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  1. There’s certainly been more than a handful of promising Twins players that just haven’t worked out for one reason or another. Maybe the prospect status wasn’t there, or perhaps the realization of talent never happened. No matter the situation, there’s more than a handful of guys that we had always wished would pan out. As we trudge through this ugly lockout and look forward to the Twins revamping their 2022 roster, I found myself thinking back to some of the guys that could have been. Maybe they were fan-favorites we had hoped for more from, or perhaps a flash in the pan never extended. At any rate, these were some names that immediately came to mind. Oswaldo Arcia Arcia had a decently-long career with the Twins playing in 251 games. He was a top 100 prospect in 2013 and owned a career .901 OPS in the minors. The body type just suggested he should be able to rake even if he was a poor defender. The problem was that he couldn’t make contact. The strikeout rates were egregious, and the on-base ability was non-existent. I held out hope for quite a while, but it became evident he didn’t have it. At 30, Arcia did tear up the Venezuelan Winter League this year. ByungHo Park If there’s a What Could Have Been in recent memory, it’s Park for me. On top of acclimating to new teammates in a new country, Park dealt with a wrist injury in 2016 that he played through for most of the season. The .684 OPS was indicative of a guy who lost his power bat, and even the .823 mark at Triple-A Rochester didn’t afford him another opportunity. After playing in 2017 at Triple-A, he returned to the KBO and immediately posted a 1.175 OPS. Now 35, he’s at the tail end of his career, but there was a productive player here had circumstances worked out differently. Fernando Romero Probably the last pitching prospect Twins fans dreamed on before this current crop, Romero was supposed to be an impact arm. He was a top 100 prospect as recently as 2018 and owned a 3.57 ERA at Triple-A that year. The strikeouts never came, and his command got completely lost after transitioning to the bullpen. Visa issues kept him from being an option for Minnesota in 2020, and he’s since gone to Japan trying to find it again as a 27-year-old. Kennys Vargas Debuting for Twins fans at Target Field during the Futures Game alongside Jose Berrios, Vargas drew plenty of fanfare. He was seen as a David Ortiz protégé, and that’s a comparison no Minnesotan will ever turn away from. The 115 OPS+ in his debut season was a positive sign, but a .626 OPS the next year fell flat. Vargas seemed to come into his own for 47 games during 2016, where he posted an .833 OPS, but that was the height of his abilities. Vargas has been out of affiliated baseball since 2018 but did post strong numbers in Mexico and Puerto Rico this past season. At 31, though, it’s unlikely another chance is coming. Alex Burnett After posting a 1.85 ERA at Single and Double-A in 2009, it was hard not to get excited about Burnett pitching out of the pen. Making his debut in 2010, Burnett compiled a 5.40 ERA across 98 and 1/3 innings the next two seasons. He had mediocre defensive help, but his FIP still sat at just 4.60. He did manage a smoke-and-mirrors level of success with a 3.52 ERA in 2012 despite a 36/26 K/BB in 71 2/3 innings. It wasn’t ever that the ceiling was incredibly high, but I wanted to believe there was more for whatever reason. Max Kepler It’s understandably an egregious ask to put Kepler here, but given his ceiling, it also seems to make sense. Kepler has played 722 games for the Twins and posted just a .756 OPS. His .855 OPS in 2019 looked like a solid response to a contract extension, but it hasn’t been touched since. Kepler is an extraordinary defender, but the bat has always profiled as so much more, and a guy who deservedly flashed as a former top 100 prospect has largely failed to substantiate his ceiling. What other Twins players do you wish would have worked out? Are there some prospects you consistently expected to be great? View full article
  2. As we trudge through this ugly lockout and look forward to the Twins revamping their 2022 roster, I found myself thinking back to some of the guys that could have been. Maybe they were fan-favorites we had hoped for more from, or perhaps a flash in the pan never extended. At any rate, these were some names that immediately came to mind. Oswaldo Arcia Arcia had a decently-long career with the Twins playing in 251 games. He was a top 100 prospect in 2013 and owned a career .901 OPS in the minors. The body type just suggested he should be able to rake even if he was a poor defender. The problem was that he couldn’t make contact. The strikeout rates were egregious, and the on-base ability was non-existent. I held out hope for quite a while, but it became evident he didn’t have it. At 30, Arcia did tear up the Venezuelan Winter League this year. ByungHo Park If there’s a What Could Have Been in recent memory, it’s Park for me. On top of acclimating to new teammates in a new country, Park dealt with a wrist injury in 2016 that he played through for most of the season. The .684 OPS was indicative of a guy who lost his power bat, and even the .823 mark at Triple-A Rochester didn’t afford him another opportunity. After playing in 2017 at Triple-A, he returned to the KBO and immediately posted a 1.175 OPS. Now 35, he’s at the tail end of his career, but there was a productive player here had circumstances worked out differently. Fernando Romero Probably the last pitching prospect Twins fans dreamed on before this current crop, Romero was supposed to be an impact arm. He was a top 100 prospect as recently as 2018 and owned a 3.57 ERA at Triple-A that year. The strikeouts never came, and his command got completely lost after transitioning to the bullpen. Visa issues kept him from being an option for Minnesota in 2020, and he’s since gone to Japan trying to find it again as a 27-year-old. Kennys Vargas Debuting for Twins fans at Target Field during the Futures Game alongside Jose Berrios, Vargas drew plenty of fanfare. He was seen as a David Ortiz protégé, and that’s a comparison no Minnesotan will ever turn away from. The 115 OPS+ in his debut season was a positive sign, but a .626 OPS the next year fell flat. Vargas seemed to come into his own for 47 games during 2016, where he posted an .833 OPS, but that was the height of his abilities. Vargas has been out of affiliated baseball since 2018 but did post strong numbers in Mexico and Puerto Rico this past season. At 31, though, it’s unlikely another chance is coming. Alex Burnett After posting a 1.85 ERA at Single and Double-A in 2009, it was hard not to get excited about Burnett pitching out of the pen. Making his debut in 2010, Burnett compiled a 5.40 ERA across 98 and 1/3 innings the next two seasons. He had mediocre defensive help, but his FIP still sat at just 4.60. He did manage a smoke-and-mirrors level of success with a 3.52 ERA in 2012 despite a 36/26 K/BB in 71 2/3 innings. It wasn’t ever that the ceiling was incredibly high, but I wanted to believe there was more for whatever reason. Max Kepler It’s understandably an egregious ask to put Kepler here, but given his ceiling, it also seems to make sense. Kepler has played 722 games for the Twins and posted just a .756 OPS. His .855 OPS in 2019 looked like a solid response to a contract extension, but it hasn’t been touched since. Kepler is an extraordinary defender, but the bat has always profiled as so much more, and a guy who deservedly flashed as a former top 100 prospect has largely failed to substantiate his ceiling. What other Twins players do you wish would have worked out? Are there some prospects you consistently expected to be great?
  3. The Twins are expected to sign #35 international free agent prospect Yilber Herrera next week. He's been compared to fellow Twin Jorge Polanco. Read about this potential Minnesota Twins Venezuelan addition. The Twins have a type when it comes to international free agents. The majority of players signed by Minnesota profile as athletic shortstops or centerfielders with quick hands and strong hit tools who need to grow into their bodies to achieve their power potential. Yilber Herrera is the former of these two profiles. The 16-year-old Venezuelan is ranked as the #35 international free agent overall. If you want a professional player comp, MLB Pipeline likens Herrera to a young Jorge Polanco based on his frame and overall athleticism, which could allow him to move quickly through the minor leagues. Yilber Herrera Scouting Report Bats: S | Throws: R | HT: 6’0 | WT: 155 MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50 Offensively, Herrera profiles as an effective contact hitter with quick hands and good bat speed. His lagging offensive tool currently is power. While he has shown flashes, he is lanky at 6’0, 155 lbs, and has yet to grow into his body. There is a good chance he develops more power as he grows and fills out. The 16-year-old has shown a strong ability to use the whole field when hitting and while not a burner, is quick and a savvy baserunner. Defensively, he diverges from the Polanco comparison significantly. While Polanco never promised to stick at SS due to a weak arm, Herrera’s athleticism and strong arm indicate he has a stronger chance to stick at shortstop. Herrera trains at the Jaime Ramos Baseball Academy. If he signs with the Twins, he will continue to cement a strong relationship between the Twins and Venezuelan youngsters in the last decade. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY The Minnesota Twins Recent History in International Free Agency International Free Agent Profile: Bryan Acuna View full article
  4. The Twins have a type when it comes to international free agents. The majority of players signed by Minnesota profile as athletic shortstops or centerfielders with quick hands and strong hit tools who need to grow into their bodies to achieve their power potential. Yilber Herrera is the former of these two profiles. The 16-year-old Venezuelan is ranked as the #35 international free agent overall. If you want a professional player comp, MLB Pipeline likens Herrera to a young Jorge Polanco based on his frame and overall athleticism, which could allow him to move quickly through the minor leagues. Yilber Herrera Scouting Report Bats: S | Throws: R | HT: 6’0 | WT: 155 MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50 Offensively, Herrera profiles as an effective contact hitter with quick hands and good bat speed. His lagging offensive tool currently is power. While he has shown flashes, he is lanky at 6’0, 155 lbs, and has yet to grow into his body. There is a good chance he develops more power as he grows and fills out. The 16-year-old has shown a strong ability to use the whole field when hitting and while not a burner, is quick and a savvy baserunner. Defensively, he diverges from the Polanco comparison significantly. While Polanco never promised to stick at SS due to a weak arm, Herrera’s athleticism and strong arm indicate he has a stronger chance to stick at shortstop. Herrera trains at the Jaime Ramos Baseball Academy. If he signs with the Twins, he will continue to cement a strong relationship between the Twins and Venezuelan youngsters in the last decade. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY The Minnesota Twins Recent History in International Free Agency International Free Agent Profile: Bryan Acuna
  5. Like last year, a delayed period of international free agency begins on January 15th. What is the history and pedigree of the Twins in making these signing periods count? The international free agent signing period will get underway on January 15th. After being delayed by the pandemic, the current crop of IFAs can sign with MLB teams provided they turn 17 before September 1st, 2022. This week at Twins Daily, Cody Christie and I will look at the Twins history in International Free Agency, dating back to 2009. What were the Twins' biggest swings and misses? Where did they acquire or miss out on value? Later in the week, we’ll provide offensive and defensive profiles for three prospects likely to sign with the Twins. Note: The current MLB lockout WILL NOT impact international free agent signing as this period has been delayed since last summer. 2009 - The 99th Percentile Outcome Year In 2009, the Twins had a defining year in international free agency. They signed: Miguel Sano to a $3.15 million signing bonus Max Kepler to an $800,000 signing bonus Jorge Polanco to a $700,000 signing bonus The majority of international free agents don’t make it to the majors, let alone have multi-year MLB careers, let alone get extended by the teams that signed them. To have signed three players which fit that description in one signing cycle is a remarkable outcome. It’s not melodramatic to suggest that the IFA period in 2009 changed the trajectory of the Twins franchise. In 2021, Sano, Kepler, and Polanco formed core pieces in the Twins lineup. Kepler and Polanco, in particular, are signed to owner-friendly long-term deals. Last season, the three combined for 6.2 fWAR, just south of $50 million in value. Not bad for a $4.6 million investment. 2013 - 2017 - Twins Find Value, Miss on Big Names In 2013, the Twins signed a diminutive Venezuelan infielder to a $40,000 signing bonus. For an international free agent, this money is an afterthought, a lottery ticket. Throughout six MiLB seasons, he managed a .310 AVG, and .385 OBP. He already had a nickname when he came into the Twins system, ‘La Regadera’ (the sprinkler) due to his ability to spray the ball all over the field. His name? Luis Arraez. Arraez is a great reminder that international free agency is a lottery. Often the biggest name prospects underachieve, and players signed to middling or small bonuses can become superstars. In 2014 the Twins signed Huascar Ynoa for an $800,000 bonus. He was later traded to Atlanta for Jaime Garcia. Ynoa put up 1.4 fWAR in just 17 starts for the Braves in 2021, managing a 27% K%. Another significant free-agent signing in 2014 was from the Diamondbacks organization. Jhoan Duran, a lanky, hard-throwing RHP, signed for just $65,000. He’s now the #5 overall prospect in the Twins organization. In 2015 the Twins went bigger, signing Wander Javier, the #8 overall prospect, to a $4 million bonus. Javier’s career has been largely derailed by injuries. He struck out 34% of the time and managed just a 86 wRC+ at A+ Cedar Rapids in 2021. Gilberto Celestino was also signed by the Astros in 2015. The #7 prospect came to the Twins by way of the Ryan Pressly trade. Lastly, of note, two prospects further down the MLB Pipeline rankings in 2015? Juan Soto (#22) and Fernando Tatis Jr (#27). 2018 - Current - Too Early to Tell It’s difficult to draw conclusions from 2018 onwards as prospects have had limited time in the minors, particularly when considering a lost 2020 season. In 2018, Misael Urbina was signed to a $2.75 million bonus. The Venezuelan OF struggled at A ball last season, but with time on his side at just 19 years old, is an extremely promising prospect and ranked #12 overall in the Twins system. Emmanuel Rodriguez was the big get in 2019. He was signed to a $2.5 million bonus. The left-handed OF is currently the Twins #20 overall prospect, after being ranked #8 in his international free agent class. Rodriguez’s professional career began in earnest in 2021, where he managed a 124 wRC+ and slugged 10 HR in just 37 games. Rodriguez is one to keep an eye on in 2022. Finally, in 2020, the Twins signed Danny De Andrade, another diminutive infield prospect, who currently sits at #24 in the Twins system. Ranked as the #16 IFA in his class, De Andrade projects as a strong hitter for both average and solid power and has the defensive chops to remain at shortstop. De Andrade managed a .340 OBP in his first season with the DSL Twins. What’s Next? International scouting, and free agency, is a complex, challenging lottery. For a mid-market organization like the Twins, it’s critical in adding organizational talent, and potentially, adding impact MLB level talent. Throughout the week, Cody and I will have offensive and defensive profiles of the three major prospects linked to Minnesota, starting tomorrow with the younger brother of an MLB superstar. View full article
  6. The Minnesota Twins may be active on the trade market once the MLB lockout ends, could Max Kepler be on his way out? I discuss Kepler's trade value, as well as Luis Arraez, Mitch Garver and Taylor Rogers.
  7. The Minnesota Twins may be active on the trade market once the MLB lockout ends, could Max Kepler be on his way out? I discuss Kepler's trade value, as well as Luis Arraez, Mitch Garver and Taylor Rogers. View full video
  8. The international free agent signing period will get underway on January 15th. After being delayed by the pandemic, the current crop of IFAs can sign with MLB teams provided they turn 17 before September 1st, 2022. This week at Twins Daily, Cody Christie and I will look at the Twins history in International Free Agency, dating back to 2009. What were the Twins' biggest swings and misses? Where did they acquire or miss out on value? Later in the week, we’ll provide offensive and defensive profiles for three prospects likely to sign with the Twins. Note: The current MLB lockout WILL NOT impact international free agent signing as this period has been delayed since last summer. 2009 - The 99th Percentile Outcome Year In 2009, the Twins had a defining year in international free agency. They signed: Miguel Sano to a $3.15 million signing bonus Max Kepler to an $800,000 signing bonus Jorge Polanco to a $700,000 signing bonus The majority of international free agents don’t make it to the majors, let alone have multi-year MLB careers, let alone get extended by the teams that signed them. To have signed three players which fit that description in one signing cycle is a remarkable outcome. It’s not melodramatic to suggest that the IFA period in 2009 changed the trajectory of the Twins franchise. In 2021, Sano, Kepler, and Polanco formed core pieces in the Twins lineup. Kepler and Polanco, in particular, are signed to owner-friendly long-term deals. Last season, the three combined for 6.2 fWAR, just south of $50 million in value. Not bad for a $4.6 million investment. 2013 - 2017 - Twins Find Value, Miss on Big Names In 2013, the Twins signed a diminutive Venezuelan infielder to a $40,000 signing bonus. For an international free agent, this money is an afterthought, a lottery ticket. Throughout six MiLB seasons, he managed a .310 AVG, and .385 OBP. He already had a nickname when he came into the Twins system, ‘La Regadera’ (the sprinkler) due to his ability to spray the ball all over the field. His name? Luis Arraez. Arraez is a great reminder that international free agency is a lottery. Often the biggest name prospects underachieve, and players signed to middling or small bonuses can become superstars. In 2014 the Twins signed Huascar Ynoa for an $800,000 bonus. He was later traded to Atlanta for Jaime Garcia. Ynoa put up 1.4 fWAR in just 17 starts for the Braves in 2021, managing a 27% K%. Another significant free-agent signing in 2014 was from the Diamondbacks organization. Jhoan Duran, a lanky, hard-throwing RHP, signed for just $65,000. He’s now the #5 overall prospect in the Twins organization. In 2015 the Twins went bigger, signing Wander Javier, the #8 overall prospect, to a $4 million bonus. Javier’s career has been largely derailed by injuries. He struck out 34% of the time and managed just a 86 wRC+ at A+ Cedar Rapids in 2021. Gilberto Celestino was also signed by the Astros in 2015. The #7 prospect came to the Twins by way of the Ryan Pressly trade. Lastly, of note, two prospects further down the MLB Pipeline rankings in 2015? Juan Soto (#22) and Fernando Tatis Jr (#27). 2018 - Current - Too Early to Tell It’s difficult to draw conclusions from 2018 onwards as prospects have had limited time in the minors, particularly when considering a lost 2020 season. In 2018, Misael Urbina was signed to a $2.75 million bonus. The Venezuelan OF struggled at A ball last season, but with time on his side at just 19 years old, is an extremely promising prospect and ranked #12 overall in the Twins system. Emmanuel Rodriguez was the big get in 2019. He was signed to a $2.5 million bonus. The left-handed OF is currently the Twins #20 overall prospect, after being ranked #8 in his international free agent class. Rodriguez’s professional career began in earnest in 2021, where he managed a 124 wRC+ and slugged 10 HR in just 37 games. Rodriguez is one to keep an eye on in 2022. Finally, in 2020, the Twins signed Danny De Andrade, another diminutive infield prospect, who currently sits at #24 in the Twins system. Ranked as the #16 IFA in his class, De Andrade projects as a strong hitter for both average and solid power and has the defensive chops to remain at shortstop. De Andrade managed a .340 OBP in his first season with the DSL Twins. What’s Next? International scouting, and free agency, is a complex, challenging lottery. For a mid-market organization like the Twins, it’s critical in adding organizational talent, and potentially, adding impact MLB level talent. Throughout the week, Cody and I will have offensive and defensive profiles of the three major prospects linked to Minnesota, starting tomorrow with the younger brother of an MLB superstar.
  9. Continuing our rankings of the most valuable player assets in the Minnesota Twins organization, we share our picks for six through 10. This list attempts to answer a simple question: Which 20 players and prospects are most indispensable in the team's quest to win a championship? Before getting started, you can get up to speed on the ground rules, which were covered in the first installment, and also read up on our picks for #11-15. Here are the players we've ranked so far: 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 19. Josh Winder, RHP 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 16. Chase Petty, RHP 15. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B 14. Jhoan Duran, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Trevor Larnach, OF 11. Luis Arraez, UTIL From there, we crack into the top 10. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 6 through 10 10. Ryan Jeffers, C 2021 Ranking: 7 Two-way catchers are among the most valuable commodities in baseball. It's not yet clear that Jeffers will be one, but his young major-league career has offered promising signs. Defensively, Jeffers established himself as a strong pitcher framer and good overall backstop. His instincts and reaction speed enable him to make special plays. He seems to have the confidence of the pitching staff – no small feat for a 24-year-old who went from college to the majors in two years. Offensively, his rushed development has been evident. After an impressive rookie showing in 2020, Jeffers saw his OPS drop by 120 points as lacking plate discipline derailed his production. But while the .199 average and .270 on-base percentage were tough to stomach, Jeffers kept bringing the power with 14 home runs in 85 games. At worst, Jeffers looks like a good defensive catcher who can take one deep here and there. (A poor man's Salvador Perez, perhaps?) If he can evolve a bit in the batter's box, he'll become a highly coveted asset – the heralded two-way catcher. It's important to keep in mind Jeffers' age and experience; when Mitch Garver was 24, he was posting a .688 OPS in Single-A. 9. Max Kepler, RF 2021 Ranking: 3 Kepler is an average hitter and an elite defensive right fielder with a very favorable contract. That combination would have more value to a lot of other teams than it does to the Twins, who wouldn't mind spending on an outfielder and already have a top-notch defender in center. A persistent inability to turn the corner offensively – outside of a short-lived breakout in 2019 – has made Kepler a frustrating player to follow. But when you look past that, he's an excellent athlete and quality regular, still a year short of 30 and under team control at reasonable rates for the next two seasons, with a $10M option in 2024. 8. Mitch Garver, C 2021 Ranking: 8 Garver's struggles with the bat in 2020 carried over into the beginning of 2021, where he slashed .151/.196/.321 through 17 games while striking out half the time. As the catcher's incredible 2019 faded further from view, many began to wonder if his approach was broken. Maybe it was, but Garver fixed it in a hurry. He homered twice in his last game of April, and pretty much never looked back, hitting .292/.406/.584 with 11 homers and 12 doubles in 51 games the rest of the way. Garver rediscovered his plate discipline, and as soon as that happened, he got back to dominating and basically out-homering the world (on a per-rate basis). It was a second consecutive season for Garver that was cut short by injuries. The punishment he's taken behind the plate, along with the increasingly evident need to have his bat in the lineup, could compel the Twins to start shifting Garver to different positions more. But that needs to be weighed against the tremendous advantage gained by writing him in at catcher. Since 2019 Garver ranks second among all MLB backstops in wOBA (min. 500 PA). He'd be higher on this list if not for his waning team control, with free agency only two seasons away. 7. Joe Ryan, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Managing to secure Ryan in exchange for Nelson Cruz ahead of the trade deadline was a nifty bit of work by the front office, and one that probably doesn't get talked about often enough. As a 40-year-old designated hitter approaching free agency, Cruz had limited value, but the Twins leveraged Tampa's situation and were able to add an asset that immediately becomes a key part of their plans. The 25-year-old Ryan dominated at Triple-A this year, and translated his performance to the majors. In five starts for the Twins, he struck out six times as many batters as he walked, and allowed only 16 hits in 26 ⅓ innings. The right-hander cemented his spot in a needy rotation, and he's lined up to be an inexpensive fixture for years to come. All in return for an aging and expensive DH who didn't really help the Rays that much, and is now a free agent. In terms of asset upgrades, it doesn't get much better than what the Twins pulled off here. 6. Bailey Ober, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Like Ryan, Ober is a newcomer to the rankings and finds himself near the top. But unlike Ryan, he's not a newcomer to the system. The former 12th-round draft pick boosted his stock immensely over the past couple years by significantly increasing his velocity to shed the "soft-tossing" label. Aided by a more effective fastball, which plays up from his 6-foot-9 frame, Ober was highly impressive as a rookie. There was nothing particularly fluky about his performance for the Twins, although home runs were a bit of a recurring issue. He looks the part of a mid-rotation staple, and a guy you'd feel okay about starting in the playoffs. We've seen how difficult it is for the Twins to acquire impact pitching via free agency. Developing cost-controlled arms is instrumental to this front office's vision for success. That's why Ober and Ryan rank so highly on this list: the team's fate (especially in the short-term) is tied to them. Check back in on Wednesday when we wrap up these rankings with our picks for the top 5! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  10. Before getting started, you can get up to speed on the ground rules, which were covered in the first installment, and also read up on our picks for #11-15. Here are the players we've ranked so far: 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 19. Josh Winder, RHP 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 16. Chase Petty, RHP 15. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B 14. Jhoan Duran, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Trevor Larnach, OF 11. Luis Arraez, UTIL From there, we crack into the top 10. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 6 through 10 10. Ryan Jeffers, C 2021 Ranking: 7 Two-way catchers are among the most valuable commodities in baseball. It's not yet clear that Jeffers will be one, but his young major-league career has offered promising signs. Defensively, Jeffers established himself as a strong pitcher framer and good overall backstop. His instincts and reaction speed enable him to make special plays. He seems to have the confidence of the pitching staff – no small feat for a 24-year-old who went from college to the majors in two years. Offensively, his rushed development has been evident. After an impressive rookie showing in 2020, Jeffers saw his OPS drop by 120 points as lacking plate discipline derailed his production. But while the .199 average and .270 on-base percentage were tough to stomach, Jeffers kept bringing the power with 14 home runs in 85 games. At worst, Jeffers looks like a good defensive catcher who can take one deep here and there. (A poor man's Salvador Perez, perhaps?) If he can evolve a bit in the batter's box, he'll become a highly coveted asset – the heralded two-way catcher. It's important to keep in mind Jeffers' age and experience; when Mitch Garver was 24, he was posting a .688 OPS in Single-A. 9. Max Kepler, RF 2021 Ranking: 3 Kepler is an average hitter and an elite defensive right fielder with a very favorable contract. That combination would have more value to a lot of other teams than it does to the Twins, who wouldn't mind spending on an outfielder and already have a top-notch defender in center. A persistent inability to turn the corner offensively – outside of a short-lived breakout in 2019 – has made Kepler a frustrating player to follow. But when you look past that, he's an excellent athlete and quality regular, still a year short of 30 and under team control at reasonable rates for the next two seasons, with a $10M option in 2024. 8. Mitch Garver, C 2021 Ranking: 8 Garver's struggles with the bat in 2020 carried over into the beginning of 2021, where he slashed .151/.196/.321 through 17 games while striking out half the time. As the catcher's incredible 2019 faded further from view, many began to wonder if his approach was broken. Maybe it was, but Garver fixed it in a hurry. He homered twice in his last game of April, and pretty much never looked back, hitting .292/.406/.584 with 11 homers and 12 doubles in 51 games the rest of the way. Garver rediscovered his plate discipline, and as soon as that happened, he got back to dominating and basically out-homering the world (on a per-rate basis). It was a second consecutive season for Garver that was cut short by injuries. The punishment he's taken behind the plate, along with the increasingly evident need to have his bat in the lineup, could compel the Twins to start shifting Garver to different positions more. But that needs to be weighed against the tremendous advantage gained by writing him in at catcher. Since 2019 Garver ranks second among all MLB backstops in wOBA (min. 500 PA). He'd be higher on this list if not for his waning team control, with free agency only two seasons away. 7. Joe Ryan, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Managing to secure Ryan in exchange for Nelson Cruz ahead of the trade deadline was a nifty bit of work by the front office, and one that probably doesn't get talked about often enough. As a 40-year-old designated hitter approaching free agency, Cruz had limited value, but the Twins leveraged Tampa's situation and were able to add an asset that immediately becomes a key part of their plans. The 25-year-old Ryan dominated at Triple-A this year, and translated his performance to the majors. In five starts for the Twins, he struck out six times as many batters as he walked, and allowed only 16 hits in 26 ⅓ innings. The right-hander cemented his spot in a needy rotation, and he's lined up to be an inexpensive fixture for years to come. All in return for an aging and expensive DH who didn't really help the Rays that much, and is now a free agent. In terms of asset upgrades, it doesn't get much better than what the Twins pulled off here. 6. Bailey Ober, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Like Ryan, Ober is a newcomer to the rankings and finds himself near the top. But unlike Ryan, he's not a newcomer to the system. The former 12th-round draft pick boosted his stock immensely over the past couple years by significantly increasing his velocity to shed the "soft-tossing" label. Aided by a more effective fastball, which plays up from his 6-foot-9 frame, Ober was highly impressive as a rookie. There was nothing particularly fluky about his performance for the Twins, although home runs were a bit of a recurring issue. He looks the part of a mid-rotation staple, and a guy you'd feel okay about starting in the playoffs. We've seen how difficult it is for the Twins to acquire impact pitching via free agency. Developing cost-controlled arms is instrumental to this front office's vision for success. That's why Ober and Ryan rank so highly on this list: the team's fate (especially in the short-term) is tied to them. Check back in on Wednesday when we wrap up these rankings with our picks for the top 5! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. After getting through the starting rotation and the bullpen, it’s finally time to look at the Minnesota Twins lineup. They were the reason for heightened expectations in 2021, and at the beginning, the reason for a slow start. How can the holdovers turn the tide in 2022? It was all but expected that the Twins would address their pitching in the offseason. New rotation arms were needed, and the group as a whole flopped. However, when you fall as far as Minnesota did, it isn’t a one-faceted issue. The offense ranked 18th in baseball in terms of fWAR. That’s a drop from 9th in 2020 and 4th when the Bomba Squad exploded in 2019. The good news is that much of that contingent is still present. Here’s how some of them can right the ship: Miguel Sano Posting just a .778 OPS last season, Sano did improve on his 2020, but that still leaves plenty to be desired after owning a .923 OPS in 2019. You’re going to get a boatload of strikeouts from Miguel, but the power is also going to play. His problem isn’t chasing, as he does have good plate discipline. When the bat meets the ball, it’s also done with some of the best hard-hit rates in the game. Sano’s issue has been timing and velocity, something that’s pretty substantial to overcome. He did post an .817 OPS after May and an .824 OPS after July. Both of those numbers will play, and for a guy in the final year of his contract, putting up in a big way would be nice to see. Max Kepler and Trevor Larnach These two are linked in that Kepler’s situation somewhat determines Larnach’s. Max put up an .855 OPS in 2019 and has otherwise underwhelmed at the plate. He consistently does less with what looks like more ability, and the defensive acumen is what saves his value. Maybe he’s traded at some point, but if he’s playing for Minnesota, some sort of higher production at the dish needs to happen. Elevate the baseball and let the contact prowess do the work. For Larnach, it’s about adjustments and settling in during year two. He played 79 games and tallied an 88 OPS+. There were moments where it looked like it may click, but then things never got right after going back to Triple-A. The former first-round pick has always looked like a good bet to hit, and this being the year it starts would be welcomed. Alex Kirilloff After debuting during a Postseason game in 2020, Alex Kirilloff made his official MLB debut in 2021. While dealing with nagging wrist issues again, he played in just 59 games for the Twins and owned a .722 OPS. The power production seemed sapped, which would be a disappointment in the long term. Kirilloff can focus on establishing himself as a regular for the year ahead. He can be a lineup mainstay with the bat, whether mixing in next to Byron Buxton or playing first base. Getting confidence going with a strong start and parlaying it into consistent success could have him quickly looking like a true star. Ryan Jeffers Last season, Rocco Baldelli was expected to have one of the best catching tandems in baseball. Mitch Garver was once again a beast at the plate but dealt with injuries that kept him out of the lineup. Jeffers was expected to be a bat-only prospect and has turned himself into a defensive stalwart, but the bat wasn’t there in 2020. The 119 OPS+ from 2020 dropped to just 83 last season. Catchers don’t necessarily need to hit, but Minnesota would benefit from Jeffers being an asset at the plate and behind it. He’s too good to repeat the 2021 performance, and finding a nice middle ground would lengthen the lineup. Jose Miranda There’s very little Miranda could do to put up better numbers than he did in the minors during 2021. Expecting him to come in as a rookie and blast 30 dingers simply isn’t going to happen. What is necessary here is that the young prospect takes it all in stride. Miranda can spell Josh Donaldson at third base and play second and first. He should be expected to hit after the showing a season ago, but tempered expectations and a learning period can’t allow for the confidence to waver. Unprotected going into the Rule 5 draft last season, this looks like found money, and guiding it for the best opportunity to cash in is a must. That’s a group of 15 or so players we’ve now looked at that can focus in an area or two with an eye on pushing the Twins upward in 2022. Now, we just need the sport to return and get going. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  12. It was all but expected that the Twins would address their pitching in the offseason. New rotation arms were needed, and the group as a whole flopped. However, when you fall as far as Minnesota did, it isn’t a one-faceted issue. The offense ranked 18th in baseball in terms of fWAR. That’s a drop from 9th in 2020 and 4th when the Bomba Squad exploded in 2019. The good news is that much of that contingent is still present. Here’s how some of them can right the ship: Miguel Sano Posting just a .778 OPS last season, Sano did improve on his 2020, but that still leaves plenty to be desired after owning a .923 OPS in 2019. You’re going to get a boatload of strikeouts from Miguel, but the power is also going to play. His problem isn’t chasing, as he does have good plate discipline. When the bat meets the ball, it’s also done with some of the best hard-hit rates in the game. Sano’s issue has been timing and velocity, something that’s pretty substantial to overcome. He did post an .817 OPS after May and an .824 OPS after July. Both of those numbers will play, and for a guy in the final year of his contract, putting up in a big way would be nice to see. Max Kepler and Trevor Larnach These two are linked in that Kepler’s situation somewhat determines Larnach’s. Max put up an .855 OPS in 2019 and has otherwise underwhelmed at the plate. He consistently does less with what looks like more ability, and the defensive acumen is what saves his value. Maybe he’s traded at some point, but if he’s playing for Minnesota, some sort of higher production at the dish needs to happen. Elevate the baseball and let the contact prowess do the work. For Larnach, it’s about adjustments and settling in during year two. He played 79 games and tallied an 88 OPS+. There were moments where it looked like it may click, but then things never got right after going back to Triple-A. The former first-round pick has always looked like a good bet to hit, and this being the year it starts would be welcomed. Alex Kirilloff After debuting during a Postseason game in 2020, Alex Kirilloff made his official MLB debut in 2021. While dealing with nagging wrist issues again, he played in just 59 games for the Twins and owned a .722 OPS. The power production seemed sapped, which would be a disappointment in the long term. Kirilloff can focus on establishing himself as a regular for the year ahead. He can be a lineup mainstay with the bat, whether mixing in next to Byron Buxton or playing first base. Getting confidence going with a strong start and parlaying it into consistent success could have him quickly looking like a true star. Ryan Jeffers Last season, Rocco Baldelli was expected to have one of the best catching tandems in baseball. Mitch Garver was once again a beast at the plate but dealt with injuries that kept him out of the lineup. Jeffers was expected to be a bat-only prospect and has turned himself into a defensive stalwart, but the bat wasn’t there in 2020. The 119 OPS+ from 2020 dropped to just 83 last season. Catchers don’t necessarily need to hit, but Minnesota would benefit from Jeffers being an asset at the plate and behind it. He’s too good to repeat the 2021 performance, and finding a nice middle ground would lengthen the lineup. Jose Miranda There’s very little Miranda could do to put up better numbers than he did in the minors during 2021. Expecting him to come in as a rookie and blast 30 dingers simply isn’t going to happen. What is necessary here is that the young prospect takes it all in stride. Miranda can spell Josh Donaldson at third base and play second and first. He should be expected to hit after the showing a season ago, but tempered expectations and a learning period can’t allow for the confidence to waver. Unprotected going into the Rule 5 draft last season, this looks like found money, and guiding it for the best opportunity to cash in is a must. That’s a group of 15 or so players we’ve now looked at that can focus in an area or two with an eye on pushing the Twins upward in 2022. Now, we just need the sport to return and get going. 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. Minnesota has a surplus of corner outfielders, so will the team trade from a position of strength this winter? Here's a look at how the organization's corner outfielders stack up for 2022. Current Corner Outfielders: Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff Max Kepler is under team control for the next three seasons, and he is coming off a three-year stretch where he has a 111 OPS+. He provides defensive flexibility with the ability to play centerfield occasionally. This might make him one of the team's most valuable trade assets. Minnesota needs starting pitching, and trading Kepler can open a corner outfield spot for one or more of the names discussed below. Alex Kirilloff got off to a tremendous start to his rookie campaign before a wrist injury sapped his power. He tried to play through the injury, but he was clearly impacted and underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right wrist. Minnesota's best option with Kirilloff is to move him to first base because he is a superior defender compared to the team's other options. Chances are Kirilloff will still get some time in the outfield, but he will get plenty of reps at first base too. 40-Man Roster Options Besides Kirilloff, the Twins turned to another rookie outfielder in 2021. Trevor Larnach showed some positive signs before ending up in a slump that sent him to St. Paul for the remainder of the season. Entering the 2021 season, Larnach had never appeared in a game above the Double-A level, so he was likely pushed a little faster than the organization planned. He should still be in the team's long-term plans, even coming off a poor year. Brent Rooker also had an interesting 2021 campaign. It looked like he had a chance to win a backup outfield job during spring training, but his lack of defensive positions pushed him back to the minors. At 26-years-old, this was intriguing, especially since he had little left to prove at Triple-A with a career .932 OPS. Rooker got over 200 big-league plate appearances in 2021 and posted a 75 OPS+. With his age-27 season looming, he has an uncertain future with the Twins. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's corner outfield depth. Minnesota has multiple corner outfield options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. After signing Derek Fisher, the Twins have eight outfielders projected at the Triple-A level. Obviously, this is more than the team will need at one level. Jake Cave and Kyle Garlick are more veteran options at Triple-A, with big-league experience. Mark Contreras, Jimmy Kerrigan, and Ernie De La Trinidad are all over age-25 and Rule-5 eligible this offseason. Some of these players may shift to Double-A with an overload of Triple-A outfielders. Matt Wallner is projected for the Double-A level, and he is one of the most exciting prospects on this list. Minnesota selected Wallner with the 39th overall pick in 2019, and he's coming off a 1.011 OPS in the Arizona Fall League. Joining Wallner at Double-A will be Leobaldo Cabrera and Michel Helman. Last winter, the Twins signed Cabrera as a minor league free agent, and he combined for a .786 OPS at three different levels. Helman was an 11th round pick in 2018, and he posted a .798 OPS in 111 games at High-A in 2021. In the lower levels of the minors, Kala'i Rosario is an intriguing name to keep an eye on. He was the team's fifth-round pick back in 2020 out of Hawaii. Last year, he made his pro-debut with the FCL Twins and hit .277/.341/.452 (.794) with 19 extra-base hits in 51 games. Rosario should make his full-season debut in 2022. Overall, Minnesota has corner outfield depth that is ready to impact the big-league level. What do you think about the organization's corner outfield depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop — Center Field View full article
  14. The Minnesota Twins largely missed the boat on the big time free agents this offseason, as only a few remain after the pre-lockout frenzy. While the trade market could be the next place to look, the front office would be wise to steer clear. The two areas that the Minnesota Twins had an immense need heading into this offseason were starting pitcher and shortstop. Now, the cupboards are all but bare in each of these areas with 13 of Aaron Gleeman’s top 15 free agent starting pitchers and four of Gleeman’s top six free agent shortstops off the board entirely. Aside from signing one of the star free agent shortstops (not likely) or Carlos Rodón (possible), the Minnesota Twins will need to utilize the trade market if they want to bring in any difference-making talent this offseason. Doing so, though, would not be wise. I’m not breaking any news here, but the Minnesota Twins were not a good baseball team last year. The Twins just had their worst season since 2016, and did not show at any point in the season that they were on the verge of being a successful team. In only one full month in 2021 did the Minnesota Twins finish with a record above .500, when they went 14-13 in the month of August. On top of that, the Twins traded away their best starting pitcher since Johan Santana and their best power hitter since Jim Thome. The most likely path for the Minnesota Twins to acquire difference-making talent via the trade market would be by packaging one (or multiple) future prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a win-now player. Trade ideas as proposed by Twins Daily writer, JD Cameron, include Trevor Larnach for Chris Bassit or Jordan Balazovic and Ryan Jeffers for Sonny Gray. While the exact prospects that the Twins would need to part with in these trades could be different, the core idea remains the same…the Twins would need to part with key future prospects if they want to acquire top-shelf talent. The problem, and why they should avoid making deals this offseason, is that the Twins have not shown that they are close to competing and that adding a starting pitcher like Bassit or Gray (or both, even!) would suddenly turn the Twins into contenders. The Twins finished last in the American League Central last season and got worse, while the White Sox, Tigers and Royals all figure to improve. Trading away future pieces such as a Trevor Larnach or a Jordan Balazovic only to marginally improve a still-bad baseball team could prove catastrophic in terms of rebuilding efforts down the line. The other option that the Twins could look at on the trade market would be to trade away a non-prospect batter for some top-line pitching talent. Names like Max Kepler or Luis Arraez could potentially be expendable on a team with more hitting depth than pitching. While this type of trade would prove more palatable for an underwhelming Twins team, they are very difficult to come by. The teams that are looking to add MLB-ready bats are typically not the teams that are willing to part with MLB-ready arms. While it’s possible, I don’t see the Twins making this kind of trade. The best path for the Minnesota Twins to follow in 2022 would be to round out their pitching rotation this offseason with number three or four starting pitchers such as Michael Pineda or Danny Duffy. Then, simply let the season play out. If the Twins’ young arms show that they are the real deal and in turn the Twins prove to be more competitive in 2022 than predicted, Minnesota can then move prospects for win-now arms at the trade deadline. Making a trade now, though, could prove extremely costly. View full article
  15. Going into the 2021 Major League Baseball season, the Minnesota Twins were expected to contend for another American League Central Division title. They flopped, and nothing went as expected. What if the front office is leaning on rebuilding the confidence in guys already in the clubhouse? Right now, we sit in the midst of a lockout with no end in sight and no moves on the horizon. Before the shutdown, Minnesota’s only move of consequence was in signing starter Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal. The rotation remains bare, but at this point, the free-agent market could be categorized as roughly the same. Short of signing Carlos Rodon to a deal, Minnesota will get better by swapping assets rather than paying for them. With that in mind, it could be believed that much of the talent at Rocco Baldelli’s disposal in 2022 already has a spot on the roster. Minnesota currently has just two spots open on their 40 man roster, although there’s undoubtedly possible maneuvering that could take place. Those on the 40 man, though, especially on offense, make up a group expected to produce a year ago. Jorge Polanco turned in a strong year in which he bounced back from injuries and looked the part of his 2019 self. Cemented as the second basemen (hopefully), the goal would be for others to join him. Byron Buxton was an MVP candidate but played in just 61 games. Luis Arraez played in only 121 games and hit below .300 for the first time in his three big-league seasons. Miguel Sano started incredibly cold before finding his stride. Although Josh Donaldson produced, his .827 OPS was boosted mainly by a stretch surge. Alex Kirilloff didn’t acclimate as expected, and Trevor Larnach didn’t deliver. Mitch Garver was limited, and Ryan Jeffers took a step backward. Maybe Max Kepler isn’t on the Opening Day roster, but the hope would be that there’s more from him as well. That group of bats is virtually the same core that was a terror to opposing pitching staffs in 2019 and much of 2020. Jose Miranda should be expected to join them at some point in 2022, and while Nelson Cruz is no longer here, freeing up the designated hitter spot should work in favor of Minnesota when it comes to lineup construction. There’s a lot of opportunity for progress there, even if that leaves the door open to uncertainty. The reality is that aside from a shortstop, Falvey had little need to spend on bats. When it comes to pitching, there are certainly roles that need answers. The rotation is incomplete, and while it won’t stay that way, internally, the options are less evident. However, what is worth noting is that the stable of prospects should be near-ready to be unleashed. There are no less than five top options that Falvey has cultivated over the past few years. Nick Nelson recently wrote a great piece exploring why the Twins may be hesitant to spend on pitching. It all comes back to this group. Had 2020 gone off as expected, the injuries to these arms likely would have been less prevalent in 2021, and we’d have seen more opportunity at the highest level for this group. It all amounts to a situation where the front office could be near suggestive of simply running it back. That may not wind up in a dominant season, but it’s also an understandable stance given where internal development lies. There are needs in the middle infield and rotation, but there’s also the expectation of multiple prospect options that should be called upon in a season or less. Without backing yourself into a corner with dollars and long-term deals, there’s a tightrope to walk if the path is playing a waiting game. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  16. Current Corner Outfielders: Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff Max Kepler is under team control for the next three seasons, and he is coming off a three-year stretch where he has a 111 OPS+. He provides defensive flexibility with the ability to play centerfield occasionally. This might make him one of the team's most valuable trade assets. Minnesota needs starting pitching, and trading Kepler can open a corner outfield spot for one or more of the names discussed below. Alex Kirilloff got off to a tremendous start to his rookie campaign before a wrist injury sapped his power. He tried to play through the injury, but he was clearly impacted and underwent surgery to repair a ligament tear in his right wrist. Minnesota's best option with Kirilloff is to move him to first base because he is a superior defender compared to the team's other options. Chances are Kirilloff will still get some time in the outfield, but he will get plenty of reps at first base too. 40-Man Roster Options Besides Kirilloff, the Twins turned to another rookie outfielder in 2021. Trevor Larnach showed some positive signs before ending up in a slump that sent him to St. Paul for the remainder of the season. Entering the 2021 season, Larnach had never appeared in a game above the Double-A level, so he was likely pushed a little faster than the organization planned. He should still be in the team's long-term plans, even coming off a poor year. Brent Rooker also had an interesting 2021 campaign. It looked like he had a chance to win a backup outfield job during spring training, but his lack of defensive positions pushed him back to the minors. At 26-years-old, this was intriguing, especially since he had little left to prove at Triple-A with a career .932 OPS. Rooker got over 200 big-league plate appearances in 2021 and posted a 75 OPS+. With his age-27 season looming, he has an uncertain future with the Twins. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's corner outfield depth. Minnesota has multiple corner outfield options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. After signing Derek Fisher, the Twins have eight outfielders projected at the Triple-A level. Obviously, this is more than the team will need at one level. Jake Cave and Kyle Garlick are more veteran options at Triple-A, with big-league experience. Mark Contreras, Jimmy Kerrigan, and Ernie De La Trinidad are all over age-25 and Rule-5 eligible this offseason. Some of these players may shift to Double-A with an overload of Triple-A outfielders. Matt Wallner is projected for the Double-A level, and he is one of the most exciting prospects on this list. Minnesota selected Wallner with the 39th overall pick in 2019, and he's coming off a 1.011 OPS in the Arizona Fall League. Joining Wallner at Double-A will be Leobaldo Cabrera and Michel Helman. Last winter, the Twins signed Cabrera as a minor league free agent, and he combined for a .786 OPS at three different levels. Helman was an 11th round pick in 2018, and he posted a .798 OPS in 111 games at High-A in 2021. In the lower levels of the minors, Kala'i Rosario is an intriguing name to keep an eye on. He was the team's fifth-round pick back in 2020 out of Hawaii. Last year, he made his pro-debut with the FCL Twins and hit .277/.341/.452 (.794) with 19 extra-base hits in 51 games. Rosario should make his full-season debut in 2022. Overall, Minnesota has corner outfield depth that is ready to impact the big-league level. What do you think about the organization's corner outfield depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop — Center Field
  17. The two areas that the Minnesota Twins had an immense need heading into this offseason were starting pitcher and shortstop. Now, the cupboards are all but bare in each of these areas with 13 of Aaron Gleeman’s top 15 free agent starting pitchers and four of Gleeman’s top six free agent shortstops off the board entirely. Aside from signing one of the star free agent shortstops (not likely) or Carlos Rodón (possible), the Minnesota Twins will need to utilize the trade market if they want to bring in any difference-making talent this offseason. Doing so, though, would not be wise. I’m not breaking any news here, but the Minnesota Twins were not a good baseball team last year. The Twins just had their worst season since 2016, and did not show at any point in the season that they were on the verge of being a successful team. In only one full month in 2021 did the Minnesota Twins finish with a record above .500, when they went 14-13 in the month of August. On top of that, the Twins traded away their best starting pitcher since Johan Santana and their best power hitter since Jim Thome. The most likely path for the Minnesota Twins to acquire difference-making talent via the trade market would be by packaging one (or multiple) future prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a win-now player. Trade ideas as proposed by Twins Daily writer, JD Cameron, include Trevor Larnach for Chris Bassit or Jordan Balazovic and Ryan Jeffers for Sonny Gray. While the exact prospects that the Twins would need to part with in these trades could be different, the core idea remains the same…the Twins would need to part with key future prospects if they want to acquire top-shelf talent. The problem, and why they should avoid making deals this offseason, is that the Twins have not shown that they are close to competing and that adding a starting pitcher like Bassit or Gray (or both, even!) would suddenly turn the Twins into contenders. The Twins finished last in the American League Central last season and got worse, while the White Sox, Tigers and Royals all figure to improve. Trading away future pieces such as a Trevor Larnach or a Jordan Balazovic only to marginally improve a still-bad baseball team could prove catastrophic in terms of rebuilding efforts down the line. The other option that the Twins could look at on the trade market would be to trade away a non-prospect batter for some top-line pitching talent. Names like Max Kepler or Luis Arraez could potentially be expendable on a team with more hitting depth than pitching. While this type of trade would prove more palatable for an underwhelming Twins team, they are very difficult to come by. The teams that are looking to add MLB-ready bats are typically not the teams that are willing to part with MLB-ready arms. While it’s possible, I don’t see the Twins making this kind of trade. The best path for the Minnesota Twins to follow in 2022 would be to round out their pitching rotation this offseason with number three or four starting pitchers such as Michael Pineda or Danny Duffy. Then, simply let the season play out. If the Twins’ young arms show that they are the real deal and in turn the Twins prove to be more competitive in 2022 than predicted, Minnesota can then move prospects for win-now arms at the trade deadline. Making a trade now, though, could prove extremely costly.
  18. Right now, we sit in the midst of a lockout with no end in sight and no moves on the horizon. Before the shutdown, Minnesota’s only move of consequence was in signing starter Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal. The rotation remains bare, but at this point, the free-agent market could be categorized as roughly the same. Short of signing Carlos Rodon to a deal, Minnesota will get better by swapping assets rather than paying for them. With that in mind, it could be believed that much of the talent at Rocco Baldelli’s disposal in 2022 already has a spot on the roster. Minnesota currently has just two spots open on their 40 man roster, although there’s undoubtedly possible maneuvering that could take place. Those on the 40 man, though, especially on offense, make up a group expected to produce a year ago. Jorge Polanco turned in a strong year in which he bounced back from injuries and looked the part of his 2019 self. Cemented as the second basemen (hopefully), the goal would be for others to join him. Byron Buxton was an MVP candidate but played in just 61 games. Luis Arraez played in only 121 games and hit below .300 for the first time in his three big-league seasons. Miguel Sano started incredibly cold before finding his stride. Although Josh Donaldson produced, his .827 OPS was boosted mainly by a stretch surge. Alex Kirilloff didn’t acclimate as expected, and Trevor Larnach didn’t deliver. Mitch Garver was limited, and Ryan Jeffers took a step backward. Maybe Max Kepler isn’t on the Opening Day roster, but the hope would be that there’s more from him as well. That group of bats is virtually the same core that was a terror to opposing pitching staffs in 2019 and much of 2020. Jose Miranda should be expected to join them at some point in 2022, and while Nelson Cruz is no longer here, freeing up the designated hitter spot should work in favor of Minnesota when it comes to lineup construction. There’s a lot of opportunity for progress there, even if that leaves the door open to uncertainty. The reality is that aside from a shortstop, Falvey had little need to spend on bats. When it comes to pitching, there are certainly roles that need answers. The rotation is incomplete, and while it won’t stay that way, internally, the options are less evident. However, what is worth noting is that the stable of prospects should be near-ready to be unleashed. There are no less than five top options that Falvey has cultivated over the past few years. Nick Nelson recently wrote a great piece exploring why the Twins may be hesitant to spend on pitching. It all comes back to this group. Had 2020 gone off as expected, the injuries to these arms likely would have been less prevalent in 2021, and we’d have seen more opportunity at the highest level for this group. It all amounts to a situation where the front office could be near suggestive of simply running it back. That may not wind up in a dominant season, but it’s also an understandable stance given where internal development lies. There are needs in the middle infield and rotation, but there’s also the expectation of multiple prospect options that should be called upon in a season or less. Without backing yourself into a corner with dollars and long-term deals, there’s a tightrope to walk if the path is playing a waiting game. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. In the third of a three-part series, we look at the Miami Marlins as a trade partner for the Minnesota Twins to acquire starting pitching post-lockout. Who might be a fit? How much might they cost? As the lockout meanders into the holiday season, Twins fans find themselves in starting pitching limbo. The floor of the rotation was raised marginally by the addition of Dylan Bundy prior to the lockout. Minnesota, however, still has significant business to accomplish if they are to field a competitive rotation, with only Bundy, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober currently locked into spots for 2022. In the third of a three-part series (part one - Cincinnati Reds, part two - Oakland Athletics), I’ll look at some potential pitching targets from an organization flush with starting pitching capital, the Miami Marlins. NOTE: The trades mentioned are designed to give an approximate idea of the value of each potential starting pitching addition. They don’t necessarily correlate with the exact needs of the Marlins. Pablo Lopez At just 25, Lopez has improved both steadily and significantly since he made his MLB debut in 2018. In 102 2/3 innings pitched in 2021, Lopez accumulated a 3.29 FIP, 2.3 fWAR, a 27.5% K% and a measly 6.2% BB% Talk about a high floor. Lopez relies on a four-pitch mix including a mid-90s fastball, an excellent changeup, a cutter, and a curveball. Lopez is under team control until 2025 and would be pricey, but this is the position the Twins find themselves if they want to improve their rotation significantly through trade. Possible Trade: The Twins trade INF Luis Arraez, C Ryan Jeffers and a PTBNL to Miami for RHP Pablo Lopez Jesus Luzardo A former consensus top pitching prospect, very little has gone right for Luzardo since his first significant MLB stint in 2019 for the Athletics. In 95 MLB innings in 2021 between the A’s and Marlins, Luzardo managed a 22.4% K% (fine), an 11% BB% (not fine), a 5.48 FIP, and -0.2 fWAR (yikes). So, what’s to like here? For one, you don’t sit atop prospect rankings for multiple years for no reason. Luzardo still has electric stuff. A fastball that sits at 95 mph at the low end and a good slider he throws around 23% of the time. This combination falls into the wheelhouse of the Twins pitching preferences, but they’d have to be confident in next steps for Luzardo to pull the trigger on trading for him. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Brent Rooker and RHP Cole Sands to Miami for LHP Jesus Luzardo Sixto Sanchez The Twins would be trading into the upper echelons of ‘stuff’ if they were to acquire Sanchez. Still a top pitching prospect, the 23-year-old boasts front of the rotation firepower. Sanchez relies on a fastball that sits at 98 mph. It gets fewer strikeouts than a pitch of that velocity should due to a lack of movement, but it’s his changeup that is the star of the show. In just 40 MLB innings in 2021, Sanchez had a 20.9% K%, 7% BB%, a 3.50 FIP, and accumulated 1.0 fWAR (that’s around 4.5 fWAR pace over a season). Sanchez could be poised for a monster 2022. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Max Kepler to the Marlins for RHP Sixto Sanchez The Marlins have a huge amount of additional starting pitching assets, including Trevor Rogers, Elieser Hernandez, Edward Cabrera, and Max Meyer who I chose not to include as targets as I felt the Marlins would be unlikely to part with them (Rogers and Meyer) or the Twins wouldn’t be confident enough in the floor they would give the rotation to execute the trade. Which of these targets feel like the best fit for the Twins? What direction do you think the team will take to improve the rotation when the lockout ends? Join the discussion below. View full article
  20. As the lockout meanders into the holiday season, Twins fans find themselves in starting pitching limbo. The floor of the rotation was raised marginally by the addition of Dylan Bundy prior to the lockout. Minnesota, however, still has significant business to accomplish if they are to field a competitive rotation, with only Bundy, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober currently locked into spots for 2022. In the third of a three-part series (part one - Cincinnati Reds, part two - Oakland Athletics), I’ll look at some potential pitching targets from an organization flush with starting pitching capital, the Miami Marlins. NOTE: The trades mentioned are designed to give an approximate idea of the value of each potential starting pitching addition. They don’t necessarily correlate with the exact needs of the Marlins. Pablo Lopez At just 25, Lopez has improved both steadily and significantly since he made his MLB debut in 2018. In 102 2/3 innings pitched in 2021, Lopez accumulated a 3.29 FIP, 2.3 fWAR, a 27.5% K% and a measly 6.2% BB% Talk about a high floor. Lopez relies on a four-pitch mix including a mid-90s fastball, an excellent changeup, a cutter, and a curveball. Lopez is under team control until 2025 and would be pricey, but this is the position the Twins find themselves if they want to improve their rotation significantly through trade. Possible Trade: The Twins trade INF Luis Arraez, C Ryan Jeffers and a PTBNL to Miami for RHP Pablo Lopez Jesus Luzardo A former consensus top pitching prospect, very little has gone right for Luzardo since his first significant MLB stint in 2019 for the Athletics. In 95 MLB innings in 2021 between the A’s and Marlins, Luzardo managed a 22.4% K% (fine), an 11% BB% (not fine), a 5.48 FIP, and -0.2 fWAR (yikes). So, what’s to like here? For one, you don’t sit atop prospect rankings for multiple years for no reason. Luzardo still has electric stuff. A fastball that sits at 95 mph at the low end and a good slider he throws around 23% of the time. This combination falls into the wheelhouse of the Twins pitching preferences, but they’d have to be confident in next steps for Luzardo to pull the trigger on trading for him. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Brent Rooker and RHP Cole Sands to Miami for LHP Jesus Luzardo Sixto Sanchez The Twins would be trading into the upper echelons of ‘stuff’ if they were to acquire Sanchez. Still a top pitching prospect, the 23-year-old boasts front of the rotation firepower. Sanchez relies on a fastball that sits at 98 mph. It gets fewer strikeouts than a pitch of that velocity should due to a lack of movement, but it’s his changeup that is the star of the show. In just 40 MLB innings in 2021, Sanchez had a 20.9% K%, 7% BB%, a 3.50 FIP, and accumulated 1.0 fWAR (that’s around 4.5 fWAR pace over a season). Sanchez could be poised for a monster 2022. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Max Kepler to the Marlins for RHP Sixto Sanchez The Marlins have a huge amount of additional starting pitching assets, including Trevor Rogers, Elieser Hernandez, Edward Cabrera, and Max Meyer who I chose not to include as targets as I felt the Marlins would be unlikely to part with them (Rogers and Meyer) or the Twins wouldn’t be confident enough in the floor they would give the rotation to execute the trade. Which of these targets feel like the best fit for the Twins? What direction do you think the team will take to improve the rotation when the lockout ends? Join the discussion below.
  21. This lockout has officially put the nail in the coffin for a slow offseason. Never fear, your local internet stalker is still here. Say it with me, your favorite Twins don’t retreat into a Jake cave until spring training. Here are what your favorite Twins’ players have been up to recently. Randy Dobnak was thankful for beans, rice, Jesus Christ, and Byron Who? BYRON! Byron Buxton surprised us with the best early-Christmas gift No one thought the Twins could get it done. Byron Buxton will remain a Twin for a very long time with his 7-year extension. That means we’ll have some of this in our future: And definitely a little bit of this: Buxton’s athleticism is like a perfectly crafted Thanksgiving plate, with the perfect amount of turkey, stuffing, and a heaping side of taters. Josh Donaldson celebrated his 36th birthday The Bringer of Rain celebrated the big 3-6 presumably in style yesterday. The entire staff of Twins Daily celebrated his birthday by joining hands and watching one of his best moments from last season. Happy birthday Josh! Eduardo Escobar broke ground at Citi Field Despite moving on to his third team after the Twins, Eduardo Escobar remains one of the most beloved Twins of all time. We wish him nothing by the best as he moves on to the NL East. Fogo Power, baby! Miguel Sano Took No Days Off Thanksgiving, shmanksgiving. Sano said no to giving up on his quest to prepping for the year ahead. Lewis Thorpe took his horse to the Old Town Road Max Kepler Continues to Live the Good Life We have no idea where Max Kepler spends most of his days. Wherever he is, there will be no grainy photos with poor lighting for Max. Kepler continues to be, what the kids say, ~*a vibe*~ Don’t ask us what that means. Which other players would you like to hear from in the offseason? Comment below! View full article
  22. Randy Dobnak was thankful for beans, rice, Jesus Christ, and Byron Who? BYRON! Byron Buxton surprised us with the best early-Christmas gift No one thought the Twins could get it done. Byron Buxton will remain a Twin for a very long time with his 7-year extension. That means we’ll have some of this in our future: And definitely a little bit of this: Buxton’s athleticism is like a perfectly crafted Thanksgiving plate, with the perfect amount of turkey, stuffing, and a heaping side of taters. Josh Donaldson celebrated his 36th birthday The Bringer of Rain celebrated the big 3-6 presumably in style yesterday. The entire staff of Twins Daily celebrated his birthday by joining hands and watching one of his best moments from last season. Happy birthday Josh! Eduardo Escobar broke ground at Citi Field Despite moving on to his third team after the Twins, Eduardo Escobar remains one of the most beloved Twins of all time. We wish him nothing by the best as he moves on to the NL East. Fogo Power, baby! Miguel Sano Took No Days Off Thanksgiving, shmanksgiving. Sano said no to giving up on his quest to prepping for the year ahead. Lewis Thorpe took his horse to the Old Town Road Max Kepler Continues to Live the Good Life We have no idea where Max Kepler spends most of his days. Wherever he is, there will be no grainy photos with poor lighting for Max. Kepler continues to be, what the kids say, ~*a vibe*~ Don’t ask us what that means. Which other players would you like to hear from in the offseason? Comment below!
  23. It’s long been the assumption that the Minnesota Twins would be active on the trade market this offseason. While they have money to spend, the best fit could be in shuffling the roster and grabbing players from other organizations. That said, are there pieces other teams will covet? That seems like a silly question because the answer is undoubtedly yes; however, many of Minnesota’s most logical pieces to go have some very real warts. How does that position them with potential suitors, and what does it mean when it comes to crafting a package for a deal? Going through some of the expected names, it’s worth wondering who can overcome the drawbacks, and it will be interesting to see how Derek Falvey positions each asset. Max Kepler Kepler is probably the guy most expected to be moved. With a glut of corner-outfield talent behind him, Minnesota could try to open up an avenue for playing time and allow Kepler the opportunity to flourish somewhere else. Kepler is on a team-friendly deal and plays incredible defense, but the problem is his bat has never blossomed to be what was expected. After the 123 OPS+ in 2019, it dipped to 109 in 2020 and just 98 last year. There’s power from the left side, but a corner outfielder putting up an OPS in the low-.700’s isn’t exactly enticing. The value is likely on an upside play, and the hope that 29 is the year Kepler finally puts it all together for good. Luis Arraez Another popular name when constructing hypothetical trades for the Twins, Arraez is known for being one of the best pure hitters in the game. He has extreme plate discipline and is nearly impossible to strike out. Add in the career .313 batting average, and you’ve got a modern-day Tony Gwynn. Therein lies the problem, though, that skillset translates much differently today. Arraez doesn’t hit for power (just six homers in nearly 1,000 plate appearances), and he isn’t exactly fast either. He can play second base but is stretched there defensively, and both third and left field are adequate roles at best for him. Add in the bulky knees while being just 24-years-old, and that’s probably not something that’s going to get better with age. He’s a utility man with no true defensive home, and while he can be a table-setter, you best have the lineup behind him that can drive in runs. Royce Lewis If you want to start looking at prospects, it’s worth considering the best of the farm. Lewis is a former first overall pick and has been ranked as high as 5th on top 100 prospect lists. He’s now returning following an ACL tear before last season, and he hasn’t played in a minor league game since September 2, 2019. Following the .803 OPS in 2018 as a 19-year-old, Lewis sunk to just a .661 OPS in 2019. He needed to re-establish himself, and reports coming out of St. Paul from the alternative site in 2020 were fantastic. There’s plenty to be uncertain about at this point, though, and it’d be a pretty big misstep to flip such a talent at what could be his lowest value. The Prospect Arms Maybe you want to deal from the pool of depth that should be soon supplementing the big league rotation. Take your pick on the names Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Matt Canterino, Josh Winder. Each of them is near the top of Minnesota’s pitching prospects, and all of them missed time in 2021 due to injury. The lack of game action in 2020 wreaked havoc on so many this season, but the Twins got hit hard in this group especially. How healthy are they each expected to return, and how does the opposition view those internal beliefs when considering a swap? There’s a lot of boom or bust potential with regards to any of these talents. Mitch Garver Included last because he may currently be the Twins best trade asset, but also the one I least want to see go. Ryan Jeffers has hardly established himself as the next backstop, and while more playing time could aid that, Garver is coming off an .875 OPS. Playing through muscle strains in 2020, it was clear that the 2019 .995 OPS wasn’t simply an outlier. Garver was a late-blooming prospect, but at 31, he will be one of the best catchers in baseball. His bat is a catalyst in the Minnesota lineup, and that production would not be easy to replace. If there’s a struggle in flipping Garver for the right value, it’s probably because most organizations are not focused on upgrades behind the dish. Miami was considered the best suitor but recently addressed the position in acquiring Jacob Stallings from the Pirates. Unlike the rest of this group, Garver is the type of trade asset that looks the best on paper, but I’m all for him staying put. Deals are going to be halted for a while now, but when they resume, Minnesota will have to find a delicate balance between moving players for the right value and hanging onto the ones that they expect to benefit most from. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  24. That seems like a silly question because the answer is undoubtedly yes; however, many of Minnesota’s most logical pieces to go have some very real warts. How does that position them with potential suitors, and what does it mean when it comes to crafting a package for a deal? Going through some of the expected names, it’s worth wondering who can overcome the drawbacks, and it will be interesting to see how Derek Falvey positions each asset. Max Kepler Kepler is probably the guy most expected to be moved. With a glut of corner-outfield talent behind him, Minnesota could try to open up an avenue for playing time and allow Kepler the opportunity to flourish somewhere else. Kepler is on a team-friendly deal and plays incredible defense, but the problem is his bat has never blossomed to be what was expected. After the 123 OPS+ in 2019, it dipped to 109 in 2020 and just 98 last year. There’s power from the left side, but a corner outfielder putting up an OPS in the low-.700’s isn’t exactly enticing. The value is likely on an upside play, and the hope that 29 is the year Kepler finally puts it all together for good. Luis Arraez Another popular name when constructing hypothetical trades for the Twins, Arraez is known for being one of the best pure hitters in the game. He has extreme plate discipline and is nearly impossible to strike out. Add in the career .313 batting average, and you’ve got a modern-day Tony Gwynn. Therein lies the problem, though, that skillset translates much differently today. Arraez doesn’t hit for power (just six homers in nearly 1,000 plate appearances), and he isn’t exactly fast either. He can play second base but is stretched there defensively, and both third and left field are adequate roles at best for him. Add in the bulky knees while being just 24-years-old, and that’s probably not something that’s going to get better with age. He’s a utility man with no true defensive home, and while he can be a table-setter, you best have the lineup behind him that can drive in runs. Royce Lewis If you want to start looking at prospects, it’s worth considering the best of the farm. Lewis is a former first overall pick and has been ranked as high as 5th on top 100 prospect lists. He’s now returning following an ACL tear before last season, and he hasn’t played in a minor league game since September 2, 2019. Following the .803 OPS in 2018 as a 19-year-old, Lewis sunk to just a .661 OPS in 2019. He needed to re-establish himself, and reports coming out of St. Paul from the alternative site in 2020 were fantastic. There’s plenty to be uncertain about at this point, though, and it’d be a pretty big misstep to flip such a talent at what could be his lowest value. The Prospect Arms Maybe you want to deal from the pool of depth that should be soon supplementing the big league rotation. Take your pick on the names Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, Matt Canterino, Josh Winder. Each of them is near the top of Minnesota’s pitching prospects, and all of them missed time in 2021 due to injury. The lack of game action in 2020 wreaked havoc on so many this season, but the Twins got hit hard in this group especially. How healthy are they each expected to return, and how does the opposition view those internal beliefs when considering a swap? There’s a lot of boom or bust potential with regards to any of these talents. Mitch Garver Included last because he may currently be the Twins best trade asset, but also the one I least want to see go. Ryan Jeffers has hardly established himself as the next backstop, and while more playing time could aid that, Garver is coming off an .875 OPS. Playing through muscle strains in 2020, it was clear that the 2019 .995 OPS wasn’t simply an outlier. Garver was a late-blooming prospect, but at 31, he will be one of the best catchers in baseball. His bat is a catalyst in the Minnesota lineup, and that production would not be easy to replace. If there’s a struggle in flipping Garver for the right value, it’s probably because most organizations are not focused on upgrades behind the dish. Miami was considered the best suitor but recently addressed the position in acquiring Jacob Stallings from the Pirates. Unlike the rest of this group, Garver is the type of trade asset that looks the best on paper, but I’m all for him staying put. Deals are going to be halted for a while now, but when they resume, Minnesota will have to find a delicate balance between moving players for the right value and hanging onto the ones that they expect to benefit most from. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. Byron Buxton is officially locked up in a Twins uniform for the next seven seasons. As exciting as the news is, there is still the question on who will be Buxton's back up to start this extension year in 2022 as his injury history will still have to be considered each season. Twins Territory can finally take a sigh of relief as late Sunday afternoon multiple sources announced Byron Buxton’s seven-year, $100 million extension with the Minnesota Twins. Buxton’s extension ensures that the Twins will not have to worry about pursuing a new starting center fielder for a long time. However, there is still the likelihood Buxton could miss playing time with an injury in 2022. With Buxton’s injury history still a concern for many, even after this contract extension, the Twins will be weighing their options on who will get the most playing time in centerfield when Buxton is not playing. Right now the Twins have three possible internal choices to back up Buxton when he is not playing in centerfield whether due to injury or a day off from the field. The first option is Max Kepler. Kepler has totaled 84 games in centerfield since 2019 and both he and the Twins front office are looking for him to spend less time in center and more time at his primary position, right field. This does not rule out that Kepler won’t play center field at all in 2022. It’s just more likely that another player will be seen there more often. The next likely player to see playing time in center field behind Buxton is Jake Cave. The majority of Cave’s 281 career games have been played in center field and now that the Twins have signed him to a Major League contract for the 2022 season, there could be an increase in his playing time. Cave’s 2021 season was abysmal at best and one that both he and Twins fans want to put behind them. It is likely, at this time, that Cave will be the primary backup to Buxton in centerfield to start 2022. One other option within the Twins organization, and on the 40-man roster, that could see playing time in center field for the team in 2022 is Gilberto Celestino. Celestino’s brief time with the Twins in 2021 did help the team defensively in Buxton’s absence. Yet Celestino showed he is not ready to face major-league pitching. In his time with the club last season, he had eight hits in just 59 at-bats. Celestino will still need time to develop his hitting with the St. Paul Saints in 2022. If his hitting continues to improve, as it did in Triple-A in 2021, it could provide another chance for him to play in center for the Twins in 2022. There is a fourth option currently in the Twins minor league system that is hopeful to make his MLB debut in 2022 and could see playing time in center field if he does get called up. That is Austin Martin. The timeframe on when the Twins second-best prospect could make his MLB debut is still uncertain. Martin split time between center field and shortstop following his trade to the Twins organization near the July deadline. He played 46 games in center and 43 at short for the Wichita Wind Surge. Martin’s primary position may be tweaked by the Twins following the Buxton extension, but if he does get called up in 2022, that won’t rule out any playing time he could see in center field with the Twins. Buxton’s extension with the Twins doesn’t dismiss the fact that the Twins won’t try to add more depth to the outfield either. A utility player like Danny Santana or super-utility player such as Chris Taylor could be options for the Twins to still pursue. Taylor and Santana are examples of players who aren’t primarily center fielders yet can still fill in holes for the Twins at other positions where they’re needed such as shortstop. Taylor would be the perfect fit for the Twins because he can play shortstop and back up Buxton in center. Santana, not so much. Santana has only played 12 games at shortstop since the start of the 2016 season and many more games at almost every other position, including center field. The great take away from the Buxton extension is that the Twins organization can be comfortable with a star centerfielder once again playing out his career with the Twins. Buxton’s injury history does warrant a need to have depth in center field. The Twins have solid options to work within the organization, but they could still pursue options outside their system to help ensure Buxton has the right players supporting him in center field when he isn’t playing. View full article
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