Jump to content
  • Create Account

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'jorge polanco'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Twins
  • Minors
  • Saints
  • Just For Fun
  • Twins Daily

Categories

  • Unregistered Help Files
  • All Users Help Files

Forums

  • Baseball Forums
    • Twins Daily Front Page News
    • Minnesota Twins Talk
    • Twins Minor League Talk
    • Other Baseball
    • Archived Game Threads
  • MinnCentric Forums
    • The Sports Bar
    • Minnesota Vikings Talk
    • Minnesota Wild Talk
    • Minnesota Timberwolves Talk
  • Current Affairs's Politics and Human Rights
  • Current Affairs's Non-political current affairs
  • Twins Daily's Questions About The Site

Blogs

  • Blog awstafki
  • The Lurker's Annual
  • Mike Sixel's Blog
  • Twins fan in Texas
  • highlander's Blog
  • Patrick Wozniak's Blog
  • Blog dennyhocking4HOF
  • From the Plaza
  • The Special Season
  • Twins Daily's Blog
  • Blog Twins best friend
  • Kyle Eliason's Blog
  • Extra Innings
  • SkinCell Pro: How Does Remove Mole & Skin Tag Work?
  • Blog Badsmerf
  • mikelink45's Blog
  • MT Feelings
  • Keto Burn Max Benefits
  • Blog crapforks
  • Off The Baggy
  • VikingTwinTwolf's Blog
  • A Blog to Be Named Later
  • Cormac's Corner
  • Blog MaureenHill
  • Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR
  • Road Tripping with the Twins
  • Greg Allen
  • Classic Minnesota Twins
  • The Line of Mendoza
  • BombazoMLB
  • Blog Twins Daily Admin
  • joshykid1's Blog
  • What if the Twins had drafted Prior or Teixeira instead of Mauer?
  • the_brute_squad's Blog
  • Better Baseball Is Ahead
  • Nick's Twins Blog
  • Blog jianfu
  • joshykid1's Blog
  • The PTBNL
  • Levi Hansen
  • SethSpeaks.net
  • Blog leshaadawson
  • Underwriting the Twins
  • Small Sample Size
  • parkerb's Blog
  • Tim
  • TwinsGeek.com
  • Blog Roaddog
  • Mauerpower's Blog
  • SotaPop's Blog
  • Face facts!!!
  • Over the Baggy
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Heezy1323's Blog
  • North Dakota Twins Fan
  • Blog Reginald Maudling's Shin
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Miller1234's Blog
  • Blog Kirsten Brown
  • if we aint spendin 140 million
  • Boone's Blog
  • Rounding Third
  • Kirilloff & Co.
  • The Hanging SL
  • Red Wing Squawk
  • Distraction via Baseball
  • Nine of twelve's Blog
  • Blog Lindsay Guentzel
  • Blog Karl
  • Vance_Christianson's Blog
  • Curveball Blog
  • waltomeal's Blog
  • Knuckleballs - JC
  • Blog jrzf713
  • The Minor League Lifestyle
  • Jason Kubel is America
  • weneedjackmorris' Blog
  • Off The Mark
  • Blog freightmaster
  • Playin' Catch
  • Sethmoko's Blog
  • Dome Dogg's Blog
  • Blog Scott Povolny
  • Blog COtwin
  • Hrbowski's Blog
  • Minnesota Twins Whine Line
  • Bomba Blog
  • Blog Chad Jacobsen
  • Blog ScottyBroco
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Back Office Twins Baseball Blog
  • DannySD's Blog
  • nobitadora's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1812
  • Blog Adam Krueger
  • Hammered (adj.) Heavily inebriated, though to a lesser extent than ****faced.
  • Thegrin's Blog
  • 3rd Inning Stretch's Blog
  • Jeremy Nygaard
  • The W.A.R. room
  • Christopher Fee's Blog
  • Postma Posts
  • Rolondo's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1814
  • Blog Fanatic Jack
  • Dominican Adventure
  • Cory Engelhardt's Blog
  • markthomas' Blog
  • blogs_blog_1815
  • Blog AJPettersen
  • Blog AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS
  • BW on the Beat
  • jfeyereisn17's Blog
  • 2020 Offseason Blueprint
  • Blog TimShibuya
  • Fumi Saito's Blog
  • This Twins Fans Thoughts
  • Long Live La Tortuga
  • Blog TonyDavis
  • Blog Danchat
  • sdtwins37's Blog
  • Thinking Outside the Box
  • dbminn
  • Blog travistwinstalk
  • jokin's Blog
  • Thoughts from The Catch
  • BlakeAsk's Blog
  • Tom Schreier's Blog
  • less cowBlog
  • Hansen101's Blog
  • The Gopher Hole
  • 2020 Twins BluePrint - HotDish Surprise
  • Blog bkucko
  • The Circleback Blog
  • All Things Twins
  • Blog iTwins
  • Drinking at the 573
  • The Thirsty Crow and the google boy from peepeganj
  • Catching Some Zs
  • Blog TCAnelle
  • Singles off the Wall
  • tarheeltwinsfan's Blog
  • A View From The Roof
  • The Blog Days of Summer
  • Jordan1212's Blog
  • You Shouldn't Have Lost
  • TwinsTakes.com Blog on TwinsDaily.com - Our Takes, Your Takes, TwinsTakes.com!
  • Blog SgtSchmidt11
  • Dantes929's Blog
  • Critical Thinking
  • Blog Matt VS
  • Blog RickPrescott
  • The Dollar Dome Dog
  • Travis M's Blog
  • Diamond Dollars
  • Blog jorgenswest
  • Twinsfan4life
  • Travis M's Interviews
  • whatyouknowtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog righty8383
  • Blog TwinsWolvesLynxBlog
  • Supfin99's Blog
  • tarheeltwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog glunn
  • Blog yumen0808
  • Unkind Bounces
  • Doctor Gast's Blog
  • One Man's View From Section 231
  • Don't Feed the Greed? What does that mean...
  • Diesel's Blog
  • Blog denarded
  • Blog zymy0813
  • Twins Peak
  • Minnesota Twins Health and Performance: A Blog by Lucas Seehafer PT
  • Blog kirbyelway
  • Blog JP3700
  • twinssouth's Blog
  • Ports on Sports Blog
  • Blog Twins Fan From Afar
  • Blog E. Andrew
  • The 10th Inning Stretch
  • Hans Birkleberry's Blog
  • Blog twinsarmchairgm
  • Pitz Hits
  • samthetwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog JB (the Original)
  • soofootinsfan37's Blog
  • You Can Read This For Free
  • One Post Blog
  • Blog Dez Tobin
  • South Dakota Tom's Blog
  • hrenlazar2019's Blog
  • MNSotaSportsGal Twins Takes
  • Blog kemics
  • Blog AM.
  • DerektheDOM's Blog
  • Twins Tunes
  • Blog jtrinaldi
  • Blog Bill
  • Not Another Baseball Blog
  • Down on the Farm
  • Most likely pitchers making their MLB debut in 2021 for Twins.
  • Blog Wookiee of the Year
  • mike8791's Blog
  • Pensacola Blue Wahoos: Photo-A-Day
  • Puckets Pond
  • Blog Jim H
  • A trade for the off season
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Kasota Gold
  • The POSTseason
  • Blog guski
  • Blog rickyriolo
  • SgtSchmidt11's Blog
  • Twinternationals
  • Blog birdwatcher
  • Blog acrozelle
  • Axel Kohagen's Catastrophic Overreactions
  • Bashwood12's Blog
  • Spicer's Baseball Movie Reviews
  • Beyond the Metrodome
  • Blog yangxq0827
  • The Pat-Man Saga
  • TheTeufelShuffle's Blog
  • ebergdib's blog
  • Blog Thegrin
  • Zachary's Blog
  • scottyc35
  • Blog
  • Thrylos' Blog - select Tenth Inning Stretch posts
  • Blog taune
  • scottyc35's Blog
  • World's Greatest Online Magazine
  • Blog tweety2012
  • DRizzo's Blog
  • mrtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog asmus_ndsu
  • Spying Some Stats
  • Betsy Twins Report
  • Blog shawntheroad
  • Blog David-14
  • Blog Buddy14
  • Blog keithanderson
  • Blog Topperanton
  • Blog lightfoot789
  • Blog Axel Kohagen
  • Blog Lesser Dali
  • Blog Neinstein
  • Blog Bob Sacamento
  • Blog J-Dog Dungan
  • Thoughts of a Bullpen Catcher
  • Blog Dilligaf69
  • blogs_blog_1599
  • Twin Minds
  • My Opening Day Poem
  • Blog Teflon
  • Blog yanking it out...
  • Blog Anare
  • Blog Charlie Beattie
  • Blog Coach J
  • What to do with Morneau?
  • Peanuts from Heaven
  • Blog Physics Guy
  • Twins Adjacent
  • Field of Twins
  • Martin Schlegel's Blog
  • The Long View
  • Blog grumpyrob
  • Off The Mark
  • Blog Jeff A
  • Blog jwestbrock
  • by Matt Sisk
  • Blog Sarah
  • Blog RodneyKline
  • Blog JeffB
  • Anorthagen's Twins Daily Blogs
  • Low Profile MI Trade
  • Blog CC7
  • Blog dwintheiser
  • Blog Docsilly
  • Blog cmathewson
  • Blog mnfireman
  • Blog twinsfanstl
  • Blog dave_dw
  • Blog MN_Twins_Live
  • Standing Room Only
  • Blog gkasper
  • Blog puck34
  • Blog Old Twins Cap
  • Blog diehardtwinsfan
  • Blog Twinfan & Dad
  • Blog LimestoneBaggy
  • Blog Brian Mozey
  • vqt94648's Blog
  • Blog Loosey
  • Blog fairweather
  • World Series Champions 2088
  • Blog Drtwins
  • Blog peterb18
  • Blog LindaU
  • Kevin Slowey was Framed!
  • Blog Christopher Fee
  • Very Well Then
  • Pitch2Contact.com
  • A View from the Slot
  • Blog severson09
  • Blog husker brian
  • Blog Ray Tapajna
  • Sell high?
  • Blog bogeypepsi
  • Blog tshide
  • Blog Gene Larkin Fan Club
  • Blog jimbo92107
  • Blog DefinitelyNotVodkaDave
  • Blog Cap'n Piranha
  • The Blog Formerly Known as Undomed
  • Frank Vantur's Blog
  • Blog Ricola
  • Blog AScheib50
  • SamGoody's Blog
  • Blog clutterheart
  • Blog Trent Condon
  • Blog bwille
  • blogs_blog_1635
  • Blog strumdatjag
  • Blog huhguy
  • blogs_blog_1636
  • Blog 3rd Inning Stretch
  • Blog 10PagesOfClearBlueSky
  • blogs_blog_1637
  • Blog Tyomoth
  • SD Buhr/Jim Crikket
  • blogs_blog_1638
  • Blog bear333
  • Blog sln477
  • Blog abbylucy
  • Blog Gernzy
  • Troy's Twins Thoughts
  • Blog OtherHoward219
  • blogs_blog_1642
  • Blog ScrapTheNickname
  • Blog TicketKing
  • Blog sotasports9
  • Twins Rubes
  • Blog goulik
  • Hosken's Blog
  • Blog one_eyed_jack
  • Blog joelindell
  • Blog rikker49
  • Blog nickschubert
  • Blog DreInWA
  • You're Not Reading This
  • Blog Hugh Morris
  • The Blog Formerly Known as Undomed
  • Kottke's Cuts
  • Blog Dakota Watts
  • Blog markroehl
  • Blog jjswol
  • Blog Tibs
  • blogs_blog_1654
  • Blog jlovren
  • Blog Boone
  • Puckmen's Blog
  • Minnesota native to attend Twins predraft workout
  • Blog obryaneu
  • Blog JohnFoley
  • Blog TwinsArmChairGM_Jon
  • Bloop Singles
  • Blog Ryan Atkins
  • Blog the blade
  • Blog Lonestar
  • Blog jdotmcmahon
  • Blog WayneJimenezubc
  • Blog Sconnie
  • Blog PogueBear
  • Blog pierre75275
  • blogs_blog_2943
  • Blog Paul Bebus
  • flyballs in orbit
  • Blog A33bates
  • Blog lunchboxhero_4
  • lidefom746's Blog
  • Blog coddlenomore
  • Blog Trevor0333
  • Blog lee_the_twins_fan
  • Blog StreetOfFire
  • Blog clark47dorsey
  • Texastwinsfan blog
  • Blog KCasey
  • Blog Joey Lindseth
  • Blog jakelovesgolf
  • Blog mchokozie
  • Thoughts from the Stands
  • blogs_blog_2952
  • Blog best game in the world
  • Heather's thoughts
  • Blog sammy0eaton
  • HitInAPinch's Blog
  • Blog Mauerpower
  • Blog Jdosen
  • Blog twinsfanohio
  • Beyond the Limestone
  • Blog dougkoebernick
  • Get to know 'em
  • 5 Tool Blog
  • Cole Trace
  • Blog Sunglasses
  • Blog CTB_NickC
  • Blog Colin.O'Donnell
  • "And we'll see ya' ... tomorrow night."
  • Blog richardkr34
  • Gopher Baseball with Luke Pettersen
  • Blog KelvinBoyerxrg
  • Blog twinsfan34
  • Blog CaryMuellerlib
  • Blog jtkoupal
  • FunnyPenguin's Blog
  • Blog Sierra Szeto
  • Blog ExiledInSeattle
  • A Realistic Fix to the 2014 Twins
  • Blog naksh
  • Blog bellajelcooper
  • rickymartin's Blog
  • Blog twinsajsf
  • Blog keeth
  • Blog Murphy Vasterling Cannon
  • Twins Winter Caravan
  • Blog tracygame
  • Blog rjohnso4
  • Half a Platoon
  • Blog jangofelixak
  • Blog SirClive
  • tooslowandoldnow's Blog
  • Blog Troy Larson
  • Blog thetank
  • nicksaviking blog
  • Blog iekfWjnrxb
  • Blog SouthDakotaFarmer
  • Bill Parker
  • East Coast Bias
  • Blog tobi0040
  • Lee-The-Twins-Fan's Blog
  • Blog foe-of-nin
  • Blog cocosoup
  • Minnesota Groan
  • Blog wRenita5
  • rgvtwinstalk
  • Major Minnesotans
  • Blog Aaron 12
  • Blog janewong
  • The Twins Almanac
  • Blog boys
  • Blog bennep
  • Hambino the Great's Blog
  • Blog JadaKingg25
  • Jesse Lund's Blog
  • Blog Brabes1987
  • RealStoriesMN
  • Blog sanal101
  • Blog Spikecurveball
  • Blog Devereaux
  • D-mac's Blog
  • Blog tarheeltwinsfan
  • kakakhan's Blog
  • Blog Oliver
  • Blog travis_aune
  • Twins and Losses
  • In My Opinion
  • Blog ieveretgte4f
  • Blog Sam Morley
  • Pinto's Perspective
  • Blog curt1965
  • VeryWellThen's Blog
  • Extcs
  • The Foul Play-by-Play Twins Blog
  • Dave The Dastardly's Blog
  • Blog winunaarec
  • Negativity Police's Blog
  • Blog Robb Jeffries
  • Adam Houck's Blog
  • SaintsTrain
  • Loosey's Blog
  • Blog EE in Big D
  • Talkin' Twins with Jonathon
  • Steve Penz's Blog
  • Blog jtequilabermeah
  • The Tenth Inning Stretch
  • Apathy for the Game
  • Dave The Dastardly's Blog
  • Blog hmariloustarkk
  • Car detailing
  • Blog Brendan Kennealy
  • Twins Fan From Afar's Blog
  • Visit500
  • Blog totocc
  • SD Buhr's Blog
  • KirbyHawk75's Blog
  • Blog Bark's Lounge
  • huhguy's Blog
  • Blog TwinsFanLV
  • NumberThree's Blog
  • Blog pandorajewelry
  • The Go Gonzo Journal Twins Blog
  • Twinsnerd123's Blog
  • Blog cClevelandSmialekp
  • Talk to Contact
  • Boo-urns
  • Blog silverslugger
  • jtkoupal's Blog
  • Broker's Blog
  • Blog Twinsoholic
  • diehardtwinsfan's Blog
  • Brad's Blog
  • Javier Maschrano - the rising star of Argentina
  • Be Always in Fashion &in Trendy Look
  • Blog Salazar
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Be Always in Fashion &in Trendy Look
  • ThejacKmp's Blog
  • Blog vMaymeHansone
  • stringer bell's Blog
  • Blog brvama
  • AJPettersen's Blog
  • WiscoTwin
  • Rants (not Rantz)
  • iec23966's Blog
  • Blog loisebottorf83
  • CodyB's Blog
  • Staying Positive
  • Target Field of Dreams' Blog
  • Intentional Balk
  • Blog rodmccray11282
  • ReturnOfShaneMack's Blog
  • Blog SksippSvefdklyn
  • A blog about the Twins & more
  • Thome the Moneyball
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Lefty74's Blog
  • USAFChief's Blog
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Tony Nato's Blog
  • Clear's Blog
  • Blog LeeStevensonuuf
  • Waking up the Twins
  • Blog GrahamCharleshqr
  • First Base and the legacy of Kent Hrbek
  • carly148
  • Blog MWLFan
  • Minnie Paul and Mary
  • twinstarheelsfan's Blog
  • This game's fun, OK?
  • Blog TimeAgreell
  • Tsuyoshi's Island
  • NASCAR Steve's Blog
  • Kevin Horner's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1742
  • Blog CDog
  • Hold for the Batter
  • John the Analytics Guy
  • mrmpls' Blog
  • Zlog
  • samberry's Blog
  • nmtwinsfan's Blog
  • Under Teflon Skies
  • Views from the road
  • St. Paul Saints
  • Blog tkyokoperkinsn
  • Alskn's Northern Lights
  • Talkin' Turnstiles
  • Find Stats Elsewhere
  • Blog LaBombo
  • hugelycat's Blog
  • Deduno Abides' Blog
  • Milldaddy35's Blog Area
  • Blog Fire Dan Gladden
  • Baseball Intelligence
  • framedoctor's Blog
  • Blog Riverbrian
  • Blog Brandon
  • Organizational Depth Chart
  • Left Field Gap
  • gtkilla
  • Hicks' Left-Handed Helmets
  • MauerState7's Blog
  • 80MPH Changeup
  • Twins Pitch Breakdown
  • What you know about that blog
  • Blog DaTwins
  • positive1's Blog
  • rikker49's Blog
  • baxterpope15's Blog
  • Blog ThejacKmp
  • Random Thoughts About Baseball
  • Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Blog
  • Run Prevention
  • Blog ericchri
  • pierre75275's Blog
  • Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Blog
  • Cargo Cult Sabermetrics
  • Blog 81Exposruledbaseball
  • Deduno Abides' Blog
  • David Howell's Blog
  • Blog daanderson20
  • Twin Billing
  • sorney's Blog
  • TCAnelle's Blog
  • Blog shs_59
  • rikker49's Blog
  • Crackin' Wax's Cardboard Corner
  • Blog jm3319
  • jsteve96's Blog
  • The Always Fashionable; Uncle Charlie
  • Blog stringer bell
  • twinssouth's Blog
  • Baseball Good
  • Blog everettegalr
  • twinsfan34's Blog
  • menthmike's Blog
  • Blog Obie
  • B Richard's Blog
  • Brazilian Twins Territory
  • The Hidden Baseball
  • Blog SpinnesotaGirl
  • Marthaler
  • InfieldFlyRuled
  • Coopcarlson3's Blog
  • Blog SoDakTwinsFan5
  • Blog LastOnePicked
  • Bob Sacamento's Blog
  • MnTwinsTalk's Blog
  • Blog Top Gun
  • Twinfan & Dad's Blog
  • Nebtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog TKGuy
  • GLO Blog
  • Ben Fadden's Blog
  • ajcondon's Blog
  • Blog TheMind07
  • Daily Twins Daily
  • TwinkiePower's Blog
  • Blog Michael Blomquist
  • VeryWellThen
  • MN_ExPat's Blog
  • Channing1964's Blog
  • Blog Darin Bratsch
  • Twin's Organizational News
  • Around The Horn
  • Blog beckmt
  • jjswol's Twins Trivia Blog
  • BeantownTwinsFan's Blog
  • Blog YourHouseIsMyHouse
  • jjswol's Twins Trivia Blog
  • Blog jay
  • SF Twins Fan's Blog
  • Morneau
  • TNTwinsFan's Blog
  • Musings from Twins Territory
  • Original Twin
  • Blog El Guapo
  • Doubles' Blog
  • Kirbek's Leaps and Pulls
  • Blog jokin
  • Brandon's Blog
  • A Look Back
  • Science of Baseball
  • Blog IdahoPilgrim
  • Sam Morley's Blog
  • oregontwin's Blog
  • Rounding Second
  • Blog Lyric53
  • The Curse of the Trees
  • gagu's Blog
  • Twins in CA
  • Blog Oldgoat_MN
  • Giant Baseball Cards
  • Blog twinfan49
  • docsillyseth's Blog
  • Kirby O'Connor's Blog
  • dfklgkoc
  • Blog ContinuumGuy
  • Wille's Way
  • Minnesota Sports Statistics Analysis
  • Ryan Stephan's Twinpinions
  • blogs_blog_2805
  • Blog tradingadvantage
  • brvama's Blog
  • Minnesota SSA's Blog
  • Danchat's Strat-O-Matic Blog
  • Blog Chance
  • NoCryingInBaseball's Blog
  • It Takes All Kinds
  • TFRazor's Blog
  • Blog twinslover
  • Sarah's Blog
  • theJemmer's Blog
  • Spikecurveball's Blog
  • Four Six Three
  • blogs_blog_2809
  • 2012 Draft.
  • travistwinstalk's Blog
  • Seth Stohs' Blog
  • Through a Child's Eyes
  • Colexalean Supplement Reviews
  • Blog jiamay
  • Dome Dogg's Blog
  • Fanspeak's Twins and AL Central Blog
  • In Pursuit of Pennants
  • minnesotasportsunlimited's Blog
  • Jacob Booth Blogs
  • Blog stewthornley
  • mickeymental's Blog
  • Baseball Bat's Offseason Blueprint
  • AJswarley's Blog
  • Twins Outsider's Blog
  • Blog h2oface
  • Iowa Twins Fan
  • Twinkie Talk
  • Battle Your Tail Off
  • JackWhite's Blog
  • bikram's Blog
  • Twins Nation Podcast

Product Groups

  • Twins Apparel
  • Vikings Apparel
  • Wild Apparel
  • Wolves Apparel
  • eBooks
  • Events
  • Supporter Levels

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Website URL


Personal Blog Name


Personal Blog URL


Location


Biography


Occupation


Interests


Twitter

  1. It was a rough day in Minnesota as the Vikings dropped a hard-fought battle to the Lions by a score of 17-14... Excuse me, I am getting word that this was not a Vikings game, but rather the Twins dropped an offensive slugfest against the Tigers. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Happ 3.0 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 4 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Sano 2 (17), Jeffers 2 (8), Kepler (14), Rooker (4), Polanco (15) Bottom 3 WPA: Happ -0.321, Minaya -0.158, Kepler -0.154 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) J.A. Happ’s Horrendous Start It has been far from a good season for offseason signing J.A. Happ, who put together arguably his worst outing of the season, yes even as bad as his start against the White Sox back in May. By the time the plug was finally pulled on Happ, the game was seemingly well out of reach. After giving up a couple of baserunners, but no runs in the first, Happ surrendered four singles and a walk in the second that gave the Tigers the early two run lead. Happ then had a strong three-up-three-down third and appeared to get his start back on the right track. That was before all hell broke loose in the fourth. To start the top of the fourth, the Tigers offense started the inning by going single, walk, double, single, single, walk, double before Rocco Baldelli finally came out and ended J.A. Happ’s outing. Former Tigers first round pick Beau Burrows came in to relieve Happ, and got out of the inning, but not before allowing two sac-flies and an RBI triple, giving the Tigers an early 10-0 lead. Burrows would stay in the game and pitch a scoreless fifth, after the Twins bats somehow got them back in the game, but then let the Tigers build on their lead again in the sixth. He gave up two walks to begin the inning, before Zack Short hit an RBI double. Burrows then got the next two guys on flyouts, the former being a sac-fly, before Grayson Greiner ripped another double off Burrows giving the Tigers what was at the time a 13-6 lead. Twins Monster 4th Inning After the Tigers appeared the bust the game completely wide open in the top of the fourth, the Twins bats made the game interesting after a big inning of their own. Miguel Sano got the scoring started with a leadoff solo home run to center field. After the Sano home run, which was nice to see, the game still felt very much not in the balance. That, however, would all change just four batters later. After the Sano home run, Trevor Larnach, Willians Astudillo and Nick Gordon all hit singles to set the table for this Ryan Jeffers grand slam! The Twins bats were not done after that, as they continued to pile on the hits. After Andrelton Simmons lined out to right, Max Kepler was hit by a pitch and that was the end of the road for Tigers pitcher Wily Peralta, who was replaced by Kyle Funkhouser (great name). Funkhouser did not find any more success, as Rooker, Polano and Sano all proceeded to get singles off of him to begin his outing, cutting the Tigers lead to four and giving the Twins bases loaded and just one out. They failed to capitalize on this, however, as Trevor Larnach struck out and Willians Astudillo grounded out to end the inning. Twins Coming Roaring Back in the 8th Yes, I know that was a bad Tigers pun, but it was a long game. With the Twins still down 13-6 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Twins bats exploded for a second time in today’s ballgame. Max Kepler, who has been swinging the bat a lot better in July, got the inning started with his fourteenth home run of the season, and that would not be even close to the last home run the Twins would hit this inning. Then it was Brent Rooker’s turn to stay hot, after he’s been tearing it up in St. Paul this year to the tune of 19 home runs and an OPS of .908 in 61 ball games for the Saints. In total, Rooker has hit 23 home runs in just 75 games played between the Saints and the Twins this season. Now down 13-8, it felt like the Twins were still in the ball game, and that feeling became even stronger once Jorge Polanco drew a walk to get on base for what was the most no-boudt of all no-doubters that has ever come off the bat of Miguel Sano, and that is saying something. According to Statcast, that home run left Miguel Sano’s bat with an exit velocity of 114.8 MPH and a launch angle of 30 degrees, traveling an estimated 473 feet into the third deck in left-center. Truly a mammoth home run, even by his standards. The Twins bats did not slow down after that, as they continued to use the long ball to get back into this ballgame. After a Willians Astudillo double, sandwiched between a Tevor Larnach fly out and a Nick Gordon strike out, Ryan Jeffers blasted his second home run of the game, bringing the Twins back within one. Juan Minaya Shines Until Things Fall Apart in the Ninth After the struggles of J.A. Happ and Beau Burrows, Juan Minaya was a refreshing change of pace for the Twins on the mound, when he entered the game to start the seventh. He began his outing by retiring all six batters that he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, and came back out to pitch the ninth, after the Twins had just made it a one-run ball game. He got the inning started off strong by striking out Harold Castro, before walking Grayson Greiner. After a quick mound visit, Minaya seemed to get back on track as he struck out Akil Baddoo for the second out of the inning. That is when things fell apart on Minaya, who was arguably left in the game a bit too long, especially with the Twins back in it. With two outs, the Tigers proceeded to get a single and a walk to load the bases for Eric Haase, who promptly delivered with a bases clearing double to bust the game back open for the Tigers. He would then come around to score on the next batter, when Jeimer Candelario hit a double of his own, giving the Tigers a 17-12 lead. It is worth noting that none of the Tigers 17 runs in today’s ballgame were scored on a home run. Jorge Polanco Gives Twins a Glimmer of Hope in the Ninth Given all that had happened today, a five run lead in the ninth did not seem insurmountable for the Twins. After all, they already had two six run innings, so why not a third and the way the inning started it appeared as though that was possible. Brent Rooker leadoff the inning with a hard fought walk and was immediately followed by a home run off the bat of Jorge Polanco, the Twins seventh of the ballgame. That comeback effort would not come to fruition, as Miguel Sano and Trevor Larnach would both strike out and Willians Astudillo would ground out to end what was not only an incredible game, but an incredible series. Bullpen Usage Chart What's Next The Twins are off on Thursday before traveling to St. Louis to begin a three-game series with the Cardinals. Jose Berrios is scheduled to be on the mound for the Twins, though that is still very much up in the air depending on what happens with the trade deadline fast approaching. View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Happ 3.0 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 4 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Sano 2 (17), Jeffers 2 (8), Kepler (14), Rooker (4), Polanco (15) Bottom 3 WPA: Happ -0.321, Minaya -0.158, Kepler -0.154 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) J.A. Happ’s Horrendous Start It has been far from a good season for offseason signing J.A. Happ, who put together arguably his worst outing of the season, yes even as bad as his start against the White Sox back in May. By the time the plug was finally pulled on Happ, the game was seemingly well out of reach. After giving up a couple of baserunners, but no runs in the first, Happ surrendered four singles and a walk in the second that gave the Tigers the early two run lead. Happ then had a strong three-up-three-down third and appeared to get his start back on the right track. That was before all hell broke loose in the fourth. To start the top of the fourth, the Tigers offense started the inning by going single, walk, double, single, single, walk, double before Rocco Baldelli finally came out and ended J.A. Happ’s outing. Former Tigers first round pick Beau Burrows came in to relieve Happ, and got out of the inning, but not before allowing two sac-flies and an RBI triple, giving the Tigers an early 10-0 lead. Burrows would stay in the game and pitch a scoreless fifth, after the Twins bats somehow got them back in the game, but then let the Tigers build on their lead again in the sixth. He gave up two walks to begin the inning, before Zack Short hit an RBI double. Burrows then got the next two guys on flyouts, the former being a sac-fly, before Grayson Greiner ripped another double off Burrows giving the Tigers what was at the time a 13-6 lead. Twins Monster 4th Inning After the Tigers appeared the bust the game completely wide open in the top of the fourth, the Twins bats made the game interesting after a big inning of their own. Miguel Sano got the scoring started with a leadoff solo home run to center field. After the Sano home run, which was nice to see, the game still felt very much not in the balance. That, however, would all change just four batters later. After the Sano home run, Trevor Larnach, Willians Astudillo and Nick Gordon all hit singles to set the table for this Ryan Jeffers grand slam! The Twins bats were not done after that, as they continued to pile on the hits. After Andrelton Simmons lined out to right, Max Kepler was hit by a pitch and that was the end of the road for Tigers pitcher Wily Peralta, who was replaced by Kyle Funkhouser (great name). Funkhouser did not find any more success, as Rooker, Polano and Sano all proceeded to get singles off of him to begin his outing, cutting the Tigers lead to four and giving the Twins bases loaded and just one out. They failed to capitalize on this, however, as Trevor Larnach struck out and Willians Astudillo grounded out to end the inning. Twins Coming Roaring Back in the 8th Yes, I know that was a bad Tigers pun, but it was a long game. With the Twins still down 13-6 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Twins bats exploded for a second time in today’s ballgame. Max Kepler, who has been swinging the bat a lot better in July, got the inning started with his fourteenth home run of the season, and that would not be even close to the last home run the Twins would hit this inning. Then it was Brent Rooker’s turn to stay hot, after he’s been tearing it up in St. Paul this year to the tune of 19 home runs and an OPS of .908 in 61 ball games for the Saints. In total, Rooker has hit 23 home runs in just 75 games played between the Saints and the Twins this season. Now down 13-8, it felt like the Twins were still in the ball game, and that feeling became even stronger once Jorge Polanco drew a walk to get on base for what was the most no-boudt of all no-doubters that has ever come off the bat of Miguel Sano, and that is saying something. According to Statcast, that home run left Miguel Sano’s bat with an exit velocity of 114.8 MPH and a launch angle of 30 degrees, traveling an estimated 473 feet into the third deck in left-center. Truly a mammoth home run, even by his standards. The Twins bats did not slow down after that, as they continued to use the long ball to get back into this ballgame. After a Willians Astudillo double, sandwiched between a Tevor Larnach fly out and a Nick Gordon strike out, Ryan Jeffers blasted his second home run of the game, bringing the Twins back within one. Juan Minaya Shines Until Things Fall Apart in the Ninth After the struggles of J.A. Happ and Beau Burrows, Juan Minaya was a refreshing change of pace for the Twins on the mound, when he entered the game to start the seventh. He began his outing by retiring all six batters that he faced in the seventh and eighth innings, and came back out to pitch the ninth, after the Twins had just made it a one-run ball game. He got the inning started off strong by striking out Harold Castro, before walking Grayson Greiner. After a quick mound visit, Minaya seemed to get back on track as he struck out Akil Baddoo for the second out of the inning. That is when things fell apart on Minaya, who was arguably left in the game a bit too long, especially with the Twins back in it. With two outs, the Tigers proceeded to get a single and a walk to load the bases for Eric Haase, who promptly delivered with a bases clearing double to bust the game back open for the Tigers. He would then come around to score on the next batter, when Jeimer Candelario hit a double of his own, giving the Tigers a 17-12 lead. It is worth noting that none of the Tigers 17 runs in today’s ballgame were scored on a home run. Jorge Polanco Gives Twins a Glimmer of Hope in the Ninth Given all that had happened today, a five run lead in the ninth did not seem insurmountable for the Twins. After all, they already had two six run innings, so why not a third and the way the inning started it appeared as though that was possible. Brent Rooker leadoff the inning with a hard fought walk and was immediately followed by a home run off the bat of Jorge Polanco, the Twins seventh of the ballgame. That comeback effort would not come to fruition, as Miguel Sano and Trevor Larnach would both strike out and Willians Astudillo would ground out to end what was not only an incredible game, but an incredible series. Bullpen Usage Chart What's Next The Twins are off on Thursday before traveling to St. Louis to begin a three-game series with the Cardinals. Jose Berrios is scheduled to be on the mound for the Twins, though that is still very much up in the air depending on what happens with the trade deadline fast approaching.
  3. After dropping games two and three of the series, the Twins bounced back tonight to force a series split against the Chicago White Sox as they won by a score of 7-2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Pineda 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO Homeruns: Kepler (12), Polanco (14) Top 3 WPA: Polanco (0.195), Pineda (0.163), Kepler (0.144) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pineda Impresses Right Before Trade Deadline With the Twins well out of contention, it is not secret that they will be sellers at the trade deadline, and one of the names that could be on the block is starting pitcher Michael Pineda, who will be a free agent at season’s end. While Pineda is not one of the biggest names on the block, he certainly had value for a contending team looking to add depth to their rotation, and starts like tonight will only help that trade value go up. In tonight’s start, Michael Pineda allowed just one run on four hits, across five innings of work against one of the best offenses in baseball. This was a great sign, as Pineda got hit around pretty hard in his only other start since returning from the Injured List, which also came against the White Sox back on July 7th. Pineda did run into a little struggle in the bottom of the third inning. After getting Zack Collins to fly out to left to leadoff the inning, Billy Hamilton laced a ground ball double to left field. Hamilton would then steal third in the next plate appearance, which would result in a walk to Tim Anderson. After Anderson stole second, the White Sox had a serious threat going with second and third and only one out. Adam Engle then hit a hard ground ball between third and short that just deflected off the glove of a diving Josh Donaldson. Andrelton Simmons was able to field the ball, but he didn’t have a play and everyone was safe, with Billy Hamilton scoring the game tying run. After a mound visit, Pineda was then able to get Jose Abreu to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the jam with the game still tied at one a piece. Max Kepler Hits Another Home Run in Chicago Much like Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler has grown accustomed to hitting home runs in Chicago, as he went deep again there tonight. This home run got the scoring started in the top of the third off a 1-1 breaking ball from Dylan Cease. When Kepler first hit the ball, it was clear that the ball had enough juice to get out, the question was would it stay fair. This time that answer was yes, as the ball struck the foul pole in right about 10 feet above the wall. The Twins String Together a Two Out Rally to Take the Lead in the Fifth With the score tied at one all in the top of the fifth, it appeared that Dylan Cease would give the White Sox lineup a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the inning with two quick outs versus Andrelton Simmions and Max Kepler. However, the heart of the Twins order was not about to let that happen. Jorge Polanco got the rally going when he laced a single into right. Nelson Cruz then followed that up with a ground-rule double over Adam Engel’s head in right. The White Sox appeared to catch a break, as had that ball stayed in play, Polanco would have likely scored from first. That was a moot point, however, as both Polanco and Cruz came around to score on a ground ball single up the middle off the bat of Josh Donaldson, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead. Trevor Larnach kept the two out rally going with a single of his own, but Miguel Sano swung and missed at three straight pitches, putting an end to the rally. Jorge Polanco Adds to the Twins Lead in the Sixth After starting the two out rally the inning prior, Jorge Polanco came up with another big two out hit in the sixth, this time it was a three-run blast to bust the game open for the Twins. The sixth inning got started much the same way as the fifth, with two quick outs. However, after an Andrelton Simmons single, followed by his first stolen base of the season, and a Max Kepler walk, the table was set for Jorge Polanco to deliver, and he did just that as he sent a 3-1 fastball into the Twins bullpen in right-centerfield, extending the Twins lead to five. Jorge Polanco’s night would not end there, as he would help add another insurance run in the top of the ninth. With one out in the inning, Polanco lined a double to left field. He then attempted to steal third and was initially ruled out, but after a successful Twins challenge he was ruled safe. He then came into score the Twins seventh run of the game (his third) on a Nelson Cruz sac-fly, giving the Twins the 7-2 lead. The Twins Bullpen has Strong Showing After a good start from Michael Pineda, it was the bullpen's job to protect the Twins lead and they did just that tonight, giving up just one run over four collective innings of work. Tyler Duffey was the first out of the pen to start the sixth, and though he gave up four hits, he did not surrender a run across 1 and 2/3 innings of work. Alex Colome came in an finished things off in the seventh, before giving up a run on a pair of doubles in the eighth. Caleb Thielbar then came in to close things out in the ninth. He gave up a leadoff walk to start the inning, but then got Billy Hamilton to strikeout before inducing a 6-4-3 double-play off the batt of Tim Anderson to seal the Twins victory. Bullpen Usage Chart What is Next? The Twins will return home on Thursday to being a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Game one of the series will begin Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CDT with Kenta Maeda on the mound against Angels starter Andrew Heaney. View full article
  4. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Pineda 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO Homeruns: Kepler (12), Polanco (14) Top 3 WPA: Polanco (0.195), Pineda (0.163), Kepler (0.144) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pineda Impresses Right Before Trade Deadline With the Twins well out of contention, it is not secret that they will be sellers at the trade deadline, and one of the names that could be on the block is starting pitcher Michael Pineda, who will be a free agent at season’s end. While Pineda is not one of the biggest names on the block, he certainly had value for a contending team looking to add depth to their rotation, and starts like tonight will only help that trade value go up. In tonight’s start, Michael Pineda allowed just one run on four hits, across five innings of work against one of the best offenses in baseball. This was a great sign, as Pineda got hit around pretty hard in his only other start since returning from the Injured List, which also came against the White Sox back on July 7th. Pineda did run into a little struggle in the bottom of the third inning. After getting Zack Collins to fly out to left to leadoff the inning, Billy Hamilton laced a ground ball double to left field. Hamilton would then steal third in the next plate appearance, which would result in a walk to Tim Anderson. After Anderson stole second, the White Sox had a serious threat going with second and third and only one out. Adam Engle then hit a hard ground ball between third and short that just deflected off the glove of a diving Josh Donaldson. Andrelton Simmons was able to field the ball, but he didn’t have a play and everyone was safe, with Billy Hamilton scoring the game tying run. After a mound visit, Pineda was then able to get Jose Abreu to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the jam with the game still tied at one a piece. Max Kepler Hits Another Home Run in Chicago Much like Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler has grown accustomed to hitting home runs in Chicago, as he went deep again there tonight. This home run got the scoring started in the top of the third off a 1-1 breaking ball from Dylan Cease. When Kepler first hit the ball, it was clear that the ball had enough juice to get out, the question was would it stay fair. This time that answer was yes, as the ball struck the foul pole in right about 10 feet above the wall. The Twins String Together a Two Out Rally to Take the Lead in the Fifth With the score tied at one all in the top of the fifth, it appeared that Dylan Cease would give the White Sox lineup a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the inning with two quick outs versus Andrelton Simmions and Max Kepler. However, the heart of the Twins order was not about to let that happen. Jorge Polanco got the rally going when he laced a single into right. Nelson Cruz then followed that up with a ground-rule double over Adam Engel’s head in right. The White Sox appeared to catch a break, as had that ball stayed in play, Polanco would have likely scored from first. That was a moot point, however, as both Polanco and Cruz came around to score on a ground ball single up the middle off the bat of Josh Donaldson, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead. Trevor Larnach kept the two out rally going with a single of his own, but Miguel Sano swung and missed at three straight pitches, putting an end to the rally. Jorge Polanco Adds to the Twins Lead in the Sixth After starting the two out rally the inning prior, Jorge Polanco came up with another big two out hit in the sixth, this time it was a three-run blast to bust the game open for the Twins. The sixth inning got started much the same way as the fifth, with two quick outs. However, after an Andrelton Simmons single, followed by his first stolen base of the season, and a Max Kepler walk, the table was set for Jorge Polanco to deliver, and he did just that as he sent a 3-1 fastball into the Twins bullpen in right-centerfield, extending the Twins lead to five. Jorge Polanco’s night would not end there, as he would help add another insurance run in the top of the ninth. With one out in the inning, Polanco lined a double to left field. He then attempted to steal third and was initially ruled out, but after a successful Twins challenge he was ruled safe. He then came into score the Twins seventh run of the game (his third) on a Nelson Cruz sac-fly, giving the Twins the 7-2 lead. The Twins Bullpen has Strong Showing After a good start from Michael Pineda, it was the bullpen's job to protect the Twins lead and they did just that tonight, giving up just one run over four collective innings of work. Tyler Duffey was the first out of the pen to start the sixth, and though he gave up four hits, he did not surrender a run across 1 and 2/3 innings of work. Alex Colome came in an finished things off in the seventh, before giving up a run on a pair of doubles in the eighth. Caleb Thielbar then came in to close things out in the ninth. He gave up a leadoff walk to start the inning, but then got Billy Hamilton to strikeout before inducing a 6-4-3 double-play off the batt of Tim Anderson to seal the Twins victory. Bullpen Usage Chart What is Next? The Twins will return home on Thursday to being a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Game one of the series will begin Thursday at 7:10 p.m. CDT with Kenta Maeda on the mound against Angels starter Andrew Heaney.
  5. Minnesota’s front office focused on defense this winter and the results have certainly been mixed throughout the first half. Here is how the Twins rank so far according to SABR’s Defensive Index. Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One newer defensive metric was developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and it is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, SDI has been used as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. Pitcher (AL Ranking): Jose Berrios, 2.2 SDI (6th); Michael Pineda, 0.6 SDI (19th); Kenta Maeda, 0.1 SDI (23rd) Berrios has always been a strong defensive pitcher and his defensive metrics point to him being near the top of the AL. Last season, Berrios finished 10th in SDI after finishing 16th in 2019. For his career, his highest 162-game season finish was in 2018 when he ranked 13th in the AL. Maeda was a Gold Glove finalist last season, but he hasn’t accumulated enough SDI to be in the discussion so far this year. Catcher (AL Ranking): Mitch Garver 1.3 SDI (10th); Ryan Jeffers 1.2 SDI (11th) Jeffers has been touted as the better defensive catcher, but he is slightly behind Garver in the first half SDI rankings. Garver has been on the shelf since his gruesome injury, and this means Jeffers has accumulated more innings behind the plate. Ben Rortvedt doesn’t have enough big-league time to show up on the SDI rankings, but he might by season’s end if the team is careful with Garver’s catching innings as he returns from injury. First Base (AL Ranking): Alex Kirilloff 1.7 SDI (3rd); Miguel Sano -0.9 SDI (11th) Outside of Simmons (See Below), Kirilloff ranks as the highest defender on the team at his position. Jake Bauers (2.6 SDI) and Ty France (2.3 SDI) have logged more than double the defensive innings compared to Kirilloff’s total. Kirilloff is much better than Sano at first and he has a chance to be a finalist for a Gold Glove in his rookie season. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco 1.1 SDI (8th); Luis Arraez -0.8 SDI (15th) Polanco had flaws as a defensive shortstop and his move to second base was seen as a way to increase his defensive value. Even with his current ranking, he is only 0.5 SDI out of ranking in the AL’s top three. Marcus Semien, another converted shortstop, leads the AL by one of the biggest margins at any position. Third Base (AL Ranking): Josh Donaldson -1.1 SDI (11th) Donaldson has long been considered a strong defender, but he might be in the middle of his worst defensive season. According to SDI, he ranked as high as second back in 2019 when he only finished behind Nolan Arenado in the NL. He’s been playing through hamstring issues that have significantly slowed him down and this might be one of the reasons for the decline in his defensive numbers. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Andrelton Simmons 4.4 SDI (1st) Simmons might be one of the all-time best defensive players, so it makes sense to see him at the top of the SDI rankings among shortstops. Only seven AL defenders have accumulated a higher SDI than Simmons including Semien, another player the Twins targeted for middle infield depth this winter. Simmons might have the inside track for another Gold Glove, but will he be with the Twins after the trade deadline? Left Field (AL Ranking): Trevor Larnach -2.2 SDI (14th) Larnach isn’t in the big leagues because of his defense, and this shows up in his SDI total. Only four qualified players rank lower than Larnach among AL left fielders. Former Twin Eddie Rosario currently ranks second with a 2.5 SDI and he is only 0.6 SDI behind first place. This might surprise Twins fans because he was never known for his defense when he was in Minnesota. Center Field (AL Ranking) Minnesota doesn’t currently have any players that qualify for the SDI rankings. <Insert sad trombone sound for Byron Buxton> Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler -0.1 SDI (10th) Kepler’s total might be the most surprising on the midseason rankings. Throughout his career, he has been considered a strong defensive player with the Twins even using him in center field. Kepler is a year older, and he might have lost a step, or his hamstring injuries have slowed him down. Which of these rankings surprises you the most? Leave a COMMENT and star the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One newer defensive metric was developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and it is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, SDI has been used as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. Pitcher (AL Ranking): Jose Berrios, 2.2 SDI (6th); Michael Pineda, 0.6 SDI (19th); Kenta Maeda, 0.1 SDI (23rd) Berrios has always been a strong defensive pitcher and his defensive metrics point to him being near the top of the AL. Last season, Berrios finished 10th in SDI after finishing 16th in 2019. For his career, his highest 162-game season finish was in 2018 when he ranked 13th in the AL. Maeda was a Gold Glove finalist last season, but he hasn’t accumulated enough SDI to be in the discussion so far this year. Catcher (AL Ranking): Mitch Garver 1.3 SDI (10th); Ryan Jeffers 1.2 SDI (11th) Jeffers has been touted as the better defensive catcher, but he is slightly behind Garver in the first half SDI rankings. Garver has been on the shelf since his gruesome injury, and this means Jeffers has accumulated more innings behind the plate. Ben Rortvedt doesn’t have enough big-league time to show up on the SDI rankings, but he might by season’s end if the team is careful with Garver’s catching innings as he returns from injury. First Base (AL Ranking): Alex Kirilloff 1.7 SDI (3rd); Miguel Sano -0.9 SDI (11th) Outside of Simmons (See Below), Kirilloff ranks as the highest defender on the team at his position. Jake Bauers (2.6 SDI) and Ty France (2.3 SDI) have logged more than double the defensive innings compared to Kirilloff’s total. Kirilloff is much better than Sano at first and he has a chance to be a finalist for a Gold Glove in his rookie season. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco 1.1 SDI (8th); Luis Arraez -0.8 SDI (15th) Polanco had flaws as a defensive shortstop and his move to second base was seen as a way to increase his defensive value. Even with his current ranking, he is only 0.5 SDI out of ranking in the AL’s top three. Marcus Semien, another converted shortstop, leads the AL by one of the biggest margins at any position. Third Base (AL Ranking): Josh Donaldson -1.1 SDI (11th) Donaldson has long been considered a strong defender, but he might be in the middle of his worst defensive season. According to SDI, he ranked as high as second back in 2019 when he only finished behind Nolan Arenado in the NL. He’s been playing through hamstring issues that have significantly slowed him down and this might be one of the reasons for the decline in his defensive numbers. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Andrelton Simmons 4.4 SDI (1st) Simmons might be one of the all-time best defensive players, so it makes sense to see him at the top of the SDI rankings among shortstops. Only seven AL defenders have accumulated a higher SDI than Simmons including Semien, another player the Twins targeted for middle infield depth this winter. Simmons might have the inside track for another Gold Glove, but will he be with the Twins after the trade deadline? Left Field (AL Ranking): Trevor Larnach -2.2 SDI (14th) Larnach isn’t in the big leagues because of his defense, and this shows up in his SDI total. Only four qualified players rank lower than Larnach among AL left fielders. Former Twin Eddie Rosario currently ranks second with a 2.5 SDI and he is only 0.6 SDI behind first place. This might surprise Twins fans because he was never known for his defense when he was in Minnesota. Center Field (AL Ranking) Minnesota doesn’t currently have any players that qualify for the SDI rankings. <Insert sad trombone sound for Byron Buxton> Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler -0.1 SDI (10th) Kepler’s total might be the most surprising on the midseason rankings. Throughout his career, he has been considered a strong defensive player with the Twins even using him in center field. Kepler is a year older, and he might have lost a step, or his hamstring injuries have slowed him down. Which of these rankings surprises you the most? Leave a COMMENT and star the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Injuries are obviously impacting multiple players listed below. In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to trade away all their veterans for valuable pieces, but almost nothing has gone perfectly for the Twins in 2021. That being said, here’s some of the roster shuffle that will occur over the next month. DH: Miguel Sano Replaces Nelson Cruz Miguel Sano seems destined to be the team’s DH throughout the remaining years on his contract. There are only a handful of contending teams that need help at DH, but the most logical choice might be the AL’s best team. Brent Rooker is another possibility to get some DH at-bats in the season’s second half. At Triple-A this year, he has an .861 OPS with 10 home runs and three doubles and it seems like he’s become Minnesota’s forgotten prospect. Moving Sano off first base also allows Alex Kirilloff to start getting more consistent reps at first, which is his expected long-term defensive position. SS: Jorge Polanco Replaces Andrelton Simmons Minnesota is likely hesitant to move Polanco back to shortstop, but the team’s other options are limited. Royce Lewis was supposed to be the heir apparent, but he’s out for the year. He likely won’t be ready at the beginning of 2022, so the Twins will be players in the best free agent shortstop class in baseball history. There are some benefits to moving Polanco back to short. This allows the team to get a longer look at Nick Gordon as the team has kept him on the active roster over Gilberto Celestino and Willians Astudillo. At Triple-A, J.T. Riddle has gotten most defensive starts at shortstop, but he only has .675 OPS and he’s not part of the team’s long-term plans. SP: [Break In Case of Emergency] Replaces Michael Pineda This is going to be the toughest spot to replace, because Twins pitching has be historically bad this season. Minnesota has already added Randy Dobnak and Bailey Ober to the rotation, but where does the team turn to next? Top pitching prospect Jhoan Duran was put on the IL this week with a strained right elbow, so it doesn’t seem likely for him to pitch bulk innings at the big-league level this season. Jordan Balazovic, the team’s other top pitching prospect, has allowed 10 earned runs in 14 innings so far in 2021. Charlie Barnes and Griffin Jax can be given longer looks as rotational options, but these aren’t the exciting prospects fans have eagerly been waiting to see. RP: Jorge Alcala Replaces Hansel Robles Outside of Taylor Rogers, Robles has been the team’s most consistent reliever. To take over his late inning role, I’m all on board the Jorge Alcala train. He’s been working on increasing his changeup usage so he can be more effective versus left-handed batters. He has the potential to be a late-inning shutdown arm and the team needs to give him the opportunity to prove if he can sink or swim in this role. Minnesota’s bullpen will need an overhaul for 2022, but the team can use the rest of 2021 as a tryout for players in different roles. Can these play better than the players they are replacing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. If the Twins trade away veterans on expiring contract, they are going to need replacements until season’s end. Here is some of the roster shuffle that will occur as veterans are dealt. Injuries are obviously impacting multiple players listed below. In a perfect world, the Twins would be able to trade away all their veterans for valuable pieces, but almost nothing has gone perfectly for the Twins in 2021. That being said, here’s some of the roster shuffle that will occur over the next month. DH: Miguel Sano Replaces Nelson Cruz Miguel Sano seems destined to be the team’s DH throughout the remaining years on his contract. There are only a handful of contending teams that need help at DH, but the most logical choice might be the AL’s best team. Brent Rooker is another possibility to get some DH at-bats in the season’s second half. At Triple-A this year, he has an .861 OPS with 10 home runs and three doubles and it seems like he’s become Minnesota’s forgotten prospect. Moving Sano off first base also allows Alex Kirilloff to start getting more consistent reps at first, which is his expected long-term defensive position. SS: Jorge Polanco Replaces Andrelton Simmons Minnesota is likely hesitant to move Polanco back to shortstop, but the team’s other options are limited. Royce Lewis was supposed to be the heir apparent, but he’s out for the year. He likely won’t be ready at the beginning of 2022, so the Twins will be players in the best free agent shortstop class in baseball history. There are some benefits to moving Polanco back to short. This allows the team to get a longer look at Nick Gordon as the team has kept him on the active roster over Gilberto Celestino and Willians Astudillo. At Triple-A, J.T. Riddle has gotten most defensive starts at shortstop, but he only has .675 OPS and he’s not part of the team’s long-term plans. SP: [Break In Case of Emergency] Replaces Michael Pineda This is going to be the toughest spot to replace, because Twins pitching has be historically bad this season. Minnesota has already added Randy Dobnak and Bailey Ober to the rotation, but where does the team turn to next? Top pitching prospect Jhoan Duran was put on the IL this week with a strained right elbow, so it doesn’t seem likely for him to pitch bulk innings at the big-league level this season. Jordan Balazovic, the team’s other top pitching prospect, has allowed 10 earned runs in 14 innings so far in 2021. Charlie Barnes and Griffin Jax can be given longer looks as rotational options, but these aren’t the exciting prospects fans have eagerly been waiting to see. RP: Jorge Alcala Replaces Hansel Robles Outside of Taylor Rogers, Robles has been the team’s most consistent reliever. To take over his late inning role, I’m all on board the Jorge Alcala train. He’s been working on increasing his changeup usage so he can be more effective versus left-handed batters. He has the potential to be a late-inning shutdown arm and the team needs to give him the opportunity to prove if he can sink or swim in this role. Minnesota’s bullpen will need an overhaul for 2022, but the team can use the rest of 2021 as a tryout for players in different roles. Can these play better than the players they are replacing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  9. Defensive metrics have come a long way in recent years, so there are plenty of ways to judge a team's defensive value. Minnesota’s front office added pieces this winter to improve the team’s overall defense. Andrelton Simmons being signed allowed Jorge Polanco to move to a stronger position. Whichever position he plays, Alex Kirilloff has the potential to be an upgrade over Eddie Rosario in left field and Miguel Sano at first base. Also, a healthy Josh Donaldson adds plenty of defensive value that the club didn’t get to see in 2020. Outs Above Average There are three key players when it comes to Minnesota’s defense. Andrelton Simmons, Josh Donaldson, and Byron Buxton are among baseball’s best defenders at their individual positions. Outs above average helps fans to quantify how many runs a player has saved because of their range. All three of Minnesota’s top defenders rank among the league’s best when it comes to saving runs. Simmons currently ranks fourth overall in outs above average, which places him as the second-best shortstop and the best middle infielder in the American League. Buxton currently ranks 16th in OAA with two center fielders from Tampa Bay ranking ahead of him in the positional rankings. Donaldson comes in at 27th overall with only one AL third baseman, Matt Chapman, having accumulate more OAA. This isn’t the only defensive metric that can be used to look for improvements from the team. Defensive Runs Above Average FanGraphs uses Defensive Runs Above Average (DEF) to measure a team’s defensive value relative to league average. One benefit of this stat is that it adds in the positional adjustment so that you can compare defensive value across positions. During the 2020 campaign, the Twins ranked 10th in baseball with a 6.9 DEF. Only four AL teams ranked higher than Minnesota, but two of those teams (Cleveland and Chicago) were from the AL Central. So far in 2021, the Twins have posted baseball’s seventh best DEF total (6.7 DEF). There are three AL teams with a higher DEF ranking than the Twins including Chicago, Baltimore, and Houston. Minnesota has seen many of their top defensive players miss time this season and that has an obvious impact on their overall defensive output as a team. Simmons, Donaldson, and Buxton are critical for improved defensive and any time they miss has reverberating effects on the rest of the team. Ultimate Zone Rating Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is another popular defensive statistic that can be used to examine how many runs a team or player saved or surrendered due to their fielding. It combines a variety of other defensive metrics based on runs including outfielders’ arms, double plays, range, and errors. Last year, Minnesota ranked 11th overall in UZR (4.9) with five AL teams finishing ahead of them. All the AL Central clubs ranked in the top 13 according to UZR during the shortened 2020 campaign. Minnesota is up to seventh overall in UZR (6.7 UZR) so far in 2021 and the club already has more UZR than all of 2020. From the Twins perspective, the most alarming change might be how much the White Sox have improved defensively. In 2020, Chicago finished behind Minnesota in UZR by 2.7 runs. This season the White Sox rank second overall with a 12.1 UZR. The Twins have certainly seen some improvements, but will their defense continue to show improvements throughout the rest of the season? How improved is the team’s defense? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. One of Minnesota’s offseason focuses was on improving the club’s overall defense. As the season is nearly 25% complete, has the team’s defense improved and if so, by how much? Defensive metrics have come a long way in recent years, so there are plenty of ways to judge a team's defensive value. Minnesota’s front office added pieces this winter to improve the team’s overall defense. Andrelton Simmons being signed allowed Jorge Polanco to move to a stronger position. Whichever position he plays, Alex Kirilloff has the potential to be an upgrade over Eddie Rosario in left field and Miguel Sano at first base. Also, a healthy Josh Donaldson adds plenty of defensive value that the club didn’t get to see in 2020. Outs Above Average There are three key players when it comes to Minnesota’s defense. Andrelton Simmons, Josh Donaldson, and Byron Buxton are among baseball’s best defenders at their individual positions. Outs above average helps fans to quantify how many runs a player has saved because of their range. All three of Minnesota’s top defenders rank among the league’s best when it comes to saving runs. Simmons currently ranks fourth overall in outs above average, which places him as the second-best shortstop and the best middle infielder in the American League. Buxton currently ranks 16th in OAA with two center fielders from Tampa Bay ranking ahead of him in the positional rankings. Donaldson comes in at 27th overall with only one AL third baseman, Matt Chapman, having accumulate more OAA. This isn’t the only defensive metric that can be used to look for improvements from the team. Defensive Runs Above Average FanGraphs uses Defensive Runs Above Average (DEF) to measure a team’s defensive value relative to league average. One benefit of this stat is that it adds in the positional adjustment so that you can compare defensive value across positions. During the 2020 campaign, the Twins ranked 10th in baseball with a 6.9 DEF. Only four AL teams ranked higher than Minnesota, but two of those teams (Cleveland and Chicago) were from the AL Central. So far in 2021, the Twins have posted baseball’s seventh best DEF total (6.7 DEF). There are three AL teams with a higher DEF ranking than the Twins including Chicago, Baltimore, and Houston. Minnesota has seen many of their top defensive players miss time this season and that has an obvious impact on their overall defensive output as a team. Simmons, Donaldson, and Buxton are critical for improved defensive and any time they miss has reverberating effects on the rest of the team. Ultimate Zone Rating Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is another popular defensive statistic that can be used to examine how many runs a team or player saved or surrendered due to their fielding. It combines a variety of other defensive metrics based on runs including outfielders’ arms, double plays, range, and errors. Last year, Minnesota ranked 11th overall in UZR (4.9) with five AL teams finishing ahead of them. All the AL Central clubs ranked in the top 13 according to UZR during the shortened 2020 campaign. Minnesota is up to seventh overall in UZR (6.7 UZR) so far in 2021 and the club already has more UZR than all of 2020. From the Twins perspective, the most alarming change might be how much the White Sox have improved defensively. In 2020, Chicago finished behind Minnesota in UZR by 2.7 runs. This season the White Sox rank second overall with a 12.1 UZR. The Twins have certainly seen some improvements, but will their defense continue to show improvements throughout the rest of the season? How improved is the team’s defense? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. Polanco is supposed to be one of the core members of the current Twins roster as he is under team control through the 2025 season. It was certainly looking like Minnesota got a hometown discount during his first season of his contract extension, but now the team might be wondering about Polanco’s future. Let’s examine what’s changed and how Polanco can get back to being an above average player. 2020 Campaign: Plenty of Bad There were plenty of battles during the 2020 season and Polanco was trying to comeback from offseason ankle surgery. For the year, he hit .258/.304/.658, which was a 183 point drop in his OPS from 2019. His biggest issue seemed to be batting from the left-side where he had a .606 OPS and a 30 to 12 strikeout to walk ratio. These totals certainly aren’t great, but there might have been some more hidden issues at play. His Statcast numbers also showcased some of his offensive struggles. According to barrel%, Polanco ranked in the 8th percentile while his xwOBA, xSLG, and hard hit% were all in the 29th percentile or lower. By season’s end, he needed another ankle surgery and fans were left to wonder if this would be a chronic injury moving forward. 2021 Campaign: Bad to Better? The start of a new season gives hope to all teams and players, but Polanco’s struggles continued through the team’s first 15 games this year. He went 9-for-57 (.158 BA) while getting on base less than 24% of the time. He also struck out in over 19% of his at-bats and only drew four walks. His power seemed to be all but gone as his .445 OPS was over 320 points lower than his career mark. Things didn’t seem like the could get much worse, but then something clicked. While the Twins have struggled lately, it’s looking more like Polanco has returned to his All-Star level form. Since April 20, Polanco has hit .333/.391/.596 (.987) with seven extra-base hits in 16 games. His Statcast data also shows his improvement as his xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG are all in the 60th percentile or higher even including his slow start. His biggest area that still needs improvement is his numbers as a left-handed batter. For his career, he has hit .279/.349/.435 (.784) when facing righties. So far in 2021, his OPS as a lefty is nearly 140 points lower than his career mark. Some of this might be from his cold start, some of it might be associated with his comeback from injury, and some might be due to the smaller sample size this early in the year. The Twins don’t need Polanco to carry the offensive load, but they do need him to be more of a threat than he was in the season’s early games. Hopefully, his ankles are healthy and he can continue to improve his offensive numbers. Can Polanco keep up his recent improvements? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. Back in 2019, Jorge Polanco started the season on fire and ended up being named the starting shortstop at the All-Star Game. Since that point, things haven’t gone as smoothly, but there are signs that Polanco is back to his old form. Polanco is supposed to be one of the core members of the current Twins roster as he is under team control through the 2025 season. It was certainly looking like Minnesota got a hometown discount during his first season of his contract extension, but now the team might be wondering about Polanco’s future. Let’s examine what’s changed and how Polanco can get back to being an above average player. 2020 Campaign: Plenty of Bad There were plenty of battles during the 2020 season and Polanco was trying to comeback from offseason ankle surgery. For the year, he hit .258/.304/.658, which was a 183 point drop in his OPS from 2019. His biggest issue seemed to be batting from the left-side where he had a .606 OPS and a 30 to 12 strikeout to walk ratio. These totals certainly aren’t great, but there might have been some more hidden issues at play. His Statcast numbers also showcased some of his offensive struggles. According to barrel%, Polanco ranked in the 8th percentile while his xwOBA, xSLG, and hard hit% were all in the 29th percentile or lower. By season’s end, he needed another ankle surgery and fans were left to wonder if this would be a chronic injury moving forward. 2021 Campaign: Bad to Better? The start of a new season gives hope to all teams and players, but Polanco’s struggles continued through the team’s first 15 games this year. He went 9-for-57 (.158 BA) while getting on base less than 24% of the time. He also struck out in over 19% of his at-bats and only drew four walks. His power seemed to be all but gone as his .445 OPS was over 320 points lower than his career mark. Things didn’t seem like the could get much worse, but then something clicked. While the Twins have struggled lately, it’s looking more like Polanco has returned to his All-Star level form. Since April 20, Polanco has hit .333/.391/.596 (.987) with seven extra-base hits in 16 games. His Statcast data also shows his improvement as his xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG are all in the 60th percentile or higher even including his slow start. His biggest area that still needs improvement is his numbers as a left-handed batter. For his career, he has hit .279/.349/.435 (.784) when facing righties. So far in 2021, his OPS as a lefty is nearly 140 points lower than his career mark. Some of this might be from his cold start, some of it might be associated with his comeback from injury, and some might be due to the smaller sample size this early in the year. The Twins don’t need Polanco to carry the offensive load, but they do need him to be more of a threat than he was in the season’s early games. Hopefully, his ankles are healthy and he can continue to improve his offensive numbers. Can Polanco keep up his recent improvements? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  13. Over the course of 2021 the Minnesota Twins have found more ways to lose in 32 games than most teams can accomplish over the course of a full season. If going into the year it was assumed this club would be good, a complete 180 this early doesn’t seem fair. The problem? Are these players actually good? Here’s the deal, Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen has been bad. It’s among the worst in baseball across more than a handful of categories. He’s dealing with a group that the front office banked more on development than production, and regression has hit everyone not named Taylor Rogers. Despite a winning record in nine-inning games, this team gets crushed the minute relief help comes in. Although the lineup has shown signs of life at times, the length of it is immediately called into question when looking at assumed producers. I think it was a fair assessment to assume 2020 Mitch Garver wasn’t right. Jorge Polanco dealt with an ankle injury, and Max Kepler clearly left something to be desired. Fast forward a year however, and that trio is as confusing as ever. The backstop that broke out in 2019 probably was never going to resurface for the Twins. What Garver did that year was truly unreal, and for a late-blooming catcher, probably unrepeatable. It should’ve been assumed that Minnesota’s catching tandem could be among the best in baseball this season with how Ryan Jeffers looked in his 2020 debut. Garver hasn’t caught up to the fastball again though, and despite a .748 OPS, has just not really put it together yet. Moving from shortstop to second base was going to be huge for Polanco defensively. A surgically repaired ankle also gave the Twins middle infielder a clean bill of health. He seems to be staying in on swings more than he did a year ago, but the results still leave plenty to be desired. Polanco’s .679 OPS is just north of his 2020 mark, and while he does have a 97 OPS+ on the season, a .236/.306 average and on-base percentage is not where the Twins can afford him to be. Extended in 2019, he really hasn’t been a good player since. In the outfield there’s been more uncertainty than ever this season. Alex Kirilloff was left off the roster to start 2021, and Byron Buxton is now again on the shelf. Kepler has always been the mainstay from a health perspective, but his production has gone missing for the better part of the past two years. Just recently getting on the longball board this season, Kepler owns a disappointing .664 OPS through his first 22 games. The average is hovering near the Mendoza Line, and the .855 OPS from 2019 looks to be from an alternate universe. The reality for Rocco is that the players he was counting on have by and large been there this season. In mass quantities however, they’ve fallen flat. It’s great that Byron Buxton looks like an MVP candidate, Josh Donaldson is a monster, and Nelson Cruz is ageless. Behind that though, it’s really hard to see anything that suggests this team is good anywhere but on paper. Assume producers need to start coming through, and it’s this trio that may be chief among them. There’s still time for the 2021 Minnesota Twins to turn things around, but it’s getting late early, and it only gets darker if the light switch doesn’t flip for some guys very soon. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  14. Look, I understand why Baldelli would have built up some confidence in Polanco's offensive abilities. During Rocco's first few months as manager of the Twins, Jorge was a monster. Through the end of May in 2019, he was slashing .338/.409/.590, which consequentially earned him a starting nod on the All-Star team. That's absolutely the kind of guy you want near the top of your lineup. Since then, however, Polanco has been a completely average hitter. Even that description might be generous. In 164 games since June 1st, 2019, he has a .260/.313/.393 slash line and .303 wOBA. In his career prior to 2019, he slashed .272/.329/.420 with a .323 wOBA, which is better of course but still not by any means exceptional. Not the kind of guy you want near the top of your lineup. And yet. Here's the number of times Rocco Baldelli, in 232 regular-season games at the helm, has ever batted Jorge Polanco anywhere below fourth in the lineup: seven. They all came at the end of last year, when a blatantly-hobbled Polanco finally hit sixth (3x), seventh (3x) and eighth (1x) in Baldelli's lineups in the final weeks. Jorge also batted seventh in both playoff games, and went 1-for-7 with a single. It appeared perhaps Baldelli's long-standing faith in Polanco as a hitter was wavering. But this year, following another offseason ankle surgery, the confidence is apparently restored. Polanco's batted second (5x), first (2x), fourth (2x) or third (1x) in every game so far, and has yet to sit one out. (Granted he was scheduled to do so on Monday before the postponement.) As a result of hitting so frequently and highly in a very productive offense, Polanco entered this week leading the American League in at-bats. Meanwhile, he has shown no signs of rebounding from a dismal 2020 campaign. Polanco looks terrible at the plate. He's slashing a miserable .119/.191/.167 and the advanced metrics back up the brutal results. An accumulating preponderance of evidence suggests that Polanco is a mediocre hitter who belongs near the bottom of the Twins lineup, much like Andrelton Simmons (who, by the way .268/.334/.348 with a .301 wOBA since 6/1/2019 – almost identical to Polanco). A couple of things bear noting here. One is that Baldelli had Polanco lined up to bat fifth on Tuesday before Nelson Cruz pulled out pre-game due to illness. That's still a pretty critical spot, hitting behind Cruz and Mitch Garver against a lefty, but it's further down than a healthy Polanco has ever batted under Baldelli. So maybe we're seeing some slight signs of diminishing faith. There's also the fact that injuries and poor performance have led to a lack of competition for Polanco at these key spots. But Josh Donaldson is about to return from the Injured List, and I believe Baldelli will soon start finding it hard to place Luis Arraez at the bottom of the order even against left-handers. In the near future, one longstanding pattern is going to have to snap: either Polanco will prove he's a far better hitter than he's shown over the past season's worth of games, or Baldelli will need to stop operating as if he is. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. They say first impressions last. That would seem to be the only explanation for Rocco Baldelli's enduring and unwavering faith in Jorge Polanco as an exceptional hitter, despite mounting evidence that says otherwise. At what point will the ever-analytical manager just accept the data?Look, I understand why Baldelli would have built up some confidence in Polanco's offensive abilities. During Rocco's first few months as manager of the Twins, Jorge was a monster. Through the end of May in 2019, he was slashing .338/.409/.590, which consequentially earned him a starting nod on the All-Star team. That's absolutely the kind of guy you want near the top of your lineup. Since then, however, Polanco has been a completely average hitter. Even that description might be generous. In 164 games since June 1st, 2019, he has a .260/.313/.393 slash line and .303 wOBA. In his career prior to 2019, he slashed .272/.329/.420 with a .323 wOBA, which is better of course but still not by any means exceptional. Not the kind of guy you want near the top of your lineup. And yet. Here's the number of times Rocco Baldelli, in 232 regular-season games at the helm, has ever batted Jorge Polanco anywhere below fourth in the lineup: seven. They all came at the end of last year, when a blatantly-hobbled Polanco finally hit sixth (3x), seventh (3x) and eighth (1x) in Baldelli's lineups in the final weeks. Jorge also batted seventh in both playoff games, and went 1-for-7 with a single. It appeared perhaps Baldelli's long-standing faith in Polanco as a hitter was wavering. But this year, following another offseason ankle surgery, the confidence is apparently restored. Polanco's batted second (5x), first (2x), fourth (2x) or third (1x) in every game so far, and has yet to sit one out. (Granted he was scheduled to do so on Monday before the postponement.) As a result of hitting so frequently and highly in a very productive offense, Polanco entered this week leading the American League in at-bats. Meanwhile, he has shown no signs of rebounding from a dismal 2020 campaign. Polanco looks terrible at the plate. He's slashing a miserable .119/.191/.167 and the advanced metrics back up the brutal results. Download attachment: polancostatcast.png An accumulating preponderance of evidence suggests that Polanco is a mediocre hitter who belongs near the bottom of the Twins lineup, much like Andrelton Simmons (who, by the way .268/.334/.348 with a .301 wOBA since 6/1/2019 – almost identical to Polanco). A couple of things bear noting here. One is that Baldelli had Polanco lined up to bat fifth on Tuesday before Nelson Cruz pulled out pre-game due to illness. That's still a pretty critical spot, hitting behind Cruz and Mitch Garver against a lefty, but it's further down than a healthy Polanco has ever batted under Baldelli. So maybe we're seeing some slight signs of diminishing faith. There's also the fact that injuries and poor performance have led to a lack of competition for Polanco at these key spots. But Josh Donaldson is about to return from the Injured List, and I believe Baldelli will soon start finding it hard to place Luis Arraez at the bottom of the order even against left-handers. In the near future, one longstanding pattern is going to have to snap: either Polanco will prove he's a far better hitter than he's shown over the past season's worth of games, or Baldelli will need to stop operating as if he is. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  16. Nelson Cruz: 450 Home Runs It’s crazy to think what Cruz has been able to accomplish over his career, especially since he didn’t play over 100 games in a season until he was 28-years old. Over the last 12 seasons, he has averaged 33 home runs to put him at 417 homers for his career. He hasn’t hit fewer than 33 long balls in a full season since 2013, so there’s a good chance for him to cross the 450 home run mark. The real question might be if the ageless wonder can reach 500 home runs before he retires. He is going to have to be one of the best players in baseball history over the age of 40, but why would anyone doubt him now? Josh Donaldson: 250 Home Runs Donaldson has hit 24 or more home runs in every season where he has played over 100 games. If that trend continues, he can cross the 250 home run plateau as he currently has 225 homers to his credit. Steamer projections have him at 29 home runs and ZiPs projections have him at 22 home runs. Back in 2019, Donaldson hit 37 home runs on his way to being named the National League Comeback Player of the Year. Twins’ fans hope to see more of that version of Donaldson than the one that the club saw during his first year in Minnesota. Even if he misses some time this season, 25 home runs should be well within his reach. Kenta Maeda: 800 Strikeouts Considering he didn’t make his stateside debut until age-28, it’s remarkable to consider how many strikeouts Maeda has accumulated in fewer than 660 big-league innings. He enters 2021 with 721 strikeouts so totaling 800 strikeouts is well within his reach. In Japan, he accumulated over 1,200 strikeouts on the mound, so he is getting close to 2,000 strikeouts combined in Japan and the United States. Last season, he was used entirely as a starter for the first time in his career and he posted a 10.8 SO/9, which was the second-best mark of his career. Jorge Polanco: 300 RBI The hope is that Polanco’s ankles are healthy again and he can get back to his hitting ways from the 2019 season. With Eddie Rosario out of the picture, Polanco has an opportunity to hit more regularly in the middle of the line-up. He already has 245 RBI so he can crack the 250 RBI mark during the season’s first series versus Milwaukee. His career high in RBI was back in 2019 when he collected 79, but he batted second for most of that season. Hitting behind Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, and Nelson Cruz should provide even more RBI opportunities. Which milestone do you think will fall first? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. The Incumbent: Max Kepler Last season, Kepler batted leadoff in 34 of the team’s 60 games and he was used there for over 100 games back in 2019. There’s a good chance he is the leader in the clubhouse to be the team’s primary leadoff hitter unless his performance struggles significantly. He hit .281/.324/.625 last year in his at-bats as the first batter in the game. That’s quite the punch for opposing pitchers to have to endure out of the gate. The Contenders: Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton, Luis Arraez, Mitch Garver Buxton’s raw speed makes him a natural contender to be at the top of the line-up and there has been talk of him filling that role during different parts of his professional development. That being said, he’s only been used as a leadoff hitter in 15 games throughout his career. Obviously, that’s a small sample size, but he has gone 5-for-15 with two home runs and a double in the first at-bat of the game as a leadoff hitter. Overall, as the first batter, he has a .670 OPS and the Twins seem more comfortable having him serve as a second leadoff hitter at the bottom of the line-up. If Polanco’s ankles are healthy, he might be able to get back to his strong hitting fans saw back in the first half of 2019. He’s seen time batting in every spot in the order, but the majority of his time has been spent as the number two hitter where he has an .823 OPS. He does have 160 plate appearances out of the leadoff spot where he has hit .284/.313/.351 with a 21 to 7 strikeout to walk ratio. Rocco Baldelli will likely slide Polanco back into the number two spot in the line-up. Arraez is adjusting to a new role this spring without a specific spot in the starting line-up. That doesn’t mean that he won’t get regular at-bats and few players bring energy to the batter’s box like Arraez. So far in his young career, Arraez has been most frequently used as the number six hitter. In his 17 games batting in the leadoff spot, he has hit .354/.386/.415 with four doubles. As the first batter of the game, he has gone 5-for-13 with a .928 OPS. Garver definitely doesn’t fit the traditional leadoff hitter mold, but Baldelli has loved to use Garver in this role versus left-handed starting pitchers. He’s started 30 games as the leadoff hitter, and he’s compiled some eye-popping numbers. In 141 plate appearances, he’s hit .277/.376/.630 with 12 home runs and four doubles. While those numbers are great, Garver is going to have to prove he is healthy and back to his powerful hitting ways in 2021. Who would you bat leadoff? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. Projected Starter: Andrelton Simmons Likely Backup: Jorge Polanco Depth: Luis Arráez, Nick Gordon Prospects: Royce Lewis, Wander Javier THE GOOD Simmons isn't just a good defender, or a great defender, or even an elite defender. He is a generational icon, whose name already sits beside Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel in the annals of all-time gloves at shortstop. At Baseball.FYI last summer, Jacob Kornhauser suggested that Simmons may go down as MLB's best defensive player ever, period. His article points out that Simmons has accumulated 26.7 dWAR through nine seasons in the majors, already good for 14th in history and putting him on track to eventually surpass the all-time leader Smith, who took 19 years to reach 44.2 dWAR. "He makes the hard plays look routine and makes the routine plays look downright boring," Kornhauser wrote of Simmons. That's an apt description for the four-time Gold Glover in action. With his supernatural instincts and unparalleled arm strength, he's a marvel to behold at the infield's most challenging position. You'll see what I'm talking about in the highlight reel below. (Jump to the ~6:30 mark, and Simmons' play against Travis d'Arnaud of the Mets, for a prime example of a play that would simply never happen with Jorge Polanco – or virtually any other player – at short.) By nudging Polanco to second base and joining forces with a hopefully-healthy Josh Donaldson on the left side, Simmons represents a clear and decisive upgrade for Minnesota's defensive unit, potentially helping turn it into one of the league's most effective. Simmons' offense certainly pales in comparison to his defense, but he's far from a major liability at the plate. In six of his nine MLB seasons, his OPS+ has fallen between 90 and 110, which is basically within a standard deviation of average. He's a high-contact guy who puts the ball on the ground a lot, and will probably bat at the bottom of the Twins order. If Simmons simply hits to his .269/.317/.379 (.696) career line, he'll be a fairly typical producer compared to league-wide norms in the No. 8 and 9 lineup spots. The Twins can live with that given their offensive strength at every other position. Even with the consistently ordinary bat, Simmons has earned MVP votes on three separate occasions, including 2017 when he finished eighth and 2018 when he finished 15th. The defense is simply that good, and that impactful. If he's back on top of his game in 2021, Simmons will be a transformative figure for the Twins. THE BAD The 2020 season is one Simmons would like to forget. He hurt his left ankle for a second consecutive year, produced little punch at the plate (zero home runs and seven doubles in 127 PA), and opted out with a handful of games remaining, later revealing his struggles with mental health. There's no reason to think he can't put all that behind him and move forward with a fresh slate. But what's difficult to shake when evaluating the 31-year-old's latest campaign is the conspicuous drop-off in defensive metrics. Advanced fielding stats are inexact, prone to variation and noise. But up until last year, Simmons has consistently rated very, very well in these metrics, pretty much across the board. As you can see below, his Outs Above Average according to Statcast sat between 15 and 19 in the prior four years (with the highest total coming in 2019, when he was limited to 103 games). Last year, OAA had him at NEGATIVE-one in 30 games. Here's how Simmons has compared to his peers by OAA over the past four years: 2017: 99th percentile 2018: 98th percentile 2019: 99th percentile 2020: 24th percentile That's an astonishing drop-off that is impossible to ignore, samples aside. Switching views to another metric, here's how Simmons has rated according to UZR/150 since he arrived in the majors in 2012 (keep in mind this is a rate stat, not a counting stat, so it should theoretically not be as effected by the shortened season): 2012: 26.1 2013: 14.4 2014: 16.0 2015: 17.8 2016: 18.1 2017: 18.5 2018: 19.5 2019: 13.8 2020: 4.0 Again, what is so striking here is how incredibly consistent Simmons' top-tier defensive production was year after year, up until it plummeted. Clearly Simmons had a lot going on last year, physically and mentally. If he can turn the page and return to form, he's a slam-dunk addition with the deal Minnesota landed him on (one year, $10.5 million). But the fact they were able to get him on such favorable terms, while both other members of free agency's leading shortstop trio (Didi Gregorius and Marcus Semien) both got much more guaranteed money from other teams, leads to the inescapable conclusion there's a widespread skepticism about that scenario playing out. THE BOTTOM LINE The Simmons signing is the most interesting we've seen from this Twins front office, in terms of strategic vision and implications. If it works out as hoped, he'll have a dramatic impact on this team and its fundamental strengths. With so much offseason talk about pitching, and consternation over the failure to add big-name arms, not enough attention is paid to moves like this. Run prevention is the name of the game, and planting elite defenders at crucial positions in the field supports that directive. At the height of his powers, Simmons will make Twins pitchers, as well as the fielders around him, better. But that's dependent on his defense rebounding in a big way after taking an unprecedented downturn in 2020. As Kornhauer noted in his piece at Baseball.FYI: "In his nine seasons, Simmons has posted an overall WAR of 36.3, 26.7 of which is from his defense. In other words, he likely wouldn't be in the league anymore if it weren't for his defensive prowess." The return of that prowess, and to what extent, will define his value to the Twins in 2021. If he can't answer the call or stay healthy, Minnesota has a fine backup in Polanco, but their secondary depth is very iffy and Polanco is already a starter elsewhere. For this reason, I'll be curious to see if the Twins carry another SS-capable player like J.T. Riddle or Andrew Romine at the end of their bench. For now, we eagerly await Simmons' spring debut following a late arrival in camp. It sounds like that may come Friday. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES Catcher First Base Second Base Third Base
  19. When is the last time the Minnesota Twins had a truly gifted defensive shortstop? It's been a long time, and there's a good chance this organization has never seen a fielder as good as Andrelton Simmons at the position. How big of an impact can all-world defense (assuming he still possesses it) make at the infield's most critical spot?Projected Starter: Andrelton Simmons Likely Backup: Jorge Polanco Depth: Luis Arráez, Nick Gordon Prospects: Royce Lewis, Wander Javier THE GOOD Simmons isn't just a good defender, or a great defender, or even an elite defender. He is a generational icon, whose name already sits beside Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel in the annals of all-time gloves at shortstop. At Baseball.FYI last summer, Jacob Kornhauser suggested that Simmons may go down as MLB's best defensive player ever, period. His article points out that Simmons has accumulated 26.7 dWAR through nine seasons in the majors, already good for 14th in history and putting him on track to eventually surpass the all-time leader Smith, who took 19 years to reach 44.2 dWAR. "He makes the hard plays look routine and makes the routine plays look downright boring," Kornhauser wrote of Simmons. That's an apt description for the four-time Gold Glover in action. With his supernatural instincts and unparalleled arm strength, he's a marvel to behold at the infield's most challenging position. You'll see what I'm talking about in the highlight reel below. (Jump to the ~6:30 mark, and Simmons' play against Travis d'Arnaud of the Mets, for a prime example of a play that would simply never happen with Jorge Polanco – or virtually any other player – at short.) By nudging Polanco to second base and joining forces with a hopefully-healthy Josh Donaldson on the left side, Simmons represents a clear and decisive upgrade for Minnesota's defensive unit, potentially helping turn it into one of the league's most effective. Simmons' offense certainly pales in comparison to his defense, but he's far from a major liability at the plate. In six of his nine MLB seasons, his OPS+ has fallen between 90 and 110, which is basically within a standard deviation of average. He's a high-contact guy who puts the ball on the ground a lot, and will probably bat at the bottom of the Twins order. If Simmons simply hits to his .269/.317/.379 (.696) career line, he'll be a fairly typical producer compared to league-wide norms in the No. 8 and 9 lineup spots. The Twins can live with that given their offensive strength at every other position. Even with the consistently ordinary bat, Simmons has earned MVP votes on three separate occasions, including 2017 when he finished eighth and 2018 when he finished 15th. The defense is simply that good, and that impactful. If he's back on top of his game in 2021, Simmons will be a transformative figure for the Twins. THE BAD The 2020 season is one Simmons would like to forget. He hurt his left ankle for a second consecutive year, produced little punch at the plate (zero home runs and seven doubles in 127 PA), and opted out with a handful of games remaining, later revealing his struggles with mental health. There's no reason to think he can't put all that behind him and move forward with a fresh slate. But what's difficult to shake when evaluating the 31-year-old's latest campaign is the conspicuous drop-off in defensive metrics. Advanced fielding stats are inexact, prone to variation and noise. But up until last year, Simmons has consistently rated very, very well in these metrics, pretty much across the board. As you can see below, his Outs Above Average according to Statcast sat between 15 and 19 in the prior four years (with the highest total coming in 2019, when he was limited to 103 games). Last year, OAA had him at NEGATIVE-one in 30 games. Download attachment: simmonsstatcast.png Here's how Simmons has compared to his peers by OAA over the past four years: 2017: 99th percentile2018: 98th percentile2019: 99th percentile2020: 24th percentileThat's an astonishing drop-off that is impossible to ignore, samples aside. Switching views to another metric, here's how Simmons has rated according to UZR/150 since he arrived in the majors in 2012 (keep in mind this is a rate stat, not a counting stat, so it should theoretically not be as effected by the shortened season): 2012: 26.12013: 14.42014: 16.02015: 17.82016: 18.12017: 18.52018: 19.52019: 13.82020: 4.0Again, what is so striking here is how incredibly consistent Simmons' top-tier defensive production was year after year, up until it plummeted. Clearly Simmons had a lot going on last year, physically and mentally. If he can turn the page and return to form, he's a slam-dunk addition with the deal Minnesota landed him on (one year, $10.5 million). But the fact they were able to get him on such favorable terms, while both other members of free agency's leading shortstop trio (Didi Gregorius and Marcus Semien) both got much more guaranteed money from other teams, leads to the inescapable conclusion there's a widespread skepticism about that scenario playing out. THE BOTTOM LINE The Simmons signing is the most interesting we've seen from this Twins front office, in terms of strategic vision and implications. If it works out as hoped, he'll have a dramatic impact on this team and its fundamental strengths. With so much offseason talk about pitching, and consternation over the failure to add big-name arms, not enough attention is paid to moves like this. Run prevention is the name of the game, and planting elite defenders at crucial positions in the field supports that directive. At the height of his powers, Simmons will make Twins pitchers, as well as the fielders around him, better. But that's dependent on his defense rebounding in a big way after taking an unprecedented downturn in 2020. As Kornhauer noted in his piece at Baseball.FYI: "In his nine seasons, Simmons has posted an overall WAR of 36.3, 26.7 of which is from his defense. In other words, he likely wouldn't be in the league anymore if it weren't for his defensive prowess." The return of that prowess, and to what extent, will define his value to the Twins in 2021. If he can't answer the call or stay healthy, Minnesota has a fine backup in Polanco, but their secondary depth is very iffy and Polanco is already a starter elsewhere. For this reason, I'll be curious to see if the Twins carry another SS-capable player like J.T. Riddle or Andrew Romine at the end of their bench. For now, we eagerly await Simmons' spring debut following a late arrival in camp. It sounds like that may come Friday. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseThird Base Click here to view the article
  20. In 2021 the Minnesota Twins are going to have a new starting shortstop. Despite being delayed to camp, Andrelton Simmons will assume that role shortly. What happens behind him remains a question, but the Riddle could actually be the solution. Alright, enough with the puns, sorry about that. Andrelton Simmons is as clear of a defensive upgrade as it gets. Even if Minnesota employed someone other than a below-average Jorge Polanco as short in recent seasons, Simba as he’s known, has won a Platinum Glove. Despite being in on Marcus Semien (who’s also a defensive upgrade), it’s clear prioritizing defense was a goal. Now with Simmons, the Twins have arguably the best defensive left-side of the infield in all of baseball. The man needs days off, though right. Simmons opted out of 2020 after an injury, and he played in just 103 games the year before that. Even when he’s played in 145-plus, there’s still days he’ll need a break. A year ago, that may have fallen on the shoulders of Ehire Adrianza (as Marwin Gonzalez is not a good defender at short). In 2021 the options are less clear. Do you cloudy the transition for Polanco by moving him there intermittently? What about new utility man Luis Arraez filling in out of position? Right now, that’s where the options cease when it comes to clear Opening Day roster candidates. Enter J.T. Riddle. The former Marlin and Pirate is not much to speak of at the plate. He owns a career OPS of just .616 and the minor league track record doesn’t suggest a breakout at age-29. What he can do however, is field. In just under 700 innings at short for the Marlins a few year ago, he was worth 12 DRS. That defensive ability is something only Simmons possesses among the Twins logical candidates. Welcome to your inside track sir. Whether you assume Alex Kirilloff is the Twins Opening Day left fielder or not (he should be, and his outlook just got better), at worst that makes Arraez a utility player. Adding another outfielder to the bench could be an avenue, and a third catcher has been a preference in recent seasons. Jake Cave could still fit depending on the pitching configuration, and regardless of the flexibility, Willians Astudillo is redundant. Penciling in Riddle with a Major League roster spot is hardly ideal. There are only 26 openings and there’s better talents. His effectiveness as a true shortstop could present him an edge though. The front office brought in Andrew Romine as a camp option for short with Simmons lagging behind. Maybe Riddle is seen with more of a future than just a ticket to Triple-A St. Paul. Nick Gordon isn’t viewed as a shortstop anymore, and even a healthy Royce Lewis wasn’t going to back up a big-league position. Even the best teams have guys that play a small but significant role, maybe this one is for J.T. I don’t know that I love it, and I’m obviously not certain it will happen, but I think there’s a pathway to get there and one that makes logical sense. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  21. Projected Starter: Jorge Polanco Likely Backup: Luis Arráez Depth: Nick Gordon, Travis Blankenhorn Prospects: Jose Miranda, Yunior Severino THE GOOD Jorge Polanco might finally be ready to unlock his potential as a major-league player. It still hasn't happened up to this point, mainly because he's always been limited by questionable defensive value at shortstop. Even in his All-Star first half of 2019, Polanco's appeal came more from his bat than his glove, and over the past couple seasons his flaws at short have become all the more evident and impactful. Polanco is better-suited for second base. That much was clear to the Twins when they moved him there full-time in Triple-A, prior to his promotion to MLB, where he relocated to shortstop out ot necessity. This winter's signing of Andelton Simmons allows Polanco to finally move back to second, where his skill set is a more optimal fit. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the Twins are very high on Polanco's defensive outlook at the new (old) position. So is he. "I think I can be pretty dang good at second base," the 27-year-old told reporters recently. Optimism is warranted. Polanco's shortcomings on the other side of the diamond were primarily tied to his inadequate arm, which led to cascading effects in terms of positioning and rushing plays, in addition to numerous throwing errors. With a shorter distance at second, he can let his strengths – athleticism, quickness, sure-handedness – take center stage. He'll almost surely be an upgrade over the previous tenant, Luis Arráez, who was more limited physically than Polanco. It's not just defense that intrigues for Jorge Polanco the second baseman. His bat should also play very well at the position. "You want to look at what he's capable of doing offensively and you put him at second, we may be talking about a top-five second baseman in the league," said Twins infield coordinator Tony Diaz (via MLB.com). That sentiment might sound a little counterintuitive – he's moving over from shortstop, which is hardly an offensive powerhouse – but it's valid. If Polanco hits he'll be relatively even more of an asset at second than he was at short, based on league-wide norms. In 2020, second base had the lowest production of any position in the American League, with a collective .706 OPS (shortstops were .727). In 2019, AL second basemen posted a .726 OPS, 56 points lower than shortstops and lowest of any position sans catcher. Of course, if Polanco hits the way he did last year, when he slashed .258/.304/.354, his bat won't be an asset anywhere. This brings us to his biggest positive at the moment: he's finally healthy. (We hope.) Polanco's surgically repaired ankle was never quite right in 2020, and we've come to learn that it was a bigger problem than anyone let on. Polanco recently shared that he contemplated getting surgery during the season. The switch-hitter said he was routinely in pain and that the injury affected him especially while swinging lefty; against right-handed pitching, he slashed a paltry .227/.287/.318, a night-and-day difference from his .306/.378/.513 line verses righties in '19. “He’s moving around really well,” Rocco Baldelli observed (per The Athletic). “Looks great. You can see it in his face. It’s been a while since he’s been completely healthy coming into camp. I think there’s an excitement level there for him and all of us to just watch him play and not have to worry about anything health-wise. It’s very nice." These kinds of rosy remarks are the norm in early spring training, so they should be taken with a grain of salt, but in Polanco's case it's pretty easy to buy into the hype. THE BAD Theoretically, Polanco could be a great second baseman. But until we actually see it play out, it's only theoretical. He may have all the tools to excel at the position but the fact is, Polanco has played a total of five games and 43 innings at second base in the majors, and none since 2016. There's bound to be a learning curve as he reacclimates to the differing angles, movements, and mechanics of the position. There are also defensive issues he'll need to iron out that supercede the unique challenges of playing shortstop, in terms of consistency and footwork. No matter where he's playing in the infield, he'll rarely see a throw shorter than this one: Similarly, the idea of a healthy Polanco rebounding to his stellar level of offensive production from 2019 sounds great in theory, but needs to be tested in practice. He underwent ankle surgery prior to 2020 too, and it clearly didn't help much, so there are no guarantees with the latest procedure. Even if this repair takes, Polanco needs to prove he's a significantly above-hitter because on whole, the evidence suggests otherwise. Polanco had an .866 OPS in 2019 when he appeared as the AL's starting shortstop in the All-Star Game. Since then, he has slashed .268/.327/.411 (.738) in 511 plate appearances. Prior to 2019, he had a .272/.329/.420 (.749) line in the majors. So, a preponderance of evidence leads us to conclude Polanco's half-season of brilliance in '19 was more of a fluke than the mediocrity we've seen since. If he proves to be more of an average hitter, and an ordinary defender at second, Polanco won't necessarily be a liability, but he won't be any great asset either – perhaps not even an upgrade over the guy he's replacing as the second base starter. If we reach a point somewhere in the season where everyone's healthy and Arráez is outperforming the starter Polanco while in a utility role, it'll be interesting to see how things play out. THE BOTTOM LINE One way or another, Arráez figures to see a fair share of time at second base, filling in while Polanco is hurt, resting, or needed at short. We've grown familiar with what he has to offer at the position. But Polanco presents a very new look, and an intriguing one full of upside. As things stand, the Twins appear committed to him as their mainstay at second this year and beyond. It'd be swell if that works out. Polanco is under contract for three more years with a pair of additional team options at the back end, so if this transition takes he could be in line for a Dozier-like reign at second base. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES Catcher First Base
  22. From 2013-18, Brian Dozier was reliably Minnesota's starting second baseman on Opening Day. Six straight years. The upcoming season opener will be their third since his departure, and the Twins intend to start a third different player at the position: This time, Dozier's former double-play partner. Can Jorge Polanco stick?Projected Starter: Jorge Polanco Likely Backup: Luis Arráez Depth: Nick Gordon, Travis Blankenhorn Prospects: Jose Miranda, Yunior Severino THE GOOD Jorge Polanco might finally be ready to unlock his potential as a major-league player. It still hasn't happened up to this point, mainly because he's always been limited by questionable defensive value at shortstop. Even in his All-Star first half of 2019, Polanco's appeal came more from his bat than his glove, and over the past couple seasons his flaws at short have become all the more evident and impactful. Polanco is better-suited for second base. That much was clear to the Twins when they moved him there full-time in Triple-A, prior to his promotion to MLB, where he relocated to shortstop out ot necessity. This winter's signing of Andelton Simmons allows Polanco to finally move back to second, where his skill set is a more optimal fit. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the Twins are very high on Polanco's defensive outlook at the new (old) position. So is he. "I think I can be pretty dang good at second base," the 27-year-old told reporters recently. Similarly, the idea of a healthy Polanco rebounding to his stellar level of offensive production from 2019 sounds great in theory, but needs to be tested in practice. He underwent ankle surgery prior to 2020 too, and it clearly didn't help much, so there are no guarantees with the latest procedure. Even if this repair takes, Polanco needs to prove he's a significantly above-hitter because on whole, the evidence suggests otherwise. Polanco had an .866 OPS in 2019 when he appeared as the AL's starting shortstop in the All-Star Game. Since then, he has slashed .268/.327/.411 (.738) in 511 plate appearances. Prior to 2019, he had a .272/.329/.420 (.749) line in the majors. So, a preponderance of evidence leads us to conclude Polanco's half-season of brilliance in '19 was more of a fluke than the mediocrity we've seen since. If he proves to be more of an average hitter, and an ordinary defender at second, Polanco won't necessarily be a liability, but he won't be any great asset either – perhaps not even an upgrade over the guy he's replacing as the second base starter. If we reach a point somewhere in the season where everyone's healthy and Arráez is outperforming the starter Polanco while in a utility role, it'll be interesting to see how things play out. THE BOTTOM LINE One way or another, Arráez figures to see a fair share of time at second base, filling in while Polanco is hurt, resting, or needed at short. We've grown familiar with what he has to offer at the position. But Polanco presents a very new look, and an intriguing one full of upside. As things stand, the Twins appear committed to him as their mainstay at second this year and beyond. It'd be swell if that works out. Polanco is under contract for three more years with a pair of additional team options at the back end, so if this transition takes he could be in line for a Dozier-like reign at second base. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES CatcherFirst Base Click here to view the article
  23. Aaron and John talk about Royce Lewis' knee injury, the Twins' first spring training game and the presence of fans at the ballpark, Alex Kirilloff's chances of being on the Opening Day roster, Lewis Thorpe's improved outlook, and why Jake Odorizzi is still unsigned. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Now Click here to view the article
  24. An AL Central title is almost table stakes for the Twins this year. It says much about this team that the shortened 2020 season felt somewhat disappointing even though Minnesota took the division with a .600 winning percentage. That's where we were at. Personally, I'm pretty pleased that the front office has built a club that looks well positioned to fend off a credible threat from the White Sox and defend its budding division dynasty, but I get it – for many fans, the proof is in the postseason pudding. While I'm sure Derek Falvey and Thad Levine would agree it's important not to wildly overcompensate for what occurs in the small sample of a few October games, their offseason strategy does suggest that past playoff shortcomings were top-of-mind in their efforts to retool. We've seen this play out in a few areas. Infield Defense There were many contributors to Minnesota's all-too-familiar futility in the 2019 and 2020 postseasons, but defensive lapses in the infield loom large in memory. CJ Cron's failure to secure an off-target DP relay from Luis Arráez in New York was rough ... But last year's Jorge Polanco flub at shortstop in the most crucial of moments was even more painful: The signing of free agent shortstop and defensive specialist Andrelton Simmons almost feels like a direct response to these two plays specifically. Polanco's inadequate arm at short has cost the Twins on this and plenty of other occasions. And while Arráez wasn't primarily responsible for either miscue ... his limitations didn't help in either instance. Now, the Twins install an all-world defender at short, while sliding Polanco over to a position for which he's much better suited. The Twins are high on his fit at second. At the same time, Arráez goes from being a so-so defensive second baseman to a so-so defensive utility man, adopting a role where his bat and versatility become even more valuable. It would also be helpful, of course, if Josh Donaldson is healthy enough to play at third in the playoffs. But the Twins are controlling what they can control, and we'll get to planning around JD's risk factor shortly. Back End of the Bullpen Taylor Rogers was unreliable last year, and he's back. The need for him to get straightened out is obviously paramount. His stumble in a Game 2 appearance against Houston was troubling (albeit ultimately inconsequential). But Rogers' postseason struggles with the Twins have nothing on those of Sergio Romo, who had assumed a role as co-closer by the end of 2020. In Game 1 against Houston last September, Romo entered to open the ninth inning of a tie game, then proceeded to load the bases and walk in the go-ahead run (an ignominious distinction!) before giving way to Caleb Thielbar who let two more of the inherited Romo runs score. It was Romo's first time pitching in the playoffs since Game 3 of the 2019 ALDS, when he let the Yankees pull away with two ninth-inning runs to complete a sweep. The irony of it all is that Romo brought with him to Minnesota the mythos of a postseason legend. He's got three rings, and was a renowned late-inning force during San Francisco's amazing run of championships in the early 2010s. It was a surely a big factor in the playoff-bound Twins acquiring him in 2019 (and bringing him back in 2020). When push came to shove, Romo couldn't deliver. Now, the Twins turn to Alex Colomé, who similarly centers his approach on a single spinning pitch, and doesn't dominate hitters in a conventional sense. Last year, Colomé's K-rate dropped to a new low, but his performance was as consistent as ever. The market at large seems to be betting against Colomé, given his contract. The Twins meanwhile are betting he can be what Romo wasn't: a reliever who lives up to the legend. It's a short squeeze, I guess? I need to stop reading about GameStop and the stock market. Based on all available evidence, the Twins are taking a good gamble. For what it's worth: Colomé has thrown two scoreless innings in the postseason, both with Chicago last year. Contingency Plans The unavailability of Donaldson in last year's playoffs forced the Twins to start Marwin González and his miserable .606 OPS at third base in both games. Meanwhile, the perpetual unavailability of Byron Buxton forced them to start Jake Cave twice in the 2019 ALDS, and to call up Alex Kirilloff with zero MLB experience to start Game 2 against Houston in 2020. Donaldson and Buxton will continue to be question marks, and the Twins can hardly count on them being on the field in October. But the team's fallback options have dramatically improved. Part of this is just time and development playing out within the system. Kirilloff should be a seasoned big-leaguer by the time this year's playoffs roll around. Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach and others could factor as legit corner outfield depth, giving the Twins an array of quality options should Max Kepler be needed in center. Moving Arráez into a floating utility role provides a huge upgrade over the greatly diminished González. While he's lesser defensively than Marwin, Arráez is actually an asset in the lineup and arguably an essential fixture. In general, having a definitively starting-caliber player in that 10th-man role sets the Twins up for a variety of contingencies. In the event that everyone's healthy when the playoffs come around ... that'd present an interesting dilemma. But it's a bridge the Twins will be happy to cross when they get there. First, they need to get there. A full 162-game season lies ahead and the Twins will face even stiffer competition in the Central, after the much-improved White Sox very nearly clawed the division away in 2020. This Twins team is built for success in the postseason, but more importantly, it's built to endure the long haul of a six-month season and come out on top. The improvements above will serve them well on both fronts. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
×
×
  • Create New...