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  1. With the magnitude of each game heightened, teams will be less likely to throw in the towel on any given day, and more teams in contention will mean more competitive games. Minnesota went to extra innings in twelve games last season (and didn’t fare well at 5-and-7), but could very well see an increase in the percentage of extra inning games due to more teams being in it to win it and fighting through all nine innings. With the MLB adopting the MiLB rule of starting off every extra inning with a runner at second base, speed could become even more significant. The runner who is placed at second will be the batter who made the last out of the previous inning, so unless Byron Buxton made the last out, the Twins will probably end up with a less than ideal base runner. It’s not only extra-inning affairs in which a speedy runner would come in handy. In any close game having a burner who can steal a bag or take an extra base is extremely valuable. A fast base runner also gives the pitcher one extra thing to worry about, and every little advantage will matter in 2020. Teams do have the opportunity to pinch run, and with a 30-man bench to start the season, filling in a roster spot with a speedster who could be a pinch run specialist makes some sense. Teams such as the Dodgers (Terrance Gore), Giants (Billy Hamilton), and Astros (Myles Straw) have done just that, but does Minnesota have anyone who fits the bill? One player with a bit of speed who is likely to make the team due to the roster expansion is OF LaMonte Wade Jr. According to Baseball Savant, Wade Jr. trails only Buxton (30.3 ft./sec.) and Jorge Polanco (28.2 ft./sec.) with a Sprint Speed of 28.1 ft./sec. While that’s better than average, Wade Jr.’s not exactly a burner. The next fastest bench option would be Jake Cave, who comes in just behind Max Kepler (27.7 ft./sec.) at 27.6 ft./sec. That’s still above average and would make sense for replacing someone like Nelson Cruz or Miguel Sano on the bases, but it’s hardly the late inning speed that would strike fear into opposing hurlers. Minnesota will also have the remainder of the 60-man roster nearby in St. Paul and ready to be called upon. There are at least a few names who could provide some value for the big league team, if only as a speed option. Interestingly, Minnesota recently invited OF Aaron Whitefield to join the group. Whitefield spent the majority of 2019 in high-A Fort Myers where he didn’t exactly set the world on fire with just a .607 OPS. He finished the year at AA Pensacola and his numbers were even worse, but he has elite speed and managed to steal 30 bases on the year. While his bat doesn’t warrant being on the 40-man, the Twins might consider utilizing his speed or possibly his defense as he plays a really good center field. Two other possibilities would be Gilberto Celestino and Royce Lewis. Like Whitefield, Celestino is a center fielder who would be capable of filling in for Buxton defensively, but has only played eight games above low-A, and while speedy isn’t quite the base stealing threat that Whitefield is. Lewis, who is widely considered the Twins top prospect, has yet to be added to the 40-man roster but does offer elite speed. If Minnesota doesn’t want to mess around with calling up a prospect primarily to be a pinch runner, it’s also likely that someone like Billy Hamilton would be available when teams begin to fall out of contention (which shouldn’t take long for the Giants) and might even be available on the waiver wire. All in all, the Twins are in great shape and there’s rightfully a lot of excitement for the season that’s about to get underway. Not having elite speed on the bench isn’t a reason to damper this excitement, but winning the margins is ever imperative in a 60-game sprint, and a little extra speed could be crucial in crossing the finish line first. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. As has been stated before there was a long thread on how the Bryon Buxton September callup was handled. This is to be a different look with regards to damage to the long term franchise. 1. Case 1 Texas and Profar. Texas did a service time saving manipulation of Profar's time. This worked out very badly for Texas. (Side note Profar's agent is Boras so not all of this may be relevant). The long term result was that went after 2017 or 2018 when Texas tried to get an extension with Profar, the Texas front office was told not to bother without paying market rate or above market rate (my guess based on what happened here). This led to the trade of Profar to the A's for not what I would consider a market rate deal for Texas. Profar is in the same category as Buxton as he was rated in the top 5 prospect list for 2 years running at one time. Without the extension given Texas's time line they were forced to take what they could get (given Profar would be a free agent before Texas became relevant again). How does this affect Buxton? The Twins do not look as if they are actively planning to compete without a bit of the luck factor in 2019. There are two possible outcomes here: Buxton plays OK this year breaks out next year and hits his maximum trade value about the time the Twins expect to become relevant (2020 - 2024). Twins are then faced with the issue of (do you trade a potential superstar when you are ready to compete or do you hold on to compete and lose Buxton in 2 years for a compensation draft pick). Then there is the issue of the FO talking about sustainability. That would mean looking at trading Buxton at this time when the best Twins talent is years is arriving and creating issues in the clubhouse and ongoing for the Twins keeping players who could be the face of the franchise. Kyle Gibson (the union rep), has already weighed in by commenting he thought Buxton should have been brought up. This leads to 2 more issues: 1. Having problems with keeping players who are getting good or watching them walk after 6 years. Or being forced to trade them (issue with this is you are dealing with other GM's who on the free spending teams will give you a number of their lessor 4 - 15 type prospects, but put there top prospects off limits in deals like this). This rational being that in 1 - 2 years they could sign them without giving up prospects. 2. Team reputation: Unless you pay more money than anyone else will offer, you will not get good FA's to come here. This leaves you with taking chances or having to sign players with warts (bad clubhouse personalites, lack of hustle, and me first types). You will never win big with these types. Option 2: If you want to play hardball and Buxton plays into your hands by having a bad spring you could send him to Rochester and leave him for the year. If you as the FO are convinced he is not going to stay here, this might be the winning option. It will now align Buxton with the new upcoming core and you could get 2 - 3 years from Buxton when the Twins might be really good. Downside: There is this pesky thing called the CBA, this would certainly be noted by the union (especially if Buxton did well in Rochester and was not called up). It would certainly complicate things and might lead to the union holding out for shortened club control be free agency as small and mid market clubs would take note and try to group talent into possible windows. Extreme case is that it might be litigated based on deliberate manipulations with the goal of bringing all sports into a much changed employee - employer relationship (this might be done by dissolving the sports unions). 2. The Kris Bryant - Chicago Cubs case. This is more of the common case where the Cubs sent Bryant down at the start of the season to gain an extra year of control over him (even though Kris Bryant was clearly major league ready). What this has done to the Cubs is that there is almost no chance he will resign with the Cubs unless they offer more than any other club. Cubs might, but are not guaranteed to do that. Or the relationship may be so far south Cubs would have to do a big overpay to keep him. Where does thing affect Buxton? 1. It means that the union will almost certainly want changes to the CBA in this area. This could be a big sticking point (if the union decides to exist). This could lead to a nasty strike(which might last for a long time into the season before being settled), or major changes to the length of team control (most of which I have seen is about 4 years). This would in the long run kill the small market teams from being competitive for any length or period of time). 2. Buxton could develop a bad or me first attitude (this would be very bad for clubhouse chemistry) and could try and force his way out early than the Twins would want.
  3. Twins Daily Roundtable is a weekly series. As part of this series, a question will be posed to the site’s writers and they will respond in 200 words or less (Some writers don’t like to stick to this limit). This will give readers an opportunity to see multiple points of view and then add their own point of view in the comments section. With the regular season quickly coming to a close, Twins fans might be starting to think about next season. Minnesota has a lot of money coming off the books and very few contracts signed for next season. With this shift, comes the opportunity to reshape a roster. This week’s Roundtable discussion is: “What’s Minnesota’s biggest need this off-season?John Bonnes Can I be so vague as to say "a middle-of-the-order bat?" The lineup's strength this year was supposed to be its depth, and that still might be the case with anticipated growth from Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano. But when the middle-of-the-order bats fail to live up to their expectations, the team is left with an average offense. And a few injuries and it quickly becomes below average. This offseason shouldn't be about filling in pieces. It should be about finding some foundational cornerstones upon whom the Twins can rely for the next four seasons at least. Tom Froemming How many times have I got to say this? Willians Astudillo lifetime contract. That's item No. 1. Once that's worked out, the Twins are going to need to focus on quality. They already have quantity, but not a ton of players you can truly count on. I'd say the biggest need would be to find a threat to put into the middle of the lineup. I'm not confident Miguel Sano ever gets back to what he was, and as much as I love Eddie Rosario, if he's the best slugger in your 2019 lineup, you've got issues. The pitching staff has its share of needs to address as well, but it's really difficult to win without a lineup that's able to produce on a consistent basis. Ted Schwerzler To a certain extent, the answer probably always needs to be pitching. It's great that the Twins have given Gonsalves, De Jong, Littell, and Stewart some run here down the stretch. It has been equally beneficial to see Andrew Vasquez coming out of the pen. The reality however, is that none of them look like anything close to a certainty opening the 2019 season. Minnesota should have Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, and Jose Berrios penned into the rotation, but things are less certain behind them. Fernando Romero is likely a near lock to start in the big leagues, but another mid-to-upper level arm would be a big plus. The bullpen will need some retooling as well with the departures 2018 has seen take place. Although you can make arguments for bats around the diamond, lots depends on how the Twins want to configure their in-house options. Cody Christie To me, one of the biggest issues with 2018 was the underperformance of key pieces in the line-up. That being said, players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios need to take the next step. If the Twins are going to contend, their young players need to turn into the team’s most valuable pieces. Sano has already been discussing his weight and he hopes to come into next season after a strong off-season spent between Fort Myers and the Dominican Republic. Buxton needs to prove he can stay healthy and handle the rigors of a full big-league season. Berrios was an All-Star but there is certainly some room for improvement after some up and down moments this year. Kepler might never be a middle of the order bat, but he could certainly become more consistent. There are obviously plenty of holes to fill in the roster but the Twins need their young core to take the next step. Steve Lein With the Twins underachieving this year they sent off several veteran contributors and newcomers at the trade deadline, opening plenty of holes or questions for the 2019 season. Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Lance Lynn, Fernando Rodney, and Zach Duke all found themselves in new places. That was nearly a quarter of their opening day roster. You had an All Star second baseman, an extra-base-hitting-machine, shutdown set-up man, mid-rotation starter, and a closer in that group. You might lose Joe Mauer to retirement as well. Point is there are a lot of needs for this team. When you ask me for the biggest need I’ll always point to starting pitching, however. Jose Berrios has had a great season and made the first of hopefully many All-Star teams, but he still has some development to turn into that “ace” we all covet. Thankfully the Twins lost out on Yu Darvish last year, but every team must spend money on pitchers at some point if they want to contend. With the payroll space they will have this offseason, they should shoot as high as they can to help their rotation. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Shifting Service Time The Looming Mauer Decision Grading the Front Office Grading Molitor Closing Time Click here to view the article
  4. John Bonnes Can I be so vague as to say "a middle-of-the-order bat?" The lineup's strength this year was supposed to be its depth, and that still might be the case with anticipated growth from Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano. But when the middle-of-the-order bats fail to live up to their expectations, the team is left with an average offense. And a few injuries and it quickly becomes below average. This offseason shouldn't be about filling in pieces. It should be about finding some foundational cornerstones upon whom the Twins can rely for the next four seasons at least. Tom Froemming How many times have I got to say this? Willians Astudillo lifetime contract. That's item No. 1. Once that's worked out, the Twins are going to need to focus on quality. They already have quantity, but not a ton of players you can truly count on. I'd say the biggest need would be to find a threat to put into the middle of the lineup. I'm not confident Miguel Sano ever gets back to what he was, and as much as I love Eddie Rosario, if he's the best slugger in your 2019 lineup, you've got issues. The pitching staff has its share of needs to address as well, but it's really difficult to win without a lineup that's able to produce on a consistent basis. Ted Schwerzler To a certain extent, the answer probably always needs to be pitching. It's great that the Twins have given Gonsalves, De Jong, Littell, and Stewart some run here down the stretch. It has been equally beneficial to see Andrew Vasquez coming out of the pen. The reality however, is that none of them look like anything close to a certainty opening the 2019 season. Minnesota should have Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, and Jose Berrios penned into the rotation, but things are less certain behind them. Fernando Romero is likely a near lock to start in the big leagues, but another mid-to-upper level arm would be a big plus. The bullpen will need some retooling as well with the departures 2018 has seen take place. Although you can make arguments for bats around the diamond, lots depends on how the Twins want to configure their in-house options. Cody Christie To me, one of the biggest issues with 2018 was the underperformance of key pieces in the line-up. That being said, players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios need to take the next step. If the Twins are going to contend, their young players need to turn into the team’s most valuable pieces. Sano has already been discussing his weight and he hopes to come into next season after a strong off-season spent between Fort Myers and the Dominican Republic. Buxton needs to prove he can stay healthy and handle the rigors of a full big-league season. Berrios was an All-Star but there is certainly some room for improvement after some up and down moments this year. Kepler might never be a middle of the order bat, but he could certainly become more consistent. There are obviously plenty of holes to fill in the roster but the Twins need their young core to take the next step. Steve Lein With the Twins underachieving this year they sent off several veteran contributors and newcomers at the trade deadline, opening plenty of holes or questions for the 2019 season. Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Lance Lynn, Fernando Rodney, and Zach Duke all found themselves in new places. That was nearly a quarter of their opening day roster. You had an All Star second baseman, an extra-base-hitting-machine, shutdown set-up man, mid-rotation starter, and a closer in that group. You might lose Joe Mauer to retirement as well. Point is there are a lot of needs for this team. When you ask me for the biggest need I’ll always point to starting pitching, however. Jose Berrios has had a great season and made the first of hopefully many All-Star teams, but he still has some development to turn into that “ace” we all covet. Thankfully the Twins lost out on Yu Darvish last year, but every team must spend money on pitchers at some point if they want to contend. With the payroll space they will have this offseason, they should shoot as high as they can to help their rotation. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Shifting Service Time The Looming Mauer Decision Grading the Front Office Grading Molitor Closing Time
  5. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 8, Columbus 0 Box Score Byron Buxton wasted little time making his presence known in the Rochester line-up. He made a tremendous double play in the bottom of the fourth inning before cracking a three-run home run in the top of the fifth. He ended the night by going 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. https://twitter.com/njrowan/status/1029528192271441925 Buxton wasn’t the only bat with a strong showing in the line-up. Kennys Vargas reached base four times including a three-hit effort. He added a double and drove in a pair of runs. Nick Gordon finished 2-for-5 with his 13th double and a stolen base. Juan Graterol also had two hits and scored two runs. On the mound, Stephen Gonsalves continued to pitch well. He tossed six shutout innings by limiting the Clippers to three hits. He struck out five and walked two on the way to his ninth win. DJ Baxendale pitched a pair of scoreless innings by striking out two and walking one. John Curtiss finished the shutout as he allowed two hits and had one strikeout in the final frame. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Mississippi 3 Box Score The Lookouts matched the Braves with six hits but the team committed two defensive errors that impacted the final outcome. Tyler Wells allowed two runs in the first frame but he settled in nicely from there and didn't allow another run. He finished six strong innings by striking out seven and walking only one. Devin Smeltzer saw one unearned run score against him as he struck out three in two innings of work. Zander Wiel and Jaylin Davis each reached base three times as part of multi-hit games. Brian Navarreto and Luis Arraez both went 1-for-4 with Navarreto scoring the team’s only run. Overall, the team left 11 men on base and went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 12, Charlotte 13 Box Score Runs were certainly not at a premium in this one as the teams combined for 25 runs on 29 hits including six home runs. Mark Contreras led the offensive charge with two home runs and five RBIs. Royce Lewis had two hits, a home run and a triple. Alex Kirilloff and Jose Miranda both went 2-for-5 with a home run for each. The mound was a mess for the Miracle. Clark Beeker got hit around to the tune of seven runs on nine hits in less than three innings. Colton Davis stopped the bleeding even if it was only temporary. He allowed one run on two hits over three innings. He struck out four. Alex Robinson had some control problems as he walked three batters and allowed four runs on but gave up only one hit. Ryan Mason and Hector Lujan combined to allow only one run over the final 2 2/3 innings. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 0, Quad Cities 5 Box Score Cedar Rapids had a tough time stringing hits together as the club was held without an extra-base hit. In fact, the Kernels had only three opportunities to bat with a runner in scoring position. First-round pick Trevor Larnach went 1-for-4 and added an outfield assist. Trey Cabbage finished 1-for-3 but struck out twice. Tyler Watson took the loss after allowing four runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. There were some control issues as he walked five batters but he also struck out five. Jose Martinez surrendered one run, a home run, in 2 1/3 innings. Derek Molina finished the game with two scoreless innings and he racked up four strikeouts. E-TWINS E-TALK Elizabethton 6, Greeneville 0 Box Score Elizabethton pitchers combined for their fourth shutout this season. Luis Rijo pitched into the seventh inning (6 2/3 IP) without allowing a run. In fact, he hasn’t allowed a run yet in the Twins organization. Pedro Garcia finished off the game by allowing only one hit in 2 1/3 innings. https://twitter.com/Mike_Gally21/status/1029542399377399808 Every batter in the E-Twins line-up collected a hit. Albee Weiss and Ricky De La Torre each went 2-for-4 and Weiss added his fourth double. Jean Carlos Arias had one hit, a triple, and came around to score a run. Alex Robles and Colton Burns each reached base two times. GCL TWINS TALK GCL Twins 0, GCL Orioles 3 Box Score The GCL Twins struggled on the offensive side of the ball by being limited to three hits. Gabe Snyder and Hunter Lee each reached base twice. Estamy Urena and Charles Mack both went 1-for-5. No one was able to collect an extra-base hit and the team went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Regi Grace started but was pulled in the first inning after allowing two runs on two hits. Andrui Marin pitched 4 1/3 innings and struck out four while walking one. He allowed one run on four hits. Casey Crosby and Steven Cruz combined for three shutout innings to end the game. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Mark Contreras, Fort Myers (3-for-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R) Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Luis Rijo, Elizabethton (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, BB, 5 H) TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed. Please note that this Prospect Summary has been updated. 1. Royce Lewis (FM): 2-for-5, HR, 3B, 2 R, RBI, K 2. Alex Kirilloff (FM): 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 K 3. Brusdar Graterol (FM): Did not play. 4. Nick Gordon (ROC): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, R, K 5. Stephen Gonsalves (ROC): 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 3 H 6. Trevor Larnach (CR): 1-for-4 7. Brent Rooker (CHAT): 0-for-3, 2 BB 8. Akil Baddoo (CR): Did not play. 9. Wander Javier: Out of for the season 10. Zack Littell (ROC): Did not play. 11. Blayne Enlow (CR): Did not play. 12. LaMonte Wade (ROC): 0-for-5, 2 K 13. Travis Blankenhorn (FM): 1-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K 14. Lewis Thorpe (ROC): Did not play. 15. Ben Rortvedt (FM): Did not play. 16. Yunior Severino (ET): 1-for-5, K 17. Lewin Diaz (FM): Did not play. 18. Ryan Jeffers (ET): Did not play. 19. Jacob Pearson (CR): Did not play. 20. Luis Arraez (CHAT): 1-for-4, 2 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Columbus (11:05 AM CST) – LHP Lewis Thorpe (Triple-A Debut) Chattanooga @ Mississippi (7:00 CST) – LHP Dietrich Enns Fort Myers vs. Charlotte (6:00 CST) – RHP Brusdar Graterol (3-2, 4.06 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria (6:35 CST) – RHP Randy Dobnak (8-4, 3.43ERA) Elizabethton – Schedule Off-Day GCL Twins vs. GCL Orioles (TBD) – TBD GCL Twins vs. GCL Orioles (Game 2) – TBD Please feel free to ask any questions about Tuesday’s games, or ask any questions you may have.
  6. As Nick wrote about tonight, it’s hard to know what to do with Byron Buxton for the rest of the 2018 season. The Twins aren’t going to the playoffs and the young star has struggled to stay healthy after showing signs of breaking through in 2017. He came back off the disabled list for Rochester on Tuesday. Was he able to leave his mark with the Red Wings?RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 8, Columbus 0 Box Score Byron Buxton wasted little time making his presence known in the Rochester line-up. He made a tremendous double play in the bottom of the fourth inning before cracking a three-run home run in the top of the fifth. He ended the night by going 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Buxton wasn’t the only bat with a strong showing in the line-up. Kennys Vargas reached base four times including a three-hit effort. He added a double and drove in a pair of runs. Nick Gordon finished 2-for-5 with his 13th double and a stolen base. Juan Graterol also had two hits and scored two runs. On the mound, Stephen Gonsalves continued to pitch well. He tossed six shutout innings by limiting the Clippers to three hits. He struck out five and walked two on the way to his ninth win. DJ Baxendale pitched a pair of scoreless innings by striking out two and walking one. John Curtiss finished the shutout as he allowed two hits and had one strikeout in the final frame. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 1, Mississippi 3 Box Score The Lookouts matched the Braves with six hits but the team committed two defensive errors that impacted the final outcome. Tyler Wells allowed two runs in the first frame but he settled in nicely from there and didn't allow another run. He finished six strong innings by striking out seven and walking only one. Devin Smeltzer saw one unearned run score against him as he struck out three in two innings of work. Zander Wiel and Jaylin Davis each reached base three times as part of multi-hit games. Brian Navarreto and Luis Arraez both went 1-for-4 with Navarreto scoring the team’s only run. Overall, the team left 11 men on base and went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers 12, Charlotte 13 Box Score Runs were certainly not at a premium in this one as the teams combined for 25 runs on 29 hits including six home runs. Mark Contreras led the offensive charge with two home runs and five RBIs. Royce Lewis had two hits, a home run and a triple. Alex Kirilloff and Jose Miranda both went 2-for-5 with a home run for each. The mound was a mess for the Miracle. Clark Beeker got hit around to the tune of seven runs on nine hits in less than three innings. Colton Davis stopped the bleeding even if it was only temporary. He allowed one run on two hits over three innings. He struck out four. Alex Robinson had some control problems as he walked three batters and allowed four runs on but gave up only one hit. Ryan Mason and Hector Lujan combined to allow only one run over the final 2 2/3 innings. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 0, Quad Cities 5 Box Score Cedar Rapids had a tough time stringing hits together as the club was held without an extra-base hit. In fact, the Kernels had only three opportunities to bat with a runner in scoring position. First-round pick Trevor Larnach went 1-for-4 and added an outfield assist. Trey Cabbage finished 1-for-3 but struck out twice. Tyler Watson took the loss after allowing four runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. There were some control issues as he walked five batters but he also struck out five. Jose Martinez surrendered one run, a home run, in 2 1/3 innings. Derek Molina finished the game with two scoreless innings and he racked up four strikeouts. E-TWINS E-TALK Elizabethton 6, Greeneville 0 Box Score Elizabethton pitchers combined for their fourth shutout this season. Luis Rijo pitched into the seventh inning (6 2/3 IP) without allowing a run. In fact, he hasn’t allowed a run yet in the Twins organization. Pedro Garcia finished off the game by allowing only one hit in 2 1/3 innings. Every batter in the E-Twins line-up collected a hit. Albee Weiss and Ricky De La Torre each went 2-for-4 and Weiss added his fourth double. Jean Carlos Arias had one hit, a triple, and came around to score a run. Alex Robles and Colton Burns each reached base two times. GCL TWINS TALK GCL Twins 0, GCL Orioles 3 Box Score The GCL Twins struggled on the offensive side of the ball by being limited to three hits. Gabe Snyder and Hunter Lee each reached base twice. Estamy Urena and Charles Mack both went 1-for-5. No one was able to collect an extra-base hit and the team went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Regi Grace started but was pulled in the first inning after allowing two runs on two hits. Andrui Marin pitched 4 1/3 innings and struck out four while walking one. He allowed one run on four hits. Casey Crosby and Steven Cruz combined for three shutout innings to end the game. STARS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Hitter of the Day: Mark Contreras, Fort Myers (3-for-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R) Twins Daily Pitcher of the Day: Luis Rijo, Elizabethton (6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, BB, 5 H) TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed. Please note that this Prospect Summary has been updated. 1. Royce Lewis (FM): 2-for-5, HR, 3B, 2 R, RBI, K 2. Alex Kirilloff (FM): 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 K 3. Brusdar Graterol (FM): Did not play. 4. Nick Gordon (ROC): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, R, K 5. Stephen Gonsalves (ROC): 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 3 H 6. Trevor Larnach (CR): 1-for-4 7. Brent Rooker (CHAT): 0-for-3, 2 BB 8. Akil Baddoo (CR): Did not play. 9. Wander Javier: Out of for the season 10. Zack Littell (ROC): Did not play. 11. Blayne Enlow (CR): Did not play. 12. LaMonte Wade (ROC): 0-for-5, 2 K 13. Travis Blankenhorn (FM): 1-for-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 K 14. Lewis Thorpe (ROC): Did not play. 15. Ben Rortvedt (FM): Did not play. 16. Yunior Severino (ET): 1-for-5, K 17. Lewin Diaz (FM): Did not play. 18. Ryan Jeffers (ET): Did not play. 19. Jacob Pearson (CR): Did not play. 20. Luis Arraez (CHAT): 1-for-4, 2 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ Columbus (11:05 AM CST) – LHP Lewis Thorpe (Triple-A Debut) Chattanooga @ Mississippi (7:00 CST) – LHP Dietrich Enns Fort Myers vs. Charlotte (6:00 CST) – RHP Brusdar Graterol (3-2, 4.06 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs. Peoria (6:35 CST) – RHP Randy Dobnak (8-4, 3.43ERA) Elizabethton – Schedule Off-Day GCL Twins vs. GCL Orioles (TBD) – TBD GCL Twins vs. GCL Orioles (Game 2) – TBD Please feel free to ask any questions about Tuesday’s games, or ask any questions you may have. Click here to view the article
  7. Minor League Injuries Buxton burst onto the scene in 2013, his first full minor league season but he missed some time after suffering a shoulder injury. This prevented him from fully participating in the Arizona Fall League. The 2014 season saw him hurt his wrist during spring training and he reinjured it on a slide shortly after returning from the DL. In his Double-A debut, he violently collided with another outfielder which resulted in a season-ending concussion. Minnesota sent him to the AFL and he proceeded to break his finger on a dive for the ball. https://twitter.com/mpiskorskimedia/status/499910626089906176 2017 Injuries During the 2017 campaign, Buxton missed time with a variety of injuries. In the middle of July, he missed time with a groin injury and migraine headaches. The groin injury was sustained while hustling around to score on a Brian Dozier RBI double. He occasionally dealt with the headaches after colliding with the outfield wall back in early May. By late August, Buxton missed more time with a left hamate bone injury. He was fortunate to avoid a fracture after taking a hard swing at a ball. Buxton’s last injury might be the one fans remember the most since it happened in the team’s final game. In the second inning with Todd Frazier batting, Buxton chased down a ball while crashing into the center field wall. He tried to play through the pain and did so by beating out a potential double-play grounder, allowing the tying run to score. He then stole second base but he was clearly not comfortable. During the game, the announcers called his injury “upper-back tightness.” Some reports called it a cracked rib in the days following the game. This meant multiple tests for Buxton which came back with a report of no fracture, but no other diagnosis. https://twitter.com/morsecode/status/916740409711321089 Looking To The Future Earlier this fall, I wrote about how Buxton seemed to have moved from broken to booming. While this still might be the case, there needs to be some concern about his injury history. His all-out effort is one of the reasons for the value Buxton provides the Twins. Buxton was asked about his catch in the Wild Card game. “Once I picked up where the wall was and realized I was going to take a pretty good hit, I just put all my focus onto the ball and held onto the ball,” he told the Pioneer Press. “If you try to shield yourself, you’re going to be passive toward the ball and not as aggressive. I like to play this game aggressively and go out and have a lot of fun.” It might be fun to see Buxton making diving and leaping catches but will his aggressive nature lead to more injuries in the future? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. As your turkey and pumpkin pies were still being digested from Thanksgiving dinner, you may have missed the news that the Minnesota Twins had signed old friend Joe Benson to a minor league contract. Benson, you may recall, was a promising center fielder in the organization who was ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 list. He was lauded by scouts and prospect evalutators as a rare five-tool player. However, injuries and ineffectiveness facilitated his exit in 2013. Because of his potential, Benson has bounced around the minor leagues with Texas to Miami to Atlanta to Sugar Land to New York. Now headed for his age-28 season, Benson is back with his original team and ready to provide depth in the Rochester outfield. The following this isn’t a story or analysis on Benson, per se. This is a tale about the Twins’ hitting philosophy and how it has changed over the past few years.Here is Benson’s swing in September 2011 during his only stint at the Major League level. http://i.imgur.com/yrJlZk4.gif Does that swing look familiar? It’s basically Brian Dozier. Getting that front foot out and down early and then let the hands and hips supply the power. That style is no accident as it has been passed down to numerous hitters throughout the organization. In 2011, Baseball America’s David Laurila interviewed Benson along with then-New Britain Rock Cats hitting instructor Tom Brunansky and wondered what if any philosophies were being instilled by the coaching staff throughout the system. “Absolutely,” Benson replied. “Stay as quiet as possible at the plate, get your foot down early, and especially with Bruno, working on where I need to get to in order to get extension through the baseball.” Keep quiet. Foot down early. These have been the tenets of the Minnesota Twins’ hitting philosophy for some years. It is the offensive version of “pitch to contact”. In 2013, Bobby Tewksbary -- the private hitting instructor responsible for helping cultivate the swings of Chris Colabello and Josh Donaldson through his Elite Swing Mechanics program -- visited the Minnesota Twins camp. In scouting Benson’s hacks Tewksbary noted “I would bet he had really good patterns earlier in his career, then has been coached out of them. I hope he finds the right feel again. All scouting reports say he is a tremendous athlete and I know it isn’t fun to struggle like he has.” Benson wasn’t the only hitter whose athleticism was coached out of them in the system. After demonstrating decent movements with his lower half and hand load while in , the Twins eventually reduced Byron Buxton’s swing patterns to the same muted, compact linear mechanics as seen by Benson above. Rather than try to embrace his natural movements, the organization eliminated them. Stop moving. Get your foot down. Like Benson, Carlos Gomez was also instructed to get his foot down early and remain still at the plate -- not matter how much his instincts told him to move and create rhythm. This led to a 645 OPS during his Minnesota tenure before reinventing himself in Milwaukee as a centerfielder with power. http://i.imgur.com/MPgEXuA.gif Before http://i.imgur.com/8JbMzO4.gif After If you were a speed guy, regardless of your power potential, the Twins would outfit their hitters with a specific swing which may or may not be the best fit. But it wasn’t just speedy outfielders that received this treatment. Danny Valencia was another victim of the team’s outdated teachings. In 2010, the third baseman had an excellent rookie campaign, hitting for power and average as a 25-year-old. His power jumped in 2011 but his pull tendencies allowed the league to quickly figured him out and his numbers suffered greatly. It wasn’t until he hit the ripe age of 30 and the Blue Jays organization that he was able to change his ingrained approach. He got his foot down later. He generated power through creating depth in his load process. In short, just the opposite of what the Twins taught him. The result was a career-high in home runs (18). Of course, not everyone has had instant success when throwing off the swing shackles. When Benson was selected off waivers by the Texas Rangers in 2013, he immediately changed his mechanics but his season in the Rangers organization left a lot to be desired. That was followed by a year in Miami’s system in which he performed well in AA but now was significantly older than the league’s average. In 2015 he came one cut away from making the Atlanta Braves roster out of camp before being assigned to the minors (where he was eventually cut midseason). http://i.imgur.com/yrJlZk4.gif Before http://i.imgur.com/fbXwTfC.gif After Benson may put it all together in his age-28 season, similar to how Valencia did for his age-30 year, and provide the Twins with outfield depth a phone call away in Rochester but you have to wonder what Benson’s career might have looked like had he been given an opportunity with more appropriate mechanics. After all, most evaluators agree that Benson was one of those rare five-tool talents. There are signs that the organization is not going to repeat the mistakes of the past. While it may have been coincidental, since the Twins dismissed minor league hitting coordinator Bill Springman for “philosophical differences” prior to the 2014 season, there appears to be less of an emphasis on adhering to the no movement/foot down early. Since then, inside the organization, players who would normally be expected to maintain the low movement/foot down early method have been encouraged to make adjustments. Prime example is outfielder Max Kepler whose transition to a big leg kick to generate power in his breakout year. In a conversation with Chattanooga hitting coach Chad Allen -- who Springman had a hand in hiring -- Allen affirmed that the swing change was by design, motivated by the staff. Meanwhile Brunansky has said in the past that he isn’t interested in remaining rigid when it comes to a player’s swing. He noted that he has not tried to change Oswaldo Arcia’s big leg kick and loud hand movements despite the decline in performance. When Aaron Hicks struggled to perform from the left side and felt that a leg kick would help, Brunansky worked with him to refine it, not remove it. On the front office side, the Twins have locked up Byung Ho Park to a four-year deal, an indication that they are not deterred by Park’s big movement swing patterns. Previously, the Twins were notoriously blamed for ruining players' swing or hindering their potential by forcing them into the Twins' mold. Their reputation preceded them as hitters would leave the organization, find success elsewhere, and occasionally disparage the instruction they received in the system. Now, when it comes to developing the talent in the system, the organization seems to be headed in the right direction. Click here to view the article
  9. Here is Benson’s swing in September 2011 during his only stint at the Major League level. http://i.imgur.com/yrJlZk4.gif Does that swing look familiar? It’s basically Brian Dozier. Getting that front foot out and down early and then let the hands and hips supply the power. That style is no accident as it has been passed down to numerous hitters throughout the organization. In 2011, Baseball America’s David Laurila interviewed Benson along with then-New Britain Rock Cats hitting instructor Tom Brunansky and wondered what if any philosophies were being instilled by the coaching staff throughout the system. “Absolutely,” Benson replied. “Stay as quiet as possible at the plate, get your foot down early, and especially with Bruno, working on where I need to get to in order to get extension through the baseball.” Keep quiet. Foot down early. These have been the tenets of the Minnesota Twins’ hitting philosophy for some years. It is the offensive version of “pitch to contact”. In 2013, Bobby Tewksbary -- the private hitting instructor responsible for helping cultivate the swings of Chris Colabello and Josh Donaldson through his Elite Swing Mechanics program -- visited the Minnesota Twins camp. In scouting Benson’s hacks Tewksbary noted “I would bet he had really good patterns earlier in his career, then has been coached out of them. I hope he finds the right feel again. All scouting reports say he is a tremendous athlete and I know it isn’t fun to struggle like he has.” Benson wasn’t the only hitter whose athleticism was coached out of them in the system. After demonstrating decent movements with his lower half and hand load while in , the Twins eventually reduced Byron Buxton’s swing patterns to the same muted, compact linear mechanics as seen by Benson above. Rather than try to embrace his natural movements, the organization eliminated them. Stop moving. Get your foot down.Like Benson, Carlos Gomez was also instructed to get his foot down early and remain still at the plate -- not matter how much his instincts told him to move and create rhythm. This led to a 645 OPS during his Minnesota tenure before reinventing himself in Milwaukee as a centerfielder with power. http://i.imgur.com/MPgEXuA.gif Before http://i.imgur.com/8JbMzO4.gif After If you were a speed guy, regardless of your power potential, the Twins would outfit their hitters with a specific swing which may or may not be the best fit. But it wasn’t just speedy outfielders that received this treatment. Danny Valencia was another victim of the team’s outdated teachings. In 2010, the third baseman had an excellent rookie campaign, hitting for power and average as a 25-year-old. His power jumped in 2011 but his pull tendencies allowed the league to quickly figured him out and his numbers suffered greatly. It wasn’t until he hit the ripe age of 30 and the Blue Jays organization that he was able to change his ingrained approach. He got his foot down later. He generated power through creating depth in his load process. In short, just the opposite of what the Twins taught him. The result was a career-high in home runs (18). https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/statuses/627566890098016256 Of course, not everyone has had instant success when throwing off the swing shackles. When Benson was selected off waivers by the Texas Rangers in 2013, he immediately changed his mechanics but his season in the Rangers organization left a lot to be desired. That was followed by a year in Miami’s system in which he performed well in AA but now was significantly older than the league’s average. In 2015 he came one cut away from making the Atlanta Braves roster out of camp before being assigned to the minors (where he was eventually cut midseason). http://i.imgur.com/yrJlZk4.gif Before http://i.imgur.com/fbXwTfC.gif After Benson may put it all together in his age-28 season, similar to how Valencia did for his age-30 year, and provide the Twins with outfield depth a phone call away in Rochester but you have to wonder what Benson’s career might have looked like had he been given an opportunity with more appropriate mechanics. After all, most evaluators agree that Benson was one of those rare five-tool talents. There are signs that the organization is not going to repeat the mistakes of the past. While it may have been coincidental, since the Twins dismissed minor league hitting coordinator Bill Springman for “philosophical differences” prior to the 2014 season, there appears to be less of an emphasis on adhering to the no movement/foot down early. Since then, inside the organization, players who would normally be expected to maintain the low movement/foot down early method have been encouraged to make adjustments. Prime example is outfielder Max Kepler whose transition to a big leg kick to generate power in his breakout year. In a conversation with Chattanooga hitting coach Chad Allen -- who Springman had a hand in hiring -- Allen affirmed that the swing change was by design, motivated by the staff. Meanwhile Brunansky has said in the past that he isn’t interested in remaining rigid when it comes to a player’s swing. He noted that he has not tried to change Oswaldo Arcia’s big leg kick and loud hand movements despite the decline in performance. When Aaron Hicks struggled to perform from the left side and felt that a leg kick would help, Brunansky worked with him to refine it, not remove it. On the front office side, the Twins have locked up Byung Ho Park to a four-year deal, an indication that they are not deterred by Park’s big movement swing patterns. Previously, the Twins were notoriously blamed for ruining players' swing or hindering their potential by forcing them into the Twins' mold. Their reputation preceded them as hitters would leave the organization, find success elsewhere, and occasionally disparage the instruction they received in the system. Now, when it comes to developing the talent in the system, the organization seems to be headed in the right direction.
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