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  1. The Twins dropped the opening game of an important series against the Guardians 6-5 on Tuesday. Emilio Pagan blew a late lead, negating a huge home run from Luis Arraez, as Cleveland won in eleven innings. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO (101 pitches, 70 strikes) Homeruns: Arraez (4) Bottom 3 WPA: Urshela -.273, Pagan -.269, Miranda -.233 Bottom Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday night, the Twins began their most important series of the season so far. Entering the opening game of athree-gamee series against Cleveland, the Guardians had trimmed Minnesota’s AL Central lead to just one game. Here’s how the Twins lined up behind Joe Ryan. In his second start back from the COVID IL, Joe Ryan struggled early. His velocity was down, and his control and command were extremely poor through his first three innings. Cleveland took the lead after Ryan surrendered two singles and a double in the top of the first inning. Meanwhile, the Twins struggled mightily early against Aaron Civale. They managed just a Carlos Correa double and an Alex Kirilloff single through three innings, with Civale striking out five. A massive Josh Naylor home run deep to right field put the Guardians up 3-0 in the top of the third in a game that seemed to be getting away from the Twins early. In the bottom of the fourth, the offense found life. Max Kepler singled and Gary Sanchez walked, before Kirilloff launched a 106 mph double to score both runners and cut the lead to 3-2. Meanwhile, Ryan began to settle in the middle innings. He allowed a walk and a single in the top of the fourth inning, before retiring seven Cleveland hitters in a row, striking out the side in the sixth inning. After a shaky start, Ryan rebounded nicely to keep the Twins in the game, giving them six innings and surpassing 100 pitches in the process. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cleveland bullpen took over. After a quiet sixth inning, pinch-hitter Trevor Larnach drew a walk with one out in the top of the seventh. Eli Morgan took over in relief for Cleveland. Ryan Jeffers crushed a 102 mph double down the left field line. A batter later, Luis Arraez turned on a fastball inside to hit a 359 foot, three run home run to put the Twins ahead five to three. Emilio Pagan took over in the eighth inning. After a Josh Naylor single, Franmil Reyes hit a center cut offering from Pagan 419 feet to tie the game at five. The Twins, it seems, will continue the revolving door of who will get high leverage opportunities behind Jhoan Duran. No one has stepped up with consistency. Duran pitched a scoreless ninth inning despite an infield single from Steven Kwan on a groundball Gio Urshela struggled to gain control of. In the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Garlick led off with a pinch-hit, infield single. Nick Gordon pinch ran for him and was thrown out on a close play at second base, bringing him to 3 for 6 in stolen base attempts on the season. Despite a Ryan Jeffers single, the game headed to extra innings after a Luis Arraez groundout. Duran got the tenth for the Twins. With a runner on second base, he induced a quick groundout from Jose Ramirez. After intentionally walking Josh Naylor, Duran managed to get Oscar Gonzalez to ground into an inning ending double play to end the inning and give the Twins a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the tenth inning. In the bottom of the tenth, Luis Arraez started on second base, with Byron Buxton at the plate. Buxton walked, putting runners at first and second base with no outs. Carlos Correa, Max Kepler, and Gary Sanchez struck out in consecutive at bats, stranding the runner, keeping the game tied at five, and dropping the Twins at 2-10 with RISP in the game. The Guardians took the lead in the eleventh. Andres Gimenez floating a 71 mph single to center field off Griffin Jax to retake the lead. Jax worked around further trouble to retire the side, leaving the Twins trailing 6-5, with Emmanuel Clase entering the game to close in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Clase managed the inning with relative ease, despite Jose Miranda missing a walkoff homerun by five feet. Just like that, the Twins are in second place. The loss leaves the Twins and Guardians tied at the top of the AL Central. The story was a familiar one for the Twins. They had ample opportunities to score more runs, but struggled to cash runners in scoring position. Ultimately, this game came down to a battle of the bullpens. The Twins aren't going to win too many of those against serious teams. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT Jax 0 0 0 16 27 43 Duffey 0 9 0 25 0 34 Thornburg 0 33 0 0 0 33 Thielbar 0 0 0 31 0 31 Duran 0 0 0 0 27 27 Cotton 0 0 10 0 11 21 Pagán 0 0 0 0 17 17 Smith 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Sonny Gray starts for Minnesota, against Triston McKenzie of the Guardians. First pitch is 6:40 CT. Postgame Interviews View full article
  2. Every big-league roster has players that provide irreplaceable value, but some players are even more critical to their team. Here are the top-five most irreplaceable players on the 2022 Twins. Earlier this week, FanGraphs posted about the American League's most irreplaceable players for the remainder of the 2022 season. For author and ZiPS creator Dan Szymborski, this isn't a list of the top players in the league. His premise is to eliminate teams out of contention and remove players on teams with significant division leads. He "ran the updated ZiPS projected standings after Tuesday's games and then re-ran the entire simulation with the assumption that each relevant player missed the rest of the season due to injury." Multiple AL Central players appear on Szymborski's rankings, including Byron Buxton in the eighth overall spot. For Twins fans, an argument can be made for each of the names below as the team's most irreplaceable player. 5. Joe Ryan, SP Starting pitching is so important for the Twins that it seems like nearly every starter is irreplaceable at this point. However, starters will be limited in the amount of value they can provide, with less than 60% of the schedule remaining. Joe Ryan dominated early in the season to put himself in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation. A trip to the COVID IL was the only thing able to slow him down. Minnesota has already survived part of the schedule without Ryan, which is another reason why he ranks fifth. 4. Sonny Gray, SP Sonny Gray has been the ace-level pitcher Twins fans have pined for in recent years, but he has yet to make ten starts due to a pectoral strain. Gray was the clear selection as the TD Pitcher of the Month for May, but the team needs him healthy for the season's second half. He was an All-Star the last time he pitched over 175 innings in a season. Like Ryan, his value for the season's remaining games is limited because he will appear in fewer games than the position players named below. 3. Luis Arraez, UTL An argument can be made that Luis Arraez has been the team's MVP so far in 2022. He leads baseball in batting average and on-base percentage. Baseball-Reference ranks Arraez as having accumulated the team's highest WAR total, which puts him a full win ahead of Carlos Correa. Last season, Arraez played in a career-high 121 games, and Minnesota needs him to surpass that mark in 2022. The Twins have infield depth, so even if Arraez is injured, his replacement(s) would recover some of his value. 2. Carlos Correa, SS Carlos Correa's slow start might have been tough for some fans to watch, but his track record pointed to him being able to turn it around. Since May 1, Correa is hitting .321/.382/.509 (.891) with 13 extra-base hits in 27 games. According to Szymborski, "Correa ranks a bit lower than Buxton, even with as good a projection, mainly because Minnesota has reasonable depth in the infield." It's been well documented that Correa can opt out of his contract, so he has every incentive to continue playing well. 1. Byron Buxton, CF Even with the team managing his playing time, Buxton's living up to his contract extension from this winter. He's on pace to set career highs in nearly every offensive category, and FanGraphs already puts his season value north of $18 million. On FanGraphs' list, Buxton doesn't rank as high as other players because ZiPS already projects him to miss time due to injury. Szymborski wrote, "Assuming that Buxton would have perfect health, he would jump into the [AL's] top five." The Twins are at their best with Buxton in the line-up, making him the team's most irreplaceable player. How would you rank the team's most irreplaceable players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  3. Earlier this week, FanGraphs posted about the American League's most irreplaceable players for the remainder of the 2022 season. For author and ZiPS creator Dan Szymborski, this isn't a list of the top players in the league. His premise is to eliminate teams out of contention and remove players on teams with significant division leads. He "ran the updated ZiPS projected standings after Tuesday's games and then re-ran the entire simulation with the assumption that each relevant player missed the rest of the season due to injury." Multiple AL Central players appear on Szymborski's rankings, including Byron Buxton in the eighth overall spot. For Twins fans, an argument can be made for each of the names below as the team's most irreplaceable player. 5. Joe Ryan, SP Starting pitching is so important for the Twins that it seems like nearly every starter is irreplaceable at this point. However, starters will be limited in the amount of value they can provide, with less than 60% of the schedule remaining. Joe Ryan dominated early in the season to put himself in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation. A trip to the COVID IL was the only thing able to slow him down. Minnesota has already survived part of the schedule without Ryan, which is another reason why he ranks fifth. 4. Sonny Gray, SP Sonny Gray has been the ace-level pitcher Twins fans have pined for in recent years, but he has yet to make ten starts due to a pectoral strain. Gray was the clear selection as the TD Pitcher of the Month for May, but the team needs him healthy for the season's second half. He was an All-Star the last time he pitched over 175 innings in a season. Like Ryan, his value for the season's remaining games is limited because he will appear in fewer games than the position players named below. 3. Luis Arraez, UTL An argument can be made that Luis Arraez has been the team's MVP so far in 2022. He leads baseball in batting average and on-base percentage. Baseball-Reference ranks Arraez as having accumulated the team's highest WAR total, which puts him a full win ahead of Carlos Correa. Last season, Arraez played in a career-high 121 games, and Minnesota needs him to surpass that mark in 2022. The Twins have infield depth, so even if Arraez is injured, his replacement(s) would recover some of his value. 2. Carlos Correa, SS Carlos Correa's slow start might have been tough for some fans to watch, but his track record pointed to him being able to turn it around. Since May 1, Correa is hitting .321/.382/.509 (.891) with 13 extra-base hits in 27 games. According to Szymborski, "Correa ranks a bit lower than Buxton, even with as good a projection, mainly because Minnesota has reasonable depth in the infield." It's been well documented that Correa can opt out of his contract, so he has every incentive to continue playing well. 1. Byron Buxton, CF Even with the team managing his playing time, Buxton's living up to his contract extension from this winter. He's on pace to set career highs in nearly every offensive category, and FanGraphs already puts his season value north of $18 million. On FanGraphs' list, Buxton doesn't rank as high as other players because ZiPS already projects him to miss time due to injury. Szymborski wrote, "Assuming that Buxton would have perfect health, he would jump into the [AL's] top five." The Twins are at their best with Buxton in the line-up, making him the team's most irreplaceable player. How would you rank the team's most irreplaceable players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO (101 pitches, 70 strikes) Homeruns: Arraez (4) Bottom 3 WPA: Urshela -.273, Pagan -.269, Miranda -.233 Bottom Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday night, the Twins began their most important series of the season so far. Entering the opening game of athree-gamee series against Cleveland, the Guardians had trimmed Minnesota’s AL Central lead to just one game. Here’s how the Twins lined up behind Joe Ryan. In his second start back from the COVID IL, Joe Ryan struggled early. His velocity was down, and his control and command were extremely poor through his first three innings. Cleveland took the lead after Ryan surrendered two singles and a double in the top of the first inning. Meanwhile, the Twins struggled mightily early against Aaron Civale. They managed just a Carlos Correa double and an Alex Kirilloff single through three innings, with Civale striking out five. A massive Josh Naylor home run deep to right field put the Guardians up 3-0 in the top of the third in a game that seemed to be getting away from the Twins early. In the bottom of the fourth, the offense found life. Max Kepler singled and Gary Sanchez walked, before Kirilloff launched a 106 mph double to score both runners and cut the lead to 3-2. Meanwhile, Ryan began to settle in the middle innings. He allowed a walk and a single in the top of the fourth inning, before retiring seven Cleveland hitters in a row, striking out the side in the sixth inning. After a shaky start, Ryan rebounded nicely to keep the Twins in the game, giving them six innings and surpassing 100 pitches in the process. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cleveland bullpen took over. After a quiet sixth inning, pinch-hitter Trevor Larnach drew a walk with one out in the top of the seventh. Eli Morgan took over in relief for Cleveland. Ryan Jeffers crushed a 102 mph double down the left field line. A batter later, Luis Arraez turned on a fastball inside to hit a 359 foot, three run home run to put the Twins ahead five to three. Emilio Pagan took over in the eighth inning. After a Josh Naylor single, Franmil Reyes hit a center cut offering from Pagan 419 feet to tie the game at five. The Twins, it seems, will continue the revolving door of who will get high leverage opportunities behind Jhoan Duran. No one has stepped up with consistency. Duran pitched a scoreless ninth inning despite an infield single from Steven Kwan on a groundball Gio Urshela struggled to gain control of. In the bottom of the ninth, Kyle Garlick led off with a pinch-hit, infield single. Nick Gordon pinch ran for him and was thrown out on a close play at second base, bringing him to 3 for 6 in stolen base attempts on the season. Despite a Ryan Jeffers single, the game headed to extra innings after a Luis Arraez groundout. Duran got the tenth for the Twins. With a runner on second base, he induced a quick groundout from Jose Ramirez. After intentionally walking Josh Naylor, Duran managed to get Oscar Gonzalez to ground into an inning ending double play to end the inning and give the Twins a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the tenth inning. In the bottom of the tenth, Luis Arraez started on second base, with Byron Buxton at the plate. Buxton walked, putting runners at first and second base with no outs. Carlos Correa, Max Kepler, and Gary Sanchez struck out in consecutive at bats, stranding the runner, keeping the game tied at five, and dropping the Twins at 2-10 with RISP in the game. The Guardians took the lead in the eleventh. Andres Gimenez floating a 71 mph single to center field off Griffin Jax to retake the lead. Jax worked around further trouble to retire the side, leaving the Twins trailing 6-5, with Emmanuel Clase entering the game to close in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Clase managed the inning with relative ease, despite Jose Miranda missing a walkoff homerun by five feet. Just like that, the Twins are in second place. The loss leaves the Twins and Guardians tied at the top of the AL Central. The story was a familiar one for the Twins. They had ample opportunities to score more runs, but struggled to cash runners in scoring position. Ultimately, this game came down to a battle of the bullpens. The Twins aren't going to win too many of those against serious teams. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT Jax 0 0 0 16 27 43 Duffey 0 9 0 25 0 34 Thornburg 0 33 0 0 0 33 Thielbar 0 0 0 31 0 31 Duran 0 0 0 0 27 27 Cotton 0 0 10 0 11 21 Pagán 0 0 0 0 17 17 Smith 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Sonny Gray starts for Minnesota, against Triston McKenzie of the Guardians. First pitch is 6:40 CT. Postgame Interviews
  5. The Twins have led the AL Central all season. They are in pole position to secure a playoff spot. This begs the question; is the roster set up for postseason success? Save your comments about the Twins inexorable run of postseason trauma. Everyone knows about the streak. I’m not here to talk about the streak. What I’m interested in is, are this season’s Minnesota Twins set up favorably (from a roster construction standpoint) to make a run in October? I think the answer is no. Here’s three reasons why. A Lack of High Leverage Relief Arms Watching the Yankees come back to win the final game of their series with the Twins was painfully familiar. The Yankees slowly eroded a 7-3 Twins lead, behind an incredible effort from their bullpen. While the Yankees are an extreme comparison (they have the best bullpen in baseball), they are relevant for a few reasons. One, they are the type of team you are going to have to beat to make a meaningful October run. Two, think about how October games are won. Short starts, lots of relief innings. I know I’m not the only Twins fan who wonders, after a solid four innings from Chris Archer, how Rocco Baldelli will navigate the bullpen gauntlet with the limited weapons he has at his disposal. Here are a few of the Yankees best relievers by FIP: Banuelos 1.57, Holmes 1.65, King 1.91, Peralta 2.78. Let’s go through a similar exercise for the Twins: Jhoan Duran 2.96, Caleb Thielbar 3.05, Griffin Jax 3.27, Smith 4.52. While the Twins bullpen has generally been successful, they are not set up for October success. They lack enough high-leverage arms, and overall quality depth. This must be addressed ahead of the trade deadline if the Twins are serious about winning in October. Not Enough High-Caliber Starting Pitching While watching the Twins repeatedly hit the ball hard on Tuesday against Logan Gilbert in a game where the offense put up a higher xBA (.244) than the Mariners (.241), I asked myself if the Twins have a starting pitcher better than Gilbert? You can make a case that Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan are better, ultimately, they’re a similar caliber of starter to Gilbert. Outside of Gray and Ryan, there is no one on the Twins roster I would feel confident in going into an October matchup. Simply put, if the Twins are serious about winning in the playoffs, not just making them, they need to add another starting pitcher who can compete effectively in a playoff game. A Feast or Famine Offense I’ll end with the most modest concern. After losing to the Mariners on Tuesday night, the Twins has been shut out 9 times, most in MLB. While the offense is top ten in most major offensive categories (5th in wRC+, 7th in wOBA), they also have more peaks and valleys than other offenses. After recording 72 hits in 6 games against the likes of Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman, and Nestor Cortes, they proceeded to score 3 runs in their next 27 innings, against the Rays bullpen, Chris Flexen, and Logan Gilbert. While the offense is the strength of the team, the caliber of pitching, particularly relief pitching, will make putting up crooked numbers in October difficult. Put simply, this Twins team is a jack of all-trades, and a master of none. Their offense is good, not exceptional. Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan are the only starting pitchers who have any business starting a playoff game. There are few to no trusted high leverage relief arms outside Jhoan Duran. If the Twins are to subvert the incredibly tiresome postseason narrative, the front office will have to do something they have yet to do with regards to roster construction; go all in. View full article
  6. Save your comments about the Twins inexorable run of postseason trauma. Everyone knows about the streak. I’m not here to talk about the streak. What I’m interested in is, are this season’s Minnesota Twins set up favorably (from a roster construction standpoint) to make a run in October? I think the answer is no. Here’s three reasons why. A Lack of High Leverage Relief Arms Watching the Yankees come back to win the final game of their series with the Twins was painfully familiar. The Yankees slowly eroded a 7-3 Twins lead, behind an incredible effort from their bullpen. While the Yankees are an extreme comparison (they have the best bullpen in baseball), they are relevant for a few reasons. One, they are the type of team you are going to have to beat to make a meaningful October run. Two, think about how October games are won. Short starts, lots of relief innings. I know I’m not the only Twins fan who wonders, after a solid four innings from Chris Archer, how Rocco Baldelli will navigate the bullpen gauntlet with the limited weapons he has at his disposal. Here are a few of the Yankees best relievers by FIP: Banuelos 1.57, Holmes 1.65, King 1.91, Peralta 2.78. Let’s go through a similar exercise for the Twins: Jhoan Duran 2.96, Caleb Thielbar 3.05, Griffin Jax 3.27, Smith 4.52. While the Twins bullpen has generally been successful, they are not set up for October success. They lack enough high-leverage arms, and overall quality depth. This must be addressed ahead of the trade deadline if the Twins are serious about winning in October. Not Enough High-Caliber Starting Pitching While watching the Twins repeatedly hit the ball hard on Tuesday against Logan Gilbert in a game where the offense put up a higher xBA (.244) than the Mariners (.241), I asked myself if the Twins have a starting pitcher better than Gilbert? You can make a case that Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan are better, ultimately, they’re a similar caliber of starter to Gilbert. Outside of Gray and Ryan, there is no one on the Twins roster I would feel confident in going into an October matchup. Simply put, if the Twins are serious about winning in the playoffs, not just making them, they need to add another starting pitcher who can compete effectively in a playoff game. A Feast or Famine Offense I’ll end with the most modest concern. After losing to the Mariners on Tuesday night, the Twins has been shut out 9 times, most in MLB. While the offense is top ten in most major offensive categories (5th in wRC+, 7th in wOBA), they also have more peaks and valleys than other offenses. After recording 72 hits in 6 games against the likes of Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman, and Nestor Cortes, they proceeded to score 3 runs in their next 27 innings, against the Rays bullpen, Chris Flexen, and Logan Gilbert. While the offense is the strength of the team, the caliber of pitching, particularly relief pitching, will make putting up crooked numbers in October difficult. Put simply, this Twins team is a jack of all-trades, and a master of none. Their offense is good, not exceptional. Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan are the only starting pitchers who have any business starting a playoff game. There are few to no trusted high leverage relief arms outside Jhoan Duran. If the Twins are to subvert the incredibly tiresome postseason narrative, the front office will have to do something they have yet to do with regards to roster construction; go all in.
  7. A few bad breaks on the bump and a dry spell at the plate plagued the Twins in a 5-0 loss to the Mariners on Tuesday night in Seattle. Here's what you need to know about game two of the series. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (75 pitches, 45 strikes (60%)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (-0.181), Max Kepler (-0.176), Luis Arraez (-0.071) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Making his first start since May 21, Joe Ryan hoped to mow down the Mariners in a late-night game on the west coast. A pair of middle-inning mistakes and lack of run support stopped that from happening. The Twins managed a meager four hits and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position in a shutout loss to Seattle in Ryan's return. Ryan had moments of brilliance early on and was far from bad, but paid for a pair of poor pitches in the fourth and fifth innings. After 3 1/3 scoreless innings, the Mariners were able to get to Ryan. Following a double by Julio Rodriguez, Eugenio Suarez launched a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall to put the Mariners up 2-0. Just an inning later, Ty France put a ball over the left-field wall to double Seattle's lead and end Ryan's night. All in all, Ryan's night was not as bad as the final score may indicate. The star rookie did an excellent job pounding the zone throughout the night, pitching to contact with an occasional strikeout. His only major blunders came on a few poor pitches in the fourth, ultimately leading to the Mariners' first four runs. Despite his velocity being down, expect Joe Cool to come back hot in his next outing as he eases his way back into the rotation as the team's ace. Trevor Megill was rock solid in relief, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. It's his second consecutive scoreless appearance and Megill has only allowed two runs through four outings in the month of June. Jovani Moran followed Megill in the bullpen and pitched two innings of one-run ball with two strikeouts and a walk. After struggling to find the zone in the seventh Moran locked in and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Celestino Hits on Anniversary Despite the loss, center-fielder Gilberto Celestino tallied a multi-hit game on the one-year anniversary of his first MLB home run (which he hit off Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales at T-Mobile Park). Celestino punched singles in the third and sixth innings and is now hitting .333 on the season. For a fourth outfielder that sees a fair amount of action due to Byron Buxton's frequency at DH, the 23-year-old has gone above and behind. Carlos Correa also notched a multi-hit game, singling in the fourth and sixth inning. Correa has hit safely in all six games that he's played in June and is now hitting .309 on the season. What’s Next? The Twins square off against the Mariners in the series finale tomorrow afternoon at 3:10 pm CST. After returning from the IL, Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.41 ERA) will make his first start since May 29, squaring off against LHP Marco Gonzales (3-6, 3.63 ERA). Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  8. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (75 pitches, 45 strikes (60%)) Home Runs: None Bottom 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (-0.181), Max Kepler (-0.176), Luis Arraez (-0.071) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Making his first start since May 21, Joe Ryan hoped to mow down the Mariners in a late-night game on the west coast. A pair of middle-inning mistakes and lack of run support stopped that from happening. The Twins managed a meager four hits and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position in a shutout loss to Seattle in Ryan's return. Ryan had moments of brilliance early on and was far from bad, but paid for a pair of poor pitches in the fourth and fifth innings. After 3 1/3 scoreless innings, the Mariners were able to get to Ryan. Following a double by Julio Rodriguez, Eugenio Suarez launched a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall to put the Mariners up 2-0. Just an inning later, Ty France put a ball over the left-field wall to double Seattle's lead and end Ryan's night. All in all, Ryan's night was not as bad as the final score may indicate. The star rookie did an excellent job pounding the zone throughout the night, pitching to contact with an occasional strikeout. His only major blunders came on a few poor pitches in the fourth, ultimately leading to the Mariners' first four runs. Despite his velocity being down, expect Joe Cool to come back hot in his next outing as he eases his way back into the rotation as the team's ace. Trevor Megill was rock solid in relief, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. It's his second consecutive scoreless appearance and Megill has only allowed two runs through four outings in the month of June. Jovani Moran followed Megill in the bullpen and pitched two innings of one-run ball with two strikeouts and a walk. After struggling to find the zone in the seventh Moran locked in and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Celestino Hits on Anniversary Despite the loss, center-fielder Gilberto Celestino tallied a multi-hit game on the one-year anniversary of his first MLB home run (which he hit off Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales at T-Mobile Park). Celestino punched singles in the third and sixth innings and is now hitting .333 on the season. For a fourth outfielder that sees a fair amount of action due to Byron Buxton's frequency at DH, the 23-year-old has gone above and behind. Carlos Correa also notched a multi-hit game, singling in the fourth and sixth inning. Correa has hit safely in all six games that he's played in June and is now hitting .309 on the season. What’s Next? The Twins square off against the Mariners in the series finale tomorrow afternoon at 3:10 pm CST. After returning from the IL, Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.41 ERA) will make his first start since May 29, squaring off against LHP Marco Gonzales (3-6, 3.63 ERA). Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  9. Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is a little over a month away, but voting has already started. Who should be the Twins' representative in the Mid-Summer Classic? Earlier this week, voting opened for the 2022 MLB All-Star Game that will take place July 19th at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Voting for the starting line-ups is broken into two phases. Phase 1 started on Wednesday, June 8th, and runs through Thursday, June 30th at 1 PM CT. Phase 2 will include the two vote-getters at each position and the top six outfielders in each league. Before Phase 2 starts, the top vote-getter from each league will get an automatic place in their team's starting line-up. Voting for this phase runs from 11 AM CT on July 5th and ends on July 8th at 2 PM CT. The Twins also announced multiple incentives for fans to vote, including an opportunity to purchase $1 tickets to future games this season. The Twins have candidates on both sides of the ball, including some players in the running to be starters. Here's a look at Minnesota's top-five candidates and their chances to head to LA. 5. Sonny Gray, SP Plenty of Twins have compiled decent numbers in recent weeks, and those players may have an outside shot at making the All-Star team. According to Baseball-Reference, Trevor Larnach is leading the team in WAR, but he's played fewer than 40 games. Pitchers also figure into the final league rosters, with the players and the commissioner's office voting for who makes the team. Sonny Gray has been outstanding during his first season with the Twins, including a 155 ERA+ and 10.4 K/9. His All-Star chances are tied to how quickly he can return from a recent trip to the injured list with a right pectoral strain. 4. Joe Ryan, SP While Gray has been good, Joe Ryan has arguably been Minnesota's best starting pitcher. He has posted a 163 ERA+ with a 0.99 WHIP and a 42-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio. Like Gray, Ryan has missed time recently as he is close to returning from the COVID restricted list. He is scheduled to make a rehab start at Triple-A this weekend before the team reevaluates how close he is to returning. Ryan will likely only have a handful of remaining starts to fortify his All-Star candidacy before rosters are announced next month. 3. Byron Buxton, OF Byron Buxton's tremendous start to the season has him in the running to be one of the six outfield finalists. According to FanGraphs, he ranks seventh in WAR among AL outfielders, and his 13 home runs rank in the top four. He has played fewer games than some of the other top candidates, so this can be a strike against him. Luckily, he seems to have broken out of his recent 0-for-30 slump, but he will need to continue to add to some of the counting stats that casual fans look at when voting. 2. Luis Arraez, 1B MLB.com picked one player on each team that deserves an All-Star vote, and Luis Arraez was that player for the Twins. Obviously, he doesn't fit the mold of a typical All-Star first baseman, as he only has six extra-base hits on the season. However, he is leading all of baseball in batting average and on-base percentage. It also helps that there isn't a strong candidate at first base. Seattle's Ty France leads AL first basemen in fWAR, while Arraez currently sits in fourth place. Arraez's production so far in 2022 is one of the main reasons the Twins sit in first place. 1. Jhoan Duran, RP All-Star Games are meant to be exciting showcases of baseball's top players. No Twins player has been more exciting to watch this season than Jhoan Duran. His pitching outings are must-watch TV, and his dominant pitch mix makes him an ideal candidate for a one-inning showcase. Duran easily leads the Twins in Win Probability Added, and he has accumulated more WAR than multiple positions players that play nearly every day. His biggest challenge may be getting the support he needs from players around the league and/or the commissioner's office. How would you rank these players? Do you think someone else should make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  10. Earlier this week, voting opened for the 2022 MLB All-Star Game that will take place July 19th at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Voting for the starting line-ups is broken into two phases. Phase 1 started on Wednesday, June 8th, and runs through Thursday, June 30th at 1 PM CT. Phase 2 will include the two vote-getters at each position and the top six outfielders in each league. Before Phase 2 starts, the top vote-getter from each league will get an automatic place in their team's starting line-up. Voting for this phase runs from 11 AM CT on July 5th and ends on July 8th at 2 PM CT. The Twins also announced multiple incentives for fans to vote, including an opportunity to purchase $1 tickets to future games this season. The Twins have candidates on both sides of the ball, including some players in the running to be starters. Here's a look at Minnesota's top-five candidates and their chances to head to LA. 5. Sonny Gray, SP Plenty of Twins have compiled decent numbers in recent weeks, and those players may have an outside shot at making the All-Star team. According to Baseball-Reference, Trevor Larnach is leading the team in WAR, but he's played fewer than 40 games. Pitchers also figure into the final league rosters, with the players and the commissioner's office voting for who makes the team. Sonny Gray has been outstanding during his first season with the Twins, including a 155 ERA+ and 10.4 K/9. His All-Star chances are tied to how quickly he can return from a recent trip to the injured list with a right pectoral strain. 4. Joe Ryan, SP While Gray has been good, Joe Ryan has arguably been Minnesota's best starting pitcher. He has posted a 163 ERA+ with a 0.99 WHIP and a 42-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio. Like Gray, Ryan has missed time recently as he is close to returning from the COVID restricted list. He is scheduled to make a rehab start at Triple-A this weekend before the team reevaluates how close he is to returning. Ryan will likely only have a handful of remaining starts to fortify his All-Star candidacy before rosters are announced next month. 3. Byron Buxton, OF Byron Buxton's tremendous start to the season has him in the running to be one of the six outfield finalists. According to FanGraphs, he ranks seventh in WAR among AL outfielders, and his 13 home runs rank in the top four. He has played fewer games than some of the other top candidates, so this can be a strike against him. Luckily, he seems to have broken out of his recent 0-for-30 slump, but he will need to continue to add to some of the counting stats that casual fans look at when voting. 2. Luis Arraez, 1B MLB.com picked one player on each team that deserves an All-Star vote, and Luis Arraez was that player for the Twins. Obviously, he doesn't fit the mold of a typical All-Star first baseman, as he only has six extra-base hits on the season. However, he is leading all of baseball in batting average and on-base percentage. It also helps that there isn't a strong candidate at first base. Seattle's Ty France leads AL first basemen in fWAR, while Arraez currently sits in fourth place. Arraez's production so far in 2022 is one of the main reasons the Twins sit in first place. 1. Jhoan Duran, RP All-Star Games are meant to be exciting showcases of baseball's top players. No Twins player has been more exciting to watch this season than Jhoan Duran. His pitching outings are must-watch TV, and his dominant pitch mix makes him an ideal candidate for a one-inning showcase. Duran easily leads the Twins in Win Probability Added, and he has accumulated more WAR than multiple positions players that play nearly every day. His biggest challenge may be getting the support he needs from players around the league and/or the commissioner's office. How would you rank these players? Do you think someone else should make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. I had this crazy dream the Minnesota Twins hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to lead off the game against Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. Weird, right? Too bad I had to wake up from that one. Anyway, down in the minors the St. Paul Saints had an incredible comeback while down to their final out that was capped by a Spencer Steer walk-off home run, his eighth in just 16 games since joining the Saints. Also featured in tonight's video are highlights Joe Ryan, David Festa and much more.
  12. I had this crazy dream the Minnesota Twins hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to lead off the game against Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. Weird, right? Too bad I had to wake up from that one. Anyway, down in the minors the St. Paul Saints had an incredible comeback while down to their final out that was capped by a Spencer Steer walk-off home run, his eighth in just 16 games since joining the Saints. Also featured in tonight's video are highlights Joe Ryan, David Festa and much more. View full video
  13. Tampa Bay has an intelligent front office known for identifying players from other organizations that help them “win” almost every trade they complete. So, how have the Twins fared in trades with the Rays? November 28, 2007 Tampa Bay Received: Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, Eddie Morlan Minnesota Received: Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, Jason Pridie Minnesota’s first trade with Tampa Bay was its biggest as it included vital pieces from both teams’ rosters. The Twins acquired Delmon Young to be a right-handed bat to slide in between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. He never lived up to his potential as the number one overall pick, but he played parts of ten big-league seasons. Minnesota was his only stop where he posted an OPS+ over 100, and he finished in the top-10 for the AL MVP in 2010. Pridie only got six plate appearances with the Twins and never recorded a hit. Harris posted a .669 OPS in three years with the Twins before being packaged with JJ Hardy in the infamous trade for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey. Tampa ended up getting the two best players in this trade. Matt Garza pitched over 1700 big-league innings and accumulated a 12.5 WAR. Garza won the 2008 ALCS MVP for Tampa, his first season with the club. Jason Bartlett played three seasons in Tampa, including his lone All-Star season, where he had a 132 OPS+ and a 6.2 WAR. Morlan topped out at Double-A, but it’s clear the Rays ended up with the better package of players. Winner: Tampa Bay July 31, 2015 Tampa Bay Received: Alexis Tapia, Chih-Wei Hu Minnesota Received: Kevin Jepsen At the trade deadline, Minnesota found themselves in contention and wanted to add a late-inning bullpen arm. Kevin Jepsen posted a 1.61 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in 29 appearances through the rest of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, Minnesota fell short of qualifying for the playoffs, but Jepsen couldn’t have pitched much better in his first season for the Twins. Alexis Tapia never made it out of High-A in the Rays system, while Chih-Wei Hu was limited to 11 big-league appearances. In his second season with the Twins, Jepsen pitched horribly, and the team released him on July 11, 2016. Even with this poor ending, Jepsen provided the 2015 Twins with solid innings for a contending team. Winner: Minnesota June 24, 2016 Tampa Bay Received: Oswaldo Arcia Minnesota Received: Cash Considerations Oswaldo Arcia was supposed to be part of the first wave of prospects that helped turn things around for the Twins. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as he posted a .732 OPS in over 250 games for the club. In June 2016, the Twins sent Arcia to the Rays for cash considerations. He’d only play in 21 games for Tampa as he appeared in games for four different big-league clubs that season. Minnesota shed Arcia, and Tampa got a player that accumulated negative value while playing for them. Winner: Minnesota February 17, 2018 Tampa Bay Received: Jermaine Palacios Minnesota Received: Jake Odorizzi This trade was a slam dunk win for the Twins. Jake Odorizzi pitched parts of three seasons in Minnesota with a 107 ERA+ and an All-Star appearance in 2019. Jermaine Palacios topped out at Double-A in the Rays organization before resigning with the Twins. His unique prospect journey has come full circle this year as he made his big-league debut for the Twins. Winner: Minnesota July 22, 2021 Tampa Bay Received: Nelson Cruz, Calvin Faucher Minnesota Received: Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman Last summer’s blockbuster trade looks to be working out significantly in favor of the Twins. Nelson Cruz played 55 games for the Rays and posted a .725 OPS. Since rookie ball, Calvin Faucher has yet to post a sub-4.00 ERA at any level. Minnesota received six years of team control over Joe Ryan, an AL Rookie of the Year contender, and Drew Strotman, a solid organizational depth piece. Even if Ryan regresses, the Twins are still getting more value from him than what the Rays got from Cruz. Winner: Minnesota Do you agree with the winners named above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  14. David Festa continues to be one of the best pitchers in the Minnesota Twins farm system this season and was nails tonight for the Kernels. St. Paul trailed all game until their final out and then Spencer Steer called game with a walkoff home run against the former Triple-A affiliate. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Rochester 3 Box Score Minnesota Twins Opening Day starter Joe Ryan was making a rehab start tonight for St. Paul as he works his way back after a bout of Covid. He worked three innings allowing a single baserunner on a hit. Ryan punched out four. Rochester was looking for their first win of this series and they took a 2-0 lead on a homer in the 4th inning. Another run scored on a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning. John Andreoli clubbed a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning to score Jermain Palacios, and Alex Kirilloff singled as a pinch hitter. The winning run stepped up to the plate in the form of Spencer Steer. He took a ball, whiffed on the next pitch, and then sent his 8th home run at Triple-A over the center field wall. St. Paul walks off the former affiliate and are now 3-0 in this series. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 1: Wichita 7, Arkansas 3 Box Score Playing a doubleheader today the Wind Surge went to Casey Legumina in game one. He turned in five strong innings allowing just three runs on six hits. Legumina didn’t walk anyone but recorded just a single strikeout. Matt Wallner wasted little time to extend his hitting streak to seven games. A first inning triple drove in Anthony Prato and put Wichita on the board. After getting behind in the bottom half, Wichita answered in the 4th inning. Chris Williams singled in Wallner before an Andrew Bechtold home run brought Williams in as well. After doubling up the Travelers total, the Wind Surge added two more in the 5th inning. Prato lifted a sacrifice fly to score Edouard Julien before Kyle Schmidt singled to drive in Austin Martin from third. It was his first hit with the Wind Surge. Arkansas tried to claw back adding one in the bottom half, but DaShawn Keirsey Jr. roped a solo shot, his second of the season, to make it 7-3 in the 6th inning. Evan Sisk turned in two perfect relief innings to slam the door while striking out three. Game 2: Arkansas 3, Wichita 0 Box Score Kody Funderburk got the start in the nightcap and worked three innings of two run baseball. He worked around six hits and a walk, but punched out six to keep his team in it. Arkansas scored the first run of the game on a solo shot in the 1st inning before a 3rd inning double pushed across another run. Joe Rizzo then launched his second dinger of the game, and ninth of the season in the 4th inning to make it 3-0. The Wind Surge, intent on making things interesting, scored on a bases loaded walk from Anthony Prato. As Leobaldo Cabrera came across, the bases remained loaded with no one out. Wichita left the sacks full though, and they went into the bottom of the 6th inning trailing by two. Wichita wouldn't get another run and they avoided being no-hit with Julien's double. KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 2, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score David Festa took the ball for Cedar Rapids and continued his dominant 2022 season. Working six innings, he allowed just four hits while striking out eight and walking only one. Both the Kernels and Cubs found themselves scoreless through seven innings. Unfortunately, South Bend added a pair of runs in the bottom of the 8th inning and Cedar Rapids was unable to answer. The Kernels tallied just three hits on the evening and dropped this one in lackluster fashion. MUSSEL MATTERS Daytona 10, Fort Myers 6 Box Score It was Jordan Carr making the start for the Mighty Mussels tonight and he lasted just four innings. Allowing five runs on seven hits, Carr walked no one and punched out four. This was an exciting matchup as former Twins prospect Chase Petty was on the mound for Daytona. He worked 3 2/3 innings giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits. Petty punched out five and walked two. Jake Rucker scored in the top of the first inning on an errant pickoff throw, but Fort Myers gave up the lead in the bottom half. Noah Miller drove in Luis Baez with a single in the 3rd inning to knot things at two. After a three run inning for the Tortugas in the 4th, Noah Cardenas added one back for the Mighty Mussels. He ripped a double, his fifth, to left field, scoring Rucker. A wild pitch then scored Cardenas from third before a bases loaded walk to Nelson Roberto plated Kala’i Rosario. All of a sudden things were even. In the 5th inning Daytona added in a big way, including a two-run double from Willians Astudillo’s brother WIlfred. Down 9-5 when the dust settled, another run in the 6th inning put Fort Myers down by five. Astudillo, a catcher like his turtle-named brother, allowed a passed ball in the 8th inning and Carlos Aguiar came home. That was it for the scoring though, and the Mighty Mussels seven hits were doubled up by Daytona. Rubel Cespedes had the lone two-hit night. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Rays 11, FCL Twins 7 Box Score Veteran Daniel Robertson continue his minor league rehab stint for Triple-A St. Paul with the FLC team today. He went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and tallied five RBI in total. Pitcher Wilker Reyes gave up three runs, all unearned, in 2 2/3 innings of relief work, but struck out six. Intriguing prospect Malfrin Sosa joined Robertson with a multi-hit game. The Twins were leading 7-4 going into the 7th inning but things went pear-shaped when they gave up three in the top half, and another four the following frame. DOMINICAN DAILIES No Game TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-5, R, 2 RBI, HR(8), K PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, R, BB, 2 K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-3, R #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-5, R, 2 RBI, HR(8), K #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, RBI, K #13 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-5, BB, 4 K #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-6, 2B, BB, 3 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-2, BB, K #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Josh Winder Wichita @ Arkansas (7:05PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland Cedar Rapids @ South Bend (6:05PM CST) - RHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  15. November 28, 2007 Tampa Bay Received: Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, Eddie Morlan Minnesota Received: Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, Jason Pridie Minnesota’s first trade with Tampa Bay was its biggest as it included vital pieces from both teams’ rosters. The Twins acquired Delmon Young to be a right-handed bat to slide in between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. He never lived up to his potential as the number one overall pick, but he played parts of ten big-league seasons. Minnesota was his only stop where he posted an OPS+ over 100, and he finished in the top-10 for the AL MVP in 2010. Pridie only got six plate appearances with the Twins and never recorded a hit. Harris posted a .669 OPS in three years with the Twins before being packaged with JJ Hardy in the infamous trade for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey. Tampa ended up getting the two best players in this trade. Matt Garza pitched over 1700 big-league innings and accumulated a 12.5 WAR. Garza won the 2008 ALCS MVP for Tampa, his first season with the club. Jason Bartlett played three seasons in Tampa, including his lone All-Star season, where he had a 132 OPS+ and a 6.2 WAR. Morlan topped out at Double-A, but it’s clear the Rays ended up with the better package of players. Winner: Tampa Bay July 31, 2015 Tampa Bay Received: Alexis Tapia, Chih-Wei Hu Minnesota Received: Kevin Jepsen At the trade deadline, Minnesota found themselves in contention and wanted to add a late-inning bullpen arm. Kevin Jepsen posted a 1.61 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP in 29 appearances through the rest of the 2015 season. Unfortunately, Minnesota fell short of qualifying for the playoffs, but Jepsen couldn’t have pitched much better in his first season for the Twins. Alexis Tapia never made it out of High-A in the Rays system, while Chih-Wei Hu was limited to 11 big-league appearances. In his second season with the Twins, Jepsen pitched horribly, and the team released him on July 11, 2016. Even with this poor ending, Jepsen provided the 2015 Twins with solid innings for a contending team. Winner: Minnesota June 24, 2016 Tampa Bay Received: Oswaldo Arcia Minnesota Received: Cash Considerations Oswaldo Arcia was supposed to be part of the first wave of prospects that helped turn things around for the Twins. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as he posted a .732 OPS in over 250 games for the club. In June 2016, the Twins sent Arcia to the Rays for cash considerations. He’d only play in 21 games for Tampa as he appeared in games for four different big-league clubs that season. Minnesota shed Arcia, and Tampa got a player that accumulated negative value while playing for them. Winner: Minnesota February 17, 2018 Tampa Bay Received: Jermaine Palacios Minnesota Received: Jake Odorizzi This trade was a slam dunk win for the Twins. Jake Odorizzi pitched parts of three seasons in Minnesota with a 107 ERA+ and an All-Star appearance in 2019. Jermaine Palacios topped out at Double-A in the Rays organization before resigning with the Twins. His unique prospect journey has come full circle this year as he made his big-league debut for the Twins. Winner: Minnesota July 22, 2021 Tampa Bay Received: Nelson Cruz, Calvin Faucher Minnesota Received: Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman Last summer’s blockbuster trade looks to be working out significantly in favor of the Twins. Nelson Cruz played 55 games for the Rays and posted a .725 OPS. Since rookie ball, Calvin Faucher has yet to post a sub-4.00 ERA at any level. Minnesota received six years of team control over Joe Ryan, an AL Rookie of the Year contender, and Drew Strotman, a solid organizational depth piece. Even if Ryan regresses, the Twins are still getting more value from him than what the Rays got from Cruz. Winner: Minnesota Do you agree with the winners named above? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  16. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 4, Rochester 3 Box Score Minnesota Twins Opening Day starter Joe Ryan was making a rehab start tonight for St. Paul as he works his way back after a bout of Covid. He worked three innings allowing a single baserunner on a hit. Ryan punched out four. Rochester was looking for their first win of this series and they took a 2-0 lead on a homer in the 4th inning. Another run scored on a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning. John Andreoli clubbed a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning to score Jermain Palacios, and Alex Kirilloff singled as a pinch hitter. The winning run stepped up to the plate in the form of Spencer Steer. He took a ball, whiffed on the next pitch, and then sent his 8th home run at Triple-A over the center field wall. St. Paul walks off the former affiliate and are now 3-0 in this series. WIND SURGE WISDOM Game 1: Wichita 7, Arkansas 3 Box Score Playing a doubleheader today the Wind Surge went to Casey Legumina in game one. He turned in five strong innings allowing just three runs on six hits. Legumina didn’t walk anyone but recorded just a single strikeout. Matt Wallner wasted little time to extend his hitting streak to seven games. A first inning triple drove in Anthony Prato and put Wichita on the board. After getting behind in the bottom half, Wichita answered in the 4th inning. Chris Williams singled in Wallner before an Andrew Bechtold home run brought Williams in as well. After doubling up the Travelers total, the Wind Surge added two more in the 5th inning. Prato lifted a sacrifice fly to score Edouard Julien before Kyle Schmidt singled to drive in Austin Martin from third. It was his first hit with the Wind Surge. Arkansas tried to claw back adding one in the bottom half, but DaShawn Keirsey Jr. roped a solo shot, his second of the season, to make it 7-3 in the 6th inning. Evan Sisk turned in two perfect relief innings to slam the door while striking out three. Game 2: Arkansas 3, Wichita 0 Box Score Kody Funderburk got the start in the nightcap and worked three innings of two run baseball. He worked around six hits and a walk, but punched out six to keep his team in it. Arkansas scored the first run of the game on a solo shot in the 1st inning before a 3rd inning double pushed across another run. Joe Rizzo then launched his second dinger of the game, and ninth of the season in the 4th inning to make it 3-0. The Wind Surge, intent on making things interesting, scored on a bases loaded walk from Anthony Prato. As Leobaldo Cabrera came across, the bases remained loaded with no one out. Wichita left the sacks full though, and they went into the bottom of the 6th inning trailing by two. Wichita wouldn't get another run and they avoided being no-hit with Julien's double. KERNELS NUGGETS South Bend 2, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score David Festa took the ball for Cedar Rapids and continued his dominant 2022 season. Working six innings, he allowed just four hits while striking out eight and walking only one. Both the Kernels and Cubs found themselves scoreless through seven innings. Unfortunately, South Bend added a pair of runs in the bottom of the 8th inning and Cedar Rapids was unable to answer. The Kernels tallied just three hits on the evening and dropped this one in lackluster fashion. MUSSEL MATTERS Daytona 10, Fort Myers 6 Box Score It was Jordan Carr making the start for the Mighty Mussels tonight and he lasted just four innings. Allowing five runs on seven hits, Carr walked no one and punched out four. This was an exciting matchup as former Twins prospect Chase Petty was on the mound for Daytona. He worked 3 2/3 innings giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits. Petty punched out five and walked two. Jake Rucker scored in the top of the first inning on an errant pickoff throw, but Fort Myers gave up the lead in the bottom half. Noah Miller drove in Luis Baez with a single in the 3rd inning to knot things at two. After a three run inning for the Tortugas in the 4th, Noah Cardenas added one back for the Mighty Mussels. He ripped a double, his fifth, to left field, scoring Rucker. A wild pitch then scored Cardenas from third before a bases loaded walk to Nelson Roberto plated Kala’i Rosario. All of a sudden things were even. In the 5th inning Daytona added in a big way, including a two-run double from Willians Astudillo’s brother WIlfred. Down 9-5 when the dust settled, another run in the 6th inning put Fort Myers down by five. Astudillo, a catcher like his turtle-named brother, allowed a passed ball in the 8th inning and Carlos Aguiar came home. That was it for the scoring though, and the Mighty Mussels seven hits were doubled up by Daytona. Rubel Cespedes had the lone two-hit night. COMPLEX CHRONICLES FCL Rays 11, FCL Twins 7 Box Score Veteran Daniel Robertson continue his minor league rehab stint for Triple-A St. Paul with the FLC team today. He went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and tallied five RBI in total. Pitcher Wilker Reyes gave up three runs, all unearned, in 2 2/3 innings of relief work, but struck out six. Intriguing prospect Malfrin Sosa joined Robertson with a multi-hit game. The Twins were leading 7-4 going into the 7th inning but things went pear-shaped when they gave up three in the top half, and another four the following frame. DOMINICAN DAILIES No Game TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-5, R, 2 RBI, HR(8), K PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, R, BB, 2 K #3 - Jose Miranda (Minnesota) - 1-3, R #7 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 1-5, R, 2 RBI, HR(8), K #9 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-5, RBI, K #13 - Ronny Hendriquez (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K #15 - Matt Wallner (Wichita) - 1-5, BB, 4 K #16 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-6, 2B, BB, 3 K #18 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Cedar Rapids) - 1-2, BB, K #20 - David Festa (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester @ St. Paul (7:07PM CST) - RHP Josh Winder Wichita @ Arkansas (7:05PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland Cedar Rapids @ South Bend (6:05PM CST) - RHP Brent Headrick Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Travis Adams Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Thursday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates and the two Complex Season affiliates back and playing.
  17. The Minnesota Twins are now through the first third of their 2022 Major League Baseball season. There’s been ups and downs, but ultimately this club is leading the AL Central division and working to suggest that many national expectations of them were too low. There’s been no shortage of situations that Rocco Baldelli and the front office have had to deal with. Between injury, both short and long term, and recent restrictions, the roster has largely remained in flux. While there’s been contributors from some less than expected names, there’s also been guys performing right to where you would hope they’d be. Based on fWAR, here are the Twins three leaders from the first third of the season: Trevor Larnach 1.2 fWAR Coming into the season there was hope that Alex Kirilloff would return healthy and take a step forward as Minnesota’s left fielder and first basemen. That hasn’t been the case thus far, and Trevor Larnach has risen to the occasion. Early signs suggested there was a breakout for the former top prospect, and now it’s worth wondering just how good he can be. Larnach has always scalded the fastball, but he’s been better against offspeed this season and his .796 OPS represents a 134 OPS+. Larnach did start slow in the results column, but his process has been strong from the jump. He’s starting to see the ball leave the yard and was arguably Minnesota’s best hitter before landing on the injured list with a groin injury. He’s slumped a bit since returning, but the defense has been a pleasant surprise to his game as well. Both from an OAA (outs above average) and outfield assist perspective, he’s been among the most impressive corner outfielders in the game. Max Kepler 1.3 fWAR Playing on the opposite corner of Larnach for most of the season, Kepler is figuring out how to do damage with the deadened baseball. For a guy who has been averse to lifting the leather for so long, he’s seeing results not evident since he earned MVP votes in 2019. Kepler owns a .786 OPS which checks in just behind Larnach in the OPS+ category, registering 133. Minnesota has always known they could count on Kepler in the outfield, and that’s remained a constant this season. Although left and center have seen rotating faces at times, Kepler has been a mainstay and ultimately a pillar of health. His six home runs through 47 games don’t put him on pace to equal the 36 that went out during the Bomba Squad season, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in the 20’s by the time the dust settles. Byron Buxton 1.5 fWAR Minnesota paid the man this offseason, and it’s immediately paid dividends. Very few people in baseball can provide the value Buxton does on a per game basis, and he was again a front running MVP candidate out of the gate. The OPS has dropped down to .802 after a significant slump, but the strong start still has him owning an .833 OPS+ with 12 homers on the year. He shouldn’t have any problem setting a new career high in terms of big flies. As has been the case throughout his career, Buxton has seen injury impact his performance. He’s playing through knee tendonitis and not being utilized on a daily basis. Despite the management program, it’s an understandable plan with focus being emphasized on having the Twins best talent in the Postseason. A game changer in every aspect of the word, Buxton can be the reason Minnesota wins a series in October this year. The next highest fWAR this season thus far comes from Opening Day starting pitcher Joe Ryan. He’s helped to validate the belief from the front office this offseason, which has been incredible to see. Although his dominance is noteworthy, it may be fair to argue the next closest hero has been the emergence of Devin Smeltzer. Thrust into the rotation as the Twins saw options dwindle, he’s taken the ball and been incredibly consistent while giving Minnesota good outings and looking better than he ever has at any point in his career. What are your thoughts? Who would you have as the Twins MVP through the first third of the season? Share your comments below! View full article
  18. There’s been no shortage of situations that Rocco Baldelli and the front office have had to deal with. Between injury, both short and long term, and recent restrictions, the roster has largely remained in flux. While there’s been contributors from some less than expected names, there’s also been guys performing right to where you would hope they’d be. Based on fWAR, here are the Twins three leaders from the first third of the season: Trevor Larnach 1.2 fWAR Coming into the season there was hope that Alex Kirilloff would return healthy and take a step forward as Minnesota’s left fielder and first basemen. That hasn’t been the case thus far, and Trevor Larnach has risen to the occasion. Early signs suggested there was a breakout for the former top prospect, and now it’s worth wondering just how good he can be. Larnach has always scalded the fastball, but he’s been better against offspeed this season and his .796 OPS represents a 134 OPS+. Larnach did start slow in the results column, but his process has been strong from the jump. He’s starting to see the ball leave the yard and was arguably Minnesota’s best hitter before landing on the injured list with a groin injury. He’s slumped a bit since returning, but the defense has been a pleasant surprise to his game as well. Both from an OAA (outs above average) and outfield assist perspective, he’s been among the most impressive corner outfielders in the game. Max Kepler 1.3 fWAR Playing on the opposite corner of Larnach for most of the season, Kepler is figuring out how to do damage with the deadened baseball. For a guy who has been averse to lifting the leather for so long, he’s seeing results not evident since he earned MVP votes in 2019. Kepler owns a .786 OPS which checks in just behind Larnach in the OPS+ category, registering 133. Minnesota has always known they could count on Kepler in the outfield, and that’s remained a constant this season. Although left and center have seen rotating faces at times, Kepler has been a mainstay and ultimately a pillar of health. His six home runs through 47 games don’t put him on pace to equal the 36 that went out during the Bomba Squad season, but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in the 20’s by the time the dust settles. Byron Buxton 1.5 fWAR Minnesota paid the man this offseason, and it’s immediately paid dividends. Very few people in baseball can provide the value Buxton does on a per game basis, and he was again a front running MVP candidate out of the gate. The OPS has dropped down to .802 after a significant slump, but the strong start still has him owning an .833 OPS+ with 12 homers on the year. He shouldn’t have any problem setting a new career high in terms of big flies. As has been the case throughout his career, Buxton has seen injury impact his performance. He’s playing through knee tendonitis and not being utilized on a daily basis. Despite the management program, it’s an understandable plan with focus being emphasized on having the Twins best talent in the Postseason. A game changer in every aspect of the word, Buxton can be the reason Minnesota wins a series in October this year. The next highest fWAR this season thus far comes from Opening Day starting pitcher Joe Ryan. He’s helped to validate the belief from the front office this offseason, which has been incredible to see. Although his dominance is noteworthy, it may be fair to argue the next closest hero has been the emergence of Devin Smeltzer. Thrust into the rotation as the Twins saw options dwindle, he’s taken the ball and been incredibly consistent while giving Minnesota good outings and looking better than he ever has at any point in his career. What are your thoughts? Who would you have as the Twins MVP through the first third of the season? Share your comments below!
  19. The esteemed Matthew brother, the one with the surname “Taylor,” decided to write about why people should not be worried about the Twins. In Fairness (™), we at Twinsdaily thought it would be fun to pull a Richard Nixon; reaping the benefits of reactionary negativity by presenting a counter-article proclaiming that we should, indeed, be worried about these Twins. The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about? A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45). There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny. How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests. “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May. Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day. View full article
  20. The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about? A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45). There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny. How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests. “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May. Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.
  21. Recently, Topps released their series 2 checklist for their 2022 Flagship product. This checklist gives us an idea of what rookies we might be in the Update release later this year and which rookie we might have to wait until 2023 to collect.
  22. Recently, Topps released their series 2 checklist for their 2022 Flagship product. This checklist gives us an idea of what rookies we might be in the Update release later this year and which rookie we might have to wait until 2023 to collect. View full video
  23. One month ago, the Twins were the lone AL Central team with a record above .500. Minnesota has stretched its division lead over the last month, and the pitchers below played a role in the team's success. At the season's start, questions swirled about whether or not the Twins starting rotation had enough to compete in the AL Central. Minnesota sits atop the division two months into the season thanks to multiple pitchers producing at a higher level than anticipated. As the calendar turns to June, here are the pitchers that provided the most value to the team over the last month. Honorable Mention #3: Jhoan Duran Minnesota’s bullpen struggled through different parts of May, but Jhoan Duran continues to be a bright spot. In 10 appearances during May, he posted a 1.59 ERA with a 11.1 K/9 and a 1.6 BB/9. He leads all Twins pitchers in Win Probability Added for the month as his 0.87 WPA is 13 points higher than the next closest pitcher. It’s amazing to think about what condition the Twins bullpen would be in if not for Duran’s dominance. He is transitioning from starter to reliever and he is doing it for a first-place team that desperately needs him. Honorable Mention #2: Devin Smeltzer Last month, Devin Smeltzer wasn't a candidate for this honor because he was pitching in the Saints rotation. In fact, the team outrighted Smeltzer off the 40-man roster in November, so he had to earn his way back to the big leagues. He pitched well enough in spring training for the team to consider him for the bullpen, but he went to Triple-A and posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. Since being recalled, Smeltzer has been a shot in the arm for the Twins rotation. He's made four starts and pitched into the fifth inning or later in every appearance. On May 26th against Kansas City, Smeltzer was masterful as he pitched seven shutout innings with six strikeouts and only two hits allowed. He ended the month with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP, proving the team should continue giving him a more extended look. Honorable Mention #1: Joe Ryan Joe Ryan was named the TD April Pitcher of the Month, so he has been near the top of this list for the entire year. Ryan made four starts in May and posted a 3.54 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP. For the month, his strikeout numbers decreased, and his walks increased, but his overall performance still puts him among the team's best. He pitched into the fifth inning in all four starts, and he has pitched into the sixth inning in five of his eight starts this season. His lone poor start this month came at the hands of the potent Astro's line-up. He surrendered four earned runs on four hits in that outing and allowed a career-high five walks. Out of Twins players, Baseball-Reference still has him valued at a 1.4 WAR for the season, which is over half of a win higher than any other pitcher. Pitcher of the Month: Sonny Gray Sonny Gray has been everything the Twins hoped he could be when they dealt Chase Petty for him this spring. He led the team in nearly every pitching category during April, including innings pitched, wins, games started, and WAR. In five starts (27 1/3 IP), he posted a 1.65 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP and a 34-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio. His 11.2 K/9 for the month is 2.5 strikeouts higher than his career mark. In four of his five starts, he pitched into the fifth inning or longer, with the lone exception being his first start back off the injured list. Over his final three starts, he averaged over six innings per appearance, and he didn't allow more than two earned runs in any May outing. Among qualified starters, he had the AL's fourth-lowest ERA and the fourth-best K/9. Not only was he the Twins' best pitcher over the last month, but he was also one of the best pitchers in the entire league. Do you agree with the rankings? Should someone else have been an honorable mention? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  24. At the season's start, questions swirled about whether or not the Twins starting rotation had enough to compete in the AL Central. Minnesota sits atop the division two months into the season thanks to multiple pitchers producing at a higher level than anticipated. As the calendar turns to June, here are the pitchers that provided the most value to the team over the last month. Honorable Mention #3: Jhoan Duran Minnesota’s bullpen struggled through different parts of May, but Jhoan Duran continues to be a bright spot. In 10 appearances during May, he posted a 1.59 ERA with a 11.1 K/9 and a 1.6 BB/9. He leads all Twins pitchers in Win Probability Added for the month as his 0.87 WPA is 13 points higher than the next closest pitcher. It’s amazing to think about what condition the Twins bullpen would be in if not for Duran’s dominance. He is transitioning from starter to reliever and he is doing it for a first-place team that desperately needs him. Honorable Mention #2: Devin Smeltzer Last month, Devin Smeltzer wasn't a candidate for this honor because he was pitching in the Saints rotation. In fact, the team outrighted Smeltzer off the 40-man roster in November, so he had to earn his way back to the big leagues. He pitched well enough in spring training for the team to consider him for the bullpen, but he went to Triple-A and posted a 3.86 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. Since being recalled, Smeltzer has been a shot in the arm for the Twins rotation. He's made four starts and pitched into the fifth inning or later in every appearance. On May 26th against Kansas City, Smeltzer was masterful as he pitched seven shutout innings with six strikeouts and only two hits allowed. He ended the month with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP, proving the team should continue giving him a more extended look. Honorable Mention #1: Joe Ryan Joe Ryan was named the TD April Pitcher of the Month, so he has been near the top of this list for the entire year. Ryan made four starts in May and posted a 3.54 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP. For the month, his strikeout numbers decreased, and his walks increased, but his overall performance still puts him among the team's best. He pitched into the fifth inning in all four starts, and he has pitched into the sixth inning in five of his eight starts this season. His lone poor start this month came at the hands of the potent Astro's line-up. He surrendered four earned runs on four hits in that outing and allowed a career-high five walks. Out of Twins players, Baseball-Reference still has him valued at a 1.4 WAR for the season, which is over half of a win higher than any other pitcher. Pitcher of the Month: Sonny Gray Sonny Gray has been everything the Twins hoped he could be when they dealt Chase Petty for him this spring. He led the team in nearly every pitching category during April, including innings pitched, wins, games started, and WAR. In five starts (27 1/3 IP), he posted a 1.65 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP and a 34-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio. His 11.2 K/9 for the month is 2.5 strikeouts higher than his career mark. In four of his five starts, he pitched into the fifth inning or longer, with the lone exception being his first start back off the injured list. Over his final three starts, he averaged over six innings per appearance, and he didn't allow more than two earned runs in any May outing. Among qualified starters, he had the AL's fourth-lowest ERA and the fourth-best K/9. Not only was he the Twins' best pitcher over the last month, but he was also one of the best pitchers in the entire league. Do you agree with the rankings? Should someone else have been an honorable mention? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  25. Major League Baseball front offices continue to find unique approaches to keep a team relevant in an ultra-competitive baseball landscape. Twins fans are getting an up-close view of a unique approach that some call “an experiment in action.” Earlier this week, ESPN’s baseball writing team identified the most watchable teams and players so far this season. The article featured Twins in multiple spots, including being named one of the must-see teams. Minnesota was identified as a team to watch “if you love seeing an experiment in action.” Overall, the premise is the Twins decided not to rebuild after a last-place finish and began rebuilding a competitive roster. Here are four experiments that have worked out well for the Twins. The Superstar Experiment Minnesota was never supposed to be in the market for Carlos Correa, but many pieces fell into place this winter. The Twins used the money saved from the Josh Donaldson trade to sign Correa to a unique contract. Both players bring vastly different personalities to the clubhouse, and those differences may be helping the team’s clubhouse chemistry this season. Twins fans are well aware that Correa can opt out of his contract at the season’s end, and that’s another part of this Twins experiment. Can a superstar player help a team win even without previous or future ties to the organization? The Closer Experiment Taylor Rogers was entering his final year of team control, and the Twins front office traded him just hours before Opening Day. One can debate whether or not that was the right decision, especially now that Chris Paddack underwent his second Tommy John surgery. However, the Twins received Emilio Pagan to add to the bullpen, and the team had a secret weapon in waiting. ESPN named Jhoan Duran one of their pitchers to watch because of his unique splinker. When added with his triple-digit fastball, Duran is one of baseball’s most dominant arms. Minnesota has been careful with his transition to the bullpen, so it will be interesting to see how his role changes throughout the year. The First Base Experiment The Twins started the year with a plan to use Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff at first base . Unfortunately, Minnesota got little to no production out of this position as both players dealt with injuries and poor play. So, the front office had to get creative and try another experiment. Players that are 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds aren’t supposed to handle first base, especially when that player averages less than five home runs per season. Luis Arraez hasn’t fit the typical mold for most of his professional career, but it’s clear the Twins are a better team when he is in the lineup regularly. He entered the season with a 114 OPS+, but he’s raised that by over 40 points this season, even in baseball’s muted offensive environment. The Pitching Pipeline Experiment Many Twins fans were clamoring for the team to spend money on starting pitching this winter. That didn’t happen as the team trusted that their young pitching would continue to develop, which has looked like the right bet. Joe Ryan doesn’t fit the mold of a typical ace, but his start to the 2022 season puts him in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation. Bailey Ober, a former 12th-round pick, is proving he can be more than organizational depth. Minnesota decided it couldn’t leave Josh Winder off the roster, and he has been successful as a starter and a reliever. Other top-pitching prospects are also getting closer to the big leagues, so replacements can be ready when the need arises. Minnesota is clearly experimenting with a variety of roster components this year, but everything seems to be mixing together quite nicely. Do you think these experiments can last the entire season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
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