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  1. The Twins lack of insurance runs ended up being their demise. The Angels picked at the pitching until it fell apart and what was a shutout into the eighth inning for the Twins, ended in disaster. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 4 strikes (70%)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (13) Top 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy (.293), Emilio Pagan (.115), Caleb Thielbar (.110) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins continue to lag early games, unable to manufacture more than a few runs, and struggled when players are on base. Luis Arraez and Gary Sanchez got things going in the top of the second and the third innings, only to be left stranded when batters couldn’t drive them home, which caught up with the Twins in the latter part of the game. Carlos Correa, who has not been hot through July and August certainly made up for a slow month driving in two of the three runs, against the Angels. After Reid Detmers had struck out lead-off Byron Buxton, Correa came up to bat and hit a home run to center field to get the Twins their first run of the game. In the fifth inning, Max Kepler, who didn’t get a hit in the game, was walked in the fifth, but thanks to a sac-fly from Correa, Kepler was the second run of the game. The Twins managed to get one more run on the board in the eighth, when Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez and Gio Urshela joined forces to manufacture three singles, each one moving Polanco closer to home for the third run. Dylan Bundy faced his former team tonight and had a beautiful game. Remaining scoreless through five innings, he threw one of the best games we have seen from him all season. No drama, no mess, just a very well-pitched game before handing the game over to Caleb Thielbar only for the purpose of the lefty-lefty matchup with Shohei Ohtani. Thielbar and the bullpen did a great job keeping Ohtani and the Angels off the board, until the end of the eighth inning when Ohtani homered off of Jhoan Duran to give the Angels their first run. Buxton started in center field. It was his first back-to-back games in center field since June 8th and 9th. The management, much to the annoyance of Twins fans, have structured his game appearances to allow him to recover, a tactic that clearly is working and his defense is a prime example of why those days off are working. In the blink of an eye, the Angels came alive and rallied back in the ninth inning. Jorge Lopez had the Angels on the ropes as the inning came to a close with a 2-1 count on Magneuris Sierra. With two on base, Sierra swung at the 94 mph sinker and hit a triple, just out of the dive of Nick Gordon, scoring Jo Adell and Andrew Valesquez to tie the game. Sierra was waved around towards home as Gordon threw the ball to cut-off man Correa who got it home to Gary Sanchez just in time for the out, moving the game to the tenth inning. The Twins lacked the ability to get any runs in the tenth inning, leaving the game wide open to the Angels. With runners on first and third, Luis Rengifo hit a sinking line drive into center field. Byron Buxton charged hard, dove and made the fantastic catch. He got up and threw out Ohtani at first base to end the inning. The Angels continued to chip away at the Twins pitching before getting a walk-off homerun from Taylor Ward in the bottom of the 11th inning to win the game. A tough loss for the Twins who looked to complete a second straight shutout as late as the eighth inning. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their west coast series with the Angels tomorrow and heading back home to face the Kansas City Royals and hope to see former teammate Brent Rooker. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:07 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.02 ERA) vs RHP Davidson (1-3, 7.91 ERA) Postgame Interview Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  2. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 4 strikes (70%)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (13) Top 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy (.293), Emilio Pagan (.115), Caleb Thielbar (.110) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins continue to lag early games, unable to manufacture more than a few runs, and struggled when players are on base. Luis Arraez and Gary Sanchez got things going in the top of the second and the third innings, only to be left stranded when batters couldn’t drive them home, which caught up with the Twins in the latter part of the game. Carlos Correa, who has not been hot through July and August certainly made up for a slow month driving in two of the three runs, against the Angels. After Reid Detmers had struck out lead-off Byron Buxton, Correa came up to bat and hit a home run to center field to get the Twins their first run of the game. In the fifth inning, Max Kepler, who didn’t get a hit in the game, was walked in the fifth, but thanks to a sac-fly from Correa, Kepler was the second run of the game. The Twins managed to get one more run on the board in the eighth, when Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez and Gio Urshela joined forces to manufacture three singles, each one moving Polanco closer to home for the third run. Dylan Bundy faced his former team tonight and had a beautiful game. Remaining scoreless through five innings, he threw one of the best games we have seen from him all season. No drama, no mess, just a very well-pitched game before handing the game over to Caleb Thielbar only for the purpose of the lefty-lefty matchup with Shohei Ohtani. Thielbar and the bullpen did a great job keeping Ohtani and the Angels off the board, until the end of the eighth inning when Ohtani homered off of Jhoan Duran to give the Angels their first run. Buxton started in center field. It was his first back-to-back games in center field since June 8th and 9th. The management, much to the annoyance of Twins fans, have structured his game appearances to allow him to recover, a tactic that clearly is working and his defense is a prime example of why those days off are working. In the blink of an eye, the Angels came alive and rallied back in the ninth inning. Jorge Lopez had the Angels on the ropes as the inning came to a close with a 2-1 count on Magneuris Sierra. With two on base, Sierra swung at the 94 mph sinker and hit a triple, just out of the dive of Nick Gordon, scoring Jo Adell and Andrew Valesquez to tie the game. Sierra was waved around towards home as Gordon threw the ball to cut-off man Correa who got it home to Gary Sanchez just in time for the out, moving the game to the tenth inning. The Twins lacked the ability to get any runs in the tenth inning, leaving the game wide open to the Angels. With runners on first and third, Luis Rengifo hit a sinking line drive into center field. Byron Buxton charged hard, dove and made the fantastic catch. He got up and threw out Ohtani at first base to end the inning. The Angels continued to chip away at the Twins pitching before getting a walk-off homerun from Taylor Ward in the bottom of the 11th inning to win the game. A tough loss for the Twins who looked to complete a second straight shutout as late as the eighth inning. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their west coast series with the Angels tomorrow and heading back home to face the Kansas City Royals and hope to see former teammate Brent Rooker. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 1:07 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.02 ERA) vs RHP Davidson (1-3, 7.91 ERA) Postgame Interview Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  3. Box Score SP: Chris Archer (4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (68 pitches, 42 strikes (61.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Tyler Duffey -.120, Jose Miranda, -.065, Luis Arraez -.060 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Archer looked as good as ever during his first inning of work for the Twins on Sunday. Archer struck out the first two batters of the game, only giving up a hit to Andrew Vaughn and getting Jose Abreu to ground out in the next at-bat. The Twins bats did not get anything going in the bottom of the first even as Byron Buxton was announced as an All-Star starter in replacement of Mike Trout and his injury. Buxton himself struck out to end the inning while he remained unaware of the news. Archer continued to dominate through the next two innings for the Twins retiring seven straight. He totaled 38 pitches through the first three innings of the game keeping a pace to give the Twins bullpen much-needed rest. The Twins bats couldn’t keep up with Archer’s dominance on the mound as White Sox starter Dylan Cease no-hit the Twins through the first three innings, only allowing one base runner on a Jorge Polanco walk. The top of the fourth saw Archer allow just his second base runner of the game on an Abreu two-out base hit that ended up going nowhere as Archer struck out Gavin Sheets to end the inning. Archer ran into trouble against the White Sox in the top of the fifth with two outs on three pitches. Archer walked catcher Seby Zavala and gave up a single to Adam Engel in the next at-bat. Both runners were able to score on an error by Nick Gordon in left field recovering the ball. Zavala and Engel would go on to score in the next at-bat as Tim Anderson had a two-RBI single. What was looking to be the first time all season Archer could go into the sixth inning was shut down by Yoan Moncada as he hit a ground-rule double, tallying Archer’s to 68 and 16 since he recorded the second out in the fifth. Tyler Duffey was called upon from the bullpen to get the Twins out of the fifth. Duffey gave up another RBI double in the first at-bat to Vaughn but was able to get out of the troubling inning by retiring Abreu on a 6-4 ground out. What began as a pitchers duel in the fifth ended in a clear lead for the Sox as they were now up 4-0 going to the bottom of the fifth. Cease continued his no-hit bid in the bottom of the fifth getting Kepler on a ground out back to him to start the inning. He then walked Polanco again and gave up the first Twins hit of the afternoon to Alex Kirilloff in the next at-bat. Neither Polanco or Kirilloff would make their way home to score as Cease struck out the final two batters of the inning to get out of the jam. Caleb Thielbar was on the mound for the Twins in the sixth and allowed only one base runner on a Josh Harrison single but kept him from advancing any further. The Twins could not get anything going again in the sixth as Cease was on a crusade to prove he should be in Los Angeles Tuesday for the All-Star Game. Even if he wouldn’t be able to pitch in the game. Joe Smith was next from the Twins bullpen for the 7th inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Engel and retired Anderson on a ground out. But what followed were back-to-back home runs to Moncada and Vaughn to put the Sox up 7-0. Then it was an Abreu single and a team conference on the mound with the infield for Smith. The mound visit with the infield seemed to have little help as Smith walked Sheets next and well, Smith wanted to quickly forget what happened next. Another home run, this time a three-run shot to Josh Harrison that traveled to left field put the White Sox up 10-0. The home run removed Smith from the game and was the third he gave up in the inning, only managing to retire one batter in the seventh. A bit of good did come for the Twins to start the top of the 8th. Caleb Hamilton, who was called up from St. Paul on Friday as Ryan Jeffers was put on the IL, made his MLB debut as a defensive sub for Gary Sanchez at catcher. Hamilton caught Jharel Cotton for the eighth. Cotton’s inning was a continuing example of how worn out this Twins pitching staff has been since the start of June. Cotton surrendered a leadoff double to Reese McGuire, who pinch hit for Tim Anderson, and walked Vaughn who reached base for the fourth time in the game. It took Cotton 32 pitches to retire three outs in the eighth. The upside for Cotton and the entire Twins pen today? They are all off until next Saturday. The eighth ended on a nice snagging catch from Gilberto Celestino in center, who came into the game as Buxton departed for Los Angeles to start in the All Star Game Tuesday. The Twins caught their first break of the day in the bottom of the eighth. Miranda drew a one-out walk from Joe Kelly and what looked to be a fielder's choice that got Miranda out at second and Gordon safe at first. Was eventually overturned to be a FC, E6 as Garcia, now at short, never touched second base. This brought up Caleb Hamilton for his first MLB at-bat with two runners on and no one out, and Hamilton hit into another fielder's choice, but at least moved the runners into scoring position with two out for Arraez. Unfortunately, no one scored as Arraez grounded out to second to end the inning. The ninth was another relief appearance from Emilio Pagan who gave up one more run to the Sox. Kyle Garlick got a hit in his only at-bat of the game but did not score as White Sox reliever Jose Ruiz retired the final three batters to end the game. What’s Next? The Twins go into the All Star Break and are off until Saturday, July 23 for a quick two-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Joe Ryan is likely to get the start as the Twins turn to a four man rotation of Ryan, Gray, Bundy and Archer to finish out the month of July and start the second half. First pitch for Saturday’s game is at 5:10 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Sheet
  4. What started out as a pitcher's duel turned into an ugly loss and series loss to the White Sox. The Twins enter the All-Star Break 50-44, still leading the AL Central by two games over Cleveland but certainly showed they need a break to rest and recuperate after Sunday’s brutal loss. Box Score SP: Chris Archer (4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (68 pitches, 42 strikes (61.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Tyler Duffey -.120, Jose Miranda, -.065, Luis Arraez -.060 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Archer looked as good as ever during his first inning of work for the Twins on Sunday. Archer struck out the first two batters of the game, only giving up a hit to Andrew Vaughn and getting Jose Abreu to ground out in the next at-bat. The Twins bats did not get anything going in the bottom of the first even as Byron Buxton was announced as an All-Star starter in replacement of Mike Trout and his injury. Buxton himself struck out to end the inning while he remained unaware of the news. Archer continued to dominate through the next two innings for the Twins retiring seven straight. He totaled 38 pitches through the first three innings of the game keeping a pace to give the Twins bullpen much-needed rest. The Twins bats couldn’t keep up with Archer’s dominance on the mound as White Sox starter Dylan Cease no-hit the Twins through the first three innings, only allowing one base runner on a Jorge Polanco walk. The top of the fourth saw Archer allow just his second base runner of the game on an Abreu two-out base hit that ended up going nowhere as Archer struck out Gavin Sheets to end the inning. Archer ran into trouble against the White Sox in the top of the fifth with two outs on three pitches. Archer walked catcher Seby Zavala and gave up a single to Adam Engel in the next at-bat. Both runners were able to score on an error by Nick Gordon in left field recovering the ball. Zavala and Engel would go on to score in the next at-bat as Tim Anderson had a two-RBI single. What was looking to be the first time all season Archer could go into the sixth inning was shut down by Yoan Moncada as he hit a ground-rule double, tallying Archer’s to 68 and 16 since he recorded the second out in the fifth. Tyler Duffey was called upon from the bullpen to get the Twins out of the fifth. Duffey gave up another RBI double in the first at-bat to Vaughn but was able to get out of the troubling inning by retiring Abreu on a 6-4 ground out. What began as a pitchers duel in the fifth ended in a clear lead for the Sox as they were now up 4-0 going to the bottom of the fifth. Cease continued his no-hit bid in the bottom of the fifth getting Kepler on a ground out back to him to start the inning. He then walked Polanco again and gave up the first Twins hit of the afternoon to Alex Kirilloff in the next at-bat. Neither Polanco or Kirilloff would make their way home to score as Cease struck out the final two batters of the inning to get out of the jam. Caleb Thielbar was on the mound for the Twins in the sixth and allowed only one base runner on a Josh Harrison single but kept him from advancing any further. The Twins could not get anything going again in the sixth as Cease was on a crusade to prove he should be in Los Angeles Tuesday for the All-Star Game. Even if he wouldn’t be able to pitch in the game. Joe Smith was next from the Twins bullpen for the 7th inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Engel and retired Anderson on a ground out. But what followed were back-to-back home runs to Moncada and Vaughn to put the Sox up 7-0. Then it was an Abreu single and a team conference on the mound with the infield for Smith. The mound visit with the infield seemed to have little help as Smith walked Sheets next and well, Smith wanted to quickly forget what happened next. Another home run, this time a three-run shot to Josh Harrison that traveled to left field put the White Sox up 10-0. The home run removed Smith from the game and was the third he gave up in the inning, only managing to retire one batter in the seventh. A bit of good did come for the Twins to start the top of the 8th. Caleb Hamilton, who was called up from St. Paul on Friday as Ryan Jeffers was put on the IL, made his MLB debut as a defensive sub for Gary Sanchez at catcher. Hamilton caught Jharel Cotton for the eighth. Cotton’s inning was a continuing example of how worn out this Twins pitching staff has been since the start of June. Cotton surrendered a leadoff double to Reese McGuire, who pinch hit for Tim Anderson, and walked Vaughn who reached base for the fourth time in the game. It took Cotton 32 pitches to retire three outs in the eighth. The upside for Cotton and the entire Twins pen today? They are all off until next Saturday. The eighth ended on a nice snagging catch from Gilberto Celestino in center, who came into the game as Buxton departed for Los Angeles to start in the All Star Game Tuesday. The Twins caught their first break of the day in the bottom of the eighth. Miranda drew a one-out walk from Joe Kelly and what looked to be a fielder's choice that got Miranda out at second and Gordon safe at first. Was eventually overturned to be a FC, E6 as Garcia, now at short, never touched second base. This brought up Caleb Hamilton for his first MLB at-bat with two runners on and no one out, and Hamilton hit into another fielder's choice, but at least moved the runners into scoring position with two out for Arraez. Unfortunately, no one scored as Arraez grounded out to second to end the inning. The ninth was another relief appearance from Emilio Pagan who gave up one more run to the Sox. Kyle Garlick got a hit in his only at-bat of the game but did not score as White Sox reliever Jose Ruiz retired the final three batters to end the game. What’s Next? The Twins go into the All Star Break and are off until Saturday, July 23 for a quick two-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Joe Ryan is likely to get the start as the Twins turn to a four man rotation of Ryan, Gray, Bundy and Archer to finish out the month of July and start the second half. First pitch for Saturday’s game is at 5:10 p.m. CT. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Sheet View full article
  5. Coming into the weekend, Byron Buxton has put up a tremendous season so far. He’s 36% above league average offensively according to wRC+ and has topped his career-high in home runs, well on his way to over 40 despite regular rest days. That being said, it's been a puzzling season for the Twins' star center fielder. While we can’t complain about his performance to date, it is worth wondering about Buxton moving forward. The goal has always been to keep Byron Buxton healthy. Since 2019, he has been a well above league-average hitter whenever he’s been on the field. The Twins have accomplished that to an extent this season, as he’s avoided any IL trips thus far despite a few small injuries here and there leading to short absences. It’s widely understood that Buxton has been and will likely continue working through a chronic knee injury suffered in Boston back in April. Just something to keep in mind when looking at Buxton’s season. As you can see, Buxton’s season consists of incredibly high highs and incredibly low lows. It’s possible that these brutal streaks coincide with flare-ups of his ailing knee, an issue that unfortunately doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. One thing is for certain, however, after a shortened 2021 season in which he would have paced out as one of the best in baseball, he’s completely changed his approach. After an unbelievably well-rounded line of .306/.358/.647 in 2021, Buxton has essentially failed to provide anything at all at the plate aside from power. His .218 batting average is his worst mark since 2018 and his .293 OBP is his worst since 2020, a season in which he walked only 1.5% of the time. While he’s having a career year in terms of walk rate (7.9%), his strikeout rate of 28.2% is his highest since 2018 as well. His batting average on balls in play of .210 is also a career-worst by a long shot. Why might that be? After a shortened 2021 season in which Buxton was one of the best hitters in baseball, his flyball rate has absolutely exploded from 38.4 to 50.3%. To put it simply, in more than half of his batted ball events he’s hitting the ball in the air. 26.5% of those fly balls have found the seats, but the other 73.5% are easy outs. This increase in fly balls has come at the expense of his line drives, a batted ball type that typically rewards hitters league-wide with a near .700 batting average. It’s worth noting that Buxton’s quality of contact remains intact and has afforded him a .262 xBA and .358 xWOBA to this point, but it seems flyball-oriented hitters league wide have underperformed so far in 2022. Regarding the short term, it’s worth considering how such a flawed plate approach could affect him moving forward. Since May 11, Buxton is slashing .192/.273/.479, still a 110 wRC+, but nowhere near the superstar levels we’ve seen him achieve in the past. The entirety of that measure comes strictly from slugging percentage, as the batting average and on-base ability are quite frankly terrible. Masking those numbers are several high-profile home runs in the clutch, a trait that many believe isn’t a predictive or repeatable skill. His overall batting line wouldn’t change if just a few of his homers hadn’t come in such clutch spots, but would the perception around him change at all? In the long term, you have to desperately hope this change in approach isn’t an active choice that he intends to continue. We’ve seen that Buxton is still a valuable player while he’s selling out for fly balls, but becoming so one-dimension offensively cuts off any chance of being the MVP level player he’s capable of being. Furthermore, he’s able to take the mistakes he’s given and drive them over the fence regularly enough to mask his other deficiencies in 2022. What happens a few years down the road when that ability decreases with age? There’s no action to take with Byron Buxton at this time, and it’s incredibly hard to be dissatisfied with his season thus far. Still, it’s worth pointing out that there has been a major change in his approach this season that has made him a decidedly worse offensive player. This “sell out for fly balls” approach has resulted in just three more big flies than he had in a near-identical amount of plate appearances in 2021, and every other offensive stat of his has suffered greatly as a result. Hitting home runs is fun, but he’s going to have to continue to do so in high-leverage spots to make any meaningful contributions on offense. Perhaps it’s his knee injury, or perhaps it was an active choice to get the ball in the air as much as possible coming into the season. Either way, after several brutal stretches already this season followed by glimpses of what Byron Buxton can be, hopefully another change in approach is on the horizon. Perhaps it’s not fair to judge the way somebody achieves success. In Buxton’s case, however, it’s so hard to imagine why we’re seeing such a dramatic shift in approach coming off an MVP-caliber performance. Does this change in approach concern you? Are you happy to enjoy the big flies while they last and worry about the future when we get there? Let us know below!
  6. There’s no denying it, Byron Buxton has had a great season to date. Despite leading the team in all kinds of categories, it’s been a weird one. Is there any reason to worry about the Twins franchise icon moving forward? Coming into the weekend, Byron Buxton has put up a tremendous season so far. He’s 36% above league average offensively according to wRC+ and has topped his career-high in home runs, well on his way to over 40 despite regular rest days. That being said, it's been a puzzling season for the Twins' star center fielder. While we can’t complain about his performance to date, it is worth wondering about Buxton moving forward. The goal has always been to keep Byron Buxton healthy. Since 2019, he has been a well above league-average hitter whenever he’s been on the field. The Twins have accomplished that to an extent this season, as he’s avoided any IL trips thus far despite a few small injuries here and there leading to short absences. It’s widely understood that Buxton has been and will likely continue working through a chronic knee injury suffered in Boston back in April. Just something to keep in mind when looking at Buxton’s season. As you can see, Buxton’s season consists of incredibly high highs and incredibly low lows. It’s possible that these brutal streaks coincide with flare-ups of his ailing knee, an issue that unfortunately doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. One thing is for certain, however, after a shortened 2021 season in which he would have paced out as one of the best in baseball, he’s completely changed his approach. After an unbelievably well-rounded line of .306/.358/.647 in 2021, Buxton has essentially failed to provide anything at all at the plate aside from power. His .218 batting average is his worst mark since 2018 and his .293 OBP is his worst since 2020, a season in which he walked only 1.5% of the time. While he’s having a career year in terms of walk rate (7.9%), his strikeout rate of 28.2% is his highest since 2018 as well. His batting average on balls in play of .210 is also a career-worst by a long shot. Why might that be? After a shortened 2021 season in which Buxton was one of the best hitters in baseball, his flyball rate has absolutely exploded from 38.4 to 50.3%. To put it simply, in more than half of his batted ball events he’s hitting the ball in the air. 26.5% of those fly balls have found the seats, but the other 73.5% are easy outs. This increase in fly balls has come at the expense of his line drives, a batted ball type that typically rewards hitters league-wide with a near .700 batting average. It’s worth noting that Buxton’s quality of contact remains intact and has afforded him a .262 xBA and .358 xWOBA to this point, but it seems flyball-oriented hitters league wide have underperformed so far in 2022. Regarding the short term, it’s worth considering how such a flawed plate approach could affect him moving forward. Since May 11, Buxton is slashing .192/.273/.479, still a 110 wRC+, but nowhere near the superstar levels we’ve seen him achieve in the past. The entirety of that measure comes strictly from slugging percentage, as the batting average and on-base ability are quite frankly terrible. Masking those numbers are several high-profile home runs in the clutch, a trait that many believe isn’t a predictive or repeatable skill. His overall batting line wouldn’t change if just a few of his homers hadn’t come in such clutch spots, but would the perception around him change at all? In the long term, you have to desperately hope this change in approach isn’t an active choice that he intends to continue. We’ve seen that Buxton is still a valuable player while he’s selling out for fly balls, but becoming so one-dimension offensively cuts off any chance of being the MVP level player he’s capable of being. Furthermore, he’s able to take the mistakes he’s given and drive them over the fence regularly enough to mask his other deficiencies in 2022. What happens a few years down the road when that ability decreases with age? There’s no action to take with Byron Buxton at this time, and it’s incredibly hard to be dissatisfied with his season thus far. Still, it’s worth pointing out that there has been a major change in his approach this season that has made him a decidedly worse offensive player. This “sell out for fly balls” approach has resulted in just three more big flies than he had in a near-identical amount of plate appearances in 2021, and every other offensive stat of his has suffered greatly as a result. Hitting home runs is fun, but he’s going to have to continue to do so in high-leverage spots to make any meaningful contributions on offense. Perhaps it’s his knee injury, or perhaps it was an active choice to get the ball in the air as much as possible coming into the season. Either way, after several brutal stretches already this season followed by glimpses of what Byron Buxton can be, hopefully another change in approach is on the horizon. Perhaps it’s not fair to judge the way somebody achieves success. In Buxton’s case, however, it’s so hard to imagine why we’re seeing such a dramatic shift in approach coming off an MVP-caliber performance. Does this change in approach concern you? Are you happy to enjoy the big flies while they last and worry about the future when we get there? Let us know below! View full article
  7. The Twins series vs the Yankees ran the gauntlet of outcomes: Game 1 the Yankees won handily, Game 2 the Twins pummeled the Yankees, and Game 3 was a neck-and-neck match in which the Bronx Bombers prevailed. What should Twins fans take away from this series? Here are a few of my observations from being in the stands for these three games and a reason to walk away with some optimism. 1. The Twins can beat the Yankees. I repeat, the Twins can beat the Yankees- Never mind that pesky postseason losing streak or the Twins’ record vs the Yankees (now 38-111 since 2002). After the Game 2 blowout win, my main takeaway: was that that hard? The Twins not only beat the AL-leading Yankees on Wednesday night (a feat that has been built up in the minds of Twins fans to be an almost-impossible task) they clobbered them. The series finale on Thursday also was primed to be to be the best Twins game seen in recent years: the Twins started off with back-to-back-to-back home runs off Gerrit Cole and the Yankees of all teams. Even though the Yankees ultimately rallied past the Twins on Thursday due to bullpen woes, there is a lot from this series for Twins fans to feel good about: the Twins tagged Yankees stars Nestor Cortes and Cole for season-high ER totals. Chris Archer looked solid for a second-straight start. Jose Miranda had his first 3-hit game of his young career. Byron Buxton is now undoubtably back from his 0-30 slump. The Bomba Squad made its return on Thursday with 5 home runs, all against Cole. In sum, despite walking away with just one win, the Twins came to play this series, especially offensively, where traditionally vs the Yankees the hitting has disappeared. This is especially impressive considering how incredibly depleted the Twins' starting rotation is (surely, pitching Cole Sands, Archer, and Dylan Bundy vs. the likes of Cortes and Cole wasn't in the Twins' master plan). I'm not trying to claim moral victories, but with how big of a Goliath the Yankees are built up to be by the Twins, perhaps we need them. The Yankees are the best team in the American League, and the Twins proved this series they can play right with them. This team can and has beaten the Yankees and could do so in the upcoming postseason if the teams' paths crossed, especially with Joe Ryan back in the starting rotation and the addition of some other arms. 2. Twins fans aren’t quite sure how to feel about Josh Donaldson- Ever since Josh Donaldson was traded to the Yankees, bits and pieces have emerged that seem to suggest Donaldson might have a bit of a negative influence in the clubhouse. A “cancer,” if you will. However, Donaldson was traded to the Yankees, he didn’t leave, and he says he does not regret his time with Minnesota (though he didn’t mind being traded to New York either). This means no hard feelings from Twins fans, right? Mostly, The homecoming of the now-beardless Donaldson left Twins fans unsure of exactly how to react: his at bats were met with some muted boos, but the jeers were quiet and even a bit apathetic. Though Donaldson's legacy with the Twins is up for debate, and he has captured some national attention with his spat with the White Sox's Tim Anderson recently, he has not become a maligned figure here quite yet, 3. Stadium attendance is heating up- Finally, after months of mostly-empty stands, Twins fans returned to the stadium in droves this series. Beautiful weather, school getting out for the summer, and the hated Yankees being in town certainly contributed. The series' best attendance was seen on Tuesday night, Prince Night, which featured a giveaway t-shirt and a special ticket package with a Prince jacket. However, a large portion of the fans in the stands for all three games were donning pinstripes and Aaron Judge jerseys. Where all these Yankees fans come from, I don't know either, but at times when Joey Gallo or Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run, it almost felt like Target Field was transported to the Bronx. Of note, the Twins are running more deals coming up, including a "Vote Early, Vote Often" campaign for All Star voting, which provides fans with cheap ticket incentives for voting. Notably, any fan who votes at least 100 times before 1:00 p.m. CT on Thursday, June 30 will be able to purchase up to eight $1 tickets for a Twins game. So, the Twins emerge from this series with a mixed bag of results. Until we meet again, Yankees, but even if it's in the postseason, I think the Twins will be in good shape. View full article
  8. 1. The Twins can beat the Yankees. I repeat, the Twins can beat the Yankees- Never mind that pesky postseason losing streak or the Twins’ record vs the Yankees (now 38-111 since 2002). After the Game 2 blowout win, my main takeaway: was that that hard? The Twins not only beat the AL-leading Yankees on Wednesday night (a feat that has been built up in the minds of Twins fans to be an almost-impossible task) they clobbered them. The series finale on Thursday also was primed to be to be the best Twins game seen in recent years: the Twins started off with back-to-back-to-back home runs off Gerrit Cole and the Yankees of all teams. Even though the Yankees ultimately rallied past the Twins on Thursday due to bullpen woes, there is a lot from this series for Twins fans to feel good about: the Twins tagged Yankees stars Nestor Cortes and Cole for season-high ER totals. Chris Archer looked solid for a second-straight start. Jose Miranda had his first 3-hit game of his young career. Byron Buxton is now undoubtably back from his 0-30 slump. The Bomba Squad made its return on Thursday with 5 home runs, all against Cole. In sum, despite walking away with just one win, the Twins came to play this series, especially offensively, where traditionally vs the Yankees the hitting has disappeared. This is especially impressive considering how incredibly depleted the Twins' starting rotation is (surely, pitching Cole Sands, Archer, and Dylan Bundy vs. the likes of Cortes and Cole wasn't in the Twins' master plan). I'm not trying to claim moral victories, but with how big of a Goliath the Yankees are built up to be by the Twins, perhaps we need them. The Yankees are the best team in the American League, and the Twins proved this series they can play right with them. This team can and has beaten the Yankees and could do so in the upcoming postseason if the teams' paths crossed, especially with Joe Ryan back in the starting rotation and the addition of some other arms. 2. Twins fans aren’t quite sure how to feel about Josh Donaldson- Ever since Josh Donaldson was traded to the Yankees, bits and pieces have emerged that seem to suggest Donaldson might have a bit of a negative influence in the clubhouse. A “cancer,” if you will. However, Donaldson was traded to the Yankees, he didn’t leave, and he says he does not regret his time with Minnesota (though he didn’t mind being traded to New York either). This means no hard feelings from Twins fans, right? Mostly, The homecoming of the now-beardless Donaldson left Twins fans unsure of exactly how to react: his at bats were met with some muted boos, but the jeers were quiet and even a bit apathetic. Though Donaldson's legacy with the Twins is up for debate, and he has captured some national attention with his spat with the White Sox's Tim Anderson recently, he has not become a maligned figure here quite yet, 3. Stadium attendance is heating up- Finally, after months of mostly-empty stands, Twins fans returned to the stadium in droves this series. Beautiful weather, school getting out for the summer, and the hated Yankees being in town certainly contributed. The series' best attendance was seen on Tuesday night, Prince Night, which featured a giveaway t-shirt and a special ticket package with a Prince jacket. However, a large portion of the fans in the stands for all three games were donning pinstripes and Aaron Judge jerseys. Where all these Yankees fans come from, I don't know either, but at times when Joey Gallo or Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run, it almost felt like Target Field was transported to the Bronx. Of note, the Twins are running more deals coming up, including a "Vote Early, Vote Often" campaign for All Star voting, which provides fans with cheap ticket incentives for voting. Notably, any fan who votes at least 100 times before 1:00 p.m. CT on Thursday, June 30 will be able to purchase up to eight $1 tickets for a Twins game. So, the Twins emerge from this series with a mixed bag of results. Until we meet again, Yankees, but even if it's in the postseason, I think the Twins will be in good shape.
  9. Despite a flurry of middle-inning runs, five solo homers from the Orioles plagued the Twins from getting a series victory in Baltimore before heading home to Minneapolis. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (76 pitches, 52 strikes (68.4%)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran (-0.263), Gio Urshela (-0.2.52), Jorge Polanco (-0.80) Game Score: Orioles 5, Twins 3 Game Notes Alongside Rocco Baldelli, Luis Arraez and Dylan Bundy tested positive for Covid prior to Thursday night's game. Bench Coach Jayce Tingler filled in as manager for Thursday's game. Star shortstop Carlos Correa left the game in the seventh inning after being hit in the wrist and hand in consecutive at-bats. Nick Gordon replaced Correa. Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins got on the board in the third inning thanks to a pair of singles, an error, and a force out. Trevor Larnach led off the inning with a sharp single to right that was followed by a blooper single courtesy of Jose Miranda. Larnach advanced on the hit to second and later to third on a Baltimore throwing error. The error would cost the Orioles. On the next at-bat, Byron Buxton grounded into a force out that scored Larnach from third. Miranda's hit was the second of his young MLB career. In a world of quick judgment, it should be applauded that Miranda has two hits in his first three MLB games. Buxton's third-inning RBI was just the start. After a Ryan Jeffers walk, Buxton crushed his eighth homer of the year over the infamous left-field wall at Camden Yards to give the Twins a 3-2 lead. Buxton's launch came off the bat at 113 MPH and traveled a whopping 452 feet. Buxton is tied for second-most homers among all of MLB so far this season. Starting pitcher Chris Archer lasted four innings on the night, giving up five hits. The two runs that he surrendered came on solo home runs from the Orioles. Archer struck out six and failed to give up a walk in an outing that was mostly admirable minus the two homers. Caleb Thielbar followed Archer in the pen and was solid minus a solo shot given up to Jorge Mateo. Thielbar hit his target on the 1-2 pitch but Mateo eyed the pitch well and won the battle. Griffin Jax followed Thielbar and kept the Orioles from scoring through 1 2/3 innings. Flamethrower Jhoan Duran followed suit to finish off the inning in the seventh, but the haunting of the solo shot returned in the eighth. Ryan Hayes launched a go-ahead homer to put the O's ahead and Ryan Mountcastle followed suit with his second shot of the day to give Baltimore a 5-3 lead that would hold to the end. What’s Next? After a 4-3 road trip, the first place Twins will return home to Target Field to take on the Oakland A's tomorrow evening at 7:10 pm CST. Young sensation Josh Winder (1-0, 2.20 ERA) will make his second MLB start against Oakland's Cole Irvin (2-1, 2.93 ERA). It's supposed to be a beautiful evening, buy your tickets here! Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  10. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (76 pitches, 52 strikes (68.4%)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Jhoan Duran (-0.263), Gio Urshela (-0.2.52), Jorge Polanco (-0.80) Game Score: Orioles 5, Twins 3 Game Notes Alongside Rocco Baldelli, Luis Arraez and Dylan Bundy tested positive for Covid prior to Thursday night's game. Bench Coach Jayce Tingler filled in as manager for Thursday's game. Star shortstop Carlos Correa left the game in the seventh inning after being hit in the wrist and hand in consecutive at-bats. Nick Gordon replaced Correa. Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins got on the board in the third inning thanks to a pair of singles, an error, and a force out. Trevor Larnach led off the inning with a sharp single to right that was followed by a blooper single courtesy of Jose Miranda. Larnach advanced on the hit to second and later to third on a Baltimore throwing error. The error would cost the Orioles. On the next at-bat, Byron Buxton grounded into a force out that scored Larnach from third. Miranda's hit was the second of his young MLB career. In a world of quick judgment, it should be applauded that Miranda has two hits in his first three MLB games. Buxton's third-inning RBI was just the start. After a Ryan Jeffers walk, Buxton crushed his eighth homer of the year over the infamous left-field wall at Camden Yards to give the Twins a 3-2 lead. Buxton's launch came off the bat at 113 MPH and traveled a whopping 452 feet. Buxton is tied for second-most homers among all of MLB so far this season. Starting pitcher Chris Archer lasted four innings on the night, giving up five hits. The two runs that he surrendered came on solo home runs from the Orioles. Archer struck out six and failed to give up a walk in an outing that was mostly admirable minus the two homers. Caleb Thielbar followed Archer in the pen and was solid minus a solo shot given up to Jorge Mateo. Thielbar hit his target on the 1-2 pitch but Mateo eyed the pitch well and won the battle. Griffin Jax followed Thielbar and kept the Orioles from scoring through 1 2/3 innings. Flamethrower Jhoan Duran followed suit to finish off the inning in the seventh, but the haunting of the solo shot returned in the eighth. Ryan Hayes launched a go-ahead homer to put the O's ahead and Ryan Mountcastle followed suit with his second shot of the day to give Baltimore a 5-3 lead that would hold to the end. What’s Next? After a 4-3 road trip, the first place Twins will return home to Target Field to take on the Oakland A's tomorrow evening at 7:10 pm CST. Young sensation Josh Winder (1-0, 2.20 ERA) will make his second MLB start against Oakland's Cole Irvin (2-1, 2.93 ERA). It's supposed to be a beautiful evening, buy your tickets here! Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  11. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan. 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (65 pitches, 57 strikes, 67%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.383), Emilio Pagan (.181), Joe Smith (.137) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Joe Ryan Experience was in mid-season form on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. Coming off a stellar start at Fenway on April 15th, the young Twins' ace mirrored his performance in America's Heartland...only better. Ryan notched his first shutout appearance of the season against the Royals, giving up only two hits to a sneaky-good Kansas City offense. The only two hits for the Royals came on a Michael Taylor single in the third inning and a one-out Andrew Benintendi triple in the fourth. And while the fourth inning triple provided a threat, Nick Gordon caught a Salvador Perez pop-out in center field and gunned Benintendi out at the plate to extinguish the fire. Ryan may not have the 'ace aura' that is associated with a team's top arm, but the numbers shun the doubters. Through three starts and 14 innings, the San Francisco native has held hitters to a .168 batting average with 11 strikeouts and just four walks. All signs are pointing towards an incredible 2022 season for the 25-year-old. The Twins' offense was far from perfect but showed great poise after a pair of dry games at the plate. The one through five hitters in the Twins batting order each notched singles along with two from nine-hitter Nick Gordon. Trevor Larnach continued his impressive start to the season when he roped a line-drive single to left field in the seventh inning. Despite an overall offensive slump from the team, Larnach's start to the season has been incredibly promising. Buck BACK! Just one week after a frightening injury while sliding into second base, franchise staple Byron Buxton returned to the lineup in the DH role on Thursday. Buxton laced a single in the fifth inning that sent Nick Gordon to third and reinstated his hitting ways. As noted on the broadcast from Dick Bremer, the combo of Nick Gordon and Buxton as nine-hitter and leadoff man has the potential to be incredibly exciting. Bullpen Rolls While the Twins' offense continues to warm up, the pitching staff has done an incredible job pulling their weight. The bullpen was no exception in the late innings on Thursday afternoon. The legend of Jhoan Duran pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning with a pair of strikeouts on just 15 pitches. There's no doubt that the organization has found Duran's home as a rock-solid, late-inning flame thrower. Submariner Joe Smith followed suit with a scoreless eighth inning while Emilio Pagan garnered his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning. What's Next? After a week-long road trip, the Twins head back home to Target Field to take on division-foe Chicago at 7:10 pm CST. Bailey Ober (1-1, 3.27 ERA) will square off against Michael Kopech (0-0, 1.00 ERA) in a matchup between arguably the two best teams in the AL Central. It's also Grateful Dead night..buy those tickets! Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  12. Anchored by another stellar outing from Joe Ryan, the Twins scrapped past the Royals on Thursday afternoon thanks to eight singles. Here's what you need to know. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan. 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (65 pitches, 57 strikes, 67%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.383), Emilio Pagan (.181), Joe Smith (.137) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Joe Ryan Experience was in mid-season form on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. Coming off a stellar start at Fenway on April 15th, the young Twins' ace mirrored his performance in America's Heartland...only better. Ryan notched his first shutout appearance of the season against the Royals, giving up only two hits to a sneaky-good Kansas City offense. The only two hits for the Royals came on a Michael Taylor single in the third inning and a one-out Andrew Benintendi triple in the fourth. And while the fourth inning triple provided a threat, Nick Gordon caught a Salvador Perez pop-out in center field and gunned Benintendi out at the plate to extinguish the fire. Ryan may not have the 'ace aura' that is associated with a team's top arm, but the numbers shun the doubters. Through three starts and 14 innings, the San Francisco native has held hitters to a .168 batting average with 11 strikeouts and just four walks. All signs are pointing towards an incredible 2022 season for the 25-year-old. The Twins' offense was far from perfect but showed great poise after a pair of dry games at the plate. The one through five hitters in the Twins batting order each notched singles along with two from nine-hitter Nick Gordon. Trevor Larnach continued his impressive start to the season when he roped a line-drive single to left field in the seventh inning. Despite an overall offensive slump from the team, Larnach's start to the season has been incredibly promising. Buck BACK! Just one week after a frightening injury while sliding into second base, franchise staple Byron Buxton returned to the lineup in the DH role on Thursday. Buxton laced a single in the fifth inning that sent Nick Gordon to third and reinstated his hitting ways. As noted on the broadcast from Dick Bremer, the combo of Nick Gordon and Buxton as nine-hitter and leadoff man has the potential to be incredibly exciting. Bullpen Rolls While the Twins' offense continues to warm up, the pitching staff has done an incredible job pulling their weight. The bullpen was no exception in the late innings on Thursday afternoon. The legend of Jhoan Duran pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning with a pair of strikeouts on just 15 pitches. There's no doubt that the organization has found Duran's home as a rock-solid, late-inning flame thrower. Submariner Joe Smith followed suit with a scoreless eighth inning while Emilio Pagan garnered his first save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning. What's Next? After a week-long road trip, the Twins head back home to Target Field to take on division-foe Chicago at 7:10 pm CST. Bailey Ober (1-1, 3.27 ERA) will square off against Michael Kopech (0-0, 1.00 ERA) in a matchup between arguably the two best teams in the AL Central. It's also Grateful Dead night..buy those tickets! Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  13. While I am still working toward completing the 2020 Twins Prospect Handbook, I am putting together my official 2020 Twins preseason Top 50 prospect rankings. In the Handbook, you can see my official prospect rankings dating back over 15 years. But I thought it might be fun to look back at the past decade and try to rank the top Twins prospects of the decade. To do so, I considered several sources. First and foremost, I looked at my Top 30 Twins prospect rankings from the last ten years. I also considered how the players ranked nationally. And then, I tossed in some opinion too. I hope you enjoy the rankings, and just as much, I hope you have some good memories as you think back to prospects past, guys who made it and guys who didn’t. Let’s start with some guys who just missed the list: Honorable Mention Max Kepler - Baseball America ranked him #30 before the 2016 season. One of the best European players of all-time already, Kepler signed in 2009. His 2015 season was one of the best that I can recall. Wander Javier - Signed to a $4 million signing bonus in 2015, he has shown talent and athleticism. He just hasn’t had the ability to stay on the field much. Baseball America ranked him #95 prior to the 2018 season. Jorge Polanco - Another international signing from 2009, Polanco is the longest-tenured player in the Twins organization, a few days longer than Max Kepler. Polanco was signed as a smooth infielder, but when he reached Cedar Rapids, it was his bat that took off. Before the 2016 season, he ranked #99 by Baseball America. Fernando Romero - Before the 2018, MLB.com ranked Romero the #68 prospect in baseball. He made his debut that season. He missed two years of development due to Tommy John surgery or it’s quite possible that he would have had more time to rank high nationally. Brusdar Graterol - Like Romero, Graterol missed about two seasons due to Tommy John surgery, but when he came back, he was hitting triple digits and people noticed. After staying healthy throughout the 2018 season, he ranked #33 by Baseball Prospectus and #55 by Baseball America. He should rank high again in 2020. Oswaldo Arcia - The Twins signed Arcia early. He put up huge numbers in the lower levels and then flew up the ladder. Baseball America ranked him #43 before the 2013 season. He hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2016. He’s just 28 years old. Brent Rooker - The Twins liked Rooker enough to draft him twice. Since the 2017 draft, he has moved up the ladder very quickly and is at the cusp of the big leagues.Baseball America ranked him #92 before the 2018 season. He spent 2019 in Rochester. Eddie Rosario - Rosario was the Twins fourth-round draft pick in 2010 and he has been hitting ever since. While Baseball American never put him in their Top 100, Baseball Prospectus ranked him #87 in 2012 and #60 before 2014. Kohl Stewart - The fourth-overall pick in the 2014 draft was a Top 100 prospect by Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus before the 2014 and/or 2015 season, ranking 28th on BP’s pre-2015 rankings. He struggled to get strikeouts but limited damage. He signed with the Orioles earlier this week. Joe Benson - Benson was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2006. A great athlete, he had great speed and power potential. He ranked 100th by Baseball American before the 2011 season and 99th before the 2012 season. He spent that September with the Twins and never got back to the big leagues. Lewis Thorpe - The Twins signed him from Australia. Baseball Prospectus ranked him #101 in 2014 and #91 before the 2015 season. He missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery. Since his return, he has pitched well and debuted in 2019. --------------------------------------------------------- #10 - Stephen Gonsalves The Twins selected Gonsalves from his southern California high school in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. While he wasn’t a flamethrower, Gonsalves simply put up numbers. In Low A, he went 8-4 with a 1.96 ERA. He had 121 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings. In Ft. Myers, he went 12-6 with a 2.48 ERA. In 145 innings, he struck out 121 batters. In AA, he went 19-4 with a 2.35 ERA. He had 213 strikeouts in 184 innings. In AAA, he went 10-6 with a 3.46 ERA. He had 119 strikeouts in 125 innings. He went 2-2 with the Twins late in the 2018 season. He missed most of 2019 with forearm and elbow issues. The Twins tried to sneak him through waivers after the season, but the New York Mets claimed him. Before the 2017 season, he ranked #99 by Baseball America. A year later, he ranked #97. MLB.com ranked him #78 before the 2018 season. Seth Rankings: 2014 (13), 2015 (15), 2016 (6), 2017 (1), 2018 (2), 2019 (10) #9 - Nick Gordon Gordon was the Twins top pick, fifth overall, in the 2014 draft. Along with genetics, he has a lot of talent. He’s got a smooth, line-drive swing and uses the whole field well. He’s athletic. He’s not as fast as his brother Dee, but he does have a little more power (though not much). He had a solid season in Rochester in 2019. Unfortunately he missed a lot of time with a knee injury. Prospect rankings love him. He was a Top 100 prospect before the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. He ranked #33 by MLB.com before the 2015 season. He ranked #35 by Baseball Prospectus before the 2018 season. Seth Rankings: 2015 (4), 2016 (4), 2017 (4), 2018 (3), 2019 (12) #8 - Kyle Gibson Gibson was the Twins first-round draft pick in 2009 (21st overall) out of Missouri. He made his pro debut in 2010 and pitched in Ft. Myers, New Britain and Rochester. He was on the verge of his big league debut. Before the 2011 season, Baseball America ranked him as the #34 prospect in baseball. Unfortunately, in late 2011, he had Tommy John surgery. He returned late in 2012. Before the 2013 season, Baseball America ranked him #68. Baseball Prospectus ranked him #64 and MLB.com had him ranked #49. Seth Rankings: 2010 (5), 2011 (1), 2012 (7), 2013 (6) #7 - Aaron Hicks Hicks was the 14th overall pick in 2008. He began appearing on prospect rankings in 2009. His prospect status peaked before the 2010 season when Baseball America ranked him #19 and Baseball Prospectus ranked #26. While he dropped out of the Top 100 before the 2012 season, he jumped back in before the 2013 season when he made his MLB debut. His combination of power and speed with a big arm and great centerfield defense made him intriguing to the Twins and scouts around the game. It took a little time for it to come together, but it certainly did. Seth Rankings: 2010 (1), 2011 (3), 2012 (4), 2013 (5) #6 - Alex Meyer It was well known that the Nationals really wanted Denard Span from the Twins, enough that they were willing to deal former first-round pick Alex Meyer straight-up for him following the 2012 season. At the time, Meyer was a consensus Top 100 prospect. At 6-9 with a fastball in the upper-90s, teams knew he was raw but had potential to become a top-of-rotation starter. A year later, he ranked even higher, and before the 2015 season, he was the 14th prospect (overall) by Baseball Prospectus. He pitched in four games for the Twins before being traded at the July 2016 deadline. He retired from baseball after a series of shoulder injuries after the 2019 season . Seth Rankings: 2013 (4), 2014 (3), 2015 (6), 2016 (14) #5 - Alex Kirilloff Kirilloff was the Twins top pick in 2016 (15th overall) out of high school. MLB.come ranked him #98 after that season, but he missed the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2018 and put together one of the best minor league seasons you’ll ever see, splitting his season in half between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit for average (.348) and power (44 doubles, 7 triples and 20 home runs). Before the 2019 season, MLB.com ranked him #9 while Baseball America ranked him at #15. Seth Rankings: 2017 (3), 2018 (5), 2019 (2), #4 - Jose Berrios Berrios was the Twins supplemental first-round draft pick (#32 overall) in the 2012 draft. While he was a high draft choice, he was seen as a very raw prospect. Some saw him as a back-of-rotation starter. But as Berrios continued to put up strong numbers throughout the minor leagues, and his workouts became well known, his prospect status rose. He was Top 100 by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus. Before the 2015 season, all three national sites put him in their Top 50 prospects and kept him there before the 2016 season too. MLB.com and BP ranked him in their Top 20 before 2016. Seth Rankings: 2013 (8), 2014 (7), 2015 (3), 2016 (2) photo by Steve Buhr #3 - Royce Lewis Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra High School. He put up strong numbers that summer between the GCL and Cedar Rapids. Before the 2018 season, he ranked between #20 and #27 in the three national rankings. In 2018, he put together a strong season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, helping both to the playoffs and the Miracle to a Florida State League title. He showed he can play shortstop, hit and hit for power. Before the 2019 season, he was Top 10 in each. MLB.com ranked him highest at #5. He struggled with the bat in 2019, so he’ll likely drop some in the rankings, but he will still be in the Top 50 and should be much higher. Seth Rankings: 2018 (1), 2019 (1) #2 - Miguel Sano The Twins signed Sano in October 2009 from the Dominican. He was already the star of a documentary telling his unusual story and making him a known commodity around the baseball world. Before even playing a game as a pro, Baseball Prospectus ranked him #35. Even after missing the 2014 season with Tommy John surgery, Sano remained one of baseball’s top prospects. Baseball America ranked him in their Top 100 each year from 2010 through 2015. Four of those years he was Top 20, and twice he was in their Top 10. Baseball Prospectus also ranked him six straight seasons. He never got into their Top 10, but three of the years he ranked between 12 and 14. Lowest they ranked him was #31. MLB.com didn’t add him to their Top 100 until before the 2012 season. At that time, he ranked #23. Before the 2014 season, he reached #4 in their rankings. What made Sano so intriguing was his power potential, and we certainly have seen that! Seth Rankings: 2010 (3), 2011 (2), 2012 (1), 2013 (1), 2014 (2), 2015 (2) #1 - Byron Buxton Byron Buxton was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft out of high school in Georgia. Buxton was as toolsy as any player or prospect. He hit. He had some power. He played elite defense and had a strong, powerful arm. Not only did he have all the tools, but he put up huge numbers. In 2013, he hit .334 with 19 doubles, 17 triples and 12 homers between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He also stole 55 bases. Baseball America named him the minor league player of the year. Before the 2014 season, he was the consensus #1 prospect in baseball. He continued to impress as he climbed the ladder. Before the 2015 season, he ranked #1 by MLB.com and BP while Baseball American ranked him #2. Before the 2016, he ranked #2 across the board. In 2017, he won the American League Platinum Glove Award. In 2019, we saw him put it all together for the first half of the season. When he is healthy, he is as talented and impactful as any player in baseball … not named Mike Trout, of course. Seth Twins Rankings: 2013 (2), 2014 (1), 2015 (1), 2016 (1) -------------------------------------------------------- So there you have it… My Top 10 Twins Prospects of the Decade. What do you think? It really is an impressive group of prospects and many of them (and some of the Honorable Mentions too) have achieved success in the big leagues. Another theme is that the Twins have seen injuries affect so many of these players’ careers. Tommy John for pitchers and hitters. But the Twins have had a lot of talent and still more talent on the way. How would you rank these prospects? Did I miss anyone?
  14. Each year, you can find Top Prospect rankings and articles for your favorite team. The national sites post them. Your favorite Twins bloggers will write up their rankings. Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the Twins top prospects of this past decade. How would you rank them?While I am still working toward completing the 2020 Twins Prospect Handbook, I am putting together my official 2020 Twins preseason Top 50 prospect rankings. In the Handbook, you can see my official prospect rankings dating back over 15 years. But I thought it might be fun to look back at the past decade and try to rank the top Twins prospects of the decade. To do so, I considered several sources. First and foremost, I looked at my Top 30 Twins prospect rankings from the last ten years. I also considered how the players ranked nationally. And then, I tossed in some opinion too. I hope you enjoy the rankings, and just as much, I hope you have some good memories as you think back to prospects past, guys who made it and guys who didn’t. Let’s start with some guys who just missed the list: Honorable Mention Max Kepler - Baseball America ranked him #30 before the 2016 season. One of the best European players of all-time already, Kepler signed in 2009. His 2015 season was one of the best that I can recall.Wander Javier - Signed to a $4 million signing bonus in 2015, he has shown talent and athleticism. He just hasn’t had the ability to stay on the field much. Baseball America ranked him #95 prior to the 2018 season.Jorge Polanco - Another international signing from 2009, Polanco is the longest-tenured player in the Twins organization, a few days longer than Max Kepler. Polanco was signed as a smooth infielder, but when he reached Cedar Rapids, it was his bat that took off. Before the 2016 season, he ranked #99 by Baseball America.Fernando Romero - Before the 2018, MLB.com ranked Romero the #68 prospect in baseball. He made his debut that season. He missed two years of development due to Tommy John surgery or it’s quite possible that he would have had more time to rank high nationally.Brusdar Graterol - Like Romero, Graterol missed about two seasons due to Tommy John surgery, but when he came back, he was hitting triple digits and people noticed. After staying healthy throughout the 2018 season, he ranked #33 by Baseball Prospectus and #55 by Baseball America. He should rank high again in 2020.Oswaldo Arcia - The Twins signed Arcia early. He put up huge numbers in the lower levels and then flew up the ladder. Baseball America ranked him #43 before the 2013 season. He hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2016. He’s just 28 years old.Brent Rooker - The Twins liked Rooker enough to draft him twice. Since the 2017 draft, he has moved up the ladder very quickly and is at the cusp of the big leagues.Baseball America ranked him #92 before the 2018 season. He spent 2019 in Rochester.Eddie Rosario - Rosario was the Twins fourth-round draft pick in 2010 and he has been hitting ever since. While Baseball American never put him in their Top 100, Baseball Prospectus ranked him #87 in 2012 and #60 before 2014.Kohl Stewart - The fourth-overall pick in the 2014 draft was a Top 100 prospect by Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus before the 2014 and/or 2015 season, ranking 28th on BP’s pre-2015 rankings. He struggled to get strikeouts but limited damage. He signed with the Orioles earlier this week.Joe Benson - Benson was the Twins 2nd round pick in 2006. A great athlete, he had great speed and power potential. He ranked 100th by Baseball American before the 2011 season and 99th before the 2012 season. He spent that September with the Twins and never got back to the big leagues.Lewis Thorpe - The Twins signed him from Australia. Baseball Prospectus ranked him #101 in 2014 and #91 before the 2015 season. He missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery. Since his return, he has pitched well and debuted in 2019.--------------------------------------------------------- #10 - Stephen Gonsalves The Twins selected Gonsalves from his southern California high school in the fourth round of the 2014 draft. While he wasn’t a flamethrower, Gonsalves simply put up numbers. In Low A, he went 8-4 with a 1.96 ERA. He had 121 strikeouts in 91 2/3 innings. In Ft. Myers, he went 12-6 with a 2.48 ERA. In 145 innings, he struck out 121 batters. In AA, he went 19-4 with a 2.35 ERA. He had 213 strikeouts in 184 innings. In AAA, he went 10-6 with a 3.46 ERA. He had 119 strikeouts in 125 innings. He went 2-2 with the Twins late in the 2018 season. He missed most of 2019 with forearm and elbow issues. The Twins tried to sneak him through waivers after the season, but the New York Mets claimed him. Before the 2017 season, he ranked #99 by Baseball America. A year later, he ranked #97. MLB.com ranked him #78 before the 2018 season. Seth Rankings: 2014 (13), 2015 (15), 2016 (6), 2017 (1), 2018 (2), 2019 (10) #9 - Nick Gordon Gordon was the Twins top pick, fifth overall, in the 2014 draft. Along with genetics, he has a lot of talent. He’s got a smooth, line-drive swing and uses the whole field well. He’s athletic. He’s not as fast as his brother Dee, but he does have a little more power (though not much). He had a solid season in Rochester in 2019. Unfortunately he missed a lot of time with a knee injury. Prospect rankings love him. He was a Top 100 prospect before the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. He ranked #33 by MLB.com before the 2015 season. He ranked #35 by Baseball Prospectus before the 2018 season. Seth Rankings: 2015 (4), 2016 (4), 2017 (4), 2018 (3), 2019 (12) #8 - Kyle Gibson Gibson was the Twins first-round draft pick in 2009 (21st overall) out of Missouri. He made his pro debut in 2010 and pitched in Ft. Myers, New Britain and Rochester. He was on the verge of his big league debut. Before the 2011 season, Baseball America ranked him as the #34 prospect in baseball. Unfortunately, in late 2011, he had Tommy John surgery. He returned late in 2012. Before the 2013 season, Baseball America ranked him #68. Baseball Prospectus ranked him #64 and MLB.com had him ranked #49. Seth Rankings: 2010 (5), 2011 (1), 2012 (7), 2013 (6) #7 - Aaron Hicks Hicks was the 14th overall pick in 2008. He began appearing on prospect rankings in 2009. His prospect status peaked before the 2010 season when Baseball America ranked him #19 and Baseball Prospectus ranked #26. While he dropped out of the Top 100 before the 2012 season, he jumped back in before the 2013 season when he made his MLB debut. His combination of power and speed with a big arm and great centerfield defense made him intriguing to the Twins and scouts around the game. It took a little time for it to come together, but it certainly did. Seth Rankings: 2010 (1), 2011 (3), 2012 (4), 2013 (5) #6 - Alex Meyer It was well known that the Nationals really wanted Denard Span from the Twins, enough that they were willing to deal former first-round pick Alex Meyer straight-up for him following the 2012 season. At the time, Meyer was a consensus Top 100 prospect. At 6-9 with a fastball in the upper-90s, teams knew he was raw but had potential to become a top-of-rotation starter. A year later, he ranked even higher, and before the 2015 season, he was the 14th prospect (overall) by Baseball Prospectus. He pitched in four games for the Twins before being traded at the July 2016 deadline. He retired from baseball after a series of shoulder injuries after the 2019 season . Seth Rankings: 2013 (4), 2014 (3), 2015 (6), 2016 (14) #5 - Alex Kirilloff Kirilloff was the Twins top pick in 2016 (15th overall) out of high school. MLB.come ranked him #98 after that season, but he missed the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2018 and put together one of the best minor league seasons you’ll ever see, splitting his season in half between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He hit for average (.348) and power (44 doubles, 7 triples and 20 home runs). Before the 2019 season, MLB.com ranked him #9 while Baseball America ranked him at #15. Seth Rankings: 2017 (3), 2018 (5), 2019 (2), #4 - Jose Berrios Berrios was the Twins supplemental first-round draft pick (#32 overall) in the 2012 draft. While he was a high draft choice, he was seen as a very raw prospect. Some saw him as a back-of-rotation starter. But as Berrios continued to put up strong numbers throughout the minor leagues, and his workouts became well known, his prospect status rose. He was Top 100 by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus. Before the 2015 season, all three national sites put him in their Top 50 prospects and kept him there before the 2016 season too. MLB.com and BP ranked him in their Top 20 before 2016. Seth Rankings: 2013 (8), 2014 (7), 2015 (3), 2016 (2) photo by Steve Buhr #3 - Royce Lewis Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra High School. He put up strong numbers that summer between the GCL and Cedar Rapids. Before the 2018 season, he ranked between #20 and #27 in the three national rankings. In 2018, he put together a strong season between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers, helping both to the playoffs and the Miracle to a Florida State League title. He showed he can play shortstop, hit and hit for power. Before the 2019 season, he was Top 10 in each. MLB.com ranked him highest at #5. He struggled with the bat in 2019, so he’ll likely drop some in the rankings, but he will still be in the Top 50 and should be much higher. Seth Rankings: 2018 (1), 2019 (1) #2 - Miguel Sano The Twins signed Sano in October 2009 from the Dominican. He was already the star of a documentary telling his unusual story and making him a known commodity around the baseball world. Before even playing a game as a pro, Baseball Prospectus ranked him #35. Even after missing the 2014 season with Tommy John surgery, Sano remained one of baseball’s top prospects. Baseball America ranked him in their Top 100 each year from 2010 through 2015. Four of those years he was Top 20, and twice he was in their Top 10. Baseball Prospectus also ranked him six straight seasons. He never got into their Top 10, but three of the years he ranked between 12 and 14. Lowest they ranked him was #31. MLB.com didn’t add him to their Top 100 until before the 2012 season. At that time, he ranked #23. Before the 2014 season, he reached #4 in their rankings. What made Sano so intriguing was his power potential, and we certainly have seen that! Seth Rankings: 2010 (3), 2011 (2), 2012 (1), 2013 (1), 2014 (2), 2015 (2) #1 - Byron Buxton Byron Buxton was the second overall pick in the 2012 draft out of high school in Georgia. Buxton was as toolsy as any player or prospect. He hit. He had some power. He played elite defense and had a strong, powerful arm. Not only did he have all the tools, but he put up huge numbers. In 2013, he hit .334 with 19 doubles, 17 triples and 12 homers between Cedar Rapids and Ft. Myers. He also stole 55 bases. Baseball America named him the minor league player of the year. Before the 2014 season, he was the consensus #1 prospect in baseball. He continued to impress as he climbed the ladder. Before the 2015 season, he ranked #1 by MLB.com and BP while Baseball American ranked him #2. Before the 2016, he ranked #2 across the board. In 2017, he won the American League Platinum Glove Award. In 2019, we saw him put it all together for the first half of the season. When he is healthy, he is as talented and impactful as any player in baseball … not named Mike Trout, of course. Seth Twins Rankings: 2013 (2), 2014 (1), 2015 (1), 2016 (1) -------------------------------------------------------- So there you have it… My Top 10 Twins Prospects of the Decade. What do you think? It really is an impressive group of prospects and many of them (and some of the Honorable Mentions too) have achieved success in the big leagues. Another theme is that the Twins have seen injuries affect so many of these players’ careers. Tommy John for pitchers and hitters. But the Twins have had a lot of talent and still more talent on the way. How would you rank these prospects? Did I miss anyone? Click here to view the article
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