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  1. Before we get to our Top 5 relievers in the Twins system in August, here are several Honorable Mentions. Jovani Moran - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 7 G, 2.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 15 K Calvin Faucher - Ft. Myers Miracle - 7 G, 1.54 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 16 K Moises Gomez - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 3.29 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 23 K Nate Hadley - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 3.14 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 15 K Tyler Beck - Elizabethton Twins - 8 G, 1.23 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 19 K Benjamin Dum - Elizabethton Twins - 8 G, 3.21 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 14 H, 0 BB, 20 K Ryan Shreve - Elizabethton Twins - 6 G, 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 20 H, 2 BB, 20 K Bradley Hanner - GCL Twins - 5 G, 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 4 H, 6 BB, 13 K Niall Windeler - GCL Twins - 5 G, 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 K. THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Preston Guilmet - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 2 GS, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 19.1 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 27 K The 32-year-old Guilmet made his MLB debut in 2013. He played for four MLB teams between 2013 and 2015. Then he returned to the big leagues and played for two more MLB teams in 2018. He signed early in the offseason with the Twins hoping for an opportunity to make it to the big leagues again, for a seventh team. That didn’t happen as Guilmet struggled some, especially early in the Red Wings season. However, he finished the season with a strong month. Call me impressed with the two walks to 27 strikeouts ratio. In addition, opponents hit just .214 with a .547 OPS against him during the month. #4 - Jonathan Cheshire - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 10 K Cheshire was the Blue Jays 37th-round pick in 2017 out of college. Toronto released him in early June and the Twins signed him in late July. The 24-year-old made a solid first impression in the Twins organization by posting a 0.00 ERA over his first full month in the organization. Opponents hit .205 off of him with a .510 OPS. #3 - Gabriel Moya - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 5 G, 1 GS, 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 13 K The Twins acquired Moya just over two years ago from the Diamondbacks in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy. He helped Chattanooga to a Southern League title that year and earned a promotion to the Twins. He spent time with the Twins last year. Unfortunately, he began the 2019 season hurt and when he went to Rochester, he really struggled. He ended up back in Double-A to end the season. But, he pitched well. Most important is that he didn’t issue walks and was back to recording strikeouts. Opponents hit just .179 with a .456 OPS against him. He is now off of the Twins 40-man roster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the still just 24-year-old lefty resurfaces in the big leagues in 2020. #2 - Jorge Alcala - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 10 G, 1.10 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 18 K It was a generally tough season for the hard-throwing right-hander. The Twins finally made the decision to move him to the bullpen in July, and he had mixed results. However, he and Brusdar Graterol were promoted to Triple-A Rochester in mid-August. Graterol was good, but Alcala was fantastic. With the Red Wings, he pitched in 7 2/3 innings over five games. He didn’t give up a run, gave up just four hits, walked two and struck out 11 batters. For the month, opponents hit .186 with a .526 OPS against him. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Pensacola Blue Wahoos – RHP Anthony Vizcaya - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 13 K Every year there are a number of great stories in any MLB organization. One such story in the Twins organization in 2019 is that of Anthony Vizcaya. He signed with Cleveland in 2011 from Venezuela. However, he was released in 2014 after posting an ERA over 10 in the advanced rookie league. Since that time, he has only played in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues, and event that was very limited. He didn’t play during the 2017-18 season but returned last winter. He pitched in eight games, but it was enough to catch the eye of Twins pro scout Rafael Yanez who recommended the Twins sign him. They did, and he has been terrific all year. He posted a 2.22 ERA over 15 games with the Miracle. In 28 1/3 innings, he struck out 35 batters. He has now pitched in 26 games for the Blue Wahoos and has a 0.78 ERA. In his 46 Double-A innings, he has struck out 48 batters. Combined, he has 11 saves. In August, he was at his finest. The 25-year-old did not allow a run in eight games and 14 innings. Opponents hit just .149 with a .370 OPS against him. It’s a great story, but those great stories are always even a little more fun when they pan out with a successful season. ------------------------------------------------------- As you can see, there were several strong relief pitcher performances in August. These guys are all worthy of some recognition. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today. Congratulations to Anthony Vizcaya, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for August 2019.
  2. In recent days, we have announced our choices for the August Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Month (Zander Wiel) and Starting Pitcher of the Month (Bailey Ober). Today, we will discuss the relief pitchers who ended the season strong, and there were a lot of very good performances. For instance, one pitcher had 20 strikeouts and zero walks this month, and can be found in the Honorable Mentions. Previous 2019 Relief Pitchers of the Month: April: Ryan Mason, Pensacola Blue Wahoos May: Hector Lujan, Ft. Myers Miracle June: Derek Molina, Cedar Rapids Kernels/Ft. Myers Miracle July: Joe Record, Ft. Myers Miracle August: Keep ReadingBefore we get to our Top 5 relievers in the Twins system in August, here are several Honorable Mentions. Jovani Moran - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 7 G, 2.13 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 12.2 IP, 8 H, 7 BB, 15 KCalvin Faucher - Ft. Myers Miracle - 7 G, 1.54 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 16 KMoises Gomez - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 3.29 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 9 H, 5 BB, 23 KNate Hadley - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 8 G, 3.14 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 15 KTyler Beck - Elizabethton Twins - 8 G, 1.23 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 14 H, 4 BB, 19 KBenjamin Dum - Elizabethton Twins - 8 G, 3.21 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 14 H, 0 BB, 20 KRyan Shreve - Elizabethton Twins - 6 G, 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 20 H, 2 BB, 20 KBradley Hanner - GCL Twins - 5 G, 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 4 H, 6 BB, 13 KNiall Windeler - GCL Twins - 5 G, 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 10 K.THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Preston Guilmet - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 2 GS, 2.33 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 19.1 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 27 K The 32-year-old Guilmet made his MLB debut in 2013. He played for four MLB teams between 2013 and 2015. Then he returned to the big leagues and played for two more MLB teams in 2018. He signed early in the offseason with the Twins hoping for an opportunity to make it to the big leagues again, for a seventh team. That didn’t happen as Guilmet struggled some, especially early in the Red Wings season. However, he finished the season with a strong month. Call me impressed with the two walks to 27 strikeouts ratio. In addition, opponents hit just .214 with a .547 OPS against him during the month. #4 - Jonathan Cheshire - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 10 K Cheshire was the Blue Jays 37th-round pick in 2017 out of college. Toronto released him in early June and the Twins signed him in late July. The 24-year-old made a solid first impression in the Twins organization by posting a 0.00 ERA over his first full month in the organization. Opponents hit .205 off of him with a .510 OPS. #3 - Gabriel Moya - Pensacola Blue Wahoos - 5 G, 1 GS, 1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 10.2 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 13 K The Twins acquired Moya just over two years ago from the Diamondbacks in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy. He helped Chattanooga to a Southern League title that year and earned a promotion to the Twins. He spent time with the Twins last year. Unfortunately, he began the 2019 season hurt and when he went to Rochester, he really struggled. He ended up back in Double-A to end the season. But, he pitched well. Most important is that he didn’t issue walks and was back to recording strikeouts. Opponents hit just .179 with a .456 OPS against him. He is now off of the Twins 40-man roster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the still just 24-year-old lefty resurfaces in the big leagues in 2020. #2 - Jorge Alcala - Pensacola Blue Wahoos/Rochester Red Wings - 10 G, 1.10 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 18 K It was a generally tough season for the hard-throwing right-hander. The Twins finally made the decision to move him to the bullpen in July, and he had mixed results. However, he and Brusdar Graterol were promoted to Triple-A Rochester in mid-August. Graterol was good, but Alcala was fantastic. With the Red Wings, he pitched in 7 2/3 innings over five games. He didn’t give up a run, gave up just four hits, walked two and struck out 11 batters. For the month, opponents hit .186 with a .526 OPS against him. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Pensacola Blue Wahoos – RHP Anthony Vizcaya - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, 14.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 13 K Every year there are a number of great stories in any MLB organization. One such story in the Twins organization in 2019 is that of Anthony Vizcaya. He signed with Cleveland in 2011 from Venezuela. However, he was released in 2014 after posting an ERA over 10 in the advanced rookie league. Since that time, he has only played in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues, and event that was very limited. He didn’t play during the 2017-18 season but returned last winter. He pitched in eight games, but it was enough to catch the eye of Twins pro scout Rafael Yanez who recommended the Twins sign him. They did, and he has been terrific all year. He posted a 2.22 ERA over 15 games with the Miracle. In 28 1/3 innings, he struck out 35 batters. He has now pitched in 26 games for the Blue Wahoos and has a 0.78 ERA. In his 46 Double-A innings, he has struck out 48 batters. Combined, he has 11 saves. In August, he was at his finest. The 25-year-old did not allow a run in eight games and 14 innings. Opponents hit just .149 with a .370 OPS against him. It’s a great story, but those great stories are always even a little more fun when they pan out with a successful season. ------------------------------------------------------- As you can see, there were several strong relief pitcher performances in August. These guys are all worthy of some recognition. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today. Congratulations to Anthony Vizcaya, the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for August 2019. Click here to view the article
  3. Minnesota completed a sweep of the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. It was quite the series for the Twins as the club does their best to take care of some of the rebuilding clubs in the American League. Minnesota will get to see Baltimore again next weekend, but first they need to put on their big-boy pants and face the Astros. There was only one game in the Twins farm system on Sunday. Was Pensacola able to make a clean sweep for the organization?RED WINGS REPORT Rochester has had a slow start to the season with a 5-11 record. Currently the club is seven games back in the International League North. Rochester starts a four-game series with Scranton/WB on Monday. The RailRiders are 8-6 on the season and sit in third place in the division. If Rochester is going to make a move, this is as good of time as any to start moving up the standings. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 8, Mobile 5 Box Score Jordan Gore got things started with a lead-off double in the first frame. He moved to second on a wild-pitch. Even without an out at that point, it took a two-out single from Taylor Grzelakowski to bring in Gore for the first run of the game. That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring for the Blue Wahoos. Pensacola put up a five-spot in the third inning with help from the middle of the order. Ernie De La Trinidad singled before coming around to score on a Caleb Hamilton double. Jaylin Davis followed with his second home run of the season. Grzelakowski walked and then he moved to third on a Luis Arraez double. Jimmy Kerrigan singled to drive in a run and put runners on the corners. Joe Cronin drove in the final run of the innings with a sacrifice fly. Del La Trinidad got things started again in the fourth inning with his first homer of the year. Hamilton followed with a single and Davis added a double to put runners on the corners. Grzelakoski drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to put the score at 8-0. Jorge Alcala was cruising through four shutout innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He allowed five runs that inning, but he was able to finish the frame. He struck out eight and walked one. Tyler Jay took over and was fantastic through two shutout innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. Gabriel Moya made his second rehab appearance. He recorded two outs and both were strikeouts. However, he surrendered two walks and one hit to make things a little dicey. Dusten Knight finished off his fourth save by pitching 1 1/3 innings. He struck out two and went for the back flip. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers enters play on Monday with a 10-7 record. The Miracle are currently in third place in the Florida State League South and trail first place by two games. Fort Myers will start a three-game set against first-place Bradenton on Monday. If the club were to sweep, the Miracle could take over first place in the division. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids has started the year 7-9 and they will start Monday 4.5 games out of first place in the Midwest League Western Division. The Kernels start a three-game set on Monday in Wisconsin, which is currently half a game back in the standings. Andrew Cabezas will be looking to pick up his first win of the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Tyler Jay, Pensacola (2.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 3 H) TD Hitter of the Day- Caleb Hamilton, Pensacola (3-5, 2 2B, 3 R, RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did not play MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Scranton/WB (5:05 CST) – TBD Pensacola vs. Mobile (6:35 CST) – RHP Brusdar Graterol (1-0, 0.52 ERA) Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 CST) – TBD Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) – RHP Andrew Cabezas (0-0, 6.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games. Click here to view the article
  4. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester has had a slow start to the season with a 5-11 record. Currently the club is seven games back in the International League North. Rochester starts a four-game series with Scranton/WB on Monday. The RailRiders are 8-6 on the season and sit in third place in the division. If Rochester is going to make a move, this is as good of time as any to start moving up the standings. BLUE WAHOO BITES Pensacola 8, Mobile 5 Box Score Jordan Gore got things started with a lead-off double in the first frame. He moved to second on a wild-pitch. Even without an out at that point, it took a two-out single from Taylor Grzelakowski to bring in Gore for the first run of the game. That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring for the Blue Wahoos. Pensacola put up a five-spot in the third inning with help from the middle of the order. Ernie De La Trinidad singled before coming around to score on a Caleb Hamilton double. Jaylin Davis followed with his second home run of the season. Grzelakowski walked and then he moved to third on a Luis Arraez double. Jimmy Kerrigan singled to drive in a run and put runners on the corners. Joe Cronin drove in the final run of the innings with a sacrifice fly. Del La Trinidad got things started again in the fourth inning with his first homer of the year. Hamilton followed with a single and Davis added a double to put runners on the corners. Grzelakoski drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to put the score at 8-0. Jorge Alcala was cruising through four shutout innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He allowed five runs that inning, but he was able to finish the frame. He struck out eight and walked one. Tyler Jay took over and was fantastic through two shutout innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four. Gabriel Moya made his second rehab appearance. He recorded two outs and both were strikeouts. However, he surrendered two walks and one hit to make things a little dicey. Dusten Knight finished off his fourth save by pitching 1 1/3 innings. He struck out two and went for the back flip. https://twitter.com/billvilonaPNJ/status/1120134149485027328 MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers enters play on Monday with a 10-7 record. The Miracle are currently in third place in the Florida State League South and trail first place by two games. Fort Myers will start a three-game set against first-place Bradenton on Monday. If the club were to sweep, the Miracle could take over first place in the division. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids has started the year 7-9 and they will start Monday 4.5 games out of first place in the Midwest League Western Division. The Kernels start a three-game set on Monday in Wisconsin, which is currently half a game back in the standings. Andrew Cabezas will be looking to pick up his first win of the season. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY TD Pitcher of the Day- Tyler Jay, Pensacola (2.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 K, 3 H) TD Hitter of the Day- Caleb Hamilton, Pensacola (3-5, 2 2B, 3 R, RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Alex Kirilloff (Pensacola) - Injured List #3 - Brusdar Graterol (Pensacola) – Did not pitch #19 - Jorge Alcala (Pensacola) – Did not play MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Scranton/WB (5:05 CST) – TBD Pensacola vs. Mobile (6:35 CST) – RHP Brusdar Graterol (1-0, 0.52 ERA) Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 CST) – TBD Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) – RHP Andrew Cabezas (0-0, 6.00 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  5. What a high the Twins were on. They beat up on the Yankees 10-5 Tuesday night thanks to a Joe Mauer grand slam, then bested them again Wednesday night 3-1 behind a near no-hit effort from Jake Oddorizzi in what may have been their best-played game all season. Heading to Kansas City was going to be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. Let’s just say this one will not be mentioned among their better performances of the season.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Home Runs: Cave (11) Multi-Hit Games: Cave (2-for-4, HR) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Moya .104 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Busenitz -.437 Download attachment: WinChart913.png The Twins went with the opener/primary picher strategy again today. Any time they roll that out I like to give an overview on how everything worked its way out from the top down. Gabriel Moya was the opener. He pitched well, but was pretty inefficient. He threw two scoreless, no-hit innings and had a strikeout and a walk. The main problem was it took him 38 pitches to do so. With the expanded rosters that’s no big deal, but if the Twins were to test this during any of the other five months, that kind of an outing from a reliever would not be ideal. Stephen Gonsalves followed as the primary pitcher. The good news: He pitched three no-hit innings and didn’t give up an earned run. The bad news: He walked four batters, which helped the Royals to score an unearned run thanks to a Jorge Polanco error. Gonsalves threw 69 pitches. Alan Busenitz took over in the sixth. He gave up a double, then back-to-back home runs. Ouch. He threw 16 pitches, gave up three runs and failed to record an out. Matt Magill took over, but couldn’t get through the inning either. Magill gave up a run on a pair of hits and a walk. He got two outs and threw 21 pitches. Andrew Vasquez took over and hit the first batter he faced, but the finally recorded the final out of the sixth. He threw 10 pitches. Tally all that up and you get five pitchers combining for six innings, needing 154 pitches to do so. Not good. Things settled back down from there, as John Curtiss pitched a scoreless seventh and Oliver Drake covered the eight, giving up an unearned run. An error was charged on Chris Gimenez’s throw to second base on a steal attempt, but it really should have been Polanco’s second error of the game. He whiffed on the catch, the ball just sailed right on by him. The Twins held a 2-0 lead early thanks to a Jake Cave two-run homer in the second inning. They added two more runs in the eighth on an Eddie Rosario RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Robbie Grossman. That pulled them to within a run of KC, but the Royals added that insurance run in the bottom of the eighth and took care of business in the ninth. Next Three Games Fri at KC, 7:15 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Jorge Lopez Sat at KC, 6:15 pm CT: Chase De Jong vs. Ian Kennedy Sun at KC, 1:15 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Jakob Junis Last Three Games MIN 3, NYY 1: Odorizzi Carries No-No Into 8th Inning MIN 10, NYY 5: Joe Mauer Grand Slam Highlights Big Night for Bats NYY 7, MIN 2: It Was Close, Until It Wasn’t Click here to view the article
  6. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Home Runs: Cave (11) Multi-Hit Games: Cave (2-for-4, HR) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Moya .104 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Busenitz -.437 The Twins went with the opener/primary picher strategy again today. Any time they roll that out I like to give an overview on how everything worked its way out from the top down. Gabriel Moya was the opener. He pitched well, but was pretty inefficient. He threw two scoreless, no-hit innings and had a strikeout and a walk. The main problem was it took him 38 pitches to do so. With the expanded rosters that’s no big deal, but if the Twins were to test this during any of the other five months, that kind of an outing from a reliever would not be ideal. Stephen Gonsalves followed as the primary pitcher. The good news: He pitched three no-hit innings and didn’t give up an earned run. The bad news: He walked four batters, which helped the Royals to score an unearned run thanks to a Jorge Polanco error. Gonsalves threw 69 pitches. Alan Busenitz took over in the sixth. He gave up a double, then back-to-back home runs. Ouch. He threw 16 pitches, gave up three runs and failed to record an out. Matt Magill took over, but couldn’t get through the inning either. Magill gave up a run on a pair of hits and a walk. He got two outs and threw 21 pitches. Andrew Vasquez took over and hit the first batter he faced, but the finally recorded the final out of the sixth. He threw 10 pitches. Tally all that up and you get five pitchers combining for six innings, needing 154 pitches to do so. Not good. Things settled back down from there, as John Curtiss pitched a scoreless seventh and Oliver Drake covered the eight, giving up an unearned run. An error was charged on Chris Gimenez’s throw to second base on a steal attempt, but it really should have been Polanco’s second error of the game. He whiffed on the catch, the ball just sailed right on by him. The Twins held a 2-0 lead early thanks to a Jake Cave two-run homer in the second inning. They added two more runs in the eighth on an Eddie Rosario RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Robbie Grossman. That pulled them to within a run of KC, but the Royals added that insurance run in the bottom of the eighth and took care of business in the ninth. Next Three Games Fri at KC, 7:15 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Jorge Lopez Sat at KC, 6:15 pm CT: Chase De Jong vs. Ian Kennedy Sun at KC, 1:15 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Jakob Junis Last Three Games MIN 3, NYY 1: Odorizzi Carries No-No Into 8th Inning MIN 10, NYY 5: Joe Mauer Grand Slam Highlights Big Night for Bats NYY 7, MIN 2: It Was Close, Until It Wasn’t
  7. What can you even say about this game? Well, to even call it Major League Baseball is an embarrassment on multiple levels. The Twins played very poorly, there was an epic ump show and things wound down with Chris Gimenez on the mound. What do we even call this? Total system failure is already taken.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Download attachment: WinChart92.png In the sixth inning, Matt Belilse made his first appearance since being activated off the disabled list. He threw three pitches, the last of which hit Adrian Beltre. For some reason, home plate umpire Alan Porter determined it was intentional and tossed Belisle. The score was already 10-0 at that time. In the eighth inning, Addison Reed got ejected for arguing balls and strikes. The score was 13-2 at that time. I hope Mr. Porter is real proud of himself for entertaining all the people who came out to the ballpark to see him. Gimenez came in to replace Reed, because of course. At least Gimenez provided a light-hearted finish to this game by hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. The Twins experimented with the opener today, starting things off with Gabriel Moya. He gave up a two-run homer in the first. Zack Littell came in for the next four innings and gave up three runs, though only two were earned. Oh yeah, the Twins also committed three errors today. Tyler Duffey recorded only one out and gave up five runs (four earned). Alan Busenitz recorded two outs and gave up a run on a homer. Reed gave up a run before he got tossed and the Rangers scored five runs off Gimenez in the eighth. If you ask me, it’s a little bit bush league to have your guys swinging out of their shoes against Gimenez. On the other hand, I guess it’s pretty bush of the Twins to have him pitching in the first place, especially in September when there should be an abundance of arms. Jake Cave was a bright spot for the Twins, as he hit his 10th home run of the season. He’s now gone deep in three straight games and has has six homers in his last 13 games. Postgame With Molitor Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen92.png Next Three Games Mon at HOU, 1:10 pm CT: TBD Tue at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Wed at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games TEX 7, MIN 4: Is Jose OK? MIN 10, TEX 7: Tex-plosion! CLE 5, MIN 3: Odorizzi Fades, Busenitz Blows It Click here to view the article
  8. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) In the sixth inning, Matt Belilse made his first appearance since being activated off the disabled list. He threw three pitches, the last of which hit Adrian Beltre. For some reason, home plate umpire Alan Porter determined it was intentional and tossed Belisle. The score was already 10-0 at that time. In the eighth inning, Addison Reed got ejected for arguing balls and strikes. The score was 13-2 at that time. I hope Mr. Porter is real proud of himself for entertaining all the people who came out to the ballpark to see him. Gimenez came in to replace Reed, because of course. At least Gimenez provided a light-hearted finish to this game by hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. The Twins experimented with the opener today, starting things off with Gabriel Moya. He gave up a two-run homer in the first. Zack Littell came in for the next four innings and gave up three runs, though only two were earned. Oh yeah, the Twins also committed three errors today. Tyler Duffey recorded only one out and gave up five runs (four earned). Alan Busenitz recorded two outs and gave up a run on a homer. Reed gave up a run before he got tossed and the Rangers scored five runs off Gimenez in the eighth. If you ask me, it’s a little bit bush league to have your guys swinging out of their shoes against Gimenez. On the other hand, I guess it’s pretty bush of the Twins to have him pitching in the first place, especially in September when there should be an abundance of arms. Jake Cave was a bright spot for the Twins, as he hit his 10th home run of the season. He’s now gone deep in three straight games and has has six homers in his last 13 games. Postgame With Molitor https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1036386309764341760 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Mon at HOU, 1:10 pm CT: TBD Tue at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Wed at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games TEX 7, MIN 4: Is Jose OK? MIN 10, TEX 7: Tex-plosion! CLE 5, MIN 3: Odorizzi Fades, Busenitz Blows It
  9. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Jose Berrios: 30 Game Score, 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 BB, 66.3% strikes (57 of 86 pitches) Home Runs: Bobby Wilson (2) Multi-Hit Games: Logan Forsyhte (2-for-3, BB), Bobby Wilson (2-for-3, HR) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Forsythe .225, Wilson .183, Duffey .170 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Adrianza -.103, Berrios -.288 This was Berrios’ second-shortest outing of the year, but the third time in his last five starts he failed to complete five innings. It took him 86 pitches just to record 11 outs. He gave up seven hits, walked two batters and hit another. To make matters worse for Berrios, the defense committed two errors behind him. Jorge Polanco skipped a throw that first baseman Ehire Adrianza couldn’t scoop, resulting in a run, and Eddie Rosario, playing right field for the second-straight game, couldn’t cleanly field a single. Miguel Sano made a pretty nifty play on a foul popup. His momentum carried him into the Pittsburgh dugout, but luckily the Pirates were quick to come to Miguel’s rescue. Oh wait, that’s not how it happened at all … https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1029814707937370113 How about a li'l help here fellas? Bad karma right there ... The Twins managed to get to Chris Archer, taking a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the new-look Twins bullpen stood strong. Oliver Drake kept things clean for 1 1/3 innings. He’s now up to 4 1/3 shutout innings since joining the Twins. Gabriel Moya gave up singles to three of the seven batters he faced, but thanks to Tyler Duffey, he also ended the day with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Since being called back up in late July, Moya has given up three earned runs over 11 2/3 innings (2.31 ERA). Going back to Duffey, he took over with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh. A huge spot with the Twins clinging to a one-run lead. He got the next two batters to fly out, ending the threat. Since his return, Duffey has now thrown 3-1/3 no-hit innings. A couple more familiar faces took over from there, as Taylor Rogers handled the eighth before Trevor Hildenberger got the job done in the ninth for his third save. Altogether, the bullpen combined for 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Logan Forsythe was 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs. He’s gone 17-for-44 (.386) since joining the Twins. Bobby Wilson had an RBI single in the second inning, then added a solo homer in the seventh. Karma. 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 68-51 MIN 56-63 (-12) DET 50-71 (-19) CHW 44-76 (-24.5) KC 36-83 (-32) Next Three Game Thu vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: Ervin Santana vs. Francisco Liriano Fri vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Matthew Boyd Sat vs. DET, 6:10 pm CT: Kohl Stewart vs. Artie Lewicki Last Three Games MIN 5, PIT 2: Odorizzi, Polanco Spark Comeback DET 4, MIN 2: Stewart Debuts, Bats Slump in Loss MIN 4, DET 3: Austin Homers, Hildy Survives Save Chance
  10. You’re not going to win many games in which your starting pitcher goes less than four innings. On the other hand, you’re probably not going to lose many games in which Bobby Wilson hits a home run. Both of those things happened in Wednesday afternoon’s game, but it was the Twins’ bullpen that really turned in the performance that mattered.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Jose Berrios: 30 Game Score, 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 K, 2 BB, 66.3% strikes (57 of 86 pitches) Home Runs: Bobby Wilson (2) Multi-Hit Games: Logan Forsyhte (2-for-3, BB), Bobby Wilson (2-for-3, HR) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Forsythe .225, Wilson .183, Duffey .170 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Adrianza -.103, Berrios -.288 Download attachment: WinChart815.png This was Berrios’ second-shortest outing of the year, but the third time in his last five starts he failed to complete five innings. It took him 86 pitches just to record 11 outs. He gave up seven hits, walked two batters and hit another. To make matters worse for Berrios, the defense committed two errors behind him. Jorge Polanco skipped a throw that first baseman Ehire Adrianza couldn’t scoop, resulting in a run, and Eddie Rosario, playing right field for the second-straight game, couldn’t cleanly field a single. Miguel Sano made a pretty nifty play on a foul popup. His momentum carried him into the Pittsburgh dugout, but luckily the Pirates were quick to come to Miguel’s rescue. Oh wait, that’s not how it happened at all … How about a li'l help here fellas? Bad karma right there ... The Twins managed to get to Chris Archer, taking a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the new-look Twins bullpen stood strong. Oliver Drake kept things clean for 1 1/3 innings. He’s now up to 4 1/3 shutout innings since joining the Twins. Gabriel Moya gave up singles to three of the seven batters he faced, but thanks to Tyler Duffey, he also ended the day with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Since being called back up in late July, Moya has given up three earned runs over 11 2/3 innings (2.31 ERA). Going back to Duffey, he took over with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh. A huge spot with the Twins clinging to a one-run lead. He got the next two batters to fly out, ending the threat. Since his return, Duffey has now thrown 3-1/3 no-hit innings. A couple more familiar faces took over from there, as Taylor Rogers handled the eighth before Trevor Hildenberger got the job done in the ninth for his third save. Altogether, the bullpen combined for 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Logan Forsythe was 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs. He’s gone 17-for-44 (.386) since joining the Twins. Bobby Wilson had an RBI single in the second inning, then added a solo homer in the seventh. Karma. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen815.png AL Central Standings CLE 68-51 MIN 56-63 (-12) DET 50-71 (-19) CHW 44-76 (-24.5) KC 36-83 (-32) Next Three Game Thu vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: Ervin Santana vs. Francisco Liriano Fri vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Matthew Boyd Sat vs. DET, 6:10 pm CT: Kohl Stewart vs. Artie Lewicki Last Three Games MIN 5, PIT 2: Odorizzi, Polanco Spark Comeback DET 4, MIN 2: Stewart Debuts, Bats Slump in Loss MIN 4, DET 3: Austin Homers, Hildy Survives Save Chance Click here to view the article
  11. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Jake Odorizzi: 34 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 K, 1 BB, 64.4% strikes Home Runs: Logan Morrison (13) Multi-Hit Games: Joe Mauer (2-for-4) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Polanco .133, Dozier .122 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.124, Moya -.144, Odorizzi -.290 Let’s go around the horn … First Base Ryan Pressly made his Astros debut and gave up a solo homer in his inning of work. Eduardo Escobar started at third and hit fifth in his D-Backs debut. Seeing him in another uniform makes me want to throw my computer out the window. https://twitter.com/BaseballByTom/status/1023390780885483521 Second Base Anyway, let’s get to the guys who are still here. Well, for now, at least. Paul Molitor was in Cooperstown to celebrate Jack Morris’ induction into the Hall of Fame. That meant bench coach Derek Sheldon took over as manager, and that meant Matt Magill actually got to pitch. Magill gave up a run on two hits over 1 ⅔ innings, but he also struck out three batters. Third Base That’s where Miguel Sano was, making his first appearance with the Twins since June 13. Parker wrote a great article titled Ready Or Not Here Comes Sano earlier today, I encourage you to check that out. Well, I don’t know if you could necessarily say that Sano didn’t look ready, but he certainly didn’t shine in his return. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Home Plate Gabriel Moya, the other guy who was just added to the 25-man roster, didn’t look so great himself. He faced four batters and gave up a double, a walk, a single and threw a wild pitch. I thought it was a little curious that the Twins would add a third lefty to the pen. Zach Duke hasn’t pitched for three games now. Duke was already a likely trade candidate, but putting two and two together tells me his days in a Twins uni have to be numbered. 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 56-47 MIN 48-55 (-8) DET 45-61 (-12.5) CHW 37-67 (-19-5) KC 32-72 (-24.5) Next Three Games Sun at BOS, 12:05 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Nathan Eovaldi Mon vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Tue vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games BOS 4, MIN 3: No Escobar, but at Least We Still Have Belisle MIN 2, BOS 1: Gibby the Great MIN 12, TOR 6: More Like Er-win Sweep-tana!!!
  12. The Twins held a 4-1 lead after the first three inning of tonight’s game at Fenway Park, but things got ugly from there. Jake Odorizzi gave up five runs over five innings of work before the bullpen surrendered another five. To top it off, Miguel Sano struck out three times in his return from the minor leagues.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Jake Odorizzi: 34 Game Score, 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 K, 1 BB, 64.4% strikes Home Runs: Logan Morrison (13) Multi-Hit Games: Joe Mauer (2-for-4) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Polanco .133, Dozier .122 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.124, Moya -.144, Odorizzi -.290 Download attachment: WinChart728.png Let’s go around the horn … First Base Ryan Pressly made his Astros debut and gave up a solo homer in his inning of work. Eduardo Escobar started at third and hit fifth in his D-Backs debut. Seeing him in another uniform makes me want to throw my computer out the window. Second Base Anyway, let’s get to the guys who are still here. Well, for now, at least. Paul Molitor was in Cooperstown to celebrate Jack Morris’ induction into the Hall of Fame. That meant bench coach Derek Sheldon took over as manager, and that meant Matt Magill actually got to pitch. Magill gave up a run on two hits over 1 ⅔ innings, but he also struck out three batters. Third Base That’s where Miguel Sano was, making his first appearance with the Twins since June 13. Parker wrote a great article titled Ready Or Not Here Comes Sano earlier today, I encourage you to check that out. Well, I don’t know if you could necessarily say that Sano didn’t look ready, but he certainly didn’t shine in his return. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Home Plate Gabriel Moya, the other guy who was just added to the 25-man roster, didn’t look so great himself. He faced four batters and gave up a double, a walk, a single and threw a wild pitch. I thought it was a little curious that the Twins would add a third lefty to the pen. Zach Duke hasn’t pitched for three games now. Duke was already a likely trade candidate, but putting two and two together tells me his days in a Twins uni have to be numbered. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen728.png AL Central Standings CLE 56-47 MIN 48-55 (-8) DET 45-61 (-12.5) CHW 37-67 (-19-5) KC 32-72 (-24.5) Next Three Games Sun at BOS, 12:05 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Nathan Eovaldi Mon vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Tue vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games BOS 4, MIN 3: No Escobar, but at Least We Still Have Belisle MIN 2, BOS 1: Gibby the Great MIN 12, TOR 6: More Like Er-win Sweep-tana!!! Click here to view the article
  13. 35. Tyler Watson – LHP Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2018 Stats (A-/A+): 56.1 IP, 4.47 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.33 K:BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 36 | Tom: 28 | Cody: 44 When a late-July swoon caused them to pivot into seller mode last year, the Twins flipped All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals for Tyler Watson, a former 34th-round draft with a tall frame and a short track record. The 6'5", 200 lb southpaw has a physique any scout can love, and the Nats lured him away from college in 2015 with a $400K signing bonus. Watson blew hitters away in rookie leagues, but was struggling a bit in A-ball when the Twins acquired last summer. That hasn't changed, as the numbers above illustrate, but Derek Falvey views the burly left-hander as a long-term project. "Tyler is a young left-handed starter we feel is just scratching the surface of who he can be," Minnesota's chief baseball officer said at the time. "Taller pitchers can take a little longer to develop, but we feel there's more in the tank." Right now he's a fairly hittable starter with a low-90s fastball and a developing curve, neither of which he commands all that consistently. But Watson is still only 21, with an almost ideal build and an 8.9 K/9 rate through his 250 innings as a pro. I'm definitely curious to see what else is in the tank. 34. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. – OF Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2018 Stats (Rk): .258/.303/.419 (.722 OPS), 1 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 3 K, 2 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 43 | Tom: 30 | Cody: 29 Bill Kinneberg, head baseball coach at the University of Utah, knew DaShawn Keirsey Jr. was destined to be an early-round MLB draft pick from the first time he watched him play. "I remember him running faster than anyone we've ever had, and you add that to his 6-foot-2 frame — yeah, it was evident right away." Last June, he was the 124th player to come off the board when Minnesota took him in the fourth round, and it's possible he would've gone earlier if not for a major injury in 2017 where the aggressive and speedy center fielder collided with an outfield wall (sound familiar?) and came off the field in an ambulance, his hip dislocated and the socket fractured. "Nobody could give us a timetable. That was a scary deal,” said Coach Kinneberg. It was a very tough break for a player whose game was built around speed, but Keirsey rehabbed hard and bounced back this spring with an outstanding junior season, batting .386 with a 1.049 OPS while leading the PAC-12 in doubles and reaching base in 45 of 50 games. He's a speedy gamer with good contact skills from the left side and an excellent defensive rep (he was three-time PAC-12 All Defense in center), so comparisons to Zack Granite or even Ben Revere are apt, but some foresee more power in Keirsey's future. 33. Gabriel Moya – LHP Age: 23 ETA: 2018 2018 Stats (AAA): 33.0 IP, 1.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 4.22 K/BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 40 | Tom: 35 | Cody: 22 Whereas Tyler Watson, profiled above, was clearly more of an acquisition guided by scouting, the Twins were pretty clearly going by the numbers when they picked up Gabriel Moya from Arizona in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy around the same time. The rare example of a lefty reliever whose changeup is his best pitch, Moya won't wow you with his high-80s fastball and modest breaking stuff. He'll more likely confuse you with his unique and twitchy mechanics. But his stats? Those'll wow you. Moya had a 0.82 ERA and 14.0 K/9 rate in Double-A last summer when the Twins acquired him, and he has kept the magic going in Minnesota's system with a 1.32 ERA and 57-to-12 K/BB ratio in 48 innings between Chattanooga (last year) and Rochester (this year). He has only received limited chances in the majors so far, amounting to 11 1/3 total innings with less than wow-worthy results, but is clearly deserving of an extended opportunity. Maybe it will come if the Twins open a spot by trading Zach Duke before the deadline. 32. Andrew Bechtold – 3B Age: 22 ETA: 2021 2018 Stats (A): .217/.320/.281 (.601 OPS), 11 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 67 K, 32 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 27 | Tom: 41 | Cody: 42 A righty-swinging infielder who grew in the Philly suburbs, Bechtold has followed a winding path to reach this point. He was selected by the Rangers in the 37th round of the 2014 draft following a strong senior year in high school, but elected not to sign, heading instead to the University of Maryland where he'd join fellow current Twins prospects LaMonte Wade and Alex Robinson. Due to injuries and other factors, things just didn't work out for Bechtold at Maryland. After two years, he transferred to Chipola, a junior college, where he got his baseball career back on track. He hit .419 with 12 home runs and 24 steals in 60 games, impressing the Twins enough that they drafted him in the fifth round and went well above slot to sign him at $600K. Bechtold's power hasn't shown up yet, as he's managed just three homers and a .337 slugging percentage in 107 games between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids, but he has shown a solid plate approach and an ability to get on base (he posted a .426 OBP for the Kernels in June). Ultimately the third baseman's development will hinge on his adding muscle and turning it into game power, but as a skilled defender with a good idea of what he's doing at the plate, Bechtold has the right foundation. 31. Jordan Balazovic – RHP Age: 19 ETA: 2022 2018 Stats (A): 26.2 IP, 2.36 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 13.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 5.86 K/BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 20 | Tom: 40 | Cody: 34 One year before taking Bechtold in the fifth round, the Twins used that selection on Jordan Balazovic, a Canadian right-hander who was catching some eyes north of the border. Like Bechtold, the Twins went over-slot to sign Balazovic, coaxing him out of a commitment to Auburn. The organization has taken it slow with Balazovic, who was only 17 when drafted in 2016. He spent two seasons in the rookie Gulf Coast League, with decidedly mixed results. This year he's made the move to Cedar Rapids, and things have really come together. He has struck out 41 in 26 2/3 innings of work, and in his most recent outing on Saturday, hurled six innings of one-hit ball with 10 strikeouts. Balazovic is a teenager who's thrown less than 100 official innings since being drafted, so all standard caveats apply, but he's a very live arm, and his arrow is pointing directly upward and flashing at this moment. PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS: 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospects: 36-40
  14. The strength of Minnesota's highly regarded farm system is in its depth. Yes, the Twins boast a few top-tier talents that will be profiled at the end of this series, but this organization's intrigue and upside extend beyond the Top 10 and even beyond the Top 30, as the five players below exemplify.35. Tyler Watson – LHP Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2018 Stats (A-/A+): 56.1 IP, 4.47 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.33 K:BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 36 | Tom: 28 | Cody: 44 When a late-July swoon caused them to pivot into seller mode last year, the Twins flipped All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals for Tyler Watson, a former 34th-round draft with a tall frame and a short track record. The 6'5", 200 lb southpaw has a physique any scout can love, and the Nats lured him away from college in 2015 with a $400K signing bonus. Watson blew hitters away in rookie leagues, but was struggling a bit in A-ball when the Twins acquired last summer. That hasn't changed, as the numbers above illustrate, but Derek Falvey views the burly left-hander as a long-term project. "Tyler is a young left-handed starter we feel is just scratching the surface of who he can be," Minnesota's chief baseball officer said at the time. "Taller pitchers can take a little longer to develop, but we feel there's more in the tank." Right now he's a fairly hittable starter with a low-90s fastball and a developing curve, neither of which he commands all that consistently. But Watson is still only 21, with an almost ideal build and an 8.9 K/9 rate through his 250 innings as a pro. I'm definitely curious to see what else is in the tank. 34. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. – OF Age: 21 ETA: 2021 2018 Stats (Rk): .258/.303/.419 (.722 OPS), 1 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 3 K, 2 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 43 | Tom: 30 | Cody: 29 Bill Kinneberg, head baseball coach at the University of Utah, knew DaShawn Keirsey Jr. was destined to be an early-round MLB draft pick from the first time he watched him play. "I remember him running faster than anyone we've ever had, and you add that to his 6-foot-2 frame — yeah, it was evident right away." Last June, he was the 124th player to come off the board when Minnesota took him in the fourth round, and it's possible he would've gone earlier if not for a major injury in 2017 where the aggressive and speedy center fielder collided with an outfield wall (sound familiar?) and came off the field in an ambulance, his hip dislocated and the socket fractured. "Nobody could give us a timetable. That was a scary deal,” said Coach Kinneberg. It was a very tough break for a player whose game was built around speed, but Keirsey rehabbed hard and bounced back this spring with an outstanding junior season, batting .386 with a 1.049 OPS while leading the PAC-12 in doubles and reaching base in 45 of 50 games. He's a speedy gamer with good contact skills from the left side and an excellent defensive rep (he was three-time PAC-12 All Defense in center), so comparisons to Zack Granite or even Ben Revere are apt, but some foresee more power in Keirsey's future. 33. Gabriel Moya – LHP Age: 23 ETA: 2018 2018 Stats (AAA): 33.0 IP, 1.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 4.22 K/BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 40 | Tom: 35 | Cody: 22 Whereas Tyler Watson, profiled above, was clearly more of an acquisition guided by scouting, the Twins were pretty clearly going by the numbers when they picked up Gabriel Moya from Arizona in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy around the same time. The rare example of a lefty reliever whose changeup is his best pitch, Moya won't wow you with his high-80s fastball and modest breaking stuff. He'll more likely confuse you with his unique and twitchy mechanics. But his stats? Those'll wow you. Moya had a 0.82 ERA and 14.0 K/9 rate in Double-A last summer when the Twins acquired him, and he has kept the magic going in Minnesota's system with a 1.32 ERA and 57-to-12 K/BB ratio in 48 innings between Chattanooga (last year) and Rochester (this year). He has only received limited chances in the majors so far, amounting to 11 1/3 total innings with less than wow-worthy results, but is clearly deserving of an extended opportunity. Maybe it will come if the Twins open a spot by trading Zach Duke before the deadline. 32. Andrew Bechtold – 3B Age: 22 ETA: 2021 2018 Stats (A): .217/.320/.281 (.601 OPS), 11 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 67 K, 32 BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 27 | Tom: 41 | Cody: 42 A righty-swinging infielder who grew in the Philly suburbs, Bechtold has followed a winding path to reach this point. He was selected by the Rangers in the 37th round of the 2014 draft following a strong senior year in high school, but elected not to sign, heading instead to the University of Maryland where he'd join fellow current Twins prospects LaMonte Wade and Alex Robinson. Due to injuries and other factors, things just didn't work out for Bechtold at Maryland. After two years, he transferred to Chipola, a junior college, where he got his baseball career back on track. He hit .419 with 12 home runs and 24 steals in 60 games, impressing the Twins enough that they drafted him in the fifth round and went well above slot to sign him at $600K. Bechtold's power hasn't shown up yet, as he's managed just three homers and a .337 slugging percentage in 107 games between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids, but he has shown a solid plate approach and an ability to get on base (he posted a .426 OBP for the Kernels in June). Ultimately the third baseman's development will hinge on his adding muscle and turning it into game power, but as a skilled defender with a good idea of what he's doing at the plate, Bechtold has the right foundation. 31. Jordan Balazovic – RHP Age: 19 ETA: 2022 2018 Stats (A): 26.2 IP, 2.36 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 13.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 5.86 K/BB 2018 Ranking: NR | 2017 Ranking: NR Seth: 20 | Tom: 40 | Cody: 34 One year before taking Bechtold in the fifth round, the Twins used that selection on Jordan Balazovic, a Canadian right-hander who was catching some eyes north of the border. Like Bechtold, the Twins went over-slot to sign Balazovic, coaxing him out of a commitment to Auburn. The organization has taken it slow with Balazovic, who was only 17 when drafted in 2016. He spent two seasons in the rookie Gulf Coast League, with decidedly mixed results. This year he's made the move to Cedar Rapids, and things have really come together. He has struck out 41 in 26 2/3 innings of work, and in his most recent outing on Saturday, hurled six innings of one-hit ball with 10 strikeouts. Balazovic is a teenager who's thrown less than 100 official innings since being drafted, so all standard caveats apply, but he's a very live arm, and his arrow is pointing directly upward and flashing at this moment. PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS: 2018 Twins Midseason Top Prospects: 36-40 Click here to view the article
  15. Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. HONORABLE MENTION John Curtiss, Rochester Red Wings, 8 G, 2.61 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, 10.1 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 14 K Luke Bard, Rochester Red Wings, 8 G, 3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 13 K. Cody Stashak, Chattanooga Lookouts, 7 G (1 GS), 1.88 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, 14.1 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 17 K Ryan Mason, Ft. Myers Miracle, 8 G, 2.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 14.1 IP, 14 H, 3 H, 14 K Jovani Moran, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 8 G (1 GS), 2.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 13.0 K/9, 14 H, 7 BB, 26 K. THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Gabriel Moya - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 1.38 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 9 H, 3 BB,18 K Moya made the Twins Opening Day roster wen Phil Hughes began the season on the disabled list. He was sent down to Rochester in late April. The 23-year-old southpaw from Venezuela had a strong first month in Rochester (remember, he jumped up to the big leagues directly from Double-A last year). Along with the solid numbers and striking out 12.5 batters per nine innings, opponents hit just .196/.260/.326 (.586) off of him in May. #4 - Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 18 K Another left-hander, Vasquez had a one-game stint in Chattanooga already this year. The Twins 32nd round pick in 2015 out of Westmont College has been moved along slowly, in large part due to some inconsistent control. After ending 2017 with the Miracle, he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League last year. He has returned to the Miracle, but he’s in need of a promotion to AA. In May, he struck out 11 batters per nine inning. He’s blessed with what should be a dominant slider. #3 - Nick Anderson - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 19 K Anderson was the Twins Daily April reliever of the month, and he was nearly as good in May. The Brainerd (Minnesota) native signed with the Twins out of the independent ranks late in the 2015 season. He has been blowing hitters away ever since and now finds himself one promotion from his big league dreams. In May, opponents hit a miniscule .077/.182/.154 (.336) off of him. He’ll turn 28 in early July. It’d be great to see him debut his big fastball/slider combination by then. #2 - Alan Busenitz - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 19 K It is inexplicable to the writer of this article why Busenitz is not in the big leagues. He dominates AAA, and he pitched very well last year and he got just four innings early this year in the big leagues. He’s got the big fastball and what can be a very good slider. In May, opponents hit just .159/.213/.159 (.372) against him. His 13.2 K/9 shows the type of dominance that he can have. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Chattanooga Lookouts – RHP Todd Van Steensel - 8 G, 1.13 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 16.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K Van Steensel is the kind of player that you just can’t help but cheer for. Signed originally by the Phillies, he was released after one year. The Twins signed him, but after one season in Elizabethton, they released him. He played in Europe and in his native Australia and a couple of years later, the Twins brought him back, this time as a reliever. Since returning, Van Steensel has been one of the best relievers in the organization. He made over 100 appearances in Ft. Myers and despite a fantastic 2017 in Chattanooga, he’s there again in 2018. He put up incredible numbers again in May. Opponents hit just .100/.148/.120 (.268) off of him. He continues to rack up big strikeout numbers and his walk rate has certainly come down this year. Van Steensel frequently shows up in these reports, but he is very worthy of this award for May. There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in May throughout the Twins minor league system. As you can see from their representation, the Red Wings have had a strong bullpen this month. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for May 2018, Todd Van Steensel.
  16. The Twins bullpen generally pitched quite well in May. More exciting, the Twins have lots of depth as they had several relievers in Rochester that had fantastic months. Were any of them our choice for Twins Daily Minor League Reliever of the Month, as Nick Anderson was in April? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out. Today, we start our May Award series with the Twins minor league relief pitcher of the month. We’ll count down the Top 5 Twins minor league relievers, and there are enough good bullpen performances that we’ll include some honorable mentions.Before we share our choices for the Twins Minor League Top Five Relievers for April, here are some terrific bullpen performances that just missed the cut. HONORABLE MENTION John Curtiss, Rochester Red Wings, 8 G, 2.61 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, 10.1 IP, 6 H, 7 BB, 14 KLuke Bard, Rochester Red Wings, 8 G, 3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 13 K.Cody Stashak, Chattanooga Lookouts, 7 G (1 GS), 1.88 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, 14.1 IP, 8 H, 5 BB, 17 KRyan Mason, Ft. Myers Miracle, 8 G, 2.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 14.1 IP, 14 H, 3 H, 14 KJovani Moran, Cedar Rapids Kernels, 8 G (1 GS), 2.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 13.0 K/9, 14 H, 7 BB, 26 K.THE TOP FIVE RELIEF PITCHERS #5 - Gabriel Moya - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 1.38 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 9 H, 3 BB,18 K Moya made the Twins Opening Day roster wen Phil Hughes began the season on the disabled list. He was sent down to Rochester in late April. The 23-year-old southpaw from Venezuela had a strong first month in Rochester (remember, he jumped up to the big leagues directly from Double-A last year). Along with the solid numbers and striking out 12.5 batters per nine innings, opponents hit just .196/.260/.326 (.586) off of him in May. #4 - Andrew Vasquez - Ft. Myers Miracle - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 14.2 IP, 15 H, 2 BB, 18 K Another left-hander, Vasquez had a one-game stint in Chattanooga already this year. The Twins 32nd round pick in 2015 out of Westmont College has been moved along slowly, in large part due to some inconsistent control. After ending 2017 with the Miracle, he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League last year. He has returned to the Miracle, but he’s in need of a promotion to AA. In May, he struck out 11 batters per nine inning. He’s blessed with what should be a dominant slider. #3 - Nick Anderson - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 19 K Anderson was the Twins Daily April reliever of the month, and he was nearly as good in May. The Brainerd (Minnesota) native signed with the Twins out of the independent ranks late in the 2015 season. He has been blowing hitters away ever since and now finds himself one promotion from his big league dreams. In May, opponents hit a miniscule .077/.182/.154 (.336) off of him. He’ll turn 28 in early July. It’d be great to see him debut his big fastball/slider combination by then. #2 - Alan Busenitz - Rochester Red Wings - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 19 K It is inexplicable to the writer of this article why Busenitz is not in the big leagues. He dominates AAA, and he pitched very well last year and he got just four innings early this year in the big leagues. He’s got the big fastball and what can be a very good slider. In May, opponents hit just .159/.213/.159 (.372) against him. His 13.2 K/9 shows the type of dominance that he can have. And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is: Chattanooga Lookouts – RHP Todd Van Steensel - 8 G, 1.13 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 16.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 17 K Van Steensel is the kind of player that you just can’t help but cheer for. Signed originally by the Phillies, he was released after one year. The Twins signed him, but after one season in Elizabethton, they released him. He played in Europe and in his native Australia and a couple of years later, the Twins brought him back, this time as a reliever. Since returning, Van Steensel has been one of the best relievers in the organization. He made over 100 appearances in Ft. Myers and despite a fantastic 2017 in Chattanooga, he’s there again in 2018. He put up incredible numbers again in May. Opponents hit just .100/.148/.120 (.268) off of him. He continues to rack up big strikeout numbers and his walk rate has certainly come down this year. Van Steensel frequently shows up in these reports, but he is very worthy of this award for May. There were several very strong relief pitcher performances in May throughout the Twins minor league system. As you can see from their representation, the Red Wings have had a strong bullpen this month. It was a good month for each of these pitchers mentioned today, but again, congratulations to the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month for May 2018, Todd Van Steensel. Click here to view the article
  17. Rogers was drafted by the Twins in the 11th round in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. He exceeded rookie limits in the 2016 season and is not eligible for arbitration until 2020. With that amount of team control it's important the Twins know what they have, and what they don’t have, in the 27 year old left-hander. MLB Debut Rogers made his MLB debut in 2016, pitching 61 innings and excelled. He managed a 3.96 ERA on the back of a 9.39 K/9, 2.35 BB/9 and GB% of 51%, all really solid numbers. Rogers’ xFIP of 3.47 was indicative that he might be scratching the surface of being an excellent relief option for the Twins. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rogers had pretty dramatic splits in 2016. Against lefties, he put together an excellent .202 BAA, .286 SLG and .281 BABIP. Conversely, Rogers struggled against righties, to the tune of a .291 BAA, .462 SLG and .348 BABIP. This led most to the conclusion that Rogers could be a viable long-term option as a LOOGY. The first half of Rogers 2017, however, would call that conclusion into question. 2017: A Tale of two Halves "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Words from Charles Dickens which are applicable to Rogers’ 2017. First Half: 1.87 BB/9, 0.80 HR/9, .333 SLG Second Half: 5.73 BB/9, 1.23 HR/9, .434 SLG In the first half of the 2017 season, the Twins bullpen was in flux. Not only did the big league club use a record 16 starting pitchers over the course of the season, a slew of Quadruple-A types saw time in the pen. With a stable bullpen, Rogers would likely have faced predominantly LHH. The Twins were struggling, however, and Rogers began to see RHH with increasing frequency. Surprisingly, he delivered in a big way. Prior to the end of June, Rogers managed an incredible 1.35 ERA against RHH, with a stingy .257 SLG, and .227 BAA. For the Twins, this was a boon of Hildenbergian proportions. In the first half of 2017, Rogers threw to 33% more RHH than LHH. That split evened in the second half of the season, but not significantly enough to prevent a major regression against righties, evidenced by his 5.79 ERA, .355 BAA and .581 SLG the rest of the way against RHH. It’s almost a certainty that Rogers’ first half numbers against RHH were an aberration. A return to dominance against LHH (he had been solid but unspectacular against them in the first half) helped mitigate the damage of an awful second half. All in all Rogers finished the season with numbers which would lead most to consider him a left-handed specialist. Rogers offers more than Buddy Boshers, but not a ton more. Pitch Mix Overview Rogers’ pitch mix is important to understanding why he suddenly fell off a cliff against RHH in the second half of 2017. Rogers relies on a sinker, four seam fastball, and a curveball. Additionally, he mixes in a changeup pretty infrequently (only 4% of the time in 2017). Rogers has above average velocity on most of his pitches, his fastball generating a ton of fly balls, and his changeup generating a decent number of groundballs. Rogers decreased his chageup usage as the 2017 season progressed, ditching the pitch altogether in July. Coincidentally, that was his worst month of the year. He got it to the tune of an ERA of 8.18 and gave up a .614 SLG that month. This makes sense. The changeup is an equalizing pitch to throw to opposite handed hitters (that’s why Johan Santana was so dominant). Despite not having a great changeup to begin with, Rogers was continually being put in tough situations against RHH without a weapon to neutralize them. This, in addition to an uncharacteristically high walk rate, led Rogers to an awful second half. Waiting in the Wings On one hand, there is reason for optimism for Rogers in 2018. Despite having a pretty rough spring training, it’s likely that his elevated walk rate from the second half of the season is a mechanical issue which is now resolved (two walks in 11 IP in spring training suggest as much). On the other hand, his splits are real, Rogers might not be a true LOOGY, but he isn’t a pitcher the Twins should be relying on to get out RHH on a consistent basis. Additionally, the Twins have some interesting arms waiting in the wings. Gabriel Moya (owner of an excellent changeup) is a candidate much more likely to be successful against both LHH and RHH due to his pitch mix and deceptive mechanics. Tyler Jay is another candidate to be a back end bullpen option if he can stay healthy throughout the 2018 season. If either of those pitchers have strong seasons, they may challenge for Rogers’ spot. Zach Duke is already a better iteration of a LHP who can dominate LHH due to his ability to generate ground balls instead of fly-balls. With a minor league option remaining, don’t be surprised if Rogers ends up in Rochester if he doesn’t get off to a strong start.
  18. If there is one thing we can all agree on regarding the 2018 Minnesota Twins, it’s that they have a higher floor than their 2017 counterparts. Still, established pieces are going to have to maintain or raise the level of their game in order to keep their jobs. Most notably; Taylor Rogers.Rogers was drafted by the Twins in the 11th round in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. He exceeded rookie limits in the 2016 season and is not eligible for arbitration until 2020. With that amount of team control it's important the Twins know what they have, and what they don’t have, in the 27 year old left-hander. MLB Debut Rogers made his MLB debut in 2016, pitching 61 innings and excelled. He managed a 3.96 ERA on the back of a 9.39 K/9, 2.35 BB/9 and GB% of 51%, all really solid numbers. Rogers’ xFIP of 3.47 was indicative that he might be scratching the surface of being an excellent relief option for the Twins. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rogers had pretty dramatic splits in 2016. Against lefties, he put together an excellent .202 BAA, .286 SLG and .281 BABIP. Conversely, Rogers struggled against righties, to the tune of a .291 BAA, .462 SLG and .348 BABIP. This led most to the conclusion that Rogers could be a viable long-term option as a LOOGY. The first half of Rogers 2017, however, would call that conclusion into question. 2017: A Tale of two Halves "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Words from Charles Dickens which are applicable to Rogers’ 2017. First Half: 1.87 BB/9, 0.80 HR/9, .333 SLG Second Half: 5.73 BB/9, 1.23 HR/9, .434 SLG In the first half of the 2017 season, the Twins bullpen was in flux. Not only did the big league club use a record 16 starting pitchers over the course of the season, a slew of Quadruple-A types saw time in the pen. With a stable bullpen, Rogers would likely have faced predominantly LHH. The Twins were struggling, however, and Rogers began to see RHH with increasing frequency. Surprisingly, he delivered in a big way. Prior to the end of June, Rogers managed an incredible 1.35 ERA against RHH, with a stingy .257 SLG, and .227 BAA. For the Twins, this was a boon of Hildenbergian proportions. In the first half of 2017, Rogers threw to 33% more RHH than LHH. That split evened in the second half of the season, but not significantly enough to prevent a major regression against righties, evidenced by his 5.79 ERA, .355 BAA and .581 SLG the rest of the way against RHH. It’s almost a certainty that Rogers’ first half numbers against RHH were an aberration. A return to dominance against LHH (he had been solid but unspectacular against them in the first half) helped mitigate the damage of an awful second half. All in all Rogers finished the season with numbers which would lead most to consider him a left-handed specialist. Rogers offers more than Buddy Boshers, but not a ton more. Pitch Mix Overview Rogers’ pitch mix is important to understanding why he suddenly fell off a cliff against RHH in the second half of 2017. Rogers relies on a sinker, four seam fastball, and a curveball. Additionally, he mixes in a changeup pretty infrequently (only 4% of the time in 2017). Rogers has above average velocity on most of his pitches, his fastball generating a ton of fly balls, and his changeup generating a decent number of groundballs. Rogers decreased his chageup usage as the 2017 season progressed, ditching the pitch altogether in July. Coincidentally, that was his worst month of the year. He got it to the tune of an ERA of 8.18 and gave up a .614 SLG that month. This makes sense. The changeup is an equalizing pitch to throw to opposite handed hitters (that’s why Johan Santana was so dominant). Despite not having a great changeup to begin with, Rogers was continually being put in tough situations against RHH without a weapon to neutralize them. This, in addition to an uncharacteristically high walk rate, led Rogers to an awful second half. Waiting in the Wings On one hand, there is reason for optimism for Rogers in 2018. Despite having a pretty rough spring training, it’s likely that his elevated walk rate from the second half of the season is a mechanical issue which is now resolved (two walks in 11 IP in spring training suggest as much). On the other hand, his splits are real, Rogers might not be a true LOOGY, but he isn’t a pitcher the Twins should be relying on to get out RHH on a consistent basis. Additionally, the Twins have some interesting arms waiting in the wings. Gabriel Moya (owner of an excellent changeup) is a candidate much more likely to be successful against both LHH and RHH due to his pitch mix and deceptive mechanics. Tyler Jay is another candidate to be a back end bullpen option if he can stay healthy throughout the 2018 season. If either of those pitchers have strong seasons, they may challenge for Rogers’ spot. Zach Duke is already a better iteration of a LHP who can dominate LHH due to his ability to generate ground balls instead of fly-balls. With a minor league option remaining, don’t be surprised if Rogers ends up in Rochester if he doesn’t get off to a strong start. Click here to view the article
  19. The first moves of the day finalized the final battle for position players. https://twitter.com/morsecode/status/978773643906945027 With Granite heading to Rochester, it meant Ryan LaMarre would be joining the Twins outfield for the season’s beginning. LaMarre was crowned the 2018 Sire of Fort Myers. Earlier this week, Seth speculated that LaMarre could break camp with the club. Kennys Vargas also saw his crazy week continue. It looked like he might be heading to the National League with the Reds but they figured out they don’t need a DH. Over the weekend, the Twins claimed him back from Cincinnati. Today, they were able to pass him through waivers and outright him to Triple-A Rochester. This move leaves the Twins with one open spot on the 40-man roster. Phil Hughes also provided an interesting situation for the club. Hughes looked like an option for a long-relief role. During his last spring start, Hughes was pulled with a mild oblique strain. This means he will start the year on the DL. This seemed like a convenient solution to the Twins roster crunch. https://twitter.com/NickNelsonMN/status/978717018982666241 With all of the moves above, here’s how the Twins 25-man roster will look on Opening Day. C: Jason Castro, Mitch Garver 1B: Joe Mauer, Logan Morrison 2B: Brian Dozier SS: Eduardo Escobar, Ehire Adrianza 3B: Miguel Sano OF: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Ryan LaMarre, Robbie Grossman SP: Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn RP: Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Zach Duke, Ryan Pressly, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Gabriel Moya, Tyler Kinley DL: Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes With a four man starting rotation, the Twins won’t need a fifth starter until April 11th. Last week, I thought that spot start might be filled by Hughes. His injury puts that start into question. Tyler Kinley’s impressive winter in the Dominican and his electric fastball made it easier to keep him around. How do you feel about the final 25-man roster? Obviously, there will be plenty of other players who impact the roster this season. Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  20. Opening Day is less than 48 hours away and Minnesota made their final roster moves of the spring on Tuesday. There were multiple questions still to be answered at the back of the 25-man roster with a couple of surprises mixed in. Either way, the Twins will head to Baltimore on Tuesday night with multiple new faces joining the squad.The first moves of the day finalized the final battle for position players. With Granite heading to Rochester, it meant Ryan LaMarre would be joining the Twins outfield for the season’s beginning. LaMarre was crowned the 2018 Sire of Fort Myers. Earlier this week, Seth speculated that LaMarre could break camp with the club. Kennys Vargas also saw his crazy week continue. It looked like he might be heading to the National League with the Reds but they figured out they don’t need a DH. Over the weekend, the Twins claimed him back from Cincinnati. Today, they were able to pass him through waivers and outright him to Triple-A Rochester. This move leaves the Twins with one open spot on the 40-man roster. Phil Hughes also provided an interesting situation for the club. Hughes looked like an option for a long-relief role. During his last spring start, Hughes was pulled with a mild oblique strain. This means he will start the year on the DL. This seemed like a convenient solution to the Twins roster crunch. With all of the moves above, here’s how the Twins 25-man roster will look on Opening Day. C: Jason Castro, Mitch Garver 1B: Joe Mauer, Logan Morrison 2B: Brian Dozier SS: Eduardo Escobar, Ehire Adrianza 3B: Miguel Sano OF: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Ryan LaMarre, Robbie Grossman SP: Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn RP: Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Zach Duke, Ryan Pressly, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Gabriel Moya, Tyler Kinley DL: Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes With a four man starting rotation, the Twins won’t need a fifth starter until April 11th. Last week, I thought that spot start might be filled by Hughes. His injury puts that start into question. Tyler Kinley’s impressive winter in the Dominican and his electric fastball made it easier to keep him around. How do you feel about the final 25-man roster? Obviously, there will be plenty of other players who impact the roster this season. Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  21. Tyler Duffey was recently optioned to Triple-A, and the opportunity for Moya to start against the Orioles presented itself. After making his debut in 2017, Moya is looking to cement himself as a fixture in the Twins future bullpen plans. With a quirky setup and delivery, he's got plenty of intrigue, but there's more talent there than just the optics. It's be pretty hard to argue that Gabriel Moya hasn't earned a spot this spring. Across 10.0 IP Moya has 10 strikeouts and a glowing 0.90 ERA. He was nothing short of exceptional on the farm a year ago and posted a 0.77 ERA split between two Double-A teams. Despite being a strikeout machine with strong walk numbers, the velocity isn't anything to write home about. In his brief time with Minnesota last year, he averaged just 91.1 mph on his fastball. Deception, command, and placement seem to be more of his blueprint to get the job done. Regarding the competition, Tyler Kinley likely couldn't be more opposite than Moya. A hard thrower that can push it into the upper-90s, he too is a strikeout pitcher but has had plenty of issues with command. Across his 10.0 IP for Minnesota this spring, he's registered 11 strikeouts but they come with seven walks. The 4.50 ERA is inflated due to two outings in which he allowed earned runs, and one of which was a 47-pitch endeavor across two innings. In short, Minnesota has to have liked what they've seen here as well. When it comes down to it, the reality of flexibility is almost certain to play a factor. Kinley not making the club would force the Twins to either work out a trade or offer him back to the Miami Marlins (though they haven't been in the business of wanting players this offseason). On the flip side, Moya has options remaining, and can be sent down to the farm with no ill-effects whatsoever. It's hard to see the Twins now deciding to cut bait with Kinley after letting the string play out this far. Duffey being optioned suggested a relative shift in thinking and provided a bit of clarity. Although it's still possible Moya is lights out during his final audition, I'd imagine there's a near insurmountable hill to climb for the former Diamondbacks prospect. When asking Molitor about the situation regarding Moya and Kinley following today's game, he suggested that tomorrow's game having both arms scheduled doesn't reflect a fate-determining moment. "We've been discussing how it's going to shape up as an organization for a while now. We are in a position where we can get another day out of it. Whether that changes where we are or not, I don't expect it to be a do or die. Just trying to see how it all fits together and what look you want to have." Looking back at my second 25-man roster projection from March 10, it looks to be spot on outside of Jorge Polanco's departure. With Zack Granite expected to get that roster spot, it's probably a good bet to assume the club will at least break camp with their Rule 5 selection still in tow.
  22. As Erick Aybar was officially released today, the large remaining position battle is in the bullpen. After being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, Tyler Kinley finds himself competing with Gabriel Moya for one last relief job. The hard thrower from the Marlins organization has had a good spring, while Moya will get another opportunity to stake his claim earning the start on Saturday.Tyler Duffey was recently optioned to Triple-A, and the opportunity for Moya to start against the Orioles presented itself. After making his debut in 2017, Moya is looking to cement himself as a fixture in the Twins future bullpen plans. With a quirky setup and delivery, he's got plenty of intrigue, but there's more talent there than just the optics. It's be pretty hard to argue that Gabriel Moya hasn't earned a spot this spring. Across 10.0 IP Moya has 10 strikeouts and a glowing 0.90 ERA. He was nothing short of exceptional on the farm a year ago and posted a 0.77 ERA split between two Double-A teams. Despite being a strikeout machine with strong walk numbers, the velocity isn't anything to write home about. In his brief time with Minnesota last year, he averaged just 91.1 mph on his fastball. Deception, command, and placement seem to be more of his blueprint to get the job done. Regarding the competition, Tyler Kinley likely couldn't be more opposite than Moya. A hard thrower that can push it into the upper-90s, he too is a strikeout pitcher but has had plenty of issues with command. Across his 10.0 IP for Minnesota this spring, he's registered 11 strikeouts but they come with seven walks. The 4.50 ERA is inflated due to two outings in which he allowed earned runs, and one of which was a 47-pitch endeavor across two innings. In short, Minnesota has to have liked what they've seen here as well. When it comes down to it, the reality of flexibility is almost certain to play a factor. Kinley not making the club would force the Twins to either work out a trade or offer him back to the Miami Marlins (though they haven't been in the business of wanting players this offseason). On the flip side, Moya has options remaining, and can be sent down to the farm with no ill-effects whatsoever. It's hard to see the Twins now deciding to cut bait with Kinley after letting the string play out this far. Duffey being optioned suggested a relative shift in thinking and provided a bit of clarity. Although it's still possible Moya is lights out during his final audition, I'd imagine there's a near insurmountable hill to climb for the former Diamondbacks prospect. When asking Molitor about the situation regarding Moya and Kinley following today's game, he suggested that tomorrow's game having both arms scheduled doesn't reflect a fate-determining moment. "We've been discussing how it's going to shape up as an organization for a while now. We are in a position where we can get another day out of it. Whether that changes where we are or not, I don't expect it to be a do or die. Just trying to see how it all fits together and what look you want to have." Looking back at my second 25-man roster projection from March 10, it looks to be spot on outside of Jorge Polanco's departure. With Zack Granite expected to get that roster spot, it's probably a good bet to assume the club will at least break camp with their Rule 5 selection still in tow. Click here to view the article
  23. The first four slots in the Minnesota rotation are set with Jose Berrios, Lance Lynn, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson. The fifth spot is almost certain to go to Phil Hughes, who figures to function as sort of a starter/long reliever hybrid in the early going. With five off days in the first three weeks, the team's schedule is such that they can get through April while only needing a fifth starter two or three times. And by the time they'll require one on a more regular basis, Ervin Santana should be close to returning if not back already. That means barring injury, someone from the Opening Day staff will be bumped by Santana in late April or early May. So the competition doesn't end once camp breaks. Whoever wins that final bullpen job will need to prove his worth throughout the early part of the schedule. As things stand, there are four relievers remaining in camp to vie for that last relief gig. One could argue it's really a two-man race. Let's first take a look at the two longshots: Alan Busenitz, RHP Busenitz has a couple of very attractive numbers working in his favor: 1.99, and 95.7. The first is his ERA in 28 appearances during a sparking 2017 debut with the Twins. The second is his average fastball speed during that stint. Of the 462 pitchers to throw at least 30 innings in the majors, only 54 threw harder, placing Busenitz near the 10th percentile. But here's the problem with the 1.99 ERA: it came attached to a 4.20 FIP and 4.80 xFIP, owing to the fact that Busenitz benefitted from a .212 BABIP and 86.6% strand rate. Minnesota's analytically minded front office surely recognizes the suspect sustainability of those numbers. And as for the 95-MPH heater, it was really the sole pitch he used effectively. His other offering is a curveball and it was nothing special, helping explain why the righty produced just 6.5 K/9 and a 7.2% swinging strike rate, which nestled between relative soft-tossers Hector Santiago (7.4%) and Phil Hughes (7.2%). As a fly ball pitcher who allows quite a bit of contact, Busenitz walks a dangerous line. Only one qualified MLB reliever finished with a FB rate above 45% and a K-rate below 20% last year – Seattle's Nick Vincent, and he succeeded with a very different formula, drawing weak contact with a high-80s cutter. So there's reason for concern around Busenitz's long-term outlook unless he can crank up the K's or cut down the flies. But in the short-term, the biggest thing working against him is that – since he has multiple options remaining – the Twins have nothing to lose by sending him down to Rochester to work on those things. Gabriel Moya, LHP On the other end of the whiff spectrum lies Moya, whose 12.4% swinging strike rate during a very brief stint in Minnesota last year tied Pressly for best on the staff. Moya has also had an extremely impressive spring up to this point, allowing just one run (a solo homer in his first appearance) on three hits in six innings of work. Something that could work in Moya's favor is the Twins going with five right-handers in the rotation. Theoretically this might increase Paul Molitor's desire to have a third southpaw in the bullpen, but Moya – who relies heavily on an excellent changeup – has never had big platoon splits, and in fact last year he was much better against righties. Like Busenitz, he has options remaining so there's no harm in sending him to Triple-A to start the season. But I am confident Moya will be a solid weapon at some point. And now, the two leading contenders: Tyler Duffey, RHP On Wednesday, Duffey made his first start in almost exactly one calendar year, allowing two runs (one earned) over three innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Molitor indicated afterward that the team plans to have him make another start in five days, on March 19th. The right-hander has basically no shot at a rotation spot, so why is he getting starts? The answer is easy enough to see. "I've been told I've been just lengthened out," Duffey said. "That's just to make sure I'm ready for that long role and maybe if something happens like a rainout or whatever and they need a guy." In this capacity, Duffey looks like a very obvious fit. One thing lacking in the current bullpen makeup is a pitcher with such a profile. In 2017 he got six or more outs in 15 of his 56 relief appearances. He even completed three full innings a couple of times. "We know he can be that guy, he did it last year quite a bit," Molitor said of Duffey's capability to fill the long relief role. The manager didn't have an especially positive review of the 27-year-old's performance against a tough Boston lineup – "Overall you have to say that he battled really well, I don't think he had his best stuff" – and Duffey has generally been unspectacular on the mound this spring, but that seems almost immaterial. They need him. Or do they? Tyler Kinley, RHP Ah, the Rule 5 pick. Always fun for a skipper to deal with in spring camp. Kinley has certainly caught some eyeballs with his big velocity, including a heater that reaches 99 and a slider that can touch 90. His Grapefruit numbers have been about what you'd expect based on his track record; six innings, six strikeouts, five walks. It's becoming a little easier to understand what the Twins saw in Kinley – and Molitor had high praise for the 27-year-old earlier this month – but how does he fit? Another one-inning guy in a unit full of them? Isn't his signature short-burst velo a bit redundant with Pressly? Can a team with hopes of contending really dedicate a roster spot to such an unproven commodity? One would surmise no. But of course, if the Twins don't carry Kinley on the active roster or trade for him, they'll have to ship him back to Miami. That wouldn't be the biggest deal but Molitor is well aware of what Minnesota's front office has invested in the righty. Not financially, mind you, but with Kinley occupying a 40-man slot they've had to let some other promising players slip away – most recently J.T. Chargois, who is having a strong spring with the Dodgers. As such, the Twins owe it to themselves to get a good long look at Kinley. Could that mean bringing him north, even if it means sending Duffey down (he does have an option) and forgoing a traditional mop-up option? It's not unthinkable. Hughes can ostensibly handle that long relief role between his sporadic starts in April. I don't think Molitor's going to go with a guy he flat-out can't rely on in a key spot, but if Kinley is able to convince the manager he's worth counting on? Like I said, not unthinkable. But also not at all likely. If the team is sold on Kinley I suspect they'll try to work out a trade with Miami that would allow them to send him to Triple-A. Duffey is in the driver's seat until further notice. His flexible arm is just too useful to be sent away. Sorry to put the kibosh on whatever minimal suspense existed around the lone "position battle" in camp. But if you're into such things, the good news is that Duffey will essentially be locked in a battle with Hughes to maintain that long relief role upon Santana's return.
  24. FT. MYERS – There's been no shortage of intrigue at Twins camp, and even a little drama. But if you like to follow position battles during spring training, you've probably found yourself a little disappointed. Surprises are always possible, but realistically, there is only one spot on the 25-man roster up for grabs. On Wednesday, a prime contender took the hill looking to build his case.The first four slots in the Minnesota rotation are set with Jose Berrios, Lance Lynn, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson. The fifth spot is almost certain to go to Phil Hughes, who figures to function as sort of a starter/long reliever hybrid in the early going. With five off days in the first three weeks, the team's schedule is such that they can get through April while only needing a fifth starter two or three times. And by the time they'll require one on a more regular basis, Ervin Santana should be close to returning if not back already. That means barring injury, someone from the Opening Day staff will be bumped by Santana in late April or early May. So the competition doesn't end once camp breaks. Whoever wins that final bullpen job will need to prove his worth throughout the early part of the schedule. As things stand, there are four relievers remaining in camp to vie for that last relief gig. One could argue it's really a two-man race. Let's first take a look at the two longshots: Alan Busenitz, RHP Busenitz has a couple of very attractive numbers working in his favor: 1.99, and 95.7. The first is his ERA in 28 appearances during a sparking 2017 debut with the Twins. The second is his average fastball speed during that stint. Of the 462 pitchers to throw at least 30 innings in the majors, only 54 threw harder, placing Busenitz near the 10th percentile. But here's the problem with the 1.99 ERA: it came attached to a 4.20 FIP and 4.80 xFIP, owing to the fact that Busenitz benefitted from a .212 BABIP and 86.6% strand rate. Minnesota's analytically minded front office surely recognizes the suspect sustainability of those numbers. And as for the 95-MPH heater, it was really the sole pitch he used effectively. His other offering is a curveball and it was nothing special, helping explain why the righty produced just 6.5 K/9 and a 7.2% swinging strike rate, which nestled between relative soft-tossers Hector Santiago (7.4%) and Phil Hughes (7.2%). As a fly ball pitcher who allows quite a bit of contact, Busenitz walks a dangerous line. Only one qualified MLB reliever finished with a FB rate above 45% and a K-rate below 20% last year – Seattle's Nick Vincent, and he succeeded with a very different formula, drawing weak contact with a high-80s cutter. So there's reason for concern around Busenitz's long-term outlook unless he can crank up the K's or cut down the flies. But in the short-term, the biggest thing working against him is that – since he has multiple options remaining – the Twins have nothing to lose by sending him down to Rochester to work on those things. Gabriel Moya, LHP On the other end of the whiff spectrum lies Moya, whose 12.4% swinging strike rate during a very brief stint in Minnesota last year tied Pressly for best on the staff. Moya has also had an extremely impressive spring up to this point, allowing just one run (a solo homer in his first appearance) on three hits in six innings of work. Something that could work in Moya's favor is the Twins going with five right-handers in the rotation. Theoretically this might increase Paul Molitor's desire to have a third southpaw in the bullpen, but Moya – who relies heavily on an excellent changeup – has never had big platoon splits, and in fact last year he was much better against righties. Like Busenitz, he has options remaining so there's no harm in sending him to Triple-A to start the season. But I am confident Moya will be a solid weapon at some point. And now, the two leading contenders: Tyler Duffey, RHP On Wednesday, Duffey made his first start in almost exactly one calendar year, allowing two runs (one earned) over three innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Molitor indicated afterward that the team plans to have him make another start in five days, on March 19th. The right-hander has basically no shot at a rotation spot, so why is he getting starts? The answer is easy enough to see. "I've been told I've been just lengthened out," Duffey said. "That's just to make sure I'm ready for that long role and maybe if something happens like a rainout or whatever and they need a guy." In this capacity, Duffey looks like a very obvious fit. One thing lacking in the current bullpen makeup is a pitcher with such a profile. In 2017 he got six or more outs in 15 of his 56 relief appearances. He even completed three full innings a couple of times. "We know he can be that guy, he did it last year quite a bit," Molitor said of Duffey's capability to fill the long relief role. The manager didn't have an especially positive review of the 27-year-old's performance against a tough Boston lineup – "Overall you have to say that he battled really well, I don't think he had his best stuff" – and Duffey has generally been unspectacular on the mound this spring, but that seems almost immaterial. They need him. Or do they? Tyler Kinley, RHP Ah, the Rule 5 pick. Always fun for a skipper to deal with in spring camp. Kinley has certainly caught some eyeballs with his big velocity, including a heater that reaches 99 and a slider that can touch 90. His Grapefruit numbers have been about what you'd expect based on his track record; six innings, six strikeouts, five walks. It's becoming a little easier to understand what the Twins saw in Kinley – and Molitor had high praise for the 27-year-old earlier this month – but how does he fit? Another one-inning guy in a unit full of them? Isn't his signature short-burst velo a bit redundant with Pressly? Can a team with hopes of contending really dedicate a roster spot to such an unproven commodity? One would surmise no. But of course, if the Twins don't carry Kinley on the active roster or trade for him, they'll have to ship him back to Miami. That wouldn't be the biggest deal but Molitor is well aware of what Minnesota's front office has invested in the righty. Not financially, mind you, but with Kinley occupying a 40-man slot they've had to let some other promising players slip away – most recently J.T. Chargois, who is having a strong spring with the Dodgers. As such, the Twins owe it to themselves to get a good long look at Kinley. Could that mean bringing him north, even if it means sending Duffey down (he does have an option) and forgoing a traditional mop-up option? It's not unthinkable. Hughes can ostensibly handle that long relief role between his sporadic starts in April. I don't think Molitor's going to go with a guy he flat-out can't rely on in a key spot, but if Kinley is able to convince the manager he's worth counting on? Like I said, not unthinkable. But also not at all likely. If the team is sold on Kinley I suspect they'll try to work out a trade with Miami that would allow them to send him to Triple-A. Duffey is in the driver's seat until further notice. His flexible arm is just too useful to be sent away. Sorry to put the kibosh on whatever minimal suspense existed around the lone "position battle" in camp. But if you're into such things, the good news is that Duffey will essentially be locked in a battle with Hughes to maintain that long relief role upon Santana's return. Click here to view the article
  25. Addison Reed’s reported signing is putting the Twins in an interesting spot. Once Reed passes his physical, he is going to need a spot on the 40-man roster. This also holds true for any future free agents the club signs this off-season. If Yu Darvish ends up in Minnesota, he will need a 40-man spot as well. What players are floating at the back-end of Minnesota’s 40-man roster? Here are a few names that could be forced to pass through waivers in the coming weeks.Buddy Boshers, LHP Boshers has made 75 appearances over the last two seasons with the Twins. During that time he has a 4.56 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and a 65 to 17 strikeout to walk ratio. Last season, the left-handed hurler held lefties to a .655 OPS while righties managed a .904 OPS. Boshers will be 30-years old this season and he has never posted an ERA under 4.00 in any of his three big league seasons. Dietrich Enns, LHP Enns joined the Twins organization last year along with Zack Littell as part of the Jaime Garcia trade. He only made two appearances and allowed three earned runs in four innings. However, he’s posted a 1.86 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP in 116.0 innings at Triple-A. Those numbers are hard to ignore. Enns will turn 27-years old in the middle of May. Minnesota’s new front office saw enough in him to include him in the trade so maybe that keeps him safe. Tyler Kinley, RHP The Twins just acquired Kinley from Miami during December’s Rule 5 Draft. Because of the rules associated with his acquisition, the club has to keep him on their 25-man roster for all of 2018 or offer him back to Miami. Between High-A and Double-A last season, Kinley had a 3.54 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP and a 72 to 22 strikeout to walk ratio (53.1 innings). It’s rare for Rule 5 players to be sent back to their clubs this quickly but the Twins might not have anticipated adding Fernando Rodney and Addison Reed. Gabriel Moya, LHP Originally signed by the Diamondbacks, Moya was dealt to Minnesota for John Ryan Murphy. He made seven big league appearances last year and allowed three runs in 6.1 innings. In the minors last season, he was almost untouchable. He compiled a 0.77 ERA while striking out 13.4 batters per nine innings. Moya was able to do this while being over two years younger than the competition in the Southern League. Kennys Vargas, DH Earlier in the off-season, reports had Vargas open to playing overseas. Vargas is out of options and would need to stick with the Twins next season. His lack of defensive flexibility makes it hard to pencil him into the team’s line-up on a regular basis. Players like Joe Mauer, Robbie Grossman and Mitch Garver might all need to see time at DH. At the big league level over the last four seasons, he has hit .252/.311/.437 including double digit home runs in each of the last two seasons. How would you rank the back end of the 40-man roster? Who will be the first to go? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
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