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  1. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had some tough decisions to make during their first year at the helm of the Minnesota Twins. Are there any lessons that can be learned from the 2017 trade deadline? Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises during the 2017 season after losing an MLB high 103-games the previous season. As the calendar turned to July, the Twins found themselves two games behind the Cleveland and the team stayed within striking distance for much of the month. However, as July ended and the trade deadline approached, the club lost seven of nine games and sat 6.5 games back in the division. The team went from buyers to sellers over a few days and that’s how the deadline played out. Falvey and Levine made it clear entering the deadline that the team wasn’t going to sway from their long-term vision. "In order to accomplish that, we maybe started the year not anticipating being a clear buyer at the Deadline," Levine said at the time. "I don't think we feel that's changed dramatically, other than maybe adding his one qualifier: We're probably not going to be inclined to spend lavishly on short-term assets, but we would be very open to spending aggressively on assets that we could use to propel our team forward this year and for years to come.” The 2017 season impacted the team’s decision making at the trade deadline, because it shifted them from being likely sellers to contemplating buying. The team held on to veterans like Brian Dozier, Ervin Santana, and Joe Mauer. There was also the debacle that was the Jaime Garcia trade as the front office went from buyers to sellers in less than a week. After the deadline, the team went on a run to finish in the second Wild Card spot, but there might be some lessons learned by the front office. During the 2021 season, Minnesota is having another surprising season, but it is for all the wrong reasons. The Twins entered the season believing they would be fighting for a third straight AL Central title and now the club sits double digit games out of first. Looking at the team’s upcoming schedule and it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the club might be facing a 2017 decision before the trade deadline. Leading into the All-Star Game, the Twins have 12 straight intra-division games including six against the division leading White Sox. The Twins have too much talent to be this far below .500 for the entire season, so they may accidentally improve as the season progresses. Minnesota’s pitching has improved, and the offense has become more of the force they were expected to be at season’s start. There’s certainly a realistic chance of the Twins being within 6.5 games or better at the trade deadline. This can put them in a similar position as 2017, but this time the team was expected to be a contender. Many expect the Twins to be sellers before the trade deadline, but they hold their destiny in their own hands. Veterans like Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, and Michael Pineda can be dealt, but the club might also find themselves back in the playoff race with plenty of lessons learned from 2017. Do you think the front office learned from 2017 deadline? How will it impact the 2021 trade deadline? 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. Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises during the 2017 season after losing an MLB high 103-games the previous season. As the calendar turned to July, the Twins found themselves two games behind the Cleveland and the team stayed within striking distance for much of the month. However, as July ended and the trade deadline approached, the club lost seven of nine games and sat 6.5 games back in the division. The team went from buyers to sellers over a few days and that’s how the deadline played out. Falvey and Levine made it clear entering the deadline that the team wasn’t going to sway from their long-term vision. "In order to accomplish that, we maybe started the year not anticipating being a clear buyer at the Deadline," Levine said at the time. "I don't think we feel that's changed dramatically, other than maybe adding his one qualifier: We're probably not going to be inclined to spend lavishly on short-term assets, but we would be very open to spending aggressively on assets that we could use to propel our team forward this year and for years to come.” The 2017 season impacted the team’s decision making at the trade deadline, because it shifted them from being likely sellers to contemplating buying. The team held on to veterans like Brian Dozier, Ervin Santana, and Joe Mauer. There was also the debacle that was the Jaime Garcia trade as the front office went from buyers to sellers in less than a week. After the deadline, the team went on a run to finish in the second Wild Card spot, but there might be some lessons learned by the front office. During the 2021 season, Minnesota is having another surprising season, but it is for all the wrong reasons. The Twins entered the season believing they would be fighting for a third straight AL Central title and now the club sits double digit games out of first. Looking at the team’s upcoming schedule and it’s easy to imagine a scenario where the club might be facing a 2017 decision before the trade deadline. Leading into the All-Star Game, the Twins have 12 straight intra-division games including six against the division leading White Sox. The Twins have too much talent to be this far below .500 for the entire season, so they may accidentally improve as the season progresses. Minnesota’s pitching has improved, and the offense has become more of the force they were expected to be at season’s start. There’s certainly a realistic chance of the Twins being within 6.5 games or better at the trade deadline. This can put them in a similar position as 2017, but this time the team was expected to be a contender. Many expect the Twins to be sellers before the trade deadline, but they hold their destiny in their own hands. Veterans like Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, and Michael Pineda can be dealt, but the club might also find themselves back in the playoff race with plenty of lessons learned from 2017. Do you think the front office learned from 2017 deadline? How will it impact the 2021 trade deadline? 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. Cleveland Baseball Team: Payroll Dump The team formerly known as the Indians made a blockbuster deal on Thursday by sending shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets for a package of four players. Lindor rumors had been swirling for the throughout the offseason as he is one year away from free agency and Cleveland wanted to get something for him before he hit the open market. https://twitter.com/baseball_ref/status/1347248176261160962 Cleveland is clearly trying to dump as much payroll as possible. With players currently on their roster, Cleveland’s Opening Day payroll is scheduled to be around $35 million. Last season, the lowest payroll in baseball was Baltimore and their payroll was over $52 million. In the tweet above, there were two teams with a payroll under $35 million in 2001 with the Twins being the lowest at $24 million. Chicago White Sox: Two Team Race Chicago got their offseason started by hiring Tony La Russa to manager their team. Near the time he was hired, word came out that he had been charged with driving under the influence in Arizona. To make matters worse, it wasn’t his first time being charged with this offense. Besides the off the field issues, La Russa turned 76-years old in October, so his hiring seems questionable even for White Sox fans. To put that in perspective for Twins fans, former manager Tom Kelly is six-years younger than La Russa. The White Sox have made some moves to bolster their roster as well. Chicago dealt Avery Weems and Dane Dunning to Texas for starting pitcher Lance Lynn. Twins fans will remember Lynn’s poor season with the club, but he has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last two seasons. In December, the White Sox brought back a familiar face to the South Side by signing outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $7 million contract which includes a club option for 2022. Chicago looks to be the Twins biggest challenger in the AL Central, especially after the moves mentioned above. Detroit Tigers: Hinch Hired for Rebuild Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire retired as Tigers manager before the end of the 2020 season. This left the Tigers looking for a new man to run the show in Motown. AJ Hinch was suspended for the entire 2020 season after the Astros cheating scandal and now, he will be charged with turning around a Tigers club that has a winning percentage under .400 for four consecutive seasons. Last winter, the Tigers brought in two former Twins, CJ Cron and Jonathan Schoop, to bolster their line-up. This winter Detroit turned to another former Twin by signing outfielder Robbie Grossman to a two-year deal worth $10 million guaranteed. He posted a career high 1.3 WAR last year in Oakland and he did this in just 51 games. Detroit also added to their starting pitching depth by signing Jose Urena to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. It’s still a waiting game in Detroit as their top prospects work their way to the big leagues. Kansas City: Minor Moves Like Detroit, Kanas City is in the midst of a rebuild with plenty of questions about what the future might hold for the franchise. One of their biggest offseason moves was signing Mike Minor to a two-year deal. At the same time, the club agreed to terms with outfielder Michael Taylor to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. His addition helps the team to add some outfield depth, but it certainly isn’t a difference making move. Another familiar name also signed in Kansas City just before the new year. Former Twins pitcher Ervin Santana agreed to a minor league deal to return to Kanas City, a team he called home back in 2013. If he is on the major league roster, he gets a base salary of $1.5 million with a chance to earn an extra $1.75 million in performance bonuses. Santana didn’t pitch in 2020 and he already turned 38-years old. Minnesota’s lone move has been to sign relief pitcher Hansel Robles. There are likely other moves coming, but the landscape of the AL Central continues to evolve. What are your thoughts about the AL Central so far this winter? 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
  4. The 2010s were a rough decade for the Minnesota Twins overall, though they have some fair seasons and a couple of playoff appearances. The final season of the decade was a 102-win season that gives fans hope for the coming decade of baseball. Pitching continued to be a huge question mark for the Twins throughout the decade. However, they did draft and develop Jose Berrios who, at 25, has already pitched in two All-Star Games. With Derek Falvey in charge, the hope is that he will help the organization develop pitching the same way he did in Cleveland. For now, take a look at the choices for five starting pitchers and five relief pitchers of the Twins decade. SP - Ervin Santana (2015-2018) 85 games, 85 starts, 30-25 with 0 saves and a 3.68 ERA in 525 1/3 innings. 414 K. 159 BB. The Twins signed Santana in December 2014 after ten MLB seasons, eight with the Angels. He got a four year, $55 million deal. However, before the 2015 season, he was suspended for 80 games. He pitched the second half of that season and made 30 starts in 2016. Though he went just 7-11, his 3.38 ERA was 25% better than league average. He got off to a great start in 2017 and earned his second career All- Star appearance. Overall, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA (35% better than league average). He led the league with five complete games and three shutouts. He hurt a finger late in the season and it just didn’t heal in 2018. He tried to come back but it didn’t work. SP - Kyle Gibson (2013-2019) 193 games, 188 starts, 67-68 with 0 saves and a 4.52 ERA in 1,087 innings. 845 K. 392 BB. Gibson was the Twins first-round pick in 2009 out of Missouri. In 2010, he pitched at Ft. Myers, New Britain and Rochester. He was on his way to debuting in 2010, but his elbow didn’t agree. He had Tommy John and returned late in 2012. He made his debut in June 2013 and spent the rest of the decade in a Twins uniform. Gibson remained mostly healthy and provided over 1000 innings. He fit into a category of “generally kept his team in the game” and because of that, he finished with a record right around .500. He won 10 or more games in five of his six full seasons, winning 13 games in 2014 and 2019. His best season was in 2018 when he went just 10-13 but had a 3.62 ERA, 18% better than league average. He fought with ulcerative colitis in 2019, but he took the mound whenever asked. After a dozen years in the Twins organization, Gibson signed a three-year deal with the Rangers in the offseason. SP - Jose Berrios (2016-2019) 104 games, 103 starts, 43-34 with 0 saves and a 4.21 ERA in 596 2/3 innings. 585 K. 195 BB. Berrios was the 32nd-overall pick in the 2012, draft out of Puerto Rico. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. At just 21, he made his MLB debut in April 2016. He really struggled in his rookie season, posting an ERA over 8 in 14 starts. In 2017, he went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA. He made his first All-Star appearance in 2018 when he went 12-11 with a 3.84 ERA in 32 starts. Last season, he returned to the All-Star Game. In 32 starts, he went 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA. He reached 200 innings for the first time in his career. He was set to be the Twins Opening Day starting pitcher again in 2020. SP - Phil Hughes (2014-2018) 92 games, 79 starts, 32-29 with 0 saves and a 4.43 ERA in 489 2/3 innings. 360 K. 63 BB. Hughes was the 23rd overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft. After parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, he signed a three-year deal with the Twins about a week before they signed Santana. He put together an incredible 2014 season. He went 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA. In 209 2/3 innings, he walked just 16 batters. His 0.7 BB/9 and 11.63 K/BB led the league. The latter was an MLB record. Just one out from reaching 210 innings, and a big incentive, his final start ended when there was a rain delay. The Twins ripped up his three-year deal and made it a five-year deal. He went 11-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 games in 2015. After that, he struggled with his shoulder and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. He was unable to pitch consistently from 2016 until he was traded to the Padres early in the 2018 season. SP - Scott Baker (2010-11) 52 games, 50 starts, 20-15 with 0 saves and a 3.90 ERA in 305 innings. 271 K. 75 BB. While Baker’s best season was in 2009, he was still quite productive the first two years of the next decade. In 2010, he went 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 29 starts. In 2011, he went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 21 starts before his season came to an end. He ended up needing Tommy John surgery and missed the 2012 season. Between 2013 and 2015, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers. RP - Glen Perkins (2010-2017) 342 games, 1 start, 17-14 with 120 saves and a 3.18 ERA in 342 2/3 innings. 359 K. 84 BB. The Twins drafted Gopher great Glen Perkins with the 22nd overall pick of the 2004 draft. He came up through the minor league system as a starter and debuted late in 2006. He was a starter (and went 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA) in 2008. By 2010, he made the move to the bullpen. He took off in 2011. He posted ERAs of 2.48, 2.56 and 2.30 over the next three years, becoming one of the top left-handed relievers in the game. He became the closer midway through the 2012 season. He was an All-Star in 2013, 2014, and 2015, compiling 102 of his 120 saves in those three seasons. RP - Taylor Rogers (2016-2019) 258 games, 0 starts, 13-10 with 32 saves and a 3.04 ERA in 254 1/3 innings. 278 K. 64 BB. Rogers was the Twins 11th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. He climbed the Twins ladder as a starting pitcher. However, early in 2016, Glen Perkins was hurt and Rogers was called up to work out of the bullpen. He’s been there since, and he has continued to get better as his role has gained leverage. In 2017, he posted a 3.07 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. In 2018, he had a 2.63 ERA anda 0.95 WHIP. Last season, he had a 2.61 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. His strikeout rate over the last three seasons has gone from 7.5 K/9 to 9.9 K/9 to 11.7 K/9 in 2019. He began the 2019 season being used in any late-inning, high-leverage situation. As other options struggled, he began getting more opportunities in the closer’s role. He often worked multiple-innings to record saves. He was also named an all-pro after the season. RP - Brian Duensing (2010-2015) 330 games, 52 starts, 36-35 with 2 saves and a 4.20 ERA in 565 1/3 innings. 375 K. 177 BB. Duensing was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Nebraska. He made his MLB debut in 2009. In 2010, he went 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 53 games and 130 2/3 innings. He moved into the starting rotation for the 2011 season, and struggled. By mid-2012, he moved to the bullpen full time and became a reliable left-handed option for the next three seasons. He was called upon to get one out, pitch an inning or even pitch a couple of innings at a time. He left after the 2015 season and pitched one season with the Orioles before pitching in the Cubs bullpen in 2017 and 2018. RP - Ryan Pressly (2013-2018) 281 games, 0 starts, 17-16 with 1 save and a 3.75 ERA in 317 innings. 282 K. 108 BB. Pressly was a starting pitching prospect with the Red Sox when the Twins picked him with their Rule 5 selection in December of 2012. He impressed in spring training 2013 and made the team. He had a 3.87 ERA in 49 games that season. He was able to be sent to Rochester the next year and split the season between AAA and the big leagues. By 2016, he was an oft-used reliever in the Twins bullpen. He continued to show great stuff so as he worked more, he became a high strikeout pitcher. He was traded to the Astros at the July deadline in 2018 and became even more dominant. Before the trade, he had 69 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He was an All-Star in 2019. RP - Casey Fien (2012-2016) 257 games, 0 starts, 17-15 with 1 save and a 4.21 ERA in 237 1/3 innings. 209 K. 42 BB. Fien pitched in 11 games for the Tigers between 2009 and 2010. He spent 2011 in the minor leagues. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal before the 2012 season. He began in Rochester, but something clicked for him midway through the season, and he took off and earned a call to the Twins where he finished the season posting a 2.06 ERA in 35 games. He spent three seasons as a reliable reliever for the Twins. He struggled early in 2016 and was claimed by the Dodgers. He pitched for Seattle and Philadelphia in 2018. For more from this series, see below. Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team, the '10s (The Hitters)
  5. We come to the end of our review of the history of the Minnesota Twins by looking at All-Decade teams today by posting the Pitchers of the 2010s. It was a tough decade for the Twins overall, but there were still really strong pitching performances as well.The 2010s were a rough decade for the Minnesota Twins overall, though they have some fair seasons and a couple of playoff appearances. The final season of the decade was a 102-win season that gives fans hope for the coming decade of baseball. Pitching continued to be a huge question mark for the Twins throughout the decade. However, they did draft and develop Jose Berrios who, at 25, has already pitched in two All-Star Games. With Derek Falvey in charge, the hope is that he will help the organization develop pitching the same way he did in Cleveland. For now, take a look at the choices for five starting pitchers and five relief pitchers of the Twins decade. SP - Ervin Santana (2015-2018) 85 games, 85 starts, 30-25 with 0 saves and a 3.68 ERA in 525 1/3 innings. 414 K. 159 BB. The Twins signed Santana in December 2014 after ten MLB seasons, eight with the Angels. He got a four year, $55 million deal. However, before the 2015 season, he was suspended for 80 games. He pitched the second half of that season and made 30 starts in 2016. Though he went just 7-11, his 3.38 ERA was 25% better than league average. He got off to a great start in 2017 and earned his second career All- Star appearance. Overall, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA (35% better than league average). He led the league with five complete games and three shutouts. He hurt a finger late in the season and it just didn’t heal in 2018. He tried to come back but it didn’t work. SP - Kyle Gibson (2013-2019) 193 games, 188 starts, 67-68 with 0 saves and a 4.52 ERA in 1,087 innings. 845 K. 392 BB. Gibson was the Twins first-round pick in 2009 out of Missouri. In 2010, he pitched at Ft. Myers, New Britain and Rochester. He was on his way to debuting in 2010, but his elbow didn’t agree. He had Tommy John and returned late in 2012. He made his debut in June 2013 and spent the rest of the decade in a Twins uniform. Gibson remained mostly healthy and provided over 1000 innings. He fit into a category of “generally kept his team in the game” and because of that, he finished with a record right around .500. He won 10 or more games in five of his six full seasons, winning 13 games in 2014 and 2019. His best season was in 2018 when he went just 10-13 but had a 3.62 ERA, 18% better than league average. He fought with ulcerative colitis in 2019, but he took the mound whenever asked. After a dozen years in the Twins organization, Gibson signed a three-year deal with the Rangers in the offseason. SP - Jose Berrios (2016-2019) 104 games, 103 starts, 43-34 with 0 saves and a 4.21 ERA in 596 2/3 innings. 585 K. 195 BB. Berrios was the 32nd-overall pick in the 2012, draft out of Puerto Rico. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. At just 21, he made his MLB debut in April 2016. He really struggled in his rookie season, posting an ERA over 8 in 14 starts. In 2017, he went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA. He made his first All-Star appearance in 2018 when he went 12-11 with a 3.84 ERA in 32 starts. Last season, he returned to the All-Star Game. In 32 starts, he went 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA. He reached 200 innings for the first time in his career. He was set to be the Twins Opening Day starting pitcher again in 2020. SP - Phil Hughes (2014-2018) 92 games, 79 starts, 32-29 with 0 saves and a 4.43 ERA in 489 2/3 innings. 360 K. 63 BB. Hughes was the 23rd overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft. After parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, he signed a three-year deal with the Twins about a week before they signed Santana. He put together an incredible 2014 season. He went 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA. In 209 2/3 innings, he walked just 16 batters. His 0.7 BB/9 and 11.63 K/BB led the league. The latter was an MLB record. Just one out from reaching 210 innings, and a big incentive, his final start ended when there was a rain delay. The Twins ripped up his three-year deal and made it a five-year deal. He went 11-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 games in 2015. After that, he struggled with his shoulder and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. He was unable to pitch consistently from 2016 until he was traded to the Padres early in the 2018 season. SP - Scott Baker (2010-11) 52 games, 50 starts, 20-15 with 0 saves and a 3.90 ERA in 305 innings. 271 K. 75 BB. While Baker’s best season was in 2009, he was still quite productive the first two years of the next decade. In 2010, he went 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 29 starts. In 2011, he went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 21 starts before his season came to an end. He ended up needing Tommy John surgery and missed the 2012 season. Between 2013 and 2015, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers. RP - Glen Perkins (2010-2017) 342 games, 1 start, 17-14 with 120 saves and a 3.18 ERA in 342 2/3 innings. 359 K. 84 BB. The Twins drafted Gopher great Glen Perkins with the 22nd overall pick of the 2004 draft. He came up through the minor league system as a starter and debuted late in 2006. He was a starter (and went 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA) in 2008. By 2010, he made the move to the bullpen. He took off in 2011. He posted ERAs of 2.48, 2.56 and 2.30 over the next three years, becoming one of the top left-handed relievers in the game. He became the closer midway through the 2012 season. He was an All-Star in 2013, 2014, and 2015, compiling 102 of his 120 saves in those three seasons. RP - Taylor Rogers (2016-2019) 258 games, 0 starts, 13-10 with 32 saves and a 3.04 ERA in 254 1/3 innings. 278 K. 64 BB. Rogers was the Twins 11th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. He climbed the Twins ladder as a starting pitcher. However, early in 2016, Glen Perkins was hurt and Rogers was called up to work out of the bullpen. He’s been there since, and he has continued to get better as his role has gained leverage. In 2017, he posted a 3.07 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. In 2018, he had a 2.63 ERA anda 0.95 WHIP. Last season, he had a 2.61 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. His strikeout rate over the last three seasons has gone from 7.5 K/9 to 9.9 K/9 to 11.7 K/9 in 2019. He began the 2019 season being used in any late-inning, high-leverage situation. As other options struggled, he began getting more opportunities in the closer’s role. He often worked multiple-innings to record saves. He was also named an all-pro after the season. RP - Brian Duensing (2010-2015) 330 games, 52 starts, 36-35 with 2 saves and a 4.20 ERA in 565 1/3 innings. 375 K. 177 BB. Duensing was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Nebraska. He made his MLB debut in 2009. In 2010, he went 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 53 games and 130 2/3 innings. He moved into the starting rotation for the 2011 season, and struggled. By mid-2012, he moved to the bullpen full time and became a reliable left-handed option for the next three seasons. He was called upon to get one out, pitch an inning or even pitch a couple of innings at a time. He left after the 2015 season and pitched one season with the Orioles before pitching in the Cubs bullpen in 2017 and 2018. RP - Ryan Pressly (2013-2018) 281 games, 0 starts, 17-16 with 1 save and a 3.75 ERA in 317 innings. 282 K. 108 BB. Pressly was a starting pitching prospect with the Red Sox when the Twins picked him with their Rule 5 selection in December of 2012. He impressed in spring training 2013 and made the team. He had a 3.87 ERA in 49 games that season. He was able to be sent to Rochester the next year and split the season between AAA and the big leagues. By 2016, he was an oft-used reliever in the Twins bullpen. He continued to show great stuff so as he worked more, he became a high strikeout pitcher. He was traded to the Astros at the July deadline in 2018 and became even more dominant. Before the trade, he had 69 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He was an All-Star in 2019. RP - Casey Fien (2012-2016) 257 games, 0 starts, 17-15 with 1 save and a 4.21 ERA in 237 1/3 innings. 209 K. 42 BB. Fien pitched in 11 games for the Tigers between 2009 and 2010. He spent 2011 in the minor leagues. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal before the 2012 season. He began in Rochester, but something clicked for him midway through the season, and he took off and earned a call to the Twins where he finished the season posting a 2.06 ERA in 35 games. He spent three seasons as a reliable reliever for the Twins. He struggled early in 2016 and was claimed by the Dodgers. He pitched for Seattle and Philadelphia in 2018. For more from this series, see below. Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team, the '10s (The Hitters) Click here to view the article
  6. Minnesota Over the Last Decade Ervin Santana’s four-year, $55 million contract represents the biggest free agent contract in franchise history. Over the life of the contract, Santana compiled a 3.68 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP in 525 1/3 innings. He was named an All-Star in 2017 as he finished the year with a 16-8 record and a 3.28 ERA with a league leading five complete games and three shutouts. The 2018 season saw him limited to five starts as he dealt with injuries and had a falling out with the club. Minnesota’s best free agent signing of the last decade was signed last off-season as the club took a chance on 38-year old Nelson Cruz, He went on to lead the Bomba Squad with 41 home runs while being named the DH on the inaugural All-MLB Team and being awarded a Silver Slugger. According to ESPN, Cruz has been responsible for three organization’s best free agent contracts in the last decade. Before Cruz, Jim Thome might have represented the organization’s best free agent signing of the decade. Prior to the 2010 season, he signed for $1.5 million and hit .283/.412/.627 (1.039) with 25 home runs. Minnesota would bring him back for 2011 on a $3 million deal on his way to crossing the 600-home run plateau. He’d be limited in his final big-league season, so his last productive season came in a Twins uniform. Not all of Minnesota’s deal have worked out in the team’s favor. Prior to Santana’s deal, Minnesota handed Ricky Nolasco a four-year, $49 million deal. He struggled to the tune of a 5.44 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP in parts of three seasons. The deal was so bad, the Twins wound up dealing him to the Angels in 2016 and he hasn’t pitched at the big-league level since 2017. Major Free Agent Teams When it comes to free agency, there are some of the usual suspects at the top of the spending list, but there are some other surprising teams. The Red Sox (1st), Yankees (2nd) and Cubs (4th) have all found success in the last decade and some of that success can be attributed to spending millions on the open market. Boston won multiple titles and the Cubs were able to end their own curse. Philadelphia and Detroit are the other top five teams. Detroit had strong teams near the beginning of the decade, and they spent money to help them to multiple AL Central titles. Philadelphia spent a third of all their free agent money last offseason on one player, Bryce Harper. Detroit currently seems to be a mess, but Philadelphia might be trending in the right direction. Result Free agency is a tough gamble for every team. Players are paid based on their previous performance when most of these players are in the prime of their careers. Prime years for a player are usually associated with their mid- to late-20s. When a player hits their 30s, there is usually a decline in performance and that is when they are getting paid the most money. Players like Albert Pujols, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Prince Fielder were paid a lot of money for some poor seasons. There are some ageless players that seem to find success into their 30s. Nelson Cruz has fit that mold for multiple clubs as he entered the 2010s at age 29 and hit a decade-leading 346 home runs. MLB.com just named him to the all-decade team as the club’s designated hitter. Cruz is more of the exception to the rule than the standard, but Minnesota certainly benefitted from his signing last year. How do you feel about Minnesota’s free agent choices over the last decade? 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
  7. Welcome to the first week of September and the last month before playoff baseball starts. Minnesota is almost a lock to make the playoffs at this point with FanGraphs putting their playoff odds at 99.9% and their odds of winning the division at 97.5%. With separation starting in the AL Central, fans can start looking toward the playoffs and the path that could lie ahead. Minnesota doesn’t get to pick their playoff opponents, but what would be the ideal path through the American League playoffs?Avoid the Wild Card Game One of the most important steps in having a sustained playoff run is avoiding playing in a coin flip game like each league’s wild-card game. Minnesota fans are well aware of the dangers of this game after seeing the Twins fall to the Yankees back in 2017. New York went on to the ALCS that year and there are some concerns with surviving this style of game. In that 2017 AL wild card game, Minnesota started Ervin Santana and then was forced to turn to Jose Berrios as a reliever. If the club had survived, they would have been put in an interesting spot for picking a starter of in Game 1 of the ALDS. Pitching staffs can be taxed in this type of game and there is too much randomness in a win-or-go-home atmosphere. The Twins need to make sure they take care of business and win the AL Central. Houston Poses a Problem If Minnesota is able win the AL Central, the club will qualify for the ALDS for the first time since 2010. Entering play on Wednesday, New York and Houston are separated by less than a game. Minnesota sits four games back so it seems unlikely they could catch either of the front-runners for the league’s top record. This means a first-round series on the road versus one of the league’s top teams. There are a couple ways to think about a Houston match-up. Teams are going to have to go through Houston at some point in the playoffs and it might be better seeing their strong starters in a shorter series. Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke would get fewer starts over five games than in seven games. This could allow the Twins to steal a game or two and end up with a series victory. New York would be the better match-up, but it would be better to face Houston in a shorter series. If a team must take out Houston, do it in the ALDS. Big Apple Battle Minnesota fans might have a phobia of facing off against the Yankees because of past playoff experience. When the Yankees came to Minneapolis earlier this year, it resulted in an epic back-and-forth series. New York’s pitching staff has flaws, but their offense is certainly on a par with Minnesota’s record-breaking line-up. It seems most likely for Houston or New York to take care of any of the wild card teams, but anything can happen in a five-game series. Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Oakland are all in the running for the two AL wild card spots. Any of these three teams would be a better match-up than facing Houston or New York in a seven-game series, but it would take a team coming in hot to take down one of the league’s top foes. If Minnesota takes care of Houston in the ALDS, it would be fitting for the club to face-off against the Yankees for the right to represent the AL in the World Series. It would be similar to the Red Sox exorcising their demons against the Yankees on the way to their 2004 title. If Minnesota must beat New York at some point, so why not do it on the biggest possible stage? What do you feel is the ideal path for the Twins to make it through the gauntlet of the AL playoffs? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  8. Avoid the Wild Card Game One of the most important steps in having a sustained playoff run is avoiding playing in a coin flip game like each league’s wild-card game. Minnesota fans are well aware of the dangers of this game after seeing the Twins fall to the Yankees back in 2017. New York went on to the ALCS that year and there are some concerns with surviving this style of game. In that 2017 AL wild card game, Minnesota started Ervin Santana and then was forced to turn to Jose Berrios as a reliever. If the club had survived, they would have been put in an interesting spot for picking a starter of in Game 1 of the ALDS. Pitching staffs can be taxed in this type of game and there is too much randomness in a win-or-go-home atmosphere. The Twins need to make sure they take care of business and win the AL Central. Houston Poses a Problem If Minnesota is able win the AL Central, the club will qualify for the ALDS for the first time since 2010. Entering play on Wednesday, New York and Houston are separated by less than a game. Minnesota sits four games back so it seems unlikely they could catch either of the front-runners for the league’s top record. This means a first-round series on the road versus one of the league’s top teams. There are a couple ways to think about a Houston match-up. Teams are going to have to go through Houston at some point in the playoffs and it might be better seeing their strong starters in a shorter series. Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke would get fewer starts over five games than in seven games. This could allow the Twins to steal a game or two and end up with a series victory. New York would be the better match-up, but it would be better to face Houston in a shorter series. If a team must take out Houston, do it in the ALDS. Big Apple Battle Minnesota fans might have a phobia of facing off against the Yankees because of past playoff experience. When the Yankees came to Minneapolis earlier this year, it resulted in an epic back-and-forth series. New York’s pitching staff has flaws, but their offense is certainly on a par with Minnesota’s record-breaking line-up. It seems most likely for Houston or New York to take care of any of the wild card teams, but anything can happen in a five-game series. Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Oakland are all in the running for the two AL wild card spots. Any of these three teams would be a better match-up than facing Houston or New York in a seven-game series, but it would take a team coming in hot to take down one of the league’s top foes. If Minnesota takes care of Houston in the ALDS, it would be fitting for the club to face-off against the Yankees for the right to represent the AL in the World Series. It would be similar to the Red Sox exorcising their demons against the Yankees on the way to their 2004 title. If Minnesota must beat New York at some point, so why not do it on the biggest possible stage? What do you feel is the ideal path for the Twins to make it through the gauntlet of the AL playoffs? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. Quick, without looking, tell me the #3 starter for the Minnesota Twins in 2016. Having trouble coming up with the answer off the top of your head? Join the club. Well, let me enlighten you and just provide you with the answer. It’s Tyler Duffey. Yes, the same Tyler Duffey was is now emerging as one of the better right-handed options out of the bullpen. That Tyler Duffey. The fact that Tyler Duffey was the #3 starter for the Twins is a good example as to why the season turned out the way it did. The 2016 Minnesota Twins starting rotation, with its absolutely awful ERA (and results) is one of the worst aspects to an already terrible season. Save for some starts by Pat Dean, Phil Hughes, and Hector Santiago, let’s look at the top 6 starters in terms of games started for the 2016 Twins and delve into their seasons. *Warning: the following analysis is extremely distressing and it may horrify some readers. With that said, here is an in-depth look at the 2016 Minnesota Twins starting rotation. Here we go: Ervin Santana-30 games Ervin Santana is undoubtedly the lone highlight of a terrible 2016 Twins rotation. Santana led the team with a respectable 3.38 ERA. To put that in context, today in 2019 both Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios better that with a 3.06 and 3.10 ERA respectively. Additionally, Kyle Gibson hovers just over Santana’s 2016 mark with a 4.03 ERA. That’s three starters who are as good or better than the #1 Twins starter in 2016. Throughout the season, Santana averaged an okay-ish 7.4 strikeouts per 9 innings. That’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not fantastic. For context, today Jose Berrios and Martin Perez have the lowest strikeouts per 9 innings at 8.1 strikeouts. For Santana to lead the team in 2016 with 7.4 strikeouts per 9 innings leaves much to be desired. Perhaps most surprisingly, for as terrible as that Twins team was, Santana had a WHIP of 1.219. While that certainly did not cause Santana to be vaulted into the Cy Young conversation, that is decent enough to cement his role as the #1 starter. Tyler Duffey-26 games It is shocking that Tyler Duffey started 26 games for the Twins given the stats he put up every five days. Let me run some number by you that we will delve into here shortly. 6.43 ERA. 0 wins lost. It should sadden Twins fans that a pitcher with these kinds of stats could be the #2 starter. Yet, here we are diving into Tyler Duffey’s 2016 season. In 2016, Duffey had a 6.43 ERA. Let me say that again for those of you who didn’t quite catch that. A 6.43 ERA over 26 starts. A starter with a 6.43 ERA should not be allowed to start 16 games, much less 26 games. There’s not much to explain here other than to say again that Tyler Duffey was the Twins #2 starter and he had a 6.43 ERA. Yeeeesh. A second compelling stat is that in 2016 Tyler Duffey had 0 wins lost. That is to say, when Duffey left the game and was in line for a win, the bullpen never blew the lead. Or, another way to say that is all of Duffey’s 12 losses are entirely his fault. To lose 12 games and have them all be your fault is not great. Now, I do recognize that he may have had some poor run support during those losses. But the 6.43 ERA does little to support that argument. Either way, Duffey is not the ideal candidate to be the #2 starter for a Major League baseball club. Kyle Gibson-25 games Ahhh Kyle Gibson. Where do I even begin? Gibson has been one of the most divisive Twins player of the last several seasons. Some fans hate him. Some fans believe in him and refuse to give up. Whatever side of the fence that you fall on, it is undeniable that Gibson was less than stellar for the Twins in 2016. Gibson’s 5.07 ERA, coupled with his 1.2 hits per inning, equate into a sub-par season. While a 5.07 ERA is typical of Twins starters in the past 8 seasons, it is the 1.2 hits per inning that is particularly concerning. It is nearly impossible to win games consistently when you give up over a hit per inning. These nonstop hits led to his high ERA, as well as contributed to his 6-11 record. Even though wins and losses do not mean much today, it is still an indicator of how a pitcher’s overall season is going. Thankfully, Gibson has seemingly been able to turn it around recently, which is seen in his 4.03 ERA in 2019. While that is certainly not at an All-Star level, Gibson has managed to shave an entire run off of his ERA. Ricky Nolasco-21 games Ricky Nolasco. The Nolasco Fiasco. Seen largely as a bust and a waste of money for the Twins, Nolasco was the Twins big offseason signing of 2013-2014. Traded in the middle of 2016, Nolasco ended his Twins career with a very forgettable 2016 season. Nolasco, who threw 124.2 innings with a 5.13 ERA, had the second to worst winning percentage among starters. Yet, he was due to make $12 million before being traded to the Angels. The quality of starts that Nolasco gave the Twins day in and day out caused them to lose more games than win. With the trade of Nolasco to the Angels, the Twins got rid of both his awful starts, as well as the majority of his salary. While Nolasco is just a piece of the puzzle, his presence is indicative of why the 2016 Twins season was so terrible. A team that is competitive every day does not send Ricky Nolasco to the mound every five days, and that’s exactly what the Minnesota Twins did. Jose Berrios-14 games Jose Berrios, the Twins highly anticipated pitching phenom coming into the 2016 season, made his debut on April 27, 2016 and got rocked by Cleveland. Berrios threw 4.0 innings while giving up 6 hits, 5 earned runs, striking out 5, and walking 2. This kind of start summarizes Berrios’ overall 2016 season. Berrios had an extremely difficult 2016 season. In his 14 starts, Berrios pitched himself to an 8.02 ERA. He had a 49/35 strikeout to walk ratio. Additionally, he only pitched 58.1 innings in those 14 starts. No matter which way you look at it, those numbers are truly terrible. Similar to Gibson earlier, Berrios has improved beyond his 2016 numbers. However, Berrios has shown tremendous growth while Gibson has only marginally improved enough to where he is a respected starter while Berrios is seen as the teams ace today. Berrios’ rough debut season did not cause the Twins to lose 103 games. However, he certainly did not help matters much. Tommy Milone-12 games Tommy Milone, the only left-hander on our list, is one of the typical starters that Twins fans think of when they are forced to remember the dark years of 2011-2016. Not terrible enough to ever warrant a DFA but not good enough to be offered an extension, Milone is the last of the bunch of our terrible Twins starters. Just like everyone else, Milone sported a 5.71 ERA and was completely forgettable in an already forgettable Twins season. It’s sad when a staple of the Twins rotation has an ERA well over 5 and he is not even the worst of the bunch. This feeling of absolute meh among the Twins starters is typical of Twins teams of the last decade. Finally, Milone had a 1.529 FIP for the 2016 season. Considering that Santana had a WHIP 1.219, Milone’s 1.529 mark is terrible. Allowing 1.529 hits/walks per inning is how you give up runs and lose games. Final Thoughts The 2016 Minnesota Twins had a truly terrible group of starting pitchers. Anchored by Ervin Santana, the lone bright spot for the Twins, the starters greatly contributed to the dismal 2016 season. The bullpen and the offense did not help improve the season’s results one bit. Later in the series, we will examine the numbers behind those two groups and look at how they helped cause the downfall of the 2016 Twins. In the end, the starting rotation is one of the most important aspects of any good baseball team. The 2016 starting rotation was not good. And neither were the Twins. Ultimately, this group of rag-tag starters is what sparked the dumpster fire that is the 2016 Minnesota Twins.
  10. For most of the past decade, the Twins have taken their lumps in the starting rotation. Top prospects have flamed out or materialized on a slower trajectory. Free agents have largely been overpaid while underproducing, and only Ervin Santana has shown a glimpse of the Johan that came before him. It’s now though, that a 32nd overall pick from Puerto Rico, could be looking at as good of an opportunity as ever. Jose Berrios is coming off his best season as a big leaguer, and the first in which he pitched in the majors from the beginning. Tallying 192.1 IP, the Bayamon native posted a 3.84 ERA to go along with a 9.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. He earned his first All Star appearance and posted a career best 3.3 fWAR to lead all Minnesota pitchers. There’s no denying the 2018 campaign was a good one for the 24-year-old, but there’s also avenue for improvement. Over the course of the offseason, one of the most impressive developments for the organization has been the infusion of coaching talent. Specifically relating to Berrios, Wes Johnson and Jeremy Hefner will have a significant impact on a young and moldable arm in the years ahead. While Johnson doesn’t have the big-league track record, he’s got a list of accolade at the amateur level that doesn’t stop. His teaching along with the delivery of former big-leaguer Hefner, should go far to help the Twins staff unlock a new level of potential. Although Johnson is known as a velocity guru, I’d assume there’s plenty of other knowledge he may be able to impart on Berrios. Jose has shoved right around 94 mph on average over the course of his career. His ridiculous bender is a great strikeout pitch, and his pitchability has improved while learning the tendencies of major league hitters. If there’s a middle ground to be found in looking for the next step, it’s probably in quality of contact allowed. Berrios gave up a career worst 34.2% hard hit balls last season, while allowing 12.8% of fly balls to leave the yard. His stature has always provided pause on his downward plane, and questions regarding how often pitches will result in homers. On the flip side, Berrios generated a career best 11.2% swinging strike rate and got opposing batters to chase almost one-third of the time last year. There’s really no avenue to suggest that Berrios does anything poorly. He’s well above average across the board, but it’s the smaller tweaks that may help to unlock that next tier. A year ago, he finished 11th in fWAR among American League starters. Based on betting prognostications, that’s roughly where he’s viewed going into the 2019 season. Given the assumption for continued growth from talented youth, I’m betting on another step forward being taken. As someone who has suggested an idea that the Twins are in for a great year, and Byron Buxton’s emergence will pace the offense, it’s Berrios having a coming out party that should be a blast on the bump.
  11. THE 2013-14 OFFSEASON Download the 2014 Offseason Handbook (Free) Mauer Makes His Move Ahh, what a prescient cover design this turned out to be from our guy Brock Beauchamp: Joe Mauer, staring pensively off into the distance with his catcher's mask pulled over his head, symbolically walking off the field as backstop for the last time (well, not quite last, it turns out). When we published the 2014 Offseason Handbook, it wasn't yet known whether Mauer would change positions in the wake of a serious concussion with lasting effects. When questioned on the topic in our interview with him (Parker wasted no time), Terry Ryan responded with the following: TD: Are you preparing for a season in which Joe Mauer is catching less and playing the field more in 2014? TR: Not really. I’m not preparing for anything different than we prepared for last year. That decision’s still coming down to whether or not he wants to catch for sure. The good thing is he’s, I would say he’s 95 percent right now, which is good. That’s a decision that’s going to come down on whether or not he wants to stay back there, and how much he wants to stay back there. But right now I’m preparing for him to be back there.It wasn't long before Mauer did indeed make the call, smartly recognizing the serious health hazards of remaining behind the plate. "When I kept gathering information, to be honest with you, it wasn't really even a decision," Mauer told reporters in mid-November. "I kept searching to see if it was going to be OK, if it was going to be safe for me to go back there and catch, and I just wasn't finding that." Ryan obliged and changed course. In Comes Kurt Although he got a big feature image on his respective page in the Free Agent Catchers section, it's safe to say we didn't think a ton of Kurt Suzuki heading into this offseason, dedicating him this entire in-depth scouting report: "Hasn't had an OPS above .700 since 2009." It was true: Suzuki had settled in comfortably as a light-hitting gamer capable of maybe helping out in a part-time role. Signed on the cheap ($2.75 million) to fill an unexpected need, Suzuki was a classic bargain-bin find by TR, and one of his finest. Out of nowhere, the veteran catcher emerged as an All-Star in his first year with the Twins, sparking a mid-career renaissance with the bat. He would go on to post an OPS above .700 in four of the next five seasons, and now has become – against all odds – a legitimate slugger for the Braves. Wild stuff. Rickety Nolasco Here's what we wrote in our free agent profile on Ricky Nolasco, a 31-year-old righty hitting the open market for the first time: Nolasco has been a decidedly average pitcher over his career. In terms of ERA+, where the stat is equalized and 100 is average, Nolasco has a career ERA+ of 94. His value comes in the form of innings pitched; he throws approximately 202 innings per season. He misses some bats but not a ton, though he is coming off a career-best strikeout rate and he has been stingy when it comes to serving up the long ball. He hasn’t had many injuries lately so a long-term deal isn’t out of the question, but he really is more a No. 3 starter. Estimated Contract: 4 years, $52 millionThe Twins signed Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal and boy did he come up well short of that entirely underwhelming forecast. Nolasco was lousy in his first year (6-12, 5.38 ERA), and threw only 37 innings amidst injury woes in the second. Midway through Year 3, the Twins were ready to wipe their hands clean, trading Nolasco alongside Alex Meyer to the Angels. Getting Their Phil Coming off a mediocre season with the Yankees, Phil Hughes was another of the free agent starters we wrote up: Hughes is sort of the darling among the stat people. Yes, he suffered in Yankee Stadium (.909 OPS, 6.32 ERA in ’12) versus the road (.735 OPS, 3.88 ERA), which may suggest that he would be a different pitcher in, say, spacious Target Field and its fly ball-killing gaps. Plus, he’s so full of youth he knew what “twerking” was long before you Googled it. On one hand he has never been consistent; on the other he has been jerked around by the Yankees his entire career. A change of scenery could get him on the right track. Estimated Contract: 3 years, $30 millionA change of scenery did just that. Hughes signed with the Twins for three years and $24 million, a deal that looked like a bargain even before he turned in a career year in 2014. The combination of an ill-advised extension and debilitating shoulder issues would turn Hughes' contract from gift to hindrance, and Minnesota will still be paying on the tail end of it in 2019 (about $6.5 million), but this was a tremendous initial signing. PMKI: The letter grade assigned to Glen Perkins coming off what'd prove to be his best season. It remains the only time this Report Card score (traditionally on an A-F scale) has ever been awarded. THE 2014-15 OFFSEASON Download the 2015 Offseason Handbook (Free) Gardy Gone When Parker conducted this year's interview with Terry Ryan for the Handbook, Ron Gardenhire had been dismissed but his replacement hadn't yet been hired. I found this portion of the Q&A session, regarding the lines of questioning with candidates for the gig, quite interesting in retrospect: PH: Do you ask them if they use defensive shifts? TR: Yes. PH: Is that an emphasis on the next manager? TR: Defensive shifts? PH: Defensive shifts. Strategy. TR: It’s a piece. Strategy is more important than some. Yeah, that would be important. The most important thing out of many managerial interviews is how they handle the pitching staff.As it turns out, the guy Ryan selected – Paul Molitor – was big on shifts and strategy, but perpetually questionable in his handling of the pitching staff. Gathering Hunter The Twins entered this offseason with a pretty clear need for a starting corner outfielder. Torii Hunter was among the options we highlighted: Still producing at age 39, Hunter has become something of an ageless wonder. He took a bit of a step back in 2014 after back-to-back seasons with an 800-plus OPS, but still batted .286/.319/.446 with 17 homers and 83 RBI. His numbers over the years have been extremely consistent but his defensive skills have diminished, even in the corners. The Twins might like the idea of a familiar veteran joining their young outfield group, but would Hunter be interested in joining a non-contender? Estimated Contract: 1 year, $8 millionHunter was indeed interested, inking a one-year deal worth $10.5 million. And with his help, the Twins returned to (fringe) contender status, broaching the .500 mark for the first time in five years. But while he was credited with making a big clubhouse impact, Hunter's production took another step backward as he finished with a .702 OPS, lowest since he was an overmatched rookie in Minnesota 17 years earlier. After the season, Hunter hung up his cleats. Swervin' Toward Ervin In the two preceding offseasons, our Handbooks had identified Ervin Santana as a logical free agent target, but in both cases he signed one-year deals elsewhere (Kansas City, then Atlanta). This time around, as if by fate, the two sides finally met with Erv signing a four-year, $55 million contract that was very close to what we projected in sizing him up: After that abysmal season in 2012 with the Angels, Santana has posted two quality seasons with the Royals and Braves on one-year deals. This past year in Atlanta, he reduced the number of long balls allowed and used his deadly slider more effectively against an unsuspecting group of National Leaguers. He also pitched inside with his fastball more, helping to lower his home run totals -- allowing just six dingers on his heater after averaging 18 a year the past three seasons. The Braves will likely submit a qualifying offer of $15.3 million which, odds are, he will turn down to seek a multi-year deal after the one year with the Braves. Nobody wants to part with draft pool money -- especially a rebuilding franchise -- but Santana could provide solid pitching depth. Estimated Contract: 4 years, $50 millionRecipient of the most lucrative free agent investment in franchise history, Santana's anticipated debut with the Twins would ultimately be delayed by an 80-game PED suspension. But he pitched well in the second half of 2015 and then performed like a frontline starter over the next two seasons with a 3.32 ERA over nearly 400 innings. His 2018 was a complete loss, but when Santana was actually healthy and on the mound, he was arguably the best starting pitcher Minnesota's had since the last guy to sport the same name on his jersey. (The story of this Twins offseason has yet to be written, but you'll be ready to expertly follow along with the 2019 Offseason Handbook. Order your copy of this digital product now!)
  12. With the new Offseason Handbook available for download, we'll continue our retrospective of offseasons past. I went through the last seven years worth of Handbooks, seeking fun nuggets of nostalgia or insight and linking to previous freely accessible editions if you're hankering for a trip down memory lane. Last time we looked at the winters of 2011-12 and 2012-13. Next up: 2013-14 and 2014-15. THE 2013-14 OFFSEASON Download attachment: 2014cover.png Download the 2014 Offseason Handbook (Free) Mauer Makes His Move Ahh, what a prescient cover design this turned out to be from our guy Brock Beauchamp: Joe Mauer, staring pensively off into the distance with his catcher's mask pulled over his head, symbolically walking off the field as backstop for the last time (well, not quite last, it turns out). When we published the 2014 Offseason Handbook, it wasn't yet known whether Mauer would change positions in the wake of a serious concussion with lasting effects. When questioned on the topic in our interview with him (Parker wasted no time), Terry Ryan responded with the following: TD: Are you preparing for a season in which Joe Mauer is catching less and playing the field more in 2014? TR: Not really. I’m not preparing for anything different than we prepared for last year. That decision’s still coming down to whether or not he wants to catch for sure. The good thing is he’s, I would say he’s 95 percent right now, which is good. That’s a decision that’s going to come down on whether or not he wants to stay back there, and how much he wants to stay back there. But right now I’m preparing for him to be back there. It wasn't long before Mauer did indeed make the call, smartly recognizing the serious health hazards of remaining behind the plate. "When I kept gathering information, to be honest with you, it wasn't really even a decision," Mauer told reporters in mid-November. "I kept searching to see if it was going to be OK, if it was going to be safe for me to go back there and catch, and I just wasn't finding that." Ryan obliged and changed course. In Comes Kurt Although he got a big feature image on his respective page in the Free Agent Catchers section, it's safe to say we didn't think a ton of Kurt Suzuki heading into this offseason, dedicating him this entire in-depth scouting report: "Hasn't had an OPS above .700 since 2009." Download attachment: suzuki.png It was true: Suzuki had settled in comfortably as a light-hitting gamer capable of maybe helping out in a part-time role. Signed on the cheap ($2.75 million) to fill an unexpected need, Suzuki was a classic bargain-bin find by TR, and one of his finest. Out of nowhere, the veteran catcher emerged as an All-Star in his first year with the Twins, sparking a mid-career renaissance with the bat. He would go on to post an OPS above .700 in four of the next five seasons, and now has become – against all odds – a legitimate slugger for the Braves. Wild stuff. Rickety Nolasco Here's what we wrote in our free agent profile on Ricky Nolasco, a 31-year-old righty hitting the open market for the first time: Nolasco has been a decidedly average pitcher over his career. In terms of ERA+, where the stat is equalized and 100 is average, Nolasco has a career ERA+ of 94. His value comes in the form of innings pitched; he throws approximately 202 innings per season. He misses some bats but not a ton, though he is coming off a career-best strikeout rate and he has been stingy when it comes to serving up the long ball. He hasn’t had many injuries lately so a long-term deal isn’t out of the question, but he really is more a No. 3 starter. Estimated Contract: 4 years, $52 million The Twins signed Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal and boy did he come up well short of that entirely underwhelming forecast. Nolasco was lousy in his first year (6-12, 5.38 ERA), and threw only 37 innings amidst injury woes in the second. Midway through Year 3, the Twins were ready to wipe their hands clean, trading Nolasco alongside Alex Meyer to the Angels. Getting Their Phil Coming off a mediocre season with the Yankees, Phil Hughes was another of the free agent starters we wrote up: Hughes is sort of the darling among the stat people. Yes, he suffered in Yankee Stadium (.909 OPS, 6.32 ERA in ’12) versus the road (.735 OPS, 3.88 ERA), which may suggest that he would be a different pitcher in, say, spacious Target Field and its fly ball-killing gaps. Plus, he’s so full of youth he knew what “twerking” was long before you Googled it. On one hand he has never been consistent; on the other he has been jerked around by the Yankees his entire career. A change of scenery could get him on the right track. Estimated Contract: 3 years, $30 million A change of scenery did just that. Hughes signed with the Twins for three years and $24 million, a deal that looked like a bargain even before he turned in a career year in 2014. The combination of an ill-advised extension and debilitating shoulder issues would turn Hughes' contract from gift to hindrance, and Minnesota will still be paying on the tail end of it in 2019 (about $6.5 million), but this was a tremendous initial signing. PMKI: The letter grade assigned to Glen Perkins coming off what'd prove to be his best season. It remains the only time this Report Card score (traditionally on an A-F scale) has ever been awarded. THE 2014-15 OFFSEASON Download attachment: 2015cover.png Download the 2015 Offseason Handbook (Free) Gardy Gone When Parker conducted this year's interview with Terry Ryan for the Handbook, Ron Gardenhire had been dismissed but his replacement hadn't yet been hired. I found this portion of the Q&A session, regarding the lines of questioning with candidates for the gig, quite interesting in retrospect: PH: Do you ask them if they use defensive shifts? TR: Yes. PH: Is that an emphasis on the next manager? TR: Defensive shifts? PH: Defensive shifts. Strategy. TR: It’s a piece. Strategy is more important than some. Yeah, that would be important. The most important thing out of many managerial interviews is how they handle the pitching staff. As it turns out, the guy Ryan selected – Paul Molitor – was big on shifts and strategy, but perpetually questionable in his handling of the pitching staff. Gathering Hunter The Twins entered this offseason with a pretty clear need for a starting corner outfielder. Torii Hunter was among the options we highlighted: Still producing at age 39, Hunter has become something of an ageless wonder. He took a bit of a step back in 2014 after back-to-back seasons with an 800-plus OPS, but still batted .286/.319/.446 with 17 homers and 83 RBI. His numbers over the years have been extremely consistent but his defensive skills have diminished, even in the corners. The Twins might like the idea of a familiar veteran joining their young outfield group, but would Hunter be interested in joining a non-contender? Estimated Contract: 1 year, $8 million Hunter was indeed interested, inking a one-year deal worth $10.5 million. And with his help, the Twins returned to (fringe) contender status, broaching the .500 mark for the first time in five years. But while he was credited with making a big clubhouse impact, Hunter's production took another step backward as he finished with a .702 OPS, lowest since he was an overmatched rookie in Minnesota 17 years earlier. After the season, Hunter hung up his cleats. Swervin' Toward Ervin In the two preceding offseasons, our Handbooks had identified Ervin Santana as a logical free agent target, but in both cases he signed one-year deals elsewhere (Kansas City, then Atlanta). This time around, as if by fate, the two sides finally met with Erv signing a four-year, $55 million contract that was very close to what we projected in sizing him up: After that abysmal season in 2012 with the Angels, Santana has posted two quality seasons with the Royals and Braves on one-year deals. This past year in Atlanta, he reduced the number of long balls allowed and used his deadly slider more effectively against an unsuspecting group of National Leaguers. He also pitched inside with his fastball more, helping to lower his home run totals -- allowing just six dingers on his heater after averaging 18 a year the past three seasons. The Braves will likely submit a qualifying offer of $15.3 million which, odds are, he will turn down to seek a multi-year deal after the one year with the Braves. Nobody wants to part with draft pool money -- especially a rebuilding franchise -- but Santana could provide solid pitching depth. Estimated Contract: 4 years, $50 million Recipient of the most lucrative free agent investment in franchise history, Santana's anticipated debut with the Twins would ultimately be delayed by an 80-game PED suspension. But he pitched well in the second half of 2015 and then performed like a frontline starter over the next two seasons with a 3.32 ERA over nearly 400 innings. His 2018 was a complete loss, but when Santana was actually healthy and on the mound, he was arguably the best starting pitcher Minnesota's had since the last guy to sport the same name on his jersey. (The story of this Twins offseason has yet to be written, but you'll be ready to expertly follow along with the 2019 Offseason Handbook. Order your copy of this digital product now!) Click here to view the article
  13. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/13 through Sun, 8/19 *** Record Last Week: 5-1 (Overall: 59-64) Run Differential Last Week: +12 (Overall: -21) Standing: 2nd Place in AL Central (12.0 GB) HIGHLIGHTS It's been awhile since we've had a noteworthy Joe Mauer highlight to celebrate, which speaks to his generally disappointing production this summer, but that didn't make last week's big moment feel any less special. Called upon as a pinch-hitter Friday night with the Twins trailing by a run in the seventh, Mauer got a hold of one and drove it over the wall in right-center, propelling Minnesota to victory. For all his shortcomings – among 23 qualified MLB first basemen, he ranks 18th in OPS – no one could accuse of Mauer of being unclutch: https://twitter.com/morsecode/status/1030588064282931200 Even in his greatly diminished state, Mauer remains a genuinely trustworthy player in key spots. He's not the best hitter on the team but I'll still take him over anyone else with a crucial run 90 or 180 feet away. If this is the end of the road for him (more on that in a bit), that's definitely something I'll always remember about the latest stage of his career. Mauer added another home run in his first at-bat on Saturday, nearly matching his previous season total (3) in a week that saw him go 8-for-21 (.381) overall. Elsewhere: Although he has moved around in Paul Molitor's lineups a little, last week Jorge Polanco batted third in every game, and sure looked like a No. 3 hitter, driving in eight runs in six games. He flashed some nice pop with three doubles and a big home run. There were several other big contributors in an outstanding week for the offense, which produced 41 runs in six games. Miguel Sano sustained his invigorating re-emergence, launching three home runs and a double while driving in six. Logan Forsythe tallied five hits in Thursday's 15-run explosion and is batting .361 since joining the team at the end of July. Tyler Austin went 8-for-16 with two homers. Eddie Rosario collected hits in every game, and delivered the decisive dinger on Sunday afternoon. In the bullpen, Trevor Hildenberger rebounded from a run of bad outings, converting all three save chances in his first full week as closer. But it's Taylor Rogers who now stands out as the leader and stalwart of this bullpen. He's been pretty much spotless in August, and kept it rolling last week with four scoreless appearances. LOWLIGHTS Fresh off his misguided "front office gave up on us" grumblings, Ervin Santana took the hill and contributed another clunker. Despite being staked to eight early runs on Thursday night, Santana made things interesting by serving meatballs to Detroit's meager lineup, coughing up seven runs over four innings. In five starts since rejoining the Twins rotation, Santana has an 8.03 ERA and 4% swinging strike rate, with his fastball rarely reaching the 90s. Astonishingly, he has surrendered nine home runs in 24 2/3 innings. Clearly not close to 100%, and showing no meaningful progress, Santana was shut down again following his latest outing. It's unlikely we'll see him on the mound again this season, and that's for the best. The Twins gain far more benefit from giving those starts to others going forward. One very deserving candidate will finally get his chance on Monday, jumping into Santana's vacant spot. We'll cover this excellent news shortly. Jose Berrios endured his own struggles on Wednesday against Pittsburgh. It was the third time in his past four turns he's failed to complete the fifth inning, and on this occasion he couldn't even get through four. The right-hander's control, so sharp for much of the first half, has gradually deteriorated – in his first 13 starts he issued 14 walks in 83 2/3 innings (1.5 BB/9), while in the latter 12 he's issued 30 in 70 innings (4.3 BB/9). Speaking of shaky control, Kohl Stewart was plagued by it in his second MLB start, which lasted only 2 2/3 innings on Saturday. He threw just 31 of 65 pitches for strikes, and issued four walks, showing poor command while failing to replicate the grounder-heavy contact mix from his debut. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'd love to see Stewart in relief before year's end. It's fairly evident the stuff doesn't play as a starter. But it'll all be moot if he can't stay in the zone. TRENDING STORYLINE Mauer's big home run on Friday night was a nice moment, but it doesn't change the reality that he's having one of his worst seasons at age 35. One has to believe he's had conversations with the Twins about his future. Maybe they're happy to bring him back on a cheapish short-term deal. Mauer can still be helpful in some capacity. Then again, the new regime isn't really attached to him, and Mauer doesn't necessarily fit with the vision of a rebuilt winner for the future. It's hard to imagine him playing anywhere else, so if the front office is signaling lukewarm interest, perhaps Mauer will determine the time has come. If so, how would it be handled? The homegrown MVP has enjoyed one of the better careers in franchise history, one deserving of celebration. It's not exactly in Joe's nature to make himself the center of attention, but I'd hope he will facilitate a bit of a send-off if he decides to retire with time remaining in the season. The fans would really enjoy it and I'm sure the team's marketing department would too. Following Monday's makeup game against the White Sox, the Twins have three homestands remaining – a four-game set against Oakland next weekend, followed by a six-gamer in early September and seven games to wrap up year, with Ron Gardenhire and the Tigers on hand for the second-to-last series. Worth keeping in mind. DOWN ON THE FARM The top three Twins pitching prospects are all trending up, and one is moving up. Brusdar Graterol and Stephen Gonsalves were already established as the cream of the system's crop, and reinforced their standings with big performances last week. On Wednesday, Graterol fired seven innings of one-run ball for the Miracle, scattering three hits and three walks while striking out six. In his last five starts he is 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA, and opponents are batting .196. The hard-throwing righty, who turns 20 next week, has wasted little time transferring his dominance from the Midwest League to the Florida State League. Meanwhile, Gonsalves took care of business yet again, and finally got his just reward. He tossed six shutout innings on Tuesday to extend a spectacular run in the International League, where he has allowed only nine runs on 34 hits in his past 64 innings. On Sunday, we learned that he'll be making his major-league debut on Monday against the White Sox. A brief Red Wings teammate after joining Gonsalves in Rochester roster last week, Lewis Thorpe solidified his case for being mentioned alongside him and Graterol. In his first Triple-A start on Wednesday, Thorpe threw 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball with no walks and nine strikeouts, inducing an eye-popping 22 swinging strikes. In his last 10 Double A starts before the promotion he'd posted a 2.09 ERA and 66-to-10 K/BB ratio in 52 innings with opponents slashing .178/.221/.259. Thorpe is a stud and given his presence on the 40-man roster I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in September alongside the newly promoted Gonsalves. LOOKING AHEAD Monday's game is the kind of exciting draw that keeps fans watching in a lost season. We've been waiting a long time to see Gonsalves on the big-league stage and now we'll finally get our chance after his magnificent stretch at Triple-A. It's a much-needed glimpse of the team's hopefully bright future. White Sox fans are surely feeling the same way about the next game, which will see Michael Kopech make his big-league debut against Minnesota. Ranked as the game's 13th-best prospect by Baseball America, Kopech has an incredible fastball that's sure to give Twins hitters fits, on Tuesday and well beyond. MONDAY, 8/20: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito v. LHP Stephen Gonsalves TUESDAY, 8/21: TWINS @ WHITE SOX – RHP Jose Berrios v. RHP Michael Kopech WEDNESDAY, 8/22: TWINS @ WHITE SOX – RHP Kyle Gibson v. LHP Carlos Rodon THURSDAY, 8/23: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Trevor Cahill v. RHP Kohl Stewart FRIDAY, 8/24: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – LHP Sean Manaea v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SATURDAY, 8/25: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Mike Fiers v. LHP Stephen Gonsalves SUNDAY, 8/26: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – LHP Brett Anderson v. RHP Jose Berrios Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 117 | MIN 5, PIT 2: Odorizzi, Polanco Spark Comeback Game 118 | MIN 6, PIT 4: New-Look Bullpen Boosts Twins Over Buccos Game 119 | MIN 15, DET 8: Five Hits for Forsythe in Busy Night on the Bases Game 120 | MIN 5, DET 4: Take a Bow, Joe Game 121 | DET 7, MIN 5: Stewart Bombs Second Audition Game 122 | MIN 5, DET 4: Late Rosario Homer Lifts Twins to Elusive One-Run Victory
  14. The Minnesota Twins haven't been at .500 or above since April 22nd. Will they get back there before the season ends? They are running out of time with less than a quarter of the schedule remaining, but they made inroads with a strong week at Target Field that saw the Twins hit their stride – emphasis on hit. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/13 through Sun, 8/19 *** Record Last Week: 5-1 (Overall: 59-64) Run Differential Last Week: +12 (Overall: -21) Standing: 2nd Place in AL Central (12.0 GB) HIGHLIGHTS It's been awhile since we've had a noteworthy Joe Mauer highlight to celebrate, which speaks to his generally disappointing production this summer, but that didn't make last week's big moment feel any less special. Called upon as a pinch-hitter Friday night with the Twins trailing by a run in the seventh, Mauer got a hold of one and drove it over the wall in right-center, propelling Minnesota to victory. For all his shortcomings – among 23 qualified MLB first basemen, he ranks 18th in OPS – no one could accuse of Mauer of being unclutch: Even in his greatly diminished state, Mauer remains a genuinely trustworthy player in key spots. He's not the best hitter on the team but I'll still take him over anyone else with a crucial run 90 or 180 feet away. If this is the end of the road for him (more on that in a bit), that's definitely something I'll always remember about the latest stage of his career. Mauer added another home run in his first at-bat on Saturday, nearly matching his previous season total (3) in a week that saw him go 8-for-21 (.381) overall. Elsewhere: Although he has moved around in Paul Molitor's lineups a little, last week Jorge Polanco batted third in every game, and sure looked like a No. 3 hitter, driving in eight runs in six games. He flashed some nice pop with three doubles and a big home run. There were several other big contributors in an outstanding week for the offense, which produced 41 runs in six games. Miguel Sano sustained his invigorating re-emergence, launching three home runs and a double while driving in six. Logan Forsythe tallied five hits in Thursday's 15-run explosion and is batting .361 since joining the team at the end of July. Tyler Austin went 8-for-16 with two homers. Eddie Rosario collected hits in every game, and delivered the decisive dinger on Sunday afternoon. In the bullpen, Trevor Hildenberger rebounded from a run of bad outings, converting all three save chances in his first full week as closer. But it's Taylor Rogers who now stands out as the leader and stalwart of this bullpen. He's been pretty much spotless in August, and kept it rolling last week with four scoreless appearances. LOWLIGHTS Fresh off his misguided "front office gave up on us" grumblings, Ervin Santana took the hill and contributed another clunker. Despite being staked to eight early runs on Thursday night, Santana made things interesting by serving meatballs to Detroit's meager lineup, coughing up seven runs over four innings. In five starts since rejoining the Twins rotation, Santana has an 8.03 ERA and 4% swinging strike rate, with his fastball rarely reaching the 90s. Astonishingly, he has surrendered nine home runs in 24 2/3 innings. Clearly not close to 100%, and showing no meaningful progress, Santana was shut down again following his latest outing. It's unlikely we'll see him on the mound again this season, and that's for the best. The Twins gain far more benefit from giving those starts to others going forward. One very deserving candidate will finally get his chance on Monday, jumping into Santana's vacant spot. We'll cover this excellent news shortly. Jose Berrios endured his own struggles on Wednesday against Pittsburgh. It was the third time in his past four turns he's failed to complete the fifth inning, and on this occasion he couldn't even get through four. The right-hander's control, so sharp for much of the first half, has gradually deteriorated – in his first 13 starts he issued 14 walks in 83 2/3 innings (1.5 BB/9), while in the latter 12 he's issued 30 in 70 innings (4.3 BB/9). Speaking of shaky control, Kohl Stewart was plagued by it in his second MLB start, which lasted only 2 2/3 innings on Saturday. He threw just 31 of 65 pitches for strikes, and issued four walks, showing poor command while failing to replicate the grounder-heavy contact mix from his debut. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'd love to see Stewart in relief before year's end. It's fairly evident the stuff doesn't play as a starter. But it'll all be moot if he can't stay in the zone. TRENDING STORYLINE Mauer's big home run on Friday night was a nice moment, but it doesn't change the reality that he's having one of his worst seasons at age 35. One has to believe he's had conversations with the Twins about his future. Maybe they're happy to bring him back on a cheapish short-term deal. Mauer can still be helpful in some capacity. Then again, the new regime isn't really attached to him, and Mauer doesn't necessarily fit with the vision of a rebuilt winner for the future. It's hard to imagine him playing anywhere else, so if the front office is signaling lukewarm interest, perhaps Mauer will determine the time has come. If so, how would it be handled? The homegrown MVP has enjoyed one of the better careers in franchise history, one deserving of celebration. It's not exactly in Joe's nature to make himself the center of attention, but I'd hope he will facilitate a bit of a send-off if he decides to retire with time remaining in the season. The fans would really enjoy it and I'm sure the team's marketing department would too. Following Monday's makeup game against the White Sox, the Twins have three homestands remaining – a four-game set against Oakland next weekend, followed by a six-gamer in early September and seven games to wrap up year, with Ron Gardenhire and the Tigers on hand for the second-to-last series. Worth keeping in mind. DOWN ON THE FARM The top three Twins pitching prospects are all trending up, and one is moving up. Brusdar Graterol and Stephen Gonsalves were already established as the cream of the system's crop, and reinforced their standings with big performances last week. On Wednesday, Graterol fired seven innings of one-run ball for the Miracle, scattering three hits and three walks while striking out six. In his last five starts he is 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA, and opponents are batting .196. The hard-throwing righty, who turns 20 next week, has wasted little time transferring his dominance from the Midwest League to the Florida State League. Meanwhile, Gonsalves took care of business yet again, and finally got his just reward. He tossed six shutout innings on Tuesday to extend a spectacular run in the International League, where he has allowed only nine runs on 34 hits in his past 64 innings. On Sunday, we learned that he'll be making his major-league debut on Monday against the White Sox. A brief Red Wings teammate after joining Gonsalves in Rochester roster last week, Lewis Thorpe solidified his case for being mentioned alongside him and Graterol. In his first Triple-A start on Wednesday, Thorpe threw 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball with no walks and nine strikeouts, inducing an eye-popping 22 swinging strikes. In his last 10 Double A starts before the promotion he'd posted a 2.09 ERA and 66-to-10 K/BB ratio in 52 innings with opponents slashing .178/.221/.259. Thorpe is a stud and given his presence on the 40-man roster I wouldn't be surprised if we see him in September alongside the newly promoted Gonsalves. LOOKING AHEAD Monday's game is the kind of exciting draw that keeps fans watching in a lost season. We've been waiting a long time to see Gonsalves on the big-league stage and now we'll finally get our chance after his magnificent stretch at Triple-A. It's a much-needed glimpse of the team's hopefully bright future. White Sox fans are surely feeling the same way about the next game, which will see Michael Kopech make his big-league debut against Minnesota. Ranked as the game's 13th-best prospect by Baseball America, Kopech has an incredible fastball that's sure to give Twins hitters fits, on Tuesday and well beyond. MONDAY, 8/20: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito v. LHP Stephen Gonsalves TUESDAY, 8/21: TWINS @ WHITE SOX – RHP Jose Berrios v. RHP Michael Kopech WEDNESDAY, 8/22: TWINS @ WHITE SOX – RHP Kyle Gibson v. LHP Carlos Rodon THURSDAY, 8/23: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Trevor Cahill v. RHP Kohl Stewart FRIDAY, 8/24: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – LHP Sean Manaea v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SATURDAY, 8/25: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – RHP Mike Fiers v. LHP Stephen Gonsalves SUNDAY, 8/26: ATHLETICS @ TWINS – LHP Brett Anderson v. RHP Jose Berrios Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 117 | MIN 5, PIT 2: Odorizzi, Polanco Spark ComebackGame 118 | MIN 6, PIT 4: New-Look Bullpen Boosts Twins Over BuccosGame 119 | MIN 15, DET 8: Five Hits for Forsythe in Busy Night on the BasesGame 120 | MIN 5, DET 4: Take a Bow, JoeGame 121 | DET 7, MIN 5: Stewart Bombs Second AuditionGame 122 | MIN 5, DET 4: Late Rosario Homer Lifts Twins to Elusive One-Run Victory Click here to view the article
  15. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/6 through Sun, 8/12 *** Record Last Week: 2-5 (Overall: 54-63) Run Differential Last Week: -16 (Overall: -33) Standing: 2nd Place in AL Central (12.0 GB) HIGHLIGHTS After going 3-for-28 through eight August games, dropping his average to .186, Logan Morrison finally succumbed to a hip impingement that's been bothering him for much of the season. He's set to undergo surgery that'll knock him out for the rest of the year. This is good news for a couple of reasons. We finally have some clarity around the root causes in a hugely disappointing season for Morrison, who can hopefully rehab and get his career back on track. Meanwhile, the Twins can now give his at-bats to others more likely to figure into their future plans. One such player is Tyler Austin, who's been called up to fill Morrison's roster spot and role. Making his Twins debut on Saturday, the Austin launched a two-run bomb against old friend Francisco Liriano. The thunderous smash plated Miguel Sano, whose encouraging week included his first home run since being recalled and four walks. Yeah, he's still striking out a ton, but that's just okay when he's notching hits and coaxing walks at respectable clips. LOWLIGHTS Look. I get that, to some extent, expressing dismay over a deadline talent dump is part of being a leader. We saw it from Brian Dozier last year and now we're seeing it from Ervin Santana. "We’re not giving up, but they did," Santana lamented of the Twins front office after Friday night's loss, on the heels of Fernando Rodney being dealt to Oakland. I'm sure he's channeling the mood in the clubhouse, and in essence, that's fine – you want your players to be fired up at times like this. I'd be disappointed if they weren't ticked off. But Santana is striking all the wrong notes, with this entirely unwarranted bitterness toward a baseball ops department that's only doing its job. For the right-hander to be proclaiming his team is "only 10 games out" in mid-August seems almost comically oblivious. They have the largest deficit for any second-place team in baseball, in the worst division. And the Twins have reached this point largely because of lifeless, underwhelming efforts like the one put forth in Friday's series-opening loss to Detroit. While it's convenient for Santana to insinuate that this lackluster showing against one of the AL's worst teams was due to shell-shock, or the absence of key pieces, we saw too many such performances in the first four months for that notion to hold water. I don't blame Santana for getting hurt, nor do I hold it against him, but the fact remains: he wasn't here for those first four months. And now that he's back, he looks terrible. He gave up five runs against an abysmal offense on Friday and hasn't contributed one quality start since returning. In four turns he has surrendered six home runs with an almost impossibly low 4.2% swinging strike rate. Out of 451 MLB pitchers to throw 20+ innings this season, his mark ranks dead-last. The Twins would surely love to dump Santana's remaining salary, and $1 million option buyout, and generally counterproductive attitude. But his play has turned even a modest return like Rodney's into wishful thinking. No one's going to give up so much as a Dakota Chalmers type lotto ticket on the hope that Santana suddenly finds his stuff as he approaches 36. The veteran's got nothing right now. And so he, like many others on the roster, slogs forth through these final weeks. Frankly if anyone has grounds for complaining, it's the potential future contributors being held back by the presence of Santana's depleted arm on the roster. The same night Erv was getting knocked around by Detroit, Stephen Gonsalves was delivering another quality start in Rochester with nine strikeouts over six innings. He has a 3.15 ERA in Triple-A but remains unable to crack the Minnesota rotation. Fernando Romero looked better at his worst than Santana has it his best this year, but continues to compile innings in the minors. At least Kohl Stewart got his chance on Sunday, starting against the Tigers and looking more or less as advertised. The 23-year-old former top draft pick flashed mid-90s heat on a fastball with good movement, but allowed tons of contact with only two swinging strikes on 74 pitches. He finessed enough grounders to make it work through four frames, but things fell apart in the fifth as Detroit strung together four straight hits and a walk to break through and knock him out of the game. On merit, Stewart certainly doesn't deserve to be promoted ahead of Romero or Gonsalves, but I suppose the Twins have a more urgent need to give him a look, given his status as a fringe 40-man roster hold this offseason. Presumably we'll see more of him going forward. Personally, I'd be curious to see if the pitches play up in relief at all. TRENDING STORYLINE With Rodney shipped out, the Twins can use these final weeks to evaluate internal closer options for 2019. Unfortunately, no one's exactly rising as a prime candidate. Ryan Pressly would've likely been first in line, but of course, he's gone. Trevor Hildenberger got the call on Saturday night and almost blew a three-run lead, coughing up a two-run homer and putting the tying run on base before closing out the win. The ugly outing extended a very poor stretch for Hildenberger, who hasn't looked like himself for weeks. Since the All-Star break, he has allowed 19 hits and five home runs in 11 innings of work. He had previously surrendered nine total homers in 88 MLB innings. A natural choice for the closer nod would be Addison Reed, if he were throwing well at all. He's not. It doesn't appear his three-week stint on the DL did much to repair his arm, which continues to produce jarringly low velocity readings. The stuff just isn't there for Reed, who has induced only one swinging strike on 39 pitches in three appearances since returning from the shelf. Who else might get a look in the ninth inning? Gabriel Moya? Taylor Rogers? Matt Magill? One reliever I'd like to see get a few chances is Tyler Duffey, who was a very successful collegiate closer at Rice. He was recalled alongside Austin last week after posting a 2.72 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 9.3 K/9 rate in Triple-A. DOWN ON THE FARM The ascent of Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was about as smooth and optimal as one could hope for from a No. 1 overall pick out of high school. He cruised through the minors, developed into an elite prospect by the end of his first full pro season, and reached the majors at age 20, becoming an instant superstar and Rookie of the Year. The pace that Royce Lewis is currently on makes Correa's look decidedly sluggish. The shortstop is crushing High-A and hurtling toward a 2019 Twins debut. He and Alex Kirilloff have taken the Florida State League by storm. Among players with 100 PA in the league, they rank seventh and eighth in OPS; at 19 and 20 they are the youngest members of the Top 25. Kirilloff snapped a 13-game hitting streak when he went 0-for-2 on the final day of July, but now has another going, pushed to 10 last week as he tallied at least one knock in each game. Among FSL players with 150+ PA, he has the highest average and the seventh-lowest walk rate. Kirilloff swings at everything and hits everything. On Saturday, Michael Pineda made his first rehab start at Fort Myers, and he looked excellent, tossing three scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks. The big righty induced seven swinging strikes on 33 pitches and reportedly touched 95 MPH. All signs are positive as he works his way back from 2017 Tommy John surgery. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins will get a look at Chris Archer in his new Pirates uniform on Wednesday. He hasn't looked great since coming over from Tampa at the deadline. On Saturday, the Tigers will get another look at Stewart as the 23-year-old makes his Target Field debut. TUESDAY, 8/14: PIRATES @ TWINS – RHP Jameson Taillon v. RHP Jake Odorizzi WEDNESDAY, 8/15: PIRATES @ TWINS – RHP Chris Archer v. RHP Jose Berrios THURSDAY, 8/16: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Francisco Liriano v. RHP Ervin Santana FRIDAY, 8/17: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Matthew Boyd v. RHP Kyle Gibson SATURDAY, 8/18: TIGERS @ TWINS – Undecided v. RHP Kohl Stewart SUNDAY, 8/19: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Blaine Hardy v. RHP Jake Odorizzi Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 111 | CLE 10, MIN 0: Who Needs Chris Gimenez? Game 112 | MIN 3, CLE 2: Mitch Garver Makes it Rain Game 113 | CLE 5, MIN 2: Cleveland Prevails on Lindor Walk-Off Homer Game 114| CLE 5, MIN 4: Walks and a Walk-Off Game 114 | DET 5, MIN 3: Is There Anything Left? Game 115 | MIN 4, DET 3: Austin Homers, Hildy Survives Save Chanc Game 116 | DET 4, MIN 2: Stewart Debuts, Bats Slump in Loss
  16. The Twins lost two series, and their beloved closer. It wasn't a great week, and the messaging from the clubhouse wasn't great either. Your full recap lies ahead. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/6 through Sun, 8/12 *** Record Last Week: 2-5 (Overall: 54-63) Run Differential Last Week: -16 (Overall: -33) Standing: 2nd Place in AL Central (12.0 GB) HIGHLIGHTS After going 3-for-28 through eight August games, dropping his average to .186, Logan Morrison finally succumbed to a hip impingement that's been bothering him for much of the season. He's set to undergo surgery that'll knock him out for the rest of the year. This is good news for a couple of reasons. We finally have some clarity around the root causes in a hugely disappointing season for Morrison, who can hopefully rehab and get his career back on track. Meanwhile, the Twins can now give his at-bats to others more likely to figure into their future plans. One such player is Tyler Austin, who's been called up to fill Morrison's roster spot and role. Making his Twins debut on Saturday, the Austin launched a two-run bomb against old friend Francisco Liriano. The thunderous smash plated Miguel Sano, whose encouraging week included his first home run since being recalled and four walks. Yeah, he's still striking out a ton, but that's just okay when he's notching hits and coaxing walks at respectable clips. LOWLIGHTS Look. I get that, to some extent, expressing dismay over a deadline talent dump is part of being a leader. We saw it from Brian Dozier last year and now we're seeing it from Ervin Santana. "We’re not giving up, but they did," Santana lamented of the Twins front office after Friday night's loss, on the heels of Fernando Rodney being dealt to Oakland. I'm sure he's channeling the mood in the clubhouse, and in essence, that's fine – you want your players to be fired up at times like this. I'd be disappointed if they weren't ticked off. But Santana is striking all the wrong notes, with this entirely unwarranted bitterness toward a baseball ops department that's only doing its job. For the right-hander to be proclaiming his team is "only 10 games out" in mid-August seems almost comically oblivious. They have the largest deficit for any second-place team in baseball, in the worst division. And the Twins have reached this point largely because of lifeless, underwhelming efforts like the one put forth in Friday's series-opening loss to Detroit. While it's convenient for Santana to insinuate that this lackluster showing against one of the AL's worst teams was due to shell-shock, or the absence of key pieces, we saw too many such performances in the first four months for that notion to hold water. I don't blame Santana for getting hurt, nor do I hold it against him, but the fact remains: he wasn't here for those first four months. And now that he's back, he looks terrible. He gave up five runs against an abysmal offense on Friday and hasn't contributed one quality start since returning. In four turns he has surrendered six home runs with an almost impossibly low 4.2% swinging strike rate. Out of 451 MLB pitchers to throw 20+ innings this season, his mark ranks dead-last. The Twins would surely love to dump Santana's remaining salary, and $1 million option buyout, and generally counterproductive attitude. But his play has turned even a modest return like Rodney's into wishful thinking. No one's going to give up so much as a Dakota Chalmers type lotto ticket on the hope that Santana suddenly finds his stuff as he approaches 36. The veteran's got nothing right now. And so he, like many others on the roster, slogs forth through these final weeks. Frankly if anyone has grounds for complaining, it's the potential future contributors being held back by the presence of Santana's depleted arm on the roster. The same night Erv was getting knocked around by Detroit, Stephen Gonsalves was delivering another quality start in Rochester with nine strikeouts over six innings. He has a 3.15 ERA in Triple-A but remains unable to crack the Minnesota rotation. Fernando Romero looked better at his worst than Santana has it his best this year, but continues to compile innings in the minors. At least Kohl Stewart got his chance on Sunday, starting against the Tigers and looking more or less as advertised. The 23-year-old former top draft pick flashed mid-90s heat on a fastball with good movement, but allowed tons of contact with only two swinging strikes on 74 pitches. He finessed enough grounders to make it work through four frames, but things fell apart in the fifth as Detroit strung together four straight hits and a walk to break through and knock him out of the game. On merit, Stewart certainly doesn't deserve to be promoted ahead of Romero or Gonsalves, but I suppose the Twins have a more urgent need to give him a look, given his status as a fringe 40-man roster hold this offseason. Presumably we'll see more of him going forward. Personally, I'd be curious to see if the pitches play up in relief at all. TRENDING STORYLINE With Rodney shipped out, the Twins can use these final weeks to evaluate internal closer options for 2019. Unfortunately, no one's exactly rising as a prime candidate. Ryan Pressly would've likely been first in line, but of course, he's gone. Trevor Hildenberger got the call on Saturday night and almost blew a three-run lead, coughing up a two-run homer and putting the tying run on base before closing out the win. The ugly outing extended a very poor stretch for Hildenberger, who hasn't looked like himself for weeks. Since the All-Star break, he has allowed 19 hits and five home runs in 11 innings of work. He had previously surrendered nine total homers in 88 MLB innings. A natural choice for the closer nod would be Addison Reed, if he were throwing well at all. He's not. It doesn't appear his three-week stint on the DL did much to repair his arm, which continues to produce jarringly low velocity readings. The stuff just isn't there for Reed, who has induced only one swinging strike on 39 pitches in three appearances since returning from the shelf. Who else might get a look in the ninth inning? Gabriel Moya? Taylor Rogers? Matt Magill? One reliever I'd like to see get a few chances is Tyler Duffey, who was a very successful collegiate closer at Rice. He was recalled alongside Austin last week after posting a 2.72 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 9.3 K/9 rate in Triple-A. DOWN ON THE FARM The ascent of Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was about as smooth and optimal as one could hope for from a No. 1 overall pick out of high school. He cruised through the minors, developed into an elite prospect by the end of his first full pro season, and reached the majors at age 20, becoming an instant superstar and Rookie of the Year. The pace that Royce Lewis is currently on makes Correa's look decidedly sluggish. The shortstop is crushing High-A and hurtling toward a 2019 Twins debut. He and Alex Kirilloff have taken the Florida State League by storm. Among players with 100 PA in the league, they rank seventh and eighth in OPS; at 19 and 20 they are the youngest members of the Top 25. Kirilloff snapped a 13-game hitting streak when he went 0-for-2 on the final day of July, but now has another going, pushed to 10 last week as he tallied at least one knock in each game. Among FSL players with 150+ PA, he has the highest average and the seventh-lowest walk rate. Kirilloff swings at everything and hits everything. On Saturday, Michael Pineda made his first rehab start at Fort Myers, and he looked excellent, tossing three scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no walks. The big righty induced seven swinging strikes on 33 pitches and reportedly touched 95 MPH. All signs are positive as he works his way back from 2017 Tommy John surgery. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins will get a look at Chris Archer in his new Pirates uniform on Wednesday. He hasn't looked great since coming over from Tampa at the deadline. On Saturday, the Tigers will get another look at Stewart as the 23-year-old makes his Target Field debut. TUESDAY, 8/14: PIRATES @ TWINS – RHP Jameson Taillon v. RHP Jake Odorizzi WEDNESDAY, 8/15: PIRATES @ TWINS – RHP Chris Archer v. RHP Jose Berrios THURSDAY, 8/16: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Francisco Liriano v. RHP Ervin Santana FRIDAY, 8/17: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Matthew Boyd v. RHP Kyle Gibson SATURDAY, 8/18: TIGERS @ TWINS – Undecided v. RHP Kohl Stewart SUNDAY, 8/19: TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Blaine Hardy v. RHP Jake Odorizzi Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 111 | CLE 10, MIN 0: Who Needs Chris Gimenez?Game 112 | MIN 3, CLE 2: Mitch Garver Makes it RainGame 113 | CLE 5, MIN 2: Cleveland Prevails on Lindor Walk-Off HomerGame 114| CLE 5, MIN 4: Walks and a Walk-OffGame 114 | DET 5, MIN 3: Is There Anything Left?Game 115 | MIN 4, DET 3: Austin Homers, Hildy Survives Save ChancGame 116 | DET 4, MIN 2: Stewart Debuts, Bats Slump in Loss Click here to view the article
  17. It’s easy to forget just how good Ervin Santana was for the 2017 Minnesota Twins. He was an All-Star, finished fifth in the American League in both ERA and WHIP. He was seventh in Cy Young Award voting. Ervin made his fourth start of this season, and saw his ERA jump to 6.53.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 44 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 58.5% strikes (55 of 94 pitches) Multi-Hit Games: Ehire Adrianza (3-for-4, 2B) Jorge Polanco (2-for-4, 2B), Logan Forsythe (2-for-4), Jake Cave (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Forsythe .153 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Kepler -.101, Morrison -.129, Mauer -.165 Santana -.223 Download attachment: WinChart810.png Santana topped out a 90.6 mph and averaged 88.8 mph with his fastball tonight. To his credit, he was able to stay one step ahead of most batters. Ervin only allowed three hits over his six innings of work, but two of them came in the form of two-run homers. It’s actually been impressive to see Ervin execute with diminished stuff, in sort of a depressing way. He should be getting clobbered. Like bounced outta the game in the second inning clobbered. The lineup certainly could have executed better. The Twins outhit the Tigers 10-3, but were only 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Detroit even committed two errors, but the Twins couldn’t capitalize. It’s pretty fun to see what Niko Goodrum is doing with Detroit. He hit his 11th home run of the season tonight and has a .720 OPS. After the game, Santana did what you'd expect a professional veteran ballplayer to do. He took responsibility for his shortcomings and ... oh wait, no, he didn't. Jump head to about the 1:20 mark on this postgame interview: My take: It's not like Ervin is going on a rampage here, but that's not his style. Still, I say just let him go. Honestly. I'm already wondering if this finger injury has derailed his career, he's certainly not getting his $14 million option picked up and now he's taking shots at the front office. Even worse, by saying "it’s difficult to play without our good pieces" Santana is being disrespectful to his new teammates who've joined the club in the wake of those players leaving. Just end it now, there are plenty of other starting pitchers dying to get an opportunity. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen810.png AL Central Standings CLE 64-50 MIN 53-62 (-11.5) DET 48-68 (-17) CHW 41-73 (-23) KC 35-79 (-29) Next Three Game Sat at DET, 5:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Francisco Liriano Sun at DET, 12:10 pm CT: Kohl Stewart vs. Matt Boyd Mon: Off Tue vs. PIT, 7:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Jameson Taillon Last Three Games LE 5, MIN 4: Walks and a Walk-Off CLE 5, MIN 2: Cleveland Prevails on Lindor Walk-Off Homer MIN 3, CLE 2: Mitch Garver Makes it Rain Click here to view the article
  18. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 44 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 58.5% strikes (55 of 94 pitches) Multi-Hit Games: Ehire Adrianza (3-for-4, 2B) Jorge Polanco (2-for-4, 2B), Logan Forsythe (2-for-4), Jake Cave (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Forsythe .153 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Kepler -.101, Morrison -.129, Mauer -.165 Santana -.223 Santana topped out a 90.6 mph and averaged 88.8 mph with his fastball tonight. To his credit, he was able to stay one step ahead of most batters. Ervin only allowed three hits over his six innings of work, but two of them came in the form of two-run homers. It’s actually been impressive to see Ervin execute with diminished stuff, in sort of a depressing way. He should be getting clobbered. Like bounced outta the game in the second inning clobbered. The lineup certainly could have executed better. The Twins outhit the Tigers 10-3, but were only 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Detroit even committed two errors, but the Twins couldn’t capitalize. It’s pretty fun to see what Niko Goodrum is doing with Detroit. He hit his 11th home run of the season tonight and has a .720 OPS. After the game, Santana did what you'd expect a professional veteran ballplayer to do. He took responsibility for his shortcomings and ... oh wait, no, he didn't. Jump head to about the 1:20 mark on this postgame interview: https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/1028102252223967232 My take: It's not like Ervin is going on a rampage here, but that's not his style. Still, I say just let him go. Honestly. I'm already wondering if this finger injury has derailed his career, he's certainly not getting his $14 million option picked up and now he's taking shots at the front office. Even worse, by saying "it’s difficult to play without our good pieces" Santana is being disrespectful to his new teammates who've joined the club in the wake of those players leaving. Just end it now, there are plenty of other starting pitchers dying to get an opportunity. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 64-50 MIN 53-62 (-11.5) DET 48-68 (-17) CHW 41-73 (-23) KC 35-79 (-29) Next Three Game Sat at DET, 5:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Francisco Liriano Sun at DET, 12:10 pm CT: Kohl Stewart vs. Matt Boyd Mon: Off Tue vs. PIT, 7:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Jameson Taillon Last Three Games LE 5, MIN 4: Walks and a Walk-Off CLE 5, MIN 2: Cleveland Prevails on Lindor Walk-Off Homer MIN 3, CLE 2: Mitch Garver Makes it Rain
  19. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 38 Game Score, 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 66.3% strikes Home Runs: Jake Cave (4) Multi-Hit Games: Robbie Grossman (2-for-4, 2B), Miguel Sano (2-for-4), Logan Forsythe (2-for-4), Max Kepler (2-for-3, 2B, BB) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Cave .298, Rodney .173, Moya .145 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Hildenberger -.103, Garver -.189 Obviously, the best possible outcome a hitter can produce is to hit a grand slam. It just doesn’t get any better than that. But the way Cave worked his plate appearance up to the point where he hit the salami was very impressive as well. Cave fell behind 1-2 in the count and Duffy threw a 78 mph curveball, the first of the plate appearance. He bounced off the mound, expecting to get a called strike, but it was accurately called a ball. Still, it was an outstanding two-strike pitch. Cave fouled off the next pitch, a 96 mph fastball, and was visibly frustrated, a sign he was probably sitting on that pitch. Duffy went back to the fastball, but missed just barely below the zone. Another really outstanding two-strike offering from Duffy. With the count full, and the bases too, Cave was finally in the driver’s seat. Duffy wasn’t going to want to walk in a run, especially while facing a hitter who had done so poorly against same-sided pitching. He went back to the fastball. On the way in, it was 94.8 mph and traveled 60 feet, six inches. Cave absolutely unloaded on it, sending it out at 109 mph as it traveled 402 feet into the stands. https://twitter.com/BaseballByTom/status/1026180022095237120 When you consider the fact that Cave entered this game with a .158/.238/.368 line against lefties (though in just 21 PAs) and that Duffy had only give up one home run to a southpaw in 96 opportunities heading into today, this has to be considered both one of the best plate appearances and least likely outcomes from a Twins hitter we’ve seen all season. Ervin Santana went just 4 1/3 innings, which by the way is probably about what we can expect going forward. Ervin has given up 10 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings since his return, a 6.14 ERA, and is living on his slider and changeup. Santana left with runners on first and second base and one out, but Gabriel Moya came in and slammed the door. Moya retired all five batters he faced Sunday afternoon, recording two strikeouts while throwing 11 of his 16 pitches for strikes. Trevor Hildenberger gave up a two-run homer in the seventh to cut the Twins’ lead to one run. The Royals threatened again in the eighth thanks to a error by Miguel Sano and a “single” on a ball Logan Morrison should have caught at first base. Luckily Trevor May ended the threat by striking out Alcides Escobar to strand the runners at second and third. The Royals were feisty today. They also got their leadoff man on in the ninth, but Mitch Garver gunned down Whit Merrifield trying to steal second. Merrifield has stolen 67 bases in his career at an 80.7 percent success rate coming into today. Kansas City got the game-tying run all the way to third, but Miguel Sano made a very nice play to end this one, giving Fernando Rodney his 24th save. Robbie Grossman exited this game with a hamstring strain after hitting a single in the seventh inning. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 61-49 MIN 52-58 (-9) DET 47-64 (14.5) CHW 41-70 (-20.) KC 34-77 (-27.5) Next Three Game Mon at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Trevor Bauer Tue at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Adalberto Mejia vs. Carlos Carrasco Wed at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Mike Clevinger Last Three Games MIN 8, KC 2: New Twins Ace Wins in Front of Old Twins Ace MIN 6, KC 4: Long Day at the Office CLE 2, MIN 0: Carrasco Stars in Dominant Performance
  20. Jake Cave hit a grand slam in the second inning and the Twins’ bullpen managed to hold off a pesky Royals team to complete a three-game sweep. Things got very interesting late, but a big strikeout from Trevor May and some nice glove work from Mitch Garver and Miguel Sano helped secure the victory.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 38 Game Score, 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 66.3% strikes Home Runs: Jake Cave (4) Multi-Hit Games: Robbie Grossman (2-for-4, 2B), Miguel Sano (2-for-4), Logan Forsythe (2-for-4), Max Kepler (2-for-3, 2B, BB) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Cave .298, Rodney .173, Moya .145 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Hildenberger -.103, Garver -.189 Download attachment: WinChart85.png Obviously, the best possible outcome a hitter can produce is to hit a grand slam. It just doesn’t get any better than that. But the way Cave worked his plate appearance up to the point where he hit the salami was very impressive as well. Cave fell behind 1-2 in the count and Duffy threw a 78 mph curveball, the first of the plate appearance. He bounced off the mound, expecting to get a called strike, but it was accurately called a ball. Still, it was an outstanding two-strike pitch. Cave fouled off the next pitch, a 96 mph fastball, and was visibly frustrated, a sign he was probably sitting on that pitch. Duffy went back to the fastball, but missed just barely below the zone. Another really outstanding two-strike offering from Duffy. With the count full, and the bases too, Cave was finally in the driver’s seat. Duffy wasn’t going to want to walk in a run, especially while facing a hitter who had done so poorly against same-sided pitching. He went back to the fastball. On the way in, it was 94.8 mph and traveled 60 feet, six inches. Cave absolutely unloaded on it, sending it out at 109 mph as it traveled 402 feet into the stands. When you consider the fact that Cave entered this game with a .158/.238/.368 line against lefties (though in just 21 PAs) and that Duffy had only give up one home run to a southpaw in 96 opportunities heading into today, this has to be considered both one of the best plate appearances and least likely outcomes from a Twins hitter we’ve seen all season. Ervin Santana went just 4 1/3 innings, which by the way is probably about what we can expect going forward. Ervin has given up 10 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings since his return, a 6.14 ERA, and is living on his slider and changeup. Santana left with runners on first and second base and one out, but Gabriel Moya came in and slammed the door. Moya retired all five batters he faced Sunday afternoon, recording two strikeouts while throwing 11 of his 16 pitches for strikes. Trevor Hildenberger gave up a two-run homer in the seventh to cut the Twins’ lead to one run. The Royals threatened again in the eighth thanks to a error by Miguel Sano and a “single” on a ball Logan Morrison should have caught at first base. Luckily Trevor May ended the threat by striking out Alcides Escobar to strand the runners at second and third. The Royals were feisty today. They also got their leadoff man on in the ninth, but Mitch Garver gunned down Whit Merrifield trying to steal second. Merrifield has stolen 67 bases in his career at an 80.7 percent success rate coming into today. Kansas City got the game-tying run all the way to third, but Miguel Sano made a very nice play to end this one, giving Fernando Rodney his 24th save. Robbie Grossman exited this game with a hamstring strain after hitting a single in the seventh inning. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen85.png AL Central Standings CLE 61-49 MIN 52-58 (-9) DET 47-64 (14.5) CHW 41-70 (-20.) KC 34-77 (-27.5) Next Three Game Mon at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Trevor Bauer Tue at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Adalberto Mejia vs. Carlos Carrasco Wed at CLE, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Mike Clevinger Last Three Games MIN 8, KC 2: New Twins Ace Wins in Front of Old Twins Ace MIN 6, KC 4: Long Day at the Office CLE 2, MIN 0: Carrasco Stars in Dominant Performance Click here to view the article
  21. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 27 Game Score, 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 K, 2 BB, 68.2% strikes Multi-Hit Games: Miguel Sano (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Mitch Garver (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Garver .271, Magill .180, Sano .171, Polanco .158, Rodney .147, Moya .131 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.156, Santana -.278 Let’s go around the horn … First Base Wooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1024130397867659264 Mitch Garver has been on a tear. This guy needs to be in the lineup as often as he can handle. On the days he’s not behind the plate, the Twins don’t have a better DH option on the team than GarvSauce. One of the funnest things about these next two months will (hopefully) be a lot more moments like this one. Second Base This team needs Miguel Sano, and I’m not just talking about the 2018 Twins. He showed some positive signs in his third game back from the minors tonight. He hit an RBI double in the second inning, singled in the fifth and made a great catch going back on a ball in foul territory. Sano also led off the bottom of the ninth by drawing an eight-pitch walk. Gotta take the good with the bad. Yes, he also struck out. He was also picked off by the catcher at second base. It was an eventful day at the office. Third Base Ervin Santana looks like he’s in survival mode. In his first two starts back, he’s been throwing tons of changeups. He’s gone to that pitch 61 times among the 185 pitches he’s thrown in these two starts. Last year, he only went to the changeup around 10 percent of the time. The fastball’s just not back. Ervin topped out at 90.9 mph. He only got four swinging strikes on his 88 pitches. The fact that he’s been able to limit the damage as much as he has is a credit to his willingness to adjust. Home Plate In case you missed it, the Twins traded Zach Duke to Seattle and dealt Lance Lynn to the Yankees. Adalberto Mejia will take Lynn’s spot in the rotation and Addison Reed was activated off the DL. With the bullpen shuffling and this game being tied late, we got to see some different looks from Paul Molitor. Gabriel Moya bailed out Santana in the sixth inning, recording the final two outs with two runners on base. Then, Molitor went right to Trevor Hildenberger, who worked a scoreless seventh. Taylor Rogers came out for the eighth, but after giving up singles to two of the three batters he faced, Matt Magill came in. Yes, Matt Magill. He came back out of the witness protection program, or where ever he’d been, and pitched in the eighth inning of a tie ballgame. He retired the next two batters to end the threat. With the top of the Cleveland order coming up in the ninth, Molitor turned things over to Fernando Rodney. He was very on brand. He walked leadoff man Francisco Lindor on four pitches. https://twitter.com/Cut4/status/1024128241882132480 Lindor advanced to third with one out and then just when you were convinced it was all going to come crashing down … a strikeout. Then another walk. Then he fell behind the next batter 2-0 … and struck him out. Never a dull moment. This may have been the final time we’ll see Rodney in a Twins jersey. If that’s how it goes down, this was pretty much a signature game to remember him by. Postgame With Molitor https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1024137486656651264 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 57-48 MIN 49-56 (-8) DET 45-62 (-13) CHW 37-68 (-20) KC 32-73 (-25) Next Three Games Tue vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Trevor Bauer Wed vs. CLE, 12:10 pm CT: Adalberto Mejia vs. Carlos Carrasco Thu Off Fri at KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games BOS 3, MIN 0: Fenway Free Fall Continues BOS 10, MIN 4: Twins Blow Lead in Spectacular Fashion BOS 4, MIN 3: No Escobar, but at Least We Still Have Belisle
  22. Mitch Garver, AKA GarvSauce, delivered a walk-off double to beat Cleveland, clearing a fog that had been surrounding this Twins team since the Eduardo Escobar trade. Miguel Sano showed some signs of life in his third game back from the minors and the bullpen was outstanding.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 27 Game Score, 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 K, 2 BB, 68.2% strikes Multi-Hit Games: Miguel Sano (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Mitch Garver (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Garver .271, Magill .180, Sano .171, Polanco .158, Rodney .147, Moya .131 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.156, Santana -.278 Download attachment: WinChart730.png Let’s go around the horn … First Base Wooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen730.png AL Central Standings CLE 57-48 MIN 49-56 (-8) DET 45-62 (-13) CHW 37-68 (-20) KC 32-73 (-25) Next Three Games Tue vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Trevor Bauer Wed vs. CLE, 12:10 pm CT: Adalberto Mejia vs. Carlos Carrasco Thu Off Fri at KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games BOS 3, MIN 0: Fenway Free Fall Continues BOS 10, MIN 4: Twins Blow Lead in Spectacular Fashion BOS 4, MIN 3: No Escobar, but at Least We Still Have Belisle Click here to view the article
  23. Am I right!? Ervin Santana made an encouraging 2018 debut as the Twins managed to pull off a sweep at Toronto, scoring six runs in the top of the 11th inning. I spent much of the Royals series wondering aloud on here if the Twins taking a downturn before the deadline may be for the best, but these last three games have been fun. I mean, not really keep the band together fun, but still.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 50 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 3 BB, 61.9% strikes Bullpen: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, 1 BB Lineup: 6-for-17 w/RISP, 12 LOB WPA of 0.1 or higher: Garver .396, Kepler .364, Belisle .289, Duke .140 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Morrison -.143, Hildenberger -.408 Download attachment: WinChart725.png Let’s go around the horn … First Base It’s great to see Ervin back, and his 2018 debut has to be considered a success. After a much longer recovery than expected followed by some concerning reports throughout the early stages of his minor league rehab assignment, Santana didn’t pitch a gem but he gave his team a chance to win. Santana topped out at 91.1 mph, but relied heavily on his offspeed stuff. According to Baseball Savant, only 25 of his 97 pitches were fastballs. He threw 37 changeups and 35 sliders. Last season, Ervin averaged 93.1 mph on his four-seamer and only threw his changeup 10.3 percent of the time. It’ll be really interesting to follow Santana’s pitch usage, but as a veteran who’s had to make plenty of adjustments over his career, one would think he can still be an asset even without his best stuff going. Second Base Trevor Hildenberger’s having a weird year. He gave up three earned runs in an inning of work today, coughing up the lead in the eighth inning in the process. He’s now given up 21 earned runs this season, 11 of which have come in three particularly ugly appearances. But hey, he’s been pretty awesome in those other 44 games. It was all OK, because the Twins were bailed out by ... Matt Belisle? Wait, that can’t be right. OK, so Matty B pitched his way into trouble and then was aided by terrible baserunning by Kendrys Morales, but he did pitch a scoreless ninth inning. And he wasn’t done! Belisle came back out for the 10th, gave up a leadoff single, but again worked a scoreless inning. Just gonna go ahead and pencil Matt Belisle into my projected 2019 Minnesota Twins bullpen right now. Third Base Max Kepler, well ... he had a bad moment. Garver entered this game having hit .308 with an .868 OPS over his previous 30 games. It was also great to see things work out so that Mitch was catching Santana’s first game back. Forming a battery with such a veteran is only going to help Garver’s development behind the plate. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen725.png AL Central Standings CLE 55-46 MIN 47-53 (-7.5) DET 44-60 (-12.5) CHW 36-64 (-18.5) KC 31-70 (-24) Next Three Games Thu at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Brian Johnson Fri at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Lance Lynn vs. Chris Sale Sat at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 5, TOR 0: All-Star, Indeed MIN 8, TOR 3: Twins Cruise Over Toronto KC 5, MIN 3: Royals Sweep Twins, Butera Hits Inside-the-Park Homer (Seriously) Click here to view the article
  24. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 50 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 K, 3 BB, 61.9% strikes Bullpen: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, 1 BB Lineup: 6-for-17 w/RISP, 12 LOB WPA of 0.1 or higher: Garver .396, Kepler .364, Belisle .289, Duke .140 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Morrison -.143, Hildenberger -.408 Let’s go around the horn … First Base It’s great to see Ervin back, and his 2018 debut has to be considered a success. After a much longer recovery than expected followed by some concerning reports throughout the early stages of his minor league rehab assignment, Santana didn’t pitch a gem but he gave his team a chance to win. Santana topped out at 91.1 mph, but relied heavily on his offspeed stuff. According to Baseball Savant, only 25 of his 97 pitches were fastballs. He threw 37 changeups and 35 sliders. Last season, Ervin averaged 93.1 mph on his four-seamer and only threw his changeup 10.3 percent of the time. It’ll be really interesting to follow Santana’s pitch usage, but as a veteran who’s had to make plenty of adjustments over his career, one would think he can still be an asset even without his best stuff going. Second Base Trevor Hildenberger’s having a weird year. He gave up three earned runs in an inning of work today, coughing up the lead in the eighth inning in the process. He’s now given up 21 earned runs this season, 11 of which have come in three particularly ugly appearances. But hey, he’s been pretty awesome in those other 44 games. It was all OK, because the Twins were bailed out by ... Matt Belisle? Wait, that can’t be right. OK, so Matty B pitched his way into trouble and then was aided by terrible baserunning by Kendrys Morales, but he did pitch a scoreless ninth inning. And he wasn’t done! Belisle came back out for the 10th, gave up a leadoff single, but again worked a scoreless inning. Just gonna go ahead and pencil Matt Belisle into my projected 2019 Minnesota Twins bullpen right now. Third Base Max Kepler, well ... he had a bad moment. https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/status/1022222775669469184 Apparently Max didn’t inherit those dancer’s feet Kepler drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning with a bases-loaded hit by pitch. Maybe not the most heroic way to pick up the game-winning RBI, but whatever works. The crazy part was the Twins just kept scoring in the 11th inning, thanks in large part to ... Home Plate Mitch Garver. He was the heartbeat of the Twins offense today. Garver singled to drive in the Twins first run in the second inning, hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth, added an RBI single in the eighth inning and then delivered a two-run double in the 11th. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1022245124988755968 Garver entered this game having hit .308 with an .868 OPS over his previous 30 games. It was also great to see things work out so that Mitch was catching Santana’s first game back. Forming a battery with such a veteran is only going to help Garver’s development behind the plate. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 55-46 MIN 47-53 (-7.5) DET 44-60 (-12.5) CHW 36-64 (-18.5) KC 31-70 (-24) Next Three Games Thu at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Brian Johnson Fri at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Lance Lynn vs. Chris Sale Sat at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 5, TOR 0: All-Star, Indeed MIN 8, TOR 3: Twins Cruise Over Toronto KC 5, MIN 3: Royals Sweep Twins, Butera Hits Inside-the-Park Homer (Seriously)
  25. Nick Nelson Sadly it is a pretty long list, but to me the clear answer is Byron Buxton. It doesn't all fall on his shoulders – injuries, bad luck and questionable decision-making from the front office have played their parts – but however you want to apportion the blame, Buxton's season has been a massive letdown. At age 24, and coming off a breakthrough second half that earned him down-ballot MVP votes, Buxton had the looks of a centerpiece. His ceiling was sky-high and the floor seemed to have risen as the rawness dissipated. I think we'd have all been happy with him reproducing the 3.5 WAR he produced in a 2017 campaign marred by prolonged early slumping. Instead, Buxton has delivered -0.4 WAR through the Twins' first 94 games this year. When not on the disabled list or in the minors, he has been a sub-replacement level player, and that's just not something I would've ever imagined. Most alarming: As he continues to whiff at a 30% rate in Triple-A, and now faces another injury-related absence, it's getting harder and harder to see him making any real impact for the Twins in 2018. Tom Froemming I feel like this is a bit of a trick question. Since the specific wording is "underperformed" I'm going to leave out the guys like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco who just haven't been on the field much. Oh, and toss Ervin Santana and Jason Castro in there ... dang there are a lot of guys who haven't been able to contribute. The free agent addition trio of Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn and Addison Reed immediately stand out as underperformers. Man, even two of those guys are on the shelf right now. Lynn has been pretty frustrating, but he's been pitching better as a whole after a dreadful start. I think there's hope of Lynn at least being a league-average starter from here forward (make sure to blast this out to the other 29 teams in baseball. Wink, wink.) With both Morrison and Reed I have some real concerns they're never going to be assets again. Morrison has been hitting the ball hard and his strikeout rate is down, but the shift is killing him. It feels like the league has figured out how to pitch to him/position against him. Maybe he makes a counter adjustment, but I'm not super optimistic. He also adds no value in the field or on the bases and plays the position that's easiest to replace. No pitcher is going to deal well declining velocity, but a two-pitch guy who loves to pound the zone like Reed is really going to slip. Hopefully he'll rest up, come back refreshed and find those extra couple mph he's been missing, but the fear is that arm has just seen too much wear and tear. He’s been remarkably durable for today's standards, but nobody's immune to aging. Well, except for Fernando Rodney, of course. Final answer: Morrison. Cody Christie There were a trio of players that came to mind when I came-up with this questions. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Logan Morrison have all underperformed but I went into the season with higher expectations for the first two players on the list. Sano and Buxton were supposed to be the heart and soul of the Minnesota Twins for the next decade. Right now, it’s hard to imagine either of them playing in meaningful games at the big league level in 2018. Sano looked utterly lost at the plate this season and he is down in Fort Myers trying to reset his professional career. Buxton has fought through injuries but he has struggled when he has been on the field at the big league level and at Triple-A. Entering the season, I expected Buxton to take the next step especially after the way he played in the second-half of 2017. He has taken multiple steps in the wrong direction and that’s why he is the player who has most underperformed. Andrew Thares There have been many Twins players who have underperformed during the first half, and one would assume that at least one or two of these guys would bounce back and have a big second half. For me I’m looking at Logan Morrison. While we knew going in that it was unlikely Morrison would repeat his success from 2017, it wasn’t exactly like Morrison was a slouch before then either. While his first half numbers haven’t looked all that appealing at .192/.289/.357 with 10 home runs, Morrison has the potential to find his home run stroke and breakout at any second. Logan Morrison’s peripheral numbers also support the case that he will have an improved second half. The first glaring number that sticks out to me is his .212 BABIP. While Morrison is the ideal candidate to have a lower BABIP than most given how often he is shifted against and his lack of speed, but at .212, he is still well below his .268 career average. The Statcast metrics also support the case that Morrison has been hitting the ball better than his results show. Here are what a few of Logan Morrison’s actual stats look like compared to his expected stats via Statcast. AVG: .192 Expected: .249 SLG: .357 Expected: .483 wOBA: .287 Expected: .356 Those are all really big gaps that suggest that Logan Morrison has been hitting the ball much better than his results show. SD Buhr Talk about a question that has an endless list of possible responses! Byron Buxton? Miguel Sano? Ervin Santana? I mean… one of those guys hasn’t played a game so far and the other two arguable hurt the team by playing in the games they DID show up for. If I have to choose just one, I’ll go with Sano. Santana was supposed to be ready to go by May or June, at the latest. It’s almost August and we haven’t seen him anywhere near Target Field. Buxton couldn’t hit his weight in 28 games with the Twins and hasn’t hit a whole lot better in Rochester since supposedly becoming healthy after injuring a toe. Sano didn’t hit his weight either… though, to be fair, his weight has ballooned to the point where not a lot of MLB players CAN hit at that level. He’s hitting .328 at High-A Ft. Myers so I guess at least he’s hitting his weight at that level… probably. But Sano has hit just 2 home runs in 64 at-bats at Ft. Myers and let’s face it, hitting for power is really the ONLY thing this guy brings to the table at this point. If he can’t do that three levels below the big leagues, that’s more than just a little discouraging. I have some hope that Santana will return and contribute in the second half of the season and it looks to me like Buxton could, as well (though with Cave’s work, there may not really be any rush to get Buck back at this point). But Sano? Maybe if I had read something… anything… about his conditioning being significantly improving, I’d have some optimism. Right now I have none. Steve Lein I am resoundingly in the camp of two players for this question, and they are the two whom were expected to propel the Twins into their next level of competitiveness after they reached the playoffs in 2017. They're also both currently playing in the minor leagues because of their struggles. I'm obviously speaking of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Buxton followed up his blistering second half of 2017, where hit hit .300/.347/.546 (.893 OPS) with 24 extra-base-hits (11 home runs) and 35 RBI in 56 games, with a 2018 line of just .156/.183/.200 (.383 OPS) in only 28 games. This was before and during, but thankfully not after his foot injury, when he was sent to in Rochester to regroup and has just a .679 OPS in eighteen games. Sano followed up a 2017 season that saw him be selected to his first All-Star Game, where he also finished runner-up in the home run derby, with a miserable 37 games with the Twins before they made the what some might call drastic move, in sending him all the way down to Fort Myers. He hit just .203/.270/.405 (.675 OPS) before that move and his road back may be a long one. If they can get even one of those guys back to playing like they had in 2017, things could look better for the Twins in the second half. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Second Half Star Sell, Sell, Sell? Fixing the Offense Romero’s Rotation Spot Top Prospect Timelines
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