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  1. In the final game of their disappointing 2022 season, the Twins crushed the White Sox in Chicago, taking the season series against the Southsiders. The main highlight from this game was Luis Arráez officially winning the American League batting title – but it wasn’t the only one! Image courtesy of Thiéres Rabelo (graphics) Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K (78 pitches, 55 strikes, 70.5%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (16), Jermaine Palacios (2) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.249), Jermaine Palacios (.088), Matt Wallner (.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Arráez is the American League batting champion! This is not breaking news, but… Luis Arraez has done it! Despite watching New York Yankee Aaron Judge briefly surpass him for the highest batting average in the American League, the Venezuelan hitting machine kept on hitting and regained first place, never letting it go again. He walked twice today before doubling to deep center in the third inning, raising his batting average to .316, and leaving the game after that. Even if he hadn’t doubled, his case for winning the crown was just too good. Coming into today, Arráez's batting average sat at .315, while Judge’s sat at .311. The Yankees outfielder would need to go 4-for-4 today just to match Arráez’s average while also hoping “La Regadera” would have some bad at-bats in Chicago. However, the Yankees decided not to play Judge for the day, making Arráez the batting champion right away. Even if Arráez had gone 0-for-4 for the day, his batting average would still be higher than that of Judge. Arráez becomes the fifth Twin to ever win the AL batting title, the first one since 2009, joining Tony Oliva (1964, 1965), Rod Carew (1969, 1971-75, 1977, 1978), Kirby Puckett (1989), and Joe Mauer (2006, 2008, 2009). He also becomes the sixth Venezuelan to win the distinction, the first one since 2017, joining Andres Galarraga, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Altuve. The offense gets the job done early The game was basically decided after just two innings. The Twins' offense knocked around Chicago starter Davis Martin right out of the gate, building a six-run lead in the first inning. After Arráez drew a leadoff walk and was followed by a Gio Urshela single, Gary Sánchez obliterated a slider on the heart of the plate for a three-run rocket (106.2 MPH off his bat). On the very next at-bat, Jake Cave doubled to left, and he scored on a Matt Wallner single to center a couple of at-bats later. Then, Jermaine Palacios, who had hit his first major league home run on Tuesday night, made it back-to-back days with a dinger, taking Martin deep to left for a two-run jack, making it 6-0 Twins in the first. Three more runs scored in the second inning. Sánchez got another RBI with a double, bringing home Arráez from second after he got another leadoff walk and moved to second on a Nick Gordon single. That prompted a pitching change by Chicago, but it didn’t help. Both Sánchez and Gordon were pushed across by a Gilberto Celestino two-out single against reliever Vince Velasquez, making it 9-0 Minnesota. Things could’ve gotten even worse for Chicago in the third, as the offense loaded the bases with only one out against Velasquez. One of those runners was Arráez and his double, shortly before being lifted for pinch runner Jose Miranda. But this time, one run was all Minnesota could get after a Gordon sacrifice fly to score Caleb Hamilton. Varland takes advantage, secures first big league win Making his fifth start in the majors, rookie Louie Varland was still chasing his first big league win. Before today’s game, he had lost two and gotten a couple of no-decisions. Also, in his previous four starts, Varland had failed to prevent runs from scoring. He would reach both of those personal milestones by the end of the fifth inning today. Against an uninspired White Sox offense, Varland looked more comfortable than in any of his big league starts so far. He allowed a couple of hits early, one in each of the two first innings, including a leadoff double in the second. He pitched around that with three consecutive strikeouts. Despite not missing a lot of bats, Varland didn’t allow quality contact. Chicago hitters had an average 79.3 MPH exit velocity against him. Varland completed five on 78 pitches, throwing over 70% strikes. Also, this was the first start in his short big league career in which he didn’t allow a walk. Cole Sands pitched the rest of the way, and Chicago’s offense didn't pose a threat against him until the final inning, when they put two men on and scored a run, but Sands secured the four-inning save. With the win today, the Twins finish the season with a frustrating 78-84 record, but they do salvage one thing: they take the series season against the Sox with 10 wins in 19 games. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sands 0 0 0 0 59 59 Jax 0 12 21 0 0 33 Sanchez 0 0 0 33 0 33 López 0 18 0 9 0 27 Fulmer 0 26 0 0 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 21 0 21 Pagán 0 0 5 15 0 20 Thielbar 0 0 15 0 0 15 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K (78 pitches, 55 strikes, 70.5%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (16), Jermaine Palacios (2) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.249), Jermaine Palacios (.088), Matt Wallner (.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Arráez is the American League batting champion! This is not breaking news, but… Luis Arraez has done it! Despite watching New York Yankee Aaron Judge briefly surpass him for the highest batting average in the American League, the Venezuelan hitting machine kept on hitting and regained first place, never letting it go again. He walked twice today before doubling to deep center in the third inning, raising his batting average to .316, and leaving the game after that. Even if he hadn’t doubled, his case for winning the crown was just too good. Coming into today, Arráez's batting average sat at .315, while Judge’s sat at .311. The Yankees outfielder would need to go 4-for-4 today just to match Arráez’s average while also hoping “La Regadera” would have some bad at-bats in Chicago. However, the Yankees decided not to play Judge for the day, making Arráez the batting champion right away. Even if Arráez had gone 0-for-4 for the day, his batting average would still be higher than that of Judge. Arráez becomes the fifth Twin to ever win the AL batting title, the first one since 2009, joining Tony Oliva (1964, 1965), Rod Carew (1969, 1971-75, 1977, 1978), Kirby Puckett (1989), and Joe Mauer (2006, 2008, 2009). He also becomes the sixth Venezuelan to win the distinction, the first one since 2017, joining Andres Galarraga, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Altuve. The offense gets the job done early The game was basically decided after just two innings. The Twins' offense knocked around Chicago starter Davis Martin right out of the gate, building a six-run lead in the first inning. After Arráez drew a leadoff walk and was followed by a Gio Urshela single, Gary Sánchez obliterated a slider on the heart of the plate for a three-run rocket (106.2 MPH off his bat). On the very next at-bat, Jake Cave doubled to left, and he scored on a Matt Wallner single to center a couple of at-bats later. Then, Jermaine Palacios, who had hit his first major league home run on Tuesday night, made it back-to-back days with a dinger, taking Martin deep to left for a two-run jack, making it 6-0 Twins in the first. Three more runs scored in the second inning. Sánchez got another RBI with a double, bringing home Arráez from second after he got another leadoff walk and moved to second on a Nick Gordon single. That prompted a pitching change by Chicago, but it didn’t help. Both Sánchez and Gordon were pushed across by a Gilberto Celestino two-out single against reliever Vince Velasquez, making it 9-0 Minnesota. Things could’ve gotten even worse for Chicago in the third, as the offense loaded the bases with only one out against Velasquez. One of those runners was Arráez and his double, shortly before being lifted for pinch runner Jose Miranda. But this time, one run was all Minnesota could get after a Gordon sacrifice fly to score Caleb Hamilton. Varland takes advantage, secures first big league win Making his fifth start in the majors, rookie Louie Varland was still chasing his first big league win. Before today’s game, he had lost two and gotten a couple of no-decisions. Also, in his previous four starts, Varland had failed to prevent runs from scoring. He would reach both of those personal milestones by the end of the fifth inning today. Against an uninspired White Sox offense, Varland looked more comfortable than in any of his big league starts so far. He allowed a couple of hits early, one in each of the two first innings, including a leadoff double in the second. He pitched around that with three consecutive strikeouts. Despite not missing a lot of bats, Varland didn’t allow quality contact. Chicago hitters had an average 79.3 MPH exit velocity against him. Varland completed five on 78 pitches, throwing over 70% strikes. Also, this was the first start in his short big league career in which he didn’t allow a walk. Cole Sands pitched the rest of the way, and Chicago’s offense didn't pose a threat against him until the final inning, when they put two men on and scored a run, but Sands secured the four-inning save. With the win today, the Twins finish the season with a frustrating 78-84 record, but they do salvage one thing: they take the series season against the Sox with 10 wins in 19 games. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sands 0 0 0 0 59 59 Jax 0 12 21 0 0 33 Sanchez 0 0 0 33 0 33 López 0 18 0 9 0 27 Fulmer 0 26 0 0 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 21 0 21 Pagán 0 0 5 15 0 20 Thielbar 0 0 15 0 0 15 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  3. Frontline starting pitching was the Twins' most significant need this winter, and the club decided to double down on young pitchers being ready to contribute. Clearly, the pitching pipeline plan failed for 2022, but is there hope for the future? Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints Last winter, it was clear to anyone looking at the Twins roster that the team needed frontline starting pitching. There were other off-season needs, but they only had Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober penciled into the rotation and many other question marks. Minnesota had the financial flexibility to sign frontline starting pitching, but the club decided to go in a different direction. With the pending lockout, the Twins front office watched most frontline free agent starters ink contracts with other organizations. Minnesota's lone signing before the lockout was Dylan Bundy, who figured to fit into the rotation's back half. It was tough to decipher how the Twins expected to fill the rotation, but the team's plan became clear as spring training inched closer. Following the lockout, Sonny Gray was the Twins' biggest offseason pitching acquisition. He was a clear frontline starter and pitched that way during the 2022 season. The team added Chris Archer to join Bundy at the back of the rotation, and Chris Paddack joined the club in a last-minute deal before Opening Day. All these arms impacted the 2022 Twins, but the club wanted to rely on the young pitching in the system to supplement the veteran arms. Derek Falvey was brought to Minnesota because of his experience with the Cleveland organization. During his Cleveland tenure, one of his calling cards was cultivating young pitching, which has been a staple of the Guardians organization. Minnesota was going to start the 2022 campaign with Ryan and Ober in the rotation, but there were expectations that other young pitchers would join their ranks. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, and Minnesota's pitching pipeline may have taken a step back this season. As the season began, it looked like the Twins had plenty of pitching prospects in the upper minors that had the potential to impact the roster. Minnesota had five upper minors starting pitchers ranked in their top-10 prospects, and others rounded out their top-20 list. Ryan had an up-and-down season as a rookie, but he is on pace to set the team's rookie record for strikeouts. Josh Winder and Cole Sands have combined to pitch just over 80 big league innings, with both missing games due to injury. Louie Varland saw his stock rise the most out of this group as he pitched well in the upper minors before making his big league debut in September. Matt Canterino and Jordan Balazovic were arguably the team's top pitching prospects entering the 2022 campaign, but it was a lost season for both. Canterino dominated on the mound in 13 appearances, but he needed Tommy John surgery before the season's end. Balazovic was on pace to debut in 2022, but he struggled at Triple-A and is now getting back on track. Besides Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson helped his stock the most this season, and he deserves to make some starts for the Twins down the stretch. Many will blame injuries for the Twins' failures during the 2022 season. However, the lack of contributions from the pitching pipeline is also concerning. Not every pitching prospect can be successful throughout their professional careers, and there is hope that some of these arms will get healthy in the offseason. As Minnesota's focus turns to 2023, the front office might not be able to rely as heavily on the pitching pipeline when building next year's roster. Did the pitching pipeline plan fail in 2022? Is there hope for improvement in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. It was a vastly different experience going to that little ballpark compared to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, but watching unknown minor leaguers play on those fields always filled my mind with delusions of grandeur to be like them one day—a professional baseball player chasing their dream to become a Major Leaguer. That is the main reason I do a little bit different of a list heading into a new season than all those “Top Prospects” lists you see here at Twins Daily, on MLB.com, or at other outlets like FanGraphs and Baseball America. There are so many of them these days I don’t think this amateur scout can tell you anything you haven’t already heard. Instead, I want to recognize all those guys who have worked hard to get where they are, whether they’re a top prospect or not, and whom you might see make their MLB debut at Target Field during the upcoming season—those ready to make their childhood dreams like mine come true. Across all of Major League Baseball during the 2021 season, 265 players made their Major League debut, with eight members of the Minnesota Twins organization contributing to that number. They included pitchers Charlie Barnes, Griffin Jax, Jovani Moran, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan, as well as position players Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. All four of those hitters and pitchers Jax and Ober were profiled in this same column before the start of the 2021 season, and you’ll see some of the same names in this list below for the 2022 calendar year that didn’t quite make the jump. So, who are the prospects that could make their Major League debut and become the next Minnesota Twins during the 2022 season? ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER: The Twins enter the 2022 season with a 40-man MLB roster that does not have much room for position players yet to make their MLB debut. That list is just two players, but any fan should be excited about the names that are included in this section. There is, however, much more room for pitchers in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, and the top end talent is almost all at the top of their system to start the 2022 season. Royce Lewis (22 years old on opening day), IF/OF – Twins Daily’s #2 Prospect (Lewis made his MLB debut on 5/6, playing SS against the Oakland Athletics and batting 7th. He finished 1-for-4, picking up a single in the 8th inning of a 2-1 win) It’s hard to gauge where Royce Lewis is at in his development, given he’s missed two entire years’ worth of time due to Covid and tearing his ACL. But when we last saw him, he was crushing in the Arizona Fall League to the point he took home the league’s MVP award. He has continued to work on his swing while off the field, and I expect big things during the 2022 season when he finds his footing. The biggest question continues to be what position he will play when he reaches the majors. I have been critical of his shortstop play in the past, but there is no doubt he can be an elite defender in the outfield. He excelled at third base in the AFL as well if that does not work out. That is to say, if he’s hitting well and anyone in the outfield or middle infield on the Major League roster goes out for an extended period, it would not surprise me at all if Lewis is the name that gets called to fill in if he is hitting. Plus, he looked good at short for the Saints on Tuesday if you were wondering: Jordan Balazovic (23), RHP – TD’s #4 Prospect Balazovic is ticketed for the starting rotation with the St. Paul Saints in 2022, though he will start the season on the Injured List with a left knee strain. While he does not necessarily get the accolades around his pure “stuff” that some of the other guys on this list do, he has been one to get better results as he’s climbed the ladder. That can be attributed some to having better command, but he has also shown steady improvement with his offerings year over year, showcased by his fastball averaging around 96 MPH with Wichita last season. One thing going against him is innings, as his 97 in 2021 were a career high after missing the first two months with a back injury. There is little doubt when it comes to Balazovic that he will break through as a starting pitcher and stay there when he reaches the majors, compared to others further down this list. Jose Miranda (23), 3B – TD’s #3 Prospect (Miranda made his MLB debut on 5/2, playing third base and batting sixth against the Baltimore Orioles. He was 0-for-4 in a 2-1 Twins win) The thing with Miranda was never about talent, as the Twins had always seen a good bat in the infielder from Puerto Rico. However, before the 2021 season that bat had never quite lived up to expectations, producing just one season with an OPS above .750 and that was all the way back in rookie ball. But coaches continued to encourage him to alter his approach and wait for pitches he could do damage with, instead of swinging first and asking questions later. He took it to heart and ran with it for the 2021 season, enroute to one of the most impressive Minor League seasons you have ever seen from a Twins prospect. He led all of the minors in total bases, clubbing 32 doubles and 30 home runs in 127 games between Wichita and St. Paul. He finished with a .344/.401/.572 slash line and rocketed up prospect lists by the end of the year. He’s basically only a corner infielder and won’t win any Gold Glove awards with his defense, but if he’s even close to repeating those hitting numbers in 2022 at triple-A, his bat will force the issue sooner rather than later. Jhoan Duran (24), RHP – TD’s #7 Prospect (Duran made his MLB debut on opening day, pithing two innings against the Seattle Mariners. He allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out four in a scoreless outing) Whether they’ve been trying or not, since I’ve been a fan of the Twins they have always had a velocity problem. Duran is one of the pitchers who can continue to change that, whether that comes as a starter or a reliever. He has size, is capable of hitting 100+ MPH with his fastball, and throws a weird sinker he can play off that velocity to get swings and misses. Like many young hurlers, consistency is key and despite his stuff he has had trouble maintaining that start-to-start in the past. When he is on Duran is fully capable of dominating an outing, but has thrown only 16 innings in live games since the end of the 2019 season. If you were asking me before the start of Spring Training, I would have fully expected Duran to begin the season in the St. Paul Saints rotation. Instead, he has been absolutely dominant in his outings thus far and will come North with the Twins to start the year! Josh Winder (25), RHP – TD’s #9 Prospect (Winder made his MLB debut on 4/12, pitching one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed one run on two walks and struck out one. He made his first MLB start on 5/1, and picked up the win with 6 innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out seven against the Tampa Bay Rays) A casual fan may not recognize Winder’s name as much as others, but I recommend paying a lot more attention to him this season. I have seen evidence from the Twins over the past two years that they may think he is the best of the starting pitching bunch they have approaching the majors. Plus, as of writing this he is still on the bubble to come North to Minneapolis instead of St. Paul to start the 2022 season. While he only threw 72 innings last year, they were so good that he was the Twins representative to play in the Futures Game during All Star Weekend. He was promoted to triple-A immediately after that and made four starts for the Saints before being shut down for the rest of the season with a shoulder impingement. He was solid in his outings this spring, starting three games (meaning he was facing mostly MLB players) and allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out nine in eight total innings pitched. While there is no reason for the Twins to put him in the bullpen permanently, it would not shock me to see him as part of a 16-man pitching staff to start the season in a piggy-backing role. I can even envision him performing better than whomever he follows to the point he takes over when rosters get cut down from 28 players. Cole Sands (24), RHP – TD’s #13 Prospect (Sands made his MLB debut on 5/1, pitching two innings of relief against the Tampa Bay Rays. He allowed two earned runs on three hits, and struck out two.) Making his professional debut during the 2019 season, Sands was a standout performer and as a result pitched at three levels, reaching double-A for one start to end the year. He finished the season with a 2.68 ERA and struck out 108 hitters over 97 1/3 innings. He followed that up in 2021 by dominating with Wichita to the tune of a 2.46 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 80 1/3 innings. He missed some time due to an injury, but will be in the Saints rotation to start the 2022 season. His path reminds me a bit of one Bailey Ober and if the Twins can get more of that, they would be ecstatic. Since he is on the 40-man roster, you never know—if he is lined up to pitch on the right day, an injury on the Twins could spur a cab ride across the river to Target Field at any point. Drew Strotman (25), RHP The second half of the trade package the Twins received from the Tampa Bay Rays for Nelson Cruz, Strotman was thought by some evaluators to be the better prospect in the deal at the time. I do not think that is the case now, considering Joe Ryan is slated to pitch opening day for the Twins while Strotman fell off a bit after coming over, but it should give you an idea of how well the Twins did in that trade to get both of those guys. He throws in the mid-90s with a good cutter that catches the attention of scouts, but command has been a bit of an issue since having Tommy John Surgery back in 2018. He is being fully transitioned to the bullpen in 2022 and could turn into another high-octane option there as the season progresses. Ronny Henriquez (21), RHP – TD’s #16 Prospect (Henriquez made his MLB debut on September 19th against the Cleveland Guardians, pitching four innings of long-relief. He allowed three runs on four hits while walking two and striking out two.) With the flurry of trade activity that happened after the lockout ended, the Twins ended up with an intriguing right-hander from the Texas Rangers in sending off Mitch Garver. You will hear a lot about his size or lack thereof, but there is a lightning arm attached to his right shoulder that hits the mid-90s with ease. He has consistently piled up strikeouts and limited baserunners, but the long ball has been a bugaboo as he gave up nearly two per nine innings pitched in double-A last season. He has primarily started games in his pro career thus far and should continue to do so with the Twins, but his profile sounds a lot like a future reliever when it is all said and done. Chris Vallimont (25), RHP The moniker of the “Vallimonster” is apt for the right-hander, as he can perform quite the Jekyll and Hyde routine whenever he is on the mound. He paired a 13.0/9IP strikeout rate with a 5.8/9IP walk rate during the 2021 season and if you go game to game, you will see that up and down nature in his stat lines as well. A switch to the bullpen to maximize his pure stuff in shorter stints is something to watch for during the season if that pattern continues. TOP PROSPECTS: Consider this entry more of a “not-yet-on-the-40-man-roster” section heading into this season since a lot of the top prospects have already appeared above, but what remains below still holds the theme that these guys are close to Major League ready. All three of them are on the double-A roster of the Wichita Wind Surge to start the year, with a few of them sure to move up quickly when the 40-man depth above is called upon by the Twins. Austin Martin (23), IF/OF – TD’s #1 Prospect The top prospect on our board, it is slightly odd that Martin returns to double-A to start the season after spending all of the 2021 season there, but he does have some things to work on. Those being his defense at shortstop (or elsewhere), and tapping into some power that may have been hindered by a wrist injury throughout last year. That said, he posted a .414 on-base percentage in 93 games that led all of double-A and you would be hard-pressed to find a more prototypical leadoff hitter anywhere in the minors. As soon as a spot opens up in St. Paul I expect Martin to be promoted, but the depth the Twins have when it comes to position players pushes a debut timeline out to later in the summer. He is the type of talent who can force that issue sooner rather than later, however. Simeon Woods Richardson (21), RHP – TD’s #8 Prospect (Woods Richardson made his debut on 10/2 on the road against the Detroit Tigers. He went 5 innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits, walked two, and struck out three in a 5-2 loss.) Plenty of people seem to be down on SWR going into the 2022 season, but I am not one of them. You cannot blame him for the 2020 season being canceled or for competing in the Olympics (though he didn’t pitch at all) in the middle of the 2021 campaign. There was absolutely some rust to shake off by the time he put on a Wind Surge uniform, but he did flash what makes him highly regarded as well: A key point to consider with him in comparison to every other player on this list is his age. Even after missing a full season, he was only 20 years old and pitching in double-A at the beginning of last year. Especially for the Twins, this is a rare occurrence. Jose Berrios, for example, had turned 21 a couple of months before he reached double-A and was the quickest moving pitcher the Twins had produced in a long time. If he can reign back in his control, Berrios is also a great comp for the type of ceiling we are talking about for Woods Richardson, who has dwarfed any strikeout rates the former Twins pitcher ever produced in the minors. Matt Canterino (23), RHP – TD’s #6 Prospect Canterino finds himself in double-A to start the 2022 season despite pitching only 23 total innings last year with Cedar Rapids. That was due to elbow troubles, which is a legitimate concern moving forward given his history coming out of Rice University and herky-jerky mechanics, but you cannot deny the numbers. He struck out over half the hitters he faced while walking only four in his time on the mound, resulting in a 0.78 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. His stuff is electric, with a fastball that can reach the high 90’s and a slider and changeup that are both legitimate swing-and-miss offerings as well. Due to those health concerns, there are many evaluators who see the bullpen in his future, but if you are looking for a pitcher that can make some serious noise during the 2022 campaign, Canterino is your guy. MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH: While these players may not necessarily be top prospects, they are at or near the top of the system and have performed well to get themselves there. It could be a situation where a pitcher is lined up to pitch on the right day the Twins need a spot-start across the river at Target Field, or an injury leads to needing a specific position covered and there is no other ready replacement available. Maybe something new has clicked and they have improved their stock from internal evaluators. No matter how it happens, players like these are always needed at some point during the MLB season. Ryan Mason (26), RHP Mason has been a standout performer in the bullpens of Twins affiliates since being taken in the 13th round of the 2016 draft. Missing the 2020 season hurt guys like him more than most, but he came back in 2021 to post stellar numbers and finished the final two months of the season in St. Paul. While there, he posted a career-high strikeout rate of 12.1/9IP, and guys like him are always among my favorites to root for. Yennier Cano (27), RHP (Even though he didn't throw a pitch as the game was suspended, Yennier Cano was credited with his MLB debut on 5/11 against the Houston Astros. When he did take the mound the next day, he delivered two perfect innings before running into some trouble in his third. In total, he allowed three runs on three hits, and struck out two.) A sneaky international signing all the way back in 2019, Cano finally got to showcase his talents for a full season during the 2021 campaign, spending the bulk of it in St. Paul. He boasts a mid-90s fastball and deep repertoire, as well as an intimidating mound presence that reminds me a lot of Aroldis Chapman (both are around 6’4” and 230 lbs). He will need to reign in the walks that spiked once he reached triple-A, but certainly looks the part of a bullpen horse. Mark Contreras (27), OF (Contreras made his MLB debut on 5/12, when the suspended game from the day before resumed he took over for Byron Buxton, playing left field. He finished 0-for-2, but scored a run and drove in one with a sac fly in the 11-3 loss to the Houston Astros.) Contreras made his mark in the Twins organization with his defense, taking home a MiLB Gold Glove award after the 2019 season, but something clicked for him in the batter’s box in 2021. Spending the bulk of the year with St. Paul, the lefty nearly matched his career home run total to that point (23) with 20 on the year, 18 of them coming in his 95 games at triple-A. I would not expect Contreras to get the call as a long-term starter in the majors, but you can do a lot worse with a fourth outfielder type as he can play all the outfield positions well, including center in a pinch. Jermaine Palacios (25), IF (Palacios made his MLB debut on 5/31, playing SS in both games of a doubleheader. He picked up his first run scored, and hit, by finishing the day 1-for6 with a BB) Palacios is a bit buried on an organizational depth chart with the names Carlos Correa, Royce Lewis, and Austin Martin in the fold, but what he has above the other two prospects is that he is definitely a shortstop. That fact plays against him a little for the 2022 season as those two prospects above him need the work, but he is in triple-A where he will be moved around the infield depending on the day. He also showed some pop with 19 home runs for Wichita last year, and was also spectacular in the Venezuelan Winter League during the offseason, posting a .987 OPS in 42 games. DARK HORSES: There always seems to be a player or two who comes out of nowhere to make a surprise debut during the season. They might be a known name but are not that far up the ladder at the season’s outset, returning from an injury so they have been forgotten some, or have a unique skill set or background that is intriguing and could pay big dividends if something else falls into place. These are my shots in the dark at guys that could be in 2022. Jordan Gore (27), RHP The former shortstop begins the season as a high-leverage option out of the St. Paul Saints bullpen. He split time between Cedar Rapids and Wichita during the 2021 season, picking up seven saves and striking out 11.7/9IP with a WHIP below 1.00. Plus, he has great hair. Louie Varland (24), RHP – TD’s #14 Prospect (Varland made his MLB debut on 9/7 against the New York Yankees on the road. He was fantastic, going 5 1/3 innings, striking out Aaron Judge for his first career strikeout. He allowed two runs on three hits, walked one, and struck out seven) First of all, he is #OneOfUs, growing up in Maplewood and being drafted out of Concordia University in St. Paul in the 15th round of the 2019 draft. Second of all, he is the reigning Twins and Twins Daily’s, Minor League Pitcher of the Year. That is because he struck out 142 hitters in 103 innings pitched last season split between Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids. He is buried on a starting pitching depth chart at this point, but if he continues that type of dominance in double-A and eventually triple-A this season, there will be a spot for him at some point. Edouard Julien (22), OF – TD’s #19 Prospect I have long been a fan of the type of player Julien was during the 2021 season, where he led all of the minors in walks (110 in 112 games) and had an on-base percentage flirting with .500 for a large chunk of the season. He also tapped into some power upon being promoted to Cedar Rapids, launching 15 homers in 65 games after getting out of the Florida State League. He starts the 2022 season with Wichita, and he and Austin Martin should prove extremely annoying to double-A pitching for much of the summer. So, there you have it, my picks for some of the minor league players I think could be called up to the majors and put on a Minnesota Twins uniform for the first time during the coming season. When do you think any of them will show up at Target Field? Who are you looking forward to the most? And who are some of the prospects you think I have missed that could make that jump? Let’s play ball!
  5. The Wichita Wind Surge, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, have advanced to the Texas League championship series after an impressive showing in their first-round matchup. After taking Game 1 by a score of 17-1, Wichita advances after winning 11-1 tonight. Jair Camargo was the star, hitting a pair of home runs en route to a 3-for-4 night in which he drove in five runs and scored four times. DaShawn Keirsey homered for the second-straight game for Wichita. In St. Paul, Randy Dobnak had a rough start before Cole Sands and Evan Sisk both impressed out of the bullpen.
  6. The Wichita Wind Surge, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, have advanced to the Texas League championship series after an impressive showing in their first-round matchup. After taking Game 1 by a score of 17-1, Wichita advances after winning 11-1 tonight. Jair Camargo was the star, hitting a pair of home runs en route to a 3-for-4 night in which he drove in five runs and scored four times. DaShawn Keirsey homered for the second-straight game for Wichita. In St. Paul, Randy Dobnak had a rough start before Cole Sands and Evan Sisk both impressed out of the bullpen. View full video
  7. Last winter, it was clear to anyone looking at the Twins roster that the team needed frontline starting pitching. There were other off-season needs, but they only had Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober penciled into the rotation and many other question marks. Minnesota had the financial flexibility to sign frontline starting pitching, but the club decided to go in a different direction. With the pending lockout, the Twins front office watched most frontline free agent starters ink contracts with other organizations. Minnesota's lone signing before the lockout was Dylan Bundy, who figured to fit into the rotation's back half. It was tough to decipher how the Twins expected to fill the rotation, but the team's plan became clear as spring training inched closer. Following the lockout, Sonny Gray was the Twins' biggest offseason pitching acquisition. He was a clear frontline starter and pitched that way during the 2022 season. The team added Chris Archer to join Bundy at the back of the rotation, and Chris Paddack joined the club in a last-minute deal before Opening Day. All these arms impacted the 2022 Twins, but the club wanted to rely on the young pitching in the system to supplement the veteran arms. Derek Falvey was brought to Minnesota because of his experience with the Cleveland organization. During his Cleveland tenure, one of his calling cards was cultivating young pitching, which has been a staple of the Guardians organization. Minnesota was going to start the 2022 campaign with Ryan and Ober in the rotation, but there were expectations that other young pitchers would join their ranks. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, and Minnesota's pitching pipeline may have taken a step back this season. As the season began, it looked like the Twins had plenty of pitching prospects in the upper minors that had the potential to impact the roster. Minnesota had five upper minors starting pitchers ranked in their top-10 prospects, and others rounded out their top-20 list. Ryan had an up-and-down season as a rookie, but he is on pace to set the team's rookie record for strikeouts. Josh Winder and Cole Sands have combined to pitch just over 80 big league innings, with both missing games due to injury. Louie Varland saw his stock rise the most out of this group as he pitched well in the upper minors before making his big league debut in September. Matt Canterino and Jordan Balazovic were arguably the team's top pitching prospects entering the 2022 campaign, but it was a lost season for both. Canterino dominated on the mound in 13 appearances, but he needed Tommy John surgery before the season's end. Balazovic was on pace to debut in 2022, but he struggled at Triple-A and is now getting back on track. Besides Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson helped his stock the most this season, and he deserves to make some starts for the Twins down the stretch. Many will blame injuries for the Twins' failures during the 2022 season. However, the lack of contributions from the pitching pipeline is also concerning. Not every pitching prospect can be successful throughout their professional careers, and there is hope that some of these arms will get healthy in the offseason. As Minnesota's focus turns to 2023, the front office might not be able to rely as heavily on the pitching pipeline when building next year's roster. Did the pitching pipeline plan fail in 2022? Is there hope for improvement in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. Josh Winder made another start for the St. Paul Saints tonight as he looks to get back up with the Minnesota Twins. Star prospect Brooks Lee had a nice afternoon in a doubleheader for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. There was plenty of action on the farm to wrap up Labor Day weekend. Image courtesy of Steve Buhr, Twins Daily TRANSACTIONS LHP Jovani Moran recalled by Minnesota Twins RHP Ben Heller released by organization RHP Juan Minaya released by organization RHP Tyler Thornburg released by organization SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 4, St. Paul 2 Box Score Josh Winder continues his return from the injured list now pitching for the Saints. He’s said to be in play for a bullpen role this month with Minnesota, and he was letting it fly knowing the outing would be shorter. His fastball sat 95-96 mph throughout his outing, and he touched 97 mph as well. Winder finished four innings allowing just a single hit and an unearned run. He struck out three. The Saints got on the board first, scoring in the 2nd inning on a pair of back-to-back jacks. John Andreoli nearly wore a pitch and then went way out to left center for his 12th of the season. Braden Bishop followed with a blast to left as well, and St. Paul was up 2-0. After an unearned run brought Omaha within one, a solo shot off Randy Dobnak in the 5th inning tied it up. Dobnak touched 94 mph with his fastball, and did get a nice strikeout on his offspeed to the second batter he saw. The Saints and Storm Chasers were knotted at two with two hits apiece when rehabbing Twins pitcher Cole Sands took over in the 7th inning. Omaha was able to manufacture a run in the 8th inning to take the lead and then tagged Sands for another in the 9th inning to double up the Saints. Down to their final at bat, St. Paul sent Chris Williams, Andreoli, and pinch hitter Michael Helman to the dish. Unfortunately they went down in order and that's how this one ended. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 4, Wichita 3 (F/10) Box Score The Wind Surge had Daniel Gossett up tonight. He was great going five scoreless innings allowing just two hits and three walks. Gossett also struck out a trio of batters. After two scoreless frames to begin the game, Wichita got on the board with a three-run 3rd inning. Jair Camargo stepped in and blasted a three-run shot to centerfield. It was his 11th of the season and brought in both Austin Martin and Edouard Julien. Neither side could push anything else across through the 5th inning and the score stayed close. After Gossett exited in the 6th inning, Springfield immediately came to life. Three runs scored and the game was all tied heading to the 7th inning. Neither side could push across the go-ahead tally until extra. Springfield scored their runner from second base and completed the walk-off comeback. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Dayton 8 Cedar Rapids 7 (F/7) Box Score Playing a twin bill today, Cedar Rapids began the afternoon starting Jaylen Nowlin. He went 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs on six hits. Bowling also struck out five while walking three. Cedar Rapids raced out to an early lead scoring three in the 1st inning. Brooks Lee scored on a fielder’s choice from Kyler Fedko before a Seth Gray single drove in Pat Winkel. Wander Javier capped off the three-run inning with a sacrifice fly to plate Fedko. After giving two back in the bottom of the 1st inning, Cedar Rapids let in another four in the 4th inning, and two more in the 5th inning. Facing a five run deficit, they looked to rally in the top of the 7th inning. Jake Rucker roped his 15th double to drive in Dylan Neuse, and Lee then crushed his 4th homer for the Kernels. Gray hit his 16th home run of the season a few batters later, but the one run deficit still remained and was where this one ended. Game 2: Dayton 7, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Jon Olsen took the ball for Cedar Rapids in game two but was chased after just 1 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits. Olsen fanned one and allowed one free pass. Both teams matched zeroes during the 1st inning during the nightcap, but the Dragons exploded for five runs in the 2nd inning. A pair of singles and a double gave them all the run production they’d need, despite adding a two-run blast in the 6th inning for good measure. Former Twins prospect Chase Petty made the start for Dayton in game two and went five scoreless allowing just two hits and striking out two. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 11, Bradenton 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels turned to righty Jordan Carr this afternoon and he turned in five scoreless innings. Carr allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out four Marauders. Fort Myers didn’t wait long to get on the board this afternoon. In the 2nd inning Keoni Cavaco roped his 18th double to score Rubel Cespedes. He then came home on Dillon Tatum’s 6th dinger of the season. In the 3rd inning Carlos Aguiar recorded his 9th double of the season, plating both Noah Cardenas and Ben Ross. The lead extended to 5-0 now, Fort Myers went scoreless in the 4th inning. They weren’t done adding however, and in the 5th inning Cespedes drove in Cardenas with a sacrifice fly. Looking to continue the run scoring, Kala’i Rosario stayed hot and singled in the top of the 6th inning with Tanner Schobel racing home. Cardenas then recorded his 17th double to drive in Rosario from third base. Misael Urbina got into the action with a 7th inning sacrifice fly before Daniel Ozoria hit his first homer in the 9th inning. The two run shot erased runs by Bradenton in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ozoria was playing in his 299th professional game, and the dinger was just the third of his career. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 3 BB, 2B #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-1, BB, 2 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - Rehab with St. Paul - 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-4, 2 R, 2 BB #19 - Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3 #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 2-4, R, RBI TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - TBD South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - TBD St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  9. TRANSACTIONS LHP Jovani Moran recalled by Minnesota Twins RHP Ben Heller released by organization RHP Juan Minaya released by organization RHP Tyler Thornburg released by organization SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 4, St. Paul 2 Box Score Josh Winder continues his return from the injured list now pitching for the Saints. He’s said to be in play for a bullpen role this month with Minnesota, and he was letting it fly knowing the outing would be shorter. His fastball sat 95-96 mph throughout his outing, and he touched 97 mph as well. Winder finished four innings allowing just a single hit and an unearned run. He struck out three. The Saints got on the board first, scoring in the 2nd inning on a pair of back-to-back jacks. John Andreoli nearly wore a pitch and then went way out to left center for his 12th of the season. Braden Bishop followed with a blast to left as well, and St. Paul was up 2-0. After an unearned run brought Omaha within one, a solo shot off Randy Dobnak in the 5th inning tied it up. Dobnak touched 94 mph with his fastball, and did get a nice strikeout on his offspeed to the second batter he saw. The Saints and Storm Chasers were knotted at two with two hits apiece when rehabbing Twins pitcher Cole Sands took over in the 7th inning. Omaha was able to manufacture a run in the 8th inning to take the lead and then tagged Sands for another in the 9th inning to double up the Saints. Down to their final at bat, St. Paul sent Chris Williams, Andreoli, and pinch hitter Michael Helman to the dish. Unfortunately they went down in order and that's how this one ended. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 4, Wichita 3 (F/10) Box Score The Wind Surge had Daniel Gossett up tonight. He was great going five scoreless innings allowing just two hits and three walks. Gossett also struck out a trio of batters. After two scoreless frames to begin the game, Wichita got on the board with a three-run 3rd inning. Jair Camargo stepped in and blasted a three-run shot to centerfield. It was his 11th of the season and brought in both Austin Martin and Edouard Julien. Neither side could push anything else across through the 5th inning and the score stayed close. After Gossett exited in the 6th inning, Springfield immediately came to life. Three runs scored and the game was all tied heading to the 7th inning. Neither side could push across the go-ahead tally until extra. Springfield scored their runner from second base and completed the walk-off comeback. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Dayton 8 Cedar Rapids 7 (F/7) Box Score Playing a twin bill today, Cedar Rapids began the afternoon starting Jaylen Nowlin. He went 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs on six hits. Bowling also struck out five while walking three. Cedar Rapids raced out to an early lead scoring three in the 1st inning. Brooks Lee scored on a fielder’s choice from Kyler Fedko before a Seth Gray single drove in Pat Winkel. Wander Javier capped off the three-run inning with a sacrifice fly to plate Fedko. After giving two back in the bottom of the 1st inning, Cedar Rapids let in another four in the 4th inning, and two more in the 5th inning. Facing a five run deficit, they looked to rally in the top of the 7th inning. Jake Rucker roped his 15th double to drive in Dylan Neuse, and Lee then crushed his 4th homer for the Kernels. Gray hit his 16th home run of the season a few batters later, but the one run deficit still remained and was where this one ended. Game 2: Dayton 7, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Jon Olsen took the ball for Cedar Rapids in game two but was chased after just 1 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits. Olsen fanned one and allowed one free pass. Both teams matched zeroes during the 1st inning during the nightcap, but the Dragons exploded for five runs in the 2nd inning. A pair of singles and a double gave them all the run production they’d need, despite adding a two-run blast in the 6th inning for good measure. Former Twins prospect Chase Petty made the start for Dayton in game two and went five scoreless allowing just two hits and striking out two. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 11, Bradenton 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels turned to righty Jordan Carr this afternoon and he turned in five scoreless innings. Carr allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out four Marauders. Fort Myers didn’t wait long to get on the board this afternoon. In the 2nd inning Keoni Cavaco roped his 18th double to score Rubel Cespedes. He then came home on Dillon Tatum’s 6th dinger of the season. In the 3rd inning Carlos Aguiar recorded his 9th double of the season, plating both Noah Cardenas and Ben Ross. The lead extended to 5-0 now, Fort Myers went scoreless in the 4th inning. They weren’t done adding however, and in the 5th inning Cespedes drove in Cardenas with a sacrifice fly. Looking to continue the run scoring, Kala’i Rosario stayed hot and singled in the top of the 6th inning with Tanner Schobel racing home. Cardenas then recorded his 17th double to drive in Rosario from third base. Misael Urbina got into the action with a 7th inning sacrifice fly before Daniel Ozoria hit his first homer in the 9th inning. The two run shot erased runs by Bradenton in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ozoria was playing in his 299th professional game, and the dinger was just the third of his career. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 3 BB, 2B #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-1, BB, 2 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - Rehab with St. Paul - 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-4, 2 R, 2 BB #19 - Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3 #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 2-4, R, RBI TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - TBD South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - TBD St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  10. There wasn't a ton of big offensive performances tonight on the farm for the Minnesota Twins affiliates, but Kala'i Rosario stole the show this afternoon in a Mighty Mussels loss. Cody Laweryson was dominant for the Wichita Wind Surge, and Cole Sands made a rehab appearance for the St. Paul Saints. TRANSACTIONS Pitcher Cole Sands began a rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 5, St. Paul 1 Box Score Louie Varland has been among the best pitchers in the Twins system this season and was on the bump for St. Paul tonight. He worked 4 1/3 innings giving up two runs on four hits. He didn’t allow a walk and struck out three. Matt Wallner has drawn plenty of excitement with his bat this year, but it was a sliding catch in the second inning that saved extra bases. The Storm Chasers got a run in the 4th inning on a sacrifice fly before a 5th inning solo shot ended Varland’s night. St. Paul found themselves halving the lead in the 6th inning when a passed ball allowed him to scamper home. Omaha added one in the 7th inning and two in the 8th inning to pull away, however, and the Saints never had a rally in them. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 5, Springfield 4 Box Score The Wind Surge gave the pill to Cody Laweryson tonight in Springfield. Wichita’s starter went 4 2/3 allowing just a single run on five hits. Laweryson punched out six and didn’t surrender a walk. His ERA is now down to 1.03. Bryan Sammons took over in the 5th inning, and after recording the final out of that frame, he gave up a three-run dinger in the 6th inning. The Cardinals found themselves with breathing room up 4-0. In the 7th inning, it became time for the Wind Surge to answer. Leobaldo Cabrera stepped in and singled home Yunior Severino. Star prospect Austin Martin then roped his third triple of the season to bring home both Anthony Prato and Cabrera. All of a sudden it was a one-run game. The Wind Surge weren’t going to go out quietly, and walks from Prato and Will Holland to start the 9th inning gave them a chance. Edouard Julien then stepped up and ripped a line drive single to score both runners and take the lead. KERNELS NUGGETS Dayton 9, Cedar Rapids 4 Box Score Cedar Rapids turned to Luis Rijo in this one and it was an outing he’d rather forget. Rijo didn’t record an out and gave up five runs on just one hit. The bugaboo was three walks in the inning. Two of the runs against Rijo came on bases-loaded walks. Down 6-0 by the bottom of the 2nd inning, the Kernels got on the board when Dylan Neuse singled in Seth Gray during the 4th inning. In the 6th inning, Cedar Rapids continued to claw away. A balk brought in Gray before Jake Rucker singled to score Jeferson Morales and Willie Joe Garry Jr. Unfortunately for the Kernels, Dayton plated three more runs to pull away, and that was where this one ended. MUSSEL MATTERS Bradenton 8, Fort Myers 7 Box Score Pierson Ohl took the ball this afternoon for the Mighty Mussels and turned in five solid innings while working around seven hits. He did give up three runs, but limited additional damage allowing just one walk and striking out two. Fort Myers scored first, right in the opening salvo, when Kala’i Rosario singled to drive in Tanner Schobel. Unfortunately, that was the only lead they’d have in this one. By the time the Mighty Mussels came up in the top of the 6th inning they trailed 3-1. Rosario once again was ready to do damage and launched a homer, his 11th of the year, to score Ben Ross and tie things up. The Marauders wound up adding in the 6th and 7th innings to jump ahead 8-3. Heading into the 9th inning, Fort Myers saw an uphill battle, but they were ready to work. Luis Baez triples to drive in Keoni Cavaco and Alec Sayre. He then came home during the next at-bat on a passed ball. Down just two, Rosario continued his good day with another single, scoring Ross and bringing the good guys within one. That’s where the rally ended, however, and this was a tough one-run defeat. Fort Myers managed just five hits on the day but definitely made this one interesting. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Cody Laweryson (Wichita) - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 3-5, R, 4 RBI, HR(11) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, BB #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-5, 2 RBI, 3B, 2 K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-4, R, 2B, 2 BB #12 - Louie Varland (St. Paul) - 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-4, 2 RBI, BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-4, R, BB, 2 K, 2B #20 - Kala'i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 3-5, R, 4 RBI, HR(11) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) - RHP Kody Funderburk Cedar Rapids @ Dayton (6:05PM CST) - RHP David Festa Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Monday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  11. TRANSACTIONS Pitcher Cole Sands began a rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 5, St. Paul 1 Box Score Louie Varland has been among the best pitchers in the Twins system this season and was on the bump for St. Paul tonight. He worked 4 1/3 innings giving up two runs on four hits. He didn’t allow a walk and struck out three. Matt Wallner has drawn plenty of excitement with his bat this year, but it was a sliding catch in the second inning that saved extra bases. The Storm Chasers got a run in the 4th inning on a sacrifice fly before a 5th inning solo shot ended Varland’s night. St. Paul found themselves halving the lead in the 6th inning when a passed ball allowed him to scamper home. Omaha added one in the 7th inning and two in the 8th inning to pull away, however, and the Saints never had a rally in them. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 5, Springfield 4 Box Score The Wind Surge gave the pill to Cody Laweryson tonight in Springfield. Wichita’s starter went 4 2/3 allowing just a single run on five hits. Laweryson punched out six and didn’t surrender a walk. His ERA is now down to 1.03. Bryan Sammons took over in the 5th inning, and after recording the final out of that frame, he gave up a three-run dinger in the 6th inning. The Cardinals found themselves with breathing room up 4-0. In the 7th inning, it became time for the Wind Surge to answer. Leobaldo Cabrera stepped in and singled home Yunior Severino. Star prospect Austin Martin then roped his third triple of the season to bring home both Anthony Prato and Cabrera. All of a sudden it was a one-run game. The Wind Surge weren’t going to go out quietly, and walks from Prato and Will Holland to start the 9th inning gave them a chance. Edouard Julien then stepped up and ripped a line drive single to score both runners and take the lead. KERNELS NUGGETS Dayton 9, Cedar Rapids 4 Box Score Cedar Rapids turned to Luis Rijo in this one and it was an outing he’d rather forget. Rijo didn’t record an out and gave up five runs on just one hit. The bugaboo was three walks in the inning. Two of the runs against Rijo came on bases-loaded walks. Down 6-0 by the bottom of the 2nd inning, the Kernels got on the board when Dylan Neuse singled in Seth Gray during the 4th inning. In the 6th inning, Cedar Rapids continued to claw away. A balk brought in Gray before Jake Rucker singled to score Jeferson Morales and Willie Joe Garry Jr. Unfortunately for the Kernels, Dayton plated three more runs to pull away, and that was where this one ended. MUSSEL MATTERS Bradenton 8, Fort Myers 7 Box Score Pierson Ohl took the ball this afternoon for the Mighty Mussels and turned in five solid innings while working around seven hits. He did give up three runs, but limited additional damage allowing just one walk and striking out two. Fort Myers scored first, right in the opening salvo, when Kala’i Rosario singled to drive in Tanner Schobel. Unfortunately, that was the only lead they’d have in this one. By the time the Mighty Mussels came up in the top of the 6th inning they trailed 3-1. Rosario once again was ready to do damage and launched a homer, his 11th of the year, to score Ben Ross and tie things up. The Marauders wound up adding in the 6th and 7th innings to jump ahead 8-3. Heading into the 9th inning, Fort Myers saw an uphill battle, but they were ready to work. Luis Baez triples to drive in Keoni Cavaco and Alec Sayre. He then came home during the next at-bat on a passed ball. Down just two, Rosario continued his good day with another single, scoring Ross and bringing the good guys within one. That’s where the rally ended, however, and this was a tough one-run defeat. Fort Myers managed just five hits on the day but definitely made this one interesting. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Cody Laweryson (Wichita) - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K Hitter of the Day – Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 3-5, R, 4 RBI, HR(11) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, BB #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-5, 2 RBI, 3B, 2 K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 1-4, R, 2B, 2 BB #12 - Louie Varland (St. Paul) - 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-4, 2 RBI, BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-4, R, BB, 2 K, 2B #20 - Kala'i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 3-5, R, 4 RBI, HR(11) THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Omaha @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) - RHP Kody Funderburk Cedar Rapids @ Dayton (6:05PM CST) - RHP David Festa Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Monday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  12. Justin Verlander no-hit the Twins through six innings as the Twins were dominated by the Astros. Rocco Baldelli was ejected, Byron Buxton hit the IL, and Cole Sands exited the game after being hit by a comebacker on a rough day for Minnesota. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO (75-50) Homeruns: None Bottom 3 WPA: Jake Cave -.246, Aaron Sanchez A -.104, Gary Sanchez G -,092 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Life comes are you fast. A week ago, the Twins were in the midst of a 9-0 demolition of the Royals, at the mid-point of an optimism catalyzing four-game win streak. Today, they are spiraling. A series in Houston was never going to be appetizing, no matter the form or health of the roster. The Minnesota Twins’ stars, however, have aligned in a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions, with the illusive ‘TBD’ pitcher to face Justin Verlander being named as Aaron Sanchez. Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer are slated to start game two and three respectively. Inhale, exhale, puke. The Twins star-crossed roster was also reeling from the news that Byron Buxton hit the IL for the first time in 2022 with a hip strain on Tuesday afternoon. Before any twitter bots with binary code in their handles get to say ‘I told you so’, let’s take a moment to commend the Twins on their plan to maximize Buxton’s time on the field so far in 2022. He’s played 92 games in 2022 (100 combined in 2020 and 2021) and has been worth 4.0 fWAR thus far on the season. Get well soon, Byron. Twins Offense Late to Ballpark, Arrives at Minute Maid in the Seventh Inning Carlos Correa singled in the top of the seventh inning. Max Kepler and Gio Urshela had back to back hits in the top of the eighth. No runners scored. The Twins offense finally delivered 'something' in the ninth inning, a walk and three hits plating Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco to score their first runs of the game. This concludes all relevant updates on the Twins offense in game one of their series in Houston. Baldelli Ejected in Fifth Inning Following Bench Clearance Aaron Sanchez performed solidly against one of the best teams in baseball in his first four innings. He surrendered two runs on a Mauricio Dubon single in the second inning, and back-to-back doubles from Kyle Tucker and Trey Mancini in the fourth, the latter of which Nick Gordon seemed to slightly misjudge in center field. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch. Altuve and Sanchez exchanged words, leading to a pedestrian bench clearance. The clearance was apparently designated as a mound visit by home plate umpire Rob Drake. When Pete Maki came out to visit with Sanchez after a Yuli Gurriel walk, the umpires designated it the second visit of the inning, mandating that Sanchez be removed from the game. Rocco Baldelli lost it, and was ejected in the subsequent argument, giving Cole Sands plenty of time to warm up in long relief. Twins Offense Less Futile, Still Pretty Futile Against Astros Pen With eyes on loftier goals, the Astros removed Verlander after six no-hit innings and 10 strikeouts. On another day, I’d be more inclined to compliment the longevity and dominance of one of the best pitchers of his generation, tonight, I was just baffled by how inept the Twins offense looked. Cole Sands, who had pitched effectively in relief, exited the game in the seventh inning after being struck in the arm by a comebacker. Trevor Megill relieved Sands and surrendered a two-run homer to Alex Bregman, extended the Astros lead to 4-0. After a couple of wobbles, the Astros bullpen saw off the Twins for the final three innings. Under normal circumstances, surrendering just four runs away at Houston would give an effective offense a good chance to win a tricky road test. This Twins offense however, is just not effective. Four runs was more than enough, and the Twins fell to 62-59 on the season, losing their fourth game in a row. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Pagán 0 0 39 0 14 53 Megill 24 0 15 0 8 47 Thielbar 17 11 0 12 0 40 Sands 0 0 0 0 38 38 López 20 9 0 0 0 29 Jax 0 11 0 14 0 25 Fulmer 0 0 0 12 0 12 Duran 10 0 0 0 0 10 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Houston. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins against Framber Valdez for the Astros. First pitch is 7:10pm CT Postgame Interviews View full article
  13. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Aaron Sanchez 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO (75-50) Homeruns: None Bottom 3 WPA: Jake Cave -.246, Aaron Sanchez A -.104, Gary Sanchez G -,092 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Life comes are you fast. A week ago, the Twins were in the midst of a 9-0 demolition of the Royals, at the mid-point of an optimism catalyzing four-game win streak. Today, they are spiraling. A series in Houston was never going to be appetizing, no matter the form or health of the roster. The Minnesota Twins’ stars, however, have aligned in a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions, with the illusive ‘TBD’ pitcher to face Justin Verlander being named as Aaron Sanchez. Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer are slated to start game two and three respectively. Inhale, exhale, puke. The Twins star-crossed roster was also reeling from the news that Byron Buxton hit the IL for the first time in 2022 with a hip strain on Tuesday afternoon. Before any twitter bots with binary code in their handles get to say ‘I told you so’, let’s take a moment to commend the Twins on their plan to maximize Buxton’s time on the field so far in 2022. He’s played 92 games in 2022 (100 combined in 2020 and 2021) and has been worth 4.0 fWAR thus far on the season. Get well soon, Byron. Twins Offense Late to Ballpark, Arrives at Minute Maid in the Seventh Inning Carlos Correa singled in the top of the seventh inning. Max Kepler and Gio Urshela had back to back hits in the top of the eighth. No runners scored. The Twins offense finally delivered 'something' in the ninth inning, a walk and three hits plating Luis Arraez and Jorge Polanco to score their first runs of the game. This concludes all relevant updates on the Twins offense in game one of their series in Houston. Baldelli Ejected in Fifth Inning Following Bench Clearance Aaron Sanchez performed solidly against one of the best teams in baseball in his first four innings. He surrendered two runs on a Mauricio Dubon single in the second inning, and back-to-back doubles from Kyle Tucker and Trey Mancini in the fourth, the latter of which Nick Gordon seemed to slightly misjudge in center field. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch. Altuve and Sanchez exchanged words, leading to a pedestrian bench clearance. The clearance was apparently designated as a mound visit by home plate umpire Rob Drake. When Pete Maki came out to visit with Sanchez after a Yuli Gurriel walk, the umpires designated it the second visit of the inning, mandating that Sanchez be removed from the game. Rocco Baldelli lost it, and was ejected in the subsequent argument, giving Cole Sands plenty of time to warm up in long relief. Twins Offense Less Futile, Still Pretty Futile Against Astros Pen With eyes on loftier goals, the Astros removed Verlander after six no-hit innings and 10 strikeouts. On another day, I’d be more inclined to compliment the longevity and dominance of one of the best pitchers of his generation, tonight, I was just baffled by how inept the Twins offense looked. Cole Sands, who had pitched effectively in relief, exited the game in the seventh inning after being struck in the arm by a comebacker. Trevor Megill relieved Sands and surrendered a two-run homer to Alex Bregman, extended the Astros lead to 4-0. After a couple of wobbles, the Astros bullpen saw off the Twins for the final three innings. Under normal circumstances, surrendering just four runs away at Houston would give an effective offense a good chance to win a tricky road test. This Twins offense however, is just not effective. Four runs was more than enough, and the Twins fell to 62-59 on the season, losing their fourth game in a row. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Pagán 0 0 39 0 14 53 Megill 24 0 15 0 8 47 Thielbar 17 11 0 12 0 40 Sands 0 0 0 0 38 38 López 20 9 0 0 0 29 Jax 0 11 0 14 0 25 Fulmer 0 0 0 12 0 12 Duran 10 0 0 0 0 10 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Houston. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins against Framber Valdez for the Astros. First pitch is 7:10pm CT Postgame Interviews
  14. The Twins called up Cole Sands a few weeks ago saying they were in need of a long reliever, something that makes a lot of sense given the makeup of their pitching staff. A few outings later, however, this statement has become fairly puzzling. Some people have been calling for a long reliever to be added to the roster for much of the season. It made sense, after all, considering the way the Twins have chosen to construct their pitching staff. Between Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer, and even Joe Ryan, the Twins don’t have many pitchers that can be pushed into the late innings. As a result, Cole Sands was called up to avoid having to use 4-5 relievers every time one of these starters takes the mound. Through a week and a half, however, the Twins aren’t using Sands in the way we expected. Sands’ first outing back in Minnesota was impressive and just what we had in mind. Spinning three innings of shutout ball, Sands was able to save the bullpen. Since that first outing back on August 7th, however, Sands has pitched twice, both in one-inning stints. Perhaps a long relief opportunity hasn’t presented itself, but his recent usage may say the bullpen hierarchy isn’t what it probably should be at this point. In his last outing, the Twins led 9-0 against Kansas City in the 9th inning and Sands was called upon for mop-up duty. Rather than deploying Emilio Pagan who two outings prior gave up a walk-off home run and had yet another longball pulled back by Nick Gordon in his most recent appearance, the Twins turned to their so-called “long reliever.” Nobody will blame the Twins for not being able to tell the future, but the very next day Tyler Mahle left in the third inning and the Twins turned to Emilio Pagan in the role Sands was supposedly brought up to fill. The game was ultimately filled out later by several high-leverage relievers just as we’ve seen in short starts all season. Pagan was less than dominant but got the job done. The outcome here is inconsequential with the day off Thursday, but it raises questions about the Twins bullpen management, particularly in regards to long relievers. In years past the Twins have not only had rosters that a traditional long reliever would have helped, but they’ve also had respectable options to fill such a role. From Randy Dobnak in 2021 to Cole Sands and Josh Winder this year, the Twins have a history of rostering these players and not setting them up for success in a long relief role. In all three cases, these pitchers have been used inconsistently in regards to the frequency they pitch as well as the situations they’re used in. Not only does this usage not provide the team with the bullpen support they so badly need, but the pitchers themselves often suffer without the structure they’d grown accustomed to as starting pitchers. Unless the front office simply views Sands as a traditional relief pitcher at this point in his career, there’s no reason for him to be on the Major League roster filling one-inning stints. He clearly won’t be allowed to pitch on back-to-back days, so unless he’s the #1 option to come in and fill multiple innings, there are several relievers in AAA who can come up and better fill such a role. Perhaps Mahle’s short start was a wake-up call, but Cole Sands simply isn’t being used in the way he should be. It’s disappointing to see considering how much of an impact a true long reliever could have in this final month-plus of the season. Furthermore, it hasn’t been encouraging to see that the Twins prefer to use their so-called “long reliever” in mop-up duty over Emilio Pagan who still appears to have the Twins complete trust despite the seismic shift he’s made in their season with some of the ugliest blow-ups in Twins Territory since Ron Davis was closing out games. It’s impossible to say whether the Twins feel the same way, but they should be staring down two options moving forward. Either schedule out “piggyback” scenarios with Cole Sands to use him in a way that will maximize his ability to fill innings, or replace him with a traditional reliever that doesn’t need time off after a one-inning stint. Anywhere in between these two options would be doing a disservice to themselves. The Twins need a long reliever and now they have one in Cole Sands. It’s time to start using him as one. View full article
  15. Some people have been calling for a long reliever to be added to the roster for much of the season. It made sense, after all, considering the way the Twins have chosen to construct their pitching staff. Between Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer, and even Joe Ryan, the Twins don’t have many pitchers that can be pushed into the late innings. As a result, Cole Sands was called up to avoid having to use 4-5 relievers every time one of these starters takes the mound. Through a week and a half, however, the Twins aren’t using Sands in the way we expected. Sands’ first outing back in Minnesota was impressive and just what we had in mind. Spinning three innings of shutout ball, Sands was able to save the bullpen. Since that first outing back on August 7th, however, Sands has pitched twice, both in one-inning stints. Perhaps a long relief opportunity hasn’t presented itself, but his recent usage may say the bullpen hierarchy isn’t what it probably should be at this point. In his last outing, the Twins led 9-0 against Kansas City in the 9th inning and Sands was called upon for mop-up duty. Rather than deploying Emilio Pagan who two outings prior gave up a walk-off home run and had yet another longball pulled back by Nick Gordon in his most recent appearance, the Twins turned to their so-called “long reliever.” Nobody will blame the Twins for not being able to tell the future, but the very next day Tyler Mahle left in the third inning and the Twins turned to Emilio Pagan in the role Sands was supposedly brought up to fill. The game was ultimately filled out later by several high-leverage relievers just as we’ve seen in short starts all season. Pagan was less than dominant but got the job done. The outcome here is inconsequential with the day off Thursday, but it raises questions about the Twins bullpen management, particularly in regards to long relievers. In years past the Twins have not only had rosters that a traditional long reliever would have helped, but they’ve also had respectable options to fill such a role. From Randy Dobnak in 2021 to Cole Sands and Josh Winder this year, the Twins have a history of rostering these players and not setting them up for success in a long relief role. In all three cases, these pitchers have been used inconsistently in regards to the frequency they pitch as well as the situations they’re used in. Not only does this usage not provide the team with the bullpen support they so badly need, but the pitchers themselves often suffer without the structure they’d grown accustomed to as starting pitchers. Unless the front office simply views Sands as a traditional relief pitcher at this point in his career, there’s no reason for him to be on the Major League roster filling one-inning stints. He clearly won’t be allowed to pitch on back-to-back days, so unless he’s the #1 option to come in and fill multiple innings, there are several relievers in AAA who can come up and better fill such a role. Perhaps Mahle’s short start was a wake-up call, but Cole Sands simply isn’t being used in the way he should be. It’s disappointing to see considering how much of an impact a true long reliever could have in this final month-plus of the season. Furthermore, it hasn’t been encouraging to see that the Twins prefer to use their so-called “long reliever” in mop-up duty over Emilio Pagan who still appears to have the Twins complete trust despite the seismic shift he’s made in their season with some of the ugliest blow-ups in Twins Territory since Ron Davis was closing out games. It’s impossible to say whether the Twins feel the same way, but they should be staring down two options moving forward. Either schedule out “piggyback” scenarios with Cole Sands to use him in a way that will maximize his ability to fill innings, or replace him with a traditional reliever that doesn’t need time off after a one-inning stint. Anywhere in between these two options would be doing a disservice to themselves. The Twins need a long reliever and now they have one in Cole Sands. It’s time to start using him as one.
  16. The Twins clubhouse started the day with somber news of Alex Kirilloff being shut down for the season as they looked to complete a series victory over the Blue Jays Sunday. The Twins lost on a controversial overturn as umpires in New York cost the game for them on a bad replay call that had Rocco Baldelli more fired than ever before and Twins fans raging from coast to coast. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 52 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler -.303, Nick Gordon -.282, Gio Urshela -.243 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer made the start for the Twins. He came into the game with three consecutive starts of three or more walks allowed, Archer was hoping to have better control of the strike zone Sunday afternoon. For his first inning of work, Archer retired the minimum on 15 pitches, 12 strikes. When the time came for the Twins to hit, Jorge Polanco was practically given a free pass to get on base. The Blue Jays opted for a four-man outfield against Polanco, who was hitting lefty against Kevin Gausman. With that, it opened up the entirety of the left side of the infield for Polanco to lace a half-swing single and reach base. Even with greater control of the strike zone, the Blue Jays still made Archer hurt in the second inning as Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single on the first pitch and Bo Bichette followed with an RBI double on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 1-0 Blue Jays. The Jays wouldn’t score any more runs against Archer in the second but worked him to throw 30 pitches in the inning, only expediting Cole Sands appearance out of the bullpen. The Jays bats would strike again against Archer in the top of the third as Cavan Biggio led off with another double and scored on the next at-bat off a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. RBI single. That would be the only run allowed by Archer in the third as the Jays now led 2-0. As Archer settled down to retire the Blue Jays with no runs or walks allowed through his five innings of work, only Luis Arraez managed to get on base for the Twins after the Blue Jays scored their second run. Both times were on singles but the Twins failed to make contact as easily as the last time they faced Gausman on Sunday, June 5. Archer was done for the afternoon after five innings of work and did not allow any walks in his five innings, making it his first start since June 19 against the Diamondbacks, without allowing any walks. To everyone’s surprise, Sands was not the first arm out of the Twins bullpen to replace Archer on the mound. Instead it was every Twins fan “favorite” Emilio Pagan. Pagan would come out of the sixth earlier than expected due to a shoulder injury. He only allowed one hit, a single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and worked a 2-2 count to Hernandez before being removed from the game with a right lat cramp. Sands came in to finish the at-bat against Hernandez, and he doubled. Bichette followed with a five-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout and kept the Jays lead at 2-0. The Twins were finally able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Polanco reached base on his second hit of the game. Two at-bats later, rookie sensation Jose Miranda drove in Polanco, marking at least one RBI in all games against the Blue Jays in this series. Miranda’s RBI made it a 2-1 score. Sands pitched an effective three innings of relief for the Twins and was pulled after totaling 51 pitches and allowing Alejandro Kirk on with a hit and two outs in the top of the ninth. Caleb Thielbar was called in to get the final out and achieved that, keeping it a run one game for the Twins to try and walk-off the Blue Jays for the season. Carlos Correa came in as a pinch hitter for Jake Cave in the bottom of the ninth. Correa reached base, getting clipped by a pitch in the shoulder. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch runner for Correa which brought up another walk-off opportunity for Byron Buxton. Buxton disappointed fans with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a pitch that went right down the middle from Jordan Romano. Fortunately for Twins fans, Gary Sanchez kept the game alive after Buxton’s strikeout. Sanchez got a single that advanced Beckham to third, giving Arraez a chance to tie the game. And tie the game he did as he laced a single to right field scoring Beckham. Arraez’s game-tying hit made it his 12th three or more hit game for 2022. Polanco followed Arraez with a fielder’s choice groundout with the force at second base. This at least advanced Sanchez to third with runners on the corners, two outs and Max Kepler at the plate. Kepler pulled the ball to the first baseman, sending the game into extras. As the Twins went into extras, Whit Merrifield came in as the Manfred Man on second for the Jays. He advanced to third on a flyout by Santiago Espinal but in the next at-bat, Merrifield once again tried to tag and score on a flyout to left. However, Beckham, playing left field for the second time this season, nailed Merrifield out at home as it was originally called. The call was overturned by umpires in New York based off of Merrfield placing his slide directly into Sanchez's knee. Even as the video showed that Sanchez did allow Merrifield a lane to the plate, the Blue Jays gained a run for a 3-2 lead. This also led to Rocco Baldelli’s most fired-up ejection of his managing career as he asked why the call was overturned due to catcher interference. The Twins got out of the inning without surrendering more runs, but the damage was already done to them from people 1,200 miles away from Target Field. What’s Next? The Twins are off Monday and will head to the Los Angeles area for five games in six days. The first series starts Tuesday against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CT with Joe Ryan scheduled to start for the Twins. Ryan will match up against one of many Dodger lefties, Julio Urias. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  17. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 52 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler -.303, Nick Gordon -.282, Gio Urshela -.243 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer made the start for the Twins. He came into the game with three consecutive starts of three or more walks allowed, Archer was hoping to have better control of the strike zone Sunday afternoon. For his first inning of work, Archer retired the minimum on 15 pitches, 12 strikes. When the time came for the Twins to hit, Jorge Polanco was practically given a free pass to get on base. The Blue Jays opted for a four-man outfield against Polanco, who was hitting lefty against Kevin Gausman. With that, it opened up the entirety of the left side of the infield for Polanco to lace a half-swing single and reach base. Even with greater control of the strike zone, the Blue Jays still made Archer hurt in the second inning as Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single on the first pitch and Bo Bichette followed with an RBI double on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 1-0 Blue Jays. The Jays wouldn’t score any more runs against Archer in the second but worked him to throw 30 pitches in the inning, only expediting Cole Sands appearance out of the bullpen. The Jays bats would strike again against Archer in the top of the third as Cavan Biggio led off with another double and scored on the next at-bat off a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. RBI single. That would be the only run allowed by Archer in the third as the Jays now led 2-0. As Archer settled down to retire the Blue Jays with no runs or walks allowed through his five innings of work, only Luis Arraez managed to get on base for the Twins after the Blue Jays scored their second run. Both times were on singles but the Twins failed to make contact as easily as the last time they faced Gausman on Sunday, June 5. Archer was done for the afternoon after five innings of work and did not allow any walks in his five innings, making it his first start since June 19 against the Diamondbacks, without allowing any walks. To everyone’s surprise, Sands was not the first arm out of the Twins bullpen to replace Archer on the mound. Instead it was every Twins fan “favorite” Emilio Pagan. Pagan would come out of the sixth earlier than expected due to a shoulder injury. He only allowed one hit, a single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and worked a 2-2 count to Hernandez before being removed from the game with a right lat cramp. Sands came in to finish the at-bat against Hernandez, and he doubled. Bichette followed with a five-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout and kept the Jays lead at 2-0. The Twins were finally able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Polanco reached base on his second hit of the game. Two at-bats later, rookie sensation Jose Miranda drove in Polanco, marking at least one RBI in all games against the Blue Jays in this series. Miranda’s RBI made it a 2-1 score. Sands pitched an effective three innings of relief for the Twins and was pulled after totaling 51 pitches and allowing Alejandro Kirk on with a hit and two outs in the top of the ninth. Caleb Thielbar was called in to get the final out and achieved that, keeping it a run one game for the Twins to try and walk-off the Blue Jays for the season. Carlos Correa came in as a pinch hitter for Jake Cave in the bottom of the ninth. Correa reached base, getting clipped by a pitch in the shoulder. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch runner for Correa which brought up another walk-off opportunity for Byron Buxton. Buxton disappointed fans with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a pitch that went right down the middle from Jordan Romano. Fortunately for Twins fans, Gary Sanchez kept the game alive after Buxton’s strikeout. Sanchez got a single that advanced Beckham to third, giving Arraez a chance to tie the game. And tie the game he did as he laced a single to right field scoring Beckham. Arraez’s game-tying hit made it his 12th three or more hit game for 2022. Polanco followed Arraez with a fielder’s choice groundout with the force at second base. This at least advanced Sanchez to third with runners on the corners, two outs and Max Kepler at the plate. Kepler pulled the ball to the first baseman, sending the game into extras. As the Twins went into extras, Whit Merrifield came in as the Manfred Man on second for the Jays. He advanced to third on a flyout by Santiago Espinal but in the next at-bat, Merrifield once again tried to tag and score on a flyout to left. However, Beckham, playing left field for the second time this season, nailed Merrifield out at home as it was originally called. The call was overturned by umpires in New York based off of Merrfield placing his slide directly into Sanchez's knee. Even as the video showed that Sanchez did allow Merrifield a lane to the plate, the Blue Jays gained a run for a 3-2 lead. This also led to Rocco Baldelli’s most fired-up ejection of his managing career as he asked why the call was overturned due to catcher interference. The Twins got out of the inning without surrendering more runs, but the damage was already done to them from people 1,200 miles away from Target Field. What’s Next? The Twins are off Monday and will head to the Los Angeles area for five games in six days. The first series starts Tuesday against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CT with Joe Ryan scheduled to start for the Twins. Ryan will match up against one of many Dodger lefties, Julio Urias. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  18. The Twins received some outstanding hitting performances in the minors, Edouard Julien and Christian Encarnacion-Strand teamed up to do major damage, and Cole Sands overpowered his opponents. Read all about that and more in this edition of the minor league report. TRANSACTIONS OF Kennie Taylor placed on 7-day IL INF Tim Beckham contract selected by Minnesota OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Saints Sentinel St. Paul 7, Iowa 1 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Braden Bishop (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI) St. Paul smoked Iowa on Saturday. Cole Sands did the darn thing, pitching five quality innings with a single earned run, and seven punched tickets; that’s the kind of effort that could earn him a promotion back to the majors. Until then, Sands can bask in a great start. St. Paul’s bats only scored in one inning, but they made it count; a seven-run 2nd frame drowned Iowa for good. It was a classic gang-up; Braden Bishop, Jake Cave, Jermaine Palacios, and Roy Morales all obtained RBIs for their work in aiding the scoring. Old, uhhh, acquaintance Andrelton Simmons struck out three times in four tries for the Iowa Cubs. Daniel Gossett, Brad Peacock, Evan Sisk, and Drew Strotman combined for four shutout innings with six strikeouts. At least one of those arms will probably be on the Twins soon. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 11, NW Arkansas 3 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Edouard Julien 2 (11, 12), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (5) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Jair Camargo (2-for-4), Cole Sturgeon (2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB) The Wind Surge bludgeoned their opponent on Saturday. It all began where you would expect: at the top of the lineup. Edouard Julien, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Jair Camargo all had multiple hits; Julien cleaned up four RBIs and scored three runs, charged largely by two home runs. Wichita did dabble in democracy, as every batter contributed at least one hit towards a 14-hit total. The pitchers established order early; Brent Headrick allowed no hits but does have an earned run on his ledger as the scored run reached base off a walk. You don’t see that every day. Cody Laweryson was even more effective, punching our four batters over two clean innings of relief. Wichita netted seven extra-base hits; NW Arkansas had three hits total. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 7 Box Score Travis Adams: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Yunior Severino (9), Aaron Sabato (14) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI) Cedar Rapids lost a close game on Saturday. Travis Adams couldn’t find a break; Wisconsin touched up the righty for seven runs, with four coming via the “earned” variety. A first-inning three-run homer following an error was the culprit. Cedar Rapids struck early as well; their bats plated six runs across the first two frames in support of Adams. Yunior Severino continued a truly blistering July with a two-run homer; Alerick Soularie then doubled home another run in the following inning. Aaron Sabato, always sure to never miss out on the fun, blasted a two-run home run to conclude the Kernels’ onslaught. While Cedar Rapids’ bats receded following their early-game attack, the arms established order; Ryan Shreve, Jon Olsen, and Hunter McMahon combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings with seven punch outs. Mussel Matters Game one: Fort Myers 2, Tampa 5 (7 innings) Box Score Steve Hajjar: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels were quiet in game one on Saturday. Steve Hajjar commanded the ball, striking out eight batters against no walks; two home runs proved to be his earned-run downfall. This was Hajjar’s second start since returning from the IL, and it was his longest; rain capped his previous outing to two outs. Fort Myers’ offense struggled to match Tampa’s offense; just three batters gained a hit, and three other ones walked, but the team could only plate a pair of runs. Noah Miller slugged a double—a notable event given his recent power struggle—while Misael Urbina also doubles—a notable event as Urbina has smashed the ball since returning. Game two: Fort Myers 4, Tampa 2 Box Score Mike Paredes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Nelson Roberto (3), Mikey Perez (8) Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI) Fort Myers returned the gesture in game two. Mike Paredes established the tone, allowing two measly runs over six efficient innings. Paredes is an easy name to overlook, but he holds a 2.19 ERA on the season; that has to count for something. Mikey Perez lead the offensive in this effort; the speedy infielder blasted his eighth homer while also stealing his 32nd base. Outside of a Nelson Roberto homer, the offense remained quiet, but they could afford to; Perez’s outburst ensured they would not require more runs to win. Juan Mendez struck out the side to end the game. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 3 (11 innings) Box Score Matt Canterino: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost a slim affair. Matt Canterino returned to the mound for the second time since his rehab assignment began earlier in the week. The righty worked five outs with three strikeouts and one run allowed. Offense evaded the FCL Twins all day; the team netted two hits with a lone RBI and four walks in the game. Fredy Michel stole his 11th base on the season. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 5, DSL Rockies 0 Box Score Cesar Lares: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The DSL Twins shut out the DSL Rockies on Saturday. The game was an example of poor defense dominating the lower minors; the DSL Rockies allowed two unearned runs off four misplays in nine innings. Yasser Mercedes stole his 17th base of the season; Yasser Mercedes has played 28 games. Cesar Lares continued his impressive start to professional baseball; the lefty fanned four batters over four innings with no earned runs. Lares now owns a 2.43 ERA. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Edouard Julien, PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #5 - Matt Canterino (Rehab) - 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-3, R, 2 BB, 2 K #8 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2B, RBI, K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:10 PM) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - TBD View full article
  19. TRANSACTIONS OF Kennie Taylor placed on 7-day IL INF Tim Beckham contract selected by Minnesota OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Saints Sentinel St. Paul 7, Iowa 1 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Braden Bishop (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI) St. Paul smoked Iowa on Saturday. Cole Sands did the darn thing, pitching five quality innings with a single earned run, and seven punched tickets; that’s the kind of effort that could earn him a promotion back to the majors. Until then, Sands can bask in a great start. St. Paul’s bats only scored in one inning, but they made it count; a seven-run 2nd frame drowned Iowa for good. It was a classic gang-up; Braden Bishop, Jake Cave, Jermaine Palacios, and Roy Morales all obtained RBIs for their work in aiding the scoring. Old, uhhh, acquaintance Andrelton Simmons struck out three times in four tries for the Iowa Cubs. Daniel Gossett, Brad Peacock, Evan Sisk, and Drew Strotman combined for four shutout innings with six strikeouts. At least one of those arms will probably be on the Twins soon. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 11, NW Arkansas 3 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Edouard Julien 2 (11, 12), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (5) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Jair Camargo (2-for-4), Cole Sturgeon (2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB) The Wind Surge bludgeoned their opponent on Saturday. It all began where you would expect: at the top of the lineup. Edouard Julien, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Jair Camargo all had multiple hits; Julien cleaned up four RBIs and scored three runs, charged largely by two home runs. Wichita did dabble in democracy, as every batter contributed at least one hit towards a 14-hit total. The pitchers established order early; Brent Headrick allowed no hits but does have an earned run on his ledger as the scored run reached base off a walk. You don’t see that every day. Cody Laweryson was even more effective, punching our four batters over two clean innings of relief. Wichita netted seven extra-base hits; NW Arkansas had three hits total. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 7 Box Score Travis Adams: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Yunior Severino (9), Aaron Sabato (14) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI) Cedar Rapids lost a close game on Saturday. Travis Adams couldn’t find a break; Wisconsin touched up the righty for seven runs, with four coming via the “earned” variety. A first-inning three-run homer following an error was the culprit. Cedar Rapids struck early as well; their bats plated six runs across the first two frames in support of Adams. Yunior Severino continued a truly blistering July with a two-run homer; Alerick Soularie then doubled home another run in the following inning. Aaron Sabato, always sure to never miss out on the fun, blasted a two-run home run to conclude the Kernels’ onslaught. While Cedar Rapids’ bats receded following their early-game attack, the arms established order; Ryan Shreve, Jon Olsen, and Hunter McMahon combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings with seven punch outs. Mussel Matters Game one: Fort Myers 2, Tampa 5 (7 innings) Box Score Steve Hajjar: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels were quiet in game one on Saturday. Steve Hajjar commanded the ball, striking out eight batters against no walks; two home runs proved to be his earned-run downfall. This was Hajjar’s second start since returning from the IL, and it was his longest; rain capped his previous outing to two outs. Fort Myers’ offense struggled to match Tampa’s offense; just three batters gained a hit, and three other ones walked, but the team could only plate a pair of runs. Noah Miller slugged a double—a notable event given his recent power struggle—while Misael Urbina also doubles—a notable event as Urbina has smashed the ball since returning. Game two: Fort Myers 4, Tampa 2 Box Score Mike Paredes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Nelson Roberto (3), Mikey Perez (8) Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI) Fort Myers returned the gesture in game two. Mike Paredes established the tone, allowing two measly runs over six efficient innings. Paredes is an easy name to overlook, but he holds a 2.19 ERA on the season; that has to count for something. Mikey Perez lead the offensive in this effort; the speedy infielder blasted his eighth homer while also stealing his 32nd base. Outside of a Nelson Roberto homer, the offense remained quiet, but they could afford to; Perez’s outburst ensured they would not require more runs to win. Juan Mendez struck out the side to end the game. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 3 (11 innings) Box Score Matt Canterino: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost a slim affair. Matt Canterino returned to the mound for the second time since his rehab assignment began earlier in the week. The righty worked five outs with three strikeouts and one run allowed. Offense evaded the FCL Twins all day; the team netted two hits with a lone RBI and four walks in the game. Fredy Michel stole his 11th base on the season. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 5, DSL Rockies 0 Box Score Cesar Lares: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The DSL Twins shut out the DSL Rockies on Saturday. The game was an example of poor defense dominating the lower minors; the DSL Rockies allowed two unearned runs off four misplays in nine innings. Yasser Mercedes stole his 17th base of the season; Yasser Mercedes has played 28 games. Cesar Lares continued his impressive start to professional baseball; the lefty fanned four batters over four innings with no earned runs. Lares now owns a 2.43 ERA. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Edouard Julien, PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #5 - Matt Canterino (Rehab) - 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-3, R, 2 BB, 2 K #8 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2B, RBI, K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:10 PM) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - TBD
  20. The Minnesota Twins got back in the win column Saturday, beating San Diego 7-4. Sonny Gray pitched well, albeit briefly. Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa both homered and Jose Miranda put together an impressive at-bat to deliver an insurance run. In the minors, Cole Sands had a strong start for the Saints, Edouard Julien and Christian Encarnacion-Strand powered the Wind Surge while Yunior Severino stayed hot for the Kernels. All that and more in tonight's Twins System Recap. View full video
  21. The Minnesota Twins got back in the win column Saturday, beating San Diego 7-4. Sonny Gray pitched well, albeit briefly. Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa both homered and Jose Miranda put together an impressive at-bat to deliver an insurance run. In the minors, Cole Sands had a strong start for the Saints, Edouard Julien and Christian Encarnacion-Strand powered the Wind Surge while Yunior Severino stayed hot for the Kernels. All that and more in tonight's Twins System Recap.
  22. A team committed four errors, and that somehow did not set the record for most booted plays by a squad on Wednesday. Read all about that gross play and more in this edition of the minor league report. TRANSACTIONS INF Christian Encarnacion-Strand Re-Instated from IL RHP Ryan Shreve was activated from IL at Cedar Rapids. LHP Aaron Rozek was activated from IL at Cedar Rapids. INF Austin Martin was placed on Wichita IL (left elbow) C Frank Nigro added to AA Wichita from AAA St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 6 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K HR: Jake Cave (11) Multi-hit games: Tim Beckham (2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) The Saints lost a messy game on Wednesday. The match started quietly; after 4 innings, the Saints held a 2-1 lead after Tim Beckham doubled home two runs to inflate rehabbing-big leaguer Justin Dunn’s ERA. Cole Sands was surgical in the early innings, cutting up and down the Bats’ lineup at will before his reign crumbled in the 5th inning. A barrage of doubles mixed with a single from technically old friend Taylor Motter shot Louisville’s run total up to four; Sands suddenly had a loss on his hands. The Saints stormed back. After the Bats tacked on another run in the 6th inning, Jake Cave Did the Darn Thing, swinging at a 3-0 pitch and blasting a Grand Slam to left field to give St. Paul a slight 6-5 edge. His on-base streak is now 48 games. Louisville did not acquiesce to the sudden deficit; a Stuart Fairchild homer knotted the game at 6. The game moved into extra innings, where the Bats won off of what appears to be a double fielding error from Michael Helman. St. Paul’s bats must have been smaller than usual; they struck out 17 times total, with five players facing the K multiple times. Let’s hope that Thursday is a more blessed day. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Amarillo 4 Box Score Louie Varland: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5), Andrew Bechtold (3-for-4, 2B, RBI) Louie Varland gritted out six effective innings in his start. The antiquated “quality start” deems an outing like his worthy of its title, so Varland will take that and run. The damage could have been less severe; two of his runs came from a 6th inning homer, indicating a “careful, Icarus” moment, to steal a term from another baseball site. Wichita’s bats were up to the task on Wednesday, but poor coordination resulted in just two runs off of 12 hits. In all but three innings, the Wind Surge had a man on base, and they often had multiple players ready to score on a moment’s notice, but they could only plate runs in the 1st and 3rd innings. Perhaps better luck would have altered this game in their favor; Wichita left 18 men stranded. Cody Laweryson continued his AA shutout streak, allowing one hit over two innings while striking out a pair. Jordan Gore struck out two in his single inning of work. Matt Wallner threw another baserunner out on Wednesday. Since minor league fielding stats are basically impossible to find, let’s say it was his 50th gunned down runner of the year; that’s how history works. (Editor/Seth Note: I don't want to mess with history, or a fun narrative, but it is Wallner's 8th assist of the season.) Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 3, Quad Cities 5 Box Score Cade Povich: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Pat Winkel (3-for-4) The Kernels lost an atypical game on Wednesday. Cade Povich submitted his attempt at one of the weirder pitching lines you’ll see. His 11 strikeouts reflect domination, a complete ability to miss bats at an elite level; his seven hits and three earned runs represent mistakes the River Bandits jumped on. For helping win the game, the start was not the best; for showing promise as an overpowering arm, this is an incredible start. Cedar Rapids’ bats were locked out of hits, only securing five of them despite walking more times than they struck out (7 to 5); either their BABIP luck failed to materialize, or their batted balls were not ideal. Maybe they should have mimicked Pat Winkel, as he netted 60% of their total hits. Hunter McMahon and Bobby Milacki cleaned up an impressive 16 strikeout showing from the Kernels’ pitching staff on Wednesday. While Povich shouldered much of that effort, Milacki’s four strikeouts over two innings are also impressive. Despite only knocking in five hits, every batter in the Kernels lineup reached base; this was a deeply weird ballgame. The number 9 hitter (Jake Rucker) picked up three RBIs. Mussel Matters Rain washed away Fort Myers’ match against the Tampa Tarpons; the teams will play double-headers on the 7th. (Also in Ft. Myers, there were no games in the FCL on Wednesday) Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 6, DSL Cardinals 5 Box Score Ledwin Taveras: 5 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K HR: Jose Rodriguez (5), Rafael Cruz (2) Multi-hit games: Rafael Cruz (2-for-4, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI), Jesus Peraza (2-for-2, 2 RBI, BB) The DSL Twins won a game in which they committed six errors; you don’t see that every day. DSL games are notorious for being sloppy, but that error total is one of the higher totals you’ll ever see outside of tee-ball or drop-dead-drunk beer league softball. Ledwin Taveras led the way with solid innings of work, and his relievers—Oscar Paredes and Anthony Narvaez—combined for four frames without an earned run. The DSL Twins’ offensive output was even, with every batter in their starting lineup reaching base. Rafael Cruz stood out from the group, hitting both a homer and a double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cade Povich, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Rafael Cruz, DSL Twins PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-4, R, BB, K #10 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K #11 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-4, R, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-5, 3 K #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (6:05 PM) - RHP Jordan Balazovic Amarillo @ Wichita (7:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - RHP David Festa Fort Myers @ Tampa (3:00 PM) - LHP Jaylen Nowlin Fort Myers @ Tampa (Game 2) - RHP Malik Barrington View full article
  23. TRANSACTIONS INF Christian Encarnacion-Strand Re-Instated from IL RHP Ryan Shreve was activated from IL at Cedar Rapids. LHP Aaron Rozek was activated from IL at Cedar Rapids. INF Austin Martin was placed on Wichita IL (left elbow) C Frank Nigro added to AA Wichita from AAA St. Paul Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 6 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K HR: Jake Cave (11) Multi-hit games: Tim Beckham (2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI) The Saints lost a messy game on Wednesday. The match started quietly; after 4 innings, the Saints held a 2-1 lead after Tim Beckham doubled home two runs to inflate rehabbing-big leaguer Justin Dunn’s ERA. Cole Sands was surgical in the early innings, cutting up and down the Bats’ lineup at will before his reign crumbled in the 5th inning. A barrage of doubles mixed with a single from technically old friend Taylor Motter shot Louisville’s run total up to four; Sands suddenly had a loss on his hands. The Saints stormed back. After the Bats tacked on another run in the 6th inning, Jake Cave Did the Darn Thing, swinging at a 3-0 pitch and blasting a Grand Slam to left field to give St. Paul a slight 6-5 edge. His on-base streak is now 48 games. Louisville did not acquiesce to the sudden deficit; a Stuart Fairchild homer knotted the game at 6. The game moved into extra innings, where the Bats won off of what appears to be a double fielding error from Michael Helman. St. Paul’s bats must have been smaller than usual; they struck out 17 times total, with five players facing the K multiple times. Let’s hope that Thursday is a more blessed day. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Amarillo 4 Box Score Louie Varland: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5), Andrew Bechtold (3-for-4, 2B, RBI) Louie Varland gritted out six effective innings in his start. The antiquated “quality start” deems an outing like his worthy of its title, so Varland will take that and run. The damage could have been less severe; two of his runs came from a 6th inning homer, indicating a “careful, Icarus” moment, to steal a term from another baseball site. Wichita’s bats were up to the task on Wednesday, but poor coordination resulted in just two runs off of 12 hits. In all but three innings, the Wind Surge had a man on base, and they often had multiple players ready to score on a moment’s notice, but they could only plate runs in the 1st and 3rd innings. Perhaps better luck would have altered this game in their favor; Wichita left 18 men stranded. Cody Laweryson continued his AA shutout streak, allowing one hit over two innings while striking out a pair. Jordan Gore struck out two in his single inning of work. Matt Wallner threw another baserunner out on Wednesday. Since minor league fielding stats are basically impossible to find, let’s say it was his 50th gunned down runner of the year; that’s how history works. (Editor/Seth Note: I don't want to mess with history, or a fun narrative, but it is Wallner's 8th assist of the season.) Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 3, Quad Cities 5 Box Score Cade Povich: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Pat Winkel (3-for-4) The Kernels lost an atypical game on Wednesday. Cade Povich submitted his attempt at one of the weirder pitching lines you’ll see. His 11 strikeouts reflect domination, a complete ability to miss bats at an elite level; his seven hits and three earned runs represent mistakes the River Bandits jumped on. For helping win the game, the start was not the best; for showing promise as an overpowering arm, this is an incredible start. Cedar Rapids’ bats were locked out of hits, only securing five of them despite walking more times than they struck out (7 to 5); either their BABIP luck failed to materialize, or their batted balls were not ideal. Maybe they should have mimicked Pat Winkel, as he netted 60% of their total hits. Hunter McMahon and Bobby Milacki cleaned up an impressive 16 strikeout showing from the Kernels’ pitching staff on Wednesday. While Povich shouldered much of that effort, Milacki’s four strikeouts over two innings are also impressive. Despite only knocking in five hits, every batter in the Kernels lineup reached base; this was a deeply weird ballgame. The number 9 hitter (Jake Rucker) picked up three RBIs. Mussel Matters Rain washed away Fort Myers’ match against the Tampa Tarpons; the teams will play double-headers on the 7th. (Also in Ft. Myers, there were no games in the FCL on Wednesday) Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 6, DSL Cardinals 5 Box Score Ledwin Taveras: 5 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K HR: Jose Rodriguez (5), Rafael Cruz (2) Multi-hit games: Rafael Cruz (2-for-4, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI), Jesus Peraza (2-for-2, 2 RBI, BB) The DSL Twins won a game in which they committed six errors; you don’t see that every day. DSL games are notorious for being sloppy, but that error total is one of the higher totals you’ll ever see outside of tee-ball or drop-dead-drunk beer league softball. Ledwin Taveras led the way with solid innings of work, and his relievers—Oscar Paredes and Anthony Narvaez—combined for four frames without an earned run. The DSL Twins’ offensive output was even, with every batter in their starting lineup reaching base. Rafael Cruz stood out from the group, hitting both a homer and a double. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cade Povich, Cedar Rapids Kernels Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Rafael Cruz, DSL Twins PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-4, R, BB, K #10 - Cade Povich (Cedar Rapids) - 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 11 K #11 - Louie Varland (Wichita) - 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K #12 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-4, R, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-5, 3 K #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (6:05 PM) - RHP Jordan Balazovic Amarillo @ Wichita (7:05 PM) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - RHP David Festa Fort Myers @ Tampa (3:00 PM) - LHP Jaylen Nowlin Fort Myers @ Tampa (Game 2) - RHP Malik Barrington
  24. The stats are out there, the Twins bullpen is one of the worst in all of baseball as some of the worst teams in the league have lucked into better units for the back end of games. The waiver claims such as Tyler Thornburg and Jharel Cotton continue to churn with several similar tier pitchers waiting in Triple-A. Instead of continuing this seemingly endless attempt to get any kind of value out of these types of pitchers, it’s time the Twins try something new. With several younger arms in St. Paul’s rotation, it may be time to switch them over to the bullpen to help a big league club that has no help on the way for another month. Josh Winder Winder has become one of the Twins' better starting pitching prospects these last couple of years and was fantastic in his first start off of the IL in the doubleheader against Cleveland. His long-term outlook still looks very much like a middle-of-the-rotation starter. The Twins don’t need that right now. Winder began the season in the bullpen as a long reliever, something the Twins could definitely use. They could keep him in that role, or perhaps shortening his outings could help him limit his innings after his recent trip to the IL for shoulder issues for the second year in a row. Winder’s 96 mph fastball we’ve seen occasionally in starts may play up to 97-98 in the pen, and paired with his slider and changeup, Winder could become a major weapon in a bullpen that desperately needs it. The Twins can always stretch him back out next season and return him to a starters role assuming they don’t take the same route they did with this year’s bullpen. Cole Sands Sands is seen as more of a fringy starting pitching prospect but has been pretty good in St. Paul recently. The righty has thrown 14 innings since he was demoted allowing only two runs and striking out 16 batters. While it would be nice to keep him as starting pitching depth for this year, perhaps it’s Winder who fills that role and Sands who makes the bullpen transition. Sands has one pitch that could be an absolute weapon in a bullpen role in his 70-grade curveball. Pitches that grade out that high are the ones you can bump up to throwing over half the time in shorter stints and become absolutely dominant. While he only throws 92, it’d be safe to bet on seeing more 94s which doesn’t sound like much but would pair very well with a legitimate breaking ball. He’s also only halfway to his 2021 innings total and doesn’t have any injury concerns, making him a candidate to play an early-season Griffin Jax role pitching multiple innings when the team needs it. Ronny Henriquez Acquired in the Mitch Garver trade, the Twins were aggressive with Henriquez, sticking him in AAA as a 22-year-old and keeping him in the rotation despite many scouts believing he was a future reliever. To be quite honest, it’s hard to say why he’s still a starter at this point. The 5’10 right hander (who’s reportedly shorter than listed) has a near 7 ERA in 44 innings in the Saints rotation. Henriquez has everything you’d want in a reliever, as his fastball has a very high spin and can already touch 98 mph. He has two usable secondary offerings in the slider and changeup which both can be plus pitches at times. Even as a starter he’s typically been around 10 K/9 in his minor league career, making his potential as a reliever easy to dream on. Perhaps it’s unfair to say that the likelihood of Henriquez sticking in the rotation is low, but it’s certainly lower than Winder or Sands. He’s also already on the 40-man roster, which may entice the Twins to switch him to a role that gets them value out of his roster spot sooner rather than later. Perhaps Sands or Winder are able to come up in the next few days and fill a bulk role, but Henriquez may be the favorite to make the transition and just become a traditional dominant reliever for the rest of his career. The Twins have a massive mess on their hands in a bullpen that’s solely responsible for a 10-game swing in the AL Central. In addition to relievers just not being effective, the coaching staff is also failing to effectively manage a 13-man pitching staff as we saw Thursday when they had to try to close out a win with Tyler Thornburg because there were no other options. Not only could one of these minor league starters add quality to one of baseball’s worst late-game units, but having already been stretched out they can make that 13-man pitching staff feel more like 14 by being able to provide bulk innings. One thing is for certain, if they’re going to wait until the deadline to add, they need to start preparing these arms to be relievers immediately. We’ve tried the reclamation waiver wire route, and it’s safe to say that continuing down this road could take the Twins out of the running before it comes time to add at the deadline. For a front office that talks so much about a pitching pipeline and relied so heavily on it this season, it’s time to take a leap and turn to the youth movement. What we’re doing right now simply isn’t working.
  25. The Twins bullpen is unforgivably bad, and it’s cost them dearly over the past week. As the starting rotation has mostly held up recently, it’s time to hit the panic button and start evaluating some of the starting depth in AAA for a bullpen role. The stats are out there, the Twins bullpen is one of the worst in all of baseball as some of the worst teams in the league have lucked into better units for the back end of games. The waiver claims such as Tyler Thornburg and Jharel Cotton continue to churn with several similar tier pitchers waiting in Triple-A. Instead of continuing this seemingly endless attempt to get any kind of value out of these types of pitchers, it’s time the Twins try something new. With several younger arms in St. Paul’s rotation, it may be time to switch them over to the bullpen to help a big league club that has no help on the way for another month. Josh Winder Winder has become one of the Twins' better starting pitching prospects these last couple of years and was fantastic in his first start off of the IL in the doubleheader against Cleveland. His long-term outlook still looks very much like a middle-of-the-rotation starter. The Twins don’t need that right now. Winder began the season in the bullpen as a long reliever, something the Twins could definitely use. They could keep him in that role, or perhaps shortening his outings could help him limit his innings after his recent trip to the IL for shoulder issues for the second year in a row. Winder’s 96 mph fastball we’ve seen occasionally in starts may play up to 97-98 in the pen, and paired with his slider and changeup, Winder could become a major weapon in a bullpen that desperately needs it. The Twins can always stretch him back out next season and return him to a starters role assuming they don’t take the same route they did with this year’s bullpen. Cole Sands Sands is seen as more of a fringy starting pitching prospect but has been pretty good in St. Paul recently. The righty has thrown 14 innings since he was demoted allowing only two runs and striking out 16 batters. While it would be nice to keep him as starting pitching depth for this year, perhaps it’s Winder who fills that role and Sands who makes the bullpen transition. Sands has one pitch that could be an absolute weapon in a bullpen role in his 70-grade curveball. Pitches that grade out that high are the ones you can bump up to throwing over half the time in shorter stints and become absolutely dominant. While he only throws 92, it’d be safe to bet on seeing more 94s which doesn’t sound like much but would pair very well with a legitimate breaking ball. He’s also only halfway to his 2021 innings total and doesn’t have any injury concerns, making him a candidate to play an early-season Griffin Jax role pitching multiple innings when the team needs it. Ronny Henriquez Acquired in the Mitch Garver trade, the Twins were aggressive with Henriquez, sticking him in AAA as a 22-year-old and keeping him in the rotation despite many scouts believing he was a future reliever. To be quite honest, it’s hard to say why he’s still a starter at this point. The 5’10 right hander (who’s reportedly shorter than listed) has a near 7 ERA in 44 innings in the Saints rotation. Henriquez has everything you’d want in a reliever, as his fastball has a very high spin and can already touch 98 mph. He has two usable secondary offerings in the slider and changeup which both can be plus pitches at times. Even as a starter he’s typically been around 10 K/9 in his minor league career, making his potential as a reliever easy to dream on. Perhaps it’s unfair to say that the likelihood of Henriquez sticking in the rotation is low, but it’s certainly lower than Winder or Sands. He’s also already on the 40-man roster, which may entice the Twins to switch him to a role that gets them value out of his roster spot sooner rather than later. Perhaps Sands or Winder are able to come up in the next few days and fill a bulk role, but Henriquez may be the favorite to make the transition and just become a traditional dominant reliever for the rest of his career. The Twins have a massive mess on their hands in a bullpen that’s solely responsible for a 10-game swing in the AL Central. In addition to relievers just not being effective, the coaching staff is also failing to effectively manage a 13-man pitching staff as we saw Thursday when they had to try to close out a win with Tyler Thornburg because there were no other options. Not only could one of these minor league starters add quality to one of baseball’s worst late-game units, but having already been stretched out they can make that 13-man pitching staff feel more like 14 by being able to provide bulk innings. One thing is for certain, if they’re going to wait until the deadline to add, they need to start preparing these arms to be relievers immediately. We’ve tried the reclamation waiver wire route, and it’s safe to say that continuing down this road could take the Twins out of the running before it comes time to add at the deadline. For a front office that talks so much about a pitching pipeline and relied so heavily on it this season, it’s time to take a leap and turn to the youth movement. What we’re doing right now simply isn’t working. View full article
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