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  1. Before being injured, Royce Lewis was being used in a multi-position role at Triple-A. With Lewis out of the picture for 2022, one prospect might be stepping up to fill the void. Depth is vital to any roster trying to stay in contention throughout a 162-game season. Organizations adopt a next-man-up mentality as injuries or poor performance push other players out of the picture. Minnesota has seen this occur multiple times this season, and another player might be ready to step into a second-half role. The Twins selected Spencer Steer in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of the University of Oregon. He immediately impacted the organization as he hit .280/.385/.424 (.809) in 64 games between rookie ball and Low-A. Defensively, he played over 120 innings at shortstop, third base, and second base, and it looked like the 2020 season was going to be vital for his development as a prospect. Unfortunately, no minor league games were played that season and Steer didn’t get a plate appearance in his age-22 season. As the 2021 season began, the Twins had Steer start the year at High-A, where he was slightly older than the average age of the competition. He posted a .915 OPS in 45 games before being called up to Double-A, where his OPS dropped by over 140 points. Steer accumulated 45 extra-base hits in 110 games which was quite the jump from the power numbers he posted during his collegiate career. Signs pointed to Steer adjusting as a professional, but few predicted what was coming in 2022. Steer headed back to Double-A to begin this season, and he destroyed the ball. In 35 games, he hit .307/.385/.591 (.976) with 22 extra-base hits and a 23-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio. Minnesota promoted him to Triple-A, and unlike the 2021 season, he didn’t miss a beat with the change in competition. Since joining the Saints, Steer has a .907 OPS with six doubles and 11 home runs in 28 games. He is 2.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A, and he has faced older pitchers in 74% of his at-bats. His succeeding on the doorstep to the big leagues, so a call-up is not out of the question. Connecting back to Lewis, Steer is a powerful right-handed bat with the defensive flexibility to play multiple infield positions. Unlike Lewis, Steer has been playing multiple defensive positions throughout his professional career, so there isn’t a learning curve involved with his transition. During the 2022 season, Steer has played over 100 innings at every infield position besides first base. The Twins have other players ahead of Steer on the current depth chart, but one injury may result in the team needing a replacement. During the 2021 season, Twins fans watched as Jose Miranda had one of the best minor league seasons in franchise history. At Double- and Triple-A, he posted a .973 OPS with 30 doubles and 32 home runs in 127 games. It seemed like Miranda earned a late-season call-up, but he wasn’t on the 40-man roster, and the Twins didn’t see a reason to rush him. Steer faces the same hurdle as he isn’t on the 40-man roster, and the team isn’t required to move him quickly. Steer isn’t considered the same prospect type as Lewis, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help a contending team. There is a lot of baseball left to be played, and Steer has moved his name into the conversation as one of the organization’s best prospects. Do you think Steer will make his debut in 2022? Can he help fill the void left by Lewis? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. The Twins rebounded to take game two of their doubleheader and increase their divisional lead to three games. A strong start from Josh Winder was backed up by home runs from Jorge Polanco, Jose Miranda, and Byron Buxton. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO (81 pitches, 59 strikes) Homeruns: Jorge Polanco (8), Jose Miranda (5), Byron Buxton (20) Top 3 WPA: Josh Winder .251, Jorge Polanco .222, Luis Arraez .146 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday evening, after a frustrating afternoon loss, the Twins concluded their double header against the Guardians. Here’s how they lined up for game two. Early in the game, shadows were creeping across the mount, making for tricky sight lines for hitters on both sides. Josh Winder, acting as the Twins 27th player for the double-header, struggled a little in the early going. In the first inning, Winder worked around a walk and a single. In the second, a leadoff double. In each case, Winder really clamped down after allowing baserunners, gaining increasing command of his fastball and slider. The Twins offense, meanwhile, began to assert control in the third inning against Konnor Pilkington. Luis Arraez tripled home Carlos Correa, who comically waited to be helped up from his slide at home plate after a long run. Jorge Polanco followed this with a 409-foot home run to left field, increasing the Twins lead to 3-0 after three innings. After the second inning, Winder began to impress. In the next four innings, the only base runners he allowed were two doubles and a hit batter. He worked through six scoreless innings, and despite only striking out one, had Cleveland’s hitters off balance. Winder, when healthy, continues to look like a legitimately high ceiling starting pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball, an excellent slider, and a BB% of just 7.4% entering today’s start. In the top of the fourth inning, back to back base running blunders cost the Twins the opportunity to increase their lead. Ryan Jeffers smoked a fly ball to right field, but was slow out of the box and was thrown out at second base on a perfect relay from the Guardians defense. Jose Miranda followed this up by being caught off third base on an attempted squeeze play, keeping the score 3-0. The Twins added a run in the fifth on a Jorge Polanco groundout that was ruled a double play on the field. The Twins successfully challenged and increased the lead to 4-0. In the top of the sixth, Miranda made up for his base running blunder by crushing a long home run to left field, increasing the lead to 5-0. The Twins turned it over to their bullpen in the seventh inning, which was in good shape after back-to-back strong starts from Twins starting pitchers. Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless seventh inning, giving up a single and striking out a batter. Jovani Moran worked the eighth inning, taking care of the Guardians second, third, and fourth hitters in order. In the top of the ninth, the Twins added on. Byron Buxton crushed a 427 foot home run to straight away center field, his 20th of the season, a career high, on June 28th. Moran returned in the ninth inning, again retiring the side in order. The Twins moved to 5-4 in their season series against the Guardians, and restored their three game lead in the AL Central heading into game four of the series on Wednesday night. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Duffey 28 0 15 0 12 55 Cotton 0 25 0 24 0 49 Pagan 0 0 22 0 22 44 Thornburg 7 35 0 0 0 42 Moran 0 0 0 0 34 34 Jax 0 12 0 0 21 33 Theilbar 0 0 19 0 10 29 Duran 0 0 18 0 0 18 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins, against Cal Quantrill for the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. Postgame Interviews View full article
  3. The Twins lost to the Guardians in familiarly frustrating fashion on Tuesday. The third Emilio Pagán meltdown in a week wasted a gem by Devin Smeltzer and a huge home run by Carlos Correa. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO (95 pitches, 63 strikes) Homeruns: Carlos Correa (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Emilio Pagán -.538, Gio Urshela -.236, Luis Arraez -.161 Bottom Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins kicked off an important double header against Cleveland, after a commanding win on Monday night. Here’s how they lined up for game one of their split doubleheader. On the mound, the game offered a rematch of the final game of the last series between the two teams. On that occasion, a Nick Gordon solo home run provided the lone scoring punctuating a pair of strong pitching performances, Tuesday provided more of the same. Zach Plesac struggled for command early, walking Carlos Correa and Max Kepler in the top of the first inning, but inducing a weak ground ball from hit-hitting Alex Kirilloff to end the moderate first-inning threat. In the bottom of the frame, the Guardians got on the board in bizarre fashion. After Ahmed Rosario singled on a ground ball to left field Franmil Reyes doubled on a ball to shallow right field. Alex Kirilloff clearly lost the ball in the sun and Max Kepler, jogging in casually from the outfield, looked like he assumed Kirilloff would make the play. The batted ball, with an xBA of .010, traveled 65 feet but landed for a double, scoring Rosario all the way from first base. After a hit-by-pitch in the second inning and a single in the third inning, Smeltzer really settled in and found a groove. He retired ten consecutive batters (six by strikeout) before allowing a Jose Ramirez double in the bottom of the sixth inning. Smeltzer relied heavily on his changeup and kept Cleveland’s offense off balance, inducing 12 swings and misses in his outing. The Minnesota offense, meanwhile, looked destined to be shut out for a league-leading eleventh time by the Guardians. Through six innings, Plesac had accumulated a whopping 17 swings and misses. Aside from a pair of fourth-inning singles, the Twins weren’t able to muster much offensively, a continued, frustrating trend of an up and down Twins offense. Finally, in the seventh inning, the offense broke through. Jose Miranda laced a 109 mph double down the left field line for a double before Gilberto Celestino crushed a triple to left center field off outstanding Guardians reliever Evan Morgan, tying the game at 1-1. In the bottom of the seventh, Griffin Jax relieved Smeltzer. After quickly retiring Oscar Gonzalez, Jax dropped a flip from Alex Kirilloff while covering first base, allowing Andres Gimenez to reach first on an error. Jax quickly recovered to induce two ground outs to end the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, the Twins took their first lead of the game. Minnesota native Sam Hentges came out in relief for Cleveland. Carlos Correa took an elevated fastball deep to left field for his ninth home run of the year. Max Kepler reached second base on a Hentges throwing error a batter latter, on an excuse me infield dribbler from Kepler. Garlick drilled a 107 mph line drive straight at the center fielder, before Byron Buxton pinch hit for Alex Kirilloff. Buxton and Gary Sanchez struck out to end the inning. Predictably, Emilio Pagán immediately undid all of the momentum, and all of the hard work. After entering in the bottom of the eighth inning against the bottom of the Cleveland lineup, he surrendered two walks, a wild pitch, and a single, to give the Guardians the lead at 3-2 and put Emmanuel Clase on deck to close the game. It was yet another late-inning meltdown against the Guardians, yet another wasted big moment, and yet another example of how fragile, inconsistent, and lacking in quality the Twins bullpen is. Caleb Thielbar relieved Pagán and cleaned up the mess, but the damage was already done. Clase closed the game for Cleveland, marking the third time in a week the Twins bullpen, Pagán specifically, has thrown away a game close and late. Game two will follow tonight. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Cotton 0 25 0 24 0 49 Pagan 0 0 22 0 22 44 Duffey 28 0 15 0 0 43 Thornburg 7 35 0 0 0 42 Jax 0 12 0 0 21 33 Theilbar 0 0 19 0 10 29 Duran 0 0 18 0 0 18 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Tuesday night, the Twins will conclude their double header against Cleveland. Josh Winder gets the start for the Twins, against Konnor Pilkington of the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins, against Cal Quantrill for the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. Postgame Interviews - Coming Soon View full article
  4. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO (81 pitches, 59 strikes) Homeruns: Jorge Polanco (8), Jose Miranda (5), Byron Buxton (20) Top 3 WPA: Josh Winder .251, Jorge Polanco .222, Luis Arraez .146 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday evening, after a frustrating afternoon loss, the Twins concluded their double header against the Guardians. Here’s how they lined up for game two. Early in the game, shadows were creeping across the mount, making for tricky sight lines for hitters on both sides. Josh Winder, acting as the Twins 27th player for the double-header, struggled a little in the early going. In the first inning, Winder worked around a walk and a single. In the second, a leadoff double. In each case, Winder really clamped down after allowing baserunners, gaining increasing command of his fastball and slider. The Twins offense, meanwhile, began to assert control in the third inning against Konnor Pilkington. Luis Arraez tripled home Carlos Correa, who comically waited to be helped up from his slide at home plate after a long run. Jorge Polanco followed this with a 409-foot home run to left field, increasing the Twins lead to 3-0 after three innings. After the second inning, Winder began to impress. In the next four innings, the only base runners he allowed were two doubles and a hit batter. He worked through six scoreless innings, and despite only striking out one, had Cleveland’s hitters off balance. Winder, when healthy, continues to look like a legitimately high ceiling starting pitcher, with a mid-90s fastball, an excellent slider, and a BB% of just 7.4% entering today’s start. In the top of the fourth inning, back to back base running blunders cost the Twins the opportunity to increase their lead. Ryan Jeffers smoked a fly ball to right field, but was slow out of the box and was thrown out at second base on a perfect relay from the Guardians defense. Jose Miranda followed this up by being caught off third base on an attempted squeeze play, keeping the score 3-0. The Twins added a run in the fifth on a Jorge Polanco groundout that was ruled a double play on the field. The Twins successfully challenged and increased the lead to 4-0. In the top of the sixth, Miranda made up for his base running blunder by crushing a long home run to left field, increasing the lead to 5-0. The Twins turned it over to their bullpen in the seventh inning, which was in good shape after back-to-back strong starts from Twins starting pitchers. Tyler Duffey pitched a scoreless seventh inning, giving up a single and striking out a batter. Jovani Moran worked the eighth inning, taking care of the Guardians second, third, and fourth hitters in order. In the top of the ninth, the Twins added on. Byron Buxton crushed a 427 foot home run to straight away center field, his 20th of the season, a career high, on June 28th. Moran returned in the ninth inning, again retiring the side in order. The Twins moved to 5-4 in their season series against the Guardians, and restored their three game lead in the AL Central heading into game four of the series on Wednesday night. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Duffey 28 0 15 0 12 55 Cotton 0 25 0 24 0 49 Pagan 0 0 22 0 22 44 Thornburg 7 35 0 0 0 42 Moran 0 0 0 0 34 34 Jax 0 12 0 0 21 33 Theilbar 0 0 19 0 10 29 Duran 0 0 18 0 0 18 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins, against Cal Quantrill for the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. Postgame Interviews
  5. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Devin Smeltzer 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO (95 pitches, 63 strikes) Homeruns: Carlos Correa (9) Bottom 3 WPA: Emilio Pagán -.538, Gio Urshela -.236, Luis Arraez -.161 Bottom Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins kicked off an important double header against Cleveland, after a commanding win on Monday night. Here’s how they lined up for game one of their split doubleheader. On the mound, the game offered a rematch of the final game of the last series between the two teams. On that occasion, a Nick Gordon solo home run provided the lone scoring punctuating a pair of strong pitching performances, Tuesday provided more of the same. Zach Plesac struggled for command early, walking Carlos Correa and Max Kepler in the top of the first inning, but inducing a weak ground ball from hit-hitting Alex Kirilloff to end the moderate first-inning threat. In the bottom of the frame, the Guardians got on the board in bizarre fashion. After Ahmed Rosario singled on a ground ball to left field Franmil Reyes doubled on a ball to shallow right field. Alex Kirilloff clearly lost the ball in the sun and Max Kepler, jogging in casually from the outfield, looked like he assumed Kirilloff would make the play. The batted ball, with an xBA of .010, traveled 65 feet but landed for a double, scoring Rosario all the way from first base. After a hit-by-pitch in the second inning and a single in the third inning, Smeltzer really settled in and found a groove. He retired ten consecutive batters (six by strikeout) before allowing a Jose Ramirez double in the bottom of the sixth inning. Smeltzer relied heavily on his changeup and kept Cleveland’s offense off balance, inducing 12 swings and misses in his outing. The Minnesota offense, meanwhile, looked destined to be shut out for a league-leading eleventh time by the Guardians. Through six innings, Plesac had accumulated a whopping 17 swings and misses. Aside from a pair of fourth-inning singles, the Twins weren’t able to muster much offensively, a continued, frustrating trend of an up and down Twins offense. Finally, in the seventh inning, the offense broke through. Jose Miranda laced a 109 mph double down the left field line for a double before Gilberto Celestino crushed a triple to left center field off outstanding Guardians reliever Evan Morgan, tying the game at 1-1. In the bottom of the seventh, Griffin Jax relieved Smeltzer. After quickly retiring Oscar Gonzalez, Jax dropped a flip from Alex Kirilloff while covering first base, allowing Andres Gimenez to reach first on an error. Jax quickly recovered to induce two ground outs to end the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, the Twins took their first lead of the game. Minnesota native Sam Hentges came out in relief for Cleveland. Carlos Correa took an elevated fastball deep to left field for his ninth home run of the year. Max Kepler reached second base on a Hentges throwing error a batter latter, on an excuse me infield dribbler from Kepler. Garlick drilled a 107 mph line drive straight at the center fielder, before Byron Buxton pinch hit for Alex Kirilloff. Buxton and Gary Sanchez struck out to end the inning. Predictably, Emilio Pagán immediately undid all of the momentum, and all of the hard work. After entering in the bottom of the eighth inning against the bottom of the Cleveland lineup, he surrendered two walks, a wild pitch, and a single, to give the Guardians the lead at 3-2 and put Emmanuel Clase on deck to close the game. It was yet another late-inning meltdown against the Guardians, yet another wasted big moment, and yet another example of how fragile, inconsistent, and lacking in quality the Twins bullpen is. Caleb Thielbar relieved Pagán and cleaned up the mess, but the damage was already done. Clase closed the game for Cleveland, marking the third time in a week the Twins bullpen, Pagán specifically, has thrown away a game close and late. Game two will follow tonight. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Cotton 0 25 0 24 0 49 Pagan 0 0 22 0 22 44 Duffey 28 0 15 0 0 43 Thornburg 7 35 0 0 0 42 Jax 0 12 0 0 21 33 Theilbar 0 0 19 0 10 29 Duran 0 0 18 0 0 18 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Next Up On Tuesday night, the Twins will conclude their double header against Cleveland. Josh Winder gets the start for the Twins, against Konnor Pilkington of the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their series against Cleveland. Dylan Bundy goes for the Twins, against Cal Quantrill for the Guardians. First pitch is at 6:10 CT. Postgame Interviews - Coming Soon
  6. Depth is vital to any roster trying to stay in contention throughout a 162-game season. Organizations adopt a next-man-up mentality as injuries or poor performance push other players out of the picture. Minnesota has seen this occur multiple times this season, and another player might be ready to step into a second-half role. The Twins selected Spencer Steer in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of the University of Oregon. He immediately impacted the organization as he hit .280/.385/.424 (.809) in 64 games between rookie ball and Low-A. Defensively, he played over 120 innings at shortstop, third base, and second base, and it looked like the 2020 season was going to be vital for his development as a prospect. Unfortunately, no minor league games were played that season and Steer didn’t get a plate appearance in his age-22 season. As the 2021 season began, the Twins had Steer start the year at High-A, where he was slightly older than the average age of the competition. He posted a .915 OPS in 45 games before being called up to Double-A, where his OPS dropped by over 140 points. Steer accumulated 45 extra-base hits in 110 games which was quite the jump from the power numbers he posted during his collegiate career. Signs pointed to Steer adjusting as a professional, but few predicted what was coming in 2022. Steer headed back to Double-A to begin this season, and he destroyed the ball. In 35 games, he hit .307/.385/.591 (.976) with 22 extra-base hits and a 23-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio. Minnesota promoted him to Triple-A, and unlike the 2021 season, he didn’t miss a beat with the change in competition. Since joining the Saints, Steer has a .907 OPS with six doubles and 11 home runs in 28 games. He is 2.5 years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A, and he has faced older pitchers in 74% of his at-bats. His succeeding on the doorstep to the big leagues, so a call-up is not out of the question. Connecting back to Lewis, Steer is a powerful right-handed bat with the defensive flexibility to play multiple infield positions. Unlike Lewis, Steer has been playing multiple defensive positions throughout his professional career, so there isn’t a learning curve involved with his transition. During the 2022 season, Steer has played over 100 innings at every infield position besides first base. The Twins have other players ahead of Steer on the current depth chart, but one injury may result in the team needing a replacement. During the 2021 season, Twins fans watched as Jose Miranda had one of the best minor league seasons in franchise history. At Double- and Triple-A, he posted a .973 OPS with 30 doubles and 32 home runs in 127 games. It seemed like Miranda earned a late-season call-up, but he wasn’t on the 40-man roster, and the Twins didn’t see a reason to rush him. Steer faces the same hurdle as he isn’t on the 40-man roster, and the team isn’t required to move him quickly. Steer isn’t considered the same prospect type as Lewis, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help a contending team. There is a lot of baseball left to be played, and Steer has moved his name into the conversation as one of the organization’s best prospects. Do you think Steer will make his debut in 2022? Can he help fill the void left by Lewis? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. Jose Miranda has been treated more like an expendable veteran than an up and coming top prospect since his recall. It's time for the Twins to take a leap and see what they have in their former minor league hitter of the year. Jose Miranda was brought aboard the Twins organization as a shortstop/second/third base type player years ago. Despite that fact, he's played first base almost exclusively since making his debut, and basically only plays a couple days per week against left handed pitching. Not only has his usage directly contradicted the Twins handling of top prospects in the past, but it's also crippled his ability to show that he belongs in the MLB. Jose Miranda is deserving of so much more. Defensive Ability Miranda has come to develop the reputation as a terrible defender among fans already, which is true if you're talking about first base. Many are quick to judge his ability at third base as surely if he can't handle what's considered the easiest infield position he can't play anywhere else. Unfortunately for Miranda, he was thrust into the role he has now as the Twins lack any other right handed hitters capable of playing first base. Miranda played some first the last few years in the minors, though his innings there were insignificant compared to his time at second and third. We've seen him mess up all kinds of in between plays on defense, which makes sense considering he's been forced to debut at what is not his primary position. In his limited time at 3rd base with the big league club, he's made one error and there isn't close to enough of a sample size yet to deem him a bad defender. Offensive Ability Despite the Twins unwillingness to budge from their current platooning of Miranda, his bat has been good enough to warrant more of a look. While players such as Sanchez, Kepler and Larnach are limping through June, Miranda has posted a .314/.340/.510 line which almost directly coincides with his recall from AAA at the end of May. Any hitter can go on a hot stretch, but Miranda's numbers since returning to Target Field are showing off what made him the 2021 minor league hitter of the year. He has contact skills, he has plate discipline, he has power. We saw a defensively inept Luis Arraez make himself expendable in 2019 based solely on his bat and look at him now. What else does Miranda have to do at the plate? The Twins Can Make Room The Twins don't have quite the log jam it appears they do in the lineup. It's understandable why Miranda is on the short end of a platoon at first base when they have Kirilloff and Arraez to mash right handed pitching. Across the rest of the lineup however, opportunity should exist. The Twins just continue to write out lineup cards that include both Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers. Not only does this open them up for disaster if the starting catcher gets injured, it's just plain ineffective. Both catchers are capable of going on a run offensively for short periods, Jeffers is on one now. Both however are below league average hitters at the moment, and going an extra mile to get a second catcher in your lineup regardless of the name seems like getting too cute. MI'd argue it's worth getting Miranda some DH at bats instead of one of the catchers that we expect little offensive value from. In addition to DH, Gio Urshela just does not need to be the 7 days per week starting third baseman. The best day at the plate he's had all season on Wednesday elevated him from a below average hitter to slightly above. He was worth 0 fWAR coming into that game making him exactly a replacement level player. His increase by 0.2 in one game is impressive, but his total value on the season still isn't anything special and I don't think we expect such performances from him regularly. In addition, Urshela's defense appears to be overrated by many, mainly because he can make some incredible plays at the hot corner while also booting plays that should be routine. It's a very interesting skillset for Urshela who definitely holds his own but doesn't have a gold glove like defensive skill to keep him in the lineup regardless of his bat. Mixing Miranda in every once in awhile just to evaluate him at his primary position just shouldn't be difficult. The Twins usage of Miranda has been perplexing. We've heard them say it a million times, most recently with Royce Lewis. They don't want him on the big league club if he can't play everyday. Miranda isn't the high profile prospect Lewis is, but they're treating him like they don't care about his development at all. They're DHing below league average catchers and awarding 100% playing time to players who don't deserve it while Miranda, one of the team's hottest hitters in June, plays a couple days per week. It's possible the Twins don't see Miranda as a future regular, an odd conclusion to already be drawing. Perhaps they see him as a trade piece as many have suggested, although I'd argue playing him solely at a foreign position on very rare occasions isn't the best way to showcase his skills. At any rate, Jose Miranda needs more of a look. After one of the single greatest minor league seasons in Twins history, Miranda has earned more than pinch hit and weak side platoon duty on a big league club that hasn't exactly been steamrolling the competition recently. Would you like to see more Jose Miranda in the Twins lineup? Let us know below! View full article
  8. Jose Miranda was brought aboard the Twins organization as a shortstop/second/third base type player years ago. Despite that fact, he's played first base almost exclusively since making his debut, and basically only plays a couple days per week against left handed pitching. Not only has his usage directly contradicted the Twins handling of top prospects in the past, but it's also crippled his ability to show that he belongs in the MLB. Jose Miranda is deserving of so much more. Defensive Ability Miranda has come to develop the reputation as a terrible defender among fans already, which is true if you're talking about first base. Many are quick to judge his ability at third base as surely if he can't handle what's considered the easiest infield position he can't play anywhere else. Unfortunately for Miranda, he was thrust into the role he has now as the Twins lack any other right handed hitters capable of playing first base. Miranda played some first the last few years in the minors, though his innings there were insignificant compared to his time at second and third. We've seen him mess up all kinds of in between plays on defense, which makes sense considering he's been forced to debut at what is not his primary position. In his limited time at 3rd base with the big league club, he's made one error and there isn't close to enough of a sample size yet to deem him a bad defender. Offensive Ability Despite the Twins unwillingness to budge from their current platooning of Miranda, his bat has been good enough to warrant more of a look. While players such as Sanchez, Kepler and Larnach are limping through June, Miranda has posted a .314/.340/.510 line which almost directly coincides with his recall from AAA at the end of May. Any hitter can go on a hot stretch, but Miranda's numbers since returning to Target Field are showing off what made him the 2021 minor league hitter of the year. He has contact skills, he has plate discipline, he has power. We saw a defensively inept Luis Arraez make himself expendable in 2019 based solely on his bat and look at him now. What else does Miranda have to do at the plate? The Twins Can Make Room The Twins don't have quite the log jam it appears they do in the lineup. It's understandable why Miranda is on the short end of a platoon at first base when they have Kirilloff and Arraez to mash right handed pitching. Across the rest of the lineup however, opportunity should exist. The Twins just continue to write out lineup cards that include both Gary Sanchez and Ryan Jeffers. Not only does this open them up for disaster if the starting catcher gets injured, it's just plain ineffective. Both catchers are capable of going on a run offensively for short periods, Jeffers is on one now. Both however are below league average hitters at the moment, and going an extra mile to get a second catcher in your lineup regardless of the name seems like getting too cute. MI'd argue it's worth getting Miranda some DH at bats instead of one of the catchers that we expect little offensive value from. In addition to DH, Gio Urshela just does not need to be the 7 days per week starting third baseman. The best day at the plate he's had all season on Wednesday elevated him from a below average hitter to slightly above. He was worth 0 fWAR coming into that game making him exactly a replacement level player. His increase by 0.2 in one game is impressive, but his total value on the season still isn't anything special and I don't think we expect such performances from him regularly. In addition, Urshela's defense appears to be overrated by many, mainly because he can make some incredible plays at the hot corner while also booting plays that should be routine. It's a very interesting skillset for Urshela who definitely holds his own but doesn't have a gold glove like defensive skill to keep him in the lineup regardless of his bat. Mixing Miranda in every once in awhile just to evaluate him at his primary position just shouldn't be difficult. The Twins usage of Miranda has been perplexing. We've heard them say it a million times, most recently with Royce Lewis. They don't want him on the big league club if he can't play everyday. Miranda isn't the high profile prospect Lewis is, but they're treating him like they don't care about his development at all. They're DHing below league average catchers and awarding 100% playing time to players who don't deserve it while Miranda, one of the team's hottest hitters in June, plays a couple days per week. It's possible the Twins don't see Miranda as a future regular, an odd conclusion to already be drawing. Perhaps they see him as a trade piece as many have suggested, although I'd argue playing him solely at a foreign position on very rare occasions isn't the best way to showcase his skills. At any rate, Jose Miranda needs more of a look. After one of the single greatest minor league seasons in Twins history, Miranda has earned more than pinch hit and weak side platoon duty on a big league club that hasn't exactly been steamrolling the competition recently. Would you like to see more Jose Miranda in the Twins lineup? Let us know below!
  9. If the post-lockout Twins taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. The team is now in first place and in need of reinforcements to make a push in October. Could they move their 2021 breakout prospect? José Miranda put together one of the best Minor League seasons in Twins history in 2021, hitting a ridiculous .344/.401/.572 with 30 homers in 127 games. Miranda, 23, emerged as a future building block for the Twins, an unbelievable development after he hit just .252/.302/.369 with eight homers in 2019. Miranda deserved an opportunity to join the Twins last September, but his debut waited until May 2nd in Baltimore. Over his first 14 MLB games, Miranda hit a paltry .094 with a .332 OPS. He didn’t belong, and many wondered how he was so successful in the high minors. Since then, Miranda has hit .318/.339/.556, showing off his contact skills and tremendous power. His defense at third and first base has certainly been an adventure, but he's a talented hitter adapting to the highest level. The Twins’ infield outlook is much murkier than it was a few weeks ago. Royce Lewis is out for the year (and into 2023), and Carlos Correa will likely opt out and enter free agency. Gio Urshela has provided stability at third and is under team control through 2023, and it’s fair to wonder whether the Twins will want to pay him close to $10 million through arbitration. One thing’s for sure: the Twins are in first place with a roster that can make noise with reinforcements. With so much unknown, the time to invest is now. Austin Martin and Jordan Balazovic have struggled to open the season, making it difficult to project their value in a trade. It’s unlikely the Twins would sell low on arguably their top two prospects, and it’s equally unlikely a team would be willing to part with highly sought-after players for two guys with significant question marks. Miranda is at least a step ahead of both of them. Could he be the Twins’ most valuable trade chip? The Twins have helped more than just Miranda tap into his power. Spencer Steer is hitting .273/.371/.649 at Triple-A, providing similar defensive versatility. Then there’s Martin, who hasn’t had the same development but still projects as a future regular, just not at shortstop. Lewis will need a spot upon his return as well. There’s potential redundancy here. While the Twins made multiple additions to improve their 2022 roster, the one that could potentially hurt their long-term future was the trade for Sonny Gray. Chase Petty has a chance to be an ace, but he’s many years away, and the Twins took the immediate impact in Gray, who is under team control through 2023. The trade for Chris Paddack cost Taylor Rogers, who will enter free agency following this season. Trading Miranda would be the first real hit on the short and long-term future. It takes money to make money, of course. The Twins had a chance to reinforce their roster at the 2019 deadline. They took a mid-level approach, trading for Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson. This time around, the Twins should be in on Frankie Montas, Luis Castillo, and any other frontline starter who is made available. They should be willing to part with top prospects. They should take opportunities to improve the roster. It’s time to end the dreadful Postseason losing streak, even if it means taking a massive risk. I’m a big believer in Jose Miranda. I think he can be a true middle-of-the-order bat for the next half-decade. I’m also a believer in the 2022 Twins. With Correa and Byron Buxton in the fold, the Twins have real upside in the tournament. A trade for Montas and a high-leverage reliever could be enough to vault them as a real threat. The American League is shockingly shallow. The Yankees are a force, as are the Astros. Behind them, the Twins can viably compete with anybody. They took two of three games from the Blue Jays in Toronto, won four of six from the Rays, and split with the Red Sox at Fenway. It's completely plausible that with the right moves, the Twins could create problems for the cream of the American League. Win the division, earn home field, and take your chances in October. The Twins have put themselves in a strong position. It’s time to take advantage in any way you can. Moving Miranda could provide that. What do you think? Could Miranda be the key piece in a trade to bring in impact players? Comment below! View full article
  10. José Miranda put together one of the best Minor League seasons in Twins history in 2021, hitting a ridiculous .344/.401/.572 with 30 homers in 127 games. Miranda, 23, emerged as a future building block for the Twins, an unbelievable development after he hit just .252/.302/.369 with eight homers in 2019. Miranda deserved an opportunity to join the Twins last September, but his debut waited until May 2nd in Baltimore. Over his first 14 MLB games, Miranda hit a paltry .094 with a .332 OPS. He didn’t belong, and many wondered how he was so successful in the high minors. Since then, Miranda has hit .318/.339/.556, showing off his contact skills and tremendous power. His defense at third and first base has certainly been an adventure, but he's a talented hitter adapting to the highest level. The Twins’ infield outlook is much murkier than it was a few weeks ago. Royce Lewis is out for the year (and into 2023), and Carlos Correa will likely opt out and enter free agency. Gio Urshela has provided stability at third and is under team control through 2023, and it’s fair to wonder whether the Twins will want to pay him close to $10 million through arbitration. One thing’s for sure: the Twins are in first place with a roster that can make noise with reinforcements. With so much unknown, the time to invest is now. Austin Martin and Jordan Balazovic have struggled to open the season, making it difficult to project their value in a trade. It’s unlikely the Twins would sell low on arguably their top two prospects, and it’s equally unlikely a team would be willing to part with highly sought-after players for two guys with significant question marks. Miranda is at least a step ahead of both of them. Could he be the Twins’ most valuable trade chip? The Twins have helped more than just Miranda tap into his power. Spencer Steer is hitting .273/.371/.649 at Triple-A, providing similar defensive versatility. Then there’s Martin, who hasn’t had the same development but still projects as a future regular, just not at shortstop. Lewis will need a spot upon his return as well. There’s potential redundancy here. While the Twins made multiple additions to improve their 2022 roster, the one that could potentially hurt their long-term future was the trade for Sonny Gray. Chase Petty has a chance to be an ace, but he’s many years away, and the Twins took the immediate impact in Gray, who is under team control through 2023. The trade for Chris Paddack cost Taylor Rogers, who will enter free agency following this season. Trading Miranda would be the first real hit on the short and long-term future. It takes money to make money, of course. The Twins had a chance to reinforce their roster at the 2019 deadline. They took a mid-level approach, trading for Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson. This time around, the Twins should be in on Frankie Montas, Luis Castillo, and any other frontline starter who is made available. They should be willing to part with top prospects. They should take opportunities to improve the roster. It’s time to end the dreadful Postseason losing streak, even if it means taking a massive risk. I’m a big believer in Jose Miranda. I think he can be a true middle-of-the-order bat for the next half-decade. I’m also a believer in the 2022 Twins. With Correa and Byron Buxton in the fold, the Twins have real upside in the tournament. A trade for Montas and a high-leverage reliever could be enough to vault them as a real threat. The American League is shockingly shallow. The Yankees are a force, as are the Astros. Behind them, the Twins can viably compete with anybody. They took two of three games from the Blue Jays in Toronto, won four of six from the Rays, and split with the Red Sox at Fenway. It's completely plausible that with the right moves, the Twins could create problems for the cream of the American League. Win the division, earn home field, and take your chances in October. The Twins have put themselves in a strong position. It’s time to take advantage in any way you can. Moving Miranda could provide that. What do you think? Could Miranda be the key piece in a trade to bring in impact players? Comment below!
  11. Six years ago, the Twins had one of their strongest drafts in recent memory. All five of their top picks from that draft have debuted, so let’s look at how this draft unfolded. 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 2015 season was a compelling time in Twins Territory as the club finished in second place in the AL Central after four straight 90-loss seasons. An improved record meant Minnesota drafted in the middle of the 2016 MLB Draft instead of near the top. Because the team had the 15th overall pick, it can make it tougher to project which players will be available and how the team can get as much value as possible for their picks. Minnesota selected outfielder Alex Kirilloff out of high school in Pittsburgh, PA. He was known for his advanced hitting approach, which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. Out of players selected in the first round, Kirilloff (0.4 WAR) currently ranks 13th according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR. Eight players selected behind him rank higher in career WAR, including Will Smith (8.1 WAR), Dakota Hudson (4.5 WAR), Gavin Lux (4.3 WAR), and Eric Lauer (3.8 WAR). Many of these names played in college, so they were expected to debut before Kirilloff. Only three high school players taken in the first round have accumulated more WAR than Kirilloff (Lux, Ian Anderson, and Dylan Carlson). During the second round, the Twins had three different picks, and all three have made their debuts over the last two seasons. Minnesota selected Ben Rortvedt with the 56th overall pick, and he has been worth -0.1 WAR in 39 career games. He was included as part of the Josh Donaldson trade and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May. Rortvedt may never hit well enough to be an everyday catcher, but he is a solid backup with strong defensive skills. Later in the second round, the Twins had back-to-back picks and took Jose Miranda and Akil Baddoo. Miranda won the team’s minor league player of the year last year after dominating in the minor’s upper levels. His big-league career started slowly, but his bat is showing signs of the hitter he was last season. Over his last 16 games, Miranda has a 1.012 OPS with six doubles and three home runs. The Tigers selected Baddoo in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, and he posted a 111 OPS+ in 124 games last season. He started the 2022 season by going 7-for-50 (.140 BA), and he is currently in the minors trying to rediscover his swing. Minnesota’s third-round pick was Griffin Jax from the United State Air Force Academy. During his rookie campaign, the Twins used Jax as a starter, and he posted a 6.37 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP. There were some positive signs in his numbers as he did very well the first time through a line-up, so the team moved him to the bullpen for 2022. His transition to reliever has been outstanding as the team has relied on him to get some crucial outs this season. Jordan Balazovic ranks as one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects, and the team took him with their fifth-round pick. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2022 season. His season started late as he dealt with a left knee strain, and he has made six starts at Triple-A this season, and he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.33 WHIP. If he can put together some more consistent outings, there will be an opportunity for him to debut in 2022. Tyler Wells is developing into a solid late-round pick by the Twins (453rd overall). Unfortunately, the Orioles selected him in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, so his value has been earned in a Baltimore jersey. His 1.8 WAR is the highest total of any Twins player taken in the 2016 Draft. Last season, he pitched out of the bullpen and posted a 109 ERA+ with a 0.91 WHIP. The Orioles moved him to the rotation this season, and he has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 12 starts. Kirilloff still has a long career ahead of him to accumulate value for the Twins, but there were other strong players in the first round that Minnesota passed over. Overall, the Twins found talent that is emerging at the big-league level, and the total value won’t be known for multiple more years. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Kirilloff? Should the team have left Baddoo and Wells unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2012 MLB Draft Retrospective View full article
  12. 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 2015 season was a compelling time in Twins Territory as the club finished in second place in the AL Central after four straight 90-loss seasons. An improved record meant Minnesota drafted in the middle of the 2016 MLB Draft instead of near the top. Because the team had the 15th overall pick, it can make it tougher to project which players will be available and how the team can get as much value as possible for their picks. Minnesota selected outfielder Alex Kirilloff out of high school in Pittsburgh, PA. He was known for his advanced hitting approach, which has been his calling card throughout his professional career. Out of players selected in the first round, Kirilloff (0.4 WAR) currently ranks 13th according to Baseball-Reference’s WAR. Eight players selected behind him rank higher in career WAR, including Will Smith (8.1 WAR), Dakota Hudson (4.5 WAR), Gavin Lux (4.3 WAR), and Eric Lauer (3.8 WAR). Many of these names played in college, so they were expected to debut before Kirilloff. Only three high school players taken in the first round have accumulated more WAR than Kirilloff (Lux, Ian Anderson, and Dylan Carlson). During the second round, the Twins had three different picks, and all three have made their debuts over the last two seasons. Minnesota selected Ben Rortvedt with the 56th overall pick, and he has been worth -0.1 WAR in 39 career games. He was included as part of the Josh Donaldson trade and underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May. Rortvedt may never hit well enough to be an everyday catcher, but he is a solid backup with strong defensive skills. Later in the second round, the Twins had back-to-back picks and took Jose Miranda and Akil Baddoo. Miranda won the team’s minor league player of the year last year after dominating in the minor’s upper levels. His big-league career started slowly, but his bat is showing signs of the hitter he was last season. Over his last 16 games, Miranda has a 1.012 OPS with six doubles and three home runs. The Tigers selected Baddoo in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, and he posted a 111 OPS+ in 124 games last season. He started the 2022 season by going 7-for-50 (.140 BA), and he is currently in the minors trying to rediscover his swing. Minnesota’s third-round pick was Griffin Jax from the United State Air Force Academy. During his rookie campaign, the Twins used Jax as a starter, and he posted a 6.37 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP. There were some positive signs in his numbers as he did very well the first time through a line-up, so the team moved him to the bullpen for 2022. His transition to reliever has been outstanding as the team has relied on him to get some crucial outs this season. Jordan Balazovic ranks as one of Minnesota’s top pitching prospects, and the team took him with their fifth-round pick. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him in their top-100 prospects entering the 2022 season. His season started late as he dealt with a left knee strain, and he has made six starts at Triple-A this season, and he has a 9.00 ERA with a 2.33 WHIP. If he can put together some more consistent outings, there will be an opportunity for him to debut in 2022. Tyler Wells is developing into a solid late-round pick by the Twins (453rd overall). Unfortunately, the Orioles selected him in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft, so his value has been earned in a Baltimore jersey. His 1.8 WAR is the highest total of any Twins player taken in the 2016 Draft. Last season, he pitched out of the bullpen and posted a 109 ERA+ with a 0.91 WHIP. The Orioles moved him to the rotation this season, and he has a 3.86 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 12 starts. Kirilloff still has a long career ahead of him to accumulate value for the Twins, but there were other strong players in the first round that Minnesota passed over. Overall, the Twins found talent that is emerging at the big-league level, and the total value won’t be known for multiple more years. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Kirilloff? Should the team have left Baddoo and Wells unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES -2012 MLB Draft Retrospective
  13. Everything clicked for the Twins on Wednesday night. Chris Archer had yet another solid start, and the offense had one of its best performances of the season, helping Minnesota to even the series with a rout of the Yankees. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K (70 pitches, 42 strikes, 60.0%) Home Runs: Ryan Jeffers (4), Byron Buxton (13) Top 3 WPA: Chris Archer (.159), Gio Urshela (.147), Byron Buxton (.100) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Unlike last night, when the Yankees scored four early runs against starter Cole Sands, they were held scoreless through four tonight against Chris Archer and some excellent fielding. Coming off his best start of the season, Archer was still hungry. He pitched three clean innings on 41 pitches, not allowing a hit nor using more than 17 pitches in any of them. He had some trouble with his command in the second inning, allowing two walks, but the defense also provided a crucial double play. It felt like his good outing was doomed during the fourth inning. He gave up a leadoff walk to Aaron Judge, then Giancarlo Stanton reached on a throwing error by Nick Gordon and was followed by a Josh Donaldson one-out walk to load the bases. Facing Gleyber Torres, Archer was able to induce a stunning inning-ending double play. By the time Archer completed four no-hit innings for the Twins, Yankees starter Nestor Cortés had pitched three perfect innings to start the game. Things would change for him in the following two innings. Minnesota manufactured two runs in the home half of the fourth, taking its first lead in the series. Still struggling to find his mojo, Byron Buxton fought a hard battle with Cortés, hitting a leadoff single after nine pitches. Carlos Correa singled right after him, then Gio Urshela, a couple of at-bats later, scored Buxton from second with a deep single to deep right. Cortés couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing another single, this time to José Miranda, on the very next at-bat, good enough to score Correa from second. Max Kepler nearly batted in another run for the Twins when he singled to center, but Aaron Hick’s arm was too strong for Urshela to score from second. Archer’s no-hit bid and shutout were both finished in the fifth when Hicks hit a leadoff single and later scored on a sac-fly. Fortunately, he was able to finish off the inning, and, for the first time this year, he has recorded back-to-back starts with at least five innings pitched. Have we reached the point in which Twins fans no longer need to doubt him? After Archer delivered five frames of one-run ball, it was time the offense added some insurance, and that didn’t take long to happen. Ryan Jeffers snapped an 0-for-21 slump by obliterating a cutter from Cortés into a 440 ft bomb to left, making it 3-1 Twins. Then, Buxton joined the party. Having hit only one home run since May 15, he took Cortés deep for the second time in the inning, making it 4-1 Twins and ending Cortés’ night. Since May 3, this is only the second multi-hit game for Buxton – but the second one in the last six days. The Twins put themselves in a great position to win the game in the following two innings. Now facing the Yankee bullpen, Urshela and Miranda opened the sixth inning with back-to-back doubles. Then, both of them were brought home on a Kepler groundout and a Trevor Larnach double. While Griffin Jax tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Archer, the offense continued to be productive. Buxton, Correa, and Jorge Polanco drew three consecutive walks to start the home seventh, allowing Miranda to bat in a couple more runs with his third hit of the night, making it 8-1 Twins. During the Bally Sports North broadcast, reporter Audra Martin brought up a fun story about Miranda. According to her, the Twins star prospect was approached by Correa in mid-May when he was struggling, batting only .094 for his first 14 games in the majors. Since the two infielders had that conversation during the Kansas City series, Miranda is batting .390. With a comfortable lead, Emilio Pagán and Caleb Thielbar had no trouble closing out the game. A fielding error by Miranda to start the ninth was erased by yet another double play turned by the Twins defense, their fourth of the night. What’s Next? The rubber game of the series is tomorrow, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:40 pm CDT. The Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (5.57 ERA) to try and secure another series win, while the Yankees will have ace Gerrit Cole (2.78 ERA) on the mound. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Cano 39 0 0 33 0 72 Duffey 0 28 0 19 0 47 Megill 0 0 0 38 0 38 Jax 0 9 0 0 27 36 Pagán 0 0 0 0 15 15 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 14 14 Cotton 0 13 0 0 0 13 Smith 0 13 0 0 0 13 Duran 0 8 0 0 0 8 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  14. The Minnesota Twins dreamed the impossible dream and beat the Yankees Wednesday at Target Field 8-1. They went an impressive 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position while Chris Archer held New York to one run over five innings. In the minors, Christian Encarnacion-Strand hit two home runs and a couple of newcomers to the org, Aaron Sanchez and Tyler Thornburg, pitched for the Saints.
  15. The Minnesota Twins dreamed the impossible dream and beat the Yankees Wednesday at Target Field 8-1. They went an impressive 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position while Chris Archer held New York to one run over five innings. In the minors, Christian Encarnacion-Strand hit two home runs and a couple of newcomers to the org, Aaron Sanchez and Tyler Thornburg, pitched for the Saints. View full video
  16. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K (70 pitches, 42 strikes, 60.0%) Home Runs: Ryan Jeffers (4), Byron Buxton (13) Top 3 WPA: Chris Archer (.159), Gio Urshela (.147), Byron Buxton (.100) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Unlike last night, when the Yankees scored four early runs against starter Cole Sands, they were held scoreless through four tonight against Chris Archer and some excellent fielding. Coming off his best start of the season, Archer was still hungry. He pitched three clean innings on 41 pitches, not allowing a hit nor using more than 17 pitches in any of them. He had some trouble with his command in the second inning, allowing two walks, but the defense also provided a crucial double play. It felt like his good outing was doomed during the fourth inning. He gave up a leadoff walk to Aaron Judge, then Giancarlo Stanton reached on a throwing error by Nick Gordon and was followed by a Josh Donaldson one-out walk to load the bases. Facing Gleyber Torres, Archer was able to induce a stunning inning-ending double play. By the time Archer completed four no-hit innings for the Twins, Yankees starter Nestor Cortés had pitched three perfect innings to start the game. Things would change for him in the following two innings. Minnesota manufactured two runs in the home half of the fourth, taking its first lead in the series. Still struggling to find his mojo, Byron Buxton fought a hard battle with Cortés, hitting a leadoff single after nine pitches. Carlos Correa singled right after him, then Gio Urshela, a couple of at-bats later, scored Buxton from second with a deep single to deep right. Cortés couldn’t stop the bleeding, allowing another single, this time to José Miranda, on the very next at-bat, good enough to score Correa from second. Max Kepler nearly batted in another run for the Twins when he singled to center, but Aaron Hick’s arm was too strong for Urshela to score from second. Archer’s no-hit bid and shutout were both finished in the fifth when Hicks hit a leadoff single and later scored on a sac-fly. Fortunately, he was able to finish off the inning, and, for the first time this year, he has recorded back-to-back starts with at least five innings pitched. Have we reached the point in which Twins fans no longer need to doubt him? After Archer delivered five frames of one-run ball, it was time the offense added some insurance, and that didn’t take long to happen. Ryan Jeffers snapped an 0-for-21 slump by obliterating a cutter from Cortés into a 440 ft bomb to left, making it 3-1 Twins. Then, Buxton joined the party. Having hit only one home run since May 15, he took Cortés deep for the second time in the inning, making it 4-1 Twins and ending Cortés’ night. Since May 3, this is only the second multi-hit game for Buxton – but the second one in the last six days. The Twins put themselves in a great position to win the game in the following two innings. Now facing the Yankee bullpen, Urshela and Miranda opened the sixth inning with back-to-back doubles. Then, both of them were brought home on a Kepler groundout and a Trevor Larnach double. While Griffin Jax tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Archer, the offense continued to be productive. Buxton, Correa, and Jorge Polanco drew three consecutive walks to start the home seventh, allowing Miranda to bat in a couple more runs with his third hit of the night, making it 8-1 Twins. During the Bally Sports North broadcast, reporter Audra Martin brought up a fun story about Miranda. According to her, the Twins star prospect was approached by Correa in mid-May when he was struggling, batting only .094 for his first 14 games in the majors. Since the two infielders had that conversation during the Kansas City series, Miranda is batting .390. With a comfortable lead, Emilio Pagán and Caleb Thielbar had no trouble closing out the game. A fielding error by Miranda to start the ninth was erased by yet another double play turned by the Twins defense, their fourth of the night. What’s Next? The rubber game of the series is tomorrow, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:40 pm CDT. The Twins turn to Dylan Bundy (5.57 ERA) to try and secure another series win, while the Yankees will have ace Gerrit Cole (2.78 ERA) on the mound. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Cano 39 0 0 33 0 72 Duffey 0 28 0 19 0 47 Megill 0 0 0 38 0 38 Jax 0 9 0 0 27 36 Pagán 0 0 0 0 15 15 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 14 14 Cotton 0 13 0 0 0 13 Smith 0 13 0 0 0 13 Duran 0 8 0 0 0 8 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  17. Last Week's Game Results: Game 48 | DET 7, MIN 5: Three Homers Not Enough Game 49 | MIN 8, DET 2: Smeltzer Shows Out Again Game 50 | DET 4, MIN 0: Listless Twins Limp to Defeat Game 51 | DET 5, MIN 0: Bats Have No Answers for Skubal Game 52 | DET 3, MIN 2: Pagan Surrenders Lead in 8th Inning Game 53 | MIN 9, TOR 3: Garlick, Miranda Power Explosive Night Game 54 | TOR 12, MIN 3: Berríos Blows Away Former Team Game 55 | MIN 8, TOR 6: Twins Win Rubber Match in Nail-biter Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/30 through Sun, 6/5 *** Record Last Week: 3-5 (Overall: 32-24) Run Differential Last Week: -7 (Overall: +27) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (4.5 GA) NEWS & NOTES The pandemic continues to make its ongoing presence felt in the major leagues. The Twins were hit hard by a wave of COVID-related absences over the past week, which left them shorthanded for an intense slate of games on the road. The week began with a crushing blow: Carlos Correa tested positive in the middle of Monday afternoon's game, almost exactly 24 hours after Royce Lewis crashed into the center field wall at Target Field. While the news on Lewis was relatively positive – a bone bruise that figures to cost him weeks rather than months or the entire season – he is still sidelined at exactly the time Minnesota could use him as everyday shortstop. Amazingly rotten timing. This rough series of events did create an opportunity for Jermaine Palacios, who's now up and starting everyday at shortstop. His glove is good enough to serve as a temporary plug even if there are no signs he'll hit at all. On Friday, when the Twins traveled to Canada for a weekend series against the Blue Jays, national health policies required that unvaccinated players stay in the United States. As it turns out, this meant Max Kepler, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagán, and Trevor Megill were unable to join the team in Toronto. It was a disappointing development made all the more irksome by Kepler's importance to a struggling lineup, and the bullpen ranks already being thin to begin with. Meanwhile, Joe Ryan remained unavailable due to his COVID diagnosis. With Ryan remaining sidelined and Sonny Gray landing on IL due to a pectoral injury, Chi Chi Gonzalez came up to make a (poor) spot start on Friday. Gonzalez was replaced on the roster the next day by Gilberto Celestino, who is finally past his own coronavirus ordeal. He was back in the lineup on Sunday. It's hard to get a firm read on the Twins right now. They are missing so many players and dealing with so many ongoing things that prevent them operating at anything close to full strength. At the same time, they've been banged up to varying degrees all year and there's no reason to think it's gonna stop being an issue at any point. HIGHLIGHTS Many were clamoring for José Miranda to be optioned rather than Lewis when Correa returned from his IL stint in mid-May. It was an understandable sentiment, given how both were playing at the time. But the Twins stuck with Miranda, and he's taken full advantage while reminding us that a little patience is warranted with talented young rookies. Since Lewis was demoted on May 18th, Miranda has gone 13-for-36 with three home runs and four doubles. He launched a pair of bombs in the series-opening 9-3 victory at Toronto and has lifted his OPS into semi-respectable territory at .641 He's still swinging at absolutely everything, with a 22-to-3 K/BB ratio overall, and as long as that remains true it's going to be hard to sustain his production – or at the very least it'll make him very susceptible to woeful slumps like the one that opened his career. But at least we're seeing real signs of that special ability with the bat. Gio Urshela, another player who some called for casting aside in order to keep Lewis around, has also experienced an offensive awakening since around the time Royce was sent down. That continued last week as Urshela went 7-for-21 with a homer and three doubles. He suffered a scary-looking foot sprain on the base paths Friday night, but luckily it appears the third baseman dodged anything major, as he started again on Sunday Elsewhere, Kyle Garlick reaffirmed his immense value as a lefty-mashing weapon, crushing two home runs against Yusei Kikuchi on Friday night. Garlick has been a tremendous asset for the Twins thus far, so hopefully his (reportedly minor) hamstring tightness that surfaced on Friday won't amount to much. LOWLIGHTS The Detroit series was absolutely brutal on every level. For most of the five games, the shorthanded Twins could barely muster any kind of threat or visible urgency. The offense sleepwalked through inning after inning, tallying two total runs in the final three games while getting shut out twice. The pitchers were mostly sub-par despite facing one of the league's worst lineups. Triple-A starters Gonzalez and Cole Sands both looked very much out of their depth when called up out of necessity. Speaking of out of depth: The Twins have basically burned through their quality SP depth. It feels like Devin Smeltzer is kinda holding things together at this point, and that's not a great place to be even though he's been sensational. Getting healthy enough to push Dylan Bundy out of the rotation is a high priority, as it's grown very clear he doesn't have what it takes to pitch effectively in the majors anymore. I wrote here on Monday about how the overperforming bullpen was an alarming point of vulnerability for the Twins, and sure enough the unit sprung big leaks over the course of the week, including Monday's game in which Joe Smith coughed up a late lead. In Thursday's finale at Detroit, Pagán turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit and was tagged with a loss. Tyler Duffey turned in yet another absolute dud on Sunday, coughing up three runs while recording two outs. I do think the ravaged, regressing rotation and undermanned bullpen are big problems for the Twins, but it's hard to hold either entirely culpable when the offense so frequently fails to provide any support. It was the usual story for the bats: overly dependent on home runs, prone to disappearances. On Saturday the Twins faced their old friend José Berríos, who'd been going through a stunningly bad year, and he suddenly found every bit of peak dominance. He finished with 13 strikeouts and 19 swinging strikes against the listless Twins hitters, blowing away his previous highs in 10 starts this year (seven and 11). Ryan Jeffers has become easily the biggest liability in the lineup. He went hitless in four starts last week, finishing 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts and one walk. With a consistent lack of contact and results, his slash line has plummeted to .176/.269/.294 and at some point – if this dire drought continues – you wonder if it'll warrant a get-right trip to the minors. José Godoy could hardly be worse and Jeffers needs to regain some confidence, or at least some idea of what he's doing. Thank goodness for the re-emergence of Gary Sánchez. Jorge Polanco seems unable to find any rhythm at the plate. He was a big culprit in the run-production difficulties at Detroit, going 3-for-20 with one run scored and zero RBIs while starting all five games in the heart of the order. His OPS has plummeted by almost 100 points in the past three weeks, and at this point he's barely outproducing Nick Gordon, whose OPS is only seven points lower. Polanco was stellar in the first half of May but has since looked more like the guy who struggled to engage his base and drive the ball back in 2020, with a .269 slugging percentage in his past 20 games. This slump has conspicuously coincided with reports of ankle soreness. Something to keep an eye on. TRENDING STORYLINE The Twins just need to get key players back. It sounds like Ryan, Correa, Gray, and Jorge Alcalá are all close to varying degrees, and they can all be huge difference-makers for their respective units. The team could really use all of them right away, given what's on deck in the coming week (see below), but most of those guys seem to be looking at late-week reactivations at the earliest. At least Kepler and the rest of the restricted list players will be back in action as the homestand gets underway on Tuesday. In Kepler's case, the extra rest couldn't have hurt, as he'd been dealing with a leg issue. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins are returning home after their bumpy road trip, but things are hardly about to get easier. Yes, the big bad Yankees are coming to town for a three-game series at Target Field, which is just what the Twins and their fans needed coming off the unpleasant and drama-filled past week. Ready or not, here they come, and I'm sorry to say this version of the Bronx Bombers is an especially imposing one, with the league's best record and Aaron Judge on an ungodly tear. After that the second-place Rays come into Target Field, which isn't much of a respite. Still trying to get healthy and reeling from an ugly road trip, the Twins are looking ahead to another challenging week. They'll be more than happy to take that day off on Monday – their first in nearly three weeks. TUESDAY, 6/7: YANKEES @ TWINS – LHP Nestor Cortes v. RHP Bailey Ober WEDNESDAY, 6/8: YANKEES @ TWINS – RHP Jameson Taillon v. RHP Chris Archer THURSDAY, 6/9: YANKEES @ TWINS – RHP Gerrit Cole v. TBD FRIDAY, 6/10: RAYS @ TWINS – RHP Drew Rasmussen v. RHP Dylan Bundy SATURDAY, 6/11: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Ryan Yarbrough v. LHP Devin Smeltzer SUNDAY, 6/12: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Jeffrey Springs v. RHP Bailey Ober
  18. The beleaguered Minnesota Twins are coming back from an ugly and exhausting road trip that saw them hit plenty of bumps and barriers – some of their own creation. Where do things stand as they return home and try to get back to something resembling full strength? Last Week's Game Results: Game 48 | DET 7, MIN 5: Three Homers Not Enough Game 49 | MIN 8, DET 2: Smeltzer Shows Out Again Game 50 | DET 4, MIN 0: Listless Twins Limp to Defeat Game 51 | DET 5, MIN 0: Bats Have No Answers for Skubal Game 52 | DET 3, MIN 2: Pagan Surrenders Lead in 8th Inning Game 53 | MIN 9, TOR 3: Garlick, Miranda Power Explosive Night Game 54 | TOR 12, MIN 3: Berríos Blows Away Former Team Game 55 | MIN 8, TOR 6: Twins Win Rubber Match in Nail-biter Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/30 through Sun, 6/5 *** Record Last Week: 3-5 (Overall: 32-24) Run Differential Last Week: -7 (Overall: +27) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (4.5 GA) NEWS & NOTES The pandemic continues to make its ongoing presence felt in the major leagues. The Twins were hit hard by a wave of COVID-related absences over the past week, which left them shorthanded for an intense slate of games on the road. The week began with a crushing blow: Carlos Correa tested positive in the middle of Monday afternoon's game, almost exactly 24 hours after Royce Lewis crashed into the center field wall at Target Field. While the news on Lewis was relatively positive – a bone bruise that figures to cost him weeks rather than months or the entire season – he is still sidelined at exactly the time Minnesota could use him as everyday shortstop. Amazingly rotten timing. This rough series of events did create an opportunity for Jermaine Palacios, who's now up and starting everyday at shortstop. His glove is good enough to serve as a temporary plug even if there are no signs he'll hit at all. On Friday, when the Twins traveled to Canada for a weekend series against the Blue Jays, national health policies required that unvaccinated players stay in the United States. As it turns out, this meant Max Kepler, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagán, and Trevor Megill were unable to join the team in Toronto. It was a disappointing development made all the more irksome by Kepler's importance to a struggling lineup, and the bullpen ranks already being thin to begin with. Meanwhile, Joe Ryan remained unavailable due to his COVID diagnosis. With Ryan remaining sidelined and Sonny Gray landing on IL due to a pectoral injury, Chi Chi Gonzalez came up to make a (poor) spot start on Friday. Gonzalez was replaced on the roster the next day by Gilberto Celestino, who is finally past his own coronavirus ordeal. He was back in the lineup on Sunday. It's hard to get a firm read on the Twins right now. They are missing so many players and dealing with so many ongoing things that prevent them operating at anything close to full strength. At the same time, they've been banged up to varying degrees all year and there's no reason to think it's gonna stop being an issue at any point. HIGHLIGHTS Many were clamoring for José Miranda to be optioned rather than Lewis when Correa returned from his IL stint in mid-May. It was an understandable sentiment, given how both were playing at the time. But the Twins stuck with Miranda, and he's taken full advantage while reminding us that a little patience is warranted with talented young rookies. Since Lewis was demoted on May 18th, Miranda has gone 13-for-36 with three home runs and four doubles. He launched a pair of bombs in the series-opening 9-3 victory at Toronto and has lifted his OPS into semi-respectable territory at .641 He's still swinging at absolutely everything, with a 22-to-3 K/BB ratio overall, and as long as that remains true it's going to be hard to sustain his production – or at the very least it'll make him very susceptible to woeful slumps like the one that opened his career. But at least we're seeing real signs of that special ability with the bat. Gio Urshela, another player who some called for casting aside in order to keep Lewis around, has also experienced an offensive awakening since around the time Royce was sent down. That continued last week as Urshela went 7-for-21 with a homer and three doubles. He suffered a scary-looking foot sprain on the base paths Friday night, but luckily it appears the third baseman dodged anything major, as he started again on Sunday Elsewhere, Kyle Garlick reaffirmed his immense value as a lefty-mashing weapon, crushing two home runs against Yusei Kikuchi on Friday night. Garlick has been a tremendous asset for the Twins thus far, so hopefully his (reportedly minor) hamstring tightness that surfaced on Friday won't amount to much. LOWLIGHTS The Detroit series was absolutely brutal on every level. For most of the five games, the shorthanded Twins could barely muster any kind of threat or visible urgency. The offense sleepwalked through inning after inning, tallying two total runs in the final three games while getting shut out twice. The pitchers were mostly sub-par despite facing one of the league's worst lineups. Triple-A starters Gonzalez and Cole Sands both looked very much out of their depth when called up out of necessity. Speaking of out of depth: The Twins have basically burned through their quality SP depth. It feels like Devin Smeltzer is kinda holding things together at this point, and that's not a great place to be even though he's been sensational. Getting healthy enough to push Dylan Bundy out of the rotation is a high priority, as it's grown very clear he doesn't have what it takes to pitch effectively in the majors anymore. I wrote here on Monday about how the overperforming bullpen was an alarming point of vulnerability for the Twins, and sure enough the unit sprung big leaks over the course of the week, including Monday's game in which Joe Smith coughed up a late lead. In Thursday's finale at Detroit, Pagán turned a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit and was tagged with a loss. Tyler Duffey turned in yet another absolute dud on Sunday, coughing up three runs while recording two outs. I do think the ravaged, regressing rotation and undermanned bullpen are big problems for the Twins, but it's hard to hold either entirely culpable when the offense so frequently fails to provide any support. It was the usual story for the bats: overly dependent on home runs, prone to disappearances. On Saturday the Twins faced their old friend José Berríos, who'd been going through a stunningly bad year, and he suddenly found every bit of peak dominance. He finished with 13 strikeouts and 19 swinging strikes against the listless Twins hitters, blowing away his previous highs in 10 starts this year (seven and 11). Ryan Jeffers has become easily the biggest liability in the lineup. He went hitless in four starts last week, finishing 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts and one walk. With a consistent lack of contact and results, his slash line has plummeted to .176/.269/.294 and at some point – if this dire drought continues – you wonder if it'll warrant a get-right trip to the minors. José Godoy could hardly be worse and Jeffers needs to regain some confidence, or at least some idea of what he's doing. Thank goodness for the re-emergence of Gary Sánchez. Jorge Polanco seems unable to find any rhythm at the plate. He was a big culprit in the run-production difficulties at Detroit, going 3-for-20 with one run scored and zero RBIs while starting all five games in the heart of the order. His OPS has plummeted by almost 100 points in the past three weeks, and at this point he's barely outproducing Nick Gordon, whose OPS is only seven points lower. Polanco was stellar in the first half of May but has since looked more like the guy who struggled to engage his base and drive the ball back in 2020, with a .269 slugging percentage in his past 20 games. This slump has conspicuously coincided with reports of ankle soreness. Something to keep an eye on. TRENDING STORYLINE The Twins just need to get key players back. It sounds like Ryan, Correa, Gray, and Jorge Alcalá are all close to varying degrees, and they can all be huge difference-makers for their respective units. The team could really use all of them right away, given what's on deck in the coming week (see below), but most of those guys seem to be looking at late-week reactivations at the earliest. At least Kepler and the rest of the restricted list players will be back in action as the homestand gets underway on Tuesday. In Kepler's case, the extra rest couldn't have hurt, as he'd been dealing with a leg issue. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins are returning home after their bumpy road trip, but things are hardly about to get easier. Yes, the big bad Yankees are coming to town for a three-game series at Target Field, which is just what the Twins and their fans needed coming off the unpleasant and drama-filled past week. Ready or not, here they come, and I'm sorry to say this version of the Bronx Bombers is an especially imposing one, with the league's best record and Aaron Judge on an ungodly tear. After that the second-place Rays come into Target Field, which isn't much of a respite. Still trying to get healthy and reeling from an ugly road trip, the Twins are looking ahead to another challenging week. They'll be more than happy to take that day off on Monday – their first in nearly three weeks. TUESDAY, 6/7: YANKEES @ TWINS – LHP Nestor Cortes v. RHP Bailey Ober WEDNESDAY, 6/8: YANKEES @ TWINS – RHP Jameson Taillon v. RHP Chris Archer THURSDAY, 6/9: YANKEES @ TWINS – RHP Gerrit Cole v. TBD FRIDAY, 6/10: RAYS @ TWINS – RHP Drew Rasmussen v. RHP Dylan Bundy SATURDAY, 6/11: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Ryan Yarbrough v. LHP Devin Smeltzer SUNDAY, 6/12: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Jeffrey Springs v. RHP Bailey Ober View full article
  19. It was a tough news day on Friday when we officially heard the names of the four Twins players added to the restricted list, unable to join the team in Canada. The Twins struggling offense headed to Toronto short-handed and with a struggling offense and outpowered the mighty Blue Jays lineup on Friday night. Find out more below. Box Score SP: Chi Chi Gonzalez: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (45 pitches, 32 strikes (71.1%)) Home Runs: Kyle Garlick 2 (6), Jose Miranda 2 (4), Byron Buxton (12) Top 3 WPA: Kyle Garlick (.317), Jharel Cotton (.290), Jose Miranda (.273) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pregame Notes Friday morning, news broke that four Twins players did not travel to Toronto because of their vaccination status. They were replaced on the roster by starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, relievers Jharel Cotton and Ian Hamilton, and outfielder Mark Contreras. Game Notes Game Recap in Video. Kyle Garlick got them going in the game. Batting third, he came to the plate with a runner on base and facing a left-hander. Yusei Kikuchi and launched a two-run homer. Chi Chi Gonzalez gave up a leadoff homer to George Springer (his sixth leadoff homer this year already), and a second first-inning run that tied the game. In the second inning, Jose Miranda came up and launched a solo home run to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.. Garlick did it again. In his second at-bat, he came to the plate and hit his second homer of the game and sixth of the season. After five innings, the Twins held a 4-3 lead. Jose Miranda came to the plate with Luis Arraez (entered game with Gio Urshela getting hurt on the base paths). The young Puerto Rican infielder got a hanger and crushed it for his second home of the game, his fourth with the Twins. In the top of the 8th inning, #OldFriday Andrew Vasquez came into the game for the Blue Jays, ideally to get left-handers out. Nick Gordon (who came into left for Garlick for defensive purposes) led off and on an 0-2 slider, he took a pitch to the back side. He was balked to second and then stole third base. Another lefty, Arraez came through with a soft line drive up the middle that glanced off of Vasquez's glove for an infield single to score Gordon. In the ninth inning, Byron Buxton launched his 12th home run of a the season, a two-run shot to give the Twins the final runs. Bullpen Phenomenal With veteran Chi Chi Gonzalez starting, the team had to know that the bullpen would be used tonight. Gonzalez finished three innings before being replaced by Jovani Moran. The lefty struck out the side in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, Moran walked the first two batters. Jharel Cotton came in and facing the middle of the order, he got the team out of the inning with allowing a run. Cotton then pitched a perfect sixth inning too. Tyler Duffey worked a scoreless seventh inning. Joe Smith pitched the eighth, and Griffin Jax closed it out in the ninth inning. Three of the four players added to the Restricted List were bullpen arms. For this group to step up was very impressive! Combined, those five pitchers worked six innings and gave up zero runs and zero hits. They walked three batters but struck out six and were terrific. A Good Reminder Unlike many sports, in baseball, the underdog always has some chance. With several players on the IL, three more on the Covid-IL, and four players unable to be with the team because they are unvaccinated, the odds of a Twins win on Friday night were not good. But again, that's baseball. They got off to a quick start. They added on. Gonzalez kept them in it for three innings, and then several unlikely bullpen arms tossed six scoreless, hitless innings against one of baseball's best offenses. Just like you hate to lose four out of five games in Detroit, games like Friday are a good reminder that anything can happen in this game. What’s Next? The Twins will take on #OldFriend Jose Berrios on Saturday in Toronto, looking to win the series. Dylan Bundy will make the start for the Twins. Game Time is 1:07 central time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUES WEDS THURS FRI TOT Megill 34 0 20 0 RL 54 Jax 0 33 0 0 14 47 Moran 0 12 0 0 27 39 Smith 16 0 0 0 15 31 Duran 0 0 0 28 0 28 Minaya 0 26 0 0 0 26 Cotton 0 0 0 0 23 23 Duffey 0 0 0 0 20 20 Pagán 0 0 0 15 RL 15 Thielbar 0 11 0 0 RL 11 View full article
  20. The Minnesota Twins broke out of their slump against the Blue Jays Friday night in Toronto. Both Kyle Garlick and Jose Miranda hit two home runs and the bullpen provided six shutout innings. David Festa had another good outing for Cedar Rapids, Alex Kirilloff helped power the Saints and Anthony Prato had another eventful game.
  21. The Minnesota Twins broke out of their slump against the Blue Jays Friday night in Toronto. Both Kyle Garlick and Jose Miranda hit two home runs and the bullpen provided six shutout innings. David Festa had another good outing for Cedar Rapids, Alex Kirilloff helped power the Saints and Anthony Prato had another eventful game. View full video
  22. Box Score SP: Chi Chi Gonzalez: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (45 pitches, 32 strikes (71.1%)) Home Runs: Kyle Garlick 2 (6), Jose Miranda 2 (4), Byron Buxton (12) Top 3 WPA: Kyle Garlick (.317), Jharel Cotton (.290), Jose Miranda (.273) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Pregame Notes Friday morning, news broke that four Twins players did not travel to Toronto because of their vaccination status. They were replaced on the roster by starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, relievers Jharel Cotton and Ian Hamilton, and outfielder Mark Contreras. Game Notes Game Recap in Video. Kyle Garlick got them going in the game. Batting third, he came to the plate with a runner on base and facing a left-hander. Yusei Kikuchi and launched a two-run homer. Chi Chi Gonzalez gave up a leadoff homer to George Springer (his sixth leadoff homer this year already), and a second first-inning run that tied the game. In the second inning, Jose Miranda came up and launched a solo home run to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.. Garlick did it again. In his second at-bat, he came to the plate and hit his second homer of the game and sixth of the season. After five innings, the Twins held a 4-3 lead. Jose Miranda came to the plate with Luis Arraez (entered game with Gio Urshela getting hurt on the base paths). The young Puerto Rican infielder got a hanger and crushed it for his second home of the game, his fourth with the Twins. In the top of the 8th inning, #OldFriday Andrew Vasquez came into the game for the Blue Jays, ideally to get left-handers out. Nick Gordon (who came into left for Garlick for defensive purposes) led off and on an 0-2 slider, he took a pitch to the back side. He was balked to second and then stole third base. Another lefty, Arraez came through with a soft line drive up the middle that glanced off of Vasquez's glove for an infield single to score Gordon. In the ninth inning, Byron Buxton launched his 12th home run of a the season, a two-run shot to give the Twins the final runs. Bullpen Phenomenal With veteran Chi Chi Gonzalez starting, the team had to know that the bullpen would be used tonight. Gonzalez finished three innings before being replaced by Jovani Moran. The lefty struck out the side in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, Moran walked the first two batters. Jharel Cotton came in and facing the middle of the order, he got the team out of the inning with allowing a run. Cotton then pitched a perfect sixth inning too. Tyler Duffey worked a scoreless seventh inning. Joe Smith pitched the eighth, and Griffin Jax closed it out in the ninth inning. Three of the four players added to the Restricted List were bullpen arms. For this group to step up was very impressive! Combined, those five pitchers worked six innings and gave up zero runs and zero hits. They walked three batters but struck out six and were terrific. A Good Reminder Unlike many sports, in baseball, the underdog always has some chance. With several players on the IL, three more on the Covid-IL, and four players unable to be with the team because they are unvaccinated, the odds of a Twins win on Friday night were not good. But again, that's baseball. They got off to a quick start. They added on. Gonzalez kept them in it for three innings, and then several unlikely bullpen arms tossed six scoreless, hitless innings against one of baseball's best offenses. Just like you hate to lose four out of five games in Detroit, games like Friday are a good reminder that anything can happen in this game. What’s Next? The Twins will take on #OldFriend Jose Berrios on Saturday in Toronto, looking to win the series. Dylan Bundy will make the start for the Twins. Game Time is 1:07 central time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUES WEDS THURS FRI TOT Megill 34 0 20 0 RL 54 Jax 0 33 0 0 14 47 Moran 0 12 0 0 27 39 Smith 16 0 0 0 15 31 Duran 0 0 0 28 0 28 Minaya 0 26 0 0 0 26 Cotton 0 0 0 0 23 23 Duffey 0 0 0 0 20 20 Pagán 0 0 0 15 RL 15 Thielbar 0 11 0 0 RL 11
  23. Recently, Topps released their series 2 checklist for their 2022 Flagship product. This checklist gives us an idea of what rookies we might be in the Update release later this year and which rookie we might have to wait until 2023 to collect.
  24. Recently, Topps released their series 2 checklist for their 2022 Flagship product. This checklist gives us an idea of what rookies we might be in the Update release later this year and which rookie we might have to wait until 2023 to collect. View full video
  25. Royce Lewis I have been conservative about Lewis for a while, and it is time to admit that he is the best prospect in the Twins system. His hit tool looks real, at least much better than before, and the eye test shows that he can currently play a passable shortstop, a significant point in his development. The Twins are lowering him into a super-utility role, which is fine given his athleticism, but I would prefer to have him challenged at shortstop every day. There is no real easy answer to that conundrum until Carlos Correa no longer calls that position home. For now, we shall appreciate watching a unique talent perform at the highest level for years to come. Austin Martin 2022 has not been the best season for Martin. He is striking out at a lower rate but is somehow hitting for less power than before; his season wRC+ sits at 95. While I have supreme confidence in his bat turning around eventually, his glove is a different story. He is not a shortstop; that is clear now. I’m not sure what position he can play, but the Twins will have to find one, and his value is now much lower as a super-utility guy unable to cover such a crucial position. He also has a ridiculous 20 steals, perhaps hinting at a skillset philosophy leaning closer towards a traditional, scrappy type of player. I think he’ll figure it out and become a useful major league player, but his future is far hazier than one prefers from one of their best prospects. Jose Miranda Although not because of his performance, Miranda moves up one spot in my ranking. He hasn’t hit during his time in the majors, owning terrible batted ball data during his brief stint that ended with Lewis’ re-appearance on the Twins. One should never overreact to 70 plate appearances, and Miranda’s 2021 was so legendary that I tend to believe this to be a fad and not an indictment of his hitting ability. He owns a rare batting average/power combo that few in baseball can claim, and that alone is what keeps Miranda sitting near the top of this list. Time shall tell whether Miranda can find his groove again. ------------------------- Jordan Balazovic I’m still a firm believer in Balazovic as the team’s best pitching prospect, but it has been an extended period since he last unquestionably dominated hitters for a significant stretch, and it’s fair to lean into doubts. Early returns at AAA have been ugly, although the eye doesn’t catch exactly what the problem for him seems to be. He’s avoided major injury, but the nicks and dings are starting to add up, holding him back from being the “set-it-and-forget-it” ace that many thought he would become after his excellent 2018 and 2019 performances. Again, let’s not overreact, but it’s time for a correction of sorts for Balazovic. Noah Miller Miller is good, and people should recognize this as soon as possible. 19-year-old shortstops are not supposed to dominate A-ball like this, and the ones that do tend to become exceptional players. He’s hitting for a 146 wRC+ with reportedly silky smooth defense that could play if the team called him up tomorrow. He isn’t hitting for much power (ISO of .113), but that feels like an extreme nitpick for an otherwise otherworldly performance this far into the season. Get used to his name this high on prospect lists. Emmanuel Rodriguez Rodriguez could have easily claimed the five spot, but Miller’s shortstop potential broke the tie, and Rodriguez ends up here. He’s also just 19, which is ridiculous, and he’s walking at a 27.3% clip while slugging .475. If one wanted to nitpick, he’s also striking out 28.5% of the time, a number digestible given his age, but one to keep an eye on given how sticky strikeout numbers tend to be as a player changes levels. His profile will clear up with time (mainly whether he owns discipline or is plain passive against wild pitchers), but things are exciting for the former international big shot signing. Spencer Steer I don’t think that Steer is legitimately a 147 wRC+ batter, but it is apparent that he is a well-rounded player with a potentially rare batting average/OBP/power combination. His best comp is probably Jose Miranda’s 2021 season which was equally impressive in how he didn’t have to sacrifice batting average for power. We’ve seen that combo struggle in the majors over a short sample with Miranda, but a player like Ty France proves that it can work with refinement. He can pass at both 3rd and 2nd base, giving the team options if they ever decide to clean out their gutter at 3rd or trade Jorge Polanco. ------------------------- Simeon Woods Richardson I originally had Woods Richardson above the previous three hitters, but I kept questioning whether I was more excited about him or the other batters, and you can see the answer I came to. Woods Richardson’s ERA is excellent, but his FIP is merely passable, and his xFIP is dreadful; combine that with a suspicious BABIP, and I’m not sold that he has improved significantly since struggling at AA all of last season. He’s still just 21, which feels impossible, but his stock remains stagnant in my eyes. Matt Canterino Canterino is a reliever. Usually, I don’t consider relievers prospects, but his stuff is so otherworldly that it’s not out of the question that he becomes a 2-3 inning fire-breathing dragon, which can be extremely valuable to every team in MLB. He has already bested his innings total from last season, and he should be up with the team down the stretch if he can remain healthy. Walks are up this year, but I believe that to be a mirage and not a loss of command for a pitcher who has otherwise thrown strikes during his time in the minors. Cole Sands I like Sands more than I probably should. He flashed an incredible sweeper during his cup of coffee, a pitch that I believe can carry him to some sort of helpful niche in the team’s pitching staff. The rest of his profile is pretty vanilla, and he’s currently on the IL, a statement often too true about Sands, but the power of his breaker keeps him elevated on my list. Ronny Henriquez Henriquez is still a somewhat mysterious prospect. He came over as an afterthought in the Mitch Garver deal and has flashed some major league playable stuff but has yet to play enough for me to get as good of a read on him. It’s been a rough go at AAA so far, but he’s not even 22-years-old yet, and his development feels like it will be more of a slow burn a la Woods Richardson rather than a fiery explosion like Jhoan Duran. Edouard Julien Julien is unfortunately injured at the moment, but his profile is far too intriguing to ignore. It’s not every day that one comes across a player practically guaranteed to get on base at a .400 clip, but Julien is precisely that kind of player. His OBP is true, a sign of patience over passivity, which will carry him across all levels of baseball. He’s more positionless than one would like, but his bat projects so well that the Twins will find a way to make it work. Marco Raya Raya was a popular pop-up pick in the pre-season, and he’s impressed so far with an 18.8 K-BB%. His stuff is electric, the classic mid-90s fastball and wipeout slider combo that fans can dream on with a curve and change that will need refinement as he elevates through the minors. It has been less than 30 innings into Raya’s professional debut, but it’s easy to see why the Twins were so high on him in the 2020 draft. David Festa The Twins system has lost top-end credibility due to some graduations and players in that tier struggling, but their middle area has beefed up considerably thanks to arms like Festa. Festa came out of nowhere in 2022, dominating hitters with Fort Myers before enjoying a promotion to Cedar Rapids. His K-BB% sits at 28.9%, the highest in the system amongst pitchers who have thrown at least 30 innings. Christian Encarnacion-Strand Encarnacion-Strand went supernova to begin the season, netting all the RBIs before gently cooling off and settling in as a merely great, not Bondsian hitter. Evaluators are still baffled by Encarnacion-Strand; he fits into the scary right/first baseman/college bucket from which hitters go to die (or become Pete Alonso), and it’s unclear if he’s made proper adjustments since joining the Twins organization. For now, it’s best to shrug your shoulders and continue to ride the wave. Cade Povich Povich, like Raya, was also a popular breakout pick for 2022. He’s responded with an eye-catching 27.4 K-BB%, a total bested only by Shane McClanahan amongst qualified MLB pitchers this year. It’s not a 1:1 comp, but his success should not be understated, and he could find himself at AA sooner rather than later at this rate. ------------------------- Blayne Enlow I remain a firm believer in Enlow. Tommy John surgery derailed his path to AA in 2021, but he recently returned from the procedure, and his performance the rest of the season will help illuminate his prospect status; it says a lot that the Twins protected him in the rule 5 draft despite his injuries and underperformance. Brayan Medina Medina has yet to pitch in an organized game for the Twins, so this ranking is an aggregate of other publications rather than a personal evaluation. Louie Varland Varland is not having as fine a season like 2020, but he has still settled in as a consistent, reliable arm at AA. The walks have crept up while his home run rate has ballooned, perhaps an ominous sign of regression waiting in the wings. Back-sliding has not hit yet, so he remains solidly in the mid-tier of prospects until otherwise. Steve Hajjar Hajjar, like Povich, was an intriguing breakout arm to keep an eye on in 2022. He’s punched out a small army but has also walked far too many batters for his good; less than 50% of plate appearances against him have ended with a ball put into play. It has been less than 30 innings, but I’m far leerier of his skillset translating unless he tames his walks. Brent Headrick Like Gipson-Long in the next spot, Headrick is an old-for-his-level starter who has easily crushed his competition. His command is much improved in 2022, and hitters are now overwhelmed by stuff that they can no longer just wait out for the inevitable walk. He’s so similar to Gipson-Long in this regard that I gave him the one-spot nod for better peripherals (28.3 K-BB %). Sawyer Gipson-Long Gipson-Long is an old-for-the-level starter but should not be ignored when looking at this system. He has picked up right where he left off in 2021, owning the 9th best K-BB% rate amongst all pitchers with 30 innings in the system this year (22.4%). He should get a taste of AA soon, which will help illuminate his prospect status more than feasting on A+ hitters. ------------------------- Kala’i Rosario Rosario is a raw, toolsy prospect dipping into the full-season waters for the first time. His 94 wRC+ is far from disastrous, but his 39.2% strikeout rate is ghastly, perhaps a sign that he’s still too green. As a 19-year-old, he exists in that frustrating “potential” sphere of prospect evaluation where his struggles are summed up as him “learning,” and no actual analysis is gleaned from his performance. In summary: early returns are not favorable but not indictable yet. Matt Wallner To be blunt, I have little faith in Wallner becoming a valuable major league player. Hitters who strike out 34% of the time need legendary power to negate their whiffs, and Wallner seems to have merely great, not jaw-dropping power. He can still walk and bop homers, but I remain skeptical of his skillset translating at the major league level; Brent Rooker soured any ability I have to overlook one’s strikeout rate. Aaron Sabato Speaking of hitters striking out too much, Sabato has been disappointing since the Twins took him in the 1st round in 2020. He can take a walk, but his ISO is far lower than one wants from a pure 1st baseman (.163). At this point, I don’t expect Sabato to become a useful contributor for the Twins, and he can join Keoni Cavaco in the club of “Falvey and Levine’s unwise 1st round picks.” Speaking of which… Keoni Cavaco Cavaco has never shown any consistent ability to hit at any level during any extended period of play. His career minor league OBP begins with a .2, which should tell you everything you need to know. Yes, injuries have played a role in his poor performance, but injuries can’t excuse his immense strikeout problems, and his ranking on any prospect list is honorary at this point. I’m holding on to his draft pedigree, but he will be dropped soon unless his performance turns around. John Stankiewicz I have no idea what to make of Stankiewicz. He was an undrafted free agent in 2020 and has performed very well during his time in the Twins system. Time will tell if it’s a lower-level mirage, but he should still be a name to remember throughout the remainder of the season. Jake Rucker I just wanted to get Rucker a mention on one of these lists. Since the Twins drafted him in 2021, he's held his own and has improved his ISO (.059 to .111) despite the rest of his stat-line not falling in line. He feels like the kind of prospect who can suddenly be in AAA despite flying under the radar for the entirety of his professional career. Misael Urbina Urbina showed great peripherals in 2021 (12.3% walk rate, 18.7% K rate), which lost out overall to his otherwise poor slash line. Visa issues have delayed the start of his season, which is both a shame and a detriment to his development. Hopefully, he’ll be playing baseball in the Twins system soon. Drew Strotman The clickbait 30 spot goes to Strotman out of deference towards teams far wiser than I. The Rays added Strotman to the 40-man roster, and the Twins targeted him in a trade now overshadowed by Joe Ryan’s success, showing that there are franchises that believe in him. He is now a reliever, limiting his upside, but I’ll wait to give up on him when the Twins do.
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