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  1. The Twins split their doubleheader with Cleveland on Tuesday. They won the second game 6-3 thanks to strong performance from Nick Gordon, Ryan Jeffers, and continued improvement from the bullpen. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Barnes 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Jeffers (13) Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .323, Gordon .211, Sano .129 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After the fret surrounding Joe Ryan’s injury had somewhat subsided, the Twins had the second game of a doubleheader against Cleveland to attend to. Here’s how the Twins lined up for game two. Charlie Barnes was recalled from St. Paul to be the extra man on the roster for the Twins Tuesday double header. After issuing a leadoff walk to Myles Straw, Barnes settled in. He retired the next seven Cleveland hitters to bring the game into the top of the third scoreless. Barnes was solid, if not spectacular, working relatively efficiently without dominating or overpowering hitters. With the wrist contusion to his throwing arm, Joe Ryan’s rotation spot into question. Barnes may find himself sticking around through the rest of the 2021 season. Barnes ran into trouble in the top of the third inning. An Oscar Mercado single, back-to-back doubles from Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez, and an RBI single from Franmil Reyes gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead. Barnes returned in the fourth to complete a scoreless inning, and give the Twins bullpen some much-needed length after the trip to New York on Monday. The Twins fought back in the fourth inning. Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano contributed singles before Ryan Jeffers ripped a two-run double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-2. Willians Astudillo followed up with a double of his own to right center field to tie the game, before a Nick Gordon single to center field gave the Twins their first lead at 4-3. The Twins bullpen held the lead in the latter stages of the game. Kyle Barraclough and Juan Minaya threw back-to-back scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, giving up just a hit between them. In the bottom of the sixth, the Twins added to their lead. Rob Refsnyder doubled down the left field line before Ryan Jeffers clubbed a 426-foot, two-run home run to increase the lead to 6-3. Alexander Colome closed the game in the seventh, bringing the Twins record on the season to 64-82. Encouraging performances from Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers will compound the highlight of the day, no serious injury for Joe Ryan. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Minaya 40 0 17 0 13 70 Coulombe 0 23 0 0 27 50 Colomé 12 0 0 27 11 50 Duffey 11 0 0 38 0 49 Farrell 0 12 0 34 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 0 23 16 39 Moran 0 0 37 0 0 37 Thielbar 0 26 0 11 0 37 Alcalá 9 0 18 0 8 35 Garza Jr. 0 0 11 6 0 17 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Griffin Jax will take on Cal Quantrill. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews - Coming soon View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Barnes 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Jeffers (13) Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .323, Gordon .211, Sano .129 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After the fret surrounding Joe Ryan’s injury had somewhat subsided, the Twins had the second game of a doubleheader against Cleveland to attend to. Here’s how the Twins lined up for game two. Charlie Barnes was recalled from St. Paul to be the extra man on the roster for the Twins Tuesday double header. After issuing a leadoff walk to Myles Straw, Barnes settled in. He retired the next seven Cleveland hitters to bring the game into the top of the third scoreless. Barnes was solid, if not spectacular, working relatively efficiently without dominating or overpowering hitters. With the wrist contusion to his throwing arm, Joe Ryan’s rotation spot into question. Barnes may find himself sticking around through the rest of the 2021 season. Barnes ran into trouble in the top of the third inning. An Oscar Mercado single, back-to-back doubles from Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez, and an RBI single from Franmil Reyes gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead. Barnes returned in the fourth to complete a scoreless inning, and give the Twins bullpen some much-needed length after the trip to New York on Monday. The Twins fought back in the fourth inning. Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano contributed singles before Ryan Jeffers ripped a two-run double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-2. Willians Astudillo followed up with a double of his own to right center field to tie the game, before a Nick Gordon single to center field gave the Twins their first lead at 4-3. The Twins bullpen held the lead in the latter stages of the game. Kyle Barraclough and Juan Minaya threw back-to-back scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, giving up just a hit between them. In the bottom of the sixth, the Twins added to their lead. Rob Refsnyder doubled down the left field line before Ryan Jeffers clubbed a 426-foot, two-run home run to increase the lead to 6-3. Alexander Colome closed the game in the seventh, bringing the Twins record on the season to 64-82. Encouraging performances from Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers will compound the highlight of the day, no serious injury for Joe Ryan. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Minaya 40 0 17 0 13 70 Coulombe 0 23 0 0 27 50 Colomé 12 0 0 27 11 50 Duffey 11 0 0 38 0 49 Farrell 0 12 0 34 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 0 23 16 39 Moran 0 0 37 0 0 37 Thielbar 0 26 0 11 0 37 Alcalá 9 0 18 0 8 35 Garza Jr. 0 0 11 6 0 17 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Griffin Jax will take on Cal Quantrill. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews - Coming soon
  3. The Twins had some clutch hitting today from an unlikely hero beating the best and hottest team in baseball 6-5. The victory improves the Twins record to 59-77 on the season as they avoided the three game sweep. Read about that and more in today's game recap! Box Score Griffin Jax: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (55-percent strikes) Homeruns: none Top 3 WPA: Gordon (.364), Colomé (.194), Arraez (.171) Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs) Jax Bounces Back After Two Abysmal Starts Jax entered today giving up 15 earned runs in his last two starts combined, and was able to have a passable start given his recent struggles. From the start, Jax was benefiting from some near misses starting with the leadoff batter hitting a deep fly ball into the right field corner, another deep flyball to start the second inning, and then a ball off of the bat of Yandy Diaz that had an xBA of .690 to end the second. Regardless, he was able to get through the first two innings unscathed although that would be a sign of things to come for the end of his day. The luck of the near misses through the first two innings were balanced out by three different batted balls, two off the glove of Luis Arraez and one off of Nick Gordon, that would have undoubtedly made for shorter innings and less damage against Jax. Although none of these balls were considered errors, they were plays that gloves of Donaldson and Polanco would likely have vacuumed up for outs. Luckily, the Twins bullpen was most fresh after pitching just one inning on Friday, as Jax only lasted 4 ⅔ innings when the Rays started making consistent hard contact off of the rookie right hander. Coming into today, Jax had given up nine home runs and 11 walks in 27 innings in the month of August. As previously mentioned, there were some close calls today but outside of the homerun to Brandon Lowe he kept the ball in the ballpark and made the Rays earn their bases only giving up one walk. Even on the homerun to Lowe, Glen Perkins had some interesting insight as to how Lowe pulled a low and away breaking ball 365 feet. Clutch Two-Out Rallies Lift the Twins to Victory Luis Arraez started off the game for the Twins getting robbed of a line drive single by Wander Franco in what would foreshadow Luis Patiño’s day against the slumping Twins offense. After a quick first inning, the Twins would score three two-out runs with hitters six thru nine all reaching base, including Willians Astudillo’s first walk since drawing back-to-back walks on June 16th. The Twins would tack on a fourth run in the third inning after aggressive baserunning by Josh Donaldson creating a balk to get to second and taking third on a ball in the dirt. The headsy baserunning would pay off after a bloop two-out single by Jake Cave allowed Donaldson to score easily, giving the Twins a 4-0 lead. The Twins put together another threat in the fourth after an Arraez single and a Buxton double that would have been a run-scoring triple had it stayed in the ballpark. Alas, it was ruled a ground-rule double (bounced off the foul pole and back into play) and the next batter, Jorge Polanco, would hit a line drive to Wander Franco who flipped it to third to double off Arraez. After getting 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, the bottom of the line up would come through again with Nick Gordon tying the game at five runs apiece with another two-out RBI hit. And that wouldn't even be the end of Nick Gordon's career day. After more aggressive baserunning by Donaldson and with one out in the ninth and runners on 1st and 3rd, Gordon punched a single up the middle to give the Twins the 6-5 lead and ultimately the win. If you were paying attention closely, you realized that five of the six Twins runs were scored with two-outs and Nick Gordon was responsible for half of the runs scored today. Bullpen Usage Chart The Twins made the right call in pulling Griffin Jax but, in what seems like the “Twins Way” this year, the inherited runner was allowed to score when Caleb Thielbar immediately gave up a two-run homerun to Austin Meadows. Thielbar finished the fifth but wasn’t able to finish the sixth after a lead off walk and a comebacker fielder's choice, and was relieved by righty Jorge Alcala. After a first pitch swinging strike by Mike Zunino, he got the backstop to ground into an inning ending double play and would get through the seventh only allowing a double to Franco. Tyler Duffey came on in the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 thanks to Ryan Jeffers gunning down a would-be base stealer before handing over the save opportunity to Alex Colomé in the ninth. As usual, Colomé would make things very interesting in the ninth but ultimately earned the saved after a 23 pitch inning. TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Gibaut 0 24 0 0 47 0 71 Minaya 24 11 0 0 21 0 56 Garza Jr. 17 0 0 8 23 0 48 Colomé 0 0 0 0 11 23 34 Thielbar 26 0 0 0 0 28 54 Alcalá 0 0 0 0 0 15 15 Duffey 16 0 0 0 0 10 26 Coulombe 0 10 0 0 0 0 10 View full article
  4. Jorge Polanco is up to 29 home runs on the season after blasting two homers for the Minnesota Twins Saturday at Target Field. It was a five-homer night for the Twins, as Byron Buxton, Nick Gordon and Max Kepler also went deep. Also discussed in this video are Michael Pineda, Jimmy Kerrigan, Mark Contreras, Austin Martin, DaShawn Keirsey, Alerick Soularie and Regi Grace.
  5. Jorge Polanco is up to 29 home runs on the season after blasting two homers for the Minnesota Twins Saturday at Target Field. It was a five-homer night for the Twins, as Byron Buxton, Nick Gordon and Max Kepler also went deep. Also discussed in this video are Michael Pineda, Jimmy Kerrigan, Mark Contreras, Austin Martin, DaShawn Keirsey, Alerick Soularie and Regi Grace. View full video
  6. Joe Ryan flirted with perfection in just his second career start, but in the end, he had to settle for seven shutout innings and his first MLB Win in the Twins second 3-0 victory over Cleveland in as many nights. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Homeruns: Sano (25) Top 3 WPA: Ryan (0.479), Gordon (0.101), Thielbar (0.58) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Take Perfect Game into Seventh in Second Career Start Apart from one rough inning in his MLB debut last week against the Chicago Cubs, Joe Ryan looked pretty impressive and left an overall good first impression, at least in this writer’s eyes. Well, that strong first impression only got stronger after tonight’s start, as Ryan retired the first 19 hitters Cleveland sent to the plate. Joe Ryan had the fly ball out working in his favor early in the game tonight, as he gave up a number of deep fly balls that looked scary off the bat, but they all would eventually die harmlessly at the warning track for routine outs. Joe Ryan also did a good job keeping his pitch count low, as he completed seven shutout innings with just 85 pitches. While having just four strikeouts aided in that effort, the main reason was Joe not only avoided the walk, but he didn’t really work deep into many counts as he threw nearly 72% of his pitches for strikes. The perfect game, and the no-hitter, came to an end with one out in the seventh, when Amed Rosario laced a hard-hit ball between short and third for a one out single. Rosario would advance to second on a pickoff attempt throwing error from Ryan. However, Ryan would focus in and get out of the inning without allowing a run to score. Twins Get on the Board First in the Fifth The first few innings of this game were rather uneventful. The most action came from a Josh Donaldson leadoff double in the 2nd that was originally ruled an out, but after a Twins challenge Donaldson was awarded second base after it was determined that the ball made contact with the outfield wall just before it fell into the glove of Cleveland outfielder Harold Ramirez. The fifth inning started like most of the other innings early in this ballgame, as the Twins made two outs to begin the inning. Rob Refsnyder got the two out rally started by working the count full before drawing a two out walk. Then, with Nick Gordon up, Refsnyder stole second base to get in scoring position. Gordon then promptly delivered with a double, bringing Refsnyder around to score the first run of the game. Miguel Sano Goes Way Deep in the Seventh After putting up a run with two outs in the fifth, the Twins got another two out run in the seventh, this time via a more conventional way, a Miguel Sano bomb. Now I must preface this by saying, for Sano this was just another oh hum home run, but for any average MLB hitter this would certainly be classified as a bomb that traveled 449 feet to the opposite field. Twins Tack on Insurance Run in Eighth With the perfect game in the rearview mirror, the focus was shifted back on the original goal, winning the ballgame. The Twins bats aided in the bullpen’s quest to lock down the win by giving them a bigger cushion to work with. Ryan Jeffers got the inning started with a one out double into the left-center field gap. Luis Arraez followed with a single to left field that seemed like it should have scored Jeffers, but he was held up by third base coach Tony Diaz, despite the throw coming back into second. Byron Buxton then delivered on what should have been a TaylorMade double-play, but with Buxton’s speed those do not exist, as he beat it out allowing the run to score. Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Colomé 11 23 9 17 0 60 Thielbar 0 28 0 25 8 61 Minaya 21 0 0 21 0 42 Alcalá 0 15 0 19 0 34 Garza Jr. 23 0 0 0 0 23 Duffey 0 10 8 0 17 35 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 What's Next The Twins will go for the rare four-game sweep vs Cleveland on Thursday night, as they will send Randy Dobnak to the mound to face Cleveland pitcher Cal Quantrill. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10pm CDT. Postgame Interviews View full article
  7. Joe Ryan flirted with perfection for the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning of what was just his second major league start. Highlights from that outing plus additional discussion on Ryan Jeffers, Nick Gordon, Miguel Sano, David Banuelos, J.T. Riddle, Jose Miranda, Drew Strotman, Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, Matt Wallner, Cody Laweryson and Noah Miller. View full video
  8. Joe Ryan flirted with perfection for the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning of what was just his second major league start. Highlights from that outing plus additional discussion on Ryan Jeffers, Nick Gordon, Miguel Sano, David Banuelos, J.T. Riddle, Jose Miranda, Drew Strotman, Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, Matt Wallner, Cody Laweryson and Noah Miller.
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Homeruns: Sano (25) Top 3 WPA: Ryan (0.479), Gordon (0.101), Thielbar (0.58) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Take Perfect Game into Seventh in Second Career Start Apart from one rough inning in his MLB debut last week against the Chicago Cubs, Joe Ryan looked pretty impressive and left an overall good first impression, at least in this writer’s eyes. Well, that strong first impression only got stronger after tonight’s start, as Ryan retired the first 19 hitters Cleveland sent to the plate. Joe Ryan had the fly ball out working in his favor early in the game tonight, as he gave up a number of deep fly balls that looked scary off the bat, but they all would eventually die harmlessly at the warning track for routine outs. Joe Ryan also did a good job keeping his pitch count low, as he completed seven shutout innings with just 85 pitches. While having just four strikeouts aided in that effort, the main reason was Joe not only avoided the walk, but he didn’t really work deep into many counts as he threw nearly 72% of his pitches for strikes. The perfect game, and the no-hitter, came to an end with one out in the seventh, when Amed Rosario laced a hard-hit ball between short and third for a one out single. Rosario would advance to second on a pickoff attempt throwing error from Ryan. However, Ryan would focus in and get out of the inning without allowing a run to score. Twins Get on the Board First in the Fifth The first few innings of this game were rather uneventful. The most action came from a Josh Donaldson leadoff double in the 2nd that was originally ruled an out, but after a Twins challenge Donaldson was awarded second base after it was determined that the ball made contact with the outfield wall just before it fell into the glove of Cleveland outfielder Harold Ramirez. The fifth inning started like most of the other innings early in this ballgame, as the Twins made two outs to begin the inning. Rob Refsnyder got the two out rally started by working the count full before drawing a two out walk. Then, with Nick Gordon up, Refsnyder stole second base to get in scoring position. Gordon then promptly delivered with a double, bringing Refsnyder around to score the first run of the game. Miguel Sano Goes Way Deep in the Seventh After putting up a run with two outs in the fifth, the Twins got another two out run in the seventh, this time via a more conventional way, a Miguel Sano bomb. Now I must preface this by saying, for Sano this was just another oh hum home run, but for any average MLB hitter this would certainly be classified as a bomb that traveled 449 feet to the opposite field. Twins Tack on Insurance Run in Eighth With the perfect game in the rearview mirror, the focus was shifted back on the original goal, winning the ballgame. The Twins bats aided in the bullpen’s quest to lock down the win by giving them a bigger cushion to work with. Ryan Jeffers got the inning started with a one out double into the left-center field gap. Luis Arraez followed with a single to left field that seemed like it should have scored Jeffers, but he was held up by third base coach Tony Diaz, despite the throw coming back into second. Byron Buxton then delivered on what should have been a TaylorMade double-play, but with Buxton’s speed those do not exist, as he beat it out allowing the run to score. Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Colomé 11 23 9 17 0 60 Thielbar 0 28 0 25 8 61 Minaya 21 0 0 21 0 42 Alcalá 0 15 0 19 0 34 Garza Jr. 23 0 0 0 0 23 Duffey 0 10 8 0 17 35 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 What's Next The Twins will go for the rare four-game sweep vs Cleveland on Thursday night, as they will send Randy Dobnak to the mound to face Cleveland pitcher Cal Quantrill. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10pm CDT. Postgame Interviews
  10. The Minnesota Twins beat Tampa Bay 6-5 and Nick Gordon delivered both the game-tying and go-ahead hits. Also featured in today's recap are Luis Arraez, Charlie Barnes, Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic, Aaron Sabato and Christian Encarnacion-Strand.
  11. The Minnesota Twins beat Tampa Bay 6-5 and Nick Gordon delivered both the game-tying and go-ahead hits. Also featured in today's recap are Luis Arraez, Charlie Barnes, Austin Martin, Jordan Balazovic, Aaron Sabato and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. View full video
  12. Box Score Griffin Jax: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (55-percent strikes) Homeruns: none Top 3 WPA: Gordon (.364), Colomé (.194), Arraez (.171) Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs) Jax Bounces Back After Two Abysmal Starts Jax entered today giving up 15 earned runs in his last two starts combined, and was able to have a passable start given his recent struggles. From the start, Jax was benefiting from some near misses starting with the leadoff batter hitting a deep fly ball into the right field corner, another deep flyball to start the second inning, and then a ball off of the bat of Yandy Diaz that had an xBA of .690 to end the second. Regardless, he was able to get through the first two innings unscathed although that would be a sign of things to come for the end of his day. The luck of the near misses through the first two innings were balanced out by three different batted balls, two off the glove of Luis Arraez and one off of Nick Gordon, that would have undoubtedly made for shorter innings and less damage against Jax. Although none of these balls were considered errors, they were plays that gloves of Donaldson and Polanco would likely have vacuumed up for outs. Luckily, the Twins bullpen was most fresh after pitching just one inning on Friday, as Jax only lasted 4 ⅔ innings when the Rays started making consistent hard contact off of the rookie right hander. Coming into today, Jax had given up nine home runs and 11 walks in 27 innings in the month of August. As previously mentioned, there were some close calls today but outside of the homerun to Brandon Lowe he kept the ball in the ballpark and made the Rays earn their bases only giving up one walk. Even on the homerun to Lowe, Glen Perkins had some interesting insight as to how Lowe pulled a low and away breaking ball 365 feet. Clutch Two-Out Rallies Lift the Twins to Victory Luis Arraez started off the game for the Twins getting robbed of a line drive single by Wander Franco in what would foreshadow Luis Patiño’s day against the slumping Twins offense. After a quick first inning, the Twins would score three two-out runs with hitters six thru nine all reaching base, including Willians Astudillo’s first walk since drawing back-to-back walks on June 16th. The Twins would tack on a fourth run in the third inning after aggressive baserunning by Josh Donaldson creating a balk to get to second and taking third on a ball in the dirt. The headsy baserunning would pay off after a bloop two-out single by Jake Cave allowed Donaldson to score easily, giving the Twins a 4-0 lead. The Twins put together another threat in the fourth after an Arraez single and a Buxton double that would have been a run-scoring triple had it stayed in the ballpark. Alas, it was ruled a ground-rule double (bounced off the foul pole and back into play) and the next batter, Jorge Polanco, would hit a line drive to Wander Franco who flipped it to third to double off Arraez. After getting 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, the bottom of the line up would come through again with Nick Gordon tying the game at five runs apiece with another two-out RBI hit. And that wouldn't even be the end of Nick Gordon's career day. After more aggressive baserunning by Donaldson and with one out in the ninth and runners on 1st and 3rd, Gordon punched a single up the middle to give the Twins the 6-5 lead and ultimately the win. If you were paying attention closely, you realized that five of the six Twins runs were scored with two-outs and Nick Gordon was responsible for half of the runs scored today. Bullpen Usage Chart The Twins made the right call in pulling Griffin Jax but, in what seems like the “Twins Way” this year, the inherited runner was allowed to score when Caleb Thielbar immediately gave up a two-run homerun to Austin Meadows. Thielbar finished the fifth but wasn’t able to finish the sixth after a lead off walk and a comebacker fielder's choice, and was relieved by righty Jorge Alcala. After a first pitch swinging strike by Mike Zunino, he got the backstop to ground into an inning ending double play and would get through the seventh only allowing a double to Franco. Tyler Duffey came on in the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 thanks to Ryan Jeffers gunning down a would-be base stealer before handing over the save opportunity to Alex Colomé in the ninth. As usual, Colomé would make things very interesting in the ninth but ultimately earned the saved after a 23 pitch inning. TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN TOT Gibaut 0 24 0 0 47 0 71 Minaya 24 11 0 0 21 0 56 Garza Jr. 17 0 0 8 23 0 48 Colomé 0 0 0 0 11 23 34 Thielbar 26 0 0 0 0 28 54 Alcalá 0 0 0 0 0 15 15 Duffey 16 0 0 0 0 10 26 Coulombe 0 10 0 0 0 0 10
  13. Minnesota Twins highlights as well as highlights from their minor league system from Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. The Twins lost a wild 11-9 game to the Boston Red Sox. Players featured include Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon, Miguel Sano, Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, Austin Martin and Austin Schulfer. Both Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers were postponed tonight. View full video
  14. Minnesota Twins highlights as well as highlights from their minor league system from Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. The Twins lost a wild 11-9 game to the Boston Red Sox. Players featured include Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon, Miguel Sano, Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, Austin Martin and Austin Schulfer. Both Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers were postponed tonight.
  15. Brian Dozier had a string of seasons for the Minnesota Twins where it was arguable that he was the best second basemen in baseball. That torch has now been passed, and with two options in the mix, it may be one of the strongest roles Minnesota has had in quite some time. From 2013-2018 Brian Dozier played in nearly 900 games and blasted 161 homers for the Twins as their primary second basemen. He took time to settle into the role and changed his approach at the plate, but became an All-Star in 2015 and earned top-15 votes each of the next two seasons. In 2016-17 Dozier combined to hit 76 dingers with an .871 OPS. For a position often seen as an afterthought in the infield, he’d become a beacon of strength. Fast-forward to where we are now, and the Twins have successfully passed the torch to a new pair of talents. Signed to an extension in 2019, Jorge Polanco is potentially under team control through the 2025 season. He dealt with an ankle injury that changed his abilities drastically, but now with a clean bill of health, he looks like one of the best in baseball at the position. Since June 1 this season, Polanco owns a .926 OPS. He was a first-time All-Star in 2019 and has posted an .806 OPS over the past three seasons, even with the dismal 2020 factored in. There were always legitimate concerns regarding Polanco’s range and arm at shortstop. It was a position he had played often, but one he was ultimately miscast in. Sliding over to second base full time this season, Twins coaches talked up the fact that not only would his bat play, but his glove may find gold there. It’s safe to say the experiment has been wildly successful, and the return to offensive prowess is a welcomed shot in the arm. Recently turning 28-years-old, it’s fair to assume Polanco’s best seasons are still ahead of him, and for a Twins team looking to rebound, that’s a great thing to dream on. Then there’s the opposite but an equally successful type of player at second base for the Twins. Luis Arraez may be the second coming of Rod Carew, and he’s here to challenge for a batting title on an annual basis. Nagging knee injuries have kept him off the field at times, but the bat has remained intact when he’s out there. A .317 average this season marks a career-low, but it’s continued to rise, and the .325 mark across his first 205 big-league games is nothing to scoff at. Arraez will never play with the power that either Dozier or Polanco has, and he’s more Dozier (Gold Glove’s are offensive awards sometimes) than Polanco with the leather, but calling second his primary home helps to push this narrative. Luis has done well for himself by establishing utility around the diamond, but make no mistake that the pipeline Minnesota has pushed here is impressive. Add in that Nick Gordon is beginning to realize some of his potential in the big leagues, a converted shortstop moving to the first base side, and this situation continues to be worth monitoring. Spencer Steer is another name down on the farm that’s pushing his way towards the top and watching the Twins develop these athletes is exciting. Second base is often considered the fallback for a shortstop with a lackluster arm. Be that what it may, but Minnesota isn’t simply throwing out good defenders that have little other tools at the position. Rocco Baldelli has employed lineups that can do damage, and even before the current skipper got here, second base has become an area of strength in the system. Maybe Jorge Polanco pushes for the best in baseball title down the line, but even if he doesn’t, he’s currently headlining an impressive position group within this 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
  16. TRANSACTIONS INF Anthony Prato added to A+ Cedar Rapids following rehab assignment RHP Matt Canterino activated from IL at A+ Cedar Rapids RHP Ralph Garza Jr. recalled by Minnesota Twins Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 7 Box Score Starter: Beau Burrows: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Tomás Telis (8), Nick Gordon (3) Multi-hit games: Nick Gordon (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI), Tomás Telis (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI), Damek Tomscha (2-for-4, R) St. Paul lost their momentum on Saturday. It began with some Beau on Beau action as both starting pitchers were named “Beau” (seriously). Burrows (or BB, as the cool kids call him), held Indianapolis scoreless over his three innings of work with five strikeouts. Burrows then passed the baton to Jovani Moran who, as usual, shut it down. He struck out three over two innings of work, and could be heard muttering “what else did I have to do to get called up?*” *I cannot confirm this. Offensively, St. Paul jumped out in front first. Tomás Telis plopped his eighth homer of the year in the first inning to give the Saints a quick 1-0 lead. Nick Gordon was not to be outdone, and he sent his third home run of the year over the right field wall. Now, usually I don’t point out defense in these games because, well, who cares. But Nick Gordon played at third base while Jose Miranda played in left field. I assume that this was done out of necessity, but if both players can play at those positions in just a passable manner, then their value to the major league club will be just that much more. This game revealed one of the problems that can arise in a bullpen game. Burrows and Moran did their part well, but Ryan Mason struggled and it allowed Indianapolis to tie the game in the 7th inning. Indianapolis then jumped on Ian Hamilton in the 8th with a bases-clearing double, and that ended up being all she wrote. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Tulsa 5 Box Score Starter: Cole Sands: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K HR: B.J. Boyd 2 (11, 12) Multi-hit games: B.J. Boyd (2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Ernie De La Trinidad (2-for-3, BB) The Wind Surge lost on Saturday. ...But not due to Cole Sands. The righty was on his game on Saturday. Of the 17 outs he netted, 10 came via strikeouts. Yeah, that’ll work. It was his first start of the season with double-digit punch outs, and it was also his seventh start allowing one or fewer walks. They also did not lose because of B.J. Boyd. The free agent signee has been nothing short of elite in his time with Wichita. His OPS on the season is now above .900, and I imagine that one more game like this will finally force Wichita to build a statue in his honor. It was not enough to top the Drillers, though. Tulsa took out their frustration on Erik Manoah Jr., and put the game out of reach after the 7th inning. Oddly enough, Tulsa only had one more hit than Wichita. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 7 Box Score Starter: Sawyer Gipson-Long: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 R) The Kernels lost to a rehabbing major leaguer on Saturday. Miles Mikolas started for the Chiefs and was excellent. He held the Kernels to three runs over seven innings of work with eight strikeouts to boot. Come on man, go pick on players your own age (I’m sure he will soon). Sawyer Gipson-Long’s line is misleading. Two of his earned runs came via a two-run homer, while another run scored due to a throwing error by his catcher (not sure why it counts as an earned run, actually). No matter the runs, striking out nine batters over five innings of work is impressive. The bats were a bit quiet on Saturday. Every run was scored off the bat of Matt Wallner (a first inning DP, and a 6th inning two-run single), and Edouard Julien was the only batter to net multiple hits. Of course it was Julien. I swear he gets on base twice every time I check the box score. The game slipped away in the 7th inning as the Chiefs ambushed Osiris German to the tune of three earned runs. Much like how the Saints lost, this proved to be too back-breaking for the Kernels to overcome. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Bradenton 2 Box Score Starter: Bobby Milacki: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K HR: Aaron Sabato (10) Multi-hit games: Misael Urbina (2-for-5, 2B) Fort Myers lost in extra-innings on Saturday. Bobby Milacki started the Mighty Mussels off right with an excellent start on Saturday. His six strikeouts tied a personal single-game record, and it was his sixth outing in 2021 that ended without a walk. Not bad for a 38th round pick who the Twins signed out of independent ball. John Stankiewicz, Zaquiel Puentes, and Aaron Rozek carried the weight the rest of the way with five combined innings, and just a single hit allowed. They struck out three in total. Offensively, things were a bit tough. Misael Urbina was the lone hitter to drop in multiple hits, and just one other batter had an extra-base hit. But that one batter was Aaron Sabato who, unsurprisingly now, bopped his 10th homer of the year. He had just four home runs coming into the month of August. It has been great to see Sabato turn the corner like this. No prospect dropped as much as him when we at Twinsdaily updated our top prospect list, and a monster August to cap off his season would go a long way towards regaining his old 1st-round pick status. Will he do it? I suppose we shall see. Unfortunately, the Mighty Mussels got Manfred-ed and the very first opposing batter in the bottom of the 10th singled home a run to end the game. I’m sure that they didn’t mind getting out of the way of the tropical storm, though. Complex Chronicles The FCL Twins game was suspended on Saturday, and will be finished on Sunday. A quick scan of the box score reveals that Zander Wiel was in the starting lineup working through a rehab assignment. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – B.J. Boyd PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, 2 K #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-3, BB #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-5, K #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 2 RBI, K #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-3 #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (Complex) - #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 2-5, 2B #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (11:35 AM) LHP Andrew Albers Wichita @ Tulsa (12:05 PM) RHP Jordan Balazovic Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (12:35 PM) RHP Matt Canterino Fort Myers will not play on Sunday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Fred.
  17. Well, uh, everyone lost on Saturday. Some lost in a closer fashion than others, but they still lost alright. Read all about who performed well in these losses. TRANSACTIONS INF Anthony Prato added to A+ Cedar Rapids following rehab assignment RHP Matt Canterino activated from IL at A+ Cedar Rapids RHP Ralph Garza Jr. recalled by Minnesota Twins Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Indianapolis 7 Box Score Starter: Beau Burrows: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Tomás Telis (8), Nick Gordon (3) Multi-hit games: Nick Gordon (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI), Tomás Telis (2-for-4, HR, R, RBI), Damek Tomscha (2-for-4, R) St. Paul lost their momentum on Saturday. It began with some Beau on Beau action as both starting pitchers were named “Beau” (seriously). Burrows (or BB, as the cool kids call him), held Indianapolis scoreless over his three innings of work with five strikeouts. Burrows then passed the baton to Jovani Moran who, as usual, shut it down. He struck out three over two innings of work, and could be heard muttering “what else did I have to do to get called up?*” *I cannot confirm this. Offensively, St. Paul jumped out in front first. Tomás Telis plopped his eighth homer of the year in the first inning to give the Saints a quick 1-0 lead. Nick Gordon was not to be outdone, and he sent his third home run of the year over the right field wall. Now, usually I don’t point out defense in these games because, well, who cares. But Nick Gordon played at third base while Jose Miranda played in left field. I assume that this was done out of necessity, but if both players can play at those positions in just a passable manner, then their value to the major league club will be just that much more. This game revealed one of the problems that can arise in a bullpen game. Burrows and Moran did their part well, but Ryan Mason struggled and it allowed Indianapolis to tie the game in the 7th inning. Indianapolis then jumped on Ian Hamilton in the 8th with a bases-clearing double, and that ended up being all she wrote. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 2, Tulsa 5 Box Score Starter: Cole Sands: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K HR: B.J. Boyd 2 (11, 12) Multi-hit games: B.J. Boyd (2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI), Ernie De La Trinidad (2-for-3, BB) The Wind Surge lost on Saturday. ...But not due to Cole Sands. The righty was on his game on Saturday. Of the 17 outs he netted, 10 came via strikeouts. Yeah, that’ll work. It was his first start of the season with double-digit punch outs, and it was also his seventh start allowing one or fewer walks. They also did not lose because of B.J. Boyd. The free agent signee has been nothing short of elite in his time with Wichita. His OPS on the season is now above .900, and I imagine that one more game like this will finally force Wichita to build a statue in his honor. It was not enough to top the Drillers, though. Tulsa took out their frustration on Erik Manoah Jr., and put the game out of reach after the 7th inning. Oddly enough, Tulsa only had one more hit than Wichita. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 3, Peoria 7 Box Score Starter: Sawyer Gipson-Long: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-4, 2 R) The Kernels lost to a rehabbing major leaguer on Saturday. Miles Mikolas started for the Chiefs and was excellent. He held the Kernels to three runs over seven innings of work with eight strikeouts to boot. Come on man, go pick on players your own age (I’m sure he will soon). Sawyer Gipson-Long’s line is misleading. Two of his earned runs came via a two-run homer, while another run scored due to a throwing error by his catcher (not sure why it counts as an earned run, actually). No matter the runs, striking out nine batters over five innings of work is impressive. The bats were a bit quiet on Saturday. Every run was scored off the bat of Matt Wallner (a first inning DP, and a 6th inning two-run single), and Edouard Julien was the only batter to net multiple hits. Of course it was Julien. I swear he gets on base twice every time I check the box score. The game slipped away in the 7th inning as the Chiefs ambushed Osiris German to the tune of three earned runs. Much like how the Saints lost, this proved to be too back-breaking for the Kernels to overcome. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Bradenton 2 Box Score Starter: Bobby Milacki: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K HR: Aaron Sabato (10) Multi-hit games: Misael Urbina (2-for-5, 2B) Fort Myers lost in extra-innings on Saturday. Bobby Milacki started the Mighty Mussels off right with an excellent start on Saturday. His six strikeouts tied a personal single-game record, and it was his sixth outing in 2021 that ended without a walk. Not bad for a 38th round pick who the Twins signed out of independent ball. John Stankiewicz, Zaquiel Puentes, and Aaron Rozek carried the weight the rest of the way with five combined innings, and just a single hit allowed. They struck out three in total. Offensively, things were a bit tough. Misael Urbina was the lone hitter to drop in multiple hits, and just one other batter had an extra-base hit. But that one batter was Aaron Sabato who, unsurprisingly now, bopped his 10th homer of the year. He had just four home runs coming into the month of August. It has been great to see Sabato turn the corner like this. No prospect dropped as much as him when we at Twinsdaily updated our top prospect list, and a monster August to cap off his season would go a long way towards regaining his old 1st-round pick status. Will he do it? I suppose we shall see. Unfortunately, the Mighty Mussels got Manfred-ed and the very first opposing batter in the bottom of the 10th singled home a run to end the game. I’m sure that they didn’t mind getting out of the way of the tropical storm, though. Complex Chronicles The FCL Twins game was suspended on Saturday, and will be finished on Sunday. A quick scan of the box score reveals that Zander Wiel was in the starting lineup working through a rehab assignment. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Cole Sands Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – B.J. Boyd PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) – Out for season (torn ACL) #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, 2 K #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Did not pitch #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain) #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-3, BB #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Did not pitch #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 1-5, K #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement) #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-4, 2 RBI, K #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-3 #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - Did not pitch #15 – Noah Miller (Complex) - #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 2-4, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery) #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 2-5, 2B #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5 ⅔ IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - Did not play SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (11:35 AM) LHP Andrew Albers Wichita @ Tulsa (12:05 PM) RHP Jordan Balazovic Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (12:35 PM) RHP Matt Canterino Fort Myers will not play on Sunday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Fred. 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  18. From 2013-2018 Brian Dozier played in nearly 900 games and blasted 161 homers for the Twins as their primary second basemen. He took time to settle into the role and changed his approach at the plate, but became an All-Star in 2015 and earned top-15 votes each of the next two seasons. In 2016-17 Dozier combined to hit 76 dingers with an .871 OPS. For a position often seen as an afterthought in the infield, he’d become a beacon of strength. Fast-forward to where we are now, and the Twins have successfully passed the torch to a new pair of talents. Signed to an extension in 2019, Jorge Polanco is potentially under team control through the 2025 season. He dealt with an ankle injury that changed his abilities drastically, but now with a clean bill of health, he looks like one of the best in baseball at the position. Since June 1 this season, Polanco owns a .926 OPS. He was a first-time All-Star in 2019 and has posted an .806 OPS over the past three seasons, even with the dismal 2020 factored in. There were always legitimate concerns regarding Polanco’s range and arm at shortstop. It was a position he had played often, but one he was ultimately miscast in. Sliding over to second base full time this season, Twins coaches talked up the fact that not only would his bat play, but his glove may find gold there. It’s safe to say the experiment has been wildly successful, and the return to offensive prowess is a welcomed shot in the arm. Recently turning 28-years-old, it’s fair to assume Polanco’s best seasons are still ahead of him, and for a Twins team looking to rebound, that’s a great thing to dream on. Then there’s the opposite but an equally successful type of player at second base for the Twins. Luis Arraez may be the second coming of Rod Carew, and he’s here to challenge for a batting title on an annual basis. Nagging knee injuries have kept him off the field at times, but the bat has remained intact when he’s out there. A .317 average this season marks a career-low, but it’s continued to rise, and the .325 mark across his first 205 big-league games is nothing to scoff at. Arraez will never play with the power that either Dozier or Polanco has, and he’s more Dozier (Gold Glove’s are offensive awards sometimes) than Polanco with the leather, but calling second his primary home helps to push this narrative. Luis has done well for himself by establishing utility around the diamond, but make no mistake that the pipeline Minnesota has pushed here is impressive. Add in that Nick Gordon is beginning to realize some of his potential in the big leagues, a converted shortstop moving to the first base side, and this situation continues to be worth monitoring. Spencer Steer is another name down on the farm that’s pushing his way towards the top and watching the Twins develop these athletes is exciting. Second base is often considered the fallback for a shortstop with a lackluster arm. Be that what it may, but Minnesota isn’t simply throwing out good defenders that have little other tools at the position. Rocco Baldelli has employed lineups that can do damage, and even before the current skipper got here, second base has become an area of strength in the system. Maybe Jorge Polanco pushes for the best in baseball title down the line, but even if he doesn’t, he’s currently headlining an impressive position group within this 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
  19. On Monday, Twins Daily revealed prospects 26-30 in our post-draft and trade deadline updated rankings. We continue today with prospects 21-25. 25. RHP Chris Vallimont (24-years-old) Season Stats (High-A + Double-A): 4-4, 4.76 ERA, 64 1/3 IP, 102 K, 40 BB, 6 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 20, 2021 Preseason: NR Chris Vallimont has the physical profile of a modern day pitcher. He stands nearly 6-foot-6-inches tall with an athletic 220 pound frame that he uses to generate fastballs in the mid-90s to go along with a hammer curve (as well as the occasional slider and changeup). When he's on, there's a strong argument to be made that he has some of the most dynamic stuff in the Twins' system. However, he is a bit of an enigma. His peripheral numbers suggest that he is a better pitcher than what the surface-level stats say, the main anchor dragging him down being his walks. If he hones his command, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he develops into, say, a No. 3 starter. If he doesn't, he may wind up in the bullpen long-term. There are few prospects in the Twins' system with more future outcome variance than Vallimont. 24: RHP Louie Varland (23-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 6-2, 1.70 ERA, 69 IP, 98 K, 25 BB, 2 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Louie Varland is one of those Twins prospects who has shot up the rankings this season due to sustained dominance. Varland was an unknown prospect when the Twins selected him in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul. He started out the 2021 season with the Low-A Fort Myers Mighty Mussels before earning a promotion to the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels where he rattled off nearly 20 straight innings of scoreless ball to begin his run at that level. Varland primarily relies on a fastball-curveball pitch mix. His fastball plays well both up and low in the zone; it presents with decent rise when elevated and greater sinking action when down. His most likely future role is as a reliever, but he has the raw stuff — and performance, to this point — to suggest he'll be effective in the high minors and, possibly, the big leagues. 23: UTIL Nick Gordon (25-years-old) Season Stats (MLB): .250/.301/.333, 37 G, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 SB, 26/5 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NR, 2021 Preseason: NR To say that Nick Gordon was an after thought on the minds of Twins' fans entering the 2021 season would be an understatement. However, a strong showing at Triple-A combined with a fast start when promoted to the parent squad quickly got him back into people's minds. Gordon primarily played shortstop in the minors; however, the rash of injuries suffered by Twins' outfielders thrust Gordon into some minutes in centerfield. While he didn't provide Gold Glove caliber defense, he did show enough to suggest that he may have a brighter future as a true utility man than most thought. Gordon doesn't do anything great, but also doesn't do anything well-below average. He may not be an everyday-type of player, but he should find himself with a role in the majors — though perhaps ultimately not with the Twins — for years to come. 22: 1B/DH Aaron Sabato (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A): .181/.365/.309, 75 G, 13 2B, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 101/67 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 9, 2021 Preseason: 8 The tale of Aaron Sabato is virtually the opposite of that of Varland and Gordon. Sabato was known as a bopper with a good eye at the plate when the Twins selected him with the 27th overall pick in the 2020 draft but so far only his peepers have translated. Sabato has struggled to keep pace with Low-A pitching. His strikeout numbers are through the roof and his power has evaporated compared to what he displayed while with the Tar Heels. To put it bluntly, not many minor leaguers have struggled as much as he has to date and proceeded to carve out a productive major league career. Sabato's walk totals are encouraging, but he needs to show more the rest of the way. 21: INF Edouard Julien (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): .251/.423/.449, 78 G, 21 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 25 SB, 98/73 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Alright, back to being positive. Edouard Julien is an on-base machine with some pop who has displayed the ability to play multiple positions defensively, though he is probably best at second base. He's also stolen far more bases this year than many thought possible when he came out of Auburn University. Julien's overall productivity has declined some since his promotion to Cedar Rapids — and, thus, the removal of Robo-umps — however, he has done more than enough to justify his placement on this list. Not bad for a former 18th round pick. What do you think of this set of five prospects? Future big-leaguers? 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
  20. 25. RHP Chris Vallimont (24-years-old) Season Stats (High-A + Double-A): 4-4, 4.76 ERA, 64 1/3 IP, 102 K, 40 BB, 6 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 20, 2021 Preseason: NR Chris Vallimont has the physical profile of a modern day pitcher. He stands nearly 6-foot-6-inches tall with an athletic 220 pound frame that he uses to generate fastballs in the mid-90s to go along with a hammer curve (as well as the occasional slider and changeup). When he's on, there's a strong argument to be made that he has some of the most dynamic stuff in the Twins' system. However, he is a bit of an enigma. His peripheral numbers suggest that he is a better pitcher than what the surface-level stats say, the main anchor dragging him down being his walks. If he hones his command, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he develops into, say, a No. 3 starter. If he doesn't, he may wind up in the bullpen long-term. There are few prospects in the Twins' system with more future outcome variance than Vallimont. 24: RHP Louie Varland (23-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): 6-2, 1.70 ERA, 69 IP, 98 K, 25 BB, 2 HR Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Louie Varland is one of those Twins prospects who has shot up the rankings this season due to sustained dominance. Varland was an unknown prospect when the Twins selected him in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul. He started out the 2021 season with the Low-A Fort Myers Mighty Mussels before earning a promotion to the High-A Cedar Rapids Kernels where he rattled off nearly 20 straight innings of scoreless ball to begin his run at that level. Varland primarily relies on a fastball-curveball pitch mix. His fastball plays well both up and low in the zone; it presents with decent rise when elevated and greater sinking action when down. His most likely future role is as a reliever, but he has the raw stuff — and performance, to this point — to suggest he'll be effective in the high minors and, possibly, the big leagues. 23: UTIL Nick Gordon (25-years-old) Season Stats (MLB): .250/.301/.333, 37 G, 3 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 SB, 26/5 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: NR, 2021 Preseason: NR To say that Nick Gordon was an after thought on the minds of Twins' fans entering the 2021 season would be an understatement. However, a strong showing at Triple-A combined with a fast start when promoted to the parent squad quickly got him back into people's minds. Gordon primarily played shortstop in the minors; however, the rash of injuries suffered by Twins' outfielders thrust Gordon into some minutes in centerfield. While he didn't provide Gold Glove caliber defense, he did show enough to suggest that he may have a brighter future as a true utility man than most thought. Gordon doesn't do anything great, but also doesn't do anything well-below average. He may not be an everyday-type of player, but he should find himself with a role in the majors — though perhaps ultimately not with the Twins — for years to come. 22: 1B/DH Aaron Sabato (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A): .181/.365/.309, 75 G, 13 2B, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 101/67 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: 9, 2021 Preseason: 8 The tale of Aaron Sabato is virtually the opposite of that of Varland and Gordon. Sabato was known as a bopper with a good eye at the plate when the Twins selected him with the 27th overall pick in the 2020 draft but so far only his peepers have translated. Sabato has struggled to keep pace with Low-A pitching. His strikeout numbers are through the roof and his power has evaporated compared to what he displayed while with the Tar Heels. To put it bluntly, not many minor leaguers have struggled as much as he has to date and proceeded to carve out a productive major league career. Sabato's walk totals are encouraging, but he needs to show more the rest of the way. 21: INF Edouard Julien (22-years-old) Season Stats (Low-A + High-A): .251/.423/.449, 78 G, 21 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 25 SB, 98/73 K:BB Previous Rankings: 2021 Midseason: Honorable Mention, 2021 Preseason: NR Alright, back to being positive. Edouard Julien is an on-base machine with some pop who has displayed the ability to play multiple positions defensively, though he is probably best at second base. He's also stolen far more bases this year than many thought possible when he came out of Auburn University. Julien's overall productivity has declined some since his promotion to Cedar Rapids — and, thus, the removal of Robo-umps — however, he has done more than enough to justify his placement on this list. Not bad for a former 18th round pick. What do you think of this set of five prospects? Future big-leaguers? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. We still have a ways to go, and while there is no August waiver trade period in 2021, Rocco Baldelli’s roster should continue to get a shake-up over the next few weeks. Cycling in different hitters and pitchers when attempting to find future opportunities, this club can also look back on what has been and begin making assessments for 2022 and beyond. While not all the biggest storylines, here are five key takeaways from what we’ve seen to this point: Miguel Sano is inconsistently consistent Through 21 games to start the year, Sano owned a .119/.280/.209 slash line. Over his next 38 games from May 15 through June 30, he held a .233/.280/.549 slash line. Then, in July, he’s owned a .246/.325/.478 slash line across 20 games. He’s got a .737 OPS in 79 games this year and has paired that with 17 homers and a .291 OBP. If you’re looking for Miguel Sano to be the mega-prospect he once was considered, that’s probably on you at this point. The slash line still leaves plenty to be desired, but he’s got a 103 OPS+ and has not wavered on a solid sense of plate discipline. Timing continues to elude him for frustrating stretches, but he’s also capable of going on an absolute power tear. Should the Twins find themselves back in a position of strength throughout their lineup, a bat like that in the bottom half is hardly something to scoff at. He’s owed $9.25 million in 2022, and that’s an overpay but not to the extent of being ultimately damaging and acting as a primary designated hitter; that may be the role he’s always been destined for anyways. Nick Gordon has utility I was convinced that opportunity had passed the Twins former first-round pick by for quite a while. I knew he could play at the big-league level but wasn’t sure it would happen in a Minnesota uniform. Now I’m more convinced that it needs to continue. He’s still the same player he’s been throughout the minors. A soft-hitting speedster that will occasionally run into one, this is a singles hitter that has the instincts to swipe bases. Add in the utility he’s provided by learning centerfield on the fly, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be on the Opening Day roster in 2022. Gordon may find a bit more success in year two when it comes to batting average; he’s made a career out of taking steps forward after acclimating to a level. Even if he doesn’t, though, speed on the bench is something Minnesota hasn’t had, and the combination of being a lighter version of Chris Taylor is a good thing for any roster to have. Mitch Garver can still mash To say that 2020 was disastrous for Mitch Garver would be putting it lightly. The Twins Silver Slugger winning catcher posted a terrible .511 OPS and hit just two homers in 23 games. Things started slow for him in 2021, with a .517 OPS being toted through 17 games. In his last 29 games since April 28, with a severe injury mixed in there, Garver has slashed .299/.449/.740 with nine homers and a 20/19 K/BB. The life-altering foul tip he took was incredibly scary, but as rehab progressed and healing took place, he’s been back behind the dish and picked up where he left off. Even after being plunked by a pitch on his hand recently, it’s fair to dream of the production that will soon return. Garver is a late-blooming prospect, so he’s going to age relatively quickly, but this is the anchor of a tandem behind the dish that Twins fans were hoping for. The pitching staff needs an overhaul Minnesota owns the fourth-worst pitching staff in baseball by fWAR in 2021. The starters rank 24th, and the relievers are 25th. The entire unit has been a complete abomination. With the uncertain status of Jose Berrios’ future and veterans like J.A. Happ and Michael Pineda being done this offseason, the rotation will be in flux. Taylor Rogers sapped his trade value with a finger injury just days ago, but whether he was dealt or not, the rest of the bullpen remains a complete question mark. None of the signings made by the front office have worked out, and while they were short-term pacts, a re-do is less exciting when considering just how many times they missed over the winter. Derek Falvey has long been lauded for his ability to develop and identify pitching. Minnesota has a farm system rich with names attached to arms, but none have begun to bear fruit, and plenty are currently injured. For this organization to thrive at the highest level, it’s going to need to start on the mound once again, and they’re going to be doing so from next to nothing for 2022. Corner rookies are real In a season where winning takes a back seat, the best way to prevent it from becoming lost is by watching your youth thrive. Alex Kirilloff is done for the year after having wrist surgery, but it’s pretty realistic to call his rookie campaign a success. The top prospect came up early and handled his own. He’s not an ideal fit in the outfield, but he’ll play at first base, and the bat is every bit as advertised. Trevor Larnach joined Kirilloff sooner than expected, but it’s hard to pick apart much of what he’s done this season. Even while slumping of late, the 24-year-old owns a .322 OBP and has shown plenty of power potential. He’ll run into more baseballs as his career progresses, and the discipline in the box has been a sight to behold. These are both pillar players that Minnesota needs to see as foundational cornerstones of future lineups, and early returns should suggest they are both capable of doing just that. 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. To say the 2021 Major League Baseball season has not gone as planned for the Minnesota Twins would be an understatement. It’s been a catastrophic failure of expectations, but there are things to be learned in this smoldering mess. We still have a ways to go, and while there is no August waiver trade period in 2021, Rocco Baldelli’s roster should continue to get a shake-up over the next few weeks. Cycling in different hitters and pitchers when attempting to find future opportunities, this club can also look back on what has been and begin making assessments for 2022 and beyond. While not all the biggest storylines, here are five key takeaways from what we’ve seen to this point: Miguel Sano is inconsistently consistent Through 21 games to start the year, Sano owned a .119/.280/.209 slash line. Over his next 38 games from May 15 through June 30, he held a .233/.280/.549 slash line. Then, in July, he’s owned a .246/.325/.478 slash line across 20 games. He’s got a .737 OPS in 79 games this year and has paired that with 17 homers and a .291 OBP. If you’re looking for Miguel Sano to be the mega-prospect he once was considered, that’s probably on you at this point. The slash line still leaves plenty to be desired, but he’s got a 103 OPS+ and has not wavered on a solid sense of plate discipline. Timing continues to elude him for frustrating stretches, but he’s also capable of going on an absolute power tear. Should the Twins find themselves back in a position of strength throughout their lineup, a bat like that in the bottom half is hardly something to scoff at. He’s owed $9.25 million in 2022, and that’s an overpay but not to the extent of being ultimately damaging and acting as a primary designated hitter; that may be the role he’s always been destined for anyways. Nick Gordon has utility I was convinced that opportunity had passed the Twins former first-round pick by for quite a while. I knew he could play at the big-league level but wasn’t sure it would happen in a Minnesota uniform. Now I’m more convinced that it needs to continue. He’s still the same player he’s been throughout the minors. A soft-hitting speedster that will occasionally run into one, this is a singles hitter that has the instincts to swipe bases. Add in the utility he’s provided by learning centerfield on the fly, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be on the Opening Day roster in 2022. Gordon may find a bit more success in year two when it comes to batting average; he’s made a career out of taking steps forward after acclimating to a level. Even if he doesn’t, though, speed on the bench is something Minnesota hasn’t had, and the combination of being a lighter version of Chris Taylor is a good thing for any roster to have. Mitch Garver can still mash To say that 2020 was disastrous for Mitch Garver would be putting it lightly. The Twins Silver Slugger winning catcher posted a terrible .511 OPS and hit just two homers in 23 games. Things started slow for him in 2021, with a .517 OPS being toted through 17 games. In his last 29 games since April 28, with a severe injury mixed in there, Garver has slashed .299/.449/.740 with nine homers and a 20/19 K/BB. The life-altering foul tip he took was incredibly scary, but as rehab progressed and healing took place, he’s been back behind the dish and picked up where he left off. Even after being plunked by a pitch on his hand recently, it’s fair to dream of the production that will soon return. Garver is a late-blooming prospect, so he’s going to age relatively quickly, but this is the anchor of a tandem behind the dish that Twins fans were hoping for. The pitching staff needs an overhaul Minnesota owns the fourth-worst pitching staff in baseball by fWAR in 2021. The starters rank 24th, and the relievers are 25th. The entire unit has been a complete abomination. With the uncertain status of Jose Berrios’ future and veterans like J.A. Happ and Michael Pineda being done this offseason, the rotation will be in flux. Taylor Rogers sapped his trade value with a finger injury just days ago, but whether he was dealt or not, the rest of the bullpen remains a complete question mark. None of the signings made by the front office have worked out, and while they were short-term pacts, a re-do is less exciting when considering just how many times they missed over the winter. Derek Falvey has long been lauded for his ability to develop and identify pitching. Minnesota has a farm system rich with names attached to arms, but none have begun to bear fruit, and plenty are currently injured. For this organization to thrive at the highest level, it’s going to need to start on the mound once again, and they’re going to be doing so from next to nothing for 2022. Corner rookies are real In a season where winning takes a back seat, the best way to prevent it from becoming lost is by watching your youth thrive. Alex Kirilloff is done for the year after having wrist surgery, but it’s pretty realistic to call his rookie campaign a success. The top prospect came up early and handled his own. He’s not an ideal fit in the outfield, but he’ll play at first base, and the bat is every bit as advertised. Trevor Larnach joined Kirilloff sooner than expected, but it’s hard to pick apart much of what he’s done this season. Even while slumping of late, the 24-year-old owns a .322 OBP and has shown plenty of power potential. He’ll run into more baseballs as his career progresses, and the discipline in the box has been a sight to behold. These are both pillar players that Minnesota needs to see as foundational cornerstones of future lineups, and early returns should suggest they are both capable of doing just that. 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
  23. Box Score Happ: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (62.5% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .512, Rogers .169, Polanco .104 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Happ struggles early but settles in nicely Eight pitches. Eight pitches were all it took for this game to have its first runs on the board. Happ was off to a horrendous start, which is not news. Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games. That became a little worse when Phil Gosselin doubled and then scored on a Jose Iglesias’ single. Then it became a lot worse a few moments later when old friend Kurt Suzuki hit a two-out, two-run bomb to the left field corner, making it 3-0 Angels. Facing righty Alex Cobb, the offense loaded the bases during the bottom of the first inning but couldn’t capitalize. They went down in order in the second frame, but not before Happ had given up yet another home run in the top of the inning to Jack Mayfield, extending the Angels’ lead to four. With the four early runs allowed, the Twins’ starter took the lead of Robbie Ray for most earned runs allowed by any left-handed pitcher in the American League. Minnesota got one run back in the third inning with Jorge Polanco keeping his hot streak alive and well with a double, and being pushed across by a single from Trevor Larnach. Fortunately, that was also the inning when Happ had started to settle in. After the awful first two innings, he went on to pitch four scoreless frames. Before he departed, the Twins manufactured another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Max Kepler hit a bullet to lead off the inning (110 MPH exit velocity), then Polanco singled to move him to third. With men on the corners, a fantastic defensive play from Mayfield at third prevented the Twins from maybe scoring a couple of runs. Instead, Josh Donaldson grounded into a double-play, but that was enough to score Kepler from third and cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2. Offense keeps pushing for a rally The Twins continued to peck their way into this game. Cobb came back to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but he left the game with a blister before throwing a single pitch. With Steve Cishek pitching, Miguel Sanó led off the inning with a double, and Nick Gordon singled to right to bring the big man home, putting Minnesota within a run. Minnesota kept hitting the ball hard. After Alexander Colomé delivered a scoreless seventh inning, Donaldson hit a single in the bottom of the inning, the Twins’ 11th hit of the night. However, they couldn’t add on, thanks to Mayfield’s impressive defensive display at the hot corner. While the Twins were able to produce baserunners, most of them were stranded by the Angel defense. Juan Minaya worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth to keep this a one-run game. Then, with a series of great at-bats, the offense came through in the home half. Sanó worked an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a leadoff walk, prompting a pitching change. Joe Maddon brought in star closer Raisel Iglesias to try to keep the Angels ahead. After he got the first out of the inning, Gordon responded with a single, his second of the night. Then Ryan Jeffers came through with his most clutch hit yet! A single to left, just out of the reach of Mayfield, was enough to score Sanó from second. After an errant throw home, Suzuki tried to catch Gordon advancing to third base, but he was way off the mark, allowing the Twins’ rookie to score sliding and give the Twins their first lead of the night, 5-4. Taylor Rogers came in to pitch the ninth inning and, despite giving up a bloop single to David Fletcher, managed to retire the side and secure the Twins win. This was his ninth save of the season, the 50th in his career. He's now even closer to enter the top 10 in career saves in Senators/Twins franchise history, ranking 13th at the moment. Postgame Interviews Nick Gordon Ryan Jeffers Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 59 Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 54 Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 47 Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 37 Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 37 Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 33 Robles 19 7 0 0 0 26 Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 20
  24. Down by four runs early on, the Twins never gave up and managed to rally back to beat the Angels and even the series, one game a piece. Ryan Jeffers' clutch hit and Nick Gordon's aggressive baserunning sealed the deal late. Box Score Happ: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (62.5% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .512, Rogers .169, Polanco .104 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Happ struggles early but settles in nicely Eight pitches. Eight pitches were all it took for this game to have its first runs on the board. Happ was off to a horrendous start, which is not news. Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games. That became a little worse when Phil Gosselin doubled and then scored on a Jose Iglesias’ single. Then it became a lot worse a few moments later when old friend Kurt Suzuki hit a two-out, two-run bomb to the left field corner, making it 3-0 Angels. Facing righty Alex Cobb, the offense loaded the bases during the bottom of the first inning but couldn’t capitalize. They went down in order in the second frame, but not before Happ had given up yet another home run in the top of the inning to Jack Mayfield, extending the Angels’ lead to four. With the four early runs allowed, the Twins’ starter took the lead of Robbie Ray for most earned runs allowed by any left-handed pitcher in the American League. Minnesota got one run back in the third inning with Jorge Polanco keeping his hot streak alive and well with a double, and being pushed across by a single from Trevor Larnach. Fortunately, that was also the inning when Happ had started to settle in. After the awful first two innings, he went on to pitch four scoreless frames. Before he departed, the Twins manufactured another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Max Kepler hit a bullet to lead off the inning (110 MPH exit velocity), then Polanco singled to move him to third. With men on the corners, a fantastic defensive play from Mayfield at third prevented the Twins from maybe scoring a couple of runs. Instead, Josh Donaldson grounded into a double-play, but that was enough to score Kepler from third and cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2. Offense keeps pushing for a rally The Twins continued to peck their way into this game. Cobb came back to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but he left the game with a blister before throwing a single pitch. With Steve Cishek pitching, Miguel Sanó led off the inning with a double, and Nick Gordon singled to right to bring the big man home, putting Minnesota within a run. Minnesota kept hitting the ball hard. After Alexander Colomé delivered a scoreless seventh inning, Donaldson hit a single in the bottom of the inning, the Twins’ 11th hit of the night. However, they couldn’t add on, thanks to Mayfield’s impressive defensive display at the hot corner. While the Twins were able to produce baserunners, most of them were stranded by the Angel defense. Juan Minaya worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth to keep this a one-run game. Then, with a series of great at-bats, the offense came through in the home half. Sanó worked an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a leadoff walk, prompting a pitching change. Joe Maddon brought in star closer Raisel Iglesias to try to keep the Angels ahead. After he got the first out of the inning, Gordon responded with a single, his second of the night. Then Ryan Jeffers came through with his most clutch hit yet! A single to left, just out of the reach of Mayfield, was enough to score Sanó from second. After an errant throw home, Suzuki tried to catch Gordon advancing to third base, but he was way off the mark, allowing the Twins’ rookie to score sliding and give the Twins their first lead of the night, 5-4. Taylor Rogers came in to pitch the ninth inning and, despite giving up a bloop single to David Fletcher, managed to retire the side and secure the Twins win. This was his ninth save of the season, the 50th in his career. He's now even closer to enter the top 10 in career saves in Senators/Twins franchise history, ranking 13th at the moment. Postgame Interviews Nick Gordon Ryan Jeffers Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 59 Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 54 Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 47 Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 37 Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 37 Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 33 Robles 19 7 0 0 0 26 Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 20 View full article
  25. Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/31 through Sun, 6/6 *** Record Last Week: 3-4 (Overall: 24-35) Run Differential Last Week: -13 (Overall: -35) Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (12.5 GB) Last Week's Game Recaps: Game 53 | MIN 3, BAL 2: Twins Edge O's Behind Strong Berríos Effort Game 54 | BAL 7, MIN 4: Orioles Snap Losing Streak Against Twins Game 55 | BAL 6, MIN 3: Twins Sink to New Low, Drop Series in Baltimore Game 56 | KC 6, MIN 5: Bats Unable to Overcome Happ's Poor Start Game 57 | KC 14, MIN 5: Okay, Now THIS Was a New Low Game 58 | MIN 5, KC 4: Home Runs Power Minnesota to Narrow Victory Game 59 | MIN 3, KC 2: Strong Effort from Staff Aids Another Close Win NEWS & NOTES This team is absolutely ravaged. A nonstop barrage of injuries has forced the Twins to reach into the deepest corners of their minor-league depth, routinely fielding lineups populated by guys playing out of position or above their appropriate competition level. Not only have the injuries been plentiful, but also astoundingly inconvenient and untimely. For example, our last Week in Review column noted that "the biggest bright spot on offense right now has got to be Mitch Garver, who suddenly looks like his old Silver Slugger self." Naturally, in the first inning of the first game last week, Garver went down. The catcher experienced a brutal mishap that no one would wish upon their worst enemy, taking a foul tip directly in the groin and requiring emergency surgery that night. He'll be sidelined for the foreseeable future. In last week's column we also noted "Rocco Baldelli's made no secret of the fact that he'll be riding Rob Refsnyder hard in the short-term, and the manager will have to hope his opportunistic 30-year-old can stay hot (and healthy)." Naturally, in the same game where Garver got hurt, Refsnyder ran into the outfield wall in Baltimore and soon after went on the shelf with a concussion. With Refsnyder joining Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jake Cave on IL, the Twins had little choice but to call up prospect Gilberto Celestino, their only available center fielder on the 40-man roster. The 22-year-old, who'd played less than two dozen games above Single-A in the minors, has looked like a player that belongs nowhere near the big leagues, and I don't think the Twins would even deny that. But their alternative options are basically non-existent. Also hitting the Injured List this past week: relievers Caleb Thielbar (groin strain) and Shaun Anderson (blisters). Juan Minaya was designated for assignment and Dakota Chalmers was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Griffin Jax and Bailey Ober were recalled, with the latter making an impressive start in Kansas City on Sunday. HIGHLIGHTS In a season where postseason hopes have been effectively snuffed out by early June, you have to focus on the smaller individual storylines to find fulfillment as a fan – especially those with potential to impact the long-term outlook as this team aims to pick up the pieces and remake itself with help from the internal pipeline. Ober is an intriguing asset from this standpoint. In a spot start on Sunday, he tossed four innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts and no walks. He induced an impressive eight swinging strikes on 51 pitches, flashing 93-94 MPH on the gun repeatedly with his four-seamer. Despite an intimidating 6-foot-9 frame, Ober has generally been viewed as having a limited ceiling, due mainly to his middling fastball velocity as a starter. While coming up as a prospect he usually worked in the high 80s or low 90s. The increase we're seeing now plays up his secondary stuff, and when you add strong command to the mix, you've got a pitcher with some real upside. He has a 21-to-5 K/BB ratio in 16 innings at Triple-A and now an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio in eight innings with the Twins. He should stick in the rotation and get a long look this summer. Another prospect taking advantage of his unexpected opportunity and running with it: Nick Gordon, who provided a rare heartwarming highlight amidst a barrage of uninspiring performances for the Twins last week. With his father Tom "Flash" Gordon watching from the stands on Friday, Gordon went 3-for-4 with his first major-league home run. In total, Gordon made four starts and went 7-for-16 (.438) with two RBIs and a stolen base. He's slashing .400/.429/.550 in his young big-league career, and dating back to 2019 he now has a .312 batting average and .474 slugging percentage in 340 at-bats between Triple-A and the majors. He's 22-for-26 on steal attempts during that span. Through all the tribulations he's faced over these past few years, Gordon has stepped it up on the field and really produced when given a chance. This season is a giant bummer, obviously, but if the Twins can take the opportunity to get extended looks at fringe-type prospects like Ober and Gordon, and find that maybe they actually have something in them, that's a big win with possible implications going forward. LOWLIGHTS It needs to be stated: The front office completely whiffed on nearly every significant pitching acquisition during the offseason. Starters, relievers, free agents, trades ... they've almost all panned out poorly. None worse than Matt Shoemaker, who received a $2 million deal to plug in as Minnesota's No. 5 starter and has been a total disaster. His start on Friday was one of the worst ever seen from a Twins pitcher, as the right-hander surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits and two walks while recording one out. The catastrophic performance inflated his ERA to 7.28 and tagged him with his league-leading seventh loss. Shoemaker absolutely deserves to be out of the rotation but that's not happening at this point, due to the aforementioned lack of bodies. The Twins can't afford to give away any of their MLB depth, no matter how atrocious it may be. Fellow free agent starter J.A. Happ hasn't been quite as bad as Shoemaker, but he sure hasn't been good. Happ gave up five earned runs on nine hits (three home runs) in five innings against Kansas City the previous night. He now owns a 5.61 ERA to go along with a 4.77 FIP. That includes a 10.17 ERA over his past five turns, during which opponents have slashed .360/.405/.680 against the veteran, who looks pretty cooked by now. Bullpen pickups have been similarly disappointing, just about across the board. Centerpiece free agency addition Alex Colomé gave up a two-run homer in Baltimore; his modest momentum built up in early May has now completely evaporated. Colomé has a 9.00 ERA in his past six outings and opponents are slashing .389/.450/.889. The team's lone trade acquisition of the winter, Anderson, pitched badly in his only appearance of the week before going back on IL. We've already seen Derek Law and Brandon Waddell pass through with lackluster stints. What happened to the mojo and moxie of this front office and coaching staff when it comes to identifying and developing arms? It's the top story of the season, in my opinion. Entering play on Sunday, the Twins had the third-worst ERA in the American League (ahead of only the Orioles and Angels) and the second-worst pitching WAR in the major leagues (ahead of only the Diamondbacks). The bats have their issues and the lineup is decimated but this lousy pitching staff gives the team no real shot at getting on any kind of sustained run. TRENDING STORYLINE It appears the Twins may be getting back two of their most critical pieces in the near future. Buxton, who has now missed a full month and counting since straining his hip on May 6th, completed a baserunning program without issue and will likely head on a rehab stint in the days ahead. It wouldn't be shocking to see him back in the outfield for next weekend's series against Houston. Meanwhile, Kenta Maeda went through a 35-pitch bullpen session on Sunday morning and came out of it fine. He too is on the verge of a rehab assignment, which presumably would entail one or two starts with the Saints. Will the time off prove an elixir for his woefully underwhelming performance up to this point? The Twins are probably in too deep of a hole, and plagued by too many flaws on the roster, for an historical comeback thrusting them back into contention to be realistic. If such a thing was ever going to happen though, getting back their best player and best pitcher at full strength will absolutely need to be a part of the equation. LOOKING AHEAD Well, here we go. After going 7-6 during their two-week soft patch against the Orioles and Royals, the Twins are about to see the difficulty level steepen sharply. The dreaded Yankees and Astros are coming to town. This could get ugly. (Uglier, I should say.) TUESDAY, 6/8: YANKEES @ TWINS – LHP Jordan Montgomery v. RHP Michael Pineda WEDNESDAY, 6/9: YANKEES @ TWINS – RHP Gerrit Cole v. RHP Randy Dobnak THURSDAY, 6/10: YANKEES @ TWINS – TBD v. LHP J.A. Happ FRIDAY, 6/11: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP José Urquidy v. RHP José Berríos SATURDAY, 6/12: ASTROS @ TWINS – RHP Luis Garcia v. RHP Bailey Ober SUNDAY, 6/13: ASTROS @ TWINS – LHP Framber Valdez v. RHP Michael Pineda
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