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  1. The upcoming off-season is going to have one of the best free-agent shortstop classes in history. Minnesota has a need at the position, but would the club be willing to make a trade to fill their shortstop need? Across baseball, teams will be vying for free-agent shortstops like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager. Minnesota can try to outbid other teams for their services, but the current front office doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to free-agent signings. Instead, the team can look to a buy-low candidate at shortstop. The Yankees are a team that spends money on the free-agent front as they currently have a payroll of over $200 million. New York may also be looking for a shortstop replacement. Gleyber Torres has been the team’s starting shortstop, but he has struggled over the last two seasons. Since 2020, he has hit .248/.330/.353 with 36 extra-base hits in 151 games. Torres, a two-time All-Star, turns 25-years-old this winter. He broke into the big leagues as a 21-year-old and posted a 125 OPS+ while averaging 31 homers through his first two seasons. Shortstop is a challenging position for any team to fill, and it is especially tough in the Bronx with players following Derek Jeter’s footsteps. Still, Torres was considered one of baseball’s best prospects, and he showed it early in his career. Why Would the Yankees Trade Him? Torres has struggled to make hard contact for multiple seasons as his Baseball Savant page has much more blue than red. He ranks in the 40th percentile or lower in average exit velocity, hard-hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel %, and whiff %. His worst category is outs above average, where he ranks in the first percentile. Besides his offensive decline, his defense has also been stretched at shortstop. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, Torres has been the AL’s third-worst defensive shortstop in 2021. Back in 2019, the last full season, he was one of only seven AL shortstops with a positive SDI. There’s a chance an undisclosed injury is impacting his performance, but the Yankees might be ready to move on. For any team looking to acquire Torres, it doesn't seem likely for him to be this bad of a player. He was highly regarded as a prospect, and he had multiple years of big-league success. Minnesota can hope that a change in coaching staffs allows him to return to his previous form. Even his current manager believes he will be an impact player for a long time. What Would the Twins Have to Trade? After a disappointing season, the Twins may have multiple players that would be considered buy-low candidates. One name to consider is Max Kepler. Like Torres, Kepler had a monster 2018 season at the plate, but both players have struggled since that point. They are each under team control through the 2024 season, and there’s a chance each player can improve with a change to a new organization. New York’s outfield dimensions are certainly a benefit for left-handed hitters like Kepler. Torres might be helped by being out of New York’s bright lights. Baseball Trade Values claims a straight trade of Kepler for Torres is a fair trade for each team and would likely be accepted from a future value standpoint. New York may also want prospect capital in return for Torres, and the Twins certainly have options down on the farm. The Twins should be prepared to make the call if the Yankees are ready to move on from Torres. Is Torres a player the Twins should target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Across baseball, teams will be vying for free-agent shortstops like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager. Minnesota can try to outbid other teams for their services, but the current front office doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to free-agent signings. Instead, the team can look to a buy-low candidate at shortstop. The Yankees are a team that spends money on the free-agent front as they currently have a payroll of over $200 million. New York may also be looking for a shortstop replacement. Gleyber Torres has been the team’s starting shortstop, but he has struggled over the last two seasons. Since 2020, he has hit .248/.330/.353 with 36 extra-base hits in 151 games. Torres, a two-time All-Star, turns 25-years-old this winter. He broke into the big leagues as a 21-year-old and posted a 125 OPS+ while averaging 31 homers through his first two seasons. Shortstop is a challenging position for any team to fill, and it is especially tough in the Bronx with players following Derek Jeter’s footsteps. Still, Torres was considered one of baseball’s best prospects, and he showed it early in his career. Why Would the Yankees Trade Him? Torres has struggled to make hard contact for multiple seasons as his Baseball Savant page has much more blue than red. He ranks in the 40th percentile or lower in average exit velocity, hard-hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel %, and whiff %. His worst category is outs above average, where he ranks in the first percentile. Besides his offensive decline, his defense has also been stretched at shortstop. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, Torres has been the AL’s third-worst defensive shortstop in 2021. Back in 2019, the last full season, he was one of only seven AL shortstops with a positive SDI. There’s a chance an undisclosed injury is impacting his performance, but the Yankees might be ready to move on. For any team looking to acquire Torres, it doesn't seem likely for him to be this bad of a player. He was highly regarded as a prospect, and he had multiple years of big-league success. Minnesota can hope that a change in coaching staffs allows him to return to his previous form. Even his current manager believes he will be an impact player for a long time. What Would the Twins Have to Trade? After a disappointing season, the Twins may have multiple players that would be considered buy-low candidates. One name to consider is Max Kepler. Like Torres, Kepler had a monster 2018 season at the plate, but both players have struggled since that point. They are each under team control through the 2024 season, and there’s a chance each player can improve with a change to a new organization. New York’s outfield dimensions are certainly a benefit for left-handed hitters like Kepler. Torres might be helped by being out of New York’s bright lights. Baseball Trade Values claims a straight trade of Kepler for Torres is a fair trade for each team and would likely be accepted from a future value standpoint. New York may also want prospect capital in return for Torres, and the Twins certainly have options down on the farm. The Twins should be prepared to make the call if the Yankees are ready to move on from Torres. Is Torres a player the Twins should target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. There are so many similarities between the Twins offense and the Yankees offense in 2019 While the Yankees have the names that are known nationally, hopefully this series can put the names of several Twins players into the limelight. As we eagerly look to tonight’s Game 1, lets take a look at two powerful, prolific, historic offenses and see where the teams have some advantages. Most would predict that the teams will score a lot of runs, so get to know some of the guys to watch.Let’s take a position-by-position look at this Twins/Yankees series. Catchers Twins: Mitch Garver (28) - .273/.365/.630 (.995) with 16 doubles, 31 HR, 67 RBI (0 playoff games) Yankees: Gary Sanchez (26) - .232/.316/.525 (.841) with 12 doubles, 34 HR, 77 RBI (18 playoff games) Summary: Simply looking at 2019 numbers, it’s clear that Garver had the better season of these two. After hitting seven homers last year, he set out to hit the ball in the air more often in 2019, and he did that. Likewise, he went to work on his defense last offseason and has made himself into an adequate defensive backstop. That is where Garver gains the edge over Sanchez as well. Advantage: Slight edge to the Twins. First Base Twins: CJ Cron (29) - .253/.311/.469 (.780) with 24 doubles, 25 HR, 78 RBI (3 playoff games) Yankees: DJ LeMahieu (31) - .327/.375/.518 (.893) with 33 doubles, 26 HR, 102 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: CJ Cron had a terrific, powerful first half of the season with the Twins. Unfortunately a thumb injury before the All Star break cost him two IL stints and really sapped him of his power much of the rest of the season. LeMahieu can play all over the infield, but he’s found most of his playing time in the second half at first base. He should receive strong consideration for MVP as he was such a huge piece for the Yankees all season. Advantage: Edge to the Yankees. Second Base Twins: Jonathan Schoop (27) - .256/.304/.473 (.777) with 23 doubles, 23 HR, 59 RBI (12 playoff games) Twins: Luis Arraez (22) - .334/.399/.439 (.838) with 20 doubles, 4 HR, 28 RBI (0 playoff games) Yankees: Gleyber Torres (22) - .278/.337/.535 (.871) with 26 doubles, 38 HR, 90 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: We will find out on Friday morning whether or not Luis Arraez will be on the ALDS roster or not. He had such a positive impact on the team immediately after his promotion. The quality of his at-bats is veteran-like. Schoop’s at-bats may not be as pretty, but look at the numbers. He has had a solid season despite losing playing time. Regardless, Torres is an All-Star at a very young age. Sure, about 1/3 of his homers came against the Orioles, but he had a fantastic season and plays solid defense too. Advantage: Edge to the Yankees. Third Base Twins: Miguel Sano (26) - .247/.346/.576 (.923) with 19 doubles, 34 HR, 79 RBI (0 playoff games) Yankees: Gio Urshela (27) - .314/.355/.534 (.889) with 34 doubles, 21 HR, 74 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: Sano put up monster numbers in 2019 despite his season not starting until May 15th. He had his week of extreme struggle, but since then, he has been pretty well locked in. He’ll be making his postseason debut because he missed the 2017 Wild Card game with a broken tibia. Urshela did play in the 2017 postseason, for Cleveland. He’s been a backup player the last few years in Cleveland and Toronto. He got an opportunity to play in 2019 because of the Miguel Andujar injury, and he took full advantage. Advantage: Edge to the Twins. Shortstop Twins: Jorge Polanco (26) - .295/.356/.485 (.841) with 40 doubles, 22 HR, 79 RBI (1 playoff game) Yankees: Didi Gregorius (29) - .238/.276/.441 (.718) with 14 doubles, 16 HR, 61 RBI (19 playoff games) Summary: Gregorius missed the first half of the season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in the second half and never got on a great roll. That said, he can be great, and he certainly has hurt the Twins in recent years. Polanco had a terrific, breakout season in 2019. He had a big first half and earned his first All-Star appearance (and start). Advantage: Slight Edge to the Twins. Left Field Twins: Eddie Rosario (28) - .276/.300/.500 (.800) with 28 doubles, 32 HR, 109 RBI (1 playoff game) Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton (29) - .288/.403/.492 (.894) with 3 doubles, 3 HR, 13 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: Because of injury, Stanton was limited to just 18 games at 72 plate appearances in 2019. But if he’s healthy, the former MVP can have a huge impact in this series with his power. Rosario had a rough second half, but just looking at his numbers (except that OBP), he put together another solid season for the Twins. Staton has played in five postseason games. Rosario played in just one, but he homered in that game. Advantage: Push. The edge would clearly go to the Yankees if not for the injury factor. Center Field Twins: Max Kepler (26) - .252/.336/.519 (.855) with 32 doubles, 36 HR, 90 RBI (1 playoff game) Yankees: Brett Gardner (36) - .251/.325/.503 (.829) with 26 doubles, 28 HR, 78 RBI (52 playoff games) Summary: Gardner has played in 52 playoff games in his long Yankees career. He has really changed his game in the last couple of years from a slappy, on-base hitter to a power guy. If Kepler had stayed healthy and had played at all in the last three weeks, the edge would likely go to Kepler in this “matchup.” He had a huge breakout year. His health is the lone question. Advantage: Push Right Field Twins: Marwin Gonzalez (30) - .264/.322/.414 (.736) with 19 doubles, 15 HR, 55 RBI (30 playoff games) Yankees: Aaron Judge (27) - .272/.381/.540 (.921) with 18 doubles, 27 HR, 55 RBI (18 playoff games) Summary: Judge missed some time early in the season but returned to put up Judge-like numbers again. I have Gonzalez listed here, but he could play some at first base, and if he does someone like Jake Cave or LaMonte Wade could play right field. In addition, Gonzalez missed the final handful of games due to his oblique tightening, but he expects to be back. Advantage: Edge to the Yankees Designated Hitter Twins: Nelson Cruz (39) - .311/.392/.639 (1.031) with 26 doubles, 41 HR, 108 RBI (41 playoff games) Yankees: Edwin Encarnacion (36) - .244/.344/.531 (.875) with 18 doubles, 34 HR, 86 RBI (26 playoff games) Summary: This “matchup” pits two members of the 400 Home Run club. Both have been prolific power hitters for years. Both have missed time with injuries in 2019. Encarnacion is expected to return to the Yankees lineup for the playoffs after missing time with an oblique injury. Advantage: Slight Edge Twins Bench Twins: The Twins will likely have a bench that includes Jason Castro, Willians Astudillo, Jake Cave, LaMonte Wade (and Jonathan Schoop, if Arraez is healthy). Yankees: The Yankees will likely have Austin Romine as their backup catcher. Guys like Luke Voit (21 HR), Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier will also possibly be on the bench. Mike Tauchman is another possibility if he is healthy. Overall Twins: .270/.338/.494 (.832) with 318 doubles, 307 HR, 939 Runs Yankees: .267/.339/.490 (.829) with 290 doubles, 306 HR, 943 Runs Advantage: Even Summary: Expect to see a lot of home runs, a lot of runs scored. Or, because baseball can be funny sometimes, maybe we will see a series of pitcher’s duels. Click here to view the article
  4. Let’s take a position-by-position look at this Twins/Yankees series. Catchers Twins: Mitch Garver (28) - .273/.365/.630 (.995) with 16 doubles, 31 HR, 67 RBI (0 playoff games) Yankees: Gary Sanchez (26) - .232/.316/.525 (.841) with 12 doubles, 34 HR, 77 RBI (18 playoff games) Summary: Simply looking at 2019 numbers, it’s clear that Garver had the better season of these two. After hitting seven homers last year, he set out to hit the ball in the air more often in 2019, and he did that. Likewise, he went to work on his defense last offseason and has made himself into an adequate defensive backstop. That is where Garver gains the edge over Sanchez as well. Advantage: Slight edge to the Twins. First Base Twins: CJ Cron (29) - .253/.311/.469 (.780) with 24 doubles, 25 HR, 78 RBI (3 playoff games) Yankees: DJ LeMahieu (31) - .327/.375/.518 (.893) with 33 doubles, 26 HR, 102 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: CJ Cron had a terrific, powerful first half of the season with the Twins. Unfortunately a thumb injury before the All Star break cost him two IL stints and really sapped him of his power much of the rest of the season. LeMahieu can play all over the infield, but he’s found most of his playing time in the second half at first base. He should receive strong consideration for MVP as he was such a huge piece for the Yankees all season. Advantage: Edge to the Yankees. Second Base Twins: Jonathan Schoop (27) - .256/.304/.473 (.777) with 23 doubles, 23 HR, 59 RBI (12 playoff games) Twins: Luis Arraez (22) - .334/.399/.439 (.838) with 20 doubles, 4 HR, 28 RBI (0 playoff games) Yankees: Gleyber Torres (22) - .278/.337/.535 (.871) with 26 doubles, 38 HR, 90 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: We will find out on Friday morning whether or not Luis Arraez will be on the ALDS roster or not. He had such a positive impact on the team immediately after his promotion. The quality of his at-bats is veteran-like. Schoop’s at-bats may not be as pretty, but look at the numbers. He has had a solid season despite losing playing time. Regardless, Torres is an All-Star at a very young age. Sure, about 1/3 of his homers came against the Orioles, but he had a fantastic season and plays solid defense too. Advantage: Edge to the Yankees. Third Base Twins: Miguel Sano (26) - .247/.346/.576 (.923) with 19 doubles, 34 HR, 79 RBI (0 playoff games) Yankees: Gio Urshela (27) - .314/.355/.534 (.889) with 34 doubles, 21 HR, 74 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: Sano put up monster numbers in 2019 despite his season not starting until May 15th. He had his week of extreme struggle, but since then, he has been pretty well locked in. He’ll be making his postseason debut because he missed the 2017 Wild Card game with a broken tibia. Urshela did play in the 2017 postseason, for Cleveland. He’s been a backup player the last few years in Cleveland and Toronto. He got an opportunity to play in 2019 because of the Miguel Andujar injury, and he took full advantage. Advantage: Edge to the Twins. Shortstop Twins: Jorge Polanco (26) - .295/.356/.485 (.841) with 40 doubles, 22 HR, 79 RBI (1 playoff game) Yankees: Didi Gregorius (29) - .238/.276/.441 (.718) with 14 doubles, 16 HR, 61 RBI (19 playoff games) Summary: Gregorius missed the first half of the season due to Tommy John surgery. He returned in the second half and never got on a great roll. That said, he can be great, and he certainly has hurt the Twins in recent years. Polanco had a terrific, breakout season in 2019. He had a big first half and earned his first All-Star appearance (and start). Advantage: Slight Edge to the Twins. Left Field Twins: Eddie Rosario (28) - .276/.300/.500 (.800) with 28 doubles, 32 HR, 109 RBI (1 playoff game) Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton (29) - .288/.403/.492 (.894) with 3 doubles, 3 HR, 13 RBI (5 playoff games) Summary: Because of injury, Stanton was limited to just 18 games at 72 plate appearances in 2019. But if he’s healthy, the former MVP can have a huge impact in this series with his power. Rosario had a rough second half, but just looking at his numbers (except that OBP), he put together another solid season for the Twins. Staton has played in five postseason games. Rosario played in just one, but he homered in that game. Advantage: Push. The edge would clearly go to the Yankees if not for the injury factor. Center Field Twins: Max Kepler (26) - .252/.336/.519 (.855) with 32 doubles, 36 HR, 90 RBI (1 playoff game) Yankees: Brett Gardner (36) - .251/.325/.503 (.829) with 26 doubles, 28 HR, 78 RBI (52 playoff games) Summary: Gardner has played in 52 playoff games in his long Yankees career. He has really changed his game in the last couple of years from a slappy, on-base hitter to a power guy. If Kepler had stayed healthy and had played at all in the last three weeks, the edge would likely go to Kepler in this “matchup.” He had a huge breakout year. His health is the lone question. Advantage: Push Right Field Twins: Marwin Gonzalez (30) - .264/.322/.414 (.736) with 19 doubles, 15 HR, 55 RBI (30 playoff games) Yankees: Aaron Judge (27) - .272/.381/.540 (.921) with 18 doubles, 27 HR, 55 RBI (18 playoff games) Summary: Judge missed some time early in the season but returned to put up Judge-like numbers again. I have Gonzalez listed here, but he could play some at first base, and if he does someone like Jake Cave or LaMonte Wade could play right field. In addition, Gonzalez missed the final handful of games due to his oblique tightening, but he expects to be back. Advantage: Edge to the Yankees Designated Hitter Twins: Nelson Cruz (39) - .311/.392/.639 (1.031) with 26 doubles, 41 HR, 108 RBI (41 playoff games) Yankees: Edwin Encarnacion (36) - .244/.344/.531 (.875) with 18 doubles, 34 HR, 86 RBI (26 playoff games) Summary: This “matchup” pits two members of the 400 Home Run club. Both have been prolific power hitters for years. Both have missed time with injuries in 2019. Encarnacion is expected to return to the Yankees lineup for the playoffs after missing time with an oblique injury. Advantage: Slight Edge Twins Bench Twins: The Twins will likely have a bench that includes Jason Castro, Willians Astudillo, Jake Cave, LaMonte Wade (and Jonathan Schoop, if Arraez is healthy). Yankees: The Yankees will likely have Austin Romine as their backup catcher. Guys like Luke Voit (21 HR), Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier will also possibly be on the bench. Mike Tauchman is another possibility if he is healthy. Overall Twins: .270/.338/.494 (.832) with 318 doubles, 307 HR, 939 Runs Yankees: .267/.339/.490 (.829) with 290 doubles, 306 HR, 943 Runs Advantage: Even Summary: Expect to see a lot of home runs, a lot of runs scored. Or, because baseball can be funny sometimes, maybe we will see a series of pitcher’s duels.
  5. Brief Overview: New York took two of three against Minnesota earlier this season in the Bronx, but the run differential separated the clubs by only two. The Yankees are the only American League team with a run differential better than the Twins (+138) and Aaron Boone’s savages have done the majority of their damage without the help of their biggest names. What They Do Well: As you’d expect with any good team, there’s very little that New York doesn’t do at an above average clip. The have a top 10 offense across baseball, and own a pitching staff that slots in right behind the Twins at 5th overall. Boone’s club has plenty of bombers, and while they are well behind the Minnesota tally in dingers they round out the top five. The Yankees are a patient group and that’s evident in their 4th best walk rate across Major League Baseball. On top of being able to drive the ball deep and score at a high clip, they’ll make pitchers work and settle for free passes. No team in baseball is better getting out of jams than the Yankees. A 76.8% strand rate is indicative of a team that can handle high-pressure situations, and routinely tilts the scales in their favor. Touting the best bullpen in the game by a wide margin, your best bet is to get ahead early and not give up a lead. What They Do Not Do Well: Similar to the New York club that visited from the National League, this Yankees club is not a defensive stalwart. They rank 22nd in baseball from a defensive metric standpoint, and they bring up the rear in shift runs saved. Virtually every team in baseball (save for three this season) is at 0 or better when it comes to shift runs. The idea of shifting is to cut down would be base hits, and in general, the practice serves its purpose. At -6 rTS this season, New York has managed to be completely inept when moving defenders around the diamond. The Yankees employ a strong defensive outfield, headlined by former Twins centerfielder Aaron Hicks. It’s on the dirt that they are essentially terrible all over the place. Luke Voit is well below average at first base, and Gleyber Torres is negative at second. D.J. LeMahieu is a strong player with the glove, but breakout third basemen Gio Urshella rates poorly and Gary Sanchez is consistently among the worst backstops in baseball. If there was ever an opportunity to reverse course against a bad defensive team after the Mets letdown, this is it for the Twins. Individuals Of Note: It’s Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton that typically draw headlines for this squad, but one has missed significant time and the other is still on the Injured List. After leaving Coors Field in free agency a slide was expected for former Rockies second basemen D.J. LeMahieu. Instead he’s having a career year and paces the Yankees in fWAR. Every year it looks like Brett Gardner may be the old man squeezed out of a spot on the roster, and each season he rises to the challenge. He’s putting up great numbers in 2019 and doing so at the age of 35. Gleyber Torres was the second Yankee considered by most in the AL Rookie of the Year voting a season ago, but arguably had the better campaign. He’s back it up by becoming an All Star in year two and looks the part of a cornerstone for years to come. The rotation is where New York is a bit soft but big time trade acquisition James Paxton has been plenty strong. He’s been somewhat outshined by youngster Domingo German, but Boone still has more than a few arms he’s comfortable turning the ball loose with. Recent History: These two clubs played in the beginning of May with New York taking the series. The Yankees won each of their games by three runs while Minnesota took the middle game by a score of 7-3. Recent Trajectories: After sending Oakland out with a split the Twins are just 4-6 over their last ten, and they have lost their last two home series. New York comes in winning seven of their last ten, but dropping their last road series. In 2018 Minnesota took the final series from the Bombers winning two of three at Target Field in September. Ending Thoughts: Right now the largest problem for the Twins has been a consistent offensive output. While starter have gone short and the bullpen is both taxed and undermanned, it’s the bats that carried Minnesota this far. Beating the Yankees isn’t likely going to happen late so Baldelli will need his squad to hop on opposing starters early and often. Byron Buxton could be back, and his presence would be a welcomed one both in the lineup and the outfield.
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