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  1. Looking at Minnesota's current pitching staff, many things are going to have to go right for the team to be competitive in 2022. Here are three names that point to bouncing back next season. Two of the names below struggled mightily last season, and the other pitcher missed multiple seasons throughout his career. All three have something to prove in 2022, which can be exciting for a team like the Twins that need big-league pitching depth. Dylan Bundy Bundy was Minnesota's lone free-agent signing before the lockout, but there might be some reasons to hope he can bounce back in 2022. Bundy surprised many during the pandemic shortened 2020 season with a resurgent year, including finishing in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young. He posted a 3.29 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. It looked like Bundy was finally reaching the ceiling many thought he had as one of baseball's top prospects. Last season, Bundy couldn't replicate his 2020 numbers, and that's one of the main reasons the Twins were able to sign him for such a relatively cheap contract. One of Bundy's most prominent issues in 2021 was his inability to strand runners. Bundy has a 70.8 LOB% for his career, but last season that number dipped to 64.0%. Another change last season was he doubled his sinker usage, and batters posted a .609 SLG against it. Minnesota likely pushes Bundy to throw more sliders and batters combined for a .494 SLG versus that pitch in 2021. Randy Dobnak Dobnak's name will be featured on multiple bounce back lists this winter because he can't be as bad as he was in 2021. Last season, Dobnak was pushed out of the rotation coming out of spring training, but it was clear that he wasn't a reliever. In 14 big-league appearances, he allowed 43 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings. At Triple-A, he made four starts and posted a 3.00 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP. A finger injury caused him issues throughout the season, and he was eventually put on the 60-day IL. His terrible, no good, very bad season came to an end, so things can't go much worse for him in 2022. Minnesota doesn't need Dobnak to be a frontline starter, but he needs to fit into the backend of the rotation. Last season, his slider got plenty of hype during spring training as he looked like a whole new pitcher. Then during the season, his slider was his worst pitch as batters posted an .815 SLG against it. Dobnak needs to prove he is healthy, and then he can be relied on to be more than rotational depth. Fans are understandably low on him, but a healthy Dobnak will be a welcome addition to the team's rotation next year. Jharel Cotton Minnesota claimed Cotton off of waivers from Texas this winter, and he certainly offers some intrigue for a pitcher-hungry team. Previously, Cotton was a top-100 prospect in the Oakland organization, and they gave him opportunities to stick as a starter. Last season, he pitched in the big leagues for the first time since 2017 and compiled a 3.52 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP. All his appearances came as a reliever in 2021, but some believe he might provide some valuable innings for the Twins in 2022. One of the reasons for this optimism is the amount of spin Cotton has added to his fastball. According to FanGraphs, his fastball had the second-highest amount of vertical movement in baseball last year among pitchers with at least 30 innings. He also utilizes a changeup with a lot of movement that is more than 10-mph slower than his fastball. By adding in his average slider and it's easy to see how he might fit into the rotation when needed next season. Minnesota will have starting opportunities, and Cotton has a chance to prove he can be more than a reliever. Which pitcher is most likely to bounce back? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Two of the names below struggled mightily last season, and the other pitcher missed multiple seasons throughout his career. All three have something to prove in 2022, which can be exciting for a team like the Twins that need big-league pitching depth. Dylan Bundy Bundy was Minnesota's lone free-agent signing before the lockout, but there might be some reasons to hope he can bounce back in 2022. Bundy surprised many during the pandemic shortened 2020 season with a resurgent year, including finishing in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young. He posted a 3.29 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. It looked like Bundy was finally reaching the ceiling many thought he had as one of baseball's top prospects. Last season, Bundy couldn't replicate his 2020 numbers, and that's one of the main reasons the Twins were able to sign him for such a relatively cheap contract. One of Bundy's most prominent issues in 2021 was his inability to strand runners. Bundy has a 70.8 LOB% for his career, but last season that number dipped to 64.0%. Another change last season was he doubled his sinker usage, and batters posted a .609 SLG against it. Minnesota likely pushes Bundy to throw more sliders and batters combined for a .494 SLG versus that pitch in 2021. Randy Dobnak Dobnak's name will be featured on multiple bounce back lists this winter because he can't be as bad as he was in 2021. Last season, Dobnak was pushed out of the rotation coming out of spring training, but it was clear that he wasn't a reliever. In 14 big-league appearances, he allowed 43 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings. At Triple-A, he made four starts and posted a 3.00 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP. A finger injury caused him issues throughout the season, and he was eventually put on the 60-day IL. His terrible, no good, very bad season came to an end, so things can't go much worse for him in 2022. Minnesota doesn't need Dobnak to be a frontline starter, but he needs to fit into the backend of the rotation. Last season, his slider got plenty of hype during spring training as he looked like a whole new pitcher. Then during the season, his slider was his worst pitch as batters posted an .815 SLG against it. Dobnak needs to prove he is healthy, and then he can be relied on to be more than rotational depth. Fans are understandably low on him, but a healthy Dobnak will be a welcome addition to the team's rotation next year. Jharel Cotton Minnesota claimed Cotton off of waivers from Texas this winter, and he certainly offers some intrigue for a pitcher-hungry team. Previously, Cotton was a top-100 prospect in the Oakland organization, and they gave him opportunities to stick as a starter. Last season, he pitched in the big leagues for the first time since 2017 and compiled a 3.52 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP. All his appearances came as a reliever in 2021, but some believe he might provide some valuable innings for the Twins in 2022. One of the reasons for this optimism is the amount of spin Cotton has added to his fastball. According to FanGraphs, his fastball had the second-highest amount of vertical movement in baseball last year among pitchers with at least 30 innings. He also utilizes a changeup with a lot of movement that is more than 10-mph slower than his fastball. By adding in his average slider and it's easy to see how he might fit into the rotation when needed next season. Minnesota will have starting opportunities, and Cotton has a chance to prove he can be more than a reliever. Which pitcher is most likely to bounce back? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. The Twins front office missed an opportunity to tap into a market with significant value prior to the lockout. What was their biggest mistake this offseason? It’s a commonly held maxim that 40 fWAR gives you a pretty consistent opportunity for October baseball. It’s a pretty basic tenet of roster construction. Throughout the Falvey era, the Twins have shown an impressive level of flexibility in ‘how’ they go about trying to construct a 40 fWAR roster. In 2021, there was an increased emphasis on defense, highlighted by the addition of Andrelton Simmons as their starting shortstop. Ultimately, none of that mattered, as everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in 2021. In considering roster construction through the lens of assembling a 40 fWAR team, Minnesota has come up woefully short in a critical area so far this offseason. Before we dig into that. Let’s look at some data from 2021, and projections for 2022. For the sake of this argument, I’ll use fWAR actual totals from 2021 and ZiPS projections for 2022, acknowledging that projections are problematic and often difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from. With those caveats in mind, however, there are some meaningful conclusions to draw from these data: The scale of the 2021 Twins failure was pretty magnificent. Given that they haven’t made significant roster additions, there’s essentially a gap of 10 fWAR between their 2021 projection and actual performance, that’s staggering. A 2022 Minnesota Twins offense that is close to its projection has the team in contention pretty much by itself. The Twins’ success will live or die with its excellent offensive core. The Twins are not as far as it may feel from a team that can challenge for an AL Central crown in 2022. It’s equally obvious where the flaws are. The Twins bullpen was horrendous in the first half of 2021, evidenced by a higher projection with the same fungible relievers in 2022. There’s room for improvement there, but only so much from the bullpen. The Twins’ biggest mistake this offseason was not tapping into the mid-tier starting pitching free agent market, to raise the floor or the rotation. Looking at the Twins’ primary competition in the AL Central tells an interesting tale. The White Sox are as reliant on their rotation as the Twins are on their offense. Their rotation is projected over 14 fWAR in 2022. The up-and-coming Tigers, project 9.7 fWAR from their rotation. A similar mark for the Twins would put them just under a projected 40 fWAR for the 2022 season. Where did the Tigers get this boost to jump their rotation to 10 fWAR? Signing Eduardo Rodriguez. The Twins 2022 rotation is inherently unstable. Dylan Bundy is returning from an incredibly poor 2021, Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober had hugely promising debut’s, but their 2022 outcomes are less stable and predictable than say, a Casey Mize or Tarik Skubal, simply due to their small sample sizes in 2021. Why did the Twins front office not aggressively pursue at least one stabilizing starting arm who lives in the 2.0-3.0 fWAR range to stabilize the rotation? A Blueprint for Success Let’s use the San Francisco Giants as a point of comparison. Upon initial consideration, comparing the Twins to a 107 win team may seem unfair, but I beg to differ. In 2020, the Giants were a sub .500 team in a shortened season, finishing at 29-31. This improvement mirrors (betters) the Twins improvement from 2018 (78-84), to 2019 (101-61). The Giants re-upped with three of their starters from 2021. They signed Alex Wood to a two-year, $25 million contract, Alex Cobb to a two-year, $20 million contract, and Anthony De Sclafani to a three-year $36 million contract. These three pitchers combined for 8.0 fWAR in 2021 and project for 7.8 fWAR in 2022. They average, together, $11.5 million per year when considering their contracts cumulatively. Each of these pitchers is likely to accumulate around $16-20 million in value based on their projections for 2022. There is value to be had in the mid-tier starting pitching market, which the Twins chose to ignore. Even signing one pitcher of this profile takes the teams’ projection to just under 39 fWAR in 2022 and does not inhibit your financial flexibility (they’re not spending big on a shortstop anyway, folks). The Twins front office has built a team that relies on offense and is pre-disposed to take advantage of the value in the mid-tier pitching market. Minnesota is not signing the front of the rotation starting pitchers and has not shown aggression in pursuing pitching upgrades on the trade market. While the lockout has frozen out any additional roster construction since the beginning of December, I’m no closer to understanding their roster construction strategy for pitching, a confounding frustration that may come back to haunt the 2022 Twins. View full article
  4. It’s a commonly held maxim that 40 fWAR gives you a pretty consistent opportunity for October baseball. It’s a pretty basic tenet of roster construction. Throughout the Falvey era, the Twins have shown an impressive level of flexibility in ‘how’ they go about trying to construct a 40 fWAR roster. In 2021, there was an increased emphasis on defense, highlighted by the addition of Andrelton Simmons as their starting shortstop. Ultimately, none of that mattered, as everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in 2021. In considering roster construction through the lens of assembling a 40 fWAR team, Minnesota has come up woefully short in a critical area so far this offseason. Before we dig into that. Let’s look at some data from 2021, and projections for 2022. For the sake of this argument, I’ll use fWAR actual totals from 2021 and ZiPS projections for 2022, acknowledging that projections are problematic and often difficult to draw meaningful conclusions from. With those caveats in mind, however, there are some meaningful conclusions to draw from these data: The scale of the 2021 Twins failure was pretty magnificent. Given that they haven’t made significant roster additions, there’s essentially a gap of 10 fWAR between their 2021 projection and actual performance, that’s staggering. A 2022 Minnesota Twins offense that is close to its projection has the team in contention pretty much by itself. The Twins’ success will live or die with its excellent offensive core. The Twins are not as far as it may feel from a team that can challenge for an AL Central crown in 2022. It’s equally obvious where the flaws are. The Twins bullpen was horrendous in the first half of 2021, evidenced by a higher projection with the same fungible relievers in 2022. There’s room for improvement there, but only so much from the bullpen. The Twins’ biggest mistake this offseason was not tapping into the mid-tier starting pitching free agent market, to raise the floor or the rotation. Looking at the Twins’ primary competition in the AL Central tells an interesting tale. The White Sox are as reliant on their rotation as the Twins are on their offense. Their rotation is projected over 14 fWAR in 2022. The up-and-coming Tigers, project 9.7 fWAR from their rotation. A similar mark for the Twins would put them just under a projected 40 fWAR for the 2022 season. Where did the Tigers get this boost to jump their rotation to 10 fWAR? Signing Eduardo Rodriguez. The Twins 2022 rotation is inherently unstable. Dylan Bundy is returning from an incredibly poor 2021, Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober had hugely promising debut’s, but their 2022 outcomes are less stable and predictable than say, a Casey Mize or Tarik Skubal, simply due to their small sample sizes in 2021. Why did the Twins front office not aggressively pursue at least one stabilizing starting arm who lives in the 2.0-3.0 fWAR range to stabilize the rotation? A Blueprint for Success Let’s use the San Francisco Giants as a point of comparison. Upon initial consideration, comparing the Twins to a 107 win team may seem unfair, but I beg to differ. In 2020, the Giants were a sub .500 team in a shortened season, finishing at 29-31. This improvement mirrors (betters) the Twins improvement from 2018 (78-84), to 2019 (101-61). The Giants re-upped with three of their starters from 2021. They signed Alex Wood to a two-year, $25 million contract, Alex Cobb to a two-year, $20 million contract, and Anthony De Sclafani to a three-year $36 million contract. These three pitchers combined for 8.0 fWAR in 2021 and project for 7.8 fWAR in 2022. They average, together, $11.5 million per year when considering their contracts cumulatively. Each of these pitchers is likely to accumulate around $16-20 million in value based on their projections for 2022. There is value to be had in the mid-tier starting pitching market, which the Twins chose to ignore. Even signing one pitcher of this profile takes the teams’ projection to just under 39 fWAR in 2022 and does not inhibit your financial flexibility (they’re not spending big on a shortstop anyway, folks). The Twins front office has built a team that relies on offense and is pre-disposed to take advantage of the value in the mid-tier pitching market. Minnesota is not signing the front of the rotation starting pitchers and has not shown aggression in pursuing pitching upgrades on the trade market. While the lockout has frozen out any additional roster construction since the beginning of December, I’m no closer to understanding their roster construction strategy for pitching, a confounding frustration that may come back to haunt the 2022 Twins.
  5. In the final week of 2021, it’s time to turn the page. Derek Falvey fell short. Rocco Baldelli fell short. The Minnesota Twins fell short. To set for better outcomes in the year ahead, we can look internally at opportunities for improvement. There’s no better place to start than on the mound. The Minnesota Twins pitching staff was 24th in baseball when combining all arms, and the starters alone were a spot lower at 25th. There’s no denying that the group needs to be much better, and right now, the group is made up of three arms. There’s more depth behind them, and there’s a man in charge that once led a strong rotation. That’s where much of this focus should come. Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober These two need to establish that they are solid major-league starters. They looked the part a year ago, and continuing that growth in 2022 is a must. Ryan made just a handful of starts but held his own, even looking dominant at times. Ober saw teams multiple times and was able to make adjustments. When looking at the farm last winter, both would have been unexpected contributors, and that’s the kind of breakouts any organization loves to have. Dylan Bundy Proving he’s not 2021 bad would be a great start. The former top prospect is not the 3.29 ERA he posted in 2020, but he’s also not the 6.06 ERA he had a season ago. For what Minnesota paid him, and where the Twins need him in the rotation, Bundy being a low 4.00 ERA guy is a must. The strikeouts need to move back up over one per inning and allowing two longballs per nine can’t continue to be a thing. There’s a solid pitcher here and maybe a very good one in terms of a mid-rotation arm. Find that. Wes Johnson Back to the overall numbers of this starting staff. Johnson coached his group last season to the fifth-worst finish in baseball. In 2020, the Twins staff was the third-best. In 2019, the rotation came in fourth. Johnson has shown an ability to work with pitchers and get the most out of them. Michael Pineda became arguably the best version of himself, Kenta Maeda took steps forward, and something was made out of nothing in a couple of situations. Johnson is seen as a velocity savant but can impact much more than that. Minnesota may have the least talented group they’ve had during his tenure when 2022 starts, but Wes getting more out of each of them remains a must. Randy Dobnak You don’t make it to the majors by mistake, and you certainly don’t start a Postseason game by luck. Dobnak’s 7.64 ERA last season was as much his ineffectiveness as it was Minnesota’s indecisiveness. Having worked entirely as a starter during 2020, Dobnak was used as one in less than half his appearances a year ago. The talk of velocity boosts and missed bats in Spring Training was never present, and I’d imagine his confidence was consistently shaken with no set role. Work him back as a starter, implore him to get the job done, and utilize him the same way that bore fruit previously. Stay tuned for the next installment, where the bullpen comes under fire. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. The Minnesota Twins pitching staff was 24th in baseball when combining all arms, and the starters alone were a spot lower at 25th. There’s no denying that the group needs to be much better, and right now, the group is made up of three arms. There’s more depth behind them, and there’s a man in charge that once led a strong rotation. That’s where much of this focus should come. Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober These two need to establish that they are solid major-league starters. They looked the part a year ago, and continuing that growth in 2022 is a must. Ryan made just a handful of starts but held his own, even looking dominant at times. Ober saw teams multiple times and was able to make adjustments. When looking at the farm last winter, both would have been unexpected contributors, and that’s the kind of breakouts any organization loves to have. Dylan Bundy Proving he’s not 2021 bad would be a great start. The former top prospect is not the 3.29 ERA he posted in 2020, but he’s also not the 6.06 ERA he had a season ago. For what Minnesota paid him, and where the Twins need him in the rotation, Bundy being a low 4.00 ERA guy is a must. The strikeouts need to move back up over one per inning and allowing two longballs per nine can’t continue to be a thing. There’s a solid pitcher here and maybe a very good one in terms of a mid-rotation arm. Find that. Wes Johnson Back to the overall numbers of this starting staff. Johnson coached his group last season to the fifth-worst finish in baseball. In 2020, the Twins staff was the third-best. In 2019, the rotation came in fourth. Johnson has shown an ability to work with pitchers and get the most out of them. Michael Pineda became arguably the best version of himself, Kenta Maeda took steps forward, and something was made out of nothing in a couple of situations. Johnson is seen as a velocity savant but can impact much more than that. Minnesota may have the least talented group they’ve had during his tenure when 2022 starts, but Wes getting more out of each of them remains a must. Randy Dobnak You don’t make it to the majors by mistake, and you certainly don’t start a Postseason game by luck. Dobnak’s 7.64 ERA last season was as much his ineffectiveness as it was Minnesota’s indecisiveness. Having worked entirely as a starter during 2020, Dobnak was used as one in less than half his appearances a year ago. The talk of velocity boosts and missed bats in Spring Training was never present, and I’d imagine his confidence was consistently shaken with no set role. Work him back as a starter, implore him to get the job done, and utilize him the same way that bore fruit previously. Stay tuned for the next installment, where the bullpen comes under fire. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Right now, the Minnesota Twins have failed to do much of anything on the free-agent market. Despite the feeding frenzy leading up to the lockout, the only player they brought in was pitcher Dylan Bundy. It’s now slim pickings out there, but there’s one guy they have no excuse not to sign. There’s no denying that Derek Falvey has a ton of work to do when filling out Rocco Baldelli’s pitching staff. Jose Berrios has been traded. Kenta Maeda is on the shelf. Michael Pineda is gone. Bundy joins holdovers Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan as the only arms currently penciled into the big league rotation. Minnesota needs someone to own the designation of staff ace. The Twins also currently have a projected payroll of just $91 million. Put those two realities together, and you get an equation that results in needing to spend something like $40 million and find a top-tier arm. Come on down Carlos Rodon. The former Chicago White Sox lefty has been through quite the past few seasons. After pitching just seven and ⅔ innings in 2020, the White Sox non-tendered their former third overall pick. His season-best innings total came way back in 2016 when he threw 165. Often injured, Rodon has thrown just an average of 58 innings per season from 2017-2020. Then came 2021, and Rodon responded by putting up a breakout campaign. Named to his first All-Star Game, Rodon also finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. His 2.37 ERA was bolstered by a 2.65 FIP and a 0.957 WHIP. Dropping a full walk per nine off his career average and jumping his strikeouts per nine by more than three, it was every bit the dominant performance you’d hope to see. Rodon got there by allowing the lowest hard-hit rate of his career and gave up his second-lowest home run rate. Looking through his peripherals, there’s plenty to be excited about as well. Rodon generated a career-best 34% chase rate and another career-best 14.9% whiff rate. He’d never generated a CSW% (called and swinging strikes) better than 29.3% until he hit 30.3% last season. Those realities coincide with a velocity boost that Rodon saw an average fastball sitting at 95.4 mph, nearly a mile and a half bump on his career average. That’s where things also get sticky for Rodon. Dealing with a shoulder injury defined simply as “fatigue” in August, his velocities saw a decline down the stretch. Following a return from the IL, Rodon worked five games for Chicago, going 23 total innings, or an average of roughly four and ⅔ per start. The results were promising in that he posted a 2.35 ERA and held opposing batters to a .536 OPS with a 25/6 K/BB. An average fastball velocity that sat at 96-97 mph from June 8 through July 18 got back above 95 mph just once the rest of the way and averaged just 93.3 mph once he returned from the Injured List. Therein lies the rub and why Rodon is both available and a perfect fit for the Twins. This front office has avoided being locked into long-term pacts, especially with pitchers. They wanted no part of a seven-year deal with Jose Berrios, and even Kevin Gausman’s five-year contract may have been too much. There’s no denying they should’ve been a big player for Marcus Stroman on a three-year deal, but this is a spot to right that. Because Rodon has been hurt and Minnesota likes to keep risk relatively low, the two should be made for each other. Rather than getting the $20+ million annually or five-year deal Rodon may have earned in a normal situation, he likely should be available for something around $30 million on a two-year deal. The contention has remained that if the Twins want to avoid the market trends of length, they must be willing to spend above value on shorter-term opportunities. This is a perfect spot for Minnesota to strike, whether a one or two-year deal. Rodon gives the club an ace, and if the injuries persist, there’s no real setback with the short agreement. We won’t know how things work out for Rodon or Minnesota until the lockout is lifted. The landscape could change for players and ownership going forward, but it’s hard to see these two sides fitting any less perfect than they appear at this moment. Leaving just one option on the table gives Derek Falvey little room for error, but this is a situation where he needs to put his best foot forward and not miss. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. There’s no denying that Derek Falvey has a ton of work to do when filling out Rocco Baldelli’s pitching staff. Jose Berrios has been traded. Kenta Maeda is on the shelf. Michael Pineda is gone. Bundy joins holdovers Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan as the only arms currently penciled into the big league rotation. Minnesota needs someone to own the designation of staff ace. The Twins also currently have a projected payroll of just $91 million. Put those two realities together, and you get an equation that results in needing to spend something like $40 million and find a top-tier arm. Come on down Carlos Rodon. The former Chicago White Sox lefty has been through quite the past few seasons. After pitching just seven and ⅔ innings in 2020, the White Sox non-tendered their former third overall pick. His season-best innings total came way back in 2016 when he threw 165. Often injured, Rodon has thrown just an average of 58 innings per season from 2017-2020. Then came 2021, and Rodon responded by putting up a breakout campaign. Named to his first All-Star Game, Rodon also finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. His 2.37 ERA was bolstered by a 2.65 FIP and a 0.957 WHIP. Dropping a full walk per nine off his career average and jumping his strikeouts per nine by more than three, it was every bit the dominant performance you’d hope to see. Rodon got there by allowing the lowest hard-hit rate of his career and gave up his second-lowest home run rate. Looking through his peripherals, there’s plenty to be excited about as well. Rodon generated a career-best 34% chase rate and another career-best 14.9% whiff rate. He’d never generated a CSW% (called and swinging strikes) better than 29.3% until he hit 30.3% last season. Those realities coincide with a velocity boost that Rodon saw an average fastball sitting at 95.4 mph, nearly a mile and a half bump on his career average. That’s where things also get sticky for Rodon. Dealing with a shoulder injury defined simply as “fatigue” in August, his velocities saw a decline down the stretch. Following a return from the IL, Rodon worked five games for Chicago, going 23 total innings, or an average of roughly four and ⅔ per start. The results were promising in that he posted a 2.35 ERA and held opposing batters to a .536 OPS with a 25/6 K/BB. An average fastball velocity that sat at 96-97 mph from June 8 through July 18 got back above 95 mph just once the rest of the way and averaged just 93.3 mph once he returned from the Injured List. Therein lies the rub and why Rodon is both available and a perfect fit for the Twins. This front office has avoided being locked into long-term pacts, especially with pitchers. They wanted no part of a seven-year deal with Jose Berrios, and even Kevin Gausman’s five-year contract may have been too much. There’s no denying they should’ve been a big player for Marcus Stroman on a three-year deal, but this is a spot to right that. Because Rodon has been hurt and Minnesota likes to keep risk relatively low, the two should be made for each other. Rather than getting the $20+ million annually or five-year deal Rodon may have earned in a normal situation, he likely should be available for something around $30 million on a two-year deal. The contention has remained that if the Twins want to avoid the market trends of length, they must be willing to spend above value on shorter-term opportunities. This is a perfect spot for Minnesota to strike, whether a one or two-year deal. Rodon gives the club an ace, and if the injuries persist, there’s no real setback with the short agreement. We won’t know how things work out for Rodon or Minnesota until the lockout is lifted. The landscape could change for players and ownership going forward, but it’s hard to see these two sides fitting any less perfect than they appear at this moment. Leaving just one option on the table gives Derek Falvey little room for error, but this is a situation where he needs to put his best foot forward and not miss. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Right before the final bell on the Major League Baseball offseason rang before Rob Manfred locked out the players, Minnesota got a deal done. The Twins signed former first round pick Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal worth $4 million. No, it’s not cut from the “same ole’ Twins” cloth. Take a quick glance at Bundy’s 2021 numbers and it looks like a scrap heap pickup. He had an ERA north of 6.00 and a FIP that suggests he was equally as bad. The strikeouts dipped, the walks rose, and he gave up two homers for every nine innings he pitched. That’s not good. Now, take another look. In the truncated 2020 season Bundy finished 9th in the American League Cy Young voting. He posted a 3.29 ERA and an even better 2.95 FIP. His 9.9 strikeout rate was a career high, and his 2.3 BB/9 was a career low. At 27 years old he posted the best season of his career. Now, where does the truth lie? Probably somewhere in the middle. Prior to 2020, Bundy owned a 4.69 ERA while striking out just shy of one batter per inning. He gives up a decent number of dingers but has largely put the injuries that plagued him as a prospect behind him. That is, until this season. Bundy threw just 90.2 IP for the Angels in 2021 and was one of the many pitchers that saw dips in spin rate following the sticky substance ban. So, what do we make of all this? Firstly, regarding the sticky substances, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions. Players were forced to adapt on the fly with no warning. This is on top of having a ball that was already being manipulated by the league itself. With more runway this offseason to work through things, we could expect to see a greater ability of adaptation. The hope would be consistency from the implement centered in the game, and we’ll have a greater opportunity for a base level of results. Secondly, regarding the injury issues, it’s fair to wonder what the impact of a shortened 2020 and competitive changes in 2021 had on his body. Baseball players are characters of habit and routine, throwing that off can have substantial ripple effects and I believe we saw that to a larger extent on the minor league side this season. But why isn’t Bundy just another cheap pickup you ask? Look at the upside here. Last season the Twins gave $8 million to a 38-year-old J.A. Happ who was very likely on the tail end of his career. He’d posted sub 4.00 ERA’s but had very little upside and plenty of room to go bottoms up. They gave $2 million to Matt Shoemaker who had been solid when healthy, but rarely was able to stay on the field. Again, that’s a decent amount of chance to count on in the rotation for Opening Day. With Bundy, he has both youth and ceiling on his side while not coming close to breaking the bank. Of course this signing on its own is not worthy of praise should the Twins do nothing else, but if they execute on acquiring two more arms above this ability level, it’s a threesome they can rely on. Last season the starting staff needed top three arms or better. Instead the front office acquired two guys to mop up innings as fourth and fifth placeholders. Should the Twins fail to execute in allocating the funds they could’ve dispersed to Jose Berrios as a rotation centerpiece, then they need to be held accountable for it. Right now though, Bundy represents a solid floor for what can be hoped to be the start of something more (once the lockout ceases, of course). For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  10. The Minnesota Twins signed starting pitcher Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal for $4 million with an $11 million option for 2023 that comes with a $1 million buyout. Here's my reaction to the signing, words from Derek Falvey and some highlights and more info on Bundy.
  11. The Minnesota Twins signed starting pitcher Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal for $4 million with an $11 million option for 2023 that comes with a $1 million buyout. Here's my reaction to the signing, words from Derek Falvey and some highlights and more info on Bundy. View full video
  12. The Twins signed Dylan Bundy hours before the owners forced a lockout. How might the Twins tweak his approach to maximize his ceiling for the 2022 team? The Twins signed Dylan Bundy to a 1-year, $5 million deal on Wednesday night, with a $1 million buyout on an $11 million club option for 2023. The move came just hours before the MLB owners unanimously enforced a lockout of the players. The signing of Bundy shouldn’t alter the fact that the Twins front office receives a ‘doing the bare minimum’ grade in improving the starting rotation thus far in free agency. Frustratingly, we’ll have to wait to see how the story plays out. In Bundy, however, the Twins have signed a solid upside arm they hope will have a Robbie Ray type impact season in 2023. What range of outcomes does Bundy offer? How might the Twins tweak his approach to maximize a high upside play? Let’s dig into the numbers. Conveniently, Bundy has shown his entire range of outcomes in his past two seasons with the Angels. Last season, he was rancid. In 90 2/3 innings he managed a 6.06 ERA (4.83 xERA), a 21.2% K%, and 0.0 fWAR. Woof. Conversely, in the shortened 2020 season over 65 2/3 innings, he managed a 3.29 ERA (3.02 xERA), 27% strikeout%, and 2.0 fWAR, that’s a 6.0 fWAR pace over a full season, phew! To put that all visually, here is 2020 and 2021 next to each other. In incredibly simple terms, a Bundy season splitting the difference of those two outcomes would generate approximately a 2.5 fWAR season which is nothing to be sneezed at and a solid start to what needs to be an extensive overhaul of a non-existent rotation for the Twins before the 2022 season kicks off. So what attracted the Twins to Bundy, and how might they try and tweak his approach next season? Here’s what attracted the Twins to Dylan Bundy. Bundy has a nasty slider. In 2020, he threw it 25% of the time. In 2021, he threw it just 21%. Expect that figure to skyrocket in 2022. It’s by far his best pitch and was worth over four runs in 2021. The Twins will have him throw it 30% of the time or more. It’s notable that Bundy’s slider location was one of the primary reasons he struggled in 2021. In 2020, the heat map has it right in the corner of the strike zone, as opposed to far more centrally located in 2021. Regaining command of that pitch will be critical to his success in 2022. Another reason the Twins were likely attracted to Bundy is his fastball. Long gone are the days when Bundy was a top prospect throwing his fastball in the high-90s. It does, however, have an extremely high spin rate, the Twins’ most obvious fastball-related tendency. Bundy’s formula with the Twins will be fastballs high in the zone a la Jake Odorizzi and a high volume of sliders down and away to right-handed hitters. In my opinion, there’s not much to dislike about the Bundy move. He’s a high upside play who can easily be a solid number three starting pitcher on a great contract. The nagging question which will gnaw at Twins fans throughout the lockout and make it difficult to focus on the positives of the Bundy signing in isolation, was tweeted by John Bonnes yesterday. ‘Do the Twins front office love good contracts more than good players?’ We'll have to wait and see. View full article
  13. The Twins announced today that they have signed right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy to a one-year contract with an option for 2023. In 2011, Dylan Bundy was the fourth overall draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles from Owasso High School in Oklahoma. Because of his draft status, he immediately became one of the top prospects in baseball. He signed a five-year MLB contract starting in 2012, and received a $4 million signing bonus. He made two late-inning appearances for the Orioles in 2012 and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings over two games. Unfortunately, at that point injuries derailed his career. He did not return to the big leagues until 2016 when he posted a 4.02 ERA over 109 2/3 innings in 36 games. That season, he split time between the bullpen and rotation. Since 2017, he has been used exclusively as a starter. Now 29, Bundy went 2-9 with a 6.06 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 19 starts. In 90 2/3 innings for the Angels, he walked 34 and struck out 84 batters. He ended the season on the 60-Day Injured List with a shoulder injury. It was a tough season following a 2020 season in which he finished ninth in AL Cy Young voting. He went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over 11 starts and 65 2/3 innings. He also struck out 72 batters and walked just 17. He was in a lot of rumors at that season's trade deadline. The Twins certainly are hoping that he returns to that form. Bundy will make $4 million in 2022. The Twins will also have the option of bringing him back in 2023 for $11 million or buying out that option for $1 million. When he was drafted, he was known for his 100 mph fastball. In 2021, his average fastball velocity was 90.8 mph. Of course, in his successful 2020 season, his fastball velocity was 90.2. Bundy also throws a slider about 21% of the time, and it comes in the low 80s. He also throws a slower curve in the mid-70s and a changeup in the low-80s. As a four-pitch pitcher, he remains intriguing. In 2021, he threw each of his pitches at least 13.8% of the time. It will be interesting to see what Wes Johnson and Pete Maki saw in Bundy that they might be able to tinker with to try to bring out his best performance. Bundy slots into the Twins starting rotation with Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. Others currently in line for a possible rotation spot include Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, Lewis Thorpe and prospects such Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran and Josh Winder. View full article
  14. The Twins signed Dylan Bundy to a 1-year, $5 million deal on Wednesday night, with a $1 million buyout on an $11 million club option for 2023. The move came just hours before the MLB owners unanimously enforced a lockout of the players. The signing of Bundy shouldn’t alter the fact that the Twins front office receives a ‘doing the bare minimum’ grade in improving the starting rotation thus far in free agency. Frustratingly, we’ll have to wait to see how the story plays out. In Bundy, however, the Twins have signed a solid upside arm they hope will have a Robbie Ray type impact season in 2023. What range of outcomes does Bundy offer? How might the Twins tweak his approach to maximize a high upside play? Let’s dig into the numbers. Conveniently, Bundy has shown his entire range of outcomes in his past two seasons with the Angels. Last season, he was rancid. In 90 2/3 innings he managed a 6.06 ERA (4.83 xERA), a 21.2% K%, and 0.0 fWAR. Woof. Conversely, in the shortened 2020 season over 65 2/3 innings, he managed a 3.29 ERA (3.02 xERA), 27% strikeout%, and 2.0 fWAR, that’s a 6.0 fWAR pace over a full season, phew! To put that all visually, here is 2020 and 2021 next to each other. In incredibly simple terms, a Bundy season splitting the difference of those two outcomes would generate approximately a 2.5 fWAR season which is nothing to be sneezed at and a solid start to what needs to be an extensive overhaul of a non-existent rotation for the Twins before the 2022 season kicks off. So what attracted the Twins to Bundy, and how might they try and tweak his approach next season? Here’s what attracted the Twins to Dylan Bundy. Bundy has a nasty slider. In 2020, he threw it 25% of the time. In 2021, he threw it just 21%. Expect that figure to skyrocket in 2022. It’s by far his best pitch and was worth over four runs in 2021. The Twins will have him throw it 30% of the time or more. It’s notable that Bundy’s slider location was one of the primary reasons he struggled in 2021. In 2020, the heat map has it right in the corner of the strike zone, as opposed to far more centrally located in 2021. Regaining command of that pitch will be critical to his success in 2022. Another reason the Twins were likely attracted to Bundy is his fastball. Long gone are the days when Bundy was a top prospect throwing his fastball in the high-90s. It does, however, have an extremely high spin rate, the Twins’ most obvious fastball-related tendency. Bundy’s formula with the Twins will be fastballs high in the zone a la Jake Odorizzi and a high volume of sliders down and away to right-handed hitters. In my opinion, there’s not much to dislike about the Bundy move. He’s a high upside play who can easily be a solid number three starting pitcher on a great contract. The nagging question which will gnaw at Twins fans throughout the lockout and make it difficult to focus on the positives of the Bundy signing in isolation, was tweeted by John Bonnes yesterday. ‘Do the Twins front office love good contracts more than good players?’ We'll have to wait and see.
  15. In 2011, Dylan Bundy was the fourth overall draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles from Owasso High School in Oklahoma. Because of his draft status, he immediately became one of the top prospects in baseball. He signed a five-year MLB contract starting in 2012, and received a $4 million signing bonus. He made two late-inning appearances for the Orioles in 2012 and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings over two games. Unfortunately, at that point injuries derailed his career. He did not return to the big leagues until 2016 when he posted a 4.02 ERA over 109 2/3 innings in 36 games. That season, he split time between the bullpen and rotation. Since 2017, he has been used exclusively as a starter. Now 29, Bundy went 2-9 with a 6.06 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 19 starts. In 90 2/3 innings for the Angels, he walked 34 and struck out 84 batters. He ended the season on the 60-Day Injured List with a shoulder injury. It was a tough season following a 2020 season in which he finished ninth in AL Cy Young voting. He went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over 11 starts and 65 2/3 innings. He also struck out 72 batters and walked just 17. He was in a lot of rumors at that season's trade deadline. The Twins certainly are hoping that he returns to that form. Bundy will make $4 million in 2022. The Twins will also have the option of bringing him back in 2023 for $11 million or buying out that option for $1 million. When he was drafted, he was known for his 100 mph fastball. In 2021, his average fastball velocity was 90.8 mph. Of course, in his successful 2020 season, his fastball velocity was 90.2. Bundy also throws a slider about 21% of the time, and it comes in the low 80s. He also throws a slower curve in the mid-70s and a changeup in the low-80s. As a four-pitch pitcher, he remains intriguing. In 2021, he threw each of his pitches at least 13.8% of the time. It will be interesting to see what Wes Johnson and Pete Maki saw in Bundy that they might be able to tinker with to try to bring out his best performance. Bundy slots into the Twins starting rotation with Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. Others currently in line for a possible rotation spot include Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, Lewis Thorpe and prospects such Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran and Josh Winder.
  16. The Minnesota Twins came into 2020 having set a Major League record in home runs, had one of the best seasons in franchise history, and with an offense poised to set the world on fire. As with everything else this year, very little has gone as expected. Now on the final day to make some roster swaps, it isn’t time to push the panic button. Major League Baseball bumped the trade deadline back to August 31st this year in order to accommodate a sensible timeline amidst a 60-game sprint. Minnesota currently stands at 20-15 looking up at both the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians in the AL Central division. While division titles are nice, they couldn’t mean less this year. The top seeds will still face a club with a winning record, and they’ll do so in just a three-game series. I love the idea of adding Trevor Bauer to this club, solely because it’s my belief he’s the only pitcher capable of slotting into the top of Minnesota’s rotation. Although he’s a short-term rental and would make something like 5-8 starts, maybe the familiarity helps to re-sign him this offseason. Outside of that, any move should come with a future caveat as well. Next season the Twins will need to replace three-fifths of their Opening Day starting rotation. Trevor May is an impending free agent, and Nelson Cruz’s status remains up in the air. While the core of this club remains strong, there’s certainly pieces that will need to be shuffled around. For Minnesota to target an asset in the midst of a volatile year, and only have eyes on making it pay off immediately, would be a misstep. In any season there’s a relative amount of luck when it comes to winning a World Series. Doing so amongst a 16-team playoff field, with no fans, and potentially no home field to speak of, is a crapshoot at best. That doesn’t water down winning a ring this year, everyone is dealing with the same conditions, but it does make operating in a traditional sense irrational. Maybe a reunion with Lance Lynn works out. He’s a really good pitcher that really didn’t like his situation back in 2018. Maybe Dylan Bundy and his slider are another weapon for Wes Johnson and the Minnesota brain trust to deploy. Those are the types of moves that have future benefit too. Do you go all in on Josh Hader? That’s a great arm in play as well. No matter what the Twins do though, having more benefit than just 2020 has to be part of the outcome. There’s no doubt this club is going to make the Postseason. There’s no doubt the healthy version of their lineup is a force to be reckoned with. The greatest doubt is how it all comes together the rest of the way, and then when 2021 rolls around, what remains when the dust has settled? For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  17. In a strange and shortened MLB season, the trade deadline is certainly going to take on a different feel. Sixteen total playoff teams means that most teams are still in the postseason hunt. This could result in a much different feel as the trade deadline approaches. What teams are going to be willing to trade? How are teams going to approach taking on salary in a year with less revenue? Let’s find out…Minnesota’s Weaknesses Entering the season, Minnesota was perceived to have one of the strongest line-ups in baseball. That hasn’t been the case so far as the Twins have struggled through injuries to regular starters like Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez. This has resulted in making nearly everyday players out of Ryan Jeffers, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez and Ildemaro Vargas. It’s easy to think the Twins need replacements for these players, but the best thing for the team would be for their injured players to be healthy and producing as the team enters the playoffs. Last season, Minnesota’s biggest weakness was pitching, and this was especially true for the bullpen. This is why the team made multiple deadline deals for bullpen help. The Twins relief core has turned into one of the team’s strengths over the last year and that might mean the team isn’t looking to upgrade unless there is some player control involved. Minnesota’s starting rotation has seen multiple injuries, but the team depth in this department. Possible Trade Options Lance Lynn, Texas Lynn has been good since leaving the Twins in 2018. Last season with Texas, he posted a 3.67 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in over 200 innings. He struck out 246 batters and only walked 59 on his way to finishing in the top-five for the Cy Young. In just over 100 innings with the Twins, Lynn had an ERA north of 5.00 and he didn’t exactly leave the team on good terms. He is under team control through 2021 and the Rangers are within a handful of games of a playoff spot, and he could be one player for the team to avoid. Trevor Rosenthal, Kansas City Minnesota might be hesitant about trading with another team in the division, but Rosenthal might be the ideal candidate. He was signed to a minor league deal in Kansas City and he has been outstanding through the season’s first half. So far, he has limited batters to two runs on seven hits in 12 appearances (11 1/3 innings). This includes a 1.06 WHIP and a 15 to 5 strike out to walk ratio. Kansas City is in a similar position to the Rangers so the team will have to decide if they want to trade pieces away. Keone Kela, Pittsburgh Unlike the team’s above, Pittsburgh is clearly not making the playoffs, but Kela is going to have to prove he is healthy over the next week. He left a game last Friday after five pitches as the Pirates revealed he had right forearm tightness. He is a free agent at season’s end, and it seems likely for him to be dealt if he is healthy. Kela has been limited this season because of a positive coronavirus test and this most recent injury. Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Bundy might be one of the hottest names tossed around in rumors leading up to the deadline. The Angels have struggled this season and currently have one of baseball’s worst records. He is under team control through the 2021 season. So far this season, he ranks in the 80th percentile when it comes to fastball spin rate, hard-hit rate, and opponents’ exit velocity. Increased use in his slider has been part of his success and that has been something the Twins have harnessed with other current pitchers. Mychal Givens, Baltimore Givens has been dominant out of the Orioles bullpen this year and he has some intriguing traits the Twins might be interested in. Firstly, he is under team control through the end of 2021. Secondly, his slider has gotten hitters to whiff on it over 40% of the time. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and his increased usage of his slider is certainly intriguing. Minnesota might not need a ton of bullpen help but Givens could certainly provide a boost. There are three right-handed hitters that could be intriguing with some of Minnesota’s top right-handed bats on the injured list. Another possible pitching option is a man that’s boisterous on social media, but he is a free agent at season’s end and that could make him tradeable. What’s Going to Happen? Overall, it seems likely for the trade deadline to be relatively quiet when compared to recent years. Few owners and front offices are going to be willing to take on significant contracts with the uncertainty facing baseball in 2021. Baseball has dodged a few bullets this season, but no one is sure of the long-term ramifications of no fans in the stands and other lost revenue. Minnesota also has the luxury of Michael Pineda being added back to the rotation at the end of August. His addition could be construed as trading for rotation help. Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, and Homer Bailey have all seen time on the injured list this year and adding Pineda only strengthens the depth of a rotation that has been stretched this season. The last time the Twins saw Pineda, he was amid a tremendous stretch on the mound and he will have the month of September to get back on track. What do you think the Twins will do at the trade deadline? Add an arm? Add to the line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  18. Minnesota’s Weaknesses Entering the season, Minnesota was perceived to have one of the strongest line-ups in baseball. That hasn’t been the case so far as the Twins have struggled through injuries to regular starters like Mitch Garver, Byron Buxton, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez. This has resulted in making nearly everyday players out of Ryan Jeffers, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez and Ildemaro Vargas. It’s easy to think the Twins need replacements for these players, but the best thing for the team would be for their injured players to be healthy and producing as the team enters the playoffs. Last season, Minnesota’s biggest weakness was pitching, and this was especially true for the bullpen. This is why the team made multiple deadline deals for bullpen help. The Twins relief core has turned into one of the team’s strengths over the last year and that might mean the team isn’t looking to upgrade unless there is some player control involved. Minnesota’s starting rotation has seen multiple injuries, but the team depth in this department. Possible Trade Options Lance Lynn, Texas Lynn has been good since leaving the Twins in 2018. Last season with Texas, he posted a 3.67 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in over 200 innings. He struck out 246 batters and only walked 59 on his way to finishing in the top-five for the Cy Young. In just over 100 innings with the Twins, Lynn had an ERA north of 5.00 and he didn’t exactly leave the team on good terms. He is under team control through 2021 and the Rangers are within a handful of games of a playoff spot, and he could be one player for the team to avoid. Trevor Rosenthal, Kansas City Minnesota might be hesitant about trading with another team in the division, but Rosenthal might be the ideal candidate. He was signed to a minor league deal in Kansas City and he has been outstanding through the season’s first half. So far, he has limited batters to two runs on seven hits in 12 appearances (11 1/3 innings). This includes a 1.06 WHIP and a 15 to 5 strike out to walk ratio. Kansas City is in a similar position to the Rangers so the team will have to decide if they want to trade pieces away. Keone Kela, Pittsburgh Unlike the team’s above, Pittsburgh is clearly not making the playoffs, but Kela is going to have to prove he is healthy over the next week. He left a game last Friday after five pitches as the Pirates revealed he had right forearm tightness. He is a free agent at season’s end, and it seems likely for him to be dealt if he is healthy. Kela has been limited this season because of a positive coronavirus test and this most recent injury. Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Bundy might be one of the hottest names tossed around in rumors leading up to the deadline. The Angels have struggled this season and currently have one of baseball’s worst records. He is under team control through the 2021 season. So far this season, he ranks in the 80th percentile when it comes to fastball spin rate, hard-hit rate, and opponents’ exit velocity. Increased use in his slider has been part of his success and that has been something the Twins have harnessed with other current pitchers. Mychal Givens, Baltimore Givens has been dominant out of the Orioles bullpen this year and he has some intriguing traits the Twins might be interested in. Firstly, he is under team control through the end of 2021. Secondly, his slider has gotten hitters to whiff on it over 40% of the time. His fastball sits in the mid-90s and his increased usage of his slider is certainly intriguing. Minnesota might not need a ton of bullpen help but Givens could certainly provide a boost. There are three right-handed hitters that could be intriguing with some of Minnesota’s top right-handed bats on the injured list. Another possible pitching option is a man that’s boisterous on social media, but he is a free agent at season’s end and that could make him tradeable. What’s Going to Happen? Overall, it seems likely for the trade deadline to be relatively quiet when compared to recent years. Few owners and front offices are going to be willing to take on significant contracts with the uncertainty facing baseball in 2021. Baseball has dodged a few bullets this season, but no one is sure of the long-term ramifications of no fans in the stands and other lost revenue. Minnesota also has the luxury of Michael Pineda being added back to the rotation at the end of August. His addition could be construed as trading for rotation help. Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, and Homer Bailey have all seen time on the injured list this year and adding Pineda only strengthens the depth of a rotation that has been stretched this season. The last time the Twins saw Pineda, he was amid a tremendous stretch on the mound and he will have the month of September to get back on track. What do you think the Twins will do at the trade deadline? Add an arm? Add to the line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. This is an except of a post that originated at Zone Coverage; please read the entire thing here. The 2016 season opened with a walk-off loss for the Minnesota Twins in Baltimore. Then again, it also began with Miguel Sano playing right field, so the parallels probably stop there. But the Twins opened the 2018 season in stunningly similar fashion to two years ago, when the wheels fell all the way off on the path to a 103-loss season, the No. 1 overall pick and the bouncing bundle of prospect joy that is Royce Lewis. This team is probably just a bit more well-prepared to stomach such a loss, even without Ervin Santana for probably the next six weeks. Santana started that fateful game against the Orioles in early April 2016, but both he and Chris Tillman were bounced early after a nearly two-hour rain delay. Another delay two innings later meant the teams spent almost six hours at the ballpark with under three hours of game time to show for it. It’s hard to come up with a better metaphor for the 2016 season, but either way, we’ll save that for a rainy day. The weather was just fine as the Twins again fell 3-2 on Opening Day to the Orioles, this time off the bat of Adam Jones instead of Matt Wieters. Jones attacked the first pitch he, or any hitter for that matter, saw from Fernando Rodney in the bottom of the 11th, ambushing a 92 mph two-seam fastball and driving it deep into a sea of orange. For the first six innings of the game, the attention was on the starters. Dylan Bundy kept the Twins in check as he tossed seven shutout frames, while Jake Odorizzi did the same through six before handing things off to Zach Duke. That’s where things got dicey. Trey Mancini struck out swinging, but Jason Castro was unable to corral the third strike. Mancini reached first, then took second on another wild pitch before Duke eventually fanned Tim Beckham. Former Twin Danny Valencia pinch-hit for designated hitter Pedro Alvarez, and was intentionally walked to set up a possible double play off the bat of Craig Gentry. Earlier in the game, Gentry had robbed Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario of a home run with a terrific leaping catch at the fence in right-center. Gentry struck out swinging, but with two outs, No. 9 hitter Caleb Joseph stroked a first-pitch triple into the right-center gap, bringing home both Mancini and Valencia to give the O’s a 2-0 lead. Duke recovered to strike Chris Davis out looking for the rarely-seen fourth strikeout of the inning, something he told reporters afterward he’d only ever done before in high school. According to Baseball Almanac, that’s the fourth time in Twins history that a pitcher has fanned four batters in an inning, though all have happened in the last decade. Scott Baker (June 15, 2008), Francisco Liriano (June 5, 2012) and Tyler Duffey (May 8, 2016) were the first three. Both Twins runs came in the ninth off interim closer Brad Brach, who is filling in while Zach Britton recovers from a ruptured Achilles. Sano struck out swinging, and Rosario followed with a grounder to first that Davis couldn’t handle — which was somehow ruled a single. Rosario took second on a wild pitch, and Logan Morrison walked with Ryan LaMarre coming in to run for him. After Eduardo Escobar struck out on a full count pitch down in the zone, Max Kepler set the standard for best plate appearance of the year early, as he fought off multiple tough pitches before taking an 11-pitch walk to load the bases. Molitor made the second — or third, depending on your mileage — decision of the day that left some fans scratching their heads as he had Robbie Grossman pinch-hit for Byron Buxton, but it paid off as Robbie’s flare into left-center landed just beyond the glove of Orioles shortstop Manny Machado to tie the game. However, that was all the Twins offense was able to put together, with Jones sending the hometown fans happy after a couple innings of bonus baseball.
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