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  1. Another minor league season sent to the history books. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints TRANSACTIONS None Saints Sentinel St. Paul 3, Omaha 1 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 4 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Nash Knight (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) The Saints won their final game of the season on Wednesday. It had been an inconsistent and bumpy year—one similar to the season their parent franchise underwent—but the team gathered their ability and sent the fans home happy with a triumphant ending. Randy Dobnak manned the mound; the righty sinkerball specialist—so used to harvesting command at will—found success through unpredictable chaos; he walked three but allowed a single hit against seven strikeouts. Dobnak missed a quality start by an out. The man known for his tremendous mustache may no longer reside on the 40-man roster, but he has an entire off-season to iron out deficiencies, and he could contribute positively to a future Twins team. St. Paul’s offense remained as dormant as their enemy; Saints batters continuously walked back to the dugout, befuddled at Alec Marsh’s stuff for inning after inning until the 5th frame. There—Nash Knight ripped a double down the right-field line, scoring Andrew Bechtold. The game remained quiet until Knight—yet again a thorn in Omaha’s side—dashed home on a wild pitch, adding a run to the lead. The inning did not end there, however; St. Paul nabbed a third and final run when Cole Sturgeon singled in Frank Nigro. Mario Sanchez worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Dobnak, striking out three while allowing a pair of hits and walks. The Saints end the year 74-75, tied for 4th in the IL West division; a slight step down from their 67-63 record in 2021, although in a different divisional context. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Randy Dobnak Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Nash Knight PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS None! FEEDBACK Thank you for always being so supportive of the minor league report, as well as your participation in some great discussions in the comments. As you know, there will be a lot of minor league coverage here throughout the offseason. Next week, Twins Spotlight will return for its third Off(season). Let us know what more you would like to see. View full article
  2. TRANSACTIONS None Saints Sentinel St. Paul 3, Omaha 1 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 4 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Nash Knight (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI) The Saints won their final game of the season on Wednesday. It had been an inconsistent and bumpy year—one similar to the season their parent franchise underwent—but the team gathered their ability and sent the fans home happy with a triumphant ending. Randy Dobnak manned the mound; the righty sinkerball specialist—so used to harvesting command at will—found success through unpredictable chaos; he walked three but allowed a single hit against seven strikeouts. Dobnak missed a quality start by an out. The man known for his tremendous mustache may no longer reside on the 40-man roster, but he has an entire off-season to iron out deficiencies, and he could contribute positively to a future Twins team. St. Paul’s offense remained as dormant as their enemy; Saints batters continuously walked back to the dugout, befuddled at Alec Marsh’s stuff for inning after inning until the 5th frame. There—Nash Knight ripped a double down the right-field line, scoring Andrew Bechtold. The game remained quiet until Knight—yet again a thorn in Omaha’s side—dashed home on a wild pitch, adding a run to the lead. The inning did not end there, however; St. Paul nabbed a third and final run when Cole Sturgeon singled in Frank Nigro. Mario Sanchez worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Dobnak, striking out three while allowing a pair of hits and walks. The Saints end the year 74-75, tied for 4th in the IL West division; a slight step down from their 67-63 record in 2021, although in a different divisional context. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Randy Dobnak Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Nash Knight PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB, K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS None! FEEDBACK Thank you for always being so supportive of the minor league report, as well as your participation in some great discussions in the comments. As you know, there will be a lot of minor league coverage here throughout the offseason. Next week, Twins Spotlight will return for its third Off(season). Let us know what more you would like to see.
  3. The Wichita Wind Surge, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, have advanced to the Texas League championship series after an impressive showing in their first-round matchup. After taking Game 1 by a score of 17-1, Wichita advances after winning 11-1 tonight. Jair Camargo was the star, hitting a pair of home runs en route to a 3-for-4 night in which he drove in five runs and scored four times. DaShawn Keirsey homered for the second-straight game for Wichita. In St. Paul, Randy Dobnak had a rough start before Cole Sands and Evan Sisk both impressed out of the bullpen.
  4. The Wichita Wind Surge, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, have advanced to the Texas League championship series after an impressive showing in their first-round matchup. After taking Game 1 by a score of 17-1, Wichita advances after winning 11-1 tonight. Jair Camargo was the star, hitting a pair of home runs en route to a 3-for-4 night in which he drove in five runs and scored four times. DaShawn Keirsey homered for the second-straight game for Wichita. In St. Paul, Randy Dobnak had a rough start before Cole Sands and Evan Sisk both impressed out of the bullpen. View full video
  5. Oh, and the Mighty Mussels lost in the playoffs, but that doesn't get the clicks. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints TRANSACTIONS INF Brooks Lee promoted to Wichita C Dillon Datum placed on development list (Wichita) INF Wander Javier promoted to St. Paul INF Jake Rucker promoted to St. Paul C Roy Morales activated from IL (St. Paul) OF Matt Wallner contract selected by Minnesota RHP Louie Varland recalled by Minnesota (29th man) RHP Drew Strotman designated for assignment RHP Trevor Megill placed on COVID-IL list RHP Dereck Rodriguez contract selected from St. Paul. Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 3 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: Jake Rucker (1) Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), Dalton Shuffield (2-for-3) St. Paul won on a walk-off Saturday. The new guys made bold impressions; Jake Rucker announced his presence with a two-run homer, while Wander Javier singled in a run in the 5th inning. With a runner on third in the 9th, Rucker connected with a fly-ball sent deep enough to score the winning run. Randy Dobnak—making his first start since his recent DFA—was erratic, walking three batters in a rust-filled outing. The sinkerballer still struck out four and didn’t allow a run—perhaps proving he still has something in the tank—but the Twins will likely desire to see more command in future starts. Trevor Larnach started in left field and played seven innings. Mike Siani—the Bats’ centerfielder and lead-off man—is the team’s best prospect; he homered and singled in five at-bats. Longtime major-leaguer, Stephen Piscotty, hit 6th for the Bats and DH’d. Wind Surge Wisdom Game One: Wichita 3, Midland 4 Box Score Cody Laweryson: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Alex Isola (10) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) Wichita lost the first game of their doubleheader on Saturday. Cody Laweryson pitched effectively—although not dominantly—in his five innings of work, striking out five batters while allowing two runs. His Wichita ERA sits at 1.06. Alex Isola spearheaded the offensive performance; the catcher homered and singled, netting two runs in an otherwise dry day for Wind Surge batters. Anthony Prato’s 2nd inning double was the only other extra-base hit in the game. The issue? Wichita grounded into three double plays in the game; Yunior Severino accounted for two of them. Tyler Soderstrom is Midland’s top prospect according to MLB.com. The first baseman singled twice in three at-bats. Game Two: Wichita 1, Midland 9 Box Score Osiris German: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Wichita lost a clunker in game two on Saturday. Midland sandwiched a one-run 4th inning with four-run frames before and afterward, ensuring that Wichita would face an uphill battle in their attempt to win; Hunter McMahon and Michael Boyle walked away with battered ERAs. The lone offensive bright spot came when Austin Martin doubled home a run in the 6th inning, but—fitting for a game like this—Midland threw him out trying to stretch the play to a triple. Brooks Lee went hitless with a strikeout in three at-bats during his AA debut. Soderstrom improved off his first game, homering and driving in three to cement his prospect status. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Dunedin 3 Box Score Jordan Carr: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Tanner Schobel (2-for-4, RBI) Fort Myers lost on Saturday, ending their playoff run in the opening round. All arms were on deck; Fort Myers called upon four pitchers to help lead them, and their combined effort was impressive. Andrew Morris—a 2022 draft pick—lead the way with a trio of scoreless innings, holding the Blue Jays at bay during the crucial switch from the middle innings to the late frames. The staff allowed a high hit total—11, to be precise—but only three runs. The Achilles heel proved to be the offense, as the bats mustered just four hits in the match; Tanner Schobel alone accounted for half of them. Without an extra-base hit, the team could plate only a single run, forcing the pitchers to be perfect, which they were not. The Mighty Mussels’ season is now over. Josh Kasevich and Cade Doughty are Dunedin’s top prospects according to MLB.com; Doughty singled twice and both hitters nabbed an RBI. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Randy Dobnak Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 0-3, K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-6, 2B, RBI #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-4 #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-3, HR, R, RBI, K (Major League debut) #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-5, BB, K #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, RBI #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (12:07 PM) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Midland (2:00 PM) - LHP Kody Funderburk View full article
  6. TRANSACTIONS INF Brooks Lee promoted to Wichita C Dillon Datum placed on development list (Wichita) INF Wander Javier promoted to St. Paul INF Jake Rucker promoted to St. Paul C Roy Morales activated from IL (St. Paul) OF Matt Wallner contract selected by Minnesota RHP Louie Varland recalled by Minnesota (29th man) RHP Drew Strotman designated for assignment RHP Trevor Megill placed on COVID-IL list RHP Dereck Rodriguez contract selected from St. Paul. Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 3 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: Jake Rucker (1) Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), Dalton Shuffield (2-for-3) St. Paul won on a walk-off Saturday. The new guys made bold impressions; Jake Rucker announced his presence with a two-run homer, while Wander Javier singled in a run in the 5th inning. With a runner on third in the 9th, Rucker connected with a fly-ball sent deep enough to score the winning run. Randy Dobnak—making his first start since his recent DFA—was erratic, walking three batters in a rust-filled outing. The sinkerballer still struck out four and didn’t allow a run—perhaps proving he still has something in the tank—but the Twins will likely desire to see more command in future starts. Trevor Larnach started in left field and played seven innings. Mike Siani—the Bats’ centerfielder and lead-off man—is the team’s best prospect; he homered and singled in five at-bats. Longtime major-leaguer, Stephen Piscotty, hit 6th for the Bats and DH’d. Wind Surge Wisdom Game One: Wichita 3, Midland 4 Box Score Cody Laweryson: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Alex Isola (10) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) Wichita lost the first game of their doubleheader on Saturday. Cody Laweryson pitched effectively—although not dominantly—in his five innings of work, striking out five batters while allowing two runs. His Wichita ERA sits at 1.06. Alex Isola spearheaded the offensive performance; the catcher homered and singled, netting two runs in an otherwise dry day for Wind Surge batters. Anthony Prato’s 2nd inning double was the only other extra-base hit in the game. The issue? Wichita grounded into three double plays in the game; Yunior Severino accounted for two of them. Tyler Soderstrom is Midland’s top prospect according to MLB.com. The first baseman singled twice in three at-bats. Game Two: Wichita 1, Midland 9 Box Score Osiris German: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Wichita lost a clunker in game two on Saturday. Midland sandwiched a one-run 4th inning with four-run frames before and afterward, ensuring that Wichita would face an uphill battle in their attempt to win; Hunter McMahon and Michael Boyle walked away with battered ERAs. The lone offensive bright spot came when Austin Martin doubled home a run in the 6th inning, but—fitting for a game like this—Midland threw him out trying to stretch the play to a triple. Brooks Lee went hitless with a strikeout in three at-bats during his AA debut. Soderstrom improved off his first game, homering and driving in three to cement his prospect status. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Dunedin 3 Box Score Jordan Carr: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Tanner Schobel (2-for-4, RBI) Fort Myers lost on Saturday, ending their playoff run in the opening round. All arms were on deck; Fort Myers called upon four pitchers to help lead them, and their combined effort was impressive. Andrew Morris—a 2022 draft pick—lead the way with a trio of scoreless innings, holding the Blue Jays at bay during the crucial switch from the middle innings to the late frames. The staff allowed a high hit total—11, to be precise—but only three runs. The Achilles heel proved to be the offense, as the bats mustered just four hits in the match; Tanner Schobel alone accounted for half of them. Without an extra-base hit, the team could plate only a single run, forcing the pitchers to be perfect, which they were not. The Mighty Mussels’ season is now over. Josh Kasevich and Cade Doughty are Dunedin’s top prospects according to MLB.com; Doughty singled twice and both hitters nabbed an RBI. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Randy Dobnak Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 0-3, K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-6, 2B, RBI #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-4 #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-3, HR, R, RBI, K (Major League debut) #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-5, BB, K #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, RBI #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (12:07 PM) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Midland (2:00 PM) - LHP Kody Funderburk
  7. Josh Winder made another start for the St. Paul Saints tonight as he looks to get back up with the Minnesota Twins. Star prospect Brooks Lee had a nice afternoon in a doubleheader for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. There was plenty of action on the farm to wrap up Labor Day weekend. Image courtesy of Steve Buhr, Twins Daily TRANSACTIONS LHP Jovani Moran recalled by Minnesota Twins RHP Ben Heller released by organization RHP Juan Minaya released by organization RHP Tyler Thornburg released by organization SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 4, St. Paul 2 Box Score Josh Winder continues his return from the injured list now pitching for the Saints. He’s said to be in play for a bullpen role this month with Minnesota, and he was letting it fly knowing the outing would be shorter. His fastball sat 95-96 mph throughout his outing, and he touched 97 mph as well. Winder finished four innings allowing just a single hit and an unearned run. He struck out three. The Saints got on the board first, scoring in the 2nd inning on a pair of back-to-back jacks. John Andreoli nearly wore a pitch and then went way out to left center for his 12th of the season. Braden Bishop followed with a blast to left as well, and St. Paul was up 2-0. After an unearned run brought Omaha within one, a solo shot off Randy Dobnak in the 5th inning tied it up. Dobnak touched 94 mph with his fastball, and did get a nice strikeout on his offspeed to the second batter he saw. The Saints and Storm Chasers were knotted at two with two hits apiece when rehabbing Twins pitcher Cole Sands took over in the 7th inning. Omaha was able to manufacture a run in the 8th inning to take the lead and then tagged Sands for another in the 9th inning to double up the Saints. Down to their final at bat, St. Paul sent Chris Williams, Andreoli, and pinch hitter Michael Helman to the dish. Unfortunately they went down in order and that's how this one ended. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 4, Wichita 3 (F/10) Box Score The Wind Surge had Daniel Gossett up tonight. He was great going five scoreless innings allowing just two hits and three walks. Gossett also struck out a trio of batters. After two scoreless frames to begin the game, Wichita got on the board with a three-run 3rd inning. Jair Camargo stepped in and blasted a three-run shot to centerfield. It was his 11th of the season and brought in both Austin Martin and Edouard Julien. Neither side could push anything else across through the 5th inning and the score stayed close. After Gossett exited in the 6th inning, Springfield immediately came to life. Three runs scored and the game was all tied heading to the 7th inning. Neither side could push across the go-ahead tally until extra. Springfield scored their runner from second base and completed the walk-off comeback. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Dayton 8 Cedar Rapids 7 (F/7) Box Score Playing a twin bill today, Cedar Rapids began the afternoon starting Jaylen Nowlin. He went 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs on six hits. Bowling also struck out five while walking three. Cedar Rapids raced out to an early lead scoring three in the 1st inning. Brooks Lee scored on a fielder’s choice from Kyler Fedko before a Seth Gray single drove in Pat Winkel. Wander Javier capped off the three-run inning with a sacrifice fly to plate Fedko. After giving two back in the bottom of the 1st inning, Cedar Rapids let in another four in the 4th inning, and two more in the 5th inning. Facing a five run deficit, they looked to rally in the top of the 7th inning. Jake Rucker roped his 15th double to drive in Dylan Neuse, and Lee then crushed his 4th homer for the Kernels. Gray hit his 16th home run of the season a few batters later, but the one run deficit still remained and was where this one ended. Game 2: Dayton 7, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Jon Olsen took the ball for Cedar Rapids in game two but was chased after just 1 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits. Olsen fanned one and allowed one free pass. Both teams matched zeroes during the 1st inning during the nightcap, but the Dragons exploded for five runs in the 2nd inning. A pair of singles and a double gave them all the run production they’d need, despite adding a two-run blast in the 6th inning for good measure. Former Twins prospect Chase Petty made the start for Dayton in game two and went five scoreless allowing just two hits and striking out two. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 11, Bradenton 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels turned to righty Jordan Carr this afternoon and he turned in five scoreless innings. Carr allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out four Marauders. Fort Myers didn’t wait long to get on the board this afternoon. In the 2nd inning Keoni Cavaco roped his 18th double to score Rubel Cespedes. He then came home on Dillon Tatum’s 6th dinger of the season. In the 3rd inning Carlos Aguiar recorded his 9th double of the season, plating both Noah Cardenas and Ben Ross. The lead extended to 5-0 now, Fort Myers went scoreless in the 4th inning. They weren’t done adding however, and in the 5th inning Cespedes drove in Cardenas with a sacrifice fly. Looking to continue the run scoring, Kala’i Rosario stayed hot and singled in the top of the 6th inning with Tanner Schobel racing home. Cardenas then recorded his 17th double to drive in Rosario from third base. Misael Urbina got into the action with a 7th inning sacrifice fly before Daniel Ozoria hit his first homer in the 9th inning. The two run shot erased runs by Bradenton in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ozoria was playing in his 299th professional game, and the dinger was just the third of his career. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 3 BB, 2B #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-1, BB, 2 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - Rehab with St. Paul - 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-4, 2 R, 2 BB #19 - Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3 #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 2-4, R, RBI TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - TBD South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - TBD St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing. View full article
  8. TRANSACTIONS LHP Jovani Moran recalled by Minnesota Twins RHP Ben Heller released by organization RHP Juan Minaya released by organization RHP Tyler Thornburg released by organization SAINTS SENTINEL Omaha 4, St. Paul 2 Box Score Josh Winder continues his return from the injured list now pitching for the Saints. He’s said to be in play for a bullpen role this month with Minnesota, and he was letting it fly knowing the outing would be shorter. His fastball sat 95-96 mph throughout his outing, and he touched 97 mph as well. Winder finished four innings allowing just a single hit and an unearned run. He struck out three. The Saints got on the board first, scoring in the 2nd inning on a pair of back-to-back jacks. John Andreoli nearly wore a pitch and then went way out to left center for his 12th of the season. Braden Bishop followed with a blast to left as well, and St. Paul was up 2-0. After an unearned run brought Omaha within one, a solo shot off Randy Dobnak in the 5th inning tied it up. Dobnak touched 94 mph with his fastball, and did get a nice strikeout on his offspeed to the second batter he saw. The Saints and Storm Chasers were knotted at two with two hits apiece when rehabbing Twins pitcher Cole Sands took over in the 7th inning. Omaha was able to manufacture a run in the 8th inning to take the lead and then tagged Sands for another in the 9th inning to double up the Saints. Down to their final at bat, St. Paul sent Chris Williams, Andreoli, and pinch hitter Michael Helman to the dish. Unfortunately they went down in order and that's how this one ended. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 4, Wichita 3 (F/10) Box Score The Wind Surge had Daniel Gossett up tonight. He was great going five scoreless innings allowing just two hits and three walks. Gossett also struck out a trio of batters. After two scoreless frames to begin the game, Wichita got on the board with a three-run 3rd inning. Jair Camargo stepped in and blasted a three-run shot to centerfield. It was his 11th of the season and brought in both Austin Martin and Edouard Julien. Neither side could push anything else across through the 5th inning and the score stayed close. After Gossett exited in the 6th inning, Springfield immediately came to life. Three runs scored and the game was all tied heading to the 7th inning. Neither side could push across the go-ahead tally until extra. Springfield scored their runner from second base and completed the walk-off comeback. KERNELS NUGGETS Game 1: Dayton 8 Cedar Rapids 7 (F/7) Box Score Playing a twin bill today, Cedar Rapids began the afternoon starting Jaylen Nowlin. He went 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs on six hits. Bowling also struck out five while walking three. Cedar Rapids raced out to an early lead scoring three in the 1st inning. Brooks Lee scored on a fielder’s choice from Kyler Fedko before a Seth Gray single drove in Pat Winkel. Wander Javier capped off the three-run inning with a sacrifice fly to plate Fedko. After giving two back in the bottom of the 1st inning, Cedar Rapids let in another four in the 4th inning, and two more in the 5th inning. Facing a five run deficit, they looked to rally in the top of the 7th inning. Jake Rucker roped his 15th double to drive in Dylan Neuse, and Lee then crushed his 4th homer for the Kernels. Gray hit his 16th home run of the season a few batters later, but the one run deficit still remained and was where this one ended. Game 2: Dayton 7, Cedar Rapids 0 Box Score Jon Olsen took the ball for Cedar Rapids in game two but was chased after just 1 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits. Olsen fanned one and allowed one free pass. Both teams matched zeroes during the 1st inning during the nightcap, but the Dragons exploded for five runs in the 2nd inning. A pair of singles and a double gave them all the run production they’d need, despite adding a two-run blast in the 6th inning for good measure. Former Twins prospect Chase Petty made the start for Dayton in game two and went five scoreless allowing just two hits and striking out two. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 11, Bradenton 2 Box Score The Mighty Mussels turned to righty Jordan Carr this afternoon and he turned in five scoreless innings. Carr allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out four Marauders. Fort Myers didn’t wait long to get on the board this afternoon. In the 2nd inning Keoni Cavaco roped his 18th double to score Rubel Cespedes. He then came home on Dillon Tatum’s 6th dinger of the season. In the 3rd inning Carlos Aguiar recorded his 9th double of the season, plating both Noah Cardenas and Ben Ross. The lead extended to 5-0 now, Fort Myers went scoreless in the 4th inning. They weren’t done adding however, and in the 5th inning Cespedes drove in Cardenas with a sacrifice fly. Looking to continue the run scoring, Kala’i Rosario stayed hot and singled in the top of the 6th inning with Tanner Schobel racing home. Cardenas then recorded his 17th double to drive in Rosario from third base. Misael Urbina got into the action with a 7th inning sacrifice fly before Daniel Ozoria hit his first homer in the 9th inning. The two run shot erased runs by Bradenton in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ozoria was playing in his 299th professional game, and the dinger was just the third of his career. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K Hitter of the Day – Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) PROSPECT SUMMARY We will again keep tabs on the Twins top prospects. You’ll probably read about them in the team sections, but if they aren’t there, you’ll see how they did here. Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 3-7, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(4) #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 3 BB, 2B #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-1, BB, 2 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-3, R, 2 BB, K #17 - Cole Sands (Minnesota) - Rehab with St. Paul - 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Fort Myers) - 1-4, 2 R, 2 BB #19 - Alerick Soularie (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3 #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Fort Myers) - 2-4, R, RBI TUESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Toledo (5:35PM CST) - RHP Ariel Jurado NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) - TBD South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) - TBD St. Lucie @ Fort Myers (6:00PM CST) - TBD Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Sunday’s games! It sure is exciting to have all four Twins full-season affiliates back and playing.
  9. The Twins called up Cole Sands a few weeks ago saying they were in need of a long reliever, something that makes a lot of sense given the makeup of their pitching staff. A few outings later, however, this statement has become fairly puzzling. Some people have been calling for a long reliever to be added to the roster for much of the season. It made sense, after all, considering the way the Twins have chosen to construct their pitching staff. Between Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer, and even Joe Ryan, the Twins don’t have many pitchers that can be pushed into the late innings. As a result, Cole Sands was called up to avoid having to use 4-5 relievers every time one of these starters takes the mound. Through a week and a half, however, the Twins aren’t using Sands in the way we expected. Sands’ first outing back in Minnesota was impressive and just what we had in mind. Spinning three innings of shutout ball, Sands was able to save the bullpen. Since that first outing back on August 7th, however, Sands has pitched twice, both in one-inning stints. Perhaps a long relief opportunity hasn’t presented itself, but his recent usage may say the bullpen hierarchy isn’t what it probably should be at this point. In his last outing, the Twins led 9-0 against Kansas City in the 9th inning and Sands was called upon for mop-up duty. Rather than deploying Emilio Pagan who two outings prior gave up a walk-off home run and had yet another longball pulled back by Nick Gordon in his most recent appearance, the Twins turned to their so-called “long reliever.” Nobody will blame the Twins for not being able to tell the future, but the very next day Tyler Mahle left in the third inning and the Twins turned to Emilio Pagan in the role Sands was supposedly brought up to fill. The game was ultimately filled out later by several high-leverage relievers just as we’ve seen in short starts all season. Pagan was less than dominant but got the job done. The outcome here is inconsequential with the day off Thursday, but it raises questions about the Twins bullpen management, particularly in regards to long relievers. In years past the Twins have not only had rosters that a traditional long reliever would have helped, but they’ve also had respectable options to fill such a role. From Randy Dobnak in 2021 to Cole Sands and Josh Winder this year, the Twins have a history of rostering these players and not setting them up for success in a long relief role. In all three cases, these pitchers have been used inconsistently in regards to the frequency they pitch as well as the situations they’re used in. Not only does this usage not provide the team with the bullpen support they so badly need, but the pitchers themselves often suffer without the structure they’d grown accustomed to as starting pitchers. Unless the front office simply views Sands as a traditional relief pitcher at this point in his career, there’s no reason for him to be on the Major League roster filling one-inning stints. He clearly won’t be allowed to pitch on back-to-back days, so unless he’s the #1 option to come in and fill multiple innings, there are several relievers in AAA who can come up and better fill such a role. Perhaps Mahle’s short start was a wake-up call, but Cole Sands simply isn’t being used in the way he should be. It’s disappointing to see considering how much of an impact a true long reliever could have in this final month-plus of the season. Furthermore, it hasn’t been encouraging to see that the Twins prefer to use their so-called “long reliever” in mop-up duty over Emilio Pagan who still appears to have the Twins complete trust despite the seismic shift he’s made in their season with some of the ugliest blow-ups in Twins Territory since Ron Davis was closing out games. It’s impossible to say whether the Twins feel the same way, but they should be staring down two options moving forward. Either schedule out “piggyback” scenarios with Cole Sands to use him in a way that will maximize his ability to fill innings, or replace him with a traditional reliever that doesn’t need time off after a one-inning stint. Anywhere in between these two options would be doing a disservice to themselves. The Twins need a long reliever and now they have one in Cole Sands. It’s time to start using him as one. View full article
  10. Some people have been calling for a long reliever to be added to the roster for much of the season. It made sense, after all, considering the way the Twins have chosen to construct their pitching staff. Between Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer, and even Joe Ryan, the Twins don’t have many pitchers that can be pushed into the late innings. As a result, Cole Sands was called up to avoid having to use 4-5 relievers every time one of these starters takes the mound. Through a week and a half, however, the Twins aren’t using Sands in the way we expected. Sands’ first outing back in Minnesota was impressive and just what we had in mind. Spinning three innings of shutout ball, Sands was able to save the bullpen. Since that first outing back on August 7th, however, Sands has pitched twice, both in one-inning stints. Perhaps a long relief opportunity hasn’t presented itself, but his recent usage may say the bullpen hierarchy isn’t what it probably should be at this point. In his last outing, the Twins led 9-0 against Kansas City in the 9th inning and Sands was called upon for mop-up duty. Rather than deploying Emilio Pagan who two outings prior gave up a walk-off home run and had yet another longball pulled back by Nick Gordon in his most recent appearance, the Twins turned to their so-called “long reliever.” Nobody will blame the Twins for not being able to tell the future, but the very next day Tyler Mahle left in the third inning and the Twins turned to Emilio Pagan in the role Sands was supposedly brought up to fill. The game was ultimately filled out later by several high-leverage relievers just as we’ve seen in short starts all season. Pagan was less than dominant but got the job done. The outcome here is inconsequential with the day off Thursday, but it raises questions about the Twins bullpen management, particularly in regards to long relievers. In years past the Twins have not only had rosters that a traditional long reliever would have helped, but they’ve also had respectable options to fill such a role. From Randy Dobnak in 2021 to Cole Sands and Josh Winder this year, the Twins have a history of rostering these players and not setting them up for success in a long relief role. In all three cases, these pitchers have been used inconsistently in regards to the frequency they pitch as well as the situations they’re used in. Not only does this usage not provide the team with the bullpen support they so badly need, but the pitchers themselves often suffer without the structure they’d grown accustomed to as starting pitchers. Unless the front office simply views Sands as a traditional relief pitcher at this point in his career, there’s no reason for him to be on the Major League roster filling one-inning stints. He clearly won’t be allowed to pitch on back-to-back days, so unless he’s the #1 option to come in and fill multiple innings, there are several relievers in AAA who can come up and better fill such a role. Perhaps Mahle’s short start was a wake-up call, but Cole Sands simply isn’t being used in the way he should be. It’s disappointing to see considering how much of an impact a true long reliever could have in this final month-plus of the season. Furthermore, it hasn’t been encouraging to see that the Twins prefer to use their so-called “long reliever” in mop-up duty over Emilio Pagan who still appears to have the Twins complete trust despite the seismic shift he’s made in their season with some of the ugliest blow-ups in Twins Territory since Ron Davis was closing out games. It’s impossible to say whether the Twins feel the same way, but they should be staring down two options moving forward. Either schedule out “piggyback” scenarios with Cole Sands to use him in a way that will maximize his ability to fill innings, or replace him with a traditional reliever that doesn’t need time off after a one-inning stint. Anywhere in between these two options would be doing a disservice to themselves. The Twins need a long reliever and now they have one in Cole Sands. It’s time to start using him as one.
  11. Major League Baseball recently announced that teams will be able to carry 28-player rosters until May 1. The lockout forced a shortened spring training, and baseball was worried about an increased chance of injuries. Players listed below with the ** are on the bubble for the final roster spots. Catchers (2): Ryan Jeffers, Gary Sanchez One of the biggest remaining questions is whether or not the Twins will carry a third catcher. Jeffers can't start every game behind the plate, and Sanchez is known as one of baseball's worst defenders. Minnesota's only other catcher on the 40-man roster is José Godoy, but it seems more likely for him to stay in St. Paul until there is a need at the big-league level. If Jeffers or Sanchez struggles behind the plate, Godoy is one phone call away from Target Field. Infielders (7): Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Gio Urshela, Carlos Correa, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker** Correa's addition undoubtedly changes the face of the infield, including solidifying the team's up-the-middle defense. Minnesota has made it clear that Arraez won't be getting regular playing time in the outfield, leaving him as a backup infield option at multiple positions. Last season, Arraez's defense was significantly improved at third base, so maybe he and Urshella will be fighting for playing time at the hot corner. Barring injury, Gordon and Rooker fill out the bench, but neither has a path to a consistent starting job. Outfielders (4): Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach** With three corner outfielders, the Twins will need to be strategic about getting at-bats for each player. Larnach isn't a true fourth outfielder, so the team may want him in St. Paul to get regular at-bats. Kirilloff can spend time at first base, which is his best defensive position. Rooker is also on the roster, but the team is hesitant to play him defensively in the outfield. Gilberto Celestino is the lone outfielder on the 40-man roster left off this projected Opening Day roster. He was terrific in St. Paul last year, and he's one injury away from taking over a big-league role. Rotation (5): Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Chris Archer Randy Dobnak's injury took him out of contention for an Opening Day roster spot. Minnesota signed Archer to serve as Dobnak's replacement at the rotation's backend. Archer's deal is a low-risk option for the Twins as it is highly incentive-based, but he has a chance to prove he is healthy. Also, it's important to consider that the Twins won't need a fifth starter very regularly at the beginning of the season. In some years, off-days and weather delays can push back the need for a fifth starter, but that won't be the case this season. Bullpen (10): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Joe Smith, Cody Stashak, Jharel Cotton, Jovani Moran**, Griffin Jax**, Jhon Romero** This spring, Rogers has looked strong, which is a good sign for the bullpen's backend. Smith was the team's most significant offseason addition to the bullpen. He comes with over 13 years of big-league experience. Minnesota needed another right-handed relief option, and Smith filled that role. Cotton and Stashak have started in the past, so they can pitch multiple innings when needed. If there were a 26-man roster, the last three names would be fighting for a job. All three could enjoy a big-league paycheck for the season's first month with expanded rosters. What changes will happen to the team's roster before Opening Day? Which on the bubble players will miss the cut? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  12. Minnesota's Opening Day roster has shifted dramatically since spring training began. Now, the team is honing in on the 28 players that will come north with the club. Major League Baseball recently announced that teams will be able to carry 28-player rosters until May 1. The lockout forced a shortened spring training, and baseball was worried about an increased chance of injuries. Players listed below with the ** are on the bubble for the final roster spots. Catchers (2): Ryan Jeffers, Gary Sanchez One of the biggest remaining questions is whether or not the Twins will carry a third catcher. Jeffers can't start every game behind the plate, and Sanchez is known as one of baseball's worst defenders. Minnesota's only other catcher on the 40-man roster is José Godoy, but it seems more likely for him to stay in St. Paul until there is a need at the big-league level. If Jeffers or Sanchez struggles behind the plate, Godoy is one phone call away from Target Field. Infielders (7): Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Gio Urshela, Carlos Correa, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker** Correa's addition undoubtedly changes the face of the infield, including solidifying the team's up-the-middle defense. Minnesota has made it clear that Arraez won't be getting regular playing time in the outfield, leaving him as a backup infield option at multiple positions. Last season, Arraez's defense was significantly improved at third base, so maybe he and Urshella will be fighting for playing time at the hot corner. Barring injury, Gordon and Rooker fill out the bench, but neither has a path to a consistent starting job. Outfielders (4): Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach** With three corner outfielders, the Twins will need to be strategic about getting at-bats for each player. Larnach isn't a true fourth outfielder, so the team may want him in St. Paul to get regular at-bats. Kirilloff can spend time at first base, which is his best defensive position. Rooker is also on the roster, but the team is hesitant to play him defensively in the outfield. Gilberto Celestino is the lone outfielder on the 40-man roster left off this projected Opening Day roster. He was terrific in St. Paul last year, and he's one injury away from taking over a big-league role. Rotation (5): Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Chris Archer Randy Dobnak's injury took him out of contention for an Opening Day roster spot. Minnesota signed Archer to serve as Dobnak's replacement at the rotation's backend. Archer's deal is a low-risk option for the Twins as it is highly incentive-based, but he has a chance to prove he is healthy. Also, it's important to consider that the Twins won't need a fifth starter very regularly at the beginning of the season. In some years, off-days and weather delays can push back the need for a fifth starter, but that won't be the case this season. Bullpen (10): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Joe Smith, Cody Stashak, Jharel Cotton, Jovani Moran**, Griffin Jax**, Jhon Romero** This spring, Rogers has looked strong, which is a good sign for the bullpen's backend. Smith was the team's most significant offseason addition to the bullpen. He comes with over 13 years of big-league experience. Minnesota needed another right-handed relief option, and Smith filled that role. Cotton and Stashak have started in the past, so they can pitch multiple innings when needed. If there were a 26-man roster, the last three names would be fighting for a job. All three could enjoy a big-league paycheck for the season's first month with expanded rosters. What changes will happen to the team's roster before Opening Day? Which on the bubble players will miss the cut? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  13. Minnesota expected Randy Dobnak to provide rotational depth this season, but his lingering finger issues led him to the 60-day IL. What will be the roster repercussions from Dobnak’s injury? Minnesota already decided to move Griffin Jax and Lewis Thorpe to bullpen roles, which makes sense when looking at their pitching flaws. Last season, Jax was excellent the first time through the order, and he may be a strong candidate to serve in an opener role. Thorpe is out of minor league options, and the team needs to see if he can find success as a reliever. Either pitcher may shift to starting games as part of bullpen games in Dobnak’s absence. Signing a different back-end starting pitcher is also on the table. Rumors surrounding Johnny Cueto coming to the Twins circulated earlier in the week, and he’d be a natural Dobnak replacement. Cueto is coming off a 2021 season where he posted a 4.08 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 114 2/3 innings, but he hadn’t pitched more than 65 innings in three prior seasons. Cueto doesn’t seem to offer a ton of upside, and maybe the Twins are rethinking their back of the rotation options. Another option is to allow other young pitchers to start. Many of the team’s top pitching prospects missed time last season due to injury. Pitchers will be on an innings limit, so when and where do the Twins want those innings? If players start in the minors, those are innings that don’t help the 2022 Twins. Someone like Jhoan Duran can help bolster the team’s bullpen, but Minnesota may not be ready to shift him from starting. Jordan Balazovic is on the 40-man roster, and he pitched nearly 100 innings at Double-A last season. As a 23-year-old, would the Twins start him in the big-league rotation? Nothing stops the team from moving him up and down from Triple-A throughout the 2022 season. Other prospects on the 40-man roster include Josh Winder and Drew Strotman. Winder, like Balazovic, is projected to debut in 2022, but he dealt with a right shoulder impingement that limited him to 72 innings. Winder may be ahead of Balazovic on the depth chart because he made multiple Triple-A starts and is a couple of years older. Last summer, Strotman was acquired as part of the Nelson Cruz trade, and scouts view him as big-league ready. This year, he will start games for the Twins, and Dobnak’s injury may push him into the team’s Opening Day plans. Veteran players like Jharel Cotton, Chi Chi Gonzalez, and Dereck Rodriguez have been brought in this winter to provide organizational depth. Cotton projects to be part of the bullpen, but he can bounce back in 2022, including shifting back to being a starter. Gonzalez started 18 games for the Rockies last season but posted a 6.46 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP. There’s a chance that leaving Coors Field will help some of his numbers. Rodriguez also provides rotational depth as he looks to get back to the pitcher he was in 2018. After signing his extension last winter, Dobnak’s career has undoubtedly followed a challenging path. Minnesota tried him as a reliever last season, and it didn’t work. From there, his finger injury started bothering him, and he is still dealing with the issue. Over the next three seasons, he is guaranteed $7.75 million, so Minnesota wants him to solve his finger issue and get back on the field. What path do you think the Twins will follow because of Dobnak’s injury? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  14. Minnesota already decided to move Griffin Jax and Lewis Thorpe to bullpen roles, which makes sense when looking at their pitching flaws. Last season, Jax was excellent the first time through the order, and he may be a strong candidate to serve in an opener role. Thorpe is out of minor league options, and the team needs to see if he can find success as a reliever. Either pitcher may shift to starting games as part of bullpen games in Dobnak’s absence. Signing a different back-end starting pitcher is also on the table. Rumors surrounding Johnny Cueto coming to the Twins circulated earlier in the week, and he’d be a natural Dobnak replacement. Cueto is coming off a 2021 season where he posted a 4.08 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 114 2/3 innings, but he hadn’t pitched more than 65 innings in three prior seasons. Cueto doesn’t seem to offer a ton of upside, and maybe the Twins are rethinking their back of the rotation options. Another option is to allow other young pitchers to start. Many of the team’s top pitching prospects missed time last season due to injury. Pitchers will be on an innings limit, so when and where do the Twins want those innings? If players start in the minors, those are innings that don’t help the 2022 Twins. Someone like Jhoan Duran can help bolster the team’s bullpen, but Minnesota may not be ready to shift him from starting. Jordan Balazovic is on the 40-man roster, and he pitched nearly 100 innings at Double-A last season. As a 23-year-old, would the Twins start him in the big-league rotation? Nothing stops the team from moving him up and down from Triple-A throughout the 2022 season. Other prospects on the 40-man roster include Josh Winder and Drew Strotman. Winder, like Balazovic, is projected to debut in 2022, but he dealt with a right shoulder impingement that limited him to 72 innings. Winder may be ahead of Balazovic on the depth chart because he made multiple Triple-A starts and is a couple of years older. Last summer, Strotman was acquired as part of the Nelson Cruz trade, and scouts view him as big-league ready. This year, he will start games for the Twins, and Dobnak’s injury may push him into the team’s Opening Day plans. Veteran players like Jharel Cotton, Chi Chi Gonzalez, and Dereck Rodriguez have been brought in this winter to provide organizational depth. Cotton projects to be part of the bullpen, but he can bounce back in 2022, including shifting back to being a starter. Gonzalez started 18 games for the Rockies last season but posted a 6.46 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP. There’s a chance that leaving Coors Field will help some of his numbers. Rodriguez also provides rotational depth as he looks to get back to the pitcher he was in 2018. After signing his extension last winter, Dobnak’s career has undoubtedly followed a challenging path. Minnesota tried him as a reliever last season, and it didn’t work. From there, his finger injury started bothering him, and he is still dealing with the issue. Over the next three seasons, he is guaranteed $7.75 million, so Minnesota wants him to solve his finger issue and get back on the field. What path do you think the Twins will follow because of Dobnak’s injury? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. The Minnesota Twins announced that they have claimed right-handed pitcher Jhon Romero from the Washington Nationals. To make room, righty Randy Dobnak has been placed on the 60-Day Injured List. Over the weekend, we learned that Randy Dobnak has continued to experience pain in his finger this spring. The injury cut his 2021 season in half. The right-middle finger has been an issue for him since last season. Jhon Romero is 27-years-old from Colombia. A late-bloomer, he debuted with the Nationals on September 24, 2021, and posted a 4.50 ERA in five games, four innings. He split the 2021 season between Double-A Harrisburg (33 G) and the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings (5 G). He went 2-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 38 games out of the bullpen. In 55 innings, he walked 11 and struck out 69 batters. Romero had originally signed in May of 2015 with the Cubs. He was already 20-years-old. He joined the Nationals organization during the 2018 season. Romero has a good fastball that averaged 94.5 mph in his big-league stint. He has a mid-80s slider and a changeup that can be a plus pitch. He also can do these things really well. View full article
  16. Over the weekend, we learned that Randy Dobnak has continued to experience pain in his finger this spring. The injury cut his 2021 season in half. The right-middle finger has been an issue for him since last season. Jhon Romero is 27-years-old from Colombia. A late-bloomer, he debuted with the Nationals on September 24, 2021, and posted a 4.50 ERA in five games, four innings. He split the 2021 season between Double-A Harrisburg (33 G) and the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings (5 G). He went 2-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 38 games out of the bullpen. In 55 innings, he walked 11 and struck out 69 batters. Romero had originally signed in May of 2015 with the Cubs. He was already 20-years-old. He joined the Nationals organization during the 2018 season. Romero has a good fastball that averaged 94.5 mph in his big-league stint. He has a mid-80s slider and a changeup that can be a plus pitch. He also can do these things really well.
  17. Catchers (2): Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers Last season, the Twins started with Garver, Jeffers, and Astudillo on the Opening Day roster. Astudillo rarely saw time at catcher, and he is no longer in the organization. Minnesota hopes Garver and Jeffers can turn into the dynamic catching duo projected for the 2021 campaign. There is also a chance the Twins trade one of these players for starting pitching, which would mean Ben Rortvedt shifts into a backup role. Infielders (6): Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker Minnesota would pivot and move Polanco back to his previous position with no clear shortstop on the roster. This would result in Arraez taking over at second base and the team’s middle infield defense suffering. Donaldson and Sano will see time as the team’s designated hitter, while Gordon becomes a full-time utility player off the bench. Rooker can be a powerful bat off the bench even though he may not offer much defensively. Jose Miranda is the wild-card here after his breakout 2021 season. Will there be enough at-bats for him to be in the big leagues for Opening Day? Outfielders (4): Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach This is another group where it will be interesting to see how the team divides up at-bats. Kirilloff might be the best defensive first baseman on the roster, and he will get time at that position. Larnach doesn’t exactly fit the traditional fourth outfielder role, so the team might leave him at Triple-A and add a more veteran player. Much like with the catchers, there is a chance Minnesota includes an outfielder in a deal for starting pitching. Gilberto Celestino is an intriguing option for a backup outfielder role, especially if Buxton is on the IL at some point in 2022. Rotation (5): Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe Starting pitching is where things get rough, and a lot will depend on what the team adds in the weeks after the lockout ends. Dobnak and Thorpe can help the pitching staff next season, but forcing them into the rotation to start the year may be a recipe for disaster. Minnesota has confidence in Ryan and Ober to repeat what they accomplished in 2021, but expectations need to be tempered for both players. It’s becoming clear that the front office is high on the organization’s pitching prospects, so the team can turn to one of those arms to fill out the rotation. Jordan Balazovic, Josh Winder, and Jhoan Duran all project to be in the Triple-A rotation, and they should all debut in 2022. Drew Strotman, acquired with Ryan for Nelson Cruz, is 25-years-old and big-league ready. Bullpen (9): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Ralph Garza Jr., Cody Stashak, Jovani Moran, Jharel Cotton, Griffin Jax If the rotation looks like above, the bullpen will take on an even more critical role, and it will be critical to have a nine-man bullpen to cover innings. Rogers is one of the biggest keys to this bullpen’s success. While this core group improved last season, Rogers missed time due to a left middle finger sprain at the end of the season. Duffey struggled for the first time since switching to a bullpen role, so it will be vital to rediscover his previous form. Alcala might have finally figured it out, and he has the potential to take the next step in 2022. With the rotation’s composition, it might also be necessary to utilize an opener on a more regular basis. Cotton has a chance to bounce back next season, and there’s a chance he may shift to a starting role. Moran has a devastating changeup, and he may develop into a critical late-inning option in the years ahead. What changes do you predict to the team’s roster before Opening Day? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. Spring training was scheduled to get underway this week, but MLB’s lockout has put that plan on hold. If things were on schedule, this is what Minnesota’s Opening Day roster projects to be in 2022. Catchers (2): Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers Last season, the Twins started with Garver, Jeffers, and Astudillo on the Opening Day roster. Astudillo rarely saw time at catcher, and he is no longer in the organization. Minnesota hopes Garver and Jeffers can turn into the dynamic catching duo projected for the 2021 campaign. There is also a chance the Twins trade one of these players for starting pitching, which would mean Ben Rortvedt shifts into a backup role. Infielders (6): Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano, Nick Gordon, Brent Rooker Minnesota would pivot and move Polanco back to his previous position with no clear shortstop on the roster. This would result in Arraez taking over at second base and the team’s middle infield defense suffering. Donaldson and Sano will see time as the team’s designated hitter, while Gordon becomes a full-time utility player off the bench. Rooker can be a powerful bat off the bench even though he may not offer much defensively. Jose Miranda is the wild-card here after his breakout 2021 season. Will there be enough at-bats for him to be in the big leagues for Opening Day? Outfielders (4): Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach This is another group where it will be interesting to see how the team divides up at-bats. Kirilloff might be the best defensive first baseman on the roster, and he will get time at that position. Larnach doesn’t exactly fit the traditional fourth outfielder role, so the team might leave him at Triple-A and add a more veteran player. Much like with the catchers, there is a chance Minnesota includes an outfielder in a deal for starting pitching. Gilberto Celestino is an intriguing option for a backup outfielder role, especially if Buxton is on the IL at some point in 2022. Rotation (5): Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe Starting pitching is where things get rough, and a lot will depend on what the team adds in the weeks after the lockout ends. Dobnak and Thorpe can help the pitching staff next season, but forcing them into the rotation to start the year may be a recipe for disaster. Minnesota has confidence in Ryan and Ober to repeat what they accomplished in 2021, but expectations need to be tempered for both players. It’s becoming clear that the front office is high on the organization’s pitching prospects, so the team can turn to one of those arms to fill out the rotation. Jordan Balazovic, Josh Winder, and Jhoan Duran all project to be in the Triple-A rotation, and they should all debut in 2022. Drew Strotman, acquired with Ryan for Nelson Cruz, is 25-years-old and big-league ready. Bullpen (9): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Ralph Garza Jr., Cody Stashak, Jovani Moran, Jharel Cotton, Griffin Jax If the rotation looks like above, the bullpen will take on an even more critical role, and it will be critical to have a nine-man bullpen to cover innings. Rogers is one of the biggest keys to this bullpen’s success. While this core group improved last season, Rogers missed time due to a left middle finger sprain at the end of the season. Duffey struggled for the first time since switching to a bullpen role, so it will be vital to rediscover his previous form. Alcala might have finally figured it out, and he has the potential to take the next step in 2022. With the rotation’s composition, it might also be necessary to utilize an opener on a more regular basis. Cotton has a chance to bounce back next season, and there’s a chance he may shift to a starting role. Moran has a devastating changeup, and he may develop into a critical late-inning option in the years ahead. What changes do you predict to the team’s roster before Opening Day? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  19. Just four years ago, the Twins organization had one of the minor league's most talented rosters. Now, those players have started to produce at the MLB level. Here's a look back at that team. Not all of these players are going to play at an All-Star level, but the amount of talent on this roster is hard to ignore. From hitters to pitchers, the 2018 Kernels had it all. 2018 Kernels Hitting Prospects Many top position players on the 2018 Kernels have made their big-league debuts in the last two seasons. Players included on that list are Akil Baddoo, Ryan Jeffers, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. Baddoo's big-league success has come in a Tigers uniform after being selected in last winter's Rule 5 Draft. Last season, the outfielder hit .259/.330/.436 (.766) with 40 extra-base hits and a 113 OPS+ in 124 games. Luckily, the other names on the list are still in the organization. Jeffers has proven his defensive value over the last two seasons, even when his bat struggled at times. During the 2020 season, his framing skills ranked in the 90th percentile. Kirilloff exhibited his strong hitting talent in his rookie season, but a wrist injury sapped his power. He had surgery, but he should return to form in 2022. Larnach had an up and down rookie campaign, and many still believe he can develop into an above-average big-league hitter. Like Jeffers, Rortvedt has some solid defensive skills that can make him a surprising help to the team moving forward. Two of the team's top prospects also spent time with the 2018 Kernels. Jose Miranda is coming off a breakout season where his stock is rising more than any other Twins prospect. The former number one overall pick, Royce Lewis, had knee surgery last spring and missed the entire 2021 season. Many national rankings have dropped him from their top-100 lists because of the development time he has missed the previous two seasons. On that 2018 team, Miranda and Kirilloff tied for the team lead with 13 home runs. Lewis had 23 doubles, and Baddoo added an eye-popping 11 triples. As 19-year olds, Baddoo and Lewis both added 22 or more steals. Kirilloff had a team-best .999 OPS, and Baddoo led the team with 183 total bases. Baddoo's final numbers were truly impressive. He hit .243/.352/.419 (.770) with 44 extra-base hits, 83 runs, and 24 stolen bases. 2018 Kernels Pitching Prospects There have been six pitchers from the 2018 Kernels that have already made their big-league debuts on the mound. Bailey Ober and Randy Dobnak are the two that figure to most prominently help the 2022 Twins. Ober is penciled into the starting rotation on the heels of a tremendous rookie season. Ober's expectations are high, but there might be some sophomore struggles to overcome. Dobnak signed an extension last winter and produced his worst professional season as he tried to pitch through an injury. Jovani Moran figures to get an opportunity in Minnesota's bullpen, especially with his dominant change-up. Brusdar Graterol, a teenager at the time, was still a starter in 2018. Minnesota traded Graterol to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda, and he has transitioned to a reliever role at the big-league level. The Rangers claimed Edwar Colina off waivers from the Twins earlier this offseason. He had multiple procedures on his elbow last year, and Minnesota took him off their 40-man roster. Johan Quezada made three appearances with the Marlins in 2020, and he is currently on the Cardinals' 40-man roster. Two of Minnesota's top pitching prospects, Jhoan Duran and Blayne Enlow, also pitched for the 2018 Kernels. Duran was limited to 16 innings last season before being shut down with a strained elbow. Now, he needs to prove he can be healthy and get back on track in 2022. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in June, which has pushed him down Minnesota's prospect rankings. Dobnak led the team in innings pitched, and games started while posting a 3.14 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Colina was still a starter, and he had a 2.48 ERA with team-high 95 strikeouts in 98 innings. Moran led the team with a 14.2 SO/9, but he also struggled with 5.5 BB/9. Dobnak won 10 games, while Balazovic, Ober, and Colina were all credited with seven wins. Cedar Rapids made it to the semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs in 2018 before falling to the Cardinals MWL affiliate. However, this roster will have long-lasting impacts at the big-league level. Which former Kernel is going to have the best MLB career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  20. Not all of these players are going to play at an All-Star level, but the amount of talent on this roster is hard to ignore. From hitters to pitchers, the 2018 Kernels had it all. 2018 Kernels Hitting Prospects Many top position players on the 2018 Kernels have made their big-league debuts in the last two seasons. Players included on that list are Akil Baddoo, Ryan Jeffers, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Ben Rortvedt. Baddoo's big-league success has come in a Tigers uniform after being selected in last winter's Rule 5 Draft. Last season, the outfielder hit .259/.330/.436 (.766) with 40 extra-base hits and a 113 OPS+ in 124 games. Luckily, the other names on the list are still in the organization. Jeffers has proven his defensive value over the last two seasons, even when his bat struggled at times. During the 2020 season, his framing skills ranked in the 90th percentile. Kirilloff exhibited his strong hitting talent in his rookie season, but a wrist injury sapped his power. He had surgery, but he should return to form in 2022. Larnach had an up and down rookie campaign, and many still believe he can develop into an above-average big-league hitter. Like Jeffers, Rortvedt has some solid defensive skills that can make him a surprising help to the team moving forward. Two of the team's top prospects also spent time with the 2018 Kernels. Jose Miranda is coming off a breakout season where his stock is rising more than any other Twins prospect. The former number one overall pick, Royce Lewis, had knee surgery last spring and missed the entire 2021 season. Many national rankings have dropped him from their top-100 lists because of the development time he has missed the previous two seasons. On that 2018 team, Miranda and Kirilloff tied for the team lead with 13 home runs. Lewis had 23 doubles, and Baddoo added an eye-popping 11 triples. As 19-year olds, Baddoo and Lewis both added 22 or more steals. Kirilloff had a team-best .999 OPS, and Baddoo led the team with 183 total bases. Baddoo's final numbers were truly impressive. He hit .243/.352/.419 (.770) with 44 extra-base hits, 83 runs, and 24 stolen bases. 2018 Kernels Pitching Prospects There have been six pitchers from the 2018 Kernels that have already made their big-league debuts on the mound. Bailey Ober and Randy Dobnak are the two that figure to most prominently help the 2022 Twins. Ober is penciled into the starting rotation on the heels of a tremendous rookie season. Ober's expectations are high, but there might be some sophomore struggles to overcome. Dobnak signed an extension last winter and produced his worst professional season as he tried to pitch through an injury. Jovani Moran figures to get an opportunity in Minnesota's bullpen, especially with his dominant change-up. Brusdar Graterol, a teenager at the time, was still a starter in 2018. Minnesota traded Graterol to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda, and he has transitioned to a reliever role at the big-league level. The Rangers claimed Edwar Colina off waivers from the Twins earlier this offseason. He had multiple procedures on his elbow last year, and Minnesota took him off their 40-man roster. Johan Quezada made three appearances with the Marlins in 2020, and he is currently on the Cardinals' 40-man roster. Two of Minnesota's top pitching prospects, Jhoan Duran and Blayne Enlow, also pitched for the 2018 Kernels. Duran was limited to 16 innings last season before being shut down with a strained elbow. Now, he needs to prove he can be healthy and get back on track in 2022. Enlow had Tommy John surgery in June, which has pushed him down Minnesota's prospect rankings. Dobnak led the team in innings pitched, and games started while posting a 3.14 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Colina was still a starter, and he had a 2.48 ERA with team-high 95 strikeouts in 98 innings. Moran led the team with a 14.2 SO/9, but he also struggled with 5.5 BB/9. Dobnak won 10 games, while Balazovic, Ober, and Colina were all credited with seven wins. Cedar Rapids made it to the semifinals of the Midwest League playoffs in 2018 before falling to the Cardinals MWL affiliate. However, this roster will have long-lasting impacts at the big-league level. Which former Kernel is going to have the best MLB career? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. Looking at Minnesota's current pitching staff, many things are going to have to go right for the team to be competitive in 2022. Here are three names that point to bouncing back next season. Two of the names below struggled mightily last season, and the other pitcher missed multiple seasons throughout his career. All three have something to prove in 2022, which can be exciting for a team like the Twins that need big-league pitching depth. Dylan Bundy Bundy was Minnesota's lone free-agent signing before the lockout, but there might be some reasons to hope he can bounce back in 2022. Bundy surprised many during the pandemic shortened 2020 season with a resurgent year, including finishing in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young. He posted a 3.29 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. It looked like Bundy was finally reaching the ceiling many thought he had as one of baseball's top prospects. Last season, Bundy couldn't replicate his 2020 numbers, and that's one of the main reasons the Twins were able to sign him for such a relatively cheap contract. One of Bundy's most prominent issues in 2021 was his inability to strand runners. Bundy has a 70.8 LOB% for his career, but last season that number dipped to 64.0%. Another change last season was he doubled his sinker usage, and batters posted a .609 SLG against it. Minnesota likely pushes Bundy to throw more sliders and batters combined for a .494 SLG versus that pitch in 2021. Randy Dobnak Dobnak's name will be featured on multiple bounce back lists this winter because he can't be as bad as he was in 2021. Last season, Dobnak was pushed out of the rotation coming out of spring training, but it was clear that he wasn't a reliever. In 14 big-league appearances, he allowed 43 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings. At Triple-A, he made four starts and posted a 3.00 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP. A finger injury caused him issues throughout the season, and he was eventually put on the 60-day IL. His terrible, no good, very bad season came to an end, so things can't go much worse for him in 2022. Minnesota doesn't need Dobnak to be a frontline starter, but he needs to fit into the backend of the rotation. Last season, his slider got plenty of hype during spring training as he looked like a whole new pitcher. Then during the season, his slider was his worst pitch as batters posted an .815 SLG against it. Dobnak needs to prove he is healthy, and then he can be relied on to be more than rotational depth. Fans are understandably low on him, but a healthy Dobnak will be a welcome addition to the team's rotation next year. Jharel Cotton Minnesota claimed Cotton off of waivers from Texas this winter, and he certainly offers some intrigue for a pitcher-hungry team. Previously, Cotton was a top-100 prospect in the Oakland organization, and they gave him opportunities to stick as a starter. Last season, he pitched in the big leagues for the first time since 2017 and compiled a 3.52 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP. All his appearances came as a reliever in 2021, but some believe he might provide some valuable innings for the Twins in 2022. One of the reasons for this optimism is the amount of spin Cotton has added to his fastball. According to FanGraphs, his fastball had the second-highest amount of vertical movement in baseball last year among pitchers with at least 30 innings. He also utilizes a changeup with a lot of movement that is more than 10-mph slower than his fastball. By adding in his average slider and it's easy to see how he might fit into the rotation when needed next season. Minnesota will have starting opportunities, and Cotton has a chance to prove he can be more than a reliever. Which pitcher is most likely to bounce back? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  22. Two of the names below struggled mightily last season, and the other pitcher missed multiple seasons throughout his career. All three have something to prove in 2022, which can be exciting for a team like the Twins that need big-league pitching depth. Dylan Bundy Bundy was Minnesota's lone free-agent signing before the lockout, but there might be some reasons to hope he can bounce back in 2022. Bundy surprised many during the pandemic shortened 2020 season with a resurgent year, including finishing in the top-10 for the AL Cy Young. He posted a 3.29 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. It looked like Bundy was finally reaching the ceiling many thought he had as one of baseball's top prospects. Last season, Bundy couldn't replicate his 2020 numbers, and that's one of the main reasons the Twins were able to sign him for such a relatively cheap contract. One of Bundy's most prominent issues in 2021 was his inability to strand runners. Bundy has a 70.8 LOB% for his career, but last season that number dipped to 64.0%. Another change last season was he doubled his sinker usage, and batters posted a .609 SLG against it. Minnesota likely pushes Bundy to throw more sliders and batters combined for a .494 SLG versus that pitch in 2021. Randy Dobnak Dobnak's name will be featured on multiple bounce back lists this winter because he can't be as bad as he was in 2021. Last season, Dobnak was pushed out of the rotation coming out of spring training, but it was clear that he wasn't a reliever. In 14 big-league appearances, he allowed 43 earned runs in 50 2/3 innings. At Triple-A, he made four starts and posted a 3.00 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP. A finger injury caused him issues throughout the season, and he was eventually put on the 60-day IL. His terrible, no good, very bad season came to an end, so things can't go much worse for him in 2022. Minnesota doesn't need Dobnak to be a frontline starter, but he needs to fit into the backend of the rotation. Last season, his slider got plenty of hype during spring training as he looked like a whole new pitcher. Then during the season, his slider was his worst pitch as batters posted an .815 SLG against it. Dobnak needs to prove he is healthy, and then he can be relied on to be more than rotational depth. Fans are understandably low on him, but a healthy Dobnak will be a welcome addition to the team's rotation next year. Jharel Cotton Minnesota claimed Cotton off of waivers from Texas this winter, and he certainly offers some intrigue for a pitcher-hungry team. Previously, Cotton was a top-100 prospect in the Oakland organization, and they gave him opportunities to stick as a starter. Last season, he pitched in the big leagues for the first time since 2017 and compiled a 3.52 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP. All his appearances came as a reliever in 2021, but some believe he might provide some valuable innings for the Twins in 2022. One of the reasons for this optimism is the amount of spin Cotton has added to his fastball. According to FanGraphs, his fastball had the second-highest amount of vertical movement in baseball last year among pitchers with at least 30 innings. He also utilizes a changeup with a lot of movement that is more than 10-mph slower than his fastball. By adding in his average slider and it's easy to see how he might fit into the rotation when needed next season. Minnesota will have starting opportunities, and Cotton has a chance to prove he can be more than a reliever. Which pitcher is most likely to bounce back? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. A “sleeper” in sports is a player who is often overlooked but has the upside to contribute in a meaningful way. Who are three sleeper candidates for the 2022 Twins? 3. Randy Dobnak 2021: 50 2/3 IP, 7.64 ERA (56 ERA+), 5.70 ERA, 12% K, 5% BB, -1.3 WAR It feels like centuries ago, but Dobnak was once a terrific pitcher for the Twins. Bursting onto the scene in 2019, Dobnak produced a sterling 2.25 ERA over his first 68 Major League innings. While José Berríos struggled and Michael Pineda was suspended over the first month of 2020, Dobnak and Kenta Maeda carried the rotation. It hasn’t been pretty since. Dobnak owns an 8.12 ERA over his last 57 2/3 innings, with declining strikeout and exorbitant hard-hit rates. Since signing his five-year contract extension, Dobnak has allowed 43 runs in just 50 2/3 innings. Add in a season-ending finger injury and the word ‘disaster’ seems fitting for Dobnak’s 2021 season. Despite recent results, there are reasons to believe in a bounce back. The horizontal movement on Dobnak’s signature sinker is still elite, with a top-six finish in 2021 (min. 250 pitches). Middle-finger strains can impact command, and sinkers are often reliant on pressure from that finger. If Dobnak can get healthy, that simple change could turn him back into a sturdy rotation member in 2022. 2. Ryan Jeffers 2021: 85 G, 293 PA, .199/.270/.401 (83 OPS+), 10 2B, 3B, 14 HR, 0.6 WAR The Twins put Jeffers in a difficult role last summer. They made sure to start lefty-masher Mitch Garver against southpaws, with Nelson Cruz entrenched at DH and Miguel Sanó at first base. That left Jeffers facing exclusively tough right-handed starters. That’s a tall task for a rookie catcher. With Cruz’s departure, Jeffers will undoubtedly receive more playing time against left-handed pitching in 2021. That adjustment alone should boost his offensive output Jeffers also showed a propensity to punish the ball in 2021. Among 37 catchers with at least 150 Batted Ball Events, Jeffers ranked 9th in hard-hit rate (44%), ahead of Travis d’Arnaud, Will Smith, and Gary Sánchez. Jeffers also caught a barrel in 7.8% of his plate appearances, ranking 5th and beating out Yasmani Grandal. A better role combined with hopefully improved contact rates could propel Jeffers to a breakout in 2022. At the very least, many are underestimating his potential impact. 1. Jorge Alcala 2021: 59 2/3 IP, 3.92 ERA (109 ERA+), 4.06 FIP, 27% K, 6% BB, 0.3 WAR Alcala wasn’t exempt from criticism for the Twins’ early-season collapse. He was mainly bad for his first 40 appearances, posting a 5.73 ERA and 5.35 FIP with just a 22% strikeout rate. As TwinsDaily’s JD Cameron pointed out, Alcala made some critical adjustments late in the season and flipped his results. Alcala allowed two runs over his last 22 innings (0.82 ERA). He struck out 27 of the 77 batters he faced (35%) and allowed just a .420 OPS. Alcala was incredibly dominant, combining his wipeout slider and 100 MPH fastball with an improved changeup. Now entering his age-26 season and with the Twins likely ramping up his role, a full-on Alcala emergence is bubbling. There is no pitcher on the Twins’ roster with better stuff or higher upside. COMMENT BELOW! Who are your sleeper candidates for the 2022 Twins? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  24. 3. Randy Dobnak 2021: 50 2/3 IP, 7.64 ERA (56 ERA+), 5.70 ERA, 12% K, 5% BB, -1.3 WAR It feels like centuries ago, but Dobnak was once a terrific pitcher for the Twins. Bursting onto the scene in 2019, Dobnak produced a sterling 2.25 ERA over his first 68 Major League innings. While José Berríos struggled and Michael Pineda was suspended over the first month of 2020, Dobnak and Kenta Maeda carried the rotation. It hasn’t been pretty since. Dobnak owns an 8.12 ERA over his last 57 2/3 innings, with declining strikeout and exorbitant hard-hit rates. Since signing his five-year contract extension, Dobnak has allowed 43 runs in just 50 2/3 innings. Add in a season-ending finger injury and the word ‘disaster’ seems fitting for Dobnak’s 2021 season. Despite recent results, there are reasons to believe in a bounce back. The horizontal movement on Dobnak’s signature sinker is still elite, with a top-six finish in 2021 (min. 250 pitches). Middle-finger strains can impact command, and sinkers are often reliant on pressure from that finger. If Dobnak can get healthy, that simple change could turn him back into a sturdy rotation member in 2022. 2. Ryan Jeffers 2021: 85 G, 293 PA, .199/.270/.401 (83 OPS+), 10 2B, 3B, 14 HR, 0.6 WAR The Twins put Jeffers in a difficult role last summer. They made sure to start lefty-masher Mitch Garver against southpaws, with Nelson Cruz entrenched at DH and Miguel Sanó at first base. That left Jeffers facing exclusively tough right-handed starters. That’s a tall task for a rookie catcher. With Cruz’s departure, Jeffers will undoubtedly receive more playing time against left-handed pitching in 2021. That adjustment alone should boost his offensive output Jeffers also showed a propensity to punish the ball in 2021. Among 37 catchers with at least 150 Batted Ball Events, Jeffers ranked 9th in hard-hit rate (44%), ahead of Travis d’Arnaud, Will Smith, and Gary Sánchez. Jeffers also caught a barrel in 7.8% of his plate appearances, ranking 5th and beating out Yasmani Grandal. A better role combined with hopefully improved contact rates could propel Jeffers to a breakout in 2022. At the very least, many are underestimating his potential impact. 1. Jorge Alcala 2021: 59 2/3 IP, 3.92 ERA (109 ERA+), 4.06 FIP, 27% K, 6% BB, 0.3 WAR Alcala wasn’t exempt from criticism for the Twins’ early-season collapse. He was mainly bad for his first 40 appearances, posting a 5.73 ERA and 5.35 FIP with just a 22% strikeout rate. As TwinsDaily’s JD Cameron pointed out, Alcala made some critical adjustments late in the season and flipped his results. Alcala allowed two runs over his last 22 innings (0.82 ERA). He struck out 27 of the 77 batters he faced (35%) and allowed just a .420 OPS. Alcala was incredibly dominant, combining his wipeout slider and 100 MPH fastball with an improved changeup. Now entering his age-26 season and with the Twins likely ramping up his role, a full-on Alcala emergence is bubbling. There is no pitcher on the Twins’ roster with better stuff or higher upside. COMMENT BELOW! Who are your sleeper candidates for the 2022 Twins? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. Bailey Ober and Jorge Polanco, in their own ways, emerged as sleeper contributors for the 2021 Twins. Who are the three sleeper candidates for the 2022 Twins? View full video
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