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  1. On Friday, the Twins crushed their fans by trading fan favorite Luis Arraez for Pablo López and two teenage prospects. This move will bolster their rotation, but the Twins will need to replace Arraez's production at first base and from the left side of the plate. Image courtesy of © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Alex Kirilloff will be the first in line to replace Luis Arraez at first and against righties. Hoping Kirilloff's wrist doesn't flare up is the Twins' top priority when replacing Arraez. If Kirilloff misses time, however, the Twins will have an abundance of options to replace him, and one of the most exciting options is Edouard Julien. Similarities between Arraez and Julien Julien and Luis Arraez both came up as second baseman. Neither is renowned for their defense at the position, and it is not a premium position. That limits their value and forces them to hit to be valuable players. Luckily for Arraez and Julien, they've shown they can hit, especially against right-handed pitchers. In 2022, Arraez posted a very good .824 OPS against right-handed pitchers, and Julien at AA posted a 1.031 OPS against right-handed pitchers. Arraez’s strong .386 OBP primarily drives his success against righties. That on-base ability against righties is something the Twins will desperately need to replace. Last year, Julien posted a remarkable .465 OBP at AA against righties. If he can bring some of that on-base ability to the Twins, that would lessen the blow of losing Arraez. While Arraez and Julien share defensive limitations and overall production against right-handed pitchers, each has particular areas of their game where they excel over the other. So, it definitely won't be a one-for-one swap. Of course, you'll be hard-pressed to find anybody like Luis Arraez. Where Arraez is Better Luis Arraez famously rarely strikes out. In his major league career, Arraez has more walks than strikeouts. His strikeout rate for his career is a tiny 8.3%. On the other hand, Julien strikes out at a poor rate, with a 24.6% strikeout rate in 2022 at AA. Surely, that would only increase at the major league level. Arraez has also established himself as a premier hitter for average. While batting average isn't a great measure of overall offensive production, it’s certainly a component. For batting average, Luis Arraez is your man. Of course, he's the batting champion, which tells you all you need to know about his ability to hit for average. Diving deeper in comparing him to Julien, his age-22 season in 2019 at AA seems most relevant as Julien just completed his age-23 season at AA. In limited games at AA in 2019 at age 22, Arraez hit a fantastic .348, which helped him on his ascent to the majors that season. Julien hit a much more mortal .300, which is still nothing to sneeze at. Another key differentiator between Arraez and Julien is that Arraez proved he could hit over his 3+ years in the majors. Julien seems on the path to hitting at the major league level too, but he hasn't even reached AAA, so he has a lot to prove. But Julien has shown he can do things that Arraez's limited skill set cannot match. Where Julien is Better Julien's strikeout rate is ugly, but like many strikeout-prone hitters, Julien walks a ton. He had an elite 19.3% walk rate in 2022, which is a significant driver in his terrific on-base success. Arraez's walk rate for his career is a much more average of 8.7%. Another common characteristic of strikeout-prone players is power, and Julien has plenty. Of course, most of that comes against righties. He slugged .566 against righties with 15 of his 17 home runs in those matchups. This dimension of power and a more patient plate approach is where Julien differentiates himself from Arraez, at the cost of batting average. The Twins need more slugging in 2022 to maximize their offense, so Julien will boost their lineup. They especially need that from the left side. Last season, Nick Gordon had the highest slugging percentage of any Twins left-handed hitter. Whether the Twins won or lost the Luis Arraez for Pablo López trade will mostly depend on López pitching well and staying healthy. But it will also hinge on young left-handed hitters replacing Arraez in the lineup against right-handed pitching. The Twins have their fair share of young left-handed hitters capable of stepping up. While Julien is still young and hasn't yet reached AAA, Twins fans shouldn't be surprised if they see him terrorizing right-handers in the majors come summertime. View full article
  2. Alex Kirilloff will be the first in line to replace Luis Arraez at first and against righties. Hoping Kirilloff's wrist doesn't flare up is the Twins' top priority when replacing Arraez. If Kirilloff misses time, however, the Twins will have an abundance of options to replace him, and one of the most exciting options is Edouard Julien. Similarities between Arraez and Julien Julien and Luis Arraez both came up as second baseman. Neither is renowned for their defense at the position, and it is not a premium position. That limits their value and forces them to hit to be valuable players. Luckily for Arraez and Julien, they've shown they can hit, especially against right-handed pitchers. In 2022, Arraez posted a very good .824 OPS against right-handed pitchers, and Julien at AA posted a 1.031 OPS against right-handed pitchers. Arraez’s strong .386 OBP primarily drives his success against righties. That on-base ability against righties is something the Twins will desperately need to replace. Last year, Julien posted a remarkable .465 OBP at AA against righties. If he can bring some of that on-base ability to the Twins, that would lessen the blow of losing Arraez. While Arraez and Julien share defensive limitations and overall production against right-handed pitchers, each has particular areas of their game where they excel over the other. So, it definitely won't be a one-for-one swap. Of course, you'll be hard-pressed to find anybody like Luis Arraez. Where Arraez is Better Luis Arraez famously rarely strikes out. In his major league career, Arraez has more walks than strikeouts. His strikeout rate for his career is a tiny 8.3%. On the other hand, Julien strikes out at a poor rate, with a 24.6% strikeout rate in 2022 at AA. Surely, that would only increase at the major league level. Arraez has also established himself as a premier hitter for average. While batting average isn't a great measure of overall offensive production, it’s certainly a component. For batting average, Luis Arraez is your man. Of course, he's the batting champion, which tells you all you need to know about his ability to hit for average. Diving deeper in comparing him to Julien, his age-22 season in 2019 at AA seems most relevant as Julien just completed his age-23 season at AA. In limited games at AA in 2019 at age 22, Arraez hit a fantastic .348, which helped him on his ascent to the majors that season. Julien hit a much more mortal .300, which is still nothing to sneeze at. Another key differentiator between Arraez and Julien is that Arraez proved he could hit over his 3+ years in the majors. Julien seems on the path to hitting at the major league level too, but he hasn't even reached AAA, so he has a lot to prove. But Julien has shown he can do things that Arraez's limited skill set cannot match. Where Julien is Better Julien's strikeout rate is ugly, but like many strikeout-prone hitters, Julien walks a ton. He had an elite 19.3% walk rate in 2022, which is a significant driver in his terrific on-base success. Arraez's walk rate for his career is a much more average of 8.7%. Another common characteristic of strikeout-prone players is power, and Julien has plenty. Of course, most of that comes against righties. He slugged .566 against righties with 15 of his 17 home runs in those matchups. This dimension of power and a more patient plate approach is where Julien differentiates himself from Arraez, at the cost of batting average. The Twins need more slugging in 2022 to maximize their offense, so Julien will boost their lineup. They especially need that from the left side. Last season, Nick Gordon had the highest slugging percentage of any Twins left-handed hitter. Whether the Twins won or lost the Luis Arraez for Pablo López trade will mostly depend on López pitching well and staying healthy. But it will also hinge on young left-handed hitters replacing Arraez in the lineup against right-handed pitching. The Twins have their fair share of young left-handed hitters capable of stepping up. While Julien is still young and hasn't yet reached AAA, Twins fans shouldn't be surprised if they see him terrorizing right-handers in the majors come summertime.
  3. There has been plenty of off-season buzz surrounding Marlins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez. The 26-year-old hurler struck out 174 batters over 180 innings in 2022 while possessing a solid 3.71 FIP. Since the Marlins have a deep and young starting pitching rotation, Lopez is both expendable for them and very valuable on the trade market. Is Lopez a realistic trade target for the Minnesota Twins? It has been no secret that the Minnesota Twins have been looking to add to their rotation that experienced various health issues in 2022. They made a hard push for left-handed free agent Carlos Rodon but ultimately fell short, leaving them looking for other reliable options. The Twins have been linked to the Marlins in trade talks for the last couple of months, and one would assume Pablo Lopez’s name has likely been thrown around. Lopez, however, will not come cheap. Due to his age, he will turn 27 in March, productivity, and the fact that he is under team control for two more full seasons, Lopez’s value is very high. But what will it cost? If the Twins want a realistic shot at landing Lopez, they will have to throw some tangible assets on the table. It is rumored that the Marlins aren’t looking for prospects in return for Lopez but rather bats they can plug into the lineup to help them out immediately. With that said, a trade to bring Lopez to Minnesota would likely cost the Twins Luis Arraez and maybe even a little more. If the Twins were willing to eat Jorge Soler’s contract, they could perhaps convince the Marlins to complete a deal without Arraez’s involvement. However, for a mid-market team, the Twins will probably be unwilling to add the $12M per-year contract to the payroll for a player that won’t offer much productivity. This leaves the Twins with only one really realistic option, which would be to move Arraez, whose value is higher than it has ever been and may be as high as it will ever get. Does it make sense to trade him while his value is high? Arraez is a clear fan favorite and among the best pure hitters on the planet, but he also carries his share of flaws. Arraez has had a litany of knee issues in the past, he’s an awful defender anywhere besides first base, and provides next to no power at the plate, which is an approach that doesn’t seem to fit what the Twins have been trying to do in recent years. Maybe it’s time to strike while the iron is hot, put the chips in the middle of the table, and pull off a trade for a durable frontline starter. What are your thoughts? Are you willing to pay this price for a frontline starter? Let me know, and as always, Go, Twins!
  4. While reading “3 Third Baseman Trades that Could Provide the Twins a Productive Bat” posted by Nate Palmer, I got a very interesting idea. The first trade he proposed is one for Rafael Devers, which got me thinking… The Minnesota Twins are in a unique place where depth isn’t quite a concern anymore. If healthy, the Twins have six or so guys on the 40 man roster that could compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, and a crowded outfield littered with guys vying for the corner outfield and bench spots. The looming issue now is trying to wade through the marshes and finding the guys that can be impactful. It is make or break years for guys like Alex Kirloff, Trevor Larnach, and Gilberto Celestino, all of which are entering arbitration soon. If you take a step down, you’re welcomed by the likes of Matt Wallner and maybe Royce Lewis, who should be given an opportunity. Then there’s also the question that arose when the Twins handed out a one year, 11 million dollar contract to Joey Gallo. It almost feels certain that the Gallo deal will force Max Kepler out of Minnesota. Kepler and Gallo are defensive difference makers but both are offensive liabilities. Keeping both will pry valuable innings away from the aforementioned players, and the plus defense Byron Buxton offers in centerfield mitigates the necessity for strong corner outfield defense. One name that has been floating around trade rumors is Luis Arraez. Although reports are connecting him to being involved in a deal for starting pitching, I believe one wouldn’t be too far fetched to think that he could be involved in a deal for a big name hitter. The 2022 American League Batting Champion might have reached his peak value. There’s no question about what kind of hitter he is. Arraez will slap the ball all around the field, and he will get on base frequently. However 2022 unveiled a flaw in his game. When not being the designated hitter, Arraez was primarily penciled in at first and second base with an occasional appearance at third base. The Minnesota Twins have a second baseman, Jorge Polanco. The Minnesota Twins also might have their guy in first base, that being Alex Kirloff, who might be forced out of the outfield. So where would Arraez play? Since the departure of Nelson Cruz in 2021 as part of the Joe Ryan trade, Rocco Baldeli has utilized the designated hitter role as a way for guys to get at bats without being in the field, almost acting as a mini rest day of sorts. The designated hitter role could also be reserved for Byron Buxton, who hit there in 35 games in 2022. Arraez has entered his arbitration years and also has some concern about his ability to stay healthy. He has been placed on the injured list five times since 2020. A growing concern is his knees, which has caused 2 of his five trips to the injured list, with Covid-19, a concussion, and a right shoulder strain rounding out the other three. With La Regadera only getting older, his knees will continue to get worse, trust me. With Max Kepler and Luis Arraez on the “chopping block,” we can start to look for trades. One name that has been floating around recently has been Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox (thanks to Nate Palmer for the idea). The Red Sox do not have the best track record recently when it comes to retaining talent. They traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers in 2020. They traded Andrew Benitendi exactly a year later to the Royals in 2021. Then in 2022 they lost Xander Bogaerts to free agency and ultimately to the Padres. One similarity that can be drawn from all three moves is that they got paid once they left Boston. Betts signed a 12 year, 365 million dollar contract with the Dodgers. Benintendi received 8.5 million dollars in 2022 from the Royals. Bogaerts just signed a 11 year, 285 million dollar deal with the Padres. Rafael Devers will probably be the next homegrown talent to walk beyond the Green Monster, seeing as he will garner a contract somewhere in the twenty plus million dollar range. The Proposal: The Twins receive: Rafael Devers The Red Sox Receive: Luis Arraez, Max Kepler, A Player to be Named Later Why It Works for the Twins Getting rid of Arraez and Kepler would be beneficial to the Twins long term. Devers would become the starting third baseman which would force Miranda to slide over to first base, where he played 77 games in 2022. First base would probably become Miranda’s long term home anyway, with reports stating the Twins front office has questions with his defense. Why it Works for the Red Sox Unlike the Twins, the Red Sox do have some questions when it comes to outfield depth. Enrique Hernandez has centerfield tied down, while Alex Verdugo (who was acquired in the Mookie Betts trade) will start in left. Max Kepler would replace, funnily enough, former Twin Rob Refsnyder in defending Pesky's Pole. Kepler’s plus defense would bode well in Fenway Park’s spacious and tricky right field. Kepler might also see an increase in offensive production playing in the American League East, which is very left-handed hitter friendly. The Red Sox were plagued with a -52 runs differential in 2022. They would benefit highly from a guy by the likes of Luis Arraez. Heck, any team would. Arraez would give the Red Sox a great presence in the designated hitter role and could allow Trevor Story to return to short while Arraez splits time at second with Christian Arroyo. If the Twins do make this trade, a 300 plus million dollar contract might make more sense. Would y’all take this trade? What would you change? Sorry for the long post. View full rumor
  5. While reading “3 Third Baseman Trades that Could Provide the Twins a Productive Bat” posted by Nate Palmer, I got a very interesting idea. The first trade he proposed is one for Rafael Devers, which got me thinking… The Minnesota Twins are in a unique place where depth isn’t quite a concern anymore. If healthy, the Twins have six or so guys on the 40 man roster that could compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, and a crowded outfield littered with guys vying for the corner outfield and bench spots. The looming issue now is trying to wade through the marshes and finding the guys that can be impactful. It is make or break years for guys like Alex Kirloff, Trevor Larnach, and Gilberto Celestino, all of which are entering arbitration soon. If you take a step down, you’re welcomed by the likes of Matt Wallner and maybe Royce Lewis, who should be given an opportunity. Then there’s also the question that arose when the Twins handed out a one year, 11 million dollar contract to Joey Gallo. It almost feels certain that the Gallo deal will force Max Kepler out of Minnesota. Kepler and Gallo are defensive difference makers but both are offensive liabilities. Keeping both will pry valuable innings away from the aforementioned players, and the plus defense Byron Buxton offers in centerfield mitigates the necessity for strong corner outfield defense. One name that has been floating around trade rumors is Luis Arraez. Although reports are connecting him to being involved in a deal for starting pitching, I believe one wouldn’t be too far fetched to think that he could be involved in a deal for a big name hitter. The 2022 American League Batting Champion might have reached his peak value. There’s no question about what kind of hitter he is. Arraez will slap the ball all around the field, and he will get on base frequently. However 2022 unveiled a flaw in his game. When not being the designated hitter, Arraez was primarily penciled in at first and second base with an occasional appearance at third base. The Minnesota Twins have a second baseman, Jorge Polanco. The Minnesota Twins also might have their guy in first base, that being Alex Kirloff, who might be forced out of the outfield. So where would Arraez play? Since the departure of Nelson Cruz in 2021 as part of the Joe Ryan trade, Rocco Baldeli has utilized the designated hitter role as a way for guys to get at bats without being in the field, almost acting as a mini rest day of sorts. The designated hitter role could also be reserved for Byron Buxton, who hit there in 35 games in 2022. Arraez has entered his arbitration years and also has some concern about his ability to stay healthy. He has been placed on the injured list five times since 2020. A growing concern is his knees, which has caused 2 of his five trips to the injured list, with Covid-19, a concussion, and a right shoulder strain rounding out the other three. With La Regadera only getting older, his knees will continue to get worse, trust me. With Max Kepler and Luis Arraez on the “chopping block,” we can start to look for trades. One name that has been floating around recently has been Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox (thanks to Nate Palmer for the idea). The Red Sox do not have the best track record recently when it comes to retaining talent. They traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers in 2020. They traded Andrew Benitendi exactly a year later to the Royals in 2021. Then in 2022 they lost Xander Bogaerts to free agency and ultimately to the Padres. One similarity that can be drawn from all three moves is that they got paid once they left Boston. Betts signed a 12 year, 365 million dollar contract with the Dodgers. Benintendi received 8.5 million dollars in 2022 from the Royals. Bogaerts just signed a 11 year, 285 million dollar deal with the Padres. Rafael Devers will probably be the next homegrown talent to walk beyond the Green Monster, seeing as he will garner a contract somewhere in the twenty plus million dollar range. The Proposal: The Twins receive: Rafael Devers The Red Sox Receive: Luis Arraez, Max Kepler, A Player to be Named Later Why It Works for the Twins Getting rid of Arraez and Kepler would be beneficial to the Twins long term. Devers would become the starting third baseman which would force Miranda to slide over to first base, where he played 77 games in 2022. First base would probably become Miranda’s long term home anyway, with reports stating the Twins front office has questions with his defense. Why it Works for the Red Sox Unlike the Twins, the Red Sox do have some questions when it comes to outfield depth. Enrique Hernandez has centerfield tied down, while Alex Verdugo (who was acquired in the Mookie Betts trade) will start in left. Max Kepler would replace, funnily enough, former Twin Rob Refsnyder in defending Pesky's Pole. Kepler’s plus defense would bode well in Fenway Park’s spacious and tricky right field. Kepler might also see an increase in offensive production playing in the American League East, which is very left-handed hitter friendly. The Red Sox were plagued with a -52 runs differential in 2022. They would benefit highly from a guy by the likes of Luis Arraez. Heck, any team would. Arraez would give the Red Sox a great presence in the designated hitter role and could allow Trevor Story to return to short while Arraez splits time at second with Christian Arroyo. If the Twins do make this trade, a 300 plus million dollar contract might make more sense. Would y’all take this trade? What would you change? Sorry for the long post.
  6. Tuesday night was the penultimate game of the 2022 season. The Twins and White Sox are two teams looking to finish out their seasons. The Twins pitching (and defense) gave up runs early on that made it hard for the offense to bounce back. Image courtesy of Jeff Biggerstaff, USA Today Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (69 pitches, 38 strikes (55%)) Home Runs: Jermaine Palacios (1) Bottom 3 WPA: Josh Winder (-.319), Carlos Correa (-.100), Aaron Sanchez (-.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The White Sox offense overpowered the Twins pitching on Tuesday. By the time the fourth inning came around, the White Sox had an 8-1 lead. Josh Winder had his final outing of the season. He struggled with his command early on in the first and second inning and by the third inning and his second time through the lineup, he allowed four earned runs and posted 69 pitches. Not the ideal way to end his season, but with all the injuries, coaching changes and movement in the pitching rotation, the Twins pitching overall struggled throughout the season. Winder pitched 14 games for the Twins this season, missing all but one game in the month of June. He ends the season with a 4.70 ERA, 47 strikeouts, and 17 walks over 67 innings. Aaron Sanchez came out to relieve Winder and struggled heavily in the fourth giving up four runs and 32 pitches. White Sox starter Lucas Giolito also had a rough start to his night on the mound. Early on he hit Nick Gordon, and he followed it by hitting Jose Miranda. The ball hit off his wrist and into his cheek and mouth. Miranda laid on the ground covering home plate until lead trainer Michael Salazar came out and looked him over. Salazar had Miranda do a series of tests verbally and physically to ensure Miranda was okay; however, either not convinced of his ‘feeling okay’ or out of caution, Salazar pulled Miranda from the game. It was later reported that he had a lip and cheek contusion and would be “day-to-day”. Manager Rocco Baldelli replaced him with Jermaine Palacios. The slip from Lucas Giolito, whose command also wasn't the greatest starting out, had him a bit flustered, but he held his composure and moved forward getting the second out of the inning and powered through seven innings to hold the Twins to just two runs before leaving the game. Jake Cave came up to bat, and drove in his 20th run of the season, scoring Gordon and getting the Twins on the board first. The offense remained stagnant through the next few innings, prompting Baldelli to make some changes by pulling out Correa and Urshela, with the exception of Luis Arraez, who is still leading the race for the American League Batting Title. Palacios moved over to short for Carlos Correa from first base where he was covering for Miranda. Caleb Hamilton took over at first base, Billy Hamilton took over at second base, and Nick Gordon moved to third base for Gio Urshela, leaving only two men on the bench: Mark Contreras and Gary Sanchez. The pace of the game certainly slowed down after the first run. In the sixth inning, Caleb Hamilton and Billy Hamilton both walked, Nick Gordon followed with a grounder to center, scoring Caleb Hamilton. The Twins bullpen, Jovani Moran, Emilio Pagan, and Jorge Lopez, brought the game to a close not allowing any more damage to be done. Palacios came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. He knocked a ball to dead center, 105mph for a home run. It was Palacios' first major-league homer. They may not have won but the home run was fun to see and they have one more chance tomorrow afternoon to go out with a win and for Arraez to add to his batting average before the close of the season. Tune in to see how the batting title finishes! Pitching for Season Finale: Wednesday 3:10 pm CST: RHP Louie Varland (0-2 4.71 ERA) v. RHP Davis Martin (3-5, 3.65 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  7. In the final game of their disappointing 2022 season, the Twins crushed the White Sox in Chicago, taking the season series against the Southsiders. The main highlight from this game was Luis Arráez officially winning the American League batting title – but it wasn’t the only one! Image courtesy of Thiéres Rabelo (graphics) Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K (78 pitches, 55 strikes, 70.5%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (16), Jermaine Palacios (2) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.249), Jermaine Palacios (.088), Matt Wallner (.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Arráez is the American League batting champion! This is not breaking news, but… Luis Arraez has done it! Despite watching New York Yankee Aaron Judge briefly surpass him for the highest batting average in the American League, the Venezuelan hitting machine kept on hitting and regained first place, never letting it go again. He walked twice today before doubling to deep center in the third inning, raising his batting average to .316, and leaving the game after that. Even if he hadn’t doubled, his case for winning the crown was just too good. Coming into today, Arráez's batting average sat at .315, while Judge’s sat at .311. The Yankees outfielder would need to go 4-for-4 today just to match Arráez’s average while also hoping “La Regadera” would have some bad at-bats in Chicago. However, the Yankees decided not to play Judge for the day, making Arráez the batting champion right away. Even if Arráez had gone 0-for-4 for the day, his batting average would still be higher than that of Judge. Arráez becomes the fifth Twin to ever win the AL batting title, the first one since 2009, joining Tony Oliva (1964, 1965), Rod Carew (1969, 1971-75, 1977, 1978), Kirby Puckett (1989), and Joe Mauer (2006, 2008, 2009). He also becomes the sixth Venezuelan to win the distinction, the first one since 2017, joining Andres Galarraga, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Altuve. The offense gets the job done early The game was basically decided after just two innings. The Twins' offense knocked around Chicago starter Davis Martin right out of the gate, building a six-run lead in the first inning. After Arráez drew a leadoff walk and was followed by a Gio Urshela single, Gary Sánchez obliterated a slider on the heart of the plate for a three-run rocket (106.2 MPH off his bat). On the very next at-bat, Jake Cave doubled to left, and he scored on a Matt Wallner single to center a couple of at-bats later. Then, Jermaine Palacios, who had hit his first major league home run on Tuesday night, made it back-to-back days with a dinger, taking Martin deep to left for a two-run jack, making it 6-0 Twins in the first. Three more runs scored in the second inning. Sánchez got another RBI with a double, bringing home Arráez from second after he got another leadoff walk and moved to second on a Nick Gordon single. That prompted a pitching change by Chicago, but it didn’t help. Both Sánchez and Gordon were pushed across by a Gilberto Celestino two-out single against reliever Vince Velasquez, making it 9-0 Minnesota. Things could’ve gotten even worse for Chicago in the third, as the offense loaded the bases with only one out against Velasquez. One of those runners was Arráez and his double, shortly before being lifted for pinch runner Jose Miranda. But this time, one run was all Minnesota could get after a Gordon sacrifice fly to score Caleb Hamilton. Varland takes advantage, secures first big league win Making his fifth start in the majors, rookie Louie Varland was still chasing his first big league win. Before today’s game, he had lost two and gotten a couple of no-decisions. Also, in his previous four starts, Varland had failed to prevent runs from scoring. He would reach both of those personal milestones by the end of the fifth inning today. Against an uninspired White Sox offense, Varland looked more comfortable than in any of his big league starts so far. He allowed a couple of hits early, one in each of the two first innings, including a leadoff double in the second. He pitched around that with three consecutive strikeouts. Despite not missing a lot of bats, Varland didn’t allow quality contact. Chicago hitters had an average 79.3 MPH exit velocity against him. Varland completed five on 78 pitches, throwing over 70% strikes. Also, this was the first start in his short big league career in which he didn’t allow a walk. Cole Sands pitched the rest of the way, and Chicago’s offense didn't pose a threat against him until the final inning, when they put two men on and scored a run, but Sands secured the four-inning save. With the win today, the Twins finish the season with a frustrating 78-84 record, but they do salvage one thing: they take the series season against the Sox with 10 wins in 19 games. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sands 0 0 0 0 59 59 Jax 0 12 21 0 0 33 Sanchez 0 0 0 33 0 33 López 0 18 0 9 0 27 Fulmer 0 26 0 0 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 21 0 21 Pagán 0 0 5 15 0 20 Thielbar 0 0 15 0 0 15 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  8. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Louie Varland, 5 IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 5K (78 pitches, 55 strikes, 70.5%) Home Runs: Gary Sanchez (16), Jermaine Palacios (2) Top 3 WPA: Gary Sánchez (.249), Jermaine Palacios (.088), Matt Wallner (.058) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Arráez is the American League batting champion! This is not breaking news, but… Luis Arraez has done it! Despite watching New York Yankee Aaron Judge briefly surpass him for the highest batting average in the American League, the Venezuelan hitting machine kept on hitting and regained first place, never letting it go again. He walked twice today before doubling to deep center in the third inning, raising his batting average to .316, and leaving the game after that. Even if he hadn’t doubled, his case for winning the crown was just too good. Coming into today, Arráez's batting average sat at .315, while Judge’s sat at .311. The Yankees outfielder would need to go 4-for-4 today just to match Arráez’s average while also hoping “La Regadera” would have some bad at-bats in Chicago. However, the Yankees decided not to play Judge for the day, making Arráez the batting champion right away. Even if Arráez had gone 0-for-4 for the day, his batting average would still be higher than that of Judge. Arráez becomes the fifth Twin to ever win the AL batting title, the first one since 2009, joining Tony Oliva (1964, 1965), Rod Carew (1969, 1971-75, 1977, 1978), Kirby Puckett (1989), and Joe Mauer (2006, 2008, 2009). He also becomes the sixth Venezuelan to win the distinction, the first one since 2017, joining Andres Galarraga, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Altuve. The offense gets the job done early The game was basically decided after just two innings. The Twins' offense knocked around Chicago starter Davis Martin right out of the gate, building a six-run lead in the first inning. After Arráez drew a leadoff walk and was followed by a Gio Urshela single, Gary Sánchez obliterated a slider on the heart of the plate for a three-run rocket (106.2 MPH off his bat). On the very next at-bat, Jake Cave doubled to left, and he scored on a Matt Wallner single to center a couple of at-bats later. Then, Jermaine Palacios, who had hit his first major league home run on Tuesday night, made it back-to-back days with a dinger, taking Martin deep to left for a two-run jack, making it 6-0 Twins in the first. Three more runs scored in the second inning. Sánchez got another RBI with a double, bringing home Arráez from second after he got another leadoff walk and moved to second on a Nick Gordon single. That prompted a pitching change by Chicago, but it didn’t help. Both Sánchez and Gordon were pushed across by a Gilberto Celestino two-out single against reliever Vince Velasquez, making it 9-0 Minnesota. Things could’ve gotten even worse for Chicago in the third, as the offense loaded the bases with only one out against Velasquez. One of those runners was Arráez and his double, shortly before being lifted for pinch runner Jose Miranda. But this time, one run was all Minnesota could get after a Gordon sacrifice fly to score Caleb Hamilton. Varland takes advantage, secures first big league win Making his fifth start in the majors, rookie Louie Varland was still chasing his first big league win. Before today’s game, he had lost two and gotten a couple of no-decisions. Also, in his previous four starts, Varland had failed to prevent runs from scoring. He would reach both of those personal milestones by the end of the fifth inning today. Against an uninspired White Sox offense, Varland looked more comfortable than in any of his big league starts so far. He allowed a couple of hits early, one in each of the two first innings, including a leadoff double in the second. He pitched around that with three consecutive strikeouts. Despite not missing a lot of bats, Varland didn’t allow quality contact. Chicago hitters had an average 79.3 MPH exit velocity against him. Varland completed five on 78 pitches, throwing over 70% strikes. Also, this was the first start in his short big league career in which he didn’t allow a walk. Cole Sands pitched the rest of the way, and Chicago’s offense didn't pose a threat against him until the final inning, when they put two men on and scored a run, but Sands secured the four-inning save. With the win today, the Twins finish the season with a frustrating 78-84 record, but they do salvage one thing: they take the series season against the Sox with 10 wins in 19 games. Postgame interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Sands 0 0 0 0 59 59 Jax 0 12 21 0 0 33 Sanchez 0 0 0 33 0 33 López 0 18 0 9 0 27 Fulmer 0 26 0 0 0 26 Moran 0 0 0 21 0 21 Pagán 0 0 5 15 0 20 Thielbar 0 0 15 0 0 15 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Josh Winder 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (69 pitches, 38 strikes (55%)) Home Runs: Jermaine Palacios (1) Bottom 3 WPA: Josh Winder (-.319), Carlos Correa (-.100), Aaron Sanchez (-.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The White Sox offense overpowered the Twins pitching on Tuesday. By the time the fourth inning came around, the White Sox had an 8-1 lead. Josh Winder had his final outing of the season. He struggled with his command early on in the first and second inning and by the third inning and his second time through the lineup, he allowed four earned runs and posted 69 pitches. Not the ideal way to end his season, but with all the injuries, coaching changes and movement in the pitching rotation, the Twins pitching overall struggled throughout the season. Winder pitched 14 games for the Twins this season, missing all but one game in the month of June. He ends the season with a 4.70 ERA, 47 strikeouts, and 17 walks over 67 innings. Aaron Sanchez came out to relieve Winder and struggled heavily in the fourth giving up four runs and 32 pitches. White Sox starter Lucas Giolito also had a rough start to his night on the mound. Early on he hit Nick Gordon, and he followed it by hitting Jose Miranda. The ball hit off his wrist and into his cheek and mouth. Miranda laid on the ground covering home plate until lead trainer Michael Salazar came out and looked him over. Salazar had Miranda do a series of tests verbally and physically to ensure Miranda was okay; however, either not convinced of his ‘feeling okay’ or out of caution, Salazar pulled Miranda from the game. It was later reported that he had a lip and cheek contusion and would be “day-to-day”. Manager Rocco Baldelli replaced him with Jermaine Palacios. The slip from Lucas Giolito, whose command also wasn't the greatest starting out, had him a bit flustered, but he held his composure and moved forward getting the second out of the inning and powered through seven innings to hold the Twins to just two runs before leaving the game. Jake Cave came up to bat, and drove in his 20th run of the season, scoring Gordon and getting the Twins on the board first. The offense remained stagnant through the next few innings, prompting Baldelli to make some changes by pulling out Correa and Urshela, with the exception of Luis Arraez, who is still leading the race for the American League Batting Title. Palacios moved over to short for Carlos Correa from first base where he was covering for Miranda. Caleb Hamilton took over at first base, Billy Hamilton took over at second base, and Nick Gordon moved to third base for Gio Urshela, leaving only two men on the bench: Mark Contreras and Gary Sanchez. The pace of the game certainly slowed down after the first run. In the sixth inning, Caleb Hamilton and Billy Hamilton both walked, Nick Gordon followed with a grounder to center, scoring Caleb Hamilton. The Twins bullpen, Jovani Moran, Emilio Pagan, and Jorge Lopez, brought the game to a close not allowing any more damage to be done. Palacios came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. He knocked a ball to dead center, 105mph for a home run. It was Palacios' first major-league homer. They may not have won but the home run was fun to see and they have one more chance tomorrow afternoon to go out with a win and for Arraez to add to his batting average before the close of the season. Tune in to see how the batting title finishes! Pitching for Season Finale: Wednesday 3:10 pm CST: RHP Louie Varland (0-2 4.71 ERA) v. RHP Davis Martin (3-5, 3.65 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  10. As the 2022 season closes, there are still meaningful opportunities for Twins players. Here are three players with something to prove in the season’s final games. Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Teams out of contention are offered a unique opportunity in the season’s final weeks. It can be a time for younger players to prove they are part of the team’s long-term plans, while veteran players can tie a bow on their season. Each player below has something to show the team before the end of the 2022 season. Gilberto Celestino, OF 2022 Recap: It’s easy to forget that Celestino is a 23-year-old with fewer than 60 big-league at-bats entering the 2022 season. Outfield injuries have allowed him to play in over 100 games this season with mixed results. May was his best month as he hit .364/.426/.418 (.844) with three doubles and five runs. Since June, he has hit .214/.282/.284 (.565) while providing -0.51 WPA. His frustrations boiled over on the field as Rocco Baldelli benched him following a base running error and a long walk back to the dugout after a frustrating at-bat. What To Watch: How will Celestino bounce back after being benched? He is still young and can use his benching as motivation for the season’s remaining games. Celestino needs to show that his performance over the last three months isn’t indicative of the type of big leaguer he can be for the long term. Ryan Jeffers, C 2022 Recap: Minnesota showed trust in Jeffers taking over the team’s full-time catching duties this winter when the team traded Mitch Garver to the Rangers. Jeffers posted a 119 OPS+ during his rookie season, but he suffered sophomore struggles as his OPS+ dropped to 84 in 2021. In 60 games this season, Jeffers hit .214/.291/.375 (.666) with ten doubles and seven home runs. He has been sidelined since the middle of July with a broken thumb that required surgery. He has begun a rehab assignment with the Saints and has hit two home runs on his way back to the roster. What To Watch: Obviously, it hasn’t been an ideal season for Jeffers, but there are things to watch as he returns from injury. Minnesota needs to decide on a catching plan for 2023 and beyond. The Twins will likely use Jeffers as the primary catcher next season, but the backup catcher role still needs to be decided. Gary Sanchez is a free agent, so Minnesota needs to ensure how much Jeffers can be relied on moving forward. Luis Arraez, 1B/DH 2022 Recap: Arraez started his season with a bang as he hit .333/.403/.440 (.844) through the end of July. He was selected to his first All-Star Game and recorded a typical Arraez hit on the national stage. His second half hasn’t gone as well as the first. In 43 games since August 1st, Arraez has hit .276/.312/.385 (.697), falling out of first place in the AL batting title race. Plenty of hitters haven’t performed well for the Twins, but Arraez’s struggles have been more evident because of how well he played in the first half. What To Watch: Arraez might be one of the only players that can stop New York’s Aaron Judge from winning the Triple Crown. Over the last week, Arraez’s season batting average has dropped six points. He has fought through some injuries this season but has stayed on the field. Can he become the first Twin to win the batting title since Joe Mauer? Which players will you keep an eye on as the season winds down? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  11. Teams out of contention are offered a unique opportunity in the season’s final weeks. It can be a time for younger players to prove they are part of the team’s long-term plans, while veteran players can tie a bow on their season. Each player below has something to show the team before the end of the 2022 season. Gilberto Celestino, OF 2022 Recap: It’s easy to forget that Celestino is a 23-year-old with fewer than 60 big-league at-bats entering the 2022 season. Outfield injuries have allowed him to play in over 100 games this season with mixed results. May was his best month as he hit .364/.426/.418 (.844) with three doubles and five runs. Since June, he has hit .214/.282/.284 (.565) while providing -0.51 WPA. His frustrations boiled over on the field as Rocco Baldelli benched him following a base running error and a long walk back to the dugout after a frustrating at-bat. What To Watch: How will Celestino bounce back after being benched? He is still young and can use his benching as motivation for the season’s remaining games. Celestino needs to show that his performance over the last three months isn’t indicative of the type of big leaguer he can be for the long term. Ryan Jeffers, C 2022 Recap: Minnesota showed trust in Jeffers taking over the team’s full-time catching duties this winter when the team traded Mitch Garver to the Rangers. Jeffers posted a 119 OPS+ during his rookie season, but he suffered sophomore struggles as his OPS+ dropped to 84 in 2021. In 60 games this season, Jeffers hit .214/.291/.375 (.666) with ten doubles and seven home runs. He has been sidelined since the middle of July with a broken thumb that required surgery. He has begun a rehab assignment with the Saints and has hit two home runs on his way back to the roster. What To Watch: Obviously, it hasn’t been an ideal season for Jeffers, but there are things to watch as he returns from injury. Minnesota needs to decide on a catching plan for 2023 and beyond. The Twins will likely use Jeffers as the primary catcher next season, but the backup catcher role still needs to be decided. Gary Sanchez is a free agent, so Minnesota needs to ensure how much Jeffers can be relied on moving forward. Luis Arraez, 1B/DH 2022 Recap: Arraez started his season with a bang as he hit .333/.403/.440 (.844) through the end of July. He was selected to his first All-Star Game and recorded a typical Arraez hit on the national stage. His second half hasn’t gone as well as the first. In 43 games since August 1st, Arraez has hit .276/.312/.385 (.697), falling out of first place in the AL batting title race. Plenty of hitters haven’t performed well for the Twins, but Arraez’s struggles have been more evident because of how well he played in the first half. What To Watch: Arraez might be one of the only players that can stop New York’s Aaron Judge from winning the Triple Crown. Over the last week, Arraez’s season batting average has dropped six points. He has fought through some injuries this season but has stayed on the field. Can he become the first Twin to win the batting title since Joe Mauer? Which players will you keep an eye on as the season winds down? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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