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  1. Twins Daily writer Theo Tollefson went out to CHS Field this weekend to sit down and talk with Twins top prospect Royce Lewis as Lewis reflected on playing consistently for the first time in two years, mentorship from Carlos Correa, and making the most of every day at the ballpark. After winning a game with the St. Paul Saints against the Iowa Cubs on Thursday evening (May 5), Royce Lewis drove back to his apartment to unwind like he usually does after a day at the ballpark; do laundry and play Call of Duty with his teammates. There was only one difference that night compared to others after a ball game. His manager Toby Gardenhire called him and Lewis presumed the call was about volunteer work he was scheduled to do with the team during the Twins Week of Service. Instead, it was something else entirely, the call every baseball player dreams of receiving one day. “Toby called, and he always calls me Lewis, and asked what was going on. I said I was playing games. I asked, ‘Do I have to come in early for some volunteer work because we have that Charity Week?’ He started laughing. Then I heard a bunch of other people in the background, and I thought that was kind of weird. He said, ‘All the coaches are here with me.’ Because I asked, ‘Are you guys trying to make fun of me or something?’ Did I mess up? And then he's like, ‘Well, no, if you stop talking, I have some good news for you. He told me that I was getting the call to the Big Leagues and I'd be a Big Leaguer tomorrow. I was really excited and definitely shocked and couldn't have enjoyed it any more.” The following day Lewis made his Major League debut against the Oakland Athletics at Target Field for the Minnesota Twins. Lewis went 1-for-4 in his debut and provided a few flashy plays at shortstop for the 17,509 fans in attendance. 2022 has been a special season for Lewis. After missing two full professional seasons due to no minor-league season in 2020 and 2021 due to a torn ACL. Lewis has played in a total of 45 games so far this season between the Saints and Twins and has led the Saints offense in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and stolen bases in his 34 games played with St. Paul. Lewis is grateful for the opportunity to play every day after missing the last two seasons, “It feels good. I just missed the game. So anything I can do to just be out here each and every day, I'm pretty positive about everything. I remember going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts the other day, and I was very happy with it because we won so it didn't matter. And even if we lost, I would be okay because I knew that the next day, I'd actually have an opportunity, instead of sitting on the couch and not being able to play the game I love.” As many Twins fans know, Lewis made the most of his time with the Twins. In the 11 games he played with the big-league club, he posted a .308/.325/.564 (889) slash line. After the second game of the Twins road series against the Oakland Athletics, a game in which he hit a double and a home run, Lewis was optioned to Triple-A. The Twins' front office wanted to make sure that he played every day but also had the opportunity to play multiple positions so that he could get back to the big leagues soon even with a healthy Carlos Correa. For Lewis, the frustration that Twins fans have had with him back at Triple-A is not as big a deal for him. Lewis is making the most of playing multiple positions with the Saints as it is the first time he has had the chance to do that since his time in the Arizona Fall League in late 2019. “I like all of them, but I think I like third and center more than left. Third base I played for three years in high school, that was like my first position and that move is actually very easy for me. It's the same side of the infield so the ground balls are very similar and it's usually just more topspin over at third base. That's the only difference over there to me.” The biggest adjustment for Lewis at the new outfield positions is not necessarily fielding in the outfield, but the planning it takes to backup other positions on any given play. “I think the toughest part about these positions is not necessarily the actual playing, but the backups. I'm in centerfield. I have to back up second base if there's a throw from the catcher. Always thinking where do I go? Where do I go off the throws from third base? What do I back up on that play? Do I go back up second on the next play throw or is that the left fielder’s job. So the little things like that take adjusting to.” Whenever Lewis gets the return to the majors, he is ready to play wherever he is needed because for him, it’s all about being a part of the Major League experience more than anything else. “If I had an opportunity to play in the big leagues again tomorrow, wherever I am needed to play, if I needed to pinch-hit, even be a bat boy or water kid, I would do it because it doesn't matter where I am.” While Lewis spent his two weeks with the Twins, he made the most of the mentorship he could receive from one of the best shortstops in Major League Baseball; Carlos Correa. Even in such a short time together, Correa made a large impact on the Twins' top prospect. “It was amazing. He said that we're just family, and that's truly special to me. It means so much because that's how I look at all my other teammates that I've been playing with for years now. If anyone was to come into town in the offseason and say, hey, they need help. I tried to find a way to help them out or stuff like that. That's what he's been doing for me, which is awesome. He’s really given me a lot of tips for being a shortstop, tips about being a leader and a good teammate in the clubhouse, all these things. And just a smarter baseball player. Little details in the game. I mean, he was, I would say just as good if not a better coach when he was out as he is a player when he's playing. It was like having four bench coaches.” Having the first two picks from the 2012 draft class (Correa and Byron Buxton) to mentor Lewis has been a tremendous asset to his development. Lewis has never felt the pressure of being a number one overall pick from outside sources such as fans and writers. If there is any pressure Lewis struggles with, it’s not from fans on Twitter, it’s from himself, as he shared. “I've talked to Buxton about the game, not necessarily as much as like the pressure. I honestly have never felt pressure, I put pressure on myself, which is different. I think everyone expects to kind of put goals and pressure on themselves to do things whether I'm trying to get this job and promotion here or I want to be the best at this job that I do, or I want to be the best painter in the world. There's always something that you're putting expectations on yourself for. As a baseball player, I think that helps me to continue to perform and be better. Just because I'm always trying to exceed my goals and expectations that I put on myself,” said Lewis. In his free time, Lewis has had the opportunity to explore Minnesota more than ever before. Although spending nine hours at CHS field every game does take away the time he could spend seeing more of the state. He has still been amazed by how much great food the Twin Cities has to offer and is even more happy that Raising Cane's has many locations in the area. When Lewis’ family comes to town again, he hopes to see some of the many lakes the state has to offer. Until he receives the call back up with the Twins, Lewis plans to make the most out of every game he gets on the field, no matter where he has to play. Because to him, every day at the ballpark as a player and a fan of the game of baseball, is something to cherish after sitting away from it for too long. View full article
  2. After winning a game with the St. Paul Saints against the Iowa Cubs on Thursday evening (May 5), Royce Lewis drove back to his apartment to unwind like he usually does after a day at the ballpark; do laundry and play Call of Duty with his teammates. There was only one difference that night compared to others after a ball game. His manager Toby Gardenhire called him and Lewis presumed the call was about volunteer work he was scheduled to do with the team during the Twins Week of Service. Instead, it was something else entirely, the call every baseball player dreams of receiving one day. “Toby called, and he always calls me Lewis, and asked what was going on. I said I was playing games. I asked, ‘Do I have to come in early for some volunteer work because we have that Charity Week?’ He started laughing. Then I heard a bunch of other people in the background, and I thought that was kind of weird. He said, ‘All the coaches are here with me.’ Because I asked, ‘Are you guys trying to make fun of me or something?’ Did I mess up? And then he's like, ‘Well, no, if you stop talking, I have some good news for you. He told me that I was getting the call to the Big Leagues and I'd be a Big Leaguer tomorrow. I was really excited and definitely shocked and couldn't have enjoyed it any more.” The following day Lewis made his Major League debut against the Oakland Athletics at Target Field for the Minnesota Twins. Lewis went 1-for-4 in his debut and provided a few flashy plays at shortstop for the 17,509 fans in attendance. 2022 has been a special season for Lewis. After missing two full professional seasons due to no minor-league season in 2020 and 2021 due to a torn ACL. Lewis has played in a total of 45 games so far this season between the Saints and Twins and has led the Saints offense in batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and stolen bases in his 34 games played with St. Paul. Lewis is grateful for the opportunity to play every day after missing the last two seasons, “It feels good. I just missed the game. So anything I can do to just be out here each and every day, I'm pretty positive about everything. I remember going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts the other day, and I was very happy with it because we won so it didn't matter. And even if we lost, I would be okay because I knew that the next day, I'd actually have an opportunity, instead of sitting on the couch and not being able to play the game I love.” As many Twins fans know, Lewis made the most of his time with the Twins. In the 11 games he played with the big-league club, he posted a .308/.325/.564 (889) slash line. After the second game of the Twins road series against the Oakland Athletics, a game in which he hit a double and a home run, Lewis was optioned to Triple-A. The Twins' front office wanted to make sure that he played every day but also had the opportunity to play multiple positions so that he could get back to the big leagues soon even with a healthy Carlos Correa. For Lewis, the frustration that Twins fans have had with him back at Triple-A is not as big a deal for him. Lewis is making the most of playing multiple positions with the Saints as it is the first time he has had the chance to do that since his time in the Arizona Fall League in late 2019. “I like all of them, but I think I like third and center more than left. Third base I played for three years in high school, that was like my first position and that move is actually very easy for me. It's the same side of the infield so the ground balls are very similar and it's usually just more topspin over at third base. That's the only difference over there to me.” The biggest adjustment for Lewis at the new outfield positions is not necessarily fielding in the outfield, but the planning it takes to backup other positions on any given play. “I think the toughest part about these positions is not necessarily the actual playing, but the backups. I'm in centerfield. I have to back up second base if there's a throw from the catcher. Always thinking where do I go? Where do I go off the throws from third base? What do I back up on that play? Do I go back up second on the next play throw or is that the left fielder’s job. So the little things like that take adjusting to.” Whenever Lewis gets the return to the majors, he is ready to play wherever he is needed because for him, it’s all about being a part of the Major League experience more than anything else. “If I had an opportunity to play in the big leagues again tomorrow, wherever I am needed to play, if I needed to pinch-hit, even be a bat boy or water kid, I would do it because it doesn't matter where I am.” While Lewis spent his two weeks with the Twins, he made the most of the mentorship he could receive from one of the best shortstops in Major League Baseball; Carlos Correa. Even in such a short time together, Correa made a large impact on the Twins' top prospect. “It was amazing. He said that we're just family, and that's truly special to me. It means so much because that's how I look at all my other teammates that I've been playing with for years now. If anyone was to come into town in the offseason and say, hey, they need help. I tried to find a way to help them out or stuff like that. That's what he's been doing for me, which is awesome. He’s really given me a lot of tips for being a shortstop, tips about being a leader and a good teammate in the clubhouse, all these things. And just a smarter baseball player. Little details in the game. I mean, he was, I would say just as good if not a better coach when he was out as he is a player when he's playing. It was like having four bench coaches.” Having the first two picks from the 2012 draft class (Correa and Byron Buxton) to mentor Lewis has been a tremendous asset to his development. Lewis has never felt the pressure of being a number one overall pick from outside sources such as fans and writers. If there is any pressure Lewis struggles with, it’s not from fans on Twitter, it’s from himself, as he shared. “I've talked to Buxton about the game, not necessarily as much as like the pressure. I honestly have never felt pressure, I put pressure on myself, which is different. I think everyone expects to kind of put goals and pressure on themselves to do things whether I'm trying to get this job and promotion here or I want to be the best at this job that I do, or I want to be the best painter in the world. There's always something that you're putting expectations on yourself for. As a baseball player, I think that helps me to continue to perform and be better. Just because I'm always trying to exceed my goals and expectations that I put on myself,” said Lewis. In his free time, Lewis has had the opportunity to explore Minnesota more than ever before. Although spending nine hours at CHS field every game does take away the time he could spend seeing more of the state. He has still been amazed by how much great food the Twin Cities has to offer and is even more happy that Raising Cane's has many locations in the area. When Lewis’ family comes to town again, he hopes to see some of the many lakes the state has to offer. Until he receives the call back up with the Twins, Lewis plans to make the most out of every game he gets on the field, no matter where he has to play. Because to him, every day at the ballpark as a player and a fan of the game of baseball, is something to cherish after sitting away from it for too long.
  3. The Minnesota Twins selected Nick Gordon with the 5th overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft. It took him seven years to make his Major League debut, not uncommon for a high school kid, but the longevity with the organization may be coming to an end. Gordon wasn’t necessarily considered a reach in the draft. It was hopeful that he’d stick at shortstop and add some to his frame developing some gap power. He’s faired better than both Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, the two high school draftees before him, but Aaron Nola, Michael Conforto, Trea Turner, Matt Chapman, and Michael Kopech are some of the names taken later in the first round. As mentioned, it took Gordon a while to establish himself as a professional. Small in stature, it was going to be a process for him to acclimate to playing a full season both physically and mentally. Gordon had the benefit of his father Tom Gordon, and brother, Dee Strange-Gordon, having already seen success at the highest level. A Top-100 prospect prior to the 2015 season, plenty was made of what Gordon would eventually amount to. Last season the Twins needed Gordon. After Byron Buxton was lost to injury, he proved valuable as a fill-in centerfielder. He wound up playing every position on the diamond aside from first base, pitcher, or catcher. Thrust into a super-utility role, Gordon appeared over his head at the plate. An 80 OPS+ was an accumulation of a .240/.292/.355 slash line. In 200 at-bats, Gordon posted just 14 extra-base hits with a gaudy 55/12 K/BB ratio. Still, coming into 2022, there was every reason to assume he could play the super-utility role at the back end of the bench once again. The problem is that Minnesota is now better than needing that type of player at the end of their bench. Gordon is once again not hitting, and now he’s become the low man in the pecking order at every position he can play. The one facet to his game that seemed appealing off the bench, his speed, has been nonexistent. Manager Rocco Baldelli hasn’t had many spots to utilize Gordon as a pinch-runner, and the former first-rounder has just one steal in three attempts this season. After going 10-for-11 in stolen base chances last year, it’s now something of an afterthought when it comes to Minnesota’s plans. In 2021 there was a depth issue for the Minnesota Twins. As injuries mounted, Gordon found himself a way to create value. In learning positions on the fly, he was able to secure playing time in multiple spots across the roster. Top prospects like Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach were both injured. The big league club needed to call upon a Double-A centerfielder that wasn't ready. The 26-man was truly a mess on any given day. It's a testament to Gordon's willingness and adaptability that he could immediately step in. Minnesota needed that and he was there. It's in that vein that he's proven worthy of a Major League roster spot even if it isn't on his present team. Having to find a way to roster a healthier-looking Alex Kirilloff, a breakout in Royce Lewis, and even a rebounding Jose Miranda, there’s just no room for Gordon. The difficulty here is that this will end Gordon’s time with the organization. Out of options, he’ll go on waivers and it would be shocking if he is not claimed. He’s a fringe Major League talent that would be better suited for an organization ripe with opportunity. Minnesota is looking ahead to the Postseason though, and every game he’s on the roster they are keeping a bigger talent at bay. In a season where offense is down across the board, Gordon's .627 OPS is hardly a death sentence. Versatility is something that many organizations hold in a high regard, especially in an era where pitching is so specialized. Finding a fit with a team that likes to run a bit more could help Gordon maximize his value as well. No matter how you break down his game, it's clear that someone will take a shot at utilizing the body of work. What could've been stalled out from a long battle with Covid or a slow trajectory on the farm has instead turned into a usable big league talent. It's a testament to Minnesota that their current depth has provided an opportunity to raise the water level, but there's definitely going to be guys caught in the shuffle. You always hope for a first-round pick to see success in the drafting organization. On one hand, Gordon achieved the goal of reaching the highest level. On the other hand, with the prospect status and Futures Game appearance, you know the hope was for more. Minnesota can see him in the opposing dugout down the line, but it’s become time to cut the cord here. View full article
  4. Gordon wasn’t necessarily considered a reach in the draft. It was hopeful that he’d stick at shortstop and add some to his frame developing some gap power. He’s faired better than both Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, the two high school draftees before him, but Aaron Nola, Michael Conforto, Trea Turner, Matt Chapman, and Michael Kopech are some of the names taken later in the first round. As mentioned, it took Gordon a while to establish himself as a professional. Small in stature, it was going to be a process for him to acclimate to playing a full season both physically and mentally. Gordon had the benefit of his father Tom Gordon, and brother, Dee Strange-Gordon, having already seen success at the highest level. A Top-100 prospect prior to the 2015 season, plenty was made of what Gordon would eventually amount to. Last season the Twins needed Gordon. After Byron Buxton was lost to injury, he proved valuable as a fill-in centerfielder. He wound up playing every position on the diamond aside from first base, pitcher, or catcher. Thrust into a super-utility role, Gordon appeared over his head at the plate. An 80 OPS+ was an accumulation of a .240/.292/.355 slash line. In 200 at-bats, Gordon posted just 14 extra-base hits with a gaudy 55/12 K/BB ratio. Still, coming into 2022, there was every reason to assume he could play the super-utility role at the back end of the bench once again. The problem is that Minnesota is now better than needing that type of player at the end of their bench. Gordon is once again not hitting, and now he’s become the low man in the pecking order at every position he can play. The one facet to his game that seemed appealing off the bench, his speed, has been nonexistent. Manager Rocco Baldelli hasn’t had many spots to utilize Gordon as a pinch-runner, and the former first-rounder has just one steal in three attempts this season. After going 10-for-11 in stolen base chances last year, it’s now something of an afterthought when it comes to Minnesota’s plans. In 2021 there was a depth issue for the Minnesota Twins. As injuries mounted, Gordon found himself a way to create value. In learning positions on the fly, he was able to secure playing time in multiple spots across the roster. Top prospects like Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach were both injured. The big league club needed to call upon a Double-A centerfielder that wasn't ready. The 26-man was truly a mess on any given day. It's a testament to Gordon's willingness and adaptability that he could immediately step in. Minnesota needed that and he was there. It's in that vein that he's proven worthy of a Major League roster spot even if it isn't on his present team. Having to find a way to roster a healthier-looking Alex Kirilloff, a breakout in Royce Lewis, and even a rebounding Jose Miranda, there’s just no room for Gordon. The difficulty here is that this will end Gordon’s time with the organization. Out of options, he’ll go on waivers and it would be shocking if he is not claimed. He’s a fringe Major League talent that would be better suited for an organization ripe with opportunity. Minnesota is looking ahead to the Postseason though, and every game he’s on the roster they are keeping a bigger talent at bay. In a season where offense is down across the board, Gordon's .627 OPS is hardly a death sentence. Versatility is something that many organizations hold in a high regard, especially in an era where pitching is so specialized. Finding a fit with a team that likes to run a bit more could help Gordon maximize his value as well. No matter how you break down his game, it's clear that someone will take a shot at utilizing the body of work. What could've been stalled out from a long battle with Covid or a slow trajectory on the farm has instead turned into a usable big league talent. It's a testament to Minnesota that their current depth has provided an opportunity to raise the water level, but there's definitely going to be guys caught in the shuffle. You always hope for a first-round pick to see success in the drafting organization. On one hand, Gordon achieved the goal of reaching the highest level. On the other hand, with the prospect status and Futures Game appearance, you know the hope was for more. Minnesota can see him in the opposing dugout down the line, but it’s become time to cut the cord here.
  5. Last week, we covered the 1000th home run hit by a Twins player at Target Field that really wasn't. Despite the in-stadium fanfare, including the Target Field outfield big screen labeling Byron Buxton's blast during May 15's finale vs the Guardians as home run #1000, an eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted a counting discrepancy that meant Buxton's home run was actually #999. The Twins issued a correction, everyone backpedaled, and the wait for the real #1000 was back on. After embarking on a weeklong road trip, the Twins returned to Target Field on Monday to begin a series vs the Detroit Tigers. Fans did not have to wait long for the Twins to finally reach the milestone in the most grandiose of fashion. In the first inning with the bases loaded with Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler hit a towering, 408-foot grand slam off pitcher Elvin Rodriguez. It was such a sure thing that outfielder Robbie Grossman did not even turn around. A rare feat, it was only the 17th grand slam hit by the Twins in the 12 years of Target Field, but the third so far this season (Gary Sanchez, Royce Lewis and Kepler). This time, the Twins did not recognize the milestone in-stadium or tweet it out on their official account, but various other affiliates did, including Twins Radio and Bally Sports North. A Twin for his entire MLB career so far, it was fitting that Kepler was the one to bring the team to the 1000 mark. In addition to #1000, Kepler is also responsible for Target Field's 600th and 700th home runs. He is one of 78 different players to contribute to this statistic. So, for those looking to put a bow on the benign controversy of the 1000th home run that wasn't, this story has come to a close. This 1000th home-run saga is also perhaps a lesson in the power one individual voice can have, especially in the age of social media: one individual Twitter account speaking up led to a billion-dollar sports franchise issuing a correction. If this had occurred in the pre-Twitter era, who knows whether or not anyone else would have taken notice. Happy #1000, Target Field, and here's to the next 1000. View full article
  6. After embarking on a weeklong road trip, the Twins returned to Target Field on Monday to begin a series vs the Detroit Tigers. Fans did not have to wait long for the Twins to finally reach the milestone in the most grandiose of fashion. In the first inning with the bases loaded with Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler hit a towering, 408-foot grand slam off pitcher Elvin Rodriguez. It was such a sure thing that outfielder Robbie Grossman did not even turn around. A rare feat, it was only the 17th grand slam hit by the Twins in the 12 years of Target Field, but the third so far this season (Gary Sanchez, Royce Lewis and Kepler). This time, the Twins did not recognize the milestone in-stadium or tweet it out on their official account, but various other affiliates did, including Twins Radio and Bally Sports North. A Twin for his entire MLB career so far, it was fitting that Kepler was the one to bring the team to the 1000 mark. In addition to #1000, Kepler is also responsible for Target Field's 600th and 700th home runs. He is one of 78 different players to contribute to this statistic. So, for those looking to put a bow on the benign controversy of the 1000th home run that wasn't, this story has come to a close. This 1000th home-run saga is also perhaps a lesson in the power one individual voice can have, especially in the age of social media: one individual Twitter account speaking up led to a billion-dollar sports franchise issuing a correction. If this had occurred in the pre-Twitter era, who knows whether or not anyone else would have taken notice. Happy #1000, Target Field, and here's to the next 1000.
  7. Seth was a guest on Hot Mic with Dom Izzo on WDAY Extra TV (Fargo) on Friday, May 20th. The two discussed the Royce Lewis situation, Byron Buxton, Chris Paddack, some Twins prospects and much more.
  8. Seth was a guest on Hot Mic with Dom Izzo on WDAY Extra TV (Fargo) on Friday, May 20th. The two discussed the Royce Lewis situation, Byron Buxton, Chris Paddack, some Twins prospects and much more. View full video
  9. Byron Buxton revealed that the Twins and he are working a plan to keep him healthy for at least 100 games, a mark he has only reached one time in his career. This has raised the question whether can he be worth his 7-year, $100M+ contract if he only plays that much? The answer is yes, but before we dive into why, let’s look at Buxton through a stat that traditionalists love: RBI. 204 RBI. That’s the number of RBI Byron Buxton has had in his seven-year career. But this isn’t going to be a screed on what a stupid stat RBI is, nor is it going to be a tirade against modern players. Instead, it’s about how a guy who averages less than 30 RBI per year is worth $100M, or how to reconcile traditional counting stats with modern player evaluation First, since talking about RBI is like waving a red flag in front of a sabrmetrically inclined bull, let’s point out that it isn’t just RBI. Buxton’s injury history means that almost all of his “counting” stats are far lower than one would expect. Buxton has averaged 10 home runs over those seven years. He’s averaged 15 doubles. 11 stolen bases. Even defensively, where everyone admits he shines, he’s only saved, on average, about 5 runs per season. Counting stats aren’t great for predicting the future, but they are usually valuable for talking about past production. And Buxton’s inability to stay healthy means that he hasn’t been able to demonstrate much productivity using traditional counting stats. If you do a comparison between him and other MLB players, he looks more like a utility player than potential superstar. Check out the list of 10 players to whom he is most similar on Baseball Reference. It’s not exactly stocked with Hall of Famers. Domingo Santana? Wily Mo Pena? Pena didn’t make $7M over his entire career. So why is Buxton worth so much more? Baseball nerds will talk about Buxton’s WAR or Wins Above Replacement, which is not at all similar to that of Wily Mo Pena and Domingo Santana. But that statistic just moves the disconnect to another arena. Why is WAR so much different than traditional (and far more intuitive) counting stats? There are two fundamental differences between a player that puts up middling counting stats over 70 games (which is what Buxton has averaged over the last seven years) and a player that puts up middling counting stats over 162 games. The first is 92 games. The second is the last initial in WAR: Replacement. In those other 92 games, a replacement player is in center field, and the stats that player puts up also help out the team. So when Buxton is not available, the team gets slightly below-average productivity. But when he is available, he performs like a superstar. Average those out and you get a very good center fielder, even if Buxton continues to require frequent trips to the 10-day IL. How much is that worth? Figuring out the value of a single MLB Win Above Replacement is fairly simple math: just take the total amount paid to the last free-agent class and divide it by the total WAR they had. The answer lately has been around $8M. Buxton is making $9M this year and is guaranteed $15M over the next six years. So he needs to be post a WAR of 1 this year and a WAR around 2 for the next six years. He’s already at 1.6, and that’s through just 24 games played. Yeah, he’s worth it. This naturally leads to the question about how he and the Twins can keep him in the lineup even more. That’s the same question the Twins are attempting to answer by working a plan to keep him healthy for at least 100 games, a mark he has only reached one time in his career. It may not be the right plan, but you can see value in trying something, anything. He’s certainly worth the effort. View full article
  10. In a move that will likely surprise many when you wake up on Wednesday morning, the Twins announced after last night's loss that Carlos Correa will be activated on Wednesday. To make room, Royce Lewis will be optioned to St. Paul. So many thoughts role through my mind as I think about the news that the Twins are optioning shortstop Royce Lewis to Triple-A St. Paul and will activate Carlos Correa before the Wednesday afternoon's game. So I thought I'd just start jotting them down. *** Click here to listen to @Seth Stohs and @Dave Overlund discuss the Lewis option decision on WJON Radio in St. Cloud. What more could Lewis have done? Nothing. He did everything the Twins could have hoped during that 11-game stretch, and more. Put another way, he likely made this decision incredibly difficult. After going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run on Tuesday night, he is hitting .308/.325/.564 (.889) with four doubles and two home runs. In 11 games. As impressive as he was at the plate, he was equally impressive at shortstop. Yes, he had a couple of errors, but he also made some plays that were tough and showed that he absolutely can play the position. His arm is plenty strong. He's got good range. His instincts at the position have come a long way. Stick to the Plan We speak so often of not being swayed too much by a small sample. While 11 games is a nice little stretch, it is still less than 40 plate appearances. When Carlos Correa was injured, the plan was for Royce Lewis to come up and play shortstop until Correa returned, whether that was two months (as initially feared) or two weeks (as became the reality). When Correa returned, Lewis would be returned to St. Paul and continue to get everyday playing time and at-bats and reps at shortstop and such. Royce Lewis looked the part of Big Leaguer Despite spending the Covid-shortened 2020 season at the alternate site and missing all of the 2021 season after surgery for a torn ACL, Lewis got off to a terrific start in St. Paul. And, as mentioned above, Lewis was immensely impressive during his time with the Twins. Forget about the numbers for a minute (and that's not easy to do), Lewis looked like a future star. He looked comfortable at the plate. He looked confident. He looked relaxed. He was clearly having the time of his life as evidenced by frequent big smiles and conversations on the field with teammates and opponents. He showed his great speed. How showed his power potential. He showed his willingness to use the whole field. He looked comfortable at shortstop. He never looked overwhelmed. And while he had just one walk in his time with the Twins, he seemed to control his plate appearances quite well. If you're a chemistry person, seeing how well he fit into the dugout was certainly encouraging. Smiling with teammates. Congratulating teammates. The hugs we saw him get from Ryan Jeffers, Byron Buxton, and others. Sitting on the bench, observing the game, often sitting between Correa and Buxton. Lewis also shows leadership skills. Lewis is not one to take over a locker room, and yet, you'd be hard-pressed to find any former teammates who didn't love him. Again, even with him being the new guy on the roster, he showed that he can lead on the field. The Role Moving Forward Clearly, the plan would still be for Lewis to be the team's primary shortstop of the future (much depending on what Correa decides in the offseason. However, because Lewis is a special talent and just made a great first impression, the team will want him in the big leagues more. To do so, it appears that he is going to play around the diamond for St. Paul. Remember, Lewis played shortstop only during his senior season of high school. He played third base his first three years of high school ball because J Serra had Chase Stumpf as their shortstop. But that's been six or seven years since he's had any regular time there. He has played some second base in the past, on Team USA rosters, and in the 2019 Arizona Fall League. During his MVP AFL stint, he also played a bunch of centerfield, and he made highlight-reel plays there. Can he play left field or right field? Presumably yes, but he hasn't spent a lot of time in those spots. Could he play first base? Of course. So, the question becomes, should he get a little bit of time at these other positions in the big leagues, or should it happen in a less stressful minor-league situation? I think a case could be made for either side. I certainly don't disagree with Glen Perkins' thoughts. However, they have made that decision, to have Lewis get a little time at those positions in the minor leagues. My thought is that doesn't need to take real long, maybe two or three weeks. Get him two or three starts at each position that they can envision him playing, and then get him back up to the big-league club. Summary This is going to be made into a huge talker and topic among Twins fans. While I would love to see Lewis remain in the big leagues, I can certainly see the value of letting him play some other positions at Triple-A before bringing him back. I do think that making too much out of an 11-game stretch is never a good idea, and sticking to a plan makes sense. It especially makes sense with a guy who has missed so much time the last couple of years and just wants to and needs to play. The Big Picture The future of Royce Lewis is incredibly bright. The talent is immense. The charisma and intelligence are there. The confidence and the drive to not only succeed but to thrive, is something that Lewis has always possessed. Regardless of this decision and whatever timeline the Twins front office puts on his return, I can't wait. *** Click here to listen to @Seth Stohs and @Dave Overlund discuss the Lewis option decision on WJON Radio in St. Cloud. Feel free to discuss, but please be civil with each other. View full article
  11. Recently, Byron Buxton said he was trying to play 100 games which people took as him being on a games limit. Putting opinions aside, his game played don't align with that interpretation and it wouldn't make sense for the Twins to play him more in April & May than in August & September. Do you agree? View full video
  12. Recently, Byron Buxton said he was trying to play 100 games which people took as him being on a games limit. Putting opinions aside, his game played don't align with that interpretation and it wouldn't make sense for the Twins to play him more in April & May than in August & September. Do you agree?
  13. So many thoughts role through my mind as I think about the news that the Twins are optioning shortstop Royce Lewis to Triple-A St. Paul and will activate Carlos Correa before the Wednesday afternoon's game. So I thought I'd just start jotting them down. *** Click here to listen to @Seth Stohs and @Dave Overlund discuss the Lewis option decision on WJON Radio in St. Cloud. What more could Lewis have done? Nothing. He did everything the Twins could have hoped during that 11-game stretch, and more. Put another way, he likely made this decision incredibly difficult. After going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run on Tuesday night, he is hitting .308/.325/.564 (.889) with four doubles and two home runs. In 11 games. As impressive as he was at the plate, he was equally impressive at shortstop. Yes, he had a couple of errors, but he also made some plays that were tough and showed that he absolutely can play the position. His arm is plenty strong. He's got good range. His instincts at the position have come a long way. Stick to the Plan We speak so often of not being swayed too much by a small sample. While 11 games is a nice little stretch, it is still less than 40 plate appearances. When Carlos Correa was injured, the plan was for Royce Lewis to come up and play shortstop until Correa returned, whether that was two months (as initially feared) or two weeks (as became the reality). When Correa returned, Lewis would be returned to St. Paul and continue to get everyday playing time and at-bats and reps at shortstop and such. Royce Lewis looked the part of Big Leaguer Despite spending the Covid-shortened 2020 season at the alternate site and missing all of the 2021 season after surgery for a torn ACL, Lewis got off to a terrific start in St. Paul. And, as mentioned above, Lewis was immensely impressive during his time with the Twins. Forget about the numbers for a minute (and that's not easy to do), Lewis looked like a future star. He looked comfortable at the plate. He looked confident. He looked relaxed. He was clearly having the time of his life as evidenced by frequent big smiles and conversations on the field with teammates and opponents. He showed his great speed. How showed his power potential. He showed his willingness to use the whole field. He looked comfortable at shortstop. He never looked overwhelmed. And while he had just one walk in his time with the Twins, he seemed to control his plate appearances quite well. If you're a chemistry person, seeing how well he fit into the dugout was certainly encouraging. Smiling with teammates. Congratulating teammates. The hugs we saw him get from Ryan Jeffers, Byron Buxton, and others. Sitting on the bench, observing the game, often sitting between Correa and Buxton. Lewis also shows leadership skills. Lewis is not one to take over a locker room, and yet, you'd be hard-pressed to find any former teammates who didn't love him. Again, even with him being the new guy on the roster, he showed that he can lead on the field. The Role Moving Forward Clearly, the plan would still be for Lewis to be the team's primary shortstop of the future (much depending on what Correa decides in the offseason. However, because Lewis is a special talent and just made a great first impression, the team will want him in the big leagues more. To do so, it appears that he is going to play around the diamond for St. Paul. Remember, Lewis played shortstop only during his senior season of high school. He played third base his first three years of high school ball because J Serra had Chase Stumpf as their shortstop. But that's been six or seven years since he's had any regular time there. He has played some second base in the past, on Team USA rosters, and in the 2019 Arizona Fall League. During his MVP AFL stint, he also played a bunch of centerfield, and he made highlight-reel plays there. Can he play left field or right field? Presumably yes, but he hasn't spent a lot of time in those spots. Could he play first base? Of course. So, the question becomes, should he get a little bit of time at these other positions in the big leagues, or should it happen in a less stressful minor-league situation? I think a case could be made for either side. I certainly don't disagree with Glen Perkins' thoughts. However, they have made that decision, to have Lewis get a little time at those positions in the minor leagues. My thought is that doesn't need to take real long, maybe two or three weeks. Get him two or three starts at each position that they can envision him playing, and then get him back up to the big-league club. Summary This is going to be made into a huge talker and topic among Twins fans. While I would love to see Lewis remain in the big leagues, I can certainly see the value of letting him play some other positions at Triple-A before bringing him back. I do think that making too much out of an 11-game stretch is never a good idea, and sticking to a plan makes sense. It especially makes sense with a guy who has missed so much time the last couple of years and just wants to and needs to play. The Big Picture The future of Royce Lewis is incredibly bright. The talent is immense. The charisma and intelligence are there. The confidence and the drive to not only succeed but to thrive, is something that Lewis has always possessed. Regardless of this decision and whatever timeline the Twins front office puts on his return, I can't wait. *** Click here to listen to @Seth Stohs and @Dave Overlund discuss the Lewis option decision on WJON Radio in St. Cloud. Feel free to discuss, but please be civil with each other.
  14. 204 RBI. That’s the number of RBI Byron Buxton has had in his seven-year career. But this isn’t going to be a screed on what a stupid stat RBI is, nor is it going to be a tirade against modern players. Instead, it’s about how a guy who averages less than 30 RBI per year is worth $100M, or how to reconcile traditional counting stats with modern player evaluation First, since talking about RBI is like waving a red flag in front of a sabrmetrically inclined bull, let’s point out that it isn’t just RBI. Buxton’s injury history means that almost all of his “counting” stats are far lower than one would expect. Buxton has averaged 10 home runs over those seven years. He’s averaged 15 doubles. 11 stolen bases. Even defensively, where everyone admits he shines, he’s only saved, on average, about 5 runs per season. Counting stats aren’t great for predicting the future, but they are usually valuable for talking about past production. And Buxton’s inability to stay healthy means that he hasn’t been able to demonstrate much productivity using traditional counting stats. If you do a comparison between him and other MLB players, he looks more like a utility player than potential superstar. Check out the list of 10 players to whom he is most similar on Baseball Reference. It’s not exactly stocked with Hall of Famers. Domingo Santana? Wily Mo Pena? Pena didn’t make $7M over his entire career. So why is Buxton worth so much more? Baseball nerds will talk about Buxton’s WAR or Wins Above Replacement, which is not at all similar to that of Wily Mo Pena and Domingo Santana. But that statistic just moves the disconnect to another arena. Why is WAR so much different than traditional (and far more intuitive) counting stats? There are two fundamental differences between a player that puts up middling counting stats over 70 games (which is what Buxton has averaged over the last seven years) and a player that puts up middling counting stats over 162 games. The first is 92 games. The second is the last initial in WAR: Replacement. In those other 92 games, a replacement player is in center field, and the stats that player puts up also help out the team. So when Buxton is not available, the team gets slightly below-average productivity. But when he is available, he performs like a superstar. Average those out and you get a very good center fielder, even if Buxton continues to require frequent trips to the 10-day IL. How much is that worth? Figuring out the value of a single MLB Win Above Replacement is fairly simple math: just take the total amount paid to the last free-agent class and divide it by the total WAR they had. The answer lately has been around $8M. Buxton is making $9M this year and is guaranteed $15M over the next six years. So he needs to be post a WAR of 1 this year and a WAR around 2 for the next six years. He’s already at 1.6, and that’s through just 24 games played. Yeah, he’s worth it. This naturally leads to the question about how he and the Twins can keep him in the lineup even more. That’s the same question the Twins are attempting to answer by working a plan to keep him healthy for at least 100 games, a mark he has only reached one time in his career. It may not be the right plan, but you can see value in trying something, anything. He’s certainly worth the effort.
  15. The Minnesota Twins are 35 games into their 2022 Major League Baseball season. Star centerfielder Byron Buxton has played in just 23 of them, or 65.7%. That’s apparently a threshold both parties (team and player) intend to uphold, but what does that look like when the dust settles? It became clear following a Saturday night game against the Cleveland Guardians, in which Byron Buxton should’ve been called upon to pinch-hit, that rest and caution remain paramount for the organization. Rocco Baldelli has consistently rested players with the hopes of keeping them fresh, and while the current state of Minnesota’s Injured List would suggest that as not bearing fruit, it also doesn’t appear as something the organization will move off of. Relating to Buxton specifically, he’s dealing with the same right knee soreness that immediately looked like a season-ending injury. Sliding into second base, he punched the ground in anguish and a question as to whether his knee was torn up immediately came into question. Returning to the lineup less than a week later, he’s still dealing with the after-effects, even if an MRI revealed no serious damage. It’s not as though Buxton hasn’t been productive. Quite the opposite actually, as he’s been a monster through the 23 games he has been on the field. Buxton owns a .259/.330/.706 slash line and is just one homer shy of the American League lead with 11. He’s yet to triple but does have five doubles to his credit, and a few recent walks make the 28/6 K/BB ratio more workable. Through 134 innings in the outfield, Buxton has been worth 1 Defensive Run Saved and 2 Outs Above Average. Following Sunday’s game against the Guardians, one in which Buxton was back in centerfield and Minnesota won, he said, "We've got a process, process of me staying on the field, trying to play 100 games. So however that looks, who knows? But that's what we have, a plan here, and it's what we're going to stick to." As unfortunate or disappointing as that may be, it’s clear that Buxton is in lockstep with manager Rocco Baldelli regarding that plan. After the loss to the Guardians on Saturday night, Minnesota’s manager said in regards to the decision against pinch-hitting Buxton, “"It wasn't going to be an option. Ultimately, we discussed that as a group, but ultimately I make that decision. When we make the decision before the game, we don't change what we're going to do when the game gets going." Those notes in conjunction with one another suggest the Twins are firmly set in a plan to have Buxton play right around 60% of their games this season. The good news is that even through that few contests, extrapolating his numbers gets a gaudy amount of production. You’d be looking at something like 21 doubles, 47 homers, and 7.4 fWAR. Putting up those statistics in 162 games would be generous for most. If Buxton was able to continue that pace over just 100, it would be nothing short of unfathomable. On the defensive side of things, it may be hard to find the same rhythm. Buxton has been worth just one DRS thus far and contributed only 2 OAA. Gilberto Celestino has done an amazing job filling in, so maybe it matters less, but Buxton’s Gold Glove prowess is always going to be missed. When looking at this decision by Minnesota, there are a couple of things to consider. First and foremost is that not all players can operate as a designated hitter, or without being constantly involved in the game flow. Buxton has suffered without playing the field, and missing over one-third of the games will certainly threaten any attempt to create consistency. The other problem is the assumption that disjointed time off will prevent further injury or advance healing. After all, Buxton was injured on a play where he slid into second base, and also suffered an injury running to first base following a dropped third strike. It’s not as if he’s being threatened in instances that won’t routinely present themselves. His body may simply be less durable than others, and that leaves him susceptible in all capacities. Maybe most interesting here is who the Twins have as a manager. Baldelli himself was on a path to being one of baseball's best players and constant injuries derailed his career. Buxton certainly is involved throughout this planning process, as is Baldelli, but the front office must be clued in too. The Twins training staff is probably weighing in with their expertise, and we don't completely know what the injury was given the designation simply being soreness. Maybe this is something Baldelli himself has implored Buxton to consider knowing what consistent injury and health issues can do to the overall length of a playing career. What do you think? Are the Twins actually able to prevent further injury by trying to avoid consistent games played? Does Buxton benefit from time down to heal completely? What should happen here? View full article
  16. Fans didn't have to wait long- the very next inning, Byron Buxton hit a home run to left field, his 11th of the season. As Buxton high-fived his teammates in the dugout and fans in the stands celebrated, the Target Field big board displayed "1000th Home Run" on the bottom of the screen. The Twins' Twitter account tweeted out the milestone (and so did I). But was it actually the 1,000th Target Field Home run? Shortly after Buxton's blast, tweets started surfacing calling into question whether Buxton's home run actually did represent Target Field's 1,000th home run. It appears the discrepancy was first spotted by eagle-eyed Twitter user @TwinsDingers, a Twitter account that primarily tweets videos of past and present Twins home runs. The user noticed that the Twins appeared to be including an April 18, 2018 Miguel Sanó home run hit during the 2018 Puerto Rico Series in their official count. During this series, the Twins played Cleveland, and the Twins were the designated home team. Thus, while it was indeed a home run the Twins hit as the home team, it was not at home sweet home Target Field. @TwinsDingers was keeping his own home run count and noticed the discrepancy immediately. "I have had a 1,000th home run tweet in the drafts for about two weeks now, just waiting for it to happen. So I knew it was wrong the second they claimed it was 1,000." the user wrote. The Twins did not Tweet anything differently after the discrepancy came to light, but they reportedly did issue a correction. So, with this mystery solved, it appears the wait for the official 1,000th Target Field home run continues. The Twins next return to Target Field on May 23 for a three-game series vs the Detroit Tigers, followed by another home series vs. the Kansas City Royals, so time will tell which Twin makes it official.
  17. After Gio Urshela launched a home run out to left center during the 4th inning of Sunday’s series finale vs the Cleveland Guardians, there was an air of anticipation throughout the stadium. The Twins were closing in on 1,000 home runs hit by Twins players at Target Field, and after Urshela hit what was regarded as home run #999, it seemed like only a matter of time before the Twins reached the landmark. Fans didn't have to wait long- the very next inning, Byron Buxton hit a home run to left field, his 11th of the season. As Buxton high-fived his teammates in the dugout and fans in the stands celebrated, the Target Field big board displayed "1000th Home Run" on the bottom of the screen. The Twins' Twitter account tweeted out the milestone (and so did I). But was it actually the 1,000th Target Field Home run? Shortly after Buxton's blast, tweets started surfacing calling into question whether Buxton's home run actually did represent Target Field's 1,000th home run. It appears the discrepancy was first spotted by eagle-eyed Twitter user @TwinsDingers, a Twitter account that primarily tweets videos of past and present Twins home runs. The user noticed that the Twins appeared to be including an April 18, 2018 Miguel Sanó home run hit during the 2018 Puerto Rico Series in their official count. During this series, the Twins played Cleveland, and the Twins were the designated home team. Thus, while it was indeed a home run the Twins hit as the home team, it was not at home sweet home Target Field. @TwinsDingers was keeping his own home run count and noticed the discrepancy immediately. "I have had a 1,000th home run tweet in the drafts for about two weeks now, just waiting for it to happen. So I knew it was wrong the second they claimed it was 1,000." the user wrote. The Twins did not Tweet anything differently after the discrepancy came to light, but they reportedly did issue a correction. So, with this mystery solved, it appears the wait for the official 1,000th Target Field home run continues. The Twins next return to Target Field on May 23 for a three-game series vs the Detroit Tigers, followed by another home series vs. the Kansas City Royals, so time will tell which Twin makes it official. View full article
  18. It became clear following a Saturday night game against the Cleveland Guardians, in which Byron Buxton should’ve been called upon to pinch-hit, that rest and caution remain paramount for the organization. Rocco Baldelli has consistently rested players with the hopes of keeping them fresh, and while the current state of Minnesota’s Injured List would suggest that as not bearing fruit, it also doesn’t appear as something the organization will move off of. Relating to Buxton specifically, he’s dealing with the same right knee soreness that immediately looked like a season-ending injury. Sliding into second base, he punched the ground in anguish and a question as to whether his knee was torn up immediately came into question. Returning to the lineup less than a week later, he’s still dealing with the after-effects, even if an MRI revealed no serious damage. It’s not as though Buxton hasn’t been productive. Quite the opposite actually, as he’s been a monster through the 23 games he has been on the field. Buxton owns a .259/.330/.706 slash line and is just one homer shy of the American League lead with 11. He’s yet to triple but does have five doubles to his credit, and a few recent walks make the 28/6 K/BB ratio more workable. Through 134 innings in the outfield, Buxton has been worth 1 Defensive Run Saved and 2 Outs Above Average. Following Sunday’s game against the Guardians, one in which Buxton was back in centerfield and Minnesota won, he said, "We've got a process, process of me staying on the field, trying to play 100 games. So however that looks, who knows? But that's what we have, a plan here, and it's what we're going to stick to." As unfortunate or disappointing as that may be, it’s clear that Buxton is in lockstep with manager Rocco Baldelli regarding that plan. After the loss to the Guardians on Saturday night, Minnesota’s manager said in regards to the decision against pinch-hitting Buxton, “"It wasn't going to be an option. Ultimately, we discussed that as a group, but ultimately I make that decision. When we make the decision before the game, we don't change what we're going to do when the game gets going." Those notes in conjunction with one another suggest the Twins are firmly set in a plan to have Buxton play right around 60% of their games this season. The good news is that even through that few contests, extrapolating his numbers gets a gaudy amount of production. You’d be looking at something like 21 doubles, 47 homers, and 7.4 fWAR. Putting up those statistics in 162 games would be generous for most. If Buxton was able to continue that pace over just 100, it would be nothing short of unfathomable. On the defensive side of things, it may be hard to find the same rhythm. Buxton has been worth just one DRS thus far and contributed only 2 OAA. Gilberto Celestino has done an amazing job filling in, so maybe it matters less, but Buxton’s Gold Glove prowess is always going to be missed. When looking at this decision by Minnesota, there are a couple of things to consider. First and foremost is that not all players can operate as a designated hitter, or without being constantly involved in the game flow. Buxton has suffered without playing the field, and missing over one-third of the games will certainly threaten any attempt to create consistency. The other problem is the assumption that disjointed time off will prevent further injury or advance healing. After all, Buxton was injured on a play where he slid into second base, and also suffered an injury running to first base following a dropped third strike. It’s not as if he’s being threatened in instances that won’t routinely present themselves. His body may simply be less durable than others, and that leaves him susceptible in all capacities. Maybe most interesting here is who the Twins have as a manager. Baldelli himself was on a path to being one of baseball's best players and constant injuries derailed his career. Buxton certainly is involved throughout this planning process, as is Baldelli, but the front office must be clued in too. The Twins training staff is probably weighing in with their expertise, and we don't completely know what the injury was given the designation simply being soreness. Maybe this is something Baldelli himself has implored Buxton to consider knowing what consistent injury and health issues can do to the overall length of a playing career. What do you think? Are the Twins actually able to prevent further injury by trying to avoid consistent games played? Does Buxton benefit from time down to heal completely? What should happen here?
  19. Twins rookie Joe Ryan took the mound on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to finish out the Twins' longest homestand of the season. Thanks to Ryan’s first 100-pitch start of the season and a couple of solo shots from Gio Urshela and Byron Buxton, the Twins were able to complete a series victory over Cleveland and finish their homestand 5-4. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (103 pitches, 70 strikes (68 strike %)) Home Runs: Gio Urshela (3), Byron Buxton (11) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.204), Gio Urshela (.119), Byron Buxton (.081) After a low-scoring game Saturday that was decided by a questionable rule that just won’t go away, the Twins got on the first run on the board against Guardians starter Tristen McKenzie with an RBI single from Max Kepler that scored Luis Arraez. Kepler was able to drive in Arraez because he stole his first base of the season and adding the Twins' season total stolen bases to seven. Clearly a sign of the times. The game remained scoreless through the next two innings thanks to Ryan’s pitching. Ryan cruised his way through the Guardians lineup until the top of the fourth when, with one out, Jose Ramirez hit a solo shot to right-center field tying the game 1-1. Even after the Ramirez homer, Ryan remained in control for the remainder of his start. Ryan had his first start with more than 100 pitches this season and kept his strike percentage at 68 percent, totaling five strikeouts. He also only allowed base runners via hits making Sunday his second start without a walk this season. With the game tied going into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Twins found a way to retake the lead thanks to a two-out solo home run from Gio Urshela. An inning later, the Twins' unofficial captain Byron Buxton added to the lead with his 11th home run of the season making it a 3-1 game. Buxton’s home run was called to be the 1,000th home run ever hit at Target Field by the Twins. However, thanks to research from Twins Dingers on Twitter, the home run was corrected to be the 999th home run by a Twin in Target Field’s history. Twins beat writer for MLB.com, Do Hyoung Park retweeted this finding by Twins Dingers to remind everyone the next home run hit by a Twin at Target Field will be the 1,000th. The Twins bullpen kept the Guardians scoreless in the seventh inning thanks to a perfect inning from Cody Stashak who struck out two of three batters faced. In the eighth inning, Joe Smith did allow one base runner, a Richie Palacios single, but Palacios did not score thanks to the relief effort of Smith and Caleb Theilbar. Emilio Pagan was given the ball for the save in the ninth inning and his third consecutive day with a relief appearance. Pagan had thrown 22 pitches Friday but only nine on Saturday making his availability to come into Sunday’s game for the save acceptable to Rocco Baldelli. Pagan completed the save giving up only one hit. He was helped by an outstanding defensive play at third base from Gio Urshela. The win brings the Twins record to 20-15 through their first 35 games this season and extends their lead over the Guardians for first place in the American League Central to three games. What’s Next? The Twins make their first road trip west this season. On Monday night, they begin another three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. Chris Archer is scheduled to go against Athletics 26-year-old lefty rookie Zach Logue. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Chart WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Stashak 0 46 0 0 13 59 Jax 0 0 50 0 0 50 Pagán 0 0 22 9 10 41 Thielbar 0 23 0 15 2 40 Duffey 0 33 0 5 0 38 Cano 0 36 0 0 0 36 Smith 0 0 4 15 9 28 Duran 0 0 10 12 0 22 Cotton 0 0 0 17 0 17 View full article
  20. Gio Urshala hit his second home run in as many days and chipped in a couple of excellent defensive plays as the Minnesota Twins beat the Guardians 3-1 at Target Field Sunday. Down on the farm, Bailey Ober made a rehab start for the Saints. Also featured in this video are Joe Ryan, Byron Buxton, Jermaine Palacios, Alex Kirilloff, Curtis Terry, Alerick Soularie and more.
  21. Gio Urshala hit his second home run in as many days and chipped in a couple of excellent defensive plays as the Minnesota Twins beat the Guardians 3-1 at Target Field Sunday. Down on the farm, Bailey Ober made a rehab start for the Saints. Also featured in this video are Joe Ryan, Byron Buxton, Jermaine Palacios, Alex Kirilloff, Curtis Terry, Alerick Soularie and more. View full video
  22. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (103 pitches, 70 strikes (68 strike %)) Home Runs: Gio Urshela (3), Byron Buxton (11) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.204), Gio Urshela (.119), Byron Buxton (.081) After a low-scoring game Saturday that was decided by a questionable rule that just won’t go away, the Twins got on the first run on the board against Guardians starter Tristen McKenzie with an RBI single from Max Kepler that scored Luis Arraez. Kepler was able to drive in Arraez because he stole his first base of the season and adding the Twins' season total stolen bases to seven. Clearly a sign of the times. The game remained scoreless through the next two innings thanks to Ryan’s pitching. Ryan cruised his way through the Guardians lineup until the top of the fourth when, with one out, Jose Ramirez hit a solo shot to right-center field tying the game 1-1. Even after the Ramirez homer, Ryan remained in control for the remainder of his start. Ryan had his first start with more than 100 pitches this season and kept his strike percentage at 68 percent, totaling five strikeouts. He also only allowed base runners via hits making Sunday his second start without a walk this season. With the game tied going into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Twins found a way to retake the lead thanks to a two-out solo home run from Gio Urshela. An inning later, the Twins' unofficial captain Byron Buxton added to the lead with his 11th home run of the season making it a 3-1 game. Buxton’s home run was called to be the 1,000th home run ever hit at Target Field by the Twins. However, thanks to research from Twins Dingers on Twitter, the home run was corrected to be the 999th home run by a Twin in Target Field’s history. Twins beat writer for MLB.com, Do Hyoung Park retweeted this finding by Twins Dingers to remind everyone the next home run hit by a Twin at Target Field will be the 1,000th. The Twins bullpen kept the Guardians scoreless in the seventh inning thanks to a perfect inning from Cody Stashak who struck out two of three batters faced. In the eighth inning, Joe Smith did allow one base runner, a Richie Palacios single, but Palacios did not score thanks to the relief effort of Smith and Caleb Theilbar. Emilio Pagan was given the ball for the save in the ninth inning and his third consecutive day with a relief appearance. Pagan had thrown 22 pitches Friday but only nine on Saturday making his availability to come into Sunday’s game for the save acceptable to Rocco Baldelli. Pagan completed the save giving up only one hit. He was helped by an outstanding defensive play at third base from Gio Urshela. The win brings the Twins record to 20-15 through their first 35 games this season and extends their lead over the Guardians for first place in the American League Central to three games. What’s Next? The Twins make their first road trip west this season. On Monday night, they begin another three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. Chris Archer is scheduled to go against Athletics 26-year-old lefty rookie Zach Logue. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Chart WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Stashak 0 46 0 0 13 59 Jax 0 0 50 0 0 50 Pagán 0 0 22 9 10 41 Thielbar 0 23 0 15 2 40 Duffey 0 33 0 5 0 38 Cano 0 36 0 0 0 36 Smith 0 0 4 15 9 28 Duran 0 0 10 12 0 22 Cotton 0 0 0 17 0 17
  23. After a slow start, the Twins offense exploded in the fifth inning and put the game out of reach. Minnesota scored more runs in this game than they did in their last six games and they snap a three-game losing streak. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K (82 pitches, 46 strikes, 56.1%) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (10), Jorge Polanco (4), Gary Sánchez (2), Royce Lewis (1) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.178), Royce Lewis (.155), Byron Buxton (.123) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Gray is off to a good start, but can't go to distance The big story of tonight’s game was whether or not the Twins would get a decent start from their starting pitcher. The last time a Twins starter threw more than four innings in a game was exactly a week ago when Josh Winder delivered six innings with no earned runs against the A’s. Would Sonny Gray be up for the task? But that wasn’t the only question mark regarding the Twins coming into this game. Minnesota’s offense, full of ups and downs this season, produced a grand total of three runs during the three games against Houston, being shut out in two of those games. Would they be able to turn things around? Despite facing Aaron Civale, who has a career 3.31 ERA against Minnesota, the offense managed to be productive from the get-go. Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco hit a couple of solo shots in the bottom of first, giving the Twins an early two-run lead. Things could’ve been even better, as Max Kepler and Gary Sánchez got back-to-back hits and moved into scoring position, but Minnesota couldn’t add on. Gray pitched around a leadoff walk in the first, then pitched an easy, 12-pitch second, with two punch outs. However, he oddly had a troublesome third, loading the bases before recording an out, including a couple of walks. Fortunately, he was able to keep the damage to a minimum, with Cleveland scoring only the one run on a force out. Gray struck out a couple more batters in that inning. Civale settle down and started to dominate the Twins lineup. After the Sánchez double in the first, Minnesota’s batters went 0-for-11 and failed to provide Gray with some run support. After a scoreless fourth with a couple more strikeouts, Gray became the first Twin starter to pitch into the fifth in the past seven days. But he wouldn’t go to distance. He gave up a leadoff home run to Austin Hedges and shortly after that, a walk and a single, which was enough for Rocco Baldelli to pull him from the game. Griffin Jax came into the game and induced an inning-ending double play on two pitches, to end the threat. The offense gets back on track, turns the game into a blowout Another short start, a cold offense, and a tied ball game. All the ingredients that might have led Twins fans to brace themselves for the worst. Little did they know that they were in for a treat: the Twins lineup put together a nine-run fifth inning on seven pitches and put this game out of reach. First, Civale loaded the bases by giving up a leadoff single to Ryan Jeffers, a double to Royce Lewis, and a walk to Buxton. Minnesota scored two of those runners on a Luis Arráez groundout and a Max Kepler single to left. Polanco had drawn a walk in between and, with two men on, Civale’s night was done. With Kepler and Polanco on, and Bryan Shaw pitching, Sánchez definitely put the slump behind him by smashing a three-run home run to deep center, making it 7-2 Twins. But they were surely not done. The bases were once again loaded for the Twins, as Shaw gave up back-to-back singles, to Gio Urshela and Nick Gordon, and a walk to Jeffers. Still chasing his first big league home run, Lewis destroyed a cutter in the heart of the plate for a huge grand slam, making it 11-2 Minnesota. It was impressive to see how much the Twins improved with men in scoring position in this game, compared to the Houston series. They finished the game hitting 3-for-7 with RISP. Jax has his toughest outing so far, Smith bails him out When he was brought into this game, Jax hadn’t given up any runs in his previous six outings and was posting a stellar 1.35 ERA through eight appearances. After inducing an inning-ending double play to get out of an inherited jam, he simply wasn’t sharp in the following two innings. Franmil Reyes singled off him in the sixth, shortly before Oscar Mercado hit a two-out, two-run bomb to bring the Guardians within seven. In the seventh, things were even worse, as he struggled badly with his command, allowing Cleveland to score a couple more runs on a single by José Ramírez and a triple by Amed Rosario, making it 11-6. Jax gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs, causing Baldelli to remove him from the game. Joe Smith took over and struck out Mercado on four pitches, ending the threat. Smith has now stranded 11 inherited runners so far this season – every single one he’s inherited in the year. In the bottom of the eighth, Buxton drew a leadoff walk and the Twins managed to manufacture a run, with Kepler pushing Buxton across with a sac-fly. Emilio Pagán had a flashy six-run lead when he took the mound in the ninth, but he gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Andrés Giménez, before he struck out Mercado to avoid a Cleveland rally. What’s Next? Tomorrow at 6:10 pm CDT both teams are back on the field for game 2. Cleveland will have Shane Bieber (4.13 ERA) start for them, whereas the Twins will call up Devin Smeltzer to make his season debut. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Cotton 0 58 0 0 0 58 Jax 0 0 0 0 50 50 Stashak 0 0 0 46 0 46 Cano 0 0 0 36 0 36 Duffey 0 0 0 33 0 33 Thielbar 0 3 0 23 0 26 Pagán 0 0 0 0 22 22 Duran 0 0 0 0 10 10 Smith 0 0 0 0 4 4 View full article
  24. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K (82 pitches, 46 strikes, 56.1%) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (10), Jorge Polanco (4), Gary Sánchez (2), Royce Lewis (1) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.178), Royce Lewis (.155), Byron Buxton (.123) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Gray is off to a good start, but can't go to distance The big story of tonight’s game was whether or not the Twins would get a decent start from their starting pitcher. The last time a Twins starter threw more than four innings in a game was exactly a week ago when Josh Winder delivered six innings with no earned runs against the A’s. Would Sonny Gray be up for the task? But that wasn’t the only question mark regarding the Twins coming into this game. Minnesota’s offense, full of ups and downs this season, produced a grand total of three runs during the three games against Houston, being shut out in two of those games. Would they be able to turn things around? Despite facing Aaron Civale, who has a career 3.31 ERA against Minnesota, the offense managed to be productive from the get-go. Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco hit a couple of solo shots in the bottom of first, giving the Twins an early two-run lead. Things could’ve been even better, as Max Kepler and Gary Sánchez got back-to-back hits and moved into scoring position, but Minnesota couldn’t add on. Gray pitched around a leadoff walk in the first, then pitched an easy, 12-pitch second, with two punch outs. However, he oddly had a troublesome third, loading the bases before recording an out, including a couple of walks. Fortunately, he was able to keep the damage to a minimum, with Cleveland scoring only the one run on a force out. Gray struck out a couple more batters in that inning. Civale settle down and started to dominate the Twins lineup. After the Sánchez double in the first, Minnesota’s batters went 0-for-11 and failed to provide Gray with some run support. After a scoreless fourth with a couple more strikeouts, Gray became the first Twin starter to pitch into the fifth in the past seven days. But he wouldn’t go to distance. He gave up a leadoff home run to Austin Hedges and shortly after that, a walk and a single, which was enough for Rocco Baldelli to pull him from the game. Griffin Jax came into the game and induced an inning-ending double play on two pitches, to end the threat. The offense gets back on track, turns the game into a blowout Another short start, a cold offense, and a tied ball game. All the ingredients that might have led Twins fans to brace themselves for the worst. Little did they know that they were in for a treat: the Twins lineup put together a nine-run fifth inning on seven pitches and put this game out of reach. First, Civale loaded the bases by giving up a leadoff single to Ryan Jeffers, a double to Royce Lewis, and a walk to Buxton. Minnesota scored two of those runners on a Luis Arráez groundout and a Max Kepler single to left. Polanco had drawn a walk in between and, with two men on, Civale’s night was done. With Kepler and Polanco on, and Bryan Shaw pitching, Sánchez definitely put the slump behind him by smashing a three-run home run to deep center, making it 7-2 Twins. But they were surely not done. The bases were once again loaded for the Twins, as Shaw gave up back-to-back singles, to Gio Urshela and Nick Gordon, and a walk to Jeffers. Still chasing his first big league home run, Lewis destroyed a cutter in the heart of the plate for a huge grand slam, making it 11-2 Minnesota. It was impressive to see how much the Twins improved with men in scoring position in this game, compared to the Houston series. They finished the game hitting 3-for-7 with RISP. Jax has his toughest outing so far, Smith bails him out When he was brought into this game, Jax hadn’t given up any runs in his previous six outings and was posting a stellar 1.35 ERA through eight appearances. After inducing an inning-ending double play to get out of an inherited jam, he simply wasn’t sharp in the following two innings. Franmil Reyes singled off him in the sixth, shortly before Oscar Mercado hit a two-out, two-run bomb to bring the Guardians within seven. In the seventh, things were even worse, as he struggled badly with his command, allowing Cleveland to score a couple more runs on a single by José Ramírez and a triple by Amed Rosario, making it 11-6. Jax gave up back-to-back walks to load the bases with two outs, causing Baldelli to remove him from the game. Joe Smith took over and struck out Mercado on four pitches, ending the threat. Smith has now stranded 11 inherited runners so far this season – every single one he’s inherited in the year. In the bottom of the eighth, Buxton drew a leadoff walk and the Twins managed to manufacture a run, with Kepler pushing Buxton across with a sac-fly. Emilio Pagán had a flashy six-run lead when he took the mound in the ninth, but he gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Andrés Giménez, before he struck out Mercado to avoid a Cleveland rally. What’s Next? Tomorrow at 6:10 pm CDT both teams are back on the field for game 2. Cleveland will have Shane Bieber (4.13 ERA) start for them, whereas the Twins will call up Devin Smeltzer to make his season debut. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Cotton 0 58 0 0 0 58 Jax 0 0 0 0 50 50 Stashak 0 0 0 46 0 46 Cano 0 0 0 36 0 36 Duffey 0 0 0 33 0 33 Thielbar 0 3 0 23 0 26 Pagán 0 0 0 0 22 22 Duran 0 0 0 0 10 10 Smith 0 0 0 0 4 4
  25. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine should rightfully get credit for the team's current success, but eleven players on the current 40-man roster were acquired under the previous regime. So, which players are tied to Bill Smith and Terry Ryan's front offices? Bill Smith Contributions (2007-2011) Smith faced a challenging time in Twins history as he took over the GM role. Torii Hunter was on his way out the door, and the team needed to trade Johan Santana. The Twins lost a Game 163 (2008) and won the division twice (2009-10) during his tenure. Despite these positive results, Smith couldn’t survive the 2011 campaign as the Twins lost 99 games. It was one of the most disappointing seasons in Twins history, but he helped sign three core pieces to the current roster. Smith’s lasting legacy with the Twins connects to the 2009 international signing class, which was tremendous in retrospect. Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler signed as part of this class. These players have combined for 37.3 total WAR and two All-Star appearances in their big-league careers. Sano’s Twins tenure may conclude in 2022, but Kepler and Polanco are under team control for multiple more seasons. Terry Ryan Contributions (2012-2016) Ryan served as GM for two different stints, so it makes sense for his fingerprints to be all over the Twins organization over the last decade. When taking over from Smith, Ryan got the opportunity to pick the second overall pick, and the organization decided on Byron Buxton. Multiple pitchers were in the conversation for Minnesota, but Buxton has accumulated the fourth-most WAR among players from the 2012 first round. He is now the face of the franchise, and he will be in a Twins uniform for over a decade after Ryan was fired. Minnesota signed Luis Arraez as an international free agent during the 2013 signing class. He has been worth 5.9 WAR in his career while hitting .312/.374/.400 (.748) with a 130 OPS+. Nick Gordon was a top-5 draft pick under the Ryan regime. His professional career hasn’t progressed perfectly, but he has shown the club the value he can provide over the last two seasons. These players look like they will be part of the team’s roster for multiple seasons moving forward. Minnesota’s bullpen picture is also covered with players acquired by Ryan. Tyler Duffey was a fifth-round pick in 2012, and he has been one of the team’s best relievers since 2019. Cody Stashak, a 13th-round pick in 2015, has been terrific to start the 2022 season, and he has yet to become arbitration-eligible. The Twins took Griffin Jax in the 3rd round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Ryan’s last with the organization. This season, he is transitioning to the bullpen, and signs point to him fitting well into his new role. Other prospects on the 40-man roster were also acquired under the Ryan regime. Jovani Moran was a seventh-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, and he has the potential to be a dominant late-inning reliever. His change-up is a dominant pitch, and it has helped him post a 13.4 K/9 in his minor league career. Jordan Balazovic was a fifth-round pick in 2016, and he currently ranks as Twins Daily’s fifth overall prospect. Entering the season, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus each had him in the back-half of their top-100 prospects. He recently made his Triple-A debut, so there is a good chance his big-league debut will be in 2022. Smith and Ryan might not be regarded highly because of how each left the organization. However, their impact will be felt years after their departure. Besides Buxton, which of these players will provide the most long-term value to the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
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