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  1. The Twins had their fair share of struggles in 2021, but they remained solid in the home run department. Here’s what their 10 longest homers looked and felt like. 10. April 6th: Byron Buxton off Jose Cisnero Distance: 451 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.1 mph, Launch Angle: 38° On the sixth day of the Twins’ young and (at the time) hopeful season, Byron Buxton came up in the eighth with the Twins trailing the Tigers by a run. He did his thing. This 451-foot blast tied the game, only to set the stage for the Twins’ second of many early season extra-inning losses. Interestingly, this homer has the highest launch angle of this list by far, and was the fifth-highest lofted homer of the Twins season. 9. June 30th: Nelson Cruz off Dylan Cease Distance: 453 feet, Exit Velocity: 110.9 mph Launch Angle: 25° This homer would be a lot cooler if the Twins weren’t getting throttled 11-1 by their division rivals at the time it was hit, but 453 feet is 453 feet. That eventual 13-3 loss was also the middle game of a three-game sweep for the White Sox that was played out over the backdrop of drama surrounding Josh Donaldson accusing Lucas Giolito of cheating. So, yeah, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most forgotten long homers of the year. But 453 feet is 453 feet. 8. April 1st: Byron Buxton off Eric Yardley Distance: 456 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.4 mph Launch Angle: 24° Man, early-season Buxton was a sight to see. Five days before hitting the first homer on this list, he hit this behemoth on Opening Day against the Brewers. The two-run shot came in the seventh with the Twins already leading by one, so it looked like the club was going to start the year on the right foot. Unfortunately, early-season Alex Colome was a sight to see for the opposite reason and blew a three-run lead, leading the Twins to their first extra-inning loss of the young campaign. T-6. June 10th: Nelson Cruz off Aroldis Chapman Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.4 mph Launch Angle: 23° This bomb carries a lot more cachet than Cruz’s first entry on this list. It wasn’t only against the hated Yankees, but it was a walk-off against the hated Yankees. And, Cruz turned around a 98-mph Aroldis Chapman fastball to do it. It did go to potentially the ugliest part of Target—landing somewhere in the vertical waste area between the bullpen and the batter’s eye—but who actually cares. It was a monster shot that made sure the good guys came out on top, at least for that night. (Nash named it the Best Moment for the 2021 season.) T-6. September 10th: Byron Buxton off Daniel Lynch Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.9 mph Launch Angle: 29° So, it turns out that Byron Buxton only hits massive homers in extra-inning losses. In this particular instance, Buxton’s 457-foot poke led off the game for the Twins and this was the first of four first-inning runs that only gave the Twins a one-run lead thanks to three Royals’ runs in the first. Kansas City got that run back and two more in the 11th to seal the Twins’ fate. For Buxton, this homer came amidst his coldest stretch of the season, but of course he got hot again, spawning hundreds of “please pay Buxton” takes from the contributors to this website. 5. July 26th: Brent Rooker off Matt Manning Distance: 460 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.1 mph Launch Angle: 29° As Ted tweeted, Brent Rooker murdered this baseball, and he chose the third deck in left field for its burial site. That’s super interesting and all, but the best part about this is Michael Pineda’s reaction. His extended grimace at watching Matt Manning’s hanger get demolished showed admirable loyalty to his fellow pitcher out there laboring on the mound. 4. May 24th: Trevor Larnach off John Means Distance: 461 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.2 mph Launch Angle: 24° Okay, so balls don’t land here. Larnach’s beautifully struck, 461-foot whopper landed perfectly in the Delta 360 Suite above the batter’s eye. That’s not a part of the park where you’re expecting a home run ball. Anyway, this was only Larnach’s second homer of his MLB career and launched him towards a pretty productive June and early July. Larnach later struggled as pitchers adjusted to him, but he remains a big part of the club’s future, and his 460+ foot power is a big reason why. 3. July 28th: Miguel Sanó off Joe Jimenez Distance: 473 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.8 mph Launch Angle: 30° Welcome to the Miguel Sanó portion of this list. Our favorite three-outcome hitter (only) hit three homers over 450 feet, but they were all over 470 feet. This particular bludgeoning (I’m running out of homer words) traveled 473 feet and was a part of a ridiculous, pitching-optional 17-14 loss to the Tigers. This was also Sanó’s second homer of the game and 17th of the year, reminding us all why we just can’t quit him. 2. August 18th: Miguel Sanó off Zach Plesac Distance: 475 feet, Exit Velocity: 113.9 mph Launch Angle: 27° This ball landed in Section 237, which is interesting for two reasons. First, there’s absolutely no way those green-shirted kids packed into the very cheap group-rate seats were expecting a home run ball, which is kind of cool. And secondly, the ball was hit (just barely) to the opposite field, and a 475-foot Oppo Taco is very cool. Sanó is nothing if not a very strong man. 1. August 25th: Miguel Sanó off Nick Pivetta Distance: 495 feet, Exit Velocity: 116.7 mph Launch Angle: 24° Speaking of balls landing where they’re not supposed to… what even happened here? Balls leave Fenway Park and spill onto Lansdowne Street all the time, but they don’t go to that part of Lansdowne Street. Balls will carry those Green Monster billboards every now and then, but they don’t carry that billboard and certainly not by that much. I mean, this ball might’ve put that famous Citgo sign in danger. Sanó’s nuke travelled 20 feet further than the next-longest Twins homer and was the longest in the majors by nine feet. Ted Williams famously hit a 502-foot blast in Fenway, but you’d be hard pressed to find another ball hit harder in that place's history than Sanó’s moonshot. Which homer from this year was your favorite? Let us know in the comments! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. 10. April 6th: Byron Buxton off Jose Cisnero Distance: 451 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.1 mph, Launch Angle: 38° On the sixth day of the Twins’ young and (at the time) hopeful season, Byron Buxton came up in the eighth with the Twins trailing the Tigers by a run. He did his thing. This 451-foot blast tied the game, only to set the stage for the Twins’ second of many early season extra-inning losses. Interestingly, this homer has the highest launch angle of this list by far, and was the fifth-highest lofted homer of the Twins season. 9. June 30th: Nelson Cruz off Dylan Cease Distance: 453 feet, Exit Velocity: 110.9 mph Launch Angle: 25° This homer would be a lot cooler if the Twins weren’t getting throttled 11-1 by their division rivals at the time it was hit, but 453 feet is 453 feet. That eventual 13-3 loss was also the middle game of a three-game sweep for the White Sox that was played out over the backdrop of drama surrounding Josh Donaldson accusing Lucas Giolito of cheating. So, yeah, it’s safe to say that this is one of the most forgotten long homers of the year. But 453 feet is 453 feet. 8. April 1st: Byron Buxton off Eric Yardley Distance: 456 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.4 mph Launch Angle: 24° Man, early-season Buxton was a sight to see. Five days before hitting the first homer on this list, he hit this behemoth on Opening Day against the Brewers. The two-run shot came in the seventh with the Twins already leading by one, so it looked like the club was going to start the year on the right foot. Unfortunately, early-season Alex Colome was a sight to see for the opposite reason and blew a three-run lead, leading the Twins to their first extra-inning loss of the young campaign. T-6. June 10th: Nelson Cruz off Aroldis Chapman Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.4 mph Launch Angle: 23° This bomb carries a lot more cachet than Cruz’s first entry on this list. It wasn’t only against the hated Yankees, but it was a walk-off against the hated Yankees. And, Cruz turned around a 98-mph Aroldis Chapman fastball to do it. It did go to potentially the ugliest part of Target—landing somewhere in the vertical waste area between the bullpen and the batter’s eye—but who actually cares. It was a monster shot that made sure the good guys came out on top, at least for that night. (Nash named it the Best Moment for the 2021 season.) T-6. September 10th: Byron Buxton off Daniel Lynch Distance: 457 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.9 mph Launch Angle: 29° So, it turns out that Byron Buxton only hits massive homers in extra-inning losses. In this particular instance, Buxton’s 457-foot poke led off the game for the Twins and this was the first of four first-inning runs that only gave the Twins a one-run lead thanks to three Royals’ runs in the first. Kansas City got that run back and two more in the 11th to seal the Twins’ fate. For Buxton, this homer came amidst his coldest stretch of the season, but of course he got hot again, spawning hundreds of “please pay Buxton” takes from the contributors to this website. 5. July 26th: Brent Rooker off Matt Manning Distance: 460 feet, Exit Velocity: 111.1 mph Launch Angle: 29° As Ted tweeted, Brent Rooker murdered this baseball, and he chose the third deck in left field for its burial site. That’s super interesting and all, but the best part about this is Michael Pineda’s reaction. His extended grimace at watching Matt Manning’s hanger get demolished showed admirable loyalty to his fellow pitcher out there laboring on the mound. 4. May 24th: Trevor Larnach off John Means Distance: 461 feet, Exit Velocity: 112.2 mph Launch Angle: 24° Okay, so balls don’t land here. Larnach’s beautifully struck, 461-foot whopper landed perfectly in the Delta 360 Suite above the batter’s eye. That’s not a part of the park where you’re expecting a home run ball. Anyway, this was only Larnach’s second homer of his MLB career and launched him towards a pretty productive June and early July. Larnach later struggled as pitchers adjusted to him, but he remains a big part of the club’s future, and his 460+ foot power is a big reason why. 3. July 28th: Miguel Sanó off Joe Jimenez Distance: 473 feet, Exit Velocity: 114.8 mph Launch Angle: 30° Welcome to the Miguel Sanó portion of this list. Our favorite three-outcome hitter (only) hit three homers over 450 feet, but they were all over 470 feet. This particular bludgeoning (I’m running out of homer words) traveled 473 feet and was a part of a ridiculous, pitching-optional 17-14 loss to the Tigers. This was also Sanó’s second homer of the game and 17th of the year, reminding us all why we just can’t quit him. 2. August 18th: Miguel Sanó off Zach Plesac Distance: 475 feet, Exit Velocity: 113.9 mph Launch Angle: 27° This ball landed in Section 237, which is interesting for two reasons. First, there’s absolutely no way those green-shirted kids packed into the very cheap group-rate seats were expecting a home run ball, which is kind of cool. And secondly, the ball was hit (just barely) to the opposite field, and a 475-foot Oppo Taco is very cool. Sanó is nothing if not a very strong man. 1. August 25th: Miguel Sanó off Nick Pivetta Distance: 495 feet, Exit Velocity: 116.7 mph Launch Angle: 24° Speaking of balls landing where they’re not supposed to… what even happened here? Balls leave Fenway Park and spill onto Lansdowne Street all the time, but they don’t go to that part of Lansdowne Street. Balls will carry those Green Monster billboards every now and then, but they don’t carry that billboard and certainly not by that much. I mean, this ball might’ve put that famous Citgo sign in danger. Sanó’s nuke travelled 20 feet further than the next-longest Twins homer and was the longest in the majors by nine feet. Ted Williams famously hit a 502-foot blast in Fenway, but you’d be hard pressed to find another ball hit harder in that place's history than Sanó’s moonshot. Which homer from this year was your favorite? Let us know in the comments! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. It was an overwhelmingly disappointing season for the Twins, with numerous bad losses, crippling injuries, and overall underperformance. What were the three *best* moments of this season? 3. Buxton Blasts Burnes The Twins looked to flush a forgettable Opening Day in Game 2 of their season in Milwaukee. José Berríos started and dominated the National League Central champions. Berríos pitched six innings of no-hit ball with 12 strikeouts and zero walks. It was one of the best performances of his career and further evidenced his immense talent. Berríos would’ve owned the stage if not for Corbin Burnes, who matched him with six walk-less and hit-less innings. Burnes went on to lead baseball with an incredible 2.43 ERA, 1.63 FIP, and 6.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Byron Buxton still wouldn’t be denied. With Burnes eight outs from a perfect game, Buxton roped a painted 96 mph cutter to Toyota Territory. It was the beginning of one of the most remarkable months by a player in Twins history. The Twins won 2-0. 2. Saturday Sanó Storm With the season quickly spiraling into the abyss and losses in eight of their last nine games, the Twins needed something positive. They trailed 4-2 with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Oakland turned to Jake Diekman to face Miguel Sanó, who was 8-for-67 (.119) with only two extra-base hits in 21 games up to that Saturday. In one of the unlikeliest and best moments of the year, Sanó used his strength to muscle a homer just over the limestone in right field. It was precisely what he and the team needed, and it created hope that there could be something more in 2021. Of course, it was just a brief positive amid a lot of negativity. For Sanó, the homer kicked off a 10-game stretch where he hit six homers, three doubles, and produced an OPS over 1.150. 1. Crushing Chapman Once again at risk of a sweep to the Yankees, the Twins needed a miracle late. Aroldis Chapman trotted out from the bullpen with a two-run lead and a 0.39 ERA in 23 games. Opponents were hitting .097 and had struck out in over 50% of plate appearances against Chapman to that point. He might beat you nine times out of 10, but not that night. The Twins ambushed the imposing lefty. In just nine pitches, Chapman gave up four hits, including two monstrous two-run homers to Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz. Beating the Yankees is always satisfying. To watch the two leaders of the team smash one of the best closers in the game at home made it extra special. Donaldson and Cruz showed Twins fans what could’ve (and should’ve) been in 2021’s best moment. That ninth inning also began a stretch where Chapman allowed 14 runs in 5 2/3 innings. What were your favorite moments from the season? Comment below! View full article
  4. 3. Buxton Blasts Burnes The Twins looked to flush a forgettable Opening Day in Game 2 of their season in Milwaukee. José Berríos started and dominated the National League Central champions. Berríos pitched six innings of no-hit ball with 12 strikeouts and zero walks. It was one of the best performances of his career and further evidenced his immense talent. Berríos would’ve owned the stage if not for Corbin Burnes, who matched him with six walk-less and hit-less innings. Burnes went on to lead baseball with an incredible 2.43 ERA, 1.63 FIP, and 6.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Byron Buxton still wouldn’t be denied. With Burnes eight outs from a perfect game, Buxton roped a painted 96 mph cutter to Toyota Territory. It was the beginning of one of the most remarkable months by a player in Twins history. The Twins won 2-0. 2. Saturday Sanó Storm With the season quickly spiraling into the abyss and losses in eight of their last nine games, the Twins needed something positive. They trailed 4-2 with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Oakland turned to Jake Diekman to face Miguel Sanó, who was 8-for-67 (.119) with only two extra-base hits in 21 games up to that Saturday. In one of the unlikeliest and best moments of the year, Sanó used his strength to muscle a homer just over the limestone in right field. It was precisely what he and the team needed, and it created hope that there could be something more in 2021. Of course, it was just a brief positive amid a lot of negativity. For Sanó, the homer kicked off a 10-game stretch where he hit six homers, three doubles, and produced an OPS over 1.150. 1. Crushing Chapman Once again at risk of a sweep to the Yankees, the Twins needed a miracle late. Aroldis Chapman trotted out from the bullpen with a two-run lead and a 0.39 ERA in 23 games. Opponents were hitting .097 and had struck out in over 50% of plate appearances against Chapman to that point. He might beat you nine times out of 10, but not that night. The Twins ambushed the imposing lefty. In just nine pitches, Chapman gave up four hits, including two monstrous two-run homers to Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz. Beating the Yankees is always satisfying. To watch the two leaders of the team smash one of the best closers in the game at home made it extra special. Donaldson and Cruz showed Twins fans what could’ve (and should’ve) been in 2021’s best moment. That ninth inning also began a stretch where Chapman allowed 14 runs in 5 2/3 innings. What were your favorite moments from the season? Comment below!
  5. Derek Falvey has suggested that the Minnesota Twins plan for 2022 isn’t to rebuild. This team wants to compete, and if that’s the case, they have areas needing to be fixed. They’ll spend, but maybe they need to trade pieces to bridge the gap. Coming off a pandemic-shortened 2020, the Twins did a solid job holding serve regarding payroll. While it dropped, it didn’t fall off a cliff. I don’t know where I expect Minnesota to be in terms of dollars this season, but I think we’re in for an offseason that sees some major-league assets moved. If that’s going to be the case, who are the combinations that are defined by value and expendability? Max Kepler I’m torn on the idea of moving Kepler, given the Twins commitment to getting more out of him. He posted just a .719 OPS this season, and it was a down year. He remains one of the best outfield defenders in baseball, however, and that has significant value. For a guy that plays on the corners, you’d certainly like to see the power production of 2019 return. Given his name was dangled at the deadline, I can’t imagine Minnesota is against the idea of moving him, but it’d need to be a situation where someone is parting with assets based on what they believe Kepler can be rather than what he is currently. Alex Kirilloff can fill some of the gap here, and Trevor Larnach is also an option should the Twins move on. Mitch Garver After a down year in the shortened 2020 season, Garver has rebounded with a vengeance. Mitch is back to hunting fastballs, and despite some fluke injuries this season, he put up impressive numbers from the minute he got settled in. His final 51 games were played to the tune of a .991 OPS. I’m reluctant to hand the reigns over to Ryan Jeffers full-time, but Garver is the older of the two, and this is a position where Minnesota could exploit the strength and use it to secure pitching help. The Twins don’t have much for a backup option unless they want to go defense only with Ben Rortvedt behind the plate. That said, a veteran backup shouldn’t cost much on the open market, and there’s plenty of names they could chase after. Cody recently did a great breakdown of a partner for Garver. Luis Arraez Once again near the top of the league in batting average, Luis Arraez continues to be as predictable as they come. 2021 was his first season with an average south of .300, but that’s more related to a late-season slide than it is the body of work. He is always going to hit, there’s not much in terms of speed or pop, and his glove is just ok in the field. What Minnesota has to determine is where Jorge Polanco will play and what they want to do at shortstop. Arraez is either a rotational player with plenty of avenues for playing time, or he’s a luxury that they can parlay into something more necessary. A lot of Arraez’s functionality for this club directly correlates to the build-out of their infield. Miguel Sano In the final year of his three-year extension, Sano will cost Minnesota just over $9 million this season. He hasn’t lived up to the .923 OPS he posted in 2019, but he has plenty of functionality as a bottom-of-the-order hitter. He’s continued to post OPS+ numbers north of league average, and the power potential was once again evident in a season where he blasted 30 homers. I can’t imagine his value bringing back a whole lot for the Twins, but with the designated hitter expected to be league-wide, there may be more suitors interested in his services. I prefer the Twins don’t utilize a consistent batter as a designated hitter this season, but that’s definitely where Sano is at his best. Rocco Baldelli will also need to balance first base playing time with Alex Kirilloff returning to action. Obviously, if the Twins decide against paying Byron Buxton, then he’d likely be on the move as well and bring the greatest return. I can’t see a scenario in which any arms are moved, most notably because of that being Minnesota’s greatest need. Who else could you see as potential interest for another organization? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. Even in eternal darkness, there is light. Here are the three best moments of the 2021 season for the Twins, highlighted by the incredible Byron Buxton, the power of Miguel Sanó and the ambush of an imposing closer. View full video
  7. Even in eternal darkness, there is light. Here are the three best moments of the 2021 season for the Twins, highlighted by the incredible Byron Buxton, the power of Miguel Sanó and the ambush of an imposing closer.
  8. Coming off a pandemic-shortened 2020, the Twins did a solid job holding serve regarding payroll. While it dropped, it didn’t fall off a cliff. I don’t know where I expect Minnesota to be in terms of dollars this season, but I think we’re in for an offseason that sees some major-league assets moved. If that’s going to be the case, who are the combinations that are defined by value and expendability? Max Kepler I’m torn on the idea of moving Kepler, given the Twins commitment to getting more out of him. He posted just a .719 OPS this season, and it was a down year. He remains one of the best outfield defenders in baseball, however, and that has significant value. For a guy that plays on the corners, you’d certainly like to see the power production of 2019 return. Given his name was dangled at the deadline, I can’t imagine Minnesota is against the idea of moving him, but it’d need to be a situation where someone is parting with assets based on what they believe Kepler can be rather than what he is currently. Alex Kirilloff can fill some of the gap here, and Trevor Larnach is also an option should the Twins move on. Mitch Garver After a down year in the shortened 2020 season, Garver has rebounded with a vengeance. Mitch is back to hunting fastballs, and despite some fluke injuries this season, he put up impressive numbers from the minute he got settled in. His final 51 games were played to the tune of a .991 OPS. I’m reluctant to hand the reigns over to Ryan Jeffers full-time, but Garver is the older of the two, and this is a position where Minnesota could exploit the strength and use it to secure pitching help. The Twins don’t have much for a backup option unless they want to go defense only with Ben Rortvedt behind the plate. That said, a veteran backup shouldn’t cost much on the open market, and there’s plenty of names they could chase after. Cody recently did a great breakdown of a partner for Garver. Luis Arraez Once again near the top of the league in batting average, Luis Arraez continues to be as predictable as they come. 2021 was his first season with an average south of .300, but that’s more related to a late-season slide than it is the body of work. He is always going to hit, there’s not much in terms of speed or pop, and his glove is just ok in the field. What Minnesota has to determine is where Jorge Polanco will play and what they want to do at shortstop. Arraez is either a rotational player with plenty of avenues for playing time, or he’s a luxury that they can parlay into something more necessary. A lot of Arraez’s functionality for this club directly correlates to the build-out of their infield. Miguel Sano In the final year of his three-year extension, Sano will cost Minnesota just over $9 million this season. He hasn’t lived up to the .923 OPS he posted in 2019, but he has plenty of functionality as a bottom-of-the-order hitter. He’s continued to post OPS+ numbers north of league average, and the power potential was once again evident in a season where he blasted 30 homers. I can’t imagine his value bringing back a whole lot for the Twins, but with the designated hitter expected to be league-wide, there may be more suitors interested in his services. I prefer the Twins don’t utilize a consistent batter as a designated hitter this season, but that’s definitely where Sano is at his best. Rocco Baldelli will also need to balance first base playing time with Alex Kirilloff returning to action. Obviously, if the Twins decide against paying Byron Buxton, then he’d likely be on the move as well and bring the greatest return. I can’t see a scenario in which any arms are moved, most notably because of that being Minnesota’s greatest need. Who else could you see as potential interest for another organization? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Jose Miranda has played in 123 games across the Minnesota Twins minor league system in 2021. He’s dominated both Double-A and Triple-A, but with just days left in the season, no promotion is coming. What lies ahead in 2022? Recently named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year, the Twins Minor League Player of the Year, and the MLB Pipeline All-Prospect 1st Team, Miranda has picked up all of the accolades. It’s hard to be surprised, given his performance. For the season, he owns a .347/.403/.574 (.977) slash line along with 60 extra-base hits, of which 29 are home runs. His 73/41 K/BB rate suggests a strong eye and plate discipline ability, and despite the year with no minor league action, it’s hard to see anything but an immense amount of work put in. For a Minnesota Twins team that saw their season end essentially before it ever got off the ground, it’s worth wondering how Miranda wasn’t selected to see action at the big-league level. The role isn’t straightforward, though, and it’s something Derek Falvey and Rocco Baldelli will need to sort out for the year ahead. In 2021, Miranda played games at every infield position aside from catcher, and he even got three starts in left field. Primarily a third basemen, that role is currently occupied by Josh Donaldson, who has been one of the Twins better hitters and is signed to a large contract. Miranda is blocked at second base by one of the game’s best in Jorge Polanco, and he’s miscast playing shortstop. It appeared that the Twins wanted to see his abilities at first base, but that’s a role currently held down by Miguel Sano and likely Alex Kirilloff next season. So, where does he go? Had the Twins dealt Donaldson at the trade deadline, it essentially would’ve been to swing a cash dump. Donaldson, and more notably his contract, will never net the Twins anything close to an equal value. Given his uptick in production, it made sense to keep him around for the year ahead. If Minnesota is entering a rebuild, though, Donaldson’s services are much less needed, and he’d likely desire an opportunity to win elsewhere. The man at the hot corner remains much of the linchpin to this situation, though. Suppose Donaldson was out of the picture, an immediate opening is created for Miranda. He could slot in as Baldelli’s everyday third basemen. The other option would be to roll with Jorge Polanco as the team’s shortstop next season. We’ve seen that he’s stretched defensively in that position, and for a guy who’s looked so good at second base, it’d be a tough sell to put him in that spot. With Polanco at short though, Miranda could draw the most starts at second base, with Luis Arraez continuing to operate in a super-utility role as he has. The other possibility is at first base, moving Miguel Sano to a full-time designated hitter role. That forces Alex Kirilloff into the outfield, however, and leaves Trevor Larnach or Max Kepler twisting in the wind. Sano being the primary designated hitter also reduces the lineup flexibility for Baldelli on a nightly basis. It's an option, but wouldn't strike me as a desirable one. No matter what the decision-making process is, the Twins need a solution. Miranda was not a top-100 prospect entering the season, but coming off his production at the highest levels and being just 23-years-old, forcing his way into the immediate plans has been accomplished. From my perspective, the Twins still need to sign a starting-caliber shortstop, preferably on a one-year deal. That doesn’t help the chances of Miranda making the Opening Day roster or squeezing his way in quickly, but if there’s anything we’ve learned from 2021, it’s that the roster turnover comes quickly and often. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  10. Some nightmarish pitching by the Twins cost them a win in the series opener against the Royals in Kansas City, their final series of the year. The offense, quiet at first, provided six runs on 13 hits, with Jorge Polanco reaching a milestone. Box Score Gant: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (63.3% strikes) Home Runs: Jeffers (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Gant -.291, Rooker -.088, Kepler -.082 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) A small disaster nearly struck the Twins early, as John Gant had a tough first inning. Granted, it could’ve been worse, but things were ugly. Command wasn’t there from the very beginning, and the strike zone eluded him. He loaded the bases before recording an out, then threw a wild pitch that allowed the Royals to score first. He loaded the bases immediately afterward, and Kansas City scored again on a force out. It was not before he tossed 29 pitches that the bottom of the first inning was finished. Weirdly enough, he came back to pitch a 1-2-3, six-pitch bottom of the second. That came with the help of some fancy defense from the Twins’ outfield, with Max Kepler making a beautiful, inning-ending diving catch. But that didn’t help Minnesota’s case much, as the offense couldn’t produce a baserunner before the third when Brent Rooker led off the inning with a single. Rooker got picked off, and the Twins couldn’t get anything going. That scoreless second inning from Gant turned out to be the exception, after all. It didn’t look like it at first, though. He did retire the first two batters he saw in the third on only seven pitches, right before giving up four consecutive hits to the heart of the Royals' lineup, allowing Kansas City to pushed a couple more runs across. Minnesota manufactured a run in the fourth after Byron Buxton hit a double and advanced on a fly out by Jorge Polanco and brought home by a Josh Donaldson two-out double, making it 4-1 Royals. Gant was back out for the fourth, and luck wasn’t on his side this time. In what was supposed to be a scoreless effort from him, the Royals scored two more runs on a pop up that landed between Brent Rooker and Nick Gordon, just tipping off the shortstop's glove. Whit Merrifield and Nicky Lopez scored, making it 6-1 Kansas City. The offense continued to struggle against rookie Jon Heasley, who cruised through five innings on only 69 pitches. The Royals’ offense, on the other hand, added more runs. Hunter Dozier hit a leadoff home run in the fifth off Luke Farrell. Then, Adalberto Mondesí doubled and scored on a Cam Gallagher RBI-single, making it 8-1 Kansas City. Twins pick up three runs; Royals take them back Heasley dominated the Twins lineup for five innings. However, things started to change for the righty during the sixth inning. Ryan Jeffers crushed a leadoff, 429-feet home run to left that left his bat at 107 MPH. Minnesota kept pounding the rookie, and they loaded the bases with only one out: a Buxton double, a Polanco walk, and a Donaldson hit-by-pitch. Suddenly, the Twins could make this a two-run game on a swing of the bat. Royals manager Mike Matheny pulled Heasley from the game. Reliever Gabe Speier came into the game and got the second out with two pitches, but he couldn’t quite escape from the jam. Miguel Sanó stepped up to the plate and hit a liner to center to score Buxton and Polanco. Kansas City’s lead was down to four runs. But that rally didn’t last. Two men reached against Farrell in the bottom of the sixth, prompting Rocco Baldelli to remove him from the game. Jovani Moran couldn’t take care of the inherited runners, giving up three consecutive singles that scored three more runs to Kansas City, making it 11-4. The offense had some fight in them. With Speier still on the mound for the Royals, Minnesota hit three consecutive one-out singles (Jeffers, Luis Arráez, and Buxton) and loaded the bases for Polanco. Polo grounded into a force out to score Jeffers and Arráez and reach first himself on a throwing error by Merrifield. Polanco was credited with one RBI on that play which was his 95th of the season, tying the club record for most RBI in a season by a switch-hitter, previously held by Roy Smalley, in the 1979 season. Will he break the record in the two final games of the season? Minnesota threatened once again in the top of the eighth when they had men in the corners with two outs and Jeffers at the plate. He then swung on a 3-1 slider over the plate and gave it a ride, but the ball was caught just in front of the center field fence. Arráez led off the ninth with a single, but he was stranded by former Twin Ervin Santana and the Royals won the game. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 18 0 0 44 Duffey 0 18 21 0 0 39 Farrell 0 0 0 0 38 38 Moran 0 0 0 0 38 38 Garza Jr. 0 19 0 12 0 31 Thielbar 0 13 0 14 0 27 Alcalá 0 10 0 13 0 23 Minaya 0 0 22 0 0 22 Vincent 0 0 0 16 0 16 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 15 15 Barraclough 0 0 0 14 0 14 View full article
  11. Box Score Gant: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (63.3% strikes) Home Runs: Jeffers (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Gant -.291, Rooker -.088, Kepler -.082 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) A small disaster nearly struck the Twins early, as John Gant had a tough first inning. Granted, it could’ve been worse, but things were ugly. Command wasn’t there from the very beginning, and the strike zone eluded him. He loaded the bases before recording an out, then threw a wild pitch that allowed the Royals to score first. He loaded the bases immediately afterward, and Kansas City scored again on a force out. It was not before he tossed 29 pitches that the bottom of the first inning was finished. Weirdly enough, he came back to pitch a 1-2-3, six-pitch bottom of the second. That came with the help of some fancy defense from the Twins’ outfield, with Max Kepler making a beautiful, inning-ending diving catch. But that didn’t help Minnesota’s case much, as the offense couldn’t produce a baserunner before the third when Brent Rooker led off the inning with a single. Rooker got picked off, and the Twins couldn’t get anything going. That scoreless second inning from Gant turned out to be the exception, after all. It didn’t look like it at first, though. He did retire the first two batters he saw in the third on only seven pitches, right before giving up four consecutive hits to the heart of the Royals' lineup, allowing Kansas City to pushed a couple more runs across. Minnesota manufactured a run in the fourth after Byron Buxton hit a double and advanced on a fly out by Jorge Polanco and brought home by a Josh Donaldson two-out double, making it 4-1 Royals. Gant was back out for the fourth, and luck wasn’t on his side this time. In what was supposed to be a scoreless effort from him, the Royals scored two more runs on a pop up that landed between Brent Rooker and Nick Gordon, just tipping off the shortstop's glove. Whit Merrifield and Nicky Lopez scored, making it 6-1 Kansas City. The offense continued to struggle against rookie Jon Heasley, who cruised through five innings on only 69 pitches. The Royals’ offense, on the other hand, added more runs. Hunter Dozier hit a leadoff home run in the fifth off Luke Farrell. Then, Adalberto Mondesí doubled and scored on a Cam Gallagher RBI-single, making it 8-1 Kansas City. Twins pick up three runs; Royals take them back Heasley dominated the Twins lineup for five innings. However, things started to change for the righty during the sixth inning. Ryan Jeffers crushed a leadoff, 429-feet home run to left that left his bat at 107 MPH. Minnesota kept pounding the rookie, and they loaded the bases with only one out: a Buxton double, a Polanco walk, and a Donaldson hit-by-pitch. Suddenly, the Twins could make this a two-run game on a swing of the bat. Royals manager Mike Matheny pulled Heasley from the game. Reliever Gabe Speier came into the game and got the second out with two pitches, but he couldn’t quite escape from the jam. Miguel Sanó stepped up to the plate and hit a liner to center to score Buxton and Polanco. Kansas City’s lead was down to four runs. But that rally didn’t last. Two men reached against Farrell in the bottom of the sixth, prompting Rocco Baldelli to remove him from the game. Jovani Moran couldn’t take care of the inherited runners, giving up three consecutive singles that scored three more runs to Kansas City, making it 11-4. The offense had some fight in them. With Speier still on the mound for the Royals, Minnesota hit three consecutive one-out singles (Jeffers, Luis Arráez, and Buxton) and loaded the bases for Polanco. Polo grounded into a force out to score Jeffers and Arráez and reach first himself on a throwing error by Merrifield. Polanco was credited with one RBI on that play which was his 95th of the season, tying the club record for most RBI in a season by a switch-hitter, previously held by Roy Smalley, in the 1979 season. Will he break the record in the two final games of the season? Minnesota threatened once again in the top of the eighth when they had men in the corners with two outs and Jeffers at the plate. He then swung on a 3-1 slider over the plate and gave it a ride, but the ball was caught just in front of the center field fence. Arráez led off the ninth with a single, but he was stranded by former Twin Ervin Santana and the Royals won the game. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 18 0 0 44 Duffey 0 18 21 0 0 39 Farrell 0 0 0 0 38 38 Moran 0 0 0 0 38 38 Garza Jr. 0 19 0 12 0 31 Thielbar 0 13 0 14 0 27 Alcalá 0 10 0 13 0 23 Minaya 0 0 22 0 0 22 Vincent 0 0 0 16 0 16 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 15 15 Barraclough 0 0 0 14 0 14
  12. Recently named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year, the Twins Minor League Player of the Year, and the MLB Pipeline All-Prospect 1st Team, Miranda has picked up all of the accolades. It’s hard to be surprised, given his performance. For the season, he owns a .347/.403/.574 (.977) slash line along with 60 extra-base hits, of which 29 are home runs. His 73/41 K/BB rate suggests a strong eye and plate discipline ability, and despite the year with no minor league action, it’s hard to see anything but an immense amount of work put in. For a Minnesota Twins team that saw their season end essentially before it ever got off the ground, it’s worth wondering how Miranda wasn’t selected to see action at the big-league level. The role isn’t straightforward, though, and it’s something Derek Falvey and Rocco Baldelli will need to sort out for the year ahead. In 2021, Miranda played games at every infield position aside from catcher, and he even got three starts in left field. Primarily a third basemen, that role is currently occupied by Josh Donaldson, who has been one of the Twins better hitters and is signed to a large contract. Miranda is blocked at second base by one of the game’s best in Jorge Polanco, and he’s miscast playing shortstop. It appeared that the Twins wanted to see his abilities at first base, but that’s a role currently held down by Miguel Sano and likely Alex Kirilloff next season. So, where does he go? Had the Twins dealt Donaldson at the trade deadline, it essentially would’ve been to swing a cash dump. Donaldson, and more notably his contract, will never net the Twins anything close to an equal value. Given his uptick in production, it made sense to keep him around for the year ahead. If Minnesota is entering a rebuild, though, Donaldson’s services are much less needed, and he’d likely desire an opportunity to win elsewhere. The man at the hot corner remains much of the linchpin to this situation, though. Suppose Donaldson was out of the picture, an immediate opening is created for Miranda. He could slot in as Baldelli’s everyday third basemen. The other option would be to roll with Jorge Polanco as the team’s shortstop next season. We’ve seen that he’s stretched defensively in that position, and for a guy who’s looked so good at second base, it’d be a tough sell to put him in that spot. With Polanco at short though, Miranda could draw the most starts at second base, with Luis Arraez continuing to operate in a super-utility role as he has. The other possibility is at first base, moving Miguel Sano to a full-time designated hitter role. That forces Alex Kirilloff into the outfield, however, and leaves Trevor Larnach or Max Kepler twisting in the wind. Sano being the primary designated hitter also reduces the lineup flexibility for Baldelli on a nightly basis. It's an option, but wouldn't strike me as a desirable one. No matter what the decision-making process is, the Twins need a solution. Miranda was not a top-100 prospect entering the season, but coming off his production at the highest levels and being just 23-years-old, forcing his way into the immediate plans has been accomplished. From my perspective, the Twins still need to sign a starting-caliber shortstop, preferably on a one-year deal. That doesn’t help the chances of Miranda making the Opening Day roster or squeezing his way in quickly, but if there’s anything we’ve learned from 2021, it’s that the roster turnover comes quickly and often. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  13. Miguel Sanó has been a polarizing player throughout his professional career. He’s put together solid second-half numbers, and this might be enough to make him an intriguing trade option. Will the Twins try to trade Sanó this winter? Maybe fans should come to expect this from Miguel Sanó. He goes through stretches where he seems lost at the plate. Then he follows those stretches with weeks where it looks like he figures it out and puts it all together. As the season has progressed, Sanó has drastically improved, but many fans tuned out after the team fell out of contention. In the season’s first half, Sanó hit .196/.279/.426 (.705) with 15 home runs and eight doubles in 60 games started. His entire slash line was below his career marks, but his batting average and on-base percentage were higher than his 2020 campaign. Since July, Sanó has hit .243/.340/.505 (.845) with 14 home runs and 15 doubles. His OPS+ is now at 111 for the season, which is six points higher than 2020. Defensively, he ranks near the bottom of the American League when it comes to SABR’s Defensive Index. In his first full season at first base, Baseball-Reference has him worth -1.1 Defensive WAR, and that total is similar to his last season at third base in 2019. He has been worth -3 Defensive Runs Saved, a two-run improvement over last season. He may never be outstanding at first base, but he has the athleticism to be passable at the position. Minnesota has other options for Sanó if the team decides to move him off the position in 2022. Nelson Cruz is gone, and Sanó can slide into a permanent designated hitter role with Alex Kirilloff taking over at first base. Kirilloff is a better defender, and first base is his likely long-term defensive position. Sanó has one year and $9.25 million remaining on his current contract, with a $2.75 million buyout for the 2023 season. Over the last three seasons, FanGraphs puts Sanó’s value at $28.5 million, but $22.2 million of that value came in 2019 when baseballs were bouncing out of ballparks at record rates. In four of his seven big-league seasons, he has been worth more than $9.25 million. Even with a hot second-half, Sanó’s trade market won’t exactly be booming. Power hitting first basemen are easy to come by, and the cost is relatively cheap. Last winter, Minnesota signed Cruz to a one-year, $13-million deal, and he was one of the best power hitters in baseball. Sanó has a similar skill set, but Cruz has been a better offensive weapon. For the Twins, a better option might be to try and package Sanó as part of a deal to acquire controllable starting pitching. There’s no question that starting pitching is the Twins' most significant need this winter, and Minnesota has tradable assets at the big-league level. Sanó might not be the headliner of an off-season trade, but his inclusion might add enough to make another team agree to a deal. Do you think Sanó has increased his trade value in the second half? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  14. The Twins scraped a narrow 3-2 win over the Tigers on Tuesday. Strong pitching performances and Miguel Sano's 30th home run of the season led them to their 70th win in 2021. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Barnes 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Sano (30) Top 3 WPA: Barnes .220, Thielbar .098, Duffey .081 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins opened up their penultimate series of 2021 on Tuesday night in Minneapolis. Charlie Barnes was recalled from AAA St. Paul to start in place of Bailey Ober, who was placed on the IL with a hip strain. The injury brought an end to an incredibly positive breakout season for Ober, who the Twins will rely on for a rotation spot in 2022. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the series opener against lefty Tyler Alexander. Offense was hard to come by throughout the game, particularly in the opening frames. Barnes made it through four scoreless innings, giving up three hits and walking three. Meanwhile, Tyler Alexander put on a strong showing of his own, striking out six Twins in six innings of work. Alexander’s only blemish came in the bottom of the third. Byron Buxton walked, stole second, tagged up to third and then home on back-to-back sacrifice flies, giving the Twins a slender one run lead. Rocco Baldelli did not give Barnes an opportunity to work through the lineup a third time. Barnes was followed by scoreless innings from Jorge Alcala, Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar. Only Duffey struggled, surrendering two hits in his inning, although he escaped unscathed. Miguel Sano added his 30th home run of the year in the bottom of the seventh, increasing the lead to 2-0. A Nick Gordon walk and Willians Astudillo single had men on the corners with no outs. Max Kepler sacrificed Gordon home to increase the lead to 3-0 Twins. Ralph Garza Jr. pitched a scoreless eighth before Alexander Colome entered to close the game in the ninth. Despite surrendering two runs on three singles, Colome closed the game. The win brings the Twins 2021 record to 70-87 on the season with five games to play. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT Garza Jr. 16 0 0 18 19 53 Vincent 13 0 0 33 0 46 Thielbar 14 0 0 17 13 44 Coulombe 0 0 37 0 0 37 Farrell 19 0 18 0 0 37 Duffey 0 17 0 0 18 35 Barraclough 0 0 33 0 0 33 Colomé 0 5 0 0 26 31 Minaya 0 19 0 0 0 19 Moran 0 0 19 0 0 19 Alcalá 0 6 0 0 10 16 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their short series against Detroit. Michael Pineda will take the mound against Casey Mize. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews View full article
  15. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Barnes 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Sano (30) Top 3 WPA: Barnes .220, Thielbar .098, Duffey .081 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Twins opened up their penultimate series of 2021 on Tuesday night in Minneapolis. Charlie Barnes was recalled from AAA St. Paul to start in place of Bailey Ober, who was placed on the IL with a hip strain. The injury brought an end to an incredibly positive breakout season for Ober, who the Twins will rely on for a rotation spot in 2022. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the series opener against lefty Tyler Alexander. Offense was hard to come by throughout the game, particularly in the opening frames. Barnes made it through four scoreless innings, giving up three hits and walking three. Meanwhile, Tyler Alexander put on a strong showing of his own, striking out six Twins in six innings of work. Alexander’s only blemish came in the bottom of the third. Byron Buxton walked, stole second, tagged up to third and then home on back-to-back sacrifice flies, giving the Twins a slender one run lead. Rocco Baldelli did not give Barnes an opportunity to work through the lineup a third time. Barnes was followed by scoreless innings from Jorge Alcala, Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar. Only Duffey struggled, surrendering two hits in his inning, although he escaped unscathed. Miguel Sano added his 30th home run of the year in the bottom of the seventh, increasing the lead to 2-0. A Nick Gordon walk and Willians Astudillo single had men on the corners with no outs. Max Kepler sacrificed Gordon home to increase the lead to 3-0 Twins. Ralph Garza Jr. pitched a scoreless eighth before Alexander Colome entered to close the game in the ninth. Despite surrendering two runs on three singles, Colome closed the game. The win brings the Twins 2021 record to 70-87 on the season with five games to play. Bullpen Usage Chart THU FRI SAT SUN TUE TOT Garza Jr. 16 0 0 18 19 53 Vincent 13 0 0 33 0 46 Thielbar 14 0 0 17 13 44 Coulombe 0 0 37 0 0 37 Farrell 19 0 18 0 0 37 Duffey 0 17 0 0 18 35 Barraclough 0 0 33 0 0 33 Colomé 0 5 0 0 26 31 Minaya 0 19 0 0 0 19 Moran 0 0 19 0 0 19 Alcalá 0 6 0 0 10 16 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will continue their short series against Detroit. Michael Pineda will take the mound against Casey Mize. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews
  16. Maybe fans should come to expect this from Miguel Sanó. He goes through stretches where he seems lost at the plate. Then he follows those stretches with weeks where it looks like he figures it out and puts it all together. As the season has progressed, Sanó has drastically improved, but many fans tuned out after the team fell out of contention. In the season’s first half, Sanó hit .196/.279/.426 (.705) with 15 home runs and eight doubles in 60 games started. His entire slash line was below his career marks, but his batting average and on-base percentage were higher than his 2020 campaign. Since July, Sanó has hit .243/.340/.505 (.845) with 14 home runs and 15 doubles. His OPS+ is now at 111 for the season, which is six points higher than 2020. Defensively, he ranks near the bottom of the American League when it comes to SABR’s Defensive Index. In his first full season at first base, Baseball-Reference has him worth -1.1 Defensive WAR, and that total is similar to his last season at third base in 2019. He has been worth -3 Defensive Runs Saved, a two-run improvement over last season. He may never be outstanding at first base, but he has the athleticism to be passable at the position. Minnesota has other options for Sanó if the team decides to move him off the position in 2022. Nelson Cruz is gone, and Sanó can slide into a permanent designated hitter role with Alex Kirilloff taking over at first base. Kirilloff is a better defender, and first base is his likely long-term defensive position. Sanó has one year and $9.25 million remaining on his current contract, with a $2.75 million buyout for the 2023 season. Over the last three seasons, FanGraphs puts Sanó’s value at $28.5 million, but $22.2 million of that value came in 2019 when baseballs were bouncing out of ballparks at record rates. In four of his seven big-league seasons, he has been worth more than $9.25 million. Even with a hot second-half, Sanó’s trade market won’t exactly be booming. Power hitting first basemen are easy to come by, and the cost is relatively cheap. Last winter, Minnesota signed Cruz to a one-year, $13-million deal, and he was one of the best power hitters in baseball. Sanó has a similar skill set, but Cruz has been a better offensive weapon. For the Twins, a better option might be to try and package Sanó as part of a deal to acquire controllable starting pitching. There’s no question that starting pitching is the Twins' most significant need this winter, and Minnesota has tradable assets at the big-league level. Sanó might not be the headliner of an off-season trade, but his inclusion might add enough to make another team agree to a deal. Do you think Sanó has increased his trade value in the second half? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. In a night where both Joe Ryan and Max Kepler shined, Alex Colome almost ruined it all, but he came up with a big strikeout when he needed it and the Minnesota Twins hung on to beat the Chicago Cubs by a score of 5-4. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K Homeruns: Kepler 2 (19) Top 3 WPA: Kepler (0.326), Alcala (0.091), Ryan (0.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Strikes Out Career High 11 Hitters In his first start since being struck by a comebacker last week, Joe Ryan showed that he is just fine as he struck out a career-high 11 Cubs in just five innings of work in tonight’s ballgame. While Joe Ryan has looked impressive in each of his first three starts, his strikeout potential was not on full display, as the most he struck out in any of those starts was just five. Joe Ryan got the night started strong, when he struck out the top of the Cubs order on just 13 pitches in the first. A leadoff walk, followed by a double from Cubs left fielder Ian Happ set up the Cubs lone scoring opportunity off Ryan in the second, which they capitalized on with a one out single from Nico Horner later in the inning. After the second, Joe Ryan was in control, as he allowed just one more base runner the rest of his outing. In fact, only two more Cubs hitters would even put the ball in play against Ryan in his final three innings of work, as he ended the night by striking out eight of the final nine batters that he faced. Max Kepler Schools the Professor With both Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco getting the night off (at-least from the starting lineup), Max Kepler picked up the slack, as he tee off on Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (AKA “The Professor), and provided all the offense the Twins would need in this game. In the top of the first, after two quick outs, Josh Donaldson got a little two out rally started when he laced a ground ball single up the middle. Max Kepler capitalized on that opportunity when he drilled a 2-0 fastball into the basket in right to give the Twins the early 2-0 lead. With the game tied at two runs a piece in the fourth, Max Kepler worked a full-count with one out before giving the Twins back the lead when he blasted his second home run of the night off of Kyle Hendricks. With two outs, and the Twins still leading 3-2, Max Kepler got his third opportunity vs Kyle Hendricks, and gave it his best attempt to Trevor Bauer him, but his bid for a third straight home run came up just short, as it hit off the wall in center for a two-out double. Miguel Sano would follow that up with a single that drove in Kepler from second to give the Twins the two-run lead. Twins Bullpen Shines… For the Most Part After Joe Ryan’s impressive five innings of work, the task of closing out the victory was left in the hands of the Twins bullpen. Juan Minaya was the first pitcher called out of the Twins pen to work the sixth. After giving up a leadoff single, Minaya was able to work out of it by getting Frank Schwindel to ground out, before striking out both Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ to end the inning. It was Tyler Duffey’s turn to work the seventh, and he picked up right where the other two Twins pitchers before him left off, as Duffey struck out each of the first two batters that he faced before getting Nico Hoerner to fly out to center to set the Cubs down 1-2-3 four the fourth time of the night. We got more of the same from Jorge Alcala in the bottom of the eighth, as he worked yet another 1-2-3 inning, as he got Trayce Thompson and David Bote out on strikes before Rafael Ortega laced a line drive down the right-field line that was chased down by Max Kepler to end the inning. We got another dose of the Alex Colome experience in the ninth. With the Twins lead now at three, Colome needed every bit of that lead to secure the Twins win. After already surrendering two runs in the inning, the Cubs had the trying and winning runs both in scoring position and two outs, but unlike many nights before, Colome got the clutch out when he needed it, as he struck out Trayce Thompson to end the ballgame. Bullpen Usage Report FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT Barraclough 0 32 0 35 0 67 Vincent 0 0 40 0 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 22 16 0 38 Minaya 0 0 36 0 13 49 Moran 0 34 0 0 0 34 Farrell 0 0 34 0 0 34 Duffey 16 0 0 11 12 39 Alcalá 13 0 0 10 10 33 Colomé 14 0 0 7 24 45 Garza Jr. 0 17 0 0 0 17 Coulombe 0 0 0 17 0 17 What's Next? The Twins return home on Thursday to begin a four-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays. First pitch of Thursday night's game with be at 6:40 pm CDT, with the Twins throwing Michale Pineda against left-hander Steven Matz. Post Game Interviews View full article
  18. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 K Homeruns: Kepler 2 (19) Top 3 WPA: Kepler (0.326), Alcala (0.091), Ryan (0.088) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Strikes Out Career High 11 Hitters In his first start since being struck by a comebacker last week, Joe Ryan showed that he is just fine as he struck out a career-high 11 Cubs in just five innings of work in tonight’s ballgame. While Joe Ryan has looked impressive in each of his first three starts, his strikeout potential was not on full display, as the most he struck out in any of those starts was just five. Joe Ryan got the night started strong, when he struck out the top of the Cubs order on just 13 pitches in the first. A leadoff walk, followed by a double from Cubs left fielder Ian Happ set up the Cubs lone scoring opportunity off Ryan in the second, which they capitalized on with a one out single from Nico Horner later in the inning. After the second, Joe Ryan was in control, as he allowed just one more base runner the rest of his outing. In fact, only two more Cubs hitters would even put the ball in play against Ryan in his final three innings of work, as he ended the night by striking out eight of the final nine batters that he faced. Max Kepler Schools the Professor With both Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco getting the night off (at-least from the starting lineup), Max Kepler picked up the slack, as he tee off on Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (AKA “The Professor), and provided all the offense the Twins would need in this game. In the top of the first, after two quick outs, Josh Donaldson got a little two out rally started when he laced a ground ball single up the middle. Max Kepler capitalized on that opportunity when he drilled a 2-0 fastball into the basket in right to give the Twins the early 2-0 lead. With the game tied at two runs a piece in the fourth, Max Kepler worked a full-count with one out before giving the Twins back the lead when he blasted his second home run of the night off of Kyle Hendricks. With two outs, and the Twins still leading 3-2, Max Kepler got his third opportunity vs Kyle Hendricks, and gave it his best attempt to Trevor Bauer him, but his bid for a third straight home run came up just short, as it hit off the wall in center for a two-out double. Miguel Sano would follow that up with a single that drove in Kepler from second to give the Twins the two-run lead. Twins Bullpen Shines… For the Most Part After Joe Ryan’s impressive five innings of work, the task of closing out the victory was left in the hands of the Twins bullpen. Juan Minaya was the first pitcher called out of the Twins pen to work the sixth. After giving up a leadoff single, Minaya was able to work out of it by getting Frank Schwindel to ground out, before striking out both Patrick Wisdom and Ian Happ to end the inning. It was Tyler Duffey’s turn to work the seventh, and he picked up right where the other two Twins pitchers before him left off, as Duffey struck out each of the first two batters that he faced before getting Nico Hoerner to fly out to center to set the Cubs down 1-2-3 four the fourth time of the night. We got more of the same from Jorge Alcala in the bottom of the eighth, as he worked yet another 1-2-3 inning, as he got Trayce Thompson and David Bote out on strikes before Rafael Ortega laced a line drive down the right-field line that was chased down by Max Kepler to end the inning. We got another dose of the Alex Colome experience in the ninth. With the Twins lead now at three, Colome needed every bit of that lead to secure the Twins win. After already surrendering two runs in the inning, the Cubs had the trying and winning runs both in scoring position and two outs, but unlike many nights before, Colome got the clutch out when he needed it, as he struck out Trayce Thompson to end the ballgame. Bullpen Usage Report FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT Barraclough 0 32 0 35 0 67 Vincent 0 0 40 0 0 40 Thielbar 0 0 22 16 0 38 Minaya 0 0 36 0 13 49 Moran 0 34 0 0 0 34 Farrell 0 0 34 0 0 34 Duffey 16 0 0 11 12 39 Alcalá 13 0 0 10 10 33 Colomé 14 0 0 7 24 45 Garza Jr. 0 17 0 0 0 17 Coulombe 0 0 0 17 0 17 What's Next? The Twins return home on Thursday to begin a four-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays. First pitch of Thursday night's game with be at 6:40 pm CDT, with the Twins throwing Michale Pineda against left-hander Steven Matz. Post Game Interviews
  19. On Saturday, Miguel Sano struck out twice. You may read that sentence and think, what's unusual about that? Nothing. The answer is nothing, and with it, he crushed an MLB record. Find out more below. The Star-Tribune's Phil Miller gets credit for this one. Following Miguel Sano's second strikeout of the game, and 1,000th of his MLB career, Miller tweeted: So, not only did Sano break the record, he broke it by a huge margin. Again, that isn't going to surprise a lot of Twins fans. It is also important to note that the above list of players includes some very productive baseball players who remained in the big leagues for a long time. There are a lot of home run champions on this list. There are a few MVP awards. It may surprise many Twins fans that Miguel Sano has the lowest strikeout rate of his career in 2021. 2015: 35.5% 2016: 36.0% 2017: 35.8% 2018: 38.5% 2019: 36.2% 2020: 43.9% 2021: 34.5% So yeah, it isn't the lowest rate by a big amount, but it is, in fact, the lowest. After a very slow start to his 2021 season, Sano has really come on. Since May 18, Sano has played in 97 games and hit .240/.313/.526 (.839) with 20 doubles and 26 home runs. Overall this season, Sano has played in a career-high 122 games and hit .221/.309/.476 (.786) with 20 doubles and 29 home runs. His OPS is 14% above average. In 660 career games since his MLB debut during the 2015 season (parts of 7 seasons), Sano has hit .237/.328/.493 (.821) with 119 doubles and 160 homers. His OPS over that period is 19% higher than average. Thirty years ago, this type of strikeout record would have been deemed a big deal in baseball. Strikeouts are no longer considered a terrible event for a hitter. That said, when Sano makes contact, a lot of good things happen, so I for one would certainly love to see him make more contact. How do you feel about Sano and this strikeout record? What does it mean, big picture (if anything)? View full article
  20. The Minnesota Twins are dragging toward the finish line. Last week they lost a makeup game in New York, then lost a series at home against Cleveland, and closed out by losing a series in Toronto. Twins pitchers are struggling to keep opposing lineups in check. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/13 thru Sun, 9/19 *** Record Last Week: 2-5 (Overall: 65-85) Run Differential Last Week: -11 (Overall: -113) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (20.5 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 144 | NYY 6, MIN 5: Twins Blow Early Lead in Classic Bronx Dud Game 145 | CLE 3, MIN 1: Bats Can't Back Another Strong Ryan Outing Game 146 | MIN 6, CLE 3: Jeffers Drives in Four in Comeback Win Game 147 | CLE 12, MIN 3: Jax, Bullpen Roughed Up by Cleveland Game 148 | MIN 7, TOR 3: Jays Ambushed by Barrage of Long Balls Game 149 | TOR 6, MIN 2: Ober Can't Suppress Potent Lineup Game 150 | TOR 5, MIN 3: Berrios Bests Twins in Toronto NEWS & NOTES Yet another starting pitcher has gone down, further whittling Minnesota's ravaged rotation depth. In the first inning of his start against the Yankees on Monday, John Gant was pulled with a left abdominal strain that would land him on the Injured List. Yet another player who was showing promising signs only to be halted by injury. Incredibly, it looked like the exact same thing was going to happen to the starter in the following game. Joe Ryan took the ball for Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader at Target Field, and tossed five innings of stellar one-run ball before a comeback line drive nailed him in the wrist. His immediate reaction sent shockwaves of panic through Twins territory, as a frustrated Ryan walked straight off the mound and into the clubhouse without even waiting for trainers. Fortunately, in a rare non-worst case scenario, Ryan's X-rays came out negative and he was diagnosed with a contusion. He showed great perspective in a postgame interview, expressing regret for his reaction and going so far as to apologize. Personally I think he came off pretty well. You probably don't want to see a veteran pitcher doing the same thing but Ryan is a fresh rookie with charged emotions and -- evidently -- a fiery demeanor on the mound. Beyond Ryan's favorable news, it was a nice week for feel-good stories on the Twins. Brent Rooker took a few days off for paternity leave, welcoming a baby girl into the world. Then, in his first came back on Friday, he he launched a homer and a double in Minnesota's 7-3 win against Toronto. "Dad strength," as fellow new father Rocco Baldelli put it. The following day, Rob Refsnyder went on the Injured List with a right elbow impingement. Taking his place is minor-league veteran Drew Maggi, who has toiled for more than a decade in the minors and is now getting a chance to play in the big leagues. The utility infielder, who primarily played shortstop for St. Paul this year, doesn't figure into the team's bigger plans but it's really cool to see him get a look in the waning days of this lost season. Assuming he does get a look. (He hasn't yet.) Learn a little more about Maggi here. HIGHLIGHTS Ryan was a major bright spot for a third consecutive week, notching five strikeouts with only one walk and three hits allowed while once again working with extreme efficiency. He was at 67 pitches in the sixth inning before that comebacker forced him from the game. It sounds like Ryan will be able to make his next start on Wednesday, which is great news. In the second half of Tuesday's doubleheader, Ryan Jeffers got the start at catcher and enjoyed a MUCH-needed big offensive game. The catcher went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, keying a 6-3 win for the Twins. We've been needing to see some sparks from Jeffers' bat, which went mostly dormant this year following a promising rookie campaign. The 24-year-old entered the three-hit contest with a .649 OPS on the season, including a .148/.198/.284 slash line and 36-to-1 (!) K/BB ratio since his last multi-hit game on August 4th. Like Rooker, Jeffers' power is not in doubt (albeit to a lesser extreme). And like Rooker, Jeffers needs to overcome his daunting strike zone control issues in order to make that power a real asset. In his case the matter is not quite as existential, because Jeffers offers strong defensive value as a good young catcher, but if he can't iron things out offensively he risks assuming the profile of a no-hit backstop and questionable starting option. He's still young, and games like Tuesday's offer some encouragement. On Friday in Toronto, Jeffers drew a walk, which might not seem like a big deal but it was only his second in 30 games. Then on Saturday he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. At this point he's battling to finish with a batting average above .200. Miguel Sano was fighting for much of the season to get his own average up over the Mendoza Line, but it's now up to .222 following another explosive week that saw him go 9-for-26 with three homers, two doubles, and six RBIs in seven games. He also set an MLB record as the fastest player to reach 1,000 strikeouts, but if you're focusing narrowly on that as a negative, you're missing the forest for the trees. The Ks are part of his game and as we've mentioned here recently, he has actually cut down the strikeout rate considerably in the latter half of this season. Sano's been one the Twins' most productive hitters down the stretch and may actually be stoking some offseason trade value, if the front office is so inclined. LOWLIGHTS The Twins bullpen, which had been on a rather amazing run since the trade deadline, had a major "hurdling back to Earth" experience last week, and it all began with an all-too-familiar outcome at Yankee Stadium on Monday. Minnesota managed to jump out to an early 5-0 lead with three homers off former Twins prospect Luis Gil in the first three innings, but stopped scoring after that while the New York offense went to work. Gant's early exit meant this would basically be a bullpen day, and the relief corps wasn't up to the task. After Luke Farrell and Caleb Thielbar got through 3 ⅓ scoreless frames, Kyle Barraclough, Tyler Duffey, and Alex Colome combined to allow five runs in the next four innings, burning through the team's sizable margin before Ralph Garza Jr. allowed the winning run to score in the 10th. There was some questionable umpiring at play in this classic Bronx collapse, but that hardly made it any less painful. Jovani Moran had a brutally tough first full week in the majors, following up his mostly-clean debut with a couple of absolute clunkers. Appearing twice, on Wednesday and Saturday, Moran was charged with six earned runs over three innings, allowing four hits and four walks with only two strikeouts. His ERA ballooned with 12.46. Welcome to the big leagues, kid. On the bright side, this experience will give him clear cues as to where he must focus on improving during the offseason. TRENDING STORYLINE Can Mitch Garver get back in time to finish his season on a positive note? The catcher has seen a big rebound in 2021 but also his fair amount of frustrations, with injuries costing him significant stretches on multiple occasions. His most recent ailment, a lower back strain, has had him on the sidelines since late August, but Garver embarked on a rehab assignment last week and should be ready to return within the coming days. Having raised his OPS by more than 350 points from a dismal 2020, Garver is firmly re-established as a valuable core piece going forward regardless of what happens in the final couple weeks, but it'll be good if he can return to the field and hit another homer or two before all is said and done. LOOKING AHEAD Following a day off on Monday, the Twins will head to Wrigleyville for a quick two-gamer against the Cubs, then they return home to face the Blue Jays four times at Target Field. TUESDAY, 9/21: TWINS @ CUBS – RHP Griffin Jax v. RHP Alec Mills WEDNESDAY, 9/22: TWINS @ CUBS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Kyle Hendricks THURSDAY, 9/23: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – LHP Steven Matz v. RHP Michael Pineda FRIDAY, 9/24: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Alek Manoah v. RHP Bailey Ober SATURDAY, 9/25: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Jose Berrios v. TBD SUNDAY, 9/26: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – LHP Robbie Ray v. RHP Griffin Jax MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  21. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 9/13 thru Sun, 9/19 *** Record Last Week: 2-5 (Overall: 65-85) Run Differential Last Week: -11 (Overall: -113) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (20.5 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 144 | NYY 6, MIN 5: Twins Blow Early Lead in Classic Bronx Dud Game 145 | CLE 3, MIN 1: Bats Can't Back Another Strong Ryan Outing Game 146 | MIN 6, CLE 3: Jeffers Drives in Four in Comeback Win Game 147 | CLE 12, MIN 3: Jax, Bullpen Roughed Up by Cleveland Game 148 | MIN 7, TOR 3: Jays Ambushed by Barrage of Long Balls Game 149 | TOR 6, MIN 2: Ober Can't Suppress Potent Lineup Game 150 | TOR 5, MIN 3: Berrios Bests Twins in Toronto NEWS & NOTES Yet another starting pitcher has gone down, further whittling Minnesota's ravaged rotation depth. In the first inning of his start against the Yankees on Monday, John Gant was pulled with a left abdominal strain that would land him on the Injured List. Yet another player who was showing promising signs only to be halted by injury. Incredibly, it looked like the exact same thing was going to happen to the starter in the following game. Joe Ryan took the ball for Game 1 of Tuesday's doubleheader at Target Field, and tossed five innings of stellar one-run ball before a comeback line drive nailed him in the wrist. His immediate reaction sent shockwaves of panic through Twins territory, as a frustrated Ryan walked straight off the mound and into the clubhouse without even waiting for trainers. Fortunately, in a rare non-worst case scenario, Ryan's X-rays came out negative and he was diagnosed with a contusion. He showed great perspective in a postgame interview, expressing regret for his reaction and going so far as to apologize. Personally I think he came off pretty well. You probably don't want to see a veteran pitcher doing the same thing but Ryan is a fresh rookie with charged emotions and -- evidently -- a fiery demeanor on the mound. Beyond Ryan's favorable news, it was a nice week for feel-good stories on the Twins. Brent Rooker took a few days off for paternity leave, welcoming a baby girl into the world. Then, in his first came back on Friday, he he launched a homer and a double in Minnesota's 7-3 win against Toronto. "Dad strength," as fellow new father Rocco Baldelli put it. The following day, Rob Refsnyder went on the Injured List with a right elbow impingement. Taking his place is minor-league veteran Drew Maggi, who has toiled for more than a decade in the minors and is now getting a chance to play in the big leagues. The utility infielder, who primarily played shortstop for St. Paul this year, doesn't figure into the team's bigger plans but it's really cool to see him get a look in the waning days of this lost season. Assuming he does get a look. (He hasn't yet.) Learn a little more about Maggi here. HIGHLIGHTS Ryan was a major bright spot for a third consecutive week, notching five strikeouts with only one walk and three hits allowed while once again working with extreme efficiency. He was at 67 pitches in the sixth inning before that comebacker forced him from the game. It sounds like Ryan will be able to make his next start on Wednesday, which is great news. In the second half of Tuesday's doubleheader, Ryan Jeffers got the start at catcher and enjoyed a MUCH-needed big offensive game. The catcher went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, keying a 6-3 win for the Twins. We've been needing to see some sparks from Jeffers' bat, which went mostly dormant this year following a promising rookie campaign. The 24-year-old entered the three-hit contest with a .649 OPS on the season, including a .148/.198/.284 slash line and 36-to-1 (!) K/BB ratio since his last multi-hit game on August 4th. Like Rooker, Jeffers' power is not in doubt (albeit to a lesser extreme). And like Rooker, Jeffers needs to overcome his daunting strike zone control issues in order to make that power a real asset. In his case the matter is not quite as existential, because Jeffers offers strong defensive value as a good young catcher, but if he can't iron things out offensively he risks assuming the profile of a no-hit backstop and questionable starting option. He's still young, and games like Tuesday's offer some encouragement. On Friday in Toronto, Jeffers drew a walk, which might not seem like a big deal but it was only his second in 30 games. Then on Saturday he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. At this point he's battling to finish with a batting average above .200. Miguel Sano was fighting for much of the season to get his own average up over the Mendoza Line, but it's now up to .222 following another explosive week that saw him go 9-for-26 with three homers, two doubles, and six RBIs in seven games. He also set an MLB record as the fastest player to reach 1,000 strikeouts, but if you're focusing narrowly on that as a negative, you're missing the forest for the trees. The Ks are part of his game and as we've mentioned here recently, he has actually cut down the strikeout rate considerably in the latter half of this season. Sano's been one the Twins' most productive hitters down the stretch and may actually be stoking some offseason trade value, if the front office is so inclined. LOWLIGHTS The Twins bullpen, which had been on a rather amazing run since the trade deadline, had a major "hurdling back to Earth" experience last week, and it all began with an all-too-familiar outcome at Yankee Stadium on Monday. Minnesota managed to jump out to an early 5-0 lead with three homers off former Twins prospect Luis Gil in the first three innings, but stopped scoring after that while the New York offense went to work. Gant's early exit meant this would basically be a bullpen day, and the relief corps wasn't up to the task. After Luke Farrell and Caleb Thielbar got through 3 ⅓ scoreless frames, Kyle Barraclough, Tyler Duffey, and Alex Colome combined to allow five runs in the next four innings, burning through the team's sizable margin before Ralph Garza Jr. allowed the winning run to score in the 10th. There was some questionable umpiring at play in this classic Bronx collapse, but that hardly made it any less painful. Jovani Moran had a brutally tough first full week in the majors, following up his mostly-clean debut with a couple of absolute clunkers. Appearing twice, on Wednesday and Saturday, Moran was charged with six earned runs over three innings, allowing four hits and four walks with only two strikeouts. His ERA ballooned with 12.46. Welcome to the big leagues, kid. On the bright side, this experience will give him clear cues as to where he must focus on improving during the offseason. TRENDING STORYLINE Can Mitch Garver get back in time to finish his season on a positive note? The catcher has seen a big rebound in 2021 but also his fair amount of frustrations, with injuries costing him significant stretches on multiple occasions. His most recent ailment, a lower back strain, has had him on the sidelines since late August, but Garver embarked on a rehab assignment last week and should be ready to return within the coming days. Having raised his OPS by more than 350 points from a dismal 2020, Garver is firmly re-established as a valuable core piece going forward regardless of what happens in the final couple weeks, but it'll be good if he can return to the field and hit another homer or two before all is said and done. LOOKING AHEAD Following a day off on Monday, the Twins will head to Wrigleyville for a quick two-gamer against the Cubs, then they return home to face the Blue Jays four times at Target Field. TUESDAY, 9/21: TWINS @ CUBS – RHP Griffin Jax v. RHP Alec Mills WEDNESDAY, 9/22: TWINS @ CUBS – RHP Joe Ryan v. RHP Kyle Hendricks THURSDAY, 9/23: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – LHP Steven Matz v. RHP Michael Pineda FRIDAY, 9/24: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Alek Manoah v. RHP Bailey Ober SATURDAY, 9/25: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – RHP Jose Berrios v. TBD SUNDAY, 9/26: BLUE JAYS @ TWINS – LHP Robbie Ray v. RHP Griffin Jax MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. The Star-Tribune's Phil Miller gets credit for this one. Following Miguel Sano's second strikeout of the game, and 1,000th of his MLB career, Miller tweeted: So, not only did Sano break the record, he broke it by a huge margin. Again, that isn't going to surprise a lot of Twins fans. It is also important to note that the above list of players includes some very productive baseball players who remained in the big leagues for a long time. There are a lot of home run champions on this list. There are a few MVP awards. It may surprise many Twins fans that Miguel Sano has the lowest strikeout rate of his career in 2021. 2015: 35.5% 2016: 36.0% 2017: 35.8% 2018: 38.5% 2019: 36.2% 2020: 43.9% 2021: 34.5% So yeah, it isn't the lowest rate by a big amount, but it is, in fact, the lowest. After a very slow start to his 2021 season, Sano has really come on. Since May 18, Sano has played in 97 games and hit .240/.313/.526 (.839) with 20 doubles and 26 home runs. Overall this season, Sano has played in a career-high 122 games and hit .221/.309/.476 (.786) with 20 doubles and 29 home runs. His OPS is 14% above average. In 660 career games since his MLB debut during the 2015 season (parts of 7 seasons), Sano has hit .237/.328/.493 (.821) with 119 doubles and 160 homers. His OPS over that period is 19% higher than average. Thirty years ago, this type of strikeout record would have been deemed a big deal in baseball. Strikeouts are no longer considered a terrible event for a hitter. That said, when Sano makes contact, a lot of good things happen, so I for one would certainly love to see him make more contact. How do you feel about Sano and this strikeout record? What does it mean, big picture (if anything)?
  23. The Twins put a dent in Toronto’s wild card run with a four-home run night, combined with a solid start from Michael Pineda and a rock-solid bullpen performance. Minnesota wins their eighth in a row against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Box Score Pineda: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (71.9% strikes) Home Runs: Polanco (31), Donaldson (23), Sanó (29), Rooker (8) Top 3 WPA: Rooker .141, Buxton .117, Donaldson .095 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minnesota’s first trip to Rogers Centre in almost two and a half years became fun very early. Both starters, Michael Pineda for the Twins and Hyun Jin Ryu for the Blue Jays, pitched economical, scoreless first innings. But then both teams combined for nine runs in the following two innings. Miguel Sanó drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second and scored a couple of at-bats later on a Brent Rooker double, putting the Twins ahead. But an awful defensive mistake in the bottom half of that same inning gave Toronto a couple of runs that put them ahead. With two outs, Pineda induced a weak ground ball that would have ended the inning. However, Jorge Polanco overthrew Sanó, allowing Corey Dickerson to score from second and Danny Jansen to reach first. Then, Jake Lamb doubled to score Jansen, making it 2-1 Toronto. Minnesota makes it ugly for Ryu In a quick “Bomba Squad” flashback, the Twins exploded for five runs on five hits in their half of the third, including three home runs, before Toronto could record a single out! The game was suddenly tied after Ryan Jeffers hit a leadoff single and Byron Buxton pushed him across with a double. Then, Polanco redeemed himself from his previous error and regained the lead for Minnesota with a two-run shot. The party wasn’t over. Josh Donaldson, who got a warm welcome from the Jays fans earlier, made it back-to-back with a bomb to right field, giving the Twins a three-run lead, prompting some Donaldson-jersey-wearing Toronto fans to boo him. That was fun. Not so much for Ryu, who was immediately pulled from the game by Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo. That was Donaldson’s 64th home run at Rogers Centre, the most by any active player in the majors. Miggy Smalls didn’t want to feel left out, so he followed Donaldson’s homer with a dinger of his own, his 29th of the season. That was also the 160th long ball of his career, putting him even closer to the Twins’ all-time top 10 in total home runs. He needs four more on the year to drop Tom Brunansky from 10th place. In the bottom half of the inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got one run back to Toronto, hitting a rocket (111 MPH exit velocity) to left field, his 46th home run of the season. Pineda, bullpen finish off strong Big Mike got in the zone after that Guerrero Jr. home run in the third. Pineda retired eight in a row from that moment on, with a couple of 1-2-3 innings. After throwing 45 pitches to complete 2 1/3 innings, he needed only 30 to complete the next 2 2/3 innings. Rooker gave Pineda even more run support hitting a solo home run in the top of the sixth, making it 7-3 Minnesota. Pineda came back and retired the first two batters of the sixth on only four pitches, making it ten batters in a row retired. But he lost Teoscar Hernández on a ten-pitch walk, causing Rocco Baldelli to take him out of the game. Jorge Alcalá took care of the inherited runner for him, concluding Pineda’s solid line for the evening. Is it possible that tonight’s outing from Big Mike might have changed Twins Daily’s Cody Pirkl’s mind about a possible reunion in 2022? Alcalá came back for the seventh, and he continued his amazing second-half run. By pitching a clean, seven-pitch inning, the Dominican flamethrower has now posted a 1.42 ERA since the start of August. He needed only 13 pitches to get four outs, 10 of which were strikes. He also maxed out at 99.8 MPH. Tyler Duffey was equally brilliant, striking out the side for a 1-2-3 eighth. Alexander Colomé closed out the game with a scoreless inning of his own, securing the win. A fun stat from the Twins bullpen: according to Fangraphs, before tonight's game, the Twins bullpen has ranked 8th in ERA (3.64) since the start of August. Could we be seeing some encouraging signs for 2022? Bailey Ober will try to keep the winning streak in Toronto tomorrow against Steven Matz. With Friday's win, the Twins haven't lost a game at Rogers Centre since Aug 26, 2017. Saturday's first pitch is scheduled for 2:07 CDT. Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Duffey 38 0 0 0 16 54 Colomé 27 11 0 0 14 52 Barraclough 23 16 0 0 0 39 Farrell 34 0 0 0 0 34 Moran 0 0 34 0 0 34 Coulombe 0 27 0 0 0 27 Vincent 0 0 21 0 0 21 Alcalá 0 8 0 0 13 21 Minaya 0 13 0 0 0 13 Thielbar 11 0 0 0 0 11 Garza Jr. 6 0 0 0 0 6 View full article
  24. Minnesota Twins Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sanó went back-to-back-to-back in Toronto Friday evening. Highlights of those home runs plus some of Brent Rooker, Mitch Garver, Cole Sands, Aaron Sabato and Jose Miranda.
  25. Minnesota Twins Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sanó went back-to-back-to-back in Toronto Friday evening. Highlights of those home runs plus some of Brent Rooker, Mitch Garver, Cole Sands, Aaron Sabato and Jose Miranda. View full video
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