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Found 21 results

  1. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' affiliation with the St. Paul Saints finally becoming official, the other restructuring of the minor leagues, losing two players in the Rule 5 draft, trying to make sense of the Matt Wisler departure, and the latest on Nelson Cruz's contract talks. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Now Click here to view the article
  2. Aaron and John discuss the departure of Eddie Rosario, Trevor May, and Matt Wisler, the retention of Twins' General Manager Thad Levine, and how the Twins might fit into a flush free agent shortstop market. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Click Here Now Click here to view the article
  3. Who was Jack the Ripper? Where is Jimmy Hoffa? What became of the Ark of the Covenant? On Wednesday night, a new mystery entered the annals of great unknowns: Why did the Twins front office non-tender Matt Wisler, one of their most resounding success stories? Ever the intrepid gumshoe, I set out to investigate.Here are the facts, as we know them: The Twins claimed Matt Wisler off waivers from Seattle on October 29th of last year, and tendered him a $725,000 contract via arbitration. Evidently they saw something they felt they could unlock in the 27-year-old, coming off a 5.61 ERA with the Padres and Mariners.They unlocked it. Wisler enjoyed a breakout season in 2020, albeit in the small sample of 60 games. Relying almost entirely on a fully realized slider, the right-hander was nearly unhittable, posting a 1.07 ERA in 25 ⅓ innings while holding opponents to a 1.65 batting average.Here in his second turn at arbitration, Wisler was expected to make somewhere between $1-2 million, a seemingly nominal fee for a 28-year-old relief pitcher coming off a breakout season. (Especially with Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Clippard all cast into free agency.)Everything was lined up such that Wisler was never viewed as much of a question mark. Bringing him back was a given. Even if the Twins looked at Wisler more as a middle reliever than setup man, there was no reason to think he'd be cut loose. And yet. When Wednesday's non-tender deadline came, that is exactly what the Twins did. I was baffled. About an hour after this news dropped, I did a . We strained to make sense of the move but it was tough. Even if the Twins viewed Wisler's 1.07 ERA as an unsustainable fluke (it was), and even if they felt his agent was pushing a little hard, and even if budget constraints are tightening in this offseason of uncertainty ... it's just hard to comprehend why the front office would cut ties with a pickup that was everything they could've hoped. In my state of despair, I wandered over to Wisler's FanGraphs page, with no specific intention. "Maybe I'll just gaze longingly at his swinging strike rate," I thought. But as I arrived at the page... Download attachment: wisler1.png And scrolled down to look at his stats... Download attachment: wisler2.png My eyes suddenly zeroed in on one particular region... Download attachment: wisler3.png Again, we are dealing with a small sample size here. So everything must be taken with a grain of salt, including Wisler's shiny ERA and opponents' batting average. But these underlying numbers make you wonder a little more about those glossy bona fides. .241 BABIP: Opponents were less successful on balls in play against Wisler than ever before, by a longshot. His previous career low was .277, and his 2020 BABIP ranked as second-lowest in the Twins bullpen.99.3% LOB: This represents the percentage of baserunners that Wisler left on base, and if you find yourself exclaiming "WHAT?!" you are not alone my friend. That is an incredible number. As I ventured over to his Baseball Reference splits, I found that Wisler held opponents to a .080/.179/.160 slash line with runners in scoring position, and .119/.260/.190 with men on base. One could argue this signifies cold-blooded clutchness. One could also argue it represents a 25-inning fluke. I think I know which way the Twins lean.5.7% HR/FB: Wisler was one of the league's most extreme fly ball pitchers (his 23.6% grounder rate ranked 6th-lowest out of 323 pitchers with 20+ innings) but those flies only left the yard at a 5.7% rate, compared to the league average of 14.8%.Now, none of these on their own are damning. But each of the above metrics tends to be viewed as relatively random for pitchers ... as opposed to say missing bats, which Wisler did well, or limiting walks, which he didn't. What these numbers do is cast a little more light on why the Twins front office might've disagreed with the assessment of Wisler and his agent, as Derek Falvey put it so diplomatically: So for now, Wisler is out of the picture. Meanwhile, Trevor May has signed a deal with the Mets. Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard are free agents. The Twins are sticking with Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar. As for the rest of their bullpen? Now we have our next great mystery. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  4. Here are the facts, as we know them: The Twins claimed Matt Wisler off waivers from Seattle on October 29th of last year, and tendered him a $725,000 contract via arbitration. Evidently they saw something they felt they could unlock in the 27-year-old, coming off a 5.61 ERA with the Padres and Mariners. They unlocked it. Wisler enjoyed a breakout season in 2020, albeit in the small sample of 60 games. Relying almost entirely on a fully realized slider, the right-hander was nearly unhittable, posting a 1.07 ERA in 25 ⅓ innings while holding opponents to a 1.65 batting average. Here in his second turn at arbitration, Wisler was expected to make somewhere between $1-2 million, a seemingly nominal fee for a 28-year-old relief pitcher coming off a breakout season. (Especially with Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Clippard all cast into free agency.) Everything was lined up such that Wisler was never viewed as much of a question mark. Bringing him back was a given. Even if the Twins looked at Wisler more as a middle reliever than setup man, there was no reason to think he'd be cut loose. And yet. When Wednesday's non-tender deadline came, that is exactly what the Twins did. I was baffled. About an hour after this news dropped, I did a . We strained to make sense of the move but it was tough. Even if the Twins viewed Wisler's 1.07 ERA as an unsustainable fluke (it was), and even if they felt his agent was pushing a little hard, and even if budget constraints are tightening in this offseason of uncertainty ... it's just hard to comprehend why the front office would cut ties with a pickup that was everything they could've hoped. In my state of despair, I wandered over to Wisler's FanGraphs page, with no specific intention. "Maybe I'll just gaze longingly at his swinging strike rate," I thought. But as I arrived at the page... And scrolled down to look at his stats... My eyes suddenly zeroed in on one particular region... Again, we are dealing with a small sample size here. So everything must be taken with a grain of salt, including Wisler's shiny ERA and opponents' batting average. But these underlying numbers make you wonder a little more about those glossy bona fides. .241 BABIP: Opponents were less successful on balls in play against Wisler than ever before, by a longshot. His previous career low was .277, and his 2020 BABIP ranked as second-lowest in the Twins bullpen. 99.3% LOB: This represents the percentage of baserunners that Wisler left on base, and if you find yourself exclaiming "WHAT?!" you are not alone my friend. That is an incredible number. As I ventured over to his Baseball Reference splits, I found that Wisler held opponents to a .080/.179/.160 slash line with runners in scoring position, and .119/.260/.190 with men on base. One could argue this signifies cold-blooded clutchness. One could also argue it represents a 25-inning fluke. I think I know which way the Twins lean. 5.7% HR/FB: Wisler was one of the league's most extreme fly ball pitchers (his 23.6% grounder rate ranked 6th-lowest out of 323 pitchers with 20+ innings) but those flies only left the yard at a 5.7% rate, compared to the league average of 14.8%. Now, none of these on their own are damning. But each of the above metrics tends to be viewed as relatively random for pitchers ... as opposed to say missing bats, which Wisler did well, or limiting walks, which he didn't. What these numbers do is cast a little more light on why the Twins front office might've disagreed with the assessment of Wisler and his agent, as Derek Falvey put it so diplomatically: So for now, Wisler is out of the picture. Meanwhile, Trevor May has signed a deal with the Mets. Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard are free agents. The Twins are sticking with Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar. As for the rest of their bullpen? Now we have our next great mystery. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Going into the 2019 Major League Baseball season the Twins had few question marks more glaring than what their bullpen would look like. Fast forward to season’s end and it was among the best units in baseball. That happened largely because of internal development, and Zack Littell was part of that. Acquired from the New York Yankees, Littell had pitched a brief 20.1 innings during the 2018 season. Working as both a starter and reliever in his debut year, he moved completely to the pen in 2019. Across 37.0 IP Littell posted a 2.68 ERA and 171 ERA+. While he wasn’t counted upon as one of Rocco Baldelli’s top arms, he consistently got the job done. Fast forward to 2020 and Littell seemed to quickly fall out of favor with the big-league club. He was given just 6.1 IP this past season, and after a disastrous debut in which he allowed three homers and four runs in just a single inning to White Sox hitters, there wasn’t much more opportunity from there. Ultimately Littell was DFA’d from the 40-man, and after passing through waivers unclaimed, was assigned to the alternate site in St. Paul. What Minnesota really has here is probably something in the middle of the two extremes. As good as the ERA was in 2020, Littell still owned a 3.62 FIP and whiffed just 7.8 per nine while allowing 2.2 free passes per nine. He saw nearly a 2 mph jump on his fastball velocity once moving to the pen full time, and the 12.8% swinging strike rate in 2019 was nearly double the mark set the year before. Without pitching in too many high leverage situations though, it was on the basis of a relatively untested arm. Given the emergence of guys like Tyler Duffey and Caleb Thielbar, opportunities dwindled for someone on the fringe. Minnesota tabbed Matt Wisler as a worthy project right away during the 2019 offseason however, and Littell feels like someone worth investing in this time around. Should the Twins not add him back to the 40-man, he’d be a free agent, but letting g of talent like that needing to fill spots in the pen seems foolish. There was next to no amount of normalization when it comes to production in 2020. With the season being just 60 games, a small sample size was the absolute best you’d be able to get. Having chopped up opportunity as Littell did, and seemingly losing his stature during the first week of the season, it’d be great to see him compete with a traditional runway once again. If Minnesota is truly going to shave payroll in response to decreased revenues during 2020, then making sure there’s an adequate amount of low-cost, high-performing talents internally is a must. That may mean there’s a revolving door for some spots until they get it right, but it can’t mean moving on from options prior to determining what is truly there. Zack Littell looks the part of a bounce-back contributor next season and giving up on that possibility when he’s just 25-years-old would be a mistake. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  6. This week at Twins Daily, we will be handing out our 2020 Twins Awards. So far we have named the team’s Best Rookie and Most Improved players. Today, we discuss the team’s top pitchers. Upon completion of the season, our panel of 23 Twins Daily writers voted on the four annual Twins Daily Awards. Asked to rank their top four pitchers, ten Twins pitchers received votes. It won’t surprise anyone to learn that this year’s choice for Twins Daily Pitcher of the Year was unanimous.Voting for pitcher of the year can be difficult. How do you compare a starting pitcher who may work 160-200 innings to a top relief pitcher who might throw 60 innings, but most of them are very high leverage? That distinction becomes even more difficult in 2020 when the top starting pitchers threw 63-67 innings and the top relievers threw just 20-25 innings due to the COVID-shortened, 60-game season. Yes, voting for Best Pitcher can be quite difficult, at times. This year, the choice was really quite easy as all 23 Twins Daily voters gave their first-place vote to Kenta Maeda. He was the easy choice for Twins Pitcher of the Year, and more important, everything the Twins needed. When Maeda came to the Twins before spring training from the Dodgers in exchange for Brusdar Graterol, it was met with mixed feelings. The Twins gave up a top pitching prospect, though one who most assumed would fit in a bullpen. In return, they received Maeda who had put up five quality seasons in Los Angeles. His numbers were fairly equitable to those Jose Berrios had put up in recent years. Maeda found himself in the bullpen late in his seasons with the Dodgers, and he remained in the bullpen in the playoffs. Was it for contractpurposes, or was it because he was best serving his team by pitching, very well, in the playoffs? Coming to the Twins, he was excited about his role with the Twins, and he pitched so well that there was never any consideration of moving him to the bullpen. Maeda led the Twins with 66 2/3 innings in 11 starts. His six wins tied Randy Dobnak for most on the team. His 2.70 ERA was two-thirds of a run better than his previous career-low and was 61% better than league average. His 0.75 WHIP was best on the team, 0.04 lower than Tyler Duffey in over 42 more innings. His previous career-low was 1.07. His 1.4 BB/9 tied Tyler Clippard for the best on the team. His 10.8 K/9 was best among Twins starters. He never worked less than five innings in any of his 11 starts. He never gave up more than three runs in an outing. On August 18th against the Brewers, he had a no-hitter into the ninth inning. At one point in that same game, he struck out an organization-high eight consecutive batters. His previous career high in fWAR was 2.9. He recorded 2.1 fWAR in 60 games in 2020 and was on pace for a 5.7 fWAR in a full season. By almost every pitching measure, Kenta Maeda put together the best season of his MLB career and easily the best season by a Twins pitcher. PITCH-MIX CHANGES With the Twins, Maeda made some adjustments to his pitch mix. In 2019, he threw 37% fastballs. In 2020, he threw just 26% fastballs. He increased his slider percentage from 31% to 40% In addition, he increased his changeup usage from 24% to 29% He spoke about working with the Twins and knowing that his changeup was good enough to use versus left-handers as well as right-handers. By throwing more sliders against right-handed hitters, and more changeups versus left-handed hitters, he was able to get more swinging strikes inside and outside the strike zone. Along with that, batters had a career low exit velocity and Hard Hit % against him. The numbers speak for themselves. Maeda pitched better than anyone else in 2020. Just as important, Maeda provided the Twins with a top-of-the-rotation starter that they have not had in recent years. He provided the team with consistency and reliability that it needed. OTHER CANDIDATES Tyler Duffey was the top bullpen arm for most of the season. He was used in the highest leverage situations and came through most times out. Matt Wisler, our choice for Most Improved Twins player in 2020, provided quality pitching regardless of what role he was used in this season. He was an Opener, a Closer and pretty much everything in between. Tyler Clippard doesn’t overpower anyone, but he had a fantastic season pitching in a variety of roles Randy Dobnak tied Maeda for the team lead in wins. He was a strong candidate for AL Rookie of the Year for the first month of the season before a late-season fade pushed him down to St. Paul. Jose Berrios struggled for the first month, but he finished really strong. Rich Hill quietly put together a strong September. Others who deservingly received votes: Michael Pineda, Jorge Alcala, Sergio Romo. THE BALLOTS Here’s a look at the ballots from our 23 voters. But first... how would your ballot look? Here are the results from the Twins Daily Twitter poll: Seth Stohs: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Matt Wisler Nick Nelson: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Rich Hill John Bonnes: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Sergio Romo Tom Froemming: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jose Berrios, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Matt Wisler Andrew Gebo: 1) Kenta Maeda, Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Randy Dobnak AJ Condon: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Clippard, 4) Tyler Duffey Cody Christie: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Matt Wisler Cody Pirkl: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Michael Pineda, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Randy Dobnak Cooper Carlson: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Matt Wisler Jeremy Nygaard: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Tyler Clippard Lucas Seehafer: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Matt Wisler, 4) Jose Berrios Matt Braun: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jose Berrios, 3) Tyler Clippard, 4) Tyler Duffey Matt Lenz: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Michael Pineda, 4) Tyler Clippard Matthew Taylor: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Matt Wisler, 4) Jose Berrios Matthew Trueblood:1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Matt Wisler, 4) Randy Dobnak Nash Walker: 1) Kenta Maeda, Tyler Duffey, 3) Randy Dobnak, 4) Matt Wisler Nate Palmer: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Clippard, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Michael Pineda Patrick Wozniak: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jose Berrios, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Matt Wisler Derek Wetmore: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Tyler Clippard Steve Lein: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Tyler Clippard, 4) Randy Dobnak Renabanena: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Randy Dobnak, 4) Tyler Duffey Ted Schwerzler: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Michael Pineda, 3) Randy Dobnak, 4) Matt Wisler Thiéres Rabelo: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Jorge Alcala POINTS Kenta Maeda: 92 Tyler Duffey: 56 Matt Wisler: 25 Jose Berrios: 25 Tyler Clippard: 12 Michael Pineda: 9 Randy Dobnak: 8 Rich Hill: 1 Jorge Alcala: 1 Sergio Romo: 1 Leave a comment and make your case. PREVIOUS PITCHER OF THE YEAR WINNERS 2015: Kyle Gibson 2016: Ervin Santana 2017: Ervin Santana 2018: Jose Berrios 2019: Taylor Rogers OTHER 2019 AWARD WINNERS Rookie of the Year: Ryan Jeffers Most Improved: Matt Wisler Pitcher of the Year: Kenta Maeda Most Valuable Player: Coming tomorrow Click here to view the article
  7. Voting for pitcher of the year can be difficult. How do you compare a starting pitcher who may work 160-200 innings to a top relief pitcher who might throw 60 innings, but most of them are very high leverage? That distinction becomes even more difficult in 2020 when the top starting pitchers threw 63-67 innings and the top relievers threw just 20-25 innings due to the COVID-shortened, 60-game season. Yes, voting for Best Pitcher can be quite difficult, at times. This year, the choice was really quite easy as all 23 Twins Daily voters gave their first-place vote to Kenta Maeda. He was the easy choice for Twins Pitcher of the Year, and more important, everything the Twins needed. When Maeda came to the Twins before spring training from the Dodgers in exchange for Brusdar Graterol, it was met with mixed feelings. The Twins gave up a top pitching prospect, though one who most assumed would fit in a bullpen. In return, they received Maeda who had put up five quality seasons in Los Angeles. His numbers were fairly equitable to those Jose Berrios had put up in recent years. Maeda found himself in the bullpen late in his seasons with the Dodgers, and he remained in the bullpen in the playoffs. Was it for contract purposes, or was it because he was best serving his team by pitching, very well, in the playoffs? Coming to the Twins, he was excited about his role with the Twins, and he pitched so well that there was never any consideration of moving him to the bullpen. Maeda led the Twins with 66 2/3 innings in 11 starts. His six wins tied Randy Dobnak for most on the team. His 2.70 ERA was two-thirds of a run better than his previous career-low and was 61% better than league average. His 0.75 WHIP was best on the team, 0.04 lower than Tyler Duffey in over 42 more innings. His previous career-low was 1.07. His 1.4 BB/9 tied Tyler Clippard for the best on the team. His 10.8 K/9 was best among Twins starters. He never worked less than five innings in any of his 11 starts. He never gave up more than three runs in an outing. On August 18th against the Brewers, he had a no-hitter into the ninth inning. At one point in that same game, he struck out an organization-high eight consecutive batters. His previous career high in fWAR was 2.9. He recorded 2.1 fWAR in 60 games in 2020 and was on pace for a 5.7 fWAR in a full season. By almost every pitching measure, Kenta Maeda put together the best season of his MLB career and easily the best season by a Twins pitcher. PITCH-MIX CHANGES With the Twins, Maeda made some adjustments to his pitch mix. In 2019, he threw 37% fastballs. In 2020, he threw just 26% fastballs. He increased his slider percentage from 31% to 40% In addition, he increased his changeup usage from 24% to 29% He spoke about working with the Twins and knowing that his changeup was good enough to use versus left-handers as well as right-handers. By throwing more sliders against right-handed hitters, and more changeups versus left-handed hitters, he was able to get more swinging strikes inside and outside the strike zone. Along with that, batters had a career low exit velocity and Hard Hit % against him. The numbers speak for themselves. Maeda pitched better than anyone else in 2020. Just as important, Maeda provided the Twins with a top-of-the-rotation starter that they have not had in recent years. He provided the team with consistency and reliability that it needed. OTHER CANDIDATES Tyler Duffey was the top bullpen arm for most of the season. He was used in the highest leverage situations and came through most times out. Matt Wisler, our choice for Most Improved Twins player in 2020, provided quality pitching regardless of what role he was used in this season. He was an Opener, a Closer and pretty much everything in between. Tyler Clippard doesn’t overpower anyone, but he had a fantastic season pitching in a variety of roles Randy Dobnak tied Maeda for the team lead in wins. He was a strong candidate for AL Rookie of the Year for the first month of the season before a late-season fade pushed him down to St. Paul. Jose Berrios struggled for the first month, but he finished really strong. Rich Hill quietly put together a strong September. Others who deservingly received votes: Michael Pineda, Jorge Alcala, Sergio Romo. THE BALLOTS Here’s a look at the ballots from our 23 voters. But first... how would your ballot look? Here are the results from the Twins Daily Twitter poll: https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1316197453083877377 Seth Stohs: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Matt Wisler Nick Nelson: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Rich Hill John Bonnes: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Sergio Romo Tom Froemming: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jose Berrios, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Matt Wisler Andrew Gebo: 1) Kenta Maeda, Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Randy Dobnak AJ Condon: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Clippard, 4) Tyler Duffey Cody Christie: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Matt Wisler Cody Pirkl: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Michael Pineda, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Randy Dobnak Cooper Carlson: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Matt Wisler Jeremy Nygaard: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Tyler Clippard Lucas Seehafer: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Matt Wisler, 4) Jose Berrios Matt Braun: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jose Berrios, 3) Tyler Clippard, 4) Tyler Duffey Matt Lenz: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Michael Pineda, 4) Tyler Clippard Matthew Taylor: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Matt Wisler, 4) Jose Berrios Matthew Trueblood:1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Matt Wisler, 4) Randy Dobnak Nash Walker: 1) Kenta Maeda, Tyler Duffey, 3) Randy Dobnak, 4) Matt Wisler Nate Palmer: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Clippard, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Michael Pineda Patrick Wozniak: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jose Berrios, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Matt Wisler Derek Wetmore: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Jose Berrios, 4) Tyler Clippard Steve Lein: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Tyler Clippard, 4) Randy Dobnak Renabanena: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Randy Dobnak, 4) Tyler Duffey Ted Schwerzler: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Michael Pineda, 3) Randy Dobnak, 4) Matt Wisler Thiéres Rabelo: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Duffey, 4) Jorge Alcala POINTS Kenta Maeda: 92 Tyler Duffey: 56 Matt Wisler: 25 Jose Berrios: 25 Tyler Clippard: 12 Michael Pineda: 9 Randy Dobnak: 8 Rich Hill: 1 Jorge Alcala: 1 Sergio Romo: 1 Leave a comment and make your case. PREVIOUS PITCHER OF THE YEAR WINNERS 2015: Kyle Gibson 2016: Ervin Santana 2017: Ervin Santana 2018: Jose Berrios 2019: Taylor Rogers OTHER 2019 AWARD WINNERS Rookie of the Year: Ryan Jeffers Most Improved: Matt Wisler Pitcher of the Year: Kenta Maeda Most Valuable Player: Coming tomorrow
  8. Most Improved. It is a difficult award to vote on, and this year that was certainly the case. What does it mean? Well, it could be a guy that had a bad first half of the season and really turned it on and showed great improvement as the season went along. Often, it is a player coming off of a disappointing or injury-plagued season who takes a step forward with a strong season. Matt Wisler is not new to the big leagues. 2020 was his sixth season, and the Minnesota Twins are his fifth organization. He was originally drafted and signed by the Padres out of high school in 2011. He became a top prospect. He was a key piece in the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr. to San Diego from Atlanta. He was a Top 100 prospect before the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Wisler debuted with the Braves in 2015 and spent two seasons as a starter. He was moved to the bullpen in 2017 and traded to the Reds during the 2018 season. He split 2019 between the Padres and the Mariners. Combined, he was 3-4 with a 5.61 ERA in 51 1/3 over 44 games. At the end of the 2019 season, the Mariners placed him on waivers and the Twins claimed him. Wisler was arbitration-eligible, but he agreed to a guaranteed contract before numbers needed to be exchanged. PITCH-MIX CHANGES Clearly the Twins front office, scouts, analytics group, and/or pitching coaches and coordinators saw something from Wisler. Most likely, they saw his spin rate and that he had started using his slider much more frequently. In 2018, Wisler threw 49.7% fastballs and 46.9% sliders. In 2019, Wisler threw 29.2% fastballs and 70.5% sliders. Turns out, that was just the start. In 2020, Wisler threw just 16.6% fastballs and 83.4% sliders. Here is a quick look at which MLB relievers threw the most sliders in 2020 (with the help of Statcast): Wisler pointed out in September. “The one thing why I think my slider is so effective, talking to catchers, it doesn’t move the same. One pitch it will go straight down and the other one goes more side to side. I have a lot of different movements on my pitch. I don’t do anything different that I can feel.” MATT-OF-ALL-TRADES Wisler began the season by pitching in low-leverage situations. With early success, he soon was working in closer games. In mid-August, he had a stretch of three straight games in which he was used as the Opener. His next appearance, he struck out two batters in a perfect ninth to close out a 3-2 win over the White Sox. The only other Save of his career came in 2015 when he was still a starter. His next appearance was back in the role of Opener. He was being used in higher-leverage situations. He was pitching much more frequently. In a game against the Cubs, he worked two scoreless innings and struck out six batters. Regardless the role he was utilized, Matt Wisler dropped sliders and got the job done! OTHER CANDIDATES You can see who else received votes below, but there was no shortage of players who showed some improvement in 2020. The Twins had one of baseball’s best bullpens. No surprise. Beyond Wisler, several bullpen arms took a step forward. Tyler Duffey finished fourth on this list while Jorge Alcala, Trevor May and Cody Stashak also received votes. Like Wisler, Kenta Maeda came to the Twins from another organization and put up the best season, short as it was, of his career. He made some minor adjustments and went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA. Arguably the Best Story of the 2020 Twins season could be the return of Caleb Thielbar. The lefty from Randolph returned to the organization after not pitching in the big leagues since 2015. In that time, he spent two more seasons with the St. Paul Saints. He was ready to be done and was hired as a pitching coach at Augustana. The Twins called and said they thought he was a big-league pitcher. He came to spring training and did well. He was invited to Summer Camp. He spent the first trip of the season on the Twins practice squad, and soon after he was promoted back to the big leagues. He responded very well, posting a 2.25 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings. Others who deservingly received votes: Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Michael Pineda. How would your ballot look? Here are the results from the Twins Daily Twitter poll: https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1315818049006690306 THE BALLOTS Here’s a look at the ballots from our 23 voters. Seth Stohs: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Caleb Thielbar Nick Nelson: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Trevor May John Bonnes: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jorge Alcala, 3) Matt Wisler Tom Froemming: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar Andrew Gebo: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Caleb Thielbar, 3) Kenta Maeda AJ Condon: 1) Kenta Maeda, Tyler Duffey, Byron Buxton Cody Christie: 1) Matt Wisler, 2.) Kenta Maeda, 3) Caleb Thielbar Cody Pirkl: 1) Caleb Thielbar, 2) Kenta Maeda, 3) Matt Wisler Cooper Carlson: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Kenta Maeda, 3) Caleb Thielbar Jeremy Nygaard: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Caleb Thielbar Lucas Seehafer: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Byron Buxton Matt Braun: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar Matt Lenz: 1) Byron Buxton, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar Matthew Taylor: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Duffey Matthew Trueblood: 1) Jorge Alcala, 2) Eddie Rosario Nash Walker: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Kenta Maeda, 3) Caleb Thielbar Nate Palmer: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Caleb Thielbar, 3) Cody Stashak Patrick Wozniak: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Eddie Rosario, 3) Michael Pineda Derek Wetmore: 1) Byron Buxton Steve Lein: 1) Tyler Duffey, 2) Trevor May, 3) Jorge Alcala Renabanena: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Byron Buxton, 3) Kenta Maeda Ted Schwerzler: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Caleb Thielbar Thiéres Rabelo: 1) Eddie Rosario, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar POINTS Matt Wisler: 47 Kenta Maeda: 28 Caleb Thielbar: 18 Tyler Duffey: 12 Byron Buxton: 10 Eddie Rosario: 7 Jorge Alcala: 6 Trevor May: 3 Cody Stashak: 1 Michael Pineda: 1 Previous Twins Most Improved Player Award Winners 2015: Aaron Hicks 2016: Brian Dozier 2017: Byron Buxton 2018: Kyle Gibson 2019: Mitch Garver OTHER 2020 AWARD WINNERS Rookie of the Year: Ryan Jeffers Most Improved: Matt Wisler Pitcher of the Year: Coming Tomorrow Most Valuable Player: Coming Soon!
  9. This week at Twins Daily, we will be handing out our 2020 Twins Awards. Yesterday, we handed out the award for the Twins Top Rookie in 2020 (Ryan Jeffers). Today, we announce the Twins Most Improved Player during the 2020 season. Upon completion of the season, our panel of 23 Twins Daily writers voted on the four annual Twins Daily Awards. Asked to rank their top three most improved players, ten Twins received votes. However, the choice was clear. The 2020 Twins Most Improved Player is relief pitcher Matt Wisler.Most Improved. It is a difficult award to vote on, and this year that was certainly the case. What does it mean? Well, it could be a guy that had a bad first half of the season and really turned it on and showed great improvement as the season went along. Often, it is a player coming off of a disappointing or injury-plagued season who takes a step forward with a strong season. Matt Wisler is not new to the big leagues. 2020 was his sixth season, and the Minnesota Twins are his fifth organization. He was originally drafted and signed by the Padres out of high school in 2011. He became a top prospect. He was a key piece in the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr. to San Diego from Atlanta. He was a Top 100 prospect before the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Wisler debuted with the Braves in 2015 and spent two seasons as a starter. He was moved to the bullpen in 2017 and traded to the Reds during the 2018 season. He split 2019 between the Padres and the Mariners. Combined, he was 3-4 with a 5.61 ERA in 51 1/3 over 44 games. At the end of the 2019 season, the Mariners placed him on waivers and the Twins claimed him. Wisler was arbitration-eligible, but he agreed to a guaranteed contract before numbers needed to be exchanged. PITCH-MIX CHANGES Clearly the Twins front office, scouts, analytics group, and/or pitching coaches and coordinators saw something from Wisler. Most likely, they saw his spin rate and that he had started using his slider much more frequently. In 2018, Wisler threw 49.7% fastballs and 46.9% sliders. In 2019, Wisler threw 29.2% fastballs and 70.5% sliders. Turns out, that was just the start. In 2020, Wisler threw just 16.6% fastballs and 83.4% sliders. Here is a quick look at which MLB relievers threw the most sliders in 2020 (with the help of Statcast): Wisler pointed out in September. “The one thing why I think my slider is so effective, talking to catchers, it doesn’t move the same. One pitch it will go straight down and the other one goes more side to side. I have a lot of different movements on my pitch. I don’t do anything different that I can feel.” MATT-OF-ALL-TRADES Wisler began the season by pitching in low-leverage situations. With early success, he soon was working in closer games. In mid-August, he had a stretch of three straight games in which he was used as the Opener. His next appearance, he struck out two batters in a perfect ninth to close out a 3-2 win over the White Sox. The only other Save of his career came in 2015 when he was still a starter. His next appearance was back in the role of Opener. He was being used in higher-leverage situations. He was pitching much more frequently. In a game against the Cubs, he worked two scoreless innings and struck out six batters. Regardless the role he was utilized, Matt Wisler dropped sliders and got the job done! OTHER CANDIDATES You can see who else received votes below, but there was no shortage of players who showed some improvement in 2020. The Twins had one of baseball’s best bullpens. No surprise. Beyond Wisler, several bullpen arms took a step forward. Tyler Duffey finished fourth on this list while Jorge Alcala, Trevor May and Cody Stashak also received votes. Like Wisler, Kenta Maeda came to the Twins from another organization and put up the best season, short as it was, of his career. He made some minor adjustments and went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA. Arguably the Best Story of the 2020 Twins season could be the return of Caleb Thielbar. The lefty from Randolph returned to the organization after not pitching in the big leagues since 2015. In that time, he spent two more seasons with the St. Paul Saints. He was ready to be done and was hired as a pitching coach at Augustana. The Twins called and said they thought he was a big-league pitcher. He came to spring training and did well. He was invited to Summer Camp. He spent the first trip of the season on the Twins practice squad, and soon after he was promoted back to the big leagues. He responded very well, posting a 2.25 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 20 innings. Others who deservingly received votes: Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Michael Pineda. How would your ballot look? Here are the results from the Twins Daily Twitter poll: THE BALLOTS Here’s a look at the ballots from our 23 voters. Seth Stohs: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Caleb Thielbar Nick Nelson: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Trevor May John Bonnes: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Jorge Alcala, 3) Matt Wisler Tom Froemming: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar Andrew Gebo: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Caleb Thielbar, 3) Kenta Maeda AJ Condon: 1) Kenta Maeda, Tyler Duffey, Byron Buxton Cody Christie: 1) Matt Wisler, 2.) Kenta Maeda, 3) Caleb Thielbar Cody Pirkl: 1) Caleb Thielbar, 2) Kenta Maeda, 3) Matt Wisler Cooper Carlson: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Kenta Maeda, 3) Caleb Thielbar Jeremy Nygaard: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Tyler Duffey, 3) Caleb Thielbar Lucas Seehafer: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Byron Buxton Matt Braun: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar Matt Lenz: 1) Byron Buxton, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar Matthew Taylor: 1) Kenta Maeda, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Tyler Duffey Matthew Trueblood: 1) Jorge Alcala, 2) Eddie Rosario Nash Walker: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Kenta Maeda, 3) Caleb Thielbar Nate Palmer: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Caleb Thielbar, 3) Cody Stashak Patrick Wozniak: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Eddie Rosario, 3) Michael Pineda Derek Wetmore: 1) Byron Buxton Steve Lein: 1) Tyler Duffey, 2) Trevor May, 3) Jorge Alcala Renabanena: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Byron Buxton, 3) Kenta Maeda Ted Schwerzler: 1) Matt Wisler, 2) Caleb Thielbar Thiéres Rabelo: 1) Eddie Rosario, 2) Matt Wisler, 3) Caleb Thielbar POINTS Matt Wisler: 47 Kenta Maeda: 28 Caleb Thielbar: 18 Tyler Duffey: 12 Byron Buxton: 10 Eddie Rosario: 7 Jorge Alcala: 6 Trevor May: 3 Cody Stashak: 1 Michael Pineda: 1 Previous Twins Most Improved Player Award Winners 2015: Aaron Hicks 2016: Brian Dozier 2017: Byron Buxton 2018: Kyle Gibson 2019: Mitch Garver OTHER 2020 AWARD WINNERS Rookie of the Year: Ryan Jeffers Most Improved: Matt Wisler Pitcher of the Year: Coming Tomorrow Most Valuable Player: Coming Soon! 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  10. An ugly week on the road knocked the Minnesota Twins out of their customary perch atop the division while fueling concerns around the team's ability to rise to the occasion here in this abbreviated campaign. Let's sort it all out as the trade deadline bears down and a key series against first-place Chicago looms. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/24 through Sun, 8/30 *** Record Last Week: 1-5 (Overall: 20-15) Run Differential Last Week: -13 (Overall: +27) Standing: 3rd Place in AL Central (1.5 GB) Bomba Counter: 47 (Pace: 81) This 2020 season has been shortened and repeatedly shaken by events taking place outside of the baseball world. Last week became another example, with the Twins joining several other major-league teams in choosing to postpone a game in protest of the nation's enduring social injustice issues. I think our Friday post from RandBalls Stu succinctly and powerfully summarized the significance and palpable takeaway behind a statement such as this. Interestingly, the White Sox have been tied to both those pitchers, as well as Cleveland's Mike Clevinger, who appears somewhat likely to move tomorrow. That would qualify as good news in a sense, as the Indians would be losing a key weapon for any potential postseason match-up, but of course, adding Clevinger to a Sox rotation already fronted by Lucas Giolito would make Minnesota's other chief division rival all the more dangerous. Whether or not they make a trade for a starting pitcher, the Twins will get some rotation help in the coming week with Michael Pineda's suspension reaching an end. He's scheduled to make his season debut on Tuesday against Dallas Keuchel and the White Sox. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins return home with their tails between their legs, but on the bright side, they are 12-3 at Target Field this year. They'll have their work cut out for them in the first half of the week. Coming off a dominant no-hitter in his last outing, Giolito will toe the rubber in Monday's series opener as Hill tries to build upon his solid results from the past week. Pineda's return on Tuesday will be key, both for Minnesota's chances of winning the series and their outlook for the rest of the season and playoffs. If the Clevinger-to-Chicago rumors come to fruition, we could very well be looking at a second matchup between Jose Berríos and Mr. Sunshine within a week's time on Wednesday. A four-game set against Detroit at Target Field next weekend (with the Tigers lining up as "home team" in Friday's nightcap) will offer the Twins a chance for some much-needed redemption. MONDAY, 8/31: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito v. LHP Rich Hill TUESDAY, 9/1: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – LHP Dallas Keuchel v. RHP Michael Pineda WEDNESDAY, 9/2: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Reynaldo Lopez v. RHP Jose Berrios FRIDAY, 9/4 (G1): TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Matthew Boyd v. RHP Randy Dobnak FRIDAY, 9/4 (G2): TIGERS @ TWINS – TBD v. LHP Tarik Skubal SATURDAY, 9/5: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Casey Mize v. RHP Kenta Maeda SUNDAY, 9/6: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Spencer Turnbull v. LHP Rich Hill Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 30 | MIN 3, CLE 2: Bullpen Bends, Does Not BreakGame 31 | CLE 4, MIN 2: Cleveland CounterpunchGame 32 | CLE 6, MIN 3: Cleveland Gets To Romo, Takes SeriesGame 34 | DET 8, MIN 2Game 35 | DET 4, MIN, 2Game 36 | DET 3, MIN 2: This Is Not What You WantMORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  11. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/24 through Sun, 8/30 *** Record Last Week: 1-5 (Overall: 20-15) Run Differential Last Week: -13 (Overall: +27) Standing: 3rd Place in AL Central (1.5 GB) Bomba Counter: 47 (Pace: 81) This 2020 season has been shortened and repeatedly shaken by events taking place outside of the baseball world. Last week became another example, with the Twins joining several other major-league teams in choosing to postpone a game in protest of the nation's enduring social injustice issues. I think our Friday post from RandBalls Stu succinctly and powerfully summarized the significance and palpable takeaway behind a statement such as this. It certainly wasn't the motivator, but taking Thursday night off in Detroit had the benefit of giving Minnesota's roster some rest in the middle of this grueling stretch of the schedule, and Friday's doubleheader rainout extended the break. Any extra bit of time off helps as the beleaguered Twins try to get healthy and move back toward full strength. In this case it sure seemed to help Max Kepler, who raised alarms when he exited Wednesday's game after fouling a ball of his foot. Not only was he back in the lineup for both games on Saturday, but he even started the first one in center. Unfortunately, while the respite may have been good for Kepler's health, it didn't seem to help the team at large as they put forth an utterly lackluster showing in Detroit, suffering an embarrassing sweep as their offense fell further into the pits of despair. The injury carousel kept spinning as Eddie Rosario was forced out of Saturday's nightcap, with his left ankle starting to bark. This is troubling as it's the same ankle that hampered him last season and – by his own admission – sapped his performance, especially on the defensive side. Rosario did come back to make a late pinch-hitting appearance on Sunday, which is somewhat relieving. In a bit of potentially positive news, there seems to be some optimism that Josh Donaldson is nearing a return, with Rocco Baldelli hinting that the third baseman could be activated during the team's upcoming homestand. To say the lineup could use his presence would be putting it very mildly. Let's run back the past week's developments, which weren't ALL bad. HIGHLIGHTS After starring in the previous week, Kenta Maeda got this past one off to a (short-lived) good start with five innings of one-run ball against the Indians, paving way for Minnesota's lone victory in Cleveland. The bullpen backed him up nicely in a 3-2 victory, with Caleb Thielbar, Trevor May, Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers combining to allow one run over four innings. On Tuesday, Rich Hill backed up Maeda's strong start in the series opener, allowing one run over five innings himself. Hill looked rough in the first frame, missing his spots and giving up a bunch of hard contact, but then settled in to cruise through the next four, handing a 2-1 lead to the bullpen. It was a hugely encouraging rebound for the veteran following his rocky return from IL six days earlier. Outside of Maeda and Hill, the Twins' best starter over the past week was ... Matt Wisler? He served as opener once again in the back half of Saturday's doubleheader, and as usual he got the job done. It wasn't as clean as some of this past performances – he gave up three walks and a hit over 1 ⅔ innings – but Wisler once again kept the opponent off the board to set a bullpen game in the right direction. The offseason waiver pickup has been nothing short of sensational through the first half of his first season with the Twins. Through 16 ⅔ innings he has a 1.15 ERA and 19-to-10 K/BB ratio with just eight hits allowed. He has recorded more than three outs in every appearance since his first. In a bullpen that's had some ups and downs, and been asked to cover a whole lot of innings, Wisler's value can hardly be overstated. Minnesota's plan of fully ramping up his slider usage has paid off brilliantly. He's throwing the pitch 80% of the time and it's holding opponents to a .133 average and .200 slugging percentage, with a 37.8% whiff rate. In terms of both limiting contact, and limiting the loudness of that contact, he's elite. Nelson Cruz hit three more home runs and continues to be the sole source of consistent output on this offense. He finished the week tied for the MLB lead with 13 long balls and is having a special season at age 40. If only Cruz was getting any kind of support from those around him. LOWLIGHTS It's getting tougher and tougher to be patient with this lineup, which failed to score more than three runs in any of the past week's six games. Coming up fairly quiet against Cleveland and its world-class pitching staff is one thing, but the following flat effort over the weekend against Detroit was flat-out flabbergasting. The Twins' first game of the series, coming off two days rest with a heavily favorable pitching match-up, was perhaps their most vexing loss of the entire season thus far. Tigers started Matthew Boyd entered the game with an 0-4 record, 8.48 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. Opponents had slashed .317/.380/.610 with eight homers against the embattled left-hander. Seemingly a perfect opportunity for the Bomba Squad to get right. Instead, they simply helped Boyd get right as he mowed through their lineup three times, holding Minnesota to one earned run over six innings with six strikeouts, no walks, and four hits allowed. It was Boyd's best start this year and the worst performance yet from the Twins, who were dominated on both ends in an 8-2 laugher, getting outhit 16-to-4 over seven innings. The offense's continued inability to get going is growing into a bigger problem as the pitching staff starts to show some warts. Randy Dobnak's career-worst outing against Detroit sealed their fate in Saturday's series-opening blowout loss. In the nightcap, Tyler Duffey's first real hiccup of the season proved crippling as a two-run homer from Miguel Cabrera buried the Twins 4-2. On Sunday, Maeda had the gall to allow three runs over six innings, and that was of course enough to get tagged with a loss. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, Jorge Alcala's spectacular rookie season hit a pothole when he coughed up three runs in the sixth inning, turning a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 loss. The following night it was Romo who turned into a pumpkin, yielding three runs to Cleveland in the eighth to shatter a tie. It's too soon to be gravely concerned about the Twins bullpen, but seeing regression catch up there while the underperforming offense fails to balance out in the opposite direction is taking a toll. Among the culprits: The Twins are getting nothing from the catcher position, which was such a huge strength in 2019. The past week saw Alex Avila go 1-for-9 with six strikeouts. Ryan Jeffers is still looking for his first walk or extra-base hit as a big-leaguer. Pressed into everyday duty, Marwin Gonzalez is not delivering. He went 3-for-19 with three singles and eight strikeouts in six games, always while batting near the heart of the order. Rosario was 3-for-17, with a double representing his only XBH. After notching six home runs in his first 17 games, he's gone deep once in 17 games since. Luis Arráez finished 4-for-18 with one double, zero walks, one run scored, and one RBI. It's the same story here as with many others: no patience or power to support an empty (and altogether underwhelming) batting average. Jorge Polanco went 5-for-20, and sports a sub-par .702 OPS even after homering on Sunday. His inability to square the ball up and drive it with any kind of authority is almost completely negating the value of his ability to put it in play and avoid strikeouts: I haven't yet even mentioned any of the fringy backups being funneled playing time as a result of regulars being sidelined. And yes, it's true that Jake Cave (3-for-12), LaMonte Wade Jr. (1-for-10), Ildemaro Vargas (0-for-4) and Ehire Adrianza (2-for-7) have failed to help the cause much. But focusing on them obscures the ultimate reality, which is that this offense won't simply be fixed by Donaldson, Byron Buxton or Mitch Garver re-entering the fold. The Twins need the guys in those bullets above to snap out of their funks, because right now this just isn't a very impressive team. Since opening the season 10-2, the Twins have gone 10-13. They are 5-8 against the Royals and Tigers. Conversely, the White Sox – who leapfrogged Minnesota in the standings over the weekend – are 11-2 against those clubs. If you can't take advantage of the Central's soft underbelly, you're not going to win the division. Plain and simple. So far the Twins have come up woefully short in this department. TRENDING STORYLINE Donaldson's possible return will certainly be a key narrative in the coming days, but in the immediate picture, all attention is on the trade deadline, suddenly here on Monday. Reports suggest that the Twins are showing interest in frontline starting pitching, including a couple of ace-types from the AL West: Dylan Bundy of the Angels and old "friend" Lance Lynn of the Rangers. Interestingly, the White Sox have been tied to both those pitchers, as well as Cleveland's Mike Clevinger, who appears somewhat likely to move tomorrow. That would qualify as good news in a sense, as the Indians would be losing a key weapon for any potential postseason match-up, but of course, adding Clevinger to a Sox rotation already fronted by Lucas Giolito would make Minnesota's other chief division rival all the more dangerous. Whether or not they make a trade for a starting pitcher, the Twins will get some rotation help in the coming week with Michael Pineda's suspension reaching an end. He's scheduled to make his season debut on Tuesday against Dallas Keuchel and the White Sox. LOOKING AHEAD The Twins return home with their tails between their legs, but on the bright side, they are 12-3 at Target Field this year. They'll have their work cut out for them in the first half of the week. Coming off a dominant no-hitter in his last outing, Giolito will toe the rubber in Monday's series opener as Hill tries to build upon his solid results from the past week. Pineda's return on Tuesday will be key, both for Minnesota's chances of winning the series and their outlook for the rest of the season and playoffs. If the Clevinger-to-Chicago rumors come to fruition, we could very well be looking at a second matchup between Jose Berríos and Mr. Sunshine within a week's time on Wednesday. A four-game set against Detroit at Target Field next weekend (with the Tigers lining up as "home team" in Friday's nightcap) will offer the Twins a chance for some much-needed redemption. MONDAY, 8/31: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito v. LHP Rich Hill TUESDAY, 9/1: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – LHP Dallas Keuchel v. RHP Michael Pineda WEDNESDAY, 9/2: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Reynaldo Lopez v. RHP Jose Berrios FRIDAY, 9/4 (G1): TIGERS @ TWINS – LHP Matthew Boyd v. RHP Randy Dobnak FRIDAY, 9/4 (G2): TIGERS @ TWINS – TBD v. LHP Tarik Skubal SATURDAY, 9/5: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Casey Mize v. RHP Kenta Maeda SUNDAY, 9/6: TIGERS @ TWINS – RHP Spencer Turnbull v. LHP Rich Hill Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps Game 30 | MIN 3, CLE 2: Bullpen Bends, Does Not Break Game 31 | CLE 4, MIN 2: Cleveland Counterpunch Game 32 | CLE 6, MIN 3: Cleveland Gets To Romo, Takes Series Game 34 | DET 8, MIN 2 Game 35 | DET 4, MIN, 2 Game 36 | DET 3, MIN 2: This Is Not What You Want MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. Box Score Wisler: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Home Runs: Cruz (10) Bottom 3 WPA: Top 3 WPA: Tyler Clippard 0.153, Nelson Cruz 0.142, Sean Poppen 0.129 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs): The Minnesota Twins kicked off the scoring in Sunday’s afternoon affair with a couple of 2-out hits in the first inning. The first, a 107 MPH double off the bat of Miguel Sanó to drive in Max Kepler, followed by a RBI single off the bat of Eddie Rosario to give the Twins a 2-0 lead to begin the game. The 2 first inning runs continued the Minnesota Twins’ strength of first inning scoring, as they have now scored 27 first inning runs in 29 games this season. The Twins then built on their lead in the 3rd inning in what was one of the more exciting innings you’ll see from the Minnesota Twins. The 3rd inning rally began with a rare infield single by Nelson Cruz. Following the Cruz single, the Twins got another single from Miguel Sanó, who has been on fire since shaking off his initial rust after a late start to the 2020 season. With runners on first and second, Eddie Rosario laid down a drag bunt for a single to load the bases for Marwin Gonzalez. Marwin wasted no time to tack onto the Twins lead, knocking a 2-run double on the first pitch to put the Twins up 4-0. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1297609595179892739?s=20 The Royals quickly began to chip away at Minnesota’s lead, though, as they strung together a hit by pitch, a Hunter Dozier double, and a 2-run Jorge Soler double in the bottom of the third inning to immediately cut the Twins lead in half. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Royals trimmed their deficit again after getting a 2-out RBI single from third baseman, Maikel Franco, cutting the Twins’ lead to just one run. In what became a much closer game than it had any business becoming, the Minnesota Twins needed some insurance and like a good neighbor, Nelson Cruz was there. In the top of the 9th inning in a one-run game, Nelson Cruz went yard off of the extremely tough Trevor Rosenthal, blasting a 107 MPH shot to center field to give the Twins a 2 run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th inning. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1297645764173234179?s=20 Taylor Rogers allowed for some 9th inning drama to creep in as he allowed one run and two hits (one double) and had the Royals with the winning run on 1st base with 2 outs. Rogers was able to escape from the jam, though, and get the Minnesota Twins a 2-1 series win. Should Taylor Rogers remain the team’s closer? Some additional notes: Bullpen Game Produces Another Win Because of all of the injuries to Minnesota’s starting rotation, the Twins have needed to turn to bullpen games throughout this shortened 2020 season. These bullpen games, however, have produced good results for the Twins, as they are now 3-1 in bullpen games this season. While Devin Smeltzer struggled a bit in innings 3-4 with taming Kansas City’s bats, the Twins got excellent appearances from each of the other relievers they turned to today, with Matt Wisler, Trevor May, Sean Poppen, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard and Taylor Rogers allowing a combined 2 earned runs in 8 innings pitched. Sanó Está En Fuego Miguel Sanó continued his absolute tear at the plate in today’s game, going 3-for-4 with a walk, 2 doubles, and an RBI. The big guy is now 15 for his last 38 (.395) with 10 extra base hits over his last 12 games. Miguel Sanó clearly had some rust to knock off after getting a late start to the season with his COVID-19 diagnosis, and has clearly knocked off that rust. For the season he now boasts a .879 OPS, second on the Minnesota Twins and only trailing Nelson Cruz for best on the team. Missed Opportunities In a game in which the Minnesota Twins chased the starting pitcher in 3.1 innings, posted 13 hits, and an expected batting average of .358, putting up just 5 runs is a disappointment. The story of the offense today was missed opportunities and leaving runners on base. The Twins left 11 runners on base in today’s game and were just 3-17 with runners in scoring position. Against a team like the Royals, you can survive without converting opportunities, but when fiercer competition comes their way, the Twins will have to convert on the opportunities that come their way. Another Injured Pitcher After throwing another scoreless inning in Sunday’s ballgame, the appearance for Tyler Clippard ended in scary fashion. On the final out of the bottom of the 8th inning, Clippard was drilled on the elbow with a 100 MPH liner from Whit Merrifield. Following the liner, Clippard slowly made his way back to the dugout with the type of body language that induces fear into a fanbase that has been able to rely on the right hander all season. In Rocco Baldelli's press conference, the managers said that initial imaging from Clippard didn't show anything serious but that he "doesn't anticipate (Clippard) throwing a baseball anytime in the very near future". To date, Clippard has a 1.42 ERA in 13.2 innings with the Twins Today marked the final game of the Minnesota Twins 10-game slate versus the Kansas City Royals in 2020. The Royals posed a much stiffer competition to the Twins than anyone anticipated, as the two teams split the season series 5-5, with the Twins scoring 36 runs over the 10 games compared to 38 for the Royals. The Minnesota Twins are now 19-10 on the season and lead the American League Central by 1.5 games. The Twins will continue their road trip Monday evening in a matchup against the second place Cleveland Indians — Minnesota will trout Kenta Maeda out on the hill to face Indians starter Aaron Civale. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet What were your takeaways from Sunday’s victory over the Kansas City Royals? Who would you say was the player of the game? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. The Twins jumped out to an early lead again on Sunday, and they had plenty of opportunities to add on. Nelson Cruz added some insurance in the ninth, but things got interesting again in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Taylor Rogers got the save and the Twins evened their season series with the Royals.Box Score Wisler: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Home Runs: Cruz (10) Bottom 3 WPA: Top 3 WPA: Tyler Clippard 0.153, Nelson Cruz 0.142, Sean Poppen 0.129 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs): The Minnesota Twins kicked off the scoring in Sunday’s afternoon affair with a couple of 2-out hits in the first inning. The first, a 107 MPH double off the bat of Miguel Sanó to drive in Max Kepler, followed by a RBI single off the bat of Eddie Rosario to give the Twins a 2-0 lead to begin the game. The 2 first inning runs continued the Minnesota Twins’ strength of first inning scoring, as they have now scored 27 first inning runs in 29 games this season. The Twins then built on their lead in the 3rd inning in what was one of the more exciting innings you’ll see from the Minnesota Twins. The 3rd inning rally began with a rare infield single by Nelson Cruz. Following the Cruz single, the Twins got another single from Miguel Sanó, who has been on fire since shaking off his initial rust after a late start to the 2020 season. With runners on first and second, Eddie Rosario laid down a drag bunt for a single to load the bases for Marwin Gonzalez. Marwin wasted no time to tack onto the Twins lead, knocking a 2-run double on the first pitch to put the Twins up 4-0. The Royals quickly began to chip away at Minnesota’s lead, though, as they strung together a hit by pitch, a Hunter Dozier double, and a 2-run Jorge Soler double in the bottom of the third inning to immediately cut the Twins lead in half. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Royals trimmed their deficit again after getting a 2-out RBI single from third baseman, Maikel Franco, cutting the Twins’ lead to just one run. In what became a much closer game than it had any business becoming, the Minnesota Twins needed some insurance and like a good neighbor, Nelson Cruz was there. In the top of the 9th inning in a one-run game, Nelson Cruz went yard off of the extremely tough Trevor Rosenthal, blasting a 107 MPH shot to center field to give the Twins a 2 run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th inning. Taylor Rogers allowed for some 9th inning drama to creep in as he allowed one run and two hits (one double) and had the Royals with the winning run on 1st base with 2 outs. Rogers was able to escape from the jam, though, and get the Minnesota Twins a 2-1 series win. Should Taylor Rogers remain the team’s closer? Some additional notes: Bullpen Game Produces Another Win Because of all of the injuries to Minnesota’s starting rotation, the Twins have needed to turn to bullpen games throughout this shortened 2020 season. These bullpen games, however, have produced good results for the Twins, as they are now 3-1 in bullpen games this season. While Devin Smeltzer struggled a bit in innings 3-4 with taming Kansas City’s bats, the Twins got excellent appearances from each of the other relievers they turned to today, with Matt Wisler, Trevor May, Sean Poppen, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard and Taylor Rogers allowing a combined 2 earned runs in 8 innings pitched. Sanó Está En Fuego Miguel Sanó continued his absolute tear at the plate in today’s game, going 3-for-4 with a walk, 2 doubles, and an RBI. The big guy is now 15 for his last 38 (.395) with 10 extra base hits over his last 12 games. Miguel Sanó clearly had some rust to knock off after getting a late start to the season with his COVID-19 diagnosis, and has clearly knocked off that rust. For the season he now boasts a .879 OPS, second on the Minnesota Twins and only trailing Nelson Cruz for best on the team. Missed Opportunities In a game in which the Minnesota Twins chased the starting pitcher in 3.1 innings, posted 13 hits, and an expected batting average of .358, putting up just 5 runs is a disappointment. The story of the offense today was missed opportunities and leaving runners on base. The Twins left 11 runners on base in today’s game and were just 3-17 with runners in scoring position. Against a team like the Royals, you can survive without converting opportunities, but when fiercer competition comes their way, the Twins will have to convert on the opportunities that come their way. Another Injured Pitcher After throwing another scoreless inning in Sunday’s ballgame, the appearance for Tyler Clippard ended in scary fashion. On the final out of the bottom of the 8th inning, Clippard was drilled on the elbow with a 100 MPH liner from Whit Merrifield. Following the liner, Clippard slowly made his way back to the dugout with the type of body language that induces fear into a fanbase that has been able to rely on the right hander all season. In Rocco Baldelli's press conference, the managers said that initial imaging from Clippard didn't show anything serious but that he "doesn't anticipate (Clippard) throwing a baseball anytime in the very near future". To date, Clippard has a 1.42 ERA in 13.2 innings with the Twins Today marked the final game of the Minnesota Twins 10-game slate versus the Kansas City Royals in 2020. The Royals posed a much stiffer competition to the Twins than anyone anticipated, as the two teams split the season series 5-5, with the Twins scoring 36 runs over the 10 games compared to 38 for the Royals. The Minnesota Twins are now 19-10 on the season and lead the American League Central by 1.5 games. The Twins will continue their road trip Monday evening in a matchup against the second place Cleveland Indians — Minnesota will trout Kenta Maeda out on the hill to face Indians starter Aaron Civale. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet What were your takeaways from Sunday’s victory over the Kansas City Royals? Who would you say was the player of the game? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  14. Over the past few seasons there have been more than a few guys signed that have drawn a groan from Twins Territory. What the initial analysis doesn’t take into account is that the Twins have generated a juggernaut in terms of infrastructure, and it's paid dividends in recent seasons. This time around, it’s Matt Wisler looking to generate a return. Early on this winter the front office tabbed former Top 100 prospect Matt Wisler as being worthy of a major league deal. He combined to throw just over 50 innings in the majors last season, and the results generated a 5.61 ERA. Giving up nearly two homers per nine innings, the counting stats were hardly enticing. But then you take a look under the hood. Wisler posted a 4.23 FIP and an even better 3.83 xFIP. His 14.9% whiff rate and 37% chase rate were career highs, and his 11.0 K/9 wasn’t far off from doubling his career averages. The longball has been an issue for a while, but it’s certainly plausible to see what the Twins like. A season ago Wisler had his slider averaging nearly 84 mph (you guessed it, a career high) while flipping it a whopping 70% of the time. He’s abandoned the sinker, went to a four-seam, and became a two-pitch pitcher. In targeting Sergio Romo again for 2020, as well as bringing in Jhoulys Chacin, it seems pitching coach Wes Johnson is looking to tinker with slider-dominant arms. Minnesota is not some sort of a magic cure for the average pitcher, but the infrastructure now in place has produced. Ryne Harper was a 30-year-old rookie when he put up a 3.81 ERA a year ago, and he may be on the outside looking in because of the overall strength shown by the current relief corps. Matt Magill turned sporadic Show time into two consistent years of big-league run. Although he fizzled down the stretch for the Twins, Magill is now in line to be the Seattle Mariners closer after a strong finish. Things don’t always work out the way you plan. Anibal Sanchez was jettisoned after Lance Lynn was signed, and he went on to have a career year with the Atlanta Braves in 2018. Nick Anderson was never given a shot internally and now is one of the best relievers in baseball. The process being in place does not guarantee a no-fault result. What is true though, is that Minnesota can now be seen as a destination for arms to thrive. Maybe Matt Wisler will be a slider-fastball pitcher that can’t keep the pill in the yard and the next step won’t be taken. In a bullpen that should be expected to be among the better units in baseball though, it’s worth finding out if he can’t be a dominant middle relief option and venture down that path under the tutelage of Johnson. We’ve reached the point that assessment of acquisitions shouldn’t be based around what a player was before coming to the Twins organization, but instead what they will become after getting here. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  15. Catchers (2): Mitch Garver, Alex Avila Garver and Avila are locks for the Opening Day roster, but there are a few questions surrounding the Twins and their 2020 catchers. How much will the Twins rely on Garver behind the plate? Last season, he was very successful when rotating with Jason Castro. Minnesota could try and follow a similar routine with Avila and Garver this season. Another decision facing the Twins is whether to keep Willians Astudillo on the 26-man roster. There are benefits to carrying a third catcher, but I think the Twins have better options for their bench and Astudillo has a minor-league option remaining. Infielders (5): Ehire Adrianza, Luis Arraez, Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano Much like the catchers, the infielders are almost set in stone for Opening Day. Arraez, Donaldson, Polanco and Sano will all be in the line-up and Adrianza will come off the bench. Adrianza offers a solid defensive upgrade over the other middle infielders and it will be interesting to see if he is used as a defensive replacement more regularly. Nick Gordon and Travis Blankenhorn are on the 40-man roster but neither player should figure into the team’s roster unless there were multiple injuries this spring. Outfielders (5): Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario If all are healthy, the trio of Buxton, Kepler and Rosario should be getting most of the regular reps in the outfield. Cave has a minor-league option remaining, but he has proven himself as a big-league hitter and he and Astudillo will likely be fighting for the final roster spot. Gonzalez will be on the team in the Opening Day roster in some capacity and he is in a similar spot to last season. He entered spring without a starting role but ended up being a starter after Sano’s injury. Designated Hitter (1): Nelson Cruz There isn’t much to debate here. Cruz will be looking to build off a tremendous 2019 campaign where he was named the team’s MVP. Rotation (5): Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Jhoulys Chacin With Michael Pineda and Rich Hill out to start the year, there had been some questions swirling around the back end of the starting rotation. Tuesday night's trade certainly changed the rotation's outlook. Maeda is an immediate upgrade and it gives some of the other younger pitchers an opportunity to prove themselves at Triple-A. Minnesota signed Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league deal last week, but he can easily be added to the 40-man roster after Hill is added to the 60-day injured list. I think the Twins are still high on Thorpe’s potential. He has put together some strong strikeout numbers throughout his professional career and it has taken some time for him to adjust to different levels. If Chacin can't find success, Thorpe could be the next man up. Bullpen (8): Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Zack Littell, Tyler Clippard, Cody Stashak, Matt Wisler One wildcard in the bullpen picture is Fernando Romero, who seemed like a lock for the bullpen last season. Jorge Alcala will both be in camp with the team, but his remaining minor-league options make it unlikely for him to come north with the club. Stashak looked good at the end of last season and he could take the place that had been earmarked for Graterol before he was traded. Wisler will need to look good enough throughout the spring to get a bullpen spot, otherwise the Twins could turn to one of the other names mentioned above. Who do you think makes the team’s Opening Day roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. Matt Wisler is a 27-year-old who began the year with the Cincinnati Reds. Before the season started, he was traded to the Padres. He pitched in 21 games out of the bullpen and posted a 5.28 ERA in 29 innings. On July 4th, he was purchased by the Mariners from the Padres. He finished the season with 23 appearances for the Mariners. In 22 1/3 innings, he posted a 6.04 ERA. In 51 1/3 total innings, he walked just 16 batters while striking out 63 batters. Wisler was the 7th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres out of high school back in 2011. He became a Top 100 prospect nationally before the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He was traded to Atlanta at the start of the 2015 season in a package that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton to the Padres. Wisler made 19 starts in 2015 and 26 starts in 2016. Since then, he's mostly pitched out of the bullpen and struggled. But there are reasons to like this claim. As Parker notes, he has become a slider pitcher. https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/status/1189255470403522562 https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/status/1189256568845545477 https://twitter.com/ParkerHageman/status/1189258316377182208 Wisler is out of options, so should he remain on the Twins roster through spring training, he will need to remain on their 26-man roster or be put through waivers. Earlier this week, the Twins announced that they had DFAd outfielders Ryan LaMarre and Ian Miller, and infielder Ronald Torreye.
  17. The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have claimed right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler from the Seattle Mariners. The Twins are Wisler's fourth organization in 2019.Matt Wisler is a 27-year-old who began the year with the Cincinnati Reds. Before the season started, he was traded to the Padres. He pitched in 21 games out of the bullpen and posted a 5.28 ERA in 29 innings. On July 4th, he was purchased by the Mariners from the Padres. He finished the season with 23 appearances for the Mariners. In 22 1/3 innings, he posted a 6.04 ERA. In 51 1/3 total innings, he walked just 16 batters while striking out 63 batters. Wisler was the 7th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres out of high school back in 2011. He became a Top 100 prospect nationally before the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He was traded to Atlanta at the start of the 2015 season in a package that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton to the Padres. Wisler made 19 starts in 2015 and 26 starts in 2016. Since then, he's mostly pitched out of the bullpen and struggled. But there are reasons to like this claim. As Parker notes, he has become a slider pitcher. Wisler is out of options, so should he remain on the Twins roster through spring training, he will need to remain on their 26-man roster or be put through waivers. Earlier this week, the Twins announced that they had DFAd outfielders Ryan LaMarre and Ian Miller, and infielder Ronald Torreye. Click here to view the article
  18. Aaron and John talk about the many paths the Twins can take to rebuild their rotation, saying goodbye to Sam Dyson, claiming Matt Wisler, how to approach the qualifying offer with Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda, and Derek Shelton remaining in limbo. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  19. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/ep_451.mp3?dest-id=74590
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