Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'michael tonkin'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Twins
  • Minors
  • Saints
  • Just For Fun
  • Twins Daily
  • Caretakers

Categories

  • Unregistered Help Files
  • All Users Help Files

Categories

  • Twins & Minors
  • Vintage
  • Retrospective
  • Twins Daily

Categories

  • Minnesota Twins Trade Rumors & Targets

Forums

  • Baseball Forums
    • Minnesota Twins Talk
    • Twins Minor League Talk
    • Head 2 Head Debate Forum
    • Twins Daily Front Page News
    • Other Baseball
    • Archived Game Threads
  • Other Sports Forums
    • The Sports Bar
    • Minnesota Vikings Talk
    • Minnesota Wild Talk
    • Minnesota Timberwolves Talk
  • Twins Daily's Questions About The Site

Blogs

  • Blog awstafki
  • The Lurker's Annual
  • Mike Sixel's Blog
  • Twins fan in Texas
  • highlander's Blog
  • Patrick Wozniak's Blog
  • Blog dennyhocking4HOF
  • From the Plaza
  • The Special Season
  • Twins Daily's Blog
  • Blog Twins best friend
  • Kyle Eliason's Blog
  • Extra Innings
  • SkinCell Pro: How Does Remove Mole & Skin Tag Work?
  • Blog Badsmerf
  • mikelink45's Blog
  • MT Feelings
  • Keto Burn Max Benefits
  • Blog crapforks
  • Off The Baggy
  • VikingTwinTwolf's Blog
  • A Blog to Be Named Later
  • Cormac's Corner
  • Blog MaureenHill
  • Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR
  • Road Tripping with the Twins
  • Greg Allen
  • Classic Minnesota Twins
  • The Line of Mendoza
  • BombazoMLB
  • Blog Twins Daily Admin
  • joshykid1's Blog
  • What if the Twins had drafted Prior or Teixeira instead of Mauer?
  • the_brute_squad's Blog
  • Better Baseball Is Ahead
  • Nick's Twins Blog
  • Blog jianfu
  • joshykid1's Blog
  • The PTBNL
  • Levi Hansen
  • SethSpeaks.net
  • Blog leshaadawson
  • Underwriting the Twins
  • Small Sample Size
  • parkerb's Blog
  • Tim
  • TwinsGeek.com
  • Blog Roaddog
  • Mauerpower's Blog
  • SotaPop's Blog
  • Face facts!!!
  • Over the Baggy
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Heezy1323's Blog
  • LA Vikes Fan
  • North Dakota Twins Fan
  • Blog Reginald Maudling's Shin
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Miller1234's Blog
  • Twins Curmudgeon
  • Blog Kirsten Brown
  • if we aint spendin 140 million
  • Boone's Blog
  • Rounding Third
  • Kirilloff & Co.
  • Shallow Thoughts - bean5302
  • The Hanging SL
  • Red Wing Squawk
  • Distraction via Baseball
  • Nine of twelve's Blog
  • Notes From The Neds
  • Blog Lindsay Guentzel
  • Blog Karl
  • Vance_Christianson's Blog
  • Curveball Blog
  • waltomeal's Blog
  • bronald3030
  • Knuckleballs - JC
  • Blog jrzf713
  • The Minor League Lifestyle
  • Jason Kubel is America
  • weneedjackmorris' Blog
  • Mahlk
  • Off The Mark
  • Blog freightmaster
  • Playin' Catch
  • Sethmoko's Blog
  • Dome Dogg's Blog
  • Lev's Musings
  • Blog Scott Povolny
  • Blog COtwin
  • Hrbowski's Blog
  • Minnesota Twins Whine Line
  • Bomba Blog
  • cjm0926's Blogs
  • Blog Chad Jacobsen
  • Blog ScottyBroco
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Back Office Twins Baseball Blog
  • DannySD's Blog
  • nobitadora's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1812
  • Greg Fransen
  • Blog Adam Krueger
  • Hammered (adj.) Heavily inebriated, though to a lesser extent than ****faced.
  • Thegrin's Blog
  • 3rd Inning Stretch's Blog
  • Mark Ferretti
  • Jeremy Nygaard
  • The W.A.R. room
  • Christopher Fee's Blog
  • Postma Posts
  • Rolondo's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1814
  • Fantasy GM
  • Blog Fanatic Jack
  • Dominican Adventure
  • Cory Engelhardt's Blog
  • markthomas' Blog
  • blogs_blog_1815
  • Un/Necessary Sports Drivel
  • Blog AJPettersen
  • Blog AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS
  • BW on the Beat
  • jfeyereisn17's Blog
  • 2020 Offseason Blueprint
  • The Hot Corner
  • Blog TimShibuya
  • Fumi Saito's Blog
  • This Twins Fans Thoughts
  • Long Live La Tortuga
  • Baseball Therapy
  • Blog TonyDavis
  • Blog Danchat
  • sdtwins37's Blog
  • Thinking Outside the Box
  • dbminn
  • Proclamations from the Mad King
  • Blog travistwinstalk
  • jokin's Blog
  • Thoughts from The Catch
  • BlakeAsk's Blog
  • Bad Loser Blog
  • Tom Schreier's Blog
  • less cowBlog
  • Hansen101's Blog
  • Musings of a Madman
  • The Gopher Hole
  • 2020 Twins BluePrint - HotDish Surprise
  • Travis Kriens
  • Blog bkucko
  • The Circleback Blog
  • All Things Twins
  • batting 9th and playing right field
  • Blog iTwins
  • Drinking at the 573
  • The Thirsty Crow and the google boy from peepeganj
  • Catching Some Zs
  • Favorite Twins Memory
  • Blog TCAnelle
  • Singles off the Wall
  • tarheeltwinsfan's Blog
  • Jack Griffin's Blog
  • A View From The Roof
  • The Blog Days of Summer
  • Jordan1212's Blog
  • You Shouldn't Have Lost
  • Jeff D. - Twins Geezer
  • TwinsTakes.com Blog on TwinsDaily.com - Our Takes, Your Takes, TwinsTakes.com!
  • Blog SgtSchmidt11
  • Dantes929's Blog
  • Critical Thinking
  • Old Tom
  • Blog Matt VS
  • Blog RickPrescott
  • The Dollar Dome Dog
  • Travis M's Blog
  • Diamond Dollars
  • Rick Heinecke
  • Blog jorgenswest
  • Twinsfan4life
  • Travis M's Interviews
  • whatyouknowtwinsfan's Blog
  • An Unconventional Trade Target
  • Blog righty8383
  • Blog TwinsWolvesLynxBlog
  • Supfin99's Blog
  • tarheeltwinsfan's Blog
  • SportsGuyDalton's Blog
  • Blog glunn
  • Blog yumen0808
  • Unkind Bounces
  • Doctor Gast's Blog
  • AmyA
  • One Man's View From Section 231
  • Don't Feed the Greed? What does that mean...
  • Diesel's Blog
  • Curtis DeBerg
  • Blog denarded
  • Blog zymy0813
  • Twins Peak
  • Minnesota Twins Health and Performance: A Blog by Lucas Seehafer PT
  • Blog kirbyelway
  • Blog JP3700
  • twinssouth's Blog
  • Ports on Sports Blog
  • Blog Twins Fan From Afar
  • Blog E. Andrew
  • The 10th Inning Stretch
  • Hans Birkleberry's Blog
  • Blog twinsarmchairgm
  • Pitz Hits
  • samthetwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog JB (the Original)
  • soofootinsfan37's Blog
  • You Can Read This For Free
  • One Post Blog
  • Blog Dez Tobin
  • South Dakota Tom's Blog
  • hrenlazar2019's Blog
  • MNSotaSportsGal Twins Takes
  • Blog kemics
  • Blog AM.
  • DerektheDOM's Blog
  • Twins Tunes
  • Blog jtrinaldi
  • Blog Bill
  • Not Another Baseball Blog
  • Down on the Farm
  • Most likely pitchers making their MLB debut in 2021 for Twins.
  • Blog Wookiee of the Year
  • mike8791's Blog
  • Pensacola Blue Wahoos: Photo-A-Day
  • Puckets Pond
  • Blog Jim H
  • A trade for the off season
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Kasota Gold
  • The POSTseason
  • Blog guski
  • Blog rickyriolo
  • SgtSchmidt11's Blog
  • Twinternationals
  • Blog birdwatcher
  • Blog acrozelle
  • Axel Kohagen's Catastrophic Overreactions
  • Bashwood12's Blog
  • Spicer's Baseball Movie Reviews
  • Beyond the Metrodome
  • Blog yangxq0827
  • The Pat-Man Saga
  • TheTeufelShuffle's Blog
  • ebergdib's blog
  • Blog Thegrin
  • Zachary's Blog
  • scottyc35
  • Danchat's Aggregated Prospect Rankings
  • Thrylos' Blog - select Tenth Inning Stretch posts
  • Blog taune
  • scottyc35's Blog
  • World's Greatest Online Magazine
  • Blog tweety2012
  • DRizzo's Blog
  • mrtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog asmus_ndsu
  • Otto Gets Blotto
  • Betsy Twins Report
  • Blog shawntheroad
  • Blog David-14
  • Blog Buddy14
  • Blog keithanderson
  • Blog Topperanton
  • Blog lightfoot789
  • Blog Axel Kohagen
  • Blog Lesser Dali
  • Blog Neinstein
  • Blog Bob Sacamento
  • Blog J-Dog Dungan
  • Thoughts of a Bullpen Catcher
  • Blog Dilligaf69
  • blogs_blog_1599
  • Twin Minds
  • My Opening Day Poem
  • Blog Teflon
  • Blog yanking it out...
  • Blog Anare
  • Blog Charlie Beattie
  • Blog Coach J
  • What to do with Morneau?
  • Peanuts from Heaven
  • Blog Physics Guy
  • Twins Adjacent
  • Field of Twins
  • Martin Schlegel's Blog
  • The Long View
  • Blog grumpyrob
  • Off The Mark
  • Blog Jeff A
  • Blog jwestbrock
  • by Matt Sisk
  • Blog Sarah
  • Blog RodneyKline
  • Blog JeffB
  • Anorthagen's Twins Daily Blogs
  • Low Profile MI Trade
  • Blog CC7
  • Blog dwintheiser
  • Blog Docsilly
  • Blog cmathewson
  • Blog mnfireman
  • Blog twinsfanstl
  • Blog dave_dw
  • Blog MN_Twins_Live
  • Standing Room Only
  • Blog gkasper
  • Blog puck34
  • Blog Old Twins Cap
  • Blog diehardtwinsfan
  • Blog Twinfan & Dad
  • Blog LimestoneBaggy
  • Blog Brian Mozey
  • vqt94648's Blog
  • Blog Loosey
  • Blog fairweather
  • World Series Champions 2088
  • Blog Drtwins
  • Blog peterb18
  • Blog LindaU
  • Kevin Slowey was Framed!
  • Blog Christopher Fee
  • Very Well Then
  • Pitch2Contact.com
  • A View from the Slot
  • Blog severson09
  • Blog husker brian
  • Blog Ray Tapajna
  • Sell high?
  • Blog bogeypepsi
  • Blog tshide
  • Blog Gene Larkin Fan Club
  • Blog jimbo92107
  • Blog DefinitelyNotVodkaDave
  • Blog Cap'n Piranha
  • The Blog Formerly Known as Undomed
  • Frank Vantur's Blog
  • Blog Ricola
  • Blog AScheib50
  • SamGoody's Blog
  • Blog clutterheart
  • Blog Trent Condon
  • Blog bwille
  • blogs_blog_1635
  • Blog strumdatjag
  • Blog huhguy
  • blogs_blog_1636
  • Blog 3rd Inning Stretch
  • Blog 10PagesOfClearBlueSky
  • blogs_blog_1637
  • Blog Tyomoth
  • SD Buhr/Jim Crikket
  • blogs_blog_1638
  • Blog bear333
  • Blog sln477
  • Blog abbylucy
  • Blog Gernzy
  • Troy's Twins Thoughts
  • Blog OtherHoward219
  • blogs_blog_1642
  • Blog ScrapTheNickname
  • Blog TicketKing
  • Blog sotasports9
  • Twins Rubes
  • Blog goulik
  • Hosken's Blog
  • Blog one_eyed_jack
  • Blog joelindell
  • Blog rikker49
  • Blog nickschubert
  • Blog DreInWA
  • You're Not Reading This
  • Blog Hugh Morris
  • The Blog Formerly Known as Undomed
  • Kottke's Cuts
  • Blog Dakota Watts
  • Blog markroehl
  • Blog jjswol
  • Blog Tibs
  • blogs_blog_1654
  • Blog jlovren
  • Blog Boone
  • Puckmen's Blog
  • Minnesota native to attend Twins predraft workout
  • Blog obryaneu
  • Blog JohnFoley
  • Blog TwinsArmChairGM_Jon
  • Bloop Singles
  • Blog Ryan Atkins
  • Blog the blade
  • Blog Lonestar
  • Blog jdotmcmahon
  • Blog WayneJimenezubc
  • Blog Sconnie
  • Blog PogueBear
  • Blog pierre75275
  • cHawk Talks Baseball
  • Blog Paul Bebus
  • flyballs in orbit
  • Blog A33bates
  • Blog lunchboxhero_4
  • lidefom746's Blog
  • Blog coddlenomore
  • Blog Trevor0333
  • Blog lee_the_twins_fan
  • Blog StreetOfFire
  • Blog clark47dorsey
  • Texastwinsfan blog
  • Blog KCasey
  • Blog Joey Lindseth
  • Blog jakelovesgolf
  • Blog mchokozie
  • Thoughts from the Stands
  • cHawk’s Blog
  • Blog best game in the world
  • Heather's thoughts
  • Blog sammy0eaton
  • HitInAPinch's Blog
  • Blog Mauerpower
  • Blog Jdosen
  • Blog twinsfanohio
  • Beyond the Limestone
  • Blog dougkoebernick
  • Get to know 'em
  • 5 Tool Blog
  • Cole Trace
  • Blog Sunglasses
  • Blog CTB_NickC
  • Blog Colin.O'Donnell
  • "And we'll see ya' ... tomorrow night."
  • Blog richardkr34
  • Gopher Baseball with Luke Pettersen
  • Blog KelvinBoyerxrg
  • Blog twinsfan34
  • Blog CaryMuellerlib
  • Blog jtkoupal
  • FunnyPenguin's Blog
  • Blog Sierra Szeto
  • Blog ExiledInSeattle
  • A Realistic Fix to the 2014 Twins
  • Blog naksh
  • Blog bellajelcooper
  • rickymartin's Blog
  • Blog twinsajsf
  • Blog keeth
  • Blog Murphy Vasterling Cannon
  • Twins Winter Caravan
  • Blog tracygame
  • Blog rjohnso4
  • Half a Platoon
  • Blog jangofelixak
  • Blog SirClive
  • tooslowandoldnow's Blog
  • Blog Troy Larson
  • Blog thetank
  • nicksaviking blog
  • Blog iekfWjnrxb
  • Blog SouthDakotaFarmer
  • Bill Parker
  • Left Coast Bias
  • Blog tobi0040
  • Lee-The-Twins-Fan's Blog
  • Blog foe-of-nin
  • Blog cocosoup
  • Minnesota Groan
  • Blog wRenita5
  • rgvtwinstalk
  • Major Minnesotans
  • Blog Aaron 12
  • Blog janewong
  • The Twins Almanac
  • Blog boys
  • Blog bennep
  • Hambino the Great's Blog
  • Blog JadaKingg25
  • Jesse Lund's Blog
  • Blog Brabes1987
  • RealStoriesMN
  • Blog sanal101
  • Blog Spikecurveball
  • Blog Devereaux
  • D-mac's Blog
  • Blog tarheeltwinsfan
  • kakakhan's Blog
  • Blog Oliver
  • Blog travis_aune
  • Twins and Losses
  • In My Opinion
  • Blog ieveretgte4f
  • Blog Sam Morley
  • Pinto's Perspective
  • Blog curt1965
  • VeryWellThen's Blog
  • Extcs
  • The Foul Play-by-Play Twins Blog
  • Dave The Dastardly's Blog
  • Blog winunaarec
  • Negativity Police's Blog
  • Blog Robb Jeffries
  • Adam Houck's Blog
  • SaintsTrain
  • Loosey's Blog
  • Blog EE in Big D
  • Talkin' Twins with Jonathon
  • Steve Penz's Blog
  • Blog jtequilabermeah
  • The Tenth Inning Stretch
  • Apathy for the Game
  • Dave The Dastardly's Blog
  • Blog hmariloustarkk
  • Car detailing
  • Blog Brendan Kennealy
  • Twins Fan From Afar's Blog
  • Visit500
  • Blog totocc
  • SD Buhr's Blog
  • KirbyHawk75's Blog
  • Blog Bark's Lounge
  • huhguy's Blog
  • Blog TwinsFanLV
  • NumberThree's Blog
  • Blog pandorajewelry
  • The Go Gonzo Journal Twins Blog
  • Twinsnerd123's Blog
  • Blog cClevelandSmialekp
  • Talk to Contact
  • Boo-urns
  • Blog silverslugger
  • jtkoupal's Blog
  • Broker's Blog
  • Blog Twinsoholic
  • diehardtwinsfan's Blog
  • Brad's Blog
  • Javier Maschrano - the rising star of Argentina
  • Be Always in Fashion &in Trendy Look
  • Blog Salazar
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Be Always in Fashion &in Trendy Look
  • ThejacKmp's Blog
  • Blog vMaymeHansone
  • stringer bell's Blog
  • Blog brvama
  • AJPettersen's Blog
  • WiscoTwin
  • Rants (not Rantz)
  • iec23966's Blog
  • Blog loisebottorf83
  • CodyB's Blog
  • Staying Positive
  • Target Field of Dreams' Blog
  • Intentional Balk
  • Blog rodmccray11282
  • ReturnOfShaneMack's Blog
  • Blog SksippSvefdklyn
  • A blog about the Twins & more
  • Thome the Moneyball
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Lefty74's Blog
  • USAFChief's Blog
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Tony Nato's Blog
  • Clear's Blog
  • Blog LeeStevensonuuf
  • Waking up the Twins
  • Blog GrahamCharleshqr
  • First Base and the legacy of Kent Hrbek
  • carly148
  • Blog MWLFan
  • Minnie Paul and Mary
  • twinstarheelsfan's Blog
  • This game's fun, OK?
  • Blog TimeAgreell
  • Tsuyoshi's Island
  • NASCAR Steve's Blog
  • Kevin Horner's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1742
  • Blog CDog
  • Hold for the Batter
  • John the Analytics Guy
  • mrmpls' Blog
  • Zlog
  • samberry's Blog
  • nmtwinsfan's Blog
  • Under Teflon Skies
  • Views from the road
  • St. Paul Saints
  • Blog tkyokoperkinsn
  • Alskn's Northern Lights
  • Talkin' Turnstiles
  • Find Stats Elsewhere
  • Blog LaBombo
  • hugelycat's Blog
  • Deduno Abides' Blog
  • Milldaddy35's Blog Area
  • Blog Fire Dan Gladden
  • Baseball Intelligence
  • framedoctor's Blog
  • Blog Riverbrian
  • Blog Brandon
  • Organizational Depth Chart
  • Left Field Gap
  • gtkilla
  • Hicks' Left-Handed Helmets
  • MauerState7's Blog
  • 80MPH Changeup
  • Twins Pitch Breakdown
  • What you know about that blog
  • Blog DaTwins
  • positive1's Blog
  • rikker49's Blog
  • baxterpope15's Blog
  • Blog ThejacKmp
  • Random Thoughts About Baseball
  • Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Blog
  • Run Prevention
  • Blog ericchri
  • pierre75275's Blog
  • Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Blog
  • Cargo Cult Sabermetrics
  • Blog 81Exposruledbaseball
  • Deduno Abides' Blog
  • David Howell's Blog
  • Blog daanderson20
  • Twin Billing
  • sorney's Blog
  • TCAnelle's Blog
  • Blog shs_59
  • rikker49's Blog
  • Crackin' Wax's Cardboard Corner
  • Blog jm3319
  • jsteve96's Blog
  • The Always Fashionable; Uncle Charlie
  • Blog stringer bell
  • twinssouth's Blog
  • Baseball Good
  • Blog everettegalr
  • twinsfan34's Blog
  • menthmike's Blog
  • Blog Obie
  • B Richard's Blog
  • Brazilian Twins Territory
  • The Hidden Baseball
  • Blog SpinnesotaGirl
  • Marthaler
  • InfieldFlyRuled
  • Coopcarlson3's Blog
  • Blog SoDakTwinsFan5
  • Blog LastOnePicked
  • Bob Sacamento's Blog
  • MnTwinsTalk's Blog
  • Blog Top Gun
  • Twinfan & Dad's Blog
  • Nebtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog TKGuy
  • GLO Blog
  • Ben Fadden's Blog
  • ajcondon's Blog
  • Blog TheMind07
  • Daily Twins Daily
  • TwinkiePower's Blog
  • Blog Michael Blomquist
  • VeryWellThen
  • MN_ExPat's Blog
  • Channing1964's Blog
  • Blog Darin Bratsch
  • Twin's Organizational News
  • Around The Horn
  • Blog beckmt
  • jjswol's Twins Trivia Blog
  • BeantownTwinsFan's Blog
  • Blog YourHouseIsMyHouse
  • jjswol's Twins Trivia Blog
  • Blog jay
  • SF Twins Fan's Blog
  • Morneau
  • TNTwinsFan's Blog
  • Musings from Twins Territory
  • Original Twin
  • Blog El Guapo
  • Doubles' Blog
  • Kirbek's Leaps and Pulls
  • Blog jokin
  • Brandon's Blog
  • A Look Back
  • Science of Baseball
  • Blog IdahoPilgrim
  • Sam Morley's Blog
  • oregontwin's Blog
  • Rounding Second
  • Blog Lyric53
  • The Curse of the Trees
  • gagu's Blog
  • Twins in CA
  • Blog Oldgoat_MN
  • Giant Baseball Cards
  • Blog twinfan49
  • docsillyseth's Blog
  • Kirby O'Connor's Blog
  • dfklgkoc
  • Blog ContinuumGuy
  • Wille's Way
  • Minnesota Sports Statistics Analysis
  • Ryan Stephan's Twinpinions
  • blogs_blog_2805
  • Blog tradingadvantage
  • brvama's Blog
  • Minnesota SSA's Blog
  • Danchat's Strat-O-Matic Blog
  • Blog Chance
  • NoCryingInBaseball's Blog
  • It Takes All Kinds
  • TFRazor's Blog
  • Blog twinslover
  • Sarah's Blog
  • theJemmer's Blog
  • Spikecurveball's Blog
  • Four Six Three
  • blogs_blog_2809
  • 2012 Draft.
  • travistwinstalk's Blog
  • Seth Stohs' Blog
  • Through a Child's Eyes
  • Colexalean Supplement Reviews
  • Blog jiamay
  • Dome Dogg's Blog
  • Fanspeak's Twins and AL Central Blog
  • In Pursuit of Pennants
  • minnesotasportsunlimited's Blog
  • Jacob Booth Blogs
  • Blog stewthornley
  • mickeymental's Blog
  • Baseball Bat's Offseason Blueprint
  • AJswarley's Blog
  • Twins Outsider's Blog
  • Blog h2oface
  • Iowa Twins Fan
  • Twinkie Talk
  • Battle Your Tail Off
  • JackWhite's Blog
  • bikram's Blog
  • Twins Nation Podcast

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Website URL


Personal Blog Name


Personal Blog URL


Location:


Biography


Occupation


Interests


Twitter

  1. Here are three Rochester Red Wings to pay particular attention to in the coming weeks. MITCH GARVER Those that follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been including the hashtag #CallHimUp on any of the tweets that mention Garver. He’s 26, and he’s put up tremendous numbers. In fact, someone close to the Red Wings said he’s “having one of the best seasons as a catcher in recent Red Wings history.” Through 81 games this season, he is hitting .276/.378/.521 (.898). He’s hit 23 doubles and 16 home runs. Since being drafted in the ninth round of the 2013 draft, after his senior season at the University of New Mexico, he has continued to improve each season. That’s great since he was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2014 while playing in Cedar Rapids. This year, he’s been impressive, showing a strong knowledge of the strike zone and attacking driveable pitches into the gaps and over the fence, to either field. As important in a catcher’s development, he’s improved tremendously behind the plate as well. He’s blessed with a very strong arm, and has always thrown out base stealers at a strong percent. While his pitch framing numbers aren’t as strong this year as last, pitchers rave about his ability to call a good game. My first thought was maybe Wilson Ramos put up some strong numbers for the Red Wings. However, in 71 games for the team in 2010, he hit .241/.280/.345 (.625) with 14 doubles and five home runs (as a 22 year old) in 71 games. In 2014, Josmil Pinto hit .279/.376/.457 (.833) with 17 doubles and six homers in 60 games for the Red Wings. In 2008, Jose Morales hit .315/.348/.426 (.774) with eight doubles and four homers in 54 games. In 2007, Morales hit .311/.366/.399 (.765) with 25 doubles and two homers in 108 games. In 2005, Rob Bowen hit .268/.368/.402 (.770) with 13 doubles and six homers. And that takes us back through the Twins affiliation with Rochester. I think it’s safe to say that the season Mitch Garver is putting together is the best in the last 15 years, to be sure. Meanwhile, Jason Castro is hitting .227/.322/.371 (.693) with 20 doubles and six homers in 80 games for the Twins. Backup Chris Gimenez is hitting .202/.317/.355 (.672) with four doubles and five homers in 47 games. Garver has versatility too. He’s caught in 61 games. He played first base in five games, and he’s played 14 games in left field. While his range may be that of a catcher in left field, he would be a right-handed bench or DH option for the Twins. There is no question that Mitch Garver will be called up for September. There should be little question that he should be given every opportunity next spring to break with the big league club. For good. MICHAEL TONKIN After starting the season 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP through nine games and 11 innings for the Twins, the front office decided it was time to DFA the hard-throwing right-hander. Tonkin was drafted by the Twins in the 30th round of the 2008 draft out of high school in California. He was given some opportunity to start, but in 2010, he made the move to the bullpen. He quickly became one of the Twins top relief pitching minor leaguers. Blessed with a 95 mph fastball and a good slider, he showed good control while striking out ten or more batters per nine innings pitched. He got his first taste of the big leagues in 2013, and he went up and down for a few seasons. His first full season in the big leagues was 2016, his first season without options remaining. This spring, he again made the Opening Day roster, primarily due to the options situation. But as we mentioned, by early May, the decision was made to let him go. Fortunately for the club, Tonkin passed through waivers and has been pitching late innings for the Red Wings this season. And he’s been pitching well. In 23 games and 33 innings since joining the Red Wings, he is 3-2 with four saves. He has posted a 1.91 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He’s walking 3.0 batters per nine while striking out an impressive 13.1 per nine (48 strikeouts in 33 innings). More impressive, in his last 15 games (21 innings), he has a 0.86 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He’s walked three batters and struck out 34! Tonkin is already 27, but maybe the extended trip back to AAA allowed him to figure something out. Maybe. Maybe not. But it does feel like he would warrant one last shot with the big league club to see what has stuck. If it looks legit, keep him on the roster. If not, you DFA him and let him become a free agent. TIM MELVILLE Every time the Twins sign someone out of independent leagues or promote a 27+ year old player to Rochester, I can always anticipate a certain faction of the Twins Daily readership cringing. I’m guessing that when the Twins signed RHP Tim Melville from the independent league Long Island Ducks earlier this season, several of you reading this hated it. But Melville has made himself interesting, or at least he should be interesting to Twins fans. The still-just-27-year-old righty is 3-3 with a 2.55 ERA for the Red Wings in 10 games (nine starts) since joining their roster nearly two months ago. He’s got a 1.07 WHIP. In 60 innings, he’s given up 44 hits, walked 20 and struck out 58. If he was 1-2 years younger, we’d be crying out for him to get an opportunity. Instead, Melville has had to live with the “bust” label, fair or not. He was a highly-touted prep player from Missouri. The Royals used a fourth-round draft pick, and a lot of cash ($1.25 million). He was a top prospect until he had Tommy John surgery in 2012. In 2014, he went 2-11 with a 5.50 ERA for the Royals AA affiliate and was let go by the organization. The Tigers swooped in and signed him for 2015. He went 7-10 with a 4.63 ERA in AAA. In 2016, he signed with the Reds. He was called up and made his MLB debut on April 10th. He went 0-1 with an 11.00 ERA in three games (two starts) for the Reds. He was DFAd on April 22nd and went to AAA where he got hurt. He found himself without an offer this spring, so he went the independent route. With the Ducks, he was 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in nine starts when the Twins signed him. While his background doesn’t necessarily convince you that he’d have success if the Twins promoted him, his ‘stuff’ might. In his starts, he has been between 93 and 96 mph and been able to maintain that throughout the game. He’s got a pretty good curveball that can get swings-and-misses, and often gets weak contact. And his changeup is about average. Now, I’m not saying he would come up and insert himself as a mid-rotation starter. Not at all. But maybe he can be the starting pitcher depth that Thad Levine talked about. Maybe he can be a guy at AAA who can make a few starts in the big leagues from time to time. Maybe not. But if the Twins bring him up in September and give him a shot, I certainly won’t feel bad about it. Maybe he can be a stop-gap until the new front office believes that the likes of Gonsalves, Romero, Jorge, Littell, Slegers are more ready for that role. RED WINGS NOTEBOOK OK, so I can’t stop at just three. Here are a few more Red Wings notes of note. Niko Goodrum is setting himself up to be a valuable utility player. So far this year, he has played first base (three games), second base (24 games), third base (16 games), shortstop (nine games), left field (one game), center field (13 games) and right field (40 games). In 106 games, he’s hitting .259/.308/.413 (.721) with 23 doubles, four triples and nine home runs. Matt Hague has quietly been very good for the Red Wings. In 110 games, he’s hit .294/.371/.405 (.777) with 21 doubles and eight homers. Very professional. Since his return from fractured fingers, Daniel Palka has hit .277/.329/.446 (.775) with a double, two triples and two homers in 16 games. Reports indicate that he’s been much better the last week or so and appears to be returning to form. Byungho Park started the season very slow, but he’s come on very strong. The 30-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.428 (.749) with 22 doubles and nine homers. In his last 57 games, he’s hitting .303/.351/.476 (.827) with 14 doubles and six homers. In 18 games since he returned to the Red Wings, Kennys Vargas is hitting .234/.338/.516 (.853). However, in his last two games, he has gone 5-8 with two doubles and a homer, which account for most of that stat line. Mason Melotakis has made 11 appearances (13.1 innings) since coming off the Twins 40-man roster for the Red Wings. He has a 2.03 ERA despite a 1.35 WHIP. Reports are that he’s been quite good despite the fact that his velocity has been way down from where has had been. Jake Reed is 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in 14 games (18.2 innings) since joining the Red Wings. He has 16 strikeouts and six walks. He’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, so a September call up should happen. John Curtiss has been with the Red Wings for about a month now. In 14 games (17.2 innings), he’s got a 2.04 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He’s got eight walks and 24 strikeouts, so he’s been a bit more wild, but he’s certainly a candidate for a September call up. Aaron Slegers’ eight-game winning streak came to an end with his most recent start, but he’s been terrific and appears to be a very strong candidate for International League Pitcher of the Year. . He is 12-4 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 20 starts (123 innings). He’s got 91 strikeouts to go with just 27 walks. While he doesn’t profile as a top prospect because his “stuff” doesn’t grade out real high, Slegers knows how to pitch. He’ll give up some hits, but he won’t hurt himself with walks, and his home run rate has stayed down as well. He’s earned a shot at a September call up. However, the business side of the 40-man roster decisions and the Rule 5 implications may make him a tough choice. So there you have it. A whole bunch on the Twins AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings. Feel free to discuss and ask questions.
  2. Coming into play on Tuesday, August 8th, the Rochester Red Wings have a record of 65-50. That puts them 8 ½ games back of International League North Division leading Scranton-Wilkes-Barre. They’re in third place, two games behind the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for second place in the division, and more important, in the wild card race. That’s why it’s understandable that the organization made the move to bring up lefty starter Stephen Gonsalves and righty reliever Luke Bard. The hope could be that the two will help bolster the Red Wings pitching staff and help them get into the playoffs. Well, that, along with some good experience in a playoff chase at a new level of development. Gonsalves will make his first AAA start on Thursday against Norfolk. When he and Bard make their Red Wings debuts, they will be the 37th and 38th pitchers to throw for the team this season, already a franchise record. With that, I thought I’d bring out a Triple-A version of Nick Nelson’s Three-Bagger series. Below you’ll find three players at Rochester of particular interest.Here are three Rochester Red Wings to pay particular attention to in the coming weeks. MITCH GARVER Those that follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been including the hashtag #CallHimUp on any of the tweets that mention Garver. He’s 26, and he’s put up tremendous numbers. In fact, someone close to the Red Wings said he’s “having one of the best seasons as a catcher in recent Red Wings history.” Through 81 games this season, he is hitting .276/.378/.521 (.898). He’s hit 23 doubles and 16 home runs. Since being drafted in the ninth round of the 2013 draft, after his senior season at the University of New Mexico, he has continued to improve each season. That’s great since he was the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2014 while playing in Cedar Rapids. This year, he’s been impressive, showing a strong knowledge of the strike zone and attacking driveable pitches into the gaps and over the fence, to either field. As important in a catcher’s development, he’s improved tremendously behind the plate as well. He’s blessed with a very strong arm, and has always thrown out base stealers at a strong percent. While his pitch framing numbers aren’t as strong this year as last, pitchers rave about his ability to call a good game. My first thought was maybe Wilson Ramos put up some strong numbers for the Red Wings. However, in 71 games for the team in 2010, he hit .241/.280/.345 (.625) with 14 doubles and five home runs (as a 22 year old) in 71 games. In 2014, Josmil Pinto hit .279/.376/.457 (.833) with 17 doubles and six homers in 60 games for the Red Wings. In 2008, Jose Morales hit .315/.348/.426 (.774) with eight doubles and four homers in 54 games. In 2007, Morales hit .311/.366/.399 (.765) with 25 doubles and two homers in 108 games. In 2005, Rob Bowen hit .268/.368/.402 (.770) with 13 doubles and six homers. And that takes us back through the Twins affiliation with Rochester. I think it’s safe to say that the season Mitch Garver is putting together is the best in the last 15 years, to be sure. Meanwhile, Jason Castro is hitting .227/.322/.371 (.693) with 20 doubles and six homers in 80 games for the Twins. Backup Chris Gimenez is hitting .202/.317/.355 (.672) with four doubles and five homers in 47 games. Garver has versatility too. He’s caught in 61 games. He played first base in five games, and he’s played 14 games in left field. While his range may be that of a catcher in left field, he would be a right-handed bench or DH option for the Twins. There is no question that Mitch Garver will be called up for September. There should be little question that he should be given every opportunity next spring to break with the big league club. For good. MICHAEL TONKIN After starting the season 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP through nine games and 11 innings for the Twins, the front office decided it was time to DFA the hard-throwing right-hander. Tonkin was drafted by the Twins in the 30th round of the 2008 draft out of high school in California. He was given some opportunity to start, but in 2010, he made the move to the bullpen. He quickly became one of the Twins top relief pitching minor leaguers. Blessed with a 95 mph fastball and a good slider, he showed good control while striking out ten or more batters per nine innings pitched. He got his first taste of the big leagues in 2013, and he went up and down for a few seasons. His first full season in the big leagues was 2016, his first season without options remaining. This spring, he again made the Opening Day roster, primarily due to the options situation. But as we mentioned, by early May, the decision was made to let him go. Fortunately for the club, Tonkin passed through waivers and has been pitching late innings for the Red Wings this season. And he’s been pitching well. In 23 games and 33 innings since joining the Red Wings, he is 3-2 with four saves. He has posted a 1.91 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He’s walking 3.0 batters per nine while striking out an impressive 13.1 per nine (48 strikeouts in 33 innings). More impressive, in his last 15 games (21 innings), he has a 0.86 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP. He’s walked three batters and struck out 34! Tonkin is already 27, but maybe the extended trip back to AAA allowed him to figure something out. Maybe. Maybe not. But it does feel like he would warrant one last shot with the big league club to see what has stuck. If it looks legit, keep him on the roster. If not, you DFA him and let him become a free agent. TIM MELVILLE Every time the Twins sign someone out of independent leagues or promote a 27+ year old player to Rochester, I can always anticipate a certain faction of the Twins Daily readership cringing. I’m guessing that when the Twins signed RHP Tim Melville from the independent league Long Island Ducks earlier this season, several of you reading this hated it. But Melville has made himself interesting, or at least he should be interesting to Twins fans. The still-just-27-year-old righty is 3-3 with a 2.55 ERA for the Red Wings in 10 games (nine starts) since joining their roster nearly two months ago. He’s got a 1.07 WHIP. In 60 innings, he’s given up 44 hits, walked 20 and struck out 58. If he was 1-2 years younger, we’d be crying out for him to get an opportunity. Instead, Melville has had to live with the “bust” label, fair or not. He was a highly-touted prep player from Missouri. The Royals used a fourth-round draft pick, and a lot of cash ($1.25 million). He was a top prospect until he had Tommy John surgery in 2012. In 2014, he went 2-11 with a 5.50 ERA for the Royals AA affiliate and was let go by the organization. The Tigers swooped in and signed him for 2015. He went 7-10 with a 4.63 ERA in AAA. In 2016, he signed with the Reds. He was called up and made his MLB debut on April 10th. He went 0-1 with an 11.00 ERA in three games (two starts) for the Reds. He was DFAd on April 22nd and went to AAA where he got hurt. He found himself without an offer this spring, so he went the independent route. With the Ducks, he was 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in nine starts when the Twins signed him. While his background doesn’t necessarily convince you that he’d have success if the Twins promoted him, his ‘stuff’ might. In his starts, he has been between 93 and 96 mph and been able to maintain that throughout the game. He’s got a pretty good curveball that can get swings-and-misses, and often gets weak contact. And his changeup is about average. Now, I’m not saying he would come up and insert himself as a mid-rotation starter. Not at all. But maybe he can be the starting pitcher depth that Thad Levine talked about. Maybe he can be a guy at AAA who can make a few starts in the big leagues from time to time. Maybe not. But if the Twins bring him up in September and give him a shot, I certainly won’t feel bad about it. Maybe he can be a stop-gap until the new front office believes that the likes of Gonsalves, Romero, Jorge, Littell, Slegers are more ready for that role. RED WINGS NOTEBOOK OK, so I can’t stop at just three. Here are a few more Red Wings notes of note. Niko Goodrum is setting himself up to be a valuable utility player. So far this year, he has played first base (three games), second base (24 games), third base (16 games), shortstop (nine games), left field (one game), center field (13 games) and right field (40 games). In 106 games, he’s hitting .259/.308/.413 (.721) with 23 doubles, four triples and nine home runs.Matt Hague has quietly been very good for the Red Wings. In 110 games, he’s hit .294/.371/.405 (.777) with 21 doubles and eight homers. Very professional.Since his return from fractured fingers, Daniel Palka has hit .277/.329/.446 (.775) with a double, two triples and two homers in 16 games. Reports indicate that he’s been much better the last week or so and appears to be returning to form.Byungho Park started the season very slow, but he’s come on very strong. The 30-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.428 (.749) with 22 doubles and nine homers. In his last 57 games, he’s hitting .303/.351/.476 (.827) with 14 doubles and six homers.In 18 games since he returned to the Red Wings, Kennys Vargas is hitting .234/.338/.516 (.853). However, in his last two games, he has gone 5-8 with two doubles and a homer, which account for most of that stat line.Mason Melotakis has made 11 appearances (13.1 innings) since coming off the Twins 40-man roster for the Red Wings. He has a 2.03 ERA despite a 1.35 WHIP. Reports are that he’s been quite good despite the fact that his velocity has been way down from where has had been.Jake Reed is 1-0 with a 1.45 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP in 14 games (18.2 innings) since joining the Red Wings. He has 16 strikeouts and six walks. He’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, so a September call up should happen.John Curtiss has been with the Red Wings for about a month now. In 14 games (17.2 innings), he’s got a 2.04 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. He’s got eight walks and 24 strikeouts, so he’s been a bit more wild, but he’s certainly a candidate for a September call up.Aaron Slegers’ eight-game winning streak came to an end with his most recent start, but he’s been terrific and appears to be a very strong candidate for International League Pitcher of the Year. . He is 12-4 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 20 starts (123 innings). He’s got 91 strikeouts to go with just 27 walks. While he doesn’t profile as a top prospect because his “stuff” doesn’t grade out real high, Slegers knows how to pitch. He’ll give up some hits, but he won’t hurt himself with walks, and his home run rate has stayed down as well. He’s earned a shot at a September call up. However, the business side of the 40-man roster decisions and the Rule 5 implications may make him a tough choice.So there you have it. A whole bunch on the Twins AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings. Feel free to discuss and ask questions. Click here to view the article
  3. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Pawtucket 2 (Game 1- 8 Innings) Box Score Rochester scored in each of the first two frames to take an early 2-0 lead. After a Matt Hague walk, singles from Mitch Garver and ByungHo Park plated the first run. JB Shuck was hit by a pitch to start the second. Bengie Gonzalez and Engelb Vielma were walked to load the bases. Zach Granite singled to push the score to 2-0 with no outs. Unfortunately, the Red Wings would score only one with the bases loaded and no outs. Chris Heston started and allowed two earned runs on seven hits with a strikeout. Drew Rucinski didn't allow a run in two innings. Michael Tonkin picked up his second win after striking out four of the six batters he faced to end the game. Seven innings wasn't enough to decide the first game of the doubleheader. Lucky enough for Rochester fans, Matt Hague didn't wait long into extra-frames. He led off the top of the eighth inning with his fifth home run of the season which turned out to be the game-winning knock. Rochester 2, Pawtucket 1 (Game 2- 7 Innings) Box Score Rochester found themselves in an early 1-0 hole but that's where the scoring would stop for the Red Sox. Tim Melville, in his second start with Rochester, pitched five innings and allowed one run. He danced around four walks and three hits but struck out four on the way to his first win. Trevor Hildenberger picked up save number five with two scoreless frames including three strikeouts. JB Shuck started the third with a double, his 15th on the season. Bengie Gonzlez was the next batter and he reached on a throwing error which allowed Shuck to score. In the top of the fifth, Tommy Field singled and scored on a single from Shuck. The play included two errors from the Red Sox outfield so neither of the runs scored by Rochester were earned. With two wins on Sunday, Rochester is now just one game under .500 at 32-33 on the season. They are 11 games out of first place in the International League North but they are only eight games back in the wild card race with plenty of baseball left to play. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 10, Tennessee 2 Box Score Chattanooga pounded out 12 hits and 10 runs on their way to the club's 42nd win this season. With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, the Lookouts plated four runs. Ryan Walker started the inning with a single and moved to third on Nick Gordon's second double of the game. Levi Michael drove in one with a ground-out before LaMonte Wade added a run-scoring single. Wade stole second in front of an Andy Wilkins double. Then Dan Gamache doubled to bring in Wilkins and cap the four-run inning. TJ White broke the game open in the seventh inning with a three-run home run. It was his third homer of the season. Nick Gordon finished 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored. Wade, Wilkins and Walker all had multi-hit games. Paul Clemens was able to put the game on cruise control to improve to 2-0 with the Lookouts. He scattered five hits over five innings while adding a strikeout and a walk. Alex Muren struck out two in two innings but did allow a solo home run. Todd Van Steensel pitched two scoreless innings to finish the contest, lowereing his ERA to 1.93. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 16, Clinton 3 Box Score With a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, the Kernels made quick work of the LumberKings. Cedar Rapids sent 13 men to the plate in the first inning on their way to scoring nine runs. Travis Blankenhorn scored twice in the frame including a two-run home run. Lewin Diaz added a two-run single and Christian Cavaness brought home two with a triple. The Kernels added to their lead in the second with an Aaron Whitefield two-run home run and a run scoring single from Blankenhorn. Their 12-0 lead was more than enough for the pitching staff. Whitefield finished with a career-high five runs batted in. Ben Rortvedt connected for his first career home run as part of a three-hit game. Blankenhorn went 4-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored, and three RBI. Every batter in the Kernels' starting line-up reached base. Max Cordy pitched into the fourth inning and allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Alex Robinson was credited with the win. He tossed 2.1 scoreless innings with a strikeout and a walk. Logan Lombana allowed a pair of runs in one inning. Patrick McGuff finished off the game with two scoreless frames including two strikeouts. The Kernels qualified for the Midwest League playoffs for the fifth year in a row and secured the longest playoff streak in Cedar Rapids professional baseball history. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Michael Tonkin, Rochester Red Wings (2 IP, 4 K, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB) Hitter of the Day – Travis Blankenhorn, Cedar Rapids Kernels (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Buffalo (6:05 CST) - TBD Chattanooga - Scheduled Off-Day Fort Myers @ Jupiter (5:30 CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids - Scheduled Off-Day Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.
  4. Happy Father's Day to all the dads, grandpas and great-grandpas across Twins Territory. Baseball can be quite the bonding experience for fathers and sons. This bond is passed down through the generations. My dad worked many long days as a UPS driver for over 30 years. I still remember waiting up for him to get home so we could play catch. He'd schedule his breaks so he could show up in his brown work uniform to play in the father-son baseball game. He took me to my first Twins game where I got to watch Kirby Puckett, the man I thought was a hero. It turns out the hero was the man who brought me to the game. The man who didn't have to play catch with me when he got home after a long work day. The man who didn't have to take his breaks so he could play in a kid's baseball game. These are the memories that stick with a person as other memories fade away. Thank you, Dad!RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 3, Pawtucket 2 (Game 1- 8 Innings) Box Score Rochester scored in each of the first two frames to take an early 2-0 lead. After a Matt Hague walk, singles from Mitch Garver and ByungHo Park plated the first run. JB Shuck was hit by a pitch to start the second. Bengie Gonzalez and Engelb Vielma were walked to load the bases. Zach Granite singled to push the score to 2-0 with no outs. Unfortunately, the Red Wings would score only one with the bases loaded and no outs. Chris Heston started and allowed two earned runs on seven hits with a strikeout. Drew Rucinski didn't allow a run in two innings. Michael Tonkin picked up his second win after striking out four of the six batters he faced to end the game. Seven innings wasn't enough to decide the first game of the doubleheader. Lucky enough for Rochester fans, Matt Hague didn't wait long into extra-frames. He led off the top of the eighth inning with his fifth home run of the season which turned out to be the game-winning knock. Rochester 2, Pawtucket 1 (Game 2- 7 Innings) Box Score Rochester found themselves in an early 1-0 hole but that's where the scoring would stop for the Red Sox. Tim Melville, in his second start with Rochester, pitched five innings and allowed one run. He danced around four walks and three hits but struck out four on the way to his first win. Trevor Hildenberger picked up save number five with two scoreless frames including three strikeouts. JB Shuck started the third with a double, his 15th on the season. Bengie Gonzlez was the next batter and he reached on a throwing error which allowed Shuck to score. In the top of the fifth, Tommy Field singled and scored on a single from Shuck. The play included two errors from the Red Sox outfield so neither of the runs scored by Rochester were earned. With two wins on Sunday, Rochester is now just one game under .500 at 32-33 on the season. They are 11 games out of first place in the International League North but they are only eight games back in the wild card race with plenty of baseball left to play. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga 10, Tennessee 2 Box Score Chattanooga pounded out 12 hits and 10 runs on their way to the club's 42nd win this season. With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, the Lookouts plated four runs. Ryan Walker started the inning with a single and moved to third on Nick Gordon's second double of the game. Levi Michael drove in one with a ground-out before LaMonte Wade added a run-scoring single. Wade stole second in front of an Andy Wilkins double. Then Dan Gamache doubled to bring in Wilkins and cap the four-run inning. TJ White broke the game open in the seventh inning with a three-run home run. It was his third homer of the season. Nick Gordon finished 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored. Wade, Wilkins and Walker all had multi-hit games. Paul Clemens was able to put the game on cruise control to improve to 2-0 with the Lookouts. He scattered five hits over five innings while adding a strikeout and a walk. Alex Muren struck out two in two innings but did allow a solo home run. Todd Van Steensel pitched two scoreless innings to finish the contest, lowereing his ERA to 1.93. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 16, Clinton 3 Box Score With a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, the Kernels made quick work of the LumberKings. Cedar Rapids sent 13 men to the plate in the first inning on their way to scoring nine runs. Travis Blankenhorn scored twice in the frame including a two-run home run. Lewin Diaz added a two-run single and Christian Cavaness brought home two with a triple. The Kernels added to their lead in the second with an Aaron Whitefield two-run home run and a run scoring single from Blankenhorn. Their 12-0 lead was more than enough for the pitching staff. Whitefield finished with a career-high five runs batted in. Ben Rortvedt connected for his first career home run as part of a three-hit game. Blankenhorn went 4-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored, and three RBI. Every batter in the Kernels' starting line-up reached base. Max Cordy pitched into the fourth inning and allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Alex Robinson was credited with the win. He tossed 2.1 scoreless innings with a strikeout and a walk. Logan Lombana allowed a pair of runs in one inning. Patrick McGuff finished off the game with two scoreless frames including two strikeouts. The Kernels qualified for the Midwest League playoffs for the fifth year in a row and secured the longest playoff streak in Cedar Rapids professional baseball history. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Michael Tonkin, Rochester Red Wings (2 IP, 4 K, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB) Hitter of the Day – Travis Blankenhorn, Cedar Rapids Kernels (4-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) MONDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester vs. Buffalo (6:05 CST) - TBD Chattanooga - Scheduled Off-Day Fort Myers @ Jupiter (5:30 CST) - TBD Cedar Rapids - Scheduled Off-Day Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games. Click here to view the article
  5. Happy Memorial Day! After Sunday’s marathon game against Tampa Bay, the Twins were forced to make some moves on Monday morning. To reinforce the pitching staff, the team recalled P Drew Rucinski and selected the contract of LP Jason Wheeler. Wheeler will take the 40-man spot recently vacated by Adam Wilk, who was designated for assignment, placed on waivers, cleared and will report to Rochester. Rochester will also reportedly add Ryan Eades to their roster in advance of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Let’s check the only two affiliates in action on Monday.RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Indianapolis 3 Box Score With Wheeler getting the call-up, Rochester moved Aaron Slegers up a day to make the start (still on regular rest). He performed well, striking out seven in six innings and only allowing three runs on six hits and a walk and took a no-decision. Michael Tonkin pitched the final three shutout innings, walking two, allowing one hit and striking out three. Tonkin picked up the win, his first in AAA for the season. The Red Wings got on the board in the fourth inning when Niko Goodrum drove in Matt Hague. It was a Goodrum double in the eighth, which followed a Mitch Garver double, that plated the team’s second run. John Ryan Murphy tied and put Rochester ahead with a single, scoring Goodrum from second and J.B. Shuck from first. An error by old friend Danny Ortiz helped. Bengie Gonzalez struck with the third double of the inning to score Shuck and put Rochester comfortably ahead. Goodrum was 3-4 with a double, run and two RBI. Hague had two hits and a run. Shuck walked three times. Garver added two walks to his double. Bad news for the Red Wings: Daniel Palka fractured a finger and is out indefinitely. Rochester is 22-22. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga - DAY OFF The Lookouts are 28-22. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers - OFF DAY Fort Myers, on a recent cold streak, is 25-26. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Kane County 3 Box Score Clark Beeker made the start and went six innings. He was in line for the win, allowing only one run on a walk and five hits. He struck out five. The game was turned over to Andrew Vasquez in the seventh and he worked around two hits to keep the Kernels down only 1-0. There wasn’t a lot of offense to speak of. To start the eighth inning, Travis Blankenhorn was hit by a pitch. Caleb Hamilton followed with a double. And though they only had two hits on the game at this point, they had two runners in scoring position and a chance to take the lead. That they did. Ben Rortvedt singled them both in. 2-1 Kernels. Patrick McGuff was called in for the eighth inning. He allowed three hits which produced the tying and eventual game-winning run and took a loss as well as a blown save. The Kernels are 29-22 TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Michael Tonkin, Rochester Hitter of the Day – Niko Goodrum, Rochester TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Durham (6:05 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades *speculative* (0-0, -.-- ERA) Rochester at Durham (Game 2) - Bullpen Game Chattanooga at Birmingham (7:05 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero (3-5, 4.11 ERA) Fort Myers vs Bradenton (5:35 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells (2-6, 3.72 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs Quad Cities (6:35 CST) - RHP Eduardo Del Rosario (4-2, 4.47 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games. Click here to view the article
  6. RED WINGS REPORT Rochester 5, Indianapolis 3 Box Score With Wheeler getting the call-up, Rochester moved Aaron Slegers up a day to make the start (still on regular rest). He performed well, striking out seven in six innings and only allowing three runs on six hits and a walk and took a no-decision. Michael Tonkin pitched the final three shutout innings, walking two, allowing one hit and striking out three. Tonkin picked up the win, his first in AAA for the season. The Red Wings got on the board in the fourth inning when Niko Goodrum drove in Matt Hague. It was a Goodrum double in the eighth, which followed a Mitch Garver double, that plated the team’s second run. John Ryan Murphy tied and put Rochester ahead with a single, scoring Goodrum from second and J.B. Shuck from first. An error by old friend Danny Ortiz helped. Bengie Gonzalez struck with the third double of the inning to score Shuck and put Rochester comfortably ahead. Goodrum was 3-4 with a double, run and two RBI. Hague had two hits and a run. Shuck walked three times. Garver added two walks to his double. Bad news for the Red Wings: Daniel Palka fractured a finger and is out indefinitely. Rochester is 22-22. CHATTANOOGA CHATTER Chattanooga - DAY OFF The Lookouts are 28-22. MIRACLE MATTERS Fort Myers - OFF DAY Fort Myers, on a recent cold streak, is 25-26. KERNELS NUGGETS Cedar Rapids 2, Kane County 3 Box Score Clark Beeker made the start and went six innings. He was in line for the win, allowing only one run on a walk and five hits. He struck out five. The game was turned over to Andrew Vasquez in the seventh and he worked around two hits to keep the Kernels down only 1-0. There wasn’t a lot of offense to speak of. To start the eighth inning, Travis Blankenhorn was hit by a pitch. Caleb Hamilton followed with a double. And though they only had two hits on the game at this point, they had two runners in scoring position and a chance to take the lead. That they did. Ben Rortvedt singled them both in. 2-1 Kernels. Patrick McGuff was called in for the eighth inning. He allowed three hits which produced the tying and eventual game-winning run and took a loss as well as a blown save. The Kernels are 29-22 TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Michael Tonkin, Rochester Hitter of the Day – Niko Goodrum, Rochester TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Rochester at Durham (6:05 CST) - RHP Ryan Eades *speculative* (0-0, -.-- ERA) Rochester at Durham (Game 2) - Bullpen Game Chattanooga at Birmingham (7:05 CST) - RHP Fernando Romero (3-5, 4.11 ERA) Fort Myers vs Bradenton (5:35 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells (2-6, 3.72 ERA) Cedar Rapids vs Quad Cities (6:35 CST) - RHP Eduardo Del Rosario (4-2, 4.47 ERA) Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Monday’s games.
  7. Operating with just three position backups, all of whom are more or less defensive specialists, has limited Molitor's ability to tweak and plug into the lineup. When he wanted to give DH Robbie Grossman a day off Saturday, the uninspiring replacement was utility infielder Eduardo Escobar. On Tuesday, when Molitor opted to sit first baseman Joe Mauer and right fielder Max Kepler against a left-hander, the fill-ins at two premium offensive positions were Chris Gimenez and Danny Santana – the two worst bats on the roster. Late in the game, the manager was unable to pinch-run for Jason Castro, standing on second as the tying run, because Joe Mauer had just singled him there after pinch-hitting for Castro's backup. Meanwhile, the extra arms have yielded Molitor no benefit. Sure, Twins starters have surprisingly pitched deep into most games, but the eight-man bullpen would be extreme overkill regardless. In the first eight days of the season, Justin Haley, Tyler Duffey and Michael Tonkin got into games twice apiece. Craig Breslow recorded one single out. In theory, the roster that Minnesota opened this season with was palatable for a brief period. In practice, it's a joke. The front office must realize that it's unfair and, frankly, ill-advised to keep this competitive handicap in play. Molitor emphasized at the conclusion of camp his belief that the unideal initial setup was "short-term." He is no doubt ready to move on and restore some balance. The Twins have a few different options for doing so. The easy choice is calling up Kennys Vargas. He's healthy and made his fourth straight start in Rochester on Tuesday, slugging his first home run. Choosing a pitcher to remove from the bullpen, which has been stunningly effective in the early going, is less easy. We know the late-inning core of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Pressly, Matt Belisle and Taylor Rogers will remain intact. After that, it gets a little trickier. Rule 5 pick Justin Haley has more or less proven his worth, with a clean one-inning debut followed by a long relief outing in Chicago that was going swimmingly through three innings before a pair of homers knocked him out. He seems safe. Tyler Duffey is the obvious pick if the team still views him as a starter. He could go to Triple-A, get stretched out and be ready to step into the rotation when needed. But are they still viewing him that way? Should they? Though he was framed as a swingman coming out of camp, Duffey's usage has not been reflective of such. Instead, he's been a high-leverage crutch for Molitor. And unsurprisingly, the righty has looked excellent in short bursts, flashing the stuff of a legit setup man. Why mess with that after he put up a 6.43 ERA in the Twins rotation last year? If Duffey will indeed accompany Pressly and Belisle as a late-inning weapon, it sort of marginalizes Michael Tonkin, who currently appears to have no real purpose on the roster. His two appearances have come in the two losses, both with the team down multiple runs. Once again, he is being used as a mop-up man, a role that suits him poorly. It's not evident from the first handful of games that he's gained any additional trust from Molitor. Then again, the Twins went out of their way to keep Tonkin out of spring, and he hasn't really done anything to lose favor on his end. Then there's Craig Breslow. He's made one appearance, relieving Kyle Gibson in the third game against the Royals. Molitor pulled him after three batters, and didn't turn to the veteran lefty in any of the next four contests. In his lone outing, Breslow threw only four of 11 pitches for strikes. In spring training, he walked seven over nine innings. The reinvented southpaw might have impressive spin and movement on his pitches, but there's no evidence he can command them. Clearly he doesn't have the manager's faith. So it seems there are three options at play if the Twins want to add a bat in short order. They can send out Duffey and get him back on a starting regimen in Rochester. They can expose Tonkin to waivers with hopes he'll have better odds of passing through now than at the end of spring. Or they can pull the plug on Breslow, whom they just handed a 40-man roster spot, after one outing. I'm not sure what the best option is, though I'd probably lean toward Breslow. I do know that the Twins need to cut down on pitchers and bulk up their bench, and I'm guessing everyone reading this will agree. What's your move?
  8. Paul Molitor wasn't thrilled to be handed a 13-man pitching staff and three-man bench on Opening Day. Despite the team's success in these first seven games, he isn't feeling much better about it now. The manager has already been hamstrung on multiple occasions, including the end of a Tuesday loss which left him sounding a little exasperated. Something needs to change soon. That means the Twins have a tough decision to make.Operating with just three position backups, all of whom are more or less defensive specialists, has limited Molitor's ability to tweak and plug into the lineup. When he wanted to give DH Robbie Grossman a day off Saturday, the uninspiring replacement was utility infielder Eduardo Escobar. On Tuesday, when Molitor opted to sit first baseman Joe Mauer and right fielder Max Kepler against a left-hander, the fill-ins at two premium offensive positions were Chris Gimenez and Danny Santana – the two worst bats on the roster. Late in the game, the manager was unable to pinch-run for Jason Castro, standing on second as the tying run, because Joe Mauer had just singled him there after pinch-hitting for Castro's backup. Meanwhile, the extra arms have yielded Molitor no benefit. Sure, Twins starters have surprisingly pitched deep into most games, but the eight-man bullpen would be extreme overkill regardless. In the first eight days of the season, Justin Haley, Tyler Duffey and Michael Tonkin got into games twice apiece. Craig Breslow recorded one single out. In theory, the roster that Minnesota opened this season with was palatable for a brief period. In practice, it's a joke. The front office must realize that it's unfair and, frankly, ill-advised to keep this competitive handicap in play. Molitor emphasized at the conclusion of camp his belief that the unideal initial setup was "short-term." He is no doubt ready to move on and restore some balance. The Twins have a few different options for doing so. The easy choice is calling up Kennys Vargas. He's healthy and made his fourth straight start in Rochester on Tuesday, slugging his first home run. Choosing a pitcher to remove from the bullpen, which has been stunningly effective in the early going, is less easy. We know the late-inning core of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Pressly, Matt Belisle and Taylor Rogers will remain intact. After that, it gets a little trickier. Rule 5 pick Justin Haley has more or less proven his worth, with a clean one-inning debut followed by a long relief outing in Chicago that was going swimmingly through three innings before a pair of homers knocked him out. He seems safe. Tyler Duffey is the obvious pick if the team still views him as a starter. He could go to Triple-A, get stretched out and be ready to step into the rotation when needed. But are they still viewing him that way? Should they? Though he was framed as a swingman coming out of camp, Duffey's usage has not been reflective of such. Instead, he's been a high-leverage crutch for Molitor. And unsurprisingly, the righty has looked excellent in short bursts, flashing the stuff of a legit setup man. Why mess with that after he put up a 6.43 ERA in the Twins rotation last year? If Duffey will indeed accompany Pressly and Belisle as a late-inning weapon, it sort of marginalizes Michael Tonkin, who currently appears to have no real purpose on the roster. His two appearances have come in the two losses, both with the team down multiple runs. Once again, he is being used as a mop-up man, a role that suits him poorly. It's not evident from the first handful of games that he's gained any additional trust from Molitor. Then again, the Twins went out of their way to keep Tonkin out of spring, and he hasn't really done anything to lose favor on his end. Then there's Craig Breslow. He's made one appearance, relieving Kyle Gibson in the third game against the Royals. Molitor pulled him after three batters, and didn't turn to the veteran lefty in any of the next four contests. In his lone outing, Breslow threw only four of 11 pitches for strikes. In spring training, he walked seven over nine innings. The reinvented southpaw might have impressive spin and movement on his pitches, but there's no evidence he can command them. Clearly he doesn't have the manager's faith. So it seems there are three options at play if the Twins want to add a bat in short order. They can send out Duffey and get him back on a starting regimen in Rochester. They can expose Tonkin to waivers with hopes he'll have better odds of passing through now than at the end of spring. Or they can pull the plug on Breslow, whom they just handed a 40-man roster spot, after one outing. I'm not sure what the best option is, though I'd probably lean toward Breslow. I do know that the Twins need to cut down on pitchers and bulk up their bench, and I'm guessing everyone reading this will agree. What's your move? Click here to view the article
  9. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Episode_304.mp3?dest-id=74590
  10. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' excellent first week, reunite at Tin Whiskers, rehash the decision to carry 13 pitchers, debate the logic and mysticism behind the Twins' batting order, detail the Baseball Prospectus event at Target Field, wonder about the struggles of Byron Buxton, talk way too much about Michael Tonkin, explain why Aaron bought another Casper mattress, evaluate the Twins' improved defense, and discuss college tours. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link.http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  11. Yes, it's possible the Twins could try to work out a trade with the Red Sox (they traded for Rule 5 pick Scott Diamond in 2010 in order to be able to send him down to Rochester), but I don't see that as very likely in this case. I doubt Boston would be interested in cash considerations or lower level minor leaguers; they're flush with cash and trying to compete. Sure, they exposed Haley to the Rule 5 Draft, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't like to have him back if given the opportunity. Beyond anything else, the biggest reason I feel it would be wise for the Twins to make room on the roster for Haley is he can provide valuable insurance to the rotation and protection for the bullpen. Here's how I imagine the pitching staff shaking out right now: Rotation Ervin Santana Kyle Gibson Hector Santiago Trevor May Phil Hughes Bullpen (assuming Glen Perkins starts on the DL) Brandon Kintzler Ryan Pressly J.T. Chargois Matt Belisle Taylor Rogers Justin Haley Buddy Boshers Neither Gibson nor Santiago are known for pitching deep into games, and both Hughes (recovering from injuries) and May (transitioning from he bullpen) aren't exactly guys you want to count on to eat innings out of the gate. This staff needs a reliever who can be called upon to throw multiple innings early in games, and I'd rather not see another promising young starter moved to the pen (like May was) or a reliever miscast into a role he's not suited for (like Michael Tonkin was). Basically what I'm saying is Haley should be this year's version of J.R. Graham, the Twins Rule 5 pick in 2015. It's tough to point to a guy who had a 4.95 ERA and 1.48 WHIP and say he was a valuable member of a pitching staff, but Graham throwing 63 2/3 innings was essential to keeping the rest of the bullpen fresh that season. He even made one emergency spot start. Over his 38 relief appearances, Graham entered a game prior to the fifth inning 12 times, he pitched in multiple innings 25 times and in 20 of his appearances there was at least a five-run difference in the score (one way or the other) when he entered the game. He was basically the definition of a mop-up man. Another big thing to remember concerning the Opening Day roster is it can change the next week, the next series, hell, the next day if need be. Bringing Haley north with the big club doesn't necessarily mean committing a roster spot to him for the entire season. If he doesn't pan out, no big loss. You basically rented him from Boston in order to gobble up a bunch of low-leverage innings early in the season and you send him back once you're convinced he's nothing special. No harm done. Some people may take issue with Jose Berrios not being included on the Opening Day roster. While he has nothing left to prove in the minors in terms of performance -- he's dominated every level -- he does have plenty to work on. At this point I'd rather he work out the kinks in Rochester, where guys like he, Tyler Duffy and Mejia would stay stretched out to serve as rotation insurance. Berrios was the youngest AL pitcher to start a game last season, so it's important to keep in mind he's still way ahead of the curve. Leaving Tonkin off the roster would mean exposing him to waivers, but I think there's more of a chance that Tonkin would clear waivers than there's a chance the Twins could work out a suitable trade for Haley with Boston. But I do not view Haley and Tonkin as being in direct competition for the same spot. There needs to be a long man behind this rotation, and we saw last season, Tonkin cannot thrive in that role. Haley making the 25-man roster wouldn't be "blocking" any of the higher upside relievers. Would you rather see a guy like Jake Reed, Mason Melotakis, Trevor Hildenberger, Nick Burdi or (insert your favorite of the Twins 46 relief prospects here) getting abused in a mop-up role in the majors or pitching in the back end of the bullpen in the minors? To me, Haley's primary competition is against the guys like Ryan Vogelsong and Nick Tepesch, not any of the traditional one-inning relief guys. Is Justin Haley one of the Twins' best dozen or so pitchers? No, probably not. Is he an excellent fit to be the last man in the bullpen? Absolutely.
  12. Twins officials have been insistent throughout the offseason that they wished to bolster the bullpen by acquiring a veteran reliever. On Friday they got their guy, signing 36-year-old righty Matt Belisle to a one-year, $2.05 million deal. Let's take a look at how this addition alters the bullpen landscape, and who figures to be the odd man out.First, some words on Belisle and what he brings to the table. My hope going into this offseason was that the Twins would aim for higher upside, seeking to entice a late-inning weapon such as Neftali Feliz or Greg Holland by dangling a potentially open closer job. On a short-term contract, saves are money. Belisle doesn't fit that profile, but isn't a bad get by any means. Dating back to 2010 he has a 3.47 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 1.26 WHIP. His velocity and whiff rates don't scream "dominance" but he has been a very effective reliever for a long time. What he lacks in strikeouts he makes up for with sharp control and consistent ground ball tendencies. Over the past two years he has allowed only three home runs in 80 innings. The well-traveled vet has also spent those two seasons playing for division winners, which was undoubtedly a big part of his allure. In 2015 Belisle made 34 appearances for a 100-win Cardinals team. Last year, his Nationals won 95 games. Given all the talk we've heard about bringing in an experienced player with leadership qualities, it's clear this factor weighed heavily. Belisle looks like a trustworthy middle-innings guy who can give you multiple innings when needed. In essence he is a rich man's Tim Stauffer, and a good bet to fulfill the role Terry Ryan envisioned with that ill-fated signing two years ago. But his presence exacerbates a numbers crunch in the bullpen. There will be some interesting scenarios playing out when the pitching staff reports to Ft. Myers in a week. If we're working under the (probably safe) assumption that Glen Perkins will not be on the Opening Day roster, then these are the relievers we can basically consider locks: Brandon Kintzler, RHP Ryan Pressly, RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Taylor Rogers/Buddy Boshers/Ryan O'Rourke, LHP Barring injuries, those four will be there. Kintzler, Pressly and Belisle have guaranteed contracts and of course Paul Molitor will need a left-hander at his disposal. In fact, he'll probably want at least two in this age of specialized bullpens, and I would suggest that closer-in-training JT Chargois should be pretty close to a lock as well after finishing strong with the Twins in 2016. In a seven-man bullpen, those assumptions would leave one spot open. There are three different players who all have a fairly strong case, but two are likely to be left out - from the roster, and maybe even the organization. First, there's Michael Tonkin. We all recall his unfulfilling 2016 campaign, which yielded a 5.02 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. On the surface, he looks like the unfortunate but obvious underdog. At least, he would be if the old regime were still in charge. Tonkin barely made the roster last spring and did not perform well during his lengthy audition. I would argue, though, that his struggles were tied to misuse. Formerly a dominant Triple-A closer, the flame-throwing righty was thrust into a long relief role, and the extended outings seemed to take a take a toll as he wore down late in the year. I suspect (and hope) that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are curious to see what Tonkin can do in shorter stints. His tremendous success in the minors and his established ability to strike out big-leaguers make him tough to give up on. The team's decision to make room for Belisle by designating Byung Ho Park for assignment confirms their enduring faith in Tonkin, who is out of options. It looks like they intend to give him a real chance this spring. But where would that leave Justin Haley? The Twins had the No. 1 selection in December's Rule 5 draft and decided that out of everyone available, the 25-year-old right-hander was the guy they wanted. Unless they can work out a trade, they must either keep him on the active roster or lose him. With the urgency to repair this pitching staff being as high as it is, the front office cannot get this wrong. If they expose Tonkin to waivers and he gets claimed only to excel in a more fitting role elsewhere, it looks bad. If they send Haley back to Boston and he turns out to be a quality big-league arm, it looks bad. These are the kinds of early missteps that Falvey and Levine can ill afford if they want to win the respect and trust of the fan base (not to mention lingering Ryan loyalists within the organization). So the stakes will be high as they evaluate these two players in Florida. And we haven't yet even mentioned one other name that should be in the discussion. Up to this point the team has been mum regarding its plans for Tyler Duffey. There is a common belief that he's best suited for the bullpen, based on his two-pitch arsenal and his background as a dominant closer in college. There hasn't been any indication that he'll be shifted to relief right away, but it looks like his best path since he's behind both Trevor May and Jose Berrios for the final rotation spot. The Twins have the luxury of taking it slow with Duffey, who has options remaining. They could send him to Rochester in April and allow him to hone his skills in relief. Though he's a likely candidate to succeed – especially if he can add a few ticks to his fastball – it has been a long time since he's pitched in that capacity. Then again, if they try this out in the Grapefruit League and he's firing bullets, how do you send him to the minors? He's a deep sleeper to ultimately take over the ninth-inning gig. Let's not forget how bad Perkins looked in his final run as a starter before almost immediately becoming a lights-out late inning asset. These are intriguing storylines, and there are a few others that could emerge. For instance, what if Perkins is healthy and strong enough to fill a role out of the gates? What if May's transition back to starting doesn't pan, and they opt to slide him back to relief? What if Phil Hughes needs some ramp-up time in the bullpen? There's also minor-league signing Ryan Vogelsong, who some feel is very likely to make the roster with a decent spring. Injuries happen, of course, and the Twins are setting themselves up well for that. But if this group can get through spring relatively healthy, it's going to set up some pivotal decisions at the end of March. Click here to view the article
  13. First, some words on Belisle and what he brings to the table. My hope going into this offseason was that the Twins would aim for higher upside, seeking to entice a late-inning weapon such as Neftali Feliz or Greg Holland by dangling a potentially open closer job. On a short-term contract, saves are money. Belisle doesn't fit that profile, but isn't a bad get by any means. Dating back to 2010 he has a 3.47 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 1.26 WHIP. His velocity and whiff rates don't scream "dominance" but he has been a very effective reliever for a long time. What he lacks in strikeouts he makes up for with sharp control and consistent ground ball tendencies. Over the past two years he has allowed only three home runs in 80 innings. The well-traveled vet has also spent those two seasons playing for division winners, which was undoubtedly a big part of his allure. In 2015 Belisle made 34 appearances for a 100-win Cardinals team. Last year, his Nationals won 95 games. Given all the talk we've heard about bringing in an experienced player with leadership qualities, it's clear this factor weighed heavily. Belisle looks like a trustworthy middle-innings guy who can give you multiple innings when needed. In essence he is a rich man's Tim Stauffer, and a good bet to fulfill the role Terry Ryan envisioned with that ill-fated signing two years ago. But his presence exacerbates a numbers crunch in the bullpen. There will be some interesting scenarios playing out when the pitching staff reports to Ft. Myers in a week. If we're working under the (probably safe) assumption that Glen Perkins will not be on the Opening Day roster, then these are the relievers we can basically consider locks: Brandon Kintzler, RHP Ryan Pressly, RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Taylor Rogers/Buddy Boshers/Ryan O'Rourke, LHP Barring injuries, those four will be there. Kintzler, Pressly and Belisle have guaranteed contracts and of course Paul Molitor will need a left-hander at his disposal. In fact, he'll probably want at least two in this age of specialized bullpens, and I would suggest that closer-in-training JT Chargois should be pretty close to a lock as well after finishing strong with the Twins in 2016. In a seven-man bullpen, those assumptions would leave one spot open. There are three different players who all have a fairly strong case, but two are likely to be left out - from the roster, and maybe even the organization. First, there's Michael Tonkin. We all recall his unfulfilling 2016 campaign, which yielded a 5.02 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. On the surface, he looks like the unfortunate but obvious underdog. At least, he would be if the old regime were still in charge. Tonkin barely made the roster last spring and did not perform well during his lengthy audition. I would argue, though, that his struggles were tied to misuse. Formerly a dominant Triple-A closer, the flame-throwing righty was thrust into a long relief role, and the extended outings seemed to take a take a toll as he wore down late in the year. I suspect (and hope) that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are curious to see what Tonkin can do in shorter stints. His tremendous success in the minors and his established ability to strike out big-leaguers make him tough to give up on. The team's decision to make room for Belisle by designating Byung Ho Park for assignment confirms their enduring faith in Tonkin, who is out of options. It looks like they intend to give him a real chance this spring. But where would that leave Justin Haley? The Twins had the No. 1 selection in December's Rule 5 draft and decided that out of everyone available, the 25-year-old right-hander was the guy they wanted. Unless they can work out a trade, they must either keep him on the active roster or lose him. With the urgency to repair this pitching staff being as high as it is, the front office cannot get this wrong. If they expose Tonkin to waivers and he gets claimed only to excel in a more fitting role elsewhere, it looks bad. If they send Haley back to Boston and he turns out to be a quality big-league arm, it looks bad. These are the kinds of early missteps that Falvey and Levine can ill afford if they want to win the respect and trust of the fan base (not to mention lingering Ryan loyalists within the organization). So the stakes will be high as they evaluate these two players in Florida. And we haven't yet even mentioned one other name that should be in the discussion. Up to this point the team has been mum regarding its plans for Tyler Duffey. There is a common belief that he's best suited for the bullpen, based on his two-pitch arsenal and his background as a dominant closer in college. There hasn't been any indication that he'll be shifted to relief right away, but it looks like his best path since he's behind both Trevor May and Jose Berrios for the final rotation spot. The Twins have the luxury of taking it slow with Duffey, who has options remaining. They could send him to Rochester in April and allow him to hone his skills in relief. Though he's a likely candidate to succeed – especially if he can add a few ticks to his fastball – it has been a long time since he's pitched in that capacity. Then again, if they try this out in the Grapefruit League and he's firing bullets, how do you send him to the minors? He's a deep sleeper to ultimately take over the ninth-inning gig. Let's not forget how bad Perkins looked in his final run as a starter before almost immediately becoming a lights-out late inning asset. These are intriguing storylines, and there are a few others that could emerge. For instance, what if Perkins is healthy and strong enough to fill a role out of the gates? What if May's transition back to starting doesn't pan, and they opt to slide him back to relief? What if Phil Hughes needs some ramp-up time in the bullpen? There's also minor-league signing Ryan Vogelsong, who some feel is very likely to make the roster with a decent spring. Injuries happen, of course, and the Twins are setting themselves up well for that. But if this group can get through spring relatively healthy, it's going to set up some pivotal decisions at the end of March.
  14. When you're coming off a 100-loss season, the foremost concern is, flatly, finding ways to get more victories, as opposed to identifying someone who can close them out. Still, the Twins need to figure out what they're going to do about the ninth inning in 2017.They have a three-time All-Star closer on their staff, but unfortunately they can't count on him. Glen Perkins is coming back from a daunting surgery to reattach his shoulder labrum, and if he returns anywhere close to his previous level of effectiveness, he'll be beating the odds. In the latest update on the 33-year-old's recovery via Mike Beradino of the Pioneer Press, the only word was that Perkins is "making progress" several months after his operation. It still doesn't sound like he's throwing. Paul Molitor was measured in his assessment: “We all know the odds and the numbers on those surgeries for people, and we’re just hoping for the best,” Molitor said. “I think they’ve been relatively pleased with the recovery from the surgery and the injury.” Of course, "hoping for the best" is not where you want to be with the most traditionally important spot in the bullpen. The Twins need contingencies. In fact, they need more than that. Even if his rehab goes smoothly and he looks strong and healthy heading into spring training, the Twins should have someone else lined up for the ninth so that they can ease him back in. Evaluate Perk's post-surgery effectiveness during the early months, and assign him accordingly. (I will add here that even if Perkins is somehow able to return to his peak dominance, I still would prefer not to return him to the closer role, in a strict sense. This postseason has only reinforced the way such a limiting usage pattern provides a competitive disadvantage. The Orioles fell out early because they were too fixated on using Zach Britton in a save opportunity. Meanwhile, the Indians have thrived while utilizing Andrew Miller as a true flexible bullpen ace.) Even with my stated feelings on the above, I can't deny the importance of having a closer in place. And without question, the Twins also recognize it. They may evolve under new leadership in the front office, but they're not going to suddenly become a team that eschews the mainstream and puts no effort into designating a reliable and experienced ninth-inning guy. Perhaps that guy is already on the roster. The first big test – and barometer – for Derek Falvey and his new general manager will be an earnest evaluation of Brandon Kintzler. The veteran right-hander was a classic Terry Ryan relief reclamation story, turning from minor league free agent signing into bullpen staple. Kintzler was more than adequate while filling in as closer in the second half. He threw strikes, induced lots of grounders and kept the ball in the yard. In all, he converted 17 of 20 save chances, and that sounds just fine. But let's not forget that Kintzler was replacing Kevin Jepsen, whom the Twins had no choice but to drop after he performed dreadfully for three months. They made the mistake of putting too much faith in Jepsen based on his short run of success in the previous second half. Are they going to do the same with Kintzler, who was considerably less impressive? This is a good opportunity for the restructured front office to differentiate itself by being proactive rather than reactive. Head into next season with a plan that offers concrete long-term upside. There are plenty of ways to do so. One way would be installing J.T. Chargois in the role. He was a closer in college, and in the minors. After shaking off some initial rookie struggles, he looked the part of a shutdown late-inning arm down the stretch with Minnesota. At this point in time, he undoubtedly profiles as the heir apparent behind Perkins. But this feels like skipping a step. Chargois still only has 25 major-league appearances. Throwing him into the fire so quickly could prove detrimental. Why not take it a bit slower and let him work his way up? This would be a more characteristic Twins approach. Another idea, and one that I don't expect to happen, would be giving Michael Tonkin a shot. He's coming off a rough campaign and is out of options. The Twins need to figure out what they have in him. They may already feel they know, following a 5.02 ERA during his first full year in an MLB bullpen, but that work came in an unfamiliar long relief role. Tonkin was at his best when he was a Triple-A closer. Why not give him the reins – even with a short leash – then see how his body and confidence respond? Look, I know many are unimpressed with what they've seen from Tonkin. But his minor-league numbers, and his ability to throw the ball past big-league hitters, are rare finds within a Minnesota bullpen. The team is much better served showing patience with a hurler like him than feeding innings to guys like Kintzler and Jepsen. However, I do understand that players like Chargois and Tonkin fall short in one important category: experience. Neither has any, as a closer, in the major leagues. One might argue this doesn't matter too much given the level of expectation this team will have next year, but if Molitor is focused on winning a whole lot more games, he will probably want an option that makes him a little more comfortable at the end. There is a path to both experience AND long-term upside in the role. It only requires that the Twins take an aggressive tack with some free agents that may carry significant risk. The relief market offers a few excellent buy-low chances, which should particularly appeal to a Minnesota team that can afford to take some gambles. Neftali Feliz is one such candidate. Back in 2010, the righty won Rookie of the Year while saving 40 games for the Rangers, and he added 32 more the following season. Then, Texas tried shifting him to the rotation, and he got hurt and underwent Tommy John surgery. His frequent trips to the disabled list led to a lukewarm free agent market last winter before he signed with Pittsburgh on a one-year, $3.9 million deal. Feliz looked good as a setup man with Pittsburgh. His fastball velocity was as high as it's been since 2011, and he averaged 10.2 K/9 while holding opponents to a .207 average. Still only 28, he presents the rare free agent combination of youth, closing experience, and an extremely high ceiling. The Twins won't be Feliz's – or any coveted player's – first choice with all things being equal, but money talks. If they want to find similar benefits but don't want to spend as much, the Twins could pursue Drew Storen. Unlike Feliz, he's not coming off a strong year, and in fact he's had a rough go of it in general lately. But he is a former 40-save closer who is younger than the typical FA at 29, and for the most part he has been an effective backend bullpen arm in his career. He has the potential to be a closer or a standout setup guy. The Twins could use either. One final free agent name to monitor: Greg Holland. He notched 125 saves with a 1.97 ERA from 2013 through 2015 with the Royals, but sat out the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery. He will be 16 months removed from that operation on Opening Day next year, so he's a relatively safe bet. Holland might be predisposed to return to Kansas City but, again, money talks. Ultimately, the point is that the Twins should be viewing their open closer job as an opportunity rather than a burden. There's no reason to spend big on a premier name like Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen, but there's really no reason to run with someone like Kintzler who will do nothing but keep the seat warm. Aim higher. What would be your preferred blueprint for addressing the ninth inning with Perkins in limbo? Click here to view the article
  15. They have a three-time All-Star closer on their staff, but unfortunately they can't count on him. Glen Perkins is coming back from a daunting surgery to reattach his shoulder labrum, and if he returns anywhere close to his previous level of effectiveness, he'll be beating the odds. In the latest update on the 33-year-old's recovery via Mike Beradino of the Pioneer Press, the only word was that Perkins is "making progress" several months after his operation. It still doesn't sound like he's throwing. Paul Molitor was measured in his assessment: “We all know the odds and the numbers on those surgeries for people, and we’re just hoping for the best,” Molitor said. “I think they’ve been relatively pleased with the recovery from the surgery and the injury.” Of course, "hoping for the best" is not where you want to be with the most traditionally important spot in the bullpen. The Twins need contingencies. In fact, they need more than that. Even if his rehab goes smoothly and he looks strong and healthy heading into spring training, the Twins should have someone else lined up for the ninth so that they can ease him back in. Evaluate Perk's post-surgery effectiveness during the early months, and assign him accordingly. (I will add here that even if Perkins is somehow able to return to his peak dominance, I still would prefer not to return him to the closer role, in a strict sense. This postseason has only reinforced the way such a limiting usage pattern provides a competitive disadvantage. The Orioles fell out early because they were too fixated on using Zach Britton in a save opportunity. Meanwhile, the Indians have thrived while utilizing Andrew Miller as a true flexible bullpen ace.) Even with my stated feelings on the above, I can't deny the importance of having a closer in place. And without question, the Twins also recognize it. They may evolve under new leadership in the front office, but they're not going to suddenly become a team that eschews the mainstream and puts no effort into designating a reliable and experienced ninth-inning guy. Perhaps that guy is already on the roster. The first big test – and barometer – for Derek Falvey and his new general manager will be an earnest evaluation of Brandon Kintzler. The veteran right-hander was a classic Terry Ryan relief reclamation story, turning from minor league free agent signing into bullpen staple. Kintzler was more than adequate while filling in as closer in the second half. He threw strikes, induced lots of grounders and kept the ball in the yard. In all, he converted 17 of 20 save chances, and that sounds just fine. But let's not forget that Kintzler was replacing Kevin Jepsen, whom the Twins had no choice but to drop after he performed dreadfully for three months. They made the mistake of putting too much faith in Jepsen based on his short run of success in the previous second half. Are they going to do the same with Kintzler, who was considerably less impressive? This is a good opportunity for the restructured front office to differentiate itself by being proactive rather than reactive. Head into next season with a plan that offers concrete long-term upside. There are plenty of ways to do so. One way would be installing J.T. Chargois in the role. He was a closer in college, and in the minors. After shaking off some initial rookie struggles, he looked the part of a shutdown late-inning arm down the stretch with Minnesota. At this point in time, he undoubtedly profiles as the heir apparent behind Perkins. But this feels like skipping a step. Chargois still only has 25 major-league appearances. Throwing him into the fire so quickly could prove detrimental. Why not take it a bit slower and let him work his way up? This would be a more characteristic Twins approach. Another idea, and one that I don't expect to happen, would be giving Michael Tonkin a shot. He's coming off a rough campaign and is out of options. The Twins need to figure out what they have in him. They may already feel they know, following a 5.02 ERA during his first full year in an MLB bullpen, but that work came in an unfamiliar long relief role. Tonkin was at his best when he was a Triple-A closer. Why not give him the reins – even with a short leash – then see how his body and confidence respond? Look, I know many are unimpressed with what they've seen from Tonkin. But his minor-league numbers, and his ability to throw the ball past big-league hitters, are rare finds within a Minnesota bullpen. The team is much better served showing patience with a hurler like him than feeding innings to guys like Kintzler and Jepsen. However, I do understand that players like Chargois and Tonkin fall short in one important category: experience. Neither has any, as a closer, in the major leagues. One might argue this doesn't matter too much given the level of expectation this team will have next year, but if Molitor is focused on winning a whole lot more games, he will probably want an option that makes him a little more comfortable at the end. There is a path to both experience AND long-term upside in the role. It only requires that the Twins take an aggressive tack with some free agents that may carry significant risk. The relief market offers a few excellent buy-low chances, which should particularly appeal to a Minnesota team that can afford to take some gambles. Neftali Feliz is one such candidate. Back in 2010, the righty won Rookie of the Year while saving 40 games for the Rangers, and he added 32 more the following season. Then, Texas tried shifting him to the rotation, and he got hurt and underwent Tommy John surgery. His frequent trips to the disabled list led to a lukewarm free agent market last winter before he signed with Pittsburgh on a one-year, $3.9 million deal. Feliz looked good as a setup man with Pittsburgh. His fastball velocity was as high as it's been since 2011, and he averaged 10.2 K/9 while holding opponents to a .207 average. Still only 28, he presents the rare free agent combination of youth, closing experience, and an extremely high ceiling. The Twins won't be Feliz's – or any coveted player's – first choice with all things being equal, but money talks. If they want to find similar benefits but don't want to spend as much, the Twins could pursue Drew Storen. Unlike Feliz, he's not coming off a strong year, and in fact he's had a rough go of it in general lately. But he is a former 40-save closer who is younger than the typical FA at 29, and for the most part he has been an effective backend bullpen arm in his career. He has the potential to be a closer or a standout setup guy. The Twins could use either. One final free agent name to monitor: Greg Holland. He notched 125 saves with a 1.97 ERA from 2013 through 2015 with the Royals, but sat out the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery. He will be 16 months removed from that operation on Opening Day next year, so he's a relatively safe bet. Holland might be predisposed to return to Kansas City but, again, money talks. Ultimately, the point is that the Twins should be viewing their open closer job as an opportunity rather than a burden. There's no reason to spend big on a premier name like Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen, but there's really no reason to run with someone like Kintzler who will do nothing but keep the seat warm. Aim higher. What would be your preferred blueprint for addressing the ninth inning with Perkins in limbo?
  16. This spring, Michael Tonkin essentially had a golden ticket. Being out of options, the Twins had to either break camp with Tonkin on the 25-man roster or lose him to waivers. Being young, cheap and having been effective in brief cameos with the Twins the prior three seasons, it was an easy choice. Tonkin has stuck on the big club all year, but one has to wonder how much longer he'll remain in the organization. The 6-foot-7 righty didn't exactly earn his way onto the Opening Day roster, as he gave up seven earned runs in eight innings pitched in the Grapefruit League, and he hasn't done much to impress since. It's not likely that Tonkin would have stuck on the major league roster the entire season if he still had an option year to burn. After all, this is a guy the club optioned to Rochester ten different times over the last three seasons. But is there any reason to be optimistic about Tonkin's future?On the down side, Tonkin has a 5.17 ERA and has been unusable against lefties, as they are hitting .292/.380/.642 off him going into Thursday's game (Victor Martinez added a three-run homer to Tonkin's lefty woes).You'd think a changeup guru would help Tonkin develop that pitch to better neutralize southpaws (looking at you, Neil Allen). Tonkin can rack up strikeouts, but bad things happen when he allows contact. This season he's inducing fewer grounders (48.8% coming into 2016 vs. 34% this season), giving up more line drives (18.9% vs. 26.4%) and more of his fly balls are leaving the park (11.3 HR/FB vs. 15.4). If you want to shut the book on Tonkin based just on those numbers, I can't blame you. But, looking deeper into the numbers and taking into account how he's been used, there may be some reason for hope. On the plus side, Tonkin is improving in some crucial areas. He's boosted his strikeout rate (7.55 entering the season to 9.91 in 2016) while lowering his walk rate (3.02 vs. 2.87). Also, both his contact percentage (76.3) and swinging strike rate (11.1) are career highs by a large margin. One thing that hasn't been in Tonkin's favor that's out of his control is the way he's been used. He's recorded at least four outs in 23 appearances and pitched two full innings or more nine times. He's appeared in every inning but the first and his 1,233 pitches thrown ranks 7th among 140 qualified relievers. He's Paul Molitor's mop-up man, and the role has not suited him well. Through his first 25 pitches of an outing, Tonkin has limited opponents to a .786 OPS, but once he has eclipsed the 25-pitch mark, it spikes to a 1.128 OPS. He's also giving up a .957 OPS when pitching in games where there is at least a four-run margin (which was the case when he allowed the V-Mart homer on Thursday afternoon). Obviously, one way to get out of that mop-up role would be to perform well enough that you get promoted to late-inning work, but Tonkin hasn't inspired confidence to rationalize that kind of jump. But he continues to be used in a role that doesn't appear to suit him and, surprise, he continues to underperform. It's not too different from the lose-lose situation Trevor May has been in the last season and a half. With a new set of evaluators set to take over the front office, maybe Tonkin's role will be adjusted in 2017. Or maybe he'll be jettisoned off the roster and be evaluated in an entirely new organization. Things haven't gone the way I'm sure Michael Tonkin had hoped in 2016, but I wouldn't be surprised with a new, more specialized role and a different pitch mix he could find success next season. Click here to view the article
  17. On the down side, Tonkin has a 5.17 ERA and has been unusable against lefties, as they are hitting .292/.380/.642 off him going into Thursday's game (Victor Martinez added a three-run homer to Tonkin's lefty woes).You'd think a changeup guru would help Tonkin develop that pitch to better neutralize southpaws (looking at you, Neil Allen). Tonkin can rack up strikeouts, but bad things happen when he allows contact. This season he's inducing fewer grounders (48.8% coming into 2016 vs. 34% this season), giving up more line drives (18.9% vs. 26.4%) and more of his fly balls are leaving the park (11.3 HR/FB vs. 15.4). If you want to shut the book on Tonkin based just on those numbers, I can't blame you. But, looking deeper into the numbers and taking into account how he's been used, there may be some reason for hope. On the plus side, Tonkin is improving in some crucial areas. He's boosted his strikeout rate (7.55 entering the season to 9.91 in 2016) while lowering his walk rate (3.02 vs. 2.87). Also, both his contact percentage (76.3) and swinging strike rate (11.1) are career highs by a large margin. One thing that hasn't been in Tonkin's favor that's out of his control is the way he's been used. He's recorded at least four outs in 23 appearances and pitched two full innings or more nine times. He's appeared in every inning but the first and his 1,233 pitches thrown ranks 7th among 140 qualified relievers. He's Paul Molitor's mop-up man, and the role has not suited him well. Through his first 25 pitches of an outing, Tonkin has limited opponents to a .786 OPS, but once he has eclipsed the 25-pitch mark, it spikes to a 1.128 OPS. He's also giving up a .957 OPS when pitching in games where there is at least a four-run margin (which was the case when he allowed the V-Mart homer on Thursday afternoon). Obviously, one way to get out of that mop-up role would be to perform well enough that you get promoted to late-inning work, but Tonkin hasn't inspired confidence to rationalize that kind of jump. But he continues to be used in a role that doesn't appear to suit him and, surprise, he continues to underperform. It's not too different from the lose-lose situation Trevor May has been in the last season and a half. With a new set of evaluators set to take over the front office, maybe Tonkin's role will be adjusted in 2017. Or maybe he'll be jettisoned off the roster and be evaluated in an entirely new organization. Things haven't gone the way I'm sure Michael Tonkin had hoped in 2016, but I wouldn't be surprised with a new, more specialized role and a different pitch mix he could find success next season.
  18. Nick Nelson

    Planning To Fail

    All too often, poor outcomes that have struck the Twins this year can be traced back to questionable judgment. Let's take a look at five particularly troublesome examples: 1. The handling of Miguel Sano. Sano has endured ups and downs, as most 23-year-olds do. That should be factored into the plan. Yet, the team's outward-facing actions regarding the slugger – from publicly questioning his work ethic to needless benchings and drops in the lineup – have projected disappointment and frustration. The kid does have an ego, which often comes with the territory of legendary talent. But I don't think it's a particularly harmful or provocative one, and to imply that he's not focused on being great is flatly absurd. Sano's defensive miscues are understandable with his lack of reps at the position in recent years, thanks to all the time spent at DH and right field. His alleged unwillingness to put in extra side work might be related to elbow pain that has relegated him to DH lately. Except, when an MRI on the elbow came up negative, he returned to third in his first game back, so the injury must not have been that bad? Right? Who knows. If there has been any real plan in place regarding Sano, at any point this year, it's hard to tell. 2. Signing Byung Ho Park The meandering trajectory of Sano was put into place by the signing of Byung Ho Park during the offseason. That moved seemed a bit perplexing at the time, and now with the benefit of hindsight it looks absolutely flabbergasting. Because they were compelled to outbid the competition and bring Park aboard while keeping Trevor Plouffe on, the Twins left Sano in the lurch. The idea of sending him to the outfield unsurprisingly didn't take, nor did Park's transition to the major leagues. Outside of the power, the KBO star's offensive dominance did not carry over. Park batted .191 with the Twins and .224 in Triple-A before having his season ended by wrist surgery last week. Meanwhile, Kenny Vargas – whom the Twins implicitly gave up on by signing Park – is proving to be worthy of a longer look. Unfortunately, with Joe Mauer entrenched at first and Sano in positional limbo, there's no room for the big switch-hitter. He was optioned to the minors despite a .955 OPS. So, the Twins will head into next year with Mauer at first, Sano lacking a defensive home, Vargas out of options, and Park making millions to play first base in Triple-A. 3. Michael Tonkin's odd role assignment. After first reaching the Triple-A level in 2013, Tonkin cemented his standing as one of the organization's top relief prospects by flat-out burying hitters there. In 118 innings with Rochester spread over three seasons, the lanky fireballer put up a 2.65 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 128-to-25 K/BB ratio. He did so while throwing in short bursts. Tonkin was typically asked to get three outs or less, working in a setup or closer role. Of his 102 appearances at Triple-A, he threw 30-plus pitches in only 10. As a high-effort hurler who brings it in the mid-90s consistently, that approach made sense. So what did the Twins do this year? They decided to turn him into a long reliever, for some reason. Despite his superior performance in the minors, and solid results in past MLB chances, the right-hander has been largely used as a spare part and workload sponge in the bullpen. He has thrown 30-plus pitches in 11 of his 56 appearances, even pushing to 40 a couple of times and 50 once. Should we be surprised that his performance is deteriorating here as we head into the latter part of the season? Tonkin has a 9.75 ERA in August, with a 1.060 OPS allowed. It sure looks like he is worn down. As a result, he's turned from an encouraging relief story to a suspect fringe piece in a bullpen picture that is filled with them. Tonkin is another in a long line of players who simply wasn't put in a position to succeed by this club. 4. Trevor May's aimless path. In 2014, May emerged as an impact MLB-ready starting prospect with his brilliant efforts in Triple-A. Last year, he began fulfilling his promise as a starter before the Twins shifted him to the bullpen. They elected to send him back there this spring. The line of thinking made sense only under these conditions: the Twins were competitive enough to require a shutdown late-inning arm, and the rotation was strong enough not to require his upside as a starting pitcher. Neither of those things have been true. That became apparent very early, but the Twins have shown no urgency to stray from their course. May's body has not reacted well to the overhaul in a routine that had been set over many years in an exclusive starting role. He has spent two lengthy periods on the disabled list, with Paul Molitor only hinting that he'll revisit May's usage during the offseason. Next year the right-hander will probably be reacclimating to a different regimen, once again. Seems like a logical way to treat one of the best arms on an atrocious pitching staff. 5. Top prospect turmoil Where did the Twins go wrong with Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios? I can't purport to know. I don't think any of us can. But clearly, nothing is clicking for the club's two brightest young talents. While both have mastered the minors, the organization has been unable to help facilitate the next step. Buxton is the more disturbing case; he has failed to make any meaningful progress through 100 MLB games, spread across four different opportunities. Berrios is greener still, with only nine big-league starts under his belt, but none have even approximated excellence. When run prevention is far-and-away your biggest issue, the importance of ushering in your best pitching prospect and a ballhawk center fielder who catches everything in his zip code cannot be overstated. Given what we've seen from the team so far – bewildered remarks, hasty demotions, coaching overload – it's tough to have faith in things getting figured out. At least, with this current group. These are but five notable instances of poor planning that stand out among many. I haven't even touched on the curious decisions surrounding players like Jorge Polanco, Tyler Duffey and Eduardo Escobar, nor the complete lack of vision at the catcher position. There's an old saying that goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." That phrase seems to summarize this abject failure of a Twins season pretty well.
  19. There's a problem with the Twins' plan. The problem is that, by all appearances, they don't really have one. What else are we supposed to make of the ongoing series of inexplicable decisions that have propelled the club toward another last-place finish?All too often, poor outcomes that have struck the Twins this year can be traced back to questionable judgment. Let's take a look at five particularly troublesome examples: 1. The handling of Miguel Sano. Sano has endured ups and downs, as most 23-year-olds do. That should be factored into the plan. Yet, the team's outward-facing actions regarding the slugger – from publicly questioning his work ethic to needless benchings and drops in the lineup – have projected disappointment and frustration. The kid does have an ego, which often comes with the territory of legendary talent. But I don't think it's a particularly harmful or provocative one, and to imply that he's not focused on being great is flatly absurd. Sano's defensive miscues are understandable with his lack of reps at the position in recent years, thanks to all the time spent at DH and right field. His alleged unwillingness to put in extra side work might be related to elbow pain that has relegated him to DH lately. Except, when an MRI on the elbow came up negative, he returned to third in his first game back, so the injury must not have been that bad? Right? Who knows. If there has been any real plan in place regarding Sano, at any point this year, it's hard to tell. 2. Signing Byung Ho Park The meandering trajectory of Sano was put into place by the signing of Byung Ho Park during the offseason. That moved seemed a bit perplexing at the time, and now with the benefit of hindsight it looks absolutely flabbergasting. Because they were compelled to outbid the competition and bring Park aboard while keeping Trevor Plouffe on, the Twins left Sano in the lurch. The idea of sending him to the outfield unsurprisingly didn't take, nor did Park's transition to the major leagues. Outside of the power, the KBO star's offensive dominance did not carry over. Park batted .191 with the Twins and .224 in Triple-A before having his season ended by wrist surgery last week. Meanwhile, Kenny Vargas – whom the Twins implicitly gave up on by signing Park – is proving to be worthy of a longer look. Unfortunately, with Joe Mauer entrenched at first and Sano in positional limbo, there's no room for the big switch-hitter. He was optioned to the minors despite a .955 OPS. So, the Twins will head into next year with Mauer at first, Sano lacking a defensive home, Vargas out of options, and Park making millions to play first base in Triple-A. 3. Michael Tonkin's odd role assignment. After first reaching the Triple-A level in 2013, Tonkin cemented his standing as one of the organization's top relief prospects by flat-out burying hitters there. In 118 innings with Rochester spread over three seasons, the lanky fireballer put up a 2.65 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 128-to-25 K/BB ratio. He did so while throwing in short bursts. Tonkin was typically asked to get three outs or less, working in a setup or closer role. Of his 102 appearances at Triple-A, he threw 30-plus pitches in only 10. As a high-effort hurler who brings it in the mid-90s consistently, that approach made sense. So what did the Twins do this year? They decided to turn him into a long reliever, for some reason. Despite his superior performance in the minors, and solid results in past MLB chances, the right-hander has been largely used as a spare part and workload sponge in the bullpen. He has thrown 30-plus pitches in 11 of his 56 appearances, even pushing to 40 a couple of times and 50 once. Should we be surprised that his performance is deteriorating here as we head into the latter part of the season? Tonkin has a 9.75 ERA in August, with a 1.060 OPS allowed. It sure looks like he is worn down. As a result, he's turned from an encouraging relief story to a suspect fringe piece in a bullpen picture that is filled with them. Tonkin is another in a long line of players who simply wasn't put in a position to succeed by this club. 4. Trevor May's aimless path. In 2014, May emerged as an impact MLB-ready starting prospect with his brilliant efforts in Triple-A. Last year, he began fulfilling his promise as a starter before the Twins shifted him to the bullpen. They elected to send him back there this spring. The line of thinking made sense only under these conditions: the Twins were competitive enough to require a shutdown late-inning arm, and the rotation was strong enough not to require his upside as a starting pitcher. Neither of those things have been true. That became apparent very early, but the Twins have shown no urgency to stray from their course. May's body has not reacted well to the overhaul in a routine that had been set over many years in an exclusive starting role. He has spent two lengthy periods on the disabled list, with Paul Molitor only hinting that he'll revisit May's usage during the offseason. Next year the right-hander will probably be reacclimating to a different regimen, once again. Seems like a logical way to treat one of the best arms on an atrocious pitching staff. 5. Top prospect turmoil Where did the Twins go wrong with Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios? I can't purport to know. I don't think any of us can. But clearly, nothing is clicking for the club's two brightest young talents. While both have mastered the minors, the organization has been unable to help facilitate the next step. Buxton is the more disturbing case; he has failed to make any meaningful progress through 100 MLB games, spread across four different opportunities. Berrios is greener still, with only nine big-league starts under his belt, but none have even approximated excellence. When run prevention is far-and-away your biggest issue, the importance of ushering in your best pitching prospect and a ballhawk center fielder who catches everything in his zip code cannot be overstated. Given what we've seen from the team so far – bewildered remarks, hasty demotions, coaching overload – it's tough to have faith in things getting figured out. At least, with this current group. These are but five notable instances of poor planning that stand out among many. I haven't even touched on the curious decisions surrounding players like Jorge Polanco, Tyler Duffey and Eduardo Escobar, nor the complete lack of vision at the catcher position. There's an old saying that goes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." That phrase seems to summarize this abject failure of a Twins season pretty well. Click here to view the article
  20. 1st Inning Brian Dozier was moved out of the leadoff spot. He moved into the #3 spot for one game, and most recently, he has been batting sixth. It’s certainly understandable when you look at his 2016 numbers. Overall, he’s hitting .218/.307/.363 (.670) with six doubles and four home runs. Those certainly are not the kind of numbers you want at the top of the order. However, the timing of the move down in the lineup is interesting. Consider that over his last 15 games, he is hitting .263/.344/.421 (.765) with three doubles and two home runs. Again, these are not elite number, and they’re probably more suited for a spot in the six or seven spot of a lineup. However, it’s also important to note that his overall numbers in 2014 and 2015 combined were .239/.326/.431 (.757). So, what he has done over the last two-plus weeks is essentially what he has done the last two years overall. We are just used to him having a big first half and then struggling. As fans, we need to hope that he just got off to a rough first three weeks and maybe now he’ll take off again for the rest of the season. 2nd Inning It’s been nearly a week since Paul Molitor first inserted Joe Mauer’s name into the leadoff spot in the Twins lineup. In five games since then, Mauer is 4-19 with three walks and four strikeouts. He is hitting .211/.318/.211 (.529). He’s had two two-hit games and three zero-hit games. Of course, five games is far too small of a sample size to make any rash statements about. Mauer in the leadoff spot makes so much sense if you believe that the job of the leadoff hitter is to get on base. His .405 on-base percentage this season is behind only Jose Altuve and Victor Martinez. In my mind, Mauer is best suited to be a #2 hitter, but the Twins really don’t have another ideal #1 hitter, at least not yet. So, might as well stick with it for now. 3rd Inning When I was in Ft. Myers for spring training, Michael Tonkin was hanging on to a roster spot by a thread. After one miserable outing, he sat at his locker just kind of staring. It was an ominous feeling, a feeling of just knowing that this young man is about to be told that the team that drafted him just can’t keep him around any more. The thread he was hanging on to was the fact that he was out of options. Blessed with a 95 mph fastball and a slider that can be devastating at times, Tonkin barely hung on to an Opening Day roster spot. Since baseball is a funny game, Tonkin has pitched quite well since the season began. Early in the year, he did allow several inherited runners to score, but overall, he has been good. In 16 games (and 18.2 innings), he has a 1.93 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He has walked seven and struck out 21. His roster spot seems much more secure at this point. 4th Inning The catcher position was clearly a priority for Twins in the offseason. Kurt Suzuki would be back, but the Twins let Eric Fryer go via free agency and Chris Herrmann was traded to the Diamondbacks. Stuart Turner and Mitch Garver were both scheduled for Chattanooga, so the team went out to get some veterans. Obviously to this point the Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy trade hasn’t worked out for either team, though at least Hicks is still in the big leagues. Of course, we need to remember that Murphy is younger than Garver or Turner. John Hicks was lost to the Tigers when the Twins chose to DFA him. In a quiet move, the Twins signed veteran minor leaguer Juan Centeno to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. He had a strong showing in big league camp but was sent down to AAA to start the season. With Murphy’s struggles, Centeno was promoted. On Saturday afternoon, he hit his first big league home run, and on Sunday, he had a big two-run double. He looks very solid behind the plate. While he had played a combined 24 games in the big leagues over the past three years (Mets and Brewers) coming into the season, he is still just 26 years old. Fun Fact: Centeno was drafted out of Antonio Luchetti school in Puerto Rico. Twins prospect, currently in Cedar Rapids, Nelson Molina was also drafted from that school. 5th Inning Kurt Suzuki’s 2017 option for $6 million automatically vests with 485 plate appearances in 2016. With 22% of the season complete, Suzuki has just 77 plate appearances. At his current pace, he would end the season with approximately 346 plate appearances, well short of that option vesting. This is important for two reasons. First, the Twins (should) want to not have to pay him $6 million in 2017. No other team will want to pay him $6 million in 2017. Because he is nowhere near on pace for that option to vest, a team in search of a catcher near the trade deadline will not be afraid to acquire Suzuki, even if it would be as a primary starter. Not that the Twins could get much for Suzuki, but a “C” level prospect is still something. 6th Inning Chris Herrmann is hitting .259/.306/.586 (.892) with the Diamondbacks through 20 games played this year. His slugging percentage is boosted by four home runs. On Sunday, he started in centerfield for the Diamondbacks, a position he had not played in a game since playing in Ft. Myers in 2010. Herrmann hit two home runs for Arizona in a game just over a week ago. That’s pretty impressive, but check out the weekend another former Twins player, Danny Valencia, had for Oakland. On Friday night, he hit two home runs. On Sunday, his third home run of the game gave the A’s the win. Five home runs over the course of three games would classify as “pretty good,” I’d say. 7th Inning Of course, Chris Herrmann’s time with the Twins had kind of run its course. Clearly Paul Molitor had little confidence in him behind the plate or in the outfield. Herrmann was out of options and certainly not guaranteed a roster spot with the Twins. Yet somehow, Terry Ryan was able to trade him to Arizona and get OF/1B Daniel Palka in return. While Palka was a decent prospect with the Diamondbacks, he is not considered a big prospect by most. However, last year in the California League, Palka hit .280/.352/.532 (.885) with 36 doubles, 29 homers, 90 RBI and 24 stolen bases. Palka impressed this spring when, just invited to dress with the big league club, he DHd in one game and hit two home runs. The next day, he hit another. At this still-early stage of the season, Palka is hitting .297/.389/.508 (.897) with nine doubles and a Twins system-leading six home runs and 23 RBI. His .897 OPS is third in the system behind only Cedar Rapids’ catcher AJ Murray (.937) and outfielder LaMonte Wade (.923). Palka was the Twins choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month in April (Twins Daily chose Wade). 8th Inning Stephen Gonsalves was the Minor League Pitcher of the Month by the Twins and Twins Daily’s Starting Pitcher of the Month. With another win on Sunday for Ft. Myers, he is now 5-1 with a 1.27 ERA on the year. But even that doesn’t totally show how dominant that Gonsalves has been this year. Consider this. He was the Miracle’s Opening Night starting pitcher. In the first inning of that game, he gave up a three-run home run. Since that home run, he has thrown 42 more innings and given up just THREE more runs. That is a 0.64 ERA. Overall in his 42.2 innings (7 starts), he has a 0.84 WHIP and has struck out 38 batters (8.0 K/9). He was promoted to the Miracle after nine starts in Cedar Rapids in 2015. Overall, he has made 22 starts for the Miracle and is 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA. Gonsalves was the Twins fourth-round pick out of high school in San Diego in 2013. The Twins top pick that year, also 21 years old, was Kohl Stewart. He spent all of 2015 in Ft. Myers but wisely was kept at the level to start this season. He has responded by going 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 through his first six starts. He is set to make his seventh start for the Miracle this season tonight. 22-year-old Felix Jorge has also made six starts for the Miracle. He is 2-3 but has a 1.80 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He has struck out 7.6 per nine. Tyler Jay (22), last year’s top pick who is transitioning to starting, had one clunker. Despite that, he’s 3-2 with a 3.03, a 1.19 WHIP, and an 8.3 K/9 rate. Despite just returning from Tommy John surgery last summer, Randy Rosario (22) was added to the Twins 40-man roster this past offseason. He is currently 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. An interesting note, the average age of the Ft. Myers pitchers is 22.9. The average age of the Cedar Rapids pitchers is 23.1. 9th Inning Byron Buxton has played in 20 games in Rochester now this season. He is hitting .301/.356/.494 (.850) with five doubles, a triple and three home runs. Very solid numbers, but that includes the very slow start he had with the Red Wings. In his past 13 games, he is hitting .353/.411/.588 (.999) with three doubles and three home runs. He also has five walks to go with ten strikeouts. That is a 17.8% strikeout rate. Through his first seven games with the Red Wings, he had 11 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances, a 32.4% rate. And in his 15 games with the Twins before the demotion, 24 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances, a 49.0% rate. So, the question is often asked, when should the Twins call up Byron Buxton. We all want to see him in the big leagues. We’ve all seen enough of Danny Santana in center field to fully appreciate just how great Buxton’s defense is. However, there should be no rush whatsoever to call Buxton back up. He is working now with a leg kick and getting more motion (and power) into his swing while at the same time putting in the effort to take very quality at-bats and learn the strike zone and see those breaking pitches. Though it may be hard, with the Twins season not exactly going as planned, the should be in no hurry to bring him back. I’ve always said that even if it’s not as good for the Twins to have Buxton in AAA, it’s worth it to do what is best for Buxton in the long term because that will be what is best for the Twins too. The Red Wings didn’t play on Sunday. Buxton left the game on Saturday with back spasms. With the cold weather in Rochester, he probably would not have played on Sunday anyway. The Red Wings took the bus to Charlotte to start a series. It will be interesting to see if Buxton is in the lineup after the long bus ride or if they give him a few more games. It’s important for him to be healthy because it is important for him to play. There you have it, Nine Innings of Notes. Feel free to discuss any of the above and add more fun topics to the conversation.
  21. The Minnesota Twins are on a winning streak. On Sunday, they topped Cleveland for the second straight game to improve to 10-26. Remarkably, 36 games into the season, this is just the third Twins winning streak. After starting out 0-9, they won four straight games. They have had one other two-game winning streak. It has been a tough season. That’s kind of a random note, and today I’m going to be pretty random in this article. Here are just several topics with the Twins (and a couple of minor league nuggets) for your Monday morning enjoyment.1st Inning Brian Dozier was moved out of the leadoff spot. He moved into the #3 spot for one game, and most recently, he has been batting sixth. It’s certainly understandable when you look at his 2016 numbers. Overall, he’s hitting .218/.307/.363 (.670) with six doubles and four home runs. Those certainly are not the kind of numbers you want at the top of the order. However, the timing of the move down in the lineup is interesting. Consider that over his last 15 games, he is hitting .263/.344/.421 (.765) with three doubles and two home runs. Again, these are not elite number, and they’re probably more suited for a spot in the six or seven spot of a lineup. However, it’s also important to note that his overall numbers in 2014 and 2015 combined were .239/.326/.431 (.757). So, what he has done over the last two-plus weeks is essentially what he has done the last two years overall. We are just used to him having a big first half and then struggling. As fans, we need to hope that he just got off to a rough first three weeks and maybe now he’ll take off again for the rest of the season. 2nd Inning It’s been nearly a week since Paul Molitor first inserted Joe Mauer’s name into the leadoff spot in the Twins lineup. In five games since then, Mauer is 4-19 with three walks and four strikeouts. He is hitting .211/.318/.211 (.529). He’s had two two-hit games and three zero-hit games. Of course, five games is far too small of a sample size to make any rash statements about. Mauer in the leadoff spot makes so much sense if you believe that the job of the leadoff hitter is to get on base. His .405 on-base percentage this season is behind only Jose Altuve and Victor Martinez. In my mind, Mauer is best suited to be a #2 hitter, but the Twins really don’t have another ideal #1 hitter, at least not yet. So, might as well stick with it for now. 3rd Inning When I was in Ft. Myers for spring training, Michael Tonkin was hanging on to a roster spot by a thread. After one miserable outing, he sat at his locker just kind of staring. It was an ominous feeling, a feeling of just knowing that this young man is about to be told that the team that drafted him just can’t keep him around any more. The thread he was hanging on to was the fact that he was out of options. Blessed with a 95 mph fastball and a slider that can be devastating at times, Tonkin barely hung on to an Opening Day roster spot. Since baseball is a funny game, Tonkin has pitched quite well since the season began. Early in the year, he did allow several inherited runners to score, but overall, he has been good. In 16 games (and 18.2 innings), he has a 1.93 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He has walked seven and struck out 21. His roster spot seems much more secure at this point. 4th Inning The catcher position was clearly a priority for Twins in the offseason. Kurt Suzuki would be back, but the Twins let Eric Fryer go via free agency and Chris Herrmann was traded to the Diamondbacks. Stuart Turner and Mitch Garver were both scheduled for Chattanooga, so the team went out to get some veterans. Obviously to this point the Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy trade hasn’t worked out for either team, though at least Hicks is still in the big leagues. Of course, we need to remember that Murphy is younger than Garver or Turner. John Hicks was lost to the Tigers when the Twins chose to DFA him. In a quiet move, the Twins signed veteran minor leaguer Juan Centeno to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. He had a strong showing in big league camp but was sent down to AAA to start the season. With Murphy’s struggles, Centeno was promoted. On Saturday afternoon, he hit his first big league home run, and on Sunday, he had a big two-run double. He looks very solid behind the plate. While he had played a combined 24 games in the big leagues over the past three years (Mets and Brewers) coming into the season, he is still just 26 years old. Fun Fact: Centeno was drafted out of Antonio Luchetti school in Puerto Rico. Twins prospect, currently in Cedar Rapids, Nelson Molina was also drafted from that school. 5th Inning Kurt Suzuki’s 2017 option for $6 million automatically vests with 485 plate appearances in 2016. With 22% of the season complete, Suzuki has just 77 plate appearances. At his current pace, he would end the season with approximately 346 plate appearances, well short of that option vesting. This is important for two reasons. First, the Twins (should) want to not have to pay him $6 million in 2017. No other team will want to pay him $6 million in 2017. Because he is nowhere near on pace for that option to vest, a team in search of a catcher near the trade deadline will not be afraid to acquire Suzuki, even if it would be as a primary starter. Not that the Twins could get much for Suzuki, but a “C” level prospect is still something. 6th Inning Chris Herrmann is hitting .259/.306/.586 (.892) with the Diamondbacks through 20 games played this year. His slugging percentage is boosted by four home runs. On Sunday, he started in centerfield for the Diamondbacks, a position he had not played in a game since playing in Ft. Myers in 2010. Herrmann hit two home runs for Arizona in a game just over a week ago. That’s pretty impressive, but check out the weekend another former Twins player, Danny Valencia, had for Oakland. On Friday night, he hit two home runs. On Sunday, his third home run of the game gave the A’s the win. Five home runs over the course of three games would classify as “pretty good,” I’d say. 7th Inning Of course, Chris Herrmann’s time with the Twins had kind of run its course. Clearly Paul Molitor had little confidence in him behind the plate or in the outfield. Herrmann was out of options and certainly not guaranteed a roster spot with the Twins. Yet somehow, Terry Ryan was able to trade him to Arizona and get OF/1B Daniel Palka in return. While Palka was a decent prospect with the Diamondbacks, he is not considered a big prospect by most. However, last year in the California League, Palka hit .280/.352/.532 (.885) with 36 doubles, 29 homers, 90 RBI and 24 stolen bases. Palka impressed this spring when, just invited to dress with the big league club, he DHd in one game and hit two home runs. The next day, he hit another. At this still-early stage of the season, Palka is hitting .297/.389/.508 (.897) with nine doubles and a Twins system-leading six home runs and 23 RBI. His .897 OPS is third in the system behind only Cedar Rapids’ catcher AJ Murray (.937) and outfielder LaMonte Wade (.923). Palka was the Twins choice for Minor League Hitter of the Month in April (Twins Daily chose Wade). 8th Inning Stephen Gonsalves was the Minor League Pitcher of the Month by the Twins and Twins Daily’s Starting Pitcher of the Month. With another win on Sunday for Ft. Myers, he is now 5-1 with a 1.27 ERA on the year. But even that doesn’t totally show how dominant that Gonsalves has been this year. Consider this. He was the Miracle’s Opening Night starting pitcher. In the first inning of that game, he gave up a three-run home run. Since that home run, he has thrown 42 more innings and given up just THREE more runs. That is a 0.64 ERA. Overall in his 42.2 innings (7 starts), he has a 0.84 WHIP and has struck out 38 batters (8.0 K/9). He was promoted to the Miracle after nine starts in Cedar Rapids in 2015. Overall, he has made 22 starts for the Miracle and is 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA. Gonsalves was the Twins fourth-round pick out of high school in San Diego in 2013. The Twins top pick that year, also 21 years old, was Kohl Stewart. He spent all of 2015 in Ft. Myers but wisely was kept at the level to start this season. He has responded by going 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 through his first six starts. He is set to make his seventh start for the Miracle this season tonight. 22-year-old Felix Jorge has also made six starts for the Miracle. He is 2-3 but has a 1.80 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP. He has struck out 7.6 per nine. Tyler Jay (22), last year’s top pick who is transitioning to starting, had one clunker. Despite that, he’s 3-2 with a 3.03, a 1.19 WHIP, and an 8.3 K/9 rate. Despite just returning from Tommy John surgery last summer, Randy Rosario (22) was added to the Twins 40-man roster this past offseason. He is currently 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. An interesting note, the average age of the Ft. Myers pitchers is 22.9. The average age of the Cedar Rapids pitchers is 23.1. 9th Inning Byron Buxton has played in 20 games in Rochester now this season. He is hitting .301/.356/.494 (.850) with five doubles, a triple and three home runs. Very solid numbers, but that includes the very slow start he had with the Red Wings. In his past 13 games, he is hitting .353/.411/.588 (.999) with three doubles and three home runs. He also has five walks to go with ten strikeouts. That is a 17.8% strikeout rate. Through his first seven games with the Red Wings, he had 11 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances, a 32.4% rate. And in his 15 games with the Twins before the demotion, 24 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances, a 49.0% rate. So, the question is often asked, when should the Twins call up Byron Buxton. We all want to see him in the big leagues. We’ve all seen enough of Danny Santana in center field to fully appreciate just how great Buxton’s defense is. However, there should be no rush whatsoever to call Buxton back up. He is working now with a leg kick and getting more motion (and power) into his swing while at the same time putting in the effort to take very quality at-bats and learn the strike zone and see those breaking pitches. Though it may be hard, with the Twins season not exactly going as planned, the should be in no hurry to bring him back. I’ve always said that even if it’s not as good for the Twins to have Buxton in AAA, it’s worth it to do what is best for Buxton in the long term because that will be what is best for the Twins too. The Red Wings didn’t play on Sunday. Buxton left the game on Saturday with back spasms. With the cold weather in Rochester, he probably would not have played on Sunday anyway. The Red Wings took the bus to Charlotte to start a series. It will be interesting to see if Buxton is in the lineup after the long bus ride or if they give him a few more games. It’s important for him to be healthy because it is important for him to play. There you have it, Nine Innings of Notes. Feel free to discuss any of the above and add more fun topics to the conversation. Click here to view the article
  22. After a one week absence, Trending is back and better than ever. (But only because it’s better than the first and only week it has appeared.) Let's take a look at some of the roster battles that are going on.The Starting Rotation All along the general consensus was that Tyler Duffey would be in the Twins rotation. Based on how he performed down the stretch last year, why wouldn’t he be? MLB might as well be short for “What have you done for me lately?” because, lately, Tyler Duffey hasn’t done much. He’s gone from “it’s going to take a disaster to not be in the rotation” to “well his name is written in pencil, not ink” to “well we can’t send Nolasco down, so….”. The trend line is pointing solidly to Tommy Milone as being the lone lefty in the rotation. And after Nolasco’s strong performance Wednesday - coupled with Duffey not pitching well against minor leaguers - it appears Nolasco has regained the lead in the quest for the fifth and final rotation spot. That could leave Duffey out in the cold (of Rochester). Trending up, on the other hand, is the Red Wings starting rotation which will include Jose Berrios, Alex Meyer and Tyler Duffey. Taylor Rogers, though, will start the season in the bullpen. The Bullpen The group of Glen Perkins, Kevin Jepsen, Trevor May and Casey Fien will form an average (or better) back end. Non-roster lefty Fernando Abad is expected to join them. When Duffey appeared poised for the rotation, that forced Nolasco to take up one of the two remaining bullpen spots. But now with that race tightening up, there could be two spots available in the bullpen. J.R. Graham was optioned to Rochester on Wednesday. Michael Tonkin finally had a decent showing on Tuesday after giving up runs in each of his last three outings, including two runs in each of his last two one-inning appearances. Tonkin might get a longer look (i.e. into the season) just because he is out of options, but he’s been trending the wrong direction all spring. Some other names to keep an eye on are Dan Runzler, a lefty who has allowed seven men on base in eight innings, and potential LOOGY Ryan O’Rourke, who has been lights-out in his 5 ⅔ innings this spring. Both of those men are trending in the right direction. (Edit: Yes, Ryan Pressly should absolutely be considered for the bullpen and is probably a favorite to secure the spot if there is only one opening. If there are two spots open, Pressly has to be considered a near-lock.) Another name that popped up this afternoon, thanks to Steve Lein, is Tyler Duffey. If he’s not in the rotation, how dominant could he be in the bullpen (a la Trevor May)? You also have the insurance built in that he doesn’t need to be the sixth starter in the organization (Berrios). It’s kinda crazy - and not a move I would make this season - but definitely something that could be worth considering as the roster continues to take shape (and you believe the best 25 should go north). The Bench Danny Santana missed seven days of games due to a sore wrist within the last two weeks but has started to hit (5 for 11) in his last three games. He’s been playing a variety of positions, which gives him a little value. The reality is that Santana, another out-of-options player, is going to be on the 25-man whether he hits or not. The hope here, though, is that Molitor can avoid using him as anything but a late-innings pinch-runner when it’s absolutely necessary. I’d still consider him to be trending down, but the slope isn’t as steep as it was ten days ago. Oswaldo Arcia is in a very similar place. Only Arcia’s (potential) value is in his bat and not his versatility. Arcia teased us in 2014 and frustrated us in 2015. He’s now being pushed by the old knees of the recently unretired Carlos Quentin. Yet it’s still hard to believe that the club will decide to keep Quentin, who has no defensive value compared to even Arcia. But if it’s bat we’re looking for and spring training we’re watching, we still see Arcia’s OPS of .528 next to Quentin’s OPS of .931 in the 15 games they’ve each played and wonder, “What to do with Ozzie?” Smart money is on him taking up a bench spot early in the season. What do you think? What would you do? Click here to view the article
  23. The Starting Rotation All along the general consensus was that Tyler Duffey would be in the Twins rotation. Based on how he performed down the stretch last year, why wouldn’t he be? MLB might as well be short for “What have you done for me lately?” because, lately, Tyler Duffey hasn’t done much. He’s gone from “it’s going to take a disaster to not be in the rotation” to “well his name is written in pencil, not ink” to “well we can’t send Nolasco down, so….”. The trend line is pointing solidly to Tommy Milone as being the lone lefty in the rotation. And after Nolasco’s strong performance Wednesday - coupled with Duffey not pitching well against minor leaguers - it appears Nolasco has regained the lead in the quest for the fifth and final rotation spot. That could leave Duffey out in the cold (of Rochester). Trending up, on the other hand, is the Red Wings starting rotation which will include Jose Berrios, Alex Meyer and Tyler Duffey. Taylor Rogers, though, will start the season in the bullpen. The Bullpen The group of Glen Perkins, Kevin Jepsen, Trevor May and Casey Fien will form an average (or better) back end. Non-roster lefty Fernando Abad is expected to join them. When Duffey appeared poised for the rotation, that forced Nolasco to take up one of the two remaining bullpen spots. But now with that race tightening up, there could be two spots available in the bullpen. J.R. Graham was optioned to Rochester on Wednesday. Michael Tonkin finally had a decent showing on Tuesday after giving up runs in each of his last three outings, including two runs in each of his last two one-inning appearances. Tonkin might get a longer look (i.e. into the season) just because he is out of options, but he’s been trending the wrong direction all spring. Some other names to keep an eye on are Dan Runzler, a lefty who has allowed seven men on base in eight innings, and potential LOOGY Ryan O’Rourke, who has been lights-out in his 5 ⅔ innings this spring. Both of those men are trending in the right direction. (Edit: Yes, Ryan Pressly should absolutely be considered for the bullpen and is probably a favorite to secure the spot if there is only one opening. If there are two spots open, Pressly has to be considered a near-lock.) Another name that popped up this afternoon, thanks to Steve Lein, is Tyler Duffey. If he’s not in the rotation, how dominant could he be in the bullpen (a la Trevor May)? You also have the insurance built in that he doesn’t need to be the sixth starter in the organization (Berrios). It’s kinda crazy - and not a move I would make this season - but definitely something that could be worth considering as the roster continues to take shape (and you believe the best 25 should go north). The Bench Danny Santana missed seven days of games due to a sore wrist within the last two weeks but has started to hit (5 for 11) in his last three games. He’s been playing a variety of positions, which gives him a little value. The reality is that Santana, another out-of-options player, is going to be on the 25-man whether he hits or not. The hope here, though, is that Molitor can avoid using him as anything but a late-innings pinch-runner when it’s absolutely necessary. I’d still consider him to be trending down, but the slope isn’t as steep as it was ten days ago. Oswaldo Arcia is in a very similar place. Only Arcia’s (potential) value is in his bat and not his versatility. Arcia teased us in 2014 and frustrated us in 2015. He’s now being pushed by the old knees of the recently unretired Carlos Quentin. Yet it’s still hard to believe that the club will decide to keep Quentin, who has no defensive value compared to even Arcia. But if it’s bat we’re looking for and spring training we’re watching, we still see Arcia’s OPS of .528 next to Quentin’s OPS of .931 in the 15 games they’ve each played and wonder, “What to do with Ozzie?” Smart money is on him taking up a bench spot early in the season. What do you think? What would you do?
  24. 2015 was a positive season for the Minnesota Twins. Yet, when the season ended, it was clear that there were needs in the organization that needed to be addressed. Foremost among them was the bullpen. In Parker’s interview for the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, he asked Terry Ryan, “Where would you prioritize the bullpen in general this offseason?” Ryan responded with, “High.” Parker probed, “Highest priority?” Ryan said, “It’s pretty close up there. Pitching is always the most prioritized area of any team.” That interview was in October. The offseason came and went and the Twins signed exactly zero pitchers to major league contracts, starters or relievers.Granted, the Twins signed MLB veteran lefty reliever Fernando Abad to a minor league contract. There was never really any question that he would make the Opening Day roster. Abad was one of several pitchers signed to minor league deals. Besides Abad, the only pitcher who really had a chance at cracking the Opening Day roster was right-hander Brandon Kintzler, another veteran with several years of big league service time. Dan Runzler and Buddy Boshers were nice stories for spring training, and maybe one of them will perform at AAA and eventually get a promotion back to the big leagues. There were not many bullpen jobs available. Glen Perkins is signed for another year. Kevin Jepsen, after what he did for the Twins after last year’s trade deadline, was coming back, and that’s a good thing. We can debate bringing back Casey Fien, but once he was re-signed, he was a given. Trevor May got some opportunity this spring to start, but we all knew that he would go to the bullpen. Michael Tonkin was out of options. Ricky Nolasco was a possibility for a bullpen spot depending upon spring training performance. Again, there were only one or two jobs to be competed for. In my opinion, I was always comfortable with Twins not wanting to go beyond one year with any relief pitcher for a few reasons. First and foremost, there are very few relievers who are good for multiple years, especially free agent pitchers who are already 31 years old, or older. Most likely, during a two-year contract, the pitcher would be good one of the years. In a three-year contract, you could hope beyond hope that you get two decent years. Of course, we can follow the next three years of Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo to see how they pan out. Secondly, the Twins are loaded with relief pitching prospects, guys that we hope are ready sometime in 2016. Guys that we don’t want to see blocked by mediocre veterans. In the same Offseason Handbook Terry Ryan interview, Ryan was asked about the power arms in the system and if they could surface in 2016. He said, “Yeah, we do. I do. I would expect some of those guys to surface this year. I was hoping maybe last year but it was maybe one year premature. Some of those guys had a few struggles, and that’s not a bad thing. Alright, now you know what you’ve gone through. Now you can take a step back. A few of them are out in that Arizona Fall League which is good. I would think that some of those guys are going to surface this year which would be well received here. We can use some of that influx of people. I would like to see some of those relief pitchers there.” In 2016, the following pitchers could come up and contribute to the Minnesota Twins. (Note-That is not saying all of them will, just that they are at a point in their career and development that it is possible) 40-Man Roster Alex Meyer JR Graham JT Chargois Taylor Rogers Ryan O’Rourke Mason Melotakis Pat Dean Non-Roster Nick Burdi Jake Reed Logan Darnell Brandon Peterson Alex Wimmers Now that’s 12 names. Most likely no more than two to four will actually come up in 2016, but by the end of 2017 several more of them will and potentially other names like Luke Bard, Trevor Hildenberger and Yorman Landa will be ready. All of that is well and good, but for a team that expected to compete in 2016, performance matters. And through one week - a very small percentage of the season - the bullpen has been one of the biggest issues contributing to the Twins 0-7 loss. It’s not the only contributing factor. The complete lack of offense and run scoring has pushed the bullpen issues into the spotlight a lot this first week. They have had three one-run losses and two-two run losses. In a couple of the games, the Twins lost leads in the late innings. I’ve always wanted to establish a statistic of sorts to help measure the effectiveness of a relief pitcher. I think it’s fair to say that ERA and even WHIP are not the best statistics to measure the reliability of a reliever. Because relief pitchers generally pitch one, and maybe two, innings once or twice a week, one or two really bad outings can affect how the pitcher’s numbers look for much of the season. To me, I want to know how often a reliever came into a game, into a situation and got the job done. All pitchers are going to have a few clunkers, so I’m going to try something new this year. I’m going to look at each and every appearance by relief pitchers throughout this season and determine whether or not the pitcher did what he was brought in to do. Someone else can name this stat, if it’s worthwhile. Frankly, the reality is that this is subjective. Pitching well or getting the job done can mean different things to different people. For instance, if Trevor May comes in to a situation where there are runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out and gets out of that inning with just one run scoring, I think he got the job done. If Michael Tonkin comes in with runners on and the Twins already down 8-0 in the 2nd inning, but he leaves the game with the Twins down 11-0 after the fifth or sixth inning, I think he did his job. If Glen Perkins comes in to a game with a 2-run lead and give up just one hit but no runs in the inning, he got the job done. If he comes in to a game with a three-run lead, gives up two runs on three hits and two walks but gets the save, I can’t say that he did his job. So using my opinion, along with box scores and often watching on TV, here are how the members of the 2016 Twins bullpen grade out by this method through the way-too-small-of-a-sample-size of seven games. This stat may be more valuable in six to eight weeks, but here is the introduction: Pitcher Y N Success Glen Perkins 0 2 0.0% Kevin Jepsen 1 2 33.3% Trevor May 0 3 0.0% Casey Fien 1 2 33.3% Ryan Pressly 3 1 75.0% Michael Tonkin 0 1 0.0% Fernando Abad 3 0 100.0% Y=Yes, they got the job done. N=No, they didn't Success = percentage Aside from Fernando Abad and Ryan Pressly, it’s been a tough go for the Twins bullpen so far this season. As I would say to everyone after a poor seven-game start to the season, it is a long season, and things will (most likely) normalize over the course of the next couple of months. I don’t know what is good or bad with these percentages. Is 85% good, or is 70% good? I think we can agree from the start that 50% and lower would not qualify as good. The bullpen was said to be a focus in the offseason. Little significant was done to address it in the offseason which has made it a large focus in the team’s slow start. It is certainly something that warrants monitoring throughout the season. Click here to view the article
  25. Granted, the Twins signed MLB veteran lefty reliever Fernando Abad to a minor league contract. There was never really any question that he would make the Opening Day roster. Abad was one of several pitchers signed to minor league deals. Besides Abad, the only pitcher who really had a chance at cracking the Opening Day roster was right-hander Brandon Kintzler, another veteran with several years of big league service time. Dan Runzler and Buddy Boshers were nice stories for spring training, and maybe one of them will perform at AAA and eventually get a promotion back to the big leagues. There were not many bullpen jobs available. Glen Perkins is signed for another year. Kevin Jepsen, after what he did for the Twins after last year’s trade deadline, was coming back, and that’s a good thing. We can debate bringing back Casey Fien, but once he was re-signed, he was a given. Trevor May got some opportunity this spring to start, but we all knew that he would go to the bullpen. Michael Tonkin was out of options. Ricky Nolasco was a possibility for a bullpen spot depending upon spring training performance. Again, there were only one or two jobs to be competed for. In my opinion, I was always comfortable with Twins not wanting to go beyond one year with any relief pitcher for a few reasons. First and foremost, there are very few relievers who are good for multiple years, especially free agent pitchers who are already 31 years old, or older. Most likely, during a two-year contract, the pitcher would be good one of the years. In a three-year contract, you could hope beyond hope that you get two decent years. Of course, we can follow the next three years of Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo to see how they pan out. Secondly, the Twins are loaded with relief pitching prospects, guys that we hope are ready sometime in 2016. Guys that we don’t want to see blocked by mediocre veterans. In the same Offseason Handbook Terry Ryan interview, Ryan was asked about the power arms in the system and if they could surface in 2016. He said, “Yeah, we do. I do. I would expect some of those guys to surface this year. I was hoping maybe last year but it was maybe one year premature. Some of those guys had a few struggles, and that’s not a bad thing. Alright, now you know what you’ve gone through. Now you can take a step back. A few of them are out in that Arizona Fall League which is good. I would think that some of those guys are going to surface this year which would be well received here. We can use some of that influx of people. I would like to see some of those relief pitchers there.” In 2016, the following pitchers could come up and contribute to the Minnesota Twins. (Note-That is not saying all of them will, just that they are at a point in their career and development that it is possible) 40-Man Roster Alex Meyer JR Graham JT Chargois Taylor Rogers Ryan O’Rourke Mason Melotakis Pat Dean Non-Roster Nick Burdi Jake Reed Logan Darnell Brandon Peterson Alex Wimmers Now that’s 12 names. Most likely no more than two to four will actually come up in 2016, but by the end of 2017 several more of them will and potentially other names like Luke Bard, Trevor Hildenberger and Yorman Landa will be ready. All of that is well and good, but for a team that expected to compete in 2016, performance matters. And through one week - a very small percentage of the season - the bullpen has been one of the biggest issues contributing to the Twins 0-7 loss. It’s not the only contributing factor. The complete lack of offense and run scoring has pushed the bullpen issues into the spotlight a lot this first week. They have had three one-run losses and two-two run losses. In a couple of the games, the Twins lost leads in the late innings. I’ve always wanted to establish a statistic of sorts to help measure the effectiveness of a relief pitcher. I think it’s fair to say that ERA and even WHIP are not the best statistics to measure the reliability of a reliever. Because relief pitchers generally pitch one, and maybe two, innings once or twice a week, one or two really bad outings can affect how the pitcher’s numbers look for much of the season. To me, I want to know how often a reliever came into a game, into a situation and got the job done. All pitchers are going to have a few clunkers, so I’m going to try something new this year. I’m going to look at each and every appearance by relief pitchers throughout this season and determine whether or not the pitcher did what he was brought in to do. Someone else can name this stat, if it’s worthwhile. Frankly, the reality is that this is subjective. Pitching well or getting the job done can mean different things to different people. For instance, if Trevor May comes in to a situation where there are runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out and gets out of that inning with just one run scoring, I think he got the job done. If Michael Tonkin comes in with runners on and the Twins already down 8-0 in the 2nd inning, but he leaves the game with the Twins down 11-0 after the fifth or sixth inning, I think he did his job. If Glen Perkins comes in to a game with a 2-run lead and give up just one hit but no runs in the inning, he got the job done. If he comes in to a game with a three-run lead, gives up two runs on three hits and two walks but gets the save, I can’t say that he did his job. So using my opinion, along with box scores and often watching on TV, here are how the members of the 2016 Twins bullpen grade out by this method through the way-too-small-of-a-sample-size of seven games. This stat may be more valuable in six to eight weeks, but here is the introduction: Pitcher Y N Success Glen Perkins 0 2 0.0% Kevin Jepsen 1 2 33.3% Trevor May 0 3 0.0% Casey Fien 1 2 33.3% Ryan Pressly 3 1 75.0% Michael Tonkin 0 1 0.0% Fernando Abad 3 0 100.0% Y=Yes, they got the job done. N=No, they didn't Success = percentage Aside from Fernando Abad and Ryan Pressly, it’s been a tough go for the Twins bullpen so far this season. As I would say to everyone after a poor seven-game start to the season, it is a long season, and things will (most likely) normalize over the course of the next couple of months. I don’t know what is good or bad with these percentages. Is 85% good, or is 70% good? I think we can agree from the start that 50% and lower would not qualify as good. The bullpen was said to be a focus in the offseason. Little significant was done to address it in the offseason which has made it a large focus in the team’s slow start. It is certainly something that warrants monitoring throughout the season.
×
×
  • Create New...