. Obviously, this isn't an exact science, but it’s probably the least biased way to come up with a list of names. Plugging in the trade as it happened, the simulator had the Twins giving up 4.9 more value points than it received. The potential inclusion of any of the Padres top prospects would tip the scale heavily in the Twins favor, but there are a number of prospects in the next tier who could make sense as this “player to be named later.” Typically, when a trade like this occurs, the teams agree to a list of players and conditions. It could be as simple as having six names on a list and the Twins get to pick one name off of that list on May 1. It could be something more complex. It could be - and this case might be - something that makes a whole lot of sense. Let’s take a look at some names that may be on that list. And why the Twins may want them. Ranked from least likely to most likely to be a Twin, in my opinion. Joshua Mears, Outfield. Ranked in the system’s Top 10 by both MLB.com and Baseball America, Mears was drafted in 2019. His power is his calling card. He already has two home runs in three games this season in high-A, but has struck out in eight of his twelve at bats. As the top-rated prospect on my list and - in my opinion - the likelihood that the Twins prefer pitching, I think the chances of Mears being the player is small. Samuel Zavana, Outfield. Zavana checks in on BA’s list at #12, but missed MLB.com’s. Zavala fits the profile of what the Twins like with a scouting report that includes things like “regarded as one of the best pure hitters” in his signing class and having “long possessed a knack for finding the barrel.” The 17-year-old would make a ton of sense. But in trying to sleuth this out, Zavala will be playing in the complex league this year, so the Twins won't even get a chance to scout him between now and then. So if it were to be him, why not just include him in the original deal? Victor Acosta, Shortstop. Acosta, like Zavana, will be playing in a complex league this summer. Ranked #11 by MLB and #12 by BA, I put Acosta a notch above Zavana because he has more defensive value. But, again, if you can’t see him in the next month, wouldn’t you have wanted to get him into your complex as soon as possible? Robert Gasser, Pitcher. Gasser is ranked #9 on both sites after being selected in the Competitive Balance, B Round in the 2021 draft. After getting 15 innings of pro ball under his belt last year, Gasser, a lefty, made his High-A debut last week. It was brutal. Four walks, four hits, seven outs. I don’t think a single game is a reason the Twins wouldn’t trade for him though, I think it’s because the Padres would be less likely to include him on the list. The next guy is a complete wild-card who technically fits Doogie’s profile. Adrian Morejon, Pitcher. Morejan, 23, is a highly-regarded Cuban left-hander who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s a “non-roster” guy because he’s on the 60-day Injured List, so he wouldn’t require a 40-man move. Morejan has 16 games of MLB experience under his belt and spent the last five seasons ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100. While not expected to return to the mound until later this season, it’s been a year since his surgery. Being a PTBNL could just be a way of giving the Twins a chance to get a greater feel of how his recovery is going. Remember, this trade all came together very quickly. For what it's worth, even though there are over 100 potential players for this to be, I’d bet on it being one of these three over the field. Full disclosure: I like taking long odds. It’s not often successful. Victor Lizarraga, Pitcher. Signed out of Mexico last year and ranked #13 by MLB and #15 by BA, Lizarraga is pitching in Low-A ball at 18 this year. He would make a ton of sense as a lottery ticket in a trade such as this. He’s a fastball/curveball/changeup pitcher with shaky command. Kevin Kopps, Pitcher. Kopps, currently in AA, ranks #14 on BA’s list and #16 on MLB’s list. Drafted in the 3rd round last year, Kopps spread his 14 ⅔ innings over three levels, striking out 22 and notching three saves. Kopps is serving as a closer using one big weapon: a breaking ball that has been nearly unhittable. Some call it a cutter, some call it a slider. Baseball America calls it the best slider in the system. The Twins, if I had to guess, would deploy whatever it is in the same way they used Sergio Romo’s and Tyler Clippard’s sliders. Kopps, who turns 25 soon, has Tommy John in his rearview and could soon be a bullpen option for whatever team he is on. Jarlin Susana, Pitcher. Susana is ranked #18 by MLB.com and the just-turned-18-year-old has an impressive and imposing 6’ 6”, 235-pound frame. Signed in January by the Padres for $1.7 million, Susana has a big-time fastball that can touch 100 and a slider that is next best pitch (among the four he throws). So what separates him from the other complex league pitchers? Because of when he signed, he can’t be traded until later this month. ? Maybe it’s a coincidence. Or maybe Susana is the player to be named later. (The Padres also added many other international free agents in mid-January who become eligible to be traded later this month. Among them are two 16-year-old infielders, Yendry Rojas and Rosman Verdugo. Neither are as highly regarded as Susana, though. Rojas, from Cuba, is a very good hitter with decent size (6' 1", 190) and speed and Verdugo, from Mexico, was considered the top prospect from Mexico.) What do you think? Who do you prefer? View full article
  9. So the day before the season starts the Twins traded away the head of their bullpen and supposed closer. Taylor Rogers made up half of the projected fWAR of the Twins bullpen per Fangraphs. What was the front office thinking? By now we’re all probably approaching the end of the grieving stage of losing Taylor Rogers in a massive Opening Day deal that brought Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota. That being said, it’s probably time to consider why on earth the Twins would trade away their star closer at the start of a season in which they intend to compete. The Pursuit of Value By now we’ve come to expect the Twins front office to always search for value above all else when they’re making any kind of deal. In fairness, their successes across the last year are few and far between, but it’s easy to see the thought process they’re operating from. In parting with Rogers, the Twins give up one year of a relief pitcher who may not even finish the season with the team if things fall apart before the trade deadline. In return, they receive a rotation-ready starting pitcher in Chris Paddack who’s under control for three years in addition to reliever Emilio Pagan who’s under control for two years. They did of course also ship out Brent Rooker, but by all accounts, he was likely on the verge of getting cut loose regardless. When looking at pure value, it’s hard to argue against this trade. There’s almost no scenario where Rogers amasses more bWAR, fWAR, or whatever measurement you can find in his lone season in San Diego than Paddack and Pagan will in Minnesota across their five combined years. The math is certainly on the Twins' side for this trade. This however doesn’t tell the whole story as it misses the context of the Twins parting with their best reliever right before a 2022 season where they may desperately need him Relievers are Unpredictable Another core value of the Falvine era, the Twins simply don’t value relief pitchers highly. And to be honest, they probably shouldn’t. Relievers often burn bright for a few years before fading away. We see it year after year whether it’s Alex Colomé just stinking it up out of nowhere or Trevor Rosenthal succumbing to injury. Pitchers as a whole are always risky, but historically speaking relievers are particularly fickle. Taylor Rogers may repeat his incredible performance in 2022, in fact, I’d bet on it. That being said, he did suffer a significant finger injury in 2021. Although he’s recovered and was looking great in the spring, he’s now into his 30s and the odds of a recurrence or even a new injury grows ever stronger. Is that reason for the Twins to look to actively dump their closer? No. But it does at least help explain why Rogers wasn’t untouchable in trade. In addition to the risk of Rogers' performance or health slipping, it’s entirely possible several other arms step up in a big way to fill the void. Between pitchers such as Jorge Alcala who appeared to break out in the second half or newly bullpen-bound Jhoan Duran sitting in triple digits, it’s not hard to find candidates to take the lead in this group. Between AAA and the existing bullpen, there are several options to get some looks in high leverage and I see several taking the baseball world by storm in 2022. This group is undisputedly more talented than the bullpen the Twins fielded at the end of 2021 who by the way were rock solid without Taylor Rogers in the mix. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with hating this trade. The self-anointed “competitive” Twins roster just got a huge downgrade in their bullpen on paper no matter how you shake it. In addition, this could have been avoided had they just been more aggressive in signing legitimate starting pitching pre-lockout. Even for one year of Taylor Rogers, the Twins are taking a gamble on Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan bouncing back. It’s one that’s not so different from the many bets the front office made last season that left them bankrupt. That being said, aside from the personal attachment that comes with losing a homegrown star like Rogers, it’s easy to understand why the Twins made this deal. There’s a decent chance that we look back on this trade as a “win” for the Twins, and there’s a non-zero chance it can turn out to be an absolute home run. Should the Twins have stood pat with Rogers or perhaps asked for more in return? Do you think this deal will work out for the Twins in the long run? Let us know below! View full article
  10. By now we’re all probably approaching the end of the grieving stage of losing Taylor Rogers in a massive Opening Day deal that brought Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota. That being said, it’s probably time to consider why on earth the Twins would trade away their star closer at the start of a season in which they intend to compete. The Pursuit of Value By now we’ve come to expect the Twins front office to always search for value above all else when they’re making any kind of deal. In fairness, their successes across the last year are few and far between, but it’s easy to see the thought process they’re operating from. In parting with Rogers, the Twins give up one year of a relief pitcher who may not even finish the season with the team if things fall apart before the trade deadline. In return, they receive a rotation-ready starting pitcher in Chris Paddack who’s under control for three years in addition to reliever Emilio Pagan who’s under control for two years. They did of course also ship out Brent Rooker, but by all accounts, he was likely on the verge of getting cut loose regardless. When looking at pure value, it’s hard to argue against this trade. There’s almost no scenario where Rogers amasses more bWAR, fWAR, or whatever measurement you can find in his lone season in San Diego than Paddack and Pagan will in Minnesota across their five combined years. The math is certainly on the Twins' side for this trade. This however doesn’t tell the whole story as it misses the context of the Twins parting with their best reliever right before a 2022 season where they may desperately need him Relievers are Unpredictable Another core value of the Falvine era, the Twins simply don’t value relief pitchers highly. And to be honest, they probably shouldn’t. Relievers often burn bright for a few years before fading away. We see it year after year whether it’s Alex Colomé just stinking it up out of nowhere or Trevor Rosenthal succumbing to injury. Pitchers as a whole are always risky, but historically speaking relievers are particularly fickle. Taylor Rogers may repeat his incredible performance in 2022, in fact, I’d bet on it. That being said, he did suffer a significant finger injury in 2021. Although he’s recovered and was looking great in the spring, he’s now into his 30s and the odds of a recurrence or even a new injury grows ever stronger. Is that reason for the Twins to look to actively dump their closer? No. But it does at least help explain why Rogers wasn’t untouchable in trade. In addition to the risk of Rogers' performance or health slipping, it’s entirely possible several other arms step up in a big way to fill the void. Between pitchers such as Jorge Alcala who appeared to break out in the second half or newly bullpen-bound Jhoan Duran sitting in triple digits, it’s not hard to find candidates to take the lead in this group. Between AAA and the existing bullpen, there are several options to get some looks in high leverage and I see several taking the baseball world by storm in 2022. This group is undisputedly more talented than the bullpen the Twins fielded at the end of 2021 who by the way were rock solid without Taylor Rogers in the mix. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with hating this trade. The self-anointed “competitive” Twins roster just got a huge downgrade in their bullpen on paper no matter how you shake it. In addition, this could have been avoided had they just been more aggressive in signing legitimate starting pitching pre-lockout. Even for one year of Taylor Rogers, the Twins are taking a gamble on Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan bouncing back. It’s one that’s not so different from the many bets the front office made last season that left them bankrupt. That being said, aside from the personal attachment that comes with losing a homegrown star like Rogers, it’s easy to understand why the Twins made this deal. There’s a decent chance that we look back on this trade as a “win” for the Twins, and there’s a non-zero chance it can turn out to be an absolute home run. Should the Twins have stood pat with Rogers or perhaps asked for more in return? Do you think this deal will work out for the Twins in the long run? Let us know below!
  11. First and foremost, the first guy Minnesota gave up was a pillar in the clubhouse for the Twins. If there’s a way for this to go pear-shaped, it’s in disrupting chemistry we’ve heard talked about so highly coming into the season. Rogers was the Twins MLBPA player rep and worked with the owners through the lockout. He handled the media well and was extremely well-liked by his peers. Through a baseball lens, Rogers is 31-years-old and coming off a finger injury that limited him to just 40 1/3 innings last season. He was sure to be traded at the deadline, but that came off the table when he hit the Injured List. Appearing in his first All-Star game, a neat experience in his home state of Colorado, Rogers posted a 3.35 ERA with a 13.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. When healthy, he’s been among the best closers in baseball the past few seasons, and his 2.52 FIP tells the tale there. Somewhat of a footnote in this deal, Rooker goes to the Padres after being beaten out by Kyle Garlick for the final outfield spot. He shined in seven games for Minnesota during 2020, but the .688 OPS last season simply wasn’t going to play. When he was drafted 35th overall back in 2017, it was immediately known he would be a bat-only player. San Diego will put him in a corner outfield spot, but he’s incredibly stretched there. Although the power certainly plays, there’s a lot of swing and miss in his game as well. A fresh start could prove beneficial for him. Dealing Rogers the day before Minnesota takes the field may be risky, but the return absolutely justifies a move. Chris Paddack comes to Minnesota as a former darling rookie. He posted a 3.33 ERA across 26 games for the Padres in 2019. He averages 94 mph on his fastball, and outside of 2020, he’s posted strong FIP numbers. The 5.07 ERA in 2021 wasn’t pretty, but the peripherals suggest there’s more to unlock. Although his strikeout numbers have fallen a bit the past three seasons, he’s also lowered his walk and home run rates. There’s swing-and-miss stuff to be exploited here, and pitching coach Wes Johnson will immediately get to work on pushing those tweaks. Paddack is under team control through the 2024 season from a contractual standpoint. This alone may be the most significant boost for Minnesota. At just 26-years-old, the Twins can mold Paddack throughout the next three seasons and hope to push his stuff towards the top-end of their rotation. He would join Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober as arms already locked in for next season. Making just $2.25 million through arbitration this year, Paddack’s expense is minimal. Joining Paddack and adding back into the Twins pen is Emilio Pagan, who will be with his fifth team in six big league seasons. Last year, his 63 1/3 innings with San Diego was nearly career-high, but it came with a career-worst 2.3 HR/9 and a 4.83 ERA. Pagan’s 5.22 FIP suggests he was actually worse than the surface numbers, but just two seasons ago, the Tampa Bay Rays had him looking like one of the best pen arms in the game. Under team control next season, Minnesota can opt to keep him around for another year. The addition of Paddack obviously shuffles the rotation. As it was currently constructed, Ryan was set to be followed by Sonny Gray, Bailey Ober, Dylan Bundy, and Chris Archer. Paddack will need to slot in somewhere, and the most likely candidate to be bumped in my mind is Ober. He could go to a long relief role out of the bullpen until the point in which a starter begins to struggle. Bundy may be the lowest ceiling talent of the group, but given he was signed as a starter for $5 million early in the offseason, I’m not sure he’s the guy that would get moved around. A ripple effect of this situation is what happens with Josh Winder. He looks to have made the big league roster but was already going to be pitching out of the bullpen in a long relief role. Now with Ober in that mix, too, there are a lot of innings needed to keep starting arms fresh, and the hope is that there’s only so many to go around. Obviously, Pagan will slot in somewhere during the middle innings. He’s not a back-end option for Minnesota at this point. Replacing Rogers will be some combination of Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, and Jhoan Duran. With Duran’s stuff playing so well this spring, it seemed sensible to use him immediately in relief rather than continuing to develop him as a starter. He now may be the frontrunner for the closer role if Rocco Baldelli and Johnson opt to keep Duffey and Alcala in their previously established late-inning spots. It would be a big ask for the young prospect, but the reality here is that Minnesota appears intent on developing their pen arms and not paying handsomely in relief. That’s certainly a viable strategy when you’ve seemingly made it work with a handful of guys. When viewing this from the top, the Twins now pay less for three years of a starter with upside and a reliever who has been very good than they did for a closer coming off an injury and slated for free agency with a bat tossed in. It’s hard not to see this as a win for Minnesota, and while the volatility of relief arms remains immense, betting on the horses you have is definitely not a bad stance. Time to play ball.
  12. While Opening Day was bearing down on the Minnesota Twins, weather delayed things just a bit. With the schedule now set to open on Friday, the front office continued working as they acquired Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan from the Padres in exchange for closer Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker. What does that do to the roster? First and foremost, the first guy Minnesota gave up was a pillar in the clubhouse for the Twins. If there’s a way for this to go pear-shaped, it’s in disrupting chemistry we’ve heard talked about so highly coming into the season. Rogers was the Twins MLBPA player rep and worked with the owners through the lockout. He handled the media well and was extremely well-liked by his peers. Through a baseball lens, Rogers is 31-years-old and coming off a finger injury that limited him to just 40 1/3 innings last season. He was sure to be traded at the deadline, but that came off the table when he hit the Injured List. Appearing in his first All-Star game, a neat experience in his home state of Colorado, Rogers posted a 3.35 ERA with a 13.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. When healthy, he’s been among the best closers in baseball the past few seasons, and his 2.52 FIP tells the tale there. Somewhat of a footnote in this deal, Rooker goes to the Padres after being beaten out by Kyle Garlick for the final outfield spot. He shined in seven games for Minnesota during 2020, but the .688 OPS last season simply wasn’t going to play. When he was drafted 35th overall back in 2017, it was immediately known he would be a bat-only player. San Diego will put him in a corner outfield spot, but he’s incredibly stretched there. Although the power certainly plays, there’s a lot of swing and miss in his game as well. A fresh start could prove beneficial for him. Dealing Rogers the day before Minnesota takes the field may be risky, but the return absolutely justifies a move. Chris Paddack comes to Minnesota as a former darling rookie. He posted a 3.33 ERA across 26 games for the Padres in 2019. He averages 94 mph on his fastball, and outside of 2020, he’s posted strong FIP numbers. The 5.07 ERA in 2021 wasn’t pretty, but the peripherals suggest there’s more to unlock. Although his strikeout numbers have fallen a bit the past three seasons, he’s also lowered his walk and home run rates. There’s swing-and-miss stuff to be exploited here, and pitching coach Wes Johnson will immediately get to work on pushing those tweaks. Paddack is under team control through the 2024 season from a contractual standpoint. This alone may be the most significant boost for Minnesota. At just 26-years-old, the Twins can mold Paddack throughout the next three seasons and hope to push his stuff towards the top-end of their rotation. He would join Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober as arms already locked in for next season. Making just $2.25 million through arbitration this year, Paddack’s expense is minimal. Joining Paddack and adding back into the Twins pen is Emilio Pagan, who will be with his fifth team in six big league seasons. Last year, his 63 1/3 innings with San Diego was nearly career-high, but it came with a career-worst 2.3 HR/9 and a 4.83 ERA. Pagan’s 5.22 FIP suggests he was actually worse than the surface numbers, but just two seasons ago, the Tampa Bay Rays had him looking like one of the best pen arms in the game. Under team control next season, Minnesota can opt to keep him around for another year. The addition of Paddack obviously shuffles the rotation. As it was currently constructed, Ryan was set to be followed by Sonny Gray, Bailey Ober, Dylan Bundy, and Chris Archer. Paddack will need to slot in somewhere, and the most likely candidate to be bumped in my mind is Ober. He could go to a long relief role out of the bullpen until the point in which a starter begins to struggle. Bundy may be the lowest ceiling talent of the group, but given he was signed as a starter for $5 million early in the offseason, I’m not sure he’s the guy that would get moved around. A ripple effect of this situation is what happens with Josh Winder. He looks to have made the big league roster but was already going to be pitching out of the bullpen in a long relief role. Now with Ober in that mix, too, there are a lot of innings needed to keep starting arms fresh, and the hope is that there’s only so many to go around. Obviously, Pagan will slot in somewhere during the middle innings. He’s not a back-end option for Minnesota at this point. Replacing Rogers will be some combination of Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, and Jhoan Duran. With Duran’s stuff playing so well this spring, it seemed sensible to use him immediately in relief rather than continuing to develop him as a starter. He now may be the frontrunner for the closer role if Rocco Baldelli and Johnson opt to keep Duffey and Alcala in their previously established late-inning spots. It would be a big ask for the young prospect, but the reality here is that Minnesota appears intent on developing their pen arms and not paying handsomely in relief. That’s certainly a viable strategy when you’ve seemingly made it work with a handful of guys. When viewing this from the top, the Twins now pay less for three years of a starter with upside and a reliever who has been very good than they did for a closer coming off an injury and slated for free agency with a bat tossed in. It’s hard not to see this as a win for Minnesota, and while the volatility of relief arms remains immense, betting on the horses you have is definitely not a bad stance. Time to play ball. View full article
  13. The Minnesota Twins acquired Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan from the San Diego Padres for Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker. Here are my thoughts on the trade.
  14. The Minnesota Twins acquired Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan from the San Diego Padres for Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker. Here are my thoughts on the trade. View full video
  15. The Minnesota Twins announced on Sunday morning that three more players have been assigned to minor-league spring training. Outfielder Jake Cave and left-handed pitchers Devin Smeltzer and Jovani Moran will not be on the Twins Opening Day roster. UPDATE - following the game, Jake Faria was sent to minor-league camp, and it was announced that Cody Stashak will stay in Ft. Myers with some biceps tendinitis. The Twins open their season on Thursday, and their Opening Day roster is becoming more clear today after three players were sent to minor-league camp. After throwing 11 scoreless innings this spring, Devin Smeltzer was sent to minor-league camp. He missed most of the 2021 season with a herniated disk in his neck. Now healthy, he was very impressive this spring and it is likely he will pitch for the Twins during the 2022 season. Jovani Moran is the Twins' top relief pitcher prospect. He made his MLB debut in September 2021, but he will begin his 2022 season in St. Paul with the Saints. And Jake Cave was outrighted to minor league camp as well. He will travel to Louisville where the Saints season begins on Tuesday. The Twins spring training roster now stands at 33. They will need to get down to 28 on the active roster before Thursday's opener. There are four non-roster players. Right-hander Jake Faria and lefty Danny Coulombe remain. Infielder Daniel Robertson and outfielder Kyle Garlick are also still in big-league camp. Will any of those four players make the Opening Day roster? Garlick and his ability to mash left-handed pitching would seem to be competing with Brent Rooker for one spot. With the 28-man roster only available to teams through May 1, it is a huge decision to add a non-roster player to the 40-man roster. Will they risk losing a couple of depth pieces by adding them to the 40-man roster for three to four weeks? Will they risk losing a player or two on waivers to make room on the 40-man roster. We may know the answer to those questions by the end of today, certainly within the next 36 hours. UPDATE Following Sunday's game, the Twins announced that Jake Faria was being sent to minor-league camp and will join the Saints in Louisville for the Triple-A opener. Also, Cody Stashak will remain in Ft. Myers to work through some biceps tendinitis. How do you think the Opening Day roster will shape up? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below. View full article
  16. The Twins open their season on Thursday, and their Opening Day roster is becoming more clear today after three players were sent to minor-league camp. After throwing 11 scoreless innings this spring, Devin Smeltzer was sent to minor-league camp. He missed most of the 2021 season with a herniated disk in his neck. Now healthy, he was very impressive this spring and it is likely he will pitch for the Twins during the 2022 season. Jovani Moran is the Twins' top relief pitcher prospect. He made his MLB debut in September 2021, but he will begin his 2022 season in St. Paul with the Saints. And Jake Cave was outrighted to minor league camp as well. He will travel to Louisville where the Saints season begins on Tuesday. The Twins spring training roster now stands at 33. They will need to get down to 28 on the active roster before Thursday's opener. There are four non-roster players. Right-hander Jake Faria and lefty Danny Coulombe remain. Infielder Daniel Robertson and outfielder Kyle Garlick are also still in big-league camp. Will any of those four players make the Opening Day roster? Garlick and his ability to mash left-handed pitching would seem to be competing with Brent Rooker for one spot. With the 28-man roster only available to teams through May 1, it is a huge decision to add a non-roster player to the 40-man roster. Will they risk losing a couple of depth pieces by adding them to the 40-man roster for three to four weeks? Will they risk losing a player or two on waivers to make room on the 40-man roster. We may know the answer to those questions by the end of today, certainly within the next 36 hours. UPDATE Following Sunday's game, the Twins announced that Jake Faria was being sent to minor-league camp and will join the Saints in Louisville for the Triple-A opener. Also, Cody Stashak will remain in Ft. Myers to work through some biceps tendinitis. How do you think the Opening Day roster will shape up? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
  17. The Twins have completed several rounds of roster cuts this spring with another handful to go. Still, several non-roster invitees remain in camp and have a legitimate shot at making the Opening Day roster. The Twins are down to just six non-roster players remaining on their spring roster. Several players were sent to minor-league camp so that they can head up to Minnesota this weekend. The Saints season starts on Tuesday in Louisville. The six non-roster players remaining in the big-league camp include left-handed pitchers Devin Smeltzer and Danny Coulombe, right-handed pitcher Jake Faria, infielder Daniel Robertson, and outfielders Kyle Garlick and Jake Cave. While there are certainly several good reasons to not add non-roster players to the 40-man roster knowing that the active roster will drop back to 26 players by May 1st. However, here are three players that I think do have a realistic opportunity to make the Twins Opening Day roster. Jake Faria Jake Faria had limited success in Tampa Bay’s rotation all the way back in 2017 when he posted a 3.43 ERA across just under 90 innings in his debut. After bouncing around for a while and not pitching in 2020, the right-hander finds himself as a realistic bullpen option for the Twins on Opening Day. With the lockout leading up to a short Spring Training ramp-up, the Twins are likely to employ some sort of “piggyback” method to start the season to allow the rotation to ramp up and remain healthy. Faria has been used in a multi-inning role this spring which could be a hint that the Twins may be taking a look at him to fill such a piggybacking role. He’s allowed just one run in his five spring innings and his mix of a split-finger and breaking ball could make him more prepared to navigate the entirety of a lineup than a traditional right-handed pitcher with just a fastball and slider. While no sure thing, Faria is a name to watch in the waning days of Spring Training. Kyle Garlick Kyle Garlick could make the 2022 roster again in the same role as 2021 as the backup right-handed masher in the outfield. Ideally the Twins would give him all of Max Kepler’s at bats against left-handers, against whom Garlick posted an incredible .878 OPS in 2021 before being shut down with a core muscle injury. The counter argument is it would come at the expense of Brent Rooker’s roster spot, who is a home--grown talent and some feel still has a ceiling higher than a platoon bat such as Garlick. That said, Rooker hasn't played in a game for a week with a shoulder soreness, so an IL stint is possible. Since the two right-handers are fairly equal on defense, the Twins could easily see Garlick as the obvious option. In addition to his 2021, Garlick has absolutely punished southpaws during his entire career, posting an incredible .865 OPS against them thus far. It may take giving up on Brent Rooker, but the immediate payoff of Garlick being the matchup role player in the outfield seems like a sure bet to provide some value. Jake Cave The Twins just can’t seem to quit Jake Cave. Thus far he’s outlasted Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino in camp with only a few more cuts to make. It’s hard to imagine the squad heading north with the 29-year-old Cave who owns a paltry .202/.263/.332 (.595) slash line since the start of 2020, especially since Nick Gordon’s ability to fill in at center field from the left side of the plate makes him redundant. That being said, the fact that he’s still with the team is worth wondering whether Cave may just stick around. In Cave’s favor, he has logged 144 games in center field in his career, a resume that the Twins may value given Byron Buxton’s injury history. He’s also improved defensively over the years, performing around league average on defense in 2020 and 2021 at the position. Another left handed bat in the outfield may not make much sense on paper, especially one you would expect absolutely nothing from offensively. That being said, Cave’s ability to man center field may be seen as a worthy trade off compared to someone like Kyle Garlick who only fills a very specific role offensively and is confined to the corners. The cuts are likely coming in short order with only a few decisions left to be made. Are there any other remaining non roster invitees that could sneak their way into Target Field on Opening Day? Let us know below! View full article
  18. The Twins are down to just six non-roster players remaining on their spring roster. Several players were sent to minor-league camp so that they can head up to Minnesota this weekend. The Saints season starts on Tuesday in Louisville. The six non-roster players remaining in the big-league camp include left-handed pitchers Devin Smeltzer and Danny Coulombe, right-handed pitcher Jake Faria, infielder Daniel Robertson, and outfielders Kyle Garlick and Jake Cave. While there are certainly several good reasons to not add non-roster players to the 40-man roster knowing that the active roster will drop back to 26 players by May 1st. However, here are three players that I think do have a realistic opportunity to make the Twins Opening Day roster. Jake Faria Jake Faria had limited success in Tampa Bay’s rotation all the way back in 2017 when he posted a 3.43 ERA across just under 90 innings in his debut. After bouncing around for a while and not pitching in 2020, the right-hander finds himself as a realistic bullpen option for the Twins on Opening Day. With the lockout leading up to a short Spring Training ramp-up, the Twins are likely to employ some sort of “piggyback” method to start the season to allow the rotation to ramp up and remain healthy. Faria has been used in a multi-inning role this spring which could be a hint that the Twins may be taking a look at him to fill such a piggybacking role. He’s allowed just one run in his five spring innings and his mix of a split-finger and breaking ball could make him more prepared to navigate the entirety of a lineup than a traditional right-handed pitcher with just a fastball and slider. While no sure thing, Faria is a name to watch in the waning days of Spring Training. Kyle Garlick Kyle Garlick could make the 2022 roster again in the same role as 2021 as the backup right-handed masher in the outfield. Ideally the Twins would give him all of Max Kepler’s at bats against left-handers, against whom Garlick posted an incredible .878 OPS in 2021 before being shut down with a core muscle injury. The counter argument is it would come at the expense of Brent Rooker’s roster spot, who is a home--grown talent and some feel still has a ceiling higher than a platoon bat such as Garlick. That said, Rooker hasn't played in a game for a week with a shoulder soreness, so an IL stint is possible. Since the two right-handers are fairly equal on defense, the Twins could easily see Garlick as the obvious option. In addition to his 2021, Garlick has absolutely punished southpaws during his entire career, posting an incredible .865 OPS against them thus far. It may take giving up on Brent Rooker, but the immediate payoff of Garlick being the matchup role player in the outfield seems like a sure bet to provide some value. Jake Cave The Twins just can’t seem to quit Jake Cave. Thus far he’s outlasted Trevor Larnach and Gilberto Celestino in camp with only a few more cuts to make. It’s hard to imagine the squad heading north with the 29-year-old Cave who owns a paltry .202/.263/.332 (.595) slash line since the start of 2020, especially since Nick Gordon’s ability to fill in at center field from the left side of the plate makes him redundant. That being said, the fact that he’s still with the team is worth wondering whether Cave may just stick around. In Cave’s favor, he has logged 144 games in center field in his career, a resume that the Twins may value given Byron Buxton’s injury history. He’s also improved defensively over the years, performing around league average on defense in 2020 and 2021 at the position. Another left handed bat in the outfield may not make much sense on paper, especially one you would expect absolutely nothing from offensively. That being said, Cave’s ability to man center field may be seen as a worthy trade off compared to someone like Kyle Garlick who only fills a very specific role offensively and is confined to the corners. The cuts are likely coming in short order with only a few decisions left to be made. Are there any other remaining non roster invitees that could sneak their way into Target Field on Opening Day? Let us know below!
  19. Major League Baseball recently announced that teams will be able to carry 28-player rosters until May 1. The lockout forced a shortened spring training, and baseball was worried about an increased chance of injuries. Players listed below with the ** are on the bubble for the final roster spots. Catchers (2): Ryan Jeffers, Gary Sanchez One of the biggest remaining questions is whether or not the Twins will carry a third catcher. Jeffers can't start every game behind the plate, and Sanchez is known as one of baseball's worst defenders. Minnesota's only other catcher on the 40-man roster is José Godoy, but it seems more likely for him to stay in St. Paul until there is a need at the big-league level. If Jeffers or Sanchez struggles behind the plate, Godoy is one phone call away from Target Field. Infielders (7): Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Gio Urshela, Carlos Correa, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker** Correa's addition undoubtedly changes the face of the infield, including solidifying the team's up-the-middle defense. Minnesota has made it clear that Arraez won't be getting regular playing time in the outfield, leaving him as a backup infield option at multiple positions. Last season, Arraez's defense was significantly improved at third base, so maybe he and Urshella will be fighting for playing time at the hot corner. Barring injury, Gordon and Rooker fill out the bench, but neither has a path to a consistent starting job. Outfielders (4): Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach** With three corner outfielders, the Twins will need to be strategic about getting at-bats for each player. Larnach isn't a true fourth outfielder, so the team may want him in St. Paul to get regular at-bats. Kirilloff can spend time at first base, which is his best defensive position. Rooker is also on the roster, but the team is hesitant to play him defensively in the outfield. Gilberto Celestino is the lone outfielder on the 40-man roster left off this projected Opening Day roster. He was terrific in St. Paul last year, and he's one injury away from taking over a big-league role. Rotation (5): Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Chris Archer Randy Dobnak's injury took him out of contention for an Opening Day roster spot. Minnesota signed Archer to serve as Dobnak's replacement at the rotation's backend. Archer's deal is a low-risk option for the Twins as it is highly incentive-based, but he has a chance to prove he is healthy. Also, it's important to consider that the Twins won't need a fifth starter very regularly at the beginning of the season. In some years, off-days and weather delays can push back the need for a fifth starter, but that won't be the case this season. Bullpen (10): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Joe Smith, Cody Stashak, Jharel Cotton, Jovani Moran**, Griffin Jax**, Jhon Romero** This spring, Rogers has looked strong, which is a good sign for the bullpen's backend. Smith was the team's most significant offseason addition to the bullpen. He comes with over 13 years of big-league experience. Minnesota needed another right-handed relief option, and Smith filled that role. Cotton and Stashak have started in the past, so they can pitch multiple innings when needed. If there were a 26-man roster, the last three names would be fighting for a job. All three could enjoy a big-league paycheck for the season's first month with expanded rosters. What changes will happen to the team's roster before Opening Day? Which on the bubble players will miss the cut? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  20. Minnesota's Opening Day roster has shifted dramatically since spring training began. Now, the team is honing in on the 28 players that will come north with the club. Major League Baseball recently announced that teams will be able to carry 28-player rosters until May 1. The lockout forced a shortened spring training, and baseball was worried about an increased chance of injuries. Players listed below with the ** are on the bubble for the final roster spots. Catchers (2): Ryan Jeffers, Gary Sanchez One of the biggest remaining questions is whether or not the Twins will carry a third catcher. Jeffers can't start every game behind the plate, and Sanchez is known as one of baseball's worst defenders. Minnesota's only other catcher on the 40-man roster is José Godoy, but it seems more likely for him to stay in St. Paul until there is a need at the big-league level. If Jeffers or Sanchez struggles behind the plate, Godoy is one phone call away from Target Field. Infielders (7): Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Gio Urshela, Carlos Correa, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker** Correa's addition undoubtedly changes the face of the infield, including solidifying the team's up-the-middle defense. Minnesota has made it clear that Arraez won't be getting regular playing time in the outfield, leaving him as a backup infield option at multiple positions. Last season, Arraez's defense was significantly improved at third base, so maybe he and Urshella will be fighting for playing time at the hot corner. Barring injury, Gordon and Rooker fill out the bench, but neither has a path to a consistent starting job. Outfielders (4): Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach** With three corner outfielders, the Twins will need to be strategic about getting at-bats for each player. Larnach isn't a true fourth outfielder, so the team may want him in St. Paul to get regular at-bats. Kirilloff can spend time at first base, which is his best defensive position. Rooker is also on the roster, but the team is hesitant to play him defensively in the outfield. Gilberto Celestino is the lone outfielder on the 40-man roster left off this projected Opening Day roster. He was terrific in St. Paul last year, and he's one injury away from taking over a big-league role. Rotation (5): Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Chris Archer Randy Dobnak's injury took him out of contention for an Opening Day roster spot. Minnesota signed Archer to serve as Dobnak's replacement at the rotation's backend. Archer's deal is a low-risk option for the Twins as it is highly incentive-based, but he has a chance to prove he is healthy. Also, it's important to consider that the Twins won't need a fifth starter very regularly at the beginning of the season. In some years, off-days and weather delays can push back the need for a fifth starter, but that won't be the case this season. Bullpen (10): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Joe Smith, Cody Stashak, Jharel Cotton, Jovani Moran**, Griffin Jax**, Jhon Romero** This spring, Rogers has looked strong, which is a good sign for the bullpen's backend. Smith was the team's most significant offseason addition to the bullpen. He comes with over 13 years of big-league experience. Minnesota needed another right-handed relief option, and Smith filled that role. Cotton and Stashak have started in the past, so they can pitch multiple innings when needed. If there were a 26-man roster, the last three names would be fighting for a job. All three could enjoy a big-league paycheck for the season's first month with expanded rosters. What changes will happen to the team's roster before Opening Day? Which on the bubble players will miss the cut? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  21. One year ago, the Twins decided to move on from their longtime fixture in left field, Eddie Rosario. The team's first season in his absence did not feature much stability at the position. In 2022, the Twins will try to clarify the future in left, which remains fairly murky at the moment – albeit with some quality options in place. Projected Starter: Alex Kirilloff Likely Backup: Nick Gordon Depth: Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker Prospects: Emmanuel Rodriguez, Alerick Soularie THE GOOD Among all positions for the Twins last year (aside from pitcher), left field saw the most different names rotate through: a total of eight players made at least one start there. This speaks to their depth of usable corner outfielders, which remains intact – seven of those players are back in camp this spring. (Minus Rob Refsnyder, who signed with the Red Sox during the offseason.) When Eddie Rosario departed, Alex Kirilloff was lined up as his replacement in left, a natural opening to be filled by the organization's MLB-ready top prospect. And yet, Kirilloff ended up ranking fifth in starts at the position, spending much more of his time (pre-surgery) at first base while Trevor Larnach led the team in left field starts with 51. I would imagine that still represents the front office's long-term vision: Kirilloff at first, Larnach in left. Two former first-round draft picks and impact bats entrenched at the positions for which they are best suited. However, it's probably not a feasible path forward in the immediate future, both because Miguel Sanó is occupying first base and because Larnach's late-season plunge in 2021 cast doubt on his readiness. Hardly the worst thing in the world. Left field might not be Kirilloff's BEST position, but it's certainly one he can play. And the most important thing is getting his bat into the lineup. With his surgically repaired wrist appearing to be in the clear, it's time to once again let loose the purest swing in the organization. I assume the plan is to trot him out regularly in left, because there are no other obvious paths to everyday playing time for him, and no other obvious answers out there. But the Twins have not operated like a team prepping him for such an assignment. THE BAD Do the Twins actually want to use Kirilloff in left field? Unclear. There's no reason to think he can't play a perfectly solid left field, and he's looked fine during his opportunities there. But for whatever reason, those opportunities have been far and few between. Last year, as the Twins sorted through a multitude of different players to fill in, Kirilloff drew only 11 total starts at the position. In a minor-league career that spanned 281 games, he started in left field a total of 10 times. He started more times in center! The team's lack of interest in seeing Kirilloff play left field shows no signs of dissipating. He has started only two games there this spring. It certainly suggests that the Twins aren't planning on using Kirilloff regularly in left field for any extended length of time. Once you move past him, the options at the position become significantly less exciting, at least in the short-term. The club now seems firmly committed to keeping Luis Arraez (who started 24 games in left last year) in the infield. Brent Rooker's glove is not be trusted. Jake Cave and Kyle Garlick are uninspiring non-roster options. Nick Gordon is a pure plug-and-play backup who lacks the bat to be an asset in a corner outfield spot. Larnach is the one who holds the key. While there's plenty of reason to remain bullish on his future, it's hard to imagine the Twins are going to plug him right back into the Opening Day lineup after the way his rookie year concluded. Following a good start with the Twins, Larnach got thoroughly dominated for two months. From June 15th through August 15th, he slashed .193/.279/.298 with a 38.3% K-rate. He was then demoted to Triple-A, where he posted a .611 OPS in 10 games before being shut down. When major-league pitchers spot a weakness, they take advantage, and that's what happened here as they began to unload an endless bevy of breaking balls and changeups on Larnach, who mashed fastballs (.296 BA, .512 SLG) but struggled mightily against offspeed (.143 BA, .179 SLG). THE BOTTOM LINE Assuming Larnach goes back to Triple-A to build confidence and prove he's ready, Kirilloff should be in line for the lion's share of playing time in left field from day one. Unless the Twins have other plans. Which their behavior suggests they might. With only 10 days until the regular season gets underway, they are running short on time to orchestrate their final designs. Catch Up on the Rest of Our 2022 Previews: Position Analysis: Catcher Position Analysis: First Base Position Analysis: Second Base Position Analysis: Third Base Position Analysis: Shortstop View full article
  22. Projected Starter: Alex Kirilloff Likely Backup: Nick Gordon Depth: Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker Prospects: Emmanuel Rodriguez, Alerick Soularie THE GOOD Among all positions for the Twins last year (aside from pitcher), left field saw the most different names rotate through: a total of eight players made at least one start there. This speaks to their depth of usable corner outfielders, which remains intact – seven of those players are back in camp this spring. (Minus Rob Refsnyder, who signed with the Red Sox during the offseason.) When Eddie Rosario departed, Alex Kirilloff was lined up as his replacement in left, a natural opening to be filled by the organization's MLB-ready top prospect. And yet, Kirilloff ended up ranking fifth in starts at the position, spending much more of his time (pre-surgery) at first base while Trevor Larnach led the team in left field starts with 51. I would imagine that still represents the front office's long-term vision: Kirilloff at first, Larnach in left. Two former first-round draft picks and impact bats entrenched at the positions for which they are best suited. However, it's probably not a feasible path forward in the immediate future, both because Miguel Sanó is occupying first base and because Larnach's late-season plunge in 2021 cast doubt on his readiness. Hardly the worst thing in the world. Left field might not be Kirilloff's BEST position, but it's certainly one he can play. And the most important thing is getting his bat into the lineup. With his surgically repaired wrist appearing to be in the clear, it's time to once again let loose the purest swing in the organization. I assume the plan is to trot him out regularly in left, because there are no other obvious paths to everyday playing time for him, and no other obvious answers out there. But the Twins have not operated like a team prepping him for such an assignment. THE BAD Do the Twins actually want to use Kirilloff in left field? Unclear. There's no reason to think he can't play a perfectly solid left field, and he's looked fine during his opportunities there. But for whatever reason, those opportunities have been far and few between. Last year, as the Twins sorted through a multitude of different players to fill in, Kirilloff drew only 11 total starts at the position. In a minor-league career that spanned 281 games, he started in left field a total of 10 times. He started more times in center! The team's lack of interest in seeing Kirilloff play left field shows no signs of dissipating. He has started only two games there this spring. It certainly suggests that the Twins aren't planning on using Kirilloff regularly in left field for any extended length of time. Once you move past him, the options at the position become significantly less exciting, at least in the short-term. The club now seems firmly committed to keeping Luis Arraez (who started 24 games in left last year) in the infield. Brent Rooker's glove is not be trusted. Jake Cave and Kyle Garlick are uninspiring non-roster options. Nick Gordon is a pure plug-and-play backup who lacks the bat to be an asset in a corner outfield spot. Larnach is the one who holds the key. While there's plenty of reason to remain bullish on his future, it's hard to imagine the Twins are going to plug him right back into the Opening Day lineup after the way his rookie year concluded. Following a good start with the Twins, Larnach got thoroughly dominated for two months. From June 15th through August 15th, he slashed .193/.279/.298 with a 38.3% K-rate. He was then demoted to Triple-A, where he posted a .611 OPS in 10 games before being shut down. When major-league pitchers spot a weakness, they take advantage, and that's what happened here as they began to unload an endless bevy of breaking balls and changeups on Larnach, who mashed fastballs (.296 BA, .512 SLG) but struggled mightily against offspeed (.143 BA, .179 SLG). THE BOTTOM LINE Assuming Larnach goes back to Triple-A to build confidence and prove he's ready, Kirilloff should be in line for the lion's share of playing time in left field from day one. Unless the Twins have other plans. Which their behavior suggests they might. With only 10 days until the regular season gets underway, they are running short on time to orchestrate their final designs. Catch Up on the Rest of Our 2022 Previews: Position Analysis: Catcher Position Analysis: First Base Position Analysis: Second Base Position Analysis: Third Base Position Analysis: Shortstop
  23. Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, and Mitch Garver are no longer with the Minnesota Twins. Does that mean Twins fans should be worried about DH production this season? In recent years, Nelson Cruz was penciled in as the team's primary designated hitter, and he performed at a high level in this role. Throughout the offseason, the Twins planned to rotate through various players in the DH role, but there has been a roster turnover since the lockout ended. Here are some of the names expected to fill the DH role in 2022. Gary Sánchez 2021 Stats: .204/.307/.423 (.730), 13 2B, 23 HR, 121 K, 117 G It seems likely for Sánchez to get the majority of his at-bats in the DH role this season because he is atrocious behind the plate. Sánchez has played 74 games as a DH for his career while hitting .224/.306/.469 (.775) with 11 doubles and 19 home runs. If Ryan Jeffers misses time or struggles, Sánchez will be pressed into service behind the plate. He's also in his final year of team control, and he likely wants to hit the market known for being a catcher and not just as a DH. There is an outside chance that Minnesota will include Sánchez in a trade before Opening Day, and then the team will have to turn to other DH options. Miguel Sanó 2021 Stats: .223/.312/.466 (.778), 24 2B, 30 HR, 183 K, 135 G Expectations were for Sanó to be used more regularly at the DH spot this season with Cruz out of the picture. Since switching to first base, he's made marginal defensive improvements, but SABR's SDI ranks him as the second-worst defensive first baseman. Also, Sanó isn't a stranger to the DH position as he's played nearly as many games at DH (155) as first base (195). He has a .753 OPS as the DH for his career, which is lower than when he plays a defensive position. Minnesota has a $14 million team option attached to Sanó with a $2.75 million buyout for next season. That's a steep price to pay for someone that has shifted to a more regular DH role. Brent Rooker 2021 Stats: .201/.291/.397 (.688), 10 2B, 9 HR, 70 K, 58 G Rooker has run out of things to prove in the minor leagues as he has a .932 OPS in nearly an entire season at Triple-A. The 27-year-old was used sporadically at the big-league level in 2020-21, and a DH role might be his best shot to earn a permanent role. Last season, he lost out on an Opening Day roster spot because the team was concerned with his defensive ability in the outfield. Those concerns likely remain, but Rooker is already behind the aforementioned names, and he may be relegated to a bench role this season. Other Options All three players mentioned seem to fit the prototypical DH mold, but others on the Twins roster will have the opportunity to fill the DH spot. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has preached a mantra around giving players adequate rest, including moving a regular position player to the DH role for the day. Four outfielders currently project to make the Opening Day roster, so one of those players could fill in at DH on any given day. Besides the outfielders, Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco have played through in-season injuries in the past. A day at DH may take some of the wear and tear off their knees (Arraez) and ankles (Polanco). Jose Miranda is also coming off a tremendous season, but he doesn't have a clear roster spot this spring. Would the team consider bringing him up to get at-bats in a DH role? Some other powerful prospects like Matt Wallner and Aaron Sabato are also working their way towards Target Field. Minnesota's DH plan seemed much clearer at the beginning of the offseason, but those plans have changed. Now, these options seem worse than the Twins' production out of the DH spot with Cruz. Should Twins fans be worried about production from the DH spot? 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
  24. In recent years, Nelson Cruz was penciled in as the team's primary designated hitter, and he performed at a high level in this role. Throughout the offseason, the Twins planned to rotate through various players in the DH role, but there has been a roster turnover since the lockout ended. Here are some of the names expected to fill the DH role in 2022. Gary Sánchez 2021 Stats: .204/.307/.423 (.730), 13 2B, 23 HR, 121 K, 117 G It seems likely for Sánchez to get the majority of his at-bats in the DH role this season because he is atrocious behind the plate. Sánchez has played 74 games as a DH for his career while hitting .224/.306/.469 (.775) with 11 doubles and 19 home runs. If Ryan Jeffers misses time or struggles, Sánchez will be pressed into service behind the plate. He's also in his final year of team control, and he likely wants to hit the market known for being a catcher and not just as a DH. There is an outside chance that Minnesota will include Sánchez in a trade before Opening Day, and then the team will have to turn to other DH options. Miguel Sanó 2021 Stats: .223/.312/.466 (.778), 24 2B, 30 HR, 183 K, 135 G Expectations were for Sanó to be used more regularly at the DH spot this season with Cruz out of the picture. Since switching to first base, he's made marginal defensive improvements, but SABR's SDI ranks him as the second-worst defensive first baseman. Also, Sanó isn't a stranger to the DH position as he's played nearly as many games at DH (155) as first base (195). He has a .753 OPS as the DH for his career, which is lower than when he plays a defensive position. Minnesota has a $14 million team option attached to Sanó with a $2.75 million buyout for next season. That's a steep price to pay for someone that has shifted to a more regular DH role. Brent Rooker 2021 Stats: .201/.291/.397 (.688), 10 2B, 9 HR, 70 K, 58 G Rooker has run out of things to prove in the minor leagues as he has a .932 OPS in nearly an entire season at Triple-A. The 27-year-old was used sporadically at the big-league level in 2020-21, and a DH role might be his best shot to earn a permanent role. Last season, he lost out on an Opening Day roster spot because the team was concerned with his defensive ability in the outfield. Those concerns likely remain, but Rooker is already behind the aforementioned names, and he may be relegated to a bench role this season. Other Options All three players mentioned seem to fit the prototypical DH mold, but others on the Twins roster will have the opportunity to fill the DH spot. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has preached a mantra around giving players adequate rest, including moving a regular position player to the DH role for the day. Four outfielders currently project to make the Opening Day roster, so one of those players could fill in at DH on any given day. Besides the outfielders, Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco have played through in-season injuries in the past. A day at DH may take some of the wear and tear off their knees (Arraez) and ankles (Polanco). Jose Miranda is also coming off a tremendous season, but he doesn't have a clear roster spot this spring. Would the team consider bringing him up to get at-bats in a DH role? Some other powerful prospects like Matt Wallner and Aaron Sabato are also working their way towards Target Field. Minnesota's DH plan seemed much clearer at the beginning of the offseason, but those plans have changed. Now, these options seem worse than the Twins' production out of the DH spot with Cruz. Should Twins fans be worried about production from the DH spot? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. Recently, I had the privilege to sit down with three outstanding wives of Minnesota Twins players. After the meeting was over, I sat back in my chair and took a deep breath because as impressive as the players are, their wives are the real MVPs, and these are their stories. I have been watching baseball for as long as I can remember. I have always loved everything about baseball; the sounds of the park, the food, and every play on the field. I learned a lot watching what happens on the field, in the dugout, and the bullpen, but one thing that I had yet to learn was that the struggle to get to that place meant putting a lot of stuff on hold, including relationships. Since they were in high school, Allie and Sarah have been with their husbands, Brent Rooker and Mitchell Garver, respectively. While the couples have been together for over ten years, "together" is a relative term when you're in a baseball family. The term "grind" was mentioned frequently in the interview because that's what being a baseball player is. When the guys aren't playing, they are training. There is never a time when they aren't getting ready for the next game. Because the guys are always on the go, independence has always been important to the wives. All women have their own lives, careers, and individuality, which is empowering. At the same time, they are proud to be Mrs. Cave, Mrs. Garver, and Mrs. Rooker. Saige, Sarah, and Allie are friends, daughters, career women, and mothers. The time they spent growing up while they supported their spouses, Allie and Sarah didn't know in high school or even early into college that the guys would play baseball outside of college. Contrary to popular belief, the women with their spouses from an early age genuinely don't rely on their spouses "being drafted ." The reality of players making it into the majors is that Less than eleven in 100, or about 10.5 percent, of NCAA senior male baseball players, will get drafted by a Major League Baseball (MLB) team. Approximately one in 200 or roughly 0.5 percent of high school senior boys playing interscholastic baseball will eventually be drafted by an MLB team. Allie and Sarah knew that their individuality and success were just as crucial as their husband's baseball careers. Allie and Brent Rooker went to different colleges out of high school, and long-distance didn't stop until after the Minnesota Twins drafted Brent in the 1st round (35th overall pick) of the 2017 amateur draft. Along with Brent being drafted, he and Allie got engaged in 2017. Still, there was no time to get into family mode because Allie graduated as an RN and started working in her field after college. And for Brent, the grind toward the majors began immediately. When the Minnesota Twins drafted Mitch Garver in the 9th round of the 2013 amateur draft, Sarah was in the middle of Veterinary School. They spent more time apart as Mitch found himself playing minor league ball with the Twins and Sarah finished her degree in Oregon. They had been together at the University of New Mexico, but Sarah had goals of becoming a vet, and she knew that would mean more time apart to attend school in Oregon, so while Mitch went off to play baseball in Florida, Sarah went to OSU to complete Vet school and graduated in 2018 with her Doctorate. Even though she graduated, she couldn’t join Mitch yet on the road as she started working in New Mexico. She officially joined Mitch in 2020, just in time for the pandemic. Saige and Jake Cave met when they were a little bit older. Saige had just graduated from college in Florida, and Jake was playing in the New York Yankees minor league system in Tampa. Saige was out walking her dog when they crossed paths, and that is the story. The simplicity of the story is as genuine as they are. She had already graduated college and was a nanny full-time. As a former D2 athlete, Saige vowed that she would never marry an athlete because she knows the grind and the demand, but she couldn't say no to Jake's charm, and the rest is history. They spent a lot of time as a new couple bouncing back and forth in Pennsylvania in the minor-league system. The travel was arduous, but luckily, Saige is from Pennsylvania and had family there. Their lives collided together in 2018 when Jake was traded from New York to Minnesota. The three women were very close and confided in me when I asked, "How important is this circle?" "It's incredibly important." Says Sarah. "I don't know what I would have done without these two," says Saige. "They literally are so welcoming and loving, and we spend all day texting and snap chatting back and forth. Allie sends the funniest stuff." "It's nice to know that someone gets it," Allie says, "Jake and Brent are also really close, and there is a picture of them from Brent's first day on the field smiling and Jake congratulating Brent." The women genuinely care for each other and look out for each other. None of the wives got the opportunity to travel with their husbands to games in 2020, which subsequently was the pandemic year, making 2021 their first full-time travel year. It blew my mind to think about that. These couples put their heart and soul into not only themselves but also grinding through rookie-ball, minor league ball, trades, and finally landing on your feet with a team, and life throws you a literal curve-ball. Their lives aren't all glam and cash-flow, which is how some people think it happens. It's not. The three of them, while they show their strong sides, show concern for what happens on the field. Sarah said that baseball is a day-to-day job. There is no guarantee, as demonstrated by the pandemic and the current lockout. If they don't have their careers, when baseball stops, so does the income, and that's a terrifying idea. All three wives recall their husbands having scary, possibly career-ending injuries and the fear that went into those moments. Brent suffered a displaced fracture of his right forearm on September 13th, 2020, when a pitch hit him against Cleveland. Jake played with a broken back in 2021 and ended up on the sixty-day injured list for rehab. And Mitch took a foul tip to the groin on June 1st, 2021, during a game with Baltimore and ended up on the injured list after emergency surgery late that night. Sarah and Allie both told me that the scariest thing for them was that they were not only not at the games where their husbands were injured, but their phones were blowing up with people asking if their husbands were okay. Having to take in that emotion and sort through the truth and what is being said in the media is very frustrating. "I am already VERY pregnant at this point and very emotional," says Sarah, "and I can't do anything for him right now, and that got to me. Thank God for the medical team." "Yes! The trainers, the Twins medical staff, they are our best friends," pipes in Allie, "They are there waiting for the guys in the waiting room to give us updates and reassure us." "They are literal lifelines," Says Saige, beyond thankful for the staff who helped bring Jake back from a broken back. "He broke his back giving himself to baseball, and it was reassuring that they were dedicated to helping him get better." Between the pandemic and injuries, 2020 and 2021 were stressful, and 2022 isn't any less stressful. While Sarah and Allie have their jobs to help cover the bills. The guys must stay in shape and ready to go to spring training at a moment's notice. Staying in baseball shape and baseball-ready means putting in eight to ten-hour days. It's bad enough when your husband is amid a lockout that threatens his career, but during the season, there are also bad days, bad games, and bad plays that haunt the guys when they come home. While the wives say they certainly need their space after a bad day, they are never petulant, maybe just a little in their head or a little off. What cures their post-game blues? Babies. The adorable babies that they come home to after a game. The kids, Gamble (Sarah and Mitch) and Blair (Allie and Brent), are close together in age and are rumored to be betrothed later in life. The oldest of the crew is Sloane, Jake and Saige's daughter, and she had the job of entertaining us and did a great job! That morning we talked; we were all in our sweats, hair up, kids and dogs everywhere. It was the most laid back conversation, and I realized that these are moms, just like me, like the other women baseball fans. Their main priorities are their families, the kids, and keeping life as simple as possible in a chaotic role. Finding the balance between being an individual, friend, daughter, wife, and mom is not easy. But they do it. And they do it with grace, messy buns, and a smile. Having a solid community is essential because the outside world can be cruel. Their husbands have a bad day at work, and everyone knows about it. What makes it harder about bad games and injuries is what people say about their husbands online. Talking to the women about what they go through, reading, and seeing those things changed my life and outlook on baseball. These three baseball players are not millionaires, as people have been screaming about on Twitter for the past six weeks. But they do fall into the 65% of MLB players who make under $1MM. The lockout is not easy on the families. Mitch is in his second year of arbitration, and makes more than league minimum, but that doesn’t change the impact of the lock out. They may make more than the average Joe, but the average Joe has one home, one State to live in, and a job he can drive to every day. These families have to be prepared for the season with housing for spring training, a house or apartment in the State where they play ball full time, and their place in their home state. Their paychecks ensure that they can afford to play next season and take care of their family in the off-season. Even with all the stress, crazy schedules, the current lockout, I have never seen stronger, happier women. These women not only empower their husbands, but they also empower each other. As a baseball fan, I was shocked that they wouldn't watch baseball without their husbands playing. But, watching their husbands play is one of the most endearing, exciting things they experience. Their first at-bats stick out as core memories for the wives. "Don't strike out" is the only thing Sarah is thinking as Mitch takes the plate for the first time on August 19th, 2017, knowing that is a genuine possibility. They laugh about their passion for the game and how it never leaves their minds. On off-days, any of them can ask their husband, "What are you thinking about?" Saige says, "Usually Jake says, 'my hitting,'" as she laughs. The players are either thinking about training for baseball, their last game, their upcoming game, or their swing. While they don't know specifics about their game day routines or superstitions, one thing they do know is the smiles on their husband's faces as they play the game they grew up loving. As dedicated as the players are to their craft, they are devoted equally at home. All three women talked about how amazing the guys are with the kids. The lockout has left the families stressed, but the ability to have more time together, which none take for granted. Already following in dad's footsteps is Sloane Cave. Sloane loves to play baseball, and Jake loves to help her play. Sloane talks about going on the field with dad and watching him play, but some of her fondest memories she will have with dad allow her to play on her youth team with dad being the coach and the mentor. She loves that one-on-one quality time with Jake. The kids have a unique advantage that many kids don't, and that's watching dad play baseball, going on the field, in the dugout, and hanging out with the other major-league players and their families. When it comes to strength, baseball players are some of the strongest athletes I have encountered. Mentally and physically, players have to be ready for quite literally anything that happens in a game, from injury to a long stretch or dive to get the ball or to be fast enough to round the bases when a line drive hugs the foul line deep into left field. But, what's more, vital to the players are the families that stand behind them. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
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