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  1. The Minnesota Twins are a bad baseball team. This was made painfully clear during another losing week in which they were thoroughly outplayed by two plainly superior contending clubs. Where do we go from here? Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 6/7 through Sun, 6/13 *** Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 26-39) Run Differential Last Week: -15 (Overall: -50) Standing: T-4th Place in AL Central (15.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 60 | NYY 8, MIN 4: New York Pulls Away Late, Wins Series Opener Game 61 | NYY 9, MIN 6: Yankees Tee Off on Dobnak in Victory Game 62 | MIN 7, NYY
  2. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 6/7 through Sun, 6/13 *** Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 26-39) Run Differential Last Week: -15 (Overall: -50) Standing: T-4th Place in AL Central (15.0 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 60 | NYY 8, MIN 4: New York Pulls Away Late, Wins Series Opener Game 61 | NYY 9, MIN 6: Yankees Tee Off on Dobnak in Victory Game 62 | MIN 7, NYY 5: Donaldson, Cruz Power Dramatic Comeback vs. Chapman Game 63 | HOU 6, MIN 4: Shoemaker's Late Lapse Leads to Loss Game 64 | MIN 5, HOU 2: Twins Win Behind Strong Effort from Berríos Game 65 | HOU 14, MIN 3: Astro
  3. It’s only the first week of June, but a lot can happen over the next two months. Minnesota should take advantage of their current record and start dealing away players with expiring contracts. Nelson Cruz is near the top of the list and here’s where he should be headed. Without question, the Twins are going to be sellers at this year’s trading deadline and the result is going to be a lot of different trade rumors circling around veteran players in the weeks ahead. Last week, Tom explored an idea that would send Josh Donaldson to the Brewers in an intriguing trade scenario. Cruz will be a
  4. Without question, the Twins are going to be sellers at this year’s trading deadline and the result is going to be a lot of different trade rumors circling around veteran players in the weeks ahead. Last week, Tom explored an idea that would send Josh Donaldson to the Brewers in an intriguing trade scenario. Cruz will be a free agent at season’s end so his trade partners will be a little easier to identify. First of all, the National League didn’t adopt the designated hitter for 2021, so this knocks out half of baseball’s teams right of the bat. In the American League, there are eight team
  5. With a third of the 2021 season in the rearview mirror, the Twins struggles have been well documented. However, these four players have stood out in various Statcast categories as the calendar turns to June. Mitch Garver: .497 xwOBAcon What makes Garver’s injury tough to swallow is how well he had been hitting at the plate. His Statcast numbers point to this improvement even after his slow start to the season. For those unfamiliar, xOBAcon uses three variables: exit velocity (EV), launch angle (LA), and sprint speed. Garver’s exit velocity and launch angle have allowed him to spray
  6. Mitch Garver: .497 xwOBAcon What makes Garver’s injury tough to swallow is how well he had been hitting at the plate. His Statcast numbers point to this improvement even after his slow start to the season. For those unfamiliar, xOBAcon uses three variables: exit velocity (EV), launch angle (LA), and sprint speed. Garver’s exit velocity and launch angle have allowed him to spray the ball all over the field. He currently ranks in the top 6% of the league in xwOBAcon so the hope is he can return sooner rather than later. As Rocco Baldelli alluded to after Tuesday’s game, it’s hard to imagine
  7. Over the winter the Minnesota Twins and Nelson Cruz looked at each fondly while they also had discussions from a distance. Although it seemed destined that a reunion would happen, the pieces had to fall into place. Now, through 47 games in 2021, maybe the victor of all the spoils is finally going to be Father Time. Coming off a season in which Cruz played in 53 games for the Twins, Minnesota watched him follow up a 1.031 OPS in 2019 with a .992 mark. Although Rocco Baldelli’s club wasn’t a complete reincarnation of the Bomba Squad, Cruz continued to send the ball over the fence wit
  8. In the last week or so, something has clicked for Miguel Sano and he’s hitting like one of baseball’s best power hitters. Should fans come to expect this consistent streakiness from Sano? Sano started the 2021 season in a slump, but within that slump there were some positive signs. He was getting himself into good counts and getting on base 31% of the time. Unfortunately, there was little sign of power as his .244 slugging percentage is tough to swallow for a power-hitting first baseman. There was hope for him to improve if fans looked back into Sano’s big-league career to see how his hi
  9. Sano started the 2021 season in a slump, but within that slump there were some positive signs. He was getting himself into good counts and getting on base 31% of the time. Unfortunately, there was little sign of power as his .244 slugging percentage is tough to swallow for a power-hitting first baseman. There was hope for him to improve if fans looked back into Sano’s big-league career to see how his hitting streakiness has become a pattern. August 2015 (97 AB): .278/.377/.629 (1.006), 9 HR, 7 2B, 43 K, 16 BB Sano’s hot month of August put him in the conversation for AL Rookie of the
  10. It’s looking more like the Twins won’t find themselves in contention this season, especially with a difficult part of their upcoming schedule. That means, the team will be looking to deal away players, so here are five possible trade candidates. Nelson Cruz Cruz is on an expiring deal and he hasn’t been back to the World Series since his time in Texas. He is going to have few opportunities left to make a playoff run. It helps that he continues to be ageless as he is one of baseball’s best hitters even in his age-40 season. Unfortunately, the National League didn’t adopt the DH for the
  11. Nelson Cruz Cruz is on an expiring deal and he hasn’t been back to the World Series since his time in Texas. He is going to have few opportunities left to make a playoff run. It helps that he continues to be ageless as he is one of baseball’s best hitters even in his age-40 season. Unfortunately, the National League didn’t adopt the DH for the 2021 season, so this cuts out half the teams in the market for Cruz’s services. That being said, his leadership is something any contending team would be lucky to have for a playoff run. Michael Pineda Like Cruz, Pineda is on an expiring contrac
  12. Offensive Down Across Baseball During the season’s first month, batters as a whole hit .232, which would be the worst total in a season ever. Back in 1968, the Year of the Pitcher, batters were able to bat .237 for the season. If you don’t know about that season, just look up Bob Gibson’s numbers from that year. According to the Athletic, on-base percentage (.309) was the lowest since 1968, OPS (.698) was the lowest since 1989, and hits per game (7.63) were the lowest of all-time. Some of the best pitching performances in baseball history also happened in the season’s first month and Minneso
  13. 5. Josh Donaldson (0.7 rWAR, 0.5 fWAR) .286/.368/.469 (.838), 2 HR, 3 2B, 7 BB, 5 K There are plenty of candidates to be on the back end of this ballot. Andrelton Simmons put together some strong numbers, but he missed time due to COVID. Taylor Rogers was a one of the lone bright spots in the bullpen, while Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios provided value in the rotation. However, Donaldson gets the nod after getting on base nearly 37% of the time and having more walks than strikeouts. His current 144 OPS+ is his highest total since the 2017 season. Many Twins fans would like to see him leading
  14. Two weeks have already passed in this young season and there are plenty of trends to keep an eye on, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg in a 162-game campaign. Sports Illustrated thinks Byron Buxton will make a run at the first offensive Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera back in 2012. Buxton is up near the top of all three categories (batting average, home runs, and RBI) so let’s examine his chances in each category. Batting Average Buxton’s hot start has resulted in a .469 batting average, which ranked seventh in the AL entering play on Sunday. No player can continue to hit at that rate f
  15. Cruz has posted higher numbers against some teams in a smaller sample size. For the purposes of this post, 100 plate appearances was used as the cutoff. So, his 1.304 OPS versus Miami and his 1.131 OPS versus St. Louis won’t factor into the rankings below. 5. Boston Red Sox .295/.368/.567 (.935), 23 HR, 21 2B, 394 PA Minnesota faces Boston to start this week and Cruz will be looking to improve his numbers against this AL East foe. His 23 home runs against Boston are only the eighth most versus an opponent, but his fewer plate appearances have resulted in a higher OPS. Cruz was only able to
  16. The game outcomes were disappointing in a 3-3 stretch marked by late-game lapses, but the biggest story of the first full week Twins action in 2021 was Byron Buxton and his relentless dominance. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 4/5 through Sun, 4/11 *** Record Last Week: 3-3 (Overall: 5-4) Run Differential Last Week: +14 (Overall: +21) Standing: T-2nd Place in AL Central Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 4 | MIN 15, DET 6: Cruz Leads Trouncing of TigersGame 5 | DET 4, MIN 3: Twins Fail to Execute in ExtrasGame 6 | MIN 3, DET 2: Colomé Holds on for 6-Out SaveGame 7 | MIN 10, SEA 2: Twins Treat Returning Fans
  17. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 4/5 through Sun, 4/11 *** Record Last Week: 3-3 (Overall: 5-4) Run Differential Last Week: +14 (Overall: +21) Standing: T-2nd Place in AL Central Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 4 | MIN 15, DET 6: Cruz Leads Trouncing of Tigers Game 5 | DET 4, MIN 3: Twins Fail to Execute in Extras Game 6 | MIN 3, DET 2: Colomé Holds on for 6-Out Save Game 7 | MIN 10, SEA 2: Twins Treat Returning Fans With Dominant Victory Game 8 | SEA 4, MIN 3: Another Loss in Extra Innings Game 9 | SEA 8, MIN 6: Mariners Score Eight Unanswered Runs NEWS & NOTES It's been a rou
  18. Coming into this 2021 season, there was much bluster about Major League Baseball's attempts to deaden its baseball. Nelson Cruz was even asked about it. How silly he and a Twins teammate are making those efforts seem in the early going.When asked ahead of spring training if he was concerned about reported alterations to the baseball, and their impact on his production, Cruz gave a perfectly logical answer: "That's gonna be for every hitter. If they were gonna keep it only for myself, yeah, I'd be worried, but that's everybody. I'll be good." So far in this young season, it does kinda seem
  19. When asked ahead of spring training if he was concerned about reported alterations to the baseball, and their impact on his production, Cruz gave a perfectly logical answer: "That's gonna be for every hitter. If they were gonna keep it only for myself, yeah, I'd be worried, but that's everybody. I'll be good." So far in this young season, it does kinda seem like Cruz is hitting a different kind of baseball than everyone else. But not in the way he intimated. The 40-year-old DH was raring to go after sitting out much of the opening series. In the second at-bat of his first start of the seas
  20. Milestones are part of baseball history and the Twins have plenty of attainable marks throughout the 2021 season. 500 home runs used to be a direct ticket to induction into Cooperstown, but the steroid era has put a cloud over this previously important milestone. Out of the players with more than 500 homers, at least five players have been associated with steroids including Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Manny Ramirez. Cruz has also been tied to steroids as he was one of at least 12 players suspended by Major League Baseball in relation to the Biogenesis drug c
  21. Nelson Cruz: 450 Home Runs It’s crazy to think what Cruz has been able to accomplish over his career, especially since he didn’t play over 100 games in a season until he was 28-years old. Over the last 12 seasons, he has averaged 33 home runs to put him at 417 homers for his career. He hasn’t hit fewer than 33 long balls in a full season since 2013, so there’s a good chance for him to cross the 450 home run mark. The real question might be if the ageless wonder can reach 500 home runs before he retires. He is going to have to be one of the best players in baseball history over the age of 40, b
  22. Projected Starter: Nelson Cruz Likely Backup: Miguel Sanó Depth: Luis Arráez, Mitch Garver Prospects: Aaron Sabato, Brent Rooker THE GOOD There is no player in baseball better suited for the term "designated hitter" than Nelson Cruz. Hitting is all he does – the Twins wouldn't dream of playing him for an inning in the field at this point – but he does it unbelievably well. By almost any holistic offensive metric, Cruz has been the second-best hitter in MLB over the past two seasons, trailing only Mike Trout. The peak of Cruz's career has coincided with its twilight, and up to this poin
  23. On the verge of spring training, Aaron and John discuss Nelson Cruz's attitude after signing a one-year deal, the teams the St. Paul Saints will play in 2021, why PECOTA loves the Minnesota Twins and hates the White Sox, and Aaron's long road to BBWAA membership. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Now Click here to view the article
  24. What does Nelson Cruz dream of during his twenty minute power naps? When he’s stretched out in his lawn chair with the sleep shades pulled over his eyes, is he acquiring a new skill? Is he reviewing every pitch he’s ever seen like Neo learning martial arts in The Matrix? Is he sleeping so deep he’s reversing the aging process? We do know one thing about Cruz. When he wakes up, he’s going to hit.Cruz’s mechanics are impeccably groomed, minimal and sharp, not unlike his well-coiffed facial hair. His simple yet violent swing construction is one of the reasons he has been able to roll out of b
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