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  1. The Minnesota Twins outrighted lefty Devin Smeltzer off the 40-man roster this week, and rather than take another trip across town to St. Paul, he opted for an opportunity to utilize his skills at the big league level for an organization willing to keep him. In doing so, the Twins chapter with Brian Dozier is closed. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Brian Dozier hasn’t played professional baseball since the 2020-pandemic-stricken-season. He last played for the Minnesota Twins during 2018. There was talk of him being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier for Jose De Leon, and even while Minnesota asked for the like of Cody Bellinger or Walker Buehler, those discussions never moved far. Ultimately, Minnesota netted a return of Logan Forsythe, Luke Raley, and Devin Smeltzer following an agreement set by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Fast forward to where we are now, and things have come full circle for both organizations. Dozier wound up playing in just 47 games for the Dodgers. Down the stretch in 2018, he posted a .650 OPS and was never able to regain his 134 OPS+ form from the 42-homer season in 2016. Raley was ultimately sent back to the Dodgers when Minnesota acquired Kenta Maeda by including Brusdar Graterol. Forsythe was never meant to be more than a stopgap, and Smeltzer was the only player remaining. Set to become a free agent following the World Series this season, Smeltzer got a jumpstart on his alternatives by denying his outright to St. Paul. Coming off a career-high 70 1/3 innings for Minnesota, Smeltzer posted a career-best 3.71 ERA. He made 15 appearances, including 12 stars, and while the 5.23 FIP suggests some smoke and mirrors, his results ultimately didn’t reflect the path set out for him. Over the course of his Twins career, there has been a handful of realities. As a southpaw, Smeltzer is not a high-velocity arm, and he doesn’t pile up strikeouts, but he’s a guy that’s shown an ability to create a slow bleed and benefit as his outings go on. Homers have certainly been a bugaboo for him at times, but the former Los Angeles prospect has also done a great job in limiting free passes. The H/9 totals have jumped in recent seasons, and the strikeout numbers have tumbled, but he’s worked around traffic to generate solid outings. Ultimately, it looked as though Smeltzer could be an ideal long reliever for a big-league club. It’s odd that Minnesota didn’t opt for that path more frequently this season with a bullpen so obviously needing someone in that role. Having been shuttled back and forth with no real opportunity to settle in at either place, Smeltzer likely finds the lack of direction for his future with the Twins, and therefore will look to greener pastures. You’d be hard-pressed to argue against Smeltzer being a big-league arm, and at just 27 years old, he has the runway to become an arm that got away. No matter where he winds up, his focus will likely be in contributing at the Major League level regardless of his outlined role. The Twins will turn to the rest of their internal depth when looking to eat innings, and we’ll see what’s next for the final piece of the Dozier trade. View full article
  2. Brian Dozier hasn’t played professional baseball since the 2020-pandemic-stricken-season. He last played for the Minnesota Twins during 2018. There was talk of him being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier for Jose De Leon, and even while Minnesota asked for the like of Cody Bellinger or Walker Buehler, those discussions never moved far. Ultimately, Minnesota netted a return of Logan Forsythe, Luke Raley, and Devin Smeltzer following an agreement set by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Fast forward to where we are now, and things have come full circle for both organizations. Dozier wound up playing in just 47 games for the Dodgers. Down the stretch in 2018, he posted a .650 OPS and was never able to regain his 134 OPS+ form from the 42-homer season in 2016. Raley was ultimately sent back to the Dodgers when Minnesota acquired Kenta Maeda by including Brusdar Graterol. Forsythe was never meant to be more than a stopgap, and Smeltzer was the only player remaining. Set to become a free agent following the World Series this season, Smeltzer got a jumpstart on his alternatives by denying his outright to St. Paul. Coming off a career-high 70 1/3 innings for Minnesota, Smeltzer posted a career-best 3.71 ERA. He made 15 appearances, including 12 stars, and while the 5.23 FIP suggests some smoke and mirrors, his results ultimately didn’t reflect the path set out for him. Over the course of his Twins career, there has been a handful of realities. As a southpaw, Smeltzer is not a high-velocity arm, and he doesn’t pile up strikeouts, but he’s a guy that’s shown an ability to create a slow bleed and benefit as his outings go on. Homers have certainly been a bugaboo for him at times, but the former Los Angeles prospect has also done a great job in limiting free passes. The H/9 totals have jumped in recent seasons, and the strikeout numbers have tumbled, but he’s worked around traffic to generate solid outings. Ultimately, it looked as though Smeltzer could be an ideal long reliever for a big-league club. It’s odd that Minnesota didn’t opt for that path more frequently this season with a bullpen so obviously needing someone in that role. Having been shuttled back and forth with no real opportunity to settle in at either place, Smeltzer likely finds the lack of direction for his future with the Twins, and therefore will look to greener pastures. You’d be hard-pressed to argue against Smeltzer being a big-league arm, and at just 27 years old, he has the runway to become an arm that got away. No matter where he winds up, his focus will likely be in contributing at the Major League level regardless of his outlined role. The Twins will turn to the rest of their internal depth when looking to eat innings, and we’ll see what’s next for the final piece of the Dozier trade.
  3. The Twins had an opportunity to add to this list during the 2022 Home Run Derby, but Byron Buxton turned down an invitation to participate. Buxton wasn't the only player to turn down an invite, as some All-Stars need to get as much rest as possible even when attending the week's festivities. Still, there are plenty of other Home Run Derby moments that some fans may or may not remember. 5. Joe Mauer Holds His Own Fans don't typically associate Joe Mauer with home runs, but his sweet swing can produce power. During his MVP season, Mauer was selected to participate in the Home Run Derby in St. Louis. He missed the second-round cut after losing a swing-off to Carlos Pena and Albert Pujols. Former Twin Nelson Cruz finished second in the Derby to Milwaukee's Prince Fielder. 4. Metrodome Hosts First Official Home Run Derby At the 1985 All-Star Game, Minnesota hosted the Mid-Summer Classic for the second time. Part of these hosting duties included hosting the first HR Derby. Since then, the Derby has come a long way with the hype on TV and social media and tons of sponsorships. Dave Parker was named the champion with six home runs, while Minnesota's Tom Brunansky finished tied for second with four homers. 3. Miguel Sano Falls Short in Final In his only All-Star appearance, Miguel Sano finished one home run behind Aaron Judge in the 2017 HR Derby Final. Sano had clobbered 21 home runs during the first half, so he was a deserving participant. He showed up on the big stage and had a chance to be the club's second HR Derby champion. Current Twin Gary Sanchez was one of the players Sano had to defeat to make the final. 2. Target Field Provides Picture Perfect Derby Backdrop The 2014 All-Star Game festivities occurred at Target Field, and the HR Derby line-up included multiple current and former Twins. Brian Dozier got to represent Minnesota, but he struggled and only hit two home runs. Other Twins-related contestants were former Twin Justin Morneau and future Twin Josh Donaldson. Yoenis Cespedes walked away with the title, and a passing storm provided a full rainbow over the stadium. 1. Justin Morneau Upsets Josh Hamilton's Show Justin Morneau is the only player in franchise history to compete in multiple Home Run Derbies. In the 2007 Derby, he finished fifth and missed the cut to make the second round. He returned in 2008 and got an upset win at Yankee Stadium. Josh Hamilton smashed 28 home runs in the first round, but Morneau was more rested and took home the title. It's the franchise's only HR Derby win, and it came from one of the best power hitters in franchise history. What do you remember about the Home Run Derbies mentioned above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. Monday night is one of the most exciting parts of the All-Star Game as sluggers from both leagues look to be crowned Home Run Derby champion. Here are the best Minnesota moments from the Derby. The Twins had an opportunity to add to this list during the 2022 Home Run Derby, but Byron Buxton turned down an invitation to participate. Buxton wasn't the only player to turn down an invite, as some All-Stars need to get as much rest as possible even when attending the week's festivities. Still, there are plenty of other Home Run Derby moments that some fans may or may not remember. 5. Joe Mauer Holds His Own Fans don't typically associate Joe Mauer with home runs, but his sweet swing can produce power. During his MVP season, Mauer was selected to participate in the Home Run Derby in St. Louis. He missed the second-round cut after losing a swing-off to Carlos Pena and Albert Pujols. Former Twin Nelson Cruz finished second in the Derby to Milwaukee's Prince Fielder. 4. Metrodome Hosts First Official Home Run Derby At the 1985 All-Star Game, Minnesota hosted the Mid-Summer Classic for the second time. Part of these hosting duties included hosting the first HR Derby. Since then, the Derby has come a long way with the hype on TV and social media and tons of sponsorships. Dave Parker was named the champion with six home runs, while Minnesota's Tom Brunansky finished tied for second with four homers. 3. Miguel Sano Falls Short in Final In his only All-Star appearance, Miguel Sano finished one home run behind Aaron Judge in the 2017 HR Derby Final. Sano had clobbered 21 home runs during the first half, so he was a deserving participant. He showed up on the big stage and had a chance to be the club's second HR Derby champion. Current Twin Gary Sanchez was one of the players Sano had to defeat to make the final. 2. Target Field Provides Picture Perfect Derby Backdrop The 2014 All-Star Game festivities occurred at Target Field, and the HR Derby line-up included multiple current and former Twins. Brian Dozier got to represent Minnesota, but he struggled and only hit two home runs. Other Twins-related contestants were former Twin Justin Morneau and future Twin Josh Donaldson. Yoenis Cespedes walked away with the title, and a passing storm provided a full rainbow over the stadium. 1. Justin Morneau Upsets Josh Hamilton's Show Justin Morneau is the only player in franchise history to compete in multiple Home Run Derbies. In the 2007 Derby, he finished fifth and missed the cut to make the second round. He returned in 2008 and got an upset win at Yankee Stadium. Josh Hamilton smashed 28 home runs in the first round, but Morneau was more rested and took home the title. It's the franchise's only HR Derby win, and it came from one of the best power hitters in franchise history. What do you remember about the Home Run Derbies mentioned above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  5. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota surprised many by being in contention during the 2017 season, with their front office shifting between buying and selling at the deadline. The 2018 season was a little easier because the team was below .500 but ended up in second place in the AL Central. The Twins made multiple moves before the deadline, and the big-league roster still feels these trades' impacts. Trade 1 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, P Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Diamondbacks Receive: INF Eduardo Escobar Escobar was on an expiring contract, so it made sense to deal the veteran who was in the middle of a tremendous season. Duran has turned into the team's dominant high-leverage reliever, which is more than enough for a couple of months of Escobar. De La Trinidad topped out at Double-A last season with the Twins, where he posted a .759 OPS in 80 games. Maciel played 73 games at Cedar Rapids last season with a .621 OPS. In December, he was selected in the minor-league Rule 5 draft by the Athletics organization and has a .733 OPS as he repeats High-A. Trade 2 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: P Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Astros Receive: P Ryan Pressly It was tough to see the Twins part with a reliever that wasn't on an expiring contract, but both prospects in the deal were viewed highly by evaluators. Pressly has stayed in Houston for the remainder of his career while turning into one of baseball's best late-inning arms. Alcala posted decent numbers as a reliever last season, and the team hopes he can return this year to help a struggling bullpen. Celestino has proven his value to the club as a strong center-field defender to complement a decent bat. Minnesota acquired two big-league assets for 14 months of Pressly, so this deal looks great for both teams. Trade 3 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: P Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Seattle Receive: P Zach Duke Duke was a strong left-handed specialist at a time when relievers could face fewer than three batters. Following the trade, he posted a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances. De Jong made five appearances with the Twins and allowed 11 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. During the 2022 season, he found a role in the Pirates bullpen, having a 2.25 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 32 innings. Costello posted a .755 OPS between High- and Double-A during the 2019 season. Tragically, he passed away on November 18, 2019, from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. (Learn more about The RC13 Foundation here.) Trade 4 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: 1B/OF Tyler Austin, P Luis Rijo Yankees Receive: P Lance Lynn Lynn has evolved into one of baseball's best pitchers over the last four seasons, but he was terrible for the Twins in 2018. It made sense to deal with his expiring contract, and the returning players offered some intrigue. Austin played parts of two seasons with the Twins and posted a .786 OPS. Rijo has been limited to nine appearances over the last two seasons as he dealt with right elbow UCL reconstruction. He is currently rehabbing with the FCL Twins. Trade 5 (July 31, 2018) Twins Receive: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, P Devin Smeltzer Dodgers Receive: 2B Brian Dozier One year after being vocal about the team trading away veterans, Dozier found himself dealt to a contender. After leaving the Twins, Dozier only played one more full season, but he won a World Series with the Nationals. Forsythe was included in the deal, so the Twins had someone to fill second base for the season's remaining games. Raley eventually was part of the Kenta Maeda trade as he returned to the Dodger organization. Smeltzer has been a surprise contributor to the Twins rotation in 2022. What do you remember about this trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline
  6. Minnesota's front office didn't mess around at the 2018 trade deadline. Take a look back at the talent acquired during the last week in July. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota surprised many by being in contention during the 2017 season, with their front office shifting between buying and selling at the deadline. The 2018 season was a little easier because the team was below .500 but ended up in second place in the AL Central. The Twins made multiple moves before the deadline, and the big-league roster still feels these trades' impacts. Trade 1 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, P Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel Diamondbacks Receive: INF Eduardo Escobar Escobar was on an expiring contract, so it made sense to deal the veteran who was in the middle of a tremendous season. Duran has turned into the team's dominant high-leverage reliever, which is more than enough for a couple of months of Escobar. De La Trinidad topped out at Double-A last season with the Twins, where he posted a .759 OPS in 80 games. Maciel played 73 games at Cedar Rapids last season with a .621 OPS. In December, he was selected in the minor-league Rule 5 draft by the Athletics organization and has a .733 OPS as he repeats High-A. Trade 2 (July 27, 2018) Twins Receive: P Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino Astros Receive: P Ryan Pressly It was tough to see the Twins part with a reliever that wasn't on an expiring contract, but both prospects in the deal were viewed highly by evaluators. Pressly has stayed in Houston for the remainder of his career while turning into one of baseball's best late-inning arms. Alcala posted decent numbers as a reliever last season, and the team hopes he can return this year to help a struggling bullpen. Celestino has proven his value to the club as a strong center-field defender to complement a decent bat. Minnesota acquired two big-league assets for 14 months of Pressly, so this deal looks great for both teams. Trade 3 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: P Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello Seattle Receive: P Zach Duke Duke was a strong left-handed specialist at a time when relievers could face fewer than three batters. Following the trade, he posted a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances. De Jong made five appearances with the Twins and allowed 11 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings. During the 2022 season, he found a role in the Pirates bullpen, having a 2.25 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 32 innings. Costello posted a .755 OPS between High- and Double-A during the 2019 season. Tragically, he passed away on November 18, 2019, from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. (Learn more about The RC13 Foundation here.) Trade 4 (July 30, 2018) Twins Receive: 1B/OF Tyler Austin, P Luis Rijo Yankees Receive: P Lance Lynn Lynn has evolved into one of baseball's best pitchers over the last four seasons, but he was terrible for the Twins in 2018. It made sense to deal with his expiring contract, and the returning players offered some intrigue. Austin played parts of two seasons with the Twins and posted a .786 OPS. Rijo has been limited to nine appearances over the last two seasons as he dealt with right elbow UCL reconstruction. He is currently rehabbing with the FCL Twins. Trade 5 (July 31, 2018) Twins Receive: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, P Devin Smeltzer Dodgers Receive: 2B Brian Dozier One year after being vocal about the team trading away veterans, Dozier found himself dealt to a contender. After leaving the Twins, Dozier only played one more full season, but he won a World Series with the Nationals. Forsythe was included in the deal, so the Twins had someone to fill second base for the season's remaining games. Raley eventually was part of the Kenta Maeda trade as he returned to the Dodger organization. Smeltzer has been a surprise contributor to the Twins rotation in 2022. What do you remember about this trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline View full article
  7. 5. Trevor Plouffe: 55 HR Plouffe hit the first Target Field home run during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He also hit a milestone home run during Target Field's third season as he collected the 300th home run hit at the park. 4. Max Kepler: 64 HR Kepler has a chance to move up this list during the 2022 campaign. At the end of April, he clocked two home runs in one game against Detroit. His first career home run was one he likely will never forget as he walked off the Red Sox. 3. Eddie Rosario: 67 HR Rosario had a flair for the dramatic, and he was part of the team's Bomba Squad dramatics in 2019. He helped the Twins set a record for most players with 30 home runs in a season. One of his most significant home runs from that 2019 season was a pinch-hit homer that gave the Twins a late-inning lead. 2. Miguel Sanó: 76 HR Sanó can be a free agent at season's end, but that still gives him a chance to take over the top spot on this list. However, his cold start and recent injury may leave him searching for at-bats when he returns. There's no question that he has been one of the best power hitters for Minnesota in the Target Field era. 1. Brian Dozier: 80 HR Dozier has the most Twins home runs in Target Field history. He was also responsible for one of the Target Field's best moments. In July 2015, he smacked a walk-off home run that capped a seven-run ninth inning to give the Twins the win. Do any of these names surprise you? Which of the top-5 players has the most memorable home run? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES -Home Run Hitters: 11-15 -Home Run Hitters: 6-10
  8. The Twins are closing in on 1,000 team home runs at Target Field. Here are the top-five home runs hitters at the park since it opened in 2010 and some of their most memorable dingers. 5. Trevor Plouffe: 55 HR Plouffe hit the first Target Field home run during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. He also hit a milestone home run during Target Field's third season as he collected the 300th home run hit at the park. 4. Max Kepler: 64 HR Kepler has a chance to move up this list during the 2022 campaign. At the end of April, he clocked two home runs in one game against Detroit. His first career home run was one he likely will never forget as he walked off the Red Sox. 3. Eddie Rosario: 67 HR Rosario had a flair for the dramatic, and he was part of the team's Bomba Squad dramatics in 2019. He helped the Twins set a record for most players with 30 home runs in a season. One of his most significant home runs from that 2019 season was a pinch-hit homer that gave the Twins a late-inning lead. 2. Miguel Sanó: 76 HR Sanó can be a free agent at season's end, but that still gives him a chance to take over the top spot on this list. However, his cold start and recent injury may leave him searching for at-bats when he returns. There's no question that he has been one of the best power hitters for Minnesota in the Target Field era. 1. Brian Dozier: 80 HR Dozier has the most Twins home runs in Target Field history. He was also responsible for one of the Target Field's best moments. In July 2015, he smacked a walk-off home run that capped a seven-run ninth inning to give the Twins the win. Do any of these names surprise you? Which of the top-5 players has the most memorable home run? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES -Home Run Hitters: 11-15 -Home Run Hitters: 6-10 View full article
  9. "I'm done. I'm hanging 'em up." That's what Brian Dozier told media members on Thursday morning. In addition, his former Twins managers Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor, as well as former GM Terry Ryan were on the call. Eduardo Escobar called in briefly from Arizona, on the practice field. Josh Willingham called in as well. It wasn't easy, but Dozier said that he did talk to a lot of players this offseason who have retired and that decision. "Tough decision. Many prayers went into this, especially after last season. I kind of made up my mind a couple of months ago." He had opportunities to play after the Mets released him last year, but he noted: "I told my wife, 'This COVID thing is the worst thing that ever happened to us because I got to be home and wake my daughter up every single morning. I love doing this. There is nothing in baseball that has given me this happiness and joy.'" He talked to some teams this past offseason, but he decided that he was ready to be done playing. "My wife? She wanted me to play until I was 50!" he joked. ---------------------------------------------- Brian Dozier joined the Twins organization in June of 2009 after the Twins drafted him as a 'senior sign' out of Southern Mississippi in the draft. He was coming off an injury and after five GCL games moved up to Elizabethton. In 2010, he split the season between Beloit and Ft. Myers, but 2011 was his breakout year as a prospect. He began the season with 49 games in Ft. Myers before jumping to New Britain for the final 78 games. Combined, he hit .320/.399/.491 (.890) with 33 doubles, 12 triples and nine home runs. He also stole 24 bases. The Twins, and Twins Daily, named him the Twins minor league hitter/player of the year. He debuted with the Twins in May of 2012, just a week before his 25th birthday. He played in 84 game and hit .234 (.603) with 11 doubles and six homers. However, he was sent down and did not receive a September call up. Dozier looks back at it now and says, "I thought I would, but it was the best thing that happened to me because it made me work even harder." That offseason, he worked a lot with Paul Molitor on moving to second base. He also gives a lol of credit to Tom Brunansky for working with him offensively. He was the Twins starting second baseman on Opening Day 2013 and remained in that role until he was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline in 2018. In between, he become one of the more prolific power hitters in Twins history. He hit 18 home runs in 2013, a record for Twins second baseman at the time. He then broke that record with 23 homers in 2014 in 2015. He made the All Star team that season. In 2016, he became just the fourth second baseman to hit 40 homers. He hit 42 total home runs that season. In 2017, he came back with 34 homers. In addition, he won a Gold Glove Award. Since the Twins traded him, he has had his struggles. He hit just .182 in 47 games for the 2018 Dodgers, but he provided nine doubles and five home runs. He played in the World Series. In 2019, he hit .238 with 20 doubles and 20 homers for the Nationals team that went on the win the World Series. And he danced... and sang... usually shirtless. He played in seven games for the Mets in 2020. In seven seasons with the Twins, Dozier played in 955 games. He hit .248/.325/.447 (.772) with 202 doubles, 167 home runs, 593 runs scored and 491 RBI. He had four straight 20 double, 20 homer seasons. But Dozier was fantastic on and off the field. From the Twins press release< "Dozier’s hustle on the field was matched by an electric personality off it that inspired camaraderie across the organization and the sport. Among other honors, he was the recipient of the 2013 Mike Augustin “Media Good Guy” Award by the Twin Cities Chapter of the BBWAA, the Twins’ 2014 Heart and Hustle Award by the MLB Players Alumni Association, the 2015 Carl R. Pohlad Award for Twins Outstanding Community Service and the 2016-17 Bob Allison Award for Twins leadership." On Thursday, he is retiring. The 33-year-old lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with his wife and two young kids. His daughter Reese is two years old, and his son Rip was born in mid-December. He will keep busy. He plans to travel a lot and visit friends from the organizations he's played in. He said he's had a real estate companies for years. He also has an investment company. He golfs and hopes to play in several tournaments. "I play the piano every day, but other than that, no music for me. One of the biggest things that I look forward to is hunting more. Not necessarily hunting. I loved planting food plots in the summertime when I was in high school, and I haven't been able to do that. I'm looking forward to that. I'm heading to my hunting camp in a couple of weeks to plant some corn. I'm looking forward to that. Haven't been able to do that in about 15 years. A lot of hunting. A lot of golf. But most than that, being a full-time dad." Comments from the press conference: Eduardo Escobar: "I want to say Congrats, man. Thank you so much. You're the best. I love you. You know how much I respect you. You taught me to play this game the right way, and that's why I'm still playing today. You are the best. God bless you and your family!" Ron Gardenhire: "I got to watch you first-hand in that dugout, watch you grow up and break into the big leagues. Handled everything so easily. One of the nicest people I've ever been around in my life.... Of course, after I left he started hitting bombs into the seats. He waited..." Paul Molitor: "I remember a trip out there in Double-A, and the week I watched your team, you were the best player on the field no matter who else was playing. You did it all. You made teammates better. You carried yourself tremendously well for where you were at in your career." Molitor: "I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to manage you." Molitor: "In addition to your performance, how you took care of your teammates, and made everybody better. You were never selfish. You understood the humility that it takes to be successful." Terry Ryan: "I followed you from Elizabethton to Beloit to Ft. Myers and you didn't hit a home run. So I'm thinking, well, we've got a shortstop here that has no power, and he's not really a burner, and all of a sudden you're hitting second base and hitting 42 home runs. Brian, I couldn't be more proud of the things you've accomplished and provided to the Twins organization. You went on the win a World Series. You had an outstanding career, and you were a great person involved in the Twins organization, and I was just happy to be a small part of it." Brian Dozier: "The people that I played for, they demanded you play the game the right way. I'm telling you, I've gotten to see other places throughout my career, but it was a blessing playing for Minnesota who takes it above and beyond, and it starts with Terry Ryan. You carry yourself the right way not only on the field but off it. It wasn't something they just suggested. It was demanded." Brian Dozier: "It sucks to say, but I kind of fell out of love with playing the game, but I always loved baseball." Brian Dozier: "Right now, I might possibly pursue managing in the big leagues the next couple of years. I've learned a lot from all the managers I played for, and my wife and I have talked about it. The playing side I kind of fell out of love with, but I fell in love with possibly pursuing [managing]." Brian Dozier to Twins Fans: "I tell people all the time, and my wife and I talk about it all the time, that (Minnesota) is my second home. It always will be. I said a farewell back in 2018 when I got traded, but I do want them to know that it's like family. Not just the people in the clubhouse, managers, general managers, and everybody in the stadium. There are so many people throughout the years that we have become close with. It's some of the best fans in baseball. It really is a special place to play." Brian Dozier on current Twins: "I've watched them from afar. It is tremendous for me just to sit there and watch them and see what they've become. Polanco. Max. Rosario, Sano... It is a joy for me to see for me. They'll continue to get better which is scary. I still talk to a lot of them. It really is a joy for me to sit back and watch them."
  10. From 2013-2018 Brian Dozier played in nearly 900 games and blasted 161 homers for the Twins as their primary second basemen. He took time to settle into the role and changed his approach at the plate, but became an All-Star in 2015 and earned top-15 votes each of the next two seasons. In 2016-17 Dozier combined to hit 76 dingers with an .871 OPS. For a position often seen as an afterthought in the infield, he’d become a beacon of strength. Fast-forward to where we are now, and the Twins have successfully passed the torch to a new pair of talents. Signed to an extension in 2019, Jorge Polanco is potentially under team control through the 2025 season. He dealt with an ankle injury that changed his abilities drastically, but now with a clean bill of health, he looks like one of the best in baseball at the position. Since June 1 this season, Polanco owns a .926 OPS. He was a first-time All-Star in 2019 and has posted an .806 OPS over the past three seasons, even with the dismal 2020 factored in. There were always legitimate concerns regarding Polanco’s range and arm at shortstop. It was a position he had played often, but one he was ultimately miscast in. Sliding over to second base full time this season, Twins coaches talked up the fact that not only would his bat play, but his glove may find gold there. It’s safe to say the experiment has been wildly successful, and the return to offensive prowess is a welcomed shot in the arm. Recently turning 28-years-old, it’s fair to assume Polanco’s best seasons are still ahead of him, and for a Twins team looking to rebound, that’s a great thing to dream on. Then there’s the opposite but an equally successful type of player at second base for the Twins. Luis Arraez may be the second coming of Rod Carew, and he’s here to challenge for a batting title on an annual basis. Nagging knee injuries have kept him off the field at times, but the bat has remained intact when he’s out there. A .317 average this season marks a career-low, but it’s continued to rise, and the .325 mark across his first 205 big-league games is nothing to scoff at. Arraez will never play with the power that either Dozier or Polanco has, and he’s more Dozier (Gold Glove’s are offensive awards sometimes) than Polanco with the leather, but calling second his primary home helps to push this narrative. Luis has done well for himself by establishing utility around the diamond, but make no mistake that the pipeline Minnesota has pushed here is impressive. Add in that Nick Gordon is beginning to realize some of his potential in the big leagues, a converted shortstop moving to the first base side, and this situation continues to be worth monitoring. Spencer Steer is another name down on the farm that’s pushing his way towards the top and watching the Twins develop these athletes is exciting. Second base is often considered the fallback for a shortstop with a lackluster arm. Be that what it may, but Minnesota isn’t simply throwing out good defenders that have little other tools at the position. Rocco Baldelli has employed lineups that can do damage, and even before the current skipper got here, second base has become an area of strength in the system. Maybe Jorge Polanco pushes for the best in baseball title down the line, but even if he doesn’t, he’s currently headlining an impressive position group within this organization. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. Brian Dozier had a string of seasons for the Minnesota Twins where it was arguable that he was the best second basemen in baseball. That torch has now been passed, and with two options in the mix, it may be one of the strongest roles Minnesota has had in quite some time. From 2013-2018 Brian Dozier played in nearly 900 games and blasted 161 homers for the Twins as their primary second basemen. He took time to settle into the role and changed his approach at the plate, but became an All-Star in 2015 and earned top-15 votes each of the next two seasons. In 2016-17 Dozier combined to hit 76 dingers with an .871 OPS. For a position often seen as an afterthought in the infield, he’d become a beacon of strength. Fast-forward to where we are now, and the Twins have successfully passed the torch to a new pair of talents. Signed to an extension in 2019, Jorge Polanco is potentially under team control through the 2025 season. He dealt with an ankle injury that changed his abilities drastically, but now with a clean bill of health, he looks like one of the best in baseball at the position. Since June 1 this season, Polanco owns a .926 OPS. He was a first-time All-Star in 2019 and has posted an .806 OPS over the past three seasons, even with the dismal 2020 factored in. There were always legitimate concerns regarding Polanco’s range and arm at shortstop. It was a position he had played often, but one he was ultimately miscast in. Sliding over to second base full time this season, Twins coaches talked up the fact that not only would his bat play, but his glove may find gold there. It’s safe to say the experiment has been wildly successful, and the return to offensive prowess is a welcomed shot in the arm. Recently turning 28-years-old, it’s fair to assume Polanco’s best seasons are still ahead of him, and for a Twins team looking to rebound, that’s a great thing to dream on. Then there’s the opposite but an equally successful type of player at second base for the Twins. Luis Arraez may be the second coming of Rod Carew, and he’s here to challenge for a batting title on an annual basis. Nagging knee injuries have kept him off the field at times, but the bat has remained intact when he’s out there. A .317 average this season marks a career-low, but it’s continued to rise, and the .325 mark across his first 205 big-league games is nothing to scoff at. Arraez will never play with the power that either Dozier or Polanco has, and he’s more Dozier (Gold Glove’s are offensive awards sometimes) than Polanco with the leather, but calling second his primary home helps to push this narrative. Luis has done well for himself by establishing utility around the diamond, but make no mistake that the pipeline Minnesota has pushed here is impressive. Add in that Nick Gordon is beginning to realize some of his potential in the big leagues, a converted shortstop moving to the first base side, and this situation continues to be worth monitoring. Spencer Steer is another name down on the farm that’s pushing his way towards the top and watching the Twins develop these athletes is exciting. Second base is often considered the fallback for a shortstop with a lackluster arm. Be that what it may, but Minnesota isn’t simply throwing out good defenders that have little other tools at the position. Rocco Baldelli has employed lineups that can do damage, and even before the current skipper got here, second base has become an area of strength in the system. Maybe Jorge Polanco pushes for the best in baseball title down the line, but even if he doesn’t, he’s currently headlining an impressive position group within this organization. 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
  12. Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises during the 2017 season after losing an MLB high 103-games the previous season. As the calendar turned to July, the Twins found themselves two games behind the Cleveland and the team stayed within striking distance for much of the month. However, as July ended and the trade deadline approached, the club lost seven of nine games and sat 6.5 games back in the division. The team went from buyers to sellers over a few days and that’s how the deadline played out. Falvey and Levine made it clear entering the deadline that the team wasn’t going to sway from their long-term vision. "In order to accomplish that, we maybe started the year not anticipating being a clear buyer at the Deadline," Levine said at the time. "I don't think we feel that's changed dramatically, other than maybe adding his one qualifier: We're probably not going to be inclined to spend lavishly on short-term assets, but we would be very open to spending aggressively on assets that we could use to propel our team forward this year and for years to come.” The 2017 season impacted the team’s decision making at the trade deadline, because it shifted them from being likely sellers to contemplating buying. The team held on to veterans like Brian Dozier, Ervin Santana, and Joe Mauer. There was also the debacle that was the Jaime Garcia trade as the front office went from buyers to sellers in less than a week. After the deadline, the team went on a run to finish in the second Wild Card spot, but there might be some lessons learned by the front office. During the 2021 season, Minnesota is having another surprising season, but it is for all the wrong reasons. The Twins entered the season believing they would be fighting for a third straight AL Central title and now the club sits double digit games out of first. Looking at the team’s upcoming schedule and it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the club might be facing a 2017 decision before the trade deadline. Leading into the All-Star Game, the Twins have 12 straight intra-division games including six against the division leading White Sox. The Twins have too much talent to be this far below .500 for the entire season, so they may accidentally improve as the season progresses. Minnesota’s pitching has improved, and the offense has become more of the force they were expected to be at season’s start. There’s certainly a realistic chance of the Twins being within 6.5 games or better at the trade deadline. This can put them in a similar position as 2017, but this time the team was expected to be a contender. Many expect the Twins to be sellers before the trade deadline, but they hold their destiny in their own hands. Veterans like Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, and Michael Pineda can be dealt, but the club might also find themselves back in the playoff race with plenty of lessons learned from 2017. Do you think the front office learned from 2017 deadline? How will it impact the 2021 trade deadline? 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
  13. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had some tough decisions to make during their first year at the helm of the Minnesota Twins. Are there any lessons that can be learned from the 2017 trade deadline? Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises during the 2017 season after losing an MLB high 103-games the previous season. As the calendar turned to July, the Twins found themselves two games behind the Cleveland and the team stayed within striking distance for much of the month. However, as July ended and the trade deadline approached, the club lost seven of nine games and sat 6.5 games back in the division. The team went from buyers to sellers over a few days and that’s how the deadline played out. Falvey and Levine made it clear entering the deadline that the team wasn’t going to sway from their long-term vision. "In order to accomplish that, we maybe started the year not anticipating being a clear buyer at the Deadline," Levine said at the time. "I don't think we feel that's changed dramatically, other than maybe adding his one qualifier: We're probably not going to be inclined to spend lavishly on short-term assets, but we would be very open to spending aggressively on assets that we could use to propel our team forward this year and for years to come.” The 2017 season impacted the team’s decision making at the trade deadline, because it shifted them from being likely sellers to contemplating buying. The team held on to veterans like Brian Dozier, Ervin Santana, and Joe Mauer. There was also the debacle that was the Jaime Garcia trade as the front office went from buyers to sellers in less than a week. After the deadline, the team went on a run to finish in the second Wild Card spot, but there might be some lessons learned by the front office. During the 2021 season, Minnesota is having another surprising season, but it is for all the wrong reasons. The Twins entered the season believing they would be fighting for a third straight AL Central title and now the club sits double digit games out of first. Looking at the team’s upcoming schedule and it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the club might be facing a 2017 decision before the trade deadline. Leading into the All-Star Game, the Twins have 12 straight intra-division games including six against the division leading White Sox. The Twins have too much talent to be this far below .500 for the entire season, so they may accidentally improve as the season progresses. Minnesota’s pitching has improved, and the offense has become more of the force they were expected to be at season’s start. There’s certainly a realistic chance of the Twins being within 6.5 games or better at the trade deadline. This can put them in a similar position as 2017, but this time the team was expected to be a contender. Many expect the Twins to be sellers before the trade deadline, but they hold their destiny in their own hands. Veterans like Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, and Michael Pineda can be dealt, but the club might also find themselves back in the playoff race with plenty of lessons learned from 2017. Do you think the front office learned from 2017 deadline? How will it impact the 2021 trade deadline? 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
  14. Dozier’s Path to Late Bloomer Minnesota took Brian Dozier in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. With his college experience, he only spent parts of four seasons in the minors. He showed very little power throughout the early professional career as he never hit double digit home runs in the minors. In fact, his highest OPS in any minor league season was .890 when he spent part of the season as an older player in the Florida State League. He wouldn’t debut until his age-25 season and his first full season was a year later (2013). Twins fans are well aware of what Dozier was able to accomplish in his time at the big-league level. He clubbed 18 or more home runs from 2013-2017 including 42 home runs in 2016 and 34 home runs in 2017. His 42 home runs are an AL record for home runs by a primary second baseman in a single season. Dozier was clearly a late bloomer, but the Twins were able to allow him to develop because the team was in the midst of multiple losing seasons. Now the Twins have a variety of options around the infield which might be blocking the next Brian Dozier from emerging. The Next Brian Dozier Nick Gordon wasn’t exactly a late round pick or a player with college experience, but he’s at the point in his career where it might be a surprise if he makes a significant contribution at the big-league level. Gordon has seemed to be on the fringes of the 40-man roster for multiple seasons. There must be a reason the front office has kept him around. Last year, Gordon went through a life changing experience as he was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19. He’s a young, health athlete and the virus still took its toll on him. Now he will enter the 2021 season with something to prove to himself and the Twins organization. Minnesota is easing Gordon into the new season, but it doesn’t mean he won’t get the chance to contribute. In 2019, he played 70 games at Triple-A where he was nearly four years younger than the average age of the competition at that level. Even in a small sample size, he was able to post some impressive numbers. He hit .298/.342/.459 (.801) with 36 extra-base hits. Out of his 87 hits, a third of them were doubles which is impressive when all put 24 of his at-bats came against older pitching. Gordon should spend the year in St. Paul and his continued inclusion on the 40-man roster means he has a chance to make his big-league debut during the 2021 campaign. Unfortunately, he is behind multiple players on the depth chart and the Twins aren’t in the same place they were when Dozier made his debut. Also, it’s tough to know what Gordon will look like as the season begins with no game action last season and his extended COVID battle. Injuries can happen to any player and Gordon will need to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity if it is presented to him. Do you think Gordon can be a late bloomer like Dozier? Will he be given the opportunity? 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
  15. On Thursday morning, former Twins infielder Brian Dozier announced his retirement from baseball. Dozier spent the first seven of his nine MLB seasons with the Twins and was a great representative of the organization on and off the field. "I'm done. I'm hanging 'em up." That's what Brian Dozier told media members on Thursday morning. In addition, his former Twins managers Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor, as well as former GM Terry Ryan were on the call. Eduardo Escobar called in briefly from Arizona, on the practice field. Josh Willingham called in as well. It wasn't easy, but Dozier said that he did talk to a lot of players this offseason who have retired and that decision. "Tough decision. Many prayers went into this, especially after last season. I kind of made up my mind a couple of months ago." He had opportunities to play after the Mets released him last year, but he noted: "I told my wife, 'This COVID thing is the worst thing that ever happened to us because I got to be home and wake my daughter up every single morning. I love doing this. There is nothing in baseball that has given me this happiness and joy.'" He talked to some teams this past offseason, but he decided that he was ready to be done playing. "My wife? She wanted me to play until I was 50!" he joked. ---------------------------------------------- Brian Dozier joined the Twins organization in June of 2009 after the Twins drafted him as a 'senior sign' out of Southern Mississippi in the draft. He was coming off an injury and after five GCL games moved up to Elizabethton. In 2010, he split the season between Beloit and Ft. Myers, but 2011 was his breakout year as a prospect. He began the season with 49 games in Ft. Myers before jumping to New Britain for the final 78 games. Combined, he hit .320/.399/.491 (.890) with 33 doubles, 12 triples and nine home runs. He also stole 24 bases. The Twins, and Twins Daily, named him the Twins minor league hitter/player of the year. He debuted with the Twins in May of 2012, just a week before his 25th birthday. He played in 84 game and hit .234 (.603) with 11 doubles and six homers. However, he was sent down and did not receive a September call up. Dozier looks back at it now and says, "I thought I would, but it was the best thing that happened to me because it made me work even harder." That offseason, he worked a lot with Paul Molitor on moving to second base. He also gives a lol of credit to Tom Brunansky for working with him offensively. He was the Twins starting second baseman on Opening Day 2013 and remained in that role until he was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline in 2018. In between, he become one of the more prolific power hitters in Twins history. He hit 18 home runs in 2013, a record for Twins second baseman at the time. He then broke that record with 23 homers in 2014 in 2015. He made the All Star team that season. In 2016, he became just the fourth second baseman to hit 40 homers. He hit 42 total home runs that season. In 2017, he came back with 34 homers. In addition, he won a Gold Glove Award. Since the Twins traded him, he has had his struggles. He hit just .182 in 47 games for the 2018 Dodgers, but he provided nine doubles and five home runs. He played in the World Series. In 2019, he hit .238 with 20 doubles and 20 homers for the Nationals team that went on the win the World Series. And he danced... and sang... usually shirtless. He played in seven games for the Mets in 2020. In seven seasons with the Twins, Dozier played in 955 games. He hit .248/.325/.447 (.772) with 202 doubles, 167 home runs, 593 runs scored and 491 RBI. He had four straight 20 double, 20 homer seasons. But Dozier was fantastic on and off the field. From the Twins press release< "Dozier’s hustle on the field was matched by an electric personality off it that inspired camaraderie across the organization and the sport. Among other honors, he was the recipient of the 2013 Mike Augustin “Media Good Guy” Award by the Twin Cities Chapter of the BBWAA, the Twins’ 2014 Heart and Hustle Award by the MLB Players Alumni Association, the 2015 Carl R. Pohlad Award for Twins Outstanding Community Service and the 2016-17 Bob Allison Award for Twins leadership." On Thursday, he is retiring. The 33-year-old lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with his wife and two young kids. His daughter Reese is two years old, and his son Rip was born in mid-December. He will keep busy. He plans to travel a lot and visit friends from the organizations he's played in. He said he's had a real estate companies for years. He also has an investment company. He golfs and hopes to play in several tournaments. "I play the piano every day, but other than that, no music for me. One of the biggest things that I look forward to is hunting more. Not necessarily hunting. I loved planting food plots in the summertime when I was in high school, and I haven't been able to do that. I'm looking forward to that. I'm heading to my hunting camp in a couple of weeks to plant some corn. I'm looking forward to that. Haven't been able to do that in about 15 years. A lot of hunting. A lot of golf. But most than that, being a full-time dad." Comments from the press conference: Eduardo Escobar: "I want to say Congrats, man. Thank you so much. You're the best. I love you. You know how much I respect you. You taught me to play this game the right way, and that's why I'm still playing today. You are the best. God bless you and your family!" Ron Gardenhire: "I got to watch you first-hand in that dugout, watch you grow up and break into the big leagues. Handled everything so easily. One of the nicest people I've ever been around in my life.... Of course, after I left he started hitting bombs into the seats. He waited..." Paul Molitor: "I remember a trip out there in Double-A, and the week I watched your team, you were the best player on the field no matter who else was playing. You did it all. You made teammates better. You carried yourself tremendously well for where you were at in your career." Molitor: "I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to manage you." Molitor: "In addition to your performance, how you took care of your teammates, and made everybody better. You were never selfish. You understood the humility that it takes to be successful." Terry Ryan: "I followed you from Elizabethton to Beloit to Ft. Myers and you didn't hit a home run. So I'm thinking, well, we've got a shortstop here that has no power, and he's not really a burner, and all of a sudden you're hitting second base and hitting 42 home runs. Brian, I couldn't be more proud of the things you've accomplished and provided to the Twins organization. You went on the win a World Series. You had an outstanding career, and you were a great person involved in the Twins organization, and I was just happy to be a small part of it." Brian Dozier: "The people that I played for, they demanded you play the game the right way. I'm telling you, I've gotten to see other places throughout my career, but it was a blessing playing for Minnesota who takes it above and beyond, and it starts with Terry Ryan. You carry yourself the right way not only on the field but off it. It wasn't something they just suggested. It was demanded." Brian Dozier: "It sucks to say, but I kind of fell out of love with playing the game, but I always loved baseball." Brian Dozier: "Right now, I might possibly pursue managing in the big leagues the next couple of years. I've learned a lot from all the managers I played for, and my wife and I have talked about it. The playing side I kind of fell out of love with, but I fell in love with possibly pursuing [managing]." Brian Dozier to Twins Fans: "I tell people all the time, and my wife and I talk about it all the time, that (Minnesota) is my second home. It always will be. I said a farewell back in 2018 when I got traded, but I do want them to know that it's like family. Not just the people in the clubhouse, managers, general managers, and everybody in the stadium. There are so many people throughout the years that we have become close with. It's some of the best fans in baseball. It really is a special place to play." Brian Dozier on current Twins: "I've watched them from afar. It is tremendous for me just to sit there and watch them and see what they've become. Polanco. Max. Rosario, Sano... It is a joy for me to see for me. They'll continue to get better which is scary. I still talk to a lot of them. It really is a joy for me to sit back and watch them." View full article
  16. Time can change the view of a trade, so here’s what was said back in 2018 at the time of the deal. What Did People Say at the Time of the Trade? Los Angeles had been interested in Dozier for multiple years, but a deal never materialized. Minnesota’s asking price included Walker Buehler or Cody Bellinger and it’s clear now why the Dodgers wanted to hang on to these young assets. The Dodgers eventually dealt Jose De Leon to Tampa Bay for Logan Forsythe who became part of this trade. "Our lineup against left-handed pitching has been a concern of ours, particularly over the last month or two," said Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi. "When teams can game plan and stack their pitching when they think you have a weakness on a certain side, to bring in a right-handed bat gives our lineup really good balance." Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said, "Brian has been a meaningful part of this franchise. This an opportunity for him to go to a winning ballclub that was in the World Series last year and with their roster is looking to maybe finish it off this time. We just felt like for us as an organization, this was the right time to make this decision. We were able to acquire some talent we feel can help us build toward a championship future." Logan Forsythe was included in the deal to off-set Dozier’s salary and this allowed the Twins to acquire a couple of intriguing prospects in Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer. Raley was LA’s 26th best prospect entering the season, and this is what Baseball America had to say about him at the time. “Raley is a muscular lefthanded hitter with a potent bat. He shows power to all fields, and has the bat speed and swing path to get to it without sacrificing average…Raley isn’t overly explosive or toolsy, but he does a lot of things well and optimistic evaluators see the chance for him to become an everyday left fielder who hits 20 or more home runs a season” As far as Smeltzer, Baseball America said, “Smeltzer has decent command and an above-average changeup, but his fastball has ticked down from 90-93 mph to 88-90 in his starts this season… Smeltzer throws strikes, and his ticket to the majors will be if he can improve against lefthanded batters (currently batting .289/.326/.446 against him) and rise as a lefty specialist.” Dozier’s Los Angeles Time After joining the Dodgers, Dozier played in 47 regular season games while hitting .182/.300/.350 (.650) with five home runs and nine doubles. Los Angeles made a run to the World Series that year and Dozier played in 11 of the team’s postseason games. He went 2-for-16 with no extra-base hits and five walks. Boston walked away with the title and Dozier walked away in free agency. Baseball Reference gives him a 0.2 WAR for his LA stint, and he had a negative win probability added in the postseason. Minnesota’s Trade Return Forsythe played in 50 games for the Twins and he saw his numbers improve compared to what he had done in Los Angeles that season. He hit .258 with a .356 OBP, but he didn’t hit for much power. He was a free agent following the season and went on to sign with the Texas Rangers. Raley headed to Double-A with the Twins and hit .276/.371/.449 with eight extra-base hits in just under 100 at-bats. He headed to the Arizona Fall League and went 3-for-14 while only appearing in four games. His 2019 season was limited due to a dislocated tendon in his left ankle, which limited him to 38 games. It’s too bad because he was off to a strong start at Triple-A as he already had eight home runs and an .878 OPS. He’d go back to the AFL following the season and hit .244/.312/.439 with nine extra-base hits in 82 at-bats. Last winter, Raley was traded back to the Dodgers as part of the Kenta Maeda deal. This means Smeltzer is the lone piece of this trade still in the Twins organization. While the Dodgers had been using Smeltzer as a reliever, Minnesota gave him an opportunity to start in 2019. Between Double- and Triple-A, he posted a 2.76 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP and 104 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings. At the big-league level, he also showed some promise as he started six games and appeared in 11 games total. As a starter, he had a 4.11 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP over 30 2/3 innings. He struck out 22 and limited batters to hitting .239/.294/.410. This season Smeltzer appeared in seven games and pitched multiple innings in all but one appearance. In his first appearance, he got shelled for five earned runs, but he’d post a 4.50 ERA the rest of the way. Who Won the Trade? At the time, Tom wrote at Twins Daily and gave the Twins a D-grade for this trade. One of his biggest reasons for that was the inclusion of Forsythe in the deal and the possibility that the Twins might not have maximized their return with the other trades that took place leading into the deadline. Hindsight might be 20-20, but this trade is now looking a little more favorable for the Twins. Dozier didn’t do much with his time in LA and the Twins weren’t likely going to extend him a qualifying offer. Minnesota has better corner outfield prospects than Raley, so it was probably easier for the team to include him in the Maeda deal. Plus, the Twins got back the runner-up for AL Cy Young this year, so not too shabby. Smeltzer may never reproduce his 2019 numbers, but he looks like he might be able to fill a big-league role for multiple seasons. Looking back, what do you think about the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. If you missed any of the previous posts in this series: -Ryan Pressly Trade -Eduardo Escobar Trade MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. FanGraphs went through this exercise while using players drafted (and signed) in the last decade. For the Twins version, it was a little more critical to go further back throughout the team’s history. Spoiler alert... There haven't been that many good starting pitchers in team history. Players were only eligible if they were drafted by the Twins after the fifth round and they had to sign with the club. As the original article said, “To illustrate how much talent is at stake, let’s build some teams of players drafted in rounds that don’t exist in this year’s draft.” Catcher: Mitch Garver (9th Round) Garver was the back-up catcher on the FanGraphs roster, which seems like a slight towards the reigning AL Silver Slugger winner. Their predicting system says that Garver’s 1.8 WAR is just under the 1.9 WAR projected for Tucker Barnhart. Either way, Garver is an easy pick when it comes to the best late round catcher in Twins history. First Base: Kent Hrbek (17th Round) The Twins got lucky by taking a hometown slugger who turned out to be one of the best hitters in team history. He was a key cog in both the team’s World Series titles and he has been a fixture in the Twin Cities since his retirement. Outside of Harmon Killebrew, Hrbek is arguably the best first baseman to ever suit up for the Twins. Second Base: Brian Dozier (8th Round) Dozier was a late bloomer as he didn’t debut until he was 25-years old. He became a fan favorite on some pretty bad Twins teams. From 2015-2017, he averaged 35 home runs including one season with 42 long balls. He won a Gold Glove and even made an All-Star appearance. Third Base: Corey Koskie (26th Round) Koskie was part of a key group of Twins that helped bring the team back from the brink of contraction. Outside of Gary Gaetti, Koskie is the next best third baseman in team history. He played seven years for the Twins and hit .280/.373/.462 with 101 home runs and 180 doubles. His defense at third was also Gold Glove caliber. Shortstop: Jeff Reboulet (10th Round) In five years with the Twins, Reboulet got on base over 33% of the time. He played decent defense at shortstop but having Koskie on the same side of the infield could take some pressure off him. He played on some bad Twins teams in the early 1990’s and went on to have a 12-year big league career. Outfield: Matt Lawton (13th Round), Steve Braun (10th Round), Lyman Bostock (26th Round) Lawton would become a two-time All Star in his career and one of those seasons was with the Twins. That year, he hit .305/.405/.460 with 13 home runs and 44 doubles, a career high. Braun and Bostock might not be as well known to younger Twins fans. Braun played for the Twins from 1971-1976 and had a .757 OPS. Bostock played four seasons at the big-league level and three of them were in Minnesota. For his career, he hit .311/.365/.427 while averaging over 25 doubles per season. From 1976-1978, only Rod Carew and Dave Parker hit for a higher batting average than Bostock. He was tragically murdered near the end of the 1978 season. DH: Jason Kubel (12th Round) During his minor league career, Kubel looked like he might be on a path to join Mauer and Morneau as a middle of the order bat. Baseball America ranked him as the 17th best prospect on their top-100 list entering the 2005 season. A devastating knee injury slowed his prospect status, but he went on to have a decent 10-year career as a big leaguer. Bench: Steve Lombardozzi (9th Round), Rob Wilfong (13th Round), Danny Valencia (19th Round), Rick Dempsey (15th Round) Lombardozzi was one of the regular contributors on the team’s run to the 1987 World Series, which happened to be his best big-league season. Wilfong’s best season were in a Twins uniform as he hit .262/.322/.360. Valencia finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after posting a .799 OPS back in 2010. Dempsey was a catcher for 24 years at the big-league level and he played until he was 42-years old. He seemed like a natural choice to be the back-up catcher behind Garver. Rotation: Brad Radke (8th), Nick Blackburn (29th), Pat Mahomes (6th), Mark Guthrie (7th), Darrell Jackson (9th) This isn’t exactly a rotation that is destined for greatness. Brad Radke is the lone bright spot and it’s tough to consider that Nick Blackburn might be the second-best pitcher in the rotation. Luckily, the bullpen includes some of the top relief pitchers in team history, so the manager could have the starter go once through the line-up and hand the game over to the bullpen. Bullpen: Pat Neshek (6th), Latroy Hawkins (7th), Taylor Rogers (11th), Eddie Guardado (21st), Mike Trombley (14th), AJ Achter (46th), JC Romero (21st) Since the starters are limited, it’s nice to look at all the options available in the bullpen. Neshek, Hawkins and Romero could be used in the middle innings leading into a late inning tandem of Rogers and Guardado. As Twins fans saw last year, Rogers can be used for multiple innings with plenty of effectiveness. Sign me up for this bullpen. How do you feel like this team would do? 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
  18. As we look at the decade of the 2010s, it was pretty disappointing. The Twins opened Target Field in 2010, and they had a great stretch run to get back to the playoffs. And then there were a lot of struggles the rest of the decade. The team almost got to the playoffs again in 2015. They got to the Wild Card game in 2017. A new batch of young stars took their lumps, but things really came together in 2019. Rocco Baldelli's lineup was strong and set the MLB record for homers in a season on their way to a 102-win season. This group includes at least one future Hall of Famer, several Twins Hall of Famers, some All Stars, and some immensely talented players who will lead the Twins in the new decade. Before we jump to the 2020s, let's take one more look back at the 2010s. C - Joe Mauer (2010-2018) 1,159 games, .294/.376/.412 (.788) with 270 doubles, 71 homers, 526 RBI. If you choose to live in the world of What If, imagine what Joe Mauer’s career trajectory had been if not for the foul tip off of his face mask in 2013. At the time, he was hitting .324/.404/.476 (880). And yes, the numbers were never quite the same. He moved from behind the plate to first base… but he still remained a better than average player. He was an All Star in 2012 when he hit .319 and led the league with a .416 On-Base Percentage. He was an All Star and won the Silver Slugger in his shortened 2013 season as well. After 2013, he hit over .282 and posted an OPS over .752 just once. In 2017, he hit .305/.384/.417 (.801). Despite the relative struggles, he finished with an OPS+ below league average just once (2% below in 2015). He retired after the 2018 season with the Twins records in Times on Base and Doubles. He had his number #7 retired by the Twins in 2019. 1B - Justin Morneau (2010-2013) 411 games, .272/.340/.451 (.791) with 99 doubles, 58 homers, 237 RBI. Speaking of What Ifs… Justin Morneau may have been having his best season in 2010 when he slid into second base and took a knee to the head. At the time, he was hitting .345/.437/.618 (1.055) with 25 doubles and 18 home runs in 81 games. He was headed to the All Star game, but instead missed the rest of the season. He returned for a partial season in 2011 then spent all of 2012 with the team. With the Twins, he just didn’t fully recover from the concussion. Late in 2013, he was traded to the Pirates and was on their playoff roster. He won a batting title in Colorado in 2014 (.319) and hit .310 in 2015 before hit career ending after 58 games with the White Sox in 2016. 2B - Brian Dozier (2012-2018) 955 games, .248/.325/.447 (.772) with 202 doubles, 167 homers, 491 RBI. Dozier was the Twins 8th round pick in 2009 from Southern Mississippi. He made his MLB debut as a shortstop in 2012. That offseason, he worked with Paul Molitor and successfully transferred to second base the following season. He continued to get better each year. But his power stroke showed up in 2013 when he hit 18 homers. That was the team record for most homers by a second baseman. He hit 23 homers and 33 doubles in 2014. He hit 28 homers in 2008 (with 39 doubles). He played in the 2015 All Star game and homered in his lone at bat. In 2016, he hit 35 doubles and drilled 42 home runs and drove in 99 runs. In 2017, he hit another 30 doubles and 34 homers. He also won a Gold Glove Award that season. He struggled early in 2018 and was traded to the Dodgers at the July deadline. His 167 homers led the Twins for the decade by nearly 50. His 98 stolen bases was 24 more than Ben Revere stole. He played in the 2018 World Series and won a ring in 2019. He signed with the Padres for the 2020 season. 3B - Trevor Plouffe (2010-2016) 723 games, .247/.308/.420 (.727) with 148 doubles, 96 homers, 357 RBI. This is a tough one. Miguel Sano hit 118 homers in the decade, but we’re going with Trevor Plouffe. He was the Twins first, first-round pick in the 2004 draft. He debuted as a shortstop in 2010. He went up and down throughout the 2011 season. In 2012, he came up and for a stretch in June, he and Josh Willingham put on a major power display. In 2013, he finally made the full-time move to third base after playing all over the diamond and became a plus-defender. Plouffe ended that season with a career-high 24 home runs. He was a regular the next three seasons. His 96 homers ranked fourth in the organization in the decade. He split 2017 between the A’s and the Rays, and played in seven games for the Phillies in 2018. He’s now a star in the media! SS - Jorge Polanco (2014-2019) 441 games, .281/.339/.444 (.783) with 104 doubles, 45 homers, 226 RBI. Polanco signed in July 2009 and worked his way up the farm system. He was added to the 40-man roster in December 2013 after a strong season in Cedar Rapids. In 2014, he was called up from Ft. Myers a couple of times as depth, and again in 2015. He became a regular in the second half of 2016 and has been the primary shortstop since, well, except for that 2018 first-half suspension. He was struggling mightily in the first half of 2017. He couldn’t be sent down, but Paul Molitor gave him a weekend of game off, and he came back on fire, and he hasn’t really stopped hitting since. In 2019, he became the first Twins shortstop to start for the American League in the All Star game since Roy Smalley in 1979. He received MVP votes in 2019. LF - Eddie Rosario (2015-2019) 640 games, .270/.309/.479 (.788) with 127 doubles, 106 homers, 346 RBI. Rosario was the Twins 4th round pick in 2010 from Puerto Rico. He put up some great numbers in the minor leagues. Still, it was a surprise when he was called up to the big leagues early in 2015. An even better surprise? In his first MLB at bat, he homered off of Scott Kazmir. That season, he filled the stat line with 18 doubles, 13 homers, 11 stolen bases and a league-leading 15 triples.He added 16 outfield assists that season, showing off a powerful arm. After an up-and-down 2016 season, he has provided power to the Twins lineup the last three years. In 2017, he hit 33 doubles and 27 homers. In 2018, he missed much of September and still hit 31 doubles and 24 homers. Last year, he hit 28 doubles and added career highs in homers (32) and RBI (109). His 106 homers ranks third for the decade. CF - Byron Buxton (2015-2019) 393 games, .237/.292/.414 (.706) with 74 doubles, 38 homers, 145 RBI. Buxton was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. He became one of the top prospects in the game. He was the Baseball America minor league player of the year in 2013. He was promoted from Double-A in mid-2015 when there was a roster crunch. He became a regular in 2016. In 2017, he played in 140 games and hit .253 with 14 doubles, six triples and 16 homers. He also stole 29 bases. He finished the season very strong and received MVP votes. After that season, he was presented the Gold Glove Award. He also won the Platinum Award for the best defensive player regardless of position. Unfortunately, he missed most of 2018 with injury. In 2019, he was putting together a great season when he ran into a wall and hurt his left shoulder. Through 87 games, he was hitting .262 with 30 doubles, four triples and ten homers. RF - Max Kepler (2015-2019) 553 games, .238/.319/.444 (.763) with 114 doubles, 92 homers, 280 RBI. Like Polanco, Kepler signed with the Twins in July 2009. The Berlin native spent a year in the GCL and then played two seasons in Elizabethton. In 2013, he moved up to Cedar Rapids. In AA Chattanooga in 2015, he hit .322/.416/.531 (947) with 32 doubles, 13 triples, nine homers and 18 steals. He was the Southern League MVP and after winning a league championship, he was promoted to the big leagues where he played in three games at the end of the season. He came up early in 2016 and hit a solid .235/.309/.424 with 20 doubles and 17 home runs. A solid .734 OPS for a rookie. But in 2017, his OPS was .737, and in 2018, it was .727. He hit 17, 19 and 20 home runs. All solid, but a step forward would need to happen. The Twins locked him up to a long-term deal. Kepler went out and earned it in 2019. He hit .252/.336/.519 (.855) with 32 doubles, 36 homers and 90 home runs. And he only was used as a pinch runner after September 14th. DH - Miguel Sano (2015-2019) 486 games, .245/.338/.498 (.836) with 87 doubles, 118 homers, 315 RBI. The most highly touted (maybe controversial) of the international class of 2009, Sano signed with the Twins in October. He was moving up the ladder quickly until he missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery. He debuted in July of 2015 and played great, posting a .916 OPS and hitting 17 doubles and 18 homers in 80 games. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. In 2016, he hit just .236, though he had 22 doubles and 25 homers. He returned to his rookie form in 2017, hitting .264 (.859) with 15 doubles and 28 homers. He played in the All Star Game and was runner up in the Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, his season ended early after a slide led to him having a titanium rod put in his leg. That offseason was a rough one. He was unable to work out. He found himself in the center of an MLB investigation. His season started but he really struggled. On June 13th, he was hitting .203 and was sent all the way down to Ft. Myers. He was pushed to lose weight and really work out. He spent time with the Miracle, the Lookouts and then the Red Wings before being called back up in late July. While the numbers didn’t improve much, there was a clear change in his physique and his work ethic (and diet ,and attitude, and…). His 2019 started late because of freak ankle injury. But he put together his best season. In 105 games, he posted a .923 OPS and hit 19 doubles with a career-high 34 homers. His 118 homers is second only to Brian Dozier for the decade. He is scheduled to be the Twins first baseman in 2020 with the addition of Josh Donaldson for third base. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EViDA5abYrU So what do you think about this team of the decade for this past decade? Players like Denard Span and Jim Thome were certainly considered. Eduardo Escobar would certainly be the Utility Player of the Decade. Another season and Mitch Garver may have been the catcher with Joe Mauer at first base. My rule on one-year players not being eligible made decision of potentially adding Nelson Cruz unnecessary. Share your thoughts? For more from this series, see below. Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers)
  19. We're approaching the end of our series looking back at all decade teams. Today, we look at the top Minnesota Twins hitters, by position, of the past decade. This group is recent, so the names are familiar to you all. There are a lot of talented players, several of which will continue adding to their numbers in the new decade.As we look at the decade of the 2010s, it was pretty disappointing. The Twins opened Target Field in 2010, and they had a great stretch run to get back to the playoffs. And then there were a lot of struggles the rest of the decade. The team almost got to the playoffs again in 2015. They got to the Wild Card game in 2017. A new batch of young stars took their lumps, but things really came together in 2019. Rocco Baldelli's lineup was strong and set the MLB record for homers in a season on their way to a 102-win season. This group includes at least one future Hall of Famer, several Twins Hall of Famers, some All Stars, and some immensely talented players who will lead the Twins in the new decade. Before we jump to the 2020s, let's take one more look back at the 2010s. C - Joe Mauer (2010-2018) 1,159 games, .294/.376/.412 (.788) with 270 doubles, 71 homers, 526 RBI. If you choose to live in the world of What If, imagine what Joe Mauer’s career trajectory had been if not for the foul tip off of his face mask in 2013. At the time, he was hitting .324/.404/.476 (880). And yes, the numbers were never quite the same. He moved from behind the plate to first base… but he still remained a better than average player. He was an All Star in 2012 when he hit .319 and led the league with a .416 On-Base Percentage. He was an All Star and won the Silver Slugger in his shortened 2013 season as well. After 2013, he hit over .282 and posted an OPS over .752 just once. In 2017, he hit .305/.384/.417 (.801). Despite the relative struggles, he finished with an OPS+ below league average just once (2% below in 2015). He retired after the 2018 season with the Twins records in Times on Base and Doubles. He had his number #7 retired by the Twins in 2019. 1B - Justin Morneau (2010-2013) 411 games, .272/.340/.451 (.791) with 99 doubles, 58 homers, 237 RBI. Speaking of What Ifs… Justin Morneau may have been having his best season in 2010 when he slid into second base and took a knee to the head. At the time, he was hitting .345/.437/.618 (1.055) with 25 doubles and 18 home runs in 81 games. He was headed to the All Star game, but instead missed the rest of the season. He returned for a partial season in 2011 then spent all of 2012 with the team. With the Twins, he just didn’t fully recover from the concussion. Late in 2013, he was traded to the Pirates and was on their playoff roster. He won a batting title in Colorado in 2014 (.319) and hit .310 in 2015 before hit career ending after 58 games with the White Sox in 2016. 2B - Brian Dozier (2012-2018) 955 games, .248/.325/.447 (.772) with 202 doubles, 167 homers, 491 RBI. Dozier was the Twins 8th round pick in 2009 from Southern Mississippi. He made his MLB debut as a shortstop in 2012. That offseason, he worked with Paul Molitor and successfully transferred to second base the following season. He continued to get better each year. But his power stroke showed up in 2013 when he hit 18 homers. That was the team record for most homers by a second baseman. He hit 23 homers and 33 doubles in 2014. He hit 28 homers in 2008 (with 39 doubles). He played in the 2015 All Star game and homered in his lone at bat. In 2016, he hit 35 doubles and drilled 42 home runs and drove in 99 runs. In 2017, he hit another 30 doubles and 34 homers. He also won a Gold Glove Award that season. He struggled early in 2018 and was traded to the Dodgers at the July deadline. His 167 homers led the Twins for the decade by nearly 50. His 98 stolen bases was 24 more than Ben Revere stole. He played in the 2018 World Series and won a ring in 2019. He signed with the Padres for the 2020 season. 3B - Trevor Plouffe (2010-2016) 723 games, .247/.308/.420 (.727) with 148 doubles, 96 homers, 357 RBI. This is a tough one. Miguel Sano hit 118 homers in the decade, but we’re going with Trevor Plouffe. He was the Twins first, first-round pick in the 2004 draft. He debuted as a shortstop in 2010. He went up and down throughout the 2011 season. In 2012, he came up and for a stretch in June, he and Josh Willingham put on a major power display. In 2013, he finally made the full-time move to third base after playing all over the diamond and became a plus-defender. Plouffe ended that season with a career-high 24 home runs. He was a regular the next three seasons. His 96 homers ranked fourth in the organization in the decade. He split 2017 between the A’s and the Rays, and played in seven games for the Phillies in 2018. He’s now a star in the media! SS - Jorge Polanco (2014-2019) 441 games, .281/.339/.444 (.783) with 104 doubles, 45 homers, 226 RBI. Polanco signed in July 2009 and worked his way up the farm system. He was added to the 40-man roster in December 2013 after a strong season in Cedar Rapids. In 2014, he was called up from Ft. Myers a couple of times as depth, and again in 2015. He became a regular in the second half of 2016 and has been the primary shortstop since, well, except for that 2018 first-half suspension. He was struggling mightily in the first half of 2017. He couldn’t be sent down, but Paul Molitor gave him a weekend of game off, and he came back on fire, and he hasn’t really stopped hitting since. In 2019, he became the first Twins shortstop to start for the American League in the All Star game since Roy Smalley in 1979. He received MVP votes in 2019. LF - Eddie Rosario (2015-2019) 640 games, .270/.309/.479 (.788) with 127 doubles, 106 homers, 346 RBI. Rosario was the Twins 4th round pick in 2010 from Puerto Rico. He put up some great numbers in the minor leagues. Still, it was a surprise when he was called up to the big leagues early in 2015. An even better surprise? In his first MLB at bat, he homered off of Scott Kazmir. That season, he filled the stat line with 18 doubles, 13 homers, 11 stolen bases and a league-leading 15 triples.He added 16 outfield assists that season, showing off a powerful arm. After an up-and-down 2016 season, he has provided power to the Twins lineup the last three years. In 2017, he hit 33 doubles and 27 homers. In 2018, he missed much of September and still hit 31 doubles and 24 homers. Last year, he hit 28 doubles and added career highs in homers (32) and RBI (109). His 106 homers ranks third for the decade. CF - Byron Buxton (2015-2019) 393 games, .237/.292/.414 (.706) with 74 doubles, 38 homers, 145 RBI. Buxton was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. He became one of the top prospects in the game. He was the Baseball America minor league player of the year in 2013. He was promoted from Double-A in mid-2015 when there was a roster crunch. He became a regular in 2016. In 2017, he played in 140 games and hit .253 with 14 doubles, six triples and 16 homers. He also stole 29 bases. He finished the season very strong and received MVP votes. After that season, he was presented the Gold Glove Award. He also won the Platinum Award for the best defensive player regardless of position. Unfortunately, he missed most of 2018 with injury. In 2019, he was putting together a great season when he ran into a wall and hurt his left shoulder. Through 87 games, he was hitting .262 with 30 doubles, four triples and ten homers. RF - Max Kepler (2015-2019) 553 games, .238/.319/.444 (.763) with 114 doubles, 92 homers, 280 RBI. Like Polanco, Kepler signed with the Twins in July 2009. The Berlin native spent a year in the GCL and then played two seasons in Elizabethton. In 2013, he moved up to Cedar Rapids. In AA Chattanooga in 2015, he hit .322/.416/.531 (947) with 32 doubles, 13 triples, nine homers and 18 steals. He was the Southern League MVP and after winning a league championship, he was promoted to the big leagues where he played in three games at the end of the season. He came up early in 2016 and hit a solid .235/.309/.424 with 20 doubles and 17 home runs. A solid .734 OPS for a rookie. But in 2017, his OPS was .737, and in 2018, it was .727. He hit 17, 19 and 20 home runs. All solid, but a step forward would need to happen. The Twins locked him up to a long-term deal. Kepler went out and earned it in 2019. He hit .252/.336/.519 (.855) with 32 doubles, 36 homers and 90 home runs. And he only was used as a pinch runner after September 14th. DH - Miguel Sano (2015-2019) 486 games, .245/.338/.498 (.836) with 87 doubles, 118 homers, 315 RBI. The most highly touted (maybe controversial) of the international class of 2009, Sano signed with the Twins in October. He was moving up the ladder quickly until he missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery. He debuted in July of 2015 and played great, posting a .916 OPS and hitting 17 doubles and 18 homers in 80 games. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. In 2016, he hit just .236, though he had 22 doubles and 25 homers. He returned to his rookie form in 2017, hitting .264 (.859) with 15 doubles and 28 homers. He played in the All Star Game and was runner up in the Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, his season ended early after a slide led to him having a titanium rod put in his leg. That offseason was a rough one. He was unable to work out. He found himself in the center of an MLB investigation. His season started but he really struggled. On June 13th, he was hitting .203 and was sent all the way down to Ft. Myers. He was pushed to lose weight and really work out. He spent time with the Miracle, the Lookouts and then the Red Wings before being called back up in late July. While the numbers didn’t improve much, there was a clear change in his physique and his work ethic (and diet ,and attitude, and…). His 2019 started late because of freak ankle injury. But he put together his best season. In 105 games, he posted a .923 OPS and hit 19 doubles with a career-high 34 homers. His 118 homers is second only to Brian Dozier for the decade. He is scheduled to be the Twins first baseman in 2020 with the addition of Josh Donaldson for third base. So what do you think about this team of the decade for this past decade? Players like Denard Span and Jim Thome were certainly considered. Eduardo Escobar would certainly be the Utility Player of the Decade. Another season and Mitch Garver may have been the catcher with Joe Mauer at first base. My rule on one-year players not being eligible made decision of potentially adding Nelson Cruz unnecessary. Share your thoughts? For more from this series, see below. Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers) Click here to view the article
  20. I found myself thinking through recent Twins history today and considered how much volatility there has been in terms of consistency. The Twins have been mostly bad, but when good, the performances have came and went rather quickly. 2020 truly looks like an open window, but it is Brian Dozier that I latched onto as the pinnacle of the roller coaster. After debuting in 2012 as a shortstop, Dozier quickly flamed out at the position after just 84 games there in his opening salvo. He would relocate to second base and it wasn’t until 2015 that he began to make his mark. He was an 8th round pick, and despite an appearance in both the Home Run Derby (2014) and All-Star Game (2015), he didn’t crack an .800 OPS until 2016. That was the year, at age-29, that it seemingly all came together. Dozier reinvented himself into a dead-pull hitter that was determined to find the quickest way over the left field fence. His 42 homers that season were the most by any Twins player during a single year not named Harmon Killebrew. He became a slugger despite a smaller stature, and he had risen to be called one of the best second basemen in the game. It really wasn’t since peak Robinson Cano that baseball had seen someone like Dozier. Brian wasn’t the prototypical uber-prospect, and he certainly wasn’t a five-tool player either. Like Cano, he was an offensive stalwart at an otherwise starved position. Around the league second base had become a destination for poor armed shortstops and was generally a position that you could find someone sitting right at league average. The 2016 Twins were abysmal in every sense of the word. They won just 59 games and manager Paul Molitor couldn’t get any more out of that squad if he tried. Thanks to Dozier’s dinger derby, there was at least something to tune into on a nightly basis. Unfortunately, much of his accomplishment was lost nationally in the vein of his club being so bad. He’d go one to follow up that performance with 34 dingers in 2017, a year in which Minnesota made the Postseason. Now having played for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals since, Dozier’s career has already begun a downturn. He did post a .771 OPS last season while playing in 135 games and eventually winning a World Series ring. He had to settle for a minor league deal heading into 2020, but the expectation would be that he’d make the San Diego Padres Opening Day roster. I’m not sure if we’ll see Brian reach that .800 OPS plateau again or not, but he was a late bloomer that gave us one of the highest peaks in Twins history. The unfortunate reality is that it came during a period of extreme lows and the contributions proved hollow in the grand scheme of things. Thankfully, Dozier was a fan favorite and will not soon be forgotten in Twins Territory. His career will likely come to an eventually end being a rather nondescript one, but the memories will remain among the fondest to take place at Target Field. It will be interesting to see what we get from him in those nice new Padres threads, and what there is yet to come in the future. It will not be a career that’s celebrated with substantial accolades when he hangs em up, but it’s incredible to think how good he was, even if it was for such a brief time. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  21. The Minnesota Twins are celebrating their 60th season and bringing back the powder blues in 2020. A slugger that wore those uniforms prior to them becoming throwbacks was none other than Harmon Killerbrew. Known as Killer, Harmon clubbed a ridiculous 573 career homers. Twice, in 1964 and 1969, he blasted 49 in a single season. As a no-doubt Hall of Famer it’s hard to fathom Sano reaching that rarified air, but matching him for a calendar year? Yeah, I can get behind that. During the 2019 season Sano played in just 105 games. He missed the beginning of the year after suffering a gash on his heel in a freak accident. After debuting in mid-May, the Dominican native posted an .853 OPS through his first 23 games. There were seven longballs hit in that stretch, but it was bookended by an ugly five-strikeout affair in a 0-for-7 performance against the Boston Red Sox. Working with the since departed James Rowson on a teardown and rebuild of his swing while facing Major League pitching, Miguel performed admirably. Given the determination he’d shown throughout the offseason, it shouldn’t be a surprise he’d work tirelessly to get this right. Over his final 82 games he tallied a .944 OPS and 27 homers. From July on that OPS was at .955, and in September alone it was a whopping 1.067. Owning a top five barrel rate and one of the best hard-hit rates in all of baseball, it’s not a surprise to see the pill leave the yard when Miguel makes contact. He’ll obviously whiff plenty, but even a 36% strikeout rate couldn’t keep him down a year ago. The mix tells us everything we need to know. This is a three true outcomes guy that recorded an insane 36% HR/FB rate. Now what happens if he’s on the field more? Moving over to first base could present some challenges for Miguel, and he’ll definitely need to grow into the new position. If he can continue to separate his play on the field from that in the batter’s box, the rigors of the role should put less of a strain on him, however. Also, barring some unfortunate development, he’ll be entering the year with a clean bill of health. Extrapolating Sano’s numbers over the course of a full season surpasses the 50-home run plateau. It’s something that Killebrew never did and reaching 43 would put him beyond Nelson Cruz’s number last year (41) as well as Brian Dozier’s in 2016 (42). For a guy that was sent down to Single-A less than two years ago to now be capable of the heights Miguel is achieving is nothing short of extraordinary. He’s put in the work, he’s committed to be the best version of himself, and in 2020 it could culminate into some chart-topping tallies. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. Posed this question on Twitter, so figured I'd ask it here as well: Who was the best Twins player of the 2010s, in terms of performance? Personally, I go back and forth between Mauer and Dozier. Mauer spent much of the decade as an average 1B, but did have a few more years as elite catcher on the front end. Dozier was heart & soul of mid-decade teams, and his 2016 was the decade's best for any Twin. fWAR totals are very close. Mauer: 24.0 (9 yrs), Dozier: 22.6 (~7 yrs) Thoughts? Anyone else who should be mentioned in the conversation?
  23. 10: Outdoor baseball returns to Minnesota (4/12/10) On April 12th, 2010, the Twins christened their new ballpark, hosting the Red Sox on a cloudy and cool Monday afternoon. It wasn't the team's first game at Target Field (a pair of exhibitions against the Cards had been played there 10 days earlier) but this one made it official. For the first time in almost 30 years, Twins fans were able to watch meaningful baseball at home under blue skies rather than a Teflon roof. It was a crisply played 5-2 victory for Minnesota, keyed by Carl Pavano's six strong innings along with three-hit games from Jason Kubel and reigning MVP Joe Mauer. The Twins went on to win their first four series at Target Field and finished 53-28 (.654) at home in the new stadium's inaugural season. 9: Byron Buxton races for record-setting inside-the-park home run (8/18/17) As with many of the moments on this list, I picked this one because it is emblematic of the man behind it. Buxton has had plenty of amazing moments at Target Field since debuting there in 2015, but his inside-the-parker against Arizona in August of 2017 epitomizes the electricity and incredible athleticism that make him such a tremendous joy to watch. Blazing around the bases in 13.85 seconds after his towering drive caromed off the wall in right-center, Buxton set a new Statcast record for the feat, breaking... his own. (Of course.) https://twitter.com/statcast/status/898722220096212992 8: Ben Revere channels Willie Mays in center field (8/22/11) Target Field has seen its share of phenomenal defensive plays, and Mr. Buxton has been responsible for quite a few of them. In my humble opinion, however, none can top this dazzling catch from Revere, which to me is one of those "You remember where you were and who were you with when you saw it" kinds of moments. Defensive play of the decade for Minnesota, from my view. 7: The Rally Squirrel becomes legendary (8/21/19) The beauty of outdoor baseball is that it brings so many variables into play: wind, weather, and the occasional wildlife. In the first year at Target Field, there was the famous moth-eating falcon, which came to be known as Kirby the Kestrel. But the most beloved unticketed visitor waited nearly until the end of the decade to make its appearance: The Rally Squirrel. https://twitter.com/cjzero/status/1163990505140752385 He (or a cohort) had scampered out the previous night, during a losing effort, but this time the squirrel's appearance coincided with a big comeback and flurry of runs for the Twins, who rallied to blow out the White Sox and earn the newly minted mascot its nickname. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1164018758052007937 6: Eddie Rosario homers on first MLB pitch (5/6/15) From the Department of Can't-Make-This-Stuff-Up: Rosario's big-league debut. Stepping up for his first major-league at-bat in 2015, with his family watching from the Target Field stands, Eddie offered at the first pitch he saw from A's lefty Scott Kazmir and sent it over the left-field wall. For fans, it was the perfect introduction to Rosario, conveying his confidence, aggressive approach, and flare for theatrics. 5: Brian Dozier caps epic comeback against Tigers (7/10/15) Two months after his splashy arrival, Rosario played a role in one of the most exhilarating victories of the decade, setting the stage for Dozier's heroics. The Twins, flirting with contention for the first time in years, were looking to finish out the first half strong with a series against Detroit heading into the break. They'd fallen in the first game and were at risk of another setback, with a 6-1 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth. Rosario delivered an RBI single to bring Minnesota within four. A bases-loaded HBP from Kurt Suzuki and two-run single from Danny Santana trimmed the Tigers' lead to one. Then the lineup turned over and up came Dozier – days away from his first All-Star Game – with two on and one out. Joakim Soria hung a breaking ball, and he paid for it. Any "Best Twins Player of the Decade" discussion should probably start with Dozier. He was the beating heart of those upstart, fringy playoff teams in 2015 and 2017. His 42-homer outburst in 2016 was one of the sole positives in a trainwreck campaign. Twins Daily named Dozier team MVP three straight times. That walk-off shot was perhaps the most transcendent moment in a career full of special ones. 4: Johan Santana is elected to Twins Hall of Fame (8/4/18) While it's fun reminiscing about the last 10 years, and thinking back to the days of Ben Revere catching a Vladimir Guerrero drive off of Carl Pavano, it does emphasize just how LONG ago that was. As we head into the 2020s, distance grows from a bygone era of Twins baseball filled with so many great players, moments, and memories. Johan's Hall of Fame induction in August of 2018 was a big highlight of this decade for me, because it channeled so much of the franchise's past into Target Field – if for one fleeting ceremony. Santana will forever be one of the great success stories in Twins history, and to see him celebrated alongside many of those cherished fellow fixtures from the late Metrodome run – Brad Radke, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Eddie Guardado – was cool. Especially on a day where Jose Berrios, who is striving to inherit Santana's mantle (an ace that can ACTUALLY beat the Yankees in October), was Minnesota's starting pitcher. 3: Glen Perkins closes out the 2014 All-Star Game (7/15/14) When he retired after the 2017 season, I wrote that if a Twins Daily Hall of Fame were ever established, Perkins would be the first inductee. He was one of the team's best players throughout the site's early years of existence. He once bought a round of beers from the bullpen for TD Pub Crawl attendees. He's an amazing homegrown success story. Oh, and in his post-playing days he's now being described as "Minnesota's Ron Swanson." Sadly, Perk's career peak aligned directly with the grimmest part of the decade for the club. He was an elite closer on a terrible team, and his shoulder gave out just as the Twins began to finally emerge from the struggle. Perkins flat-out deserved to have things play out exactly as they did when the All-Star Game came to Minneapolis in 2014 and shined a national spotlight on Target Field. Trailing early, the American League came back to take a two-run lead, setting up a save opportunity for Minnesota's shutdown closer. Perkins trotted out to his mound, with Twins batterymate and fellow All-Star Kurt Suzuki on the other end, and retired the side in order to seal a win for the AL. You could have hardly scripted a better sequence for his All-Star appearance in front of the home crowd. 2: Jim Thome blasts first Target Field walk-off HR against White Sox (8/17/10) Choosing just one Thome moment (Thoment?) for inclusion on this list was a challenge. In his brief but spectacular Target Field tenure to start the decade, the Hall of Famer gave us plenty of lasting memories, which would largely come to define the ballpark's early legacy. There was the against the Royals in September of 2010. There was his the next summer, estimated at the time as the longest in the stadium's short history at 490 feet. There were his two jacks against Tampa Bay in July of 2010 to tie and then surpass Harmon Killebrew on the all-time home run list. But for me, nothing can beat the clutch tater that Thome thumped against the White Sox in August of 2010. With the Twins down by a run in the bottom of the 10th, the slugger launched a majestic two-run bomb into the plaza, notching the first walk-off home run in Target Field history. That legendary blast sealed a key division win for a team just three games up in the standings, and led to one of the best photos in Twins history. It's a tough moment for any other to top. More than eight years would pass before it finally happened. 1: Joe Mauer dons catcher's gear for one last time (9/30/18) A lot of things needed to go right, and an array of carefully crafted plans had to reach fruition, for Mauer's farewell to play out as it did. Dan Hayes meticulously detailed the story for The Athletic, and it's one of my favorite things he's written. When everything fell into place on the final day of the 2018 season, pure magic was the result. Mauer hadn't explicitly confirmed he was playing his last game as a big-leaguer, but that , and became crystal-clear in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the Twins leading 5-4, Mauer stepped onto the diamond in catcher's gear for the first time in more than five years. He tearfully saluted fans during a lengthy ovation, received one pitch from Matt Belisle, and then walked off Target Field into the proverbial sunset, leaving behind an extraordinary 15-year career. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1046519774287552512 Mauer's best days came in the Metrodome, no doubt. When Target Field was built, he was widely viewed as the best player in the AL, if not in all of baseball, a distinction he wouldn't hold onto for long. In the eyes of many, the portion of his career spent in Target Field will always be associated more with bilateral leg weakness and concussions and production that failed to live up to his mega-contract, signed a month before the park opened. But don't overlook the many moments he left his mark on Target Field. There was the in May of 2017. The ridiculous catch behind the foul net in 2010. The in 2018 – a seeing-eye single up the middle, naturally.It's only right that from 2020 forward, no Twins player will ever wear No. 7 again. Joe was one-of-a-kind, up until his last day and heartfelt final moments in the uniform. ~~~ I'd love to hear you all sound off. Did I miss any of your favorite moments? Would you change the order? Let's think back to our most cherished summer days as we experience the full brunt of Minnesota's winter.
  24. Much has changed over the past 10 years. The fact really hits home when you consider that, heading into this decade, Target Field had not yet opened its gates. As we turn the page on the 2010s, I thought it might be fun to reflect on some of the best and most memorable moments through 10 years at The Bullseye.10: Outdoor baseball returns to Minnesota (4/12/10) On April 12th, 2010, the Twins christened their new ballpark, hosting the Red Sox on a cloudy and cool Monday afternoon. It wasn't the team's first game at Target Field (a pair of exhibitions against the Cards had been played there 10 days earlier) but this one made it official. For the first time in almost 30 years, Twins fans were able to watch meaningful baseball at home under blue skies rather than a Teflon roof. It was a crisply played 5-2 victory for Minnesota, keyed by Carl Pavano's six strong innings along with three-hit games from Jason Kubel and reigning MVP Joe Mauer. The Twins went on to win their first four series at Target Field and finished 53-28 (.654) at home in the new stadium's inaugural season. 9: Byron Buxton races for record-setting inside-the-park home run (8/18/17) As with many of the moments on this list, I picked this one because it is emblematic of the man behind it. Buxton has had plenty of amazing moments at Target Field since debuting there in 2015, but his inside-the-parker against Arizona in August of 2017 epitomizes the electricity and incredible athleticism that make him such a tremendous joy to watch. Blazing around the bases in 13.85 seconds after his towering drive caromed off the wall in right-center, Buxton set a new Statcast record for the feat, breaking... his own. (Of course.) 6: Eddie Rosario homers on first MLB pitch (5/6/15) From the Department of Can't-Make-This-Stuff-Up: Rosario's big-league debut. Stepping up for his first major-league at-bat in 2015, with his family watching from the Target Field stands, Eddie offered at the first pitch he saw from A's lefty Scott Kazmir and sent it over the left-field wall. For fans, it was the perfect introduction to Rosario, conveying his confidence, aggressive approach, and flare for theatrics. 5: Brian Dozier caps epic comeback against Tigers (7/10/15) Two months after his splashy arrival, Rosario played a role in one of the most exhilarating victories of the decade, setting the stage for Dozier's heroics. The Twins, flirting with contention for the first time in years, were looking to finish out the first half strong with a series against Detroit heading into the break. They'd fallen in the first game and were at risk of another setback, with a 6-1 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth. Rosario delivered an RBI single to bring Minnesota within four. A bases-loaded HBP from Kurt Suzuki and two-run single from Danny Santana trimmed the Tigers' lead to one. Then the lineup turned over and up came Dozier – days away from his first All-Star Game – with two on and one out. Joakim Soria hung a breaking ball, and he paid for it. Any "Best Twins Player of the Decade" discussion should probably start with Dozier. He was the beating heart of those upstart, fringy playoff teams in 2015 and 2017. His 42-homer outburst in 2016 was one of the sole positives in a trainwreck campaign. Twins Daily named Dozier team MVP three straight times. That walk-off shot was perhaps the most transcendent moment in a career full of special ones. 4: Johan Santana is elected to Twins Hall of Fame (8/4/18) While it's fun reminiscing about the last 10 years, and thinking back to the days of Ben Revere catching a Vladimir Guerrero drive off of Carl Pavano, it does emphasize just how LONG ago that was. As we head into the 2020s, distance grows from a bygone era of Twins baseball filled with so many great players, moments, and memories. Johan's Hall of Fame induction in August of 2018 was a big highlight of this decade for me, because it channeled so much of the franchise's past into Target Field – if for one fleeting ceremony. Santana will forever be one of the great success stories in Twins history, and to see him celebrated alongside many of those cherished fellow fixtures from the late Metrodome run – Brad Radke, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Eddie Guardado – was cool. Especially on a day where Jose Berrios, who is striving to inherit Santana's mantle (an ace that can ACTUALLY beat the Yankees in October), was Minnesota's starting pitcher. 3: Glen Perkins closes out the 2014 All-Star Game (7/15/14) When he retired after the 2017 season, I wrote that if a Twins Daily Hall of Fame were ever established, Perkins would be the first inductee. He was one of the team's best players throughout the site's early years of existence. He once bought a round of beers from the bullpen for TD Pub Crawl attendees. He's an amazing homegrown success story. Oh, and in his post-playing days he's now being described as "Minnesota's Ron Swanson." Sadly, Perk's career peak aligned directly with the grimmest part of the decade for the club. He was an elite closer on a terrible team, and his shoulder gave out just as the Twins began to finally emerge from the struggle. Perkins flat-out deserved to have things play out exactly as they did when the All-Star Game came to Minneapolis in 2014 and shined a national spotlight on Target Field. Trailing early, the American League came back to take a two-run lead, setting up a save opportunity for Minnesota's shutdown closer. Perkins trotted out to his mound, with Twins batterymate and fellow All-Star Kurt Suzuki on the other end, and retired the side in order to seal a win for the AL. You could have hardly scripted a better sequence for his All-Star appearance in front of the home crowd. 2: Jim Thome blasts first Target Field walk-off HR against White Sox (8/17/10) Choosing just one Thome moment (Thoment?) for inclusion on this list was a challenge. In his brief but spectacular Target Field tenure to start the decade, the Hall of Famer gave us plenty of lasting memories, which would largely come to define the ballpark's early legacy. There was the against the Royals in September of 2010. There was his the next summer, estimated at the time as the longest in the stadium's short history at 490 feet. There were his two jacks against Tampa Bay in July of 2010 to tie and then surpass Harmon Killebrew on the all-time home run list. But for me, nothing can beat the clutch tater that Thome thumped against the White Sox in August of 2010. With the Twins down by a run in the bottom of the 10th, the slugger launched a majestic two-run bomb into the plaza, notching the first walk-off home run in Target Field history. That legendary blast sealed a key division win for a team just three games up in the standings, and led to one of the best photos in Twins history. It's a tough moment for any other to top. More than eight years would pass before it finally happened. 1: Joe Mauer dons catcher's gear for one last time (9/30/18) A lot of things needed to go right, and an array of carefully crafted plans had to reach fruition, for Mauer's farewell to play out as it did. Dan Hayes meticulously detailed the story for The Athletic, and it's one of my favorite things he's written. When everything fell into place on the final day of the 2018 season, pure magic was the result. Mauer hadn't explicitly confirmed he was playing his last game as a big-leaguer, but that , and became crystal-clear in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the Twins leading 5-4, Mauer stepped onto the diamond in catcher's gear for the first time in more than five years. He tearfully saluted fans during a lengthy ovation, received one pitch from Matt Belisle, and then walked off Target Field into the proverbial sunset, leaving behind an extraordinary 15-year career.
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