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  1. The Twins clubhouse started the day with somber news of Alex Kirilloff being shut down for the season as they looked to complete a series victory over the Blue Jays Sunday. The Twins lost on a controversial overturn as umpires in New York cost the game for them on a bad replay call that had Rocco Baldelli more fired than ever before and Twins fans raging from coast to coast. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 52 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler -.303, Nick Gordon -.282, Gio Urshela -.243 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer made the start for the Twins. He came into the game with three consecutive starts of three or more walks allowed, Archer was hoping to have better control of the strike zone Sunday afternoon. For his first inning of work, Archer retired the minimum on 15 pitches, 12 strikes. When the time came for the Twins to hit, Jorge Polanco was practically given a free pass to get on base. The Blue Jays opted for a four-man outfield against Polanco, who was hitting lefty against Kevin Gausman. With that, it opened up the entirety of the left side of the infield for Polanco to lace a half-swing single and reach base. Even with greater control of the strike zone, the Blue Jays still made Archer hurt in the second inning as Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single on the first pitch and Bo Bichette followed with an RBI double on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 1-0 Blue Jays. The Jays wouldn’t score any more runs against Archer in the second but worked him to throw 30 pitches in the inning, only expediting Cole Sands appearance out of the bullpen. The Jays bats would strike again against Archer in the top of the third as Cavan Biggio led off with another double and scored on the next at-bat off a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. RBI single. That would be the only run allowed by Archer in the third as the Jays now led 2-0. As Archer settled down to retire the Blue Jays with no runs or walks allowed through his five innings of work, only Luis Arraez managed to get on base for the Twins after the Blue Jays scored their second run. Both times were on singles but the Twins failed to make contact as easily as the last time they faced Gausman on Sunday, June 5. Archer was done for the afternoon after five innings of work and did not allow any walks in his five innings, making it his first start since June 19 against the Diamondbacks, without allowing any walks. To everyone’s surprise, Sands was not the first arm out of the Twins bullpen to replace Archer on the mound. Instead it was every Twins fan “favorite” Emilio Pagan. Pagan would come out of the sixth earlier than expected due to a shoulder injury. He only allowed one hit, a single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and worked a 2-2 count to Hernandez before being removed from the game with a right lat cramp. Sands came in to finish the at-bat against Hernandez, and he doubled. Bichette followed with a five-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout and kept the Jays lead at 2-0. The Twins were finally able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Polanco reached base on his second hit of the game. Two at-bats later, rookie sensation Jose Miranda drove in Polanco, marking at least one RBI in all games against the Blue Jays in this series. Miranda’s RBI made it a 2-1 score. Sands pitched an effective three innings of relief for the Twins and was pulled after totaling 51 pitches and allowing Alejandro Kirk on with a hit and two outs in the top of the ninth. Caleb Thielbar was called in to get the final out and achieved that, keeping it a run one game for the Twins to try and walk-off the Blue Jays for the season. Carlos Correa came in as a pinch hitter for Jake Cave in the bottom of the ninth. Correa reached base, getting clipped by a pitch in the shoulder. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch runner for Correa which brought up another walk-off opportunity for Byron Buxton. Buxton disappointed fans with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a pitch that went right down the middle from Jordan Romano. Fortunately for Twins fans, Gary Sanchez kept the game alive after Buxton’s strikeout. Sanchez got a single that advanced Beckham to third, giving Arraez a chance to tie the game. And tie the game he did as he laced a single to right field scoring Beckham. Arraez’s game-tying hit made it his 12th three or more hit game for 2022. Polanco followed Arraez with a fielder’s choice groundout with the force at second base. This at least advanced Sanchez to third with runners on the corners, two outs and Max Kepler at the plate. Kepler pulled the ball to the first baseman, sending the game into extras. As the Twins went into extras, Whit Merrifield came in as the Manfred Man on second for the Jays. He advanced to third on a flyout by Santiago Espinal but in the next at-bat, Merrifield once again tried to tag and score on a flyout to left. However, Beckham, playing left field for the second time this season, nailed Merrifield out at home as it was originally called. The call was overturned by umpires in New York based off of Merrfield placing his slide directly into Sanchez's knee. Even as the video showed that Sanchez did allow Merrifield a lane to the plate, the Blue Jays gained a run for a 3-2 lead. This also led to Rocco Baldelli’s most fired-up ejection of his managing career as he asked why the call was overturned due to catcher interference. The Twins got out of the inning without surrendering more runs, but the damage was already done to them from people 1,200 miles away from Target Field. What’s Next? The Twins are off Monday and will head to the Los Angeles area for five games in six days. The first series starts Tuesday against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CT with Joe Ryan scheduled to start for the Twins. Ryan will match up against one of many Dodger lefties, Julio Urias. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  2. With the trade deadline approaching, every team will have to take stock of the players in their organization. Who are the top-five Twins players according to trade value? Annually, FanGraphs creates a top-50 list that ranks players based on their perceived trade value. According to the series, “The central question I considered is straightforward: how much value could a team expect to receive in return for each player on the list? It’s not who would solicit the great number of offers, or the highest average value of the trade offers a team would receive if they put this player on the trading block – it’s who would fetch the highest return if the entire league were making trade bids on each player.” Players closer to free agency rank lower because the value of their current contract is declining. Stars on big contracts also don’t rank well because there isn’t a lot of surplus value in their production. On the Twins, Carlos Correa fits both of these areas as he is on a large contract and can opt to hit free agency at the season’s conclusion. Other younger players, like Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff, are just starting to come into their own, so their big-league track record makes it harder to predict future value. Again, these aren’t necessarily the players Minnesota will trade before the deadline, but they are the ones that could receive the highest return. So, who are the team’s most valuable trade assets? 5. Max Kepler, RF Contract Status: Signed thru 2023, 5 yrs/$32.13M (19-23) & 24 team option ($10.00M) At this point last season, Max Kepler ranked 45th on FanGraphs’ list because he had multiple years of control on a team-friendly deal. He’s having a resurgent offensive season with the second highest OPS+ of his career. Defensively, he may be compiling his best numbers in the field as he is currently on pace to be a Gold Glove finalist in right field. FanGraphs moved him out of their top 50 because he is one year closer to free agency. 4. Jorge Polanco, 2B Contract Status: Signed thru 2023, 5 yrs/$25.75M (19-23) & 24-25 vesting/team option ($10.5M/$12M) Last season, FanGraphs included Jorge Polanco on its honorable mention list because he was close to the same contract situation as Kepler. They dropped him from the list this year, but the author had a tough time leaving him out of the top 50. Polanco has three more years of team control and is underpaid relative to the value he produces. Many teams would be more than happy to regularly plug Polanco’s name into the line-up. 3. Joe Ryan, SP Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible, Earliest Free Agency: 2028 Joe Ryan is one of baseball’s best young starters and is under team control for five more seasons. Minnesota can also pay him close to the league minimum until he becomes arbitration eligible in 2025. It’s still hard to believe the Twins got Ryan for two months of Nelson Cruz, but baseball can be a funny game sometimes. Solid young pitchers under team control are one of baseball’s most valuable assets, and that’s why Ryan ranks higher than the players behind him. 2. Luis Arraez, UTL Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible, Earliest Free Agency: 2026 FanGraphs ranks Luis Arraez as having baseball’s 42nd highest trade value, which is quite the jump since he wasn’t even an honorable mention last season. Arraez is near the top of baseball in batting average and on-base percentage while leading the Twins in Baseball-Reference WAR. Arraez loses some overall trade value because he doesn’t have a strong defensive position, and all of his offensive value is tied to one skill. Overall, he’s one of baseball’s best hitters, and he has yet to hit arbitration. 1. Byron Buxton, CF Contract Status: Signed thru 2028, 7 yrs/$100M (22-28) Thankfully, the Twins were able to sign Byron Buxton to a very team-friendly deal for him to remain in Minnesota throughout the prime of his career. Buxton is rewarding the team handsomely with the best season of his career, including his first All-Star appearance. Buxton checks all the boxes regarding trade value as he is one of baseball’s best overall players, and his base salary starts at $15.1 million. Obviously, injuries have been part of Buxton’s professional career, but the Twins have given him regular rest this season, and he has continued to produce. How would you rank the Twins according to trade value? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  3. Box Score SP: Chris Archer 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (79 pitches, 52 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: None Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Max Kepler -.303, Nick Gordon -.282, Gio Urshela -.243 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Chris Archer made the start for the Twins. He came into the game with three consecutive starts of three or more walks allowed, Archer was hoping to have better control of the strike zone Sunday afternoon. For his first inning of work, Archer retired the minimum on 15 pitches, 12 strikes. When the time came for the Twins to hit, Jorge Polanco was practically given a free pass to get on base. The Blue Jays opted for a four-man outfield against Polanco, who was hitting lefty against Kevin Gausman. With that, it opened up the entirety of the left side of the infield for Polanco to lace a half-swing single and reach base. Even with greater control of the strike zone, the Blue Jays still made Archer hurt in the second inning as Teoscar Hernandez led off with a single on the first pitch and Bo Bichette followed with an RBI double on the first pitch of his at-bat to make it 1-0 Blue Jays. The Jays wouldn’t score any more runs against Archer in the second but worked him to throw 30 pitches in the inning, only expediting Cole Sands appearance out of the bullpen. The Jays bats would strike again against Archer in the top of the third as Cavan Biggio led off with another double and scored on the next at-bat off a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. RBI single. That would be the only run allowed by Archer in the third as the Jays now led 2-0. As Archer settled down to retire the Blue Jays with no runs or walks allowed through his five innings of work, only Luis Arraez managed to get on base for the Twins after the Blue Jays scored their second run. Both times were on singles but the Twins failed to make contact as easily as the last time they faced Gausman on Sunday, June 5. Archer was done for the afternoon after five innings of work and did not allow any walks in his five innings, making it his first start since June 19 against the Diamondbacks, without allowing any walks. To everyone’s surprise, Sands was not the first arm out of the Twins bullpen to replace Archer on the mound. Instead it was every Twins fan “favorite” Emilio Pagan. Pagan would come out of the sixth earlier than expected due to a shoulder injury. He only allowed one hit, a single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and worked a 2-2 count to Hernandez before being removed from the game with a right lat cramp. Sands came in to finish the at-bat against Hernandez, and he doubled. Bichette followed with a five-pitch at-bat that ended in a strikeout and kept the Jays lead at 2-0. The Twins were finally able to get a run on the board in the bottom of the eighth as Polanco reached base on his second hit of the game. Two at-bats later, rookie sensation Jose Miranda drove in Polanco, marking at least one RBI in all games against the Blue Jays in this series. Miranda’s RBI made it a 2-1 score. Sands pitched an effective three innings of relief for the Twins and was pulled after totaling 51 pitches and allowing Alejandro Kirk on with a hit and two outs in the top of the ninth. Caleb Thielbar was called in to get the final out and achieved that, keeping it a run one game for the Twins to try and walk-off the Blue Jays for the season. Carlos Correa came in as a pinch hitter for Jake Cave in the bottom of the ninth. Correa reached base, getting clipped by a pitch in the shoulder. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch runner for Correa which brought up another walk-off opportunity for Byron Buxton. Buxton disappointed fans with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a pitch that went right down the middle from Jordan Romano. Fortunately for Twins fans, Gary Sanchez kept the game alive after Buxton’s strikeout. Sanchez got a single that advanced Beckham to third, giving Arraez a chance to tie the game. And tie the game he did as he laced a single to right field scoring Beckham. Arraez’s game-tying hit made it his 12th three or more hit game for 2022. Polanco followed Arraez with a fielder’s choice groundout with the force at second base. This at least advanced Sanchez to third with runners on the corners, two outs and Max Kepler at the plate. Kepler pulled the ball to the first baseman, sending the game into extras. As the Twins went into extras, Whit Merrifield came in as the Manfred Man on second for the Jays. He advanced to third on a flyout by Santiago Espinal but in the next at-bat, Merrifield once again tried to tag and score on a flyout to left. However, Beckham, playing left field for the second time this season, nailed Merrifield out at home as it was originally called. The call was overturned by umpires in New York based off of Merrfield placing his slide directly into Sanchez's knee. Even as the video showed that Sanchez did allow Merrifield a lane to the plate, the Blue Jays gained a run for a 3-2 lead. This also led to Rocco Baldelli’s most fired-up ejection of his managing career as he asked why the call was overturned due to catcher interference. The Twins got out of the inning without surrendering more runs, but the damage was already done to them from people 1,200 miles away from Target Field. What’s Next? The Twins are off Monday and will head to the Los Angeles area for five games in six days. The first series starts Tuesday against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. CT with Joe Ryan scheduled to start for the Twins. Ryan will match up against one of many Dodger lefties, Julio Urias. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  4. What looked to be a promising, low-scoring affair to get a win over the Padres turned into another bullpen loss as the Twins dropped the series finale Sunday in San Diego before returning home for a seven-game homestand. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (78 pitches, 56 strikes (71.7 strike %)) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (6), Jose Miranda (10) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco -.125, Kyle Garlick -.121, Byron Buxton -.107 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Sean Manaea made the start for the Padres and had a rocky first inning as he walked Byron Buxton to lead off the game and later Jorge Polanco with one out. Neither Polanco or Buxton would score, though, as Manaea retired Kyle Garlick and Jose Miranda to get out of the inning. On the Twins side of the mound, Dylan Bundy had the start. Bundy held the Padres to one hit in his first two innings of work, but gave up a home run to Jurickson Profar in the bottom of the third for the first run of the game giving the Padres a 1-0 lead. The Twins had been without a hit the first time through the batting order and carried that into the top of the fifth inning. That was until Luis Arraez crushed a solo home run to tie the game, leading off the inning. He raised his league leading batting average back to the .335 mark. Following Arraez, Tim Beckham, who made his 2022 season debut on Sunday, hit a single up the middle to give the Twins their fourth base runner of the day. Gilberto Celestino followed up with a hit of his own and Caleb Hamilton was able to advance both runners on a sacrifice bunt. With runners in scoring position, Buxton came to the plate with a big RBI opportunity. Buxton hit the first pitch of his at-bat to the foul net near first base and what looked like a catch by Eric Hosmer, turned out to be a trap after the ball hit the net before it landed in Hosmer’s glove. The original call of the play was an out but the Twins challenged and it was overturned to be a foul ball as the umpire crew gave the Twins a second straight game with a big break. However, Buxton failed to drive in a run as he struck out. The Padres decided to intentionally walk Carlos Correa, giving Polanco an opportunity to do some damage with the bases loaded. However, he also failed to drive in any runs as he grounded out to the shortstop on the second pitch of his at-bat. Although the Twins lineup couldn’t capitalize on that bases loaded opportunity, Dylan Bundy shut down the Padres lineup to keep the game tied 1-1 through the bottom of the fifth. Thankfully for the Twins, they wouldn’t miss the opportunity to add runs in the top of the sixth as Jose Miranda had another solo home run of his own. The game went downhill for the Twins following Miranda’s home run. with runners on the corners and no outs, and facing the Padres order a third time, Rocco Baldelli pulled Bundy with his pitch count at 78 through five. In came Emilio Pagan and the former Padre’s old teammates took advantage of him working back-to-back days. The Padres were able to retake the lead on two singles surrendered by Pagan with Jake Cronenworth and Luke Voit getting the runs batted in. This gave the Padres a 3-2 lead and it held as the final score of the game. The Twins went nine up and nine down in the final three frames of the game while the Padres came close to adding more runs to their win in the bottom of the seventh when Garlick made an error on a routine fly ball to left. The win for the Padres brings their overall record to 57-46 on the season while the Twins fall to 53-48. The Twins now only lead Cleveland by one game for the AL Central lead and the White Sox by two games. What’s Next? The Twins return home Monday to start a three-game series against the Tigers. The month of August will also see the most home games in one month in Target Field history as the Twins are set to play 20 of their 28 games for the month at home. The starters for both the Twins and Tigers are yet to be announced for Monday night with first pitch at 6:40 p.m. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  5. Although the record was under .500 for the second straight month, the Minnesota Twins remain atop the AL Central and continue to keep an eye on postseason play. Rocco Baldelli has needed more from both his pitching staff and lineup at times this season, but these guys have helped to hold serve in the batter’s box. Honorable Mention 3: Jorge Polanco 22 G .206/.372/.480 2 2B 6 HR 13 RBI If there’s a month in which a Twins player wanted to declare batting average dead, it was July for Jorge Polanco. He batted just .206 but had a top-4 OPS among teammates. His ability to draw walks and control the zone really shined in July as he put up an impressive 19/20 K/BB. While contributing just 15 hits in July, Polanco blasted nearly half of them out of the park. Settled in as one of baseball’s best second basemen, Polanco returned following injury in June and had himself a solid flip of the calendar. Honorable Mention 2: Gio Urshela 14 G .304/.327/.522 4 2B 2 HR 9 RBI Urshela missed the end of the month as he went on the paternity list due to the birth of a child, but he put up strong numbers at the dish for Minnesota. Much of Urshela’s contributions this season have come in the form of highlight-reel defensive plays, but he’s upped the OPS+ to 110 after a strong July. Urshela certainly doesn’t look like the slugger he was for the Yankees back in 2019, but he’s settled in as a reliable regular for Minnesota, and that consistency is valuable on a team that’s been so struck by injuries. Honorable Mention 1: Luis Arraez 22 G .314/.352/.465 7 2B 2 HR 7 RBI Arraez continues to seek his first batting title and owns a .333 average on the season. His overall month dropped that number, but he remains four points ahead of the Cardinals Paul Goldschmidt for the major-league lead, and is nine points ahead of Boston Red Sox Rafael Devers in the American League. It’s going to take a strong August for Arraez to remain out in front, but that’s hardly out of the question for the talented contact-maker. Hitter of the Month: Jose Miranda 20 G .353/.405/.603 2 2B 5 HR 19 RBI There was that brief moment that Minnesota optioned Miranda to Triple-A in order to make room for Royce Lewis. He never actually made the appearance and then immediately rejoined the Twins. He’s been on a tear since and July has been the best month as a big-leaguer. Miranda now has 10 homers this season, and while he won’t catch Julio Rodriguez in Rookie of the Year voting, an OPS north of .800 following such an abysmal start would be an amazing outcome. The hope was that both Miranda and Alex Kirilloff could help to contribute in a big way for Minnesota this season. The latter’s wrist has continued to give him fits, but the former has provided a replication of his 2021 minor league number in a big way. If this is the opening act for Miranda in the majors, watch out.
  6. The Minnesota Twins wrapped up July by going 10-12, although it was their only month of the season in which they’ve posted a negative run differential (-18). Byron Buxton was on a tear in June and parlayed that into his first All-Star Game appearance. Who followed in his footsteps this month? Although the record was under .500 for the second straight month, the Minnesota Twins remain atop the AL Central and continue to keep an eye on postseason play. Rocco Baldelli has needed more from both his pitching staff and lineup at times this season, but these guys have helped to hold serve in the batter’s box. Honorable Mention 3: Jorge Polanco 22 G .206/.372/.480 2 2B 6 HR 13 RBI If there’s a month in which a Twins player wanted to declare batting average dead, it was July for Jorge Polanco. He batted just .206 but had a top-4 OPS among teammates. His ability to draw walks and control the zone really shined in July as he put up an impressive 19/20 K/BB. While contributing just 15 hits in July, Polanco blasted nearly half of them out of the park. Settled in as one of baseball’s best second basemen, Polanco returned following injury in June and had himself a solid flip of the calendar. Honorable Mention 2: Gio Urshela 14 G .304/.327/.522 4 2B 2 HR 9 RBI Urshela missed the end of the month as he went on the paternity list due to the birth of a child, but he put up strong numbers at the dish for Minnesota. Much of Urshela’s contributions this season have come in the form of highlight-reel defensive plays, but he’s upped the OPS+ to 110 after a strong July. Urshela certainly doesn’t look like the slugger he was for the Yankees back in 2019, but he’s settled in as a reliable regular for Minnesota, and that consistency is valuable on a team that’s been so struck by injuries. Honorable Mention 1: Luis Arraez 22 G .314/.352/.465 7 2B 2 HR 7 RBI Arraez continues to seek his first batting title and owns a .333 average on the season. His overall month dropped that number, but he remains four points ahead of the Cardinals Paul Goldschmidt for the major-league lead, and is nine points ahead of Boston Red Sox Rafael Devers in the American League. It’s going to take a strong August for Arraez to remain out in front, but that’s hardly out of the question for the talented contact-maker. Hitter of the Month: Jose Miranda 20 G .353/.405/.603 2 2B 5 HR 19 RBI There was that brief moment that Minnesota optioned Miranda to Triple-A in order to make room for Royce Lewis. He never actually made the appearance and then immediately rejoined the Twins. He’s been on a tear since and July has been the best month as a big-leaguer. Miranda now has 10 homers this season, and while he won’t catch Julio Rodriguez in Rookie of the Year voting, an OPS north of .800 following such an abysmal start would be an amazing outcome. The hope was that both Miranda and Alex Kirilloff could help to contribute in a big way for Minnesota this season. The latter’s wrist has continued to give him fits, but the former has provided a replication of his 2021 minor league number in a big way. If this is the opening act for Miranda in the majors, watch out. View full article
  7. Following a tilt against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 30, the Minnesota Twins announced first baseman Miguel Sano had a torn meniscus and would undergo knee surgery. He returned following the maximum rehab assignment and now is again back on the injured list after just three games. Is this the end of the line? Although Miguel Sano spent the maximum 20 days on the injured list, he played in just 12 games. The Twins curiously had part of his rehab assignment take place during the All-Star Break which ate up time that Sano could’ve gotten in at bats. Regardless, he performed extremely well on the farm, slashing .333/.422/.795 split across a few Complex League games and Triple-A. Relegated to the back-end of Minnesota’s lineup, Sano got in just six at-bats before returning to the injured list. Drawing two starts but playing just one complete game, it’s clear Rocco Baldelli sees the slugger as little more than a revolving piece at this point. Sano was hitless in his return to action and posted four strikeouts without generating a walk. There’s no denying that the front office took as much time as they could to look at options before activating Sano. It appeared a possible DFA was on the table, and that would’ve left the Twins on the hook for the remaining $7 million or so on his deal. In a perfect world, they’d find a trade partner to offload his remaining commitment, but there’s just little reason for anyone to pay for Minnesota’s anchor of an expense. So now it remains to be seen what an eventual timeline for a return to play looks like, but it’s hard not to imagine this being the end of the road. We’re into August and the 26-man roster needs to be best positioned for a Postseason run. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to make room for Sano initially, but it’s hard to argue he’s not of more value as a fourth outfielder. Even though Alex Kirilloff is hurt and that takes away an option at first base, the Twins have developed other depth there in the form of Jose Miranda and Luis Arraez. If the timeline is short, and it probably won’t be considering the previous handling of the same injury for Sano, a decision would need to be made as to how he factors back in. Another rehab stint could happen, but that would just be delaying the inevitable. If a return can happen in something like 10 days, Sano could find himself as an option given the health of the current roster. Even then, however, that DFA from before could again rear its head. Maybe Minnesota would rather not end this era of such a highly prized prospect on a whimper, but it didn’t seem to deter them before. Across 694 games with the Twins during his eight-year career in the big leagues, Sano has blasted 162 home runs. There’s been highs and lows, but I think it’s probably safe to assume this is where it ends. Should he not play another game in a Minnesota uniform, what would register as some of your favorite memories for the Dominican product that sparked an entire documentary and put the Twins farm system on the map? View full article
  8. Although Miguel Sano spent the maximum 20 days on the injured list, he played in just 12 games. The Twins curiously had part of his rehab assignment take place during the All-Star Break which ate up time that Sano could’ve gotten in at bats. Regardless, he performed extremely well on the farm, slashing .333/.422/.795 split across a few Complex League games and Triple-A. Relegated to the back-end of Minnesota’s lineup, Sano got in just six at-bats before returning to the injured list. Drawing two starts but playing just one complete game, it’s clear Rocco Baldelli sees the slugger as little more than a revolving piece at this point. Sano was hitless in his return to action and posted four strikeouts without generating a walk. There’s no denying that the front office took as much time as they could to look at options before activating Sano. It appeared a possible DFA was on the table, and that would’ve left the Twins on the hook for the remaining $7 million or so on his deal. In a perfect world, they’d find a trade partner to offload his remaining commitment, but there’s just little reason for anyone to pay for Minnesota’s anchor of an expense. So now it remains to be seen what an eventual timeline for a return to play looks like, but it’s hard not to imagine this being the end of the road. We’re into August and the 26-man roster needs to be best positioned for a Postseason run. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to make room for Sano initially, but it’s hard to argue he’s not of more value as a fourth outfielder. Even though Alex Kirilloff is hurt and that takes away an option at first base, the Twins have developed other depth there in the form of Jose Miranda and Luis Arraez. If the timeline is short, and it probably won’t be considering the previous handling of the same injury for Sano, a decision would need to be made as to how he factors back in. Another rehab stint could happen, but that would just be delaying the inevitable. If a return can happen in something like 10 days, Sano could find himself as an option given the health of the current roster. Even then, however, that DFA from before could again rear its head. Maybe Minnesota would rather not end this era of such a highly prized prospect on a whimper, but it didn’t seem to deter them before. Across 694 games with the Twins during his eight-year career in the big leagues, Sano has blasted 162 home runs. There’s been highs and lows, but I think it’s probably safe to assume this is where it ends. Should he not play another game in a Minnesota uniform, what would register as some of your favorite memories for the Dominican product that sparked an entire documentary and put the Twins farm system on the map?
  9. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (78 pitches, 56 strikes (71.7 strike %)) Home Runs: Luis Arraez (6), Jose Miranda (10) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco -.125, Kyle Garlick -.121, Byron Buxton -.107 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Sean Manaea made the start for the Padres and had a rocky first inning as he walked Byron Buxton to lead off the game and later Jorge Polanco with one out. Neither Polanco or Buxton would score, though, as Manaea retired Kyle Garlick and Jose Miranda to get out of the inning. On the Twins side of the mound, Dylan Bundy had the start. Bundy held the Padres to one hit in his first two innings of work, but gave up a home run to Jurickson Profar in the bottom of the third for the first run of the game giving the Padres a 1-0 lead. The Twins had been without a hit the first time through the batting order and carried that into the top of the fifth inning. That was until Luis Arraez crushed a solo home run to tie the game, leading off the inning. He raised his league leading batting average back to the .335 mark. Following Arraez, Tim Beckham, who made his 2022 season debut on Sunday, hit a single up the middle to give the Twins their fourth base runner of the day. Gilberto Celestino followed up with a hit of his own and Caleb Hamilton was able to advance both runners on a sacrifice bunt. With runners in scoring position, Buxton came to the plate with a big RBI opportunity. Buxton hit the first pitch of his at-bat to the foul net near first base and what looked like a catch by Eric Hosmer, turned out to be a trap after the ball hit the net before it landed in Hosmer’s glove. The original call of the play was an out but the Twins challenged and it was overturned to be a foul ball as the umpire crew gave the Twins a second straight game with a big break. However, Buxton failed to drive in a run as he struck out. The Padres decided to intentionally walk Carlos Correa, giving Polanco an opportunity to do some damage with the bases loaded. However, he also failed to drive in any runs as he grounded out to the shortstop on the second pitch of his at-bat. Although the Twins lineup couldn’t capitalize on that bases loaded opportunity, Dylan Bundy shut down the Padres lineup to keep the game tied 1-1 through the bottom of the fifth. Thankfully for the Twins, they wouldn’t miss the opportunity to add runs in the top of the sixth as Jose Miranda had another solo home run of his own. The game went downhill for the Twins following Miranda’s home run. with runners on the corners and no outs, and facing the Padres order a third time, Rocco Baldelli pulled Bundy with his pitch count at 78 through five. In came Emilio Pagan and the former Padre’s old teammates took advantage of him working back-to-back days. The Padres were able to retake the lead on two singles surrendered by Pagan with Jake Cronenworth and Luke Voit getting the runs batted in. This gave the Padres a 3-2 lead and it held as the final score of the game. The Twins went nine up and nine down in the final three frames of the game while the Padres came close to adding more runs to their win in the bottom of the seventh when Garlick made an error on a routine fly ball to left. The win for the Padres brings their overall record to 57-46 on the season while the Twins fall to 53-48. The Twins now only lead Cleveland by one game for the AL Central lead and the White Sox by two games. What’s Next? The Twins return home Monday to start a three-game series against the Tigers. The month of August will also see the most home games in one month in Target Field history as the Twins are set to play 20 of their 28 games for the month at home. The starters for both the Twins and Tigers are yet to be announced for Monday night with first pitch at 6:40 p.m. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  10. The Minnesota Twins lost a tight one in San Diego to drop the series Sunday. Luis Arreaz hit his first home run off a left-handed pitcher and Jose Miranda added his 10th homer of the year but that was all scoring offense the lineup could muster. Down on the farm, Jermaine Palacios hit a walk-off grand slam for the Saints, both Simeon Woods Richardson and Blayne Enlow had nice (albeit short) outings for the Wind Surge and Aaron Sabato hit two home runs for the Kernels. All that and more in today's Twins System Recap.
  11. The Minnesota Twins lost a tight one in San Diego to drop the series Sunday. Luis Arreaz hit his first home run off a left-handed pitcher and Jose Miranda added his 10th homer of the year but that was all scoring offense the lineup could muster. Down on the farm, Jermaine Palacios hit a walk-off grand slam for the Saints, both Simeon Woods Richardson and Blayne Enlow had nice (albeit short) outings for the Wind Surge and Aaron Sabato hit two home runs for the Kernels. All that and more in today's Twins System Recap. View full video
  12. As we move in August, which Twins hitters are heating up and solidifying their place in the every day lineup? Which are cooling off and casting doubt as to their role going forward? Let's take a look at the trends to determine which stocks to buy and which to sell. The above graph shows rolling OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) over the past 30 days for each hitter with a sufficient number of plate appearances in the last month. For example, the height of the line at 7/1 indicates the hitter's OPS in the month of June. Hitters are sorted by their current OPS in the last month from left to right and then top to bottom. The dashed line indicates the MLB-average OPS of 0.708. Some takeaways: Jose Miranda is the hottest hitter in the Twins lineup with a 1.054 OPS in the last 30 days, capping off a meteoric rise. On May 15, his rolling OPS was a paltry 0.322. Stock way up. Jorge Polanco is similarly on fire. His rolling OPS has been above 0.900 for almost the entire month of July. Ryan Jeffers' injury is a shame. He had really started to heat up. At the same time, Gary Sánchez has been in a steady decline since June began. The consistent performance of Luis Arraez is remarkable. He has yet to have a 30-day stretch with a below-average OPS. By contrast, Byron Buxton is the most volatile hitter in the lineup with 30-day stretches of both 1.360 and 0.532 OPS. An underreported part of the Twins' forgettable July has been the cooling of Buxton (0.643 OPS in the last 30 days) and Carlos Correa (0.702). Miranda and Polanco were a band-aid over a struggling top of the lineup. It was past time for Gilberto Celestino to return to Triple-A. He owns a 0.488 OPS in the last 30 days and had been trending in that direction for some time. What else can we take away from the hitting trends that might help the Twins construct a winning lineup down the stretch? View full article
  13. The above graph shows rolling OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) over the past 30 days for each hitter with a sufficient number of plate appearances in the last month. For example, the height of the line at 7/1 indicates the hitter's OPS in the month of June. Hitters are sorted by their current OPS in the last month from left to right and then top to bottom. The dashed line indicates the MLB-average OPS of 0.708. Some takeaways: Jose Miranda is the hottest hitter in the Twins lineup with a 1.054 OPS in the last 30 days, capping off a meteoric rise. On May 15, his rolling OPS was a paltry 0.322. Stock way up. Jorge Polanco is similarly on fire. His rolling OPS has been above 0.900 for almost the entire month of July. Ryan Jeffers' injury is a shame. He had really started to heat up. At the same time, Gary Sánchez has been in a steady decline since June began. The consistent performance of Luis Arraez is remarkable. He has yet to have a 30-day stretch with a below-average OPS. By contrast, Byron Buxton is the most volatile hitter in the lineup with 30-day stretches of both 1.360 and 0.532 OPS. An underreported part of the Twins' forgettable July has been the cooling of Buxton (0.643 OPS in the last 30 days) and Carlos Correa (0.702). Miranda and Polanco were a band-aid over a struggling top of the lineup. It was past time for Gilberto Celestino to return to Triple-A. He owns a 0.488 OPS in the last 30 days and had been trending in that direction for some time. What else can we take away from the hitting trends that might help the Twins construct a winning lineup down the stretch?
  14. Annually, FanGraphs creates a top-50 list that ranks players based on their perceived trade value. According to the series, “The central question I considered is straightforward: how much value could a team expect to receive in return for each player on the list? It’s not who would solicit the great number of offers, or the highest average value of the trade offers a team would receive if they put this player on the trading block – it’s who would fetch the highest return if the entire league were making trade bids on each player.” Players closer to free agency rank lower because the value of their current contract is declining. Stars on big contracts also don’t rank well because there isn’t a lot of surplus value in their production. On the Twins, Carlos Correa fits both of these areas as he is on a large contract and can opt to hit free agency at the season’s conclusion. Other younger players, like Jose Miranda and Alex Kirilloff, are just starting to come into their own, so their big-league track record makes it harder to predict future value. Again, these aren’t necessarily the players Minnesota will trade before the deadline, but they are the ones that could receive the highest return. So, who are the team’s most valuable trade assets? 5. Max Kepler, RF Contract Status: Signed thru 2023, 5 yrs/$32.13M (19-23) & 24 team option ($10.00M) At this point last season, Max Kepler ranked 45th on FanGraphs’ list because he had multiple years of control on a team-friendly deal. He’s having a resurgent offensive season with the second highest OPS+ of his career. Defensively, he may be compiling his best numbers in the field as he is currently on pace to be a Gold Glove finalist in right field. FanGraphs moved him out of their top 50 because he is one year closer to free agency. 4. Jorge Polanco, 2B Contract Status: Signed thru 2023, 5 yrs/$25.75M (19-23) & 24-25 vesting/team option ($10.5M/$12M) Last season, FanGraphs included Jorge Polanco on its honorable mention list because he was close to the same contract situation as Kepler. They dropped him from the list this year, but the author had a tough time leaving him out of the top 50. Polanco has three more years of team control and is underpaid relative to the value he produces. Many teams would be more than happy to regularly plug Polanco’s name into the line-up. 3. Joe Ryan, SP Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible, Earliest Free Agency: 2028 Joe Ryan is one of baseball’s best young starters and is under team control for five more seasons. Minnesota can also pay him close to the league minimum until he becomes arbitration eligible in 2025. It’s still hard to believe the Twins got Ryan for two months of Nelson Cruz, but baseball can be a funny game sometimes. Solid young pitchers under team control are one of baseball’s most valuable assets, and that’s why Ryan ranks higher than the players behind him. 2. Luis Arraez, UTL Contract Status: Pre-Arbitration Eligible, Earliest Free Agency: 2026 FanGraphs ranks Luis Arraez as having baseball’s 42nd highest trade value, which is quite the jump since he wasn’t even an honorable mention last season. Arraez is near the top of baseball in batting average and on-base percentage while leading the Twins in Baseball-Reference WAR. Arraez loses some overall trade value because he doesn’t have a strong defensive position, and all of his offensive value is tied to one skill. Overall, he’s one of baseball’s best hitters, and he has yet to hit arbitration. 1. Byron Buxton, CF Contract Status: Signed thru 2028, 7 yrs/$100M (22-28) Thankfully, the Twins were able to sign Byron Buxton to a very team-friendly deal for him to remain in Minnesota throughout the prime of his career. Buxton is rewarding the team handsomely with the best season of his career, including his first All-Star appearance. Buxton checks all the boxes regarding trade value as he is one of baseball’s best overall players, and his base salary starts at $15.1 million. Obviously, injuries have been part of Buxton’s professional career, but the Twins have given him regular rest this season, and he has continued to produce. How would you rank the Twins according to trade value? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  15. Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez did their thing at the All-Star Game, while the rest of the Twins got a full five days off in the middle of the season before returning – with gusto! – in Detroit. The lack of meaningful action didn't mean a lack of injury news (including a Buxton-related development), nor did it silence the buzz and speculation as a crucial trade deadline looms. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/18 through Sun, 7/24 *** Record Last Week: 2-0 (Overall: 52-44) Run Differential Last Week: +12 (Overall: +40) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (3.0 GA) Last Week's Game Results: Game 95 | MIN 8, DET 4: Twins Come Out of Break with Convincing Win Game 96 | MIN 9, DET 1: Bats Break Out Late to Complete Short Sweep NEWS & NOTES Miguel Sanó's rehab stint concluded with a bang in St. Paul on Saturday, when the slugger went 3-for-3 with a walk and home run to round out a 12-game stretch between rookie ball and Triple-A in which he slashed .333/.422/.795 with five home runs. He's ready for another shot. Are the Twins inclined to give it to him? For all their pitching troubles, the Twins have been pretty well set offensively and don't have an obvious opening in the lineup (or even on the roster) for Sanó. If they want to accommodate his return, they can probably use him semi-regularly at first base or DH while dropping Gilberto Celestino from the bench. An IL move for Max Kepler, who came out of Sunday's game, would also create room. I suspect one of those things will happen when the deadline for a decision arrives on Tuesday, because the long-stagnating Twins need a spark that he's uniquely equipped to provide. Still, it's no guarantee we'll see Sanó in a Twins uniform again. There's a very realistic chance they DFA him or trade him for peanuts and move on. Ahead of their game in Detroit on Saturday, the Twins placed Caleb Thielbar on the injured list with a hamstring strain and recalled right-hander Yennier Canó. It sounds like Thielbar got hurt in the last game before the break, and the team hoped he'd have enough time off to be ready for action, but that wasn't the case. He's a sneaky big loss in this bullpen because Thielbar has vastly out-pitched his underwhelming ERA. We also learned on Saturday that Byron Buxton would miss the entire Detroit series after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right knee on Wednesday to aid healing. The timing is interesting, as it suggests Buxton and the Twins decided to delay this planned procedure until after his All-Star Game appearance. That decision exposed his knee to further risk in an exhibition, while potentially costing him one or more meaningful games for the Twins, who are guarding a pretty narrow lead in the AL Central. But it also meant giving Buck an opportunity to go to Los Angeles and showcase himself as a star – boy did he. HIGHLIGHTS If you had to succinctly explain why Buxton and Luis Arraez were in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, it would be this: Buxton has been the king of game-changing home runs, and Arraez has been the king of finding his way on base. They both brought these qualities out on the national stage. Buxton earned MVP consideration by hitting the go-ahead homer following a game-tying two-run blast from the actual MVP, Giancarlo Stanton. It was a classic showing of Buxton's incredible quick-twitch ability, as he turned on a fastball at his eyes from Tony Gonsolin and launched it for a no-doubter. Arraez's big moment in the All-Star Game was not as flashy as Buxton's, but no less indicative of his strengths as a player. After very uncharacteristically striking out on three pitches in his first plate appearance, Arraez came up against fireballing Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, who had a 0.69 ERA and held opponents to a .109 average in the first half. Helsley had struck out 57 batters in 39 innings. Arraez fell behind 0-2 in the count. He then flicked away two fastballs, clocked at 103 and 101 MPH. On the next pitch, Helsley came with a curveball – a pitch he'd thrown 52 times this year without giving up a hit. Arraez stroked it into right field for a single. You can't make it up. Staying on brand, Arraez opened his second half with a three-hit game in Detroit – his 10th of the season – and he added another hit and walk on Sunday. He's slashing .341/.413/.445. Arraez opened the scoring in Saturday's eight-run outburst from the offense, which served as a nice palette cleanser after the Twins were shut out by Chicago to close out the first half. Carlos Correa joined the festivities by hitting a home run and nearly adding another (Akil Badoo made a nice play at the wall.) The runs kept pouring in on Sunday, with the bats breaking out late in a 9-1 laugher. José Miranda collected three hits to lead the way as Minnesota took advantage of poor pitching and defense from the last-place Tigers. Having started the opener in the first half, it was only fitting for Joe Ryan to start the first game of the second half. He looked as good Saturday as he did on Opening Day, holding the Tigers to one run over 5 ⅔ innings with seven strikeouts. The righty improved to 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA – the Twins have gone 10-5 in his starts. Equally encouraging, if not more so, was Sonny Gray's effort the following day. The veteran's slump heading into the break was a major concern, but Gray was in frontline form on Sunday – albeit against a very bad team. He struck out seven and allowed two hits over six frames. I am of the opinion that the Twins need to add one more starter at or above the level of Ryan and Gray in order to be a viable threat in the postseason. But at the very least, they'll need those two pitching like they're capable of. This series in Detroit was a very good sign on that front. We'll see if they can keep it going with tougher competition ahead. LOWLIGHTS The Twins might have come out of the break with a couple of convincing wins, but that wasn't gonna stop the bullpen from rearing its ugly head. Minnesota's massive lead on Saturday was mildly threatened in the eighth as Detroit mounted a three-run rally against Jovani Moran and Trevor Megill, who were both extremely wild. For as good as Moran – and to a lesser extent Megill – has looked at times, their frequent lapses into the no-control zone make them impossible to trust as high-leverage relievers down the stretch, or especially into the playoffs. Even on Sunday, when the bullpen seemingly had a very good showing with one hit allowed over three scoreless innings, the process was hardly impressive. Griffin Jax, Jharel Cotton and Joe Smith combined to strike out zero of 10 batters faced while inducing just two swings and misses (both from Jax) on 39 pitches. That's not a good formula for getting results, especially against better teams. The glaring inadequacy of this bullpen is too stark to ignore, even on good days like the past couple. TRENDING STORYLINE The big focus from now until August 2nd will be the trade market. I wrote last week about the deceivingly complicated decision facing the Twins as the deadline approaches – a first-place team that needs to make additions, but may not be in the best position for an aggressive push given the extent of those needs. We'll likely begin to see some trade activity fire up in the coming week, although the majority of big moves will shake out in the 48 hours or so leading up the deadline next Tuesday. Will the Twins front office strike early? LOOKING AHEAD Minnesota's midsummer respite extends into a light first week following the All-Star break, with two off days bookending a two-game series in Milwaukee. Good news for Buxton as he works back from the PRP injection. From there it's off to San Diego for three games against Taylor Rogers and the Padres. This next week will be a good test for the well-rested Twins, with five games against very strong NL opponents. I'll be in San Diego to catch a couple of the weekend games at Petco Park, and am very excited to cross that stadium off my list! TUESDAY, 7/26: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. TBD WEDNESDAY, 7/27: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Chris Archer v. RHP Corbin Burnes FRIDAY, 7/29: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Blake Snell SATURDAY, 7/30: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Sonny Gray v. RHP Joe Musgrove SUNDAY, 7/31: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Sean Manaea View full article
  16. It was the first game following the Twins extended, All-Star break. The fans are ready for the second half of the season, and so were the Twins. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (86 pitches, 57 strikes (66%)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (12) Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.190), Carlos Correa (.140), Luis Arraez (.116) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins came back with a good line-up to start the second half of the baseball season. Notably missing, however, was Byron Buxton who is coming off of his game-winning home run at the All-Star game on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The outfielder did an interview with The Athletic's Dan Hayes and spoke about not being comfortable with the Home-Run Derby and being willing to continue the rest and day-to-day work to stay healthy and in the lineup most nights. Buxton will miss this series against the Detroit Tigers but will be ready to return to action when they travel to Milwaukee early in the week. The Twins started out the series against former teammate Michael Pineda who allowed first-inning singles to Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa. With no outs, Jorge Polanco slapped a ball into center field to load the bases for Max Kepler. Kepler hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Arraez, giving the Twins an early lead. Pineda avoided any further disaster but needed 29 pitches to finish the first inning. Pineda was a lot more composed in the second and third innings before getting pulled after Carlos Correa hit a solo home run to give the Twins a two-run lead. The Twins started the seventh as they had in the first inning, with singles, this time from Alex Kirilloff and Jose Miranda. With a left-hander now pitching, Kyle Garlick pinch hit for Nick Gordon. Garlick is fantastic against the lefties and was again tonight. He drove a ball into the hole between third base and shortstop. The ball went under the glove of Jeimer Candelario for an error to load the bases with no outs. Gio Urshela came up to bat and hit a sac-fly that scored Kirilloff. Arraez thought the inning was over when he hit a high foul ball to the third base side and Candelario slid to make the play but missed the ball, giving Arraez another chance to finish his at-bat. Arraez took advantage of the new life and hit a two-run single, scoring Miranda and Garlick, making it a three-hit game for the All-Star and a 5-1 lead for the Twins. The Twins stayed focused in the eighth inning and loaded the bases again. The lineup took turns hitting singles and scored three insurance runs. Gary Sanchez, who was hitless at to this point, hit a ball into the gap in right field which scored Kirilloff and opened up the Twins' lead to 8-1. Joe Ryan made his 15th start for the Twins. He had struggled in his two previous outings. He came out with the confidence we had seen so many times before he got sick with Covid. In the first two innings, he had quick 1-2-3 inning to keep the Twins ahead and his pitch count down. In the third inning, he faced six batters. He had a prolonged at-bat with Javier Baez which really drove up his pitch count. With two on and two out, Ryan faced another former Twins player, Robbie Grossman. With the Detroit fans cheering for what they hoped would be a chance to get on the board, the defense neutralized the threat when Grossman ground out to end the inning, the shutout still intact. It's Challenging! The sixth inning started out with Ryan giving up a triple to rookie sensation Riley Greene with the first at-bat. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli challenged, arguing that Greene did not touch second base. The call stood on the field after review, much to the Twins' chagrin. Baldelli has been generous with his challenges this season. As of today, he has challenged 29 calls this season and only 14 of them have been overturned. After allowing his first and only run in the sixth inning, Ryan got a fly out and then struck out Miguel Cabrera swinging before he was relieved from the mound with only one out left. An interesting move...two-game writer’s opinion. Do you think the Twins can get a sweep on their first albeit small series tomorrow? What’s Next? The Twins finish up game two of the two game series Sunday with the Tigers before heading to Milwaukee for the early part of the week. Pitching matchup for Sunday: ● Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (4-3, 3.71ERA) vs RHP Rony Garcia (3-2, 4.28ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Chart TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Moran 0 0 0 0 28 28 Duran 0 0 0 0 11 11 Duffey 0 0 0 0 11 11 Megill 0 0 0 0 7 7 Pagan 0 0 0 0 2 2 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0 Smith 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0 Cotton 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  17. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 7/18 through Sun, 7/24 *** Record Last Week: 2-0 (Overall: 52-44) Run Differential Last Week: +12 (Overall: +40) Standing: 1st Place in AL Central (3.0 GA) Last Week's Game Results: Game 95 | MIN 8, DET 4: Twins Come Out of Break with Convincing Win Game 96 | MIN 9, DET 1: Bats Break Out Late to Complete Short Sweep NEWS & NOTES Miguel Sanó's rehab stint concluded with a bang in St. Paul on Saturday, when the slugger went 3-for-3 with a walk and home run to round out a 12-game stretch between rookie ball and Triple-A in which he slashed .333/.422/.795 with five home runs. He's ready for another shot. Are the Twins inclined to give it to him? For all their pitching troubles, the Twins have been pretty well set offensively and don't have an obvious opening in the lineup (or even on the roster) for Sanó. If they want to accommodate his return, they can probably use him semi-regularly at first base or DH while dropping Gilberto Celestino from the bench. An IL move for Max Kepler, who came out of Sunday's game, would also create room. I suspect one of those things will happen when the deadline for a decision arrives on Tuesday, because the long-stagnating Twins need a spark that he's uniquely equipped to provide. Still, it's no guarantee we'll see Sanó in a Twins uniform again. There's a very realistic chance they DFA him or trade him for peanuts and move on. Ahead of their game in Detroit on Saturday, the Twins placed Caleb Thielbar on the injured list with a hamstring strain and recalled right-hander Yennier Canó. It sounds like Thielbar got hurt in the last game before the break, and the team hoped he'd have enough time off to be ready for action, but that wasn't the case. He's a sneaky big loss in this bullpen because Thielbar has vastly out-pitched his underwhelming ERA. We also learned on Saturday that Byron Buxton would miss the entire Detroit series after receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection in his right knee on Wednesday to aid healing. The timing is interesting, as it suggests Buxton and the Twins decided to delay this planned procedure until after his All-Star Game appearance. That decision exposed his knee to further risk in an exhibition, while potentially costing him one or more meaningful games for the Twins, who are guarding a pretty narrow lead in the AL Central. But it also meant giving Buck an opportunity to go to Los Angeles and showcase himself as a star – boy did he. HIGHLIGHTS If you had to succinctly explain why Buxton and Luis Arraez were in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, it would be this: Buxton has been the king of game-changing home runs, and Arraez has been the king of finding his way on base. They both brought these qualities out on the national stage. Buxton earned MVP consideration by hitting the go-ahead homer following a game-tying two-run blast from the actual MVP, Giancarlo Stanton. It was a classic showing of Buxton's incredible quick-twitch ability, as he turned on a fastball at his eyes from Tony Gonsolin and launched it for a no-doubter. Arraez's big moment in the All-Star Game was not as flashy as Buxton's, but no less indicative of his strengths as a player. After very uncharacteristically striking out on three pitches in his first plate appearance, Arraez came up against fireballing Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, who had a 0.69 ERA and held opponents to a .109 average in the first half. Helsley had struck out 57 batters in 39 innings. Arraez fell behind 0-2 in the count. He then flicked away two fastballs, clocked at 103 and 101 MPH. On the next pitch, Helsley came with a curveball – a pitch he'd thrown 52 times this year without giving up a hit. Arraez stroked it into right field for a single. You can't make it up. Staying on brand, Arraez opened his second half with a three-hit game in Detroit – his 10th of the season – and he added another hit and walk on Sunday. He's slashing .341/.413/.445. Arraez opened the scoring in Saturday's eight-run outburst from the offense, which served as a nice palette cleanser after the Twins were shut out by Chicago to close out the first half. Carlos Correa joined the festivities by hitting a home run and nearly adding another (Akil Badoo made a nice play at the wall.) The runs kept pouring in on Sunday, with the bats breaking out late in a 9-1 laugher. José Miranda collected three hits to lead the way as Minnesota took advantage of poor pitching and defense from the last-place Tigers. Having started the opener in the first half, it was only fitting for Joe Ryan to start the first game of the second half. He looked as good Saturday as he did on Opening Day, holding the Tigers to one run over 5 ⅔ innings with seven strikeouts. The righty improved to 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA – the Twins have gone 10-5 in his starts. Equally encouraging, if not more so, was Sonny Gray's effort the following day. The veteran's slump heading into the break was a major concern, but Gray was in frontline form on Sunday – albeit against a very bad team. He struck out seven and allowed two hits over six frames. I am of the opinion that the Twins need to add one more starter at or above the level of Ryan and Gray in order to be a viable threat in the postseason. But at the very least, they'll need those two pitching like they're capable of. This series in Detroit was a very good sign on that front. We'll see if they can keep it going with tougher competition ahead. LOWLIGHTS The Twins might have come out of the break with a couple of convincing wins, but that wasn't gonna stop the bullpen from rearing its ugly head. Minnesota's massive lead on Saturday was mildly threatened in the eighth as Detroit mounted a three-run rally against Jovani Moran and Trevor Megill, who were both extremely wild. For as good as Moran – and to a lesser extent Megill – has looked at times, their frequent lapses into the no-control zone make them impossible to trust as high-leverage relievers down the stretch, or especially into the playoffs. Even on Sunday, when the bullpen seemingly had a very good showing with one hit allowed over three scoreless innings, the process was hardly impressive. Griffin Jax, Jharel Cotton and Joe Smith combined to strike out zero of 10 batters faced while inducing just two swings and misses (both from Jax) on 39 pitches. That's not a good formula for getting results, especially against better teams. The glaring inadequacy of this bullpen is too stark to ignore, even on good days like the past couple. TRENDING STORYLINE The big focus from now until August 2nd will be the trade market. I wrote last week about the deceivingly complicated decision facing the Twins as the deadline approaches – a first-place team that needs to make additions, but may not be in the best position for an aggressive push given the extent of those needs. We'll likely begin to see some trade activity fire up in the coming week, although the majority of big moves will shake out in the 48 hours or so leading up the deadline next Tuesday. Will the Twins front office strike early? LOOKING AHEAD Minnesota's midsummer respite extends into a light first week following the All-Star break, with two off days bookending a two-game series in Milwaukee. Good news for Buxton as he works back from the PRP injection. From there it's off to San Diego for three games against Taylor Rogers and the Padres. This next week will be a good test for the well-rested Twins, with five games against very strong NL opponents. I'll be in San Diego to catch a couple of the weekend games at Petco Park, and am very excited to cross that stadium off my list! TUESDAY, 7/26: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Dylan Bundy v. TBD WEDNESDAY, 7/27: TWINS @ BREWERS – RHP Chris Archer v. RHP Corbin Burnes FRIDAY, 7/29: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Joe Ryan v. LHP Blake Snell SATURDAY, 7/30: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Sonny Gray v. RHP Joe Musgrove SUNDAY, 7/31: TWINS @ PADRES – RHP Dylan Bundy v. LHP Sean Manaea
  18. Entering the All-Star Break the Minnesota Twins own a two-game lead in the AL Central Division and currently have a 47.3% playoff probability per Fangraphs. They’ve been carried by the likes of Byron Buxton, Luis Arraez, and Jhoan Duran thus far. Who are the players that can help them capture another division title the rest of the way? Both Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez were named first-time All-Stars for the Minnesota Twins this season. At 2.9 and 2.3 fWAR respectively, they currently pace the club and are certainly deserving. As Buxton angles himself towards MVP votes and looks to reign in his production as a whole, while Arraez tries to capture a batting title, both players should remain important cogs in the second half. For a team that took on water during the final week against Chicago, and clearly needs some help, that pairing has to have players within the clubhouse step up. Right now Max Kepler is the only other teammate to hit the 2.0 fWAR mark, while Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, and Dylan Bundy have each accumulated at least 1.0 fWAR on the mound. That puts the foursome into a territory of usefulness to this point, but Rocco Baldelli will need second-half surges from somewhere. Here are three names that could become incredibly impactful down the stretch. 3. Bailey Ober Having spent separate stints on the injured list this season due to a groin issue, Ober has made just seven starts and hasn’t appeared for Minnesota since June 1. He will need to take multiple turns prior to getting back on the bump, but the hope would be that he can provide a stabilizing rotation presence by August. While Josh Winder and Devin Smeltzer have taken turns, and Cole Sands has been sprinkled in, Ober’s presence is clearly missed. His 4.01 ERA this season is backed by a 2.79 FIP. The strikeout numbers are slightly down, but he has been stingy with home runs to this point. Ober looked the part of a solid mid-rotation piece last season, and there’s no denying that Minnesota could use that right now. It’s not about Ober coming back and throwing like an ace, but if he can spell the bullpen usage and give consistent turns, that’d be a massive boost to a unit that needs a lift. 2. Alex Kirilloff The former top prospect was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul when the wrist issues clearly weren’t working out. 10 games into the season Kirilloff owned a .398 OPS and his process at the plate was broken. Fast forward to where we are now and Kirilloff owns an .808 OPS across his last 28 games. He has 10 extra-base hits and while just three of them are homers, it’s clear he can once again drive the ball. Kirilloff isn’t likely a massive power hitter in the vein of 40 home run potential, but he should run into plenty of extra-base hits utilizing the gaps at Target Field. He’s also a solid defender at first base and isn’t out of his element in the outfield. This is a pure hitter, and when the swing is going right, it’s as pretty as it gets. A stretch of an OPS around .900 isn’t inconceivable, and that’d be a massive boost to a lineup that has gone dormant far too often this season. 1. Carlos Correa The guy you spent the money to bring a splash should show up biggest when the stage is the brightest. Correa hasn’t been bad by any means this season. His 1.7 fWAR is 5th among Twins hitters. To date, Correa owns an .803 OPS which equates to the same 131 OPS+ when he posted an .850 OPS one season ago. This is a guy with game-changing offensive potential, however, and more can be expected from that type of leader. Through the first month, Correa posted just a .633 OPS. In 51 games since he owns an .867 OPS with 20 extra-base hits, 10 of which have left the yard. Correa has looked the part of a superstar in the field, and he’s flashed that at the plate, but it’s time for another level to be reached. It seems all but certain he’ll opt out of his deal with the Twins, and whether he re-signs with Minnesota or not, there’s an opportunity to make himself a few extra bucks the rest of the way. Who are you hoping breaks through with a big performance down the stretch? Any sleeper candidates? View full article
  19. Box Score SP: Joe Ryan 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (86 pitches, 57 strikes (66%)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (12) Top 3 WPA: Joe Ryan (.190), Carlos Correa (.140), Luis Arraez (.116) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins came back with a good line-up to start the second half of the baseball season. Notably missing, however, was Byron Buxton who is coming off of his game-winning home run at the All-Star game on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The outfielder did an interview with The Athletic's Dan Hayes and spoke about not being comfortable with the Home-Run Derby and being willing to continue the rest and day-to-day work to stay healthy and in the lineup most nights. Buxton will miss this series against the Detroit Tigers but will be ready to return to action when they travel to Milwaukee early in the week. The Twins started out the series against former teammate Michael Pineda who allowed first-inning singles to Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa. With no outs, Jorge Polanco slapped a ball into center field to load the bases for Max Kepler. Kepler hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Arraez, giving the Twins an early lead. Pineda avoided any further disaster but needed 29 pitches to finish the first inning. Pineda was a lot more composed in the second and third innings before getting pulled after Carlos Correa hit a solo home run to give the Twins a two-run lead. The Twins started the seventh as they had in the first inning, with singles, this time from Alex Kirilloff and Jose Miranda. With a left-hander now pitching, Kyle Garlick pinch hit for Nick Gordon. Garlick is fantastic against the lefties and was again tonight. He drove a ball into the hole between third base and shortstop. The ball went under the glove of Jeimer Candelario for an error to load the bases with no outs. Gio Urshela came up to bat and hit a sac-fly that scored Kirilloff. Arraez thought the inning was over when he hit a high foul ball to the third base side and Candelario slid to make the play but missed the ball, giving Arraez another chance to finish his at-bat. Arraez took advantage of the new life and hit a two-run single, scoring Miranda and Garlick, making it a three-hit game for the All-Star and a 5-1 lead for the Twins. The Twins stayed focused in the eighth inning and loaded the bases again. The lineup took turns hitting singles and scored three insurance runs. Gary Sanchez, who was hitless at to this point, hit a ball into the gap in right field which scored Kirilloff and opened up the Twins' lead to 8-1. Joe Ryan made his 15th start for the Twins. He had struggled in his two previous outings. He came out with the confidence we had seen so many times before he got sick with Covid. In the first two innings, he had quick 1-2-3 inning to keep the Twins ahead and his pitch count down. In the third inning, he faced six batters. He had a prolonged at-bat with Javier Baez which really drove up his pitch count. With two on and two out, Ryan faced another former Twins player, Robbie Grossman. With the Detroit fans cheering for what they hoped would be a chance to get on the board, the defense neutralized the threat when Grossman ground out to end the inning, the shutout still intact. It's Challenging! The sixth inning started out with Ryan giving up a triple to rookie sensation Riley Greene with the first at-bat. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli challenged, arguing that Greene did not touch second base. The call stood on the field after review, much to the Twins' chagrin. Baldelli has been generous with his challenges this season. As of today, he has challenged 29 calls this season and only 14 of them have been overturned. After allowing his first and only run in the sixth inning, Ryan got a fly out and then struck out Miguel Cabrera swinging before he was relieved from the mound with only one out left. An interesting move...two-game writer’s opinion. Do you think the Twins can get a sweep on their first albeit small series tomorrow? What’s Next? The Twins finish up game two of the two game series Sunday with the Tigers before heading to Milwaukee for the early part of the week. Pitching matchup for Sunday: ● Sunday 1:10 pm CST: Sonny Gray (4-3, 3.71ERA) vs RHP Rony Garcia (3-2, 4.28ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Chart TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Moran 0 0 0 0 28 28 Duran 0 0 0 0 11 11 Duffey 0 0 0 0 11 11 Megill 0 0 0 0 7 7 Pagan 0 0 0 0 2 2 Thielbar 0 0 0 0 0 0 Smith 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0 Cotton 0 0 0 0 0 0
  20. Early in the season, Minnesota's defensive flaws were more evident. In SABR's updated Defensive Index rankings, some Twins have declined while others have made significant gains. Defensive metrics have significantly improved over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One metric developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, MLB has used SDI as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. The rankings below are through games played on July 17, 2022. Pitcher (AL Ranking): No Twins Pitchers Qualify The Twins have yet to have a pitcher qualify for the SDI leaderboard in this season's rankings. Now that some of the team's starters are healthier, they may start appearing on the updated rankings in the season's second half. Former Twin Jose Berrios currently ranks 9th in the AL with a 0.6 SDI. Catcher (AL Ranking): Ryan Jeffers 2.0 SDI (6th) Ryan Jeffers didn't see his SDI score change over the last month, resulting in him losing a spot on the leaderboard. His recent thumb injury and surgery are going to keep him out for most of the remainder of the season. This likely means he won't appear on the final SDI leaderboard. Gary Sanchez does not yet appear on the leaderboard, but that will change as he is given more regular opportunities in the second half. First Base (AL Ranking): Luis Arraez -0.5 SDI (T-9th) Luis Arraez placed sixth overall in the first SDI ranking last month, but the last month hasn't been kind to him. He lost nearly a whole SDI point and dropped multiple places on the leaderboard. First base was an unfamiliar defensive position for Arraez when the season began, so his ranking may improve as he gets more familiar with the position. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco 0.2 SDI (8th) Since the first SDI rankings, Jorge Polanco missed time on the injured list for the first time in his career. He also dropped one spot on the leaderboard among AL second basemen. Last season, Polanco finished in the top-four at his position, but he would need to have a tremendous second half to jump that many spots in 2022. Third Base (AL Ranking): Gio Urshela -1.8 SDI (T-10th) According to SDI, only one AL third baseman, Boston's Rafael Devers, ranks lower than Gio Urshela. He did move up one spot on the leaderboard since June, but that's because fewer players qualified. Former Twin Josh Donaldson doesn't appear on the rankings because of the time he has appeared as a designated hitter. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Carlos Correa 0.6 SDI (9th) Carlos Correa's first ranking with the Twins was disappointing as he had a negative SDI. It was especially perplexing considering he dominated the rankings last season with an MLB-high 15.8 SDI. He made some of the most significant gains among Twins players over the last month, so it will be intriguing to see if he can continue to improve in the second half. Left Field (AL Ranking): Nick Gordon 0.2 SDI (6th) Trevor Larnach was the team's best-ranking left fielder on the first SDI leaderboard, but he's on the IL after having surgery on a core injury. Even with Larnach no longer qualifying, Nick Gordon dropped a spot on the leaderboard as he lost 0.3 SDI points over the last month. Larnach will still be out for multiple weeks, so Gordon will get playing time in left field. Center Field (AL Ranking): No Twins Players Qualified No Twins center fielders have appeared on the SDI leaderboard this season because Byron Buxton has been getting regularly scheduled rest days and time at DH. According to Baseball Savant, Buxton has an Outs Above Average in the 96th percentile, which places him among baseball's best defenders. Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler 4.4 SDI (2nd) Max Kepler doubled his season SDI total over the last month to move him into second place among AL right-fielders. Only Houston's Kyle Tucker (5.1 SDI) ranks ahead of Kepler. Since he ranks in the AL's top 3, there is a good chance Kepler will be a Gold Glove finalist by the season's end. The next closest qualified player behind Kepler is Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr., who has 1.5 fewer SDI points. SABR will continue to update the rankings periodically throughout the remainder of the season. Which rankings above surprise you the most? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  21. Defensive metrics have significantly improved over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One metric developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, MLB has used SDI as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. The rankings below are through games played on July 17, 2022. Pitcher (AL Ranking): No Twins Pitchers Qualify The Twins have yet to have a pitcher qualify for the SDI leaderboard in this season's rankings. Now that some of the team's starters are healthier, they may start appearing on the updated rankings in the season's second half. Former Twin Jose Berrios currently ranks 9th in the AL with a 0.6 SDI. Catcher (AL Ranking): Ryan Jeffers 2.0 SDI (6th) Ryan Jeffers didn't see his SDI score change over the last month, resulting in him losing a spot on the leaderboard. His recent thumb injury and surgery are going to keep him out for most of the remainder of the season. This likely means he won't appear on the final SDI leaderboard. Gary Sanchez does not yet appear on the leaderboard, but that will change as he is given more regular opportunities in the second half. First Base (AL Ranking): Luis Arraez -0.5 SDI (T-9th) Luis Arraez placed sixth overall in the first SDI ranking last month, but the last month hasn't been kind to him. He lost nearly a whole SDI point and dropped multiple places on the leaderboard. First base was an unfamiliar defensive position for Arraez when the season began, so his ranking may improve as he gets more familiar with the position. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco 0.2 SDI (8th) Since the first SDI rankings, Jorge Polanco missed time on the injured list for the first time in his career. He also dropped one spot on the leaderboard among AL second basemen. Last season, Polanco finished in the top-four at his position, but he would need to have a tremendous second half to jump that many spots in 2022. Third Base (AL Ranking): Gio Urshela -1.8 SDI (T-10th) According to SDI, only one AL third baseman, Boston's Rafael Devers, ranks lower than Gio Urshela. He did move up one spot on the leaderboard since June, but that's because fewer players qualified. Former Twin Josh Donaldson doesn't appear on the rankings because of the time he has appeared as a designated hitter. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Carlos Correa 0.6 SDI (9th) Carlos Correa's first ranking with the Twins was disappointing as he had a negative SDI. It was especially perplexing considering he dominated the rankings last season with an MLB-high 15.8 SDI. He made some of the most significant gains among Twins players over the last month, so it will be intriguing to see if he can continue to improve in the second half. Left Field (AL Ranking): Nick Gordon 0.2 SDI (6th) Trevor Larnach was the team's best-ranking left fielder on the first SDI leaderboard, but he's on the IL after having surgery on a core injury. Even with Larnach no longer qualifying, Nick Gordon dropped a spot on the leaderboard as he lost 0.3 SDI points over the last month. Larnach will still be out for multiple weeks, so Gordon will get playing time in left field. Center Field (AL Ranking): No Twins Players Qualified No Twins center fielders have appeared on the SDI leaderboard this season because Byron Buxton has been getting regularly scheduled rest days and time at DH. According to Baseball Savant, Buxton has an Outs Above Average in the 96th percentile, which places him among baseball's best defenders. Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler 4.4 SDI (2nd) Max Kepler doubled his season SDI total over the last month to move him into second place among AL right-fielders. Only Houston's Kyle Tucker (5.1 SDI) ranks ahead of Kepler. Since he ranks in the AL's top 3, there is a good chance Kepler will be a Gold Glove finalist by the season's end. The next closest qualified player behind Kepler is Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr., who has 1.5 fewer SDI points. SABR will continue to update the rankings periodically throughout the remainder of the season. Which rankings above surprise you the most? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  22. Each Friday, Seth joins Dave Overlund on his Hang Up and Listen show on WJON radio in St. Cloud. This week, they handed out 1st half awards and recorded the discussion. Leave comments below on who would choose in each category.
  23. Each Friday, Seth joins Dave Overlund on his Hang Up and Listen show on WJON radio in St. Cloud. This week, they handed out 1st half awards and recorded the discussion. Leave comments below on who would choose in each category. View full video
  24. Both Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez were named first-time All-Stars for the Minnesota Twins this season. At 2.9 and 2.3 fWAR respectively, they currently pace the club and are certainly deserving. As Buxton angles himself towards MVP votes and looks to reign in his production as a whole, while Arraez tries to capture a batting title, both players should remain important cogs in the second half. For a team that took on water during the final week against Chicago, and clearly needs some help, that pairing has to have players within the clubhouse step up. Right now Max Kepler is the only other teammate to hit the 2.0 fWAR mark, while Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, and Dylan Bundy have each accumulated at least 1.0 fWAR on the mound. That puts the foursome into a territory of usefulness to this point, but Rocco Baldelli will need second-half surges from somewhere. Here are three names that could become incredibly impactful down the stretch. 3. Bailey Ober Having spent separate stints on the injured list this season due to a groin issue, Ober has made just seven starts and hasn’t appeared for Minnesota since June 1. He will need to take multiple turns prior to getting back on the bump, but the hope would be that he can provide a stabilizing rotation presence by August. While Josh Winder and Devin Smeltzer have taken turns, and Cole Sands has been sprinkled in, Ober’s presence is clearly missed. His 4.01 ERA this season is backed by a 2.79 FIP. The strikeout numbers are slightly down, but he has been stingy with home runs to this point. Ober looked the part of a solid mid-rotation piece last season, and there’s no denying that Minnesota could use that right now. It’s not about Ober coming back and throwing like an ace, but if he can spell the bullpen usage and give consistent turns, that’d be a massive boost to a unit that needs a lift. 2. Alex Kirilloff The former top prospect was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul when the wrist issues clearly weren’t working out. 10 games into the season Kirilloff owned a .398 OPS and his process at the plate was broken. Fast forward to where we are now and Kirilloff owns an .808 OPS across his last 28 games. He has 10 extra-base hits and while just three of them are homers, it’s clear he can once again drive the ball. Kirilloff isn’t likely a massive power hitter in the vein of 40 home run potential, but he should run into plenty of extra-base hits utilizing the gaps at Target Field. He’s also a solid defender at first base and isn’t out of his element in the outfield. This is a pure hitter, and when the swing is going right, it’s as pretty as it gets. A stretch of an OPS around .900 isn’t inconceivable, and that’d be a massive boost to a lineup that has gone dormant far too often this season. 1. Carlos Correa The guy you spent the money to bring a splash should show up biggest when the stage is the brightest. Correa hasn’t been bad by any means this season. His 1.7 fWAR is 5th among Twins hitters. To date, Correa owns an .803 OPS which equates to the same 131 OPS+ when he posted an .850 OPS one season ago. This is a guy with game-changing offensive potential, however, and more can be expected from that type of leader. Through the first month, Correa posted just a .633 OPS. In 51 games since he owns an .867 OPS with 20 extra-base hits, 10 of which have left the yard. Correa has looked the part of a superstar in the field, and he’s flashed that at the plate, but it’s time for another level to be reached. It seems all but certain he’ll opt out of his deal with the Twins, and whether he re-signs with Minnesota or not, there’s an opportunity to make himself a few extra bucks the rest of the way. Who are you hoping breaks through with a big performance down the stretch? Any sleeper candidates?
  25. With the All-Star Break here, let’s look at the three biggest storylines from the first half. From Byron Buxton to our pitching staff, the second half of the season should be fun! View full video
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