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  1. There were two Givens for the Twins to add to their 40-man roster. The team simply was not going to leave Edouard Julien and Matt Canterino at risk to be lost in the Rule 5 draft next month. So they were added. Here is what I wrote about them in my 40-man roster prediction column: 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. For more Twins Daily content on Matt Canterino, click here. Lefty Brent Headrick was my #3 prediction to be added, and here's what I wrote about him. 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. For more Twins Daily content on Brent Headrick, click here. 4th addition.) But I completely missed on Casey Legumina . He was the Twins 8th round draft pick in 2019 out of Gonzaga. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and therefore didn't make his professional debut until 2021. He was given some opportunities to star, but he has had his most success out of the bullpen. In 2022, he made three appearances in Cedar Rapids before jumping up to Wichita for 30 games. He went 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA in 33 games (16 starts). In 86 1/3 innings, he walked 36 and struck out 92 batters. He's got a closer's potential when healthy. For more Twins Daily content on Casey Legumina, click here. However, there are several players that were left unprotected who now could be selected by other teams. Catchers, or at least guys that can catch and also play first base, that could be lost include Chris Williams and Alex Isola. Williams provided power for Wichita and St. Paul. Isola played well in Wichita but missed a couple of months with an injury. He just finished his stint in the Arizona Fall League. High-upside prospects can be scary to be left unprotected. The Twins left toolsy outfielder Misael Urbina off of their 40-man roster. He probably isn't ready for the big leagues at this point, but his talent will be intriguing. Yunior Severino is a talent, and he did well in 2022 in High-A, but also in Double-A, so for the right team, he could be a bench fit for the 2023 season. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. is a little older than those two, but his athleticism, speed and defense are incredibly intriguing. He was finally healthy in 2022 and started to show what he is capable of. Michael Helman could certainly be selected. His ability to play at least seven positions well would make him intriguing to teams. However, he broke out in the upper levels with 20 homers and he also had 40 stolen bases. In the same vein, Anthony Prato is another utility player, capable of playing at least four positions. He was healthy in 2022 and did well in Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Utility players are one of the areas that do often get selected in the Rule 5 draft. So do relief pitchers who are, or very soon could be, big-league ready. Twins Daily's 2022 Relief Pitcher of the Year Evan Sisk was dominant in Wichita and at St. Paul. He's also left-handed and mixes pitches well with his low-90s fastball. Austin Schulfer keeps producing in whatever role the Twins have had him work in, starting or relieving. He ended the season with the Saints as well. Sisk isn't the only left-hander that could be at risk either. Southpaw Kody Funderburk pitched very well in 2022 for Wichita, posting a sub-3.00 ERA. He mostly started but has worked in various roles out of the bullpen as well. So, what do you think about the fourTwins additions? Which of the Twins minor leaguers left off of the roster are most at risk of being selected in the Rule 5 draft and lost? Share your thoughts in the Comments below. For more Twins Daily content on other players mentioned in this article, click the links below: Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Michael Helman, Anthony Prato, Evan Sisk, Austin Schulfer, Kody Funderburk.
  2. With the deadline at 5:00 central time, the Minnesota Twins have made four additions to their 40-man roster. To the surprise of no one, the Twins added infielder Edouard Julien, right-handed pitchers Matt Canterino and Casey Legumina, and left-handed pitcher Brent Headrick. Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports There were two Givens for the Twins to add to their 40-man roster. The team simply was not going to leave Edouard Julien and Matt Canterino at risk to be lost in the Rule 5 draft next month. So they were added. Here is what I wrote about them in my 40-man roster prediction column: 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. For more Twins Daily content on Edouard Julien, click here. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. For more Twins Daily content on Matt Canterino, click here. Lefty Brent Headrick was my #3 prediction to be added, and here's what I wrote about him. 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. For more Twins Daily content on Brent Headrick, click here. 4th addition.) But I completely missed on Casey Legumina . He was the Twins 8th round draft pick in 2019 out of Gonzaga. He had Tommy John surgery that spring and therefore didn't make his professional debut until 2021. He was given some opportunities to star, but he has had his most success out of the bullpen. In 2022, he made three appearances in Cedar Rapids before jumping up to Wichita for 30 games. He went 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA in 33 games (16 starts). In 86 1/3 innings, he walked 36 and struck out 92 batters. He's got a closer's potential when healthy. For more Twins Daily content on Casey Legumina, click here. However, there are several players that were left unprotected who now could be selected by other teams. Catchers, or at least guys that can catch and also play first base, that could be lost include Chris Williams and Alex Isola. Williams provided power for Wichita and St. Paul. Isola played well in Wichita but missed a couple of months with an injury. He just finished his stint in the Arizona Fall League. High-upside prospects can be scary to be left unprotected. The Twins left toolsy outfielder Misael Urbina off of their 40-man roster. He probably isn't ready for the big leagues at this point, but his talent will be intriguing. Yunior Severino is a talent, and he did well in 2022 in High-A, but also in Double-A, so for the right team, he could be a bench fit for the 2023 season. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. is a little older than those two, but his athleticism, speed and defense are incredibly intriguing. He was finally healthy in 2022 and started to show what he is capable of. Michael Helman could certainly be selected. His ability to play at least seven positions well would make him intriguing to teams. However, he broke out in the upper levels with 20 homers and he also had 40 stolen bases. In the same vein, Anthony Prato is another utility player, capable of playing at least four positions. He was healthy in 2022 and did well in Cedar Rapids and Wichita. Utility players are one of the areas that do often get selected in the Rule 5 draft. So do relief pitchers who are, or very soon could be, big-league ready. Twins Daily's 2022 Relief Pitcher of the Year Evan Sisk was dominant in Wichita and at St. Paul. He's also left-handed and mixes pitches well with his low-90s fastball. Austin Schulfer keeps producing in whatever role the Twins have had him work in, starting or relieving. He ended the season with the Saints as well. Sisk isn't the only left-hander that could be at risk either. Southpaw Kody Funderburk pitched very well in 2022 for Wichita, posting a sub-3.00 ERA. He mostly started but has worked in various roles out of the bullpen as well. So, what do you think about the fourTwins additions? Which of the Twins minor leaguers left off of the roster are most at risk of being selected in the Rule 5 draft and lost? Share your thoughts in the Comments below. For more Twins Daily content on other players mentioned in this article, click the links below: Chris Williams, Alex Isola, Michael Helman, Anthony Prato, Evan Sisk, Austin Schulfer, Kody Funderburk. View full article
  3. By 5:00 central time on Tuesday, teams will need to make their 40-man roster additions to keep eligible players from being selected in next month's Rule 5 draft. There are probably only a couple of sure-fire additions for the Twins, but there are at least another dozen players that the Twins likely had to have some discussion about as well. Who will they add? Image courtesy of William Parmeter / Mighty Mussels Since the end of the season, the Twins' front office has been cleaning up the 40-man roster that, had way more than 40 men on it. When the World Series finished, several players automatically came off the roster and became free agents. Carlos Correa exercised his option and became a free agent. The Twins Designated five players for Assignment early in the offseason. Three of them (Jermaine Palacios, Jake Cave, Caleb Hamilton) were claimed by other teams. Just last week, players still on the 60-Day Injured List were removed from the Injured List. At the same time, Cody Stashak was outrighted from the roster and elected free agency. All that is to say that a lot of roster work has been done already. Some of that is because, on Tuesday, teams have to submit additions to their 40-man rosters by 5:00 central time. The Twins' 40-man roster is currently at 36 players. There are 21 pitchers, one catcher, five infielders, and nine outfielders. The Twins (and other teams) may make a few small trades to clean up a couple more roster spots before the additions. Friday is another key date in the offseason when teams will need to decide which arbitration-eligible players to tender (or non-tender) a 2023 contract. A couple more players could potentially come off of the roster at that time. Before getting into the predictions for which Twins minor leaguers will be added to the team’s 40-man roster, it is important to note that some of these decisions were already made during the season. Louie Varland, Matt Wallner, and Simeon Woods Richardson all were added to the roster in September. If they had not been, they would have been Givens to be added now. Those three put up tremendous 2022 seasons in both Wichita and St. Paul and earned their late-season promotions. Secondly, who is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft if they are not protected? Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2018 or earlier. Players who were 19 or older when they signed in 2019 or earlier. The age at signing is the key, but a general rule would be: Players drafted out of high school in 2017 or 2018. (unless they signed when they were 19) Players drafted out of junior college or four-year college in 2017, 2018, or 2019. International players signed at 16, 17, or 18 years old in 2016, 2017, or 2018. Finally, players added to the 40-man roster on Tuesday cannot be removed from the 40-man roster until spring training. That is important to remember when the team signs free agents or makes a trade this winter. So, here are my quick thoughts on players that should be, or at least should be considered to be, added to the Twins' 40-man roster. THE GIVENS 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. STRONG CONSIDERATIONS 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. 4.) UT Michael Helman - The Twins were excited to select Helman out of Texas A&M in the 11th round of the 2018 draft. After a strong pro debut that year, he really struggled in 2019 at High-A Ft. Myers and ended the season injured. After a lost 2020 season, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles, four triples, and 19 home runs in Cedar Rapids. He added 21 steals. He finished that season by playing in the Arizona Fall League. He began the 2022 season with 39 games at Wichita where he hit .278/.368/.472 (.840) with six doubles, two triples, and six home runs. He finished the season in St. Paul where, in 96 games, he hit .250/.325/.416 (.741) with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. Combined, he ended the season with 23 doubles, 20 home runs, and an impressive 40 stolen bases. He has made himself a solid contributor at the bat. He has also worked very hard to get strong all over the field on defense. Drafted as a middle infielder, he started playing all over the place in 2021. In 2022, he played 43 games in center field, 41 games at second base, 29 games at third base, and 11 games at shortstop. In 2021, he played more in the corner outfield spots than in center field. He legitimately can play seven positions on the field, and maybe I should mention that when he went to junior college, he was a catcher. 5.) Misael Urbina - This is the potential upside addition. This is the guy with talent and athleticism and tools. The 20-year-old Urbina signed in July of 2018 out of Venezuela. He spent 2019 in the Dominican Summer League where he posted a solid .825 OPS with 21 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in 50 games. After the lost 2020 season, he came to the States in 2021. He didn’t make the Mighty Mussels Opening Day roster, but he was on the roster about a week later. He played 101 games for the Mighty Mussels and hit .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 12 doubles, four triples, five homes, and 16 steals. Unfortunately, Urbina missed about half of the 2022 season due to some visa issues. In 50 games for the Mighty Mussels, he hit .246/.323/.419 (.741) with 16 doubles, five homers, and nine stolen bases. The Twins have added players after they spend a year in Low-A. They did it in November 2013 when they added Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler after they played in Cedar Rapids that season. Of course, they also added Deibinson Romero and Estarlin de Los Santos to the 40-man roster after their Low-A seasons. (I’m sure @Roger will appreciate that reference.) It’s hard for me to believe that Urbina would be able to stick on a big-league roster all season, so this is very borderline. 6.) IF Yunior Severino - As you know, Atlanta signed Severino as a 16-year-old in 2016. He spent the following season with the Braves organization until they were deemed to have broken the rules of international signing and a bunch of their recently-signed international players became free agents again. This time, it was the Twins that gave him a big, seven-figure signing bonus. Severino has shown glimpses of talent, but he’s also missed time with injury. He broke out with a strong 35 games at the end of the 2021 season in Cedar Rapids when he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. He began 2022 with 46 games with the Kernels and hit .283/.398/.572 (.970) with nine doubles, two triples, and 11 homers. He moved up to Wichita and hit .273/.338/.497 (.834) with eight doubles and eight home runs. At Cedar Rapids, he played mostly second base (and DH). With the Wind Surge, he played almost exclusively at third base. He is now 23 and could be a year away from being ready. 7.) C/1B Chris Williams - Chris Williams was the Twins' eighth-round pick in 2018 out of Clemson University. In 75 games for Wichita this summer, Williams hit .277/.372/.542 (.915) with 16 doubles and 18 home runs. He finished his season with 42 games in St. Paul. He hit just .192, but he had five doubles and 10 more home runs. This season, he played 83 games at first base and caught 24 games. He will turn 26 this month, but the Twins have a need for right-handed power and currently have just one catcher on their 40-man roster. Now, Williams is not going to do a lot of catching in the big leagues, but he can be a guy who can be a #3 catcher, a backup first base option, and a power bat off the bench might provide some value to the organization. 8.) RHP Cody Laweryson - Laweryson (pronounced Lor-ih-sun) was the Twins 14th round draft pick out of the University of Maine in 2019. In 2021, he missed the first two months of the season and then posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 15 games for Cedar Rapids. He did have 73 strikeouts and just 19 walks over his 58 2/3 innings. He went to the Arizona Fall League and struck out 18 batters in 14 innings and pitched in the Fall Stars game. He began 2022 in the Kernels' bullpen. In 35 innings, he struck out 42 and walked 12 batters. He posted a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He moved up to Wichita where after 11 bullpen appearances, he made eight starts. He went 5-0 with a minuscule 1.06 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 59 2/3 innings, he struck out 69 and walked just 15 batters. In the entire season, he gave up just two homers over 94 2/3 innings. He’s got decent stuff and a bit of a funky delivery. Was his half-season in Wichita enough for someone to select him in the Rule 5 draft, or for the Twins to add him? 9.) OF DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. - Keirsey was the Twins' fourth-round pick in 2018 out of the University of Utah. He had a brutal injury after crashing into the wall at the end of his sophomore season in college, but inexplicably returned for his junior season and posted an OPS of 1.049. Since the Twins drafted him, his biggest issue has been staying on the field. He was limited to 45 games in Cedar Rapids in 2021 due to leg muscle issues. He never was able to get into a rhythm. In 2022, he was bumped up to Wichita and was on the field for 121 games. He had a solid showing, if not a bit of a breakout season. He hit .271/.329/.395 (.724) with 26 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs. While not a power hitter, at times he can really drive the ball and use the whole field. But his speed is absolutely electric and can be game-changing. He stole 42 bases in 49 attempts this year (86%), but he is an elite defensive center fielder, able to run down almost anything and unafraid to throw his body around to make a catch. His athleticism alone has to get him considered, and in 2022, he stayed on the field and really contributed. 10.) LHP Kody Funderburk - When the Twins drafted the lefty from Dallas Baptist in the 15th round of the 2018 draft, they had him as a pitcher only. In college, he was a very good hitter as well. Over time, he has worked solely as a pitcher and very quietly has made himself into a prospect to watch. He had a solid 2021 season between Cedar Rapids (where he started) and Wichita (where he was a reliever). He then went and made six starts in the Arizona Fall League. In 2022 at Double-A Wichita, he went 10-5 with a 2.94 ERA. In 107 innings, he had 103 strikeouts to 44 walks. He has a bit of a funky delivery that might make him intriguing to a team in the Rule 5 draft. 11.) C/1B Alex Isola - In 2017, Isola and Keirsey were teammates at Utah. Isola transferred a couple of times before the Twins made him their 29th-round pick in 2019 out of Texas Christian University. Isola just completed his six-week stint in the Arizona Fall League where he hit five doubles, and in the semi-final game launched a 420+ foot home run to help send his team to the championship game. Like Williams, part of the allure of Isola is his ability to play behind the plate as needed. With Wichita, he made 17 starts at first base and 17 starts behind the plate. He won’t win any Gold Gloves, but he could be a #3 catcher in the big leagues. His calling card is his bat. In 58 games with the Wind Surge in 2022, he hit .286/.377/.471 (.848) with nine doubles and 10 home runs. He puts together solid plate appearances with a good knowledge of the strike zone. He’s willing to take his walks, but he also can drive the ball to the gaps and over the wall. 12.) RHP Austin Schulfer - The 26-year-old was the Twins 19th round pick in 2018 out of UW-Milwaukee. In 2021, he led all Twins minor-league pitchers with 110 innings pitched over 24 starts at Double-A Wichita. In 2022, he returned to the Wind Surge to start the season and worked in 15 games out of the bullpen. He gave up just one earned run over 23 innings (0.39 ERA) and struck out 30 and walked only four batters. He recorded seven saves. He moved up to St. Paul where he went 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA. In 32 2/3 Triple-A innings, he struck out 31 batters and walked 13 batters. Schulfer has always made adjustments and should return to the Saints in 2023. Depending on the injury front in the Twins bullpen, we could see him debut at some point. HAVE TO AT LEAST CONSIDER LHP Evan Sisk - Acquired from the Cardinals at the deadline in 2021, he was the 2022 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. 5-1, 2.08 ERA in a combined 63 innings between Wichita and St. Paul. Had 76 strikeouts to go with 29 walks. SS/OF Will Holland - the fastest runner in the Twins minor leagues, he is a great athlete and could provide a team with solid outfield or shortstop defense and pinch-running abilities. He was the team’s 5th-round pick in 2019 from Auburn. LHRP Denny Bentley - Bentley has been very good in the Twins minor leagues and can record a lot of strikeouts, but he does walk a lot of batters, as he did in the Arizona Fall League. RHRP Osiris German - German remains a very intriguing 24-year-old reliever. His best pitch is his changeup. After six games in Cedar Rapids, he worked in 37 games for Wichita. He posted a 3.02 ERA and had 17 walks and 59 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. RHRP Hunter McMahon - he was the ninth-round pick by the Nationals in the 2019 draft. The Twins acquired him that offseason for Ryne Harper. He has pitched very little since. In 2021, he pitched in just five games. This year, he began in Ft. Myers (2.23 ERA), moved up to Cedar Rapids (1.19 ERA), and finished with four games in Double-A. In 73 2/3 combined innings. He had 76 strikeouts and just 16 walks. RHP Sean Mooney - The Twins 12th round pick in 2019 from St. John’s had Tommy John surgery that spring. So, he didn’t make his pro debut, officially, until 2021. In 42 innings, he had 71 strikeouts. In 2022 with Cedar Rapids, he posted a 3.30 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 60 innings. Needs to stay healthy. UT Anthony Prato - 7th round pick in 2019 from UConn, Prato had a nice breakout season in 2022. He was limited in 2021 due to a broken hamate bone. In 2022, he played 45 games in Cedar Rapids before ending with 87 games in Wichita. Combined, he hit .285/.383/.444 (.827) with 30 doubles, eight triples, 10 homers, and 22 stolen bases. He played 60 games in left field, 34 games at second base, and 22 games at third base. RHP Randy Dobnak - Off the 40-man roster, if a team selected Dobnak, they would take on his contract too, so that’s unlikely. But, when he was healthy in 2019 and 2020, he was a solid back-of-rotation starter, and if he is healthy, could be that for a non-contender. RHRP Steven Cruz - MLB Pipeline ranks Cruz 28th in the organization. Ten (or even five) years ago, he would have ranked higher because he is capable of reaching triple-digits with his fastball. At 23, he posted a 5.14 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in Wichita in 2022. In 56 innings, he had 72 strikeouts, but he also walked 35 batters. Love the arm, but hard to see him sticking in the big leagues. OTHER ELIGIBLE PLAYERS Hitters: David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, Kyle Schmidt, Seth Gray, Charles Mack, Jeferson Morales, Daniel Ozoria, Willie Joe Garry, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Baez, Wilfri Castro, Alexander Pena. Pitchers: Tyler Beck, Francis Peguero, Jon Olsen, Ryan Shreve, Brock Stewart, Michael Boyle, Jordan Brink, Jordan Gore, Casey Legumina, Alex Phillips, Regi Grace, Bradley Hanner, Derek Molina, Owen Griffith, Tyler Palm, Miguel Rodriguez, Matthew Swain, Zaquiel Puentes, Niklas Rimmel, Elpidio Perez, Wilker Reyes, Rafael Feliz, Danny Moreno, Alex Scherff, Andrew Cabezas, Ben Gross, Zach Neff, Josh Mitchell, Jose Brito. My prediction? This is as tough as I can remember this being. Again, we should be able to assume Canterino and Julien are added. After that, there are at least six to 10 others (and maybe more) where a legitimate case could be made. I am going to officially predict that they will also add Headrick, Helman, and Severino. I think Urbina is just not yet in a spot where he could stick in the big leagues, but I think he is at risk of being taken. He is probably the most interesting case (which is why I found a photo of him for the article). I think Chris Williams and Alex Isola are guys that could be at risk as well. Your turn? How many players will the Twins add to their 40-man roster by Tuesday’s deadline? Make your predictions for which players get added below. View full article
  4. Since the end of the season, the Twins' front office has been cleaning up the 40-man roster that, had way more than 40 men on it. When the World Series finished, several players automatically came off the roster and became free agents. Carlos Correa exercised his option and became a free agent. The Twins Designated five players for Assignment early in the offseason. Three of them (Jermaine Palacios, Jake Cave, Caleb Hamilton) were claimed by other teams. Just last week, players still on the 60-Day Injured List were removed from the Injured List. At the same time, Cody Stashak was outrighted from the roster and elected free agency. All that is to say that a lot of roster work has been done already. Some of that is because, on Tuesday, teams have to submit additions to their 40-man rosters by 5:00 central time. The Twins' 40-man roster is currently at 36 players. There are 21 pitchers, one catcher, five infielders, and nine outfielders. The Twins (and other teams) may make a few small trades to clean up a couple more roster spots before the additions. Friday is another key date in the offseason when teams will need to decide which arbitration-eligible players to tender (or non-tender) a 2023 contract. A couple more players could potentially come off of the roster at that time. Before getting into the predictions for which Twins minor leaguers will be added to the team’s 40-man roster, it is important to note that some of these decisions were already made during the season. Louie Varland, Matt Wallner, and Simeon Woods Richardson all were added to the roster in September. If they had not been, they would have been Givens to be added now. Those three put up tremendous 2022 seasons in both Wichita and St. Paul and earned their late-season promotions. Secondly, who is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft if they are not protected? Players who signed when they were 18 or younger in 2018 or earlier. Players who were 19 or older when they signed in 2019 or earlier. The age at signing is the key, but a general rule would be: Players drafted out of high school in 2017 or 2018. (unless they signed when they were 19) Players drafted out of junior college or four-year college in 2017, 2018, or 2019. International players signed at 16, 17, or 18 years old in 2016, 2017, or 2018. Finally, players added to the 40-man roster on Tuesday cannot be removed from the 40-man roster until spring training. That is important to remember when the team signs free agents or makes a trade this winter. So, here are my quick thoughts on players that should be, or at least should be considered to be, added to the Twins' 40-man roster. THE GIVENS 1.) 2B Edouard Julien - The 23-year-old from Quebec was the Twins 18th round pick in 2019 out of Auburn. Just this weekend, he was named the Breakout Prospect in the Arizona Fall League after he hit .400/.563/.686 (1.248) with five doubles and five home runs in 21 games. However, you could argue that he broke out during the 2022 regular season in Wichita where he hit .300/.441/.490 (.931) with 19 doubles and 17 home runs in 113 games. He even stole 19 bags. Of course, I would argue that he broke out in 2021, his professional debut after missing 2019 and 2020 due to Tommy John surgery and the Covid pandemic. He split that season between Ft. Myers and Cedar Rapids. In 112 games, he hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles, 18 home runs, and 34 stolen bases. Where will he play? Well, he spent most of 2022 at second base. He has played first and third base in pro ball. Yes, he played a couple of games in left field in 2021, but that isn’t an option. Regardless, his all-around offensive game makes him a future top-of-the-lineup contributor. 2.) RHP Matt Canterino - Maybe not quite as “given” as Julien, but Canterino is absolutely a given to be added. He was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2019 out of Rice University. Since turning pro, two things have been true of the 24-year-old righty. First, when he has pitched, he has been absolutely dominant. In 11 games and 34 1/3 innings for Wichita in 2022, he posted a 1.83 ERA and struck out 50 batters. In 23 innings in 2021, he struck out 45 batters. His stuff is electric. Unfortunately, the second truth is that he has missed a lot of time with injury. He was shut down early in the 2021 season after experiencing some elbow pain. The rest-and-rehab was tried, but in 2022 at Wichita, he was limited to three innings per start and eventually four innings, but as his arm threw more, the pain continued. Finally, in mid-August, he underwent Tommy John surgery in Arlington making his availability to pitch in 2023 unlikely. But again, with this kind of talent, particularly with a pitcher, you keep him around and add him and don’t even give it a second thought. STRONG CONSIDERATIONS 3.) LHP Brent Headrick - In 2022, Headrick made 15 starts in Cedar Rapids before moving up to Double-A Wichita. In 2021, he was limited in the second half with some shoulder impingement. He stayed healthy throughout the 2022 season and went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. In 108 1/3 innings, he walked just 25 batters and struck out 136 batters. Now, his Double-A numbers don’t look as good. In 10 games, he went 2-3 with a 4.81 ERA. However, in his first Wind Surge appearance, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits (including five home runs) in 2 1/3 innings. Take away that outing, and he went 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA, and in 40 2/3 innings, he gave up just six more home runs. Headrick was the Twins seventh-round pick in 2019 out of Illinois State. 4.) UT Michael Helman - The Twins were excited to select Helman out of Texas A&M in the 11th round of the 2018 draft. After a strong pro debut that year, he really struggled in 2019 at High-A Ft. Myers and ended the season injured. After a lost 2020 season, he hit .246/.336/.462 (.798) with 21 doubles, four triples, and 19 home runs in Cedar Rapids. He added 21 steals. He finished that season by playing in the Arizona Fall League. He began the 2022 season with 39 games at Wichita where he hit .278/.368/.472 (.840) with six doubles, two triples, and six home runs. He finished the season in St. Paul where, in 96 games, he hit .250/.325/.416 (.741) with 17 doubles and 14 home runs. Combined, he ended the season with 23 doubles, 20 home runs, and an impressive 40 stolen bases. He has made himself a solid contributor at the bat. He has also worked very hard to get strong all over the field on defense. Drafted as a middle infielder, he started playing all over the place in 2021. In 2022, he played 43 games in center field, 41 games at second base, 29 games at third base, and 11 games at shortstop. In 2021, he played more in the corner outfield spots than in center field. He legitimately can play seven positions on the field, and maybe I should mention that when he went to junior college, he was a catcher. 5.) Misael Urbina - This is the potential upside addition. This is the guy with talent and athleticism and tools. The 20-year-old Urbina signed in July of 2018 out of Venezuela. He spent 2019 in the Dominican Summer League where he posted a solid .825 OPS with 21 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in 50 games. After the lost 2020 season, he came to the States in 2021. He didn’t make the Mighty Mussels Opening Day roster, but he was on the roster about a week later. He played 101 games for the Mighty Mussels and hit .191/.299/.286 (.585) with 12 doubles, four triples, five homes, and 16 steals. Unfortunately, Urbina missed about half of the 2022 season due to some visa issues. In 50 games for the Mighty Mussels, he hit .246/.323/.419 (.741) with 16 doubles, five homers, and nine stolen bases. The Twins have added players after they spend a year in Low-A. They did it in November 2013 when they added Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler after they played in Cedar Rapids that season. Of course, they also added Deibinson Romero and Estarlin de Los Santos to the 40-man roster after their Low-A seasons. (I’m sure @Roger will appreciate that reference.) It’s hard for me to believe that Urbina would be able to stick on a big-league roster all season, so this is very borderline. 6.) IF Yunior Severino - As you know, Atlanta signed Severino as a 16-year-old in 2016. He spent the following season with the Braves organization until they were deemed to have broken the rules of international signing and a bunch of their recently-signed international players became free agents again. This time, it was the Twins that gave him a big, seven-figure signing bonus. Severino has shown glimpses of talent, but he’s also missed time with injury. He broke out with a strong 35 games at the end of the 2021 season in Cedar Rapids when he hit .321/.414/.493 (.907) with 12 doubles and three homers. He began 2022 with 46 games with the Kernels and hit .283/.398/.572 (.970) with nine doubles, two triples, and 11 homers. He moved up to Wichita and hit .273/.338/.497 (.834) with eight doubles and eight home runs. At Cedar Rapids, he played mostly second base (and DH). With the Wind Surge, he played almost exclusively at third base. He is now 23 and could be a year away from being ready. 7.) C/1B Chris Williams - Chris Williams was the Twins' eighth-round pick in 2018 out of Clemson University. In 75 games for Wichita this summer, Williams hit .277/.372/.542 (.915) with 16 doubles and 18 home runs. He finished his season with 42 games in St. Paul. He hit just .192, but he had five doubles and 10 more home runs. This season, he played 83 games at first base and caught 24 games. He will turn 26 this month, but the Twins have a need for right-handed power and currently have just one catcher on their 40-man roster. Now, Williams is not going to do a lot of catching in the big leagues, but he can be a guy who can be a #3 catcher, a backup first base option, and a power bat off the bench might provide some value to the organization. 8.) RHP Cody Laweryson - Laweryson (pronounced Lor-ih-sun) was the Twins 14th round draft pick out of the University of Maine in 2019. In 2021, he missed the first two months of the season and then posted a 4.91 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 15 games for Cedar Rapids. He did have 73 strikeouts and just 19 walks over his 58 2/3 innings. He went to the Arizona Fall League and struck out 18 batters in 14 innings and pitched in the Fall Stars game. He began 2022 in the Kernels' bullpen. In 35 innings, he struck out 42 and walked 12 batters. He posted a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. He moved up to Wichita where after 11 bullpen appearances, he made eight starts. He went 5-0 with a minuscule 1.06 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 59 2/3 innings, he struck out 69 and walked just 15 batters. In the entire season, he gave up just two homers over 94 2/3 innings. He’s got decent stuff and a bit of a funky delivery. Was his half-season in Wichita enough for someone to select him in the Rule 5 draft, or for the Twins to add him? 9.) OF DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. - Keirsey was the Twins' fourth-round pick in 2018 out of the University of Utah. He had a brutal injury after crashing into the wall at the end of his sophomore season in college, but inexplicably returned for his junior season and posted an OPS of 1.049. Since the Twins drafted him, his biggest issue has been staying on the field. He was limited to 45 games in Cedar Rapids in 2021 due to leg muscle issues. He never was able to get into a rhythm. In 2022, he was bumped up to Wichita and was on the field for 121 games. He had a solid showing, if not a bit of a breakout season. He hit .271/.329/.395 (.724) with 26 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs. While not a power hitter, at times he can really drive the ball and use the whole field. But his speed is absolutely electric and can be game-changing. He stole 42 bases in 49 attempts this year (86%), but he is an elite defensive center fielder, able to run down almost anything and unafraid to throw his body around to make a catch. His athleticism alone has to get him considered, and in 2022, he stayed on the field and really contributed. 10.) LHP Kody Funderburk - When the Twins drafted the lefty from Dallas Baptist in the 15th round of the 2018 draft, they had him as a pitcher only. In college, he was a very good hitter as well. Over time, he has worked solely as a pitcher and very quietly has made himself into a prospect to watch. He had a solid 2021 season between Cedar Rapids (where he started) and Wichita (where he was a reliever). He then went and made six starts in the Arizona Fall League. In 2022 at Double-A Wichita, he went 10-5 with a 2.94 ERA. In 107 innings, he had 103 strikeouts to 44 walks. He has a bit of a funky delivery that might make him intriguing to a team in the Rule 5 draft. 11.) C/1B Alex Isola - In 2017, Isola and Keirsey were teammates at Utah. Isola transferred a couple of times before the Twins made him their 29th-round pick in 2019 out of Texas Christian University. Isola just completed his six-week stint in the Arizona Fall League where he hit five doubles, and in the semi-final game launched a 420+ foot home run to help send his team to the championship game. Like Williams, part of the allure of Isola is his ability to play behind the plate as needed. With Wichita, he made 17 starts at first base and 17 starts behind the plate. He won’t win any Gold Gloves, but he could be a #3 catcher in the big leagues. His calling card is his bat. In 58 games with the Wind Surge in 2022, he hit .286/.377/.471 (.848) with nine doubles and 10 home runs. He puts together solid plate appearances with a good knowledge of the strike zone. He’s willing to take his walks, but he also can drive the ball to the gaps and over the wall. 12.) RHP Austin Schulfer - The 26-year-old was the Twins 19th round pick in 2018 out of UW-Milwaukee. In 2021, he led all Twins minor-league pitchers with 110 innings pitched over 24 starts at Double-A Wichita. In 2022, he returned to the Wind Surge to start the season and worked in 15 games out of the bullpen. He gave up just one earned run over 23 innings (0.39 ERA) and struck out 30 and walked only four batters. He recorded seven saves. He moved up to St. Paul where he went 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA. In 32 2/3 Triple-A innings, he struck out 31 batters and walked 13 batters. Schulfer has always made adjustments and should return to the Saints in 2023. Depending on the injury front in the Twins bullpen, we could see him debut at some point. HAVE TO AT LEAST CONSIDER LHP Evan Sisk - Acquired from the Cardinals at the deadline in 2021, he was the 2022 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. 5-1, 2.08 ERA in a combined 63 innings between Wichita and St. Paul. Had 76 strikeouts to go with 29 walks. SS/OF Will Holland - the fastest runner in the Twins minor leagues, he is a great athlete and could provide a team with solid outfield or shortstop defense and pinch-running abilities. He was the team’s 5th-round pick in 2019 from Auburn. LHRP Denny Bentley - Bentley has been very good in the Twins minor leagues and can record a lot of strikeouts, but he does walk a lot of batters, as he did in the Arizona Fall League. RHRP Osiris German - German remains a very intriguing 24-year-old reliever. His best pitch is his changeup. After six games in Cedar Rapids, he worked in 37 games for Wichita. He posted a 3.02 ERA and had 17 walks and 59 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings. RHRP Hunter McMahon - he was the ninth-round pick by the Nationals in the 2019 draft. The Twins acquired him that offseason for Ryne Harper. He has pitched very little since. In 2021, he pitched in just five games. This year, he began in Ft. Myers (2.23 ERA), moved up to Cedar Rapids (1.19 ERA), and finished with four games in Double-A. In 73 2/3 combined innings. He had 76 strikeouts and just 16 walks. RHP Sean Mooney - The Twins 12th round pick in 2019 from St. John’s had Tommy John surgery that spring. So, he didn’t make his pro debut, officially, until 2021. In 42 innings, he had 71 strikeouts. In 2022 with Cedar Rapids, he posted a 3.30 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 60 innings. Needs to stay healthy. UT Anthony Prato - 7th round pick in 2019 from UConn, Prato had a nice breakout season in 2022. He was limited in 2021 due to a broken hamate bone. In 2022, he played 45 games in Cedar Rapids before ending with 87 games in Wichita. Combined, he hit .285/.383/.444 (.827) with 30 doubles, eight triples, 10 homers, and 22 stolen bases. He played 60 games in left field, 34 games at second base, and 22 games at third base. RHP Randy Dobnak - Off the 40-man roster, if a team selected Dobnak, they would take on his contract too, so that’s unlikely. But, when he was healthy in 2019 and 2020, he was a solid back-of-rotation starter, and if he is healthy, could be that for a non-contender. RHRP Steven Cruz - MLB Pipeline ranks Cruz 28th in the organization. Ten (or even five) years ago, he would have ranked higher because he is capable of reaching triple-digits with his fastball. At 23, he posted a 5.14 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP in Wichita in 2022. In 56 innings, he had 72 strikeouts, but he also walked 35 batters. Love the arm, but hard to see him sticking in the big leagues. OTHER ELIGIBLE PLAYERS Hitters: David Banuelos, Andrew Bechtold, Kyle Schmidt, Seth Gray, Charles Mack, Jeferson Morales, Daniel Ozoria, Willie Joe Garry, Carlos Aguiar, Luis Baez, Wilfri Castro, Alexander Pena. Pitchers: Tyler Beck, Francis Peguero, Jon Olsen, Ryan Shreve, Brock Stewart, Michael Boyle, Jordan Brink, Jordan Gore, Casey Legumina, Alex Phillips, Regi Grace, Bradley Hanner, Derek Molina, Owen Griffith, Tyler Palm, Miguel Rodriguez, Matthew Swain, Zaquiel Puentes, Niklas Rimmel, Elpidio Perez, Wilker Reyes, Rafael Feliz, Danny Moreno, Alex Scherff, Andrew Cabezas, Ben Gross, Zach Neff, Josh Mitchell, Jose Brito. My prediction? This is as tough as I can remember this being. Again, we should be able to assume Canterino and Julien are added. After that, there are at least six to 10 others (and maybe more) where a legitimate case could be made. I am going to officially predict that they will also add Headrick, Helman, and Severino. I think Urbina is just not yet in a spot where he could stick in the big leagues, but I think he is at risk of being taken. He is probably the most interesting case (which is why I found a photo of him for the article). I think Chris Williams and Alex Isola are guys that could be at risk as well. Your turn? How many players will the Twins add to their 40-man roster by Tuesday’s deadline? Make your predictions for which players get added below.
  5. The Twins have struggled in adding effective relief pitchers in the past two off-seasons. Here are three next steps that would indicate a change in approach to bullpen building. Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson, USA Today Sports I’d argue that bullpen construction is one of the areas in which Derek Falvey-led Twins front office has consistently failed in executing since taking over in Minnesota. In 2021, the pen was marred by repeated first-half meltdowns from Alexander Colomé. That unit ranked 22nd by fWAR, 21st by FIP, and 16th by K/9 after a second-half recovery. In 2022, Emilio Pagán single-handedly blew a handful of games to eventual AL Central champion Cleveland Guardians. The 2022 unit ranked 20th by fWAR, 14th by FIP, and 12th by K/9. At least a modicum of improvement. Overall, however, this front office has taken the ‘building the plane while flying it approach’ to bullpen construction. While 2022 went as badly as it could for a variety of reasons, most notably player health, here are three trends to look for that might indicate a different approach to bullpen construction in 2023. Shop for Relievers, Earlier than Later This front office has shied away from any spending on relief arms. Prior to 2022, Joe Smith was the lone bullpen addition signed to a major league contract (Pagan was acquired by trade). I’m not advocating for the Twins to put together an Edwin Díaz-type contract for a relief pitcher, but $6-9 million can buy you a lot of arm. This front office typically waits until late in free agency to extract contract value. I’d like to see them add to the bullpen, aggressively, targeting velocity and stuff. The Twins couple easily push toward a top-ten bullpen by raising the floor on what they ran out in 2022, and it shouldn’t cost that much. Stop valuing good contracts over good players. There’s No Such Thing as too Many Options The Twins have several exciting internal options for the bullpen. Matt Canterino, Ronny Henriquez, Blayne Enlow, even Josh Winder. All of these options have something in common, they were either hurt in 2022 or unproven in a bullpen role in 2022. I’d bet that at least one of these names becomes a Griffin Jax type in 2023. That is to say, a solid mid-to-high-end reliever who can work in some mid-to-high leverage situations. If the Twins learned anything in 2023, however, it should be not to count on anyone or anything going to plan. The Twins need to have a semi-established bullpen pecking order by the end of April, not by the All-Star Break. Buy-Low Arms for Depth Only The Twins should never have an arm like Joe Smith in their bullpen if they want to be taken seriously. The best bullpens in MLB are stacked with velocity, movement, and high-caliber arms. The Twins capacity to reach that ceiling is pretty exciting (imagine a back end of Canterino, Alcala, López, and Duran). With that in mind, and learning and building from the best models available (Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, etc.) the Twins should only be bringing in ‘buy-low’ type arms as competition in spring training, and depth throughout the season. If the Twins front office did nothing to the bullpen between now and opening day, the ceiling is high, and the potential is exciting. The observable difference in behavior ahead of 2023 is whether they choose to raise the floor, and account for the unexpected. What changes would you like to see from the front office in how approach building their bullpen ahead of 2023? Join the discussion and leave your thoughts below. View full article
  6. I’d argue that bullpen construction is one of the areas in which Derek Falvey-led Twins front office has consistently failed in executing since taking over in Minnesota. In 2021, the pen was marred by repeated first-half meltdowns from Alexander Colomé. That unit ranked 22nd by fWAR, 21st by FIP, and 16th by K/9 after a second-half recovery. In 2022, Emilio Pagán single-handedly blew a handful of games to eventual AL Central champion Cleveland Guardians. The 2022 unit ranked 20th by fWAR, 14th by FIP, and 12th by K/9. At least a modicum of improvement. Overall, however, this front office has taken the ‘building the plane while flying it approach’ to bullpen construction. While 2022 went as badly as it could for a variety of reasons, most notably player health, here are three trends to look for that might indicate a different approach to bullpen construction in 2023. Shop for Relievers, Earlier than Later This front office has shied away from any spending on relief arms. Prior to 2022, Joe Smith was the lone bullpen addition signed to a major league contract (Pagan was acquired by trade). I’m not advocating for the Twins to put together an Edwin Díaz-type contract for a relief pitcher, but $6-9 million can buy you a lot of arm. This front office typically waits until late in free agency to extract contract value. I’d like to see them add to the bullpen, aggressively, targeting velocity and stuff. The Twins couple easily push toward a top-ten bullpen by raising the floor on what they ran out in 2022, and it shouldn’t cost that much. Stop valuing good contracts over good players. There’s No Such Thing as too Many Options The Twins have several exciting internal options for the bullpen. Matt Canterino, Ronny Henriquez, Blayne Enlow, even Josh Winder. All of these options have something in common, they were either hurt in 2022 or unproven in a bullpen role in 2022. I’d bet that at least one of these names becomes a Griffin Jax type in 2023. That is to say, a solid mid-to-high-end reliever who can work in some mid-to-high leverage situations. If the Twins learned anything in 2023, however, it should be not to count on anyone or anything going to plan. The Twins need to have a semi-established bullpen pecking order by the end of April, not by the All-Star Break. Buy-Low Arms for Depth Only The Twins should never have an arm like Joe Smith in their bullpen if they want to be taken seriously. The best bullpens in MLB are stacked with velocity, movement, and high-caliber arms. The Twins capacity to reach that ceiling is pretty exciting (imagine a back end of Canterino, Alcala, López, and Duran). With that in mind, and learning and building from the best models available (Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, etc.) the Twins should only be bringing in ‘buy-low’ type arms as competition in spring training, and depth throughout the season. If the Twins front office did nothing to the bullpen between now and opening day, the ceiling is high, and the potential is exciting. The observable difference in behavior ahead of 2023 is whether they choose to raise the floor, and account for the unexpected. What changes would you like to see from the front office in how approach building their bullpen ahead of 2023? Join the discussion and leave your thoughts below.
  7. Outside of Jose Berrios, the Twins have failed to develop top-of-the-rotation starters over the last decade or more. So, do the Twins currently have any prospects on the path to becoming an ace? Image courtesy of William Parmeter, Fort Myers Miracle Defining what constitutes an ace is something fans have debated throughout baseball history. Some might view it as baseball's top 10-15 pitchers, while others might characterize it as the top pitcher for each team. As Nick wrote about earlier this week, Sonny Gray currently represents the top of Minnesota's rotational threshold, and some might not call him an ace. He is the team's best starting pitcher, and an off-season acquisition should be better or equal to him. So, does Minnesota currently have a pitcher in the system with ace potential? It could be easy to look at the Twins' prospect rankings and gauge ace potential by those rankings. However, pitching prospect development rarely follows a linear path. At this point last season, Simeon Woods Richardson saw his stock drop as he struggled at Double-A. Now, he is back on the prospect radar and has the potential to be an ace. Below there are five candidates that have varying levels of ace potential. Connor Prielipp, LHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 4th ETA: 2025 Ace Potential: High Prielipp has the best chance to be an ace out of all the pitchers in the Twins organization. Minnesota was lucky to have him fall to them with the 48th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. His fastball and slider are both MLB-ready pitches, and his changeup also projects to be above average. The Twins were confident enough in his pre-draft workouts to go over slot value to sign him. Minnesota will work him back slowly in 2023, but he has all the traits necessary to be an ace pitcher. (Click here for more Connor Prielipp articles at Twins Daily.) Marco Raya, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 9th ETA: 2024 Ace Potential: Medium Raya made his organizational debut in 2022 as a 19-year-old in the Florida State League. He impressed with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 65 innings. Over 82% of his at-bats came against older batters, which he held to a .571 OPS. According to MLB.com, he has four pitches that grade at 50 or higher on the 20-80 scouting scale. The biggest thing holding him back from being an ace is his size, as he is six feet tall and weighs around 165-pounds. Players like Jose Berrios and Marcus Stroman have shown ace potential while being his size, so there is plenty of hope for him to be a top-of-the-rotation arm. (Click here for more Marco Raya articles at Twins Daily.) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 5th ETA: 2022 Ace Potential: Medium Woods Richardson has the best potential to be an ace pitcher out of the prospects in the mix for 2023. He turned 22 in September, and he already made his big-league debut. Woods Richardson struggled mightily during the 2021 season but bounced back nicely in 2022. He posted a 2.77 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with a 115-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 107 1/3 minor league innings. He likely starts next season at Triple-A, where he only made seven starts this season. His age, pitch mix, and prospect status give him a shot at becoming an ace. (Click here for more Simeon Woods Richardson articles at Twins Daily.) Louie Varland, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 7th ETA: 2022 Ace Potential: Low Varland has been named the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in back-to-back seasons. For most organizations, a pitcher winning that award multiple times would point to ace potential. However, it might also result from other pitchers in the organization not performing well. Varland dominated the upper minors on the way to making an impressive debut at Yankee Stadium. He has three above-average pitches, which can help him fit into the Twins' rotation for multiple years. It still seems unlikely for him to ever be considered the best pitcher in a rotation, even if he reaches his ceiling. (Click here for more Louie Varland articles at Twins Daily.) Matt Canterino, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 14th ETA: 2024 Ace Potential: Low Canterino's potential has been hard to project throughout his professional career because he hasn't stayed healthy. He underwent Tommy John surgery in August, so he will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season. Minnesota hopes this surgery can get Canterino back on track, as he was one of the team's top pitching prospects entering the season. When on the mound, Canterino has dominated with a true four-pitch mix and a fastball in the upper-90s. He arguably has the best stuff in the system, so his ace potential is tied to his ability to stay healthy, and remaining a starter. (Click here for more Matt Canterino articles at Twins Daily.) Who do you think has the best chance to be an ace? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  8. Defining what constitutes an ace is something fans have debated throughout baseball history. Some might view it as baseball's top 10-15 pitchers, while others might characterize it as the top pitcher for each team. As Nick wrote about earlier this week, Sonny Gray currently represents the top of Minnesota's rotational threshold, and some might not call him an ace. He is the team's best starting pitcher, and an off-season acquisition should be better or equal to him. So, does Minnesota currently have a pitcher in the system with ace potential? It could be easy to look at the Twins' prospect rankings and gauge ace potential by those rankings. However, pitching prospect development rarely follows a linear path. At this point last season, Simeon Woods Richardson saw his stock drop as he struggled at Double-A. Now, he is back on the prospect radar and has the potential to be an ace. Below there are five candidates that have varying levels of ace potential. Connor Prielipp, LHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 4th ETA: 2025 Ace Potential: High Prielipp has the best chance to be an ace out of all the pitchers in the Twins organization. Minnesota was lucky to have him fall to them with the 48th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft because he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. His fastball and slider are both MLB-ready pitches, and his changeup also projects to be above average. The Twins were confident enough in his pre-draft workouts to go over slot value to sign him. Minnesota will work him back slowly in 2023, but he has all the traits necessary to be an ace pitcher. (Click here for more Connor Prielipp articles at Twins Daily.) Marco Raya, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 9th ETA: 2024 Ace Potential: Medium Raya made his organizational debut in 2022 as a 19-year-old in the Florida State League. He impressed with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 65 innings. Over 82% of his at-bats came against older batters, which he held to a .571 OPS. According to MLB.com, he has four pitches that grade at 50 or higher on the 20-80 scouting scale. The biggest thing holding him back from being an ace is his size, as he is six feet tall and weighs around 165-pounds. Players like Jose Berrios and Marcus Stroman have shown ace potential while being his size, so there is plenty of hope for him to be a top-of-the-rotation arm. (Click here for more Marco Raya articles at Twins Daily.) Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 5th ETA: 2022 Ace Potential: Medium Woods Richardson has the best potential to be an ace pitcher out of the prospects in the mix for 2023. He turned 22 in September, and he already made his big-league debut. Woods Richardson struggled mightily during the 2021 season but bounced back nicely in 2022. He posted a 2.77 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with a 115-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 107 1/3 minor league innings. He likely starts next season at Triple-A, where he only made seven starts this season. His age, pitch mix, and prospect status give him a shot at becoming an ace. (Click here for more Simeon Woods Richardson articles at Twins Daily.) Louie Varland, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 7th ETA: 2022 Ace Potential: Low Varland has been named the Twins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in back-to-back seasons. For most organizations, a pitcher winning that award multiple times would point to ace potential. However, it might also result from other pitchers in the organization not performing well. Varland dominated the upper minors on the way to making an impressive debut at Yankee Stadium. He has three above-average pitches, which can help him fit into the Twins' rotation for multiple years. It still seems unlikely for him to ever be considered the best pitcher in a rotation, even if he reaches his ceiling. (Click here for more Louie Varland articles at Twins Daily.) Matt Canterino, RHP Current Twins Daily Prospect Ranking: 14th ETA: 2024 Ace Potential: Low Canterino's potential has been hard to project throughout his professional career because he hasn't stayed healthy. He underwent Tommy John surgery in August, so he will likely miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season. Minnesota hopes this surgery can get Canterino back on track, as he was one of the team's top pitching prospects entering the season. When on the mound, Canterino has dominated with a true four-pitch mix and a fastball in the upper-90s. He arguably has the best stuff in the system, so his ace potential is tied to his ability to stay healthy, and remaining a starter. (Click here for more Matt Canterino articles at Twins Daily.) Who do you think has the best chance to be an ace? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. Here's a quick look at some of the 40-man roster decisions the Minnesota Twins are facing this offseason, including a list of prospects who'll be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
  10. Here's a quick look at some of the 40-man roster decisions the Minnesota Twins are facing this offseason, including a list of prospects who'll be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. View full video
  11. Frontline starting pitching was the Twins' most significant need this winter, and the club decided to double down on young pitchers being ready to contribute. Clearly, the pitching pipeline plan failed for 2022, but is there hope for the future? Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints Last winter, it was clear to anyone looking at the Twins roster that the team needed frontline starting pitching. There were other off-season needs, but they only had Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober penciled into the rotation and many other question marks. Minnesota had the financial flexibility to sign frontline starting pitching, but the club decided to go in a different direction. With the pending lockout, the Twins front office watched most frontline free agent starters ink contracts with other organizations. Minnesota's lone signing before the lockout was Dylan Bundy, who figured to fit into the rotation's back half. It was tough to decipher how the Twins expected to fill the rotation, but the team's plan became clear as spring training inched closer. Following the lockout, Sonny Gray was the Twins' biggest offseason pitching acquisition. He was a clear frontline starter and pitched that way during the 2022 season. The team added Chris Archer to join Bundy at the back of the rotation, and Chris Paddack joined the club in a last-minute deal before Opening Day. All these arms impacted the 2022 Twins, but the club wanted to rely on the young pitching in the system to supplement the veteran arms. Derek Falvey was brought to Minnesota because of his experience with the Cleveland organization. During his Cleveland tenure, one of his calling cards was cultivating young pitching, which has been a staple of the Guardians organization. Minnesota was going to start the 2022 campaign with Ryan and Ober in the rotation, but there were expectations that other young pitchers would join their ranks. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, and Minnesota's pitching pipeline may have taken a step back this season. As the season began, it looked like the Twins had plenty of pitching prospects in the upper minors that had the potential to impact the roster. Minnesota had five upper minors starting pitchers ranked in their top-10 prospects, and others rounded out their top-20 list. Ryan had an up-and-down season as a rookie, but he is on pace to set the team's rookie record for strikeouts. Josh Winder and Cole Sands have combined to pitch just over 80 big league innings, with both missing games due to injury. Louie Varland saw his stock rise the most out of this group as he pitched well in the upper minors before making his big league debut in September. Matt Canterino and Jordan Balazovic were arguably the team's top pitching prospects entering the 2022 campaign, but it was a lost season for both. Canterino dominated on the mound in 13 appearances, but he needed Tommy John surgery before the season's end. Balazovic was on pace to debut in 2022, but he struggled at Triple-A and is now getting back on track. Besides Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson helped his stock the most this season, and he deserves to make some starts for the Twins down the stretch. Many will blame injuries for the Twins' failures during the 2022 season. However, the lack of contributions from the pitching pipeline is also concerning. Not every pitching prospect can be successful throughout their professional careers, and there is hope that some of these arms will get healthy in the offseason. As Minnesota's focus turns to 2023, the front office might not be able to rely as heavily on the pitching pipeline when building next year's roster. Did the pitching pipeline plan fail in 2022? Is there hope for improvement in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  12. Last winter, it was clear to anyone looking at the Twins roster that the team needed frontline starting pitching. There were other off-season needs, but they only had Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober penciled into the rotation and many other question marks. Minnesota had the financial flexibility to sign frontline starting pitching, but the club decided to go in a different direction. With the pending lockout, the Twins front office watched most frontline free agent starters ink contracts with other organizations. Minnesota's lone signing before the lockout was Dylan Bundy, who figured to fit into the rotation's back half. It was tough to decipher how the Twins expected to fill the rotation, but the team's plan became clear as spring training inched closer. Following the lockout, Sonny Gray was the Twins' biggest offseason pitching acquisition. He was a clear frontline starter and pitched that way during the 2022 season. The team added Chris Archer to join Bundy at the back of the rotation, and Chris Paddack joined the club in a last-minute deal before Opening Day. All these arms impacted the 2022 Twins, but the club wanted to rely on the young pitching in the system to supplement the veteran arms. Derek Falvey was brought to Minnesota because of his experience with the Cleveland organization. During his Cleveland tenure, one of his calling cards was cultivating young pitching, which has been a staple of the Guardians organization. Minnesota was going to start the 2022 campaign with Ryan and Ober in the rotation, but there were expectations that other young pitchers would join their ranks. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, and Minnesota's pitching pipeline may have taken a step back this season. As the season began, it looked like the Twins had plenty of pitching prospects in the upper minors that had the potential to impact the roster. Minnesota had five upper minors starting pitchers ranked in their top-10 prospects, and others rounded out their top-20 list. Ryan had an up-and-down season as a rookie, but he is on pace to set the team's rookie record for strikeouts. Josh Winder and Cole Sands have combined to pitch just over 80 big league innings, with both missing games due to injury. Louie Varland saw his stock rise the most out of this group as he pitched well in the upper minors before making his big league debut in September. Matt Canterino and Jordan Balazovic were arguably the team's top pitching prospects entering the 2022 campaign, but it was a lost season for both. Canterino dominated on the mound in 13 appearances, but he needed Tommy John surgery before the season's end. Balazovic was on pace to debut in 2022, but he struggled at Triple-A and is now getting back on track. Besides Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson helped his stock the most this season, and he deserves to make some starts for the Twins down the stretch. Many will blame injuries for the Twins' failures during the 2022 season. However, the lack of contributions from the pitching pipeline is also concerning. Not every pitching prospect can be successful throughout their professional careers, and there is hope that some of these arms will get healthy in the offseason. As Minnesota's focus turns to 2023, the front office might not be able to rely as heavily on the pitching pipeline when building next year's roster. Did the pitching pipeline plan fail in 2022? Is there hope for improvement in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  13. If the Minnesota Twins are going to bounce back next year, it will take more than savvy offseason moves from the front office. Impact veterans help but, as we've seen with Carlos Correa, they can't do it all. The Twins were partly derailed this year by a lack of expected contributions from key players in the system, including the following three premier talents. Unfortunately, their setback seasons will cast a shadow forward onto 2023. Image courtesy of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge (Austin Martin) Coming into the 2022 season, Twins Daily ranked Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino as the first, fourth, and sixth best prospects in the organization, respectively. Not only were they high-caliber talents with polish and big upside, but they were all more or less on the precipice of major-league readiness. In each case, things hardly could've gone worse. Whether performance, injury, or a combination, each of these critical assets saw his stock nosedive over the past summer, and it adds another layer of complexity for a front office trying to build its way back to contention. With that said, hope isn't lost for any of these three. Let's take a look at each of their campaigns so far, as things come close to wrapping up here in September. Austin Martin and the power that never came. The prize of last year's José Berríos trade at the deadline, Martin was billed as a near-ready prospect right out of the gates. It was warranted, after he led all of Double-A in on-base percentage during his first pro season. Despite his resounding success, Minnesota sent Martin back to the same level this year, no doubt hoping he'd shore up his biggest weakness from 2022 – an absence of power to complement the excellent OBP – and earn a quick call-up to Triple-A or even the majors. That didn't happen. Martin's power trended the wrong direction this year. After slugging .382 with a .127 ISO and five home runs in 418 PAs between New Hampshire and Wichita, this year he's slugging .317 with an .074 ISO and two home runs in 406 PAs at Wichita. Martin has kept his on-base skills steady, with a .367 OBP despite the crummy .241 average, but his lack of ability to drive the ball with any authority almost renders it moot. Posting a .685 OPS as a 23-year-old in your second turn at Double-A, with no apparent underlying injury, is nothing short of disastrous. Given all the injuries the Twins have faced this season, it's likely Martin would've gotten a chance at some point if he'd even modestly improved his production from a year ago. His drop-off eliminated that possibility and will leave him as something of an afterthought heading into 2023. Martin's going to tank on national prospect lists, where he ranked around #50 by consensus coming into the season. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Martin would hardly be the first player to develop significant power rapidly in his mid-20s. In fact, two "shortstop" prospects who came before him in the Twins system serve as optimistic precedents: Brain Dozier totaled 14 home runs in 317 games through his first three minor-league seasons. Five years later he would set an American League record by launching 42 as a second baseman in 2016. Jorge Polanco hit 35 total home runs total in 598 minor-league games, and could barely muster an XBH in his early days. He hit 33 home runs for the Twins last year. Jordan Balazovic's puzzling struggles in St. Paul. We had Balazovic ranked as the #1 pitcher in the system coming into this year, following a strong campaign at Double-A where he posted a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 rate as a 22-year-old. Relative to other arms in the system, Balazovic had a more consistent track record and more established workload base, which is why it seemed feasible to envision him playing a significant role in the Twins rotation this year. His abominable performance at Triple-A has done away with that notion entirely. Balazovic started a month late with the Saints due to a knee strain. While he ostensibly put that behind him, staying healthy enough to take the mound each sixth day, he has never seemed right at any point. The right-hander's performance with St. Paul has been beyond awful. In 62 ⅔ innings across 20 appearances, he's 0-6 with a 7.47 ERA. Opponents have slashed .342/.412/.625 against him, as both his walk and home run rates have spiraled out of control. Balazovic has made 19 starts for the Saints and completed five innings ONCE. In late June, Balazovic told Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press his struggles were "like a puzzle; every day it’s something new." "I’ve never pitched like this,” Balazovic said. “Last year (at Double-A Wichita) my numbers started to get worse in the second half because I was working on stuff. That’s kind of carried over to this season a little bit, but not to where it should be affecting me this bad.” The big 6-foot-5 righty boiled his issues down to consistency and execution, but expressed hope he was getting closer to solving the puzzle. "I’m still hoping for that day," he said, "and I’m hoping that day is tomorrow." It wasn't. The following day he needed 60 pitches to get through 2 ⅔ innings against the Iowa Cubs, allowing five hits (two homers) and two walks. His next time out he coughed up five earned runs in three innings against Omaha. These have been typical results for Balazovic this year, and as a result he's slid down a pitching pipeline hierarchy that's already been depleted by the Chase Petty trade and the development we'll look at next. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Balazovic didn't quite follow through on his "hoping that day is tomorrow" goal, but he might not have been far off? While he bombed in his next two starts, he's been on a bit of a roll ever since, posting a 2.52 ERA and 29-to-11 K/BB ratio with just three homers allowed over 25 innings in his past six starts. Sometimes guys need to experience their worst to unlock their best. Balazovic has plenty of talent to rebound and get back on track. Matt Canterino and the elbow that finally gave way. Canterino's elbow is the only thing that's stood in his way. Drafted 54th overall in 2019 after blowing people away at Rice University for three years, the hard-throwing righty immediately started doing the same to professional hitters. In a 25-inning debut between rookie ball and Low-A, he posted a 1.44 ERA with 31 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed. Then, the pandemic happened and wiped out the 2020 season. In 2021, he was limited to 23 total innings by a forearm strain (he posted a 0.78 ERA when he was able to pitch). This year, his elbow soreness re-emerged and while the Twins continually tried to navigate around it, treating surgery as a last resort, they eventually ran out of options. "It felt like we didn't have anymore stones to turn over," said assistant GM Jeremy Zoll. Unfortunately, the efforts to avoid surgery only delayed it, and now Canterino's prospective impact has also been pushed well down the line. Since he didn't undergo Tommy John until last month, Canterino will likely miss all of next year rehabbing, meaning that by the time he's ready to fully return to the mound, he'll be a 26-year-old with fewer than 100 innings as a pro. It's really difficult to come back from that. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Difficult, but not impossible. The biggest cost of all this lost time would theoretically be missed development for a guy who's barely been able to get in-game reps since being drafted three years ago. For Canterino, I'm not sure it matters as much. He's basically always looked like a guy ready for the majors when he's pitched, with raw stuff that speaks for itself. So long as that stuff remains mostly intact after the surgery, he'll have a chance to get back up to speed quickly and make his long-awaited impact on the bullpen, even if it's not until 2024. Feeling bummed out? I hear you! Make sure to check back tomorrow when I break down the most uplifting developments on the farm for the Twins this year ... Good news: I couldn't manage to limit that list to just three. View full article
  14. Coming into the 2022 season, Twins Daily ranked Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic and Matt Canterino as the first, fourth, and sixth best prospects in the organization, respectively. Not only were they high-caliber talents with polish and big upside, but they were all more or less on the precipice of major-league readiness. In each case, things hardly could've gone worse. Whether performance, injury, or a combination, each of these critical assets saw his stock nosedive over the past summer, and it adds another layer of complexity for a front office trying to build its way back to contention. With that said, hope isn't lost for any of these three. Let's take a look at each of their campaigns so far, as things come close to wrapping up here in September. Austin Martin and the power that never came. The prize of last year's José Berríos trade at the deadline, Martin was billed as a near-ready prospect right out of the gates. It was warranted, after he led all of Double-A in on-base percentage during his first pro season. Despite his resounding success, Minnesota sent Martin back to the same level this year, no doubt hoping he'd shore up his biggest weakness from 2022 – an absence of power to complement the excellent OBP – and earn a quick call-up to Triple-A or even the majors. That didn't happen. Martin's power trended the wrong direction this year. After slugging .382 with a .127 ISO and five home runs in 418 PAs between New Hampshire and Wichita, this year he's slugging .317 with an .074 ISO and two home runs in 406 PAs at Wichita. Martin has kept his on-base skills steady, with a .367 OBP despite the crummy .241 average, but his lack of ability to drive the ball with any authority almost renders it moot. Posting a .685 OPS as a 23-year-old in your second turn at Double-A, with no apparent underlying injury, is nothing short of disastrous. Given all the injuries the Twins have faced this season, it's likely Martin would've gotten a chance at some point if he'd even modestly improved his production from a year ago. His drop-off eliminated that possibility and will leave him as something of an afterthought heading into 2023. Martin's going to tank on national prospect lists, where he ranked around #50 by consensus coming into the season. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Martin would hardly be the first player to develop significant power rapidly in his mid-20s. In fact, two "shortstop" prospects who came before him in the Twins system serve as optimistic precedents: Brain Dozier totaled 14 home runs in 317 games through his first three minor-league seasons. Five years later he would set an American League record by launching 42 as a second baseman in 2016. Jorge Polanco hit 35 total home runs total in 598 minor-league games, and could barely muster an XBH in his early days. He hit 33 home runs for the Twins last year. Jordan Balazovic's puzzling struggles in St. Paul. We had Balazovic ranked as the #1 pitcher in the system coming into this year, following a strong campaign at Double-A where he posted a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 rate as a 22-year-old. Relative to other arms in the system, Balazovic had a more consistent track record and more established workload base, which is why it seemed feasible to envision him playing a significant role in the Twins rotation this year. His abominable performance at Triple-A has done away with that notion entirely. Balazovic started a month late with the Saints due to a knee strain. While he ostensibly put that behind him, staying healthy enough to take the mound each sixth day, he has never seemed right at any point. The right-hander's performance with St. Paul has been beyond awful. In 62 ⅔ innings across 20 appearances, he's 0-6 with a 7.47 ERA. Opponents have slashed .342/.412/.625 against him, as both his walk and home run rates have spiraled out of control. Balazovic has made 19 starts for the Saints and completed five innings ONCE. In late June, Balazovic told Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press his struggles were "like a puzzle; every day it’s something new." "I’ve never pitched like this,” Balazovic said. “Last year (at Double-A Wichita) my numbers started to get worse in the second half because I was working on stuff. That’s kind of carried over to this season a little bit, but not to where it should be affecting me this bad.” The big 6-foot-5 righty boiled his issues down to consistency and execution, but expressed hope he was getting closer to solving the puzzle. "I’m still hoping for that day," he said, "and I’m hoping that day is tomorrow." It wasn't. The following day he needed 60 pitches to get through 2 ⅔ innings against the Iowa Cubs, allowing five hits (two homers) and two walks. His next time out he coughed up five earned runs in three innings against Omaha. These have been typical results for Balazovic this year, and as a result he's slid down a pitching pipeline hierarchy that's already been depleted by the Chase Petty trade and the development we'll look at next. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Balazovic didn't quite follow through on his "hoping that day is tomorrow" goal, but he might not have been far off? While he bombed in his next two starts, he's been on a bit of a roll ever since, posting a 2.52 ERA and 29-to-11 K/BB ratio with just three homers allowed over 25 innings in his past six starts. Sometimes guys need to experience their worst to unlock their best. Balazovic has plenty of talent to rebound and get back on track. Matt Canterino and the elbow that finally gave way. Canterino's elbow is the only thing that's stood in his way. Drafted 54th overall in 2019 after blowing people away at Rice University for three years, the hard-throwing righty immediately started doing the same to professional hitters. In a 25-inning debut between rookie ball and Low-A, he posted a 1.44 ERA with 31 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed. Then, the pandemic happened and wiped out the 2020 season. In 2021, he was limited to 23 total innings by a forearm strain (he posted a 0.78 ERA when he was able to pitch). This year, his elbow soreness re-emerged and while the Twins continually tried to navigate around it, treating surgery as a last resort, they eventually ran out of options. "It felt like we didn't have anymore stones to turn over," said assistant GM Jeremy Zoll. Unfortunately, the efforts to avoid surgery only delayed it, and now Canterino's prospective impact has also been pushed well down the line. Since he didn't undergo Tommy John until last month, Canterino will likely miss all of next year rehabbing, meaning that by the time he's ready to fully return to the mound, he'll be a 26-year-old with fewer than 100 innings as a pro. It's really difficult to come back from that. Why you shouldn't lose hope: Difficult, but not impossible. The biggest cost of all this lost time would theoretically be missed development for a guy who's barely been able to get in-game reps since being drafted three years ago. For Canterino, I'm not sure it matters as much. He's basically always looked like a guy ready for the majors when he's pitched, with raw stuff that speaks for itself. So long as that stuff remains mostly intact after the surgery, he'll have a chance to get back up to speed quickly and make his long-awaited impact on the bullpen, even if it's not until 2024. Feeling bummed out? I hear you! Make sure to check back tomorrow when I break down the most uplifting developments on the farm for the Twins this year ... Good news: I couldn't manage to limit that list to just three.
  15. Every season some prospects break out to move into a team's long-term plans. Unfortunately, other prospects struggle, and their stock significantly falls. Here are three of the team's top prospects that have struggled in 2022. Getting to the major leagues can be challenging even for baseball's best prospects. Some players work their entire lives to reach the big leagues, and others make their debut before their 20th birthday. All three names below had the potential to impact the Twins roster during the 2022 season, but poor performance and injuries have cast doubt on their top prospect rankings. Minnesota's farm system continues to drop in national rankings, and these three players take a small portion of the blame for the fall. So which prospects have seen their stock drop the most this season? Austin Martin, SS/OF TD Preseason Ranking: 1 Many national rankings pegged Martin as the Twins' top prospect entering the 2022 season. All three national prospect rankings placed him in their top-60 prospects, but he has fallen off those lists as they have been updated this season. Martin is repeating Double-A this season as a 23-year-old, where he is over a year younger than the average age of the competition. His biggest concern is the lack of power development throughout his professional career. Martin posted a 1.007 OPS in college, and his OPS dropped to .676 in 2022. Martin still has all of the tools to be an above-average hitter, and he needs to continue making adjustments in the minors' upper levels. Jordan Balazovic, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 4 Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus included Balazovic at the backend of the top-100 lists entering the season. Balazovic missed time to start the 2022 season with a knee injury and has never looked right on the mound. In his first 17 appearances, he has allowed 50 earned runs in 49 2/3 innings. His strikeout rate is down (8.3 K/9), and his walk rate is up (4.7 BB/9). He is on the 40-man roster, but he has struggled so much at Triple-A that the Twins haven't been able to call him up. Luckily, he is over four years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A. Hopefully, he can call 2022 a lost season and get back on track this winter for an improved 2023. Matt Canterino, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 6 Canterino may never be ranked as a top-100 prospect, but he may have the best stuff and highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the organization. He has been unhittable with 13.8 K/9 and a 1.48 ERA in his career when on the mound. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to pitch more than 37 innings in any season since turning pro due to various injuries. His 2022 season ended abruptly when the Twins announced Canterino would undergo Tommy John surgery. This injury means he will miss the rest of 2022 and the majority of 2023. Plenty of pitchers have come back strong after this surgery, and the Twins have to hope he can stay healthy moving forward. Are you worried about the future of these three players? Can they bounce back from poor 2022 campaigns? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  16. Getting to the major leagues can be challenging even for baseball's best prospects. Some players work their entire lives to reach the big leagues, and others make their debut before their 20th birthday. All three names below had the potential to impact the Twins roster during the 2022 season, but poor performance and injuries have cast doubt on their top prospect rankings. Minnesota's farm system continues to drop in national rankings, and these three players take a small portion of the blame for the fall. So which prospects have seen their stock drop the most this season? Austin Martin, SS/OF TD Preseason Ranking: 1 Many national rankings pegged Martin as the Twins' top prospect entering the 2022 season. All three national prospect rankings placed him in their top-60 prospects, but he has fallen off those lists as they have been updated this season. Martin is repeating Double-A this season as a 23-year-old, where he is over a year younger than the average age of the competition. His biggest concern is the lack of power development throughout his professional career. Martin posted a 1.007 OPS in college, and his OPS dropped to .676 in 2022. Martin still has all of the tools to be an above-average hitter, and he needs to continue making adjustments in the minors' upper levels. Jordan Balazovic, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 4 Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus included Balazovic at the backend of the top-100 lists entering the season. Balazovic missed time to start the 2022 season with a knee injury and has never looked right on the mound. In his first 17 appearances, he has allowed 50 earned runs in 49 2/3 innings. His strikeout rate is down (8.3 K/9), and his walk rate is up (4.7 BB/9). He is on the 40-man roster, but he has struggled so much at Triple-A that the Twins haven't been able to call him up. Luckily, he is over four years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A. Hopefully, he can call 2022 a lost season and get back on track this winter for an improved 2023. Matt Canterino, SP TD Preseason Ranking: 6 Canterino may never be ranked as a top-100 prospect, but he may have the best stuff and highest ceiling of any pitching prospect in the organization. He has been unhittable with 13.8 K/9 and a 1.48 ERA in his career when on the mound. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to pitch more than 37 innings in any season since turning pro due to various injuries. His 2022 season ended abruptly when the Twins announced Canterino would undergo Tommy John surgery. This injury means he will miss the rest of 2022 and the majority of 2023. Plenty of pitchers have come back strong after this surgery, and the Twins have to hope he can stay healthy moving forward. Are you worried about the future of these three players? Can they bounce back from poor 2022 campaigns? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  17. The Twins farm system continues to drop in national rankings, so should fans be concerned about the organization's future? Here are three reasons why the system continues to drop. National rankings of a team's farm systems can be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of hope and high expectations are tied to the team's top prospects, but most fans will focus on whether or not the big-league team is consistently winning. Front offices must find a balance between building homegrown talent and trading for pieces that can help the current roster. Baseball America updated its farm system rankings based on changes from this year's draft and the trade deadline. Minnesota's system ranked 25th, the team's lowest ranking since 2017. Baseball American and MLB Pipeline have three Twins prospects in their top 100, including Brooks Lee, Royce Lewis, and Emmanuel Rodriguez. So, why did the Twins drop so much? Trades Minnesota was active at the 2022 trade deadline by dealing away some of the organization's most improved prospects. Spencer Steer, Cade Povich, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Steven Hajjar were all top-30 prospects in the system. Last winter, the Twins also traded Chase Petty, the team's 2021 first-round pick, to acquire Sonny Gray. Losing that kind of talent will hurt any organization's farm system ranking. Luckily, there are some obvious reasons why Minnesota's ranking dropped. Under 25 Big-League Players When looking at the health of an organization, it's essential to look at young players that are no longer prospects but are impacting the big-league roster. The Twins have gotten plenty of production this season from players that are 25 years old or younger. During his rookie campaign, Jose Miranda emerged as a middle-of-the-order bat. On the pitching side, Jhoan Duran completely altered how the team approaches late-inning pitching situations. However, the list of players that are 25 or younger doesn't stop there. Gilberto Celestino, a 23-year-old, has allowed the Twins to give Byron Buxton more regular days off from center field. Cole Sands, Josh Winder, and Jovani Moran have impacted the team's rotation and bullpen. Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff have shown how good their bats can be when they are healthy. Even regulars like Ryan Jeffers and Luis Arraez are in their age-25 season. Obviously, the Twins will need to continue to see continued development from these players while they help the team win. Injuries and Underperformance Injuries to key prospects are another reason the team's ranking continues to drop. Royce Lewis, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Matt Canterino are all out for the year. Lewis was already impacting the big-league roster before undergoing his second ACL surgery in the last two seasons. Rodriguez had a breakout season before suffering a knee injury on a slide. Canterino's elbow health has been an issue throughout his professional career, and the hope is that Tommy John surgery will get him back on track. All three players should return at some point during the 2023 season. Multiple top prospects have also underperformed during the 2022 campaign. Austin Martin was widely considered one of the organization's top prospects after he was acquired as part of the Jose Berrios trade. In 65 Double-A games, he is hitting .244/.372/.306 (.678) with 11 extra-base hits. Minnesota added Jordan Balazovic to the 40-man roster last winter, but he has struggled throughout the 2022 season. In 15 Triple-A appearances, he has a 9.26 ERA with a 2.17 WHIP across 45 2/3 innings. Both of these players have seen their prospect stock drop significantly. Luckily, the Twins are keeping their winning window open despite the perceived talent drop in the farm system. Minnesota's trades have added controllable talent to the big-league roster, and the team has plenty of young talent up-and-down the roster. Are you concerned about the farm system's drop in national rankings? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  18. National rankings of a team's farm systems can be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of hope and high expectations are tied to the team's top prospects, but most fans will focus on whether or not the big-league team is consistently winning. Front offices must find a balance between building homegrown talent and trading for pieces that can help the current roster. Baseball America updated its farm system rankings based on changes from this year's draft and the trade deadline. Minnesota's system ranked 25th, the team's lowest ranking since 2017. Baseball American and MLB Pipeline have three Twins prospects in their top 100, including Brooks Lee, Royce Lewis, and Emmanuel Rodriguez. So, why did the Twins drop so much? Trades Minnesota was active at the 2022 trade deadline by dealing away some of the organization's most improved prospects. Spencer Steer, Cade Povich, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Steven Hajjar were all top-30 prospects in the system. Last winter, the Twins also traded Chase Petty, the team's 2021 first-round pick, to acquire Sonny Gray. Losing that kind of talent will hurt any organization's farm system ranking. Luckily, there are some obvious reasons why Minnesota's ranking dropped. Under 25 Big-League Players When looking at the health of an organization, it's essential to look at young players that are no longer prospects but are impacting the big-league roster. The Twins have gotten plenty of production this season from players that are 25 years old or younger. During his rookie campaign, Jose Miranda emerged as a middle-of-the-order bat. On the pitching side, Jhoan Duran completely altered how the team approaches late-inning pitching situations. However, the list of players that are 25 or younger doesn't stop there. Gilberto Celestino, a 23-year-old, has allowed the Twins to give Byron Buxton more regular days off from center field. Cole Sands, Josh Winder, and Jovani Moran have impacted the team's rotation and bullpen. Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff have shown how good their bats can be when they are healthy. Even regulars like Ryan Jeffers and Luis Arraez are in their age-25 season. Obviously, the Twins will need to continue to see continued development from these players while they help the team win. Injuries and Underperformance Injuries to key prospects are another reason the team's ranking continues to drop. Royce Lewis, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and Matt Canterino are all out for the year. Lewis was already impacting the big-league roster before undergoing his second ACL surgery in the last two seasons. Rodriguez had a breakout season before suffering a knee injury on a slide. Canterino's elbow health has been an issue throughout his professional career, and the hope is that Tommy John surgery will get him back on track. All three players should return at some point during the 2023 season. Multiple top prospects have also underperformed during the 2022 campaign. Austin Martin was widely considered one of the organization's top prospects after he was acquired as part of the Jose Berrios trade. In 65 Double-A games, he is hitting .244/.372/.306 (.678) with 11 extra-base hits. Minnesota added Jordan Balazovic to the 40-man roster last winter, but he has struggled throughout the 2022 season. In 15 Triple-A appearances, he has a 9.26 ERA with a 2.17 WHIP across 45 2/3 innings. Both of these players have seen their prospect stock drop significantly. Luckily, the Twins are keeping their winning window open despite the perceived talent drop in the farm system. Minnesota's trades have added controllable talent to the big-league roster, and the team has plenty of young talent up-and-down the roster. Are you concerned about the farm system's drop in national rankings? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  19. Minnesota's farm system ranks in the middle of the pack compared to the rest of baseball. That makes this year's key prospect injuries even tougher to withstand. Injuries impact every farm system, but the Twins have had three of their top-10 prospects suffer season-ending injuries. All three players should return over the next year with various timelines to impact the big-league level. Matt Canterino, SP Injury: Tommy John surgery Expected Return: Fall 2023 On Wednesday, it was announced that Matt Canterino would undergo Tommy John surgery which usually has a 12-month recovery timeline. Canterino has missed significant time throughout his professional career, and there's hope that this surgery will be able to solve those issues. In three minor league seasons, he has posted a 1.48 ERA with 13.8 K/9, but injuries have limited him to 85 innings. Canterino has a chance to get into game action at the end of 2023, and the Twins have to decide whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster before this winter's Rule 5 Draft. Royce Lewis, SS/OF Injury: ACL surgery Expected Return: June 2023 Lewis has already gone through this surgery and has shown a positive mindset throughout the process. Last month, he was already ahead of schedule in his rehab, so that is a positive sign for when he may return in 2023. ACL surgery is typically a 12-month recovery, but Lewis told MLB.com that he hopes to be ready in 10-11 months. During his debut, Lewis was fantastic as he hit .300/.317/.550 (.867) with four doubles and two home runs. What made it even more impressive was the fact Lewis hadn't appeared in a game throughout the 2020 or 2021 seasons. At Twins Daily, Lewis is still considered the organization's top prospect, so his health is critical to the team's future success. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF Injury: Knee surgery Expected Return: Spring 2023 Rodriguez was in the midst of a breakout season at Low-A before suffering a knee injury on a slide. In 47 games, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with five doubles, three triples, and nine home runs. He did all of this while being over two years younger than the average age of the competition in the Florida State League. Throughout the season, he only faced younger pitchers in four plate appearances. His surgery puts him on track to be back on the field early next season, so he will still be young for the FSL if the team sends him back to that level. Injuries have also impacted other young players that have graduated from prospect lists. Alex Kirilloff, one of the team's former top prospects, is out for the year after having wrist surgery. His wrist had been bothering him over the last two seasons, so the hope is this will put him back on track for 2023. Not every prospect pans out at the big-league level, but the Twins are hoping all of these players have healthy careers moving forward. Which recovery worries you the most? Who will be back earlier than expected? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  20. Injuries impact every farm system, but the Twins have had three of their top-10 prospects suffer season-ending injuries. All three players should return over the next year with various timelines to impact the big-league level. Matt Canterino, SP Injury: Tommy John surgery Expected Return: Fall 2023 On Wednesday, it was announced that Matt Canterino would undergo Tommy John surgery which usually has a 12-month recovery timeline. Canterino has missed significant time throughout his professional career, and there's hope that this surgery will be able to solve those issues. In three minor league seasons, he has posted a 1.48 ERA with 13.8 K/9, but injuries have limited him to 85 innings. Canterino has a chance to get into game action at the end of 2023, and the Twins have to decide whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster before this winter's Rule 5 Draft. Royce Lewis, SS/OF Injury: ACL surgery Expected Return: June 2023 Lewis has already gone through this surgery and has shown a positive mindset throughout the process. Last month, he was already ahead of schedule in his rehab, so that is a positive sign for when he may return in 2023. ACL surgery is typically a 12-month recovery, but Lewis told MLB.com that he hopes to be ready in 10-11 months. During his debut, Lewis was fantastic as he hit .300/.317/.550 (.867) with four doubles and two home runs. What made it even more impressive was the fact Lewis hadn't appeared in a game throughout the 2020 or 2021 seasons. At Twins Daily, Lewis is still considered the organization's top prospect, so his health is critical to the team's future success. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF Injury: Knee surgery Expected Return: Spring 2023 Rodriguez was in the midst of a breakout season at Low-A before suffering a knee injury on a slide. In 47 games, he hit .272/.493/.552 (1.044) with five doubles, three triples, and nine home runs. He did all of this while being over two years younger than the average age of the competition in the Florida State League. Throughout the season, he only faced younger pitchers in four plate appearances. His surgery puts him on track to be back on the field early next season, so he will still be young for the FSL if the team sends him back to that level. Injuries have also impacted other young players that have graduated from prospect lists. Alex Kirilloff, one of the team's former top prospects, is out for the year after having wrist surgery. His wrist had been bothering him over the last two seasons, so the hope is this will put him back on track for 2023. Not every prospect pans out at the big-league level, but the Twins are hoping all of these players have healthy careers moving forward. Which recovery worries you the most? Who will be back earlier than expected? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  21. The Twins received some outstanding hitting performances in the minors, Edouard Julien and Christian Encarnacion-Strand teamed up to do major damage, and Cole Sands overpowered his opponents. Read all about that and more in this edition of the minor league report. TRANSACTIONS OF Kennie Taylor placed on 7-day IL INF Tim Beckham contract selected by Minnesota OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Saints Sentinel St. Paul 7, Iowa 1 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Braden Bishop (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI) St. Paul smoked Iowa on Saturday. Cole Sands did the darn thing, pitching five quality innings with a single earned run, and seven punched tickets; that’s the kind of effort that could earn him a promotion back to the majors. Until then, Sands can bask in a great start. St. Paul’s bats only scored in one inning, but they made it count; a seven-run 2nd frame drowned Iowa for good. It was a classic gang-up; Braden Bishop, Jake Cave, Jermaine Palacios, and Roy Morales all obtained RBIs for their work in aiding the scoring. Old, uhhh, acquaintance Andrelton Simmons struck out three times in four tries for the Iowa Cubs. Daniel Gossett, Brad Peacock, Evan Sisk, and Drew Strotman combined for four shutout innings with six strikeouts. At least one of those arms will probably be on the Twins soon. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 11, NW Arkansas 3 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Edouard Julien 2 (11, 12), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (5) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Jair Camargo (2-for-4), Cole Sturgeon (2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB) The Wind Surge bludgeoned their opponent on Saturday. It all began where you would expect: at the top of the lineup. Edouard Julien, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Jair Camargo all had multiple hits; Julien cleaned up four RBIs and scored three runs, charged largely by two home runs. Wichita did dabble in democracy, as every batter contributed at least one hit towards a 14-hit total. The pitchers established order early; Brent Headrick allowed no hits but does have an earned run on his ledger as the scored run reached base off a walk. You don’t see that every day. Cody Laweryson was even more effective, punching our four batters over two clean innings of relief. Wichita netted seven extra-base hits; NW Arkansas had three hits total. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 7 Box Score Travis Adams: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Yunior Severino (9), Aaron Sabato (14) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI) Cedar Rapids lost a close game on Saturday. Travis Adams couldn’t find a break; Wisconsin touched up the righty for seven runs, with four coming via the “earned” variety. A first-inning three-run homer following an error was the culprit. Cedar Rapids struck early as well; their bats plated six runs across the first two frames in support of Adams. Yunior Severino continued a truly blistering July with a two-run homer; Alerick Soularie then doubled home another run in the following inning. Aaron Sabato, always sure to never miss out on the fun, blasted a two-run home run to conclude the Kernels’ onslaught. While Cedar Rapids’ bats receded following their early-game attack, the arms established order; Ryan Shreve, Jon Olsen, and Hunter McMahon combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings with seven punch outs. Mussel Matters Game one: Fort Myers 2, Tampa 5 (7 innings) Box Score Steve Hajjar: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels were quiet in game one on Saturday. Steve Hajjar commanded the ball, striking out eight batters against no walks; two home runs proved to be his earned-run downfall. This was Hajjar’s second start since returning from the IL, and it was his longest; rain capped his previous outing to two outs. Fort Myers’ offense struggled to match Tampa’s offense; just three batters gained a hit, and three other ones walked, but the team could only plate a pair of runs. Noah Miller slugged a double—a notable event given his recent power struggle—while Misael Urbina also doubles—a notable event as Urbina has smashed the ball since returning. Game two: Fort Myers 4, Tampa 2 Box Score Mike Paredes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Nelson Roberto (3), Mikey Perez (8) Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI) Fort Myers returned the gesture in game two. Mike Paredes established the tone, allowing two measly runs over six efficient innings. Paredes is an easy name to overlook, but he holds a 2.19 ERA on the season; that has to count for something. Mikey Perez lead the offensive in this effort; the speedy infielder blasted his eighth homer while also stealing his 32nd base. Outside of a Nelson Roberto homer, the offense remained quiet, but they could afford to; Perez’s outburst ensured they would not require more runs to win. Juan Mendez struck out the side to end the game. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 3 (11 innings) Box Score Matt Canterino: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost a slim affair. Matt Canterino returned to the mound for the second time since his rehab assignment began earlier in the week. The righty worked five outs with three strikeouts and one run allowed. Offense evaded the FCL Twins all day; the team netted two hits with a lone RBI and four walks in the game. Fredy Michel stole his 11th base on the season. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 5, DSL Rockies 0 Box Score Cesar Lares: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The DSL Twins shut out the DSL Rockies on Saturday. The game was an example of poor defense dominating the lower minors; the DSL Rockies allowed two unearned runs off four misplays in nine innings. Yasser Mercedes stole his 17th base of the season; Yasser Mercedes has played 28 games. Cesar Lares continued his impressive start to professional baseball; the lefty fanned four batters over four innings with no earned runs. Lares now owns a 2.43 ERA. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Edouard Julien, PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #5 - Matt Canterino (Rehab) - 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-3, R, 2 BB, 2 K #8 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2B, RBI, K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:10 PM) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - TBD View full article
  22. TRANSACTIONS OF Kennie Taylor placed on 7-day IL INF Tim Beckham contract selected by Minnesota OF Mark Contreras recalled by Minnesota Saints Sentinel St. Paul 7, Iowa 1 Box Score Cole Sands: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Braden Bishop (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI) St. Paul smoked Iowa on Saturday. Cole Sands did the darn thing, pitching five quality innings with a single earned run, and seven punched tickets; that’s the kind of effort that could earn him a promotion back to the majors. Until then, Sands can bask in a great start. St. Paul’s bats only scored in one inning, but they made it count; a seven-run 2nd frame drowned Iowa for good. It was a classic gang-up; Braden Bishop, Jake Cave, Jermaine Palacios, and Roy Morales all obtained RBIs for their work in aiding the scoring. Old, uhhh, acquaintance Andrelton Simmons struck out three times in four tries for the Iowa Cubs. Daniel Gossett, Brad Peacock, Evan Sisk, and Drew Strotman combined for four shutout innings with six strikeouts. At least one of those arms will probably be on the Twins soon. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 11, NW Arkansas 3 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K HR: Edouard Julien 2 (11, 12), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (5) Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI), Christian Encarnacion-Strand (2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Jair Camargo (2-for-4), Cole Sturgeon (2-for-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB) The Wind Surge bludgeoned their opponent on Saturday. It all began where you would expect: at the top of the lineup. Edouard Julien, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Jair Camargo all had multiple hits; Julien cleaned up four RBIs and scored three runs, charged largely by two home runs. Wichita did dabble in democracy, as every batter contributed at least one hit towards a 14-hit total. The pitchers established order early; Brent Headrick allowed no hits but does have an earned run on his ledger as the scored run reached base off a walk. You don’t see that every day. Cody Laweryson was even more effective, punching our four batters over two clean innings of relief. Wichita netted seven extra-base hits; NW Arkansas had three hits total. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 6, Wisconsin 7 Box Score Travis Adams: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Yunior Severino (9), Aaron Sabato (14) Multi-hit games: Alerick Soularie (2-for-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI) Cedar Rapids lost a close game on Saturday. Travis Adams couldn’t find a break; Wisconsin touched up the righty for seven runs, with four coming via the “earned” variety. A first-inning three-run homer following an error was the culprit. Cedar Rapids struck early as well; their bats plated six runs across the first two frames in support of Adams. Yunior Severino continued a truly blistering July with a two-run homer; Alerick Soularie then doubled home another run in the following inning. Aaron Sabato, always sure to never miss out on the fun, blasted a two-run home run to conclude the Kernels’ onslaught. While Cedar Rapids’ bats receded following their early-game attack, the arms established order; Ryan Shreve, Jon Olsen, and Hunter McMahon combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings with seven punch outs. Mussel Matters Game one: Fort Myers 2, Tampa 5 (7 innings) Box Score Steve Hajjar: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The Mighty Mussels were quiet in game one on Saturday. Steve Hajjar commanded the ball, striking out eight batters against no walks; two home runs proved to be his earned-run downfall. This was Hajjar’s second start since returning from the IL, and it was his longest; rain capped his previous outing to two outs. Fort Myers’ offense struggled to match Tampa’s offense; just three batters gained a hit, and three other ones walked, but the team could only plate a pair of runs. Noah Miller slugged a double—a notable event given his recent power struggle—while Misael Urbina also doubles—a notable event as Urbina has smashed the ball since returning. Game two: Fort Myers 4, Tampa 2 Box Score Mike Paredes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K HR: Nelson Roberto (3), Mikey Perez (8) Multi-hit games: Mikey Perez (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI) Fort Myers returned the gesture in game two. Mike Paredes established the tone, allowing two measly runs over six efficient innings. Paredes is an easy name to overlook, but he holds a 2.19 ERA on the season; that has to count for something. Mikey Perez lead the offensive in this effort; the speedy infielder blasted his eighth homer while also stealing his 32nd base. Outside of a Nelson Roberto homer, the offense remained quiet, but they could afford to; Perez’s outburst ensured they would not require more runs to win. Juan Mendez struck out the side to end the game. Complex Chronicles FCL Twins 2, FCL Red Sox 3 (11 innings) Box Score Matt Canterino: 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The FCL Twins lost a slim affair. Matt Canterino returned to the mound for the second time since his rehab assignment began earlier in the week. The righty worked five outs with three strikeouts and one run allowed. Offense evaded the FCL Twins all day; the team netted two hits with a lone RBI and four walks in the game. Fredy Michel stole his 11th base on the season. Dominican Dailies DSL Twins 5, DSL Rockies 0 Box Score Cesar Lares: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None The DSL Twins shut out the DSL Rockies on Saturday. The game was an example of poor defense dominating the lower minors; the DSL Rockies allowed two unearned runs off four misplays in nine innings. Yasser Mercedes stole his 17th base of the season; Yasser Mercedes has played 28 games. Cesar Lares continued his impressive start to professional baseball; the lefty fanned four batters over four innings with no earned runs. Lares now owns a 2.43 ERA. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Edouard Julien, PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #5 - Matt Canterino (Rehab) - 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K #6 - Spencer Steer (St. Paul) - 0-3, R, 2 BB, 2 K #8 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, 2B, RBI, K #12 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #15 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI #16 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand (Wichita) - 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K #19 - Steve Hajjar (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Iowa @ St. Paul (2:07 PM) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (1:05 PM) - RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (1:10 PM) - TBD Tampa @ Fort Myers (12:00 PM) - TBD
  23. The Twins have at least seven prospects they'd need to be added to the 40-man to protect from this winter's Rule 5 Draft. How will those names play into the team's trade deadline strategy? Minnesota is going to have some tough decisions to make this winter when it comes to protecting players from the Rule 5 Draft. Multiple top prospects will be added to the 40-man roster before the deadline, but there are only so many prospects a team can protect. One way to avoid some of these decisions is to include these players in trades before the deadline. Simeon Woods Richardson, SP Woods Richardson is no stranger to deadline deals as he has been part of two blockbuster trades in the past. He is also arguably one of the team's top pitching prospects after a breakout season at Double-A. The Twins will undoubtedly add him to the 40-man roster, but his stock has risen since last year's trade deadline. Can the Twins use him as a part of a trade for a veteran starting pitcher? Matt Canterino, SP Canterino has dominated the minor leagues when he has stayed healthy. However, he has been limited to fewer than 90 innings in three professional seasons. Teams looking to deal for prospects at the deadline might not be interested in someone who misses as much time as Canterino. Minnesota might also need to consider moving Canterino to a relief role to keep him healthy for the long term. Spencer Steer, INF Steer has been one of Minnesota's breakout prospects this season as he has an OPS over .900 at Double- and Triple-A. When looking at Minnesota's roster, it's easy to see why Steer might be a more easily tradable asset. He plays a lot of defensive time at second and third base, where the Twins have other players ahead of him on the depth chart. His defensive flexibility (over 100 innings at three infield positions) could be intriguing to other organizations. Matt Wallner, OF Wallner put his name on the national stage when he hit a powerful home run during the Futures Game. He has been destroying baseballs all season at Double-A, where he had 15 doubles and 21 home runs in 78 games. Minnesota promoted Wallner to Triple-A following his Futures Game heroics. He's clearly a right fielder who will also get some DH time, so does that have a lot of value on the trade market? Louie Varland, SP Varland surprised many by being named the TD 2021 Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He posted a 2.10 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 142 strikeouts in 103 innings. Minnesota was aggressive with him and moved him to Double-A this season, where he is younger than the average age of the competition. In 2022, Varland continued to strike out more than ten batters per nine innings. Currently, he doesn't rank as one of the team's top-5 pitching prospects, which might make the team more likely to part with him. Edouard Julien, INF Minnesota selected Julien in the 2019 MLB Draft, so he didn't make his professional debut until last season in Fort Myers. In 112 games between Low- and High-A, Julien hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles and 18 home runs. An eye-popping 110 walks helped his unbelievable OBP. This season at Double-A, he has continued to get on base over 40% of the time while playing exclusively at second base. His college experience and plate discipline might be intriguing to other organizations. Misael Urbina, OF Urbina was one of the top prospects in the 2018-19 international signing class as he got $2.75 million from the Twins. Minnesota was aggressive with him last season and sent him to Fort Myers, where he was over two years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted a .585 OPS but showed reasonable control of the strike zone with 54 walks. So far in 2022, Urbina has been limited to fewer than 20 games, so it seems unlikely that a team would take him in the Rule 5 Draft. Do you think any of these players will be included in trades before the deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  24. Minnesota is going to have some tough decisions to make this winter when it comes to protecting players from the Rule 5 Draft. Multiple top prospects will be added to the 40-man roster before the deadline, but there are only so many prospects a team can protect. One way to avoid some of these decisions is to include these players in trades before the deadline. Simeon Woods Richardson, SP Woods Richardson is no stranger to deadline deals as he has been part of two blockbuster trades in the past. He is also arguably one of the team's top pitching prospects after a breakout season at Double-A. The Twins will undoubtedly add him to the 40-man roster, but his stock has risen since last year's trade deadline. Can the Twins use him as a part of a trade for a veteran starting pitcher? Matt Canterino, SP Canterino has dominated the minor leagues when he has stayed healthy. However, he has been limited to fewer than 90 innings in three professional seasons. Teams looking to deal for prospects at the deadline might not be interested in someone who misses as much time as Canterino. Minnesota might also need to consider moving Canterino to a relief role to keep him healthy for the long term. Spencer Steer, INF Steer has been one of Minnesota's breakout prospects this season as he has an OPS over .900 at Double- and Triple-A. When looking at Minnesota's roster, it's easy to see why Steer might be a more easily tradable asset. He plays a lot of defensive time at second and third base, where the Twins have other players ahead of him on the depth chart. His defensive flexibility (over 100 innings at three infield positions) could be intriguing to other organizations. Matt Wallner, OF Wallner put his name on the national stage when he hit a powerful home run during the Futures Game. He has been destroying baseballs all season at Double-A, where he had 15 doubles and 21 home runs in 78 games. Minnesota promoted Wallner to Triple-A following his Futures Game heroics. He's clearly a right fielder who will also get some DH time, so does that have a lot of value on the trade market? Louie Varland, SP Varland surprised many by being named the TD 2021 Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He posted a 2.10 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 142 strikeouts in 103 innings. Minnesota was aggressive with him and moved him to Double-A this season, where he is younger than the average age of the competition. In 2022, Varland continued to strike out more than ten batters per nine innings. Currently, he doesn't rank as one of the team's top-5 pitching prospects, which might make the team more likely to part with him. Edouard Julien, INF Minnesota selected Julien in the 2019 MLB Draft, so he didn't make his professional debut until last season in Fort Myers. In 112 games between Low- and High-A, Julien hit .267/.434/.480 (.914) with 28 doubles and 18 home runs. An eye-popping 110 walks helped his unbelievable OBP. This season at Double-A, he has continued to get on base over 40% of the time while playing exclusively at second base. His college experience and plate discipline might be intriguing to other organizations. Misael Urbina, OF Urbina was one of the top prospects in the 2018-19 international signing class as he got $2.75 million from the Twins. Minnesota was aggressive with him last season and sent him to Fort Myers, where he was over two years younger than the average age of the competition. He posted a .585 OPS but showed reasonable control of the strike zone with 54 walks. So far in 2022, Urbina has been limited to fewer than 20 games, so it seems unlikely that a team would take him in the Rule 5 Draft. Do you think any of these players will be included in trades before the deadline? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  25. Prospect lists can be exciting, especially as the trade deadline approaches at the beginning of August. Contending teams must part with some of the top-rated prospects so they can add veteran pieces to their roster. Minnesota expects to be active in the trade market, so who are the organization's top pitching prospects? RHP Jordan Balazovic Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus named Balazovic as one of their top 100 prospects entering the 2022 season. Unfortunately, injuries have impacted him over the last two seasons. He suffered a back injury in spring training last year that delayed the start of his season until June. From there, he was solid with a 3.62 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 20 appearances. In 2022, he began the season on the IL with a knee strain, and he has struggled since returning. Across 11 appearances, he has a 10.13 ERA with a 2.32 WHIP. He has yet to pitch 100 innings in any professional season. RHP Matt Canterino When healthy, Canterino has sliced through minor league batters. He has struck out 126 batters in 82 1/3 innings in his professional career, but those innings have been spread over three seasons. All 11 of his appearances have come at Double-A this season with a 1.83 ERA and 13.1 K/9 in a career-high 34 1/3 innings. An argument can be made that he is the best pitching prospect in the system. However, the organization may need to shift him to a bullpen role if he can't stay healthy. LHP Connor Priellip Minnesota selected Connor Priellip in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, but he's no ordinary second-round pick. The left-handed pitcher was in the conversation to be the number one overall pick in the current draft class before requiring Tommy John surgery in May 2021. He is healthy and will be able to pitch in the organization after he signs. His fastball and slider are both plus pitches, and he continues to improve with his changeup. There is hope that he will be able to add more velocity as he continues to get further away from elbow reconstruction. RHP Marco Raya Raya missed most of last season with a shoulder strain, so the 2022 season marks his professional debut. He's been outstanding in 13 appearances with Fort Myers, where he is three years younger than the average age of the competition. In 47 innings, he has a 2.87 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and a 56-to-16 strikeout to walk ratio. Only 80% of his match-ups have come against older batters who have been held to a .586 OPS. Raya has been the biggest breakout pitcher in the organization this year, but he still has a long way to go before reaching Target Field. RHP Simeon Woods Richardson As a 20-year-old, Woods Richardson faced multiple challenges as he pitched the entire year at Double-A, joined Team USA in Japan, and was traded for the second time in his career. Based on those reasons, it's easy to see his performance struggled (5.91 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP). His second Double-A stint has improved as he has a 3.40 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP and 9 K/9. Woods Richardson has held batters to a .595 OPS, and over 96% of his plate appearances have come against older batters. He may have solidified his stock more this season than the others mentioned above. Cody's Current Top-5 Twins Pitching Prospects 1. Connor Priellip 2. Simeon Woods Richardson 3. Matt Canterino 4. Marco Raya 5. Jordan Balazovic How would you rank the organization's pitchers? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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