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  1. With the Minnesota Twins all but eliminated from postseason contention at this point, they could play out the string by getting some young players a bit more acclimated. There’s virtually no one left to promote from Triple-A St. Paul at this point, but starting pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson may make sense. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints Last season, the Twins relied relatively heavily on Bailey Ober as a regular starting rotation arm. Then after acquiring Joe Ryan for aging-slugger Nelson Cruz, the former Rays pitcher wound up making five starts down the stretch for Rocco Baldelli’s club. There’s not time for either of those two exposure levels, but Simeon Woods Richardson could be worth giving a turn to. Logistically, there are a few things to work through. The St. Paul Saints regular season schedule goes through a final home game on September 28. They’ll obviously need arms to make those starts, and while they aren’t lined up for a postseason berth, the goal isn’t to minimize those games. There’s also the reality that Woods Richardson doesn’t currently have a spot on the Minnesota 40-man roster. That’s more than easily worked around, but would generate an increase in pay and start his Major League service time. From an individual perspective, it’s hard to suggest that Woods Richardson hasn’t earned the opportunity. Acquired by the Twins from Toronto when they sent Jose Berrios north of the border, the former second-round pick has a 2.93 ERA this season between Double and Triple-A. Only five of his starts have come with the Saints, but Woods Richardson owns a strong 9.7 K/9 and a manageable 3.0 BB/9. If there’s concern about a workload, the most bringing Woods Richardson to the Twins would add is an additional turn. Minnesota plays through October 5th, and should they wait to give him a single game, he could start in the season’s final series against the Chicago White Sox. Pitching just 53 1/3 innings last year after playing for Team USA in the Olympics, Woods Richardson has built back up to 95 1/3 innings this year and did throw 106 2/3 innings as an 18-year-old in the Mets system during 2019. There’s certainly no urgency to push Woods Richardson up a level, and we’re hardly going to learn much from a single start. That said, he should be expected to contribute next season, and given the amount of depth Minnesota needed this year, his having knowledge of The Show this offseason could benefit his preparation. You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a scenario where Woods Richardson is in the Twins Opening Day rotation to start 2023. This is not like Ryan starting on Opening Day coming off just five starts. You could make a good case that he’ll generate at least ten starts for Minnesota in 2023, however, and giving him a look with a few months to prepare for what that looks like seems reasonable. While the Twins were in the division race through the bulk of the season, even leading it most of the way, making the most out of the final games should be the goal. There’s not really a feel-good organizational guy to get an opportunity for, so showcasing the young talent and allowing them further to assert themselves could be a good way to put a bow on things. View full article
  2. Last season, the Twins relied relatively heavily on Bailey Ober as a regular starting rotation arm. Then after acquiring Joe Ryan for aging-slugger Nelson Cruz, the former Rays pitcher wound up making five starts down the stretch for Rocco Baldelli’s club. There’s not time for either of those two exposure levels, but Simeon Woods Richardson could be worth giving a turn to. Logistically, there are a few things to work through. The St. Paul Saints regular season schedule goes through a final home game on September 28. They’ll obviously need arms to make those starts, and while they aren’t lined up for a postseason berth, the goal isn’t to minimize those games. There’s also the reality that Woods Richardson doesn’t currently have a spot on the Minnesota 40-man roster. That’s more than easily worked around, but would generate an increase in pay and start his Major League service time. From an individual perspective, it’s hard to suggest that Woods Richardson hasn’t earned the opportunity. Acquired by the Twins from Toronto when they sent Jose Berrios north of the border, the former second-round pick has a 2.93 ERA this season between Double and Triple-A. Only five of his starts have come with the Saints, but Woods Richardson owns a strong 9.7 K/9 and a manageable 3.0 BB/9. If there’s concern about a workload, the most bringing Woods Richardson to the Twins would add is an additional turn. Minnesota plays through October 5th, and should they wait to give him a single game, he could start in the season’s final series against the Chicago White Sox. Pitching just 53 1/3 innings last year after playing for Team USA in the Olympics, Woods Richardson has built back up to 95 1/3 innings this year and did throw 106 2/3 innings as an 18-year-old in the Mets system during 2019. There’s certainly no urgency to push Woods Richardson up a level, and we’re hardly going to learn much from a single start. That said, he should be expected to contribute next season, and given the amount of depth Minnesota needed this year, his having knowledge of The Show this offseason could benefit his preparation. You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a scenario where Woods Richardson is in the Twins Opening Day rotation to start 2023. This is not like Ryan starting on Opening Day coming off just five starts. You could make a good case that he’ll generate at least ten starts for Minnesota in 2023, however, and giving him a look with a few months to prepare for what that looks like seems reasonable. While the Twins were in the division race through the bulk of the season, even leading it most of the way, making the most out of the final games should be the goal. There’s not really a feel-good organizational guy to get an opportunity for, so showcasing the young talent and allowing them further to assert themselves could be a good way to put a bow on things.
  3. The Twins recently promoted Simeon Woods Richardson to Triple-A, where he is one step away from making his big-league debut. Can he become better than Jose Berrios? When the Twins traded Jose Berrios, Austin Martin was considered the top prospect in the return package. Over a year later, Martin's prospect stock has dropped, and Simeon Woods Richardson is having a breakout year. Woods Richardson will forever be connected to Berrios and the trade that brought him to the Twins organization. So, does he have the potential to be better than Berrios when all is said and done? The Twins drafted Berrios as a teenager out of Puerto Rico, and he immediately put himself on the map as one of baseball's best pitching prospects. He was a consensus top-50 prospect for two consecutive offseasons while being selected to back-to-back Futures Games. In six minor league seasons, he posted a 2.77 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and 9.6 K/9. He struggled during his big-league debut in 2016 but quickly became one of baseball's most reliable pitchers. From 2017-2021, he averaged 159 innings per season with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Woods Richardson's path to the big leagues has seen more ups and downs than Berrios. The Mets drafted Woods Richardson in the 2nd round of the 2018 MLB Draft. His professional debut was strong as he posted a 1.56 ERA and 13.5 K/9 in seven rookie league appearances. As an 18-year-old, he struggled at Low-A with a 4.25 ERA while being nearly four years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. The Mets traded him to the Blue Jays organization as part of the Marcus Stroman trade, but things got more challenging for him from there. With no minor league season in 2020, Woods Richardson's age-19 season was wiped out. He likely would have spent most of the season at High-A, where he had finished the 2019 season. The 2021 season also saw some hiccups for him as the Blue Jays were aggressive with him and sent him to Double-A. As a 20-year-old, he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. He never found consistency at Double-A, he went to Japan to be part of the US Olympic team, and then he was traded to the Twins. Overall, his prospect stock dropped as none of the national outlets included him in their top-100 prospects for the first time in two years. Woods Richardson has been able to put a lot of doubts behind him in 2022. Minnesota had him repeat Double-A, where he is still very young for the level. In 16 appearances, he posted a 3.18 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and 9.8 K/9. His prospect stock has risen to the point where he is considered the Twins' best pitching prospect in the upper minors. Minnesota recently promoted him to Triple-A, where he will look to cap off his tremendous age-21 season. Like Woods Richardson, Berrios spent his age-21 season pitching at Double- and Triple-A. Some signs point to Woods Richardson having a leg-up on Berrios at this point in their development. Woods Richardson has posted an 11.1 K/9 while Berrios had a 9.6 K/9 in six minor league seasons. Berrios also allowed more H/9 and a similar amount of HR/9. Stylistically, there are differences between these two pitchers, but there is potential for Woods Richardson to fit nicely into the team's rotation for years to come. Berrios is the best pitcher to come through the Twins system in quite some time. Woods Richardson has the potential to be a similar pitcher to Berrios, but there can be challenges with the transition to Triple-A and the big leagues. Woods Richardson isn't expected to be the next Berrios, but Twins fans should be more than pleased if he reaches his potential ceiling. How high is Wood Richardson's ceiling? Can he be better than Berrios? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. When the Twins traded Jose Berrios, Austin Martin was considered the top prospect in the return package. Over a year later, Martin's prospect stock has dropped, and Simeon Woods Richardson is having a breakout year. Woods Richardson will forever be connected to Berrios and the trade that brought him to the Twins organization. So, does he have the potential to be better than Berrios when all is said and done? The Twins drafted Berrios as a teenager out of Puerto Rico, and he immediately put himself on the map as one of baseball's best pitching prospects. He was a consensus top-50 prospect for two consecutive offseasons while being selected to back-to-back Futures Games. In six minor league seasons, he posted a 2.77 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and 9.6 K/9. He struggled during his big-league debut in 2016 but quickly became one of baseball's most reliable pitchers. From 2017-2021, he averaged 159 innings per season with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Woods Richardson's path to the big leagues has seen more ups and downs than Berrios. The Mets drafted Woods Richardson in the 2nd round of the 2018 MLB Draft. His professional debut was strong as he posted a 1.56 ERA and 13.5 K/9 in seven rookie league appearances. As an 18-year-old, he struggled at Low-A with a 4.25 ERA while being nearly four years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. The Mets traded him to the Blue Jays organization as part of the Marcus Stroman trade, but things got more challenging for him from there. With no minor league season in 2020, Woods Richardson's age-19 season was wiped out. He likely would have spent most of the season at High-A, where he had finished the 2019 season. The 2021 season also saw some hiccups for him as the Blue Jays were aggressive with him and sent him to Double-A. As a 20-year-old, he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at his level. He never found consistency at Double-A, he went to Japan to be part of the US Olympic team, and then he was traded to the Twins. Overall, his prospect stock dropped as none of the national outlets included him in their top-100 prospects for the first time in two years. Woods Richardson has been able to put a lot of doubts behind him in 2022. Minnesota had him repeat Double-A, where he is still very young for the level. In 16 appearances, he posted a 3.18 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and 9.8 K/9. His prospect stock has risen to the point where he is considered the Twins' best pitching prospect in the upper minors. Minnesota recently promoted him to Triple-A, where he will look to cap off his tremendous age-21 season. Like Woods Richardson, Berrios spent his age-21 season pitching at Double- and Triple-A. Some signs point to Woods Richardson having a leg-up on Berrios at this point in their development. Woods Richardson has posted an 11.1 K/9 while Berrios had a 9.6 K/9 in six minor league seasons. Berrios also allowed more H/9 and a similar amount of HR/9. Stylistically, there are differences between these two pitchers, but there is potential for Woods Richardson to fit nicely into the team's rotation for years to come. Berrios is the best pitcher to come through the Twins system in quite some time. Woods Richardson has the potential to be a similar pitcher to Berrios, but there can be challenges with the transition to Triple-A and the big leagues. Woods Richardson isn't expected to be the next Berrios, but Twins fans should be more than pleased if he reaches his potential ceiling. How high is Wood Richardson's ceiling? Can he be better than Berrios? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota's front office likely wasn't planning on being sellers, but a terrible start to 2021 put the team in a bad spot. Luckily, there was a silver lining to a last-place finish as the team made multiple trades that looked to have long-term impacts. Trade 1 (July 22, 2021) Twins Receive: P Joe Ryan, P Drew Strotman Rays Receive: DH Nelson Cruz, P Calvin Faucher Minnesota helped to get the trade market moving last season when they dealt Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Tampa had previously shown interest in Cruz, so it seemed like a good match. The Twins were looking for pitching that was close to being ready for the big-league level. Joe Ryan was the team's Opening Day starter this year and has been one of the team's best starters since he joined the rotation. Cruz struggled down the stretch for the Rays, and Boston eliminated Tampa in the ALDS. Drew Strotman transitioned to a bullpen role at Triple-A and has a 7.49 ERA in 24 appearances. Calvin Faucher has made 14 appearances for the Rays with a 7.11 ERA. Trade 2 (July 30, 2021) Twins Receive: SS Austin Martin, P Simeon Woods Richardson Blue Jays Receive: P Jose Berrios This trade will continue to be intriguing to dissect as time passes. The Blue Jays acquired Berrios and quickly signed him to a 7-year, $131 million extension. His first full season in Toronto hasn't gone as planned as he leads the American League in earned runs and home runs allowed. Austin Martin has seen his stock drop, with a .691 OPS in his second stint at Double-A. However, it is only his second professional season, and he is still considered one of the organization's top prospects. Simeon Woods Richardson's performance puts him in the conversation for the organization's top pitching prospect. In 11 starts, he has a 3.40 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with a 53-to-19 strikeout to walk ratio. Trade 3 (July 30, 2021) Twins Receive: P Alex Scherff Red Sox Receive: P Hansel Robles Minnesota signed Hansel Robles leading into the 2021 season to help the bullpen improve. There was no reason to keep him on the roster with an expiring contract. In Boston, his numbers improved as he posted a 3.60 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP in 27 appearances. They brought him back for the start of the 2022 season, but he struggled with a 5.84 ERA, and the team released him. After being acquired by the Twins, Alex Scherff didn't pitch last season, but the club assigned him to Double-A for the start of the 2022 campaign. In 25 appearances, he has a 5.27 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP and a 28-to-15 strikeout to walk ratio. Trade 4 (July 30, 2021) Twins Receive: P Evan Sisk, P John Gant Cardinals Receive: P J.A. Happ Many had been clamoring for J.A. Happ to be out of the Twins rotation for most of the season. In 19 starts, he posted a 6.77 ERA with a 1.59 WHIP, but the Cardinals thought they could get something out of the veteran. After the trade, Happ lowered his ERA to 4.00 and had a 1.28 WHIP to help the Cardinals get into Wild Card position. Minnesota used John Gant at the end of last season as a starter and reliever, but his cost was going to be too high to keep him in arbitration. Gant is pitching this year in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League. Evan Sisk has been one of the organization's best relievers this season. In 28 appearances between Double- and Triple-A, he has a 1.18 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP and 9.5 K/9. Looking back at last year's deadline, it's easier to see how the front office felt they were retooling to be contenders again in 2022. Not all of the trades have worked out perfectly to this point, but there is still time for some of the prospects involved to continue developing. What do you remember most about last year's trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline -2018 Trade Deadline -2019 Trade Deadline
  6. Last season was one to forget for the Twins as the team underperformed and finished in last place. Thankfully, multiple trade deadline deals helped keep the team's winning window open. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota's baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. Minnesota's front office likely wasn't planning on being sellers, but a terrible start to 2021 put the team in a bad spot. Luckily, there was a silver lining to a last-place finish as the team made multiple trades that looked to have long-term impacts. Trade 1 (July 22, 2021) Twins Receive: P Joe Ryan, P Drew Strotman Rays Receive: DH Nelson Cruz, P Calvin Faucher Minnesota helped to get the trade market moving last season when they dealt Nelson Cruz to the Rays. Tampa had previously shown interest in Cruz, so it seemed like a good match. The Twins were looking for pitching that was close to being ready for the big-league level. Joe Ryan was the team's Opening Day starter this year and has been one of the team's best starters since he joined the rotation. Cruz struggled down the stretch for the Rays, and Boston eliminated Tampa in the ALDS. Drew Strotman transitioned to a bullpen role at Triple-A and has a 7.49 ERA in 24 appearances. Calvin Faucher has made 14 appearances for the Rays with a 7.11 ERA. Trade 2 (July 30, 2021) Twins Receive: SS Austin Martin, P Simeon Woods Richardson Blue Jays Receive: P Jose Berrios This trade will continue to be intriguing to dissect as time passes. The Blue Jays acquired Berrios and quickly signed him to a 7-year, $131 million extension. His first full season in Toronto hasn't gone as planned as he leads the American League in earned runs and home runs allowed. Austin Martin has seen his stock drop, with a .691 OPS in his second stint at Double-A. However, it is only his second professional season, and he is still considered one of the organization's top prospects. Simeon Woods Richardson's performance puts him in the conversation for the organization's top pitching prospect. In 11 starts, he has a 3.40 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with a 53-to-19 strikeout to walk ratio. Trade 3 (July 30, 2021) Twins Receive: P Alex Scherff Red Sox Receive: P Hansel Robles Minnesota signed Hansel Robles leading into the 2021 season to help the bullpen improve. There was no reason to keep him on the roster with an expiring contract. In Boston, his numbers improved as he posted a 3.60 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP in 27 appearances. They brought him back for the start of the 2022 season, but he struggled with a 5.84 ERA, and the team released him. After being acquired by the Twins, Alex Scherff didn't pitch last season, but the club assigned him to Double-A for the start of the 2022 campaign. In 25 appearances, he has a 5.27 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP and a 28-to-15 strikeout to walk ratio. Trade 4 (July 30, 2021) Twins Receive: P Evan Sisk, P John Gant Cardinals Receive: P J.A. Happ Many had been clamoring for J.A. Happ to be out of the Twins rotation for most of the season. In 19 starts, he posted a 6.77 ERA with a 1.59 WHIP, but the Cardinals thought they could get something out of the veteran. After the trade, Happ lowered his ERA to 4.00 and had a 1.28 WHIP to help the Cardinals get into Wild Card position. Minnesota used John Gant at the end of last season as a starter and reliever, but his cost was going to be too high to keep him in arbitration. Gant is pitching this year in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League. Evan Sisk has been one of the organization's best relievers this season. In 28 appearances between Double- and Triple-A, he has a 1.18 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP and 9.5 K/9. Looking back at last year's deadline, it's easier to see how the front office felt they were retooling to be contenders again in 2022. Not all of the trades have worked out perfectly to this point, but there is still time for some of the prospects involved to continue developing. What do you remember most about last year's trade deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2017 Trade Deadline -2018 Trade Deadline -2019 Trade Deadline View full article
  7. When dealing for prospects you have to evaluate the return in terms of value at the time of the deal. How development takes place and what happens in the future remains largely difficult to project. However, Minnesota netting the Toronto Blue Jays' top prospect in Austin Martin, and then one of the most coveted arms from the system in Simeon Woods Richardson, was nothing short of a miracle. Both of those players were thought to be a bit rich on their own, but Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were able to generate a package deal including both. Last week I wrote a piece wondering what has happened to Berrios. He’s been largely awful for the Blue Jays this season, and that’s disappointing to see as a Twins fan that so badly wanted him to be the ace here. Unlike the prospect capital in a deal though, a Major League veteran is largely an established commodity. Berrios taking a step backward makes it look that much more right that Minnesota decided they wouldn’t be the ones to pay him. For this evaluation though, the Twins getting the most out of this deal rests solely on the production of the pieces they got back. Unfortunately, Martin hasn’t produced as expected. He was seen as a talent that could’ve gone 1-1 in the 2020 draft before falling to fifth. He was a speedy shortstop that was also above average in centerfield, while possessing a hit tool that saw his average and on-base numbers reach gaudy thresholds. Thus far in professional baseball Martin has proven he’s not a shortstop, the power has been slow to develop, and his hit tool has provided just a .259 career average. On the flip side, Martin still has elite on-base skills owning a career .395 OBP, and he’s looked the part of a true outfielder with the glove, speed, and range. If there’s a saving grace for Martin’s projection in the Twins system it’s that he just recently turned 23 and has only 152 games of professional baseball under his belt. Martin still has an immense amount of time to develop, and it would be foolish for any organization to suggest he’s a finished project. Maybe the Twins see him as expendable in a larger trade again this summer, but an opposing organization will be hard-pressed to pry him away while suggesting his value has tanked. Where Minnesota finds themselves on the come up from the Berrios package is in Woods-Richardson. He was hardly a throw in, but they clearly evaluated his production, or lack thereof last season correctly. Woods-Richardson missed all of 2020 as did every minor leaguer, and then spent 2021 being half-ready as he spent time competing with Team USA but never finding himself on the mound. His numbers at Double-A were not good, but he was also roughly four years younger than most of the competition. This season Woods Richardson is back with Wichita and the results have been promising. Despite being just 21 he owns a 3.40 ERA and 9.0 K/9 through 53 innings pitched. It’s the most innings he’s logged in a season since 2019, and he’s looked beyond dominant at times. Minnesota has some very intriguing pitching prospects, and Woods Richardson is up there with the best of them. It’s unfortunate that Jose Berrios has struggled, and it’s unfortunate Martin hasn’t raced to the big leagues. All things considered though, Minnesota appears to have parted with a guy they shouldn’t have paid, have a top prospect still with time to get it going, and nailed the additional piece about as well as they could have. This is a swap that could pay dividends for years to come.
  8. The Minnesota Twins traded staff ace Jose Berrios roughly a year ago, and at the time the return was seen as a massive win. Fast forward to today and I think it’s worth suggesting that things look even better. When dealing for prospects you have to evaluate the return in terms of value at the time of the deal. How development takes place and what happens in the future remains largely difficult to project. However, Minnesota netting the Toronto Blue Jays' top prospect in Austin Martin, and then one of the most coveted arms from the system in Simeon Woods Richardson, was nothing short of a miracle. Both of those players were thought to be a bit rich on their own, but Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were able to generate a package deal including both. Last week I wrote a piece wondering what has happened to Berrios. He’s been largely awful for the Blue Jays this season, and that’s disappointing to see as a Twins fan that so badly wanted him to be the ace here. Unlike the prospect capital in a deal though, a Major League veteran is largely an established commodity. Berrios taking a step backward makes it look that much more right that Minnesota decided they wouldn’t be the ones to pay him. For this evaluation though, the Twins getting the most out of this deal rests solely on the production of the pieces they got back. Unfortunately, Martin hasn’t produced as expected. He was seen as a talent that could’ve gone 1-1 in the 2020 draft before falling to fifth. He was a speedy shortstop that was also above average in centerfield, while possessing a hit tool that saw his average and on-base numbers reach gaudy thresholds. Thus far in professional baseball Martin has proven he’s not a shortstop, the power has been slow to develop, and his hit tool has provided just a .259 career average. On the flip side, Martin still has elite on-base skills owning a career .395 OBP, and he’s looked the part of a true outfielder with the glove, speed, and range. If there’s a saving grace for Martin’s projection in the Twins system it’s that he just recently turned 23 and has only 152 games of professional baseball under his belt. Martin still has an immense amount of time to develop, and it would be foolish for any organization to suggest he’s a finished project. Maybe the Twins see him as expendable in a larger trade again this summer, but an opposing organization will be hard-pressed to pry him away while suggesting his value has tanked. Where Minnesota finds themselves on the come up from the Berrios package is in Woods-Richardson. He was hardly a throw in, but they clearly evaluated his production, or lack thereof last season correctly. Woods-Richardson missed all of 2020 as did every minor leaguer, and then spent 2021 being half-ready as he spent time competing with Team USA but never finding himself on the mound. His numbers at Double-A were not good, but he was also roughly four years younger than most of the competition. This season Woods Richardson is back with Wichita and the results have been promising. Despite being just 21 he owns a 3.40 ERA and 9.0 K/9 through 53 innings pitched. It’s the most innings he’s logged in a season since 2019, and he’s looked beyond dominant at times. Minnesota has some very intriguing pitching prospects, and Woods Richardson is up there with the best of them. It’s unfortunate that Jose Berrios has struggled, and it’s unfortunate Martin hasn’t raced to the big leagues. All things considered though, Minnesota appears to have parted with a guy they shouldn’t have paid, have a top prospect still with time to get it going, and nailed the additional piece about as well as they could have. This is a swap that could pay dividends for years to come. View full article
  9. When landing in Toronto, Berrios was largely the same pitcher he has always been. After posting a 3.48 ERA through 20 turns with the Twins last year, he followed up with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts for the Blue Jays. His strikeout numbers actually rose a bit and the walks dropped a little as well. Given the haul Toronto had to part with, they should’ve found the results pleasing. Toronto knew that acquiring Berrios meant they would need to pay him. In order to make the decision to part with multiple top prospects worth it, a long-term deal had to be reached. In November, the club announced a seven-year extension worth $131 million. Heading into the first full season having the 28-year-old Berrios as their star, both parties were excited. Now 14 games into 2022, and even with what’s been considered a deadened baseball, Berrios owns a career-worst 5.11 ERA (save for his awful 14-game debut during his rookie season). The 9.6 H/9, 1.8 HR/9, and 7.5 K/9 are all career-worst marks. He’s been entirely hot or cold having given up five or more runs four times while holding opponents to two or less on six occasions. For a starter that Minnesota has seen get worse as a season goes on, the poor showing out of the gate is hardly optimal. I’m not intimate enough with the Blue Jays system or plan to know if tweaks have been made to his process, but the analytics paint a less than exciting picture as well. Berrios’ expected ERA sits at an even worse 6.20 despite a slightly better xFIP of 4.20. The largest issue appears to be in the quality, or frequency of optimal contact on balls hit in the air. This season Berrios has allowed a career high 40.9% fly ball rate. That’s over a 5% jump from the past two seasons, and 3% increase on the HR/FB mark as well. Although hard contact has remained consistent, and soft contact has actually increased, the barrel rate is a whopping 12.6%. Putting that into context, only three qualified hitters in Major League Baseball have a higher barrel rate than the average Berrios currently allows: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Mike Trout. That has resulted in an average exit velocity up over 4 mph from his career average, and 3 mph higher than basically anything he’s done since 2017. Hard hit rate can be deceiving as not all quality of contact is created equal. You can hit a ball hard off a suboptimal part of the bat. Barrelling a baseball though, especially with high exit velocities and ideal launch angles, will always result in damage. Toronto has Berrios using his fastball 34% of the time, a mark Minnesota hadn’t come close to since 2019. He’s also entirely abandoned the curveball in favor of a slider, which he never previously utilized. Berrios has always had a couple of different takes on his breaking pitch, but it’s clear that there’s been an adjustment as to which one is favored. There’s been virtually no change in the chase rate for Berrios, but he’s giving up the most contact he’s ever allowed inside the zone. Add in that his whiff rate is a career-low and the fastball velocity has dipped below a 94 mph average for the first time since 2019 and the problem starts to present itself. It’s not as though Berrios forgot how to pitch or that the quality of stuff has fallen off a cliff, but the current pitch mix is allowing batters the ability to hone in on pitches in the zone, and do significant damage when making contact. Rather than hard-hit balls still having the potential to be outs, hard-hit balls are being barrelled with a heightened opportunity to benefit the hitter. We’re still dealing with a pretty small sample size given it’s not even the All-Star game yet, but there’s reason to believe the rest of the way isn’t set up to benefit Toronto’s shiny new arm. Whether he continues a downward trend as the season goes on, the ball changes, or the warm weather helps hitters, Berrios will need to make tweaks on his own if he wants to settle back into the numbers he’s used to putting up.
  10. The Minnesota Twins traded Jose Berrios last July for a package that included Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Rather than paying their ace, the Twins opted to capitalize on his value at the trade deadline. Now almost a year later, it’s worth wondering what has happened to the former Twins fireballer. When landing in Toronto, Berrios was largely the same pitcher he has always been. After posting a 3.48 ERA through 20 turns with the Twins last year, he followed up with a 3.58 ERA in 12 starts for the Blue Jays. His strikeout numbers actually rose a bit and the walks dropped a little as well. Given the haul Toronto had to part with, they should’ve found the results pleasing. Toronto knew that acquiring Berrios meant they would need to pay him. In order to make the decision to part with multiple top prospects worth it, a long-term deal had to be reached. In November, the club announced a seven-year extension worth $131 million. Heading into the first full season having the 28-year-old Berrios as their star, both parties were excited. Now 14 games into 2022, and even with what’s been considered a deadened baseball, Berrios owns a career-worst 5.11 ERA (save for his awful 14-game debut during his rookie season). The 9.6 H/9, 1.8 HR/9, and 7.5 K/9 are all career-worst marks. He’s been entirely hot or cold having given up five or more runs four times while holding opponents to two or less on six occasions. For a starter that Minnesota has seen get worse as a season goes on, the poor showing out of the gate is hardly optimal. I’m not intimate enough with the Blue Jays system or plan to know if tweaks have been made to his process, but the analytics paint a less than exciting picture as well. Berrios’ expected ERA sits at an even worse 6.20 despite a slightly better xFIP of 4.20. The largest issue appears to be in the quality, or frequency of optimal contact on balls hit in the air. This season Berrios has allowed a career high 40.9% fly ball rate. That’s over a 5% jump from the past two seasons, and 3% increase on the HR/FB mark as well. Although hard contact has remained consistent, and soft contact has actually increased, the barrel rate is a whopping 12.6%. Putting that into context, only three qualified hitters in Major League Baseball have a higher barrel rate than the average Berrios currently allows: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Mike Trout. That has resulted in an average exit velocity up over 4 mph from his career average, and 3 mph higher than basically anything he’s done since 2017. Hard hit rate can be deceiving as not all quality of contact is created equal. You can hit a ball hard off a suboptimal part of the bat. Barrelling a baseball though, especially with high exit velocities and ideal launch angles, will always result in damage. Toronto has Berrios using his fastball 34% of the time, a mark Minnesota hadn’t come close to since 2019. He’s also entirely abandoned the curveball in favor of a slider, which he never previously utilized. Berrios has always had a couple of different takes on his breaking pitch, but it’s clear that there’s been an adjustment as to which one is favored. There’s been virtually no change in the chase rate for Berrios, but he’s giving up the most contact he’s ever allowed inside the zone. Add in that his whiff rate is a career-low and the fastball velocity has dipped below a 94 mph average for the first time since 2019 and the problem starts to present itself. It’s not as though Berrios forgot how to pitch or that the quality of stuff has fallen off a cliff, but the current pitch mix is allowing batters the ability to hone in on pitches in the zone, and do significant damage when making contact. Rather than hard-hit balls still having the potential to be outs, hard-hit balls are being barrelled with a heightened opportunity to benefit the hitter. We’re still dealing with a pretty small sample size given it’s not even the All-Star game yet, but there’s reason to believe the rest of the way isn’t set up to benefit Toronto’s shiny new arm. Whether he continues a downward trend as the season goes on, the ball changes, or the warm weather helps hitters, Berrios will need to make tweaks on his own if he wants to settle back into the numbers he’s used to putting up. View full article
  11. Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft is scheduled to start on July 17, 2022. Each team prepares for the draft with a specific plan, and sometimes those plans play out better than others. To prepare fans for the upcoming draft, here is a look at some of the most important drafts in recent Twins history. The 2012 MLB Draft was an interesting time in Twins franchise history. Minnesota was coming off a very disappointing 2011 season where the team went from first to worst in the division. One benefit of having a poor record is receiving a high draft pick the following year. The Twins received the second overall pick and made five of the first 72 picks. At the top, there was no consensus number one pick, so this left some room for debate. Houston selected first overall and ended up with arguably the draft’s best player. Carlos Correa signed an under-slot value deal to join the Astros, and Houston was able to use that money on other picks later in the draft. Correa has been worth over 35 WAR for his career, which is over 12 WAR higher than any other player taken in that draft. His value also stretched into October, when he became a postseason legend. In retrospect, Houston made the correct pick at the top, but now Minnesota was on the clock. The Twins could go in multiple directions with the second pick, but the team needed to decide if they could be patient with a prep player or look to the college ranks for a more immediate impact. Some of the best college players available included Mike Zunino (10.2 WAR), Kevin Gausman (17.9 WAR), Mark Appel (0.0 WAR), and Kyler Zimmer (0.0 WAR). Minnesota turned their attention to rural Georgia and a dynamic five-tool prospect named Byron Buxton. Buxton was considered by many to be the top prospect in the draft. Minnesota paid him $6 million to sign, which was the biggest signing bonus handed out in that draft. Buxton’s 17.5 WAR ranks as the fifth-highest among 2012 first-round picks behind Correa, Corey Seager, Matt Olson, and Gausman. The Athletic’s Keith Law recently redrafted the 2012 first round, and he believes the Twins made the right choice because Buxton has “the best chance of anyone on this list to put up a 9-WAR season.” Buxton is a dynamic player when healthy, but injuries have been part of his career narrative. Minnesota’s next pick in 2012 was the 32nd overall selection, and the team took Jose Berrios out of high school in Puerto Rico. With supplemental picks, the first round included 60 picks that season and Berrios has accumulated the 11th highest WAR. Minnesota got some tremendous seasons from Berrios as he developed into one of baseball’s most consistent pitchers. Last year, the Twins dealt Berrios to the Blue Jays for two prospects, and the early returns may favor the Twins. Besides the team’s picks at the top, the Twins made multiple picks later in the draft that have developed into solid big-league arms. Outside of Berrios, three other pitchers taken by the Twins have accumulated more than 1.5 WAR in their careers. Taylor Rogers was taken in the 11th round and has accumulated 6.7 WAR in his career. Tyler Duffey (1.7 WAR) and JT Chargois (1.6 WAR) have had ups and downs, but both have been key relievers for playoff teams. The 2012 Draft will be remembered for the players taken at the top, but that doesn’t tell the entire story for Minnesota. The organization’s first two picks are still impacting the team a decade after being drafted. Also, the club was able to identify players later in the draft that have been valuable relievers. Overall, it is one of the most successful drafts in recent memory. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Buxton? What do you remember about this draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  12. Ten years ago, the Twins had the second overall pick, which had the potential to alter the franchise’s future. Let’s look back at how that draft unfolded and explore if the Twins made the correct decision. Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft is scheduled to start on July 17, 2022. Each team prepares for the draft with a specific plan, and sometimes those plans play out better than others. To prepare fans for the upcoming draft, here is a look at some of the most important drafts in recent Twins history. The 2012 MLB Draft was an interesting time in Twins franchise history. Minnesota was coming off a very disappointing 2011 season where the team went from first to worst in the division. One benefit of having a poor record is receiving a high draft pick the following year. The Twins received the second overall pick and made five of the first 72 picks. At the top, there was no consensus number one pick, so this left some room for debate. Houston selected first overall and ended up with arguably the draft’s best player. Carlos Correa signed an under-slot value deal to join the Astros, and Houston was able to use that money on other picks later in the draft. Correa has been worth over 35 WAR for his career, which is over 12 WAR higher than any other player taken in that draft. His value also stretched into October, when he became a postseason legend. In retrospect, Houston made the correct pick at the top, but now Minnesota was on the clock. The Twins could go in multiple directions with the second pick, but the team needed to decide if they could be patient with a prep player or look to the college ranks for a more immediate impact. Some of the best college players available included Mike Zunino (10.2 WAR), Kevin Gausman (17.9 WAR), Mark Appel (0.0 WAR), and Kyler Zimmer (0.0 WAR). Minnesota turned their attention to rural Georgia and a dynamic five-tool prospect named Byron Buxton. Buxton was considered by many to be the top prospect in the draft. Minnesota paid him $6 million to sign, which was the biggest signing bonus handed out in that draft. Buxton’s 17.5 WAR ranks as the fifth-highest among 2012 first-round picks behind Correa, Corey Seager, Matt Olson, and Gausman. The Athletic’s Keith Law recently redrafted the 2012 first round, and he believes the Twins made the right choice because Buxton has “the best chance of anyone on this list to put up a 9-WAR season.” Buxton is a dynamic player when healthy, but injuries have been part of his career narrative. Minnesota’s next pick in 2012 was the 32nd overall selection, and the team took Jose Berrios out of high school in Puerto Rico. With supplemental picks, the first round included 60 picks that season and Berrios has accumulated the 11th highest WAR. Minnesota got some tremendous seasons from Berrios as he developed into one of baseball’s most consistent pitchers. Last year, the Twins dealt Berrios to the Blue Jays for two prospects, and the early returns may favor the Twins. Besides the team’s picks at the top, the Twins made multiple picks later in the draft that have developed into solid big-league arms. Outside of Berrios, three other pitchers taken by the Twins have accumulated more than 1.5 WAR in their careers. Taylor Rogers was taken in the 11th round and has accumulated 6.7 WAR in his career. Tyler Duffey (1.7 WAR) and JT Chargois (1.6 WAR) have had ups and downs, but both have been key relievers for playoff teams. The 2012 Draft will be remembered for the players taken at the top, but that doesn’t tell the entire story for Minnesota. The organization’s first two picks are still impacting the team a decade after being drafted. Also, the club was able to identify players later in the draft that have been valuable relievers. Overall, it is one of the most successful drafts in recent memory. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Buxton? What do you remember about this draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  13. To give some perspective to this trade, it is important to note that Jose Berríos was under team control through the 2022 season. Since acquiring him, Toronto has signed him to a 7-year, $131 million deal that buys out the prime of his career. Minnesota traded 1 1/2 years of Berríos for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. José Berríos 2022 Stats: 5.62 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 69 ERA+, 36 K, 14 BB, 49 2/3 innings Berrios got what he wanted from Toronto. They paid him as if he were one of baseball's most consistent pitchers through the first six years of his career. His new contract ties him to the Blue Jay through the 2028 season when he will be in his mid-30s. There were no signs that Minnesota was willing to give him that kind of contract, which was one of the main reasons the team was willing to trade him last season. Unfortunately, Berríos is in the middle of his worst start to a season since his rookie campaign. He has allowed three runs or more in six of his ten starts while averaging less than five innings per outing. Two of his most significant issues have been home runs and a steep decline in strikeout rate. He's allowed at least one home run in all but two appearances this year. Entering the season, he averaged more than one strikeout per inning, but he has a 6.5 K/9 so far in 2022. Pitching in the AL East is an entirely different beast from seeing the AL Central's bottom feeders. That being said, Berríos still has time to figure it out this season. Austin Martin 2022 Stats: .258/.377/.333 (.710), 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 25 K, 22 BB, 40 G Austin Martin was the top-ranked prospect the Twins got from the Blue Jays. He was a consensus top-55 prospect entering the season. Minnesota sent Martin back to Double-A this season which is where he made his professional debut in 2021. Last season, he posted a .796 OPS, which was tied mainly to his .414 OBP. He was touted for his powerful swing in college, but that power hasn't been evident over the last two seasons. So far in 2022, Martin's OPS has dipped over 85 points even with a return trip through the Texas League. He is still over a year younger than the average age of the competition at that level. The vast majority of his defensive innings have come at shortstop, but he has also played second base and all three outfield positions. Martin's stock has certainly dropped since the Twins acquired him, but he is only 23-years-old, and he can still make adjustments as he gets closer to Target Field. Simeon Woods Richardson 2022 Stats: 3.02 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 42 K, 14 BB, 41 2/3 innings Baseball America and MLB.com included Woods Richardson on their pre-season top-100 prospects, so it's not like he was just a throw-in player in the trade. During the 2021 season, Woods Richardson struggled to adjust to Double-A, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at that level. In 15 appearances (53 1/3 innings), he posted a 5.91 ERA with a 1.54 WHIP and a 77-to-34 strikeout to walk ratio. It was a choppy season for him because he was also on Team USA's Olympic team in Beijing. In his second stint at Double-A, Woods Richardson has looked like a completely different pitcher this season. He has only faced older batters in eight plate appearances this year, but he has still been one of the Texas League's best starters. In eight starts (41 2/3 innings), he has posted a 3.02 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and a 42-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio. His strikeout rate has dropped this season, but he has been more effective at limiting hits and home runs. This season, Woods Richardson's performance has moved him up the TD Top-20 Prospect List. It will likely be multiple years before a winner can be declared in this trade. However, the Twins were able to acquire two highly-regarded prospects for a pitcher they weren't going to keep long-term. What are your thoughts as you look back on the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  14. The Twins head to Toronto this weekend, and old friend José Berríos is scheduled to take the mound in the series. So, how have the players performed that were involved in the trade? To give some perspective to this trade, it is important to note that Jose Berríos was under team control through the 2022 season. Since acquiring him, Toronto has signed him to a 7-year, $131 million deal that buys out the prime of his career. Minnesota traded 1 1/2 years of Berríos for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. José Berríos 2022 Stats: 5.62 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 69 ERA+, 36 K, 14 BB, 49 2/3 innings Berrios got what he wanted from Toronto. They paid him as if he were one of baseball's most consistent pitchers through the first six years of his career. His new contract ties him to the Blue Jay through the 2028 season when he will be in his mid-30s. There were no signs that Minnesota was willing to give him that kind of contract, which was one of the main reasons the team was willing to trade him last season. Unfortunately, Berríos is in the middle of his worst start to a season since his rookie campaign. He has allowed three runs or more in six of his ten starts while averaging less than five innings per outing. Two of his most significant issues have been home runs and a steep decline in strikeout rate. He's allowed at least one home run in all but two appearances this year. Entering the season, he averaged more than one strikeout per inning, but he has a 6.5 K/9 so far in 2022. Pitching in the AL East is an entirely different beast from seeing the AL Central's bottom feeders. That being said, Berríos still has time to figure it out this season. Austin Martin 2022 Stats: .258/.377/.333 (.710), 7 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 25 K, 22 BB, 40 G Austin Martin was the top-ranked prospect the Twins got from the Blue Jays. He was a consensus top-55 prospect entering the season. Minnesota sent Martin back to Double-A this season which is where he made his professional debut in 2021. Last season, he posted a .796 OPS, which was tied mainly to his .414 OBP. He was touted for his powerful swing in college, but that power hasn't been evident over the last two seasons. So far in 2022, Martin's OPS has dipped over 85 points even with a return trip through the Texas League. He is still over a year younger than the average age of the competition at that level. The vast majority of his defensive innings have come at shortstop, but he has also played second base and all three outfield positions. Martin's stock has certainly dropped since the Twins acquired him, but he is only 23-years-old, and he can still make adjustments as he gets closer to Target Field. Simeon Woods Richardson 2022 Stats: 3.02 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 42 K, 14 BB, 41 2/3 innings Baseball America and MLB.com included Woods Richardson on their pre-season top-100 prospects, so it's not like he was just a throw-in player in the trade. During the 2021 season, Woods Richardson struggled to adjust to Double-A, but he was over 4.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at that level. In 15 appearances (53 1/3 innings), he posted a 5.91 ERA with a 1.54 WHIP and a 77-to-34 strikeout to walk ratio. It was a choppy season for him because he was also on Team USA's Olympic team in Beijing. In his second stint at Double-A, Woods Richardson has looked like a completely different pitcher this season. He has only faced older batters in eight plate appearances this year, but he has still been one of the Texas League's best starters. In eight starts (41 2/3 innings), he has posted a 3.02 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and a 42-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio. His strikeout rate has dropped this season, but he has been more effective at limiting hits and home runs. This season, Woods Richardson's performance has moved him up the TD Top-20 Prospect List. It will likely be multiple years before a winner can be declared in this trade. However, the Twins were able to acquire two highly-regarded prospects for a pitcher they weren't going to keep long-term. What are your thoughts as you look back on the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  15. DH Nelson Cruz to Rays for RHPs Joe Ryan and Drew Stotman Many of the Twins' moves project to have positive results. On an expiring contract, Nelson Cruz was dealt for two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. There are plenty of questions about the team’s rotation for 2022, so adding two more pitchers to the mix can only help the organization’s pitching depth. The Cruz deal was far from the only one that made headlines. RHP Jose Berrios to Blue Jays for SS/OF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson José Berríos was dealt for a pair of top-100 prospects, which seems like a high price to pay for just over a year of Berríos. The Dodgers traded for starting pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner and received a similar trade package in return. Even the website, Baseball Trade Values believes the Blue Jays overpaid. LHP J.A. Happ to Cardinals for RHP John Gant and LHP Evan Sisk Speaking of teams that overpaid, the Twins found a taker for JA Happ, as the Cardinals were willing to trade for him. He’s been bad for most of the season, and his recent numbers don’t point to him improving. It seemed more likely for the Twins to designated him for assignment instead of finding a trade partner, but it was a crazy trade deadline, to say the least. RHP Hansel Robles to Red Sox for RHP Alex Scherff Robles, like Cruz, was on an expiring contract and plenty of contenders were looking for relief help. Minnesota signed Robles for $2 million this off-season and he's had some up-and-down moments as part of a Twins bullpen that has struggled for the majority of the season. Relief pitching can be fickle and Boston hopes Robles can find some of his previous successes. From Minnesota's perspective, the front office has to be happy to get any value back for a player that wasn't part of the team's long-term plans. Who Wasn't Traded? Not every part of the trade deadline was positive for the Twins. Minnesota had multiple players on expiring contracts that stayed with the team, including Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons. Pineda is the biggest head-scratcher as the trade market seemed hot for starting pitching. As the smoke cleared, the front office said the right things, but there doesn’t seem to be much value in keeping him around until season’s end. There were plenty of other rumors circulating on Friday, including some big names for the Twins. There was a chance of a Byron Buxton deal with multiple teams interested in the centerfielder. For good reasons, Minnesota’s price was likely high, and there will still be an opportunity to revisit trades this winter. There may also be a chance to revisit a contract extension with Buxton, especially with the young core the organization has built in the minor leagues. Another missed opportunity was parting ways with Josh Donaldson, as his name had been out in the rumor mill throughout the last few weeks. Minnesota signed Donaldson to his four-year deal, knowing that he may decline toward the backend of the contract. He has been relatively healthy this year and producing as one of the league’s best third basemen. This trade deadline might have been his peak trade value, especially since it’s tough to imagine the Twins contending in 2022. Overall, this might go down as a franchise-altering day in Twins history. However, there were some missed opportunities along the way. Now it might be a couple of years before fans know if the team indeed won or lost the 2021 trade deadline. Do you think the Twins were winners or losers at the trade deadline? 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
  16. Every trade deadline, teams are declared winners or losers. So, how did the Twins fare on a whirlwind day? DH Nelson Cruz to Rays for RHPs Joe Ryan and Drew Stotman Many of the Twins' moves project to have positive results. On an expiring contract, Nelson Cruz was dealt for two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. There are plenty of questions about the team’s rotation for 2022, so adding two more pitchers to the mix can only help the organization’s pitching depth. The Cruz deal was far from the only one that made headlines. RHP Jose Berrios to Blue Jays for SS/OF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson José Berríos was dealt for a pair of top-100 prospects, which seems like a high price to pay for just over a year of Berríos. The Dodgers traded for starting pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner and received a similar trade package in return. Even the website, Baseball Trade Values believes the Blue Jays overpaid. LHP J.A. Happ to Cardinals for RHP John Gant and LHP Evan Sisk Speaking of teams that overpaid, the Twins found a taker for JA Happ, as the Cardinals were willing to trade for him. He’s been bad for most of the season, and his recent numbers don’t point to him improving. It seemed more likely for the Twins to designated him for assignment instead of finding a trade partner, but it was a crazy trade deadline, to say the least. RHP Hansel Robles to Red Sox for RHP Alex Scherff Robles, like Cruz, was on an expiring contract and plenty of contenders were looking for relief help. Minnesota signed Robles for $2 million this off-season and he's had some up-and-down moments as part of a Twins bullpen that has struggled for the majority of the season. Relief pitching can be fickle and Boston hopes Robles can find some of his previous successes. From Minnesota's perspective, the front office has to be happy to get any value back for a player that wasn't part of the team's long-term plans. Who Wasn't Traded? Not every part of the trade deadline was positive for the Twins. Minnesota had multiple players on expiring contracts that stayed with the team, including Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons. Pineda is the biggest head-scratcher as the trade market seemed hot for starting pitching. As the smoke cleared, the front office said the right things, but there doesn’t seem to be much value in keeping him around until season’s end. There were plenty of other rumors circulating on Friday, including some big names for the Twins. There was a chance of a Byron Buxton deal with multiple teams interested in the centerfielder. For good reasons, Minnesota’s price was likely high, and there will still be an opportunity to revisit trades this winter. There may also be a chance to revisit a contract extension with Buxton, especially with the young core the organization has built in the minor leagues. Another missed opportunity was parting ways with Josh Donaldson, as his name had been out in the rumor mill throughout the last few weeks. Minnesota signed Donaldson to his four-year deal, knowing that he may decline toward the backend of the contract. He has been relatively healthy this year and producing as one of the league’s best third basemen. This trade deadline might have been his peak trade value, especially since it’s tough to imagine the Twins contending in 2022. Overall, this might go down as a franchise-altering day in Twins history. However, there were some missed opportunities along the way. Now it might be a couple of years before fans know if the team indeed won or lost the 2021 trade deadline. Do you think the Twins were winners or losers at the trade deadline? 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
  17. Last season the front office decided against extending Berrios and flipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Getting two-top 100 prospects for a guy under team control for just one more year was an excellent come-up for Minnesota. If they had decided against paying him, that level of return is certainly a welcomed one. They had to replace Berrios, though. Going back to 2019, Berrios owns a 3.66 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9. He’d put up dominant outings at times and then see late-season slides. Home runs got him every once in a while, but he was every bit a staff ace for Minnesota. After passing on virtually all of the free-agent starting pitching market, they found something of a clone. Looking back to 2019 for Gray, the Reds hurler owns a 3.49 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. It's almost as if the Twins had determined they had a "type" when it comes to a frontline starter. Minnesota had squeezed more out of Berrios under pitching coach Wes Johnson, and while Grady is older, it's not crazy to think they may be able to teach him some new tricks. Gray exits a Reds team looking to tear everything down, and he also has the benefit of escaping a hitters paradise in Cincinnati. Berrios is the slightly harder thrower of the two, averaging 94 mph on his fastball. Gray has seen diminished velocity as he ages but still sits at 92.6 mph. Gray gives up less hard contact, but we’re splitting hairs on the differences between the two when it comes to whiff rates as well as CSW% (Called+Swinging Strike Percentage). Looking at each of their Statcast profiles from 2021, it’s actually Gray that sees the scales tilted his way when diving into more analytically based outputs. Another interesting note on Gray is that while he has seen diminished velocity, his stuff ranks extremely well. Highlighted multiple times by Rob Friedman's Pitching Ninja account, and noted in a tweet by The Athletic's Eno Sarris, there's more to pitching than simply pumping velocity. For Gray, as the fastball might have dipped, he's added substantial shape through movement to his pitches. In attempting to keep batters off balance Gray has worked on crafting pitches that miss bats. Although Minnesota's Johnson is seen as a velocity guru, it's the analytical additions to pitching development that have pushed guys to get more from their overall repertoire. Gray will have a whole new pool of information to work with. At the end of the day, Minnesota accomplished a few things in the entirety of their starting pitching scenario. They dealt a guy they weren’t going to pay and got peak value for him. They then acquired an older starter for a highly volatile return and have to pay him substantially less. All of that takes place while the on-field returns could very comfortably be projected to be even. Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Gray for a 3.78 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 2022. The same projection system has Berrios at a 3.84 ERA and 9.3 K/9. If the track records of similarity don't provide something to key in on, there's at least an upcoming season in which both are expected to provide similar levels of value. What do you think about the Twins swap of top starters? Would you rather have Berrios purely from a pitching perspective, or are you good with Gray, the similarities, and all of the additional prospect capital? 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. Over the weekend, Derek Falvey flipped 2021 1st round pick Chase Petty to the Cincinnati Reds for Sonny Gray. Minnesota needed a top-end starter, and they wound up with a guy who profiles very similar to someone Twins Territory is familiar with, Jose Berrios. Last season the front office decided against extending Berrios and flipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Getting two-top 100 prospects for a guy under team control for just one more year was an excellent come-up for Minnesota. If they had decided against paying him, that level of return is certainly a welcomed one. They had to replace Berrios, though. Going back to 2019, Berrios owns a 3.66 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9. He’d put up dominant outings at times and then see late-season slides. Home runs got him every once in a while, but he was every bit a staff ace for Minnesota. After passing on virtually all of the free-agent starting pitching market, they found something of a clone. Looking back to 2019 for Gray, the Reds hurler owns a 3.49 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. It's almost as if the Twins had determined they had a "type" when it comes to a frontline starter. Minnesota had squeezed more out of Berrios under pitching coach Wes Johnson, and while Grady is older, it's not crazy to think they may be able to teach him some new tricks. Gray exits a Reds team looking to tear everything down, and he also has the benefit of escaping a hitters paradise in Cincinnati. Berrios is the slightly harder thrower of the two, averaging 94 mph on his fastball. Gray has seen diminished velocity as he ages but still sits at 92.6 mph. Gray gives up less hard contact, but we’re splitting hairs on the differences between the two when it comes to whiff rates as well as CSW% (Called+Swinging Strike Percentage). Looking at each of their Statcast profiles from 2021, it’s actually Gray that sees the scales tilted his way when diving into more analytically based outputs. Another interesting note on Gray is that while he has seen diminished velocity, his stuff ranks extremely well. Highlighted multiple times by Rob Friedman's Pitching Ninja account, and noted in a tweet by The Athletic's Eno Sarris, there's more to pitching than simply pumping velocity. For Gray, as the fastball might have dipped, he's added substantial shape through movement to his pitches. In attempting to keep batters off balance Gray has worked on crafting pitches that miss bats. Although Minnesota's Johnson is seen as a velocity guru, it's the analytical additions to pitching development that have pushed guys to get more from their overall repertoire. Gray will have a whole new pool of information to work with. At the end of the day, Minnesota accomplished a few things in the entirety of their starting pitching scenario. They dealt a guy they weren’t going to pay and got peak value for him. They then acquired an older starter for a highly volatile return and have to pay him substantially less. All of that takes place while the on-field returns could very comfortably be projected to be even. Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Gray for a 3.78 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 2022. The same projection system has Berrios at a 3.84 ERA and 9.3 K/9. If the track records of similarity don't provide something to key in on, there's at least an upcoming season in which both are expected to provide similar levels of value. What do you think about the Twins swap of top starters? Would you rather have Berrios purely from a pitching perspective, or are you good with Gray, the similarities, and all of the additional prospect capital? 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
  19. Age: 23 (DOB: 9/17/1998) 2021 Stats: (Double-A): 97 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.402 WHIP, 102 K, 38 BB ETA: 2022 2021 Ranking: 3rd National Top 100 Rankings BA: 85 | MLB: 95 | ATH: 43 | BP: 78 What’s To Like Velocity has long been the name of the game on the mound, and it’s something the Twins haven’t seen from a starter they developed in a long time, maybe ever. Balazovic was sitting at 95 mph last year on his fastball, even after missing time to start the season due to injury. He pushed it up to 97 mph at times, and the electricity behind the pitch is something to drool over. With a starter’s mix, Balazovic also has a strong slider and has turned the changeup into an out pitch as well. Double-A was a new test for Balazovic last season, and he did take a slight step backward in terms of numbers, but the elite stuff is still all there. A rough three-start stretch at the end of July made things look more mediocre than they were. Over his final eight starts, Balazovic posted a 2.72 ERA allowing just a .672 OPS against. What’s Left To Work On It’s not to say that Balazovic is a finished product, but he’s very close. Even with the time missed due to the pandemic, the Canadian is knocking on the door to the big leagues. A return to Double-A could be in the cards at the beginning of 2022, but he should quickly move up to Triple-A St. Paul. Balazovic has done a good job repeating his delivery, and continuing down a path of sustained success is a must for him. Minnesota would probably like to see a trend back towards the 2019 numbers, but that’s also not a showstopper. The strikeouts were down slightly, and the walks rose, but both happened in minor increments. Settling back in with a clean bill of health should lead to more dominating performances than not. What’s Next It would be far from shocking if Balazovic was pitching for the Twins by mid-summer. He’s near ready as a prospect, and while he’s probably not the type to be called upon before ready in a spot-start role, he’s got the talent to force his way into sustained action. Minnesota should have a middle-of-the-rotation arm at worst here, and seeing him add even more would be a welcomed sight. The Twins have been longing for a guy that can mow down the opposition, and Balazovic has the makings of someone capable of doing just that. If he can be a staff ace, the organization will have its next piece to build around. Previous Rankings Honorable Mentions Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 #10: Josh Winder, RHP #9: Chase Petty, RHP #8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP #7: Jhoan Duran, RHP #6: Matt Canterino, RHP #5: Joe Ryan, RHP #4: Jordan Balazovic, RHP #3: Coming tomorrow
  20. Since they developed Jose Berrios, the Minnesota Twins have been looking for their next starting pitching talent. This time around, it may come from an arm that hails from north of the border. Age: 23 (DOB: 9/17/1998) 2021 Stats: (Double-A): 97 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.402 WHIP, 102 K, 38 BB ETA: 2022 2021 Ranking: 3rd National Top 100 Rankings BA: 85 | MLB: 95 | ATH: 43 | BP: 78 What’s To Like Velocity has long been the name of the game on the mound, and it’s something the Twins haven’t seen from a starter they developed in a long time, maybe ever. Balazovic was sitting at 95 mph last year on his fastball, even after missing time to start the season due to injury. He pushed it up to 97 mph at times, and the electricity behind the pitch is something to drool over. With a starter’s mix, Balazovic also has a strong slider and has turned the changeup into an out pitch as well. Double-A was a new test for Balazovic last season, and he did take a slight step backward in terms of numbers, but the elite stuff is still all there. A rough three-start stretch at the end of July made things look more mediocre than they were. Over his final eight starts, Balazovic posted a 2.72 ERA allowing just a .672 OPS against. What’s Left To Work On It’s not to say that Balazovic is a finished product, but he’s very close. Even with the time missed due to the pandemic, the Canadian is knocking on the door to the big leagues. A return to Double-A could be in the cards at the beginning of 2022, but he should quickly move up to Triple-A St. Paul. Balazovic has done a good job repeating his delivery, and continuing down a path of sustained success is a must for him. Minnesota would probably like to see a trend back towards the 2019 numbers, but that’s also not a showstopper. The strikeouts were down slightly, and the walks rose, but both happened in minor increments. Settling back in with a clean bill of health should lead to more dominating performances than not. What’s Next It would be far from shocking if Balazovic was pitching for the Twins by mid-summer. He’s near ready as a prospect, and while he’s probably not the type to be called upon before ready in a spot-start role, he’s got the talent to force his way into sustained action. Minnesota should have a middle-of-the-rotation arm at worst here, and seeing him add even more would be a welcomed sight. The Twins have been longing for a guy that can mow down the opposition, and Balazovic has the makings of someone capable of doing just that. If he can be a staff ace, the organization will have its next piece to build around. Previous Rankings Honorable Mentions Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 #10: Josh Winder, RHP #9: Chase Petty, RHP #8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP #7: Jhoan Duran, RHP #6: Matt Canterino, RHP #5: Joe Ryan, RHP #4: Jordan Balazovic, RHP #3: Coming tomorrow View full article
  21. It’s reasonable to look at Austin Martin and see a valuable piece that the Twins could use to acquire some pitching, but there are several reasons they shouldn’t be looking to do so. Redundancy is Overrated One argument that can be made is that Martin doesn’t appear to be a future shortstop and his future in center field is blocked by the Buxton extension. This could wind up leaving Martin in a utility role. The Twins already have Luis Arraez in a similar position, however, with other players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis coming up who could find themselves in a similar spot. It makes sense to deal from a place of depth, but Martin could bring a lot of value backing up Byron Buxton in center field and Jorge Polanco at second, two players with significant injury histories who could very well miss time at any point moving forward. Luis Arraez can’t fill in for Buxton in center and is stretched at second, not to mention his own injury worries as well. Martin is a younger, healthier, higher floor and likely higher ceiling option than most players that find themselves in a possible platoon role. Not to mention these issues that involve “too much depth” always find a way to work themselves out when it comes to baseball. His Value Isn’t That High Potential MLB caliber shortstops are one of the more valuable assets a team can have in their farm system. It’s a big part of what led to Martin being chosen so high in the draft and what could make him an enormous trade piece moving forward. Tom makes a good point in regards to Martin’s trade value: Tom’s reasoning behind this is solid. Austin Martin’s 2021 has gone a long way in proving he’s not a future shortstop. Twins fans should be on board with trading him if a team still looks at him as one, as the return would be that much better for a player that’s unlikely to reach that ceiling. Martin was a longshot to be a future shortstop at the trade deadline, however, and didn't do much to change that idea after the fact. I’d be shocked if a team is still all in on this idea. A team such as the Reds who are in need of a shortstop of the future would likely be more open to paying a higher price to gamble on Royce Lewis panning out at the position because he hasn’t proven otherwise yet. Trading Austin Martin to a team that believes him to be an outfielder or second baseman wouldn’t bring back all that much relative value. Musical Chairs There isn’t a lot of baseball logic that goes into this one, but it just feels unproductive to trade the Twins best pitcher for two prospects and turn around and trade the biggest name for a different pitcher who likely won’t be any better than Berrios. Sure, the Twins will have gotten Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the deal, but it’ll cost other prospects in addition to Austin Martin to acquire any of the big names on the market. If there was any enthusiasm about extending one of these arms after acquiring them then it could be worth the price. It’s hard to find that enthusiasm however and the likelier outcome is trading such a pitcher away at the 2022 trade deadline if the team finds themselves in a similar situation as last year. It runs the risk of beginning a cycle that doesn’t sound all that fun to be honest. The Twins liked Martin enough to acquire him as a big piece of the Jose Berrios trade and he’s been about as advertised since then. To turn around and trade him for another pitcher with two years of control (the majority of the high-end pitchers on the market) just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It essentially just swaps out a couple of prospects for a new pitcher who’s likely on Berrios’ level and still leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. It’s possible Austin Martin doesn’t become the star he was projected to be when drafted. He’s still an MLB-bound player with incredible pure hitting skills and versatility. He could easily settle into a position for the next 5-6 years and be an example of how not quite everything in 2021 went wrong. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Twins front office tries to wriggle out of their own self-inflicted mess with the pitching staff. Players on the verge of bringing some much needed excitement to Twins Territory such as Martin should be off the table unless there are extenuating circumstances. Austin Martin should be wearing a Twins jersey by 2022 season’s end. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  22. Acquired by trade last July, Austin Martin has quickly found himself at the center of trade talks once again for a Twins team short on pitching. The Twins, however, shouldn’t be so quick to flip their newly-acquired top prospect. It’s reasonable to look at Austin Martin and see a valuable piece that the Twins could use to acquire some pitching, but there are several reasons they shouldn’t be looking to do so. Redundancy is Overrated One argument that can be made is that Martin doesn’t appear to be a future shortstop and his future in center field is blocked by the Buxton extension. This could wind up leaving Martin in a utility role. The Twins already have Luis Arraez in a similar position, however, with other players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis coming up who could find themselves in a similar spot. It makes sense to deal from a place of depth, but Martin could bring a lot of value backing up Byron Buxton in center field and Jorge Polanco at second, two players with significant injury histories who could very well miss time at any point moving forward. Luis Arraez can’t fill in for Buxton in center and is stretched at second, not to mention his own injury worries as well. Martin is a younger, healthier, higher floor and likely higher ceiling option than most players that find themselves in a possible platoon role. Not to mention these issues that involve “too much depth” always find a way to work themselves out when it comes to baseball. His Value Isn’t That High Potential MLB caliber shortstops are one of the more valuable assets a team can have in their farm system. It’s a big part of what led to Martin being chosen so high in the draft and what could make him an enormous trade piece moving forward. Tom makes a good point in regards to Martin’s trade value: Tom’s reasoning behind this is solid. Austin Martin’s 2021 has gone a long way in proving he’s not a future shortstop. Twins fans should be on board with trading him if a team still looks at him as one, as the return would be that much better for a player that’s unlikely to reach that ceiling. Martin was a longshot to be a future shortstop at the trade deadline, however, and didn't do much to change that idea after the fact. I’d be shocked if a team is still all in on this idea. A team such as the Reds who are in need of a shortstop of the future would likely be more open to paying a higher price to gamble on Royce Lewis panning out at the position because he hasn’t proven otherwise yet. Trading Austin Martin to a team that believes him to be an outfielder or second baseman wouldn’t bring back all that much relative value. Musical Chairs There isn’t a lot of baseball logic that goes into this one, but it just feels unproductive to trade the Twins best pitcher for two prospects and turn around and trade the biggest name for a different pitcher who likely won’t be any better than Berrios. Sure, the Twins will have gotten Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the deal, but it’ll cost other prospects in addition to Austin Martin to acquire any of the big names on the market. If there was any enthusiasm about extending one of these arms after acquiring them then it could be worth the price. It’s hard to find that enthusiasm however and the likelier outcome is trading such a pitcher away at the 2022 trade deadline if the team finds themselves in a similar situation as last year. It runs the risk of beginning a cycle that doesn’t sound all that fun to be honest. The Twins liked Martin enough to acquire him as a big piece of the Jose Berrios trade and he’s been about as advertised since then. To turn around and trade him for another pitcher with two years of control (the majority of the high-end pitchers on the market) just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It essentially just swaps out a couple of prospects for a new pitcher who’s likely on Berrios’ level and still leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. It’s possible Austin Martin doesn’t become the star he was projected to be when drafted. He’s still an MLB-bound player with incredible pure hitting skills and versatility. He could easily settle into a position for the next 5-6 years and be an example of how not quite everything in 2021 went wrong. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Twins front office tries to wriggle out of their own self-inflicted mess with the pitching staff. Players on the verge of bringing some much needed excitement to Twins Territory such as Martin should be off the table unless there are extenuating circumstances. Austin Martin should be wearing a Twins jersey by 2022 season’s end. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  23. Below is a rundown of the back half of the top-20 stories here at Twins Daily over the last calendar year. Take a look back at some of the most significant events and stop back later to look at the top-10 stories. 20. José Berríos Traded to Blue Jays Published: July 30 Author: Matthew Taylor After the season went south, the José Berríos trade was one of the biggest stories of the year. Not only did it impact the second half of the 2021 season, but the trade also has ramifications felt into the current off-season as the team looks to rebuild the pitching staff. Minnesota was able to get two top-100 prospects, and the Blue Jays eventually signed Berríos to a long-term deal. 19. Trade Deadline Tracker: Twins' News and Rumor Roundup Published: July 29 Author: Matthew Taylor There's no question that Twins fans were interested in the 2021 trade deadline as Minnesota had multiple big-league assets tied into the rumor mill. One of the day's biggest stories was the Brewers trading for old friend Eduardo Escobar. Rumors also swirled about a potential José Berríos trade that happened the next day. 18. Nelson Cruz Saga Illuminates Shrewdness of Falvine Published: February 5 Author: Nash Walker Last winter, one of the team's most significant decisions was whether or not to bring back Nelson Cruz. Minnesota's front office was patient, and the National League never added the designated hitter. This left few contending teams in need of Cruz's services. Falvine got Cruz to sign on their terms, and he'd be part of another big story later in the year. 17. Potential Trade Packages for José Berríos Published: May 29 Author: Matthew Lenz Even at the end of May, it was clear the Twins would be in sell mode before the trade deadline. Not only did Matthew connect the Blue Jays as a potential suitor for a Berríos trade, but he also hit on one of the prospects the team got as part of the return. 16. Are the Twins About to Build a Radically Unconventional Pitching Staff? Published: November 11 Author: Nick Nelson The Twins didn't sign any of the top-tier free-agent starting pitchers, and this article gives insight into what the team might be planning. Thad Levine and the front office may consider a nontraditional approach to filling the rotation. When the lockout ends, this approach will be something to keep an eye on as the roster comes together. 15. End of the Line for Brent Rooker? Published: September 25 Author: Cody Pirkl Brent Rooker finished his age-26 season, and he has yet to put it all together at the big-league level. He has little left to prove at Triple-A, and now the question remains as to what his future may hold with the Twins moving forward. Can he be a bench option for the Twins in 2022, or has he reached the end of the line? 14. Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers Published: July 22 Author: Seth Stohs Tampa Bay didn't wait around until the trade deadline to make their move as they wanted Cruz on their roster for an extra week and a half. Even with Cruz on an expiring deal, the Twins acquired two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. It was Minnesota's first big trade before the deadline, and it wouldn't be their last move. 13. Do the Twins Already Have the Next Brian Dozier? Published: March 1 Author: Cody Christie Brian Dozier was a late bloomer that came through the Twins system to have some monster seasons at the plate. Nick Gordon made his debut in 2021, and he also fits into the late-bloomer category. He may never develop Dozier's power, but he seemed to fit nicely into a utility role in the season's second half. 12. Twins Finalize Opening Day Roster Published: March 29 Author: Seth Stohs Minnesota was coming off of back-to-back AL Central titles, so there was plenty of hope associated with the Opening Day roster. One of the team's final decisions was to keep Kyle Garlick over Rooker. Garlick led the team in home runs throughout the spring, so it took an impressive showing for him to make the squad. 11. Ranking the Top-5 Remaining Free Agent Starters Published: December 1 Author: Cody Christie Minnesota had yet to acquire any starting pitching outside of Dylan Bundy, with the lockout looming. There were some clear names at the top of the free-agent rankings, but things dropped off in a hurry. One of the players has already signed, but the other four players are still available if Minnesota wants to pursue them for 2022. Stop back and check out the top stories of the year. Which of these stories will you remember the most? 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
  24. The 2021 season didn't go precisely as the Twins envisioned, but the calendar will shortly turn to 2022. Here is a look back at some of the biggest stories at Twins Daily over the last year. Below is a rundown of the back half of the top-20 stories here at Twins Daily over the last calendar year. Take a look back at some of the most significant events and stop back later to look at the top-10 stories. 20. José Berríos Traded to Blue Jays Published: July 30 Author: Matthew Taylor After the season went south, the José Berríos trade was one of the biggest stories of the year. Not only did it impact the second half of the 2021 season, but the trade also has ramifications felt into the current off-season as the team looks to rebuild the pitching staff. Minnesota was able to get two top-100 prospects, and the Blue Jays eventually signed Berríos to a long-term deal. 19. Trade Deadline Tracker: Twins' News and Rumor Roundup Published: July 29 Author: Matthew Taylor There's no question that Twins fans were interested in the 2021 trade deadline as Minnesota had multiple big-league assets tied into the rumor mill. One of the day's biggest stories was the Brewers trading for old friend Eduardo Escobar. Rumors also swirled about a potential José Berríos trade that happened the next day. 18. Nelson Cruz Saga Illuminates Shrewdness of Falvine Published: February 5 Author: Nash Walker Last winter, one of the team's most significant decisions was whether or not to bring back Nelson Cruz. Minnesota's front office was patient, and the National League never added the designated hitter. This left few contending teams in need of Cruz's services. Falvine got Cruz to sign on their terms, and he'd be part of another big story later in the year. 17. Potential Trade Packages for José Berríos Published: May 29 Author: Matthew Lenz Even at the end of May, it was clear the Twins would be in sell mode before the trade deadline. Not only did Matthew connect the Blue Jays as a potential suitor for a Berríos trade, but he also hit on one of the prospects the team got as part of the return. 16. Are the Twins About to Build a Radically Unconventional Pitching Staff? Published: November 11 Author: Nick Nelson The Twins didn't sign any of the top-tier free-agent starting pitchers, and this article gives insight into what the team might be planning. Thad Levine and the front office may consider a nontraditional approach to filling the rotation. When the lockout ends, this approach will be something to keep an eye on as the roster comes together. 15. End of the Line for Brent Rooker? Published: September 25 Author: Cody Pirkl Brent Rooker finished his age-26 season, and he has yet to put it all together at the big-league level. He has little left to prove at Triple-A, and now the question remains as to what his future may hold with the Twins moving forward. Can he be a bench option for the Twins in 2022, or has he reached the end of the line? 14. Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers Published: July 22 Author: Seth Stohs Tampa Bay didn't wait around until the trade deadline to make their move as they wanted Cruz on their roster for an extra week and a half. Even with Cruz on an expiring deal, the Twins acquired two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. It was Minnesota's first big trade before the deadline, and it wouldn't be their last move. 13. Do the Twins Already Have the Next Brian Dozier? Published: March 1 Author: Cody Christie Brian Dozier was a late bloomer that came through the Twins system to have some monster seasons at the plate. Nick Gordon made his debut in 2021, and he also fits into the late-bloomer category. He may never develop Dozier's power, but he seemed to fit nicely into a utility role in the season's second half. 12. Twins Finalize Opening Day Roster Published: March 29 Author: Seth Stohs Minnesota was coming off of back-to-back AL Central titles, so there was plenty of hope associated with the Opening Day roster. One of the team's final decisions was to keep Kyle Garlick over Rooker. Garlick led the team in home runs throughout the spring, so it took an impressive showing for him to make the squad. 11. Ranking the Top-5 Remaining Free Agent Starters Published: December 1 Author: Cody Christie Minnesota had yet to acquire any starting pitching outside of Dylan Bundy, with the lockout looming. There were some clear names at the top of the free-agent rankings, but things dropped off in a hurry. One of the players has already signed, but the other four players are still available if Minnesota wants to pursue them for 2022. Stop back and check out the top stories of the year. Which of these stories will you remember the most? 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
  25. If you’ve been reading Twins Daily lately, I hope you haven’t missed Nick Nelson's piece on the front office avoiding free-agent starters. Derek Falvey has largely missed on the names he’s targeted, and he’s sat out on most of them. Length has been this club’s sticking point, and as Nick points out, it’s also been the track record of this front office. Cleveland sustained winning through pitching. The arms were developed internally, inexpensively, and near-peak of their projections. Given the success Falvey has seen using this blueprint and operating with the same parameters that Minnesota is not a sought-after destination, it’s understandable for him to get creative. That leaves opportunity on the trade market, like sending a high-end reliever in Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers for an established arm like Kenta Maeda. I believe at least one trade will bring in a top-of-the-rotation starter, but dollars still need to be allocated. How about looking at this route. Come on down, Kris Bryant. Going into 2021, I had made a couple of points to suggest dealing for the former Cubs third basemen made a lot of sense. He can play left field and first base and had just a year left on his deal while fully intending to hit free agency. Minnesota declined, and the San Francisco Giants utilized him for their stretch run. Now a free agent, Bryant is a better fit for the Twins than you imagine. Even with the Cubs manipulation of the Vegas natives’ service time, Bryant will play 2022 at just 30 years old. His “injuries” have been largely overstated in that he’s missed significant time in just two of his seven big league seasons. When healthy, he’s been among the best in the sport. Coming off a 2021 in which he posted an .835 OPS with 25 homers, Bryant flashed his versatility played every position except for second base and catcher. He’s best suited on the corners, either in the infield or outfield, and that’s where the fit lies with the Twins. Josh Donaldson was mostly fine last season, posting an .827 OPS. He played in 135 games but was immediately on the Injured List with a leg issue to start the season. Donaldson needed significant time in the designated hitter spot to be eased back in, and he’s now another year older. Luis Arraez plays second base for Minnesota, but not well, and has bulky knees. Jose Miranda has forced his way into time, but that could come anywhere. What version of Miguel Sano shows up in his final contract year remains to be seen. Alex Kirilloff figures to play more first base than anything, and Trevor Larnach’s rebound is uncertain. Maybe the most significant linchpin here is if and when Max Kepler is moved. That’s a ton of moving pieces, but just one (with Kepler being the most likely), needs to be moved for a perfect set of musical chairs. Spending on bats seems to be much more fruitful on the free-agent market, and giving Bryant a three-to-five-year deal may be enough to have him call Twins Territory home. This lineup should already do plenty of damage when on, and adding Bryant to it only helps to supplement a pitching staff that would leave plenty to be desired. Spending dollars on his bat gets easier as the top of the Twins farm assumes rotation spots, and his versatility doesn’t hamstring any single player. With the Giants interested in retaining his services, the Seattle Mariners lurking, and Scott Boras angling for the biggest deal, there’s plenty of reasons this won’t happen before even considering the Twins. That all being said, the fit is there, and spending needs to happen regardless. Rather than continuing to do nothing with the funds freed up in trading Jose Berrios, it certainly makes sense to grab a player of impact instead of spreading them out between roster filler. Kris Bryant doesn’t pitch, and he isn’t a shortstop, but somehow this still seems to work. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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