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  1. Minnesota's bullpen received an influx of talent at the trade deadline. How will Rocco Baldelli organize the Twins' new bullpen hierarchy? The Twins added Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer to a bullpen that has struggled for most of the 2022 campaign. Jhoan Duran has been unbelievable during his rookie campaign, and Griffin Jax has emerged as a late-inning weapon. How do these pieces fit into the new bullpen hierarchy? The Closer: Jorge López Baseball has gotten away from a traditional closer role, and the Twins have followed this trend under Rocco Baldelli. So far in 2022, seven different relievers have earned a save, with Emilio Pagan (9 saves) and Jhoan Duran (6 saves) leading the team. In his first full season as a reliever, López became an All-Star, and now he finds himself in the middle of the pennant race. It seems likely for him to get the majority of the save situations down the stretch. The Fireman: Jhoan Duran Adding López allows the Twins to use Duran in each game's most important moments. For instance, the team can use him when the middle of the line-up is scheduled to bat in the sixth inning or if the starter runs into trouble in a tight game. Duran has also shown the ability to pitch more than one inning as he has recorded more than three outs in 11 of his 38 appearances. Duran will still get some save opportunities, but now Baldelli has more flexibility regarding when to use him. The Set-Up Men: Michael Fulmer, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar Minnesota relied on Jax and Thielbar in roles they weren't expected to fill at the season's start. Thielbar has more appearances than anyone on the team, and Jax has been the team's most successful reliever outside of Duran. According to fWAR, Thielbar and Jax only trail Duran among Twins relievers. Since June 22, Thielbar has an ERA under 2.00 while holding opponents to a .539 OPS. Jax has a 53-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio in 49 innings while holding batters to a .363 SLG. Fulmer's addition allows Thielbar and Jax to be pushed down the bullpen hierarchy in roles they were expected to occupy earlier in the season. First Out of the Pen: Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, Jovani Moran, Cole Sands The Twins used Pagán, Megill and Tyler Duffey in Thursday's loss, where they combined to allow nine runs (eight earned). Pagán hasn't been a good reliever since 2019, and he continues to be dreadful for the Twins. Duffey saw his velocity drop for the third consecutive season and the team waived him on Friday. According to Win Probability Added, Pagán and Duffey have been worth -2.12 wins for the Twins in 2022. Megill has only allowed multiple earned runs in three of his 20 appearances, and he wasn't expected to fit a high leverage role. Moran has struggled with control at the big-league level, but his change-up can be a bullpen weapon. Sands struggled with the Twins but he has done so in a small sample size of just over 16 innings. Minnesota's bullpen significantly improves with the addition of López and Fulmer. Moving other players down the bullpen hierarchy will hopefully be able to find more success in less high leverage situations. The Twins have led the AL Central for most of the season, and the bullpen will be essential if the team wants to win their third division title in the last four years. How would you organize the new bullpen hierarchy if you were the manager? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. The Twins added Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer to a bullpen that has struggled for most of the 2022 campaign. Jhoan Duran has been unbelievable during his rookie campaign, and Griffin Jax has emerged as a late-inning weapon. How do these pieces fit into the new bullpen hierarchy? The Closer: Jorge López Baseball has gotten away from a traditional closer role, and the Twins have followed this trend under Rocco Baldelli. So far in 2022, seven different relievers have earned a save, with Emilio Pagan (9 saves) and Jhoan Duran (6 saves) leading the team. In his first full season as a reliever, López became an All-Star, and now he finds himself in the middle of the pennant race. It seems likely for him to get the majority of the save situations down the stretch. The Fireman: Jhoan Duran Adding López allows the Twins to use Duran in each game's most important moments. For instance, the team can use him when the middle of the line-up is scheduled to bat in the sixth inning or if the starter runs into trouble in a tight game. Duran has also shown the ability to pitch more than one inning as he has recorded more than three outs in 11 of his 38 appearances. Duran will still get some save opportunities, but now Baldelli has more flexibility regarding when to use him. The Set-Up Men: Michael Fulmer, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar Minnesota relied on Jax and Thielbar in roles they weren't expected to fill at the season's start. Thielbar has more appearances than anyone on the team, and Jax has been the team's most successful reliever outside of Duran. According to fWAR, Thielbar and Jax only trail Duran among Twins relievers. Since June 22, Thielbar has an ERA under 2.00 while holding opponents to a .539 OPS. Jax has a 53-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio in 49 innings while holding batters to a .363 SLG. Fulmer's addition allows Thielbar and Jax to be pushed down the bullpen hierarchy in roles they were expected to occupy earlier in the season. First Out of the Pen: Emilio Pagán, Trevor Megill, Jovani Moran, Cole Sands The Twins used Pagán, Megill and Tyler Duffey in Thursday's loss, where they combined to allow nine runs (eight earned). Pagán hasn't been a good reliever since 2019, and he continues to be dreadful for the Twins. Duffey saw his velocity drop for the third consecutive season and the team waived him on Friday. According to Win Probability Added, Pagán and Duffey have been worth -2.12 wins for the Twins in 2022. Megill has only allowed multiple earned runs in three of his 20 appearances, and he wasn't expected to fit a high leverage role. Moran has struggled with control at the big-league level, but his change-up can be a bullpen weapon. Sands struggled with the Twins but he has done so in a small sample size of just over 16 innings. Minnesota's bullpen significantly improves with the addition of López and Fulmer. Moving other players down the bullpen hierarchy will hopefully be able to find more success in less high leverage situations. The Twins have led the AL Central for most of the season, and the bullpen will be essential if the team wants to win their third division title in the last four years. How would you organize the new bullpen hierarchy if you were the manager? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. The Minnesota Twins have an exciting matchup in Game 2 as they'll face their former teammate in RHP José Berríos while also seeing their brand new pitcher they acquired on Tuesday in RHP Tyler Mahle. They both have similar numbers so it should be fun to see how this game plays out. José Berríos has been struggling this season but the last time he faced his former team, he looked like his old stellar self - 7IP 3H 2R/ER 2BB 13K 1HR & his 4th win of the season in a 12-3 shallacking in Toronto. That was the beginning of June. Since then, he's gone 4-2 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP with 11 walks and 57 strikeouts in 10 starts and 57.2 innings. The Minnesota Twins will also want to rebound from last night's 9-3 loss. Twinsactions (Twins Transactions) The Minnesota Twins made a couple more moves today and one of them is somewhat shocking, more for who it is than for why, though. RHP Tyler Duffey was Designated For Assignment (DFA) or Release today after spending the last 10 years in the organization and exactly 7 years with the big club when he made his Major League Debut on August 5th, 2012. 7 Years to the Day from his Major League Debut It makes sense but it’s still a difficult move since he had turned himself into a very effective reliever since the beginning of the 2019 season. Unfortunately, he’s been far from that this season. He’s lost velocity on his fastball and the control of his nasty curveball hasn’t been there for the majority of the season so hitters were able to sit on that fastball and his curveball was popping up too much so it was likely easy to recognize right away out of his hand. He messed around with a changeup in July but only threw 33 of them even though it really seemed to help keep hitters off their timing. We would assume the Twins would like to see him clear waivers so he could get to St. Paul and be able to get some work in down there to see if he can get back to being a reliable option out of the bullpen. Rookie RHP Cole Sands was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to take Duffey’s place on the 26-man roster. It was also reported that reliever RHP Jharel Cotton and starter RHP Aaron Sanchez cleared waivers and reported to Triple-A St. Paul. Here’s how both teams lined up: Minnesota Twins Lineup: Toronto Blue Jays Lineup: Game Recap Twins fans didn’t have to wait long to see their newest starting pitcher as it took just 4 pitches for RHP Tyler Mahle to strike out CF Whit Merrifield swinging for his 1st out for his new team. 1B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. grounded out to short and DH Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. flew out to left field. Former Twins starting pitcher RHP José Berríos was making his 2nd start at Target Field as an opponent and he started it by setting the Twins down 1-2-3 on 7 pitches as the Twins were looking for that early fastball. RF Teoscar Hernández led off the 2nd inning with a line drive to right center field for a single, at least. He tried to extend it to a double but CF Mark Contreras was on his horse knowing he might have to try to keep this hit to a single. He got to it, turned and fired a strike to 2nd for the first outfield assist of his MLB career* and Hernández had to settle for a single and a seat on the bench in the dugout. SS Bo Bichette struck out swinging and 3B Matt Chapman flew out to CF to end the top of the 2nd. Teoscar Hernández singles on a sharp line drive to CF Mark Contreras... The Twins got a 1-out single from LF Nick Gordon but it was quickly taken care of by an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Blue Jays C Danny Jansen walked to lead off the 3rd inning but LF Raimel Tapia grounded into a 5-4-3 double play quickly cleared the bases and Tyler Mahle then struck out 2B Santiago Espinal on a foul tip to end the top of the 3rd inning. 1B Tim Beckham grounded out to 3rd to begin the bottom of the 3rd then CF Mark Contreras, fresh off a great defensive play in the previous half inning, put the Twins in front with his 2nd home run of the season to the bullpen in left center field. Marko Oppo! Mark Contreras is making you remember his name tonight! C Sandy León struck out looking and 2B Luis Arraez flew out to left field to end the 3rd. 1-0 Twins Mahle set the Blue Jays down 1-2-3 via groundout, strikeout and flyout. The Twins then got a leadoff double from SS Carlos Correa followed by a walk from Jorge Polanco and an RBI-single to center from 3B Jose Miranda (DYKM?) on the very next pitch. A mound visit was then followed by Nick Gordon sending a loud blast to right field for a 3-run shot and his 5th home run of the season on the 1st pitch he saw. Nick Gordon takes José Berríos deep with a 3-run HR (5) to put the Twins up 5-0 Cave flew out to CF, Beckham singled to deep short for an infield hit, Contreras lined out to CF, León walked and that was it for José Berríos as the Blue Jays made a pitching change to RHP Trevor Richards. Luis Arraez flew out to left field again to end the 4th inning but what an inning… 5-0 Twins A 2-out blast off the bat of Matt Chapman (21) reminded most fans that this game was far from over. The Twins got a 2-out walk but that’s all in the 5th. 5-1 Twins The comeback got 1 run closer with a 1-out HR from Santiago Espinal (7). A Whit Merrifield single followed and that brought up Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and he fouled off the 2nd & 4th pitches, both of them fastballs then he crushed a slider over the center field wall to bring the Jays within 1. Vlad the Impaler chopped the lead down to 1 run! Mahle struck out Gurriel, Jr. swinging then got Hernández to line out to center to keep the Minnesota Twins in the lead. 5-4 Twins Zach Pop replaced Trevor Richards and Jake Cave greeted him with a base hit to left field but Tim Beckham grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to take all the good feelings away. Contreras then popped out to 3rd to end the 6th. RHP Griffin Jax replaced Tyler Mahle to pitch the 7th for the Twins. RHP Tyler Mahle’s Final Line 6IP 5H 4R/ER 1BB 5K 3HR - 86 pitches (61 strikes) In Line for the Win Tyler Mahle went 6 innings but allowed 3 HRs, all on sliders too high in the zone. Those balls are gone now! Jax used his slider to strike out the side in the 7th getting Bichette swinging, Chapman looking and Jansen swinging on just 11 pitches. Mow ‘em Down, Griff! I’ll call that Air Force because that sounds good! SLIIIIIDER! Hey, how ‘bout a stretch between the top & bottom of the 7th inning, huh? Sandy León then led off the bottom of the 7th with his 2nd double of the season in his 2nd game as a Twin. The Blue Jays replaced Zach Pop with RHP Adam Cimber, a submariner pitcher and Luis Arraez lined out to center. Carlos Correa singled but Sandy León could only advance to 3rd on a slow ground ball through the right side. Jorge Polanco struck out, leaving it up to Jose Miranda to pick him up to help the Twins get an insurance run… but he flew out to center field to end the 7th. Still 5-4 Twins RHP Jhoan Duran replaced Jax to pitch the 8th for Minnesota and he got Tapia to ground out to short for the 1st out. Toronto pinch-hit Alexandro Kirk for Santiago Espinal. The at-bat started with two straight high heaters at 101 mph. Duran got strike one with another 101 that was taken then he threw a perfect pitch that hit the high outside corner of the zone but was called a ball. Man, that’s frustrating. 3-1 is a whole lot different than 2-2, blue! COME ON! Another heater, this one in the zone at 102.1 mph, was fouled off to make it a full count and Jhoan reared back and threw the next pitch 102.8 mph that was swung through for the 2nd out. Whit Merrifield took the 1st pitch, also the first non-fastball, for strike 1 then he hit the 2nd one to right field for a single. Guerrero, Jr. came to the plate and singled to right field as well but Duran got Gurriel, Jr. to ground out to 3rd to end the top of the 8th and.. Still 5-4 Twins Whit Merrifield moved to 2nd base and Bradley Zimmer replaced Alexandro Kirk, batting 9th and playing center field. RHP David Phelps replaced Adam Cimber. Nick Gordon led off the bottom of the 8th with a ground rule double (15) on the first pitch. Jake Cave flew out to center field and Gordon just bluffed an attempt to advance to 3rd. Tim Beckham struck out swinging on a check swing and Contreras also struck out swinging to send it to the 9th and new closer Jorge López to face Teoscar Hernández, Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman. Hernández grounded out softly back to the pitcher. Bichette singled through the left side. Chapman flew out to 2nd. Danny Jansen singled to right field on a sharp ground ball. Bichette advanced to 2nd. Down 0-2 in the count, Raimel Tapia fought off an inside sinker to get it to land in short center field to tie the game. Raimel Tapia ties the game in the 9th! Cavan Biggio pinch-hit for Zimmer then flew out to left field but… The Game is Tied at 5! Whit Merrifield moved back to center field, Cavan Biggio took over at 2nd base and RHP Yimi Garcia replaced David Phelps and Gio Urshela, pinch-hitting for Sandy León, singled to right field and was pinch-run for with Gilberto Celestino. Luis Arraez grounded out to 2nd. Celestino advanced to 2nd but he had to make sure the ball didn’t hit him and it ended up bouncing through his legs. Correa reached on a fielding error by Biggio and Celestino advanced to 3rd. Polanco was intentionally walked. Miranda struck out swinging and Nick Gordon flew out to left field so we have… FREE BASEBALL!!! Even if we didn’t want it! DOH! RHP Michael Fulmer replaced Jorge López to pitch the 10th for the Twins. Biggio started the inning at 2nd base. Whit Merrifield struck out swinging for the 1st out. Guerrero, Jr. got the unintentional intentional walk. Gurriel, Jr. singled to center. Biggio advanced to 3rd because he had to hold up as the hit went over Arraez’s head and he wouldn’t want to get doubled up so the bases were loaded with 1 out. Hernández struck out swinging so it was up to Bichette and… HE STRUCK OUT LOOKING!!! RHP Jordan Romano replaced Yimi Garcia to try to keep the game tied against Jake Cave, Tim Beckham and Mark Contreras. Nick Gordon began the inning at 2nd base. Cave was taxed with trying to bunt Gordon over to 3rd. He missed the first pitch. He pulled back on the 2nd & 3rd pitches to make it 1-2. He fouled off the 4th pitch to even the count and he took the 5th pitch to fill the count. He swung through the payoff pitch but it wasn’t caught so Cave took off for 1st base…and Blue Jays C Danny Jansen tried to tag him but he wasn’t close enough so he had to try a lob throw to 1st because he was in foul territory and Cave was between him and Guerrero at 1st base. Up to the plate came Tim Beckham. He took the first pitch for a ball. Cave took 2nd base but it’s fielder’s indifference since his run didn't matter. On the 2nd pitch, Beckham hit a grounder to 3rd but the contact play was on so Nick Gordon took off for home. Matt Chapman fielded the ball and threw home but the ball hit the ground in front of Jansen making it hard to catch and Nick Gordon slid into home. It looked like he was out but Jansen never had the ball so… THAT IS A WALK OFF WIN!!! Tim Beckham put the ball in play & the contact play was on... Condensed Game Game Highlights (8;51 Run Time) ––––– TT ––––– Final Score Toronto Blue Jays 5 | 6 Minnesota Twins W-Fulmer(4-4-) L-Romano(3-3) Pitching Starters MN: RHP Tyler Mahle: 6IP 5H 4R/ER 1BB 5K 3HR - No Decision TOR: RHP José Berríos: 3.2IP 6H 5R/ER 2BB 1K 2HR - No Decision Bullpen MN: RHP Griffin Jax: 1IP 3K- 11th Hold RHP Jhoan Duran: 1IP 2H 1K - 12th Hold RHP Jorge López: 1IP 3H 1R/ER - 5th Blown Save RHP Michael Fulmer: 1IP 1H 1BB 3K - 4th Win TOR: RHP Trevor Richards: 1.1IP 1BB RHP Zach Pop: 1IP 2H RHP Adam Cimber: 1IP 1H 1K RHP David Phelps: 1IP 1H 2K RHP Yimi Garcia: 1IP 1H 1BB 1K RHP Jordan Romano: 0IP 1R 1K Hitting Home Runs MN: Mark Contreras(2), Nick Gordon(5) TOR: Matt Chapman(21), Santiago Espinal(7), Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.(23) Doubles MN: Carlos Correa(15), Sandy León(2), Gordon(15) TOR: None 2-Out RBI: MN (Inning): None TOR (Inning): Matt Chapman, Raimel Tapia Outfield Assist: MN: Mark Contreras(1) (2nd Inning) Team RISP MN: 3-for-15 TOR: 2-for-7 Team LOB (Left On Base) MN: 11 TOR: 7 ––––– TT ––––– We made our Game Notes section a separate article ––––– TT ––––– Next Up Game 3 at 6:10pm on Bally Sports North: Minnesota Twins RHP Dylan Bundy (6-5, 5.04 ERA, 1.29 WHIP*) vs Toronto Blue Jays RHP Mitch White (1-2, 3.70 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) *ERA=Earned Run Average, WHIP=Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched ––––– TT ––––– Thank You for reading our TwinsTakes! 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  4. “This feels like a thing that New York and Boston teams do while the rest of us trade for Sidney Ponson. Something isn’t right.” Minnesota shored up its rotation and battered bullpen in front of the 2022 MLB trade deadline to near-universal acclaim from local and national media. With the team’s obvious needs met at the cost of a handful of good prospects, local fans are left wondering what happened. “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works,” said Bruce Johnstone, a retired teacher from Alexandria. “You need to be like (former Vikings GM) Rick Spielman and draft quarterbacks who can’t throw or just forget to sign offensive linemen. Then you keep the job for 15 years. There are rules.” The Twins acquired frontline starter Tyler Mahle from the Reds, closer Jorge Lopez from the Orioles, and setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers. The troubling display of attention to roster shortcomings makes Johnstone wonder when the next shoe will drop. “When you’re the Twins, you sign the deflated shell of Bret Boone or pretend Matt Shoemaker just needs a few adjustments,” said the 66-year-old. “Getting the right people at a manageable cost feels like a thing that the Yankees or Red Sox do while we trade for Sidney Ponson. Something isn’t right. I want some answers.” Brenda Perkins, a diehard Twins and Minnesota Wild fan, agrees. “If you’re a GM, the thing you do is sign veterans to these giant [REDACTED] millstone contracts,” said the 35-year-old Plymouth native. “Put them on the payroll until they’re 58, watch their skills degrade in real-time, and destroy your salary cap for a couple decades. Reasonable moves made to help bolster a pennant run without mortgaging the future? What are we even doing here?” It’s not just fans. Aaron Gleeman, Twins beat writer for The Athletic and celebrity spokesperson for Scribe’s Choice Neck Fan Solutions, LLC, says he is as surprised as anyone. “This is out of the ordinary, to say the least,” said Gleeman. “It’s usually tweaks or sell-offs. I think a lot of us are using code SURPRISE to get 30% off a 1-year subscription to The Athletic. It’s remarkable.” For his part, Johnstone is keeping it all in perspective. “Two of those guys will need Tommy John before Labor Day. A piano will fall on Byron Buxton. Spencer Steer is the next Mike Trout. The alternative is too bizarre to contemplate: a Minnesota team made a series of shrewd acquisitions to improve their playoff chances. Yeah, right.” View full article
  5. Minnesota shored up its rotation and battered bullpen in front of the 2022 MLB trade deadline to near-universal acclaim from local and national media. With the team’s obvious needs met at the cost of a handful of good prospects, local fans are left wondering what happened. “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works,” said Bruce Johnstone, a retired teacher from Alexandria. “You need to be like (former Vikings GM) Rick Spielman and draft quarterbacks who can’t throw or just forget to sign offensive linemen. Then you keep the job for 15 years. There are rules.” The Twins acquired frontline starter Tyler Mahle from the Reds, closer Jorge Lopez from the Orioles, and setup man Michael Fulmer from the Tigers. The troubling display of attention to roster shortcomings makes Johnstone wonder when the next shoe will drop. “When you’re the Twins, you sign the deflated shell of Bret Boone or pretend Matt Shoemaker just needs a few adjustments,” said the 66-year-old. “Getting the right people at a manageable cost feels like a thing that the Yankees or Red Sox do while we trade for Sidney Ponson. Something isn’t right. I want some answers.” Brenda Perkins, a diehard Twins and Minnesota Wild fan, agrees. “If you’re a GM, the thing you do is sign veterans to these giant [REDACTED] millstone contracts,” said the 35-year-old Plymouth native. “Put them on the payroll until they’re 58, watch their skills degrade in real-time, and destroy your salary cap for a couple decades. Reasonable moves made to help bolster a pennant run without mortgaging the future? What are we even doing here?” It’s not just fans. Aaron Gleeman, Twins beat writer for The Athletic and celebrity spokesperson for Scribe’s Choice Neck Fan Solutions, LLC, says he is as surprised as anyone. “This is out of the ordinary, to say the least,” said Gleeman. “It’s usually tweaks or sell-offs. I think a lot of us are using code SURPRISE to get 30% off a 1-year subscription to The Athletic. It’s remarkable.” For his part, Johnstone is keeping it all in perspective. “Two of those guys will need Tommy John before Labor Day. A piano will fall on Byron Buxton. Spencer Steer is the next Mike Trout. The alternative is too bizarre to contemplate: a Minnesota team made a series of shrewd acquisitions to improve their playoff chances. Yeah, right.”
  6. The Minnesota Twins added a starting pitcher, two relief pitchers and a backup catcher option before Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline. They lost some really good prospects to do so. With a day to reflect, what are your thoughts on what the Twins did at the deadline? The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others. View full article
  7. Minnesota’s pitchers combined for a fantastic afternoon on the mound, and the offense came through when needed, despite some early struggles, helping the Twins to secure a series victory against the Tigers at Target Field. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7 View full article
  8. The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others.
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7
  10. The Minnesota Twins made significant upgrades to their pitching staff at the MLB trade deadline, adding Tyler Mahle, Jorge López and Michael Fulmer. Here is some information on those new acquisitions, my thoughts on the trades and overall grade for the deadline.
  11. The Minnesota Twins made significant upgrades to their pitching staff at the MLB trade deadline, adding Tyler Mahle, Jorge López and Michael Fulmer. Here is some information on those new acquisitions, my thoughts on the trades and overall grade for the deadline. View full video
  12. Jon Heyman has reported the Minnesota Twins have acquired relief pitcher Michael Fulmer from the Detroit Tigers. Fulmer has served as primarily as the Tigers 8th inning set-up man, recording 39K in 39 IP, and posting a 3.20 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. In return, the Twins drafted Double-A RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long. The last two years, Michael Fulmer has owned a 3.06 ERA, and that coincides with him increasing the usage of his slider to the point where he is throwing it almost 65% of the time this year. That includes almost 72% of the time versus right-handers, who are posting just a 401 OPS(!) against him this year. Twins fans may remember the right-hander as less dominant, as he’s been knocked around by the Twins twice over the last month, including giving up two critical runs in last night’s Twins win. Overall, since July 1st, he’s been less effective, with a 6.55 ERA, though he’s also struck out 11 in 11 innings pitched, and not given up a home run. But he’s also walked seven over that span, and control has been an issue with 20 walks in 39 innings this year. But that’s not terribly uncommon for a slider-first pitcher. Overall, his performance has not matched his relatively encouraging numbers: his Win Probability Added (WPA) is -0.22, though it was in positive territory before last night's Twins comeback. Since the Twins play the Tigers again tonight, it's possible that Fulmer will simply switch dugouts and be available for tonight's game. Fulmer is purely a rental for this season. He is due to become a free agent at the end of this year for the first time in his career. The 29-year-old is far from a dominant reliever but he has proved to be a fairly reliable arm, and the slider-first philosophy meshes well with the organization and pitching staff. He should remain in fairly middle to low leverage situations since the Twins also acquired Orioles closer Jorge Lopez earlier today. As such, his job will be to provide manager Rocco Baldelli at least a little more depth to handle some of the middle-inning issues that have cost the team several games. To acquire Fulmer, the Twins traded right-handed pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. The 24-year-old was the Twins sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Mercer. This season began in High-A Cedar Rapids where he went 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA. He had 52 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. He was recently promoted to Double-A Wichita and is 3-4 with a 7.17 ERA over 37 2/3 innings. He has 35 strikeouts. Overall this season, he has 19 walks and 87 strikeouts over 87 1/3 innings. He ranked #20 Twins Prospect by Twins Daily in July. With just minutes remaining before the trade deadline, will the Twins make any more moves? View full article
  13. There was no denying the Minnesota Twins needed pitching help at the trade deadline, and the front office came through in every way imaginable. With 15 minutes left before the bell rung, the club acquired its second relief arm in the form of Michael Fulmer. Sending 24-year-old prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Michael Fulmer, Minnesota picked up its first rental. A former first-round pick for the Tigers, Fulmer stepped away from working as a starter following a disastrous 2020 season. Since moving to the bullpen he’s been a great weapon and adds to the depth created with the acquisition of Pablo Lopez earlier today. Last season Fulmer posted a 2.97 ERA and 3.46 FIP across 69 2/3 innings. Utilized solely as a reliever this season, Fulmer has tallied a 3.20 ERA alongside a 3.22 FIP. Fulmer’s 28% hard-hit rate this season is a career-low and in 107 batted ball events he has allowed just a single barrel. While some pitchers see a spike in velocity when moving to the bullpen, that hasn’t been the case for Fulmer. He has remained consistent as a mid-90’s thrower. Much more fastball dominant as a starter, Fulmer has turned to a slider over 60% of the time this season and it’s among the best pitches in baseball. Despite throwing it that often, opponents are hitting just .140/.250/.151 against it. Like the previously-acquired Jorge Lopez, Fulmer has also recorded saves and pitched in late-game situations. Detroit employs All-Star Gregory Soto as their closer, but Fulmer has worked as a setup man and gives Rocco Baldelli another arm to work alongside Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax. Drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft, Sawyer Gipson-Long came from Mercer University. He started this season back at High-A Cedar Rapids and was dominant with a 1.99 ERA. That came on the heels of a strong showing across six starts to end the 2021 season with the Kernels. Having made eight appearances (7 starts) for Double-A Wichita, Gipson-Long owns a 7.17 ERA. The command and strikeout stuff have still been good, but he’s been hit around, allowing an 11.0 H/9. Certainly a prospect with some promise still, there’s plenty of risk here to not count on him for the future. Going into the deadline Minnesota wanted to avoid rentals, but this is one that makes sense. Fulmer is making just $4.95 million this season, and while there is some upside, Gipson-Long isn’t a substantial price to pay. Whatever value the Twins get from a bolstered relief unit this season is likely to outweigh contributions from Gipson-Long years from now. View full article
  14. Sending 24-year-old prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Michael Fulmer, Minnesota picked up its first rental. A former first-round pick for the Tigers, Fulmer stepped away from working as a starter following a disastrous 2020 season. Since moving to the bullpen he’s been a great weapon and adds to the depth created with the acquisition of Pablo Lopez earlier today. Last season Fulmer posted a 2.97 ERA and 3.46 FIP across 69 2/3 innings. Utilized solely as a reliever this season, Fulmer has tallied a 3.20 ERA alongside a 3.22 FIP. Fulmer’s 28% hard-hit rate this season is a career-low and in 107 batted ball events he has allowed just a single barrel. While some pitchers see a spike in velocity when moving to the bullpen, that hasn’t been the case for Fulmer. He has remained consistent as a mid-90’s thrower. Much more fastball dominant as a starter, Fulmer has turned to a slider over 60% of the time this season and it’s among the best pitches in baseball. Despite throwing it that often, opponents are hitting just .140/.250/.151 against it. Like the previously-acquired Jorge Lopez, Fulmer has also recorded saves and pitched in late-game situations. Detroit employs All-Star Gregory Soto as their closer, but Fulmer has worked as a setup man and gives Rocco Baldelli another arm to work alongside Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax. Drafted in the 6th round of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft, Sawyer Gipson-Long came from Mercer University. He started this season back at High-A Cedar Rapids and was dominant with a 1.99 ERA. That came on the heels of a strong showing across six starts to end the 2021 season with the Kernels. Having made eight appearances (7 starts) for Double-A Wichita, Gipson-Long owns a 7.17 ERA. The command and strikeout stuff have still been good, but he’s been hit around, allowing an 11.0 H/9. Certainly a prospect with some promise still, there’s plenty of risk here to not count on him for the future. Going into the deadline Minnesota wanted to avoid rentals, but this is one that makes sense. Fulmer is making just $4.95 million this season, and while there is some upside, Gipson-Long isn’t a substantial price to pay. Whatever value the Twins get from a bolstered relief unit this season is likely to outweigh contributions from Gipson-Long years from now.
  15. The last two years, Michael Fulmer has owned a 3.06 ERA, and that coincides with him increasing the usage of his slider to the point where he is throwing it almost 65% of the time this year. That includes almost 72% of the time versus right-handers, who are posting just a 401 OPS(!) against him this year. Twins fans may remember the right-hander as less dominant, as he’s been knocked around by the Twins twice over the last month, including giving up two critical runs in last night’s Twins win. Overall, since July 1st, he’s been less effective, with a 6.55 ERA, though he’s also struck out 11 in 11 innings pitched, and not given up a home run. But he’s also walked seven over that span, and control has been an issue with 20 walks in 39 innings this year. But that’s not terribly uncommon for a slider-first pitcher. Overall, his performance has not matched his relatively encouraging numbers: his Win Probability Added (WPA) is -0.22, though it was in positive territory before last night's Twins comeback. Since the Twins play the Tigers again tonight, it's possible that Fulmer will simply switch dugouts and be available for tonight's game. Fulmer is purely a rental for this season. He is due to become a free agent at the end of this year for the first time in his career. The 29-year-old is far from a dominant reliever but he has proved to be a fairly reliable arm, and the slider-first philosophy meshes well with the organization and pitching staff. He should remain in fairly middle to low leverage situations since the Twins also acquired Orioles closer Jorge Lopez earlier today. As such, his job will be to provide manager Rocco Baldelli at least a little more depth to handle some of the middle-inning issues that have cost the team several games. To acquire Fulmer, the Twins traded right-handed pitching prospect Sawyer Gipson-Long. The 24-year-old was the Twins sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Mercer. This season began in High-A Cedar Rapids where he went 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA. He had 52 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings. He was recently promoted to Double-A Wichita and is 3-4 with a 7.17 ERA over 37 2/3 innings. He has 35 strikeouts. Overall this season, he has 19 walks and 87 strikeouts over 87 1/3 innings. He ranked #20 Twins Prospect by Twins Daily in July. With just minutes remaining before the trade deadline, will the Twins make any more moves?
  16. We are officially into trade deadline season and the Minnesota Twins are leading the American League Central Division. It’s all but certain they’ll make additions to a squad they signed Carlos Correa to play for, and the bullpen may be their most integral need. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins' rosters. Hitters were included, but the analysis focused on pitchers. Rocco Baldelli’s club would benefit from both starting and relief arms, but we’ll start in the bullpen. The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets The 5 Best Starting Pitching Trade Targets Following Wes Johnson’s departure for LSU, Pete Maki has taken over as pitching coach. We haven’t and won’t see some seismic shift in the relief group, but it’s clear that names like Tyler Duffey and Emilio Pagan have walked a tightrope at times this year. It’s necessary that Minnesota supplements its group and brings in help. Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Michael Fulmer - Detroit Tigers - 29 yrs old 0.7 fWAR 2.15 ERA 3.12 FIP 8.9 K/9 The former 1st round pick and top prospect has transitioned from the rotation to the bullpen. Over the past two seasons, he’s posted a 2.73 ERA across 99 innings. His 3.36 FIP suggests the ERA is relatively believable. He has a solid 9.3 K/9 in that time, though it has dipped some this season. He’s been incredibly stingy when looking at home run rates, and that’s something that has bit Twins relievers to this point. Fulmer has a solid 2.22 xERA but the 4.25 xFIP could be concerning. He has also had arm issues in the past and his velocity is down a bit from where it was last season. Signed for just $4.95 million this season, he’s a free agent in 2023. Joe Mantiply - Arizona Diamondbacks - 31 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.20 ERA 1.92 FIP 8.7 K/9 Mantiply is a well-traveled veteran that didn’t establish himself in the majors until last season with Arizona. Across 39 2/3 innings, he posted a solid 3.40 ERA with even better peripherals. This season he’s substantiated it by performing better. Mantiply owns a 1.75 xERA and a 2.48 xFIP. He rarely serves up a long ball and he’s got a 29/1 K/BB across 30 innings this season. He is one of just three pitchers in the majors yet to allow a barreled ball this season, and he’s been a shining light on an otherwise baseball Diamondbacks ballclub. As a lefty, he could bring an otherwise under-represented handedness to the relief core. Mantiply throws just 90.6 mph with his fastball, just a bit below where he was last season, but he’s a sinker slider pitcher. Mantiply is pre-arbitration and won’t hit the market until 2027. Anthony Bass - Miami Dolphins - 34 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.60 ERA 2.34 FIP 8.0 K/9 One of baseball’s more consistent relievers since 2018, Bass has ratcheted up his performance this season for the Marlins. He had a decent year in 2021 but owns a 2.74 xERA and 3.77 xFIP in 2022. He’s giving up a career-low number of free passes and longballs, while also being within a sub-1.000 WHIP for just the second time in his career. Pushing his fastball to 95.1 mph this season, he’s near a career-best in average velocity. Bass dominates with his slider, a pitch that Minnesota loves to use. He’s in the final year of his contract with the Marlins but carries a $3 million team option for 2023. David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates - 27 yrs old 1.0 fWAR 2.43 ERA 2.52 FIP 12.2 K/9 The Pittsburgh Pirates have a surprisingly low number of enticing assets despite being a team willing to sell, but that’s what happens when you’re bad. Wil Crowe could be moved from their pen too, but Bednar is the prize. A 2.82 xERA and 2.92 xFIP are both very strong. The strikeout numbers are great, and Bednar allows just a 27.4% hard-hit rate. He averages 97 mph on his fastball and is generating a career-best 15.8% whiff rate. Bednar has been a dominant arm out of the pen for the Pirates each of the past two seasons and has closing experience as well. With youth to his credit and under team control through 2026, he’ll have a higher price tag. Scott Effross - Chicago Cubs - 28 yrs old 1.1 fWAR 2.62 ERA 1.63 FIP 11.5 K/9 After signing Marcus Stroman this winter I’d imagine the Cubs were hoping to be better than this. They aren’t though, and Effross is the gem of the bullpen. Making 14 appearances in 2021, Effross has taken a small sample size and improved upon it. His 2.15 xERA and 2.42 xFIP are both impressive, and he’s avoided damage thanks to a 21.8% hard-hit rate. Effross is not a big velocity guy, averaging just over 90 mph on his fastball, but the sinker slider combo is one the Twins continue to work with. Effross doesn’t get a massive amount of swinging strikes, but he’s generated a good chase rate and is allowing just a 77.5% contact rate. Like Bednar, Effross is younger and remains under team control through 2027. Which reliever would you like to see the Twins trade for and why? View full article
  17. Last week I wrote a Trade Manifesto presenting 49 names that could be a potential fit to the Twins' rosters. Hitters were included, but the analysis focused on pitchers. Rocco Baldelli’s club would benefit from both starting and relief arms, but we’ll start in the bullpen. The 5 Best Hitting Trade Targets The 5 Best Starting Pitching Trade Targets Following Wes Johnson’s departure for LSU, Pete Maki has taken over as pitching coach. We haven’t and won’t see some seismic shift in the relief group, but it’s clear that names like Tyler Duffey and Emilio Pagan have walked a tightrope at times this year. It’s necessary that Minnesota supplements its group and brings in help. Here are the five best names from the Trade Manifesto that they could acquire: Michael Fulmer - Detroit Tigers - 29 yrs old 0.7 fWAR 2.15 ERA 3.12 FIP 8.9 K/9 The former 1st round pick and top prospect has transitioned from the rotation to the bullpen. Over the past two seasons, he’s posted a 2.73 ERA across 99 innings. His 3.36 FIP suggests the ERA is relatively believable. He has a solid 9.3 K/9 in that time, though it has dipped some this season. He’s been incredibly stingy when looking at home run rates, and that’s something that has bit Twins relievers to this point. Fulmer has a solid 2.22 xERA but the 4.25 xFIP could be concerning. He has also had arm issues in the past and his velocity is down a bit from where it was last season. Signed for just $4.95 million this season, he’s a free agent in 2023. Joe Mantiply - Arizona Diamondbacks - 31 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.20 ERA 1.92 FIP 8.7 K/9 Mantiply is a well-traveled veteran that didn’t establish himself in the majors until last season with Arizona. Across 39 2/3 innings, he posted a solid 3.40 ERA with even better peripherals. This season he’s substantiated it by performing better. Mantiply owns a 1.75 xERA and a 2.48 xFIP. He rarely serves up a long ball and he’s got a 29/1 K/BB across 30 innings this season. He is one of just three pitchers in the majors yet to allow a barreled ball this season, and he’s been a shining light on an otherwise baseball Diamondbacks ballclub. As a lefty, he could bring an otherwise under-represented handedness to the relief core. Mantiply throws just 90.6 mph with his fastball, just a bit below where he was last season, but he’s a sinker slider pitcher. Mantiply is pre-arbitration and won’t hit the market until 2027. Anthony Bass - Miami Dolphins - 34 yrs old 0.9 fWAR 1.60 ERA 2.34 FIP 8.0 K/9 One of baseball’s more consistent relievers since 2018, Bass has ratcheted up his performance this season for the Marlins. He had a decent year in 2021 but owns a 2.74 xERA and 3.77 xFIP in 2022. He’s giving up a career-low number of free passes and longballs, while also being within a sub-1.000 WHIP for just the second time in his career. Pushing his fastball to 95.1 mph this season, he’s near a career-best in average velocity. Bass dominates with his slider, a pitch that Minnesota loves to use. He’s in the final year of his contract with the Marlins but carries a $3 million team option for 2023. David Bednar - Pittsburgh Pirates - 27 yrs old 1.0 fWAR 2.43 ERA 2.52 FIP 12.2 K/9 The Pittsburgh Pirates have a surprisingly low number of enticing assets despite being a team willing to sell, but that’s what happens when you’re bad. Wil Crowe could be moved from their pen too, but Bednar is the prize. A 2.82 xERA and 2.92 xFIP are both very strong. The strikeout numbers are great, and Bednar allows just a 27.4% hard-hit rate. He averages 97 mph on his fastball and is generating a career-best 15.8% whiff rate. Bednar has been a dominant arm out of the pen for the Pirates each of the past two seasons and has closing experience as well. With youth to his credit and under team control through 2026, he’ll have a higher price tag. Scott Effross - Chicago Cubs - 28 yrs old 1.1 fWAR 2.62 ERA 1.63 FIP 11.5 K/9 After signing Marcus Stroman this winter I’d imagine the Cubs were hoping to be better than this. They aren’t though, and Effross is the gem of the bullpen. Making 14 appearances in 2021, Effross has taken a small sample size and improved upon it. His 2.15 xERA and 2.42 xFIP are both impressive, and he’s avoided damage thanks to a 21.8% hard-hit rate. Effross is not a big velocity guy, averaging just over 90 mph on his fastball, but the sinker slider combo is one the Twins continue to work with. Effross doesn’t get a massive amount of swinging strikes, but he’s generated a good chase rate and is allowing just a 77.5% contact rate. Like Bednar, Effross is younger and remains under team control through 2027. Which reliever would you like to see the Twins trade for and why?
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