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  1. Minnesota’s bullpen has been a mess to start the year, but Rocco Baldelli is going to need to rely on arms with some important up-coming series. Who is in the bullpen circle of trust? 1. Taylor Rogers Much like in 2019, Taylor Rogers has been one of the few options Baldelli can trust in the late innings of games. At season’s start, it seemed like Rogers would be used in more of a set-up role with Colomé getting more of the closing opportunities. Until Colomé can figure it out, Rogers will be used as the closer and he has the team’s highest level of trust. 2. Hansel Robles Robles was brought in to help add veteran depth to the bullpen and he has made a good impression so far this year. His xBA ranks in the 82nd percentile and his wOBA ranks in the top 7% of the league. One of the biggest changes for him this season is his pitch usage. From 2015-18, he used his changeup less than 10% of the time. So far in 2021, he has used his changeup over 50% with his fastball usage dropping from 45% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. 3. Tyler Duffey Duffey has been one of the baseball’s best relievers over the last two seasons. In fact, MLB Network had him in their top-10 relievers entering the season. So far this year, he hasn’t looked like his dominating self as he ranks in the 24th percentile or lower in nearly every Statcast metric. Baldelli still shows trust in Duffey with the hope that he can make some adjustments moving forward. 4. Cody Stashak Stashak is striking out batters at the highest rate of his career with a K% north of 36% that ranks him in the top 6% of the league. On the other hand, batters are barreling up the ball against him quite regularly. His 20 barrel% is in the bottom 1% of the league and it is 6.5 percentage points higher than his previous career high. 5. Jorge Alcala Alcala might have the best raw stuff in the Twins bullpen and an argument can be made for him being given more high leverage spots as the season progresses. One of the toughest things for Alcala has been his inability to get left-handed hitters out on a consistent basis. For his career, lefties have a 1.178 OPS against him in 55 plate appearances. If he wants to earn more high leverage appearances, he needs to improve against southpaws. 6. Caleb Thielbar With Rogers moving into the closer role, Thielbar will be critical for when the team is facing lefties before the ninth inning. Since rejoining the Twins last year, he has posted a 2.53 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 32 innings. 7. St. Paul Train (Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Devin Smeltzer) The Twins will likely continue to shuffle through players at the backend of the bullpen, especially if a player pitches multiple innings the previous day. These players aren’t going to be relied on for high leverage situations, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of trust in using them. 8. Alexander Colomé Colomé’s start to the season has been disastrous. Until he shows signs of improvement, the teams should have little trust in him. How would you rank the bullpen by level of trust? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. 1. Taylor Rogers Much like in 2019, Taylor Rogers has been one of the few options Baldelli can trust in the late innings of games. At season’s start, it seemed like Rogers would be used in more of a set-up role with Colomé getting more of the closing opportunities. Until Colomé can figure it out, Rogers will be used as the closer and he has the team’s highest level of trust. 2. Hansel Robles Robles was brought in to help add veteran depth to the bullpen and he has made a good impression so far this year. His xBA ranks in the 82nd percentile and his wOBA ranks in the top 7% of the league. One of the biggest changes for him this season is his pitch usage. From 2015-18, he used his changeup less than 10% of the time. So far in 2021, he has used his changeup over 50% with his fastball usage dropping from 45% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. 3. Tyler Duffey Duffey has been one of the baseball’s best relievers over the last two seasons. In fact, MLB Network had him in their top-10 relievers entering the season. So far this year, he hasn’t looked like his dominating self as he ranks in the 24th percentile or lower in nearly every Statcast metric. Baldelli still shows trust in Duffey with the hope that he can make some adjustments moving forward. 4. Cody Stashak Stashak is striking out batters at the highest rate of his career with a K% north of 36% that ranks him in the top 6% of the league. On the other hand, batters are barreling up the ball against him quite regularly. His 20 barrel% is in the bottom 1% of the league and it is 6.5 percentage points higher than his previous career high. 5. Jorge Alcala Alcala might have the best raw stuff in the Twins bullpen and an argument can be made for him being given more high leverage spots as the season progresses. One of the toughest things for Alcala has been his inability to get left-handed hitters out on a consistent basis. For his career, lefties have a 1.178 OPS against him in 55 plate appearances. If he wants to earn more high leverage appearances, he needs to improve against southpaws. 6. Caleb Thielbar With Rogers moving into the closer role, Thielbar will be critical for when the team is facing lefties before the ninth inning. Since rejoining the Twins last year, he has posted a 2.53 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 32 innings. 7. St. Paul Train (Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Devin Smeltzer) The Twins will likely continue to shuffle through players at the backend of the bullpen, especially if a player pitches multiple innings the previous day. These players aren’t going to be relied on for high leverage situations, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of trust in using them. 8. Alexander Colomé Colomé’s start to the season has been disastrous. Until he shows signs of improvement, the teams should have little trust in him. How would you rank the bullpen by level of trust? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. This week is quite possibly the most important the Minnesota Twins will have embarked upon in 2020. Monday represents the halfway point in the 60-game sprint, while a week from then is the 2020 Trade Deadline. With plenty of guys on the shelf, it’s imperative Rocco’s boys keep winning and get healthy. Starting out with three games on the road against the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota will miss both Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac but deal with Shane Bieber anyways. After leaving Ohio, they’ll travel to Michigan for a four-game set with the lowly Detroit Tigers. In terms of opponents, there couldn’t be more of a stark contrast, but putting distance between themselves and The Tribe will be reliant on early week wins and later expected results. Leading the division by 1.5 games as of August 24, Minnesota is in a very good position to make the Postseason. This team’s goals are significantly loftier than that however, and it’s in that reality that the situation off the field may prove even more dire. Right now, Baldelli’s lineup is void of 33% of the Opening Day group, and the pitching staff seems to take a new hit each day. The latter is an issue, but the former could prove to be a real problem. Josh Donaldson has been shelved since July 31, playing just seven games in his debut season with his new team. Miguel Sano swapped positions to accommodate him, and following a COVID positive, it took Sano roughly two weeks into the season to get his bat going. Donaldson currently owns a .614 OPS on the year and hasn’t settled in at the plate. If he misses much more beyond this week, expecting him to be acclimated and contribute from the outset of October would be somewhat of a fool’s errand. Ryan Jeffers is the future tandem partner with Mitch Garver anyways, so ushering him in hasn’t been a problem. Garver also hasn’t gotten going however, and while it looked like he was starting to find it, the intercostal injury could cost him ample time to lock in. The injury is just a grade 1 problem, but it still remains to be seen when he’ll be back on the field. In the outfield Byron Buxton has been among the Twins greatest assets this season. It’s a sigh of relief that his shoulder injury doesn’t involve the surgically repaired labrum, but it seemed to come out of nowhere and anything more than a 10-day breather would seem problematic. Jake Cave has not stepped up at the plate, and both Rosario and Kepler on the corners have yet to consistently contribute. On the mound there’s a reinforcement coming in the form of Michael Pineda. However, Cody Stashak has been one of the club’s best relievers and him going down out of nowhere was a blow. Zack Littell worked plenty of high leverage a season ago, and now an elbow injury could prove to be a serious problem. Tyler Clippard gets bit by unluckiness being hit by a comebacker, and Homer Bailey has yet to do anything of substance for Minnesota. To say that the shuffling on the mound is starting to wear thing would probably be putting it lightly. There’s not much in the form of starting pitching options that will be available at the deadline, and that means Minnesota will either need to stay internal or go the route of relief to bolster their staff for the stretch run. I’m not yet considering who is brought in being impactful to the same extent as who can get healthy. This week is a critical juncture for the players and training staff to get bodies back on the field. Ideally Buxton misses the minimum, Donaldson returns to the lineup, and Clippard has now more than a bruise needing to heal. This club has all the talent in the world, but there’s only so many injuries one roster can truly withstand. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. It took until the fifth game of the season for Twins closer Taylor Rogers to get into a game. In the team’s first eight games, he has now pitched three times and recorded three saves for the Twins. He has a pretty well defined role on this team, but the roles of the rest of the bullpen appear to be ever-changing.Going back a decade or more, the concept of Closer-by-Committee was met with disdain by many inside baseball circles. Meanwhile, the concept behind it was certainly sound. Use your best bullpen arms in the best positions for them to succeed. In other words, if your opponent has Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton coming up to start the eighth inning, you might want to use your closer in that situation, especially if you’ve got a closer that dominates right-handed hitters. Get through that situation, and bring in the most logical next reliever for that ninth-inning save. It has also always been tradition that the better bullpens have a ninth inning guy, an eighth inning guy and maybe even a seventh inning guy. That is their role in a game that the team is winning. The role is based on the inning, not necessarily on the matchups coming during that inning. Through admittedly just eight games this season, it appears that Rocco Baldelli, Wes Johnson and the Twins have decided not to give pitcher roles by innings but instead by situation. Here is a quick breakdown of which innings the relievers have been used in so far. Taylor Rogers: 9th/Save (3) Sergio Romo: 7th (1), 8th (1), 9th/Save (1), Trevor May: 5th (1),7th (1), 8th (1), Tyler Duffey: 6th (1), 7th (2), Tyler Clippard: 6th (3), 8th (1), Cody Stashak: 8th and 9th (1), 7th (1), 8th (1) Zack Littell: 5th (1), 6th and 7th (1), Devin Smeltzer: 6th and 7th (1), Matt Wisler: 8th (1), 8th and 9th (1) Lewis Thorpe: 6th, 7th and 8th (1), 8th and 9th (1) Kenta Maeda became the first Twins starting pitcher to throw a pitch in the six innings. In games that the Twins have won, we have seen Clippard, Duffey, May, Romo, Stashak and Rogers. As interesting, pitchers have been used in a variety of roles. Trevor May has pitched in the fifth inning and in the eighth inning. On Sunday, Tyler Clippard will be used as an Opener after being used in either the sixth or eighth innings previously. Tyler Duffey has pitched in the sixth and seventh innings. Duffey said on Saturday afternoon that Baldelli has been up front with the relievers about their roles. “Rocco did a good job. Before we got started, he kind of made the rounds and talked to guys. He said, ‘Hey, situations are gonna call for guys to pitch. Just be ready.’” Earlier in the week, Sergio Romo hesitated when asked about reliever roles, but said, “We all have an ability to get hitters out in a unique way, in a different way from each other. The situations that Rocco’s been putting us in is a compliment to that, to each one of our strengths. Each one of us has been put in situations where I feel Rocco - maybe beyond 100% - knows we’re going to succeed. I think you’ll see more of that.” And succeed they have. Duffey (3 IP), Rogers (3 IP), Romo (3 IP), Stashak (4 IP), Thorpe (4 ⅔ IP) and Wisler (2 ⅓ IP) have combined to throw 20 innings with a combined 0.00 ERA. Clippard (4 IP) and May (3 IP) have each given up just one earned run. Zack Littell threw two scoreless innings in his most recent outing after giving up four runs in his first inning. Devin Smeltzer gave up five earned run in two innings in his lone outing. Combined, the bullpen has pitched 32 innings and has a 3.09 ERA. If you remove Littell’s and Smeltzer’s first outings, the bullpen has thrown 29 innings and has a 0.62 ERA. In short, outside of one game, this bullpen has been remarkable! We knew coming into the season that the bullpen was expected to be a strength of for the Twins. Many national sports media sites ranked the Twins bullpen among the Top 5 in MLB. There is talent. There are veterans like Romo and Clippard who have performed over their dozen-plus big league seasons. Taylor Rogers emerged the last two seasons as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game, if not one of the best relievers period. Trevor May and Tyler Duffey each have electric stuff and seemingly put it together in 2019s second half. Both are much more confident early this season. Zack Littell and Cody Stashak were rookies last year who were a big boost to the late-season improvements of the Twins bullpen. Stashak has been terrific early this year. Stashak said, “It (bullpen’s confidence) is pretty high. I’m sure the word’s gone around that we’ve got a solid ‘pen.” Littell struggled in his first outing, then threw two scoreless innings on Thursday night. He has now been put on the Injured List with a hamstring injury. Baldelli said of Littell, “Zack came out of his last outing with just a little bit of a hamstring tightness. You could call it an injury. You could call it just a minor incident. Really, what it comes down to, is you probably don't want to have to put a guy on the IL for something like this, but it probably would have been a couple of days before he would have seen game action again. So, does he need the full 10 days to feel better and be able to get out there on the mound? I don't know. Probably not. But to have a spot in the bullpen where you're not going to pitch a guy for a handful of days right now is also not a place where we really want to be. ” That gives Jorge Alcala, whose stuff the team has been raving about throughout summer camp, an opportunity. Before Saturday’s game, Baldelli noted, “We had some videos of him throwing at home, and he looked really, really impressive. The velocity was good and was up from what we saw in the big leagues last year. We know he has a big arm and some added depth to the breaking ball was apparent. More than anything, I think his confidence in what he's doing when he steps on the mound against hitters, against big league hitters, even against his own teammates in some of these outings and Summer Camp sessions.” So now maybe Alcala assumes the role and gets the situations that Littell had pitched. With the innings not being the determining factor for when a pitcher comes in, how does a pitcher know, or anticipate, when he might be called upon? In Saturday’s pre-game Zoom Meetings, I asked Duffey if he just needs to start getting ready earlier or if it causes him to pay attention to things like the opponent’s batting order and such. He said, “Obviously we’re not locked in for nine innings, but you kind of look at the lineup and say, ‘OK, there are some righties, or I’ve done well against that lefty in the past, or maybe we need to turn this switch-hitter around,’ something like that. Those are thoughts that go through your mind.” Duffey added, “You can’t really expect anything, and I think that’s good. It keeps everyone on their toes and mentally ready. I can’t say it enough, this is a really, really good group of guys. A lot of talent, a lot of different looks, especially out of our bullpen. I think that’s why we’re gonna have a lot of success.” Sergio Romo agrees, and is looking forward to seeing how it plays out. “It’s going to be fun to see the combinations that Rocco puts together with us. Again, it’s more of a compliment to us when he has so many different ways to use us and is so willing to do it confidently. It’s fun to be a part of again.” While the starters will, hopefully, continue to eat more innings as the season moves on, Baldelli and Johnson have to feel really good about their bullpen, knowing whoever they put into a game is fully capable of shutting the door. And having one of the top closers in the game certainly doesn’t hurt either. Click here to view the article
  5. Going back a decade or more, the concept of Closer-by-Committee was met with disdain by many inside baseball circles. Meanwhile, the concept behind it was certainly sound. Use your best bullpen arms in the best positions for them to succeed. In other words, if your opponent has Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton coming up to start the eighth inning, you might want to use your closer in that situation, especially if you’ve got a closer that dominates right-handed hitters. Get through that situation, and bring in the most logical next reliever for that ninth-inning save. It has also always been tradition that the better bullpens have a ninth inning guy, an eighth inning guy and maybe even a seventh inning guy. That is their role in a game that the team is winning. The role is based on the inning, not necessarily on the matchups coming during that inning. Through admittedly just eight games this season, it appears that Rocco Baldelli, Wes Johnson and the Twins have decided not to give pitcher roles by innings but instead by situation. Here is a quick breakdown of which innings the relievers have been used in so far. Taylor Rogers: 9th/Save (3) Sergio Romo: 7th (1), 8th (1), 9th/Save (1), Trevor May: 5th (1),7th (1), 8th (1), Tyler Duffey: 6th (1), 7th (2), Tyler Clippard: 6th (3), 8th (1), Cody Stashak: 8th and 9th (1), 7th (1), 8th (1) Zack Littell: 5th (1), 6th and 7th (1), Devin Smeltzer: 6th and 7th (1), Matt Wisler: 8th (1), 8th and 9th (1) Lewis Thorpe: 6th, 7th and 8th (1), 8th and 9th (1) Kenta Maeda became the first Twins starting pitcher to throw a pitch in the six innings. In games that the Twins have won, we have seen Clippard, Duffey, May, Romo, Stashak and Rogers. As interesting, pitchers have been used in a variety of roles. Trevor May has pitched in the fifth inning and in the eighth inning. On Sunday, Tyler Clippard will be used as an Opener after being used in either the sixth or eighth innings previously. Tyler Duffey has pitched in the sixth and seventh innings. Duffey said on Saturday afternoon that Baldelli has been up front with the relievers about their roles. “Rocco did a good job. Before we got started, he kind of made the rounds and talked to guys. He said, ‘Hey, situations are gonna call for guys to pitch. Just be ready.’” Earlier in the week, Sergio Romo hesitated when asked about reliever roles, but said, “We all have an ability to get hitters out in a unique way, in a different way from each other. The situations that Rocco’s been putting us in is a compliment to that, to each one of our strengths. Each one of us has been put in situations where I feel Rocco - maybe beyond 100% - knows we’re going to succeed. I think you’ll see more of that.” And succeed they have. Duffey (3 IP), Rogers (3 IP), Romo (3 IP), Stashak (4 IP), Thorpe (4 ⅔ IP) and Wisler (2 ⅓ IP) have combined to throw 20 innings with a combined 0.00 ERA. Clippard (4 IP) and May (3 IP) have each given up just one earned run. Zack Littell threw two scoreless innings in his most recent outing after giving up four runs in his first inning. Devin Smeltzer gave up five earned run in two innings in his lone outing. Combined, the bullpen has pitched 32 innings and has a 3.09 ERA. If you remove Littell’s and Smeltzer’s first outings, the bullpen has thrown 29 innings and has a 0.62 ERA. In short, outside of one game, this bullpen has been remarkable! We knew coming into the season that the bullpen was expected to be a strength of for the Twins. Many national sports media sites ranked the Twins bullpen among the Top 5 in MLB. There is talent. There are veterans like Romo and Clippard who have performed over their dozen-plus big league seasons. Taylor Rogers emerged the last two seasons as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game, if not one of the best relievers period. Trevor May and Tyler Duffey each have electric stuff and seemingly put it together in 2019s second half. Both are much more confident early this season. Zack Littell and Cody Stashak were rookies last year who were a big boost to the late-season improvements of the Twins bullpen. Stashak has been terrific early this year. Stashak said, “It (bullpen’s confidence) is pretty high. I’m sure the word’s gone around that we’ve got a solid ‘pen.” Littell struggled in his first outing, then threw two scoreless innings on Thursday night. He has now been put on the Injured List with a hamstring injury. Baldelli said of Littell, “Zack came out of his last outing with just a little bit of a hamstring tightness. You could call it an injury. You could call it just a minor incident. Really, what it comes down to, is you probably don't want to have to put a guy on the IL for something like this, but it probably would have been a couple of days before he would have seen game action again. So, does he need the full 10 days to feel better and be able to get out there on the mound? I don't know. Probably not. But to have a spot in the bullpen where you're not going to pitch a guy for a handful of days right now is also not a place where we really want to be. ” That gives Jorge Alcala, whose stuff the team has been raving about throughout summer camp, an opportunity. Before Saturday’s game, Baldelli noted, “We had some videos of him throwing at home, and he looked really, really impressive. The velocity was good and was up from what we saw in the big leagues last year. We know he has a big arm and some added depth to the breaking ball was apparent. More than anything, I think his confidence in what he's doing when he steps on the mound against hitters, against big league hitters, even against his own teammates in some of these outings and Summer Camp sessions.” So now maybe Alcala assumes the role and gets the situations that Littell had pitched. With the innings not being the determining factor for when a pitcher comes in, how does a pitcher know, or anticipate, when he might be called upon? In Saturday’s pre-game Zoom Meetings, I asked Duffey if he just needs to start getting ready earlier or if it causes him to pay attention to things like the opponent’s batting order and such. He said, “Obviously we’re not locked in for nine innings, but you kind of look at the lineup and say, ‘OK, there are some righties, or I’ve done well against that lefty in the past, or maybe we need to turn this switch-hitter around,’ something like that. Those are thoughts that go through your mind.” Duffey added, “You can’t really expect anything, and I think that’s good. It keeps everyone on their toes and mentally ready. I can’t say it enough, this is a really, really good group of guys. A lot of talent, a lot of different looks, especially out of our bullpen. I think that’s why we’re gonna have a lot of success.” Sergio Romo agrees, and is looking forward to seeing how it plays out. “It’s going to be fun to see the combinations that Rocco puts together with us. Again, it’s more of a compliment to us when he has so many different ways to use us and is so willing to do it confidently. It’s fun to be a part of again.” While the starters will, hopefully, continue to eat more innings as the season moves on, Baldelli and Johnson have to feel really good about their bullpen, knowing whoever they put into a game is fully capable of shutting the door. And having one of the top closers in the game certainly doesn’t hurt either.
  6. The Twins topped the Cardinals 6-3 in their home opener at Target Field on Tuesday night to move to 3-1 on the season. I watched the game and jotted down a specific note or thought based on the events of each inning. Let's run it back.1st Inning: Making Martínez Sweat The bottom of the first was not a great showing for the Twins offense. They missed some big opportunities. Nelson Cruz popped out to foul territory on a 2-0 count with two in scoring position, and later Mitch Garver grounded out to third on 3-1 with the bases juiced. No one hit anything particularly hard. And yet ... this lineup still made life extremely difficult for Cardinals starter Carlos Martínez, who needed 21 pitches to get through the frame. While the Twins may have failed to cash in, it's the kind of high-stress experience for a pitcher that can set up an inning like the second, where Minnesota took off and pushed across five runs. Martínez, a very good pitcher with a 3.36 career ERA, was soon chased from the game after just 4 2/3 innings. 2nd Inning: Hip Hip, Jorge Punctuating the five-run outburst in the bottom of the second was No. 3 hitter Jorge Polanco, who launched a two-run homer into the right field plaza. He very nearly followed with another bomb from the other side in his following at-bat, two innings later, though Cards left fielder Tyler O'Neill was able to track it down at the warning track. It was a bit strange to see from Buxton, for whom the spectacular has become almost routine. But among all the negative outcomes of him chasing a ball to the wall, a solo homer with a fairly comfortable lead is one we'll take. It was a tough break for May, but he recovered nicely by striking out the next three batters. His stuff looks absolutely filthy, as he induced seven swinging strikes on 21 pitches. 9th Inning: Where is Rogers? With the exception of Rich Hill (who starts tomorrow) only two players on the active roster had yet to see game action by this point: Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers. Even in a save situation – albeit on the less-intense side – the Twins' top-tier closer remained unused. Romo tossed a clean ninth to close out the 6-3 victory. That leaves Rogers, one of the team's best and long-tenured players, as the only reliever we've yet to see. It doesn't necessarily point to any error in judgment from Baldelli, as there's been no real need to turn to the team's highest-leverage arm, but still it seems strange that Rogers hasn't even gotten in an inning of work while several others have made multiple appearances. Hopefully there's nothing bothering the southpaw physically, and this is all situational and strategic. Through the team's first four games in 2019, Rogers had already thrown four innings across three appearances. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  7. 1st Inning: Making Martínez Sweat The bottom of the first was not a great showing for the Twins offense. They missed some big opportunities. Nelson Cruz popped out to foul territory on a 2-0 count with two in scoring position, and later Mitch Garver grounded out to third on 3-1 with the bases juiced. No one hit anything particularly hard. And yet ... this lineup still made life extremely difficult for Cardinals starter Carlos Martínez, who needed 21 pitches to get through the frame. While the Twins may have failed to cash in, it's the kind of high-stress experience for a pitcher that can set up an inning like the second, where Minnesota took off and pushed across five runs. Martínez, a very good pitcher with a 3.36 career ERA, was soon chased from the game after just 4 2/3 innings. 2nd Inning: Hip Hip, Jorge Punctuating the five-run outburst in the bottom of the second was No. 3 hitter Jorge Polanco, who launched a two-run homer into the right field plaza. He very nearly followed with another bomb from the other side in his following at-bat, two innings later, though Cards left fielder Tyler O'Neill was able to track it down at the warning track. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1288280300909400066 Polanco tends to get lost in a shuffle a bit for this offense, as a steadily solid hitter amidst a sea of flashy sluggers. He ranked sixth on the team in OPS+ last year, and he was a bit quiet down the stretch. It can be easy to forget he was the lone All-Star on a historic 2019 offense. One person who does not lose sight of Polanco's abilities at the plate is his manager. Polanco batted cleanup in the second game of this season in Chicago. That marks the only time since Rocco Baldelli took over as skipper that the shortstop has hit anywhere below third in the lineup. 3rd Inning: Living on the Edge The last time we saw Homer Bailey, it wasn't such a pretty sight. The newly signed right-hander got knocked around in his final tune-up start at Wrigley, as the Cubs took advantage of too many hittable pitches left up around the belt. His official debut was a different story. While he wasn't immune to mistakes, Bailey was executing far better this time out, peppering the borders of FSN's strike zone visualization to maximize the effectiveness of a so-so fastball. Here in the third inning, he was at the height of his prowess for the evening, striking out the side with some stellar pitch sequences. Impressively, it was his slider and not his highly-touted splitter doing much of the work. https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1288281129947148289 Bailey had a crisp outing, allowing four hits and two walks over five innings, with four strikeouts. It's a continuation of the trend we saw in 2019, which saw noticeable improvement in many indicators of hard contact (Barrel %, Sweet Spot %, XBA, XSLG). If he can keep dancing around the edges, while dropping the occasional slow breaking ball over the plate to catch a hitter off-guard, he's gonna be in good shape. 4th Inning: Here Comes the Rain It was a picture-perfect summer evening for the opener at Target Field, although the Bringer of Rain did make his first splash in the bottom of the fourth. Josh Donaldson watered the plants on the right-field overhang with an oppo shot that just barely cleared the wall. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1288285962984984576 One thing that's really struck me about Donaldson is that even when he doesn't square it up – and so far he hasn't done so much; prior to the bomb, he was 2-for-11 with two infield singles – he still puts a charge into the ball. That home run came on a ripe pitch over the middle, but he really didn't seem to get all of it. There have been a few other occasions, including his sacrifice fly earlier in the game, where the ball has carried surprisingly far off Donaldson's bat. This guy is as strong and powerful as advertised. 5th Inning: Bailey Bounces Back The lone blemish in Bailey's outing came here in the fifth, where he left a hanging offspeed pitch over the dish and O'Neill destroyed it for a two-run homer. Following a well-struck single to open the inning, it looked like the Twins starter might be starting to lose steam. But he buckled down and rattled off three straight outs – a pop-out to first and two grounders. That's the resiliency you like to see from a back-end starter. It was maybe more encouraging to me than his triple-K third. 6th Inning: Pesky Arráez The sixth was fairly uneventful, with Tyler Clippard entering to pitch a clean top half and Minnesota going down 1-2-3 in the bottom. But one guy who did not go easily was Luis Arráez. As ever. The scrappy second baseman drove a pitch the other way and nearly had extra bases, but O'Neill was able to chase it down in left with a diving grab near the line. Arráez makes pitchers and defenders work awfully hard to get him out. He still has yet to strike out through 12 plate appearances, and he's been hitting the ball pretty dang hard. To have a player like this near the bottom of your lineup (he's hit seventh twice and ninth once) is just an unbelievable advantage. 7th Inning: Stashak and Bullpen Depth Bailey was out of the game for Minnesota after five, but the Twins had no trouble filling in the remaining innings. Second out of the bullpen was Cody Stashak, who delivered his second scoreless outing of the young season. With the exception of a ground-ball double, Stashak was basically flawless, throwing 12 of 17 pitches for strikes and retiring the side with little trouble. Just as Arráez is a major asset at the lower part of the order, Stashak is a major asset in the middle of the bullpen. He's looked every bit as good as the 3.24 ERA and 25-to-1 K/BB ratio in last year's MLB debut suggested. 8th Inning: Buxton Drops the Ball Trevor May followed Stashak in the eighth. Leading off against him was Tommy Edman, who lifted a deep fly to center field. Byron Buxton, making his first appearance of the season, sprinted back, reached the wall, and had it measured. He leapt up, had it in his glove, and the ball glanced right off it over the fence. https://twitter.com/cjzer0/status/1288302537221832707 It was a bit strange to see from Buxton, for whom the spectacular has become almost routine. But among all the negative outcomes of him chasing a ball to the wall, a solo homer with a fairly comfortable lead is one we'll take. It was a tough break for May, but he recovered nicely by striking out the next three batters. His stuff looks absolutely filthy, as he induced seven swinging strikes on 21 pitches. 9th Inning: Where is Rogers? With the exception of Rich Hill (who starts tomorrow) only two players on the active roster had yet to see game action by this point: Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers. Even in a save situation – albeit on the less-intense side – the Twins' top-tier closer remained unused. Romo tossed a clean ninth to close out the 6-3 victory. That leaves Rogers, one of the team's best and long-tenured players, as the only reliever we've yet to see. It doesn't necessarily point to any error in judgment from Baldelli, as there's been no real need to turn to the team's highest-leverage arm, but still it seems strange that Rogers hasn't even gotten in an inning of work while several others have made multiple appearances. Hopefully there's nothing bothering the southpaw physically, and this is all situational and strategic. Through the team's first four games in 2019, Rogers had already thrown four innings across three appearances. 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  8. When a team acquires a pitcher, via free agency or trade, it is because they believe that pitcher can get batters out with regularity. However, when the team signed Tyler Clippard and re-signed Sergio Romo this offseason, they were getting two pitchers with a ton of experience. Experience that can help develop the Twins young, talented bullpen arms.37-year-old Sergio Romo has pitched in 708 major-league games over the past 12 seasons. He has once been an All Star. He was an important piece in three Giants World Series championships (2010, 2012, 2014). Tyler Clippard is 35 years old. He has pitched in 751 games over his 13 seasons in the big leagues. He is a two-time All Star, and has been a part of two World Series teams. Only side-winding Joe Smith has pitched more games than Clippard among active players. Romo is fourth among active players in games pitched. Active MLB Leaders in Games Pitched 782 - Joe Smith 751 - Tyler Clippard 710 - Joakim Soria 708 - Sergio Romo 705 - Combined MLB games pitched by Taylor Rogers (258), Trevor May (191), Tyler Duffey (169), Zack Littell (37), Cody Stashak (18), Lewis Thorpe (12), Devin Smeltzer (11), Randy Dobnak (9). Sure, you can add Matt Wisler’s 129 MLB games to the list, but then the list above doesn’t look quite as cool. That said, the point is certainly clear. The Twins have two relievers who come with a ton of major-league experience. The 2020 Twins bullpen should be strong, but these two have many experiences and tips and tricks that they can share with the younger pitchers to help them improve. Some of it is simply accepting and thriving in the reality that they are now at a different phase in their careers. Tyler Clippard credited lefty Ron Villone and right-hander Brad Lidge for being guys that he looked up to and learned a lot from when he was new to the league. Now he is taking on that role as veteran leader, and happy to do so. He said, “That perspective that I had as a younger player, looking up to those veteran guys and knowing that I’m on that side of it now. Respecting that and recognizing that is very important to me and something I enjoy the heck out of every day. Hopefully they get something out of it, but I truly enjoy it. ” In his career, Sergio Romo has had some great experiences. For instance, he was the closer for a World Series championship team. He’s been a great set up man too. And he clearly sees the talent in the guys that the Twins are projected to pitch in those late innings. We know that Taylor Rogers would love to be the guy on the mound if and when the Twins win the World Series, as Romo was when he struck out Miguel Cabrera to end the 2012 World Series. It’s something that he and the other Twins pitchers can talk to Romo about. To hear a guy with Romo’s track record acknowledge how great Rogers is has to be meaningful. But Romo and Clippard aren’t just there to lead those late-inning relievers. They are there to get outs, and some big outs in key situations. They can also instill confidence in the rest of the bullpen too Romo said, “There are guys that haven’t had their coming out party yet, and I think this short spring could be something of that sort for a couple of guys in our bullpen.” He specifically mentioned Cody Stashak and Zack Littell. “These guys are going to come out with a bang, and they’re going to be so consistent in this short sprint that it’s going to be so dang hard to not talk about them in the long run.” Littell has appreciated the leadership shown by Romo and Clippard. He said recently, “I think the biggest thing they bring to the table aside from the obvious experience they have, is the ability to show that everybody needs to just be themselves. Sergio and Clippard are two very different personality guys, but each of them is able to go out and get outs everyday and have both been doing it a long time. And there’s something to be said for being comfortable in your own skin especially when you get into these big moments in games and they both are just examples of that.” Littell had transitioned from being a starting pitcher prospect into the bullpen and was such a key cog in the bullpen’s resurgence over the final two months of the season. In 29 games on the season, he went 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA. But with Romo on the roster in August and September, Littell must have felt much more comfortable. He gave up just one earned run over 18 2/3 innings covering 15 games. Stashak made his debut in late July last year. The cool, calm right-hander walked just one batter and struck out 25 batters over 25 innings (18 games). Stashak rejoined the Twins “Summer Camp” a little bit late as he was with his wife when she gave birth to the couple’s first child. He told Twins Daily recently that he hasn’t had as much time with Clippard, but he was a locker mate with Romo throughout his time in the big leagues last August and September. Of Romo, Stashak said, “He is a guy that will answer any question even if it is not about baseball. We talked a lot during my time up there. He was more of a mentor for me as I was still trying to get comfortable up in the big leagues. He is funny, energetic and everyone loves the guy. It’s hard not to like a guy like Serg.” But Stashak was quick to compliment other veterans on the Twins roster such as Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson and Alex Avila. He added, “The atmosphere around the clubhouse is great and everyone gets along which makes it such a fun group to be around. From a pitching side there are two guys who you mentioned who have experienced it all, like being a World Series contender and even a champion. Hopefully they can help guide us to a World Series and help us win it!” While Romo is the more boisterous of the two veteran relievers, he points out that Clippard not only has experience, but that he is able to communicate well with his teammates. “The experience that he has... The communication skills that he has that I’ve already seen... Being able to share his experiences and share his thoughts, and thought-process on the mound, and when what he’s trying to accomplish in his practice, in his bullpen sessions, his flat grounds, and even his normal play-catch sessions. It’s awesome how he can simplify it all.” Clippard has relished the opportunity to lead and be an ear and an example for younger pitchers. “That’s been one of the coolest parts of my career over the last three or four years, has been being a veteran guy and being a guy that (younger) guys look to for answers, whether it be it baseball-related, off the field stuff, anything or everything. I love talking to the younger guys. I love talking about pitching. I learn a lot of the times as much from them as they might learn from me.” I have talked to several former Twins recently for some upcoming stories, and each has taken time to point out how much ‘character’ has mattered when drafting, signing or otherwise acquiring players. It is clear that trait is still very important as Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard have not only had tremendous, long-laster careers on the mound, but they clearly have had a very positive effect on younger players and teammates as well. Click here to view the article
  9. 37-year-old Sergio Romo has pitched in 708 major-league games over the past 12 seasons. He has once been an All Star. He was an important piece in three Giants World Series championships (2010, 2012, 2014). Tyler Clippard is 35 years old. He has pitched in 751 games over his 13 seasons in the big leagues. He is a two-time All Star, and has been a part of two World Series teams. Only side-winding Joe Smith has pitched more games than Clippard among active players. Romo is fourth among active players in games pitched. Active MLB Leaders in Games Pitched 782 - Joe Smith 751 - Tyler Clippard 710 - Joakim Soria 708 - Sergio Romo 705 - Combined MLB games pitched by Taylor Rogers (258), Trevor May (191), Tyler Duffey (169), Zack Littell (37), Cody Stashak (18), Lewis Thorpe (12), Devin Smeltzer (11), Randy Dobnak (9). Sure, you can add Matt Wisler’s 129 MLB games to the list, but then the list above doesn’t look quite as cool. That said, the point is certainly clear. The Twins have two relievers who come with a ton of major-league experience. The 2020 Twins bullpen should be strong, but these two have many experiences and tips and tricks that they can share with the younger pitchers to help them improve. Some of it is simply accepting and thriving in the reality that they are now at a different phase in their careers. Tyler Clippard credited lefty Ron Villone and right-hander Brad Lidge for being guys that he looked up to and learned a lot from when he was new to the league. Now he is taking on that role as veteran leader, and happy to do so. He said, “That perspective that I had as a younger player, looking up to those veteran guys and knowing that I’m on that side of it now. Respecting that and recognizing that is very important to me and something I enjoy the heck out of every day. Hopefully they get something out of it, but I truly enjoy it. ” In his career, Sergio Romo has had some great experiences. For instance, he was the closer for a World Series championship team. He’s been a great set up man too. And he clearly sees the talent in the guys that the Twins are projected to pitch in those late innings. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1282780542178664448 We know that Taylor Rogers would love to be the guy on the mound if and when the Twins win the World Series, as Romo was when he struck out Miguel Cabrera to end the 2012 World Series. It’s something that he and the other Twins pitchers can talk to Romo about. To hear a guy with Romo’s track record acknowledge how great Rogers is has to be meaningful. But Romo and Clippard aren’t just there to lead those late-inning relievers. They are there to get outs, and some big outs in key situations. They can also instill confidence in the rest of the bullpen too Romo said, “There are guys that haven’t had their coming out party yet, and I think this short spring could be something of that sort for a couple of guys in our bullpen.” He specifically mentioned Cody Stashak and Zack Littell. “These guys are going to come out with a bang, and they’re going to be so consistent in this short sprint that it’s going to be so dang hard to not talk about them in the long run.” Littell has appreciated the leadership shown by Romo and Clippard. He said recently, “I think the biggest thing they bring to the table aside from the obvious experience they have, is the ability to show that everybody needs to just be themselves. Sergio and Clippard are two very different personality guys, but each of them is able to go out and get outs everyday and have both been doing it a long time. And there’s something to be said for being comfortable in your own skin especially when you get into these big moments in games and they both are just examples of that.” Littell had transitioned from being a starting pitcher prospect into the bullpen and was such a key cog in the bullpen’s resurgence over the final two months of the season. In 29 games on the season, he went 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA. But with Romo on the roster in August and September, Littell must have felt much more comfortable. He gave up just one earned run over 18 2/3 innings covering 15 games. Stashak made his debut in late July last year. The cool, calm right-hander walked just one batter and struck out 25 batters over 25 innings (18 games). Stashak rejoined the Twins “Summer Camp” a little bit late as he was with his wife when she gave birth to the couple’s first child. He told Twins Daily recently that he hasn’t had as much time with Clippard, but he was a locker mate with Romo throughout his time in the big leagues last August and September. Of Romo, Stashak said, “He is a guy that will answer any question even if it is not about baseball. We talked a lot during my time up there. He was more of a mentor for me as I was still trying to get comfortable up in the big leagues. He is funny, energetic and everyone loves the guy. It’s hard not to like a guy like Serg.” But Stashak was quick to compliment other veterans on the Twins roster such as Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson and Alex Avila. He added, “The atmosphere around the clubhouse is great and everyone gets along which makes it such a fun group to be around. From a pitching side there are two guys who you mentioned who have experienced it all, like being a World Series contender and even a champion. Hopefully they can help guide us to a World Series and help us win it!” While Romo is the more boisterous of the two veteran relievers, he points out that Clippard not only has experience, but that he is able to communicate well with his teammates. “The experience that he has... The communication skills that he has that I’ve already seen... Being able to share his experiences and share his thoughts, and thought-process on the mound, and when what he’s trying to accomplish in his practice, in his bullpen sessions, his flat grounds, and even his normal play-catch sessions. It’s awesome how he can simplify it all.” Clippard has relished the opportunity to lead and be an ear and an example for younger pitchers. “That’s been one of the coolest parts of my career over the last three or four years, has been being a veteran guy and being a guy that (younger) guys look to for answers, whether it be it baseball-related, off the field stuff, anything or everything. I love talking to the younger guys. I love talking about pitching. I learn a lot of the times as much from them as they might learn from me.” I have talked to several former Twins recently for some upcoming stories, and each has taken time to point out how much ‘character’ has mattered when drafting, signing or otherwise acquiring players. It is clear that trait is still very important as Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard have not only had tremendous, long-laster careers on the mound, but they clearly have had a very positive effect on younger players and teammates as well.
  10. An unusual event occurred on Sept. 8. No, it wasn’t that the Vikings won their season opener. No, it wasn’t the fact that it was National Grandparent’s Day. And no, it wasn’t that I listened to the Shrek soundtrack while driving home that day. On Sept. 8, Cody Stashak walked his first (and so far, only) batter of the season in MLB. It was a full count and even looking at the video, the pitch seemed like a pretty solid strikeout pitch, Yu Chang just had a good take.Walks are by no means unique in any game as pitchers sometimes lose command in a given plate appearance or hitters have some especially good takes. But for Stashak, that walk is the only one he allowed in the 25 innings he pitched at the major league level this year. This gave him a BB/9 on the year of 0.36 and a BB% that was an astonishing 1% in 2019. For comparison, Josh Tomlin and Chris Martin both held the lowest BB% by a qualified reliever in 2019 with a 2.3% mark. Right around when he was called up, Stashak talked about what his focus was for pitching in MLB: A straight-to-the-point answer, yes, but sometimes flippancy is the most effective way at communicating a game plan and for Stashak, his game plan was executed to perfection. Before I move on, just know that I am about to bastardize the concept of sample size and draw from evidence that is not completely whole given that Stashak has just 25 innings to his name at the major league level. But, there is no statistician that can currently reach me and strangle me to death before I do this so I will continue on until forced otherwise. “Just throw strikes” is a bit of a buzz phrase in baseball mostly yelled by angry middle-aged men who would crap themselves if they ever got buzzed by an average heater. Never mind the fact that every pitcher, ever, knows that he needs to throw strikes or that not throwing strikes may actually be the superior plan. No, throwing strikes to some is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or Radiohead’s “Kid A”. Throwing strikes seems to be almost an addiction for Stashak, something he just can’t help himself from doing. He led the league in rate of pitches in the strike zone (minimum 20 innings) at 52.3%. A rookie throwing strikes at such a rate is almost unheard of and Stashak’s zone% in 2019 would put him 13th among all rookie relievers with at least 20 IP since 2010. Is that too contrived? Well, Stashak’s zone% is also seventh best among all rookie pitchers with at least 20 IP over the last three years. Stashak has been more than just a strike-thrower, though. If you’re looking for swing-and-miss ability. Stashak's 17.1% swinging strike rate ranked 15th among all pitchers with at least 20 IP in 2019 and was the highest of any Twin. Somewhat predictably, his odds of getting a swing on a pitch outside of the zone (O-Swing %) was the 12th highest in MLB among pitchers with at least 20 IP (38.6% was oddly enough right behind Randy Dobnak who had a 39.2% rate). What makes Stashak so deadly is that he has been formed in the mold of a modern reliever in that he matches a high fastball with a slider low and away to right-handed hitters. Stashak’s fastball has two less inches of drop compared to league average fastballs and his slider has four more inches of horizontal break compared to league average sliders. Less drop on his fastball gives it that “rising” effect that some hitters talk about and makes it a great pitch up in the zone while the extra horizontal slider movement makes his breaker especially effective when thrown outside to righties. Stashak was a strike-throwing machine who could get his stuff by hitters with ease even when not throwing pitches in the zone and without elite velocity (average fastball velo was 91.8 MPH). He understands what he has to do in order to get hitters out with his stuff and he has the precise ability to execute that plan. There aren’t many players who I can give a comp with as most relievers these days tend to hold a higher velocity. But as long as Stashak continues throwing fastballs up and sliders low, he should be able to get hitters out at the major league level. While he was not much of a prospect, Stashak has solidified himself in a major league bullpen and will look to be an important piece for the Twins going forward. Click here to view the article
  11. Walks are by no means unique in any game as pitchers sometimes lose command in a given plate appearance or hitters have some especially good takes. But for Stashak, that walk is the only one he allowed in the 25 innings he pitched at the major league level this year. This gave him a BB/9 on the year of 0.36 and a BB% that was an astonishing 1% in 2019. For comparison, Josh Tomlin and Chris Martin both held the lowest BB% by a qualified reliever in 2019 with a 2.3% mark. Right around when he was called up, Stashak talked about what his focus was for pitching in MLB: https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1153432879394934786 A straight-to-the-point answer, yes, but sometimes flippancy is the most effective way at communicating a game plan and for Stashak, his game plan was executed to perfection. Before I move on, just know that I am about to bastardize the concept of sample size and draw from evidence that is not completely whole given that Stashak has just 25 innings to his name at the major league level. But, there is no statistician that can currently reach me and strangle me to death before I do this so I will continue on until forced otherwise. “Just throw strikes” is a bit of a buzz phrase in baseball mostly yelled by angry middle-aged men who would crap themselves if they ever got buzzed by an average heater. Never mind the fact that every pitcher, ever, knows that he needs to throw strikes or that not throwing strikes may actually be the superior plan. No, throwing strikes to some is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or Radiohead’s “Kid A”. Throwing strikes seems to be almost an addiction for Stashak, something he just can’t help himself from doing. He led the league in rate of pitches in the strike zone (minimum 20 innings) at 52.3%. A rookie throwing strikes at such a rate is almost unheard of and Stashak’s zone% in 2019 would put him 13th among all rookie relievers with at least 20 IP since 2010. Is that too contrived? Well, Stashak’s zone% is also seventh best among all rookie pitchers with at least 20 IP over the last three years. Stashak has been more than just a strike-thrower, though. If you’re looking for swing-and-miss ability. Stashak's 17.1% swinging strike rate ranked 15th among all pitchers with at least 20 IP in 2019 and was the highest of any Twin. Somewhat predictably, his odds of getting a swing on a pitch outside of the zone (O-Swing %) was the 12th highest in MLB among pitchers with at least 20 IP (38.6% was oddly enough right behind Randy Dobnak who had a 39.2% rate). What makes Stashak so deadly is that he has been formed in the mold of a modern reliever in that he matches a high fastball with a slider low and away to right-handed hitters. Stashak’s fastball has two less inches of drop compared to league average fastballs and his slider has four more inches of horizontal break compared to league average sliders. https://twitter.com/matthew_btwins/status/1184942051198001152 Less drop on his fastball gives it that “rising” effect that some hitters talk about and makes it a great pitch up in the zone while the extra horizontal slider movement makes his breaker especially effective when thrown outside to righties. https://twitter.com/matthew_btwins/status/1184946993489051648 Stashak was a strike-throwing machine who could get his stuff by hitters with ease even when not throwing pitches in the zone and without elite velocity (average fastball velo was 91.8 MPH). He understands what he has to do in order to get hitters out with his stuff and he has the precise ability to execute that plan. There aren’t many players who I can give a comp with as most relievers these days tend to hold a higher velocity. But as long as Stashak continues throwing fastballs up and sliders low, he should be able to get hitters out at the major league level. While he was not much of a prospect, Stashak has solidified himself in a major league bullpen and will look to be an important piece for the Twins going forward.
  12. All the excitement of AL Central Division championship and 101 wins seemed to disappear quickly in New York Friday night. Some unfortunate events in the field and some unfamiliar bullpen results left the Twins once again losers to the Yankees in a postseason game.Box Score Starter: Jose Berrios 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 61.4% strikes (54 of 88 pitches) Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 6 K Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (1), Nelson Cruz (1), Miguel Sano (1) Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (2-for-4), Marwin Gonzalez (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.248), Nelson Cruz(.105), Miguel Sano (.062) Bottom 3 WPA: Cody Stashak (-.151), Mitch Garver (-.123), Eddie Rosario (-.122) Download attachment: WinChartALDS1.png Bomba SZN starts early It didn’t take us long to find out who would hit the first postseason home run for the Twins in 2019. After a Mitch Garver strikeout, Jorge Polanco took James Paxton deep to put the Twins up 1-0 in the first inning. Then as the Twins got into the third inning, Nelson Cruz did what he has done all season to left-handed pitchers. Cruz took a ball to right field and took full advantage of that short wall in Yankee Stadium to put the Twins up 2-0. Berrios looked up for the task, until undone by errors As Berrios took the mound it looked like we were going to get a few innings of the energetic, strike-throwing Berrios we have been looking for. As fastball after fastball registered 95 mph on the gun things were going well. The one concern was the pitch count which was already at 48 pitches after two innings of work. So while far from perfect, Berrios was getting the job done. Then in the third inning Luis Arraez, who may have bumped into an umpire, looked unsteady as he headed for a short pop up and missed it as it fell to the outfield grass. That was the first of two missed opportunities to put an out on the scoreboard. It was followed by Twin-killer Edwin Encarnacion hitting his second double of the game to drive in DJ LeMahieu. Arraez was involved in the second missed opportunity as the relay from second to first during a double play did not connect. The second play looked to be more on C.J. Cron than on Arraez even though the throw was by no means perfect. Arraez redeemed himself as he would double in the fifth inning. Allowing Polanco to come back to the plate and collect his second hit of the evening and drive Arraez in to tie the game up 3-3. Bullpen wasn't quite the same The most questionable move of the night may have came at the beginning of the fifth inning. Berrios had just been taken out of the game after going four innings and giving up four hits, three walks, and one earned run. After Tyler Duffey had been warming up earlier, Baldelli turned to Zack Littell to face the heart of the Yankees lineup. Duffey came in after Littell walked Judge and hit Gardner with a pitch. By that time it gave Duffey little wiggle room and he eventually gave up a bases-loaded double to Torres off of Sano’s glove. The second questionable bullpen move came when Cody Stashak was put in the game and gave up two home runs to let the Yankees go up 7-4 in the sixth. It seems especially strange at this stage to have Stashak in against the top of the Yankee lineup when Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, and Trevor May are all sitting out in the bullpen. After Stashak, Baldelli turned to Kyle Gibson to likely save some of the other arms in the pen. LeMahieu continued to have a good night as he hit a bases-clearing double to go with a home run, two runs, and leaving him 3-for-5 on the night. This wasn’t a good start in an attempt to “slay the dragon” as the Twins droped the game 10-4. Thankfully we don’t even need to wait 24 hours before we will see how the Twins rebound from their Game 1 loss. Postgame With Baldelli Pitching Staff Spreadsheet Here's a look at the pitching staff usage: Download attachment: PitchingStaff.png Click here to view the article
  13. Box Score Starter: Jose Berrios 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 61.4% strikes (54 of 88 pitches) Bullpen: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 6 K Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (1), Nelson Cruz (1), Miguel Sano (1) Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (2-for-4), Marwin Gonzalez (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.248), Nelson Cruz(.105), Miguel Sano (.062) Bottom 3 WPA: Cody Stashak (-.151), Mitch Garver (-.123), Eddie Rosario (-.122) Bomba SZN starts early It didn’t take us long to find out who would hit the first postseason home run for the Twins in 2019. After a Mitch Garver strikeout, Jorge Polanco took James Paxton deep to put the Twins up 1-0 in the first inning. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1180260508345217024 Then as the Twins got into the third inning, Nelson Cruz did what he has done all season to left-handed pitchers. Cruz took a ball to right field and took full advantage of that short wall in Yankee Stadium to put the Twins up 2-0. Berrios looked up for the task, until undone by errors As Berrios took the mound it looked like we were going to get a few innings of the energetic, strike-throwing Berrios we have been looking for. As fastball after fastball registered 95 mph on the gun things were going well. The one concern was the pitch count which was already at 48 pitches after two innings of work. So while far from perfect, Berrios was getting the job done. Then in the third inning Luis Arraez, who may have bumped into an umpire, looked unsteady as he headed for a short pop up and missed it as it fell to the outfield grass. That was the first of two missed opportunities to put an out on the scoreboard. It was followed by Twin-killer Edwin Encarnacion hitting his second double of the game to drive in DJ LeMahieu. Arraez was involved in the second missed opportunity as the relay from second to first during a double play did not connect. The second play looked to be more on C.J. Cron than on Arraez even though the throw was by no means perfect. Arraez redeemed himself as he would double in the fifth inning. Allowing Polanco to come back to the plate and collect his second hit of the evening and drive Arraez in to tie the game up 3-3. Bullpen wasn't quite the same The most questionable move of the night may have came at the beginning of the fifth inning. Berrios had just been taken out of the game after going four innings and giving up four hits, three walks, and one earned run. After Tyler Duffey had been warming up earlier, Baldelli turned to Zack Littell to face the heart of the Yankees lineup. Duffey came in after Littell walked Judge and hit Gardner with a pitch. By that time it gave Duffey little wiggle room and he eventually gave up a bases-loaded double to Torres off of Sano’s glove. The second questionable bullpen move came when Cody Stashak was put in the game and gave up two home runs to let the Yankees go up 7-4 in the sixth. It seems especially strange at this stage to have Stashak in against the top of the Yankee lineup when Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, and Trevor May are all sitting out in the bullpen. After Stashak, Baldelli turned to Kyle Gibson to likely save some of the other arms in the pen. LeMahieu continued to have a good night as he hit a bases-clearing double to go with a home run, two runs, and leaving him 3-for-5 on the night. This wasn’t a good start in an attempt to “slay the dragon” as the Twins droped the game 10-4. Thankfully we don’t even need to wait 24 hours before we will see how the Twins rebound from their Game 1 loss. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1180332338288283653 Pitching Staff Spreadsheet Here's a look at the pitching staff usage:
  14. If you'd told me two months ago that the Twins would be so brimming with quality bullpen talent by the end of September, they'd be looking at leaving out deserving candidates from the postseason roster... well, I'd have given you a real funny look. But, here we are. Even with deadline centerpiece Sam Dyson fizzling out entirely, the Twins have the second-highest bullpen WAR in baseball since they acquired him. With the relief corps figuring to play a pivotal role in this year's postseason run, let's examine some of the difficult decisions being weighed.In projecting the playoff bullpen, we need to set a few parameters. We'll presume that the Twins carry 12 pitchers, which is generally the most you'll see given the reduced need for starting depth. Even the Brewers, who last year bullpened their way through the playoffs, carried only 12 pitchers. So, we can safely assume that six of those pitchers will be Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey, and Sergio Romo. Next, there is a batch of borderline locks: Randy Dobnak, Martin Perez, Devin Smeltzer. The length these guys provide is essential, especially with Minnesota possibly planning on multiple bullpen games in a series. One might quibble with Perez's presence in that second group, but I think his effectiveness against lefties (.592 OPS) solidifies his bid, given the lack of specialist alternatives. That leaves us with, at most, three open spots for the taking. And that's if the Twins elect to carry a shorthanded bench in favor of additional pen flexibility. Here are the candidates, listed from most-to-least viable as I see it: 1. Cody Stashak, RHP Stashak has ever-so-quietly put together a dominant showing in his major-league debut, posting a 23-to-1 K/BB ratio through his first 22 innings with an elite swing-and-miss rate. Control and stuff: two traits you absolutely want in your bullpen against imposing lineups filled with sluggers. The only question is how Stashak, a former 13th-round draft pick who opened this season in Double-A, will handle the pressure of such a stage. There's been zero indication to this point that he'll be rattled much. 2. Zack Littell, RHP In his second appearance of the season, Littell wore one against the Rays, giving up eight runs over 4 1/3 innings in mop-up duty. Since then, Littell has a 0.94 ERA over 25 appearances. He vacillates between a 94 MPH fastball and 87 MPH cutter in equal measure, and the formula's been very effective for him. Littell has recorded five or six outs in three of his past four appearances, so he's primed to handle a couple innings. That's very handy for the Twins in their situation. You could make a fair case that Littell should be No. 1 on this list, or even in the lock category. 3. Brusdar Graterol, RHP The 21-year-old's initial exposure to the majors has had its ups and downs, but the invigorating high points reaffirm his potential impact. Graterol is the kind of weapon you like to have at your disposal in tight contests, bringing triple-digit heat that's tough to square up when he locates it. Obviously there's an added level of risk and uncertainty at play here, but I think the Twins will wisely accept that in tandem with his upside. 4. Lewis Thorpe, LHP Now we're getting into the "outside looking in" group. Thorpe is an interesting case, because he offers length the Twins might value in front-to-back bullpen games. But he has a 6.15 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. There have been moments where Thorpe's looked really good, and his competitive moxy would fit right in with the intensity of October, but it's hard to imagine the Twins calling on him for multiple innings in a playoff game. He hasn't been good against lefties so match-ups don't really factor. 5. Kyle Gibson, RHP The Twins have given Gibson every chance. His last three appearances cascaded into catastrophe, systematically eroding the notion that he can help in any kind of postseason role. First, Gibson came back from an IL respite and got bashed for six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. Then, he made a relief appearance and promptly gave up a costly home run. Most recently, he was an erratic mess against Kansas City, failing to complete two innings. Over his past five appearances, opponents are hitting .413 against Gibson. The physically-hampered righty continues to miss bats even in this diminished state, which is the only solace I'll take in the (likely?) event that the team carries him out of sheer loyalty. 6. Fernando Romero, RHP At the beginning of the season, it would've been easy to envision Romero at the head of this conversation. But that was a long time ago, and the 24-year-old has since had a rough go of things. Constantly wrestling with his command, Romero has seen his upper-90s fastball fail to garner the desired results, in both Triple-A and the majors. There's still a glimmer of intrigue in that raw arsenal, but he's been too shaky to merit any trust. 7. Ryne Harper, RHP It's a raw deal for Harper. He was a vital bullpen fixture in the first half. He's a great story. I'd love to see him playing a role in the postseason. I just don't think the Twins can justify carving out a spot for him. Harper's heavy reliance on a big slow curveball, supplemented by a sub-mediocre fastball, was solved by big-league hitters after about three months, resulting in a 5.51 ERA and .318 opponents' average since the break. The idea of serving those pitches up against a bloodthirsty Yankees or Astros lineup is... discomforting. 8. Trevor Hildenberger, RHP Given his history, Hildenberger might've nudged his way back into the postseason picture -- despite his immense struggles over the past year-plus -- had he managed to string together a few shutdown performances here in September. But that hasn't happened. The righty looks awful. In three appearances since returning to the Twins, he's allowed six runs on six hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings, with two swinging strikes on 59 pitches. He's not usable. 9. Kohl Stewart, RHP Stewart's last three appearances for the Twins have come against likely postseason teams: OAK, NYY, ATL, WAS. Here's how that went: 7 IP, 13 H, 10 ER (12.86 ERA), 6 K, 3 BB, 2 HR. He serves no purpose outside of mopping up meaningless innings and that's just not a guy you need around in a five-game playoff series. 10. Jorge Alcala, RHP The fact that he has made one appearance since being called up 10 days ago, as the sixth pitcher in a game that slipped out of hand late, tells you all you need to know about where he stands in this bullpen hierarchy. Alcala is merely an extra emergency arm to have around for September, and it's become clear he was never auditioning for anything more. Based on these rankings and the supposition of a 12-man staff, here's how I see the ALDS bullpen shaking out: Berrios, Odorizzi, Rogers, May, Duffey, Romo, Dobnak, Perez, Smeltzer, Stashak, Littell, Graterol. What do you think? Would you rearrange these rankings? How many pitchers do you foresee them carrying? Have any creative thoughts on strategy and deployment? Sound off in the comments. Click here to view the article
  15. In projecting the playoff bullpen, we need to set a few parameters. We'll presume that the Twins carry 12 pitchers, which is generally the most you'll see given the reduced need for starting depth. Even the Brewers, who last year bullpened their way through the playoffs, carried only 12 pitchers. So, we can safely assume that six of those pitchers will be Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey, and Sergio Romo. Next, there is a batch of borderline locks: Randy Dobnak, Martin Perez, Devin Smeltzer. The length these guys provide is essential, especially with Minnesota possibly planning on multiple bullpen games in a series. One might quibble with Perez's presence in that second group, but I think his effectiveness against lefties (.592 OPS) solidifies his bid, given the lack of specialist alternatives. That leaves us with, at most, three open spots for the taking. And that's if the Twins elect to carry a shorthanded bench in favor of additional pen flexibility. Here are the candidates, listed from most-to-least viable as I see it: 1. Cody Stashak, RHP Stashak has ever-so-quietly put together a dominant showing in his major-league debut, posting a 23-to-1 K/BB ratio through his first 22 innings with an elite swing-and-miss rate. Control and stuff: two traits you absolutely want in your bullpen against imposing lineups filled with sluggers. The only question is how Stashak, a former 13th-round draft pick who opened this season in Double-A, will handle the pressure of such a stage. There's been zero indication to this point that he'll be rattled much. 2. Zack Littell, RHP In his second appearance of the season, Littell wore one against the Rays, giving up eight runs over 4 1/3 innings in mop-up duty. Since then, Littell has a 0.94 ERA over 25 appearances. He vacillates between a 94 MPH fastball and 87 MPH cutter in equal measure, and the formula's been very effective for him. Littell has recorded five or six outs in three of his past four appearances, so he's primed to handle a couple innings. That's very handy for the Twins in their situation. You could make a fair case that Littell should be No. 1 on this list, or even in the lock category. 3. Brusdar Graterol, RHP The 21-year-old's initial exposure to the majors has had its ups and downs, but the invigorating high points reaffirm his potential impact. Graterol is the kind of weapon you like to have at your disposal in tight contests, bringing triple-digit heat that's tough to square up when he locates it. Obviously there's an added level of risk and uncertainty at play here, but I think the Twins will wisely accept that in tandem with his upside. 4. Lewis Thorpe, LHP Now we're getting into the "outside looking in" group. Thorpe is an interesting case, because he offers length the Twins might value in front-to-back bullpen games. But he has a 6.15 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. There have been moments where Thorpe's looked really good, and his competitive moxy would fit right in with the intensity of October, but it's hard to imagine the Twins calling on him for multiple innings in a playoff game. He hasn't been good against lefties so match-ups don't really factor. 5. Kyle Gibson, RHP The Twins have given Gibson every chance. His last three appearances cascaded into catastrophe, systematically eroding the notion that he can help in any kind of postseason role. First, Gibson came back from an IL respite and got bashed for six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. Then, he made a relief appearance and promptly gave up a costly home run. Most recently, he was an erratic mess against Kansas City, failing to complete two innings. Over his past five appearances, opponents are hitting .413 against Gibson. The physically-hampered righty continues to miss bats even in this diminished state, which is the only solace I'll take in the (likely?) event that the team carries him out of sheer loyalty. 6. Fernando Romero, RHP At the beginning of the season, it would've been easy to envision Romero at the head of this conversation. But that was a long time ago, and the 24-year-old has since had a rough go of things. Constantly wrestling with his command, Romero has seen his upper-90s fastball fail to garner the desired results, in both Triple-A and the majors. There's still a glimmer of intrigue in that raw arsenal, but he's been too shaky to merit any trust. 7. Ryne Harper, RHP It's a raw deal for Harper. He was a vital bullpen fixture in the first half. He's a great story. I'd love to see him playing a role in the postseason. I just don't think the Twins can justify carving out a spot for him. Harper's heavy reliance on a big slow curveball, supplemented by a sub-mediocre fastball, was solved by big-league hitters after about three months, resulting in a 5.51 ERA and .318 opponents' average since the break. The idea of serving those pitches up against a bloodthirsty Yankees or Astros lineup is... discomforting. 8. Trevor Hildenberger, RHP Given his history, Hildenberger might've nudged his way back into the postseason picture -- despite his immense struggles over the past year-plus -- had he managed to string together a few shutdown performances here in September. But that hasn't happened. The righty looks awful. In three appearances since returning to the Twins, he's allowed six runs on six hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings, with two swinging strikes on 59 pitches. He's not usable. 9. Kohl Stewart, RHP Stewart's last three appearances for the Twins have come against likely postseason teams: OAK, NYY, ATL, WAS. Here's how that went: 7 IP, 13 H, 10 ER (12.86 ERA), 6 K, 3 BB, 2 HR. He serves no purpose outside of mopping up meaningless innings and that's just not a guy you need around in a five-game playoff series. 10. Jorge Alcala, RHP The fact that he has made one appearance since being called up 10 days ago, as the sixth pitcher in a game that slipped out of hand late, tells you all you need to know about where he stands in this bullpen hierarchy. Alcala is merely an extra emergency arm to have around for September, and it's become clear he was never auditioning for anything more. Based on these rankings and the supposition of a 12-man staff, here's how I see the ALDS bullpen shaking out: Berrios, Odorizzi, Rogers, May, Duffey, Romo, Dobnak, Perez, Smeltzer, Stashak, Littell, Graterol. What do you think? Would you rearrange these rankings? How many pitchers do you foresee them carrying? Have any creative thoughts on strategy and deployment? Sound off in the comments.
  16. Box Score Dobnak: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 61% strikes (45 of 74 pitches) Bullpen: 2.9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: None Top 3 WPA: Randy Dobnak (0.25), Trevor May (0.17), Marwin Gonzalez (0.13) Bottom 3 WPA: Eddie Rosario (-0.11), Devin Smeltzerr (-0.07), Jonathan Schoop (-0.05) The legend of Randy Dobnak continues. Randy Dobnak has the greatest mustache of all time and also is the greatest Twins pitcher of all time. That was a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture. He continued his great rookie campaign with 5 1/3 great innings allowing only three hits and one run. Even he would have never predicted to be in the majors this season as two years ago he scheduled his wedding for the upcoming Sept. 28. Would it be weird to get married in the clubhouse or on the mound? The only run given up was actually off a pitch from Cody Stashak so I’m sure Randy is eternally angry with him. Besides that hit, Stashak was dominant once again, striking out the next two batters he faced. That makes 21 strikeouts and just one walk so far in his young career. When he first came up, he said he was just here to throw strikes and he seems to be doing that. Twins offense scores early, waits five innings and scores again The bats got off to a quick start tonight with a Mitch Garver walk and a Polanco double. Nelson Cruz followed with a sacrifice fly that Dick Bremer probably convinced you was a home run. Then the most unlikely event possible occurred when Miguel Sano hit an RBI triple to the right center gap. Yes, I said triple. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1175205161133727744?s=20 After nothing really got going from innings two through five, the Twins got it going again in the sixth with a Polanco walk, a Sano walk, and then a Marwin Gonzalez RBI double that let Miguel Sano once again show off his insane speed. Who needs Buxton when Sano is running like this? https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1175233968473399301 Royals put up a fight but ultimately they achieve their 99th loss. Devin Smeltzer had a nice and clean seventh inning but he and Brusdar Graterol ran into some bad luck in the eighth with batters reaching on balls with an expected batting average of .170, .140, .400 and .200 so the Royals scrappy approach finally found some luck. Brusdar and his bazooka would leave the eighth inning with a 4-3 lead. Trevor May came in for the save and struck the first batter out on three pitches. Then he struck out Whit Merrifield looking. He capped off the save with....another strikeout! All three of the strikeouts came on fastballs and hitters have just a .158 BA against his fastball to go with a 32% whiff rate. It’s his best pitch and he throws it 62% of the time. Trevor May also has a 1.62 ERA since the start of August. Elite. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1175246368161460224?s=20 Twins magic number drops to five and lead in the central stays at four. With today’s win the Twins have dropped their magic number to five games. Fangraphs has the Twins at a 99% chance to win the division. I know a lot of you are taking that 1% but just so we are all clear, the Twins will win the AL Central. As Trevor May would say, go Twins. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1175256273995976704 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  17. The Twins used a group of rookie pitchers including Randy Dobnak and Cody Stashak to beat the Royals by a score of 4-3. Everything was working late as Marwin Gonzalez came through and Miguel Sano showed off his elite speed.Box Score Dobnak: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 61% strikes (45 of 74 pitches) Bullpen: 2.9 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: None Top 3 WPA: Randy Dobnak (0.25), Trevor May (0.17), Marwin Gonzalez (0.13) Bottom 3 WPA: Eddie Rosario (-0.11), Devin Smeltzerr (-0.07), Jonathan Schoop (-0.05) The legend of Randy Dobnak continues. Randy Dobnak has the greatest mustache of all time and also is the greatest Twins pitcher of all time. That was a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture. He continued his great rookie campaign with 5 1/3 great innings allowing only three hits and one run. Even he would have never predicted to be in the majors this season as two years ago he scheduled his wedding for the upcoming Sept. 28. Would it be weird to get married in the clubhouse or on the mound? The only run given up was actually off a pitch from Cody Stashak so I’m sure Randy is eternally angry with him. Besides that hit, Stashak was dominant once again, striking out the next two batters he faced. That makes 21 strikeouts and just one walk so far in his young career. When he first came up, he said he was just here to throw strikes and he seems to be doing that. Twins offense scores early, waits five innings and scores again The bats got off to a quick start tonight with a Mitch Garver walk and a Polanco double. Nelson Cruz followed with a sacrifice fly that Dick Bremer probably convinced you was a home run. Then the most unlikely event possible occurred when Miguel Sano hit an RBI triple to the right center gap. Yes, I said triple. After nothing really got going from innings two through five, the Twins got it going again in the sixth with a Polanco walk, a Sano walk, and then a Marwin Gonzalez RBI double that let Miguel Sano once again show off his insane speed. Who needs Buxton when Sano is running like this? Royals put up a fight but ultimately they achieve their 99th loss. Devin Smeltzer had a nice and clean seventh inning but he and Brusdar Graterol ran into some bad luck in the eighth with batters reaching on balls with an expected batting average of .170, .140, .400 and .200 so the Royals scrappy approach finally found some luck. Brusdar and his bazooka would leave the eighth inning with a 4-3 lead. Trevor May came in for the save and struck the first batter out on three pitches. Then he struck out Whit Merrifield looking. He capped off the save with....another strikeout! All three of the strikeouts came on fastballs and hitters have just a .158 BA against his fastball to go with a 32% whiff rate. It’s his best pitch and he throws it 62% of the time. Trevor May also has a 1.62 ERA since the start of August. Elite. Twins magic number drops to five and lead in the central stays at four. With today’s win the Twins have dropped their magic number to five games. Fangraphs has the Twins at a 99% chance to win the division. I know a lot of you are taking that 1% but just so we are all clear, the Twins will win the AL Central. As Trevor May would say, go Twins. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  18. Box Score Odorizzi: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 64.5% strikes (61 of 94 pitches) Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-4, 2B) Bottom 3 WPA: Arraez -.111, Wade -.127, Sano -.207 Twins’ offense can’t figure out Chicago bullpen The Twins’ offense found themselves struggling against one of the worst bullpens in the league. For 5 1/3 innings, four White Sox pitchers threw a no-hitter while allowing three walks. They had a threat in the first after back-to-back walks with one out, but, a Rosario pop out followed by a Sano strikeout ended the inning. After a leadoff walk in the second, the White Sox bullpen sent down 13 straight batters going into the sixth inning. That’s when the no-hitter came to a close as Polanco ripped a single into center field. After a Cruz walk, Rosario squeaked a ball through the infield to score Polanco. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1174499925805002752?s=20 Cave drew a walk to fill the bases with two outs for pinch-hitter LaMonte Wade Jr. but he grounded out to end the inning. After picking up their first hits, the Twins’ couldn’t use the momentum and went down 1-2-3 in the seventh. In the eighth, Rosario drilled a ball off the wall in right, but got thrown out trying extend it to a triple. In the ninth, the Twins again went down 1-2-3 to close out the game. Odorizzi able to minimize damage Jake Odorizzi was one out away from picking up a quality start, but ran into trouble in the sixth to end his night. Though Odorizzi picked up nine strikeouts tonight, his stuff wasn’t the best. Odorizzi gave up a leadoff hit in four of the six innings he pitched in. After giving up a leadoff single in the first, he picked up two strikeouts with Castro throwing out Garcia to end the inning. In the second he gave up a leadoff double followed by a Jimenez single to score a run, but Odorizzi picked up another double play and strikeout to get out of the inning. Odorizzi flew through the next two innings picking up four more strikeouts in back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. Through those four innings, Odorizzi already had seven strikeouts. Odorizzi found himself in a jam in the fifth inning with runners on first and second with just one out after a pair of singles. Odorizzi took advantage of facing the number eight and nine batters next, picked up another strikeout and was out of the inning with no harm. After giving up another leadoff hit, Odorizzi got two quick outs and it looked as if he would be able to at least complete six innings. With an 0-2 count to Moncada, he doubled to left-center to drive in the second run. After Jimenez drew a walk, Odorizzi’s night was ended. Bullpen Cody Stashak came into the game with two runners on and two outs and threw just three pitches to pick up a huge strikeout on Collins to end the inning. Stashak was also given the seventh inning, and he too gave up a leadoff single. He picked up back-to-back strikeouts to the eight and nine batters and then got Garcia to fly out to end the inning. Fernando Romero came in for the eighth, and believe it or not, gave up another leadoff hit. He got Abreu to ground out and struck out Moncada before being pulled for Brusdar Graterol. Graterol did his job, and got Jimenez to ground out to keep it a one-run game. A new inning, another leadoff hit, this time it was a home run to Collins to straight -away center. Graterol followed that up with nine pitches to pick up the last three outs, including a strikeout. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1174526445428903937 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  19. After a 12 inning game and the White Sox using a bullpen game, it looked like the Twins’ offense would have some fun at the plate tonight. It was the complete opposite as the offense was no-hit through 5 1/3 innings, and got just three hits total. Despite giving up a lot of leadoff hits, Odorizzi managed to keep the Twins in the game as the Twins dropped the series finale.Box Score Odorizzi: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 64.5% strikes (61 of 94 pitches) Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-4, 2B) Bottom 3 WPA: Arraez -.111, Wade -.127, Sano -.207 Twins’ offense can’t figure out Chicago bullpen The Twins’ offense found themselves struggling against one of the worst bullpens in the league. For 5 1/3 innings, four White Sox pitchers threw a no-hitter while allowing three walks. They had a threat in the first after back-to-back walks with one out, but, a Rosario pop out followed by a Sano strikeout ended the inning. After a leadoff walk in the second, the White Sox bullpen sent down 13 straight batters going into the sixth inning. That’s when the no-hitter came to a close as Polanco ripped a single into center field. After a Cruz walk, Rosario squeaked a ball through the infield to score Polanco. Cave drew a walk to fill the bases with two outs for pinch-hitter LaMonte Wade Jr. but he grounded out to end the inning. After picking up their first hits, the Twins’ couldn’t use the momentum and went down 1-2-3 in the seventh. In the eighth, Rosario drilled a ball off the wall in right, but got thrown out trying extend it to a triple. In the ninth, the Twins again went down 1-2-3 to close out the game. Odorizzi able to minimize damage Jake Odorizzi was one out away from picking up a quality start, but ran into trouble in the sixth to end his night. Though Odorizzi picked up nine strikeouts tonight, his stuff wasn’t the best. Odorizzi gave up a leadoff hit in four of the six innings he pitched in. After giving up a leadoff single in the first, he picked up two strikeouts with Castro throwing out Garcia to end the inning. In the second he gave up a leadoff double followed by a Jimenez single to score a run, but Odorizzi picked up another double play and strikeout to get out of the inning. Odorizzi flew through the next two innings picking up four more strikeouts in back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. Through those four innings, Odorizzi already had seven strikeouts. Odorizzi found himself in a jam in the fifth inning with runners on first and second with just one out after a pair of singles. Odorizzi took advantage of facing the number eight and nine batters next, picked up another strikeout and was out of the inning with no harm. After giving up another leadoff hit, Odorizzi got two quick outs and it looked as if he would be able to at least complete six innings. With an 0-2 count to Moncada, he doubled to left-center to drive in the second run. After Jimenez drew a walk, Odorizzi’s night was ended. Bullpen Cody Stashak came into the game with two runners on and two outs and threw just three pitches to pick up a huge strikeout on Collins to end the inning. Stashak was also given the seventh inning, and he too gave up a leadoff single. He picked up back-to-back strikeouts to the eight and nine batters and then got Garcia to fly out to end the inning. Fernando Romero came in for the eighth, and believe it or not, gave up another leadoff hit. He got Abreu to ground out and struck out Moncada before being pulled for Brusdar Graterol. Graterol did his job, and got Jimenez to ground out to keep it a one-run game. A new inning, another leadoff hit, this time it was a home run to Collins to straight -away center. Graterol followed that up with nine pitches to pick up the last three outs, including a strikeout. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  20. With the minor league seasons (unfortunately) coming to a close for all of the Minnesota Twins’ affiliates, Twins Daily kicked off the final week of minor league coverage with th players of the year series on Sunday. Today we continue by getting to the full season affiliates and the 2019 Relief Pitcher of the Year Award. Previous 2019 Awards: Short-Season Minor League Hitter of the Year: Matt Wallner Short-Season Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Cody Laweryson Previous Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitchers of the Year: 2015 & 2016: Trevor Hildenberger 2017: John Curtiss 2018: Andrew VasquezFor the first time since Twins Daily’s MiLB writers have been voting on this particular award, there wasn’t much of a consensus for the top spot, whereas in the past if it wasn’t unanimous, it was relatively close. All three of the past four winners (one repeated) of this award have also gone on to pitch in the major leagues, so winning the award has been, to a degree, predictive of future success. The system wasn’t littered with as many pure strikeout relievers as they had last year, but there were still several standouts as the MLB bullpen got plenty of reinforcements throughout the year from the minors, including one who appears high on this list. Six Twins Daily Minor League writers voted for the various awards this year. For the relief pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below. Short profiles of our top five performers are to follow, but first, some players worthy of honorable mention. These players also received votes. Others Receiving Votes Tom Hackimer, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 36 Games, 6-2, 1 Save, 2.54 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 56.2 IP, 33 H, 27 BB, 75 K (11.9/9IP)Adam Bray, Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings – 35 Games (9 starts), 4-4, 1 Save, 2.61 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 93.0 IP, 76 H, 26 BB, 83 K (8.0/9IP)Hector Lujan, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 33 Games, 2-4, 6 Saves, 2.76 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 58.2 IP, 57 H, 15 BB, 55 K (8.4/9IP)Melvi Acosta, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 28 Games (8 starts), 7-5, 4 Saves, 3.24 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 86.0 IP, 87 H, 29 BB, 79 K (8.2/9IP)Alex Phillips, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 42 Games (1 start), 5-3, 9 Saves, 2.96 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 67.0 IP, 48 H, 21 BB, 74 K (9.9/9IP)Sam Clay, Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings – 45 Games (1 start), 4-4, 10 Saves, 3.25 ERA, 1.413 WHIP, 69.1 IP, 70 H, 28 BB, 72 K (9.3/9IP)Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year Here are the top five vote getters for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year Award. #5 – Zach Neff, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle: 38 Games (1 start), 6-3, 8 Saves, 2.97 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 72.2 IP, 63 H, 24 BB, 89 K (11.0/9IP) Neff was the Minnesota Twins 31st round selection in the 2018 draft out of Mississippi State University after spending the first three seasons of his collegiate career at Austin Peay University. After signing last year, he reported to the Elizabethton Twins before getting a late bump to finish with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. That’s where he began the 2019 season, and he was dominant with the Kernels, posting a 2.31 ERA and striking out 11.5/9IP through mid-June before being promoted to the Miracle. As to be expected, he wasn’t as good in the Florida State League but still struck out 10.4/9IP and racked up six of his eight saves while finishing the game in 13 of his 19 appearances with Fort Myers. As a left-hander he carried reverse splits on the year, holding righties to a .569 OPS versus .622 from lefties, but (literally) the only difference was in slugging percentage, as his only home run surrendered on the year was to a left-handed hitter. In the monthly awards during the season, Neff received honorable mention once and was #3 for the month of June, where he had a 1.40 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in eight appearances. #4 – Derek Molina, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle: 26 Games, 2-1, 11 Saves, 2.85 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 41.0 IP, 31 H, 11 BB, 61 K (13.4/9IP) Taken in the 14th round of the 2017 draft, Molina has steadily climbed the ladder in his two full seasons, appearing with Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in 2018, and the Kernels and Miracle this season. At each stop, he’s had great strikeout numbers and ERA’s, but this year he also added control to his game by cutting his walk rate nearly in half from the year prior. After striking out 46 hitters in 29 2/3 innings with the Kernels to start the year, he was promoted to the Miracle to finish his season. If not for a shoulder injury that ended his season on July 12th, he may have been much higher on this list. That’s because what’s truly amazing about Molina’s season, is if you take out the first two games he pitched, and his last, these were his numbers on the year: 0.50 ERA, .183 BAA, .458 OPS allowed, and 53 K’s in 35 2/3 innings pitched. He appeared on the monthly award list in May (#4), and took home the top honor in June. #3 – Moises Gomez, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle: 32 Games, 1-4, 10 Saves, 3.59 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 52.2 IP, 28 H, 21 BB, 78 K (13.3/9IP) I’ll admit I was a little surprised Gomez didn’t appear on more ballots from our voters, but of the three he did, I wasn’t the only one who ranked him #1. What stood out for me is that he maintained a sub-1.00 WHIP while having a K-rate north of 13/9 innings on the season and allowing just a .155 batting average and .507 OPS to opposing hitters. He was even more oppressive to same-sided hitters, holding righties to a .464 OPS and striking out 40.8% of them. He did not throw his first pitch until the calendar turned to May, but from then on, he was a model of consistency along with periods of dominance. In no single month did hitters post a batting average higher than .184 while in the month of June he had a 0.51 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings, and followed that up in July by posting a 1.93 ERA. It’s no coincidence those were the months he appeared on the award lists at #2 and #4 respectively. #2 – Cody Stashak, Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings: 33 Games, 7-3, 4 Saves, 3.21 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 53.1 IP, 45 H, 9 BB, 74 K (12.5/9IP) After being selected in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of St. Johns, Stashak began his professional career as a starting pitcher, and a pretty good one at that. Over his first three steps on the organizational ladder he combined to go 19-11 with a 3.28 ERA. But when he made it to Double-A, the Twins shifted him to the bullpen and something crazy happened: his strikeout rate nearly doubled from subpar into elite territory. He set a career high in this number during the 2019 season with his 12.5K/9IP mark, and he rode that from Pensacola all the way up to 12 appearances (to this point) with the Twins. It’s a career path that should remind you a lot of Taylor Rogers’, and that’s definitely something to be excited about. He was especially dominant this season when he reached the Rochester Red Wings and triple-A’s “juiced ball,” which you probably wouldn’t have expected. With the Red Wings he racked up five wins with a 1.44 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 14 games, striking out 34 in 25 innings along the way. During the season he appeared on the monthly award lists in April (#5) and July (#3) #1 – Anthony Vizcaya, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 41 Games (2 starts), 3-3, 11 Saves, 1.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 74.1 IP, 51 H, 30 BB, 83 K (10.0/9IP) For the second year in a row, the winner of this award has the initials “AV,” as Andrew Vasquez took home this award for the 2018 season. Given this recent history, my advice to Twins scouts would be to keep these initials in the back of their mind when scouring the college ranks, independent leagues, and Latin winter leagues for new prospects. Vizcaya got his professional career started in the Cleveland Indians organization, but floundered in rookie ball for two seasons before ending up playing sporadically back home in Venuzuela from 2015 to 2018. Twins pro scout Rafael Yanez liked something he saw from Vizcaya during his 2018 season there and the organization signed him in January. He hit the ground running in Fort Myers, serving as their closer to start the year and picking up seven saves in fifteen appearances before being promoted to Pensacola. He took flight at that point, improving his ERA from 2.22 with the Miracle to 0.78 with the Blue Wahoos. In his last eight appearances in the Florida State League and first six appearances in the Southern League, he pitched to the tune of a 0.00 ERA, .159 BAA, and struck out 34 in 24 1/3 innings along with picking up seven saves. He had only two appearances on the season where he surrendered more than one earned run and closed out the 2019 campaign with another stretch of twelve games where he didn’t allow an earned run and held opponents to a .508 OPS against. As a right-handed pitcher, he also held reverse splits on the year as he was lethal against lefties, holding them to a .152/.259/.202 slash line and only four extra-base hits (zero homers) in 117 plate appearances. He frequented the monthly award lists during the season, appearing on the lists for May (#2), June (honorable mention), and taking home the top honor in August for that stretch mentioned above. Congratulations to Anthony Vizcaya for being named Twins Daily’s 2019 Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year and for also making a big impression in his return to affiliated baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization! The Ballots In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth Stohs – 1) Moises Gomez, 2) Cody Stashak, 3) Alex Phillips, 4) Derek Molina, 5) Anthony VizcayaCody Christie – 1) Anthony Vizcaya, 2) Alex Phillips, 3) Sam Clay, 4) Zach Neff, 5) Derek MolinaTom Froemming - 1) Cody Stashak, 2) Anthony Vizcaya, 3) Zach Neff, 4) Derek Molina, 5) Hector LujanSteve Lein – 1) Moises Gomez, 2) Anthony Vizcaya, 3) Tom Hackimer, 4) Derek Molina, 5) Cody StashakTed Schwerzler – 1) Melvi Acosta, 2) Sam Clay, 3) Adam Bray, 4) Hector Lujan, 5) Moises GomezMatt Braun – 1) Zach Neff, 2) Derek Molina, 3) Cody Stashak, 4) Sam Clay, 5) Hector LujanFeel free to discuss! What do you think of our rankings? How would your ballot look? Who did we totally miss out on? Click here to view the article
  21. For the first time since Twins Daily’s MiLB writers have been voting on this particular award, there wasn’t much of a consensus for the top spot, whereas in the past if it wasn’t unanimous, it was relatively close. All three of the past four winners (one repeated) of this award have also gone on to pitch in the major leagues, so winning the award has been, to a degree, predictive of future success. The system wasn’t littered with as many pure strikeout relievers as they had last year, but there were still several standouts as the MLB bullpen got plenty of reinforcements throughout the year from the minors, including one who appears high on this list. Six Twins Daily Minor League writers voted for the various awards this year. For the relief pitcher of the year, we each voted for five players. The player who was voted as #1 received five points, #2 received four points and so on with the #5 vote receiving one point. Results were tabulated and can be found below. Short profiles of our top five performers are to follow, but first, some players worthy of honorable mention. These players also received votes. Others Receiving Votes Tom Hackimer, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 36 Games, 6-2, 1 Save, 2.54 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 56.2 IP, 33 H, 27 BB, 75 K (11.9/9IP) Adam Bray, Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings – 35 Games (9 starts), 4-4, 1 Save, 2.61 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 93.0 IP, 76 H, 26 BB, 83 K (8.0/9IP) Hector Lujan, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 33 Games, 2-4, 6 Saves, 2.76 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 58.2 IP, 57 H, 15 BB, 55 K (8.4/9IP) Melvi Acosta, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 28 Games (8 starts), 7-5, 4 Saves, 3.24 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 86.0 IP, 87 H, 29 BB, 79 K (8.2/9IP) Alex Phillips, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos – 42 Games (1 start), 5-3, 9 Saves, 2.96 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 67.0 IP, 48 H, 21 BB, 74 K (9.9/9IP) Sam Clay, Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings – 45 Games (1 start), 4-4, 10 Saves, 3.25 ERA, 1.413 WHIP, 69.1 IP, 70 H, 28 BB, 72 K (9.3/9IP) Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year Here are the top five vote getters for Twins Daily’s Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year Award. #5 – Zach Neff, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle: 38 Games (1 start), 6-3, 8 Saves, 2.97 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 72.2 IP, 63 H, 24 BB, 89 K (11.0/9IP) Neff was the Minnesota Twins 31st round selection in the 2018 draft out of Mississippi State University after spending the first three seasons of his collegiate career at Austin Peay University. After signing last year, he reported to the Elizabethton Twins before getting a late bump to finish with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. That’s where he began the 2019 season, and he was dominant with the Kernels, posting a 2.31 ERA and striking out 11.5/9IP through mid-June before being promoted to the Miracle. As to be expected, he wasn’t as good in the Florida State League but still struck out 10.4/9IP and racked up six of his eight saves while finishing the game in 13 of his 19 appearances with Fort Myers. As a left-hander he carried reverse splits on the year, holding righties to a .569 OPS versus .622 from lefties, but (literally) the only difference was in slugging percentage, as his only home run surrendered on the year was to a left-handed hitter. In the monthly awards during the season, Neff received honorable mention once and was #3 for the month of June, where he had a 1.40 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in eight appearances. #4 – Derek Molina, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle: 26 Games, 2-1, 11 Saves, 2.85 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 41.0 IP, 31 H, 11 BB, 61 K (13.4/9IP) Taken in the 14th round of the 2017 draft, Molina has steadily climbed the ladder in his two full seasons, appearing with Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in 2018, and the Kernels and Miracle this season. At each stop, he’s had great strikeout numbers and ERA’s, but this year he also added control to his game by cutting his walk rate nearly in half from the year prior. After striking out 46 hitters in 29 2/3 innings with the Kernels to start the year, he was promoted to the Miracle to finish his season. If not for a shoulder injury that ended his season on July 12th, he may have been much higher on this list. That’s because what’s truly amazing about Molina’s season, is if you take out the first two games he pitched, and his last, these were his numbers on the year: 0.50 ERA, .183 BAA, .458 OPS allowed, and 53 K’s in 35 2/3 innings pitched. He appeared on the monthly award list in May (#4), and took home the top honor in June. #3 – Moises Gomez, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Fort Myers Miracle: 32 Games, 1-4, 10 Saves, 3.59 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 52.2 IP, 28 H, 21 BB, 78 K (13.3/9IP) I’ll admit I was a little surprised Gomez didn’t appear on more ballots from our voters, but of the three he did, I wasn’t the only one who ranked him #1. What stood out for me is that he maintained a sub-1.00 WHIP while having a K-rate north of 13/9 innings on the season and allowing just a .155 batting average and .507 OPS to opposing hitters. He was even more oppressive to same-sided hitters, holding righties to a .464 OPS and striking out 40.8% of them. He did not throw his first pitch until the calendar turned to May, but from then on, he was a model of consistency along with periods of dominance. In no single month did hitters post a batting average higher than .184 while in the month of June he had a 0.51 WHIP in 15 2/3 innings, and followed that up in July by posting a 1.93 ERA. It’s no coincidence those were the months he appeared on the award lists at #2 and #4 respectively. #2 – Cody Stashak, Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings: 33 Games, 7-3, 4 Saves, 3.21 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 53.1 IP, 45 H, 9 BB, 74 K (12.5/9IP) After being selected in the 13th round of the 2015 draft out of St. Johns, Stashak began his professional career as a starting pitcher, and a pretty good one at that. Over his first three steps on the organizational ladder he combined to go 19-11 with a 3.28 ERA. But when he made it to Double-A, the Twins shifted him to the bullpen and something crazy happened: his strikeout rate nearly doubled from subpar into elite territory. He set a career high in this number during the 2019 season with his 12.5K/9IP mark, and he rode that from Pensacola all the way up to 12 appearances (to this point) with the Twins. It’s a career path that should remind you a lot of Taylor Rogers’, and that’s definitely something to be excited about. He was especially dominant this season when he reached the Rochester Red Wings and triple-A’s “juiced ball,” which you probably wouldn’t have expected. With the Red Wings he racked up five wins with a 1.44 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 14 games, striking out 34 in 25 innings along the way. During the season he appeared on the monthly award lists in April (#5) and July (#3) #1 – Anthony Vizcaya, Fort Myers Miracle/Pensacola Blue Wahoos: 41 Games (2 starts), 3-3, 11 Saves, 1.82 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 74.1 IP, 51 H, 30 BB, 83 K (10.0/9IP) For the second year in a row, the winner of this award has the initials “AV,” as Andrew Vasquez took home this award for the 2018 season. Given this recent history, my advice to Twins scouts would be to keep these initials in the back of their mind when scouring the college ranks, independent leagues, and Latin winter leagues for new prospects. Vizcaya got his professional career started in the Cleveland Indians organization, but floundered in rookie ball for two seasons before ending up playing sporadically back home in Venuzuela from 2015 to 2018. Twins pro scout Rafael Yanez liked something he saw from Vizcaya during his 2018 season there and the organization signed him in January. He hit the ground running in Fort Myers, serving as their closer to start the year and picking up seven saves in fifteen appearances before being promoted to Pensacola. He took flight at that point, improving his ERA from 2.22 with the Miracle to 0.78 with the Blue Wahoos. In his last eight appearances in the Florida State League and first six appearances in the Southern League, he pitched to the tune of a 0.00 ERA, .159 BAA, and struck out 34 in 24 1/3 innings along with picking up seven saves. He had only two appearances on the season where he surrendered more than one earned run and closed out the 2019 campaign with another stretch of twelve games where he didn’t allow an earned run and held opponents to a .508 OPS against. As a right-handed pitcher, he also held reverse splits on the year as he was lethal against lefties, holding them to a .152/.259/.202 slash line and only four extra-base hits (zero homers) in 117 plate appearances. He frequented the monthly award lists during the season, appearing on the lists for May (#2), June (honorable mention), and taking home the top honor in August for that stretch mentioned above. Congratulations to Anthony Vizcaya for being named Twins Daily’s 2019 Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year and for also making a big impression in his return to affiliated baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization! The Ballots In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily minor league writers: Seth Stohs – 1) Moises Gomez, 2) Cody Stashak, 3) Alex Phillips, 4) Derek Molina, 5) Anthony Vizcaya Cody Christie – 1) Anthony Vizcaya, 2) Alex Phillips, 3) Sam Clay, 4) Zach Neff, 5) Derek Molina Tom Froemming - 1) Cody Stashak, 2) Anthony Vizcaya, 3) Zach Neff, 4) Derek Molina, 5) Hector Lujan Steve Lein – 1) Moises Gomez, 2) Anthony Vizcaya, 3) Tom Hackimer, 4) Derek Molina, 5) Cody Stashak Ted Schwerzler – 1) Melvi Acosta, 2) Sam Clay, 3) Adam Bray, 4) Hector Lujan, 5) Moises Gomez Matt Braun – 1) Zach Neff, 2) Derek Molina, 3) Cody Stashak, 4) Sam Clay, 5) Hector Lujan Feel free to discuss! What do you think of our rankings? How would your ballot look? Who did we totally miss out on?
  22. Box Score Berrios: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 64.4% strikes (65 of 101 pitches) Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Rosario (28) Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-for-4, HR), Sano (2-for-3, BB), Cron (2-for-3, BB) Bottom 3 WPA: Polanco -.106, Cave -.157, Berrios -.228 Extra Day Doesn’t Help Berrios The hope was that Berrios could use the extra day of rest to get back to his dominant self we saw earlier this season, and not the Berrios we saw last month, when he had his worst month of his career since his rookie year in … August. Since his start at the end of July when he threw seven shutout innings, he has given up 23 runs in just 27 innings coming into tonight. Berrios is usually pretty good at keeping the ball in the ballpark, in fact he’s giving up just 1.2 home runs per nine innings. This season, the first three innings is where he has surrendered the most with 13. Today, he again struggled early as he gave up two home runs to Mookie Betts in his first two at-bats, in the first two innings, on just two pitches. This year, he has also now given up 10 home runs on the first pitch of an at-bat. After a rough start to the game, Berrios was able to turn things around for a few innings. After the second home run by Betts, Berrios retired 11 of the next 13 batters, which was capped off by a very athletic play by Berrios himself. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1169423798115848192?s=20 Something that Berrios was able to use an extra rest day to his favor was getting his velocity back up. Recently, Berrios’ velocity has been consistently in the low 90s, but tonight it looked back to normal as he topped out at about 95 mph and was normally hanging around 94 mph on his fastball. That was about it for good things from Berrios, as he left the game without even recording an out in the sixth inning. Berrios gave up a leadoff single that was followed by a walk and a double to score another run as he left with runners on second and third. Eduardo Rodriguez Quiets Twins Rodriguez came into tonight's start having given up just three runs in his last 17 1/3 innings, and tonight he continued his success shutting out the Twins offense for seven innings. Rodriguez gave up just five hits while striking out eight batters. Though Rodriguez wasn’t giving up many hits, he issued four walks, but the Twins just couldn’t come through in times of need. Rodriguez struck out the side in the top of the first, and picked up his fifth strikeout in the second inning stranding two runners. In the fourth, the Twins got back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, but Cave grounded into a double play. The inning wasn’t over quite yet as Rodriguez walked the next two batters to fill the bases. He got Willians Astudillo to fly out to end the threat with no runs being scored, but four guys reaching base safely. In the final three innings, he faced just 11 batters while recording nine outs including two more strikeouts, the final coming against Max Kepler to end the inning, and Rodriguez’s start. Bullpen Once the Twins' bullpen came into the game, they quieted down the Sox offense. Ryne Harper came in for the first time since being recalled and pitched just two pitches and recorded an out with runners on second and third. Cody Stashak came in with hopes of keeping the runners on the bases. Mookie Betts picked up another RBI with a single scoring the Sox sixth and last run of the game. Stashak picked up the final two outs to end the inning and strand two runners. Stashak picked up a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh before giving way to Brusdar Graterol for his second career outing. After giving up a leadoff walk, Graterol got three straight lineouts to end the inning. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1169459159730835456 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  23. Jose Berrios was given an extra day of rest after the Twins went with a bullpen day in a 6-5 win over the Red Sox last night. Things didn’t work out as planned, as the Twins fell to Boston 6-2 tonight. The Twins’ offense struggled against Eduardo Rodriguez and failed to come through with runners on as he sailed through the lineup picking up eight strikeouts. The Indians got into a close game in the ninth but their bull pen stranded bases loaded, and with a Twins loss, are now five and a half games back.Box Score Berrios: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 64.4% strikes (65 of 101 pitches) Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Rosario (28) Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-for-4, HR), Sano (2-for-3, BB), Cron (2-for-3, BB) Bottom 3 WPA: Polanco -.106, Cave -.157, Berrios -.228 Extra Day Doesn’t Help Berrios The hope was that Berrios could use the extra day of rest to get back to his dominant self we saw earlier this season, and not the Berrios we saw last month, when he had his worst month of his career since his rookie year in … August. Since his start at the end of July when he threw seven shutout innings, he has given up 23 runs in just 27 innings coming into tonight. Berrios is usually pretty good at keeping the ball in the ballpark, in fact he’s giving up just 1.2 home runs per nine innings. This season, the first three innings is where he has surrendered the most with 13. Today, he again struggled early as he gave up two home runs to Mookie Betts in his first two at-bats, in the first two innings, on just two pitches. This year, he has also now given up 10 home runs on the first pitch of an at-bat. After a rough start to the game, Berrios was able to turn things around for a few innings. After the second home run by Betts, Berrios retired 11 of the next 13 batters, which was capped off by a very athletic play by Berrios himself. Something that Berrios was able to use an extra rest day to his favor was getting his velocity back up. Recently, Berrios’ velocity has been consistently in the low 90s, but tonight it looked back to normal as he topped out at about 95 mph and was normally hanging around 94 mph on his fastball. That was about it for good things from Berrios, as he left the game without even recording an out in the sixth inning. Berrios gave up a leadoff single that was followed by a walk and a double to score another run as he left with runners on second and third. Eduardo Rodriguez Quiets Twins Rodriguez came into tonight's start having given up just three runs in his last 17 1/3 innings, and tonight he continued his success shutting out the Twins offense for seven innings. Rodriguez gave up just five hits while striking out eight batters. Though Rodriguez wasn’t giving up many hits, he issued four walks, but the Twins just couldn’t come through in times of need. Rodriguez struck out the side in the top of the first, and picked up his fifth strikeout in the second inning stranding two runners. In the fourth, the Twins got back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, but Cave grounded into a double play. The inning wasn’t over quite yet as Rodriguez walked the next two batters to fill the bases. He got Willians Astudillo to fly out to end the threat with no runs being scored, but four guys reaching base safely. In the final three innings, he faced just 11 batters while recording nine outs including two more strikeouts, the final coming against Max Kepler to end the inning, and Rodriguez’s start. Bullpen Once the Twins' bullpen came into the game, they quieted down the Sox offense. Ryne Harper came in for the first time since being recalled and pitched just two pitches and recorded an out with runners on second and third. Cody Stashak came in with hopes of keeping the runners on the bases. Mookie Betts picked up another RBI with a single scoring the Sox sixth and last run of the game. Stashak picked up the final two outs to end the inning and strand two runners. Stashak picked up a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh before giving way to Brusdar Graterol for his second career outing. After giving up a leadoff walk, Graterol got three straight lineouts to end the inning. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  24. Box Score Pérez: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 68% strikes (68 of 100 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K Home Runs: C.J. Cron (21), J.Schoop (18) Multi-Hit Games: None Top 3 WPA: Pérez .214, Garver .154, Schoop .101 Martín Pérez returned to Target Field after a very successful road trip in which he allowed just two runs in 11 innings. The bullpen and bats restricted Pérez to no decisions in both starts. The Twins allowed 8-of-9 leadoff batters to reach base in last night’s victory. On Sunday, Pérez surrendered just one. C.J. Cron assisted Pérez to his first win since before the All-Star break with a three-run blast in the fourth inning. Pérez twirled six strong innings, allowing two runs and striking out five. Pérez has walked 3.8 batters-per-nine this year, but gave a free pass to just one hitter on Sunday. His cutter was extremely effective to right-handed batters, which is an important development after the pitch was dominant during the first half of the season, but not so during the middle part of the schedule. Left-hander Matthew Boyd started for Detroit and allowed seven runs in six innings. Jonathan Schoop had one of the four Twins’ hits, as he laced a two-run homer down the left field line in the sixth. The Twins lead the league in OPS against left-handed pitching (.885). Catcher Mitch Garver doubled off the wall in the third to improve his torrid numbers against lefties. Boyd walked five and struck Max Kepler with a pitch in the fourth. The Twins figure to see Boyd at least once more, as they have seven more head-to-head matchups with Detroit. They have scored 10 runs off him in two starts. Cody Stashak continued to be a reliable low-leverage arm out of the bullpen, pitching two innings of one-hit ball with a strikeout. He was helped out by an outstanding catch in left field by Jake Cave. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1165726211298848768 Lewis Thorpe entered in the ninth with less luck, surrendering three hits and two runs. Thorpe escaped the jam and finished the job. Stashak and Thorpe saved the arms of Rogers, Dyson and Romo. All of which will receive two days of much-needed rest. The Twins will enjoy an off-day tomorrow before facing Chicago for a three-game series against Lucas Giolito and the White Sox. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1165739378594828288 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  25. The Twins recovered after a poor performance on Friday to take the series from Detroit and finish the homestand with a 3-3 record. The 7-4 win increases their lead in the AL Central to 3 1/2 games, as Cleveland fell to Kansas City 9-8.Box Score Pérez: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 68% strikes (68 of 100 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K Home Runs: C.J. Cron (21), J.Schoop (18) Multi-Hit Games: None Top 3 WPA: Pérez .214, Garver .154, Schoop .101 Martín Pérez returned to Target Field after a very successful road trip in which he allowed just two runs in 11 innings. The bullpen and bats restricted Pérez to no decisions in both starts. The Twins allowed 8-of-9 leadoff batters to reach base in last night’s victory. On Sunday, Pérez surrendered just one. C.J. Cron assisted Pérez to his first win since before the All-Star break with a three-run blast in the fourth inning. Pérez twirled six strong innings, allowing two runs and striking out five. Pérez has walked 3.8 batters-per-nine this year, but gave a free pass to just one hitter on Sunday. His cutter was extremely effective to right-handed batters, which is an important development after the pitch was dominant during the first half of the season, but not so during the middle part of the schedule. Left-hander Matthew Boyd started for Detroit and allowed seven runs in six innings. Jonathan Schoop had one of the four Twins’ hits, as he laced a two-run homer down the left field line in the sixth. The Twins lead the league in OPS against left-handed pitching (.885). Catcher Mitch Garver doubled off the wall in the third to improve his torrid numbers against lefties. Boyd walked five and struck Max Kepler with a pitch in the fourth. The Twins figure to see Boyd at least once more, as they have seven more head-to-head matchups with Detroit. They have scored 10 runs off him in two starts. Cody Stashak continued to be a reliable low-leverage arm out of the bullpen, pitching two innings of one-hit ball with a strikeout. He was helped out by an outstanding catch in left field by Jake Cave. Lewis Thorpe entered in the ninth with less luck, surrendering three hits and two runs. Thorpe escaped the jam and finished the job. Stashak and Thorpe saved the arms of Rogers, Dyson and Romo. All of which will receive two days of much-needed rest. The Twins will enjoy an off-day tomorrow before facing Chicago for a three-game series against Lucas Giolito and the White Sox. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
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