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  1. For this installment of the AL Central Rundown series, we will be taking a look at second base. This is a position that will look a little different for the Minnesota Twins this season, but what will it look like for the rest of the division? Let’s dive in.The Rundown After some changes to the position leading into the 2020 season, second base will, for the most part, look the same as it did a year ago within the American League Central, as each of the five projected Opening Day starters at second base were members of their team a season ago. The division has a good mix of both experienced veterans, and youthful players at the position, and while there are no clear-cut stars within the division, it is more than fair to say that each of the five second basemen have their own unique set of skills that they will bring to their respective teams in 2021. Detroit Tigers After a rather unremarkable season with the Twins in 2019, Jonathan Schoop took his talents across the division to play for Ron Gardenhire’s Detroit Tigers on a one-year contract in 2020. Schoop did well in the shortened season, as he belted 8 home runs and had a wRC+ of 114 in 44 games as a Tiger. His defense at the position remained solid, as Statcast measured him in at two Outs Above Average. This performance was good enough for the Tigers to decide to bring the 29-year-old Schoop back on another one-year deal for $4.5 million. For the rebuilding Tigers, Schoop is slated to be the 4th highest earning player on the roster. While the results for Schoop were promising in 2020, the advanced metrics tell a slightly worse story of what actually happened. While Schoop produced a respectable wOBA of .334, his expected wOBA stood at just .288, which ranked in the 21st percentile of MLB hitters last season. A big explanation for this was the fact that Schoop had a difficult time elevating the ball in 2020, as his average launch angle dropped to 8.7 degrees, down from a much more efficient 12.7 degrees in 2019 with the Twins. This resulted in Schoop’s Barrel rate dropping from 8.8% in 2019, down to just 5.6% in 2020. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on Schoop’s performance over a much larger sample size of a full MLB season. Cleveland Much like Detroit has done with Jonathan Schoop, Cleveland has also decided to bring back their veteran second baseman Cesar Hernandez after signing him to a one-year deal prior to the 2020 season. Hernandez will be earning $5 million in 2021, and Cleveland has a club option for $6 million in 2022 with no buyout amount if they choose not to bring him back. It is probably fair to say that Hernandez was the best second baseman in the AL Central a season ago. His 1.9 fWAR lead all second basemen in the division and was the third highest among all second basemen league-wide, behind only DJ LeMahieu and Brandon Lowe. Hernandez was a steady presence for Cleveland most of the season, but he really came on strong over the final month. In his first 24 games of 2020, Hernandez posted an OPS of .685, with very little power, as he hit zero home runs and had a slugging percentage of just .337. However, over his final 34 games the power started to come around, as Hernandez tallied three home runs, 12 doubles and a slugging percentage of .457, helping increase his OPS up to .817 over that span. In addition to a solid above-average bat, Hernandez also has an excellent glove out in the field. In 2020, Hernandez finished tied for third among second basemen with 4 Outs Above Average. Hernandez particularly excels at moving towards his left to make a play defensively, however, moving to his right, or in, can present a challenge for Hernandez at times. Chicago White Sox Perhaps the second basemen with the most intrigue, and the most upside, in the AL Central is former 4th overall pick Nick Madrigal, who was teammates with Twins prospect Trevor Larnach on the 2018 College World Series Champion Oregon State team. Madrigal was a quick mover through the minors, and made his MLB debut last summer, taking over duties as the full time second baseman during the final month of the season, where he hit .340 with a 112 wRC+. Standing at 5’7”, Madrigal does not, and likely will not ever generate much for power, but his freakish contact abilities will allow him to compete for batting titles year in and year out. If he can improve upon his low walk rate of just 3.7% in 2020, Madrigal will make a great on-base threat in that dangerous White Sox lineup. In addition to his bat, Madrigal is also a plus defender at second base. Coming up through the ranks, Madrigal has always been considered a good fielder, and he put that on display this season finishing with 2 Outs Above Average in just 29 games played. Behind Madrigal, the White Sox also have Danny Mendick, who played in 33 games for the White Sox last season, with most of that time coming at second base before Madrigal took over. Mendick posted a slash line of just .243/.281/.383 with a wOBA of .285 and an expected wOBA of just .250, which ranked near the very bottom of position players in MLB last season. Kansas City Royals Kansas City Royals second baseman Nicky Lopez is certainly not the top second baseman in the division, but he is arguably the most exciting player of the group to watch. Lopez makes his hay defensively, where he shines as one of the best defensive second baseman in the game today. In 2020, Lopez lead all second basemen defensively with 6 Outs Above Average and 5 Runs Prevented. Offensively, Lopez needs to pick it up a bit if he would like to have a long MLB career. Since being called up in 2019, Lopez has a wRC+ of just 55 in 159 career games. This ranks dead last among the 226 MLB hitters with at least 500 plate appearances over that time. Despite his poor offensive performance thus far in his MLB career, there is potential for more as he does own a career .378 OBP and a .781 OPS as a minor leaguer. Despite his quickness on the field, and signs of high-end speed, Lopez hasn’t utilized that very effectively early on in his career, as he is just 1 for 7 on stolen base attempts and has a BsR (Base Running Runs Above Average) of -2.6. Beyond Lopez, the options for the Royals at second base are limited. The two most likely candidates currently within the organization are Hanser Alberto, who has spent parts of five MLB seasons with the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, and Gabriel Cancel, who has not played a game above Double-A. However, neither player is currently on the 40-man roster, so expect the Royals to give Lopez plenty of leash this season as he continues to develop. Minnesota Twins Second base will be an intriguing storyline to follow for the Minnesota Twins this season. With the addition of Andrelton Simmons, Jorge Polanco will transition over to second base, a position he is presumably much better suited for. However, this creates the issue with what to do with Luis Arraez, who is more than good enough to be in the starting lineup in his own right. Rocco Baldelli will likely use a variety of options to get Arraez involved, which could include a transition to Left Field. Back in 2019, Jorge Polanco got off to a great start to the season, as he had an OPS of 1.000 through the first two months of the campaign, which eventually led to him being named the American League starting shortstop in the All-Star game. However, after that hot start to 2019, Polanco has been nothing all that remarkable as a hitter. Over the final four months of 2019, Polanco had an OPS of .761, before posting a .658 OPS in 55 games in 2020. If he struggles with the bat again this year, it will not surprise me to see Arraez start getting more playing time over Polanco at second, especially if one of Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker or Trevor Larnach forces their way into the lineup in left field. Jorge Polanco’s defensive struggles at shortstop are well known by nearly all Twins fans at this point. The parts of shortstop that gave Polanco the most trouble were running in on the ball, and covering the hole between short and third, and then making that throw across the diamond to first. At second, this should be less of a problem for him. Grade ’Em Here is how the Steamer project system has these second basemen performing, among other AL second basemen in 2021. Note, Jorge Polanco is not listed among second basemen, but rather he is in the shortstop projections. Download attachment: Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 8.42.22 PM.png Download attachment: Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 8.45.24 PM.png Detroit Tigers: C Jonathan Schoop will provide a nice veteran presence to this young Tigers core as they continue transition into a new era. He is not a game changer by any means, but that is not what the Tigers need him to be at this point. The best thing Schoop can provide the Tigers is getting off to a great start, and potentially creating some trade value at the trade deadline. Cleveland: B- Cesar Hernandez is by all accounts a quality veteran second baseman. Like Schoop, he won’t be a needle mover, especially as Cleveland looks to reload, but he will give them quality at-bats at the top of the order, and a good enough glove in the field to keep from being a big hole in the Cleveland lineup. Chicago White Sox: B+ The future is certainly exciting for what Nick Madrigal could bring both offensively and defensively to the White Sox. While his severe lack of power will limit his celling, there is no reason why he couldn’t one day develop into an All-Star level player. Will that happen in 2021 is yet to be determined, but any sign of progression will continue to excite the White Sox fanbase about his future. Kansas City Royals: C- The only thing keeping this grade above a D is the potential that the soon to be 26-year-old Nicky Lopez has for improvement. However, if he fails to progress even a little offensively, the Royals could have one of the worst second base situations in the American League, and that is despite the great defense Lopez provides. Minnesota Twins: B There is still a lot of question marks that need to be answered with Jorge Polanco. Does that bat come back to what we have seen from him before? Will the move to second base have a big impact on Polanco defensively, or will he remain a below average fielder there as well? How much time does Luis Arraez get at second base, and will he eventually become the everyday second baseman for the Twins? With all of those questions, it is hard to give them a grade above a B, even with the potential that both Polanco and Arraez still have. The Voice of the People Here’s how people voted on Twins Daily’s twitter poll that ran through Wednesday night. Take it with a grain of salt, as there was defiantly some bias in the voting. AL Central Rundown Series AL Central Rundown: Catchers AL Central Rundown: First Basemen Click here to view the article
  2. The Rundown After some changes to the position leading into the 2020 season, second base will, for the most part, look the same as it did a year ago within the American League Central, as each of the five projected Opening Day starters at second base were members of their team a season ago. The division has a good mix of both experienced veterans, and youthful players at the position, and while there are no clear-cut stars within the division, it is more than fair to say that each of the five second basemen have their own unique set of skills that they will bring to their respective teams in 2021. Detroit Tigers After a rather unremarkable season with the Twins in 2019, Jonathan Schoop took his talents across the division to play for Ron Gardenhire’s Detroit Tigers on a one-year contract in 2020. Schoop did well in the shortened season, as he belted 8 home runs and had a wRC+ of 114 in 44 games as a Tiger. His defense at the position remained solid, as Statcast measured him in at two Outs Above Average. This performance was good enough for the Tigers to decide to bring the 29-year-old Schoop back on another one-year deal for $4.5 million. For the rebuilding Tigers, Schoop is slated to be the 4th highest earning player on the roster. While the results for Schoop were promising in 2020, the advanced metrics tell a slightly worse story of what actually happened. While Schoop produced a respectable wOBA of .334, his expected wOBA stood at just .288, which ranked in the 21st percentile of MLB hitters last season. A big explanation for this was the fact that Schoop had a difficult time elevating the ball in 2020, as his average launch angle dropped to 8.7 degrees, down from a much more efficient 12.7 degrees in 2019 with the Twins. This resulted in Schoop’s Barrel rate dropping from 8.8% in 2019, down to just 5.6% in 2020. It will be interesting to see if this has any effect on Schoop’s performance over a much larger sample size of a full MLB season. Cleveland Much like Detroit has done with Jonathan Schoop, Cleveland has also decided to bring back their veteran second baseman Cesar Hernandez after signing him to a one-year deal prior to the 2020 season. Hernandez will be earning $5 million in 2021, and Cleveland has a club option for $6 million in 2022 with no buyout amount if they choose not to bring him back. It is probably fair to say that Hernandez was the best second baseman in the AL Central a season ago. His 1.9 fWAR lead all second basemen in the division and was the third highest among all second basemen league-wide, behind only DJ LeMahieu and Brandon Lowe. Hernandez was a steady presence for Cleveland most of the season, but he really came on strong over the final month. In his first 24 games of 2020, Hernandez posted an OPS of .685, with very little power, as he hit zero home runs and had a slugging percentage of just .337. However, over his final 34 games the power started to come around, as Hernandez tallied three home runs, 12 doubles and a slugging percentage of .457, helping increase his OPS up to .817 over that span. In addition to a solid above-average bat, Hernandez also has an excellent glove out in the field. In 2020, Hernandez finished tied for third among second basemen with 4 Outs Above Average. Hernandez particularly excels at moving towards his left to make a play defensively, however, moving to his right, or in, can present a challenge for Hernandez at times. Chicago White Sox Perhaps the second basemen with the most intrigue, and the most upside, in the AL Central is former 4th overall pick Nick Madrigal, who was teammates with Twins prospect Trevor Larnach on the 2018 College World Series Champion Oregon State team. Madrigal was a quick mover through the minors, and made his MLB debut last summer, taking over duties as the full time second baseman during the final month of the season, where he hit .340 with a 112 wRC+. Standing at 5’7”, Madrigal does not, and likely will not ever generate much for power, but his freakish contact abilities will allow him to compete for batting titles year in and year out. If he can improve upon his low walk rate of just 3.7% in 2020, Madrigal will make a great on-base threat in that dangerous White Sox lineup. In addition to his bat, Madrigal is also a plus defender at second base. Coming up through the ranks, Madrigal has always been considered a good fielder, and he put that on display this season finishing with 2 Outs Above Average in just 29 games played. Behind Madrigal, the White Sox also have Danny Mendick, who played in 33 games for the White Sox last season, with most of that time coming at second base before Madrigal took over. Mendick posted a slash line of just .243/.281/.383 with a wOBA of .285 and an expected wOBA of just .250, which ranked near the very bottom of position players in MLB last season. Kansas City Royals Kansas City Royals second baseman Nicky Lopez is certainly not the top second baseman in the division, but he is arguably the most exciting player of the group to watch. Lopez makes his hay defensively, where he shines as one of the best defensive second baseman in the game today. In 2020, Lopez lead all second basemen defensively with 6 Outs Above Average and 5 Runs Prevented. Offensively, Lopez needs to pick it up a bit if he would like to have a long MLB career. Since being called up in 2019, Lopez has a wRC+ of just 55 in 159 career games. This ranks dead last among the 226 MLB hitters with at least 500 plate appearances over that time. Despite his poor offensive performance thus far in his MLB career, there is potential for more as he does own a career .378 OBP and a .781 OPS as a minor leaguer. Despite his quickness on the field, and signs of high-end speed, Lopez hasn’t utilized that very effectively early on in his career, as he is just 1 for 7 on stolen base attempts and has a BsR (Base Running Runs Above Average) of -2.6. Beyond Lopez, the options for the Royals at second base are limited. The two most likely candidates currently within the organization are Hanser Alberto, who has spent parts of five MLB seasons with the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, and Gabriel Cancel, who has not played a game above Double-A. However, neither player is currently on the 40-man roster, so expect the Royals to give Lopez plenty of leash this season as he continues to develop. Minnesota Twins Second base will be an intriguing storyline to follow for the Minnesota Twins this season. With the addition of Andrelton Simmons, Jorge Polanco will transition over to second base, a position he is presumably much better suited for. However, this creates the issue with what to do with Luis Arraez, who is more than good enough to be in the starting lineup in his own right. Rocco Baldelli will likely use a variety of options to get Arraez involved, which could include a transition to Left Field. Back in 2019, Jorge Polanco got off to a great start to the season, as he had an OPS of 1.000 through the first two months of the campaign, which eventually led to him being named the American League starting shortstop in the All-Star game. However, after that hot start to 2019, Polanco has been nothing all that remarkable as a hitter. Over the final four months of 2019, Polanco had an OPS of .761, before posting a .658 OPS in 55 games in 2020. If he struggles with the bat again this year, it will not surprise me to see Arraez start getting more playing time over Polanco at second, especially if one of Alex Kirilloff, Brent Rooker or Trevor Larnach forces their way into the lineup in left field. Jorge Polanco’s defensive struggles at shortstop are well known by nearly all Twins fans at this point. The parts of shortstop that gave Polanco the most trouble were running in on the ball, and covering the hole between short and third, and then making that throw across the diamond to first. At second, this should be less of a problem for him. Grade ’Em Here is how the Steamer project system has these second basemen performing, among other AL second basemen in 2021. Note, Jorge Polanco is not listed among second basemen, but rather he is in the shortstop projections. Detroit Tigers: C Jonathan Schoop will provide a nice veteran presence to this young Tigers core as they continue transition into a new era. He is not a game changer by any means, but that is not what the Tigers need him to be at this point. The best thing Schoop can provide the Tigers is getting off to a great start, and potentially creating some trade value at the trade deadline. Cleveland: B- Cesar Hernandez is by all accounts a quality veteran second baseman. Like Schoop, he won’t be a needle mover, especially as Cleveland looks to reload, but he will give them quality at-bats at the top of the order, and a good enough glove in the field to keep from being a big hole in the Cleveland lineup. Chicago White Sox: B+ The future is certainly exciting for what Nick Madrigal could bring both offensively and defensively to the White Sox. While his severe lack of power will limit his celling, there is no reason why he couldn’t one day develop into an All-Star level player. Will that happen in 2021 is yet to be determined, but any sign of progression will continue to excite the White Sox fanbase about his future. Kansas City Royals: C- The only thing keeping this grade above a D is the potential that the soon to be 26-year-old Nicky Lopez has for improvement. However, if he fails to progress even a little offensively, the Royals could have one of the worst second base situations in the American League, and that is despite the great defense Lopez provides. Minnesota Twins: B There is still a lot of question marks that need to be answered with Jorge Polanco. Does that bat come back to what we have seen from him before? Will the move to second base have a big impact on Polanco defensively, or will he remain a below average fielder there as well? How much time does Luis Arraez get at second base, and will he eventually become the everyday second baseman for the Twins? With all of those questions, it is hard to give them a grade above a B, even with the potential that both Polanco and Arraez still have. The Voice of the People Here’s how people voted on Twins Daily’s twitter poll that ran through Wednesday night. Take it with a grain of salt, as there was defiantly some bias in the voting. https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1361881989524111361 AL Central Rundown Series AL Central Rundown: Catchers AL Central Rundown: First Basemen
  3. The Twins have been no stranger to the deep fly. Thome’s massive launch was projected at 590 ft by the Twins (though that would seem a bit lofty given the landing spot and other projections). ByungHo Park reached Minnie and Paul’s, while Giancarlo Stanton nearly lefty the yard entirely during the 2014 Home Run Derby. Game action provided some massive shots last season and a trip down memory lane is certainly worthwhile. Not all of these came while playing at home, but the traveling efforts of the Bomba Squad didn’t leave the boomsticks packed away either. 5. 466 ft – Nelson Cruz 8/3 vs Royals Lefty Danny Duffy was on the bump for Kansas City in this one and the visitors were already down 6-2. An 80-mph slider was flipped into the zone, and Cruz used his patented upward trajectory to lift the ball into the third deck. He just missed sending it down a set of stairs onto the concourse, but there was no denying that this thing was absolutely mashed. It also was the middle contribution of a three-dinger game. 4. 467 ft – Jonathan Schoop 5/23 @ Angels Maybe most impressively about this blast was that it took place in May. Sure, it was in California, but the temperatures had not yet reached peak launching season. The Angels were hoping to reinvent Matt Harvey for a portion of 2019, but the experiment did not go well. He left a hanging curveball in the middle of the zone to Schoop and the ball was sent a long ways. If there’s a description of where and how not to throw a bender, this is it. 3. 469 ft – Nelson Cruz 6/29 @ White Sox The best part about this dinger is probably the announcer stating that “a ground ball would be mighty fine” literal seconds before Nelson Cruz found himself admiring the blast from the batter’s box. He sent this baseball over the greenery in center and deep up into the camera well. Going to the deepest part of the park isn’t something that everyone does, but it’s a spot Cruz has worn out for quite some time. 2. 473 ft – Nelson Cruz 7/25 @ White Sox Facing Lucas Giolito, Cruz turned this pitch around and immediately drew a smile from the Chicago starter. I’m assuming his thought process was something like “welp, what can I do?” This shot cleared the entire seating area and made it up onto the walkway. It appeared the fan attempting to make the catch dropped the ball, but can you really blame him where you’re trying to barehand an actual rocket? 1. 482 ft – Miguel Sano 9/17 vs White Sox This howitzer was the dinger that did it for the Twins. Sano’s 30th blast of 2019 cemented Minnesota as the only team in Major League history to have five separate players reached the 30-home run plateau. This sounded absolutely deafening off the bat, and upon a quick moment of admiration, the Twins third basemen dropped the lumber and began his trot. It’s not at all surprising to see Cruz and Sano highlight this list. They ranked 2nd and 3rd in average exit velocity per Statcast last season, and they were 1st and 5th in terms of barrels per plate appearance. Nomar Mazara of the Rangers was the only player to break the 500 ft mark last season, and Sano’s 482-foot blast was tied for the third-longest shot of the year. The 2020 Twins don’t need to be the reincarnation of the Bomba Squad, and I’m sure they’d appreciate creating their own identity. Whatever happens though, you can expect a lineup to produce a significant amount of pop once again. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Playing in 92 games for the Twins in 2019, Arraez posted a .334/.399/.439 slash line. He ripped 20 doubles, notched a career best four homers, and showed plate discipline to the tune of a 29/36 K/BB. Throughout his six-year professional career Arraez has earned the calling card of a tough out that has hit at every level. He’s never owned a batting average south of .300 over the course of a full season, and his .298 tally in 48 games at Double-A Chattanooga was the low-water snapshot. Initially promoted in somewhat of a surprise move, Arraez quickly acclimated himself to the starting lineup. As the Twins experienced injuries through their lineup, Luis added value wherever he was slotted in. Starting most of his games in the six hole, he was able to provide solid at-bats behind Minnesota’s big boppers. With Max Kepler shelved for a time, he also grabbed 13 starts in the leadoff spot, posting a .339 average ther. Obviously, a guy with so little power is never going to substantially benefit from home run-inducing changes to the baseball. That said, finding out whether the Twins have the next 3,000 hit candidate or a guy primed for regression is worth investigating. Often times a lofty average can be picked apart through the BABIP lens. Fortunately for the Twins second basemen, his BABIP checked in at .355 (just 21 points higher than his .334 bating avg). A 34.7% hard hit rate is somewhere among the upper tier of modesty, and the 29.4% line drive rate is suggestive of a guy who knows his strength. 29.1% of batted balls registering as “fly” doesn’t hurt someone who doesn’t leave the yard, and the 41.5% ground ball rate isn’t egregiously negative either. Everything about the batted ball profile suggests that we aren’t getting any significant amount of luck, and then we take a look at the plate discipline. This is where Arraez really shines, and how he’ll continue to see success going forward. From that first at-bat against Edwin Diaz on, the Venezuelan prospect has dictated the action. He posted just a 2.8% whiff rate and chased only 26.9% of the time. No one in baseball (min 350 PA) missed less and the 93.3% contact rate also topped the charts. As we’ve seen with his Twins teammate Willians Astudillo, there’s more to a great contact hitter than plate coverage. The goal isn’t simply to impact the ball, but do so with the optimal pitch, in a location that you can do something with it. Unlike the man fondly known as The Turtle, Arraez can discern which pitches are worth his attention, and then also adequately attack them. He combines plate coverage with discipline and recognition, making the trio a truly lethal combination. In just over 360 career games at the minor league level Luis Arraez posted a .331 average. He ended up trumping that tally with a .334 debut at the major league level. His 109 hits in 92 games would put him near the 200 mark over a full season, and we should get every opportunity to see that in action during 2020. We may never see Arraez hit four homers in a season again, but betting against him remaining in constant contention for a batting title seems foolish at best.
  5. In early December 2018 the Minnesota Twins found their replacement for Brian Dozier. With the fan-favorite having been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to his free agency, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine needed to find another second basemen. Replacing Dozier’s pop wouldn’t be easy, but they tabbed a former All Star to do so when they inked Jonathan Schoop to a one-year deal. Now with the season behind us we can evaluate how it turned out. At the time of his signing I wasn’t too terribly interested in the pact. Dozier provided a significant amount of power, but also displayed strong on-base skills. For a Twins team also losing Joe Mauer, getting guys that could fill the basepaths seemed like a must. Schoop owned just a career .294 OBP and he was coming off a poor .682 OPS. After being dealt from the Orioles to the Brewers for the stretch run, things got even worse. Obviously, it was the goal of Minnesota to rekindle the 25-year-old All Star that picked up MVP votes in 2017. He’d played all but two games from 2016-2017 and could be counted on as an everyday contributor. Although range wasn’t his greatest asset at second base, there was a howitzer attached to his shoulder and the arm would help to substantially upgrade the defense that Dozier brought to the position for the Twins. We didn’t know that Major League Baseball was going to juice the pill for 2019, but it helped a guy like Schoop to launch dingers at a relatively significant rate. With so many power hitters around him in the lineup however, his skillset became somewhat redundant and the emergence of Luis Arraez made him replaceable. The 23 longballs in just 121 games was plenty respectable, and the .777 OPS checked in as the second highest mark over the course of a full big-league season. At the end of the day though, it was the .304 OBP that likely did him in. The bulk of his 2019 was spent batting in the final three spots of the lineup. Even outside of run production lineup positioning, Schoop became a punchline due to the times in which he would come through. Late and close situations saw him post just a .658 OPS while he owned just a .618 OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs. By leverage, he was at his best (.813 OPS) in the lowest stress scenarios. If you needed a hollow home run it seemed that Schoop became a lock. Having just turned 28 there is plenty of runway ahead for the Curacao native. It obviously won’t be with the Twins, and I’m not entirely sure he’s rebuilt his value on the back of his 2019 exploits. Power at second base isn’t exactly guaranteed, but the sport has also shifted much more towards an on-base production model. It was that skill Minnesota appeared to need most, and ultimately that downfall that led to him being replaced. There’s no reason to categorize the $7.5 million Minnesota handed to Schoop as foolish, but I think we can effectively say it worked out as planned. That’s a bit more than you’d like for a replaceable asset, but given the dollars paid to Arraez it should be considered as a wash. Minnesota’s offense was otherworldly in 2019, and whatever Schoop provided became a relative footnote. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  6. With the band-aid now being ripped off and the offseason underway for the Minnesota Twins, no time will be wasted when considering how to reload for the 2020 Major League Baseball season. Rocco Baldelli’s club isn’t going to be an underdog going into the new year, and they should have plenty of momentum built towards a second straight AL Central Division title. When considering who may be on the way out, Derek Falvey has more than a handful of decisions to make. There’s a very strong group of players that lay the foundation for the Twins core, but we’ve seen where deficiencies may lie, and opportunities exist. With a handful of guys set to take their talents elsewhere, but choice or designation, it will be on the collective decisions made by Minnesota to best position the roster for success. Not every guy with the ability to return should, and it will be in those difficult discussions that the skeleton of the roster is constructed. Looking at each situation individually, here is what I’d both suggest and think that the Twins will do. Nelson Cruz: $12MM option in 2020 This picked up today (October 9) and I’d imagine the front office couldn’t have ever been more excited to spend such a sum. Jake Odorizz: Free Agent After coaching him to a career season and a debut in the All-Star game, it would make plenty of sense for the Twins to retain his services. A qualifying offer somewhere around $18.5MM could be doled out, but that tends to lean more on draft pick compensation should the player decide to leave. Instead I’d think that Minnesota should make him a long-term part of their rotation and offer him something like $45MM over the next three years. Kyle Gibson: Free Agent The former 2009 1st round draft pick will very likely be in another organization for the first time in his career. At 32-years-old it’s the end of an era and will be very different for all parties involved. Dealing with health issues all season didn’t do any favors to Gibson’s performance although he did set a new career best strikeout rate. Unfortunately, a rotation that needs to improve substantially just won’t have room. Jason Castro- Free Agent Wrapping up the three year deal he signed with the Twins, Castro’s free agency hits at the same time Mitch Garver has emerged. Jason Caught a career low 79 games in a split opportunity situation this year, but he posted his highest OPS since 2013. Garver should see something closer to 80% of the starts in 2020, but a veteran backup makes a ton of sense. The Twins could ask Jason what his thoughts are on a part time spot, or they could find someone or a similar ilk on the open market. My hunch is that his time here is done. Jonathan Schoop- Free Agent A one-year deal following a down season gave Schoop the opportunity to bounce back. He did that even while leaving some to be desired. His .777 OPS was nearly .100 points higher than 2018 but Luis Arraez emerged and took over his starting role. At 28 Schoop should still have a decent market at a down position, and even if his bat isn’t what it was in 2017, his arm keeps him significantly above average at the position. Good find for someone, but not going to be back in Minnesota. C.J. Cron- Final Year Arbitration After making just south of $5MM in 2019 Cron is looking at an increase near $6-8MM in 2020. He certainly didn’t finish the year the way he started, but a mangled thumb gave him issues since July. Cron will be only 30 years old and looked the part of a very strong contributor. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to move Miguel Sano to 1B and taking over as a primary DH for Nelson Cruz down the line seems a more logical step anyways. The market isn’t flush with options, and Cron can be had in his final arbitration year as he paves the way for Brent Rooker or Alex Kirilloff to take over. It’s not a guarantee, but I’d expect him back. Martin Perez- $7.5MM Team Option There’s no way the Twins are paying Perez nearly double what he made for them this season. Despite a strong start he was a disaster down the stretch and that led to more rotation questions than they hoped to handle. It would make some sense to bring him back at a lesser figure on a one-year pact that can be supplanted by developing arms on the farm. I don’t think the Twins will (or should) prioritize Perez, but he could be a factor depending on how the rest of the starting rotation is addressed. Sam Dyson- Final Year Arbitration At the deadline Minnesota added the best arm that was moved in the Giants Dyson. Unfortunately, he came with unannounced red flags and provided less than zero value in his time here. Now having undergone shoulder surgery, Minnesota will likely want no part of his 2020 situation. It’s too bad for the Twins, and at worst a bad look for Dyson. The Giants claim they didn’t know about an injury, and Sam suggests he’d been pitching through it for years. Good riddance to this one, and hopefully some compensation can be recouped through the league. Sergio Romo- Free Agent Entering his age 37 season Romo is no longer a spring chicken. Despite his weird knee tendencies, he’s also been a pretty strong beacon of health. Effective once again this season, the Twins should covet his presence in the clubhouse next year. Romo has a great personality and brought a level of excitement to the mound. There’s significant strikeout stuff on the back of a sweeping slider, and fortifying the relief corps a bit further this winter would be ideal. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  7. On May 24 the Twins had just wrapped up a victory against the Chicago White Sox. They were 34-16 through their first 50 games and the club had swatted 101 homers. Dubbed “#SotaPop” by Twins Daily’s own Nick Nelson a month earlier, Eddie Rosario dropped a term that would stick the rest of the way. He suggested “When you’re hitting a lot of bombas, everybody’s hitting bombas, everybody’s happy.” From that point forward the “Bomba Squad” was born. https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1132140065700892672?lang=en Rosario’s comments came just a day after Minnesota had launched eight dingers for the second time on the season. Fast forward a few weeks and Byron Buxton had just launched the 4th greatest homer of the season in terms of WPA. It was his blast on June 5th though that busted out the tape measure. 454 feet against the rival Cleveland Indians, the shot was described as launched while putting the league on notice. Anyone in this lineup could take you out, and of the no-doubter variety. As the month of June wore on, it became time that the authorities take notice. All season long the Minnesota Twins did an exceptional job of marketing this team. Facing attendance woes from a year prior, they found ways to funnel fans into Target Field. Keeping with that theme in relation to the All-Star Game, the Twins creatively marketed the “Bomba Ballot.” Baldelli’s Bangers ended up meeting the Minneapolis Bomb Squad, and one group was preventing crime while the other was committing it. https://twitter.com/MinneapolisPD/status/1143988275872329728 Heading into the All Star Break the Twins surpassed the 2018 New York Yankees mark for most home runs prior to the time off. They swatted four dingers against the Texas Rangers on July 5 at Target Field giving them 162 on the year (they’d add one more the next day). That game was a blowout 15-6 win that saw catcher Mitch Garver continue his tear. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1147350726731079681 You can’t look back to July without thinking about the epic affair Minnesota and New York provided over the course of 10 innings. The two clubs combined for 26 run on 35 hits, and while the pitching got beat around, it was the bats that showed off. These two squads have been running away from the pack with the longball all year, and that was one of the most exciting games Minnesota has played this season. Unfortunately, it ended with an Aaron Hicks diving grab in the gap, but Miguel Sano put his stamp on the action by leaving the park twice on the evening. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1153877390059114496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1153877390059114496&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Ftwinsdaily.com%2Farticles.html%2F_%2Fminnesota-twins-news%2Fminnesota-twins%2Fthe-10-most-important-home-runs-for-this-record-breaking-twins-team-r8337 When the calendar turned to August the Indians began to believe they had a chance in the AL Central division. With the division lead shrinking by the day the month needed to get off to a good start. The lineup had lost some key pieces due to injury, some of the pitching performances weren’t what they were early on, and there was too much runway left to sit back and rest. On a day in which he was getting a break, Miguel Sano became a hero. Pinch hitting for Ehire Adrianza in the 9th inning of a tie game against the Atlanta Braves, he stepped in got a second pitch, and sent everybody home. https://twitter.com/MLBONFOX/status/1158579684084350976?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1158579684084350976&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Ftwinsdaily.com%2Farticles.html%2F_%2Fminnesota-twins-news%2Fminnesota-twins%2Fthe-10-most-important-home-runs-for-this-record-breaking-twins-team-r8337 Before the month would end the Twins walloped their greatest home run of the season. Highlighted as the greatest WPA inducing blast of 2019 in Cooper’s piece last month, Marwin Gonzalez got all of a ball from Josh Hader to put the Twins ahead while trailing in the 8th inning. Both Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz had looked like slam dunk fits for this club coming into free agency, and this was just another moment to highlight how right the front office got it. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1161477762990792704?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1161477762990792704&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Ftwinsdaily.com%2Farticles.html%2F_%2Fminnesota-twins-news%2Fminnesota-twins%2Fthe-10-most-important-home-runs-for-this-record-breaking-twins-team-r8337 Minnesota began the month of September with a 4.5 game lead on the Cleveland Indians. Despite needing to provide some calm myself, and Indians personality Jensen Lewis providing fuel for the fire, the Twins were going to wrap the Central up. Holding serve the first two weeks was a must, and no serve was bigger than the Nelson Cruz bomba against the Washington Nationals. Statcast measured the blast at just 460 feet but crushing it out to bystanders at Minnie and Paul’s in dead center, there’s zero doubt the distance was significantly closer to the 500 ft mark. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1172324536164839424 The Twins went into Cleveland and hung a doubleheader sweep on the Indians in what amounted to their final division opportunity of the season. Sending a shot out to left field off Nick Goody, Minnesota had all the breathing room they’d need. Once again, the Twins polarizing third basemen had come up in a spot fitting for a star. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1173048756998033409 Just a couple of days later Sano went yard again, this time registering the longest homer of the season (per Statcast) tracked at 482 ft. Tape measure shots have become something of the norm for Miguel, but this one was something else. As Minnesota was in the swing of a 13-game stretch against the bottom of the division to close out the year, they were going to make sure there was no doubt about who the cream of the crop was. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1174118837391773696 Another double dinger day was on tap for Sano against the Royals to close out the home slate at Target Field. As impressive as his efforts were in a 12-8 victory against Kansas City, it was his friend an elder statesmen that stole the show. Much like Jim Thome and his pursuit of 600 the last time Minnesota won the division (though the record breaker came in the following season), Nelson Cruz punctuated a career year with blast number 40. That longball was also the 400th of his career and firmly entrenched him as one of the greatest power hitters to ever play the game. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1175864541760172035 Now the division has been in hand for nearly a week but coming off the official clinch on September 25 (and Baldelli’s birthday), the Twins trotted out their hangover lineup on Thursday against Ron Gardenhire’s Tigers. Minnesota was getting their game in hand over the Yankees in, and knotted at 299 homers could be the first to reach 300. Jonathan Schoop hit a wall scraper for a two-run shot to reach Sparta and history was made. Willians Astudillo tacked on another before the day was over, and now the Twins will look to hold serve before facing a Yankees team in a much more desirable set of circumstances. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1177306346204459008 There are just three games left in the 2019 regular season. Minnesota can tie the all-time franchise wins record. They could surpass a few more benchmarks. Heck, they could even hang a final sweep on the board against the Kansas City Royals. No matter what they do though, this will have been the year of #SotaPop turned into the Bomba Squad and we lived through big flies that never seemed like they’d come down. https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1170114016955523072
  8. Box Score Gibson: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER (6 R), 4 BB, 5 K, 6.13% strikes (57 of 93 pitches) Bullpen: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K Home Runs: Cruz (36), Schoop (22) Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-5), Schoop (3-for-5) Top 3 WPA: Schoop (.092), Castro (.071), Cruz (.061) Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson (-.302), Stewart (-.120), Stashak (-.47) Gibson Hit Hard in Return to Mound but It Wasn’t All Bad After missing two starts Gibby returned to the mound with the tough task of facing the Washington Nationals who were going for the series win. The Nationals are a top 10 team in all of baseball when it comes to facing right-handed pitching as well as being one of the best teams in baseball since June 1. Throughout the evening Washington was hovering around .380 in xBA, per Statcast, which means Gibson was getting hit hard which was mostly due to not hitting his spots. For example, Adam Eaton’s home run to lead off the fifth inning was left middle/middle, and this was a recurring issue through the night for Gibson. It also didn’t help that he walked four hitters. That said, there were some positive things to note. Gibson’s fastball velocity was actually a tick or two above his average in the first inning before settling in at about 94 mph, which is where he normally sits. A good sign considering the symptoms of ulcerative colitis include weight loss and fatigue. What might have been the most impressive thing from his start tonight was the movement of his off-speed pitches which induced a 21 percent swinging strike rate against a team who Fangraphs has ranked as third in all of baseball in contact percentage. In all, it wasn’t a terrible start and may be somewhat expected considering his recent illness coupled with the line-up he was facing but there were still some positive takeaways. Cruz, Schoop, Garver Hit Well, Rest of Line up Squanders Opportunities As the Nationals were smoking the ball from the top of the order to the bottom, the Twins struggled to make hard contact against the soft-throwing lefty Patrick Corbin. Through the evening the Twins xBA was in right around .275 give or take 10 points or so before plummeting in the later innings to the low .200’s. Rosario responded to a Rendon homer in the top of the first with a RBI single to right scoring Luis Arraez who had doubled on a ball that had an xBA of .020 (yes, the “2” is in the right spot). Cruz blasted his 36th home run in the bottom of the third while Mitch Garver was about two feet away from hitting his 31st home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth. Other than Schoop, who hit his 22nd home run in the eighth as well as a 109 mph line drive at an umpire, the rest of the offense was pretty stagnant. This was a little surprising as this was the best lineup the Twins had in the three game series with the Nationals. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1172370838244319233 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  9. The Twins drop the rubber match to the Washington Nationals as they were outhit 14-12 and outscored 12-6. Kyle Gibson was hit hard but showed some positive signs while most of the offense scuffled against left-hander Patrick Corbin.Box Score Gibson: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER (6 R), 4 BB, 5 K, 6.13% strikes (57 of 93 pitches) Bullpen: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K Home Runs: Cruz (36), Schoop (22) Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-5), Schoop (3-for-5) Top 3 WPA: Schoop (.092), Castro (.071), Cruz (.061) Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson (-.302), Stewart (-.120), Stashak (-.47) Gibson Hit Hard in Return to Mound but It Wasn’t All Bad After missing two starts Gibby returned to the mound with the tough task of facing the Washington Nationals who were going for the series win. The Nationals are a top 10 team in all of baseball when it comes to facing right-handed pitching as well as being one of the best teams in baseball since June 1. Throughout the evening Washington was hovering around .380 in xBA, per Statcast, which means Gibson was getting hit hard which was mostly due to not hitting his spots. For example, Adam Eaton’s home run to lead off the fifth inning was left middle/middle, and this was a recurring issue through the night for Gibson. It also didn’t help that he walked four hitters. That said, there were some positive things to note. Gibson’s fastball velocity was actually a tick or two above his average in the first inning before settling in at about 94 mph, which is where he normally sits. A good sign considering the symptoms of ulcerative colitis include weight loss and fatigue. What might have been the most impressive thing from his start tonight was the movement of his off-speed pitches which induced a 21 percent swinging strike rate against a team who Fangraphs has ranked as third in all of baseball in contact percentage. In all, it wasn’t a terrible start and may be somewhat expected considering his recent illness coupled with the line-up he was facing but there were still some positive takeaways. Cruz, Schoop, Garver Hit Well, Rest of Line up Squanders Opportunities As the Nationals were smoking the ball from the top of the order to the bottom, the Twins struggled to make hard contact against the soft-throwing lefty Patrick Corbin. Through the evening the Twins xBA was in right around .275 give or take 10 points or so before plummeting in the later innings to the low .200’s. Rosario responded to a Rendon homer in the top of the first with a RBI single to right scoring Luis Arraez who had doubled on a ball that had an xBA of .020 (yes, the “2” is in the right spot). Cruz blasted his 36th home run in the bottom of the third while Mitch Garver was about two feet away from hitting his 31st home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth. Other than Schoop, who hit his 22nd home run in the eighth as well as a 109 mph line drive at an umpire, the rest of the offense was pretty stagnant. This was a little surprising as this was the best lineup the Twins had in the three game series with the Nationals. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  10. Box Score Odorizzi: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 67% strikes (66 of 99 pitches) Bullpen: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Home Runs: Garver 2 (28) Multi-Hit Games: Garver (2-for-3), Astudillo (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Garver .248, Schoop .196, Sano .081 Bottom 3 WPA: Cron -.171, Rosario -.121, Polanco -.020 Garver scored the lone run off Cleveland starter Aaron Civale on a solo shot in the first inning. Garver’s 27th homer set the record for the most in a season by a Twins catcher. Earl Battey hit 26 in 1963. Jake Odorizzi threw 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball, falling one short of his career high with 10 strikeouts. The start held more weight, as Michael Pineda was handed a 60-game suspension today for violating the league’s drug policy. Pineda had been the most reliable Twins starter since the break, posting a 3.04 ERA and striking out 9.4 batters per nine innings. The Twins bullpen has been one of the best in the last month. Tyler Duffey continued his success, holding Cleveland to just one run on a wild pitch. Duffey struck out two in his relief of Odorizzi. With Sam Dyson uncertain to return, the Twins are exploring other options out of the pen. Zack Littell allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh inning. Sergio Romo limped off the mound after setting up in the eighth. Taylor Rogers was great again, retiring the side in order to secure the win and his 25th save. The win was important for Minnesota. Avoiding the potential sweep with Indians ace Mike Clevinger on the mound tomorrow, the Twins are more than treading water to win the division. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  11. The Twins offense cracked open in Saturday night’s 5-3 victory. Mitch Garver drove in four runs, including the game-winning three-run shot in the seventh inning.The win increased Minnesota’s AL Central lead to 6.5 games.Box Score Odorizzi: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 67% strikes (66 of 99 pitches) Bullpen: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K Home Runs: Garver 2 (28) Multi-Hit Games: Garver (2-for-3), Astudillo (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Garver .248, Schoop .196, Sano .081 Bottom 3 WPA: Cron -.171, Rosario -.121, Polanco -.020 Garver scored the lone run off Cleveland starter Aaron Civale on a solo shot in the first inning. Garver’s 27th homer set the record for the most in a season by a Twins catcher. Earl Battey hit 26 in 1963. Jake Odorizzi threw 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball, falling one short of his career high with 10 strikeouts. The start held more weight, as Michael Pineda was handed a 60-game suspension today for violating the league’s drug policy. Pineda had been the most reliable Twins starter since the break, posting a 3.04 ERA and striking out 9.4 batters per nine innings. The Twins bullpen has been one of the best in the last month. Tyler Duffey continued his success, holding Cleveland to just one run on a wild pitch. Duffey struck out two in his relief of Odorizzi. With Sam Dyson uncertain to return, the Twins are exploring other options out of the pen. Zack Littell allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh inning. Sergio Romo limped off the mound after setting up in the eighth. Taylor Rogers was great again, retiring the side in order to secure the win and his 25th save. The win was important for Minnesota. Avoiding the potential sweep with Indians ace Mike Clevinger on the mound tomorrow, the Twins are more than treading water to win the division. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  12. Box Score Odorizzi: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 60.2% strikes (59 of 98 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Home Runs: Schoop (20, 21), Garver (24) Multi-Hit Games: Garver (3-4 HR), Polanco (2-4 2B), Schoop (2-4 2 HR) Top 3 WPA: Schoop .302, Odorizzi .120, Polanco .059 Bombas to Start, Bombas to End After the Twins offense scored just three runs last night against the White Sox ace, they came out early and mashed against Ross Detwiler. It started with a three-run homer from Jonathan Schoop for his 20th of the season. The Twins are now just one home run away from Jorge Polanco from breaking the record for most players with 20 home runs in a season. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1166876659900747776?s=20 The Twins added some more runs the next inning after a leadoff hit-by-pitch, a double and an intentional walk gave them bases loaded with no outs. Eddie Rosario grounded into a fielder’s choice but beat the throw to drive in one run, and then Miguel Sano smacked a ball that went right through Tim Anderson’s legs for another run. The Twins offense somewhat stalled after these early runs as they struggled to get men on base, and when they did, couldn’t close. In the fourth inning they put together a two-out rally with two hits, and Cruz’s second intentional walk of the game, but Rosario grounded out to end the threat. In the next three innings, the Twins sent just 11 batters to the plate and never had a runner past second. That included Sano being hit by a pitch, which would later put him out of the game, and two hits, one of them by Luis Arraez, who took over for Sano. Schoop had enough of the scoreless innings for the Twins as he mashed his second home run of the game down the third base line. After Cave showed some smart base running and extended a single into a double, Mitch Garver sent a ball high and deep to left-center field to put the Twins up 8-2. Odorizzi Minimizes Damage in Route to Quality Start Just like last week when Odorizzi faced off against this White Sox team, he gave up a run in the first inning. However, he was able to mimnimize the damage as he came back to strike out Moncada after falling behind 3-0, and went upstairs to strike out Anderson to finish the inning. After a big turn around in the first inning, Odorizzi sailed through his next two innings with two 1-2-3 innings where he picked up a strikeout in each inning. After he retired the first batter in the fourth and had set down nine straight, he ran into some trouble after allowing two hits and a walk to load the bases. Odoirzzi was again able to keep the damage minimal as he got a fielder’s choice and picked up his fifth strikeout of the game after giving up just one run. In the fifth inning, Odorizzi picked up two quick outs, but ran into a bit of trouble after allowing a walk and a sharp single to center field. Odorizzi made quick work of Moncada and struck him out on three straight pitches to end the inning. Odorizzi picked up his third 1-2-3 of the game in the sixth which included his eighth strikeout of the game as his night ended and he picked up a quality start. Schoop’s Power Jonathan Schoop continues to mash the ball as of late, and unlike his usual blowout-game home runs, he has been hitting bombas in bigger spots for this Twins offense. In his last five games that he has played, he has six hits, but five of them are home runs. Take a look at the Twins' win percentage at the time of his first 16 home runs and the win probability it added: https://twitter.com/AndrewThares/status/1155573860495974401?s=20 For reference on his last five home runs: -Aug. 16 Schoop hits two-run go-ahead home run in the seventh. -Aug. 21 Schoop extends lead to five runs with a two-run homer which turned out to be helpful insurance runs. -Last night Schoop homers in the second to extend the lead to 2-0. -Tonight’s second inning three-run home run to get the Twins on the board, and his eighth inning insurance home run (didn’t add that much win probability). Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1166924907118071809 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  13. The Cleveland Indians won, again, against the Detroit Tigers, but the Twins held their own and kept the division lead at 3 1/2 games. Jonathan Schoop continues his power streak as he hit two more home runs today, as the Twins inch closer to breaking two MLB home run records. Jake Odorizzi tossed six solid innings today for a quality start while striking out eight Sox batters as the Twins secured a series win.Box Score Odorizzi: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 60.2% strikes (59 of 98 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Home Runs: Schoop (20, 21), Garver (24) Multi-Hit Games: Garver (3-4 HR), Polanco (2-4 2B), Schoop (2-4 2 HR) Top 3 WPA: Schoop .302, Odorizzi .120, Polanco .059 Bombas to Start, Bombas to End After the Twins offense scored just three runs last night against the White Sox ace, they came out early and mashed against Ross Detwiler. It started with a three-run homer from Jonathan Schoop for his 20th of the season. The Twins are now just one home run away from Jorge Polanco from breaking the record for most players with 20 home runs in a season. The Twins added some more runs the next inning after a leadoff hit-by-pitch, a double and an intentional walk gave them bases loaded with no outs. Eddie Rosario grounded into a fielder’s choice but beat the throw to drive in one run, and then Miguel Sano smacked a ball that went right through Tim Anderson’s legs for another run. The Twins offense somewhat stalled after these early runs as they struggled to get men on base, and when they did, couldn’t close. In the fourth inning they put together a two-out rally with two hits, and Cruz’s second intentional walk of the game, but Rosario grounded out to end the threat. In the next three innings, the Twins sent just 11 batters to the plate and never had a runner past second. That included Sano being hit by a pitch, which would later put him out of the game, and two hits, one of them by Luis Arraez, who took over for Sano. Schoop had enough of the scoreless innings for the Twins as he mashed his second home run of the game down the third base line. After Cave showed some smart base running and extended a single into a double, Mitch Garver sent a ball high and deep to left-center field to put the Twins up 8-2. Odorizzi Minimizes Damage in Route to Quality Start Just like last week when Odorizzi faced off against this White Sox team, he gave up a run in the first inning. However, he was able to mimnimize the damage as he came back to strike out Moncada after falling behind 3-0, and went upstairs to strike out Anderson to finish the inning. After a big turn around in the first inning, Odorizzi sailed through his next two innings with two 1-2-3 innings where he picked up a strikeout in each inning. After he retired the first batter in the fourth and had set down nine straight, he ran into some trouble after allowing two hits and a walk to load the bases. Odoirzzi was again able to keep the damage minimal as he got a fielder’s choice and picked up his fifth strikeout of the game after giving up just one run. In the fifth inning, Odorizzi picked up two quick outs, but ran into a bit of trouble after allowing a walk and a sharp single to center field. Odorizzi made quick work of Moncada and struck him out on three straight pitches to end the inning. Odorizzi picked up his third 1-2-3 of the game in the sixth which included his eighth strikeout of the game as his night ended and he picked up a quality start. Schoop’s Power Jonathan Schoop continues to mash the ball as of late, and unlike his usual blowout-game home runs, he has been hitting bombas in bigger spots for this Twins offense. In his last five games that he has played, he has six hits, but five of them are home runs. Take a look at the Twins' win percentage at the time of his first 16 home runs and the win probability it added: For reference on his last five home runs: -Aug. 16 Schoop hits two-run go-ahead home run in the seventh. -Aug. 21 Schoop extends lead to five runs with a two-run homer which turned out to be helpful insurance runs. -Last night Schoop homers in the second to extend the lead to 2-0. -Tonight’s second inning three-run home run to get the Twins on the board, and his eighth inning insurance home run (didn’t add that much win probability). Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  14. Jonathan Schoop- QB Initially I wanted to make Max Kepler out to be a Minnesota version of Michael Vick. Quick and left-handed, the profile certainly fit. If we’re going with a big body in the pocket, and arm strength out the wazoo, the choice here is obvious. Schoop has an absolute howitzer for an arm, and it’s shown often while turning double plays with Jorge Polanco. He may tend to get a bit long sometimes for a football throw, but the force at which the ball leaves his hand would challenge Brett Favre in a finger breaking contest. Jorge Polanco- RB Something about the man nicknamed “Chulo” strikes me as elusive. Polanco isn’t fast as much as he is quick. Shorter in stature at 5’11” Polanco is still plenty muscular and looks the part of a guy who could either evade or run through an opposing tackler. He has good feet that have helped him immensely during his time at shortstop, and you can bet he’d be all in on the idea of getting loose. Byron Buxton- WR The guy who may be the most fun to see run down the sideline is none other than center fielder Byron Buxton. His elite speed may not translate as easily in pads, but you can bet he’d be a nightmare for most cornerbacks to keep up with. He’s got exceptional hands with a glove on, and well, receiver gloves are virtually super glue today anyway. Buck played QB in high school and the arm strength that allows him to uncork 90+ mph from center would work in the pocket as well. I’d be a bit afraid of his stature being a downfall, but the jumping and sprinting ability on full display is something you could sign me up for. Miguel Sano- TE Sneaky athleticism for a big-bodied guy, Sano could be something of a matchup problem. He’s got some height to him, and the size would work well for boxing opposing defenders out. Imagine him wreaking havoc in the red zone or getting even a moderate head of speed before rumbling down the field and throwing a big block. Linebackers may have an opportunity to keep him in check but defending secondaries would be well overmatched. Eddie Rosario- SS Delivering the boom is something that seems like Rosario would live for. Swinging with reckless abandon at the dish could be replicated while patrolling the secondary. He’d likely get more than a few flags thrown his direction after lining up the big hit, but you best believe the celebratory dances would be legendary. Nelson Cruz- K If there’s a nickname more appropriate than Boomstick for Cruz in baseball, then using that same moniker as he swings his meaty right piece makes all the sense in the world. I have no idea if Cruz can kick, but I’d imagine he’s put a soccer ball in goal at least once. Even if the range topped out at 20 yards, the power stemming from the Boomstick appendage would be must-see television. Who else do you envision as a Twins player hitting the gridiron, and what are some of the positions you’d put guys at?
  15. Box Score Pérez: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 68% strikes (68 of 100 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K Home Runs: C.J. Cron (21), J.Schoop (18) Multi-Hit Games: None Top 3 WPA: Pérez .214, Garver .154, Schoop .101 Martín Pérez returned to Target Field after a very successful road trip in which he allowed just two runs in 11 innings. The bullpen and bats restricted Pérez to no decisions in both starts. The Twins allowed 8-of-9 leadoff batters to reach base in last night’s victory. On Sunday, Pérez surrendered just one. C.J. Cron assisted Pérez to his first win since before the All-Star break with a three-run blast in the fourth inning. Pérez twirled six strong innings, allowing two runs and striking out five. Pérez has walked 3.8 batters-per-nine this year, but gave a free pass to just one hitter on Sunday. His cutter was extremely effective to right-handed batters, which is an important development after the pitch was dominant during the first half of the season, but not so during the middle part of the schedule. Left-hander Matthew Boyd started for Detroit and allowed seven runs in six innings. Jonathan Schoop had one of the four Twins’ hits, as he laced a two-run homer down the left field line in the sixth. The Twins lead the league in OPS against left-handed pitching (.885). Catcher Mitch Garver doubled off the wall in the third to improve his torrid numbers against lefties. Boyd walked five and struck Max Kepler with a pitch in the fourth. The Twins figure to see Boyd at least once more, as they have seven more head-to-head matchups with Detroit. They have scored 10 runs off him in two starts. Cody Stashak continued to be a reliable low-leverage arm out of the bullpen, pitching two innings of one-hit ball with a strikeout. He was helped out by an outstanding catch in left field by Jake Cave. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1165726211298848768 Lewis Thorpe entered in the ninth with less luck, surrendering three hits and two runs. Thorpe escaped the jam and finished the job. Stashak and Thorpe saved the arms of Rogers, Dyson and Romo. All of which will receive two days of much-needed rest. The Twins will enjoy an off-day tomorrow before facing Chicago for a three-game series against Lucas Giolito and the White Sox. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1165739378594828288 Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  16. The Twins recovered after a poor performance on Friday to take the series from Detroit and finish the homestand with a 3-3 record. The 7-4 win increases their lead in the AL Central to 3 1/2 games, as Cleveland fell to Kansas City 9-8.Box Score Pérez: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 68% strikes (68 of 100 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K Home Runs: C.J. Cron (21), J.Schoop (18) Multi-Hit Games: None Top 3 WPA: Pérez .214, Garver .154, Schoop .101 Martín Pérez returned to Target Field after a very successful road trip in which he allowed just two runs in 11 innings. The bullpen and bats restricted Pérez to no decisions in both starts. The Twins allowed 8-of-9 leadoff batters to reach base in last night’s victory. On Sunday, Pérez surrendered just one. C.J. Cron assisted Pérez to his first win since before the All-Star break with a three-run blast in the fourth inning. Pérez twirled six strong innings, allowing two runs and striking out five. Pérez has walked 3.8 batters-per-nine this year, but gave a free pass to just one hitter on Sunday. His cutter was extremely effective to right-handed batters, which is an important development after the pitch was dominant during the first half of the season, but not so during the middle part of the schedule. Left-hander Matthew Boyd started for Detroit and allowed seven runs in six innings. Jonathan Schoop had one of the four Twins’ hits, as he laced a two-run homer down the left field line in the sixth. The Twins lead the league in OPS against left-handed pitching (.885). Catcher Mitch Garver doubled off the wall in the third to improve his torrid numbers against lefties. Boyd walked five and struck Max Kepler with a pitch in the fourth. The Twins figure to see Boyd at least once more, as they have seven more head-to-head matchups with Detroit. They have scored 10 runs off him in two starts. Cody Stashak continued to be a reliable low-leverage arm out of the bullpen, pitching two innings of one-hit ball with a strikeout. He was helped out by an outstanding catch in left field by Jake Cave. Lewis Thorpe entered in the ninth with less luck, surrendering three hits and two runs. Thorpe escaped the jam and finished the job. Stashak and Thorpe saved the arms of Rogers, Dyson and Romo. All of which will receive two days of much-needed rest. The Twins will enjoy an off-day tomorrow before facing Chicago for a three-game series against Lucas Giolito and the White Sox. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  17. It wasn’t an easy one, but the Twins managed to defeat All-Star lefty Mike Minor and the Rangers in the second game of the series in Arlington, 4-3. Jonathan Schoop hit a clutch game-winning two-run dinger and the bullpen combined to throw 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball.Box Score Odorizzi: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 59.6% strikes (59 of 99 pitches) Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Kepler (33), Schoop (17) Multi-Hit Games: Gonzalez (3-for-4), Adrianza (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Schoop .288, Romo .230, Rogers .155 Bottom 3 WPA: Cron -.115, Polanco -.113, Garver -.098 Cleveland dropped the second game of their series against the Yankees in New York, which brings the Twins lead to a game and a half atop of the AL Central. That’s the highest advantage the Twins have since Aug. 7, as they now own a 74-48 record, still the fourth best in baseball. Unlike the series opener, it took Minnesota a bit longer to get on the board. After throwing a 26-pitch, but scoreless, first inning, Mike Minor managed to keep the Twins scoreless until the fourth, but they took advantage of a Rougned Odor error, who dropped a Miguel Sanó routine pop-up. Right on the first pitch after that, Max Kepler homered to right field, to give Minnesota a two-run lead. Wunderboy keeps adding accomplishments to his career year. This was his 33rd home run of the season, which moved him closer to the single season record for a Twins outfielder, as informed by our Twins Daily own Ted Schwerzler. He also moved the Twins a bit closer to the all-time single season home run record. All with this bomb: Odorizzi continues to bounce back After the worst month of his career after his rookie season (7.43 ERA this July), Jake Odorizzi continues to show signs of recovery. He couldn’t hold on to the one-run lead he took into the sixth, but he was one out short of a quality start. After tonight, he is now posting a 2.07 ERA in three August starts and 1.95 if you count his last July start, against the Marlins. His improvement brings Twins fans a little more optimism for a playoff run, since he’s starting to look much more like the All-Star he was during the first half of the season--in a much needed time. Other than a rare wild pitch during the fourth inning (only his second as a Twin), he basically didn’t have big problems in his first five innings of the game, allowing the Rangers to score only one run on three hits. But Texas got to him during the sixth and made him pay after he allowed a leadoff double and a two-out walk. Nomar Mazara became the last batter he faced, as he hit a two-out double to deep center field, giving the home team its first lead in the series. But that wouldn’t last very long. The unlikely hero Batting only .217 in his previous 15 games coming into tonight and having hit his last homer in Jul. 28,, I guess it’s hard to say many people envisioned Jonathan Schoop being the one to push Minnesota toward the win. But that’s the magic with this year’s Twins. The Bombas simply won’t stop. He crushed a 2-2 changeup over the plate, following a Marwin Gonzalez single and the Twins retook the lead. Other than hopefully providing Schoop’s season with a sparkle he’s been looking for in the past two months, that home run was the 238th for the Twins this year and they now need 30 to break the Yankees single-season record established last year. Minnesota is on pace to hit 316 this year. The bullpen takes care of business When Odorizzi gave up that lead-blowing double in the sixth, Tyler Duffey was called to put out the fire. He struck out Odor to end the inning and started a very efficient night for the Twins ‘pen. Sam Dyson recorded his third consecutive scoreless outing for Minnesota. He did get some help from the defense, which turned an inning- ending double play after he allowed two runners to reach. In his first appearance since giving up a tenth inning grand slam on Sunday, Taylor Rogers came into the game in the eighth and also held the Rangers scoreless. When most people thought he would come back to record another six-out save, Baldelli decided to bring in Sergio Romo and he also got the job done, earning his 20th save of the year. Hats off to Margo Despite the colder than usual night from the offense, Marwin Gonzalez simply refuses to cool down. After a four-hit night on Thursday, Margo led Minnesota with three hits on the night and he’s now batting .404 since the start of the Atlanta series. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days. Click here to view the article
  18. Box Score Odorizzi: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 59.6% strikes (59 of 99 pitches) Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K Home Runs: Kepler (33), Schoop (17) Multi-Hit Games: Gonzalez (3-for-4), Adrianza (2-for-4) Top 3 WPA: Schoop .288, Romo .230, Rogers .155 Bottom 3 WPA: Cron -.115, Polanco -.113, Garver -.098 Cleveland dropped the second game of their series against the Yankees in New York, which brings the Twins lead to a game and a half atop of the AL Central. That’s the highest advantage the Twins have since Aug. 7, as they now own a 74-48 record, still the fourth best in baseball. Unlike the series opener, it took Minnesota a bit longer to get on the board. After throwing a 26-pitch, but scoreless, first inning, Mike Minor managed to keep the Twins scoreless until the fourth, but they took advantage of a Rougned Odor error, who dropped a Miguel Sanó routine pop-up. Right on the first pitch after that, Max Kepler homered to right field, to give Minnesota a two-run lead. Wunderboy keeps adding accomplishments to his career year. This was his 33rd home run of the season, which moved him closer to the single season record for a Twins outfielder, as informed by our Twins Daily own Ted Schwerzler. He also moved the Twins a bit closer to the all-time single season home run record. All with this bomb: https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1162533095498833920 Odorizzi continues to bounce back After the worst month of his career after his rookie season (7.43 ERA this July), Jake Odorizzi continues to show signs of recovery. He couldn’t hold on to the one-run lead he took into the sixth, but he was one out short of a quality start. After tonight, he is now posting a 2.07 ERA in three August starts and 1.95 if you count his last July start, against the Marlins. His improvement brings Twins fans a little more optimism for a playoff run, since he’s starting to look much more like the All-Star he was during the first half of the season--in a much needed time. Other than a rare wild pitch during the fourth inning (only his second as a Twin), he basically didn’t have big problems in his first five innings of the game, allowing the Rangers to score only one run on three hits. But Texas got to him during the sixth and made him pay after he allowed a leadoff double and a two-out walk. Nomar Mazara became the last batter he faced, as he hit a two-out double to deep center field, giving the home team its first lead in the series. But that wouldn’t last very long. The unlikely hero Batting only .217 in his previous 15 games coming into tonight and having hit his last homer in Jul. 28,, I guess it’s hard to say many people envisioned Jonathan Schoop being the one to push Minnesota toward the win. But that’s the magic with this year’s Twins. The Bombas simply won’t stop. He crushed a 2-2 changeup over the plate, following a Marwin Gonzalez single and the Twins retook the lead. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1162550418288893953 Other than hopefully providing Schoop’s season with a sparkle he’s been looking for in the past two months, that home run was the 238th for the Twins this year and they now need 30 to break the Yankees single-season record established last year. Minnesota is on pace to hit 316 this year. The bullpen takes care of business When Odorizzi gave up that lead-blowing double in the sixth, Tyler Duffey was called to put out the fire. He struck out Odor to end the inning and started a very efficient night for the Twins ‘pen. Sam Dyson recorded his third consecutive scoreless outing for Minnesota. He did get some help from the defense, which turned an inning- ending double play after he allowed two runners to reach. In his first appearance since giving up a tenth inning grand slam on Sunday, Taylor Rogers came into the game in the eighth and also held the Rangers scoreless. When most people thought he would come back to record another six-out save, Baldelli decided to bring in Sergio Romo and he also got the job done, earning his 20th save of the year. Hats off to Margo Despite the colder than usual night from the offense, Marwin Gonzalez simply refuses to cool down. After a four-hit night on Thursday, Margo led Minnesota with three hits on the night and he’s now batting .404 since the start of the Atlanta series. Postgame With Baldelli Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.
  19. Time stamps: 2:15 Reviewing this frustrating week 17:30 Discussing the division race 44:40 Jonathan Schoop/Luis Arraez 49:30 Injury news (Cruz, Pineda, Dyson) 62:15 Did Martin Perez do his job? 68:10 It is looking like the Twins messed up this deadline 71:00 Prospects (Thorpe, Romero, Alcala, Celestino) 84:50 Looking ahead In this link you can find the Spotify audio of the podcast. https://open.spotify.com/episode/1iaB997hS8r8DUFkGRybgl Please be sure to let us know what you think, whether it’s a question, you disagree with us, or anything else by commenting on this post or heading over to our Twitter accounts below Cooper: Carlson_MnTwins Matt: Matthew_bTwins
  20. Luis Arraez has been a revelation for the Twins offense and at the same time, Ehire Adrianza has been a very strong utility player. Jonathan Schoop was brought in to take over second base from fan favorite Brian Dozier. He’s had some great hot streaks, but it might make more sense to play Arraez and Adrianza at this point. Could Schoop become the odd-man out?The Twins had a lot of questions when it came to replacing Brian Dozier this off-season. Jonathan Schoop seemed to be a nice, short-term solution at second base. Ehire Adrianza has always seemed to fit the role of utility infielder and few could have predicted the impact Luis Arraez would have at the big-league level. Over the last two seasons, Adrianza has hit .254/.319/.384 with 40 extra-base hits in 176 games. He has also shown defensive flexibility by playing all over the infield including over 660 innings at shortstop during that stretch. Schoop is limited to playing second base as he has logged less than 230 innings at other positions throughout his seven years at the MLB level. The rise of Arraez has also cut into Schoop's time on the field. As a 22-year old, Arraez has put together some unbelievably professional at-bats in his 182 plate appearances. Entering play on Tuesday, he is hitting .356/.429/.444 and he might have a strong argument to be named the AL Rookie of the Year. First year manager Rocco Baldelli certainly has faith in Arraez and if the playoffs started today Arraez would be penciled in at second base. Schoop has compiled some strong numbers in a Twins uniform and Baseball Reference has he accounting for 1.2 WAR. May was a good month for him as he posted an .835 OPS with six home runs and five doubles. He hasn’t had more than four home runs in any other month and his OPS dipped to .622 in June and .787 in July. Since the calendar turned to August, he’s gone 1-for-5 with no extra-base hits. He’s also only started one game in that stretch, Saturday’s contest with the Royals. Currently, the Twins have gotten by with having him relegated to a bench role. What happens if the club needs another relief pitcher? This could force the front office to make a choice between Schoop and one of the other infielders. At this point, Schoop might be the odd man out. While Schoop has been worth more than replacement level when it comes to WAR, his win probability added total is one of the worst totals of his career. He entered play on Tuesday with a -1.28 WPA. His only year with a lower total was 2014 with the Orioles when he accounted for a -3.00 WPA. Schoop has the lowest WPA among qualified batters on the Twins roster and he’s over a full win lower than the next closest qualified batter. Schoop could have some big hits for the Twins in the weeks ahead but he shouldn’t be taking at-bats away from Arraez. At season’s end, Schoop will be a free agent and Arraez will enter the year as the team’s starting second baseman. It helps to have Schoop to add depth to the roster, but it’s getting closer to the point where he might be holding the team back from adding other players (especially pitchers). Do you think it’s time to cut Schoop loose? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  21. The Twins had a lot of questions when it came to replacing Brian Dozier this off-season. Jonathan Schoop seemed to be a nice, short-term solution at second base. Ehire Adrianza has always seemed to fit the role of utility infielder and few could have predicted the impact Luis Arraez would have at the big-league level. Over the last two seasons, Adrianza has hit .254/.319/.384 with 40 extra-base hits in 176 games. He has also shown defensive flexibility by playing all over the infield including over 660 innings at shortstop during that stretch. Schoop is limited to playing second base as he has logged less than 230 innings at other positions throughout his seven years at the MLB level. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1158833346786603008?s=20 The rise of Arraez has also cut into Schoop's time on the field. As a 22-year old, Arraez has put together some unbelievably professional at-bats in his 182 plate appearances. Entering play on Tuesday, he is hitting .356/.429/.444 and he might have a strong argument to be named the AL Rookie of the Year. First year manager Rocco Baldelli certainly has faith in Arraez and if the playoffs started today Arraez would be penciled in at second base. Schoop has compiled some strong numbers in a Twins uniform and Baseball Reference has he accounting for 1.2 WAR. May was a good month for him as he posted an .835 OPS with six home runs and five doubles. He hasn’t had more than four home runs in any other month and his OPS dipped to .622 in June and .787 in July. Since the calendar turned to August, he’s gone 1-for-5 with no extra-base hits. He’s also only started one game in that stretch, Saturday’s contest with the Royals. Currently, the Twins have gotten by with having him relegated to a bench role. What happens if the club needs another relief pitcher? This could force the front office to make a choice between Schoop and one of the other infielders. At this point, Schoop might be the odd man out. While Schoop has been worth more than replacement level when it comes to WAR, his win probability added total is one of the worst totals of his career. He entered play on Tuesday with a -1.28 WPA. His only year with a lower total was 2014 with the Orioles when he accounted for a -3.00 WPA. Schoop has the lowest WPA among qualified batters on the Twins roster and he’s over a full win lower than the next closest qualified batter. Schoop could have some big hits for the Twins in the weeks ahead but he shouldn’t be taking at-bats away from Arraez. At season’s end, Schoop will be a free agent and Arraez will enter the year as the team’s starting second baseman. It helps to have Schoop to add depth to the roster, but it’s getting closer to the point where he might be holding the team back from adding other players (especially pitchers). Do you think it’s time to cut Schoop loose? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  22. Box Score Perez: 6 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 65.9% strikes (67 of 102 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-5, HR), Cron (2-for-4), Cave (2-for-4, 2 2B) Bottom 3 WPA: Rosario -.049, Schoop -.085, Perez -.321 Braves Ready For Perez The Atlanta Braves came out swinging early today and jumped all over Martin Perez for another rough start by Perez’s. Perez has been the Twins’ worst starter for quite some time now. Since May 30th, 11 starts, he holds a 6.21 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Today was no different for him. After getting Ronald Acuna Jr. to fly out to start the game, Albies and Freeman went back-to-back, while both only seeing one pitch. The inning wasn’t over as the Braves put together a 2-out rally with a single and double scoring another run. The home runs and double were all on fastballs left right over the heart of the plate, and Perez paid. After a quick 1-2-3 in the second, the deficit got worse in an ugly third inning that ended featuring the only Twins highlight thus far. The ugly inning went single, single, walk, passed ball to score one, error, RBI single, and a walk to bring in a run. All of this was done with no outs, but what better way to get out of an inning then getting three outs in one pitch. For the second time in just over two weeks, the Twins turned a triple play and both were behind Perez. Last time it was Arraez-Schoop-Sano, and today it started with Sano going to Schoop and ending it with Cron at first. This was the fifth time in franchise history to turn two triple plays in the same season. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1159164478006726658?s=20 Perez was able to settle down after that triple play and gave up one run in his next three innings. Perez had two very bad innings, but was able to stay in the game and give the Twins six innings to allow the bullpen to do less work than seemed likely after the first inning. Fried Fires Through Twins Max Fried was red hot to start off this game, and gave the Twins offense a lot of trouble through his first five innings. After the first time through the order, Fried was perfect while striking out seven of the nine batters he faced. Jeremie Rehak was the home plate umpire and had a lot of questionable calls that had the whole Twins dugout in a frenzy and Marwin Gonzalez smashing his helmet into the ground following a strikeout. The Twins got their first hit to start the fourth inning which was a double, and later had runners on second and third with two outs. Miguel Sano drilled a liner to center field that was caught to end the Twins threat. The next inning the Twins had another second and third, this time with only one out, but Fried picked up a huge strikeout on Schoop and then Graver flew out to end the threat again. Through five innings, Fried had given up just three hits while striking out a season-high 10 batters, but much like last night, the Twins woke up in the sixth inning. The Twins put three singles together and Fried’s day was over. Fried ended up being responsible for the three runs that were ultimately scored that inning. Twins Comeback Falls Short The Twins, just like last night, were dead through the first five innings, but in the sixth inning they came alive to make things interesting. Tonight it was four singles and a double in the sixth to score three runs and trim the lead to four. Unlike last night, the Twins couldn’t use the momentum to get closer. Ronald Acuna Jr. put the finishing touches for the Braves this series as he hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to put them back in front by six runs. The Twins stranded runners on second and third in back-to-back-to-back innings, though the third time was after they scored three runs. The Braves added two more runs in the ninth to really put the game away. The Twins put together three more singles in the ninth to score another run and a Miguel Sano three-run home run brought the deficit down to just four. Next Series The Twins will face the Cleveland Indians tomorrow for a four-game series that will be huge in terms of standings. The Indians won game one today and if they win game two, they will be just two games back of the Twins. Though the starters got hammered these past two games, Zack Litell, Cody Stashak, and Kohl Stewart gave the Twins quality innings in the bullpen so the Twins’ top guys could have some time off for this huge series. Postgame With Baldelli https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1159228361832427521
  23. The Atlanta Braves got going right where they left off last night and hammered Perez early. For the second straight game, the Twins offense was silent through five innings, this time Fried was striking out batters left and right. They awoke in the sixth, and tried another comeback in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as they drop the series and are in trouble to be up just two games before their series against the Indians.Box Score Perez: 6 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 65.9% strikes (67 of 102 pitches) Bullpen: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Multi-Hit Games: Rosario (2-for-5), Sano (2-for-5, HR), Cron (2-for-4), Cave (2-for-4, 2 2B) Bottom 3 WPA: Rosario -.049, Schoop -.085, Perez -.321 Braves Ready For Perez The Atlanta Braves came out swinging early today and jumped all over Martin Perez for another rough start by Perez’s. Perez has been the Twins’ worst starter for quite some time now. Since May 30th, 11 starts, he holds a 6.21 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Today was no different for him. After getting Ronald Acuna Jr. to fly out to start the game, Albies and Freeman went back-to-back, while both only seeing one pitch. The inning wasn’t over as the Braves put together a 2-out rally with a single and double scoring another run. The home runs and double were all on fastballs left right over the heart of the plate, and Perez paid. After a quick 1-2-3 in the second, the deficit got worse in an ugly third inning that ended featuring the only Twins highlight thus far. The ugly inning went single, single, walk, passed ball to score one, error, RBI single, and a walk to bring in a run. All of this was done with no outs, but what better way to get out of an inning then getting three outs in one pitch. For the second time in just over two weeks, the Twins turned a triple play and both were behind Perez. Last time it was Arraez-Schoop-Sano, and today it started with Sano going to Schoop and ending it with Cron at first. This was the fifth time in franchise history to turn two triple plays in the same season. Perez was able to settle down after that triple play and gave up one run in his next three innings. Perez had two very bad innings, but was able to stay in the game and give the Twins six innings to allow the bullpen to do less work than seemed likely after the first inning. Fried Fires Through Twins Max Fried was red hot to start off this game, and gave the Twins offense a lot of trouble through his first five innings. After the first time through the order, Fried was perfect while striking out seven of the nine batters he faced. Jeremie Rehak was the home plate umpire and had a lot of questionable calls that had the whole Twins dugout in a frenzy and Marwin Gonzalez smashing his helmet into the ground following a strikeout. The Twins got their first hit to start the fourth inning which was a double, and later had runners on second and third with two outs. Miguel Sano drilled a liner to center field that was caught to end the Twins threat. The next inning the Twins had another second and third, this time with only one out, but Fried picked up a huge strikeout on Schoop and then Graver flew out to end the threat again. Through five innings, Fried had given up just three hits while striking out a season-high 10 batters, but much like last night, the Twins woke up in the sixth inning. The Twins put three singles together and Fried’s day was over. Fried ended up being responsible for the three runs that were ultimately scored that inning. Twins Comeback Falls Short The Twins, just like last night, were dead through the first five innings, but in the sixth inning they came alive to make things interesting. Tonight it was four singles and a double in the sixth to score three runs and trim the lead to four. Unlike last night, the Twins couldn’t use the momentum to get closer. Ronald Acuna Jr. put the finishing touches for the Braves this series as he hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to put them back in front by six runs. The Twins stranded runners on second and third in back-to-back-to-back innings, though the third time was after they scored three runs. The Braves added two more runs in the ninth to really put the game away. The Twins put together three more singles in the ninth to score another run and a Miguel Sano three-run home run brought the deficit down to just four. Next Series The Twins will face the Cleveland Indians tomorrow for a four-game series that will be huge in terms of standings. The Indians won game one today and if they win game two, they will be just two games back of the Twins. Though the starters got hammered these past two games, Zack Litell, Cody Stashak, and Kohl Stewart gave the Twins quality innings in the bullpen so the Twins’ top guys could have some time off for this huge series. Postgame With Baldelli Click here to view the article
  24. The deadline is upon us and the time to make a deal is closing fast. We all have great ideas to make the Twins franchise World Series champions for the first time since 1991. So you're the GM, what are you going to do? Have you missed the earlier parts of this series? Part 1: 2020 Part 2: Payroll Part 3: The Ammunition Part 4: The Sellers Part 5: Who Are We Getting? ********** The previous five articles linked above have led us to this place: willing to take on payroll, less willing to deal the best of our assets, but understanding the cost to do business in terms of adding controllable pieces. My wishlist (in no particular order): A controllable starting pitcher - Beyond Jose Berrios and the team holding an option on Martin Perez's contract for 2020, the other 60% of the rotation is on expiring contracts. While the current rotation has been durable and, at a minimum, capable, adding a quality starter to the stable would be a big step for this pennant race and next year. A relief pitcher - While a reliever with team control would be preferred, getting a rental would suffice. An elite pinch-runner - There will come a time between now and the end of the season that Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano or Jason Castro will be the tying or go-ahead run on second base... and out of the dugout will trot Ehire Adrianza. Adding this piece would be ideal at the end of August, right before rosters expand... but that's not allowed anymore. So we shop in July! Holding on to my top six prospects - What? If I can accomplish the above tasks without moving any of Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol, Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran or Trevor Larnach, I'd be ecstatic. It doesn't mean I won't do it. I'd just prefer not to. Without further adieu, my moves: Acquire SP Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers. It's not the most appealing name, but Minor has had the most productive 2019 season of all the pitchers rumored to be available. Why the Rangers? While the Rangers are playing .500 ball, it's not happening for them this year. And if they're honest with themselves, it's not happening next year either. Plus, GM Thad Levine used to work under Rangers GM Jon Daniels and they have a great relationship. How does Minor fit? Well, this does give the Twins six pitchers for five spots. At its simplest, someone is going to have to move to the bullpen. I'd suggest being more creative, limiting Michael Pineda's innings and using Martin Perez in more of a swing role. I'd also find a way to get Devin Smeltzer the occasional start. Plus, Minor is under contract for another year. Controllable starting pitcher, check. The cost? You skipped the previous two parts, didn't you? Minor isn't going to come cheap, unfortunately. I'm probably going to have to give up one of the prospects I don't want to. If Trevor Larnach is involved, the cost probably wouldn't be much more. But there's a chance the Twins get this done without Larnach. A package of A-ball players fits in really well with where Texas is as an organization. The package(s): Quantity: SS Wander Javier, RHP Blayne Enlow and RHP Luis Rijo for LHP Mike Minor. Quality: OF Trevor Larnach and RHP Griffin Jax for LHP Mike Minor and minor-league RP CD Pelham. Quick Take: Is the Stroman deal what the market is going to be? If so, maybe the Twins can get Minor for less. If not, maybe neither of these packages get it done. --- Acquire RP Ian Kennedy from the Kansas City Royals. Just like Minor, Kennedy is not the most appealing name. But he's been dang good as the Royals closer this year. Why the Royals? If you can convince them to deal to a division rival, this is a no-brainer. Kennedy is owed over $20m through the end of next year, and the Twins are in a position to take on salary. The combination of those two things drive down the cost in terms of prospects. How does Kennedy fit? Kennedy has 20 saves in 23 opportunities and has been equally as good against right- and left-handed hitters. I wouldn't "demote" Taylor Rogers, but I'd be more inclined to use Rogers in earlier high-leverage situations knowing Kennedy is more than capable of closing out games. Oh, and he continues to serve in that role through the upcoming back-to-back World Series championships. Reliever, check. The cost? Money, mostly. How much the Royals send over determines the level of prospect. The package: RHP Johan Quezada for RHRP Ian Kennedy and $5 million. Quick Take: The Royals pay just the rest of this year's salary (or maybe less) and in return get a flame throwing prospect who they will add to the 40-man roster this offseason. Bad teams having a closer is a luxury that the Royals are capitalizing on. --- Acquire OF Jarrod Dyson from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yeah, we're doing it... Why the Diamondbacks? They're setting themselves up as sellers, but maybe shouldn't be. At any rate, I want the one of the fastest runners in baseball on my team. How does Dyson fit? He fits great as a fourth outfielder... on a team that doesn't really employ a fourth outfielder. If Buxton were to miss time, this is a pretty easy transition. Otherwise, he's a pinch-runner and fourth outfielder. The cost? Dyson is owed $1.2m over the course of the season. Now, about that 25-man spot he's going to need.... I'm trading 2B Jonathan Schoop. With Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza capable of being the second baseman if something were to happen to Luis Arraez. The package: 2B Jonathan Schoop for OF Jarrod Dyson. (And whatever else, from either side, to make the deal work.) Quick Take: The Diamondbacks have played Ketel Marte at both 2B and CF, so this move forces him to CF full time. Both Dyson and Schoop are on expiring contracts. This changes Arizona's lineup (more pop, less speed) if they want to continue going for it. Or maybe they flip Schoop. --- You're in charge. What are you doing? Click here to view the article
  25. Have you missed the earlier parts of this series? Part 1: 2020 Part 2: Payroll Part 3: The Ammunition Part 4: The Sellers Part 5: Who Are We Getting? ********** The previous five articles linked above have led us to this place: willing to take on payroll, less willing to deal the best of our assets, but understanding the cost to do business in terms of adding controllable pieces. My wishlist (in no particular order): A controllable starting pitcher - Beyond Jose Berrios and the team holding an option on Martin Perez's contract for 2020, the other 60% of the rotation is on expiring contracts. While the current rotation has been durable and, at a minimum, capable, adding a quality starter to the stable would be a big step for this pennant race and next year. A relief pitcher - While a reliever with team control would be preferred, getting a rental would suffice. An elite pinch-runner - There will come a time between now and the end of the season that Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano or Jason Castro will be the tying or go-ahead run on second base... and out of the dugout will trot Ehire Adrianza. Adding this piece would be ideal at the end of August, right before rosters expand... but that's not allowed anymore. So we shop in July! Holding on to my top six prospects - What? If I can accomplish the above tasks without moving any of Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol, Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran or Trevor Larnach, I'd be ecstatic. It doesn't mean I won't do it. I'd just prefer not to. Without further adieu, my moves: Acquire SP Mike Minor from the Texas Rangers. It's not the most appealing name, but Minor has had the most productive 2019 season of all the pitchers rumored to be available. Why the Rangers? While the Rangers are playing .500 ball, it's not happening for them this year. And if they're honest with themselves, it's not happening next year either. Plus, GM Thad Levine used to work under Rangers GM Jon Daniels and they have a great relationship. How does Minor fit? Well, this does give the Twins six pitchers for five spots. At its simplest, someone is going to have to move to the bullpen. I'd suggest being more creative, limiting Michael Pineda's innings and using Martin Perez in more of a swing role. I'd also find a way to get Devin Smeltzer the occasional start. Plus, Minor is under contract for another year. Controllable starting pitcher, check. The cost? You skipped the previous two parts, didn't you? Minor isn't going to come cheap, unfortunately. I'm probably going to have to give up one of the prospects I don't want to. If Trevor Larnach is involved, the cost probably wouldn't be much more. But there's a chance the Twins get this done without Larnach. A package of A-ball players fits in really well with where Texas is as an organization. The package(s): Quantity: SS Wander Javier, RHP Blayne Enlow and RHP Luis Rijo for LHP Mike Minor. Quality: OF Trevor Larnach and RHP Griffin Jax for LHP Mike Minor and minor-league RP CD Pelham. Quick Take: Is the Stroman deal what the market is going to be? If so, maybe the Twins can get Minor for less. If not, maybe neither of these packages get it done. --- Acquire RP Ian Kennedy from the Kansas City Royals. Just like Minor, Kennedy is not the most appealing name. But he's been dang good as the Royals closer this year. Why the Royals? If you can convince them to deal to a division rival, this is a no-brainer. Kennedy is owed over $20m through the end of next year, and the Twins are in a position to take on salary. The combination of those two things drive down the cost in terms of prospects. How does Kennedy fit? Kennedy has 20 saves in 23 opportunities and has been equally as good against right- and left-handed hitters. I wouldn't "demote" Taylor Rogers, but I'd be more inclined to use Rogers in earlier high-leverage situations knowing Kennedy is more than capable of closing out games. Oh, and he continues to serve in that role through the upcoming back-to-back World Series championships. Reliever, check. The cost? Money, mostly. How much the Royals send over determines the level of prospect. The package: RHP Johan Quezada for RHRP Ian Kennedy and $5 million. Quick Take: The Royals pay just the rest of this year's salary (or maybe less) and in return get a flame throwing prospect who they will add to the 40-man roster this offseason. Bad teams having a closer is a luxury that the Royals are capitalizing on. --- Acquire OF Jarrod Dyson from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yeah, we're doing it... Why the Diamondbacks? They're setting themselves up as sellers, but maybe shouldn't be. At any rate, I want the one of the fastest runners in baseball on my team. How does Dyson fit? He fits great as a fourth outfielder... on a team that doesn't really employ a fourth outfielder. If Buxton were to miss time, this is a pretty easy transition. Otherwise, he's a pinch-runner and fourth outfielder. The cost? Dyson is owed $1.2m over the course of the season. Now, about that 25-man spot he's going to need.... I'm trading 2B Jonathan Schoop. With Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza capable of being the second baseman if something were to happen to Luis Arraez. The package: 2B Jonathan Schoop for OF Jarrod Dyson. (And whatever else, from either side, to make the deal work.) Quick Take: The Diamondbacks have played Ketel Marte at both 2B and CF, so this move forces him to CF full time. Both Dyson and Schoop are on expiring contracts. This changes Arizona's lineup (more pop, less speed) if they want to continue going for it. Or maybe they flip Schoop. --- You're in charge. What are you doing?
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