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  1. Right now, the Minnesota Twins starting rotation is completely turned over. The group that started the 2021 season is gone, and the anchors intended for 2022 are no longer realistic options. So where does the team go from here? Derek Falvey and Thad Levine already had their work cut out for them going into the winter. The bullpen was nothing short of a disaster this season, and the starting rotation has been lackluster in plenty of different instances. Now faced with the reality that Jose Berrios is gone, and Kenta Maeda is injured, the uphill battle has grown substantially. Of course, dollars have to, and will be, spent. Before considering the options on the open market, and they are relatively plentiful, looking at who can be an option internally on Opening Day is where we should start. Unfortunately, the names are more plentiful than the logical options you’d hope to ink in. Bailey Ober If there’s a guy that’s earned a role among the five openings to kick off 2022 it’s Ober. He’s been lights out of late and now has a sub-4.00 ERA. Ober owns a 2.45 ERA over his last seven starts and he’s posted a 9.3 K/9. The home run bit him hard early, and a 1.8 HR/9 still isn’t great, but that only leaves further opportunity for heightened levels of success. He’s not an ace but pitching himself into the top half of a rotation would hardly be a shock. Joe Ryan It’s still surprising the Twins got this type of return for Nelson Cruz, but Ryan has seemed every bit as exciting as you’d hope. Across 66.0 IP at Triple-A this season Ryan owns a 3.41 ERA and has punched out 12.5 K/9. He needs to make his next turn in Minnesota, but regardless, you could do a lot worse than this type of arm as a 5th starter to open the next campaign. Randy Dobnak Dobnak has put himself in an interesting situation given the lack of effectiveness and injury issues he’s dealt with this season. Still probably a 4th starter at best, the ceiling really isn’t there in comparison to the two aforementioned arms, and the prospects behind him could close the gap quickly. He’s a great depth guy, but Minnesota can’t afford to fill the rotation with options of this caliber. Lewis Thorpe There’s probably a decent chance that Thorpe is dropped from the 40-man roster this offseason. The Twins were granted an additional year of control, but the Aussie hasn’t done anything with it. The velocity has continued to be lackluster, and nothing about the upside that was once there has reappeared. It’s been a disappointing fall through health and personal complications. Either way, this isn’t a viable option. Griffin Jax A really great story this season, and one worth keeping in the organization, Jax is a rotational depth piece in my mind. He’s shown that there’s a capable level of stuff to get big leaguers out but relying on him for 30 turns a season could expose Minnesota in a bad way. Jax doesn’t have the high end velocity or strikeout stuff to dominate, but he is a big league arm that can eat innings when necessary. Charlie Barnes Of the fringe arms to debut this season for Minnesota, Barnes has been the most underwhelming. His strikeout numbers have never really been anything to write home about and that makes the margin for error at the highest level very slight. Barnes is 25 and hasn’t ever had much in the form of prospect status, but that doesn’t negate the fact he could be a nice depth piece. That’s probably still to be determined, but it won’t be realized in an Opening Day rotation. The Prospects (Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Matt Canterino, Simeon Woods-Richardson, Drew Strotman, Josh Winder) Outside of the Ober and Ryan pairing at the top, this is the group the Twins are dreaming on developing some high level arms from. Unfortunately, the majority have either been hurt or are not yet in a place where they’re kicking down the door for a big league promotion. Getting each back to health has to be the chief concern, but beyond that, they’ll need to force their way in. Assuming Minnesota wants to compete, or at the very least be respectable next season, they’ll need to sign a starter for the top of the rotation. Hoping one or more of these arms can then challenge that status sooner rather than later would be the goal. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. It was a tough battle, but the Twins came out on top to win their fourth series in a row thanks to yet another Jorge Polanco walk-off! Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT. View full article
  3. Box Score Starter: Thorpe 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K Home Runs: Sano (20) Top 3 WPA: Duffey (0.485), Coulombe (0.485), Sano (0.299) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Lewis Thorpe Makes Return to Twins Rotation For the first time in nearly three months, Lewis Thorpe made an appearance in a Twins uniform, after getting recalled this morning from Triple-A St. Paul. Prior to today’s start, Thorpe had made just four appearances (3 starts) for the Twins in 2021, and posted a 3.86 ERA. Velocity concerns have plagued Thorpe of late, as his fastball velocity has dropped nearly two MPH since 2019, and sat at just 89.5 MPH in 2021. Those concerns became even more prevalent after today’s short outing where Thorpe had an average fastball velocity of just 87.8 MPH, per Statcast. This lack of velocity, combined with some serious control issues made for a short day from Thorpe, who was pulled with only one out in the second after walking the bases full. It was clear after today’s outing that Thorpe’s long-term future with the Twins might be in serious jeopardy if he is unable to fix the number of issues that have been ailing him. Miguel Sano Hits Twins Longest Home Run of 2021 With the Twins down by a score of 4 to 1 entering the bottom of the fourth, they needed to find some quick offense to get back into this game, and that is exactly what Miguel Sano delivered as he blasted a mammoth 475 foot home run to right-center field to cut Cleveland’s lead down to two. Cleveland Scores Single Runs in Each of the First Five Innings It was a steady barrage of one run at a time from Cleveland early on to help them build a 5-2 lead at the halfway point of the game, as they scored one run in each of the first five innings. They got their lone run in the first courtesy of a two-out home run from Jose Ramirez. In the second it was four walks from Twins pitching that resulted in Cleveland’s run, the final coming from Edgar Garcia after he replaced Lewis Thorpe who walked the bases full before being pulled. Edgar Garcia got two quick outs in the third, but after giving up a walk to Oscar Mercado, Owen Miller drilled a fly ball off the wall in right-center, bringing Mercado all the way around to score from first. The fourth inning looked almost identical to the third, but this time it was with Juan Minaya on the mound for the Twins, who like Garcia got two outs to begin the inning, but gave up a walk that was followed by a double that gave Cleveland their lone run in the fourth. With Minaya still on the mound in the fifth, Franmil Reyes responded to Miguel Sano’s mammoth home run with one of his own to stretch the Cleveland lead back out to three. Twins Use Two-Out Rally to Take the Lead in the 5th Things were not looking up for the Twins as they came to bat in the fifth back down by three runs. The inning did not appear to be a rally inning when it started, as a Max Kepler strikeout and a Jorge Polanco pop out sandwiched a Brent Rooker walk, giving the Twins a runner on first with two outs. That did not stop the Twins, however, as they strung together six straight two-out hits and left the inning with a 7-5 lead. Josh Donaldson got the two out rally started when he laced a line drive single up the middle. Luis Arraez then fought off a tough two-strike fastball and delivered a clutch RBI single to right. After a quick mound visit, it was Miguel Sano’s turn and he quickly fell behind 0-2, but he too came up clutch driving this breaking ball to the base of the wall in center for a game tying double. That was the end of the day for Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac, but that wasn’t the end of the inning for the Twins. New Cleveland pitch Alex Young did not have much time to settle in, as Nick Gordon swung at his first pitch and drilled a hard ground ball down the first base line that bounced off of Owen Miller’s glove at first and trickled away, allowing Sano to score from second. Ryan Jeffers then followed it up with a single of his own before Andrelton Simmons came through with a ground rule double down the line in left, giving the Twins the 7-5 lead. This gave Max Kepler a chance to blow the game open with runners on second and third, but that would not be the case as the inning ended the same way it started, with a Max Kepler strikeout. Alex Colome Blows Save in 9th After a rough start to the season, Alex Colome has been pitching well of late. Unfortunately, today we saw more of the April version of Alex Colome, as he blew a two-run lead to allow Cleveland to tie the game at seven. The inning started with a leadoff double from Myles Straw that landed just out of the reach of a diving Jake Cave, who came in as a defensive replacement for Brent Rooker in left. He then got Amed Rosario to fly out, before Jose Ramirez laced a line drive into center field and hustled his way to second for a double. Ramirez then advanced to third on a weak ground out from Franmil Reyes and scored the game tying run on a wild pitch in the next plate appearance. Jorge Polanco is the Walk-off Hero Yet Again For the third time in four games, Jorge Polanco comes up with a clutch walk-off to give the Twins the victory! Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 73 0 0 0 73 Gant 0 0 17 0 0 17 García 0 21 0 0 35 56 Thielbar 0 15 19 0 9 43 Garza Jr. 16 0 0 13 23 52 Duffey 0 27 0 0 14 41 Colomé 0 13 10 0 31 54 Minaya 0 0 19 0 40 59 Coulombe 10 0 0 0 7 17 Postgame Interviews What's Next? The Twins travel to New York for a four-game series with the Yankees. With the Twins out of contention, they have a chance to put a wrench in the surging Yankees postseason plans. Game one of the series is scheduled to begin Thursday at 6:05 pm CDT.
  4. Lewis Thorpe had an encouraging performance in what was his fourth appearance since being activated off the IL. Read all about that and more in Friday night’s edition of the minor league report. TRANSACTIONS RHP Orlando Rodriguez of Fort Myers placed on the 7-day IL. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Indianapolis 5 Box Score Lewis Thorpe: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (3-for-5), Tomas Telis (2-for-5, HR), Mark Contreras (2-for-5), Gilberto Celestino (2-for-5, 2B), Jimmy Kerrigan (2-for-4) HR: Kerrigan (16), Telis (7) Lewis Thorpe looked comfortable and confident tonight. He was throwing his curveball and changeup early in counts, then working in high fastballs to try to finish hitters off. He threw 50 of his 78 pitches for strikes (64.1%) and was efficient enough to record two outs in the sixth inning. This was a jump up from the 58 pitches he threw in his last outing for the Saints. The Twins are clearly viewing Thorpe as a starting pitcher at this point. It would make sense for him to make another start with the Saints, stretching out another 15-20 pitches, but with Michael Pineda exiting his start early, Thorpe may be looked upon as a potential replacement. The St. Paul lineup was patient with 36-year-old knuckleballer Steven Wright, who threw 97 pitches in four innings. Along with the five batters who had multiple hits listed above, Nick Gordon also reached twice, drawing a pair of walks, and stole a base. He played center field tonight. Yennier Cano had an eventful ninth inning, giving up a run on three hits, but locked down the save by striking out the final two batters he faced, stranding runners at second and third base. WIND SURGE WISDOM Tulsa 4, Wichita 1 Box Score Austin Schulfer: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K Multi-hit games: B.J. Boyd (2-for-4), Jermaine Palacios (2-for-3) HR: None The Surge were scheduled to play a doubleheader today but more inclimate weather resulted in the first game being postponed, leaving one seven-inning game left to be played. Neither team scored through seven, however, so this one went into “extra” innings. B.J. Boyd singled home the Wichita bonus runner in the top of the inning. The Wind Surge were an out away from victory but a ground ball got by first baseman Andrew Bechtold for a game-tying single and the next batter hit a walk-off home run. Tyler Beck was turning in an impressive Double-A debut before things fell apart with two outs in the eighth inning. He was attempting to cover the final four frames, and had struck out five of the first 15 batters he faced. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Peoria 3 Box Score Jon Olsen: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K Multi-hit games: Yunior Severino (4-for-5, 2B), Jefferson Morales (2-for-4) HR: Matt Wallner (10) Yunior Severino and Jeferson Morales have been huge boosts to the Kernels since being called up from Fort Myers. After a four-hit night, Severino is hitting .439 with a 1.147 OPS in his first 15 games with the club. Morales hasn’t been around as long, this was just his fourth game with Cedar Rapids, but he has a .563 average with a 1.463 OPS. Matt Wallner hit the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning. It was his 10th homer of the year and 18th as a pro, just the fourth that’s come against a lefty. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 9, Bradenton 1 Box Score Casey Legumina: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K Multi-hit games: Keoni Cavaco (2-for-6), Jesus Feliz (2-for-5, 2B), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-4, BB) HR: Will Holland (8) Every member of the Fort Myers lineup reached base and everyone but Jesus Feliz also struck out. The team combined for 10 hits, eight walks and 14 strikeouts. Keoni Cavaco had a multi-hit game, but he also struck out four times. Here’s his two-run single in what was a big five-run inning for the Mussels. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher: Lewis Thorpe, St. Paul Hitter: Yunior Severino, Cedar Rapids PROSPECT SUMMARY Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – DNP #4 – Matt Canterino (Fort Myers) – DNP #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 3-for-5, R #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 2-for-6, 2 RBI, R #7 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, R #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – DNP #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-for-6, RBI #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-3, HR, BB, HBP, 2 RBI, R #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – DNP #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – DNP #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 4-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – DNP #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 0-for-3 #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5 #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – DNP #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – DNP SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Fort Myers at Bradenton, 11 am CT: Bobby Milacki St. Paul at Indianapolis, 6:05 pm CT: Beau Burrows Cedar Rapids at Peoria, 6:35 pm CT: Sawyer Gipson-Long Wichita at Tulsa, 7:05 pm CT: Cole Sands View full article
  5. TRANSACTIONS RHP Orlando Rodriguez of Fort Myers placed on the 7-day IL. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 7, Indianapolis 5 Box Score Lewis Thorpe: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K Multi-hit games: Jose Miranda (3-for-5), Tomas Telis (2-for-5, HR), Mark Contreras (2-for-5), Gilberto Celestino (2-for-5, 2B), Jimmy Kerrigan (2-for-4) HR: Kerrigan (16), Telis (7) Lewis Thorpe looked comfortable and confident tonight. He was throwing his curveball and changeup early in counts, then working in high fastballs to try to finish hitters off. He threw 50 of his 78 pitches for strikes (64.1%) and was efficient enough to record two outs in the sixth inning. This was a jump up from the 58 pitches he threw in his last outing for the Saints. The Twins are clearly viewing Thorpe as a starting pitcher at this point. It would make sense for him to make another start with the Saints, stretching out another 15-20 pitches, but with Michael Pineda exiting his start early, Thorpe may be looked upon as a potential replacement. The St. Paul lineup was patient with 36-year-old knuckleballer Steven Wright, who threw 97 pitches in four innings. Along with the five batters who had multiple hits listed above, Nick Gordon also reached twice, drawing a pair of walks, and stole a base. He played center field tonight. Yennier Cano had an eventful ninth inning, giving up a run on three hits, but locked down the save by striking out the final two batters he faced, stranding runners at second and third base. WIND SURGE WISDOM Tulsa 4, Wichita 1 Box Score Austin Schulfer: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K Multi-hit games: B.J. Boyd (2-for-4), Jermaine Palacios (2-for-3) HR: None The Surge were scheduled to play a doubleheader today but more inclimate weather resulted in the first game being postponed, leaving one seven-inning game left to be played. Neither team scored through seven, however, so this one went into “extra” innings. B.J. Boyd singled home the Wichita bonus runner in the top of the inning. The Wind Surge were an out away from victory but a ground ball got by first baseman Andrew Bechtold for a game-tying single and the next batter hit a walk-off home run. Tyler Beck was turning in an impressive Double-A debut before things fell apart with two outs in the eighth inning. He was attempting to cover the final four frames, and had struck out five of the first 15 batters he faced. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 4, Peoria 3 Box Score Jon Olsen: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K Multi-hit games: Yunior Severino (4-for-5, 2B), Jefferson Morales (2-for-4) HR: Matt Wallner (10) Yunior Severino and Jeferson Morales have been huge boosts to the Kernels since being called up from Fort Myers. After a four-hit night, Severino is hitting .439 with a 1.147 OPS in his first 15 games with the club. Morales hasn’t been around as long, this was just his fourth game with Cedar Rapids, but he has a .563 average with a 1.463 OPS. Matt Wallner hit the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning. It was his 10th homer of the year and 18th as a pro, just the fourth that’s come against a lefty. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 9, Bradenton 1 Box Score Casey Legumina: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K Multi-hit games: Keoni Cavaco (2-for-6), Jesus Feliz (2-for-5, 2B), Willie Joe Garry Jr. (2-for-4, BB) HR: Will Holland (8) Every member of the Fort Myers lineup reached base and everyone but Jesus Feliz also struck out. The team combined for 10 hits, eight walks and 14 strikeouts. Keoni Cavaco had a multi-hit game, but he also struck out four times. Here’s his two-run single in what was a big five-run inning for the Mussels. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher: Lewis Thorpe, St. Paul Hitter: Yunior Severino, Cedar Rapids PROSPECT SUMMARY Take note that we have finished our midseason update, so there is a new list! Here is a look at how the Twins Daily Midseason Top 20 Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Injured List (elbow strain) #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – DNP #4 – Matt Canterino (Fort Myers) – DNP #5 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) – 3-for-5, R #6 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – 2-for-6, 2 RBI, R #7 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, R #8 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) – DNP #9 – Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-for-6, RBI #10 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-3, HR, BB, HBP, 2 RBI, R #11 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #12 – Bailey Ober (Minnesota) – DNP #13 – Cole Sands (Wichita) – DNP #14 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) – 4-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R #15 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – DNP #16 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) – 0-for-3 #17 – Wander Javier (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5 #18 – Alerick Soularie (Complex) – DNP #19 – Edwar Colina (Rehab) – Injured List (elbow) #20 – Chris Vallimont (Wichita) – DNP SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Fort Myers at Bradenton, 11 am CT: Bobby Milacki St. Paul at Indianapolis, 6:05 pm CT: Beau Burrows Cedar Rapids at Peoria, 6:35 pm CT: Sawyer Gipson-Long Wichita at Tulsa, 7:05 pm CT: Cole Sands
  6. The Minnesota Twins find themselves doubled up in the loss column at the time of this post, at 13-26, and the biggest controversy is whether Yermin Mercedes should be able to swing 3-0 against Willians Astudillo. If that doesn't tell you how this season has gone, I'm not sure what will. I've already wrote about players that we could see traded, as well as ranked all the Twins MLB roster by trade value. I expect many of those moves to be made in July, although some could roll in earlier, especially with all of the injuries around Major League Baseball. When all of these expected moves come around, the Twins are going to have to fill these holes with players from the minor leagues, or possibly by players coming in from the trades. This series will take a look at the players the Twins front office will want to take a longer look at come late July, August, and September in order to put themselves in a position to succeed in 2022. RHP Randy Dobnak Dobnak came into the Twins organization as a feel good story, and even started a playoff game for the Twins. He also signed a 5 year extension this past offseason, which locked in financial security for the former Uber driver, and gave the Twins a cheap depth option for the foreseeable future. However, there is questions around Twins territory on whether Dobnak is an MLB starter, or more of a long man. With expected trades of JA Happ and Michael Pineda, and the likely DFA or move to the bullpen for Matt Shoemaker, the Twins will have plenty of chances to evaluate some of the AAA starters. Dobnak should, and likely will be, the first option to fill the hole. Dobnak relies on pinpoint control over his sinker, and a very good slider to pair with the sinker. In order to be an effective MLB starter, Dobnak will have to develop a reliable third pitch, with the changeup being the most likely. Even if Dobnak isn't a long term starter, he will be on the opening day roster in 2022. LHP Lewis Thorpe Lewis Thorpe is a former top prospect out of Australia, but certainly hasn't met those expectations thus far. The key to Thorpe being a useful arm in the major leagues all rely on his fastball velocity. Last season we saw Thorpe's velocity fall below 90, which was not the norm for him, and unsurprisingly, he got shelled. However, there were signs of hope for the southpaw during spring training, where he said he "refocused mentally and physically" and the results backed it up. Thorpe was sitting in the low 90's during spring training, but that has suddenly disappeared. During Thorpe's two spot starts thus far, he's once again sitting 89.7 MPH on the fastball, and shared that he's going through a dead arm phase. If Thorpe snaps out of his dead arm, and regains his velo, he has a chance at a starter to pair with his very good slider. However, if the fastball velo is only sustainable in short stints, a move to the pen seems inevitable. We'll get an answer on this question during the dog days of the 2021 summer. RHP Bailey Ober As I'm writing this article, Bailey Ober is pitching the first inning of his MLB debut. Ober is a big, right handed arm who stands at 6 feet 9 inches, but doesn't have the velo that matches the body. The Twins drafted Ober in the 12th round in 2017, which is the same draft where Royce Lewis was the #1 pick. The fact that Ober has already made his MLB debut, despite being a 12th round pick, means he's outperformed expectations. Bailey was added to the 40 man roster this past offseason, despite not throwing in a live game since 2019. Ober has four quality pitches, with the fastball sitting in the upper 80's, and the lower 90's on occasion. His best putaway pitch is a changeup, which moves with a lot of armside run. He also features a slider and curveball, but neither project as anything more than an average pitch. Despite the fastball not cracking 90, it has a lot of carry on it which allows him to successfully pitch in the upper part of the zone. With the next wave of top arms coming to Target Field soon in Johan Duran and Jordan Balazovic, Ober will have to perform well to stay apart of Minnesota's long term plans, as he is a starter or bust.
  7. The Twins woes with runners in scoring position did them in again tonight, as they game themselves plenty of scoring chances, but went 0-for-9 with RISP and failed to cash in on any of them and fell to the Texas Rangers by a score of 3-1.Box Score Thorpe: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Home Runs: Garver (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Polanco -.188, Kepler -.174, Simmons -.130 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs): Download attachment: Screen Shot 2021-05-05 at 10.20.39 PM.png Garver goes deep Mitch Garver got the scoring started with one out in the bottom of second when he blasted an 88-mph fastball into the second deck in left-center field. After hitting just two home runs in 23 games in 2020, Garver is back on his 2019 home run pace, as this was already his sixth so far this season. Twins blow great scoring chance in the 4th After giving up the lead in the top of the inning, the Twins offense was poised to take it right back in the bottom of the inning. Nelson Cruz got the inning started with a sharp ground ball single to center field and was followed by a ground-rule double off the bat of Kyle Garlick, his first of two doubles on the evening. Mitch Garver then drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. However, the Twins somehow found a way to not score any runs as Jorge Polanco struck out, followed by a force out at home off the bat of Max Kepler and a ground ball to short from Miguel Sano to get out of the inning. Even though the score was still tied, at the time it felt that was an opportunity that would haunt the Twins late in the ballgame. Lewis Thorpe makes 2nd start of the season After a rough 2020, Lewis Thorpe had to earn his way back in the Twins good graces with a strong spring training performance. As a result, Thorpe has earned the spot starter role for the Twins early in season. After giving up two runs in four innings in his first start, Thorpe gave the Twins another solid outing, as he allowed three runs over five plus. The outing had a chance to be better than it resulted, as Thorpe had given up just one run through five. However, Baldelli kept him in one inning too long as Thorpe gave up a walk and a single before getting pulled to start the sixth. Cody Stashak came in to relieve Thorpe, but failed to strand either runner, as both came around to score giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Alex Colome throws two shutout innings in reduced role It has been a very rough start to the 2021 season for newly acquired Alex Colome, who began the season as the Twins closer. In less than a month, he’s already not getting high leverage spots, but he’s filling more of a middle relief role as he was used to pitch multiple innings in a game the Twins were losing. So, it was only fitting that this was the appearance that Colome was able to keep the opposing team off the scoreboard. While it was nice to keep the Twins in the ballgame, it sure would have been better to have a few more outings like this earlier in the season when he was protecting a Twins lead in the final inning, but I digress. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here to see the bullpen usage over the past five days (link opens a Google Sheet). Click here to view the article
  8. Box Score Thorpe: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Home Runs: Garver (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Polanco -.188, Kepler -.174, Simmons -.130 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs): Garver goes deep Mitch Garver got the scoring started with one out in the bottom of second when he blasted an 88-mph fastball into the second deck in left-center field. After hitting just two home runs in 23 games in 2020, Garver is back on his 2019 home run pace, as this was already his sixth so far this season. https://twitter.com/BallySportsNOR/status/1390103662530375686 Twins blow great scoring chance in the 4th After giving up the lead in the top of the inning, the Twins offense was poised to take it right back in the bottom of the inning. Nelson Cruz got the inning started with a sharp ground ball single to center field and was followed by a ground-rule double off the bat of Kyle Garlick, his first of two doubles on the evening. Mitch Garver then drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. However, the Twins somehow found a way to not score any runs as Jorge Polanco struck out, followed by a force out at home off the bat of Max Kepler and a ground ball to short from Miguel Sano to get out of the inning. Even though the score was still tied, at the time it felt that was an opportunity that would haunt the Twins late in the ballgame. Lewis Thorpe makes 2nd start of the season After a rough 2020, Lewis Thorpe had to earn his way back in the Twins good graces with a strong spring training performance. As a result, Thorpe has earned the spot starter role for the Twins early in season. After giving up two runs in four innings in his first start, Thorpe gave the Twins another solid outing, as he allowed three runs over five plus. The outing had a chance to be better than it resulted, as Thorpe had given up just one run through five. However, Baldelli kept him in one inning too long as Thorpe gave up a walk and a single before getting pulled to start the sixth. Cody Stashak came in to relieve Thorpe, but failed to strand either runner, as both came around to score giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. Alex Colome throws two shutout innings in reduced role It has been a very rough start to the 2021 season for newly acquired Alex Colome, who began the season as the Twins closer. In less than a month, he’s already not getting high leverage spots, but he’s filling more of a middle relief role as he was used to pitch multiple innings in a game the Twins were losing. So, it was only fitting that this was the appearance that Colome was able to keep the opposing team off the scoreboard. While it was nice to keep the Twins in the ballgame, it sure would have been better to have a few more outings like this earlier in the season when he was protecting a Twins lead in the final inning, but I digress. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet Click here to see the bullpen usage over the past five days (link opens a Google Sheet).
  9. When the Minnesota Twins set out to supplement their roster this offseason a couple of different areas presented themselves as needs. Starting pitching will always remain one as you can never have enough, but the organization is in rarefied air. Following his signing with the Houston Astros it’s more than fair to suggest the Twins would’ve been well-served to wait out Jake Odorizzi. He clearly over-anticipated his market however and found a landing spot only after Framber Valdez dealt a blow to Dusty Baker’s starting rotation. Instead, Minnesota went with a one-year deal to Matt Shoemaker that set the club back just $2 million. At the time, and even now, that has the makings of a pretty shrewd move. If you’re at all familiar with Shoemaker’s track record you know this, he hasn’t been available often. Across seven full Major League seasons he’s made 15 or more starts just three times, while failing to reach double digits in each of the past three. Injury issues have plagued him, but it’s worth noting that the injuries haven’t been arm related. In hoping for a regression to the fluky nature that has kept him sidelined, you have to take note of the production that has been there. Back in 2016 was the last time Shoemaker threw more than 100 innings. Across 27 starts that year he posted a 3.88 ERA backed by a 3.51 FIP and an 8.0 K/9. It was the third year in a row in which he’d tallied both 20 starts and 130+ innings pitched. In that time, he owned a 3.80 ERA with a 3.77 FIP and an 8.0 K/9. When available the veteran has been incredibly consistent. He’s good for a high-threes ERA while striking out right around eight per nine and being very stingy on the free passes. Even as a third starter that would play, and he’ll pitch out of the Minnesota five-hole. What’s maybe most important for the Twins in all of this isn’t even what Shoemaker himself brings to the table, but rather what he affords the club in regards to those around him. Randy Dobnak has started a Postseason game, Lewis Thorpe is a former top prospect that has been the darling of Spring Training, and the duo of Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic are close. That doesn’t even touch on Devin Smeltzer, who has Major League experience as well. None of them will factor into the rotation on Opening Day. In 2020 Rocco Baldelli had 11 different players starts a game (two of which were openers). For the Bomba Squad a year prior, 10 different players made starts (one of which was an opener). Depth is something every team must have in the rotation, and that will probably ring truer than ever coming off such a shortened schedule a season ago. Because of what this front office has done in the development department, the Twins could be more prepared now than they ever have been before. A year ago, the Twins posted the 5th best fWAR among starters in baseball. That improved upon a 7th place finish in 2019. Derek Falvey had long been considered a pitching guru for his time in Cleveland, and he’s quickly carried that acumen to a new organization. I’m not sure who will contribute what, and which starters will be there at the end, but you can bet the stable is right where the organization feels comfortable when it comes to pieces at their disposal. Maybe Matt Shoemaker only gives his new club something like ten starts in 2021. That’s still more than Rich Hill or Homer Bailey a season ago, and the flexibility he provides the Twins in terms of additional depth is a bonus that can’t be overstated. Let him be healthy because he’s been good when available. When the time comes to make a change, options will be plentiful. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  10. As a teenager, Lewis Thorpe seemed like he was on a path to being a dominant big-league starter. For multiple offseasons, he was considered a top-100 prospect and he posted some dominating numbers in the minor’s lower levels. Clearly, plenty can happen over the course of pitcher’s professional career as Thorpe missed multiple seasons and he has yet to put it all together at baseball’s highest level. Many fans are aware of what Thorpe’s situation from a season ago. He left spring training for two weeks as he dealt with some personal matters. He had an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation but missing that much time meant he was among the team’s first group sent over to the minor league side of camp. It had to be frustrating for all parties involved. As the season started, Thorpe was given a second chance, but his results on the field suffered. His fastball velocity dipped from 91.2 mph in 2019 to 89.7 mph in 2020. His Whiff % was in the 14th percentile and his K % was in the third percentile. His strikeouts per nine dropped from 10.1 in 2019 to 5.5 in 2020. There was little to get excited about. This spring something is different with Thorpe. He spent the winter working on his physical and mental health to prove he belongs in the Twins long-term plans. On the physical side, he added almost 30 pounds this off-season and nearly all of it is muscle. This has helped his fastball to tick back up to 93 mph and his head is where it needs to be. "My head wasn't clear, and this year, in the offseason, I committed myself to working out and working on my arm action and getting strength back in my legs," Thorpe said. "It's all coming along really nicely." This season is going to be a make-it or break-it year for Thorpe and there are some subtle changes he can make to improve his performance. One item he can focus on adjusting is the release point of his curveball. He throws this pitch less than his other pitches but there is a clear difference in his release point as he tends to release it 2.4 inches higher than his other pitches. He’s allowed an average exit velocity of 85.5 mph, which is over 2 mph lower than the league average. However, Thorpe has allowed 12% of his balls in play to be barrels. Leave average barrel percentage is 7%. Throughout his minor league career, Thorpe has been able to avoid barrels because of his strong strikeout totals. This spring there have already been some positive signs with his ability to strikeout batters and fans can hope this is a second change that translates to the regular season. https://twitter.com/NoDakTwinsFan/status/1368933867873316868?s=20 "Just pounded the zone, trusted my stuff and it went well," Thorpe said after this weekend’s start. "I got the swings and misses that I wanted. The offspeed was down in the zone and the fastball was up, so it worked out pretty good." If things continue to work out pretty well, the rest of the AL Central might need to be prepared for Lewis Thorpe’s arrival. He's also waiting an arbitrator's decision on if he will get a fourth option year and that could go a long way to deciding his future in Minnesota. What are your expectations for Thorpe this season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. PORT CHARLOTTE - The Twins defeated the Rays 6-5 in a road game that featured a number of Twins’ players’ 2021 debuts. We saw Lewis Thorpe (and maybe as importantly, Lewis Thorpe’s velocity), Luis Arraez and Brent Rooker for the first time this spring. The results were encouraging.Lewis Thorpe Thorpe didn’t have the cleanest first inning – he walked his first batter and hit another in the head - but the pitches that we’ve heard about this spring were all on display. Most noticeably, the velocity that had deserted him last year has returned, as he was consistently throwing his fastball at least 90 mph, reaching 93 mph on occasion. Asked about the variation, he explained “Sometimes I just try to groove [the slower version] in there and if I really want to let one rip, the 93 is in the back of the tank somewhere.” His offspeed stuff was similarly impressive. He relied several times on a mid-70s curveball that he threw as a first-pitch-looking strikes to batters. His slider was a little less reliable, but good enough to strikeout the last batter he faced in an efficient second inning. He finished with two strikeouts and no runs over two innings. Tuesday the Twins will be playing the Braves on the road, and if you would like to follow along, follow @TwinsDaily on Twitter. Click here to view the article
  12. Lewis Thorpe Thorpe didn’t have the cleanest first inning – he walked his first batter and hit another in the head - but the pitches that we’ve heard about this spring were all on display. Most noticeably, the velocity that had deserted him last year has returned, as he was consistently throwing his fastball at least 90 mph, reaching 93 mph on occasion. Asked about the variation, he explained “Sometimes I just try to groove [the slower version] in there and if I really want to let one rip, the 93 is in the back of the tank somewhere.” His offspeed stuff was similarly impressive. He relied several times on a mid-70s curveball that he threw as a first-pitch-looking strikes to batters. His slider was a little less reliable, but good enough to strikeout the last batter he faced in an efficient second inning. He finished with two strikeouts and no runs over two innings. https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1366455965093154818 He even made a couple of plays in the field, including tangoing with catcher Ryan Jeffers on a high pop fly that came down two feet in front of home plate. Jeffers ended up on the ground, but on his way there, he watched Thorpe catch the ball over Jeffers’ shoulder. It was another encouraging step for the Thorpe. The southpaw still has an uphill climb to the majors as a member of the rotation. He’s certainly behind the five veterans in camp, and maybe also be behind Randy Dobnak and Devin Smeltzer. But it’s clear the team is gaining confidence in him. As is Thorpe. “It's fantastic,” he exclaimed after. “To come back with the way I'm throwing the ball right now, it's such a positive leading up to my first outing after that live BP. To be able to pound the zone and get some swings and misses, and know my stuff belongs here, it's a relief, that's for sure.” Luis Arraez Luis Arraez not only made his debut, but also hit lead off, lacing a line drive off of Rays’ starter Tyler Glasnow, he of the 97 mph fastball. That drive found a diving center fielder’s glove, but Arraez had an even more impressive at-bat in the second inning. Glasnow was clearly tiring, but the bases were loaded with two outs. Arraez fell behind in the count 0-2 on two foul balls, but worked the count back to 3-2 and three pitches later worked a walk to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. He was the last batter Glasnow faced. What was striking about the at-bat is there was never a point, even down 0-2, that it felt like Arraez was in any kind of trouble. “Luis is not intimidated by really anyone,” mused manager Rocco Baldelli after the game. Arraez also made a great running catch ranging into right field, but it left his manager holding his breath: https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1366466502476587008 Brent Rooker Rooker started in left field and batted cleanup. Last year, his season ended shortly after he was called up to the Twins last when he suffered a broken arm after being hit by a pitch. With the Twins having an abundance of left-handed hitting corner outfielders, the right-handed hitting Rooker looks like a valuable piece to have on the 26-man roster this year. He certainly didn’t show any ill effects from the injury in his first at-bat of the season. Facing Glasnow he drilled a home run to right-center field to give the Twins and early 1-0 lead. https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1366456585636216839 Odd and Ends Or should I say “an odd end?” We had heard all games would be seven innings, but following the fifth inning, an announcement was made that the game would only be one more inning long. So we got a six inning game. The Rays’ stadium was practicing the same type of pandemic crowd control that Hammond Stadium did on Sunday, but the American League’s defending champs’ crowd was so light, there was little reason for concern. Seats were spread out, and I never say any line at a concession stand or for the restroom. There was plenty of distance between the fans. https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1366448547743342593 Tuesday the Twins will be playing the Braves on the road, and if you would like to follow along, follow @TwinsDaily on Twitter.
  13. Recently the Minnesota Twins signed veteran starting pitcher J.A. Happ to bolster their rotation. He’d slot in as the 4th starter with where things stand currently, and Randy Dobnak would be the clubhouse favorite to round out the group. It remains to be seen whether or not another move is coming, but there’s a dark horse to eat someone’s lunch. At the risk of sounding too punny, maybe he’s a dark kangaroo. Lewis Thorpe recently turned 25-years-old and is a former top-100 prospect. He couldn’t be further from that stature right now, but talent shouldn’t be the question. After battling back from Tommy John surgery, and then an extended bout of pneumonia, he put together impressive seasons on the farm. The past two years have been anything but, however he’s worth believing in under one key condition. I liked Thorpe as a potential contributor to the big-league club when 2020 Spring Training kicked off. He was coming off a 4.76 ERA in just shy of 100 Triple-A innings, but it was largely reflective of the home run ball and his 11.1 K/9 paired with a 2.3 BB/9 was still plenty enticing. Then Florida happened. No, for Thorpe, it wasn’t the Covid-19 related shutdown. Without divulging too many specifics or risking secondary information, what is publicly known is that he took an extended leave of absence from the team. His parents flew in from Australia and he needed to undergo a mental reset. Ultimately, he didn’t appear in a Major League game until July 26 and contributed just 16.1 innings for the Twins. His 6.06 ERA was ugly and giving up a homer in roughly 25-percent of his innings pitched was not going to play. Again though, the stuff has always been there. Observing the offseason without having directly communicated with Thorpe, things appear to be trending in a different direction. The Twitter account has been dormant since his birthday in 2020, and his workouts have been shared on different forms of social media. What was at least an erratic presence a year ago has once again subdued as was the case previously. Whether by his own doing, or a helping hand from the organization, if Thorpe has recalibrated himself, he can certainly be a difference maker on the bump. I was uncertain as to his place within the organization during periods of roster trimming, and there were times that his inclusion in a trade may have even made sense. The pitcher that forced his way into the big leagues in 2019 is a force to be reckoned with however, and Rocco Baldelli can make use of that. Physically we saw Thorpe’s velocity diminish in 2020. He posted just an average of 90 mph on his fastball. It’s never that he’s been a hard thrower but losing nearly 2 mph at such a young age wasn’t a great development. It was clear that the lack of carry made a difference last season, and Wes Johnson unlocking the tank would be a great step forward for the Southpaw. The Twins ratcheted up his slider usage last season, and that trend could continue for 2021. Looking to regain the whiff and chase rates from 2019 form, tinkering will certainly be valuable as more data is collected. There’s not reason to believe an ace is in the making here, but right now it’s not Dobnak or bust when it comes to the back end of the Twins rotation. Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic may force themselves in eventually, but don’t count out the best version of Thorpe to make noise before the dust settles. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  14. Lewis Thorpe is out of options. The Twins either need to keep him on the MLB team as their 5th starter or as a reliever out of the bullpen or expose him to waivers when sending him down. Given his prospect pedigree I'm almost certain some rebuilding team will grab him and throw him out there to see if they can get something out of him if he gets exposed to the waiver wire so the question is as follows: If Thorpe doesn't impress at ST for a 5th starters job or even a BP role do you expose him to waivers or keep him and hope he you can fix his issues during the year? Let me know your thoughts!
  15. The trade deadline is just around the corner. While many of us thought it may ultimately be a quiet deadline there have already been some deals struck. Most notably may be Taijuan Walker being dealt to the Blue Jays from the Mariners. Across Twins Daily there have recently been several good write ups about some targets the Twins could try and acquire. Here I will explore the players who have value as trade chips for the Twins during trade talks. This year's trade deadline guidelines read that only players in the 60-man player pool can be traded. That has created speculation that the most traded player this deadline may be the “PTBNL” creating a loophole and expanding teams tradable assets. Simply for ease of speculation, here is a list of the five most valuable and/or tradable assets in the Twins 60-man player pool. Eddie Rosario Rosario’s name is no stranger to lists like these. There is also no denying that Rosario has been very valuable to the Twins in many ways this season. Time and time again we have seen him use his cannon to catch runners on the basepaths. He has also hit .241/.307/.457 with 7 home runs while bumping his walk rate up from 3.7% in 2019 to 8.7% in 2020. If the Twins want to go get someone of higher impact at the deadline they will need to give up something of value. Rosario may represent the most replaceable piece on this squad as it stands currently. He would also be available to the team receiving him through next season as long as they want to pay his arbitration number. Speaking of Rosario being replaceable... The Big 3 Prospect Bats: Alex Kiriloff, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker I am going to go ahead and treat these three prospects as a group. We as fans have already wondered out loud if Alex Kiriloff and Brent Rooker should be looked at to help jump start the Twins offense this season. They also represent players other teams would certainly be interested in. Because Larnach and Kiriloff are widely regarded as the better two prospects, Rooker is the player that would be the easiest from the Twins stand point to let go. That is not a knock on what he has done since last season at Rochester he hit .281/.398/.535 with a .933 OPS in 65 games. For the right return, I am guessing any of these three can at least be discussed. Lewis Thorpe Something has happened to Thorpe. After looking like someone heading on the right track and the pick by many to be a breakout candidate for 2020. Things have not gone well for Thorpe. In 14.2 innings this season, the Australian has a 6.14 ERA and has been hurt by the long ball boasting a 2.45 HR/9. While all the raw tools seem to be there for Thorpe there is just something missing and maybe another team sees the value and believes they can unlock it. While at the same time the Twins bolstering their roster for a playoff run. Edwar Colina I personally would be very shocked if Jhoan Duran or Jordan Balazovic (not in the 60-man pool) were traded at this deadline. Mainly because I just don’t know if there is going to be a big enough fish out there worth their value. Colina could be another arm that would entice teams. Not much unlike Brusdar Graterol this winter did. Colina is big and thick and can pump the ball into home plate with triple digit velocity. Ultimately I hope he sticks around, but his velocity along with his 2.96 ERA and 9.4 K/9 may be something other teams would like in a trade package come the deadline. Also, since he seems to be slated to be a relief pitcher it makes seeing him go a bit easier to absorb. The Back-end of the Roster Welcome to the “not so sexy” portion of the list. My personal feeling is that there will be more trades like this than anything throughout this year’s deadline. These are all guys that can simply fill out the end of a major league team’s bench. Of course that is also fully based on the Twins also being fully healthy. Ehire Adrianza has been valuable to the Twins over the past couple years, but with his ability to hit free agency coming up and with Marwin Gonzalez and Ildemaro Vargas on the roster if it fetches something he could be expendable. Nick Gordon has been in COVID limbo but he either could be one of the possible replacements for Adrianza on the Twins roster or even the trade market. Jake Cave would fit mold as well. Not much different than when the Twins acquired him, Cave represents good defense (even with some glaringly bad ones mixed in) with a bat that can get real hot real quick. Depending on how depleted rosters become I even wonder if AAAA guys like Juan Graterol and Drew Maggi could even get asked about in cash deals like the Twins when they acquired Vargas. What are some names you would be dangling that didn’t get mentioned? Do you even think the trade deadline will be an active one? Love to hear your thoughts and don’t forget to check out some of the pieces written about who the Twins could target. 4 Right-Handed Relievers to Target 4 Left-Handed Relievers to Target The Case For and Against Lance Lynn 3 Bats to Target Former Twins to look at
  16. After racing to a 10-2 start, the Minnesota Twins hit a speed bump against what should've been an exploitable soft spot in the schedule. A six-game winning streak gave way to a four-game losing streak as the team is suddenly overcome by sleepy and punchless performances. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/3 through Sun, 8/9 *** Record Last Week: 3-4 (Overall: 10-6) Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall: +23) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (0.5 GA) Bomba Counter: 25 (Pace: 94) Everything seemed to take a turn for the Twins on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh. With a two-run lead in the eighth inning, they appeared to be headed toward a seventh straight win. But the Pirates rallied to manufacture three runs against Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers, despite not hitting anything especially hard. Rogers ended up getting walked off on a two-run ground ball single, and the Twins haven't won since. Making matters worse is the rash of negative injury news to emerge over the course of the week. Homer Bailey and Rich Hill were both placed on the Injured List, with fairly ominous issues. Bailey is bothered by right biceps tendinitis and, as of Saturday, had yet to resume throwing. Hill's injury seems more minor, as he's traveling with the team and going through his throwing progressions, but it's unsettling to hear about a 40-year-old experiencing shoulder fatigue after his first start of the season.On Friday the Twins announced that Josh Donaldson, who hadn't played for a week, was being placed on the Injured List retroactive to August 4th, meaning he'll miss most of next week at least. I had written on Thursday night about Donaldson's cursed (and blessed) massive calves, which have given him plenty of trouble in the past.On the bright side, Jake Odorizzi was activated to take Donaldson's place on the active roster, and made his season debut on Saturday. He looked okay, allowing two runs over three innings, but what's most important is that he's healthy and back in this depleted rotation. HIGHLIGHTS With the offense still looking to find its rhythm, pitching continues to steal the show. Granted, the Twins faced a soft slate of opponents over the past week, but their arms still deserve plenty of credit for taking care of business. With the exception of Saturday's lapse, it was another strong week for the pitchers, most notably: Randy Dobnak, who delivered yet another sterling performance with six scoreless innings against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. His ERA sits at 0.60 after three starts.Kenta Maeda, who made one make mistake the following day – a three-run homer – but was otherwise outstanding in delivering another quality start.Jorge Alcala, who joined the bullpen just ahead of the week and made three appearances, totaling five innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out eight while walking only one. That last stat is most encouraging – if Alcala can keep his 99 MPH heater and hard slider in the zone, he's going be a difference-maker for the bullpen.Tyler Duffey, who pitched only once but extended his remarkable early-season run with a scoreless frame. On the season, Duffey has faced 16 batters and retired 15 of them – 10 on strikeouts. Very nearly perfect. It's interesting, though, that Alcala threw as many innings this past week as Duffey has all season, and that reflects a broader trend: Rocco Baldelli has seemed more inclined to use his lower-tier relief arms than his top dogs, even when his better options are well-rested. Trying to save as many bullets as possible for later? With Garver and Sanó both failing to click, the lineup's right-handed power threat is severely diminished, which might help explain why the teams is slugging just .339 off southpaws. Last year they had a collective .521 slugging percentage against lefties. Count Luis Arráez as another expected spark plug who's been fizzling of late. Since opening the season on a five-game hitting streak, he's gone just 3-for-25, including 3-for-16 over the past week while missing a couple games due to knee soreness. His plate approach is still just fine – he drew four walks with only one strikeout – but the results aren't there right now for the scrappy second baseman, who basically hit non-stop as a rookie. While the pitching staff has mostly been quite good, an overt outlier is Lewis Thorpe. He got the starting nod against Pittsburgh on Monday and was quite shaky, allowing three earned runs on six hits and four walks over four innings. His second appearance of the week came in relief, as Thorpe came in after Odorizzi's exit on Saturday night, and it was even more brutal: He was charged with three runs on three hits – including a home run allowed to light-hitting second baseman Nicky Lopez – while failing to record an out. This year's version of Thorpe looks very little like the intriguing whiff machine we saw last year; his velocity is now down, his command has been poor, and batters aren't getting fooled as evidenced by a 7.4% swinging strike rate. He frankly doesn't look like a very palatable option right now. One wonders if the Twins would consider swapping in a higher-upside arm like Jhoan Duran from the alternative training site to see if it provides a jolt. TRENDING STORYLINE Speaking of reinforcements, the offense could maybe use some right now. The current 18-to-12 ratio of pitchers to position players is quite lopsided, and a lot of key relievers just aren't getting much work. Perhaps that's by design, to an extent, but there have to be downsides to it in terms of maintaining sharpness. Travis Blankenhorn stands out as a sensible short-term add, given that he can play both infield positions (third and second) where the Twins have players banged up. If the team concludes that Donaldson will be out for a prolonged time, might they consider something a little more drastic? Like, say, shifting Sanó back across the diamond to third and using someone like Alex Kirilloff or Brent Rooker at first? Or even sliding a Jorge Polanco or Arráez to third and giving Royce Lewis a look? Of course, there's also a beloved guy by the name of Willians Astudillo who is now recovered from his COVID bout and ramping up in St. Paul... LOOKING AHEAD The Twins are off to Milwaukee to wrap up their road trip in a border battle against the Brewers. Dobnak will open the week tryin build upon his spectacular start to the season on Monday. After three games against the Brew Crew, the Twins get their only day off in the month of August, and then head back to Target Field for a rematch against Kansas City. MONDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Randy Dobnak v. RHP Adrian Houser TUESDAY, 8/11: TWINS @ BREWERS – TBD v. RHP Josh Lindblom WEDNESDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Kenta Maeda v. LHP Eric Lauer FRIDAY, 8/14: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Jakob Junis v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SATURDAY, 8/15: ROYALS @ TWINS – LHP Danny Duffy v. RHP Jose Berrios SUNDAY, 8/16: ROYALS @ TWINS – Kris Bubic vs Undecided Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 10 | MIN 5, PIT 4: Nelson Cruz Delivers a Walk-Off Hit to Cap ComebackGame 11 | MIN 7, PIT 3: José Berríos Overcomes Command, DroneGame 12 | MIN 5, PIT 2: Randy Dobnak Delivers 6 Scoreless, Max Kepler Provides Key Insurance HomerGame 13 | PIT 6, MIN 5: Taylor Rogers Blows Save, Win Streak SnappedGame 14 | KCR 3, MIN 2: No Cruz, No Donaldson, No Arráez, No OffenseGame 15 | KCR 9, MIN 6: Brief 2020 Debut for Odorizzi; Royals Bust It Open Against BullpenGame 16 | KCR 4, MIN 2: Bad Day for Berríos, BatsMORE FROM TWINS DAILY— Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  17. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/3 through Sun, 8/9 *** Record Last Week: 3-4 (Overall: 10-6) Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall: +23) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (0.5 GA) Bomba Counter: 25 (Pace: 94) Everything seemed to take a turn for the Twins on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh. With a two-run lead in the eighth inning, they appeared to be headed toward a seventh straight win. But the Pirates rallied to manufacture three runs against Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers, despite not hitting anything especially hard. Rogers ended up getting walked off on a two-run ground ball single, and the Twins haven't won since. Making matters worse is the rash of negative injury news to emerge over the course of the week. Homer Bailey and Rich Hill were both placed on the Injured List, with fairly ominous issues. Bailey is bothered by right biceps tendinitis and, as of Saturday, had yet to resume throwing. Hill's injury seems more minor, as he's traveling with the team and going through his throwing progressions, but it's unsettling to hear about a 40-year-old experiencing shoulder fatigue after his first start of the season. On Friday the Twins announced that Josh Donaldson, who hadn't played for a week, was being placed on the Injured List retroactive to August 4th, meaning he'll miss most of next week at least. I had written on Thursday night about Donaldson's cursed (and blessed) massive calves, which have given him plenty of trouble in the past. On the bright side, Jake Odorizzi was activated to take Donaldson's place on the active roster, and made his season debut on Saturday. He looked okay, allowing two runs over three innings, but what's most important is that he's healthy and back in this depleted rotation. HIGHLIGHTS With the offense still looking to find its rhythm, pitching continues to steal the show. Granted, the Twins faced a soft slate of opponents over the past week, but their arms still deserve plenty of credit for taking care of business. With the exception of Saturday's lapse, it was another strong week for the pitchers, most notably: Randy Dobnak, who delivered yet another sterling performance with six scoreless innings against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. His ERA sits at 0.60 after three starts. Kenta Maeda, who made one make mistake the following day – a three-run homer – but was otherwise outstanding in delivering another quality start. Jorge Alcala, who joined the bullpen just ahead of the week and made three appearances, totaling five innings. He allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out eight while walking only one. That last stat is most encouraging – if Alcala can keep his 99 MPH heater and hard slider in the zone, he's going be a difference-maker for the bullpen. Tyler Duffey, who pitched only once but extended his remarkable early-season run with a scoreless frame. On the season, Duffey has faced 16 batters and retired 15 of them – 10 on strikeouts. Very nearly perfect. It's interesting, though, that Alcala threw as many innings this past week as Duffey has all season, and that reflects a broader trend: Rocco Baldelli has seemed more inclined to use his lower-tier relief arms than his top dogs, even when his better options are well-rested. Trying to save as many bullets as possible for later? https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1292575832234266625 In a quieter week for the bats, there were still some standouts at the plate. Most notable among them is Byron Buxton, who shook off an early-season slump to homer in three straight games, and now finds himself on a six-game hitting streak. He raised his OPS from .167 to .779 from Monday to Sunday. Seeing him start to get rolling at the bottom of the order is a huge positive as so many other players struggle, and injuries take their toll. Another key figure in the lineup, especially with Donaldson absent, is Marwin González, and he has risen to the occasion. He started all seven games last week, manning every infield position other than short and looking sharp at each one while going 8-for-26 with a homer and three RBIs. His .855 OPS on the season ranks behind only Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler, who both also had good weeks. For more on Marwin, check out Cody Pirkl's recent article expressing appreciation for González and what he brings to the table for Minnesota. LOWLIGHTS The Twins lineup still has not been able to get going. They've averaged fewer than four runs per game since the season-opening series in Chicago, and were held almost completely in check by a mediocre Royals staff. As Seth wrote over the weekend, Minnesota's struggles might be a little overstated in the context of the entire league, where offense is down generally, but it's still disturbing to see so many hitters in this vaunted group scuffling. At the head of that list is Mitch Garver, who just cannot seem to find it. He started four of the team's seven games last week and went 0-for-14, dropping his average to .094 on the season. He showed decent discipline, drawing four walks against five strikeouts, but the catcher isn't squaring up anything. According to Statcast, his home run against Cleveland last weekend is the only ball he's barrelled up all year; in 2019, Garver ranked among the league's top 4% of players in Barrel %. Also struggling mightily from the right side is Miguel Sanó. The first baseman hit a double and home run against the Pirates, but otherwise went 0-for-20 on the week with 12 strikeouts. For the year, he has struck out 23 times with only one non-intentional walk. Unlike Garver, Sanó is at least crushing the ball when he makes contact, so I expect him to get into a zone soon as he sees more pitches, but it hasn't happened yet. He went 0-for-11 in the KC series. https://twitter.com/NickNelsonMN/status/1292159138424918021 With Garver and Sanó both failing to click, the lineup's right-handed power threat is severely diminished, which might help explain why the teams is slugging just .339 off southpaws. Last year they had a collective .521 slugging percentage against lefties. Count Luis Arráez as another expected spark plug who's been fizzling of late. Since opening the season on a five-game hitting streak, he's gone just 3-for-25, including 3-for-16 over the past week while missing a couple games due to knee soreness. His plate approach is still just fine – he drew four walks with only one strikeout – but the results aren't there right now for the scrappy second baseman, who basically hit non-stop as a rookie. While the pitching staff has mostly been quite good, an overt outlier is Lewis Thorpe. He got the starting nod against Pittsburgh on Monday and was quite shaky, allowing three earned runs on six hits and four walks over four innings. His second appearance of the week came in relief, as Thorpe came in after Odorizzi's exit on Saturday night, and it was even more brutal: He was charged with three runs on three hits – including a home run allowed to light-hitting second baseman Nicky Lopez – while failing to record an out. This year's version of Thorpe looks very little like the intriguing whiff machine we saw last year; his velocity is now down, his command has been poor, and batters aren't getting fooled as evidenced by a 7.4% swinging strike rate. He frankly doesn't look like a very palatable option right now. One wonders if the Twins would consider swapping in a higher-upside arm like Jhoan Duran from the alternative training site to see if it provides a jolt. TRENDING STORYLINE Speaking of reinforcements, the offense could maybe use some right now. The current 18-to-12 ratio of pitchers to position players is quite lopsided, and a lot of key relievers just aren't getting much work. Perhaps that's by design, to an extent, but there have to be downsides to it in terms of maintaining sharpness. Travis Blankenhorn stands out as a sensible short-term add, given that he can play both infield positions (third and second) where the Twins have players banged up. If the team concludes that Donaldson will be out for a prolonged time, might they consider something a little more drastic? Like, say, shifting Sanó back across the diamond to third and using someone like Alex Kirilloff or Brent Rooker at first? Or even sliding a Jorge Polanco or Arráez to third and giving Royce Lewis a look? Of course, there's also a beloved guy by the name of Willians Astudillo who is now recovered from his COVID bout and ramping up in St. Paul... LOOKING AHEAD The Twins are off to Milwaukee to wrap up their road trip in a border battle against the Brewers. Dobnak will open the week tryin build upon his spectacular start to the season on Monday. After three games against the Brew Crew, the Twins get their only day off in the month of August, and then head back to Target Field for a rematch against Kansas City. MONDAY, 8/10: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Randy Dobnak v. RHP Adrian Houser TUESDAY, 8/11: TWINS @ BREWERS – TBD v. RHP Josh Lindblom WEDNESDAY, 8/12: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Kenta Maeda v. LHP Eric Lauer FRIDAY, 8/14: ROYALS @ TWINS – RHP Jakob Junis v. RHP Jake Odorizzi SATURDAY, 8/15: ROYALS @ TWINS – LHP Danny Duffy v. RHP Jose Berrios SUNDAY, 8/16: ROYALS @ TWINS – Kris Bubic vs Undecided Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 10 | MIN 5, PIT 4: Nelson Cruz Delivers a Walk-Off Hit to Cap Comeback Game 11 | MIN 7, PIT 3: José Berríos Overcomes Command, Drone Game 12 | MIN 5, PIT 2: Randy Dobnak Delivers 6 Scoreless, Max Kepler Provides Key Insurance Homer Game 13 | PIT 6, MIN 5: Taylor Rogers Blows Save, Win Streak Snapped Game 14 | KCR 3, MIN 2: No Cruz, No Donaldson, No Arráez, No Offense Game 15 | KCR 9, MIN 6: Brief 2020 Debut for Odorizzi; Royals Bust It Open Against Bullpen Game 16 | KCR 4, MIN 2: Bad Day for Berríos, Bats MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. LAST NIGHT’S GAME RECAP Twins 3, Cleveland 1: Bullpen Dominates as Twins Take Series TODAY Twins vs. Pittsburgh, 7:10 pm CT Betting Lines: MIN -1.5, -230, 9.5 O/U Twins: Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2020: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Thorpe last worked on July 30, finishing the final two innings of the game against the Cleveland Indians. In that one Jose Berrios gave up the 2-run homer to Francisco Lindor, but Thorpe was part of a bullpen that kept the deficit where it was. He’s thrown 42 and 20 pitches in his two outings respectively, and while he’s not entirely stretched out, this shouldn’t be a bullpen game either. It’s an extremely small sample size thus far, but Thorpe has seen success in 2020 by missing barrels. His 14.3% hard hit rate is outstanding, and while both his chase and whiff rates are down, he’s keeping hitters off balance. The repertoire doesn’t include high velocity stuff, but he’s featured his slider substantially more this season and it’s been a focus for multiple Twins arms. Pittsburgh: Derek Holland, LHP 2020: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K Holland has made just one start in 2020 and it came against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was nothing short of awful in 2019 but sandwich a nice 2018 campaign for the San Francisco Giants in between that and another terrible season in 2017. Mediocrity across the board is what defines Dutch Oven, and there’s nothing that jumps off the page in terms of his numbers. Showcasing a very similar pitch mix to the Twins Thorpe, Holland does not have nearly the same positives in 2020 action. He has always been susceptible to the long ball, and he started his campaign with one in the debut outing as well. Holland has given up 2.0+ HR/9 twice in his career, and Minnesota’s righties should be licking their chops at that opportunity. LINEUP https://twitter.com/tlschwerz/status/1290356134180790273 TRANSACTION Another day, another transaction. Needing arms, the Twins brought back Caleb Thielbar. When he gets in a game, it'll be the first time since 2015 that he's been in the big leagues. NEWS & NOTES - Tonight will be the return of former Twins bench coach, Derek Shelton. He took over as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. - Bad news for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani. He made it through just 1.2 IP in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery and underwent an MRI yesterday. https://twitter.com/FabianArdaya/status/1290095415832883200 - The Phillies and Marlins have both had another day of no positive tests. Philadelphia resumes tonight against the Yankees while Miami is back in action tomorrow. - After playing in Minnesota the St. Louis Cardinals had some positive tests and there were postponements. They now appear to be in the outbreak category with a handful more. https://twitter.com/markasaxon/status/1290369901815791616 AROUND THE AL CENTRAL CIN 4, DET 3 (G1) CWS 9, KCR 2 CIN 4, DET 0 (G2) 1. MIN 7-2 (+22) 2. CHW 5-4 (+5) 3. CLE 5-5 (+1) 4. DET 5-5 (-11) 5. KCR 3-7 (-14) SEE ALSO Week in Review: Winning and Wondering Twins Bullpen: Ready When Needed Which 3 Twins Have Started the Strongest?
  19. After the Minnesota Twins put starter Homer Bailey on the Injured List due to biceps tendinitis, they needed to come up with another starting option for Monday night’s tilt with Pittsburgh. Despite being Rich Hill’s normal day of work, they’ll turn to the left-handed Aussie Lewis Thorpe.LAST NIGHT’S GAME RECAP Twins 3, Cleveland 1: Bullpen Dominates as Twins Take Series TODAY Twins vs. Pittsburgh, 7:10 pm CT Betting Lines: MIN -1.5, -230, 9.5 O/U Twins: Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2020: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Thorpe last worked on July 30, finishing the final two innings of the game against the Cleveland Indians. In that one Jose Berrios gave up the 2-run homer to Francisco Lindor, but Thorpe was part of a bullpen that kept the deficit where it was. He’s thrown 42 and 20 pitches in his two outings respectively, and while he’s not entirely stretched out, this shouldn’t be a bullpen game either. Download attachment: Thorpe.PNG It’s an extremely small sample size thus far, but Thorpe has seen success in 2020 by missing barrels. His 14.3% hard hit rate is outstanding, and while both his chase and whiff rates are down, he’s keeping hitters off balance. The repertoire doesn’t include high velocity stuff, but he’s featured his slider substantially more this season and it’s been a focus for multiple Twins arms. Pittsburgh: Derek Holland, LHP 2020: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K Holland has made just one start in 2020 and it came against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was nothing short of awful in 2019 but sandwich a nice 2018 campaign for the San Francisco Giants in between that and another terrible season in 2017. Mediocrity across the board is what defines Dutch Oven, and there’s nothing that jumps off the page in terms of his numbers. Download attachment: Holland.PNG Showcasing a very similar pitch mix to the Twins Thorpe, Holland does not have nearly the same positives in 2020 action. He has always been susceptible to the long ball, and he started his campaign with one in the debut outing as well. Holland has given up 2.0+ HR/9 twice in his career, and Minnesota’s righties should be licking their chops at that opportunity. LINEUP TRANSACTION Another day, another transaction. Needing arms, the Twins brought back Caleb Thielbar. When he gets in a game, it'll be the first time since 2015 that he's been in the big leagues. NEWS & NOTES - Tonight will be the return of former Twins bench coach, Derek Shelton. He took over as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. - Bad news for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani. He made it through just 1.2 IP in his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery and underwent an MRI yesterday. - The Phillies and Marlins have both had another day of no positive tests. Philadelphia resumes tonight against the Yankees while Miami is back in action tomorrow. - After playing in Minnesota the St. Louis Cardinals had some positive tests and there were postponements. They now appear to be in the outbreak category with a handful more. AROUND THE AL CENTRAL CIN 4, DET 3 (G1) CWS 9, KCR 2 CIN 4, DET 0 (G2) 1. MIN 7-2 (+22) 2. CHW 5-4 (+5) 3. CLE 5-5 (+1) 4. DET 5-5 (-11) 5. KCR 3-7 (-14) SEE ALSO Week in Review: Winning and Wondering Twins Bullpen: Ready When Needed Which 3 Twins Have Started the Strongest? Click here to view the article
  20. It came a day later than expected, but the Twins announced their 60-man summer camp roster on Tuesday morning. This is the player pool from which the Twins will select players to be included on their 30-man Opening Day roster. Many teams, like the Twins, included top prospects on their 60-man roster even some top-prospects that aren’t currently on the team’s 40-man roster. Here’s some quick notes on each of the organization’s top prospects on the roster and how they could impact the team during the 2020 campaign.Each prospect below was ranked on a scale from Unlikely to Possibly to Probably to Definitely. Things considered were inclusion on the 40-man roster, prospect status, and 2019 performance. Royce Lewis, SS Twins Prospect Ranking: 1 Lewis is widely considered the team’s top prospect and he is coming off a season with some mixed results. He might have redeemed himself with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League. Overall, he’s only played 33 games above High-A, so the Twins might have to be in a pinch to call him up. His speed is elite so he could be an intriguing pinch running option if the team needed him for that role. 2020 Impact: Unlikely Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B Twins Prospect Ranking: 2 If the 2020 season had played out as planned, Kirilloff seemed like a lock to make his big-league debut even if it came as a September call-up. He dealt with a wrist injury last season, but he was still able to play over 90 games, all at Double-A. With a healed wrist, he should be back to mashing like he did in 2018 when he was the team’s minor league hitter of the year. 2020 Impact: Possibly Trevor Larnach, OF Twins Prospect Ranking: 3 Larnach is coming off a tremendous first full season in the Twins organization. He relied on his college experience to mash the ball at High- and Double-A. Unfortunately for him, there are quite a few players standing in the way of him making his debut. Players like Alex Kirilloff and Brent Rooker seem more likely to get a chance before Larnach. 2020 Impact: Unlikely Jordan Balazovic, RHP Twins Prospect Ranking: 4 Balazovic is the team’s best starting pitching prospect, but he has only thrown 73 innings above the Low-A level. He had a tremendous 2019 season with a 2.69 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP, but it was probably a stretch for him to make his debut in 2020 even if there were 162 games. If the Twins need him as a starter this season, that might be bad news for the big-league squad. 2020 Impact: Unlikely Jhoan Duran, RHP Twins Prospect Ranking: 5 Duran takes Brusdar Graterol’s role as the big flame thrower in the Twins system. However, many believe Duran has a better shot to stick as a starting pitcher. For the 2020 season, Duran could be used in a similar role to Graterol last year. Enter late and throw gas out of the bullpen. 2020 Impact: Probably Ryan Jeffers, C Twins Prospect Ranking: 6 Jeffers is coming off a tremendous 2019 season where he established himself as not only the top catching prospect in the Twins system, but also one of the team’s best overall prospects. Minnesota already has Mitch Garver, Alex Avila and Willian Astudillo penciled into the 30-man roster, but an injury could mean he debuts this season. 2020 Impact: Possibly Lewis Thorpe, LHP Twins Prospect Ranking: 8 Heading into spring, Thorpe had a chance to make the Twins starting rotation. The only thing that prevented that was some time away from camp as he dealt with some personal issues. He is the best left-handed starting pitching prospect in the organization and he already has big-league experience so it’s a no brainer that he will impact this year’s team. 2020 Impact: Definitely Gilberto Celestino, OF Twins Prospect Ranking: 9 Celestino is an elite defensive outfielder and that might be his best chance at impacting the Twins this year. He’s already on the team’s 40-man roster so that could put him ahead of players like Kirilloff, Larnach and Rooker. His offensive skills set might not be big-league ready, but there’s no question he could impact the game on the defensive side of the ball. 2020 Impact: Possibly Other Pitching Prospects 2020 Impacts Dakota Chalmers, RHP: Possibly Randy Dobnak, RHP: Definitely Sean Poppen, RHP: Possibly Fernando Romero, RHP: Possibly Devin Smeltzer, RHP: Definitely Cody Stashak, RHP: Definitely Other Hitting Prospects 2020 Impacts Travis Blankenhorn, UTL: Probably Nick Gordon, SS/2B: Possibly LaMonte Wade Jr, OF: Probably Brent Rooker, OF: Probably Which top prospect will have the biggest impact on the Twins this season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  21. Each prospect below was ranked on a scale from Unlikely to Possibly to Probably to Definitely. Things considered were inclusion on the 40-man roster, prospect status, and 2019 performance. Royce Lewis, SS Twins Prospect Ranking: 1 Lewis is widely considered the team’s top prospect and he is coming off a season with some mixed results. He might have redeemed himself with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League. Overall, he’s only played 33 games above High-A, so the Twins might have to be in a pinch to call him up. His speed is elite so he could be an intriguing pinch running option if the team needed him for that role. 2020 Impact: Unlikely Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B Twins Prospect Ranking: 2 If the 2020 season had played out as planned, Kirilloff seemed like a lock to make his big-league debut even if it came as a September call-up. He dealt with a wrist injury last season, but he was still able to play over 90 games, all at Double-A. With a healed wrist, he should be back to mashing like he did in 2018 when he was the team’s minor league hitter of the year. 2020 Impact: Possibly Trevor Larnach, OF Twins Prospect Ranking: 3 Larnach is coming off a tremendous first full season in the Twins organization. He relied on his college experience to mash the ball at High- and Double-A. Unfortunately for him, there are quite a few players standing in the way of him making his debut. Players like Alex Kirilloff and Brent Rooker seem more likely to get a chance before Larnach. 2020 Impact: Unlikely Jordan Balazovic, RHP Twins Prospect Ranking: 4 Balazovic is the team’s best starting pitching prospect, but he has only thrown 73 innings above the Low-A level. He had a tremendous 2019 season with a 2.69 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP, but it was probably a stretch for him to make his debut in 2020 even if there were 162 games. If the Twins need him as a starter this season, that might be bad news for the big-league squad. 2020 Impact: Unlikely Jhoan Duran, RHP Twins Prospect Ranking: 5 Duran takes Brusdar Graterol’s role as the big flame thrower in the Twins system. However, many believe Duran has a better shot to stick as a starting pitcher. For the 2020 season, Duran could be used in a similar role to Graterol last year. Enter late and throw gas out of the bullpen. 2020 Impact: Probably Ryan Jeffers, C Twins Prospect Ranking: 6 Jeffers is coming off a tremendous 2019 season where he established himself as not only the top catching prospect in the Twins system, but also one of the team’s best overall prospects. Minnesota already has Mitch Garver, Alex Avila and Willian Astudillo penciled into the 30-man roster, but an injury could mean he debuts this season. 2020 Impact: Possibly Lewis Thorpe, LHP Twins Prospect Ranking: 8 Heading into spring, Thorpe had a chance to make the Twins starting rotation. The only thing that prevented that was some time away from camp as he dealt with some personal issues. He is the best left-handed starting pitching prospect in the organization and he already has big-league experience so it’s a no brainer that he will impact this year’s team. 2020 Impact: Definitely Gilberto Celestino, OF Twins Prospect Ranking: 9 Celestino is an elite defensive outfielder and that might be his best chance at impacting the Twins this year. He’s already on the team’s 40-man roster so that could put him ahead of players like Kirilloff, Larnach and Rooker. His offensive skills set might not be big-league ready, but there’s no question he could impact the game on the defensive side of the ball. 2020 Impact: Possibly Other Pitching Prospects 2020 Impacts Dakota Chalmers, RHP: Possibly Randy Dobnak, RHP: Definitely Sean Poppen, RHP: Possibly Fernando Romero, RHP: Possibly Devin Smeltzer, RHP: Definitely Cody Stashak, RHP: Definitely Other Hitting Prospects 2020 Impacts Travis Blankenhorn, UTL: Probably Nick Gordon, SS/2B: Possibly LaMonte Wade Jr, OF: Probably Brent Rooker, OF: Probably Which top prospect will have the biggest impact on the Twins this season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. For those that might have missed it, the Twins Daily minor league writers recently held a draft of players in Minnesota’s farm system. When all was said and done, six teams of 16-players were selected, and we reached out to FanGraph’s Dan Szymborski to run the ZiPS projections for each roster. The results may surprise you…A few notes on the numbers below, these are career numbers and not a single season total because many of the prospects are very early in their professional careers. It was intriguing to see each writer’s strategy play out over the course of the draft as team’s had to balance prospect status and future value. Szymborski doesn’t typically like to do individual player profiles when things are this uncertain because it’s hard to look past just the numbers. Below you will see the team total for fWAR from ZiPS projected over the course of their careers. It also showcases one standout performer on each team. ZiPS loves pitchers as evident by the top-four team’s best player being a pitcher and this didn’t even include the top two pitching prospects in the Twins system. 6. Seth Stohs Top Player: Royce Lewis- 9.8 WAR Overall WAR: 20.7 Top Picks: Brent Rooker, Matt Wallner, Dakota Chalmers Other Players: Taylor Grzelakowski, Parker Phillips, Michael Helman, Wander Valdez, DaShawn Keirsey, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Rijo, Bailey Ober, Sean Poppen, Derek Molina, Javani Moran, Charlie Barnes Seth’s Thoughts: Drafting first is tough because, yes, you get the top player, but then you have to sit and watch as ten more players get taken before you can pick again. That said, I feel quite comfortable taking my chances with Royce. As you know, I am a bit of a prospect guy, so while the 2020 ranking may not look great for me, I will certainly take my chances with the prospects that I picked throughout the draft, and by about 2025, we are going to be really good! 5. Cody Christie Top Player: Trevor Larnach- 6.2 WAR Overall WAR: 33.2 Top Picks: Blayne Enlow, Ben Rortvedt, Misael Urbina Other Players: Victor Heredia, Charles Mack, Spencer, Steer, Wander Javier, Jacob Pearson, Ricky De La Torre, Jorge Alcala, Tyler Wells, Anthony Escobar, Steven Cruz, Evan Gillespie, Tyler Watson Cody’s Thoughts: I had the lowest overall top player but looking at the other top players and it’s easy to see why. If Trevor Larnach finishes his career with a lower overall WAR than Griffin Jax, the Twins have a long-term position player problem on their hands. Enlow has a chance to be one of the best pitchers in the organization and Rortvedt is the best catcher outside of Jeffers. If Larnach and Urbina hit their potential, watch out for my squad. 4. Ted Schwerzler Top Player: Griffin Jax- 9.9 WAR Overall WAR: 41.9 Top Picks: Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Keoni Cavaco Other Players: Chris Williams, Trey Cabbage, Travis Blankenhorn, Edouard Juilien, Max Smith, Ernie De La Trinidad, Jimmy Kerrigan, Trevor Casanova, Cody Stashak, Ryan Mason, Ben Gross, Jake Reed Ted’s Thoughts: I actually love that Jax projects as the highest contributor among my team. I was somewhat surprised he wasn't selected in the Rule 5 draft this winter as I think he can hold down a rotation spot for a big-league club right now. Balazovic is the flashy arm with upside, but Jax is probably among the safest picks I made. At just shy of 42 total WAR, I feel good about my squad having solid long-term development opportunities and a bit less volatility than Seth could experience. 3. Jeremy Nygaard Top Player: Devin Smeltzer- 15.4 WAR Overall WAR: 48.4 Top Picks: Jhoan Duran, Gilberto Celestino, LaMonte Wade Jr. Other Players: Kidany Salva, Zander Wiel, Anthony Prato, Drew Maggi, Will Holland, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Jared Akins, Chris Vallimont, Yennier Cano, Zach Neff, Benjamin Dum, Austin Schulfer Jeremy’s Thoughts: No surprise that Smeltzer is my top-projected player as he already has had some MLB success. Also, no surprise that I'm higher than Ted, Cody and Seth because, well... 2. Matt Braun Top Player: Lewis Thorpe- 14.9 WAR Overall WAR: 52.1 WAR Top Picks: Ryan Jeffers, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands Other Players: Gabe Snyder, Yunior Severino, Yeltsin Encarnacion, Gabriel Maciel, Willie Joe Garry Jr., Tyler Webb, Luis Baez, Bryan Sammons, Hector Lujan, Ryan Shreve, Adam Bray, Cody Laweryson Matt’s Thoughts: I’m quite happy with my placement. I can now say that I fully support Dan and his projection system because it must be well done if it liked me so much! I’m a big Thorpe fan especially so it’s nice to know that more advanced systems than my own feelings agree in his potential in MLB. 1. Steve Lein Top Player: Randy Dobnak-18.2 WAR Overall WAR: 53.7 Top Picks: Alex Kirilloff, Edwar Colina, Nick Gordon Other Players: Caleb Hamilton, Albee Weiss, Seth Gray, Jordan Gore, Akil Baddoo, Mark Contreras, Andrew Bechtold, Josh Winder, Moises Gomez, Tom Hackimer, Andrew Vasquez, Alex Phillips Steve’s Thoughts: When's my championship belt arrive? Hah. In all seriousness though, I tried to place a bit of a premium on proximity to the majors when making my picks, even taking a few guys who have already made their debut, and that may have helped me with ZIPS projections. Also rewarding for me to see the top overall player was Randy Dobnak, who I said when I picked him in the second round that it may have been a surprise to some. It was not for me, because I know just how good he's been rising to the majors. What do you think of the ZiPS results? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  23. A few notes on the numbers below, these are career numbers and not a single season total because many of the prospects are very early in their professional careers. It was intriguing to see each writer’s strategy play out over the course of the draft as team’s had to balance prospect status and future value. Szymborski doesn’t typically like to do individual player profiles when things are this uncertain because it’s hard to look past just the numbers. Below you will see the team total for fWAR from ZiPS projected over the course of their careers. It also showcases one standout performer on each team. ZiPS loves pitchers as evident by the top-four team’s best player being a pitcher and this didn’t even include the top two pitching prospects in the Twins system. 6. Seth Stohs Top Player: Royce Lewis- 9.8 WAR Overall WAR: 20.7 Top Picks: Brent Rooker, Matt Wallner, Dakota Chalmers Other Players: Taylor Grzelakowski, Parker Phillips, Michael Helman, Wander Valdez, DaShawn Keirsey, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Rijo, Bailey Ober, Sean Poppen, Derek Molina, Javani Moran, Charlie Barnes Seth’s Thoughts: Drafting first is tough because, yes, you get the top player, but then you have to sit and watch as ten more players get taken before you can pick again. That said, I feel quite comfortable taking my chances with Royce. As you know, I am a bit of a prospect guy, so while the 2020 ranking may not look great for me, I will certainly take my chances with the prospects that I picked throughout the draft, and by about 2025, we are going to be really good! 5. Cody Christie Top Player: Trevor Larnach- 6.2 WAR Overall WAR: 33.2 Top Picks: Blayne Enlow, Ben Rortvedt, Misael Urbina Other Players: Victor Heredia, Charles Mack, Spencer, Steer, Wander Javier, Jacob Pearson, Ricky De La Torre, Jorge Alcala, Tyler Wells, Anthony Escobar, Steven Cruz, Evan Gillespie, Tyler Watson Cody’s Thoughts: I had the lowest overall top player but looking at the other top players and it’s easy to see why. If Trevor Larnach finishes his career with a lower overall WAR than Griffin Jax, the Twins have a long-term position player problem on their hands. Enlow has a chance to be one of the best pitchers in the organization and Rortvedt is the best catcher outside of Jeffers. If Larnach and Urbina hit their potential, watch out for my squad. 4. Ted Schwerzler Top Player: Griffin Jax- 9.9 WAR Overall WAR: 41.9 Top Picks: Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Keoni Cavaco Other Players: Chris Williams, Trey Cabbage, Travis Blankenhorn, Edouard Juilien, Max Smith, Ernie De La Trinidad, Jimmy Kerrigan, Trevor Casanova, Cody Stashak, Ryan Mason, Ben Gross, Jake Reed Ted’s Thoughts: I actually love that Jax projects as the highest contributor among my team. I was somewhat surprised he wasn't selected in the Rule 5 draft this winter as I think he can hold down a rotation spot for a big-league club right now. Balazovic is the flashy arm with upside, but Jax is probably among the safest picks I made. At just shy of 42 total WAR, I feel good about my squad having solid long-term development opportunities and a bit less volatility than Seth could experience. 3. Jeremy Nygaard Top Player: Devin Smeltzer- 15.4 WAR Overall WAR: 48.4 Top Picks: Jhoan Duran, Gilberto Celestino, LaMonte Wade Jr. Other Players: Kidany Salva, Zander Wiel, Anthony Prato, Drew Maggi, Will Holland, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Jared Akins, Chris Vallimont, Yennier Cano, Zach Neff, Benjamin Dum, Austin Schulfer Jeremy’s Thoughts: No surprise that Smeltzer is my top-projected player as he already has had some MLB success. Also, no surprise that I'm higher than Ted, Cody and Seth because, well... 2. Matt Braun Top Player: Lewis Thorpe- 14.9 WAR Overall WAR: 52.1 WAR Top Picks: Ryan Jeffers, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands Other Players: Gabe Snyder, Yunior Severino, Yeltsin Encarnacion, Gabriel Maciel, Willie Joe Garry Jr., Tyler Webb, Luis Baez, Bryan Sammons, Hector Lujan, Ryan Shreve, Adam Bray, Cody Laweryson Matt’s Thoughts: I’m quite happy with my placement. I can now say that I fully support Dan and his projection system because it must be well done if it liked me so much! I’m a big Thorpe fan especially so it’s nice to know that more advanced systems than my own feelings agree in his potential in MLB. 1. Steve Lein Top Player: Randy Dobnak-18.2 WAR Overall WAR: 53.7 Top Picks: Alex Kirilloff, Edwar Colina, Nick Gordon Other Players: Caleb Hamilton, Albee Weiss, Seth Gray, Jordan Gore, Akil Baddoo, Mark Contreras, Andrew Bechtold, Josh Winder, Moises Gomez, Tom Hackimer, Andrew Vasquez, Alex Phillips Steve’s Thoughts: When's my championship belt arrive? Hah. In all seriousness though, I tried to place a bit of a premium on proximity to the majors when making my picks, even taking a few guys who have already made their debut, and that may have helped me with ZIPS projections. Also rewarding for me to see the top overall player was Randy Dobnak, who I said when I picked him in the second round that it may have been a surprise to some. It was not for me, because I know just how good he's been rising to the majors. What do you think of the ZiPS results? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. 10. Gilberto Celestino, OF 2019 MiLB Stats (A, A+): .277/.349/.410, 10 HR, 28 2B, 85 K, 50 BB, 125 G Celestino came to the Twins along with Jorge Alcala as part of the Ryan Pressly trade. He played almost the entire 2019 campaign in Cedar Rapids with a handful of games in Fort Myers at season’s end. He destroyed the ball in July by hitting .369/.430/.563 with 12 extra-base hits in 26 games. Things didn’t slow down much from there as he posted a .896 OPS in August and this included his promotion to a higher level. While he showed strong offensive ability last season, Celestino might be one of the best outfield defenders in the entire Twins organization. He’s played all three outfield positions, but his defense in centerfield will be his ticket to the big leagues. If he can continue to make offensive improvements, he could move quickly through the system in the years ahead. 9. Aaron Sabato, 1B 2019 NCAA Stats: .343/.453/.696, 18 HR, 25 2B, 56 K, 39 BB, 64 G Minnesota just took Sabato with their first-round draft pick last week and he has the power potential to slide into their top-10 prospects. He could be higher on the list, but many don’t see him as having much defensive value, so the Twins must hope his bat is what powers him throughout his professional career. His 2019 season was his lone full season at the collegiate level, because he was a draft eligible sophomore. He posted a 1.149 OPS that year and he might have been on track for an even better season in 2019. In 19 games during the 2020 season, Sabato had a .478 OBP and a .708 SLG with seven home runs and six doubles. This year’s draft certainly had some quirks with only five rounds and the first round saw a lot of teams select college players because they have a longer track record. Sabato is going to hit no matter what level he plays at and the Twins took him as a safe pick with plenty of upside. 8. Lewis Thorpe, LHP 2019 MiLB Stats (AAA): 5-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 119 K, 25 BB, 96.1 IP 2019 MLB Stats: 3-2, 6.18 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 31 K, 10 BB, 27.2 IP It might seem like Thorpe has been around the Twins organization for ages, especially since Minnesota signed him all the way back in 2012. He put up strong numbers in his first two professional seasons but missed all of 2015 and 2016 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Luckily, Thorpe was young enough where he was still back on the mound by his age-21 season and he spent the last two seasons moving through the upper levels of the minors. Across 114 innings at Double-A, he posted a 3.71 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP and a 10.9 K/9. His WHIP is over four points lower in 118 innings and his strikeout rate is higher (11.1 K/9). Thorpe was primed for a breakout season in 2020 with many in spring training were discussing the club’s high hopes for the southpaw. While his ERA and WHIP were high last season, he continued to strikeout batters and that’s something Twins fans can be excited about. He could be part of the Twins pitching staff for most of the next decade. 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 2019 MiLB Stats (RK): .172/.217/.253, 1 HR, 4 2B, 35 K, 4 BB, 25 G One year ago, the Twins took Cavaco with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He was seen as a player that rose on team’s draft boards in the months and weeks leading into the draft. A player like him might not have even been taken in 2020 because of the limitations on scouting and the shortened high school season. He didn’t see the same type of competition as other top high school players because he wasn’t invited to a lot of the showcase events leading into his senior season. Still, his tool set was hard for the Twins to ignore. His arm strength and speed are currently his two best tools. There were some obvious struggles at the plate last season, but he has plenty of power potential. As he continues getting experience against tougher competition, many believe he will be able to showcase the skills that put him on team’s draft radars. The Twins will give him every opportunity to stick at shortstop, but he has shown the ability to play third base during his amateur career. 6. Ryan Jeffers, C 2019 MiLB Stats (A+, AA): .264/.341/.421, 14 HR, 16 2B, 83 K, 37 BB, 103 G Mitch Garver might not want to look too closely in his rearview mirror because Jeffers might be closer to the big leagues than most would think. Minnesota took Jeffers in the second round back in 2018 and many viewed him as a bat-only player. He has refined his defense behind the plate since joining the Twins and his bat has certainly lived up to the hype he was receiving going into the draft. In his pro debut, Jeffers hit .344/.444/.502 with 24 extra-base hits in 64 games between the E-Twins and Cedar Rapids. Last season he spent almost 80 games in Fort Myers and hit double digits in home runs and doubles. He finished the year with 24 games in the Southern League and saw his OPS rise 124 points over what he compiled in the Florida State League. At 23-years old, he is the Twins catcher of the future and that future might not be that far away. PREVIOUS TOP-20 POSTS — Prospects 16-20 — Prospects 11-15 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. On Sunday night I hopped on Leading Off the Podcast with fellow Twins Daily writers Matthew Braun and Cooper Carlson. During the course of our discussion the Twins bullpen got brought up. In this space previously I wrote about how Minnesota may have the best bullpen in baseball. That’s still crazy to think about given where we were entering 2019, but it’s a very real possibility. What’s also plausible is that their pitching depth could serve them extremely well in what may materialize this year. https://twitter.com/matthew_btwins/status/1247179171236704259 When looking at the prospects of a shortened season it stands to reason that no division winner is better off. Their margin for error becomes less, and the nuance normally sorted out over the course of 162 games gets lost in the fray. If, however, Major League Baseball is set on increasing double-headers, lessening off days, and expanding rosters, well then Rocco Baldelli’s crew could be in luck. As things stood at the time of play stoppage, Jhoulys Chacin was locked in a battle with Randy Dobnak for the 5th starter spot. The veteran had performed far worse over the course of Spring Training, but the ALDS game two starter has options remaining. Chacin was awful in 2019 but was great the year prior. With weeks remaining prior to the scheduled Opening Day, a decision was bound to force itself. On top of figuring out who specifically would round out the rotation Minnesota would need to juggle things a little over one-month in, and then again mid-summer. Both Michael Pineda and Rich Hill have been expected to assume rotation spots although neither were destined to begin the year there. Given his exploits when healthy, and the impact prior to suspension in 2019, both Hill and Pineda respectively could be looked at as significantly impactful arms. Before ever assessing who slides in where, we can then take a further look down the line. Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran, the Twins’ top two pitching prospects, were never likely to debut in the year ahead. However, both Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe had made strong contributions in 2019 and would be called upon to repeat those performances when the opportunity presented itself this season. https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1247379673727799296 So far what the year ahead looks like remains little more than a guessing game. Any suggestion of a single-site operation in Arizona would have to get unexpected buy-in from players, and then also address the numerous staff and operations people necessary solely to produce a televised contest. It’s certainly a nice thought to dream on, but until we have more concrete answers as to where we’re at with things, the pieces remain moving parts in a hypothetical bubble. No matter how the deployment of baseball in 2020 happens however, it should be fair to assume that the league will attempt to get in as many games as possible. Noted above, that likely includes significant condensation in the form of limited off days and doubleheaders. For an organization like the Twins, having something like 10-12 big league caliber starting arms on the 40-man roster suddenly becomes a substantial asset. All offseason it was the goal of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to acquire an impact arm, someone capable of displacing Jose Berrios at the top of the staff. Now more than ever though, it may come down to their ability to assemble a stable that never begins the game as a significant underdog. A chief reason that a lesser schedule hurts the best teams is because the impact of the top players is felt less. Conversely that means that the ability of the floor, or the fringes of the roster, become that much more impactful. Depth is the key to sustenance over time, and when you shrink time, being able to realistically rely on more contributors is a must. Baseball is going to get weird this season if it gets going at all. Maybe the Twins can grab a weird World Series along the way. Virtual parade or otherwise, we’ll celebrate just the same. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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